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´╗┐Title: The Bishop's Shadow
Author: Thurston, I. T. (Ida Treadwell), 1848-1918
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 "The Bishop's Shadow" ***

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



THE BISHOP'S SHADOW

BY

I.T. THURSTON

_Author of "Boys of the Central," "A Genuine Lady" etc._

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY M. ECKERSON



"This learned I from the shadow of a tree
That to and fro did sway upon a wall,
Our shadow selves--our influence--may fall
Where we can never be."



CONTENTS

   I. LOST--A POCKETBOOK

  II. NAN'S NEW HOME

 III. AN ACCIDENT

  IV. TODE MEETS THE BISHOP

   V. IN THE BISHOP'S HOUSE

  VI. TODE'S NEW START

 VII. AFTER TODE'S DEPARTURE

VIII. THEO'S SHADOW WORK

  IX. THEO IN TROUBLE

   X. A BITTER DISAPPOINTMENT

  XI. THEO'S NEW BUSINESS

 XII. NAN FINDS FRIENDS

XIII. NAN'S DEPARTURE

 XIV. THEODORE GIVES CARROTS A CHANCE

  XV. A STRIKE

 XVI. CALLED TO GO UP HIGHER

XVII. FINAL GLIMPSES



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

  THEODORE BRYAN, SIGN-POLISHER

  "HE'S AWAKIN' UP, I GUESS"

  ADRIFT AGAIN

  "OH, HOW PRETTY,--HOW PRETTY IT IS!"

  "STOP THE CAR!"

  THANKSGIVING REUNION



THE BISHOP'S SHADOW


[Illustration: Theodore Bryan, Sign-Polisher]



I. LOST--A POCKETBOOK


It was about ten o'clock in the morning and a northeast storm was
raging in Boston.

The narrow crooked business streets were slippery with mud and
thronged with drays and wagons of every description, which, with the
continual passing of the street cars, made it a difficult and often a
dangerous matter to attempt a crossing.

The rain came in sudden driving sheets, blotting out all but the
nearest cars or vehicles, while the wind seemed to lie in wait at
every corner ready to spring forth and wrest umbrellas out of the
hands of pedestrians at the most critical points in the crossings.

Two ladies coming along Causeway street by the Union Depot, waited
some minutes on the sidewalk watching for an opening in the endless
stream of passing teams.

"There! We shan't have a better chance than this. Come on now," one of
them exclaimed, stepping quickly forward as there came a little break
in the moving line. She stepped in front of two cars that had stopped
on parallel tracks and her companion hastily followed her. Just then
there came a fierce gust that threatened to turn their umbrellas
inside out. The lady in front clutched hers nervously and hurried
forward. As she ran past the second car she found herself almost under
the feet of a pair of horses attached to a heavy wagon. The driver
yelled angrily at her as he hastily pulled up his team; a policeman
shouted warningly and sprang toward her, and her friend stopped short
with a low cry of terror.  But though the pole of the wagon grazed her
cheek and the shock threw her almost to the ground, the lady recovered
herself and hurried across to the sidewalk.

It was then that a little ragged fellow of perhaps thirteen, slipped
swiftly under the very feet of the horses, and, unheeding the savage
shouts of the driver, wormed his way rapidly through the crowd and
vanished. As he did so, the lady who had so narrowly escaped injury,
turned to her friend and cried,

"Oh my pocketbook! I must have dropped it on the crossing."

"On the crossing, did you say?" questioned the policeman, and as she
assented, he turned hastily back to the street, but the cars and teams
had passed on and others were surging forward and no trace of the
pocketbook was visible. The policeman came back and questioned the
lady about it, promising to do what he could to recover it.

"But it's not probable you'll ever see a penny of the money again," he
said. "Some rascally thief most likely saw ye drop it an' snatched it
up."

The policeman was not mistaken. If he had turned through Tremont and
Boylston streets he might have seen a ragged, barefooted boy
sauntering along with his hands in his pockets, stopping now and then
to look into a shop window, yet ever keeping a keenly watchful eye on
every policeman he met. The boy looked as if he had not a penny in
those ragged pockets of his, but one of his grimy hands clutched
tightly the lost pocketbook, which his sharp eyes had seen as it fell
beneath the feet of the horses, and which he had deftly appropriated
as he wriggled through the mud.

Heedless of wind and rain the boy lounged along the street. It was not
often that he found himself in this section of the city, and it was
much less familiar to him than some other localities.  He seemed to be
wandering aimlessly along, but his restless eyes were on the watch for
some retired spot where he might safely examine his prize and see how
much money he had secured. For a long time he saw no place that seemed
to him a safe one for his purpose, so he went on and on until suddenly
he realised that he was tired. He was passing a large brownstone
church at the moment, and he sat down on the steps to rest.

"My! But this is a gay ol' church!" he thought, as he looked curiously
at the beautiful building. "Wonder where them steps go to."

Springing up he ran across the pillared porch to the foot of the stone
stairs that led to the upper entrance to the chapel. Following a
sudden impulse he started hastily up these stairs, his bare feet
making no sound. At the top of the stairs he found himself shut in on
two sides by a high stone balustrade, the chapel door forming the
third side. This door was closed. He tried it softly and found it
locked. Then he dropped down in the darkest corner of the landing,
and, with eyes and ears still keenly alert, pulled from his pocket the
mud-stained purse and examined it carefully. He found in it thirty-six
dollars in bills and about a dollar more in silver.

The boy gave a gleeful, silent laugh. "Struck it rich this time," he
said to himself.

He hunted up a crooked pin from somewhere about his dilapidated
garments, and fastened the roll of bills as securely as he could
inside the lining of his jacket, keeping the silver in his pocket.
Then he again examined the book to be sure that he had overlooked
nothing. On the inside of the leather was the name,

"R. A. RUSSELL,"

and there was also a card bearing the same name and an address. The
card he tore into tiny bits and chewed into a pellet which he tossed
over the stone balustrade. Then, with the pocketbook in his hand, he
looked about him. There was a pastor's box fastened beside the
door. He crowded the telltale book through the opening in the top of
this box, and then with a satisfied air ran blithely down the stone
steps. But he stopped short as he came face to face with the sexton
who was just crossing the porch.

"Here, you! Where've you been? What you been up to?" cried the man,
clutching at him angrily, but the boy was too quick.

He ducked suddenly, slipped under the sexton's hands and darted across
the porch and down the steps. Then he stopped to call back,

"Be'n makin' 'rangements ter preach fer ye here next Sunday--yah!
yah!" and with a mocking laugh he disappeared leaving the sexton
shaking his fist in impotent wrath.

The boy ran swiftly on until he had gotten quite a distance from the
church; then he slackened his pace and began to plan what he should do
next. The sight of a confectioner's window reminded him that he was
hungry, and he went into the store and bought two tarts which he ate
as he walked on. After that he bought a quart of peanuts, two bananas
and a piece of mince-pie, and having disposed of all these he felt
hungry no longer.

Having in his possession what seemed to him a small fortune, he saw no
necessity for working, so that night he did not go as usual to the
newspaper office for the evening papers, but spent his time loafing
around the busiest corners and watching all that went on about the
streets.  This unusual conduct attracted the attention of his cronies,
and a number of newsboys gathered about him trying to find out the
reason of his strange idleness.

"I say, Tode," called one, "why ain't ye gettin' yer papers?"

"Aw, he's come into a fortune, he has," put in another. "His rich
uncle's come home an' 'dopted him."

"Naw, he's married Vanderbilt's daughter," sneered a third.

"Say, now, Tode, tell us w'at's up," whispered one, sidling up to
him. "Hev ye swiped somethin'?"

Tode tried to put on an expression of injured innocence, but his face
flushed as he answered, shortly,

"Come, hush yer noise, will ye! Can't a chap lay off fer one day
'thout all the town pitchin' inter him? I made a dollar extry this
mornin'--that's all the' is about it," and stuffing his hands into his
pockets he marched off to avoid further comment.

For the next week Tode "lived high" as he expressed it. He had from
three to six meals a day and an unlimited amount of pie and peanuts
besides, but after all he was not particularly happy. Time hung heavy
on his hands sometimes--the more so as the boys, resenting his living
in luxurious idleness, held aloof, and would have nothing to do with
him. He had been quite a leader among them, and it galled him to be so
left out and ignored. He began to think that he should not be sorry
when his ill-gotten money was gone. He was thinking after this fashion
one day as he strolled aimlessly down a side street. It was a quiet
street where at that hour there was little passing, and Tode lounged
along with his hands in his pockets until he came to a place where the
sidewalk was littered with building material and where a large house
was in course of construction. Perhaps the workmen were on a strike
that day. At any rate none of them were about, and the boy sprang up
onto a barrel that was standing near the curbstone, and sat there
drumming on the head with two pieces of lath and whistling a lively
air.

After a little his whistle ceased and he looked up and down the street
with a yawn, saying to himself,

"Gay ol' street, this is! Looks like everybody's dead or asleep."

But even as he spoke a girl came hastily around the nearest corner and
hurried toward him. She looked about fourteen. Her clothes were worn
and shabby but they were clean, and in her arms she carried a baby
wrapped in a shawl. She stopped beside Tode and looked at him with
imploring eyes.

"Oh can't you help me to hide somewhere?  Do! Do!" she cried, with a
world of entreaty in her voice.

The boy glanced at her coolly.

"What ye want ter hide for? Been swipin' somethin'?" he questioned,
carelessly.

The girl flashed at him an indignant glance, then cast a quick,
frightened one behind her.

"No, no!" she exclaimed, earnestly. "I'm no thief. I'm running away
from old Mary Leary. She's most killed my little brother giving him
whiskey so's to make him look sick when she takes him out
begging. Look here!"

She lifted the shawl that was wrapped about the child. Tode leaned
over and looked at the little face. It was a pitiful little face--so
white and thin, with sunken eyes and blue lips--so pitiful that it
touched even Tode's heart, that was not easily touched.

"The ol' woman after ye?" he asked, springing down from the barrel.

"Yes, yes! Oh, do help me," pleaded the girl, the tears running down
her cheeks as she gazed at the baby face. "I'm afraid he's going to
die."

The boy cast a quick glance about him.

"Here!" he exclaimed, "squat down an' I'll turn this over ye."

He seized a big empty barrel that stood near.  Without a word the girl
slipped to the ground and he turned the barrel over her, kicking under
the edge a bit of wood to give air. The next moment he stooped down to
the opening and whispered,

"Hi! The ol' lady's a comin'. Don't ye peep.  I'll fix her!"

Then he reseated himself again on the barrelhead and began to drum and
whistle as before, apparently paying no heed to the woman who came
along scolding and swearing, with half a dozen street children
following at her heels. She came nearer and nearer but Tode drummed on
and whistled unconcernedly until she stopped before him and exclaimed
harshly,

"You boy--have you seen a girl go by here, with a baby?"

"Nope," replied Tode, briefly.

"How long you be'n settin' here?"

"'Bout two weeks," answered the boy, gravely.

The woman stormed and blustered, but finding that this made no
impression she changed her tactics and began in a wheedling tone,

"Now, dearie, you'll help an ol' woman find her baby, won't ye? It's
heartbroke I am for my pretty darlin' an' that girl has carried him
off.  Tell me, dearie, did they go this way?"

"I d' know nothin' 'bout yer gal," exclaimed Tode. "Why don't ye scoot
'round an' find her 'f she's cleared out?"

"An' ain't I huntin' her this blessed minute?"  shrieked the woman,
angrily. "I b'lieve ye _have_ seen her. Like's not ye've hid her
away somewheres."

Tode turned away from her and resumed his drumming while the woman
cast a suspicious glance at the unfinished building.

"She may be there," she muttered and began searching through the piles
of building material on the ground floor.

"Hope she'll break her ol' neck!" thought Tode, vengefully, as he
whistled with fresh vigor.

The woman reappeared presently, and casting a threatening glance and a
torrent of bad language at the boy, went lumbering heavily down the
street with the crowd of noisy, curious children straggling along
behind her.

When they had all disappeared around the corner of the street, Tode
sprang down and putting his mouth to the opening at the bottom of the
barrel whispered hastily,

"Keep still 'til I see if she's gone sure," and he raced up to the
corner where he watched until the woman was out of sight. Then he ran
back and lifted the barrel off, saying,

"It's all right--she's gone, sure 'nough."

The girl cast an anxious glance up and down the street as she sprang
up.

"Oh dear!" she exclaimed. "I don't know where to go!" and Tode saw
that her eyes were full of tears.

He looked at her curiously.

"Might go down t' the wharf. Ol' woman wouldn't be likely ter go
there, would she?" he suggested.

"I don't think so. I've never been there," replied the girl. "Which
way is it?"

"Come on--I'll show ye;" and Tode set off at a rapid pace.

The girl followed as fast as she could, but the child was a limp
weight in her arms and she soon began to lag behind and breathe
heavily.  "What's the matter? Why don't ye hurry up?" exclaimed the
boy with an impatient backward glance.

"I--can't. He's so--heavy," panted the girl breathlessly.

Tode did not offer to take the child. He only put his hands in his
pockets and waited for her, and then went on more slowly.

When they reached the wharf, he led the way to a quiet corner where
the girl dropped down with a sigh of relief and weariness, while he
leaned against a post and looked down at her.  Presently he remarked,

"What's yer name?"

"Nan Hastings," replied the girl.

"How'd she get hold o' ye?" pursued the boy, with a backward jerk of
his thumb that Nan rightly concluded was meant to indicate the Leary
woman.

She answered slowly, "It was when mother died. We had a nice home. We
were not poor folks. My father was an engineer, and he was killed in
an accident before Little Brother was born, and that almost broke
mother's heart.  After the baby came she was sick all the time and she
couldn't work much, and so we used up all the money we had, and mother
got sicker and at last she told me she was going to die." The girl's
voice trembled and she was silent for a moment; then she went on, "She
made me kneel down by the bed and promise her that I would always take
care of Little Brother and bring him up to be a _good_ man as
father was. I promised, and I am going to do it."

The girl spoke earnestly with the light of a solemn purpose in her
dark eyes.

Tode began to be interested. "And she died?" he prompted.

"Yes, she died. She wrote to some of her relatives before she died
asking them to help Little Brother and me, but there was no answer to
the letter, and after she died all our furniture was sold to pay the
doctor and the funeral bills.  The doctor wanted to send us to an
orphan asylum, but Mary Leary had worked for us, and she told me that
if we went to an asylum they would take Little Brother away from me
and I'd never see him any more, and she said if I'd go home with her
she'd find me a place to work and I could keep the baby. So I went
home with her. It was a horrid place"--Nan shuddered--"and I found out
pretty soon that she drank whiskey, but I hadn't any other place to
go, so I had to stay there, but lately she's been taking the baby out
every day and he's been growing so pale and sick-looking, and
yesterday I caught her giving him whiskey, and then I knew she did it
to make him look sick so that she would get more money when she went
out begging with him."

"An' so you cut an' run?" put in Tode, as the girl paused.

[Illustration: "He's awakin' up, I guess."]

"Yes--and I'll _never_ go back to her, but--I don't know what I
_can_ do. Do you know any place where I can stay and work for
Little Brother?"

The dark eyes looked up into the boy's face with a wistful, pleading
glance, as the girl spoke.

"I'd know no place," replied Tode, shrugging his shoulders
carelessly. He did not feel called upon to help this girl. Tode
considered girls entirely unnecessary evils.

Nan looked disappointed, but she said no more.

"He's wakin' up, I guess," remarked Tode, glancing at the baby.

The little thing stirred uneasily, and then the heavy, blue-veined
lids were lifted slowly, and a pair of big innocent blue eyes looked
straight into Tode's. A long, steadfast, unchildlike look it was, a
look that somehow held the boy's eyes in spite of himself, and then a
faint, tremulous smile quivered over the pale lips, and the baby hands
were lifted to the boy.

That look and smile had a strange, a wonderful effect on
Tode. Something seemed to spring into life in his heart in that
instant. Up to this hour he had never known what love was, for he had
never loved any human being, but as he gazed into the pure depths of
those blue eyes and saw the baby fingers flutter feebly toward him,
his heart went out in love to the child, and he held out his arms to
take him.

Nan hesitated, with a quick glance at Tode's dirty hands and garments,
but he cried imperiously,

"Give him here. He wants to come to me," and she allowed him to take
the child from her arms. As he felt himself lifted in that strong
grasp, Little Brother smiled again, and nestled with a long breath of
content against Tode's dirty jacket.

"See--he likes me!" cried the boy, his face all aglow with the
strange, sweet delight that possessed him. He sat still holding the
child, afraid to move lest he disturb his charge, but in a few minutes
the baby began to fret.

"What's he want?" questioned Tode, anxiously.

Nan looked distressed. "I'm afraid he's hungry," she replied. "Oh
dear, what _shall_ I do!"

She seemed ready to cry herself, but Tode sprang up.

"You come along," he exclaimed, briefly, and he started off with the
child still in his arms, and Nan followed wonderingly. She shrank back
as he pushed open the door of a restaurant, but Tode went in and after
a moment's hesitation, she followed.

"What'll he take--some beef?" inquired the boy.

"Oh no!" cried Nan, hastily, "some bread and milk will be best for
him."

"All right. Here you--bring us a quart o' milk an' a loaf o' bread,"
called Tode, sharply, to a waiter.

When these were brought he added, "Now fetch on a steak an' a oyster
stew."

Then he turned with a puzzled look to Nan.  "How does he take it? D'ye
pour it down his throat?" he asked.

"No, no!" cried Nan, hastily, as he seized the bowl of milk. "You must
feed it to him with a spoon."

"All right!" and utterly regardless of the grinning waiters Tode began
to feed the baby, depositing quite as much in his neck as in his
mouth, while Nan looked on, longing to take the matter into her own
hands, but afraid to interfere. Suddenly Tode glanced at her.

"Why don't ye eat?" he said, with a gesture toward the food on the
table.  The girl coloured and drew back.

"Oh I can't," she exclaimed, hastily, "I ain't--I don't want
anything."

"Ain't ye hungry?" demanded Tode in a masterful tone.

"N--not much," stammered Nan, but the boy saw a hungry gleam in her
eyes as she glanced at the food.

"Y'are, too! Now you jest put that out o' sight in a hurry!"

But Nan shook her head. "I'm no beggar," she said, proudly, "and some
time I'm going to pay you for that," and she pointed to the bowl of
bread and milk.

"Shucks!" exclaimed the boy. "See here!  I've ordered that stuff an'
I'll have it to pay for anyhow, so you might's well eat it. _I_
don't want it," and he devoted himself again to the child.

Nan turned her head resolutely away, but she was so hungry and the
food did smell so good that she could not resist it. She tasted the
oysters and in three minutes the bowl was empty, and a good bit of the
steak had disappeared before she pushed aside her plate.

"Thank you," she said, gratefully. "It did taste _so_ good!"

"Huh!" grunted Tode. This was the first time in his life that anybody
had said "thank you" to him.

He handed the baby over to Nan and, though he had said he was not
hungry, finished the steak and a big piece of pie in addition and then
the three left the restaurant.



II. NAN'S NEW HOME


As they went out, Nan looked anxiously from side to side, fearing to
see or be seen by the Leary woman. Tode noticed her troubled look and
remarked,

"Ye needn't ter fret. _I_ wouldn't let her touch ye. We might's
well go back to the wharf," he added.

So they returned to the corner they had left, and in a little while
the baby dropped into a refreshing sleep in his sister's lap, while
Tode sometimes roamed about the wharf, and sometimes lounged against a
post and talked with Nan.

"What is _your_ name?" she asked him, suddenly.

"Tode Bryan."

"Tode? That's a queer name."

"'Spect that ain't all of it. There's some more, but I've forgot what
'tis," the boy replied, carelessly.

"And where's your home, Tode?"

"Home? Ain't got none. Never had none--no folks neither."

"But where do you live?"

"Oh, anywheres. When I'm flush, I sleeps at the Newsboys' Home, an'
when I ain't, I takes the softest corner I can find in a alley or on a
doorstep," was the indifferent reply.

Nan looked troubled.

"But I can't do that," she said. "I can't sleep in the street with
Little Brother."

"Why not?" questioned Tode, wonderingly.

"Oh because--girls can't do like that."

"Lots o' girls do."

"But--not nice girls, Tode," said Nan, wistfully.

"Well no, I don't 'spect they're nice girls. I don't know any girls 't
amount to much," replied Tode, disdainfully.

Nan flushed at his tone, as she answered,

"But what _can_ I do? Where can I go?  Seems as if there ought to
be some place where girls like me could stay."

"That's so, for a fact," assented Tode, then he added, thoughtfully,
"The's one feller--mebbe you could stay where he lives. He's got a
mother, I know."

"Oh if I only could, Tode! I'd work _ever_ so hard," said Nan,
earnestly.

"You stay here an' I'll see 'f I can find him," said the boy. Then he
turned back to add suspiciously, "Now don't ye clear out while I'm
gone."

Nan looked at him wonderingly.

"Where would I go?" she questioned, and Tode answered with a laugh,

"That a fact--ye ain't got no place to go, have ye?"

Then he disappeared and Nan waited anxiously for his return. He came
back within an hour bringing with him a freckle-faced boy a year or so
older than himself.

"This's the gal!" he remarked, briefly.

The newcomer looked doubtfully at Nan.

"See the little feller," cried Tode, eagerly.  "Ain't he a daisy? See
him laugh," and he chucked the baby clumsily under the chin.

The child's heavy eyes brightened and he smiled back into the
friendly, dirty face of the boy.

The other boy looked at Tode wonderingly.  "Didn't know 't you liked
_kids,_" he said, scornfully.

"So I don't--but this one's diff'runt," replied Tode, promptly. "You
ain't no common kid, be ye, Little Brother?"

"What's his name?" questioned the boy.

"His name is David, but mother always called him Little Brother, and
so I do," answered the girl, in a low tone. "Have you a mother?" she
added, with an earnest look at the boy.

"Got the best mother in this town," was the prompt reply.

"Oh, won't you take me to her, then? Maybe she can tell me what to
do," Nan pleaded.

"Well, come along, then," responded the boy, rather grudgingly.

"You come too, Tode," said Nan. "'Cause you know we might meet Mary
Leary."

"All right. I'll settle her. Don't you worry," and Tode, with a very
warlike air marched along at Nan's right hand.

"What's your mother's name?" questioned Nan, shyly, of the newcomer as
the three walked on together.

"Hunt. I'm Dick Hunt," was the brief reply.  Then Dick turned away
from the girl and talked to Tode.

It was not very far to Dick's home. It was in one of the better class
of tenement houses. The Hunts had three rooms and they were clean and
comfortably furnished. Tode looked around admiringly as Dick threw
open the door and led the way in. Tode had never been in rooms like
these before. Nan--after one quick glance about the place--looked
earnestly and longingly into Mrs. Hunt's kind motherly face. Dick
wasted no words.

"Mother," he said, "this girl wants to stay here."

Mrs. Hunt was making paper bags. Her busy fingers did not stop for a
moment, but she cast a quick, keen glance at Nan and Tode.

"What do you mean, Dick?" she said.

"Oh, Mrs. Hunt, if you only would let us stay here till I can find a
place to work, I'd be so thankful. We'll have to stay in the street
tonight--Little Brother and I--if you don't," urged Nan, eagerly.

Mrs. Hunt's kind heart was touched by the girl's pleading tone. She
had girls of her own and she thought, "What if my Nellie had to spend
the night in the street," but she said only:

"Sit down, my dear, and tell me all about it."

The kind tone and those two words "my dear," were almost too much for
poor anxious Nan. Her eyes filled with tears and her voice was not
quite steady as she told again her sorrowful little story, and when it
was ended the mother's eyes too were dim.

"Give me that baby," she exclaimed, forgetting her work for the
moment, and she took the little fellow tenderly in her arms. "You poor
child," she added, to Nan, "of course you can stay here to-night. It's
a poor enough place an' we're as pinched as we can be, but we'll
manage somehow to squeeze out a bite and a corner for you for a day or
two anyway."

Tode's face expressed his satisfaction as he turned to depart. Dick
too looked pleased.

"Didn't I tell ye I'd got the best mother in this town?" he said,
proudly, as he followed Tode down the stairs.

"Yes you did, an' 'twarn't no lie neither," assented Tode,
emphatically; "but, see here, you can tell your mother that _I'm_
agoin' to pay for that little feller's bread an' milk."

Dick looked at him curiously.

"You goin' to work again?" he questioned.

"'Course I am."

"Somebody's got your beat."

"Who?" Tode stopped short in angry surprise as he asked the question.

"That big red-headed feller that they call Carrots."

"Well--Carrots'll find himself knocked out o' business," declared
Tode, fiercely.

When the newsboys assembled at the newspaper office a little later,
Dick speedily reported Tode's remark, and soon all eyes were on the
alert to see what would happen. Tode was greeted rather coldly and
indifferently, but that did not trouble him. He bought his papers and
set off for his usual beat. Scenting a fight a good many of the boys
followed. As Dick had said, Tode found the big fellow on the ground,
lustily crying his papers. Tode marched straight up to him.

"See here, Carrots, this's my beat. You clear out--d'ye hear?" he
shouted.

The big fellow leered at him scornfully, and without a word in
response, went on calling his papers.

Down on the ground went Tode's stock in trade, and he fell upon
Carrots like a small cyclone fighting with teeth, nails, fists and
heels, striking in recklessly with never a thought of fear.

Forgetful of possible customers, the boys quickly formed a ring, and
yelled and hooted at the antagonists, cheering first one and then the
other. But the contest was an unequal one.  The red-headed boy was the
bigger and stronger of the two and plucky as Tode was, he would have
been severely treated had not the affair been ended by the appearance
of a policeman who speedily separated the combatants.

"What's all this row about?" he demanded, sharply, as he looked from
Tode's bleeding face to the big fellow's bruised eye.

"He took my beat. I've sold papers here for three years," cried Tode,
angrily.

"What _you_ got to say?" The policeman turned to the other.

"He give it up. He ain't sold a paper here for a week past," growled
Carrots.

"Whose beat is it?" The man turned to the other boys as he asked the
question.

"Reckon it's Tode's."

"He's o'ny been layin' off fer a spell."

"It's Tode's sure 'nough."

So they answered, and the officer turned again to Carrots.

"You're a bigger feller 'n he is. You let him alone an' go find a new
beat for yourself, an' see 't I don't catch either of ye fightin' in
the streets again, or I'll put ye where ye'll get another kind of a
beat if ye don't walk straight. Now scatter--all of ye!"

The "fun" was over and the boys needed no second bidding. They
scattered in all directions and the next moment, Tode's shrill voice
rang out triumphantly, while his rival stalked gloomily off,
meditating dire vengeance in the near future.

Meantime, after Tode and Dick had departed, Nan had spoken a few
grateful words to Mrs.  Hunt, and then laying the baby on the lounge,
she said, earnestly,

"Please show me just how you make those bags. I'm sure I can do it."

It was simple work and it did not take her many minutes to master the
details. Her quick eyes and deft fingers soon enabled her to do the
work fully as well and as rapidly as Mrs. Hunt could do it.

"Well, I never! You certainly are a quick one," exclaimed the good
woman as she gave up her seat to the girl. "Now if you can finish that
job for me, I can get a little sewing done before dark."

"Oh yes, I can finish this easily," exclaimed Nan, delighted that
there was something that she could do in return for the kindness shown
her.

By and by, Jimmy, Nellie, and the younger children came in from
school, staring in amazement at the two strangers who seemed so much
at home there. Nan made friends with them at once, but she dreaded the
arrival of the father.

"What if he shouldn't want us to stay?" she thought, anxiously, as she
heard a heavy step on the stairs, and Nellie called out,

"Here comes father!"

There was a general rush of the children as he opened the door and he
came into the room with boys and girls swarming over him. Nan's fears
departed at the first sight of his honest, kindly face, and his cheery
greeting to her.

"Wal' now, this is nice," he said, heartily, after hearing his wife's
brief explanation.  "Never can have too many little gals 'round to
suit me, an' as fer this young man," he lifted Little Brother gently
as he spoke, "he fits into this fam'ly jest like a book. Ted here's
gettin' most too much of a man to be our baby any longer."

Ted's round face had lengthened as his father took up the baby, but it
brightened at these words, and he straightened himself and slipped his
hands into the pockets of the very short trousers he was wearing.

"I'll be a big man pretty soon," he remarked, and his father patted
his head tenderly as he answered,

"So you will, sonny, so you will, an' the more you help other folks
the faster you'll grow."

That was a happy evening for Nan. As she sat at the supper-table at
"father's" right hand the only shadow on her satisfaction was the fear
that she might not be allowed to remain in this friendly
household. But somehow, even that thought could not cast a very dark
shadow on her heart when she looked up into the sunshine of Father
Hunt's plain face, or met the motherly smile of his good wife. She
lent a helping hand whenever she saw an opportunity to do so, and the
table was cleared, and the dishes washed so quickly that Mr. Hunt
remarked to his wife,

"Look here, now, mother, why can't you an' me go somewheres this
evening? You ain't been out with me for more'n a year, an' I feel's if
I'd like a bit of an outin' to-night."

Mrs. Hunt looked up doubtfully, but Nan spoke up quickly,

"Do go, Mrs. Hunt. I'll take care of the children and be glad to."

"That's right! That's right!" exclaimed Mr.  Hunt. "'Course ye will,
an' I 'spect you'll make 'em have such a fine time that they'll be
sorry when we get back."

Ted put his finger in his mouth and gloom gathered on his round face
at this suggestion, but it vanished as Nan said,

"Teddy, I can cut fine soldiers out of paper, and animals too. After
your father and mother go I'll cut some for you."

Teddy's face brightened at this promise, and he saw the door close
behind his mother without shedding a single tear.

Nan put Little Brother to bed and then all the children gathered about
the table and Nan drew men and animals on brown paper and cut them
out, to the great delight of the children. Teddy especially was so
interested that once Nellie remarked, "You needn't get quite into
Nan's mouth, Ted."

Nan laughed. "If he only won't get his fingers cut instead of the
paper," she said.

"There! I've got a whole fun'ral of horses," remarked Ted, in a tone
of great satisfaction, as he ranged a long string of the figures two
and two on the table.

"Look out, Ted, you'll knock over the lamp!"  cried Jimmy, hastily.

The warning came too late. Even as the words were uttered, the chair
on which Ted was standing slipped from under him, and as he struck out
wildly to save himself from falling he hit the lamp and knocked it
over on the table.  The chimney rolled to the floor with a crash, and
the burning oil spread over the table licking up Ted's horses and the
scattered bits of paper as it went. Then a piece of the burning paper
blew against Nellie's apron and the next instant that was blazing, and
Nellie screaming with fright, while the other children ran crying into
the inner room--all but Ted. He--petrified with terror--stood still
with mouth and eyes wide open, gazing at the fiery stream rolling over
the table.

It all happened in two or three seconds, but Nan did not lose her
head. She jerked off Nellie's apron without regard to fastenings, and
crammed it into the coalhod, then snatching up her old shawl which was
lying on the lounge, she threw it over the burning lamp and gathered
it closely over lamp, paper and all, so smothering the flames. In two
minutes the danger was over, Nan had lighted another lamp that Nellie
brought her, and the frightened children came creeping slowly back to
the table.

Teddy did not care for paper men or animals any more that night. He
was ready to go to bed, and Nellie undressed him and put him there,
but the others sat up until the father and mother came home, all eager
to tell the story of their danger and of Nan's bravery. The mother's
eyes filled with tears as she put her arms about as many of the
children as she could gather into them and looked at Nan in silent
gratitude, while the father laid his hand kindly on the girl's brown
hair as he said, gravely,

"Child, you've earned your place in this home. As long as I'm able to
work you're just as welcome here as the rest--you and the baby too."

Nan's eyes were shining happily.

"'Twas nothing much to do," she answered, "and I'll find some way to
pay for Little Brother and me if only we can stay here."

Dick had come in soon after his parents, and had listened in gloomy
silence to the story of the children.

"Humph!" he said to himself. "Twasn't so awful much to put out that
fire. I'd a done it in no time if I'd a been here."

It seemed to Dick that his father and mother were making altogether
too much of this strange girl, and the evil spirit of jealousy reared
its ugly head in his heart. He wished he had not brought those two
home with him, anyhow.

When, the next day, Tode met him on the street and inquired about Nan
and Little Brother, Dick replied, gruffly,

"Oh, they're all right 'nough."

"But are they goin' ter stay't your place?"  questioned Tode.

"'Spect so." Dick's voice was gruffer than before.

"I'm agoin' 'round there to see 'em to-day," remarked Tode.

Dick made no reply.

Tode repeated, "Don't ye hear? I say I'm agoin' ter see 'em to-day."

"I heard what ye said. S'pose I'm deaf?"  and Dick turned his back and
marched off.

Tode looked after him angrily. "Like ter punch his head fer him," he
said, under his breath. "Would, too, if his folks hadn't let Little
Brother stay on there."

Nothing daunted by Dick's unfriendly manner, Tode presented himself
that afternoon at Mrs.  Hunt's door. He found that good woman and Nan
both busy over the paper bags. All the children except Dick were at
school, and Little Brother was lying on the old shawl at his sister's
feet. Tode gave an awkward nod by way of greeting and dropped down on
the floor beside the child.

"Hello, little chap!" he said.

There certainly was a mutual attraction between the two, for the baby
again responded to his greeting with a smile, and held out his scrawny
little hands.

Tode was delighted. He lifted the child in his arms and sat down with
him in an old rocking-chair.

Nan cast a quick, disturbed glance at the two.  She had dressed the
baby in some clothes that Mrs. Hunt had found for her--a few that had
survived Ted's rough usage. They were old but clean, and it was trying
to Nan to see Little Brother's pure, sweet face and fresh garments
held by Tode's dirty hands against his dirtier jacket. But the baby
did not mind. He looked as contented as Tode did, and when the boy's
grimy fingers touched his thin cheek, Little Brother laughed a soft,
happy, gurgling laugh that was music in Tode's ears. But suddenly the
boy's glance took in the contrast between his soiled hand and the
little face against which it rested. For a moment he hesitated, then
he arose hastily, placed the child gently on the old shawl again and
said to Mrs. Hunt,

"Ye ain't got a bit o' soap you could lend me, have ye?"

Mrs. Hunt looked at him inquiringly, then she answered a little
unwillingly, for even soap costs money, "You can take that bit on the
shelf there."

Tode seized it and vanished. Few things escaped his quick eyes, and he
had noticed a sink and a faucet in the hall outside the door. There he
rubbed and scrubbed his hands for full five minutes vastly to their
improvement, though even then he looked at them doubtfully.

"Can't do no better," he muttered, as he wiped them--well, he had only
one place to wipe them, and he did the best he could. When he went
back he glanced somewhat sheepishly at Mrs.  Hunt as he put the
remains of the soap back on the shelf, and again took up the baby. Nan
smiled at him but she made no remark, and tried not to look at his
jacket.

After he had gone Mrs. Hunt asked, thoughtfully, "How long have you
known that boy, Nan?"

"I never saw him until yesterday," answered the girl. "He was good to
me then."

"Yes, I know, an' of course you don't want to forget that, but, Nan,
I'm afraid he's a bad boy.  Dick says he is. He says he lies and
steals and swears. I guess you don't want to have much to do with
him."

Nan looked troubled. She answered, slowly,

"I guess he hasn't had much of a chance, Mrs.  Hunt. He can't remember
anything about his father and mother, and he says he's never had any
home except the street. Do you s'pose 'twill hurt for him to come here
sometimes to see Little Brother? 'Seems as if it might help him to be
a better boy. He likes Little Brother."

For a moment Mrs. Hunt was silent. She was thinking how hard she tried
to bring up her children to be good boys and girls, and yet they were
not always good. She wondered what kind of a boy her Dick would have
been if he, like Tode, had had no home and no one to keep him from
evil ways.

"If that's so, there's some excuse for him," she said, in response to
Nan's plea for Tode.

"P'raps 'twill help him somehow if he gets to carin' for that innocent
baby, an' I don't mind his comin' here sometimes, only be careful that
you don't learn any evil from him, my dear," and she leaned over and
kissed the girl's cheek.

"Oh, Mrs. Hunt, I _must_ be good always, you know, for Little
Brother's sake. I can't ever forget or break my promise to mother,"
Nan answered, earnestly. And Mrs. Hunt, as she saw the solemn look in
the dark eyes uplifted to her own, felt that she need not worry about
Nan and Tode.



III. AN ACCIDENT


Tode Bryan was sauntering down the street, his hands in his pockets,
as usual, when he was not selling papers. He was whistling a lively
tune, but he was on the lookout for anything interesting that might
happen. As he passed a fruit stand kept by an old woman, he slyly
snatched a handful of peanuts which he ate as he went on. He had sold
out his papers more quickly than usual, for it was still early in the
evening, and the streets were full of business-men on their way to
their homes.

Suddenly the boy stopped short and listened, and the next moment there
was a general rush into doorways and side streets as a fire-engine
came dashing around the corner, while the police rushed from side to
side clearing the way through the narrow street.

As the engine passed, Tode, like every other boy within sight or
hearing, raced madly after it, shouting and yelling "fire" with all
the power of his healthy lungs. Hearing somebody say where the fire
was, he slipped through a narrow cross street and an alley, so coming
out ahead of the engine which the next moment swung around the nearest
corner.

An old man was just crossing the street, and as he heard the clang of
the gong and the clatter of the engine, he looked about in a dazed,
frightened way, and, instead of hurrying across, hesitated a moment
and then turned uncertainly back.  The driver did his best to avoid
him but when the engine had passed the old man lay motionless upon the
ground.

Instantly a crowd gathered about him and Tode pressed forward to the
front rank. One policeman was raising the old man's head and another
was asking if anybody knew who the injured man was.

It was Tode, who, peering curiously at the pale face, remarked,

"I know him. He buys papers o' me."

"What's his name? Where does he live?"  questioned the officer.

"Do' know. He keeps a bookstand down on School street."

"Well, we'll have to send him to the hospital.  Ring up the ambulance,
Dick," said the officer to his companion.

Tode was just dashing off after the engine when one of the policemen
collared him.

"Here you!" he exclaimed. "None o' your cuttin' off! If you know this
man you've got to go to the hospital an' 'dentify him."

Tode looked uncomfortable and tried to squirm out of the man's
grasp--a fruitless effort, for his strength availed nothing against
that iron grip.  The boy had no idea what "'dentify" might mean but he
had his reasons for preferring to keep at a distance from the
guardians of the law.  There was no help for it, however, so with many
inward misgivings, he submitted and waited for the ambulance. When it
appeared the still insensible old man was lifted in and Tode was
ordered to the front seat where he rode securely between the driver
and the policeman. The boy had never before been in a hospital and he
felt very ill at ease when he found himself inside the building with
its big rooms and long bare halls.  He was left alone with the
policeman for a while, and then both of them were called into another
room and questioned in regard to the accident.  Finally Tode was
dismissed with strict orders to return the next day.

"He'll be here. I know him, an' if he don't show up, you jest send me
word an' I'll find him for ye," the officer said to the doctor, with a
threatening glance at the boy.

Tode said nothing, but in his heart he was determined not to return
the next day. The officer, however, kept his eye on him, and the next
afternoon pounced upon him and put him on a street car with strict
orders to the conductor not to let him off until he reached the
hospital. So finding himself thus under watch and ward, Tode concluded
that he might as well obey orders, and he rang the bell at the
hospital door. He was met by the doctor whom he had seen the night
before, and taken at once to the ward where the injured man was lying.

