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Title: We and Our Neighbors - or, The Records of an Unfashionable Street
Author: Stowe, Harriet Beecher
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 "We and Our Neighbors - or, The Records of an Unfashionable Street" ***

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

[Illustration: NEW NEIGHBORS.

_"Who can have taken the Ferguses' house, sister?" said a brisk little
old lady, peeping through the window blinds._--p. 7.]




(_Sequel to "My Wife and I."_)



_Author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," "My Wife and I," etc._

With Illustrations.






CHAPTER                                                 PAGE

      I.--THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET                     7

     II.--HOW WE BEGIN LIFE                               23

    III.--THE FAMILY DICTATOR AT WORK                     30

     IV.--EVA TO HARRY'S MOTHER                           42


     VI.--THE SETTLING OF THE WATERS                      69

    VII.--LETTERS AND AIR-CASTLES                         78


     IX.--JIM AND ALICE                                   95

      X.--MR. ST. JOHN                                   103

     XI.--AUNT MARIA CLEARS HER CONSCIENCE               115

    XII.--"WHY CAN'T THEY LET US ALONE?"                 131

   XIII.--OUR "EVENING" PROJECTED                        144

    XIV.--MR. ST. JOHN IS OUTARGUED                      152

     XV.--GETTING READY TO BEGIN                         160

    XVI.--THE MINISTER'S VISIT                           173

   XVII.--OUR FIRST THURSDAY                             178

  XVIII.--RAKING UP THE FIRE                             192

    XIX.--A LOST SHEEP                                   197

     XX.--EVA TO HARRY'S MOTHER                          201

    XXI.--BOLTON AND ST. JOHN                            207

   XXII.--BOLTON TO CAROLINE                             214

  XXIII.--THE SISTERS OF ST. BARNABAS                    221

   XXIV.--EVA TO HARRY'S MOTHER                          227


   XXVI.--SHE STOOD OUTSIDE THE GATE                     243

  XXVII.--ROUGH HANDLING OF SORE NERVES                  253

 XXVIII.--REASON AND UNREASON                            262

   XXIX.--AUNT MARIA FREES HER MIND                      270

    XXX.--A DINNER ON WASHING DAY                        274

   XXXI.--WHAT THEY TALKED ABOUT                         285

  XXXII.--A MISTRESS WITHOUT A MAID                      296

 XXXIII.--A FOUR-FOOTED PRODIGAL                         307

  XXXIV.--GOING TO THE BAD                               317

   XXXV.--A SOUL IN PERIL                                328

  XXXVI.--LOVE IN CHRISTMAS GREENS                       339

 XXXVII.--THEREAFTER?                                    350

XXXVIII.--"WE MUST BE CAUTIOUS"                          357

  XXXIX.--SAYS SHE TO HER NEIGHBOR--WHAT?                365

     XL.--THE ENGAGEMENT ANNOUNCED                       369

    XLI.--LETTER FROM EVA TO HARRY'S MOTHER              375

   XLII.--JIM'S FORTUNES                                 387


   XLIV.--FLUCTUATIONS                                   407

    XLV.--THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW                       414

   XLVI.--WHAT THEY ALL SAID ABOUT IT                    418

  XLVII.--"IN THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS"                   430

 XLVIII.--THE PEARL CROSS                                439

   XLIX.--THE UNPROTECTED FEMALE                         448

      L.--EVA TO HARRY'S MOTHER                          461

     LI.--THE HOUR AND THE WOMAN                         465

    LII.--EVA'S CONSULTATIONS                            469

   LIII.--WEDDING PRESENTS                               474

    LIV.--MARRIED AND A'                                 478


I.--NEW NEIGHBORS                                     _Frontispiece._

"_'Who can have taken the Ferguses' house, sister?' said a
brisk little old lady, peeping through the window blinds._"


II.--TALKING IT OVER                                              73

"_Come now, Puss, out with it. Why that anxious brow?
What domestic catastrophe?_"

III.--THE DOMESTIC ARTIST                                        131

"_A spray of ivy that was stretching towards the window had been
drawn back and was forced to wreathe itself around a picture._"

IV.--WICKEDNESS, OR MISERY?                                      197

"_Bolton laid his hand on her shoulder, and, looking down
on her, said: 'Poor child, have you no mother?'_"

V.--CONFIDENCES                                                  287

"_In due course followed an introduction to 'my wife,' whose
photograph Mr. Selby wore dutifully in his coat-pocket._"

VI.--GOING TO THE BAD                                            327

"_The sweet-faced woman calls the attention of her husband.
He frowns, whips up the horse, and is gone.... Bitterness
possesses Maggie's soul.... Why not go to the bad?_"

VII.--SKIRMISHING                                                341

"_'I like your work,' he said, 'better than you do mine.'
'I didn't say that I didn't like yours,' said Angie, coloring._"

VIII.--A MIDNIGHT CAUCUS                                         400

"_'There, now he's off,' said Eva ... then, leaning back,
she began taking out hair-pins and shaking down curls and
untying ribbons as a preface to a wholly free conversation._"




"Who can have taken the Ferguses' house, sister?" said a brisk little
old lady, peeping through the window blinds. "It's taken! Just come
here and look! There's a cart at the door."

"You don't say so!" said Miss Dorcas, her elder sister, flying across
the room to the window blinds, behind which Mrs. Betsey sat discreetly
ensconced with her knitting work. "Where? Jack, get down, sir!" This
last remark was addressed to a rough-coated Dandie Dinmont terrier,
who had been winking in a half doze on a cushion at Miss Dorcas's
feet. On the first suggestion that there was something to be looked at
across the street, Jack had ticked briskly across the room, and now
stood on his hind legs on an old embroidered chair, peering through
the slats as industriously as if his opinion had been requested. "Get
down, sir!" persisted Miss Dorcas. But Jack only winked contumaciously
at Mrs. Betsey, whom he justly considered in the light of an ally,
planted his toe nails more firmly in the embroidered chair-bottom, and
stuck his nose further between the slats, while Mrs. Betsey took up
for him, as he knew she would.

"Do let the dog alone, Dorcas! _He_ wants to see as much as anybody."

"Now, Betsey, how am I ever to teach Jack not to jump on these chairs
if you will always take his part? Besides, next we shall know, he'll
be barking through the window blinds," said Miss Dorcas.

Mrs. Betsey replied to the expostulation by making a sudden diversion
of subject. "Oh, look, look!" she called, "that must be _she_," as a
face with radiant, dark eyes, framed in an aureole of bright golden
hair, appeared in the doorway of the house across the street. "She's a
pretty creature, anyway--much prettier than poor dear Mrs. Fergus."

"Henderson, you say the name is?" said Miss Dorcas.

"Yes. Simons, the provision man at the corner, told me that the
house had been bought by a young editor, or something of that sort,
named Henderson--somebody that writes for the papers. He married Van
Arsdel's daughter."

"What, the Van Arsdels that failed last spring? One of our mushroom
New York aristocracy--up to-day and down to-morrow!" commented Miss
Dorcas, with an air of superiority. "Poor things!"

"A very imprudent marriage, I don't doubt," sighed Mrs. Betsey. "These
upstart modern families never bring up their girls to do anything."

"She seems to be putting her hand to the plough, though," said Miss
Dorcas. "See, she actually is lifting out that package herself! Upon
my word, a very pretty creature. I think we must take her up."

"The Ferguses were nice," said Mrs. Betsey, "though he was only a
newspaper man, and she was a nobody; but she really did quite answer
the purpose for a neighbor--not, of course, one of our sort exactly,
but a very respectable, lady-like little body."

"Well," said Miss Dorcas, reflectively, "I always said it doesn't do
to carry exclusiveness too far. Poor dear Papa was quite a democrat.
He often said that he had seen quite good manners and real refinement
in people of the most ordinary origin."

"And, to be sure," said Mrs. Betsey, "if one is to be too particular,
one doesn't get anybody to associate with. The fact is, the good old
families we used to visit have either died off or moved off up into
the new streets, and one does like to have _somebody_ to speak to."

"Look there, Betsey, do you suppose that's Mr. Henderson that's coming
down the street?" said Miss Dorcas.

"Dear me!" said Mrs. Betsey, in an anxious flutter. "Why, there are
_two_ of them--they are both taking hold to lift out that bureau--see
there! Now _she's_ put her head out of the chamber window there, and
is speaking to them. What a pretty color her hair is!"

At this moment the horse on the other side of the street started
prematurely, for some reason best known to himself, and the bureau
came down with a thud; and Jack, who considered his opinion as now
called for, barked frantically through the blinds.

Miss Dorcas seized his muzzle energetically and endeavored to hold
his jaws together, but he still barked in a smothered and convulsive
manner; whereat the good lady swept him, _vi et armis_, from his
perch, and disciplined him vigorously, forcing him to retire to his
cushion in a distant corner, where he still persistently barked.

"Oh, poor doggie!" sighed Mrs. Betsey. "Dorcas, how can you?"

"How can I?" said Miss Dorcas, in martial tones. "Betsey Ann
Benthusen, this dog would grow up a perfect pest of this
neighborhood if I left him to you. He _must_ learn not to get up
and bark through those blinds. It isn't so much matter now the
windows are shut, but the _habit_ is the thing. Who wants to have
a dog firing a fusillade when your visitors come up the front
steps--barking-enough-to-split-one's-head-open," added Miss Dorcas,
turning upon the culprit, with a severe staccato designed to tell upon
his conscience.

Jack bowed his head and rolled his great soft eyes at her through a
silvery thicket of hair.

"You are a _very_ naughty dog," she added, impressively.

Jack sat up on his haunches and waved his front paws in a deprecating
manner to Miss Dorcas, and the good lady laughed and said, cheerily,
"Well, well, Jacky, be a good dog now, and we'll be friends."

And Jacky wagged his tail in the most demonstrative manner, and
frisked with triumphant assurance of restored favor. It was the usual
end of disciplinary struggles with him. Miss Dorcas sat down to a bit
of worsted work on which she had been busy when her attention was
first called to the window.

Mrs. Betsey, however, with her nose close to the window blinds,
continued to announce the state of things over the way in short jets
of communication.

"There! the gentlemen are both gone in--and there! the cart has driven
off. Now, they've shut the front door," etc.

After this came a pause of a few moments, in which both sisters worked
in silence.

"I wonder, now, _which_ of those two was the husband," said Mrs.
Betsey at last, in a slow reflective tone, as if she had been maturely
considering the subject.

In the mean time it had occurred to Miss Dorcas that this species of
minute inquisition into the affairs of neighbors over the way was
rather a compromising of her dignity, and she broke out suddenly from
a high moral perch on her unconscious sister.

"Betsey," she said, with severe gravity, "I really suppose it's no
concern of ours _what_ goes on over at the other house. Poor dear
Papa used to say if there was anything that was unworthy a true lady
it was a disposition to gossip. Our neighbors' affairs are nothing to
us. I think it is Mrs. Chapone who says, 'A well-regulated mind will
repress curiosity.' Perhaps, Betsey, it would be well to go on with
our daily reading."

Mrs. Betsey, as a younger sister, had been accustomed to these sudden
pullings-up of the moral check-rein from Miss Dorcas, and received
them as meekly as a well-bitted pony. She rose immediately, and,
laying down her knitting work, turned to the book-case. It appears
that the good souls were diversifying their leisure hours by reading
for the fifth or sixth time that enlivening poem, Young's _Night
Thoughts_. So, taking down a volume from the book-shelves and opening
to a mark, Mrs. Betsey commenced a sonorous expostulation to Alonzo on
the value of time. The good lady's manner of rendering poetry was in a
high-pitched falsetto, with inflections of a marvelous nature, rising
in the earnest parts almost to a howl. In her youth she had been held
to possess a talent for elocution, and had been much commended by the
amateurs of her times as a reader of almost professional merit. The
decay of her vocal organs had been so gradual and gentle that neither
sister had perceived the change of quality in her voice, or the
nervous tricks of manner which had grown upon her, till her rendering
of poetry resembled a preternatural hoot. Miss Dorcas beat time with
her needle and listened complacently to the mournful adjurations,
while Jack, crouching himself with his nose on his forepaws, winked
very hard and surveyed Miss Betsey with an uneasy excitement, giving
from time to time low growls as her voice rose in emphatic places;
and finally, as if even a dog's patience could stand it no longer, he
chorused a startling point with a sharp yelp!

"There!" said Mrs. Betsey, throwing down the book. "What is the reason
Jack _never_ likes me to read poetry?"

Jack sprang forward as the book was thrown down, and running to Mrs.
Betsey, jumped into her lap and endeavored to kiss her in a most
tumultuous and excited manner, as an expression of his immense relief.

"There! there! Jacky, good fellow--down, down! Why, how odd it is!
I can't think what excites him so in my reading," said Mrs. Betsey.
"It must be something that he notices in my intonations," she added,

The two sisters we have been looking in upon are worthy of a word
of introduction. There are in every growing city old houses that
stand as breakwaters in the tide of modern improvement, and may be
held as fortresses in which the past entrenches itself against the
never-ceasing encroachments of the present. The house in which the
conversation just recorded has taken place was one of these. It was a
fragment of ancient primitive New York known as the old Vanderheyden
house, only waiting the death of old Miss Dorcas Vanderheyden and her
sister, Mrs. Betsey Benthusen, to be pulled down and made into city
lots and squares.

Time was when the Vanderheyden house was the country seat of old Jacob
Vanderheyden, a thriving Dutch merchant, who lived there with somewhat
foreign ideas of style and stateliness.

Parks and gardens and waving trees had encircled it, but the city
limits had gained upon it through three generations; squares and
streets had been opened through its grounds, till now the house itself
and the garden-patch in the rear was all that remained of the ancient
domain. Innumerable schemes of land speculators had attacked the old
place; offers had been insidiously made to the proprietors which would
have put them in possession of dazzling wealth, but they gallantly
maintained their position. It is true their income in ready money was
but scanty, and their taxes had, year by year, grown higher as the
value of the land increased. Modern New York, so to speak, foamed and
chafed like a great red dragon before the old house, waiting to make a
mouthful of it, but the ancient princesses within bravely held their
own and refused to parley or capitulate.

Their life was wholly in the past, with a generation whose bones had
long rested under respectable tombstones. Their grandfather on their
mother's side had been a signer of the Declaration of Independence;
their grandfather on the paternal side was a Dutch merchant of some
standing in early New York, a friend and correspondent of Alexander
Hamilton's and a co-worker with him in those financial schemes by
which the treasury of the young republic of America was first placed
on a solid basis. Old Jacob did good service in negotiating loans in
Holland, and did not omit to avail himself of the golden opportunities
which the handling of a nation's wealth presents. He grew rich and
great in the land, and was implicitly revered in his own family as
being one of the nurses and founders of the American Republic. In the
ancient Dutch secretary which stood in the corner of the sitting-room
where our old ladies spent their time were many letters from noted
names of a century or so back--papers yellow with age, but whose
contents were all alive with the foam and fresh turbulence of what was
then the existing life of the period.

Mrs. Betsey Benthusen was a younger sister and a widow. She had been a
beauty in her girlhood, and so much younger than her sister that Miss
Dorcas felt all the pride and interest of a mother in her success,
in her lovers, in her marriage; and when that marriage proved a
miserable failure, uniting her to a man who wasted her fortune and
neglected her person, and broke her heart, Miss Dorcas received her
back to her strong arms and made a home and a refuge where the poor
woman could gather up and piece together, in some broken fashion, the
remains of her life as one mends a broken Sèvres china tea cup.

Miss Dorcas was by nature of a fiery, energetic temperament, intense
and original--precisely the one to be a contemner of customs and
proprieties; but a very severe and rigid education had imposed on her
every yoke of the most ancient and straitest-laced decorum. She had
been nurtured only in such savory treatises as Dr. Gregory's _Legacy
to his Daughters_, Mrs. Chapone's _Letters_, Miss Hannah More's
_Coelebs in Search of a Wife_, Watts _On the Mind_, and other good
books by which our great grandmothers had their lives all laid out for
them in exact squares and parallelograms, and were taught exactly what
to think and do in all possible emergencies.

But, as often happens, the original nature of Miss Dorcas was apt to
break out here and there, all the more vivaciously for repression, in
a sort of natural geyser: and so, though rigidly proper in the main,
she was apt to fall into delightful spasms of naturalness.

Notwithstanding all the remarks of Mrs. Chapone and Dr. Watts about
gossip, she still had a hearty and innocent interest in the pretty
young housekeeper that was building a nest opposite to her, and a
little quite harmless curiosity in what was going on over the way.

A great deal of good sermonizing, by the by, is expended on gossip,
which is denounced as one of the seven deadly sins of society; but,
after all, gossip has its better side: if not a Christian grace, it
certainly is one of those weeds which show a good warm soil.

The kindly heart, that really cares for everything human it meets,
inclines toward gossip, in a good way. Just as a morning glory throws
out tendrils, and climbs up and peeps cheerily into your window, so
a kindly gossip can't help watching the opening and shutting of your
blinds and the curling smoke from your chimney. And so, too, after
all the high morality of Miss Dorcas, the energetic turning of her
sister to the paths of propriety, and the passage from Young's _Night
Thoughts_, with its ponderous solemnity, she was at heart kindly
musing upon the possible fortunes of the pretty young creature across
the street, and was as fresh and ready to take up the next bit of
information about her house as a brisk hen is to discuss the latest
bit of crumb thrown from a window.

Miss Dorcas had been brought up by her father in diligent study of
the old approved English classics. The book-case of the sitting-room
presented in gilded order old editions of the _Rambler_, the
_Tattler_, and the _Spectator_, the poems of Pope, and Dryden, and
Milton, and Shakespeare, and Miss Dorcas and her sister were well
versed in them all. And in view of the whole of our modern literature,
we must say that their studies might have been much worse directed.

Their father had unfortunately been born too early to enjoy Walter
Scott. There is an age when a man cannot receive a new author or a
new idea. Like a lilac bush which has made its terminal buds, he has
grown all he can in this life, and there is no use in trying to force
him into a new growth. Jacob Vanderheyden died considering Scott's
novels as the flimsy trash of the modern school, while his daughters
hid them under their pillows, and found them all the more delightful
from the vague sensation of sinfulness which was connected with their
admiration. Walter Scott was their most modern landmark; youth and
bloom and heedlessness and impropriety were all delightfully mixed up
with their reminiscences of him--and now, here they were still living
in an age which has shelved Walter Scott among the classics, and reads
Dickens and Thackeray and Anthony Trollope.

Miss Dorcas had been stranded, now and then, on one of these "trashy
moderns"--had sat up all night surreptitiously reading _Nicholas
Nickleby_, and had hidden the book from Mrs. Betsey lest her young
mind should be carried away, until she discovered, by an accidental
remark, that Mrs. Betsey had committed the same delightful impropriety
while off on a visit to a distant relative. When the discovery became
mutual, from time to time other works of the same author crept into
the house in cheap pamphlet editions, and the perusal of them was
apologized for by Miss Dorcas to Mrs. Betsey, as being well enough,
now and then, to see what people were reading in these trashy times.
Ah, what is fame! Are not Dickens and Thackeray and Trollope on their
inevitable way to the same dusty high shelf in the library, where they
will be praised and not read by the forthcoming _jeunesse_ of the

If the minds of the ancient sisters were a museum of by-gone ideas,
and literature, and tastes, the old Vanderheyden house was no less a
museum of by-gone furniture. The very smell of the house was ghostly
with past suggestion. Every article of household gear in it had grown
old together with all the rest, standing always in the same spot,
subjected to the same minute daily dusting and the same semi-annual

Carlyle has a dissertation on the "talent for annihilating rubbish."
This was a talent that the respectable Miss Dorcas had none of.
Carlyle thinks it a fine thing to have; but we think the lack of it
may come from very respectable qualities. In Miss Dorcas it came
from a vivid imagination of the possible future uses to which
every decayed or broken household article might be put. The pitcher
without nose or handle was fine china, and might yet be exactly the
thing for something, and so it went carefully on some high perch of
preservation, dismembered; the half of a broken pair of snuffers
certainly looked too good to throw away--possibly it might be the
exact thing needed to perfect some invention. Miss Dorcas vaguely
remembered legends of inventors who had laid hold on such chance
adaptations at the very critical point of their contrivances, and
so the half snuffers waited years for their opportunity. The upper
shelves of the closets in the Vanderheyden house were a perfect
crowded mustering ground for the incurables and incapables of
household belongings. One might fancy them a Hotel des Invalides of
things wounded and fractured in the general battle of life. There were
blades of knives without handles, and handles without blades; there
were ancient tea-pots that leaked--but might be mended, and doubtless
would be of some good in a future day; there were cracked plates and
tea-cups; there were china dish-covers without dishes to match; a
coffee-mill that wouldn't grind, and shears that wouldn't cut, and
snuffers that wouldn't snuff--in short, every species of decayed

Miss Dorcas had in the days of her youth been blest with a brother of
an active, inventive turn of mind; the secret crypts and recesses of
the closets bore marks of his unfinished projections. There were all
the wheels and weights and other internal confusions of a clock, which
he had pulled to pieces with a view of introducing an improvement into
the machinery, which never was introduced; but the wheels and weights
were treasured up with pious care, waiting for _somebody_ to put them
together again. All this array of litter was fated to come down from
its secret recesses, its deep, dark closets, its high shelves and
perches, on two solemn days of the year devoted to house-cleaning,
when Miss Dorcas, like a good general, looked them over and reviewed
them, expatiated on their probable capabilities, and resisted
gallantly any suggestions of Black Dinah, the cook and maid of all
work, or Mrs. Betsey, that some order ought to be taken to rid the
house of them.

"Dear me, Dorcas," Mrs. Betsey would say, "what is the use of keeping
such a clutter and litter of things that nothing can be done with and
that never can be used?"

"Betsey Ann Benthusen," would be the reply, "you always were
a careless little thing. You never understood any more about
housekeeping than a canary bird--not a bit." In Miss Dorcas's view,
Mrs. Betsey, with her snow white curls and her caps, was still a
frivolous young creature, not fit to be trusted with a serious opinion
on the nicer points of household management. "Now, who knows, Betsey,
but some time we may meet some poor worthy young man who may be
struggling along as an inventor and may like to have these wheels and
weights! I'm sure brother Dick said they were wonderfully well made."

"Well, but, Dorcas, all those cracked cups and broken pitchers; I do
think they are dreadful!"

"Now, Betsey, hush up! I've heard of a kind of new cement that they
are manufacturing in London, that makes old china better than new;
and when they get it over here I'm going to mend these all up. You
wouldn't have me throw away _family_ china, would you?"

The word "_family_ china" was a settler, for both Mrs. Betsey and Miss
Dorcas and old Dinah were united in one fundamental article of faith:
that "the _Family_" was a solemn, venerable and awe-inspiring reality.
What, or why, or how it was, no mortal could say.

Old Jacob Vanderheyden, the grandfather, had been in his day busy
among famous and influential men, and had even been to Europe as a
sort of attaché to the first American diplomatic corps. He had been
also a thriving merchant, and got to himself houses, and lands,
and gold and silver. Jacob Vanderheyden, the father, had inherited
substance and kept up the good name of the family, and increased and
strengthened its connections. But his son and heir, Dick Vanderheyden,
Miss Dorcas's elder brother, had seemed to have no gifts but those of
dispersing; and had muddled away the family fortune in all sorts of
speculations and adventures as fast as his father and grandfather had
made it. The sisters had been left with an income much abridged by
the imprudence of the brother and the spendthrift dissipation of Mrs.
Betsey's husband; they were forsaken by the retreating waves of rank
and fashion; their house, instead of being a center of good society,
was encompassed by those ordinary buildings devoted to purposes of
trade whose presence is deemed incompatible with genteel residence.
And yet, through it all, their confidence in the rank and position
of their family continued unabated. The old house, with every bit of
old queer furniture in it, the old window curtains, the old tea-cups
and saucers, the old bedspreads and towels, all had a sacredness
such as pertained to no modern things. Like the daughter of Zion in
sacred song, Miss Dorcas "took pleasure in their dust and favored the
stones thereof." The old blue willow-patterned china, with mandarins
standing in impossible places, and bridges and pagodas growing up, as
the world was made, out of nothing, was to Miss Dorcas consecrated
porcelain--even its broken fragments were impregnated with the sacred
flavor of ancient gentility.

Miss Dorcas's own private and personal closets, drawers, and baskets
were squirrel's-nests of all sorts of memorials of the past. There
were pieces of every gown she had ever worn, of all her sister's
gowns, and of the mortal habiliments of many and many a one beside
who had long passed beyond the need of earthly garments. Bits of
wedding robes of brides who had long been turned to dust; fragments
of tarnished gold lace from old court dresses; faded, crumpled,
artificial flowers, once worn on the head of beauty; gauzes and
tissues, old and wrinkled, that had once set off the triumphs of the
gay--all mingled in her crypts and drawers and trunks, and each had
its story. Each, held in her withered hand, brought back to memory the
thread of some romance warm with the color and flavor of a life long
passed away.

Then there were collections, saving and medicinal; for Miss Dorcas
had in great force that divine instinct of womanhood that makes her
perceptive of the healing power inherent in all things. Never an
orange or an apple was pared on her premises when the peeling was not
carefully garnered--dried on newspaper, and neatly stored away in
paper bags for sick-room uses.

There were closets smelling of elderblow, catnip, feverfew, and dried
rose leaves, which grew in a bit of old garden soil back of the house;
a spot sorely retrenched and cut down from the ample proportions
it used to have, as little by little had been sold off, but still
retaining a few growing things, in which Miss Dorcas delighted. The
lilacs that once were bushes there had grown gaunt and high, and
looked in at the chamber windows with an antique and grandfatherly
air, quite of a piece with everything else about the old Vanderheyden

The ancient sisters had few outlets into the society of modern New
York. Now and then, a stray visit came from some elderly person who
still remembered the Vanderheydens, and perhaps about once a year they
went to the expense of a carriage to return the call, and rolled up
into the new part of the town like shadows of the past. But generally
their path of life led within the narrow limits of the house. Old
Dinah, the sole black servant remaining, was the last remnant of a
former retinue of negro servants held by old Jacob when New York was a
slave State and a tribe of black retainers was one of the ostentations
of wealth. All were gone now, and only Dinah remained, devoted to the
relics of the old family, clinging with a cat-like attachment to the
old place.

She was like many of her race, a jolly-hearted, pig-headed, giggling,
faithful old creature, who said "Yes'm" to Miss Dorcas and took her
own way about most matters; and Miss Dorcas, satisfied that her way
was not on the whole a bad one in the ultimate results, winked at her
free handling of orders, and consented to accept her, as we do Nature,
for what could be got out of her.

"They are going to have mince-pie and broiled chicken for dinner over
there," said Mrs. Betsey, when the two ladies were seated at their own
dinner-table that day.

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Miss Dorcas.

"Well! Dinah met their girl in at the provision store and struck up an
acquaintance, and went in to help her put up a bedstead, and so she
stopped a while in the kitchen. The tall gentleman with black hair
_is_ the husband--I thought all the while he was," said Mrs. Betsey.
"The other one is a Mr. Fellows, a great friend of theirs, Mary

"Mary!--who is Mary?" said Miss Dorcas.

"Why, Mary McArthur, their girl--they only keep one, but she has a
little daughter about eight years old to help. I wish we had a little
girl, or something that one might train for a waiter to answer
door-bells and do little things."

"Our door-bells don't call for much attention, and a little girl is
nothing but a plague," interposed Miss Dorcas.

"Dinah has quite fallen in love with Mrs. Henderson," said Mrs.
Betsey; "she says that she is the handsomest, pleasantest-spoken lady
she's seen for a great while."

"We'll call upon her when they get well settled," said Miss Dorcas,

Miss Dorcas settled this with the air of a princess. She felt that
such a meritorious little person as the one over the way ought to be
encouraged by people of good old families.

Our readers will observe that Miss Dorcas listened without
remonstrance and with some appearance of interest to the items about
minced pie and broiled chicken; but high moral propriety, as we all
know, is a very cold, windy height, and if a person is planted on it
once or twice a day, it is as much as ought to be demanded of human

For the rest of the time one should be allowed, like Miss Dorcas, to
repose upon one's laurels. And, after all, it is interesting, when
life is moving in a very stagnant current, even to know what your
neighbor has for dinner!



(_Letter from Eva Henderson to Isabelle Courtney._)

My Dear Belle: Well, here we are, Harry and I, all settled down to
housekeeping quite like old folks. All is about done but the _last
things_,--those little touches, and improvements, and alterations
that go off into airy perspective. I believe it was Carlyle that
talked about an "infinite shoe-black" whom all the world could not
quite satisfy so but that there would always be a next thing in the
distance. Well, perhaps it's going to be so in housekeeping, and
I shall turn out an infinite housekeeper; for I find this little,
low-studded, unfashionable home of ours, far off in a tabooed street,
has kept all my energies brisk and busy for a month past, and still
there are more worlds to conquer. Visions of certain brackets and
lambrequins that are to adorn my spare chamber visit my pillow
nightly, while Harry is placidly sleeping the sleep of the just. I
have been unable to attain to them because I have been so busy with
my parlor ivies and my Ward's case of ferns, and some perfectly
seraphic hanging baskets, gorgeous with flowering nasturtiums that
are now blooming in my windows. There is a dear little Quaker dove of
a woman living in the next house to ours who is a perfect witch at
gardening--a good kind of witch, you understand, one who could make a
broomstick bud and blossom if she undertook it--and she has been my
teacher and exemplar in these matters. Her parlor is a perfect bower,
a drab dove's nest wreathed round with vines and all a-bloom with
geraniums; and mine is coming on to look just like it. So you see all
this has kept me ever so busy.

Then there are the family accounts to keep. You may think that isn't
much for our little concern, but you would be amazed to find how much
there is in it. You see, I have all my life concerned myself only with
figures of speech and never gave a thought about figures of arithmetic
or troubled my head as to where money came from, or went to; and when
I married Harry I had a general idea that we were going to live with
delightful economy. But it is astonishing how much all our simplicity
costs, after all. My account-book is giving me a world of new ideas,
and some pretty serious ones too.

Harry, you see, leaves every thing to me. He has to be off to his
office by seven o'clock every morning, and I am head marshal of
the commisariat department--committee of one on supplies, and all
that--and it takes up a good deal of my time.

You would laugh, Belle, to see me with my matronly airs and graces
going my daily walk to the provision-store at the corner, which is
kept by a tall, black-browed lugubrious man, with rough hair and a
stiff stubby beard, who surveys me with a severe gravity over the
counter, as if he wasn't sure that my designs were quite honest.

"Mr. Quackenboss," I say, with my sweetest smile, "have you any nice

He looks out of the window, drums on the counter, and answers "Yes,"
in a tone of great reserve.

"I should like to look at some," I say, undiscouraged.

"It's down cellar," he replies, gloomily chewing a bit of chip and
casting sinister glances at me.

"Well," I say, cheerfully, "shall I go down there and look at it?"

"How much do you want?" he asks, suspiciously.

"That depends on how well I like it," say I.

"I s'pose I _could_ get up a cask," he says in a ruminating tone; and
now he calls his partner, a cheerful, fat, roly-poly little cockney
Englishman, who flings his h's round in the most generous and reckless
style. His alert manner seems to say that he would get up forty casks
a minute and throw them all at my feet, if it would give me any

So the butter-cask is got up and opened, and my severe friend stands
looking down on it and me as if he would say, "This also is vanity."

"I should like to taste it," I say, "if I had something to try it

He scoops up a portion on his dirty thumbnail and seems to hold it
reflectively, as if a doubt was arising in his mind of the propriety
of this mode of offering it to me.

And now my cockney friend interposes with a clean knife. I taste the
butter and find it excellent, and give a generous order which delights
his honest soul; and as he weighs it out he throws in, gratis, the
information that his little woman has tried it, and he was sure I
would like it, for she is the _tidiest_ little woman and the _best_
judge of butter; that they came from Yorkshire, where the pastures
round were so sweet with a-many violets and cowslips--in fact, my
little cockney friend strays off into a kind of pastoral that makes
the little grocery store quite poetic.

I call my two grocers familiarly Tragedy and Comedy, and make Harry a
good deal of fun by recounting my adventures with them. I have many
speculations about Tragedy. He is a married man, as I learn, and I
can't help wondering what Mrs. Quackenboss thinks of him. Does he ever
shave--or does she kiss him in the rough--or has she given up kissing
him at all? How did he act when he was in love?--if ever he was in
love--and what _did_ he say to the lady to induce her to marry him?
How did he look when he did it? It really makes me shudder to think of
such a mournful ghoul coming back to the domestic circle at night. I
should think the little "Quacks" would all run and hide. But a truce
to scandalizing my neighbor--he may be better than I am, after all!

I ought to tell you that some of my essays in provisioning my garrison
might justly excite his contempt--they have been rather appalling to
my good Mary McArthur. You know I had been used to seeing about a
ten-pound sirloin of beef on Papa's table, and the first day I went
into the shop I assumed an air of easy wisdom as if I had been a
housekeeper all my life, and ordered just such a cut as I had seen
Mamma get, with all sorts of vegetables to match, and walked home
with composed dignity. When Mary saw it she threw up her hands and
gave an exclamation of horror--"Miss Eva!" she said, "when will we
get all this eaten up?" And verily that beef pursued us through the
week most like a ghost. We had it hot, and we had it cold; we had it
stewed and hashed, and made soup of it; we sliced it and we minced it,
and I ate a great deal more than was good for me on purpose to "save
it." Towards the close of the week Harry civilly suggested (he never
finds fault with anything I do, but he merely _suggested_) whether it
wouldn't be better to have a little variety in our table arrangements;
and then I came out with the whole story, and we had a good laugh
together about it. Since then I have come down to taking lessons of
Mary, and I say to her, "How much of this, and that, had I better
get?" and between us we make it go quite nicely.

Speaking of neighbors, my dear blessed Aunt Maria, whom I suppose you
remember, has almost broken her heart about Papa's failing and my
marrying Harry and, finally, our coming to live on an unfashionable
street--which in her view is equal to falling out of heaven into
some very suspicious region of limbo. She almost quarreled with us
both because, having got married contrary to her will, we would also
insist on going to housekeeping and having a whole house to ourselves
on a back street instead of having one little, stuffy room on the back
side of a fashionable boarding house. Well, I made all up with her
at last. If you _will_ have your own way, and persist in it, people
_have to_ make up with you. You thus get to be like the sun and moon
which, though they often behave very inconveniently, you have to make
the best of; and so Aunt Maria has concluded to make the best of Harry
and me. It came about in this wise: I went and sat with her the last
time she had a sick headache, and kissed her, and bathed her head, and
told her I wanted to be a good girl and did really love her, though I
couldn't always take her advice now I was a married woman; and so we
made it up.

But the trouble is that now she wants to show me how to run this
poor little unfashionable boat so as to make a good show with the
rest of them, and I don't want to learn. It's easier to keep out of
the regatta. My card-receiver is full of most desirable names of
people who have come in their fashionable carriages and coupés, and
they have "oh'd" and "ah'd" in my little parlors, and declared they
were "quite sweet," and "so odd," and "_so_ different, you know;"
but, for all that, I don't think I shall try to keep up all this gay
circle of acquaintances. Carriage-hire costs money; and when paid
for by the hour, one asks whether the acquaintances are worth it.
But there are some real noble-hearted people that I mean to keep.
The Van Astrachans, for instance. Mrs. Van Astrachan is a solid lump
of goodness and motherliness, and that sweet Mrs. Harry Endicott is
most lovable. You remember Harry Endicott, I suppose, and what a
trump card he was thought to be among the girls, one time when you
were visiting us, and afterwards all that scandal about him and that
pretty little Mrs. John Seymour? She is dead now, I hear, and he has
married this pretty Rose Ferguson, a friend of hers; and since his
_wife_ has taken him in hand, he has turned out to be a noble fellow.
They live up on Madison avenue quite handsomely. They are among the
"_real_ folks" Mrs. Whitney tells about, and I think I must keep them.
The Elmores I don't care much for. They are a frivolous, fast set, and
what's the use? Sophie and her husband, my old friend Wat Sydney, I
keep mainly because she won't give me up. She is one of the clinging
sort, and is devoted to me. They have a perfect palace up by the
park--it is quite a show-house, and is, I understand, to be furnished
by Harter. So, you see, it's like a friendship between princess and

Now, I foresee future conflicts with Aunt Maria in all these
possibilities. She is a nice woman, and bent on securing what she
thinks my interest, but I can't help seeing that she is somewhat

"A shade that follows wealth and fame."

The success of my card-receiver delights her, and not to improve such
opportunities would be, in her view, to bury one's talent in a napkin.
Yet, after all, I differ. I can't help seeing that intimacies between
people with a hundred thousand a year and people of our modest means
will be full of perplexities.

And then I say, Why not try to find all the neighborliness I can on my
own street? In a country village, one finds a deal in one's neighbors,
simply because one must. They are there; they are all one has, and
human nature is always interesting, if one takes it right side out.
Next door is the gentle Quakeress I told you of. She is _nobody_
in the gay world, but as full of sweetness and loving kindness as
heart could desire. Then right across the way are two antiquated old
ladies, very old, very precise, and very funny, who have come in state
and called on me; bringing with them the most lovely, tyrannical
little terrier, who behaved like a small-sized fiend and shocked them
dreadfully. I spy worlds of interest in their company if once I can
rub the stiffness out of our acquaintance, and then I hope to get the
run of the delightfully queer old house.

Then there are our set--Jim Fellows, and Bolton, and my sister Alice,
and the girls--in and out all the time. We sha'n't want for society.
So if Aunt Maria puts me up for a career in the gay world I shall hang
heavy on her hands.

I haven't much independence _myself_, but it is no longer _I_, it is
_We_. Eva Van Arsdel alone was anybody's property; Mamma talked her
one way, her sister Ida another way, and Aunt Maria a third; and among
them all her own little way was hard to find. But now Harry and I have
formed a firm and compact _We_, which is a fortress into which we
retreat from all the world. I tell them all, _We_ don't think so, and
_We_ don't do so. Isn't that nice? When will you come and see us?

     Ever your loving




From the foregoing letter our readers may have conjectured that the
natural self-appointed ruler of the fortunes of the Van Arsdel family
was "Aunt Maria," or Mrs. Maria Wouvermans.

That is to say, this lady had always considered such to be her
mission, and had acted upon this supposition up to the time that Mr.
Van Arsdel's failure made shipwreck of the fortunes of the family.

Aunt Maria had, so to speak, reveled in the fortune and position
of the Van Arsdels. She had dictated the expenditures of their
princely income; she had projected parties and entertainments; she
had supervised lists of guests to be invited; she had ordered dresses
and carriages and equipages, and hired and dismissed servants at
her sovereign will and pleasure. Nominally, to be sure, Mrs. Van
Arsdel attended to all these matters; but really Aunt Maria was the
power behind the throne. Mrs. Van Arsdel was a pretty, graceful,
self-indulgent woman, who loved ease and hated trouble--a natural
climbing plant who took kindly to any bean-pole in her neighborhood,
and Aunt Maria was her bean-pole. Mrs. Van Arsdel's wealth, her
station, her éclat, her blooming daughters, all climbed up, so to
speak, on Aunt Maria, and hung their flowery clusters around her, to
her praise and glory. Besides all this, there were very solid and
appreciable advantages in the wealth and station of the Van Arsdel
family as related to the worldly enjoyment of Mrs. Maria Wouvermans.
Being a widow, connected with an old rich family, and with but a
small fortune of her own and many necessities of society upon her,
Mrs. Wouvermans had found her own means in several ways supplemented
and carried out by the redundant means of her sister. Mrs. Wouvermans
lived in a moderate house on Murray Hill, within comfortable proximity
to the more showy palaces of the New York nobility. She had old
furniture, old silver, camel's hair shawls and jewelry sufficient to
content her heart, but her yearly income was far below her soul's
desires, and necessitated more economy than she liked. While the Van
Arsdels were in full tide of success she felt less the confinement of
these limits. What need for her to keep a carriage when a carriage and
horses were always at her command for the asking--and even without
asking, as not infrequently came to be the case? Then, the Van Arsdel
parties and hospitalities relieved her from all expensive obligations
of society. She returned the civilities of her friends by invitations
to her sister's parties and receptions; and it is an exceedingly
convenient thing to have all the glory of hospitality and none of the
trouble--to have convenient friends to entertain for you any person
or persons with whom you may be desirous of keeping up amicable
relations. On the whole, Mrs Wouvermans was probably sincere in the
professions, to which Mr. Van Arsdel used to listen with a quiet
amused smile, that "she really enjoyed Nelly's fortune more than if it
were her own."

"Haven't a doubt of it," he used to say, with a twinkle of his eye
which he never further explained.

Mr. Van Arsdel's failure had nearly broken Aunt Maria's heart. In
fact, the dear lady took the matter more sorely than the good man

Mr. Van Arsdel was, in a small dry way, something of a philosopher. He
was a silent man for the most part, but had his own shrewd comments
on the essential worth of men and things--particularly of men in the
feminine gender. He had never checked his pretty wife in any of her
aspirations, which he secretly valued at about their real value; he
had never quarreled with Aunt Maria or interfered with her sway in his
family within certain limits, because he had sense enough to see that
she was the stronger of the two women, and that his wife could no more
help yielding to her influence than a needle can help sticking to a

But the race of fashionable life, its outlays of health and strength,
its expenditures for parties, and for dress and equipage, its
rivalries, its gossip, its eager frivolities, were all matters of
which he took quiet note, and which caused him often to ponder the
words of the wise man of old, "What profit hath a man of all his labor
and the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath labored under the sun?"

To Mr. Van Arsdel's eye the only profit of his labor and travail
seemed to be the making of his wife frivolous, filling her with
useless worries, training his daughters to be idle and self-indulgent,
and his sons to be careless and reckless of expenditure. So when at
last the crash came, there was a certain sense of relief in finding
himself once more an honest man at the bottom of the hill, and he
quietly resolved in his inmost soul that he never would climb again.
He had settled up his affairs with a manly exactness that won the
respect of all his creditors, and they had put him into a salaried
position which insured a competence, and with this he resolved to be
contented; his wife returned to the economical habits and virtues of
her early life; his sons developed an amount of manliness and energy
which was more than enough to compensate for what they had lost in
worldly prospects. He enjoyed his small, quiet house and his reduced
establishment as he never had done a more brilliant one, for he felt
that it was founded upon certainties and involved no risks. Mrs. Van
Arsdel was a sweet-tempered, kindly woman, and his daughters had
each and every one met the reverse in a way that showed the sterling
quality which is often latent under gay and apparently thoughtless
young womanhood.

Aunt Maria, however, settled it in her own mind, with the decision
with which she usually settled her relatives' affairs, that this state
of things would be only temporary.

"Of course," she said to her numerous acquaintances, "of course, Mr.
Van Arsdel will go into business again--he is only waiting for a good
opening--he'll be up again in a few years where he was before."

And to Mrs. Van Arsdel she said, "Nelly, you must keep him up--you
mustn't hear of his sinking down and doing nothing"--_doing nothing_
being his living contentedly on a comfortable salary and going without
the "pomps and vanities." "Your husband, of course, will go into some
operations to retrieve his fortunes, you know," she said. "What is he
thinking of?"

"Well, really, Maria, I don't see as he has the least intention--he
seems perfectly satisfied to live as we do."

"You must put him up to it, Nelly--depend upon it, he's in danger of
sinking down and giving up; and he has splendid business talents. He
should go to operating in stocks, you see. Why, men make fortunes in
that way. Look at the Bubbleums, and the Flashes, they were all down
two years ago, and now they're up higher than ever, and they did it
all in stocks. Your husband would find plenty of men ready to go in
with him and advance money to begin on. No man is more trusted. Why,
Nelly, that man might die a millionaire as well as not, and you ought
to put him up to it; it's a wife's business to keep her husband up."

"I _have_ tried to, Maria; I have been just as cheerful as I knew
how to be, and I've retrenched and economized everywhere, as all the
girls do--they are wonderful, those girls! To see them take hold so
cheerfully and help about household matters, you never would dream
that they had not been brought up to it; and they are so prudent about
their clothes--so careful and saving. And then the boys are getting
on so well. Tom has gone into surveying with a will, and is going out
with Smithson's party to the Rocky Mountains, and Hal has just got a
good situation in Boston----"

"Oh, yes, that is all very well; but, Nelly, that isn't what I mean.
You know that when men fail in business they are apt to get blue and
discouraged and give up enterprise, and so gradually sink down and
lose their faculties. That's the way old Mr. Snodgrass did when he

"But I don't think, Maria, that there is the least danger of my
husband's losing his mind--or sinking down, as you call it. I never
saw him more cheerful and seem to take more comfort of his life. Mr.
Van Arsdel never did care for style--except as he thought it pleased
me--and I believe he really likes the way we live now better than the
way we did before; he says he has less care."

"And you are willing to sink down and be a nobody, and have no
carriage, and rub round in omnibuses, and have to go to little mean
private country board instead of going to Newport, when you might
just as well get back the position that you had. Why, it's downright
stupidity, Nelly!"

"As to mean country board," pleaded Mrs. Van Arsdel, "I don't know
what you mean, Maria. We kept our old homestead up there in Vermont,
and it's a very respectable place to spend our summer in."

"Yes, and what chances have the girls up there--where nobody sees
them but oxen? The girls ought to be considered. For their sakes you
ought to put your husband up to do something. It's cruel to them,
brought up with the expectations they have had, to have to give all up
just as they are coming out. If there is any time that a mother _must_
feel the want of money it is when she has daughters just beginning
to go into society; and it is cruel towards young girls not to give
them the means of dressing and doing a little as others do; and dress
does cost so abominably, now-a-days; it's perfectly frightful--people
cannot live creditably on what they used to."

"Yes, certainly, it is frightful to think of the requirements of
society in these matters," said Mrs. Van Arsdel. "Now, when you and
I were girls, Maria, you know we managed to appear well on a very
little. We embroidered our own capes and collars, and wore white a
good deal, and cleaned our own gloves, and cut and fitted our own
dresses; but, then dress was not what it is now. Why, making a dress
now is like rigging a man-of-war--it's so complicated--there are so
many parts, and so much trimming."

"Oh, it's perfectly fearful," said Aunt Maria; "but, then, what is
one to do? If one goes into society with people who have so much of
all these things, why one must, at least, make some little approach
to decent appearance. We must keep within sight of them. All I ask,"
she added, meekly, "is to be _decent_. I never expect to run into the
extremes those Elmores do--the waste and the extravagance that there
must be in that family! And there's Mrs. Wat Sydney coming out with
the whole new set of her Paris dresses. I should like to know, for
curiosity's sake, just what that woman has spent on her dresses!"

"Yes," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, warming with the subject, "you know
she had all her wardrobe from Worth, and Worth's dresses come to
something. Why, Polly told me that the lace alone on some of those
dresses would be a fortune."

"And just to think that Eva might have married Wat Sydney," said Aunt
Maria. "It does seem as if things in this world fell out on purpose to
try us!"

"Well, I suppose they do, and we ought to try and improve by them,"
said Mrs. Van Arsdel, who had some weak, gentle ideas of a moral
purpose in existence, to which even the losses and trials of lace and
embroidery might be made subservient. "After all," she added, "I don't
know but we ought to be contented with Eva's position. Eva always was
a peculiar child. Under all her sweetness and softness she has quite a
will of her own; and, indeed, Harry is a good fellow, and doing well
in his line. He makes a very good income, for a beginning, and he
is rising every day in the literary world, and I don't see but that
they have as good an opportunity to make their way in society as the
Sydneys with all their money."

"Sophie Sydney is perfectly devoted to Eva," said Aunt Maria.

"And well she may be," answered Mrs. Van Arsdel, "in fact, Eva made
that match; she actually turned him over to her. You remember how she
gave her that prize croquet-pin that Sydney gave her, and how she
talked to Sydney, and set him to thinking of Sophie--oh, pshaw! Sydney
never would have married that girl in the world if it had not been for

"Well," said Aunt Maria, "it's as well to cultivate that intimacy.
It will be a grand summer visiting place at their house in Newport,
and we want visiting places for the girls. I have put two or three
anchors out to the windward, in that respect. I am going to have the
Stephenson girls at my house this winter, and your girls must help
show them New York, and cultivate them, and then there will be a nice
visiting place for them at Judge Stephenson's next summer. You see the
Judge lives within an easy drive of Newport, so that they can get over
there, and see and be seen."

"I'm sure, Maria, it's good in you to be putting yourself out for my

"Pshaw, Nelly, just as if your girls were not mine--they are all I
have to live for. I can't stop any longer now, because I must catch
the omnibus to go down to Eva's; I am going to spend the day with her."

"How nicely Eva gets along," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, with a little
pardonable motherly pride; "that girl takes to housekeeping as if it
came natural to her."

"Yes," said Aunt Maria; "you know I have had Eva a great deal under my
own eye, first and last, and it shows that early training will tell."
Aunt Maria picked up this crumb of self-glorification with an easy
matter-of-fact air which was peculiarly aggravating to her sister.

In her own mind Mrs. Van Arsdel thought it a little too bad. "Maria
always did take the credit of everything that turned out well in my
family," she said to herself, "and blamed me for all that went wrong."

But she was too wary to murmur out loud, and bent her head to the yoke
in silence.

"Eva needs a little showing and cautioning," said Aunt Maria; "that
Mary of hers ought to be watched, and I shall tell her so--she mustn't
leave everything to Mary."

"Oh, Mary lived years with me, and is the most devoted, faithful
creature," said Mrs. Van Arsdel.

"Never mind--she needs watching. She's getting old now, and don't work
as she used to, and if Eva don't look out she won't get half a woman's
work out of her--these old servants always take liberties. I shall
look into things there. Eva is my girl; I sha'n't let anyone get
around her;" and Aunt Maria arose to go forth. But if anybody supposes
that two women engaged in a morning talk are going to stop when one
of them rises to go, he knows very little of the ways of womankind.
When they have risen, drawn up their shawls, and got ready to start,
then is the time to call a new subject, and accordingly Aunt Maria, as
she was going out the door, turned round and said: "Oh! there now! I
almost forgot what I came for:--What _are_ you going to do about the
girls' party dresses?"

"Well, we shall get a dressmaker in the house. If we can get
Silkriggs, we shall try her."

"Now, Nelly, look here, I have found a real treasure--the nicest
little dressmaker, just set up, and who works cheap. Maria Meade told
me about her. She showed me a suit that she had had made there in
imitation of a Paris dress, with ever so much trimming, cross-folds
bound on both edges, and twenty or thirty bows, all cut on the bias
and bound, and box-plaiting with double quilling on each side all
round the bottom, and going up the front--graduated, you know. There
was waist, and overskirt, and a little sacque, and, will you believe
me, she only asked fifteen dollars for making it all."

"You don't say so!"

"It's a fact. Why, it must have been a good week's work to make that
dress, even with her sewing machine. Maria told me of her as a great
secret, because she really works so well that if folks knew it she
would be swamped with work, and then go to raising her price--that's
what they all do when they can get a chance--but I've been to her and
engaged her for you."

"I'm sure, Maria, I don't know what we should do if you were not
always looking out for us."

"I don't know--I'm getting to be an old woman," said Aunt Maria. "I'm
not what I was. But I consider your family as my appointed field of
labor--just as our rector said last Sunday, we must do the duty next
us. But tell the girls not to talk about this dressmaker. We shall
want all she can do, and make pretty much our own terms with her. It's
nice and convenient for Eva that she lives somewhere down in those
out-of-the-way regions where she has chosen to set up. Well, good
morning;" and Aunt Maria opened the house-door and stood upon the top
of the steps, when a second postscript struck her mind.

"There now!" said she, "I was meaning to tell you that it is getting
to be reported everywhere that Alice and Jim Fellows are engaged."

"Oh, well, of course there's nothing in it," said Mrs. Van Arsdel. "I
don't think Alice would think of him for a moment. She likes him as a
friend, that's all."

"I don't know, Nelly; you can't be too much on your guard. Alice is a
splendid girl, and might have almost anybody. Between you and me--now,
Nelly, you must be sure not to mention it--but Mr. Delafield has been
very much struck with her."

"Oh, Maria, how can you? Why, his wife hasn't been dead a year!"

"Oh, pshaw! these widowers don't always govern their eyes by the
almanac," said Aunt Maria, with a laugh. "Of course, John Delafield
will marry again. I always knew that; and Alice would be a splendid
woman to be at the head of his establishment. At any rate, at the
little company the other night at his sister's, Mrs. Singleton's, you
know, he was perfectly devoted to her, and I thought Mrs. Singleton
seemed to like it."

"It would certainly be a fine position, if Alice can fancy him," said
Mrs. Van Arsdel. "Seems to me he is rather querulous and dyspeptic,
isn't he?"

"Oh; well, yes; his health is delicate; he needs a wife to take care
of him."

"He's so yellow!" ruminated Mrs. Van Arsdel, ingenuously. "I never
could bear thin, yellow men."

"Oh, come, don't you begin, Nelly--it's bad enough to have girls with
their fancies. What we ought to look at are the solid excellences.
What a pity that the marrying age always comes when girls have the
least sense! John Delafield is a solid man, and if he should take a
fancy to Alice, it would be a great piece of good luck. Alice ought
to be careful, and not have these reports around, about her and Jim
Fellows; it just keeps off advantageous offers. I shall talk to Alice
the first time I get a chance."

"Oh, pray don't, Maria--I don't think it would do any good. Alice is
very set in her way, and it might put her up to make something of it
more than there is."

"Oh, never fear me," said Aunt Maria, nodding her head; "I understand
Alice, and know just what needs to be said. I sha'n't do her any
harm, you may be sure," and Aunt Maria, espying her omnibus afar, ran
briskly down the steps, thus concluding the conference.

Now it happened that adjoining the parlor where this conversation had
taken place was a little writing-cabinet which Mr. Van Arsdel often
used for the purposes of letter-writing. On this morning, when his
wife supposed him out as usual at his office, he had retired there to
attend to some correspondence. The entrance was concealed by drapery,
and so he had been an unintentional and unsuspected but much amused
listener to Aunt Maria's adjurations to his wife on his behalf.

All through his subsequent labors of the pen, he might have been
observed to pause from time to time and laugh to himself. The idea
of lying as a quiet dead weight on the wheels of the progress of his
energetic relation was something vastly pleasing to the dry and
secretive turn of his humor--and he rather liked it than otherwise.

"We shall see whether I am losing my faculties," he said to himself,
as he gathered up his letters and departed.



My Dear Mother: Harry says I must do all the writing to you and
keep you advised of all our affairs, because he is so driven with
his editing and proofreading that letter-writing is often the most
fatiguing thing he can do. It is like trying to run after one has
become quite out of breath.

The fact is, dear mother, the demands of this New York newspaper life
are terribly exhausting. It's a sort of red-hot atmosphere of hurry
and competition. Magazines and newspapers jostle each other, and run
races, neck and neck, and everybody connected with them is kept up to
the very top of his speed, or he is thrown out of the course. You see,
Bolton and Harry have between them the oversight of three papers--a
monthly magazine for the grown folk, another for the children, and
a weekly paper. Of course there are sub-editors, but they have the
general responsibility, and so you see they are on the _qui vive_ all
the time to keep up; for there are other papers and magazines running
against them, and the price of success seems to be eternal vigilance.
What is exacted of an editor now-a-days seems to be a sort of general
omniscience. He must keep the run of everything,--politics, science,
religion, art, agriculture, general literature; the world is alive and
moving everywhere, and he must know just what's going on and be able
to have an opinion ready made and ready to go to press at any moment.
He must tell to a T just what they are doing in Ashantee and Dahomey,
and what they don't do and ought to do in New York. He must be wise
and instructive about currency and taxes and tariffs, and able to
guide Congress; and then he must take care of the Church,--know just
what the Old Catholics are up to, the last new kink of the Ritualists,
and the right and wrong of all the free fights in the different
denominations. It really makes my little head spin just to hear what
they are getting up articles about. Bolton and Harry are kept on the
chase, looking up men whose specialties lie in these lines to write
for them. They have now in tow a Jewish Rabbi, who is going to do
something about the Talmud, or Targums, or something of that sort;
and a returned missionary from the Gaboon River, who entertained Du
Chaillu and can speak authentically about the gorilla; and a lively
young doctor who is devoting his life to the study of the brain and
nervous system. Then there are all sorts of writing men and women
sending pecks and bushels of articles to be printed, and getting
furious if they are not printed, though the greater part of them are
such hopeless trash that you only need to read four lines to know that
they are good for nothing; but they all expect them to be re-mailed
with explanations and criticisms, and the ladies sometimes write
letters of wrath to Harry that are perfectly fearful.

Altogether there is a good deal of an imbroglio, and you see with it
all how he comes to be glad that I have a turn for letter-writing and
can keep you informed of how we of the interior go on. My business
in it all is to keep a quiet, peaceable, restful home, where he
shall always have the enjoyment of seeing beautiful things and find
everything going on nicely without having to think why, or how, or
wherefore; and, besides this, to do every little odd and end for him
that he is too tired or too busy to do; in short, I suppose some of
the ambitious lady leaders of our time would call it playing second
fiddle. Yes, that is it; but there must be second fiddles in an
orchestra, and it's fortunate that I have precisely the talent for
playing one, and my doctrine is that the second fiddle _well_ played
is quite as good as the first. What would the first be without it?

After all, in this great fuss about the men's sphere and the women's,
isn't the women's ordinary work just as important and great in
its way? For, you see, it's what the men with all their greatness
can't do, for the life of them. I can go a good deal further in
Harry's sphere than he can in mine. I can judge about the merits of
a translation from the French, or criticise an article or story, a
great deal better than he can settle the difference between the effect
of tucking and inserting in a dress, or of cherry and solferino in
curtains. Harry appreciates a room prettily got up as well as any
man, but how to get it up--all the shades of color and niceties of
arrangement, the thousand little differences and agreements that go to
it--he can't comprehend. So this man and woman question is just like
the quarrel between the mountain and the squirrel in Emerson's poem,
where "Bun" talks to the mountain:

    "If I am not so big as you,
    You're not so small as I,
    And not half so spry.
    If I cannot carry forests on my back,
    Neither can you crack a nut."

I am quite satisfied that, first and last, I shall crack a good
many nuts for Harry. Not that I am satisfied with a mere culinary
or housekeeping excellence, or even an artistic and poetic skill in
making home lovely; I do want a sense of something noble and sacred
in life--something to satisfy a certain feeling of the heroic that
always made me unhappy and disgusted with my aimless fashionable girl
career. I always sympathized with Ida, and admired her because she had
force enough to do something that she thought was going to make the
world better. It is better to try and fail with such a purpose as hers
than never to try at all; and in that point of view I sympathize with
the whole woman movement, though I see no place for myself in it. But
my religion, poor as it is, has always given this excitement to me: I
never could see how one could profess to be a Christian at all and not
live a heroic life--though I know I never have. When I hear in church
of the "glorious company of the apostles," the "goodly fellowship
of the prophets," the "noble army of martyrs," I have often such an
uplift--and the tears come to my eyes, and then my life seems so poor
and petty, so frittered away in trifles. Then the communion service of
our church always impresses me as something so serious, so profound,
that I have wondered how I dared go through with it; and it always
made me melancholy and dissatisfied with myself. To offer one's soul
and body and spirit to God a living sacrifice surely ought to mean
something that should make one's life noble and heroic, yet somehow it
didn't do so with mine.

It was one thing that drew me to Harry, that he seemed to me an
earnest, religious man, and I told him when we were first engaged that
he must be my guide; but he said no, we must go hand in hand, and
guide each other, and together we would try to find the better way.
Harry is very good to me in being willing to go with me to my church.
I told him I was weak in religion at any rate, and all my associations
with good and holy things were with my church, and I really felt
afraid to trust myself without them. I have tried going to his sort of
services with him, but these extemporaneous prayers don't often help
me. I find myself weighing and considering in my own mind whether that
is what I really do feel or ask; and if one is judging or deciding one
can't be praying at the same time. Now and then I hear a good man who
so wraps me up in his sympathies, and breathes such a spirit of prayer
as carries me without effort, and that is lovely; but it is so rare a
gift! In general I long for the dear old prayers of my church, where
my poor little naughty heart has learned the way and can go on with
full consent without stopping to think.

So Harry and I have settled on attending an Episcopal mission
church in our part of the city. Its worshipers are mostly among the
poor, and Harry thinks we might do good by going there. Our rector
is a young Mr. St. John, a man as devoted as any of the primitive
Christians. I never saw anybody go into work for others with more
entire self-sacrifice. He has some property, and he supports himself
and pays about half the expenses of the mission besides. All this
excites Harry's respect, and he is willing to do himself and have me
do all we can to help him. Both Alice and I, and my younger sisters,
Angelique and Marie, have taken classes in his mission school, and the
girls help every week in a sewing-school, and, so far as practical
work is concerned, everything moves beautifully. But then, Mr. St.
John is very high church and very stringent in his notions, and Harry,
who is ultra-liberal, says he is good, but narrow; and so when they
are together I am quite nervous about them. I want Mr. St. John to
appear well to Harry, and I want Harry to please Mr. St. John. Harry
is æsthetic and likes the church services, and is ready to go as far
as anybody could ask in the way of interesting and beautiful rites
and ceremonies, and he likes antiquities and all that, and so to a
certain extent they get on nicely; but come to the question of church
authority, and Lloyd Garrison and all the radicals are not more
untamable. He gets quite wild, and frightens me lest dear Mr. St. John
should think him an infidel. And, in fact, Harry has such a sort of
latitudinarian way of hearing what all sorts of people have to say,
and admitting bits of truth here and there in it, as sometimes makes
me rather uneasy. He talks with these Darwinians and scientific men
who have an easy sort of matter-of-course way of assuming that the
Bible is nothing but an old curiosity-shop of by-gone literature, and
is so tolerant in hearing all they have to say, that I quite burn to
testify and stand up for my faith--if I knew enough to do it; but I
really feel afraid to ask Mr. St. John to help me, because he is so
set and solemn, and confines himself to announcing that thus and so is
the voice of the church; and you see that don't help me to keep up my
end with people that don't care for the church.

But, Mother dear, isn't there some end to toleration; ought we
Christians to sit by and hear all that is dearest and most sacred to
us spoken of as a by-gone superstition, and smile assent on the ground
that everybody must be free to express his opinions in good society?
Now, for instance, there is this young Dr. Campbell, whom Harry is
in treaty with for articles on the brain and nervous system--a nice,
charming, agreeable fellow, and a perfect enthusiast in science,
and has got so far that love or hatred or inspiration or heroism or
religion is nothing in his view but what he calls "cerebration"--he is
so lost and absorbed in cerebration and molecules, and all that sort
of thing, that you feel all the time he is observing you to get facts
about some of his theories as they do the poor mice and butterflies
they experiment with.

The other day he was talking, in his taking-for-granted, rapid way,
about the absurdity of believing in prayer, when I stopped him
squarely, and told him that he ought not to talk in that way; that
to destroy faith in prayer was taking away about all the comfort
that poor, sorrowful, oppressed people had. I said it was just like
going through a hospital and pulling all the pillows from under the
sick people's heads because there might be a more perfect scientific
invention by and by, and that I thought it was cruel and hard-hearted
to do it. He looked really astonished, and asked me if I believed in
prayer. I told him our Saviour had said, "Ask, and ye shall receive,"
and I believed it. He seemed quite astonished at my zeal, and said he
didn't suppose any really cultivated people now-a-days believed those
things. I told him I believed everything that Jesus Christ said, and
thought he knew more than all the philosophers, and that he said we
had a Father that loved us and cared for us, even to the hairs of our
heads, and that I shouldn't have courage to live if I didn't believe
that. Harry says I did right to speak up as I did. Dr. Campbell don't
seem to be offended with me, for he comes here more than ever. He is
an interesting fellow, full of life and enthusiasm in his profession,
and I like to hear him talk.

But here I am, right in the debatable land between faith and no faith.
On the part of a great many of the intelligent, good men whom Harry,
for one reason or other, invites to our house, and wants me to be
agreeable to, are all shades of opinion, of half faith, and no faith,
and I don't wish to hush free conversation, or to be treated like a
baby who will cry if they make too much noise; and then on the other
hand is Mr. St. John--whom I regard with reverence on account of his
holy, self-denying life--who stands so definitely entrenched within
the limits of the church, and does not in his own mind ever admit a
doubt of anything which the church has settled; and between them and
Harry and all I don't know just what I ought to do.

I am sure, if there is a man in the world who means in all things
to live the Christian life, it's Harry. There is no difference
between him and Mr. St. John there. He is ready for any amount of
self-sacrifice, and goes with Mr. St. John to the extent of his
ability in his efforts to do good; and yet he really does not believe
a great many things that Mr. St. John thinks are Christian doctrines.
He says he believes only in the wheat, and not in the chaff, and
that it is only the chaff that will be blown away in these modern
discussions. With all this, I feel nervous and anxious, and sometimes
wish I could go right into some good, safe, dark church, and pull down
all the blinds, and shut all the doors, and keep out all the bustle of
modern thinking, and pray, and meditate, and have a lovely, quiet time.

Mr. St. John lends me from time to time some of his ritualistic books;
and they are so refined and scholarly, and yet so devout, that Harry
and I are quite charmed with their tone; but I can't help seeing that,
as Harry says, they lead right back into the Romish church--and by a
way that seems enticingly beautiful. Sometimes I think it would be
quite delightful to have a spiritual director who would save you all
the trouble of deciding, and take your case in hand, and tell you
exactly what to do at every step. Mr. St. John, I know, would be just
the person to assume such a position. He is a natural school-master,
and likes to control people, and, although he is so very gentle, I
always feel that he is very stringent, and that if I once allowed him
ascendancy he would make no allowances. I can feel the "_main de fer_"
through the perfect gentlemanly polish of his exterior; but you see
I _know_ Harry never would go completely under his influence, and I
shrink from anything that would divide me from my husband, and so I
don't make any move in that direction.

You see, I write to _you_ all about these matters, for my mamma is a
sweet, good little woman who never troubles her head with anything
in this line, and my god-mother, Aunt Maria, is a dear worldly old
soul, whose heart is grieved within her because I care so little for
the pomps and vanities. She takes it to heart that Harry and I have
definitely resolved to give up party-going, and all that useless
round of calling and dressing and visiting that is called "going into
society," and she sometimes complicates matters by trying her forces
to get me into those old grooves I was so tired of running in. I never
pretend to talk to her of the deeper wants or reasons of my life, for
it would be ludicrously impossible to make her understand. She is a
person over whose mind never came the shadow of a doubt that she was
right in her views of life; and I am not the person to evangelize her.

Well now, dear Mother, imagine a further complication. Harry is very
anxious that we should have an evening once a week to receive our
friends--an informal, quiet, sociable, talking evening, on a sort
of ideal plan of his, in which everybody is to be made easy and at
home, and to spend just such a quiet, social hour as at one's own
chimney-corner. But fancy my cares, with all the menagerie of our very
miscellaneous acquaintances! I should be like the man in the puzzle
that had to get the fox and geese and corn over in one boat without
their eating each other. Fancy Jim Fellows and Mr. St. John! Dr.
Campbell, with his molecules and cerebration, talking to my little
Quaker dove, with her white wings and simple faith, or Aunt Maria and
mamma conversing with a Jewish Rabbi! I believe our family have a
vague impression that Jews are disreputable, however gentlemanly and
learned; and I don't know but Mr. St. John would feel shocked at him.
Nevertheless, our Rabbi is a very excellent German gentleman, and one
of the most interesting talkers I have heard. Oh! then there are our
rococo antiquities across the street, Miss Dorcas Vanderheyden and
her sister. What shall I do with them all? Harry has such boundless
confidence in my powers of doing the agreeable that he seems to
think I can, out of this material, make a most piquant and original
combination. I have an awful respect for the art _de tenir salon_, and
don't wonder that among our artistic French neighbors it got to be a
perfect science. But am I the woman born to do it in New York?

Well, there's no way to get through the world but to keep doing, and
to attack every emergency with courage. I shall do my possible, and
let you know of my success.

     Your daughter,




The housekeeping establishment of Eva Henderson, _née_ Van Arsdel,
was in its way a model of taste, order, and comfort. There was that
bright, attractive, cosy air about it that spoke of refined tastes and
hospitable feelings--it was such a creation as only the genius of a
thorough home-artist could originate. There are artists who work in
clay and marble, there are artists in water-colors, and artists in
oils, whose works are on exhibition through galleries and museums: but
there are also, in thousands of obscure homes, domestic artists, who
contrive out of the humblest material to produce in daily life the
sense of the beautiful; to cast a veil over its prosaic details and
give it something of the charm of a poem.

Eva was one of these, and everybody that entered her house felt her
power at once in the atmosphere of grace and enjoyment which seemed to
pervade her rooms.

But there was underneath all this an unseen, humble operator, without
whom one step in the direction of poetry would have been impossible;
one whose sudden withdrawal would have been like the entrance of a
black frost into a flower-garden, leaving desolation and unsightliness
around: and this strong pivot on which the order and beauty of all the
fairy contrivances of the little mistress turned was no other than
the Irish Mary McArthur, cook, chambermaid, laundress, and general
operator and adviser of the whole.

Mary was a specimen of the best class of those women whom the
old country sends to our shores. She belonged to the family of a
respectable Irish farmer, and had been carefully trained in all
household economies and sanctities. A school kept on the estate of
their landlord had been the means of instructing her in the elements
of a plain English education. She wrote a good hand, was versed in
accounts, and had been instructed in all branches of needle-work with
a care and particularity from which our American schools for girls
might take a lesson. A strong sense of character pervaded her family
life--a sense of the decorous, the becoming, the true and honest, such
as often gives dignity to the cottage of the laboring man of the old
world. But the golden stories of wealth to be gotten in America had
induced her parents to allow Mary with her elder brother to try their
fortunes on these unknown shores. Mary had been fortunate in falling
into the Van Arsdel family; for Mrs. Van Arsdel, though without the
energy or the patience which would have been necessary to control
or train an inexperienced and unsteady subject, was, on the whole,
appreciative of the sterling good qualities of Mary, and liberal and
generous in her dealings with her.

In fact, the Van Arsdels were in all things a free, careless, good
natured, merry set, and Mary reciprocated their kindliness to her
with all the warmth of her Irish heart. Eva had been her particular
pet and darling. She was a pretty, engaging child at the time she
first came into the family. Mary had mended her clothes, tidied her
room, studied her fancies and tastes, and petted her generally with a
whole-souled devotion. "When you get a husband, Miss Eva," she would
say, "I will come and live with _you_." But before that event had
come to pass, Mary had given her whole heart to an idle, handsome,
worthless fellow, whom she appeared to love in direct proportion to
his good-for-nothingness. Two daughters were the offspring of this
marriage, and then Mary became a widow, and had come with her youngest
child under the shadow of "Miss Eva's" roof-tree.

Thus much to give back-ground to the scenery on which Aunt Maria
entered, on the morning when she took the omnibus at Mrs. Van Arsdel's

Eva was gone out when the door-bell of the little house rang. Mary
looking from the chamber window saw Mrs. Wouvermans standing at the
door step. Now against this good lady Mary had always cherished a
secret antagonism. Nothing so awakens the animosity of her class as
the entrance of a third power into the family, between the regnant
mistress and the servants; and Aunt Maria's intrusions and dictations
had more than once been discussed in the full parliament of Mrs.
Van Arsdel's servants. Consequently the arrival of a police officer
armed with a search warrant could not have been more disagreeable
or alarming. In an instant Mary's mental eye ran over all her own
demesne and premises--for when one woman is both chambermaid, cook
and laundress, it may well be that each part of these different
departments cannot be at all times in a state of absolute perfection.
There was a cellar table that she had been intending this very morning
to revise; there were various short-comings in pantry and closet which
she had intended to set in order.

But the course of Mrs. Wouvermans was straight and unflinching as
justice. A brisk interrogation to the awe-struck little maiden who
opened the door showed her that Eva was out, and the field was all
before her. So she marched into the parlor, and, laying aside her
things, proceeded to review the situation. From the parlor to the
little dining-room was the work of a moment; thence to the china
closet, where she opened cupboards and drawers and took note of their
contents; thence to the kitchen and kitchen pantry, where she looked
into the flour barrel, the sugar barrel, the safe, the cake box, and
took notes.

When Mary had finished her chamber work and came down to the kitchen,
she found her ancient adversary emerging from the cellar with several
leaves of cabbage in her hands which she had gathered off from the
offending table. In her haste to make a salad for a sudden access of
company, the day before, Mary had left these witnesses, and she saw
that her sin had found her out.

"Good morning, Mary," said Mrs. Wouvermans, in the curt, dry tone that
she used in speaking to servants, "I brought up these cabbage leaves
to show you. Nothing is more dangerous, Mary, than to leave any refuse
vegetables in a cellar; if girls are careless about such matters
they get thrown down on the floor and rot and send up a poisonous
exhalation that breeds fevers. I have known whole families poisoned by
the neglect of girls in these little matters."

"Mrs. Wouvermans, I was intending this very morning to come down and
attend to that matter, and all the other matters about the house,"
said Mary. "There has been company here this week, and I have had a
deal to do."

"And Mary, you ought to be very careful never to leave the lid of your
cake box up--it dries the cake. I am very particular about mine."

"And so am I, ma'am; and if my cake box was open it is because
somebody has been to it since I shut it. It may be that Mrs. Henderson
has taken something out."

"I noticed, Mary, a broom in the parlor closet not hung up; it ruins
brooms to set them down in that way."

By this time the hot, combative blood of Ireland rose in Mary's cheek,
and she turned and stood at bay.

"Mrs. Wouvermans, _you_ are not my mistress, and this is not _your_
house; and I am not going to answer to you, but to Mrs. Henderson,
about my matters."

"Mary, don't you speak to me in that way," said Mrs. Wouvermans,
drawing herself up.

"I _shall_ speak in just that way to anybody who comes meddling with
what they have no business with. If you was my mistress, I'd tell you
to suit yourself to a better girl; and I shall ask Mrs. Henderson if
I am to be overlooked in this way. No _lady_ would ever do it," said
Mary, with a hot emphasis on the word _lady_, and tears of wrath in
her eyes.

"There's no use in being impertinent, Mary," said Mrs. Wouvermans,
with stately superiority, as she turned and sailed up stairs, leaving
Mary in a tempest of impotent anger.

Just about this time Eva returned from her walk with a basket full of
cut flowers, and came singing into the kitchen and began arranging
flower vases; not having looked into the parlor on her way, she did
not detect the traces of Aunt Maria's presence.

"Well, Mary," she called, in her usual cheerful tone, "come and look
at my flowers."

But Mary came not, although Eva perceived her with her back turned in
the pantry.

"Why, Mary, what is the matter?" said Eva, following her there and
seeing her crying. "Why, you dear soul, what has happened? Are you

"Your Aunt Maria has been here."

"Oh, the horrors, Mary. Poor Aunt Maria! you mustn't mind a word she
says. Don't worry, now--_don't_--you know Aunt Maria is always saying
things to us girls, but _we_ don't mind it, and you mustn't; we know
she _means_ well, and we just let it pass for what it's worth."

"Yes; you are young ladies, and I am only a poor woman, and it comes
hard on me. She's been round looking into every crack and corner, and
picked up those old cabbage leaves, and talked to me about keeping
a cellar that would give you all a fever--it's too bad. You know
yesterday I hurried and cut up that cabbage to help make out the
dinner when those gentlemen came in and we had only the cold mutton,
and I was going to clear them away this very morning."

"I know it, Mary; and you do the impossible for us all twenty times
a day, if you did drop cabbage leaves once; and Aunt Maria has no
business to be poking about my house and prying into our management;
but, you see, Mary, she's my aunt, and I can't quarrel with her. I'm
sorry, but we must just bear it as well as we can--now promise not to
mind it--for my sake."

"Well, for your sake, Miss Eva," said Mary, wiping her eyes.

"You know we all think you are a perfect jewel, Mary, and couldn't get
along a minute without you. As to Aunt Maria, she's old, and set in
her way, and the best way is not to mind her."

And Mary was consoled, and went on her way with courage, and with
about as much charity for Mrs. Wouvermans as an average good Christian
under equal provocation.

Eva went on singing and making up her vases, and carried them into the
parlor, and was absorbed in managing their respective positions, when
Aunt Maria came down from her tour in the chambers.

"Seems to me, Eva, that your hired girl's room is furnished up for a
princess," she began, after the morning greetings had been exchanged.

"What, Mary's? Well, Mary has a great deal of neatness and taste, and
always took particular pride in her room when she lived at mamma's,
and so I have arranged hers with special care. Harry got her those
pictures of the Madonna and infant Jesus, and I gave the _bénitier_
for holy water, over her bed. We matted the floor nicely, and I made
that toilet table, and draped her looking-glass out of an old muslin
dress of mine. The pleasure Mary takes in it all makes it really worth
while to gratify her."

"I never pet servants," said Mrs. Wouvermans, briefly. "Depend on it,
Eva, when you've lived as long as I have, you'll find it isn't the
way. It makes them presumptuous and exacting. Why, at first, when I
blundered into Mary's room, I thought it must be yours--it had such an

"Well, as to the air, it's mostly due to Mary's perfect neatness and
carefulness. I'm sorry to say you wouldn't always find my room as
trimly arranged as hers, for I am a sad hand to throw things about
when I am in a hurry. I love order, but I like somebody else to keep

"I'm afraid," said Aunt Maria, returning with persistence to her
subject, "that you are beginning wrong with Mary, and you'll have
trouble in the end. Now I saw she had white sugar in the kitchen
sugar-bowl, and there was the tea caddy for her to go to. It's
abominable to have servants feel that they must use such tea as we do."

"Oh, well, aunty, you know Mary has been in the family so long I don't
feel as if she were a servant; she seems like a friend, and I treat
her like one. I believe Mary really loves us."

"It don't do to mix sentiment and business," said Aunt Maria, with
sententious emphasis. "I never do. I don't want my servants to
love me--that is _not_ what I have them for. I want them to _do my
work_, and take their wages. They understand that there are to be
no favors--everything is specifically set down in the bargain I make
with them; their work is all marked out. I never talk with them, or
encourage them to talk to me, and that is the way we get along."

"Dear me, Aunt Maria, that may be all very well for such an energetic,
capable housekeeper as you are, who always know exactly how to manage,
but such a poor little thing as I am can't set up in that way. Now I
think it's a great mercy and favor to have a trained girl that knows
more about how to get on than I do, and that is fond of me. Why, I
know rich people that would be only too glad to give Mary double what
we give, just to have somebody to depend on."

"But, Eva, child, you're beginning wrong--you ought not to leave
things to Mary as you do. You ought to attend to everything yourself.
I always do."

"But you see, aunty, the case is very different with you and me. You
are so very capable and smart, and know so exactly how everything
ought to be done, you can make your own terms with everybody. And, now
I think of it, how lucky that you came in! I want you to give me your
judgment as to two pieces of linen that I've just had sent in. You
know, Aunty, I am such a perfect ignoramus about these matters."

And Eva tripped up stairs, congratulating herself on turning the
subject, and putting her aunt's busy advising faculties to some
harmless and innocent use. So, when she came down with her two pieces
of linen, Aunt Maria tested and pulled them this way and that, in the
approved style of a domestic expert, and gave judgment at last with an
authoritative air.

"_This_ is the best, Eva--you see it has a round thread, and very
little dressing."

"And _why_ is the round thread the best, Aunty?"

"Oh, because it always is--everybody knows _that_, child; all good
judges will tell you to buy the round threaded linen, that's perfectly
well understood."

Eva did not pursue the inquiry farther, and we must all confess that
Mrs. Wouverman's reply was about as satisfactory as those one gets
to most philosophical inquiries as to why and wherefore. If our
reader doubts that, let him listen to the course of modern arguments
on some of the most profound problems; so far as can be seen, they
consist of inflections of Aunt Maria's style of statement--as, "Oh,
of course everybody knows _that_, now;" or, negatively, "Oh, nobody
believes _that_, now-a-days." Surely, a mode of argument which very
wise persons apply fearlessly to subjects like death, judgment and
eternity, may answer for a piece of linen.

"Oh, by-the-by, Eva, I see you have cards there for Mrs. Wat Sydney's
receptions this winter," said Aunt Maria, turning her attention to the
card plate. "They are going to be very brilliant, I'm told. They say
nothing like their new house is to be seen in this country."

"Yes," said Eva, "Sophie has been down here urging me to come up and
see her rooms, and says they depend on me for their receptions, and
I'm going up some day to lunch with her, in a quiet way; but Harry and
I have about made up our minds that _we_ sha'n't go to parties. You
know, Aunty, we are going in for economy, and this sort of thing costs
so much."

"But, bless your soul, child, what is money for?" said Aunt Maria,
innocently. "If you have _any_ thing you ought to improve your
advantages of getting on in society. It's important to Harry in his
profession to be seen and heard of, and to push his way among the
notables, and, with due care and thought and economy, a person with
your air and style, and your taste, can appear as well as anybody. I
came down here, among other things, to look over your dresses, and
see what can be done with them."

"Oh, thank you a thousand times, Aunty dear, but what do you think all
my little wedding finery would do for me in an assemblage of Worth's
spick-and-span new toilettes? In our own little social circles I am
quite a leader of the mode, but I should look like an old last night's
bouquet among all their fresh finery!"

"Well, now, Eva, child, you talk of economy and all that, and then go
spending on knick-knacks and mere fancies what would enable you to
make a very creditable figure in society."

"Really, Aunty, is it possible now, when I thought we were being _so_

"Well, there's your wood fire, for instance; very cheerful, I admit,
but it's a downright piece of extravagance. I know that the very
richest and most elegant people, that have everything they can think
of, have fallen back on the fancy of having open wood fires in their
parlors, just for a sort of ornament to their rooms, but you don't
really need it--your furnace keeps you warm enough."

"But, Aunty, it looks so bright and cheerful, and Harry is so fond of
it! We only have it evenings, when he comes home tired, and he says
the very sight of it rests him."

"There you go, now, Eva--with wood at fifteen dollars a cord!--going
in for a mere luxury just because it pleases your fancy, and you can't
go into society because it's so expensive. Eva, child, that's just
like you. And there are twenty other little things that I see about
here," said Aunt Maria, glancing round, "pretty enough, but each costs
a little. There, for instance, those cut flowers in the vases cost

"But, Aunty, I got them of a poor little man just setting up a
green-house, and Harry and I have made up our minds that it's our duty
to patronize him. I'm going up to Sophie's to get her to take flowers
for her parties of him."

"It's well enough to get Sophie to do it, but you oughtn't to afford
it," said Aunt Maria; "nor need you buy a new matting and pictures for
your servant's room."

"Oh, Aunty, mattings are so cheap; and those pictures didn't cost
much, and they make Mary so happy!"

"Oh, she'd be happy enough any way. You ought to look out a little for
yourself, child."

"Well, I do. Now, just look at the expense of going to parties. To
begin with, it annihilates all your dresses, at one fell swoop. If
I make up my mind, for instance, not to go to parties this winter,
I have dresses enough and pretty enough for all my occasions. The
minute I decide I must go, I have _nothing_, absolutely nothing, to
wear. There must be an immediate outlay. A hundred dollars would be a
small estimate for all the additions necessary to make me appear with
credit. Even if I take my old dresses as the foundation, and use my
unparalleled good taste, there are trimmings, and dressmaker's bills,
and gloves, and slippers, and fifty things; and then a carriage for
the evening, at five dollars a night, and all for what? What _does_
anybody get at a great buzzing party, to pay for all this? Then Harry
has to use all his time, and all his nerves, and all his strength on
his work. He is driven hard all the time with writing, making up the
paper, and overseeing at the office. And you know parties don't begin
till near ten o'clock, and if he is out till twelve he doesn't rest
well, nor I either--it's just so much taken out of our life--and we
don't either of us enjoy it. Now, why should we put out our wood fire
that we _do_ enjoy, and scrimp in our flowers, and scrimp in our home
comforts, and in our servant's comforts, just to get what we don't
want after all?"

