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Title: Honor Bright - A Story for Girls
Author: Richards, Laura Elizabeth Howe
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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THE HILDEGARDE-MARGARET SERIES

By Laura E. Richards

_Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume, $1.65_

  Queen Hildegarde
  Hildegarde’s Holiday
  Hildegarde’s Home
  Hildegarde’s Neighbors
  Hildegarde’s Harvest
  Three Margarets
  Margaret Montfort
  Peggy
  Rita
  Fernley House
  The Merryweathers

_The above eleven volumes boxed as a set, $18.15_

THE PAGE COMPANY 53 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass.



[Illustration: “‘YOU HAVE SENT MARIA TO COVENTRY: I GO WITH HER!
GOOD-BY!’” (_See page 218_)]



  Honor Bright

  A STORY FOR GIRLS

  BY
  LAURA E. RICHARDS

  Author of

  “The Hildegarde-Margaret Series,” “Captain January,”
  “Melody,” “Five Minute Stories,” “Mrs. Tree,”
  “Geoffrey Strong,” etc.

  _ILLUSTRATED BY_
  FRANK T. MERRILL

  [Illustration]

  THE PAGE COMPANY

  BOSTON      MDCCCCXX



  _Copyright, 1920, by_
  THE PAGE COMPANY

  _All rights reserved_

  First Impression, August, 1920

  THE COLONIAL PRESS
  C. H. SIMONDS CO., BOSTON, U. S. A.



  TO
  ELIZABETH SHAW
  WITH MUCH LOVE



TABLE OF CONTENTS


  CHAPTER      PAGE

     I AT PENSION MADELEINE                  1

    II HOW HONOR FOUND HER NEW NAME         13

   III THE MOUNTAINEERS                     31

    IV THE OUTGOING                         46

     V BIMBO                                59

    VI IN THE CHÂLET OF THE ROCKS           74

   VII ZITLI                                89

  VIII THE MOUNTAIN FIRESIDE               108

    IX STORY-TELLING                       131

     X COURTSHIP AND CASTLE-BUILDING       151

    XI FAREWELL TO THE CHÂLET              171

   XII STORMY WEATHER                      190

  XIII THE WAY TO COVENTRY                 207

   XIV THE STRANGE OLD LADY                235

    XV THE BOMBSHELL                       261

   XVI THE APPLES OF ATALANTA              284

  XVII THE BLAZE OF GLORY                  304



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                         PAGE

  “‘YOU HAVE SENT MARIA TO COVENTRY: I GO
  WITH HER! GOOD-BY!’” (_See page 218_)        _Frontispiece_

  “‘I HAVE THE CAPET HAND, YOU PERCEIVE!’”                 26

  “ATLI ... WALKED BESIDE HER, HIS ARM ON HER NECK”        52

  “STANDING ON ONE SIDE, ARMS AKIMBO”                      88

  “HONOR COULD HARDLY SPEAK HER DELIGHT”                  167

  “‘OH!’ CRIED HONOR. ‘OH, HOW LOVELY!’”                  307



HONOR BRIGHT

CHAPTER I

AT PENSION MADELEINE


Honor Bright was twelve years old when her parents died, and left her
alone in the world. (Only, as Soeur Séraphine said, Honor would never
be wholly alone so long as the earth was inhabited.) Six of the twelve
years had been spent at school in Vevay, at the Pension Madeleine, the
only home she knew. She was too little to remember the big New York
house where she was born, and where her toddling years were spent.
She was only two when her father accepted the high scientific mission
which banished him to the far East for an indefinite time. Of the years
there she retained only a few vague memories; one of a dark woman with
tinkling ornaments, who sang strange old songs, and whom she called
“Amma”; one of an old man-servant, bent and withered like a monkey,
who carried her on his shoulder, and bowed to the ground when she
stamped her little foot. All beside was a dim mist with curious people
and animals moving through it. Long robes, floating veils, shawls and
turbans; camels and buffaloes, with here and there an elephant, or a
tiger (stuffed, this, with glaring eyes, frightening her at first, till
Amma bade her be proud that Papa Sahib had shot so great a beast);
ringing of bells, smell of incense and musk and flowers, stifling dust
and drowning rain; all part of her, in some mysterious dream-way.

When the child was six, the climate began to tell upon her, as it
does on all white children, and her parents were warned that she must
leave India. They brought her to Switzerland, to Vevay, the paradise
of schoolgirls, and left her there with many tears. Since then she had
seen them only twice or thrice; the journey was long and hard; her
mother delicate.

The last time they came, it was a festival for the whole school. Mrs.
Bright, beautiful and gentle, “like a jasmine-flower,” as Stephanie
Langolles said; Mr. Bright, kind and bluff, his pockets always full
of chocolate, his eyes twinkling with friendliness; they were in and
out of the Pension constantly, during the month they spent at the
Grand Hotel in Vevay. It was destructive to school routine, but as
Madame Madeleine said to Soeur Séraphine, what would you? The case was
exceptional. How to deny anything to these parents, so tender, and so
desolated at parting from their cherished infant? Happily another year
would, under the Providence of God, see this so affectionate family
happily and permanently united.

“One more little year,” said Mrs. Bright, as she embraced Honor at
parting. “Then Papa’s long task is done, and we shall go home, and
take you with us. Home to our own dear country, my little one, where
children can live and be well. No more pensions for you, no more
strange lands for us. Home, for all three; home and happiness!”

“And now,” sighed Soeur Séraphine. “At twelve years old, an orphan! Our
poor little one! And she has seen them so seldom; what tragedy!”

Madame Madeleine shook her head sorrowfully. “As for that, my sister,”
she said, “it appears to me less tragic than if these so-honored
parents had surrounded, as it were, the daily life of the child.
_Tiens!_ She has been with us four years, is it not so? In that period
she has seen her parents thrice, a week each time. What would you? A
child is a child. Honor weeps to-day; to-morrow she will dry her tears;
after to-morrow she will smile; in a month she will forget. And there,
if you will, is tragedy!”

Madame Madeleine was right. A week after the sad news came, Honor was
telling Stephanie (who had been away for a fortnight) all about it:
I must not say with enjoyment, for that would be untrue: but with a
dramatic interest more thrilling than sorrowful.

“Figure to yourself!” she said. “We are in the classroom: it is
arithmetic, and I am breaking my head over a problem wholly frightful.
On the estrade is Madame, calm as a statue, her little white shawl over
her shoulders, _comme ça_. Vivette is making signs to Loulou: it is the
peace of every day. Enter Margoton, a _telegramme_ in the hand. Madame
opens it; reads; a cry escapes her. Calming herself on the instant,
she bids us be _très sages_, and leaves the room. Shortly appears our
Sister, and calling me tenderly to her side, takes my hand and conducts
me to Madame’s boudoir. There I hear the fearful tidings. My parents
are in Paradise!”

Honor paused, and drew a long breath, shaking her hair back with a
dramatic gesture. Stephanie clasped her hands.

“_Chèrie_, how terrible! But continue! What--how did this happen? An
accident?”

“Cholera!” (I fear Honor was enjoying this part!) “The _choléra
Asiatique_, most terrible of all diseases, bringing death in an
instant. Two days ago,--figure to thyself, Stephanie: two days ago,
they were in health: Mamán, whom you remember, all beautiful; Papa,
good as bread, who overwhelmed us with chocolate--the pestilence
breathed upon them, and Heaven opened to receive them. Ah! that is
terrible, if you will!”

The two girls were sitting together in Honor’s little room. Ordinarily,
they would have sat on the floor, but to-day her mourning was to be
considered. The waxed floor shone with a brilliant polish; no speck of
dust was visible anywhere in the spotless cell (it was hardly more in
size); still, one could not be too careful.

“Black is very becoming to thee, my poor dear!” said Stephanie. “Thy
hair is like a cloud of golden fire above it. Nothing could be more
beautiful, I assure thee.”

Honor looked anxiously in the little mirror that hung over the chest
of drawers. It was a pleasant image that she saw; a round rosy face,
with a pretty, wilful mouth, dark blue eyes heavily fringed with black
lashes, a straight little nose, and, as Stephanie said, a perfect cloud
of curly red-gold hair. All this, I say, was pleasant enough; but
Honor did not notice the general effect; what she saw was a collection
of small brown spots on the bridge of the straight little nose, and
extending to the cheeks. Freckles! No one else at Madame Madeleine’s
had freckles. Patricia Desmond, with her complexion like moonlight on
ivory; Vivette, with the crimson glow mantling in her brown cheeks,
Stephanie herself with her smooth, pale skin--

“Ah!” cried poor Honor. “This hideous disfigurement! Shall I ever
outgrow it, I wonder? Maman said I should, but I know not!”

Stephanie thought the freckles quite as dreadful as Honor did, and
looked her sympathy.

“_Tiens!_” she said. “We have the appearance that the good God gives
us.”

Here she glanced at her own reflection, with complacent approval of her
brown velvet eyes and black satin hair.

“My poor Honor! But your hair is always beautiful, and there are no
eyelashes like yours in Vevay. Take courage! In the story your hair is
dark, is it not? The story marches always? When shall I hear another
chapter?”

Honor’s face brightened. The story was always a comfort when the
freckles became too afflicting. It was to be a romance, in three
volumes: the story of her life, beginning when she was sixteen. (She
was now twelve!) It opened thus:

“I was young; they called me fair. My mirror revealed masses of
jet-black hair which rippled smoothly to the floor and lay in silken
piles on the velvet carpet. My eyes--there was one who called them
starry pools of night. My cheek was a white rose.”

Stephanie thought this a wonderful description. Honor, as I say, always
found comfort in it, and forgot the freckles while she was following
the fortunes of her dark-eyed counterpart.

“To-morrow, perhaps! Now--Stephanie, thou must help me in a sorrowful
task. It is to put away--”

“Thy colored dresses, _chérie_? But surely! but thou wilt wear white,
Honor? It is everywhere admitted as mourning, thou knowest!”

“Fiordispina and Angélique!” Honor spoke with sorrowful dignity and
resolve. “Yes, Stephanie, it must be so! While my parents lived, do you
see, I was a child; now--” An eloquent shrug and wave completed the
sentence. “I am resolved!” she said. “These dear ones, with whom my
happy childhood has been passed, must retire to--finally, to the shades
of memory, Stephanie!”

“How noble!” murmured Stephanie. “Thou art heroic, Honor!”

Shaking her head sadly, Honor opened a cupboard door, and with careful
hands drew out--certainly, two of the most beautiful dolls that ever
were seen. Maman had chosen them with her own exquisite taste, in
Paris and Rome. Angélique, the Parisian maiden, was blonde as Patricia
herself, with flaxen hair and eyes of real sky-blue; Fiordispina, on
the other hand, might almost stand for Honor’s dream-self. Her hair
did not reach the ground, much less lie in silken piles on the velvet
carpet, but it was long enough to braid, and it was real hair: moreover
it was hair with a story to it. Maman had bought it in Rome, from a
woman whose daughter had just entered a convent, and had her beautiful
hair cut off. The woman wept, and assured Mrs. Bright that there was
no such hair in Rome. Most of it had been purchased by two noble
Princesses whom age had deprived of their own _chevelure_; there was
but this little tress left. She had thought to preserve it as a memento
of her child, but for the _puppazza_ of so charming a _donzella_ as
the--finally--she named a price, and Fiordispina received her head of
hair, in place of the bit of fuzzy lamb’s wool which had disfigured her
pretty head.

Honor looked long and tenderly at the doll; then, dipping her hand into
the pitcher of water that stood on the commode close by, she sprinkled
some crystal drops on the calm bisque face.

“_Tiens!_” she said. “She weeps, my Fiordispina! how lovely she is in
affliction, Stephanie! If I dressed her in mourning, but deep, you
understand--do you think I might keep her? But no! I have resolved.
The sacrifice is made!”

She produced two neat box beds, and laid Fiordispina, serenely smiling
through her tears, in one, while Stephanie tucked Angélique snugly
in the other. They were covered with their own little satin quilts,
embroidered with their names; the boxes were closed and tied with satin
ribbon.

“The sacrifice is made!” repeated Honor. “It is accomplished. Don’t
tell the other girls!”

And she burst into tears, and wept on Stephanie’s shoulder.



CHAPTER II

HOW HONOR FOUND HER NEW NAME: AND HOW THEY LIVED AT THE PENSION
MADELEINE


“Black and red!” said Patricia Desmond. “You look like a Baltimore
oriole, Honor!”

“What is that?” asked Vivette. “Bal-ti-moriole? _Qu’est-ce que c’est
que ça?_”

“Baltimore--oriole! Roll your ‘r’ twice, Vivi! More--ori-ole!”

“Moro-morio--bah! That does not say itself, Patricia. Moriole, that is
prettier, not so?”

“Have it your own way! It’s a bird, and Honor looks like one in her
black dress, that’s all. She moves like a bird too; ‘flit’ is the word
there, Vivi.”

“Fleet?” Vivette repeated carefully. “Is that co-rect, Patricia?”

Patricia yawned; Vivette was rather tiresome with her English.

“‘Fleet’ will do,” she said. “She’s that too. No, I can’t explain: I’m
busy, Vivette.”

“Bee-sy? Like a bee, is that, Patricia? _Trés occupée, n’est-ce pas?_”

“It does; and if you don’t go away, Vivette, I’ll show you with a
hatpin what a bee does!”

“_Tiens!_” murmured Vivette; “none the less, ‘Moriole’ is pretty, and
far more facile to say than ‘Honor’!”

That was how Honor came to be called “Moriole” among the girls; the
name clung long after the black dress had been laid aside.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two years passed; years of calm, peaceful, happy days. Two years of
study in the gray classroom, with its desks and blackboards, and its
estrade where Madame Madeleine or Soeur Séraphine sat benevolently
watching, knitting or rosary in hand, ready to encourage or reprove, as
need should arise. They were sisters, the two ladies of the Pension
Madeleine, though, as the girls often said, no one would have thought
it. Madame Madeleine was the elder by many years. She was more like a
robin than one would have thought a person could be; round and rosy,
with bright black eyes and a nose as sharp as a robin’s bill. She wore
black always, with a little white knitted shoulder shawl; and flat
shoes of black cloth which she made herself, no one knew why.

Soeur Séraphine was slender and beautiful, so beautiful in her gray
dress and white coif, that every new girl longed to dress like her, and
all the girls made up romances about her, no one of which was true.
Both ladies were “good as bread,” and everybody loved them, even people
who loved no one else; old Cruchon, the milkman, for example, who
announced boldly that he hated all human kind.

Two years of _récreation_ in the garden, with its high box hedges,
and its brick-paved alleys from which the girls were set once a week
to remove the weeds and mosses that came sprouting up between the
small bright red bricks. (Thus they learned, Madame would explain,
the ceaseless industry and perseverance of Nature, overcoming every
obstacle; besides strengthening the muscles of the back in a manner
altogether special.)

It was a delightful garden, with its square plots of flowers and
vegetables, alternating along both sides of the broad central _allée_
which ran its entire length; its fruit trees fastened primly to the
brick walls, “like one’s hair in curl-papers,” as Patricia said; its
currant and gooseberry bushes, and the great grapevines that buried the
lower wall in a mass of heavy green.

The _grande allée_ was not bricked, but was covered with sand, white
and firm and delightful to run on. Was it not rolled every morning by
Margoton, daughter of Anak, the gigantic gardener and chorewoman? Here
the girls might run at will (within bounds of health, prudence, and
good taste, as Madame explained) either for mere pleasure and exercise,
or by way of preparation for the _Courses_, which were held here; the
races for the _Pommes d’Atalante_, the little gilded apples which were
more coveted than any other school prize. Of this more hereafter.

Two years of quiet evenings in Madame’s own parlor, the dim, pleasant
room with its dark shining floor and old tapestries, its wonderful
chandelier of Venetian glass and the round convex mirror that was so
good (said Soeur Séraphine) for repressing the sin of vanity in the
breast of the Young Person. We sat upright on cross-stitch tabourets,
and knitted or embroidered, while Madame or the Sister read aloud,
“Télémaque,” or “Paul et Virginie,” or “La Tulipe Noire.”

It was a happy time. Dull, some of the girls found it; Stephanie, for
example, who pined for excitement; Rose-Marie, who was desperately
homesick for Aigues-Mortes (thought by some the dullest place in
Europe); Loulou, who considered all study a forlorn waste of time.

Honor loved it all, and was happy; but as Madame Madeleine frankly
said, Honor would be happy anywhere.

“She carries her world with her!” Madame would shrug her kind shoulders
under their little white shawl. “We are but scenery, _ma mie_!”

Whereupon Soeur Séraphine would sigh and murmur, “Poor Honor! poor dear
child!” and say a special prayer to Ste. Gêneviève for her favorite
pupil.

There were ten of them: three Americans, Patricia Desmond, Maria
Patterson, and Honor herself, the rest French or French-Swiss.
Rose-Marie was the oldest and had been there longest; poor Rose-Marie,
so good, so dull, the despair of all except Soeur Séraphine, who never
despaired of any one. Loulou was the youngest, a little mouse-like
girl afflicted with a devouring curiosity, which was always getting her
into scrapes: scrapes, for which Stephanie, who, I am sorry to say, was
somewhat similarly afflicted, was apt to be partly responsible.

Stephanie was pretty, lively, sentimental, and always in love with
somebody. She had tried worshipping Patricia, when she first came,
but that, Patricia intimated to her quietly, was a thing she could
_not_ endure, and the sooner she, Stephanie, dropped it, the better
for all concerned. Since then there had been little love lost between
the two girls. Stephanie transferred her adoration to Honor, who took
it simply, as she took most things, and thought it was wonderful of
Stephanie to care for her.

Vivette was pretty, too,--indeed, most of the girls were pretty, a fact
which gave Soeur Séraphine more pleasure than she felt it quite right
to take in anything so temporary and ensnaring as flesh and blood.
But, she would reflect, Vivette, for all her beauty, was serious.
_Tiens!_ If she should prove to have a Vocation! When this thought
first came to her, Soeur Séraphine felt her heart sink in a strange and
certainly a very sinful manner. She loved her vocation; for herself, it
had been a heavenly refuge from certain tragic sorrows of her youth.
When her convent had been broken up a few years ago, she had been at
first like a homeless bird, till the good elder sister, long widowed,
had come to her, and folded her in strong, tender arms, and taken her
away to Vevay, to share her home, her work, and all her good, peaceful
life.

Yes; but why then did Soeur Séraphine’s heart sink at thought of
Vivette’s having a vocation for the cloister? Well, because the little
Sister desired that everybody might be happy; and in her heart of
hearts she would have liked to see every young girl blissfully married
to a young man without fault, of marvelous beauty, large fortune and
irreproachable lineage. That was all. Of course, where a young person
had a real vocation, it was another matter. Vivette had hitherto shown
no signs of special piety, but what would you? She was yet young. If
even an unuttered thought should in any mysterious way turn her from
heavenly paths, that would be grievous sin on the part of the thinker.
Satan was very watchful, and her own heart, Soeur Séraphine reflected,
was desperately wicked. The Sister did penance for this, and fasted on
a feast day, to the amazement of the girls and the great distress of
Madame Madeleine.

She need not have disturbed her sweet self; Vivette had no vocation
whatever, except for teaching. She was a very practical girl, and had,
at the age of fifteen, mapped out her life methodically. She explained
it all to Honor: somehow they all explained things to _la Moriole_; she
was sympathetic, you understood.

“I also shall _bee_-come an _orphanne_!” she said in her careful
English. “For you, my all-dear, this was unattended,--_hein_?
‘Unexpected?’ _Merci bien, chèrie!_--your honored parents being still
in the middle ages. _Ainsi--hein?_ I have again made fault?”

Honor explained patiently; “middle ages” meant something wholly
different; it meant Charlemagne and Lorenzo de Medici and all that kind
of thing; in short, the Feudal System! Besides, she said, Maman was
really young, but quite young for an old person; nor was Papa so old as
many.

“But go on, Vivi! Why should you become an orphan?”

Vivette explained in turn. Her parents had married late; her father
was already bald as a bat, her mother in feeble health. What would
you? They had told her all simply that it would be necessary for her
to earn her own living when they joined the Saints, or else to make an
advantageous marriage.

“It is like that!” said Vivette, simply. “I assure thee, Moriole,
I have observed, but with a microscope, every desirable _parti_ in
Vevay. There is not one with whom I would spend a day, far less my
life. Enough! I desire to teach. To master the English tongue, to go to
_Amérique_, to instruct the young in my own language--_voilà!_ it is my
secret, _chérie_! I confide it to thee as to the priest.”

Honor, with shining eyes, promised to keep the secret, which, by the
way, half the school knew. It was very noble of Vivette, she thought.
How strange, how incomprehensible, to be able to teach! To write, now,
that was different. That was as natural as breathing.

It was noble also of Jacqueline de La Tour de Provence to accept the
lot which Fate had in store for her. This also was confided to Honor,
in a twilight hour in the garden. Jacqueline was a slender, lily-like
girl, too pale and languid, perhaps, for real beauty, but graceful and
highbred, aristocrat to her fingertips. She was a Royalist, she told
Honor. How could it be otherwise with one of her House.

“What is your house?” asked Honor innocently. “Is it in Vevay? Is it
one of the _chateaux_ on the hill?”

Jacqueline laughed her pretty silvery laugh; that also was high-bred,
if her speech did not always match.

“The Americans are incredibly ignorant, are they not?” she said
amiably. “It is that you have no _noblesse_, my poor Honor. Every
Frenchman knows that in the veins of the family of La Tour de Provence
runs the blood royal of France.”

“Oh, Jacqueline! not really? How thrilling!” murmured Honor.

“A La Tour de Provence married a cousin of the Grand Monarque!” said
Jacqueline, acknowledging the murmur with a regal bend of the head.
“But that is nothing; the Bourbons, you understand, are of yesterday.
On my mother’s side--” she paused, and proceeded slowly, dropping each
word as if it were a pearl--“I am a daughter of St. Louis, and of those
from whom St. Louis sprang. I am directly descended from _la reine
Berthe_!”

“Jacqueline! What do you tell me? Not Bertha Broadfoot?”

Jacqueline again bent a regal head. “Wife of Pepin d’Heristal!” she
said calmly. “Mother of Charlemagne! From that royal and sainted woman
descends the House of La Tour de Provence!”

She paused to enjoy for a moment Honor’s look of genuine awe and
astonishment; when she continued, it was with a touch of queenly
condescension, which might have moved to unseemly mirth any one less
direct and simple-minded than Honor.

“We were not in the direct line of succession; our ancestor was a
younger brother, you understand, of the Emperor. We have never
reigned! But we know our descent, and we never stoop. Such as you see
me here--” Jacqueline made a disparaging gesture--“in a tiny pension
(though the Madeleines are well-born, it goes without saying, otherwise
were I not here!) surrounded by a little _bourgeoisie_ like this, I
remain Myself.”

Jacqueline was silent a moment, contemplating her polished finger-nails.

“I have the Capet hand, you perceive!” she raised a very pretty,
useless-looking hand; not to be compared for beauty with Patricia’s
hand, thought Honor, that combination of white velvet and steel, but
pretty enough.

[Illustration: “‘I HAVE THE CAPET HAND, YOU PERCEIVE!’”]

“Was--was Queen Bertha really lame?” asked Honor timidly; it was really
astonishing to be talking with a Capet; she wondered whether she ought
to bow when she spoke. “And did she really spin?” And Honor repeated
the familiar rhyme that every French child knows:

  “Ah! the good time for every one
   When good Queen Bertha spun!”[1]

    [1]“_Ah! le bon temps que c’était
         Quand la reine Berthe filait!_”

“My sainted ancestress,” replied Jacqueline, “was all devoted to
her people. Her time was principally passed in spinning and weaving
garments for the poor. So great was her industry that she spun even on
horseback, carrying her distaff with her. Her constant labors at wheel
and loom caused one foot, that which worked the treadle, to become
larger than the other; this at least is the legend in our House. You
can figure to yourself, Moriole, my feelings at seeing, as lately among
these children of unknown people, the holy and venerable Queen made
part of a childish game.”

Honor blushed to her very ears. She and Stephanie had been playing only
that day with Loulou and Toinette, the two youngest pupils, the old
nursery game, never dreaming of harm.

  “_Avez-vous bien des filles, cousin,
    Cousine la reine boiteuse--_”

She hoped Jacqueline had not seen her. Madame Madeleine had asked her
to amuse the little ones for half an hour. Next time they would play
something else, “_Compagnons de la Marjolaine_,” or “_Nous n’irons plus
au bois_!”

“How does your--your family” (Honor could not somehow bring herself to
say “House”; it sounded so undemocratic!) “feel about the Republic?”

“We do not recognize it!” said Jacqueline calmly. “For us, it does not
exist. We serve his sacred Majesty Louis Philippe Robert, whom you
probably know only as the Duc d’Orleans.”

“I don’t know him at all!” said poor Honor.

Jacqueline gave her a compassionate smile. “His Majesty lives in
retirement!” she said. “Little people like thee may be excused for
an ignorance which is rather the fault of others than of thyself,
Moriole. For the rest, we bide our time! We follow the customs of our
House, and mate--so nearly as may be--with our equals.”

She then went on to tell Honor of the Fate that awaited her. She was
to remain another year at school. Then, when she was eighteen, she
was to be married, to the Sieur de Virelai, a nobleman of their own
neighborhood, a friend of her father’s. He was somewhat older than her
father, but a _grand seigneur_, with one of the historic castles of
France.

“When I am the Lady of Virelai, my poor Honor,” said Jacqueline, “you
must visit me, you must indeed. I shall receive you with pleasure.”

The supper bell rang just then, and the future Lady of Virelai jumped
up with more animation than she often showed.

“There are to be apple fritters for supper!” she cried. “Margoton told
me so! Quick, Moriole, or those greedy children will get the top ones.”

“Why shouldn’t they?” asked Honor, as they sped up the _allée_.
“There’ll be plenty for every one.”

Jacqueline turned a look of surprise on her.

“The top ones,” she said, “are the last off the griddle; naturally, one
desires them!”



CHAPTER III

THE MOUNTAINEERS


It was Madame’s birthday, a bright June day; it was also the feast of
St. Zita.

Every girl, Catholic and Protestant alike, had laid a flower on
the Saint’s shrine, the pretty little marble shrine at the end of
the garden, with the yellow roses climbing over it. Every girl had
presented her gift to Madame at breakfast, to the good lady’s unbounded
astonishment. They had been making the gifts under her benevolent nose
for a month past, but she had seen nothing; Soeur Séraphine said so,
and she ought to know. The steel beads of Honor’s neck chain (Honor was
not skilful with her needle, but she could string beads with the best!)
had flashed in sun and lamp light, had dropped on the floor and been
rescued from corners and cracks; Madame never noticed. She did not even
notice when Maria Patterson’s handkerchief case fell into the soup,
which, as Patricia said, served Maria right for tatting at table. Soeur
Séraphine saw, and Maria got no pudding, but Madame Madeleine never
so much as looked that way, and never faltered in her recital of the
virtues and sufferings of St. Zita.

She almost wept with pleasure over her gifts; never, she declared, were
such charming objects seen. And of a utility! _Tiens!_ this beautiful
blotter, how it would adorn her desk! And the exquisite chain! Would it
not sustain her spectacle case, which in future would never, as had so
often happened, become wholly lost? And--“Ma Patricia! this beautiful
scarf cannot be for me: tell me not so, my child! It is for a princess
rather!” etc., etc.

Dear Madame Madeleine! Surely her birthday was the happiest day of the
happy year for herself and all of us.

After the presentation, all was joyous bustle and hurry: baskets to
pack, shawls and cloaks to collect, _fiacres_ to summon; all for the
annual expedition to the _Rochers de Meillerie_, the most wonderful
picnic place in the world. The _fiacres_ (three of them! it made quite
a procession!) took the party down to the lake, where the little
steamer lay at her pier, the smoke pouring from her funnel. What
terror lest they should be late! What frantic signals waved from the
six windows of the procession of _fiacres_! The steamer gave no sign,
but puffed away stolidly; they had been on board half an hour, sitting
on their camp stools in a serried phalanx, before she rang her bell,
shrieked thrice through her whistle and began her leisurely progress
across the lake.

What a voyage of wonder that was! The morning was crystal clear, the
mountains stood in dazzling white and resplendent green, the lake was a
great sparkling sapphire studded with gold and diamonds.

Honor, sitting near the stern, watched the swirling wake, stretching
far behind, saw the rainbow bubbles rise, dance, break, fall away in
silver showers. She was fascinated, could not even look up at her
beloved mountains.

“_Tiens!_” whispered Stephanie. “This tall stranger, very
distinguished, who regards us, Moriole!”

Honor shook her shoulders a little impatiently. Stephanie was
always seeing distinguished strangers; they seldom, if ever, were
distinguished in Honor’s eyes.

Suppose, she thought, an Arm should suddenly appear, rising from the
bosom of the lake,

  “Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful!”

Suppose Undine were there--no! she lived in a fountain; well, other
nymphs then! There must be ever so many. But it was to be some time yet
before Honor came to her water world.

“Regard the mountains, my child!” said Madame. “They also are dressed
to welcome us, is it not so?”

Honor looked up, and the mountains took possession of her again.
One could hardly look at the white giants themselves, they were too
dazzling, midway between the vivid blues of sky and lake, the blinding
sunlight beating on them. Instinctively one’s eyes blinked, fell,
rested on the lovely green of the lower forest-clad heights; lower
still, on the mellow brown huddle at their feet, on the very edge of
the water, the Rocks of Meillerie.

“Behold!” said Madame. “The good rocks which await us!”

The good rocks, basking in sunshine as soft as it was warm, neither
dazzled nor blinded; they welcomed. They were actually warm under the
feet, as, released from the steamer, the happy girls clambered over
them, laden with baskets, shawls, campstools.

“This way!” the brown rocks invited: “to the left here, my children,
under our shadow, for the sun is hot! here rather to the right, since
the footing is better. Yonder is a place of treachery; avoid always
that emerald patch! Unknown depths lurk beneath.”

And so on, and so on! Did the rocks actually speak, or was it Soeur
Séraphine panting in the rear, cautioning, adjuring? Never mind! Here
they were at last in the picnic place, their own place, discovered by
the two good sisters, Madame Madeleine and Soeur Séraphine, hundreds
of years ago, when they were girls themselves. No one else knew of it,
they were sure; except, of course, Atli and Gretli, and they were safe.
It was a family affair, the rock parlor, with its brown walls and its
carpet of softest moss. No treachery here! The moss was as dry as it
was soft; a wonderful moss, like tiny velvet ferns; Honor and Stephanie
agreed it could grow nowhere else in the world. Here and there baby
rocks jutted through the green, making perfect stools; there was even
an armchair for Madame; it was arranged, Soeur Séraphine assured
them gaily. Nature, the good Mother Superior of the White Sisters
yonder--she indicated the towering giants above them--had designed this
place for them.

“Sit down, my children! My sister, this cushion for thy back, is it not
so? _Voilà!_”

The snowy cloth was laid on the moss before Madame’s rock armchair; the
baskets were unpacked, amid squeaks of rapture. Oh! the great pie! ah!
the _brioches_, the _galette_, the Lyons sausage, all the good, good
Swiss dainties! how wonderful they were, eaten here in the rock parlor,
at the very foot of the mountains! And when the girls were thirsty--Ah!
at the good hour! Here were Atli and Gretli.