As Tode gazed around the long room with its rows of white beds, a
feeling of awe stole over him. He wanted to get away, for he did not
know what to do or say.

The old man was lying as if asleep, but when the doctor spoke to him
he looked up and his dim eyes brightened at sight of the familiar face
of the boy.

"Oh, bishop, it's you is it? Got a paper for me?" he said with a
feeble smile.

Tode wriggled uneasily as he answered gruffly, "Guess ye don't want
none to-day, do ye?"

"No, I don't believe I do. You can bring me one to-morrow, bishop,"
and as he spoke the old man closed his eyes again, and turned his face
away with a weary sigh.

"Come away now," said the doctor, and once outside the door he added,
"He hasn't said as much as that before. Seeing some one he knew
aroused him as I hoped it would. Why does he call you bishop?"

"I do' know," replied Tode, indifferently.

"Well, you must come again to-morrow.  Here's a car ticket and a
quarter. I'll give you the same when you come to-morrow. Be here about
this time, will you?"

"All right--I'll come," answered the boy to whom the quarter was an
inducement.

The old man remained at the hospital for several weeks and Tode
continued to visit him there at first for the sake of the money and
because he dared not disobey the doctor's orders, but after a while he
became rather proud of the old man's evident liking for him, and he
would often sit and talk with him for half an hour at a time.

One day Tode inquired curiously, "What d' ye call me bishop for?
'Tain't my name."

And the old man answered dreamily, "You remind me of a boy I knew when
I was about your age. He used to say that he was going to be a bishop
when he grew up and so we boys always called him 'bishop.'"

"An' did he?" questioned Tode.

"Become a bishop? No, he entered the army and died in his first
battle."

"W'at's a bishop, anyhow?" asked Tode, after a moment's silence.

"You know what a minister is, Tode?"

"A preacher, ye mean?"

"Yes, a minister is a preacher. A bishop is a sort of head
preacher--ranking higher, you know."

Tode nodded. "I'd rather be a soldier like that feller you knew," he
remarked.

A day came when the old man was pronounced well enough to leave the
hospital and the doctor ordered Tode to be on hand to take him home.
The boy did not object. He was rather curious to see the little place
in the rear of the bookstand where the old man lived alone. Since the
accident the stand had been closed and Tode helped to open and air the
room and then made a fire in the stove. When this was done the old man
gave him money to buy materials for supper which of course the boy
shared.

After this he came daily to the place to run errands or do anything
that was wanted, and by degrees the old man came to depend more and
more upon him until the business of the little stand fell almost
wholly into the boy's hands, for the owner's head still troubled him
and he could not think clearly. It was a great relief to him to have
some one to look after everything for him.  Tode liked it and the
business prospered in his hands. If he lacked experience, he was
quicker and sharper than the old man. The two took their meals
together, and at night Tode slept on a blanket on the floor, and was
more comfortable and prosperous than he had ever been in his life
before. He had money to spend too, for old Mr. Carey never asked for
any account of the sums that passed through the boy's hands. So he
himself was undisturbed by troublesome questions and figures, the old
man was content now, and each day found him a little weaker and
feebler. Tode noticed this but he gave no thought to the matter. Why
borrow trouble when things were so much to his mind? Tode lived in the
present.

He still sold the evening papers, considering it wise to keep
possession of his route against future need, and never a week passed
that he did not see Little Brother at least twice. He would have liked
to see the child every day, but he knew instinctively that he was not
a favorite with the Hunts, and that knowledge made him ill at ease
with them. But it could not keep him away altogether.  He found too
much satisfaction in Little Brother's love for him.

More than once Mrs. Hunt had remarked to Nan that she didn't "see what
in the world made the baby so fond of that rough, dirty boy."  Nan
herself wondered at it though she kept always a grateful remembrance
of Tode's kindness when she first met him.

Tode often brought little gifts to the child, and would have given him
much more, but Nan would not allow it. The two had a long argument
over the matter one day. It was a bright, sunny morning and Mrs. Hunt
had said that the baby ought to be out in the fresh air, so Nan had
taken him to the Common, and sat there keeping ever a watchful eye for
their enemy, Mary Leary. Tode going down Beacon street espied the two
and forgetting all about the errand on which he was bound, promptly
joined them.

"He's gettin' fat--he is," the boy remarked, poking his finger at the
dimple in the baby's cheek, then drawing it quickly away again with an
uncomfortable expression. Tode never cared how dirty his hands were
except when he saw them in contrast with Little Brother's pure face.

"Yes, he's getting well and strong," assented Nan, with a happy smile.

"I say, Nan, w'at's the reason you won't let me pay for his milk?"
asked Tode, after a little.

Then it was Nan's turn to look uncomfortable, and the color rose in
her cheeks as she answered, "I can pay now for all he needs. You know
Mrs. Hunt gets a double quantity of bags and I work on them every
day."

But this answer did not satisfy Tode. "That don't make no diff'runce,"
he growled. "Don't see why you won't let me do nothin' for him," and
he cast a gloomy glance at the baby, but Little Brother laughed up at
him and the gloom speedily melted away. After a moment's silence he
added, slowly, "It's comin' cold weather.  He'll want a jacket or
somethin', won't he?"

"He'll have to have some warm clothes," replied Nan, thoughtfully,
"but I can get them--I guess."

Tode turned upon her fiercely. "I s'pose you'd let him freeze to death
'fore you'd let me buy him any clothes," he burst out, angrily. "I
sh'd like ter know w'at's the matter with ye, anyhow. Has that measly
Dick Hunt ben stuffin' ye 'bout me?"

Nan coloured again and dropped her eyes.

"Say--has he? I'll give it ter him next time I catch him out!" and
Tode ground his heel suggestively into the gravel walk.

"Oh, Tode, don't! Please don't fight Dick," pleaded Nan. "How can you
when his mother's so good to Little Brother?"

"Don't care 'f she is. _He_ ain't," was Tode's surly reply. "He
don't want you'n him to stay there."

Nan's eyes were full of uneasiness.

"Did he say so?" she questioned, for she had noticed Dick's coldness
and been vaguely disturbed by it.

The boy nodded. "Yes," he said, "he tol' me so. Said there's 'nough
fer his father ter feed 'thout you'n him," and he pointed to the baby.

"But I work," pleaded Nan. "I pay for all we eat."

"But ye don't pay fer the rent an' the fire, an'--an' everything,"
Tode replied, with a note of triumph in his voice, "so now, ye better
let me pay fer Little Brother an' then you c'n pay the rest."

Nan hesitated and her face was troubled.  Finally she lifted her dark
eyes to his and said bravely, "Tode, I guess I ought to tell you just
why I couldn't anyway let you do for Little Brother as you want
to. It's because--because you don't get your money the right way."

"Who says I don't? Did that Dick Hunt say so? I'll"--began Tode,
fiercely, but Nan laid her hand on his arm and looked steadily into
his face.

"Tode," she said, earnestly, "if you will look straight into Little
Brother's eyes and tell me that you never steal--I'll believe you."

"I never"--began the boy, boldly; then he met a grave, sweet glance
from the baby's big blue eyes, and he hesitated. The lying words died
on his tongue, and turning his eyes away from the little face that he
loved, he said gloomily, "What's that got to do with it anyhow?
S'posin' I do hook a han'ful of peanuts sometimes. That ain't
nothin'."

"Tode, do you want Little Brother to hook a handful of peanuts
sometimes when he gets big?" asked Nan, quietly.

The boy turned his eyes again to the baby face and the hot blood
burned in his own as he answered, quickly, "'Course I don't. He won't
be that sort."

"No, he won't, if I can help it," replied Nan, gravely.

Tode dug his toe into the dirt in silence. Nan added, "Tode, by and
by, when he gets bigger, would you want him to know that you were a
thief?"

When Tode looked up there was a strange gravity in his eyes, and his
lips were set in an expression of stern resolve.

"I've got ter quit it," he said, solemnly, "an' I will. Say, Nan," he
added, wistfully, "if I quit now, ye wont ever let him know I used ter
be--what you said, will ye?"

"No, Tode, never," answered Nan, quickly and earnestly. "And Tode, if
you'll stick to it, and not steal or lie or swear, I shan't mind your
helping me get things for Little Brother."

The boy's face brightened, and he drew himself up proudly. "It's a
bargain, then," he said.

Nan looked at him thoughtfully. "I don't believe you know how hard it
will be, Tode. I find it's awful hard to break myself of bad habits,
and I don't s'pose you've ever tried to before, have you?"

Tode considered the question. "Guess not," he said, slowly, after a
pause.

"Then I'm afraid you'll find you can't stop doing those bad things all
at once. But you'll keep on trying, Tode. You won't give up 'cause
it's hard work," Nan pleaded, anxiously.

"Nope," answered the boy, briefly, with a glance at the soft little
fingers that were clasped about one of his.

When Nan went home he went with her to the door, loth to lose sight of
the only creature in the world for whom he cared. As the door closed
behind the two, he walked on thinking over what Nan had said. Much of
it seemed to him "girls' stuff an' nonsense." "As if a fella couldn't
stop swipin' things if he wanted to!"  he said to himself.

As he went on he passed a fruit stand where a man was buying some
bananas. In putting his change into his pocket he dropped a nickel,
which rolled toward Tode who promptly set his foot on it, and then
pretending to pull a rag off his torn trousers, he picked up the coin
and went on chuckling over his "luck." But suddenly he stopped short
and the hot color rose in his cheeks as he exclaimed with an oath,

"Done it again!"

He looked around for the man, but he had disappeared, and with an
angry grunt Tode flung the nickel into the gutter and went on,
beginning so soon to realise that evil habits are not overcome by
simply resolving to conquer them.  Tode never had made any such
attempt before, and the discovery had rather a depressing effect on
him. It made him cross, too, but to his credit be it said, the thought
of giving up the struggle never once occurred to him.

He found old Mr. Carey asleep in his chair, and he awoke him roughly.

"See here!" he exclaimed, sharply. "Is this the way you 'tend to
business when I'm gone?  Some cove might a stole every book an' paper
on the stand, and cleaned out the cash, too." He pulled open the
drawer as he spoke. "No thanks to you that 'tain't empty," he
grumbled.  He had never spoken so sharply before, and the old man was
vaguely disturbed by it. He got up and walked feebly across the room,
rubbing his trembling fingers through his grey hair in a troubled
fashion, as he answered slowly,

"Yes, yes, bishop--you're right. It was very careless of me to go to
sleep so. I don't see how I came to do it. I'm afraid I'm breaking
down, my boy--breaking down," he added, sadly.

As Tode looked at the old man's dim eyes and shaking hands a feeling
of sympathy and compassion stole into his heart, and his voice
softened as he said, "Oh, well, it's all right this time.  Reckon I'll
have to run the business altogether till you get better."

"I'm afraid you will, bishop. I'm not much good anyhow, nowadays," and
the old man dropped again into his chair with a heavy sigh.

The weeks that followed were the most miserable weeks of Tode Byran's
short life. He found out some things about himself that he had never
before suspected. It was wholesome knowledge, but it was not pleasant
to find that in spite of his strongest resolutions, those nimble
fingers of his _would_ pick up nuts and apples from street stands
and his quick tongue would rattle off lies and evil words before he
could remember to stop it. The other boys found him a most unpleasant
companion in these days, for his continual failures made him cross and
moody. He would speedily have given up the struggle but for Little
Brother. Several times he did give it up for a week or two, but then
he staid away from the Hunts' rooms until he grew so hungry for a
sight of the baby face that he could stay away no longer. Nan came to
understand what these absences meant, and always when he reappeared
she would speak a word of encouragement and faith in his final
victory. Tode had not cared at all for Nan at first, but in these days
of struggle and failure he began to value her steadfast faith in him,
and again and again he renewed his vow to make himself "fit to help
bring up Little Brother," as he expressed it.

It was one day toward the close of winter that Tode noticed that
Mr. Carey seemed more than usually dull and listless, dropping into a
doze even while the boy was speaking to him, and he went to bed
directly after supper. When the boy awoke the next morning the old man
lay just as he had fallen asleep. He did not answer when Tode spoke to
him, and his hands were cold as ice to the boy's touch.

Tode did not know what to do, but he finally hunted up the policeman,
who knew him, and the two went back together and found the old man
dead. As no relatives appeared, the city authorities took charge of
the funeral, the books and the few pieces of furniture were sold to
pay the expenses, and Tode found himself once more a homeless waif. He
had not minded it before, but his brief experience of even this poor
home had unfitted him for living and sleeping in the streets. He found
it unpleasant too, to have no money except the little he could earn
selling papers. He set himself to face his future in earnest, and came
to the conclusion that it was time for him to get into some better
paying business.  After thinking over the matter for several days he
went to Nan.

"You know them doughnuts you made th' other day?" he began.

"Yes," replied Nan, wonderingly. Mrs. Hunt had taught her to make
various simple dishes, and as Tode had happened in the day she made
her first doughnuts, she had given him a couple, which he had
pronounced "prime!"

Now he went on, "I don't want to sleep 'round the streets any
more. I'm sick of it, but I can't make money 'nough off papers to do
anything else. I'm thinkin' of settin' up a stand."

"A bookstand, Tode?" questioned Nan, interestedly.

"No--a eatin' stand--fer the fellers ye know--newsboys an' such. 'F
you'll make doughnuts an' gingerbread an' san'wiches fer me, I bet all
the fellers'll come fer 'em."

"Now that ain't a bad idea, Tode," said Mrs.  Hunt, looking up from
her work. "Of course the boys would buy good homemade food instead of
the trash they get from the cheap eatin' houses, an' Nan, I shouldn't
wonder if you could earn more that way than by workin' at these bags."

Nan considered the matter thoughtfully, and finally agreed to give it
a trial, and Tode went off highly pleased.

It took him two weeks to save enough to start his stand even in the
simplest fashion, but when he did open it, he at first did a
flourishing business.  In the beginning the boys patronised him partly
from curiosity and partly from good fellowship, but Nan's cookery
found favour with them at once, and "Tode's Corner" soon became the
favorite lunch counter for the city newsboys, and Tode's pockets were
better filled than they had been since Mr. Carey's death.

For several weeks all went well, and the boy began to consider himself
on the high road to fortune, but then came a setback.

One day his stand was surrounded by a crowd of boys all clamoring to
be served at once, when the big fellow who had taken possession of
Tode's newspaper route, months before, came along. He had never
forgotten or forgiven the boy for getting the better of him on that
occasion, and now he thought he saw a chance for revenge.

Creeping up behind the group of hungry boys, he suddenly hit one of
them a stinging blow on the face, and as this one turned and struck
back angrily at him, the big fellow flung him back with all his
strength against Tode's stand. The stand was an old one and
rickety--Tode had bought it secondhand--and it went down with a crash,
carrying cookies, doughnuts, gingerbread, coffee, sandwiches, cups,
plates and boys in one promiscuous mixture. Before the boys could
struggle to their feet, Carrots, with his hands full of gingerbread,
had disappeared around the nearest corner.  There was a wild rush and
a scramble, and when two minutes later, Tode stood gazing mournfully
at the wreck, not an eatable bit remained. The boys had considered the
wreckage as their lawful spoils, and every one of them had snatched as
much as he could.

Later, however, their sense of justice led some of them to express,
after their rough fashion, sympathy for Tode, and disapproval of his
enemy's revengeful act. Besides, a few of them had enough conscience
to acknowledge to themselves that they had not been entirely
blameless.  The result was that half a dozen of them went to Tode the
next day and offered to "chip in" and set him up again.

Tode appreciated the spirit that prompted the offer, but he was also
shrewd enough to foresee that should he accept it, these boys would
expect favours in the way of prices and quantities when they dealt
with him in the future, and so he declined.

"Reckin I can stan' on my own feet, boys," he answered. "I've been
a-tinkerin' up the ol' stand, an' I'm a-goin' to start in again
to-morrow.  You fellers come here an' get yer breakfast, an' that's
all the help I'll ask, 'cept that ev'ry last one o' ye'll give that
Carrots a kick fer me."

"We will that!" shouted the boys. "We'll make him sorry fer himself!"

And the next day their sympathy took the practical form that Tode had
suggested, for every one of them that had any money to spend, spent it
at "Tode's Corner," so that his stand was cleared again, but in a very
satisfactory fashion--a fashion that filled his pockets with dimes and
nickels.



IV. TODE MEETS THE BISHOP


Sundays were Tode's dreariest days. He found that it did not pay to
keep his stand open later than ten o'clock, and then after he had
spent an hour with Little Brother and Nan, the time hung heavy on his
hands. Sometimes he pored over a newspaper for a while, sometimes over
something even more objectionable than the Sunday newspaper, and for
the rest, he loafed around street corners and wharves with other
homeless boys like himself.

One Sunday morning he was listlessly reading over some play-bills
pasted on a fence, when the word "bishop" caught his eye, and he
spelled out the announcement that a well-known bishop was to speak in
St. Mark's Church, that afternoon.

"Cracky! I'd like to see a live bishop. B'lieve I'll go," he said to
himself. Then looking down at his ragged trousers and dirty jacket, he
added with a grin, "'Spect some o' them nobs'll most have a fit to see
me there."

Nevertheless he determined to go. Old Mr.  Carey had never called him
anything but "bishop," and now the boy had a queer feeling as he read
that word on the bill--a feeling that this bishop whom he had never
seen had yet in some way something to do with him--though in what way
he could not imagine.

He thought over the matter through the hours that followed, sometimes
deciding that he would go, and again that he wouldn't, but he found
out where St. Mark's Church was, and at three o'clock he was there.

He gave a little start and a shadow fell upon his face as he saw the
pillared porch and the stone stairway. He seemed to see himself
running up those stairs and stuffing that stolen pocketbook into the
pastor's box that he remembered so clearly. These thoughts were not
pleasant ones to him now, and Tode stopped hesitatingly, undecided
whether to go on or to go in. It was early yet and no one was entering
though the doors stood invitingly open.

While he hesitated, the sexton came out to the steps. Tode remembered
him too, and looked at him with a grin that exasperated the man.  "Get
out o' this!" he exclaimed, roughly.  "We don't want any o' your sort
'round here."

Of course that settled the matter for Tode.  He was determined to go
in now anyhow, but he knew better than to attempt it just then.

"Who wants to go int' yer ol' church," he muttered as he turned
away. The man growled a surly response but Tode did not look back.

On the corner he stopped, wondering how he could best elude the
unfriendly sexton and slip into the building, without his
knowledge. He dropped down on the curbstone and sat there thinking for
some time. At last a voice above him said quietly,

"Well, my boy, aren't you coming to church?"

Tode looked up, up a long way it seemed to him, into such a face as he
had never before looked into. Instinctively he arose and stepped back
that he might see more plainly those clear blue eyes and that strong,
tender mouth. The boy gazed and gazed, forgetting utterly to answer.

"You are coming into church with me, aren't you?"

So the question was repeated, and Tode, still lookingly earnestly up
into the man's face, nodded silently.

"That's right, my son--come," and a large, kindly hand was laid gently
upon the boy's shoulder.

Without a word he walked on beside the stranger.

The sexton was standing in the vestibule as the two approached. A look
of blank amazement swept across his face at sight of the boy in such
company. He said no word, however, only stepped aside with a bow, but
his eyes followed the two as they passed into the church together, and
he muttered a few angry words under his breath.

As for Tode, some strange influence seemed to have taken possession of
him, for he forgot to exult over the surly sexton. He passed him
without a thought indeed, feeling nothing but a strange, happy wonder
at the companionship in which he found himself.

The stranger led him up the aisle to one of the best pews, and
motioned him in. Silently the boy obeyed. Then the man looking down
with his rare, beautiful smile into the uplifted face, gently raised
Tode's ragged cap from his rough hair, and laid it on the cushioned
seat beside him.  Then he went away, and Tode felt as if the sunlight
had been suddenly darkened. His eyes followed the tall, strong figure
longingly until it disappeared--then he looked about him, at the
beautiful interior of the church. The boy had never been in such a
place before, and he gazed wonderingly at the frescoes, the rich
colours in the windows, the dark carved woodwork and the wide chancel
and pulpit.

"Wat's it all for, I wonder," he said, half aloud, and then started
and flushed as his own voice broke the beautiful, solemn silence.

People were beginning to come in and filling the seats about him, and
many curious and astonished glances fell upon the boy, but he did not
notice them. Presently a soft, low strain of music stole out upon the
stillness. Surely a master hand touched the keys that day, for the
street boy sat like a statue listening eagerly to the sweet sounds,
and suddenly he found his cheeks wet.  He dashed his hand impatiently
across them wondering what was the matter with him, for tears were
strangers to Tode's eyes, but in spite of himself they filled again,
till he almost wished the music would cease--almost but not quite, for
that strange happiness thrilled his heart as he listened.

Then far-off voices began to sing, coming nerrer and nearer, until a
long line of white-robed men and boys appeared, singing as they
walked, and last of all came the kingly stranger who had brought Tode
into the church, and he went to the lectern and began to read.

"The--bishop!" Tode breathed the words softly, in a mixture of wonder
and delight, as he suddenly realised who this man must be.

He sat through the remainder of the service in a dreamy state of
strange enjoyment. He did not understand why the people around him
stood or knelt at intervals. He did not care. When the bishop prayed,
Tode looked around, wondering whom he was calling "Lord." He concluded
that it must be the one who made the music.

He listened eagerly, breathlessly, to the sermon, understanding almost
nothing of what was said, but simply drinking in the words spoken by
that rich, sweet voice, that touched something within him, something
that only Little Brother had ever touched before. Yet this was
different from the feeling that the baby had awakened in the boy's
heart. He loved the baby dearly, but to this great, grand man, who
stood there above him wearing the strange dress that he had never
before seen a man wear--to him the boy's whole heart seemed to go out
in reverent admiration and desire. He knew that he would do anything
that this man might ask of him. He could refuse him nothing.

"Ye are not your own. Ye are bought with a price."

These words, repeated again and again, fixed themselves in Tode's
memory with no effort of his own. Buying and selling were matters
quite in his line now, but he did not understand this.  He puzzled
over it awhile, then put it aside to be thought out at another time.

When the service was over, Tode watched the long line of choir boys
pass slowly out, and his eyes followed the tall figure of the bishop
till it disappeared from his wistful gaze. Then he looked about upon
the kneeling congregation, wondering if the people were going to stay
there all day. The bishop was gone, the music had ceased, and Tode did
not want to stay any longer.  He slipped silently out of the pew and
left the church.

That evening he wandered off by himself, avoiding the Sunday
gathering-places of the boys, and thinking over the new experiences of
the afternoon. The words the bishop had repeated so often sung
themselves over and over in his ears.

"Ye are not your own. Ye are bought with a price."

"Don't mean me, anyhow," he thought, "'cause I b'long ter myself, sure
'nough. Nobody ever bought me 't ever I heard of. Wonder who that Jesus
is, he talked about so much. I wish--I wish he'd talk ter me--that
bishop."

All the strange happiness that had filled his heart during the service
in the church, was gone now. He did not feel happy at all. On the
contrary, he felt wretched and utterly miserable. He had begun to have
a distinct pride and satisfaction in himself lately, since he had
stopped lying and stealing, and had set up in business for himself,
and especially since Mrs. Hunt had begun to look upon him with more
favour, as he knew she had--but somehow now all this seemed worthless.
Although he had not understood the bishop's sermon, it seemed to have
unsettled Tode's mind, and awakened a vague miserable dissatisfaction
with himself. He was not used to such feelings.  He didn't like them,
and he grew cross and ugly when he found himself unable to shake them
off.

He had wandered to the quiet corner of the wharf, where he and Nan and
Little Brother had spent the first hours of their acquaintance, and he
stood leaning against that same post, looking gloomily down into the
water, when a lean, rough dog crept slowly toward him, wagging his
stumpy tail and looking into the boy's face with eyes that pleaded for
a friendly word. Generally Tode would have responded to the mute
appeal, but now he felt so miserable himself, that he longed to make
somebody or something else miserable too, so instead of a pat, he gave
the dog a kick that sent it limping off with a yelp of pain and
remonstrance. He had made another creature as miserable as himself,
but somehow it didn't seem to lessen his own wretchedness.  Indeed, he
couldn't help feeling that he had done a mean, cowardly thing, and
Tode never liked to feel himself a coward. He looked after the dog.
It had crawled into a corner and was licking the injured paw. Tode
walked toward the poor creature that looked at him suspiciously, yet
with a faint little wag of its tail, as showing its readiness to
forgive and forget, while at the same time ready to run if more abuse
threatened.

Tode stooped and called, "Come here, sir!"  and, after a moment's
hesitation, the dog crept slowly toward him with a low whine, still
keeping his bright eyes fastened on the boy's.

"Poor old fellow," Tode said, gently, patting the dog's rough
head. "Is it hurt? Let me see." He felt of the leg, the dog standing
quietly beside him.

"'Tain't broken. It'll be all right pretty soon.  What's your name?"
Tode said, and the dog rubbed his head against the boy's knee and
tried to say with his eloquent eyes what his dumb lips could not
utter.

"Got none--ye mean? You're a street dog--like me," the boy
added. "Well, guess I'll go home an' get some supper," and he walked
slowly away and presently forgot all about the dog.

He had lately hired a tiny garret room where he slept, and kept his
supplies when his stand was closed. He went there now and ate his
lonely supper. It had never before seemed lonely to him, but somehow
to-night it did. He hurried down the food and started to go out
again. As he opened his door, he heard a faint sound, and something
moved on the dark landing.

"Who's there?" he called, sharply.

A low whine answered him, and from out the gloom two eyes gleamed and
glittered. Tode peered into the shadow, then he laughed.

"So it's you, is it? You must have tagged me home. Come in here then
if you want to," and he flung his door wide open and stepped back into
the room.

Then out of the shadows of the dark landing the dog came slowly and
warily, ready to turn and slink off if he met no welcome, but Tode was
in the mood when even a strange dog was better than his own
company. He fed the half-starved creature with some stale sandwiches,
and then talked to him and tried to teach him some tricks until to his
own surprise he heard the city clocks striking nine, and the long,
lonely evening he had dreaded was gone.

"Well now, you're a heap o' company," he said to the dog. "I've a good
mind ter keep ye.  Say, d'ye wan' ter stay, ol' feller?"

The dog wagged his abbreviated tail, licked Tode's fingers, and rubbed
his head against the ragged trousers of his new friend.

"Ye do, hey! Well, I'll keep ye ter-night, anyhow. Le' see, what'll I
call ye? You've got ter have a name. S'posin' I call ye Tag. That
do--hey, Tag?"

The dog gave a quick, short bark and limped gaily about the boy's
feet.

"All right--we'll call ye Tag then. Now then, there's yer bed," and he
threw into a corner an old piece of carpet that he had picked up on a
vacant lot. The dog understood and settled himself with a long,
contented sigh, as if he would have said:

"At last I've found a master and a home."

In a day or two Tag's lameness disappeared, and his devotion to his
new master was unbounded.  Tode found him useful, too, for he kept
vigilant watch when the boy was busy at his stand, and suffered no
thievish fingers to snatch anything when Tode's eyes and fingers were
too busy for him to be on the lookout. The dog was such a loving,
intelligent little creature, that he quickly won his way into Nan's
heart, and he evidently considered himself the guardian of Little
Brother from the first day that he saw Tode and the child
together. Some dogs have a way of reading hearts, and Tag knew within
two minutes that Tode loved every lock on Little Brother's sunny head.

A few days after that Sabbath that the boy was never to forget, he
went to see Nan and the baby, and in the course of his visit,
remarked,

"Nan, I seen the bishop last Sunday."

"What bishop?" inquired Nan.

"The one that talked at the big, stone church--St.  Mark's, they call
it."

"I wonder 't they let you in, if you wore them ragged duds," remarked
Mrs. Hunt.

"The bishop asked me to go in an' he took me in himself," retorted
Tode, defiantly.

"For the land's sake," exclaimed Mrs. Hunt.  "He must be a queer kind
of a bishop!"

"A splendid kind of a bishop, I should think," put in Nan, and the boy
responded quickly,

"He is so! I never see a man like him."

"Never see a man like him? What d'ye mean, Tode?" questioned
Mrs. Hunt.

Tode looked at her as he answered slowly, "He's a great big man--looks
like a king--an' his eyes look right through a feller, but they don't
hurt. They ain't sharp. They're soft, an'--an'--I guess they look like
a mother's eyes would. I d'know much 'bout mothers, 'cause I never had
one, but I should think they'd look like his do. I tell ye," Tode
faced Mrs. Hunt and spoke earnestly, "a feller'd do 'most anything that
that bishop asked him to--couldn't help it."

Mrs. Hunt stared in amazement at the boy.  His eyes were glowing and
in his voice there was a ring of deep feeling that she had never
before heard in it. It made her vaguely uncomfortable.  Her Dick had
never spoken so about any bishop, nor indeed, about anybody else, and
here was this rough street boy whom she considered quite unfit to
associate with Dick--and the bishop himself had taken him into church.

Mrs. Hunt spoke somewhat sharply. "Well, I must say you were a
queer-lookin' one to set in a pew in a church like St. Mark's."

Nan looked distressed, and Tode glanced uneasily at his garments. They
certainly were about as bad as they could be. Even pins and twine
could not hold them together much longer.

"Tode," Mrs. Hunt went on, "I think it's high time you got yourself
some better clothes.  Dear knows, you need 'em if ever a boy did, an'
certainly you must have money 'nough now."

"'Spect I have. I never thought about it," replied Tode.

"Well, you'd better think about it, an' 'tend to it right away. 'F
you're goin' to church with bishops you'd ought to look respectable,
anyhow."

Something in the tone and emphasis with which Mrs. Hunt spoke brought
the colour into Tode's brown cheeks, while Nan looked at the good
woman in surprise and dismay. She did not know how troubled was the
mother's heart over her own boy lately, as she saw him growing rough
and careless, and that it seemed to her hard that this waif of the
streets should be going up while her Dick went down.

Tode thought over what had been said, and the result was that the next
time he appeared he was so changed that the good woman looked twice
before she recognised him. His clothes had been purchased at a
secondhand store, and they might have fitted better than they did, but
they were a vast improvement on what he had worn before. He had
scrubbed his face as well as his hands this time, and had combed his
rough hair as well as he could with the broken bit of comb which was
all he possessed in the way of toilet appliances. It is no easy matter
for a boy to keep himself well washed and brushed with no face cloth
or towel or brush, and no wash basin save the public sink. Tode had
done his best however, and Nan looked at him in pleased surprise.

"You do look nice, Tode," she said, and the boy's face brightened with
satisfaction.

All through that week Tode told himself that he would not go to the
church again, yet day by day the longing grew to see the bishop's face
once more and to hear his voice.

"W'at's the use! O'ny makes a feller feel meaner 'n dirt," he said to
himself again and again, yet the next Sabbath afternoon found him
hanging about St. Mark's hoping that the bishop would ask him in
again. But the minutes passed and the bishop did not appear.

"Maybe he's gone in aready," the boy thought, peering cautiously
through the pillars of the entrance.  There was no one in sight, and
Tode crept quietly across the porch through the wide vestibule to the
church door. Only the sexton was there, and his back was toward the
boy as he stood looking out of the opposite door.

"Now's my time," thought Tode, and he ran swiftly and silently up the
aisle to the pew where the bishop had placed him. There he hesitated.
He was not sure which of several pews was the one, but with a quick
glance at the sexton's back, he slipped into the nearest, and hearing
the man's footsteps approaching, dropped to the floor and crawled
under the seat.

The sexton came slowly down the aisle, stopping here and there to
arrange books or brush off a dusty spot. He even entered the pew where
Tode was, and moved the books in the rack in front, but the boy lay
motionless in the shadow, and the man passed on without discovering
him.

Then the people began to come in, and Tode was just about to get up
and sit on the seat, when a lady and a little girl entered the pew.

The boy groaned inwardly. "They'll screech if I get up now," he
thought. "Nothin' for it but to lay here till it's over. Wal', I c'n
hear _him_ anyhow."

"Him," in Tode's thought was the bishop, and he waited patiently
through the early part of the service, longing to hear again that
rich, strong, thrilling voice. But alas for Tode! It was not the
bishop who preached that day. It was a stranger, whose low monotonous
voice reached the boy so indistinctly, that he soon gave up all
attempts to listen, and before the sermon was half over he was sound
asleep. Fortunately he was used to hard resting-places, and he slept
so quietly that the occupants of the pew did not discover his presence
at all.

The music of the choir and of the organ mingled with the boy's dreams,
but did not arouse him, and when the people departed and the sexton
closed the church and went home, Tode still slept on in darkness and
solitude.

Usually there was an evening service, but on this occasion it was
omitted, the rector being ill, so when Tode at last opened his eyes,
it was to find all dark and silent about him. As he started up his
head struck the bottom of the seat with a force that made him cry out
and drop back again.  Then as he lay there he put out his hands, and
feeling the cushioned seat over his head, he knew where he was and
guessed what had happened.

"Wal! I was a chump to go to sleep here!"  he muttered, slowly, rising
with hands outstretched.  "'Spect I'll have ter get out of the
window."

The street lights shining through the stained glass made a faint
twilight in the church, but there was something weird and strange
about being there alone at that hour that set the boy's heart to
beating faster than usual.

He went to one of the windows and felt about for the fastenings, but
he could not reach them.  They were too high. He tried them all, but
none were within his reach. Then he sat down in one of the pews and
wondered what he should do next.  He was wide awake now. It seemed to
him that he could not close his eyes again that night, and indeed it
was long after midnight before he did. He felt strangely lonely as he
sat there through those endless hours, dimly hearing the voices and
footsteps in the street without grow fewer and fainter, till all was
silent save the clocks that rang out the creeping hours to his weary
ears. At last his tired eyes closed and he slipped down on the
cushioned seat and slept for a few hours, but he awoke again before
daylight.

It was broad daylight outside before it was light enough in the church
for the boy to see clearly, and then he looked hopelessly at the high
window fastenings. He had tried every door but all were securely
locked.

"Nothin' t' do but wait till that ol' cove comes back," he said to
himself.

Then a thought flashed across his mind--a thought that made his heart
stand still with dread. "S'posin' he don't come till next Sunday?"

Tode knew nothing about midweek or daily services. But he put this
terrible thought away from him.

"I'll get out somehow if I have ter smash some o' them pictures," he
said aloud, as he looked up at the beautiful windows.

The minutes seemed endless while the boy walked restlessly up and down
the aisles thinking of his stand, and of the customers who would seek
breakfast there in vain that morning. At last he heard approaching
footsteps, then a key rattled in the lock, and Tode instinctively
rolled under the nearest pew and lay still, listening to the heavy
footsteps of the sexton as he passed slowly about opening doors and
windows. The boy waited with what patience he could until the man
passed on to the further side of the church, then he slid and crawled
along the carpeted aisle until he reached the door, when springing to
his feet he made a dash for the street. He heard the sexton shouting
angrily after him, but he paid no heed. On and on he ran until he
reached his room where Tag gave him a wildly delighted welcome, and in
a very short time thereafter the stand at "Tode's Corner" was doing a
brisk business.



V. IN THE BISHOP'S HOUSE


Tode's patrons were mostly newsboys of his acquaintance, who came
pretty regularly to his stand for breakfast, and generally for a
midday meal, lunch or dinner as it might be. Where they took their
supper he did not know, but he usually closed his place of business
after one o'clock, and spent a couple of hours roaming about the
streets doing any odd job that came in his way, if he happened to feel
like it, or to be in need of money.

After his meeting with the bishop he often wandered up into the
neighbourhood of St. Mark's with a vague hope that he might see again
the man who seemed to his boyish imagination a very king among men. It
had long been Tode's secret ambition to grow into a big, strong man
himself--bigger and stronger than the common run of men. Now, whenever
he thought about it, he said to himself, "Just like the bishop."

But he never met the bishop, and having found out that he did not
preach regularly at St. Mark's, Tode never went there after the second
time.

One afternoon in late September, the boy was lounging along with Tag
at his heels in the neighbourhood of the church, when he heard a great
rattling of wheels and clattering of hoofs, and around the corner came
a pair of horses dragging a carriage that swung wildly from side to
side, as the horses came tearing down the street. There was no one in
the carriage, but the driver was puffing along a little way behind,
yelling frantically, "Stop 'em! Stop 'em! Why don't ye stop the
brutes!"

There were not many people on the street, and the few men within sight
seemed not at all anxious to risk life or limb in an attempt to stop
horses going at such a reckless pace.

Now Tode was only a little fellow not yet fourteen, but he was strong
and lithe as a young Indian, and as to fear--he did not know what it
was. As he saw the horses dashing toward him he leaped into the middle
of the street and stood there, eyes alert and limbs ready, directly in
their pathway. They swerved aside as they approached him, but with a
quick upward spring he grabbed the bit of the one nearest him, and
hung there with all his weight. This frightened and maddened the
horse, and he plunged and reared and flung his head from side to side,
until he succeeded in throwing the boy off. The delay however, slight
as it was, had given the driver time to come up, and he speedily
regained control of his team while a crowd quickly gathered.

Tode had been flung off sidewise, his head striking the curbstone, and
there he lay motionless, while faithful Tag crouched beside him, now
and then licking the boy's fingers, and whining pitifully as he looked
from face to face, as if he would have said,

"_Won't_ some of you help him? I can't."

The crowd pressed about the unconscious boy with a sort of morbid
curiosity, one proposing one thing and one another until a policeman
came along and promptly sent a summons for an ambulance; but before it
appeared, a tall grey-haired man came up the street and stopped to see
what was the matter. He was so tall that he could look over the heads
of most of the men, and as he saw the white face of the boy lying
there in the street, he hastily pushed aside the onlookers as if they
had been men of straw, and stooping, lifted the boy in his strong
arms.

"Stand back," he cried, his voice ringing out like a trumpet, "would
you let the child die in the street?"

They fell back before him, a whisper passing from lip to lip. "It's
the bishop!" they said, and some ran before him to open the gate and
some to ring the bell of the great house before which the accident had
occurred.

Mechanically the bishop thanked them, but he looked at none of
them. His eyes were fixed upon the face that lay against his shoulder,
the blood dripping slowly from a cut on one side of the head.

The servant who opened the door stared for an instant wonderingly, at
his master with the child in his arms, and at the throng pressing
curiously after them, but the next moment he recovered from his
amazement and, admitting the bishop, politely but firmly shut out the
eager throng that would have entered with him. A lank, rough-haired
dog attempted to slink in at the bishop's heels, but the servant gave
him a kick that made him draw back with a yelp of pain, and he took
refuge under the steps where he remained all night, restless and
miserable, his quick ears yet ever on the alert for a voice or a step
that he knew.

As the door closed behind the bishop, he exclaimed,

"Call Mrs. Martin, Brown, and then send for the doctor. This boy was
hurt at our very door."

Brown promptly obeyed both orders, and Mrs.  Martin, the housekeeper,
hastily prepared a room for the unexpected guest. The doctor soon
responded to the summons, but all his efforts failed to restore the
boy to consciousness that day. The bishop watched the child as
anxiously as if it had been one of his own flesh and blood. He had
neither wife nor child, but perhaps all the more for that, his great
heart held love enough and to spare for every child that came in his
way.