"Oh, well, I suppose you are like other new married folks, you want to
play Darby and Joan in your chimney-corner," said Aunt Maria, "but,
for all that, I think there are duties to society. One cannot go out
of the world, you know; it don't do, Eva."

"I don't know about that," said Eva. "We are going to try it."'

"What! living without society?"

"Oh, as to that, we shall see our friends other ways. I can see Sophie
a great deal better in a quiet morning-call than an evening reception;
for the fact is, whoever else you see at a party you don't see your
hostess--she hasn't a word for you. Then, I'm going to have an evening

"_You_ an evening?"

"Yes; why not? See if I don't, and we'll have good times, too."

"Why, who do you propose to invite?"

"Oh, all our folks, and Bolton and Jim Fellows; then there are a good
many interesting, intelligent men that write for the magazine, and
besides, our acquaintances on this street."

"In this street? Why, there isn't a creature here," said Aunt Maria.

"Yes, there are those old ladies across the way."

"What! old Miss Dorcas Vanderheyden and that Mrs. Benthusen? Well,
they belong to an ancient New York family, to be sure; but they are
old as Methuselah."

"So much the better, Aunty. Old things, you know, are all the rage
just now; and then there's my little Quaker neighbor."

"Why, how odd! They are nice enough, I suppose, and well enough to
have for neighbors; but he's nothing but a watchmaker. He actually
works for Tiffany!"

"Yes; but he is a very modest, intelligent young man, and very well
informed on certain subjects. Harry says he has learned a great deal
from him."

"Well, well, child, I suppose you must take your own way," said Aunt

"I suppose we must," said Eva, shaking her head with much gravity.
"You see, Aunty, dear, a wife must accommodate herself to her husband,
and if Harry thinks this is the best way, you know--and he does think
so, very strongly--and isn't it lucky that I think just as he does?
You wouldn't have me fall in with those strong-minded Bloomer women,
would you, and sail the ship on my own account, independently of my

Now, the merest allusion to modern strong-mindedness in woman was to
Aunt Maria like a red rag to a bull; it aroused all her combativeness.

"No; I am sure I wouldn't," she said, with emphasis. "If there's
anything, Eva, where I see the use of all my instructions to you,
it is the good sense with which you resist all such new-fangled,
abominable notions about the rights and sphere of women. No; I've
always said that the head of the woman is the man; and it's a wife's
duty to live to please her husband. She may try to influence him--she
ought to do that--but she never ought to do it _openly_. I never used
to oppose Mr. Wouvermans. I was always careful to let him suppose he
was having his own way; but I generally managed to get mine," and Aunt
Maria plumed herself and nodded archly, as an aged priestess who is
communicating to a young neophyte secrets of wisdom.

In her own private mind, Eva thought this the most terrible sort of
hypocrisy; but her aunt was so settled and contented in all her own
practical views, that there was not the least use in arguing the case.
However, she couldn't help saying, innocently,

"But, Aunty, I should be afraid sometimes he would have found me out,
and then he'd be angry."

"Oh, no; trust me for that," said Aunt Maria, complacently. "I never
managed so bunglingly as that. Somehow or other, he didn't exactly
know how, he found things coming round my way; but I never opposed him
openly--I never got his back up. You see, Eva, these men, if they _do_
get their backs up, are terrible, but _any_ of them can be led by the
nose--so I'm glad to find that you begin the right way. Now, there's
your mother--I've been telling her this morning that it's her duty to
make your father go back into business and retrieve his fortunes. He's
got a good position, to be sure--a respectable salary; but there's no
sort of reason why he shouldn't die worth his two or three millions
as well as half the other men who fail, and are up again in two or
three years. But Nellie wants force. She is no manager. If I were your
father's wife, I should set him on his feet again pretty soon. Nellie
is such a little dependent body. She was saying this morning how would
she ever have got along with her family without me! But there are some
things that even I can't do--nobody but a wife could, and Nelly isn't
up to it."

"Poor, dear little mamma," said Eva. "But are you quite sure, Aunt
Maria, that her ways are not better adapted to papa than any one's
else could be? Papa is very positive, though so very quiet. He is
devoted to mamma. Then, again, Aunty, there is a good deal of risk in
going, into speculations and enterprises at papa's age. Of course, you
know I don't know anything about business or that sort of thing; but
it seems to me like a great sea where you are up on the wave to-day
and down to-morrow. So if papa really _won't_ go into these things,
perhaps it's all for the best."

"But, Eva, it is so important now for the girls, poor things, just
going into society--for you know they can't keep out of it, even if
you do. It will affect all their chances of settlement in life--and
that puts me in mind, Eva, something or other must be done about Alice
and Jim Fellows. Everybody is saying if they're not engaged they ought
to be."

"Oh, Aunty, how exasperating the world is! Can't a man and woman have
a plain, honest friendship? Jim has shown himself a true friend to our
family. He came to us just in all the confusion of the failure, and
helped us heart and hand in the manliest way--and we _all_ like him.
Alice likes him, and I don't wonder at it."

"Well, are they engaged?" said Aunt Maria, with an air of statistical

"How should I know? I never thought of asking. I'm not a police
detective, and I always think that if my friends have anything they
want me to know, they'll tell me; and if they don't want me to know,
why should I ask them?"

"But, Eva, one is responsible for one's relations. The fact is, such
an intimacy stands right in the way of a girl's having good offers--it
keeps other parties off. Now, I tell you, as a great secret, there
is a very fine man, immensely rich, and every way desirable, who is
evidently pleased with Alice."

"Dear me, Aunty! how you excite my curiosity. Pray who is it?" said

"Well, I'm not at liberty to tell you more particularly; but I _know_
he's thinking about her; and this report about her and Jim would
operate very prejudicially. Now shall I have a talk with Alice, or
will you?"

"Oh, Aunty dear, don't, for pity's sake, say a word to Alice. Young
girls are so sensitive about such things. If it _must_ be talked of,
let me talk with Alice."

"I really thought, if I had a good chance, I'd say something to the
young man himself," said Aunt Maria, reflectively.

"Oh, good heavens! Aunty, don't _think_ of it. You don't know Jim

"Oh, you needn't be afraid of me," said Aunt Maria. "I am a great deal
older and more experienced than you, and if I do do anything, you may
rest assured it will be in the most discreet way. I've managed cases
of this kind before you were born."

"But Jim is the most peculiar"--

"Oh, I know all about him. Do you suppose I've seen him in and out in
the family all this time without understanding him perfectly?"

"But I don't really think that there is the least of anything serious
between him and Alice."

"Very likely. He would not be at all the desirable match for Alice. He
has very little property, and is rather a wild, rattling fellow; and I
don't like newspaper men generally."

"Oh, Aunty, that's severe now. You forget Harry."

"Oh, well, your husband is an exception; but, as a general rule, I
don't like 'em--unprincipled lot _I_ believe," said Aunt Maria, with a
decisive nod of her head. "At any rate, Alice can do better, and she
ought to."

The ringing of the lunch bell interrupted the conversation, much to
the relief of Eva, who discovered with real alarm the course her
respected relative's thoughts were taking.

Of old she had learned that the only result of arguing a point with
her was to make her more set in her own way, and she therefore bent
all her forces of agreeableness to produce a diversion of mind to
other topics. On the principle that doctors apply mustard to the
feet, to divert the too abundant blood from the head, Eva started
a brisk controversy with Aunt Maria on another topic, in hopes, by
exhausting her energies there, to put this out of her mind. With what
success her strategy was crowned, it will remain to be seen.



It will not be doubted by those who know the ways of family dictators
that Mrs. Maria Wouvermans left Eva's house after her day's visit in a
state of the most balmy self-satisfaction, as one who has done a good
day's work.

"Well, I've been up at Eva's," she said to her sister, as she looked
in on returning, "and really it was well I went in. That Mary of hers
is getting careless and negligent, just as all old servants do, and I
just went over the whole house, and had a plain talk with Mary. She
flew up about it, and was impertinent, of course; but I put her down,
and I talked plainly to Eva about the way she's beginning with her
servants. She's just like you, Nellie, slack and good-natured, and
needs somebody to keep her up. I told her the way she is beginning--of
petting Mary, and fussing up her room with carpet and pictures, and
everything, just like any other--wouldn't work. Servants must be kept
in their places."

Now, Mrs. Van Arsdel had a spirit of her own; and the off-hand,
matter-of-fact manner in which her sister was accustomed to speak
of her as no manager touched a vital point. What housekeeper likes
to have her capacity to guide a house assailed? Is not that the
spot where her glory dwells, if she has any? And it is all the more
provoking when such charges are thrown out in perfect good nature, not
as designed to offend, but thrown in _par parenthèse_, as something
everybody would acknowledge, and too evident to require discussion.
While proceeding in the main part of a discourse Mrs. Wouvermans was
quite in the habit of these frank side disclosures of her opinion of
her sister's management, and for the most part they were submitted to
in acquiescent silence, rather than to provoke a controversy; but to
be called "slack" to her face without protest or rejoinder was more
than she could bear; so Mrs. Van Arsdel spoke up with spirit:

"Maria, you are always talking as if I don't know how to manage
servants. All I know is that you are always changing, and I keep mine
years and years."

"That's because you let them have their own way," said her sister.
"You can keep servants if you don't follow them up, and insist on it
that they shall do their duty. Let them run all over you and live like
mistresses, and you can keep them. For my part, I like to change--new
brooms always sweep clean."

"Well, it's a different thing, Maria--you with your small family, and
mine with so many. I'd rather bear anything than change."

"Oh, well, yes; I suppose there's no help for it, Nellie. Of course I
wasn't blaming you, so don't fire up about it. I know you can't make
yourself over," said Aunt Maria. This was the tone with which she
usually settled discussions with those who differed from her on modes
and measures. After all, they could not be like her, so where was the
use of talking?

Aunt Maria also had the advantage in all such encounters of a
confessed reputation as an excellent manager. Her house was always
elegant, always in order. She herself was gifted with a head for
details that never failed to keep in mind the smallest item, and a
wiry, compact constitution that never knew fatigue. She held the
keys of everything in her house, and always turned every key at the
right moment. She knew the precise weight, quantity, and quality of
everything she had in possession, where it was and what it might be
used for; and, as she said, could go to anything in her house without
a candle in the darkest night. If her servants did not love, they
feared her, and had such a sense of her ever vigilant inspection
that they never even tried to evade her. For the least shadow of
disobedience she was ready to send them away at a moment's warning,
and then go to the intelligence office and enter her name for another,
and come home, put on apron and gloves, and manfully and thoroughly
sustain the department till they came.

Mrs. Wouvermans, therefore, was celebrated and lauded by all her
acquaintances as a perfect housekeeper, and this added sanction and
terror to her _pronunciamentos_ when she walked the rounds as a police
inspector in the houses of her relations.

It is rather amusing to a general looker-on in this odd world
of ours to contrast the serene, cheerful good faith with which
these constitutionally active individuals go about criticising,
and suggesting, and directing right and left, with the dismay and
confusion of mind they leave behind them wherever they operate.

They are often what the world calls well-meaning people, animated
by a most benevolent spirit, and have no more intention of giving
offense than a nettle has of stinging. A large, vigorous, well-growing
nettle has no consciousness of the stings it leaves in the delicate
hands that have been in contact with it; it has simply acted out
its innocent and respectable nature as a nettle. But a nettle armed
with the power of locomotion on an ambulatory tour, is something the
results of which may be fearful to contemplate.

So, after the departure of Aunt Maria our little housekeeper, Eva,
was left in a state of considerable nervousness and anxiety,
feeling that she had been weighed in the balance of perfection and
found wofully wanting. She was conscious, to begin with, that her
characteristic virtues as a housekeeper, if she had any, were not
entirely in the style of her good relative. She was not by nature
statistical, nor given to accounts and figures. She was not sharp and
keen in bargains; she was, she felt in her inmost, trembling soul, a
poor little mollusk, without a bit of a shell, hiding in a cowardly
way under a rock and ready at any time to be eaten up by big fishes.
She had felt so happy in her unlimited trust in Mary, who knew more
than she did about housekeeping--but she had been convicted by her
aunt's cross-questions of having resigned the very signet ring and
scepter of her house into her hands. Did she let Mary go all over the
house? Did she put away the washing? Did Eva allow her to open her
drawers? Didn't she count her towels and sheets every week, and also
her tea-spoons, and keep every drawer and cupboard locked? She ought
to. To all these inquiries Eva had no satisfactory response, and began
to doubt within herself whether she had begun aright. With sensitive,
conscientious people there is always a residuum of self-distrust after
discussions of the nature we have indicated, however vigorously and
skillfully they may have defended their courses at the time.

Eva went over and over in her own mind her self-justifications--she
told herself that she and her aunt were essentially different people,
incapable of understanding each other sympathetically or acting in
each other's ways, and that the well-meant, positive dicta of her
relative were to be let go for what they were worth, and no more.

[Illustration: TALKING IT OVER.

"_Come now, Puss, out with it. Why that anxious brow? What domestic
catastrophe?_"--p. 73.]

Still she looked eagerly and anxiously for the return of her husband,
that she might reinforce herself by talking it over with him. Hers was
a nature so transparent that, before he had been five minutes in
the house, he felt that something had gone wrong; but, the dinner-bell
ringing, he retired at once to make his toilet, and did not open the
subject till they were fairly seated at table.

"Well, come now, Puss--out with it! Why that anxious brow? What
domestic catastrophe? Anything gone wrong with the ivies?"

"Oh, no; the ivies are all right, growing beautifully--it isn't that--"

"Well, then, what is it? It seems there is something."

"Oh, nothing, Harry; only Aunt Maria has been spending the day here."

Eva said this with such a perplexed and woful face that Harry leaned
back in his chair and laughed.

"What a blessing it is to have relations," he said; "but I thought,
Eva, that you had made up your mind not to care for anything Aunt
Maria says?"

"Well, she has been all over the house, surveying and reviewing as if
she owned us, and she has lectured Mary and got her into hysterics,
and talked to me till I am almost bewildered--wondering at everything
we mean to do, and wanting us to take her ways and not ours."

"My dearest child, why need you care? Take it as a rain-storm, when
you've been caught out without your umbrella. That's all. Or why can't
you simply and firmly tell her that she must not go over your house or
direct your servants?"

"Well, you see, that would never do. She would feel so injured and
abused. I've only just made up and brought things to going smoothly,
and got her pacified about our marriage. There would be another fuss
if I should talk that way. Aunt Maria always considered me her girl,
and maintains that she is a sort of special guardian to me, and I
think it very disagreeable to quarrel with your relations, and get on
unpleasant terms with them."

"Well, _I_ shall speak to her, Eva, pretty decidedly, if you don't."

"Oh, don't, don't, Harry! She'd never forgive you. No. Let me manage
her. I have been managing her all day to keep the peace, to keep her
satisfied and pleased; to _let_ her advise me to her heart's content,
about things where I can take advice. Aunt Maria is a capital judge of
linens and cottons, and all sorts of household stuffs, and can tell
to a certainty just how much of a thing you'd want, and the price
you ought to pay, and the exact place to get it; and I have been
contriving to get her opinion on a dozen points where I mean to take
it; and I think she has left, on the whole, highly satisfied with her
visit, though in the main I didn't give in to her a bit about our

"Then why so tragic and tired-looking?"

"Oh, well, after all, when Aunt Maria talks, she says a great many
things that have such a degree of sense in them that it worries me.
Now, there's a good deal of sense in what she said about trusting too
much to servants, and being too indulgent. I know mamma's girls used
to get spoiled so that they would be perfect tyrants. And yet I cannot
for the life of me like Aunt Maria's hard, ungracious way of living
with servants, as if they were machines."

"Ah, well, Eva, it's always so. Hard, worldly people always have
a good deal of what looks like practical sense on their side, and
kindness and unselfishness certainly have their weak points; there's
no doubt of that. The Sermon on the Mount is open to a great deal of
good hard worldly criticism, and so is every attempt to live up to it
practically; but, never mind. We all know that the generous way is the
strong way, and the best way, in the long run."

"And then you know, Harry, I haven't the least talent for being hard
and sharp," said Eva, "and so I may as well take the advantages of my
sort of nature."

"Certainly you may; people never succeed out of their own line."

"Then there's another trouble. I'm afraid Aunt Maria is going to
interfere with Alice, as she tried to do with me. She said that
everybody was talking about her intimacy with Jim, and that if _I_
didn't speak to Alice _she_ must."

"Confound that woman," said Harry; "she's an unmitigated old fool!
She's as bad as a runaway steam engine; somebody ought to seize and
lock her up."

"Come, sir, keep a civil tongue about my relations," said Eva,

"Well, I must let off a little to you, just to lower steam to the
limits of Christian moderation."

"Alice isn't as fond of Aunt Maria as I am, and has a high spirit of
her own, and I'm afraid it will make a terrible scene if Aunt Maria
attacks her, so I suppose I must talk to her myself; but what do you
think of Jim, Harry? Is there anything in it, on his part?"

"How can I say? you know just as much as I do and no more, and you are
a better judge of human nature than I am."

"Well, would you like it to have Alice take Jim--supposing there were

"Why, yes, very well, if she wants him."

"But Jim is such a volatile creature--would you want to trust him?"

"He is constant in his affections, which is the main thing. I'm sure
his conduct when your father failed showed that; and a sensible,
dignified woman like Alice might make a man of him."

"It's odd," said Eva, "that Alice, who is so prudent, and has such a
high sense of propriety, seems so very indulgent to Jim. None of his
escapades seem to offend her."

"It's the doctrine of counterparts," said Harry; "the steady sensible
nature admires the brilliancy and variety of the volatile one."

"For my part," said Eva, "I can't conceive of Jim's saying anything
in serious earnest. The very idea of his being sentimental seems
funny--and how can anybody be in love without being sentimental?"

"There are diversities of operation," said Harry. "Jim must make love
in his own way, and it will probably be an original one."

"But, really now, do you know," persisted Eva, "I think Alice might
be mated with a man of much higher class than Jim. He is amiable, and
bright, and funny, and agreeable. Yet I don't deny but Alice might do

"So she might, but the perversity of fate is that the superior man
isn't around and Jim _is_; and, ten to one, if the superior man were
in the field, Alice would be perverse enough to choose Jim. And, after
all, you must confess, give Jim Fellows a fortune of a million or two,
a place in Newport, and another on the North River, and even you would
call it a brilliant match, and think it a fortunate thing for Alice."

"Oh, dear me, Harry, that's the truth, to be sure. Am I so worldly?"

"No; but ideal heroes are not plentiful, and there are few gems that
don't need rich setting. The first questions as to a man are, is
he safe, has he no bad habits, is he kind and affectionate in his
disposition and capable of constant affection? and, secondly, does
the woman feel that sort of love that makes her prefer him even to men
that are quite superior? Now, whether Alice feels in that way toward
Jim is what remains to be seen. I'm sure I can't tell. Neither can I
tell whether Jim has any serious intentions in regard to her. If they
were only let alone, and not watched and interfered with, I've no
doubt the thing would adjust itself in the natural course of things.

"But see here, I must be going to my club, and, now I think of it,
I've brought some Paris letters from the girls for you, to pass the
evening with."

"You have? Letters from Ida and Caroline? You naughty creature, why
didn't you give them to me before?"

"Well, your grave face when I first came in put everything else out of
my head; and then came on all this talk: but it's just as well, you'll
have them to read while I'm gone."

"Don't stay late, Harry."

"No; you may be sure I've no temptation. I'd much rather be here with
you watching our own back-log. But then I shall see several fellows
about articles for the magazine, and get all the late news, and, in
short, take an observation of our latitude and longitude; so, _au



After Harry went out, Eva arranged the fire, dropped the curtains
over the window, drew up an easy chair into a warm corner under
the gas-light, and began looking over the outside of her Parisian
letters with that sort of luxurious enjoyment of delay with which one
examines the post-marks and direction of letters that are valued as
a great acquisition. There was one from her sister Ida and one from
Harry's cousin Caroline. Ida's was opened first. It was dated from
a boarding-house in the Rue de Clichy, giving a sort of journalised
view of their studies, their medical instructors, their walks and
duties in the hospital, all told with an evident and vigorous sense of
enjoyment. Eva felt throughout what a strong, cheerful, self-sustained
being her sister was, and how fit it was that a person so sufficient
to herself, so equable, so healthfully balanced and poised in all her
mental and physical conformation, should have undertaken the pioneer
work of opening a new profession for women. "I never could do as she
does, in the world," was her mental comment, "but I am thankful that
she can." And then she cut the envelope of Caroline's letter.

To a certain extent there were the same details in it--Caroline was
evidently associated in the same studies, the same plans, but there
was missing in the letter the professional enthusiasm, the firmness,
the self-poise, and calm clearness. There were more bursts of feeling
on the pictures in the Louvre than on scientific discoveries; more
sensibility to the various æsthetic wonders which Paris opens to
an uninitiated guest than to the treasures of anatomy and surgery.
With the letter were sent two or three poems, contributions to the
Magazine--poems full of color and life, of a subdued fire, but with
that undertone of sadness which is so common in all female poets. A
portion of the letter may explain this:

"You were right, my dear Eva, in saying, in our last interview, that
it did not seem to you that I had the kind of character that was
adapted to the profession I have chosen. I don't think I have. I am
more certain of it from comparing myself from day to day with Ida,
who certainly is born and made for it, if ever a woman was. My choice
of it has been simply and only for the reason that I must choose
something as a means of self-support, and more than that, as a refuge
from morbid distresses of mind which made the still monotony of my New
England country life intolerable to me. This course presented itself
to me as something feasible. I thought it, too, a good and worthy
career--one in which one might do one's share of good for the world.
But, Eva, I can feel that there is one essential difference between
Ida and myself: she is peculiarly self-sustained and sufficient to
herself, and I am just the reverse. I am full of vague unrest; I
am chased by seasons of high excitement, alternating with deadly
languor. Ida has hard work to know what to do with me. You were right
in supposing, as you intimate in your letter, that a certain common
friend has something to do with this unrest, but you cannot, unless
you know my whole history, know how much. There was a time when he
and I were all the world to each other--when shall I ever forget that
time! I was but seventeen; a young girl, so ignorant of life! I never
had seen one like him; he was a whole new revelation to me; he woke
up everything there was in me, never to go to sleep again; and then to
think of having all this tide and current of feeling checked--frozen.
My father overwhelmed him with accusations; every baseness was laid
to his charge. I was woman enough to have stood for him against the
world if he had come to me. I would have left all and gone to the ends
of the earth with him if he had asked me, but he did not. There was
only one farewell, self-accusing letter, and even that fell into my
father's hands and never came to me till after his death. For years I
thought myself wantonly trifled with by a man of whose attentions I
ought to be ashamed. I was indignant at myself for the love that might
have been my glory, for it is my solemn belief that if we had been let
alone he would have been saved all those wretched falls, those blind
struggles that have marred a life whose purpose is yet so noble.

"When the fates brought us together again in New York, I saw at a
glance that whatever may have been the proud, morbid conscientiousness
that dictated his long silence, he loved me still;--a woman knows that
by an unmistakable instinct. She can _feel_ the reality through all
disguises. I _know_ that man loves me, and yet he does not now in word
or deed make the least profession beyond the boundaries of friendship.
He is my friend; with entire devotion he is willing to spend and be
spent for me--but he will accept nothing from me. I, who would give my
life to him willingly--I must do nothing for him!

"Well, it's no use writing. You see now that I am a very unworthy
disciple of your sister. She is so calm and philosophical that I
cannot tell her all this; but you, dear little Eva, you know the
heart of woman, and you have a magic key which unlocks everybody's
heart in confidence to you. I seem to see you, in fancy, with good
Cousin Harry, sitting cosily in your chimney-corner; your ivies and
nasturtiums growing round your sunny windows, and an everlasting
summer in your pretty parlors, while the December winds whistle
without. Such a life as you two lead, such a home as your home, is
worth a thousand 'careers' that dazzle ambition. Send us more letters,
journals, of all your pretty, lovely home life, and let me warm myself
in the glow of your fireside.

     Your Cousin,


       *       *       *       *       *

Eva finished this letter, and then folding it up sat with it in her
lap, gazing into the fire, and pondering its contents. If the truth
must be told, she was revolving in her young, busy brain a scheme for
restoring Caroline to her lover, and setting them up comfortably at
housekeeping on a contiguous street, where she had seen a house to
let. In five minutes she had gone through the whole programme--seen
the bride at the altar, engaged the house, bought the furniture, and
had before her a vision of parlors, of snuggeries and cosy nooks,
where Caroline was to preside, and where Bolton was to lounge at his
ease, while she and Caroline compared housekeeping accounts. Happy
young wives develop an aptitude for match-making as naturally as
flowers spring in a meadow, and Eva was losing herself in this vision
of Alnaschar, when a loud, imperative, sharp bark of a dog at the
front door of the house called her back to life and the world.

Now there are as many varieties to dog-barks as to man-talks. There
is the common bow-wow, which means nothing, only that it is a dog
speaking; there is the tumultuous angry bark, which means attack; the
conversational bark, which, of a moonlight night, means gossip; and
the imperative staccato bark which means immediate business. The bark
at the front door was of this kind: it was loud and sharp, and with a
sort of indignant imperativeness about it, as of one accustomed to be
attended to immediately.

Eva flew to the front door and opened it, and there sat Jack, the
spoiled darling of Miss Dorcas Vanderheyden and her sister, over the

"Why, Jacky! where did you come from?" said Eva. Jacky sat up on his
haunches and waved his forepaws in a vigorous manner, as was his way
when he desired to be specially ingratiating.

Eva seized him in her arms and carried him into the parlor, thinking
that as he had accidentally been shut out for the night she would
domesticate him for a while, and return him to his owners on the
morrow. So she placed him on the ottoman in the corner and attempted
to caress him, but evidently that was not the purpose he had in view.
He sprang down, ran to the door and snuffed, and to the front windows
and barked imperiously.

"Why, Jack, what do you want?"

He sprang into a chair and barked out at the Vanderheyden house.

Eva looked at the mantel clock--it wanted a few minutes of
ten--without, it was a bright moonlight night.

"I'll run across with him, and see what it is," she said. She was
young enough to enjoy something like an adventure. She opened the
front door and Jack rushed out, and then stopped to see if she would
follow; as she stood a moment he laid hold on the skirt of her dress,
as if to pull her along.

"Well, Jacky, I'll go," said Eva. Thereat the creature bounded across
the street and up the steps of the opposite house, where he stood
waiting. She went up and rang the door-bell, which appeared to be what
he wanted, as he sat down quite contented on the doorstep.

Nobody came. Eva looked up and down the street. "Jacky, we shall
have to go back, they are all asleep," she said. But Jacky barked
contradiction, sprang nearer to the door, and insisted on being let in.

"Well, if you say so, Jacky, I must ring again," she said, and with
that she pulled the door-bell louder, and Jack barked with all
his might, and the two succeeded after a few moments in causing a
perceptible stir within.

Slowly the door unclosed, and a vision of Miss Dorcas in an
old-fashioned broad-frilled night-cap peeped out. She was attired in a
black water-proof cloak, donned hastily over her night gear.

"Oh, Jack, you naughty boy!" she exclaimed, stooping eagerly to the
prodigal, who sprung tumultuously into her arms and began licking her

"I'm so much obliged to you, Mrs. Henderson," she said to Eva. "We
went down in the omnibus this afternoon, and we suddenly missed him,
the naughty fellow," she said, endeavoring to throw severity into her

Eva related Jack's ruse.

"Did you ever!" said Miss Dorcas; "the creature knew that we slept in
the back of the house, and he got you to ring our door-bell. Jacky,
what a naughty fellow you are!"

Mrs. Betsey now appeared on the staircase in an equal state of

"Oh dear, Mrs. Henderson, we are so shocked!"

"Dear me, never speak of it. I think it was a cunning trick of Jack.
He knew you were gone to bed, and saw I was up and so got me to ring
his door-bell for him. I don't doubt he rode up town in the omnibus.
Well, good-night!"

And Eva closed the door and flew back to her own little nest just in
time to let in Harry.

The first few moments after they were fairly by the fireside were
devoted to a recital of the adventure, with dramatic representations
of Jack and his mistresses.

"It's a capital move on Jack's part. It got me into the very interior
of the fortress. Only think of seeing them in their night-caps! That
is carrying all the out-works of ceremony at a move."

"To say nothing of their eternal gratitude," said Harry.

"Oh, that of course. They were ready to weep on my neck with joy that
I had brought the dear little plague back to them, and I don't doubt
are rejoicing over him at this moment. But, oh, Harry, you must hear
the girls' Paris letters."

"Are they very long?" said Harry.

"Fie now, Harry; you ought to be interested in the girls."

"Why, of course I am," said Harry, pulling out his watch, "only--what
time is it?"

"Only half-past ten--not a bit late," said Eva. As she began to read
Ida's letter, Harry settled back in the embrace of a luxurious chair,
with his feet stretched out towards the fire, and gradually the
details of Paris life mingled pleasingly with a dream--a fact of which
Eva was made aware as she asked him suddenly what he thought of Ida's
views on a certain point.

"Now, Harry--you haven't been asleep?"

"Just a moment. The very least in the world," said Harry, looking
anxiously alert and sitting up very straight.

Then Eva read Caroline's letter.

"Now, isn't it too bad?" she said, with eagerness, as she finished.

"Yes, it's one of those things that you and I can do nothing to
help--it is [Greek: anagkê]."

"What's ananke?"

"The name the old Greeks gave to that perverse Something that brought
ruin and misery in spite of and out of the best human efforts."

"But I want to bring these two together."

"Be careful how you try, darling. Who knows what the results may be?
It's a subject Bolton never speaks of, where he has his own purposes
and conclusions; and it's the best thing for Caroline to be where she
has as many allurements and distractions as she has in Paris, and such
a wise, calm, strong friend as your sister.

"And now, dear, mayn't I go to bed?" he added, with pathos, "You've no
idea, dear, how sleepy I am."

"Oh, certainly, you poor boy," said Eva, bustling about and putting up
the chairs and books preparatory to leaving the parlor.

"You see," she said, going up stairs, "he was so imperious that I
really had to go with him."

"He! Who?"

"Why, Jack, to be sure, he did all but speak," said Eva, brush in
hand, and letting down her curls before the glass. "You see I was in a
reverie over those letters when the barking roused me--I don't think
you ever heard such a barking; and when I got him in, he wouldn't
be contented--kept insisting on my going over with him--wasn't it

Harry, by this time composed for the night and half asleep, said it

In a few moments he was aroused by Eva's saying, suddenly,

"Harry, I really think I ought to bring them together. Now, couldn't I
do something?"

"With Jack?" said Harry, drowsily.

"Jack!--oh, you sleepy-head! Well, never mind. Good night."



"Now, Harry, I'll tell you what I'm going to do this morning," said
Eva, with the air of a little general, as she poured his morning

"And what are you going to do?" replied he, in the proper tone of

"Well, I'm going to take the old fortress over the way by storm,
this very morning. I'm going to rush through the breach that Jack
has opened into the very interior and see what there is there. I'm
perfectly dying to get the run of that funny old house; why, Harry,
it's just like a novel, and I shouldn't wonder if I could get enough
out of it for you to make an article of."

"Thank you, dear; you enter into the spirit of article-hunting like
one to the manner born."

"That I do; I'm always keeping my eyes open when I go about New York
for bits and hints that you can work up, and I'm sure you ought to
do something with this old Vanderheyden house. I know there must be
ghosts in it; I'm perfectly certain."

"But you wouldn't meet them in a morning call," said Harry, "that's
contrary to all ghostly etiquette."

"Never mind, I'll get track of them. I'll become intimate with old
Miss Dorcas and get her to relate her history, and if there is a
ghost-chamber I'll be into it."

"Well, success to you," said Harry; "but to me it looks like a
formidable undertaking. Those old ladies are so padded and wadded in

"Oh, pshaw! there's just what Jack has done for me, he has made a
breach in the padding and buckram. Only think of my seeing them at
midnight in their night-caps! And such funny night-caps! Why, it's
an occasion long to be remembered, and I would be willing to wager
anything they are talking it over at this minute; and, of course, you
see, it's extremely proper and quite a part of the play that I should
come in this morning to inquire after the wanderer, and to hope they
didn't catch cold, and to talk over the matter generally. Now, I
_like_ that old Miss Dorcas; there seems to me to be an immense amount
of character behind all her starch and stiffness, and I think she's
quite worth knowing. She'll be an acquisition if one can only get at

"Well, as I said, success and prosperity go with you!" said Harry, as
he rose and gathered his papers to go to his morning work.

"I'll go right out with you," said Eva, and she snatched from the
hat-tree a shawl and a little morsel of white, fleecy worsted, which
the initiated surname "a cloud," and tied it over her head. "I'm going
right in upon them now," she said.

It was a brisk, frosty morning, and she went out with Harry and darted
across from the door. He saw her in the distance, as he went down the
street, laughing and kissing her hand to him on the door-step of the
Vanderheyden house.

Just then the sound of the door-bell--unheard of in that hour in the
morning--caused an excitement in the back breakfast-parlor, where
Miss Dorcas and Mrs. Betsey were at a late breakfast, with old Dinah
standing behind Miss Dorcas' chair to get her morning orders, giggling
and disputing them inch by inch, as was her ordinary wont.

The old door-bell had a rustling, harsh, rusty sound, as if cross with
a chronic rheumatism of disuse.

"Who under the sun!" said Miss Dorcas. "Jack, be still!"

But Jack wouldn't be still, but ran and snuffed at the door, and
barked as if he smelt a legion of burglars.

Eva heard, within the house, the dining-room door open, and then
Jack's barking came like a fire of artillery at the crack of the front
door, where she was standing. It was slowly opened, and old Dinah's
giggling countenance appeared. "Laws bless your soul, Mis' Henderson,"
she said, flinging the door wide open, "is that you? Jack, be still,

But Eva had caught Jack up in her arms, and walked with him to the
door of the breakfast room.

"Do pray excuse me," she said, "but I thought I'd just run over and
see that you hadn't taken any cold."

The scene within was not uninviting. There was a cheerful wood fire
burning on the hearth behind a pair of gigantic old-fashioned brass
fire-irons. The little breakfast-table, with its bright old silver
and India china, was drawn comfortably up in front. Miss Dorcas had
her chair on one side, and Miss Betsey on the other, and between them
there was a chair drawn up for Jack, where he had been sitting at the
time the door-bell rang.

"We are ashamed of our late hours," said Miss Dorcas, when she had
made Eva sit down in an old-fashioned claw-footed arm-chair in the
warmest corner; "we don't usually breakfast so late, but, the fact is,
Betsey was quite done up by the adventure last night."

"Perhaps," said Eva, "I had better have tried keeping Jack till

"Oh no, indeed, Mrs. Henderson," said Mrs. Betsey, with energy; "I
know it's silly, but I shouldn't have slept a wink all night if Jack
hadn't come home. You know he sleeps with me," she added.

Eva did not know it before, but she said "Yes" all the same, and the
good lady rushed on:

"Yes; Dorcas thinks it's rather silly, but I do let Jack sleep on the
foot of my bed. I spread his blanket for him every night, and I always
wash his feet and wipe them clean before he goes to bed, and when
you brought him back you really ought to have seen him run right up
stairs to where I keep his bowl and towel; and he stood there, just as
sensible, waiting for me to come and wash him. I wish you could have
seen how dirty he was! I can't think where ever that dog gets his paws
so greasy."

"'Cause he will eat out o' swill-pails!" interposed Dinah, with a
chuckle. "Greatest dog after swill-pails I ever see. That's what he's
off after."

"Well, I don't know why. It's very bad of him when we always feed
him and take such pains with him," said Mrs. Betsey, in accents of

"Dogs is allers jest so," said Dinah; "they's arter nastiness and
carron. You can't make a Christian out o' a dog, no matter what you

Old Dinah was the very impersonation of that coarse, hard literalness
which forces actual unpalatable facts upon unwilling ears. There was
no disputing that she spoke most melancholy truths, that even the most
infatuated dog-lovers could not always shut their eyes to. But Mrs.
Betsey chose wholly to ignore her facts and treat her communication as
if it had no existence, so she turned her back to Dinah and went on.

"I don't know what makes Jack have these turns of running away.
Sometimes I think it's our system of dieting him. Perhaps it may be
because we don't allow him all the meat he wants; but then they say if
you do give these pet dogs meat they become so gross that it is quite

Miss Dorcas rapped her snuff-box, sat back in her chair, and took
snuff with an air of antique dignity that seemed to call heaven and
earth to witness that she only tolerated such fooleries on account of
her sister, and not at all in the way of personal approbation.

The nurture and admonition of Jack was the point where the two sisters
had a chronic controversy, Miss Dorcas inclining to the side of strict
discipline and vigorous repression.

In fact, Miss Dorcas soothed her violated notions of dignity and
propriety by always speaking of Jack as "Betsey's dog"--he was one of
the permitted toys and amusements of Betsey's more juvenile years;
but she felt called upon to keep some limits of discipline to prevent
Jack's paw from ruling too absolutely in the family councils.

"You see," said Mrs. Betsey, going on with her reminiscences of
yesterday, "we had taken Jack down town with us because we wanted to
get his photographs; we'd had him taken last week, and they were not
ready till yesterday."

"Dear me, do show them to me," said Eva, entering cheerfully into the
humor of the thing; and Mrs. Betsey trotted up stairs to get them.

"You see how very absurd we are," said Miss Dorcas; "but the fact is,
Mrs. Henderson, Betsey has had her troubles, poor child, and I'm glad
to have her have anything that can be any sort of a comfort to her."

Betsey came back with her photographs, which she exhibited with the
most artless innocence.

"You see," said Miss Dorcas, "just how it is. If people set out to
treat a dog as a child, they have to take the consequences. That
dog rules this whole family, and of course he behaves like spoiled
children generally. Here, now, this morning; Betsey and I both have
bad colds because we were got out of bed last night with that

Here Jack, seeming to understand that he was the subject-matter of
some criticism, rose up suddenly on his haunches before Miss Dorcas
and waved his paws in a supplicatory manner at her. Jack understood
this to be his only strong point, and brought it out as a trump card
on all occasions when he felt himself to be out of favor. Miss Dorcas
laughed, as she generally did, and Jack seemed delighted, and sprang
into her lap and offered to kiss her with the most brazen assurance.

"Oh, well, Mrs. Henderson, I suppose you see that we are two old fools
about that dog," she said. "I don't know but I am almost as silly as
Betsey is, but the fact is one must have _something_, and a dog is not
so much risk as a boy, after all. Yes, Jack," she said, tapping his
shaggy head patronizingly, "after all you're no more impudent than
puppies in general."

"I never quarrel with anyone for loving dogs," said Eva. "For my part
I think no family is complete without one. I tell Harry we must 'set
up' our dog as soon as we get a little more settled. When _we_ get
one, we'll compare notes."

"Well," said Miss Dorcas, "I always comfort myself with thinking that
dear Sir Walter, with all his genius, went as far in dog-petting as
any of us. You remember Washington Irving's visit to Abbotsford?"

Eva did not remember it, and Miss Dorcas said she must get it for her
at once; she ought to read it. And away she went to look it up in the
book-case in the next room.

"The fact is," said Mrs. Betsey, mysteriously, "though Dorcas has so
much strength of mind, she is to the full as silly about Jack as I am.
When I was gone to Newburg, if you'll believe me, _she_ let Jack sleep
on her bed. Dinah knows it, doesn't she?"

Dinah confirmed this fact by a loud explosing, in which there was a
singular mixture of snort and giggle; and to cover her paroxysm she
seized violently on the remains of the breakfast and bore them out
into the kitchen, and was heard giggling and gurgling in a rill of
laughter all along the way.

Mrs. Betsey began gathering up and arranging the cups, and filling a
lacquered bowl of Japanese fabric with hot water, she proceeded to
wash the china and silver.

"What _lovely_ china," said Eva, with the air of a connoisseur.

"Yes," said Mrs. Betsey, "this china has been in the family for three
generations, and we never suffer a servant to touch it."

"Please let _me_ help you," said Eva, taking up the napkin sociably,
"I do so love old china."

And pretty soon one might have seen a gay morning party--Mrs. Betsey
washing, Eva wiping, and Miss Dorcas the while reading scraps out
of _Abbotsford_ about Maida, and Finette, and Hamlet, and Camp, and
Percy, and others of Walter Scott's four-footed friends. The ice of
ceremony and stiffness was not only broken by this bit of morning
domesticity, but floated gaily down-stream never to be formed again.

You may go further into the hearts of your neighbors by one-half hour
of undressed rehearsal behind the scenes than a century of ceremonious
posing before the foot-lights.

_Real_ people, with anything like heart and tastes and emotions, do
not _enjoy_ being shut up behind barricades, and conversing with their
neighbors only through loop-holes. If any warm-hearted adventurer gets
in at the back door of the heart, the stiffest and most formal are
often the most thankful for the deliverance.

The advent of this pretty young creature, with her air of joy and
gaiety, into the shadowed and mossy precincts of the old Vanderheyden
house was an event to be dated from, as the era of a new life. She was
to them a flower, a picture, a poem; and a thousand dear remembrances
and new capabilities stirred in the withered old hearts to meet her.

Her sincere artlessness and naïf curiosity, her genuine interest in
the old time-worn furniture, relics and belongings of the house gave
them a new sense of possession. We seem to acquire our things over
again when stimulated by the admiration of a new spectator.

"Dear me," said Eva, as she put down a tea-cup she was wiping, "what a
pity I haven't some nice old china to begin on! but all my things are
spick and span new; I don't think it's a bit interesting. I do love to
see things that look as if they had a history."

"Ah! my dear child, you are making history fast enough," said Miss
Dorcas, with that kind of half sigh with which people at eighty look
down on the aspirants of twenty; "don't try to hurry things."

"But I think _old_ things are so nice," said Eva. "They get so many
associations. Things just out of Tiffany's or Collamore's haven't
associations--there's no poetry in them. Now, everything in your house
has its story. It's just like the old villas I used to see in Italy
where the fountains were all mossy."

"We are mossy enough, dear knows," said Miss Dorcas, laughing, "Betsey
and I."

"I'm so glad I've got acquainted with you," said Eva, looking up with
clear, honest eyes into Miss Dorcas's face; "it's so lonesome not to
know one's neighbors, and I'm an inexperienced beginner, you know.
There are a thousand questions I might ask, where your experience
could help me."

"Well, don't hesitate, dear Mrs. Henderson," said Mrs. Betsey; "do
use us if you can. Dorcas is really quite a doctor, and if you should
be ill any time, don't fail to let us know. _We_ never have a doctor.
Dorcas always knows just what to do. You ought to see her herb
closet--there's a little of everything in it; and she is wonderful for

And so Eva was taken to see the herbal, and thence, by natural
progression, through the chambers, where she admired the old
furniture. Then cabinets were unlocked, old curiosities brought out,
snatches and bits of history followed, and, in fact, lunch time came
in the old Vanderheyden house before any of them perceived whither the
tide of social enthusiasm had carried them. Eva stayed to lunch. Such
a thing had not happened for years to the desolate old couple, and it
really seemed as if the roses of youth and joy, the flowers of years
past, all bloomed and breathed around her, and it was late in the day
before she returned to her own home to look back on the Vanderheyden
fortress as taken. Two stiff, ceremonious strangers had become two
warm-hearted, admiring friends--a fortress locked and barred by
constraint had become an open door of friendship. Was it not a good
morning's work?



The recent discussions of the marriage question, betokening unrest and
dissatisfaction with the immutable claims of this institution, are
founded, no doubt, on the various distresses and inconveniences of
ill-assorted marriages.

In times when the human being was little developed, the elements
of agreement and disagreement were simpler, and marriages were
proportionately more tranquil. But modern civilized man has a thousand
points of possible discord in an immutable near relation where there
was one in the primitive ages.

The wail, and woe, and struggle to undo marriage bonds, in our day,
comes from this dissonance of more developed and more widely varying
natures, and it shows that a large proportion of marriages have been
contracted without any advised and rational effort to ascertain
whether there was a reasonable foundation for a close and life-long

It would seem as if the arrangements and customs of modern society
did everything that could be done to render such a previous knowledge

Good sense would say that if men and women are to single each other
out, and bind themselves by a solemn oath, forsaking all others to
cleave to each other as long as life should last, there ought to be,
before taking vows of such gravity, the very best opportunity to
become minutely acquainted with each other's dispositions, and habits,
and modes of thought and action. It would seem to be the dictate of
reason that a long and intimate friendship ought to be allowed, in
which, without any bias or commitment, young people might have full
opportunity to study each other's character and disposition, being
under no obligation, expressed or implied, on account of such intimacy
to commit themselves to the irrevocable union.

Such a kind of friendship is the instinctive desire of both the
parties that make up society. Both young men and young women, as we
observe, would greatly enjoy a more intimate and friendly intercourse,
if the very fact of that initiatory acquaintance were not immediately
seized upon by busy A, B, and C, and reported as an engagement. The
flower that might possibly blossom into the rose of love is withered
and blackened by the busy efforts of gossips to pick it open before
the time.

Our young friend, Alice Van Arsdel, was what in modern estimation
would be called just the "nicest kind of a girl." She had a warm
heart, a high sense of justice and honor, she was devout in her
religious profession, conscientious in the discharge of the duties
of family life. Naturally, Alice was of a temperament which might
have inclined her to worldly ambition. She had that keen sense of the
advantages of wealth and station which even the most sensible person
may have, and, had her father's prosperity continued, might have run
the gay career of flirtation and conquest supposed to be proper to a
rich young belle.

The failure of her father not only cut off all these prospects, but
roused the deeper and better part of her nature to comfort and support
her parents, and to assist in all ways in trimming the family vessel
to the new navigation. Her self-esteem took a different form. Had she
been enthroned in wealth and station, it would have taken pleasure in
reigning; thrown from that position, it became her pride to adapt
herself entirely to the proprieties of her different circumstances. Up
to that hour, she had counted Jim Fellows simply as a tassel on her
fan, or any other appendage to her glittering life. When the crash
came, she expected no more of him than of a last summer's bird, and
it was with somewhat of pleased surprise that, on the first public
tidings of the news, she received from Jim an expensive hot-house
bouquet of a kind that he had never thought of giving in prosperous

"The extravagant boy!" she said. Yet she said it with tears in her
eyes, and she put the bouquet into water, and changed it every day
while it lasted. The flowers and the friends of adversity have a value
all their own.

Then Jim came, came daily, with downright unsentimental offers of
help, and made so much fun and gaiety for them in the days of their
breaking up as almost shocked Aunt Maria, who felt that a period of
weeping and wailing would have been more appropriate. Jim became
recognized in the family as a sort of factotum, always alert and ready
to advise or to do, and generally knowing where every body or thing
which was wanted in New York was to be found. But, as Alice was by no
means the only daughter, as Marie and Angelique were each in their
way as lively and desirable young candidates for admiration, it would
have appeared that here was the best possible chance for a young man
to have a friendship whose buds even the gossips would not pick open
to find if there were love inside of them. As a young neophyte of the
all-powerful press, Jim had the dispensation of many favors, in the
form of tickets to operas, concerts, and other public entertainments,
which were means of conferring enjoyment and variety, and dispensed
impartially among the sisters. Eva's house, in all the history of its
finding, inception, and construction, had been a ground for many
a familiar meeting from whence had grown up a pleasant feeling of
comradeship and intimacy.

The things that specialized this intimacy, as relating to Alice more
than to the other sisters, were things as indefinite and indefinable
as the shade mark between two tints of the rainbow; and yet there
undoubtedly was a peculiar intimacy, and since the misfortunes of the
family it had been of a graver kind than before, though neither of
them cared to put it into words. Between a young man and a young woman
of marriageable age a friendship of this kind, if let alone, generally
comes to its bud and blossom in its own season; and there is something
unutterably vexatious and revolting to every fibre of a girl's nature
to have any well-meaning interference to force this denouement.

Alice enjoyed the unspoken devotion of Jim, which she perceived by
that acute sort of divination of which women are possessed; she felt
quietly sure that she had more influence over him, could do more with
him, than any other woman; and this consciousness of power over a man
is something most agreeable to girls of Alice's degree of self-esteem.
She assumed to be a sort of mentor; she curbed the wild sallies of
his wit, rebuking him if he travestied a hymn, or made a smart, funny
application of a text of Scripture. But, as she generally laughed, the
culprit was not really overborne by the censure. She had induced him
to go with her to Mr. St. John's church, and even to take a class in
the Sunday-school, where he presided with the unction of an apostle
over a class of street "_gamins_," who certainly never found a more
entertaining teacher.

Now, although Marie and Angelique were also teachers in the same
school, it somehow always happened that Jim and Alice walked to
the scene of their duties in company. It was one of those quiet,
unobserved arrangements of particles which are the result of laws of
chemical affinity. These street _tête-à-têtes_ gave Alice admirable
opportunity for those graceful admonitions which are so very effective
on young gentlemen when coming from handsome, agreeable monitors. On a
certain Sunday morning in our history, as Alice was on her way to the
mission school with Jim, she had been enjoining upon him to moderate
his extreme liveliness to suit the duties of the place and scene.

"It's all very well, Alice," he said to her, "so long as I don't have
to be too much with that St. John. But I declare that fellow stirs me
up awfully: he looks so meek and so fearfully pious that it's all I
can do to keep from ripping out an oath, just to see him jump!"

"Jim, you bad fellow! How can you talk so?"

"Well, it's a serious fact now. Ministers oughtn't to _look_ so pious!
It's too much a temptation. Why, last Sunday, when he came trailing by
so soft and meek and asked me what books we wanted, I perfectly longed
to rip out an oath and say, 'Why in thunder can't you speak louder.'
It's a temptation of the devil, I know; but you mustn't let St. John
and me run too much together, or I shall blow out."

"Oh, Jim, you mustn't talk so. Why, you really shock me--you grieve

"Well, you see, I've given up swearing for ever so long, but some
kinds of people do tempt me fearfully, and he's one of 'em, and then I
think that he must think I'm a wolf in sheep's clothing. But then, you
see, a wolf understands those cubs better than a sheep. You ought to
hear how I put gospel into them. I make 'em come out on the responses
like little Trojans. I've promised every boy who is 'sharp up' on his
Collect next Sunday a new pop-gun."

"O Jim, you creature!" said Alice, laughing.

"By George, Alice, it's the best way. You don't know anything about
these little heathen. You've got to take 'em where they live. They put
up with the Collect for the sake of the pop-gun, you see."

"But, Jim, I really was in hopes that you would look on this thing
seriously," said Alice, endeavoring to draw on a face of protest.

"Why, Alice, I am serious; didn't I go round to the highways and
hedges, drumming up those little varmints? Not a soul of them would
have put his head inside a Sunday-school room if it hadn't been for
me. I tell you I ought to be encouraged now. I'm not appreciated."

"Oh Jim, you _have_ done beautifully."

"I should think I had. I keep a long face while they are there, and
don't swear at Mr. St. John, and sing like a church robin. So I think
you ought to let me let out a little to you going home. That eases
my mind; it's the confessional--Mr. St. John believes in that. I
_didn't_ swear, mind you. I only felt like it; maybe that'll wear off,
by-and-by. So don't give me up, yet."

"Oh, I don't; and I'm perfectly sure, Jim, that you are the very
person that can do good to these wild boys. Of course the free
experience of life which young men have, enables them to know how to
deal with such cases better than we girls can."

"Yes, you ought to hear me expound the commandments, and put it into
them about stealing and lying. You see Jim knows a thing or two, and
is up to their tricks. They don't come it round Jim, I tell you. Any
boy that don't toe the crack gets it. I give 'em C sharp with the key

"O Jim, you certainly are original in your ways! But I dare say you're
right," said Alice. "You know how to get on with them."

"Indeed I do. I tell you I know what's what for these boys, though I
don't know, and don't care about, what the old coves did in the first
two centuries, and all that. Don't you think, Alice, St. John is a
little prosy on that chapter?"

"Mr. St. John is such a good man that I receive everything he says on
subjects where he knows more than I do," said Alice, virtuously.

"Oh pshaw, Alice! If a fellow has to swallow every good man's
hobby-horses, hoofs, tail and all, why he'll have a good deal to
digest. I tell you St. John is too 'other-worldly,' as Charles Lamb
used to say. He ought to get in love, and get married. I think, now,
that if our little Angie would take him in hand she would bring him
into mortal spheres, make a nice fellow of him."

"Oh, Mr. St. John never will marry," said Alice, solemnly; "he is
devoted to the church. He has published a tract on holy virginity that
is beautiful."

"Holy grandmother!" said Jim; "that's all bosh, Ally. Now you are
too sensible a girl to talk that way. That's going to Rome on a high

"I don't think so," said Alice, stoutly. "For my part, I think if a
man, for the sake of devoting himself to the church, gives up family
cares, I reverence him. I like to feel that my rector is something
sacred to the altar. The very idea of a clergyman in any other than
sacred relations is disagreeable to me."

"Go it, now! So long as I'm not the clergyman!"

"You sauce-box!"

"Well, now, mark my words. St. John is a man, after all, and not a
Fra Angelico angel, with a long neck and a lily in his hand, and, I
tell you, when Angie sits there at the head of her class, working and
fussing over those girls, she looks confoundedly pretty, and if St.
John finds it out I shall think the better of him, and I think he

"Pshaw, Jim, he never looks at her."

"Don't he? He does though. I've seen him go round and round, and look
at her as if she was an electrical battery, or something that he was
afraid might go off and kill him. But he _does_ look at her. I tell
you, Jim knows the signs of the sky."

With which edifying preparation of mind, Alice found herself at
the door of the Sunday-school room, where the pair were graciously
received by Mr. St. John.



That good man, in the calm innocence of his heart, was ignorant of the
temptations to which he exposed his tumultuous young disciple. He was
serenely gratified with the sight of Jim's handsome face and alert,
active figure, as he was enacting good shepherd over his unruly flock.
Had he known the exact nature of the motives which he presented to
lead them to walk in the ways of piety, he might have searched a good
while in primitive records before finding a churchly precedent.

Arthur St. John was by nature a poet and idealist He was as pure as
a chrysolite, as refined as a flower; and, being thus, had been,
by the irony of fate, born on one of the bleakest hillsides of New
Hampshire, where there was a literal famine of any esthetic food. His
childhood had been fed on the dry husks of doctrinal catechism; he
had sat wearily on hard high-backed seats and dangled his little legs
hopelessly through sermons on the difference between justification and
sanctification. His ultra-morbid conscientiousness had been wrought
into agonized convulsions by stringent endeavors to carry him through
certain prescribed formulæ of conviction of sin and conversion;
efforts which, grating against natures of a certain delicate fiber,
produce wounds and abrasions which no after-life can heal. To such a
one the cool shades of the Episcopal Church, with its orderly ways,
its poetic liturgy, its artistic ceremonies, were as the shadow of a
great rock in a weary land. No converts are so disposed to be ultra
as converts by reaction; and persons of a poetic and imaginative
temperament are peculiarly liable to these extremes.

Wearied with the intense and noisy clangor of modern thought, it was
not strange if he should come to think free inquiry an evil, look
longingly back on the ages of simple credulity, and believe that the
dark ages of intellect were the bright ones of faith. Without really
going over to the Romish Church, he proposed to walk that path, fine
as the blade that Mahomet fabled as the Bridge of Paradise, in which
he might secure all the powers and influences and advantages of that
old system without its defects and corruptions.

So he had established his mission in one of the least hopeful
neighborhoods of New York. The chapel was a marvel of beauty and taste
at small expense, for St. John was in a certain way an ecclesiastical
architect and artist. He could illuminate neatly, and had at command
a good store of the beautiful forms of the past to choose from. He
worked at diaphanous windows which had all the effect of painted
glass, and emblazoned texts and legends, and painted in polychrome,
till the little chapel dazzled the eyes of street vagabonds, who never
before had been made welcome to so pretty a place in their lives.
Then, when he impressed it on the minds of these poor people that
this lovely, pretty little church was their Father's house, freely
open to them every day, and that prayers and psalms might be heard
there morning and evening, and the holy communion of Christ's love
every Sunday, it is no marvel if many were drawn in and impressed.
Beauty of form and attractiveness of color in the church arrangements
of the rich may cease to be means of grace and become wantonness of
luxury--but for the very poor they are an education, they are means
of quickening the artistic sense, which is twin brother to the
spiritual. The rich do not need these things, and the poor do.

St. John, like many men of seemingly gentle temperament, had the
organizing talent of the schoolmaster. No one could be with him
and not _feel_ him; and the intense purpose with which he labored,
in season and out of season, carried all before it. He marshaled
his forces like an army; his eye was everywhere and on everyone.
He trained his choir of singing boys for processional singing; he
instructed his teachers, he superintended and catechised his school.
In the life of incessant devotion to the church which he led, woman
had no place except as an obedient instrument. He valued the young and
fair who flocked to his standard, simply and only for what they could
do in his work, and apparently had no worldly change with which to
carry on commerce of society.

Yet it was true, as Jim said, that his eye had in some way or other
been caught by Angelique; yet, at first, it was in the way of doubt
and inquiry, rather than approval.

Angelique was gifted by nature with a certain air of piquant vivacity,
which gave to her pretty person the effect of a French picture. In
heart and character she was a perfect little self-denying saint,
infinitely humble in her own opinion, devoted to doing good wherever
her hand could find it, and ready at any time to work her pretty
fingers to the bone in a good cause. But yet undeniably she had a
certain style and air of fashion not a bit like "St. Jerome's love"
or any of the mediæval saints. She could not help it. It was not her
fault that everything about her had a sort of facility for sliding
into trimly fanciful arrangement--that her little hats would sit
so jauntily on her pretty head, that her foot and ankle had such
a provoking neatness, and that her daintily gloved hands had a
hundred little graceful movements in a moment. Then her hair had
numberless mutinous little curly-wurlies, and flew of itself into
the golden mists of modern fashion; and her almond-shaped hazel eyes
had a trick of glancing like a bird's, and she looked always as if a
smile might break out at any moment, even on solemn occasions;--all
which were traits to inspire doubt in the mind of an earnest young
clergyman, in whose study the pictures of holy women were always lean,
long-favored, with eyes rolled up, and looking as if they never had
heard of a French hat or a pair of gaiter-boots. He watched her the
first Sunday that she sat at the head of her class, looking for all
the world like a serious-minded canary bird, and wondered whether so
evidently airy and worldly a little creature would adapt herself to
the earnest work before her; but she did succeed in holding a set
of unpromising street-girls in a sort of enchanted state while she
chippered to them in various little persuasive intonations, made them
say catechism after her, and then told them stories that were not in
any prayer-book. After a little observation, he was convinced that she
would "do." But the habit of watchfulness continued!

On this day, as Jim had suggested the subject, Alice somehow was moved
to remark the frequent direction of Mr. St. John's eyes.

On this Sunday Angelique had had the misfortune to don for the first
time a blue suit, with a blue velvet hat that gave a brilliant effect
to her golden hair. In front of this hat, nodding with every motion
of her head, was a blue and gold humming bird. She wore a cape of
ermine, and her class seemed quite dazzled by her appearance. Now Mr.
St. John had worked vigorously to get up his little chapel in blue and
gold, gorgeous to behold; but a blue and gold teacher was something
that there was no churchly precedent for--although if we look into
the philosophy of the thing there may be the same sort of influence
exercised over street barbarians by a prettily-dressed teacher as by a
prettily-dressed church. But as Mr. St. John gazed at Angelique, and
wondered whether it was quite the thing for her to look so striking,
he saw a little incident that touched his heart. There was a poor,
pinched, wan-visaged little girl, the smallest in the class, whose
face was deformed by the scar of a fearful burn. She seemed to be
in a trembling ecstacy at Angie's finery, and while she was busy
with her lesson stealthily laid her thin little hand upon the ermine
cape. Immediately she was sharply reproved by a coarse, strong, older
sister, who had her in charge, and her hand rudely twitched back.

Angie turned with bright, astonished eyes, and seeing the little
creature cowering with shame, beamed down on her a lovely smile,
stooped and kissed her.

"You like it, dear?" she said frankly. "Sit up and rest your cheek on
it, if you like," and Angie gathered her up to her side and went on
telling of the Good Shepherd.

Arthur St. John took the whole meaning of the incident. It carried
him back beyond the catacombs to something more authentic, even to
HIM who said, "Suffer little children to come unto me," and
he felt a strange, new throb under his surplice.

The throb alarmed him to the degree that he did not look in that
direction again through all the services, though he certainly did
remark certain clear, bird-like tones in the chants with a singular
feeling of nearness.

Just about this time, St. John, unconsciously to himself, was dealing
with forces of which no previous experience of life had given him a
conception. He passed out of his vestry and walked to his solitary
study in a kind of maze of vague reverie, in which golden hair and
hazel eyes seemed strangely blent with moral enthusiasms. "What a
lovely spirit!" he thought; and he felt as if he would far rather have
followed her out of the door than to have come to the cold, solitary
sanctities of his own room.

Mr. St. John's study was not the sanctum of a self-indulgent, petted
clergyman, but rather that of one who took life in very serious
earnest. His first experience of pastoral life having been among the
poor, the sight of the disabilities, wants, and dangers, the actual
terrible facts of human existence, had produced the effect on him that
they often do on persons of extreme sensibility and conscientiousness.
He could not think of retaining for himself an indulgence or a luxury
while wants so terrible stared him in the face; and his study,
consequently, was furnished in the ascetic rather than the esthetic
style. Its only ornaments were devotional pictures of a severe
mediæval type and the books of a well-assorted library. There was
no carpet; there were no lounging chairs or sofas of ease. In place
was a _prie dieu_ of approved antique pattern, on which stood two
wax candles and lay his prayer-book. A crucifix of beautiful Italian
workmanship stood upon it, and it was scrupulously draped with the
appropriate churchly color of the season.

As we have said, this room seemed strangely lonely as he entered it.
He was tired with work which had begun early in the morning, with
scarce an interval of repose, and a perversely shocking idea presented
itself to his mind--how pleasant it would be to be met on returning
from his labors by just such a smile as he had seen beaming down on
the poor little girl.

When he found himself out, and discovered that this was where his
thoughts were running to, he organized a manly resistance; and recited
aloud, with unction and emphasis, Moore's exquisite version of St.
Jerome's opinion of what the woman should be whom a true priest might

    "Who is the maid my spirit seeks,
      Through cold reproof and slander's blight?
    Has _she_ Love's roses on her cheeks?
      Is _hers_ an eye of this world's light?
    No--wan and sunk with midnight prayer
      Are the pale looks of her I love;
    Or if at times a light be there,
      Its beam is kindled from above.

    I choose not her, my heart's elect,
      From those who seek their Maker's shrine
    In gems and garlands proudly deck'd
      As if themselves were things divine.
    No--Heaven but faintly warms the breast
      That beats beneath a broider'd vail;
    And she who comes in glitt'ring vest
      To mourn her frailty, still is frail.

    Not so the faded form I prize
      And love, because its bloom is gone;
    The glory in those sainted eyes
      Is all the grace _her_ brow puts on.
    And ne'er was Beauty's dawn so bright,
      So touching, as that form's decay
    Which, like the altar's trembling light,
      In holy luster wastes away."

"Certainly, not in the least like _her_," he thought, and he resolved
to dismiss the little hat with the humming bird, the golden mist of
hair, and the glancing eyes, into the limbo of vain thoughts.

Mr. St. John, like many another ardent and sincere young clergyman,
had undertaken to be shepherd and bishop of souls, with more knowledge
on every possible subject than the nature of the men and women he was
to guide.

A fastidious taste, scholarly habits, and great sensitiveness, had
kept him out of society during all his collegiate days. His life had
been that of a devout recluse. He knew little of mankind, except
the sick and decrepid old women, whom he freely visited, and who
had for nothing the vision of his handsome face and the charm of
his melodious voice amid the dirt and discomforts of their sordid
poverty. But fashionable young women, the gay daughters of ease and
luxury, were to him rather objects of suspicion and apprehension than
of attraction. If they flocked to his church, and seemed eager to
enlist in church work under his leadership, he was determined that
there should be no sham in it. In sermon after sermon, he denounced in
stringent terms the folly and guilt of the sentimental religion which
makes playthings of the solemn rituals of the church, which wears the
cross as a glittering bauble on the outside, and shrinks from every
form of the real self-denial which it symbolizes.

Angelique, by nature the most conscientious of beings, had listened
to this eloquence with awful self-condemnation. She felt herself a
dreadfully sinful little girl, that she had lived so unprofitable a
life hitherto, and she undertook her Sunday-school labors with an
intense ardor. When she came to visit in the poor dwellings from
whence her pupils were drawn, and to see how devoid their life was of
everything which she had been taught to call comfort, she felt wicked
and selfish for enjoying even the moderate luxuries allowed by her
father's reduced position. The allowance that had been given her for
her winter wardrobe seemed to be more than she had a right to keep for
herself in face of the terrible destitutions she saw. Secretly she
set herself to see how much she could save from it. She had the gift
of a quick eye and of deft fingers; and so, after running through the
fashionable shops of dresses and millinery to catch the ideal of the
hour, she went to work for herself. A faded merino was ripped, dyed,
and, by the aid of clever patterns and skillful hands, transformed
into the stylish blue suit. The little blue velvet hat had been
gathered from the trimmings of an old dress. The humming bird had been
a necessary appendage, to cover the piecing of the velvet; and thus
the outfit which had called up so many alarmed scruples in Mr. St.
John's mind was as completely a work of self-denial and renunciation
as if she had come out in the black robe of a Sister of Charity.

The balance saved was, in her own happy thought, devoted to a
Christmas outfit for some of the poorest of her scholars, whose
mothers struggled hard and sat up late washing and mending to make
them decent to be seen in Sunday-school.

But how should Mr. St. John know this, which Angie had not even told
to her own mother and sisters? To say the truth, she feared that
perhaps she might be laughed at as Quixotic, or wanting in good
sense, in going so much beyond the usual standard in thoughtfulness
for others, and, at any rate, kept her own little counsel. Mr. St.
John knew nothing about women in that class of society, their works
and ways, where or how they got their dresses; but he had a general
impression that fashionable women were in heathen darkness, and spent
on dress fabulous amounts that might be given to the poor. He had
certain floating views in his mind, when further advanced in his
ministry, of instituting a holy sisterhood, who should wear gray
cloaks, and spend all their money and time in deeds of charity.

On the present occasion, he could see only the very patent fact that
Angelique's dress was stylish and becoming to an alarming degree;
that, taken in connection with her bright cheeks, her golden hair,
and glancing hazel eyes, she was to the full as worldly an object as
a blue-bird, or an oriole, or any of those brilliant creatures with
which it has pleased the Maker of all to distract our attention in our
pilgrimage through this sinful and dying world.

Angie was so far from assuming to herself any merit in this sacrifice
that her only thought was how little it would do. Had it been possible
and proper, she would have willingly given her ermine cape to the
poor, wan little child, to whom the mere touch of it was such a
strange, bewildering luxury; but she had within herself a spice of
practical common sense which showed her that our most sacred impulses
are not always to be literally obeyed.

Yet, while the little scarred cheek was resting on her ermine in such
apparent bliss, there mingled in with the thread of her instructions
to the children a determination next day to appraise cheap furs, and
see if she could not bless the little one with a cape of her very own.

Angie's quiet common sense always stood her in good stead in
moderating her enthusiasms, and even carried her at times to the
length of differing with the rector, to whom she looked up as an
angel guide. For example, when he had expatiated on the propriety and
superior sanctity of coming fasting to the holy communion, sensible
Angie had demurred.

"I must teach my class," she pleaded with herself, "and if I should
go all that long way up to church without my breakfast, I should have
such a sick-headache that I couldn't do anything properly for them.
I'm always cross and stupid when that comes on."

Thus Angie concluded by her own little light, in her own separate
way, that "to do good was better than sacrifice." Nevertheless, she
supposed all this was because she was so low down in the moral scale,
for did not Mr. St. John fast?--doubtless it gave him headache, but he
was so good he went on just as well with a headache as without--and
Angie felt how far she must rise to be like that.

       *       *       *       *       *

"There now," said Jim Fellows, triumphantly, to Alice, as they were
coming home, "didn't you see your angel of the churches looking in a
certain direction this morning?"

Alice had, as a last resort, a fund of reserved dignity which she
could draw upon whenever she was really and deeply in earnest.

"Jim," she said, without a smile, and in a grave tone, "I have
confidence that you are a true friend to us all."

"Well, I hope so," said Jim, wonderingly.

"And you are too kind-hearted and considerate to wish to give real

"Certainly I am."

"Well, then, promise me never to make remarks of that nature again,
to me or anybody else, about Angie and Mr. St. John. It would be more
distressing and annoying to _her_ than anything you could do; and the
dear child is now perfectly simple-hearted and unconstrained, and
cheerful as a bird in her work. The least intimation of this kind
might make her conscious and uncomfortable, and spoil it all. So
promise me now."

Jim eyed his fair monitress with the kind of wicked twinkle a naughty
boy gives to his mother, to ascertain if she is really in earnest, but
Alice maintained a brow of "sweet, austere composure," and looked as
if she expected to be obeyed.

"Well, I perfectly long for a hit at St. John," he said, "but if you
say so, so it must be."

"You promise on your honor?" insisted Alice.

"Yes, I promise on my honor; so there!" said Jim. "I won't even wink
an eyelid in that direction. I'll make a perfect stock and stone of
myself. But," he added, "Jim can have his thoughts for all that."

Alice was not exactly satisfied with the position assumed by her
disciple, she therefore proceeded to fortify him in grace by some
farther observations, delivered in a very serious tone.

"For my part," she said, "I think nothing is in such bad taste, to
say the least, as the foolish way in which some young people will
allow themselves to talk and think about an unmarried young clergyman,
while he is absorbed in duties so serious and has feelings so far
above their comprehension. The very idea or suggestion of a flirtation
between a clergyman and one of his flock is utterly repulsive and

Here Jim, with a meek gravity of face, simply interposed the question:

"What is flirtation?"

"You know, now, as well as I do," said Alice, with heightened color.
"You needn't pretend you don't."

"Oh," said Jim. "Well, then, I suppose I do." And the two walked on
in silence, for some way; Jim with an air of serious humility, as if
in a deep study, and Alice with cheeks getting redder and redder with

"Now, Jim," she said at last, "you are very provoking."

"I'm sure I give in to everything you say," said Jim, in an injured

"But you act just as if you were making fun all the time; and you know
you are."

"Upon my word I don't know what you mean. I have assented to every
word you said--given up to you hook and line--and now you're not
pleased. I tell you it's rough on a fellow."

"Oh, come," said Alice, laughing at the absurdity of the quarrel;
"there's no use in scolding you."

Jim laughed too, and felt triumphant; and just then they turned a
corner and met Aunt Maria coming from church.



When Mrs. Wouvermans met our young friends, she was just returning
home after performing her morning devotions in one of the most
time-honored churches in New York. She was as thorough and faithful in
her notions of religion as of housekeeping. She adhered strictly to
_her own_ church, in which undeniably none but ancient and respectable
families worshiped, and where she was perfectly sure that whatever of
dress or deportment she saw was certain to be the correct thing.

It was a church of eminent propriety. It was large and lofty, with
long-drawn aisles and excellent sleeping accommodations, where the
worshipers were assisted to dream of heaven by every appliance
of sweet music, and not rudely shaken in their slumbers by any
obtrusiveness on the part of the rector.

In fact, everything about the services of this church was thoroughly
toned down by good breeding. The responses of the worshipers were
given in decorous whispers that scarcely disturbed the solemn
stillness; for when a congregation of the best-fed and best-bred
people of New York on their knees declare themselves "miserable
sinners," it is a matter of delicacy to make as little disturbance
about it as possible. A well-paid choir of the finest professional
singers took the whole responsibility of praising God into their
own hands, so that the respectable audience were relieved from any
necessity of exertion in that department. As the most brilliant
lights of the opera were from time to time engaged to render the more
solemn parts of the service, flocks of sinners who otherwise would
never have entered a church crowded to hear these "morning stars sing
together;" let us hope, to their great edification. The sermons of the
rector, delivered in the dim perspective, had a plaintive, far-off
sound, as a voice of one "crying in the wilderness," and crying at
a very great distance. This was in part owing to the fact that the
church, having been built after an old English ecclesiastical model in
days when English churches were used only for processional services,
was entirely unadapted for any purposes of public speaking, so that a
man's voice had about as good chance of effect in it as if he spoke
anywhere in the thoroughfares of New York.

The rector, the Rev. Dr. Cushing, was a good, amiable man;
middle-aged, adipose, discreet, devoted to "our excellent liturgy,"
and from his heart opposed to anything which made trouble.

From the remote distances whence his short Sunday cry was uttered,
he appeared moved to send protests against two things: first, the
tendency to philosophical speculation and the skeptical humanitarian
theories of the age; and second, against Romanizing tendencies in the
church. The young missionary, St. John, who got up to early services
at conventual hours, and had prayers every morning and evening, and
communion every Sunday and every Saint's day; who fasted on all the
Ember Days, and called on other people to fast, and seemed literally
to pray without ceasing; appeared to him a bristling impersonation of
the Romanizing tendencies of the age, and one of those who troubled
Israel. The fact that many of the young ladies of the old established
church over which the good Doctor ministered were drawn to flock up to
the services of this disturber gave to him a realizing sense of the
danger to which the whole church was thereby exposed.

On this particular morning he had selected that well-worn text, "Are
not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters
of Jordan? May I not wash in them and be clean?"

Of course, like everybody who preaches on this text, he assumed that
Jordan was the true faith as _he_ preached it, and that the rivers of
Damascus were any and every faith that diverged from his own.

These improper and profane rivers were various. There was, of course,
modern skepticism with profuse allusions to Darwin; there were all
sorts of modern humanitarian and social reforms; and there was in the
bosom of the very church herself, he regretted to state, a disposition
to go off after the Abana and Pharpar of Romish abominations. All
these were to be avoided, and people were to walk in those quiet paths
of godliness in which they had been brought up to walk, and, in short,
do pretty much as they had been doing, undisturbed by new notions, or
movements, or ideas, whether out of the church or in.

And as he plaintively recited these exhortations, his voice coming in
a solemn and spectral tone adown the far-off aisles, it seemed to give
a dreamy and unreal effect even to the brisk modern controversies and
disturbances which formed his theme. The gorgeous, many-colored lights
streamed silently the while through the stained windows, turning
the bald head of one ancient church-warden yellow, and of another
green, and another purple, while the white feathers on Mrs. Demas's
bonnet passed gradually through successive tints of the rainbow; and
the audience dosed off at intervals, and awakened again to find the
rector at another head, and talking about something else; and so on
till the closing ascription to the Trinity, when everybody rose with
a solemn sense that something or other was over. The greater part of
the audience in the intervals of somnolency congratulated themselves
that _they_ were in no danger of running after new ideas, and thanked
God that they never speculated about philosophy. As to turning out to
daily morning and evening prayers, or fasting on any days whatsoever,
or going into any extravagant excesses of devotion and self-sacrifice,
they were only too happy to find that it was their duty to resist the
very suggestion as tending directly to Romanism.

The true Jordan, they were happy to find, ran directly through their
own particular church, and they had only to continue their stated
Sunday naps on its borders as before.

Mrs. Wouvermans, however, was not of a dozing or dreamy nature. Her
mind, such as it was, was always wide awake and cognizant of what
she was about. She was not susceptible of a dreamy state: to use an
idiomatic phrase, she was always up and dressed; everything in her
mental vision was clear cut and exact. The sermon was intensified in
its effect upon her by the state of the Van Arsdel pew, of which she
was on this Sunday the only occupant. The fact was, that the ancient
and respectable church in which she worshiped had just been through
a contest, in which Mr. Simons, a young assistant rector, had been
attempting to introduce some of the very practices hinted at in the
discourse. This fervid young man, full of fire and enthusiasm, had
incautiously been made associate rector for this church, at the time
when Dr. Cushing had been sent to Europe to recover from a bronchial
attack. He was young, earnest and eloquent, and possessed with the
idea that all those burning words and phrases in the prayer-book,
which had dropped like precious gems dyed with the heart's blood of
saints and martyrs, ought to mean something more than they seemed to
do for modern Christians. Without introducing any new ritual, he set
himself to make vivid and imperative every doctrine and direction
of the prayer-book, and to bring the drowsy company of pew-holders
somewhere up within sight of the plane of the glorious company of
apostles and the noble army of martyrs with whose blood it was sealed.
He labored and preached, and strove and prayed, tugging at the drowsy
old church, like Pegasus harnessed to a stone cart. He set up morning
and evening prayers, had communion every Sunday, and annoyed old rich
saints by suggesting that it was their duty to build mission chapels
and carry on mission works, after the pattern of St. Paul and other
irrelevant and excessive worthies, who in their time were accused of
turning the world upside down. Of course there was resistance and
conflict, and more life in the old church than it had known for years;
but the conflict became at last so wearisome that, on Mr. Cushing's
return from Europe, the young angel spread his wings and fled away to
a more congenial parish in a neighboring city.

But many in whom his labors had wakened a craving for something real
and earnest in religion strayed off to other churches, and notably the
younger members of the Van Arsdel family, to the no small scandal of
Aunt Maria.

The Van Arsdel pew was a perfect fort and intrenchment of
respectability. It was a great high, square wall-pew, well cushioned
and ample, with an imposing array of prayer-books; there was room in
it for a regiment of saints, and here Aunt Maria sat on this pleasant
Sunday listening to the dangers of the church, all alone. She felt, in
a measure, like Elijah the Tishbite, as if she only were left to stand
up for the altars of her faith.

Mrs. Wouvermans was not a person to let an evil run on very far
without a protest. "While she was musing the fire burned," and when
she had again mounted guard in the pew at afternoon service, and still
found herself alone, she resolved to clear her conscience; and so she
walked straight up to Nellie's, to see why none of them were at church.

"It's a shame, Nellie, a perfect shame! There wasn't a creature but
myself in our pew to-day, and good Dr. Cushing giving such a sermon
this morning!"

This to Mrs. Van Arsdel, whom she found luxuriously ensconced on a
sofa drawn up before the fire in her bedroom.

"Ah, well, the fact is, Maria, I had such a headache this morning,"
replied she, plaintively.

"Well, then, you ought to have made your husband and family go;
somebody ought to be there! It positively isn't respectable."

"Ah, well, Maria, my husband, poor man, gets so tired and worn out
with his week's work, I haven't a heart to get him up early enough for
morning service. Mr. Van Arsdel isn't feeling quite well lately; he
hasn't been out at all to-day."

"Well, there are the girls, Alice and Angelique and Marie, where are
they? All going up to that old Popish, ritualistic chapel, I suppose.
It's too bad. Now, that's all the result of Mr. Simons's imprudences.
I told you, in the time of it, just what it would lead to. It leads
straight to Rome, just as I said. Mr. Simons set them a-going, and
now he is gone and they go where they have _lighted_ candles on the
altar every Sunday, and Mr. St. John prays with his back to them, and
has processions, and wears all sorts of heathenish robes; and your
daughters go there, Nellie."

The very plumes in Aunt Maria's hat nodded with warning energy as she

"Are you _sure_ the candles are _lighted_?" said Mrs. Van Arsdel,
sitting up with a weak show of protest, and looking gravely into the
fire. "I was up there once, and there were candles on the altar, to be
sure, but they were not lighted."

"They _are_ lighted," said Mrs. Wouvermans, with awful precision.
"I've been up there myself and seen them. Now, how _can_ you let your
children run at loose ends so, Nellie? I only wish you had heard the
sermon this morning. He showed the danger of running into Popery; and
it really was enough to make one's blood run cold to hear how those
infidels are attacking the church, carrying all before them; and then
to think that the only true church should be all getting divided and
mixed up and running after Romanism! It's perfectly awful."

"Well, I don't know what we can do," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, helplessly.

"And we've got both kinds of trouble in our family. Eva's husband is
reading all What's-his-name's works--that evolution man, and all that;
and then Eva and the girls going after this St. John--and he's leading
them as straight to Rome as they can go."

Poor Mrs. Van Arsdel was somewhat fluttered by this alarming view of
the case, and clasped her pretty, fat, white hands, that glittered
with rings like lilies with dew-drops, and looked the image of gentle,
incapable perplexity.

"I don't believe Harry is an infidel," she said at last. "He has to
read Darwin and all those things, because he has to talk about them
in the magazine; and as to Mr. St. John--you know Eva is delicate and
can't walk so far as our church, and this is right round the corner
from her; and Mr. St. John is a good man. He does ever so much for the
poor, and almost supports a mission there; and the Bishop doesn't
forbid him, and if the Bishop thought there was any danger, he would."

"Well, I can't think, for my part, what our Bishop can be thinking
of," said Aunt Maria, who was braced up to an extraordinary degree
by the sermon of the morning. "I don't see how he can let them go on
so--with candles, and processions, and heathen robes, and all that.
I'd process 'em out of the church in quick time. If I were he, I'd
have all that sort of trumpery cleaned out at once; for just see where
it leads to! I may not be as good a Christian as I ought to be--we
all have our short-comings--but one thing I know, _I do hate the
Catholics_ and all that belongs to them; and I'd no more have such
goings on in _my_ diocese than I'd have moths in my carpet! I'd sweep
'em right out!" said Aunt Maria, with a gesture as if she held the
besom of destruction.

Mrs. Wouvermans belonged to a not uncommon class of Christians, whose
evidences of piety are more vigorous in hating than in loving. There
is no manner of doubt that she would have made good her word, had she
been a bishop.

"Oh, well, Maria," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, drawing her knit zephyr shawl
about her with a sort of consolatory movement, and settling herself
cosily back on her sofa, "it's evident that the Bishop doesn't see
just as you do, and I am content to allow what he does. As to the
girls, they are old enough to judge for themselves, and, besides, I
think they are doing some good by teaching in that mission school. I
hope so, at least. Anyway, I couldn't help it if I would. But, do tell
me, _did_ Mrs. Demas have on her new bonnet?"

"Yes, she did," said Aunt Maria, with vigor; "and I can tell you
it's a perfect fright, if it did come from Paris. Another thing I
saw--_fringes have come round again_! Mrs. Lamar's new cloak was
trimmed with fringe."

"You don't say so," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, contemplating all the
possible consequences of this change. "There was another reason why I
couldn't go out this morning," she added, rather irrelevantly--"I had
no bonnet. Adrienne couldn't get the kind of ruche necessary to finish
it till next week, and the old one is too shabby. Were the Stuyvesants

"Oh, yes, in full force. She has the same bonnet she wore last year,
done over with a new feather."

"Oh, well, the Stuyvesants can do as they please," said Mrs. Van
Arsdel; "everybody knows who they are, let them wear what they will."

"Emma Stuyvesant had a new Paris hat and a sacque trimmed with bullion
fringe," continued Aunt Maria. "I thought I'd tell you, because you
can use what was on your velvet dress over again; it's just as good as

"So I can"--and for a moment the great advantage of going punctually
to church appeared to Mrs. Van Arsdel. "Did you see Sophie Sidney?"

"Yes. She was gorgeous in a mauve suit with hat to match; but she has
gone off terribly in her looks--yellow as a lemon."

"Who else did you see?" said Mrs. Van Arsdel, who liked this topic of
conversation better than the dangers of the church.

"Oh, well, the Davenports were there, and the Livingstones, and of
course Polly Elmore, with her tribe, looking like birds of Paradise.
The amount of time and money and thought that family gives to dress
is enormous! John Davenport stopped and spoke to me coming out of
church. He says, 'Seems to me, Mrs. Wouvermans, your young ladies have
deserted us; you mustn't suffer them to stray from the fold,' says he.
I saw he had his eye on our pew when he first came into church."