Down through the brown rocks, stepping as sturdily and easily as if on
level ground, came the gigantic twins, Margoton’s brother and sister;
he bearing a shining milkcan, she a comb of golden honey in a blue
bowl. This also was a part of the regular programme. Never were twins
more alike. Clip Gretli’s flaxen hair and put her into Atli’s white
shirt, broad green breeches and worsted stockings; furnish Atli with
two heavy braids hanging to his waist, and dress him in bodice and
petticoat--Madame asked you--was there a difference? They were superb,
even Patricia allowed that. Their massive, regular features, their
blue eyes, the flash of their white teeth, the ruddy brown of cheek
and chin, contrasting with the milk-white strip of forehead when the
shady hat came off--all this with the figure of a Norse viking and--“Is
there such a word as ‘vi-queen’?” asked Patricia. Soeur Séraphine
thought not: the idea, however, was admirable. That was certainly what
our good Atli and Gretli resembled. Vee-king! vee-quin--: ki--veen! my
faith! That was difficult, if you would! a majestic language, but of a
complexity!

Honor thought silently that they were more like the Norse Gods: Baldur
the Beautiful, Nanna the Fair: there was a story about them in a little
brown book--

Atli, all unconscious of either kinglike or godlike attributes, poured
the rich, foaming milk into the tin cups held out by a dozen eager
hands: Gretli dispensed the honey with golden smiles; then the twins
sat down simply, and had their share of _galette_, _brioche_, and all
the rest of it, and answered the questions showered upon them by the
two ladies. Yes, the cows were well, with thanks to the holy ladies
for their interest; that is, the present time found them in health.
La Dumaine had been ill in the spring: but desperately ill! They had
despaired of her. During a week they had watched beside her as those
expecting the end. She was good as bread, the poor sufferer; her
moans were as eloquent as words. When she said “Moh!” one knew she
had thirst, one brought water on the instant; when she sneezed, it
expressed affection.

“It is that we understand!” said Gretli simply; “she is our sister, do
you see?”

Atli nodded gravely.

“It is like that!” he confirmed her. “We are all creatures of the good
God. Few human beings have the virtues of La Dumaine. The Duchesse,
now, is of another quality; that cow is malicious, if you will. Figure
to yourselves, my ladies, her endeavoring to snatch from our poor
Dumaine the tuft of clover that I had found for her (with difficulty,
for the season was late) and brought up from the valley. An evil beast!
my faith, she was well paid for that, the Duchesse; good strokes of the
cudgel rewarded her.”

“And the goats?” asked Soeur Séraphine. “They have wintered well?
The little white one lives always, that you named for me, kind young
persons that you are?”

The twins threw back their heads--their movements were apt to be not
only identical but simultaneous--and their laughter rang among the
rocks; every one else laughed, too, from sheer infection of merriment.

“If she lives?” chuckled Atli.

“The marvel is that others still survive!” cried Gretli. “It is we
that owe you a thousand apologies, my Sister, for giving your holy and
beautiful name to such a creature. She is mistress--what do I say? She
is tyrant of the whole flock. She drives them before her like lambs
of a month old; they have no peace, the unhappy ones. Only the two
he-goats, old Moufflon himself, and his son, our handsome Bimbo, can
withstand her. These, also, however, she conquers, but with wiles, you
understand. She has charm, _la Séraphine_; my faith, yes! Even Atli
gives her her own way, when I would give her the stick rather.”

“The creature!” said Atli indulgently. “She is of a beauty, my ladies!
White as cream, and her eyes so dark and appealing. My ladies will
graciously visit the _châlet_, as of custom? There will be great
rejoicing at sight of them.”

But yes, said Madame; that was one of the chief pleasures of this happy
day, long looked forward to. On the instant even, it would be well for
them to begin the ascent. Already it was two o’clock, and the steamer
left at five. Also, though young persons could imitate the goats in
their manner of ascent, for those of advanced years it was necessary to
allow time. Forward then, my children! to the châlet of the Rocks!

In the twinkling of an eye the baskets were repacked and safely stowed
beneath an overhanging rock; every scrap of paper and crust of bread
picked up and burned, under Soeur Séraphine’s watchful eye; then
the whole party began the ascent, Gretli leading the way with Soeur
Séraphine, whose slight figure was as active as that of her namesake,
Atli bringing up the rear, carefully guiding and supporting Madame
Madeleine. Between the two couples went the girls in a hubbub of
delight, skipping, slipping, leaping, chattering French and English as
they went.

“He is far more handsome than last year!” sighed Stephanie. “Regard his
moustache, how it embellishes him! What king was that thou callest him,
Patricia? _Le roi Vi, n’est-ce pas?_”

“No king at all! The Vikings were sea-rovers, pretty much pirates, I
suppose.”

“Pirate? That is _corsair_?” asked Vivette, who was getting on nicely
with her English. “My ancestor was a corsair of St. Malo. He captivated
three British ships--”

“By his beauty?” asked Patricia. “You mean ‘captured,’ Vivi!”

“Cap-ture, capti-vate, is it not the same thing? A captive, is he not
captivated? How then?”

“Catastrophe of a language!” murmured Stephanie, who detested English.

“Hop, Froggy!” said Patricia and Maria in one breath.

Seeing battle imminent, Honor broke in hastily, “Oh, look, girls!
_Regarde, Stephanie!_ The châlet! Race to it!”

No more words were spoken. Panting, breathless, the girls pressed on.
Soon they overtook Gretli and Soeur Séraphine, and some would have
passed them, but Patricia made an imperious gesture.

“Manners?” she suggested; “one doesn’t rush ahead of one’s hostess, I
_think_; or does one, Stephanie?”

Honor did wish they would not quarrel so. Of course Patricia was right,
but--she slid her hand into Stephanie’s, and they dropped back behind
the others.

“I hate her!” said Stephanie.

“No, you don’t,” said Honor stoutly. “You dislike her, and that is a
pity, because she is splendid, and if you didn’t dislike her, you would
like her so tremendously; but you don’t hate her.”

“The same thing!” muttered Stephanie.

“No!” Honor’s cheek flushed and her eyes flashed. “To dislike, that
comes to every one; to hate, that is wicked, and the good God is vexed.”

“My children,” called Soeur Séraphine. “Behold us arrived! forward
then! Our Gretli has a surprise for us, of which I learn but on the
instant. Follow me!”



CHAPTER IV

THE OUTGOING


The _Châlet des Rochers_ (I hope it is still standing!) wore an air of
high festivity. Garlands wreathed the open door and swung in festoons
from the low thatched roof. Around the door stood a group of young men
and maidens, all in the old-time Swiss costume, one of the prettiest
in the world; the girls with dark bodices laced over the full white
blouse, short full skirts of bright green, blue or red, snowy stockings
and well-blacked shoes; the youths in knee-breeches, white shirts,
short jackets and pointed hats.

“Are we at the _Opéra Comique_?” whispered Patricia. “They will begin
to yodel in a moment!”

And they did! As the School advanced, the whole group broke out
in--song, shall I say? Certainly into a sound as musical as it was
strange. “A-i! o-oh! u-u-u--” No! it may not be described. It must be
heard, and heard in the mountains.

“It is the _Ranz des Vaches_!” cried Soeur Séraphine. “I heard it--how
many years ago? When I was a little young girl! What pleasure! what
delight! What means this, my Gretli?”

Gretli’s face was aglow; she clapped her hands and laughed, joyously.

“It is the Spring Festival, my Sister!” she cried. “The festival of the
Outgoing, when the animals go to the mountain pastures. Hearing that
the gracious Ladies would be with us to-day, we held back the outgoing
that they might see. These are our neighbors, come to help us and join
our simple feast. Marie, Madelon, Jeanne, here are the gracious Ladies
of whom you have heard so much. Ah! _à la bonne heure!_ And here is our
Zitli himself to welcome you.”

A boy stood in the doorway, beaming welcome; a boy of fifteen, also
wearing the gay Swiss dress, but otherwise contrasting strangely
with the stalwart, sunburnt shepherds and farm maidens. He leaned on
crutches; his face was white and drawn, with lines of pain that should
not belong to so young a creature; yet no face in all the group shone
more brightly than that of Zitli, the younger brother, the joy and
pride of the mighty Twins.

Now Atli hastened forward to bring stools for the Ladies. Soon the
whole group was established before the châlet, the Ladies sitting in
dignity on their stools, the girls at their feet, on rugs and shawls
carefully spread by the Twins and their friends; “To protect from
dampness!” explained Gretli. “And from chill!” chimed in Atli. “My
faith! our Mountain’s heart is warm, but his bones are cold. Now! my
ladies find themselves in comfort? At the good hour! The creatures
become impatient. Hark to la Duchesse! That one is in a temper!”

An angry bellow was heard from the farmyard, where we could see white
horns tossing over the rough stone wall. It was answered by a “Moo!”
in a very different tone: a moo full of quiet dignity, with a touch of
rebuke.

“Well done!” cried Gretli. “La Dumaine responds; she puts that other in
her place. Is it not well done, friends?”

There was a general murmur of applause, amid which Atli, making a sign,
vanished into the yard, followed by the other young men. Presently the
sound of bells was heard, first one, then another, then a chime, all on
different notes, all in harmony. A lovely melody! And now the girls,
led by Gretli’s powerful voice, began to sing: a quaint air, with
quainter words, which may be roughly translated as follows:

  “Ten young maidens fair and free;
  All the ten would married be:
  There was Dine, there was Chine,
  There was Claudine and Martine;
  Ah! ah! Cath’rinette and Cath’rina:
  There was beautiful Suzon;
  Duchess fair of Montbazon;
  There was Célimène;
  There was La Dumaine.”

As they sang, the farmyard gate opened, and out came the cows. Usually
the herd was already in the mountain pastures by the time of the
Birthday Fête; the School had never seen it before. Honor gazed in
silent wonder and delight at the superb creature who led the way: a
cow white as cream, graceful as a deer, holding her head like a queen.
Round her neck was a broad collar of leather, richly embroidered in
bright-colored silks, from which hung a large bell. As she moved, she
tossed her beautiful head, and the deep mellow notes of the bell rang
out sweetly on the quiet air. “Ting! ling-a-ling! ling-a-ling!”

“Ling-ling!” responded another bell! another, and another. The two
cows following the leader were also beauties: one a delicate fawn color
with white feet and a white star on her forehead; the other--

“But this is the Purple Cow!” cried Patricia.

  “‘I never saw a purple cow,
  I never thought to see one!’

But now I do!”

Honor had never read “The Lark,” never, poor Continental child, so much
as heard of it; but there was no doubt about it; here was a purple cow,
or one of so deeply violet-tinted a gray that purple was the one idea
suggested.

“What an original tint has this!” cried Madame Madeleine. “And what a
beauty! Truly, Gretli, she rivals La Dumaine herself!”

As if she understood the words, the purple cow flung up her head with
an angry movement; then lowering it, jostled rudely against the leader
as if trying to push past her. La Dumaine paid no heed, but continued
to advance slowly, her beautiful eyes turned lovingly toward Atli, who
walked beside her, his arm on her neck. The fawn-colored cow, however,
with a quiet but firm shove of her powerful shoulder, jostled the
purple one back into her place.

“Aha!” cried Gretli. “Well done, Célimène! This, my ladies, is a
creature of discernment, and of judgment. Célimène, I am content with
thee, my friend!”

The purple cow bellowed angrily; Gretli replied with asperity, “As for
thee, thou wilt do well to be silent. No one desires speech of thee, be
assured!”

“What is her name?” asked Patricia. “The purple one; she is the
handsomest of all, I think.”

[Illustration: “ATLI ... WALKED BESIDE HER, HIS ARM ON HER NECK”]

“It is the Duchesse de Montbazon, Mademoiselle! An animal of beauty, as
all acknowledge, but of an evil and envious disposition. Her jealousy
of La Dumaine passes bounds. The truth is, two years ago our beloved
Queen had an illness, was not able to seek the mountains with the rest.
Wishing to be entirely just, we allowed La Duchesse to lead the herd,
as in beauty and in quality of milk she properly ranked next. Figure to
yourself that a month later, when Atli led the wholly-recovered Dumaine
to the mountain pasture, this one refused to yield her place. She
roared, she tore up the ground--there was a scene, I promise you! Atli
was forced to belabor her well with the milking-stool before she could
be brought--I say not to reason,--she is incapable of it--but to simple
obedience. There again our worthy Célimène was of assistance; she,
loving La Dumaine like a sister, advanced to the attack of that other,
who was threatening our queen in a manner wholly savage, and overthrew
her.”

“Ah!” cried a shrill voice behind her. “That was a thing to see! Paff!
and there she rolled, the four legs in the air.”

Gretli turned smiling to the boy who, leaning always on his crutches,
rubbed his hands with delight, while a glow spread over his pale face.

“Thou saw’st it, Zitli, didst thou not?” she said approvingly. “As thou
sayst, it was a thing to see. Regard, my Ladies! La Dumaine comes to
pay her respects to our honored guests!”

Stepping daintily over the short turf, guided by Atli’s hand on her
neck, the beautiful creature advanced to within a few paces of the
group before the door, and stretching her neck, sniffed inquiringly,
fixing her great violet-brown eyes on Soeur Séraphine with an appealing
look.

“Beautiful one!” the little Sister patted the snowy muzzle gently.
“What wouldst thou?”

Zitli thrust into her hand a saucer containing a lump of salt. “She
desires bonbons!” he said. “Behold the bonbons of La Dumaine, my
Ladies!”

Honor, curled up at the Sister’s feet, watched entranced as the pink
tongue curled eagerly round the salt. She was in such a state of
wonderment and rapture, she was conscious of nothing save the cows; but
suddenly a hand clutched hers, and a voice whispered,

“Moriole, I faint! I die! I can bear no more!”

Honor, turning in amazement, beheld Stephanie, white as chalk, her eyes
starting from their sockets, her teeth absolutely chattering.

“But what is it?” she cried. “Stephanie, what ails thee? My Sister,
Stephanie is ill!”

“My child!” Soeur Séraphine turned in anxiety. “You find yourself ill?”

“She’s afraid of the cows!” said Patricia bluntly.

“But no! of these gentle creatures? Can it be? Come, my child! Lay your
hand on the beautiful head! Observe her gentleness! A lamb is less
mild!”

She tried to draw Stephanie toward her: and in so doing drew back
the saucer a little. La Dumaine pursued it, snuffing and blowing
appreciatively: at this Stephanie uttered a wild shriek, and springing
up, rushed to one side to escape the terrible animal, who, she cried
out, would devour her.

Alas! Stephanie had recently had a present of a scarlet parasol, of
which she was inordinately proud. So proud that she had brought it with
her to the _fête_, regardless of the gibes of the other girls. In her
sidewise rush, the parasol, still clutched in her hand, was presented
full to the view of the Duchess of Montbazon, within two feet of her
purple nose. The Duchess, in no mood to endure this, lowered her head
with a furious bellow, and leaving her place in the ranks, advanced
upon Stephanie, who fled with shrieks that rent the air. The other
cows, startled, huddled together: at the rear, Le Roi, the splendid
young bull, raised his great head, crowned with the milking-stool, and
uttered a loud moo of inquiry.

It was a bad moment; but Atli and the Queen were equal to the
emergency. A touch on the neck, a word in the ear; La Dumaine turned
from her “bonbons” and with regal pace and head lifted high, started
across the plot of greensward and up the track that led to the mountain
pasture. After a moment’s confusion, the other cows, aided by voice
and hand of the farm maidens, followed in their regular order. Gretli
rescued the shrieking Stephanie and carried her bodily into the
house. The shepherds, shouting with laughter, corralled the Duchess
of Montbazon in a corner of the yard, and drove her, still bellowing
rage and defiance, after the herd. She followed for some paces behind
Le Roi, who, conscious of his duty to guard the rear, turned his
head frequently to utter snorts of rebuke and remonstrance. Finally,
jealousy and ambition triumphed over the sulks. Breaking into a
clumsy gallop, La Duchesse plunged past the bull, past Dine and Chine,
Claudine, Martine and the rest, and shouldered her way in behind La
Dumaine and beside Célimène. The former pursued her serene way, taking
no notice; the latter--well, cows cannot laugh, but Célimène’s carriage
was very expressive as with a whisk of her tail and a “wallop” of her
hind-quarters, she made place for the rebel beside her. So the herd
swept out and away, Atli still walking beside his Queen: and after
them, shouting and laughing, went the neighbor boys and girls, to
finish their holiday with a feast of curds and whey, cheese and black
bread in the mountain pasture.



CHAPTER V

BIMBO


The living room (kitchen, sitting room and dining room in one) of the
Châlet was also in festal trim as Gretli ushered her guests in; good,
faithful Gretli, who had planned all, gladly giving up her part in the
mountain feast for the sake of entertaining her “honored patrons” and
their pupils. The floor was white with scrubbing; the little windows
gleamed like diamonds; the sunbeams darting through them made lively
play among the brass and copper vessels ranged on the dresser, or
hanging on the whitewashed walls.

The only dark thing in the room was the fireplace, and that had a good
right to its warm sootiness. All about it hung hams and flitches of
bacon, and strings of sausages, the pride of the thrifty Twins: there
was bread, too, though some people might not have recognized it in the
large flat round cakes with a hole in the middle, strung on ropeyarn
and hanging in festoons from the rafters. Madame Madeleine glanced
upward and nodded approval.

“A fine showing, my Gretli! Thou hast provision for many winters there.”

Gretli beamed with modest pride. “We do our possible!” she said. “Atli
is indeed a marvel of strength and industry; and we have our Zitli!”
she added, glancing at the lame boy, a lovely look in her face.
“Without Zitli, where should we be? He turns the hams, he keeps the
fire at the proper height, he stuffs the sausages; unaided he does it!
As for the cheese--it is well known that he is called the little Prince
of Cheesemakers. Let my gracious Ladies descend, if they will have the
condescension, and inspect the cheese room!”

The cheese room was dark and cool--and dripping! No ice in mountain
châlets, but through the middle of the room ran a little crystal stream
whose water needed no ice.

“It comes down from the Alps!” Zitli explained. “My brother persuaded
it, with a wooden conduit; my faith, the good Nix was willing enough;
ever since then she sends her stream; in the dryest summer, it never
fails. No other châlet has such a stream. It is because of the virtue
of my brother and sister!” he added simply.

“Zitli!” Gretli spoke in gentle reproof. “These are not words to say
before honorable guests, though I love thee for them, my little one.
See, my ladies! here stand the pans, thus, on either side the stream;
these are for the cream cheeses, the other for those of milk alone.
Observe now the cheeses!”

She led the way proudly to the end of the room--it was really more like
a cavern--where, on broad shelves, stood the great round cheeses, tier
on tier, all neatly marked with date and weight.

“I didn’t suppose there was so much cheese in the world!” said Honor.

Gretli laughed merrily. “My faith, mademoiselle! Twice in the year we
send forth this quantity, from this one châlet, by no means one of the
largest of this Alp.”

“But assuredly one of the best!” said Madame Madeleine.

“Madame is kindness in person! We do our possible. Consider then,
mademoiselle, that in fifty châlets on this single Alp, equal numbers
or larger are made, are sent out twice in the year; and that there are
countless Alps in our dear country; mademoiselle sees, without doubt,
that there is no danger of the world being without cheese. Look! on
this shelf, behold the little cheeses of cream, called _Neufchatel_
from that good town where first they were produced. If Madame permits,
we would like, Zitli and I, to present to each of the demoiselles one
of these small objects.”

“Oh!” cried the girls in chorus. “Oh, Gretli! Oh, Madame, may we?”

Madame looked doubtful. “It is too much--” she began.

“With respect!” cried Gretli. “They are made entirely of cream; is it
not so, Zitli? Yesterday we made them, Zitli and I, expressly for our
demoiselles. Quite frankly, the new-born infant might eat them without
injury. They are even thought to be stomachic in their quality.”

“That was far from being my thought,” Madame explained graciously.
“I feared we might rob you, my Gretli; but since you have made this
charming present for my pupils--come, my children! you have permission
to accept--not forgetting, I trust, the thanks that are due!”

A chorus of delight and thanks broke out, as the neat little rolls of
silver-papered cheese, each stamped _Châlet des Rochers_, were dealt
out. Maria Patterson and Vivette proposed to eat theirs on the spot;
Loulou tried to stuff hers into her pocket.

Gretli offered a better suggestion. “This basket,” she said, “will
hold all, and my young ladies will, I trust, enjoy at their supper the
little fruits of the Châlet. For the moment, I will ask you to mount
once more to the room.”

Then, bending down from her towering height, she whispered in Honor’s
ear. “In the basket is already a _fromage Camembert_ for the evening
repast of my Ladies. It is their favorite cheese; we send it, Atli,
Zitli and I, as a little surprise, Mademoiselle understands.”

Honor nodded comprehension, and took the basket, in which the silver
rolls were now neatly stored.

Zitli had preceded them some minutes ago, up the ladder-stair which
led down to the cheese room. As they came up blinking into the strong
sunlight, they saw his beaming face behind a little table, on which was
a plate of curious little biscuits or cookies stamped in the shape of a
cow, a glass pitcher of rich cream, and a number of little wooden bowls
and spoons.

“Oh! oh! oh!” cried the girls in chorus.

“A little _goûter_!” (luncheon) Gretli hastened forward to explain.
“Before making the descent! My Ladies remember well the _biscuits
des Rochers_, to be eaten with cream; sustaining, you observe, and
wholesome--ah! _par example_!”

“Remember them!” cried Soeur Séraphine. “Could we forget? Regard, my
children! When we were young girls of your age, the good grandmother
of our friends prepared this feast yearly for us. We came with our
honored parents, now in glory; it is to make weep with pleasure and
remembrance, the sight of them!”

And indeed, the little Sister actually wiped a tear from her blue eyes.

Tears were far from the eyes of Honor, Patricia, and the rest, as
they clustered round the table. It is highly improbable that any of
my readers ever tasted the cream of the _Châlet des Rochers_; I,
therefore, declare boldly that they do not know what cream is. As for
the biscuits, made of cream and honey and wheat flour--they also are
not to be described.

“And _how_ do you make them like a cow?” asked little Loulou, a
newcomer to the school. “_Tiens_! they resemble La Dumaine!”

Gretli cast a proud glance at her brother, who blushed crimson and
dropped his eyes.

“It is a portrait of our Queen!” she said. “Behold the cutter, carved
by our Zitli. All unconscious, La Dumaine sat--I should rather say
stood--for her portrait--while he carved it. The former one, made
by our honored grandfather in his youth, had lost its clearness of
outline; through age and long use, you understand. Nor--with respect
to our venerable ancestor be it said--did it ever equal in beauty the
present one.”

I trust that the _Madeleinettes_, as the Vevay children called our
girls, were no more greedy than other young persons of their age. They
had certainly eaten a great deal of luncheon barely two hours before;
yet they fell upon the biscuits and cream, and on the shining combs of
honey which supplemented them, “as if after a three days’ fast,” said
Soeur Séraphine in gentle reproof.

“_Voyons!_ they are young!” said motherly Madame Madeleine.

“It is like that!” cried Gretli, who was manifestly enjoying every
mouthful they ate. “Youth, my Ladies,” (Gretli was twenty-two!),
“demands nutrition. If simple and wholesome, can there be too much
of it? For example! did my Sister ever try to fill a young goat to
repletion? There, if you will, is gluttony!”

The little feast over, Madame declared that it was time to begin the
descent. They must go slowly, more slowly even than in ascending, and
they had no more than time to reach the pier in good time. Every one
knew that Madame’s “good time” meant a full half hour before the boat
started, so it was without too much haste that the girls took leave of
Zitli and the châlet. Gretli, as they knew, would see them safe at the
foot of the Alp before saying good-by.

“Oh!” said Honor, as they came out on the green space before the house,
“but we have not seen the goats, Gretli!”

“_A la bonne heure!_” said Gretli. “And on the instant, Mademoiselle
Honor, here the creatures come!”

The goats knew it was not yet supper-time. Very leisurely they came
up the track, old Moufflon in advance, young Bimbo bringing up the
rear. Between them the she-goats, twenty or thirty of them, straggled
along, stopping here to nibble a tuft of grass or clover, there to
investigate a bush or stone. They are inquisitive creatures, goats. Now
and then a shrill bleat was heard, and some goat would canter a few
paces ahead, then fall to nibbling again.

“It is Séraphine who annoys them!” Gretli said. “The creature! Look,
my demoiselles. Nanni, her own aunt, you observe, has found a green
tuft of the most succulent, and begins to take her pleasure. Now in a
moment--regard! comes la Séraphine! biff! it is over! Poor Nanni flies,
and that one enjoys the morsel. My faith, she is really of an evil
nature, the Séraphine, and gluttonous beyond description. Again, I make
my heartfelt apologies to my Sister for giving her holy name to this
creature. For example! if I had named La Dumaine for her, now, it would
be different!”

Soeur Séraphine laughed heartily at the antics of her namesake, and
declared that she had had much the same disposition in her youth. “But
not the beauty!” she added. “As Atli says, it is difficult to be severe
with so charming a creature.”

“It’s funny that the best cow and the worst goat should be white, isn’t
it?” said Vivette.

“As mademoiselle says! A thing very curious. Bimbo, now! a black goat
may by right be mischievous, is it not so, my ladies? Yet Bimbo also is
handsome, we think.”

As if he heard and understood, Bimbo, the young he-goat, lifted his
head, and reconnoitered the party standing on the green; then, slowly
and with an air of elaborate carelessness, he detached himself from the
flock, and began a circuitous approach, pausing to nibble--or to make a
pretence of nibbling--at every other step. He was jet black, with white
horns and hoofs; a superb animal, already larger than Moufflon, his
father and leader.

“He _is_ a beauty!” said Patricia. “I should like to have a pair of him
to drive, wouldn’t you, Moriole? We’d take Stephanie out--and upset
her into the lake!” she added in an undertone.

Stephanie did not hear her. Her eyes were fixed in terror on the
advancing flock, and especially on Moufflon, a goat of great dignity,
with wide-branching horns and a notable beard.

Stephanie was naturally afraid of all animals. Their size mattered
little; a cow or a mouse threw her into almost equal agonies of terror.
Indeed, the mouse was the more to be dreaded of the two, since--horror!
it could, and certainly would if given the opportunity--run up one’s
sleeve, in which case one would die on the spot, on the instant.
Moreover, the poor child’s nerves had been thoroughly upset by the
Purple Cow episode (which naughty Patricia was already turning into
verse in her mind!). She had made up her mind that Moufflon meant to
attack her. Pressing close to Gretli’s side, shaking in every limb,
she kept her eyes fixed on him in the fascination of terror. Ah! but
she did not notice--_nobody_ noticed Bimbo! Gretli herself, keeping a
watchful eye on the mischievous Séraphine, prepared to check and punish
any outbreak on the part of that obstreperous young beauty, had no eye
for the black goat, quietly circling to the rear of the party, quietly
moving forward, with a sharp glance now and then through his forelock.
If any one had cast a glance at Bimbo, he would have been seen nibbling
grass, serenely unconscious; the catastrophe might have come just the
same: but no one did cast a glance.

Presently, Madame Madeleine called Gretli to her, to ask some question
about the descent. Gretli, stepping forward some paces, left Stephanie
for the moment standing alone, still holding the unlucky red parasol.
Directly in front of her stood Honor, her eyes fixed on the mountains,
lost in a dream of the Norse gods. Bimbo’s moment had arrived. Two
at a time! glorious sport. Lowering his head, he advanced at a smart
gallop. Biff! _bang!_ a wild shriek rang out. Stephanie and Honor
were rolling together at the feet of Soeur Séraphine, and the others,
turning in bewilderment, saw the black goat quietly nibbling grass,
apparently unconscious of them and of the world.

Stephanie sprang up and rushed sobbing and screaming to throw herself
into the tender arms of Madame Madeleine. Honor lay still. The air
was black and full of sparks; there was a pain somewhere, a rather
sickening pain.

Gretli and Soeur Séraphine ran to raise her, and she uttered a little
cry.

“It’s all right!” she said. “I hit my head, I think, and my ankle--but
it’s all right!” Here she tried to get up, and instead crumpled into a
little heap and fainted away.



CHAPTER VI

IN THE CHÂLET OF THE ROCKS


When Honor opened her eyes, it was to look round her in amazement.
Where was she? Certainly not at home in the Maison Madeleine. This bed,
with its fragrant sheets of coarse heavy linen and its wonderful quilt,
was not her own, nor was the little room with its bare white walls and
dormer windows.

A quaint little room, homely, yet friendly. Along one wall ran a
shelf, on which were many pieces of wood-carving, some of exquisite
delicacy. Honor’s still-bewildered eyes rested with delight on a
miniature châlet, with tiny cattle and goats, half the length of her
little finger, browsing round it, with a fairy sennerin smiling in the
doorway. A wonderful piece of work it seemed to her. There must be
a very skilful carver here. The wooden bedstead on which she lay was
carved too, and its four tall posts were surmounted by four heads, with
smiling, friendly faces. What a curious, delightful place!

“Where am I?” said Honor.

Soeur Séraphine was bending over her, her face full of tender anxiety.

“Thank God!” she said. “My little one, you are yourself again, is it
not so? But no!” she added, as Honor tried to rise, and sank back with
a little moan. “It is to lie quite still, my child! You have sprained
your ankle, and must remain tranquil till it restores itself. Our
Gretli will care for you, as tenderly as we ourselves could do. A few
days only; then Atli will fashion a carrying chair and bring you down
the mountain and home to us. Madame left her fondest love for you; she
was forced to go, you understand, and now I must follow, lest the boat
depart without me. My child, with no one save Gretli and Atli could we
possibly have left thee, thou knowest that. The ankle is well bandaged,
and Gretli is a skilful nurse; adieu, my little Honor! Thou wilt be
good and not unhappy? Adieu!”

The Sister’s kind blue eyes were full of tears as she kissed Honor’s
forehead and hurried away. A few moments after, Gretli appeared, and
sat down by the bedside with an air of business-like cheerfulness.

“_Voilà!_” she said. “I have seen her well started, the holy Sister.
My faith, she is a good mountaineer; she leaps like a goat. She will
soon overtake Madame, who, being of a certain age, must proceed more
cautiously. And how does mademoiselle find herself? Not too ill, I
hope?”

Honor was still looking about her in a bewildered fashion. “I am all
right,” she said, “only my head aches, and my ankle hurts when I try to
move. What happened, Gretli? Did somebody knock me down? Why?”

“That,” said Gretli, “is a thing known only to the good God, who
created goats. With sorrow and shame I avow it, Mademoiselle Honor;
Bimbo, that child of Satan, attacked Mademoiselle Stephanie, from the
rear, you understand, with a violence not to be credited had one not
seen it. She was flung forward upon you, who stood before her; a loose
stone, it would appear, turned under your foot. You fell to the ground,
striking your head on another stone. I ran to raise you; you swooned
in my arms, poor child. Ah! what confusion! Mademoiselle Stephanie
shrieking to the skies that she was killed; Zitli belaboring the
misguided beast with his crutch; the _demoiselles_ clustering together
in affright; my Ladies full of anxiety and distress. What would you? It
was the hour of departure; there is no other boat to-day, and though
all would be more than welcome to the Châlet, they could not pass the
night in comfort.