It was near the close of the following day when Tode's eyes slowly
opened and he came back to consciousness, but his eyes wandered about
the strange room and he still lay silent and motionless. The doctor
and the bishop were both beside him at the moment and he glanced from
one face to the other in a vague, doubtful fashion. He asked no
question, however, and soon his eyes again closed wearily, but this
time in sleep, healthful and refreshing, instead of the stupor that
had preceded it, and the doctor turned away with an expression of
satisfaction.

"He'll pull through now," he said in a low tone. "He's young and full
of vitality--he'll soon be all right."

The bishop rubbed his hands with satisfaction.  "That's well! That's
well!" he exclaimed, heartily.

The doctor looked at him curiously. "Did you ever see the lad before
you picked him up yesterday?"  he asked.

"No, never," answered the bishop, who naturally had not recognised in
Tode the boy whom he had taken into church that Sunday, weeks before.

The doctor shook his head as he drove off and muttered to himself,

"Whoever saw such a man! Who but our bishop would ever think of taking
a little street urchin like that right into his home and treating him
as if he were his own flesh and blood!  Well, well, he himself gets
taken in often no doubt in another fashion, but all the same the world
would be the better if there were more like him!"

And if the doctor's pronouns were a little mixed he himself understood
what he meant, and nobody else had anything to do with the matter.

The next morning Tode awoke again and this time to a full and lively
consciousness of his surroundings.  It was still early and the nurse
was dozing in an easy-chair beside the bed. The boy looked at her
curiously, then he raised himself on his elbow and gazed about him,
but as he did so he became conscious of a dull throbbing pain in one
side of his head and a sick faintness swept over him. It was his first
experience of weakness, and it startled him into a faint groan as his
head fell back on the pillow.

The sound awoke the nurse, who held a spoonful of medicine to his
lips, saying,

"Lie still. The doctor says you must not talk at all until he comes."

"So," thought the boy. "I've got a doctor.  Wonder where I am an' what
ails me, anyhow."

But that strange weakness made it easy to obey orders and lie still
while the nurse bathed his face and hands and freshened up the bed and
the room. Then she brought him a bowl of chicken broth with which she
fed him. It tasted delicious, and he swallowed it hungrily and wished
there had been more. Then as he lay back on the pillows he remembered
all that had happened--the horses running down the street, his attempt
to stop them, and the awful blow on his head as it struck the
curbstone.

"Wonder where I am? Tain't a hospital, anyhow," he thought. "My! But I
feel nice an' clean an' so--so light, somehow! If only my head wasn't
so sore!"

No wonder he felt "nice and clean and light somehow," when, for the
first time in his life his body and garments as well as his bed, were
as sweet and fresh as hands could make them.  Tode never had minded
dirt. Why should he, when he had been born in it and had grown up
knowing nothing better? Yet, none the less, was this new experience
most delightful to him--so delightful that he didn't care to talk. It
was happiness enough for him, just then, to lie still and enjoy these
new conditions, and so presently he floated off again into sleep--a
sleep full of beautiful dreams from which the low murmur of voices
aroused him, and he opened his eyes to see the nurse and the doctor
looking down at him.

"Well, my boy," said the doctor, with his fingers on the wrist near
him, "you look better.  Feel better too, don't you?"

Tode gazed at him, wondering who he was and paying no attention to his
question.

"Doctor," exclaimed the nurse, suddenly, "he hasn't spoken a single
word. Do you suppose he can be deaf and dumb?"

The bishop entered the room just in time to catch the last words.

"Deaf and dumb!" he repeated, in a tone of dismay. "Dear me! If the
poor child is deaf and dumb, I shall certainly keep him here until I
can find a better home for him."

As his eyes rested on the bishop Tode started and uttered a little
inarticulate cry of joy; then, as he understood what the bishop was
saying, a singular expression passed over his face. The doctor,
watching him closely could make nothing of it.

"He looks as if he knew you, bishop," the doctor said.

The bishop had taken the boy's rough little hand in his own large,
kindly grasp.

"No, doctor," he answered, "I don't think I've ever seen him before
yesterday, but we're friends all the same, aren't we, my lad?" and he
smiled down into the grey eyes looking up to him so earnestly and
happily.

Tode opened his lips to speak, then suddenly remembering, slightly
shook his head while the colour mounted in his pale cheeks.

"He acts like a deaf mute, certainly," muttered the doctor, and
stepping to the head of the bed he pulled out his watch and held it
first to one and then the other of Tode's ears, but out of his sight.

Tode's ears were as sharp as a ferret's and his brain was as quick as
his ears. He knew well enough what the doctor was doing but he made no
sign. Were not the bishop's words ringing in his ears? "If the poor
child is deaf and dumb I shall certainly keep him here until I can
find a better home for him."

There were few things at which the boy would have hesitated to ensure
his staying there. He understood now that he was in the house of the
bishop--"my bishop" he called him in his thought.

So, naturally enough, it was taken for granted that the boy was deaf
and dumb, for no one imagined the possibility of his pretending to be
so.  Tode thought it would be easy to keep up the deception, but at
first he found it very hard. As his strength returned there were so
many questions that he wanted to ask, but he fully believed that if it
were known that he could hear and speak he would be sent away, and
more and more as the days went by he longed to remain where he was.

As he grew stronger and able to sit up, books and games and pictures
were provided for his amusement, yet still the hours sometimes dragged
somewhat heavily, but it was better when he was well enough to walk
about the house.

Mrs. Martin, the housekeeper, had first admired the boy's bravery,
then pitied him for his suffering, and had ended by loving him,
because she, too, had a big, kindly heart that was ready to love
anybody who needed her love and service.  So, it was with great
satisfaction that she obeyed the bishop's orders, and bought for the
boy a good, serviceable outfit as soon as he was able to walk about
his room.

She combed out and trimmed his rough, thick hair, and then helped him
dress himself in one of his new suits. As she tied his necktie for him
she looked at him with the greatest satisfaction, saying to herself,

"Whoever would believe that it was the same boy? If only he could hear
and speak now like other boys, I'd have nothing more to ask for him."

Then she stooped and kissed him. Tode wriggled uneasily under the
unwonted caress, not quite certain whether or not he liked it--from a
woman. The housekeeper took his hand and led him down the stairs to
the bishop's study.  It was a long room containing many books and
easy-chairs and two large desks. At one of these the bishop sat
writing, and over the other bent a short, dark-faced man who wore
glasses.

"Come in, Mrs. Martin, come in," called the bishop, as he saw her
standing at the open door.  "And who is this?" he added, holding out
his hand to the boy.

"You don't recognize him?" Mrs. Martin asked smiling down on Tode's
smooth head.

The bishop looked keenly at the boy, then he smiled contentedly and
drew the little fellow to his side.

"Well, well!" he said, "the clothes we wear do make a great
difference, don't they, Mrs.  Martin? He's a fine looking lad. Gibson,
this is the boy I was telling you about."

The little dark man turned and looked at Tode as the bishop spoke. It
was not a friendly look, and Tode felt it.

"Ah," replied Mr. Gibson, slowly. "So this is the boy, is it? He was
fortunate to fall into your hands;" and with a sharp, sidelong glance
over his shoulder, Mr. Gibson turned again to his work.

The bishop drew a great armchair close to his table and gently pushed
Tode into it. Then he brought a big book full of pictures and put it
into the boy's hands.

"Let him stay here for a while, Mrs. Martin," he said. "I always work
better when there is a child near me--if it's the right sort of a
child," he added, with a smile.

Mrs. Martin went out, and Tode, with a long, happy breath, leaned back
in the big chair and looked about him at the many books, at the dark
head bent over the desk in the alcove, finally at the noble face of
the bishop intent on his writing.

This was the beginning of many happy hours for Tode. Perhaps it was
the weakness and languor resulting from his accident that made him
willing to sit quietly a whole morning or afternoon in the study
beside the bishop's table, when, before this, to sit still for half an
hour would have been an almost unendurable penance to him; but there
was another and a far stronger reason in the deep reverential love for
the bishop, that day by day was growing and strengthening into a
passion in his young heart. The boy's heart was like a garden-spot in
which the rich, strong soil lay ready to receive any seed that might
fall upon it. Better seed could not be than that which all
unconsciously this man of God--the bishop--was sowing therein, as day
after day he gave his Master's message to the sick and sinful and
sorrowful souls that came to him for help and comfort.

It goes without saying that the bishop had small leisure, for many and
heavy were the demands upon his time and thought, but nevertheless he
kept two hours a day sacredly free from all other claims, that he
might give them to any of God's poor or troubled ones who desired to
see him, and believing that Tode could hear nothing that was said, he
often kept the boy with him during these hours.

Strange and wonderful lessons were those that the little street boy
learned from the consecrated lips of the good bishop--lessons of God's
love to man, and of the loving service that man owes not only to his
God, but to his brother man.  Strange, sad lessons too, of sin and
sorrow, and their far-reaching influence on human lives. Tode had not
lived in the streets for nearly fourteen years without learning a
great deal about the sin that is in the world, but never until now,
had he understood and realised the evil of it and the cure for
it. Many a time he longed to ask the bishop some of the questions that
filled his mind, but that he dared not do.

Among these visitors there came one morning to the study a plainly
dressed lady with a face that Tode liked at the first glance. As she
talked with the bishop, the boy kept his eyes on the book open in his
lap, but he heard all that was said--heard it at first with a startled
surprise that changed into a sick feeling of shame and misery--for the
story to which he listened was this:

The lady was a Mrs. Russell. The bishop had formerly been her pastor
and she still came to him for help and counsel. She had been much
interested in a boy of sixteen who had been in her class in the
mission school, a boy who was entirely alone in the world. He had
picked up a living in the streets, much as Tode himself had done, and
finally had fallen into bad company and into trouble.

Mrs. Russell had interested herself in his behalf, and upon her
promise to be responsible for him, he had been delivered over to her
instead of being sent to a reform school. She went to a number of the
smaller dry goods stores and secured promises of employment for the
boy as parcel deliverer. To do this work he must have a tricycle, and
the energetic little lady having found a secondhand one that could be
had for thirty dollars, set herself to secure this sum from several of
her friends. This she had done, and was on her way to buy the tricycle
when she lost her pocketbook. The owner of the tricycle, being anxious
to sell, and having another offer, would not hold it for her, but sold
it to the other customer.  The boy, bitterly disappointed, lost hope
and heart, and that night left the place where Mrs. Russell had put
him. Since then she had sought in vain for him, and now, unwilling to
give him up, she had come to ask the bishop's help in the search.

To all this Tode listened with flushed cheeks and fast-beating heart,
while before his mind flashed a picture of himself, wet, dirty and
ragged, gliding under the feet of the horses on the muddy street, the
missing pocketbook clutched tightly in his hand. Then a second picture
rose before him, and he saw himself crowding the emptied book into
that box on the chapel door of St. Mark's.

The bishop pulled open a drawer in his desk and took from it a
pocketbook, broken and stained with mud. He handed it to Mrs. Russell,
who looked at him in silent wonder as she saw her own name on the
inside.

"_How_ did it get into your hands?" she questioned, at last.

"You would never guess how," the bishop answered. "It was found in the
pastor's box at St. Mark's, and the rector came to me to inquire if I
knew any one of that name. I had not your present address, but have
been intending to look you up as soon as I could find time."

"I cannot understand it," said Mrs. Russell, carefully examining each
compartment of the book. "Why in the world should the thief have put
the empty pocketbook there, of all places?"

"Of course he would want to get rid of it," the bishop replied,
thoughtfully, "but that certainly was a strange place in which to put
it."

"If the thief could know how the loss of that money drove that poor
foolish boy back into sin and misery, he surely would wish he had
never touched it--if he has any conscience left," said Mrs. Russell.
"There is good stuff in that poor boy of mine, and I can't bear to
give him up and leave him to go to ruin."

The bishop looked at her with a grave smile as he answered:

"Mrs. Russell, I never yet knew you willing to give up one of your
straying lambs. Like the Master Himself, your big heart always yearns
over the wanderers from the fold. I wonder," he added, "if we couldn't
get one or two newsboys to help in this search. Many of them are very
keen, sharp little fellows, and they'd be as likely as anybody to know
Jack, and to know his whereabouts if he is still in the city. Let me
see--his name is Jack Finney, and he is about fifteen or sixteen now,
isn't he?"

"Yes, nearly sixteen."

"Suppose you give me a description of him, Mrs. Russell. I ought to
remember how he looks, but I see so many, you know," the bishop added,
apologetically.

"Of course you cannot remember all the boys who were in our mission
school," replied Mrs.  Russell. "Jack is tall and large, for
fifteen. His hair is sandy, his eyes blue, and, well--his mouth
_is_ rather large. Jack isn't a beauty, and he is rough and rude,
and I'm afraid he often does things that he ought not to do, but only
think what a hard time he has had in the world thus far."

"Yes," replied the bishop with a sigh, "he _has_ had a hard time,
and it is not to be wondered at that he has gone wrong. Many a boy
does that who has every help toward right living. Well now,
Mrs. Russell, I'll see what I can do to help you in this matter. Your
faith in the boy ought to go far toward keeping him straight if we can
find him."

The bishop walked to the hall with his visitor.  When he came back
Tode sat with his eyes fastened on the open book in his lap, though he
saw it not.

He did not look up with his usual bright smile when the bishop sat
down beside him. That night he could not eat, and when he went to bed
he could not sleep.

"Thief! Thief! You're a thief! You're a thief!"

Over and over and over again these words sounded in Tode's ears. He
had known of course that he was a thief, but he had never
_realised_ it until this day. As he had sat there and listened to
Mrs. Russell's story, he seemed to see clearly how his soul had been
soiled with sin as surely as his body had been with dirt, and even as
now the thought of going back to his former surroundings sickened him,
so the remembrance of the evil that he had known and done, now seemed
horrible to him. It was as if he looked at himself and his past life
through the pure eyes of the bishop--and he hated it all.  Dimly he
began to see that there was something that he must do, but what that
something was, he could not as yet determine. He was not willing in
fact to do what his newly awakened conscience told him that he ought
to do.

In the morning he showed so plainly the effects of his wakeful night,
and of his first moral battle, that the bishop was much concerned.

He had begun to teach the boy to write that he might communicate with
him in that fashion, but as yet Tode had not progressed far enough to
make communication with him easy, though he was beginning to read
quite readily the bold, clear handwriting of the bishop.

This morning, the bishop, noting the boy's pale cheeks and heavy eyes,
proposed a walk instead of the writing lesson. Tode was delighted to
go, and the two set off together. Now the boy had an opportunity to
see yet farther into the heart and life of this good, great man. They
went on and on, away from the wide streets and handsome houses, into
the tenement house district, and finally into an old building, where
many families found shelter--such as it was.  Up one flight after
another of rickety stairs the bishop led the boy. At last he stopped
and knocked at a door on a dark landing.

The door was opened by a woman whose eyes looked as if she had
forgotten how to smile, but a light flashed into them at sight of her
visitor.  She hurriedly dusted a chair with her apron, and as the
bishop took it he lifted to his knee one of the little ones clinging
to the mother's skirts.  There were four little children, but one lay,
pale and motionless on a bed in one corner of the room.

"She is sick?" inquired the bishop, his voice full of sympathy, as he
looked at the small, wan face.

The woman's eyes filled with tears.

"Yes," she answered, "I doubt I'm goin' to lose her, an' I feel I
ought to be glad for her sake--but I can't." She bent over the little
form and kissed the heavy eyelids.

"Tell me all about it, my daughter," the bishop said, and the woman
poured out her story--the old story of a husband who provided for his
family after a fashion, when he was sober, but left them to starve
when the drink demon possessed him. He had been away now for three
weeks, and there was no money for medicine for the sick child, or food
for the others.

Before the story was told the bishop's hand was in his pocket and he
held out some money to the woman, saying,

"Go out and buy what you need. It will be better for you to get it,
than for me to. The breath of air will do you good, and I will see to
the children until you come back."

She hesitated for a moment, then with a word of thanks, threw a shawl
over her head and was gone.

The bishop gathered the three older children about him, one on each
knee and the third held close to his side, and told them stories that
held them spellbound until the sick baby began to stir and moan
feebly. Then the bishop arose, and taking the little creature tenderly
in his strong arms, walked back and forth in the small room until the
moaning cry ceased and the child slept.  He had just laid it again on
the bed when the mother came back with her arms full of packages.  The
look of dull despair was gone from her worn face, and there was a
gleam of hope in her eyes as she hastily prepared the medicine for the
baby, while the bishop eagerly tore open one of the packages, and put
bread into the hands of the other children.

"God bless you, sir,--an' He will!" the woman said, earnestly, as the
bishop was departing with a promise to come soon again.

Tode, from his seat in a corner had looked on and listened to all, and
now followed the bishop down to the street, and on until they came to
a big building. The boy did not know then what place it was. Afterward
he learned that it was the poorhouse.

Among the human driftwood gathered here there was one old man who had
been a cobbler, working at his trade as long as he had strength to do
so. The bishop had known him for a long time before he gave up his
work, and now it was the one delight of the old man's life to have a
visit from the bishop, and knowing this, the latter never failed to
come several times each year. The old cobbler lived on the memory of
these visits through the lonely weeks that followed them, looking
forward to them as the only bright spots in his sorrowful life.

"You'll pray with me before ye go?" he pleaded on this day when his
visitor arose to leave.

"Surely," was the quick reply, and the bishop, falling on his knees,
drew Tode down beside him, and the old cobbler, the child and the man
of God, bowed their heads together.

A great wonder fell upon Tode first, as he listened to that prayer,
and then his heart seemed to melt within him. When he rose from his
knees, he had learned Who and What God is, and what it is to pray, and
though he could not understand how it was, or why--he knew that
henceforth his own life must be wholly different.  Something in him
was changed and he was full of a strange happiness as he walked
homeward beside his friend.

But all in a moment his new joy departed, banished by the remembrance
of that pocketbook.

"I found it. I picked it up," he argued to himself, but then arose
before him the memory of other things that he had stolen--of many an
evil thing that he had done, and gloried in the doing. Now the
remembrance of these things made him wretched.

The bishop was to deliver an address that evening, and Tode was alone,
for he did not feel like going to the housekeeper's room.

He was free to go where he chose about the house, so he wandered from
room to room, and finally to the study. It was dark there, but he felt
his way to his seat beside the bishop's desk, and sitting there in the
dark the boy faced his past and his future; faced, too, a duty that
lay before him--a duty so hard that it seemed to him he never could
perform it, yet he knew he must.  It was to tell the bishop how he had
been deceiving him all these weeks.

Tears were strangers to Tode's eyes, but they flowed down his cheeks
as he sat there in the dark and thought of the happy days he had spent
there, and that now he must go away from it all--away from the
bishop--back to the wretched and miserable life which was all he had
known before.

"Oh, how _can_ I tell him! How can I tell him!" he sobbed aloud,
with his head on the desk.

The next moment a strong, wiry hand seized his right ear with a grip
that made him wince, while a voice with a thrill of evil satisfaction
in it, exclaimed in a low, guarded tone,

"So! I've caught you, you young cheat. I've suspected for some time
that you were pulling the wool over the bishop's eyes, but you were so
plaguy cunning that I couldn't nab you before.  You're a fine
specimen, aren't you? What do you think the bishop will say to all
this?"

Tode had recognised the voice of Mr. Gibson, the secretary. He knew
that the secretary had a way of going about as soft-footed as a
cat. He tried to jerk his ear free, but at that Mr. Gibson gave it
such a tweak that Tode could hardly keep from crying out with the
pain. He did keep from it, however, and the next moment the secretary
let him go, and, striking a match, lit the gas, and then softly closed
the door.

"Now," he said, coming back to the desk, "what have you to say for
yourself?"

"Nothing--to you," replied Tode, looking full into the dark face and
cruel eyes of the man.  "I'll tell the bishop myself what there is to
tell."

"Oh, you will, will you?" answered the man, with a sneer. "I reckon
before you get through with your telling you'll wish you'd never been
born. The bishop's the gentlest of men--until he finds that some one
has been trying to deceive him. And you--you whom he picked up out of
the street, you whom he has treated as if you were his own son--I tell
you, boy, you'll think you've been struck by lightning when the bishop
orders you out of his sight. He never forgives deceit like yours."

Tode's face paled and his lips trembled as he listened, but he would
not give way before his tormentor.

His silence angered the secretary yet more.  "Why don't you speak?" he
exclaimed, sharply.

"I'll speak to the bishop--not to you," replied the boy, steadily.

His defiant tone and undaunted look made the secretary furious. He
sprang toward the boy, but Tode was on the watch now, and slipped out
of his chair and round to the other side of the desk, where he stopped
and again faced his enemy, for he knew now that this man was his
enemy, though he could not guess the reason of his enmity. The
secretary took a step forward, but at that Tode sped across the room
out of the door, and up to his own room, the door of which he locked.

Then he sat down and thought over what had happened, and the more he
thought of it the more certain he felt that what the secretary had
said was true.

A long, long time the boy sat there, thinking sad and bitter
thoughts. At last, with a heavy sigh, he lifted his head and looked
about the bright, pretty room, as if he would fix it all in his mind
so that he never could forget it, and as he looked at the soft, rich
carpet, the little white bed with its fresh, clean linen, the wide,
roomy washstand and bureau, he seemed at the same time to see the
bare, dirty, cheerless little closet-like room to which he must
return, and his heart ached again.

At last he started up, searched in his pockets for a piece of paper
and a pencil, and began to write. His paper was a much-crumpled piece
that he had found that morning in the wastebasket, and as yet his
writing and spelling were poor enough, but he knew what he wanted to
express, and this is what he wrote:


DEAR BISHOP:

I hav ben mene and bad i am not def and dum but i acted like i was
caus I thot you wood not kepe me if yu knu I am sory now so i am going
away but i am going to kepe strate and not bee bad any more ever. I
thank you and i lov you deer.

TODE BRYAN.


It took the boy a long time to write this and there were many smudges
and erasures where he had rubbed out and rewritten words. He looked at
it with dissatisfied eyes when it was done, mentally contrasting it
with the neat, beautifully written letters he had so often seen on the
bishop's desk.

"Can't help it. I can't do no better," he said to himself, with a
sigh. Then he stood for several minutes holding the paper thoughtfully
in his hand.

"I know," he exclaimed at last, and ran softly down to the study. It
was dark again there and he knew that Mr. Gibson had gone.

Going to the desk, he found the Bible which the bishop always kept
there. As Tode lifted it the leaves fell apart at one of the bishop's
best-loved chapters, and there the boy laid his letter and closed the
book. He hesitated a moment, and then kneeling down beside the desk,
he laid his face on the cover of the Bible and whispered solemnly,

"I _will_ keep straight--I will."

It was nearly nine o'clock when Tode returned to what had been his
room; what would be so no longer. He undressed slowly, and as he took
off each garment he looked at it and touched it lingeringly before he
laid it aside.

"I b'lieve he'd want me to keep these clothes," he thought, "but I
don't know. Maybe he wouldn't when he finds out how I've been cheatin'
him. Mrs. Martin's burnt up my old ones, an' I've got to have some to
wear, but I'll only take what I must have."

So, with a sigh, he laid aside his white shirt with its glossy collar
and cuffs, his pretty necktie and handkerchief. He hesitated over the
shoes and stockings, but finally with a shake of the head, those, too,
were laid aside, leaving nothing but one under garment and his jacket,
trousers and cap.

Then he put out the gas and crept into bed. A little later he heard
Mrs. Martin go up to her room, stopping for a moment to glance into
his and see that he was in bed. Later still, he heard the bishop come
in and go to his room, and soon after the lights were out and all the
house was still.

Tode lay with wide open eyes until the big hall clock struck
twelve. Then he arose, slipped on his few garments and turned to leave
the room, but suddenly went back and took up a little Testament.

"He told me to keep it always an' read a bit in it ev'ry day," the boy
thought, as with the little book in his hand he crept silently down
the stairs. They creaked under the light tread of his bare feet as
they never had creaked in the daytime.  He crossed the wide hall,
unfastened the door, and passed out into the night.



VI. TODE'S NEW START


A chill seemed to strike to Tode's heart as he stood on the stone
steps and looked up to the windows of the room where the bishop was
sleeping, and his eyes were wet as he passed slowly and sorrowfully
out of the gate and turned down the street. Suddenly there was a swift
rush, a quick, joyful bark, and there was Tag, dancing about him,
jumping up to lick his fingers, and altogether almost out of his wits
with joy.

Tode sat down on the curbstone and hugged his rough, faithful friend,
and if he whispered into the dog's ear some of the grief that made the
hour such a bitter one--Tag was true and trusty: he never told
it. Neither did he tell how, night after night, he had watched beside
the big house into which he had seen his master carried, nor how many
times he had been driven away in the morning by the servants. But
Tag's troubles were over now. He had found his master.

[Illustration: Adrift Again.]

"Well, ol' fellow, we can't stay here all night.  We must go on," Tode
said at last, and the two walked on together to the house where the
boy had slept before his accident. The outer door was ajar as usual,
and Tode and the dog went up the stairs together.

Tode tried the door of his room. It was locked on the inside.

"They've let somebody else have it," he said to himself. "Well, Tag,
we'll have to find some other place. Come on!"

Once the boy would not have minded sleeping on a grating, or a
doorstep, but now it seemed hard and dreary enough to him. He shivered
with the cold and shrank from going to any of his old haunts where he
would be likely to find some of his acquaintances, homeless street
Arabs, like himself. Finally he found an empty packing box in an
alley, and into this he crept, glad to put his bare feet against Tag's
warm body. But it was a dreary night to him, and weary as he was, he
slept but little. As he lay there looking up at the stars, he thought
much of the new life that he was to live henceforth. He knew very well
that it would be no easy thing for him to live such a life, but
obstacles in his way never deterred Tode from doing, or at least
attempting to do, what he had made up his mind to. He thought much,
too, of the bishop, and these thoughts gave him such a heartache that
he would almost have banished them had he been able to do so--almost,
but not quite, for even with the heartache it was a joy to him to
recall every look of that noble face--every tone of that voice that
seemed to thrill his heart even in the remembrance.

Then came thoughts of Nan and Little Brother, and these brought
comfort to Tode's sorrowful heart. He had not forgotten Little Brother
during the past weeks. There had never been a day when he had not
thought of the child with a longing desire to see him, though even for
his sake he could hardly have brought himself to lose a day with the
bishop. Now, however, that he had shut himself out forever from what
seemed to him the Paradise of the bishop's home, his thoughts turned
again lovingly toward the little one, and he could hardly wait for
morning, so eager was he to go to him.

Fortunately for his impatience, he knew that the Hunts and Nan would
be early astir, and at the first possible moment he went in search of
them. He ran up the stairs with Tag at his heels, and almost trembling
with eagerness, knocked at the Hunts' door. Mrs. Hunt herself opened
it, and stared at the boy for a moment before she realised who it was.

"For the land's sake, if it isn't Tode! Where in the world have you
been all this time?" she cried, holding the door open for him to
enter, while the children gazed wonderingly at him.  "I've been
sick--got hurt," replied Tode, his eyes searching eagerly about the
room. "I don't see Nan or Little Brother," he added, uneasily.

"They don't live here no more," piped up little Ned.

Tode turned a startled glance upon Mrs. Hunt.

"Don't live here!" he stammered. "Where do they live?"

"Not far off; just cross the entry," replied Mrs. Hunt,
quickly. "Nan's taken a room herself."

"Oh!" cried Tode, in a tone of relief, "I'll go'n see her;" and
waiting for no further words, he went.

"Well," exclaimed Mrs. Hunt, "he might 'a' told us how he got hurt an'
all, 'fore he rushed off, I should think."

"Jus' like that Tode Bryan. He don't know nothin'!" remarked Dick,
scornfully.

His mother gave him a searching glance.  "There's worse boys than Tode
Bryan, I'm afraid," she said.

"There ye go agin, always a flingin' at me," retorted Dick,
rudely. "How's a feller to git on in the world when his own mother's
always down on him?"

"You know I'm not down on you, Dick," replied his mother, tearfully.

"You're always a hintin' nowdays, anyhow," muttered Dick, as he
reached over and helped himself to the biggest sausage in the dish.

Mrs. Hunt sighed but made no answer, and the breakfast was eaten
mostly in silence.

Meantime, Tode running across the entry, had knocked on the door with
fingers fairly trembling with eagerness and excitement. Nan opening
it, gave a glad cry at sight of him, but the boy, with a nod, pushed
by her, and snatched up Little Brother who was lying on the bed.

The baby stared at him for an instant and then as Tode hugged him more
roughly than he realised, the little lips trembled and the baby began
to sob. That almost broke Tode's heart. He put the child down, crying
out bitterly,

"Oh Little Brother, _you_ ain't goin' to turn against me, sure?"

As he spoke he held out his hands wistfully, and the baby, now getting
a good look at him, recognised his favorite, and with his old smile
held out his arms to the boy, who caught him up again but more gently
this time, and sat down with him on his knee.

It was some minutes before Tode paid any attention to Nan's questions,
so absorbed was he with the child, but at length he turned to her and
told her where he had been and what had happened to him. She listened
to his story with an eager interest that pleased him.

"Wasn't it strange," she said, when he paused, "wasn't it strange, and
lovely too, that you should have been taken into the bishop's
house--and kept there all this time? Did you like him just as much in
his home as in the church, Tode?"

"He's--he's"--began Tode with shining eyes, then as the bishop's face
rose before him, he choked and was silent for a moment. "I don't
b'lieve there's any other man like him in _this_ world," he said,
finally.

Nan looked at him thoughtfully, at his face that seemed to have been
changed and refined by his sickness and his new associations, at the
neat clothes he wore, then at his bare feet.

"I shouldn't think, if he's so good, that he would have let you come
away--so," she said, slowly.

Tode flushed as he tried to hide his feet under his chair.

"'Twasn't his fault," he answered, quickly.  He too was silent for a
moment, then suddenly he sat upright with a look of stern resolve in
his grey eyes, as he added, "Nan, I'll tell you all there is about it,
'cause things are goin' to be diff'runt after this. I'm goin' to live
straight every way, I am; I've--promised."

Then he told her frankly the whole story; how he had deceived the
bishop, pretending to be deaf and dumb; how Mr. Gibson had come upon
him in the study, and what he had said, and how, finally, he himself
had come away in the night.

Nan listened to it all with the keenest interest.

"And you had to sleep out of doors," she said; "I'm so sorry, but, if
the bishop is so good, why didn't you stay and tell him all about it,
Tode? Don't you think that that would have been better than coming
away so without thanking him for all he had done--or anything?"

Tode shook his head emphatically. "You don't know him, Nan," he
replied. "He's good, oh better than anybody else in the world, I
b'lieve, but don't you see, just 'cause _he's_ so good, he hates
cheatin' an' lyin', just _hates_ 'em; an', oh I _couldn't_
tell him I'd been cheatin' him all this time, an' he so good to me."

"I know, 'twould have been awful hard to tell him, Tode, but seems to
me 'twould have been best," the girl insisted.

"I _couldn't_, Nan," Tode repeated, sadly, then impatiently
thrusting aside his sorrow and remorse, he added,

"Come now, I want to know what you've been doin' while I've been
gone. I used to think an' think 'bout you'n him," glancing at the
baby, "an' wonder what you'd be doin'."

"Oh, we've got on all right," answered Nan, "I was worried enough when
you didn't come, 'specially when one of the Hunt boys went down and
found that your stand had not been opened.  I was sure something had
happened to you, 'cause I knew you never would stay away from us so,
unless something was the matter."

"Right you are!" put in Tode, emphatically.

Nan went on, "I was sure there was something wrong, too, when Tag came
here the next day. Poor fellow, I was so sorry for him. One of his
legs was all swollen and he limped dreadfully, and hungry--why, Tode,
he acted as if he were starving. But just as soon as I had fed him he
went off again, and didn't come back till the next morning, and he's
done that way ever since."

Tag had kept his bright eyes fastened on Nan's face while she talked,
and he gave a little contented whine as Tode stooped and patted his
head.

"But tell me what you've ben doin', Nan.  How'd you get money enough
to hire this room an' fix it up so dandy?" Tode inquired, looking
about admiringly.

While Nan talked she had been passing busily from table to stove, and
now she said, "Breakfast is ready, Tode. Bring your chair up here and
give me Little Brother."

Tode reluctantly gave up the baby, and took his seat opposite Nan at
the little table.

"You've got things fine," he remarked, glancing at the clean towel
that served for a tablecloth, and the neat white dishes and
well-cooked food. He was hungry enough to do full justice to Nan's
cooking, and the girl watched him with much satisfaction, eating
little herself, but feeding the baby, as she went on with her story.

"When you didn't come back, I knew I must find some way to sell my
cookies and gingerbread and so I made some fresh and went to every
family in this house and asked 'em if they would buy their bread and
all of me instead of at the bakeshops. I told 'em I'd sell at the same
price as the shops and give them better things.  Some wouldn't, but
most of them had sense enough to see that it would be a good thing for
them, and after they'd tried it once or twice they were ready enough
to keep on. Now I supply this house and the next one. It keeps me
cooking all day, but I don't mind that. I'm only too glad that I can
earn our living--Little Brother's and mine. Of course, I couldn't be
cooking all day on Mrs. Hunt's stove, and besides they have no room to
spare and we crowded 'em, and so, as soon as I got money enough, I
hired this room. I'm paying for the furniture as fast as I can. It was
all secondhand, of course."

Tode looked admiringly at the girl, as she ceased speaking.

"You've got a head," he remarked. "But now about cooking for my
stand. Will you have time to do that too?"

"Yes indeed," replied Nan, promptly. "I'll find time somehow."

Tode hesitated, moved uneasily in his chair and finally said, "'Spect
you'll have to trust me for the first lot, Nan. I ain't got no money,
ye know."

"Why, Tode, have you forgotten that ten dollars you asked me to keep
for you?"

"No--'course I ain't forgot it, but I thought maybe you'd had to use
it. Twould 'a' been all right if you had, you know."

"Oh no, I didn't have to use that. Here it is," and Nan brought it out
from some hidden pocket about her dress.

"Then I'm all right," exclaimed the boy, in a tone of
satisfaction. "I've got to get some clothes first an' then I'll be
ready for business."

"What's the matter with those clothes?"  questioned Nan.

"Oh, I've got to send these back to the bishop." Tode's face was grave
as he spoke.

"But--I don't see why. He won't want em," Nan remonstrated.

"It's this way, Nan." Tode spoke very earnestly.  "If I'd been what he
thought I was, I know I could have kept all he gave me, but, you see,
if he'd known I was cheatin' an' lyin' to him all the time he wouldn't
'a' given me a single thing, so don't ye see, I ain't no business to
keep 'em, an' I ain't goin' to keep 'em a minute longer'n I have to."

Nan shook her head, for Tode's reasoning had not convinced her, but
seeing how strong was his feeling in the matter she said no more, and
in a few minutes the boy went out, his face radiant with satisfaction,
because Little Brother cried after him.

He invested half his ten dollars in some second-hand clothes,
including shoes and stockings.  They were not very satisfactory after
the garments he had been wearing of late, but he said to himself,
"They'll have to do till I can get better ones an' sometime I'm agoin'
to have some shirts an' have 'em washed every week, too."

Tode's trade, that day, was not very heavy, for it was not yet known
among his regular customers that he had reopened his stand, but he
took care to advertise the fact through those whom he met and he did
not fear but that his business would soon be prospering again.

That afternoon he succeeded in securing a tiny room in the house with
Nan. It was a dismal little closet, lighted only from the hall, but it
was the best he could do, and Tode considered himself fortunate to
have his dark corner to himself, even though a broken chair and a
canvas cot without bedding of any sort were all the furniture he could
put into it then. Nan shook her head doubtfully when he showed her the
room.

"Dark and dirty," she said, with a sniff of disgust, as the boy threw
open the door. "You must get somebody to scrub it for you, Tode, and
then whitewash the walls. That will make it sweeter and lighter."

"So it will," responded the boy, promptly, "but I'll have to do the
scrubbin' an' white-washin' both, myself."

Nan looked at him doubtfully. "I wonder if you'd get it clean," she
said. "Scrubbing's hard work."

"You'll see. What'll I scrub it with--a broom?"

"You ought to have a scrub-brush, but I haven't any. You'll have to do
it with an old broom and a cloth. I can let you have the broom and I
guess we can get a cloth of Mrs. Hunt.  You going to do it now?" she
added, as Tode began to pull off his coat.

"Right now," he answered. "You see, Nan, I've got loads of things to
do, an' I can't be wastin' time."

"What things?" questioned Nan, curiously.

"Oh--I'll tell you about them after awhile," replied the boy. "The
broom in your room?"

"Yes, I'll bring it to you," and Nan hurried off.

She came back with an old pail full of hot water, a piece of soap, a
broom and a cloth, and then she proceeded to show Tode how to clean
the woodwork and floor, thoroughly, with special attention to the dark
corners which looked, indeed, as if they had never been visited by a
broom.  Nan was a thorough little housewife, and she longed to do the
whole work herself, but Tode would not allow that, so she could only
stand and look on, wondering inwardly how a boy could handle a broom
so awkwardly. But if he was slow and awkward about it, Tode was in
earnest, and he looked with much satisfaction at the result of his
labor when it was completed.

"You'll have to wash the floor again after you've whitewashed the
walls," Nan said, "but it needed two scrubbings, anyhow."

Tode looked at it ruefully. "Oh, did it?" he said. "I think one such
scrubbing as that ought to last it a year."

Nan laughed. "If you'll carry out my bread and things to-morrow, I'll
do your whitewashing for you," she said.

But Tode shook his head. "I'll carry out your stuff all right," he
answered, "but I ain't a-goin' to have a girl doin' my work for me."

He bought the lime and paid also for the use of a pail and brush, and
the next day he put a white coat on his walls, and when this was done,
he was much better satisfied with his quarters.  Nan offered to lend
him her shawl in place of a blanket, but he guessed that she needed it
herself and refused her offer.



VII. AFTER TODE'S DEPARTURE


In the bishop's household, Mrs. Martin was always one of the earliest
to rise in the morning, and just as Tode sat down to breakfast with
Nan and Little Brother, the housekeeper was going downstairs. Tode's
door stood open and she saw that he was not in the room. Her quick
eyes noted also the pile of neatly folded garments on a chair beside
the bed. She stepped into the room and looked around. Then she hurried
to the study, knowing that the boy loved to stay there, but the study
was unoccupied.

By the time breakfast was ready she knew that the boy had left the
house, but the bishop refused to believe it, nor would he be convinced
until the house had been searched from attic to cellar. When
Mr. Gibson made his appearance, a gleam of satisfaction shone in his
narrow eyes as he learned of Tode's disappearance.

"I was afraid something like this would happen," he remarked,
gravely. "It's a hopeless kind of business, trying to make anything
out of such material. I've had my suspicions of that boy for some
time."

"Don't be too quick to condemn him, Mr.  Gibson," exclaimed the
bishop, hastily. "He may have had some good reason for going away
so. I've no doubt he thought he had, but I had grown to love the lad
and I shall miss him sadly."

"Did you never suspect that he was not deaf and dumb, as he pretended
to be?" the secretary asked.

The bishop looked up quickly. "Why, no, indeed, I never had such an
idea," he answered.  An unpleasant smile flickered over the
secretary's thin lips as he went on, "I heard the boy talking to
himself, here in this room, last evening.  He can hear and speak as
well as you or I."

"Oh, I am sorry! I am sorry!" said the bishop, sadly, and then he
turned to his desk, and sitting down, hid his face in his hands, and
was silent. The secretary cast more than one swift, sidewise glance at
him, but dared say no more then.