"I think, Maria, you really are quite absurd in your suspicions about
that man," said Mrs. Van Arsdel. "I don't think there's anything in

"Well, just wait now and see. I know more about it than you do. If
only Alice manages her cards right, she can get that man."

"Alice will never manage cards for any purpose. She is too proud for
that. She hasn't a bit of policy."

"And there was that Jim Fellows waiting on her home. I met him this
morning, just as I turned the corner."

"Well, Alice tries to exert a good influence over Jim, and has got him
to teach in Mr. St. John's Sunday-school."

"Fiddlesticks! What does he care for Sunday-school?"

"Well, the girls all say that he does nicely. He has more influence
over that class of boys than anybody else would."

"Likely! Set a rogue to catch a rogue," said Aunt Maria. "It's his
being seen so much with Alice that I'm thinking of. You may depend
upon it, it has a bad effect."

Mrs. Van Arsdel dreaded the setting of her sister's mind in this
direction, so by way of effecting a diversion she rang and inquired
when tea would be ready. As the door opened, the sound of very merry
singing came up stairs. Angelique was seated at the piano and playing
tunes out of one of the Sunday-school manuals, and the whole set were
singing with might and main. Jim's tenor could be heard above all the

"Why, is that fellow here?" said Aunt Maria.

"Yes," said Mrs. Van Arsdel; "he very often stays to tea with us
Sunday nights, and he and the girls sing hymns together."

"Hymns!" said Aunt Maria. "I should call that a regular jollification
that they are having down there."

"Oh, well, Maria, they are singing children's tunes out of one of
the little Sunday-school manuals. You know children's tunes are so
different from old-fashioned psalm tunes!"

Just then the choir below struck up

    "Forward, Christian soldier,"

with a marching energy and a vivacity that was positively startling,
and, to be sure, not in the least like the old, long-drawn, dolorous
strains once supposed to be peculiar to devotion. In fact, one of the
greatest signs of progress in our modern tunes is the bursting forth
of religious thought and feeling in childhood and youth in strains gay
and airy as hope and happiness--melodies that might have been learned
of those bright little "fowls of the air," of whom the Master bade us
take lessons, so that a company of wholesome, healthy, right-minded
young people can now get together and express themselves in songs of
joy, and hope, and energy, such as childhood and youth ought to be
full of.

Let those who will talk of the decay of Christian faith in our day;
so long as songs about Jesus and his love are bursting forth on every
hand, thick as violets and apple blossoms in June, so long as the
little Sunday-school song books sell by thousands and by millions,
and spring forth every year in increasing numbers, so long will it
appear that faith is ever fresh-springing and vital. It was the little
children in the temple who cried, "Hosanna to the Son of David,"
when chief priests and scribes were scowling and saying, "Master,
forbid them," and doubtless the same dear Master loves to hear these
child-songs now as then.

At all events, our little party were having a gay and festive time
over two or three new collections of Clarion, Golden Chain, Golden
Shower, or what not, of which Jim had brought a pocketful for the
girls to try, and certainly the melodies as they came up were bright
and lively and pretty enough to stir one's blood pleasantly. In fact,
both Aunt Maria and Mrs. Van Arsdel were content for a season to leave
the door open and listen.

"You see," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, "Jim is such a pleasant, convenient,
obliging fellow, and has done so many civil turns for the family,
that we quite make him at home here; we don't mind him at all. It's
a pleasant thing, too, and a convenience, now the boys are gone, to
have some young man that one feels perfectly free with to wait on
the girls; and where there are so many of them, there's less danger
of anything particular. There's no earthly danger of Alice's being
specially interested in Jim. He isn't at all the person she would ever
think seriously of, though she likes him as a friend."

Mrs. Wouvermans apparently acquiesced for the time in this reasoning,
but secretly resolved to watch appearances narrowly this evening, and
if she saw what warranted the movement to take the responsibility
of the case into her own hands forthwith. Her perfect immutable and
tranquil certainty that she was the proper person to manage anything
within the sphere of her vision gave her courage to go forward in
spite of the fears and remonstrances of any who might have claimed
that they were parties concerned.

Mr. Jim Fellows was one of those persons in whom a sense of humor
operates as a subtle lubricating oil through all the internal
machinery of the mind, causing all which might otherwise have jarred
or grated to slide easily. Many things which would be a torture to
more earnest people were to him a source of amusement. In fact, humor
was so far a leading faculty that it was difficult to keep him within
limits of propriety and decorum, and prevent him from racing off at
unsuitable periods like a kitten after a pin-ball, skipping over all
solemnities of etiquette and decorum. He had not been so long intimate
in the family without perfectly taking the measure of so very active
and forth-putting a member as Aunt Maria. He knew exactly--as well
as if she had told him--how she regarded him, for his knowledge of
character was not the result of study, but that sort of clear sight
which in persons of quick perceptive organs seems like a second sense.
He saw into persons without an effort, and what he saw for the most
part only amused him.

He perceived immediately on sitting down to tea that he was under
the glance of Mrs. Wouverman's watchful and critical eye, and the
result was that he became full and ready to boil over with wicked
drollery. With an apparently grave face, without passing the limits
of the most ceremonious politeness and decorum, he contrived, by a
thousand fleeting indescribable turns and sliding intonations and
adroit movements to get all the girls into a tempest of suppressed
gaiety. There are wicked rogues known to us all who have this magical
power of making those around them burst out into indiscreet sallies
of laughter, while they retain the most edifying and innocent air
of gravity. Seated next to Aunt Maria, Jim managed, by most devoted
attention and reverential listening, to draw from her a zealous
analysis of the morning sermon, which she gave with the more heat and
vigor, hoping thereby to reprove the stray sheep who had thus broken

Her views of the danger of modern speculation, and her hearty measures
for its repression, were given with an earnestness that was from the

"I can't understand what anybody wants to have these controversies
for, and listen to these infidel philosophers. I never doubt. I never
have doubted. I don't think I have altered an iota of my religious
faith since I was seven years old; and if I had the control of things,
I'd put a stop to all this sort of fuss."

"You then would side with his Holiness, the Pope," said Jim. "That's
precisely the ground of his last allocution."

"No, indeed, I shouldn't. I think Popery is worse yet--it's terrible!
Dr. Cushing showed _that_ this morning, and it's the greatest danger
of our day; and I think that Mr. St. John of yours is nothing more
than a decoy duck to lead you all to Rome. I went up there once and
saw 'em genuflecting, and turning to the east, and burning candles,
and that's all I want to know about them."

"But the east is a perfectly harmless point of the compass," said Jim,
with suavity; "and though I don't want candles in the daytime myself,
yet I don't see what harm it does anybody to burn them."

"Why, that's just what the Catholics do," said Mrs. Wouvermans.

"Oh, that's it, is it!" said Jim, with a submissive air. "Mustn't we
do _any_ thing that Catholics do?"

"No, indeed," said Aunt Maria, falling into the open trap with
affecting naïveté.

"Then we mustn't pray at all," said Jim.

"Oh, pshaw! of course I didn't mean that. You know what I mean."

"Certainly, ma'am. I think I understand," said Jim, while Alice, who
had been looking reprovingly at him, led off the subject into another

But Mrs. Wouvermans was more gracious to Jim that evening than
usual, and when she rose to go home that young gentleman offered his
attendance, and was accepted with complacency.

Mrs. Wouvermans, in a general way, believed in what is called
Providence. That is to say, when any little matter fell out in
a manner exactly apposite to any of her schemes, she called it
providential. On the present occasion, when she found herself walking
in the streets of New York alone, in the evening, with a young man who
treated her with flattering deference, it could not but strike her
as a providential opportunity not to be neglected of fulfilling her
long-cherished intentions and giving a sort of wholesome check and
caution to the youth. So she began with infinite adroitness to prepare
the way. Jim, the while, who saw perfectly what she was aiming at,
assisting her in the most obliging manner.

After passing through sundry truisms about the necessity of caution
and regarding appearances, and thinking what people will say to
this and that, she proceeded to inform him that the report was in
circulation that he was engaged to Alice.

"The report does me entirely too much honor," said Jim. "But of course
if Miss Alice isn't disposed to deny it, I am not."

"Of course Miss Alice's friends will deny it," said Aunt Maria,
decisively. "I merely mentioned it to you that you may see the need of
caution. You know, of course, Mr. Fellows, that such reports stand in
the way of _others_ who might be disposed--well, you understand."

"Oh, perfectly, exactly, quite so," said Jim, who could be profuse of
his phrases on occasion, "and I'm extremely obliged to you for this
suggestion; undoubtedly your great experience and knowledge of the
ways of society will show you the exact way to deal with such things."

"You see," pursued Mrs. Wouvermans, in a confidential tone, "there is
at present a person every way admirable and desirable, who is thinking
very seriously of Alice; it's quite confidential, you know; but you
must be aware--of the danger."

"I perceive--a blight of the poor fellow's budding hopes and early
affections," said Jim, fluently; "well, though of course the very
suggestion of such a report in regard to me is flattery far beyond
my deserts, so that I can't be annoyed by it, still I should be
profoundly sorry to have it occasion any trouble to Miss Alice."

"I felt sure that you wouldn't be offended with me for speaking so
very plainly. I hope you'll keep it entirely private."

"Oh, certainly," said Jim, with the most cheerful goodwill. "When
ladies with your tact and skill in human nature talk to us young
fellows you _never_ give offense. We take your frankness as a favor."

Mrs. Wouvermans smiled with honest pride. Had she not been warned
against talking to this youth as something that was going to be of
most explosive tendency? How little could Nellie, or Eva, or any of
them, appreciate her masterly skill! She really felt in her heart
disposed to regret that so docile a pupil, one so appreciative of her
superior abilities, was not a desirable matrimonial _parti_. Had Jim
been a youth of fortune she felt that she could have held up both
hands for him.

"He really _is_ agreeable," was her thought, as she shut the door upon


"_A spray of ivy that was stretching towards the window had been drawn
back, and forced to wreathe itself around a picture._"--p. 131.]



Harry went out to his office, and Eva commenced the morning labors of
a young housekeeper.

What are they? Something in their way as airy and pleasant as the
light touches and arrangements which Eve gave to her bower in
Paradise--gathering-up stray rose-leaves, tying up a lily that the
rain has bent, looping a honeysuckle in a more graceful festoon, and
meditating the while whether she shall have oranges and figs and
grapes, or guavas and pineapples, for her first course at dinner.

Such, according to Father Milton, were the ornamental duties of the
first wife, while her husband went out to his office in some distant
part of Eden.

But Eden still exists whenever two young lovers set up housekeeping,
even in prosaic New York; only our modern Eves wear jaunty little
morning caps and fascinating wrappers and slippers, with coquettish
butterfly bows. Eva's morning duties consisted in asking Mary what
they had better have for dinner, giving here and there a peep into the
pantry, re-arranging the flower vases, and flecking the dust from her
pictures and statuettes with a gay and glancing brush of peacock's
feathers. Sometimes the morning arrangements included quite a change;
as, this particular day, when, on mature consideration, a spray of ivy
that was stretching towards the window had been drawn back and forced
to wreathe itself around a picture, and a spray of nasturtium, gemmed
with half-opened golden buds, had been trained in its place in the

One may think this a very simple matter, but whoever knows all the
resistance which the forces of matter and the laws of gravitation make
to the simplest improvement in one's parlor, will know better.

It required a scaffolding made of a chair and an ottoman to reach the
top of the pictures, and a tack-hammer and little tacks. Then the
precise air of arrangement and exact position had to be studied from
below, after the tacks were driven, and that necessitated two or three
descents from the perch to review, and the tumbling of the ottoman to
the floor, and the calling of Mary in to help, and to hold the ottoman
firm while the persevering little artist finished her work. It is by
ups and downs like these, by daily labor of modern Eves, each in their
little paradises, O ye Adams! that your houses have that "just right"
look that makes you think of them all day, and long to come back to
them at night.

"Somehow or other," you say, "I don't know how it is, my wife's
things have a certain air; her vines grow just as they ought to, her
flowers blossom in just the right places, and her parlors always look
pleasant." You don't know how many periods of grave consideration, how
many climbings on chairs and ottomans, how many doings and undoings
and shiftings and changes produce the appearance that charms you.
Most people think that flower vases are very simple affairs; but the
keeping of parlors dressed with flowers is daily work for an hour or
two for any woman. Nor is it work in vain. No altar is holier than the
home altar, and the flowers that adorn it are sacred.

Eva was sitting, a little tired with her strenuous exertions,
contemplating her finished arrangement with satisfaction, when the
door-bell rang, and Alice came in.

"Why, Allie, dear, how nice of you to be down here so early! I was
just wanting somebody to show my changes to. Look there. See how I've
looped that ivy round mother's picture; isn't it sweet?" and Eva
caressingly arranged a leaf or two to suit her.

"Charming!" said Alice, but with rather an abstracted, preoccupied

"And look at this nasturtium; it's full of buds. See, the yellow is
beginning to show. I've fastened it in a wreath around the window, so
that the sun will shine through the blossoms."

"It's beautiful," said Alice, still absently and nervously playing
with her bonnet strings.

"Why, darling, what's the matter?" said Eva, suddenly noticing signs
of some unusual feeling. "What ails you?"

"Well," said Alice, hastily untying her bonnet strings and throwing it
down on the sofa, "I've come up to talk with you. I hope," she said,
flushing crimson with vexation, "that Aunt Maria is satisfied now; she
is the most exasperating woman I ever knew or heard of!"

"Dear me, Allie, what has she done now?"

"Well, what do you think? Last Sunday she came to our house to tea,
drawn up in martial array and ready to attack us all for not going
to the old church--that stupid, dead old church, where people do
nothing but doze and wake up to criticise each other's bonnets--but
you really would think to hear Aunt Maria talk that there was a second
Babylonian captivity or something of that sort coming on, and we were
getting it up. You see, Dr. Cushing has got excited because some of
the girls are going up to the mission church, and it's led him to an
unwonted exertion; and Aunt Maria quite waked up and considers herself
an apostle and prophet. I wish you could have heard her talk. It's
enough to make any cause ridiculous to have one defend it as she
did. You ought to have heard that witch of a Jim Fellows arguing with
her and respectfully leading her into all sorts of contradictions and
absurdities till I stopped him. I really wouldn't let him lead her to
make such a fool of herself."

"Oh, well, if that's all, Allie, I don't think you need to trouble
your head," said Eva. "Aunt Maria, of course, will hold on to her old
notions, and her style of argument never was very consecutive."

"But that isn't all. Oh, you may be sure I didn't care for what she
said about the church. I can have my opinion and she hers, on that

"Well, then, what is the matter?"

"Well, if you'll believe me, she has actually undertaken to tutor Jim
Fellows in relation to his intimacy with me."

"Oh, Allie," groaned Eva, "has she done that? I begged and implored
her to let that matter alone."

"Then she's been talking with you, too! and I wonder how many more,"
said Alice in tones of disgust.

"Yes, she did talk with me in her usual busy, imperative way, and told
me all that Mrs. Thus-and-so and Mr. This-and-that said--but people
are always saying things, and if they don't say one thing they will
another. I tried to persuade her to let it alone, but she seemed to
think you must be talked with; so I finally told her that if she'd
leave it to me I would say all that was necessary. I did mean to say
something, but I didn't want to trouble you. I thought there was no

"Well, you see," said Alice, "Jim went home with her that night, and I
suppose she thought the opportunity too good to be neglected. I don't
know just what she said to him, but I know it was about me."

"How do you know? Did Jim tell you?"

"No, indeed; catch him telling me! He knows too much for that. Aunt
Maria let it out herself."

"Let it out herself?"

"Yes; she blundered into it before she knew what she was saying, and
betrayed herself; and then, when I questioned her, she had to tell me."

"How came she to commit herself so?"

"It was just this. You know the little party Aunt Maria had Tuesday
evening,--the one you couldn't come to on account of that Stephens

"Yes; what of it?"

"I really suspect that was all got up in the interest of one of Aunt
Maria's schemes to bring me and that John Davenport together. At any
rate, there he was, and his sister; and really, Eva, his treatment of
me was so marked that it was quite disagreeable. Why, the man seemed
really infatuated. His manner was so that everybody remarked it;
and the colder and more distant I grew, the more it increased. Aunt
Maria was delighted. She plumed herself and rushed round in the most
satisfied way, while I was only provoked. I saw he was going to ask to
wait on me home, and so I fell back on a standing engagement that I
have with Jim, to go with me whenever anybody asks that I don't want
to go with. Jim and I have always had that understanding in dancing
and at parties, so that we can keep clear of disagreeable partners and
people. I was determined I wouldn't walk home with that man, and I
told Jim privately that he was to be on duty, and he took the hint in
a minute. So when Mr. Davenport wound up his attentions by asking if
he should have the pleasure of seeing me home, I told him with great
satisfaction that I was engaged, and off I walked with Jim. The girls
were in a perfect state of giggle, to see Aunt Maria's indignation."

"And so really you don't like this Mr. Davenport?"

"Like him! Indeeed I don't. In the first place, it isn't a year yet
since his wife died; and everybody was pitying him. He could hardly be
kept alive, and fainted away, and had to have hot bottles at his feet,
and all that. All the old ladies were rolling up their eyes; such a
sighing and sympathizing for John Davenport; and now, here he is!"

"Poor man!" said Eva, "I suppose he is lonesome."

"Yes. I suppose, as Irving says, the greatest compliment he can pay
to his former wife is to display an eagerness for another; but his
attentions are simply disagreeable to me."

"After all, the worst crime you allege seems to be that he is too
sensitive to your attractions."

"Yes; and shows it in a very silly way--making me an object of remark!
He may be very nice and very worthy, and all that; but in any such
relation as that he is so unpleasant to me! I can't _bear_ him, and
I'm not going to be talked or maneuvered into anything that might
commit me to even consider him. I remember the trouble you had for
being persuaded to let Wat Sydney dangle after you. I will not have
anything of the kind. I am a decided young woman, and know my own

"Well, how did you learn about Aunt Maria and Jim?"

"How? Oh, well, the next day comes Aunt Maria to talk with Mamma, who
wasn't there, by the bye; Papa hates so to go out that she has got to
staying at home with him. But the next day came an exaggerated picture
of my triumphs to Mamma and a lecture to me on my bad behavior. The
worst of all, she said, was the very marked thing of my going home
with Jim; and in her heat she let out that she had spoken to him and
warned him of what folks would think and say of such appearances. I
_was_ angry then, and I expressed my mind freely to Aunt Maria, and
we had a downright quarrel. I said things I ought not to say, just as
one always does, and--now isn't it disagreeable? Isn't it _dreadful_?"
said Alice, with the earnestness of a young girl whose whole nature
goes into her first trouble. "Nothing could be nicer and more just
what a thing ought to be than my friendship with Jim. I have influence
over him and I can do him good, and I enjoy his society, and the kind
of easy, frank understanding that there is between us, that we can say
_any_ thing to each other; and what business is it of anybody's? It's
our own affair, and no one's else."

"Certainly it is," said Eva, sympathizingly.

"And Aunt Maria said that folks were saying that if we weren't engaged
we ought to be. What a hateful thing to say! As if there were any
impropriety in a friendship between a gentleman and a lady. Why may
not a gentleman and a lady have a special friendship as well one lady
with another, or one gentleman with another? I don't see."

"Neither do I," said Eva, responsively.

"Now," said Alice, "the suggestion of marriage and all that is
disagreeable to me. I'm thinking of nothing of the kind. I like Jim.
Well, I don't mind saying to you, Eva, who can understand me, that
I _love_ him, in a sort of way. I am interested for him. I know his
good points and I know his faults, and I'm at liberty to speak to him
with perfect freedom, and I think there is nothing so good for a young
man as such a friendship. We girls, you know, dear, can do a great
deal for young men if we try. We are not tempted as they are; we have
not their hard places and trials to walk through, and we can make
allowances, and they will receive things from us that they wouldn't
from any one else, and they show us just the best side of their
nature, which is the truest side of everybody."

"Certainly, Alice. Harry was saying only a little while ago that
your influence would make a man of Jim; and I certainly think he has
wonderfully improved of late--he seems more serious."

"We've learned to know him better; that's all," said Alice. "Young
men rattle and talk idly to girls when they don't feel acquainted and
haven't real confidence in their friendship, just as a sort of blind.
They don't dare to express their real, deepest feelings."

"Well, I didn't know that Jim had any," said Eva, incautiously.

"Why, Eva, how unjust you are to Jim!" said Alice, with flushing
cheeks. "I shouldn't have thought it of you; so many kind things as
Jim has done for us all!"

"My darling, I beg Jim's pardon with all my heart," said Eva, laughing
to herself at this earnest championship. "I didn't mean quite what I
said, but you know, Alice, his sort of wild rattling way of talking
over all subjects, so that you can't tell which is jest and which is

"Oh! _I_ can always tell," said Alice. "I always can make him come
down to the earnest part of him, and Jim has, after all, really good,
sensible ideas of life and aspirations after what is right and true.
He has the temptation of having been a sort of spoiled child. People
do so like a laugh that they set him on and encourage him in saying
all sorts of things he ought not. People have very little principle
about that. So that anyone amuses them, they never consider whether he
does right to talk as he does; they'll set Jim up to talk because it
amuses them, and then go away and say what a rattle he is, and that he
has no real principle or feeling. They just make a buffoon of him,
and they know nothing about the best part of him."

"Well, Alice, I dare say you do see more of Jim's real nature than any
of us."

"Oh! indeed I do; and I know how to appeal to it. Even when I can't
help laughing at things he ought not to say--and sometimes they are so
droll I can't help it--afterwards I have _my_ say and tell him really
and soberly just what I think, and you've no idea how beautifully he
takes it. Oh, Jim really is good at heart, there's no doubt about

"Do you think Aunt Maria's meddling will make trouble between you?"

"No! only that it's an awkward, disagreeable thing to speak of; but I
shall speak to Jim about it and let him understand, if he doesn't now,
just what Aunt Maria is, and that he mustn't mind anything she says.
I feel rather better, now I've relieved my mind to you, and perhaps
shall have more charity for Aunt Maria."

"After all, poor soul," said Eva, "it's her love for us that leads
her to vex us in all these ways. She can't help planning and fussing
and lying awake nights for us. She failed in getting a splendid
marriage for me, and now she's like Bruce's spider, up and at her web
again weaving a destiny for you. It's in her to be active; she has no
children; her house don't half satisfy her as a field of enterprise,
and she, of course, is taking care of Mamma and our family. If Mamma
had not been just the gentle, lovely, yielding woman she is, Aunt
Maria never would have got such headway in the family and taken such
airs about us."

"She perfectly tyrannizes over Mamma," said Alice. "She's always
coming up to lecture her for not doing this, that, or the other thing.
Now all this talk about our going to Mr. St. John's church;--poor,
dear, little Mamma is as willing to let us do as we please as the
flowers are to blossom, and then Aunt Maria talks as if she were
abetting a conspiracy against the church. I know that we are all
living more serious, earnest lives for Mr. St. John's influence. It
may be that he is going too far in certain directions; it may be that
in the long run such things tend to dangerous extremes, but I don't
see any real harm in them so far, and I find real good."

"Well, you know, dear, that Harry isn't of our church--he is a
Congregationalist--but his theory is that Christian people should
join with any other Christian people who they see are really working
in earnest to do good. This church is near by us, where we can
conveniently go, and as I have my house to attend to and am not strong
you know, that is quite a consideration. I know Harry don't agree
with Mr. St. John at all about his ideas of the church, and he thinks
he carries some of his ceremonies too far; but, on the whole, he
really is doing a great deal of practical good, and Harry is willing
to help him. I think it's just lovely in Harry to do so. It is real

"I wish," said Alice, "that Mr. St. John were a little freer in his
way. There is a sort of solemnity about him that is depressing, and
it seems to set Jim off in a spirit of contradiction. He says Mr. St.
John stirs up the evil within him, and makes him long to break over
bounds and say something wicked, just to shock him."

"I've had that desire to shock very proper people in the days of my
youth," said Eva. "I don't know what it comes from."

"I think," said Alice, "that, to be sure, this is an irreverent age,
and New York is an irreverent place; but yet I think people may carry
the outside air of reverence too far. Don't you? They impose a sort of
constraint on everybody around them that keeps them from knowing the
people they associate with. Mr. St. John, for instance, knows nothing
about Jim, he never acts himself out before him."

"Oh, dear me," said Eva, "fancy what he would think if he should see
Jim in one of his frolics."

"And yet, Jim, in his queer way, appreciates Mr. St. John," said
Alice. "He says he's 'a brick' after all, by which he means that he
does good, honest work; and Jim has been enough around among the poor
of New York, in his quality of newspaper writer, to know when a man
does good among them. If Mr. St. John only could learn to be indulgent
to other people's natures he might do a great deal for Jim."

"I rather think Jim will be your peculiar parish for some time to
come," said Eva with a smile, "but Harry and I are projecting schemes
to draw Mr. St. John into more general society. That's one of the
things we are going to try to do in our 'evenings.' I don't believe
he has ever been into general society at all; he ought to hear the
talk of his day--he talks and feels and thinks more in the past than
the present; he's all the while trying to restore an ideal age of
reverence and devotion, but he ought to know the real age he lives in.
If we could get him to coming to our house every week, and meeting
real live men, women and girls of to-day and entering a little into
their life, it would do him good."

"I suppose he'd be afraid of any indulgence!"

"We must not put it to him as an indulgence, but a good hard duty,"
said Eva; "we should never catch him with an indulgence."

"When are you going to begin?"

"I've been talking with Mary about it, and I rather think I shall take
next Thursday for the first. I shall depend on you and the girls to
help me keep the thing balanced, and going on just right. Jim must be
moderated, and kept from coming out too strong, and everybody must be
made to have a good time, so that they'll want to come again. You see
we want to get them to coming every week, so that they will all know
one another by-and-by, and get a sort of home feeling about our rooms;
such a thing is possible, I think."

The conversation now meandered off into domestic details, not further
traceable in this chapter.



"Well, Harry," said Eva, when they were seated at dinner, "Alice was
up at lunch with me this morning, in such a state! It seems, after
all, Aunt Maria could not contain her zeal for management, and has
been having an admonitory talk with Jim Fellows about his intimacy
with Alice."

"Now, I declare that goes beyond me," said Harry, laying down his
knife and fork. "That woman's impertinence is really stupendous. It
amounts to the sublime."

"Doesn't it? Alice was in such a state about it; but we talked the
matter down into calmness. Still, Harry, I'm pretty certain that Alice
is more seriously interested in Jim than she knows of. Of course she
thinks it's all friendship, but she is so sensitive about him, and if
you make even the shadow of a criticism she flames up and defends him.
You ought to see."

"Grave symptoms," said Harry.

"But as she says she is not thinking nor wanting to think of

"Any more than a certain other young lady was, with whom I cultivated
a friendship some time ago," said Harry, laughing.

"Just so," said Eva; "I plume myself on my forbearance in listening
gravely to Alice and not putting in any remarks; but I remembered old
times and had my suspicions. _We_ thought it was friendship, didn't
we, Harry? And I used to be downright angry if anybody suggested
anything else. Now I think Allie's friendship for Jim is getting to
be of the same kind. Oh, she knows him _so_ well! and she understands
him so perfectly! and she has _so_ much influence over him! and
they have such perfect comprehension of each other! and as to his
faults, oh, she understands all about them! But, mind you, nobody
must criticise him but herself--that's quite evident. I did make a
blundering remark or so; but I found it wasn't at all the thing, and I
had to beat a rapid retreat, I assure you."

"Well, poor girl! I hope you managed to console her."

"Oh, I was sympathetic and indignant, and after she had poured out her
griefs she felt better; and then I put in a soothing word for Aunt
Maria, poor woman, who is only monomaniac on managing our affairs."

"Yes," said Harry, "forgiveness of enemies used to be the _ultima
thule_ of virtue; but I rather think it will have to be forgiveness of
friends. I call the man a perfect Christian that can always forgive
his friends."

"The fact is, Aunt Maria ought to have had a great family of her
own--twelve or thirteen, to say the least. If Providence had
vouchsafed her eight or nine ramping, roaring boys, and a sprinkling
of girls, she would have been a splendid woman and we should have had
better times."

"She puts me in mind of the story of the persistent broomstick that
would fetch water," said Harry; "we are likely to be drowned out by

"Well, we can accept her for a whetstone to sharpen up our Christian
graces on," said Eva. "So, let her go. I was talking over our
projected evening with Alice, and we spent some time discussing that."

"When are you going to begin?" said Henry. "'Well begun is half done,'
you know."

Said Eva, "I've been thinking over what day is best, and talking
about it with Mary. Now, we can't have it Monday, there's the washing,
you know; and Tuesday and Wednesday come baking and ironing."

"Well, then, what happens Thursday?"

"Well, then, it's precisely Thursday that Mary and I agreed on. We
both made up our minds that it was the right day. One wouldn't want it
on Friday, you know, and Saturday is too late; besides, Mr. St. John
never goes out Saturday evenings."

"But what's the objection to Friday?"

"Oh, the unlucky day. Mary wouldn't hear of beginning anything on
Friday, you know. Then, besides, Mr. St. John, I suspect, fasts every
Friday. He never told me so, of course, but they say he does; at all
events, I'm sure he wouldn't come of a Friday evening, and I want to
be sure and have _him_, of all people. Now, you see, I've planned it
all beautifully. I'm going to have a nice, pretty little tea-table in
one corner, with a vase of flowers on it, and I shall sit and make
tea. That breaks the stiffness, you know. People talk first about the
tea and the china, and whether they take cream and sugar, and so on,
and the gentlemen help the ladies. Then Mary will make those delicate
little biscuits of hers and her charming sponge-cake. It's going to
be perfectly quiet, you see--from half-past seven till eleven--early
hours and simple fare, 'feast of reason and flow of soul.'"

"Quite pastoral and Arcadian," said Harry. "When we get it going it
will be the ideal of social life. No fuss, no noise; all the quiet
of home life with all the variety of company; people seeing each
other till they get really intimate and have a genuine interest in
meeting each other; not a mere outside, wild beast show, as it is when
people go to parties to gaze at other people and see how they look in

"I feel a little nervous at first," said Eva; "getting people together
that are so diametrically opposed to each other as Dr. Campbell and
Mr. St. John, for instance. I'm afraid Dr. Campbell will come out with
some of his terribly free speaking, and then Mr. St. John will be so
shocked and distressed."

"Then Mr. St. John must get over being shocked and distressed. Mr.
St. John needs Dr. Campbell," said Harry. "He is precisely the man he
ought to meet, and Dr. Campbell needs Mr. St. John. The two men are
intended to help each other: each has what the other wants, and they
ought to be intimate."

"But you see, Dr. Campbell is such a dreadful unbeliever!"

"In a certain way he is no more an unbeliever than Mr. St. John.
Dr. Campbell is utterly ignorant of the higher facts of moral
consciousness--of prayer and communion with God--and therefore he
doesn't believe in them. St. John is equally ignorant of some of the
most important facts of the body he inhabits. He does not believe in
them--ignores them."

"Oh, but now, Harry, I didn't think that of you--that you could put
the truths of the body on a level with the truths of the soul."

"Bless you, darling, since the Maker has been pleased to make the soul
so dependent on the body, how can I help it? Why, just see here; come
to this very problem of saving a soul, which is a minister's work. I
insist there are cases where Dr. Campbell can do more towards it than
Mr. St. John. He was quoting to me only yesterday a passage from Dr.
Wigan, where he says, 'I firmly believe I have more than once changed
the moral character of a boy by leeches applied to the inside of his

"Why, Harry, that sounds almost shocking."

"Yet it's a fact--a physiological fact--that some of the worst vices
come through a disordered body, and can be cured only by curing the
body. So long as we are in this mortal state, our souls have got to
be saved _in_ our bodies and by the laws of our bodies; and a doctor
who understands them will do more than a minister who doesn't. Why,
just look at poor Bolton. The trouble that he dreads, the fear that
blasts his life, that makes him afraid to marry, is a disease of the
body. Fasting, prayer, sacraments, couldn't keep off an acute attack
of dipsomania; but a doctor might."

"Oh, Harry, do you think so? Well, I must say I do think Mr. St. John
is as ignorant as a child about such matters, if I may judge from the
way he goes on about his own health. He ignores his body entirely,
and seems determined to work as if he were a spirit and could live on
prayer and fasting."

"Which, as he isn't a spirit, won't do," said Harry. "It may end in
making a spirit of him before the time."

"But don't you think the disinterestedness he shows is perfectly
heroic?" said Eva.

"Oh, certainly!" said Harry. "The fact is, I should despair of St.
John if he hadn't set himself at mission work. He is naturally so
ideal, and so fastidious, and so fond of rules, and limits, and order,
that if he hadn't this practical common-sense problem of working among
the poor on his hands, I should think he wouldn't be good for much.
But drunken men and sorrowful wives, ragged children, sickness, pain,
poverty, teach a man the common-sense of religion faster than anything
else, and I can see St. John is learning sense for everybody but
himself. If he only don't run his own body down, he'll make something

"I think, Harry," said Eva, "he is a little doubtful of whether you
really go with him or not. I don't think he knows how much you like

"Go with him! of course I do. I stand up for St. John and defend him.
So long as a man is giving his whole life to hard work among the poor
and neglected he may burn forty candles, if he wants to, for all I
care. He may turn to any point of the compass he likes, east, west,
north, or south, and wear all the colors of the rainbow if it suits
him, and I won't complain. In fact, I like processions, and chantings,
and ceremonies, if you don't get too many of them. I think, generally
speaking, there's too little of that sort of thing in our American
life. In the main, St. John preaches good sermons; that is, good,
manly, honest talks to people about what they need to know. But then
his mind is tending to a monomania of veneration. You see he has a
mystical, poetic element in it that may lead him back into the old
idolatries of past ages, and lead weak minds there after him; that's
why I want to get him acquainted with such fellows as Campbell. He
needs to learn the common sense of life. I think he is capable of it,
and one of the first things he has got to learn is not to be shocked
at hearing things said from other people's points of view. If these
two men could only like each other, so as to listen tolerantly and
dispassionately to what each has to say, they might be everything to
each other."

"Well, how to get a mordant to unite these two opposing colors," said

"That's what you women are for--at least such women as you. It's your
mission to interpret differing natures--to bind, and blend, and unite."

"But how shall we get them to like each other?" said Eva. "Both are so
very intense and so opposite. I suppose Dr. Campbell would consider
most of Mr. St. John's ideas stuff and nonsense; and I know, as well
as I know anything, that if Mr. St. John should hear Dr. Campbell
talking as he talks to you, he would shut up like a flower--he would
retire into himself and not come here any more."

"Oh, Eva, that's making the man too ridiculous and unmanly. Good
gracious! Can't a man who thinks he has God's truth--and _such_
truth!--listen to opposing views without going into fits? It's like
a soldier who cannot face guns and wants to stay inside of a clean,
nice fort, making pretty stacks of bayonets and piling cannon balls in
lovely little triangles."

"Well, Harry, I know Mr. St. John isn't like that. I don't think he's
cowardly or unmanly, but he is very reverent, and, Harry, you are
_very_ free. You do let Dr. Campbell go on so, over everything. It
quite shocks me."

"Just because my faith is so strong that I can afford it. I can see
when he is mistaken; but he is a genuine, active, benevolent man,
following truth when he sees it, and getting a good deal of it, and
most important truth, too. We've got to get truth as we can in this
world, just as miners dig gold out of the mine with all the quartz,
and dirt, and dross; but it pays."

"Well, now, I shall try my skill, and do my best to dispose these two
refractory chemicals to a union," said Eva. "I'll tell you how let's
do. I'll interest Dr. Campbell in Mr. St. John's health. I'll ask him
to study him and see if he can't take care of him. I'm sure he needs
taking care of."

"And," said Harry, "why not interest Mr. St. John in Dr. Campbell's
soul? Why shouldn't he try to convert him from the error of his ways?"

"That would be capital," said Eva. "Let each convert the other. If we
could put Dr. Campbell and Mr. St. John together, what a splendid man
we could make of them!"

"Try your best, my dear; but meanwhile I have three or four hours'
writing to do this evening."

"Well, then, settle yourself down, and I will run over and expound my
plans to the good old ladies over the way. I am getting up quite an
intimacy over there; Miss Dorcas is really vastly entertaining. It's
like living in a past age to hear her talk."

"You really have established a fashion of rushing in upon them at all
sorts of hours," said Harry.

"Yes, but they like it. You have no idea what nice things they say to
me. Even old Dinah quivers and giggles with delight the minute she
sees me--poor old soul! You see they're shut up all alone in that
musty old house, like enchanted princesses, and gone to sleep there;
and I am the predestined fairy to wake them up!"

Eva said this as she was winding a cloud of fleecy worsted around her
head, and Harry was settling himself at his writing-table in a little
alcove curtained off from the parlor.

"Don't keep the old ladies up too late," said Harry.

"Never you fear," said Eva. "Perhaps I shall stay to see Jack's feet
washed and blanket spread. Those are solemn and impressive ceremonies
that I have heard described, but never witnessed."

It was a bright, keen, frosty, starlight evening, and when Eva had
rung the door-bell on the opposite side, she turned and looked at the
play of shadow and firelight on her own window-curtains.

Suddenly she noticed a dark form of a woman coming from an alley back
of the house, and standing irresolute, looking at the windows. Then
she drew near the house, and seemed trying to read the name on the

There was something that piqued Eva's curiosity about these
movements, and just as the door was opening behind her into the
Vanderheyden house, the strange woman turned away, and as she turned,
the light of the street-lamp flashed strongly on her face. Its
expression of haggard pain and misery was something that struck to
Eva's heart, though it was but a momentary glimpse, as she turned to
go into the house; for, after all, the woman was nothing to her, and
the glimpse of her face was purely an accident, such as occurs to one
hundreds of times in the streets of a city.

Still, like the sound of a sob or a cry from one unknown, the misery
of those dark eyes struck painfully to Eva's heart; as if to _her_,
young, beloved, gay and happy, some of the ever-present but hidden
anguish of life--the great invisible mass of sorrow--had made an

But she went in and shut the door, gave one sigh and dismissed it.



A woman has two vernal seasons in her life. One is the fresh,
sweet-brier, apple-blossom spring of girlhood--dewy, bird-singing,
joyous and transient. The other is the spring of young marriage,
before the austere labors and severe strains of real life commence.

It is the spring of wedding presents, of first housekeeping, of
incipient, undeveloped matronage. If the young girl is charming, with
her dawning airs of womanhood, her inexperienced naïve assumptions,
her grave, ignorant wisdom, at which elders smile indulgently--so is
the new-made wife with her little matronly graces, her pretty sense of
responsibility in her new world of power.

In the first period, the young girl herself is the object of attention
and devotion. She is the permitted center of all eyes, the leading
star of her own little drama of life. But with marriage the center
changes. Self begins to melt away into something higher. The girl
recognizes that it is no longer her individuality that is the chief
thing, but that she is the priestess and minister of a family state.
The _home_ becomes her center, and to her home passes the charm that
once was thrown around her person. The pride that she may have had in
self becomes a pride in her home. Her home is the new impersonation of
herself; it is her throne, her empire. How often do we see the young
wife more sensitive to the adornment of her house than the adornment
of her person, willing even to retrench and deny in the last, that
her home may become more cheerful and attractive! A pretty set of
china for her tea-table goes farther with her than a gay robe for
herself. She will sacrifice ribbons and laces for means to adorn the
sacred recesses which have become to her an expansion of her own being.

The freshness of a new life invests every detail of the freshly
arranged _ménage_. Her china, her bronzes, her pictures, her silver,
her table cloths and napkins, her closets and pantries, all speak
to her of a new sense of possession--a new and different hold on
life. Once she was only a girl, moving among things that belonged
to mamma and papa; now she is a matron, surrounded everywhere by
things that are her own--a princess in her own little kingdom. Nor is
the charm lessened that she no longer uses the possessive singular,
but says _our_. And behind those pronouns, _we_ and _our_, what
pleasant security! What innocent pharisaism of self-complacency,
as each congratulates the other on "our" ways, "our" plans, "our"
arrangements; each, the while, sure that they two are the fortunate
among mankind, and that all who are not blest as they are proper
subjects for indulgent pity. "After all, my dear," says he, "what can
you expect of poor Snooks?--a bachelor, poor fellow. If he only had
a wife like you, now," etc., etc. Or, "I can't really blame Cynthia
with that husband of hers, Harry dear. If I were married to such a
man, I should act like a little fiend. If she had only such a husband
as you, now!" This secret, respectable, mutual admiration society of
married life, of how much courage and hope is it the parent! For, do
not our failures and mistakes often come from discouragement? Does
not every human being need a believing second self, whose support
and approbation shall reinforce one's failing courage? The saddest
hours of life are when we doubt ourselves. To sensitive, excitable
people, who expend nervous energy freely, must come many such low
tides. "Am I really a miserable failure--a poor, good-for-nothing,
abortive attempt?" In such crises we need another self to restore our

Our young friends were just in the second spring of life's new year.
They were as fond and proud of their little house as a prince of
his palace--possibly a good deal more so. They were proud of each
other. Eva felt sure that Harry was destined to the high places of
the literary world. She read his editorials with sincere admiration,
hid his poems away in her heart, and pasted them carefully in her
scrap-book. Fame and success she felt sure ought to come to him, and
would. He was "such a faithful, noble-hearted fellow, and worked so
steadily." And he, with what pride he spoke the words "my wife"! With
what exultation repressed under an air of playful indifference he
brought this and that associate in to dine, and enjoyed the admiration
of her and her pretty home, and graceful, captivating ways. He liked
to see the effect of her gay, sparkling conversation, her easy grace,
on these new subjects; for Eva was, in truth, a charming woman. The
mixture of innocent shrewdness, of sprightly insight, of bright and
airy fancy about her, made her society a thing to be longed after,
as people long for a pleasant stimulant. Like all bright, earnest
young men, Harry wanted to "lend a hand" to make the world around him
brighter and better, and had his ideas of what a charming, attractive
home might do as a center to many hearts in promoting mutual
brotherhood and good fellowship. He had not a doubt of their little
social venture in society, nor that Eva was precisely the person to
make of their house a pleasant resort, to be in herself the blending
and interpreting medium through whom differing and even discordant
natures should be brought to understand the good that was in one

As a preparation for the first experiment, Eva had commenced
by inviting Mr. St. John to dinner, that she might enlist his
approbation of her scheme and have time to set it before him in that
charming fireside hour, when spirits, like flowers, open to catch
the dews of influence. After dinner Harry had an engagement at the
printing-office, and left Eva the field all to herself; and she
managed her cards admirably. Mr. St. John had been little accustomed
to the society of cultured, attractive women; but he had in his
own refined nature every sensibility to respond agreeably to its
influences; and already this fireside had come to be a place where he
loved to linger. And so, when she had him comfortably niched in his
corner, she opened the first parallel of her siege.

"Now, Mr. St. John, you have been preaching to us about self-denial,
and putting us all up to deeds of self-sacrifice--I have some
self-denying work to propose to you."

Mr. St. John opened his blue eyes wide at this exordium, and looked an

"Well, Mr. St. John," pursued Eva, "we are going to have little social
reunions at our house every Thursday, from seven till ten, for the
purpose of promoting good feeling and fellowship, and we want our
rector to be one of us and help us."

"Indeed, Mrs. Henderson, I have not the least social tact. My sphere
doesn't lie at all in that direction," said Mr. St. John, nervously.
"I have no taste for general society."

"Yes, but I think you told us last Sunday we were not to consult
our tastes. You told us that if we felt a strong distaste for any
particular course, it might possibly show that just here the true
path of Christian heroism lay."

"You turn my words upon me, Mrs. Henderson. I was thinking then of the
distaste that people usually feel for visiting the poor and making
themselves practically familiar with the unlovely side of life."

"Well, but may it not apply the other way? You are perfectly familiar
and at home among the poor, but you have always avoided society among
cultured persons of your own class. May not the real self-denial for
you lie there? You have a fastidious shrinking from strangers. May it
not be your duty to overcome it? There are a great many I know in our
circle who might be the better for knowing you. Have you a right to
shrink back from them?"

Mr. St. John moved uneasily in his chair.

"Now," pursued Eva, "there's a young Dr. Campbell that I want you to
know. To be sure, he isn't a believer in the church--not a believer at
all, I fear; but still a charming, benevolent, kindly, open-hearted
man, and I want him to know you, and come under good influences."

"I don't believe I'm at all adapted," said Mr. St. John, hesitatingly.

"Well, dear sir, what do you say to us when we say the same about
mission work? Don't you tell us that if we honestly try we shall learn
to adapt ourselves?"

"That is true," said St. John, frankly.

"Besides," said Eva, "Mr. St. John, Dr. Campbell might do _you_ good.
All your friends feel that you are too careless of your health.
Indeed, we all feel great concern about it, and you might learn
something of Dr. Campbell in this."

Thus Eva pursued her advantage with that fluent ability with
which a pretty young woman at her own fireside always gets the
best of the argument. Mr. St. John, attacked on the weak side of
conscientiousness, was obliged at last to admit that to spend an
evening with agreeable, cultivated, well-dressed people might be
occasionally as much a shepherd's duty as to sit in the close,
ill-smelling rooms of poverty and listen to the croonings and
maunderings of the ill-educated, improvident, and foolish, who make so
large a proportion of the less fortunate classes of society. It had
been suggested to him that a highly-educated, agreeable young doctor,
who talked materialism and dissented from the thirty-nine articles,
might as properly be borne with as a drinking young mechanic who
talked unbelief of a lower and less respectable order.

Now it so happened, by one of those unexpected coincidences that fall
out in the eternal order of things, that Eva was reinforced in her
course of argument by a silent and subtle influence, of which she was
herself scarcely aware. The day seldom passed that one or other of her
sisters did not form a part of her family circle, and on this day of
all others the fates had willed that Angelique should come up to work
on her Christmas presents by Eva's fireside.

Imagine, therefore, as the scene of this conversation, a fire-lighted
room, the evening flicker of the blaze falling in flecks and flashes
over books and pictures, and Mr. St. John in a dark, sheltered corner,
surveying without being surveyed, listening to Eva's animated logic,
and yet watching a very pretty tableau in the opposite corner.

There sat Angelique, listening to the conversation, with the
fire-light falling in flashes on her golden hair and her lap full of
worsteds--rosy, pink, blue, lilac, and yellow. Her little hands were
busy in some fleecy wonder, designed to adorn the Christmas-tree for
the mission school of his church; and she knit and turned and twisted
the rosy mystery with an air of grave interest, the while giving an
attentive ear to the conversation.

Mr. St. John was not aware that he was looking at her; in fact, he
supposed he was listening to Eva, who was eloquently setting forth to
him all the good points in Dr. Campbell's character, and the reasons
why it was his duty to seek and cultivate his acquaintance; but while
she spoke and while he replied he saw the little hands moving, and a
sort of fairy web weaving, and the face changing as, without speaking
a word, she followed with bright, innocent sympathy the course of the

When Eva, with a becoming air of matronly gravity, lectured him for
his reckless treatment of his own health, and his want of a proper
guide on that subject, Angelique's eyes seemed to say the same; and
sometimes, when Eva turned just the faintest light of satire on the
ascetic notions to which he was prone, those same eyes sparkled with
that frank gaiety that her dimpled face seemed made to express. Now
the kitten catches at her thread, and she stops, and bends over and
dangles the ball, and laughs softly to herself, and St. John from his
dark corner watches the play. There is something of the kitten in her,
he thinks. Even her gravest words have suggested the air of a kitten
on good behavior, and perhaps she may be a naughty, wicked kitten--who
knows? A kitten lying in wait to catch unwary birds and mice! But she
looked so artless--so innocent!--her little head bent on one side like
a flower, and her eyes sparkling as if she were repressing a laugh!--a
nervous idea shot through the conversation to Mr. St. John's heart.
What if this girl _should_ laugh at him? St. Jerome himself might
have been vulnerable to a poisoned arrow like this. What if he really
were getting absurd notions and ways in the owl-like recesses and
retirements of his study--growing rusty, unfit for civilized life?
Clearly it was his duty to "come forth into the light of things," and
before he left that evening he gave his pledge to Eva that he would be
one of the patrons of her new social enterprise.

It is to be confessed that as he went home that night he felt that
duty had never worn an aspect so agreeable. It was certainly his place
as a good fisher of men to study the habits of the cultured, refined,
and influential portion of society, as well as of its undeveloped
children. Then, he didn't say it to himself, but the scene where these
investigations were to be pursued rose before him insensibly as one
where Angelique was to be one of the entertainers. It would give him
a better opportunity of studying the genus and habits of that variety
of the church militant who train in the uniform of fashionable girls,
and to decide the yet doubtful question whether they had any genuine
capacity for church work. Angelique's evident success with her class
was a puzzle to him, and he thought he would like to know her better,
and see if real, earnest, serious purposes could exist under that gay

Somehow, he could not fancy those laughing eyes and that willful,
curly, golden hair under the stiff cap of a Sister of Charity; and he
even doubted whether a gray cloak would seem as appropriate as the
blue robe and ermine cape where the poor little child had rested her
scarred cheek. He liked to think of her just as she looked then and
there. And why shouldn't he get acquainted with her? If he was ever
going to form a sisterhood of good works, certainly it was his duty to
understand the sisters. Clearly it was!



"Having company" is one of those incidents of life which in all
circles, high or low, cause more or less searchings of heart.

Even the moderate "tea-fight" of good old times necessitated not only
anxious thought in the hostess herself, but also a mustering and
review of best "bibs and tuckers," through the neighborhood.

But to undertake a "serial sociable" in New York, in this day of
serials, was something even graver, causing many thoughts and words in
many houses.

Witness the following specimens:

"I confess, Nellie, _I_ can't understand Eva's ways," said Aunt Maria,
the morning of the first Thursday. "She don't come to _me_ for advice;
but I confess I don't understand her."

Aunt Maria was in a gloomy, severe state of mind, owing to the
contumacy and base ingratitude of Alice in rejecting her interposition
and care, and she came down this morning to signify her displeasure to
Nellie at the way she had been treated.

"I don't know what you mean, sister," said Mrs. Van Arsdel,
deprecatingly. "I'm sure I don't know of anything that Eva's been
doing lately."

"Why, these evenings of hers; I don't understand them. Setting
out to have receptions in that little out-of-the-way shell of
hers! Why, who'll go? Nobody wants to ramble off up there, and not
get to anything after all. It's going to be a sort of mixed-up
affair--newspaper men, and people that nobody knows--all well enough
in their way, perhaps; but _I_ shan't be mixed up in it." Aunt Maria
nodded her head gloomily, and the bows and feathers on her hat
quivered protestingly.

"Oh, they are going to be just unpretending sociable little
gatherings," said Mrs. Van Arsdel. "Just the family and a few friends;
and _I_ think they are going to be pleasant. I wish you would go,
Maria. Eva will be disappointed."

"No, she won't. It's evident, Nelly, that your girls don't any of them
care about me, or regard anything I say. Well, I only hope they mayn't
live to repent it; that's all."

Aunt Maria said this with that menacing sniff with which people in
a bad humor usually dispense Christian charity. The dark awfulness
of the hope expressed really chilled poor little Mrs. Van Arsdel's
blood. From long habits of dependence upon her sister, she had come
to regard her displeasure as one of the severer evils of life. To
keep the peace with Maria, as far as she herself was concerned, would
have been easy. Contention was fatiguing to her. It was a trouble
to have the responsibility of making up her own mind; and she was
quite willing that Maria should carry her through the journey of
life, buy her tickets, choose her hotels, and settle with her cabmen.
But, complicated with a husband, and a family of bright, independent
daughters, each endowed with a separate will of her own, Mrs. Van
Arsdel led on the whole a hard life. People who hate trouble generally
get a good deal of it. It's all very well for a gentle acquiescent
spirit to be carried through life by _one_ bearer. But when half a
dozen bearers quarrel and insist on carrying one opposite ways, the
more facile the spirit, the greater the trouble.

Mrs. Van Arsdel, in fact, passed a good deal of her life in being
talked over to one course of conduct by Aunt Maria, and talked back
again by her girls. She resembled a weak, peaceable hamlet on the
border-land between France and Germany, taken and retaken with much
wear and tear of spirit, and heartily wishing peace at any price.

"I don't see how Eva is going to afford all this," continued Aunt
Maria gloomily.

"Oh! there's to be no evening entertainment, nothing but a little tea,
and biscuit, and sponge cake, in the most social way," pleaded Mrs.
Van Arsdel.

"But all this, every week, in time comes to a good deal," said Aunt
Maria. "Now, if Eva would put all the extra trouble and expense of
these evenings into _one good handsome party_ of select people and
have it over with, why _that_ would be something worth while, and
I would help her get it up. Such a party stands for something. But
she doesn't come to _me_ for advice. I'm a superannuated old woman,
I suppose," and Aunt Maria sighed in a way heart-breaking to her
peace-loving sister.

"Indeed, Maria, you are wrong. You are provoked now. You don't mean

"I'm--_not_ provoked. Do you suppose I care? I don't! but I can _see_,
I suppose! I'm not _quite_ blind yet, I hope, and I sha'n't go where
I'm not wanted. And now, if you'll give me those samples, Nellie, I'll
go to Arnold's and Stewart's and look up that dress for you, and then
I'll take your laces to the mender's. It's a good morning's work to go
up to that dark alley where she rooms; but I'll do it, now I'm about
it. I'm not so worn out yet but what I am acceptable to do errands for
you," said Aunt Maria, with gloomy satisfaction.

"Oh, Maria, how can you talk so!" said little Mrs. Van Arsdel, with
tears in her eyes. "You really are unjust."

"There's no use in discussing matters, Nellie. Give me the patterns
and the laces," said Aunt Maria, obdurately. "Here! I'll sort 'em
out. You never have anything ready," she said, opening her sister's
drawer, and taking right and left such articles as she deemed proper,
with as much composure as if her sister had been a seven-year-old
child. "There!" she said, shutting the drawer, "now I'm ready. Good
morning!"--and away she sailed, leaving her sister abased in spirit,
and vaguely contrite for she couldn't tell what.

Aunt Maria had the most disagreeable habit of venting her indignation
on her sister, by going to most uncomfortable extremes of fatiguing
devotion to her service. With a brow of gloom and an air of martyrdom,
she would explore shops, tear up and down stair-cases, perform
fatiguing pilgrimages for Nellie and the girls; piling all these coals
of fire on their heads, and looking all the while so miserably abused
and heart-broken that it required stronger discrimination than poor
Mrs. Van Arsdel was gifted with not to feel herself a culprit.

"Only think, your Aunt Maria says she won't go this evening," she said
in a perplexed and apprehensive tone to her girls.

"Glad of it," said Alice, and the words were echoed by Angelique.

"Oh, girls, you oughtn't to feel so about your aunt!"

"We don't," said Alice, "but as long as she feels so about us, it's
just as well not to have her there. We girls are all going to do our
best to make the first evening a success, so that everybody shall have
a good time and want to come again; and if Aunt Maria goes in her
present pet, she would be as bad as Edgar Poe's raven."

"Just fancy our having her on our hands, saying '_nevermore_' at
stated intervals," said Angelique, laughing; "why, it would upset

"Angelique, you oughtn't to make fun of your aunt," said Mrs. Van
Arsdel, with an attempt at reproving gravity.

"I'm sure it's the nicest thing we _can_ make of her, Mammy dear,"
said Angelique; "it's better to laugh than to cry any time. Oh, Aunt
Maria will _keep_, never fear. She'll clear off by-and-by, like a
northeast rain-storm, and then we shall like her well as ever; sha'n't
we, girls?"

"Oh, yes; she always comes round after a while," said Alice.

"Well, now I'm going up to help Eva get the rooms ready," said
Angelique, and out she fluttered, like a flossy bit of thistle-down.

Angelique belonged to the corps of the laughing saints--a department
not always recognized by the straiter sort in the church militant, but
infinitely effective and to the purpose in the battle of life. Her
heart was a tender but a gay one--perhaps the lovingness of it kept it
bright; for love is a happy divinity, and Angelique loved everybody,
and saw the best side of everything; besides, just now she was barely
seventeen, and thought the world a very nice place. She was the very
life of the household, the one who loved to run and wait and tend; who
could stop gaps and fill spaces, and liked to do it: and so, this day,
she devoted herself to Eva's service in the hundred somethings that
pertain to getting a house in order for an evening reception.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the opposite side of the way, the projected hospitalities awoke
various conflicting emotions.

"Dinah, I don't really know whether I shall go to that company
to-night or not," said Mrs. Betsey confidentially to Dinah over her

"Land sakes, Mis' Betsey," said Dinah, with her accustomed giggle,
"how you talk! What you 'feard on?"

Mrs. Betsey had retreated to the kitchen, to indulge herself with
Dinah in tremors and changes of emotion which had worn out the
patience of Miss Dorcas in the parlor. That good lady, having made up
her mind definitively to go and take Betsey with her, was indisposed
to repeat every half hour the course of argument by which she had
demonstrated to her that it was the proper thing to do.

But the fact was, that poor Mrs. Betsey was terribly fluttered by
the idea of going into company again. Years had passed in that old
dim house, with the solemn clock tick-tocking in the corner, and the
sunbeam streaming duskily at given hours through the same windows,
with no sound of coming or going footsteps. There the two ancient
sisters had been working, reading, talking, round and round on the
same unvarying track, for weeks, months and years, and now, suddenly,
had come a change. The pretty, gay, little housekeeper across the way
had fluttered in with a whole troop of invisible elves of persuasion
in the very folds of her garments, and had cajoled and charmed them
into a promise to be supporters of her "evenings," and Miss Dorcas was
determined to go. But all ye of womankind know that after every such
determination comes a review of the wherewithal, and many tremors.

Now Miss Dorcas was self-sufficing, and self-sustained. She knew
herself to be Miss Dorcas Vanderheyden, in the first place; and
she had a general confidence, by right of her family and position,
that all her belongings were the right things. They might be out of
fashion--so much the worse for the fashion; Miss Dorcas wore them
with a cheerful courage. Yet, as she frequently remarked, "sooner or
later, if you let things lie, fashion always comes round to them."
They had come round to her many times in the course of her life, and
always found her ready for them. But Mrs. Betsey was timorous, and had
a large allowance of what the phrenologists call "approbativeness." In
her youth she had been a fashionable young belle, and now she had as
many flutters and tremors about her gray curls and her caps as in the
days when she sat up all night in an arm-chair with her hair dressed
and powdered for a ball. In fact, an old lady's cap is undeniably a
tender point. One might imagine it to be a sort of shrine or last
retreat in which all her youthful love of dress finds asylum; and,
in estimating her fitness for any scene of festivity, the _cap_ is
the first consideration. So, when Dinah chuckled, "What ye 'feard on,
honey?" Mrs. Betsey came out with it:

"Dinah, I don't know which of my caps to wear."

"Lor' sakes, Mis' Betsey, wear yer new one. What's to hender?"

"Well, you see, it's trimmed with lilac ribbons, and the shade don't
go with my new brown gown; they look horridly together. Dorcas never
does notice such things, but they don't go well together. I tried to
tell Dorcas about it, but she shut me up, saying I was always fussy."

"Well, laws! then, honey, wear your other cap--it's a right nice un
now," said Dinah in a coaxing tone.

"Trimmed with white ribbon--" said Mrs. Betsey, ruminating; "but you
see, Dinah, that ribbon has really got quite yellow; and there's a
spot on one of the strings," she added, in a tone of poignant emotion.

"Well, now, I tell ye what to do," said Dinah; "you jest wear your
new cap with them laylock ribbins, and wear your black silk: that are
looks illegant now."

"But my black silk is so old; it's pieced under the arm, and beginning
to fray in the gathers."

"Land sake, Mis' Betsey! who's agoin' to look under your arm?" said
Dinah. "They a'n't agoin' to set you up under one o' them sterry
scopes to be looked at, be they? You'll do to pass now, I tell ye; now
don't go to gettin' fluttered and 'steriky, Mis' Betsey. Why don't
ye go right along, like Mis' Dorcas? She don't have no megrims and
tantrums 'bout what she's goin' to wear."

Dinah's tolerant spirit in admitting this discussion was, however, a
real relief to Mrs. Betsey. Like various liquors which are under a
necessity of working themselves clear, Mrs. Betsey found a certain
amount of _talk_ necessary to clear her mind when proceeding to act
in any emergency, and for this purpose a listener was essential; but
Dorcas was so entirely above such fluctuations as hers--so positive
and definite in all her judgments and conclusions--that she could not
enjoy in her society the unlimited amount of discussion necessary to
clarify her mental vision.

It was now about the fifth or sixth time that all the possibilities
with regard to her wardrobe had been up for consideration that day;
till Miss Dorcas, who had borne with her heroically for a season, had
finally closed the discussion by recommending a chapter in _Watts on
the Mind_ which said a great many unpleasant things about people who
occupy themselves too much with trifles, and thus Mrs. Betsey was
driven to unbosom herself to Dinah.

"Then, again, there's Jack," she added; "I'm sure I don't know what
he'll think of our both being out; there never such a thing happened

"Land sake, Mis' Betsey, jest as if Jack cared! Why, he'll stay with
me. I'll see arter _him_--I will."

"Well, you must be good to him, Dinah," said Mrs. Betsey,

"Ain't I allers good to him? I don't set him up for a graven image and
fall down and washup him, to be sure; but Jack has good times with me,
if I _do_ make him mind."

The fact was, that Dinah often seconded the disciplinary views of Miss
Dorcas with the strong arm, pulling Jack backward by the tail, and
correcting him with vigorous thumps of the broomstick when he fell
into those furors of barking which were his principal weakness.

Dinah had all the sociable instincts of her race; and it moved her
indignation that the few acquaintances who found their way to the
forsaken old house should be terrified and repelled by such distracted
tumults as Jack generally created when the door-bell rang. Hence her
attitude toward him had so often been belligerent that poor Mrs.
Betsey felt small confidence in leaving him to the trying separation
of the evening under Dinah's care.

"Well, Dinah, you won't whip Jack if he does bark? I dare say he'll be
lonesome. You must make allowances for him."

"Oh, laws, yes, honey, I'll make 'lowance, never you fear."

"And you really think the black dress will do?"

"Jest as sartin as I be that I'm here a ironin' this 'ere pillow-bier.
Why, honey, you'll look like a pictur, you will."

"Oh, Dinah, I'm an old woman."

"Well, honey, what if you be? Land sakes, don't I remember when you
was the belle of New York _city_? Lord love ye! Them _was_ days! When
'twas all comin' and goin', hosses a-prancin', house full, and fellers
fairly a-tumblin' over each other jest to get a look at ye. Laws,
honey, ye was wuth lookin' at in dem days."

"Oh, Dinah, you silly old soul, what nonsense you talk!"

"Well, honey, you know you was de handsomest gal goin'. Now you knows
you was," said Dinah, chuckling and shaking her portly sides.

"I suppose I wasn't bad looking," said Mrs. Betsey, laughing in turn;
and the color flushed in her delicate, faded cheeks, and her pretty
bright eyes grew misty with a thought of all the little triumphs,
prides, and regrets of years ago.

To say the truth, Mrs. Betsey, though past the noon-time of
attraction, was a very pretty old woman. Her hands were still delicate
and white, her skin was of lily fairness, and her hair like fine-spun
silver; and she retained still all the nice instincts and habits of
the woman who has known herself charming. She still felt the discord
of a shade in her ribbons like a false note in music, and was annoyed
by the slightest imperfection of her dress, however concealed, to a
degree which seemed at times wearisome and irrational to her stronger
minded sister.

But Miss Dorcas, who had carried her in her arms, a heart-broken
wreck snatched from the waves of a defeated life, bore with her as
heroically as we ever can bear with another whose nature is wholly of
a different make and texture from our own.

In general, she made up her mind with a considerable share of good
sense as to what it was best for Betsey to do, and then made her do
it, by that power which a strong and steady nature exercises over a
weaker one.

Miss Dorcas had made up her mind that more society, and some little
change in her modes of life, would be a benefit to her sister; she
had taken a strong fancy to Eva, and really looked forward to her
evenings as something to give a new variety and interest in life.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Now, Jim," said Alice, in a monitory tone, "you know we all depend
on you to manage this thing just right to-night. You mustn't be too
lively and frighten the serious folks; but you must keep things
moving, just as you know how."

"Well, are you going to have 'our rector?'" said Jim.

"Certainly. Mr. St. John will be there."

"And of course, our little Angie," said Jim.

"Certainly. Angie, and Mamma, and Papa, and I, shall all be there,"
said Alice, with dignity. "Now, Jim!"

The exclamation was addressed not to anything which this young
gentleman had said, but to a certain wicked sparkle in his eye which
Alice thought predicted coming mischief.

"What's the matter now?" said Jim.

"I know just what you're thinking," said Alice; "and now, Jim, you
mustn't _look_ that way to-night."

"Look _what_ way!"

"Well, you mustn't in _any_ way--look, sign, gesture or word--direct
anybody's attention to Mr. St. John and Angie. Of course there's
nothing there; it's all a fancy of your own--a _very_ absurd one; but
I've known people made very uncomfortable by such absurd suggestions."

"Well, am I to wear green spectacles to keep my eyes from looking?"

"You are to do just right, Jim, and nobody knows how that is to
be done better than you do. You know that you have the gift of
entertaining, and there isn't a mortal creature that you can't please,
if you try; and you mustn't talk to those you like best to-night, but
bestow yourself wherever a hand is needed. You must entertain those
old ladies over the way, and get acquainted with Mr. St. John, and
talk to the pretty Quaker woman; in short, make yourself generally

"O. K.," said Jim. "I'll be on hand. I'll make love to all the old
ladies, and let the parson admonish me, as meek as Moses; and I'll
look right the other way, if I see him looking at Angie. Anything

"No, that'll do," said Alice, laughing. "Only do your best, and it
will be good enough."

       *       *       *       *       *

Eva was busy about her preparations, when Dr. Campbell came in to
borrow a book.

"Now, Dr. Campbell," said she, "you're just the man I wanted to see.
I must tell you that one grand reason why I want to be sure and
secure you for our evenings, and this one in particular, is I have
caught our rector and got his promise to come, and I want you to
study him critically, for I'm afraid he's in the way to get to heaven
long before we do, if he isn't looked after. He's not in the least
conscious of it, but he does need attention."

Dr. Campbell was a hale young man of twenty-five; blonde, vigorous,
high-strung, active, and self-confident, and as keen set after medical
and scientific facts as a race-horse for the goal. As a general thing,
he had no special fancy for clergymen; but a clergyman as a physical
study, a possible verification of some of his theories, was an object
of interest, and he readily promised Eva that he would spare no pains
in making Mr. St. John's acquaintance.

"Now, drolly enough," said Eva, "we're going to have a Quaker preacher
here. I went in to invite Ruth and her husband; and lo, they have got
a celebrated minister staying with them, one Sibyl Selwyn. She is as
lovely as an angel in a pressed crape cap and dove-colored gown; but
what Mr. St. John will think about her I don't know."

"Oh, Mrs. Henderson, there'll be trouble there, depend on it," said
Dr. Campbell. "He won't recognize her ordination, and very likely she
won't recognize his. You see, I was brought up among the Friends. I
know all about them. If your friend Sibyl should have a 'concern'
laid on her for your Mr. St. John, she would tell him some wholesome

"Dear me," said Eva. "I hope she won't have a 'concern' the very first
evening. It would be embarrassing."

"Oh, no; to tell the truth, these Quaker preachers are generally
delightful women," said Dr. Campbell. "I'm sure I ought to say so, for
my good aunt that brought me up was one of them, and I don't doubt
that Sibyl Selwyn will prove quite an addition to your circle."

Well, the evening came, and so did all the folks. But what they said
and did, must be told in another chapter.



Mr. St. John was sitting in his lonely study, contemplating with some
apprehension the possibilities of the evening.

Perhaps few women know how much of an ordeal general society is to
many men. Women are naturally social and gregarious, and have very
little experience of the kind of shyness that is the outer bark of
many manly natures, in which they fortify all the more sensitive part
of their being against the rude shocks of the world.

As we said, Mr. St. John's life had been that of a recluse and
scholar, up to the time of his ordination as a priest. He was, by
birth and education, a New England Puritan, with all those habits of
reticence and self-control which a New England education enforces.
His religious experiences, being those of reaction from a sterile and
severe system of intellectual dogmatism, still carried with them a
tinge of the precision and narrowness of his early life. His was a
nature like some of the streams of his native mountains, inclining to
cut for itself straight, deep, narrow currents; and all his religious
reading and thinking had run in one channel. As to social life, he
first began to find it among his inferiors; among those to whom he
came, not as a brother man, but as an authoritative teacher--a master,
divinely appointed, set apart from the ordinary ways of men. In his
rôle of priest he felt strong. In the belief of his divine and sacred
calling, he moved among the poor and ignorant with a conscious
superiority, as a being of a higher sphere. There was something in
this which was a protection to his natural diffidence; he seemed among
his parishioners to feel surrounded by a certain sacred atmosphere
that shielded him from criticism. But to mingle in society as man with
man, to lay aside the priest and be only the gentleman, appeared on
near approach a severe undertaking. As a priest at the altar he was
a privileged being, protected by a kind of divine aureole, like that
around a saint. In general society he was but a man, to make his way
only as other men; and, as a man, St. John distrusted and undervalued
himself. As he thought it over, he inly assented to the truth of what
Eva had so artfully stated--that this ordeal of society was indeed,
for him, the true test of self-sacrifice. Like many other men of
refined natures, he was nervously sensitive to personal influences.
The social sphere of those around him affected him, through sympathy,
almost as immediately as the rays of the sun impress the daguerreotype
plate; but he felt it his duty to subject himself to the ordeal the
more because he dreaded it. "After all," he said to himself, "what is
my faith worth, if I cannot carry it among men? Do I hold a lamp with
so little oil in it that the first wind will blow it out?"

It was with such thoughts as these that he started out on his usual
afternoon tour of visiting and ministration in one of the poorest
alleys of his neighborhood.

As he was making his way along, a little piping voice was heard at his

"Mr. St. Don; Mr. St. Don."

He looked hastily down and around, to meet the gaze of a pair of dark
childish eyes looking forth from a thin, sharp little face. Gradually,
he recognized in the thin, barefoot child, the little girl whom he
had seen in Angie's class, leaning on her.

"What do you want, my child?"

"Mother's took bad, and Poll's gone to wash for her. They told me to
watch till you came round, and call you. Mother wants to see you."

"Well, show me the way," said Mr. St. John, affably, taking the thin,
skinny little hand.

The child took him under an alley-way, into a dark, back passage, up
one or two rickety staircases, into an attic, where lay a woman on a
poor bed in the corner.

The room was such a one as his work made only too familiar to
him--close, dark, bare of comforts, yet not without a certain
lingering air of neatness and self-respect. The linen of the bed was
clean, and the woman that lay there had marks of something refined and
decent in her worn face. She was burning with fever; evidently, hard
work and trouble had driven her to the breaking point.

"Well, my good woman, what can I do for you?" said Mr. St. John.

The woman roused from a feverish sleep and looked at him.

"Oh, sir, please send _her_ here. She said she would come any time I
needed her, and I want her now."

"Who is she? Who do you mean?"

"Please, sir, she means my teacher," said the child, with a bright,
wise look in her thin little face. "It's Miss Angie. Mother wants her
to come and talk to father; father's getting bad again."

"He isn't a bad man," put in the woman, "except they get him to drink;
it's the liquor. God knows there never was a kinder man than John used
to be."

"Where is he? I will try to see him," said Mr. St. John.

"Oh, don't; it won't do any good. He hates ministers; he wouldn't hear
you; but Miss Angie he will hear; he promised her he wouldn't drink
any more, but Ben Jones and Jim Price have been at him and got him off
on a spree. O dear!"

At this, moment a feeble wail was heard from the basket cradle in the
corner, and the little girl jumped from the bed, and in an important,
motherly way, began to soothe an indignant baby, who put up his
stomach and roared loudly after the manner of his kind, astonished and
angry at not finding the instant solace and attention which his place
in creation demanded.

Mr. St. John looked on in a kind of silent helplessness, while the
little skinny creature lifted a child who seemed almost as large
as herself and proceeded to soothe and assuage his ill humor by
many inexplicable arts, till she finally quenched his cries in a
sucking-bottle, and peace was restored.

"The only person in the world that can do John any good," resumed the
woman, when she could be heard, "is Miss Angie. John would turn any
_man_, specially any minister, out of the house, that said a word
about his ways; but he likes to have Miss Angie come here. She has
been here Saturday afternoons and read stories to the children, and
taught them little songs, and John always listens, and she almost got
him to promise he would give up drinking; she has such pretty ways of
talking, a man can't get mad with her. What I want is, can't you tell
her John's gone, and ask her to come to me? He'll be gone two days
or more, and when he comes back he'll be sorry--he always is then;
and then if Miss Angie will talk to him; you see she's so pretty, and
dresses so pretty. John says she is the brightest, prettiest lady he
ever saw, and it sorter pleases him that she takes notice of us. John
always puts his best foot foremost when she is round. John's used to
being with gentlefolk," she said, with a sigh; "he knows a lady when
he sees her."

"Well, my good woman," said Mr. St. John, "I shall see Miss Angie this
evening, and you may be sure that I shall tell her all about this.
Meanwhile, how are you off? Do you need money now?"

"I am pretty well off, sir. _He_ took all my last week's money when he
went, but Poll has gone to my wash-place to-day, and I told her to ask
for pay. I hope they'll send it."

"If they don't," said Mr. St. John, "here is something to keep things
going," and he slipped a bill into the woman's hand.

"Thank you, sir. When I get up, if you'll please give me some washing,
I'll make it square. I've been held good at getting up linen."

Poor woman! She had her little pride of independence, and her little
accomplishment--she could wash and iron! There she felt strong! Mr.
St. John allowed her the refuge, and let her consider the money as an
advance, not a charity.

He turned away, and went down the cracked and broken stairs with the
thought struggling in an undefined manner in his breast, how much
there was of pastoral work which transcended the power of man, and
required the finer intervention of woman. With all, there came a glow
of shy pleasure that there was a subject of intercommunication opened
between him and Angie, something definite to talk about; and to a
diffident man a definite subject is a mine of gold.



The Henderson's first "Evening" was a social success. The little
parlors were radiant with the blaze of the wood-fire, which gleamed
and flashed and made faces at itself in the tall, old-fashioned brass
andirons, and gave picturesque tints to the room.

Eva's tea-table was spread in one corner, dainty with its white
drapery, and with her pretty wedding-present of china upon it--not
china like Miss Dorcas Vanderheyden's, of the real old Chinese fabric,
but china fresh from the modern improvements of Paris, and so adorned
with violets and grasses and field flowers that it made a December
tea-table look like a meadow where one could pick bouquets. Every
separate tea-cup and saucer was an artist's study, and a topic for

The arrangement of the rooms had been a day's work of careful
consideration between Eva and Angelique. There was probably not a
perch or eyrie accessible by chairs, tables, or ottomans, where
these little persons had not been mounted, at divers times of the
day, trying the effect of various floral decorations. The amount of
fatigue that can be gone through in the mere matter of preparing one
little set of rooms for an evening reception, is something that _men_
know nothing about; only the sisterhood could testify to that frantic
"fanaticism of the beautiful" which seizes them when an evening
company is in contemplation, and their house is to put, so to speak,
its best foot forward. Many an aching back and many a drooping form
could testify how the woman spends herself in advance, in this sort
of altar dressing for home worship.

But, as a consequence, the little rooms were bowers of beauty. The
pictures were overshadowed with nodding wreaths of pressed ferns and
bright bitter-sweet berries, with glossy holly leaves; the statuettes
had backgrounds of ivy which threw out their whiteness. Harry's
little workroom adjoining the parlor had become a green alcove, where
engravings and books were spread out under the shade of a German
student-lamp. Everywhere that a vase of flowers could make a pretty
show, there was a vase of flowers, though it was December, and the
ground frozen like lead. For the next door neighbor, sweet Ruth
Baxter, had clipped and snipped every rosebud, and mignonette blossom,
and even a splendid calla lily, with no end of scarlet geranium, and
sent them in to Eva; and Miss Dorcas had cut away about half of an
ancient and well-kept rose-geranium, which was the apple of her eye,
to help out her little neighbor. So they reveled in flowers, without
cutting those which grew on Eva's own bushes, which were all turned
to the light and arranged in appropriate situations, blossoming their
best. The little dining-room also was thrown open, and dressed, and
adorned with flowers, pressed ferns, berries, and autumn leaves; with
a distant perspective of light in it, that there might be a place of
withdrawal and quiet chats over books and pictures. In every spot
were disposed objects to start conversation. Books of autographs,
portfolios of sketches, photographs of distinguished people,
stereoscopic views, with stereoscope to explain them,--all sorts
of intervening means and appliances by which people, not otherwise
acquainted, should find something to talk about in common.

Eva was admirably seconded by her friends, from long experience
versed in the art of entertaining. Mrs. Van Arsdel, gentle, affable,
society-loving, and with a quick tact at reading the feelings of
others, was a host in herself. She at once took possession of Miss
Dorcas Vanderheyden, who came in a very short dress of rich India
satin, and very yellow and mussy but undeniably precious old lace, and
walked the rooms with a high-shouldered independence of manner most
refreshing in this day of long trains and modern inconveniences.

"Sensible old girl," was Jim Fellows's comment in Alice's ear as Miss
Dorcas marched in; for which, of course, he got a reproof, and was
ordered to remember and keep himself under.

As to Mrs. Betsey, with her white hair, and lace cap with lilac
ribbons, and black dress, with a flush of almost girlish timidity in
her pink cheeks, she won an instant way to the heart of Angelique,
who took her arm and drew her to a cosy arm-chair before a table of
engravings, and began an animated conversation on a book of etchings
of the "Old Houses of New York." These were subjects on which Mrs.
Betsey could talk, and talk entertainingly. They carried her back to
the days of her youth; bringing back scenes, persons, and places long
forgotten, her knowledge of which was full of entertainment. Angelique
wonderingly saw her transfigured before her eyes. It seemed as if an
after-glow from the long set sun of youthful beauty flashed back in
the old, worn face, as her memory went back to the days of youth and
hope. It is a great thing to the old and faded to feel themselves
charming once more, even for an hour; and Mrs. Betsey looked into the
blooming face and wide open, admiring, hazel eyes of Angelique, and
felt that she was giving pleasure, that this charming young person
was really delighted to hear her talk. It was one of those "cups
of cold water" that Angelique was always giving to neglected and
out-of-the-way people, without ever thinking that she did so, or why
she did it, just because she was a sweet, kind-hearted, loving little

When Mr. St. John, with an apprehensive spirit, adventured his way
into the room, he felt safe and at ease in a moment. All was light,
and bright, and easy--nobody turned to look at him, and it seemed the
easiest thing in the world to thread his way through busy chatting
groups to where Eva made a place for him by her side at the tea-table,
passed him his cup of tea, and introduced him to Dr. Campbell, who sat
on her other side, cutting the leaves of a magazine.

"You see," said Eva, laughing, "I make our Doctor useful on the
Fourier principle. He is dying to get at those magazine articles, so
I let him cut the leaves and take a peep along here and there, but I
forbid reading--in our presence, men have got to give over absorbing,
and begin radiating. Doesn't St. Paul say, Mr. St. John, that if women
are to learn anything they are to ask their husbands at home? and
doesn't that imply that their husbands at home are to talk to _them_,
and not sit reading newspapers?"

"I confess I never thought of that inference from the passage," said
Mr. St. John, smiling.

"But the modern woman," said Dr. Campbell, "scorns to ask her husband
at home. She holds that her husband should ask her."

"Oh, well, I am not the modern woman. I go for the old boundaries
and the old privileges of my sex; and besides, _I_ am a good church
woman and prefer to ask my husband. But I insist, as a necessary
consequence, that he must _hear_ me and answer me, as he cannot do if
he is reading newspapers or magazines. Isn't that case fairly argued,
Mr. St. John?"

"I don't see but it is."

"Well, then, the spirit of it applies to the whole of your cultured
and instructive sex. Men, in the presence of women, ought always to
be prepared to give them information, to answer questions, and make
themselves generally entertaining and useful."

"You see, Mr. St. John," said Dr. Campbell, "that Mrs. Henderson has
a dangerous facility for generalizing. Set her to interpreting and
there's no saying where her inferences mightn't run."

"I'd almost release Mr. St. John from my rules, to allow him to look
over this article of yours, though, Dr. Campbell," said Eva. "Harry
has read it to me, and I said, along in different parts of it, if
ministers only knew these things, how much good they might do!"

"What is the article?"

"It is simply something I wrote on 'Abnormal Influences upon the
Will;' it covers a pretty wide ground as to the question of human
responsibility and the recovery of criminals, and all that."

Mr. St. John remembered at this moment the case of the poor woman whom
he had visited that afternoon, and the periodical fatality which was
making her family life a shipwreck, and he turned to Dr. Campbell a
face so full of eager inquiry and dawning thought that Eva felt that
the propitious moment was come to leave them together, and instantly
she moved from her seat between them, to welcome a new comer who was
entering the room.

"I've got them together," she whispered to Harry a few minutes after,
as she saw that the two were turned towards each other, apparently
intensely absorbed in conversation.

The two might have formed a not unapt personification of flesh and
spirit. Dr. Campbell, a broad-shouldered, deep-breathed, long-limbed
man, with the proudly set head and quivering nostrils of a
high-blooded horse--an image of superb physical vitality: St. John,
so delicately and sparely built, with his Greek forehead and clear
blue eye, the delicate vibration of his cleanly cut lips, and the
cameo purity of every outline of his profile. Yet was he not without
a certain air of vigor, the outshining of spiritual forces. One could
fancy Campbell as the Berserker who could run, race, wrestle, dig, and
wield the forces of nature, and St. John as the poet and orator who
could rise to higher regions and carry souls upward with him. It takes
both kinds to make up a world.

And now glided into the company the vision of two women in soft,
dove-colored silks, with white crape kerchiefs crossed upon their
breasts, and pressed crape caps bordering their faces like a
transparent aureole. There was the neighbor, Ruth Baxter, round,
rosy, young, blooming, but dressed in the straitest garb of her sect.
With her back turned, you might expect to see an aged woman stricken
in years, so prim and antique was the fashion of her garments; but
when her face was turned, there was the rose of youth blooming amid
the cool snows of cap and kerchief. The smooth pressed hair rippled
and crinkled in many a wave, as if it would curl if it dared, and
the round blue eyes danced with a scarce suppressed light of cheer
that might have become mirthfulness, if set free; but yet the quaint
primness of her attire set off her womanly charms beyond all arts of
the toilet.

Her companion was a matronly person, who might be fifty or
thereabouts. She had that calm, commanding serenity that comes to
woman only from the habitual exaltation of the spiritual nature. Sibyl
Selwyn was known in many lands as one of the most zealous and best
accepted preachers of her sect. Her life had been an inspiration of
pity and mercy; and she had been in far countries of the earth, where
there was sin to be reproved or sorrow to be consoled, a witness
to testify and a medium through whom guilt and despair might learn
something of the Divine Pity.

She bore about with her a power of personal presence very remarkable.
Her features were cast in large and noble mould; her clear cut,
wide-open gray eyes had a penetrating yet kind expression, that seemed
adapted both to search and to cheer, and went far to justify the
opinion of her sect, which attributed to Sibyl in an eminent degree
the apostolic gift of the discerning of spirits. Somehow, with her
presence there seemed to come an atmosphere of peace and serenity,
such as one might fancy clinging about even the raiment of one just
stepped from a higher sphere. Yet, so gliding and so dove-like was
the movement by which the two had come in--so perfectly, cheerfully,
and easily had they entered into the sympathies of the occasion, that
their entrance made no more break or disturbance in the social circle
than the stealing in of a ray of light through a church window.