“They proposed to carry you between them, these benevolent ladies;
I respectfully begged them to reconsider. ‘Leave the little one’--I
demand pardon, mademoiselle; it is only yesterday, it appears, that
I carry you in my arms!--‘leave her with us!’ I said. ‘My faith, I
am well used to the care of sprains; she will be safe as in Ste.
Gêneviève’s pocket. I will give her soup of cream and onion with
cheese, a restorative not worse than another; for her amusement Zitli
will tell stories--but, _par example!_ he is a story-teller, that
little one! The creatures will all be at her feet, except that ruffian
Bimbo, who will not be suffered to approach her. By and by, when all
is well, Atli will carry her down the mountain like an egg of glass,
will deposit her by your side. _Et voilà!_’ My Ladies perceived the
reasonableness of the idea. They wept, but finally consented to leave
their cherished pupil to make a good and beautiful recovery in the
_Châlet des Rochers_. Finally, mademoiselle, behold us here, three of
us--four, when Atli returns to-morrow from the higher Alp. We shall do
well, is it not so? And now, to prepare the soup! It will be good, I
promise you!”

Left alone, Honor looked round her, and tried to take in the situation.
She remembered the sudden impact of some soft body--that was poor
Stephanie, of course; then--_crash!_ a sharp blow from something
hard--that was the stone!--a shower of stars, red, blue, green,--then
darkness. That was all, till this wonderful awakening to find herself
in the châlet of her dreams, among the great mountains themselves. Ah!
there they were; close, it seemed, outside the little window. Without
moving her head, she saw a green giant towering, and behind him,
looking over his shoulder, a white one.

  “The thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts!”

Certainly Honor’s thoughts were long to-day. Lying there in the narrow
bed, they floated back to the wonderful day--was it a week ago, or a
month?--when she had, as she solemnly declared to herself, “discovered
the mountains.”

It all came, curiously enough, from English Literature. The mountains
had always been there, but somehow she had taken them for granted,
while the four walls of her room held the thrilling drama she enacted
with Angélique and Fiordispina. She could recall the very day when
she first came to her mountain world. She was in the garden, studying
her English Literature. Soeur Séraphine was a great lover of English
poetry, and the pupils, French and Anglo-Saxon, must, she maintained,
be thoroughly grounded in the language of “_le grand Shekspire et le
sublime Meel-ton_.” This was hard on Stephanie, to whom English was, as
she expressed it, like throwing all the fire-irons downstairs together.
Patricia Desmond, who had a keen sense of the ludicrous, had difficulty
sometimes in keeping the twinkle out of her beautiful eyes and the
smile from the corners of her perfect mouth, when dear Soeur Séraphine,
erect as a little gray marionette on the estrade, recited, for example,
the “Ancient Mariner”:

  “Eet ees un ancien marinère,
    And ’e stopess von of sree;
  ‘By zy longré birrd and gleetring eye,
    No verefore stopp’st zou me?’”

Honor saw nothing funny in it; French-English was as natural to her
as the Anglo-Saxon variety; she thrilled with Soeur Séraphine, her
romantic little soul went forth with the Mariner over the perilous
seas; for her as for him, the fair wind blew, the white foam flew,
the furrow followed free.

  “Ve vare ze foorst zat evare boorst--”

shrilled Soeur Séraphine-- “If necessary, Patricia, go, my child!”

For Patricia had flung up an imploring hand and burst into a fit of
coughing; she now scuttled (her own word, not mine!) from the room,
and gaining the shelter of her own, flung herself on the bed in
paroxysms of laughter.

Honor did not stir; she was hardly conscious of the interruption. The
“silent sea” absorbed her, soul and body.

The “Choix de Poésies Anglaises” contained two other poems by
Coleridge, “Kubla Khan” and the “Hymn at Sunrise in the Valley of
Chamounix.” Honor already knew the former by heart; she was learning
the latter, and had permission to study in the garden. Sitting on the
bench under the great pear-tree, she murmured the opening lines over
and over, all unconsciously following the familiar pronunciation.

  “Hast zou a sharm to stay ze morningstar
    In his stipp courrse?”

She lifted her eyes.

It was not Mont Blanc that towered in the distance across the blue
lake, but the _Dent du Midi_, white and austere. It was not the
morning star, but Hesperus, that glittered in the rosy sunset light:
but these details did not matter. The spirit of the mountains seemed to
pass into the child’s heart; it seemed to be herself, not the poet, who
was chanting the great Hymn.

At first, it was as if she had never seen them before; she could
only gaze and wonder. By and by they grew familiar again, but with a
difference; they were her friends now, beloved and reverenced. Soon she
began to weave webs of fancy about and about them, as was her way about
everything.

The _Dent du Midi_ himself was a vast giant; like Atlas, only
snow-white, instead of earth-brown as she had always pictured the
latter. He was not a king, Mont Blanc was the king, as “Lor’ Birron”
told her in the one specimen of his poetry enshrined in the _Choix_.
“Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains: they crowned him long ago”;
yes, doubtless. But the _Dent_ was one of the great princes of his
court; held indeed a court of his own, with the _Dent d’Oche_ and the
_Dent de Morche_ for his attendant dukes or marquises, and a host
of other nobles who wore green robes under their white stoles. Some
of these were lady-mountains, Honor loved to think; lovely maidens,
with flashing jewels (those were the streams that danced and shone
in the sunlight) and delicate trailing robes and veils of mist. They
ministered to the Prince, singing to him with their musical voices--the
streams again: it was quite simple to change them from jewels to
voices--veiling and unveiling their beauty at his pleasure. But in
the evening, the great star, Hesperus, who was Venus herself, Madame
Madeleine said (which one did not understand, but that did not matter)
rose out of the sunset over the Prince’s shoulder, kissed him, hovered
radiant above him; and then the mountain maidens bowed their heads
under their white veils and paid homage to their Queen.

All this Honor had dreamed, sitting there in the garden, when she ought
to have been studying.

The dream came back to her to-night, with power; it seemed to fill the
world. They were not, they could not be, mere masses of earth, these
glorious forms towering into the sky. They surely were mighty beings,
wrapped in their own deep thoughts, holding their own high converse one
with another.

And now, she had come to the mountains. Not only were they her own, but
she was theirs. Not a mountain child, like the mighty Twins, or even
like Zitli--happy Zitli, who knew no other world than this glorious
one; but an adopted child, say! She had come to visit them; they would
be kind to her, would accept her love and reverence. It was very
wonderful.

The châlet stood half way up one of the lesser Alps, on a ledge which
jutted out from the green wooded slope. All around were other Alps,
some green to the top, others capped or mantled with snow; others
again, which seemed to scorn all covering, and towered gaunt and bare,
their rocky sides seamed and scarred. These were dead giants, Honor
thought. She did not love to look on them, they were too terrifying;
she lifted her eyes to the loftiest summit of all, that of the _Dent du
Midi_ himself, the mighty Prince of her dreams. How glorious he was;
how noble!

As she lay watching, a glow stole over the brow of the white giant;
the green of the nearer ones grew warmer; the sun was going down, and
the world was turning to rose and gold. A level shaft flamed through
the window and fell on Honor’s bed, lighting up the quilt. “Look!” it
seemed to say. “This too is wonderful!”

It certainly was; heaviest linen, so covered with embroidery that the
groundwork could hardly be seen. All in white; yet with a bewildering
variety about it, somehow. Looking closer, Honor saw that it was
divided into five compartments, a round one in the centre, the others
fitting into it. The centre-piece displayed the sun, moon and stars,
beautifully wrought in shining linen. In one of the others were
delicate shapes of Alpine flowers, so lovely that one hardly missed
the color. Another held ferns and mosses, while a third was covered
with birds, in full flight or perched on twig and bough. The fourth--at
first Honor thought it was entirely empty, but soon she spied in one
corner a bit of work, evidently the beginning of a design. She was
puzzling over it when a sudden whiff struck her nostrils, a pungent,
aromatic whiff which made her exclaim unconsciously, “Oh, how hungry I
am!”

“_A la bonne heure!_” Gretli stood beaming in the doorway, carrying
a tray; on the tray was a blue bowl, steaming, fragrant. “Behold the
soup of Mademoiselle! Our mountain air brings the appetite; cream and
onions, with a little of our oldest cheese--behold!”

Standing on one side, arms akimbo, the benevolent giantess watched the
consumption of the “restorative” soup, and which face was brighter,
hers or the consumer’s, it would have been hard to say.

[Illustration: “STANDING ON ONE SIDE, ARMS AKIMBO”]



CHAPTER VII

ZITLI


Honor did not sleep the first part of the night; her ankle was stiff
and painful, and she was a little feverish. She had a vision, in the
middle of the night, of Gretli, towering like an Alp beside her in a
mammoth nightgown, holding a cup to her lips and murmuring, “_Tisane!_
to make sleep well. Taste! but taste then, my child!”

Honor tasted, sipped, drank deep of the pleasant cooling draught,
herbs and honey and whey mysteriously mingled; then sank back on
the pillow. Was it really Gretli or a mountain? The _Dent d’Oche_,
come to visit her and accept her homage? Why not? Hesperus came!
Mountains--maidens--_tisane_--

The next thing Honor knew the morning sun was shining in on her: not
directly in her face, but reflected through the open door in the little
mirror opposite the foot of her bed. She sat up, blinking and rubbing
her eyes.

“Where am I?” she said again, as she had said the day before; the next
moment she knew, for there was Gretli in the doorway, beaming broad and
bright as the sun itself. She carried a basin--a very small one--and a
towel of homespun damask fit for a duchess.

“It is to wash the face, is it not?” she said. “Before breakfast; such
is the custom of the honored Ladies, one is aware.”

“Oh, thank you, Gretli! What a pretty towel!”

Gretli beamed broader still. “It is of my trousseau!” she said. “I
chose it for mademoiselle, because it is the pattern I like best;
observe! the double-basket weave; that is not ugly, _hein_? I spun and
wove that when I was of the age of Mademoiselle.”

“Your trousseau!” cried Honor. “Are you going to be married, Gretli?
Oh, how exciting! Does Madame know? May I tell the girls? Who is he? Is
he as handsome as--but he couldn’t be!”

“Mademoiselle must not excite herself before breakfast!” said Gretli
demurely. “All girls make their trousseau, is it not so? Then if the
good God sends a husband, _voilà!_ one is not unprepared. Permit that
I brush the hair of mademoiselle; the brush is entirely new, a present
from my godmother. But, what hair! Verily, it curls like the flames on
the hearth. A fire of gold, is it not so?”

“Isn’t it horrid?” sighed Honor. “I’d give everything I have in the
world to have it black, Gretli!”

Gretli cried out in horror.

“Mademoiselle! the wonderful hair; beautiful enough, with reverence be
it said, for the tresses of Ste. Gêneviève herself. But mademoiselle
jests, of a surety. She is doubtless thankful, as she surely ought to
be, for this gift of the good God, which might be desired by queens.
_Voilà!_ Mademoiselle is tidiness itself; a little moment, and I bring
her breakfast!”

What a breakfast that was! _Café-au-lait_, a whole bowl of it, smoking,
fragrant, delicious; crisp rolls, fresh butter, honey and cream, and a
little tea-rose-colored egg, which Gretli declared the youngest pullet
had laid on purpose not half an hour before. All this neatly arranged
on a wooden tray so beautifully carved that Honor cried out at sight of
it. Gretli glowed responsive.

“Zitli’s work!” she said proudly. “It took the prize at the carvers’
exhibition last year; in the department of young persons, be it
understood. He was offered much money for it, but no! it was for me, he
said, the good child! I value it highly, mademoiselle.”

“I should think so!” said Honor. “Why, I never saw anything so lovely.
What are the flowers?”

“_Edelweiss_ and _alpenrosen_; they are my flowers. But now let
mademoiselle eat, lest her breakfast cool! I return shortly.”

Honor ate her breakfast with right good will, enjoying every mouthful
as a healthy girl should. Between bites and sups, she exchanged morning
greetings with the mountains, which showed as friendly a face as the
night before, though no rosy veil softened their morning splendor of
white and green.

“Did you bring me the _tisane_ last night, Royal Highness?” said Honor.
“Or was it really Gretli? She looked quite as big, you know! Are any of
your mountain ladies as handsome as she is? Wouldn’t they look funny in
blue skirts and black bodices? How many yards do you suppose it would
take--”

A light cloud-shadow drifted over the shining face of the _Dent du
Midi_; it was as if he said, “Don’t talk nonsense, child!”

Honor accepted the rebuke, and devoted herself to her honey and rolls.

By and by came Gretli again to inspect the ankle. It was better, but
still swollen and painful. After examining it carefully, the good
giantess vanished, and presently reappeared, carrying carefully a glass
bowl in which were two black objects about two inches long. At first
sight Honor thought they were stones or bits of black wood: but looking
carefully at them, she saw one move.

“Gretli!” she cried. “They are alive! What hideous, horrible creatures!
Take them away, please!”

“In truth they are alive!” Gretli nodded contentedly. “Have no fear
of them, Mademoiselle. They are good creatures, and understand their
business well. See how your ankle is swollen, is it not? I apply my
good little _sangsue_ (leech), and in a few moments--but mademoiselle
will see!” and without more ado she clapped first one leech and then
the other on the offending ankle.

Honor shrieked aloud at the touch of the cold, clammy creatures;
shrieked louder still when they applied themselves, in a quiet but
efficient way, to the work in hand. The two shrieks rent the air;
startled the browsing goats outside, brought Zitli to his feet in
the outer room, to see what was the matter. Looking up, in the act
of opening her mouth for a third, Honor saw Gretli’s face of demure
amazement, and stopped short.

“Why--why do you look at me like that?” she faltered. “They _are_
horrible and disgusting, and they hurt me! I never heard of anything so
dreadful!”

“Is it so?” Gretli spoke gravely. “Mademoiselle is young. There are
many things more dreadful than a _sangsue_, which was made by the
Divine Hand, and given for the use of man. Mademoiselle observes
that we live upon a mountain, where physicians do not abound; thus,
we employ the remedies that Nature imparted to our fathers, and are
thankful. To the _montagnard_, the _sangsue_ is a good friend. Zitli
went before daybreak to the little pond to bring these fresh and lively
for mademoiselle.”

Honor blushed scarlet, and hung her head.

“I am sorry!” she murmured. “It--it was very kind of Zitli. Don’t tell
him, please, Gretli! I am so ashamed!”

“Assuredly, no!” Gretli was her own beaming self again; a slight shake
of her head as she glanced toward the door warned Zitli to make no
sound; he vanished silently.

“Friend _sangsue_ is not beautiful!” she admitted cheerfully. “Also,
he surprised mademoiselle. I should have explained in advance--but
in that case mademoiselle might not have permitted; so all is well,
and now I remove these gentlemen, who have breakfasted to heart’s
content--_voilà!_ Back to your bowl, messieurs! Now a little massage,
and we shall see!”

Wonderful massage that, with the strong, supple fingers! The pain
seemed to melt away under them. When it was over, and the ankle firmly
bound in bandages of strong homespun linen (no “gauze” in mountain
châlets!) Honor declared it felt almost entirely well.

“I believe I could walk on it! May I try, Gretli?”

“On no account, Mademoiselle! It is great happiness to have relieved
you of the pain, but for strength, time and patience are required.
It will be several days before mademoiselle can stand on that foot;
meantime--behold her conveyance.”

She held out her massive brown arms with a delightful smile. Ten
minutes later, Honor was reclining, well propped with pillows, on the
seat that ran the length of the broad window in the living room. Her
lame ankle, swathed in its bandages, contrasted oddly with her other
foot in its stout little walking shoe. Honor had pretty feet. Stephanie
admired them greatly (her own feet being large and flat) and was
constantly praising them. Soeur Séraphine heard her one day, and said
gravely that both girls should be simply thankful that their feet were
not deformed.

“It would have been fully as easy for the good God to give you club
feet,” she reminded them, “and it is through no merit of yours that
this was not ordained. If a foot is good to walk on, that is all we
should ask of it.”

The Sister walked away up the _allée_. Stephanie, shrugging her
shoulders, pointed at the footprint she left on the white sand.

“But regard!” she murmured. “It is well for the Sister to speak; her
foot was considered the most beautiful in Paris, my mother has told me
so.”

Honor was glad Stephanie could not see her foot now; the next moment
she forgot all about it.

The broad window looked out upon the green in front of the châlet, a
shelf, as it were, of the mountain, which fell steeply away below it,
and rose no less steeply behind. There was just room for the buildings
(the châlet, the cowhouse and various small outbuildings), and for this
pleasant green space. The grass was short and close as turf, though no
lawn mower had ever touched it. The goats attended to that; here they
were now, nibbling busily away, as if they had no time to spare. In
the middle of the green sat Zitli, on a low stool, milking one of the
she-goats. His crutch lay on the grass beside him; he was whistling
gayly, and looked bright as the morning. Presently Honor, watching,
saw him give a quick little glance over his shoulder, and then very
quietly take a crutch in one hand, while he went on milking with the
other. Following his glance, Honor was aware of Bimbo, standing a few
paces in the rear of Zitli, his beautiful head thrown back, his eyes
measuring the distance between him and the boy. Now he cast a wary
glance around him; nibbled grass for a moment with an air of elaborate
detachment; then dropping his head swiftly, he sprang forward like
arrow from the bow.

Whack! the crutch caught him full on the muzzle: he rolled over with a
shrill bleat of amazement, rage and pain.

Honor clapped her hands in delight.

“Hurrah!” she shouted.

Zitli looked up and laughed back at her.

“_Bon jour_, mademoiselle!” he cried, waving his victorious crutch. “He
has his breakfast, that one, not so?”

“Look out, Zitli!” cried Honor. “There comes Séraphine, on the other
side!”

She-goats do not butt; nevertheless, Séraphine, sidling quietly up,
evidently meant mischief. She stretched her neck toward the brimming
pail; another moment, and--_whack_! the crutch caught her too, and she
retired shaking her head violently.

“What possesses the creatures?” cried Honor.

“The pixies are riding them, mademoiselle!” replied Zitli. “_Ohé_,
Gretli! the pail is full, and the creatures are ridden.”

Gretli came hastening out to lift the heavy pail, and scold the unruly
goats, which scattered in every direction at sight of her; some up the
mountain, some down, away they went, leaping from stone to stone, till
not one was to be seen save old Moufflon, standing on a point of rock
and gravely bleating reproof to his troublesome flock.

Zitli followed Gretli into the house, and while she disappeared into
the dairy, he came and sat down by Honor’s window-seat. He hoped
mademoiselle had slept well; pain, that was not agreeable, no indeed.
He rejoiced to hear that it was nearly gone this morning.

“Are the goats always so mischievous, Zitli?” asked Honor.

“Not always! often, yes; but I hold it not wholly the fault of the
creatures. To-day, for example, they are pixy-ridden, that sees itself
easily.”

“What _do_ you mean, Zitli?”

“Mademoiselle knows about the pixies? No? True, they are of the
mountains; in cities, one hears, they are not known, but here--yes,
indeed! They are like men, only small, small, and full of mischief.
At times, they are visible to mortals, at others not; it is as they
please. Mademoiselle permits that I bring my work-bench, yes? Like
that, I can talk better; that is, if mademoiselle would care to hear?”

Seeing Honor all eagerness, he hobbled across the room, and returned,
pushing before him a small table covered with bits of wood and carving
tools.

“Like that!” he repeated, settling himself, and taking up his work.
“While the hands work, the tongue may play; if it speaks no evil!”
added the boy, crossing himself gravely.

“Tell me about the pixies!” cried Honor. “Did you ever see one, Zitli?”

Zitli glanced toward the dairy.

“The sister holds it not well to speak of them,” he said uneasily; “but
so long as one says no harm--Brother Atli thinks it was a dwarf I saw,
mademoiselle, a mortal being, only small, like a tiny child. There are
such, he says, and all he says is true. Nevertheless--” he paused.

“Nevertheless? Do go on, Zitli!”

“He was _very_ small!” Zitli spoke in a half-whisper. “Smaller than
any child I ever saw; and he wore a green coat. Mademoiselle can judge
for herself. Certain it is that he had a bag full of money, hung from
his belt. There was a hole in it, and some coins had fallen out, gold
and silver pieces. There they lay in the road, and he all unknowing.
I called to him, and he turned and gave me a look of anger truly
frightful. I began to pick up the coins, and brought them to him as
quickly as I could; then, quite suddenly, his look changed. He thanked
me as a father might, and gave me--look, mademoiselle!”

He drew from under his shirt a small bag that hung round his neck, and
opening it, displayed a gold coin.

“Oh, Zitli, how wonderful!” cried Honor. “And you think--you really
think he was a pixy? May I look? Oh! but--but this is a real coin,
isn’t it? A ten-florin piece. Would a pixy have that, do you think,
Zitli?”

Zitli nodded thrice, gravely. “Mademoiselle,” he said, “those people
can have what they like--or the appearance of it. Never while I live
will I spend this gold; and--mademoiselle may think this strange, but
it is true--since I have had it my back has given me no pain; but
none at all, compared with former times. It is true, as my sister
says, that the doctor at Lucerne gave also some help; yes, I am not
ungrateful to him; but--” he nodded several times, gravely, as he
replaced the bag around his neck.

“Are they often seen?” queried Honor. “Could--do you suppose a girl
could see them, Zitli?”

“But assuredly! indeed, some hold that they are kinder to maidens than
to men. There is the story of Magdalen of Pilatus. Mademoiselle has
never heard that? She lived at the foot of that dreadful mountain--”
Zitli crossed himself again--“and she was a good girl, and beautiful,
but very poor. Higher up on the mountain lived her mother’s cousin
Klaus, and he was very rich, and his gold, men said, come by in no
honest way, but of that I know nothing. Once the mother fell sick, and
felt a longing for a certain kind of cheese, which they were too poor
to buy. Magdalen went to the rich Klaus, and asked for a piece of this
cheese, of which it was known that he possessed a large store, but
he would not give her so much as would lie on the point of a pin, and
drove her away with cruel words. Then she went to her betrothed, Alois,
a good youth, but little richer than herself. He gave her what cheese
he had; but as she was returning home down the mountain, her foot
slipped, and she dropped the cheese, which rolled down the precipice
and was lost. Magdalen sat down and wept bitterly; as she wept, she
felt a pull at her sleeve, and looking up, lo! there was a little green
man with a long beard and a cheese on his shoulder. In his hand he held
a green plant, and he bade Magdalen give over her weeping.

“‘Take this plant,’ he said, ‘and make of it a _tisane_ for your
mother; it will cure her of her sickness. As for cheese, here is one
that will do instead of that you lost!’

“He then disappeared like a mist of night. Magdalen hastened home
and made the _tisane_ and gave it to her mother, who recovered her
health at once. And when they cut open the cheese, mademoiselle, it
was all pure gold within. So they became rich, and Magdalen and Alois
were married, and bought many fine pastures and cows, and became the
happiest couple in Switzerland. But from that day the wicked Klaus
began to lose his riches, and at last he died a beggar whom Magdalen
fed out of her bounty.”



CHAPTER VIII

THE MOUNTAIN FIRESIDE


Honor will never forget as long as she lives the next evening at
the _Châlet des Rochers_. Indeed, every hour she spent there was a
life-long treasure of memory, but that evening was perhaps the most
wonderful.

To begin with, Atli came. At five o’clock the farmyard dog, a huge
St. Bernard, began to bark; deep, regular barks, like the booming of
distant cannon. Zitli looked up from his carving, Gretli turned from
her frying-pan; both faces were bright with a look which, Honor was to
find out, meant always one thing.

“Atli comes!” said the boy.

“Is that why the dog barks?” asked Honor. “Can he see him?”

Gretli laughed. “Not so, mademoiselle! Probably Atli has set his foot
on a stone at the bottom of the Alp; possibly there has been no sound
at all, and Tell knows because he knows, all simply. Soon you will hear
the goats; they have less intelligence, you understand.”

Sure enough, a few minutes later came bleatings, at first faint
and scattered, then gathering in strength and volume, till at last
the whole herd, Bimbo leading, Moufflon bringing up the rear, came
scampering over the rocks and formed in an eager huddle on the
greensward, facing the climbing path. Again a few minutes, and an
object appeared, at sight of which a perfect chorus of bleats broke
out, while the barking of Tell grew louder and more eager. First the
top, then the whole, of a green pointed hat; then a brown, ruddy,
smiling face; then a pair of massive shoulders; finally the whole
(which means a great deal) of Atli.

“Atli comes!” repeated the brother and sister in happy duet, and both
hastened out, with a glance of smiling apology at the young guest who
could not follow, could only gaze with all her eyes from her window,
could only thrill through all her being at the really splendid vision
of the young giant. It was as if one of her mountains had taken human
shape and come a-visiting; only, no mountain could look so friendly or
smile so kindly. She could hear the eager questions, the gay laughing
answers. Had all gone well? Was the clover sufficient? Were the
children content with the pasture?

“My faith, yes! they might well be. The clover is thick as--as thy
hair, my Gretli! Not one of them but desired two mouths that she might
eat the faster.”

“La Dumaine led the way well? But why do I ask? Surely she did!”

Atli nodded emphatically.

“She is a queen indeed! There is no such leader in these Alps. Once
only that one--” a jerk of the head conveyed, somehow, one could not
tell how, that “that one” was the Duchess of Montbazon--“tried to push
ahead, and got a thrust in the side from our Queen’s horn that sent
her back roaring, I promise you. _Saperli poppette!_ in the home yard
La Dumaine is the _gentille demoiselle_, see you; on the Alp she is
General as well as Queen.”

“And thou hast left Jean and François in charge? Didst sleep in the
hut? All was well?”

“All well, my sister! except--I have brought the appetite of a wolf!
But who is that at the window? _Tiens!_ the little mademoiselle with
golden hair! How then, my sister?”

“Zitli will tell you!” cried Gretli. “I must prepare supper on the
instant. Hast had nothing, I’ll warrant, for a day and a half, but
bread and cheese, and I stand here chattering!”

She hurried in. Zitli told in eager detail, with many gestures, the
story of Bimbo’s assault and its consequences, and Atli hastened to
greet Honor and to express his sympathy and regret.

“That nefarious beast! he should be sewed in his own skin turned inside
out. But what would you, mademoiselle? A goat, that has no moral sense.
The good God, in making this beast, omitted it, for reasons known
only to Himself. I am desolated; yet I trust mademoiselle is not too
uncomfortable? What honor for the _Châlet des Rochers_ to receive such
a guest! Be still, creatures! I come!” This to the goats, who were
bleating and leaping about him, making soft runs and butts against his
columnar legs. “A moment, my sister, while I feed the creatures and
greet our Tell, who barks his head off in calling me; then I come, a
wolf indeed!”

The table was drawn up beside Honor’s window-seat, that she might
join the family party. Gretli laid the plates of heavy dark green
crockery, and the carved wooden cups, Zitli’s handiwork, as she proudly
explained. There were sausages for supper, and ham, black bread and
cheese, with honey and cream and _biscuits des Rochers_ for dessert. No
great variety is to be looked for in a Swiss châlet, but everything was
so good, Honor thought she would never ask for anything different.

They supped by daylight; but by-and-by, when the sunset glory faded and
the air grew cold and thin, doors and windows were shut, the big lamp
lighted, and the evening began in earnest. First, Honor must be moved
nearer the fire, Atli and Gretli declared. The reclining chair that
Atli had made when Zitli was so ill, and had to lie extended like a
piece of wood; was it not so, Zitli? Let Atli bring it from the shed;
like that! Now carefully--ah, but carefully! in manner not to disturb a
bird upon the nest.

Honor felt “like a small bit of thistledown,” she told Stephanie
afterward, in those powerful arms. Atli took her gently by the
shoulders, Gretli by the feet; she was wafted across the room, and
deposited in the cushioned chair beside the glowing hearth. Ah! for
example! that was as it should be, said Gretli, beaming broadly. Atli
nodded approval, and hoped mademoiselle found herself not too badly off.

“Oh, but it is delightful,” cried Honor. “So comfortable! and really,
I feel perfectly well--_oh_!” She had moved her foot, and was promptly
reminded that however the rest of her might feel, her ankle had its
own sensations. Then what sympathy was showered upon her! Mademoiselle
was of a delicacy! Gretli explained. Like that, the nerves were
sensitive, one understood. Let her, Gretli, but rub the ankle a little,
_n’est-ce-pas_? Honor protesting it was all right again, truly,
_truly_, Gretli announced that in that case a little diversion was what
was needed.

“A little music, is not so? Zitli, bring thy zither! I have some yarn
to wind, and Atli and I will sing to thy playing.”

“Oh, let me hold the yarn!” cried Honor. “Mayn’t I, Gretli?”

So Honor held the blue yarn, and Gretli wound mightily, her strong
brown arms moving with machine-like regularity. Atli brought his own
work-bench, and fell to shaping wooden shoes; while Zitli tuned his
zither. Presently he struck a chord, nodding to his brother. The
shepherd threw back his head, opened his mouth wide, and poured forth
in a rich and mellow tenor a ditty which, roughly translated, might run
thus:

  “On the Alp the grass is sweetest,
    Li-u-o, my Queen!
  Thou whose beauty is completest,
    Li-u-o, my Queen!
  Crop thy fill of honey clover,
  Crop and crop it o’er and over,
  On the Alp thou fairest rover,
    Li-u-o, my Queen!”

Atli closed his powerful jaws with a snap on the last word, and Gretli
took up the song, her rich, deep contralto ringing out nobly.

  “I will follow at thy calling,
    O my master dear!
  Where the mountain streams are falling,
    O my master dear!
  Follow past the rushing torrent,
  Past the precipice abhorrent,
  Trusting in thy faithful warrant,
    O my master dear!”

In the third verse the two voices blended, Zitli adding, in a sweet
clear treble, a _yodel_ with no articulate words, only a melodious
combination of vowels.

  “Follow Queen and follow Master,
    Cows and heifers all!
  Fear no trouble nor disaster,
    Cows and heifers all!
  On the Alp is richest feeding,
  Thither then with cautious heeding,
  Follow where the Queen is leading,
    Cows and heifers all!”

The words were mere doggerel, the air simple and primitive, but
somehow the effect was magical. Honor felt the very spirit of the place
enter into her. It was good to be here! If she might only stay always!
Why not? She was a poor orphan, with no kin that she had ever seen; she
could not stay in school all her life. What more delightful than to
become a sennerin of the Alps? To live here, with the Twins and Zitli:
to learn to spin and weave, to make butter and cheese. She would be
their little sister; it would be heavenly!

Honor glanced up shyly under her long eyelashes at Atli where he sat
opposite her. How splendid he was! Just so, and no otherwise, must
Hercules have looked; or Roland, or Lancelot--no, Lancelot’s hair was
black! Siegfried, then! or Baldur the Beautiful! Yes, that was best; if
only Baldur were a prettier name--it made one think of baldness, and
his hair was so wonderful. She glanced again: Atli was intent on his
shoemaking. The firelight played on his crisp yellow curls, turning
them to threads of gold; on his broad white forehead, his brown cheeks,
his massive yet shapely arms and hands. Truly, a splendid figure of a
man. Honor’s heart fluttered a little, as fourteen-year-old hearts will
flutter. If--if only she had dark hair! if some day--

Half consciously she dropped into her story, neglected now these many
days; began “telling” to herself, while the yarn flew over her hands,
and the fire glowed and crackled.

