Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Carolina Lee
Author: Bell, Lilian, 1867-1929
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Carolina Lee" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: Cover]



[Illustration: Carolina Lee]



                              CAROLINA LEE


                                   By

                              LILIAN BELL


                    Author of "Hope Loring," "Abroad
                  with the Jimmies," "At Home with the
                            Jardines," etc.



                    With a frontispiece in colour by

                           DORA WHEELER KEITH



                                NEW YORK
                           A. WESSELS COMPANY
                                  1907



                           _Copyright, 1906_
                        BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
                             (INCORPORATED)

                         _All rights reserved_



                          I DEDICATE THIS BOOK
                              TO MY FRIEND

                           Ella Berry Rideing

                     AS AN AFFECTIONATE RECOGNITION
                 OF THE EVIDENCES OF HER BEAUTIFUL WORK
                        AND LOVE FOR ME AND MINE



                                CONTENTS


CHAPTER

      I. Captain Winchester Lee
     II. The First Grief
    III. The Danger of Wishing
     IV. The Turn of the Wheel
      V. Brother and Sister
     VI. The Stranger
    VII. Mortal Mind
   VIII. Man’s Extremity
     IX. The Trial of Faith
      X. Cross Purposes
     XI. In Which Truth Holds Her Own
    XII. Whitehall
   XIII. Guildford
    XIV. Kinfolk
     XV. The Blind Baby
    XVI. A Letter from Carolina
   XVII. In the Barnwells’ Carryall
  XVIII. A Letter from Kate
    XIX. The Fear
     XX. Moultrie
    XXI. The Light Breaks
   XXII. In The Voodoo’s Cave
  XXIII. Loose Threads
   XXIV. The House-party Arrives
    XXV. Bob Fitzhugh



                              CAROLINA LEE



                               CHAPTER I.

                         CAPTAIN WINCHESTER LEE


Having been born in Paris, Carolina tried to make the best of it, but
being a very ardent little American girl, she always felt that her
foreign birth was something which must be lived down, so when people
asked her where she was born, her reply was likely to be:

"Well, I was born in Paris, but I am named for an American State!"

Then if, in a bantering manner, her interlocutor said:

"Then, are you a Southerner, Carolina?" the child always replied:

"My father says we are Americans first and Southerners second!"

Colonel Yancey, himself from Savannah, upon hearing Carolina make this
reply commented upon it with unusual breadth of mind for a Southern man,
with:

"I wish more of my people felt as you do, little missy.  Most of my
kinfolk call themselves Southerners first and Americans second and are
prouder of their State than of their country."

"I don’t see how they can be," said the child with a puzzled frown
between her great blue eyes. "It would be just as if I liked one hand
better than my whole body!"

Whereat the colonel slapped his leg and roared in huge enjoyment, and
went to Henry’s to drink Carolina’s health and to tell the Americans
assembled there that he knew a little American girl that would be heard
from some day.

All this took place in Paris, when General Ravenel Lee, Carolina’s
grandfather, was ambassador to France, and when her father, Captain
Winchester Lee, was his first secretary.

Many brilliant personages surrounded the child and influenced her more
or less, according to the fancy she took to them, for she was a magnetic
personality herself, and accepted or rejected an influence according to
some unknown inner guide.

Her mother was a woman of refinement and breeding, and to her the child
owed much of her good taste and charmingly modest demeanour. But it was
her father who captured her imagination.

One of her earliest recollections was of her father’s voice and manner
when she looked up from her novel and asked him why he did not spell his
name Leigh as men in books spelled theirs.

She had not known her father very well, so she was totally unprepared
for his reply.  Although she had been but a little child, she could see
his face and hear his voice as distinctly to-day as she did when he
whirled around on the hearth-rug and looked down at her as she sat on a
low stool with a book on her knees.

"Spell my name Leigh?" he had said, in a tone she never had heard him
use before.  "Child, you little know what blood flows in your veins, or
you would thank God every night in your prayers that you inherit the
name of Lee, spelled in its simplest way.  Honest men, Carolina, pure
women, heroes in every sense of the word; statesmen, warriors, brave,
with the bravery which risks more than life itself, are your ancestors.
They date back to the Crusaders, and down the long line are men of title
in the old world, distinguished in ways you are too young to understand.
Books, did you say? Your name appears in many a book, child, which
records heroic deeds.  On both your dear Northern mother’s side and
mine, you come of blood which is your proudest heritage.  Were you poor
and forced to earn your daily bread, you would still be rich in that
which the world can never take away--good blood and a proud name.  And
remember this, too, little daughter, although your life has been spent
in foreign lands, I loved America so well that I gave you the name of my
native State, and my dearest wish is to restore Guildford and to pass
the remainder of my life there."

It was a long, long speech for a little girl to remember, but it burned
itself into her memory and kindled her pride to such a degree that she
could hardly wait to tell some one of her newly discovered treasure.

Fortunately her first auditor happened to be her governess, and
fortunately, also, her father chanced to overhear her as she translated
his remarks into shrill French.  He immediately stopped her, and these
words also were seared into her memory through poignant mortification.

"I was wrong to tell you that, little daughter. I see that you are too
young to have understood it properly.  I can only undo the mischief by
reminding you never to boast of your old family to any one.  If we
Southerners have one fault more than another, it is our tendency to
mention the antiquity of our families--as if that counted where breeding
were absent.  You will observe that your dear mother never mentions
hers, though she is a De Clifford.  Let others boast if they will.
Speak you of their family and name and be silent concerning your own.
It is sufficient to feed your pride in secret by the inward knowledge of
who you are. Will you try to remember that, little daughter, and forgive
me for putting notions into that head of yours?"

She flew into his arms, and in that moment was born the passionate love
and understanding which ever afterward existed between them.

"Oh, father!" she cried.  "Don’t be sorry you told me!  I am not too
young.  I will show you that I am not.  I will never speak of it again,
and only in my heart I will always be proud that I am Carolina Lee!"

In after years, Carolina dated her life--her most poignant happiness and
her dearest anguish--from the moment when her father thus opened his
heart to her and she found how intensely they were akin.  He became her
idol, and she worshipped him not only with the abandonment of youth, but
with all the passion of her tempestuous nature.  She set herself to be
worthy of his love and companionship with such ardour that she
unwittingly broke the first commandment every day of her life.

Her father realized it, perhaps because of his answering passion, for he
often sighed as he looked at her.  He knew, as did no one else, what an
inheritance was hers.  He felt in his own bosom all the ardour and
passion and furious love of home which as yet his child only suspected
in herself. As long as he could remain at her side he felt that he could
control it in both, but his heart sometimes stood still at the thought
of what could happen were Carolina left defenceless.  How could the
child battle with her own nature?  He shook his head with his fine smile
as he realized how more than competent she was to fight her own battles
with an alien.

They saw a good deal of Colonel Yancey in those days.  He had some
business with the French government which kept him abroad or going back
and forth, and because of his companionable qualities, his sympathy as
well as his brilliance, Captain Lee discussed his most intimate plans
with him.

Carolina always made it a point to be present when her father and
Colonel Yancey smoked their cigars in the library after dinner, for
there it was that conversations took place concerning the South and
Guildford, of so breathless an interest that not one word would she
willingly have missed.

She had a confused feeling concerning Colonel Yancey which she was too
young to analyze.  He was only a little past forty, and had won his
title of colonel in the Spanish war.  She knew that her father, like
most Southern men, trusted Colonel Yancey, simply because he also was a
Southern man, when he would have been cautious with a Northerner.  He
spoke freely of the most intimate plans and dearest hopes of his life,
with all the hearty, generous, open freedom of a great nature. Yet the
watchful child saw something in Colonel Yancey’s eyes, especially when
her father spoke of Guildford, and his passionate hope of the part it
would play in Carolina’s future, which reminded the little girl of the
look in the gray cat’s eyes when she pretended to fall asleep by the
hole of a mouse.

This feeling was too intangible for her to realize at first, but as
years passed by, and Colonel Yancey’s business brought him to Paris
every season while General Lee was ambassador, and when her father was
transferred to the Court of St. James, even oftener, she grew better
able to understand her childish fears.

One day in London, when Carolina was about fifteen, Colonel Yancey made
his appearance, dressed in deep mourning.  Carolina did not hear the
explanation made of his loss, but she resented vaguely yet consciously
the glances he cast at her during dinner, and when her father whispered
to her that the colonel had lost his wife and no questions were to be
asked, her lip curled and her delicate nostrils dilated.  She listened
with more than her usual attention to the conversation which followed,
and in after years it often came to her mind, and never without giving
her some help.

Colonel Yancey opened the conversation with an inexplicable remark.

"When I hear you talk, captain, I always feel sorry for you."

Carolina lifted her head with instant hauteur, but her father only
smiled and knocked the ashes from his cigar.

"Yes, an enthusiast of my type is always to be pitied," he said, gently.

"Not entirely that," responded Colonel Yancey. "In some strong
characters, their enthusiasms only indicate their weak points, but it is
not so in your case.  It is rather that you have idealized your
homesickness."

"I am homesick," said Captain Lee, "for what I never had."

"Exactly.  Now you left Guildford when you were a mere lad, so it is
largely your father’s opinion of the South--your father’s love for the
old place that you have inherited and made your own, just as, in Miss
Carolina’s case, it is wholly vicarious.  Have you any idea of the
deterioration your own little town of Enterprise has suffered?"

"I suppose you are right," said Captain Lee.

"I hope, then," said Colonel Yancey, slowly, "that you will never go
back South to live, especially to Enterprise."

Carolina’s sensitive face flushed, but she was too well bred to
interrupt.

"You mean," said Captain Lee, with a keen glance at his friend, "that I
would find the South a disappointment?"

"It would break your heart!  It hurts me, tough as I am and little as I
care compared to an enthusiast like yourself.  It would wound you,
but"--and here he turned his magnetic glance on the young girl--"for an
idealist like missy here, it would be death itself!"

Captain Lee reached out and laid his hand, on his daughter’s head.

"I am afraid so!  I am afraid so!" he said, with a sigh.

"You understand me?" questioned Colonel Yancey.  It was a pleasure,
which Colonel Yancey seldom experienced, to converse with so
comprehending a man as Captain Lee.  He was accustomed to dazzling
people by his own brilliancy, but he seldom dived into the depths of his
penetrating mind for the edification of men, simply for the reason that
the ordinary run of men seldom care to be edified.  But in diplomatic
circles, Colonel Yancey was a welcome guest.  He possessed an instinct
so keen that it amounted almost to intuition in his understanding of
men, a business ability amounting almost to genius, and a philosophic
turn of mind which permitted him to apply his knowledge with almost
unerring judgment.  As a promoter, he had served governments with marked
ability, and had the reputation of having amassed fortunes for those of
his friends who had followed his lead and advice.

All this Carolina knew and yet--

However, she had the good taste to listen further, without attempting to
draw a hasty conclusion.

"The South," said Colonel Yancey, with a sigh of regret, "is like a
beautiful woman asleep--no, not asleep, but standing in the glorious
sunlight of God, with her eyes deliberately shut.  Shut to opportunity!
Shut to advancement!  Shut to progress!  Her ears are closed also.
Closed to advice! Closed to warning!  Closed to truth!  Her mind is
locked.  Locked against common sense!  Locked against the bitter lesson
taught by a jolly good licking.  And the key which thus locks her mind
is a key which no one but God Almighty could turn, and that is
prejudice!  Blind, bitter, unreasoning, stupid prejudice!  That is why
her case is hopeless!  That is why fifty or a hundred years from now the
South will still be ignorant, stagnant, and indigent!"

"But why?  Why?" cried Carolina, carried quite out of herself by her
excitement.

"I beg your pardon!" she added, flushing.

Colonel Yancey whirled upon her, delighted to have moved her so that she
spoke without thinking.

"Why?  My dear young lady--why?  Because she spends half her days and
all her evenings fighting over the lost battles of the Lost Cause.
Because she still glories in her mistakes of judgment! Because, almost
to a man, the South to-day believes in the days of ’61!"

"Do they still talk about it?" asked Captain Lee.

"Talk about it?" cried Colonel Yancey.  "Talk about it?  They talk of
little else!  They dream about it!  They absorb it in the food they eat
and the air they breathe!  Every anniversary which gives them the ghost
of an excuse they get up on platforms and spout glorious nonsense, which
is so out-of-date--so prehistoric that it would be laughable, if it were
not pitiable--as pitiable as a beautiful woman would be who paraded
herself on Fifth Avenue in hoop-skirts and a cashmere shawl.  You lose
sight of even great beauty if it is clad in garments so old-fashioned
that they are ludicrous."

As Colonel Yancey paused, Captain Lee said, with a quiet smile:

"And yet, Wayne, haven’t I heard you breathe fire and brimstone against
the ’damned Yankees,’ and when they come South to invest their capital,
don’t you feel that they are legitimate prey?"

Colonel Yancey rose to his feet and strode around the room for a few
moments before replying.

"Well, Savannah has had her fill of them, I think.  Perhaps I do
consider the most of them damned Yankees, but believe me, captain, in
the first place, we Southerners fully believe that they deserve that
title, and in the second place, we don’t want them!  No, nor their money
either!  Let them stay where they are wanted!"

"Ah-h!" breathed Winchester Lee.  "Who now has been talking beautiful
nonsense which he didn’t in the least subscribe to?"

"There!  There!" said Colonel Yancey.  "It is a temptation to me to
follow the dictates of my brain, but my heart, Winchester, is as
unreconstructed as ever!  After all, I am no better than the rest of
them!"

"But why do they--do you all feel that way?" asked Captain Lee.  "I
assure you from my soul that I do not."

"I know you don’t.  But you have had strong meat to feed your brain upon
during all these years. The rest of us have had nothing to feed our
intelligence upon except the daily papers--and you know what they are.
Our intellects are ingrowing, and have been for years.

"It is difficult for you to believe this, captain, and almost impossible
for missy.  But let me explain a bit further.  For nearly forty years
the South has been poor, with a poverty you cannot understand, nor even
imagine.  There has been no money to buy books--scarcely enough to buy
food and clothes.  The libraries are wholly inadequate.  Consequently
current fiction--that ephemeral mass of part-rubbish, part-trash, which
many of us despise, but which, nevertheless, mirrors, with more or less
fidelity, modern times, its business, politics, fashions, and trend of
thought--is wholly unknown to the great mass of Southern people. The few
who can afford it keep up, in a desultory sort of way, with the names of
modern novelists and a book or two of each.  But compared to the
omnivorous reading of the Northern public, the South reads nothing.
Therefore, in most private libraries to-day, you find the novels which
were current before the war.

"Now take forty years out of a people’s mind, and what do you find?  You
find a mental energy which must be utilized in some manner.  Therefore,
after a cursory knowledge of whatever of the classics their grandfathers
had collected, and which the fortunes of war spared, you find a
community, like the Indians, forced to confine themselves to narratives
handed down from mouth to mouth.  It creates an appalling lack in their
mental pabulum."

"Are they conscious of this?" asked Captain Lee.  He had been following
Colonel Yancey with the closeness of a man accustomed to learn of all
who spoke.  Carolina had hardly breathed.

"In a way--yes!  In a manner--no!  The comparative few who are able to
travel see it when they return, but years of parental training have bred
a blind loyalty to the mistakes of the South which paralyzes all outside
knowledge.  Even those who see, dare not express it.  They know they
would simply brand themselves as traitors."

Carolina opened her lips to speak, then closed them again.  She had been
trained as a child to have her opinions asked for before she ventured
them. Her father, who always saw her with his inner eye, whether he was
looking at her or not, said:

"You were going to say something, little daughter?"

"I was only going to ask Colonel Yancey if they would not welcome
suggestions from one of themselves?"

"Welcome suggestions, missy?  They would welcome them with a shotgun!
Take myself, for instance.  I have travelled.  I am supposed to have
learned something.  I and my family have been Georgians ever since
Georgia was a State.  Yet when I notice things which my fellow citizens
have become accustomed to, and suggest remedying them, what do I get?
Abuse from the press!  Abuse from the pulpit!  Abuse from friends and
enemies alike!"

"What did you say, colonel?" asked Captain Lee, smiling.

"Why, I noticed the shabbiness of my little city--and a well-to-do
little city she is.  Yet half the residences in town need paint.
Southern people let their property run down so, not from poverty, but
from shiftlessness.  _You_ know, captain!  It is the Spanish word
’_manana_’ with them.  The slats of a front blind break off.  They stay
off!  Paint peels off the brickwork.  It hangs there.  A window-pane
cracks.  They paste paper over it.  A board rots in the front porch.
They leave it, or if they replace it, they don’t paint it, and the new
board hits you in the eye every time you look at it.  They decide to put
on an electric door-bell.  In taking the old one off they leave the hole
and never think of the wildness of painting the door over!  They just
leave the hall-mark of untidiness, of shiftlessness, over everything
they own.  And if you tell them of it?  Well!"

"I see," said Captain Lee.  "I have often wondered why Northerners
always spoke of the South as such a shabby place.  They must have meant
what you have just described--a lack of attention to detail."

"You have noticed it yourself?" asked Colonel Yancey, eagerly.

"You must remember that I have not been south of Washington for thirty
years."

"Ah, yes, I remember.  You had the luck to be in the Civil War."

"I was in it only the last two years before the surrender.  I enlisted
when I was fourteen, was a captain at sixteen, and was wounded in my
last engagement."

"And you’ve never been back since?"

"Never!"

Colonel Yancey leaned back and sighed.

"Never go, then!" he said.  "Take my advice and never go.  Remember your
beautiful unspoiled South as you see her in your dreams!"

"The South is like a petted woman who openly declares that she would
rather be lied to agreeably than be told the truth to, objectionably,"
said Captain Lee, with a regretful smile.  Then he added, with a
mischievous glance at Carolina, "Do the ladies still--er--gossip,
Colonel Yancey?"

The colonel simply flung up his hands.

"Gossip?  My God!"

It was Carolina who rebuked him.  Her voice was grave, but her eyes
flashed fire.

"Do Southern ladies gossip more than Parisian or London ladies?"

"Fairly hit, colonel!" said Captain Lee.  "To answer that truthfully,
you must admit that they do not, for nothing can equal the malice of
Paris and London drawing-rooms."

"Quite right, captain.  No, missy," he answered, "it is only because we
expect so much more of Southern ladies that their gossip sounds more
malicious by way of contrast."

Carolina smiled, well pleased by the brilliant tact with which he always
extricated himself from a dilemma.

When Colonel Yancey had gone, Captain Lee put one arm around Carolina’s
shoulder, and with the other hand tilted the girl’s flowerlike face up
to his, with a remark which, if he had made it to his son, would have
changed the whole current of the girl’s life.  He said:

"Ah, little daughter, the colonel is like all the rest of the
Southerners.  He can see the truth and can spout gloriously about her,
but in a money transaction between himself and a Northern man, he would
forget it all, and would consider it no more than honest to ’skin the
damned Yankee,’ to quote his own language."

And with that the subject was dropped.

The Lee household at that time consisted of Captain and Mrs. Lee, the
two children, Sherman and Carolina, and the widow of a cousin of Captain
Lee, Rhett Winchester, whom they called Cousin Lois.

Mrs. Winchester had abundant means of her own, which were all in the
hands of the Lee family agents, and she was distinguished by her
idolatry of Carolina.  No temptation of travel, no wooing of elderly
fortune hunters, had power to move her.  All the love which in her early
life had been given to her husband, relations, and friends, she now
poured out on the child of her husband’s cousin. She had been denied
children of her own, which, perhaps, was just as well, as she would have
ruined them with indulgence.  Mrs. Winchester was a born aunt or
grandmother.  She took up the spoiling just where a mother’s firmness
ceased.

She cared very little for Sherman, who was three years older than
Carolina, and who resembled his Northern mother as closely as Carolina
modelled herself upon her father, except that Sherman was weak, whereas
Mrs. Lee, as a De Clifford of England, inherited great strength of
character as well as a calm judgment and a governable quality, which
made her an admirable helpmeet for the fiery, if controlled, nature of
her Southern husband.

Never was there a happiness so complete as Carolina’s seemed to be.  She
grew from a beautiful child into a still more beautiful young girl.  She
absorbed her education without effort, learning languages from much
travel and from hearing them constantly spoken, and breathing in the
truest culture from her daily surroundings.  How could an intelligent
girl be ignorant of art and science and literature and diplomacy when
she heard them discussed by some of the greatest minds of the day as
commonly as most children hear continual conversations about the
shortcomings of the servants? She did not realize that she was unusually
equipped because it had been absorbed as unconsciously as the air she
breathed, but other American girls who came into contact with her felt
and resented it or admired it, according to their calibre.

In religion Carolina was outwardly orthodox and conventional, but many
were the discussions she and her father held on the subject, in strict
privacy, and many were the questions she put to him which he could not
answer.  He often ended these interrogations by gathering her up in his
arms and saying: "My little girl will need a new religion, made
especially for her, if she continues to trouble her head about things
which no man knoweth!"

"But why don’t they know, dearest?  And why does the Bible contradict
itself so?  And how can God be a ’father’ if he sends pain and sickness
and death?  Is He any worse than a real father would be?  And why does
He not answer prayers when He promises to?  And when did the healing
Jesus taught His disciples disappear?  Did He only let them possess the
power for a few years?  Why are we commanded to be ’perfect’ when God
knows we can’t be?  And how can you believe in a God who punishes you
and sends all manner of evil on you while calling Himself a God of
Love?"

"Carolina!  Carolina!  You make my head swim with your heresies!  I
don’t know, child!  I don’t know the answer to a single one of your
questions. Such things do not trouble me.  I believe in God, and that
satisfies me."

"No, it doesn’t, daddy!" cried the girl, astutely, "but you try to make
yourself believe that it does."

"Then try to make yourself believe it, dear.  It has done me very well
for nearly forty years."

And as usual, such footless discussion ended in nothingness and a burst
of human love which effectually put out of mind all gropings after
Divine Love!



                              CHAPTER II.

                            THE FIRST GRIEF


Then, with no illness to prepare her for so awful a blow, with nothing
but a stopping of the heart-beats, Carolina’s father fell into his last,
long sleep, and before she could fairly realize her loss, her mother
followed him.

Within six weeks, the girl found herself orphaned and mistress of the
great Lee fortune, but utterly alone in the world, for her grandfather
had died the year previous and Sherman had just married and gone back to
America.

That Carolina felt her mother’s loss no one could doubt, but the change
in the young girl wrought by her father’s death was something awful to
behold.  She had not dreamed that he could die.  He was so young, so
strong, so noble, so upright, such an honour to his country and to his
race!  Why should perfection cease to exist and the ignorant, wicked,
and common live on?  Carolina resisted the thought with tigerish
fierceness, and openly blasphemed the God who created her.

"God my father?" she stormed at Cousin Lois, who listened with blanched
face and trembling fear of further vengeance on the part of outraged
Deity. "Why, would my own precious father send me a moment of such
suffering as I have passed through ever since they took him away from
me?  He would have given his life to save me from one heart-pang, and
you ask me to believe that God is a father, when He sends such awful
anguish into this world?"

"He sends it for your good, Carolina, dear," pleaded Cousin Lois.

"Oh, He does, does He?  He thinks it will do me good to suffer?  _Daddy_
thought so, didn’t he? Daddy _liked_ to make me unhappy, didn’t he?  He
didn’t realize how blissful heavenly love could be, so he only loved me
in a poor, blind, earthly fashion, which made every day a joy and every
hour we spent together a song!  Poor daddy!  To be so ignorant of the
real way to love his children!"

"Oh, Carolina!" moaned Mrs. Winchester.

"God hates me, Cousin Lois," said the girl, dropping her impassioned
manner and speaking with bitter calmness.

"I have been recognizing it for some time.  I have felt that He was
jealous of my happiness. You know it says: ’For I the Lord thy God am a
jealous God.’  He admits it Himself.  So He took vengeance on me through
His power and killed my parents just to show me that He could! But if He
thinks that I am going to kneel down and thank Him for murder, and love
Him for ruining my life--"

A steel blue light seemed to blaze from the girl’s eyes as she thus
raised her tiny hand and shook it at her Creator.

Cousin Lois burst into tears.  Carolina viewed her without sympathy.

"I am so little," she said, suddenly.  "It is a brave thing for God to
pit His great strength against mine, isn’t it?  Listen to me, Cousin
Lois, I am done with religion from now on.  I will never say another
prayer as long as I live.  The worst has happened to me which could
happen. Nothing more counts."

It was while she was in this terrible state of mind that Mrs. Winchester
took charge of her.

Sherman and his wife came over for the funeral of their father, and
before they could so arrange their affairs as to be able to leave for
home, they were called upon to bury, instead of try to console, their
mother.

Neither Carolina nor Mrs. Winchester liked Adelaide, Sherman’s wife.
She was selfish and ignorant, but, with true loyalty to their own, they
never expressed themselves on the subject, even to each other.  After
the period of mourning was over, they accepted her invitation to visit
her, and spent a month in New Work.  Then, with no explanation whatever,
Mrs. Winchester and Carolina went abroad and travelled--travelled now
furiously, now in a desultory way; now stopping for one month or six;
now hurrying away from a spot as if plague-stricken--all at Carolina’s
whim.

It was a strange life for an ardent young American to lead, but Noel St.
Quentin and Kate Howard, who knew Carolina best, shook their heads, and
fancied that the two travellers found in Mrs. Sherman Lee their
incentive to remain away from America so long and so persistently.

Mrs. Winchester and Carolina were an oddly assorted pair, but their very
dissimilarity made them congenial.

Mrs. Winchester was a woman who merited the attention she always
received.

At first sight she did not invariably attract, being stout, asthmatic,
vague of manner, and of middle age.  She had her figure well in hand,
however, large though she was.  Her waist-line, she was fond of saying,
had remained the same for twenty years, though the rest of her had
outgrown all recollection of the trim young girl she doubtless had been.
But it was her complexion of which she was most proud.  It was still a
blending of cream and roses, and her blush was famous.

"Carolina, child," she used to say, "don’t let me be ridiculous, just
because I am large.  Promise me that you will never leave crumbs on my
breast, even if they fall there and I can’t see them.  If you only knew
how I suffered from not knowing where all of me is.  Why, with my
figure, it is just like the women we used to see in Russia with little
tables on each hip and a tray around their necks.  Don’t laugh, child.
It’s dreadful, my dear."

"Well, but Cousin Lois, it wouldn’t be so bad if you wouldn’t pinch your
waist in so.  Just let that out and you will find yourself falling into
place, so to speak."

"What!" cried Mrs. Winchester.  "Lose the only--the only thing I have
left to be proud of, except my complexion?  Carolina, you are crazy. I’d
rather never draw another comfortable breath than to add one inch to my
waist-line.  No, Carolina.  Don’t advise me.  Just watch for the crumbs.
For I will not be guilty of the inelegance of tucking a napkin under my
chin if I ruin a dress at each meal."

Thus it will be seen that Mrs. Winchester was quite determined in spite
of the gentlest manner of putting her ultimatum into words.

She carefully cultivated her asthma, as, without affording her too much
discomfort, it was always an excuse to travel.

"Asthma is the most respectable disease I know of," she often said to
Carolina.  "Gout is more aristocratic, but so uncomfortable.  Asthma is
refined and thoroughly convenient, besides always forming a safe topic
of conversation, especially with strangers."

"That makes it almost indispensable for persistent travellers like us,
doesn’t it?" said Carolina.

"Well, you may get tired of hearing about it, but with me it is always a
test of a person’s manners.  When a stranger says to me ’How do you do,
Mrs. Winchester?’  I don’t consider him polite if he makes that merely a
form of salutation.  I want him to stand still and listen while I answer
his question and tell him just how I feel!"

She also had a slight cast in her eye, which added to this gentleness
and likewise led the casual observer to suspect her of vagueness of
purpose, but her intimates made no such mistake.  The mere fact that one
of her light gray eyes was not quite in line with the other rather added
to her attractions, for if her features and manner had carried out the
suggestions of her figure, she would have been a formidable addition to
society instead of the charming one she really proved.

She habitually wore light mourning for the two excellent reasons she
herself gave, although General Winchester had been dead these twelve
years.

"In the first place," she always said, when Carolina tried to coax her
to leave off her veil at least in warm weather, "mourning is so
dignified, especially in the chaperoning of a young and charming girl.
In the second place, age shows first of all in a woman’s neck, try as
she may to conceal it.  In the third place, a large woman ought always
to wear black if she knows what she is about, and as to my bonnet always
being a trifle crooked, as you say it is, well, Carolina, little as I
like to say it, I really think that is your fault.  It would be so easy
for you to keep your eye on it and give me a hint.  I only ask these two
things of you."

"I’ll try, Cousin Lois," Carolina always hastened to say, "though really
a crooked bonnet on you does not look as bad as it would on some women.
If you can understand me, it really seems to become you--it looks so
natural and so comfortable."

"Now, Carolina, that is only your dear way of trying to set me _à mon
aise_!  As if a crooked bonnet ever could look nice!"

Yet she cast a glance into the mirror as she spoke, and seeing that her
bonnet was even then a point off the compass she forebore to change it.
Such graceful yielding to flattery was in itself a charm.  But the thing
about Mrs. Winchester, which proved a never-failing source of amusement
to the laughter-loving, was her amusing habit of miscalling words.  She
habitually interpolated into her sentences words beginning with the same
letter as the term she had intended, as if her brain had been switched
off before completing its thought and her tongue did the best it could,
left without a guide.

"Carolina," she would say, "come and look up Zurich on the map for me; I
can’t see without my gloves."

In her hours of greatest depression this trait never failed to amuse
Carolina, and when, on one occasion, Cousin Lois took the tissue-paper
from around a new bonnet, folded the paper carefully and put it in the
hat-box and threw the bonnet in the waste-basket, Carolina laughed
herself into hysterics.

Carolina was genuinely fond of Cousin Lois, but it must be confessed
that one great secret of her attractiveness for the girl was because
much of Cousin Lois’s early childhood had been spent at Guildford, when
she had been a ward of General Lee’s, and thus had met his nephew, Rhett
Winchester, whom she afterward married.

Thus, while not related to their immediate family, Cousin Lois was
inextricably mixed up with their history and knew all the traditions
which Carolina so prized.

Although Mrs. Winchester deplored Carolina’s persistence in so dwelling
upon the past and brooding over her loss, nothing ever really interested
this girl except to talk about her father or the golden days of
Guildford.

She cared nothing for her wealth.  She shifted the burden of investing
it upon Sherman’s shoulders, and refused even to read his reports upon
its earnings.

Admirers failed to interest her for the reason that she was unable to
believe that they sought her for herself alone.  Her fortune had the
effect upon her of keeping her modest concerning her own great beauty.

But grief and a rooted discontent with everything life has to offer will
mar the rarest beauty and undermine the most robust health, and the
change struck Colonel Yancey with such force when he met them in Rome
that he became almost explosive to Mrs. Winchester.

"The girl is losing her beauty, madam!" he said.  "Look at the healthful
glow of your complexion and then look at her pale face!  Her eyes used
to dance!  Her lips were all smiles!  Her cheeks were like two roses!
And what do I find now?  A sneer on that perfect mouth!  Coldness,
cruelty, if you like, in those eyes!  Why, madam, it is a sin for so
beautiful a creature as Miss Carolina to destroy herself in this way.
She might as well shoot herself and be done with it!  What does she
want?"

"She wants what she can never have, Colonel Yancey," said Mrs.
Winchester, sadly.  "Carolina wants her father to come back."

"We all want that, madam!" said the colonel, gravely.  "I no less than
the others.  His loss never grows less."

When Cousin Lois repeated this conversation to Carolina, she laughed at
what he said about her beauty, but flushed with gratitude at his praise
of her father, and was so kind to the colonel for two days afterward
that he proposed to her again and so fell from grace, as he persisted in
doing with somewhat annoying regularity.

They travelled for another year, and Carolina grew no better.  She
seldom complained, but her lack of interest in everything, added to her
restless love of change, preyed upon Mrs. Winchester.

They were in Bombay when this restlessness got beyond control.

"I am not happy!" she cried, passionately, "and knowing I ought to be is
what makes me even more miserable!"

"What you need is a good dose of America," said Cousin Lois, decidedly.
"You are homesick!"

"I believe I am!" she answered, with brightening eyes.  "I am homesick,
though, for something in America which I’ve never found there."

"You are homesick for South Carolina," said Cousin Lois, with timid
daring.

At these words a look came into Carolina’s eyes which half-frightened
Mrs. Winchester, for Carolina had suddenly recalled her father’s words.

"My dearest wish is to restore Guildford, and pass the remainder of my
days in the old place."

Instantly her life-work spread itself out before her.  Here was the
solution to all her restlessness, the answer to all her questionings of
Fate, the link which could bind her closer to her beloved father! If he
could have spoken, she knew that he would have urged her to give her
life, if need be, to the restoration of Guildford.

Her interest in existence returned with a gush. A new light gleamed in
her eyes.  A new smile wreathed her too scornful lips.  Her face was
irradiated by the first look of love which Cousin Lois had seen upon it
since her father’s death.

They began to pack in an hour.



                              CHAPTER III.

                         THE DANGER OF WISHING


The Lees’ dinner-table was round, and about it were gathered six
people--Sherman and his wife, Carolina, Mrs. Winchester, Noel St.
Quentin, and Kate Howard, Carolina’s most intimate girl friend. It was
the first time they had all met since the return of the travellers from
India.  Later they were going to hear Melba in "Faust," but there was no
hurry.  It was only nine o’clock.

"Carolina, if you could have the dearest wish of your heart, what would
it be?" asked Noel St. Quentin.

"If I should tell, it might not come true," Carolina answered.  "And I
want it so much!"

"I never saw such a girl as Carolina in all my life," complained her
sister-in-law.  "Her mind is always made up.  She keeps her ideas as
orderly as an old maid’s bureau-drawer.  No odds and ends anywhere.  You
may ask her any sort of a question, and she has her answer ready.  She
knows just what box in her brain it is in.  Just fancy having thought
out what your wish would be, and having it at your tongue’s end to tell
at a dinner-party!"

Mrs. Lee leaned back and fanned herself with a fatigued air.

"You almost indicate that Carolina thinks," said St. Quentin.

"Oh, don’t accuse me of such a crime in public!" cried the girl,
laughing.

"Carolina seems to me the one person on earth whose every wish had been
gratified before it could be uttered," said St. Quentin, who was in some
occult way related to the Lees.  "I would be interested to know just
what her dream in life could be."

Carolina smiled at him gently.

"She--she’s had Europe, Asia, and Africa a-all her life," cried Kate
Howard, who always stuttered a little in the excitement of the moment.
To Carolina this slight stutter was one of Kate’s greatest fascinations.
You found yourself expecting and rather looking forward to it.  At least
it spelled enthusiasm.  "She’s had masters in every known
accomplishment.  She--she can do all sorts of things.  She can speak any
language except Chinese, I do believe.  She’s pretty.  She’s rich in her
own right--no waiting for dead men’s shoes or trying to get along on an
allowance--a-and what under the sun can she want--e-except a husband?"

"Perhaps, if she’s good, she may even get that," said St. Quentin.

Again Carolina smiled.  But her smile faded when her eyes met those of
her sister-in-law, who viewed the girl with a thinly veiled dislike.
The girl’s eyes flashed.  Then she spoke.

"I have wanted one thing so much that I am sure sometime I must achieve
it," she said, slowly. "I want to be so poor that I shall be forced to
earn my own living with no help from anybody!"

She was not looking at her brother as she spoke, or she would have seen
him start so violently that he upset his champagne-glass, and that his
face had turned white.

"What did I tell you?" murmured St. Quentin.

"Carol likes to be sensational," said Mrs. Lee. "No one would dislike to
be poor more than she, and no one would find herself more utterly
helpless and dependent, if such a calamity were to overtake her."

"I wouldn’t call it a calamity," said Carolina, quietly.

"Yes, you would!" cried Kate.

"I am inclined to agree with Carol," said St. Quentin, deliberately,
"and to disagree, if I may, with Cousin Adelaide.  In my opinion, Carol
could go out to-morrow with only enough money to pay her first week’s
board, and support herself."

"I hope she may never be obliged to try," said her brother, harshly.
"Addie, if you intend to hear any of the music, we’d better be starting.
It is a quarter to ten now."

Addie raised her shoulders in a slight shrug.

"When Carolina holds the centre of the stage, it is impossible to carry
out one’s own ideas of promptness," she said.

"Nasty old cat," whispered Kate to St. Quentin, as he stooped for her
glove and handkerchief. "Thanks so much.  I don’t know how I managed it,
but I held on to my fan."

Later in the Lees’ box with Melba singing Marguerite, St. Quentin turned
to Carolina again. She had swept the house with her glass as soon as the
party were seated, and had noted but one old acquaintance whose face
seemed to invite study. The girl’s name was Rosemary Goddard, and among
the discontented faces which thronged the boxes in the horseshoe, hers
alone was peaceful. Nay, more.  It was radiant.  Carolina remembered her
face--a cold, aristocratic mouth, disdainful eyes, haughty brows, and a
nose which seemed to spurn friend and foe alike.  What a
transfiguration! How beautiful she had grown!

She was so occupied with the enigma Rosemary presented that St. Quentin
was obliged to repeat his question.

"How would you go to work, Carol?"

The girl turned with a sigh.  Sometimes it seemed to her that she never
would become accustomed to talking at the opera.  She almost envied a
tall young man, who stood in the first balcony.  His evening clothes
were of a hopeless cut. His manner was that of a stranger in New York,
but in his face, one of the finest she had ever seen, was such a passion
for music that she watched him, even while she answered St. Quentin with
a grace which hid her unwillingness to talk.

"For what I really would love to do," she said over her white shoulder,
with her eyes on the strange young man, "you started me off a little too
poor.  I might have to borrow a hundred or two from you to begin with!
I want to pioneer!  I don’t mean that I want to go into a wilderness and
be a squatter.  I want to reclaim some abandoned farm--make over some
ugly house--make arid acres yield me money in my purse--money not given
to me, left to me, nor found by me, but money that I, myself--Carolina
Lee--have earned! Does that amuse you?"

"It interests me," said St. Quentin, quietly.

To be taken seriously was more than the girl expected.  She was only
telling him a half-truth, because she did not consider him privileged to
hear the whole.  She continued to test him.

"I never see an ugly house that I do not long to go at it, hammer and
tongs, and make it pretty. Not expensive, you understand,--I’ve lived in
Paris too long not to know how to get effects cheaply,--but attractive.
Oh, Noel!  The ugliness of rural America, when Nature has done so much!"

"You ought to have been a man," said St. Quentin.

"I would have been more of a success," said the girl, quickly.  "I
believe I could have started poor and become well-to-do."

"How you do emphasize beginning poor and how you never mention becoming
rich!  Don’t millions appeal to you?"

"Not at all! nor do these common men, even though they did begin poor,
who have acquired millions by speculation.  They but make themselves and
their sycophants ridiculous.  No, I mean honest commerce--buying and
selling real commodities at a fair profit--establishing new
industries--developing situations--taking advantage of Nature’s
beginnings.  Such thoughts as these are the only things in life which
really thrill me."

"I understand you," said St. Quentin, "but I fear your wish will never
come true.  Years ago I held similar desires.  All my plans fell
through. I had too much money.  And so have you.  You’ll have to go on
being a millionairess, whether you will or no, and you’ll marry another
millionaire and eat and drink more than is good for you and lose your
complexion and your waist line and end your life a dowager in black
velvet and diamonds."

A messenger boy entered and handed a telegram to Sherman Lee, just as
Melba rose from her straw pallet and led the glorious finale to "Faust."

Her brother leaned over and touched her arm.

"You may get your infernal wish sooner than you expected," he said, with
a wry smile twisting his pale face.

Carolina turned to St. Quentin with indifference.

"Possibly I may yet keep my waist line," she said, as he laid her cloak
on her shoulders.

On the way out she came face to face with the tall young man who had
stood through the whole opera, in the balcony.

He gave back all her interest in him in the one look he cast upon her
loveliness.  A sudden light of incredulous surprise dilated her eyes and
a swift blush stained her cheeks.  She recognized, in some intangible,
unknown way, that he possessed kindred traits with her father and with
herself.  He had the same look in his eyes--or rather back of them, as
if his eyes were only a hint of what lay hid in his soul.  He was of
their temperament.  He dreamed the same dreams.  He was akin to her.

"I could have told him the truth," she whispered. "He would have
understood that I meant Guildford all the time, and that the reason I
want to be poor is so that I can show that I am willing to work, to
carry out my father’s dearest wish.  Just to spend money on it is too
sordid and too easy.  I want it to be made hard for me, just to show
them what I will do!  He would have understood!"

But with one’s best friends it is as well to be on the defensive, and
not let them know our true aims, lest they take advantage of their
friendship and treat our heart’s dearest secrets with mockery.



                              CHAPTER IV.

                         THE TURN OF THE WHEEL


A week later St. Quentin dropped in at Mrs. Lee’s for a cup of tea.  He
would have preferred to have Carol brew it, for she had not only learned
how in Russia, but had brought with her a brand of tea which, to St.
Quentin’s mind, was not to be ignored for mere conversation, and once
drunk, was not to be forgotten.  When Mrs. Lee was out, Carol dispensed
this tea, but when Addie was in her own house, she was mistress of it in
more ways than tea-drinking.

St. Quentin found several people there for whom he had little use, so he
sat silent until they had gone and no one except Kate, Adelaide, and
Carol were left.

Carol was wearing a pale blue velvet gown trimmed with sable and a
picture hat with a long white ostrich plume which swept her shoulder.
Both St. Quentin and Kate plied her with admiring comments until Addie
could bear it no longer, and excused herself with unnatural abruptness.

"There are more ways than one of killing a cat," murmured St. Quentin,
stooping for Kate’s immense ermine muff, which she had dropped for the
third time, "than by choking it to death with cream."

Kate laughed delightedly.

Carolina turned from the doorway.

"Don’t go, either of you," she said.  "I am only going for some tea.
Noel, ring for some more hot water, will you?"

"I wonder how it would be," said Kate, dreamily, "to be born without any
relations at all! Could one manage to be happy, do you think?"

"Carol couldn’t.  She is very fond of Sherman."

"I wouldn’t be fond of any brother who had lost all his own fortune and
mine and was millions in debt besides.  One couldn’t love a fool, you
know."

"I know.  But do you remember what Carol said about wanting to be poor?"

"Of course I remember!" said Kate, "but I d-didn’t believe her then and
I d-don’t believe her now.  Carol was s-simply lying--that’s the answer
to that!"

"Lying about what?" asked Carolina, reëntering, with a square box in her
hand.  The box was of old silver, heavily carved and set with turquoise.

"Lying about being g-glad Sherman has lost all your money.  Of course
you were lying, w-weren’t you?  No-nobody but a raving maniac could be
glad to be p-poor."

"Then I am a raving maniac," said Carolina, pouring the delicately
brewed tea carefully into the tall, slender glasses.  "Lemon or rum,
Kate?"

"W-which will I like best?  I--I’ve had four cups already to-day."

"Then you’d better have rum.  It makes you sleep when you have had too
much tea."

"Lemon for me, please," said St. Quentin.

"I remembered that," said Carolina, smiling. "And three lumps."

"P-put in some m-more rum, Carol.  I can’t taste it."

"What a Philistine!" cried St. Quentin.  "To insult such tea with rum."

"It’s quite g-good," murmured Kate, with her glass to her lips.  "When
y-you have enough of it."

"So you really think I can’t mean it when I tell you I am glad that
Sherman has lost all our money?" said Carolina.  "Of course I am sorry
on Addie’s account--she cares a great deal and is quite miserable over
her future prospects.  But she has ten thousand a year from her own
estate, so she can still educate the children and get along in some
degree of comfort.  But as for me"--she leaned forward in her chair with
the whimsical idea of testing their calibre kindling in her eyes--"if
you will believe me and will not scoff, I will tell you what my plan
is."

"Promise," said Kate, briefly.

"If Sherman can manage it, I want," said Carolina, slowly, but with an
odd gleam in her eye, "to buy an abandoned farm in New England and raise
chickens."

In spite of her promise, Kate looked at the beautiful face and figure of
the girl in blue velvet and sables who said this, and burst into a
shriek of laughter, which St. Quentin, after a moment’s decorous
struggle, joined.

"I know," said Carolina, leaning back, still with that curious look in
her eyes.  "I know it sounds absurd.  I know you are thinking of me out
feeding chickens in these clothes.  But oh, if you only knew how tired I
am of--of everything that my life has held hitherto.  If you only knew
how unhappy I am!  If you only knew how I want a farm with pigs and
chickens and cows and horses.  If you only knew how I long to plant
things and see them grow.  But above everything else in the world, if
you only knew how I want a dark blue print dress!  I saw a country girl
in one once when I was a child in England, and I’ve never been really
happy since."

She joined in the burst of laughter which followed.

"But do things grow on farms in New England?" asked Kate.  "And isn’t
that just why so many are abandoned?"