Eva had risen and gone to them at once, had seated them at the
opposite side of the little tea-table and poured their tea, chatting
the while and looking into their serene faces with a sincere
cordiality which was reflected back from them in smiles of confidence.

Sibyl admired the pictures, flowers, and grasses on her tea-cup with
the naïve interest of a child; for one often remarks, in intercourse
with her sect, how the æsthetic sense, unfrittered and unworn by the
petting of self-indulgence, is prompt to appreciate beauty.

Eva felt a sort of awed pleasure in Sibyl's admiration of her pretty
things, as if an angel guide were stooping to play with her. She felt
in her presence like one of earth's unweaned babies.

St. John, in one of the pauses of the conversation, looked up and saw
this striking head and face opposite to him; a head reminding him of
some of those saintly portraitures of holy women in which Overbeck
delights. We have described him as peculiarly impressible under actual
social influences. It was only the week before that an application had
been made to him for one Sibyl Selwyn to hold a meeting in his little
chapel, and sternly refused. His idea of a female preacher had been
largely blended with the mediæval masculine contempt of woman and his
horror of modern woman public teachers and lecturers. When this serene
vision rose like an exhalation before him, he did not at first recall
the applicant for his chapel, but he looked at her admiringly in a
sort of dazed wonder, and inquired of Dr. Campbell in a low voice,
"Who is that?"

"Oh," said Dr. Campbell, "don't you know? that's the Quaker preacher,
Sibyl Selwyn; the woman who has faced and put down the devil in places
where _you_ couldn't and I _wouldn't_ go."

St. John felt the blood flush in his cheeks, and a dim idea took
possession of him that, if some had entertained angels unawares,
others unawares had rejected them.

"Yes," said Dr. Campbell, "that woman has been alone, at midnight,
through places where you and I could not go without danger of our
heads; and she has said words to bar-tenders and brothel-keepers
that would cost us our lives. But she walks out of it all, as calm
as you see her to-night. I know that kind of woman--I was brought
up among them. They are an interesting physiological study; the
over-cerebration of the spiritual faculties among them occasions some
very peculiar facts and phenomena. I should like to show you a record
I have kept. It gives them at times an almost miraculous ascendancy
over others. I fancy," he said carelessly, "that your legends of the
saints could furnish a good many facts of the same sort."

At this moment, Eva came up in her authoritative way as mistress of
ceremonies, took Mr. St. John by the arm, and, walking across with
him, seated him by Sibyl Selwyn, introduced them to each other, and
left them. St. John was embarrassed, but Sibyl received him with the
perfect composure in which she sat enthroned.

"Arthur St. John," she said, "I am glad to meet thee. I am interested
in thy work among the poor of this quarter, and have sought the Lord
for thee in it."

"I am sure I thank you," said St. John, thus suddenly reduced
to primitive elements and spoken to on the simple plane of his
unvarnished humanity. It is seldom, after we come to mature years and
have gone out into the world, that any one addresses us simply by our
name without prefix or addition of ceremony. It is the province only
of rarest intimacy or nearest relationship, and it was long since St.
John had been with friend or relation who could thus address him. It
took him back to childhood and his mother's knee. He was struggling
with a vague sense of embarrassment, when he remembered the curt and
almost rude manner in which he had repelled her overture to speak
in his chapel, and the contempt he had felt for her at the time. In
the presence of the clear, saintly face, it seemed as if he had been
unconsciously guilty of violating a shrine. He longed to apologize,
but he did not know how to begin.

"I feel," he said, "that I am inexperienced and that the work is
very great. You," he added, "have had longer knowledge of it than I;
perhaps I might learn something of you."

"Thou wilt be led," said Sibyl, with the same assured calmness, "be
not afraid."

"I am sorry--I was sorry," said St. John, hesitating, "to refuse the
help you offered in speaking in my chapel, but it is contrary to the
rules of the church."

"Be not troubled. Thee follows thy light. Thee can do no otherways.
Thee is but young yet," she said, with a motherly smile.

"I did not know you personally then," he said. "I should like to talk
more with you, some time. I should esteem it a favor to have you tell
me some of your experiences."

"Some time, if we can sit together in stillness, I might have
something given me for thee; this is not the time," said Sibyl, with
quiet graciousness.

A light laugh seemed to cut into the gravity of the conversation.

Both turned. Angelique was the center of a gay group to whom she
was telling a droll story. Angie had a gift for this sort of thing;
and Miss Dorcas and Mrs. Betsey, Mrs. Van Arsdel and Mr. Van Arsdel
were gathered around her as, with half-pantomime, half-mimicry, she
was giving a street scene in one of her Sunday-school visitations.
St. John laughed too; he could not help it. In a moment, however, he
seemed to recollect himself, and sighed and said:

"It seems sometimes strange to me that we can allow ourselves to laugh
in a world like this. She is only a child or she couldn't."

Sibyl looked tenderly at Angelique. "It is her gift," she said. "She
is one of the children of the bride-chamber, who cannot mourn because
the bridegroom is with them. It would be better for thee, Arthur St.
John, to be more a child. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is

St. John was impressed by the calm decision of this woman's
manner, and the atmosphere of peace and assurance around her. The
half-mystical character of her words fell in with his devout
tendencies, and that strange, indefinable _something_ that invests
some persons with influence seemed to be with her, and he murmured to
himself the words from Comus--

    "She fables not, and I do feel her words
    Set off by some superior power."

Mr. St. John had not for a moment during that whole evening lost the
consciousness that Angelique was in the room. Through that double
sense by which two trains of thought can be going on at the same
time, he was sensible of her presence and of what she was doing,
through all his talks with other people. He had given one glance,
when he came into the room, to the place where she was sitting and
entertaining Mrs. Betsey, and without any apparent watchfulness he
was yet conscious of every movement she made from time to time. He
knew when she dropped her handkerchief, he knew when she rose to get
down another book, and when she came to the table and poured for Mrs.
Betsey another cup of tea. A subtle exhilaration was in the air. He
knew not why everything seemed so bright and cheerful; it is as when
a violet or an orange blossom, hid in a distant part of a room, fills
the air with a vague deliciousness.

He dwelt dreamily on Sibyl's half mystical words, and felt as if an
interpreting angel had sanctioned the charm that he found in this
bright, laughing child. He liked to call her a child to himself, it
was a pleasant little nook into which he could retreat from a too
severe scrutiny of his feelings towards her; for, quite unknown to
himself, St. John's heart was fast slipping off into the good old way
of Eden.

But we leave him for a peep at other parties. It is amusing to think
how many people in one evening company are weaving and winding
threads upon their own private, separate spools. Jim Fellows, in the
dining-room, was saying to Alice:

"I'm going to bring Hal Stephens and Ben Hubert to you this evening;
and by George, Alice, I want you to look after them a little, as _you
can_. They are raw newspaper boys, tumbled into New York; and nobody
cares a hang for them. Nobody does care a hang for any stranger body,
you know. They haven't a decent place to visit, nor a woman to say
a word to them; and yet I tell you they're good fellows. Everybody
curses newspaper reporters and that sort of fellow. Nobody has a good
word for them. It's small salary, and many kicks and cuffs they get at
first; and yet that's the only way to get on the papers, and make a
man of yourself at last; and so, as I've got up above the low rounds,
I want to help the boys that are down there, and I'll tell you, Alice,
it'll do 'em lots of good to know you."

And so Alice was gracious to the new-comers and made them welcome, and
showed them pictures, and drew them out to talk, and made them feel
that they were entertaining her.

Some women have this power of divining what a man can say, and giving
him courage to say it. Alice was one of these; people wondered when
they left her how they had been made to talk so well. It was the best
and truest part of every one's nature that she gave courage and voice
to. This power of young girls to ennoble young men is unhappily one
of which too often they are unconscious. Too often the woman, instead
of being a teacher in the higher life, is only a flatterer of the
weaknesses and lower propensities of the men whose admiration she

St. John felt frightened and embarrassed with his message to Angie.
He had dwelt on it, all his way to the house, as an auspicious key to
a conversation which he anticipated with pleasure; yet the evening
rolled by, and though he walked round and round, and nearer and
nearer, and conversed with this and that one, he did not come to the
point of speaking to Angie. Sometimes she was talking to somebody else
and he waited; sometimes she was not with anybody else, and then he
waited lest his joining her should be remarked. He did not stop to ask
himself why on earth it should be remarked any more than if he had
spoken to Alice or Eva, or anybody else, but he felt as if it would be.

At last, however, after making several circles about the table where
she sat with Mrs. Betsey, he sat down by them, and delivered his
message with a formal precision, as if he had been giving her a
summons. Angie was all sympathy and sweetness, and readily said she
would go and see the poor woman the very next day, and then an awkward
pause ensued. She was a little afraid of him as a preternaturally good
man, and began to wonder whether she had been laughing too loud, or
otherwise misbehaving, in the gaiety of her heart, that evening.

So, after a rather dry pause, Mr. St. John uttered some commonplaces
about the books of engravings before them, and then, suddenly seeming
to recollect something he had forgotten, crossed the room to speak to
Dr. Campbell.

"Dear me, child, and so that is your rector," said Mrs. Betsey. "Isn't
he a little stiff?"

"I believe he is not much used to society," said Angie; "but he is a
_very_ good man."

The evening entertainment had rather a curious finale. A spirit of
sociability had descended upon the company, and it was one of those
rare tides that come sometimes where everybody is having a good time,
and nobody looks at one's watch; and so, ten o'clock was long past,
and eleven had struck, and yet there was no movement for dissolving
the session.

Across the way, old Dinah had watched the bright windows with longing
eyes, until finally the spirit of the occasion was too strong for
her, and, bidding Jack lie down and be a good dog, she left her own
precincts and ran across to the kitchen of the festal scene, to pick
up some crumbs for her share.

Jack looked at her in winking obedience as she closed the kitchen
door, being mindful in his own dog's head of a small slip of a pantry
window which had served his roving purposes before now. The moment
Dinah issued from the outer door, Jack bounced from the pantry window
and went padding at a discreet distance from her heels. Sitting down
on the front door-mat of the festive mansion, he occupied himself with
his own reflections till the door opening for a late comer gave him an
opportunity to slip in quietly.

Jack used his entrance ticket with discretion, watched, waited,
reconnoitered, till finally, seeing an unemployed ottoman next Mrs.
Betsey, he suddenly appeared in the midst, sprang up on the ottoman
with easy grace, sat up on his hind paws, and waved his front ones
affably to the public.

The general tumult that ensued, the horror of Miss Dorcas, the
scolding she tried to give Jack, the storm of applause and petting
which greeted him in all quarters, confirming him, as Miss Dorcas
remarked, in his evil ways,--all these may better be imagined than

"A quarter after eleven, sister!"

"Can it be possible?" said Mrs. Betsey. "No wonder Jack came to bring
us home."

Jack seconded the remark with a very staccato bark and a brisk
movement towards the door, where, with much laughing, many hand
shakings, ardent protestations that they had had a delightful evening,
and promises to come again next week, the company dispersed.



The cream of an evening company is the latter end of it, after the
more ceremonious have slipped away and only "we and our folks" remain
to croon and rake up the fire.

Mr. and Mrs. Van Arsdel, Angelique, and Marie went home in the
omnibus. Alice staid to spend the night with Eva, and help put up the
portfolios, and put back the plants, and turn the bower back into a
workroom, and set up the vases of flowers in a cool place where they
could keep till morning; because, you know--you who are versed in
these things--that flowers in December need to be made the most of, in
order to go as far as possible.

Bolton yet lingered in his arm-chair, in his favorite corner, gazing
placidly at the coals of the fire. Dr. Campbell was solacing himself,
after the unsatisfied longings of the evening, with seeing how his own
article looked in print, and Jim Fellows was helping miscellaneously
in setting back flower-pots, re-arranging books, and putting chairs
and tables, that had been arranged festively, back into humdrum
household places. Meanwhile, the kind of talk was going on that
usually follows a social venture--a sort of review of the whole scene
and of all the actors.

"Well, Doctor, what do you think of our rector?" said Eva, tapping his
magazine briskly.

He lowered his magazine and squared himself round gravely.

"That fellow hasn't enough of the abdominal to carry his brain power,"
he said. "Splendid head--a little too high in the upper stories and
not quite heavy enough in the basement. But if he had a good broad,
square chest, and a good digestive and blood-making apparatus, he'd
go. The fellow wants blood; he needs mutton and beef, and plenty of
it. That's what he needs. What's called common sense is largely a
matter of good diet and digestion."

"Oh, Doctor, you materialistic creature!" said Eva, "to think of
talking of a clergyman as if he were a horse--to be managed by
changing his feed!"

"Certainly, a man must be a good animal before he can be a good man."

"Well," said Alice, "all I know is, that Mr. St. John is perfectly,
disinterestedly, heart and soul and body, devoted to doing good among
men; and if that is not noble and grand and godlike, I don't know what

"Well," said Dr. Campbell, "I have a profound respect for all those
fellows that are trying to mop out the Atlantic Ocean; and he mops
cheerfully and with good courage."

"It's perfectly hateful of you, Doctor, to talk so," said Eva.

"Well, you know I don't go in for interfering with nature--having
noble, splendid fellows waste and wear themselves down, to keep
miserable scalawags and ill-begotten vermin from dying out as they
ought to. Nature is doing her best to kill off the poor specimens
of the race, begotten of vice and drunkenness; and what you call
Christian charity is only interference."

"But you do it, Doctor; you know you do. Nobody does more of that very
sort of thing than you do, now. Don't you visit, and give medicine and
nursing, and all that, to just such people?"

"I may be a fool for doing it, for all that," said the Doctor. "I
don't pretend to stick to my principles any better than most people
do. We are all fools, more or less; but I don't believe in Christian
charity: it's all wrong--this doctrine that the brave, strong good
specimens of the race are to torment and tire and worry their lives
out to save the scum and dregs. Here's a man who, by economy, honesty,
justice, temperance and hard work, has grown rich, and has houses,
and lands, and gardens, and pictures, and what not, and is having a
good time as he ought to have, and right by him is another who, by
dishonesty, and idleness, and drinking, has come to rags and poverty
and sickness. Shall the temperate and just man deny himself enjoyment,
and spend his time, and risk his health, and pour out his money, to
take care of the wife and children of this scalawag? There's the
question in a nutshell? and _I_ say, no! If scalawags find that their
duties will be performed for them when they neglect them, that's all
they want. What should St. John live like a hermit for? deny himself
food, rest and sleep? spend a fortune that might make him and some
nice wife happy and comfortable, on drunkards' wives and children? No
sense in it."

"That's just where Christianity stands above and opposite to nature,"
said Bolton, from his corner. "Nature says, destroy. She is blindly
striving to destroy the maimed and imperfect. Christianity says, save.
Its God is the Good Shepherd, who cares more for the one lost sheep
than for the ninety and nine that went not astray."

"Yes," said Eva; "He who was worth more than all of us put together,
came down from heaven to labor and suffer and die for sinners."

"That's supernaturalism," said Dr. Campbell. "I don't know about

"That's what we learn at church," said Eva, "and what we believe; and
it's a pity you don't, Doctor."

"Oh, well," said Dr. Campbell, lighting his cigar, previous to going
out, "I won't quarrel with you. You might believe worse things. St.
John is a good fellow, and, if he wants a doctor any time, I told him
to call me. Good night."

"Did you ever see such a creature?" said Eva.

"He talks wild, but acts right," said Alice.

"You had him there about visiting poor folks," said Jim. "Why,
Campbell is a perfect fool about people in distress--would give a
fellow watch and chain, and boots and shoes, and then scold anybody
else that wanted to go and do likewise."

"Well, I say such discussions are fatiguing," said Alice. "I don't
like people to talk all round the points of the compass so."

"Well, to change the subject, I vote our evening a success," said Jim.
"Didn't we all behave beautifully!"

"We certainly did," said Eva.

"Isn't Miss Dorcas a beauty!" said Jim.

"Come, now, Jim; no slants," said Alice.

"I didn't mean any. Honest now, I like the old girl. She's sensible.
She gets such clothes as she thinks right and proper, and marches
straight ahead in them, instead of draggling and draggletailing after
fashion; and it's a pity there weren't more like her."

"Dress is a vile, tyrannical Moloch," said Eva. "We are all too much
enslaved to it."

"I know we are," said Alice. "I think it's _the_ question of our day,
what sensible women of small means are to do about dress; it takes so
much time, so much strength, so much money. Now, if these organizing,
convention-holding women would only organize a dress reform, they
would do something worth while."

"The thing is," said Eva, "that in spite of yourself you have to
conform to fashion somewhat."

"Unless you do as your Quaker friends do," said Bolton.

"By George," said Jim Fellows, "those two were the best dressed women
in the room. That little Ruth was seductive."

"Take care; we shall be jealous," said Eva.

"Well," said Bolton, rising, "I must walk up to the printing-office
and carry that corrected proof to Daniels."

"I'll walk part of the way with you," said Harry. "I want a bit of
fresh air before I sleep."


"_Bolton laid his hand on her shoulder, and, looking down on her,
said: 'Poor child, have you no mother?'_"--p. 197.]



The two sallied out and walked arm in arm up the street. It was a
keen, bright, starlight night, with everything on earth frozen stiff
and hard, and the stars above sparkling and glinting like white flames
in the intense clear blue. Just at the turn of the second street, a
woman who had been crouching in a doorway rose, and, coming up towards
the two, attempted to take Harry's arm.

With an instinctive movement of annoyance and disgust, he shook her
off indignantly.

Bolton, however, stopped and turned, and faced the woman. The light
of a street lamp showed a face, dark, wild, despairing, in which the
history of sin and punishment were too plainly written. It was a
young face, and one that might once have been beautiful; but of all
that nothing remained but the brightness of a pair of wonderfully
expressive eyes. Bolton advanced a step towards her and laid his hand
on her shoulder, and, looking down on her, said:

"Poor child, have you no mother?"

"Mother! Oh!"

The words were almost shrieked, and then the woman threw herself at
the foot of the lamp-post and sobbed convulsively.

"Harry," said Bolton, "I will take her to the St. Barnabas; they will
take her in for the night."

Then, taking the arm of the woman, he said in a voice of calm
authority, "Come with me."

He raised her and offered her his arm. "Child, there is hope for you,"
he said. "Never despair. I will take you where you will find friends."

A walk of a short distance brought them to the door of the refuge,
where he saw her received, and then turning he retraced his steps to

"One more unfortunate," he said, briefly, and then immediately took up
the discussion of a point in the proof-sheet just where he had left
it. Harry was so excited by the incident that he could hardly keep up
the discussion which Bolton was conducting.

"I wonder," he said, after an interval, "who that woman is, and what
is her history."

"The old story, likely," said Bolton.

"What is curious," said Harry, "is that Eva described such a looking
woman as hanging about our house the other evening. It was the evening
when she was going over to the Vanderheyden house to persuade the
old ladies to come to us this evening. She seemed then to have been
hanging about our house, and Eva spoke in particular of her eyes--just
such singular, wild, dark eyes as this woman has."

"It may be a mere coincidence," said Bolton. "She may have had some
errand on your street. Whatever the case be, she is safe for the
present. They will do the best they can for her. She's only one more
grain in the heap!"

Shortly after, Harry took leave of Bolton and returned to his own
house. He found all still, Eva waiting for him by the dying coals and
smoking ashes of the fire. Alice had retired to her apartment.

"We've had an adventure," he said.

"What! to-night?"

Harry here recounted the scene and Bolton's course, and immediately
Eva broke out: "There, Harry, it must be that very woman that I saw
the night I was going into the Vanderheyden's; she seems to be hanging
round this neighborhood. What can she be? Tell me, Harry, had she very
brilliant dark eyes, and a sort of dreadfully haggard, hopeless look?"

"Exactly. Then I was provoked at her assurance in laying her hand
on my arm; but when I saw her face I was so struck by its misery
that I pitied her. You ought to have seen Bolton; he seemed so
calm and commanding, and his face, as he looked down on her, had a
wonderful expression; and his voice,--you know that heavy, deep tone
of his,--when he spoke of her mother it perfectly overcame her. She
seemed almost convulsed, but he assumed a kind of authority and led
her away to the St. Barnabas. Luckily he knew all about that, for he
had talked with St. John about it."

"Yes, indeed, I heard them talking about it this very evening; so it
is quite a providence. I do wonder who she is or what she is. Would it
do for me to go to-morrow and inquire?"

"I don't know, my dear, as you could do anything. They will do all
that is possible there, and I would not advise you to interfere merely
from curiosity. You can do nothing."

"Strange!" said Eva, still looking in the fire while she was taking
the hairpins out of her hair and loosening her neck ribbon, "strange,
the difference in the lot of women. That girl has been handsome!
People have loved her. She might have been in a home, happy like me,
with a good husband--now there she is in the cold streets. It makes me
very unhappy to think such things must be. You know how Bolton spoke
of God, the Good Shepherd--how he cared more for one lost one than for
all that went not astray. That is so beautiful--I do hope she will be

"Let us hope so, darling."

"It seems selfish for me to wrap my comforts about me, and turn away
my thoughts, and congratulate myself on my good luck--don't it?"

"But, darling, if you can't do anything, I don't know why you should
dwell on it. But I'll promise you Bolton shall call and inquire of the
Sisters, and if there is anything we can do, he will let us know. But
now it's late, and you are tired and need rest."



Congratulate us, dear mother; we have had a success! Our first evening
was all one could hope! Everybody came that we wanted, and, what is
quite as good in such cases, everybody staid away that we didn't want.
You know how it is; when you intend to produce real acquaintance, that
shall ripen into intimacy, it is necessary that there should be no
non-conductors to break the circle. There are people that shed around
them coldness and constraint, as if they were made of ice, and it is
a mercy when such people don't come to your parties. As it is, I have
had the happiness to see our godly rector on most conversable terms
with our heretic doctor, and each thinking better of the other. Oh!
and, what was a greater triumph yet, I managed to introduce a Quaker
preacheress to Mr. St. John, and had the satisfaction to see that he
was completely charmed by her, as well he may be. The way it came
about, you must know, is this:--

Little Ruth Baxter, our next door neighbor, has received this Sibyl
Selwyn at her house, and is going with her soon on one of her
preaching expeditions. I find it is a custom of their sect for the
preachers to associate with themselves one or more lay sisters, who
travel with them, and for a certain time devote themselves to works
of charity and mercy under their superintendence. They visit prisons
and penitentiaries; they go to houses of vice and misery, where one
would think a woman would scarcely dare to go; they reprove sin,
yet carry always messages of hope and mercy. Little Ruth is now
preparing to go with Sibyl on such a mission, and I am much interested
in the stories she tells me of the strange unworldly experiences
of this woman. It is true that these missions are temporary; they
seem to be only like what we could suppose the visits of angels
might be--something to arouse and to stimulate, but not to exert a
continuous influence. What feeling they excite, what good purposes
and resolutions spring up under their influence, they refer to the
organized charities of Christian churches of whatever name. If Sibyl's
penitents are Romanists, she carries them to the Romish Sisters; and
so with Methodist, Baptist, or Ritualist, wherever they can find
shelter and care. She seems to regard her mission as like that of the
brave Sisters of Charity who go upon the field of battle amid belching
cannon and bursting shells, to bring away the wounded. She leaves them
in this or that hospital, and is off again for more.

This she has been doing many years, as the spirit within leads her,
both in England and in this country. I wish you could see her--I know
how you would love her. As for me, I look up to her with a kind of
awe; yet she has such a pretty, simple-hearted innocence about her.
I felt a little afraid of her at first, and thought all my pins and
rings and little bows and fixtures would seem so many sins in her
sight; but I found she could admire a bracelet or a gem as much as
I did, and seemed to enjoy all my pretty things for me. She says so
prettily, "If thee acts up to thy light, Eva, thee can do no more." I
only wish that I were as sure as she is that I do. It is quite sweet
of her, and puts me at ease in her presence. They are going to be gone
all this week on some mission. I don't know yet exactly where, but I
can't help feeling as if I wished some angel woman like Sibyl would
take me off with her, and let me do a little something in this great
and never finished work of helping and healing. I have always had a
longing to do a little at it, and perhaps, with some one to inspire
and guide me, even I might do some good.

This reminds me of a strange incident. The other night, as I was
crossing the street, I saw a weird-looking young woman, very haggard
and miserable, who seemed to be in a kind of uncertain way, hanging
about our house. There was something about her face and eyes that
affected me quite painfully, but I thought nothing of it at the time.
But, the evening after our reception, as Harry and Bolton were walking
about a square beyond our house, this creature came suddenly upon them
and took Harry's arm. He threw her off with a sudden impulse, and
then Bolton, like a good man, as he always is, and with that sort of
quiet self-possession he always has, spoke to her and asked where her
_mother_ was. That word was enough, and the poor thing began sobbing
and crying, and then he took her and led her away to the St. Barnabas,
a refuge for homeless people which is kept by some of our church
Sisters, and there he left her; and Harry says he will tell Mr. St.
John about it, so that he may find out what can be done for her, if

When I think of meeting any such case personally, I feel how utterly
weak and inexperienced I am, and how utterly unfit to guide or help,
though I wish with my whole heart I could do something to help all
poor desolate people. I feel a sort of self-reproach for being so very
happy as I am while any are miserable. To take another subject,--I
have been lately more and more intimate with Bolton. You know I sent
you Caroline's letter about him. Well, really it seemed to me such a
pity that two who are entirely devoted to each other should be living
without the least comfort of intercommunion, that I could not help
just trying the least little bit to bring them together. Harry rather
warned me not to do it. These men are so prudent; their counsels seem
rather cold to our hearts--is it not so, mother? Harry advised me not
to name the subject to Bolton, and said _he_ would not dare do it for
the world. Well, that's just because he's a man; he does not know how
differently men receive the approaches of a woman. In fact, I soon
found that there was no subject on which Bolton was so all alive and
eager to hear. When I had once mentioned Caroline, he kept recurring
to the subject, evidently longing to hear more from her; and so, one
way and another, in firelight talks and moonlight walks, and times and
places when words slip out before one thinks, the whole of what is
to be known of Caroline's feelings went into his mind, and all that
might be known of his to her passed into mine. I, in short, became a
medium. And do you think I was going to let her fret her heart out
in ignorance of anything I could tell her? Not if I know myself; in
fact, I have been writing volumes to Caroline, for I am determined
that no people made for each other shall go wandering up and down this
labyrinth of life, missing their way at every turn, for want of what
could be told them by some friendly good fairy who has the clue.

Say now, mother, am I imprudent? If I am, I can't help it; the thing
is done. Bolton has broken the silence and written to Caroline; and
once letter-writing is begun, you see, the rest follows. Does it not?

Now the thing is done, Harry is rather glad of it, as he usually is
with the results of my conduct when I go against his advice and the
thing turns out all right; and, what's of Harry better than that, when
I get into a scrape by going against his counsels, he never says, "I
told you so," but helps me out, and comforts me in the loveliest
manner. Mother, dear, he does you credit, for you had the making of
him! He never would have been the husband he is, if you had not been
the mother you are.

You say you are interested in my old ladies across the way.

Yes, I really flatter myself that our coming into this neighborhood
is quite a godsend to them. I don't know any that seemed to enjoy the
evening more than they two. It was so long since they had been in any
society, and their society power had grown cramped, stiff by disuse;
but the light and brightness of our fireside, and the general friendly
cheerfulness, seemed to wake them up. My sisters are admirable
assistants. They are society girls in the best sense, and my dear
little mamma is never so much herself as when she is devoting herself
to entertaining others. Miss Dorcas told me, this morning, that she
was thankful on her sister's account to have this prospect of a weekly
diversion opened to her; for that she had so many sorrows and suffered
so much, it was all she could do at times to keep her from sinking in
utter despondency. What her troubles could have been Miss Dorcas did
not say; but I know that her marriage was unhappy, and that she has
lost all her children. But, at any rate, this acknowledgement from her
that we have been a comfort and help to them gratifies me. It shows
me that we were right in thinking that we need not run beyond our own
neighborhood to find society full of interest and do our little part
in the kindly work of humanity. Oh, don't let me forget to tell you
that that lovely, ridiculous Jack of theirs, that they make such a
pet of, insisted on coming to the party to look after them; waylaid
the door, and got in, and presented himself in a striking attitude
on an ottoman in the midst of the company, to Miss Dorcas's profound
horror and our great amusement. Jack has now become the "dog of the
regiment," and we think of issuing a season ticket in his behalf: for
everybody pets him; he helps to make fun and conversation.

After all, my dear mother, I must say a grateful word in praise of
my Mary. I pass for a first-rate housekeeper, and receive constant
compliments for my lovely house, its charming arrangements, the
ease with which I receive and entertain company, the smoothness and
completeness with which everything goes on; and all the while, in my
own conscience, I feel that almost all the credit is due to Mary.
The taste in combination and arrangement is mine, to be sure--and
I flatter myself on having some nice domestic theories; but after
all, Mary's knowledge, and Mary's strength, and Mary's neatness and
order, are the foundation on which all the structure is built. Of what
use would be taste and beauty and refinement, if I had to do my own
washing, or cook my own meals, or submit to the inroads of a tribe
of untaught barbarians, such as come from the intelligence offices?
How soon would they break my pretty teacups, and overwhelm my lovely
_bijouterie_ with a second Goth and Vandal irruption! So, with you,
dear mother, you see I do justice to Mary, strong and kind, whom
nobody thinks of and nobody praises, and yet who enables me to do all
that I do. I believe she truly loves me with all the warmth of an
Irish heart, and I love her in return; and I give her this credit with
you, to absolve my own conscience for taking so much more than is due
to myself in the world. But what a long letter I am writing! Writing
to you is talking, and you know what a chatterbox I am; but you won't
be tired of hearing all this from us. Your loving




St. John was seated in his study, with a book of meditations before
him on which he was endeavoring to fix his mind. In the hot, dusty,
vulgar atmosphere of modern life, it was his daily effort to bring
around himself the shady coolness, the calm conventual stillness,
that breathes through such writers as St. Francis de Sales and Thomas
à Kempis, men with a genius for devotion, who have left to mankind
records of the mile-stones and road-marks by which they traveled
towards the highest things. Nor should the most stringent Protestant
fail to honor that rich and grand treasury of the experience of
devout spirits of which the Romish Church has been the custodian. The
hymns and prayers and pious meditations which come to us through this
channel are particularly worthy of a cherishing remembrance in this
dusty, materialistic age. To St. John they had a double charm, by
reason of their contrast with the sterility of the religious forms of
his early life. While enough of the Puritan and Protestant remained in
him to prevent his falling at once into the full embrace of Romanism,
he still regarded the old fabric with a softened, poetic tenderness;
he "took pleasure in her stones and favored the dust thereof."

Nor is it to be denied that in the history of the Romish Church are
records of heroism and self-devotion which might justly inspire with
ardor the son of a line of Puritans. Who can go beyond St. Francis
Xavier in the signs of an apostle? Who labored with more utter
self-surrender than Father Claver for the poor negro slaves of South
America? And how magnificent are those standing Orders of Charity,
composed of men and women of that communion, that have formed from
age to age a life-guard of humanity, devoted to healing the sick,
sheltering and educating the orphans, comforting the dying!

A course of eager reading in this direction might make it quite
credible even that a Puritan on the rebound should wish to come as
near such a church as is possible without sacrifice of conscience and

In the modern Anglican wing of the English Church St. John thought he
had found the blessed medium. There he believed were the signs of the
devotion, the heroism and self-sacrifice of the primitive Catholic
Church, without the hindrances and incrustations of superstition.
That little record, "Ten Years in St. George's Mission," was to him
the seal of their calling. There he read of men of property devoting
their entire wealth, their whole time and strength, to the work of
regenerating the neglected poor of London. He read of a district that
at first could be entered only under the protection of the police,
where these moral heroes began their work of love amid the hootings
and howlings of the mob and threats of personal violence,--the
scoff and scorn of those they came to save; and how by the might of
Christian love and patience these savage hearts were subdued, these
blasphemies turned to prayers; and how in this dark district arose
churches, schools, homes for the destitute, reformatories for the
lost. No wonder St. John, reading of such a history, felt, "This is
the church for me." Perhaps a wider observation might have shown him
that such labors and successes are not peculiar to the ritualist, that
to wear the cross outwardly is not essential to bearing the cross
inwardly, and that without signs and the symbolism of devout forms,
the spirit of love, patience and self-denial can and does accomplish
the same results.

St. John had not often met Bolton before that evening at the
Henderson's. There, for the first time, he had had a quiet,
uninterrupted conversation with him; and, from the first, there had
been felt between them that constitutional sympathy that often unites
widely varying natures, like the accord of two different strings of an

Bolton was less of an idealist than St. John, with a wider practical
experience and a heavier mental caliber. He was in no danger of
sentimentalism, and yet there was about him a deep and powerful
undertone of feeling that inclined him in the same direction with Mr.
St. John. There are men, and very strong men, whose natures gravitate
towards Romanism with a force only partially modified by intellectual
convictions: they would be glad to believe it if they could.

Bolton was an instance of a man of high moral and intellectual
organization, of sensitive conscience and intense sensibility, who,
with the highest ideal of manhood and of the purposes to which life
should be devoted, had come to look upon himself as an utter failure.
An infirmity of the brain and the flesh had crept upon him in the
unguarded period of youth, had struck its poison through his system,
and weakened the power of the will, till all the earlier part of his
life had been a series of the most mortifying failures. He had fallen
from situation after situation, where he had done work for a season:
and, each time, the agony of his self-reproach and despair had been
doubled by the reproaches and expostulations of many of his own family
friends, who poured upon bare nerves the nitric acid of reproach. He
had seen the hair of his mother slowly and surely whitening in the
sickening anxieties and disappointments which he had brought. Loving
her with almost a lover's fondness, desiring above all things to be
her staff and stay, he had felt himself to be to her only an anxiety
and a disappointment.

When, at last, he had gained a foothold and a place in the press, he
was still haunted with the fear of recurring failure. He who has two
or three times felt his sanity give way, and himself become incapable
of rational control, never thereafter holds himself secure. And so it
was with this overpowering impulse to which Bolton had been subjected;
he did not know at what time it might sweep over him again.

Of late, his intimacy had been sought by Eva, and he had yielded to
the charm of her society. It was impossible for a nature at once so
sympathetic and so transparent as hers to mingle intimately with
another without learning and betraying much. The woman's tact at once
divined that his love for Caroline had only grown with time, and the
scarce suppressed eagerness with which he listened to any tidings from
her led on from step to step in mutual confidence, till there was
nothing more to be told, and Bolton felt that the only woman he had
ever loved, loved him in return with a tenacity and intensity which
would be controlling forces in her life.

It was with a bitter pleasure nearly akin to pain that this conviction
entered his soul. To a delicate moral organization, the increase of
responsibility, with distrust of ability to meet it, is a species
of torture. He feared himself destined once more to wreck the life
and ruin the hopes of one dearer than his own soul, who was devoting
herself to him with a woman's uncalculating fidelity.

This agony of self-distrust, this conscious weakness in his most
earnest resolutions and most fervent struggles, led Bolton to wish
with all his heart that the beautiful illusion of an all-powerful
church in which still resided the visible presence of Almighty God
might be a reality. His whole soul sometimes cried out for such a
_visible_ Helper--for a church with power to bind and loose, with
sacraments which should supplement human weakness by supernatural
grace, with a priesthood competent to forgive sin and to guide the
penitent. It was simply and only because his clear, well-trained
intelligence could see no evidence of what he longed to believe, that
the absolute faith was wanting.

He was not the only one in this perplexed and hopeless struggle with
life and self and the world who has cried out for a visible temple,
such as had the ancient Jew; for a visible High-Priest, who should
consult the oracle for him and bring him back some sure message from a
living God.

When he looked back on the seasons of his failures, he remembered
that it was with vows and tears and prayers of agony in his mouth
that he had been swept away by the burning temptation; that he had
been wrenched, cold and despairing, from the very horns of the altar.
Sometimes he looked with envy at those refuges which the Romish Church
provides for those who are too weak to fight the battle of life alone,
and thought, with a sense of rest and relief, of entering some of
those religious retreats where a man surrenders his whole being to the
direction of another, and ends the strife by laying down personal free
agency at the feet of absolute authority. Nothing but an unconvinced
intellect--an inability to believe--stood in the way of this entire
self-surrender. This morning, he had sought Mr. St. John's study,
to direct his attention to the case of the young woman whom he had
rescued from the streets, the night before.

Bolton's own personal experience of human weakness and the tyranny
of passion had made him intensely pitiful. He looked on the vicious
and the abandoned as a man shipwrecked and swimming for his life looks
on the drowning who are floating in the waves around him; and where a
hand was wanting, he was prompt to stretch it out.

There was something in that young, haggard face, those sad, appealing
eyes, that had interested him more powerfully than usual, and he
related the case with much feeling to Mr. St. John, who readily
promised to call and ascertain if possible some further particulars
about her.

"You did the very best possible thing for her," said he, "when you put
her into the care of the Church. The Church alone is competent to deal
with such cases."

Bolton ruminated within himself on the wild, diseased impulses, the
morbid cravings and disorders, the complete wreck of body and soul
that comes of such a life as the woman had led, and then admired the
serene repose with which St. John pronounced that indefinite power,
the CHURCH, as competent to cast out the seven devils of the

"I shall be very glad to hear good news of her," he said; "and if the
Church is strong enough to save such as she, I shall be glad to know
that too."

"You speak in a skeptical tone," said St. John.

"Pardon me: I know something of the difficulties, physical and moral,
which lie in the way," said Bolton.

"To them that believe, nothing shall be impossible," said St. John,
his face kindling with ardor.

"And by the Church do you mean all persons who have the spirit of
Jesus Christ, or simply that portion of them who worship in the form
that you do?"

"Come, now," said St. John, "the very form of your question invites to
a long historic argument; and I am sure you did not mean to draw that
on your head."

"Some other time, though," said Bolton, "if you will undertake to
convince me of the existence in this world of such a power as you
believe in, you will find me certainly not unwilling to believe. But,
this morning, I have but a brief time to spend. Farewell, for the

And with a hearty hand-shake the two parted.



I had not thought to obtrude myself needlessly on you ever again.
Oppressed with the remembrance that I have been a blight on a life
that might otherwise have been happy, I thought my only expiation was
silence. But it had not then occurred to me that possibly you could
feel and be pained by that silence. But of late I have been very
intimate with Mrs. Henderson, whose mind is like those crystalline
lakes we read of--a pebble upon the bottom is evident. She loves
you so warmly and feels for you so sympathetically that, almost
unconsciously, when you pour your feelings into her heart, they
are revealed to me through the transparent medium of her nature.
I confess that I am still so selfish as to feel a pleasure in the
thought that you cannot forget me. I cannot forget you. I never have
forgotten you, I believe, for a waking conscious hour since that
time when your father shut the door of his house between you and me.
I have demonstrated in my own experience that there may be a double
consciousness all the while going on, in which the presence of one
person should seem to pervade every scene of life. You have been with
me, even in those mad fatal seasons when I have been swept from reason
and conscience and hope--it has added bitterness to my humiliation in
my weak hours; but it has been motive and courage to rise up again
and again and renew the fight--the fight that must last as long as
life lasts; for, Caroline, this is so. In some constitutions, with
some hereditary predispositions, the indiscretions and ignorances of
youth leave a fatal irremediable injury. Though the sin be in the
first place one of inexperience and ignorance, it is one that nature
never forgives. The evil once done can never be undone; no prayers, no
entreaties, no resolutions, can change the consequences of violated
law. The brain and nerve force, once vitiated by poisonous stimulants,
become thereafter subtle tempters and traitors, forever lying in wait
to deceive and urging to ruin; and he who is saved, is saved so as by
fire. Since it is your unhappy fate to care so much for me, I owe to
you the utmost frankness. I must tell you plainly that I am an unsafe
man. I am like a ship with powder on board and a smouldering fire in
the hold. I must warn my friends off, lest at any moment I carry ruin
to them, and they be drawn down in my vortex. We can be friends, dear
friends; but let me beg you, think as little of me as you can. Be a
friend in a certain degree, after the manner of the world, rationally,
and with a wise regard to your own best interests--you who are worth
five hundred times what I am--you who have beauty, talent, energy--who
have a career opening before you, and a most noble and true friend in
Miss Ida; do not let your sympathies for a very worthless individual
lead you to defraud yourself of all that you should gain in the
opportunities now open to you. Command my services for you in the
literary line when ever they may be of the slightest use. Remember
that nothing in the world makes me so happy as an opportunity to serve
you. Treat me as you would a loyal serf, whose only thought is to
live and die for you; as the princess of the middle ages treated the
knight of low degree, who devoted himself to her service. There is
nothing _you_ could ask me to do for you that would not be to me a
pleasure; and all the more so, if it involved any labor or difficulty.
In return, be assured, that merely by being the woman you are, merely
by the love which you have given and still give to one so unworthy,
you are a constant strength to me, an encouragement never to faint in
a struggle which must last as long as this life lasts. For although
we must not forget that life, in the _best_ sense of the word, lasts
forever, yet this first mortal phase of it is, thank God, but short.
There is another and a higher life for those whose life has been a
failure here. Those who die fighting--even though they fall, many
times trodden under the hoof of the enemy--will find themselves there
made more than conquerors through One who hath loved them.

In this age, when so many are giving up religion, hearts like yours
and mine, Caroline, that know the real strain and anguish of this
present life, are the ones to appreciate the absolute necessity of
faith in the great hereafter. Without this, how cruel is life! How
bitter, how even unjust, the weakness and inexperience with which
human beings are pushed forth amid the grinding and clashing of
natural laws--laws of whose operation they are ignorant and yet
whose penalties are inexorable! If there be not a Guiding Father, a
redeeming future, how dark is the prospect of this life! and who can
wonder that the ancients, many of the best of them, considered suicide
as one of the reserved rights of human nature? Without religious
faith, I certainly should. I am making this letter too long; the
pleasure of speaking to you tempts me still to prolong it, but I

     Ever yours, devotedly,


       *       *       *       *       *


_My Dear Friend_: How can I thank you for the confidence you have
shown me in your letter? You were not mistaken in thinking that this
long silence has been cruel to me. It is more cruel to a woman than
it can possibly be to a man, because if to him silence be a pain, he
yet is conscious all the time that he has the power to break it; he
has the right to speak at any time, but a woman must die silent. Every
fiber of her being says this. She cannot speak, she must suffer as the
dumb animals suffer.

I have, I confess, at times, been bitterly impatient of this long
reserve, knowing, as I did, that you had not ceased to feel what you
once felt. I saw, in our brief interviews in New York, that you loved
me still. A woman is never blind to that fact, with whatever care it
is sought to be hidden. I saw that you felt all you once professed,
and yet were determined to conceal it, and treat with me on the calm
basis of ordinary friendship, and sometimes I was indignant: forgive
me the injustice.

You see that such a course is of no use, as a means of making one
forget. To know one's self passionately beloved by another who never
avows it, is something dangerous to the imagination. It gives rise
to a thousand restless conjectures, and is fatal to peace. We can
reconcile ourselves in time to any _certainty_; it is only when we are
called upon to accommodate ourselves to possibilities, uncertain as
vaporous clouds, that we weary ourselves in fruitless efforts.

Your letter avows what I knew before; what you often told me in our
happy days: and I now say in return that I, like you, have _never
forgotten_; that your image and presence have been to me as mine
to you, ever a part of my consciousness through all these years of
separation. And now you ask me to change all this into a cool and
prudent friendship, after the manner of the world; that is to say,
to take _all_ from you, to accept the entire devotion of your heart
and life, but be careful to risk nothing in return, to keep at a safe
distance from your possible troubles, lest I be involved.

Do you think me capable of this? Is it like me? and what would you
think and say to a friend who should make the same proposition to you?
Put it to yourself: what would you think of yourself, if you could be
so coldly wary and prudent with regard to a friend who was giving to
you the whole devotion of heart and life?

No, dear friend, this is all idle talk. Away with it! I feel that I am
capable of as entire devotion to you as I know you are to me; never
doubt it. The sad fatality which clouds your life makes this feeling
only the more intense; as we feel for those who are a part of our
own hearts, when in suffering and danger. In one respect, my medical
studies are an advantage to me. They have placed me at a stand-point
where my judgment on these questions and subjects is different from
those of ordinary women. An understanding of the laws of physical
being, of the conditions of brain and nerve forces, may possibly at
some future day bring a remedy for such sufferings as yours. I look
for this among the possible triumphs of science,--it adds interest to
the studies and lectures I am pursuing. I shall not be to you what
many women are to the men whom they love, an added weight to fall upon
you if you fall, to crush you under the burden of my disappointments
and anxieties and distresses. Knowing that your heart is resolute and
your nature noble, a failure, supposing such a possibility, would
be to me only like a fever or a paralysis,--a subject for new care
and watchfulness and devotion, not one for tears or reproaches or

There are lesions of the will that are no more to be considered
subject to moral condemnation than a strain of the spinal column
or a sudden fall, from paralysis. It is a misfortune; and to real
true affection, a misfortune only renders the sufferer more dear and
redoubles devotion.

Your letter gives me courage to live--courage to pursue the course set
before me here. I will make the most of myself that I can for your
sake, since all I am or can be is yours. Already I hope that I am
of use to you in opening the doors of confidence. Believe me, dear,
nothing is so bad for the health of the mind or the body as to have a
constant source of anxiety and apprehension that cannot be spoken of
to anybody. The mind thus shut within itself becomes a cave of morbid
horrors. I believe these unshared fears, these broodings, and dreads
unspoken, often fulfill their own prediction by the unhealthy states
of mind that they bring.

The chambers of the soul ought to be daily opened and aired; the
sunshine of a friend's presence ought to shine through them, to dispel
sickly damps and the malaria of fears and horrors. If I could be with
you and see you daily, my presence should cheer you, my faith in you
should strengthen your faith in yourself.

For my part, I can see how the very sensitiveness of your moral
temperament which makes you so dread a failure, exposes you to fail.
I think the near friends of persons who have your danger often hinder
instead of helping them by the manifestation of their fears and
anxieties. They think there is no way but to "pile up the agony," to
intensify the sense of danger and responsibility, when the fact is,
the subject of it is feeling now all the strain that human nerves can
feel without cracking.

We all know that we can walk with a cool head across a narrow plank
only one foot from the ground. But put the plank across a chasm a
thousand feet in depth, and the head swims. We have the same capacity
in both cases; but, in the latter, the awfulness of the risk induces a
nervous anxiety that amounts to a paralysis of the will.

Don't, therefore, let this dread grow on you by the horror of
lonely brooding. Treat it as you would the liability to any other
disease, openly, rationally and hopefully; and keep yourself in the
daily light and warmth of sympathetic intercourse with friends who
understand you and can help you. There are Eva and Harry--noble, true
friends, indebted to you for many favors, and devoted to you with a
loyal faithfulness. Let their faith and mine in you strengthen your
belief in yourself. And don't, above all things, take any load of
responsibility about _my_ happiness, and talk about being the blight
and shadow on my life. I trust I am learning that we were sent into
this world, not to clamor for happiness, but to do our part in a
life-work. What matter is it whether I am happy or not, if I do my
part? I know all the risks and all the dangers that come from being
identified, heart and soul, with the life of another as I am with
yours. I know the risks, and am ready to face them. I am ready to live
for you and die for you, and count it all joy to the last.

I was much touched by what you said of those who have died defeated
yet fighting. Yes, it is my belief that many a poor soul who has
again and again failed in the conflict has yet put forth more effort,
practiced more self-denial, than hundreds of average Christians; and
He who knows what the trial is, will judge them tenderly--that is to
say, justly.

But for you there must be a future, even in this life. I am assured of
it, and you must believe it: you must believe with my faith, and hope
in my hope. Come what will, I am, heart and soul and forever,





Who was St. Barnabas? We are told in the book of the Acts of
the Apostles that he was a man whose name signified a "son of
consolation." It must at once occur that such a saint is very much
needed in this weary world of ours, and most worthy to be the patron
of an "order."

To comfort human sorrow, to heal and help the desolate and afflicted,
irrespective either of their moral worth or of any personal reward, is
certainly a noble and praiseworthy object.

Nor can any reasonable objection be made to the custom of good women
combining for this purpose into a class or order, to be known by the
name of such a primitive saint, and wearing a peculiar livery to
mark their service, and having rites and ceremonials such as to them
seem helpful for this end. Surely the work is hard enough, and weary
enough, to entitle the doers thereof to do it in their own way, as
they feel they best can, and to have any sort of innocent helps in the
way of signs and symbols that may seem to them desirable.

Yet the Sisters of St. Barnabas had been exposed to a sort of modern
form of persecution from certain vigorous-minded Protestants, as
tending to Romanism. A clamor had been raised about them for wearing
large crosses, for bowing before altars, and, in short, for a hundred
little points of Ritualism; and it was held that a proper zeal for
Protestantism required their ejection from a children's refuge,
where, with much patience and Christian mildness, they were taking
care of sick babies and teaching neglected street children. Mrs.
Maria Wouvermans, with a committee of ladies equally zealous for the
order of the church and excited about the dangers of Popery, had
visited the refuge and pursued the inquisition even to the private
sleeping apartments of the Sisters, unearthing every symptom of
principle or practice that savored of approach to the customs of the
Scarlet Woman; and, as the result of relentless inquisition and much
vigorous catechising, she and her associates made such reports as
induced the Committee of Supervision to withdraw the charity from the
Sisters of St. Barnabas, and place it in other hands. The Sisters,
thus ejected, had sought work in other quarters of the great field of
human suffering and sorrow. A portion of them had been enabled by the
charity of friends to rent a house to be devoted to the purposes of
nursing destitute sick children, with dormitories also where homeless
women could find temporary shelter.

The house was not a bit more conventual or mediæval than the most
common-place of New York houses. It is true, one of the parlors had
been converted into a chapel, dressed out and arranged according to
the preferences of these good women. It had an altar, with a gilded
cross flanked by candles, which there is no denying were sometimes
lighted in the day-time. The altar was duly dressed with white, red,
green, violet or black, according as the traditional fasts or feasts
of the Church came round. There is no doubt that this simple chapel,
with its flowers, and candles, and cross, and its little ceremonial,
was an immense comfort and help to these good women in the work that
they were doing. But the most rigid Protestant, who might be stumbled
by this little attempt at a chapel, would have been melted into
accord when he went into the long bright room full of little cribs
and cradles, where child invalids of different ages and in different
stages of convalescence were made happy amid flowers, and toys, and
playthings, by the ministration of the good women who wore the white
caps and the large crosses. It might occur to a thoughtful mind, that
devotion to a work so sweetly unselfish might well entitle them to
wear any kind of dress and pursue any kind of method, unchallenged by

In a neat white bed of one of the small dormitories in the upper part
of this house, was lying in a delirious fever the young woman whom
Bolton had carried there on the night of our story. The long black
hair had become loosened by the restless tossing of her head from side
to side; her brow was bent in a heavy frown, made more intense by the
blackness of her eyebrows; her large, dark eyes were wandering wildly
to and fro over every object in the room, and occasionally fixing
themselves with a strange look of inquiry on the Sister who, in white
cap and black robe, sat by her bedside, changing the wet cloths on her
burning head, and moistening her parched lips from time to time with a
spoonful of water.

"I can't think who you are," she muttered, as the Sister with a gentle
movement put a fresh, cool cloth on her forehead.

"Never mind, poor child," said the sweet voice in reply; "try to be

"Quiet! _me_ be quiet!--that's pretty well! Me!" and she burst into
weak, hysteric laughter.

"Hush, hush!" said the Sister, making soothing motions with her hands.

The wandering eyes closed a few moments in a feverish drowse. In a
moment more, she started with a wild look.

"Mother! mother! where are you? I can't find you. I've looked and
looked till I'm so tired, and I can't find you. Mother, come to
me,--I'm sick!"--and the girl rose and threw out her arms wildly.

The Sister passed her arm round her tenderly and spoke with a gentle
authority, making her lie down again.

Then, in a sweet low voice, she began singing a hymn:

    "Jesus, lover of my soul,
      Let me to thy bosom fly,
    While the billows near me roll,
      While the tempest still is high."

As she sung, the dark sad eyes fixed themselves upon her with a vague,
troubled questioning. The Sister went on:

    "Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
      Till the storm of life is past,
    Safe into the haven guide,
      Oh, receive my soul at last."

It was just day-dawn, and the patient had waked from a temporary
stupor produced by a narcotic which had been given a few hours before
to compose her.

The purple-and-rose color of dawn was just touching faintly everything
in the room. Another Sister entered softly, to take the place of the
one who had watched for the last four hours.

"How is she?" she said.

"Quite out of her head, poor thing. Her fever is very high."

"We must have the doctor," said the other. "She looks like a very sick

"That she certainly is. She slept, under the opiate, but kept
starting, and frowning, and muttering in her sleep; and this morning
she waked quite wild."

"She must have got dreadfully chilled, walking so late in the
street--so poorly clad, too!"

With this brief conversation, the second sister assumed her place by
the bedside, and the first went to get some rest in her own room.

As day grew brighter, the singing of the matins in the chapel came
floating up in snatches; and the sick girl listened to it with the
same dazed and confused air of inquiry with which she looked on all

"Who is singing," she said to herself. "It's pretty, and good. But how
came I here? I was so cold, so cold--out there!--and now it's so hot.
Oh, my head! my head!"

A few hours later, Mr. St. John called at the Refuge to inquire after
the new inmate.

Mr. St. John was one of the patrons of the Sisters. He had contributed
liberally to the expenses of the present establishment, and stood at
all times ready to assist with influence and advice.

The Refuge was, in fact, by the use of its dormitories, a sort of
receiving station for homeless and desolate people, where they might
find temporary shelter, where their wants might be inquired into, and
help found for them according to their need.

After the interview with Bolton had made him acquainted with the
state of the case, Mr. St. John went immediately to the Refuge. He
was received in the parlor by a sweet-faced, motherly woman, with
her white cap and black robe, and with a large black cross depending
from her girdle. There was about her an air of innocent sanctity and
seclusion from the out-door bustle of modern life that was refreshing.

She readily gave him an account of the new inmate, whose sad condition
had excited the sympathy of all the Sisters.

She had come to them, she said, in a state of most woeful agitation
and distress, having walked the streets on a freezing night till
a late hour, in very insufficient clothing. Immediately on being
received, she began to have violent chills, followed by burning fever,
and had been all night tossing restlessly and talking wildly.

This morning, they had sent for the doctor, who pronounced her in a
brain fever, and in a condition of great danger. She was still out of
her mind, and could give no rational account of herself.

"It is piteous to hear her call upon her mother," said the Sister.
"Poor child! perhaps her mother is distressing herself about her."

Mr. St. John promised to secure the assistance and sympathy of some
benevolent women to aid the Sisters in their charge, and took his
leave, promising to call daily.



MY DEAR MOTHER: When I wrote you last we were quite
prosperous, having just come through with our first evening as a
great success; and everybody since has been saying most agreeable
things to us about it. Last Thursday, we had our second, and it was
even pleasanter than the last, because people had got acquainted, so
that they really wanted to see each other again. There was a most
charming atmosphere of ease and sociability. Bolton and Mr. St. John
are getting quite intimate. Mr. St. John, too, develops quite a fine
social talent, and has come out wonderfully. The side of a man that
one sees in the church and the pulpit is after all only one side, as
we have discovered. I find that he has quite a gift in conversation,
when you fairly get him at it. Then, his voice for singing comes into
play, and he and Angie and Dr. Campbell and Alice make up a quartette
quite magnificent for non-professionals. Angie has a fine soprano,
and Alice takes the contralto, and the Doctor, with his great broad
shoulders and deep chest, makes a splendid bass. Mr. St. John's tenor
is really very beautiful. It is one of those penetrating, sympathetic
voices that indicate both feeling and refinement, and they are all
of them surprised and delighted to find how well they go together.
Thursday evening they went on from thing to thing, and found that they
could sing this and that and the other, till the evening took a good
deal the form of a musical. But never mind, it brought them acquainted
with each other and made them look forward to the next reunion as
something agreeable. Ever since, the doctor goes round humming tunes,
and says he wants St. John to try the tenor of this and that, and
really has quite lost sight of his being anything else but a musical
brother. So here is the common ground I wanted to find between them.

The doctor has told Mr. St. John to call on him whenever he can make
him useful in his visits among the poor. Our doctor loves to _talk_ as
if he were a hard-hearted, unbelieving pirate, who didn't care a straw
for his fellow-creatures, while he loses no opportunity to do anybody
or anything a kindness.

You know I told you in my last letter about a girl that Harry and
Bolton found in the street, the night of our first reception, and
that they took her to the St. Barnabas Refuge. The poor creature has
been lying there ever since, sick of a brain fever, caught by cold
and exposure, and Dr. Campbell has given his services daily. If she
had been the richest lady in the land, he could not have shown more
anxiety and devotion to her than he has, calling twice and sometimes
three times a day, and one night watching nearly all night. She is
still too low and weak to give any account of herself; all we know
of her is that she is one of those lost sheep, to seek whom the Good
Shepherd would leave the ninety nine who went not astray. I have been
once or twice to sit by her, and relieve the good Sisters who have so
much else to do; and Angelique and Alice have also taken their turns.
It seems very little for us to do, when these good women spend all
their time and all their strength for those who have no more claim on
them than they have on us.

It is a week since I began this letter, and something quite surprising
to me has just developed.

I told you we had been to help nurse the poor girl at the Sisters',
and the last week she has been rapidly mending. Well, yesterday, as
I didn't feel very well, and my Mary is an excellent nurse, I took
her there to sit with the patient in my place, when a most strange
scene ensued. The moment Mary looked on her, she recognized her own
daughter, who had left her some years ago with a bad man. Mary had
never spoken to me of this daughter, and I only knew, in a sort
of general way, that she had left her mother under some painful
circumstances. The recognition was dreadfully agitating to Mary and
to the poor girl; indeed, for some time it was feared that the shock
would produce a relapse. The Sisters say that the poor thing has been
constantly calling for her mother in her distress.

It really seemed, for the time, as if Mary were going to be wholly
unnerved. She has a great deal of that respectable pride of family
character which belongs to the better class of the Irish, and it has
been a bitter humiliation to her to have to acknowledge her daughter's
shame to me; but I felt that it would relieve her to tell the whole
story to some one, and I drew it all out of her. This poor Maggie had
the misfortune to be very handsome. She was so pretty as a little
girl, her mother tells me, as to attract constant attention; and I
rather infer that the father and mother both made a pet and plaything
of her, and were unboundedly indulgent. The girl grew up handsome,
and thoughtless, and self-confident, and so fell an easy prey to a
villain who got her to leave her home, on a promise of marriage which
he never kept. She lived with him a while in one place and another,
and he became tired of her and contrived to place her in a house of
evil, where she was entrapped and enslaved for a long time. Having by
some means found out where her mother was living, she escaped from
her employers, and hung round the house irresolutely for some time,
wishing but fearing to present herself, and when she spoke to Harry
in the street, the night after our party, she was going in a wild,
desperate way to ask something about her mother--knowing that he was
the man with whom she was living.

Such seems to be her story; but I suppose, what with misery and cold,
and the coming on of the fever, the poor thing hardly had her senses,
or knew what she was about--the fever must have been then upon her.

So you see, dear mother, I was wishing in my last that I could go off
with Sibyl Selwyn on her mission to the lost sheep, and now here is
one brought to my very door. Is not this sent to me as my work? as if
the good Lord had said, "No, child, your feet are not strong enough
to go over the stones and briars, looking for the lost sheep; you are
not able to take them out of the jaws of the wolf; but here is a poor
wounded lamb that I leave at your door--that is your part of the great
work." So I understand it, and I have already told Mary that as soon
as Maggie is able to sit up, we will take her home with us, and let
her stay with us till she is strong and well, and then we will try and
put her back into good respectable ways, and keep her from falling

I think persons in our class of life cannot be too considerate of
the disadvantages of poor working women in the matter of bringing up

A very beautiful girl in that walk of life is exposed to solicitation
and temptation that never come near to people in our stations. We are
guarded on all hands by our very position. I can see in this poor
child the wreck of what must have been very striking beauty. Her hair
is lovely, her eyes are wonderfully fine, and her hands, emaciated as
she is, are finely formed and delicate. Well, being beautiful, she
was just like any other young girl--her head was turned by flattery.
She was silly and foolish, and had not the protections and barriers
that are around us, and she fell. Well, then, we that have been more
fortunate must help her up. Is it not so?

So, dear Mother, my mission work is coming to me. I need not go out
for it. I shall write more of this in a day or two.

     Ever yours,




Mrs. Maria Wouvermans was one of those forces in creation to whom
quiet is impossible. Watchfulness, enterprise and motion were the laws
of her existence, as incessantly operating as any other laws of nature.

When we last saw her, she was in high ill-humor with her sister, Mrs.
Van Arsdel, with Alice and Eva, and the whole family. She revenged
herself upon them, as such good creatures know how to do, by heaping
coals of fire on their heads in the form of ostentatiously untiring
and uncalled-for labors for them all. The places she explored to get
their laces mended and their quillings done up and their dresses
made, the pilgrimages she performed in omnibuses, the staircases she
climbed, the men and women whom she browbeat and circumvented in
bargains--all to the advantage of the Van Arsdel purse--were they
not recounted and told over in a way to appall the conscience of
poor, easy Mrs. Van Arsdel, whom they summarily convicted of being
an inefficient little know-nothing, and of her girls, who thus stood
arraigned for the blackest ingratitude in not appreciating Aunt Maria?

"I'll tell you what it is, Alice," said Eva, when Aunt Maria's labors
had come to the usual climax of such smart people, and laid her up
with a sick-headache, "we girls have just got to make up with Aunt
Maria, or she'll tear down all New York. I always notice that when
she's out with us she goes tearing about in this way, using herself up
for us--doing things no mortal wants her to do, and yet that it seems
black ingratitude not to thank her for. Now, Alice, you are the one,
this time, and you must just go and sit with her and make up, as I

"But, Eva, _I_ know the trouble you fell into, letting her and mother
entangle you with Wat Sydney, and I'm not going to have it happen
again. I will not be compromised in any way or shape with a man whom I
never mean to marry."

"Oh, well, I think by this time Aunt Maria understands this, only she
wants you to come back and be loving to her, and say you're sorry you
can't, etc. After all, Aunt Maria is devoted to us and is miserable
when we are out with her."

"Well, I hate to have friends that one must be always bearing with and
deferring to."

"Well, Alice, you remember Mr. St. John's sermons on the trials of the
first Christians--when he made us all feel that it would have been a
blessed chance to go to the stake for our religion?"

"Yes; it was magnificent. I felt a great exaltation."

"Well, I'll tell you what I thought. It may be as heroic, and more
difficult, to put down our own temper and make the first concession to
an unreasonable old aunt who really loves us than to be martyrs for
Christ. Nobody wants us to be martyrs now-a-days; but I think these
things that make no show and have no glory are a harder cross to take

"Well, Eva, I'll do as you say," said Alice, after a few moments
of silence, "for really you speak the truth. I don't know anything
harder than to go and make concessions to a person who has acted
as ridiculously as Aunt Maria has, and who will take all your
concessions and never own a word on her side."

"Well, dear, what I think in these cases is, that I am not perfect.
There are always enough things where I didn't do quite right for me to
confess; and as to her confessing, that's not _my_ affair. What _I_
have to do is to cut loose from my own sins; they are mine, and hers
are hers."

"True," said Alice; "and the fact is, I did speak improperly to Aunt
Maria. She is older than I am. I ought not to have said the things I
did. I'm hot tempered, and always say more than I mean."

"Well, Ally, do as I did--confess everything you can think of and then
say, as I did, that you must still be firm upon one point; and, depend
upon it, Aunt Maria will be glad to be friends again."

This conversation had led to an amelioration which caused Aunt Maria
to appear at Eva's second reunion in her best point lace and with
her most affable company manners, whereby she quite won the heart
of simple Mrs. Betsey Benthusen, and was received with patronizing
civility by Miss Dorcas. That good lady surveyed Mrs. Wouvermans with
an amicable scrutiny as a specimen of a really creditable production
of modern New York life. She took occasion to remark to her sister
that the Wouvermans were an old family of unquestioned position, and
that really Mrs. Wouvermans had acquired quite the family air.

Miss Dorcas was one of those people who sit habitually on thrones of
judgment and see the children of this world pass before them, with but
one idea, to determine what she should think of them. What they were
likely to think of her, was no part of her concern. Her scrutinies and
judgments were extremely quiet, tempered with great moderation and
Christian charity, and were so seldom spoken to anybody else that
they did no one any harm.

She was a spectator at the grand theater of life; it interested and
amused her to watch the acting, but she kept her opinions, for the
most part, to herself. The reunions at Eva's were becoming most
interesting to her as widening her sphere of observation. In fact,
her intercourse with her sister could hardly be called society, it
was so habitually that of a nurse with a patient. She said to her, of
the many things which were in her mind, only those which she thought
she could bear. She was always planning to employ Mrs. Betsey's mind
with varied occupations to prevent her sinking into morbid gloom,
and to say only such things of everybody and everything to her as
would tranquilize and strengthen her. To Miss Dorcas, the little
white-haired lady was still the beautiful child of past days--the
indiscreet, flighty, pretty pet, to be watched, nursed, governed,
restrained and cared for. As for conversation, in the sense of an
unrestricted speaking out of thoughts as they arose, it was long since
Miss Dorcas had held it with any human being. The straight, tall old
clock in the corner was not more lonely, more self-contained and

The next day after the re-union, Aunt Maria came at the appointed
hour, with all due pomp and circumstance, to make her call upon the
two sisters, and was received in kid gloves in the best parlor,
properly darkened, so that the faces of the parties could scarcely
be seen; and then the three remarked upon the weather, the state
of the atmosphere to-day and its probable state to-morrow. Mrs.
Wouvermans was properly complimented upon her niece's delightful
re-unions; whereat she drew herself up with suitable modesty, as one
who had been the source and originator of it all--claiming property
in charming Mrs. Henderson as the girl of her bringing up, the work
of her hands, the specimen of her powers, marshalled and equipped by
her for the field of life; and in her delightful soirées, as in some
sort a result of her management. It may be a consolation to those who
are ever called to wrestle with good angels like Aunt Maria, that if
they only hold on and overcome them, and hold their own independent
way, the angels, so far from being angry, will immediately assume the
whole merit of the result. On the whole, Aunt Maria, hearing on all
sides flattering things of Mrs. Henderson's lovely house and charming
evenings, was pluming herself visibly in this manner.

Now, as Eva, in one of those bursts of confidence in which she could
not help pouring herself out to those who looked kindly on her, had
talked over with Miss Dorcas all Aunt Maria's objections to her
soirées, and her stringent advice against them, the good lady was
quietly amused at this assumption of merit.

"My! how odd, Dorcas!" said Mrs. Betsey to her sister, after Mrs.
Wouvermans had serenely courtesied herself out. "Isn't this the 'Aunt
Maria' that dear Mrs. Henderson was telling you about, that made all
those objections to her little receptions?"

"Oh, yes," said Miss Dorcas.

"But how strange; she really talks now as if she had started them."

"People usually adopt a good thing, if they find they can't hinder
it," said Miss Dorcas.

"I think it is just the oddest thing in the world; in fact, I don't
think it's really honest," said Mrs. Betsey.

"It's the way people always do," said Miss Dorcas; "nothing succeeds
like success. Mrs. Wouvermans opposed the plan because she thought
it wouldn't go. Now that she finds it goes, she is so delighted she
thinks she must have started it herself."

In fact, Aunt Maria was in an uncommonly loving and genial frame about
this time. Her fits of petulance generally had the good effect of a
clearing-up thunder-shower--one was sure of clear skies for some time

The only difficulty about these charming periods of general
reconciliation was that when the good lady once more felt herself
free of the family, and on easy terms all around with everybody, she
immediately commenced in some new direction that process of managing
other people's affairs which was an inevitable result of her nature.
Therefore she came, one afternoon not long after, into her sister's
dressing-room with an air of preoccupation and mystery, which Mrs. Van
Arsdel had learned to dread as a sign that Maria had something new
upon her mind.

Shutting the doors carefully, with an air of great precaution and
importance, she said: "Nellie, I've been wanting to talk to you;
something will have to be done about Eva: it will never do to let
matters go on as they are going."

Mrs. Van Arsdel's heart began to sink within her; she supposed that
she was to be required in some way to meddle or interfere with her
daughter. Now, if anything was to be done of an unpleasant nature,
Mrs. Van Arsdel had always far rather that Maria would do it herself.
But the most perplexing of her applications were when she began
stirring up her ease-loving, indulgent self to fulfill any such
purposes on her children. So she said, in a faltering voice, "What
_is_ the matter now, Maria?"

"Well, _what_ should you think?" said Mrs. Wouvermans, emphasizing the
words. "You know that good-for-nothing daughter of Mary's that lived
with me, years ago?"

"That handsome girl? To be sure."

"Handsome! the baggage! I've no patience when I think of her, with
her airs and graces; dressing so that she really was mistaken for one
of the family! And such impertinence! I made her walk Spanish very


"Well, who do you suppose this sick girl is that Angelique and Alice
have been helping take care of in the new hospital, or whatever you
call it, that those Popish women have started up there?"

Now Mrs. Van Arsdel knew very well what Aunt Maria was coming to, but
she only said, faintly,


"Its just that girl and no other, and a more impudent tramp and huzzy
doesn't live."

"It really is very shocking," said Mrs. Van Arsdel.

"Shocking! well I should think it was, but that isn't all. Eva
actually has taken this creature to her house, and is going to let her
stay there."

"Oh, indeed?" said Mrs. Van Arsdel, faintly.

Now Mrs. Van Arsdel had listened sympathetically to Eva when, in
glowing and tender words, she had avowed her intention of giving
this help to a poor, bewildered mother, and this chance of recovery
to an erring child, but in the sharp, nipping atmosphere of Aunt
Maria's hard, dry, selfish common sense, the thing looked so utterly
indefensible that she only breathed this faint inquiry.

"Yes," said Aunt Maria, "and it's all that Mary's art. She has been
getting old and isn't what she was, and she means to get both her
children saddled upon Eva, who is ignorant and innocent as a baby. Eva
and her husband are no more fit to manage than two babes in the woods,
and this set of people will make them no end of trouble. The girl is a
perfect witch, and it will never do in the world. You ought to talk
to her and tell her about the danger."

"But, Maria, I am not at all sure that it may not be Eva's duty to
help Mary take care of her daughter."

"Well, if it was a daughter that had behaved herself decently; but
this creature is a tramp--a street-walker! It is not respectable to
have her in the house a minute."

"But where can she go?"

"That's none of our look out. I suppose there are asylums, or refuges,
or something or other, for such creatures."

"But if the Sisters could take her in and take care of her, I'm sure
Eva might keep her awhile; at least till she gets strong enough to
find some place."

"Oh, those Sisters! Don't tell me! I've no opinion of them. Wasn't
I on the committee, and didn't I find crucifixes, and rosaries, and
prie-dieus, and the Lord knows what of Popish trinkets in their rooms?
They are regular Jesuits, those women. It's just like 'em to take in
tramps and nurse 'em.

"You know, Nellie, I warned you I never believed in this Mr. St. John
and his goings on up there, and I foresee just what trouble Eva is
going to be got into by having that sort of creature put in upon her.
Maggie was the most conceited, impertinent, saucy hussy I ever saw.
She had the best of all chances in my house, if she'd been of a mind
to behave herself, for I give good wages, pay punctually, and mine is
about as good a house for a young woman to be trained in as there is.
Nobody can say that Maggie didn't have a fair chance with me!"

"But really, Maria, I'm afraid that unless Mary can take care of her
daughter at Eva's she'll leave her altogether and go to housekeeping,
and Eva never would know how to get along without Mary."

"Oh, nonsense! I'll engage to find Eva a good, stout girl--or two of
them, for that matter, since she thinks she could afford two--that
will do better than Mary, who is getting older every year and less
capable. I make it a principle to cut off girls that have sick friends
and all such entanglements and responsibilities, right away; it unfits
them for my service."

"Yes, but, Maria, you must consider that Eva isn't like you. Eva
really is fond of Mary, and had rather have her there than a younger
and stronger woman. Mary has been an old servant in the family. Eva
has grown up with her. She loves Eva like a child."

"Oh, pshaw!" said Aunt Maria. "Now, of all things, don't be
sentimental about servants. It's a little too absurd. We are to attend
to our own interests!"

"But you see, sister," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, "Eva _is_ just what you
call sentimental, and it wouldn't do the least good for _me_ to talk
to her. She's a married woman, and she and her husband have a right
to manage their affairs in their own way. Now, to tell the truth, Eva
told me about this affair, and on the whole"--here Mrs. Van Arsdel's
voice trembled weakly--"on the whole, I didn't think it would do any
good, you know, to oppose her; and really, Maria, I was sorry for poor
Mary. You don't know, you never had a daughter, but I couldn't help
thinking that if I were a poor woman, and a daughter of mine had gone
astray, I should be so glad to have a chance given her to do better;
and so I really couldn't find it in my heart to oppose Eva."

"Well, you'll see what'll come of it," said Aunt Maria, who had stood,
a model of hard, sharp, uncompromising common sense, looking her
sister down during this weak apology for the higher wisdom. For now,
as in the days of old, the wisdom of the cross is foolishness to the
wise and prudent of the world; and the heavenly arithmetic, which
counts the one lost sheep more than the ninety and nine that went not
astray, is still the arithmetic, not of earth, but of heaven. There
are many who believe in the Trinity, and the Incarnation, and all the
articles of the Athanasian and Nicene Creeds, to whom this wisdom of
the Master is counted as folly: "For the natural man understandeth
not the things of the kingdom of God; they are foolishness unto him:
neither can he know them."

Now Aunt Maria was in an eminent degree a specimen of the feminine
sort of "natural man."

That a young and happy wife, with a peaceful, prosperous home,
should put a particle of her own happiness to risk, or herself to
inconvenience, for the sake of a poor servant woman and a sinful
child, was, in her view, folly amounting almost to fatuity; and she
inly congratulated herself with the thought that her sister and
Eva would yet see themselves in trouble by their fine fancies and
sentimental benevolence.

"Well, sister," she said, rising and drawing her cashmere shawl in
graceful folds round her handsome shoulders, "I thought I should come
to you first, as you really are the most proper person to talk to Eva;
but if you should neglect your duty, there is no reason why I should
neglect mine.

"I hear of a very nice, capable girl that has lived five years
with the Willises, who has had permission to advertise from the
house, and I am going to have an interview with her, and engage her
provisionally, so that, if Eva has a mind to listen to reason, there
may be a way for her to supply Mary's place at once. I've made up
my mind that, on the whole, it's best Mary should go," she added
reflectively, as if she were the mistress of Eva's house and person.

"I'm sorry to have you take so much trouble, Maria; I'm sure it won't
do any good."

"Did you ever know me to shrink from any trouble or care or
responsibility by which I could serve you and your children, Nellie? I
may not be appreciated--I don't expect it--but I shall not swerve from
my duty to you; at any rate, it's my duty to leave no stone unturned,
and so I shall start out at once for the Willises. They are going
to Europe for a year or two, and want to find good places for their

And so Mrs. Van Arsdel, being a little frightened at the suggestions
of Aunt Maria, began to think with herself that perhaps she had been
too yielding, and made herself very uncomfortable in reflecting on
positive evils that might come on Eva.

She watched her sister's stately, positive, determined figure as she
went down the stairs with the decision of a general, gave a weak sigh,
wished that she had not come, and, on the whole, concluded to resume
her story where she had left off at Aunt Maria's entrance.



The trial of human life would be a much simpler and easier thing to
meet, if the lines of right and wrong were always perfectly definite.
We are happy so far to believe in our kind as to think that there are
vast multitudes who, if they only knew exactly what was right and
proper to be done, would do it at all hazards.

But _what is right_ for me, in these particular circumstances?--in
that question, as it constantly rises, lies the great stress of the
trial of life.

We have, for our guidance, a Book of most high and unworldly maxims
and directions, and the life of a Leader so exalted above all the
ordinary conceptions and maxims of this world that a genuine effort to
be a Christian, after the pattern and directions of Christ, at once
brings us face to face with daily practical inquiries of the most
perplexing nature.

Our friend, Mrs. Maria Wouvermans, was the very type and impersonation
of this world's wisdom of the ordinary level. The great object of
life being to insure ease, comfort, and freedom from annoyance to
one's self and one's family, her views of duty were all conveniently
arranged along this line. In her view, it was the first duty of every
good housekeeper to look ahead and avoid every occasion whence might
arise a possible inconvenience or embarrassment. It was nobody's duty,
in her opinion, to have any trouble, if it could be avoided, or to
risk having any. There were, of course, duties to the poor, which she
settled for by a regular annual subscription to some well-recommended
board of charity in her most respectable church. That done, she
regarded herself as clear for action, and bound to shake off in detail
any troublesome or embarrassing person that threatened to be a burden
to her, or to those of her family that she felt responsible for.

On the other hand, Eva was possessed by an earnest desire to make her
religious profession mean something adequate to those startling and
constantly recurring phrases in the Bible and the church service which
spoke of the Christian as a being of a higher order, led by another
Spirit, and living a higher life than that of the world in general.
Nothing is more trying to an ingenuous mind than the conviction of
anything like a sham and a pretense in its daily life.

Mr. St. John had lately been preaching a series of sermons on the
history and customs of the primitive church, in hearing which the
conviction often forced itself on her mind that it was the unworldly
life of the first Christians which gave victorious power to the faith.
She was intimately associated with people who seemed to her to live
practically on the same plan. Here was Sibyl Selwyn, whose whole
life was an exalted mission of religious devotion; there was her
neighbor Ruth Baxter, associated as a lay sister with the work of her
more gifted friend. Here were the Sisters of St. Barnabas, lovely,
cultivated women who had renounced all selfish ends and occupations in
life, to give themselves to the work of comforting the sorrowful and
saving the lost. Such people, she thought, fully answered to the terms
in which Christians were spoken of in the Bible. But could she, if she
lived only to brighten one little spot of her own, if she shut out of
its charmed circle all sight or feeling of the suffering and sorrow of
the world around her, and made her own home a little paradise of ease
and forgetfulness, could she be living a Christian life?

When, therefore, she heard from the poor mother under her roof the
tale of her secretly-kept shames, sorrows, and struggles for the
daughter whose fate had filled her with misery, she accepted with a
large-hearted inconsiderateness a mission of love towards the wanderer.

She carried it to her husband; and, like two kind-hearted,
generous-minded young people, they resolved at once to make their home
sacred by bringing into it this work of charity.

Now, this work would be far easier in most cases, if the sinner
sought to be saved would step forthwith right across the line, and
behave henceforth like a saint. But unhappily that is not to be
expected. Certain it was, that Maggie, with her great, black eyes and
her wavy black hair, was no saint. A petted, indulged child, with a
strong, ungovernable nature, she had been whirled hither and thither
in the tides of passion, and now felt less repentance for sin than
indignation at her own wrongs. It might have been held a hopeful
symptom that Maggie had, at least, so much real truthfulness in her as
not to profess what she did not feel.

It was a fact that the constant hymns and prayers and services of
the pious Sisters wearied her. They were too high for her. The calm,
refined spirituality of these exalted natures was too far above her,
and she joined their services at best with a patient acquiescence,
feeling the while how sinful she must be to be so bored by them.

But for Eva she had a sort of wondering, passionate admiration.
When she fluttered into her sick room, with all her usual little
graceful array of ribbons and fanciful ornament, Maggie's dull eye
would brighten, and she looked after her with delighted wonder. When
she spoke to her tenderly, smoothed her pillow, put cologne on her
laced handkerchief and laid it on her brow, poor Maggie felt awed
and flattered by the attention, far more, it is to be feared, than
if somebody more resembling the traditional angel had done it. This
lively, sprightly little lady, so graceful, so pretty in all her
motions and in all her belongings, seemed to poor worldly Maggie much
more nearly what she would like an angel to be, in any world where she
would have to live with them.

The Sisters, with their black robes, their white caps, and their
solemn prayers, seemed to her so awfully good that their presence
chilled her. She felt more subdued, but more sinful and more hopeless
with them than ever.

In short, poor Maggie was yet a creature of this world, and of
sense, and the spiritual world to her was only one dark, confused
blur, rather more appalling than attractive. A life like that of the
Sisters, given to prayer and meditation and good works, was too high
a rest for a soul growing so near the ground and with so few tendrils
to climb by. Maggie could conceive of nothing more dreary. To her, it
seemed like being always thinking of her sins; and that topic was no
more agreeable a subject of meditation to Maggie than it is to any of
us. Many people seem to feel that the only way of return for those who
have wandered from the paths of virtue is the most immediate and utter
self-abasement. There must be no effort at self-justification, no
excusing one's self, no plea for abatement of condemnation. But let us
Christians who have never fallen, in the grosser sense, ask ourselves
if, with regard to our own particular sins and failings, we hold the
same strict line of reckoning. Do we come down upon ourselves for our
ill temper, for our selfishness, for our pride, and other respectable
sins, as we ask the poor girl to do who has been led astray from

Let us look back and remember how the Master once coupled an
immaculate Pharisee and a fallen woman in one sentence as two debtors,
both owing a sum to a creditor, and both having nothing to pay,--both
freely forgiven by infinite clemency. It is a summing up of the case
that is too often forgotten.

Eva's natural tact and delicacy stood her in stead in her dealings
with Maggie, and made _her_ touch upon the wounds of the latter more
endurable than any other. Without reproof for the past, she expressed
hope for the future.

"You shall come and stay with your mother at my house, Maggie," she
said, cheerfully, "and we will make you useful. The fact is, your
mother needs you; she is not so strong as she was, and you could save
her a great many steps."

Now, Maggie still had skillful hands and a good many available worldly
capacities. The very love of finery and of fine living which had once
helped to entrap her, now came in play for her salvation. Something
definite to do, is, in some crises, a far better medicine for a
sick soul than any amount of meditation and prayer. One step fairly
taken in a right direction, goes farther than any amount of agonized

In a few days, Maggie made for herself in Eva's family a place in
which she could feel herself to be of service. She took charge of
Eva's wardrobe, and was zealous and efficient in ripping, altering and
adapting articles for the adornment of her pretty mistress; and Eva
never failed to praise and encourage her for every right thing she
did, and never by word or look reminded her of the past.

Eva did not preach to Maggie; but sometimes, sitting at her piano
while she sat sewing in an adjoining room, she played and sung some of
those little melodies which Sunday-schools have scattered as a sort
of popular ballad literature. Words of piety, allied to a catching
tune, are like seeds with wings--they float out in the air and drop in
odd corners of the heart, to spring up in good purposes.

One of these little ballads reminded Eva of the night she first saw
Maggie lingering in the street by her house:

    "I stood outside the gate,
      A poor wayfaring child;
    Within my heart there beat
      A tempest fierce and wild.
    A fear oppressed my soul
      That I might be too late;
    And, oh, I trembled sore
      And prayed--outside the gate,

    "'Mercy,' I loudly cried,
      'Oh, give me rest from sin!'
    'I will,' a voice replied,
      And Mercy let me in.
    She bound my bleeding wounds
      And carried all my sin;
    She eased my burdened soul,
      Then Jesus took me in.

    "In Mercy's guise I knew
      The Saviour long abused,
    Who oft had sought my heart,
      And oft had been refused.
    Oh, what a blest return
      For ignorance and sin!
    I stood outside the gate
      And Jesus let me in."

After a few days, Eva heard Maggie humming this tune over her work.
"There," she said to herself, "the good angels are near her! _I_ don't
know what to say to her, but they do."

In fact, Eva had that delicacy and self-distrust in regard to any
direct and personal appeal to Maggie which is the natural attendant of
personal refinement. She was little versed in any ordinary religious
phraseology, such as very well-meaning persons often so freely deal
in. Her own religious experiences, fervent and sincere though they
were, never came out in any accredited set of phrases; nor had she any
store of cut-and-dried pious talk laid by, to be used for inferiors
whom she was called to admonish. But she had stores of kind artifices
to keep Maggie usefully employed, to give her a sense that she was
trusted in the family, to encourage hope that there was a better
future before her.