“While yet little more than a child I met him who was thenceforth to
dominate my life. It was among the Alps, in a simple châlet, humble,
yet more delightful than many a turreted castle I have seen. Around
were all the glories of Nature (and then I can put in a description of
the sunset last night, you know), and he was like his own mountains,
rugged and grand and glorious. He was my opposite in every way, though
our souls were alike. (Here followed an accurate description of Atli.)
Something in me--it may have been my night-black tresses and starry
eyes--attracted him. He turned his flashing glance upon me--”

At this moment Atli looked up and his eyes met Honor’s. They did not
flash, but they were very pleasant and friendly.

“Perhaps mademoiselle will sing for us!” he said; “a song of her great
country, is it not so? Last summer I guided an American Monsieur
over the Weisshorn, and he sang a song of America. How was it, then?
‘I-an-kidoodel?’ Mademoiselle is acquainted with that song?”

Honor laughed outright; dreams and story--for she was really a sensible
child when not dreaming--flew up the chimney.

“‘Yankee Doodle!’ oh, yes!” she cried. “I know that; Papa taught me,
and some others too.”

She sang “Yankee Doodle” in a very sweet, fresh voice, and the Twins--I
was going to say “cooed,” but “mooed” would be more like it--with
pleasure, and demanded more. So she gave them the “Suwanee River” and
“America,” to their great delight. The first, Gretli declared, melted
the heart to softness, while the latter--

“That elevates the soul, _hein_? The blood stirs, as at the sound
of a trumpet. But mademoiselle must not fatigue herself. A glass of
buttermilk, is it not so? Behold that I bring it, on the instant, cool,
cool, from the stream!”

She brought it, and stood over Honor with smiling authority.

“Every drop!” she commanded. “It is stomachic, mademoiselle
understands, and nourishing as well. Now mademoiselle shall rest,
and Zitli shall tell us a story, since it is not yet bed time. Or is
mademoiselle weary? On the instant I transport her--”

“Oh, no, no!” cried Honor. “A story, please! I am not one scrap sleepy.”

“At the good hour! Attend, Zitli, till I bring my knitting! Behold,
thy table! Thou talkest always best with thy tools in hand, not so?
_Voilà!_ proceed then, my son!”

Zitli, with frowning brow, pondered, taking up one tool and then
another, examining them minutely and laying them aside. Finally, he
found one to his mind; selected a bit of wood with like care, and fell
to work.

“Shall it be of Pilatus?” he asked; and went on without waiting for
reply. “Pilatus, as mademoiselle knows well, is far over yonder!” He
nodded toward the northeast. “We cannot see it from here, but from the
_Dent du Midi_ it sees itself plainly. That mountain is always wrapped
in clouds, and these clouds are sent, some say, by the other mountains
round about, because they do not wish to see a place of such shame and
sorrow; but others claim that the mountain himself grieves for the
curse put upon him, and veils his face because of it. Which of these
sayings, if either, is true, is not known to me. There--_plâit-il,
mademoiselle_?”

Honor had looked up with such evident inquiry in her eyes that the boy
stopped.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt,” she said, “I only wondered--what is the
curse, Zitli?”

Atli and Gretli were too polite to look their astonishment, but Zitli
was younger; besides, he was a story-teller.

“Mademoiselle does not know?” he cried. “In America, one is ignorant
of that? _Tenez_, that is something of the remarkable. That mountain,
mademoiselle, is accursed and has ever been so. After the death of the
Saviour of Mankind--” the three crossed themselves devoutly--“Pontius
Pilatus, the wicked Governor of Jerusalem, found himself so ill at ease
because of the sin and remorse that was in him that he took flight from
the Holy Land, and tried to hide himself, now here, now there. But
everywhere he was driven out with maledictions, until he came to our
beloved country, where, do you see, there were not many people in those
days, and all honest Christians attending to their own affairs and
minding their flocks and herds as Christians should. So no one saw that
accursed one, and he took refuge on that mountain and there he has been
ever since. He cannot die, because neither Heaven nor Hell will receive
him. He wanders about the mountain, and wherever he goes the green herb
withers and the leaves of the trees shrivel and drop off. The mountain
groans and would fain be rid of him. Now it lets fall an avalanche,
hoping to bury him fathoms deep and so make an end; but the snow falls
away from him on either side and leaves him bare. Now it gathers a
thunderstorm and tries to strike him dead with lightning bolts, but all
in vain; he opens his breast, inviting death; the bolt turns aside and
will not touch him. Often has he tried to drown himself in the gloomy
lake on the top of the mountain, but the waves rise and cast him on
shore. So he lives, accursed of God and man.”

“It is an ancient legend!” said Atli quietly. “What would you? In the
course of centuries, many things come to be believed. It is certain
that Pilatus is a stormy mountain, but that may come from many causes.”

“But when people have seen him!” cried Zitli, his blue eyes flashing.
“When he is seen by mortal men, my brother!”

“Ah! if he is seen, that is another matter. Hast thou seen him, for
example, my little one?”

The giant spoke kindly, but there was evident amusement in his tone.
Zitli blushed deeply.

“Not I myself,” he admitted; “but when I was over there--thou knowest,
at the hospital in Lucerne--I heard of those who had seen him. The
uncle of one of the nurses--look! one of his goats strayed from the
flock and wandered on to the lower slope of that mountain, to the
westward. The shepherd went in search of the creature, greatly fearing,
but what would you? It was his duty! As he searched, suddenly from
the wood stepped out a man, old, old, wearing a red robe of strange
fashion, and with a terrible look spoke to the shepherd.”

“Oh!” cried Honor. “Oh, Zitli, how thrilling! What did he say?”

“He spoke in a strange tongue! No word of it was to be understood.”

“And--did he look like a Roman?”

Zitli shrugged his shoulders and spread his hands abroad with a quaint
gesture. “Can I tell, mademoiselle? I never saw a Roman, nor, we may
suppose, did the shepherd. He looked, that one said, like Uncle Kissel.”

Gretli gave a little murmur of deprecation; Honor pressed on, all
eagerness.

“Who is Uncle Kissel?”

“He is an old miser, mean and hateful, and ugly as sin--”

Zitli stopped short. Atli had laid down his tools, Gretli her knitting;
both were looking at him very gravely. The blood rushed into the boy’s
face, and his eyes dropped.

“I--I ask your pardon, brother and sister!” he said. “I forgot!”

Atli spoke, more sternly than Honor had thought he could speak.

“Uncle Kissel is a man of honesty and probity. He has never robbed or
cheated any man.”

“He wastes nothing upon luxuries!” Gretli added; her tone, though
gentler, was still one of distinct rebuke. “His fare is that of a
hermit, and hermits are holy men.”

A silence followed. The Twins continued to look at Zitli, but their
look was now one of expectation. It was evident that they waited for
him to speak. But Zitli’s brow was clouded, and a dogged look crept
over his thin, intelligent face. Honor looked from one to the other in
wonder, but dared not break the silence.

“Come, my little one!” said Gretli, presently, in an encouraging tone.
“A word, is it not so? We wait, thy brother and I. Thou art not wont to
make us wait, Zitli.”

“There is nothing more to say!” muttered Zitli sullenly. “You have said
all there was.”

The silence fell again: Honor began to be frightened. What was going
to happen? The Twins sat like two mighty statues, grave, austere,
expectant. Zitli sat looking at his tools, the picture of mute
obstinacy. The clock ticked on the wall. There was no other sound.

Suddenly, from nowhere, as it seemed, a cat appeared, leaped lightly up
on Zitli’s table, proceeded to turn round and round, purring loudly,
finally curled herself up in a gray ball among the tools and went to
sleep. At first sight of the creature, the boy’s face relaxed. He bent
over her, caressing, murmuring words of affection, then suddenly he
looked up, and his own sunny smile broke out.

“He has a cat!” he announced. “Uncle Kissel has a cat, and he feeds
her; I saw him one day. Will that do, Brother and Sister?”

Gretli was her own beaming self again; she threw an appealing glance at
Atli, and met one equally benign.

“Kindness to animals!” she cried. “That is a virtue, if you will. All
is now well, little one beloved; thy word is the best of the three.
And now,” she added, rising, “it is thy bed-time, Zitli, and also
Mademoiselle Honor must seek rest. Let us thank the all-merciful Father
for another day!”

The three knelt down, while Honor, forbidden by a gesture to move,
bowed her head; Atli gave thanks as simply and heartily as if the
Father he adored were present in mortal guise; in the silence that
followed, Honor felt her heart lifted higher than it had ever been
before.

A little later, while rubbing her ankle, Gretli explained to Honor.
Mademoiselle did not wholly understand, was it not so? That was but
natural; it was a matter of family, did she see? It was a rule of their
beloved mother, now with the saints, that if any ill were spoken of a
person, it must be followed by some good.

“As is but just!” Gretli nodded emphatically, rubbing away
methodically. “‘We are compact of good and evil,’ the mother would say,
‘no human creature but has something of both. Since the good God made
us, there must be more of good than of evil, yet it often chances that
we see the evil first, because it thrusts itself forth, like a loose
stone on a slippery Alp, hoping to do mischief; thus, it is our duty
at once to look for the good.’ Thus said our sainted mother; and thus
it is our custom to allow no evil to be spoken of any person without a
good word being added by each one of the family.”

“It is a beautiful custom!” said Honor. “I shall try to remember that,
Gretli, all my life.”

Gretli’s smile was radiant as she tucked the blankets in around Honor’s
shoulders.

“Mademoiselle Honor would never speak evil of any one, it is most
probable!” she said. “Yet to any of us--since we are mortal,--that may
arrive. Our Zitli, for example; it is rarely--oh, but very rarely--that
he has any such trouble as to-night. He is not strong, do you see,
mademoiselle, and--at Lucerne--there are things that--that it is better
to forget!” she concluded cheerfully. “Since now he is so well, and
suffers seldom and little by comparison, all that is gone. ‘Look not
mournfully into the past, it returns not!’--that is well said, not so?
Good-night, my little _demoiselle_! Sleep well, and all saints have you
in their holy keeping!”



CHAPTER IX

STORY-TELLING


The next day was so beautiful, and Honor’s ankle was so much better,
that Gretli declared she must not stay in the house. The reclining
chair was brought out on the green plot, and there Honor was
established, an improvised awning (two sticks and a counterpane) over
her head, a table beside her, a piece of knitting to occupy her hands.
Here she was spending the happiest of mornings, Zitli on one side, with
his table and tools, on the other William Tell, who had been introduced
to her only that morning, but who was already her faithful friend
and--I was going to say “slave,” but there was nothing servile about
Tell. He happened to have four legs and a tail, and he had not learned
articulate speech; otherwise, he was a gentleman and a scholar--in
various lines neglected in most schools.

Gretli came out from the châlet, with her inevitable tray; it was time
for _goûter_, she announced; a glass of buttermilk, a fresh roll, a bit
of cheese. Like that, mademoiselle would not grow thin, was it not so?

“Indeed, Gretli, I shall grow fat!” cried Honor. “So fat that I can’t
move, and shall have to stay here always. Wouldn’t that be lovely? How
I wish I could!”

Gretli, arms akimbo, watching with satisfaction every mouthful Honor
took, glowed responsive. For example! that would be a pleasure indeed
for them; the honored Ladies, it was to be feared, would regard the
matter differently. Ah! pardon! mademoiselle must not do that! unless
the cheese was not to her taste?

Honor looked up wondering. “It is delicious!” she said. “I was only
taking out these green spots, Gretli.”

“But--a thousand pardons, Mademoiselle Honor! The green spots, that is
the best part of the cheese. He is an old one, you understand; ripe,
but of a ripeness! I chose him with peculiar care, that mademoiselle
might note the rich flavor that comes with age. With cheese as with
man, my sainted mother used to say, the time of ripeness should be the
best of life. Taste, then! but taste the green spot, mademoiselle!
_n’est-ce pas?_ Am I not right?”

Honor tasted the green cheese; gingerly at first, then with confidence,
finally with eagerness.

“And I have always cut it out!” she lamented. “Why did no one ever tell
me before? It is the best part, of course!”

“Mademoiselle resembles the good Emperor!” said Zitli, looking up with
a smile.

“For example! of a surety!” exclaimed Gretli. “Tell her that, Zitli. I
have to prepare the _soupe_.” She vanished into the house.

“What _do_ you mean, Zitli?” asked Honor. “Why am I like an emperor,
and how? And what emperor?”

“The Emperor Charlemagne; who else? That great and good prince was
fond of cheese, as was natural in a person of taste. There is an
old story that traveling once through our beloved country, he came
to the dwelling of a certain bishop and there took shelter for the
night. The day was Friday; the good bishop was poor, the sea far off.
Briefly, he had no fish. He served for the emperor’s supper some
poor fry of vegetables, and a piece of old cheese, with bread of the
country, and good whey. The emperor, being in royal appetite, hurled
himself, as one might say, upon the cheese, but seeing green spots in
it, began even as mademoiselle just now, to pick them out with his
knife. Thereupon the bishop, like our Gretli, made respectful protest,
telling his sovereign that he was discarding the best part; like
mademoiselle again, Charlemagne tasted and found this to be the case.
Thereupon he commanded the bishop to send him yearly, at his palace of
Aix-la-Chapelle, two cases of cheese of that same kind. ‘And be sure
that all have green spots!’ said the emperor.

“‘But, Majesty,’ the bishop protested, ‘how can I do that? It is only
when a cheese is cut open that one can tell whether it has green spots
or not!’

“‘Nothing is easier,’ replied the emperor, who saw an obstacle only to
overcome it. ‘Cut every cheese in two! When one has green spots, lay
the two halves together, pack them up, and send them to me!’

“The amiable sovereign! a good cheese was to him the finest of all
feasts.”

“Oh, splendid!” cried Honor. “Do you know any more stories about
Charlemagne? He is one of my favorite heroes.”

The boy’s face kindled, his eyes flashed.

“Of mine also!” he cried. “So great a king, mademoiselle! so brave, so
wise!”

“So kind and generous!”

“And so--_tenez_! ready always to laugh. He could conquer with a sword
or a smile, as he would, is it not so? Mademoiselle knows the story of
the mouse? No? Ah! that is a good one. There was a certain bishop, very
different from that good poor prelate of the cheese. This one was vain
and greedy, loving fine things, and caring more to feed his own stomach
than the souls of his people. The good emperor marked this, and laid
his plans accordingly. He called to him a certain Jewish merchant, who
traded in rare and costly objects. ‘Take,’ he said, ‘a mouse alive in a
trap; paint it all over with lively colors; then go to that bishop and
offer it for sale, saying you have brought it from far Judea.’

“The Jew obeyed the royal command. The bishop at sight of the painted
mouse was filled with joy, and offered three silver pounds for it; but
the Jew replied he would rather throw it into the sea than sell it for
such a price. The bishop then offered ten pounds, but no! then twenty;
all in vain. The merchant made no further answer, but wrapping his
mouse tenderly in a precious silk, turned his back to depart.

“‘Come back!’ cried the bishop. ‘I must have this rare creature! Leave
him with me and you shall have a full bushel of silver!’

“To that the merchant agreed, and leaving the bishop enchanted with his
mouse, took the money to the emperor, who rewarded him suitably for
his service. Then Charlemagne sent for all the bishops and priests of
the province, among them the vain and greedy one, and laid the matter
open before them. ‘My bishops and pastors,’ said the emperor, ‘you are
supposed to minister to the poor, not to expend the revenues of your
office upon vain and foolish things; yet there is one among you who
has paid to a Jew more silver than would feed many worthy families,
and that for no precious object, but for a common mouse painted divers
colors.’

“Upon that, the guilty bishop fell at his feet, confessing his sin and
praying for pardon, which the gentle emperor gave him, suffering him to
depart without further punishment.”

Honor laughed heartily. “I think perhaps he had enough!” she said. “He
must have been laughed at all the rest of his life. Do you suppose they
called him the mouse-bishop? Oh no! that was Bishop Hatto, the dreadful
one, you know, in the Mouse Tower on the Rhine. That story always
frightens me, doesn’t it you, Zitli?”

But Zitli, who knew so many stories and legends, had never heard that
one. So then Honor must tell the fearful tale of Hatto, archbishop of
Mentz; how when the grain harvest was blighted and the starving people
cried to him for food, knowing his granaries to be well-filled, he
summoned them to his great barn to receive a dole, and then shut them
up and burned them to death.

“And then--” Honor’s eyes deepened till they were almost the black
she sighed for, “the wicked bishop laughed, and said it was a good
bonfire; he went laughing to bed, and slept as if nothing had happened.
But--Zitli, next morning, when he came to where his own portrait hung,
he turned pale, for _the rats had eaten it out of its frame_!”

“My faith!” cried Zitli. “For example! that was well done of them. And
what happened then, mademoiselle?”

“Oh, his people came running, one by one, and told him dreadful things:
first, that the rats had broken into his granaries and eaten all the
corn; then that a great army of rats was coming, coming, nearer and
nearer. When Bishop Hatto heard that, he fled away, to a strong tower
he had, on a little island in the Rhine. It is there still, Zitli,
think of it! Madame Madeleine has seen it. Of course it is ruined,
but--well, the tower was very strong and he shut himself up in it, and
barred all the doors and windows, and there he stayed, trembling and
saying his prayers.”

“_Saperli poppette!_ fine prayers those must have been!” said Zitli.
“As if the good God had no knowledge, _hein_? Proceed, Mademoiselle, I
beg of you!”

“They swam across the Rhine; they climbed up to the tower; he heard
their sharp teeth gnawing, gnawing at the woodwork; they seemed even
to gnaw at the stones; and nothing could stop them! They gnawed their
way through, and they swarmed up the stairs, and there was the wicked
bishop, and they ate him _all up_! Did you ever hear of anything so
dreadful?”

“For example!” said Zitli in a tone of great satisfaction. “Bravo,
Brother Rats! That was well done indeed. Good appetite to you!”

“But, Zitli!” Honor was shuddering even while she told the ancient tale
that has existed in many forms, in many lands, for hundreds of years.
“It is _terrible_! How can you laugh?”

“_Saperli!_ I can laugh well. He was rightly served, that one. To burn
up people like straw, did he deserve better? No, my faith! I am all for
Brother Rats, mademoiselle. And in these ancient things,” added the boy
with sudden gravity, “we see the finger of God, is it not so? If we
would trust more in Him, it would be better for us, as my sister says.
He for the great things, we for the little ones. As my grandfather in
Botzen--Ste. Gêneviève have him in her holy keeping--inscribed over the
door of his shop:

  “‘I trust in God, and let Him reign;
    I make new files, and mend the old again.’”

“Is Ste. Gêneviève your patron, Zitli?”

“Assuredly, mademoiselle! that holy saint was a shepherdess, you
understand. It is true that we have chiefly cattle and goats, and only
a few sheep, which besides are stupid creatures. A goat is at least
amusing, if he has no conscience, as my brother says. But since there
is no sainted goatherd in our knowledge, we commend ourselves to the
protection of the holy Gêneviève.”

“I thought she became a nun before she was seven!” said Honor,
thoughtfully. “Could she have been a shepherdess before that, do you
think, Zitli?”

“With the blessed saints,” replied Zitli gravely, “many things are
possible which would be difficult for ordinary persons. Is it not so,
mademoiselle?”

       *       *       *       *       *

Atli came home to dinner that day; they must make a _festa_, Gretli
declared, for he seldom appeared at the noon meal. Accordingly, the
table was brought out on the green; Zitli, who was extraordinarily
active on his crutches, brought green boughs from somewhere to adorn
the table; from her precious, carefully tended little flower bed,
Gretli produced a bright blossom to lay by each plate.

Atli, when he came up the mountain path, had held his hands carefully
behind him, and had vanished into the cellar without coming to greet
Honor; now he appeared smiling broadly, carrying a basket of Alpine
strawberries, crimson and fragrant.

“My contribution to the _festa_!” he announced. “They are the first of
the season, mademoiselle! May you enjoy our mountain fruits, the gift
of the Father of all fruits!”

“Oh, how beautiful they are!” cried Honor. “And--oh, how sweet! they
perfume the whole air. I wish _I_ had something to bring to the
_festa_!”

“Mademoiselle brings herself!” said Atli, with a quaint bend of his
broad shoulders. “That in itself makes a _festa_ for the _Châlet des
Rochers_!”

How gracefully he said it! How wonderful, Honor thought, that these
simple shepherd people should speak and move with such grace and
dignity. No prince, surely, could surpass Atli!

Here was another picture for memory to treasure. The simple feast
spread in the open, on the little space of gold-green turf: the Twins
in their massive beauty, beaming friendliness; the lame boy, his plain,
keen face no less radiant; the goats nibbling and frisking, the great
dog watching all with calm benignity.

It was a pity Honor’s picture could not include herself, softly glowing
with happiness, the faint wild-rose color in her cheeks, the lovely
light in her dark blue eyes, the glory of red gold rippling on her
shoulders; she might possibly have ceased for the moment to sigh for
night-black tresses (lying in piles on the velvet carpet!) and eyes
that were starry pools of night. Dear little Honor!

And from the friendly, smiling spot of brightness one had but to look
up, and all around stood the mountains in their majesty; height upon
height, peak upon peak, soaring into the intense blue of the sky.

“Oh!” sighed Honor, drawing a long breath of delight. “How wonderful it
is! How can anyone ever live anywhere else?”

Zitli’s eyes twinkled. “Nevertheless, mademoiselle,” he said, “other
places are perhaps necessary. Our country is without doubt the fairest
country in the world, but to place here all the various nations, it
would be perhaps a little crowded.”

“Other countries are doubtless necessary, since they exist!” Atli
spoke with grave conviction. “But Mademoiselle Honor is also right; no
one--no Swiss, at least,--would ever wish to live elsewhere. Without
mountains, it is to make life flat, not so? Like a pancake!”

“Speak no ill of pancakes!” cried Gretli merrily. “We are going to have
them for supper to-night.”

Atli’s face fell, like that of a disappointed child.

“To-night?” he repeated. “When I shall be away? Gretli, that is ill
done!”

“Take courage, dear one!” Gretli replied. “Shalt have them the next
night, thou! And who knows,” she added slyly, “what Madelon may have
for thee to-night?”

Atli smiled, a little sheepishly; then lifted his glass of whey.

“Let us drink a toast!” he cried; “to our mountains! the home and the
heart of the Switzer; the good God’s guard and rampart around the
fairest country of the world!”

All drank the toast: as they did so, Honor looked across the plateau
at the _Dent du Midi_, towering in noonday splendor so bright that it
dazzled her eyes, and she shaded them with her hand. As she looked,
a gleam of still brighter whiteness sprang from the mountain side,
flashed downward, and was lost among the dark pines at its foot; a
moment after, a sound came to their ears as of distant thunder, or the
sea breaking on a rocky shore.

“Ah!” cried Zitli, whose eyes had followed Honor’s. “Our father
Mountain replies, he pledges us! To thee again, thou great Beloved!” He
waved his glass and tilted it to get the last drop.

“An avalanche!” said Gretli, in reply to Honor’s eager question. “Often
they seem to answer us, our beloved mountains. It may be chance, as
brother Atli thinks; Zitli, on the other hand--”

“Zitli knows what he knows!” The boy nodded soberly. “It would be
strange indeed if so great a lord as our father yonder had not the
courtesy to respond to a toast. He has not to learn manners, that one;
on the contrary, he teaches them.”

After dinner, and when he had carried in table and dishes (as if they
were toys!) Atli disappeared for a while. When he came out again, he
was resplendent in a huge green coat with tails and brass buttons,
a brand new hat, and shoes polished like mirrors. In his snowy
shirt-front was stuck a curious nosegay of brightly dyed _edelweiss_,
tied with a scarlet ribbon. His hair was shining with pomatum, and
brushed as nearly smooth as its nature allowed. Honor felt a pang of
disappointment; he was not nearly so handsome, dressed up in what was
evidently his best, as in the loose shirt and breeches of every day.
But Gretli gazed at him with fond delight.

“Magnificent! Superb!” she cried. “What heart could resist thee, my
Atli? Surely none that thou wilt meet to-day! A happy time, a safe
return, and God be with thee!”

“God be with thee!” cried Zitli, waving his crutch, and Honor, blushing
crimson, murmured the wish under her breath as she watched the shepherd
striding off down the path.

“Where is he going, Gretli?” she asked timidly.

“Where but to see his maiden?” cried Gretli, laughing. “Does one dress
like that for any other thing? Our Atli goes a-wooing, Mademoiselle
Honor! Seest thou that brown roof yonder, where the sun shines on
something red? That is Madelon’s red scarf; she hangs it from her
window every Thursday afternoon if all is well with her and the mother
can spare her from the cheese-making. Then--zip! like a chamois goes
our Atli leaping--as you see!”

Lying in her little white bed, that night, the moon a gleaming crescent
over the _Dent du Midi_, the whole world turned to black and silver,
Honor began another chapter of her story.

“Years passed. Silver threads shone in the raven mantle of my tresses.
The stars in my eyes were drowned in tears; time and sorrow had
chiseled lines in the smooth ivory of my brow. My heart alone was ever
young, ever young, ever faithful; with every throb it pledged its troth
anew to the one who--”

Here, I regret to say, Honor fell asleep.



CHAPTER X

COURTSHIP AND CASTLE-BUILDING


There was a spare pair of crutches, it appeared; Zitli himself had made
them, “in case!” he said with a shrug. If it was good to have one pair,
it was better to have two; as now, for example, behold!

For next day, the ankle was so greatly better that Honor could keep
still no longer, she declared. The crutches were brought, and fitted
to a marvel; she hobbled about gayly, delighted to be in motion again.
Never in her life had she been still for so long a time.

“Zitli, I’ll race you to the barn!” she cried.

Zitli kindled responsive; but Gretli vetoed the proposition with
massive calm.

“With respect, nothing of the kind!

  “‘He who goes slowly, goes safe and fair;
  He who goes hastily goes to despair.’

It is a proverb, mademoiselle. Well I should look facing my Ladies and
telling them that you had injured yourself again racing to the barn on
crutches. Besides which, there are other ways of getting there.”

Without more ado, she whipped up Honor, laughing and protesting, in her
arms, marched across the green and through the barnyard, and deposited
her on a block of wood that did duty for a stool. It stood in the
doorway of the wide, low building. Sitting there, one had a new view,
no less beautiful than that from the châlet; moreover, one got the
full benefit of the châlet itself, with its wide spreading eaves, its
thatched roof, with big stones here and there to keep it in place when
the winter storms blew; its shining windows and green-painted door.

“Oh, how pretty!” cried Honor, in delight. “Oh, how _lovely_ pretty!
Why aren’t all houses built so, I wonder, instead of tall and ugly,
with horrid laddery stairs?”

“It would appear that people know no better!” said Zitli, who had
followed on his crutches and now seated himself in the doorway beside
her. “I have heard that only in our blessed country are châlets to be
found; and even here, in our cities, the houses are otherwise, to one’s
sorrow and shame. It is thus one should live!” he added, with a nod of
conviction. “A staircase, that is more suitable for monkeys than for
men, _hein_? The barn is pleasant also, to my mind. Mademoiselle finds
it not otherwise, I trust?”

Honor nodded emphatically, glancing around her at the low white-washed
walls, at the fragrant trusses of hay and the shining pile of straw in
the corner. A carpenter’s bench stood on one side, with tools ranged in
precise order; on the other were the empty stalls where the cows spent
their peaceful winters.

“It is perfectly delightful!” she said. “It is one of the dearest
places I ever saw. Atli must be a _very_ good farmer, isn’t he, Zitli?”

Now it was Zitli who nodded, like a very mandarin.

“There is no such farm on this Alp,” he said; “none better in this
canton. Our herd is one of the first in the Book. Also our cheeses lead
the way,” he added proudly, “but for those our Gretli is to thank.
She also is a wonder, nor are we the only ones who think so. Ask Big
Pierre; and there are others!” Zitli waved his hand with a sweeping
gesture which seemed to include multitudes.

“Who is Big Pierre, Zitli?”

“Gretli’s bachelor, who else? I preferred another, Jacques the hunter,
but he saw a white chamois and died within the year. In any case Gretli
would have had none of him, because his nose was long. The longer the
nose, the better the wit, I told her, but she would not listen. And
Pierre is a good fellow, not too stupid. Mademoiselle will see for
herself; yesterday was Atli’s day, to-day is Gretli’s. Love, that makes
a great deal of trouble, _hein_?”

Both! they were both engaged, the great splendid Twins! They would both
marry, and the lame boy would be left alone. Alone on the Alps! Oh!
Honor’s heart beat quickly; dream-threads began to flash through her
mind, weaving a fantastic pattern. To be his sister, to keep house for
him here, make the cheese, be in very truth a sennerin. In a thought
she saw herself in full Swiss costume, moulding perfect cheeses with
exquisite grace. She could do it all, and take care of Zitli beside;
she was very strong, if not very big. The Brother and Sister; one in
heart, though not in blood; how lovely!

“What--what will you do when they are both married, Zitli?” Honor spoke
slowly; her eyes were shining as they did when she saw visions.

“Me?” Zitli gave his quaint shrug. “If Madelon makes good pancakes,
I remain here--for a time! If not, I go with Gretli. It is not far,
to big Pierre’s, only the next Alp. By and by, when I am a man--” he
paused; his eyes too shone, as he looked straight before him. He too
saw visions.

Honor felt a shock; felt the blood rising to her cheeks. She had never
thought of the possibility of Zitli’s growing up. It had seemed as if
he must always be as he was now.

“I shall not marry!” the boy announced, and shook his head decidedly.
“No! Love, that makes trouble! Not though maidens in rows besought me!”

Again he swept his arm; Honor had an instant’s vision of ranks of
kneeling maidens with outstretched arms, imploring; she laughed
outright.

“How funny you are, Zitli! What will you do?”

“I shall make musical-boxes!”

Zitli spoke rapidly and decidedly; his supple hands shaped the boxes
as he spoke. His plans were evidently well matured.

“Mademoiselle has seen musical boxes in Vevay? Long, thus? Round,
thus? Again, square, thus, with perhaps a dancing figure on the top?
Naturally! When I am sixteen, I go to Vevay to learn that trade.
Already I can make the cases, of course; that is for a child; the
inside, that requires instruction, _hein_? I am apprenticed to M.
Morus, it is the uncle of Big Pierre; Margoton by then has married her
cheese-merchant, I lodge with them.”

Honor interrupted him.

“How then? Margoton marries a cheese-merchant?”

Never in her life, she thought, had she heard so much of marrying and
giving in marriage. At Madame Madeleine’s, one did not marry. And what
would they do without Margoton?

“But naturally!” Zitli shrugged and smiled. “The world marries, is it
not so? Only not I! If the good God had designed it, he would not have
suffered me to fall down the Alp.”

“Oh, Zitli! was that--how did-- But perhaps you’d rather not talk about
it!” Honor’s cheeks were crimson, her eyes dark and brimming with tears
of sympathy.

Zitli cocked his head with a whimsical glance. “But yes! Why not, when
that springs to the eye? I was little, see you, mademoiselle, little
like a young cat, and I would go hunting chamois with Brother Atli. I
ran away, without knowledge of my sister, well aware she would forbid;
our parents were already with the saints. I had a little stick which I
called my gun; I thought if I said, ‘Bang!’ loud enough, the chamois
would fall dead. I creep, I run, I follow my brother, wholly without
noise, you understand; he has no knowledge of me. He comes to a steep
crag; above--behold! a herd of chamois go bounding! He mounts, strong,
strong, himself a goat. I follow; my foot slips; I fall! _et voilà!_”

Honor shuddered, and covered her eyes with her hands.