"I suppose so," answered Carolina, "but those are the only ones which
are cheap, and chickens don’t need a rich soil.  All you’ve got to do is
to--"

"I’d go South," interrupted Kate, "or to California, where the c-climate
would help some. I’ve read in the papers how farmers suffer when their
crops fail.  I--I’d hate to think of you suffering if your turnips
didn’t sprout properly, Carol!"

"Laugh if you want to, but I’ll get my farm in some way."

"How about the old Lee estate in South Carolina?" asked St. Quentin.

For the first time in his life St. Quentin was actually conscious that
Carolina was mocking him. The thought was startling.  Why should she
dissemble?  Carolina’s face fell, and a trace of bitterness crept into
her voice.  This seemed so natural that he forgot his curious suspicion.

"I suppose that went, too.  I haven’t questioned Sherman, but he told me
everything was gone. That, although the house was burned during the war,
and only the land itself remained, is the only thing I regret about our
loss.  I did love Guildford."

"But you never saw it!" exclaimed Kate.

Carolina’s eye flashed with enthusiasm.

"I know that!  Nevertheless, I love it as I love no spot on earth
to-day."

There was a little pause, full of awkwardness for the two who had
accidentally brought Carolina’s loss home to her.  To Carolina it
brought home a sense of real guilt.  If she had believed that Guildford
was lost she would have screamed aloud and gone mad before their very
eyes.  She was almost afraid to juggle with the truth even to protect
her sacred enthusiasm from their profane eyes.

It was St. Quentin who spoke first.

"I can understand wanting a farm or country estate in England," he
began.  "I myself enjoy the thought of thatched roofs and cattle
standing knee-deep in waving, grassy meadows; of tired farm horses; of
mugs of ale and thick slices of bread and the sweat of honest toil--"

"On another person’s brow!" interrupted Carolina.  "You want your farm
finished.  I want to make mine.  I want to see it grow.  I almost
believe when it was complete, that I would want to leave it."

"You’d want to leave it long before that," cried Kate.

"Oh, can’t you understand my idea?" cried Carolina, with sudden passion.
"I want to get back to Nature and sit in the lap of my mother earth!"

St. Quentin nodded his head.

"I do understand," he said, "and _apropos_ of your idea, I have a piece
of news for you."

Carolina looked at him distrustfully.

"You will take that look back when you hear," he said, with a trifle of
reproach in his tone.  "I know you expect no help from any of
us--discouragements, rather--but I have only to-day heard of business
which calls me to Maine, and as I expect to be obliged to wait there a
fortnight, I will devote that time to looking up a farm for your
purpose."

"You will?" cried Carolina, in a faint voice. Her deception was already
tripping her up.

Kate looked at him with undisguised amazement, mingled with a little
reluctant contempt.

St. Quentin’s eyes dilated when he saw the flash of personal interest in
Carolina’s demeanour.  Her eyes and voice and manner all underwent a
subtle but delightful change.  For the first time, although he was
distantly related to her family and had known her since childhood, she
seemed to approach him of her own accord.  Hitherto her fine sense of
pride had kept her individuality inviolate.  She was not a girl to
permit familiarity even from an intimate.  She seemed to hold aloof even
from Kate’s verbal impertinences, but this was largely due to the fact
that Kate’s own nature was such that she never attempted to break down
the barriers in deeds.  There was always a dignified reserve between
them--a respect for each other’s privacy, which was the foundation for
their friendship.  One of the greatest proofs of this was that neither
had ever thought of suggesting that they spend the night together, with
the result that they had never exchanged indiscreet secrets.

Of the relations in which St. Quentin stood to the two; neither had
given any particular thought until that moment.  Kate surprised the look
in St. Quentin’s eyes and the response in Carolina’s attitude.  Carolina
had never appeared to her friend "so nearly human," as she expressed it
to herself, as at that moment.  It gave her two distinct shocks of
surprise.  One, that Carolina was, for the first time in her life,
really interested in something, and therefore she was honest in wishing
to be poor and left free to pursue her idea.  The other, and a far more
disquieting one, was the fact that St. Quentin’s glance at Carolina had
brought a distinct pang to Kate’s heart.

She regarded both emotions with dismay.  They threatened an upheaval in
her life.

She dropped her muff, and, as St. Quentin did not even see it, she
stooped hastily for it herself, murmuring:

"That let’s me down hard!"  But with characteristic energy she wasted no
time in repining nor even in analyzing her emotions.  She was not yet
sure whether she was experiencing wounded vanity or the first pangs of a
love-affair.  She was extraordinarily healthy-minded and instinctively
loyal.

It was this latter feeling which prompted her to leave herself out of
the matter, for the present, at least, and to be sure wherein lay her
friend’s happiness before she proceeded further.

As she and St. Quentin left the house together, they met Sherman Lee
just coming up the steps, looking pale and anxious.

"Is Carol at home?" he inquired, eagerly, and before they could reply,
added, "and alone?"

"Yes, she is," answered Kate, "and if you hurry, you will be in time to
get a cup of tea."

He thanked them and ran hastily up the steps.

"How I admire a woman’s tact," said St. Quentin, giving her a grateful
glance.

"How do you mean?" asked Kate to gain time, though the quick colour flew
to her face.

"My man’s first idea would have been to ask Sherman what the matter
was--he was plainly distraught--"

"And to offer to help him!" said Kate.

"Perhaps.  But your woman’s quickness leaped ahead of my blundering
intentions with the instinctive knowledge that any cognizance of his
manner, no matter how friendly, would be unwelcome. Therefore you sent
him away with the comforting assurance in his mind that we had noticed
nothing amiss.  Thus, in an instant, you saved the feelings and kept
intact the _amour propre_ of two men."

"That’s what women are for!" said Kate, bluntly.



                               CHAPTER V.

                           BROTHER AND SISTER


Carolina had left the drawing-room before Sherman sought her there, but
on receipt of a message from him that he wished to see her immediately
in the library, she once more descended the stairs to wait for him.

An anxious look swept over her face as she passed the door of his room,
for she heard Addie’s voice raised in shrill accents, and to hear it
thus was growing to be an every-day affair.  She knew her brother’s
sensitive, yet proud and gentle nature, and she knew how difficult his
wife’s loud reproaches were to endure.

Suddenly the door opened and his rapid footsteps were heard running down
the stairs and hurrying to the library.  She rose to meet him with her
anxiety to make up to him for his wife’s conduct written in her face.
He saw the look and misunderstood it.

"Don’t look at me like that, Carol!" he cried, raising his hands as if
to ward off a blow.  "If you, too, feel the loss of the money as Addie
does and you reproach me, I shall go mad."

"Sherman!" cried his sister.  "Don’t insult me by the suggestion of my
reproaching you! Haven’t you lost all your money as well as mine? And
would you have done either if you could have helped it?"

Her brother turned uneasily.

"You don’t know how it came about?" he asked.

Carolina shook her head.

"Ah," he breathed, "then I must wait until you have heard before I dare
trust such generous statements."  He hesitated, then burst out.  "But at
least you shall know the truth.  We are absolute beggars, you and I, and
Cousin Lois, and wholly dependent upon Adelaide’s bounty until I can
pull myself together."

Carolina recoiled as if he had struck her.  A sudden sickening fear
clutched her heart.  Sherman said "everything."  Did he include
Guildford? She could not clear her eyes and voice sufficiently to
mention that beloved name.  Sherman went on, not heeding her silence.

"I know what you mean, but it’s the truth.  She acknowledges it as well
as I.  Her money is intact, and she will keep it so.  She cannot spare
any of it to start me again.  I must trust in strangers."

"Why strangers?" asked Carolina.  "Have you no friends?"

"Friends!" sneered her brother.  "What do friends do for a man when he
is down?  Give him good advice, offer to lend him a few hundreds for
living expenses, but trust him to make a second success after one
failure?  Never!  Not even St. Quentin, one of the best fellows who ever
lived, would do that!"

"I think you do Noel an injustice," said Carolina, quietly.  "He has
offered to help me!"

Sherman looked quizzically at his sister and laughed a little.

"Has he, indeed?" he said, with a lift of his eyebrows.

Carolina noticed his manner with a slight inward start of surprise.
What could he be thinking of? She had known Noel all her life, and not
once had the idea Sherman’s tone suggested entered her mind. Noel St.
Quentin?  She dismissed the thought with impatience.  Sherman did not
know what he was talking about.

"I have not yet told you," he broke out suddenly, "how the money was
lost.  Have you no idea?  You ought to know.  You warned me against the
man, but I refused to believe you."

Carolina leaned forward and her eyes blazed.

"Not Colonel Yancey?" she half-whispered.

Her brother nodded.

"Tell me," she said, with white lips.

"There is very little to tell.  The whole thing was an elaborate lie--a
swindle from one end to the other.  I don’t believe there ever was any
oil on the lands he sold us.  He swore there was, and bought outright
the man I sent down to Texas to investigate.  I could put him in jail, I
suppose, but what good would that do me?  Yancey says he has used all
the money in speculation and lost it, so even to prosecute him would not
get a penny back. Now he has disappeared--Algiers, I believe they say.
It makes no difference where.  He was so plausible, and his enthusiasm
was so contagious, we kept handing over the money like born fools.  I
wonder that he did not laugh in our faces.  But he deceived well.  He
planned from the ground up, and was ready with letters and witnesses of
all sorts whenever we began to show signs of weakening.  I can see it
all now with fatal clearness.  But then he had me thoroughly blinded by
his own artful proceedings.  He has wrecked two others besides myself.
The other three men in the syndicate suspected him and sold out to
Brainard and me.  We continued to believe in him and he has ruined us."

Carolina listened in silence, dreading, yet waiting, for the next blow.

"He could be the most charming man in the world when he wanted to,"
Sherman continued. "I will admit that I felt his spell, but all the time
there was something in his face which I distrusted. First I thought it
was his shifty eyes, and then, as if he had read my thoughts, he would
meet my glance with perfect candour and frankness and the craft would go
to his lips, and when I looked again for it, I would be disarmed by the
sincerity of his smile, so I was left to fall back on my Doctor Fell
dislike of him, which always attacked me most strongly when I was not in
his magnetic presence."

Sherman looked at his sister expectantly.  He noticed for the first time
how pale she was.  Her own recollections of Colonel Yancey, his
ceaseless pursuit of her, his intimacy with her father in Paris, her
fear that he knew of the Lees’ great wish to restore Guildford were all
gathering themselves together into a horrible certainty.  She was
obliged to listen with an effort to her brother’s next words.

"I’ve always thought that he tried to make love to you, Carol.  Did he?"

"I believe there was something of the sort suggested," answered his
sister, carelessly.  She did not choose to admit that Colonel Yancey had
proposed to her regularly ever since his wife died, and that he had
pursued her with letters as far as India itself.

A silence fell between them.  It struck Sherman Lee as most
extraordinary that his sister should evince no more curiosity or even
interest in the loss of her fortune than she had hitherto expressed. He
felt that possibly she was only holding herself in check.

"You said a moment ago," she began so suddenly and in such a different
tone that her brother nerved himself for the explosion he felt sure was
at hand, "that we were both--you and I--dependent upon Addie.  Just what
did you mean?"

"Simply that neither of us has a dollar of ready money."

"That is all very well for you," pursued Carolina, in a low voice, "but
for me to be Adelaide’s guest for even a day would be intolerable.  I
shall sell my jewels and accept Kate Howard’s invitation to spend a few
weeks with her until I find something to do.  I made Cousin Lois go to
Boston to see her niece.  I feel that I ought to tell you how glad--how
more than glad I am that the money is gone.  I never wanted it!  I never
liked it!  But Cousin Lois!  What will she do?  Oh, Sherman! If only I
had been a man, too!"

"If only you had been a man instead of me," he cried, "you never would
have lost it.  I always made money when I took your advice.  I always
lost it when I went against you."

Carolina’s face glowed.  She felt equal now to putting the question.

"What has become of Guildford?" she asked, in a low tone.

"Guildford?" he repeated, to gain time.

At the mere mention of that beloved name Carolina’s face was aflame.
Her great blue eyes flashed and she seemed illumined from within.  Her
brother stared at her with astonishment and a growing uneasiness.

"Yes, Guildford!" she whispered.  "Oh, Sherman! I have been so afraid to
ask.  Tell me, is that lost, too?"

The man’s eyes fell before her accusing gaze.

"Not--not entirely," he stammered.  "I--I raised money on it--I forget
just how much--I will investigate--I had no idea you cared--it is
deserted--the house burned, you know--"

He broke off, as he realized his sister’s gathering anger.

"Stop!" she said.  "I have not uttered one complaint because you lost
our money, nor would I complain at the loss of Guildford.  You could not
know how I cared for the place, because no one knew it.  I never even
told Cousin Lois.  But don’t, if you love me, belittle the place or try
to excuse your having mortgaged it because it had no value in your eyes!
I know the house is gone, but the ground is there, and we Lees have
owned it since we bought it from the Indians.  That same ground that the
Cherokees used to tread with moccasined feet has been in our family ever
since they owned it, and the dream of my life has been to restore the
house and to live there--to marry from Guildford and to give my children
recollections that you and I were denied, and of which nothing can take
the place.  Oh, Sherman, doesn’t it fairly break your heart to think
that we are the only generation that Guildford skipped?  Father
remembered it and loved it beyond words to express."

"And you are like him," said her brother, gloomily.  "I am like my
mother.  She never cared for Guildford, and refused to let father
restore it.  It was she who urged him into diplomacy--"

"Where he distinguished himself," cried Carolina, loyally.

"Yes, where he distinguished himself, as all the Lees have done except
me!" he said, bitterly.

"It’s your name!" cried Carolina, passionately. "What could you expect
with those two names pulling you in opposite directions!  Why did they
ever name you, a Southern man, Sherman?"

"Father named you, and mother named me," answered her brother.  "I have
heard them say that it was all planned before either of us was born.
Then, too, you must remember that--well, that I am not as enthusiastic
over the traditions of the Lee family as you are.  I think that my
leanings are all toward the de Cliffords, if anything."

"It’s only fair," said Carolina, with justice, "that you should be like
mother and love her family best. Only--only I am glad my name is
Carolina!"

Her brother bent down and kissed her flushed face.

"And I am glad, too, little sister, for you are a veritable Lee, and one
to be proud of."

Carolina felt herself grow warm in every fibre of her being over the
first compliment which had ever reached her heart.

Sherman was still holding her hand, and she pressed his fingers
gratefully.

"I will look up the papers to-morrow, and let you know the moment I
discover anything.  I can easily guess what your plan is, but--without
money?"

Carolina laughed strangely.

"Thank you, brother.  And in the meantime I shall go to stay with Kate."

Again the slight lift to Sherman’s eyebrows.

"You will doubtless be happier there," he said, quietly.



                              CHAPTER VI.

                              THE STRANGER


But when Carolina was comfortably established in the suite of rooms
which Kate had joyfully placed at her disposal, she found that she could
neither fix her attention on the new decorations of which Kate was so
inordinately proud, nor could she wrench her mind from the subject of
Guildford.

She had been so stunned by the knowledge, not that the estate was
mortgaged, but that it had been parted with so lightly, with little
thought and less regret, that she had not been able, nor had she wished
to express to Sherman her intense feeling in the matter.  The more she
thought, the more she believed that some turn of the wheel would bring
Guildford back.  If it were only mortgaged and not sold, she felt that
her yearning was so strong she even dared to think of assuming the
indebtedness and taking years, if need be, to free the place and restore
the home of her fathers.

Her intimacy with her father had steeped her in the traditions of
Guildford.  The mere fact of their having lived abroad seemed to have
accentuated in Captain Lee’s mind his love for his native State, and no
historian knew better the history of South Carolina than did this little
expatriated American girl, Carolina Lee.  By the hour these two would
pace the long drawing-rooms and discuss this and that famous act or
chivalric deed, Carolina’s inflammable patriotism readily bursting into
an ardent flame from a spark from her father’s scintillant descriptions.
She fluently translated everything into French for her governess, and to
this day, Mademoiselle Beaupré thinks that every large city in the Union
is situated in South Carolina, that the President lives in Charleston,
and that Fort Sumter protects everything in America except the Pacific
Coast.

Carolina knew and named over all the great names in the State’s history.
She could roll them out in her pretty little half-foreign English,--the
Rutledges, the Pinckneys, the Gadsdens, the Heywards, the Allstons, the
Hugers, the Legares, the Lowndes, the Guerards, the Moultries, the
Manigaults, the Dessesseurs, the Rhetts, the Mazycks, the Barnwells, the
Elliotts, the Harlestons, the Pringles, the Landgravesmiths, the
Calhouns, the Ravenels,--she knew them all.  The Lees were related to
many of them.  She knew the deeds of Marion’s men as well as most men
know of battles in which they have fought.  She knew of the treaties
with the Indians, those which were broken and those which were kept.
She had been told of some of the great families which even boasted
Indian blood, and were proud to admit that in their veins flowed the
blood of men who once were chiefs of tribes of savage red men.  She
found this difficult to believe from a purely physical prejudice, but
her father had assured her that it was true.

In vain she tried to interest herself in Kate’s plans for her amusement.
In vain she attempted to fix her attention on the white and silver
decorations of her boudoir, all done in scenes from "Lohengrin."
Instead she found herself dreaming of the ruins of an old home; of the
chimneys, perhaps, being partially left; of a double avenue of
live-oaks, which led from the gate to the door and circled the house on
all sides; of fallow fields, grown up in rank shrubbery; of palmetto and
magnolia trees, interspersed with neglected bushes of crêpe myrtle,
opopinax, sweet olives, and azaleas; of the mocking-birds, the
nonpareils, and bluebirds making the air tremulous with sound; of broken
hedges of Cherokee roses twisting in and out of the embrace of the
honeysuckle and yellow jessamine.  Beyond, she could picture to herself
how the pine-trees, left to themselves for forty years, had grown into
great forests of impenetrable gloom, and she longed for their perfumed
breath with a great and mighty longing.  She felt, rather than knew, how
the cedar hedges had grown out of all their symmetry, and how raggedly
they rose against the sky-line.  She knew where the ground fell away on
one side into the marshes which hid the river--the river, salt as the
ocean, and with the tide of the great Atlantic to give it dignity above
its inland fellows.  She knew of the deer, the bear even, which
furnished hunters with an opportunity to test their nerve in the
wildness beyond, and of the wild turkeys, quail, terrapin, and oysters
to be found so near that one might also say they grew on the place.  In
her imagination the rows upon rows of negro cabins were rebuilt and
whitewashed anew.  The smoke even curled lazily from the chimneys of the
great house, as she dreamed it.  Dogs lay upon the wide verandas; songs
and laughter resounded from among the trimmed shrubbery, and once more
the great estate of Guildford was owned and lived upon by the Lees.

Filled so full of these ideas that she could think of nothing else, she
sprang to her feet and decided to see Sherman without losing another
day.  She would put ruthless questions to him and see if any power under
Heaven could bring Guildford within her eager grasp.  What a life work
would lie before her, if it could be accomplished!  Europe, with all its
history and glamour, faded into a thin and hazy memory before the
living, vital enthusiasm which filled her heart almost to the point of
bursting.

It was, indeed, the intense longing of her ardent soul for a home.  All
her life had been spent in a country not her own, upon which her eager
love could not expend itself.  It was as if she had been called upon to
love a stepmother, while her own mother, divorced, yet beloved, lived
and yearned for her in a foreign land.

It was four o’clock on a crisp January day when Carolina found herself
in the throng on Fifth Avenue.  It was the first pleasant day after a
week of wretched weather, and the whole world seemed to have welcomed
it.

Carolina was all in gray, with a gray chinchilla muff.  Her colour
glowed, her eyes flashed, as she walked along with her chin tilted
upward so that many who saw her carried in their minds for the rest of
the day the recollection of the girl who had formed so attractive a
picture.

Suddenly and directly in front of her, Carolina saw a young woman, arm
in arm with a tall man, whose broad-brimmed, soft felt hat, added to a
certain nameless quality in his clothes and type of face, proclaimed him
to be a Southerner.  They were laughing and chatting with the blitheness
of two children, frankly staring at the panorama of Fifth Avenue on a
bright day.  If the whim seized them to stop and gaze into shop windows,
they did it with the same disregard of appearances which induced them to
link arms and not to notice the attention they attracted.  No one could
possibly mistake them for anything but what they were--bride and groom.

Having reached her brother’s house, Carolina paused for a moment in an
unpremeditated rush of interest in the young couple.  Something in the
man’s appearance stirred some vague memory, but even as she searched in
her mind for the clue, she saw an expression of abject terror spread
over the young bride’s face, and pulling her husband madly after her by
the arm to which she still clung, she darted across the walk and into a
waiting cab.  Her husband, after a hasty glance in the direction she had
indicated, plunged after her, and the wise cabby, scenting haste, if not
danger, without waiting for orders, lashed his horse, the cab lurched
forward and was quickly swallowed up in the line of moving vehicles.

This had necessarily created a small commotion in the avenue, and a tall
man who had also been walking south behind Carolina and who would soon
have met the young couple face to face, chanced to raise his head at the
crack of the cabman’s whip, and thus caught a glimpse of the bride’s
face out of the window of the cab.

Instantly, with an exclamation, he looked wildly for another cab.  None
was at hand, but Sherman Lee’s dog-cart stood at the curb, and Carolina
had paused on the lowest step of the house and was looking at him.
There was desperate anxiety in his face.

"May I use your carriage, madam?  I promise not to injure the horse!"

It was the strange young man who had stood in the balcony all during the
opera of "Faust."

Carolina never knew why she did it, but something told her that this
young man’s cause was just.  In spite of the pleading beauty of the
young couple, she arrayed herself instinctively on their pursuer’s side.

"Yes, yes!" she cried.  "Follow them!"

He sprang in, and the groom loosed the horse’s head and climbed nimbly
to his place.  A moment more and the dog-cart was lost to view.

Most of the good which is done in this world is the result of impulse,
yet so false is our training, that the first thing we do after having
been betrayed into a perfectly natural action is to regret it.

The moment Carolina came to herself and realized what she had done, a
great uneasiness took possession of her.  She had no excuse to offer
even to herself.  She felt that she had done an immeasurably foolish
thing and that she deserved to take the consequences, no matter what
they might be.  If the stranger injured Sherman’s favourite horse, that
would be bad enough, but the worst result was the mortification her rash
act had left in her own mind.  It is hard for the most humble-minded to
admit that one has been a fool, and to the proud it is well-nigh
impossible.

But Carolina admitted it with secret viciousness, directed, let it be
said, entirely against herself.  In her innermost heart she realized
that she had yielded, without even the decent struggle prompted by
self-respect, to the compelling influence of a strong personality.  This
unknown man had wrested her consent from her by a power she never had
felt before.

At first she decided that it was her duty to tell her brother at once
what she had done.  Then she realized that, in that case, they must both
wait some little time before the dog-cart could possibly be expected to
return, and Sherman would no doubt exhaust himself in an anxiety which,
if the horse returned in safety, could be avoided.  She therefore
compromised on a bold expedient.

"Sherman," she said, when she found her brother, "I saw the dog-cart at
the door; were you going out?"

"I was, but since I came in, I have decided differently.  Ring, that’s a
good girl, and tell Powell to see that the horse is well exercised and
put him up."

"I saw Marie in the hall.  I’ll just send her with the message to
Powell," said Carolina.  "There is no doubt in my mind," she murmured,
as she went out, "that the horse will be well exercised."

She sent word by Marie that when Powell returned he was to be told to
see to the condition of the horse himself by Miss Carol’s express
orders, and then to report to Miss Carol herself privately.

But these precautions were taken in vain, for not ten minutes had
elapsed before Sherman was summoned to the drawing-room, there to meet
the stranger, who introduced himself, told a most manly and
straightforward story, and, having produced an excellent impression of
sincerity on his host, left with profuse apologies.

Sherman returned to his sister with a quizzical smile on his face.

"Carol," he said, "what have you been doing?"

Carolina’s reply was prompt and to the point.

"I own to being reckless, of trying to conceal my recklessness, under a
mistaken sense that I was clever enough to cover my tracks.  I vainly
endeavoured to spare you an hour’s anxiety, and I feel that I am a fool
for my pains."

Her brother laughed.

"The man is unmistakably a gentleman.  He is in deep trouble over a
young woman, not his sister, who has run away, presumably with a man.
He tried to trace them and failed."

"Failed?"

"Failed.  If she is his wife, may God help her when he catches her, for
there was danger in that man’s eye.  But his pride forbade him to give
me more than the bare facts necessary to explain his extraordinary
action in surprising you into lending him my horse."

"Was that the way he put it?" asked Carolina.

"It was."

"He is a gentleman!"

She waited a moment, hesitated, and then said:

"Did he say anything else, anything about--"

"About the woman in the case?  Not a word about anything more than I
have told you.  He seemed to take it for granted, however, that you were
my wife."

"And didn’t you deny it?" demanded Carolina, with such spirit that she
surprised herself.  She felt her cheeks grow hot.

"He didn’t give me time."

"And you let him go, still thinking it?"

"I didn’t let him do anything.  He mastered the situation, and carried
it off with such ease that I almost felt grateful to him for borrowing
the dogcart."

Carolina opened her lips to say something, then changed her mind.

"It is of no importance," she said lightly.  But there was an odd
sinking at her heart which belied her words.  She had never believed in
love at first sight, yet she had watched this stranger at a distance all
one evening, and at their first meeting in the throng leaving the opera,
she had not been mistaken in the look of--well, of welcome, she had
felt.  Their second meeting had been equally striking, and Carolina
calmly said to herself that she would meet this man again, and the third
time it would be even more strange.  She was so sure of this that she
would not allow her mind to be disturbed by the two blundering
conclusions Sherman had forced--one that the man was in pursuit of a
runaway wife or love and the other that she was the wife of the master
of the horse.  She was so sure of her own premises that she overlooked
the possibility that the stranger might have put the supposition
tentatively to Sherman and had been misled by her brother’s lack of
denial.

In fact, Carolina at this time was a very self-centred young woman.  It
was so of necessity.  She had never been taught self-denial, nor
permitted to be unselfish.  Her father and mother, in yielding to every
whim, had quite overlooked the fact that the pretty child’s character
needed discipline, so that Carolina was selfish without knowing it.
Quite unconsciously she placed her own wishes before those of any other,
and regarded the carrying of her point as the proper end to strive for.
No one had ever taught her differently.  Cousin Lois had pampered her
even more than her parents had done, and when she became dissatisfied
with life, offered, as a remedy, change of scene.

Now the girl possessed an inherently unselfish nature, and for this
reason--that she never had been called upon to sacrifice her own
will--she was not happy.  Although she possessed much that young girls
envied in wealth and the freedom to travel, the two things which would
have made her happiest, a permanent home and some one--father or mother
or lover--upon whom to lavish her heart’s best love, were lacking.  Not
being of an analytical turn of mind, she had never realized her lack,
until suddenly she had been given a glimpse of both, and then both had
been snatched away.

Opposition always made the girl more spirited. Guildford lost was more
to be desired than Guildford idle and only waiting for her to reclaim
and restore it.  This dominant stranger interested in another
woman--Carolina lifted her chin.  It was her way.

Her brother saw it and smiled.  It was a pretty trick she had inherited
from the Lees.  It was a gage of battle.  It betokened unusual interest.
It meant that their blood was fired and their pride roused.  He mistook
the cause, that was all.  He was so engrossed in his own thoughts and so
pleased by his efforts to gain something which his sister actually
desired, that he had forgotten the episode of the strange visitor.  So
that when he said:

"So that is the way you feel, is it?" Carolina started violently and
blushed.  She was diplomatic enough to make no reply, so that Sherman’s
next remark saved her from further embarrassment.

"Do you really care for Guildford so much?"

"How do you know I am thinking of Guildford?" asked Carolina, quickly.
"I have not spoken of it."

"Ah," said her brother, lifting his hand, "I can read your thoughts.  I
notice that you only have that look on your face when you are thinking
of something you love.  But I wouldn’t waste such a blush on a measure
of cold earth, even if they are your ancestral acres."

"My ancestral acres!" repeated Carolina, softly. "How beautiful that
sounds!  Oh, Sherman, tell me if we can save them!"

Sherman hesitated a moment and knit his brow. Then he lifted his head
and looked Carolina in the eyes.

"I will do what I can," he said.  "You may be sure of that."

Carolina had all a strong woman’s belief in the power of a man to do
anything he chose.  His words were not particularly reassuring, but his
manner, as she afterwards thought it over, was vaguely comforting.

It was the more comforting, because, deep down in her heart, she
intended to supplement his efforts, weak or strong, and win victory even
from defeat.

Guildford?

She _would_ have it!



                              CHAPTER VII.

                              MORTAL MIND


Therefore, when the blow fell and Sherman had written her a letter, not
daring to see her, telling her as gently as he could, but with an air of
finality which there was no mistaking, that the mortgage on Guildford
had been bought and foreclosed by Colonel Yancey, and therefore, in his
opinion, it was lost to the Lees for ever, Carolina realized for the
first time how tenacious had been her hold on the hope of possessing it.
In an instant, with her woman’s instinct, she saw what it had taken
years for Sherman to discover.  Colonel Yancey had, as Carolina found,
learned that it was Captain Lee’s and Carolina’s dearest wish to restore
Guildford. The two men had talked intimately.  Both were Southern,
although Colonel Yancey was a Georgian, but with the confidence in each
other’s integrity, which is typical of most Southern men, and which has
led to the ruin of many an honest man, Captain Lee confided his hopes to
Colonel Yancey, who profited by them to secure Guildford for himself,
and thus gain a hold over Carolina.

It was so easy to do this, in the most ordinary business manner, with
Sherman both unsuspicious of him and his sister’s love for the place,
that at times Colonel Yancey almost had the grace to be ashamed of
himself.

Carolina saw the whole vile plot, and the shock and disappointment put
her fairly beside herself. She was so sure that she had got at the root
of the matter that she at once disbelieved that part of Sherman’s story
which said that Colonel Yancey was a fugitive from justice.  If he had
cheated this syndicate, he had done it in such a manner that it left no
illegal entanglements, and she was sure that he was free to return to
this country whenever he chose.  If not, her whole theory fell to the
ground, for she knew that Colonel Yancey would not dare to offer her a
reputation which the law had power to smirch.

It never was Carolina’s way to wax confidential, but one day Kate
surprised her in a particularly desperate mood.  Carolina was in her
habit, waiting for her horse to be brought around, and when Kate
entered, she was walking up and down the peaceful blue and silver
boudoir like an outraged lioness.

"It’s no use, Kate!" she cried, when her friend began to remonstrate.
"I have come to the end of my rope.  You don’t know the truth because I
have been afraid to tell you.  You couldn’t have understood if I had
told you.  Even if I should sit down now and spend a whole day trying to
explain why I adored Guildford and why I am so upset over its loss, at
the end of the time you would only shake your head and say, ’Poor
Carolina,’ without in the least understanding me.  No one ever did
understand about Guildford except dear Daddy, and since he died, I’ve
been afraid to let even God know how much I wanted it, because I knew if
He did, He would take it away from me! He takes everything away from me
that I love! That is His way of showing His vaunted kindness. He is
indeed a God of vengeance!  He punishes His children as no earthly
father would be mean enough to do.  Oh, I won’t hush!  But the end has
come, Kate, to even God’s power to hurt me.  I have nothing left for Him
to take.  Let Him be satisfied with His revenge.  I wouldn’t care if He
took my life now, so He is practically powerless!  He has reached His
limit!"

"Oh, Carolina!" almost screamed Kate.  "Do be careful how you blaspheme!
Goodness knows I am not religious, but I am a member of the Church and I
am not wicked!"

"You have never suffered, Kate, or you could bear, not only to hear, but
to say worse things than I am saying.  If you only knew how much worse
my thoughts are!"

"But you will be punished for them, Carolina! I--I don’t like to preach,
but God always sends afflictions to those who defy Him!"

"I wouldn’t care if He killed me!" cried Carolina, furiously.  "I have
nothing left to live for. I hope I shall never come back alive from this
ride!"

When she had rushed from the room, leaving that terrible wish in Kate’s
memory, Kate shivered with apprehensions.

"Something awful will happen to Carolina!" she muttered.  "I never knew
it to fail!"  But her eyes filled with tears.  "What if I had to bear
what she has!" she thought.  "Loss of father, mother, home, and fortune!
Poor girl!  Poor girl!"

She had intended to go out, but some inner voice told her to wait.
Carolina’s dreadful mood and reckless words haunted her.  She went
restlessly from room to room, and anxiously listened for sounds of her
return.  And so keenly was she expecting a misfortune that when the
telephone-bell rang sharply, it calmed her at once.

"It has happened!" she said to herself, as she flew to answer.

The message was that Carolina had been thrown from her horse and
dragged.  They were bringing her home.

"I knew it!" said Kate.  "She was in too awful a mood to wear spurs with
Astra.  I ought to have made her take them off."

Carolina was still unconscious when they brought her in.  Kate caught a
glimpse of her still, white face as they carried her up-stairs.  She
waited with feverish impatience for the doctor’s verdict, with her mind
full of Carolina’s awful words.  "I knew it!" she kept whispering to
herself through a rain of tears.  "God always gets even with people who
dare Him to do His worst!"

It seemed hours before Doctor Colfax finally came out, with his refined
face full of pain.

"Is she dead?" whispered Kate, catching at his arm.  He shook his head.

"Disfigured?" continued Kate, with growing anxiety.

"Worse!" said the doctor.  "She has broken her hip badly.  Even if she
recovers, she will be lamed for life!"

Kate covered her mouth to repress a scream.

Beautiful Carolina lamed for life!

"Crutches?" whispered Kate.

"I am afraid so!" said the doctor, with a deep sigh.  "I am going to
have a consultation.  We will do everything we can to preserve her
health--and her beauty, poor child!"

Kate turned away in a passion of tears, well knowing that to Carolina’s
proud spirit dependence would be far worse than death.

Bad news travels on the wings of the wind, and before the day was over
Carolina’s accident was on everybody’s tongue.

Her sister-in-law was indignant, in a sense outraged by Carolina’s
behaviour.  She blamed her first of all for existing in her radiant
youth and beauty and so far outshining her own modest charms.  She
blamed her secondly for permitting Sherman to lose her money and thus
make it Addie’s duty to offer her a home.  She blamed her thirdly, and
most bitterly of all, for injuring herself so hopelessly that she could
never marry, thus placing herself upon Addie to support for life.  Was
ever a more unkind fate invented?  Addie’s temper, never of the best,
burst all bounds as this situation became plain to her, and she
expressed herself fluently to Sherman, who felt himself included in her
misfortunes as part author of them.

It was an unhappy time for all concerned, for Carolina’s bitter
denunciations of her fate and her grief over her dependence could hardly
be checked even in the presence of Kate and her family, whose
hospitality and friendship, so generously offered, put the girl under at
least civilized bonds of restraint.  There were times, however, when she
was alone, that she relapsed into such a savage state that she tore her
hair and bit her own tender flesh.

The sight of such rebellion reduced even Kate’s mutinous nature to peace
and quiet by contrast, and Kate was developed into a gentle friend of
Christian sentiments by Carolina’s great need.

The conversations they held with each other were long and intimate.
Kate tried to put faith in the series of doctors who succeeded each
other like chapters in a book, but the sufferer’s clear eyes saw not
only through Kate’s kind intentions, but through the great surgeon’s
hopeless hopes, and from the first she knew the worst.  Knew that her
bright youth was for ever gone; that her usefulness was ended; that
never again could she expect even to ornament a social function,
crippled as she was and disfigured by ungainly crutches.  Her one hope
was to die.  Thus she made no effort to recover, and her strength,
instead of aiding her, gradually faded away until her accident, though
not at first of a fatal nature, began to be looked on as her death-blow.

At this juncture, Addie, struck with remorse, came and offered Carolina
a home, but Carolina shook her head.

"Thank you, Addie, but when I move from here it will be to rest for
ever.  I want to die here with Kate.  She loves me!"

It was a bitter thrust, and Addie felt it to the verge of tears.
Indeed, she was so moved by pity for the frail shadow that Carolina had
become, that she forgave the girl for having been so beautiful and began
to be fond of her, as one is fond of a crippled child, who had been
obnoxious in health.

Trouble develops people.

Mrs. Winchester was detained in Boston by the dangerous illness of the
niece she had gone to visit, and although greatly fretting at being kept
away from Carolina, was fairly obliged to stay.

Carolina felt that she was welcome at the Howards, for not only Kate’s
mother but her father often came to sit with her and cheer her and to
urge upon her how glad they were to be able to help her when she needed
help.

Carolina was grateful, the more so because she felt that she had not
long to live.  She had been in bed several months, and while the
surgeons said the broken bones had knit, yet it was agony for her to
move.  She almost fainted with pain when they were obliged to lift her
from one position to another.

Kate spent hours in trying to interest her in the life around her.  She
felt frightened when she discovered the depth of Carolina’s
listlessness.  Her weakness took a stubborn form.

"I am only one of the crowd now, Kate dear," she said one day after a
long argument from her friend.  "There is no use in wasting so much
energy over me.  Go and forget me and enjoy yourself.  I used to be of
the exclusive few who got their own ways always.  Now I belong to the
great mob of malcontents--the anarchists of the social world.  I shall
not want to blow up kings and presidents, but I would like to throw a
bomb at every happy face I see."

Her voice trailed off to a weak whisper.

"Y-you wouldn’t need many bombs, then," said Kate, "for I never s-see
any really happy faces. Did you ever in all your life--either at balls
abroad or the opera here, see a perfectly happy face?"

Carolina shook her head and closed her eyes wearily.

Suddenly she opened them again.

"Yes," she said, "I have seen one--the night of ’Faust.’  It was
Rosemary Goddard!"

Kate gave a little scream.

"Well, I’d rather follow you to the grave you seem so bent on f-falling
into," she stammered, "than to get happiness from such a source.  My
dear, Rosemary Goddard is a C-Christian Scientist!"

Kate’s tone indicated that Rosemary had contracted a loathsome disease.

Carolina fixed her eyes on Kate.  She was not of a contrary disposition,
yet the difference between Kate Howard’s tone and Rosemary Goddard’s
face made her stop to think.

"I should like to talk to Rosemary," she said at last.  To her surprise
and consternation, Kate burst into tears.

"If you g-go and turn into one of those n-nasty things," she sobbed, "it
will end everything.  I’d rather you died!"

"Then never mind," said Carolina, wearily.  "I don’t want to vex
anybody.  Perhaps I shall die."

Kate jumped up.  The momentary colour faded from Carolina’s face and the
strength from her voice.  Kate recognized the change.

"I’ll go and f-fetch her," she said, with her old-time change of front.
"She may do you good."

When she came back with Rosemary, she saw what Carolina had seen in
Rosemary’s face--an illumination which no one could understand.  It
transfigured her.

Kate left the two girls together, and walked the floor in tempestuous
anger all during Rosemary’s stay in the house.  Something in Carolina’s
eyes as they first met Rosemary’s told Kate that the poison was already
at work, and that Carolina was ripe for the hated new religion.



                             CHAPTER VIII.

                            MAN’S EXTREMITY


Rosemary approached the bed wherein lay the wreck of the girl she had
often, when in the grasp of mortal mind, envied.  A great wave of
sympathy, not pity, swept over her, as she noted the weary eyes and the
lines of dissatisfaction and despair around Carolina’s mouth.  With an
impulse of love, she knelt at the bedside and took Carolina’s little
thin hand in both of hers.

"Oh, my dear Carol," she said, "I am so glad to see you.  I heard of
your accident while I was in California.  I only got back yesterday."

"Would you have come to see me if I had not sent for you?" asked
Carolina, childishly.

"I was coming to-day.  Mother suggested it, and I was only too happy to
put off everything of less importance and come at once."

"Your mother!" said Carolina, involuntarily. Then, as she saw Rosemary’s
face flush, she hastened to cover her awkward exclamation.  "I did not
know your mother knew me well enough to--to care!"

"Mother is very much changed since you knew her," said Rosemary, gently.
"She has been healed."

Carolina did not know the nature of Mrs. Goddard’s infirmity, so she
forbore to ask of what. She only knew, as all the smart world knew, that
Mrs. Goddard did something dreadful, and did it to excess.  It was
whispered that it was a case of drugs, but there were those, less kind,
who hinted at a more vulgar excess, either of which would explain the
dreadful scenes Mrs. Goddard had occasioned in public.  Her intimates
asserted that a terrible malady was at the bottom of her habits,
whatever they were.  At any rate, a somewhat scandalous mystery hung
over Mrs. Goddard’s name, although she had been at the forefront of
every mad scene of pleasure the fashionable world could invent to kill
time.

"You are changed, too," said Carolina, wonderingly, more and more
surprised to see Rosemary Goddard--of all girls!--kneeling at her
bedside, holding her hand in a warm grasp, pressing it now and then to
emphasize an affection she felt shy of expressing, and talking in a
gentle, altogether unknown tone of voice.  In Carolina’s uncompromising
vocabulary she had privately stigmatized Rosemary as a snob, and rather
ridiculed her exaggeration of aristocracy.  But the coldness, the tired
expression, the aloofness, were all gone.  The weary eyes shone.  The
bored eyebrows were lowered. The curved lips smiled.  The withdrawn
hands were reached out to help.  The whole attitude was radiant of
sympathy and love.

Rosemary could not forbear to smile at Carolina’s unconscious scrutiny.

"What has done it?" asked Carolina, abruptly.

"Christian Science," said Rosemary, frankly.

Carolina was disappointed that she did not rush on and explain.  She had
heard that Scientists thrust their views upon you and were instant in
season, out of season.  She was piqued that Rosemary did not give her
the opportunity to argue and refute.  Carolina wanted to be coaxed.

"The change in you is wonderful," she said at last.  "I think it is
always a little insulting to tell a woman how she has improved, so I
will not harp on it.  But I don’t think I care to investigate Christian
Science.  It has always bored me when people have tried to explain it to
me."

"You have a perfect right to leave it alone, then," said Rosemary.
"Christian Science does not need you in the least."

Although her tone was perfectly sweet and kind, it was dignified, and
Carolina’s quickness at once comprehended the almost unbearable
priggishness of her remark.

"I did not intend to be rude," she said, hurriedly. Then she hesitated
as another thought struck her, and in a more timid voice she said:

"Did you mean that Christian Science does not need me as much as I need
Christian Science?"

Rosemary pressed her hand as her only reply.

"Can it help me?" cried Carolina, with sudden fervour.  "I am a wreck,
physically and mentally. I have lost parents, fortune, home, health, and
ambition.  I long to die!  I have even lost my God!"

"Christian Science will give you back your God," said Rosemary.

"I hate God!" said Carolina, calmly.

"I used to hate Him, too," said Rosemary.  "In the old thought there was
nothing else to do, for a just mind, than to hate Him.  We had made an
image of hate and vengeance and set it up to worship and called it God."

"We?  Did we do it?"

"Of course!  Who else?"

"Then it is all our fault?"

"It certainly is not God’s fault," said Rosemary. "He has declared
Himself to be Love Incarnate. If we have been stupid enough to endow Him
with human attributes of our own distorted imagination, is He to blame?"

"He never answered a prayer of mine in all my life!" cried Carolina,
passionately, looking at the ceiling as if to make sure that God heard
her accusation, and as if she hoped to irritate Him into hearing future
prayers.

"Nor of mine, either, until I learned how to pray."

"Who discovered the new way?  That Eddy woman?"

"Mrs. Eddy did."

"How, I should like to know?  Why was all this given to her to know and
not to some man?"

"By the way," said Rosemary, as if changing the subject, "I hear that
you speak both Japanese and Russian and that you did some important
interpreting at a banquet on board the Kaiser’s yacht at Cowes, last
spring.  Did you?"

"I believe so," said Carolina, wearily.

"However did you manage to master two such awfully difficult languages?"

"I studied years to do it."

"How strange that my brother was not called upon to do that
interpreting," said Rosemary, in a musing tone.  "He was at that
banquet, and he is a man."

Carolina opened her lips to make an incautious reply, but caught herself
just in time.  A gleam in Rosemary’s eyes warned her.

"I see," she said, reddening.  "But I must say you baited the hook
skilfully."

"I had to, in order to catch you," said Rosemary.

Carolina turned her head on her pillow restlessly.

"Tell me about how you came to accept it," she said, pleadingly.

"Well, I was so abnormally miserable!  I had everything in the world I
wanted--apparently, yet my home was full of discord.  I had only a big,
beautiful house.  I wanted the love of a certain man.  He held aloof
while all the others were at my feet.  I prayed wildly to my God for
help, and He mocked me.  Then I grew bitter and vengeful. I vowed that I
would have all that life held without God, for it seemed to me, in my
vicious interpretation of Him, that every time He saw me poke my head
out of my hole, He hit it--"

"Just to show that He could!" cried Carolina, almost with a scream of
comprehension.