Maggie's mother, fond and loving as she was, seconded these tactics of
her mistress but indifferently. Mary had the stern pride of chastity
which distinguishes the women of the old country, and which keeps most
of the Irish girls who are thrown unprotected on our shores superior
to temptation.

Mary keenly felt that Maggie had disgraced her, and as health returned
and she no longer trembled for her life, she seemed called upon to
keep her daughter's sin ever before her. Her past bad conduct and the
lenity of her young mistress, her treating her so much better than
she had any reason to expect, were topics on which Mary took every
occasion to enlarge in private, leading to passionate altercations
between herself and her daughter, in which the child broke over all
bounds of goodness and showed the very worst aspects of her nature.
Nothing can be more miserable, more pitiable, than these stormy
passages between wayward children and honest, good-hearted mothers,
who love them to the death, and yet do not know how to handle them,
sensitive and sore with moral wounds. Many a time poor Mary went to
sleep with a wet pillow, while Maggie, sullen and hard-hearted, lay
with her great black eyes wide open, obdurate and silent, yet in her
secret heart longing to make it right with her mother. Often, after
such a passage she would revolve the line of the hymn--

    "I stood outside the gate."

It seemed to her that that gate was her mother's heart, and that she
stood outside of it; and yet all the while the poor mother would have
died for her. Eva could not at first account for the sullen and gloomy
moods which came upon Maggie, when she would go about the house with
lowering brows, and all her bright, cheerful ways and devices could
bring no smile upon her face.

"What is the matter with Maggie?" she would say to Mary.

"Oh, nothing, ma'am, only she's bad; she's got to be brought under,
and brought down,--that's what she has."

"Mary, I think you had better not talk to Maggie about her past
faults. She knows she has been wrong, and the best way is to let her
get quietly into the right way. We mustn't keep throwing up the past
to her. When we do wrong, we don't like to have people keep putting
_us_ in mind of it."

"You're jest an angel, Miss Eva, and it isn't many ladies that would
do as you do. You're too good to her entirely. She ought to be made
sensible of it."

"Well, Mary, the best way to make her sensible and bring her to
repentance is to treat her kindly and never bring up the past. Don't
you see it does no good, Mary? It only makes her sullen, and gloomy,
and unhappy, so that I can't get anything out of her. Now please,
Mary, just keep quiet, and let _me_ manage Maggie."

And then Mary would promise, and Eva would smooth matters over,
and affairs would go on for a day or two harmoniously. But there
was another authority in Mary's family, as in almost every Irish
household,--a man who felt called to have a say and give a sentence.

Mary had an elder brother, Mike McArtney, who had established himself
in a grocery business a little out of the city, and who felt himself
to stand in position of head of the family to Mary and her children.

The absolute and entire reverence and deference with which Irish women
look up to the men of their kindred is something in direct contrast
to the demeanor of American women. The male sex, if repulsed in
other directions, certainly are fully justified and glorified by the
submissive daughters of Erin. Mike was the elder brother, under whose
care Mary came to this country. He was the adviser and director of all
her affairs. He found her places; he guided her in every emergency.
Mike, of course, had felt and bitterly resented the dishonor brought
on their family by Maggie's fall. In his view, there was danger that
the path of repentance was being made altogether too easy for her, and
he had resolved on the first leisure Sunday evening to come to the
house and execute a thorough work of judgment on Maggie, setting her
sin in order before her, and, in general, bearing down on her in such
a way as to bring her to the dust and make her feel it the greatest
possible mercy and favor that any of her relations should speak to her.

So, after Eva had hushed the mother and tranquilized the girl, and
there had been two or three days of serenity, came Sunday evening and
Uncle Mike.

The result was, as might have been expected, a loud and noisy
altercation. Maggie was perfectly infuriated, and talked like one
possessed of a demon; using, alas! language with which her sinful life
had made her only too familiar, and which went far to justify the
rebukes which were heaped upon her.

In his anger at such contumacious conduct, Uncle Mike took full
advantage of the situation, and told Maggie that she was a disgrace to
her mother and her relations--a disgrace to any honest house--and that
he wondered that decent gentle-folks would have her under their roof.

In short, in one hour, two of Maggie's best friends--the mother that
loved her as her life and the uncle that had been as a father to
her--contrived utterly to sweep away and destroy all those delicate
cords and filaments which the hands of good angels had been fastening
to her heart, to draw her heavenward.

When a young tree is put in new ground, its roots put forth fibres
delicate as hairs, but in which is all the vitality of a new phase of
existence. To tear up those roots and wrench off those fibres is too
often the destructive work of well-intending friends; it is done too
often by those who would, if need be, give their very heart's blood
for the welfare they imperil. Such is life as we find it.



The same Sunday evening that Mary and her brother Mike had devoted to
the disciplinary processes with Maggie, had been spent by Eva and her
husband at her father's house.

Mrs. Van Arsdel, to say the truth, had been somewhat shaken and
disturbed by Aunt Maria's suggestions; and she took early occasion
to draw Eva aside, and make many doubtful inquiries and utter many
admonitory cautions with regard to the part she had taken for Maggie.

"Of course, dear, it's very kind in you," said Mrs. Van Arsdel; "but
your aunt thinks it isn't quite prudent; and, come to think it over,
Eva, I'm afraid it may get you into trouble. Everything is going on so
well in your house, I don't want you to have anything disagreeable,
you know."

"Well, after all, mother, how can I be a Christian, or anything like a
Christian, if I am never willing to take any trouble? If you heard the
preaching we do every Sunday, you would feel so."

"I don't doubt that Mr. St. John is a good preacher," said Mrs. Van
Arsdel; "but then I never could go so far, you know; and your aunt is
almost crazy now because the girls go up there and don't sit in our
pew in church. She was here yesterday, and talked very strongly about
your taking Maggie. She really made me quite uncomfortable."

"Well, I should like to know what concern it is of Aunt Maria's!"
said Eva. "It's a matter in which Harry and I must follow our own
judgment and conscience; Harry thinks we are doing right, and I
suspect Harry knows what is best to do as well as Aunt Maria."

"Well, certainly, Eva, I must say it's an unusual sort of thing to do.
I know your motives are all right and lovely, and I stood up for you
with your aunt. I didn't give in to her a bit; and yet, all the while,
I couldn't help thinking that maybe she was right and that maybe your
good-heartedness would get you into difficulty."

"Well, suppose it does; what then? Am I never to have any trouble for
the sake of helping anybody? I am not one of the very good women with
missions, like Sibyl Selwyn, and can't do good that way; and I'm not
enterprising and courageous, like sister Ida, to make new professions
for women: but here is a case of a poor woman right under my own roof
who is perplexed and suffering, and if I can help her carry her load,
ought I not to do it, even if it makes me a good deal of trouble?"

"Well, yes, I don't know but you ought," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, who was
always convinced by the last speaker.

"You see," continued Eva, "the priest and the Levite who passed by on
the other side when a man lay wounded were just of Aunt Maria's mind.
They didn't want trouble, and if they undertook to do anything for him
they would have a good deal; so they left him. And if I turn my back
on Mary and Maggie I shall be doing pretty much the same thing."

"Well, if you only are sure of succeeding. But girls that have fallen
into bad ways are such dangerous creatures; perhaps you can't do her
any good, and will only get yourself into trouble."

"Well, if I fail, why then I shall fail. But I think it's better to
try and fail in doing our part for others than never to try at all."

"Well, I suppose you are right, Eva; and after all I'm sorry for poor
Mary. She had a hard time with her marriage all round; and I suppose
it's no wonder Maggie went astray. Mary couldn't control her; and
handsome girls in that walk of life are so tempted. How does she get

"Oh, nicely, for the most part. She seems to have a sort of adoration
for me. I can say or do anything with her, and she really is very
handy and skillful with her needle; she has ripped up and made over
an old dress for me so you'd be quite astonished to see it, and seems
really pleased and interested to have something to do. If only her
mother will let her alone, and not keep nagging her, and bringing up
old offenses. Mary is so eager to make her do right that she isn't
judicious, she doesn't realize how sensitive and sore people are that
know they have been wrong. Maggie is a proud girl."

"Oh, well, she's no business to be proud," said Mrs. Van Arsdel. "I'm
sure she ought to be humbled in the very dust; that's the least one
should expect."

"And so ought we all," said Eva, "but we are not, and she isn't. She
makes excuses for herself, and feels as if she had been abused and
hardly treated, just as most of us do when we go wrong, and I tell
Mary not to talk to her about the past, but just quietly let her do
better in future; but it's very hard to get her to feel that Maggie
ought not to be willing to be lectured and preached to from morning
till night."

"Your Aunt Maria, no doubt, will come up and free her mind to you
about this affair," said Mrs. Van Arsdel. "She has a scheme in her
head of getting another girl for you in Mary's place. The Willises are
going abroad for three years and have given their servants leave to
advertise from the house; and your aunt left me Saturday, saying she
was going up there to ascertain all about them and get you the refusal
of one of them, provided you wished to get rid of Mary."

"Get rid of Mary! I think I see myself turning upon my good Mary
that loves me as she does her life, and scheming to get her out of
my house because she's in trouble. No, indeed; Mary has been true
and faithful to me, and I will be a true and faithful friend to her.
What could I do with one of the Willises' servants, with their airs
and their graces? Would they come to a little house like mine, and
take all departments in turn, and do for me as if they were doing for
themselves, as Mary does?"

"Just so," said Mrs. Van Arsdel. "That's just what I told Maria. I
told her that you never would consent. But you know how it is with her
when she gets an idea in her head, there's no turning her. You might
as well talk to a steam engine. She walked off down stairs straight
as a ramrod, and took the omnibus for the Willises, in spite of all I
could say; and, sure as the world, she'll be up to talk with you about
it. She insisted that it was _my_ duty to interfere; and I told her
you had a right to manage your matters in your own way. Then she said
if I didn't do my duty by you, _she_ should."

"Well, you have done your duty, Mamma dear," said Eva, kissing her
mother. "I'll bear witness to that, and it isn't your fault if I
am not warned. But you, dear little mother, have sense to let your
children sail their own boat their own way, without interfering."

"Well, I think your ways generally turn out the best ways, Eva," said
her mother. "And I think Aunt Maria herself comes into them finally.
She is proud as a peacock of your receptions, and takes every occasion
to tell people what charming, delightful evenings you have; and she
praises your house and your housekeeping and you to everybody, so you
may put up with a little bother now and then."

"Oh, I'll manage Aunt Maria, never you fear," said Eva, as she rose
confidently and took her husband from a discussion with Mr. Van Arsdel.

"Come, Harry, it's nine o'clock, and we have a long walk yet to get

It was brisk, clear winter moonlight in the streets as Harry and Eva
took their way homeward--she the while relieving her mind by reciting
her mother's conversation.

"Don't it seem strange," she said, "how the minute one actually tries
to do some real Christian work everything goes against one?"

"Yes," said Harry; "the world isn't made for the unfortunate or
unsuccessful. In general, the instinct of society is the same among
men as among animals--anything sickly or maimed is to be fought off
and got rid of. If there is a sick bird, all the rest fly at it and
peck it to death. So in the world, when man or woman doesn't keep step
with respectable people, the first idea is to get them out of the way.
We can't exactly kill them, but we can wash our hands of them. Saving
souls is no part of the world's work--it interferes with its steady
business; it takes unworldly people to do that."

"And when one begins," said Eva, "shrewd, sensible folks, like Aunt
Maria, blame us; and little, tender-hearted folks, like mamma, think
it's almost a pity we should try, and that we had better leave it to
somebody else; and then the very people we are trying to do for are
really troublesome and hard to manage--like poor Maggie. She is truly
a very hard person to get along with, and her mother is injudicious,
and makes it harder; but yet, it really does seem to be our work to
help take care of her. Now, isn't it?"

"Well, then, darling, you may comfort your heart with one thought:
when you are doing for pure Christian motives a thing that makes you
a great deal of trouble, and gets you no applause, you are trying to
live just that unworldly life that the first Christians did. They
were called a peculiar people, and whoever acts in the same spirit
now-a-days will be called the same. I think it is the very highest
wisdom to do as you are doing; but it isn't the wisdom of this world.
It's the kind of thing that Mr. St. John is sacrificing his whole life
to; it is what Sibyl Selwyn is doing all the time, and your little
neighbor Ruth is helping in. We can at least try to do a little. We
are inexperienced, it may be that we shall not succeed, it may be that
the girl is past saving; but it's worth while to try, and try our very

Harry was saying this just as he put his latch-key into the door of
his house.

It was suddenly opened from within, and Maggie stood before them with
her bonnet and shawl on, ready to pass out. There was a hard, sharp,
desperate expression in her face as she pressed forward to pass them.

"Maggie, child," said Eva, laying hold of her arm, "where are you

"Away--anywhere--I don't care where," said Maggie, fiercely, trying to
pull away.

"But you mustn't," said Eva, laying hold of her.

"Maggie," said Harry, stepping up to her and speaking in that calm,
steady voice which controls passionate people, "go into the house
immediately with Mrs. Henderson; she will talk with you."

Maggie turned, and sullenly followed Eva into a little sewing room
adjoining the parlor, where she had often sat at work.

"Now, Maggie," said Eva, "take off your bonnet, for I'm not going to
have you go into the streets at this hour of the night, and sit down
quietly here and tell me all about it. What has happened? What is the
matter? You don't want to distress your mother and break her heart?"

"She hates me," said Maggie. "She says I've disgraced her and I
disgrace you, and that it's a disgrace to have me here. She and Uncle
Mike both said so, and I said I'd go off, then."

"But where could you go?" said Eva.

"Oh, I know places enough! They're bad, to be sure. I wanted to do
better, so I came away; but I can go back again."

"No, Maggie, you must never go back. You must do as I tell you. Have I
not been a friend to you?"

"Oh, yes, yes, _you_ have; but they say I disgrace you."

"Maggie, I don't think so. _I_ never said so. There is no need that
you should disgrace anybody. I hope you'll live to be a credit to
your mother--a credit to us all. You are young yet; you have a good
many years to live; and if you'll only go on and do the very best you
can from this time, you can be a comfort to your mother and be a good
woman. It's never too late to begin, Maggie, and I'll help you now."

Maggie sat still and gazed gloomily before her.

"Come, now, I'll sing you some little hymns," said Eva, going to her
piano and touching a few chords. "You've got your mind all disturbed,
and I'll sing to you till you are more quiet."

Eva had a sweet voice, and a light, dreamy sort of touch on the piano,
and she played and sung with feeling.

There were truths in religion, higher, holier, deeper than she felt
capable of uttering, which breathed themselves in these hymns; and
something within her gave voice and pathos to them.

The influence of music over the disturbed nerves and bewildered moral
sense of those who have gone astray from virtue, is something very
remarkable. All modern missions more or less recognize that it has
a power which goes beyond anything that spoken words can utter, and
touches springs of deeper feeling.

Eva sat playing a long time, going from one thing to another; and
then, rising, she found Maggie crying softly by herself.

"Come, now, Maggie," she said, "you are going to be a good girl, I
know. Go up and go to bed now, and don't forget your prayers. That's a
good girl."

Maggie yielded passively, and went to her room.

Then Eva had another hour's talk, to persuade Mary that she must not
be too exacting with Maggie, and that she must for the future avoid
all such encounters with her. Mary was, on the whole, glad to promise
anything; for she had been thoroughly alarmed at the altercation
into which their attempt at admonition had grown, and was ready to
admit to Eva that Mike had been too hard on her. At all events, the
family honor had been sufficiently vindicated, and, if Maggie would
only behave herself, she was ready to promise that Mike should not
be allowed to interfere in future. And so, at last, Eva succeeded in
inducing Mary to go to her daughter's room with a reconciling word
before she went to bed, and had the comfort of seeing the naughty girl
crying in her mother's arms, and the mother petting and fondling her
as a mother should.

Alas! it is only in the good old Book that the father sees the
prodigal a great way off, and runs and falls on his neck and kisses
him, before he has confessed his sin or done any work of repentance.
So far does God's heavenly love outrun even the love of fathers and

"Well, I believe I've got things straightened out at last," said Eva,
as she came back to Harry; "and now, if Mary will only let me manage
Maggie, I think I can make all go smooth."



The next morning being Monday, Dr. Campbell dropped in to breakfast.
Since he and Eva had met so often in Maggie's sick room, and he had
discussed the direction of her physical well-being, he had rapidly
grown in intimacy with the Hendersons, and the little house had come
to be regarded by him as a sort of home. Consequently, when Eva sailed
into her dining-room, she found him quietly arranging a handful of cut
flowers which he had brought in for the center of her breakfast table.

"Good morning, Mrs. Henderson," he said, composedly. "I stepped into
Allen's green-house on my way up, to bring in a few flowers. With the
mercury at zero, flowers are worth something."

"How perfectly lovely of you, Doctor," said she. "You are too good."

"I don't say, however, that I had not my eye on a cup of your coffee,"
he replied. "You know I have no faith in disinterested benevolence."

"Well, sit down then, old fellow," said Harry, clapping him on the
shoulder. "You're welcome, flowers or no flowers."

"How are you all getting on?" he said, seating himself.

"Charmingly, of course," said Eva, from behind the coffee-pot, "and as
the song says, 'the better for seeing you.'"

"And how's my patient--Maggie?"

"Oh, she's doing well, if only people will let her alone; but her
mother, and uncle, and relations will keep irritating her with
reproaches. You see, I had got her in beautiful training, and she was
sewing for me and making herself very useful, when, Sunday evening,
when I was gone out, her uncle came to see her, and talked and bore
down upon her so as to completely upset all I had done. I came home
and found her just going out of the house, perfectly desperate."

"And ready to go to the devil straight off, I suppose?" said the
Doctor. "His doors are always open."

"You see," said Harry, "things seem to be so arranged in this world
that if man, woman or child does wrong or gets out of the way, all
society is armed to the teeth to prevent their ever doing right
again. Their own flesh and blood pitch into them with reproaches and
expostulations, and everybody else looks on them with suspicion, and
nobody wants them and nobody dares trust them."

"Just so," said Dr. Campbell, "the world is an army--it can't stop for
anything. 'Wounded to the rear,' is the word, and the army must go on
and leave the sick and wounded to die or be taken by the enemy. For
my part, I never thought Napoleon was so much out of the way when he
recommended poisoning the sick and wounded that could not be moved. I
think I should prefer to be comfortably and decently poisoned myself
in such a case. The world isn't ripe yet for the doctrine; but I
think all people who get broken down, and don't keep step physically
and morally, had better be killed at once. Then we could get on
comfortably, and in a few generations should have a nice population."

"Come, now, Doctor; I'm not going to have that sort of talk," said
Eva. "In short, you've got to keep on as you have been doing--working
for the wounded in the rear. And now tell me if I could do a better
thing for Maggie than keep her here in our house, under my own eye and
influence, till she gets quite strong and well, and help her to live
down the past?"

"Well, that's a sensible putting of the thing," said Dr. Campbell, "if
you will be foolish enough to take the trouble; but I forewarn you
that girls that have been through her experiences are troublesome to
manage. Their nerves are all in a jangle; they are sore everywhere,
and the very good that is in them is turned wrong side outward;
and, as you say, the world will be against you, in a general way.
Relations, as far as ever I have observed, are rather harder on
sinners than anybody else--especially on a woman that goes astray;
and next to them sensible, worldly-wise, respectable people--people
who live to get rid of trouble, and feel that 'bother' is the sum
and substance of evil. Now, taking up a girl like Maggie, you must
count on that. Her relations will hinder all they can; and the more
respectable they are, the harder they will bear down upon her. Your
relations will think you a sentimental little fool, and do all they
can to hinder you. The rank and file of comfortable, religious,
church-going people will call you imprudent, and only fanatics, like
Mr. St. John and Sibyl Selwyn, will understand you or stand by you;
and, to crown all, the girl herself is as unreliable as the wind.
The evil done to a woman in this kind of life is the derangement of
her whole nervous system, so that she is swept by floods of morbid
influences, and liable to wild, passionate gusts of feeling. The
cessation from this free Bohemian life, with its strong excitements,
leaves them in unnatural states of craving for stimulus; and when you
have done all you can for them,--in a moment, off they go. That's the
reason why most prudent people prefer to wash their hands of them, and
stop before they begin."

"It's all very well to talk so, Doctor, if the case related to a
stranger; but here is my poor, good Mary, who has been in our family
ever since I was a little girl, and has always loved me and been
devoted to me--shall I now give her the cold shoulder and not help
her in this crisis of her life, because I am afraid of trouble? Isn't
it worth trouble, and a great deal of trouble, and a great deal of
patience, to save this daughter of hers from ruin? I think it is."

"I think you and your husband will do it," said the Doctor, "because
you are just what you are; and I shall help you, because I'm what I
am; but, nevertheless, I set the reasonable side before you. I think
this Maggie is a fine creature. There are, in a confused way, the
beginnings of a great deal that is right, and even noble, in her; but
nobody ought to begin with her without taking account of risks."

"Well," said Eva, "you know I am a Christian, and I look in the New
Testament for my principles, and there I find it plainly set down that
the Lord values one sinner that is brought to repentance more than
ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance; and that he
would leave the ninety and nine sheep, and go into the wilderness to
look up one lost lamb."

"That is the Christian religion, undoubtedly," said Dr. Campbell;
"but there is exactly where the Christian religion parts company with
worldly prudence. The world and all its institutions are organized and
arranged for the strong, the wise, the prudent, and the successful.
The weak, the sick, the sinners, and all that sort of thing, are to
have as much care as they can without interfering with the healthy
and strong. Now, in the good old times of English law, they used to
hang summarily anybody that made trouble in society in any way--the
woman who stole a loaf of bread, and the man who stole a horse, and
the vagrant who picked a pocket; then there was no discussion and no
bother about reformation, such as is coming down upon our consciences
now-a-days. Good old times those were, when there wasn't any of this
gush over the fallen and lost; the slate was wiped clean of all the
puzzling sums at the yearly assizes and the account started clear.
Now-a-days, there is such a bother about taking care of criminals that
an honest man has no decent chance of comfort."

"Well, Doctor," said Eva, "if the essence of Christianity is
restoration and salvation, I don't see but your profession is
essentially a Christian one. You seek and save the lost. It is your
business by your toil and labor to help people who have sinned against
the laws of nature, to get them back again to health; isn't it so?"

"Well, yes, it is," said the doctor, "though I find everything going
against me in this direction, as much as you do."

"But you find mercy in nature," said Harry. "In the language of the
Psalms: 'There is forgiveness with her that she may be feared.' The
first thing, after one of her laws has been broken, comes in her
effort to restore and save; it may be blind and awkward, but still it
points toward life and not death, and you doctors are her ministers
and priests. You bear the _physical_ gospel; and we Christians take
the same process to the spiritual realm that lies just above yours,
and that has to work through yours. Our business in both realms seems
to be, by our own labor, self-denial and suffering, to save those who
have sinned against the laws of their being."

"Well," said the doctor; "even so, I go in for saving in my line by an
instinct apart from my reason, an instinct as blind as nature's when
she sets out to heal a broken bone in the right arm of a scalawag, who
never used his arm for anything but thrashing his wife and children,
and making himself a general nuisance; yet I have been amazed
sometimes to see how kindly and patiently old Mother Nature will
work for such a man. Well, I am something like her. I have the blind
instinct of healing in my profession, and I confess to sitting up
all night, watching to keep the breath of life in sick babies that I
know ought to be dead, and had better be dead, inasmuch as there's no
chance for them to be even decent and respectable, if they live; but I
_can't_ let 'em die, any more than nature can, without a struggle. The
fact is, reason is one thing and the human heart another; and, as St.
Paul says, 'these two are contrary one to the other, so that ye cannot
do the thing ye would.' You and your husband, Mrs. Henderson, have got
a good deal of this troublesome human heart in you, so that you cannot
act reasonably, any more than I can."

"That's it, Doctor," said Eva, with a bright, sudden movement towards
him and laying her hand on his arm, "let's not act reasonably--let's
act by something higher. I know there is something higher--something
we dare to do and feel able to do in our best moments. You are a
Christian in heart, Doctor, if not in faith."

"Me? I'm the most terrible heretic in all the continent."

"But when you sit up all night with a sick baby from mere love of
saving, you are a Christian; for, doesn't Christ say, 'inasmuch as ye
did it unto the least of these, ye did it unto me'? Christians are
those who have Christ's spirit, as I think, and sacrifice themselves
to save others."

"May the angels be of your opinion when I try the gate hereafter,"
said the Doctor. "But now, seriously, about this Maggie. I apprehend
that you will have trouble from the fact that, having been kept on
stimulants in a rambling, loose, disorderly life, she will not be
able long to accommodate herself to any regular habits. I don't know
how much of a craving for drink there may be in her case, but it is a
usual complication of such cases. Such people may go for weeks without
yielding, and then the furor comes upon them, and away they go.
Perhaps she may not be one of those worst cases; but, in any event,
the sudden cessation of all the tumultuous excitement she has been
accustomed to, may lead to a running down of the nervous system that
will make her act unreasonably. Her mother, and people of her class,
may be relied on for doing the very worst thing that the case admits
of, with the very best intentions. And now if these complications
get you into any trouble, rely upon me so far as I can do anything
to help. Don't hesitate to command me at any hour and to any extent,
because I mean to see the thing through with you. When spring comes
on, if you get her through the winter, we must try and find her a
place in some decent, quiet farmer's family in the country, where she
may feed chickens and ducks, and make butter, and live a natural,
healthful, out-door life; and, in my opinion, that will be the best
and safest way for her."

"Come, Doctor," said Harry, "will you walk up town with me? It's time
I was off."

"Now, Harry, please remember; don't forget to match that worsted,"
said Eva. "Oh! and that tea must be changed. You just call in and tell
Haskins that."

"Anything else?" said Harry, buttoning on his overcoat.

"No; only be sure you come back early, for mamma says Aunt Maria is
coming down here upon me, and I shall want you to strengthen me. The
Doctor appreciates Aunt Maria."

"Certainly I do," said the Doctor; "a devoted relation who carries you
all in her heart hourly, and therefore has an undoubted right to make
you as uncomfortable as she pleases. That's the beauty of relations.
If you have them you are bothered _with_ them, and if you haven't you
are bothered for want of 'em. So it goes. Now I would give all the
world if I had a good aunt or grandmother to haul me over the coals,
and fight me, out of pure love--a fellow feels lonesome when he
knows nobody would care if he went to the devil."

"Oh, as to that," said Eva, "come here whenever you're lonesome, and
we'll fight and abuse you to your heart's content; and you sha'n't
go to that improper person without our making a fuss about it. We'll
abuse you as if you were one of the family."

"Good," said the Doctor, as he stepped towards the front window; "but
here, to be sure, is your aunt, bright and early."



The door opened, to let out the two gentlemen, just as Mrs. Wouvermans
was coming up the steps, fresh and crisp as one out betimes on the
labors of a good conscience.

The dear woman had visited the Willises, at the remote end of the
city, had had diplomatic conversations with both mistress and maid in
that establishment, and had now arrived as minister plenipotentiary
to set all matters right in Eva's establishment. She had looked
all through the subject, made up her mind precisely what Eva ought
to do, revolved it in her own mind as she sat apparently attending
to a rather drowsy sermon at her church, and was now come, as full
of sparkling vigor and brisk purposes as a well-corked bottle of

Eva met her at the door with the dutiful affection which she had
schooled herself to feel towards one whose intentions were always so
good, but with a secret reserve of firm resistance as to the lines of
her own proper personality.

"I have a great deal to do, to-day," said the lady, "and so I came out
early to see you before you should be gone out or anything, because I
had something very particular I wanted to say to you."

Eva took her aunt's things and committed them to the care of Maggie,
who opened the parlor-door at this moment.

Aunt Maria turned towards the girl in a grand superior way and fixed a
searching glance on her.

"Maggie," she said, "is this you? I'm astonished to see _you_ here."

The words were not much, but the intonation and manner were meant
to have all the effect of an awful and severe act of judgment on a
detected culprit--to express Mrs. Wouvermans' opinion that Maggie's
presence in any decent house was an impertinence and a disgrace.

Maggie's pale face turned a shade paler, and her black eyes flashed
fire, but she said nothing; she went out and closed the door with

"Did you see that?" said Aunt Maria, turning to Eva.

"I saw it, Aunty, and I must say I think it was more your fault than
Maggie's. People in our position ought not to provoke girls, if we do
not want to excite temper and have rudeness."

"Well, Eva, I've come up here to have a plain talk with you about
this girl, for I think you don't know what you're doing in taking her
into your house. I've talked with Mrs. Willis, and with your Aunt
Atkins, and with dear Mrs. Elmore about it, and there is but just one
opinion--they are all united in the idea that you ought not to take
such a girl into your family. You never can do anything with them;
they are utterly good for nothing, and they make no end of trouble.
I went and talked to your mother, but she is just like a bit of tow
string, you can't trust her any way, and she is afraid to come and
tell you what she really thinks, but in her heart she feels just as
the rest of us do."

"Well, now, upon my word, Aunt Maria, I can't see what right you and
Mrs. Willis and Aunt Atkins and Mrs. Elmore have to sit as a jury on
my family affairs and send me advice as to my arrangements, and I'm
not in the least obliged to you for talking about my affairs to them.
I think I told you, some time ago, that Harry and I intend to manage
our family according to our own judgment; and, while we respect you,
and are desirous of showing that respect in every proper way, we
cannot allow you any right to intermeddle in our family matters. I am
guided by my husband's judgment (and you yourself admit that, for a
wife, there is no other proper appeal) and Harry and I act as one. We
are entirely united in all our family plans."

"Oh, well, I suppose there is no harm in my taking an interest in your
family matters, since you are my god-child, and I brought you up, and
have always cared as much about you as any mother could do--in fact, I
think I have felt more like a mother to you than Nellie has."

"Well, Aunty," said Eva, "of course, I feel how kind and good you
have always been, and I'm sure I thank you with all my heart; but
still, after all, we must be firm in saying that you cannot govern our

"Who is wanting to govern your family?--what ridiculous talk that
is! Just as if I had ever tried; but you may, of course, allow your
old aunt, that has had experience that you haven't had, to propose
arrangements and tell you of things to your advantage, can't you?"

"Oh, of course, Aunty."

"Well, I went up to the Willises, because they are going to Europe, to
be gone for three years, and I thought I could secure their Ann for
you. Ann is a treasure. She has been ten years with the Willises, and
Mrs. Willis says she don't know of a fault that she has."

"Very well, but, Aunty, I don't want Ann, if she were an angel; I have
my Mary, and I prefer her to anybody that could be named."

"But, Eva, Mary is getting old, and she is encumbered with this witch
of a daughter, whom she is putting upon your shoulders and making you
carry; and I perceive that you'll be ridden to death--it's a perfect
Old Man of the Sea on your backs. Now, get rid of Mary, and you'll get
rid of the whole trouble. It isn't worth while, just because you've
got attached to Mary, to sacrifice your interests for her sake. Just
let her go."

"Well, now, Aunty, the short of the matter is, that I will do
nothing of the kind. I won't let Mary go, and I don't want any other
arrangement than just what I have. I am perfectly satisfied."

"Well, you'll see that your keeping that girl in your house will
bring you all into disgrace yet," said Aunt Maria, rising hastily.
"But it's no use talking. I spent a good half-day attending to this
matter, and making arrangements that would have given you the very
best of servants; but if you choose to take in tramps, you must take
the consequences. I can't help it;" and Aunt Maria rose vengefully and
felt for her bonnet.

Eva opened the door of the little sewing-room, where Maggie had laid
it, and saw her vanishing out of the opposite door.

"I hope she did not hear you, Aunty," she said, involuntarily.

"I don't care if she did," was the reply, as the injured lady resumed
her bonnet and departed from the house, figuratively shaking the dust
from her feet.

Eva went out also to attend to some of her morning business, and, on
her return, was met by Mary with an anxious face. Maggie had gone
out and taken all her things with her, and was nowhere to be found.
After some search, Eva found a paper pinned to the cushion of her
toilet-table, on which was written:

     "_Dear Mrs. Henderson_: You have tried hard to save me; but
     it's no use. I am only a trouble to mother, and I disgrace
     you. So I am going, and don't try to find me. May God bless
     you and mother.




The world cannot wait for anybody. No matter whose heart breaks or
whose limbs ache, the world must move on. Life always has its next
thing to be done, which comes up imperatively, no matter what happens
to you or me.

So when it appeared that Maggie was absolutely gone--gone without
leaving trace or clue where to look for her, Mary, though distressed
and broken-hearted, had small time for lamentations.

For just as Maggie's note had been found, read, and explained to Mary,
and in the midst of grief and wonderment, a note was handed in to Eva
by an office-boy, running thus:

     "_Dear Little Wifie_: I have caught Selby, and we can have
     him at dinner to-night; and as I know there's nothing like
     you for emergencies, I secured him, and took the liberty of
     calling in on Alice and Angie, and telling them to come. I
     shall ask St. John, and Jim, and Bolton, and Campbell--you
     know, the more the merrier, and, when you are about it,
     it's no more trouble to have six or seven than one; and now
     you have Maggie, one may as well spread a little.

          Your own


"Was ever such a man!" said Eva; "poor Mary! I'm sorry all this is
to come upon you just as you have so much trouble, but just hear
now! Mr. Henderson has invited an English gentleman to dinner, and a
whole parcel of folks with him. Well, most of them are _our_ folks,
Mary--Miss Angie, and Miss Alice, and Mr. Fellows, and Mr. Bolton,
and Mr. St. John--of course we must have him."

"Oh, well, we must just do the best we can," said Mary, entering
into the situation at once; "but really, the turkey that's been sent
in isn't enough for so many. If you'd be so good as to step down to
Simon's, ma'am, and order a pair of chickens, I could make a chicken
pie, and then there's most of that cold boiled ham left, and trimmed
up with parsley it would do to set on table--you'll ask him to send
parsley--and the celery's not enough, we shall want two or three more
bunches. I'm sorry Mr. Henderson couldn't have put it off, later in
the week, till the washing was out of the way," she concluded, meekly,
"but we must do the best we can."

Now, Christian fortitude has many more showy and sublime forms, but
none more real than that of a poor working-woman suddenly called
upon to change all her plans of operations on washing day, and more
especially if the greatest and most perplexing of life's troubles
meets her at the same moment. Mary's patience and self-sacrifice
showed that the crucifix and rosary and prayer-book in her chamber
were something more than ornamental appendages--they were the
outward signs of a faith that was real.

"My dear, good Mary," said Eva, "it's just sweet of you to take things
so patiently, when I know you're feeling so bad; but the way it came
about is this: this gentleman is from England, and he is one that
Harry wants very much to show attention to, and he only stays a short
time, and so we have to take him when we can get him. You know Mr.
Henderson generally is so considerate."

"Oh, I know," said Mary, "folks can't always have things just as they

"And then, you know, Mary, he thought we should have Maggie here to
help us. He couldn't know, you see----"

Mary's countenance fell, and Eva's heart smote her, as if she were
hard and unsympathetic in forcing her own business upon her in her
trouble, and she hastened to add:

"We sha'n't give Maggie up. I will tell Mr. Henderson about her when
he comes home, and he will know just what to do. You may be sure,
Mary, he will stand by you, and leave no stone unturned to help you.
We'll find her yet."

"It's my fault partly, I'm afraid; if I'd only done better by her,"
said Mary; "and Mike, he was hard on her; she never would bear curbing
in, Maggie wouldn't. But we must just do the best we can," she added,
wiping her eyes with her apron. "What would you have for dessert,

"What would you make easiest, Mary?"

"Well there's jelly, blanc-mange or floating island, though we didn't
take milk enough for that; but I guess I can borrow some of Dinah over
the way. Miss Dorcas would be willing, I'm sure."

"Well, Mary, arrange it just as you please. I'll go down and order
more celery and the chickens, and I know you'll bring it all right;
you always do. Meanwhile, I'll go to a fruit store, and get some
handsome fruit to set off the table."

And so Eva went out, and Mary, left alone with her troubles, went on
picking celery, and preparing to make jelly and blanc-mange, with
bitterness in her soul. People must eat, no matter whose hearts break,
or who go to destruction; but, on the whole, this incessant drive of
the actual in life is not a bad thing for sorrow.

If Mary had been a rich woman, with nothing to do but to go to bed
with a smelling-bottle, with full leisure to pet and coddle her
griefs, she could not have made half as good headway against them as
she did by help of her chicken pie, and jelly, and celery and what
not, that day.

Eva had, to be sure, given her the only comfort in her power, in the
assurance that when her husband came home she would tell him about
it, and they would see if anything could be done to find Maggie and
bring her back. Poor Mary was full of self-reproach for what it was
too late to help, and with concern for the trouble which she felt her
young mistress had been subjected to. Added to this was the wounded
pride of respectability, even more strong in her class than in higher
ones, because with them a good name is more nearly an only treasure.
To be come of honest, decent folk is with them equivalent to what in
a higher class would be called coming of gentle blood. Then Mary's
brother Mike, in his soreness at Maggie's disgrace, had not failed to
blame the mother's way of bringing her up, after the manner of the
world generally when children turn out badly.

"She might have expected this. She ought to have known it would come.
She hadn't held her in tight enough; had given her her head too much;
his wife always told him they were making a fool of the girl."

This was a sharp arrow in Mary's breast; because Mike's wife, Bridget,
was one on whom Mary had looked down, as in no way an equal match
for her brother, and her consequent want of cordiality in receiving
her had rankled in Bridget's mind, so that she was forward to take
advantage of Mary's humiliation.

It is not merely professed enemies, but decent family connections,
we are sorry to say, who in time of trouble sometimes say "aha! so
would we have it." All whose advice has not been taken, all who have
felt themselves outshone or slighted, are prompt with the style of
consolation exemplified by Job's friends, and eager above all things
to prove to those in trouble that they have nobody but themselves to
thank for it.

So, no inconsiderable part of Mary's bitter herbs this day, was the
prick and sting of all the possible things which might be said of her
and Maggie by Bridget and Mike, and the rest of the family circle by
courtesy included in the term "her best friends." Eva, tender-hearted
and pitiful, could not help feeling a sympathetic cloud coming over
her as she watched poor Mary's woe-struck and dejected air. She felt
quite sure that Maggie had listened, and overheard Aunt Maria's
philippic in the parlor, and that thus the final impulse had been
given to send her back to her miserable courses; and somehow Eva could
not help a vague feeling of blame from attaching to herself, for not
having made sure that those violent and cruel denunciations should not
be overheard.

"I ought to have looked and made sure, when I found what Aunt Maria
was at," she said to herself. "If I had kept Maggie up stairs, this
would not have happened." But then, an English literary man, that
Harry thought a good deal of, was to dine there that night, and Eva
felt all a housekeeper's enthusiasm and pride, to have everything
charming. You know how it is, sisters. Each time that you have a
social enterprise in hand you put your entire soul into it for the
time being, and have a complete little set of hopes and fears, joys,
sorrows and plans, born with the day and dying with the morrow.

Just as she was busy arranging her flowers, the door-bell rang, and
Jim Fellows came in with a basket of fruit.

"Good morning," he said; "Harry told me you were going to have a
little blow-out to-night, and I thought I'd bring in a contribution."

"Oh! thanks, Jim; they are exactly the thing I was going out to look
for. How lovely of you!"

"Well, they've come to you without looking, then," said Jim. "Any
commands for me? Can't I help you in any way?"

"No, Jim, unless--well, you know my good Mary is the great wheel
of this establishment, and if she breaks down we all go too--for I
shouldn't know what to do a single day without her."

"Well, what has happened to this great wheel?" said Jim. "Has it a
cold in its head, or what?"

"Come, Jim, don't make fun of my metaphors; the fact is, that Mary's
daughter, Maggie, has run off again and left her."

"Just what she might have expected," said Jim.

"No; Maggie was doing very well, and I really thought I should make
something of her. She thought everything of me, and I could get along
with her perfectly well, and I found her very ingenious and capable;
but her relations all took up against her, and her uncle came in last
night and talked to her till she was in a perfect fury."

"Of course," said Jim, "that's the world's way; a fellow can't repent
and turn quietly, he must have his sins well rubbed into him, and his
nose held to the grindstone. I should know that Maggie would flare up
under that style of operation; those great black eyes of hers are not
for nothing, I can tell you."

"Well, you see it was last night, while I was up at papa's, that her
uncle came, and they had a stormy time, I fancy; and when Harry and I
came home we found Maggie just flying out of the door in desperation,
and I brought her back, and quieted her down, and brought her to
reason, and her mother too, and made it all smooth and right. But,
this morning, came in Aunt Maria--"

Jim gave a significant whistle.

"Yes, you may well whistle. You see, Maggie once lived with Aunt
Maria, and she's dead set against her, and came to make me turn her
out of my house, if she could. You ought to have seen the look of
withering scorn and denunciation she gave Maggie when she opened the
door!--and she talked about her so loud to me, and said so much to
induce me to turn away both her and Mary, and take another set of
girls, that I don't wonder Maggie went off; and now poor Mary is quite
broken-hearted. It makes me feel sad to see her go about her work so
forlorn and patient, wiping her eyes every once in a while, and yet
doing everything for me, like the good soul she always is."

"By George!" said Jim; "I wish I could help her. Well, I'll put
somebody on Maggie's track and we'll find her out. I know all the
detectives and the police--trust us newspaper fellows for that--and
Maggie is a pretty marked article, and I think I may come on the track
of her; there are not many things that Jim can't find out, when he
sets himself to work. Meanwhile, have you any errands for me to run,
or any message to send to your folks? I may as well take it, while I'm
about it."

"Well, yes, Jim; if you'd be kind enough, as you go by papa's, to ask
Angie to come down and help me. She is always so brisk and handy, and
keeps one in such good spirits, too."

"Oh, yes, Angie is always up and dressed, whoever wants her, and is
good for any emergency. The little woman has Christmas tree on her
brain just now--for our Sunday-school; only the other night, she was
showing me the hoods and tippets she had been knitting for it, like a
second Dorcas--"

"Yes," said Eva, "we must all have a consultation about that
Christmas tree. I wanted to see Mr. St. John about it."

"Do you think there were any Christmas trees in the first centuries,"
said Jim, "or any churchly precedent for them?--else I don't see how
St. John is going to allow such a worldly affair in his chapel."

"Oh, pshaw! Mr. St. John is sensible. He listened with great interest
to Angie, the other night, while she was telling about one that she
helped get up last year in Dr. Cushing's Sunday-school room, and he
seemed quite delighted with the idea; and Angie and Alice and I are on
a committee to get a list of children and look up presents, and that
was one thing I wanted to talk about to-night."

"Well, get St. John and Angie to talking tree together, and she'll
edify him. St. John is O. K. about all the particulars of how they
managed in the catacombs, without doubt, and he gets ahead of us all
preaching about the primitive Christians, but come to a Christmas
tree for New York street boys and girls, in the 19th century, I'll
bet on Angie to go ahead of him. He'll have to learn of her--and you
see he won't find it hard to take, either. Jim knows a thing or two."
And Jim cocked his head on one side, like a saucy sparrow, and looked
provokingly knowing.

"Now, Jim, what do you mean?"

"Oh, nothing. Alice says I mustn't think anything or say anything, on
pain of her high displeasure. But, you just watch the shepherd and
Angie to-night."

"Jim, you provoking creature, you mustn't talk so."

"Bless your heart, who is talking so? Am I saying anything? Of course
I'm not saying anything. Alice won't let me. I always have to shut my
eyes and look the other way when Angie and St. John are around, for
fear I should say something and make a remark. Jim says nothing, but
he thinks all the more."

Now, we'll venture to say that there isn't a happy young wife in the
first months of wifehood that isn't predisposed to hope for all her
friends a happy marriage, as about the summit of human bliss; and so
Eva was not shocked like Alice by the suggestion that her rector might
become a candidate for the sacrament of matrimony. On the contrary,
it occurred to her at once that the pretty, practical, lively,
efficient little Angie might be a true angel, not merely of church and
Sunday-school, but of a rector's house. He was ideal and theoretic,
and she practical and common-sense; yet she was pretty enough, and
picturesque, and fanciful enough for an ideal man to make a poem
of, and weave webs around, and write sonnets to; and as all these
considerations flashed at once upon Eva's mind, she went on settling a
spray of geranium with rose-buds, a pleased dreamy smile on her face.
After a moment's pause, she said:

"Jim, if you see a bird considering whether to build a nest in the
tree by your window, and want him there, the way is to keep pretty
still about it and not go to the window, and watch, and call people,
saying, 'Oh, see here, there's a bird going to build!' Don't you see
the sense of my parable?"

"Well, why do you talk to me? Haven't I kept away from the window, and
walked round on tip-toe like a cat, and only given the quietest look
out of the corner of my eye?"

"Well, it seems you couldn't help calling my attention and Alice's.
Don't extend the circle of observers, Jim."

"See if I do. You'll find me discretion itself. I shall be so quiet
that even a humming bird's nerves couldn't be disturbed. Well, good
by, for the present."

"Oh, but, Jim, don't forget to do what you can about Maggie. It
really seems selfish in me to be absorbed in my own affairs, and not
doing anything to help Mary, poor thing, when she's so good to me."

"Well, I don't see but you are doing all you can. I'll see about it
right away and report to you," said Jim; "so, _au revoir_."

Angie came in about lunch time; the two sisters, once at their tea
and toast, discussed the forthcoming evening's preparations and the
Christmas Sunday-school operations: and Eva, with the light of Jim's
suggestions in her mind, began to observe certain signs of increasing
intimacy between Angie and Mr. St. John.

"O Eva, I want to tell you: I went to see those poor Prices, Saturday
afternoon; and there was John, just back from one of those dreadful
sprees that he will have every two or three weeks. You never saw a
creature so humble and so sorry, and so good, and so anxious to make
up with his wife and me, and everybody all round, as he was. He was
sitting there, nursing his wife and tending his baby, just as handy
as a woman,--for she, poor thing, has had a turn of fever, in part, I
think, brought on by worry and anxiety; but she seemed so delighted
and happy to have him back!--and I couldn't help thinking what a shame
it is that there should be any such thing as rum, and that there
should be people who make it their business and get their living by
tempting people to drink it. If I were a Queen, I'd shut up all the
drinking-shops right off!"

"I fancy, if we women could have our way, we should do it pretty

"Well, I don't know about that," said Angie. "One of the worst shops
in John's neighborhood is kept by a woman."

"Well, it seems so hopeless--this weakness of these men," said Eva.

"Oh, well, never despair," said Angie. "I found him in such a good
mood that I could say anything I wanted to, and I found that he was
feeling terribly because he had lost his situation in Sanders' store
on account of his drinking habits. He had been a porter and errand boy
there, and he is so obliging and quick that he is a great favorite;
but they got tired of his being so unreliable, and had sent him
word that they didn't want him any more. Well, you see, here was an
opportunity. I said to him: 'John, I know Mr. Sanders, and if you'll
sign a solemn pledge never to touch another drop of liquor, or go
into a place where it is sold, I will try and get him to take you
back again.' So I got a sheet of paper and wrote a pledge, strong and
solemn, in a good round hand, and he put his name to it; and just then
Mr. St. John came in and I showed it to him, and he spoke beautifully
to him, and prayed with him, and I really do hope, now, that John will

"So, Mr. St. John visits them?"

"Oh, to be sure; ever since I had those children in my class, he has
been very attentive there. I often hear of his calling; and when he
was walking home with me afterwards, he told me about that article of
Dr. Campbell's and advised me to read it. He said it had given him
some new ideas. He called this family my little parish, and said I
could do more than he could. Just think of our rector saying that."

Eva did think of it, but forbore to comment aloud. "Jim was right,"
she said to herself.



The dinner party, like many impromptu social ventures, was a success.
Mr. Selby proved one of that delightful class of English travelers who
travel in America to see and enter into its peculiar and individual
life, and not to show up its points of difference from old-world
social standards. He seemed to take the sense of a little family
dinner, got up on short notice, in which the stereotyped doctrine of
courses was steadfastly ignored; where there was no soup or fish, and
only a good substantial course of meat and vegetables, with a slight
dessert of fruit and confectionery; where there was no black servant,
with white gloves, to change the plates, but only respectable,
motherly Mary, who had tidied herself and taken the office of waiter,
in addition to her services as cook.

A real high-class English gentleman, when he fairly finds himself
out from under that leaden pale of conventionalities which weighs
down elasticity like London fog and smoke, sometimes exhibits all
the hilarity of a boy out of school on a long vacation, and makes
himself frisky and gamesome to a degree that would astonish the solemn
divinities of insular decorum. Witness the stories of the private
fun and frolic of Thackeray and Dickens, on whom the intoxicating
sense of social freedom wrought results sometimes surprising to staid
Americans; as when Thackeray rode with his heels out of the carriage
window through immaculate and gaping Boston and Dickens perpetrated
his celebrated walking wager.

Mr. Selby was a rising literary man in the London writing world, who
had made his own way up in the world, and known hard times and hard
commons, though now in a lucrative position. It would have been quite
possible, by spending a suitable sum and deranging the whole house, to
set him down to a second-rate imitation of a dull, conventional London
dinner, with waiters in white chokers, and protracted and circuitous
courses; and in that case Mr. Selby would have frozen into a stiff,
well preserved Briton, with immaculate tie and gloves, and a guarded
and diplomatic reserve of demeanor. Eva would have been nervously
thinking of the various unusual arrangements of the dinner table, and
a general stiffness and embarrassment would have resulted. People who
entertain strangers from abroad often re-enact the mistake of the
two Englishmen who traveled all night in a diligence, laboriously
talking broken French to each other, till at dawn they found out by a
chance slip of the tongue that they were both English. So, at heart,
every true man, especially in a foreign land, is wanting what every
true household can give him--sincere homely feeling, the sense of
domesticity, the comfort of being off parade and among friends; and
Mr. Selby saw in the first ten minutes that this was what he had found
in the Hendersons' house.

In the hour before dinner, Eva had shown him her ivies and her
ferns and her manner of training them, and found an appreciate
observer and listener. Mr. Selby was curious about American
interiors and the detail of domestic life among people of moderate
fortune. He was interested in the modes of warming and lighting,
and arranging furniture, etc.; and soon Eva and he were all over
the house, while she eloquently explained to him the working of the
furnace, the position of the water pipes, and the various comforts
and conveniences which they had introduced into their little

[Illustration: CONFIDENCES.

"_In due course followed an introduction to 'my wife,' whose
photograph Mr. Selby wore dutifully in his coat-pocket over the exact
region of the heart._"--p. 287.]

"I've got a little box of my own at Kentish town," Mr. Selby said, in
a return burst of confidence, "and I shall tell my wife about some of
your contrivances; the fact is," he added, "we literary people need
to learn all these ways of being comfortable at small expense. The
problem of our age is, that of perfecting small establishments for
people of moderate means; and I must say, I think it has been carried
further in your country than with us."

In due course followed an introduction to "my wife," whose photograph
Mr. Selby wore dutifully in his coat-pocket, over the exact region
of the heart; and then came "my son," four years old, with all his
playthings round him; and, in short, before an hour, Eva and he were
old acquaintances, ready to tell each other family secrets.

Alice and Angelique were delightful girls to reinforce and carry out
the home charm of the circle. They had eminently what belongs to the
best class of American girls,--that noble frankness of manner, that
fearless giving forth of their inner nature, which comes from the
atmosphere of free democratic society. Like most high-bred American
girls, they had traveled, and had opportunities of observing European
society, which added breadth to their range of conversation without
taking anything from their frank simplicity. Foreign travel produces
two opposite kinds of social effect, according to character. Persons
who are narrow in their education, sensitive and self-distrustful,
are embarrassed by a foreign experience: they lose their confidence
in their home life, in their own country and its social habitudes,
and get nothing adequate in return; their efforts at hospitality
are repressed by a sort of mental comparison of themselves with
foreign models; they shrink from, entertaining strangers, through an
indefinite fear that they shall come short of what would be expected
somewhere else. But persons of more breadth of thought and more
genuine courage see at once that there is a characteristic American
home life, and that what a foreigner seeks in a foreign country is the
_peculiarity_ of that country, and not an attempt to reproduce that
which has become stupid and tedious to him by constant repetition at

Angelique and Alice talked readily and freely; Alice with the calm,
sustained good sense and dignity which was characteristic of her, and
Angelique in those sunny jets and flashes of impulsive gaiety which
rise like a fountain at the moment. Given the presence of three female
personages like Eva, Alice, and Angelique, and it would not be among
the possibilities for a given set of the other sex to be dull or
heavy. Then, most of the gentlemen were more or less _habitués_ of the
house, and somewhat accorded with each other, like instruments that
have been played in unison; and it is not, therefore to be wondered
at that Mr. Selby made the mental comment that, taken at home, these
Americans are delightful, and that cultivated American women are
particularly so from their engaging frankness of manner.

There would be a great deal more obedience to the apostolic
injunction, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers," if it once
could be clearly got into the heads of well-intending people _what_ it
is that strangers want. What do _you_ want, when away from home, in a
strange city? Is it not the warmth of the home fireside, and the sight
of people that you know care for you? Is it not the blessed privilege
of speaking and acting yourself out unconstrainedly among those who
you know understand you? And had you not rather dine with an old
friend on simple cold mutton, offered with a warm heart, than go to a
splendid ceremonious dinner party among people who don't care a rush
for you?

Well, then, set it down in your book that other people are like
you; and that the art of entertaining is the art of really caring
for people. If you have a warm heart, congenial tastes, and a real
interest in your stranger, don't fear to invite him, though you have
no best dinner set, and your existing plates are sadly chipped at the
edges, and even though there be a handle broken off from the side of
your vegetable dish. Set it down in your belief that you can give
something better than a dinner, however good,--you can give a part of
yourself. You can give love, good will, and sympathy, of which there
has, perhaps, been quite as much over cracked plates and restricted
table furniture as over Sèvres china and silver.

It soon appeared that Mr. Selby, like other sensible Englishmen,
had a genuine interest in getting below the surface life of our
American world, and coming to the real "hard-pan" on which our social
fabric is founded. He was full of intelligent curiosity as to the
particulars of American journalism, its management, its possibilities,
its remunerations compared with those of England; and here was
where Bolton's experience, and Jim Fellows's many-sided practical
observations, came out strongly.

Alice was delighted with the evident impression that Jim made on a
man whose good opinion appeared to be worth having; for that young
lady, insensibly perhaps to herself, held a sort of right of property
in Jim, such as the princesses of the middle ages had in the knights
that wore their colors, and Jim, undoubtedly, was inspired by the
idea that bright eyes looked on, to do his _devoir_ manfully in
the conversation. So they went over all the chances and prospects
of income and living for literary men and journalists in the two
countries; the facilities for marriage, and the establishment of
families, including salaries, rents, prices of goods, etc. In the
course of the conversation, Mr. Selby made many frank statements of
his own personal experience and observation, which were responded to
with equal frankness on the part of Harry and Eva and others, till it
finally seemed as if the whole company were as likely to become _au
courant_ of each other's affairs as a party of brothers and sisters.
Eva, sitting at the head, like a skillful steerswoman, turned the helm
of conversation adroitly, now this way and now that, to draw out the
forces of all her guests, and bring each into play. She introduced
the humanitarian questions of the day; and the subject branched at
once upon what was doing by the Christian world: the high church, the
ritualists, the broad church, and the dissenters all rose upon the
carpet, and St. John was wide awake and earnest in his inquiries. In
fact, an eager talking spirit descended upon them, and it was getting
dark when Eva made the move to go to the parlor, where a bright fire
and coffee awaited them.

"I always hate to drop very dark shades over my windows in the
evening," said Eva, as she went in and began letting down the lace
curtains; "I like to have the firelight of a pleasant room stream out
into the dark, and look cheerful and hospitable outside; for that
reason I don't like inside shutters. Do you know, Mr. Selby, how your
English arrangements used to impress me? They were all meant to be
very delightful to those _in_side, but freezingly repulsive to those
without. Your beautiful grounds that one longs to look at, are guarded
by high stone-walls with broken bottles on the top, to keep one from
even hoping to get over. Now, I think beautiful grounds are a public
charity, and a public education; and a man shouldn't build a high wall
round them, so that even the sight of his trees, and the odor of his
flowers, should be denied to his poor neighbors."

"It all comes of our national love of privacy," said Mr. Selby;
"it isn't stinginess, I beg you to believe, Mrs. Henderson, but
_shyness_,--you find our hearts all right when you get in."

"That we do; but, I beg pardon, Mr. Selby, oughtn't shyness to be put
down in the list of besetting sins, and fought against; isn't it the
enemy of brotherly kindness and charity?"

"Certainly, Mrs. Henderson, you practice so delightfully, one cannot
find fault with your preaching," said Mr. Selby; "but, after all, is
it a sin to want to keep one's private life to himself, and unexposed
to the comments of vulgar, uncongenial natures? It seems to me, if you
will pardon the suggestion, that there is too little of this sense of
privacy in America. Your public men, for instance, are required to
live in glass cases, so that they may be constantly inspected behind
and before. Your press interviewers beset them on every hand, take
down their chance observations, record everything they say and do, and
how they look and feel at every moment of their lives. I confess that
I would rather be comfortably burned at the stake at once than to be
one of your public men in America; and all this comes of your _not_
being shy and reserved. It's a state of things impossible in the kind
of country that has high walls with glass bottles around its private

"He has us there, Eva," said Harry; "our vulgar, jolly, democratic
level of equality over here produces just these insufferable results;
there's no doubt about it."

"Well," said Jim, "I have one word to say about newspaper reporters.
Poor boys! everybody is down on them, nobody has a bit of charity for
them; and yet, bless you, it isn't their fault if they're impertinent
and prying. That is what they are engaged for and paid for, and
kicked out if they're not up to. Why, look you, here are four or five
big dailies running the general gossip-mill for these great United
States, and if any one of them gets a bit of news before another,
it's a victory--a 'beat.' Well, if the boys are not sharp, if other
papers get things that they don't or can't, off they must go; and the
boys have mothers and sisters to support--and want to get wives some
day--and the reporting business is the first round of the ladder; if
they get pitched off, it's all over with them."

"Precisely," said Mr. Selby; "it is, if you will pardon my saying it,
it is your great American public that wants these papers and takes
them, and takes the most of those that have the most gossip in them,
that are to blame. _They_ make the reporters what they are, and keep
them what they are, by the demand they keep up for their wares; and
so, I say, if Mrs. Henderson will pardon me, that, as yet, I am unable
to put down our national shyness in the catalogue of sins to be fought
against. I confess I would rather, if I should ever happen to have any
literary fame, I would rather shut my shutters, evenings, and have
high walls with glass bottles on top around my grounds, and _not_ have
every vulgar, impertinent fellow in the community commenting on my
private affairs. Now, in England, we have all arrangements to keep our
families to ourselves, and to such intimates as we may approve."

"Oh, yes, I knew it to my cost when I was in England," said Eva. "You
might be in a great hotel with all the historic characters of your
day, and see no more of them than if you were in America. They came
in close family carriages, they passed to close family rooms, they
traveled in railroad compartments specially secured to themselves,
and you knew no more about them than if you had stayed at home."

"Well," said Mr. Selby, "you describe what I think are very nice,
creditable, comfortable ways of managing."

"With not even a newspaper reporter to tell the people what they were
talking about, and what gowns their wives and daughters wore," said
Bolton, dryly. "I confess, of the two extremes, the English would most
accord with my natural man."

"So it is with all of us," said St. John; "the question is, though,
whether this strict caste system which links people in certain lines
and ruts of social life, doesn't make it impossible to have that
knowledge of one another as human beings which Christianity requires.
It struck me in England that the high clergy had very little practical
comprehension of the feelings of the lower classes, and their wives
and daughters less. They were prepared to dispense charity to them
from above, but not to study them on the plane of equal intercourse.
They never mingle, any more than oil and water; and that, I think, is
why so much charity in England is thrown away--the different classes
do not understand each other, and never can."

"Yes," said Harry; "with all the disadvantages and disagreeable
results of our democratic jumble in society, our common cars where all
ride side by side, our hotel parlors where all sit together, and our
_tables d'hote_ where all dine together, we do know each other better,
and there is less chance of class misunderstandings and jealousies,
than in England."

"For my part, I sympathize with Mr. Selby, according to the flesh,"
said Mr. St. John. "The sheltered kind of life one leads in English
good society is what I prefer; but, if our Christianity is good for
anything, we cannot choose what we prefer."

"I have often thought," said Eva, "that the pressure of vulgar
notoriety, the rush of the crowd around our Saviour, was evidently
the same kind of trial to him that it must be to every refined
and sensitive nature; and yet how constant and how close was his
affiliation with the lowest and poorest in his day. He _lived_ with
them, he gave them just what we shrink from giving--his personal

Eva spoke with a heightened color and with a burst of self-forgetful
enthusiasm. There was a little pause afterwards, as if a strain of
music had suddenly broken into the conversation, and Mr. Selby, after
a moment's pause, said:

"Mrs. Henderson, I give way to _that_ suggestion. Sometimes, for a
moment, I get a glimpse that Christianity is something higher and
purer than any conventional church shows forth, and I feel that we
nominal Christians are not living on that plane, and that if we only
could live thus, it would settle the doubts of modern skeptics faster
than any Bampton Lectures."

"Well," said Eva, "it does seem as if that which is best for society
on the whole is always gained by a sacrifice of what is agreeable.
Think of the picturesque scenery, and peasantry, and churches, and
ceremonials in Italy, and what a perfect scattering and shattering
of all such illusions would be made by a practical, common-sense
system of republican government, that would make the people thrifty,
prosperous, and happy! The good is not always the beautiful."

"Yes," said Bolton to Mr. Selby, "and you Liberals in England are
assuredly doing your best to bring on the very state of society which
produces the faults that annoy you here. The reign of the great
average masses never can be so agreeable to taste as that of the
cultured few."

But we will not longer follow a conversation which was kept up till a
late hour around the blazing hearth. The visit was one of those happy
ones in which a man enters a house a stranger and leaves it a friend.
When all were gone, Harry and Eva sat talking it over by the decaying

"Harry, you venturesome creature, how dared you send such a company in
upon me on washing day?"

"Because, my dear, I knew you were the one woman in a thousand that
could face an emergency and never lose either temper or presence of
mind; and you see I was right."

"But it isn't me that you should praise, Harry; it's my poor, good
Mary. Just think how patiently she turned out of her way and changed
all her plans, and worked and contrived for me, when her poor old
heart was breaking! I must run up now and say how much I thank her for
making everything go off so well."

Eva tapped softly at the door of Mary's room. There was no answer.
She opened it softly. Mary was kneeling with clasped hands before her
crucifix, and praying softly and earnestly; so intent that she did not
hear Eva coming in. Eva waited a moment, and then kneeled down beside
her and softly put her arm around her.

"Oh, dear, Miss Eva!" said Mary, "my heart's just breaking."

"I know it, I know it, my poor Mary."

"It's so cold and dark out-doors, and where is she?" said Mary, with a
shudder. "Oh, I wish I'd been kinder to her, and not scolded her."

"Oh, dear Mary, don't reproach yourself; you did it for the best. We
will pray for her, and the dear Father will hear us, I know he will.
The Good Shepherd will go after her and find her."



[_Eva to Harry's Mother._]


DEAR MOTHER: I have kept you well informed of all our
prosperities in undertaking and doing: how everything we have set
our hand to has turned out beautifully; how "our evenings" have been
a triumphant success; and how _we and our neighbors_ are all coming
into the spirit of love and unity, getting acquainted, mingling and
melting into each other's sympathy and knowledge. I have had the
most delightful run of compliments about my house, as so bright,
so cheerful, so social and cosy, and about my skill in managing to
always have every thing so nice, and in entertaining with so little
parade and trouble, that I really began to plume myself on something
very uncommon in the way of what Aunt Prissy Diamond calls "faculty."
Well, you know, next in course after the Palace Beautiful comes the
Valley of Humiliation--whence my letter is dated--where I am at this
present writing. Honest old John Bunyan says that, although people do
not descend into this place with a very good grace, but with many a
sore bruise and tumble, yet the air thereof is mild and refreshing,
and many sweet flowers grow here that are not found in more exalted

I have not found the flowers yet, and feel only the soreness and
bruises of the descent. To drop the metaphor: I have been now three
days conducting my establishment without Mary, and with no other
assistant than her daughter, the little ten-year-old midget I told you
about. You remember about poor Maggie, and what we were trying to do
for her, and how she fled from our house? Well, Jim Fellows set the
detectives upon her track, and the last that was heard of her, she
had gone up to Poughkeepsie; and, as Mary has relations somewhere in
that neighborhood, she thought, perhaps, if she went immediately, she
should find her among them. The dear, faithful soul felt dreadfully
about leaving me, knowing that, as to all practical matters, I am a
poor "sheep in the wilderness;" and if I had made any opposition,
or argued against it, I suppose that I might have kept her from
going, but I did not. I did all I could to hurry her off, and talked
heroically about how I would try to get along without her, and little
Midge swelled with importance, and seemed to long for the opportunity
to display her latent powers; and so Mary departed suddenly one
morning, and left me in possession of the field.

The situation was the graver that we had a gentleman invited to
dinner, and Mary had not time even to stuff the turkey, as she had
to hurry off to the cars. "What will you do, Miss Eva?" she said,
ruefully; and I said cheerily: "Oh, never fear, Mary; I never found a
situation yet that I was not adequate to," and I saw her out of the
door, and then turned to my kitchen and my turkey. My soul was fired
with energy. I would prove to Harry what a wonderful and unexplored
field of domestic science lay in my little person. Everything should
be so perfect that the absence of Mary should not even be suspected!

So I came airily upon the stage of action, and took an observation of
the field. This turkey should be stuffed, of course; turkeys always
were stuffed; but what with? How very shadowy and indefinite my
knowledge grew, as I contemplated those yawning rifts and caverns
which were to be filled up with something savory--I didn't precisely
know what! But the cook-book came to my relief. I read and studied
the directions, and proceeded to explore for the articles. "Midge,
where does your mother keep the sweet herbs?" Midge was prompt and
alert in her researches and brought them to light, and I proceeded
gravely to measure and mix, while Midge, delighted at the opportunity
of exploring forbidden territory, began a miscellaneous system of
rummaging and upsetting in Mary's orderly closets. "Here's the
mustard, ma'am, and here's the French mustard, and here's the vanilla,
and the cloves is here, and the nutmeg-grater, ma'am, and the nutmegs
is here;" and so on, till I was half crazy.

"Midge, put all those things back and shut the cupboard door, and stop
talking," said I, decisively. And Midge obeyed.

"Now," said I, "I wonder where Mary keeps her needles; this must be
sewed up."

Midge was on hand again, and pulled forth needles, and thread, and
twine, and after some pulling and pinching of my fingers, and some
unsuccessful struggles with the stiff wings that wouldn't lie down,
and the stiff legs that would kick out, my turkey was fairly bound and
captive, and handsomely awaiting his destiny.

"Now, Midge," said I, triumphant; "open the oven door!"

"Oh! please, ma'am, it's only ten o'clock. You don't want to roast him
all day."

Sure enough; I had not thought of that. Our dinner hour was five
o'clock; and, for the first time in my life, the idea of time as
connected with a roast turkey rose in my head.

"Midge, when _does_ your mother put the turkey in?"

"Oh! not till some time in the afternoon," said Midge, wisely.

"How long does it take a turkey to roast?" said I.

"Oh! a good while," said Midge, confidently, "'cordin' as how large
they is."

I turned to my cook-book, and saw that so much time must be given to
so many pounds; but I had not the remotest idea how many pounds there
were in the turkey. So I set Midge to cleaning the silver, and ran
across the way, to get light of Miss Dorcas.

How thankful I was for the neighborly running-in terms on which I
stood with my old ladies; it stood me in good stead in this time
of need. I ran in at the back door and found Miss Dorcas in her
kitchen, presiding over some special Eleusinian mysteries in the
way of preserves. The good soul had on a morning-cap calculated to
strike terror into an inexperienced beholder, but her face beamed with
benignity, and she entered into the situation at once.

"Cookery books are not worth a fly in such cases," she remarked,
sententiously. "You must use your judgment."

"But what if you haven't got any judgment to use?" said I. "I haven't
a bit."

"Well, then, dear child, you must use Dinah's, as I do. Dinah can tell
to a T, how long a turkey takes to roast, by looking at it. Here,
Dinah, run over, and 'talk turkey' to Mrs. Henderson."

Dinah went back with me, boiling over with giggle. She laughed so
immoderately over my turkey that I began to fear I had made some
disgraceful blunder; but I was relieved by a facetious poke in the
side which she gave me, declaring:

"Lord's sakes alive, Mis' Henderson, you's dun it like a bawn cook,
you has. Land sake! but it just _kills_ me to see ladies work," she
added, going into another chuckle of delight. "Waall, now, Mis'
Henderson, dat 'are turkey'll want a mighty sight of doin'. Tell ye
what--I'll come over and put him in for you, 'bout three o'clock," she
concluded, giving me a matronizing pat on the back.

"Besides," said little Midge, wisely, "there's all the chambers and
the parlors to do."

Sure enough! I had forgotten that beds do not make themselves, nor
chambers arrange themselves, as always had seemed to me before. But
I went at the work, with little Midge for handmaid, guiding her zeal
and directing and superintending her somewhat erratic movements, till
bedrooms, parlors, house, were all in wonted order. In the course
of this experience, it occurred to me a number of times how much
activity, and thought, and care and labor of some one went to make the
foundation on which the habitual ease, quiet and composure of my daily
life was built; and I mentally voted Mary a place among the saints.

Punctually to appointment, Dinah came over and lifted my big turkey
into the oven, and I shut the door on him, and thought my dinner was
fairly under way.

But the kitchen stove, which always seemed to me the most
matter-of-fact, simple, self-evident verity in nature, suddenly became
an inscrutable labyrinth of mystery in my eyes. After putting in my
turkey, I went on inspecting my china-closet, and laying out napkins,
and peering into preserve-jars, till half an hour had passed, when
I thought of taking a peep at him. There he lay, scarcely warmed
through, with a sort of chilly whiteness upon him.

"Midge," I cried, "why don't this fire burn? This turkey isn't

"Oh, dear me, mum! you've forgot the drafts is shut," said Midge, just
as if I had ever thought of drafts, or supposed there was any craft or
mystery about them.

Midge, however, proceeded to open certain mysterious slides, whereat
the stove gave a purr of satisfaction, which soon broadened into a

"That will do splendidly," said I; "and now, Midge, go and get the
potatoes and turnips, peel them, and have them ready."

The stove roared away merrily, and I went on with my china-closet
arrangements, laying out a dessert, till suddenly I smelled a smell of
burning. I went into the kitchen, and found the stove raging like a
great red dragon, and the top glowing hot, and, opening the oven door,
a puff of burning fume flew in my face.

"Oh, Midge, Midge," I cried, "what _is_ the matter? The turkey is all
burning up!" and Midge came running from the cellar.

"Why, mother shuts them slides _part_ up, when the fire gets agoing
too fast," said Midge--"so;" and Midge manipulated the mysterious
slides, and the roaring monster grew calm.

But my turkey needed to be turned, and I essayed to turn him--a thing
which seems the simplest thing in life, till one tries it and becomes
convinced of the utter depravity of matter. The wretched contrary bird
of evil! how he slipped and slid, and went every way but the right
way! How I wrestled with him, getting hot and combative, outwardly and
inwardly! How I burned my hand on the oven door, till finally over he
flounced, spattering hot gravy all over my hand and the front breadth
of my dress. I had a view then that I never had had before of the
amount of Christian patience needed by a cook. I really got into quite
a vengeful state of feeling with the monster, and shut the oven door
with a malignant bang, as Hensel and Gretel did when they burned the
old witch in the fairy story.

But now came the improvising of my dessert! I had projected an elegant
arrangement of boiled custard, with sponge-cake at the bottom, and
feathery snow of egg-froth on top--a showy composition, which, when
displayed in a high cut-glass dish, strikingly ornaments the table.

I felt entirely equal to boiled custard. I had seen Mary make it
dozens of times. I knew just how many eggs went to the quart of
milk, and that it must be stirred gently all the time, in a kettle
of boiling water, till the golden moment of projection arrived. So
I stirred and stirred, with a hot face and smarting hands; for the
burned places burned so much worse in the heat as to send a doubt
through my mind whether I ever should have grace enough to be a martyr
at the stake, for any faith or cause whatever.

But I bore all for the sake of my custard; when, oh! from some cruel,
mysterious, unexplained cause, just at the last moment, the golden
creamy preparation suddenly separated into curd and whey, leaving my
soul desolate within me!

What had I done? What had I omitted? I was sure every rite and form
of the incantation had been performed just as I had seen Mary do it
hundreds of times; yet hers proved a rich, smooth, golden cream, and
mine unsightly curd and watery whey!

The mysteriousness of natural laws was never so borne in upon me.
There is a kink in every one of them, meant to puzzle us. In my
distress, I ran across to the back door again and consulted Dinah.

"What can be the matter, Dinah? My custard won't come, when I've mixed
everything exactly right, according to the rules; and it's all turned
to curd and whey!"

"Land sake, missis, it's jest cause it will do so sometimes--dat are's
de reason," said Dinah, with the certainty of a philosopher. "Soft
custard is jest de aggravatinest thing! you don't never know when it's
goin' to be contrary and flare up agin you."

"Well, Dinah," said Miss Dorcas, "you try your luck with some of our
fresh morning's milk--you always have luck--and carry it over to Mrs.

The dear old angel! No morning cap, however fearful, could disguise
her. I fell upon her neck and kissed her, then and there, she was so
good! She is the best old soul, mother, and I feel proud of having
discovered her worth. I told her how I did hope some time she would
let me do something for her, and we had quite a time, pledging our
friendship to each other in the kitchen.

Well, Dinah brought over the custard, thick and smooth, and I arranged
it in my high cut-glass dish and covered it with foamy billows of
whites of egg tipped off with sparkles of jelly, so that Dinah
declared that it looked as well "as dem perfectioners could do it;"
and she staid to take my turkey out for me at the dinner hour; and I,
remembering my past struggle and burned fingers, was only too glad to
humbly accept her services.

Dinah is not a beauty, by any of the laws of art, but she did look
beautiful to me, when I left her getting up the turkey, and retired to
wash my hot cheeks and burning hands and make my toilette; for I was
to appear serene and smiling in a voluminous robe, and with unsullied
ribbons, like the queen of the interior, whose morning had been passed
in luxurious ease and ignorant of care.

To say the truth, dear mother, I was so tired and worn out with the
little I had done that I would much rather have lain down for a
nap than to have enacted the part of charming hostess. Talk about
women meeting men with a smile, when they come in from the cares of
business! I reflected that, if this sort of thing went on much longer,
Harry would have to meet me with a smile, and a good many smiles, to
keep up my spirits at this end of the lever. However, it was but for
once; I summoned my energies and was on time, nicely dressed, serene
and fresh as if nothing had happened, and we went through our dinner
without a break down, for little Midge was a well-trained waiter and
did heroically.

Only, when I came to pour the coffee after dinner, I was astonished at
its unusual appearance. Our clear, limpid, golden coffee had always
been one of our strong points, and one on which I had often received
special compliments. People had said, "How do you contrive to always
have such coffee?" and I had accepted with a graceful humility,
declaring, as is proper in such cases, that I was not aware of any
particular merit in it, etc.

The fact is, I never had thought about coffee at all. I had seen, as
I supposed, how Mary made it, and never doubted that mine would be
like hers; so that when a black, thick, cloudy liquid poured out of my
coffee pot, I was, I confess, appalled.

Harry, like a good fellow, took no notice, and covered my defect by
beginning an animated conversation on the merits of the last book our
gentleman had published. The good man forgot all about his coffee in
his delight at the obliging things Harry was saying, and took off the
muddy draught with a cheerful zeal, as if it was so much nectar.

But, on our way to the parlor, Harry contrived to whisper,

"What has got into Mary about her coffee to-day?"

"O Harry," I replied, "Mary's gone. I had to get the dinner all

"You did! You wonderful little puss!" said the good boy. "Never mind
the coffee! Better luck next time."

And, after we were alone that night, Harry praised and admired me, and
I got out the cookery book to see how I ought to have made my coffee.

The directions, however, were not near as much to the point as the
light I got from Dinah, who came across on a gossiping expedition to
our kitchen that evening, and to whom I propounded the inquiry, "Why
wasn't my coffee clear and nice like Mary's?"

"Land sakes, Mis' Henderson, ye didn't put in no fish-skin, nor
nothing to clar it."

"No. I never heard of such a thing."

"Some uses fish-skin, and some takes an egg," continued Dinah. "When
eggs is cheap, I takes an egg. Don't nobody have no clarer coffee 'n

I made Dinah illustrate her theme by one practical experiment, after
the manner of chemical lecturers, and then I was mistress of the
situation. Coffee was a vanquished realm, a subjugated province, the
power whereof was vested henceforth, not in Mary, but myself.

Since then, we have been anxiously looking for Mary every day; for
Thursday is coming round, and how are we to have "our evening" without
her? Alice and Angie are both staying with me now to help me, and on
the whole we have pretty good times, though there isn't any surplus
of practical knowledge among us. We have all rather plumed ourselves
on being sensible domestic girls. We can all make lovely sponge cake,
and Angie excels in chocolate caramels, and Alice had a great success
in currant jelly. But the thousand little practical points that meet
one in getting the simplest meal, nobody knows till he tries. For
instance, we fried our sausages in butter, the first morning, to the
great scandal of little Midge, who instructed us gravely that they
were made to fry themselves.

Since "our boys" have found out that we are sole mistresses of the
kitchen, they often drop in to lighten our labors and to profess their
own culinary accomplishments. Jim Fellows declares that nobody can
equal him in coffee, and that he can cook a steak with tomato sauce
in a manner unequaled; and Bolton professes a peculiar skill in an
omelette; so we agreed yesterday to let them try their hand, and we
had a great frolic over the getting up of a composition dinner. Each
of us took a particular thing to be responsible for; and so we got up
a pic-nic performance, which we ate with great jollity. Dr. Campbell
came in with a glass coffee-making machine by which coffee was to
be made on table for the amusement of the guests as well as for the
gratification of appetite; and he undertook, for his part, to engineer
it. Altogether we had a capital time, and more fun than if we had got
the dinner under the usual auspices; and, to crown all, I got a letter
from Mary that she is coming back to-morrow,--so all's well that
ends well. Meanwhile, dear mother, though I have burned my hands and
greased the front breadth of my new winter dress, yet I have gained
something quite worth having by the experience of the last few days.

I think I shall have more patience with the faults and short-comings
of the servants after this; and if the custard is a failure, or the
meat is burned, or the coffee doesn't come perfectly clear, I shall
remember that she is a sister woman of like passions with myself, and
perhaps trying to do her very best when she fails, just as I was when
I failed. I am quite sure that I shall be a better mistress for having
served an apprenticeship as a maid.

So good by, dear mother.

     Your loving




There was dismay and confusion in the old Vanderheyden house, this
evening. Mrs. Betsey sat abstracted at her tea, as one refusing to be
comforted. The chair on which Jack generally sat alert and cheerful
at meal times was a vacant chair, and poor soft-hearted Mrs. Betsey's
eyes filled with tears every time she looked that way. Jack had run
away that forenoon and had not been seen about house or premises since.

"Come now, Betsey," said Miss Dorcas, "eat your toast; you really are

"I can't help it, Dorcas; it's getting dark and he doesn't come. Jack
never did stay out so long before; something must have happened to

"Oh, you go 'way, Miss Betsey!" broke in Dinah, with the irreverent
freedom which she generally asserted to herself in the family
counsels, "never you fear but what Jack'll be back soon enough--too
soon for most folks; _he_ knows which side _his_ bread's buttered, dat
dog does. Bad penny allers sure to come home 'fore you want it."

"And there's no sort of reason, Betsey, why you shouldn't
exercise self-control and eat your supper," pursued Miss Dorcas,
authoritatively. "A well-regulated mind"--

"You needn't talk to me about a well-regulated mind, Dorcas,"
responded Mrs. Betsey, in an exacerbated tone. "I haven't got a
well-regulated mind and never had, and never shall have; and reading
Mrs. Chapone and Dr. Watts on the Mind, and all the rest of them,
never did _me_ any good. I'm one of that sort that when I'm anxious I
_am_ anxious; so it don't do any good to talk _that_ way to me."

"Well, you know, Betsey, if you'll only be reasonable, that Jack
always has come home."

"And good reason," chuckled Dinah. "Don't he know when he's well
off? you jest bet he does. I know jest where he is; he's jest off a
gallivantin' and a prancin' and a dancin' now 'long o' dem low dogs in
Flower Street, and he'll come back bimeby smellin' 'nuff to knock ye
down, and I shall jest hev the washin' on him, that's what I shall;
and if I don't give him sech a soapin' and scrubbin' as he never hed,
I tell you! So you jest eat your toast, Mis' Betsey, and take no
thought for de morrer, Scriptur' says."

This cheerful picture, presented in Dinah's overpoweringly
self-confident way, had some effect on Mrs. Betsey, who wiped her eyes
and finished her slice of toast without further remonstrance.

"Dinah, if you're sure he's down on Flower Street, you might go and
look him up, after tea," she added, after long reflection.

"Oh, well, when my dishes is done up, ef Jack ain't come round, why,
I'll take a look arter him," quoth Dinah. "I don't hanker arter no dog
in a gineral way, but since you've got sot on Jack, why, have him you
must. Dogs is nothin' but a plague; for my part I's glad there won't
be no dogs in heaven."

"What do you know about that?" said Mrs. Betsey, with spirit.

"Know?" said Dinah. "Hain't I heard my Bible read in Rev'lations all
'bout de golden city, and how it says, 'Widout are dogs'? Don't no
dogs walk de golden streets, now I tell you; got Bible on dat ar.
Jack'll hev to take his time in dis world, for he won't get in dere a

"Well then, Dinah, we must make the most we can of him here," pursued
Miss Dorcas, "and so, after you've done your dishes, I wish you'd go
out and look him up. You know you can find him, if you only set your
mind to it."

"To think of it!" said Mrs. Betsey. "I had just taken such pains with
him; washed him up in nice warm water, with scented soap, and combed
him with a fine-tooth comb till there wasn't a flea on him, and tied a
handsome pink ribbon round his neck, because I was going to take him
over to Mrs. Henderson's to call, this afternoon; and just as I got
him all perfectly arranged out he slipped, and that's the last of him."

"I'll warrant!" said Dinah, "and won't he trail dat ar pink ribbon
through all sorts o' nastiness, and come home smellin' wus 'n a
sink-drain! Dogs hes total depravity, and hes it _hard_; it's no use
tryin' to make Christians on 'em. But I'll look Jack up, never you
fear. I'll bring him home, see if I don't," and Dinah went out with an
air of decision that carried courage to Mrs. Betsey's heart.

"Come, now," said Miss Dorcas, "we'll wash up the china, and then, you
know, it's Thursday--we'll dress and go across to Mrs. Henderson's and
have a pleasant evening; and by the time we come back Jack'll be here,
I dare say. Never mind looking out the window after him now," she
added, seeing Mrs. Betsey peering wistfully through the blinds up and
down the street.

"People talk as if it were silly to love dogs," said Mrs. Betsey, in
an injured tone. "I don't see why it is. It may be better to have
a baby, but if you haven't got a baby, and have got a dog, I don't
see why you shouldn't love that; and Jack was real loving, too,"
she added, "and such company for me; he seemed like a reasonable
creature; and you were fond of him, Dorcas, you just _know_ you were."