“And--and then?”

“Then? For a while I knew nothing. My brother hears my cry as I fall;
he descends, picks me up, brings me home. My faith, I was well served,
mademoiselle; but those two--” the boy’s gay voice faltered a moment,
but only a moment. “Me, I would have whipped that little rascal well!”
he cried. “But they are different, my brother and sister. Never one
word, mademoiselle, to reproach or rebuke me; never one word! All to
help, to care for, to spend their money--ah! finally, that is not to
speak of. To be a saint, it needs not always to be dead, _hein_? In
my calendar--with reverence be it said--are always St. Atli and St.
Gretli.”

Honor was silent. She felt that it was a very rare thing for Zitli
to show his feelings thus. His gay smiling way was the one which best
enabled him to bear what he had to bear. She laid her hand on his arm a
moment; he nodded.

“Thanks, mademoiselle!” he said briefly. “To return! Once I am perfect
in the insides--”

“What _do_ you mean, Zitli?” Honor wiped her eyes furtively, and tried
to speak as cheerily as the boy did. “Was there some internal injury as
well as--”

Zitli stared. “The insides of the musical boxes, naturally! What
else, mademoiselle? Once I am perfect, I return to my Alps, since
boxes may be made equally there, and nowhere else would life be
agreeable to me. I think--” he knit his brows, and spoke slowly, as if
considering; “I _think_ to build a châlet--small, you understand, for
one person--though there would be room for a guest always--I paint it
green, the outside. That blends with the trees, you understand. The
stones on the roof I paint white. That is contrast, variety. Inside,
all is white, white as La Dumaine or that wicked Séraphine. Look, but
look, mademoiselle! even now she tumbles poor Nanni over, her own aunt.
Go, thou villain!”

He threw a stick at Séraphine, who bounded into the air with a shrill
bleat and disappeared around the corner of the barn.

“There I live. Gretli has taught me to cook. I have the books that the
good priest gave me, three or four magnificent books. There are none
like them in this Alp. I have my tools, my zither, my mountains about
me. I am happy as the day is long. Ah, that is a life to look forward
to--always since the brother and sister must marry. That is natural, is
it not so? But see, Gretli waves to us. It is to see her in her fine
dress before Pierre comes.”

Boy and girl hobbled back to the châlet, Zitli going carefully and
slow, and insisting that Honor keep pace with him. They found Gretli
magnificent indeed in her Sunday dress; this was not clumsy like
Atli’s, but the prettiest costume imaginable: the bright blue skirt
very full, the black velvet bodice laced with crimson across the full
white chemise. The latter was of heavy creamy linen, with wide sleeves
coming to the elbow, the round neck embroidered in blue. Gretli’s
superb hair hung in two heavy plaits below her waist, and perched
on her head was an elaborate structure of stiff muslin, quaint but
extremely becoming. A heavy necklace of silver beads and long silver
ear-rings completed the gala dress of the mountain maiden. At sight of
her, Honor clapped her hands with delight.

“Oh, Gretli, how beautiful you are! It is the prettiest costume I ever
saw. Oh, how I wish Madame Madeleine would let us wear mountain dress!”

Gretli smiled with pleasure. She was delighted that it pleased
mademoiselle. To be neat, to be not too ugly, it was to thank the
good God for that; but not to dwell upon these matters, since, as her
sainted mother had said, the spirit knows nothing of clothes, either
red or blue.

“Oh,” cried Honor, “you have brought out the wonderful quilt. Gretli,
are you going to finish it?”

Gretli nodded, blushing and smiling.

“Aha!” said Zitli, “that means that the wedding-day approaches. Is it
not, my sister? Tell mademoiselle about that!”

Gretli turned to the great quilt which was spread out elaborately on
the back of a high settle. She seated herself, taking the unfinished
corner in her hands, and began to work with swift, skilful stitches.

“I should have told mademoiselle before about the quilt,” she said.
“It is a thing of family, mademoiselle sees. It was begun by my
grandmother, of sainted memory, who in her maidenhood designed the
whole and worked with her own hands the centre. My mother and her two
sisters worked the three corners. The sisters, alas, are no longer with
us. They died in youth. To me, then, my mother left the quilt, with
directions that I should finish it before my marriage. If I had decided
not to marry, I should have left it to my nearest relative, a little
cousin far away in the valley. As it is--”

“As it is,” cried Zitli, “here is Big Pierre, who, I fancy, is
impatient to see it finished!”

A long shadow fell in the doorway, and was followed by a very tall
young man of singular aspect. He was as slender as the Twins were
massive, yet strength and vigor were in every line. He was tanned all
one color, a deep russet brown, and his eyes were only a shade deeper.
He was dressed in bright green, very much like Atli’s Sunday dress, and
in his shirt frill was a similar stiff nosegay of dyed _edelweiss_; in
his hand he carried a huge nosegay of _alpenrosen_.

“Greeting to this house!” said the young man. “Greeting to Gretli, to
Zitli, and to the strange young lady!”

“Greeting to thee, Pierre!” said Gretli. “Come in quickly, and be
presented to Mademoiselle Honor--the name of mademoiselle’s honored
father is not for me to pronounce. We call her Mademoiselle Honor,
Pierre. She is of the pupils of our honored Ladies.”

Briefly, she told the story of Honor’s accident, and Big Pierre glowed
with sympathy. To turn the ankle, that was painful. He knew well. He
himself--here he extended a leg of really unreasonable length--had
sprained his, a while ago. Verily, it appeared that he would grow to
his chair before he was able to walk again.

Gretli and Zitli chimed in with stories of sprains and other accidents,
until Honor felt that she had been very fortunate indeed to get off
so easily. Indeed, in her heart of hearts, she was deeply grateful to
Bimbo. Without him and his wickedness, she would never have known the
delight and wonder and unbelievableness of these days.

Friendly as Big Pierre was, Honor felt shy; felt too that the lovers
should be left to themselves. There was only the one living-room. She
was about to ask permission to slip into her own room on some pretext
of a nap or the like, when Zitli came to the rescue. Would Mademoiselle
come with him and see his perch? It was but a few steps. He would guide
her carefully.

“You can trust me, my sister,” he said. “She shall not fall, she shall
not make the slightest stumble; as for the goats, I will shut them up
in the yard and they shall not come near her.”

[Illustration: “HONOR COULD HARDLY SPEAK HER DELIGHT”]

With many cautions, Gretli consented, and as the boy and girl went out,
they saw her take her seat at her embroidery, while Big Pierre drew
his chair to her side and sitting down, seemed to shut up his enormous
length like a jack-knife.

“‘All persons more than a mile high to leave the court!’” said Honor to
herself. “Which way, Zitli?”

Zitli led the way round the corner of the châlet to the north, to a
spot she had not seen before. It was a curious nook in an angle of
the rock wall. A jutting ledge, just the right height for a seat, was
thickly covered with the same beautiful green moss that the girls had
found in their rock parlor down below. In the crannies of the rock
ferns waved, and delicate harebells nodded. A few feet below a little
crystal stream fell, foaming and flashing down the rocks with a silver
tinkle. It was a fairy place.

Honor could hardly speak her delight. A murmured “oh!” half under her
breath and a glance told Zitli all he wanted to know. The boy’s face
fairly shone with pleasure.

“I have kept this for mademoiselle!” he said. “I would not let Gretli
show her. It is my own place.”

“It is the most beautiful place I ever saw in my life,” said Honor
simply.

“_Tiens!_” said the boy, with his quaint twinkle. “These are very
large words, mademoiselle. Nevertheless, I am glad it pleases you. It
is my own, do you see? When I was all little, after--after I hunted
the chamois, you understand--there was more of pain than anything else
for me. I was little, the pain was large. I saw no sense in that. What
would you? A child does not understand. I cried, I was not to console.
I made much trouble for that good brother and sister. When the pain
seemed too large, one of those good ones would bring me here, would set
me down, and would say,

“‘My child, behold the glory of God! Behold how it is wide, how it is
great, how it is beautiful. Do not let the pain that is in thy body
destroy in thy soul the sense of thankfulness!’

“Mademoiselle, that was the chief lesson of my childhood, that I was
to be thankful. Since that, all my life I am thankful. I have no more
pain, or not often and not great. It is no longer larger than I am. On
the contrary, it is small, small, by comparison. I laugh at it! It goes
like that!”

He picked up a pebble and sent it skipping down the mountain-side.

They were silent for a time. Then Honor said very timidly,

“It is good to be here with you, Zitli. I have learned things here that
I shall never forget. The next time you have pain, perhaps you will
remember that.”

The boy gave her a quick look of pleasure.

“_Merci, mademoiselle!_” he said. “I thank you from my heart.”

“I have never had a boy friend,” said Honor. “I should like very much
to have you for a friend, Zitli. Will you have me?”

A flush rose to the boy’s brown cheek.

“And I,” he said, “have never had a friend of my own age at all. What
happiness for me, mademoiselle! Friends then, is it not so?”

They shook hands gravely, and Honor drew a long breath of contentment.

“Since you are my friend, I can tell you my thoughts about the
mountains. I could never tell anybody before.”



CHAPTER XI

FAREWELL TO THE CHÂLET


At fourteen, conditions establish themselves quickly, and become--to
the fourteen-year-old mind--permanent. Honor had been a short week at
the _Châlet des Rochers_, and it seemed her home; Vevay, the Pension
Madeleine, the girls, even dear Madame Madeleine and Soeur Séraphine,
were like a dream. A pleasant dream--some day, she supposed, she must
go back, for a time at least; she was not yet old enough or strong
enough to be a sennerin of the Alps, she realized that. How surprised
they would be when she told them--

To the outward eye, on this beautiful June morning, Honor appeared
an extremely pretty, red-haired child in a blue dress, curled up
comfortably in the barn doorway with bright musing eyes looking out
over the mountains. In reality--_her_ reality--she was a woman, tall,
grave and beautiful, dressed in full Swiss costume, velvet bodice,
embroidered apron, silver earrings and all the rest of it. She was
receiving with dignified cordiality her former friends, the friends of
her childhood: the Lady of Virelai with her lordly husband; Stephanie,
Patricia and the rest; was answering their eager questions with simple
grace and candor. Yes, she was happy, very, very happy. This was the
life she had chosen. Gay cities had beckoned to her, throngs of knights
and heroes bold had sighed to do her homage. “The mountains called me
and I came. My brother Zitli and I dwell apart, in the sanctuary of
Nature, at peace with all men!”

Then she would bid them be seated, and would bring them cream and
honey and _biscuits des Rochers_, and they would marvel at the
exquisite daintiness of all her surroundings; “the simplicity which is
perfection!” as Soeur Séraphine said; at the calm majesty of her mien
and carriage. Her magnificent hair was braided now, and hung in two
heavy dark ropes--

“Mademoiselle! Mademoiselle Honor! where art thou? Come, my child, and
see who is here!”

Alas! the dignified sennerin vanished; not even a strand of her
magnificent hair, not even a twinkle of her silver earrings remained.
Only little Honor in her blue dress, her curly gold mane tossing about
her shoulders, pulled herself up by the barn door, and limped across
the green (no need of crutches now!) to meet--Fate, in the person of
Margoton!

Not an unkindly Fate, it would appear. Margoton’s massive face was
radiant, Margoton’s columnar arms were outstretched; she was altogether
a pleasant figure in her neat Sunday dress, with the pink ribbon in her
snowy cap.

“Ah, my little mademoiselle! Ah, but it is good to see thee again.
We have missed thee--ah, for example! my faith, it seemed to us all a
year that thou hast been away. Thou art all pale, little cherished one!
_Tiens!_ thou regardest me with great eyes, as if I were a wolf! How,
then! Thou art not glad to see Margoton?”

“I--I was startled!” faltered Honor. “I--didn’t know--dear Margoton,
forgive me! but--have you come--”

She could not say it. She could smile through her tears on the kind
giantess, could press her hand in genuine affection, but she could not
speak.

Margoton replied with a shower of nods. But yes, assuredly, she was
come for mademoiselle, to take her home; what else?

“Has the time seemed long to thee also, my little cabbage? Ah!
Mademoiselle Stephanie, for example, has been a fountain of tears,
desiring thee. A fête awaits thee _là-bas_--but--chut! that is not
to tell. Gretli has been good to thee, yes? She is not all bad, our
Gretli!”

The sisters beamed on each other affectionately.

“One does one’s possible!” said Gretli.

“She has been an angel,” cried Honor. “A perfect angel, Margoton! I
never can tell--”

“_Tiens!_” said Gretli cheerfully. “The holy angels are probably less
solid than I, Mademoiselle. For example! it would take a strong pair
of wings to sustain me, is it not so? You are to tell my honored
Ladies, sister, that M’lle Honor has been good as--bread, I do not say!
_galette_ could not be better. And the ankle--naturally it is not yet
of like strength with the other, that comes slowly; but it marches, it
marches. A little week or so more, and Mademoiselle will be running
and leaping like--but like that evil-disposed Séraphine, whom behold
yonder, annoying poor Nanni as of custom!”

Good Gretli! she had seen the tears in Honor’s eyes, had marked the
tremor in her voice; she talked on easily, giving the child time to
recover from the surprise. To leave the mountains, thought Gretli, even
after a short week; naturally that rent the heart. Margoton had lived
so long down there, she had forgotten--though never ceasing to love the
mountains--how desolating it was to leave them. Ah, yes! and the little
one had a mountain heart, that was to say a heart of gold.

“Figure to thyself what Mademoiselle has done this morning!” she
cried, as they walked slowly toward the châlet, the sisters regulating
their powerful stride by Honor’s limping little steps. “She has made a
cheese!”

“My faith!” cried Margoton. “For example! that was well done.”

“Well done indeed!” Gretli nodded sagaciously. “When I tell thee that
it is a cream cheese of the most perfect! Had she passed her life on
the Alp, it could have been no better.”

“You helped me, Gretli!” said downright Honor. “I couldn’t have done it
by myself.”

“Naturally! that understands itself. A little advice here or there,
what is that? I tell thee, sister, friend Gruyère has no better cheese
in his shop this day; and were it not that my honored Ladies might like
it for their supper, I would send it to him, demanding a fancy price,
my faith!”

M. Gruyère was the cheese merchant to whom Margoton was betrothed.
Honor knew him well by sight, a little dried-up, snuff-colored man, who
might go into Margoton’s pocket, she thought.

“He goes always well, this good Gruyère?” asked Gretli.

Margoton shook her head. Not too well, it appeared. He had been
assassinated by rheumatism this past week; in the legs it seized him,
in the arms, everywhere. To hear his cries, that lacerated the heart.

“He needs a wife, that one!” said Gretli slyly.

Margoton assented calmly. It was true, she said. He had no sense.
Another year or so, when the garden had so to speak grown up a little
more, understood itself as it were, one might begin to think about
that. At present, with the cabbages what they were, and the snails
devastating the cauliflowers, and the peas annihilated by a malediction
of black rust, it was out of the question.

“Mademoiselle asks nothing about the _pension_?” Margoton dismissed
the unfortunate Gruyère with a wave of the hand, and turned smiling
to Honor. “These other demoiselles are in a despair till they behold
her; as I said. M. le Professeur, when he came yesterday--for the
lesson of French history, as Mademoiselle knows--actually his venerable
countenance was to make weep when he found no M’lle. Honor. ‘Where
is my Fair One with golden locks?’ demands that poor gentleman.
‘I have prepared a genealogy of the Merovingians for her; she has
the historical sense, that young person.’ I heard it with my ears,
Mademoiselle.”

“What is that, Merovingian?” asked Gretli. “It sounds like a cheese,
but I know of no such.”

“They were early kings of France!” said Honor, brightening a little.
“First the Merovingians, then the Carlovingians, then the Capets. St.
Louis was a Capet, you know.”

Both sisters nodded vigorously. “That was a very holy saint!” said
Gretli. “His goodness to the poor was well known. He also washed the
feet of holy pilgrims. Also there was Louis XVI, a martyr, as every
child knows. Ah! that unhappy France! what terrible histories! To be
Swiss,” she added; “that is to pray for, if these things were in our
hands, which the good God has in nowise permitted. M’lle Stephanie
found herself not too ill, Margoton, after the attack of that
thoughtless animal?”

“Oh, yes!” Honor’s heart smote her. What a selfish creature she was!
she had not thought of poor Stephanie all these days.

“Do tell us how Stephanie is, Margoton! I hope she was not really hurt.”

It was Gretli who answered, a shade of asperity in her kind voice.

“She was hurt, Mademoiselle, as much as a flea is hurt that falls on
a featherbed. Precisely so much, and no more. Did she not knock you
down and descend upon your prostrate form? I ask you! Not of her free
will, I grant you, but so it was. She was frightened, she rent the air
with her shrieks, the mountains rang with them; but of injury--ah! for
example! not one particle of that, believe me!”

Margoton demurred; was not her sister perhaps a trifle severe? There
was a bruise on the child’s forehead, that was visible to the eye.
There was no doubt that Bimbo was an evil beast. To attack from behind
like that; Margoton asked you, was that well-conducted?

“He had provocation!” cried Gretli. “I do not wholly defend our Bimbo;
he has the faults of youth, and of his nature. A goat, that is not a
philosopher, _hein_? But, it is a fact that he had provocation. Who
in her senses would bring a scarlet parasol to a châlet of the Alps?
No! my faith, that was not well done. A bruise on the forehead? That
is a small matter indeed; while behold our little Mademoiselle here a
prisoner for a whole week, deprived of her studies, of her companions,
of--”

“But yet,” added Gretli quickly, seeing Honor’s eyes starry with tears
again, “she has not been altogether unhappy, _hein_, M’lle Honor? And
to stay once at the _Châlet des Rochers_, that is to stay again; it
is like that. Mademoiselle will come again in the autumn, is it not
so, to see the homecoming of the herd? That is another festival of
our mountains, dear to our hearts. Now--a little _goûter_, is it not
so? Before making the descent; a glass of cream, a little honey, a
biscuit--hold! that I bring them on the instant!”

There was little packing to do. M’me Madeleine had sent a few
necessaries by post, and these were all too quickly made into a neat
roll. A basket must be packed, with Honor’s cream cheese for the
Ladies’ supper, a bottle of whey and a packet of biscuits in case of
hunger or thirst during the journey. While Gretli was bustling about on
these matters, chatting the while with her sister of affairs here at
the châlet, there at the Maison Madeleine, Honor stole into her little
room to say good-by. How homelike it had grown! how she loved the
little bed with its four faces smiling from the posts! Matthew, Mark,
Luke and John, she named them; they had certainly blessed the bed that
she lay on. The carvings on the narrow shelf, Zitli’s work, as she now
knew; the windows through which the mountains greeted her so kindly
morning, noon and evening, with a new glory for every time of day or
night; even the bare walls, with their fresh rough plaster, white as
snow, were dearer to her than any imaginable hangings or tapestries of
queens’ palaces.

“Good-by!” said Honor softly. “Good-by, dear room! good-by, dear little
châlet, and all the tiny cows and goats! I’ll come back to you some
day!”

  “On the Alp the grass is sweetest,
    Li-u-o, my Queen!”

Zitli’s voice sounded clear and sweet from the garden patch where he
was working. Honor leaned out of the window. “Zitli, wait!” she cried.
“I am going! I am coming!”

Zitli looked up with a twinkle. “How then, Mademoiselle? Coming and
going, both at once?”

In another moment Honor had joined him, and with trembling voice and
brimming eyes was telling her sad little story. Margoton had come for
her. As soon as Atli came from the Alp, she must go; must leave the
_Châlet des Rochers_ and go back to the hot, dusty town, to schoolbooks
and school talk. How could she bear it?

Zitli’s bright face grew sober; he pondered a moment, leaning on his
hoe.

“_Sapperli poppette!_” he murmured. “This is an apoplexy for us indeed,
Mademoiselle.”

“Say ‘Honor,’” cried the girl. “We are friends, Zitli. Why should you
call me Mademoiselle?”

Zitli shook his head decidedly. As to the why, he was not altogether
clear. To begin with, that did not say itself in his tongue; not, at
least, with any degree of comfort. And besides, the sisters and brother
called her Mademoiselle, doubtless because it was fitting; he would
prefer to do as they did, with Honor’s permission.

“And for the departure,--” the boy looked up, and his face was bright
again,-- “My brother and sister,” he announced, “have instructed me
thus, Mademoiselle. That which we do ourselves, for that we may be
glad or sorry, according as it is done well or ill. That which the
good God sends, for that we are to be thankful, whatever it is, since
He sends nothing without reason. It was thus my revered grandmother
instructed them, and they me in turn. So, though--” he made a quaint
grimace,--“though it is very grievous for me to have Mademoiselle go
away, still I say to myself, ‘She goes to school,’ to learn wonderful
things out of books. Ah! Mademoiselle, what happiness! hold! but when I
am apprenticed to the maker of musical boxes, I, too, shall have some
schooling, he has promised it. Not, of course, such as Mademoiselle has
with the holy Ladies, but in some measure, yes! Books! ah, my faith!
that is to dream of, _hein_?”

Honor looked at him, wondering. His face was like a lamp. Books? Of
course, one always had books; some of them were good, but others were
dull.

“But--but you have the mountains, Zitli,” she cried.

A perfect shower of nods responded. “Ah! yes! I return to the
mountains, that understands itself. But with a little learning, too,
all I can get, my faith! I shall love my mountains the better for it,
and they also will understand. They are not ignorant fellows, those!”

He nodded toward the grave giants, who seemed to watch them kindly.
“And--who knows, Mademoiselle? We may meet some day in Vevay. I might
even sell Mademoiselle a cheese, if old Gruyère would permit it. My
faith! if my sister Margoton waits too long, that one will dry up and
blow away. Better might she marry a cockchafer, to my thinking. But
he is a kind man, and a sober,” he added hastily. Honor knew he was
thinking of Uncle Kissel.

Now Gretli was heard calling.

“I must go!” cried Honor. “We will surely meet in Vevay, Zitli. You
will come to see me, won’t you? And you’ll tell me--”

Both were hobbling as fast as they could, for Gretli sounded
imperative, though cheerful. Sure enough, when they reached the front
of the châlet, there was Atli, smiling his broadest (which was very
broad!) and holding in his hands a curious kind of chair; canvas seat,
wooden arms, with an arrangement of straps and buckles fastened to the
top. These straps, he explained, went round his neck and waist; one
even encircled his head. As thus!

Suiting the action to the word, with Gretli’s help he assumed the
harness, shifting a strap here, a buckle there, till, he said, it was
easy enough to sleep in.

“Now if Mademoiselle will take her seat, she will find herself as if in
the pocket of Ste. Gêneviève!” he declared, as Gretli had declared a
week ago. Ah! a week ago!

Honor flung herself into Gretli’s arms, murmuring in a half-choked
voice her good-by, thanks, love, many things that at fourteen one feels
as never before or after. The good giantess was quite overcome, and
returned the caress heartily.

“Au revoir, my little Mademoiselle,” she cried. “Till thou comest
again, my cabbage! ah! for example! thou takest our hearts with thee,
little one!”

“Good-by, Zitli!” said Honor, making a brave effort to steady her
voice. She _would not_ cry any more!

“Don’t forget me, Zitli!”

“_Sapperli poppette!_” Zitli’s own eyes were suspiciously bright, and
he was blinking hard. “Does one forget the sunshine, Mademoiselle?
And--and remember the cheese I am to sell you!”

“All ready, Atli! oh, yes, as comfy as can be, thank you! Good-by,
dear, dear châlet! Good-by, Gretli! good-by, Zitli! don’t forget
me! Oh! there are the goats! good-by, Nanni, Séraphine, Moufflon!
where--oh, there is Bimbo! Good-by, dear Bimbo! and thank you, oh,
thank you a hundred thousand times, for knocking me down!”

A waving hand; a bright head turning ever backward for a last look; a
clear voice calling, faint and fainter as the big shepherd strode down
the mountain path; so Honor left her Alps, and went back to her other
world.



CHAPTER XII

STORMY WEATHER


“What is it?” asked Honor. “Is it a birthday? Whose, then?”

“Goose!” said Patricia Desmond. “It is a re-birthday, don’t you see?
You died up there--or any one else would have died--of sheer dullness;
now you are alive again, that’s all. Don’t be stupid, Moriole!”

The dining room of the Pension Madeleine was ablaze, with lights; there
must have been fully a dozen candles, where ordinarily two sufficed.
The table was decked with flowers and _bonbons_; the best china was
displayed, that with the roses and the gold sprig, even to the four
tall _compotières_ which seldom emerged from their cupboard. Now they
stood at the four corners of the table, filled with translucent
preserves of Madame’s very best; peach, apricot, greengage, nectarine.
Little Loulou heaved a sigh of rapture, and clasped her hands.

“Ah! Moriole,” she cried, “how we are glad of thy return!”

Seeing Honor stand bewildered, Madame came forward and took her by the
hand.

“It is for thee, little one!” she said in her kind, cordial voice. “It
is thy festival of return. Welcome back, my child, to our home and to
our hearts!”

She _must_ not cry! it would be wicked, not to say ridiculous. She
_must_ be glad, and thankful. Honor clenched her hands and shook
herself; no tears fell, though her eyes brimmed with them. Her voice
trembled as she stammered out her thanks, but it was full of real
affection and gratitude. How dear it was of them! how kind they all
were! and how could they possibly know?

She sat in the place of honor at Madame’s right hand. Next her was
Patricia, regally beautiful in pale green organdie, which set off
her exquisite fairness to perfection. Opposite was Stephanie, in her
best frock of red silk, with narrow black velvet ribbon--three rows
of it--on skirt and bodice. (Floods of tears had been shed over this
ribbon. Stephanie wanted five rows; her thrifty mother considered
two enough; it was Honor who suggested the compromise of three, and
restored harmony to the household.)

Vivette, too, was in her best, the black alpaca which was only less
rusty than the one she wore every day. Vivette, so pretty, who might
be made so _chic_ if one could only dress her properly. How often had
Honor and Patricia debated as to how they would dress Vivette had they
but the power! Patricia was for apricot velvet with topazes; Honor
maintained that Nile green satin with emeralds was the _only_ thing.
Vivette, stolidly French, smiled, and thanked them both, but was
entirely satisfied with the suitability of her sober dress.

Jacqueline de la Tour de Provence sat next Vivette, all in white. It
was the gala costume of her House, she whispered to Honor. The La Tour
de Provences never rejoiced in colors. She spoke gravely, conveying
the impression that the wearing of white had originated in, and was
confined to, the House of which she spoke. A smile trembled on Honor’s
lips, but she suppressed it, and gave a glance of appreciation instead.
This too was kindly meant.

Among all the bright faces glowing with pleasure and affection was one
which startled Honor as she glanced round the table. Maria Patterson
sat in her accustomed place between Rose Marie and little Loulou, both
of whom were bubbling with joyous talk; she paid no attention to them,
nor, it seemed, they to her. Her eyes were bent on her plate; her face
was dark and gloomy. Never an attractive girl, there was, it struck
Honor, something tragic in Maria’s face now. What could be the matter?
Had she had bad news from home, or was she ill? Honor’s sympathy
was ready to flow in any direction; sad at heart herself, she felt
strangely out of place in this gay party. Was poor Maria sad too? Honor
tried to catch her eye, but without success; the girl never looked up
from her plate, but ate her supper in sullen silence.

The dessert appeared; a wonderful _Charlotte Russe_, Honor’s favorite
dish; orange jelly with whipped cream; little cakes in profusion,
white, pink, brown.

“Ah! Moriole,” sighed the descendant of good Queen Bertha; “would you
might return to us every day, cherished one!”

Now appeared pretty, smiling Sophie, trimmest and most correct
of maids, bearing a great jug of crystal and gold, the glory
of the Pension. It had been given to Madame by the Countess of
Lablache-Tournay, “her affectionate and ever-grateful pupil,” as the
inscription read. It was filled with “nectar,” Madame’s own special
compound of _orgeat_, raspberry syrup and lemon, which must be tasted
to be appreciated. The tall glasses were filled; Madame Madeleine
rose, and in a few simple words welcomed “their beloved young friend,
pupil, _compagne_”, whose absence had darkened the horizon of their
family life, whose return once more brought light and joy to their
little circle. As was well known, Madame had little knowledge of the
majestic language which was the native speech of their dear Honor, and
of several other of her young friends. She would ask her sister to
express for them both, in English, the sentiments which at the present
auspicious moment filled their bosoms.

With an affectionate glance and a wave of her kind hand, Madame sat
down, and Soeur Séraphine rose to her feet. There was a flush on the
clear rose-white of the little Sister’s cheek; her voice trembled as
she began.

“My dear Honor, and young ladies; eet ees wiz _grand plaisir_--pardon!
eet ees wiz ’eart-felt plaisure zat I bid you vonce more vell come to
Pension Madeleine. We ’ave meessed you treestfulli. Ze ’ouse vas not
ze semm wizout _La Moriole_, ze birrd of _plumage d’or_, of golden
fezzaires I should to say. And zou, _petite_, hast also been long for
ze _pension, n’est-ce pas_? As says ze poète Jonovard Payne,

  “Be eet evair so ombel,
  Zere’s no place like ’ome!”

And ze immortel Shakspire, ’e say also--_n’importe!_ zat escape from my
mind. We ozzaires, in Pension Madeleine, ve are not poète, ve ’ave not
ze _génie_, but our ’earts zey seeng wiz joy, and yet von time ve bid
vell-come back our dear Honor!”

Soeur Séraphine kissed her hand to Honor, and sat down amid tumultuous
applause.

“Speech!” cried Patricia. “Speech!” cried all the girls, echoing the
cry in varying shades of English; all save Maria Patterson, who still
sat, an image of gloom, staring at her plate.

Blushing and tearful, Honor rose.

“Thank you! oh, thank you all!” she cried. “I am so--so glad to see you
all again. Dear Madame, dear Sister, you are perfectly angelic to give
me this lovely party. I--I can’t say anything _but_ thank you, but I
do, with all my heart!”

She could at least say this. She _was_ glad to see them, all the dear
good friends. Not to come back--no! no! to say that would be telling
a lie; but to see the kind, friendly faces, to hear the welcoming
voices--of course she was glad! she would be a wicked, wicked girl if
she were not.

At last the feast was over, and after grace and _réverénces_, the
girls swept out laughing and chattering, into the garden. Here they
surrounded Honor, seizing her hands, pulling her this way and that, all
talking at once.

“This way, Honor! come with me!”

“_À moi, Moriole!_ I have a thousand things to say to thee. Ah! for
example, Loulou, cease thy pushing, little imbecile!”

“There’s no particular sense in smothering Honor to death!” drawled
Patricia. “I prefer her alive myself. Sit down here on the bench,
Moriole! I’ll keep them off you with this rake.”

Honor sat down, out of breath, and looked round. Stephanie, Patricia,
Rose Marie, Vivette,--were they all here? No!

“Girls,” she asked abruptly, “what’s the matter with Maria Patterson?”

Silence. The girls all looked at each other; then they looked at
Patricia. No one except Honor was very fond of Patricia; her tongue
was too biting, and she was too openly contemptuous of them all--still
excepting La Moriole; but they admired as much as they feared her, and
were accustomed to follow her lead, even Stephanie, who detested her.