"Exactly--just to show that He could.  Well, then I plunged into a
madness I called gaiety, and grew more and more unhappy because I saw
that each day I was putting myself further and further from the man I
loved.  Then, as if to fill my already full cup to overflowing, mamma
grew very much worse, so much so that I wanted her to die. I really felt
that she had exhausted all that _materia medica_ could do for her, and
that death was the only way to end it, both for her and for us.  Then I
heard of a Christian Science practitioner, named Mrs. Seixas.  I went to
see her, and, impossible as it may sound, in the first fifteen minutes,
I had told her the whole truth, mortifying as it was.  But she seemed
not only to inspire confidence, but to radiate help.  I felt that,
although I was a perfect stranger to her, yet she wanted to help
me--that she would go out of her way to do it, and that the reason she
would do it was because she loved much.  I took her to mamma that same
day, and mamma’s complete healing is so great a marvel that we never can
get used to it.  Our happiness is almost too much to bear."

Rosemary’s eyes filled with tears which rolled down her cheeks.
Carolina viewed her with an astonishment that she could ill conceal.
Rosemary Goddard to be talking, nay, more, feeling like that! A question
was so unmistakably in Carolina’s eyes, which her tongue could not gain
permission to utter, that Rosemary found herself answering it.

"Then, when God had made me worthy of a good man’s love, the desire of
my heart came to me, in so sweet and natural a way that it broke down
the last barrier of pride and left me humbly at the foot of the cross,
marvelling at God’s goodness!"

Carolina drew Rosemary’s face down to hers and laid her cheek against
it.

There was a long silence between them.  Then Carolina said, fearfully:

"My hip is broken.  Can that be cured?"

"God can do anything."

"So that I needn’t use crutches?"

"Most certainly.  You won’t even limp.  You will be made perfectly
whole!"

"Just as I was before?"

"Just as you were before--except these bonds."

Carolina thought a moment.

"But what do I want to get well for?  I have lost Guildford!"

"Nothing can be lost in Truth!"

Rosemary felt her two hands grasped firmly, and without thinking
Carolina raised herself to a sitting posture in bed without pain.

"Do you mean to tell me that there is the--that Christian Science
teaches that there is any remote possibility of my getting Guildford
back?"

"Guildford belongs to you, and has never been lost.  It is only error
which makes such a law for you.  Truth emancipates everybody and
everything."

"I don’t believe it!" said Carolina.  "I can’t! It’s too good to be
true!  I don’t understand it!"

"You do understand it!" said Rosemary.

"What makes you think so?"

"Because you are sitting up in bed, and you raised yourself without
pain.  That is because, for a moment, your soul accepted God as Love and
the source of all supply.  Unconsciously your mind looked into His mind,
and you saw the truth."

"I believe that I could get up!" said Carolina, in a sort of ecstasy.

"I know that you can!  Give me your hand."

Rosemary helped Carolina to dress, and in half an hour Carolina was
sitting, for the first time in months, in a chair by the window, with
Rosemary reading and marking for her the passages in "Science and
Health" which bore immediately upon her case.  Carolina’s mind opened
under it like a flower.

"Oh, I need so much teaching!" cried Carolina. "Who will help me?"

"Did you know that my mother is a practitioner and holds classes?" asked
Rosemary.

Carolina almost felt her new-found rock melting beneath her feet at this
intelligence.

"No, I did not.  Will she take me?  And will you help?"

"We will both do all we can for you with the greatest joy."

When Rosemary left, Kate came in and Carolina explained everything to
her.

Kate called Noel St. Quentin by telephone and told him that Carolina had
gone insane.

The next morning Carolina awakened with the happy consciousness that
something pleasant had happened.  Hitherto she had gone to sleep, glad
of the respite of a few hours of unconsciousness. Simply not to
know--simply not to be awake and to realize her load of pain and
disappointment, had been her prayer.  With her definite aim in life
swept away, she felt rudderless, forlorn, despairing.

But suddenly everything was changed.  Her weakness vanished as if by
magic.  Instead of dreading to open her eyes and clarify her brain for
thought her mind leaped to a lucid clearness without effort.  The glow
of happiness which pervaded her she could liken to nothing so much as
the awakening in her hated school-days to the knowledge that to-day was
Saturday!

And what had brought her healing?  Only a few hours’ talk from Rosemary
Goddard which seemed to untangle all the knots of her existence and to
wipe the mists from the window-panes, out of which she had been vainly
trying to get a clear view of her life, its reason for being, and its
duties.  Always the question with Carolina had been "To what end?"  And
all the answers had been vague and unsatisfactory, until suddenly she
had stumbled by reason of her infirmity upon one who could answer her
vehement questions clearly and lucidly.

Emerson must have been largely of the thought when he wrote: "Put fear
under thy feet!"  Carolina, with her sensitive, mystic nature had been,
in common with all imaginative persons, literally a slave to her fear.
What could it mean, this sudden freedom, except that she had found the
only true way out of bondage?

With a little assistance, she was able to dress herself and sit in a
chair to wait for the promised visit of Rosemary’s mother.

She had known of Mrs. Goddard for years, although she seldom appeared in
public.  No one spoke the name of her malady, but everyone knew of her
intense suffering and of the days she spent unconscious from the effects
of quieting drugs.  Secretly every one expected to hear at any time of
Mrs. Goddard’s madness or death, and Carolina had heard no news of her
except what Rosemary had said until Mrs. Goddard was announced and found
her, dressed and sitting up to meet her guest, with outstretched hand
and happy, smiling face.  As usual Carolina’s expressive countenance
betrayed her.

"No wonder you look surprised, my dear," said Mrs. Goddard, kissing the
girl on the cheek with warmth.  "Rosemary evidently did not have time
yesterday to tell you what brought us both into Science.  I was cured of
cancer in its worst form.  Did you never know?"

"I knew you were very, very ill and suffered horribly," said Carolina,
"but--"

"I know.  My friends were very kind.  They never gave it a name.  But
that was it."

"Oh, how wonderful!" cried Carolina, with shining eyes.

"Not half as wonderful as what it did for me mentally," said Mrs.
Goddard.  "I used to feel that I had brought my malady on myself by my
way of life.  I was the gayest of the gay in my youth, and in middle
life I found that stimulants had such a hold on me that I was not myself
unless I was drugged.  I ran the gauntlet of those until I came to
morphine.  There I stayed, and whether the morphine came of the cancer
or the cancer of the morphine I never knew.  But the horror of my life I
can readily recall.  It came to a point when the best physicians and
surgeons in New York said that there must be an operation and frankly
added that no one could tell whether I would come out of it or not.
Pleasant, wasn’t it?"

Carolina only clasped her hands together, and Mrs. Goddard proceeded:

"Then Rosemary heard of Christian Science, and without saying a word to
me, she looked up the names of one or two practitioners and called. The
first one she did not care for and came away discouraged.  But something
told her to try again, and her second attempt led her to the door of the
angel of healing who, under God, worked this cure, Mrs. Seixas.
Rosemary had not talked with her ten minutes before she knew that she
had been led aright.  She wanted Mrs. Seixas to get into the brougham
and come at once, but according to Science practice she insisted upon
Rosemary’s coming home and getting my consent.

"You can imagine that I was not slow to accept the hope it offered, and
that same afternoon I had my first treatment.  Carolina, inside of an
hour the pain all left me!  Child, you have suffered, so you know, you
can fathom as many cannot, what that means!  I promised when the pain
returned to call her by telephone, instead of taking the morphine, but
it never did come back!  She gave me treatments from her office every
hour for the rest of the day and came back after dinner that night and
gave me another.  That was three years ago.  To-day I am a well woman.
I eat whatever I please and not once has the old craving for stimulants
attacked me.  I am a free woman and a very happy one!"

"Oh, Mrs. Goddard," cried Carolina, "thank you so much for telling me.
It helps me to know that I am being cured!"

"That you are cured."

"Yes, I must believe that."

"Pardon me--not so much believe it, as you must understand it and
understand why it is so. Every orthodox Christian is ready to state
glibly that God is All, but they never act as if they believed it and
that is the chief difference between members of churches and Christian
Scientists."

"Why does every one hate Christian Science so before they understand
it?"

"Christian Science is like a large crystal bowl full of the pure water
of life.  Left alone it simply sparkles in the sunlight of God’s smile.
But if you bring to it the alkali of ignorance and the acid of
prejudice, this clear water becomes the vehicle of a most energetic
boiling and fizzing.  But when it has assimilated the two foreign
ingredients the residue sinks to the bottom harmlessly, the water
clarifies itself by its reflected power, and the crystal bowl resumes
its placid, sparkling aspect."

"I understand," said Carolina, "that I must have caused that commotion
rather often, for I used to hate Christian Science so vigorously and I
hated Mrs. Eddy so intensely that I used to rejoice at every adverse
criticism of her or her work, and I used to go to the trouble (when I
never would have bothered to make a scrap-book) of cutting things out of
the papers, and mailing them to my friends.  I deliberately put myself
out in order to hate it more adequately!"

"I know," said Mrs. Goddard.  "Isn’t it strange, when you look back on
it in the light of your new understanding and your healing?"

"Ye-es," said Carolina, dubiously, "but to be quite truthful, I am
afraid I am not cured of all my prejudice yet!"

"Let it go," said Mrs. Goddard.  "It will pass of itself.  Don’t fret
about it.  Now tell me about yourself.  You know we do not dwell upon
our ailments, mental or physical, but if you state them to me, as your
physician I can work more intelligently."

"Oh," sighed Carolina, "what is there not the matter with me!  Where
shall I begin?"

"Let it console you to know in advance that there is a remedy in Divine
Science for everything. ’Not a sparrow falleth’--you remember!  The
table of comfort for every woe is spread before you in the presence of
your enemies.  Fear neither them nor to partake freely of God’s gifts.
The more eagerly you come and the more you partake of the feast Divine
Love spreads, the more generously God will pour out His blessings upon
you."

Thus encouraged Carolina told her suspicions of the fate of Guildford
and of Colonel Yancey, without, however, mentioning him by name, until,
led on by Mrs. Goddard’s sympathetic manner, she threw her whole soul
into the recital of her own and Mrs. Winchester’s loss, and of how she
had hoped to restore Guildford.

Occasionally Mrs. Goddard interrupted her to ask a pertinent question.
It gave Carolina a feeling of comfort to realize her new friend’s
mentality. Carolina, was so accustomed to knowing people of capacity and
brilliant intelligence that her mind reached after such naturally.

"Guildford is not lost to you," said Mrs. Goddard, just as Rosemary had.

"It will be restored to you, and you will be able to make good Mrs.
Winchester’s loss.  You must have harmony in your life.  That is your
right--your God-bestowed right.  You are an heir of God’s boundless
affluence.  It is a crime for one of God’s little ones to be poor, or
neglected, or sick, or forsaken.  Not to believe this is to doubt His
promises, which are sure, and to limit His power, which is limitless.

"We do not know the way, nor must we make laws nor dictate means.  But
God is even now preparing the broad highway which shall lead your feet
straight to the gates of Guildford.  Let Him find you humble, grateful,
and ready for the blessing.  Don’t fret.  Don’t worry.  Don’t be
anxious.  ’Be still, and know that I am God!’"

For her only reply Carolina bowed her face upon her hands, and burst
into an uncontrollable fit of weeping.

Mrs. Goddard made no effort to check or comfort her, except by thought.
When she had finished, Mrs. Goddard nodded her head, saying:

"That did you good.  Now for your physical self!  Was the hip broken?"

"Yes, and set by six of the best surgeons in New York.  Doctor Colfax is
the most hopeful, but even he says that if ever I grow strong enough to
leave off crutches, I shall limp all my life."

Mrs. Goddard smiled.

"Doctor Colfax is one of the best men I ever knew.  His left hand knows
not what his right hand does in the way of charity, and his whole life,
instead of being devoted to amassing a fortune, is given up to the
healing of mankind."

"Why, I thought Scientists did not like doctors!" cried Carolina.

"We admire their intentions.  Who could fail to?  Among them are some of
the noblest characters I have ever known in any walk of life."

"But," cried Carolina, alarmed by this praise, "you don’t believe that
what he says is true?  Why, Rosemary assured me--"

"And I assure you no less than Rosemary," said Mrs. Goddard, "that God
is able and willing to heal all such as repent of their sins and come to
Him with an humble and contrite heart.  You are the best judge of
whether your heart is right toward your enemies.  Can you bring yourself
to love this man who has defrauded you of your inheritance?  If not, you
have no right to expect God to restore it to you.  Now think this over
while I give you a treatment."

Carolina watched her in so great a surprise that she forgot to think
over her grievance against Colonel Yancey.  Mrs. Goddard leaned her
elbow on the arm of her chair, and pressed the tips of her fingers
lightly against her closed eyes as if in silent prayer.  Her lovely face
framed in large ripples of iron-gray hair, her gown of silvery gray, her
figure still youthful in its curves, her slender, spiritual hands, her
earnest voice, and tender, helpful manner, formed so beautiful an image
in Carolina’s mind, and she longed so ardently to model herself upon the
spirit she represented, that tears welled to her eyes when she
contrasted her own attitude with Mrs. Goddard’s, and when she recalled
herself with a start, to the subject of Colonel Yancey, she found to her
surprise that his importance had so diminished that he had receded into
the background of her thought, and the thing she most ardently desired
was not Guildford, but to put herself right with God, her Father!

At the moment that this thought formulated in her mind, a flood of
divine peace poured over her whole spirit, and for the first time the
pain of her bereavement lessened, and then gently passed into
nothingness.

God her Father!  A God of infinite tenderness and love!  One who loved
her even as her own dear father had loved!  One who was not responsible
for all the evil which had descended upon her!  One who owed her only
love and protection, and a tenderness such as she had received in its
highest earthly form from her father.

In vain Carolina struggled to deify God above her earthly father.  She
had loved him in so large and deep and broad a manner that she could
only realize her new God by comparing Him to her father. And Divine
Science had sent this new interpretation of God to her to take the place
in her sore heart of the ever-present aching sense of her great loss.

When Mrs. Goddard ended her treatment and opened her eyes, she sat for a
moment in silent contemplation of the transfigured face before her.
Carolina’s beauty, as she thus, for the first time, beheld the face of
her Father, was almost unearthly. It was as that of the angels in
heaven.

A wave of generous thanksgiving and rejoicing swept over the soul of her
practitioner, for she knew that she had been permitted to be the
instrument in God’s hands of healing a soul which had been sick unto
death.  Carolina’s bodily healing took second place in her thought, yet
her confidence was sound that that was even now being accomplished.

When Carolina met her eyes, she smiled.  She had found peace.

"Now, dear child, I want to leave with you the ninety-first Psalm.  Read
it with your new thought in mind, and you will realize that you never
have even apprehended it before.  Remember, too, that you are not alone
any more.  You are cradled in Divine Love, for God is both Mother and
Father to His children.  ’The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath
are the everlasting arms!’"

Mrs. Goddard bent and kissed the girl, and Carolina, usually so
reserved, laid her flowerlike face against the older woman’s cheek in a
silence too deep for words.

"Remember, dear, to call on me by day or night exactly as if I were
Doctor Colfax, for I am your physician now.  But deny your error as soon
as it makes its appearance and you won’t need to send for me.  I will
come of my own accord every day and help you in your studies.  Now I
must go. Rosemary and I love you already.  Both Divine and human love
are pouring in upon you in such a manner that you shall not be able to
receive it. Good-bye and God bless you, my dear!"



                              CHAPTER IX.

                           THE TRIAL OF FAITH


To understand Carolina’s complete and instant acceptance of the
doctrines of Christian Science in addition to her healing, it is
necessary to take a more intimate view of her character.

A person of little or no understanding, or of little or no depth, would
naturally have accepted the boon of restored health, whether she ever
went any further in the doctrine or not.  But Carolina was different.
To her the blessing was in a change of thought.  Marvellous as she felt
her healing to be, her greatest gain was in the peace and happiness
which descended upon her like a garment.

To be sure she had been in a desperate plight, both physically and
spiritually, when this wonderful hand was stretched out to her in her
darkness and despair, yet many to whom it reaches out refuse its grasp
simply from a blind prejudice. Having ears, they hear not, nor will they
when they might.  It argues a particularly lovely spirit to be able to
accept so freely and gladly.  Carolina was not free from prejudice.  Far
from it.  But she was not stupid.  Aside from a clear, spiritual
understanding, to be able to accept Christian Science demonstrates no
small degree of mentality, clearness of perception, and a capacity for
higher education.  The Science of Metaphysics does not appeal to fools,
and only wise men pursue it. Christian Science is the only religion
which calls in any dignified way upon a man’s brain.  All the others
stuff one’s intelligence with cotton wool, bidding the questioner not to
question but believe. Believe what his ordinary human intelligence
repudiates.  "If you don’t understand all of me," says popular religion,
"skip what you don’t understand and go on to the next.  If you keep on
long enough you will find something that you can believe without any
trouble.  Let that satisfy you. Forget the rest."

But when a metaphysical interpretation of the Scriptures comes along
saying: "Ask any question you will and I will give you an answer that
will satisfy the best brains and highest order of intelligence among
you, for the day of blind belief is past, and the day of understanding
is at hand," then the highest compliment which can be paid to the
mentality of the most brilliant man and woman, is to say: "They are
Christian Scientists."

There may be--there are, many erratic minds attracted by Christian
Science, but there are no complete and utter fools among its followers,
for the mere fact that a man has sense enough to grope after the very
best, instead of being satisfied with that which never completely
satisfied the mentality of any man or woman of real intelligence, is an
evidence that some degree of wit must be entangled in the meshes of his
foolishness.  While on the other hand it is doubtful if there ever was a
forty-year old sect in the knowledge of man which numbered the multitude
of brilliant minds which are within the annals of Christian Science.

Carolina, all her life, had been, not only surrounded by, but familiar
with the best.  Her father’s and mother’s brilliance and good taste had
drawn around them many of the finest minds in Europe, so that the girl’s
mentality was as ripe for the highest form of religion as it was of
literature or art.

She plunged into the study of it with all the ardour of an enthusiastic
intelligence, and heaved a sigh of relief when she realized that at last
she had found a dignified religion, free from every form of
superstition, from all material symbols, and, above all, one which made
it possible intelligently to obey the command, "Be ready always to give
an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in
you" (1 Peter iii. 15).

Her greatest fear was that she would be unable to curb the hot temper
which mortal mind had made into the law that it was a Lee inheritance.

She particularly dreaded her first interview with Noel St. Quentin,
Kate, and Cousin Lois.  She had yet, also, to face Doctor Colfax.  She
had not seen him since, by Mrs. Goddard’s advice, she wrote him a frank
little note, saying that her healing had been marvellously hastened by
Christian Science, and that she had so much faith in it that she felt
compelled to relinquish all claim on materia medica, but that, in doing
so, she wished to acknowledge most gratefully all that his skill had
accomplished in her case.

It was a hard note to write, for Kate’s assertion, which at first
Carolina had indignantly repudiated, that Doctor Colfax was falling in
love with her, had proved true, and Carolina knew that this dismissal of
him as her physician would indicate that he need expect nothing more of
her in any other capacity, either.

He wrote her a polite but stiff letter of acknowledgment, and soon
afterward went away for a brief vacation.

Carolina realized how much antagonism she had aroused among her own
immediate friends, and she spent many hours consulting Mrs. Goddard how
to conduct herself with tact.

When Mrs. Winchester returned from Boston, Carolina experienced her
first battle with error. She possessed a high spirit, and to see Cousin
Lois sit and look at her in silent despair, with tears rolling unchecked
down her cheeks, irritated Carolina almost to the verge of madness, so
that instead of waving aloft the glorious banner of a new religion,
Carolina found herself longing to box Cousin Lois’s ears.  Anything,
anything to stop those maddening tears!

She could only control herself by a violent effort. Mrs. Winchester,
like Kate Howard, was an ardent churchwoman, and to both these women
Carolina’s acceptance of Christian Science was the greatest blow which
could have fallen on them, short of her eloping with the coachman.  They
felt ashamed, and in no small degree degraded.

"Whatever can you see in it?" demanded Mrs. Winchester, plaintively, one
Sunday morning just after she returned from church.  "Why need you go to
their church?  Why can’t you continue in the church you were baptized
into as a baby?  I don’t care what you believe, just so you go to the
Episcopal church!  It is so respectable to be an Episcopalian!  Oh,
Carolina, as I sat there listening to that sermon to-morrow--oh,
Carolina, how can you laugh when I am so serious!"

"Do forgive me, Cousin Lois, but you couldn’t be any funnier if you said
you had seen something week after next!"

"I am glad to know that a Christian Scientist can laugh," sighed Mrs.
Winchester, whose mild persistency in investing the new thought with
every attribute that she particularly disliked was, to say the least,
diverting.

"Am I improved or not since I began to study with Mrs. Goddard?"
demanded Carolina, with recaptured good humour.

"I don’t see any improvement, my dear.  To me you were always as nearly
perfect as a mortal could be!"

"Dear loyal Cousin Lois!" said Carolina.

She seldom kissed any one, but she kissed Mrs. Winchester, who blushed
with pleasure under the unusual caress.

"Perhaps," she added, cautiously, "you are a trifle more demonstrative,
but I always thought your apparent coldness was aristocratic."

"It wasn’t," said Carolina, decidedly.  "It was because I didn’t care."

"And now?" questioned Mrs. Winchester, wistfully.

"Now," cried Carolina, "I care vitally for everything good!"

"You always did, I think," said Mrs. Winchester. "Even as a child you
always gravitated toward the highest of everything.  You are too
remarkable a girl, Carolina, to throw yourself away at this late day on
a fad which will die a natural death of its own accord."

"May I be there to see when Christian Science dies!" cried Carolina,
brightly.  She felt ashamed that she had ever lost patience with any one
who loved her as idolatrously as Cousin Lois.

"Doctor Colfax--I forgot to tell you that I met him on the train, and
that he asked fifty questions about you that I couldn’t answer--Doctor
Colfax will certainly be nonplussed when he sees you walking with only
that cane.  He told me he never expected to see you walk without two
crutches."

"Then you do give Christian Science credit for that much, do you?" asked
Carolina.

"Oh, yes.  It must have some wonderful power. I simply don’t understand
it, that’s all.  And Carolina, it seems so--excuse me, but so
disreputable!"

"Does it?  I hadn’t thought of it in that light."

"And so unsexing!  Don’t you have women in the pulpit?"

"Yes.  Christian Science recognizes woman as the spiritual equal, if not
the spiritual superior, of man."

"There!" said Mrs. Winchester, triumphantly, as if having scored a point
against the new religion. "Yet woman caused man’s fall!"

"No, she didn’t, Cousin Lois.  Christian Science doesn’t take that
allegory as history."

"Oh, Carolina!  Carolina!  You are indeed in a sad way when you forsake
the faith of your ancestors!  Such disloyalty cannot fail to have a
depressing effect upon your character!"

"On the contrary," said Carolina, "it is as exhilarating to kick down
all one’s old, stale beliefs as a game of football."

At this Mrs. Winchester’s asthma returned. There was nothing left for
her to do, in her state of mind, but to choke or to swoon.

A few evenings later Doctor Colfax telephoned to Kate that he would drop
in for a few minutes after dinner.

"H-he can’t stand it for another minute, Carolina!" cried Kate.  "I am
crazy to see his face when you walk in without your crutches!  C-Carol,
couldn’t you take an extra treatment or so, and come in without even
your c-cane?"

Carolina’s eyes blazed with joy at this unconscious admission on Kate’s
part that she believed even that little in the new faith.

For reply Carolina rose by means of the arms of her chair, and without
any material aid whatsoever took half a dozen steps.

"Oh, Carol!  Carol!" shrieked Kate, bursting into tears.  "Y-you never
even limped!  Oh, it’s l-like the d-days when Christ was on earth to
s-see a m-miracle like that!"

She seized her friend in her arms and almost lifted her from her feet.

"D-do it to-night, Carolina, and we’ll knock their eye out!  I’ll get
the whole family together, a-a-and you j-just walk in like that!  Will
you?"

"Yes, if you will go away and let me work over it this afternoon.  And
don’t tell anybody!"

"Oh, certainly not!  That would spoil the surprise."

"I don’t mean for that reason.  I mean that outsiders’ adverse thought
would hinder my work. Mortal mind makes false laws."

"C-could you just as well t-talk United States when you are heaving your
ideas at me?" pleaded Kate.  "Y-you know I’m not on to the new jargon,
and I fail to connect more than half the time."

As Carolina laughed, Kate nodded her head with great satisfaction.

"I am glad to see that Christian Science has not destroyed your royal
sense of humour," she said.  "Now I’m off to let you w-work!"

But when the door closed behind Kate, a prolonged sense of
discouragement seized Carolina. She looked forward to the evening with
dread. Kate made fun of it, Doctor Colfax was coming purposely to scoff,
and she knew that she was to be made conspicuous because of her
religion.

She tried to walk without her cane, but her knee bent under her and she
fell to the floor.  Her first impulse was to burst into tears, but, as
she lay there alone, too far from the bell to summon help, apparently
without human aid, she fancied she heard the voice of Mrs. Goddard
repeating: "For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee
in all thy ways.  They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash
thy foot against a stone."

She said this over and over to herself, and it comforted her.  Then the
face of Mrs. Goddard came before her mental vision, and the lovely
earnestness of her voice sounded in Carolina’s ear. She remembered her
last words, which now came back to her with strange and timely
significance:

"The way will not always be smooth beneath your feet.  Error in the
guise of fear, selfish or vainglorious thoughts, revenge, self-pity, or
desire to shine before others will sometimes cause you to stumble and
fall.  But at such times, remember to blame, not circumstances nor
others, but your own faulty thought.  Be severe with yourself.  Then
turn your thought instantly to the Source of your supply.  No one can
help you, Carolina, but God, your Father, Divine Love, the All in All of
your existence, your very Reason for being.  Realize that God is all
there is.  Beyond Him there is nothing and nothingness.  Breathe His
spirit.  Drink in His divine power.  Make yourself one with Him, and you
will instantly find that the mists which covered the surface of your
spiritual reflection of His image will disappear, and you will begin to
reflect His government clearly.  At that same moment, you will be healed
of your infirmity."

As she repeated these last few words aloud, a feeling of complete
security took possession of her, and she rose, first to her knees, then
to her feet, and walked confidently to her chair by the window.

In great thankfulness she took her Bible and read the fifth chapter of
Luke, and, when she came to the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth verses,
she read them three times, with a heart full of gratitude.

Still she was not satisfied.  She was groping after a sign, and she read
on until she came to the words, "And when they bring you unto the
synagogues, and unto the magistrates and powers, take ye no thought how
or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say.  For the Holy Ghost
shall teach you in that hour what ye ought to say."

"The Holy Ghost!" thought Carolina.  "I wonder what that really is.
That is one of the things I never could understand in the old thought."

She turned to the Glossary in "Science and Health," and there the first
definition of Holy Ghost was "Divine Science."

"I am answered," she said, with a sigh of complete satisfaction.  "For
the first time in my life I begin to understand the fourteenth chapter
of John."

She leaned her head against the window-pane to watch the postman come
down the street.  Then she heard his whistle, and presently the maid
brought her a letter.  She asked the maid to turn on the electric light,
and, when she had done so and left the room, Carolina read the following
letter:


"LONDON, May 6, 19--

"MY DEAR MISS CAROLINA:--You have rejected my suit so often, when I had
no inducement to offer you except a heart which beats for you alone,
which seems to be no temptation to you, that I shall not pay you the
poor compliment of offering myself to you again when, as you must have
heard, I have become the owner of Guildford.

"But, having heard of your great misfortune and of your change of
religion, and knowing that you love the old home so ardently that its
atmosphere might effect a cure when all else failed, I beg you to accept
Guildford as it stands, as a gift from your father’s old friend,

"WAYNE YANCEY."


Carolina’s first impulse, having read the letter twice, was one of the
cold fury she used to feel when a child, and she turned pale with a rage
which was unspeakable in its violence.

Too well she saw through the malice of the whole affair.  Colonel Yancey
knew that, after her first impact of anger had passed, her next thought
would be to wish she could buy the estate back, and these terms he
intended to make prohibitive. Carolina wondered if he expected to wear
out her patience, and so force her to marry him, or what? She could not
hope to follow with accuracy the tortuous windings of a mind as
intricate as Colonel Yancey’s, and she despaired of ever realizing that
the labyrinth could untwist into the straight and narrow way to which
she was accustomed.  But, so far from crushing her, this letter simply
roused in her the valiant spirit of the Lees.  So far from feeling
downhearted, she began to sing.

But it was not a worldly courage which was sustaining her.  It was the
spirit which had grown out of her afternoon of work.

She deliberately took her cane with her as she went down to dinner,
although she felt that she could walk without it.  She knew that Kate
wanted the surprise to be complete.

With this end in view, she sat at the table until the footman announced
Doctor Colfax, and then she allowed all the others to precede her.

"N-now wait until we have all had time to shake hands, and a-ask him how
he enjoyed himself, and give him a chance to be disappointed or
g-gloating, just as he feels, because y-you aren’t down.  Then y-you
skate in and w-watch him drop!  We’ll have him a Christian Science
practitioner b-before we are done with him!"

Carolina obeyed.

They were all there,--Mr. and Mrs. Howard, Kate, Cousin Lois, Doctor
Colfax, and Noel St. Quentin, and all were under the impression that
Carolina would never be able to walk without some slight support.  So
that, when she walked slowly through the door, taking her steps with
great care, that she might more gloriously reflect the Light, a hush
fell upon them all.  They did not greet her. They rose to their feet and
stood watching her in perfect silence, and it was not until Kate sobbed
in her excitement that the spell was broken.

Noel St. Quentin bit his lips, and Doctor Colfax’s face went from red to
white in an emotion which no one could fathom.  Was he chagrined to see
the woman he loved cured?  Did he grudge her healing at other hands than
his?

They all began to speak at once.  Only Mr. Howard, Kate’s father, sat
back and watched and listened.

Roscoe Howard was a remarkable man in many ways.  He possessed a
critical mind, large wealth, great depth of character, and a sureness
and quickness of perception, which had all contributed to his success in
life.  He was a student, above all, of human nature, and he had insisted
upon Kate’s willing hospitality to her friend, partly from affection to
the daughter of his old friend, Winchester Lee, and partly to see what
effect such an avalanche of misfortunes would have upon the proud spirit
and high-strung nature of Carolina.  When he heard of her embrace of
Christian Science, he became still more interested.  He had once gone in
to sit with her when her arm was bandaged from wounds from her own teeth
in one of her fits of despairing rage.

Therefore, when he learned from his daughter that this was to be the
girl’s first appearance before her old friends, he could imagine the
ordeal it would prove to her, and in his own mind he said: "Carolina
will show us to-night whether she is The Lady or The Tiger!"

At first they all tried to be polite and remember that they were
civilized, but soon that curious unable-to-let-it-alone spirit which
Christian Science invariably stirs in mortal mind began to manifest
itself in hints and covert remarks and side glances and meaning
silences, until Carolina calmly looked them in the eyes and said, in her
gentlest manner: "I am perfectly willing to talk about it."

Kate clutched her mother’s arm.

"I-isn’t Carolina a d-dandy?" she whispered. "Takes every hurdle without
even stopping to measure it with her eye!"

"Well, doctor, since Carolina has given us permission to discuss it,
what have you to say about it?" asked Mrs. Howard.

"I can simply say this," said Doctor Colfax.  "I don’t understand it.
But, then," he added frankly, "I don’t understand the Bible, either."

"Then that is why you don’t understand my cure, doctor," said Carolina,
quietly, "for it is founded on the promises which Christ explicitly made
to His disciples."

"To His disciples,--yes," replied Doctor Colfax, quickly, "but not to
us.  We are not His disciples."

"If you are a thorough Bible student," said Carolina, "please tell me
the exact words of His promise."

"I am not.  You have me there, Miss Lee."

"Well," persisted Carolina, "where did He limit the power He gave, and
which you admit existed at one time, to His disciples?  Did He ever say,
’I will give it to you and to no other?’ or ’I will give it to you
during my lifetime, but after my ascension it will return unto me,
because you will no longer have need of it?’"

"No, I can’t remember any such passages," admitted Doctor Colfax.

"W-well, He never s-said anything of the kind," put in Kate.  "I don’t
know much, but I know that!"

"What did He say, Carolina?" asked St. Quentin. "Do you remember the
exact words?"

"Yes, I do.  In one place He said: ’He that believeth on me, the works
that I do shall he do also.  And greater works than these shall he do
because I go unto my father.’  And at another time He said: ’Heal the
sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils.  Freely ye
have received. Freely give.’  Now when did the time limit to those
commands end?"

"Oh, nonsense, Carolina!" said Mrs. Howard, with the amused toleration
of the already saved. "How can you bring up such absurd speculations?
All those questions have been settled for us by the heads of the
Churches years and years before we were born."

"They were settled, dear Mrs. Howard, for all who choose to accept such
decisions, but how about those of us who have questioned all our lives
and never found an answer which satisfied?  I can remember, as a little
girl in Paris, I used to come home from the convent and ply my father
with this very question: ’Why can’t priests and preachers heal in these
days the way Jesus commanded?’"

"Well, does Mrs. Eddy have the nerve to assert that she rediscovered the
way to perform Christ’s miracles?" asked Doctor Colfax.

"Mrs. Eddy asserts that in 1866 she discovered the Christ Science, or
the power of healing disease as Jesus healed it, by a mental process
which is so simple that to all Christian Scientists Christ’s so-called
miracles are not miracles at all, but as simple and natural as any other
mental phenomenon which has become common by reason of its frequency."

"That sounds like sacrilege," said St. Quentin.

"It sounds like tommy-rot!" said Kate.

"And yet," put in Mr. Howard, "we must all admit that Carolina has been
miraculously healed. Do you not admit that, doctor?"

Doctor Colfax’s face became suffused.  He bit his lip, then said, with
quiet distinctness:

"If I had cut off a man’s leg with my own hands, and Mrs. Eddy, under my
very eyes, caused a new leg to grow in the place of the old one, I would
not believe in her or in anything she taught!"

Expressions of varying emotions swept over the faces of his listeners at
this sincere statement of unbelief,--some were triumphant, some
incredulous, some surprised, and one contemptuous.

"But, doctor, when you see Christian Science enrolling the names of the
most brilliant minds; when you see the loveliest women forsaking a life
of ease and pleasure and becoming practitioners,--Christian Science
doctors just as selfless and single-minded as you--"

"If you are referring to that depraved woman who claims to have cured
you, Miss Lee, that morphine fiend, that drunkard, that reformed
character, I beg that you will not name her as a physician in any sense
of the word.  The medical profession is too noble to be degraded in such
a manner!"

"Oh, doctor," cried Carolina, reproachfully, "if you could only hear the
beautiful way in which she speaks of you!"

"Oh, doctor, aren’t you a little severe?" asked Mrs. Winchester.

Noel St. Quentin smothered an amused laugh.

"Pooh!" cried Kate.  "Why pay any attention to him?  He’s o-only a man,
and men are always wrong!  H-he’s talking through his h-hat, that’s
w-what he’s doing.  He’s jealous."

She was sitting near St. Quentin, and, turning to him under cover of the
conversation, she murmured:

"What are you laughing at behind your hand?"

"I was simply remarking a phenomenon that I have often remarked before,
and that is, that Christian Science seems to possess a peculiar power--"

"Oh, oh! are you going over to the enemy?" asked Kate.

"You didn’t let me finish.  I was going to say that it possesses a
peculiar power of making well-bred people forget what is due a civilized
community.  I have never, I think, heard so much rudeness, such rank
inelegance, such brutal prejudice expressed on any subject which polite
society discusses.  It takes Christian Science every time to make people
absolutely insulting to their best friends."

"Funny, isn’t it?  I don’t mind it so much since Carolina got into it;
she is so honest and so brave about answering it, b-but I used to hate
it so it c-cankered the roof of my mouth j-just to speak the name of
it."

"Another curious thing I have noticed," said St. Quentin, speaking for
Kate’s ear only, "is that those who hate it most violently at first
generally end by adopting it, so look out!"

"You don’t mean it!" cried Kate, in such a horror-stricken voice that
every one heard her. "D-don’t ask me what we are t-talking about,
because it is not f-fit for you to hear," she cried.

"Carolina," said Mr. Howard, tactfully, "please tell us what you have
found in Christian Science. I have always had a great respect for your
intelligence, and I am not prepared to find it befogged in this
instance, or that you have been deceived."

He never forgot the luminous gratitude of her look.

"Thank you, dear Mr. Howard.  Let me see if I can tell you what it is
and what it has done for me.  It is the theory of mind over matter, put
in practice and lived up to.  It teaches us to understand before we are
called upon to believe.  It is the study of Christian metaphysics, or
metaphysics spiritualized.  It takes all the impossible out of the
Scriptures, and makes them understandable, not to a fool, but to the
wise man,--the man capable of understanding a great matter.  Having done
this for the brain, it teaches so absolutely a God of Love, a God who is
both father and mother in the love and yearning tenderness of His
thought toward us, that it eliminates all fear from our lives.  All
fear! Can you take that in at once?  It makes the ninety-first psalm a
personal talk between a father and his dearly loved child.  To me it
sounds just as if daddy were talking to me from the Beyond.  That would
be just his attitude toward me if he possessed God’s power.  And if you
believe it,--if you can once let yourself believe it, it makes this
earth instantly into heaven."

"Yes, yes, I can see that it would," said Mr. Howard.  "But do not
Scientists believe that it also prospers you in a worldly sense?"

"Are you giving Kate everything that heart could wish now, and are you
going to leave her all your money when you die?" asked Carolina.

"That knocked his eye out," murmured Kate, in an aside to St. Quentin,
but he observed that she looked singularly pleased when Carolina scored
a point.

Mr. Howard waved his hand in a slightly deprecatory way.

"Ah, that is just it!" cried Carolina.  "You are thinking, ’Oh, but,
Carolina, I am Kate’s own father, and God is just God!’  Heavenly Father
doesn’t mean a thing to most Christians.  Christian Scientists can’t
shirk their beliefs.  If they do, they are just as they were
before,--pretending or rather trying to believe what they feel that they
ought to believe, but getting no satisfaction and no comfort from it.  A
Scientist who does not put his belief into practice can neither heal his
own body nor others.  So he is literally forced to be honest."

"Well," said St. Quentin, "I can easily see where the supreme and
slightly irritating happiness of Christian Scientists comes in.  I could
be supremely happy myself if I could believe in it."

"So could I," declared Kate.  "A-and I suppose it is sheer envy on my
part, when I see their Cheshire-cat grins, to want to slap their faces
for being happier than I am!"

"But what makes them so happy?" asked Mrs. Winchester, plaintively.
"Why should they be any happier than we are?  We both have the same
Bible, and I flatter myself that I am just as capable of understanding
it as any self-styled priestess of a new religion."

"But _do_ you understand it, Cousin Lois?" asked Carolina, gently.

"I understand all that is good for me, dear child. I understand all that
our Lord wants me to, or He would have made me Mrs. Eddy and made Mrs.
Eddy, Mrs. Winchester.  We are fulfilling God’s will."

"I d-don’t believe that, either," whispered Kate to St. Quentin.  "I--I
have to admit that Carolina’s God is a more consistent Being than Mrs.
Winchester’s."

"But you have not answered my question, Carolina," said Cousin Lois.

"What makes us so happy?  Well, I wonder if I can tell you.  In the
first place, it is the relief of dropping all anxiety.  We don’t have to
worry about a single solitary thing.  We put all responsibility off on
God.  You know it says ’Cast thy burdens on the Lord!’"

"But how can you?" cried Kate.  "I--I’m sure I’d like to, but I c-can’t
get my own consent."

"That’s exactly it.  Well, we do it.  Then, having put all fear out of
our lives, what is there left to make one unhappy?  If you are no longer
afraid of losing your health or your money or of dying or of being
maimed or injured in accidents by land or sea, or of old age or any
misfortune coming to any of your dear ones, so that it leaves you
perfectly free to come and go as you please, to eat at all hours things
which used to produce indigestion, to eat lobster and ice-cream
together, drink strong coffee late at night and drop off to sleep like a
baby, and, if it eliminates all dread of the unseen and the unknowable,
what more is there left to fret about, I’d like to know?"

"How about waking up in the middle of the night to worry about your
debts?" asked St. Quentin.

"The answer to that is that, at first you begin by remembering that as
God is the Source of all supply, if you are consistent, the way will be
opened to pay your debts.  And, after you once master that comforting
fact, it is easy to see that the next thing will be that you won’t wake
up in the night to worry or even to think."

"Carolina!" exclaimed Mrs. Winchester, "do you mean to tell me that you,
who used to lie awake hours and hours every night of your life, can
sleep through till morning?"

"I do, Cousin Lois.  Often actually without turning over.  And with no
bad dreams.  Can you believe me?"

Doctor Colfax rose abruptly, as if he could bear no more, and when, with
a little more leave-taking, St. Quentin had offered to drive Mrs.
Winchester back to Sherman’s in his new motor-car, and the Howards and
Carolina were left alone, Mr. Howard turned to Carolina and said:

"Carol, I have heard a great deal, here and there, about your interest
in Guildford and your wish to restore the place.  Would you mind telling
me your plans?"

"Not in the least, Mr. Howard.  The place has been sold under its
mortgage, as you doubtless know, but it is of no more value to its
present owner than any of the land surrounding it, which is equally
arable.  Its only value to us was because it was our ancestral estate.
It has a water-front, and, having been left intact for over two hundred
years, its timber is enormously valuable.  If I owned it, and had a
little working capital, I could pay off the mortgage and restore the
house with the timber alone."

"Why, how is that, Carolina?  Is it so extensive as all that?"

"It is only about two thousand acres,--a mere handful of land to a
Northern millionaire, who buys land along the Hudson and in the
Catskills and Adirondacks of ten times that amount, but that is a very
decent size for a Southern plantation.  But the value is in the kind of
timber.  It is long-leaf yellow pine, which produces turpentine and
rosin first, by the orchard process, then what is left is suitable for
the lumber men, and the fallen trees and stumps for the new process of
making turpentine. My plan was to sell the turpentine rights to the
orchard people for, say, three years, then sell the timber, and
afterward sell the stumpage and refuse to the patent people, or perhaps
erect a plant myself.  There is a tremendous profit in turpentine and a
constant and ready market."

Mr. Howard sat in a large armchair, with his finger-tips together and
his head bent forward, looking at the girl from under his heavy
eyebrows. He was amazed at her statement of Guildford’s possibilities.
Hitherto he had regarded her unknown plan as probably only a woman’s
sentimental idea, and doubtless wild and impracticable.

"You say that the timber has been untouched for two hundred years?"

"Practically untouched.  We had it examined four years ago, and I have
heard of nothing since."

"Is any of this land suitable for cotton?"

"Yes, for both cotton and rice, and I should raise both.  There is no
reason to my mind why a Southerner should not be as thrifty with every
acre of ground as the Northerner is, nor why every inch should not be
made to yield in America as it does in France."

"Right! right!  And the Southerners will accept such incendiary
sentiments from you, because you are one of them, but, when I ventured
something on the same order, but much more mild, I was called ’a damned
Yankee,’ who wanted to ’make truck-farmers out of gentlemen.’"

"Oh, oh!" laughed Carolina, merrily.  "How like them that sounds!  You
know, dear Mr. Howard, they think we have no gentlemen in the North."

"T-they aren’t far from it," cried Kate.  "There are f-few gentlemen
anywhere in the world, according to m-my definition of one."

"You say Guildford is sold?" said Mr. Howard.

"Yes, Sherman was obliged to mortgage it, but he did so without knowing
how dearly I loved it. Then some one bought the mortgage and foreclosed
it."

"Why, who could have done such a thing? There must have been a motive.
Has coal been discovered on any of the surrounding property?"

"Not that I know of," said Carolina, in a guarded tone.

"Then there must have been some motive in the mind of the purchaser,"
said Mr. Howard, decisively.

Carolina was silent.

"Can you throw any light on the subject, Carol?" he persisted, but his
manner was so kindly that Carolina could not take offence.

Her reticence arose from two causes.  One, her natural wish not to bruit
her private affairs abroad, and the other that Mrs. Goddard had enjoined
strict silence on her.  "Nothing can be lost in Truth," Mrs. Goddard had
said, "nor are the channels of God’s affluence ever clogged, but mortal
mind makes laws which we are obliged to overcome. Therefore, the fewer
people who know about it, the easier our work will be."

However, something in Mr. Howard’s manner led Carolina to suspect that
he was not seeking to be informed out of idle curiosity, and her heart
gave a bound at the thought that perhaps Divine Love might be using him
as a channel.

Noticing her momentary hesitation, he said:

"You need not fear to confide in me, Carol. Perhaps I can be of some
help to you."

Again she hesitated.  She knew that the Howard family knew of Colonel
Yancey’s attentions to her. Still she felt that she must venture.

"The present owner of Guildford is Colonel Yancey," she said, in a low
voice.

"Colonel Yancey!"

"Colonel Yancey!"

"Colonel Yancey!"

And so occupied was each listener with his own thoughts and mental
processes that each regarded that exclamation as an original remark.

Carolina looked from one to the other of them anxiously, in the short
silence which followed.