After a while the bishop drew his Bible toward him. It opened at the
fourteenth chapter of John, and there lay Tode's poor little soiled
and blotted note. The bishop read it with tear-dimmed eyes, read it
again and again, and finally slipped it into an envelope, and replaced
it between the leaves of his Bible. He said nothing about it to his
secretary, and presently he went to his own room, where for a long
time he walked back and forth, thinking about the boy, and how he
might find him again.

Then Brown came to him with a telegram summoning him to the sickbed of
his only sister, and within an hour he left the city, and was absent
two weeks.

Meantime Tode, the morning after his scrubbing and whitewashing
operations, had carefully folded the clothes he had worn when he left
the bishop's house and tied them up in an old newspaper.  Into one of
the pockets of the jacket he had put a note which ran thus:


DEAR MRS. MARTIN:

Pleas giv thes cloes to the bishop and tell him i wud not have took
them away if i had had any others. I did not take shoes or stockins.
I keep the littel testament and i read in it evry day. Tell him i am
trying to be good and when i get good enuf I shall go and see him. You
was good to me but he was so good that he made me hate myself and
evrything bad. I can never be bad again while i remember him.

TODE BRYAN.


He hired a boy whom he knew, to carry the bundle to the bishop's
house, and from behind a tree-box further down the street, he watched
and saw it taken in by Brown. The boy's heart was beating hard and
fast, as he stood there longing, yet dreading, to see the bishop
himself come out of the house. But the bishop was far away, and Tode
walked sadly homeward, casting many a wistful, lingering glance
backward, as he went.

Brown carried the package gingerly to Mrs.  Martin, for the boy who
had delivered it was not over clean, and Mrs. Martin opened it with
some suspicion, but when she saw the clothes she recognised them
instantly, and finding the note in the pocket read it with wet eyes.

"I knew that wasn't a bad boy," she said to herself, "and this proves
it. He's as honest as the day, or he wouldn't have sent back these
clothes--the poor little fellow. Well, well! I hope the bishop can
find him when he gets back, and as to the boy's pretending to be deaf
and dumb, I'm sure there was something underneath that if we only knew
it. Anyhow, I do hope I'll see the little fellow again sometime."

When the bishop returned the accumulated work of his weeks of absence
so pressed upon him that for a while he had no time for anything else,
and when at last he was free to search for Tode, he could find no
trace of him.

As for Tode, he had never once thought of the possibility of the
bishop's searching for him. He looked forward to seeing his friend
again sometime, but that time he put far away when he himself should
be "more fit," as he said to himself.

One evening soon after his return, Nan had a long talk with him, a
talk that left her wondering greatly at the change in his thoughts and
purposes, and which made her regard him with quite a new feeling of
respect.

"Nan," he began, "I told you I'd got loads of things to do now."

"Yes?" The girl looked at him inquiringly.

Tode was silent for a little. It was harder for him to speak than he
had thought it would be.

"You see," he went on, slowly, "I've been mean as dirt all my
life. You don't know what mean things I've done, an' I ain't goin' to
tell ye, only that I know now I've got to turn straight around an' not
do 'em any more. I've got to make a man of myself," he drew himself up
as he spoke, "a real man--the kind that helps other folks up. I can't
say just what I mean, but I feel it myself," he added, with a
half-appealing glance at Nan.

She had listened attentively with her eyes fastened on his earnest
face. Now she said softly, "You mean--you want to be the kind of man
the bishop is, don't you?"

"Oh, I couldn't ever be _really_ like him," protested the boy,
quickly, "but, well, I'm goin' to try to be a sort of shadow of him. I
mean I'm goin' to try to amount to something myself, an' do what I can
to help other poor fellers up instead of down. I'm goin' to lend a
hand 'mongst the folks 'round here, just a little you know, as he does
'mongst the poor people he goes to see.  But I've got some other
things to do too. I've got some money to pay back, an' I've got to
find a feller that I helped to pull down."

And thereupon, Tode told the story of Mrs.  Russell's pocketbook and
her search for Jack Finney. He told it all quite frankly, not trying
in the least to excuse or lessen his own guilt in the matter.

"It will take you a long time to save up so much money, Tode," Nan
said when he paused.

"Yes, unless I can find some way to earn more, but I can't help
that. I'll do the best I can, an' I've got some notions in my head."

He talked over with her some of his plans and projects, and as she
listened, she thought to herself, "He's getting 'way ahead of me, but
I'm afraid he'll get into trouble at first."

And she was not mistaken. Tode was now so thoroughly in earnest
himself that he forgot to take into consideration the fact that those
whom he meant to help up might prefer to be left to go down in their
own fashion. His old associates speedily discovered that a great
change had come over Tode Bryan, and the change did not meet with
their approval. They called it "mighty cheeky" of him to be "pokin'
his nose" into their affairs, and they would show him that he'd better
stop it. So Tode soon found himself exceedingly unpopular, and, what
was worse, in a way, under a boycott that threatened to ruin his
business.

He fell into the way of carrying his trials and perplexities to Nan,
and talking them over with her. She had plenty of that common sense,
which is not very common after all, and she often made him see the
reason of his failures, while at the same time he was sure of her
sympathy.

One evening Tode appeared in her room with his little Testament in his
hand. There was a perplexed expression in his eyes as he said, "Nan,
'bout readin' this, you know--I've been peggin' away at the first
part, an' I can't make nothin' of it. It's just a string of funny
words, names, I s'pose. _I_ don't see no sense to it."

Nan glanced at the page to which he had opened. It was the first
chapter of Matthew.

"Oh, that's all it is, just a lot of names. You can skip all that,
Tode," she answered, easily.

"No I can't, neither," replied the boy, decidedly.  "If I begin to
skip, no knowin' where I'll stop. If it's readin' this book that makes
folks good, I've got to know all 'bout it. Say, can't you read this
with me an' tell me how to call all these jawbreakers?"

Nan looked rather shocked at the boy's free and easy reference to the
Book, but seeing from his grave face and serious manner that he was
very much in earnest, she sat down with him, and the two young heads
bent over the page together.

"I remember reading this chapter with mother," Nan said, gently, "and
she told me how to pronounce these names, but I can't remember all of
them now. I'll do the best I can, though," and she read slowly the
first seventeen verses, Tode repeating each name after her.

"Whew!" he exclaimed, in a tone of intense relief, when the task was
ended, "that's 'bout the toughest job ever I tackled."

"Well, you see, you needn't read all that again.  The rest of the
chapter is different. It's all about Jesus," Nan said.

Tode read the remaining verses slowly by himself, but he shook his
head in a dissatisfied way as he closed the book. "That's easier than
the names to read, but I don't seem to get much out of it. Guess I'm
too thick-headed," he said, in a discouraged tone.

"Tode," exclaimed Nan, suddenly, "you ought to go to some
Sunday-school. Then you'd learn all about the Bible and the things you
want to know."

"Might be a good scheme, that's a fact," he answered,
thoughtfully. "Reckon I'll try it on anyhow, an' see how it works."

"Yes, do. I always used to go before mother was sick. If you have a
good teacher you'll like it, I'm sure."

"There's a mission school down near my stand. I'll have a try at it
next Sunday an' see what it's like," Tode said.

So the very next day he went to the mission chapel, and, from the
notice on the door, found out the hours of service, and the following
Sunday he was on hand in due season. As he went somewhat doubtfully up
the steps, he saw in the vestibule a young man, who stepped forward
and held out his hand, saying cordially,

"Glad to see you here. Are you a stranger?"

Tode wasn't quite sure what a stranger might be, but he muttered, "I
ain't never been here before."

"Then I'm glad I happened to meet you. Will you come into my class?"

Tode nodded and followed the young man into the chapel, which was
already nearly full of boys and girls.

"My name is Scott. What is yours?" inquired the stranger, as he led
the way to his own corner of the room.

Tode gave his name, and Mr. Scott introduced him to half a dozen boys
who had already taken their places in his class. One of these boys was
Dick Hunt. He gave Tode a careless nod by way of greeting, as the
latter dropped into the seat next him.

To Tode's great satisfaction the lesson chanced to be on the birth of
the Lord Jesus, and Mr. Scott told the boys the whole story so clearly
and vividly, that Tode at least was intensely interested.  It was all
new and fresh to him, and he was listening eagerly to every word, when
suddenly Dick Hunt ran a long pin deep into his leg.  The pain made
him start and almost cry out, but he suppressed the cry as he turned
and gave Dick a savage pinch that made him writhe, as he exclaimed in
a threatening tone, "You stop that!"

Mr. Scott turned grave, inquiring eyes on the two, as he asked:

"What's the matter, Dick?"

"He's a pinchin' me--Tode Bryan is. He give me an awful tweak when you
wasn't a lookin'."

"Is that so?" Mr. Scott asked, and Tode, with a scornfully defiant
glance at Dick, answered promptly, "Yes."

"I am sorry, Tode," said Mr. Scott; "you can sit here on the other
side."

Tode's face flushed a little as he changed his seat, but now another
of the boys, having a grudge against Dick, cried out,

"Hunt stuck a pin in him first; I seen him do it."

"You hush up!" muttered Dick, with a scowl.

Just then the superintendent's bell sounded and the lesson time was
over.

When the school was dismissed, Mr. Scott detained Tode.

"Why didn't you tell me that Dick had stuck a pin into you first," the
teacher asked, rapidly turning the leaves of his Bible as he spoke.

"I ain't a sneak like he is," answered Tode, briefly.

Mr. Scott found the place that he wanted, and keeping his finger
between the leaves, looked thoughtfully at the boy before him.

"You told me that your name is Tode. That is what the boys call
you. It isn't your real name, is it?" he asked, with a friendly look.

Tode puckered his forehead into a puzzled frown at the question.

"N-no," he answered, slowly. "There's some more to it, but I can't
think what 'tis.  Wish't I could."

"You've no father or mother?"

"No--never had none since I's big enough to know anything," was the
careless reply.

Mr. Scott laid his hand kindly on the lad's shoulder.

"My boy," he said, slowly and earnestly, "I believe yours is a very
beautiful name. It must be Theodore."

"That's it! That's it!" exclaimed Tode, excitedly.  "I 'member
somebody told it to me once, an' I know that's it. How'd you know it
so quick?" He looked up wonderingly into his teacher's face as he
asked the question.

"I once knew another Theodore who was nicknamed Tode; but, my boy, do
you know what your name means?"

Tode shook his head. "Didn't know names meant anything," he answered.

"But they do. Theodore means the gift of God. A boy with such a name
as that ought to count for something in the world."

"I mean to." The boy uttered the words slowly and emphatically.

Mr. Scott's face brightened. "Do you mean that you love and serve the
Lord Jesus, Theodore?"  he asked, softly.

The boy shook his head half sadly, half perplexedly.

"I don't know nothin' much 'bout Him," he answered, with a gentleness
most strange and unusual in him, "but I've promised to do the right
thing every time now--an' I'm a-goin' to do it."

"You have promised--whom, Theodore?"

"Promised myself--but I don't know nothin' much 'bout what is the
right thing," he added, in a discouraged tone.

"You'll soon learn if you're in earnest, my boy. This Book will tell
you all you need to know. Can you read?"

"Some."

"Then read this verse for me, will you?" Mr.  Scott held out his Bible
and pointed to the verse.

Slowly and stumblingly the boy read, "Dearly beloved, avenge not
yourselves," and again,

"Recompense to no man evil for evil."

Seeing that Tode did not understand the meaning of what he had read,
Mr. Scott explained the passages to him. The boy listened attentively,
then he exclaimed in a tone of dismay,

"But does it mean that a feller can't never strike back?"

"That's what it says."

Tode pondered this unpalatable statement with a clouded face.

"But what ye goin' to do when some other feller cuts up rough with
ye?"

"Find some other way to get even with him."

"But I don't see--what other way is there 'cept hittin' him a harder
one'n he gives you?"

Mr. Scott opened his Bible again and pointed to the last two verses of
the twelfth chapter of Romans.

Tode went home that day with his mind in a tumult. These new ideas did
not suit him at all.  A "word and a blow," and the blow first had been
his method of settling such questions heretofore, and it seemed to him
far the better way.

He took a roundabout route home, for he did not want to see Nan until
he had thought out this matter to his own satisfaction. To help people
poorer or weaker than himself, or to "keep straight" himself, and help
others to do likewise--this was one thing. To meekly submit to ill
treatment and "take a blow" from a fellow whom he "could whip with his
little finger"--this was quite another and, to one of Tode's
temperament, a far more distasteful thing.

The boy had reached no conclusion when he finally went home to
supper. He was silent and thoughtful all the evening, but it was not
until the following day that he spoke of the matter to Nan.

Nan listened in perplexed silence to what he had to say. She had been
well taught while her mother lived, but she had never given these
subjects any real, deep thought, as Tode was doing now. She began to
feel that this rough, untaught street boy was likely to get far ahead
of her if he should keep on pondering over questions like this. Even
now she could give him but little help.

Seeing this, Tode took up his Testament again, and read on and on
until he had finished the book of Matthew, and gained a pretty clear
idea of the life and death of Jesus the Christ. There was much, of
course, that he did not understand at all. Many of the words and
expressions conveyed no meaning to him, but yet he gathered enough to
understand, in a measure, what that Life was, and he began dimly to
realise why the bishop gave so much of his time and thought to God's
poor. The boy pondered these things in his heart, and a new world
seemed to open before him.

"Nan," he said at last, "I've found out what my real name is. It's
Theodore."

"Theodore," repeated the girl. "Well, I'm glad to know it, for I never
did like to call you Tode. How did you find out?"

"Mr. Scott said it to me, and I knew as soon as I heard it that that
was it."

"Then I won't ever call you Tode again. I shall call you Theo. I like
that."

The boy liked it too. It gave him a strange thrill of pleasure every
time he thought of what Mr. Scott had said about the meaning of his
name.



VIII. THEO'S SHADOW WORK


The days that followed were very busy ones for both Nan and Theo. The
girl spent most of her time over the stove or the moulding board, and
the boy, delivering the supplies to many of the families in the two
big tenement houses, attending to his stand, and selling evening
papers, found the days hardly long enough for all that he wanted to
do.

As he went from room to room with Nan's bread and soup and
gingerbread, he soon learned much about the different families and
found plenty of opportunities to serve as the "bishop's shadow," in
these poor homes. Money he had not to give, for every penny that he
could possibly spare was laid aside for a special purpose now, but he
found countless ways to carry help and sunshine to sad and sore
hearts, without money.

One morning he left Nan's room with a basket piled with bread--brown
and white--in one hand, and a big tin pail full of boiled hominy in
the other. He went first to the top floor, stopping at one door after
another, where dirty, frowzy women and children opened at the sound of
his cheery whistle. He handed in the loaves, or the measures of hominy
with a gay word or a joke that more than once banished a frown from a
woman's worn face, or checked the tears of a tired, hungry
child. Children were getting to be fond of the boy now, and he liked
it.

In one room there were two families and half a dozen children. In one
corner, on a rickety couch was a crippled boy, who had lain there day
after day, through long, weary months. He was listening intently for
that whistle outside the door, and when he heard it, his dull eyes
brightened, and he called out eagerly,

"Oh, tell him to come in a minute--_just_ a minute!"

The woman who opened the door, said indifferently, "Tommy wants you to
come in a minute."

Theo stepped over to the tumbled couch, and smiled down into the
wistful eyes of the sick boy.

"Hello, old man!" he said, cheerily. "I've brought you something," and
out of his pocket he pulled a golden chrysanthemum that he had picked
up in the street the day before, and had kept all night in water. It
was not very fresh now, but Tommy snatched it hungrily, and gazed at
it with a happy smile.

"Oh, how pretty--how pretty it is!" he cried, softly smoothing the
golden petals with his little bony forefinger. "Can I keep it, truly?"

[Illustration: "Oh, how pretty,--how pretty it is!"]

"'Course. I brought it for you," Theo answered, his round, freckled
face reflecting the boy's delight. "But I must scoot. Folks'll be
rowin' me if their bread's late."

He ran off leaving the sick boy with the flower held lovingly against
his thin white cheek, while his eyes followed wistfully Theo's strong,
active figure as he hurried away.

On the next floor, an old woman, bent and stiffened by rheumatism, sat
alone all day, while her children were away at work. She could not get
out of her chair, or help herself in any way.  Her breakfast would be
a penny's worth of Nan's hominy, but on this morning her children had
gone off without even setting out a dish, or a cup of water for her.

Tode brought her a saucer and spoon, filled a cup with fresh water
from the faucet, and pulled up the curtain so that the sunlight would
shine in upon her.

"There, old lady," he said, brightly, when this was done, "now you're
all right, an' I'll be in again an' fix your dinner for ye."

The old woman's dim eyes looked after him, and she muttered a word of
thanks as she turned slowly to her breakfast.

The boy wasted no minutes, for he had none to spare, but even when he
did not step inside a door at all, he always had a smile or a bright
word ready for each customer, and in lives where sin or grinding
poverty has destroyed all hope, and life has become simply dull,
dogged endurance of suffering, a cheerful word or smile has a
wonderful power. These wretched women and forlorn little children had
already begun to look forward to the coming of the "bread boy," as the
little ones called him, as a bright spot in their days. In almost
every room he managed to leave a hint of cheer behind him, or at least
to lighten a little the cloudy atmosphere.

His pail and basket empty, he ran back to Nan's room for his own
supplies, and having opened his stand he served his customers, taking
his own breakfast between whiles, as he had opportunity.  He sold the
morning papers, too, at his stand, and between twelve and one o'clock
he was as busy as a boy could well be. After that hour few customers
appeared, and then, having made his midday meal from whatever he had
left, he closed his stand and went home.

Then was his time for a little more of what Nan called his "shadow
work," when he refilled with fresh water the cup of the rheumatic old
woman, or carried her a cup of tea that Nan had made for her, adding
to it, perhaps, a cooky or a sandwich that remained from his stock. Or
he glanced into a room where two or three children were locked in all
day while the mothers were away at work--and attended to the fire for
them.  Often he found time for a five minutes' chat with crippled
Tommy, and now and then he walked awhile with a sick baby in his arms
as he had seen the bishop do that day long before. They were all
little things that the boy did, but as he kept on doing them day after
day, he found in this service for others such happiness as he never
had known before.

Tommy's delight in the half-withered chrysanthemum set Theo to
thinking, and the result of his thinking was that he began to frequent
the flower stalls and pick up the broken blossoms that were
occasionally thrown aside there.

One day a woman who was selling flowers, said to him, "Say, boy, what
do you do with the flowers you pick up? I've seen you 'round here
after 'em lots o' times lately."

"Give 'em to sick folks an' poor ones that can't get out anywheres,"
replied the boy, promptly.

The woman searched his face to see if he were deceiving her, but there
was nothing sly or underhanded in the clear eyes that returned her
gaze so frankly.

"Hm-m," she murmured, thoughtfully. "What do you do Saturday nights,
boy?"

"Nothin' much, after I've sold out my papers."

"Well, Saturday night's our busy time here; one of our busy times,
that is, an' if you want to come 'round an' help for an hour or two,
I'll pay you in the flowers that are left over."

Theo's eyes brightened, but he was shrewd, and was not going to bind
himself to an agreement that might not be satisfactory.

"I'll come next Sat'day an' try it," he said.

"All right," and the woman turned to a customer.

Theo was on hand promptly the next Saturday evening. He found that the
flower woman wanted him to carry home pots of growing plants for lady
purchasers. He was kept busy until nine o'clock, and received in
payment a good-sized basket full of violets, roses, heliotrope and
carnations.  Some had short stems, and some were a little wilted, but
the boy was well content with his pay.

"Most of them will freshen up and look bright as ever if you put them
to-night in a pail of water where they'll have plenty of room," the
woman said; "and here--this is for good luck," and she handed him a
little pot of geranium with a cluster of pink blossoms.

That brought a smile of genuine delight to the boy's face.

"Oh!" he cried, "that's dandy! I'll give it to Nan."

"And who's Nan--your sister?" questioned the woman.

"N--no, not quite. Guess she's as good's my sister, though. Shall I
come next Sat'day, ma'am?" replied the boy.

"Yes, come next Saturday, an' right along, if you keep on doing as
well's you've done to-night."

Theo almost ran home, so eager was he to show Nan his treasures. He
had never cared very much for flowers himself, but he was beginning
now to realise their value to others, and he was sure that Nan would
be delighted with the geranium.

He was not disappointed. The girl's eyes sparkled at sight of the
delicate pink blossoms and she thanked him so heartily that he could
only mutter, "Oh, shucks! 'Tain't nothin' much."

Then he showed her his basket of cut flowers, and she exclaimed
delightedly over them as she lifted them out as tenderly as if they
had been alive, and placed them carefully in a pail of fresh water in
which she had sprinkled a little salt.

"Mother used to put salt in the water to keep flowers fresh," she
said, "and oh, won't it be _lovely_ to carry these around to the
shut-ins, tomorrow, Theo! I think Mrs. Hunt would like some," she
added.

"All right. Pick out what you like an' take 'em in to her now."

Nan selected some of the freshest blossoms and went across with them
to her neighbour, leaving Theo with the baby, who was asleep. She was
gone some time, and when she returned her face was grave.

"What's the matter? Didn't she like 'em?"  asked the boy.

"Yes, indeed, she was ever so pleased with them, and told me to thank
you for sending them to her--but, Theo, she's worrying so over Dick.
She thinks he's going all wrong."

"So he is," answered Theo, soberly.

"And can't you do anything about it?"

"Don't see's I can. He's in with a mean lot o' fellers, 'n he's no
good anyhow, nowadays."

"But there must be some good in him. His father and mother are so
good," pleaded Nan.

"Mrs. Hunt was crying when I went in. She says Dick often stays out
till midnight or after now, and she's afraid he'll be locked up."

"Serve him right if he was," muttered Theo, under his breath.

"He's lost the place his father got for him," added Nan.

"'Course. Nobody'd keep such a feller long."

Nan shook her head sorrowfully, thinking of Dick's mother. Theo said
no more, and soon left the room. Nan thought he had gone to bed, but
instead, he went out and walked slowly and somewhat doubtfully toward
a saloon which he had seen Dick enter more than once of late.  Theo,
himself, used to go there, but he had not been near the place for many
a week. He did not want to go in now, and he waited about outside,
wishing that Dick would come out, and yet uncertain what to do if he
did come. Finally he pushed open the door and went up the stairs.  A
dozen or so boys were there, many of whom he knew, and among them was
Dick. The proprietor of the place gave the boy a warm welcome, and
some of the boys greeted him gaily, but Dick scowled as Theo sat down
beside him.

He waited until the loud talk began again, then he said in a low tone,
"Dick, I came after you.  Will you go home with me now? Your mother's
frettin'."

Dick's face darkened angrily.

"Who made you boss over me?" he shouted, springing from his seat with
a threatening gesture. "You mind your own business, will you?"

Theo's cheeks flushed as every face in the room was turned toward him.

"What's the row?"

"What's he doin'?"

"What does he want?"

"Put him out! Put him out!"

These shouts and others mingled with oaths as all crowded about the
two boys.

"There's no row, an' nothin' to get mad about," said Theo, trying to
speak quietly.  "Dick's mother's frettin', an' I asked him to go home
with me. That's all there is about it."

"An' enough it is too," exclaimed one of the boys. "Dick's big enough
to know when to go home, ain't he?"

"What's he got to do with me or my mother?"  growled Dick, "I'll go
home when I get good an' ready, an' not before."

"An' it's time for _you_ to go home now!" exclaimed the
proprietor of the place, elbowing his way to the front of the group,
and addressing Theo. "We don't want none o' your sort around here. Now
clear out--d'ye hear?"

Seeing that it was useless to stay longer, Theo departed, followed by
taunting cries and yells, from all in the room.

He went gloomily homeward, telling himself that he had been a fool to
try to do anything for Dick Hunt. Dick was "no good anyhow."  But, as
he passed her door, Mrs. Hunt opened it and peered anxiously out. Her
eyes were red and swollen, and she turned back with a disappointed air
as she saw Theo. The next moment however, she stepped out into the
hall, pushing the door to behind her.

"Tode," she whispered, "do you know where my Dick is?"

The boy answered reluctantly, "He's down at Todd's."

Mrs. Hunt put her apron to her eyes and sobbed softly. "Oh, dear," she
moaned, "his father's gone to look for him, an' if he finds him there
he'll most kill him--he's that mad with the boy for the way he's been
goin' on lately."

Theo stood silent, not knowing what to say, and then Mrs. Hunt turned
back into the room while he went up another flight to his. He had just
reached his own door when he heard loud, angry voices accompanied by
scuffling sounds on the stairs below, and he knew that Mr. Hunt had
found Dick, and was bringing him home.

After Theodore had gone out, Nan had put all the flowers into two big
dishes with plenty of water, and the next morning she was up early and
separated them, putting together two or three pinks or a rose with its
buds and a bit of foliage, or a cluster of geranium blossoms and green
leaves.

When Theo came for them she laid the small clusters carefully in a
basket, and sprinkled them with fresh water, then as she stooped and
buried her face among the fragrant, beautiful things she exclaimed,

"Oh Theo, I wish I had time to go with you, and see how happy you make
them all with these beautiful, lovely flowers."

"I'll begin with you," laughed the boy. "Pick out the ones you like
best."

But Nan put her hands resolutely behind her and shook her head.

"No, I'm not sick and I've had the pleasure of seeing them all, and
fixing them, beside my pot of geranium. That's plenty for me."

Theodore looked critically at her, then at the blossoms; then he
picked out three delicate pink carnations.

"No, no! Please don't, Theo," began the girl, but with a laughing
glance at her, Theodore laid the blossoms in Little Brother's small
white fingers, and hurried away.

He went first to Tommy O'Brien's room. The sick boy's weary face
brightened at sight of him, but it fairly beamed when Theodore held up
the basket saying, "Choose any one of 'em Tommy--the very prettiest of
all."

"O-oh!" cried Tommy. "I never saw so many. Oh, Theo, where did you get
'em all?"

Theo told him while the woman and the children crowded about the
basket to see and exclaim over the contents.

Tommy chose a spray of lily of the valley and Theo added a pink rose
and bud. Then he gave a blossom to each of the children and to their
mothers as well, and went away leaving softened faces and smiles in
place of frowns and sullen words.

The old woman whose breakfast was so often forgotten was not alone
to-day. Her daughters were at home, but they were not paying much
attention to her. At first she peered stupidly with her half-blind
eyes into Theo's basket, then suddenly she cried out,

"Oh, I smell 'em! I smell vi'lets. Where be they? Where be they?"

There was one little bunch of violets in the basket. Theo snatched it
up and laid it in the wrinkled, trembling hands. The old woman held
the blossoms against her withered cheek, then she pressed them to her
lips, and two big tears rolled slowly down her face.

"La! Ma's cryin' over them vi'lets. Here Tode, gi' me some o' them
bright ones. Gi' me a rose!" cried one of the young women, and Theo
handed each of them a rose and went away in silence. He glanced back
as he left the room.  The old woman was still holding the violets to
her cheek and it was plain, even to the boy, that her thoughts were
far away.

So, from room to room he went and nowhere did he fail of a glad
welcome, because of the gifts he offered. In the dirtiest rooms, the
most hardened of the women, the roughest and rudest of the children,
seemed to become momentarily gentle and tender when the flowers were
laid in their hands.

When all had been given away except one rose, Theodore paused and
considered. There were several rooms that he had not visited.  To
which of these should he carry this last rose?

Not to Old Man Schneider surely. He was standing at the moment outside
Old Man Schneider's door. The old man was the terror of all the
children in the house, so ugly and profane was he, and so hideous to
look at. Fearless as Theodore was--the sight of Old Man Schneider
always made him shudder, and the boy had never yet spoken to him.

While he stood there trying to decide who should have the rose, he
heard a deep, hollow groan, and surely it came from the room of Old
Man Schneider. Theodore stood still and listened.  There came another
groan and another, and then he knocked on the door. There was no
response and he opened it and went in.  He had been in many dirty,
dismal rooms, but never in one so dirty and so dismal as this. It
looked as if it never had been clean. The only furniture was a
tumble-down bed in one corner, a chair and a broken stove. On the bed,
the old man was lying, covered with rags. He fixed his sunken eyes on
the boy and roughly demanded what he wanted, but even as he spoke he
groaned again.

"You are sick--can't I do something for you?"  asked the boy.

The old man gazed at him for a moment, then he broke into a torrent of
angry words, ending with,

"Get out o' my sight. I hate boys. I hate everybody an' everything."

Theodore stood still. The rose in his hand looked strangely out of
place in that squalid room--but--beautifully out of place, for it
seemed to shed light and color as well as perfume through the close,
unhealthy atmosphere.

"Clear out, I say. Why don't ye go?" The old man tried to shake a
threatening fist, but his arm dropped weakly, and in spite of himself
he moaned with pain.

"Can't I bring a doctor or somebody to help you?" the boy asked
gently.

"Ain't nobody ter help me. Don't I tell ye I hate everybody?" was the
fierce reply.

Theodore gazed about him. There seemed nothing that he could do. He
hesitated for a moment, then stepped forward and laid the beautiful
rose against the dark, knotted fingers on the ragged bed-covering, and
then he went away, closing the door behind him. Stopping only to put
his basket into his room and lock the door, he hurried off to the
dispensary and asked that a doctor be sent to Old Man Schneider as
soon as possible. He waited until the doctor was at liberty and then
returned with him.  There was no response to their knock, and again
Theodore opened the door and went in, the doctor following.

The old man did not move or look up even when the doctor spoke to
him. He lay as Theo had last seen him only that his fingers were
closed tightly over the stem of the rose, and one crimson petal lay on
the pillow close to the sunken cheek. The old man was dead--but who
could tell what thoughts of other days--of sinless days long past,
perhaps--may have been awakened in his heart by that fragrant,
beautiful bit of God's handiwork?

As Theodore went quietly up the stairs, he was glad that he had not
passed by Old Man Schneider's door.



IX. THEO IN TROUBLE


Theo went regularly now to the mission school on Sunday afternoons,
and Mr. Scott had become much interested in him.

One day Mr. Scott pleased Theo immensely by going to the boy's stand
and getting his lunch there, and not long after he went one evening to
the boy's room. He found the place dark and the door locked, but as he
was turning away, Theo came running up the stairs.

"Oh!" he cried out, in a tone of pleased surprise, as he saw his
teacher. "Wait a minute an' I'll get a light."

Having lighted his lamp, the boy sat down on the cot, giving the
broken stool to his visitor.  Mr. Scott's heart was full of sympathy
as he glanced around the forlorn little room and remembered that it
was all the home that the boy had.

"Theodore," he said, after talking a while, "what do you do evenings?"

"Oh, sometimes I stay in Nan's room, an' sometimes I drop in an' talk
to Tommy O'Brien or some of the other sick ones in the house, an'
sometimes I go somewheres outside. Saturday nights I help at a flower
stand."

"Why don't you go to an evening school? I think that would be the best
place for you to spend your evenings," said Mr. Scott.

This was a new idea to the boy. He thought it over in silence.

Mr. Scott went on, "It's not your fault, Theodore, that you have had
no schooling, thus far, but now, you can go to an evening school and
it will be your fault if you grow up ignorant. You will be able to do
far more and better work in the world, with an education, than without
one.  The more you know yourself the better you can help others, you
see."

"Yes," sighed the boy. "I guess that's so, but I 'spect I'll find it
tough work learning."

"I'm not so sure of that. It will be rather hard at first, because
you're not used to studying; but I think you are bright enough to go
ahead pretty fast when you once get a good start.  Now who is this
girl, that I've heard you mention several times--Nan is her name?"

"Oh, yes, Nan. Come on, I want you to see her an' our baby," replied
the boy, eagerly.

Somewhat uncertain as to what kind of a girl this might be, yet
anxious to know as much as possible about Theo's associates and
surroundings, Mr. Scott followed the boy down the stairs.

"Nan, here's my teacher, Mr. Scott, come to see the baby," Theodore
exclaimed, as he unceremoniously pushed open the door and ushered in
the visitor.

Mr. Scott was more taken aback than was Nan, at this abrupt
introduction. The girl coloured a little, but quietly arose and shook
hands with the gentleman, while Theo exclaimed:

"Good! Little Brother ain't asleep yet. This is our baby,
Mr. Scott. Ain't he a daisy? Take him."

Now, Mr. Scott was a young man and totally unused to "taking" babies,
but the boy had lifted the little one from the bed and was holding him
out to his teacher with such a happy face that the young man felt that
it would never do to disappoint him. So he received the baby gingerly
in both hands and set him on his knee, but he did not know what to say
or do to amuse the child, and it was an immense relief to him when
Little Brother held out his hands to Theo, and the boy took him again
saying,

"Ye don't know him yet, do ye, Little Brother?  You will though, by
'n' by," wherein Theo was more of a prophet than he imagined.

Relieved of the child, Mr. Scott turned to Nan and the colour rose in
his face as he saw a gleam of amusement in the girl's dark eyes, but
Theo's ready tongue filled up the momentary pause, and soon all three
were chatting like old friends, and when Mr. Scott took his departure,
it was with the conviction that his new scholar was fortunate in
having Nan for a friend. At the same time he realised that this great
tenement with its mixed community was a most unsuitable place for a
girl like Nan, and determined that she should be gotten into better
surroundings as soon as it could be accomplished.

His interest in Theodore was deepened by this visit to his room and
friends. He felt that there was something unusual in the boy, and
determined to keep watch of him and give him any needed help.

It was November now and the night was chilly. As Mr. Scott left the
tenement house he buttoned his thick overcoat about him, and shivered
as he thought of Theodore's bare cot, with not a pillow or a blanket
even.

"Not a single bit of bedding," he said, to himself, "and no fire! That
will never do, in weather like this."

The next day he mentioned the case to the aunt with whom he lived,
with the result that a couple of pillows and a warm comforter were
sent before night to Nan's room, addressed to Theodore Bryan, and for
the remainder of the winter the boy at least did not suffer from cold
at night.

Theodore grew to like his teacher much as the weeks passed, and often
after Sunday-school the two walked home together. Some of the boys
that had been longer in the class rather resented this friendship, the
more so as Theo was by no means popular among them just at this time.

"He's gettin' too good, Tode Bryan is," one of them said, one
Sunday. "He walked home with teacher last week, an' now he's a doin'
it again."  He glanced gloomily after the two, as he spoke.

"I'd like ter punch his head; that's what I'd like to do," put in
another. "He pitched inter me for swearin' t'other day."

"He's a fine one to talk 'bout swearin'," added a third. "I've heard
him goin' it hot an' heavy many a time."

"Oh yes, but he's settin' up fer a saint now, ye know," said Dick
Hunt, scornfully. "I owe him a lickin,' an' he'll get it too 'fore
he's many days older."

"What for, Dicky?" questioned another.

"What for? For blabbin' to my daddy an' sendin' him to Todd's after
me, the night he come sneakin' in there himself," cried Dick.  "I've
been layin' for him ever since, an' I'll give it to him good, first
chance I get."

"He goes to night school now," remarked one.

"Oh, yes, he's puttin' on airs all 'round," returned Dick. "I'll night
school him!" he added, vengefully.

It was not long before Dick found an opportunity to execute his
threats of vengeance. He was loafing on a street corner, with Carrots
and two other boys, one night, when Theodore passed them on his way
home from school. He nodded to them as he went by, but did not
stop. Dick's eyes followed him with a threatening glance until he saw
him turn through a narrow street.  Then Dick held a brief conference
with Carrots and the other two, and all four set off hastily in the
direction that Theodore had taken.

He, meantime, went on whistling cheerily and thinking pleasant
thoughts, for he was beginning to get on at the school, and better
yet, he had in his pocket at that moment, a five-dollar bill that
meant a great deal to him.

Ever since his return from the bishop's house, he had been working as
he never had worked before, neglecting no opportunity to earn even a
nickel, and every penny that he could possibly spare he had given to
Nan to keep for him. He had been perfectly frank with her, and she
knew that as soon as he had saved up thirty-seven dollars he meant to
carry it to the bishop for Mrs.  Russell, and tell him the whole
story. First, to stop all his wrongdoing and then as far as possible,
to make up to those he had wronged--these were Theodore's firm
purposes now, but he felt that he could never bear to face the bishop
again until he could take with him the proof of his genuine
repentance.

Many and many a time in these past weeks, had the boy planned with Nan
how he would go to the house and what he would say to the bishop, and
what he hoped the bishop would say to him, and Nan had rejoiced almost
as much as the boy himself as, week by week, the sum in her hands grew
toward the desired amount.  Even Nan did not know all the hard work
and stern self-denial that had made it possible for Theodore to put by
that money out of his small earnings.

The five in his pocket on this evening would complete the entire sum
and the very next day he meant to carry it to the bishop. The mere
thought of seeing again the face that was to him like no other face in
all the world--filled the boy's heart with a deep, sweet delight. He
was thinking of it as he hurried along through a short, dark alley,
where were only two or three stables and one empty house.

Quick, stealthy footsteps followed him, but he paid no heed to them
until a heavy blow on the back of his head made him suddenly turn and
face four dark figures that were close at his heels.

"Who are you? What ye hittin' me for?" he demanded, angrily.

There was no response, but Dick struck at him again. This time,
however, Theodore was on his guard, and he caught Dick's arm and gave
it a twist that made its owner cry out.

"Oh ho, it's you, Dick Hunt. I might a' known nobody else would sneak
up on a feller this way. Well, now, what are ye after?"

"I'm after givin' you the worst lickin' ever you had," muttered Dick,
trying in vain to free his arm from Theo's strong grip.

"What for?" demanded Theodore.

"For sneakin' into Todd's and then runnin' to tell my father where I
was. That's one thing, but there's plenty more't I'm goin' to settle
with you for, to-night," shouted Dick, as he pounded with his left
hand, and kicked viciously at the other's shins.

"I never spoke to your father that night," Theo declared, but Dick
responded, scornfully,

"Tell that to a greenhorn! Pitch into him, boys. He won't let go o'
me."

Seeing the others start toward him, Theo flung Dick's arm aside, and
bracing himself against a vacant house just behind him, faced them all
in dogged silence. They hesitated for a moment, but Dick cried out
again,

"Come on, boys!" and the four flung themselves upon Theo, striking,
pounding and kicking all together. He defended himself as best he
could, but the odds were too great. It was only when the boy slipped
to the ground in a limp, motionless heap, that his assailants drew
off, and looked uneasily at one another in the darkness.

"What'll we do now?" whispered Carrots.

"Cut it--somebody's comin'!" cried Dick, in a low tone, and thereupon
they took to their heels, leaving Theo as he had fallen on the ground.

The boys stopped running as soon as they reached a lighted street
where the passers-by might notice them; but they walked on rapidly and
discussed the affair in low, guarded tones.

"You don't think he's done for, do ye, Dick?"  questioned Carrots,
uneasily.

Dick tried to laugh carelessly, but the effort was a failure. He was
beginning to be anxious as to the result, though he was not ready to
admit it.

"Done for? Not much!" he answered, promptly. "More like he was
shammin', an' wasn't hurt half so much as he'd ought ter be."

"But if 'tain't so-if he's hurt bad, he may have us up for 'sault an'
batt'ry," remarked another.

"Dick's the only one he could go for, 'cause 'twas so dark, he
couldn't spot the rest of us," put in Carrots, hastily.