Patricia now looked up with a peculiar smile that Honor knew well, and
gave a little shrug of her graceful shoulders.

“Maria Patterson? My dear, she has ceased to exist, for us. As to what
is the matter with her”--another shrug. “What does it matter what is
the matter with her? Pouf! I blow her away. Tell us about your exile,
child! we are all dying to hear.”

“Not till I know about Maria!” Honor’s tone was resolute; she was not
in the least afraid of Patricia.

“And why this sudden interest in Maria Patterson, if I may ask?”
Patricia was still smiling in the way Honor knew and did not like. “She
never was your heart’s own that I know of, _chérie_. What, I say, does
it matter about her? We are all happy, aren’t we?”

“_Voyons_, Patricia! tell her!” said Vivette. “We know our Moriole.
When her face sets in that manner, she is Gibraltar in person. If we
want to hear anything, we must first tell; that sees itself.”

“Tell yourself, then!” Patricia yawned delicately. “The subject fails
to interest me.”

Honor turned to Vivette, whose honest face was pleasanter to look on at
this moment than that of the school beauty.

“Marie is--avay!” said Vivette. “She is vat you call in Cov-en-tri.
There are six days, we speak her not, we look her not.”

“But why? What has the poor thing done?”

“She has thiefed!” Vivette spoke low, with a glance over her shoulder.
“_Chut!_ Madame knows not, nor our Sister. Solely of ourselves we
de-cide to--vat vord is dat, Patricia? Carve? Cot?”

“Oh, do hush, Vivette!” said Patricia rather rudely. “You make my ears
ache. If you _must_ know, Honor, the poor thing--as you call her--and
as she certainly is--stole a ring from my jewel-box. There! are you
satisfied? We were not sent here to consort with thieves, so we have
simply--shall I say eliminated her? As I told you, she no longer
exists.”

“Oh, Patricia! Oh, girls! there must be some mistake!”

Genuinely distressed, Honor looked from one face to another. But now
an excited babble broke out, the shrill young voices rising higher and
higher.

Maria had always been a sneak, Moriole knew she had. She was a
tale-bearer, a meddler, a spy. She was always poking her nose into
other people’s affairs; and so on and so on.

Honor listened, her eyes growing wider and wider, as they did when she
was troubled. Suddenly her cheeks flushed; her heart began to beat
violently. She seemed to hear a voice speaking; a rich, mellow voice,
with the sound of bells in it.

“And thus it is our custom to allow no evil to be spoken of any person
without a good word being added by each one of the family.”

Honor covered her face with her hands.

“If I had dark hair,” she said to herself, “I could do it! If I had
dark hair, I could do it!”

Then suddenly she looked up, first at Patricia’s beautiful, scornful
face, then at the others, all excited, all full of anger.

“Maria is _very_ tidy!” she said. “Her bureau drawers are beautiful,
and you know she got the prize for the best-made bed last year.”

For a moment all the girls stared, open-mouthed; then Patricia laughed
her little silver laugh.

“Even if so?” she said. “We allow her that lofty virtue! My ring was
in her pocket, you understand, my dear. Come, Moriole!” she added in
a different tone. “A promise is a promise. We have told you what you
wanted, now it is your turn. _What_ did you do in that place during
seven whole days? We _must_ know!”

“I cannot!” thought Honor. And then--“I _must_!”

“Come then!” she said. “Sit down, all of you! The sand is as dry as
dry. Loulou, I cannot tell if you hop on one foot. Listen then!”

She told them about the spinning and knitting; about the bridal
quilt; about pretty Madelon, whom she had not seen, and Big Pierre,
whom she had; about the carving, and all the marvels and mysteries of
cheese-making.

About her three friends themselves she could not talk, she found. And
no one knew, no one cared, no one could possibly understand--

“And I made the cheese all myself, the one we had for supper. Was it
good?”

“Good? It was mirific! You made it yourself? Ah! Bah! Gretli let you
stir it, pat it a little, like that!”

“Gretli did not touch it with the end of her finger! She told me, of
course, what to do. ‘Take this and that! do thus and so!’ but not a
finger did she put to it. Wait a little! When Margoton next has sour
cream, I will make another, and you will see.”

“It must have been rather fun!” said Vivette. “I should like to make
cheese, I think. Will you teach me, Moriole?”

“My dear! it would ruin your hands!” Jacqueline examined her own pearly
fingertips, over which she spent much of the “meditation hour” when
we sat alone in our little rooms and were supposed to think of holy
things. Then with a glance at Vivette’s brown, rather stubby hands, she
added, “But it might not after all make so much difference!”

“But, Moriole!” said Stephanie, who had been listening eagerly, “the
animals! all those terrible animals! were you not in perpetual terror?
Me, I never expected to see you alive again. I wept the whole of every
night--”

“Thou snorest prettily in thy sleep all the same, Stephanie!” cried
Rose Marie. “Heavens! it was a litany to all the saints at once!”

“You shan’t tease my Stephanie!” Honor was slipping back naturally
into her school attitude of championing the weak. “Stephanie dear, the
animals were darling; but perfectly darling! You have only to learn to
know them. Why, Bimbo ate bread from my hand, and danced for me when
I held his forefeet. It is true he tried to butt me every day, but he
never succeeded. Zitli was too quick, and always caught him over the
nose with his crutch.”

“The lame boy? Was he possible at all, Honor?” It was Jacqueline who
asked. “Of course the big Twins are very nice in their way: but to be
shut up a whole week in a peasant hovel with--”

Honor’s eyes flashed; she felt the blood surging into her cheeks, and
she clenched her hands tight in the vain effort to keep it down.

“A hovel?” she cried, and her voice trembled, spite of all she could
do. “The _Châlet des Rochers_ is simply the most delightful house I
ever was in. The people are the dearest and best people--except Madame
and our Sister--I have ever seen, and the week I spent there was the
happiest time of my whole life!”



CHAPTER XIII

THE WAY TO COVENTRY


Honor lay awake a long time that first night after her return. Her
mind was too full of what Vivette called “thinks.” (“Oftentimes,”
said poor Vivi, “I have in the night sorry thinks!” That was when she
had the toothache, which explained matters.) Her body lay in its own
bed--the plain little white enameled bed; no quaint faces of friendly
apostles to bless it! Her mind was away at the Châlet; the eyes of her
spirit were gazing through the little square window at the great snow
mountain, towering in the blue-black sky thick-set with stars, “rising
like a cloud of incense from the earth.” In her ears was the low tinkle
of musical bells, as the goats moved hither and thither, browsing on
the short turf.

“If only I could hear it always!” sighed Honor. “If only every night I
could go back, like the Enchanted Fawn! I would sing, as she did, only
change the words a little:

  “‘Say, how is my Gretli,
    And how are they all?
  Oh, say but the word,
    And I’ll come at your call!’”

How cool and sweet the air came in at the window, the breath of the
Mountain himself! (Honor was nearly asleep now, and really fancied
herself at the Châlet!) How clear and--silvery--the bells--hark!--who
was crying? Gretli was asleep; goats could not cry--

All of a sudden Honor came wide awake, and sat up in bed, listening.
Some one _was_ crying! not far from her; long, heavy sobs, full of
a dull, hopeless pain. Where--what--who? Honor put out her hand and
encountered the smooth iron of her bed. Of course! she was at home, in
Pension Madeleine! In the cell on her right was Stephanie: in that on
the left--Maria Patterson.

It was from the left that the sobs came. Honor listened intently;
dreadful sobs; her heart ached to hear them! She slipped quietly out
of bed, turned the handle of the door noiselessly, groped for the next
handle--another moment and she was beside Maria, where she sat sobbing
in her bed; her warm arms were pressing close the cold, shivering body,
her smooth cheek was laid against the other, wet with bitter tears.

“Maria! don’t, my dear! don’t cry! hush! oh, poor thing, hush! there!
there!”

Honor rocked back and forth, as if she were soothing a little child.
Pity flowed from her like a warm current; she felt the rigid form
relax, the head sink on her shoulder. The sobs continued, but they were
less heavy and dreadful, more like natural crying.

“There! there!” repeated Honor. “Now you are better, dear. Let me
cover you up a little; you are half frozen.”

“Is it--is it Honor?” Maria spoke in a broken whisper.

“Yes! but let me rub your hands, Maria! I’m going to get my hot-water
bottle!”

“No! no! don’t leave me! stay just a little longer! You don’t know--or
did they tell you?”

“You shall tell me!” Honor gently forced Maria to lie down, and tucked
the bed-clothes round her. “Lie still a moment, and I’ll come back.”

In three minutes she was back with the hot-water bottle.

“There! it’s not very hot, just right to hold in your hands. Now
tell--no, I won’t take cold; I have my wrapper on, and it’s warm as
soup. Tell me all about it, Maria!”

Maria drew a long sobbing breath.

“How good you are!” she said. “But you won’t believe me, Honor: nobody
would; and then you will go, and I shall be all alone in the world!”

“Nonsense!” said Honor decidedly. “I _shall_ believe you! Go ahead!”

Brokenly, in a voice shaken by sobs, with bursts of bitter weeping,
Maria told her piteous story; how she had seen and admired the ring on
Patricia’s finger; a curious little ring, a circle of gold wire with a
tiny golden mouse running loose on it. She wanted to see how it went;
Patricia hated her so, she could not ask. Then--one day--Patricia’s
door was open, and Maria knew she was in the garden.

“Honor, I didn’t mean any harm! I swear to you I didn’t mean any harm.
I went in, and the ring was on the pincushion, and I tried it on,
and--and--just then Sophie came in, and I didn’t want her to see me
with it, and I slipped it into my pocket, meaning to put it back when
she had gone out--oh, dear! oh, dear! how _could_ I?” The wailing sobs
broke out again.

“Quiet! quiet!” Honor was stroking her forehead with a firm soft hand.
“There! there! Go on! You meant to put it back; of course you did. And
then--”

“The bell rang for class, and Sophie was still there, sweeping, you
know--and I had to go. It was _dictée_, and you know that takes all
there is of me, and then I can’t do it decently! Honor, could any one
believe I could forget it--the ring, I mean? I did! oh, truly, truly
I did! And out in the garden at recess--I pulled out my handkerchief,
and--and--”

“And out it came!” Honor finished for her. “Of course I believe every
word, Maria. Of course any one would who had any sense. Didn’t you tell
Patricia? Didn’t you tell them all, that moment?”

“I _couldn’t_!” Maria’s voice fell into an agonized whisper. “I
_couldn’t_, Honor! Patricia looked at me--oh, pray to God that no one
will ever look so at you as long as you live!” cried the poor girl.
“And she said--”

“What did she say? Quiet, my dear! quiet! words never killed anybody!”

“She said, _‘Tiens!_ are there two mouse-rings in the Pension? Or
perhaps only one?’ Then she picked it up and went away, and I saw her
telling the other girls. None of them has spoken to me since then!”

“You poor child! what a wicked, wicked shame!”

“Do you--do you really believe me, Honor?”

Maria spoke timidly, and in the half darkness of the room, Honor could
feel her eyes peering anxiously into her own.

“Of course I believe you!” she cried. “Every single word, Maria. Nobody
could possibly doubt you. Of course it was a pity, and a silly thing
to do, and all that; but--why--there’s nothing _dreadful_ about it,
Maria. It has only to be explained, and every one will understand in a
minute, and everything will be all right. You see if it isn’t!”

“But I can’t explain! How can I, when no one will speak to me? It’s no
use, Honor!”

“I’ll explain! I’ll tell the girls all about it to-morrow, after
breakfast, and then everything will be all right. Now you must go to
sleep like a good girl. Shut your eyes and let go, and I’ll sing to
you.”

Exhausted with misery and weeping, Maria was only too glad to shut her
eyes and “let go,” while Honor, still stroking her forehead, crooned
softly,

  “‘On the Alp the grass is sweetest,
    Li-u-o, my Queen!’”

It was midnight when Honor, chilly but happy, crept back to bed,
leaving Maria fast asleep. She nestled down on her pillow cozily.

“Play the heads are here!” she murmured. “Play they are smiling at me:

  “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
   Bless the bed that I lie on!”

Honor was sleepy enough next morning after her vigil; but the thought
of what she had to do soon roused her. She ran into Maria’s room,
hairbrush in hand; it was not permitted, but she could explain; the
Sister would understand.

“Hush! listen!” she cried. “Don’t come out in the garden after
breakfast, Maria! Come straight back here, and wait till I come for
you. It will be all right, see if it isnt!”

Poor Maria, her eyes swollen with weeping, gave her a look of such
dog-like devotion and gratitude that Honor could only give her a pat in
return, and hurry away. Her heart was beating high. It was a shame; but
they had not known; they had not understood; in a little hour now, all
would be well.

How slow they were at breakfast! It seemed as if the meal would never
end. Nobody looked at Maria; none of the girls at least. Soeur
Séraphine cast a keen glance at her swollen, discolored face; one, and
then another; but said nothing. Madame called from the head of the
table, “Marie, thou dost not eat, my child! How then! It is necessary
to eat; finish at least thy little bread!”

Maria crumbled her roll, and made a pretence of eating.

“_Tiens!_” said Soeur Séraphine. “The child is without appetite, my
sister. I myself will give her a cup of tea presently. That encourages
the stomach.”

After what seemed a really interminable time, the girls streamed out
once more into the garden. It was the custom after every meal in good
weather. Honor, breathless with eagerness, led the way, beckoning the
others to follow. They flocked to the seat under the great trumpet vine.

“What is it?” they all cried. “More tells, Moriole? We haven’t heard
half enough!”

“Sit down, girls! I’m out of breath. I want to tell you all--you first,
Patricia, but all together--you are all wrong about Maria. Poor thing,
she meant no harm. Listen!” and she poured out Maria’s story, the words
tumbling over one another with eagerness; the girls listening with
wide-open eyes.

“So you see,” she concluded, “it wasn’t wicked, it was only silly;
very silly, of course, and she knows it, and is--oh, so _dreadfully_
sorry and ashamed! Pat, you can’t be angry with her any more; you must
forgive her, and take her back, don’t you see?”

Patricia laughed. “I’m afraid I don’t see!” she said. “Stealing is
stealing, Moriole, my child! No doubt she is sorry. Thieves are apt to
be--when they are found out. They are also apt to trump up a pretty
story to tell to sympathetic people. This is a very pretty story, my
dear, but I don’t see that it alters the facts of the case. The ring
was in Maria’s pocket. _Et voilà!_”

“You--you mean--that you do not believe what Maria says?”

Honor spoke slowly, as if bewildered.

“I mean precisely that! I don’t believe one solitary word!”

Honor looked from one to another.

“Girls! Vivette! Stephanie! You believe it?”

No one spoke; all looked embarrassed, except little Loulou, who was
pirouetting about, paying little attention.

“I see--you don’t!”

Honor was silent for a moment, thinking. Then, suddenly, a flame seemed
to surge up within her. She did not need dark hair this time; red
hair would do to be angry with. She sprang to her feet. Her blue eyes
flashed, and she clenched her hands, facing them all.

“Very well!” she said. “Then--that is all! You have sent Maria to
Coventry: I go with her! Good-by!”

She was gone. The girls looked at one another with blank faces.

“Oh, Patricia!” cried Stephanie. “We can’t send Moriole to Coventry!
She has just come back to us, and we all missed her so dreadfully! Do
make up with Maria!”

“Pooh!” said Patricia. “She’ll come back. Honor isn’t going to leave us
and take up with Maria Patterson. I give her half an hour!”

Honor flew to Maria’s room, her eyes blazing, her cheeks on fire. As
she entered, Maria looked up, a spark of hope in her eyes; but at sight
of Honor’s face, she cowered down in her chair and covered her face
with her hands, with a broken moan.

“You couldn’t!” she said. “I knew you couldn’t! I knew they wouldn’t
believe you. Thank you just as much for trying, Honor!”

“Hateful, hateful creatures!” Honor stamped her foot and clenched her
hands. “I never want to speak to any of them again. Come, Maria, come
out with me! They needn’t speak to us, and we certainly will not speak
to them. We’ll live in Coventry together!” And she laughed a defiant
laugh.

Maria shook her head drearily.

“No! I can’t go out; and I will not keep you from them. Go, please,
Moriole! I will not bring disgrace on you. Please go!”

Honor stood her ground hotly, determined to carry her point; finally
the school bell settled the matter by summoning all hands to the
classroom.

It was a wretched morning. Maria drooped in her corner. Honor blazed
and flashed in hers like a Catherine wheel. She flung her scornful
glances here and there, and all quailed beneath them, except Patricia,
who only laughed. Stephanie was on the verge of tears and made sad work
of her lessons.

“What then ails these children?” said Madame to Soeur Séraphine at
recess. “Do they conspire, or are they sickening? There is a fever in
the suburbs, Margoton tells me. Perhaps it would be well to send for
the doctor?”

“Wait a little, my sister! We shall soon know.” Soeur Séraphine was her
usual serene self. “Our little casserole bubbles furiously; soon it
will overflow, and we shall learn all about it. They are like that, our
dear children! No, they are not sickening: I have examined tongue and
pulse of all; all are perfect, except this poor Maria, who is the root
of the trouble, I am convinced, and who as yet can tell me nothing.
To-morrow I look to know all.”

That was the Sister’s way. She never “poked the nose,” as we said. She
hardly ever asked a question; she simply waited and things came to her.

This time she had not long to wait.

The day wore through somehow; a dreadful day. Honor never liked to
recall it. In the afternoon walk, she stalked ahead of the rest, her
arm round Maria, her head thrown back defiantly, her heart full of
rage and bitterness. If only Maria had a particle of spirit, it would
be easier, she felt; but Maria had no thought of anything but despair,
with the added misery of having involved Honor in her disgrace. She was
not in the least a bad girl, poor Maria; only a silly, inquisitive one.

“Look, Maria! what a strange-looking old lady! Isn’t she beautiful? She
is looking at us, so don’t stare, but just glance as you go by!”

Maria did not even glance. “I don’t care!” she said, “and how can an
old lady be beautiful, anyhow? I don’t dare about anything; I wish I
were dead!”

“_That_,” said Honor, “is wicked! You are a goose, Maria, but there is
no need of your being wicked, and you shan’t, either. And old ladies
are some of the most beautiful in the world, when they _are_ beautiful!
Look at our Sister!”

Soeur Séraphine was thirty-three, to be precise; but fourteen takes
little count of degrees in age.

A wretched afternoon. A wretched evening, Maria’s forlorn face casting
a gloom over the pleasant reading hour, a gloom only accentuated by
Honor’s flame of anger, which still burned brightly. Soeur Séraphine,
reading aloud peacefully, looked benignantly over the top of her
“Télémaque,” and felt that a crisis was approaching. These dear
children! By to-morrow all would clear itself, and they would be
themselves once more. But for this poor Maria, and our Moriole, it was
indeed desolating; nor was Stephanie less unhappy. A special prayer
must be offered for these three.

Bedtime came. The girls separated without the usual merry chirping
over their lighted candles. Honor, after a brief but energetic effort
to make Maria “cheer up,” gave it up in despair for the moment, and
hurried to bed, thereby saving five minutes of the allotted fifteen,
of which half was usually spent in happy fluttering and twittering from
room to room. Placing her candle on the little bedside table, she drew
from under her mattress a square leather-bound volume, and settling
herself among the pillows, began to write hurriedly.

“My young life was full of sorrows. Treacherous friends deserted me
because I just tried to behave decently. My cheek grew pale and thin,
but my spirit was undaunted. My tears flowed like a crystal fountain--”
Here Honor blinked hard and thought she did perhaps feel something
like a tear in one eye--“My silken pillow was wet with them. The poor
thing I tried to rescue was no help at all, but of course that made
no difference, and I spurned the others from me with flashing eye and
regal gesture. One of them was my bosom friend. I never thought she
would desert me--

“Who’s there? Maria? Come in! Anybody else, stay out!”

But Stephanie was already in: Stephanie was flinging herself on Honor’s
neck, weeping, begging for forgiveness.

“Moriole darling! Speak to me! look at me! Do be friends! Won’t you,
Moriole? I can’t bear it without you!”

Did Honor spurn her with flashing eye and regal gesture? No! she hugged
her close, and they cried together, and kissed and “made up” like the
affectionate creatures they were.

“But--but you forgive Maria?” cried Honor. “You’ll take her back,
Stephanie? You can’t have me without her!”

“I’ll take twenty Marias!” whispered Stephanie, “to get back my own,
own Moriole!”

Ting! ting! went the bell. Lights out! One parting hug; off flew
Stephanie; back went the book under the mattress; out went the candle.
Honor nestled down in bed with a warm heart, for the first time since
leaving the Châlet.

“Thank you, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John!” she murmured. “You _have_
blessed the bed that I lie on!” and she fell happily asleep, to dream
of the Twins and Zitli.

       *       *       *       *       *

Never yet in all her peaceful years had Honor had two broken nights in
succession; but there is a first time for everything.

Late in this second night she was again waked suddenly; not by sobbing
this time: not by any noise; all was still. What was it, then? Why was
she sitting up in bed, frightened? She sniffed: a strange smell was in
her nostrils: acrid, pungent--fire? She was springing out of bed, when
she heard some one enter the next room hurriedly; heard a smothered
cry; heard the window flung violently open; heard her own name called,
low but urgently.

“Honor! Honor! come!”

Honor flew, to find the strange odor pouring out of Maria’s room;
to see, by the moonlight which flooded it, Maria lying apparently
unconscious, and bending over her, dragging her from the bed--Patricia!

“Help me get her to the window!” said Patricia briefly. “So! Now call
the Sister, and get my salts! Quick!”

Again Honor flew, down the corridor, at the end of which a light
glanced from the crack under Soeur Séraphine’s door. The little
Sister, kneeling at her _prie-Dieu_, turned as the door opened. Her
eyes widened at sight of Honor’s horrified face; her delicate nostrils
expanded as the pungent odor crept into them; all this Honor saw
_afterwards_. It seemed hardly a breathing-space before the Sister had
flashed past her, flashed down the corridor, and had Maria in her arms
by the open window, while Patricia knelt beside her with the salts. A
pure cool breeze blew into the room, driving out the choking vapor. A
few anxious moments, a convulsive movement, a quiver of the eyelids:
Maria opened her eyes, and looked feebly about her.

“Let us thank the merciful Lord and the blessed saints!” said Soeur
Séraphine. “My child, behold you restored to us! How do you find
yourself?”

“Oh, dear!” said Maria. “Am I not dead? oh, dear!”

At this moment she caught sight of Patricia’s pale face close beside
her. She shrank back with a cry.

“Why couldn’t you let me die?” she cried. “Don’t--don’t laugh at me,
Patricia! Please go away, and let me die!”

Patricia was about to speak, but Soeur Séraphine signed to her to be
silent.

“A little later!” she murmured. “Go now, my child! Thou also, Honor;
return in ten minutes.”

As they turned to go, a piece of paper blew off the table and fell at
Patricia’s feet. She picked it up mechanically, and saw her own name on
it. The two girls passed into Patricia’s room, which was on the other
side of Maria’s. Patricia lighted her candle, and read,

  “Patricia, it is true, what I told Honor. I did not mean to steal
  the ring. Please take Honor back. I will not disgrace her when
  she was so good to me.

  “MARIA PATTERSON.”

“Oh, Patricia!” cried Honor. “What--what did she do? What was that
dreadful smell? Patricia! you are white as a sheet! Are you going to
faint? Don’t--don’t cry, my dear!”

“I am not crying!” Patricia wiped two large tears from her cheeks.
“What did she do? She tried to kill herself. If it had not been for
you, I should have been a murderess!”

“Patricia, don’t say such dreadful things! And what have I to do with
it?”

“You kept me from going to sleep!” said Patricia curtly. “You little
thing--” Patricia laid her hands on Honor’s shoulders, and held her
at arm’s length a moment. “You little thing!” she repeated. “You have
saved me, as well as Maria!”

“Oh, Patricia!” faltered Honor, her own eyes bright with tears. “What
was it? was it poison?”

“Charcoal! The poor creature must have taken some from Margoton’s
brazier. Mercifully she didn’t know enough to stop up the keyhole
between her room and mine. I smelt it, and then I saw a thin blue
thread come creeping through the keyhole; and then--all in a minute I
knew! Hark! the Sister calls us. Honor, I can’t talk about it, but I
never shall forget this night!”

Honor was almost awe-stricken as Patricia pressed a warm kiss on her
cheek; Patricia, who never kissed any one. She returned the caress
shyly, but tenderly, and hand in hand the two entered Maria’s room.

Soeur Séraphine’s lovely face was more nearly stern than they had
ever seen it. She was sitting on the bed, Maria’s hand in hers. She
addressed the two girls gravely.

“Here we have,” she said, “one who has sinned and repented. Her first
sin was not grievous, as it appears to me; her repentance was deep and
sincere, but it has not been accepted--save by thee, my little Honor!
Thy part in this affair has been all that I could wish. Patricia, of
thee I would ask, art thou entirely without sin thyself?”

“No, my Sister!” Patricia’s voice was low, her eyes were bent on the
floor.

“Thou art right. Pride, vain glory, envy--no, perhaps not that!”
as Patricia made an involuntary movement; “hatred, malice and all
uncharitableness. Of these thou hast been guilty; is it not so, my
child?”

“Yes, my Sister!”

“Dost thou repent of these thy sins? Are they hateful in thine eyes?”

“Oh, yes! yes!”

Soeur Séraphine’s face softened; her eyes shone with their own kind
light. She said no word, but with a lovely gesture held out Maria’s
hand. Patricia clasped it, and knelt down by the bedside.

“Maria,” she said, in a low, stifled voice, “I have been wicked and
hateful, and I beg your pardon!”

“Oh, don’t, Patricia!” gasped Maria. “Oh, please don’t! I--of course it
was horrid of me; of course you thought--oh, _do_ get up, Patricia! Oh,
of _course_ I forgive you, if you forgive me!”

“So!” The Sister raised Patricia, and seated her beside her. “That is
well. Now you are friends once more, and that part of this sad matter
may be forgotten. For her second and far more grievous sin, that of
attempting to renounce the gift of life given her by the good God,
Maria is deeply repentant; is it not so, my child?”

“Oh, yes!” murmured Maria, clasping her hands over her face. “I don’t
see how I _could_ have done it!”

“Fitting penance will be devised for thee!” the Sister went on
serenely. “Thou preferest to leave it to me and Madame, and it is well.
For thee, Patricia; wouldst thou prefer to choose thine own penance, or
shall we devise one for thee also?”

“I think--” Patricia spoke slowly, but with something of her usual
assured tone: “I think, my Sister, that I will go to Coventry myself!”

“Go to--Cov--what is that, my child? A city of England, is it not? We
could not permit--”

Patricia hastened to explain.

“Sending a person to Coventry means--not speaking to her, not having
anything to do with her. We--I--sent Maria to Coventry, and made
all the other girls do it--except Honor! she wouldn’t! Now I will go
myself, for a week. I will not speak to anybody, and nobody shall speak
to me. Will that do, my Sister?”

“Oh, Patricia!” cried Honor and Maria in one breath. “You shall not!
You must not!”

But Soeur Séraphine nodded approval.

“The idea,” she said, “appears to me admirable!”



CHAPTER XIV

THE STRANGE OLD LADY


Patricia performed her penance faithfully. At her request, Soeur
Séraphine explained matters briefly to the girls next morning; so far,
that is to say, as she considered explanation desirable. Patricia, she
told them, had become convinced that she had been unjust to Maria, and
had taken upon herself the punishment which she and they had inflicted
upon that imprudent but well-meaning young person. For the space of
a week, they would hold no communication with Patricia, nor she with
them: Madame approving this entirely. After that time, their happy
relations with one another would be resumed, and never again, the
Sister trusted, would their clear horizon be clouded in such manner.
The girls were to remark that a little folly, arousing the evil
passions of our sinful nature, had brought about this sad state of
affairs. Let them pray without ceasing for truth, courage and kindness,
since these three formed the tripod on which humanity must stand.
Dismissed!

As the girls left the classroom, Patricia, who was standing at the
door, shook hands with each of them, as if taking leave. She did not
speak, nor did any one dare speak to her. Her face was grave, but the
scornful look was gone; the insolence of her beauty was veiled, as
it were, by a thoughtful, almost a sorrowful look. She gave Honor a
lovely smile; Honor’s arms were open in an instant to embrace her, but
Patricia shook her head, and laid her finger on her lips.

“I don’t see how I _can_!” said Honor to herself, as she passed out,
“but I _must_!” she added, “and so I will!”

This sensible resolve she communicated to the other girls, as they
clustered round her under the trumpet vine. Patricia was walking by
herself at the other end of the garden, pacing up and down in a sober,
business-like way.

“How _can_ we?” cried one and another. “Maria made no difference one
way or another: but Patricia--it will be like losing you over again,
Moriole!”

“We just plain _have_ to!” said Honor stoutly. “That’s all there is
about it. And mind you be good to Maria, girls! It’s the least you can
do, after treating her so horribly. Poor thing! she is really sick this
morning, so our Sister made her stay in bed; but she will be down to
dinner, and I say, let’s all try to make her forget about it.”

All agreed, though without any special enthusiasm. They were ashamed of
the part they had played, but after all, Maria was Maria.

“_Tiens_, la Moriole!” It was Jacqueline de la Tour de Provence who
spoke, in her languid, graceful drawl. “Why this sudden interest in
Maria,--for thee, I mean? Thou hast never shown it before. She is
_bourgeoise_ to a degree! She cannot belong to even the lowest order of
_noblesse_!”

“We are Americans!” said Honor shortly. “We have no _noblesse_. And if
we had--how about _noblesse oblige_, Jacqueline?”

Jacqueline blushed slightly, and murmured something about her House;
but it was noticed that she was moderately civil to Maria, when the
latter, still depressed, and sniffing at intervals, appeared at dinner.

“But, Maria,” cried Honor, dragging her into a corner after dinner,
“you simply _must_ buck up! You _can’t_ go round cringing and sniffing
like--like a poodle that’s just been shaved! Hold up your head! Look
them in the eye! Show them that you are as good as they are!”

“But I am not!” said poor Maria, who did seem to be made of putty, as
Patricia once said, and poor putty at that.

“You _are_! a great deal better than some of them. Buck up, I tell you!”

“_Bokope!_” Soeur Séraphine, passing, paused with a smile of inquiry.
“Eet ees to me a word wholly new, la Moriole. It means--vat, for
example?”

Honor colored hotly, and hung her head.

“It’s--it’s _argot_, my Sister!” she confessed meekly. “Slang, you
know, we call it. It means to--to collect oneself--to--to take a
brace--oh, dear! that’s slang too! I’m afraid ‘buck up’ is really what
it does mean, my Sister. Papa used to say it!” she added timidly.

The little Sister glowed sympathetic.

“_Tiens!_ If thy honored father used the expression, it is without
doubt a valuable one. _Bokope!_ it is to remember, that!”

She passed on, leaving Honor struggling between amusement and remorse.

The days passed quickly, as days do; they missed Patricia woefully.
Even Stephanie confessed to missing her, though she declared, pacing
the Garden, arm in arm with her newly-recovered Moriole, that this was
nothing compared with the desolation of last week.

“Patricia has behaved nobly, I grant that!” she said. “I forgive her
much, even her pride, which is insufferable. But to have thee back, my
cherished one, that makes to bound the heart; I could better do without
all than to lose thee, my Moriole!”