"I understand," said Mr. Howard, slowly.  "I think--I--understand!"

"And this afternoon," Carolina went on, "I received a most extraordinary
letter from him, dated at London, making me a present of Guildford."

"Making you a p-present of it!" cried Kate. "What g-gigantic impudence!"

"He did it to irritate her into taking some notice of him!" declared
Mrs. Howard.

"H-he did it to show her how h-helpless she is!" cried Kate.  "He knows
she has n-no money.  But I think I see him hanging around until he wears
Carolina out.  That is his g-game!  A n-nice step-m-mother you w-would
make to those two children of his,--and the l-little one a cripple!"

"Children!" cried Carolina, turning white.  "I never knew that there
were any!  He never mentioned them."

"Oh, h-he didn’t want to d-discourage you t-too much," cried Kate.

"And one of them--the little one--a cripple, did you say?"

The eager pity in Carolina’s voice frightened Kate.  She looked at
Carolina in wonder.  The girl was leaning forward in her chair, her lips
parted, her eyes shining, her cheeks blazing.  Kate felt physically sick
as the thought flashed through her mind that perhaps this altruistic
pity might rush her friend into the marriage with Colonel Yancey, which
even Guildford had been unable to do.

"Where is the child?" asked Carolina.

"She is at the Exmoor Hospital.  Her aunt, Sue Yancey, brought here
there last week for an examination.  They are trying to gain Colonel
Yancey’s consent to an operation."

"How do you know all this?" asked Kate’s mother.

"I went there to take some flowers to-day, and I saw this child,--she is
a little beauty,--and I asked Doctor Shourds who she was and he told me.
The trouble is with her ankles.  Her feet are perfectly formed, but they
turn in and she can’t bear her weight upon them, nor walk a step."

"She _can_ walk!" said Carolina, in a low, earnest voice.  "God, in His
Divine Love, never made a crippled baby!"

Something smarted in Mr. Howard’s eyes.  He, was no believer in
Christian Science, but he loved little children, and Carolina’s tone of
deep and quiet conviction wrenched his heart.

"Carol, Carol!" wailed Kate, wringing her nose and mopping her eyes,
with utter disregard of their redness, "you do make me howl so!"

"Carolina," said Mr. Howard, suddenly, "you know that I do not
personally subscribe to the teachings of your new religion, but I am an
observer of human nature, and I know the hall-marks of real
Christianity.  I have seen you to-night keep your temper under trying
circumstances, defend your faith with spirit, and exemplify the command
to love your enemies, and I want to tell you that if there is anything I
can do toward financing a plan to buy Guildford from Colonel Yancey, and
installing you there to pursue your life-work, you can count on me."

Carolina made an attempt to speak, but her eyes swam in tears, and she
buried her face in her arm.

"Oh, daddy! daddy!  D-dear old daddy!" cried Kate, dancing up and down
in her excitement. "I knew y-you were up to something!  Y-you may not
care for C-Christian Science, b-but, when you s-see a good thing, you
know enough to p-push it along!"



                               CHAPTER X.

                             CROSS PURPOSES


"Noel must take me for a f-fool if he thinks I don’t see through him!"
said Kate, angrily, to her own image in the glass.

It was about three months after Mr. Howard had offered to help Carolina
to regain Guildford.

"H-he wants to p-pump me," she went on, adjusting her motor veil.  "I
d-don’t mind trying his automobile, b-but I hate to t-think he takes me
for a s-sucker!"

She rummaged viciously in her top drawer for her goggles.

"I wonder if he th-thinks I don’t know he asked Carol first.  Men are
s-such fools!  But j-just wait! He wants m-me to tell him things.
M-maybe I won’t g-give him a run for his money!"

But, as she ran down the steps and jumped into the powerful new racing
machine, all outward trace of vexation was gone, and St. Quentin was
quite as excusable as most men who believe they can outwit a clever
woman.

Not that St. Quentin was particularly noticeable for his conceit.  He
seemed like the majority of men, who are merely self-absorbed.  Yet in
many respects he was quite different.

For example, he was interested in other things besides his motor-cars.
He read, thought even, and was somewhat interested in other people’s
mental processes,--a thing which Kate quite overlooked in her flash of
jealousy, for Kate had been obliged to admit to herself that, if the
signs spoke truly and Noel were really in love with Carolina, it would
be a melancholy thing for her to face.

"But I’m game!" she often said to herself.  "I won’t give up the fight
until I have to.  Then, if I get left, I won’t howl."

There were several things in Kate’s favour. First, Carolina showed no
symptoms of being in love with Noel, although she must know that she
could have him if she wanted him.  Second, but this thought gave her
almost the same discomfort as if Carolina should fancy St. Quentin,
Carolina was in a fair way to become violently interested in another
man,--Colonel Yancey.

The thought of how this news would stir Noel brought such a colour into
Kate’s cheeks that Noel, turning his eyes for the fraction of a second
from the wheel, said:

"Motoring becomes you, Kate."

"I-it’s more than I can s-say for y-you, then," she answered.  "You look
like a burglar in that mask."

"Now sit tight," said St. Quentin, "I’m going to let her out a little
here."

Noel’s idea of letting her out a little was more than Kate’s nerves
could stand.  She touched Noel’s arm imploringly and he obediently
slowed up. Kate could hardly get her breath.

"Wasn’t that fine?" asked St. Quentin.

"It was s-simply devilish.  I’d rather travel in a wheelbarrow.  It
g-gives you more time for the scenery."

"You are just like Carolina.  She hates racing. She likes to jog along
about like this."

Kate leaned over and looked at the speedometer. They were going at the
rate of thirty miles an hour.

"P-poor Carolina!" said Kate, mockingly. "How old-fashioned we both
are!"

Noel laughed and slowed up a little more.

"There, is that better?" he asked, with the toleration a man shows when
he is fond of a woman.

"Yes, now I can tell the trees from the telegraph-poles. A m-moment ago
I thought the r-road was fenced."

"What is Carolina up to these days?  I haven’t seen her for over a
fortnight," said St. Quentin.

Kate reluctantly admired him for being so honest about it.  Most men
would have tried to come at it from around the corner.  Nevertheless,
she wanted to carry out her original purpose.

"She goes to the hospital every day."

"The hospital?  What for?"

"Oh, haven’t you heard?  Then I have some news for you."

Kate smiled with wicked enjoyment.  Noel was now about to receive a dose
of his own medicine, and she was to administer it.  She viciously hoped
it was in her power to make him as uncomfortable over Colonel Yancey as
he made her about Carolina.

"Well, soon after--why, it was the very night you were at our
house--after you and Doctor Colfax had gone, we still kept on talking,
a-and it came out that Colonel Yancey had never told Carolina that he
had children, whereas he has t-two,--the dearest little
creatures,--b-but the little one, Gladys, is a hopeless cripple."

St. Quentin turned with a start.

"Yes, that’s just the way it struck me.  Of course you g-get the vista.
Carolina instantly investigated her c-case, and she and Mrs. Goddard got
it out of the doctors that there was only about one chance in ten of the
operation being successful, whereas--well, N-Noel, I am not sentimental,
but I thank God I--I am human, and when I s-saw the frightened look in
the b-blue eyes of that l-little child--that b-baby--she’s only
six--when she found out th-they were going to cut her, I c-could have
screamed.  As it w-was, I c-called them criminals and b-burst out
crying, and I b-begged Carol to c-cable Colonel Yancey for p-permission
to try Christian Science."

"You did just right," said St. Quentin.  "It seems to me that the
legitimate and proper place for Christian Science is in a desperate case
like that, when doctors agree that they are practically powerless."

"I--I think so, too.  And especially when time cuts no i-ice,--not like
a fever, you know, which must b-be checked at once.  Well, Carol cabled,
and Colonel Yancey answered in these very words, ’Have no faith, but
must respect your intelligence. Do as you think best.’"

"By Jove!"

"You see?  Oh, Noel, it’s s-such a comfort to t-talk to you.  Y-you’re
so clever.  Most men are f-fools.  But do you s-see the diabolical
flattery of the cablegram?  Do you also see that it puts Carolina in the
p-place of the c-child’s mother?  Oh, when I saw the c-colour come into
her face, as she read that cablegram, and that s-sort of d-dewy
mother-look she s-sometimes gets in her eyes, I--I could have s-slapped
Colonel Yancey’s face for him!"

"I know," said Noel, in a low, strained tone which woke Kate from her
enthusiasm to a sense of her own folly.  Her face flamed.

"Well, I’ll be switched!" she said to herself. "If N-Noel took me for a
s-sucker, he didn’t half state the case."

"Why don’t you go on?" asked St. Quentin. He looked at her flushed face
and quivering lips in surprise.  "Why, I didn’t think she had it in her
to show such feeling!" he said to himself.

"I am the m-more afraid," she went on, looking straight before her,
"b-because Carol doesn’t care for any other m-man, so she is f-free to
fall in l-love with Colonel Yancey, if she wants to.  He is only a
little over forty, is quite the most fascinating man I ever m-met, and
he owns Guildford."

If Kate expected St. Quentin to betray any violent emotion on hearing
these statements, she was doomed to disappointment.  However, she seemed
satisfied at Noel’s utter silence.  A smile quivered at the corners of
her mouth.

"Well?" said St. Quentin at last.

"C-can’t you picture the rest?  Can’t you see Carol and Mrs. Goddard
going there d-day after day, until Mrs. Goddard got permission to move
Gladys to her house?  I b-believe they were to t-take her there this
morning."

"Is there any improvement in the child?" asked St. Quentin.

"A little.  She is old enough to understand and help herself, and she
knows she is g-going to get well, or as she puts it, ’I know that I am
well.’  Her ankles have become flexible and her little feet can b-be put
straight with the hand, b-but, as yet, they don’t stay straight.  S-she
has not gained c-control over them."

"Can she stand at all?"

"J-just barely.  But she s-sinks right down."

"Do you believe she will be cured?"

"I s-suppose you will think I am f-foolish, but I do."

"Not at all, Kate.  I am not sure but that I believe it myself."

"Why, Noel S-St. Quentin!  And you a Roman Catholic!"

"Well, why not?  Wouldn’t I be an acceptable convert if I should decide
to join their ranks?"

"I-indeed you would not!" cried Kate, delighted to be able to administer
a stinging rebuff.  "I have an idea that they would refuse even to
instruct you without a w-written permission from your priest.  Ah, ha!
Can’t you j-just see your confessor g-giving up a l-little white
w-woolly lamb like you?  Y-ye are of more value than many s-sparrows."

St. Quentin accelerated the speed of the machine so suddenly that the
motor seemed to leap into the air.

"Oh, Lord, Noel!  D-don’t do that again!  The m-machine can’t feel it!
N-now if you had struck your horse--"

St. Quentin turned on her savagely, but said nothing.

"T-that’s right, Noel.  D-don’t speak.  There’s a good deal in being a
g-gentleman, after all.  If you h-hadn’t been, you would have said,
’S-shut up, Kate!’"

"If your husband," said St. Quentin, slowly, "ever goes to jail for
wife-beating, I shall bail him out."

"I-it’s strange how men agree with one another," said Kate, pensively.
"M-my cousin has always said that a g-good beating with a bed-slat would
about fit my c-case."

"Bright boy!" said St. Quentin.  "He ought to get on in the world."

"Hadn’t we better turn back, Noel?  I have an engagement at five."

"Do you have to go home to dress, or shall I drop you anywhere?"

"I was just going to see Gladys for half an hour. You may drop me at
Mrs. Goddard’s if you will."

"Will Carolina be there?" asked St. Quentin.

"Yes, I think so.  Do you want to see her?" asked Kate, innocently.

"Well, I’d rather like to see her with the child. Will you let me come
in with you?"

"By all means.  I should be delighted."

"Then I can bring you home afterward."

"Most thoughtful of you," murmured Kate.

"I say, Kate," said St. Quentin, after a pause, "keep your eye open for
a toy shop, will you? One oughtn’t to call on a child without some
little present, ought one?"

"You won’t find one up in this part of the country, such as you want,"
said Kate.  "Let her out a little and we will have time to go down to
Twenty-third Street."

When they came out of the shop, even Kate, extravagant as she was, was
aghast.

"Noel, it’s w-wicked to spend money like that. Why, that child is only a
b-baby.  She can’t appreciate all those hand-made clothes for that doll.
And real lace!  It’s absurd!"

"Kate," said St. Quentin, slowly, "if you were that crippled baby, I’d
have bought you everything in that whole shop!"

A lump came into Kate’s throat so suddenly that it choked her.

When they arrived at Mrs. Goddard’s, there was no need to ask the butler
if the ladies were at home, for, instead of the formal household Mrs.
Goddard used to boast, the house seemed now to have become a home.  Even
the butler looked human, as laughter and childish screams of delight
floated down the hall from the second floor.

"Perkins, what is it?" asked Kate, pausing suddenly.

"Little Miss Gladys finds that she can stand alone, Miss Howard, and we
are so delighted none of the servants can be got to do their work.  They
just stand around and gape at her and clap their hands."

But Perkins himself was smiling as Kate rushed past him up the stairs.

"Here, Perkins, my man," said St. Quentin, "lend a hand with this, will
you, and send a footman out to the motor for the rest of those parcels."

The sight which met the eye was enough to make any one’s heart leap, as
Kate flung open the door and joined the group.

There were Mrs. Goddard, Rosemary, Miss Sue Yancey, Carolina, and the
two children, Emmeline and Gladys.  Gladys was standing in the corner,
partly supporting herself by leaning in the angle of the walls, but
standing, nevertheless, bearing her entire weight upon her slender,
beautiful little feet, which never before had been of any use to her,
nor, in their distorted position, even sightly. Now they were in a
normal position and actually bearing her weight, and so excited was
everybody that no one turned even to give the newcomers a greeting.
Rosemary and Carolina were kneeling on the floor in front of the child,
while Mrs. Goddard was audibly affirming that Gladys could walk. Gladys
alone looked up at Kate and St. Quentin, and smiled a welcome.

"Thee, Katie!" she lisped, "Gladyth can thtand alone!"

"Gladys can walk," affirmed Mrs. Goddard, and, as they saw the child
cautiously begin to remove her hands from the supporting walls and
evidently intend to attempt a step, Kate snatched the huge box from
Noel’s hands, and, hastily unfastening it, silently held up before her a
gorgeously beautiful French doll, in a long baby dress, frilled and
trimmed with cobweb lace, and calculated not only to set a child crazy,
but to turn the heads of the grown-ups, for such a doll is not often
seen.

No one saw it at first.  Then Gladys, looking up for encouragement,
glanced at Kate, and, as her eyes rested on the baby doll, with one
delighted mother-cry of "Baby, baby!" she started forward and fluttered
across the floor, light as any thistle-down, until she clasped the doll
in her arms, and Kate seized her little swaying body to keep her from
falling.

"See what Divine Love has wrought!" exclaimed Mrs. Goddard, in a voice
so filled with gratitude and a reverent exultation that it sounded like
a prayer.

There were tense exclamations, excited laughter which ended in sudden
tears, quivering smiles and murmurs of thanksgiving, until Carolina,
turning to Noel, said:

"Noel, I am sure that doll was your doing," when error again claimed
Kate for its own, for the look of gratitude Noel sent in return.

"Lord, but this Christian Science does make me t-tired," murmured Kate
to herself, as she released Gladys, and the two children, in a fever of
excitement, sat down on the floor to undress the doll.  "F-first we go
up, up, up, and th-then we go down, down, down!  J-just as surely as I
have an up feeling, I g-get it in the neck inside of the next thirty
seconds.  A-at any rate, there’s no m-monotony about it.  It k-keeps you
guessing where it will hit you n-next."

Kate unconsciously made such a wry face as she murmured these words
under her breath that Rosemary leaned over and whispered:

"What’s the matter, Kate?"

"I th-think I’ve got an attack of what you call Error, but it cramps me
most cruel.  Or d-do you think I could have caught cholera infantum from
holding that d-doll baby?"

"Kate, you are so funny!" laughed Rosemary.

"I s-spend a good deal of v-valuable time amusing m-myself," said Kate.
"I sorta have to, in a way.  Everybody else seems o-occupied."

As Kate made this indiscreet remark about error, Rosemary looked back at
the other groups in the room, and surprised Noel looking at Carolina
with an expression in his eyes he gave to no other, and again a spasm of
pain crossed Kate’s face.  At once Rosemary understood, and Kate saw
that she did. Kate’s face flamed.  She pushed Rosemary into the
window-seat, thrust her violently down, and pulled the thick crimson
curtains together, shutting them in.

"It’s n-not so!" she whispered, excitedly.  "I know w-what you think,
b-but it’s not true.  He loves C-Carolina, and in time, no doubt, she’ll
l-love him.  I d-don’t see how she can help it.  I d-don’t care."

"Oh, Kate, that is not true!  I certainly hope Carolina will not fall in
love with him.  He is not suited to her, she doesn’t want him, and he is
suited to you.  You can’t deny it."

"I do d-deny it!" cried Kate, but the look that swept over her face at
Rosemary’s remark belied her words.  "And you are to t-think no more
about it.  And Rosemary Goddard, if you go to t-treating the situation,
as if N-Noel and I were a couple of hunchbacks or yellow fevers or
s-snake-bites, I’ll h-half kill you!  I--I’m no subject for p-prayer,
let me tell you that now."

"Kate, I wouldn’t think of such a thing!" cried Rosemary, biting her
lips.  "Now go on.  There’s Noel calling for you to go home!"

"As if she could mislead me," said Rosemary to herself.  "She wouldn’t
even try if she could have seen her own face when I said, on purpose to
try her, ’There’s Noel calling you to go home.’  Well, bless her dear
heart!  I hope her love-affair will turn out as luckily as mine has, and
without all my misery.  Good-bye, all!"



                              CHAPTER XI.

                      IN WHICH TRUTH HOLDS HER OWN


Perhaps, as a student of human nature, Roscoe Howard rather looked
forward with enjoyment to his encounter with Colonel Yancey in the
matter of the purchase of Guildford.  With the promptness and decision
which gave the fundamental strength to his character, he at once
investigated the whole transaction, beginning with the private history
of the syndicate, which, in his bitterness, Sherman Lee was only too
ready to give him.  He drew from Carolina, by adroit conversations, much
of the story of Colonel Yancey’s connection with the Lee family abroad,
and, to a man with an imagination, he soon was able to formulate, though
by a somewhat elliptical process, a theory concerning Colonel Yancey’s
designs on Carolina, which fitted the case as it stood, but which needed
a personal interview with the colonel to enable Mr. Howard to decide
whether the man was anxious to marry Carolina from love of herself alone
or with the ulterior motive of having discovered some unsuspected source
of wealth on the Guildford estate.

"This man is a very accomplished rascal!" he said to himself, as he
followed the winding clues in the labyrinth of the colonel’s
transactions.  "I feel sure that Sherman’s money is done for.  He will
never get any of that back.  Yet Yancey, rascal as he is, is too shrewd
to put himself in the clutches of the law.  However, he is also clever
enough to be willing to have Sherman think him a fool for failing.  At
the same time, I believe that Yancey has made a fortune.  The question
is, where is it?"

He fell to musing on the man’s extraordinary career.  Serving
governments with honesty for years, waiting, studying, learning, biding
his time until he could make a grand haul without fear of detection,
with his honourable career to throw suspicion off the scent, and finding
his quarry at last in wrecking the orphaned children of his best friend.

It was a curious type of character,--a curious code of honour,--but not
phenomenal.  It simply showed the effect of climate on a man’s
definition of honesty.  Doubtless Colonel Yancey considered the
syndicate of New Yorkers "damned Yankees," and therefore his legitimate
prey.  Did not the carpet-baggers rob the South?  And, as to getting
possession of Guildford, even if only in order to force Carolina to
accept him with it--all’s fair in love and war.  Doubtless Colonel
Yancey was an honourable man in his own eyes, and ready to defend his
honour to the death if necessary. Mr. Howard had spent several years in
the South, and did not underestimate his personal danger in the coming
interview should he impinge on what the colonel was pleased to call his
"honour."  Mr. Howard felt that he must fortify himself with
serpent-wisdom and dove-harmlessness.

For Colonel Yancey was coming home, and Mr. Howard had arranged for a
meeting with him without stating his errand.

He was prepared for a confident, even a dignified, bearing in the
colonel, but let it be said that he had not looked for the jaunty air
with which Colonel Yancey met him when Mr. Howard called at his office
at the time appointed.  Considering that Colonel Yancey must be aware
that Mr. Howard knew of the crookedness of the whole transaction in oil,
his audacity was, to say the least, extraordinary when he rose, held out
his hand to the older man, and said, genially:

"Well, sir, what can I do for you?"

The impertinence of the remark, to say nothing of its bad taste under
the circumstances, for a moment staggered even the Northerner’s good
breeding, and, for one brief breathing spell, Mr. Howard felt impelled
to imperil the whole situation by the trenchant reply:

"Not a damned thing, sir!"

But his self-control came to his rescue, and with it a determination to
master the natural and inevitable irritation which many Northern men
feel at being called upon to transact business with a Southern man, and
which all Southern men feel when doing business with Northern men.  The
whole code is different and all the conditions misunderstood. Nor will
there be harmony until each endeavours to obtain and comprehend the
other’s point of view.

It was only by detaining the conversation upon strictly neutral grounds
for a few moments that Mr. Howard was able to see that the fault lay
largely with himself.  Perhaps Colonel Yancey was unaware that his
visitor knew anything of his private history or was at all interested in
the Lees.  It was only Mr. Howard’s smarting under the real injuries
Colonel Yancey had inflicted on Winchester Lee’s children which caused
him to resent Colonel Yancey’s assumption of the role which he essayed
on all occasions and inevitably with strangers.  At first, he was the
bland, suave, genial, open-hearted Southerner.  But at the first hint of
Mr. Howard’s errand, the openness snapped shut.  The thin lips were
compressed, the crafty eyes narrowed, and Colonel Wayne Yancey, like a
pirate craft, "prepared to repel boarders."

"Now, Mr. Howard," he said, "in broaching the subject of the purchase of
Guildford, may I ask whom you are representing?"

"Why should you imagine that I am representing any one?" inquired Mr.
Howard.  "Why not imagine that I want Guildford for my own use? It is a
good property.  It has a water-front.  It is picturesque.  Why not
suppose that I merely want to acquire a winter home in South Carolina?"

"Then why not look at property just as good, nearer to the town of
Enterprise than Guildford lies, and with a good stone house already on
it? For instance, my sister’s late husband’s place, Whitehall, is for
sale."

"Thank you for mentioning it," said Mr. Howard, "but I especially want
Guildford."

"Then--pardon me for saying so--you must have some ulterior motive for
wanting it, for the place is worth no more than the adjoining property
of Sunnymede or half a dozen other contiguous estates."

"That is exactly the thought which came to me, if you will pardon me for
mentioning it, when I heard that you had bought and foreclosed the
mortgage on Guildford!"

Mr. Howard laid his finger-tips together, with a quiet satisfaction in
thus having trapped his antagonist.  But he little knew Wayne Yancey.

With an assumption of honesty, which fairly took the Northern man’s
breath away, Colonel Yancey looked first out of the window, as if to
consider, and then said:

"You are right, Mr. Howard, and to a man of honour like yourself, I will
tell you the real reason why I bought the mortgage on Guildford, why I
foreclosed it in order to own the place, and why I hope you will drop
the idea of purchasing it, for I tell you frankly at the outset that, if
you press the matter, I shall simply put a prohibitive price upon the
property, and you have no legal recourse by which you can compel me to
part with it.  Please bear this in mind.  And for explanation of this
unalterable decision--here it is.  I love Carolina Lee.  I told her
father so when she was only a girl of sixteen in London.  He gave me his
blessing, and told me he would rather leave her to me than to any other
man in the world.  He was my dearest friend.  I was the unhappy means of
bringing a loss on Sherman, which it shall be my life-work to make good.
If Winchester Lee can hear me in the place where he has gone, he knows
that I mean well by both of his children.  I adore Carolina, but she has
refused to marry me, and, knowing her love for her old home, I obtained
possession of it in order to restore it to her.  If you do not believe
that I mean this, ask her if I did not offer her Guildford as a free
gift."

"You are a clever man, Colonel Yancey, and you knew then, as well as you
know now, that to offer a girl of Carolina’s spirit a valuable gift like
that was to insult the Lee pride.  What did you hope to gain by it?"

"The girl herself!  I confess it without shame, sir.  I would move
heaven and earth in order to have that girl for my wife!  You do not
know Wayne Yancey, Mr. Howard, or you would know that that means more
than appears on the surface."

"I may not know you completely, Colonel Yancey, but I know you well
enough to believe that part of your statement implicitly.  But you will
never win her either by force or by coercion of any kind.  Give her a
free hand and let her come to you of her own accord, or she will not
come at all."

By the expression which flitted across the colonel’s slightly cruel face
at Mr. Howard’s words, he was convinced of one thing, and that was that
the man was honestly and deeply in love with Carolina.  This fact
illuminated the matter somewhat.

"It would be quite true with horses," mused Colonel Yancey.  "And a
blooded horse and a spirited woman have many points in common."

"I freely confess to you that I wish to purchase Guildford in order to
let Carolina go down there and work her will with the place.  The girl
has courage, good business ideas; she is a friend of my daughter’s, and
I am interested in the development of her character.  I would just as
soon leave you to make the same arrangement with her which I propose to
make, if she would consent to have money transactions with you, but she
will not.  For what reason you and she probably know.  I confess that I
do not, but what you have just been good enough to tell me concerning
your feelings toward her would seem to throw light upon the situation.
Now, may I make a suggestion?"

"A thousand, if you will!"

"Thank you.  Now, possibly an outsider may be able to give you a new
point of view.  Suppose you yield to Carolina’s wishes, sell me the
place, and thus give her the opportunity to carry out her dead father’s
plans.  You thus provide her with a cherished life-work.  You know the
Lees.  They are proud and grateful.  To whom would her heart naturally
turn?  To an old married man like me, through her friendship for my
daughter, or to a comparatively young man like yourself, in whose
children she is as vitally interested as she must have been to heal your
baby girl?"

Now Mr. Howard was deliberately playing upon the man’s feelings, but he
was not prepared for the change in Colonel Yancey’s face.

"Did she do that?" he said, in a hoarse voice, "Did she do it?"

"Certainly she did.  Who else?"

"They told me that Mrs. Goddard did it--Sister Sue told me."

"No, it is considered by the Christian Scientists--this new sect which
you may have heard that Carolina has joined--that Gladys is her first
case of healing.  Carolina is Mrs. Goddard’s pupil, and doubtless Mrs.
Goddard helped her,--in the curious way they have, for I overheard
Carolina telephoning Mrs. Goddard to treat her--Carolina--for fear, in
your little daughter’s case.  I believe they heal by confidence in God’s
promises and the theory that mind controls matter.  Wonderful, isn’t
it?"

"Wonderful, indeed, but the  most wonderful part of it to me is that
Miss Carolina was induced to render me this inestimable benefit when
she--well, she used to hate me, to be quite frank.  If you knew the
rebuffs I have taken at her hands!"

"Well, that is one of the results of this new religion of hers.  It is
founded on love, and they are obliged to live it, or they fail to
receive any benefits.  It is a self-acting religion, and is its own
detective.  They regard hatred, for example, as a disease, and naturally
Carolina could not, in their code, be healed herself or heal others as
long as she hated you.  Thus, in healing your little girl, she was
working out her own salvation."

"Mr. Howard," said Colonel Yancey, with his face working painfully, "you
don’t know what it is to have a crippled child.  You don’t know the
agony I have endured, looking at her beautifully formed little body and
into her dear face, with its intelligent eyes, broad brow, and sweet
mouth, and then realizing that all her life she must be helpless, unable
to walk or even to stand, a burden to herself and others.  Her feet, as
perhaps you know, were perfect in shape and form.  They were simply
turned inward.  I have gone through Gethsemane itself wondering when her
tender little heart would learn its first taste of bitterness against
the parents who brought her into the world to suffer so.  And then to
have all this load of grief lifted, to see my baby walk about and play
with her little sister, and frolic as other children do, and suddenly to
learn that I owe it to the woman who is my all in life--I assure you,
sir, it is almost more than my heart can bear.  Take Guildford on your
own terms, sir! It is a small return!"

Mr. Howard held out his hand, and Colonel Yancey grasped it.

"The human heart is a curious thing, Mr. Howard. I was as determined
five minutes ago as ever a man was on earth to let you plead until you
lost your breath, yet I would never part with my hold on Miss Carolina
through owning Guildford.  Now, in the twinkling of an eye, I am ready
to let you have it.  I can’t give it to you quickly enough. What price
are you willing to pay?"

"Suppose we say the face of the mortgage,--just what it cost you?"

"Ten thousand dollars less, if you say so, Mr. Howard."

"No, I prefer to let you show your gratitude to her in some other way.
I will pay what you paid."

"Good!  I will have the deed made out to-day. But lose no time in
telling her that Guildford is hers.  She has won it for herself."

"If I tell her that, do you know what she will say?" asked Mr. Howard.

"No, what?"

"She will give all the credit to her new thought. She told me before I
started that I would be successful.  As she puts it, ’Nothing is ever
lost in Truth.’"

"Then she considers, even though Guildford has been in my power for
several years, that it was never really lost to her?"

"In her new conception of the truth, that is the way she argues."

"By Jove, Mr. Howard, I’m going to join them! I wonder if she would let
me go to church with her next Sunday?"

"I’m sure she would."

But, as he turned away, Mr. Howard shook his head and said to himself:
"Carolina will have to tell him what she told Noel,--of the futility of
attempting to be a Scientist for the sake of the loaves and fishes."

But, indeed, Carolina had not only believed it, but, with her Bible and
"Science and Health" on her knees, during the hour of the interview she
had made her demonstration, so that she knew it without words.  She felt
it by the uplift in her own heart and the nearness of her own soul to
the Infinite, so that, when Mr. Howard appeared with a beaming face to
tell her, the radiance on Carolina’s admonished him that she knew
already.

"But you don’t know all, young lady!  After I had left his office, the
colonel came post-haste after me to say that his sister and the children
are to leave to-morrow for Whitehall, his brother-in-law’s estate, which
lies some twelve miles from Guildford, but northeast from Enterprise,
the little station, where you leave the railroad, and Miss Yancey is
going to call on you and Mrs. Winchester this evening, to invite you to
make Whitehall your headquarters until you can establish yourself
elsewhere."

"Oh, how kind of them!" said Carolina.

"Then y-you will accept?" demanded Kate, in old-thought surprise.

"Why, what could possibly be better?" asked Carolina, in new-thought
simplicity and gratitude.

"T-ten to one on Colonel Yancey!" murmured Kate in her father’s ear as
they turned away.

"W-was it a d-difficult job, d-daddy?" she asked, tucking her arm into
his.

"Kate, child, it was an absolute triumph for Carolina’s new religion.  I
deserve no credit.  The man set his jaws and looked as hard as nails,
until I mentioned that Carolina had healed his baby. He had been
carefully led--probably by Carolina’s instructions--to believe that Mrs.
Goddard did it--"

"Y-yes, Miss Yancey believes it, too."

"Well, they forgot to coach me, so I told him it was Carolina.  My dear,
_voilà tout_!"

"C-Christian Science p-plays ball every time, doesn’t it?" observed
Kate, thoughtfully.



                              CHAPTER XII.

                               WHITEHALL


"Well," said Mrs. Winchester, looking out of the car-window as the train
approached Enterprise, "if any man had told me that two years from the
day we left Bombay I should find myself going back to Guildford to live,
I should have said he was a thousand dollars from the truth.  What are
you laughing at, Carolina?"

"And if any man had told me that I could ever have brought myself to
accept an invitation from Miss Sue Yancey to visit them at Whitehall
until we could establish ourselves comfortably, when I used to dislike
her brother so much, I should have said the same," said Carolina, "but
love works many miracles in the human heart."

Mrs. Winchester looked sharply at the young girl, but Carolina’s
expression was so innocent Cousin Lois decided that she was not
referring to Colonel Yancey.  Then, with one of her rare caresses, which
Mrs. Winchester prized above gold, Carolina laid her hand on Mrs.
Winchester’s arm and said:

"And, dear Cousin Lois, no mother could have been sweeter and more
unselfish about the loss of her money than you have been, or more
self-sacrificing to come down here with me."

"Nonsense, my dear!" said Mrs. Winchester, colouring like a girl of
eighteen.  Her blush was still beautiful and was her only comfort,
except her waist-line.  "You know that I love to be where you are.  In
fact, Carolina, if you knew how I suffered, actually suffered, child,
last winter in Boston, when I was separated from you, you would believe
me when I say that I cannot live without you.  I must be with you.  You
are all I have in the world,--and the money,--what is money good for
except to buy things with?  Haven’t I everything I want?"

Carolina listened with a beating heart.

"Yet, you are even going to have the money back!" she said, with another
pressure of Cousin Lois’s hand.

"Yes, I really believe I am.  That new religion of yours seems to be a
sort of magic carpet, to take you anywhere you want to go and to get you
everything you want to have."

"It brings perfect harmony into your life," said Carolina.

"Well, harmony is heaven!" said Mrs. Winchester, emphatically.

"Oh, what bliss to be coming home!" breathed Carolina, fervently.  "I
wonder if any shipwrecked sailor or prodigal son or homesick child ever
yearned as cruelly for his father’s house as I yearn for my first sight
of Guildford!"

Mrs. Winchester turned, a little frightened at the passion in the girl’s
tone.  She felt that Carolina was unconsciously preparing herself for a
bitter disappointment.

"How dear those little darkies are!" she cried. "But, oh, did you see
what that woman did?  She knocked that little boy sprawling!  She
knocked that child down!  Did you ever hear of such cruelty? Do you
suppose she could possibly have been his own mother, Cousin Lois?"

"Sit down, Carolina, and don’t get so excited. Of course she was his
mother.  That’s the way coloured women do.  It saves talking,--which
seems to do no good.  I’ve seen old Aunt ’Polyte, in your father’s time
at Guildford, come creeping around the corner of her cabin to see if her
children were obeying her, and, if she found that they were not, I’ve
seen her knock all ten of them down,--some fully six feet away.  And
such yells!"

"Did grandfather allow it?" demanded Carolina, with blazing eyes.

"I can fairly see him now, sitting his horse Splendour, draw rein and
shake with silent laughter, till he had to take his pipe out of his
mouth.  It was too common a sight to make a fuss about. Besides, they
needed it.  Of all the mischievous, obstinate, thick-headed little
donkeys you ever saw, commend me to a raft of black children,--Aunt
’Polyte’s in particular.  Coloured women are nearly always inhuman on
the surface to their own children."

"Wasn’t Aunt ’Polyte my father’s black mammy? Wasn’t she kind to the
white children in her charge?"

"Ah, that was a different matter.  Kind?  ’Polyte would have let all her
own children die to save your father one ache.  I remember when her
children got the measles, she locked them all in the cabin, and sent her
sister to feed them at night, while she stayed in the big house and kept
her white children from contagion.  Fortunately, none of her own died,
but, if they had, it wouldn’t have changed her idea of her duty."

"What was there queer about Aunt ’Polyte?  I remember that daddy told me
once, but I have forgotten."

"She had one blue eye and one biack one, and not one of her children
inherited her peculiarity except her youngest child,--a boy,--born when
she was what would be called an old woman.  I know she thought it was a
bad omen to have a child after she was fifty, and, when she saw his blue
eye, she said he was marked for bad luck."

"Oh, how dreadful!" cried Carolina.  "Cousin Lois, you know enough about
Christian Science to know that she made a law for that child which may
have ruined him for life."

"Yes, I suppose she did.  But, Carolina, dear, don’t get your hopes of
the South up too high.  I am afraid it won’t come up to your
expectations."

Carolina smiled, sighed, and shook her head.

"I can’t modify my anticipations, Cousin Lois. Don’t try to help me.  If
I am to be disillusioned, let it come with an awful bump.  Nothing short
of being knocked down with a broadside like that little negro boy can do
my case any good.  I’m hopeless."

"I believe you are.  Well, we shall see.  We must be nearly there.  The
last time the train stopped,--was it to shoo a cow off the track or to
repair the telegraph wires?--the conductor said we were only five hours
late.  But that was six hours ago.  I wonder what we are stopping at
this little shed for?  Oh, hurry, Carolina!  He is calling Enterprise
and beckoning to us."

"No hurry, ma’am," said the conductor.  "The train will wait until you
all get off in comfort, or I’ll shoot the engineer with my own hand!"

Carolina stepped from the train to the platform and looked around.  Then
she bit her lip until it bled.  Cousin Lois was counting the
hand-luggage and purposely refrained from looking at her.

There was a platform baking in the torrid heat of a September afternoon.
From a shed at one end came the clicking of a telegraph instrument.
That, then, must be the station.  Six or eight negro boys and men, who
had been asleep in the shade of a dusty palmetto, roused up at the
arrival of the train and came lazily forward to see what was going on.
There were some dogs who did not take even that amount of trouble.  A
wide street with six inches of dust led straight away from the station
platform.  There was a blacksmith shop on one side and a row of huts on
the other.  Farther along, Carolina could see the word "Hotel" in front
of a one-story cottage.  The town fairly quivered with the heat.

"Was you-all expectin’ any one to meet you?" inquired the conductor.

"Why, yes," answered Mrs. Winchester.  "Miss Yancey said she would send
for us."

"Miss Yancey?  Miss Sue or Miss Sallie Yancey?  Fat lady with snappin’
brown eyes?"

"Yes, that describes her."

"The one that’s just been to New York with the colonel’s children?"

"Yes."

"Oh, well, that’s Miss Sue.  She’ll send all right, but likely’s not
you’ve got to wait awn her.  She’s so fat she can’t move fast.  Have you
ever heard how the colonel’s little girl was kyored?  She went to one of
these here spiritualists and was kyored in a trance, they tell me."

"Ah, is that what they say?" said Mrs. Winchester, in a tone of deep
vexation.  She felt insulted to think of so dignified a belief as
Christian Science being confounded with such a thing as spiritualism.
But she realized the absurdity of entering into a defence of a new
religion with the conductor of a waiting train.  She had, however,
forgotten what Southern railroads are like.

"Yes’m.  They say a lady done it.  Jest waved her hands over the child,
and Gladys hopped up and began to shout and sing and pray!"

"My good man," said Mrs. Winchester, "do start your train up.  You are
seven hours late as it is!"

"What’s your hurry, ma’am?  Everybody expects this train to be late.  I
can’t go till my wife’s niece comes along.  She wants to go on this
train, and I reckon I know better than to leave her.  She’s got a tongue
sharper’n Miss Sue Yancey’s."

Mrs. Winchester turned her majestic bulk on the conductor, intending to
annihilate him with a glance, but he shifted his quid of tobacco to the
other cheek, spat neatly at a passing dog, lifted one foot to a
resting-place on Carolina’s steamer-trunk, and continued, pleasantly:

"Now, that there dust comin’ up the road means business for these parts.
I’d be willin’ to bet a pretty that that is either Moultrie La Grange or
Miss Sue Yancey.  But whoever it is, they are sho in a hurry."

Carolina stood looking at the cloud of dust also. Most of the passengers
on the waiting train, with their heads out of the car-windows, were
doing the same.  It seemed to be the only energetic and disturbing
element in an otherwise peaceful landscape, and only one or two
passengers, who were obviously from the North and therefore impatient by
inheritance, objected in the least to this enforced period of rest.

"And from here, I’d as soon say it was Moultrie as Miss Sue.  They both
kick up a heap of dust in one way or another, on’y Moultrie, he don’t
raise no dust talking.  If it _is_ Moultrie, he’ll be mighty sore at
bein’ away when the train come in, on’y I reckon he didn’t look for her
so soon.  We was thirteen hours late yestiddy."

How much longer the train would have waited, no one with safety can say,
had not the cloud of dust resolved itself into a two-seated vehicle, in
which sat two ladies, both clad in gray linen dusters, which completely
concealed their identity.  One of the dusters proved to be the
conductor’s niece, who took the time to be introduced to Mrs. Winchester
and Carolina by the other duster, which turned out to be Miss Sue
Yancey.  When the conductor’s niece had fully examined every item of
Carolina’s costume with a frank gaze of inventory, she stepped into the
station to claim her luggage, and then, after bidding everybody good-bye
all over again, she got into the train, put her head out of the window,
called out messages to be given to each of her family, and, after a few
moments more of monotonous bell-ringing by the engineer, in order to
give everybody plenty of notice that the train was going to start, it
creaked forward and bumped along on its deliberate journey farther
south.

Carolina took an agonized notice of all this.  If it had been anywhere
else in the world, she could have been amused; she would have listened
in delight to the garrulous conductor, and would have laughed at the
crawling train.  But here at Enterprise,--that dear town which was
nearest to the old estate of Guildford,--why, it was like being asked to
laugh at the drunken antics of a man whom you recognized as your own
brother!

She listened to Miss Yancey’s apologies for being late with a stiff
smile on her lips.  She must have answered direct questions, if any were
asked, because no breaks in the conversation occurred and no one looked
questioningly at her, but she had no recollection of anything except the
jolting of the springless carriage and the clouds of dust which rolled
in suffocating clouds from beneath the horses’ shuffling feet.

They drove about four miles, and then turned in at what was once a gate.
It was now two rotting pillars.  The road was rough and overgrown on
each side with underbrush.  The house before which they stopped had been
a fine old colonial mansion. Now the stone steps were so broken that
Miss Yancey politely warned her guests with a gay:

"And _do_ don’t break your neck on those old stones, Mrs. Winchester.
You see, we of the old South live in a continuous state of decay.  But
we don’t mind it now.  We have gotten used to it.  If you will believe
me, it didn’t even make me jealous to see the prosperity of those
Yankees up North.  I kept saying to myself all the time, ’But _we_ have
got the blood!’"

As they entered the massive hall, cool and dim, the first thing which
struck the eye was a large family tree, framed in black walnut, hanging
on one side of the wall, while on the other was a highly coloured coat
of arms of the Yanceys, also framed and under glass.

Miss Yancey took off her duster and hung it on the hat-rack.

"Now, welcome to Whitehall!  Will you come into the parlour and rest
awhile, or would you like to go to your rooms and lie down before
supper? I want you to feel perfectly at home, and do just as you
please."

"I think we will go to our rooms, please," said Mrs. Winchester, with
one glance into Carolina’s pale, tired face.

"Here, you Jake!  Carry those satchels to Mrs. Winchester’s room, and,
Lily, take these things and go help the ladies.  And mind you let me
know if they want anything."

A few moments afterward, Lily, the negro maid, came hurrying
down-stairs, her eyes rolling.

"Laws, Miss Sue!  Dey wants a bath!  Dey axed me where wuz de bathroom,
en I sez, ’Ev’ry room is a bathroom while y’all is takin’ a bath in it.’
En Miss Sue, Miss Calline, she busted right out laffin’."

"They want a bath?" cried Miss Sue.  "Well, go tell Angeline to heat
some water quick, and you fill this pitcher and take it up to them.  But
mind that you wash it out first,--if you don’t, you’ll hear from
me,--and don’t be all day about it. Now, see if you can hurry, Lily."

When the sun went down, the oppressive quality in the heat seemed to
disappear, and when Cousin Lois and Carolina came down in their cool,
thin dresses, they found themselves in the midst of the most delightful
part of a Southern summer day.

Miss Sue was nowhere to be seen, but another lady, as thin as she was
fat, came out of the dimness and introduced herself.

"I am Mrs. Elliott Pringle, ladies, though you will nearly always hear
me called Miss Sallie Yancey.  Sister Sue is out in the garden.  Shall
we join her?  I know she wants you to see her roses."

Carolina’s spirits began to rise.  She felt ashamed of her hasty
disillusionment.  Where was her courage that she should be depressed by
clouds of dust and the lack of a bathroom?

In the early evening, with the shadows lengthening on the grass and the
pitiless sun departed, the ruin everywhere apparent seemed only
picturesque, while the warm, sweet odours from the garden were such as
no Northern garden yields.

There were narrow paths bordered with dusty dwarf-box, with queer-shaped
flower-beds bearing four-o’clocks, touch-me-nots, phlox, azaleas, and
sweet-william.  Then there were beds upon beds of a flower no Northerner
ever sees,--the old-fashioned pink, before gardeners, wiser than their
Maker, attempted to graft it.  In its heavy, double beauty it always
bursts its calyx and falls of its own weight of fragrance, to lie
prostrate on the ground, dying of its own heavy sweetness.  Against a
crumbling wall were tea-roses.  In another spot grew a great pink
cabbage rose, as flat as a plate when in full bloom, with its inner
leaves still so tightly crinkled that its golden heart was never
revealed except by a child’s curious investigating fingers.  And
curiously twisting in and out of the branches of this rose-tree was a
honeysuckle vine. Over one end of the porch climbed a purple clematis.
Over the other a Cherokee rose.  But the great glory of the garden was
over against the southern wall, where roses of every sort bloomed in
riotous profusion.  Evidently they bloomed of their own sweet will, and
with little care, for the garden was almost as neglected as the rest of
the place.