"Ye needn't try to sneak out o' it that way," cried Dick, sharply. "If
I get took up, you'll be, too."

"D'ye mean't you'd give us away after gettin' us into it, jest ter
help you out?" demanded the other, in a threatening tone.

"If he does, we'll make it hot fer _him_" put in another, as Dick
answered, doubtfully,

"Wal if he should make a fuss 'bout it, I can't take all the blame,
can I? I didn't do all the whackin'."

"Well, I say, boys, he's a nice one, Dick Hunt is! After gettin' us to
help him lick a feller 'cause he darsent do it alone, he talks of
gettin' us took up for it," exclaimed the last speaker; "but see here,
you," he added to Dick, "Bryan knew you an' he didn't know any the
rest of us, an' I tell ye what--if you get inter trouble 'bout this
job, you lug us into it 'f ye dare! I'll swear 't Carrots an' Jo here
were down t' my place with me, 'n' they'll swear to it too; hey,
boys?"

"We will so!"

"We'll do that ev'ry time!" they answered in one voice; and then with
a few cutting words the three turned off together, leaving Dick to
pursue his way alone.

And miserable enough Dick was as he walked on alone. He was not in the
least sorry for what had been done to Theodore, but he was afraid of
the consequences. He turned sick with dread as he remembered how the
boy's body had slipped in a limp heap to the ground and lain there
motionless.

Suppose they had killed him? It would be murder. Somebody would have
to answer for it and that somebody would be he--Dick Hunt.  The cold
perspiration started on his forehead and his heart throbbed heavily at
the thought, and he felt a wild desire to run on and on till he had
left that dark heap in the dark alley, miles and miles behind him.

Then came a flash of hope. Perhaps after all Tode was not so badly
hurt. Perhaps he had been shamming just to scare them. At this
thought, Dick's quick pace slackened and he had half a mind to go back
and see if the body still lay there, but he could not bring himself to
do that. He shivered and hurried on aimlessly, through the brightly
lighted streets. He was afraid to go home, lest he be met there by the
news that he dreaded. He was afraid to stay in the streets, for every
moment he expected to feel the heavy hand of a policeman on his
shoulder.  He said to himself that Carrots and the others might inform
against him just to save themselves.

So, as wretched as a boy well could be, he wandered about for an hour
or two, stopping sometimes in dark corners and then hastening on
again, stealing suspicious glances over his shoulders, and listening
for pursuing footsteps.  At last, he turned homeward, longing, yet
dreading, to see his mother.

It was nearly midnight when he crept softly up the stairs, but his
mother had been unable to sleep, and as his hand touched the door in
the darkness, she threw it open with a sigh of relief that her weary
waiting was over for that night.  She did not find fault with him. It
seemed to her utterly useless now to complain or entreat.

Dick longed to ask if she knew anything about Tode, but his tongue
refused to utter the words and he tumbled into bed in gloomy silence.

There had been no shamming when Theo fell under the brutal blows of
the four boys who had set upon him. They were all strong, well-grown
lads, and striking blindly and viciously in the dark, had perhaps hit
harder than they realised.  At any rate Theo had felt his strength
failing even before a last blow on his head made him unconscious of
what followed.

The "somebody," whom the boys had heard, came slouching along through
the dark alley and stumbled over the prostrate body.

"Hello! What's this?" he exclaimed, his nimble fingers running rapidly
over the boy's face and figure. "Somebody's been up to something
here. Let's see if--no! Well, that's queer!"

These disconnected remarks were the accompaniment to a rapid and
skillful search through the boy's pockets, and the last emphatic
expression was drawn forth by the discovery that there had been no
robbery; whereupon the newcomer promptly proceeded to complete the job
by emptying the said pockets in a manner that proved him no novice at
such business. Then he stole noiselessly away, leaving the boy again
alone in the darkness, and now there was no good bishop at hand to
take him in.

Meantime, at home, Nan was wondering why Theo did not come in as usual
to tell her what he had been doing at the night school, and to get
Tag, who always staid with her when Theo was at the school. Tag was
troubled and uneasy too.  When it was time for the boy to come Tag sat
watching the door, his ears alert for a footstep outside. Now and then
he whined, and finally he showed so plainly his desire to go out that
Nan opened the door, saying,

"Go find him, Tag."

She stood in her doorway listening, and heard the dog scamper up to
Theo's door. There he listened and nosed about for a moment, then down
he came again, and with a short, anxious bark, dashed down the stairs
to the street. Nan waited a long time but the dog did not return, and
at last she put out her light and went to bed with a troubled heart.

But Tag could not sleep. He seemed to know that there was something
wrong and something for him to attend to. He raced first to his
master's stand, then to the mission school and to the night school,
and finding all these places now dark and silent, he pattered through
the streets, his nose close to the ground, his anxious, loving eyes
watching everything that moved. So at last he came to that dark heap
in the dark alley, and first he was wild with joy, but when his
frantic delight failed to awaken his master and make him come away
home, Tag was sure that something was very wrong indeed and he began
to run backward and forward between the motionless body and the
corner, until he attracted the attention of a policeman who followed
him around into the dark alley, and in a few minutes Theodore was on
his way to the Emergency Hospital with Tag following after the
ambulance at the top of his speed. But once again Tag found himself
rudely repulsed when he tried to slip in after his master. This time
he felt that he really could not bear it, and so he stood on the
hospital steps and lifting up his voice howled his protest until
somebody came and drove him away. But he couldn't stay away, so he
crawled into a dark corner up against the wall, and curling himself
into the smallest possible space, lay there watchful and wretched
until morning, when, after eyeing wistfully those who came out and
went in past him, he trotted slowly home to Nan, and did his poor best
to tell her what had happened and where Theo was.

Nan had passed an anxious night, for she was sure that there was
something wrong, and since Theo's return from the bishop's, he had
been so changed, that she had grown very fond of him.  Being a year or
two his senior, she felt a kind of elder sisterly responsibility in
regard to him, knowing as she did, that he was even more alone in the
world than she, for she had Little Brother, and Theo had nobody at
all.

So she was at Mrs. Hunt's door, talking the matter over with her, when
Tag, with drooping head and tail, came slowly up the stairs. He wagged
his tail faintly at sight of Nan, and rubbed his head affectionately
against her, and then stood looking up at her, as if waiting to be
questioned.

"He's been gone all night," Nan was saying to Mrs. Hunt, and referring
to the dog, "but I don't believe he found Theo. He doesn't act as if
he had. Oh, Mrs. Hunt, where _do_ you suppose he is?"

Mrs. Hunt shook her head. "The dear knows," she said, "but something
must 'a' happened to him, sure. He's been steady as clockwork since
ever he took that room upstairs, I'll say that for him." She sighed as
she spoke, thinking of her Dick.

"But what can I do, Mrs. Hunt?" cried Nan, her eyes full of tears. "It
seems dreadful to keep right on, just as if he were here, as
usual. Isn't there any way to find out where he is?"

"Look here, Nan," exclaimed Mrs. Hunt.

"Do you know where his teacher--that Mr.  Scott--lives?"

"Yes."

"Well, why don't you send word to him? He seems to think a lot of Tode
an' Dick. I guess he does of all his scholars. He would know what to
do, an' where to look for the boy--don't you think so?"

Nan's face had brightened as her friend spoke.

"I'm sure that's a good idea," she replied.  "He's always been so nice
and kind to Theo. I most know he'll help find him."

"That's right now, child, stop fretting, for I'll warrant he'll set
things straight in no time. I'll let Dick or Jimmy go around to
Mr. Scott's as soon as they've had their breakfast."

Relieved by this promise, and trying hard to be hopeful and not to
worry, Nan ran back to her room, while Mrs. Hunt called the boys.

Dick pretended to be very sound asleep, and it required more than one
call and shake to arouse him, but in reality, he too had passed a most
miserable night, and he had listened, with heart beating fast and
hard, to his mother's colloquy with Nan; and as he listened, ever
before his mind's eye was that dark, motionless heap on the ground. In
imagination, he saw Theo's dead body on a slab in the morgue, and
himself in a prison cell, condemned for murder. Dick's worst enemy
could not have wished him to be any more wretched than he was in that
hour, as he cowered in his bed, and strained his ears to catch every
word that was uttered. But when his mother shook him, he rubbed his
eyes, and pretended to be still half asleep, and flatly refused to go
to Mr. Scott's.

"Let Jim go, 'f anybody's got to," he growled, as he began to pull on
his clothes. "Here you, Jim, turn out lively now!" he added, yanking
the bedclothes off his brother to emphasise his words.

"He's always a-puttin' off on me--Dick is," snarled Jim, as he joined
his mother in the other room a few minutes later, but when he learned
why he was to go to Mr. Scott's he made no further objections, but
swallowed his breakfast hastily, and went off on the run. Jim did not
share his brother's enmity toward the missing boy. Jim liked Theo. He
liked Nan too, and was always ready to do an errand for her, if she
wanted him.

Mr. Scott was just sitting down to breakfast when Jim appeared, and he
left his coffee to cool while he listened with keen interest to what
the boy had to tell him. His face was very grave as he said,

"Tell Miss Nan that I will be around there within an hour. See here,
though, Jim,--have you had your breakfast?"

"Ye--yes, sir," Jim answered, with a quick glance at the hot cakes and
chops that had such an appetising odour. Jim didn't have chops and hot
cakes for breakfast.

"Aunt Mary, can you put another plate here for Jim?" Mr. Scott asked,
and his aunt, with a smile, set another chair at the table, and piled
a plate with eatables, of which the boy disposed as easily and
speedily as if that had been his first meal that day.

Mr. Scott likewise made a hasty breakfast, and then he sent Jim back
to Nan, while he himself went to his place of business to arrange for
his absence that morning.

Within the hour, as he had said, he knocked at Nan's door. She
welcomed him with a feeling of glad relief, assured that at least he
would be able to find out where Theo was. He waited only to get what
little information she could give him, and then set forth, but before
he had reached the bottom of the first flight of stairs, Nan ran after
him.

"Mr. Scott," she called. "Wouldn't it be a good plan to take
Tag--Theo's dog--with you?"

Mr. Scott thought it would, but now an unexpected obstacle was
encountered. Tag refused to go with him. He crept under Nan's dress,
and crouched there, looking quietly out at the gentleman, but making
no movement toward him, though he called and whistled as persuasively
as he could.

"Oh, Tag, do go," pleaded Nan, almost ready to cry at the dog's
unexpected obstinacy.

Tag twisted his head and looked up at her, and it almost seemed as if
he were moved by her pleading tone, for, after a moment's hesitation,
he crept slowly out from his refuge, and followed Mr. Scott down the
stairs. Once outside the house he stopped and gazed with keen,
questioning eyes at the gentleman, standing, meanwhile, ready to dart
off, should any attempt be made to capture him, but Mr. Scott stopped
too, and said quietly,

"Go find him, Tag. Find Theo."

That was enough for the intelligent little creature.  With a quick,
sharp yelp of satisfaction, Tag set off at such a pace that Mr. Scott
had hard work to keep him in sight. In fact, as soon as they turned
into a thronged business street, he lost sight of his four-footed
guide entirely, but the direction Tag had taken was a sufficient clue.
The young man was so certain that the Emergency Hospital was the place
to which the dog was leading him, that he boarded a car and went
directly there, and sure enough on the steps sat Tag, his short ears
erect, and his eager eyes watching impatiently for a chance to slip
inside the doors.

He seemed to know that his chance had come when he saw Mr. Scott
running up the steps, for he frisked about and showed his delight in
every conceivable fashion. Dogs were not allowed in the hospital, but
when Mr. Scott picked Tag up in his arms and promised to keep him
there, the attendant finally consented that he should do so.  And so
they went first to the waiting-room and then up the stairs and through
the long corridors.



X. A BITTER DISAPPOINTMENT


Theodore was still unconscious when he was lifted into the ambulance
the night before, but on the way to the hospital he opened his eyes,
wondering much to find himself flat on his back and being driven
rapidly through the streets. In a few minutes he remembered what had
happened, and guessed that he must have been stunned by a blow or a
fall. As he reached this conclusion, the vehicle stopped, and he was
lifted out and carried into the hospital in spite of his protests.  He
had a dread of entering a hospital as a patient, and he wanted to go
home.

But the doctors would not allow him to go home. They told him that if
he would be quiet and do as they said, he would probably be able to go
home the next morning, and with this promise he was obliged to be
content, and allow himself to be undressed and put to bed. He was
badly bruised and his right shoulder was very lame, but there was no
serious injury, and it seemed to the boy very trying to be compelled
to spend the night where he was. He did not sleep much, partly because
of his strange surroundings, and partly because of his aching head and
shoulder, and as he lay there in the dimly-lighted ward, his thoughts
were busy.

A hot anger burned in his heart as he recalled the cowardly attack in
the dark alley. He saw that it had been deliberately planned by Dick
Hunt, and that the four boys must have followed him from the corner
where he saw them.

"I'll pay that Dick Hunt for this," he muttered under his breath, "an'
Carrots, too. I know the chap that hit so hard was Carrots. I'll make
'em suffer for it!"

He lay there, his eyes flashing and his cheeks burning, as he thought
over various schemes of vengeance. Then suddenly he thought of Mr.
Scott, and that brought something else to his remembrance.  He seemed
to see his teacher holding out his little Bible and making
him--Theodore--read aloud those two verses:

"Dearly beloved avenge not yourselves."

And "Recompense to no man evil for evil."

As he repeated these words to himself, the fire died slowly out of the
boy's eyes and the angry colour faded from his cheeks. He turned
restlessly in his bed and tried to banish these thoughts and bring
back his schemes of vengeance, but he could not do it. He knew what
was the right--what he ought to do--but he was not willing to do it.
Hour after hour he argued the matter with himself, finding all sorts
of reasons why, in this case, he might take vengeance into his own
hands and "learn that Dick Hunt a lesson," yet feeling and knowing in
the depths of his heart that whatever the old Tode Bryan might have
done, Theodore Bryan, who was trying to be the bishop's shadow,
certainly had no right to do evil to somebody else simply because that
somebody had done evil to him.

It was nearly morning before the long battle with himself was over,
but it ended at last, and it was Theodore, and not Tode who was
victorious, and it was the memory of the bishop's face, and of the
bishop's prayer that day in the poorhouse, that finally settled the
matter.

"He'd fight for somebody else, the bishop would, but he wouldn't ever
fight for himself, an' I mustn't neither," the boy murmured, softly,
and then with a long breath he turned his face to the wall and fell
asleep, and he had but just awakened from that sleep when Mr. Scott,
with Tag under his arm, came through the long corridor to the ward
where Theodore was lying in the very last cot, next the wall.

Mr. Scott had promised not to let the dog out of his arms, but if he
had been better acquainted with Tag he would never have made such a
rash promise. As the gentleman followed the nurse into the ward, the
dog's eyes flashed a swift glance over the long line of cots, and the
next instant something dark went flying down the room and up on to
that last cot in the row, and there was Tag licking his master's face
and hands, and wagging his tail, and barking like mad.

"Dear me!" exclaimed the nurse, running toward the corner. "This will
never do. He'll drive the patients into fits! Why didn't you keep hold
of him?"

She threw the question back in a reproachful tone to Mr. Scott.

He laughed a little as he answered, "If you will try to pick him up
now and hold him, you will understand why."

Even as he spoke, the nurse was making an attempt to capture and
silence the noisy little fellow.  She might as well have tried to pick
up a ball of quicksilver. Tag slipped through her fingers like an eel,
scurrying from one end of the cot to the other, and barking excitedly
all the time.

"Can't you stop him, Theodore?" exclaimed Mr. Scott, as he reached the
corner where the boy lay.

"Here, Tag, lie down and be still," cried the boy, and with one last
defiant yap at the nurse, Tag nosed aside the bedclothes and snuggled
down beside his master with a sigh of glad content.

"Well, if ever I let a dog into _my_ ward again!"  exclaimed the
nurse, in a tone of stern determination.

"I'm sorry he made such a noise, ma'am. It was only because he was so
glad to find me," said Theodore, quickly.

The nurse turned away in offended silence, and Mr. Scott sat down by
the bed and began to talk with the boy.

He listened with a grave face to Theo's story.  When it was ended, he
asked, "Did you recognise either of the boys?"

"Yes, sir; one, certainly, and I think I know one of the others."

"Well?" said the teacher, inquiringly.

Theodore hesitated a moment, then answered in a low tone, "You 'member
them verses you showed me that first Sunday, Mr. Scott?"

The gentleman smiled down into the sober, boyish face. "I remember,"
he replied, "but, Theo, this is a grave matter. To beat a boy until he
is unconscious, and then leave him to live or die, is a crime. Such
boys ought not to be shielded."

"Mr. Scott, I had an awful time over that last night," answered the
boy, earnestly. "I wanted to pay them fellers for this job--you better
b'lieve I did, but," he shook his head slowly, "I can't do it. You
see, sir, I ain't Tode no more--I'm Theodore, now."

There was a look on the homely, boyish face that forbade further
discussion of the matter, and, after a moment's silence, Mr. Scott
said in a different tone, "Well, my boy, when are you going home? Nan
and the baby want to see you."

Theo glanced impatiently about the long room.

"She said I'd got to stay in bed till the doctor had seen me," he
replied, "'n the doctor'll be here 'bout nine o'clock."

"She" was the nurse.

"It's nearly nine now. I'll wait until the doctor comes, then,"
Mr. Scott said.

The doctor pronounced the boy quite fit to leave the hospital, and his
clothes being brought to him, the curtains were drawn around his cot
and he dressed himself hastily. But as he pushed aside the curtains,
Mr. Scott saw a troubled look on his face, and asked:

"What's the matter, Theodore?"

Without answering the boy crossed the room to the nurse.

"Where's the money that was in my pocket?"  he asked, anxiously.

The nurse looked at him sharply. "If there was any money in your
pockets when you were brought here it would be in them now," she
answered, shortly. "You can go to the office and ask any questions you
like."

Theodore turned toward his teacher a very sorrowful face.

"I've been robbed, too," he said.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Theodore. How much have you lost?"

"Five dollars. She says to ask at the office, but 'twon't do no good,
I s'pose."

"No, nothing would have been taken from your pockets here, but we will
stop at the office and see if we can learn anything," Mr. Scott said.

Tag had kept close to his master's heels, and now at his teacher's
suggestion Theodore picked up the dog, who went forth quietly enough
in that fashion.

Inquiries at the office convinced the boy that he had been robbed
before he was brought there, and naturally enough he came to the
conclusion that his money had gone into the pockets of Dick Hunt and
his companions.

At the door of the tenement house Mr. Scott left Theo, who hurried
eagerly up the stairs. On the landing he met Jimmy Hunt, who called
out:

"Hi--o, Tode, where ye been all night? Say, what was the matter? Did
Mr. Scott find ye?"

"Yes," was Theo's only response, as he pushed open Nan's door, to be
greeted with such a warm welcome that he hardly knew what to say and
had to hide his embarrassment by poking the baby's ribs to make him
laugh. Jimmy Hunt had followed him into the room and listened with
open mouth as well as ears to the brief story that the boy told in
reply to Nan's questions.

"Oh, 'twasn't much. I got knocked down an' carried to the hospital,
an' they wouldn't let me come away till morning--that's all."

"An' wasn't ye hurt?" cried Jimmy, in a disappointed tone. It seemed
to him altogether too tame an affair if nobody was hurt.

"My shoulder's sprained, an' my head was hurt a little," Theo
answered. "Say, Jim, where's Dick?"

"I d'know. Out somewheres," replied Dick's brother, indifferently.

"Why ain't you in school, Jimmy?" was Theo's next question.

"Well, I like that!" exclaimed Jimmy, in a tone of deep
disgust. "Ain't I been a-racin' all over town for you this mornin',
a-gettin' Mr. Scott to hunt ye up, an' goin' ter see 'f your stand's
open, an' carryin' things 'round fer Nan, too?  How could I do all
that an' be in school, I'd like to know?"

"'Deed, you couldn't, Jimmy," replied Nan, soothingly. "I don't know
what I should have done this morning without him, Theo. He was my
right hand man."

Jimmy coloured with satisfaction at this high praise, and his delight
was complete when Theodore added,

"That so? Well now, Jimmy boy, I ain't goin' to forget this."

"Huh! Twarn't nothin'. I liked to do it," replied Jimmy, and then
overcome by a sudden and unaccountable fit of bashfulness he ran
hastily out of the room.

Then Theodore told Nan the details of his adventure, but not even to
her would he tell the name of his enemy, and Nan did not guess, for
she would never have imagined that Mrs. Hunt's Dick could have served
Theo so.

Dick had gone out as usual after breakfast and did not come home even
to get his supper, but of late his habits had been so irregular that
nothing was said at home about his absence.

After supper Jimmy was sent out on an errand and Dick met him and
questioned him in regard to Theo's return, and what he had to say.
Jimmy waxed indignant over the story which he filled in from his own
imagination with many vivid details.

"Some fellers pitched into him an' knocked him down an' beat him an'
left him for dead an' they took him t' the hospital an' kep' him there
all night. Guess them fellers'll suffer for it!  They robbed him,
too. Took five dollars out o' his pockets."

"They didn't neither!" exclaimed Dick, hastily, thrown off his guard
by this unexpected statement.

"Come now, Dick Hunt, mebbe you know more'n I do about it," retorted
Jimmy, with withering sarcasm, little suspecting how much more his
brother _did_ know. "Mebbe you heard what Nan said to ma 'bout
it."

"No, no! 'Course I d'know nothin' 'bout it.  How would I know?"
replied Dick, quickly and uneasily. "Say, Jimmy, is he--is Tode goin'
to have them fellers took up?"

"'Spect he is--I would," answered Jimmy; then remembering his errand,
he ran off, leaving Dick looking after him with a haggard, miserable
face.

"Robbed," Dick said to himself, as he walked moodily and aimlessly
on. "We didn't do that anyhow. Somebody must 'a' gone through his
pockets after we cleared out. Nice box I'm in now!"

Dick did not go home at all that night. He was afraid that he might be
arrested if he did.

"He knows 'twas me did it, an' he's keepin' dark 'bout it till they
can nab me," he thought.

He hunted up the three boys who had been so ready to help him the
night before, but he found them now firmly banded together against
him.  Moreover, they had spread such reports of him among their
companions, that Dick found himself shunned by them all. He dared not
go home, so he wandered about the streets, eating in out-of-the-way
places, and sleeping where he could. One day Carrots told him that
Tode Bryan was huntin' everywhere for him. Then Dick, in desperation,
made up his mind to go to sea--he could stand the strain no longer. He
dared not go home, even to bid his mother goodbye.  Dick was selfish
and cruel, but he had even yet a little lingering tenderness for his
mother. It was not enough to make him behave himself and do what he
knew would please her, but it did make him wish that he could see her
just for a moment before going away. It was enough to make him creep
cautiously to the house after dark, and stand in the shadow, looking
up at her window, while he pictured to himself the neat, pleasant
room, where at that hour, she would be preparing supper. While he
stood there, Theo came out of the house, with Tag, as usual, at his
heels. Tag ran over to the dark corner and investigated Dick, but
cautiously, for there was no friendship between him and this member of
the Hunt family. Dick stood silent and motionless afraid that the dog
might bark and draw Theo over there, but he stood ready for flight
until Theo whistled and Tag ran back to him, and presently followed
him off in another direction. Then, with a breath of relief, Dick
stole off into the darkness, and the next day he left the city on a
vessel bound for South America, rejoicing that at last he was beyond
reach of Tode Bryan.

Dick was not mistaken in thinking that Theo had been searching for
him, but he was greatly mistaken as to the boy's purpose in
it. Theodore was entirely ready now to obey that command that
Mr. Scott had shown him and to do his best to "overcome evil with
good." He took it for granted that Dick and the others had robbed as
well as beaten him, but all the same, he felt that he was bound to
forget all that and find some way to show them a kindness. But though
Theo was always on the lookout for him, Dick managed to keep out of
his sight while he remained in the city. After Dick had sailed, some
boy told Jimmy where his brother had gone, and so at last the news
reached Theodore.

Since his return from the bishop's, Theo had had few idle moments, but
after losing the five dollars he worked early and late to make up the
loss. He grew more silent and thoughtful, and when alone his thoughts
dwelt almost continually on that happy day when he should look once
more into the bishop's kind face.

"I'll tell him all about it," he would say to himself, "how I saw that
Mrs. Russell drop the pocketbook, an' how I slipped under the wagon
an' snatched it up out o' the mud, an' used the money. I'll tell it
all, an' ev'rything else bad that I can 'member, so he'll know jest
what a bad lot I've been, an' then I'll tell him how sorry I am, an'
how I'm a-huntin' ev'rywhere for that Jack Finney, an' how I'll keep
a-huntin' till I find him."

All this and much more Theodore planned to tell the bishop, and, as he
thought about it, it seemed as if he could not wait another hour, so
intense was his longing to look once more into that face that was like
no other earthly face to him, to listen again to the voice that
thrilled his heart, and hear it say, "My boy, I forgive you."  Many a
time he dreamt of this and started up from sleep with those words
ringing in his ears, "My boy, I forgive you," and then finding himself
alone in his dark, dismal little room, he would bury his wet cheeks in
the pillow and try to stifle the longing in his lonely, boyish heart.

Even Nan, who knew him better than did any one else, never guessed how
his heart hungered to hear those words from the lips of the bishop.

But little by little--in nickels and dimes and quarters--Theodore laid
by another five dollars. He knew to a penny how much there was, but
when he brought the last dime, he and Nan counted it all to make
sure. There was no mistake. It amounted to thirty-seven dollars and
twenty-five cents, and the boy drew a long, glad breath as he looked
up at Nan with shining eyes and flushed cheeks, saying,

"To-morrow, Nan, I can see--_him!_"

"Don't look so--so awfully glad, Theo. I'm afraid something will
happen," said Nan, with a troubled expression in her eyes as she
looked at him.

"Don't you worry. I ain't a-goin' to be robbed again--you better
believe I ain't!" cried the boy.  Then he glanced at his worn suit and
tried to pull down his jacket sleeves, as he added, wistfully, "D'you
think I look well enough to go there, Nan? I wanted to buy a collar
an' necktie, but, I just _couldn't_ wait any longer."

Nan's private opinion was, that if the bishop could only see Theo's
face at that moment, the garments he wore would be a matter of small
importance. She answered, quickly,

"You look plenty well enough, Theo. Don't worry about that."

She gathered up the money and put it back into the box in which it had
been kept, and the boy went across the room to the bed where the baby
lay asleep.

"Seems to me he looks kind o' peaked--don't he, Nan?" he remarked,
uneasily.

Nan cast an anxious glance at the little, thin face, and shook her
head. "He doesn't get strong as I hoped he would," she answered,
sadly.

"Oh well, he will, when it comes warmer, so he can get out doors
oftener," the boy said, as he went away to his room.

He hurried through his work the next day, closing his stand at the
earliest possible moment, and rushing home to get ready for his
visit. He always, now, kept his face and hands scrupulously clean. His
hair might have been in better condition if he had had money to buy a
comb or a brush, but those were among the luxuries that he felt he
must deny himself until he had made all the restitution in his power.

To-day, however, when he went to Nan's room for his money, she offered
him the use of her comb, and helped him reduce his rough, thick hair
to some kind of order. Even then he looked at himself somewhat
doubtfully. His suit was so shabby in spite of Nan's careful mending,
and his shoes were worse than his suit, but they were polished to the
last degree. He had exchanged a sandwich and two doughnuts for that
"shine."

"You look well enough, Theo," Nan said, "plenty well enough. Now go
on, and oh, I do _hope_ it will be all right."

"I know 'twill," cried the boy, joyously, as he tucked the money
carefully into an inside pocket.  "Oh, Nan!"

He looked at her with such a happy face that her own beamed a bright
response. Then he ran off and Nan stood in the doorway watching him as
he went down the stairs, closely followed by his inseparable
companion, Tag.

"The dear boy! He is fairly pale," said Nan, to herself, as she turned
back into her room. "It is strange how he loves that bishop--and what
a different boy he is, too, since he came home.  I don't see how the
bishop can help loving him.  Oh, I do hope nothing will happen to
spoil his visit. He has looked forward to it so long."

The boy felt as if he were walking on air as he went rapidly through
the crowded streets, seeing nothing about him, so completely were his
thoughts occupied with the happiness before him. As he got farther up
town the crowd lessened, and when he turned into the street on which
the bishop lived, the passers-by were few.

At last he could see the house. In a few minutes he would reach
it. Then his joyous anticipations suddenly vanished and he began to be
troubled.

What if Brown wouldn't let him in, he thought, or--what if the bishop
should refuse to see him or to listen to his story?

As these thoughts came to him his eager pace slackened and for a
moment he was tempted to turn back. Only for a moment, however. He
_knew_ that the bishop would not refuse to see him, and as for
Brown, if Brown refused to admit him, he would go to the servants'
door and ask for Mrs. Martin.

So thinking, he pushed open the iron gate and went slowly up the walk.

"Stay here, Tag. Lie down, sir!" he ordered, and the dog obediently
dropped down on the steps, keeping his bright eyes fastened on his
master, as the boy rang the bell. Theo could almost hear his heart
beat as he waited. Suddenly the door swung open and there was Brown
gazing severely at him.

"Well--what do _you_ want?" questioned the man, brusquely.

"I want--Don't you know me, Brown? I want to see--Mrs. Martin."

The boy's voice was thick and husky, and somehow he could not utter
the bishop's name to Brown standing there with that cold frown on his
face.

"Oh--you want to see Mrs. Martin, do you?  Well, I think you've got
cheek to come here at all after leaving the way you did," Brown
growled. He held the door so that the boy could not enter, and seemed
more than half inclined to shut it in his face.

"Oh, please, Brown, _do_ let me in," pleaded the boy, with such a
heart-broken tone in his voice, that Brown relented--he wasn't half so
gruff as he pretended to be--and answered, grudgingly,

"Well, come in, if you must, an' I'll find out if Mrs. Martin will see
you."

With a sudden gleam of joy in his eyes, Theodore slipped in.

"Come along!" Brown called over his shoulder, and the boy followed to
the housekeeper's sitting-room. The door of the room stood open, and
Mrs. Martin sat by the window with a newspaper in her hand. She
glanced up over her spectacles as Brown's tall figure appeared at the
door.

"Mrs. Martin, this boy says he wants to see you," he announced, and
then sauntered indifferently away to his own quarters.

Mrs. Martin took off her glasses as she called, "Come in, boy, and
tell me what you want."

Theo walked slowly toward her hoping that she would recognise him, but
she did not. Indeed it was a wonder that Brown had recognised him, so
different was his appearance in his rough worn clothes, from that of
the handsomely dressed lad, whose sudden departure had so grieved the
kindhearted housekeeper.

"Don't you know me, Mrs. Martin?" the boy faltered, sorrowfully, as he
paused beside her chair.

"No, I'm sure I--why! You don't mean to say that you are our deaf and
dumb boy!" exclaimed the good woman, as she peered earnestly into the
grey eyes looking down so wistfully into hers.

"Yes, I'm the bad boy you were so good to, but I've been keepin'
straight ever since I was here, Mrs. Martin," he answered,
earnestly. "I have, truly."

"Bless your dear heart, child," cried the good woman, springing up
hastily and seizing the boy's hands. "I'm sure you have. I guess
_I_ know a bad face when I see one, and it don't look like
yours. Sit down, dear, and tell me all about it."

In the fewest possible words Theo told his story, making no attempt to
excuse anything.  The housekeeper listened with keen interest, asking
a question now and then, and reading in his face the confirmation of
all he said. He did not say very much about the bishop, but the few
words that he did say and the look in his eyes as he said them, showed
her what a hold upon the boy's heart her master had so unconsciously
gained, and her own interest in the friendless lad grew deeper.

When his story was told, she wiped her eyes as she said, slowly, "And
to think that you've been working all these weeks to save up that
money! Well, well, how glad the dear bishop will be! He's said all the
time that you were a good boy."

"Oh, has he?" cried Theo, his face all alight with sudden joy. "I was
afraid he'd think I was all bad when he found out how I'd cheated
him."

"No, no!" exclaimed Mrs. Martin. "He was grieved over your going off
so, and he has tried his best to find you, but you see he didn't know
where to look for you."

"Did he try to find me, Mrs. Martin? Oh, I'm so glad! And can I see
him now, please?"

The boy's voice trembled with eagerness as he spoke.

The housekeeper's kind face was full of pity and sympathy as she
exclaimed, "Why, my boy, didn't you know? The bishop is in California.
He went a week ago to stay three months."

All the glad brightness faded from the boy's face as he heard this. He
did not speak, but he turned aside, and brushed his sleeve hastily
across his eyes. Mrs. Martin laid her hand gently on his shoulder.

"I'm so sorry," she said, "and he will be too, when he knows of your
coming. I will write him all about it."

Still the boy stood silent. It seemed to him that he could not bear
it. It had not once occurred to him that the bishop might be away, and
now there was no possibility of seeing him for three long months. It
seemed an eternity to the boy. And to think that he was there--at
home--a week ago!

"If they hadn't stole that five dollars from me, I might 'a' seen him
last week," the boy said to himself, bitter thoughts of Dick Hunt
rising in his heart. At last he turned again to the housekeeper and at
the change in his face her eyes filled with quick tears.

He took from his pocket the little roll of money and held it out,
saying in a low unsteady voice, "You send it to him--an' tell
him--won't you?"

"I'll write him all about it," the housekeeper repeated, "and don't
you be discouraged, dear.  He'll want to see you just as soon as he
gets home, I know he will. Tell me where you live, so I can send you
word when he comes."

In a dull, listless voice the boy gave the street and number, and she
wrote the address on a slip of paper.

"Remember, Theodore, I shall write the bishop all you have told me,
and how you are trying to find the Finney boy and to help others just
as he does," said the good woman, knowing instinctively that this
would comfort the boy in his bitter disappointment.

He brightened a little at her words but he only said, briefly,

"Yes--tell him that," and then he went sorrowfully away.

Mrs. Martin stood at the window and looked after him as he went slowly
down the street, his hands in his pockets and his eyes on the ground,
while Tag, well aware that something was wrong, trotted beside him
with drooping ears and tail.

"Tell me that that's a bad boy!" the good woman said to herself. "I
know better! I don't care what that Mr. Gibson said. I never took much
stock in Mr. Gibson myself, anyhow. He always had something to say
against anybody that the bishop took an interest in. There--I wish I'd
told Theodore that he was here only as a substitute, and had to leave
when the regular secretary was well enough to come back. I declare my
heart aches when I think of that poor little fellow's face when I told
him that the bishop was gone. Ah well, this is a world of
disappointment!" and with a sigh she turned away from the window.

Nan sat in a rocking-chair with Little Brother in her arms, when
Theodore opened her door.

"Oh Theo--what is it? What is the matter?"  she cried, as she saw his
face.

He dropped wearily into a seat and told her in a few words the result
of his visit.

"Oh, I am so sorry!" she exclaimed. "And it seems so hard to think
that you would have seen the bishop if you hadn't lost that five
dollars!"

The boy sighed, but made no reply. He could not talk about it then,
and presently he got up and went out.



XI. THEO'S NEW BUSINESS


Theodore went slowly down the stairs, but stopped on the outside steps
and stood there with his hands in his pockets looking listlessly up
and down the street. There was another big tenement house opposite,
and on its steps sat a girl of ten or eleven with a baby in her
lap. The baby kept up a low wailing cry, but the girl paid no
attention to it. She sat with her head leaning against the house, and
seemed to notice nothing about her.

Theodore glanced at her indifferently. His thoughts were still
dwelling on his great disappointment--the sorrowful ending of the
hopes and longings of so many weeks. It seemed to him that he had now
nothing to which to look forward; nothing that was worth working for.
Then suddenly there flashed into his mind the words he had heard the
bishop speak to a man who came to him one day in great sorrow.

"My life is spoiled," the man had said. "All my hopes and plans are
destroyed. What shall I do?"

And the bishop had answered, "My son, you must forget yourself, and
your broken hopes and plans, and think of others. Do something for
somebody else--and keep on doing."

"That's what he would say to me, I s'pose," thought the boy. "I wonder
what I can do.  There's Tommy O'Brien, I 'spect he'd be glad 'nough to
see most anybody."

He turned and went slowly and reluctantly back up the stairs. He
didn't want to see Tommy O'Brien. He didn't want to see anybody just
then, but still he went on to Tommy's door. As he approached it, he
heard loud, angry voices mingled with the crying of a baby. He
knocked, but the noise within continued, and after a moment's pause he
pushed open the door and went in.

The three women who lived in the room were all standing with red,
angry faces, each trying to outscold the others. Three or four little
children, with frightened eyes, were huddled together in one corner,
while a baby cried unheeded on the floor, its mother being too much
occupied with the quarrel to pay any attention to her child.  The
women glanced indifferently at Theodore as he entered, and kept on
with their loud talk.  Theo crossed over to Tommy's cot. The sick boy
had pulled his pillow over his head and was pressing it close to his
ears to shut out the racket.

"Le'me 'lone!" he exclaimed, as Theodore tried to lift the pillow. His
face was drawn with pain and there were dark hollows beneath his heavy
eyes. Such a weary, suffering face it was that a great flood of pity
surged over Theodore's heart at sight of it. Then Tommy opened his
eyes and as he saw who had pulled aside his pillow a faint smile crept
around his pale lips.

"Oh!" he cried. "It's you. I thought 'twas some o' them a-pullin' off
my piller. Can't you make 'em stop, Tode? They've been a-fightin' off
an' on all day." He glanced at the noisy women as he spoke.

"What's the row about?" asked Theo.

"'Cause Mis' Carey said Mis' Green's baby was cross-eyed. Mis' Green
got so mad at that that she's been scoldin' 'bout it ever since an'
leavin' the baby to yell there by itself on the floor--poor little
beggar! Seem's if my head'll split open with all the noise," sighed
Tommy, wearily, then he brightened up as he inquired, "What d' you
come for, Tode?"

"Just to talk to you a little," replied Theo.  "S'pose you get awful
tired layin' here all the time, don't ye, Tommy?"

The unexpected sympathy in the voice and look touched the lonely heart
of the little cripple.  His eyes filled with tears, and he reached up
one skinny little hand and laid it on the rough, strong one of his
visitor as he answered,

"Oh, you don't know--you don't know anything about it, Tode. I don't
b'lieve dyin' can be half so bad's livin' this way. She wishes I'd
die.  She's said so lots o' times," he nodded toward his aunt, who was
one of the women in the room, "an' I wish so too, 'f I've got to be
this way always."

"Ain't ye never had no doctor, Tommy?"  asked Theo, with a quick catch
in his breath as he realised dimly what it would be to have such a
life to look forward to.

"No--she says she ain't got no money for doctors," replied the boy,
soberly.

"I'll"--began Theodore, then wisely concluding to raise no hopes that
might not be realised, he changed his sentence to, "I'll find out if
there's a doctor that will come for nothin'. I believe there is
one. Can ye read, Tommy?"

The sick boy shook his head. "How could I?" he answered. "Ain't nobody
ter show me nothin'."

"Wonder 'f I couldn't," said Theo, thoughtfully.  "I c'n tell ye the
letters anyhow, an' that'll be better'n nothin'."

A bit of torn newspaper lay on the floor beside the bed. He picked it
up and pointed out A, O and S, to Tommy. By the time the little
cripple had thoroughly mastered those three letters so that he could
pick them out every time, the women had given up their quarrel.
Mrs. Green had taken up her baby and was feeding it, and the other
women, with sullen faces, had resumed their neglected duties.