Was Stephanie always so sentimental? Had she herself been so, before
she went to the Châlet? Honor wondered; then she fell to wondering what
they were all doing up there. It was four o’clock. The goats would be
coming home soon. Perhaps Big Pierre was there, courting Gretli. In
that case Zitli would be in his own nook behind the garden, sitting
alone, looking at the mountain, thinking perhaps a little of his
friend. She must write to them to-night. She had already written once,
but Zitli said letters were a rare treat, and she loved to write them.

“Look, Honor! that old lady again who regards thee. My faith, but her
eyes devour thee. One would say she was hungry, not so?”

Honor looked up, to find a pair of bright dark eyes fixed on her with
singular intentness. They belonged to a lady whom the girls had seen
several times of late in the Garden; an old lady, richly dressed, who
sometimes drove slowly in a victoria, sometimes, as to-day, sat on
a garden chair under the trees. She was accompanied by a trim, rosy
little person, who might be nurse, companion or courier. She seemed
interested in all the girls, but specially in Honor, whose looks and
motions she studied openly and deliberately.

To-day, after a prolonged look which yet was not a stare, she said a
few words to her companion, who stepped forward and in turn addressed
Soeur Séraphine, who was shepherding her little flock. The Sister
looked up in surprise; glanced toward the lady on the garden chair;
then hastily adjuring the girls to be extremely _sage_ and to observe
well the beauties of Nature, she advanced with an air of respectful
interest toward the old lady, who, with a civil nod, beckoned her to a
seat beside her. The nurse, companion or courier retired to a discreet
distance. The girls, devoured by curiosity, paid scant attention to the
beauties of nature.

“Stephanie, you _must_ not stare!” whispered Honor. “Look at that swan;
he is pecking the young one as hard as he can.”

Stephanie glanced anxiously at the swan. “They are savage creatures!”
she said. “A swan once pecked my grandmother, tearing large portions
of flesh from her bones. It was a frightful thing; she turned black
with terror. Observe her dress, Moriole! It is richness itself, though
sombre, and in distinguished taste.”

“Your grandmother’s? Or the swan’s?” Honor laughed.

“A squirrel! a squirrel!” cried little Loulou. “Where are the nuts,
Vivette?”

Squirrel and nuts made a brief diversion, but it was hard not to
glance more often than one should at the couple on the garden chairs.
They were talking earnestly; the Sister with her pretty, fluttering
gestures, the other with an occasional wave of a delicate ringed hand,
or an emphatic nod. Finally--oh, wonder! oh, thrill upon thrill!--the
Sister rose and beckoned--to whom? Jacqueline de la Tour de Provence
rose with dignity, and was gliding forward, swanlike, when the Sister’s
voice was heard, silver clear.

“Honor! Approach, my child!”

Jacqueline drew back with an air of elaborate unconcern. Honor, with
a deprecating glance at her, and a round-eyed flash at Stephanie,
advanced timidly.

“Honor, my little one,” the Sister’s voice trembled; “that I present
thee to Madame--”

“Mrs. Damian!” The lady spoke in an odd, abrupt tone. “How do you do,
child? Your grandfather Bright was my first cousin; you are therefore
my second cousin once removed. Sit down! If you open your eyes too
wide, they might drop out. I asked you how you did!”

Honor blinked and sat down hastily, trembling and amazed.

“I am very well, I thank you, madame!” she answered. “I trust your
distinguished health is also good.”

“My distinguished health is as good as can be expected, I thank you!”
with an amused twinkle. “Your name is Honor? So is mine! There is
always an Honor in the family. You never heard your father speak of me,
I suppose? No! how should you? I haven’t seen him for twenty years.
He was a nice boy then. Well! you wonder what sky I have dropped from,
eh? I heard of your parents’ death a year or more ago; I was in Russia
at the time. I am a traveler, child; I have been traveling for many
years. I was in Russia, and since then I have been in the East. I have
always meant to look you up; I wrote your guardian, Mr. Stanford, that
I would. You have never seen Mr. Stanford?”

Honor shook her head. “He writes to Madame,” she said. “Twice a year he
writes, to make inquiry for me, and to send money; he comes never.”

“Busy man! You’ll see him--” Mrs. Damian spoke in short, abrupt
sentences, each one punctuated with a nod. The last sentence remained
unfinished, and she nodded twice.

“Folly!” she spoke over her shoulder, and the rosy person approached.
“This is the little cousin! Honor, this is Miss Folly, who keeps me
alive. A ridiculous fuss she makes about it, too. What now, Folly? Why
do you look at me?”

“It’s time to come home, Mrs. Damian!” Miss Folly spoke in a cheerful,
cordial voice which struck Honor’s ear like music. “Shall I call the
carriage?”

“Do so! Honor, your teacher gives you permission to take supper with me
at the hotel this evening. Will you come?”

Honor faltered her thanks; with great pleasure would she do herself the
honor--

“That’s good! Miss Folly will come for you at a quarter before six. _Au
revoir_, child!”

She nodded dismissal. Honor’s head was spinning; her heart was beating
fast; but she made her best courtesy, and murmuring, “_Au revoir,
madame! Au plaisir, mademoiselle!_” she turned and scurried away toward
the group of girls, who, at the further end of the Gardens, were
turning eager heads in her direction. On the way, she caught sight of
Patricia, taking her solitary walk in a shady by-path, and stopped
short, her heart beating louder than ever. She could not--how _could_
she pass Patricia without a word?

A squirrel was hopping along the path, expectant of nuts.

“Squirrel!” cried Honor. The squirrel stopped; Patricia turned, saw
her, and stopped too. “Give my love to Patricia!” Honor addressed
Master Frisky, breathlessly. “Tell her we miss her dreadfully!
And--squirrel--tell her I am going to supper at the hotel with my
grandfather’s cousin, Mrs. Damian, who has been in Russia. Tell her
it’s that beautiful old lady we saw the other day. That’s all!” and
kissing her hand--but not to the squirrel--Honor ran on.

The girls surged round her like a wave; questions flew like spray.
What? Who? Why? How? She was explaining as well as she could, when Miss
Folly appeared, very bright-eyed, a little out of breath from walking
quickly.

“Excuse me!” she said with a smile, as the girls drew back in
confusion. “Miss Honor, Mrs. Damian asks what you like best to eat.”

Honor fairly gasped. “Oh! oh, mademoiselle, it is of no import!
Anything that Madame--”

Miss Folly dismissed the remark with a gesture. “What do you like
best?” she repeated. “Mrs. Damian wishes to know.”

“Oh! oh, dear! ice-cream!” faltered Honor.

Miss Folly smiled again. “That, naturally! but before ice-cream?”

“Oh! Oh, must I? Broiled chicken! I thank madame most respectuously--”

Miss Folly nodded cheerfully, and departed. Nine pairs of eyes, opened
to their roundest extent, gazed at one another. Then Honor held out her
arm, solemnly.

“Pinch me, Stephanie!” she said. “Quite hard, please--ow! that will do.
Because if I am not asleep and dreaming, then we are all in a fairy
story, that’s all.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Still more fairy-like it seemed when at a quarter before six o’clock,
punctually, Miss Folly appeared, like a matter-of-fact fairy godmother,
and whisked Honor off in the victoria with the long-tailed black
horses, the very carriage in which--_hélas!_ poor pretty Maman and kind
Papa used to take her on those long drives. There had been a solemn
consultation over Honor’s dress for the occasion. She felt in her heart
that black velvet, with a long train and point lace flounces, was the
fitting attire. Diamonds, of course; her superb dark tresses woven into
a stately coronal (she had just discovered “coronal,” and thought it a
beautiful word) with a single ostrich plume, snowy white, curling above
it. These decorations not being at hand, she turned her mind with a
sigh to the actual choice, the dark blue cashmere with crochet buttons,
or the white embroidered muslin, Maman’s last gift, now let down to
its fullest extent; a trifle short in the sleeves, but still “all that
there was of most gracious!” Soeur Séraphine declared. Madame was
rather in favor of the cashmere; it was more composed, she said; more
sedate, and wholly suitable. Stephanie, who assisted at the conference,
affectionately pressed upon Honor her own best dress, the red silk
with black velvet ribbon. Soeur Séraphine suppressed a shudder, and
promptly decided on the white, for which Honor thanked her with an
eloquent glance. It was darling of Stephanie, but--and, besides, Maman
had told her _never_ to wear red or pink; “Unless, when you are forty,
my darling, a deep red velvet; your hair will be darker by then, and it
will suit your tint.”

Honor did not feel as if she would ever be forty; why not four hundred
at once? But she knew that this infliction of her hair could be made
better or worse by her choice of colors. She gladly put on the white
dress, and was pondering the question of a sash, when she heard a light
step in the corridor; then a soft rustle as of silk; a touch on the
handle of the door, and the step retreating again. She flew to the door
and opened it, to see the last flutter of a skirt disappearing, and
hanging on the doorhandle--Patricia’s beautiful new sash of pale-green
brocaded ribbon, with the shoulder-knots to match.

“Oh, my Sister, see!” cried Honor, the tears springing to her eyes.
“See what Patricia has done! her very best sash! Oh, mayn’t I just run
and give her a hug for thanks?”

“On no account!” The Sister’s face was shining with pleasure. “Our dear
Patricia is making her salvation with assured steps; let no one cause
her to stumble! Be tranquil, my child, that I arrange for thee this
charming garniture! It completes to perfection a costume wholly _jeune
fille_!”

In the little, richly gilt private _salon_ of the hotel, Mrs. Damian
received Honor with abrupt cordiality. She wore the costume of Honor’s
dreams, minus the flounces and the ostrich plume. Her dark eyes were
as bright as her diamonds, Honor thought, and the rich velvet set
off her ivory skin and delicate high-bred features to perfection. As
to the point lace, it was gathered in graceful folds at her throat,
and crowned her snowy hair in a quaint and charming cap. Altogether,
Honor thought her one of the most beautiful things she had ever
seen. Admiration was evidently no new thing to Mrs. Damian, but it
as evidently gave her pleasure; she smiled as Honor made her pretty
reverence, and held out her fragile hand.

“You are prompt!” she said. “That is good! You have been taught not to
waste other people’s time. There is not time enough in the world to go
round, and yet--ring the bell, will you, Folly?--people waste it--or
steal it--as if it were water. Do you understand?”

Honor started at the sudden question, which was like the swoop of a
hawk.

“Not--not altogether, madame!” she faltered. “To waste time; we are
taught that that is at once foolish and sinful; to steal--how then?”

“Listen! If you waste your own time, that is your own affair. If you
had been half or even a quarter of an hour late, you would have wasted
my time. It does not belong to you; therefore you steal it! Do you see?”

“I see, madame!” Honor glanced thankfully at the little gilt clock on
the mantel, which had struck six as she entered the room. Miss Folly
had kept her waiting in the ante-room five minutes before ushering her
in; she wondered why. Was that--

“To come too early,” Mrs. Damian continued, with her abrupt nod, “is no
better. In that case also it is my time you take. If I had wanted you
at half-past five, I should have said so. Do you see?”

She swooped again.

“Yes, madame!” murmured Honor, this time with a grateful glance at Miss
Folly, who gave her an enigmatic smile and poked the fire.

“I allowed five minutes for arrival and reception; it is now--ah! on
the moment, here comes supper!”

Such a wonderful supper! The dishes were white and gold, like the
_salon_; the broiled chicken, the fried potatoes, the crisp rolls, all
showed various tints of brownish gold. Mrs. Damian watched with keen
eyes as Honor ate, with the wholesome appetite of vigorous girlhood,
yet with the delicate nicety which was part of the education at Pension
Madeleine. She herself supped on a cup of soup and a roll; but it was
a gold cup, and the soup looked very good. She talked easily, telling
of her recent travels; now and then asking a question in her odd,
pouncing way, but mostly, it seemed, content to watch the child and
enjoy her enjoyment.

“I wonder how you would like a Japanese dinner, Honor! I was in
Japan last winter, and I dined several times with a friend of mine.
We sat on mats on the floor--but yes!” as Honor raised wide eyes of
astonishment--“there is nothing else to sit on in my friend’s house;
she does not care for European customs. My table was like your doll’s
table, about ten inches high. I wore Japanese dress, for I was expected
to carry food away--but yes! in my sleeves. Eat your supper, child,
and don’t open your eyes too wide; as I said before, they might drop
out. The sleeves are very wide--a kimono, in short--and have large
pockets in them, lined with something easily cleaned; I forget its
name. The last time I took away--let me see!--a fried fish, a crab,
some rice-balls, a quantity of dried ginger and some ripe lychee nuts.
Catch Miss Honor’s eyes, Folly; they _are_ dropping out!”

Mrs. Damian laughed, the prettiest little dry laugh.

“Many countries, many customs!” she continued. “You will find that out,
when you begin to move about, child. If I had not taken away these
things, I should have affronted my hostess by appearing not to like
her delicacies. You see? Some ice-cream in your pocket?” as the waiter
handed the _café mousse_ a second time. “Your sleeves are too small!
Alphonse, bring more of these little cakes, and a box; mademoiselle
will take some to her companions.”

“Oh, madame, you are too kind!” Honor had just been wishing that
Stephanie and Vivette could see these marvelous little cakes, with the
pink and green frosting. “You--you _comble_ me!”

Honor meant “overwhelm”; when she forgot an English word, she
Anglicized the French one; it was quite simple, when one understood.
Mrs. Damian appeared to understand, for she repeated “comble” with her
rustling laugh.

“I was a schoolgirl myself before the Flood! Would your teacher let the
girls have some ice-cream? Alphonse, a mold of this--two quarts--in the
carriage at eight o’clock, with the cakes. My compliments to--what’s
her name? Madame Madeleine, and I trust she will permit a little treat,
before bed-time. So! Now, Honor, come and sit beside me on this sofa.
I have done all the talking hitherto; now I must rest, and you shall
talk.”

Honor was stricken dumb: she gazed at her hostess, mute and round-eyed.

“Talk!” said Mrs. Damian sharply. “You are not deaf? Nor dumb? Very
well!” She settled herself among a pile of satin cushions.

“Pardon, madame!” faltered Honor. “Of what shall I talk? I--I know so
little--”

“Talk of what interests you! Talk to Miss Folly; I shall take forty
winks. Tell her what you want to do when you leave school!”

“I shall like to hear that!” Miss Folly spoke in her pleasant, cordial
voice. “I used to make all kinds of plans when I was at school.
For some time, I meant to be a circus rider, but I decided to be a
lion-tamer instead. What is your ambition, Miss Honor?”

“I wish to be a sennerin of the Alps!”

Singular it is, that so often a strange hand is needed to turn the key
of a heart! Not to Madame or Soeur Séraphine, the friends of all her
child-life; not to Stephanie or Vivette, her friends and intimates;
not--no, not even to the mountain friends themselves, toward whom her
heart was constantly yearning, could Honor have opened the door of her
longing hope; but here was a bright-eyed stranger, who with a glance,
a few kindly questions, plucked out the heart of her mystery. Out it
came, pouring in a torrent all the swifter for the weeks of silence.

“And--and I am strong, you see; and there is no one in all the world
who needs me--but no one! and I love it so; and--and when Atli and
Gretli are married, Zitli will be all alone, and he is lame, and I
would be his sister, and keep house and cook while he takes care of the
stock; I can make cheese already, and pancakes--and--”

“Good gracious!”

Mrs. Damian was sitting bolt upright amid her cushions. Honor started
violently. Mrs. Damian spoke again quickly, but now in her usual kind,
abrupt tone.

“Honor, child, it is eight o’clock, and the carriage will be coming.
Goodnight, little creature! You will come again soon; tell Madame
What’s-her--oh! Madeleine--that I will do myself the honor of calling
on her to-morrow. Miss Folly will see you home; goodnight, my dear!”

And when Honor, bewildered, had stammered her thanks and adieux and
been whisked away by Miss Folly, Mrs. Damian, still sitting bolt
upright, repeated several times with emphasis, “Good gracious!” Then
after a pause she added: “It’s high time I came! Lord forgive me for
staying away so long!”



CHAPTER XV

THE BOMBSHELL


Calm before storm! In after days, Honor often looked back to that week
that followed her first interview with Mrs. Damian. It was a peaceful
week, memorable--it seemed then--only by the return of Patricia from
Coventry; a softened, chastened Patricia, who had found, she declared,
the remedy for most of the ills of life.

“Silence and solitude! Nothing like them, my dear. I shall be a
Trappist nun as soon as I am old enough!”

Madame Madeleine and Soeur Séraphine went to return Mrs. Damian’s
call; went again, by special invitation, to tea; came back looking
very grave. After the second visit they showed--it was recalled
later--peculiar tenderness toward Honor. Always kindness itself,
it seemed as if they could not now do enough for her. A pat on her
shoulder, a reconstructive touch on her hair-ribbon, an anxious
eye on her appetite. Honor was deeply touched, but was also
conscience-stricken. They did not dream, these dear ladies! Ought she
to tell them, that her heart was no longer in the school? That all day
long she was thinking of her mountains, and of her mountain friends?
Was she false-hearted, ungrateful, wicked?

Then, one day, the bombshell exploded. Mrs. Damian had come, it
appeared, with authority from Honor’s guardian, the mysterious Mr.
Stanford, to take her away, if she judged it wise, to take her to
America, to--virtually--to adopt her. Not only did Mrs. Damian think it
wise, but Madame Madeleine and Soeur Séraphine agreed with her. With
tears in her eyes, the little Sister tried to explain.

“Eet ees for zy well-to-be, my all-cherished one! Zy own contree--zy
own pe-ople to zee--zou understandest?”

But Honor did not, could not understand. She could only cling round the
Sister’s neck, weeping bitterly, begging, with choking sobs, not to be
sent away.

“It isn’t my own country!” she sobbed. “They aren’t my own people; I
don’t know anything about them, and I don’t want to. My country is
here, where I have always lived. I shall die if you send me away!
And I won’t--I won’t be a burden!” cried the child. “I’ll work, my
Sister! I can make b-b-butter and cheese; I can knit and spin and sew.
Don’t--don’t send me away! And when I grow up, I want--I want to be a
sennerin, my Sister; and then I can make--all kinds of things--”

It was a bitter hour. The little Sister’s tender heart was torn, as she
strove to quiet the distracted child. Finally, no way remained but the
quiet, direct command which was never questioned.

“Go to thy room, my child! There pray for strength and guidance, and
remain till thou hast composed thyself!”

Meantime the class-room simmered like a covered pipkin. It was History
Hour, and M. Arnoult was on the estrade, blue-eyed and benign. He
noticed Honor’s absence, and was distressed at hearing that she was
indisposed. For the rest, he noticed little, the dear gentleman. Notes
circulated under his very nose, that patrician feature of which he
was gently proud; notes conveying varied information. Mrs. Damian
was Honor’s grandmother in disguise; her great-aunt; a friend only
of her family; a stranger who saw and loved her from afar. (This was
Stephanie’s version, naturally.) She was _Américaine_, enormously rich,
very aristocratic, all that there was of most _chic_. She would adopt
La Moriole; would make her her heir; would cause her to be enveloped
in bank-notes as it were a cloak.

On the contrary, a life of stern austerity awaited our unfortunate
comrade. To attend the failing hours of a person undoubtedly “born”
(i.e., well-bred), but of an age transcending that of the everlasting
hills; was that, Jacqueline asked, a smiling prospect?

“And what relation, mesdemoiselles, was the elder of these two to the
younger?” asked Professor Arnoult in his calm, sonorous voice.

“Great-aunt!” promptly answered Stephanie.

“Grandmother!” cried Vivette.

“How then? Behold what would be of singularity indeed! My young ladies
are apparently not aware that I am speaking of King Louis XI and the
Duke of Burgundy, surnamed Charles the Bold. They were cousins, but in
what degree? Ah! at the good hour, behold Mademoiselle Honor!”

Here was Honor indeed, very pale, and with dark circles round her eyes,
but quiet and composed. She could not fail her dear old Professor.
She was the only one who really loved history, and he knew it. Amid
suppressed titters, she straightened out the relationship between the
two princes, related briefly but clearly the principal events of Louis’
reign, and wound up with the comment of Philippe de Comines (with which
she wholly disagreed)--“in fine, for a prince, not so bad!”

The Professor’s face, which before her entrance had exhibited a network
of puzzled and exasperated wrinkles, relaxed into its usual calm
benignity.

“Behold a recital of the highest order!” he declared. “I take heartfelt
pleasure in marking it A.”

Honor thanked him in what she tried to make a cheerful tone. It was not
easy, when her heart was beating the refrain: “It is the last time; the
last, last time!”

As a matter of fact, this was not the last history lesson. After much
agitated thought, Madame and Soeur Séraphine had written a joint note
to Mrs. Damian, beseeching that, if it were possible, their beloved
pupil might remain long enough to take part in the closing exercises of
the school. It was now the first of June. Two little weeks, and Honor
could not only finish her course for the year, but could take part in
those exercises of which she could hardly fail to be the brightest
ornament. If Mrs. Damian would in her graciousness permit this delay--

“Of course! of course!” said Mrs. Damian, tossing the note to Miss
Folly. “Poor good souls, they think me an ogress, naturally, if not
a cannibal. Tell ’em--no! give me my writing things! here! Take this
note over when you take the box; and see what you can do, Folly, will
you? The child couldn’t bear to see me just now, and I certainly cannot
cope with tantrums; but see what you can do! We’ll go over to Montreux,
and get that lace I wanted--I know now why I didn’t get it when I was
there--and leave ’em to simmer down for a week. We’ll be back in time
for the close, tell ’em! Take plenty of bonbons,” she added; “and hand
over the Russian dictionary before you go!”

The Box which Miss Folly was to take over was a large one, stamped with
the magic words, “_Au Bon Marché_.” Being opened, it displayed various
wonderful things; frocks as simple and exquisite as those Maman used
to bring; sashes, ribbons,--all the dainty _frou-frou_ which a month
before would have filled Honor’s heart with rapture. Now she watched
listlessly, as Miss Folly laid them out on the bed. They were very
pretty, she said; Madame was all that was most kind and generous. Yes,
the green muslin was altogether charming.

“It is the shade of the sash you wore the other night,” said Miss
Folly. “Mrs. Damian liked it, and bade me match it as nearly as might
be.”

“She is very kind!” repeated Honor mechanically.

Miss Folly looked at her, and dropped the green muslin.

“Yes!” she said. “She is very kind, and very much interested in you.
You will be fond of her when you come to know her. She likes to make
young people happy.”

Honor looked up, a faint gleam in her heavy eyes.

“Would she--mademoiselle--would she like to make me happy--but really
happy? Then--” her voice shook so that she could hardly bring out the
words--“then ask if she will leave me here, in my home. I shall die,
do you see, if she takes me away, and that will only be troublesome to
her. A funeral, that is very expensive, and much trouble besides.”

“Nonsense!” Miss Folly sat down deliberately on the foot of the bed,
and folding her hands, fixed her bright, sharp blue eyes full on Honor.
“You are talking nonsense, my dear,” she repeated, “and selfish
nonsense at that.”

“Selfish?” repeated Honor. “I--I only ask to be left in my home,
mademoiselle. Here, I give no trouble to any one; grown a woman, I go
to my Alps. You will--”

“Stuff--and--nonsense! You cannot go to your Alps. You will see, by and
by, why it is impossible; now, others must decide for you. But, Honor
(I’ll drop the ‘Miss,’ if you don’t mind!), I don’t want to talk about
that now; I am not the person to decide for you. I want to show you the
other side, about which you seem to take no thought at all.”

“The other side?” repeated Honor vaguely.

“Mrs. Damian’s side. You have not thought of that at all, eh? Let me
show it to you. Mrs. Damian is an old woman, as you see. More than half
of her long life has been spent in foreign travel. Professor Damian,
her husband, was a famous traveler and scientist, and she went with him
everywhere, all over Europe and Asia, into Africa even. She has seen
many wonderful places, many interesting people. Wherever she went, she
was welcomed, admired, fêted; first as a beautiful and brilliant woman,
later as a wise and witty one. Now, she is old; most of her friends
are dead; her health begins to fail; she must give up the life she
loves, and take up that of an old woman and--I fear--an invalid. This
is bitter to her; the days before her look very dark. Honor, you can
brighten those days, if you will.”

“I, mademoiselle?”

“You! You are young, and of her own blood, bearing her own name. She is
interested in you, more interested than she has been in anything since
she decided to go back to America--to die, as she says. You can--when
you have pulled yourself together--make the world a brighter place for
her. How old are you?”

“Fourteen.” Honor’s eyes were very wide, as she kept them fixed on
those keen blue ones.

“H’m! I was twelve when my father died and my mother took to her bed.
I brought up--under God, and with my uncle’s help--my five brothers
and sisters, and took care of my mother besides. You are old enough to
think about something beside your own pleasure. That’s all!” said Miss
Folly, rising. “Think it over! Good-by!”

With a friendly nod, she was turning to go, but Honor caught her arm.

“Mademoiselle! one moment! I will--I will go!”

“Good!” Miss Folly paused, her hand on the door. “But--understand! It
must be a cheerful going, Honor. There must be no tears nor tantrums!”

“Tan-trom? What is that? As of a trumpet--tan-ta-ra? But assuredly not,
mademoiselle! But--yes, I will be cheerful, believe me!”

When Honor said “Believe me!” it meant something. Miss Folly saw this,
and held out her hand.

“Good child,” she said, rather gruffly. “We shall be friends, you and
I. Good-by, my dear!”

       *       *       *       *       *

“My brow was marble, my heart was ice!” wrote Honor in her book. “I
locked my secret in its frozen depths, and turned on the world a
smiling face. Courage, cold heart! Soon Death will come to set thee
free; till then, you must beat for the happiness of others, and wear a
gay smile while in your frozen depths--”

Here Honor paused, perceiving that she had written “frozen depths”
twice. While she was hesitating between “icy caverns” and “marble
tomb”--only she had said both “ice” and “marble” before--the supper
bell rang, and she went down and made an excellent meal on sweet
omelette and ginger preserves.

Bureau Drawer Week! An uneasy feeling pervaded the Pension Madeleine.
Girls lingered in their rooms till the last possible moment before
meals, flying downstairs on the last stroke of the bell, almost
late--but not quite, for that meant no dessert. After class, after
recess, there were hurried flights upstairs, for a peep, a touch, a
straightening here or there; it was an anxious time. At any moment,
whenever it pleased them, Madame or Soeur Séraphine might inspect the
bureau in any room. The _Prix de Propreté_, the prize for neatness, a
much coveted work-box of blue morocco, with silver fittings, awaited
the pupil whose drawers showed on several occasions a neatness and
order such as, Soeur Séraphine said, befitted the surroundings of a
young girl well brought up.

Honor sighed. Tidiness was not her strong point. She admired it, but
found it difficult to attain. She was usually in a hurry, and her
things had a fatal way of catching on knobs and hooks. Suppose that
(as actually happened several times) she straightened her top-drawer
to admiration: collars in their box, handkerchiefs in their case,
ribbons folded neatly. The very first time thereafter that she came to
get a handkerchief, her cuff-button would catch--say, in the fringe of
her blue scarf. With her quick, bird-like motion, out came the scarf,
dragging after it ribbons, belts, gloves; pell mell went all in a heap
on the floor. It was supper time--or class time, or bed-time; back went
everything pell mell, into the drawer, and off flew La Moriole, with
never another thought. Accordingly, her top drawer was apt to resemble
rather the nest of a field-mouse, said Soeur Séraphine severely,
than the drawer of a pupil of the Pension Madeleine. Honor was truly
sorry. She would try; she _did_ try, whenever she could bring her
mind to such things as bureau drawers. But with the History Prize to
be really studied for--not so much for its own sake as to please the
dear Professor, and for love of the study itself--and with her other
lessons, and the visits to Mrs. Damian and the daily practicing for the
Race--how _could_ she remember her top drawer? And even if she should
have the most perfect drawer in the world, it would be too mean to take
the prize away from poor old Maria, when it was the only prize she
could ever get.

There had been some doubt in the minds of the Ladies whether Honor
ought to be allowed to run in the race for the golden apples. It
would break her heart not to do so, but was her ankle strong enough?
The doctor was anxiously consulted. After a thorough examination, he
decided that she might run if two weeks of daily practice produced
no ill effect. The ankle was upon probation. Every day Honor ran so
many times along the _allée_; every evening the probationary member
was rubbed and kneaded, to the accompaniment of a running fire of
questions.

“Here, my child, there is no pain? You are positive? How when I press
on _this_ spot?” etc., etc. But there never was any pain, and with
every practice run, Honor declared she felt stronger and stronger.

Bureau Drawer Week drew toward its fateful close, and hearts beat high
with hope or low with discouragement; all but Honor’s, which found it
impossible to be deeply interested. One day she and Patricia were in
Stephanie’s room, discussing the matter--in whispers, for it was “quiet
time.” Stephanie confessed that she “perished with desire” for the
prize. It was so charming: hush! she had tried on the thimble, and it
fitted her to a marvel. “And Maria has had it two years running! What
can she do with three work-boxes?”

“It isn’t the box, it’s the getting it!” said Honor. “I wish there were
two prizes, Stephanie. Of course I want you to have one, and your
drawer is lovely; but it means so much to Maria, and--and she is so
forlorn, poor thing!”

“She is a poor-spirited granny,” said Patricia, “but you are right,
Moriole, and I hope she will get it. You can get the arithmetic prize,
Stephanie!” she added wickedly. “Hark! what’s that? Some one in your
room, Honor!”

Stephanie’s room, as we know, was next to Honor’s. The three girls
listened intently. They heard a light step, then a soft sliding sound
with a squeak at the end.

“Some one is opening my top-drawer!” whispered Honor. “There is no
mistaking that squeak. Is it Madame, do you suppose, or our Sister?”

“Easy enough to find out!” Patricia bent quietly forward.

“Patricia! You are not going to look through the keyhole?”

“And why not? It’s Stephanie’s keyhole, I believe! If she doesn’t
mind--Well! did-you-ever?”

She gazed a moment; then silently beckoned to Honor.

Honor was a human child of fourteen; if the keyhole was Stephanie’s,
the bureau in the room beyond was her own. She sank on her knees, and
applied her eye to the keyhole.

In front of the bureau stood--Maria Patterson! She had pulled the
drawer out to its fullest extent, and was contemplating its disorder,
which certainly was extreme. Honor had recently been hunting for her
purse, with disastrous results. A breathless moment passed; Honor’s
heart was beating fast. Could it--no, it could _not_ be possible! Maria
was _not_ a thief. But what was she about?

Swiftly, noiselessly, Maria’s hands moved here and there. She was
taking everything out, laying everything on the bed. Now--what was that
in her hand? Her own silk duster, one of her prized possessions. She
wiped the drawer out carefully, prodding the corners with a hairpin
wrapped in a fold of the silk. She examined the duster anxiously,
evidently seeking a speck of dust; finding none, she began to lay
the various articles back methodically, arranging them in piles with
exquisite precision. Her plain face was illuminated with a look which
made it almost lovely.

The tears were rolling down Honor’s cheeks. Silently, she beckoned to
Patricia, and then in turn to Stephanie. They looked and drew back.
Patricia’s eyes were very bright, one might almost have thought with
tears, only of course she never cried; Stephanie’s were large and
round. She opened her lips to speak, but Honor made her an imperious
sign to be quiet. Still as mice they listened; heard the squeak of the
closing drawer; heard a contented sniff--poor Maria always sniffed,
whatever she did--heard the door shut, the quiet footstep retreat along
the corridor.