Still it was the first thing which brought back to Carolina "a memory of
something" she "never had seen," as she told Cousin Lois when she went
in, and she made an excuse to go out alone after supper was over and the
three ladies were comfortably seated in rocking-chairs on the front
porch.

"Don’t sit in that chair, Mrs. Winchester," Carolina heard Miss Sallie’s
voice say, as she ran down the steps into the garden.  "That chair has
no seat to it, and the back is broken to this one.  Sit in this chair.
I think it won’t be too damp here to wait for Moultrie."

The girl could smile now, for the witchery of the evening was on the
garden, and its perfume enthralled her senses.  She walked until she got
beyond the sound of voices on the front porch, and, at the head of a set
of shallow terraces, set like grassy steps to lead down to the brook
which babbled through the lower meadow, she sat down to let her mind
take in the sudden change in her life.

She rested her chin on her hands and was quite unaware that, in her thin
blue dress, with frills of yellow lace falling away from the arms above
the elbows, and with her neck rising from the transparent stuff like an
iris on its slender stem, she made anything of a picture, until she
became aware that some one was standing quite still on a lower terrace
and looking at her with so fixed an expression that she turned until her
eyes met his.  Most girls would have started with surprise, but to
Carolina it was no surprise at all to find the stranger of the
Metropolitan Opera and the stranger who had borrowed her brother’s
dog-cart, a part of the enchanted garden, and to feel in her own heart
that he was no stranger to her, nor ever had been, nor ever could be.

They looked at each other for a few moments, the man and the woman, and
the sound of the brook came faintly to their ears.  But the scent of the
garden was all about them and there was no need of speech.

Slowly Carolina smiled, and he reached up his hand to hers and took it
and said:

"You know me?" and she said:

"Yes."

"And I know you," he said, "for I have felt ever since that first night
that you would come."

"That first night?" she breathed.

"At the opera," he said.

Then he drew back strangely and looked around at the garden and frowned,
as if it had been to blame for the words he had spoken when he had not
meant to speak.  But, although Carolina saw the look and the frown, she
only smiled and breathed a great sigh of content and looked at the
garden happily.

Then he turned to her again and said:

"Did you know that you and I are related?"  And he saw with a great lift
of the heart that she turned pale before answering, so to spare her he
went on, hurriedly:

"I have been talking to Mrs. Winchester, and we find that the La Granges
and Lees are kin.  You and I are about twelfth cousins, according to
Miss Sallie Yancey."

"So we are of the same blood," said Carolina, gently.  Then she added:
"I am glad."

"And so am I,--more glad than I can say, for it will give me the
opportunity to be of service to you--in a way I could not--perhaps--if
we were not kin."

Carolina looked at him inquiringly, but he had turned his head away, and
again a frown wrinkled his smooth, brown forehead.  Carolina looked at
him eagerly.  He was a man to fill any woman’s eye,--tall, lean, lithe,
and commanding, with long brown fingers which were closed nervously upon
the brim of his soft black hat.  His nose was straight, his lips
sensitive yet strong, and his eyes had a way of making most women sigh
without ever knowing why.  Moultrie La Grange was said to have "a way
with him" which men never understood, but which women knew, and knew to
their sorrow, for everywhere it was whispered that "Moultrie would never
marry, since--" and here the whispers became nods and half-uttered words
and mysterious signs which South Carolinians understood, but which
mystified Mrs. Winchester, and Carolina did not happen to hear the
subject discussed.

"You have come down here," said Moultrie, "to restore Guildford."

"Yes," said Carolina, seeing that he paused for a reply.

"I wish that I could restore Sunnymede.  Our place joins yours."

"It does?" cried Carolina.  "Then why don’t you?"

He looked at her sharply.  Was she making fun of him?

"You are a rich young lady.  I am a poor man. Can I rebuild Sunnymede
with these?"  He held out two fine, strong, symmetrical hands.

Carolina looked at them appreciatively before she answered.

"I am a poor young woman, but I intend to rebuild Guildford with,
these!"  And she held out beside his two of the prettiest hands and
wrists and arms that Moultrie La Grange had ever seen in his life, and
he at once said so.  And Carolina, instead of being bored, as was her
wont in other days, was so frankly pleased that she blushed, and said to
herself that the reason she believed this man meant what he said was
because she was poor, and he could not possibly be paying court to a
wealth that she had lost.  But the truth of the matter was that she
believed him because she wanted to.  It gave her an exquisite and
unknown pleasure to have this man tell her over and over, as he did,
that her hands were the most beautiful he had ever seen, and Carolina
looked at them in a childish wonder, and as if she had never seen them
before.  And it was not until she had laid them in her lap again, and
they were partly hidden, that she could bring the conversation back to
anything like reason.

"How do you mean?" he questioned.  "You can’t do a thing without money.
And I hear--" he stopped in confusion, and his forehead reddened.

"You know that we have lost ours," supplemented Carolina.  "Well, you
have heard correctly. Every dollar of my fortune is gone!"  Her voice
took on so triumphant a ring that Moultrie looked up at her in surprise.
He did not know that part of her exultation came from the joy it gave
her to be able to proclaim her poverty to this man out of all the world,
and thus put herself on a level with him.

"I have only," she continued, "a little laid by which came from the sale
of my jewels."  Then, as she still saw the questions in his eyes which
he forebore to ask, she added: "Do you want me to tell you about it
all?"

"More than anything in the world," he assured her.  And something in his
tone shook the girl so that she paused a little before she began.

"Well, I suppose you know that when Sherman, my brother, mortgaged
Guildford, Colonel Yancey bought the mortgage and foreclosed it.  That
is how he got possession of Guildford."

"But why?" interrupted the man.  "What in the world did he especially
want Guildford for, when there are a dozen other estates he could have
bought for less money, and some of them with houses already built?"

"I don’t know," said Carolina, so hurriedly that the man turned his eyes
upon her, and, noticing the wave of colour mount to her brow under his
gaze, he looked away and all at once he knew why. Carolina did not see
his hands clench and his teeth come together with a snap, as he thought
of the Colonel Yancey that men knew.

"But Mr. Howard, the father of my dearest friend, persuaded Colonel
Yancey to sell it to him for the face value of the mortgage, so that now
I have no fear of losing it, for Mr. Howard will give me all the time I
want to pay for it."

"But what are you going to pay for it with?" asked the young man.

"Well, if you will go with us when we look over the estate, I can tell
you better than I can now. Do you happen to know anything about this new
process of making turpentine?"

"Of course I do," said La Grange, with a frown. "I suppose that your
brother and his friends have organized a company with Northern capital
to erect a plant which will make everybody rich.  That’s what all
Northerners tell us when they want us to invest.  Money is all Yankees
seem to think about."

"My brother will have nothing to do with the affair at all!" said
Carolina, with some heat. "Guildford is mine, and I’m going to make it
pay for itself."

Moultrie said nothing, but his chin quivered with a desire to laugh, and
Carolina saw it.  Then he turned to her.

"You have never seen the home of your ancestors? How are you going to
have your first view of it?  From the Barnwells’ carryall?"

Carolina’s eyes dilated and she bit her lip.

"How else could I go?" she said, gently.

"If you would allow me," he said, eagerly, "we would go on
horseback,--just you and I,--early, early in the morning.  It would be
the best time. Will you?"

"Oh, will you take me?" cried Carolina.  There was only a look from
Moultrie La Grange’s eyes for an answer.  But Carolina’s flashed and
wavered and dropped before it.

"Did you ever hear of a magnificent horse your grandfather owned, named
Splendour?" he asked, quietly.

"Ah, yes, indeed."

"Well, I own a direct descendant of the sire of that very animal.  Her
name is Scintilla, and my friend, Barney Mazyck, owns Scintilla’s full
sister, a mare named Araby.  I’ll borrow her for you.  Would you like
that?"

"Oh, Mr. La Grange!" breathed Carolina.

"Please _never_ call me that.  Do let me claim kin with you sufficiently
to have you call me ’Moultrie.’"

"And will you call me ’Carolina?’" she asked, shyly.

"We never do that down here with young ladies, unless we are own
cousins.  But I will call you ’Miss Carolina,’ if I may."

"Then you are asking me to take more of a privilege than you will," said
Carolina.

"I want you to take every privilege with me that you can permit
yourself," he said, earnestly.

When Carolina went indoors that night, the first thing she did was to
take two candlesticks, and, holding them at arm’s length above her head,
to study her own face in the great pier-glass which, in its carved
mahogany frame, occupied one corner of her large bedchamber.  Whatever
the picture was which she saw reflected there, it seemed to give her
pleasure, for she coloured and smiled as her eyes met those of the girl
in the mirror.

"I am glad _he_ thinks so!" she whispered to herself, as she turned
away.



                             CHAPTER XIII.

                               GUILDFORD


Carolina never forgot that morning.  She was up at four o’clock, and, by
a previous arrangement with old Aunt Calla, the cook, she had a cup of
coffee at dawn.  Aunt Calla brought it into the dining-room herself.

"’Scuse me, honey, fer waiting awn you myself, but do you reckon I could
’a’ got dat no ’count fool, Lily, to git up en wait awn ennybody at dis
time in de mawnin’?  Not ef she knowed huh soul gwine be saved by doin’
it.  Dese yere chillen ob mine is too fine to wuk lake dere mammy does."

"But how did you manage to wake up so early?" asked Carolina.

"Lawd, honey, I’se done nussed sick chillen tell I sleeps wid one eye
open from habit.  En when I see what a pretty day it gwine turn out, en
when I see dat en de fust five minutes you laid eyes awn him, you done
cotched de beau what half de young ladies in Souf Calliny done set dere
caps for, I says to myself, ’Ole ’ooman, ef you wants to see courtin’ as
is courtin’, you jes’ hump doze ole rheumatiz laigs ob yours, en get dar
’fore dey suspicion it demselves!’  Law, Mis’ Calline, how you is
blushing! Ump! ump!"

"Here, Aunt Calla, take this for your trouble, and go and see if Mr. La
Grange has come," cried Carolina.

"Why, Mis’ Calline, dis yere will buy me a new bunnet!  Thank you,
_ma’am_.  Yas’m, dah he is! I kin tell de way Mist’ Moultrie rides wid
my eyes shut.  He rides lake one ob dese yere centipedes!"

Old Calla made it a point to see the riders mount. The sun was just
coming into view, sending the mists rolling upwards in silvery clouds,
when Carolina stepped out of the door.  Her habit was of a bluish
violet, so dark that it was almost black.  It matched the colour of her
eyes.  Her hair caught the tinge of the sun and held it in its shining
meshes.

Moultrie La Grange was waiting for her at the foot of the steps.

He held the mare Araby by the bridle, and leaned on the saddle of his
own mare, Scintilla, shielding his eyes.

"Good morning,--Moultrie."

"Is that you, Miss Carolina?  The sun, or something blinds me."

Carolina had heard it all many times before. Why, then, this difference?
She pretended to herself that she did not know, but she did know, and
was happy in the knowing.  He was so handsome! She gloried in his looks.
She felt as she had felt when she stood before the Hermes of Praxiteles,
and wondered, if such glorious beauty should ever come to life, how she
could _bear_ it!

Moultrie La Grange was not considered handsome by everybody.  His beauty
was too cold--too aloof--for the multitude to appreciate.  But does the
ordinary tourist go to Olympia?

Carolina had rather dreaded the four miles to Enterprise, if their way
should lie over the dusty highway of yesterday.  But she was not
surprised; in fact, it seemed in keeping with what she had expected of
him when he struck off through the woods, and she found herself, not
only on the most perfect animal she had ever ridden, but in an enchanted
forest.

Moultrie led the way both in conversation and in direction, and Carolina
found herself glad to follow.  His sarcasm, his wit, and the poetry of
his nature were displayed without affectation.  She kept looking at him
eagerly, gladly, and yet expectantly.  What was she waiting for?  He
discussed men but not deeds; amusements but not occupation; designs but
not achievements.  She wondered what he did with his time.  He was
strong, magnetic, gentle, charming.  His voice was melodious. His manner
full of the fineness of the old South.

Yet there was a vague lack in him somewhere.  He just failed to come up
to her ideal of what a man should be.  Wherein lay this intangible lack?

Suddenly they emerged from the woods and struck the highway, and in
another moment they were in Enterprise.

Not a breath of life was anywhere visible. Although it was six o’clock,
not a wreath of smoke curled upward from any chimney.  They rode through
the sleeping town in silence.

"Now here," said Moultrie, "is a very remarkable town.  It is, I may
say, the only town in the world which is completely finished.  Most
towns grow, but not a nail has been driven in Enterprise, to my
knowledge, since I was born.  This town is perfectly satisfactory to its
inhabitants _just as it is_!"

Against her will Carolina laughed.  His tone was irresistible.

"Ought you to make fun of your own--your home town?" she asked.

"My more than that!  Enterprise yields me my bread--sometimes."

Carolina looked at him.  He pointed with his whip at the shed on the
railroad platform.

"I am telegraph operator there six months in the year.  I teach a
country school in winter."

If he had struck her in the face with that same riding-whip, the red
would not have flamed into Carolina’s cheeks with more sudden fury.  She
dug her spurless heel into Araby’s side, and the mare jumped with a
swerve which would have unseated most riders.  Moultrie looked at her in
swift admiration, but she would not look at him.  She struck her horse,
and, with a mighty stride, Araby got the lead and kept it for a mile,
even from Scintilla.  Then the man overtook her and reached out and laid
a hand on Carolina’s bridle hand, and looked deep into her eyes and
said:

"Why did you do that?  Why did you try to escape from me?  Don’t you
know that you _never can_?"

And all the time Carolina’s heart was beating heavily against her side,
and her brain was spinning out the question over and over, over and
over:

"Oh, how can he?  How can he be satisfied with that?  How can he endure
himself!"

It was not the lack of money, it was the lack of ambition in the man at
her side, which stung her pride until it bled.

"Better go West on a cattle ranch," she thought, with bitter passion.
"Better hunt wolves for the government.  Better take the trail with the
Indians than to lie down and rot in such a manner!  And _such_ a man!"

But suddenly a realization came to her of how marked her resentment
would seem to him if he should discover its cause, and she hastened to
play a part.  But he was in no danger of discovering, because he did not
even suspect.  All the young fellows he knew, no matter how aristocratic
their names, were at work for mere pittances at employments no
self-respecting men would tolerate for a moment, because they offered no
hope of betterment or promotion.  Men with the talent to become lawyers,
artists, bankers, and brokers were teaching school for less than Irish
bricklayers get in large cities.  Therefore, it could not be alleged
that they were incapable of earning more or of occupying more dignified
positions.  It was simply the lack of ambition--the inertia of the
South--which they could not shake off.  It is the heritage of the
Southern-born.

Presently Moultrie again pointed with his whip:

"Over yonder is Sunnymede, our place.  Poor old Sunnymede!  Mortgaged to
its eyes, and with all its turpentine and timber gone!  Guildford is
intact.  We just skirt the edge of Sunnymede riding to Guildford.  And
right where you see that tall blasted pine standing by itself is where I
made one of my usual failures.  I’m like the man with the ugly mule, who
always backed.  He said if he could only hitch that mule with his head
to the wagon, he could get there.  So, if my failures were only turned
wrong side out, I’d be wealthy."

Carolina tried to smile.  Moultrie continued:

"Once I thought I’d try to make some money, so I sold some timber to a
Yankee firm who wanted fine cypress, and with the money I constructed a
terrapin crawl.  I knew how expensive terrapin are, and, if there is one
thing I do know about, it is terrapin.  So I canned a few prize-winners,
and sent them to New York, and got word that they would take all I could
send.  Well, with that I began to feel like a Jay Gould.  I could just
see myself drinking champagne and going to the opera every night.  So I
immediately raised some mo’ money in the same way,--out of the
Yankees,--organized a small company, and built a canning factory.  The
lumber company was interested with me and advanced me all the money I
wanted.  So I got the thing well started, and left special word with the
foreman, a cracker named Sharpe, to be sure and not can the claws, then
I went off to New York to enjoy myself.  I stayed until all my money was
gone and then came home, intending to enjoy the wealth my foreman had
built up in my absence. But what do you reckon that fool had done?  Why,
he had turned the work over to the niggers, and they had canned the
terrapin just so,--claws, eyebrows, and all!  Well, of course, the New
York people went back on me,--wrote me the most impudent letters I ever
got from anybody.  It just showed me that Yankees can never hope to be
considered gentlemen.  Why, they acted as if I had cheated them!  Said
they had advertised largely on my samples, and had lost money and credit
by my dishonest trickery.  Just as if _I_ were to blame! Then, of
course, the Yankee lumbermen got mad, too, and foreclosed the mortgage
and liquidated the company, and left me as poor as when I went in. I
believe they even declare that I owe them money.  Did you ever hear of
such a piece of impudence?"

"Never," said Carolina, coolly, "if you mean on your part!  You did
everything that was wrong and nothing that was right.  And the worst of
it is that you are morally blind to your share of the blame."

"Why, Miss Carolina, what do you mean?  I didn’t go to lose their money.
It hit me just as hard as it did them.  I didn’t make a cent."

"But the money that you lost wasn’t yours to lose," cried Carolina,
hotly.

"No, but I didn’t do wrong intentionally.  You can’t blame a man for a
mistake."

"There is such a thing as criminal negligence," said the girl,
deliberately.  "You had no business to trust an affair where your honour
was pledged to an incompetent cracker foreman, and go to New York on the
company’s money, even if you did think you would earn the money to pay
it back.  How do you ever expect to pay it?"

"I don’t expect to pay it at all, and I reckon those Yankees don’t
expect it, either."

"No, I don’t suppose they do," said Carolina, bitterly.

"Well, if they are satisfied to lose it, and have forgotten all about
it, would you bother to pay it back if you were in my place?"

"I would pay it back if I had to pay it out of my life insurance and be
buried in a pine coffin in the potter’s field!  And as to those
Northerners having forgotten it,--don’t you believe it!  They have
simply laid it to what they call the to-be-expected dishonesty of the
South when dealing with the North.  The South calls it ’keeping their
eyes peeled,’ ’being wide-awake,’ ’not being caught napping,’ or catch
phrases of that order.  But the strictly honest business man calls it
dishonest trickery, and mentally considers all Southerners inoculated
with its poison.  Do you know what Southern credit is worth in the
North?"

Moultrie only looked sulky, but Carolina went on, spurred by her own
despair and disillusionment.

"Well, you wouldn’t be proud of it if you did! And just such a tolerant
view of a thoroughly wrong transaction as you have thus divulged is
responsible.  Colonel Yancey was right.  The South is heart-breaking!"

"Do you care so much?" asked Moultrie, softly.

Carolina lifted herself so proudly that the mare danced under her.  She
saw that she had gone too far.  She also felt that error had mocked her.
She had despaired of Moultrie’s blind and false point of view when the
Light of the world was at hand.  Immediately her thought flew upwards.

But with Carolina absorbed in her work, and Moultrie puzzling over the
sudden changes in her behaviour, it could not be said that the remainder
of the ride was proving as pleasant as each had hoped.  However, a
perfect day, a fine animal, and the spirits of youth and enthusiasm are
not to be ignored for long, and presently Carolina began to feel
Guildford in the air.  She looked inquiringly at Moultrie, and he
answered briefly:

"In another mile."  But there was a look in his eyes which made
Carolina’s heart beat, for it was the glance of comprehension which one
soul flings to another in passing,--sometimes never to meet again,
sometimes which leads to mating.

In another five minutes Moultrie raised his arm.

"There!"

Carolina reined in and Araby stood, tossing her slim head, raising her
hoofs, champing her bit, and snuffing at the breeze which came to her
red nostrils, laden with the breath of piny woods and balsam. Moultrie,
sitting at parade rest on Scintilla and watching Carolina catch her
breath almost with a sob, said to himself: "She feels just as that horse
acts."

Carolina could find no words, nor did she dare trust herself.  She was
afraid she would break down.  She lifted her gauntleted hand and the
horses drew together and moved forward.

For more than a mile an avenue as wide as a boulevard led in a straight
line, lined on each side by giant live-oaks.  Ragged, unkempt shrubbery,
the neglect of a lifetime, destroyed the perfectness of the avenue, but
the majesty of those monarchs of trees could not be marred.  The sun was
only about an hour high, and the rays came slantingly across meadows
whose very grasses spoke of fertility and richness.  The glint of the
river occasionally flashed across their vision, and between the
bird-notes, in the absolute stillness, came the whispering of the
distant tide.

At the end of the avenue lay the ruined stones of Guildford.

Carolina sprang down, flung her bridle-rein to Moultrie, and ran
forward.  She would not let him see her eyes.  But she stumbled once,
and by that he knew that she was crying.  They were, however, tears of
joy and thanksgiving.  Guildford!  Her foot was on its precious turf.
These stones had once been her father’s home.  And she was free, young,
strong, and empowered to build it up, a monument to the memory of her
ancestors.  Every word which Mrs. Goddard had prophesied had come true,
and Carolina’s first thought was a repetition of her words:

"See what Divine Love hath wrought!"

When she came back, instead of a tear-stained face, Moultrie saw one of
such radiance that her beauty seemed dazzling.  Where could be found
such tints of colouring, such luminous depths in eyes, such tendrils of
curling hair, such a flash of teeth, such vivid lips, and such a
speaking smile? As he bent to receive her foot in his hand, he trembled
through all his frame, and, as he felt her light spring to her mare’s
back, he would not have been at all surprised to discover that she had
simply floated upward and vanished from his earthly sight to join her
winged kindred.  But, as she gathered up her reins and watched him
mount, it was a very businesslike angel who spoke to him, and one whose
brain, if the truth must be told, was full of turpentine.

"Now, let’s explore," she said.  "I have paid my respects to the shrine
of my forefathers, now let’s see what I have to sell my turpentine
farmers."

"Your what?" asked the man, with the amused smile a man saves for the
pretty woman who talks business.

"I am going to sell the orchard turpentine rights of Guildford to get
money for building," she said, in a matter-of-fact tone.

"And I was thinking of you in a white robe playing a harp!" he said,
with a groan.

"I often wear a white robe, and I play a harp quite commendably,
considering that I have studied it since I was nine years old, but when
I am working, I don’t wear my wings.  They get in my way."

Carolina by instinct rode to an elevation which commanded a view of the
pine forests of Guildford.

"How much do I own?" she asked.

"As far as you can see in that direction.  Over here your property runs
into ours just where you see that broad gap."

"Why don’t you rebuild Sunnymede?"

"No money!" he said, with a shrug.

"You have plenty of fallen timber and acres of stumpage to sell to the
patent turpentine people."

"I don’t know.  I have never heard it discussed. We wouldn’t sell to
Yankees.  We feel that we wouldn’t have come to grief with the terrapin
affair if we had been dealing with Southerners."

"Who are there to discuss?  Who owns it with you?" asked Carolina,
calmly ignoring the absurdity of his remarks.

"My brother and sister--"  He paused abruptly, and then said: "You are
sure to hear it from others, so I will tell you myself.  The La Grange
family skeleton shall be shown to you by no less a hand than my own!  My
brother has made a very--I hardly know what to call it.  It is an
unfortunate marriage, since no one knows who the girl is. When you saw
me in New York, I was hoping to prevent their marriage, but it was too
late.  They had eloped and had been married immediately on arriving in
New York.  As soon as her aunt, with whom she lived, learned that Flower
had eloped with my brother, she sent for me.  She had been a great
invalid, and the excitement had upset her so that when I arrived she
looked as if she had not an hour to live.  She caught me by the arm and
said: ’Flower must not marry a La Grange. She is not my niece nor any
relative of mine.  Her mother was--’ and with that her speech failed.
She struggled as I never saw a being struggle to speak the one word
more,--the one word needful,--and, failing, she fell back against her
pillow--dead!"

Carolina’s face showed her horror.  He felt soothed by her understanding
and went on, in a low, pained voice.

"It ruined my life.  And it has ruined Winfield’s."

"And the girl," said Carolina, in a tense voice, "Flower!"

"It has ruined hers.  They are the most unhappy couple I ever saw.  And
more so since the baby came."

"It will all come right," declared Carolina, straightening herself.
"You will discover that Flower is entitled to a name, and that your
worst fears are incorrect."

"My worst fears--" began Moultrie.  Then he stopped abruptly.  "I cannot
explain them to you," he said.

"I know what you mean.  But remember that I, too, have seen Flower.  I
saw her that day, and I say to you that not one drop of negro blood
flows in that girl’s veins, and your brother’s child is safe."

"You think so?" he exclaimed, moved by the earnestness of her voice and
the calm conviction of her manner.  Then he shook his head.

"It seems too good to be true."

"I can understand," she said, "the terrible strain you are all under,
but, believe me, it will all come out right."

"They think the baby is bewitched,--that he has been voodooed,--if you
know what that means. The negroes declare that an evil spirit can be
seen moving around whatever spot the child inhabits."

"What utter nonsense!" cried Carolina.  "I hope your brother has too
much sense, too much religion, to encourage such a belief."

"My poor brother believes that the devil has marked him for his own."

"Does your brother believe in a devil?" asked Carolina.

"Why, don’t you?" asked Moultrie, in a shocked tone.

"I was not aware that any enlightened person did nowadays," answered
Carolina, with a lift of her chin.

The movement irritated her companion far more than her words, just as
Carolina had intended it to.

There are some subjects which cannot be argued. They must be obliterated
by a contempt which bites into one’s self-love.

The mare saved the situation by a soft whinny. She turned her head
expectantly, and, following her eyes, the riders saw the tall, lithe
figure of a man making his way toward them through the underbrush.
Moultrie gave vent to an exclamation.

"What is it?" asked Carolina.

"Oh, only a bad negro who haunts places where he has no business to.  He
is a perfect wonder with horses, and broke in that mare you are riding,
who will follow him anywhere without a bridle, pushing her nose under
his arm like any dog who thrusts a muzzle into your palm.  He is always
up to something.  From present appearances, I should say that he had
probably been bleeding your trees."

The negro, hearing voices, stopped, glanced in their direction, and
promptly disappeared.  Carolina only had time to notice that he was very
black, but she followed him in thought, mentally denying dishonesty and
declaring that harm could not come to her through error in any form.

She was struck, too, by the manner in which her sensitive, high-bred
mare lifted her pretty head and looked after his retreating form, pawing
the earth impatiently and sending out little snuffling neighs which were
hardly more than bleatings. Surely, if a man had the power to call forth
devoted love from such an animal, there must be much good in him!

"What makes you so quiet?" asked Moultrie, breaking in on her thought.

Carolina looked at him abruptly and decided her course of action.

"You have told me of the skeleton in your closet. Let me be equally
frank and tell you of mine.  I am a Christian Scientist."

"A what?"

"A Christian Scientist!"

"I never heard of one," said the young man, simply.  "What is it?"

For the second time the girl’s face flushed with a vicarious
mortification.

"It is a new form of religion founded on a perfect belief in the life of
Christ and a literal following of His commandments to His disciples,
regardless of time," said Carolina, slowly.

Moultrie allowed a deep silence to follow her words.  Then he drew a
long breath.

"I think I should like that," he said.  "Does it answer all your
questions?"

"All!  Every one of them!" she answered, with the almost too eager
manner of the young believer in Christian Science.  But an eagerness to
impart good news and to relieve apparent distress should be readily
forgiven by a self-loving humanity. Curiously, however, the most blatant
ego is generally affronted by it.

"I was raised a Baptist," he said, reluctantly, "but I reckon I never
was a very good one, for I never got any peace from it."

"My religion gives peace."

"And my prayers were never answered."

"My religion answers prayers."

"Not even when I lifted my heart to God in earnest pleading to spare my
brother the unhappiness I felt sure would follow his marriage.  _How_ I
prayed to be in time to prevent it!  God never heard me!"

"My religion holds the answer to that unanswered prayer."

"Not even when I prayed, lying on the floor all night, for the life of
my father."

"My religion heals the sick."

He turned to her eagerly.

"Do you believe so implicitly in Christ’s teachings that you can
reproduce His miracles?" he cried.

"Christ never performed any miracles.  He healed sickness through the
simplest belief in the world,--or rather an understanding of His
Father’s power.  That same privilege of understanding is open to me--and
to you.  You have the power within you at this very moment to heal any
disease, if you only know where to look for the understanding to show
you how to use it."

"Do you believe that?"

"I do better than believe it.  I understand it.  I know it."

"Is there a book which will tell me how to find it?"

"Yes."

"Will you order it for me, or tell me where to order it?"

"It is a very expensive book," said Carolina, hesitatingly, thinking of
the telegraph-office.

"How expensive?"

"Three dollars."

"Do you call that expensive for what you promise it will do?"

When Carolina looked at him, he saw that she was smiling, but there were
tears in her eyes.  And he understood.

"You only said that to try me."

And she nodded.  Her heart was too full of mingled emotions for her to
speak.  She had loved, despised, been proud of, and mortified for this
man,--all with poignant, pungent vehemence,--during this three-hour
ride, and at the last he had humbled and rebuked her by his childlike
readiness to believe the greatest truth of the ages.  She sat her horse,
biting her lips to keep back the tears.

"Give me just one fact to go on," he begged.

"Do you read your Bible?"

"I used to, till I found I was getting not to believe in it.  Then I
stopped for my dead father’s sake.  He believed in it implicitly."

"Then you have read the fourteenth chapter of John?"

"I got fifty cents when I was twelve years old for learning it by
heart."

"Then run it over in your own mind until you come to the twelfth verse.
When you get to that, say it aloud."

"’Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that
I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because
I go unto my Father.’"

He did not glance her way again, which Carolina noticed with gratitude.
It showed that he was not accepting it for her sake.  Presently he spoke
again.

"Did you yourself ever heal any one?"

"Through my understanding of Divine Love, I healed Gladys Yancey," she
said, quietly.

The man’s face flushed with his earnestness.  He lifted his hat and rode
bareheaded.

"Do you remember what the father of the dumb child said?  ’Lord, I
believe!  Help thou mine unbelief!’"

When they rode in at the gates of Whitehall, Moultrie was astonished at
the radiance of the girl’s countenance.  She seemed transfigured by
love. Moultrie’s ready belief had glorified her, and for the second time
her grateful thought ascended in the words, "See what Divine Love hath
wrought!"



                              CHAPTER XIV.

                                KINFOLK


Carolina took her writing materials out on the back porch.  There was
not a small table in the house whose legs did not wabble, so she propped
the best of them with chips from Aunt Calla’s wood-pile and wrote until
Aunt Calla could stand it no longer.

"Miss Calline, honey," she said, "you writes so fas’ wid yo’ fingahs,
would you min’ ef I brung de aigplant out here to peel it en watch you?
I won’t make no fuss."

"Certainly not, Aunt Calla.  I’d be glad to have you."

"Hum! hum!  You sho have got pretty mannahs, Miss Calline.  Youse got de
mannahs ob de ole ladies of de South.  You don’t see ’em now’days wid de
young ladies.  De young people got de po’est mannahs I ebber did
see,--screechin’ and hollerin’ to each odder ’cross de street, or from
one eend ob de house to de other.  Ole mahster would ’a’ lammed his
chillen ef dey’d cut up sech capers en his time!  But Miss
Peachie,--she’s got de La Grange mannahs.  She’s Mist’ Moultrie’s
sistah.  Dey calls her ’Peachie’ caze she’s got such pretty red in huh
cheeks,--lake yores.  Most ladies down in dese pahts is too white to
suit me. I lakes ’em pinky and pretty."

"Thank you, Aunt Calla!" cried Carolina.  "I wonder if I couldn’t get
Cousin Lois to give you that black grenadine you thought was so pretty
yesterday."

Aunt Calla laid down her knife.

"Miss Calline, is you foolin’ me?"

"No, Calla, I am not."

"Dish yere grenadier dress I mean is lined wid black silk!"

"I know it."

"En you gwine gib dat to me?"

"I am thinking of it."

"Well, glory be!  Ef you does dat, Ise gwine jine de chutch all over
ag’in, en I reckon I’ll jine de Babtis’ dish yere time.  Dey’s mo’ style
to de Babtis’ den to de Meth’diss.  Ise ’bleeged to live up to dat silk
linin’!"

The old woman’s face took on a worried look.

"I don’ keer!" she said aloud.  "I don’ keer! Nemmine, Miss Calline!
You wouldn’ laff so ef you knew what Ise studyin’ ’bout doin’.  Ise been
savin’ my money foh two years now to get a gravestone foh my fou’th
husban’ what done died three yeahs ago.  He baiged me wid his las’
breath to bury him stylish, en I promus him I would.  He was all for
style.  Do you know, Miss Calline, dat man would ’a’ gone hongry rathah
dan turn his meat ovah awn de fiah.  He was de mos’ dudish man I ebber
see.  But I can’t he’p it.  Ise gwine take dat grave-stone money and hab
dat dress made to fit me good en stylish.  En I bet Miss Peachie will
charge me eve’y cent I got to do it!"

"Who?" demanded Carolina.

"Miss Peachie La Grange.  She does all my sewin’ foh me, an’ foh Lily,
too.  Dat’s de way she mek huh money.  Yas, _ma’am_.  Sewin’ foh
niggahs!"

Aunt Calla paused with her mouth open, for Carolina, regardless of what
anybody thought, sprang up, overturning her table, spilling her ink over
Aunt Calla’s clean porch floor, and scattering her papers to the four
winds of heaven.

"Ump!  So dat’s de way de win’ blows!  Well, ef she ain’t a Lee sho
nuff.  She’s got de pride of huh ole gran’dad, en mo’, too.  She looked
at me ez if she’d lake to kill me.  I wondah ef I’ll evah git dat dress
now!"

She sent Lily to reconnoitre.

"Jes’ creep up en see what she’s doin’.  De keyhole in huh room is
busted, en you kin see de whole room thoo it.  Jis’ go en peek.  But ef
you let huh ketch you, she’ll know who sont you, en she’ll be so mad, I
nevah will git dat dress.  Den I’ll bust yo’ yallah face open wid de
i’nin’ boa’d!"

"She ain’t cryin’ nor nothin’!" cried Lily, bursting into the kitchen
twenty minutes later.  "She’s settin’ in huh rockin’-cheer, wid a open
book awn huh lap, en huh eyes is shut en huh lips a-movin’, lake she’s
studyin’."

"T’ank de Lawd!" observed Calla.  "Somehow er odder, Ise gwine git hole
ob a fryin’ chicken foh huh.  You tell Jake I wants tuh see him dis
evenin’. Run, Lily!  See who’s dat drivin’ in outen de big road!"

"Hit’s de La Granges!  De whole kit en bilin’ ob ’em.  Dey’s done
borried de Barnwells’ double ca’y-all."

Fortunately, there were many rocking-chairs at Whitehall, and, although
many of them were war veterans, all were pressed into service the day
the La Granges came to call.  Miss Sue and Miss Sallie Yancey glanced at
each other expressively when they saw that even Flower, Mrs. Winfield La
Grange, was one of the party.  It was the first time that she had ever
been openly recognized by the La Grange family, except in name, and no
one knew that it was by Moultrie’s express wish that Peachie had asked
her to go with them.  Thus, indirectly, Carolina was at the bottom of
it, after all.

Peachie was pretty, but her delicate prettiness was scarcely noticeable
when Carolina was in the room.  Aunt Angie La Grange, Cousin Élise La
Grange, Cousin Rose Manigault, with her little girl Corinne, who had
come to play with Gladys and Emmeline Yancey,--all these insisted on
claiming kin with Mrs. Winchester and Carolina, and, as Aunt Angie and
Cousin Lois had known each other in their girlhood, and had spent much
time at Guildford and Sunnymede, it was easy for them to fall into the
old way of claiming cousinship, even when a slender excuse was called
upon to serve.

The conversation was very gay and kindly, but, under cover of its
universality, Carolina managed to seat herself next to Flower La Grange,
whose pale cheeks and frightened eyes proclaimed how much of a stranger
she was to such scenes.  When Carolina called her "Cousin Flower," the
flush on her face and the look of passionate gratitude in her eyes gave
Carolina ample evidence that any kindness she might choose to bestow
here would be appreciated beyond reason.

At first Flower was constrained and answered in monosyllables, but when
Carolina adroitly mentioned the baby, Flower’s whole manner thawed, and,
in her eagerness, she poured forth a stream of rapturous talk which
caused the others to look at her in a chilling surprise.  But Flower’s
back was toward her haughty relatives, and only Carolina caught the
glances,--Carolina, who calmly ignored them.

"You must come to see my baby!" cried Flower, impulsively.  "He is so
dear!  And so smart! You can’t imagine how hard it is to keep him
asleep. He hears every sound and wants to be up all the time."

"I suppose he notices everything, doesn’t he?"

"No-o, I can’t say that he does.  He likes things that make a noise.  He
doesn’t care much for looks. If you hold a rattle right up before his
eyes, he won’t pay any attention to it.  But, if you shake it, he smiles
and coos and reaches out for it.  Oh, he is a regular boy for noise!"

As Flower said this upon a moment of comparative silence, Carolina
noticed that Aunt Angie grew rather pale and said:

"I haven’t seen your baby for several months, Flower.  May I come to see
him to-morrow?"

"Oh, I should be so glad if you would, Mrs.--"

"Call me mother, child," said the older woman, looking compassionately
at her daughter-in-law.

Flower flushed as delicately as a wild rose, and looked at Carolina, as
if wondering if she had noticed this sudden access of cordiality.  But
to Carolina, a stranger, it seemed perfectly natural, and she rather
hurriedly resumed her conversation with Flower, because she had the
uneasy consciousness that Miss Sue and Aunt Angie, on the other side of
the room, were talking about her.  Fragments of their conversation
floated over to her in the pauses of her talk with Flower.

"She thinks nothing of sending off ten or a dozen telegrams a day--"

"--she’ll wear herself out--"

"--it can’t last long.  Moultrie says she shows a wonderful head for--"

"--and she never gets tired.  I never saw such power of concentration--"

"--when I was a girl--"

"--writes--writes--writes the longest letters, and if you could see her
mail!"

"--the very prettiest girl I ever saw,--a perfect beauty, Moultrie
thinks."

Carolina’s little ears burned so scarlet that she got up and took
Peachie and Flower out into the garden, and, as the three girls went
down the steps, a perfect babel of voices arose in the parlour. Plainly
Carolina’s going had loosened their tongues. They drew their chairs
around Mrs. Winchester’s, and, although the day was cool, they gave her
the warmest half-hour she could remember since she left Bombay.  They
could understand and excuse every feminine vagary, from stealing another
woman’s lover to coaxing a man to spend more than he could afford, or
idling away every moment of a day over novels or embroidery, but for a
beauty, a belle, a toast, a girl who had been presented at three courts
before she was twenty, to come down to South Carolina and live on
horseback or in a buggy, meeting men by appointment and understanding
long columns of figures, sending and receiving cipher telegrams, and in
all this aided and abetted by no less exclusive and particular a
chaperon than Cousin Lois Winchester, Rhett Winchester’s widow, herself
related to the Lees,--this was a little more than they could comprehend.
Nor could Miss Sue Yancey nor Miss Sallie (Mrs. Pringle), although they
were in the same house with her, throw any light on the subject or help
them in any way.  Carolina was plainly a puzzle to the La Granges, at
least, and when, that same afternoon, Carolina and the two girls in the
garden saw another carryall and a buggy drive in at Whitehall,
containing her father’s relatives, the Lees, she frankly said that she
would stay out a little longer and give them a chance to talk her over
before she went in to meet them.

Peachie laughed at Carolina’s high colour when she said this.

"You mustn’t get mad, Cousin Carol, because you are talked about.  We
talk about everybody,--it’s all we have to do in the country.  But you
ought to be used to it.  You are such a little beauty, you must have
been talked about all your life."

"Nonsense, Peachie!" cried Carolina, blushing. "I am not half as
good-looking as you and Flower. But the way you all watch me here makes
me feel as if I were a strange kind of a beetle under a powerful
microscope, at the other end of which there was always a curious human
eye."

"Oh, Cousin Carol, you do say such quayah things!" cried Peachie,
laughing.

"We ought to go in, I think," said Carolina. But at her words the two
girls, as if nerving themselves for an ordeal planned beforehand, looked
at each other, and then Peachie, in evident embarrassment, said:

"Cousin Carol, I want to ask you something, and I don’t want you to be
offended or to think that we have no manners, but--"

"Go on, Peachie, dear.  Ask anything you like. You won’t offend me.
Remember that we are all cousins down here."

"I know, you dear!  But maybe when you know what I want,--but you see,
we never get a chance to see any of the styles--"

"Do you want to see my clothes?" cried Carolina. "You shall see every
rag I possess, you dear children!  Don’t I know how awful it must be
never to know what they are wearing at Church Parade. Five trunks came
yesterday that haven’t even been unpacked.  They are just as they were
packed by a frisky little Frenchman in Paris, and, as they were sent
after me, they were detained in the custom-house, and, before I could
get them out, I was hurt. While I was in bed, my brother got them out of
the custom-house and took them to _his_ house, where I forgot all about
them until I was preparing to come here.  Then I thought of clothes!
And I also thought I might find some pretty girls down here among my
relatives who would like to see the Real Thing just as it comes from the
hands of the Paris couturières,--so there you are!"

"Oh, Carolina Lee!" shrieked Peachie, softly. "What a sweet thing you
are!  Just think, Flower, Paris clothes!"

"And better still, Vienna clothes!" said Carolina, laughing.

"You said you were hurt, Cousin Carol," said Flower, in her soft little
voice.  "How were you injured?"

"I was thrown from my horse, Flower, dear, and my hip was broken.  I was
in bed for months with it."

"But you were cured," said Flower.  "I never heard of a broken hip that
didn’t leave a limp. There must be mighty fine doctors in New York."

"There are!" said Carolina, softly.  Then she turned suddenly and led
the way to the house, the girls eagerly following.

It will be difficult and not at all to the point to try to learn the
relationship of the Lees and La Granges to Carolina and to each other.
Aunt Angie La Grange was Moultrie’s, Winfield’s, and Peachie’s mother.
Rose Manigault was Aunt Angie’s married sister, and Élise an unmarried
one.

Of the Lees, there was Aunt Evelyn Lee, Carolina’s own maiden aunt.
Aunt Isabel Fitzhugh, her married aunt, with her two daughters, Eppie
and Marie.  Uncle Gordon Fitzhugh, Aunt Isabel’s husband, and a bachelor
cousin of Carolina’s, De Courcey Lee, were the ones who had come in the
buggy with the two little Fitzhugh boys, Teddy and Bob.

The children could not be induced to leave the parlour until they had
seen their new cousin, they had heard so much of her beauty from
Moultrie, so that, when Carolina entered and was introduced to her
admiring relatives, none was more admiring than the children.  Indeed,
Bob Fitzhugh announced to his father, as they were driving home that
evening, that he was going to marry Cousin Carol. He said that he had
already asked her, and that she had told him that she was ten years
older than he was, but that, if he still wanted her when he was
twenty-one and she hadn’t married any one in the meantime, she would
marry him.

"You couldn’t do better, son," said his father, nudging De Courcey, "and
I commend your promptness, for, as Carolina is the prettiest--the very
prettiest little woman I ever saw, the other boys will doubtless get
after her, and it’s just as well to have filed your petition
beforehand."

Indeed the verdict on Carolina was universally favourable.  Her
relatives were familiar with her photographs, and were proud of the
accounts which at intervals had filtered home to them through letters
and newspapers, but the girl’s beauty of colouring had so far outshone
their expectations, and her exquisite modesty had so captivated them
that they annexed her bodily, and quoted her and praised and flattered
her until she hardly knew where to turn.  She won the Fitzhugh hearts by
her devotion to Teddy, the seven-year-old boy, who could not speak an
intelligible word on account of a cleft palate.  She took him with her
on the sofa and talked to him and encouraged him to try to answer, until
the mother, though her soul was filled with the most passionate
gratitude, unselfishly called the boy away, saying, in a hurried aside
to Carolina:

"Thank you, and God bless you, my darling girl, for trying to help my
baby boy, but you owe your attention to the grown people, who, some of
them, have driven twenty miles to see your sweet face. Some day,
Carolina, I want you to come and spend a week with us, and tell me about
the best doctor to send the child to.  You must know all about such
things, coming from New York."

She won the heart of her bachelor cousin, a man of nearly sixty, by
allowing him to lead her to a sofa and question her about her father,
his last days in London, and of how she had inherited her love for
Guildford.

"For it is an inheritance, Carolina, my dear. Your father loved the
place as not one of us do who have stayed near it."

"Yes, Cousin De Courcey, I think you are right. Daddy used to dream of
it."

"Did he ever tell you of the loss of the family silver?"

"Yes, he said it was lost during the war."

"Did he never tell you of his suspicions concerning it?"

"No, because I don’t think he had any."