"Oh dear! Must you go?" Tommy exclaimed as Theo got off the cot on
which he had been sitting. "But you was real good to come,
anyhow. When'll ye come again an' tell me some more letters?"

"I'll show ye one ev'ry day if I can get time.  Then in three weeks
you'll know all the big ones an' some o' the little ones that are just
like the big ones. Now don't ye forget them three."

"You bet I won't. I shall say 'em a hundred times 'fore to-morrow,"
rejoined the little fellow, and his eyes followed his new friend
eagerly until the door closed behind him.

As for Theodore himself, half the weight seemed to have been lifted
from his own heart as he went down the stairs again.

"I'll run outside a minute 'fore I go to supper," he said to
himself. "The air was awful thick in that room. Reckon that's one
thing makes Tommy feel so bad."

He walked briskly around two or three squares, and as he came back to
the house he noticed that the girl and the baby still sat where he had
seen them an hour before. The baby's cry had ceased, but it began
again as Theo was passing the two.  He stopped and looked at them. The
girl's eyes rested on his face with a dull, indifferent glance.

"What makes it cry? Is it sick?" the boy asked, nodding toward the
baby.

The girl shook her head.

"What ails it then?"

"Starvin'."

The girl uttered the word in a lifeless tone as if it were a matter of
no interest to her.

"Where's yer mother?" pursued the boy.

"Dead."

"An' yer father?"

"Drunk."

"Ain't there nobody to look out for ye?"

Again the girl shook her head.

"Ain't ye had anything to eat to-day?"

"No."

"What d'ye have yesterday?"

"Some crusts I found in the street. Do go off an' le'me 'lone. We're
most dead, an' I'm glad of it," moaned the girl, drearily.

"You gi' me that baby an' come along. I'll get ye somethin' to eat,"
cried Theo, and as the girl looked up at him half doubtfully and half
joyfully, he seized the bundle of shawl and baby and hurried with it
up to Nan's room, the girl dragging herself slowly along behind him.

Nan cast a doubtful and half dismayed glance at the two strangers as
Theodore ushered them in, but the boy exclaimed,

"They're half starved, Nan. We _must_ give 'em somethin' to eat,"
and when she saw the baby's little pinched face she hesitated no
longer, but quickly warmed some milk and fed it to the little one
while the girl devoured the bread and milk and meat set before her
with a ravenous haste that confirmed what she had said.

Then, refreshed by the food, she told her pitiful story, the old story
of a father who spent his earnings in the saloon, leaving his
motherless children to live or die as might be. Nan's heart ached as
she listened, and Theodore's face was very grave.  When the girl had
gone away with the baby in her arms, Theo said, earnestly,

"Nan, I've got to earn more money."

"How can you?" Nan asked. "You work so hard now, Theo."

"I must work harder, Nan. I can't stand it to see folks starvin' an'
not help 'em. I'll pay you for what these two had you know."

Nan looked at him reproachfully. "Don't you think I want to help too?"
she returned.  "Do you think I've forgotten that meal you gave Little
Brother an' me?"

"That was nothin'. Anyhow you've done lots more for me than ever I did
for you," the boy answered, earnestly, "but, Nan, how _can_ rich
folks keep their money for themselves when there are people--babies,
Nan--starvin' right here in this city?"

"I suppose the rich folks don't know about them," replied the girl,
thoughtfully, as she set the table for supper.

"I've got to talk it over with Mr. Scott," Theo said, as he drew his
chair up to the table.

"You talk everything over with Mr. Scott now, don't you, Theo?"

"'Most everything. He's fine as silk, Mr. Scott is. He rings true
every time, but he ain't"--

He left his sentence unfinished, but Nan knew of whom he was thinking.

The next afternoon Theodore walked slowly through the business
streets, with eyes and ears alert, for some opening of which he might
take advantage to increase his income. Past block after block he
wandered till he was tired and discouraged.  Finally he sat down on
some high stone steps to rest a bit, and while he sat there a coloured
boy came out of the building. He had a tin box and some rags in his
hands, and he began in an idle fashion to clean the brass railing to
the steps. Theodore fell into conversation with him, carelessly and
indifferently at first, but after a little with a sudden, keen
interest as the boy began to grumble about his work.

"I ain't a-goin' ter clean these yer ol' railin's many more times," he
said. "It's too much work.  I c'n git a place easy where the' ain't no
brasses to clean, an' I'm a-goin' ter, too. All the office boys hates
ter clean brasses."

"What do ye clean 'em with?" Theodore inquired.

The boy held out the tin box. "This stuff an' soft rags. Say--you want
ter try it?"

He grinned as he spoke, but to his surprise his offer was
accepted. "Gi' me your rags," cried Theo, and he proceeded to rub and
polish energetically, until one side of the railings glittered like
gold.

"Yer a gay ol' cleaner!" exclaimed the black boy, as he lolled in
blissful idleness on the top step. "Now go ahead with the other rail."

But Theodore threw down the rags.

"Not much," he answered. "I've done half your work an' you can do the
other half."

"Oh, come now, finish up the job," remonstrated the other. "'Tain't
fair not to, for you've made that one shine so. I'll have ter put an
extry polish on the other to match it."

But Theodore only laughed and walked off saying to himself,

"Rather think this'll work first-rate."

He went straight to a store, and asked for "the stuff for shining up
brass," and bought a box of it. Then he wondered where he could get
some clean rags.

"Per'aps Mrs. Hunt'll have some," he thought, "an' anyhow I want to
see Jim."

So home he hastened as fast as his feet would carry him.

Good Mrs. Hunt was still a little cool to Theodore, though she could
see for herself how steady and industrious he was now, and how much he
had improved in every way; but she had never gotten over her first
impression of him, founded not only on his appearance and manners when
she first knew him, but also on Dick's evil reports in regard to
him. Now that Dick himself had gone so far wrong, his mother went
about with a heartache all the time, and found it hard sometimes to
rejoice as she knew she ought to do in the vast change for the better
in this other boy.

"Is Jim here?" Theodore asked when Mrs.  Hunt opened the door in
response to his knock.

"Yes--what's wanted, Tode?" Jimmy answered for himself before his
mother could reply.

"Can you stay out o' school to-morrow?"  Theo questioned.

"No, he can't, an' you needn't be temptin' him," broke in the mother,
quickly.

"Oh, come now, ma, wait till ye hear what he wants," remonstrated
Jimmy, in whose eyes Theo was just about right.

"I wanted him to run my stand to-morrow," said Theodore. "I've got
somethin' else to 'tend to. There's plenty o' fellers that would like
to run it for me, but ye see I can't trust 'em an' I _can_ trust
Jim every time."

Jimmy drew himself up proudly. "Oh, ma, do let me stay out an' do it,"
he cried, eagerly.

"It's Friday, an' we don't have much to do Fridays anyhow, in our
school."

"We-ell, I s'pose then you might stay out just this once," Mrs. Hunt
said, slowly, being fully alive to the advantages to Jimmy of such a
friendly feeling on Theo's part. She recognized Theodore's business
ability, and would have been only too glad to see her own boy develop
something of the same kind. She was haunted with a dread that he might
become idle and vicious as Dick had done.

"All right, then," Theodore responded, promptly. "You be ready to go
down with me at seven o'clock, Jim, an' I'll see you started all right
before I leave you. Oh, Mrs. Hunt, there's one more thing I want. Have
you any clean old rags?"

"For what?"

"Any kind o' soft white cotton stuff or old flannel will do," replied
the boy, purposely leaving her question unanswered. "I'll pay you for
'em, of course, if you let me have 'em."

"Well, I guess I ain't so stingy as all that comes to," exclaimed
Mrs. Hunt, sharply. "D'ye want 'em now?"

"I'll come for 'em after supper," answered the boy, thinking that it
was best to make sure of them, lest he be delayed for want of them in
the morning.

When later that evening, he knocked at her door, Mrs. Hunt had the
pieces ready for him, and the next morning, Jimmy was waiting in the
hall when Theo came from Nan's room with his big basket, and the two
boys went down the street carrying the basket between them. As soon as
its contents had been arranged as attractively as possible on the
clean white marbled oilcloth with which the stand was covered, and the
coffee made and ready to serve, Theo handed Jimmy two dollars in
dimes, nickels and pennies, to make change, and set off with the box
of paste in his pocket, and the roll of rags under his arm.

Jimmy watched him out of sight, and then with a proud sense of
responsibility awaited the appearance of his customers.

Theodore walked rapidly on till he reached the business streets where
most of the handsome stores and offices were. Then he slackened his
pace and went on slowly, glancing keenly at each building until he
came to one that had half a dozen brass signs on the front.

"Here's a good place to make a try," he said to himself, and going
into the first office on the ground floor he asked as politely as he
knew how,

"Can I shine up your brass signs for you?"

There were several young men in the outer office. One of them answered
carelessly, "Yes indeed, shine 'em up, boy, and see 't you make a good
job of it."

"I will that, sir," responded Theodore, blithely, and set to work with
a will.

There had been much wet weather and the signs were badly
discoloured. It took hard, steady rubbing for nearly an hour to get
them into good shining order, but Theodore worked away vigourously
until they gleamed and glittered in the morning sunlight. Then he went
again into the office.

"I've finished 'em, sir," he said to the young man to whom he had
spoken before, "an' I think I've made a good job of it. Will you step
out an' see what you think?"

"Not at all necessary. If you're satisfied, I am," replied the man,
bending over his desk and writing rapidly.

Theodore waited in silence. The young man wrote on. Finally he glanced
up and remarked in a tone of surprise,

"Oh, you here yet? Thought you'd finished your job."

"I have done my part. I'm waitin' for you to do yours," replied the
boy.

"Mine? What's my part, I'd like to know?"  demanded the young man,
sharply.

"To pay me for my work." replied Theo, promptly, but with a shadow
falling on his face.

"Pay you? Well, if this isn't cheeky! I didn't agree to pay you
anything."

"But you knew that I expected to be paid for my work," persisted the
boy, the angry colour rising in his cheeks.

"You expected--pshaw! Young man, you've had a lesson that is well
worth the time and labour you've expended," remarked the clerk in a
tone of great dignity. "Hereafter you will know better than to take
anything for granted in business transactions. Good-morning," and he
turned his back on the boy and began to write again.

Theodore glanced around the room to see if there was any one on his
side, but two of the other clerks were grinning at his discomfiture,
and the others pretended not to know anything about the affair. He saw
now that he had been foolish to undertake the work as he had done, but
he realised that it would not help his case to make a fuss about
it. All the same he was unwilling to submit without a protest.

"Next time I'll take care to make my bargain with a gentleman," he
said, quietly.

He saw a singular change in the expression of the clerk's face at
these words, and as he turned sharply about to leave the office he
almost ran into a tall, grey-haired man who had just entered.

"Stop a bit, my boy. I don't understand that remark of yours. What
bargain are you going to make with a gentleman?"

The tone of authority, together with the disturbed face of one clerk
and the quite evident amusement of the others, suddenly enlightened
Theodore. He knew instinctively that this man was master here and in a
few quick sentences he told what had happened.

The gentleman listened in silence, but his keen, dark eyes took note
of the flushed face of one clerk and the amused smiles of his
companions.

"Is this boy's story true, Mr. Hammond?" he asked, sternly.

Mr. Hammond could not deny it "It was only a joke, sir," he said,
uneasily.

"A joke, was it?" responded his employer.  "I am not fond of such
jokes." Then he turned again to the boy and inquired, "How much is due
you for cleaning the signs?"

"I don't know. I'm just starting in in this business, an' I'm not sure
what I ought to charge.  Can you tell me, sir?"

The gentleman smiled down into the young face lifted so frankly to
his.

"Why, no," he answered, gravely, but with a twinkle in his eyes. "I
believe our janitor usually attends to the signs."

"Guess he don't attend to 'em very well, for they were awful dirty,"
remarked the boy.  "Took 'me 'most an hour to shine 'em up. Did you
notice 'em, sir, as you came in?"

"No, I did not. I'll look at them now," and Theodore followed the
gentleman out to the steps.

"Well, you have made a good job of it, certainly," the gentleman
said. "The signs haven't shone like that since they were first put
there.  Quite a contrast to the others on the building.  Come back
into the office a moment."

He went back to Mr. Hammond's desk and again Theodore followed.

"Mr. Hammond," said the gentleman, quietly, "you are willing of course
to pay for your joke. The boy has done his work extremely well. I
think he ought to have half a dollar for it."

With anything but a happy expression, Mr.  Hammond drew from his
pocket a half dollar and handed it to Theodore, who said, not to the
clerk, but to the gentleman, "Thank you, sir," and left the office.

But he did not leave the building. He went to the owner of every brass
sign in or on the building and asked to be allowed to make every other
sign look as well as those of T.S. Harris, which he had just polished.

Now, T.S. Harris was the owner of the building and the occupants of
the other offices considered that it would be wise to follow his
example in this matter, so the result was that Theodore spent all the
morning over the signs on that one building, and Mr. Harris having set
the price, he received twenty-five cents for each sign.  He was just
putting a finishing rub on the last one when the janitor discovered
what had been going on. He came at the boy in a great rage for he
wanted no one to have anything to do with the care of the building
except those whom he chose to hire.

"You take your traps an' clear out o' this now, an' don't you ever
dare to show your face here again," he shouted, angrily. "If I catch
ye here again I'll kick ye down the stairs!"

"P'raps Mr. Harris will have a word to say about that," replied
Theodore, coolly, for in one and another of the offices he had picked
up enough to convince him that the word of Mr.  Harris was law in that
building. Then he added, in a much more friendly tone,

"Now, look here, mister. You're too busy a man to be cleaning
signs--'course you are.  You've got to hire somebody t' do it an' the'
won't anybody do it better or fer less money 'n I will. I'm a-goin' to
make a reg'lar business of cleanin' brasses all 'round this
neighbourhood, an' if you'll stan' by me an' help me fix it all right
with the other bosses 'bout here--I'll see 't you don't lose anythin'
by it."

The janitor's fierce frown had slowly faded as the boy spoke. Nothing
pleased him so much as to be considered a person of influence, and had
Theodore been ever so shrewd he could have adopted no other line of
argument that would so quickly and effectually have changed an enemy
into a friend as did this that he hit upon merely by chance. The man
stepped down to the sidewalk and looked up at the signs with a
critical air.

"Wai'," he answered, slowly, "I ain't a-goin' to deny that you've done
your work well--yes a sight better'n any of the lazy rascals I've been
hiring, an' if you could be depended on now, I d'know but what I
might's well give the work to you as to anybody else. Of course, as
you say, 'tain't my place to do servant's work like brass cleanin'."

"Of course not," assented Theo, promptly.

"But then," the man went on, "if I should speak for ye t' the janitors
of the other buildings 'long here, 'n' get ye a big line o' custom,
'course I sh'ld have a right t' expect a--er--a sort o' commission on
the profits, so to speak?"

"Oh!" replied Theodore, rather blankly.  "What _is_ a commission,
anyhow?"

The man explained.

"And how much of a commission would you expect?" questioned the boy.

The janitor made a mental calculation. Here on this one building, the
boy had cleaned seven signs. That made a dollar and seventy-five cents
that he had earned in one morning. Of course he would not often get so
much out of one building, but the man saw that there were good
possibilities in this line of work.

"S'pose we say ten per cent.--ten cents out of every dollar?" he
ventured, with a keen glance at the boy.

"You mean ten per cent, on all the work that I get through you?" Theo
replied.

"Oh no--on _all_ the work of this sort that you do. That's no
more'n fair since you'll owe your start to me."

"Not much! I owe my start to myself, an' I'll make no such bargain as
that," answered Theo, decidedly. "I'm willin' to give you ten per
cent. on all that I get through you, but not a cent more. You see I'm
bound to put this thing through whether you help me or not," he added,
quietly.

The janitor saw that he had been too grasping and hastened to modify
his demands lest he lose his commissions altogether.

"Well, well," he said, soothingly, "we won't quarrel over a little
difference like that. Let it be as you say, ten per cent. on all the
jobs I get for ye, an' there's the janitor of the Laramie Building on
the steps this minute. Come along with me an' I'll give ye a start
over there--or, first--ain't there a little matter to attend to," he
added, with an insinuating smile. "You'll settle your bills fast as
they come due, of course, an' you've got a snug little sum out of my
building here."

"Yes, but no thanks to you for that," replied Theo, but as the man's
face darkened again, he added, "but never mind, I'll give you the
commission on this work since it's in your building," and he handed
eighteen cents to the janitor, who slipped it into his pocket with an
abstracted air as if unconscious of what he was doing.

The result of the man's recommendation to his brother janitor was that
Theodore secured the promise of all the brass cleaning in the Laramie
Building also, and that with one or two small jobs kept him busy until
dark when he went home with a light heart and with the sum of three
dollars and fourteen cents in his pocket.  To be sure he had worked
hard all day to earn it, but Theodore never had been lazy and he was
willing enough to work hard now.

He carried home some oranges as a special treat that night, for now he
took his supper regularly with Nan who was glad to make a return in
this fashion for the help he was continually giving her in carrying
out her food supplies, as well as many other ways.

As they arose from the supper-table, Theodore said, "I'll go across
an' see how Jimmy got on to-day, at the stand," but even as he spoke
there came a low knock at the door and there stood Jimmy--no longer
proud and happy as he had been in the morning, but with red eyes and a
face full of trouble.

"Why, Jimmy, what's the matter?" cried Nan and Theo, in one voice.

"Come in," added Nan, kindly pulling him in and gently pushing him
toward a chair.

Jimmy dropped into it with an appealing glance at Theo.

"I'm--I'm awful sorry, Tode," he began. "But I--I couldn't help it,
truly I couldn't." He rubbed his sleeve hastily across his eyes as he
spoke.

"But what is it, Jimmy? I'm sure you did the best you could whatever
is wrong, but do tell us what it is," exclaimed Theodore, half
laughing and half impatient at the uncertainty.

"'Twas that mean ol' Carrots," began Jimmy, indignantly. "I was
sellin' things off in fine style, Tode, an' Carrots, he came along an'
he said he wanted three san'wiches in a paper. I put 'em up fer him,
an' then he asked fer six doughnuts an' some gingerbread, an' a cup o'
coffee--an' he wanted 'em all in a paper."

"Not the coffee, Jimmy," said Nan, laughingly, as the boy stopped to
take breath.

"No, 'course not the coffee. He swallered that an' put in a extry
spoonful o' sugar too, but he wanted all the rest o' the things in a
paper bag, an' I did 'em up good for him, an' then he asked me to tie
a string 'round 'em, an' I got down under the stand for a piece of
string, an' when I found it, an' looked up--don't you think Tode--that
rascal was streakin' it down the street as fast's he could go, an' I
couldn't leave the stand to run after him, an' 'course the' wasn't any
p'lice 'round, an' so I had to let him go. I'm awful sorry, Theo, but
I couldn't help it."

"'Course you couldn't, Jimmy. And is that all the trouble?"

"Yes, that's 'nough, ain't it?" answered Jimmy, mournfully. "He got
off with more'n forty cents worth o' stuff--the old pig! I'll fix him
yet!"

"Well, don't worry any more over it, Jimmy.  Losin' th' forty cents
won't break me, I guess," said Theo, kindly.

Jimmy brightened up a little, but the shadow again darkened his face
as he said, anxiously, "I s'pose you won't never trust me to run the
stand again?"

"Trust you, Jimmy? Well, I guess I will. No danger of _your_
trusting Carrots again, I'm sure."

"Not if I know myself," responded Jimmy, promptly, and Theo went on,

"I s'pose your mother wouldn't want you to stay out of school mornin's
for a week or two?"

Jimmy looked at him with sparkling eyes.

"Do you mean"--he began, breathlessly, and then paused.

"I mean that I may want you to run the stand for me all next week, as
well as to-morrow," Theo answered.

"Oh--ee! That's most too good to b'lieve," cried the little
fellow. "Say! I think you're--you're prime, Tode. I must go an' tell
ma," and he dashed out of the door, his face fairly beaming with
delight.

"It's worth while to make anybody so happy, isn't it, Theo?" Nan said,
then she added, thoughtfully, "Do you think the brass-cleaning will
take all your time, so you can't be at the stand any more?"

"Just at first it will. Maybe I shall fix it differently after a
while," he answered.

On his way to the business district the next morning, he stopped and
bought a blank book and a pencil, and wherever he cleaned a sign or a
railing that day, he tried to make a regular engagement to keep the
brasses in good condition.  If he secured a promise of the work by the
month he made a reduction on his price, and every business man--or
janitor who regularly engaged him, was asked to write his own name in
the new blank book. Not on the first page of the book, however. That
the boy kept blank until about the time when Mr. Harris had come to
his office the day before. At that hour, Theodore was waiting near the
office door, and there Mr. Harris found him as he came up the steps.

"Good-morning, sir," said Theo, pulling off his cap with a smile
lighting up his plain face.

"Good-morning," returned the gentleman.  "Have you found something
else to polish up here to-day?"

"No, sir, but I wanted to ask you if you would sign your name here in
my book," the boy replied.

Mr. Harris looked amused. "Come into my office," he said, "and tell me
what it is that you want."

Theodore followed him across the outer office to the private room
beyond. The clerks cast curious glances after the two, and Hammond
scowled as he bent over his desk.

"Now let me see your book," said Mr. Harris, as the door of the office
swung silently behind them.

Theo laid his rags and paste box on the carpet, and then put the blank
book on the desk as he said, earnestly,

"You see, sir, I'm trying to work up a reg'lar business, an' so I want
the business men I work for to engage me by the month to take care of
their brass work--an' I guess I did learn a lesson here yesterday, for
to-day I've asked every gentleman who has engaged me to sign his name
in this book--See?"

He turned over the leaves and showed three names on the second page.

"And you want my name there, too? But I haven't engaged you. I only
gave you a job yesterday."

"But your janitor has engaged me," answered Theodore, quickly.

"Well, then, isn't it the janitor's name that you want?"

"Oh, no, sir," cried the boy, earnestly. "Nobody knows the janitor,
but I guess lots o' folks know you, an' your name would make others
sign--don't you see?"

Mr. Harris laughed. "I see that you seem to have a shrewd business
head. You'll make a man one of these days if you keep on. And you want
my name on this first page?" he added, dipping his pen into the
inkstand.

"Yes, because you was my first friend in this business," replied
Theodore.

Mr. Harris glanced at him with that amused twinkle in his eye, but he
signed his name on the first page.

Then he said, "I wish you success in your undertaking, and here's a
trifle for a send-off." He held out a silver dollar as he spoke, but
Theodore did not take it.

"Thank ye, sir," he said, gratefully; "you've been real good to me,
but I can't take any money now, 'cept what I earn. I c'n earn all I
need."

"So?" replied Mr. Harris, "you're independent.  Well, I like that, but
I'll keep this dollar for you, and if you ever get in a tight place
you can come to me for it."

"Thank you, Mr. Harris," said the boy again.  "I won't forget, but I
hope I won't need it," and then he picked up his belongings and left
the office.  As he passed Mr. Hammond's desk, he said, "Good-morning,
sir," but the clerk pretended not to hear.

All through the next week and for weeks after, Theodore spent his time
from nine to five o'clock, cleaning brasses and making contracts for
the regular care of them, until he had secured as much work as he
could attend to himself.

Meantime, Jimmy Hunt had taken entire charge of the stand and was
doing well with it. Theo gave him four-fifths of the profits and he
was perfectly satisfied, and so was his mother, who found his earnings
a welcome addition to the slim family income, and it was so near the
end of the school term that she concluded it did not matter if Jimmy
did stay out the few remaining weeks.

But busy as Theodore was, he still found time to carry out what Nan
cooked for the people in the two houses, as well as to drop in on one
and another of his many neighbours every evening--for by this time the
night school had closed for the season. His Saturday evenings were
still spent at the flower stand, and now that blossoms were more
plentiful, he received more and better ones in payment for his work,
and his Sunday morning visits to the different rooms were looked
forward to all the week by many of those to whom he went, and hardly
less so by himself, for the boy was learning by glad experience the
wonderful joy that comes from giving happiness to others. When he saw
how the flowers he carried to stuffy, dirty, crowded rooms, were kept
and cherished and cared for even until they were withered and dead--he
was sure that his little flower mission was a real blessing.

Before the hot weather came, Tommy O'Brien was carried away out of the
noisy, crowded room to the Hospital for Incurables. Theo had brought
one of the dispensary doctors to see the boy, and through the doctor's
efforts and those of Mr. Scott, Tommy had been received into the
hospital. He had never been so comfortable in his brief life as he was
there, but at first he was lonely, and so Theodore went once or twice
a week to see him, and he never failed to save out some flowers to
carry to Tommy on Sunday.

But, however full Theodore's time might be, and however busy his
hands, he never forgot the search for Jack Finney. His eyes were
always watching for a blue-eyed, sandy-haired boy of sixteen, and he
made inquiries for him everywhere.  Three times he heard of a boy
named Finney, and sought him out only to be disappointed, for the
first Jack Finney he found was a little chap of ten or eleven, and the
next was a boy of sixteen, but with hair and eyes as black as a
Jew's--and besides, it turned out that his name wasn't Finney at all,
but Findlay; and the third time, the boy he found was living at home
with his parents, so Theo knew that no one of the three was the boy of
whom he was in search and although he did not in the least give up the
matter, he came to the conclusion at last that his Jack Finney must
have left the city.

Mr. Scott interested himself in the search because of his great
interest in Theodore, and he went to the reform school and the prison,
but the name he sought was on neither record.

Although Theodore said nothing to any one about it, he was also on the
lookout for another boy, and that boy was Carrots. Ever since Carrots
had stolen the food from the stand, Theo had wanted to find him. More
than once he had caught a glimpse in the streets of the lank figure
and the frowzy red head, but Carrots had no desire to meet Theo and he
took good care to keep out of his way.



XII. NAN FINDS FRIENDS


So the spring days slipped away until March and April were gone and
the middle of May had come. Theodore was counting the days now, for it
was in May that the bishop was to return--so Mrs. Martin had told
him--and the boy began to watch eagerly for the word that the
housekeeper had promised to send him. So full of this were his
thoughts and so busy was he with his work for himself and for others,
that he spent much less time than usual with Nan and Little Brother.

About this time there was a week of extremely hot weather. One day
toward the close of this week as Theodore was passing Mrs. Hunt's
door, she called him in.

"You'd better come here for your supper to-night," she said.

Theodore looked at her with a quick, startled glance.

"Why--where's Nan?" he inquired.

"Nan's in her room, but she can't get you any supper to-night. She's
sick. I've seen for weeks past that Nan was overworkin' with all that
cooking she's been doin', and to-day she just gave out--an' she's flat
on her back now."

Theodore was silent in blank dismay. Until that moment he had not
realised how much he had come to depend upon Nan.

"Has she had a doctor, or anything?" he asked, in such a troubled
voice that Mrs. Hunt could not but be sorry for him.

"No, I offered to send Jimmy for a doctor, but she said she only
wanted to rest, but I tell you what, Theo, she ain't goin' to get much
rest in that room, hot's an oven with the constant cooking, an' what's
more that baby can't stand it neither."

"I'll go an' see her," replied the boy, slowly, "an'--I guess I don't
want any supper to-night, Mrs. Hunt."

"Yes, you do want supper, too, Theodore.  You come back here in half
an hour an' get it, an' look here--Don't worry Nan, talkin' 'bout her
being sick," Mrs. Hunt called after him in a low voice, as he turned
toward the girl's door.

It seemed strange enough to Theodore to see bright, energetic Nan
lying with pale face and idle hands on the bed. She smiled up at the
boy as he stood silent beside the bed finding no words to say.

"I'm only tired, Theo," she said, gently. "It has been so hot to-day,
and Little Brother fretted so that I couldn't get through my work so
well as usual."

"He's sick too," answered Theodore, gravely.

Nan turned her head to look at the little white face on the pillow
beside her.

"Yes, he's sick. Oh Theo"--and then the girl covered her face with her
hands, and Theodore saw the tears trickling through her fingers.

"Don't Nan, don't!" he cried, in a choked voice, and then he turned
and ran out of the room and out of the house. Straight to his teacher
he went, sure of finding there sympathy, and if possible, help.

He was not disappointed. Mr. Scott listened to what he had to say, and
wrote a note to a friend of his own who was a physician, asking him to
see Nan and the baby at his earliest convenience.  Then having
comforted Theodore, and compelled him to take some supper, Mr.  Scott
sent him away greatly refreshed, and proceeded to talk the matter over
with his aunt, Mrs.  Rawson.

"Those two children ought to be sent away into the country, Aunt
Mary," he began.

"Nan and Theodore, do you mean?"

"No, no! Theodore's all right. He's well and strong. I mean Nan and
her little brother. Aunt Mary, it would make your heart ache to see
such a girl as that working as she has worked, and living among such
people. I wish you would go and see the child."

"I'll try to go to-morrow, Allan. I've been intending to ever since
you told me about her, but the days do slip away so fast!" answered
the lady.

But she found time to go the next day, and the first sight of Nan's
sweet face was enough to make her as deeply interested in the two as
her nephew had long been.

"But what an uncomfortable place for a sick girl!" Mrs. Rawson
thought, as she glanced at the shutterless windows through which the
sun was pouring, making the small room almost unbearably hot, although
there was no fire in the stove. She noticed that the place was
daintily clean and neat, though bare as it well could be, but noisy
children were racing up and down the stairways and shouting through
the halls, making quiet rest impossible. Mrs. Rawson's kind heart
ached as she looked from the room to the pure face of the girl lying
there with the little child beside her.

"She must be a very unusual girl to look like that after living for
months in this place," she thought to herself.

While she was there the doctor came, and when he went away,
Mrs. Rawson went with him that she might tell him what she knew about
the girl's life and learn what he thought of the case.

"It is a plain case of overwork," he said.  "From what you tell me the
girl has been doing twice as much as she was able to do, and living in
that little oven of a room with nothing like the fresh air and
exercise she should have had, and very likely not half enough to
eat. The baby seems extremely delicate. Probably it won't live through
the summer, and a good thing too if there's no one but the girl to
provide for them.  What they need is--to go straight away into the
country and stay there all summer, or better yet, for a year or two,
but I suppose that is out of the question."

"I must see what can be done, doctor. Such a girl as that surely ought
not to be left to struggle along unfriended."

"No, but there are so many such cases. Well, I hope something can be
done for her. I'll call and see her again to-morrow, but medicine is
of little use in a case like this," the doctor replied.

Mrs. Rawson was not one to "let the grass grow under her feet," when
she had anything to do, and she felt that she had something to do in
this case. She thought it over as she went home, and before night she
had written to a relative in the country--a woman who had a big farm
and a big heart--to ask if she would board Nan and her little brother
for the summer. She described the two, and told how bravely the girl
had battled with poverty and misfortune until her strength had
failed. The letter went straight from the warm heart of the writer to
that of her friend and the response was prompt.

"Send those two children right to me, and if rest and pure air and
plenty of wholesome food are what they need, please God, they shall
soon be strong and well. They are surely His little ones, and you know
I am always ready and glad to do His work."

Such was the message that Mrs. Rawson read to her nephew two days
after her visit to Nan, and his face was full of satisfaction as he
listened to it.

"Nothing could be better," he said. "It will be a splendid place for
those children, and it will be a good thing too for Mrs. Hyde to have
them there."

"Yes, I think so," replied Mrs. Rawson, "but now the question is--will
Nan consent to go?  From what little I have seen of her I judge that
she will not be at all willing to accept help from strangers."

"She will shrink from it, perhaps, for herself, but for the sake of
that little brother I think she will consent to go. Theo tells me that
she has been exceedingly anxious about the child for weeks past,"
answered Mr. Scott.

"Well, I'll go to-morrow and see if I can prevail upon her to accept
this offer, but Allan, one thing you must do, if Nan does consent to
go--and that is, you must break it to Theodore. It's going to be a
blow to him, to have those two go away from the city. He'll be left
entirely alone."

"So he will. I hadn't thought of that. I must think it over and see
what can be done for him. He certainly must not stay there, with no
place but that dark little closet in which he sleeps," replied the
gentleman.

Mrs. Rawson's kindly sympathy and gentle manners had quickly won Nan's
confidence and the girl welcomed her warmly when she appeared in the
little room the next morning. She found Nan sitting by the open
window, with her pale little brother in her arms.

"Oh, I'm ever so much better," she said, in reply to Mrs. Rawson's
inquiries. "The doctor's medicine helped me right away, but I don't
feel very strong yet--not quite well enough to begin my cooking
again. I'm going to begin it to-morrow," she added.

"Indeed, you'll not do any cooking to-morrow, Nan," said the lady,
decidedly. "You're not fit to stand over the stove or the mixing
board, and besides, it would make the room too hot for the baby."

Nan glanced anxiously at the little face on her arm.

"I can carry him in to Mrs. Hunt's. He's no trouble, and she's always
willing to keep him," she answered.

"Now, my child, I want you to listen to me," Mrs. Rawson began, and
went on to tell the girl about the plans she had made for her and her
little brother.

Nan listened, with the colour coming and going in her face.

"It is so good--so kind of you to think of this," she exclaimed,
earnestly, "and I'd _love_ to go. Mrs. Rawson, you don't know how
I hate living in a place like this," she shuddered, as she spoke, "and
it would be like heaven to get away into the sweet clean country, with
good people--but I can't go unless there is something I can do
there. I _couldn't_ go and live on charity, you know."

"It wouldn't be charity, Nan; it would be love," answered Mrs. Rawson,
gently. "Mrs.  Hyde keeps one room in her house always ready for any
guest whom the Lord may send her and I think He is sending you there
now. Remember, my child, you have this dear sick baby to think of, as
well as yourself. Nan, the doctor thinks Little Brother will not live
through the summer unless he is taken away from the city."

Nan gave a quick, gasping breath, as she drew the baby closer and bent
her face over his.  When she looked up again her eyes were wet, and
she said, in a low tone,

"If that is so, I can't refuse this kind offer, and I will try to find
some way to make it right."

"There's nothing to make right, dear; you've only to go and be just as
happy and contented as you can be. I know you will be happy there.
You can't help loving Mrs. Hyde. And now, my child, there's another
matter." She paused and added, in a low tone, "I had a little girl
once, but God took her away from my home. She would have been about
your age now if she had staid with me. For her sake, Nan, I want you
to let me get a few things that you and the baby will need. Will you,
dear?"

Nan was proud. She had never gotten accustomed to poverty and its
painful consequences, and she would have preferred to do without, any
time, rather than accept a gift from those on whom she had no claim;
but she realised that she could not go among strangers with only the
few poor garments that she now had, so, after a moment's silence, she
answered, in a voice that was not quite steady,

"You are very, very good to me, Mrs. Rawson.  I'll try to be good too,
only, please don't get a single thing that I can do without."

"Nan, if you had plenty of money and you found a girl who had been
left all alone in the world, with no one to do anything for her--would
you think it was any wonderful kindness in you to spend a few dollars
for her?"

"N--no, of course not. I'd just _love_ to do it," replied Nan,
"but"--

"That's enough, then, and now there's only one more thing I have to
speak about. I know some girls, who have formed themselves into a band
called a 'King's Daughter Circle,' and they meet once a week to sew
for somebody who is not able to do her own sewing. I've told these
girls a little about you and they want very much to do some sewing for
Little Brother and you.  Now, would you be willing to let them come
here to-morrow afternoon? Would it trouble you?"

The colour rose in Nan's cheeks and her lips trembled, and for a
moment she seemed to shrink into herself as she thought what a
contrast her poor surroundings would be to these other girls, who
lived such different lives from hers, but she saw that Mrs. Rawson was
really desirous that they should come, and she was not willing to
disappoint one who was doing so much for her; so after a moment's
silence she answered,

"Of course they can come, if you think they won't mind too much." She
glanced about the room as she spoke.

Mrs. Rawson leaned over and kissed her.  "Child," she said, "they know
nothing about the trials that come into other lives--like yours.  I
want them to know you. Don't worry one bit over their coming. They are
dear girls and I'm sure you will like them--as sure as I am that they
will all love you--and Nan, one thing more, leave Mr. Scott to tell
Theodore about your going."

Then she went away, leaving Nan with many things to think about. She
could not help worrying somewhat over the coming of those girls.  As
she recalled her own old home, she realised how terribly bare and poor
her one room would look to these strangers and she shrank nervously
from the thought of meeting them. More than once, she was tempted to
ask Theo to go to Mrs. Rawson and tell her that the girls could not
come there.

Mrs. Rawson went straight from Nan's room to the shopping district,
where she purchased simple but complete outfits for Nan and the
baby. The under garments and the baby's dresses she bought ready-made
and also a neat wool suit for the girl and hats and wraps for both,
but she bought enough pretty lawn and gingham to make as many wash
dresses as Nan would require, and these she carried home and cut out
the next morning. That evening too she sent notes to the members of
the circle telling them to meet at her house before one o'clock the
next day, which was Saturday.

They came promptly, eleven girls between fifteen and seventeen, each
with her sewing implements. Bright, happy girls they were, as Nan
might have been, had her life been peaceful and sheltered like theirs,
Mrs. Rawson thought, as she welcomed them.

"Sit down, girls," she said, "I want to tell you more about my poor
little Nan before you see her."

She told the story in such fashion that the warm, girlish hearts were
filled with a sweet and tender sympathy for this other girl, and they
were eager to do all that they could for her.

Not one of them had ever before been in a tenement house like the one
to which Mrs.  Rawson led them, and they shrank from the rude children
and coarse women whom they encountered in the halls and on the stairs,
and pressed closer together, grasping each other's hands.

Nan's face whitened and her thin hands were clasped tightly together
as she heard them coming along the hall. She knew it was they, so
different were their quiet footsteps from most that passed her door.

Nan opened the door in response to Mrs.  Rawson's knock and the girls
flocked in, looking so dainty and pretty in their fresh shirt-waists
and dimities, and their gay ribbons. As Nan looked at them she was
painfully conscious of her own faded calico and worn shoes, and her
cheeks flushed, but the girls gave her no time to think of these
things. They crowded about her, introducing each other with merry
laughter and gay little jokes, seeming to take Nan right in among them
as one of themselves, and taking prompt possession of the baby, who
wasn't a bit shy, and appeared to like to be passed from one to
another, and kissed, and called sweet names.

Nan had borrowed all Mrs. Hunt's chairs, but still there were not
enough, and three or four girls gleefully settled themselves on the
bed.  Every one of them had come with her hands full of flowers, and
seeing these, Mrs. Rawson had brought along a big glass rose bowl,
which the girls speedily filled and set in the middle of the table.

A tap at the door announced the arrival of a boy with a box and a bag
for Mrs. Rawson, and out of the box she lifted a baby sewing machine,
which she fastened to the table. Then from the bag she took the lawn
and gingham as she said,

"Now, girls, your tongues can run just as fast as your fingers sew,
but remember this tiny machine works very rapidly and you've got to
keep it supplied. I'll hem this skirt first."

In an instant every girl had on her thimble, and they all set to work
with right good will.

"Can't I do some, too?" said Nan. "I don't want to be the only idle
one."

"You can gather some ruffles in a few minutes--as soon as I have
hemmed them," answered Mrs. Rawson, smiling to herself, as she saw how
bright and interested Nan looked already.