"Of course, I'm very fond of Jack," said Miss Dorcas, cheerfully;
"but I'm not going to make myself miserable about him. I know, of
course, he'll come back in good time. But here's Dinah, bringing the
water. Come now, let's do up the china--here's your towel--and then
you shall put on that new cap Mrs. Henderson arranged for you, and
go over and let her see you in it. It was so very thoughtful in dear
Mrs. Henderson to do that cap for you; and she said the color was very

"She is a dear, sweet little woman," said Mrs. Betsey; "and that
sister of hers, Miss Angelique, looks like her, and is so lovely. She
talked with me ever so long, the last time we were there. She isn't
like some young girls, she can see something to like in an old woman."

Poor good Miss Dorcas had, for the most part, a very exalted
superiority to any toilet vanities; but, if the truth were to be
told, she was moved to an unusual degree of indulgence towards Mrs.
Betsey by the suppressed fear that something grave might have befallen
the pet of the household. In a sort of vague picture, there rose up
before her the old days, when it was not a dog, but a little child,
that filled the place in that desolate heart. When there had been a
patter of little steps in those stiff and silent rooms; and questions
of little shoes, and little sashes, and little embroidered robes,
had filled the mother's heart. And then there had been in the house
the racket and willful noise of a school-boy, with his tops, and his
skates, and his books and tasks; and then there had been the gay young
man, with his smoking-caps and cigars, and his rattling talk, and
his coaxing, teasing ways; and then, alas! had come bad courses, and
irregular hours, and watchings, and fears for one who refused to be
guided; night-watchings for one who came late, and brought sorrow in
his coming; till, finally, came a darker hour, and a coffin, and a
funeral, and a grave, and long weariness and broken-heartedness,--a
sickness of the heart that had lasted for years, that had blanched the
hair, and unstrung the nerves, and made the once pretty, sprightly
little woman a wreck. All these pictures rose up silently before
Miss Dorcas's inner eye as she busied herself in wiping the china,
and there was a touch of pathos about her unaccustomed efforts to
awaken her sister's slumbering sensibility to finery, and to produce a
diversion in favor of the new cap.

The love of a pet animal is something for which people somehow seem
called upon to apologize to our own species, as if it were a sort of
_mésalliance_ of the affections to bestow them on anything below the
human race; and yet the Book of books, which reflects most faithfully
and tenderly the nature of man, represents the very height of cruelty
by the killing of a poor man's pet lamb. It says the rich man had
flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing save one little ewe
lamb, which he had brought and nourished up, which grew up together
with him and his children, which ate of his bread, and drank of his
cup, and lay in his bosom, and was to him as a daughter.

And how often on the unintelligent head of some poor loving animal are
shed the tears of some heart-sorrow; and their dumb company, their
unspoken affection, solace some broken heart which hides itself to die

Dogs are the special comforters of neglected and forgotten people;
and to hurt a poor man's dog, has always seemed to us a crime akin to

We are not at all sure, either, of the boasted superiority of our
human species. A dog who lives up to the laws of his being is, in
our view, a nobler creature than a man who sinks below his: he is
certainly a much more profitable member of the community. We suggest,
moreover, that a much more judicious use could be made of the city
dog-pound in thinning out human brutes than in smothering poor, honest
curs who always lived up to their light and did just as well as they
knew how.

To say the honest truth about poor Jack, his faults were only those
incident to his having been originally created a dog--a circumstance
for which he was in no way responsible. He was as warm-hearted,
loving, demonstrative a creature as ever wagged a tail, and he was
anxious to please his mistress to the best of his light and knowledge.
But he had that rooted and insuperable objection to soap and water,
and that preference for dirt and liberty, which is witnessed also
in young animals of the human species, and Mrs. Betsey's exquisite
neatness was a sore cross and burden to him. Then his destiny having
made him of the nature of the flesh-eaters, as the canine race are
generally, and Miss Dorcas having some strict dietetic theories
intended to keep him in genteel figure, Jack's allowance of meat
and bones was far below his cravings: and so he was led to explore
neighboring alleys, and to investigate swill-pails; to bring home
and bury bones in the Vanderheyden garden-plot, which formed thus
a sort of refrigerator for the preservation of his marketing. Then
Jack had his own proclivities for society. An old lady in a cap,
however caressing and affectionate, could not supply all the social
wants of a dog's nature; and even the mixed and low company of Flower
Street was a great relief to him from the very select associations
and good behavior to which he was restricted the greater part of his
time. In short, Jack, like the rest of us, had his times when he was
fairly tired out of being good, and acting the part of a cultivated
drawing-room dog; and then he reverted with a bound to his freer
doggish associates. Such an impulse is not confined to four-footed
children of nature. Rachel, when mistress of all the brilliancy and
luxury of the choicest _salon_ in Paris, had fits of longing to return
to the wild freedom of a street girl's life, and said that she felt
within herself a "_besoin de s'encanailler_." This expresses just what
Jack felt when he went trailing his rose-colored bows into the society
of Flower Street, little thinking, as he lolled his long pink ribbon
of a tongue jauntily out of his mouth, and enjoyed the sensation he
excited among the dogs of the vicinity, of the tears and anxieties his
frolic was creating at home. But, in due time, the china was washed,
and Mrs. Betsey entered with some interest into preparations for the

Miss Dorcas and Mrs. Betsey were the earliest at the Henderson
fireside, and they found Alice, Angelique and Eva busy arranging the
tea-table in the corner.

"Oh, don't you think, Miss Dorcas, Mary hasn't come back yet, and we
girls are managing all alone," said Angelique; "you can't think what
fun it is!"

"Why didn't you tell me, Mrs. Henderson?" said Miss Dorcas. "I would
have sent Dinah over to make your coffee."

"Oh, dear me, Miss Dorcas, Dinah gave me private lessons day before
yesterday," said Eva, "and from henceforth I am personally adequate to
any amount of coffee, I grow so self-confident. But I tried my hand
in making those little biscuit Mary gets up, and they were a failure.
Mary makes them with sour milk and soda, and I tried to do mine just
like hers. I can't tell why, but they came out of the oven a brilliant
grass-green--quite a preternatural color."

"Showing that they were the work of a green hand," said Angelique.

"It was an evident reflection on me," said Eva. "At any rate, I sent
to the bakery for my biscuit to-night, for I would not advertise my
greenness in public."

"But we are going to introduce a novelty this evening," said
Angelique; "to wit: boiled chestnuts; anybody can cook chestnuts."

"Yes," said Eva; "Harry's mother has just sent us a lovely bag of
chestnuts, and we are going to present them as a sensation. I think it
will start all sorts of poetic and pastoral reminiscences of lovely
fall days, and boys and girls going chestnutting and having good
times; it will make themes for talk."

"By the by," said Angelique, "where's Jack, Mrs. Benthusen?"

"Oh! my dear, you touch a sore spot. We are in distress about Jack. He
ran away this morning, and we haven't seen him all day."

"How terrible!" said Eva. "This is a neighborhood matter. Jack is the
dog of the regiment. We must all put our wits together to have him
looked up. Here comes Jim; let's tell him," continued she, as Jim
Fellows walked up.

"What's up, now?"

"Why, our dog is missing," said Eva. "The pride of our hearts, the
ornament of our neighborhood, is gone."

"Do you think anybody has stolen him?" said Alice.

"I shouldn't wonder," said Mrs. Betsey; "Jack is a dog of a very pure
breed, and very valuable. A boy might get quite a sum for him."

"I'll advertise him in our paper," said Jim.

"Thank you, Mr. Fellows," said Mrs. Betsey, with tears in her eyes.

"I don't doubt he'll get back to you, even if he has been stolen,"
said Harry. "I have known wonderful instances of the contrivance, and
ingenuity, and perseverance of these creatures in getting back home."

"Well," said Jim, "I know a regiment of our press boys and reporters,
who go all up and down the highways and byways, alleys and lanes of
New York, looking into cracks and corners, and I'll furnish them with
a description of Jack, and tell them _I_ want him; and I'll be bound
we'll have him forthcoming. There's some use in newspaper boys, now
and then."

And Jim sat down by Mrs. Betsey, and entered into the topic of Jack's
characteristics, ways, manners and habits, with an interest which went
to the deepest heart of the good little old lady, and excited in her
bosom the brightest hopes.

The evening passed off pleasantly. By this time, the habitual comers
felt enough at home to have the sort of easy enjoyment that a return
to one's own fireside always brings.

Alice, Jim, Eva, Angelique, and Mr. St. John discussed the forthcoming
Christmas-tree for the Sunday-school, and made lists of purchases to
be made of things to be distributed among them.

"Let's give them things that are really useful," said St. John.

"For my part," said Eva, "in giving to such poor children, whose
mothers have no time to entertain them, and no money to buy
pretty things, I feel more disposed to get bright, attractive
playthings--dolls with fine, fancy dresses, and so on; it gives a
touch of poetry to the poor child's life."

"Well, I've dressed four dolls," said Angie; "and I offer my services
to dress a dozen more. My innate love of finery is turned to good
account here."

"I incline more to useful things," said Alice.

"Well," said Eva, "suppose we do both, give each child one useful
thing and one for fancy?"

"Well," said Alice, "the shopping for all this list of eighty children
will be no small item. Jim, we shall have to call in your services."

"I'm your man," said Jim. "I know stores where the fellows would run
their feet off to get a good word from us of the press. I shall turn
my influence in to the service of the church."

"Well," said Alice, "we shall take you with us, when we go on our
shopping tour."

"I know a German firm where you can get the real German candles, and
glass balls, and all the shiners and tinklers to glorify your tree,
and a little angel to stick on the top. A tip-top notice from me in
the paper will make them shell out for us like thunder."

Mr. St. John opened his large, thoughtful, blue eyes on Jim with
an air of innocent wonder. He knew as little of children and their
ways as most men, and was as helpless about all the details of their
affairs as he was desirous of a good result.

"I leave it all in your hands," he said, meekly; "only, wherever I can
be of service, command me."

It was probably from pure accident that Mr. St. John as he spoke
looked at Angie, and that Angie blushed a little, and that Jim Fellows
twinkled a wicked glance across at Alice. Such accidents are all the
while happening, just as flowers are all the while springing up by the
wayside. Wherever man and woman walk hand in hand, the earth is sown
thick with them.

It was a later hour than usual when Miss Dorcas and Mrs. Betsey came
back to their home.

"Is Jack come home?" was the first question.

No, Jack had not come.



It was the week before Christmas, and all New York was stirring and
rustling with a note of preparation. Every shop and store was being
garnished and furbished to look its best. Christmas-trees for sale
lay at the doors of groceries; wreaths of ground-pine, and sprigs and
branches of holly, were on sale, and selling briskly. Garlands and
anchors and crosses of green began to adorn the windows of houses, and
were a merchantable article in the stores. The toy-shops were flaming
and flaunting with a delirious variety of attractions, and mammas
and papas with puzzled faces were crowding and jostling each other,
and turning anxiously from side to side in the suffocating throng
that crowded to the counters, while the shopmen were too flustered to
answer questions, and so busy that it seemed a miracle when anybody
got any attention. The country-folk were pouring into New York to
do Christmas shopping, and every imaginable kind of shop had in its
window some label or advertisement or suggestion of something that
might answer for a Christmas gift. Even the grim, heavy hardware
trade blossomed out into festal suggestions. Tempting rows of knives
and scissors glittered in the windows; little chests of tools for
little masters, with cards and labels to call the attention of papa
to the usefulness of the present. The confectioners' windows were
a glittering mass of sugar frostwork of every fanciful device, gay
boxes of bonbons, marvelous fabrications of chocolate, and sugar
rainbows in candy of every possible device; and bewildered crowds of
well-dressed purchasers came and saw and bought faster than the two
hands of the shopmen could tie up and present the parcels. The grocery
stores hung out every possible suggestion of festal cheer. Long
strings of turkeys and chickens, green bunches of celery, red masses
of cranberries, boxes of raisins and drums of figs, artistically
arranged, and garnished with Christmas greens, addressed themselves
eloquently to the appetite, and suggested that the season of festivity
was at hand.

The weather was stinging cold--cold enough to nip one's toes and
fingers, as one pressed round, doing Christmas shopping, and to give
cheeks and nose alike a tinge of red. But nobody seemed to mind
the cold. "Cold as Christmas" has become a cheery proverb; and for
prosperous, well-living people, with cellars full of coal, with bright
fires and roaring furnaces and well-tended ranges, a cold Christmas is
merely one of the luxuries. Cold is the condiment of the season; the
stinging, smarting sensation is an appetizing reminder of how warm and
prosperous and comfortable are all within doors.

But did any one ever walk the streets of New York, the week before
Christmas, and try to imagine himself moving in all this crowd of
gaiety, outcast, forsaken and penniless? How dismal a thing is a crowd
in which you look in vain for one face that you know! how depressing
the sense that all this hilarity and abundance and plenty is not for
you! Shakespeare has said, "How miserable it is to look into happiness
through another man's eyes--to see that which you might enjoy and
may not, to move in a world of gaiety and prosperity where there is
nothing for you!"

Such were Maggie's thoughts, the day she went out from the kindly
roof that had sheltered her, and cast herself once more upon the
world. Poor hot-hearted, imprudent child, why did she run from her
only friends? Well, to answer that question, we must think a little.
It is a sad truth, that when people have taken a certain number of
steps in wrong-doing, even the good that is in them seems to turn
against them and become their enemy. It was in fact a residuum of
honor and generosity, united with wounded pride, that drove Maggie
into their street, that morning. She had overheard the conversation
between Aunt Maria and Eva; and certain parts of it brought back to
her mind the severe reproaches which had fallen upon her from her
Uncle Mike. He had told her she was a disgrace to any honest house,
and she had overheard Aunt Maria telling the same thing to Eva,--that
the having and keeping such as she in her home was a disreputable,
disgraceful thing, and one that would expose her to very unpleasant
comments and observations. Then she listened to Aunt Maria's argument,
to show Eva that she had better send her mother away and take another
woman in her place, because she was encumbered with such a daughter.

"Well," she said to herself, "I'll go then. I'm in everybody's way,
and I get everybody into trouble that's good to me. I'll just take
myself off. So there!" and Maggie put on her things and plunged into
the street and walked very fast in a tumult of feeling.

She had a few dollars in her purse that her mother had given her to
buy winter clothing; enough, she thought vaguely, to get her a few
days' lodging somewhere, and she would find something honest to do.

Maggie knew there were places where she would be welcomed with an evil
welcome, where she would have praise and flattery instead of chiding
and rebuke; but she did not intend to go to them just yet.

The gentle words that Eva had spoken to her, the hope and confidence
she had expressed that she might yet retrieve her future, were a
secret cord that held her back from going to the utterly bad.

The idea that somebody thought well of her, that somebody believed
in her, and that a lady pretty, graceful, and admired in the world,
seemed really to care to have her do well, was a redeeming thought.
She would go and get some place, and do something for herself, and
when she had shown that she could do something, she would once
more make herself known to her friends. Maggie had a good gift at
millinery, and, at certain odd times, had worked in a little shop on
Sixteenth Street, where the mistress had thought well of her, and made
her advantageous offers. Thither she went first, and asked to see
Miss Pinhurst. The moment, however, that she found herself in that
lady's presence, she was sorry she had come. Evidently, her story had
preceded her. Miss Pinhurst had heard all the particulars of her ill
conduct, and was ready to the best of her ability to act the part of
the flaming sword that turned every way to keep the fallen Eve out of

"I am astonished, Maggie, that you should even think of such a thing
as getting a place _here_, after all's come and gone that you know of;
I am astonished that you could for one moment think of it. None but
young ladies of good character can be received into our work-rooms.
If I should let such as you come in, my respectable girls would feel
insulted. I don't know but they would leave in a body. I think _I_
should leave, under the same circumstances. No, I wish you well,
Maggie, and hope that you may be brought to repentance; but, as to the
shop, it isn't to be thought of."

Now, Miss Pinhurst was not a hard-hearted woman; not, in any
sense, a cruel woman; she was only on that picket duty by which
the respectable and well-behaved part of society keeps off the
ill-behaving. Society has its instincts of self-protection and
self-preservation, and seems to order the separation of the sheep and
the goats, even before the time of final judgment. For, as a general
thing, it would not be safe and proper to admit fallen women back into
the ranks of those unfallen, without some certificate of purgation.
Somebody must be responsible for them, that they will not return
again to bad ways, and draw with them the innocent and inexperienced.
Miss Pinhurst was right in requiring an unblemished record of moral
character among her shop-girls. It was her mission to run a shop
and run it well; it was not her call to conduct a Magdalen Asylum:
hence, though we pity poor Maggie, coming out into the cold with the
bitter tears of rejection freezing her cheek, we can hardly blame Miss
Pinhurst. She had on her hands already all that she could manage.

Besides, how could she know that Maggie was really repentant? Such
creatures were so artful; and, for aught she knew, she might be coming
for nothing else than to lure away some of her girls, and get them
into mischief. She spoke the honest truth, when she said she wished
well to Maggie. She did wish her well. She would have been sincerely
glad to know that she had gotten into better ways, but she did not
feel that it was her business to undertake her case. She had neither
time nor skill for the delicate and difficult business of reformation.
Her helpers must come to her ready-made, in good order, and able to
keep step and time: she could not be expected to make them over.

"How hard they all make it to do right!" thought Maggie. But she was
too proud to plead or entreat. "They all act as if I had the plague,
and should give it to them; and yet I don't want to be bad. I'd a
great deal rather be good if they'd let me, but I don't see any
way. Nobody will have me, or let me stay," and Maggie felt a sobbing
pity for herself. Why should she be treated as if she were the very
off-scouring of the earth, when the man who had led her into all this
sin and sorrow was moving in the best society, caressed, admired,
flattered, married to a good, pious, lovely woman, and carrying all
the honors of life?

Why was it such a sin for _her_, and no sin for him? Why could he
repent and be forgiven, and why must she never be forgiven? There
wasn't any justice in it, Maggie hotly said to herself--and there
wasn't; and then, as she walked those cold streets, pictures without
words were rising in her mind, of days when everybody flattered
and praised her, and he most of all. There is no possession which
brings such gratifying homage as personal beauty; for it is homage
more exclusively belonging to the individual self than any other.
The tribute rendered to wealth, or talent, or genius, is far less
personal. A child or woman gifted with beauty has a constant talisman
that turns all things to gold--though, alas! the gold too often turns
out like fairy gifts; it is gold only in seeming, and becomes dirt and
slate-stone on their hands.

Beauty is a dazzling and dizzying gift. It dazzles first its possessor
and inclines him to foolish action; and it dazzles outsiders, and
makes them say and do foolish things.

From the time that Maggie was a little chit, running in the street,
people had stopped her, to admire her hair and eyes, and talk all
kinds of nonsense to her, for the purpose of making her sparkle and
flush and dimple, just as one plays with a stick in the sparkling
of a brook. Her father, an idle, willful, careless creature, made a
show plaything of her, and spent his earnings for her gratification
and adornment. The mother was only too proud and fond; and it was no
wonder that when Maggie grew up to girlhood her head was a giddy one,
that she was self-willed, self-confident, obstinate. Maggie loved ease
and luxury. Who doesn't? If she had been born on Fifth Avenue, of one
of the magnates of New York, it would have been all right, of course,
for her to love ribbons and laces and flowers and fine clothes, to
be imperious and self-willed, and to set her pretty foot on the neck
of the world. Many a young American princess, gifted with youth and
beauty and with an indulgent papa and mamma, is no wiser than Maggie
was; but nobody thinks the worse of her. People laugh at her little
saucy airs and graces, and predict that she will come all right by and
by. But then, for her, beauty means an advantageous marriage, a home
of luxury and a continuance through life of the petting and indulgence
which every one loves, whether wisely or not.

But Maggie was the daughter of a poor working-woman--an Irishwoman at
that--and what marriage leading to wealth and luxury was in store for

To tell the truth, at seventeen, when her father died and her mother
was left penniless, Maggie was as unfit to encounter the world as you,
Miss Mary, or you, Miss Alice, and she was a girl of precisely the
same flesh and blood as yourself. Maggie cordially hated everything
hard, unpleasant or disagreeable, just as you do. She was as unused to
crosses and self-denials as you are. She longed for fine things and
pretty things, for fine sight-seeing and lively times, just as you
do, and felt just as you do that it was hard fate to be deprived of
them. But, when worse came to worst, she went to work with Mrs. Maria
Wouvermans. Maggie was parlor-girl and waitress, and a good one too.
She was ingenious, neat-handed, quick and bright; and her beauty drew
favorable attention. But Mrs. Wouvermans never commended, but only
found fault. If Maggie carefully dusted every one of the five hundred
knick-knacks of the drawing-room five hundred times, there was nothing
said; but if, on the five hundred and first time, a moulding or a
crevice was found with dust in it, Mrs. Wouvermans would summon Maggie
to her presence with the air of a judge, point out the criminal fact,
and inveigh, in terms of general severity, against her carelessness,
as if carelessness were the rule rather than the exception.

Mrs. Wouvermans took special umbrage at Maggie's dress--her hat, her
feathers, her flowers--not because they were ugly, but because they
were pretty, a great deal too pretty and dressy for her station. Mrs.
Wouvermans's ideal of a maid was a trim creature, content with two
gowns of coarse stuff and a bonnet devoid of adornment; a creature
who, having eyes, saw not anything in the way of ornament or luxury;
whose whole soul was absorbed in work, for work's sake; content with
mean lodgings, mean furniture, poor food, and scanty clothing; and
devoting her whole powers of body and soul to securing to others
elegancies, comforts and luxuries to which she never aspired. This
self-denied sister of charity, who stood as the ideal servant, Mrs.
Wouvermans's maid did not in the least resemble. Quite another thing
was the gay, dressy young lady who, on Sunday mornings, stepped forth
from the back gate of her house with so much the air of a Murray Hill
demoiselle that people sometimes said to Mrs. Wouvermans, "Who is that
pretty young lady that you have staying with you?"--a question that
never failed to arouse a smothered sense of indignation in that lady's
mind, and added bitterness to her reproofs and sarcasms, when she
found a picture-frame undusted, or pounced opportunely on a cobweb in
some neglected corner.

Maggie felt certain that Mrs. Wouvermans was on the watch to find
fault with her--that she wanted to condemn her, for she had gone to
service with the best of resolutions. Her mother was poor and she
meant to help her; she meant to be a good girl, and, in her own mind,
she thought she was a very good girl to do so much work, and remember
so many different things in so many different places, and forget so
few things.

Maggie praised herself to herself, just as you do, my young lady,
when you have an energetic turn in household matters, and arrange and
beautify, and dust, and adorn mamma's parlors, and then call on mamma
and papa and all the family to witness and applaud your notability.
At sixteen or seventeen, household virtue is much helped in its
development by praise. Praise is sunshine; it warms, it inspires, it
promotes growth: blame and rebuke are rain and hail; they beat down
and bedraggle, even though they may at times be necessary. There was
a time in Maggie's life when a kind, judicious, thoughtful, Christian
woman might have kept her from falling, might have won her confidence,
become her guide and teacher, and piloted her through the dangerous
shoals and quicksands which beset a bright, attractive, handsome young
girl, left to make her own way alone and unprotected.

But it was not given to Aunt Maria to see this opportunity; and, under
her system of management, it was not long before Maggie's temper grew
fractious, and she used to such purpose the democratic liberty of
free speech, which is the birthright of American servants, that Mrs.
Wouvermans never forgave her.

Maggie told her, in fact, that she was a hard-hearted, mean, selfish
woman, who wanted to get all she could out of her servants, and to
give the least she could in return; and this came a little too near
the truth ever to be forgotten or forgiven. Maggie was summarily
warned out of the house, and went home to her mother, who took her
part with all her heart and soul, and declared that Maggie shouldn't
live out any longer--she should be nobody's servant.

This, to be sure, was silly enough in Mary, since service is the law
of society, and we are all more or less servants to somebody; but
uneducated people never philosophize or generalize, and so cannot help
themselves to wise conclusions.

All Mary knew was that Maggie had been scolded and chafed by Mrs.
Wouvermans; her handsome darling had been abused, and she should get
into some higher place in the world; and so she put her as workwoman
into the fashionable store of S. S. & Co.

There Maggie was seen and coveted by the man who made her his prey.
Maggie was seventeen, pretty, silly, hating work and trouble, longing
for pleasure, leisure, ease and luxury; and he promised them all. He
told her that she was too pretty to work, that if she would trust
herself to him she need have no more care; and Maggie looked forward
to a rich marriage and a home of her own. To do her justice, she loved
the man that promised this with all the warmth of her Irish heart. To
her, he was the splendid prince in the fairy tale, come to take her
from poverty and set her among princes; and she felt she could not
do too much for him. She would be such a good wife, she would be so
devoted, she would improve herself and learn so that she might never
discredit him.

Alas! in just such an enchanted garden of love, and hope, and joy, how
often has the ground caved in and let the victim down into dungeons of
despair that never open!

[Illustration: GOING TO THE BAD.

"_The sweet-faced woman calls the attention of her husband. He frowns,
whips up the horse, and is gone.... Bitterness possesses Maggie's
soul.... Why not go to the bad?_"--p. 327.]

Maggie thinks all this over as she pursues her cheerless, aimless
way through the cold cutting wind, and looks into face after face that
has no pity for her. Scarcely knowing why she did it, she took a car
and rode up to the Park, got out, and wandered drearily up and down
among the leafless paths from which all trace of summer greenness had

Suddenly, a carriage whirred past her. She looked up. There he
sat, driving, and by his side so sweet a lady, and between them a
flaxen-haired little beauty, clasping a doll in her chubby arms!

The sweet-faced woman looks pitifully at the haggard, weary face, and
says something to call the attention of her husband. An angry flush
rises to his face. He frowns, and whips up the horse, and is gone. A
sort of rage and bitterness possess Maggie's soul. What is the use of
trying to do better? Nobody pities her. Nobody helps her. The world is
all against her. Why not go to the bad?



It will be seen by the way in which we left poor Maggie that she
stood in just one of those critical steep places of life where a
soul is in pain and peril; where the turning of a hair's breadth may
decide between death and life. And it is something, not only to the
individual, but to the whole community, what a woman may become in one
of these crises of life.

Maggie had a rich, warm, impulsive nature, full of passion and energy;
she had personal beauty and the power that comes from it; she had in
her all that might have made the devoted wife and mother, fitted to
give strong sons and daughters to our republic, and to bring them up
to strengthen our country. But, deceived, betrayed, led astray by the
very impulses which should have ended in home and marriage, with even
her best friends condemning her, her own heart condemning her, the
whole face of the world set against her, her feet stood in slippery

There is another life open to the woman whom the world judges and
rejects and condemns; a life short, bad, desperate; a life of revenge,
of hate, of deceit; a life in which woman, outraged and betrayed by
man, turns bitterly upon him, to become the tempter, the betrayer, the
ruiner of man,--to visit misery and woe on the society that condemns

Many a young man has been led to gambling, and drinking, and
destruction; many a wife's happiness has been destroyed; many a mother
has wept on a sleepless pillow over a son worse than dead,--only
because some woman, who at a certain time in her life might have been
saved to honor and good living, has been left to be a vessel of wrath
fitted to destruction. For we have seen in Maggie's history that there
were points all along, where the girl might have been turned into
another and a better way.

If Mrs. Maria Wouvermans, instead of railing at her love of feathers
and flowers, watching for her halting, and seeking occasion against
her, had only had grace to do for her what lies in the power of
every Christian mistress; if she had won her confidence, given her
motherly care and sympathy, and trained her up under the protection of
household influences, it might have been otherwise. Or, supposing that
Maggie were too self-willed, too elate with the flatteries that come
to young beauty, to be saved from a fall, yet, after that fall, when
she rose, ashamed and humbled, there was still a chance of retrieval.

Perhaps there is never a time when man or woman has a better chance,
with suitable help, of building a good character than just after a
humiliating fall which has taught the sinner his own weakness, and
given him a sad experience of the bitterness of sin.

Nobody wants to be sold under sin, and go the whole length in
iniquity; and when one has gone just far enough in wrong living to
perceive in advance all its pains and penalties, there is often an
agonized effort to get back to respectability, like the clutching
of the drowning man for the shore. The waters of death are cold and
bitter, and nobody wants to be drowned.

But it is just at this point that the drowning hand is wrenched off;
society fears that the poor wet wretch will upset its respectable
boat; it pushes him off, and rows over the last rising bubbles.

And this is not in the main because men and women are hard-hearted
or cruel, but because they are busy, every one of them, with their
own works and ways, hurried, driven, with no time, strength, or
heart-leisure for more than they are doing. What is one poor soul
struggling in the water, swimming up stream, to the great pushing,
busy, bustling world?

Nothing in the review of life appears to us so pitiful as the absolute
nothingness of the individual in the great mass of human existence.
To each living, breathing, suffering atom, the consciousness of what
it desires and suffers is so intense, and to every one else so faint.
It is faint even to the nearest and dearest, compared to what it is
to one's self. "The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger
intermeddleth not therewith."

Suppose you were suddenly struck down to-day by death in any of its
dreadful forms, how much were this to you, how little to the world!
how little even to the friendly world, who think well of you and wish
you kindly! The paper that tells the tale scarcely drops from their
hand; a few shocked moments of pity or lamentation, perhaps, and then
returns the discussion of what shall be for dinner, and whether the
next dress shall be cut with flounces or folds: the gay waves of life
dance and glitter over the last bubble which marks where you sank.

So we have seen poor Maggie, with despair and bitterness in her heart,
wandering, on a miserable cold day, through the Christmas rejoicings
of New York, on the very verge of going back to courses that end
in unutterable degradation and misery; and yet, how little it was
anybody's business to seek or to save her.

"So," said Mrs. Wouvermans, in a tone of exultation, when she heard
of Maggie's flight, "I _hope_, I'm sure, Eva's had enough of her fine
ways of managing! Miss Maggie's off, just as I knew she'd be. That
girl is a baggage! And now, of course, nothing must do but Mary must
be off to look for her, and then Eva is left with all her house on her
hands. I should think this would show her that my advice wasn't so
altogether to be scorned."

Now, it is not to be presumed that Mrs. Wouvermans really was so cruel
as to exult in the destruction of Maggie, and the perplexity and
distress of her mother, or in Eva's domestic discomfort; yet there was
something very like this in the tone of her remarks.

Whence is the feeling of satisfaction which we have when things that
we always said we knew, turn out just as we predicted? Had we really
rather our neighbor would be proved a thief and a liar than to be
proved in a mistake ourselves? Would we be willing to have somebody
topple headlong into destruction for the sake of being able to say, "I
told you so"?

Mrs. Wouvermans did not ask herself these pointed questions, and so
she stirred her faultless coffee without stirring up a doubt of her
own Christianity--for, like you and me, Mrs. Wouvermans held herself
to be an ordinarily good Christian.

Gentle, easy Mrs. Van Arsdel heard this news with acquiescence. "Well,
girls, so that Maggie's run off and settled the question; and, on the
whole, I'm not sorry, for that ends Eva's responsibility for her; and,
after all, I think your aunt was half right about that matter. One
doesn't want to have too much to do with such people."

"But, mamma," said Alice, "it seems such a dreadful thing that so
young a girl, not older than I am, should be utterly lost."

"Yes, but you can't help it, and such things are happening all the
time, and it isn't worth while making ourselves unhappy about it. I'm
sure Eva acted like a little saint about it, and the girl can have no
one to blame but herself."

"I know," said Alice; "Eva told me about it. It was Aunt Maria, with
her usual vigor and activity, who precipitated the catastrophe. Eva
had just got the girl into good ways, and all was going smoothly, when
Aunt Maria came in and broke everything up. I must say, I think Aunt
Maria is a nuisance."

"Oh, Alice, how can you talk so, when you know that your aunt is
thinking of nothing so much as how to serve and advance you girls?"

"She is thinking of how to carry her own will and pleasure; and we
girls are like so many ninepins that she wants to set up or knock down
to suit her game. Now she has gone and invited those Stephenson girls
to spend the holidays with her."

"Well, you know it's entirely on your account, Alice,--you girls. The
Stephensons are a very desirable family to cultivate."

"Yes; it's all a sort of artifice, so that they may have to invite us
to visit them next summer at Newport. Now, I never was particularly
interested in those girls. They always seemed to me insipid sort of
people; and to feel obliged to be very attentive to them and cultivate
their intimacy, with any such view, is a sort of maneuvering that is
very repulsive to me; it doesn't seem honest."

"But now your aunt has got them, and we must be attentive to them,"
pleaded Mrs. Van Arsdel.

"Oh, of course. What I am complaining of is that my aunt can't let
us alone; that she is always scheming for us, planning ahead for us,
getting people that we must be attentive to, and all that; and then,
because she's our aunt and devoted to our interests, our conscience
is all the while troubling us because we don't like her better. The
truth is, Aunt Maria is a constant annoyance to me, and I reproach
myself for not being grateful to her. Now, Angelique and I are on
a committee for buying the presents for the Christmas-tree of our
mission-school, and we shall have to go and get the tree up; and it's
no small work to dress a Christmas-tree--in fact, we shall just have
our hands full, without the Stephensons. We are going up to Eva's
this very morning, to talk this matter over and make out our lists of
things; and, for my part, I find the Stephensons altogether _de trop_."

Meanwhile, in Eva's little dominion, peace and prosperity had returned
with the return of cook to the kitchen cabinet. A few days' withdrawal
of that important portion of the household teaches the mistress many
things, and, among others, none more definitely than the real dignity
and importance of that sphere which is generally regarded as least and

Mary had come back disheartened from a fruitless quest. Maggie had
indeed been at Poughkeepsie, and had spent a day and a night with a
widowed sister of Mary's, and then, following a restless impulse, had
gone back to New York--none knew whither; and Mary was going on with
her duties with that quiet, acquiescent sadness with which people of
her class bear sorrow which they have no leisure to indulge. The girl
had for two or three years been lost to her; but the brief interval
of restoration seemed to have made the pang of losing her again still
more dreadful. Then, the anticipated mortification of having to tell
Mike of it, and the thought of what Mike and Mike's wife's would
say, were a stinging poison. Though Maggie's flight was really due
in a great measure to Mike's own ungracious reception of her and his
harsh upbraidings, intensified by what she had overheard from Mrs.
Wouvermans, yet Mary was quite sure that Mike would receive it as a
confirmation of his own sagacity in the opinion he had pronounced.

The hardness and apathy with which even near relations will consign
their kith and kin to utter ruin is one of the sad phenomena of life.
Mary knew that Mike would say to her, "Didn't I tell you so? The
girl's gone to the bad; let her go! She's made her bed; let her lie in

It was only from her gentle, sympathetic mistress that Mary met with a
word of comfort. Eva talked with her, and encouraged her to pour out
all her troubles and opened the door of her own heart to her sorrows.
Eva cheered and comforted her all she could, though she had small
hopes, herself.

She had told Mr. Fellows, she said, and Mr. Fellows knew all about New
York--knew everybody and everything--and if Maggie were there he would
be sure to hear of her; "and if she is anywhere in New York I will go
to her," said Eva, "and persuade her to come back and be a good girl.
And don't you tell your brother anything about it. Why need he know?
I dare say we shall get Maggie back, and all going right, before he
knows anything about it."

Eva had just been talking to this effect to Mary in the kitchen, and
she came back into her parlor, to find there poor, fluttering, worried
little Mrs. Betsey Benthusen, who had come in to bewail her prodigal
son, of whom, for now three days and nights, no tidings had been heard.

"I came in to ask you, dear Mrs. Henderson, if anything has been heard
from the advertising of Jack? I declare, I haven't been able to sleep
since he went, I am so worried. I dare say you must think it silly of
me," she said, wiping her eyes, "but I _am_ just so silly. I really
had got so fond of him--I feel so lonesome without him." "Silly, dear
friend!" said Eva in her usual warm, impulsive way, "no, indeed; I
think it's perfectly natural that you should feel as you do. I think,
for my part, these poor dumb pets were given us to love; and if we
do love them, we can't help feeling anxious about them when they are

"You see," said Mrs. Betsey, "if I only knew--but I don't--if I knew
just where he was, or if he was well treated; but then, Jack is a dog
that has been used to kindness, and it would come hard to him to have
to suffer hunger and thirst, and be kicked about and abused. I lay
and thought about things that might happen to him, last night, till I
fairly cried"--and the tears stood in the misty blue eyes of the faded
little old gentlewoman, in attestation of the possibility. "I got so
wrought up," she continued, "that I actually prayed to my Heavenly
Father to take care of my poor Jack. Do you think that was profane,
Mrs. Henderson?--I just could not help it."

"No, dear Mrs. Betsey, I don't think it was profane; I think it was
just the most sensible thing you could do. You know our Saviour says
that not a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father, and I'm
sure Jack is a good deal larger than a sparrow."

"Well, I didn't tell Dorcas," said Mrs. Betsey, "because she thinks
I'm foolish, and I suppose I am. I'm a broken-up old woman now, and
I never had as much strength of mind as Dorcas, anyway. Dorcas has a
_very_ strong mind," said little Mrs. Betsey in a tone of awe; "she
has tried all she could to strengthen mine, but she can't do much with

Just at this instant, Eva, looking through the window down street,
saw Jim Fellows approaching, with Jack's head appearing above his
shoulder in that easy, jaunty attitude with which the restored lamb
is represented in a modern engraving of the Good Shepherd.

There he sat, to be sure, with a free and easy air of bright, doggish
vivacity; perched aloft with his pink tongue hanging gracefully out of
his mouth, and his great, bright eyes and little black tip of a nose
gleaming out from the silvery thicket of his hair, looking anything
but penitent for all the dismays and sorrows of which he had been the

"Oh, Mrs. Betsey, do come here," cried Eva; "here is Jack, to be sure!"

"You don't say so! Why, so he is; that _dear_, good Mr. Fellows! how
can I ever thank him enough!"

And, as Jim mounted the steps, Eva hastened to open the door in
anticipation of the door-bell.

"Any dogs to-day, ma'am?" said Jim in the tone of a pedlar.

"Oh, Mrs. Henderson!" said Mrs. Betsey. But what further she said
was lost in Jack's vociferous barking. He had recognized Mrs. Betsey
and struggled down out of Jim's arms, and was leaping and capering
and barking, overwhelming his mistress with obstreperous caresses,
in which there was not the slightest recognition of any occasion for
humility or penitence. Jack was forgiving Mrs. Betsey with all his
might and main for all the trouble he had caused, and expressing his
perfect satisfaction and delight at finding himself at home again.

"Well," said Jim, in answer to the numerous questions showered upon
him, "the fact is that Dixon and I were looking up something to write
about in a not very elegant or reputable quarter of New York, and
suddenly, as we were passing one of the dance houses, that girl Maggie
darted out with Jack in her arms, and calling after me by name, she
said: 'This poor dog belongs to the people opposite Mrs. Henderson's.
He has been stolen away, and won't you take him back?' I said I would,
and then I said, 'Seems to me, Maggie, you'd better come back, too,
to your mother, who is worrying dreadfully about you.' But she turned
quickly and said, 'The less said about me the better,' and ran in."

"Oh, how dreadful that anybody should be so depraved at her age," said
little Mrs. Betsey, complacently caressing Jack. "Mrs. Henderson, you
have had a fortunate escape of her; you must be glad to get her out of
your house. Well, I must hurry home with him and get him washed up,
for he's in _such_ a state! And do look at this ribbon! Would you know
it ever had been a ribbon? it's thick with grease and dirt, and I dare
say he's covered with fleas. O Jack, Jack, what trouble you have made

And the little woman complacently took up her criminal, who went off
on her shoulder with his usual waggish air of impudent assurance.

"See what luck it is to be a dog," said Jim. "Nobody would have half
the patience with a ragamuffin boy, now!"

"But, seriously, Jim, what can be done about poor Maggie? I've
promised her mother to get her back, if she could be discovered."

"Well, really she is in one of the worst drinking saloons of that
quarter, kept by Mother Mogg, who is, to put the matter explicitly, a
sort of she devil. It isn't a place where it would do for me or any of
the boys to go. We are not calculated for missionary work in just that
kind of field."

"Well, who _can_ go? What can be done? I've promised Mary to save her.
I'll go myself, if you'll show me the way."

"You, Mrs. Henderson? You don't know what you are talking about. You
never could go there. It isn't to be thought of."

"But somebody must go, Jim; we can't leave her there."

"Well, now I think of it," said Jim, "there is a Methodist minister
who has undertaken to set up a mission in just that part of the
city. They bought a place that used to be kept for a rat-pit, and
had it cleaned up, and they have opened a mission house, and have
prayer-meetings and such things there. I'll look that thing up;
perhaps he can find Maggie for you. Though I must say you are taking a
great deal of trouble about this girl."

"Well, Jim, she has a mother, and her mother loves her as yours does

"By George, now, that's enough," said Jim. "You don't need to say
another word. I'll go right about it, this very day, and hunt up
this Mr. What's-his-name, and find all about this mission. I've been
meaning to write that thing up this month or so."



The little chapel in one of the out-of-the-way streets of New York
presented a scene of Christmas activity and cheerfulness approaching
to gaiety. The whole place was fragrant with the spicy smell of spruce
and hemlock. Baskets of green ruffles of ground-pine were foaming over
their sides with abundant contributions from the forest; and bright
bunches of vermilion bitter-sweet, and the crimson-studded branches
of the black alder, added color to the picture. Of real traditional
holly, which in America is a rarity, there was a scant supply,
reserved for more honorable decorations.

Mr. St. John had been busy in his vestry with paper, colors, and
gilding, illuminating some cards with Scriptural mottoes. He had just
brought forth his last effort and placed it in a favorable light for
inspection. It is the ill-fortune of every successful young clergyman
to stir the sympathies and enkindle the venerative faculties of
certain excitable women, old and young, who follow his footsteps
and regard his works and ways with a sort of adoring rapture that
sometimes exposes him to ridicule if he accepts it, and which yet it
seems churlish to decline. It is not generally his fault, nor exactly
the fault of the women, often amiably sincere and unconscious; but it
is a fact that this kind of besetment is more or less the lot of every
clergyman, and he cannot help it. It is to be accepted as we accept
any of the shadows which are necessary in the picture of life, and got
along with by the kind of common sense with which we dispose of any of
its infelicities.

Mr. St. John did little to excite demonstrations of this kind; but
the very severity with which he held himself in reserve seemed rather
to increase a kind of sacred prestige which hung around him, making
of him a sort of churchly Grand Llama. When, therefore, he brought
out his illuminated card, on which were inscribed in Anglo Saxon

    "The Word was made flesh
     And dwelt among us,"

there was a loud acclaim of "How lovely! how sweet!" with groans of
intense admiration from Miss Augusta Gusher and Miss Sophronia Vapors,
which was echoed in "ohs!" and "ahs!" from an impressible group of
girls on the right and left.

Angelique stood quietly gazing on it, with a wreath of ground-pine
dangling from her hand, but she said nothing.

Mr. St. John at last said, "And what do _you_ think, Miss Van Arsdel?"

"I think the colors are pretty," Angie said, hesitating, "but"--

"But what?" said Mr. St. John, quickly.

"Well, I don't know what it means--I don't understand it."

Mr. St. John immediately read the inscription in concert with Miss
Gusher, who was a very mediæval young lady and quite up to reading
Gothic, or Anglo Saxon, or Latin, or any Churchly tongue.

"Oh!" was all the answer Angie made; and then, seeing something more
was expected, she added again, "I think the effect of the lettering
very pretty," and turned away, and busied herself with a cross of
ground-pine that she was making in a retired corner.

[Illustration: SKIRMISHING.

_"I like your work," he said, "better than you do mine." "I didn't say
that I didn't like yours," said Angie, coloring._--p. 341.]

The chorus were loud and continuous in their acclaims, and Miss
Gusher talked learnedly of lovely inscriptions in Greek and Latin,
offering to illuminate some of them for the occasion. Mr. St. John
thanked her and withdrew to his sanctum, less satisfied than before.

About half an hour after, Angie, who was still quietly busy upon her
cross in her quiet corner, under the shade of a large hemlock tree
which had been erected there, was surprised to find Mr. St. John
standing, silently observing her work.

"I like your work," he said, "better than you did mine."

"I didn't say that I didn't like yours," said Angie, coloring, and
with that sort of bright, quick movement that gave her the air of a
bird just going to fly.

"No, you did not _say_, but you left approbation unsaid, which amounts
to the same thing. You have some objection, I see, and I really wish
you would tell me frankly what it is."

"O Mr. St. John, don't say that! Of course I never thought of
objecting; it would be presumptuous in me. I really don't understand
these matters at all, not at all. I just don't know anything about
Gothic letters and all that, and so the card doesn't say anything to
me. And I must confess, I thought"--

Here Angie, like a properly behaved young daughter of the Church,
began to perceive that her very next sentence might lead her into
something like a criticism upon her rector; and she paused on the
brink of a gulf so horrible, "with pious awe that feared to have

Mr. St. John felt a very novel and singular pleasure in the progress
of this interview. It interested him to be differed with, and he said,
with a slight intonation of dictation:

"I must insist on your telling me what you thought, Miss Angie."

"Oh, nothing, only this--that if I, who have had more education than
our Sunday-school scholars, can't read a card like that, why, _they_
could not. I'm quite sure that an inscription in plain modern letters
that I could read would have more effect upon my mind, and I am quite
sure it would on them."

"I thank you sincerely for your frankness, Miss Angie; your suggestion
is a valuable one."

"I think," said Angie, "that mediæval inscriptions, and Greek and
Latin mottoes, are interesting to educated, cultivated people. The
very fact of their being in another language gives a sort of piquancy
to them. The idea gets a new coloring from a new language; but to
people who absolutely don't understand a word, they say nothing, and
of course they do no good; so, at least, it seems to me."

"You are quite right, Miss Angie, and I shall immediately put my
inscription into the English of to-day. The fact is, Miss Angie,"
added St. John after a silent pause, "I feel more and more what a
misfortune it has been to me that I never had a sister. There are
so many things where a woman's mind sees so much more clearly than
a man's. I never had any intimate female friend." Here Mr. St. John
began assiduously tying up little bunches of the ground-pine in the
form which Angie needed for her cross, and laying them for her.

Now, if Angie had been a sophisticated young lady, familiar with
the tactics of flirtation, she might have had precisely the proper
thing at hand to answer this remark; as it was, she kept on tying her
bunches assiduously and feeling a little embarrassed.

It was a pity he should not have a sister, she thought. Poor man, it
must be lonesome for him; and Angie's face at this moment must have
expressed some commiseration or some emotion that emboldened the young
man to say, in a lower tone, as he laid down a bunch of green by her:

"If you, Miss Angie, would look on me as you do on your brothers, and
tell me sincerely your opinion of me, it might be a great help to me."

Now Mr. St. John was certainly as innocent and translucently ignorant
of life as Adam at the first hour of his creation, not to know that
the tone in which he was speaking and the impulse from which he spoke,
at that moment, was in fact that of man's deepest, most absorbing
feeling towards woman. He had made his scheme of life; and, as a set
purpose, had left _love_ out of it, as something too terrestrial and
mundane to consist with the sacred vocation of a priest. But, from
the time he first came within the sphere of Angelique, a strange,
delicious atmosphere, vague and dreamy, yet delightful, had encircled
him, and so perplexed and dizzied his brain as to cause all sorts
of strange vibrations. At first, there was a sort of repulsion--a
vague alarm, a suspicion and repulsion singularly blended with an
attraction. He strove to disapprove of her; he resolved not to think
of her; he resolutely turned his head away from looking at her in her
place in Sunday-school and church, because he felt that his thoughts
were alarmingly drawn in that direction.

Then came his invitation into society, of which the hidden charm,
unacknowledged to himself, was that he should meet Angelique; and that
mingling in society had produced, inevitably, modifying effects, which
made him quite a different being from what he was in his recluse life
passed between the study and the altar.

It is not in man, certainly not in a man so finely fibered and strung
as St. John, to associate intimately with his fellows without feeling
their forces upon himself, and finding many things in himself of which
he had not dreamed.

But if there be in the circle some one female presence which all the
while is sending out an indefinite though powerful enchantment, the
developing force is still more marked.

St. John had never suspected himself of the ability to be so agreeable
as he found himself in the constant reunions which, for one cause
or another, were taking place in the little Henderson house. He
developed a talent for conversation, a vein of gentle humor, a turn
for versification, with a cast of thought rising into the sphere of
poetry, and then, with Dr. Campbell and Alice and Angie, he formed no
mean quartette in singing.

In all these ways he had been coming nearer and nearer to Angie,
without taking the alarm. He remembered appositely what Montalembert
in his history of the monks of the Middle Ages says of the female
friendships which always exerted such a modifying power in the lives
of celebrated saints; how St. Jerome had his Eudochia, and St.
Somebody-else had a sister, and so on. And as he saw more and more of
Angelique's character, and felt her practical efficiency in church
work, he thought it would be very lovely to have such a friend all to
himself. Now, friendship on the part of a young man of twenty-five for
a young saint with hazel eyes and golden hair, with white, twinkling
hands and a sweet voice, and an assemblage of varying glances, dimples
and blushes, is certainly a most interesting and delightful relation;
and Mr. St. John built it up and adorned it with all sorts of charming
allegories and figures and images, making a sort of semi-celestial
affair of it.

It is true, he had given up St. Jerome's love, and concluded that
it was not necessary that his "heart's elect" should be worn and
weary and wasted, or resemble a dying altar-fire; he had learned to
admire Angie's blooming color and elastic step, and even to take an
appreciative delight in the prettinesses of her toilette; and, one
evening, when she dropped a knot of peach-blow ribbons from her bosom,
the young divine had most unscrupulously appropriated the same, and,
taking it home, gloated over it as a holy relic, and yet he never
suspected that he was in love--oh, no! And, at this moment, when his
voice was vibrating with that strange revealing power that voices
sometimes have in moments of emotion, when the very tone is more than
the words, he, poor fellow, was ignorant that his voice had said to
Angie, "I love you with all my heart and soul."

But there is no girl so uninstructed and so inexperienced as not to be
able to interpret a tone like this at once, and Angie at this moment
felt a sort of bewildering astonishment at the revelation. All seemed
to go round and round in dizzy mazes--the greens, the red berries--she
seemed to herself to be walking in a dream, and Mr. St. John with her.

She looked up and their eyes met, and at that moment the veil
fell from between them. His great, deep, blue eyes had in them an
expression that could not be mistaken.

"Oh, Mr. St. John!" she said.

"Call me _Arthur_," he said, entreatingly.

"Arthur!" she said, still as in a dream.

"And may I call you Angelique, my good angel, my guide? Say so!" he
added, in a rapid, earnest whisper, "say so, dear, dearest Angie!"

"Yes, Arthur," she said, still wondering.

"And, oh, _love_ me," he added, in a whisper; "a little, ever so
little! You cannot think how precious it will be to me!"

"Mr. St. John!" called the voice of Miss Gusher.

He started in a guilty way, and came out from behind the thick shadows
of the evergreen which had concealed this little _tête-à-tête_. He
was all of a sudden transformed to Mr. St. John, the rector--distant,
cold, reserved, and the least bit in the world dictatorial. In his
secret heart, Mr. St. John did not like Miss Gusher. It was a thing
for which he condemned himself, for she was a most zealous and
efficient daughter of the Church. She had worked and presented a most
elegant set of altar-cloths, and had made known to him her readiness
to join a sisterhood whenever he was ready to ordain one. And she
always admired him, always agreed with him, and never criticised him,
which perverse little Angie sometimes did; and yet ungrateful Mr.
St. John was wicked enough at this moment to wish Miss Gusher at the
bottom of the Red Sea, or in any other Scriptural situation whence
there would be no probability of her getting at him for a season.

"I wanted you to decide on this decoration for the font," she said.
"Now, there is this green wreath and this red cross of bitter-sweet.
To be sure, there is no tradition about bitter-sweet; but the very
name is symbolical, and I thought that I would fill the font with
calla lilies. Would lilies at Christmas be strictly Churchly? That is
my only doubt. I have always seen them appropriated to Easter. What
should you say, Mr. St. John?"

"Oh, have them by all means, if you can," said Mr. St. John.
"Christmas is one of the Church's highest festivals, and I admit
anything that will make it beautiful."

Mr. St. John said this with a radiancy of delight which Miss Gusher
ascribed entirely to his approbation of her zeal; but the heavens and
the earth had assumed a new aspect to him since that little talk in
the corner. For when Angie lifted her eyes, not only had she read the
unutterable in his, but he also had looked far down into the depths of
her soul, and seen something he did not quite dare to put into words,
but in the light of which his whole life now seemed transfigured.

It was a new and amazing experience to Mr. St. John, and he felt
strangely happy, yet particularly anxious that Miss Gusher and Miss
Vapors, and all the other tribe of his devoted disciples, should not
by any means suspect what had fallen out; and therefore it was that he
assumed such a cheerful zeal in the matter of the font and decorations.

Meanwhile, Angie sat in her quiet corner, like a good little church
mouse, working steadily and busily on her cross. Just as she had put
in the last bunch of bitter-sweet, Mr. St. John was again at her elbow.

"Angie," he said, "you are going to give me that cross. I want it for
my study, to remember this morning by."

"But I made it for the front of the organ."

"Never mind. I can put another there; but this is to be _mine_," he
said, with a voice of appropriation. "I want it because you were
making it when you promised what you did. You must keep to that
promise, Angie."

"Oh, yes, I shall."

"And I want one thing more," he said, lifting Angie's little glove,
where it had fallen among the refuse pieces.

"What!--my glove? Is not that silly?"

"No, indeed."

"But my hands will be cold."

"Oh, you have your muff. See here: I want it," he said, "because
it seems so much like you, and you don't know how lonesome I feel

Poor man! Angie thought, and she let him have the glove. "Oh," she
said, apprehensively, "please don't stay here now. I hear Miss Gusher
calling for you."

"She is always so busy," said he, in a tone of discontent.

"She is so good," said Angie, "and does so much."

"Oh, yes, good enough," he said, in a discontented tone, retreating
backward into the shadow of the hemlock, and so finding his way round
into the body of the church.

But there is no darkness or shadow of death where a handsome, engaging
young rector can hide himself so that the truth about him will not get
into the bill of some bird of the air.

The sparrows of the sanctuary are many, and they are particularly wide
awake and watchful.

Miss Gusher had been witness of this last little bit of interview;
and, being a woman of mature experience, versed in the ways of the
world, had seen, as she said, through the whole matter.

"Mr. St. John is just like all the rest of them, my dear," she said to
Miss Vapors, "he will flirt, if a girl will only let him. I saw him
just now with that Angie Van Arsdel. Those Van Arsdel girls are famous
for drawing in any man they happen to associate with."

"You don't say so," said Miss Vapors; "what did you see?"

"Oh, my dear, I sha'n't tell; of course, I don't approve of such
things, and it lowers Mr. St. John in my esteem,--so I'd rather not
speak of it. I did hope he was above such things."

"But do tell me, did he _say_ anything?" said Miss Vapors, ready to
burst in ignorance.

"Oh, no. I only saw some appearances and expressions--a certain manner
between them that told all. Sophronia Vapors, you mark my words:
there is something going on between Angie Van Arsdel and Mr. St. John.
I don't see, for my part, what it is in those Van Arsdel girls that
the men see; but, sure as one of them is around, there is a flirtation
got up."

"Why, they're not so very beautiful," said Miss Vapors.

"Oh, dear, no. I never thought them even pretty; but then, you see,
there's no accounting for those things."

And so, while Mr. St. John and Angie were each wondering secretly over
the amazing world of mutual understanding that had grown up between
them, the rumor was spreading and growing in all the band of Christian



According to the view of the conventional world, the brief, sudden
little passage between Mr. St. John and Angelique among the
Christmas-greens was to all intents and purposes equivalent to an
engagement; and yet, St. John had not actually at that time any
thought of marriage.

"Then," says Mrs. Mater-familias, ruffling her plumage, in high moral
style, "he is a man of no principle--and acts abominably." You are
wrong, dear madam; Mr. St. John is a man of high principle, a man
guided by conscience, and who would honestly sooner die than do a
wrong thing.

"Well, what does he mean then, talking in this sort of way to Angie,
if he has no intentions? He ought to know better."

Undoubtedly, he ought to know better, but he does not. He knows
at present neither his own heart nor that of womankind, and is
ignorant of the real force and meaning of what he has been saying
and looking, and of the obligations which they impose on him as
a man of honor. Having been, all his life, only a _recluse_ and
student, having planned his voyage of life in a study, where rocks
and waves and breakers and shoals are but so many points on paper, it
is not surprising that he finds himself somewhat ignorant in actual
navigation, where rocks and shoals are quite another affair. It is
one thing to lay down one's scheme and law of life in a study, among
supposititious men and women, and another to carry it out in life
among real ones, each one of whom acts upon us with the developing
force of sunshine on the seed-germ.

In fact, no man knows what there is in himself till he has tried
himself under the influence of other men; and if this is true of
man over man, how much more of that subtle developing and revealing
power of woman over man. St. John, during the first part of his life,
had been possessed by that sort of distant fear of womankind which
a person of acute sensibility has of that which is bright, keen,
dazzling, and beyond his powers of management, and which, therefore,
seems to him possessed of indefinite powers for mischief. It was
something with which he felt unable to cope. He had, too, the common
prejudice against fashionable girls and women as of course wanting in
earnestness; and he entered upon his churchly career with a sort of
hard determination to have no trifling, and to stand in no relation
to this suspicious light guerrilla force of the church but that of a
severe drill-sergeant.

To his astonishment, the child whom he had undertaken to drill had
more than once perforce, and from the very power of her womanly
nature, proved herself competent to guide him in many things which
belonged to the very essence of his profession--church work. Angie had
been able to enter places whence he had been excluded; able to enter
by those very attractions of life and gaiety and prettiness which had
first led him to set her down as unfit for serious work.

He saw with his own eyes that a bright little spirit, with twinkling
ornaments, and golden hair, and a sweet voice, could go into the den
of John Price in his surliest mood, could sing, and get his children
to singing, till he was as persuadable in her hands as a bit of wax;
that she could scold and lecture him at her pleasure, and get him to
making all kinds of promises; in fact that he, St. John himself, owed
his _entrée_ into the house, and his recognition there as a clergyman,
to Angie's good offices and persistent entreaties.

Instead of being leader, he was himself being led. This divine child
was becoming to him a mystery of wisdom; and, so far from feeling
himself competent to be her instructor, he came to occupy, as regards
many of the details of his work, a most catechetical attitude towards
her, and was ready to accept almost anything she told him.

St. John was, from first to last, an idealist. It was ideality that
inclined him from the barren and sterile chillness of New England
dogmatism to the picturesque forms and ceremonies of a warmer ritual.
His conception of a church was a fair ideal; such as a poet might
worship, such as this world has never seen in reality, and probably
never will. His conception of a life work--of the priestly office,
with all that pertains to it--belonged to that realm of poetry that
is above the matter-of-fact truths of experience, and is sometimes in
painful conflict with them. What wonder, then, if love, the eternal
poem, the great ideal of ideals, came over him without precise limits
and exact definitions--that when the divine cloud overshadowed him he
"wist not what he said."

St. John certainly never belonged to that class of clergymen who, on
being assured of a settlement and a salary, resolve, in a general way,
to marry, and look up a wife and a cooking-stove at the same time; who
take lists of eligible women, and have the conditional refusal of a
house in their pockets, when they go to make proposals.

In fact, he had had some sort of semi-poetical ideas of a diviner life
of priestly self-devotion and self-consecration, in which woman can
have no part. He had been fascinated by certain strains of writing in
some of the devout Anglicans whose works furnished most of the studies
of his library; so that far from setting it down in a general way that
he must some time marry, he had, up to this time, shaped his ideal
of life in a contrary direction. He had taken no vows; he had as yet
taken no steps towards the practical working out of any scheme; but
there floated vaguely through his head the idea of a celibate guild--a
brotherhood who should revive, in dusty modern New York, some of the
devout conventual fervors of the middle ages. A society of brothers,
living in a round of daily devotions and holy ministration, had been
one of the distant dreams of his future cloud-land.

And now, for a month or two, he had been like a charmed bird,
fluttering in nearer and nearer circles about this dazzling,
perplexing, repellent attraction.

For weeks, unconsciously to himself, he had had but one method of
marking and measuring his days: there were the days when he expected
to see _her_, and the days when he did not; and wonderful days were
interposed between, when he saw her unexpectedly--as, somehow,
happened quite often.

We believe it is a fact not yet brought clearly under scientific
investigation as to its causes, but a fact, nevertheless, that
young people who have fallen into the trick of thinking about each
other when separated are singularly apt to meet each other in their
daily walks and ways. Victor Hugo has written the _Idyl of the Rue
Plumette_; there are also Idyls of the modern city of New York. At
certain periods in the progress of the poem, one such chance glimpse,
or moment of meeting, at a street corner or on a door-step, is the
event of the day.

St. John was sure of Angie at her class on Sunday mornings, and
at service afterwards. He was sure of her on Thursday evenings, at
Eva's reception; and then, besides, somehow, when she was around
looking up her class on Saturday afternoons, it was so natural that
he should catch a glimpse of her now and then, coming out of that
house, or going into that door; and then, in the short days of
winter, the darkness often falls so rapidly that it often struck him
as absolutely necessary that he should see her safely home: and, in
all these moments of association, he felt a pleasure so strange and
new and divine that it seemed to him as if his whole life until he
knew her had been flowerless and joyless. He pitied himself, when he
thought that he had never known his mother and had never had a sister.
That must be why he had known so little of what it was so lovely and
beautiful to know.

Love, to an idealist, comes not first from earth, but heaven. It comes
as an exaltation of all the higher and nobler faculties, and is its
own justification in the fuller nobleness, the translucent purity,
the larger generosity, and warmer piety, it brings. The trees do not
examine themselves in spring-time, when every bud is thrilling with a
new sense of life--they _live_.

Never had St. John's life-work looked to him so attractive, so
possible, so full of impulse; and he worshiped the star that had risen
on his darkness, without as yet a thought of the future. As yet, he
thought of her only as a vision, an inspiration, an image of almost
childlike innocence and purity, which he represented to himself under
all the poetic forms of saintly legend.

She was the St. Agnes, the child Christian, the sacred lamb of
Christ's fold. She was the holy Dorothea, who wore in her bosom the
roses of heaven, and had fruits and flowers of Paradise to give to
mortals; and when he left her, after ever so brief an interview, he
fancied that one leaf from the tree of life had fluttered to his
bosom. He illuminated the text, "Blessed are the pure in heart," in
white lilies, and hung it over his _prie dieu_ in memorial of her, and
sometimes caught himself singing:

    "I can but know thee as my star,
    My angel and my dream."

As yet, the thought had not yet arisen in him of appropriating his
angel guide. It was enough to love her with the reverential, adoring
love he gave to all that was holiest and purest within him, to
enshrine her as his ideal of womanhood.

He undervalued himself in relation to her. He seemed to himself coarse
and clumsy, in the light of her intuitions, as he knew himself utterly
unskilled and untrained in the conventional modes and usages of the
society in which he had begun to meet her, and where he saw her moving
with such deft ability, and touching every spring with such easy skill.

Still he felt a craving to be something to her. Why might she not be a
_sister_ to him, to him who had never known a sister? It was a happy
thought, one that struck him as perfectly new and original, though it
was--had he only known it--a well-worn, mossy old mile-stone that had
been passed by generations on the pleasant journey to Eden. He had
not, however, had the least intention of saying a word of this kind
to Angie when he came to the chapel that morning. But he had been
piqued by her quiet, resolute little way of dissent from the flood of
admiration which his illumination had excited. He had been a little
dissatisfied with the persistent adulation of his flock, and, like
Zeuxis, felt a disposition to go after the blush of the maiden who
fled. It was not the first time that Angie had held her own opinion
against him, and turned away with that air of quiet resolution which
showed that she had a reserved force in herself that he longed to
fathom. Then, in the little passage that followed, came one of those
sudden overflows that Longfellow tells of:

     "There are moments in life when the heart is so full of
     emotion That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths
     like a pebble Drops some careless word, it overflows, and
     its secret, Spilt on the ground like water, can never be
     gathered together."

St. John's secret looked out of his eager eyes; and, in fact, he was
asking for Angie's whole heart, while his words said only, "love me as
a brother." A man, unfortunately, cannot look into his own eyes, and
does not always know what they say. But a woman may look into them;
and Angie, though little in person and childlike in figure, had in
her the concentrated, condensed essence of womanhood--all its rapid
foresight; its keen flashes of intuition; its ready self-command, and
something of that maternal care-taking instinct with which Eve is ever
on the alert to prevent a blunder or mistake on the part of the less
perceiving Adam.

She felt the tones of his voice. She knew that he was saying more than
he was himself aware of, and that there were prying eyes about: and
she knew, too, with a flash of presentiment, what would be the world's
judgment of so innocent a brotherly and sisterly alliance as had been
proposed and sealed by the sacrifice of her glove.

She laughed a little to herself, fancying her brother Tom's wanting
her glove, or addressing her in the reverential manner and with the
beseeching tones that she had just heard. Certainly she would be a
sister to him, she thought, and, the next time she met him at Eva's
alone, she would use her liberty to reprove him for his imprudence in
speaking to her in that way when so many were looking on. The little
empress knew her ground; and that it was hers now to dictate and his
to obey.



Eva was at the chapel that morning and overheard, of the conversation
between Miss Gusher and Miss Vapors, just enough to pique her
curiosity and rouse her alarm. Of all things, she dreaded any such
report getting into the whirlwind of gossip that always eddies round a
church door where there is an interesting, unmarried rector, and she
resolved to caution Angie on the very first opportunity; and so, when
her share of wreaths and crosses was finished, and the afternoon sun
began to come level through the stained windows, she crossed over to
Angie's side, to take her home with her to dinner.

"I've something to tell you," she said, "and you must come home and
stay with me to-night." And so Angie came.

"Do you know," said Eva, as soon as the sisters found themselves alone
in her chamber, where they were laying off their things and preparing
for dinner, "do you know that Miss Gusher?"

"I--no, very slightly," said Angie, shaking out her shawl to fold it.
"She's a very cultivated woman, I believe."

"Well, I heard her saying some disagreeable things about you and Mr.
St. John this morning," said Eva.

The blood flushed in Angie's cheek, and she turned quickly to the
glass and began arranging her hair.

"What did she say?" she inquired.

"Something about the Van Arsdel girls always getting up flirtations."

"Nonsense! how hateful! I'm sure it's no fault of mine that Mr. St.
John came and spoke to me."

"Then he did come?"

"Oh, yes; I was perfectly astonished. I was sitting all alone in that
dark corner where the great hemlock tree was, and the first I knew
he was there. You see, I criticised his illuminated card--that one
in the strange, queer letters--I said I couldn't understand it; but
Miss Gusher, Miss Vapors, and all the girls were oh-ing and ah-ing
about it, and I felt quite snubbed and put down. I supposed it must
be my stupidity, and so I just went off to my tree and sat down to
work quietly in the dark corner, and left Miss Gusher expatiating on
mottoes and illuminations. I knew she was very accomplished and clever
and all that, and that I didn't know anything about such things."

"Well, then," said Eva, "he followed you?"

"Yes, he came suddenly in from the vestry behind the tree, and I
thought, or hoped, he stood so that nobody noticed us, and he insisted
on my telling him why I didn't like his illumination. I said I did
like it, that I thought it was beautifully done, but that I did not
think it would be of any use to those poor children and folks to have
inscriptions that they didn't understand; and he said I was quite
right, and that he should alter it and put it in plain English; and
then he said, what a help it was to have a woman's judgment on things,
what a misfortune it was that he had never had a sister or any friend
of that kind, and then he asked me to be a sister to him, and tell him
frankly always just what I thought of him, and I said I would. And

"What then?"

"Oh, Eva, I can't tell you; but he spoke so earnestly and quick, and
asked me if I couldn't love him just a little; he asked me to call him
Arthur, and then, if you believe me, he would have me give him my
glove, and so I let him take it, because I was afraid some of those
girls would see us talking together. I felt almost frightened that he
should speak so, and I wanted him to go away."

"Well, Angie dear, what do you think of all this?"

"I know he cares for me very much," said Angie, quickly, "more than he

"And you, Angie?"

"I think he's good and noble and true, and I love him."

"As a sister, of course," said Eva, laughing.

"Never mind how--I love him," said Angie; "and I shall use my sisterly
privilege to caution him to be very distant and dignified to me in
future, when those prying eyes are around."

"Well now, darling," said Eva, with all the conscious dignity of early
matronage, "we shall have to manage this matter very prudently--for
those girls have had their suspicions aroused, and you know how such
things will fly through the air. The fact is, there is nothing so
perplexing as just this state of things; when you know as well as you
know anything that a man is in love with you, and yet you are not
engaged to him. I know all about the trouble of that, I'm sure; and it
seems to me, what with Mamma, Aunt Maria, and all the rest of them, it
was a perfect marvel how Harry and I ever came together. Now, there's
that Miss Gusher, she'll be on the watch all the time, like a cat at a
mouse-hole; and she's going to be there when we get the Christmas-tree
ready and tie on the things, and you must manage to keep as far off
from him as possible. I shall be there, and I shall have my eyes in my
head, I promise you. We must try to lull their suspicions to sleep."

"Dear me," said Angie, "how disagreeable!"

"I'm sorry for you, darling, but I've kept it off as long as I could;
I've seen for a long time how things are going."

"You have? Oh, Eva!"

"Yes; and I have had all I could do to keep Jim Fellows from talking,
and teasing you, as he has been perfectly longing to do for a month

"You don't say that Jim has noticed anything?"

"Yes, Jim noticed his looking at you, the very first thing after he
came to Sunday-school."

"Well, now, at first I noticed that he looked at me often, but I
thought it was because he saw something he disapproved of--and it used
to embarrass me. Then I thought he seemed to avoid me, and I wondered
why. And I wondered, too, why he always would take occasion to look at
me. I noticed, when your evenings first began, that he never came near
me, and never spoke to me, and yet his eyes were following me wherever
I went. The first evening you had, he walked round and round me nearly
the whole evening, and never spoke a word; then suddenly he came and
sat down by me, when I was sitting by Mrs. Betsey, and gave me a
message from the Prices; but he spoke in such a stiff, embarrassed
way, and then there was an awful pause, and suddenly he got up and
went away again; and poor little Mrs. Betsey said, 'Bless me, how
stiff and ungracious he is'; and I said that I believed he wasn't much
used to society--but, after a while, this wore away, and he became
very social, and we grew better and better acquainted all the time.
Although I was a little contradictious, and used to controvert some of
his notions, I fancy it was rather a novelty to him to find somebody
that didn't always give up to him, for, I must say, some of the women
that go to our chapel do make fools of themselves about him. It really
provokes me past all bearing. If any body _could_ set me against a
man, it would be those silly, admiring women who have their hands and
eyes always raised in adoration, whatever he does. It annoys him,
I can see, for it is very much against his taste, and he likes me
because, he says, I always will tell him the truth."

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile St. John had gone back to his study, walking as on a cloud.
The sunshine streaming into a western window touched the white
lilies over his _prie dieu_ till they seemed alive. He took down the
illumination and looked at it. He had a great mind to give this to her
as a Christmas present. Why not? Was she not to be his own sister? And
his thoughts strolled along through pleasant possibilities and all the
privileges of a brother. Certainly, he longed to see her now, and talk
them over with her; and suddenly it occurred to him that there were a
few points in relation to the arrangement of the tree about which it
would be absolutely necessary to get the opinion of Mrs. Henderson.
Whether this direction of the path of duty had any relation to the
fact that he had last seen her going away from the vestry arm in arm
with Angie, we will not assume to say; but the solemn fact was that,
that evening, just as it came time to drop the lace curtains over the
Henderson windows, when the blazing wood fire was winking and blinking
roguishly at the brass andirons, the door-bell rang, and in he walked.

Angelique had her lap full of dolls, and was sitting like Iris in the
rainbow, in a confused _mélange_ of silks, and gauzes, and tissues,
and spangles. Three dressed dolls were propped up in various attitudes
around her, and she was holding the fourth, while she fitted a
sky-blue mantilla which she was going to trim with silver braid. Where
Angie got all her budget of fineries was a standing mystery in the
household, only that she had an infinitely persuasive tongue, and
talked supplies out of admiring clerks and milliners' apprentices.
It was a pretty picture to see her there in the warm, glowing room,
tossing and turning her filmy treasures, and cocking her little head
on one side and the other with an air of profound reflection.

Harry was gone out. Eva was knitting a comforter in her corner, and
everything was as still and as cosy as heart could desire, when St.
John made his way into the parlor and got himself warmly ensconced
in his favorite niche. What more could mortal man desire? He talked
gravely with Eva, and watched Angie. He thought of a lean, haggard
picture of a St. Mary of Egypt, praying forlornly in the desert, that
had hitherto stood in his study, and the idea somehow came over him
that modern New York saints had taken a much more agreeable turn than
those of old. Was it not better to be dressing dolls for poor children
than to be rolling up one's eyes and praying alone out in a desert? In
his own mind he resolved to take down that picture forthwith. He had,
in his overcoat in the hall, his illuminated lilies, wrapped snugly in
tissue paper and tied with a blue ribbon; and, all the while he was
discoursing with Eva, he was ruminating how he could see Angie alone
a minute, just long enough to place it in her hands. Surely, somebody
ought to make her a Christmas present, she who was thinking of every
one but herself.

Eva was one of the class of diviners, and not at all the person to sit
as Madame de Trop in an exigency of this sort, and so she had a sudden
call to consult with Mary in the kitchen.

"Now for it," thought St. John, as he rose and drew nearer. Angie
looked up with a demure consciousness.

He began fingering her gauzes and her scissors unconsciously.

"Now, now! I don't allow that," she said, playfully, as she took them
altogether from his hand.

"I have something for you," he said suddenly.

"Something for me!" with a bright, amused look. "Where is it?"

St. John fumbled a moment in the entry and brought in his parcel.
Angie watched him untying it with a kittenish gravity. He laid it down
before her. "From your brother, Angie," he said.

"Oh, how lovely! how beautiful! O Mr. St. John, did you do this for

"It was of you I was thinking; you, my inspiration in all that is
holy and good; you who strengthen and help me in all that is pure and

"Oh, don't say that!"

"It's true, Angie, my Angie, my angel. I knew nothing worthily till I
knew you."

Angie looked up at him; her eyes, clear and bright as a bird's, looked
into his; their hands clasped together, and then, it was the most
natural thing in the world, he kissed her.

"But, Arthur," said Angie, "you must be careful not to arouse
disagreeable reports and gossip. What is so sacred between us must
not be talked of. Don't look at me, or speak to me, when others are
present. You don't know how very easy it is to make people talk."

Mr. St. John promised all manner of prudence, and walked home
delighted. And thus these two Babes in the Wood clasped hands with
each other, to wander up and down the great forest of life, as simply
and sincerely as if they had been Hensel and Grettel in the fairy
story. They loved each other, wholly trusted each other without a
question, and were walking in dream-land. There was no question of
marriage settlements, or rent and taxes; only a joyous delight that
they two in this wilderness world had found each other.

We pity him who does not know that there is nothing purer, nothing
nearer heaven than a young man's first-enkindled veneration and
adoration of womanhood in the person of her who is to be his life's
ideal. It is the morning dew before the sun arises.



"My dear," said Mrs. Dr. Gracey to her spouse, "I have a great piece
of news for you about Arthur--they say that he is engaged to one of
the Van Arsdel girls."

"Good," said the Doctor, pushing up his spectacles. "It's the most
sensible thing I have heard of him this long while. I always knew that
boy would come right if he were only let alone. How did you hear?"

"Miss Gusher told Mary Jane. She charged her not to tell; but, oh,
it's all over town! There can be no doubt about it."

"Why hasn't he been here, then, like a dutiful nephew, to tell us, I
should like to know?" said Dr. Gracey.

"Well, I believe they say it isn't announced yet; but there's no
sort of doubt of it. There's no doubt, at any rate, that there's
been a very decided intimacy, and that if they are not engaged, they
ought to be; and as I know Arthur is a good fellow, I know it must
be all right. Those Ritualistic young ladies are terribly shocked.
Miss Gusher says that her idol is broken; that she never again shall
reverence a clergyman."

"Very likely. A Mrs. St. John will be a great interruption in the way
of holy confidences and confessionals, and all their trumpery; but
it's the one thing needful for Arthur. A good, sensible woman for a
wife will make him a capital worker. The best adviser in church work
is a good wife; and the best school of the church is a Christian
family. That's my doctrine, Mrs. G."

Mrs. G. blushed at the implied compliment, while the Doctor went on:

"Now, I never felt the least fear of how Arthur was coming out, and I
take great credit to myself for not opposing him. I knew a young man
must do a certain amount of fussing and fizzling before he settles
down strong and clear; and fighting and opposing a crotchety fellow
does no good. I think I have kept hold on Arthur by never rousing his
combativeness and being sparing of good advice; and you see he is
turning right already. A wife will put an end to all the semi-monkish
trumpery that has got itself mixed up with his real self-denying
labor. A woman is capital for sweeping down cobwebs in Church or
State. Well, I shall call on Arthur and congratulate him forthwith."

Dr. Gracey was Arthur's maternal uncle, and he had always kept an eye
upon him from boyhood, as the only son of a favorite sister.

The Doctor, himself rector of a large and thriving church, was a fair
representative of that exact mixture of conservatism and progress
which characterizes the great, steady middle class of the American
Episcopacy. He was tolerant and fatherly both to the Ritualists, who
overdo on one side, and the Low Church, who underdo on the other.
He believed largely in good nature, good sense, and the expectant
treatment, as best for diseases both in the churchly and medical

So, when he had succeeded in converting his favorite nephew to
Episcopacy, and found him in danger of using it only as a half-way
house to Rome, he took good heed neither to snub him, nor to sneer at
him, but to give him sympathy in all the good work he did, and, as far
as possible, to shield him from that species of persecution which is
sure to endear a man's errors to him, by investing them with a kind of

"The world isn't in danger from the multitudes rushing into extremes
of self-sacrifice," the Doctor said, when his wife feared that Arthur
was becoming an ascetic. "Keep him at work; work will bring sense and
steadiness. Give him his head, and he'll pull in harness all right by
and by. A colt that don't kick out of the traces a little, at first,
can't have much blood in him."

It will be seen by the subject-matter of this conversation that the
good seed which had been sown in the heart of Miss Gusher had sprung
up and borne fruit--thirty, sixty and a hundred fold, as is the wont
of the gourds of gossip,--more rapid by half in their growth than the
gourd of Jonah, and not half as consolatory.

In fact, the gossip plant is like the grain of mustard seed, which,
though it be the least of all seeds, becometh a great tree, and the
fowls of the air lodge in its branches and chatter mightily there at
all seasons.

Miss Gusher, and Miss Vapors, and Miss Rapture, and old Mrs. Eyelet,
and the Misses Glibbett, so well employed their time, about the season
of Christmas, that there was not a female person in the limits of
their acquaintance that had not had the whole story of all that had
been seen, surmised, or imagined, related as a profound secret. Notes
were collected and compared. Mrs. Eyelet remembered that she had twice
seen Mr. St. John attending Angie to her door about nightfall. Miss
Sykes, visiting one afternoon in the same district, deposed and said
that she had met them coming out of a door together. She was quite
sure that they must have met by appointment. Then, oh, the depths
of possibility that the gossips saw in that Henderson house! Always
there, every Thursday evening! On intimate terms with the family.

"Depend upon it, my dear," said Mrs. Eyelet, "Mrs. Henderson has been
doing all she could to catch him. They say he's at her house almost

Aunt Maria's plumage rustled with maternal solicitude. "I don't know
but it is as good a thing as we could expect for Angie," said she to
Mrs. Van Arsdel. "He's a young man of good family and independent
property. I don't like his ritualistic notions, to be sure; but one
can't have everything. And, at any rate, he can't become a Roman
Catholic if he gets married--that's one comfort."

"There he goes!" said little Mrs. Betsey, as she sat looking through
the blinds, with the forgiven Jack on her knee. "He's at the door now.
Dorcas, I _do_ believe there's something in it."

"Something in what?" said Miss Dorcas, "and who _are_ you talking
about, Betsey?"

"Why, Mr. St. John and Angie. He's standing at the door, this very
minute. It must be true. I'm glad of it; only he isn't half good
enough for her."

"Well, it don't follow that there is an engagement because Mr. St.
John is at the door," said Miss Dorcas.

"But all the things Mrs. Eyelet said, Dorcas!"

"Mrs. Eyelet is a gossip," said Miss Dorcas, shortly.

"But, Dorcas, I really thought his manner to her last Thursday was
particular. Oh, I'm sure there's something in it! They say he's such
a good young man, and independently rich. I wonder if they'll take
a house up in this neighborhood? It would be so nice to have Angie
within calling distance! A great favorite of mine is Angie."



Meanwhile Dr. Gracey found his way to Arthur's study.

"So, Arthur," he said, "that pretty Miss Van Arsdel's engaged."

The blank expression and sudden change of color in St. John's face was
something quite worthy of observation.

"Miss Van Arsdel engaged!" he repeated with a gasp, feeling as if the
ground were going down under him.

"Yes, that pretty fairy, Miss Angelique, you know."

"How did you hear--who told you?"

"How did I hear? Why, it's all over town. Arthur, you bad boy, why
haven't _you_ told _me_?"


"Yes, you; you are the happy individual. I came to congratulate you."

St. John looked terribly confused.

"Well, we are not really exactly engaged."

"But you are going to be, I understand. So far so good. I like the
family--good stock--nothing could be better; but, Arthur, let me tell
you, you'd better have it announced and above board forthwith. You are
not my sister's son, nor the man I took you for, if you could take
advantage of the confidence inspired by your position to carry on a

The blood flushed into St. John's cheeks.

"I'm not flirting, uncle; that vulgar word is no name for my
friendship with Miss Van Arsdel. It is as sacred as the altar. I
reverence her; I love her with all my heart. I would lay down my life
for her."

"Good! but nobody wants you to lay down your life. That is quite
foreign to the purpose. What is wanting is, that you step out like a
man and define your position with regard to Miss Van Arsdel before
the world; otherwise all the gossips will make free with her name and
yours. Depend upon it, Arthur, a man has done too much or too little
when a young lady's name is in every one's mouth in connection with
his, without a definite engagement."

"It is all my fault, uncle. I hadn't the remotest idea. It's all my
fault--all. I had no thought of what the world would say; no idea that
we were remarked--but, believe me, our intimacy has been, from first
to last, entirely of my seeking. It has grown on us gradually, till I
find she is more to me than any one ever has been or can be. Whether I
am as much to her, I cannot tell. My demands have been humble. We are
not engaged, but it shall not be my fault if another day passes and we
are not."

"Right, my boy. I knew you. You were no nephew of mine if you didn't
feel, when your eyes were open, the honor of the thing. God made you
a gentleman before he made you a priest, and there's but one way for
a gentleman in a case like this. If there's anything I despise, it's
a priest who uses his priestly influence, under this fine name and
that, to steal from a woman love that doesn't belong to him, and that
he never can return, and never ought to. If a man thinks he can do
more good as a single man and a missionary, well; I honor him, but let
him make the sacrifice honestly. Don't let him want pretty girls for
intimate friends or guardian angels, or Christian sisters, or any such
trumpery. It's dishonest and disloyal; it is unfair to the woman and
selfish in the man."

"Well, uncle, I trust you say all this because you don't think it of
me; as I know my heart before God, I say I have not been doing so mean
and cowardly a thing. There was a time when I thought I never should
marry. Those were my days of ignorance. I did not know how much a true
woman might teach me, and how much I needed such a guide, even in my
church work."

"In short, my boy, you found out that the Lord was right when he said,
'It is not good for man to be alone.' We pay the Lord the compliment
once in a while to believe he knows best. Depend on it, Arthur, that
Christian families are the Lord's church, and better than any guild of
monks and nuns whatsoever."