"Pardon me for disagreeing with you, my dear, but in letters to me he
has stated it.  You know our family silver included many historical
pieces,--gifts from great men, who had been guests at
Guildford,--besides all that the family had inherited on both sides for
generations.  Many of these pieces were engraved and inscribed, and,
unless they were melted at once, could have been traced.  Your
grandfather and your father, being the only ones fortunate enough to
have increased their fortunes, undertook to search the world over for
traces of this silver, but, as not so much as a teaspoon of it was ever
found, we think it is still buried somewhere near here,--possibly on the
estate.  Aunt ’Polyte, your father’s black mammy, and her husband buried
it, and to the day of their death they swore it was not stolen by the
Yankees, for, when they missed it, there were no Federal troops within
fifty miles.  They both declared that some one traced them in their
frequent pilgrimages to its hiding-place to ascertain that it was
intact, and that the Lee family will yet come into its own.  As you seem
to be our good angel, it will probably be you who will find it.  Doesn’t
something tell you that you will?"

"Yes, something tells me that it is not lost," said Carolina, with grave
eyes.  "I came into the possession of Guildford so wonderfully, perhaps
I shall find the Lee silver by the same means."

Just then Mrs. Pringle hurried into the room, saying hospitably:

"Now listen to me, good people.  You all don’t come to Whitehall so
often that we don’t feel the honour, and now that you are here, you must
stay to supper.  Don’t say a word!  I’ll tell Jake to hitch up and go
after Moultrie and Winfield, and there’s a full moon to-night, so you
won’t have any trouble in getting home.  Élise, if you are too big a
coward to drive twenty miles after dark, you can stay here all night.
Flower, do you trust your nurse to stay with the baby?"

"Oh, yes, indeed, thank you, Miss Sallie.  I’ll just write a note to
Winfield and send it by Jake, if I may, telling him to see that Aunt
Tempy and the baby are all right before he starts, then I won’t be a bit
uneasy."

The La Granges had never heard their unpopular kinswoman make so long a
speech before, and, as they listened to it, with critical, if not
hostile ears, they were forced to admit that she exhibited both spirit
and breeding, and her voice had a curious low-toned dignity which
indicated an inherited power.

Whitehall had not been famous for its hospitality since the death of
Elliott Pringle, Miss Sallie’s husband.  During his lifetime they had
kept open house, and Miss Sallie was the soul of hospitality. She would
dearly have loved to continue his policy and the prestige of Whitehall,
but her sister, Sue Yancey, was, in popular parlance, called "the
stingiest old maid in the State of Georgia," and when she came to live
with her widowed sister she watched the expenditures at Whitehall, until
nobody who ever dined there had enough to eat. There was a story going
around that the reason she lost the only beau she ever had, was because
once when he was going on a journey she asked him to take out an
accident insurance policy, and when he told her that he was all alone in
the world and that no one would be benefited by his death, she told him
to send the ticket to her.  Rumour said that he sent the ticket, but
that he never came back to Sue.

Sue either cared nothing for the good opinion of other people or she
made the mistake of underestimating her friends’ intelligence, for she
carried her thrift with a high hand.  At Sunday-school picnics it was no
uncommon sight for the neighbours to see Miss Sue Yancey going around to
the different tables gathering all that was edible into her basket to
take home with her.  And that these scraps subsequently appeared on the
table at Whitehall often led to high words between the sisters; but in
the end it always happened that Sue conquered, because Mrs. Pringle
dreaded her sister’s bitter tongue and ungoverned temper.

Yet Sue often complained that she felt so alone in the world because no
one understood her.

"Don’t stay," whispered Gordon Fitzhugh, in his wife’s ear.  "Sue never
gives me enough sugar in my tea!"

Carolina could not help overhearing.  She looked up quickly and laughed.

"Are you getting thin?" he whispered.  "Does Sue give you as hash for
supper the beef the soup is made from?"

"I think Miss Sallie is ordering while we are here," said Carolina,
loyally.  She would not tell her Uncle Fitzhugh that one morning when
Lily was taking Cousin Lois’s breakfast up to her, when her asthma was
bad, that Sue had waylaid Lily in the hall and had taken the extra
butter ball off the tray and carried it back to the dining-room in
triumph.

"I admire economy," said Uncle Fitzhugh. "Sue’s ancestors were French,
but, in her case, French thrift has degenerated into American meanness."

"You stay," said Carolina, dimpling, "and I’ll see that you get all the
sugar you want, if I have to ask for it myself!"

"Then I’ll stay," chuckled Uncle Fitzhugh, and he beckoned to De Courcey
to come out into the garden and have a smoke--in reality to gossip.

Hardly were the gentlemen out of sight when Peachie said, excitedly:

"Mamma, do beg them all to excuse Cousin Carol, Flower, and me!  Carol
has promised to show us her Paris clothes--five trunks full of them!"
Her voice rose to a little shriek of ecstasy, which was echoed in
various keys all over the room. Every face took on a look of intense
excitement and anticipation.

"Excuse you!" cried Aunt Angie La Grange. "We shall do no such thing.
If Carol thinks we old people are not just as crazy over pretty clothes
as we were when we were girls, she doesn’t know the temperament of her
own blood and kin.  Carol, child, lead the way to those trunks
immediately. My fingers fairly burn to turn the keys in those locks!"

"Really, Aunt Angie?  Why, we shall be delighted.  You should see the
gowns Cousin Lois had made for the Durbar.  They are simply regal!"

"Lois Winchester," said Aunt Angie, as they went up-stairs, "they tell
me that you actually rode an elephant while you were in India!"

"I did, Cousin Angie," said Mrs. Winchester, imperturbably.  "And what
is more, I had my picture taken on one.  You can hardly tell me from the
elephant!"

Now Cousin Lois so seldom jested that this sally met with the usual
reception which non-jokers seem to expect, and the walls fairly reeled
with the peals of laughter from the delighted kinfolk.  But when they
were all gathered in Carolina’s room and the chairs were brought from
all the other rooms to seat the guests, a hush fell upon the assemblage
similar to that which falls upon Westminster Abbey when a funeral
cortège arrives.

Carolina was unlocking her Paris trunks!



                              CHAPTER XV.

                             THE BLIND BABY


The same terrible suspicion which had entered Aunt Angie La Grange’s
mind when she overheard Flower’s innocent words had occurred to
Carolina, and as there seemed to be one of those sudden new-born bonds
of sympathy between the beautiful old woman and the beautiful young
girl, which sometimes spring into existence without warning, yet with
good reason, as afterwards transpires, Carolina was not surprised to
have Aunt Angie draw her aside after supper and say:

"Carolina, child, what did you think when you heard what Flower said
about little Arthur?"

"I thought just what you thought, Aunt Angie, at first, then--"

"Then what?"

"Nothing."

"Now, Carol, you were going to say something! What was it?  I am sure
the thought that I am a comparative stranger to you stopped the words on
your lips."

"I am afraid that you wouldn’t understand what I was going to say, Aunt
Angie, dear, and I don’t want to antagonize you.  I like you too much."

"Dear child, nothing that your silver tongue could utter could
antagonize me after your sweet generosity to my daughter this afternoon.
Oh, Carol, don’t you think my mother-heart aches at not being able to
dress my pretty girl in such fairy fabrics as you showed us?  And then
to think of your giving her that pink silk!  Why, Peachie won’t sleep a
wink for a week, and I doubt if her mother does, either!  Now she can go
to the Valentine German in Savannah.  You must go, too.  I will arrange
it.  I--but my tongue is running away with me.  Tell me what you were
going to say."

"Well," said Carolina, hesitatingly, "you have heard that I am a
Christian Scientist, haven’t you?"

"Yes, dear, I have, and I must say that I deeply regret it.  Not that I
know anything about it, but--"

"That’s the way every one feels who doesn’t know about it," cried
Carolina, earnestly; "but that is nothing but prejudice which will wear
away. Indeed, indeed it will, Aunt Angie."

Mrs. La Grange shook her head.

"I am a dyed-in-the-wool Presbyterian, and I’ve fought, bled, and died
for my religion in a family who believe that God created the Church of
England first and then turned His attention to the creation of the
earth, so you can’t expect me to welcome a new fad, can you, my dear?
But I beg your pardon, Carol.  What were you going to say?"

"It was only this," said Carolina, gently.  "That even if Flower’s baby
is blind to mortal sight, he is not blind in God’s eyes.  There he is
perfect, for God, who is Incarnate Love, never created a blind or dumb
baby."

Tears rushed suddenly to the old woman’s eyes.

"Are you thinking of poor little Teddy Fitzhugh?" she whispered.

"Yes, I was."

"Oh, Carolina!  If you could have seen his mother’s anguish all these
years!  But you would have to be a mother yourself before you could even
apprehend it."

"Yes, I suppose I would."

"And now," said the older woman, with that patient tightening of the
lips with which so many Christian women prepare themselves to bear the
heart-breaking calamities which they believe a tender Heavenly Father
inflicts on those He loves, "I suppose I must steel my heart to see poor
Flower writhe under a worse agony.  Indeed, Carol, God’s ways are hard
to understand."

"Yes, God is such a peculiar sort of parent," observed Carolina.  "He
seems to do things with impunity, which if an earthly father did, the
neighbours would lynch him."

Aunt Angie La Grange sat up with a spring of fright.

"Why, Carolina Lee!  What sacrilege!  You will certainly be punished by
an avenging God for such blasphemy.  You shock me, Carolina. You really
do."

"Forgive me, Aunt Angie.  I only meant to imply that the God I believe
in is a God of such love that He never sends anything but good to His
children."

"Then how do you get around that saying, ’Whom the Lord loveth He
chasteneth?’"

"There is authority for translating that word ’chasteneth,’
’instructeth.’  But even if you leave it ’chasteneth,’ it doesn’t mean a
life-long disfigurement or crippling of innocent babies.  Supposing
Peachie should disobey you, or even disgrace you, would you deliberately
infect her with smallpox to destroy her beauty or send her into a train
wreck to lame her or paralyze for life?"

Mrs. La Grange only looked into Carolina’s eyes for reply, but her hands
gripped the arms of her chair until her nails were white.

"Yet you are only her earthly--her human--her finite mother.  How much
greater capacity has the Infinite Heart for love!"

Mrs. La Grange stirred restlessly.

"It is beautiful," she breathed, "but--disquieting. It upsets all my old
beliefs."

"’And good riddance to bad rubbish,’ as we children used to say," said
Carolina, smiling.  Aunt Angie smiled in answer, but a trifle dubiously.

"Carolina," she said, "Moultrie told me--but of course you never said
such a thing and I told him then that he must have misunderstood
you--that Gladys Yancey was cured by Christian Science! Now, what _did_
you say?"

"I said just that.  She _was_ cured by Christian Science."

"I don’t believe it!" cried Aunt Angie.  "Excuse me, dear child, for
saying so.  I know that you are truthful and that you believe it, but
_I_ don’t.  I’d have to see it done."

"If you saw Teddy Fitzhugh taught to speak plainly, would you believe?"

"My dear, I’d leave the Presbyterian Church and join the Christian
Scientists so quickly my church letter would be torn by the way I’d
snatch it."

Carolina laughed and squeezed Aunt Angie’s hand, who added with a smile:

"I suppose you think I am as good as caught already, don’t you?"

"I hope you are.  You can’t imagine how much peace it brings."

"Peace!  It’s something I never have had, child."

"Nor I.  But I have it now."

"What does your religion compel you to give up? Peachie absolutely
refuses to join the church because it won’t allow dancing, and the child
loves to dance better than anything in the world.  They tell me, too,
that she dances like a fairy."  Aunt Angie pronounced it "fayry."

"Why, that is one of the best things about Christian Science.  It
requires you to give up no innocent pleasure.  It only cautions one
against indulging to excess in anything.  Dancing, card-playing,
games,--why, some of the best card-players I know are Christian
Scientists, but they don’t lose their tempers when they lose a game and
they don’t cheat to win.  In fact, one of the most graceful things I
have ever seen done was when two ladies tied for the prize--a beautiful
gold vase--at a bridge party Addie gave just before she closed her
house, and the lady who won had played coolly, well, and won by merit.
The other flung herself back in her chair with an exclamation, showing
by her suffused face and clenched hands every sign of ill-temper.  My
sister-in-law brought the prize to the winner, who, with the prettiest
grace imaginable, thanked her and then presented it, by Addie’s
permission, to the vexed lady who had lost.  You should have seen the
recipient’s face!  Surprise, humiliation, and cupidity struggled almost
audibly for supremacy.  She protested feebly, but ended by taking it.  A
number of others gathered around, attracted by the unusual scene, and
suddenly the owner of the vase said to the giver of it: ’I would like to
know what church you go to.’  ’Well, as none of you know, you may
guess,’ she answered. They guessed Baptist, Methodist, Unitarian,
Episcopal, and finally the recipient of the vase said: ’No, you are all
wrong.  I believe she is a Christian Scientist, because no one but a
Christian Scientist would give up a gold vase!’"

"I like that," said Aunt Angie, promptly.  "And I think the churches
make a mistake in forbidding innocent pleasures.  Oh, why don’t they
dwell on the good instead of squabbling over the bad?"

"You have described one of the chief differences between the Christian
Science and the other churches," cried Carolina.  "Why, Aunt Angie, you
are a ready-made Scientist!"

"Am I?  Well, we shall see.  Now tell me when you can go to see Flower.
Was Moultrie able to buy Araby for you?"

"No, Mr. Mazyck refused to sell her.  But Moultrie has lent me Scintilla
until he can find another good horse for me."

"But you especially wanted Araby, didn’t you?"

"Yes, because she is a direct descendant of the sire of my grandfather’s
favourite saddle-horse. And she is simply perfect, Aunt Angie."

"I am afraid Barney Mazyck is hopeless.  If he wants a thing, he wants
it and is going to keep it."

"I know; but I have not despaired of getting her yet.  Perhaps I am just
as bent upon getting her as Mr. Barnwell Mazyck is upon keeping her."

"And in that case--"

"Well, I wouldn’t put any money on Mr. Mazyck!" laughed Carolina.

In the slight pause which ensued, Carolina could see that Mrs. La Grange
was ill at ease.  Suddenly she turned to the girl and said:

"My dear, doubtless you think it strange that I do not know beyond a
doubt the state of my own little grandson’s sight, but--"

"I know," said Carolina, gently.  "I have heard."

"Who told you?  Some stranger?"

"No, Moultrie told me."

"Ah, then you have heard the truth!  It is a terrible grief to us,
Carolina.  Think of the child! I do not know who my own grandson is
descended from!"

"But you will know," said Carolina, earnestly. "And soon.  I--we have a
right to expect God’s harmony in our lives."

Mrs. La Grange looked at her curiously, but only said, with a sigh:

"I am sure I hope you may be right."

It was arranged that Carolina was to meet Mrs. La Grange at Flower’s the
next afternoon at three o’clock.

"Can’t you go in the morning?" asked Mrs. La Grange.

"I have an appointment with the architect from Charleston and the
builders at Guildford at ten. We wouldn’t get through in time, I am
afraid, for there will be so much to discuss."

"Won’t you be too tired?"

"I never get tired.  There is rest in action for me."

Mrs. La Grange shook her head, but not in disapproval.

"I hope I am going to like it.  If I like all of it as well as I do the
sample bits you have fed me with, I think, as you say, you may find that
I have been a Scientist all my life without knowing it."

Mrs. La Grange looked into the girl’s pure, beautiful face
scrutinizingly, as if to learn her secret of happiness, and, as she did
so, she was surprised to see it suffused by a blush which rose in
delicate waves to her hair.  Looking about in surprise for a cause, Mrs.
La Grange saw her son Moultrie approaching.  Could Carolina have
recognized his step without seeing him, and was that blush for Moultrie?

The question could not be answered at once, nor did she see them
together the next day, for Carolina was late in keeping her appointment,
and, by the time she arrived, the awful truth was known. Mrs. La Grange
had been so overcome that Moultrie was obliged to take her home.

The moment Carolina rode up to the house, she knew that something had
happened.  The house, a mere cabin, was ominously quiet, and no one came
to meet her.

She dismounted hurriedly, fastened Scintilla to the fence, and ran up
the steps.  No one answered her knock.  She pushed open the door and
entered.

At first she saw no one, but presently she heard heavy breathing, and,
crouching on the floor, in the darkest corner of the room, she saw
Flower, holding the still form of her baby in her arms.  Her posture and
the glare in her eyes were tigerish.

With a low cry, Carolina sprang to her side.

"Oh, Flower, darling!  What is the matter with your baby?"

"You may take him," said Flower, dully.  "You care!  You cared
yesterday.  I can tell.  She only cares because Arthur is a La Grange.
You will care just because he a helpless little blind baby. Oh! oh!"

"Not blind, Flower!  Don’t say it.  Don’t think it.  Your baby sees."

"No, Cousin Carol.  You are good and kind, but Mrs. La Grange made me
see for myself.  We took a candle and held it so close to his eyes we
nearly burned his little face--"

"You?" cried Carolina.  "Were you in the room?"

"That’s what Moultrie said, but you don’t either of you know.  When you
have a child of your own, you will both understand that a mother can’t
keep away.  She must know the worst, and she must be there when it
happens."

"Oh, poor Flower!  Poor child!" cried Carolina, weeping unrestrainedly.
She cuddled the baby’s face in her neck, and Flower watched her
apathetically.  Flower’s face was suffused from stormy weeping, but she
had wept herself out.

"And you had to bear this all alone, poor lamb!"

"I wanted to be alone!  I wanted her to go. They meant to be kind, but
they don’t love me, and they don’t love my little baby.  I would rather
be alone.  Who could I send for--the priest? When he predicted it?"

"What did he predict?" asked Carolina, quickly.

"He was very angry because we went to New York to be married.  He lost
fifty dollars by it. That is what he charges even poor people like me.
And because I married a heretic, and because I was not married by a
priest, he cursed me and my offspring.  Then--" she broke off suddenly
and cried: "Oh, why do I tell it all?  Why do I trust even you?"

"Because you know that I can help you," said Carolina, gravely.

"No one can help me--not even God!"

"Say what you were going to," urged Carolina.

"Well, the child is bewitched.  Every time there is a thunder-storm, or
if I am even left alone with the baby, like to-day, when I let Aunt
Tempy have her afternoon--there she is now!"

With a shriek of terror she pointed to the window, and Carolina looked
just in time to see a dark face disappear from view.  She ran to the
door, but nothing could be seen.  Not a sound could be heard.

"It is the voodoo!" whispered Flower.  "That face always comes.  Once I
saw it in the room, bending over the cradle when the baby was asleep.
But I never can catch her.  Aunt Tempy has seen her, so has Winfield.
She has cast an evil spirit over my baby."

"Her face looked kind--it even looked worried," thought Carolina to
herself, but she said nothing to Flower.  She only sat rocking the
sleeping baby, wiping the tears which rolled down her cheeks at the
sight of the mother’s anguish.

"Flower," she said, suddenly, "did you ever see Gladys Yancey before
Miss Sue took her North?"

"Heaps of times."

"Did you ever hear how she was cured?"

"Why, Moultrie told Winfield that it was a new kind of religion that did
it, and Winfield just hollered and laughed."

"Well, if I could prove to you that your baby could be made to see,
would you holler and laugh?"

"I reckon I wouldn’t.  I’d kiss your feet."

"The only trouble," murmured Carolina, half to herself, "is that you are
a Roman Catholic.  We do not like to interfere with them."

"I am not a Roman Catholic," said Flower. "The lady who brought me up,
and whom I was taught to believe was my aunt, was a Catholic, but I
never was baptized.  I believe Father Hennessey knows who I am, and
that, if he would, he could clear up the mystery of my birth and give me
back my happiness.  But he never will until I join his church.  He told
me so."

"Is he an old man?" asked Carolina.

"Oh, a very old man.  He must be over eighty,"

A slight pause ensued.  Then Carolina said: "Would you like to hear of
this new religion?"

"If it will give my baby eyes, Cousin Carolina, how can you even stop to
ask?"

"Oh, my dear, it is only because we are taught to go cautiously,--to be
sure our help is wanted before we offer."

"Well, offer it to me.  I want your help with all my soul!"

She rose from her corner and came and sat at Carolina’s feet.  Something
of Carolina’s sincerity, which always appealed to people, moved her to
believe that Carolina could help her.  Flower’s mind, too, though it may
sound like an anomaly, had been trained by her aunt’s Catholicism to
believe in signs and wonders, and her superstitions had been carefully
educated.  Therefore, when a more analytical mind might have hesitated
to believe that material help for a supposed hopeless affliction could
come from religion, instead of from a knife or a drug, which even the
most skeptical may see and handle and thus believe, Flower, by her very
childishness, held up a receptive mind for the planting of the seed of
an immortal truth.

The gravity of the situation caused Carolina a moment’s wrestle with
error.  The burning eyes of the young mother fastened on Carolina’s face
with such agonizing belief,--the feeble flutterings of the sleeping baby
in her arms terrified her for a brief second.  Then she lifted her heart
to the boundless source of supply for every human need, and in a moment
she felt quieted and could begin.

"Flower," she said, "do you believe in God?"

"Of course I do."

"Did you ever read your Bible?"

"No."

"Have you one?"

"No."

"Will you promise to read it if I will give you one?"

"I will do whatever you want me to."

Carolina hesitated a moment.

"Will your husband object to your trying Christian Science with the
baby?"

"I don’t know--yes, I suppose he will.  What shall we do?"

"What will he want to do when he first learns that the baby is blind?"

"I reckon he’ll want to have Doctor Dodge see him."

"There is no objection to that.  Then what will he do?"

"There isn’t anything we can do just now, Cousin Carol.  We have had a
dreadful time even to live since we were married.  And look what a
shanty we live in!  Not fit for a negro.  And Winfield a La Grange!  Of
course, if the crops are better next year we might be able to take him
away to consult some big doctor, but this winter we can’t do anything at
all."

"I don’t know what to do," said Carolina. "You ought to get your
husband’s consent first."

"Well, what do you want me to do?  Does your treatment commence right
away?"

"It is already begun."

"Why, how?  You haven’t done anything that I could see.  Do you pray?"

"Not to any virgin or saint, Flower."

"No, I know that Protestants pray to God.  Is that what you want me to
do?"

"I want you first to have a talk with Winfield and Moultrie--"

"Moultrie will help me!" interrupted Flower. "I’ll ask him to talk to
Winfield."

"Well, do that.  Then if he says you may try it, I want you not to tell
another soul, especially don’t let Aunt Tempy or any of the negroes know
a word about it.  I want you to get up about twelve o’clock every night
and light your candle, and put it where it shines directly in the baby’s
eyes.  It can’t hurt him.  Then read the whole of the New
Testament,--just as much every night as you can for one hour, believing
that everything which was true of Jesus and His disciples then, can be
and is true of His disciples on earth to-day, and that, if any one of us
could ever be as pure and holy as He was, that we could do the one thing
which is denied us yet,--that is, raise the dead!  Will you?"

"Indeed, I will."

"Then every night I will treat your baby’s eyes by mind-healing, which I
will explain to you a little later.  In the meantime, you watch very
closely to see the first indication which Arthur’s eyes give of the
light’s making him stir, for that will show that his darkness is lifting
and that he is beginning to see."

Flower raised herself up and clung to Carolina’s knees and buried her
face in her dress, weeping bitterly.

"Oh, oh!  Don’t think I am unhappy.  I am crying because I think you can
do it.  How long will it take?"

"No one can say.  It may only take one treatment, or it may take years.
’According to your faith be it unto you.’"

Just then, as Carolina rose to go, the baby wakened, and Flower reached
for him and pressed him to her bosom in a passion of grief and hope.

"Look!" she whispered to Carolina, "you can tell from the very
expression of his little eyes that he can’t see.  I remember now that
once the sun was shining right into his eyes, and he kept them open, but
I didn’t notice it at the time."

"Remember this, Flower.  We think that he can’t see.  But in God’s eyes
he is perfect.  With Him there is no blindness nor sickness nor sin nor
sorrow.  He will take away your grief.  He will wipe away all tears from
your eyes."



                              CHAPTER XVI.

                         A LETTER FROM CAROLINA


"’THE BATH,’ ENTERPRISE, S.C.,
       "January 27, 19--


"MY DEAR MR. HOWARD:--If only I could drop in on you this evening and
make my report in person, what couldn’t I tell!  You would laugh if you
knew why we call our house The Bath.  But first, have I ever told you
that we have a house?  Well, Guildford is so far from even Whitehall,
which is the nearest place we visited, that I lost too much time in
coming and going.  I must have been eight hours in the saddle some days,
and I didn’t get on fast enough to suit my leaping
ambition,--and--bathrooms are scarce in the country, so Cousin Lois and
I decided to build a model cabin or quarters before we started the
house, and live on the place. There was already a windmill, so I ordered
a porcelain tub in Charleston, and built my house around it.  Cousin
Lois preëmpts it most of the time, but I get my full share, and it is a
luxury. Did you ever try going without a bathroom?  Try it.  It will
make you ’t’ink ob yo’ marcies,’ as the negroes say.

"Oh, we are so happy!  Every day some of the dear neighbours who knew
Guildford in its prime ride or drive over to tell me little forgotten
quirks of the blessed place, and to assure me that I am copying it
faithfully.  Cousin Lois calls it curiosity, but I think it is interest.
But the primitive methods in vogue in the South--well, you simply would
not believe me unless you saw them.  For example, at the turpentine
plant at Schoville, which I will tell you more of later, my engineer
found them ladling out the crude turpentine by hand, when you know it
ought to be piped, and half the time this cheap negro labour, which they
hire to save machinery, is drunk or striking, which often shuts down the
plant for days at a time,--ten days at Christmas always.  Machinery may
be expensive, but, at least, it doesn’t get drunk, and by means of it a
man may run his business, even in the South, regularly, and so build up
a reputation for reliability, which, honestly, Mr. Howard, nobody down
here seems to know the meaning of, as we understand it!  Any excuse
serves.  Just make your excuse--that’s all.  It not only seems to
relieve the conscience of the purveyor, but satisfies the consumer as
well.  In Georgia it is a State law not to move freight on Sunday.
Imagine that, added to the railroad service as it stands!  And in a
certain town in Middle Georgia, the fire-engines are drawn by oxen.  I
enclose the kodak I took of it, for I know you won’t believe me else.
One thing the South needs more than anything else is some of our
Northern Italian labour.  Then the negroes will see what it really is to
work.

"But I am running away with myself.

"I shall skip all I can, and only tell the essentials.

"After we left Whitehall, nothing would do but we must pay a round of
visits among the Lees and La Granges, which we did, staying as short a
time as possible with each, partly because I could not properly attend
to my work, and partly because of the heart-breaking poverty of all my
poor dear relatives.  If you could only see their bravery, their pride,
and their wholly absurd fury at the bare suggestion that ease and
comfort might come to them from admitting Northern capital!  I think if
they knew that my money comes through you, they would force me to starve
with them rather than be indebted to a ---- Yankee.  The ladies don’t
use that word with their lips, but their eyes say it. As it is, they
think I am still selling my jewels. And I don’t contradict them, simply
because there is no use in giving them pain.  Their hatred of the North
is something which cannot be eradicated in a day.  It is a factor in
business which blocks the path of every well-wisher of the South, and is
an entity to be reckoned with just as palpably as credit. The man who
ignores it makes a mistake which sooner or later will bring him up with
a jerk.  I dwell upon this, because, if we form the syndicate which you
propose, it must be managed craftily, and I know you will not disregard
my warning.

"As an example of it, let me tell what has befallen the plant for making
wood turpentine at Schoville, Georgia.  It is a fine, modern, up-to-date
plant of the steam process, backed and controlled by Judd Brothers &
Morgan, of Brooklyn.  Their representative approached my counsel,
offering to sell.  The Brooklyn firm own fifty-one per cent. of the
stock, and the rest is taken by citizens of Schoville.  I sent my man,
Donohue, down to investigate the process, intending, if I didn’t buy, to
organize a similar company and operate under their patents, as I find
theirs, if not the best, is at least a satisfactory process, and turns
out a pure water-white turpentine with a specific gravity of 31.70. And
Donohue asserts that by the use of steam he can eliminate the
objectionable odour.  He has been in the employ of both the Schoville
and the Lightning companies and is a valuable man, though not strictly
honest.  Donohue was satisfied that there was something wrong at
Schoville, and advised me to hold off.  He reported the plant out of
repair, although the books showed money in plenty supplied by the
owners.  Donohue then visited the plant at Lightning, Georgia, and found
everything all right.  It has since transpired that the foreman of the
plant at Schoville, a cracker named Leakin, had deliberately shipped
crude turpentine, which of course was of rank odour and off colour, to
the factors at Savannah, who shipped it to Germany and South America
without giving it a very careful examination.  As is usual with these
men, they were too slack to make the thorough examination before making
shipment which the law requires, and paid over an advance of thirty-five
cents a gallon to Leakin like innocent little lambs.  Of course, the
inevitable occurred. Buenos Ayres and Berlin not only refused to pay,
but returned the consignment, and the Savannah factors now refuse to
touch wood turpentine at any price.

"It seems that, when the Northern owners sent their representative down
to investigate, Leakin frankly told him that he did not intend to make
money for any ---- Yankees.  They thereupon swore out a warrant for his
arrest, but he wrecked the plant at night and was hurried out of town by
his relatives.

"Now, so far from discouraging me, this serves my purpose well.  For
with sixty per cent. profit on the manufacture of wood turpentine on
paper (as per my previous reports), which cuts to between forty and
fifty in actual operation, it is one of the future industries of the
South.  Of course the little plant I propose to build at Guildford or
near by will only be a mouthful.  I figure that between ten and twelve
millions of dollars would corner the turpentine market, and then put the
price of orchard turpentine so high that it would practically be off the
market.  Then we could force the consumers to take wood turpentine in
its place, and in this way show them that it will do the same work and
bring the same results as the regular orchard turpentine. They are
afraid of it now, so they must be reduced by compulsion to giving it a
fair trial.  I bought ten barrels of wood turpentine made by the company
at Lightning, and sent a small sample to every paint and varnish
manufacturer in the United States, with a letter giving them the
chemical analysis and asking the recipient to give it a fair trial.
About one-third replied that it seemed satisfactory, and sent me orders
for from five to ten barrels for a trial, but they want it at about ten
cents per gallon less than the orchard.  It seems that no one will pay
within ten cents of the regular market price. I turned these orders over
to the Lightning company on a commission, and am making quite a neat
little sum out of it, though I never thought of that end of the
proposition when I sent out the samples.  I tried the experiment to see
what sort of a market I could look for.  There is no reason why this
wood turpentine should not be shipped and sold as regular turpentine,
and one good strong corner on the market will bring this about.

"To continue my investigations, I want you to organize a small company,
giving me control.  I shall erect a twenty-cord plant between Enterprise
and Guildford, within wagon distance of the wood-supply of the estate.
Recollect that this process uses only the fallen trees and stumps of the
long-leafed pine, which are reduced to a sawdust, and this is then put
into the retorts.  Steam is then injected, which tries out the
turpentine, which is then run into the refining still.

"I can arouse no interest whatever among my relatives.  They simply
think I am crazy.  I even suggested to my uncle, Judge Fanshaw Lee, of
Charleston, the simple proposition of joining me in the purchase of a
stump-puller to clear his land for rice and cotton, but he wouldn’t do
it, and continues to plant in fields dotted with old stumps. But he will
rent it from me if _I_ buy one!  So please order immediately the most
improved sort, and consign it to me at Enterprise, S.C.

"Even though I am a Southerner by blood, and anxious to improve the
country in general, and my relatives in particular, I work under
inconceivable difficulties.  I sent my lawyer to one of the biggest
factors in Savannah, by the name of James Oldfield, to suggest a combine
to corner turpentine, offering to raise nine million dollars, if he and
his friends would raise one million.  Legare reported that ’Oldfield’s
head hit the ceiling’ at the mere suggestion.  But, upon being drawn
out, Oldfield admitted that twenty years ago he had entertained a
similar idea, although, of course, at that time not for the purpose of
introducing wood turpentine. But his ideas were on too narrow-gauge a
plan to admit the suggestion now.  So we shall simply be obliged to do
it without him.

"It seems to me that, with the South in the mental attitude it now
holds, it will need some radical means, such as a turpentine corner, to
force Southern landowners to reinvest money in their own property.  Many
a man is land poor with thousands of dollars’ worth of stumps and fallen
trees on his land which are suitable for wood turpentine. In order to
supply the demand, the orchard people are obliged each year to find two
million acres of virgin forest for their operations.  After bleeding
these for three years, the lumber men then enter and cut the timber,
thus leaving millions of fallen trees and stumps, all of which are
suitable for our process.  Now, it would take years to educate these
landowners in the process of extracting turpentine from this stumpage,
while a corner in orchard turpentine would, in three months, turn the
attention of half the chemists and inventors in the United States toward
bettering present processes and discovering new ones.  Every newspaper
in the land would give this New Southern Industry millions of dollars’
worth of free advertising, and inside of ten years the whole South would
blossom as a rose.

"I have hinted at this before, but have not explained it because the
time was not ripe.  Now, after six months of untiring investigation by
trustworthy agents, and after bitter personal experience, I find that no
help whatsoever can be expected from the South.  Rather they will fight
us at every step, like children compelled to take medicine.  Did you
ever see a health officer try to vaccinate a negro settlement on the
outbreak of a smallpox epidemic?

"You understand me, do you not?  Tell me if I make my point sufficiently
clear.  I propose to corner turpentine, not for the purpose of raising
the price, but to take the orchard stuff completely off the market until
we have forced the public to give wood turpentine a trial.  It has been
demonstrated in every department that the patented product will do the
work of the orchard, not only just as well, but in some cases, as that
of paint, it actually holds the colour better.

"If you are still interested, let me know and I will explain my
developed plan.  Meanwhile I welcome suggestions from you, or any of
your interested parties.

"With devoted love to all in your dear house, I am,

Always affectionately yours,
       "CAROLINA LEE."



                             CHAPTER XVII.

                       IN THE BARNWELLS’ CARRYALL


Aunt Angie La Grange descended from the Barnwells’ carryall in front of
the station platform at Enterprise, and tapped on the window of the
telegraph-agent’s box.

"How late is the train from Savannah, Barney, son?"

Mr. Mazyck sauntered out.

"Only about three hours to-day, Aunt Angie. Expecting the folks?"

"Only Peachie.  Mrs. Winchester and Carolina went on down to
Jacksonville on business.  Did you ever see such a girl?"

"I never did.  She scares me ’most to death.  I’d like to marry her,
Aunt Angie, but what could I--what could any man do with such a wife?"

"She’d make any man rich.  Moultrie says she goes so far ahead of him in
her ideas of business, he can’t even keep her in sight."

"Oh, any man has got to make up his mind to take her dust!" laughed
Barnwell.

"Are you in earnest about marrying her, Barney?"

"Of cou’se I am!  Aren’t all the boys?  Isn’t Moultrie?"

A shade darkened Aunt Angie’s face.

"You know, son, that Moultrie will never marry unless--"

"Exactly!  Unless!  Well, there’s a heap of unlesses which may he’p him
to change his mind. And maybe Miss Carolina is one of them."

"I’d be proud to have him win her, but, as you say, all the boys are in
love with her, here and in Charleston, and now she has been to Savannah,
I suppose they will follow suit, and--"

"Poor Jacksonville!" sighed Barnwell.

Mrs. La Grange laughed.

"We haven’t had such a belle in South Carolina in many years," she said.
"Before the war--" and she sighed.

Barney laughed unfeelingly, and Mrs. La Grange continued:

"How about Araby, son?  Are you going to sell her to Carolina?"

"Indeed I am not, Aunt Angie.  I’d give her to Miss Carolina before I’d
sell her to anybody else; but, to tell you the truth, I’d about die if I
had to part with that mare!  She’s human.  Sound as a dollar and not a
trick of any kind.  That nigger horse-trainer is a magician with
animals.  I’m blest if I don’t believe he’ll teach Araby to talk before
he quits.  And she whinnies if she even passes him in a crowd."

"Carolina wants her worse than anything in the world."

"Well, she can just go awn wantin’," said the usually gallant Mr.
Mazyck, ungallantly.  "If I’d give Araby to her, I’d lose both my mare
and my sweetheart."

"Somehow or other I can’t help thinking that Carolina will get that
horse in spite of you. Barney, do go and see what time it is!  This is
the third time I’ve been down here to wait for this mean train!"

"Yonder she comes now.  Only three hours and fifteen minutes late.
That’s not so bad, Aunt Angie.  When she tries, she can tardy herself up
a heap mo’ than that!"

Mrs. La Grange anxiously scanned the shabby coaches for a sight of her
daughter’s blooming face. Peachie jumped from the car steps and ran to
her mother’s arms.  They kissed each other like two lovers who had been
parted for years.

"Have you had a pleasant week, darling baby?" asked her mother.

Peachie’s pink cheeks paled and her face clouded over.

"No, I haven’t," she whispered, hurriedly, "but I don’t want anybody but
you to know.  Don’t let Barney ask me.  Let’s hurry."

Mrs. La Grange led the way to the borrowed carriage with a sinking
heart.  Aside from two visits to her aunt in Charleston, this was the
only time Peachie had ever been away from home.  And now to have this
invitation to visit Savannah, given the year before and anticipated all
this time, turn into the failure which Peachie’s face indicated, was
almost as great a disappointment to Mrs. La Grange as to the girl
herself.

In the carriage, where Old Moses could not hear them, the mother
anxiously awaited the story.

"Begin at the beginning and don’t skip a word. We’ve two good hours
before us with nobody to interrupt."

"Well, you know how happy Carolina was at the prospect of taking me to a
fine hotel like the De Soto, and how lovely my clothes were, and how
pleased Cousin Lois was at the prospect of seeing her old friends there?
Well, people called, of course,--none of the girls, though,--and Mrs.
General Giddings, who is the leader of Savannah society, at once asked
Cousin Lois to be a chaperon at the Valentine Ball.  John Hobson invited
me, and Jim Little asked Carolina, and, do you know, it was the first
time in all her life that Carolina had ever been to a ball with a man!
She says she always went with a chaperon and met her partners at the
dance.  And she wanted to do that in Savannah, but Mrs. Giddings assured
her that it was all right, and so she did.

"Oh, mother, I wish you could have seen us that night!  You know how I
looked, but Cousin Lois wore a black satin brocade, studded with real
turquoises and blue ostrich feathers woven into the goods.  And, with
all her size, she looked perfectly lovely.  Carolina wore a white Paris
muslin over white silk, with every flounce trimmed with real lace.  Her
hair looked as if she only had one pin in it, it was so loose and fluffy
and--well, artistic is the only word to describe her.  She looked like a
fairy princess.  It began in the dressing-room."

"What began?

"Well--Savannah began!" cried Peachie.  "I never heard of such things
happening to our girls when they go to Atlanta and Columbus and Augusta
and Macon, while as for Charleston!--well, I needn’t defend Charleston
manners to _you_, mother!

"Not a soul spoke to us, although everybody knew we were strangers and
everybody knew who we were, for of course it was in the papers,--such
distinguished arrivals as Mrs. Rhett Winchester and Carolina Lee!  But
not a girl came near.  They hollered and joked among themselves, and
somebody would whisper to two or three, then the whole roomful would
scream like wild Indians, and once one of the boys came to the door and
called to them to hurry up, and one girl screamed back, ’Shut yo’ big
mouth!’ and the rest fairly yelled with approval.

"Then one girl was just going out with her bodice all gaping open, and
Carolina stepped up to her as sweetly as if she had been received with
perfect politeness and asked if she mightn’t fasten it.  The hooks were
half off, so Carolina took a paper of pins and fairly pinned that girl
into her clothes,--her waist and skirt didn’t meet.  She accepted all
this help, thanked her, and went out, leaving us all alone.  Then our
boys came and took us down to the ballroom, and, if you will believe it,
mother, not a girl came near us or asked to be introduced or introduced
a single boy!  Not even the girl that Carolina had helped.  I looked at
Carolina to see if she noticed it, but her face was as calm as it always
is.  Her colour, however, was a little less than usual at first.

"We noticed that things sort of dragged at first, and soon we found out
what it was.  An English yacht was in the river, and its owner, Sir
Hubert Wemyss, a young man only about thirty, was expected, and all the
girls were trying to save dances for him, and all the boys were trying
to get the choice ones.

"The first dance I didn’t watch Carolina, because I had heard that Jim
Little was a good dancer, but, after it was over, I saw him take her to
the door and she went up to the dressing-room.  I made John stop near
him, and I asked him what was the matter.  ’Oh, I stuck my foot through
the lace of her dress, and she’s gone to be sewed up.  Say, Miss
Peachie, that girl can’t dance!  I never saw a Yankee that could!’

"Well, mother, I could scarcely believe my ears! The conceit of that raw
Southern boy, who never had been outside of his own little town in the
whole of his life, except to go duck-shooting in the swamps, to presume
to criticize Carolina’s dancing!"

"What did you say to him, sweetheart?"

Aunt Angie’s cheeks were as red as any girl’s. She sat bolt upright in
the borrowed carriage, in her cheap print dress and cotton gloves,
looking like an empress.  The proudest blood in South Carolina flowed in
her veins and she had the spirit of her State.

"I said, ’Are you sure, Mr. Little, that the fault was all hers?’  And
he laughed and said, ’Well, the Savannah girls never find fault with my
dancing, Miss Peachie!’  ’Oh,’ I said, ’if such criterions have stamped
their approval on you, Mr. Little, of course there is no more to be
said!’  He didn’t see the sarcasm at all,--he seems a trifle dense.  So
we waited for Carolina, and when she came back, I saw that her dress was
ruined, but she had managed to hide it pretty well, and her manner was
just as sweet to that man as if he had been fanning her, and we all four
went back to Cousin Lois.

"The next dance we changed partners, Jim Little taking me and John
Hobson taking Carolina.  Now John is said to be the best dancer in
Savannah, so I kept an eye on them, but they didn’t do very well.
Carolina’s colour began to rise and her eyes began to grow that purplish
black--you remember?  Oh, she looked so beautiful!  But she wasn’t
enjoying herself, and she stopped near me to rest.  Then I heard John
say, ’You dance more like a Southern girl than any Yankee I ever knew!’
Think, mother!  That was twice she had been called a Yankee before we
had been there an hour.  A Lee of South Carolina!  Her cheeks just grew
a little warmer and she lifted her chin a little higher, but didn’t
correct him--just said, ’I suppose you intend that for a compliment, Mr.
Hobson?’  ’I should say I did!’ he said.  ’I never saw a Yankee girl who
could dance in all my born days!’  ’How do you account for that?’ asked
Carolina, in just as sweet a tone, mother, as she always uses.  Me? I
was just boiling!  I was ready to cry!"

Her mother pressed her hand.  Aunt Angle’s own lips were trembling with
indignation.

"’Oh,’ the fool said, ’I reckon they don’t get as many chances to dance
as our girls do!’  Well, that saved me.  I began to laugh and I laughed
until I nearly went into hysterics.  I had to excuse myself and ask Jim
to get me some water!"

"Did Carolina laugh, too?" asked Mrs. La Grange.

"Well, she smiled, and I knew from that, that she was only holding
herself in.

"The next was a Lancers.  Carolina danced with Rube Bryan.  He is very
tall and from the first he tried to get fresh with Carolina.  I was in
the same set dancing with John again.  And I want to say right here that
I never saw such unladylike and ungentlemanly dancing in all my life.
Why, in Charleston the chaperons would have requested the whole dance to
be stopped. They wouldn’t have permitted such hootings and yellings,
such jumps and shouts.  Girls yelled at each other across the whole
hall--just like negroes.  ’Go it, Virgie!’  ’Shake a foot, Nell!’  In
the ladies’ chain the boys jerked the girls so that one girl in our set
was thrown down and her wrist sprained."

"I was getting frightened and I could see that Carolina was on the verge
of leaving the set. Then she seemed to brace herself, for Mrs.
Winchester had left the line of chaperons and was making her way down to
where we were dancing. And mother, there was rage in her whole bearing.
She just looked as if Carolina were being insulted by dancing with such
rowdies.  But Carolina gave her a look and she did not interfere.  She
stood there, however."

"Did anything happen, Peachie?" asked Mrs. La Grange, unable to wait for
the sequel.

"Yes, mother, it did.  I believe those girls had dared him to, because
he waited until the very last, then he lifted Carolina off her feet
clear up into the air, and landed her in front of Mrs. Winchester with a
deep bow.  Everybody laughed and screamed for a minute, then something
in the attitude of both Mrs. Winchester and Carolina made them hush.
Cousin Lois’s voice was low, but you could hear it all over the room.

"’Young man,’ she said, ’your name is unknown to me, but let me say to
you that you are not a gentleman!’

"What happened then?" cried Mrs. La Grange.

"Mrs. Giddings, of course.  She always says the cutting thing.  ’You are
perfectly right, Lois,’ she said, ’the man is a nobody.  We expect such
manners from nobodies.  Not that the somebodies are any better, if this
dance is a sample.  This is my first appearance.  Rest assured that it
will be my last.  We Giddings don’t chaperon barn dances!’