All that long, bright afternoon tongues and needles were about equally
busy. Fortunately it was cooler, else the girls would have been
uncomfortable in the small room, but as it was, not even Nan gave more
than a passing thought to the bare room and its lack of
comfort. Indeed, after the first few moments, Nan forgot all about
herself and just gave herself up to the delight of being once more a
girl among girls. She thought them lovely, every one, and indeed they
were lovely to her in every way, for her sweet face and gentle manners
had won them all at first sight. How they did chatter! Never before
had that room--or indeed any room in that dreary building, held such a
company as gathered there that day.

At half-past five there came another rap on the door, and Mrs. Rawson
exclaimed, "Put up your sewing, girls. We've business of another sort
to attend to now."

The girls looked at her inquiringly as Nan opened the door again.

"Bring them in," called Mrs. Rawson, and a man edged his way gingerly
among the girls and set two big baskets and an ice cream freezer
beside the table.

"A house picnic! Mrs. Rawson, you're a darling!"  called one and
another of the girls.

Mrs. Rawson nodded a laughing acknowledgment of the compliment, as she
said, "Open the baskets, girls. The dishes are in the round one.  I
thought Nan might not be prepared for quite such a family party."

With quick, deft fingers the girls swept aside the sewing, unscrewed
the little machine, spread a fine damask cloth over the pine table,
and on it arranged the pretty green and gold dishes and glasses,
putting the big bowl of roses in the centre.

Then from the other basket they took tiny buttered biscuits,
three-cornered sandwiches, tied with narrow green ribbons, a dish of
chicken salad, and a big loaf of nut cake. All these quite covered the
table so that the cream had to be left in the freezer until it was
wanted.

How Nan did enjoy that feast! How her eyes shone with quiet happiness
as she watched the bright faces and listened to the merry talk; not
all merry either, for more than once it touched upon the deep things
of life, showing that the girls had thought much, even if their lives
had been happy, sheltered ones.

When the feast was ended, the dishes repacked in the basket, and the
unfinished work put away, the girls gathered about Nan to say
"good-bye," and she wondered how she could have dreaded their
coming,--for now it seemed as if she could not let them go. She felt
as if all the joyous brightness would vanish with them. The quick
young eyes read something of this feeling in her face, and more than
one girl left a kiss with her cordial farewell.

The room seemed very still and lonely to Nan when the last flutter of
light dresses was gone and the last faint echo of girlish voices and
footsteps had died on her eagerly listening ears. She dropped into the
rocking-chair and looked about the room, trying to repeople it with
those fair, young, friendly faces. She could almost have imagined it
all a dream but for the cake and sandwiches and ice cream on the
table.

The sight of the fast melting cream suggested another thought to
her. Hastily filling a plate with portions of everything on the table,
she set it away for Theodore and then went across to Mrs. Hunt's rooms
to tell her to come with the children and take all that was left.

The eyes of the children gleamed with delight at sight of the
unexpected treat, and they speedily emptied the dishes which their
mother then carried home to wash, while the children took back the
borrowed chairs.

By this time Nan began to feel very weary, and she threw herself down
on the bed with the baby, but she kept in her hand some little scrips
of the pretty lawns and ginghams that she had found on the floor. It
seemed hardly possible to her that she could be going to have such
dresses.  Why--one of the scrips was exactly like a waist that one of
those girls had worn. Nan gazed at it with a smile on her lips, a
smile that lingered there until it was chased away by the remembrance
of Theo's loneliness when she and Little Brother should be far away.



XIII. NAN'S DEPARTURE


Theo was feeling that he needed sympathy about that time, for it
seemed to him as if every one that he cared for was to be taken away
from him.

Mr. Scott had invited the boy to go with him for a row on the river
and then to go home with him to supper. The river was beautiful in the
afternoon sunlight, and Theodore enjoyed the row and the friendly talk
with his teacher, but he felt a little shy with Mrs. Rawson and was
not sorry to find her absent from the supper-table.

When the meal was over Mr. Scott took the boy up to his own room to
see some of his curiosities.  Theo's quick eyes took silent note of
everything, and he mentally decided that some day he would have just
such a room as that. He was thinking thus, when Mr. Scott said,

"Theo, you haven't asked me what Dr. Reed thinks about Nan and her
little brother."

"She's better to-day--Nan is," exclaimed the boy, quickly.

"Yes, I suppose the medicine has toned her up a little, but the doctor
says that she must have a long rest. She has been working too hard."

"Well, she can. I'm earnin' enough now to take care of 'em,"
interposed the boy.

"Nan would never be content to let you do that, I think, but, Theo,
that isn't all."

Theo said nothing, but his anxious eyes asked the question that his
lips refused to utter.

Mr. Scott went on, "The doctor says that the baby must go away into
the country or--he will die."

Theodore walked quickly to the window, and stood there looking out in
silence. After a moment, his teacher crossed the room and laid his arm
affectionately over the boy's shoulders.

"Sit down, Theodore," he said, gently, "I want to tell you what we
have planned for Nan and the little one."

Then in few words he told of Mrs. Rawson's letter and the reply,
describing the beautiful country home to which Nan and the baby were
to go.

"You will be glad to think of them in such a place during the hot
summer days," he went on, "even though their going leaves you very
lonely, as I know it will, Theodore."

"I ought to be glad, Mr. Scott," replied the boy, slowly, as his
teacher paused, "an' I am, but ye see you don't know how hard 'tis for
a feller to keep straight when he ain't got no home an' nobody to talk
to after his work's done at night. Nan--well _you_ know she ain't
like the rest o' the folks down our way. She never scolds nor nags at
me, but somehow I can't ever look her straight in the eye if I've been
doin' anything mean."

"Nan has been a good friend to you, I'm sure, and I think you have
been a good friend to her and the baby, Theodore. I know that she will
miss you sadly at first, and if she thinks you are to be very lonely
without them, I'm afraid she will worry about it and not get as much
good from the change as she might otherwise," Mr.  Scott added.

The boy drew a long breath. "I won't let her know 't I care much 'bout
their goin'," he said, bravely.

"Nan will guess quite enough," answered the gentleman, "but, Theodore,
how would you like to come here? Mrs. Rawson has a little room over
the L that she seldom uses, and she says that you can sleep there if
you like, and pay for it the same that you pay for the dark room that
you now have."

The boy's eyes were full of surprise and pleasure as he answered,
gratefully, "I'd like that fine!"

"Come on, then, and we'll take a look at the place. It has been used
as a storeroom and will, of course, need some fixing up."

As Mr. Scott threw open the door of the L room Theodore stepped in and
looked about him with shining eyes. It was a long, low room with
windows on three sides. The floor was covered with matting and the
walls with a light, cheerful paper.

"This for me!" exclaimed the boy. "Why, Mr. Scott, it's--it's too fine
for a chap like me."

"Not a bit, my boy, but I think you can be very comfortable here, and
you will know that you have friends close at hand. And now, Theodore,
I suppose you will want to get home, for we hope to get Nan away next
week."

"So soon!" cried the boy, a shadow falling on the face, a moment
before so bright.

"Yes, the sooner the better for the little one's sake," replied
Mr. Scott, gravely.

"You've been mighty good to me--an' to Nan," said the boy, simply, and
then he went away.

He walked rapidly through the streets, taking no note of what was
passing around him, his thoughts were so full of this new trouble, for
a great and sore trouble it seemed to him to lose Nan and Little
Brother out of his life even for a few weeks. His way led him across
the Common, but he hurried along with unseeing eyes until suddenly
something bright attracted his attention, and he became aware that it
was a shock of rough red hair under a ragged old cap.  It was surely
Carrots sitting on one of the benches, his eyes gazing moodily across
the greensward to the street beyond. He did not notice Theo's
approach, but started up quickly, as the latter stopped in front of
him.

"Hold on, Carrots--don't clear out. I want to tell you something,"
cried Theo, hastily, laying a detaining hand on one ragged sleeve.

Carrots looked at him suspiciously. "D'know what yer got ter say ter
me," he growled.

"Sit down here, an' I'll tell ye."

Theodore sat down on the bench as he spoke, and after a moment's
hesitation the other boy dropped down beside him, but he kept a wary
glance on his companion, and was plainly ready to "cut and run" at a
moment's notice.

"You look's if you were down on your luck," began Theo, with a glance
at the ragged garments, and dilapidated shoes of the other.

"'Course--I'm always down on my luck," responded Carrots, in a tone
that implied, "what business is that of yours?"

"Sellin' papers now?"

"Yes, but a feller can't make a livin' out o' that. There's too many
kids in the business, an' folks'll buy o' the kids ev'ry time, 'n'
give us big fellers the go-by," Carrots said, in a gloomy tone.

"That's so. The little chaps always sell most," assented
Theodore. "Why don't you get into some other business, Carrots?"

"Can't--'cause my money's all tied up in railroad stock," retorted
Carrots, with bitter sarcasm.

"Carrots, what made ye play such a mean trick on Jim Hunt the other
day?" asked Theodore, suddenly.

Carrots grinned. "Hunt's a fool," he answered, "else he wouldn't 'a'
give me a chance ter work him so slick."

"Well, I don't think you'll play it on him again. I think you were the
fool, Carrots, for you know well enough you can't get such good stuff
anywhere else for your money, an' now ye can't go to my stand."

"Got it 'thout money that time," chuckled Carrots, impudently, but
still keeping a sharp eye on his companion.

Theo flushed, and his fingers itched to pitch into the boy and give
him a good drubbing, but he controlled himself, and said, quietly,
"What's the trouble with you, Carrots? Are you too lazy to work, or
what?"

The boy's eyes flashed angrily, as he replied, "See here, Tode
Bryan--what ye pokin' yer nose int' my business for, anyhow?"

"'Cause I can put you in the way of earnin' honest money if you're
willin' to do honest work."

"What sort o' work?" Carrots inquired, suspiciously.

"I'll tell ye 'bout it when I'm sure you're ready to take hold of it,
an' not before. See here, Carrots, I've seen you lately loafin' 'round
with some o' the meanest fellers in this town, an' if you don't keep
away from them you'll find yourself where some of 'em have been
a'ready--behind the bars. I mean well by ye, an' if you make up your
mind to be a man instead of a tramp an' a loafer, you can come to me,
an' I'll give ye a start. Jim Hunt'll tell ye where to find me."

The night shadows were falling now and the street lamps were already
lighted, and seeing this, Theodore started up, adding, "It's later'n I
thought. I must be off," and he hurried away, leaving Carrots looking
after him in a much bewildered state of mind.

Theodore found Nan sitting by the window in the dark. She had rocked
the baby to sleep, and was thinking over the happy afternoon that
seemed now so like a beautiful dream. She lighted her lamp when
Theodore came in, and brought out the food that she had put aside for
him, and while he ate she told him of all that had happened. He did
not eat much and he was very silent, so silent that at last she paused
and said, anxiously,

"You aren't sick, are you, Theo?"

"No," he replied, gravely, "an' Nan, I'm real glad you're goin' to
such a nice place." But though he spoke earnestly, there was in his
voice a ring of pain that Nan detected instantly, and guessed its
cause.

"I'm going to miss you dreadfully, Theo," she said, quickly, "and I
don't know what Little Brother will do without you. That's the one
thing about it that I don't like--to think of you all alone here with
no place to stay evenings."

"Mr. Scott says I can have a room where he lives--at Mrs. Rawson's,"
answered Theodore.  "It's a fine room--bigger'n this, an' it's got
checked straw carpet an' three windows."

"Oh, Theo, how glad I am!" cried the girl, delightedly. "That's just
splendid. Don't you like it?" she added, as the boy still sat with
serious eyes fixed on the floor.

"Like it? The room you mean? Oh yes, it's a grand room, but I don't
think I'll go there," he answered, slowly.

The gladness died out of Nan's face. "Oh, Theo, why not?" she
exclaimed, in a disappointed tone.

He answered again, slowly, "I think I shall stay here an' take this
room o' yours 'stead o' my little one."

"This is ever so much better than yours, of course, an' if you do that
you can keep my furniture, and I s'pose you'd be comfortable, but
'twould be lonesome all the same, and I shouldn't think you'd like it
half so well as being with Mr.  Scott."

"'Course I wouldn't like it half nor quarter so well, Nan, but this is
what I've been thinkin'.  You know there's a good many boys in these
two houses that don't have no place to stay evenin's, 'cept the
streets, an' I was thinkin' as I came home to-night, how fine 'twould
be if there was a room where they could come an' read an' play games
an' talk, kind of a boys' club room, don't ye know, like the one
Mr. Scott was tellin' 'bout they're havin' in some places. I think
he'll help me get some books an' papers an' games, an' maybe he'll
come an' give us a talk sometimes.  It would be grand for fellers like
Jimmy Hunt that ain't bad yet, but will be if they stay in the streets
every evenin'."

"Theo, I think it's a splendid idea, only there ought to be just such
a room for the girls. They need it even more than the boys do." Nan
hesitated a moment, then added, earnestly, "Theo, I'm proud of you."

Theodore's face was the picture of utter amazement as he gazed at
her. "Proud--of me?" he gasped. "I'd like to know what for."

"Well, never mind what for, but I want to say, Theo, what I've thought
ever so many times lately. When I first knew you, you were good to
Little Brother and me, so good that I can never forget it, but you
weren't"--

"I was meaner'n dirt," interposed the boy, sorrowfully.

"No, but you'd never had any chance with nobody to teach you or help
you, and I used to hate to have you touch Little Brother, because I
thought you were not good."

"I wasn't," put in Theodore, sadly.

"But since you came back from the bishop's you've been so different,
and it seems to me you're always trying to help somebody now.
Theo--if Little Brother lives, I hope he'll be like you."

Theodore stared at her in incredulous silence.  "Like me. Little
Brother like me," he whispered, softly, to himself, the colour
mounting in his cheeks. Then he arose and walked over to the bed where
the child lay, with one small hand thrown out across the
bedclothes. The soft, golden hair lay in pretty rings on the moist
forehead, but the little face looked waxen white.

Theodore stood for a moment looking down at the baby, then suddenly he
stooped and kissed the outstretched hand, and then without another
word he went away.

Nan's eyes were full of tears as she looked after him.

"How he does love Little Brother," she thought. "He's going to miss
him awfully."

Monday was a busy day for Mrs. Rawson.  She had engaged a seamstress
to finish off Nan's dresses, and having seen the woman settled to her
work, she set off herself for the tenement house, a boy going with her
to carry a small valise.

She found Nan busy baking bread. The place was very warm and the girl
looked flushed and tired. Mrs. Hunt had carried the baby off to her
cooler rooms.

"Nan, child, you've not taken up the cooking again?" exclaimed
Mrs. Rawson.

"I had to do some--not very much," replied the girl, gently.

"But, my dear, I thought you understood that we didn't want you to do
this any more."

Nan only smiled as she set the last loaf in the oven.

The lady went on, "Nan--we want you to go away to-morrow."

Nan looked up with startled eyes. "So soon!"  she exclaimed as
Theodore had done.

"Why should there be any delay about it?  Every day that you stay here
is so much actual loss to you and to the baby, too," added Mrs.
Rawson.

With a bewildered air Nan dropped into a chair, saying, hesitatingly,

"But how can I get ready to go to-morrow?"

"Easily enough, if you let the cooking go. I was wondering as I came
along what you would do with your furniture."

To Mrs. Rawson's eyes the few poor bits of furniture looked worthless
enough, but she realised that it would seem quite otherwise to the
girl who had bought them with her own hard earnings.

But now Nan looked up with shining eyes and in eager words told of
Theodore's plan and the lady's face brightened as she listened.

"It's a fine plan," she replied, heartily, "and it means a deal for
such a boy as Theodore to have thought of it."

"And when he might have gone to your house, too," added Nan,
softly. "Mrs. Rawson, he'll be very lonely when Little Brother is
gone."

"Yes, he'll miss you both sadly, but Nan, you mustn't worry about
Theodore. Mr. Scott loves the boy and will look out for him, you may
be sure of that. But now we must talk about your journey. I've brought
the things that I thought you would need on the way, and I'd like you
to try on this dress."

She lifted the pretty wool suit from the valise as she spoke, and Nan
began to take off her faded calico. The colour rose in her face as she
did so, for she hated to have Mrs. Rawson see her poor under garments,
but the lady seemed not to notice, as she chatted away about the
dress.

"Fits you beautifully. I was sure it would, for I had all the
measurements. I don't believe you will need to carry many of the
things you have, for there are plenty of the new ones," she said. "I
put into this little valise everything that will be needed for the
journey, and the other things can go with mine."

Nan looked up quickly, crying out joyfully, "Oh, Mrs. Rawson, are you
going with us?"

"To be sure. Did you suppose I meant for you to travel alone with a
sick baby? I'm going to stay a week."

"That's lovely!" exclaimed the girl, with a sigh of relief. "I did
dread to go among entire strangers alone."

"Mrs. Hyde won't be a stranger two minutes after you meet her. You
couldn't help loving her if you should try. Now then, let me see.  You
are to be ready at half past nine to-morrow.  The train goes at
10:15. I'll stop here for you.  Now, child, don't work any more
to-day. Just rest so that you can enjoy the journey. Oh, there's one
thing I came near forgetting--shoes.  Those will have to be
fitted. Can you come with me now and get them?"

"Yes, if Mrs. Hunt can see to my baking," Nan replied.

Mrs. Hunt was very ready to do so, and Nan and her new friend were
soon in a car on their way to the shoe store.

When she returned to her room alone, the girl took out the pretty
serviceable garments from the valise and examined them all with
mingled pain and pleasure. It was a delight to her to have once more
such clothing as other girls wore, but to receive them from strangers,
even such kind strangers as Mrs. Rawson and the girls, hurt Nan more
than a little. But she did not feel quite the same about the dainty
garments for her little brother. Over those her eyes shone with
satisfaction. She could not resist the desire to see how he would look
in them, and when he was dressed she carried him in for Mrs. Hunt to
admire, and the two praised and petted the little fellow to their
hearts' content.

Theodore had looked forward to a quiet evening with Nan and the
baby--that last evening that they were to spend together for so
long--but it proved to be anything but a quiet one. It had leaked out
that Nan was going away, and all through the evening the women and
girls in the house were coming to say "good-bye."  Nan had not
expected this, for she had never had much to do with any of them, and
it touched her deeply when in their rough fashion they wished her a
pleasant summer and hoped that the baby would come back well and
strong.

Theodore sat silent in a corner through all these leave-takings, and
some of the women, as they went back to their own rooms, spoke of the
loneliness the boy would feel without the baby that they all knew he
loved so dearly.

When the last caller had departed, Theodore stood up and held out a
little purse to Nan.

"Ain't much in it, but I want ye to use it for anything _he_
wants," the boy said, with a gesture toward the child.

Nan hesitated. She would not have taken it for herself, but she knew
that it would hurt Theo sadly, if she refused his gift, so she took
it, saying, "You've been so good to him always, Theo. I shan't let him
forget you ever."

"No--don't," muttered the boy, and unable to trust himself to say
more, he turned away in silence, and went to his own room. The little
purse he had given Nan contained five dollars.

"The dear boy! How good he is to us," Nan murmured, as she put the
bill back into it, "but I hope I shall not need to use this."

Theodore ran in the next morning for a hasty good-bye before he went
out to his work. He had waited purposely until the last moment, so
that his leave-taking might be a brief one, and he said so little, and
said that little so coldly that a stranger might have thought him
careless and indifferent, but Nan knew better. Now that the time of
departure was so close at hand, she shrank nervously from it and
almost wished she had refused to go, but still she dressed Little
Brother and herself in good season, and was all ready when at nine
thirty, promptly, Mrs.  Rawson appeared. The lady gave a satisfied
glance at the two, and then insisted upon carrying the baby downstairs
herself, while one of the Hunt children followed with Nan's valise. A
cab was waiting at the door, and cabs being rarities in that locality,
a crowd of curious children stood gaping at it, and waiting to see Nan
and the baby depart in it.

"It is going to be a warm day. I shall be glad when we are fairly
off," Mrs. Rawson said, with an anxious glance at the baby's face, as
the cab rattled over the rough stones.

As the little party entered the station, there was a flutter of light
raiment and bright ribbons, and Nan found herself fairly surrounded by
the eleven King's Daughters. They took possession of the baby, who
brightened up wonderfully at the sight of them, and they seized the
valise and Mrs. Rawson's handbag, and they trooped altogether through
the great station to the waiting train, and instead of saying, "Can't
go through yet, ladies--not till the train's made up," the gatekeeper
smiled in genial fashion into their bright faces and promptly unlocked
the gate for them. That was because one of them was the daughter of a
railroad official, but Nan didn't know that.

The train was not all ready, but two of the parlor cars were there,
and into one of these the girls climbed, and then they found the seats
belonging to Mrs. Rawson and Nan, and put the extra wraps up in the
rack for them and pushed up the window, and did everything else that
they could think of for the comfort of the travellers.

Then one of them pinned a great bunch of deliciously fragrant violets
to Nan's dress, and another fastened a tiny silver cross above the
violets, as she whispered,

"We've made you a member of our circle, Nan, dear, and this is our
badge."

And then Nan noticed that every one of the girls wore the tiny, silver
cross somewhere about her dress. She wondered what it meant and
determined to ask Mrs. Rawson later, but she could not talk much just
then--she was too happy with all those dear girls about her,
chattering to her and counting her in with themselves.

At last there was a rumble and a jar, and people began to fill up the
seats in the car and one of the girls looked at her watch and
exclaimed,

"We must say 'good-bye' girls, or we shall be carried off."

"Wouldn't it be fun if we could all go too, and stay for the week with
Mrs. Rawson?" cried another.

"Yes, indeed. If it weren't for school we might have done it."

"Now remember, Nan, we're all going to write to you because you belong
to our circle," whispered another, and then, some with a kiss, and
some with a warm handshake, they said, "good-bye," and hastened out of
the car and stood on the platform outside the car windows, calling out
more farewells and last words, and waving hands and handkerchiefs,
until the train drew out of the station.

Then Nan settled back in her comfortable seat with a happy light in
her dark eyes.

"I didn't suppose there were any such girls in all the world,
Mrs. Rawson," she said; "girls who would be so dearly kind to a
stranger like me."

"They certainly are dear girls. I think myself that there are not many
like them," Mrs. Rawson answered. "Some of them have been in my
Sunday-school class ever since they were nine years old."

"Perhaps that accounts for it," Nan answered, shyly, with one of her
quick, bright smiles.  Then she turned to look out of the window and
her face changed, for there on a fence, close beside the track, stood
Theodore, eagerly scanning the windows as the train went by. Nan
snatched up Little Brother and held him to the window, and a smile
broke over the boy's face as he waved his hat in response. Then the
train gathered speed and flew on, and the boy went slowly back to his
work.

It was nearly sunset when the station where the travellers were to
stop, was reached. Nan's heart began to beat fast and she glanced
around somewhat anxiously as she stepped on to the platform, but the
next moment she found herself looking into Mrs. Hyde's face, and from
that instant all her fears and anxieties vanished.

Mrs. Hyde had no children of her own, but the very spirit of
motherliness seemed to look out of her eyes, and she took the two
strangers into her heart at sight. The baby, wearied with the long
journey had been fretting for the last hour, but no sooner did he find
himself in Mrs. Hyde's arms, than he settled down comfortably and went
to sleep and slept soundly through the three mile drive from the
station.

Mrs. Hyde did not say much to Nan during the drive, only by an
occasional word or smile, showing her that she was not forgotten,
while the two ladies talked together, but at last she laid her firm,
strong hand lightly on the girl's fingers, saying,

"Look, dear--you are almost home."

And Nan looked with happy eyes at a big, rambling, white house, shaded
by tall elms, and with wide piazzas on three sides. An old-fashioned
flower garden, with high box-bordered beds was at the back, and broad,
rolling acres, spread out on every side but one, where there was a
grove of grand old trees.

The late afternoon sunlight was throwing long, level beams across the
green lawn, touching everything with a golden light as they drove up
to the side door, and Nan said to herself,

"I don't see how anybody could help being well and happy here."



XIV. THEODORE GIVES CARROTS A CHANCE


Theodore dreaded to go home that night.  After his work was done he
went to a restaurant for supper and then strolled on to the Common.
It was cool and pleasant there under the wide-spreading trees, and he
sat down on one of the benches and wondered what Nan was doing then
and how Little Brother had borne the long hours of travel.

When it was quite dark he went slowly homeward.  Mrs. Hunt's door
stood open and he stopped to get the key which Nan was to leave there
for him. Jimmy sprang up and brought it to him, and Mrs. Hunt gave him
a kind word or two and asked him to come in and sit awhile, but he
said he was tired, and taking the key, he crossed the hall and
unlocked Nan's door. As he closed it behind him he gave a little
start, for he saw something move over by the window.  The next instant
he realised that it was only Nan's chair which had rocked a little
from the jar of the closing door. The room was unlighted except for
the faint glimmer near the open windows.

As Theo sat down in the rocking-chair, a wave of loneliness and
homesickness swept over him.  Nan and Little Brother had made all the
home feeling he had ever known, and never before had he felt so
absolutely alone and friendless as he did to-night.

Tag seemed to share the feeling too. He went sniffing about the room,
evidently searching for the two who were gone, and finally, with a
long breath like a sigh, he dropped down beside the rocking-chair and
rubbed his head against his master's hand with a low, troubled whine.
Theodore patted the rough head as he said,

"Pretty lonesome, ain't it, old fellow?" and Tag rapped the floor with
his tail and whined again.

For a long time the boy sat there gravely thinking. At last, with a
sigh, he said to himself, "Might's well go to bed. Don't feel like
doin' anything to-night."

He was used to undressing in the dark and he did not light the lamp,
but as he was about to get into bed his hand touched something smooth
and stiff that was lying on the pillow.

"It's a letter," he exclaimed, wonderingly, and he hastened to light
the lamp.

"Oh!" he cried, breathlessly, as he saw the bold, firm
handwriting. "It's from the bishop."

His cheeks were flushed, his eyes shining and his fingers fairly
shaking with excitement as he held the letter carefully in his hands,
reading and rereading the address.

"THEODORE BRYAN,
Care of MRS. MARTIN."

He thought how many times he had sat beside the bishop's desk and
watched the pen travelling so rapidly across the paper. Theodore would
have known _that_ writing anywhere.

For a long time he did not open the letter. It was happiness enough to
know that it was there in his hands, the first letter he had ever
received.  And to think that the bishop should have written it--to
him, Theodore Bryan! It was a pity that the bishop could not have seen
the boy's face as he stood looking with glowing eyes at the envelope.

At last he opened it and began to read the letter.  It was a long one,
and as the boy read on and on, his breath came quicker and his eyes
grew dim, and when he had finished it his cheeks were wet, but he did
not know it. He was not thinking of himself. There were many who would
have given much for a letter from the bishop, but surely none could
have appreciated one more than did the lonely boy who stood there that
night in the dimly-lighted room poring over those closely written
pages. Again and again he read the whole letter, and many times he
read over one passage until the words were written in letters of light
on his heart. When at last he went to bed it was to lie awake for
hours with the letter held tightly in his hand, while he repeated to
himself those words that he was to remember as long as he lived.

"Mrs. Martin writes me that you are anxious to be assured of my
forgiveness. My dear boy, if you have ever wronged me I forgive you as
freely and fully as I hope for forgiveness myself; but, Theodore, had
you wronged me ever so deeply, it would all be blotted out by the joy
it gives me to know that you are a soldier of the Cross. I know that
you will be a faithful soldier--loyal even unto death--and may the
great Captain whom we both serve, have you ever in His holy keeping."

Over and over the boy repeated these words as he lay sleepless, but
full of deep happiness and peace. "Whom we both serve." The wise and
holy bishop and he, a poor ignorant street boy, were soldiers now
under the one great Captain.  Faithful and loyal even unto death? Ah
yes, Theodore pledged himself anew to such service in the watches of
that night.

Nevertheless, the letter had brought to the boy a fresh
disappointment, for it informed him that the bishop had been ill ever
since he left the city, and that it had been decided that he should
remain away until October.

"Five months longer before I can see him," Theodore thought
sorrowfully, yet he could not grieve as he had done before. It almost
seemed as if he could feel the bishop's hand actually resting upon his
head, and see the kind eyes looking down into his. The boy had not
been so happy since he left the bishop's house as he was on this night
when he had expected to be so lonely and miserable.

"Oh if Nan only knew, how glad she would be," he thought more than
once.

He slept at last with the letter clutched tightly in his hand, and his
fingers had not loosed their hold when he awoke the next morning, nor
had the joy died out of his heart. His thoughts were very busy as he
dressed, and suddenly he stopped short, with one shoe on and the other
in his hand.

"That's it!" he cried aloud. "That's what the bishop meant that
Sunday! 'Ye are not your own. Ye are bought with a price.' The great
Captain's bought me for one of His soldiers, an' I've got to do what
He says. I never knew before just what that meant, but I do now." Then
he added, softly, "But I want to do what He says, anyhow."

Going forth in this spirit to his work, Theodore could hardly fail to
find something to do for his Captain.

Mrs. Hunt had decided to take up the work that Nan had been doing, and
to furnish supplies for the stand. She had the big basket all ready
when Theodore came from his room, and he and Jimmy set off with it for
the stand where both the boys now took their breakfasts.

Theodore was unusually quiet and thoughtful, and there was something
in his face that silenced Jimmy's lively tongue that morning. The two
boys had just gotten their stand ready for business, when Theodore
exclaimed, eagerly,

"There he is now!" and darted off.

Jimmy looked after him in wonder that turned to indignation, as he saw
Theo lay a detaining hand on the ragged jacket of Carrots, who was
slouching aimlessly along the sidewalk with his hands in his pockets,
and, after a little talk with him, bring him back to the stand.

"Well now, I like that!" muttered Jimmy under his breath. He glowered
darkly at Carrots as Theo drew him up to the stand, but Theodore
looked into Jimmy's face with a strange light in his eyes, as he
filled a plate for Carrots and poured him out a cup of coffee.

"Sh'ld think you'd better wait till he'd paid for what he jagged here
that last time," Jimmy muttered, with a scowling glance at the
culprit.

Carrots, overhearing the remark, grinned, and then winked impudently
at Jimmy, while he disposed with all speed of the contents of the
plate that Theodore had set before him. Once or twice he cast a
puzzled glance at the latter as if trying to discover some hidden
motive.

"Had 'nough?" Theo questioned, when plate and cup were empty.

"'Spect I might get outside of one or two o' them doughnuts," Carrots
answered, with another wink at Jimmy's clouded face.

When the doughnuts also had disappeared, Theo said, "Come along a bit
with me, Carrots," and the two walked off together, leaving Jimmy for
the first time savagely angry with his friend Theodore.

Carrots slouched along at Theo's side, with his narrow eyes roving
suspiciously from side to side in search of a possible policeman, into
whose hands he suspected that his companion might be scheming to
deliver him. He could not conceive the possibility of anybody's
failing to avenge a wrong if he had the chance.

"Carrots," began Theodore, "where do you sleep?"

"Can't catch me that way," thought Carrots to himself, as he answered
carelessly, "Oh anywheres 't I happen ter find myself when I'm
sleepy."

"No reg'lar place--no home?" questioned Theo.

"Nope."

"Well, I've paid rent up to the end of the month for the room I've
been sleepin' in, an' I shan't use it any more. You can sleep there
for nothin' for the next week if you like."

Carrots stopped short and gazed at his companion with his tongue in
his cheek.

"Think I'm a fool?" he asked, shortly.

"I do' know whether ye are or not. 'Seems to me you will be 'f ye say
'no' to my offer," and Theo looked straight into the shifty eyes of
his companion.

That straightforward look puzzled Carrots. It was more convincing than
any words. He studied Theo's face for a moment, then he burst out,
"What's your game, anyhow, Tode Bryan?"

"Carrots," exclaimed Theo, earnestly, "there's no game at all about
it. I've got the room, an' I don't need it, 'cause I've taken another
one.  You're welcome to use this till the month's up.  Now, what d'ye
say? Will ye take it or leave it?"

"I'll--take--it," rejoined Carrots, slowly.

"All right." Theo gave him the number, adding, "Come to my room
anytime 'fore ten for the key."

Then he hurried on, leaving Carrots in a maze of wonder, doubt and
indecision, for he could not yet believe that Theo meant honestly by
him.

As for Theo, he whistled cheerily as he hastened on, for he felt that
he had been doing a bit of his Captain's business. He was not in the
least deceived. He knew that Carrots was a "bad lot," as he expressed
it, but he said to himself, "I was a bad lot, too, not so very long
ago, an' I'll see if I can't do something for Carrots while I'm
a-huntin' for that Jack Finney."

Jimmy Hunt was on the lookout for Theodore that evening, and pounced
upon him the moment he appeared. Jimmy's face was still clouded, and
he made no response to his friend's cheery greeting. "I say, Theo," he
began, "I'd like to know what you meant by it, anyhow."

"What's the trouble, Jimmy? What do you mean?"

"What _d'you_ mean by luggin' that thievin', sarcy Carrots over
t' the stand this mornin' an' stuffin' him with grub, an' never askin'
him for a red cent?" Jimmy spoke in a deeply aggrieved tone.

"You won't lose anything by it, Jim. That comes out o' my share of the
profits," Theo answered, quickly.

"'Tain't that," responded Jimmy, hastily. "I wouldn't 'a' minded if it
had been any other feller but him. Say, Theo, what did make ye do it
anyhow? Think ye might tell me that."

Theodore looked down into the face lifted to his, half curiously, half
impatiently. "Jimmy," he said, gravely, "wouldn't you be glad if
somebody would lend a hand to Dick and help him make a man of
himself?"

Jimmy flushed. He was ashamed of his brother and mortified by Dick's
evil reputation.

"'Course," he answered, shortly, dropping his eyes.

"Well, Jimmy, I'd help Dick if I could, an' there's another feller
I've been huntin' for ever so long. 'Seem's if I can't find him
anywheres, an' so till I _do_ find him, I'm a-goin' to try to
pull Carrots up 'stead of him."

"Pull Carrots up!" echoed Jimmy, scornfully.  "Tode, you must be soft
if you expect to make anything out o' such a bad lot as Carrots."

"There's a good spot in most chaps, I b'lieve, Jimmy, an' I guess
there's one in Carrots, if I can only find it. Anyhow, I'm a-goin' to
try for a while."

"Huh!" growled Jimmy. He said no more, but after this he watched Theo
and Carrots closely, and did a deal of earnest thinking on the
subject.

Carrots slept in Theodore's room for the next week--slipping softly up
and down the stairs, with furtive, suspicious glances into every dark
corner in the halls at night, and departing in the same fashion before
Theo was up in the morning.  He uttered no word of gratitude, but Theo
knew better than to expect anything of that sort.

One night when he came in, Theodore sat with his door wide open, and
called out pleasantly,

"Come in a minute, Carrots."

The boy paused on the threshold until he had satisfied himself that
there was no one else in the room, then he sidled in and dropped
heavily on a chair.

"Wal', what's wanted?" he inquired, gruffly.

"Like to earn a little extra money to-morrow?"  Theodore began.

"That depends."

"Depends on what?"

"On the kind o' work."

"Well, I should think you'd be ready for any kind of work," Theodore
remarked, with a quick glance at the ragged garments of the other.

Carrots grinned, carelessly. "Oh I ain't a swell like you," he
replied, casting, what he meant for a scornful look at the other boy's
clean outing shirt and decent suit. Theodore had reached the point now
where he had at least one clean shirt a week.

He ignored the remark and went on, "There's plenty of fellers that
would be glad of this job, but I want to give you the first chance at
it.  Jimmy Hunt's goin' on an excursion to-morrow, an' can't run the
stand. You can run it if you want to."

Carrots gazed at him with mouth and eyes wide open.

"Me?" he exclaimed, incredulously. "You mean't you'll let me run
it--alone--'thout you bossin' the job?"

Theo nodded.

Carrots' mouth slowly stretched into a grin of mingled satisfaction
and derision, as he exclaimed, "All right. I'm your man!"

"Then be ready to go with me at half past six," replied Theo. Then he
added, "Look here--what's your real name? Tain't Carrots I know. If
you'll tell me what 'tis I'll call you by it."

"Do' want none o' yer callin'! Carrots's good 'nough for me, an' if
I'm suited, other folks needn't ter interfere," growled the boy, with
renewed suspicion.

"No need to get huffy 'bout it," rejoined Theodore. "It put me up a
peg when folks begun to call me Theodore 'stead of Tode or Toady, an'
so I thought you'd feel the same way.  'Course, if you like to be
Carrots, nobody cares."

"Humph!" grunted Carrots, and departed without further discussion of
the matter.

He was waiting in the hall when Theodore opened his door the next
morning and assisted handily enough about carrying the big basket and
arranging the stand. He did not, however, believe that Theo meant to
leave him actually in charge, until he found himself established
behind the neat counter with fifty cents in nickels and pennies in his
pocket, to make change.

"Wal', I'm blest!" he exclaimed, and then he grinned and chuckled and
slapped his sides with glee, while Theodore went off, thinking to
himself,

"It's a risk, but I had to give him his chance."

Many times during that morning he thought of Carrots and wondered how
he was getting on. It was a hot day and an unusually tiresome one for
Theodore, and it was later than usual when he returned to his
room. Before he had closed the door Jimmy Hunt ran across the hall
calling out,

"Say, Theo, where's the baskets an' things?"

Theodore's heart sank, but he answered quietly, "Haven't they been
brought back?"

"No. Who'd you get to run the stand, Theo?"

"Carrots."

"Theodore Bryan--you _didn't_!" exclaimed Jimmy, in such a tragic
tone, that Theo almost laughed outright. His amusement was the last
straw to Jimmy. He burst into a storm of scornful blame in the midst
of which Theo quietly stepped into his room and shut the door, leaving
Jimmy to fume and storm as much as he chose.  That brought the boy to
himself. He began to cool down and to remember, that after all, the
stand belonged to Theodore, and he had a right to do as he pleased
with it. So after standing in the hall, kicking at the banisters for a
while, to relieve his feelings, Jimmy knocked at the closed door and
in response to Theo's "come in," he went in, in a somewhat calmer
state of mind.

"What you goin' to do in the mornin', Theo?" he began, in a subdued
tone.

"Have you been to the stand, Jim?"

"Yes, an' that scamp after he'd sold all the stuff went to work an'
auctioned off the dishes an' coffee-urn an' everything. Just skinned
the place out slick," Jimmy burst out, indignantly.  "I went 'round to
see where the baskets was, an' some fellers told me all about it. They
said 'twas a red-headed chap done it, but I _couldn't_ b'lieve
you'd be green 'nough to trust that Carrots.  Say, Theo, did you
re'ely think he'd do the square thing, by you?"

"Not much. I hoped he would an' I had to give him a chance, Jimmy?"

"Why'd you have to?" asked Jimmy, curiously.

"Where would I be now if somebody hadn't given me a chance, Jimmy?"

"Oh, you--you ain't Carrots. You're another sort."

"Yes, I'm another sort now, but I was bad as Carrots before I met Nan
an' Little Brother," answered Theo, earnestly. Then he added, "Don't
you worry 'bout the stand. I'll go out presently an' buy what's
wanted."

"An' ain't ye going to do nothin' ter that Carrots for this, neither?"
inquired Jimmy, anxiously.

"No, nothing. But, Jimmy, don't fret yourself about him. If he keeps
on as he's been doin', he'll soon find himself locked up."