All which was listened to by Mr. St. John with a radiant countenance.
It is all down-hill when you are showing a man that it is his duty to
do what he wants to do. Six months before, St. John would have fought
every proposition of this speech, and brought up the whole of the
Middle Ages to back him. Now, he was as tractable as heart could wish.

"After all, Uncle," he said, at last, "what if she will not have me?
And what if I am not the man to make her happy?"

"Oh, if you ask prettily, I fancy she won't say nay; and then you
_must_ make her happy. There are no two ways about that, my boy."

"I'm not half good enough for her," said St. John.

"Like enough. We are none of us good enough for these women; but,
luckily, that isn't apt to be their opinion."

St. John started out from the conference with an alert step. In two
days more, rumor was met with open confirmation. St. John had had the
decisive interview with Angie, had seen and talked with her father
and mother, and been invited to a family dinner; and Angie wore on her
finger an engagement-ring. There was no more to be said now. Mr. St.
John was an idol who had stepped down from his pedestal into the ranks
of common men. He was no longer a mysterious power--an angel of the
churches, but a _man_ of the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, it is
an undoubted fact that, for all the purposes of this mortal life, a
good man is better than an angel.

But not so thought the ecstasia of his chapel. A holy father, in a
long black gown, with a cord round his waist, and with a skull and
hour-glass in his cell, is somehow thought to be nearer to heaven
than a family man with a market-basket on his arm; but we question
whether the angels themselves think so. There may be as holy and
unselfish a spirit in the way a market-basket is filled as in a week
of fasting; and the oil of gladness may make the heavenward wheels
run more smoothly than the spirit of heaviness. The first bright day,
St. John took Angie a drive in the park, a proceeding so evidently of
the earth, earthy, that Miss Gusher hid her face, after the manner
of the seraphim, as he passed; but he and Angie were too happy and
too busy in their new world to care who looked or who didn't, and St.
John rather triumphantly remembered the free assertion of the great
apostle, "Have we not power to lead about a sister or a wife?" and
felt sure that he should have been proud and happy to show Angie to
St. Paul himself.

Alice was at first slightly disappointed, but the compensation of
receiving so very desirable a brother-in-law reconciled her to the
loss of her poetic and distant ideal.

As to little Mrs. Betsey, she fell upon Angie's neck in rapture; and
her joy was heightened in the convincing proof that she was now able
to heap upon the unbelieving head of Dorcas that she had been in the
right all along.

When dear little Mrs. Betsey was excited, her words and thoughts came
so thick that they were like a flock of martins, all trying to get out
of a martin-box together,--chattering, twittering, stumbling over each
other, and coming out at heads and points in a wonderful order. When
the news had been officially sealed to her, she begged the right to
carry it to Dorcas, and ran home and burst in upon her with shining
eyes and two little pink spots in her cheeks.

"There, Dorcas, they are engaged. Now, _didn't_ I say so, Dorcas? I
knew it. I told you so, that Thursday evening. Oh, you can't fool
me; and that day I saw him standing on the doorstep! I was just as
certain! I saw it just as plain! What a shame for people to talk about
him as they do, and say he's going to Rome. I wonder what they think
now? The sweetest girl in New York, certainly. Oh! and that ring he
bought! Just as if he could be a Roman Catholic! It's big as a pea,
and sparkles beautiful, and's got the 'Lord is thy keeper' in Hebrew
on the inside. I want to see Mrs. Wouvermans and ask her what she
thinks now. Oh, and he took her to ride in such a stylish carriage,
white lynx lap-robe, and all! I don't care if he does burn candles
in his chapel. What does that prove? It don't prove anything. I like
to see people have some logic about things, for my part, don't you,
Dorcas? _Don't_ you?"

"Mercy! yes, Betsey," said Miss Dorcas, delighted to see her sister
so excitedly happy, "though I don't exactly see my way clear through
yours; but no matter."

"I'm going to crochet a toilet cushion for a wedding present, Dorcas,
like that one in the red room, you know. I wonder when it will come
off? How lucky I have that sweet cap that Mrs. Henderson made. Wasn't
it good of her to make it? I hope they'll invite us. Don't you think
they will? I suppose it will be in his chapel, with candles and all
sorts of new ways. Well, I don't care, so long as folks are good
people, what their ways are; do _you_, Dorcas? I must run up and count
the stitches on that cushion this minute!" And Mrs. Betsey upset her
basket of worsteds in her zeal, and Jack flew round and round, barking
sympathetically. In fact, he was so excited by the general breeze that
he chewed up two balls of worsted before recovering his composure.
Such was the effect of the news at the old Vanderheyden house.



My Dear Mother: I sit down to write to you with a heart full of the
strangest feelings and experiences. I feel as if I had been out in
some other world and been brought back again; and now I hardly know
myself or where I am. You know I wrote you all about Maggie, and her
leaving us, and poor Mary's trouble about her, and how she had been
since seen in a very bad neighborhood: I promised Mary faithfully that
I would go after her; and so, after all our Christmas labors were
over, Harry and I went on a midnight excursion with Mr. James, the
Methodist minister, who has started the mission there.

It seemed to me very strange that a minister could have access to
all those places where he proposed to take us, and see all that was
going on without insult or danger but he told me that he was in the
constant habit of passing through the dance-houses, and talking with
the people who kept them, and that he had never met with any rudeness
or incivility.

He told us that in the very center of this worst district of New
York, among drinking saloons and dance-houses, a few Christian
people had bought a house in which they had established a mission
family, with a room which they use for a chapel; and they hold weekly
prayer-meetings, and seek to draw in the wretched people there.

On this evening, he said, they were about to give a midnight supper at
the Home to any poor houseless wanderer whom they could find in those
wretched streets, or who hung about the drinking-saloons.

"Our only hope in this mission," he said, "is to make these wretched
people feel that we really are their friends and seek their good;
and, in order to do this, we must do something for them that they
can understand. They can all understand a good supper, when they are
lying about cold and hungry and homeless, on a stinging cold night
like this; and we don't begin to talk to them till we have warmed and
fed them. It surprises them to have us take all this trouble to do
them good; it awakens their curiosity; they wonder what we do it for,
and then, when we tell them it is because we are Christians, and love
them, and want to save them, they believe us. After that, they are
willing to come to our meetings, and attend to what we say."

Now, this seemed to me good philosophy, but I could not help saying:
"Dear Mr. James, how could you have the courage to begin a mission
in such a dreadful place; and how can you have any hope of saving
such people?" And he answered: "With God, all things are possible.
That was what Christ came for--to seek and save the _lost_. The Good
Shepherd," he said, "leaves the ninety and nine safe sheep in the
fold, and goes after one that is lost _until he finds it_." I asked
him who supported the Home, and he said it was supported by God, in
answer to prayer; that they made no public solicitation; had nobody
pledged to help them; but that contributions were constantly coming
in from one Christian person or another, as they needed them; that
the superintendent and matron of the Home had no stated salary, and
devoted themselves to the work in the same faith that the food and
raiment needed would be found for them; and so far it had not failed.

All this seemed very strange to me. It seemed a sort of literal
rendering of some of the things in the Bible that we pass over as
having no very definite meaning. Mr. James seemed so quiet, so
assured, so calm and unexcited, that one couldn't help believing him.

It seemed a great way that we rode, in parts of the city that I never
saw before, in streets whose names were unknown to me, till finally we
alighted before a plain house in a street full of drinking-saloons.
As we drove up, we heard the sound of hymn-singing, and looked into a
long room set with benches which seemed full of people. We stopped a
moment to listen to the words of an old Methodist hymn;

    "Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,
    Lost and ruined by the fall,
    If you tarry till you're better,
    You will never come at all.
        Not the righteous--
        Sinners, Jesus came to call.

    "Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome,
    God's free bounty glorify.
    True belief and true repentance,
    Every grace that brings us nigh,
        Without money,
        Come to Jesus Christ and buy."

It was the last hymn, and they were about breaking up as we went into
the house. This building, Mr. James told us, used to be a rat-pit,
where the lowest, vilest, and most brutal kinds of sport were going
on. It used to be, he said, foul and filthy, physically as well as
morally; but scrubbing and paint and whitewash had transformed it
into a comfortable home. There was a neat sitting-room, carpeted
and comfortably furnished, a dining-room, a pantry stocked with
serviceable china, a workroom with two or three sewing-machines, and
a kitchen, from which at this moment came a most appetizing smell
of the soup which was preparing for the midnight supper. Above, were
dormitories, in which were lodging about twenty girls, who had fled to
this refuge to learn a new life. They had known the depth of sin and
the bitterness of punishment, had been spurned, disgraced and outcast.
Some of them had been at Blackwell's Island--on the street--in the
very gutter--and now, here they were, as I saw some of them, decently
and modestly dressed, and busy preparing for the supper. When I looked
at them setting the tables, or busy about their cooking, they seemed
so cheerful and respectable, I could scarcely believe that they had
been so degraded. A portion of them only were detailed for the night
service; the others had come up from the chapel and were going to bed
in the dormitories, and we heard them singing a hymn before retiring.
It was very affecting to me--the sound of that hymn, and the thought
of so peaceful a home in the midst of this dreadful neighborhood. Mr.
James introduced us to the man and his wife who take charge of the
family. They are converts--the fruits of these labors. He was once a
singer, and connected with a drinking-saloon, but was now giving his
whole time and strength to this work, in which he had all the more
success because he had so thorough an experience and knowledge of
the people to be reached. We were invited to sit down to a supper in
the dining-room, for Mr. James said we should be out so late before
returning home that we should need something to sustain us. So we
took some of the soup which was preparing for the midnight supper,
and very nice and refreshing we found it. After this, we went out
with Mr. James and the superintendent, to go through the saloons
and dance-houses and drinking places, and to distribute tickets of
invitation to the supper. What we saw seems now to me like a dream.
I had heard that such things were, but never before did I see them.
We went from one place to another, and always the same features--a
dancing-room, with girls and women dressed and ornamented, sitting
round waiting for partners; men of all sorts walking in and surveying
and choosing from among them and dancing, and, afterwards or before,
going with them to the bar to drink. Many of these girls looked young
and comparatively fresh; their dresses were cut very low, so that I
blushed for them through my veil. I clung tight to Harry's arm, and
asked myself where I was, as I moved round among them. Nobody noticed
us. Everybody seemed to have a right to be there, and see what they

I remember one large building of two or three stories, with larger
halls below, all lighted up, with dancing and drinking going on,
and throngs and throngs of men, old and young, pouring and crowding
through it. These tawdrily bedizened, wretched girls and women seemed
to me such a sorrow and disgrace to womanhood and to Christianity
that my very heart sunk, as I walked among them. I felt as if I could
have cried for their disgrace. Yet nobody said a word to us. All the
keepers of the places seemed to know Mr. James and the superintendent.
He spoke to them all kindly and politely, and they answered with the
same civility. In one or two of the saloons, the superintendent asked
leave to sing a song, which was granted, and he sung the hymn that

    "I love to tell the story
      Of unseen things above,
    Of Jesus and his glory,
      Of Jesus and his love;
    I love to tell the story--
      It did so much for me--
    And that is just the reason
      I tell it unto thee."

At another place, he sung "Home, sweet home," and I thought I saw many
faces that looked sad. Either our presence was an embarrassment, or
for some other reason it seemed to me there was no real gaiety, and
that the dancing and the keeping up of a show of hilarity were all
heavy work.

There seems, however, to be a gradation in these dreadful places.
Besides these which were furnished with some show and pretension,
there were cellars where the same sort of thing was going on--dancing
and drinking, and women set to be the tempters of men. We saw
miserable creatures standing out on the sidewalk, to urge the
passers-by to come into these cellars. It was pitiful, heart-breaking
to see.

But the lowest, the most dreadful of all, was what they called the
bucket shops. There the vilest of liquors are mixed in buckets and
sold to wretched, crazed people who have fallen so low that they
cannot get anything better. It is the lowest depth of the dreadful

Oh, those bucket shops! Never shall I forget the poor, forlorn,
forsaken-looking creatures, both men and women, that I saw there.
They seemed crouching in from the cold--hanging about, or wandering
uncertainly up and down. Mr. James spoke to many of them, as if he
knew them, kindly and sorrowfully. "This is a hard way you are going,"
he said to one. "Ar'n't you most tired of it?" "Well," he said to
another poor creature, "when you have gone as far as you can, and come
to the end, and nobody will have you, and nobody do anything for you,
then come to us, and we'll take you in."

During all this time, and in all these places, the Superintendent, who
seemed to have a personal knowledge of many of those among whom he
was moving, was busy distributing his tickets of invitation to the
supper. He knew where the utterly lost and abandoned ones were most to
be found, and to them he gave most regard.

But as yet, though I looked with anxious eyes, I had seen nothing of
Maggie. I spoke to Mr. James at last, and he said, "We have not yet
visited Mother Moggs's establishment, where she was said to be. We are
going there now."

"Mother Moggs is a character in her way," he told us. "She has always
treated me with perfect respect and politeness, because I have shown
the same to her. She seems at first view like any other decent woman,
but she is one that, if she were roused, would be as prompt with knife
and pistol as any man in these streets." As he said this, we turned
a corner, and entered a dancing-saloon, in its features much like
many others we had seen. Mother Moggs stood at a sort of bar at the
upper end, where liquors were displayed and sold. She seemed really so
respectably dressed, and so quiet and pleasant-looking, that I could
scarcely believe my eyes when I saw her.

Mr. James walked up with us to where she was standing, and spoke to
her, as he does to every one, gently and respectfully, inquiring after
her health, and then, in a lower tone, he said, "And how about the
health of your soul?"

She colored, and forced a laugh, and answered with some smartness:
"Which soul do you mean? I've got two--one on each foot."

He took no notice of the jest, but went on:

"And how about the souls of these girls? What will become of them?"

"I ain't hurting their souls," she said. "I don't force 'em to stay
with me; they come of their own accord, and they can go when they
please. I don't keep 'em. If any of my girls can better themselves
anywhere else, I don't stand in their way."

The air of virtuous assurance with which she spoke would have given
the impression that she was pursuing, under difficult circumstances,
some praiseworthy branch of industry at which her girls were

Just at this moment, I turned, and saw Maggie standing behind me. She
was not with the other girls, but standing a little back, toward the
bar. Instantly I crossed over, and, raising my veil, said, "Maggie,
poor child! come back to your mother."

Her face changed in a moment; she looked pale, as if she were going to
faint, and said only, "Oh! Mrs. Henderson, you here?"

"Yes, I came to look for you, Maggie. Come right away with us," I
said. "O Maggie! come," and I burst into tears.

She seemed dreadfully agitated, but said:

"Oh, I can't; it's too late!"

"No, it isn't. Mr. James," I said, "here she is. Her mother has sent
for her."

"And you, madam," said Mr. James to the woman, "have just said
you wouldn't stand in the way, if any of your girls could better

The woman was fairly caught in her own trap. She cast an evil look
at us all, but said nothing, as we turned to leave, I holding upon
Maggie, determined not to let her go.

We took her with us to the Home. She was crying as if her heart would
break. The girls who were getting the supper looked at her with
sympathy and gathered round her. One of them interested me deeply.
She was very pale and thin, but had such a sweet expression of peace
and humility in her face! She came and sat down by Maggie and said,
"Don't be afraid; this is Christ's home, and he will save you as he
has me. I was worse than you are--worse than you ever could be--and He
has saved _me_. I am _so_ happy here!"

And now the miserable wretches who had been invited to the supper
came pouring in. Oh, such a sight! Such forlorn _wrecks_ of men, in
tattered and torn garments, with such haggard faces, such weary,
despairing eyes! They looked dazed at the light and order and quiet
they saw as they came in. Mr. James and the superintendent stood at
the door, saying, "Come in, boys, come in; you're welcome heartily!
Here you are, glad to see you," seating them on benches at the lower
part of the room.

While the supper was being brought in, the table was set with an array
of bowls of smoking hot soup and a large piece of nice white bread at
each place. When all had been arranged, Mr. James saw to seating the
whole band at the tables, asked a blessing, standing at the head, and
then said, cheerily, "Now, boys, fall to; eat all you want; there is
plenty more where this came from, and you shall have as much as you
can carry."

The night was cold, and the soup was savory and hot, and the bread
white and fine, and many of them ate with a famished appetite; the
girls meanwhile stood watchful to replenish the bowls or hand more
bread. All seemed to be done with such a spirit of bountiful, cheerful
good-will as was quite inspiriting.

It was not till hunger was fully satisfied that Mr. James began to
talk to them, and when he did, I wondered at his tact.

"This is quite the thing, now, isn't it, boys, of a cold night like
this, when a fellow is hungry? See what it is to have friends.

"I suppose, boys, you get better suppers than these from those
fellows that you buy your drink of. They make suppers for you
sometimes, I suppose?"

"No, indeed," growled some of the men. "Catch 'em doing it!"

"Why, I should think they ought to, when you spend all your money on
them. You pay all your money to them, and make yourselves so poor that
you haven't a crust, and then they won't even get you a supper?"

"No, that they won't," growled some. "They don't care if we starve."

"Boys," said Mr. James, "aren't you fools? Here these men get rich,
and you get poor. You pay all your earnings to them. You can't have
anything, and they have everything. They can have plate-glass windows,
and they can keep their carriages, and their wives have their silk
dresses and jewels, and you pay for it all; and then, when you've
spent your last cent over their counters, they kick you into the
street. Aren't you fools to be supporting such men? Your wives don't
get any silk dresses, I'll bet. O boys, where are your wives?--where
are your mothers?--where are your children?"

By this time they were looking pretty sober, and some of them had
tears in their eyes.

"Oh, boys, boys! this is a bad way you've been in--a bad way. Haven't
you gone long enough? Don't you want to give it up? Look here--now,
boys, I'll read you a story." And then he read from his pocket
Testament the Parable of the Prodigal Son. He read it beautifully: I
thought I had never understood it before. When he had done, he said,
"And now, boys, hadn't you better come back to your Father? Do you
remember, some of you, how your mother used to teach you to say, 'Our
Father, who art in heaven?' Come now, kneel down, every one of you,
and let's try it once more."

They all knelt, and I never heard anything like that prayer. It was so
loving, so earnest, so pitiful. He prayed for those poor men, as if
he were praying for his own soul. They must have _felt_ how he loved
them. It almost broke my heart to hear him: it did seem for the time
as if the wall were down that separates God's love from us, and that
everybody must feel it, even these poor wretched creatures.

There were among them some young men, and some whose heads and
features were good, and indicative of former refinement of feeling. I
could not help thinking how many histories of sorrow, for just so many
families, were written in those faces.

"Is it possible that you can save any of these?" I said to Mr. James,
as they were going out.

"_We_ cannot, but God can," he said. "With God, all things are
possible. We have seen a great many saved that were as low as these;
but it was only by the power of God converting their souls. That is at
all times possible."

"But," said Harry, "the craving for drink gets to be a physical

"Yet I have seen that craving all subdued and taken away by the power
of the Holy Spirit. They become new creatures in Christ."

"That would be almost miraculous," said Harry.

"We must expect miracles, and we shall have them," replied he.

Meanwhile the girls had gathered around Maggie, and were talking with
her, and when we spoke of going, she said:

"Dear Mrs. Henderson, let me stay here awhile; the girls here will
help me, and I can do some good here, and by-and-by, perhaps, when I
am stronger, I can come back to mother. It's better for me here now."

Mr. James and the matron both agreed that, for the present, this would
be best.

There is a current of sympathy, an energy of Christian feeling, a sort
of enthusiasm, about this house, that helps one to begin anew.

It was nearly morning before we found ourselves in our home
again--but, for me, the night has not been spent in vain. Oh, mother,
can it be that in a city full of churches and Christians such dreadful
things as I saw are going on every night? Certainly, if all Christians
felt about it as those do who have begun this Home, there would be
a change. If every Christian would do a little, a great deal would
be done; for there are many Christians. But now it seems as if a few
were left to do all, while the many do nothing. But Harry and I are
resolved henceforth to do our part in helping this work.

Mary is comforted about Maggie and unboundedly grateful to me for

I think she herself prefers her staying there awhile; she has felt so
keenly what Aunt Maria said about her being a burden and disgrace to

We shall watch over her there, and help her forward in life as fast as
she is strong enough to go. But I am making this letter too long, so
good-by for the present.

     Your loving




"Well, hurrah for Jim!" exclaimed our friend Jim Fellows, making
tumultuous entrance into the Henderson house, with such a whirl and
breeze of motion as to flutter the music on the piano, and the papers
on Harry's writing-desk, while he skipped round the room, executing an
extemporary _pas seul_.

"Jim, for goodness sake, what now?" said Harry, rising. "What's up?"

"I've got it! I've got it!--the first place on 'the Forum!' Think of
the luck! I've been talking with Ivison and Sears about it, and the
papers are all drawn. I'm made now, you'd better believe. It's firm
land at last, and I tell you, if I haven't scratched for it!"

"Wish you joy, my boy, with all my heart," said Harry, shaking his
hand. "It's the top of the ladder."

"And I, too, Jim," said Eva, offering her hand frankly. "Sit down and
have a cup of tea with us."

"_You_ don't care, I suppose, what happens to _me_," said Jim in an
abused tone, turning to Alice, who had sat quietly in a shaded corner
through this outburst.

"Bless me, Jim, I've been holding my breath, for I didn't know what
you'd do next. I'm sure I wish you joy with all my heart. There's my
hand on it," and Alice reached out her hand as frankly as Eva.

It was a hand as fair, soft and white as a man might wish to have
settle like a dove of peace and rest in his own; and, as it went into
his palm, Jim could not help giving it a warm, detaining grasp that
had a certain significance, especially as his eyes rested upon her
with a flash of expression before which hers fell.

Alice had come to Eva's to dine, and they were now just enjoying that
pleasant after-dinner hour around the fireside, when they sat and
played with their tea in pretty teacups, and chatted, and looked into
the fire. It is the hour dear to memory, when the home fireside seems
like a picture, when the gleams of light that fall on one's plants and
pictures and books and statuettes, bring forth some new charm in each
one, giving rise to the exulting feeling, "Nowhere in the world is
there a place so pretty and so cosy as this."

Now, Alice had been meditating a return to her own home that night,
trusting to Harry for escort; but, at the moment that Jim took her
hand and she saw the expression of his eyes, she mentally altered her
intentions and resolved to remain all night. She was sure if she rose
to go Jim would, of course, be her escort. She was not going to walk
home alone with him in his present mood, and trust herself to hear,
and be obliged to answer, anything he might be led to say.

The fact is well known to observers of mental phenomena, that an
engagement suddenly sprung upon a circle of intimate acquaintances is
often productive of great searchings of heart, and that it is apt to
have a result similar to the knocking down of one brick at the extreme
of a line of them.

Alice had been startled and astonished by finding her rector
descending from the semi-angelic sphere where she had, in her
imagination, placed him, and coming into the ranks of mortal and
marrying men. She had seen and handled the engagement ring which
sparkled on Angie's finger, and it looked like any other ring that
a gentleman of good taste might buy, and she had heard all the
comments of the knowing ones thereon. Already there was activity
in the direction of a prospective trousseau. Aunt Maria, with her
usual alertness, was prizing stuffs and giving records of prices and
of cheap and desirable shopping places, and racing from one end of
the city to the other in self-imposed pilgrimages of research. There
were discussions of houses for the future rectory. Everything was
in a whirl of preparation. There was marriage in the very air: and
the same style of reflection which occurs when there is a death, is
apposite also to the betrothal--"Whose turn shall come next?" "_Hodie
mihi--cras tibi._"

Jim Fellows, the most excitable, sympathetic of all mortal Jims, may
well be supposed to have felt something of the general impulse.

Now, Miss Alice was as fine a specimen of young-lady-hood at
twenty-two as is ordinarily to be met with in New York or otherwhere.
She was well read, well bred, high-minded and high-principled. She
was a little inclined to the ultra-romantic in her views, and while
living along contentedly, and with a moderate degree of good sense
and comfort, with such people as were to be found on earth, was a
little prone to indulge dreams of super-celestial people--imaginary
heroes and heroines. In the way of friendship, she imagined she liked
many of her gentlemen associates; but the man she was to marry was
to be a hero--somebody before whom she and every one else should be
irresistibly constrained to bow down and worship. She knew nobody of
this species as yet.

Harry was all very well; a nice fellow--a bright, lively, wide-awake
fellow--a faultless husband--a desirable brother-in-law; but still
Harry was not a hero. He was a man subject to domestic discipline
for at times littering the parlor table with too many pamphlets, for
giving imprudent invitations to dinner on an ill-considered bill of
fare, and for confounding solferino with pink when describing colors
or matching worsteds. All these things brought him down into the
sphere of the actual, and took off the halo. In review of all the
married men of her acquaintance, she was constrained to acknowledge
that the genus _hero_ was rare. Nobody that she was acquainted
with ever had married this kind of being; and, in fact, within her
own mind his lineaments were cloudy and indistinct, like the magic
looking-glass of Agrippa before the destined image shone out. She only
knew of this or that mortal man of her acquaintance, that he was not
in the least like this ideal of her dreams.

Meanwhile, Miss Alice was not at all insensible to the charm of having
a friend of the other sex wholly and entirely devoted to her.

She thought she had with most exemplary frankness and directness
indicated to Jim that they were to be friends and only friends; she
had contended for her right to be just as intimate with him as he and
she pleased, in the face of Aunt Maria and of all the ranks and orders
of good gossips who make the regulation of other people's affairs a
specialty; and she flattered herself that she had at last conquered
this territory and secured for herself this independent right.

People had almost done telling her they had heard that she was engaged
to Jim Fellows, and asking her when it was going to be announced. She
plumed herself, in a quiet way, on the independence and spirit she had
shown in the matter.

Now, Jim was one of those fellows who, in certain respects, remain a
boy forever. The boy in him was certainly booked for as long a mortal
journey as the man; and, at threescore years and ten, one ought not
to expect to meet in him other than a white-headed, vivacious old
boy. He was a driving, industrious, efficient creature. He was, in all
respects, ideally fitted to success in the profession he had chosen;
the very image and body of the New York press man--lively, versatile,
acute, unsleeping, untiring, always wide-awake, up and dressed, and
in full command of his faculties, at any hour of day or night, ready
for any emergency, overflowing with inconsiderate fun and frolic, and,
like the public he served, going for his joke at any price. Since his
intimacy with Alice she had assumed to herself the right of looking
over his ways and acting the part of an exterior conscience; and Jim
had formed the habit of bringing to her his articles for criticism.
And Alice flattered herself that she was not altogether selfish
in accepting his devotion, but was saving him from many an unwise
escapade, and exciting him to higher standards and nobler ways of
looking at life.

Of all the Christian and becoming _rôles_ in the great drama of life,
there is none that so exactly suits young ladies of a certain degree
of gravity and dignity as that of guardian angel.

Now, in respect to Jim, Alice certainly was fitted to sustain this
_rôle_. She was well-poised, decided, sensible and serious in her
conceptions of life, truthful and conscientious; and the dash of
ideality which pervaded all her views gave to her, in the eyes of the
modern New York boy, a sort of sacred prestige, like the halo around a

No one sees life on a harder, colder, more utterly unscrupulous
side than the _élève_ of the New York press. He grinds in a mill
of competition. He serves sharp and severe masters, who in turn
are driven up by an exacting, irresponsible public, panting for
excitement, grasping for the latest sensation. The man of the press
sees behind the scenes in every illusion of life; the shapeless
pulleys, the dripping tallow candles that light up the show, all are
familiar to him.

To him come all the tribes who have axes to grind, and want him to
turn their grindstones. Avarice, ambition, petty vanity, private
piques, mean intrigues, sly revenges, all unbosom themselves to him
as to a father confessor, and invoke his powerful aid. To him it is
given to see the back door and back stairs of much that the world
venerates, and he finds there filthy sweepings and foul _débris_. Even
the church of every name and sect has its back door, its unsightly
sweepings. He who is in so many secrets, who explores so many cabals,
who sees the wrong side of so many a fair piece of goods, with all its
knots, and jags, and thrums, what wonder if he come to that worse form
of scepticism--the doubt of all truth, of all virtue, of all honor?
When he sees how reputations can be made and unmade in the secret
conclaves of printing offices, how generous and holy enthusiasms are
assumed as a cloak for low and selfish designs, how the language
which stirs man's deepest nature lies around loose in the hands of
skilled word-experts, to be used in getting up cabals and carrying
party intrigues, it is scarcely to be wondered at if he come to regard
life as a mere game of skill, where the shrewdest player wins. It is
exactly here that a true, good woman is the moral salvation of man.
Such a woman seems to a man more than she can ever seem to her female
acquaintances. She is to him the proof of a better world, of a truer
life, of the reality of justice, purity, honor, and unselfishness. He
regards her, to be sure, as unpractical, and ignorant of the world's
ways, but with a holy ignorance which belongs to a higher region.

Jim had dived into New York life at first with the mere animal
recklessness with which an expert swimmer shows his skill in difficult
navigation. Life was an adventure, a game, a game at which he was
determined nobody should cheat him, a race in which he was determined
to come out ahead. Nobody should catch _him_ napping; nobody should
outwit him; he would be nobody's fool. His acquaintance with a certain
class of girls was only a continuation of the bright, quick, adroit
game of fencing which he played in the world. If a girl would flirt,
so would Jim. He was _au courant_ of all the positions and strategy of
that sort of encounter; he had all the _persiflage_ of flattery and
compliment at his tongue's end, and enjoyed the rustle and flutter
of ribbons, the tapping of fans, and the bustle and mystery of small
secrets, the little "ohs and ahs," and feminine commotions that
he could stir up in almost any bevy of nymphs in evening dresses.
Speaking of female influence, there are some exceptions to be taken
to the general theory that woman has an elevating power over man.
It may be doubted whether there goes any of this divine impulse
from giggling, flirting girls, whose highest aim is to secure the
admiration and attention of men, and who, to get it, will flatter and
fawn, profess to adore tobacco smoke, and even to have a warm side
towards whiskey punch,--girls whose power over men is based on an
indiscriminate deference to what men themselves feel to be their lower
and less worthy nature.

The woman who really wins for herself a worthy influence with a man
is she who recognizes in him the divine under all worldly disguises,
and invariably and strongly takes part with his higher against his
lower nature. This was the secret of Alice's power over Jim; and this
was why she had become, in the secret and inner world of his life,
almost a religious image. All his dawning aspirations to be somewhat
better than a mere chaser of expedients, to be a man of lofty objects
and noble purposes, had come from her acquaintance with him--an
acquaintance begun on both sides in the spirit of mere flirtation,
and passing from that to esteem and friendship. But, in the case of
a marriageable young man of twenty-five, friendship is like some
of those rare cacti of the greenhouses which, in an unexpected
hour, burst out into blossoms of untold splendor. An engagement
just declared in their circle had breathed a warmer atmosphere of
suggestion around them, and upon that had come a position in his
profession which offered him both consideration and money; and when
Jim was assured of this, his first thought was of Alice.

"Friendship is a humbug," was that young gentleman's mental decision.
"It may do all very well with some kinds of girls"--and Jim mentally
reviewed some of his lady acquaintances--"but with Alice Van Arsdel,
it is all humbug for me to go on talking friendship. I _can't_, and
_shan't_, and WON'T." And in this mood it was that he gave to
Alice's hand that startling kind of pressure, and something of this
flashed from his eyes into hers. It was that something, like the gleam
of a steel blade, determined, resolute, assured, that disconcerted and
alarmed her. It was like the sounding of a horn, summoning a parley
at the postern gate of a fortress, and the lady chatelaine not ready
either to surrender or to defend. So, in a moment, Alice resolved
not to walk the four or five squares between her present position
and home, _tête-à-tête_ with Jim Fellows; and she sat very composed
and very still in her corner, and put in demand all those quiet,
repressive tactics by which dignified young ladies keep back issues
they are not precisely ready to meet.

The general subject under discussion when Jim came in, was a party to
be given at Aunt Maria's the next evening in honor of the Stephenses,
when Angie and Mr. St. John would make their first appearance
together as a betrothed couple.

"Now, Jim," said Eva, "how lucky that you came in, for I was just
going to send a note to you! Here's Harry has got to give a lecture
to-morrow night and can't come in till towards the end of the evening.
Alice is coming to dine and dress down here with me, and I want you
to dine with us and be our escort to the party--that is, if you will
put up with our dressing time and not get into such a state of perfect
amazement as Harry always does when we are not ready at the moment."

"If you ever get a wife, Jim, you'll be made perfect in this science
of waiting," said Harry. "The only way to have a woman ready in season
for a party is to shut her up just after breakfast and keep her at
it straight along through the day. Then you may have her before ten

"You see," said Eva, "Harry's only idea, when he is going to a party,
is to get home again early. We almost never go, and then he is in such
a hurry to get there, so as to have it over with and be at home again."

"Well, I confess, for my part, I hate parties," said Harry. "They
always get agoing just about my usual bed-time."

"Well, Harry, you know Aunt Maria wants an old-fashioned, early party,
at eight o'clock at the latest; and when _she_ says she wants a thing,
she _means_ it. She would never forgive us for being late."

"Dear me, Eva, do begin to dress over night then," said Harry. "You
certainly never will get through to-morrow, if you don't."

"Harry, you sauce-box, I think you talk abominably about me. Just
because I have so many more things to see to than he has! A woman's
dress, of course, takes more time; there's a good deal more to do and
every little thing has to be just right."

"Of course, I know that," said Harry. "Haven't I stood, and stood, and
stood, while bows were tied, and picked out, and patted, and flatted,
and then pulled out and tied over, and when we were half an hour
behind time already?"

"I fancy," said Alice, "that if the secrets of some young gentlemen's
toilets were unveiled, we should see that we were not alone in tying
bows and pulling them out. I've known Tom to labor over his neck-ties
by the hour together; it took him quite as long to prink as any of us

"But don't you be alarmed, Jim," said Eva; "we intend to be on time."

"No, don't," said Harry; "you can have my writing-table, and get up
your editorials, while the conjuration is going on up-stairs."

"Just think," said Alice, "how Aunt Maria is coming out."

"Why, yes, it's a larger affair than usual," said Eva. "A hundred
invitations! That must be on account of Angie."

"Oh, yes," said Alice, "Aunt Maria is pluming herself on Angie's
engagement. Since she has discovered that Mr. St. John has an
independent fortune, there is no end to her praises and felicitations.
Oh, and she has altered her opinion entirely about his ritualism. The
Bishop, she says, stands by him; and what the Bishop doesn't condemn,
nobody has any right to; and then she sets forth what a good family
he belongs to, and so well connected! I'd like to see anybody say
anything against Mr. St. John's practices before Aunt Maria now!"

"I'm sure this party is quite an outlay for Aunt Maria," said Eva.

"Oh," said Alice, "she's making all her jellies, and blanc-manges,
and ice creams in the house. You know how perfectly she always does
things. I've been up helping her. She will have a splendid table. She
was rather glorifying herself to me that she could get up so fine a
show at so little expense."

"Well, she can," said Eva. "No one can get more for a given amount of
money than Aunt Maria. I suppose that is one of the womanly virtues,
and one can learn as much of it from her as anybody."

"Yes," said Alice, "if a stylish party is the thing to be
demonstrated, Aunt Maria will get one up more successfully, more
perfect in all points, and for less money, than any other woman in New
York. She will have exactly the right people, and exactly the right
things to give them. Her rooms will be lovely. She will be dressed
herself to a T, and she will say just the right thing to everybody.
All her nice silver and her pretty things will come out of their
secret crypts and recesses to do honor to the occasion, and, for one
night, all will be suavity and sociability personified; and then
everything will go back into lavender, the silver to the safe, the
chairs and lounges to their cover, the shades will come down, and her
part of the world's debt of sociability will be done up for the year.
Then she will add up the expense, and set it down in her account book,
and that thing'll be finished and checked off."

"A mode of proceeding which she was very anxious to engraft upon me,"
said Eva; "but I am a poor stock. My instincts are for what she would
call an expensive, chronic state of hospitality, as we live down here!"

"Well," said Jim, "when I get a house of my own, I'm going to do as
you do."

"Jim has got sight of the domestic tea-kettle in the future," said
Harry. "That's the first effect of his promotion."

"Oh, don't be in a hurry about setting up a house of your own," said
Eva. "I'm afraid we should miss you here, and you're an institution,
Jim; we couldn't get on without you."

"Oh, Jim ought not to give up to one what was meant for mankind," said
Alice, hardily. "I think there would be a universal protest against
his retiring to private life."

And Alice looked into the fire, apparently as sweetly unconscious of
anything particular on Jim's part as if she had not read aright the
flash of his eye and the pressure of his hand.

Jim seemed vexed and nervous, and talked extravaganzas all the
evening, with more than even his usual fluency, and towards ten
o'clock said to Alice:

"I am at your command at any time, when you are ready to return home."

"Thank you, Jim," said Alice, with that demure and easy composure
with which young ladies avoid a crisis without seeming to see it. "I
am going to stay here to-night, to discuss some important points of
party costume with Eva; so mind you don't fail us to-morrow night. _Au



"Now, don't you girls sit up and talk all night," said Harry from the
staircase, as he started bedward, after Jim Fellows had departed, and
the house-door was locked for the night.

Now, Eva was one of that class of household birds whose eyes grow
wider awake and brighter as the small hours of the night approach;
and, just this night, she felt herself swelling with a world of that
distinctively feminine talk which women keep for each other, when
the lordly part of creation are out of sight and hearing. Harry, who
worked hard in his office all day and came home tired at night, and
who had the inevitable next day's work ever before him, was always
an advocate for early and regular hours, and regarded these sisterly
night-watches with suspicion.

"You know, now, Eva, that you oughtn't to sit up late. You're not
strong," he preached from the staircase in warning tones, as he slowly

"Oh, no, dear; we won't be long. We've just got a few things to talk

"Well, you know you never know what time it is."

"Oh, never you mind, Harry; you'll be asleep in ten minutes. I want to
talk with Ally."

"There, now, he's off," said Eva, gleefully shutting the door and
drawing an easy chair to the remains of the fire, while she disposed
the little unburned brands and ends so as to make a last blaze; then,
leaning back, she began taking out hair-pins and shaking down curls
and untying ribbons, as a sort of preface to a wholly free and easy
conversation. "I think, Ally," she said, with an air of profound
reflection, "if I were you, I should wear my white tarletan to-morrow
night, with cherry-colored trimming, and cherry velvet in your hair.
You see that altering the trimming changes the whole effect, so that
it will look exactly like a new dress."

"I was thinking of doing something with the tarletan," said Alice, who
had also taken out her hair-pins and let down her long dark masses of
hair around her handsome oval face, while her great dark eyes were
studying the coals abstractedly. It was quite evident by the deep
intense gaze she fixed before her that it was not the tarletan or the
trimmings that at that moment occupied her mind, but something deeper.

Eva saw and suspected, and went on designedly:

"How nice and lucky it was that Jim came in just as he did."

"Yes, it was lucky," repeated Alice, abstractedly, taking off her
neck-scarf, and folding and smoothing it with an unnecessary amount of

"Jim is such a nice fellow," said Eva. "I am thoroughly delighted that
he has got that situation. It is really quite a position for him."

"Yes, Jim is doing very well," said Alice, with a certain uneasy

"I really think," pursued Eva, "that your friendship has been
everything to Jim. We all notice how much he has improved."

"It's only that we know him better," said Alice. "Jim always was a
nice fellow; but it takes a very intimate acquaintance to get at the
real earnest nature there is under all his nonsense. But after all,
Eva, I'm a little afraid of trouble in that friendship."

[Illustration: A MIDNIGHT CAUCUS.

"_'There, now, he's off,' said Eva, ... then, leaning back, she began
taking out hair-pins and shaking down curls and untying ribbons as a
preface to a wholly free conversation._"--p. 400.]

"Trouble--how?" said Eva, with the most innocent air in the world,
as if she did not feel perfectly sure of what was coming next.

"Well, I do think, and I always have said, that an intimate friendship
between a lady and a gentleman is just the best thing for both

"Well, isn't it?" said Eva.

"Well, yes. But the difficulty is, it won't stay. It will get to be
something more than you want, and that makes a trouble. Now, did you
notice Jim's manner to me to-night?"

"Well, I _thought_ I saw something rather suspicious," said Eva,
demurely; "but then you always have been so sure that there was
nothing, and was to be nothing, in that quarter."

"Well, I never have meant there should be. I have been perfectly
honorable and above-board with Jim; treated him just like a sister,
and I thought there was the most perfect understanding between us."

"Well, you see, darling," said Eva, "I've sometimes thought whether
it was quite fair to let any one be so very intimate with one, unless
one were willing to take the consequences, in case his feelings should
become deeply involved. Now, we should have thought it a bad thing for
Mr. St. John to go on cultivating an intimate friendship with Angie,
if he never meant to marry. It would be taking from her feelings and
affections that might be given to some one who would make her happy
for life; and I think some women, I don't mean you, of course, but
some women I have seen and heard of, like to absorb all the feeling
and devotion a man has without in the least intending to marry him.
They keep him from being interested in any one else who might make him
a happy home, and won't have him themselves."

"Eva, you are too hard," said Alice.

"Understand me, dear; I said I didn't mean you, for I think your
course has been perfectly honorable and honest so far; but I do think
you have got to a place that needs care. It's my positive belief that
Jim not only loves you, Alice, but that he is _in_ love with you in a
way that will have the most serious effect on his life and character."

"Oh, dear me, that's just what I've been fearing," said Alice, "isn't
it too bad? I really don't think it's my fault. Do you know, Eva, I
came here meaning to go home to-night, and I stayed only because I was
afraid to walk home with Jim. I was sure if I did there would be a
crisis of some kind."

"For my part, Ally," said Eva, "I'm not so very sure that there hasn't
been some advance in your feelings, as well as in Jim's. I don't see
why you should set it down among the impossibles that you should marry
Jim Fellows."

"Oh! well," said Alice, "I like--yes, I really love Jim very much; he
is very agreeable to me, always. I know nobody, on the whole, more so;
but then, Eva, he's not at all the sort of man I have ever thought of
as possible for me to marry. Oh! not at all," and Alice gazed before
her into the coals, as if she saw her hero through them.

"And what sort of a man is this phenix?"

"Oh! something grave, and deep, and high, and heroic."

Eva gave a light, little shrug to her shoulders, and rippled a laugh.
"And when you have got such a man, you will have to ask him to go to
market for beef and cranberry sauce. You will have to get him to match
your worsted, and carry your parcels, and talk over with him about how
to cure the chimney of smoking and make the kitchen range draw. Don't
you think a hero will be a rather cumbersome help in housekeeping?
Besides, your heroes like to sit on pedestals and have you worship
them. Now, for my part, I'd rather have a good kind _man_ that will
worship me.

    "'A creature not too bright and good
    For human nature's daily food.'

A man like Harry, for instance. Harry isn't a hero; he's a good,
true, noble-hearted boy, though, and I'd rather have him than the
angel Gabriel, if I could choose now. I don't see what's to object
to in Jim, if you like him and love him, as you say. He's handsome;
he's lively and cheerful; he's kind-hearted and obliging; and he's
certainly true and constant in his affections: and now he has a good
position, and one where he can do a good work in the world, and your
influence might help him in it."

"Why, Eva, you seem to be pleading for him like a lawyer," said Alice,
apparently not at all displeased to hear that side of the question

"Well, really," said Eva, "I do think it would be a nice thing for us
all if you could like Jim, for he's one of us; we all know him and
like him, and he wouldn't take you away to the ends of the earth; you
might settle right down here, and live near us, and all go on together
cosily. Jim is just the fellow to make a bright, pleasant, hospitable
home; and he's certain to be a devoted husband to whomever he marries."

"Jim ought to be married, certainly," said Alice, in a reflective
tone. "Just the right kind of a marriage would be the making of him."

"Well, look over the girls you know, and see if there's any one that
you would like to have Jim marry."

"I know," said Alice, with a quickened flush of color, "that there
isn't a girl he cares a snap of his finger for."

"There's Jane Stuyvesant."

"Oh, nonsense! don't mention Jane Stuyvesant!"

"Well, she's rich, and brilliant, and very gracious to Jim."

"Well, I happen to know just how much that amounts to. Jim never would
have a serious thought of Jane Stuyvesant--that I'm certain of. She's
a perfectly frivolous girl, and he knows it."

"I've thought sometimes he was quite attentive to one of those
Stephenson girls, at Aunt Maria's."

"What, Sophia Stephenson! You couldn't have got more out of the way.
Why, no! Why, she's nothing but a breathing wax doll; that's all there
is to her. Jim never could care for her."

"Well, what was it about that Miss Du Hare?"

"Oh, nothing at all, except that she was a dashing, flirting young
thing that took a fancy to Jim and invited him to her opera box, and
of course Jim went. The fact is, Jim is good-looking and lively and
gay, and will go a certain way with any nice girl. He likes to have
a jolly, good time; but he has his own thoughts about them all, as I
happen to know. There isn't one of these that he has a serious thought

"Well, then, darling, since nobody else will suit him, and it's for
his soul's health and wealth to be married, I don't see but you ought
to undertake him yourself."

Alice smiled thoughtfully, and twisted her sash into various bows, in
an abstracted manner.

"You see," continued Eva, "that it would be altogether improper for
you to enact the fable of the dog in the manger--neither take him
yourself nor let any one else have him."

"Oh, as to that," said Alice, flushing up, "he has my free consent to
take anybody else he wants to; only I know there isn't anybody he does

"Except--" said Eva.

"Well, except present company," said Alice. "I'll tell you, Eva, if
anything could incline me more to such a decision, it's the way Aunt
Maria has talked about Jim to me--setting him down as if he was the
last and most improbable _parti_ I could choose; and as if, of course,
I never could even think of him. I don't see what right she has to
think so, when there are girls a great deal richer and standing higher
in fashionable society than I do that would have Jim in a minute, if
they could get him. Jim is constantly beset with more invitations to
parties and to go into society than he can at all meet, and I know
there are plenty that would be glad enough to take him."

"Oh, but Aunt Maria has moderated a good deal as to Jim, lately," said
Eva. "She told me herself, the other day, that he really was one of
the most gentlemanly, agreeable young fellows she knew of, and said
what a pity it was he hadn't a fortune."

"Oh, that witch of a creature!" said Alice, laughing. "He has been
just amusing himself with getting round Aunt Maria."

"And I dare say," said Eva, "that, if she finds Jim has a really good
position, she might at last come to a state of resignation. I will say
that for Aunt Maria, that after fighting you for a while she comes
round handsomely--when she is certain that fighting is in vain; but
the most amusing thing is to see how she has come down about Mr. St.
John's ritualism. Think of her actually going up there to church last
Sunday, and not saying a word about the candles, or the chantings, or
any of the abominations! She only remarked that she was sure she never
heard a better Gospel sermon than Mr. St. John preached--which was
true enough. Harry and I were so amused we could hardly keep our faces
straight; but we said not a word to remind her of past denunciations."

"The danger of going to Rome is sensibly abated, it appears," said

"Oh, yes. I believe Aunt Maria must be cherishing distant visions of a
time when she shall be aunt to Mr. St. John, and set him all straight."

"She'll have her match for once," said Alice, "if she has any such

"One thing is a comfort," said Eva. "Aunt Maria has her hands so full,
getting up Angie's trousseau, and buying her sheets and towels and
table-cloths, and tearing all about, up stairs and down, and through
dark alleys, to get everything of the very best at the smallest
expense, that her nervous energies are all used up, and there is
less left to be expended on you and me. A wedding in the family is a
godsend to us all."

The conversation here branched off into an animated discussion of
some points in Angie's wedding-dress, and went on with an increasing
interest till it was interrupted by a dolorous voice from the top of
the entry staircase.

"Girls, have you the least idea what time it is?"

"Why, there's Harry, to be sure," said Eva. "Dear me, Alice, what time
is it?"

"Half-past one! Mercy on us! isn't it a shame?"

"Coming, Harry, coming this minute," called Eva, as the two sisters
began turning down the gas and raking up the fire; then, gathering
together collars, hair-pins, ribbons, sashes and scarfs, they flew
up the stairway, and parted with a suppressed titter of guilty

"It was abominable of us," said Eva; "but I never looked at the



Midnight conversations of the sort we have chronicled between Alice
and Eva, do not generally lead to the most quiet kind of sleep. Such
conversations suggest a great deal, and settle nothing; and Alice,
after retiring, lay a long time with her great eyes wide open, looking
into the darkness of futurity, and wondering, as girls of twenty-two
or thereabouts do wonder, what she should do next.

There is no help for it; the fact may as well be confessed at once,
that no care and assiduity in fencing and fortifying the conditions of
a friendship between an attractive young woman and a lively, energetic
young man, will ensure their always remaining simply and purely those
of companionship and good fellowship, and never becoming anything more.

In the case of St. John and Angie, the stalk of friendship had had but
short growth before developing the flower of love; and now, in Alice's
mind and conscience, it was becoming quite a serious and troublesome
question whether a similar result were not impending over her.

The wise man of old said: "He that delicately bringeth up his servant
from a child shall have him for his son at last." The proverb is
significant, as showing the gradual growth of kindly relations into
something more and more kindly, and more absorbing.

So, in the night-watches, Alice mentally reviewed all those looks,
words and actions of Jim's which produced a conviction in her mind
that he was passing beyond the allotted boundaries, and approaching
towards a point in which there would inevitably be a crisis, calling
for a decision on her part which should make him either more or less
than he had been. Her talk with Eva had only set this possibility more
distinctly before her.

Was she, then, willing to give him up entirely, and to shut the door
resolutely on all intimacy tending to keep up and encourage feelings
that could come to no result? When she proposed this to herself,
she was surprised at her own unwillingness to let him go. She could
scarcely fancy herself able to do without his ready friendship,
his bright, agreeable society--without the sense of ownership and
power which she felt in him. Reviewing the matter strictly in the
night-watches, she was obliged to admit to herself that she could
not afford to part with Jim; that there was no woman she could
fancy--certainly none in the circle of her acquaintance--whom she
could be sincerely glad to have him married to; and when she fancied
him absorbed in any one else, there was a dreary sense of loss which
surprised her. Was it possible, she asked herself, that he had become
necessary to her happiness--he whom she never thought of otherwise
than as a pleasant friend, a brother, for whose success and good
fortune she had interested herself?

Well then, was she ready for an engagement? Was the great ultimate
revelation of woman's life--that dark Eleusinian mystery of fate about
which vague conjecture loves to gather, and which the imagination
invests with all sorts of dim possibilities--suddenly to draw its
curtains and disclose to her neither demi-god nor hero, but only the
well-known, every-day features of one with whom she had been walking
side by side for months past--"only Jim and nothing more?"

Alice could not but acknowledge to herself that she knew no man
possible or probable that she liked better; and yet this shadowy,
ideal rival--this cross between saint and hero, this Knight of the
Holy Grail--was as embarrassing to her conclusions as the ghost in
"Hamlet." It was only to be considered that the ideal hero had not
put in an actual appearance. He was nowhere to be found or heard
from; and here was this warm-hearted, helpful, companionable Jim,
with faults as plenty as blackberries, but with dozens of agreeable
qualities to every fault; and the time seemed to be rapidly coming
when she must make up her mind either to take him or leave him, and
she was not ready to do either! No wonder she lay awake, and studied
the squares of the dim window and listened to the hours that struck,
one after another, bringing her no nearer to fixed conclusions than
before! A young lady who sees the time coming when she must make a
decision, and who doesn't want to take either alternative presented,
is certainly to be pitied. Alice felt herself an abused and afflicted
young woman. She murmured at destiny. Why would men fall in love? she
queried. Why wouldn't they remain always devoted, admiring friends,
and get no further? She was having such good times! and why must they
end in a dilemma of this sort? How nice to have a gentleman friend,
all devotion, all observance, all homage, without its involving any
special consequences!

When she came to shape this feeling into words and look at it, she
admitted that it savored of the worst kind of selfishness, and might
lead to trifling with what is most precious and sacred. Alice was a
conscientious, honorable girl, and felt all the force of this. She had
justified herself all along by saying that her intimacy with Jim had
so far been for his good; that he had often expressed to her his sense
that she was leading him to a higher and better life, to more worthy
and honorable aims and purposes: but how if he should claim that this
very ministry had made her necessary to him, and that, if she threw
him off, it would be worse than if she had never known him? Looking
over the history of the last few months, she could not deny to herself
that, as their acquaintance had grown more and more confidential, her
manners possibly had expressed a degree of kindness which might justly
have inspired hopes. Was she not bound to fulfill such hopes if she

These were most uncomfortable inquiries, and she was glad of morning
and a cheerful breakfast-table to dispel them. Things never look so
desperate by daylight, and Alice managed a good breakfast with a
tolerable appetite. Then there was the tarlatan dress to be made over
and rearranged, and Eva's toilette to be put into party order--quite
enough to keep two young women of active fancy and skillful fingers
busy for one day. It was a snowy, unpleasant day, and, as they lived
on an out-of-the-way street, they were secure from callers and took
their work into the parlor so soon as Harry had gone for the day.
The little room soon became a brilliant maelstrom of gauzy stuffs
and bright ribbons, among which the two sat chatting, arranging,
combining, compounding; as of old, one might imagine a pair of
heathen goddesses in the clouds, getting up rainbows. No matter how
solemn and serious we of womankind are in our deepest hearts, or how
philosophically we may look down on the vanity of dress, we must all
confess that a party is a party; and the sensible, economical woman
who does not often go, and does not make a point of having all the
paraphernalia in constant readiness, has to give all the more care
and thought to the exceptional occasion when she does. Even Scripture
recognizes the impossibility of appearing at a feast without the
appropriate garment; and so Eva and Alice cut and fitted and trimmed
and tried experiments in head-dresses and arrangements of hair, and
meanwhile Alice had the comfort of talking over and over to Eva all
the varying shades of the subject that was on her mind.

What woman does not appreciate the blessing of a patient, sympathetic
listener, who will hear with unabated interest the same story repeated
over and over as it rises in one's thoughts? Eva listened complacently
and with the warmest interest to the same things that Alice had said
the night before, and went on repeating to her the same lessons of
matronly wisdom with which she had then enriched her, neither of
them betraying the slightest consciousness that the things they were
saying were not just fresh from the mint--entirely new and hitherto

Jim's character was discussed, and with that fine, skillful faculty
of analysis and synthesis which forms the distinctive interest of
feminine conversation. In the course of these various efforts of
character portrait-painting, it became quite evident to Eva that Alice
was in just that state in which some people's admitted faults are
more interesting and agreeable than the virtues of some others. When
a woman gets thus far, her final decision is not a matter of doubt to
any far-sighted reader of human nature.

Alice was by nature exact and conscientious as to all rules, forms,
and observances. Her pronunciation, whether of English or French, was
critically perfect; her hand-writing and composition were faultless
to a comma. She was an enthusiastic and thorough maintainer of all
the boundaries and forms of good society and of churchly devotion.
Jim, without being in any sense really immoral or wicked, was a sort
of privileged Arab, careering in and out through the boundaries of
all departments, shocking respectable old prejudices and fluttering
reverential usages, talking slang and making light of dignitaries with
a free and easy handling that was alarming.

But it is a fact that very correct people, who would not violate in
their own persons one of the _convenances_, are often exceedingly
amused and experience a peculiar pleasure in seeing them tossed hither
and thither by somebody else. Nothing is so tiresome as perfect
correctness, and we all know that everything that amuses us and makes
us laugh lies outside of it; and Alice, if the truth were to be told,
liked Jim all the better for the very things in which he was most
unlike herself. Well, such being the state of the garrison on the one
side, what was the position of the attacking party?

Jim had gone home discontented at not having a private interview with
Alice, but more and more resolved, with every revolving hour since
the accession of good fortune which had given him a settled position,
that he would have a home of his own forthwith, and that the queen of
that home should be Alice Van Arsdel. She must not, she could not,
she would not say him Nay; and if she did, he wouldn't take No for
an answer. He would have her, if he had to serve for her as long as
Jacob did for Rachel. But when Jim remembered how many times he had
persuaded Alice to his own way, how many favors she had granted him,
he was certain that it was not in her to refuse. He had looked with
new interest at the advertisements of houses to let, and the furniture
stores for the last few days had worn a new and suggestive aspect.
He had commenced transactions with regard to parlor furniture, and
actually bought a pair of antique brass andirons, which he was sure
would be just the thing for their fireside. Then he had bought an
engagement ring, which lay snugly ensconced in its satin case in a
corner of his vest pocket, and he was inly resolved that he would
make to himself a chance to lodge it on the proper finger in the next
twenty-four hours. How he was to get an interview did not yet appear;
but he trusted to Providence. It is a fact on record, that before the
twenty-four hours were up the deed was done, and Jim and Alice were
engaged; but it came about in a way far different from any foreseen by
any party, as we shall proceed to show.



It wanted yet twenty minutes to eight o'clock, and Jim was sitting
alone in the glow of the evening fireside. The warm, red light,
flickering and shadowing, made the room seem like a mysterious grotto.
Jim, in best party trim, sat gazing dreamily into the fire, turning
the magic ring now and then in his vest pocket, and looking at his
watch at intervals, while the mysterious rites of the toilet were
going on upstairs.

Alice had never made a more elaborate or more careful toilet. Did
she want to precipitate that which she said to herself she dreaded?
Certainly she did not spare one possible attraction. She evidently
saw no reason, under present circumstances, why she should not make
herself look as well as she could.

As the result of the whole day's agitations and discussions, she had
come to the conclusion that if Jim had anything to say she would
listen to it advisedly, and take it into mature consideration. So she
braided her long, dark hair, and crowned herself therewith, and then
earrings and brooches came twinkling out here and there like stars,
and bits of ribbon and velvet fluttered hither and thither, and fell
into wonderfully apposite places, and the woman grew and brightened
before the glass, as a picture under the hands of the artist.

It wanted yet a quarter of an hour of the time for the carriage,
when there came a light fluff of gauzy garments, and the two party
goddesses floated in in all misty splendor, and seemed to fill the
whole room with the flutter of dresses.

Alice was radiant; her eyes were never more brilliant, and she
was full of that subtle brightness which comes from the tremor of
fully-awakened feeling. She was gayer than was her usual wont as she
swept about the room and courteseyed with much solemnity to Jim, and
turned herself round and round after the manner of a revolving figure
in the shop windows.

Suddenly--and none of them knew how--there was a quick flash; the
gauzy robe had swept into the fire, and, before any of them could
speak, the dress was in flames. There was a scream, an utterance of
agony from all parties at once, and Eva was just doing the most fatal
thing possible in rushing desperately towards her sister, when Jim
came between them, caught the woolen cloth from the table, and wrapped
it around Alice; then, taking her in his arms, he laid her on the
sofa, and crushed out the fire, beating it with his hands, and tearing
the burning fragments away and casting them under foot. It all passed
in one fearful, awe-struck moment, while Eva stood still, with the
very shadow of death upon her, and saw Jim fighting back the fire,
which in a moment or two was entirely extinguished. Alice had fainted,
and Jim and Eva looked at each other as people do who have just seen
death rising up between them.

"She is safe now," said Jim, as he stood there, pale as death and
quivering from head to foot, while the floor around was strewed with
the blackened remains of the gauzy material which he had torn away.
"She is all right," he added; "the cloth has saved her throat and

It seemed now the most natural thing in the world that Jim should lay
Alice's head upon his arm and administer restoratives; and, when she
opened her eyes, that he should call her his darling, his life, his
love. They had been in the awful valley of the shadow together--that
valley where all that is false perishes and drops off, and what is
true becomes the only reality. Alice felt that she loved Jim--that she
belonged to him, and she did not dispute his right to speak as he did,
and to care for her as one had a right to care for his own.

"Well," said Eva, drawing a long breath, when the bell rang and the
carriage was announced, "we cannot go to the party, that is certain;
and, Jim, tell him to go for Doctor Campbell. Mary, bring down a
wrapper; we'll slip it over your torn finery, Alice, for the present,"
said Eva, endeavoring to be practical and self-possessed, though with
a little hysterical sob every now and then betraying the shock to her
nerves. "Then there must be a note sent to Aunt Maria, or what will
she think?" pursued Eva, when Alice had been made comfortable on the
sofa, where Jim was devoting himself to her.

"Don't, pray, tell all about it," said Alice. "One doesn't want to
become the talk of all New York."

"I'll tell her that you have met with an accident that will detain you
and me, but that you are not dangerous," said Eva, as she wrote her
note and sent Mary up with it.

It was not until tranquillity had somewhat settled down on the party
that Jim began to feel that his own hands were blistered; for, though
a man under strong excitement may handle fire for a while and not feel
it, yet nature keeps account and brings in her bill in due season.

"Why, Jim, you brave fellow," said Alice, suddenly raising herself, as
she saw an expression of pain on his face, "here I am thinking only of
myself, and you are suffering."

"Oh, nothing; nothing at all," said Jim; but Eva and Alice, now
thoroughly aroused, were shocked at the state of his hands.

"The doctor will have you to attend to first," said Alice. "You have
saved me by sacrificing yourself."

"Thank God for that!" said Jim, fervently.

Well, the upshot of the story is that Eva would not hear of Jim's
leaving them that night. Doctor Campbell pronounced that the burns on
his hands needed serious attention, and the prospect was that he would
be obliged to rest from using them for a day or two.

But these two or three days of hospital care were not on the whole the
worst of Jim's life, for Alice insisted on being his amanuensis, and
writing his editorials for him, and, as she wrote with the engagement
ring sparkling on her finger, Jim thought that he had never seen it
appear to so great advantage. It was said that Jim's editorials, that
week, had a peculiar vigor and pungency. We should not at all wonder,
under the circumstances, if that were the case.



And so Jim Fellows and Alice Van Arsdel were engaged at last. The
reader who has cared to follow the workings of that young lady's mind
has doubtless seen from the first that she was on the straight highway
to such a result.

Intimate friendship--what the French call "_camaraderie_"--is, in
fact, the healthiest and the best commencement of the love that is
needed in married life; because it is more like what the staple of
married life must at last come to. It gives opportunity for the
knowledge of all those minor phases of character under which a married
couple must at last see each other.

Alice and Jim had been side by side in many an every-day undress
rehearsal. They had laughed and frolicked together like two children;
they had known each other's secrets; they had had their little miffs
and tiffs, and had gotten over them; but, through all, there had been
a steady increase on Jim's part of that deeper feeling which makes
a woman the ideal guide and governor and the external conscience of
life. But his habit of jesting, and of talking along the line of his
most serious feelings in language running between joke and earnest,
had prevented the pathos and the power of what was really deepest in
him from making itself felt. There wanted something to call forth the
expression of the deep manly feeling that lay at the bottom of his
heart. There wanted, on her part, something to change friendship to a
warmer feeling. Those few dreadful moments, when they stood under the
cloud of a sudden and frightful danger, did more to reveal to them how
much they were to each other than years of ordinary acquaintance. It
was as if they had crossed the river of death together, and saw each
other in their higher natures. Do we not all remember how suffering
and danger will bring out in well-known faces a deep and spiritual
expression never there before? It was a marked change in the faces of
our boys who went to the recent war. Looking in a photograph book, one
sees first the smooth lines of a boyish face indicating nothing more
than a boy's experience, but, as he turns the following pages, he sees
the same face, after suffering and danger and death have called up the
strength of the inner man, and imparted a higher and more spiritual
expression to the countenance.

The sudden nearness into which they had come to the ever possible
tragedy that underlies human life, had given a deep and solemn
tenderness to their affection. It was a baptism into the love which is
stronger than death. Alice felt her whole heart going out, without a
fear or a doubt, in return for the true love that she felt was ready
to die for her.

Those few first days that they spent mostly in each other's society,
were full of the real, deep, enthusiastic tenderness of that
understanding of each other which had suddenly arisen between them.

So, to her confidential female correspondent--the one who had always
held her promise to be the first recipient of the news of her
engagement--she wrote as follows:

     "Yes, dear Belle, I have to tell you at last that I _am
     engaged_--engaged, with all my heart and soul, to Jim
     Fellows. I see your wonder, I hear you saying, 'You said it
     never was to be; that there _never_ would be anything in
     it.' Well, dear Belle, when I said that I thought it; but
     it seems I didn't know myself or him. But Eva has told you
     of the dreadful danger I ran; the shock to my nerves, the
     horror, the fright, were something I never shall forget. By
     God's mercy he saved my life, and I saw and felt at that
     time how dear I was to him, and how much he was willing to
     suffer for me. The poor fellow is not yet fully recovered,
     and I cannot recall that sudden fright without being
     almost faint. I cared a good deal for him before, and knew
     he cared for me; but this dreadful shock revealed us to
     each other as we had never known each other before. I am
     perfectly settled now and have not a doubt. There is all
     the seriousness and _all the depth that is in me_ in the
     promise I have at last given him.

     "Jim is not rich, but he has just obtained a good position
     as one of the leading editors of the _Forum_, enough to
     make it prudent for him to think of having a home of his
     own; and I thank God for the reverses of fortune that have
     taught me how to be a helpful and sensible wife. We don't
     either of us care for show or fashion, but mean to have
     another fireside like Eva's. Exactly when this thing is to
     be, is not yet settled; but you shall have due notice to
     get your bridesmaid's dress ready."

So wrote Alice to her bridesmaid that was to be. Meanwhile, the
declared engagement went its way, traveling through the circle, making
everywhere its sensation.

We believe there is nothing so generally interesting to human nature
as a newly-declared engagement. It is a thing that everybody has an
opinion of; and the editorial comments, though they do not go into
print, are fully as numerous and as positive as those following a new
appointment at Washington.

Especially is this the case where the parties, being long under
suspicion and accusation, have denied the impeachment, and vehemently
protested that "there was, and there would be, nothing in it," and
that "it was only friendship." When, after all the strength of such
asseveration, the flag is finally struck, and the suspected parties
walk forth openly, hand in hand, what a number of people immediately
rise in their own opinion, saying with complacency: "There! what did I
tell you? I knew it was so. People may talk as much as they please,
they can't deceive me!"

Among the first to receive the intelligence was little Mrs. Betsey,
who, having been over with Jack to make a morning call at the
Henderson house, had her very cap lifted from her head with amazement
at the wonderful news. So, panting with excitement, she rushed back
across the way to astonish Miss Dorcas, and burst in upon her, with
Jack barking like a storming party in the rear.

"Good gracious, Betsey, what's the matter now?" said Miss Dorcas.
"What has happened?"

"Well, what should you think? You can't guess! Jack, be still! stop
barking! Stop, sir!"--as Jack ran under a chair in a distant corner of
the room, and fired away with contumacious energy.

"Yes, Dorcas, I have such a piece of news! I declare, that dog!--I'll
_kill_ him if he don't stop!" and Mrs. Betsey, on her knees, dragged
Jack out of his hiding-place, and cuffed him into silence, and then
went on with her news, which she determined to make the most of, and
let out a bit at a time, as children eat gingerbread.

"Well, now, Betsey, since the scuffle is over between you and Jack,
perhaps you will tell me what all this is about," said Miss Dorcas,
with dignity.

"Well, Dorcas, it's another engagement; and who _do_ you guess it is?
You never will guess in the world, I know; now guess."

"I don't know," said Miss Dorcas, critically surveying Mrs. Betsey
over her spectacles, "unless it is you and old Major Galbraith."

"Aren't you ashamed, Dorcas?" said the little old lady, two late pink
roses coming in either cheek. "Major Galbraith!--old and deaf and with
the rheumatism!"

"Well, you wanted me to guess, and I guessed the two most improbable
people in the circle of our acquaintance." Now, Major Galbraith was an
old admirer of Mrs. Betsey's youth, an ancient fossil remain of the
distant period to which Miss Dorcas and Mrs. Betsey belonged.

He was an ancient bachelor, dwelling in an ancient house on Murray
hill, and subsisting on the dry hay of former recollections. Once a
year, on Christmas or New Year's, the old major caused himself to be
brought carefully in a carriage to the door of the Vanderheyden house,
creaked laboriously up the steps, pulled the rusty, jangling old bell,
and was shown into the somber twilight of the front parlor, where he
paid his respects to the ladies with the high-shouldered, elaborate
stateliness and gallantry of a former period. The compliments which
the major brought out on these occasions were of the most elaborate
and well-considered kind, for he had an abundance of leisure to
compose them, and very few ladies to let them off upon. They had, for
the parties to whom they were addressed, all the value of those late
roses and violets which one now and then finds in the garden, when
the last black frosts have picked off the blooms of summer. The main
difficulty of the interview always was the fact that the poor major
was stone-deaf, and, in spite of both ladies screaming themselves
hoarse, he carried away the most obviously erroneous impressions, to
last him through the next year. Yet, in ages past, the major had been
a man of high fashion, and he was, if one only could get at him, on
many accounts better worth talking to than many modern beaux; but
as age and time had locked him in a case and thrown away the key,
the suggestion of tender relations between him and Mrs. Betsey was
impossible enough to answer Miss Dorcas's purpose.

But Mrs. Betsey was bursting to begin on the contents of her news-bag,
and so, out it came.

"Well now, Dorcas, if you won't go to being ridiculous, and talking
about Major Galbraith, I'll tell you who it is. It's that dear, good
Mr. Fellows that got Jack back again for us, and I'm sure I never feel
as if I could do enough for him when I think of it, and besides that,
he always is so polite and considerate, and talks with one so nicely
and is so attentive, seems to think something of you, if you _are_
an old woman, so that I'm glad with all my heart, for I think it's a
splendid thing, and she's just the one for him, and do you know I've
been thinking a great while that it was going to be? I have noticed
signs, and have had my own thoughts, but I didn't let on. I despise
people that are always prying and spying and expressing opinions
before they know."

This lucid exposition might have proceeded at greater length, had
not Miss Dorcas, whose curiosity was now fully roused, cut into the
conversation with an air of judicial decision.

"Well now, after all, Betsey, _will_ you have the goodness, since you
began to tell the news, to tell it like a reasonable creature? Mr.
Fellows is the happy man, you say. Now, _who_--is--the _woman_?"

"Oh, didn't I tell you? Why, what is the matter with me to-day? I
thought I said Miss Alice Van Arsdel. Won't she make him a splendid
wife? and I'm sure he'll make a good husband; he's so kind-hearted.
Oh! you ought to have seen how kind he was to Jack that day he brought
him back; and such a sight as Jack was, too--all dirt and grease! Why
it took Dinah and me at least two hours to get him clean, and there
are not many young gentlemen that would be so patient as he was. I
never shall forget it of him."

"Patient as _who_ was?" said Miss Dorcas. "I believe Jack was the last
nominative case in that sentence; do pray compose yourself, Betsey,
and don't take entire leave of your senses."

"I mean Mr. Fellows was patient, of course, you know."

"Well, then, do take a little pains to say what you mean," said Miss

"Well, don't you think it a good thing--and were you expecting it?"

"So far as I know the parties, it's as good a thing as engagements in
general," said Miss Dorcas. "They have my very best wishes."

"Well, did you ever think it would come about?"

"No; I never troubled my head with speculations on what plainly is
none of my concern," said Miss Dorcas.

It was evident that Miss Dorcas was on the highest and most serene
mountain-top of propriety this morning, and all her words and actions
indicated that calm superiority to vulgar curiosity which, in her
view, was befitting a trained lady. Perhaps a little pique that Betsey
had secured such a promising bit of news in advance of herself, added
to her virtuous frigidity of demeanor. We are all mortal, and the
best of us are apt to undervalue what we did not ourselves originally
produce. But if Miss Dorcas wished in a gentle manner to remind Mrs.
Betsey that she was betraying too much of an inclination for gossip,
she did not succeed. The clock of time had gone back on the dial of
the little old lady, and she was as full of chatter and detail as
a school-girl, and determined at any rate to make the most of her
incidents, and to create a sensation in her sister's mind--for what
is more provoking than to have people sit calm and unexcited when we
have a stimulating bit of news to tell? It is an evident violation of
Christian charity. Mrs. Betsey now drew forth her next card.

"Oh, and, Dorcas! you've no idea. They've been having the most
dreadful time over there! Miss Alice has had the greatest escape! The
most wonderful providence! It really makes my blood run cold to think
of it. Don't you think, she was all dressed to go to Mrs. Wouvermans's
party, and her dress caught on fire, and if it hadn't been for Mr.
Fellows's presence of mind she might have been burned to death--really
burned to death! Only think of it!"

"You don't say so!" said Miss Dorcas, who now showed excitement enough
to fully satisfy Mrs. Betsey. "How very dreadful! Why, how was it?"

"Yes--she was passing in front of the fire, in a thin white tarlatan,
made very full, with flounces, and it was just drawn in and flashed up
like tinder. Mr. Fellows caught the cloth from the table, wrapped her
in it and laid her on the sofa, and then tore and beat out the fire
with his hands."

"Dear--me! dear--me!" said Miss Dorcas, "how dreadful! But he did just
the right thing."

"Yes, indeed; you ought to have seen! Mrs. Henderson showed me what
was left of the dress, and it was really awful to see! I could not
help thinking, 'In the midst of life we are in death.' All trimmed up
with scarlet velvet and bows, and just hanging in rags and tatters,
where it had been burned and torn away! I never saw any thing so
solemn in my life."

"A narrow escape, certainly," said Miss Dorcas. "And is she not
injured at all?"

"Nothing to speak of, only a few slight burns; but poor Mr. Fellows
has to have his hands bandaged and dressed every day; but of course he
doesn't mind that since he has saved her life. But just think of it,
Dorcas, we shall have two weddings, and it'll make two more visiting
places. I'm going to tell Dinah all about it," and the little woman
fled to the kitchen, with Jack at her heels, and was soon heard going
over the whole story again.

Dinah's effusion and sympathy, in fact, were the final refuge of Mrs.
Betsey on every occasion, whether of joy or sorrow or perplexity--and
between her vigorous exclamations and loud responses, and Jack's
running commentary of unrestrained barking, there was as much noise
over the announcement as could be made by an average town meeting.

Thus were the tidings received across the way. In the Van Arsdel
family, Jim was already an established favorite. Mr. Van Arsdel always
liked him as a bright, agreeable evening visitor, and, now that he
had acquired a position that promised a fair support, there was no
opposition on his part to overcome. Mrs. Van Arsdel was one of the
motherly, complying sort of women, generally desirous of doing what
the next person to her wanted her to do; and, though she was greatly
confused by remembering Alice's decided asseverations that "_it_ never
was and never would be anything, and that Jim was not at all the
person she ever should think of marrying," yet, since it was evident
that she was now determined upon the affair, Mrs. Van Arsdel looked at
it on the bright side.

"After all, my dear," she said to her spouse, "if I must lose both my
daughters, it's a mercy to have them marry and settle down here in
New York, where I can have the comfort of them. Jim will always be
an attentive husband and a good family man. I saw _that_ when he was
helping us move; but I'm sure I don't know what Maria will say now!"

"No matter what Maria says, my dear," said Mr. Van Arsdel. "It don't
make one hair white or black. It's time you were emancipated from

But Aunt Maria, like many dreaded future evils, proved less formidable
on this occasion than had been feared.

The very submissive and edifying manner in which Mr. Jim Fellows had
received her strictures and cautions on a former occasion, and the
profound respect he had shown for her opinion, had so far wrought upon
her as to make her feel that it was really a pity that he was not a
young man of established fortune. If he only had anything to live
on, why, he might be a very desirable match; and so, when he had a
good position and salary, he stood some inches higher in her esteem.
Besides this, there was another balm which distilled resignation in
the cup of acquiescence, and that was the grand chance it gave her
to say, "I told you so." How dear and precious this privilege is to
the very best of people, we need not insist. There are times when it
would comfort them, if all their dearest friends were destroyed, to
be able to say, "I told you so. It's just as I always predicted!" We
all know how Jonah, though not a pirate or a cut-throat, yet wished
himself dead because a great city was not destroyed, when he had taken
the trouble to say it would be. Now, though Alice's engagement was not
in any strict sense an evil, yet it was an event which Aunt Maria had
always foreseen, foretold and insisted on.

So when, with heart-sinkings and infinite precautions, Mrs. Van Arsdel
had communicated the news to her, she was rather relieved at the
response given, with a toss of the head and a vigorous sniff:

"Oh, that's no news to me; it's just what I have foreseen all
along--what I told you was coming on, and you wouldn't believe it.
_Now_ I hope all of you will see that I was right."

"I think," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, "that it was Jim's presence of mind
in saving her life that decided Alice at last. She always liked him;
but I don't think she really loved him till then."

"Well, of course, it was a good thing that there was somebody at hand
who had sense to do the right thing, when girls will be so careless;
but it wasn't that. She meant to have him all along; and I knew it,"
said Aunt Maria. "Well, Jim Fellows, after all, isn't the worst match
a girl could make, either, now that he has some prospects of his
own--but, at any rate, it has turned out just as I said it would. I
knew she'd marry him, six months ago, just as well as I know it now,
unless you and she listened to my advice then. So now all we have to
do is to make the best of it. You've got two weddings on your hands,
now Nellie, instead of one, and I shall do all I can to help you. I
was out all day yesterday looking at sheeting, and I think that at
Shanks & Maynard's is decidedly the firmest and the cheapest, and I
ordered three pieces sent home; and I carried back the napkins to
Taggart's, and then went rambling off up by the Park to find that
woman that does marking."

"I'm sure, Maria, I am ever so much obliged to you," said Mrs. Van

"Well, I hope I'm good for something. Though I'm not fit to be out;
I've such a dreadful cold in my head, I can hardly see; and riding in
these New York omnibuses always makes it worse."

"Dear Maria, why will you expose yourself in that way?"

"Well, somebody's got to do it--and your judgment isn't worth a fip,
Nellie. That sheeting that you were thinking of taking wasn't half
so good, and cost six cents a yard more. I couldn't think of having
things go that way."

"But I'm sure we don't any of us want you to make yourself sick."

"Oh, I sha'n't be sick. I may suffer; but I sha'n't give up. I'm not
one of the kind. If you had the cold in your head that I have, Nellie,
you'd be in bed, with both girls nursing you; but that isn't my way.
I keep up, and attend to things. I want these things of Angie's to be
got up properly, as they ought to be, and there's nobody to do it but

And little Mrs. Van Arsdel, used, from long habit, to be thus
unceremoniously snubbed, dethroned, deposed, and set down hard by her
sister when in full career of labor for her benefit, looked meekly
into the fire, and comforted herself with the reflection that it "was
just like Maria. She always talked so; but, after all, she was a good
soul, and saved her worlds of trouble, and made excellent bargains for



This article of faith forms a part of the profession of all
Christendom, is solemnly recited every Sunday and many week-days in
the services of all Christian churches that have a liturgy, whether
Roman or Greek or Anglican or Lutheran, and may, therefore, bid fair
to pass for a fundamental doctrine of Christianity.

Yet, if narrowly looked into, it is a proposition under which there
are more heretics and unbelievers than all the other doctrines of
religion put together.

Mrs. Maria Wouvermans, standing, like a mother in Israel, in the
most eligible pew of Dr. Cushing's church, has just pronounced these
words with all the rest of the Apostles' Creed, which she has recited
devoutly twice a day every Sunday for forty years or more. She always
recited her creed in a good, strong, clear voice, designed to rebuke
the indolent or fastidious who only mumbled or whispered, and made a
deep reverence in the proper place at the name of Jesus; and somehow
it seemed to feel as if she were witnessing a good confession, and
were part and parcel with the protesting saints and martyrs that, in
blue and red and gold, were shining down upon her through the painted
windows. This solemn standing up in her best bonnet and reciting
her Christian faith every Sunday, was a weekly testimony against
infidelity and schism and lax doctrines of all kinds, and the good
lady gave it with unfaltering regularity. Nothing would have shocked
her more than to have it intimated to her that she did not believe
the articles of her own faith; and yet, if there was anything in the
world that Mrs. Maria Wouvermans practically didn't believe in, and
didn't mean to believe in, it was "_the forgiveness of sins_."

As long as people did exactly right, she had fellowship and sympathy
with them. When they did wrong, she wished to have nothing more to do
with them. Nay, she seemed to consider it a part of public justice and
good morals to clear her skirts from all contact with sinners. If she
heard of penalties and troubles that befell evil doers, it was with a
face of grim satisfaction. "It serves them right--just what they ought
to expect. I don't pity them in the least," were familiar phrases
with her. If anybody did her an injury, crossed her path, showed her
disrespect or contumely, she seemed to feel as free and full a liberty
of soul to hate them as if the Christian religion had never been heard
of. And, in particular, for the sins of women, Aunt Maria had the true
ingrain Saxon ferocity which Sharon Turner describes as characteristic
of the original Saxon female in the earlier days of English history,
when the unchaste woman was pursued and beaten, starved and frozen,
from house to house, by the merciless justice of her sisters.

It is the same spirit that has come down through English law and
literature, and shows itself in the old popular ballad of "Jane
Shore," where, without a word of pity, it is recorded how Jane Shore,
the king's mistress, after his death, first being made to do public
penance in a white sheet, was thereafter turned out to be frozen and
starved to death in the streets, and died miserably in a ditch, from
that time called Shoreditch. A note tells us that there was one man
who, moved by pity, at one time sheltered the poor creature and gave
her food, for which he was thrown into prison, to the great increase
of her sorrow and misery.

It was in a somewhat similar spirit that Mrs. Wouvermans regarded
all sinning women. Her uniform ruling in such cases was that they
were to be let alone by all decent people, and that if they fell into
misery and want, it was only just what they deserved, and she was
glad of it. What business had they to behave so? In her view, all
efforts to introduce sympathy and mercy into prison discipline--all
forbearance and pains-taking with the sinful and lost in all places
in society--was just so much encouragement given to the criminal
classes, and one of the lax humanitarian tendencies of the age. It is
quite certain that had Mrs. Wouvermans been a guest in old times at a
certain Pharisee's house, where the Master allowed a fallen woman to
kiss His feet, she would have joined in saying: "If this man were a
prophet he would have known what manner of woman this is that toucheth
him, for she is a sinner." There was certainly a marked difference
of spirit between her and that Jesus to whom she bowed so carefully
whenever she repeated the creed.

On this particular Sunday, Eva had come to church with her aunt, and
was going to dine with her, intent on a mission of Christian diplomacy.

Some weeks had now passed since she left Maggie in the mission
retreat, and it was the belief of the matron there, and the attending
clergyman, that a change had taken place in her, so radical and so
deep that, if now some new and better course of life were opened to
her, she might, under careful guidance, become a useful member of
society. Whatever views modern skepticism may entertain in regard
to what is commonly called the preaching of the gospel, no sensible
person conversant with actual facts can help acknowledging that it
does produce in some cases the phenomenon called _conversion_, and
that conversion, when real, is a solution of all difficulties in our
days as it was in those of the first apostles.

The first Christians were gathered from the dregs of society, and
the Master did not fear to say to the Pharisees, "The publicans and
harlots go into the kingdom of heaven before you;" and St. Paul
addresses those who he says had been thieves and drunkards and
revilers and extortioners, with the words, "Ye are washed; ye are
sanctified; ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the
spirit of God."

It is on the power of the Divine spirit to effect such changes, even
in the most hopeless and forlorn subjects, that Christians of every
name depend for success; and by this faith such places as the Home for
the Fallen are undertaken and kept up.