"That, from Mrs. Giddings, seemed to sober them.  They all moved away
leaving Rube Bryan bowing and scraping and trying to square himself.
Cousin Lois simply waved him aside as if he were a piccaninny.  She
asked Carolina if she wanted to go home.  Carolina hesitated a minute,
then she lifted that chin of hers and said, ’No; a Lee cannot be driven
from a ballroom by rudeness.  Just let me go and put on my truth!"

"Bless the child!" cried Mrs. La Grange, who was as excited as a
spectator at his first horse-race. "Bless her!  There is pride!  There
is what the French call ’race’!  And to see the dear _putting on the
armour of her religion even in a ballroom_!"

"Mother, Carolina’s religion helps her in everything. Why, she just
stepped out of sight behind a row of palms.  She went to a window and
reached up one arm and leaned her head against it.  With the other hand
she drew back the curtain and looked up at the stars.  I put my arm
around her and she said, in a low, distinct voice. ’The eternal God is
thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.’  ’And mother, it
made the tears come to my eyes.  To think of my beautiful Carolina, with
nothing but love in her heart for the whole South, to come home to us
and be treated so rudely that she had to appeal to God to help her to
get through something which ought to have been only a pleasure to her!"

"I know, my dear baby," said her mother, whose own eyes were
suspiciously bright, "but I rather imagine that to a girl who has seen
the best society that Europe and America have to offer, a dance with a
lot of Savannah boys and girls could not be considered in the light of
much of a treat."

"I know it, mother.  Yet Cousin Carol’s manners are so perfect that she
never lets you suspect that.  She enters into everything with such
love."

"That is her religion," said Mrs. La Grange.

"Oh, that reminds me.  She went on talking aloud as we stood there.  She
said, ’I must remember that the vesture of truth is my raiment. I must
stand sentinel at the door of my thought and not allow error to enter
it.  And the way to keep error out, is to pour love in.  Love!  Love!
Love!  That is the way to meet them. Father--mother--God!  Help me to
love mine enemies!’ Oh, and mother dearest, by that time I was weeping,
but Carol’s eyes were quite dry.  ’Don’t cry, little girl,’ she said, ’I
don’t any more, for I have got beyond the belief that religion is an
emotion. It is too real--too lasting.  Emotions die out.’  And a little
light seemed to dawn for me--just as I have seen clouds break on a dark
night and a single star shine through."

"Then did you go back?" asked her mother, after a pressure of the hand
to show that she understood.  There was a singular bond between these
two.

"Yes, she turned and pressed my hand just as you did then, with such
understanding, and her face was fairly shining, but with such a
different radiance.  ’Come, Peachie, darling! faithful little comrade.
You would not have been one of the disciples who slept and left their
Master to pray alone, would you?  Well, I have conquered my little
moment of error.  Now let’s go back.’  ’And show them how South Carolina
faces her foes,’ I said.  ’Wouldn’t it be better to go back and show
them how South Carolina can forgive?’ she asked."

"Bless her heart!" murmured Mrs. La Grange. "I know how a young girl
feels to be mistreated at a ball."

"Yes, but wait.  The grandest, glorious-est thing happened.  Just as we
came from behind the palms who should be bowing to the chaperons but the
handsomest man I ever saw in my life. Tall, dark, distinguished-looking,
with one white lock of hair and all the rest black as a coal.  He has a
slight limp from a wound at Magersfontein, but it only distinguished him
the more and doesn’t interfere with his dancing a bit.  Well, when he
saw Carolina, his face lighted up and he said, ’Oh, Miss Lee, how
awfully jolly to see you again!  To tell the truth, I had half a mind
not to come, after all I had promised, and I wanted to get out of it the
worst way until I heard that you were to be here.  Then I couldn’t get
here fast enough.’  Well, mother, even if every girl there hadn’t
suddenly found that side of the room strangely attractive, his voice has
a carrying tone, and--well, I wish you could have seen those girls.
They looked as though they had been slapped in the face."

"As they deserved!" said Mrs. La Grange, grimly.

"Then the band struck up a two-step and he turned to Mrs. Winchester and
asked her if she would save her first square dance for him, but she said
she wasn’t dancing.  So then he asked Carolina.  She gave me a little
look which meant that I could have him next, and then!  Well, I’ve seen
dancing all my life, but I never saw anybody dance as those two did.  It
was like the flight of swallows.  So graceful, so dignified, so
distinguished, and yet so spirited.  Carolina dances like a breeze."

"I can imagine just how she dances," cried Mrs. La Grange, excitedly.
"Go on, child!"

"Well, the funniest sight of all was Cousin Lois.  She drew her chin in
and waved her fan and puffed herself out for all the world like our
turkey-hen.  I could have laughed."

"I know just how she felt--just how I should have felt in her place if
you had been treated as Carolina was.  Then did he dance with you?"

"Yes, then he danced with me.  Then with Carolina again.  Then she said
to him, ’Now, Sir Hubert, I want you to meet some of these pretty girls,
but as I don’t know them myself, I shall ask Mr. Little to take you
around and introduce you to the brightest of them, so that you will take
away with you the best impression of our Southern girls.’"

"Oh, Peachie!  I couldn’t have done that!"

"Nor I either, mother.  I just couldn’t.  So Jim started to take him,
but he said, ’Just wait a moment.’  Then he came to me and took--"

"I hope he took more than one!" cried Mrs. La Grange, jealously.

"He took seven, mother.  And in the German he favoured me until--"

"That was too many, Peachie.  You ought not--"

"I know, dearest honey mother.  I ought not to do heaps of things I do
do, but after all, what do I care what those people think of me?  All
they can say is that I flirted with him--"

"Or that he flirted with you," laughed her mother.

"Oh, yes, they will say that, never fear.  And yet--"

"And yet what, my darling?  Here we are at home."

"And yet he took Cousin Lois and Carolina to Jacksonville on his yacht,
and he asked me to go, but I said I had to get back to you, and he was
with us all the rest of the time we were there--"

Her mother turned and looked at her.

"And he is coming to see me on his way back."

As Mrs. La Grange stepped from the carriage with the air of a queen
descending from her chariot, she put her arm around her daughter’s waist
and said:

"I think I have to be proud of a dear, generous little girl whose
loyalty caused an otherwise pleasant week to be spoiled."

Peachie’s cheeks flushed and her eyes sparkled.

"It wasn’t quite spoiled, mother dear.  Oh, honey, he is the handsomest
man and the best dancer!  Just wait till you see him!"



                             CHAPTER XVIII.

                           A LETTER FROM KATE


"NEW YORK.

"DEAREST CAROLINA:--Great news!  Three pieces of it.  First, I have
turned Christian Scientist!  Second, Rosemary Goddard is married to the
Honourable Lionel Spencer!  Third, daddy is so tickled over all that you
have done, as you may have suspected from his letters lately, that he is
going down.  He will take the car, and Noel and Mrs. Goddard, mother,
and I are coming, too!  Don’t bother about accommodations.  We will
switch the car to a siding and live in it.  We may all have to go to
Charleston and Jacksonville, so that you and Peachie and a handy man or
two had better get ready for a rip-roaring old time, for we are going to
make Rome howl.  Noel wants to go to Ormond for the automobile races.
He has entered his machine.  I named it for him,--’The White
Moth,’--don’t you think that’s a dandy name?

"Now to go back to the really important thing. I’ve wanted to be a
Scientist ever since I found out that it wasn’t a drag-net to catch all
the cranks in the world, as I at first supposed.  I found that out in
two ways.  One, by knowing a lot of you who were not in the least
cranks.  The other, by seeing what a lot of cranks there are left!  Yet
all the time I was hating myself and struggling against the compelling
influence.  Did you ever drag a cat across the carpet by the tail?
Well, that is just about the easy, gliding gait I used to reach
Christian Science!

"Still, you’ll never guess who influenced me most.  Not you nor that
heavenly Mrs. Goddard nor the wonderful cures I’ve seen.  Nuh!  Guess
again.  Old Noel!  Yes, sir.  Old skeptical Noel! Brought up for a
Catholic, too.  Wouldn’t that freeze you?  Well, think si to myself,
think si, ’if old Noel can see good in it, and he’s the best all-round
sport, man of the world, and gentleman I know, it’s time little Katie
got aboard.’  So I just climbed on the raft without saying a word to
anybody, expecting everybody to raise Cain, but, to my astonishment,
daddy was as pleased as Punch, and he and mother go to church with me
every Sunday.  What do you say to that?

"At the ball the Goddards gave for Rosemary just before she sailed, I
was doing a two-step with Noel, and I saw a dandy girl, whose gown
simply reeked of Paris, it was so delicious.  She was dancing with a
corking looking man, and, as we stopped near them for me to get a better
look at her clothes, I heard her say, ’Are you going to communion at the
Mother Church?’ and he said, ’I never miss it.  It is the treat of my
whole year!’  I looked at Noel and he looked at me.

"’Noel,’ I said, ’Did I hear aright?  They weren’t betting on a
horse-race in cipher, were they?’  ’No,’ sez he, giggling, ’they were
not. They are Christian Scientists, and they are now talking about an
incorporeal God.’  ’In a ballroom,’ murmurs I to myself.  ’Noel,’ I
said, in a weak voice, ’Take me out and lay me softly under a pump and
bring me to.  I am too young to go dotty without any warning.’  But,
instead of that, we joined them and Noel introduced us to each other,
and we finished the two-step talking about how hard it was to change
from our old idea of a God who was so much like a man that we had to
flag Him and shout out our prayers to be sure to get His attention.  I
used to feel as if I were on the floor of a convention, trying to catch
the Speaker’s eye.

"But I want to ask you two things that I can’t quite get up my nerve to
ask Mrs. Goddard.  What did you do about praying while changing your
idea of a personal, corporeal God to one of spirit?  Why, Carolina, I’ve
lost the combination!  I feel as though I were praying through a
megaphone out of an open window.  My prayers don’t seem to strike
against anything.  Will I get over this feeling in time?  It is only
fair to state, however, that even this queer hit-or-miss method brings
answers which my most frantic screams for help and my most humble and
dependent clinging to the robe of my personal God never did.  So you can
just bet that I’m going to stick to the new method, whether I ever
understand it or not, because it does deliver the goods.  Am I right or
wrong?  I want to know.

"Now, I did tackle Mrs. Goddard on this point. I feel a perfect wretch
to mention it, but the fact is, I simply cannot endure the name of Mrs.
Eddy! Every time they mention ’Science and Health’ in church, they say,
’By Mary Baker G. Eddy.’  Every time they give out a hymn that she
wrote, they say, ’By Mary Baker G. Eddy.’  And every time they do it, my
blood boils and my face burns and I grab my hymn-book until--well, I
split a pair of gloves nearly every Sunday!

"The conceit of that woman!  Suppose she has given the world a new
religion,--why not let us show our gratitude spontaneously.  Why need
she say such conceited, sacrilegious things in her book? She throws hot
air at herself indirectly in every chapter.  It reminds me of a page in
Roosevelt’s ’Alone in Cubia.’  I counted sixty-three I’s on one page in
that book, until I felt like the little boy who said to his father,
after an evening of war experiences, ’Papa, couldn’t you get any one to
help you put down the rebellion?’

"I don’t believe, unless my feeling changes, that I shall ever join the
church while its by-laws remain as they are.  I will work for the cause,
and be diligent and faithful and studious, but I disapprove of a church
being such a close corporation and for one finite, human being to
possess such power as Mrs. Eddy holds, and holds with such pertinacity
and deliberate love of power.

"When I said some of this to Mrs. Goddard, she said that she never
chemicalized over Mrs. Eddy the way great numbers did, but she said you
had a claim at one time, and I want to know if you are over it.  I feel
like a brute to have to admit it even to you, for of course I am
grateful and appreciative and all that.  But if you call what I feel
’chemicalizing,’ I can only say that I can hear myself sizzling like a
bottle of Apollinaris whenever I come across the name of Eddy, and
realize how she holds the power of a female Pope.

"I told Noel about it, but he doesn’t feel it at all.  Never did.  But
he understands how intensely I suffer from it, and he said if I didn’t
mind my eye, I’d blow off a tire right in church.  And once, when he
took me and saw me getting red in the face, he said, ’Now sit tight, old
girl!’ and I nearly laughed aloud.

"Now let me tell you my first demonstration. I am so happy over it I am
going to do something to celebrate it, and that’s another thing I want
to consult you about.

"Yesterday Noel and I were out in the White Moth, and every time I know
I am going out in the thing I read in ’Science and Health’ about
accidents, and declare the truth, so that my mind will be filled with a
preventive.  It comforts me a great deal and is the only thing that
enables me to enjoy an automobile ride in New York, for, with the danger
of blowing up and other people’s bad driving and frightened horses and
the absolute recklessness of pedestrians, you take, if not your life, at
least your enjoyment of life, in your hand whenever you get into a
machine.

"Noel is the most careful chauffeur I ever saw, and we were just
trundling along out in the Bronx, when, without a word of warning, a
little bit of a boy jumped from a crowd of children and stumbled right
in front of us.  I saw him fall, and to my dying day I never shall
forget the sight of his little white, upturned face as he disappeared
under the machine.  We ran right squarely over him!

"I stood up and screamed out: ’You said accidents could not happen!  You
promised!  You promised! We have not hurt that baby!  He is alive! He is
not hurt!  He is not even run over!’  And by that time we had both
jumped down and run back, and a big crowd was gathering.  Talk about
treating audibly!  I was screeching at the top of my voice.  Yet still
there lay the child apparently dead. I picked him up in my arms and sat
down in the mud with him, still, as Noel declares, talking aloud. Oh,
Carolina, I never shall forget the sight of his little hands!  So dirty,
but so _little_!  And his little limp body,--I feel as if I had it in my
lap still. The crowd kept getting bigger, and some policemen came, and
suddenly, with a scream I never can forget even in my dreams, the
child’s mother rushed up.  She raised her fist to strike me in the face,
and I thought I was done for, when suddenly the child’s eyes opened, and
something made me say: ’Here is your baby, little woman.  He is not hurt
at all!’  She fairly snatched him from me and began to feel him all
over, but she could find no broken bones. She was crying and laughing
and kissing him, and I still kept telling her that he was unhurt.  Just
then the police got through with Noel, and he insisted on putting mother
and child and a policeman in the tonneau and taking them to the nearest
hospital to have the child examined.  We did so, and, if you will
believe it, there wasn’t a scratch on him. He either fainted from fright
or we stunned him, the doctor said.

"Two of the surgeons came out and examined the machine, and they found
that there is only a foot of space between the lowest part of the car
and the ground.

"’It is the most miraculous escape I ever saw,’ said one of them, ’to
run over a five-year-old boy and not even scratch him.  To make the
story quite complete you ought to claim to be Christian Scientists.
That is the sort of game they always play on a credulous public.’

"’We are both Christian Scientists,’ said Noel, in his most polite
manner, ’and I am deeply impressed with your involuntary tribute to its
efficacy in case of accident.’

"Between you and me, I don’t believe that doctor got his mouth together
again without help.

"Well, we had the greatest time when we got back.  First, we took every
child on the scene--and I believe there must have been a hundred--to an
ice-cream saloon and treated them.  And while they were waiting their
turns, Noel filled the White Moth with them and gave them a ride.  I
never had so much fun in my life.  I went home with the mother, with a
quart of ice-cream in each hand, and got her to tell me the story of her
life. Poor soul!  She has nine children, but she loves each one as if it
were her all.  Noel and I are both going to do something for that child.
His name is Dewey Dolan.

"When it was all over, and we were sneaking along back streets to get
home without being seen, for we were both sights, and the Moth will have
to be done over, I began to think of the way I had acted, and I have
made Noel promise never to take me out again unless I have my Amityville
tag on, so that, if I go crazy out loud again, they will know where I
have escaped from.

"But Noel, dear old thing, confessed that he was declaring the truth no
less, only in a quieter way, and we both firmly believe that our little
knowledge of Science and our understanding, incomplete though it is, are
what turned that calamity into a blessing, for a blessing I am
determined to crown it.

"What do you think of my idea?  You know how I have always been carried
away over children,--how their sufferings and deaths have almost turned
me into an infidel,--how the carelessness of parents and nurses has
almost driven me insane,--well, if they can be protected by Christian
Science thought and healed by mind, why not hasten the day by
establishing a Christian Science kindergarten, and, if it succeeds, by a
series of them? There must be plenty of kindergartners among Scientists
who would welcome a combination of their work, and in the crowded
tenement districts it would be a boon.  But, oh, how carefully we must
go, for the poor will only allow themselves to be helped in their own
blind way.  Tell me if you think there is any hope for the philanthropic
end of it.  I am going to open one for the children of ready-made
Scientists in my own house,--you know I studied kindergartning, and I
have ten already promised.  I shall have no trouble about assistants for
my Fifth Avenue school.  But the other place is the one my heart is in.
Tell me what you think of that.

"Rosemary is coming back here to live.  Her husband is a Christian
Scientist, and has gone into business in New York, so I know she will
help me, but, oh, Carolina, you will never know how I miss you!  New
York is not the same place since you left it.  You have such a way of
dominating every spot you are in by your own personality.  Does this hot
air sound natural from Kate Howard?

"I am crazy--fairly daffy--over your success in the turpentine, and
daddy goes around swelling out his chest and strutting like a turkey
gobbler. Why, Carolina, do you realize that you will not only make
yourself rich and anybody you choose to let into the game, but that you
will be opening up by force, so to speak, with your Educational
Turpentine Corner, an industry which will revolutionize the entire
turpentine pine country?  It is a big project, my dear, to have emanated
from the brain of a woman.  But, oh, won’t the papers fairly eat you
raw!

"I will attend to all the commissions you sent and bring the stuff down
in the car.  A good many of us want newer and finer editions of ’Science
and Health,’ and, if you utterly refuse to make presents of them for the
good of the cause, we will sell our old books at whatever you think your
friends can afford to pay.  I agree with you that it is better to make
them pay something for them.

"Rawlins, our butler, and two of the footmen go regularly to the
Christian Science church, and Rawlins has been healed of intemperance
through Mrs. Goddard’s butler.  Perkins says he owes his conversion to
the day Gladys Yancey walked across the floor for Noel’s doll.  So you
see we all had a hand in the work you started, and a little leaven is
leavening the whole lump.

"Oh, Carolina, you know how discontented and fractious I used to be?
Well, it is all gone,--all the fear, the dread of the unknown, the
unhappiness, and the temper, and I am happy for the first time in my
life!

"But now good-bye, my dearest friend.  I am bringing some dandy glad
rags with which to astonish the natives.  Tell Peachie that I go to
every sale I hear of, and that I am bringing her and Flower some of the
dearest little inexpensive remnants they ever saw.  Bless those girls!
It sorta makes my old heart ache to think they haven’t the clothes they
need to set off their good looks.

"Again good-bye.  Best love to Cousin Lois and yourself from all of us.
And I am as ever your slave.  KATE."



                              CHAPTER XIX.

                                THE FEAR


Carolina had not been a week among her kinsmen before they began to warn
her of the terror of the South.  They definitely forbade her ever riding
alone, except in broad daylight along the public highway, and even then
some white man of her acquaintance generally made it his business to be
called in whatever direction she happened to be going.

All this Carolina saw and felt and appreciated, but with the natural
fearlessness of her character and the total want of comprehension which
women seem to feel who have never come into contact with this universal
dread of all Southern States, Carolina often forgot her warnings, and
tempted opportunity by striking off the highway into the pine woods to
inspect her turpentine camps.

Once Moultrie La Grange found her unaccompanied by any white man,
talking to a burly negro in a camp, and when he had taken her away and
they had gained the road where she could see distinctly, she found him
white and shaking. Knowing his physical courage, this exhibition of fear
startled her, and for a few weeks she was more cautious.

Then one afternoon she mounted Scintilla and rode into Enterprise for
the mail.  She received the letter from Kate which has just been quoted
and read it as she rode along.  It contained so much food for thought
that Carolina forgot everything else, until, looking up, she found that
she was just opposite the new terrapin crawl she was having prepared
under Moultrie’s direction.  Without thinking, she struck into the woods
and threaded her way among the giant pine-trees toward the coast.

It was virgin forest and on her own land, a tract she intended leasing
to some orchard turpentine factors in Jacksonville.  It was twilight in
the forest, but Carolina rode forward fearlessly, glancing sharply at
the trees for signs of their having been boxed by thieving negroes.

Suddenly she saw a boxed tree, and, springing down, she drew Scintilla’s
bridle over her arm and stooped to examine the suspected tree.  As she
was bending down, Scintilla jerked her head, and the bridle slipped from
Carolina’s arm.  She sprang to her feet, but, with a nicker of delight,
the handsome horse kicked up her heels and pranced away from her,
looking for all the world like a child ready for a romp.

So free from fear she was that Carolina laughed aloud, but the laugh
froze on her lips, for, without turning her head, she could see,
crouching down and creeping toward her, the huge form of a negro man,
whose half-open mouth and half-closed eyes, as he stole noiselessly
closer and closer, instantly told her of her dire peril.

The girl’s whole body became rigid with terror,--a terror so intense and
so unspeakable that she realized how it was that women can go mad from
the effect of it.  In a moment, every warning, every hint, every word
that she had heard on the subject flashed through her brain with
lightning quickness. An intense silence reigned in the forest, broken
only by Scintilla’s cropping a stray tuft of spring grass and the
footsteps of the black creeping nearer to his white prey.

Carolina never thought of screaming.  No white man was within a mile of
her.  Oh, for Moultrie,--Moultrie, who had saved her once before!  A
sick feeling came over her--things began to swim before her eyes--she
swayed--and at the sight of her weakness the negro stood upright.

He was no longer a crawling horror.  He was a man, and her God was at
hand!

The girl smote her hands together.  "His truth shall be thy shield!"
"God is my all!"  "He is my rock and my fortress!"  "Thou shalt call
upon me and I will answer!"  "Fear not, for I am with thee!"  Detached
sentences, phrases, half-sentences fell from her lips in frozen
whispers.  But the man stood still.  He was no longer crawling toward
her. And they stood looking at each other.  He had queer eyes,--one blue
and one black--where had she heard of such eyes--where had she seen this
very man?

"’Polyte!" she cried.

Instantly the white woman got the ascendency over the black blood of the
man.

"’Polyte, do you know who you are?  You are the son of my father’s
nurse!  Your mother was my father’s black mammy!"

The assurance, even the confidence, left the man’s manner.  His
shoulders drooped perceptibly.  He took a backward step.  Surely she did
not know what he was or she would not speak to him except to scream for
help.

"Do you know who I am?"

"Yas, missis."

"You don’t know how you frightened me, until I saw who you were.  Then I
knew that you would catch Scintilla for me.  Mr. Moultrie has told me
what a way you have with animals."

In an instant the man was her servant, the son of her grandfather’s
slave.  His fear of detection and punishment left him, and he was quick
enough to know that her supposed ignorance of his intentions had saved
him from a horrible death.  He was a bad negro partly because he was so
intelligent.

"I’ll git her for you.  Jes’ watch me!"

He turned eagerly toward the horse and snapped his fingers.  Scintilla
raised her head and began to step gingerly toward the man.  ’Polyte’s
power over animals may have been hypnotism, but to Carolina it was like
magic to see Scintilla’s bridle in ’Polyte’s hand.  The man proudly led
the mare to her.

"Help me to mount," said Carolina, her shaking knees threatening every
minute to give way beneath her.  "No, hold your hand, and when I put my
foot in it, you lift me.  There!"

Once on her horse’s back, Carolina felt her heart begin to beat with
less noise.  It seemed as if he could see how it pounded against her
side.

"’Polyte," she said, "you are what people call a bad man.  You have been
bleeding my trees, and I don’t know what all.  Why don’t you behave?"

The man kicked at a tuft of moss.

"Nobody won’t hire me, Miss Calline.  Ise done been in de chain-gang too
often.  Nobody won’ trus’ me!"

"Well, if I will trust you, for the sake of your dead mother, will you
be good and faithful to me?"

The man’s face lighted up.  He took a step toward her.

"Will I?  Miss Calline, on’y jes’ try me!  I kin do anyt’in’!"

"I believe you.  Well, I’m going to try you.  I want you to be my--well,
my body-servant.  To go everywhere I go and take care of
me--so--I--won’t--be--frightened--again.  Will you?"

The man’s eyes wavered in momentary terror. But he kept his head.

"On’y jes’ try me!"

"I’m going to.  But you must have a horse to ride.  Look out for a good
one, and one for me, too.  You must get me, ’Polyte, the best
saddle-horse in South Carolina!"

"Yas’m.  I’ll do my bes’.  I kin git you a hawse."

"I’ll pay you good wages, ’Polyte.  But you mustn’t drink.  If a lady
hires you, you can never get drunk, you know."

"I’ll tek de pledge."

"Take any pledge that you can keep," said Carolina.  She gathered up the
reins and turned her horse.  The man took a step nearer.

"Well, ’Polyte?"

"Miss Calline--"

"Well?"

"Nobody ain’t ever trusted me befo’!"

"Well?"

"Not even my ole mammy.  She voodooed me. She said I brought her bad
luck, an’ everybody tuk up de bad word agin me--"

"Well?"

"Even when I was a child, dey laid ever’thin’ awn to me."

"I know."

"Well, you say ’’Polyte, I trus’ you.  You tek care ob me.’"

"Yes, that is what I say."

"Well, Miss Calline, _you gwine be teken cah ob_!"

"I am sure of it.  Good-bye, ’Polyte."

As she rode away, Carolina’s shoulders drooped until she seemed fairly
to shrink in her saddle.

"If he had touched me--oh, my God!--if he had touched me, I would have
killed myself!"

She bowed her face in her hands, and the bitter tears streamed through
her fingers.

She strove to think--to quiet herself--no one must know.  Suddenly she
heard the hoof-beats of a horse behind her.  She dashed away her tears
and straightened herself in her saddle.  If any white man suspected the
cause of her agitation, a human life--the life of some black man--would
pay the forfeit.  ’Polyte’s life was in her keeping. She began to think
of him as her property,--a human soul given into her power until it
could be saved through her ministrations.  God help him to have got
away!  God protect him!  Black or white, he was God’s child!  The
tear-stained face of a white woman,--a woman riding alone?

Scintilla had never felt a spur before in her life. Carolina knew it by
her snort of fright and surprise.  But she needed her best speed to draw
away from the avenging white man on her track.

In her stall that night, Scintilla knew that there was a sharp-toothed
animal which had bitten her twice in one short ride.  She had tried to
run away from it, but it was fastened to a woman’s heel.



                              CHAPTER XX.

                                MOULTRIE


It was the last of March.  Spring, which comes so early in the South,
was already in the fulfilment of her promise, and no lovelier spot could
be found than that portion of South Carolina which contains the estates
of Guildford, Sunnymede, and Whitehall.

Carolina, although working hard all of every day and often far into some
nights, was happier than she had ever been in her life.  She was free
from the persecutions of Colonel Yancey at last.  Little Gladys was now
perfectly healed and as active as other children.  Moultrie was proving
a most eager and progressive student of Christian Science, and, while
most of his narrowness and astonishing ignorance was still painfully in
evidence at times when discussions of import took place, yet Carolina
held faithfully to the thought that perfect harmony must result in time,
and that such a fine mind as he naturally possessed must yield to the
enlightenment which most men inherit.  Instead of this, however,
Moultrie La Grange inherited prejudices which had dwarfed and hampered
his mental and spiritual advancement, and which mere friends overlooked.
But to Carolina, who loved him, they were heart-breaking.  It was as
impossible to discuss history with most of her relatives as to expect
them to speak Chinese.  In the country schools they used a history which
described the Civil War as a series of rebel victories, and the outcome
of the war was not accounted for in any way.  Carolina, in reading the
book at Moultrie’s request, wondered if the pupils, after a study of its
facts, did not question the sanity of Gen. Robert E. Lee for
surrendering a victorious and a gloriously successful army to a
conquered and outnumbered foe, simply because General Grant asked him
to.  When she handed the history back to Moultrie, Carolina said, sadly:

"I wonder what you will say when I tell you that my dear father, who was
as loyal a Southerner as ever lived, and who entered the Confederate
army when he was only sixteen years old, was engaged at the time of his
death in an elaborate life of Abraham Lincoln, whom he regarded as the
best friend the South ever had, and the noblest patriot America ever
produced!"

The young man’s face flushed with feeling, but he was too wise to
express his bitter disagreement with Carolina’s views.

But she knew how he felt and that, unless he deliberately determined to
open his mind to the truth in every way, that she never could bring
herself to marry him, and thus court discord in her daily life.

He did the best he could, but among his own people he passed muster as
an unusually fine fellow, well-educated and progressive.  It was only
when brought into contact with a broad-minded, cultured young woman like
Carolina that Moultrie’s intellect showed its limitations.  However, the
fact that he was proud of his prejudices was the only alarming thing
about the whole situation.  Carolina saw his possibilities.  She
recognized his courage; she trusted in his capacity to rouse himself
from his ignorance; she knew that he would some day awaken to the
impression he made upon cultivated minds.  And the more she yielded to
his charm, to his chivalrous care of her, to the attraction his almost
ideal beauty had for her, the more she was determined to save him in
spite of himself.  She knew that she could expect no help from his
family, who idealized him just as he was, and who would have regarded an
intimation that even a Benjamin Franklin would have found him crude, as
sacrilege. Nor could relatives or friends avail, for did not all in his
little community think as he did, and were not prejudices respected?
No, she realized that she must save him unaided and alone.  Therefore,
when, in a burst of passion which nearly swept her off her feet and left
her shaken and trembling, he asked her to marry him, she took her
courage in both hands and refused.

He stared at her in a dismay so honest and unfeigned that she almost
smiled.  Then his face flushed, and he said, in a low, hurt tone:

"I understand.  You have urged me to believe that Flower’s ancestry was
not the disgraceful thing I suspect, when you could not bring yourself
to believe it.  That can--that must be your only reason, for you love
me, Carolina.  You have shown me in a hundred ways that you liked my
care of you; you have permitted my attentions, you have not discouraged
my honest, ardent love, which every one has been a witness to.  You do
care for me!  You cannot deny it."

"Moultrie," said the girl, slowly, "I do not wish to deny it.  I never
said I did not love you, for I love you more dearly than you know or
than you ever will know.  I said I would not marry you, but not, oh, not
on Flower’s account.  I believe implicitly in all I have said of her.
If that were all, I would marry you to-morrow.  But that is not the
reason."

"Then what is?  Oh, Carolina, love, _love_!"

"You don’t know me at all, Moultrie, or you would know what I am going
to say."

"I reckon I don’t, dear, for I haven’t an idea of the reason."

"Well, it is because we never could be happy together, holding such
different ideals and such different codes of honour.  Colonel Yancey
told my father in London that he would find the South heart-breaking,
and it is."

The young man stared into her lovely face in a very genuine
astonishment.

"Our codes of honour different, Carolina?" he said.  "Oh, I hope not.  I
should be sorry to think that your code of honour differed from mine."

"And, dear friend--"

"Don’t call me friend!  I am not your friend! I am your lover!"

"No, let me call you friend, for that is all that I can call you at
present.  I should be sorry to hold a code of honour no higher than
yours."

The slow, dark flush of pride and race rose in the man’s fine face.
Carolina was daring to say such words to a La Grange.  But Carolina
herself was a Lee.

"I should be sorry," said Carolina, deliberately, not waiting for his
reply, "to be so narrow that I could refuse an offer to improve my land,
denuded and mortgaged as it is,--an offer for the only rights I had left
to sell, and which would give me plenty of money to enable me to restore
the home of my ancestors,--simply because the syndicate furnishing the
money was composed of Northern men, thus, for a senseless prejudice,
compelling my mother and sister to eke out their income by sewing for
_negroes_!"

Had Carolina struck him in the face, he could not have turned a whiter
countenance upon her than he did.  Twice he opened his lips to speak and
twice closed them again with the futile words still unspoken.  His hands
were clenched at his side, his whole figure rigid with outraged pride.
Yet he continued to look his accuser in the face, and Carolina honoured
him for his courage even while she could see self-knowledge dawn and
humiliation take the place of his dethroned pride.  The first blow had
been struck which was to unmask his pitiable attitude,--the attitude of
the typical young Southerner of to-day, proud of his worn-out
prejudices, and unaware that his very pride in them is in rags.

Carolina clasped her hands to hide their trembling.  She could have
cried out in pity for the suffering in the face of the man she loved,
but she dared not speak one word of the sympathy her heart ached to
show, for fear of undoing her work. Blindly she steeled herself for the
words she feared would pour forth.  Dully she wondered if, when they
came, they would end everything between them, and preclude any possible
overtures on her part when the leaven should have worked.  But the
words, bitter or otherwise, did not come.  Still he simply stood and
looked at her.

Then, with a gesture both graceful and dignified, he bent and took her
hand and kissed it.

"I understand," he said, simply, and Carolina, turning away, albeit sick
at heart, felt a dawning thrill of pride--her first--that she had come
to love this man.



                              CHAPTER XXI.

                            THE LIGHT BREAKS


One afternoon, a few days later, there came an hour of stifling heat,
and Carolina, sitting in her little cottage room with "Science and
Health" on her knees, heard the rise and fall of voices in earnest
discussion, which seemed to come from the back porch.  When she appeared
at the door to ascertain who it was, she found Aunt Calla, the cook at
Whitehall, and Aunt Tempy, Flower’s baby’s mammy, in animated
conversation with Rose Maud, her own cook.

"Dar she is now!" exclaimed Calla.  "Miss Calline, I was jes’ awn my way
over hyah to ax yoh advice as to what I shall do wid dat no ’count Lily
ob mine, when erlong come Sis Tempy in de Barnwells’ cah’yall, sent by
Miss Flower to say will you please come over to see de baby right away,
en Sis Tempy done fetch me wid her."

"Is anything wrong with the baby?" asked Carolina, quickly.

"No’m! no’m!" cried Tempy.  "Miss Flowah got somepin’ mighty fine to
show you.  Miss Callina, de lill fellah kin see!"

"Oh, Tempy, how glad I am to hear it!"

"Well’m, I reckon you is de one what otto hyah it fust," said the old
woman, with a shrewd glance.

"Why, what do you mean?" asked Carolina.

The three women settled themselves with such an air of having come to
the point that Carolina felt reasonably sure that they had been
discussing the affair, and that further concealment was no longer of any
avail.  She was surprised to see that, instead of the hostility she had
feared, each old woman had the appearance of eager curiosity if not of
real interest.

"I means, Miss Callina, dat I believes--we all believes--dat you done
kunjered" (conjured) "de chile en kyored him," said Calla.

"I ain’t a-saying dat," put in Tempy.  "I ain’t a-saying but what you is
raised de spell what de voodoo done put awn de chile."

"En I tells um, Miss Callina," ventured Rose Maud, Carolina’s own cook,
"dat hit’s yoh new religion what done it, en I tole em I believed dat
you is de Lawd Jesus come down to yearth de secon’ time, wid power to
heal de sick, to cast out debbils, en to raise de dead."

"Rose Maud, Jesus was a man, and you know that He will never take the
form of a woman," said Carolina, "so don’t ever say such a foolish thing
again.  But He gave that power to His disciples, and this new religion
of mine you are talking about gives that same power both to men and
women."

"Miss Callina," cried Tempy and Calla at the same time, "has you got dat
power?"

"Ask Rose Maud," said Carolina.

"I done tole ’em, Miss Callina," cried Rose Maud.  "But dey is bofe
doubtin’ Thomases.  Dey won’t believe until dey sees."

"Miss Callina," pleaded Calla, "I cain’t believe jis’ caze I _wants tuh
so bad_.  Ef you kin mek me believe, I would fall down awn my face wid
joy.  I ain’t never been satisfied wid no religion.  Sis Tempy will tell
you.  Ise done jined de chutch en fell from grace mo’ times den I kin
count.  But, missy, _even niggers_ want a trufe dat dey kin cling tuh!"

"Dat’s a fack, Miss Callina!" broke in Aunt Tempy.  "En ef you will jis’
put awn yoh hat en go wid us in de Barnwells’ cah’yall, en ’splain
t’ings to us lake Jesus done when He tuk de walk to Emyus" (Emmaus),
"you will be talkin’ to thirsty sinners what are des a-begging of you
fur de water ob life!"

Carolina remembered the great number of intelligent coloured faces which
were scattered through the congregations of the beautiful white marble
church, with its splendour and glory of stained glass, in New York, and
she wondered if here, in the pleadings of these three fat old coloured
women in the pine forest of South Carolina lay the answer to the great
and ever burning question of the white man’s burden.  As she debated
swiftly, her heart leaped to the task.  It was not for her to refuse to
spread the truth when it was so humbly and earnestly desired.

"Come then," she said, "ask me questions, and I will tell you the
answers that my new religion teaches.  You may come, too, Rose Maud."

The Barnwells’ carryall went slowly out through the great avenue of
live-oaks from Carolina’s little cottage at Guildford into the "big
road" which led to Sunnymede.  But no one thought of the incongruity of
the three old coloured women and Jake, letting the horses drive
themselves, while he listened with pathetic eagerness to the clear,
earnest tones of the white young lady, who simply and sincerely answered
the questions all four asked of her with such painful anxiety and eager
understanding.

Meanwhile the storm, which the intense heat presaged, gathered, and they
hurried the horses in order to reach Sunnymede before it broke.

"Dat’s all I ask," cried Aunt Tempy.  "I don’ need to ax no mo’
questions.  Miss Callina done fixed t’ings for old Tempy."

"I allus knowed dat I was a worshipper ob de unknown God," cried Calla.
"Ef I had ’a’ knowed de right One, does y’all reckon He would ’a’ let me
get away?  No, suh!  De Lawd hol’s awn tuh His own!"

The storm broke just as they reached Flower’s little cabin in the dreary
stump-filled waste which had once been the handsome estate of the La
Granges.  Flower met them at the door and welcomed them in.

"Hurry, Jake, and get the horses safe before the rain comes.  Aunt
Tempy, take Calla and Rose Maud to the kitchen and give them some
sassafras tea.  Oh, Cousin Carolina, dearest, did Tempy tell you?  Oh,
the blessed, blessed news!  For two nights now, the lamb has turned over
in his crib because the light hurt his eyes.  I didn’t send for you the
first time because I wanted to be sure.  I was reading the fourteenth of
John, and when I came to the verse, ’And if ye shall ask anything in my
name, I will do it,’ I just threw the Bible down and fell on my face on
the floor and begged God for my baby’s eyesight.  And, when I looked, he
had turned over.  Oh, Cousin Carol, Cousin Carol, I think I shall go mad
with joy!"

"Let me see him," cried Carolina, rushing past Flower and snatching up
the baby.  "Oh, yes, dearest, I can see even a different expression in
his eyes. And see how he blinks in the light!  Flower, your baby is
healed!"

"I know it," said Flower, reverently.  "And I shall thank God for it on
my knees every day of my life."

A terrific flash of lightning at that moment almost blinded them.  It
was followed instantaneously by a clap of thunder which nearly rent the
cabin in twain.  Flower immediately seized her baby, with a face made
ashen by fear, and looking apprehensively at windows and doors, she
whispered:

"The voodoo!  Watch for her!  She always comes in a thunder-storm!"

At the same time the three old women, with Jake, and Flower’s black
cook, old Eloise Lu, stumbled into the room, crying:

"Foh de Lawd’s sake, Miss Flower, honey, let us in hyah!  De Day of
Judgment sho has come!"

"Nonsense!" cried Carolina, with a sternness none of them had ever
suspected her of possessing. "For shame, you Tempy and Rose Maud and
Calla!  Where is your new religion?  Where is your understanding of the
truth?  Is God going to punish you for coming to Him as you just told me
you had come?  Oh, faithless disciples!  Now see if _I_ am afraid of a
little thunder and lightning!"

They straightened up under her words, and, with rapidly clearing faces,
they watched her go toward the open door.  The rain was coming straight
down with a terrific tropical downpour, and, as Carolina stepped
suddenly to the open door, she saw the same figure she had seen before,
in the act of leaving a little clump of pine-trees to come nearer to the
cabin. The figure spied Carolina at the same time, and, lifting a hand,
beckoned to the girl.  Without a thought of fear, but with rather a wild
questioning hope in her heart, Carolina, to the amazement of the cabin
inmates, and later on no less to her own, stepped out into the pouring
rain and ran toward the shelter of the trees.

They all crowded into the doorway to see her go, and, when they
recognized the other figure, they were speechless with awe.

Miss Carolina had deliberately gone to meet the voodoo and lift the
curse!  Then she was indeed a chosen one of God!



                             CHAPTER XXII.

                          IN THE VOODOO’S CAVE


As Carolina felt the rain drenching her to the skin, the thought came to
her, "This is the first time in all my life that I ever was thoroughly
wet with rain, yet to how many of the less favoured ones of earth this
must be no unusual occurrence. How sheltered my life has been!"

And the thought of God’s protection went with her as she approached the
motionless figure under the pines.

At first Carolina took the woman to be a quadroon, but, on a nearer
view, she saw that none of the features was African.  Rather the high
cheekbones and sombre eyes suggested the Indian.

The woman held out her hand, and, as Carolina yielded hers, the woman
said, in a voice whose tones vibrated with a resemblance to Flower’s:

"You must come with me.  You will not be afraid.  You are a Lee.  I have
been waiting a long, long time to get speech with you, but your wet
clothes must be dried.  Will you follow me?"

"Willingly," said Carolina, gently.

The woman did not smile, but her face lighted.

"You will not be sorry," she said, tersely.  Then she turned and led the
way.

The rain still came down in torrents, but, as Carolina was already wet
through, she thoroughly enjoyed the novel sensation.  She remembered how
often, as a child, she had begged to be allowed to go out and get
sopping wet--just once!--and had been denied.

Suddenly the woman paused.

"Do you know where we are?" she said.

Carolina looked around, but could see no possible place of concealment.
The ground was flat and somewhat rocky.  The river made a sudden bend
here, and in this clearing lay huge pieces of rock half-embedded in the
soil.  The timber had been cut, and now a second growth of scrubby trees
had grown up, hedging the spot in a thicket of underbrush.

"No," said Carolina.  "I never was here before."

"But you will come many times again," said the woman.  "Look!"

She knelt in the sand and scratched away with both hands at the base of
a great rock, until she came to its edge.  Then with one hand she
pushed, and the great boulder was balanced so neatly on its fellow that
it slid back, revealing a natural cave.

The cool, underground air came in a wave to Carolina’s nostrils, laden
with mystery.  Only one moment she hesitated.

"You are sure we can get out?" she said.

"I am sure.  From where I stand I can see through this underground
passage the sail of a ship on the ocean.  But this rock will not slip.
Watch me."

She was already in the cave, and she reached out, and, with apparently
little effort, pulled the boulder into place, closing herself in.
Carolina put her hand under the rock and felt its perfect balance give.
She herself opened the cave again.

"I will come," said Carolina.  "Have you a light?"

Never could she forget the hour which followed. She sat in this cavern,
wrapped in an Indian blanket, watching her thin clothes dry before the
fire the woman had kindled and listening to the following story:

"I have watched you," said the Indian, "ever since you came, and when I
found that you were the one to cause my daughter to take her rightful
place in the La Grange family--you start.  Flower is my own daughter.  I
am a half-breed Indian. My name is Onteora.  Both my grandfather and his
father were chiefs of the Cherokee tribe.  I am a direct descendant of
the great chief Attakullakulla, friendly to your people, who, in 1761,
made peace between the Cherokees and the great war governor, Bull.  My
father married a white woman of good family, named Janet Christopher.
I, too, married white blood.  I was married by Father Hennessey, the
Jesuit priest, to a Frenchman named Pierre Pellisier, who died in
Charleston in 1889. I have the documents to prove all these things.
Here, I will show them to you.

"I am educated beyond my class.  I speak French.  I can read and write,
but no one knows what I can do, because I have lived as an Indian woman
in order to avert suspicion from my child. All my children died except
Flower.  She was my baby,--pure white, as you see, and so pretty!  Miss
Le Moyne, who educated Flower, knew the truth. We agreed upon terms.
Miss Le Moyne would have gone to the poorhouse if it had not been for
the money I gave her every week for the care of Flower.  And yet she
would have betrayed the secret she swore by her crucifix to keep, if
death had not struck her dumb just in time!"

"But why," interrupted Carolina, "did you not come forward after
Flower’s marriage and tell the La Granges of her honourable birth?  It
is a proud heritage to have the blood of kings run in her veins."

Onteora shook her head.

"The time was not ripe.  _It needed you to open their eyes_.  Now they
will listen because Fleur-de-lys has found a friend!  You have rescued
her from their contempt.  You have rescued my grandson from blindness--a
blindness I knew the moment I looked at him.  And for that reason I have
a gift for the daughter of the Lees--a gift she will not despise!"

Onteora disappeared and when she came back she held in one hand two
silver coasters, beautifully carved and inscribed in French, "From the
Marquis de La Fayette to his friend Moultrie Lee, Esquire, of Guildford,
1784."  And in the other a large silver tankard engraved, "To
Major-General Gadsden Lee, of Guildford, from his obliged friend, George
Washington, 1791."