"'N' he'd oughter be too," muttered Jimmy, as he went away, leaving
Theodore to think over the failure of his attempt. He was not much
surprised, though he had not expected quite such a clean sweep on
Carrots' part, and the loss was not heavy enough to embarrass him at
all. At Mr. Scott's suggestion, Theo had begun to deposit his extra
earnings in a savings bank and he had enough on hand to easily replace
the dishes and utensils lost, but he was disappointed and
disheartened. It seemed so useless to try to help one who would not
try to help himself. And yet he could not be quite discouraged since
he always remembered what he himself had once been.

He went out and bought what was needed and when he came back he found
Mr. Scott just turning away from his door. He hastened to unlock it
and the gentleman turned back, saying,

"I'm glad you came before I had got away, Theodore, for I want to talk
over that boys' club plan with you."

"I thought you'd forgot all about it," replied the boy, his face
brightening.

He had spoken to his teacher about this plan, and Mr. Scott had
answered, "Yes, something of the sort may be done, but if I were in
your place I wouldn't be in a hurry about it," and so the matter had
been left.

Now Mr. Scott looked thoughtfully about the room, saying, "You must
find this far more comfortable than the room you had before.  Don't
you sleep better here, Theo?"

"Oh, yes, I don't feel so tired in the morning."

"No, because you have the windows here and can have better air; but,
Theo, do you realise how it would be if you should use this for a
club-room?  Some of the boys would be here every evening, and you'd
have to have lights burning, and by the time you were ready to go to
bed, the room would be very hot and stuffy--full of bad air. Besides
you would have to be here all the time. You couldn't trust such boys
in your room alone."

Theodore thought of Carrots, and his face was grave and disturbed as
he answered, slowly, "'Spect you're right, Mr. Scott, but I do hate to
give up the plan."

"Perhaps we won't give it up, only change it a little. Have you ever
been in the large front room, upstairs?"

Theodore shook his head, with a look of surprise, that his teacher
should know anything about the rooms upstairs.

Mr. Scott added, "Well then, suppose you come up with me now, and take
a look at it. I have the key."

Wondering much, the boy followed his teacher up the stairs to a large
room with two windows on each side.

"How would this do for your clubroom, Theodore?" Mr. Scott inquired.

"This? Oh, this would be fine--but Mr.  Scott, it would cost a pile
for this."

"Rather more than for yours, of course, but now this is the way of it,
Theodore. I liked your plan about the club, but I didn't like the idea
of your giving up your own room to it, so I spoke to several gentlemen
of my acquaintance about the matter, and they all wanted to have a
hand in it. So they each gave me a sum of money, and then I
interviewed your landlord and rented this room. He is going to have it
whitewashed, and then we shall have the floor thoroughly scrubbed and
outside blinds put on these sunny windows. Then we shall put in some
tables and chairs and some plain pine shelves for the books and papers
that we are going to collect from our friends, and if you like, some
of us will give the boys a talk on current events once a week or so."

"What's current events?" interposed Theo, quickly.

"You'll soon find out. Now then, Theo, we must have somebody to take
charge of this room.  Can you do it?"

"Yes, indeed."

"You know that means that you must be here every evening in the week,
from half past seven to ten o'clock. You'll want to be away sometimes,
Theodore."

"Yes, I s'pose I will, but I'm ready to stay here all the same until
night school begins again."

"Very well, then we'll let it be so, and we'll try to have the room
ready for our opening in a week or two--as soon as we have enough
books and papers to begin with." Mr. Scott locked the door as he
spoke, and the two went downstairs.

Theodore's face was full of satisfaction over the promised
reading-room, but it clouded a little as his teacher said,

"You mustn't be disappointed, Theodore, if very few boys spend their
evenings in this room for a while. Most of the boys in this
neighbourhood are so used to loafing about the streets, that they like
that best, especially in hot weather, and, of course, few of them care
much for reading.  They will have to be educated up to it."

"S'pose that's so," replied the boy, thoughtfully, "but they'll like
it next winter when it's cold an' stormy outside," he added.

"Yes," assented the gentleman, adding, as he turned to depart, "Theo,
Mrs. Rawson will be home to-morrow. Don't you want to come and take
supper with us, and hear what she has to say about Nan, and the little
one?"

"Oh, yes, thank you, sir," cried Theodore, with a happy smile.

"All right, then, we shall expect you," and with a pleasant
"Good-night," Mr. Scott went away.

Theodore rather dreaded the supper with Mrs.  Rawson, but he forgot to
be shy or ill at ease when she began to tell him about the delightful
old farmhouse, and the happy times that Nan and the baby were having
there. She told him everything she could think of that would be of
interest to him, and he listened to it all with an eager face, and a
glad heart. If Little Brother must be far away from him, Theodore was
happy in the assurance that the child was in such a beautiful place,
and that already he had begun to grow stronger and brighter.



XV. A STRIKE


"No cars a-runnin'! What's up?" exclaimed Jimmy, the next morning, as
he and Theodore passed down Tremont street.

"There's a strike on. Didn't you hear 'bout it yesterday?" replied
Theo.

"No. My! But there'll be a time if all the cars stop."

"A pretty bad time--'specially for the folks that live outside the
city," Theodore answered, soberly.

When, after taking his breakfast at the stand, he went back through
Tremont street, groups of men and boys were standing about in every
corner, and everywhere the strike was the one topic of conversation.
There were groups of motormen and conductors here and there, some
looking grave and anxious, and some careless and indifferent.

As the morning advanced the throngs in the streets increased. Belated
business men hurried along, and clerks and saleswomen with flushed
faces and anxious eyes, tried impatiently to force their way through
the crowds to get to their places of business.

Theodore noticed the large number of rough-looking men and boys on the
streets, and that most of them seemed full of suppressed excitement.
Now and then as he passed some of these, he caught a low-spoken
threat, or an exultant prophecy of lively times to come. It all made
him vaguely uneasy, and he had to force himself to go about his work
instead of lingering outside to see what would happen.

In one office, while he was busy over the brasses, three gentlemen
were discussing the situation, and the boy, as he rubbed and polished,
listened intently to what was said.

"What do the fellows want? What's their grievance, anyhow?" inquired
one man, impatiently, as he flicked the ashes from his cigar.

"Shorter hours and better pay," replied a second.

"Of course. That's what strikers always want," put in a third. "They
seem to think they're the only ones to be considered."

"Well, I must confess that I rather sympathise with the men this
time," said the second speaker.  "I hold that they ought to have
shorter hours."

"There are plenty that will be glad enough to take their places,
though."

"I suppose so, but all the same I maintain that these companies that
are amply able to treat their men better, ought to do so. I believe in
fair play. It pays best in the end to say nothing of the right and
wrong of it."

"Think the company will give in?" questioned one.

"Guess not. I hear that the superintendent has telegraphed to New York
and Chicago for men."

"There'll be trouble if they come!" exclaimed the first speaker.

"I believe," said another man, joining the group, "I believe that
Sanders is responsible for all this trouble--or the most of it,
anyhow.  He's a disagreeable, overbearing fellow who--even when he
grants a favor, which is seldom enough--does it in a mean,
exasperating fashion that takes all the pleasure out of it. I had some
dealings with him once, and I never want anything more to do with
him. If he'd been half-way decent to the men there would never have
been any strike, in my opinion."

Sanders was the superintendent of the road where the trouble was.

"You're right about Sanders," said another.  "I always have wondered
how he could keep his position. These strikes though, never seem to me
to do any real good to the cause of the strikers, and a great many of
the men realise that too, but these walking delegate fellows get
'round 'em and persuade 'em that a strike is going to end all their
troubles--and so it goes. I saw that little sneak--Tom Steel--buttonholing
the motormen, and cramming them with his lies, as I came along just
now. There's always mischief where Tom Steel is."

By this time Theodore had finished his work, and he left the office,
his head full of strikes, superintendents, and walking delegates, and
wherever he went that day, the strike was the only subject discussed.

He stopped work earlier than usual, finding himself infected with the
prevailing unrest and excitement. He found the sidewalks of the
principal business streets thronged with men, women and boys, all
pressing in one direction.

"Come along, Tode!" cried a shrill voice at his elbow, and he turned
to find Jimmy Hunt, his round face all alight with anticipation of
exciting episodes to follow. Jimmy began talking rapidly.

"They've been smashin' cars, Tode, an' haulin' off the motormen an'
conductors that want to keep on workin'. There's three cars all
smashed up near the sheds, an' the strikers say they'll wreck every
one that's run out to-day."

"It's a shame!" declared Theo, indignantly; yet boy-like, if there was
to be a mob fight, he wanted to be on hand and see it all, and he took
care not to let Jimmy get far ahead of him.

As they went on, the crowd continually increased until it became so
dense that the boys had to worm their way through it inch by inch.
They pressed on, however, and when further progress was impossible,
they found standing room on the very front close to the car-track.

It had been a noisy, blustering crowd as it surged along the street,
but now that it had come to a standstill, a sudden breathless silence
fell upon it, and all eyes turned in one direction, gazing eagerly,
intently up the track. Suddenly, a low, hoarse cry broke from a
hundred throats.

"It's comin'! It's comin'!" and far up the street a car appeared.

The faces of the men grew more hard and determined.  Those of the
women became pale and terrified. The two boys peered eagerly forward,
their hearts beating quickly, with dread mingled with a sort of wild
excitement.

"Look, Theo--Look!" whispered Jimmy, pointing to some men who were
hastily digging up cobble-stones from the street. "There's Carrots,
too," he added.

"Wonder who that little chap is--the one that seems to have so much to
say to the car men," Theo replied, thoughtfully.

"That's Tom Steel. You've heard of him, hain't ye?" A man at Theo's
elbow was speaking.  "He's responsible for this strike, I think, an' I
hope he'll get his pay for it too," he added, grimly.

Theodore glanced up into the grave face of the speaker and recognised
him as a motorman.  Evidently, he was more bitter against the strikers
than against the company.

The car was now close at hand, and all at once as with a single
impulse, there was a surging forward, and the crowd closed in blocking
the track with a solid mass of human beings. The motorman set his
teeth hard, and rang the gong loudly, insistently. The conductor
hastened through the car and stood beside him. The only passenger was
a policeman, who stood on the rear platform calmly gazing at the sea
of angry, excited faces on either side.

"This car's got to stop!" shouted a big, brawny fellow, springing onto
the step and giving the motorman a threatening glance.

"This car ain't a-goin' to stop!" retorted the motorman, grimly, as he
released the brake.

"We'll see about that," and with the words the big fellow seized the
man's arms and wrenched his hand off the lever.

The conductor sprang to the assistance of his comrade while the
policeman ran forward and pushed the man roughly off the car.

In the same instant, Theo saw Carrots snatch a box from a bootblack
near him and with a wild yell of defiance, hurl it through one of the
car windows. The shrill, taunting cry of the boy, mingled with the
crash of the breaking glass, and the sight of the policeman's upraised
club, aroused the mob to sudden fury. At once there arose a wild
hubbub of shouts, yells and cries, followed by a shower of
cobble-stones, and a fierce rush upon the three men on the car, and in
two minutes the car was a shattered wreck; the motorman and conductor
were being hustled through the crowd with threats and warnings, while
the policeman's club had been wrenched from his grasp. He drew his
pistol, but with a howl of fury it was knocked from his hand, and the
next moment he lay senseless upon the ground, felled by a savage blow
from his own club.

The taste of conflict, the sight of blood, had roused to a fierce
flame the smouldering spirit of lawlessness and insurrection in the
mob. A savage rage seemed to have taken possession of the men as, with
frantic haste and mad delight, they tore up cobble-stones and built a
huge barricade across the track. When it was completed, Carrots darted
up on top of it and waved a red handkerchief above his head. A hoarse
roar of approval broke from the mob, but Steel sternly ordered the boy
down and hissed in his ear,

"You fool! You might have spoiled everything by that! Don't ye show
that again till I give the signal--d'ye hear?"

Carrots nodded with an evil gleam in his narrow eyes, that made Theo
shiver.

"Come on, now. We've done enough for once," Steel added, and keeping
his hand on the arm of the boy the two disappeared in the throng that
was slowly melting away.

Then, with a long breath, Jimmy turned to Theodore.

"My!" he exclaimed, in a tone of shuddering satisfaction. "It's awful,
ain't it, Theo! S'pose he's dead?" He gazed with half fearful interest
toward the policeman who had been clubbed and about whom a group had
gathered.

"Looks like it. There comes some more p'lice. They'll take care of
him. Come on, Jimmy, le's go home."

"Oh, no, Theo, don't go home, yet. Le's go an' see what's goin' on
over there," and Jimmy turned into a cross street through which the
greater portion of the crowd was pressing.

"There's something the matter over at the depot," said Theodore, as he
followed, half willingly and half reluctantly, in Jimmy's eager
footsteps.

About the depot there was usually a constant stream of cars coming and
going, but to-day the streets looked bare and deserted.

When the boys reached the square only two cars were in sight and these
two were approaching, one behind the other, on the same track. As they
drew near, they were seen to contain each six or eight policemen,
fully armed and with stern, resolute faces. The mob again howled and
hooted at the motormen and conductors, and showered them with dirt and
small stones, but made no attempt to stop the cars.

No cars were run after dark that evening, and the next day they were
run only at intervals of an hour and each one carried a heavily armed
guard. The strikers and their lawless sympathisers continued to throng
the streets and to threaten all car-men who remained on duty. Now and
then a car window was broken or an obstruction placed on the tracks,
but there was no serious outbreak, and it was rumoured that a
compromise between the company and the strikers was under
consideration and that the trouble would soon be at an end.

So a week slipped away. One morning Theodore was on his way from one
office to another when he heard the sound of drum and fife and saw a
body of the strikers marching up Washington street. Every boy within
sight or hearing at once turned in after the procession, and Theodore
followed with the rest.

It was about ten o'clock in the morning and the streets were full of
shoppers, many of them ladies who had been afraid to venture out
during the past week.

As if they had risen out of the ground, scores of rough-looking men
and street boys began to push and jostle the shoppers on the narrow
sidewalks until many of the frightened women took refuge in the
stores, and the shopkeepers, fearful of what might follow, began
hastily putting up their shutters and making ready to close their
stores, if necessary. These signs of apprehension gave great delight
to the rougher element in the streets, and they yelled and hooted
uproariously at the cautious shopkeepers, but they did not
stop. Steadily, swiftly they followed that body of men marching with
dark, determined faces to the sound of the fife and the drum.

"Where are they going?" Theo asked of a man at his side and the reply
was,

"To the car-house, I reckon. They're ripe for mischief now."

"What's stirred 'em up again--anything new?"  the boy questioned.

"Many of the strikers have been discharged and new men brought
on--five hundred of them--from New York and Chicago. I'm afraid we
haven't seen the worst of the troubles yet."

"Look! Look!" cried a boy, close beside Theodore, and the latter
looking ahead, saw a squad of mounted officers coming through a cross
street. Without stopping to parley they charged into the marching
strikers and dispersed them, silencing the fife and drum, and when the
furious mob of followers and sympathisers yelled threats and defiance
at the officers, the latter charged into the mob riding up to the
pavement and forcing the people back into the stores and dwellings
behind them.

This was as fuel to the fire of anger and insurrection. Deep and dire
threats passed from lip to lip, and evil purpose hardened into grim
determination as the mob slowly surged in the direction of the
car-house, after the officers had passed on. The throng was far more
quiet now, and far more dangerous. Again and again, Theodore caught
glimpses of Tom Steel's insignificant face, and like a long, dark
shadow, Carrots followed ever at his heels.

No cars were running now, but the boy heard low-spoken references to
new men and "scabs," and "the will of the people," as, almost without
effort of his own, he was borne onward with the throng.

At a little distance from the car-house the strikers again drew
together and stood mostly in gloomy silence, their eyes ever turning
toward the closed doors of the great building before them. The vast
crowd waited, too, in a silence that seemed to throb and pulse with
intense and bitter feeling. The strikers had stopped in the middle of
the street, and around them on every side, except toward the
car-house, the crowd pressed and surged like a vast human sea.  There
were not many women in the number gathered there, and the few who were
there were of the lowest sort, but men and boys--largely tramps,
roughs and street boys--were there in countless numbers, mingled with
not a few of the better class.

Slowly the minutes passed, until an hour had gone by, and it began to
be whispered about that the company dared not run any cars. Still the
men waited, and the crowd waited too. But at last some grew weary of
inaction, and when Steel proposed that they spend the time barricading
the tracks, his suggestion met with a quick response.

From a neighbouring street the men brought Belgian blocks and piled
them on the track. They pulled down tree boxes and broke off branches
of trees, and when an ice wagon came along they took possession of the
huge blocks of ice and capped their barricade with these.

Suddenly the doors of the car-house were thrown open, and a car rolled
slowly out.

There was an instant of breathless silence, followed by a roar like
that of a thousand savage beasts, as the strikers saw that new men
were running the car, and that it carried half a score of policemen,
armed to the teeth.

As it approached the barricade some of the officers sprang off and
began to throw down the obstructions, the others standing ready to
fire upon the mob if necessary. The crowd showered bitter words and
taunts upon the officers, but did not venture to molest them. The
motorman stood with his hand on the lever, ready to start the car the
moment the track should be clear. Carrots, with a pack of street Arabs
at his heels, jeered at the new motorman, climbing up on the car and
taunting him, until, at last, his patience was exhausted, and he
suddenly lifted his foot and kicked one of the boys off the car. The
boy fell heavily to the ground, and instantly the shrill voice of
Carrots was uplifted, crying frantically,

"He's killed Billy Green! He's killed Billy Green! Pitch in to him,
boys! Pitch into him!"

Billy Green was already picking himself up, with no worse injury than
a cut in his cheek, but the mob took up the cry, and,

"Pitch into him! Pitch into him! Kill him!  Kill him!" was shouted by
hundreds of savage voices as the crowd pressed about the car. They
tried to drag the motorman off, in spite of the guards, they smashed
the car windows, they tore out the cushions, they beat the policemen,
and wrenched their clubs out of their hands.  Finally several of the
officers drew their pistols and fired into the air.

At this the crowd fell back for a second, and the turmoil of shouts
and cries that had been deafening a moment before, died away in sudden
silence--a threatening, dangerous silence as of a wild beast about to
spring.

Into this instant of silence broke a new cry from the outskirts of the
crowd.

"It's the mayor. Make way for the mayor!"

"No, it's the bishop. Make way for the bishop! Stand back! Stand
back!"

At this cry, Theodore turned like a flash and gazed in the direction
in which all eyes were turning. There was no mistake. The bishop was
surely one of the occupants of a carriage that was slowly forcing its
way through the throng.

With his heart beating with a wild joy; his eyes glowing; the colour
coming and going in his cheeks, Theodore stood still until the
carriage stopped. Then sliding through the smallest spaces, darting
between feet, this way and that, the boy managed somehow to reach the
side of the carriage, where he stood with his hand on one of the
wheels, his eager, burning gaze fastened on the face he loved so
well. Instinctively he pulled off his cap, but he made no attempt to
attract the attention of the bishop. He uttered no word or sound. He
only stood with all his loving heart in his eyes, and looked.

The bishop's expression was very grave, as he gazed over that vast sea
of faces. He turned to speak to the gentleman who sat beside him, and
as he did so, his eyes fell on Theodore's eloquent upturned
countenance. A quick, bright smile flashed across his face, and
reaching down, he laid his hand for a moment gently upon the boy's
bared head.

Before he could speak the silence was again broken by a cry from many
lips--a cry of warning now, rather than a threat, though again the
words were,

"Stop the car! Stop the car! The bishop!  The bishop!"

The bishop's carriage had come to a standstill directly across the
track, the crowd being here so dense that it was impossible for the
driver to go even a yard farther.

The policemen had cleared the barricade from the track, and then
sprung hastily on the car again. Evidently they had not noticed the
dangerous position of the carriage, and now the motorman started the
car forward. The man was a stranger in the city. He knew nothing about
the bishop--cared nothing about him. He was there to run that car, and
he meant to do it or die in the attempt, so when the crowd shouted,

"The bishop! The bishop!" he yelled in reply,

"Get out of the way then if you don't want him hurt. This car's
a-going through, bishop or no bishop!"

The car was already in motion. The crowd pushed and struggled and
tried to fall back and let the carriage pass over the track, but it
was impossible, so closely were the people packed together there.

[Illustration: "Stop the car!"]

On the car came, while for an instant the crowd waited with tense
breath for what should follow.

"Loyal unto death." The words rang through Theodore's brain, as in
that instant he sprang swiftly forward and flung himself across the
track directly in front of the slowly moving car. A cry of horror
broke from the throng and a score of hands were stretched forth to
draw the boy from his dangerous position, but he clung to the fender
and would not be removed.

"Stop the car!" he pleaded. "Oh stop the car or the bishop will be
killed!"

Never a thought of his own danger had the boy,--for he would have
given his young life freely and joyfully for his bishop, but the
sacrifice was not needed. The police, now seeing the danger, forced
the furious motorman to stop the car until the crowd had had time to
fall back and the carriage had safely crossed the track. Then the car
passed on followed by threatening glances and menacing words from the
angry throng.

But now the bishop arose in the carriage, and as he stood in the
majesty of his great height with the light of a pure heart and a holy
life illumining his face--once again a hush fell upon that vast
gathering, and when the rich voice rolled out upon the still air,
uttering its message of heavenly love, and strong, sweet counsels of
peace and justice, the hearts of the people were melted within
them. Hard, brutal men and rude street boys listened, feeling a
strange power that they could not understand, thrilling their souls,
and compelling them, in spite of their own wills, to follow the
counsels of this servant of God.

No other man in that great city was honoured and loved by rich and
poor alike, as was the bishop. To no other would such a crowd in such
a mood have hearkened, but they stood in silence and listened
breathlessly as if they feared to lose a single word. They listened as
if they knew that never again would such a message come to them from
those lips. Stern, bitter faces softened, and hard eyes dimmed with
tears as the burning, melting words fell on the listening ears. Women
wept, and men forgot their hatreds and their grievances. Only here and
there an evil face grew more evil as the bishop's words worked upon
the hearts and consciences of that vast throng.

Tom Steel dropped his mask of careless indifference, as he tried to
stem the tide by whispering sneers and taunts to one and another, but
they would have none of his counsels now, and after a while he slunk
away with a black scowl on his face and evil words on his lips, and
still beside him slouched the gaunt, ragged figure with its crown of
rough red hair; and no one bade them stay; no one listened to their
wicked whispers, for the bishop's words were filling every ear and
every heart.

At last, the bishop stretched forth his hands and pronounced a tender
blessing upon them all, and then he drove slowly away, and when he was
gone rough men looked into each other's faces, half wondering, half
ashamed, as they moved away. They had no desire now for rioting and
lawlessness--for deeds of blood and violence. The Spirit of God had
touched their hearts. The atmosphere in which the bishop lived and
moved and had his being had for the time enveloped even these. No
wonder then, that it had wrought such a transformation in the heart
and life of one little street boy.

That same night two hundred of the city clergymen united in an appeal
to the company to submit the troubles to arbitration, and to this both
the company and the strikers agreed. The result was that although all
that the men asked was not granted, yet their hours were shortened,
and an increase of pay promised at the beginning of the year.



XVI. CALLED TO GO UP HIGHER


As for Theodore--when the bishop's carriage had driven away he went
home in a state of joyous expectation. He thought how he would go, on
the morrow, to the bishop's house, and of the long talk they two would
have together, when he would tell his friend all that he had so often
longed to tell him. He knew well how interested the bishop would be in
all that he--Theodore--was trying to do for the Great Captain, and he
longed to talk over his work and his plans with one so wise and so
experienced.

On his way home he stopped and bought some linen collars and cuffs and
a neat necktie.

"'Cause I want to look as well's I can when he sees me," he said to
himself.

All that evening he thought of that visit which he would make the next
day. He realty _could_ not wait any longer, but he found it hard
to decide what would be the best hour for him to go.  He knew that the
bishop was very often away in the evening, or if at home he was almost
sure to have guests with him. In the afternoon, too, he seldom had a
leisure moment. Indeed he never had any leisure moments, but Theodore
decided at last that the best time to see him would be between twelve
and one o'clock.

All night, in his dreams, he saw himself making his way to the house
and once he awoke in great distress, imagining that Brown had sternly
refused him admittance.

He could not work that next morning, but he wanted somebody else to
share his happiness, and so to all the sick and shut-in ones in the
two houses, he carried some little gift. It was his thank-offering,
though he did not know it.  Small gifts they were, all--a flower to
one, a newspaper to another, some oranges to a sick woman, an extra
loaf to a hard-working mother--little things all, but given in the
name of the Great Captain though His Name was not once mentioned.

So, many kindly thoughts followed the boy when, at noon, he went once
more through the streets toward the bishop's house.

Theodore's face had little of beauty, but the glance of his grey eyes
was honest and true.  He was able now to possess two suits and he wore
his best one with the clean linen and the new tie. Many a mother might
have been proud that day to call this boy of the streets, her son.

The remembrance of his dreams sent a shiver over Theodore as he rang
the bell at the bishop's door, but Brown did not refuse him
admittance.  On the contrary he smiled faintly and held open the door
as he said, in a low tone, "Come to Mrs. Martin's room," and once
again Theodore followed him across the wide hall.

Mrs. Martin gave him a cordial welcome, but a great dread fell upon
the boy as he noted her red eyes and subdued manner, and when she
said,

"He talked about you last evening, Theodore, and told us what you did
for him. You've come to ask how he is, haven't you?" the boy's heart
sank and he dropped into the nearest chair with his eyes fixed
entreatingly on the housekeeper's face. His throat felt dry and stiff,
and he dared not trust himself to speak. Mrs. Martin too, sat down and
wiped her eyes as she went on,

"He ought not to have gone out to speak to those strikers
yesterday. He wasn't well enough, and I told the gentlemen so when
they came for him, but as soon as he heard what they wanted he said he
would go. He came home all tired out, and he was taken sick in the
night."

Theodore tried in vain to frame a question with his trembling
lips. The housekeeper guessed what he would have asked and answered as
if he had spoken.

"It's some heart trouble and the doctors say he cannot live."

At these words, Theodore's head went down on the table and he sat as
if stunned. His trouble seemed to him too great even for belief. Eight
months before it had seemed terrible to him to know that the width of
the continent separated him from his friend. Now, what a joy it would
have been to him to know that the bishop was alive and well in
California.

At last he lifted his head and asked in a low voice,

"How long?"

Mrs. Martin understood. She answered, sadly, "A few days--possibly
only a few hours. He lies as if he were asleep, but it is not sleep. I
think," she added, with a glance at the boy's heart-broken face, "I
think you can see him for a moment if you would like to."

Theodore nodded and the housekeeper added, "Come then," and led the
way to an upper room.

The boy followed with such an aching heart as he had never imagined
that a boy could have.

The sick room was darkened and a nurse sat by the bedside. Theodore
stood for a moment looking down on the face so dear to him, and so
changed even in the few hours since last he saw it. He longed to press
his lips to the hand that lay outstretched on the white coverlet, but
he did not dare, and after a moment he turned and left the room in
silence.

Mrs. Martin followed him down the stairs.  At the door he stopped and
looked at her, tried to speak but could not, and so went away without
a word. He knew that never again should he see his friend alive, and
he did not. Before the next night, the bishop had been called to go up
higher.

When the announcement of his death appeared in the papers there was a
request that no flowers be sent. Theodore did not notice this item,
and so on the day of the funeral he carried to the house some of the
roses that he knew the bishop had loved most, and Mrs. Martin herself
placed them in the cold hand that a few days before, had been laid
upon Theodore's head. All the gold of the earth, had it been offered
to the boy, could not have purchased from him the sweet memory of that
last look and touch.

On the day of the funeral, the church where the service was held was
crowded, and the streets without were filled with a throng as vast as
that to which so short a time before, the bishop had spoken, but what
a difference was there in look and manner between the two great
gatherings! Here, every face was softened, every heart tender with
grief. They called him "our bishop," and they felt that they had lost
one who loved them--one who was indeed their friend.

But not one, whether within or without the church, not one grieved
more deeply for the grand, beautiful life so suddenly cut off than did
the lad who stood without and listened to the solemn tones of the
great organ, and watched with eyes dim with tears as the black-draped
coffin was borne out to its burial. The boy stood there until the last
of the long line of carriages had passed him; then he stepped forward
and, alone and on foot, he followed to the cemetery.

When all was over, he went sorrowfully homeward, feeling as if there
was a great blank in his life--a blank that could never be filled;
that the world could never again seem bright to him; but that evening
Mr. Scott came, and his affectionate sympathy comforted the boy's sore
heart. His teacher made him feel that now, more than ever, he must be
"the bishop's shadow." To Theodore, his small ministries to the
forlorn and suffering ones about him, seemed, indeed, as nothing when
he recalled the wide-reaching labours of the bishop, but as the days
went on these small ministries grew to be the joy of his life.

Mr. Scott, watching him closely, saw how week by week he became more
unselfish and thoughtful for others; more eager to help any who needed
his help. It was a grief to the boy that one whom he most longed to
help seemed for a time beyond his reach, and this was Carrots.

Four of the ringleaders in the riotous proceedings of the strike had
been arrested, tried and sentenced to two years in the penitentiary.
Of this number were Tom Steel, and Carrots, whose red banner had more
than once caught the eye of the police.

Jimmy Hunt openly rejoiced, feeling that Carrots had got his deserts
at last, but Theodore was troubled and disheartened over the
matter. He went to see the boy in prison, and found him as gruff and
surly as ever, yet he was sure that, when he came away, the eyes of
Carrots followed him wistfully. He did not go again to the prison but,
though he was no more fond of letter-writing than are most boys of
fourteen, yet, during those two years of Carrots' imprisonment, never
a month passed in which he did not receive a long, cheery letter from
Theodore. He never replied to any of these letters, but as Theodore
expected no replies, that made no difference.



XVII. FINAL GLIMPSES


As the evenings lengthened, the club grew in favour among the boys of
the neighbourhood, and often Mr. Scott wondered to see how Theodore
succeeded in maintaining good order and in keeping up the interest of
the boys, without setting them against him. He was full of ingenious
ideas for interesting them in something helpful, and, as he expressed
it, "lifting 'em up a peg." He grew to be exceedingly popular in the
neighbourhood that winter, but he never discovered the fact.  He was
too busy thinking of and for others, to think much about himself.

After a while he gave up all interest in his stand to Jimmy Hunt and
devoted himself wholly to his brass-polishing business. It outgrew his
own time and strength before the New Year, and then he hired boys to
work for him, and he spent his time superintending their work and
extending his list of employers. He paid the boys as liberally as he
could, but he would tolerate no loafing or careless work, so that at
first he had some trouble in getting satisfactory assistants, but once
secured, they seldom left his employ.  The time came when he had a
long list of such employees, and when a large part of the brass work
in the city was under his care--but this was later.

Nan and Little Brother did not come back to the city in the
fall. Mr. Scott had never intended that they should if he could
prevent it.

Long before the summer was over, Nan had taken a daughter's place in
Mrs. Hyde's childless home and Little Brother had become the cherished
pet of the household. So warm and deep was the love given to them both
that even Nan's sensitive pride could not object to remaining there
where she knew that she could give as much as she received in love and
service, and with a glad and grateful heart she abandoned all thought
of returning to the city, and knew that she had at last found a real
home.

But she did not forget her older friend, Theodore, and she told her
new friends so much about him that they desired to see and know him
also. So it came about that one of her letters to him contained a
cordial invitation from Mrs.  Hyde for him to spend Thanksgiving week
at her home.

Mr. Scott gladly agreed to attend to the club-room and to keep an eye
on the polishing business as far as he could, so Theodore accepted the
invitation and began to look forward with delight to seeing Little
Brother and Nan again.

He could hardly realise that it was he himself--poor Theodore
Bryan--who, one bright November morning, sat in the swift-flying car
and looked out on the autumn landscape on his way to spend
Thanksgiving as Mrs. Hyde's guest, and to see again the two whom he
loved to call his "folks."

[Illustration: Thanksgiving reunion.]

As the train drew near the station at which he was to stop, Theo
wondered who would meet him. He hoped Nan would. Indeed, he felt sure
that she would, for, of course, Mrs. Hyde would not know him any more
than he would know her.

So, as the cars ran along by the platform, he gazed eagerly out of the
car window, and he felt a little chill of disappointment because Nan
was nowhere in sight. There was a comfortable carriage in waiting for
somebody. He thought that it might be Mrs. Hyde's--but no, that could
not be, either, for a big, rosy-cheeked laddie, with mischievous blue
eyes, sat on the seat, flourishing a whip in true boyish fashion. That
didn't look much like heavy-eyed, white-lipped Little Brother, and
there was not a girl anywhere in sight, except a tall, handsome one in
a beautiful grey suit, trimmed with fur. This girl stood near the
carriage and seemed to be watching for some one.

"I do wish Nan had come to meet me," Theo thought, as he stepped off
the train, and then the tall girl in the grey suit was looking eagerly
into his face, with both hands outstretched, crying,

"Oh, Theo! How glad I am to see you!"  and he was seated in the
carriage with that rosy-cheeked, merry-faced little laddie, between
him and Nan, before he fairly realised that this was Little Brother,
grown well and strong, as even Nan had not dared hope he would do in
so few months.

And he had not forgotten his old friend either--Little Brother had
not,--or, if he had, he renewed the friendship very speedily, and
during Theo's stay the two were as inseparable as of old.

It was a happy week for Nan, for she could see how Theodore had been
growing in the best ways during the months of their separation, and
she was not a bit disappointed in him, but proud to have her new
friends know him. And, as for the boy, it was a glimpse into a new
life for him--that week in a lovely Christian home.  He made up his
mind that, sometime, he would have just such a home of his own, and he
went back to the city well content to leave these two in such tender
hands and amid such delightful surroundings.

Through all the winter that followed, Theodore was busy and
happy. When the night-school began, he coaxed Mr. Hunt to take charge
of the clubroom, for Theodore wanted to learn and fit himself for
better work by and by, and with such a purpose he made rapid progress
in his studies.

But, busy as he was, he still found time for his Saturday evening work
for the florist, that he might continue his Sunday flower mission, for
he knew that those few blossoms were all of brightness and beauty that
ever entered into some of those shut-in, poverty-pinched lives about
him.

Then, at Christmas time, Mr. Scott and Mrs.  Rawson and the King's
Daughters Circle helped him prepare a Christmas tree in the clubroom;
a tree that bore a gift for every child and woman in the two
houses. The children almost went wild over that, the first Christmas
tree that many of them had ever seen; and then the eleven girls in
their pretty winter dresses served all the company with cake and
cream.

Theodore was too happy and busy to eat his share, but that was all
right, for Teddy Hunt had no trouble at all in disposing of two
portions.

When the last candle had ceased to glimmer among the green branches,
and the last bit of cake and spoonful of cream had disappeared, the
company slowly and lingeringly departed, already looking forward to
just such another Christmas three hundred and sixty-five days
later. Then with many a "Merry Christmas" to Theodore, the girls and
Mrs. Rawson took their departure, and Mr. Scott followed them, only
stopping a moment, to say,

"We left your Christmas gift in your room, my boy. I hope you will
like it."

Wondering what his gift might be, the boy put out the lights and
locked the clubroom door and hurried down to his room, remembering
then that his teacher had asked for his key earlier in the evening.

The key was in the door now, and there was a light in the
room. Theodore pushed open the door and then stopped short with a cry
of delighted surprise, for he never would have recognised this as the
bare little room he had left.

A neat rug covered the floor, fresh shades hung at the windows; a
white iron bedstead with fluffy mattress and fresh white bedding stood
where the old bedstead had been, and in place of the pine table and
chairs were a neat oak bureau, and a washstand with toilet set and
towels, three good, comfortable chairs and a desk that made Theo's
eyes shine with delight. But best of all was a picture that hung on
the wall facing the door--a picture of the bishop with that tender
look in the eyes that the boy remembered so well.

On a card, slipped in the corner of the frame, was written,

"From Nan and Little Brother," and Theodore, as he looked and looked,
felt that there was nothing left for him to desire.

He was still standing in the middle of the floor, gazing at the
picture, when there was a knock at the door and as he opened it in
flocked the eleven girls with Mrs. Rawson and Mr. Scott behind them.

"Do you like it, Theodore?"

"We _couldn't_ go home till we saw you here," they exclaimed, and
laughed and chattered joyously when they saw that the boy was too
pleased and delighted for any words, and then they went away with
their own hearts full of the joy of giving, to write a circular letter
to Nan telling her all about it.

After this the winter passed quietly to Theodore.  He was well and
strong, and he was busy day and evening, and he was as happy a boy as
could be found in all that city.

And the weeks and months slipped away until two years had gone by, and
it was time for Carrots to be released.

Theodore ascertained the day and hour when he would leave the
penitentiary and met him at the very gate with a warm and friendly
greeting, and took him at once to his own room.

He searched the pale face of the boy, wondering whether there really
was in it a change for the better, or not. It seemed to him less
sullen and more thoughtful than it had been two years before, but he
was not sure. Certainly, Carrots was very quiet. It seemed almost as
if he had forgotten how to talk. He looked about Theo's neat,
comfortable room, evidently noting the changes there, but he made no
comment.

Theodore had set out a table with a good supper for the two, and
Carrots ate as if he enjoyed the food. When the meal was ended, he
leaned back in his chair, and as he looked straight into Theodore's
eyes, said slowly,

"What made ye do it, Tode?"

"Do what--bring you here to supper?"

"Yes, an' write all them letters to me, an'--an' everything?"

"Why, Carrots, it's this way. I served another fellow an' awful mean
trick once, and I've been trying mighty hard to find him, and make it
up to him, but I haven't found him yet, and so I've tried to do a
little for you instead of him--don't you see?"

Carrots nodded, and Theo fancied that he looked a little disappointed.

"Then 'twasn't really me you wanted to help?" he said, gravely.

"Yes, 'twas, too," answered Theo, quickly.  "I'd have done what I
could for you, anyhow, Carrots, but I do _wish_ I could find
him," he added, sorrowfully.

"What's his name?" inquired Carrots.

"Jack Finney."

"What?" exclaimed the boy, staring at Theodore as if he could not
believe his ears.

"Jack Finney," repeated Theo, wonderingly.

"Well, I never! Tode--_I'm_ Jack Finney."

"You?" cried Theodore, starting up excitedly.  "You Mrs. Russell's
Jack Finney?"

The boy nodded again. "I guess so. I was in her class in the mission
school."

Theo's face was all alight as he exclaimed, "Oh, Carrots--no, Jack,
I'll never call you Carrots again--Jack, I'm too glad for anything!
And now look here, Jack Finney, you've _got_ to be the right kind
of a chap from this on. I won't let you go wrong. I _can't_ let
you go wrong, Jack. It--it seems as if it'll be all my fault if you
do."

And Jack, looking again straight into Theodore's eyes, answered
slowly, "I guess I've had 'bout enough o' crooked doin's. If you'll
stand by me, I'll make a try on the other line, anyhow."

"I'll stand by you every time, Jack," cried Theodore, earnestly.

And he did, through months of alternate hope and discouragement, for
Jack did not find the upward road an easy one. There were the bad
habits of years always pulling him down, and there were old companions
in evil ever ready to coax him back to their company, and more than
once they succeeded for a while; but Theodore would not give him up,
and in the end, the boy had his reward, for Jack Finney became his
fellow-soldier under the Great Captain, and his faithful helper in his
loving ministry among Christ's little ones.





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