What people look for, and labor for, as is proved by all experience,
is more liable to happen than what they do not expect and do not
labor for. The experiment of Mr. James was attended by many marked
and sudden instances of conversion and permanent change of character.
Maggie had been entrapped and drawn in by Mother Moggs in one of those
paroxysms of bitter despair which burned in her bosom, when she saw,
as she thought, every respectable door of life closed upon her and
the way of virtue shut up beyond return. When she thought how, while
_she_ was cast out as utterly beyond hope, the man who had betrayed
her and sinned with her was respected, flattered, rich, caressed,
and joined in marriage to a pure and virtuous wife, a blind and keen
sense of injustice awoke every evil or revengeful passion within her.
"If they won't let me do good, I _can_ do mischief," she thought, and
she was now ready to do all she could to work misery and ruin for a
world that would give her no place to do better. Mother Moggs saw
Maggie's brightness and smartness, and the remains of her beauty. She
flattered and soothed her. To say the truth, Mother Moggs was by no
means all devil. She had large remains of that motherly nature which
is common to warm-blooded women of easy virtue. She took Maggie's
part, was indignant at her wrongs, and offered her a shelter and a
share in her business. Maggie was to tend her bar; and by her talents
and her good looks and attractions Mother Moggs hoped to double her
liquor sales. What if it did ruin the men? What if it was selling them
ruin, madness, beggary--so much the better;--had they not ruined her?

If Maggie had been left to her own ways, she might have been the
ruin of many. It was the Christ in the heart of a woman who had the
Christian love and Christian courage to go after her and seek for her,
that brought to her salvation. The invisible Christ must be made known
through human eyes; he must speak through a voice of earthly love, and
a human hand inspired by his spirit must be reached forth to save.

The sight of Eva's pure, sweet face in that den of wickedness, the
tears of pity in her eyes, the imploring tones of her voice, had
produced an electric revulsion in Maggie's excitable nature. She was
not, then, forsaken: she was cared for, loved, followed even into
the wilderness, by one so far above her in rank and station. It was
an illustration of what Christian love was, which made it possible
to believe in the love of Christ. The hymns, the prayers, that spoke
of hope and salvation, had a vivid meaning in the light of this
interpretation. The enthusiasm of gratitude that arose first towards
Eva, overflowed and bore the soul higher towards a Heavenly Friend.

Maggie was now longing to come back and prove by her devotion and
obedience her true repentance, and Eva had decided to take her again.
With two weddings impending in the family, she felt that Maggie's
skill with the needle and her facility in matters pertaining to the
female toilet might do good service, and might give her the sense of
usefulness--the strength that comes from something really accomplished.

Her former experience made her careful, however, of those sore and
sensitive conditions which attend the return to virtue in those who
have sinned, and which are often severest where there is the most
moral vitality, and she was anxious to prevent any repetition on Aunt
Maria's part of former unwise proceedings. All the other _habitués_
of the house partook of her own feeling; Alice and Angie were warmly
interested for the poor girl; and if Aunt Maria could be brought to
tolerate the arrangement, the danger of a sudden domiciliary visit
from her attended with inflammatory results might be averted.

So Eva was very sweet and very persuasive in her manner to-day, for
Aunt Maria had been devoting herself so entirely to the family service
during the few weeks past, that she felt in some sort under a debt
of obligation to her. The hardest person in the world to manage is a
sincere, willful, pig-headed, pertinacious friend who will insist on
doing you all sorts of kindnesses in a way that plagues about as much
as it helps you.

But Eva was the diplomatist of the family; the one with the precise
mixture of the _suaviter in modo_ with the _fortiter in re_. She
had hitherto carried her points with the good lady in a way that
gave her great advantage, for Aunt Maria was one of those happily
self-complacent people who do not fail to arrogate to themselves the
after the most strenuous efforts, to hinder, and Eva's credit of all
the good things that they have not been able, housekeeping and social
successes, so far, were quite a feather in her cap. So, after dinner,
Eva began with:

"Well, you know, Aunt Maria, what with these two weddings coming on,
there is to be a terrible pressure of work--both coming the week after
Easter, you see. So," she added quickly, "I think it quite lucky that
I have found Maggie and got her back again, for she is one of the
quickest and best seamstresses that I know of." Aunt Maria's brow
suddenly darkened. Every trace of good-humor vanished from her face as
she said:

"Now do tell me, Eva, if you _are_ going to be such a fool, when
you were once fairly quit of that girl, to bring her back into your

"Yes, Aunt, I thought it my Christian duty to take care of her, and
see that she did not go to utter ruin."

"I don't know what you mean," said Aunt Maria. "_I_ should say she
_had_ gone there now. Do you think it your duty to turn your house
into a Magdalen asylum?"

"No, I do not; but I do think it is our duty to try to help and save
this _one_ girl whom we know--who is truly repentant, and who wants to
do well."

"Repentant!" said Aunt Maria in a scornful tone. "Don't tell me. I
know their tricks, and you'll just be imposed on and get yourself into
trouble. I know the world, and I know all about it." Eva now rose
and played her last card. "Aunt Maria," she said, "You profess to be
a Christian and to follow the Saviour who came to seek and save the
lost, and I don't think you do right to treat with such scorn a poor
girl that is trying to do better."

"It's pretty well of you, Miss, to lecture _me_ in this style! Trying
to do better!" said Aunt Maria, "then what did she go off for, when
she was at your house and you were doing all you could for her? It was
just that she wanted to go to the bad."

"She went off, Aunt Maria," said Eva, "because she overheard all you
said about her, the day you were at my house. She heard you advising
me to send her mother away on her account, and saying that she was a
disgrace to me. No wonder she ran off."

"Well, serves her right for listening! Listeners never hear any good
of themselves," said Aunt Maria.

"Now, Aunty," said Eva, "nobody has more respect for your good
qualities than I have, or more sense of what we all owe you for your
kindness to us; but I must tell you fairly that, now I am married,
you must not come to my house to dictate about or interfere with my
family arrangements. You must understand that Harry and I manage these
matters ourselves and will not allow any interference; and I tell
you now that Maggie is to be at our house, and under my care, and I
request that you will not come there to say or do anything which may
hurt her mother's feelings or hers."

"Mighty fine," said Aunt Maria, rising in wrath, "when it has come to
this, that servants are preferred before me!"

"It has not come to that, Aunt Maria. It has simply come to this: that
I am to be sole mistress in my own family, and sole judge of what it
is right and proper to do; and when I need your advice I shall ask it;
but I don't want you to offer it unless I do."

Having made this concluding speech while she was putting on her bonnet
and shawl, Eva now cheerfully wished her aunt good afternoon, and made
the best of her way down-stairs.

"I don't see, Eva, how you could get up the courage to face your aunt
down in that way," said Mrs. Van Arsdel, to whom Eva related the

"Dear Mamma, it'll do her good. She will be as sweet as a rose after
the first week of indignation. Aunt Maria is a sensible woman, after
all, and resigns herself to the inevitable. She worries and hectors
you, my precious Mammy, because you will let her. If you'd show a
brave face, she wouldn't do it; but it isn't in you, you poor, lovely
darling, and so she just preys upon you; but Harry and I are resolved
to make her stand and give the countersign when she comes to our camp."

And it is a fact that, a week after, Aunt Maria spent a day with Eva
in the balmiest state of grace, and made no allusion whatever to the
conversation above cited. Nothing operates so healthfully on such
moral constitutions as a good dose of certainty.



Every thoughtful person who exercises the least supervision over what
goes on within, is conscious of living two distinct lives--the outward
and the inward.

The external life is positive, visible, definable; easily made the
subject of conversation. The inner life is shy, retiring, most
difficult to be expressed in words, often inexplicable, even to the
subject of it, yet no less a positive reality than the outward.

We have not succeeded in the picture of our Eva unless we have shown
her to have one of those sensitive moral organizations, whose nature
it is to reflect deeply, to feel intensely, and to aspire after a high
moral ideal.

If we do not mistake the age we live in, the perplexities and
anxieties of such natures form a very large item in our modern life.

It is said that the Christian religion is losing its hold on society.
On the contrary, we believe there never was a time when faith in
Christianity was so deep and all-pervading, and when it was working in
so many minds as a disturbing force.

The main thing which is now perplexing modern society, is the effort
which is making to reduce the teachings of the New Testament to
actual practice in life and to regulate society by them. There is no
skepticism as to the ends sought by Jesus in human life. Nobody doubts
that love is the fulfilling of the law, and that to do as we would be
done by, applied universally, would bring back the golden age, if ever
such ages were.

But the problem that meets the Christian student, and the practical
person who means to live the Christian life, is the problem of
redemption and of self-sacrifice.

In a world where there is always ruin and misery, where the
inexperienced are ensnared and the blind misled, and where fatal and
inexorable penalties follow every false step, there must be a band of
redeemers, seekers and savers of the lost. There must be those who
sacrifice ease, luxury and leisure, to labor for the restoration of
the foolish and wicked who have sold their birthright and lost their
inheritance; and here is just the problem that our age and day present
to the thoughtful person who, having professed, in whatever church or
creed, to be a Christian, wishes to make a reality of that profession.

The night that Eva had spent in visiting the worst parts of New York
had been to her a new revelation of that phase of paganism which
exists in our modern city life, within sound of hundreds of church
bells of every denomination. She saw authorized as a regular trade,
and protected by law, the selling of that poisoned liquor which
brings on insanity worse than death; which engenders idiocy, and the
certainty of vicious propensities in the brain of the helpless unborn
infant; which is the source of all the poverty, and more than half
the crime, that fills alms-houses and prisons, and of untold miseries
and agonies to thousands of families. She saw woman degraded as the
minister of sin and shame; the fallen and guilty Eve, forever plucking
and giving to Adam the forbidden fruit whose mortal taste brings death
into the world; and her heart had been stirred by the sight of those
multitudes of poor ruined wrecks of human beings, men and women, that
she had seen crowding in to that midnight supper, and by the earnest
pleadings of faith and love that she had heard in the good man's
prayers for them. She recalled his simple faith, his undaunted courage
in thus maintaining this forlorn hope in so hopeless a region, and she
could not rest satisfied with herself, doing nothing to help.

In talking with Mr. James on his prospects, he had said that he very
much wished to enlarge this Home so as to put there some dormitories
for the men who were willing to take the pledge to abandon drinking,
where they could find shelter and care until some kind of work could
be provided for them. He stated further that he wished to connect with
the enterprise a farm in the country where work could be found for
both men and women, of a kind which would be remunerative, and which
might prove self-supporting.

Eva reflected with herself whether she had anything to give or to do
for a purpose so sacred. Their income was already subject to a strict
economy. The little elegancies and adornments of her house were those
that are furnished by thought and care rather than by money. Even with
the most rigorous self-scrutiny, Eva could not find fault with the
home philosophy by which their family life had been made attractive
and delightful, because she said and felt that her house had been
a ministry to others. It had helped to make others stronger, more
cheerful, happier.

But when she brought Maggie away from the Home, she longed to send
back some helpful token to those earnest laborers.

On revising her possessions, she remembered that, once, in the days
when she was a rich and rather self-indulgent daughter of luxury, she
had spent the whole of one quarter's allowance in buying for herself a
pearl cross. It cost her not even a sacrifice, for when with a kiss
or two she confessed her extravagance to her father, he only pinched
her cheek playfully, told her not to do so again, and gave a check for
the amount. There it lies, at this moment, in Eva's hands; and as she
turns it abstractedly round and round, and marks the play of light on
the beautiful pearls, she thinks earnestly what that cross means, and
wonders that she should ever have worn it as a mere bauble.

Does it not mean that man's most generous Friend, the highest,
the purest, the sweetest nature that ever visited this earth, was
agonized, tortured, forsaken, and left to bleed life away, unpitied
and unrelieved, for love of us and of all sinning, suffering humanity?
Suddenly the words came with overpowering force to her mind: "He
died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto

Immediately she resolved that she would give this cross to the sacred
work of saving the lost. She resolved to give it secretly--without
the knowledge even of her husband. The bauble was something personal
to herself that never would be missed or inquired for, and she felt
about such an offering that reserve and sacredness which is proper
to natures of great moral delicacy. With the feeling she had at
this moment, it was as much an expression of personal loyalty and
devotion to Jesus Christ as was the precious alabaster vase of Mary.
It satisfied, moreover, a kind of tender, vague remorse that she had
often felt; as if, in her wedded happiness and her quiet home, she
were too blessed, and had more than her share of happiness in a world
where there were such sufferings and sorrows.

She had always had a longing to do something towards the world's work,
and, if nothing more, to be a humble helper of the brave and heroic
spirits who press on in the front ranks of this fight for the good.

She did not wish to be thanked or praised, as if the giving up of
such a toy for such a cause were a sacrifice worth naming; for, in
the mood that she was in, it was no sacrifice--it was a relief to an
over-charged feeling, an act of sacramental union between her soul
and the Saviour who gave himself wholly for the lost. So she put the
velvet case in its box, and left it at Mr. James's door, with the
following little note:

     "_My Dear Sir_: Ever since that most sad evening when
     I went with you in your work of mercy to those unhappy
     people, I have been thinking of what I saw, and wishing I
     could do something to help you. You say that you do not
     solicit aid except from the dear Father who is ever near to
     those that are trying to do such work as this; yet, as long
     as he is ever near to Christian hearts, he will inspire
     them with desires to help in a cause so wholly Christ-like.
     I send you this ornament, which was bought in days when
     I thought little of its sacred meaning. Sell it, and let
     the avails go towards enlarging your Home for those poor
     people who find no place for repentance in the world. I
     would rather you would tell nobody from whom it comes. It
     is something wholly my own; it is a relief to offer it, to
     help a little in so good a work, and I certainly shall not
     forget to pray for your success.

          "Yours, very truly,

               E. H.

     "P.S.--I am very happy to be able to say that poor M.
     seems indeed a changed creature. She is gentle, quiet, and
     humble; and is making, in our family, many friends.

     "I feel hopeful that there is a future for her, and that
     the dear Saviour has done for her what no human being could

We have seen the question raised lately in a religious paper, whether
the sacrifice of personal ornaments for benevolent objects was not
obligatory; and we have seen the right to retain these small personal
luxuries defended with earnestness.

To us, it seems an unfortunate mode of putting a very sacred subject.

The Infinite Saviour, in whose hands all the good works of the world
are moving, is _rich_. The treasures of the world are his. He is as
able now as he was when on earth to bid us cast in our line and find
a piece of silver in the mouth of the first fish. Our gifts are only
valuable to him for what they express in us.

Had Mary not shed the precious balm upon his head, she would not have
been reproved for the omission; yet the exaltation of love which so
expressed itself was appreciated and honored by him.

It is written, too, that he looked upon and loved the young man who
had not yet attained to the generous enthusiasm that is willing to
sacrifice _all_ for suffering humanity.

Religious offerings, to have value in his sight, must be like the
gifts of lovers, not extorted by conscience, but by the divine
necessity which finds relief in giving.

He can wait, as mothers do, till we outgrow our love of toys and come
to feel the real sacredness and significance of life. The toy which is
dear to childhood will be easily surrendered in the nobler years of

But Eva's was a nature so desirous of sympathy that whatever dwelt
on her mind overflowed first or last into the minds of her friends;
and, an evening or two after her visit to the mission home, she told
the whole story at her fireside to Dr. Campbell, St. John, and Angie,
Bolton, Jim, and Alice, who were all dining with her. Eva had two
or three objects in this. In the first place, she wanted to touch
the nerve of real Christian unity which she felt existed between the
heart of St. John and that of every true Christian worker--that same
Christian unity that associated the Puritan apostle Eliot with the
Roman Catholic missionaries of Canada. She wished him to see in a
Methodist minister the same faith, the same moral heroism which he had
so warmly responded to in the ritualistic mission of St. George, and
which was his moral ideal in his own work.

She wished to show Dr. Campbell the pure and simple faith in God and
prayer by which so effective a work of humanity had already been done
for a class so hopeless.

"It's all very well," he said, "and I'm glad, if anybody can do it;
but I don't believe prayer has anything to do with it."

"Well, I do," said Bolton, energetically. "I wouldn't think life worth
having another minute, if I didn't think there was a God who would
stand by a man whose whole life was devoted to work like this."

"Well," said Campbell, "it isn't, after all, an appeal to God; it's an
appeal to human nature. Nobody that has a heart in him can see such
a work doing and not want to help it. Your minister takes one and
another to see his Home, and says nothing, and, by-and-by, the money
comes in."

"But in the beginning," said Eva, "he had no money, and nothing to
show to anybody. He was going to do a work that nobody believed in,
among people that everybody thought so hopeless that it was money
thrown away to help him. To whom could he go but God? He went and
asked _Him_ to help him, and began, and has been helped day by day
ever since; and _I_ believe God did help him. What is the use of
believing in God at all, if we don't believe that?"

"Well," said Jim, "I'm not much on theology, but we newspaper fellows
get a considerable stock of facts, first and last; and I've looked
through this sort of thing, and I believe in it. A man don't go on
doing a business of six or seven or eight thousand a year on prayer,
unless prayer amounts to something; and I know, first and last, the
expenses of that concern can't be less than that."

"Well," said Harry, "we have a lasting monument in the great orphan
house of Halle--a whole city square of solid stone buildings. I have
stood in the midst of them, and they were all built by one man,
without fortune of his own, who has left us his written record how,
day by day, as expenses thickened, he went to God and asked for his
supplies, and found them."

"But I maintain," said Dr. Campbell, "that his appeal was to human
nature. People found out what he was doing, their sympathies were
moved, and they sent him help. The very sight of such a work is an

"I don't think that theory accounts for the facts," said Bolton.
"Admitting that there is a God who is near every human heart in its
most secret retirement, who knows the most hidden moods, the most
obscure springs of action, how can you prove that this God did not
inspire the thoughts of sympathy and purposes of help there recorded?
For we have in this Franke's journal, year after year, records of
help coming in when it was wanted, having been asked for of God, and
obtained with as much regularity and certainty as if checks had been
drawn on a banker."

"Well," said Dr. Campbell, "do you suppose that, if I should now start
to build a hospital without money, and pray every week for funds to
settle with my workmen, it would come?"

"No, Doctor, _you're_ not the kind of fellow that such things happen
to," said Jim, "nor am I."

"It supposes an exceptional nature," said Bolton, "an utter
renunciation of self, an entire devotion to an unselfish work, and an
unshaken faith in God. It is a moral genius, as peculiar and as much a
gift as the genius of painting, poetry, or music."

"It is an inspiration to do the work of humanity, and it presupposes
faith," said Eva. "You know the Bible says, 'He that cometh to God
must _believe_ that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those that
diligently seek him.'"

The result of that fireside talk was not unfruitful. The next week was
a harvest for the Home.

In blank envelopes, giving no names, came various sums. Fifty dollars,
with the added note:

     "From a believer in human nature."

This was from Dr. Campbell.

A hundred dollars was found in another envelope, with the note:

     "To help up the fallen,
     From one who has been down."

This was from Bolton.

Mr. St. John sent fifty dollars, with the words:

     "From a fellow-worker."

And, finally, Jim Fellows sent fifty, with the words:

     "From one of the boys."

None of these consulted with the other; each contribution was a silent
and secret offering. Who can prove that the "Father that seeth in
secret" did not inspire them?



"The Squantum and Patuxet Manufacturing Company have concluded not to
make any dividends for the current year."

Such was the sum and substance that Miss Dorcas gathered from a very
curt letter which she had just received from the Secretary of that
concern, at the time of the semi-annual dividend.

The causes of this arrangement were said to be that the entire income
of the concern (which it was cheerfully stated had never been so
prosperous) was to be devoted to the erection of a new mill and the
purchase of new machinery, which would in the future double the avails
of the stock.

Now, as society is, and, for aught we see, as it must be, the
masculine half of mankind have it all their own way; and the cleverest
and shrewdest woman, in making investments, has simply the choice
between what this or that _man_ tells her. If she falls by chance
into the hands of an honest man, with good sense, she may make an
investment that will be secure to pay all the expenses of her mortal
pilgrimage, down to the banks of Jordan; but if, as quite often
happens, she falls into the hands of careless or visionary advisers,
she may suddenly find herself in the character of "the unprotected
female" at some half-way station of life, with her ticket lost and not
a cent to purchase her further passage.

Now, this was precisely the predicament that this letter announced
to Miss Dorcas. For the fact was that, although she and her sister
owned the house they lived in, yet every available cent of income that
supplied their establishment came from the dividends of these same
Squantum and Patuxet mills.

It is a fact, too, that women, however strong may be their own sense
and ability, do, as a general fact, rely on the judgment of the _men_
of the family, and consider their rulings in business matters final.

Miss Dorcas had all this propensity intensified by the old-world
family feeling. Her elder brother, Dick Vanderheyden, was one of those
handsome, plausible, visionary fellows who seem born to rule over
womankind, and was fully disposed to magnify his office. Miss Dorcas
worshiped him with a faith which none of his numerous failures abated.
The cupboards and closets of the house were full of the remains of
inventions which, he had demonstrated by figures in the face of facts,
ought to have produced millions, and never did produce anything but
waste of money. She was sure that he was the original inventor of the
principle of the sewing-machine; and how it happened that he never
perfected the thing, and that somebody else stole in before him and
got it all, Miss Dorcas regarded as one of the inscrutable mysteries
of Providence.

Poor Dick Vanderheyden was one of those permanent waiters at the
world's pool, like the impotent man in the gospel. When the angel of
success came down and troubled the waters, there was always another
who stepped in before him and got the benefit.

Yet there was one thing that never left him to the last, and that was
a sweet-tempered, sunny hopefulness, in which, through years when
the family fortune had been growing beautifully less in his hands,
Dick was still making arrangements which were to bring in wonderful
results, till one night a sudden hemorrhage from the lungs settled
all his earthly accounts in an hour, and left Miss Dorcas and Mrs.
Betsey without a male relative in the world.

One of the last moves of brother Dick had been to take all the
sisters' United States stock and invest it for them in the Squantum
and Patuxet Manufacturing Company, where, he confidently assured them,
it would in time bring them an income of fifty per cent.

For four years after his death, however, only a moderate dividend
was declared by the company, but always with brilliant promises for
the future; the fifty per cent., like the "good time coming" in the
song, was a thing to look forward to, as the end of many little
retrenchments and economies; and now suddenly comes this letter,
announcing to them an indefinite suspension of their income.

Mrs. Betsey could scarcely be made to believe it.

"Why, they've got all our money; are they going to keep it, and not
pay us anything?"

"That seems to be their intention," said Miss Dorcas grimly.

"But, Dorcas, I wouldn't have it so. I'd rather have our money back
again in United States stock."

"So had I."

"Well, if you write and ask them for it, and tell them that you _must_
have it, and can't get along without, won't they send it back to you?"

"No, they won't think of such a thing. They never do business that

"Won't? Why, I never heard of such folks. Why, there's no justice in

"You don't understand these things, Betsey; nor I, very well. All I
know is, that Dick took our money and bought stock with it, and we are
stockholders of this company."

"And what is being a stockholder?"

"As far as I can perceive, it is this: when old women like you and
me are stockholders, it means that a company of men take our money
and use it for their own purposes, and pay us what they like, when it
comes convenient; and when it's not convenient, they don't pay us at
all. It is borrowing people's money, without paying interest."

"Why, that is horrid. Why, it's the most unjust thing I ever heard
of," said Mrs. Betsey. "Don't you think so, Dorcas?"

"Well, it seems so to me; but women never understand business. Dick
used to say so. The fact is, old women have no business anywhere,"
said Miss Dorcas bitterly. "It's time we were out of the world."

"I'm sure I haven't wanted to live so very much," said Mrs. Betsey,
tremulously. "I don't want to die, but I had quite as lieve _be_ dead."

"Come, Betsey, don't let us talk that way," said Miss Dorcas. "We
sha'n't gain anything by flying in the face of Providence."

"But, Dorcas, I don't think it can be quite as bad as you think.
People couldn't be so bad, if they knew just how much we wanted our
money. Why, we haven't anything to go on--only think! The company has
been making money, you say?"

"Oh, yes, never so large profits as this year; but, instead of paying
the stockholders, they have voted to put up a new mill and enlarge the

"Who voted so?"

"The stockholders themselves. As far as I can learn, that means one or
two men who have bought all the stock, and now can do what they like."

"But couldn't _you_ go to the stockholders' meeting and vote?"

"What good would it do, if I have but ten votes, where each of these
men has five hundred? They have money enough. They don't need this
income to live on, and so they use it, as they say, to make the
property more valuable; and perhaps, Betsey, when we are both dead,
it will pay fifty per cent. to somebody, just as Dick always said it

"But," said Mrs. Betsey, "of what use will that be to us, when what
we want is something to live on now? Why, we can't get along without
income, Dorcas, don't you see?"

"I think I do," said Miss Dorcas, grimly.

"Why, why, what shall we do?"

"Well, we can sell the house, I suppose."

"Sell the house!" said poor little Mrs. Betsey, aghast at the thought;
"and where could we go? and what should we do with all our things? I'd
rather die, and done with it; and if we got any money and put it into
anything, people would just take it and use it, and not pay us income;
or else it would all go just as my money did that Dick put into that
Aurora bank. That was going to make our everlasting fortune. There
was no end to the talk about what it would do--and all of a sudden
the bank burst up, and my money was all gone--never gave me back a
cent! and _I_ should like to know where it went to. Somebody had that
ten thousand dollars of mine, but it wasn't me. No, we won't sell the
house; it's all we've got left, and as long as it's here we've got a
right to be _somewhere_. We can stay here and starve, I suppose!--you
and I and Jack."

Jack, perceiving by his mistress's tones that something was the
matter, here jumped into her lap and kissed her.

"Yes, you poor doggie," said Mrs. Betsey, crying; "we'll all starve
together. How much money have you got left, Dorcas?"

Miss Dorcas drew out an old porte-monnaie and opened it.

"Twenty dollars."

"Oh, go 'way, Miss Dorcas; ye don't know what a lot I's got stowed
away in my old tea-pot!" chuckled a voice from behind the scenes, and
Dinah's woolly head and brilliant ivories appeared at the slide of the
china-closet, where she had been an unabashed and interested listener
to the conversation.

"Dinah, I'm surprised," said Miss Dorcas, with dignity.

"Well, y' can be surprised and git over it," said Dinah, rolling her
portly figure into the conversation. "All I's got to say is, dere
ain't no use for Mis' Betsey here to be worritin' and gettin' into a
bad spell 'bout money, so long as I's got three hundred dollars laid
up in my tea-pot. 'Tain't none o' your rags neither," said Dinah, who
was strong on the specie question--"good bright silver dollars, and
gold guineas, and eagles, I tucked away years ago, when your Pa was
alive, and money was plenty. Look a-heah now!"--and Dinah emphasized
her statement by rolling a handful of old gold guineas upon the
table--"Dare now; see dar! Don't catch me foolin' away no money wid
no banks and no stockholders. I keeps pretty tight grip o'mine. Tell
_you_, 'fore I'd let dem gemmen hab my money I'd braid it up in my
har--and den I'd know where 'twas when I wanted it."

"Dinah, you dear old soul," said Miss Dorcas, with tears in her eyes,
"you don't think we'd live on your money?"

"Dun no why you shouldn't, as well as me live on yourn," said Dinah.
"It's all in de family, and turn about's fair play. Why, good land!
Miss Dorcas, I jest lotted on savin't up for de family. You can use
mine and give it back agin when dat ar good time comes Massa Dick was
allers a-tellin' about."

Mrs. Betsey fell into Dinah's arms, and cried on her shoulder,
declaring that she couldn't take a cent of her money, and that they
were all ruined, and fell into what Dinah used to call one of her "bad
spells." So she swept her up in her arms forthwith and carried her
upstairs and put her to bed, amid furious dissentient barkings from
Jack, who seemed to consider it his duty to express an opinion in the

"Dar now, ye aggrevatin' critter, lie down and shet up," she said to
Jack, as she lifted him on to the bed and saw him cuddle down in Mrs.
Betsey's arms and lay his rough cheek against hers.

Dinah remembered, years before, her young mistress lying weak and
faint on that same spot, and how there had been the soft head of a
baby lying where Jack's rough head was now nestling, and her heart
swelled within her.

"Now, then," she said, pouring out some drops and giving them to her,
"you jest hush up and go to sleep, honey. Miss Dorcas and I, we'll fix
up this 'ere. It'll all come straight--now you'll see it will. Why, de
Lord ain't gwine to let you starve. Never see de righteous forsaken.
Jest go to sleep, honey, and it'll be all right when you wake up."

Meanwhile, Miss Dorcas had gone across the way to consult with Eva.
The opening of the friendship on the opposite side of the way had
been a relief to her from the desolateness and loneliness of her life
circle, and she had come to that degree of friendly reliance that she
felt she could state her dilemma and ask advice.

"I don't see any way but I must come to selling the house at last,"
said Miss Dorcas; "but I don't know how to set about it; and if we
have to leave, at our age, life won't seem worth having. I'm afraid
it would kill Betsey."

"Dear Miss Dorcas, we can't afford to lose you," said Eva. "You
don't know what a comfort it is to have you over there, so nice and
handy--why, it would be forlorn to have you go; it would break us all

"You are kind to say so," said Miss Dorcas; "but I can't help feeling
that the gain of our being there is all on one side."

"But, dear Miss Dorcas, why need you move? See here. A bright thought
strikes me. Your house is so large! Why couldn't you rent half of it?
You really don't need it all; and I'm sure it could easily be arranged
for two families. Do think of that, please."

"If it could be done--if anybody would want it!" said Miss Dorcas.

"Oh, just let us go over this minute and see," said Eva, as she threw
a light cloud of worsted over her head, and seizing Miss Dorcas by the
arm, crossed back with her, talking cheerfully.

"Here you have it, nice as possible. Your front parlor--you never sit
there; and it's only a care to have a room you don't use. And then
this great empty office back here--a dining-room all ready! and there
is a back shed that could have a cooking-stove, and be fitted into a
kitchen. Why, the thing is perfect; and there's your income, without
moving a peg! See what it is to have real estate!"

"You are very sanguine," said Miss Dorcas, looking a little brightened
herself. "I have often thought myself that the house is a great deal
larger than we need; but I am quite helpless about such matters. We
are so out of the world. I know nothing of business; real estate
agents are my horror; and I have no man to advise me."

"Oh, Miss Dorcas, wait now till I consult Harry. I'm sure something
nice could be arranged."

"I dare say," said Miss Dorcas, "if these rooms were in a fashionable
quarter we might let them; but the world has long since left our house
in the rear."

"Never mind that," said Eva. "You see _we_ don't mind fashion, and
there may be neighbors as good as we, of the same mind."

Eva already had one of her visions in her head; but of this she did
not speak to Miss Dorcas till she had matured it.

She knew Jim Fellows had been for weeks on the keen chase after
apartments, and that none yet had presented themselves as altogether
eligible. Alice had insisted on an economical beginning, and the
utmost prudence as to price; and the result had been, what is usual in
such cases, that all the rooms that would _do_ at all were too dear.

Eva saw at once in this suite of rooms, right across the way from
them, the very thing they were in search of. The rooms were large and
sunny, with a quaint, old-fashioned air of by-gone gentility that made
them attractive; and her artist imagination at once went into the work
of brightening up their tarnished and dusky respectability with a
nice little modern addition of pictures and flowers, and new bits of
furniture here and there.

Just as she returned from her survey, she found Jim in her own parlor,
with a thriving pot of ivy.

"Well, here's one for our parlor window, when we find one," said he.
"I'm a boy that gets things when I see them. Now you don't often see
an ivy so thrifty as this, and I've brought it to you to take care of
till I find the room!"

"Jim," said Eva, "I believe just what you want is to be found right
across the way from us, so that we can talk across from your windows
to ours."

"What! the old Vanderheyden house? Thunder!" said Jim.

Now, Jim was one of the class of boys who make free use of "thunder"
in conversation, without meaning to express anything more by it than a
state of slight surprise.

"What's up now?" he added. "I should as soon expect Queen Victoria to
rent Buckingham Palace as that the old ladies across the way would
come to letting rooms!"

"Necessity has no law, Jim." And then Eva told him Miss Dorcas's

"Poor old girls!" said Jim. "I do declare it's too thundering bad.
I'll go right over and rent the rooms; and I'll pay up square, too,
and no mistake."

"Shall I go with you?"

"Oh, you just leave that to me. Two are all that are needed in a

In a few minutes, Jim was at his ease in front of Miss Dorcas, saying:

"Miss Dorcas, the fact is, I want to hire a suite of rooms. You see,
I'm going to have a wife before long, and nothing will suit her so
well as this neighborhood. Now, if you will only rent us half of your
house, we shall behave so beautifully that you never will be sorry you
took us in."

Miss Dorcas apologized for the rooms and furniture. They were old, she
knew--not in modern style--but such as they were, would he just go
through them? and Jim made the course with her. And the short of the
matter was, that the bargain was soon struck.

Jim stated frankly the sum he felt able to pay for apartments; to Miss
Dorcas the sum seemed ample enough to relieve all her embarrassments,
and in an hour he returned to the other side, having completed the

"There, now,--we're anchored, I think. The old folks and Aunt Maria
have been wanting me to marry on and live with them in the old hive,
but Jim doesn't put his foot into that trap, if he knows it. My wife
and I must have our own establishment, if it's only in two rooms. Now
it's all settled, if Allie likes it, and I know she will. By George,
it's a lucky hit! That parlor will brighten up capitally."

"You know, old furniture is all the rage now," said Eva, "and you can
buy things here and there as you want."

"Yes," said Jim; "you know I did buy a pair of brass andirons when
I was going to ask Allie to have me, and they'll be just the things
for the fireplace over there. Miss Dorcas apologized for the want of
those that belonged there by saying that her brother had taken them
to pieces to try some experiments in brass polishing, and never found
time to put them together again, and so parts of them got lost. I told
her it was a special providence that I happened to have the very pair
that were needed there; and there's a splendid sunny window for the
ivies on the south corner!"

"That old furniture is lovely," said Eva. "It's like a dark, rich
background to a picture. All your little bright modern things will
show so well over it."

"Well, I'm going to bring Allie down to go over it, this minute," said
Jim, who was not of the class that allow the grass to grow under their

Meanwhile, when little Mrs. Betsey came down to dinner, she found the
storm over, and clear, shining after rain.

"What, Mr. Fellows!" she exclaimed; "that dear, good young man that
was so kind to Jack! Why, Dorcas, what a providence! I'm sure it'll be
a mercy to have a man in the house once more!"

"Why, I'm sure," said Miss Dorcas, "your great fear that you wake me
up every night about, is that there _is_ a man in the house!"

"Oh, well," said Mrs. Betsey, laughing cheerfully; "you know what I
mean. I mean the right kind of a man. I've thought that those dreadful
burglars and creatures that break into houses where there's old silver
must find us out--because, Dorcas, really, that hat that we keep on
the entry table is so big and dusty, and so different from what they
wear now, they must know that no man wears a hat like that. I've
always told Dinah that--she knows I have, more than twenty times."

A snicker from the adjacent china-closet, where Dinah was listening,
confirmed this statement.

"Why, it's such a nice thing. Why, there's no end to it," said Mrs.
Betsey, whose cheerfulness increased with reflection. "A real _live_
man in the house!--and a young man, too!--and such a nice one; and
_dear_ Miss Alice--why, only think, bringing all her wedding clothes
to the house, and I don't doubt she'll show them all to me--and it'll
be so nice for Jack! won't it, Jack?"

Jack barked his assent vigorously, and a second explosive chuckle from
the china closet betrayed Dinah's profound sympathy. The faithful
creature was rolling and boiling in waves of triumphant merriment
behind the scenes. The conversation of her mistresses in fact appeared
to be a daily source of amusement to her, and Miss Dorcas was forced
to wink at this espionage, in consideration of Dinah's limited sources
of entertainment, and generally pretended not to know that she was

On the present occasion, Dinah's contribution to the interview
was too evident to be ignored, but Miss Dorcas listened to it with
indulgence. A good prospect of regular income does, after all,
strengthen one's faith in Providence, and dispose one to be easily
satisfied with one's fellows.



Dear Mother: You've no idea how things have gone on within a short
time. I have been _so_ excited and _so_ busy, and kept in such a state
of constant consultation, for this past week, that I have had no time
to keep up my bulletins to you.

Well, dear mother, it is at last concluded that we are to have two
weddings on one day, the second week after Easter, when Alice is to be
married to Jim Fellows, and Angie to Mr. St. John.

Easter comes this year about the latest that it ever does, so that we
may hope for sunny spring weather, and at least a few crocuses and
hyacinths in the borders, as good omens for the future. I wish you
could choose this time to make your long-promised visit and see how
gay and festive we all are. Just now, every one is overwhelmed with
business, and the days go off very fast.

Aunt Maria is in her glory, as generalissimo of the forces and
dictator of all things. It is for just such crises that she was
born; she has now fairly enough to manage to keep her contented with
everybody, and everybody contented with her--which, by-the-bye, is not
always the case in her history.

It is decreed that the wedding is to be a morning one, in Mr. St.
John's little chapel; and that, after the reception at mamma's, Jim
will start with Alice to visit his family friends, and Angie and St.
John will go immediately on the steamer to sail for Europe, where
they will spend the summer in traveling and be back again in the
autumn. Meanwhile, they have engaged a house in that part of the city
where their mission work lies, and of course, like ours, it is on an
unfashionable street--a thing which grieves Aunt Maria, who takes
every occasion to say that Mr. St. John, being a man of independent
fortune, is entitled to live genteelly. I am glad, because they are
within an easy distance of us, which will be nice. Aunt Maria and
mamma are to see to getting the house all ready for them to go into
when they return.

Bolton is going over with them, to visit Paris! The fact is, since I
opened communication between him and Caroline, her letters to me have
grown short and infrequent, and her letters to him long and constant,
and the effect on him has been magical. I have never seen him in such
good spirits. Those turns of morbid depression that he used to have,
seem to be fading away gradually. He has been with us so much that I
feel almost as if he were a member of our family, and I cannot but
feel that our home has been a shelter and a strength to him. What
would it be to have a happy one of his own? I am sure he deserves it,
if ever kindness, unselfishness, and true nobleness of heart deserved
it: and I am sure that Caroline is wise enough and strong enough to
give him just the support that he needs.

Then there's Alice's engagement to Jim. I have long foreseen to
what her friendship for him would grow, and though she had many
hesitations, yet _now_ she is perfectly happy in it; and only think
how nice it is! They are to take half the old Vanderheyden house,
opposite to us, so that we can see the lights of each other's hearths
across from each other's windows.

Mother, doesn't it seem as if our bright, cosy, happy, free-and-easy
home was throwing out as many side-shoots as a lilac bush?

Just think; in easy vicinity, we shall have Jim and Alice, Angie and
St. John, and, as I believe, Bolton and Caroline. We shall be a guild
of householders, who hold the same traditions, walk by the same rule,
and mind the same things. Won't it be lovely? What nice "droppings
in" and visitings and tea-drinkings and consultings we shall have!
And it is not merely having good times either; but, Mother, the more
I think of it, the more I think the making of bright, happy _homes_
is the best way of helping on the world that has been discovered yet.
A _home_ is a thing that can't be for one's own self alone--at least
the kind of home we are thinking of; it reaches out on all sides and
helps and shelters and comforts others. Even my little experiment of a
few months ago shows me _that_; and I know that Angie's and St. John's
home will be even more so than ours. Angie was born to be a rector's
wife; to have a kind word and a smile and a good deed for everybody,
to love everybody dearly, and keep everybody bright and in good
spirits. It is amazing to see the change she has wrought in St. John.
He was fast getting into a sort of stringent, morbid asceticism; now
he is so gracious, so genial, and so entertaining,--he is like a rock,
in June, all bursting out with anemones and columbines in every rift.

As to Jim and Alice, you ought to see how happy they are in consulting
me about the arrangements of their future home in the Vanderheyden
house. And the best of it is, to see how perfectly delighted the
two old ladies are to have them there. You must know that there was
a sudden failure in Miss Dorcas's income which would have made it
necessary to sell the house had it not been for just this arrangement.
But they are as gracious and kind about it as if they were about to
receive guests; and every improvement and every additional touch of
brightness to the rooms seems to please them as much as if they were
going to be married themselves.

Miss Dorcas said to me that our coming to live in their neighborhood
had been the greatest blessing to them that ever had happened for
years--that it had opened a new life to them.

As to Maggie, dear Mother, she is becoming a real comfort to me. I do
think that all the poor girl's sorrows and sufferings have not been in
vain, and that she is now a true and humble Christian.

She has been very useful in this sudden hurry of work that has
fallen upon us, and seems really delighted to be so. In our group of
families, Maggie will always find friends. Angie wants her to come and
live with them when they begin housekeeping, and I think I shall let
her go.

I shall never forget the dreadful things I saw the night I went after
her. They have sunk deep into my heart; and I hope, Mother, I see more
clearly the deepest and noblest purpose of life, so as never again to
forget it.

But, meantime, a thousand little cares break and fritter themselves
on my heart, like waves on a rock. Everybody is running to me, every
hour. I am consulter and sympathizer and adviser, from the shape of a
bow and the positions of trimming up to the profoundest questions of
casuistry. They all talk to me, and I divide my heart among them all,
and so the days fly by with frightful rapidity, and I fear I shall get
little time to write, so pray come and see for yourself

     Your loving




It is said that Queen Elizabeth could converse in five languages, and
dictate to three secretaries at once, in different tongues, with the
greatest ease and composure.

Perhaps it might have been so--let us not quarrel with her laurels; it
only shows what women can do if they set about it, and is not a whit
more remarkable than Aunt Maria's triumphant management of all the
details of two weddings at one time.

That estimable individual has not, we fear, always appeared to
advantage in this history, and it is due to her now to say that nobody
that saw her proceedings could help feeling the beauty of the right
person in the right place.

Many a person is held to be a pest and a nuisance because there isn't
enough to be done to use up his capabilities. Aunt Maria had a passion
for superintending and directing, and all that was wanting to bring
things right was an occasion when a great deal of superintendence and
direction was wanting.

The double wedding in the family just fulfilled all the conditions. It
opened a field to her that everybody was more than thankful to have
her occupy.

Lovers, we all know, are, _ex-officio_, ranked among the incapables;
and if, while they were mooning round in the fairy-land of sentiment,
some good, strong, active, practical head were not at work upon the
details of real life, nothing would be on time at the wedding. Now,
if this be true of one wedding, how much more of two! So Aunt Maria
stepped at once into command by acclamation and addressed herself to
her work as a strong man to run a race; and while Angie and St. John
spent blissful hours in the back parlor, and Jim and Alice monopolized
the library, Aunt Maria flew all over New York, and arranged about
all the towels and table-cloths and napkins and doilies, down to the
very dish-cloths. She overlooked armies of sewing women, milliners and
mantua-makers--the most slippery of all mortal creatures--and drove
them all up to have each her quota in time. She, with Mrs. Van Arsdel,
made lists of people to be invited, and busied herself with getting
samples and terms from fancy stationers for the wedding cards. She
planned in advance all the details of the wedding feast, and engaged
the cake and fruit and ice-cream.

Nor did she forget the social and society exigencies of the crisis.

She found time, dressed in her best, to take Mrs. Van Arsdel in full
panoply to return the call of Mrs. Dr. Gracey, who had come, promptly
and properly, with the doctor, to recognize Miss Angelique and
felicitate about the engagement of their nephew.

She arranged for a dinner-party to be given by Mrs. Van Arsdel, where
the doctor and his lady were to be received into family alliance, and
testimonies of high consideration accorded to them. Aunt Maria took
occasion, in private converse with Mrs. Dr. Gracey, to assure her of
her very great esteem and respect for Mr. St. John, and her perfect
conviction that he was on the right road now, and that, though he
might possibly burn a few more candles in his chapel, yet, when he
came fully under family influences, they would gradually be snuffed
out,--intimating that she intended to be aunt, not only to Arthur, but
to his chapel and his mission-work.

The extraordinary and serene meekness with which that young divine
left every question of form and etiquette to her management, and the
sort of dazed humility with which he listened to all her rulings about
the arrangements of the wedding-day, had inspired in Aunt Maria's mind
such hopes of his docility as led to these very sanguine anticipations.

It is true that, when it came to the question of renting a house, she
found him quietly but unalterably set on a small and modest little
mansion in the unfashionable neighborhood where his work lay.

"Arthur is going on with his mission," said Angelique, "and I'm going
to help him, and we must live where we can do most good"--a reason to
which Aunt Maria was just now too busy to reply, but she satisfied
herself by discussing at length the wedding affairs with Mrs. Dr.

"Of course, Mrs. Gracey," she said, "we all feel that if dear Dr.
Gracey is to conduct the wedding services, everything will be in the
good old way; there'll be nothing objectionable or unusual."

"Oh, you may rely on that, Mrs. Wouvermans," replied the lady.
"The doctor is not the man to run after novelties; he's a good
old-fashioned Episcopalian. Though he always has been very indulgent
to Arthur, he thinks, as our dear bishop does, that if young men are
left to themselves, and not fretted by opposition, they will gradually
outgrow these things."

"Precisely so," said Aunt Maria; "just what I have always thought. For
my part I always said that it was safe to trust the bishop."

Did Aunt Maria believe this? She certainly appeared to. She sincerely
supposed that this was what she always had thought and said, and quite
forgot the times when she used to wonder "what our bishop could be
thinking of, to let things go so."

It was one blessed facility of this remarkable woman that she
generally came to the full conviction of the axiom that "whatever is,
is right," and took up and patronized anything that would succeed in
spite of her best efforts to prevent it.

So, in announcing the double wedding to her fashionable acquaintance,
she placed everything, as the popular saying is, best foot foremost.

Mr. Fellows was a young man of fine talents, great industry and
elegant manners, a great favorite in society, and likely to take the
highest rank in his profession. Alice had refused richer offers--she
might perhaps have done better in a worldly point of view, but it was
purely a love match, &c., &c. And Mr. St. John, a young man of fine
family and independent fortune, who might command all the elegancies
of life, was going to live in a distant and obscure quarter, to labor
in his work. These facts brought forth, of course, bursts of sympathy
and congratulation, and Aunt Maria went off on the top of the wave.

Eva had but done her aunt justice when she told her mother that Aunt
Maria would be all the more amiable for the firm stand which the young
wife had taken against any interference with her family matters. It
was so. Aunt Maria was as balmy to Eva as if that discussion had never
taken place, though it must be admitted that Eva was a very difficult
person to keep up a long quarrel with.

But just at this hour, when the whole family were at her feet, when
it was her voice that decided every question, when she knew where
everything was and was to be, and when everything was to be done, she
was too well pleased to be unamiable. She was the spirit of the whole
affair, and she plumed herself joyously when all the callers at the
house said to Mrs. Van Arsdel, "Dear me! what would you do, if it were
not for your sister?"

Verily she had her reward.



"Now see here," said Jim, coming in upon Eva as she sat alone in her
parlor, "I've got something on my mind I want to talk with you about.
You see, Alice and I are to be married at the same time with Angie and
St. John."

"Yes, I see it."

"Well, now, what I want to say is, that I really hope there won't be
anything longer and harder and more circumlocutory to be got through
with on the occasion than just what's in the prayer-book, for that's
all I can stand. I can't stand prayer-book with the variations, now I
really can't."

"Well, Jim, what makes you think there will be prayer-book with the

"Oh, well, I attended a ritualistic wedding once, and there was
such an amount of processing and chanting, and ancient and modern
improvements, that it was just like a show. There were the press
reporters elbowing and pushing to get the best places to write it
up for the papers, and, for my part, I think it's in confounded bad
taste, and I couldn't stand it; you know, now, I'm a nervous fellow,
and if _I've_ got to take part in the exercises, they'll have to 'draw
it mild,' or Allie and I will have to secede and take it by ourselves.
I _couldn't_ go such a thing as that wedding; I never should come out

"Well, Jim, I don't believe there's any reason for apprehension. In
the first place, the ceremony, as to its mode and form, always is
supposed to be conducted according to the preferences of the bride's
family, and we all of us should be opposed to anything which would
draw remark and comment, as being singular and unusual on such an

"I'm glad to hear that," said Jim.

"And then, Jim, Mr. St. John's uncle, Dr. Gracey, is to perform the
ceremony, and he is one of the most respected of the conservative
Episcopal clergymen in New York; and it is entirely out of the
question to suppose that he would take part in anything of the sort
you fear, or which would excite comment as an innovation. Then, again,
I think Mr. St. John himself has so much natural refinement and just
taste that he would not wish his own wedding to become a theme for
gossip and a gazing stock for the curious."

"Well, I didn't know about St. John; I was a little afraid we should
be obliged to do something or other, because they did it in the
catacombs, or the Middle Ages, or in Edward the Sixth's time, or some
such dodge. I thought I'd just make sure."

"Well, I think Mr. St. John has gone as far in those directions as
he ever will go. He has been living alone up to this winter. He has
formed his ideas by himself in solitude. Now he will have another half
to himself; he will see in part through the eyes, and feel through
the heart, of a sensible and discreet woman--for Angie is that. The
society he has met at our house in such men as Dr. Campbell and
others, has enlarged his horizon,--given him new points of vision,--so
that I think the too great tendencies he may have had in certain
directions have been insensibly checked."

"I wish they may," said Jim, "for he is a good fellow, and so much
like one of the primitive Christians that I really want him to get all
the credit that belongs to him."

"Oh, well, you'll see, Jim. When a man is so sincere and good, and
labors with a good wife to help him, you'll see the difference. But
here comes little Mrs. Betsey, Jim. I promised to get her up a cap for
the occasion."

"Well, I'm off; only be sure you make matters secure about the
ceremony," and off went Jim, and in came little Mrs. Betsey.

"It's so good of you, dear Mrs. Henderson, to undertake to make me
presentable. You know Dorcas hasn't the least interest in these
things. Dorcas is _so_ independent, she never cares what the fashion
is. Now, _she_ isn't doing a thing to get ready. She's just going in
that satin gown that she had made twenty years ago, with a great lace
collar as big as a platter; and she sits there just as easy, reading
'Pope's Essay on Man,' and here I'm all in a worry; but I can't help
it. I like to look a little like other folks, you know. I don't want
people to think I'm a queer old woman."

"Certainly, it's the most natural thing in the world," said Eva, as
she stepped into the little adjoining workroom, and brought out a
filmy cap, trimmed with the most delicate shade of rosy lilac ribbons.
"There!" she said, settling it on Mrs. Betsey's head, and tying a bow
under her chin, "if anybody says you're not a beauty in this, I'd like
to ask them why?"

"I know it's silly at my age, but I do like pretty things," said Mrs.
Betsey, looking at herself with approbation in the glass, "and all the
more that it's so very kind of you, dear Mrs. Henderson."

"Me? Oh, I like to do it. I'm a born milliner," said Eva.

"And now I want to ask a favor. Do you think it would _do_ for us to
take our Dinah to church to see the ceremony. I don't know anybody
that could enjoy it more, and Dinah has so few pleasures."

"Why, certainly. Dinah! my faithful adviser and help in time of need?
Why, _of course_, give my compliments to her, and tell her I shall
depend on seeing her there."

"Dinah is so delighted at the thought that your sister and Mr. Fellows
are coming to live with us, she is busy cleaning their rooms, and does
it with a will. You know Mr. Fellows has just that gay, pleasant sort
of way that delights all the servants, and she says your sister is
such a beauty!"

"Well, be sure and tell Dinah to come to the wedding, and she shall
have a slice of the cake to dream on."

"I think I shall feel _so_ much safer when we have a _man_ in the
house," continued Mrs. Betsey. "You see we have so much silver, and so
many things of that kind, and Dorcas frightens me to death, because
she will have the basket lugged up into our room at night. I tell her
if she'd _only_ set it outside in the entry, then if the burglars came
they could just go off with it, without stopping to murder us; but if
it was in our room, why, of course, they would. The fact is, I have
got so nervous about burglars that I am up and down two or three times
a night."

"But you have Jack to take care of you."

"Jack is a good watch dog--he's very alert; but the trouble is, he
barks just as loud when there isn't anything going on as when there
is. Night after night, that dog has started us both up with such
a report, and I'd go all over the house and find nothing there.
Sometimes I think he hears people trying the doors or windows.
Altogether, I think Jack frightens me more than he helps, though I
know he does it all for the best, and I tell Dorcas so when he wakes
her up. You know experienced people always do say that a small dog
is the very safest thing you can have; but when Mr. Fellows comes I
shall really sleep peaceably. And now, Mrs. Henderson, you don't think
that light mauve silk of mine will be too young-looking for me?"

"No, indeed," said Eva. "Why shouldn't we all look as young as we can?"

"I haven't worn it for more than thirty years; but the silk is good as
ever, and your little dress-maker has made it over with an over-skirt,
and Dinah is delighted with it, and says it makes me look ten years

"Oh! well I must come over and see it on you."

"Would you care?" said Mrs. Betsey, delighted. "How good you are; and
then I'll show you the toilette cushions I've been making for the
dear young ladies; and Dorcas is going to give each of them a pair of
real old India vases that have been in the family ever since we can

"Why, you'll be robbing yourselves."

"No, indeed; it would be robbing ourselves not to give something,
after all the kindness you've shown us."

And Eva went over to the neighboring house with Mrs. Betsey; and
entered into all the nice little toilette details with her; and
delighted Dinah with an invitation in person; and took a sympathizing
view of Dinah's new bonnet and shawl, which she pronounced entirely
adequate to the occasion; and thus went along, sewing little seeds of
pleasure to make her neighbors happier--seeds which were to come up in
kind thoughts and actions on their part by and by.



St. John and Angie were together, one evening, in the room that had
been devoted to the reception of the wedding presents. This room had
been Aunt Maria's pride and joy, and already it had assumed quite the
appearance of a bazar, for the family connections of the Van Arsdels
was large, and numbered many among the richer classes. Arthur's uncle,
Dr. Gracey, and the family connections through him were also people in
prosperous worldly circumstances, and remarkably well pleased with the
marriage; and so there had been a great abundance of valuable gifts.
The door-bell for the last week or two had been ringing incessantly,
and Aunt Maria had eagerly seized the parcels from the servant and
borne them to the depository, and fixed their stations with the cards
of the givers conspicuously displayed.

Of course the reader knows that there were the usual amount of
berry-spoons, and pie-knives, and crumb-scrapers; of tea-spoons and
coffee-spoons; of silver tea-services; of bracelets and chains and
studs and brooches and shawl-pins and cashmere shawls and laces.
Nobody could deny that everything was arranged so as to make the very
most of it.

Angie was showing the things to St. John, in one of those interminable
interviews in which engaged people find so much to tell each other.

"Really, Arthur," she said, "it is almost too much. Everybody is
giving to me, just at a time when I am so happy that I need it less
than ever I did in my life. I can't help feeling as if it was more
than my share."

Of course Arthur didn't think so; he was in that mood that he couldn't
think anything on land or sea was too much to be given to Angie.

"And look here," she said, pointing him to a stand which displayed a
show of needle-books and pincushions, and small matters of that kind,
"just look here--even the little girls of my sewing-class must give me
something. That needle-book, little Lottie Price made. Where she got
the silk I don't know, but it's quite touching. See how nicely she's
done it! It makes me almost cry to have poor people want to make me

"Why should we deny _them_ that pleasure--the greatest and purest
in the world?" said St. John. "It is more blessed to give than to

"Well, then, Arthur, I'll tell you what I was thinking of. I wouldn't
dare tell it to anybody else, for they'd think perhaps I was making
believe to be better than I was; but I was thinking it would make my
wedding brighter to give gifts to poor, desolate people who really
need them than to have all this heaped upon me."

Then Arthur told her how, in some distant ages of faith and
simplicity, Christian weddings were always celebrated by gifts to the

"Now, for example," said Angie, "that poor, little, pale dress-maker
that Aunt Maria found for me,--she has worked day and night over my
things, and I can't help wanting to do something to brighten her up.
She has nothing but hard work and no holidays; no lover to come and
give her pretty things, and take her to Europe; and then she has a
sick mother to take care of--only think. Now, she told me, one day,
she was trying to save enough to get a sewing-machine."

"Very well," said Arthur, "if you want to give her one, we'll go
and look one out to-morrow and send it to her, with a card for the
ceremony, so there will be one glad heart."

"Arthur, you--"

But what Angie said to Arthur, and how she rewarded him, belongs to
the literature of Eden--it cannot be exactly translated.

Then they conferred about different poor families, whose wants and
troubles and sorrows were known to those two, and a wedding gift was
devised to be sent to each of them; and there are people who may
believe that the devising and executing of these last deeds of love
gave Angie and St. John more pleasure than all the silver and jewelry
in the wedding bazar.

"I have reserved a place for our Sunday-school to be present at the
ceremony," said Arthur; "and there is to be a nice little collation
laid for them in my study; and we must go in there a few minutes after
the ceremony, and show ourselves to them, and bid them good-by before
we go to your mother's."

"Arthur, that is exactly what I was thinking of. I believe we think
the same things always. Now, I want to say another thing. You wanted
to know what piece of jewelry you should get for my wedding present."

"Well, darling?"

"Well, I have told Aunt Maria and mamma and all of them that your
wedding gift to me was something I meant to keep to myself; that I
would not have it put on the table, or shown, or talked about. I did
this, in the first place, as a matter of taste. It seems to me that a
marriage gift ought to be something sacred between us two."

"Like the white stone with the new name that no man knoweth save him
that receiveth it," said St. John.

"Yes; just like that. Well, then, Arthur, get me only a plain locket
with your hair in it, and give all the rest of the money to these
uses we talked about, and I will count it my present. It will be a
pledge to me that I shall not be a hindrance to you in your work, but
a help; that you will do more and not less good for having me for your

What was said in reply to this was again in the super-angelic dialect,
and untranslatable; but these two children of the kingdom understood
it gladly, for they were, in all the higher and nobler impulses, of
one heart and one soul.

"As to the ceremony, Arthur," said Angie, "you know how very loving
and kind your uncle has been to us. He has been like a real father;
and since he is to perform it, I hope there will be nothing introduced
that would be embarrassing to him or make unnecessary talk and
comment. Just the plain, usual service of the Prayer-book will be
enough, will it not?"

"Just as you say, my darling; this, undoubtedly, is your province."

"I think," said Angie, "that there are many things in themselves
beautiful and symbolic, and that might be full of interest to natures
like yours and mine, that had better be left alone if they offend the
prejudices of others, especially of dear and honored friends."

"I don't know but you are right, Angie; at any rate, our wedding, so
far as that is concerned, shall have nothing in it to give offense to
any one."

"Sometimes I think," said Angie, "we please God by giving up, for
love's sake, little things we would like to do in his service, more
than by worship."

"Well, dear, that principle has a long reach. We will talk more about
it by and by; but now, good-night!--or your mother will be scolding
you again for sitting up late. Somehow, the time does slip away so
when we get to talking."



Well, the day of days came at last, and a fairer May morning never
brightened the spire of old Trinity or woke the sparrows of the park.
Even the dingy back garden of the Vanderheyden house had bubbled out
in golden crocus and one or two struggling hyacinths, and the old
lilacs by the chamber windows were putting forth their first dusky,
sweet-scented buds. In about half a dozen houses, everybody was up
early, with heads full of wedding dresses, and wedding fusses, and
wedding cake. Aunt Maria, like a sergeant of police, was on hand,
as wide awake and as fully possessed of the case as it was possible
for mortal woman to be. She was everywhere,--seeing to everything,
reproving, rebuking, exhorting, and pushing matters into line

This was her hour of glory, and she was mistress of the situation.
Mrs. Van Arsdel was sweet and loving, bewildered and tearful;
and wandered hither and thither doing little bits of things and
remorselessly snubbed by her energetic sister, who, after pushing her
out of the way several times, finally issued the order: "Nellie, I do
wish you'd go to your room and keep quiet. I understand what I want,
and you don't."

The two brides, each in their respective dressing-rooms, were
receiving those attentions which belong to the central figures of the

Marie, the only remaining unmarried sister, who had been spending
the winter in Philadelphia, had charge, as dressing-maid, of
one bride, and Eva of the other. There was the usual amount of
catastrophes--laces that broke in critical moments, when somebody had
to be sent tearing out distractedly for another; gloves that split
across the back on trying; coiffures that came abominably late, after
keeping everybody waiting, and then had to be pulled to pieces and
made all over; in short, no one item of the delightful jumble of
confusions, incident to a wedding, was missing.

The little chapel was dressed with flowers, and was a bower of
sweetness; and, as St. John had planned, there was space reserved for
the Sunday-school children and the regular attendants of the mission.

Besides those, there was a goodly select show of what Aunt Maria
looked upon as the choice jewels of rank and fashion.

Dr. Gracey performed the double ceremony with great dignity and
solemnity; but the reporters, who fought for good places to see the
show, and Miss Gusher and Miss Vapors, were disappointed. There was
only the plain old Church of England service--neither less nor more.

Mrs. Van Arsdel, and other soft-hearted ladies, in different degrees
of family connection, did the proper amount of tender weeping upon
their best laced pocket handkerchiefs; and everybody said the brides
looked _so_ lovely.

Miss Dorcas and Mrs. Betsey had excellent situations to see the whole,
and Dinah, standing right behind them, broke out into ejaculations
of smothered rapture, from time to time, in Mrs. Betsey's ear.
Dinah was so boiling over with delight that, but for this tolerated
escape-valve, there might have been some explosion.

Just as the ceremonies had closed, Mrs. Betsey heard Dinah whispering

"Good Lor'! if dar ain't Jack!"

And sure enough, Jack was there in the church, sitting up as
composedly as a vestryman, and apparently enjoying the spectacle. When
one of the ushers approached to take him out, he raised himself on his
haunches and waved his paws with affability.

Jim caught sight of him just as the wedded party were turning from the
altar to leave the church, and the sight was altogether too much for
his risibility.

The fact was that Jack had been the subject of great discussion and an
elaborate locking up that morning. But divining an intention on the
part of his mistresses to go somewhere, he had determined not to be
left. So he had leaped out of a window upon a back shed, and thence to
the ground, and had followed the coach at discreet distance, and so
was "in at the death."

Well, courteous reader, a marriage is by common consent the end of a
story, and we have given you two. "We and Our Neighbors," therefore,
are ready to receive your congratulations.


       *       *       *       *       *



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=_Sermons_=, from Phonographic Reports by T. J. Ellinwood, for
fifteen years Mr. Beecher's Special Reporter. Uniformly bound in dark
brown English cloth. Each volume contains twenty-six Sermons, and the
Prayers before the Sermons. Ten vols. 8vo. Cloth, $2.50 each. The Set,

Each volume contains six months' sermons (from 450 to 500 pp.), issued
in uniform style. The _First Series_ has an excellent steel portrait
of Mr. Beecher; the _Second Series_, a fine interior view of Plymouth
Church. The other volumes are not illustrated.

     "These corrected sermons of perhaps the greatest of living
     preachers--a man whose heart is as warm and catholic as his
     abilities are great, and whose sermons combine fidelity
     and scriptural truth, great power, glorious imagination,
     fervid rhetoric, and vigorous reasoning, with intense human
     sympathy and robust common-sense."--_British Quarterly

     "There is not a discourse in all this large collection that
     does not hold passages of great suggestiveness and power
     for the most ordinary, unsympathizing reader--illustrations
     of great beauty and point, eloquent invitations to better
     life, touching appeals to nobler purposes and more generous
     action."--_Springfield Republican._

=_Yale Lectures on Preaching._= Delivered before the classes
of theology and the faculty of the Divinity School of Yale College.
Uniform edition of the Author's Works.

     FIRST SERIES, Winter of 1872--_The Personal
     Elements_ which bear an important relation to Preaching.
     1 vol. 12mo. Cloth, $1.25.

     SECOND SERIES, Winter of 1873--_Social and
     Religious Machinery of the Church_ as related to preaching.
     1 vol. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

     THIRD SERIES, Winter of 1874--_Methods of Using
     Christian Doctrines_, in their relations to individual
     dispositions and the wants of the community.
     1 vol. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

     The three volumes in neat box, $4.00.

     "Full of common-sense and a knowledge of human nature, and
     admirably adapted to meet wants in preachers which no other
     writer can so well supply."--_Watchman and Reflector._

     "Marvelous exhibitions of deep piety, sound sense, quick
     wit, and fervid address; interesting to all Christian
     readers--invaluable to the beginning preacher."--_Prof. H.
     N. Day, College Courant._

=_Star Papers:_= or, Experiences of Art and Nature. New Edition,
with many additional Papers. Uniform Edition of the Author's Works.
1 vol. 12mo. Cloth, $1.75.

     "We have nothing in the way of descriptive writing, not
     even the best sketches of Washington Irving, that exceeds
     in richness of imagery and perspicuity of statement these
     'Star Papers.'"--_Methodist Home Journal._

     "A book to be read and re-read, and always with a fresh
     sense of enjoyment."--_Portland Press._

     "So full of rural life, so sparkling with cheerfulness,
     so holy in their tenderness, and so brave in nobility of
     thought."--_Liberal Christian._

=_Lectures to Young Men_= on Various Important Subjects. New
Edition, with additional Lectures. Uniform Edition of the Author's
Works. 1 vol. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

     "Wise and elevating in tone, pervaded by earnestness, and
     well fitted for its mission to improve and benefit the
     youth of the land."--_Boston Commonwealth._

     "Written with all the vigor of style and beauty of language
     which characterize everything from the pen of this
     remarkable man. They are a series of fearless dissertations
     upon every-day subjects, conveyed with a power of eloquence
     and a practical illustration so unique as to be oftentimes
     startling."--_Philadelphia Enquirer._

=_Pleasant Talk About Fruits, Flowers, and Farming._= New
Edition, with much additional matter. Uniform Edition of the Author's
Works. 1 vol. 12mo. Cloth, $2.00.

A delightful book. The poetry and prose of Beecher's Farm and Garden

     "Not merely readable and instructive, but singularly
     fascinating in its magnetic style."--_Philadelphia Press._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =_Norwood: or, Village Life in New England._= A
     Novel. Uniform Edition of the Author's Works; also,
     uniform with J. B. F. & Co.'s _Novel Series_. 1 vol. 12mo.
     _Illustrated_, $2.00.

     "Embodies more of the high art of fiction than any half
     dozen of the best novels of the best authors of the day.
     It will bear to be read and re-read as often as Dickens's
     'Dombey' or 'David Copperfield.'"--_Albany Evening Journal._

     "The book is wholesome and delightful, to be taken up again
     and yet again with fresh pleasure."--_Chicago Standard._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =_Lecture Room Talks._= A Series of Familiar
     Discourses, on Themes of Christian Experience.
     Phonographically reported by T. J. Ellinwood. Uniform
     Edition of the Author's Works. 1 vol. 12mo. With Steel
     Portrait. Price, $1.75.

     "It is easy to see why the old-fashioned prayer-meeting
     has been replaced by that eager and crowded assembly
     which throngs the Plymouth Lecture Room each Friday
     evening."--_New York Evangelist._

     =_The Overture of Angels._= A Series of Pictures of
     the Angelic Appearances Attending the Nativity of Our Lord.
     A Chapter from the "Life of Christ." _Illustrated._ 1 vol.
     12mo. $2.00.

A beautiful and characteristically interesting treatment of all the
events recorded in the Gospels as occurring about the time of the
Nativity. Full of poetic imagery, beauty of sentiment, and vivid
pictures of the life of the Orient in that day.

     "The style, the sentiment, and faithfulness to the spirit
     of the Biblical record with which the narrative is treated
     are characteristic of its author."--_Worcester (Mass.) Spy._

     "A perfect fragment."--_N.Y. World._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =_English and American Speeches_= on Politics, War,
     and various miscellaneous topics. Uniform Edition of the
     Author's Works. 1 vol. 12mo. _In preparation._

     This will include all of the more important of Mr.
     Beecher's Speeches which have been preserved.

     =_Eyes and Ears:_= or, Thoughts as They Occur, by One
     Who Keeps his Eyes and Ears Open. New Edition. Uniform
     Edition of the Author's Works. 1 vol. 12mo. Cloth. _In

     =_Royal Truths._= This is a selected gathering of
     papers, passages, illustrations, descriptions, from
     sermons, speeches, prayer-meeting discourses, writings,
     etc., which has had a large sale both in England and
     America. The New Edition will be enlarged by the addition
     of much new matter of interest, Uniform Edition of the
     Author's Works. 1 vol. 12mo. _In preparation._

     =_Views and Experiences of Religious Matters._=
     Originally published as a second collection of religious
     "Star Papers," these admirable and helpful articles will be
     added to by others, heretofore unpublished. Uniform Edition
     of the Author's Works. 1 vol. 12mo. _In preparation._

Thomas K. Beecher.

=_Our Seven Churches._= Eight Lectures. 1 vol. 16mo. Paper, 50
cts.; Cloth, $1.00.

A most valuable exponent of the doctrines of the leading religious
denominations, and a striking exhibition of the author's magnanimity
and breadth of loving sympathy.

     "The sermons are written in a style at once brilliant,
     epigrammatic, and readable."--_Utica Herald._

     "This little book has created considerable discussion among
     the religious journals, and will be read with interest by
     all."--_Phila. Ledger._

     "There is hardly a page which does not offer a fresh
     thought, a genial touch of humor, or a suggestion at which
     the reader's heart leaps up with grateful surprise that
     a minister belonging to a sect can think and speak so
     generously and nobly."--_Milwaukee Sentinel._

A. H. Bogardus.

=_Field, Cover, and Trap Shooting._= By the Champion Wing Shot of
America. Edited by Chas. J. Foster. 1 vol. 12mo. With Steel Portrait
of the Author, and an Engraving of the Champion Medal. Cloth, $2.00.

A compendium of many years of experience, giving hints for skilled
marksmen and instructions for young sportsmen, describing the haunts
and habits of game birds, flight and resorts of water fowl, breeding
and breaking of dogs, and everything of interest to the sportsman.
The author is "champion wing-shot of America," who knows a gun
as Hiram Woodruff knew a horse. And he has the same careful and
competent editor who put Woodruff's "Trotting Horse of America" into
shape--Chas. J. Foster, so many years sporting editor of Wilkes'
_Spirit of the Times_.

     "No sportsman can peruse this book without profit and
     instruction; while to the young beginner with the gun,
     and to the amateur who can spend but a few months in the
     year in this healthful and delightful pursuit, it will be
     invaluable."--_Wilkes' Spirit._

Henry Churton.

=_Toinette:_= A Tale of Transition. 1 vol. 12mo. Extra Cloth,
Fancy Stamped Ink and Gilt Side. $1.50.

Not only a brilliant picture of individual life, full of stirring
scenes and emotional characters, but a graphic delineation of
slave-life and emancipation, by one who lived under the old _régime_
at the South, and saw it give place to the new. Companion piece to
"Uncle Tom's Cabin," this powerful novel finishes what that great work

     "Clearly conceived and told with power.... There is not a
     prosy chapter in the book. The author grasps the elements
     of his story with a firm hand and combines them into vivid
     scenes."--_Liberal Christian._

     "Absolutely thrilling in some of its situations and
     delineations."--_Chicago Evening Journal._

     "A remarkable book. It is fascinating, thrilling, and its
     scenes are vivid as the lightnings."--_Atlanta (Ga.,)
     Methodist Advocate._

Mrs. S. M. Davis.

=_The Life and Times of Sir Philip Sidney._= A New and Revised
Edition, with Index, etc. Three steel plates; Portrait of Sidney; View
of Penshurst Castle; and Fac-simile of Sidney's manuscript. 12mo. Silk
Cloth, Beveled Boards, Stamped with Sidney's Coat-of-Arms in Ink and
Gold, $1.50.

     "An elaborate sketch of a most interesting
     character."--_Chicago Evening Journal._

     "Its binding is exquisitely chaste."--_N.Y. World._

     "Beautifully complete in every detail."--_New Haven Journal
     & Courier._

Edward Eggleston.

=_The Circuit Rider:_= A Tale of the Heroic Age. Author of
"_The Hoosier Schoolmaster_," etc. Illustrated with over thirty
characteristic drawings by G. G. White and Sol Eytinge. 1 vol. 12mo.
Extra Cloth, Gilt, and Ink-Stamped Covers, $1.75.

This story is exciting widespread interest, both as a powerful novel
and genuine love-story, and as a graphic picture of the West in the
adventurous days of saddle-bags and circuit-riding preachers.

     "The breezy freshness of the Western prairie blended with
     the refinements of literary culture. It is alive with the
     sound of rushing streams and the echoes of the forest, but
     shows a certain graceful self-possession which betrays the
     presence of the artist's power."--_N. Y. Tribune._

     "It is his best work; a grand story; a true picture of the
     past and of itinerant life in the old times of simplicity
     and hardship."--_N. Y. Methodist._

     "The best American story, and the most thoroughly American
     one, that has appeared for years."--_Phila. Evening

Ferdinand Fabbre.

=_The Abbe Tigrane_=, Candidate for the Papacy. Translated from
the French by Rev. Leonard Woolsey Bacon. 18mo. Cloth, $1.50.

One of the most brilliant satires of the day. An entertaining and
exciting tale, giving the mode of French ecclesiastical life and of
Romish political intrigue in Europe.

Rev. T. A. Goodwin, A.M.

=_The Mode of Man's Immortality:_= or, The When, Where and How
of the Future Life. Author of "_The Perfect Man_," and late Editor of
"_The Indiana Christian Advocate_." 1 vol. 12mo. Cloth, $1.25.

     "Certainly shows with great force the well-nigh insuperable
     difficulties attending the common opinions of the
     resurrection of the actual body that is placed in the dust,
     and develops quite a consistent and interesting theory in
     reference to the nature of the resurrection life."--_Zion's

Robertson Gray.

=_Brave Hearts._= A Novel. By Robertson Gray (R. W. Raymond). 1
vol. 12mo. _Illustrated._ Cloth. $1.75.

A characteristic American tale, with Illustrations by Darley,
Stephens, Frank Beard, and Kendrick.

     "About as pure, breezy, and withal, readable a story
     of American life as we have met with this long

     "Its pictures of the strange life of those early California
     days are simply admirable, quite as good as anything Bret
     Harte has written."--_Lit. World._

Grace Greenwood.

=_New Life in New Lands._= Notes of Travel Across the American
Continent, from Chicago to the Pacific and Back. 1 vol. 12mo. $2.00.

This is a gathered series of letters, racy, brilliant, piquant; full
of keen observation and pungent statement of facts, picturesque in
delineation of scenes on the plains, in the mountains, and along the

     "Among the best of the author's productions, and every way
     delightful."--_Boston Post._

     "The late William H. Seward characterized her account of
     Mormons and Mormonism as the most graphic and trustworthy
     he had ever read."--_Methodist Home Journal._

     "Grace always finds lots of things no one else would see;
     and she has a happy knack of picking up the mountains
     and cities and big trees and tossing them across the
     continent right before the reader's eyes. It's very
     convenient."--_Buffalo Express._

=_Heads and Tails:_= Studies and Stories of Pets. Square
16mo. Illustrated. Extra Cloth, Beveled Boards, Elaborate Gilt and
Ink-Stamped Sides, Gilt Edges, $2.00.

     "It consists of a dozen or more of her delightfully bright
     sketches, mostly having the charm of personal experiences,
     in which she pictures in her own inimitable way, so full of
     wit, of pathos, of good sense, of tenderness, and of real
     rollicking fun, her own adventures, or those of other young
     and old folks who love animals.... The stories are told in
     the author's happiest style."--_Christian Union._

     "Grace Greenwood is gifted with a special knack at
     story-telling for young folks, and Heads and Tails, with
     its stories of pet birds, cats, etc., is a delightful
     book."--_Chicago Advance._

     "We don't know where there is pleasanter reading than in
     these stories of pets."--_Boston Commonwealth._

Rev. S. B. Halliday.

=_Winning Souls._= Sketches and Incidents During Forty Years of
Pastoral Work. 1 vol. 12mo. Cloth, $1.00.

The author of this volume for some time past has been, and now is,
engaged as assistant in the pastoral labors of Plymouth Church,
Brooklyn (Rev. H. W. Beecher's), where, in visiting among the sick,
the poor, and the afflicted of that large parish, he is continually
encountering new and interesting phases of heart-life. These simple
records of scenes among his earlier labors possess a peculiar interest.

     "Full of valuable suggestions to ministers in the
     department of active duty."--_Methodist Recorder._

     "The book is tenderly written, and many of its pathetic
     scenes will be read with moistened eyes. We recommend the
     book to pastors and people."--_Boston Christian Era._

=_The Little Street-Sweeper:_= or, Life among the Poor. 1 vol.
12mo. Illustrated. _In preparation._

Joseph W. Long.

=_American Wild-Fowl Shooting._= 1 vol. 12mo. _Illustrated._
Fancy Stamped Cloth, $2.00.

A book of practical specific instruction as to the different species,
habits, haunts and pursuits of wild-fowl, the building and use of
blinds, boats, decoys, &c., the training of water-retrievers, and many
miscellaneous hints of great value to hunters of wild game-fowl. Full
of admirable descriptions, adventure, &c., &c. _The only book of the
kind in the English Language._

     "We know of no book that treats so fully as this of the
     habits of our inland wild-fowl and the methods of hunting
     them."--_Phila. Enquirer._

Amelia Perrier.

=_A Good Match._= A Novel. Author of "_Mea Culpa_." 1 vol. 12mo.
Cloth, $1.50.

A clever and amusing Novel, agreeably written, racy, and lively.

     "A very readable love story, tenderly told."--_Hearth and

     "The characters appear and act with a real
     life."--_Providence Press._

S. S. Randall, A.M.

(_Superintendent of Public Education in New York City._)

=_History of the State of New York_=, from the Date of the
Discovery and Settlements on Manhattan Island to the Present Time.
A Text-Book for High Schools, Academies, and Colleges. 1 vol. 12mo.
Illustrated. Cloth, $1.75.

Officially adopted by the Boards of Education in the cities of New
York, Brooklyn, and Jersey City, for use in the Public Schools; and in
Private Schools throughout the State.

Rossiter W. Raymond, Ph. D.

_U.S. Commissioner Mining Statistics; Pres't. Am. Inst. Mining
Engineers; Editor Engineering and Mining Journal; Author of "Mines,
Mills, and Furnaces," etc., etc._

=_Silver and Gold:_= An Account of the Mining and Metallurgical
Industry of the United States, with reference chiefly to the Precious
Metals. 1 vol. 8vo. Cloth, $3.50.

     "Valuable and exhaustive work on a theme of great import to
     the world of industry."--_Philadelphia Inquirer._

     "A repository of much valuable current information:"--_N.
     Y. Tribune._

=_Mining Industry of the States and Territories_= West of
the Rocky Mountains; including Descriptions of Quartz, Placer,
and Hydraulic Mining; Amalgamation, Concentration, Smelting, etc.
Illustrated with nearly one hundred Engravings and Maps, and a Colored
Geological Map of the United States, 1 vol. 8vo. Cloth, $4.50.

     "Recognized in this country and in Europe as professionally
     authoritative and interesting to a remarkable
     degree."--_Washington Chronicle._

=_The Man in the Moon_= and Other People. Square 16mo.,
Illustrated. Extra Cloth, beveled boards, handsome gilt and ink
stamped sides, gilt edges, $2.00.

Twenty of Ros. Raymond's best stories, some published before, others
not. They embrace Fairy Stories, Wonder Stories, Christmas Stories,
Thanksgiving Stories, Stories of Adventure, of War, of Love, Stories
about Dogs, about Birds, about Boys and about Girls--and all bright,
witty, engaging and delightful.

     The Brooklyn _Eagle_ says: "His tales have won great
     popularity by their wit, delicate fancy, and admirable good

Sarah Bridges Stebbins.

=_The Poetry of Pets._= 1 vol. Square 12mo. Illustrated. _In

Harriet Beecher Stowe.

=_My Wife and I:_= Or, Harry Henderson's History. A Novel.
Illustrated. 1 vol. 12mo. Cloth, $1.75.

This charming novel is, in some respects, Mrs. Stowe's most thoughtful
and complete book. It is eminently a book for the times, giving the
author's individual ideas about the much-vexed _Woman Question_,
including marriage, divorce, suffrage, legislation, and all the rights
claimed by the clamorous.

     "A capital story, in which fashionable follies are shown
     up, fast young ladies weighed in the balance and found
     wanting, and the value of true worth exhibited."--_Portland

     "Always bright, piquant, and entertaining, with an
     occasional touch of tenderness, strong because subtle,
     keen in sarcasm, full of womanly logic directed against
     unwomanly tendencies."--_Boston Journal._

=_We and Our Neighbors:_= Or, The Records of an Unfashionable
Street. A Sequel to "My Wife and I." 1 vol. Illustrated by Alfred
Fredericks. 12mo. Cloth, $1.75.

As fresh, witty and charming in style as all of Mrs. Stowe's works are.

=_A Volume of Religious Meditative Articles_=, very helpful and
spiritual in their tone. _In preparation._

T. S. Verdi, A.M., M.D.

=_Maternity:_= A Popular Treatise for Wives and Mothers. _Fifth
edition._ 1 vol. 12mo. $2.25.

This book has arisen from a want felt in the author's own practice,
as a monitor to young wives, a guide to young mothers, and an
assistant to the family physician. It deals skillfully, sensibly and
delicately with the perplexities of married life, giving information
which women must have, either in conversation with physicians or
from such a source as this. Plain and intelligible, but without
offence to the most fastidious taste, the style of this book must
commend it to careful perusal. It treats of the needs, dangers, and
alleviations of the holy duties of maternity, and gives extended,
detailed instructions for the care and medical treatment of infants
and children throughout all the perils of early life.

     "The author deserves great credit for his labor, and the
     book merits an extensive circulation."--_U.S. Medical and
     Surgical Journal (Chicago)._

     "We hail the appearance of this work with true pleasure.
     It is dictated by a pure and liberal spirit, and will be
     a real boon to many a young mother."--_American Medical
     Observer (Detroit.)_

     "There are few intelligent mothers who will not be
     benefited by reading and keeping by them for frequent
     counsel a volume so rich in valuable suggestions. With its
     tables, prescriptions, and indexes at the end, this book
     ought to do much good."--_Hearth and Home._

_27 Park Place, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Minor punctuation typos have been silently corrected.

Page 50: Changed "acquaintainces" to "acquaintances."
  (Orig: menagerie of our very miscellaneous acquaintainces!)

Page 63: Changed "Methusaleh" to "Methuselah."
  (Orig: but they are old as Methusaleh.)

Page 121: Retained "fluttered," but possible typo for "flustered."
  (Orig: Poor Mrs. Van Arsdel was somewhat fluttered by this alarming)

Page 136: Retained "indeeed," (she may be stretching out word for
emphasis) but it's possibly a typo for "indeed."
  (Orig: "Like him! Indeeed I don't.)

Page 182: Changed "Campcell" to "Campbell."
  (Orig: flesh and spirit. Dr. Campcell, a broad-shouldered,)

Page 190: Changed "gaity" to "gaiety."
  (Orig: in the gaity of her heart, that evening.)

Page 223: Changed "convalesence" to "convalescence."
  (Orig: in different stages of convalesence were)

Page 246: Changed "blurr" to "blur."
  (Orig: only one dark, confused blurr,)

Page 299: Changed "Eleusinean" to "Eleusinian."
  (Orig: some special Eleusinian mysteries)

Page 306: Changed "perculiar" to "peculiar."
  (Orig: Bolton professes a perculiar skill in an omelette;)

Page 312: Changed "slelect" to "select."
  (Orig: slelect associations and good behavior)

Page 335: Changed "Betsy" to "Betsey."
  (Orig: strong mind," said little Mrs. Betsy in a tone of awe;)

Page 337: Changed "coverved" to "covered."
  (Orig: I dare say he's coverved with fleas.)

Page 361: Changed "audirons" to "andirons."
  (Orig: winking and blinking roguishly at the brass audirons,)

Page 375: Changed "expeririences" to "experiences."
  (Orig: the strangest feelings and experi-[new line] riences.)

Page 377: Changed "Methhodist" to "Methodist."
  (Orig: words of an old Methhodist hymn;)

Page 392: Changed "expolres" to "explores."
  (Orig: so many secrets, who expolres so many cabals,)

Page 394: Changed "gentlemen's" to "gentleman's."
  (Orig: "Friendship is a humbug," was that young gentlemen's mental)

Page 434: Changed "ard" to "and."
  (Orig: prove by her devotion ard obedience)

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