Carolina’s shining eyes were lifted from the massive silver pieces to
Onteora’s face.  The woman nodded.

"The famous Lee silver!  I have it all!  It was I who removed it and hid
it here.  It was in 1866, before I was married.  I tracked ’Polyte and
her husband to its hiding-place and took it away.  No one ever knew--not
even my husband!  I never knew why I kept it secret.  I saw the rewards
offered.  I could have been rich.  I could have dowered Fleur-de-lys so
that even the La Granges would have welcomed her.  But something told me
to wait.  Wait!  Wait!  Now, I know why.  It was to give it to you in
return for my child’s happiness!  If I had returned it for the money,
that money would have gone to help ruin the La Granges, and I should
have come to you empty-handed!"

The woman was barbaric in this speech.  She showed her Indian blood, her
Indian power, her Indian patience.

Carolina reached out her hand and Onteora took it in both of hers.

"What do you wish me to do?" Carolina asked, gently.

"Take these," said Onteora with sudden passion, thrusting the documents
toward Carolina, "and show them to the La Granges!"

She sprang to her feet and folded her arms in a matchless pride.

She was, in truth, an Indian.

The rain had ceased and Carolina’s things were dried.  Onteora helped
her to dress, her eyes shining with delight at Carolina’s beauty, but
she expressed nothing in words.

"Come and see your silver," she said.

She led Carolina to a smaller cavern, where, by the light of a candle,
Carolina could see the black shapes of all the silver Cousin De Courcey
had described to her.  But so cunningly was this cavern concealed, that
even one who discovered the cave wherein they stood would never have
found the cavern.

"It reminds me of Monte Cristo!" she said to herself in the breathless
delight every one feels at the touch of the romantic and mysterious in a
humdrum daily life.

Then, as she realized the boundless Source of Supply whence this
precious silver and thrice precious information had come, Carolina
turned and put her arms around Onteora.

At this sign of human love, tears filled the eyes of the Indian.



                             CHAPTER XXIII.

                             LOOSE THREADS


Mrs. Goddard alone knew of Carolina’s discouragements, disappointments,
and dangers, as the summer came and went.  To all others the girl turned
a smiling face, and Mrs. La Grange often wondered at her courage.  How
could she know that there were times when that sorely tried courage
ebbed so low that many a cipher telegram winged its soft way to her
practitioner for help, and that the battle with tears and disheartenment
was fought out alone in the silence and sanctuary of her closet?

Often things went very wrong.  She was cheated by men because she was a
woman.  She was hated by the rural doctors because she healed diseases.
She was an object of suspicion among the neighbours because she was not
"orthodox."  She was accused of inciting the negroes to an idea of
social equality because she taught them.  Father Hennessey gave her all
the trouble he could, but Carolina’s constant and unvarying kindness to
the poor in his parish finally drove him to an armed neutrality.  He
hated her, but dared not show it too openly, because she had powerful
influence back of her.  The La Granges rose to her defence _en masse_,
and carried all their enormous relationship with them.  Carolina had
removed the largest blot from their escutcheon, and no price was too
great to pay.  Flower became the pet of the whole family, and, in their
gratitude, they even endeavoured to provide for Onteora, but that wise
woman, having seen justice meted out to her child, silently disappeared,
and, beyond knowing that she lived and wanted for nothing, they could
discover no more about her.

She was not too far away, however, to keep the unruly negroes in order,
and many a warning went out from the voodoo when Carolina’s interests
were jeopardized.

’Polyte’s surveillance was something Carolina had not bargained for.  At
first his devotion was engendered by gratitude for the trust she placed
in him, and fear, for he knew that she actually held over him the power
of life and death.  Even if she were ignorant of the true significance
of that meeting in the woods, at what moment might not some stray
anecdote bring home to her its meaning? ’Polyte was no fool, and there
were times when he writhed in a hell of fear.

Then gradually Carolina’s personality began to gain ascendency over him,
as it had over Tempy and Calla and Rose Maud, and even flighty ones like
Lily and her kind, and he worshipped her as a superior being.  Carolina
embodied to the negroes the old times of prosperity and the patriarchal
protection of the whites.  They liked the idea of the restoration of the
old Guildford mansion.  Aged negroes, who had known the place in its
prime, heard of its rebuilding and journeyed back many weary miles to
see "old mahstah’s" granddaughter, and to test her hospitality.  Several
of these Carolina annexed and housed in the clean and shining new
quarters, and she was amply repaid by their real knowledge of past
events and their idolatry of herself as the last of the Lees.

’Polyte studied her every whim, and carried it out with the zeal of a
fetich.

The mare Araby became her property almost by magic.  ’Polyte would never
say one word concerning it, but one day Barnwell Mazyck sent word to
Carolina that she could have the mare on her own terms, only he felt
obliged to warn her that Araby had turned vicious.

’Polyte spoke only one sentence.

"Ef you tek her, missy, she won’t trick _you_!"

"Oh, ’Polyte!" cried Carolina, "what have you been doing?"

"Not a t’ing, Miss Callina.  Honest!  Only I raised dat mah, en I knows
huh!"

Carolina still hesitated until Moultrie brought word that Araby had
nipped at Barney’s hand, and in a rage he had kicked her.  After that,
the mare would not allow him to approach, but even at the sight of him
she would rear, bite, and kick, so that, being quite useless to her
owner, he proposed to sell her,--if not to Carolina, then to some one
else.

Hearing that decided the girl.  She bought Araby, and sent ’Polyte to
fetch her.

The beautiful creature proved as gentle as a lamb, and, even on the day
when ’Polyte led her up for Carolina to see, she nosed her new mistress
lovingly.

"Why, she seems just as usual," said Carolina, but she did not see
’Polyte’s heaving shoulders and convulsed face.

Thus, for the most part, the negroes were Carolina’s friends.  They not
only stood in awe of her body-guard, ’Polyte, who knew them root and
branch, good and bad alike, but their childish vanity was tickled by the
beauty of the small white marble chapel Carolina built on the estate,
which had an organ and stained-glass windows and a gallery for negroes.

This had been Mr. Howard’s gift to the little band of Christian
Scientists which he had found on his first trip down South, meeting
every Sunday on Carolina’s cottage porch, which, vine-shaded and
screened and furnished daintily, was as large as the cottage itself.  He
took infinite pleasure in furnishing the finest material and in rushing
the work with Northern energy, and personally supervising the building.

He well knew that he could please Carolina in no better way, and, when
Rosemary Goddard’s husband, the Honourable Lionel Spencer, became
president of the turpentine company, which was organized on the basis of
Carolina’s investigations, and confirmed by Mr. Howard’s agents, and it
became necessary for the Spencers to live in South Carolina, Rosemary
was elected first reader of the little church, and Carolina offered them
the use of her cottage until they could build, while she and Cousin Lois
took possession of the now completed Guildford mansion.

Things were prospering with the La Grange family.  Peachie had become
engaged to Sir Hubert Wemyss, who, urged by the example of his friend
Lionel Spencer, and the enormous profits of the turpentine company, had
invested largely, and, after taking Peachie to England to meet his
family and make her bow as Lady Wemyss to the king and queen, he
promised to return to America for half of the year.

Carolina went to New York twice during the summer, and visited Sherman
and Addie at their camp in the Adirondacks.

To her surprise, she found Colonel Yancey there. He had paid one or two
mysterious visits to his sisters at Whitehall, and had been deeply
pleased to discover that they were both members of the little Christian
Science church there.  He even went so far as to ask Carolina to
organize a Sunday school, which had not then been done, and to enroll
Emmeline and Gladys as its first members.

He also took this opportunity, let it be said, to offer himself to
Carolina again, but promised her, if she refused him this time, after he
had declared himself a believer in the new thought, that he would never
trouble her again.

Mr. Howard viewed Colonel Yancey’s conversion to Christian Science with
amused toleration, but Carolina, who knew why, held steadfastly to the
thought that there can be no dishonesty in the perfect man, and so
firmly did she cling to this affirmation that, when Colonel Yancey, in
the Adirondacks, announced that the old oil wells had again begun to
yield, and that all the money which she and Sherman had considered lost
was by way of being restored to them, Carolina resolutely closed her
eyes to any investigations which might unearth disagreeable discoveries,
even opposing her best friend, Mr. Howard, in this decision, and simply
opened her arms to her reappearing fortune and her heart in gratitude
therefor.

Neither she nor Mrs. Goddard was even surprised.

"From the moment I knew that the man’s change of heart was sincere and
that he was a true Christian Scientist, I knew this restoration must
come," she said, "otherwise no blessing of peace nor untroubled night’s
sleep could come to him. Christian Science lays bare the very root of
error, and when error is recognized in the light of day, it must
disappear from the heart of an honest man."

But Carolina only said in the depths of her own soul:

"See what Divine Love hath wrought!"

There were changes, too, going on in Moultrie. He had never repeated his
declaration of love to Carolina, but in every unobtrusive way he made
her feel that she was surrounded by it, while as to the lesson she had
conveyed to him in that one stinging sentence, which was never absent
from the minds of either of them, it was his mother who brought word of
its effect.

"Carolina, child, I never saw such a change in any man in my life, as
there is in Moultrie.  He has subscribed for three or four Northern
newspapers, and as to books!  Not novels, mind you. They are histories
and biographies and Congressional reports,--the driest things!  Peachie
and I tried to read them, but we couldn’t, and, when I asked Moultrie if
he were getting ready to write a book, he answered me in such a short
way, ’No, mother.  I am only trying to educate myself for the first
time.’  ’Oh, son!’ I said, for I assure you I was hurt to hear my son,
who has had the best education of any of the boys around here, speak as
if he weren’t satisfied with his education.  But he only patted my head
and said he was only studying now for a purpose.  What do you reckon it
is?"

"He has said nothing to me about it," said Carolina, but Mrs. La Grange
noticed her scarlet cheeks, and, thinking it might be only a
self-conscious blush, dropped the subject.

Moultrie had asked Carolina if he might write to her while she was away,
and she had assented, though with fear and trembling, for some of the
letters she had received on business from various people contained
serious shocks for a fastidious and cultivated mind, but Moultrie’s
letters proved a pleasant surprise.  Not only were they correctly
written and correctly spelled, but in them he had dared to let himself
go as he never had done in conversation, and Carolina found not only a
distinct literary style but an imagination which astonished her.
Although he carefully avoided subjects which had been discussed between
them, he showed a breadth and largeness of view which could only come
from a wider vision of things in general.

Then came the time, after Carolina’s return, when the great turpentine
company was being organized, backed by unlimited capital, and destined
to corner the market "for educational purposes," as Kate put it, when
there arose a crying need for an honest Southern man, one who knew the
country well, one who possessed the confidence of the sly, tricky
crackers,--those crackers so crafty that straight-forward dealing is
impossible,--who possess little sense of honour, who are prejudiced
beyond belief, narrow beyond credence, ignorant beyond imagination, who
are only honest under compulsion, and who require the greatest tact, not
to say craft, in handling.  These are the men who, for the most part,
produce the orchard turpentine, and who, for the company’s purpose, had
to be tied up by contract in long leases.  A Northern man could not have
touched them.  They will deal only with their own, and even then must be
"managed."

For two months the organization of the company was held up because no
one could be found capable of filling this delicate position.

Then, to the relief of all, and to Carolina’s secret delight, Moultrie
La Grange offered himself, and, upon being instantly accepted, upon Mr.
Howard’s and Carolina’s advice, he leased them the stumpage rights of
Sunnymede, and then and there was born the purpose to restore the home
of the La Granges, even as Carolina had restored Guildford--out of money
earned by the place itself.



                             CHAPTER XXIV.

                        THE HOUSE-PARTY ARRIVES


Ever since the restoration of Guildford had been an assured fact,
Carolina had looked forward to gathering the dearest of her friends and
relatives under its roof for a housewarming, and as Thanksgiving Day was
the first festival to occur after its completion, she issued her
invitations for that day, and anticipated the arrival of her guests with
a heart so full of gratitude that she walked with her head in the
clouds.

Beautiful Guildford stood upon its ancient site, more beautiful by far
than it ever had been before, for Carolina had allowed herself a few
liberties, which, after seeing, even Judge Fanshaw Lee approved.

For example, the great flight of steps, as broad as an ordinary house,
was lengthened to raise the house to an even more commanding position,
and to allow a better view of the ocean and river from the upper windows
and the flat, railed-in roof.  In the midst of this great flight of
steps was a platform, where twenty persons might have dined at ease,
with a collateral flight of steps on each side, leading, as well as the
second section of the central staircase, to the porch.  No one who has
not seen Guildford can form any idea of the imposing beauty of this
snowy expanse of steps leading to its veranda.  And such a veranda!
Surely, the observer exclaimed, the whole house could be no larger! so
great was the idea its size first induced. It ran around all four sides
of the house, and was lived in for fully nine months of the year.  It
was fitted with screens and glass, which could be removed at will, but
for her house-party, so perfect was the weather, even these slight
obstructions to the view were dispensed with.

Inside the house, however, Carolina had carried out the original plan,
with only the necessary additions of bathrooms to each suite and plenty
of closets, which the old Guildford had never possessed.  This did not
interfere with the installation of the great carved wardrobes, without
which no Southern house could look natural to a Southerner.

These she designed from old cuts and had made to order, preferring new
ones exactly like those which had been in the family for generations to
purchasing old pieces which rightly belonged to other histories than
hers.  Guildford was frankly a restoration, so she boldly reproduced the
furniture as well as the house.

With the papering she had some difficulty.  No one could remember the
exact patterns, and there was more friction over diverse recollections
of wallpaper than over any other point.  But Carolina waived all advice
finally, deciding that decorations were but temporary at best, and
resting upon the absolute word of Judge Fanshaw Lee, of Charleston, that
Guildford had been utterly redecorated in 1859.

This decision gave Carolina a free hand, and she exercised her taste to
such good purpose that the new Guildford, in its decorations, maintained
an air of age, yet so skilfully was it done that it was also essentially
modern.  Only patterns were used which had borne the test of time, as
one who discarded in cut glass the showier designs for the dignified
simpler patterns, considering them more restful to live with than those
more ornate and modern.

In her cut glass Carolina had been more fortunate, owing to the
possession of a few precious pieces, preserved among the Lees, from
which to design.  The largest was a huge épergne, with glittering
pendants, which rose almost to the chandelier, and was designed for
pyramids of fruit.  It was so delightfully old-fashioned that Carolina
viewed it with clasped hands.

Although electric light glowed unobtrusively from submerged globes in
walls and ceilings, Carolina used sconces for the wax tapers of her
ancestors, and the delicate light was so deftly shaded and manipulated
that it seemed only to aid and abet the candles.

The central staircase of the house rose from the midst of a square hall,
turned on a broad landing, and wound, in two wings, back upon itself to
reach the second floor.  On this landing was an enormous window,
cushioned and comfortable, from which the view of the fallow fields and
winding river was quite as attractive as the front view, which gave upon
the distant ocean.

The main hall pierced the roof, in the centre of which was a gorgeous
skylight of stained glass. Here, too, Carolina had departed from the
lines of ancient Guildford, for no less a hand than that of John La
Farge designed that graceful group, whose colours drenched the marble
floor beneath with all the colours of the rainbow.

A high carved balustrade ran around this space on the second floor, from
behind which, in years gone by, the children and black mammies had
viewed the arrival of distinguished guests, whose visits had helped to
make Guildford famous.

From this square space, transverse halls ran each way, with suites of
rooms on both sides, ending in doors which led to the upper porch, as
large and commodious and more beautiful than the lower, because the view
was finer.

This gives an idea of the plan of Guildford, but not necessarily of
other Southern houses, unless you go back to old New Orleans, for
Guildford partook largely of the beauty of the Creole estates, owing to
the originator of the present design, who had felt the influence of many
foreign countries in his travels.  Returning to spend the remainder of
his life in his native land, he had built Guildford--a mansion in those
days--in 1703, on the site of the first house, built originally in 1674.
Thus, the Guildford which Carolina built was the third actual house to
bear that name.

The morning of Thanksgiving Day dawned clear, cool, and beautiful.
Carolina was up at sunrise, full of delightful anticipations, and as
brimming with zeal for the pleasure of her guests as any young bride in
her first house.

Mr. Howard was bringing most of his guests in his car, and only
yesterday she had received a telegram from him saying: "Am bringing an
extra guest, an old friend of yours, as a surprise.  Due Enterprise nine
A.M. to-morrow.  All Lees aboard."

Just as he had anticipated, this threw her into a fever of curiosity.
It must be some one who would be congenial, yet she fancied she had
asked everybody who seemed to belong.  Who could the newcomer be?  Man
or woman?  Old or young?

"All Lees aboard."  That meant that Sherman and Addie had decided to
come, after all.  She wondered if they had brought the children.  All
Lees.  That _must_ mean the children, because she had invited them.  All
Lees,--that meant also the Fanshaw Lees, of Charleston, whom he had
promised to pick up on the way.  But who could the other be?  Carolina
almost shook the scrap of yellow paper to make it divulge the secret.
How uncommunicative telegrams can be!

There was plenty of room at Guildford,--that was fortunate.  And every
room was in order. She would give him (?) her (?) the violet room and
bath in the south wing.  But if she only knew!

Rosemary and her husband were comfortably ensconced in the cottage, and
had asked to have Mrs. Goddard under their own roof.  Colonel Yancey and
his children would, of course, be the guests of Mrs. Pringle at
Whitehall, but Carolina expected as her very own, Mr. and Mrs. Howard,
Kate, Noel, and Sir Hubert Wemyss, Judge Fanshaw Lee and his wife and
children, from Charleston, Cousin De Courcey Lee, Aunt Evelyn Lee, Aunt
Isabel and Uncle Gordon Fitzhugh, with the children, Eppie, Marie,
Teddy, and Bob.

Every neighbour within a radius of twenty miles was anxious to help
Carolina entertain her guests. Moultrie had arranged a hunt, Aunt Angie
was to give an oyster roast on the shore, Colonel Yancey had declared
for an old-fashioned barbecue, whereat all the negroes promptly lost
their minds. Mrs. Gordon Fitzhugh, after consulting Carolina’s plans,
advised a fishing-party and picnic, rather an oddity in November, with
everything to be cooked on the ground, including a ’possum with sweet
potatoes.  Carolina greeted each of these proposals with tears in her
eyes.  Never before had she been so loved!  Hitherto, she had been
surrounded by courtiers, flattered and admired, always, however, with a
generous appreciation of favours to come.

But here, she was with her own, and her own had received her with open
arms and taken her into their inmost hearts.

As Carolina walked in her garden, after her morning canter on Araby, she
wondered if any one on earth was so fortunate as she.

A messenger came up the broad avenue, and Carolina went to meet him.  It
was with a note from Mrs. Barnwell, saying that she was sending the
carryall to the station at Enterprise, for fear Carolina, at the last
moment, might not have room for all her guests.

The Barnwells’ carryall!  Carolina gave a laugh that was half a sob, to
think of the part that ancient vehicle had played in her life during the
last year.  The neighbours had not seen the glistening carriages and
automobiles which stood as impatiently as inanimate things so beautiful
and alert can be,--inanimate things which know that they can go.  She
turned to the messenger.

"Give my love to Mrs. Barnwell, Sam, and say that I will ride home in
the carryall myself, and that I thank her for her kindness.  Can you
remember that, or shall I write a note?"

"I kin ’member it, Miss Calline.  Thank you, ma’am!"

Mrs. Barnwell subsequently got a message from Sam to the effect that
"Miss Calline sed she’d ’a’ had to walk her own self ef Mrs. Barnwell
hadn’t ’a’ sont de ca’yall."  Which is about as accurate as any message
can be after going through the brain of a negro.

Finally it was time to go to the train.  Carolina had no fear that the
train carrying the car of a president of a Northern road would be late,
so she hurried Rosemary and Lionel and Cousin Lois into her big blue
French touring-car, and started.

As they sped down the great avenue, Carolina looked back at Guildford,
as a mother looks back at her first-born child.  There rose the
beautiful house, just as the strangers would get their first glimpse of
it; for the last time the Howards came South, only a dim idea of it
could have been obtained.

There was not a hint of frost as yet.  Late roses bloomed riotously in
the garden, which Carolina had been tending for the last eight months
with a view to this very day.  She had planned well.  She did not intend
to have a rebuilt Guildford look down upon patches of brown earth,
remains of mortar beds, and broken-down shrubbery.  Every day she had
cautioned the workmen against destroying any of her outdoor work, and,
as fast as she could, she had made the gardens, the lawns, and the
hedges keep pace with the builders, so that everything might be
completed practically at the same time.  A dozen black forms were
hurrying hither and thither, bent on carrying out "lill mistis’s last
orders."  The quarters glistened in the sunshine, even the dogs asleep
on the steps were just as Carolina had pictured Guildford in her
childish dreams in Paris.

It was a very excited little group which stood on the tiny platform at
Enterprise, waiting for the train.

Finally, only half an hour late, its warning whistle sounded, and
scarcely had the brakes squeaked, when Mr. Howard sprang from the
forward end of the rear car, followed by--Doctor Colfax!

Carolina could scarcely believe her eyes.  She did not speak.  She only
went with outstretched hands to meet her friends, and something in the
way Doctor Colfax looked at her hinted at some great change.  Then Mrs.
Goddard followed, and, even in the excitement of placing her people in
the proper vehicles, and in the midst of unanswered questions and
unlistened-to replies, Carolina noticed that Doctor Colfax hovered near
Mrs. Goddard.  She wondered if he remembered the last thing he said
about her.  But, oh, the joy of seeing them friends!

Addie was wonderfully friendly.  She kissed Carolina quite
affectionately, and told her that Kate Howard had succeeded in curing
her neuralgia, to which Carolina knew Addie had been a slave for years.

Addie’s children, Cynthia and Arthur, were wild with delight.  It was
the first time they ever had been South, and to leave snow in New York
on one day and see roses blooming the next was more than their young
imaginations could stand.

They always had been fond of their Aunt Carolina, but now their comments
on her beauty were quite embarrassing.

As Kate sprang from the steps, a close observer might have seen a
telegraphic question flash from Carolina’s eyes to hers and a quick
negative flash back.  No one but a woman would have known what it
signified.  Still Carolina seemed satisfied with Kate’s radiant aspect.

Judge Fanshaw Lee was pompous but plainly delighted, and ready to be
pleased with everything. Carolina was keen to see what he would think of
her daring, for he had promptly wet-blanketed her every effort to assist
him in any way.  But she could see that he was impressed with the
appearance of her automobiles, and she fairly ached to have him see
Guildford.

To achieve this end, she gave personal instructions to each chauffeur
and driver to go by roads which would enable her, even in the Barnwells’
carryall, to arrive at Guildford first.

"You aren’t going in that thing?" cried Kate. "There’s plenty of room
here."

"I’m going in it to accept the hospitality of a dear neighbour," said
Carolina.

Kate and Noel were seated in a little electric runabout.  As they
started ahead, Kate turned to Noel and said:

"Somehow, I can’t listen to anything Carolina says lately without
knowing that the bridge of my nose is going to ache before she turns me
loose."

"She certainly is the most angelic creature!" said Noel.

Kate looked at him out of the tail of her eye.

"Do you like angels?"

"I do, indeed."

A pause.

"But I could never fall in love with one."

"Oh!" said Kate.

Noel cleared his throat once or twice, as if trying to say something.
Finally he said:

"Kate, won’t you be hurt if I say an indiscreet thing?"

"Certainly not.  You know you can say anything you like to me.  I’m not
a fool."

"Well, here goes, then.  I’ve been noticing lately that you don’t
stammer any more.  Are you being treated for it?"

"No," cried Kate, plainly delighted.  "I am treating myself."

"Then, don’t!" cried Noel.  "Kate, I can’t bear it.  Yours was the most
attractive, the dearest little mannerism--not a bit disagreeable.  Your
speech, so far from being marred by it, was only made distinctive.  I--I
feel as if I had lost my Kate!"

His voice sank with unmistakable tenderness at the last words, and Kate
stiffened herself, as if prepared for a plunge into ice-water.  Finally
she caught her breath sufficiently to say, awkwardly:

"If you care, Noel, of course I w-won’t."

"If I care!" cried St. Quentin.  "Do I care about anything or anybody
else in all this world except Kate Howard?  Don’t talk as if you didn’t
know it."

"K-know it!" cried Kate, stammering quite honestly.  "Indeed," as she
told Carolina later, "after that, I’d have stammered if I’d been cured
of it fifty times over.  A proposal is enough to make any woman
stammer!"

"Indeed, and I didn’t.  I th-thought you were in love with C-Carolina."

"Carolina!" cried Noel.  "Carolina!  Well, you are blind!  As if she
would ever look at me, in the first place--"

"Oh, so that was your reason," interrupted Kate.

"And in the second place," pursued Noel, calmly ignoring the
interruption, "she is in love with--"

"With whom?" exploded Kate, gripping his arm.

"Why, with La Grange!  Did you never notice them together last spring,
and then the way she speaks of him?"

Kate let her own love-affair slip from her mind, while she thought
rapidly for a few minutes.

"I believe you are right," she said, slowly, "but I can tell you
something more.  They are not engaged.  Something is separating them."

"I think so, too.  Possibly Carolina is holding off.  I’ve noticed that
girls have a way of doing that."

Kate’s face crimsoned.  She afterward told Carolina that, if Noel had
caught her laughing, he would have known all.

But her obstinate silence left it to Noel to continue.

"Kate," he said, finally, "when you get through playing with me, will
you begin to take me seriously?  I’m tired of your game.  Now don’t
pretend that you haven’t been baiting me."

"Honestly, Carolina," said Kate, afterward, "I’m telling you this j-just
so you’ll know how d-dog funny the whole thing was.  Here I’ve nearly
had nervous prostration for a year, wondering if he ever _would_
propose, and then he went and accused me of playing a game to hold him
off!  Aren’t men fools?"

"I--I thought when you g-got good and ready, y-you’d speak your mind,"
said Kate to Noel.  "I c-couldn’t go down on my knees and b-beg you to
name the day, could I?"

"Do you mean to tell me," said St. Quentin, "that you will accept
me,--that you will marry me, Kate?"

"T-that’s just what my p-poor, feeble speech is t-trying to g-get
through your th-thick head," said Kate.

But Noel refused to be amused.  He reached for Kate’s hand, and, in
spite of Kate’s impertinence, if he had looked, he would have seen tears
in her eyes.



                              CHAPTER XXV.

                              BOB FITZHUGH


Even Carolina was satisfied with the expression on Judge Fanshaw Lee’s
face when he was whirled up the great avenue of live-oaks, and the new
Guildford burst upon his view.  He had snow-white hair, a pale olive
complexion, and piercing black eyes.  His eyebrows were still black, and
he had a ferocious way of working them back and forth very rapidly when
he was moved.  This was one sign by which Carolina could tell; another
was that the unusual colour came into his face.

Even before the guests had been to see their own rooms, Carolina was
implored to lead the way and let them explore Guildford.  This she was
as eager to do as a young bride, and yet, in spite of her natural pride
in her achievement, her modesty was so sincere and delightful that Judge
Lee and Mr. Howard were obliged to ply her with questions.

The exclamations of delight were perfectly satisfactory, even to Mrs.
Winchester, who moved with majestic mien in their midst, listening with
a jealous ear for praises of her idol, and, by her questioning eyes,
plainly demanding more of the same kind.

Mrs. Goddard’s eyes were dewy with gratitude, and Carolina whispered to
her that she--Mrs. Goddard--was Guildford’s fairy godmother.

When they had all returned to the drawing-room, Mr. Howard turned to
Judge Lee and said:

"Well, judge, what is your opinion?  Isn’t this pretty good for one
little girl to accomplish all by herself?"

"Mr. Howard," said Judge Lee and his eyebrows, "it is the most
marvellous thing I ever heard of a young girl achieving.  Why, sir, to
us Southerners, it is nothing short of miraculous.  Here are scores of
my own dear friends, similarly situated,--land poor, they call
themselves,--yet, as I cannot doubt Carolina’s word or your figures, and
you both assert that Guildford has paid for itself, each and every one
of them might restore their property in a similar manner.  I had no idea
of the value of this new turpentine company of yours."

"Aren’t you sorry now, Cousin Fanshaw," said Carolina, mischievously,
"that you wouldn’t invest when we wanted you to?"

Judge Lee cleared his throat and reddened slightly.  He did not relish
being jested with.

"I think I am, Carolina," he said.  "God knows I needed the money, but,
if you will allow me, under the circumstances of your great triumph, to
be ungallant, I will tell you that I did not have any faith in a woman’s
head for business."

"Few of us have, I think," said Mr. Howard, coming to his rescue.  "At
first, I did not, but Carolina was so sure that I began it as an
experiment which was likely to cost me dear.  I have ended by believing
in it with all my heart."

"Of course I have had a great deal of help," said Carolina, generously.
"Mr. La Grange is very influential, and I am sure I could not have got
the telephone and electric light without him.  They were carrying
lanterns in Enterprise when we first came down here, and I expected to
have to get along with acetylene, which I greatly dislike.  But he told
me that for the last ten years the subject of electric lighting had been
agitated, and that he believed a little new blood and ready money would
start the thing.  That was easily managed, but the cost of bringing the
wires to Guildford was greater than I expected.  However, in another
year several other estates will need lighting, and I shall carry it for
them over my wires, and thus reduce my initial expense materially."

"Who owns the control in the electric company?" asked Judge Lee.

"Why, Carolina does, of course!" said Mr. Howard.  "You don’t suppose my
little Napoleon of Finance would commit such an error of judgment as not
to keep that?  Nevertheless, she put up the poles from Enterprise to
Guildford at her own expense.  She wouldn’t take any unfair advantage of
her control."

Judge Lee glanced at his cousin in half-way disapproval.  He greatly
disliked a woman who understood finance, and he privately considered
Carolina unsexed.  If she had not been beautiful, he would have said so,
but her girlish loveliness saved her.

Judge Lee looked around.  On every side familiar objects met his eye.
It was the same Guildford of his ancestors, yet enlarged, dignified,
engrandeured.  His gaze clung affectionately to the heavy, quaint
furnishings, so cunningly reproduced that they might well pass as the
ancient pieces they represented.  He began to realize the enormous
amount of hard work this indicated,--of the hours and days of
unremitting toil,--of the discouragements overcome,--the obstacles
surmounted,--the love this mirrored.

Finally he turned to Carolina, with his keen eyes softened.

"I do not understand how you accomplished it, little cousin.  It is a
marvellous achievement for any one!"

"I did not accomplish it of myself," said Carolina, gravely.  "I never
in the world could have done it if--"

"If what?"

"I hear that it annoys you even to hear the words," said Carolina.
"Nevertheless, I must tell you that the whole of Guildford is a
demonstration of Christian Science."

A deep silence fell, and the eyes of the two men met.  Judge Lee’s fell
before the corroboration he met in Mr. Howard’s.  A sudden softening
took place in his heart.

"I begin to believe that there is something in this thing, after all,"
he said, slowly.

A babel of voices broke in upon their conversation just here, as the
guests trooped down from their rooms, exclaiming with admiration on
every hand.  Sherman and Addie were particularly delighted, but they
looked at Carolina wonderingly, as if uncertain whether this were the
same sister they had known before.

Carolina bloomed like a rose under all the admiration her work received,
but she was too busy to drink it all in.  She had, for one thing, the
children to amuse.  Emmeline Yancey, a serious-browed child with grave
eyes, was her right hand, and to Emmeline and Bob Fitzhugh she confided
her plans.  Hardly had the children learned of the delights in store for
them, when the guests began to arrive.

Then, such a rushing to and fro!  Such a calling for servants!  Such
hurried dressing!  Such a gathering up of children, and a general
hastening of duties which should have been performed before!

Introductions to the few who had not met before seemed like a meeting of
old friends, so warm was the welcome and so well known the existing
friendships.

Carriage after carriage rolled up the drive and deposited Fitzhughs, La
Granges, Manigaults, Pringles, and Yanceys, until Guildford resembled
the palmiest days of its predecessors.

Peachie and Sir Hubert Wemyss and Noel and Kate were receiving sub rosa
congratulations, and beaming faces were everywhere.  Moultrie’s eyes
followed Carolina wherever she was, and none noticed it more jealously
than a slim, blue-eyed boy who would not mingle with the other children,
even when Emmeline begged him to.  He only shook his head, and continued
to watch his divinity.

Then old Israel, who had been a rascally boy in the days of Carolina’s
grandfather, flung open the doors and the guests trooped out to the
dining-room.

Every one stood and exclaimed with delight at the sight which met their
eyes.  The majestic dinner-table of Guildford, which would seat forty,
stood in the centre of the room, flanked by side-tables groaning under
the glorious old Lee silver and glass and china, such as no
contemporaneous eye had seen, but so often had those gathered here heard
its beauty described that it seemed a familiar sight.

The children had a table to themselves, and this was set across one end
of the room.  Emmeline was to be the mother and Bob Fitzhugh the father,
and actually carve the turkey.

"He’ll spill the gravy and drop the turkey on the floor, Carolina,"
cried his mother.

"Let him," said Carolina.  "Who cares?  But this turkey will be so good
that he will stay on the platter, as I shall bid him, and Bob shall
carve him, and Emmeline shall serve the plum pudding!"

Shrieks of joy went up from the children at this daring announcement,
and all the parents were made radiant by their babies’ happiness.

The table was long and low, with chairs to match, and the children saw
with jealous delight that it was copied exactly from the big table, even
to the bowls of flowers and pyramids of fruit.  They even had their tiny
champagne glasses, in which ’Polyte, who was their butler, poured
foaming ginger ale, so that they could join in the toasts which Judge
Fanshaw Lee proposed.  They wriggled with an ecstasy they never had felt
before, and never, never did they have such a time as at Cousin
Carolina’s Thanksgiving dinner at Guildford.

The climax came to their awe when, at the end of everything, Mr. Howard
arose, glass in hand, and announced--what everybody knew--the engagement
of his daughter Kate and Noel St. Quentin, and gave them his blessing,
and everybody cried and laughed and drank their health.  The children’s
round eyes almost popped out of their heads.  To be present at a real
betrothal!  It was more exciting to the little Southerners than a negro
baptism.

Bob Fitzhugh’s face was seen to grow very red, and then suddenly he
pushed back his chair and strode to where Carolina sat, and said, in a
sturdy voice:

"Cousin Carolina, why can’t we announce our engagement?  You know you
promised to marry me."

He stood crimson but dauntless under the shrieks of laughter which
followed his speech.  Carolina’s face was very rosy also, and she was
seen to steal a mischievous glance at Moultrie La Grange, which somehow
set his heart to beating with hope.

She put her arm around Bob and kissed him on the forehead before them
all.

"Bob, dear, it is too soon," she whispered, consolingly.  "You know I
said if you wanted me in ten years and I was still unmarried--"

"Oh, but Cousin Carol!" cried the boy, "you are so beautiful that unless
you promise to wait for me you are sure to be snapped up.  Father said
so."

An added wave of colour flew to Carolina’s face, and she hid her face in
the boy’s shoulder, when, to her surprise, she heard the voice of Col.
Wayne Yancey saying:

"Bob, my boy, if she should promise you, you’d have to fight me, and
fight me to the death."

Bob looked at him, and stiffened.

"Are you after her, too?" he cried, angrily.

"I’ve been after her longer than you have.  And I’m not the only one."

Bob turned despairingly to his father.

"How many does that make?" he roared.

The laughter of the grown people passed unheeded.

"Never mind, son," said his father.  "Colonel Yancey’s name completes
the list.  There isn’t another bachelor or widower left in South
Carolina. It’s just the way the girls used to treat me, son, but
afterward I met your mother and she made everything all right."

The boy flew to his father’s side, and hid his head.

"Girls are all alike, son.  You’ll have to bear it. We all have to.
Turn around here and ask your Uncle De Courcey why he is a bachelor.
Ask your mother how many boys she flirted with before I came along.  Be
a man.  Look there at Emmeline and Gladys and--"

Bob burst away with a roar of pain.

"Emmeline is about right for Teddy!" he exclaimed, in wrath.  "I want a
grown woman.  I don’t want anybody but Miss Carolina Lee. Moultrie knows
how it is, don’t you, Moultrie?  When you’ve once loved a girl like
Carolina, how would you like it to be told to take up with anybody
else?"

"I just wouldn’t do it, that’s all!" said Moultrie, looking squarely at
Carolina.

"Bob," said Carolina, severely, "you are embarrassing Mr. La Grange and
me dreadfully. Won’t you please go back to your place and make me feel
that I can depend upon you to protect me instead of exposing me to
laughter like this?"

The boy’s eagle glance flew from one convulsed face to another.  Then he
showed his blood.  He came to Carolina’s side, and put his arms around
her neck and kissed her cheek, whispering:

"I’ll never speak of it again.  They can laugh if they want to, but some
day you’ll remember that I behaved when you asked me to."

He went back to his seat and Carolina looked at Emmeline, and both
little ladies rose from the heads of their tables and led the way to the
drawing-room.

But Carolina was uneasy.  She could not forget the look that Moultrie La
Grange shot at her, when Bob said, "After you have once loved a girl
like Carolina, how would you like to be told to take up with anybody
else?"

She knew the time was approaching when he would ask his question over
again, and she was not prepared yet to give an answer.  She was sure he
was on the right track, but she was not sure that he would persevere.

The chill of autumn always manifests itself in November days in South
Carolina after the sun goes down, and when the guests repaired to the
library, they found a great log fire, the size of which they had never
seen before.  For weeks Carolina’s servants had scoured the woods for a
backlog of sufficient girth to please their mistress, but it was ’Polyte
who finally secured the prize.

Around this glorious fire they all gathered, and something of the way
Guilford had been restored, as well as the gentle tranquillity of the
twilight hour, crept into their hearts and tinged the conversation with
an intimacy which years of ordinary social intercourse could not have
accomplished. Christian Scientists all over the world will recognize
this as a fact peculiar to themselves.  If church-member meets
church-member of any other denomination, they are forced to become
acquainted as is usual in society, because there is no unanimity of
thought, and each is bound for his or her particular goal by independent
and widely diverse routes.  But in Christian Science instantaneous
intimacies are possible, because it is the one religion which requires
comparative unanimity of thought, and all are travelling in the
identical path which leads to the ultimate perfection of harmony.

Thus, with no other light than the firelight and with no further
introduction to the dear people of the Southland, than that they were
either Christian Scientists or Carolina’s beloved kinfolk, no one was
surprised when Doctor Colfax said:

"You showed no astonishment this morning, Miss Carolina, when you saw me
among the guests Mr. Howard was bringing to your beautiful
house-warming.  And as I know the type of your mind, I know that you
will ask no questions.  Therefore, I owe it to you to tell you, and
believe me, I am delighted to include your friends.

"You, Mrs. Winchester, remember meeting me on the train as you were
coming from Boston. You thought I had been to take a rest.  I had.  But
it was a rest in a hospital from an operating-table. It was my second
operation for cancer of the throat. My inexcusable show of anger at your
house, Mrs. Howard, the night I saw the miracle of Miss Carolina’s
healing, was induced and aggravated by the knowledge of the ordeal
before me and of the futility of it.  My brutal words against Mrs.
Goddard, this dear, dear woman, whom I have learned to revere and love
as my best friend, were uttered because I longed to go and fling myself
at her feet and ask her if she could cure me.  If any of you men who
were there that night--if you, St. Quentin, had knocked me senseless and
taken my unconscious body to a Christian Scientist for treatment, I
should have thanked you on my knees.  But none of you knew.

"Well, I went through this second operation, and it proved as futile as
the first had done.  Within six months I was confronted by the certainty
of the third, and this I felt sure would be fatal.

"With the horrible fear of death before my mental vision, and no faith
in surgery, I one day made up my mind to call on Mrs. Goddard, to tell
her the ungentlemanly, unmanly words I had used against her in public,
to beg her pardon, and if she forgave me, to implore her help for my
hideous malady.

"Dear friends, you, who know her, know how she received me.  But none of
you know that under her treatment I was entirely cured.  Nor does she
know what I am about to say, for only since I came down here and lived
among you and saw your beautiful lives, have I decided.  Mrs. Goddard, I
owe it to you to tell you first.  I have decided to give up the practice
of materia medica, which failed me in the hour of my greatest need, and
I intend to study to be a Christian Science practitioner."

A startled murmur ran through the group.  Even with all their faith,
this came as a surprise, for the name of Doctor Colfax stood for so much
in the medical world.  Few men would have dared to show so much moral
courage.  Only Mrs. Goddard seemed to understand, for she reached out
her hand to him, and he bent and kissed it before them all.

"I give up!" cried Colonel Yancey, to relieve the tension.  "Cousin
Lois, look at all these lovers holding hands, and thinking we don’t see
them, and say whether you and I shall be left out."

"Wayne Yancey," said Mrs. Winchester, "I’m not going to be left out of
anything.  I have come to the point where I don’t believe in the Church
of England the way I did, and, if I decide to become a Christian
Scientist, there is no telling but that I may forget what a rascal you
used to be in what they call ’the old thought’ and decide to marry you
in the new!"

Thus Guilford began at once to take her proper place as the mystic spot
where lovers’ vows were plighted almost before they knew it, so replete
it was with all that goes to make a home, and, as the dancing flames
died down, Carolina felt a soft hand steal into hers, and looked down
into the wide eyes of her niece, little Cynthia Lee.

"What is it, darling?" she asked.

"I feel," whispered the child, "that strange things are going to happen
at Guildford, and that you and I shall always be in the midst of them!"

Carolina, instinctively realizing that this was a psychic moment for the
imaginative child, slipped her arm around Cynthia’s delicate waist,
saying:

"Why do you feel it, Cynthia?"

"Listen, Aunt Carolina.  Something of all the queerness I have heard
since I came down here makes me feel that I shall lead a stormy life,
and that I shall need this thing and want it and be unable to accept it
until I am beaten by everything else.  Do you understand me?"

"Only too well," sighed Carolina.

"Then I shall want you, and want you terribly."

"I shall always be here, dearest."

"That is what comforts me," said the child, the mystic light dying out
of her eyes.  "It is what comforts me about the whole thing.  I know it
will always be there when I want it.  I have talked to Emmeline about
it.  Even little Gladys taught me her hymn."

And the child and the woman looked into each other’s eyes, knowing that
their souls were akin, and that the witchery of the twilight hour had
opened floodgates closed by day, but which opened when the soul felt the
need of speech.

"I am glad you told me, Cynthia," said Carolina. "The only answer to all
of life’s puzzles, I have found in this awakened sense of mine, which
will surely come to you some day.  Remember it when the waters grow too
deep."

"The answer to all life’s puzzles," echoed Cynthia.

"Sing, child," said Carolina.

And Cynthia, whose voice was like the rippling water and the sounding of
silver bells, began to sing what Gladys called her hymn:

    "’And o’er earth’s troubled, angry sea
      I see Christ walk,
    And come to me and tenderly,
      Divinely talk!’"


As the child sang, every feeling in every heart melted, until only love
remained, and, when she finished, Kate cried out:

"It’s all over!  I d-don’t hate Mrs. Eddy any more.  I--I’ve been healed
of it by Cynthia’s singing."

The child’s lovely voice had so sadly shaken Carolina’s composure that,
under cover of the half-darkness, she rose and made her way quietly to a
little hall which led to a private staircase, intending to gain her own
room and recover herself before her guests began to take leave.

As the voices rose and fell, she moved nearer and nearer the door, too
intent upon her own ends to notice that Moultrie La Grange had likewise
detached himself from the fireside group and disappeared.

As she finally stepped behind a group of palms which concealed the door,
she sprang lightly into the dark passage and flung herself headlong into
the arms of Moultrie La Grange, who had come in that way to intercept
her flight.

He was not slow to take advantage of the very opportunity he had come to
seek, and, after one brief struggle, so slight that it was like the
fluttering of a bird, she hid her face in his shoulder, with a little
sob in which relief and joy and love were mingled.

He said nothing, only held her close and kissed her hair, until her arms
stole upward and curled around his neck, and she whispered:

"Moultrie, dear, dear Moultrie, will you forgive me for what I said to
you that day?"

"I have nothing to forgive, dear heart.  You only said it because you
loved me."

Tears filled her eyes, and she drew closer to him, whispering:

"I knew that first night in New York at the opera--that this hour would
come--and just now, while Cynthia was singing, I knew that--you would
understand--everything!"

"I would not have dared to speak to you again, dearest," he answered,
"if I had not emptied my soul of self and got rid of that which
separated us. But--I have been working since you showed me where I stood
with you, and I, too, under the spell of that child’s voice, have come
to the point where I can say that, if you think I am capable of it,--and
worthy to be the successor of such a man as your idolized father,--I
would be proud to complete his work on Abraham Lincoln, and, with your
consent, we will call it ’The Debt of the South to Lincoln.’"

For reply, Carolina lifted his hand to her lips and kissed it.  She
could make no reply to such a surrender as that, but in that hour she
lifted her hero to a pinnacle, whence he never was dislodged.



                                THE END.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Carolina Lee" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home