For a moment the three girls stood looking at one another. Then,
before the others could speak, Honor flung open the door between the
two rooms; flashed bird-like to the bureau; pulled open the drawer;
scattered the contents right and left, “as if she were making a
pudding!” said Stephanie afterward; flashed back again, and closing the
door noiselessly, faced her companions, breathless, but with a shining
face.

“Hush!” she whispered. “I thought I heard our Sister’s door open.
Listen! Yes, she comes. I was only just in time.”

Again they listened; again heard a quiet footstep enter Honor’s room;
again heard the squeak of the top drawer. Silence, and then a gentle
sigh, a murmured, “Alas! what to do with this dear child?” Then once
more the sounds of closing and departure.

“Moriole!” gasped Stephanie, “You must let me speak, or I shall burst!
Why--_why_ have you done this? Have your senses left you?”

Honor stared. “I thought I heard her door open; I was right, you see. I
had to get it done before she came.”

“Done! for example! Get it _un_done, you mean! It was done, and
perfectly done, by this poor Maria. For friendship she did it; I find
that beautiful, I. You destroy her work, restore the confusion as of a
rat’s nest--finally, will you tell me _why_?”

“Stephanie,” Honor spoke gently, “it was my drawer, not Maria’s. I
couldn’t let the Sister think I had put it in that beautiful order. I
hadn’t, you see.”

“Quite right!” said Patricia shortly. “Of course you couldn’t, you
little thing--being the little thing you are!”

“You do see, don’t you, Stephanie dear?” continued Honor anxiously. “I
couldn’t take the credit that didn’t belong to me: and if I had waited
to explain afterward, I might have got Maria into trouble, when she
had done this lovely thing to help me, as she thought.”

“My faith, I do not see at all!” Stephanie spoke doggedly. “Your drawer
was at four pins” (_à quatre epingles_; as we should say “in apple-pie
order”) “when our Sister inspected it. What more is required? I think
you are all mad together, you Americans and English. And now Maria will
get the prize!”

“I sincerely hope she will!” said Honor.



CHAPTER XVI

THE APPLES OF ATALANTA


The day of the Race dawned clear and bright; as perfect a day as heart
could desire. Long before the hour the guests began to arrive; fathers,
mothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, all in their best, all with shining
faces of expectation. The _Fête d’Atalante_ was Prize Day, Class Day,
Commencement, all in one, at Pension Madeleine. The garden was in
order; in saying that, one says a great deal. For a week past Margoton
had been at work with rake, broom, trowel and shears; for a week the
girls, in every spare moment, had diligently weeded the brick alleys,
snipped off faded leaves and blossoms, tied up vines, etc., etc. The
result was a perfection altogether dazzling, said Madame, making her
final round of inspection. Let one but observe these bricks! They
shone as if--but as if each one had been waxed.

“_Parbleu!_” said Margoton. “The reason of that, my faith? It is that
they _have_ been waxed, saving the honor of Madame.”

The strip of lawn on either side of the broad alley was covered
with benches, which filled rapidly as the hour approached. Here was
Stephanie’s family, her stout, comfortable father, with frock coat, and
double chin; her thin, anxious little mother, whose bead-like eyes were
already measuring the paces that must be run, and comparing her child’s
legs with those of the other girls. Here were the Marquis and Marquise
de la Tour de Provence, very high-nosed and aristocratic, also--it must
be confessed--very vacuous in expression. Here was Madame Poirier,
Vivette’s mother, in maroon cashmere with an eruption of shiny black
buttons along every seam. These buttons had been fashionable some years
ago, but were now no longer so, and the good lady had used them, as
she fondly imagined, to produce an effect “altogether of gentility.”
Here at one side, was a little group that caught the eye at once: a
handsome lady, richly dressed, beside her a singularly beautiful girl.
Mrs. Damian, entering the garden with Miss Folly, saw them, and made
her way toward them at once.

“Desmonds!” she explained to Miss Folly. “I should know a Desmond if I
met him in the desert of Sahara; this must be Mrs. Clifford. How do you
do, Mrs. Clifford Desmond? I am Mrs. Damian. I came very near marrying
your father-in-law a hundred years ago--or perhaps it was only fifty.
Is this your elder daughter? I have seen the younger one; knew her for
a Desmond across the Public Garden.”

“Is it possible that I have the pleasure of addressing Mrs. Damian?”
cried the lady. “A most unexpected privilege! May I present my
daughter Helena? Helena, my love, Mrs. Damian!” Mrs. Desmond spoke with
great _empressement_. “It was my little Patricia you saw in the garden;
my baby! She is a pupil here. Patricia, this way, darling! I wish to
present you to Mrs. Damian.”

Patricia made her graceful reverence; greeted her mother civilly,
though without enthusiasm, and turned to her sister.

“Hello, Imp! I’m as tall as you!”

“I believe you are, Pixie!” said Helena Desmond, known as Imperia to
her friends and schoolmates. “Great weeds do grow apace, you know! I
don’t believe you can wear the dress we have brought you from Paris.
Who is the girl with red hair? She looks like a duck.”

“She speaks but to quack!” replied Patricia. “That is Honor Bright. She
is going away--”

Patricia stopped abruptly. To her amazement and disgust, something
seemed to swell up in her throat, choking her; at the same time her
eyes began to blur and smart.

“Good-by!” she said. “I must go!” and she fairly ran away.

Honor now came flying up to greet Mrs. Damian. She, like Patricia, was
in her running dress, a simple white tunic, reaching just below the
knee; her bright hair floated on her shoulders. Mrs. Damian surveyed
her with evident pleasure.

“Mrs. Clifford Desmond, this is my little cousin!” she said. “Seymour
Bright’s daughter. I am taking her home with me soon. Well, Honor, and
do you expect to win the apples? Eh?”

“It is that I shall do my possible!” Honor had made her pretty courtesy
to both ladies, and was casting shy, admiring glances at Helena. She
spoke now carefully, anxious to have her English correct; and naturally
fell into the mistake of over-carefulness. “It is Patricia, who runs
bestly, my aunt; we strive, each as we can, in our _manière_. Ah!” she
started, and her hands came together with a clasp. “Graciously will to
excuse me, mesdames! I see--”

She was gone; Mrs. Damian looked after her complacently.

“They call her ‘Oriole,’ I believe, or some such name. She certainly
moves like a bird. Your daughter will have to do _her_ possible, Mrs.
Desmond, to win the race.”

“Pat’s legs are longer,” said Helena Desmond judicially, “but the
little one has the pace. I shall put my money on her.”

Whither had Honor flown? To the garden gate, that opening from the
kitchen garden, in which three figures now appeared. Two of them were
tall, massive figures of women, resplendent in full Swiss costume,
their broad, comely faces alight with pleasure: the third, that of a
boy, slight and delicate, walking with crutches.

“Zitli! Gretli! Oh, I am so glad, so glad to see you! Oh, how angelic
of you to come!”

“And we, then, my little mademoiselle!” cried Gretli, seizing the
outstretched hands. “Are we glad, do you suppose? Eh, Zitli? Have we
missed her, our little guest? Say then, thou!”

Zitli nodded emphatically.

“As one misses the sunlight!” he said. “We are happy to be here,
mademoiselle. We come to see you win the apples--which behold!” he
added, drawing a parcel from his pocket. “May I not show them, my
Sister?”

“But no! certainly not!” Gretli shook her head vehemently. “I must take
them at once to Madame. Well then,” seeing the disappointment in both
faces, “it may be that a tiny peep--since after all it is Mademoiselle
Honor who will finally possess them--But turn thy back, that no one
else see!”

Shaking out their wide skirts, the sisters stood before Honor and
Zitli, screening them effectively from sight. Eagerly Zitli opened the
neat wooden box; eagerly Honor bent forward, to peep at the trophy, the
three golden apples shining on their bed of green satin.

“But it is a jewel!” she cried. “Zitli, how beautiful! A queen might
wear it.”

“No jewel, mademoiselle; wood simply, and gold leaf; but there are
strokes in it, that I confess!”

Zitli spoke modestly, but his eyes shone; he was proud, as he well
might be, of his work.

“Behold my Ladies, who approach!” cried Gretli. “Give me quickly the
box, my little one! I will return to find thee a place, fear not!”

The sisters moved away, and the boy and girl were left together.

“Zitli,” cried Honor, “tell me quickly! How is everybody? How is Atli?
And La Dumaine, and Séraphine, and Bimbo, and Moufflon, and Tell, and--”

“_Sapperli poppette!_” cried Zitli, laughing. “One moment,
mademoiselle! One at a time, not so? My brother, he is altogether
well. He is in the high Alps, hunting the chamois, in manner that he
could not come with us to the fête. The animals? Figure to yourself
that La Dumaine has a calf! the image of herself, white as the moon,
altogether beautiful. Mademoiselle, we have taken the liberty--my
sister thought you would not object--briefly, we have named her La
Moriole.”

“_No!_ you haven’t! Oh, Zitli, how perfectly _darling_ of you! Oh, I am
so delighted! Oh, how I should like to see her!”

“For example! We are hoping, my sister and I--my brother also, if he
were not absent--that mademoiselle will soon do us the honor to visit
the Châlet again, to see her namesake, and--”

He stopped short, seeing Honor’s face change.

“Zitli,” she cried, “I shall never see the Châlet again! never, never,
never! I am going away, across the ocean, to America. My heart is
broken, so I shall not live long, do you see? I am glad of that, of
course, because I have to be cheerful, and that is not easy with a
broken heart--Zitli! you are laughing at me!”

A quick flush swept over Honor’s face. Zitli, instantly responsive,
seized her hand.

“Forgive me, mademoiselle! I implore your forgiveness!” he cried. “I
was not laughing, only smiling. Mademoiselle looks so--in fine, so
other than heart-broken.”

“Looks mean little!” Honor was really hurt. She had thought Zitli
would understand. She longed to quote to him the lines which seemed so
appropriate to her condition:

  “When hollow hearts shall wear a mask
     ’Twill break thine own to see,
   In such a moment I but ask
     That you’ll remember me!”

Patricia laughed at them, and said they made neither sense nor poetry,
but Maria thought them lovely.

“Looks mean little!” she repeated. “I thought you would understand,
Zitli!”

“Dear mademoiselle, I do understand, indeed I do. It grieves me to the
heart that you must go, and that you are unhappy. Only--to cross the
ocean! To see that great wonderful country of America--ah! _sapperli!_
Think how many would give all they possess for a chance!”

“But--but to leave Switzerland, Zitli! You couldn’t bear it yourself?”

Zitli gave his quaint shrug.

“My faith, mademoiselle, I do not know. Not, of course, unless I was
sure, sure, of returning to my own country. But it appears to me that
America is _your_ own country, Mademoiselle Honor. One has--forgive me,
but you have said we are friends--one has a duty to that, not so?”

Honor hung her head.

“I never thought of that!” she said. “How could a great country need a
girl like me?”

Zitli looked at her with kind grave eyes; she had not realized before
how like he was, on his small scale, to the Twins.

“My brother Atli says, my sister Gretli also, that a country has need
of all her children. They should be always ready--pardon, mademoiselle!
One beckons you yonder, the ancient lady, very beautiful, on the bench.”

“It is my aunt--at least I am to call her aunt!” explained Honor.
“Come, Zitli, come and be introduced to her! She is strange, but so
kind and good; I want you to know her.

“My aunt,” she cried, when Zitli, making his best speed on his
crutches, had reached the corner where Mrs. Damian sat, and had made
his bow, “this is Zitli, my friend! I am glad for him to know you;
and for you to know him!” she added, her cheeks glowing with loyal
affection.

Mrs. Damian held out her delicate hand with its weight of costly rings;
Zitli took it reverentially in his brown, slender fingers and bowed
again over it.

“This is Zitli-my-friend, is it?” said the old lady. “How do you do,
Zitli-my-friend? Are you a good boy?”

Her dark eyes pierced him, Zitli told Gretli afterward, like a sword;
never had he encountered such a gaze. He colored high, but met the look
bravely.

“As to that, madame, with reverence be it said, it would be necessary
to ask the Eternal Father. To be good is my desire, but not yet my
accomplishment.”

Mrs. Damian nodded. “Well answered! We may all say the same,
Zitli-my-friend. Honor has told me about you; will you and your sister
come to see me at my hotel before you go home? Good! You spend the
night in Vevay? To-morrow then!”

She gave him a nod of dismissal, curt but kindly; Zitli bowed again and
stumped away to join his sisters.

“You allow your little--a--charge--to make acquaintance with the
peasantry?” Mrs. Desmond spoke in a tone of airy silver, like that
Patricia used in her bad moments.

“I allow--and desire--my little charge to make the acquaintance of
good people, wherever she meets them!” Mrs. Damian spoke dryly, with a
nod at each clause. “Folly, the sun is in my eyes. Move my chair over
yonder, will you?” She indicated a spot at some distance, and with a
ceremonious bow to Mrs. Desmond, moved off.

“I should have bitten that woman in another moment!” she explained. “My
Professor never liked me to bite in company. This will do! What? Sun
here too? Woman, try to have a _little_ sense! What did you bring the
parasol for?”

She seated herself, with a sweep of satin draperies, and continued,

“And it is to the society of people of that description that you are
forcing me back. Forcing me back, do you hear? After fifty years of
freedom! For the last ten of them, the desolate freedom of the wild
ass, as you say--and I hope you think it is a proper remark for you to
make--”

“I will not repeat it, Mrs. Damian,” replied Miss Folly, who had not
opened her lips.

“See that you don’t! Look! They are going to start. Folly, I--I hope
the child will win!”

“I hope she will. It is between her and the Desmond girl, certainly.”

“Trip up the Desmond girl! Throw a stone in front of her, can’t you?
You have no invention, Folly. My Indian Amma would have had a snake
up her sleeve, at the very least. Western civilization--so-called--is
abhorrent to me, do you hear? There they go!”

The girls were ranged at the head of the broad _allée_; five of them:
Patricia, Honor, Stephanie, Vivette, and Desirée de Laval, who, though
only thirteen, was tall and long-legged. A pretty sight they were, in
their white tunics and sandals. A silver whistle sounded a single
clear note; they stood at attention, tense as a strung bow, waiting
for the start; a second note, and with a flutter of white garments, a
shimmer of bright hair, they were off.

The _allée_ was one hundred yards long; the course was twice the length
of it. For the first fifty yards the girls kept well together; after
that, practice, weight, and form began to tell. Vivette had no chance
from the first, and knew it; she “went in” for every prize as a matter
of principle and policy, and pounded along doggedly, bent on doing her
best, whatever might be the result. Stephanie made a dash for the lead,
but not attaining it, soon lost courage.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, usually the kindliest of writers, has shot one
barbed arrow at my sex.

“The cow began to run,” he says, “as only cows and--it would not be
safe to say it--can run.”

I wish the dear Doctor could have seen Honor and Patricia run. Vivette
was cow-like, if you will; Stephanie was swift, but jerky, and with
“not one particle of style!” as Helena Desmond murmured to herself. As
they came down the _allée_ on the first lap, these two were already
dropping behind. Desirée, who was to make in time a notable runner,
had not yet found herself, and was leaping like a colt, arms and legs
flying like the sails of a windmill.

“But the other two,” said Imperia; “my word, they can run!”

Heads high, arms held close at the side, every muscle in play, yet
in perfect control--Patricia and Honor sped down the course, side by
side, light as thistle-down, swift as flying arrows, a lovely sight. So
Atalanta herself ran, with

                    “... feet
  That make the blown foam neither swift nor white
  Though the wind winnow and whirl it.”

They rounded the turn. Patricia was a step in advance, but only a step;
the little breeze that frolicked beside them blew their floating hair
together as they ran, the pale gold mingling with the red. Desirée,
just behind, gave a wild leap, and dropped on the grass at the side;
Stephanie and Vivette were far behind. The excitement grew intense as
the two girls came down the home stretch; neck and neck now, not a pace
between them.

“Moriole! Moriole!” the girls’ voices broke out in a shrill clamor.
“Moriole wins! No! It is Patricia! No, Moriole! Ah, ah! _Vive la
Moriole!_”

What happened? Certainly Miss Folly had nothing to do with it, for
her arms were folded under her neat mantle. At the very end, when
almost touching the goal, Patricia seemed to stumble, as if over a
loose stone. She recovered herself in an instant, but that instant had
carried Honor past her to the finish, just one pace ahead.

A storm of applause broke out, but Honor did not seem to hear it.
Panting, breathless, she stared at her rival, who returned her gaze
with a smile which was not quite so gay as she meant it to be.

“Patricia! You are hurt? What was it? But it is not fair! You would
have won; I shall tell our Sister! The prize shall be yours!”

“Don’t be grotesque, my dear!” Patricia was entirely herself now, and
her speech, though still panting, was her own. “It was a close thing,
and a pretty race, and I congratulate you. That’s all there is to it!”

Still bewildered, Honor examined the ground carefully. The hard white
sand showed hardly a trace of the flying feet; there was no sign of any
stone.

“It must have rolled away,” said Patricia carelessly. “Come on, little
thing, and get your prize. And don’t be afraid,” she added, in an
enigmatic tone; “I’ll get it next year! No fairy godmother for me, to
whisk me overseas. I’ll get the apples next time, little Blackbird!”



CHAPTER XVII

THE BLAZE OF GLORY


“There are two ways of doing it!” said Mrs. Damian. “There is the dark
lantern, hole-and-corner way, and there is the Blaze of Glory.”

Miss Folly looked up inquiringly. She seldom spoke when a look sufficed.

“We can pack the child up at the Pension,” Mrs. Damian continued,
“sneak off in a cab to the station, leaving a trail of tears and sniffs
behind us, and depart as if we were all going to the penitentiary
together; or we can give her a Party and a Send-off, and go--as I
said--in a Blaze of Glory. What do you say?”

“If I were the child, I should prefer the dark lantern,” said Miss
Folly thoughtfully.

“Of course you would!” Mrs. Damian swooped like a hawk. “You have not
red hair; and you are a mouse. A trained and intelligent mouse--_no!_ I
have it! You are a mongoose, Folly. Exactly! There is _no_ difference.
‘The Wild Ass and the Mongoose, an Indian Fable.’ What is the plural of
mongoose?”

“Mongooses!” replied Miss Folly promptly.

“Right! My former Affliction--I should say companion--would persist
in saying ‘mongeese.’ I corrected her seventeen times; the eighteenth
time I threw a sofa-pillow at her, and she left. Egypt was glad at her
departing. As I was saying, Mongoose, you have not red hair, nor the
dramatic temperament. This child has both. Therefore I decide on the
Blaze of Glory. Bring pencil and paper, and we will make a list of the
fireworks.”

       *       *       *       *       *

So it came to pass that the day after the final examinations, when
the girls were packing their trunks and exchanging last tokens and
protestations of affection, they were told that they were all invited
to the Hotel Royal, to spend the evening with Mrs. Damian.

“And with Honor, naturally!” said Soeur Séraphine. “Our Moriole has
already gone to join her venerable relative. Mrs. Damian most kindly
sends carriages for us at a quarter before seven o’clock precisely; be
ready, my children!”

Honor had gone an hour before, after a talk with Madame Madeleine which
she was to remember as long as she lived. The dear lady might have been
parting with her own child, so tender was she, so full of affectionate
solicitude. She repeated again and again her injunctions; to be good,
to be happy; to think sometimes of the friends who loved her.

“Happy?” said poor Honor. “I will try to be good, dear Madame; I will
be cheerful, because I have promised; but--happy? I shall never be
happy again; never, never, never!”

[Illustration: “‘OH!’ CRIED HONOR. ‘OH, HOW LOVELY!’”]

She burst into wild weeping. Madame Madeleine watched her for a
little in silence, letting the tears take their way. Then she rose, and
opening a drawer of her little escritoire--they were sitting in her own
room, to which we were admitted only on special occasions--took out a
small object.

“Dry thy tears, my child!” she said, in her grave, kind voice. “I have
something to show thee!”

It was a miniature-case that she held in her hand. She opened it, and
Honor, wiping her swollen eyes, bent to look. A girl smiled at her; a
girl older than herself, yet still in the freshness of youth: joyous,
frank, beautiful as a flower, the eyes alight with happiness, the
perfect mouth trembling to a smile.

“Oh!” cried Honor. “Oh, how lovely! how exquisite! Who is it, Madame?”

“It is my sister!” said Madame gravely. “It is Soeur Séraphine, whom
you see every day and all day long, Honor.”

Honor looked again.

“I see it is!” Her voice was full of awe. “Of course it is! But--oh,
Madame! What--what happened to our Sister?”

Madame Madeleine paused, as if communing with herself.

“Why not?” she said finally. “It may help! Listen, Honor! This was my
sister Marie Séraphine at eighteen; that is, so much of her as could be
caught and fixed in color. Of herself, the spirit of gayety and mirth
that she was, it gives but the shadow. She was betrothed, to a man whom
she tenderly loved; a man of whom one can but say that he seemed sent
to earth to show what man could be. They were happy; they were to be
married, from this very house, where then my beloved husband was still
with me. A week before the wedding day--”

The kind voice faltered a moment; then went quietly on,

“The two young people were in Paris, visiting friends. A great Bazaar
was being held for charity, in a certain chapel. They--they went--”
the voice broke.

“Oh, madame! I know! I have heard--That terrible fire! So many lives
lost--Oh! they were not there?”

Madame bowed her head.

“When the flames broke out, they were near a window. By God’s mercy,
he--René--was able to break the window, and thrust my sister out into
the street. Another woman, and yet another, he rescued; then--the crowd
found him; they clung to him, they dragged him--he fell back--”

Honor covered her face with her hands, shuddering.

Madame Madeleine was silent for a few moments; then she went on.

“It is not to agonize thee, my child, that I tell this sad tale.
Listen still! At first, my sister prayed for death, as one prays for
the morning. God did not send her that relief. Then she sought the
religious life, and found therein a measure of peace. Time and work
and prayer scarfed over the wound that never could wholly heal. For
some years she continued in this, till the convent was broken up; then
she came to me.

“That is the story, my Moriole, of my sister’s life. I do not often
speak of it. I tell it to thee, that thou may’st know what real sorrow
is, and how it may be borne. Take this knowledge with thee, my child,
and may it prove profitable to thee!”

She kissed Honor’s forehead gravely, then made a little gesture of
dismissal, and turned to replace the miniature.

Creeping away with bowed head and beating heart, Honor met Soeur
Séraphine coming along the corridor with her light, swift tread. At
sight of her, the Sister’s face, tranquil and beautiful, broke into its
lovely smile, and Honor started, it was so like the pictured face that
had smiled at her a moment; so like, yet--ah, how different!

“_Tiens!_” said Soeur Séraphine. “My little Moriole, I was seeking
thee. The hour approaches, and thy toilette is not yet made. Thou hast
been weeping, my child. I could well weep too, at losing thee, but
the smile is the better fashion, see’st thou! As Monsieur thy father
observed, ‘Bokope,’ my Moriole! Come then, and I will tie thy ribbon
for thee!”

       *       *       *       *       *

“First,” said Mrs. Damian, “we will inspect the tokens.”

“The tokens?” repeated Honor, slightly bewildered; Mrs. Damian was in
one of her most swooping moods, and had already taken her breath away
twice.

“Of affection!” replied the lady. “Tokens of affection; souvenirs;
gimcracks; anything you choose to call them. This way, my dear!”

She led the way into a little boudoir, which seemed to be furnished
largely with tissue paper and parcels, and motioned Honor toward a
table on which lay a number of small objects. Honor bent over them in
wonder and delight. Nine heart-shaped lockets of rock-crystal, each
containing a tiny likeness of herself. Beside them, a larger print of
her in a silver frame.

“Oh! how lovely!” cried Honor, clasping her hands. “How _perfectly_
lovely! Are they--do they--”

“They are for your schoolmates, naturally. You said there were nine of
them? ‘Nine homesick puppies, in nine vehicles, straying sadly down the
road to Peking.’[2] Quotation; contains a buried city. H’m! Well! Yes.
The large one is for the two good ladies, who do not wear gimcracks.
Well? Are you pleased?”

  [2] Mrs. Hugh Fraser.

“But I am enchanted! They are exquisite. And all the girls have been
begging me for my picture. But when were they taken, my aunt?”

“Folly snapped her kodak at you, the day of the race, and had the print
enlarged. I found the lockets at Interlaken. Now you know as much as I
do. Glad you like them!”

“And--oh! and my hair looks dark!” cried Honor. “It really does!”

“Yes, that is the only trouble with the likeness. Red hair should be
powdered before photographing, or it looks perfectly black.”

“Oh, if it only were!” cried poor Honor. “I have always longed so for
dark hair, madame. In America--would it be wicked if I blacked it, my
aunt? It is wicked in Switzerland, our Sister says.”

“It would be idiotic,” said Mrs. Damian, “which is more to the point.
Don’t be an idiot, child, whatever else you are. Look! Here is your
dressing-case. Like it?”

But here Honor became speechless. Darkest green morocco, lined with
satin, fitted with brushes, combs, and innumerable bottles, all in
warm-white ivory, all marked--H.B. What could fourteen-year-old Honor
say at sight of this marvel? She could only gasp, and clasp her hands
together. It was some minutes before she managed to stammer out,

“I am combled! I am altogether combled, madame! What generosity, what
goodness!”

“You like it?” repeated Mrs. Damian, watching her with evident pleasure.

“I have dreamed of such a thing!” said Honor. “I never thought to see
one. Can it possibly be actually mine, madame?”

“It not only can, but is. Nobody else would want it, you see, with your
initials on it.”

“I thank you! Oh, I thank you a hundred thousand times, for the
beautiful, beautiful things, but, ah, how much more for your kindness!
It enlarges me the heart! I--I--” Honor faltered.

“_Don’t cry!_ If you cry, I’ll break all the bottles. Here! take
these chains and put the lockets on them!” Mrs. Damian held out a box
containing a number of slender gold chains. “When the girls come, you
may put them round their necks and make a pretty speech to each one. I
have no time for pretty speeches. H’m! Folly, how about the emeralds?
Pretty, with the white frock and the hair, eh?”

“Pretty, but very unsuitable!” said Miss Folly briefly.

“True! though I don’t know what business it is of yours. No ornaments
at all, eh? Much better so! Put the diamond stars in my cap, will you?
_Some one_ must dress up a little; if you say much more, Mongoose, I’ll
make you wear the emeralds yourself, and a pretty sight you’d be!”

Honor privately thought that Miss Folly needed nothing more to make her
a pretty sight. In her simple dark blue dress, with the fichu of soft
net and the old-fashioned topaz brooch, she was pretty enough, in all
conscience. She seemed never in the least discomposed by Mrs. Damian’s
abrupt speeches. She smiled now and went away, presumably to arrange
the diamonds.

“H’m!” said Mrs. Damian. “Sit down, my dear. Don’t fidget! Your friends
will be here soon. The last party I gave--let me see! Was it in Russia?
After the last one I gave there, I remember, the servants ate up all
the candles. But--no! the very last one was in Africa, in the Great
Desert. My dear! would you like to hear about it? Fold your hands in
your lap--lightly! Don’t clasp them. I am not Grand Opera. And don’t
turn in your toes! So! We were quite a caravan, and there had been
a sandstorm which came very near being the final party for all of
us--h’m! yes! Well--so when we got to the nearest oasis and found we
were all alive, it seemed proper to celebrate. You see?”

Mrs. Damian swooped; Honor blinked and caught her breath, then nodded
eagerly.

“I see, my aunt! Continue, I pray you!”

“We ranged the camels and horses in a circle; after watering them,
naturally. The mats were spread, and the Mohammedans said their
prayers: well, I said mine too, only without demonstration. I am too
old to show you how a Moslem prays; he kneels, tumbles forward on his
forehead, then back on his heels. Very singular! I’d make Folly do it
for you, but she has scruples.” This, as Miss Folly entered with the
cap. “Thanks, Folly! Put it on for me, will you? Straight, please!
None of your piratical rakishness! I believe you are a Buccaneer in
disguise! Well, we supped on fresh dates, locusts and wild honey--I
felt like John the Baptist--I had a garment of camel’s hair, too,
though probably different from his-- What is it, my dear? Keep your
eyes in your head; they look better there.”

“Pardon me, my aunt! But--locusts? Really?”

“Really! fried in olive oil; crisp, and not at all bad. The Sheik could
not eat with us, we being Infidels, but he sent us coffee, and was
very friendly. Indeed, he offered to buy me. I was too old for a wife,
he said, but he liked my talk, and thought I would do for a mother. I
never was so flattered in my life; but my Professor decided to keep
me. We had water that night to wash in; a small pitcherful, but still
water, a great luxury. For a week we had washed in sand. But yes,
certainly!” at Honor’s exclamation of amazement. “It is often so in the
desert, where there isn’t water enough to drink. Sand is efficacious,
but gritty. Ah! here come our friends.”

The girls entered on the stroke of seven, blushing and twittering,
shepherded by Soeur Séraphine in her gray dress and spotless coif.

“She looks like a Princess of the Blood!” murmured Mrs. Damian. “Learn
to hold yourself like that, Honor, and your hair may be red or green or
piebald, it will not matter. Good evening, my Sister! I am delighted
to see you. Young ladies, you are very welcome.”

Mrs. Damian’s French was that of one who to a natural gift has added
fifty years of practice; nevertheless, she spoke English now, having
divined with her lightning instinct that the Sister’s one little
heavenly vanity was her English.

“Ze plaisir--pardon!--ze plaisure is teetotally to oz, madame! Be’old
oz gazzered as von ’eart, von speerit, von sentiment, to greet you
and our beloved young friend. Honor, all to thee, my little one! My
children, _English_!”

The last words were a swift aside to the girls, and brought comfort or
disaster, according to one’s nationality. All very well for Patricia
and Maria, though the latter could only mumble, not having the gift
of tongues, scarcely even of her own. Vivette enunciated neatly her
“Good evening, Mrs. and Miss. ’Ow do you carry yourself?” and passed
on, swelling visibly with modest pride. Rose Marie and most of the
others escaped with a polite murmur which might have been English or
Choctaw. But poor Stephanie! she had hoped to escape speech altogether
by keeping well behind the Sister’s ample robes. English was to her an
“apoplexy of a language,” and she rather made a point of not knowing
any. But now little Loulou, who had spoken very nicely, and who had her
own idea of what was proper, gave a shrewd pinch to Stephanie’s arm, at
the very instant when Soeur Séraphine, extending a firm hand, drew her
inexorably forward into full view.

“Aie! goodnight!” shrieked Stephanie, bobbing a distracted courtesy.

The girls tittered; Soeur Séraphine flushed. Mrs. Damian’s lips
twitched for a moment, but she rose to the occasion.

“I am glad to see you, my dear!” she said cordially. “You are Stephanie
Langolles, I think? You are to sit next Honor at supper. And there is
the bell this minute!” she added. “Let us come in without ceremony;
Honor, lead the way with the Sister, will you?”

Honor would never acknowledge that the Feast of Departure surpassed
the _Fête de Retour_ at the Pension, but Soeur Séraphine declared she
had never seen anything so charming. Mrs. Damian nodded, well pleased.
It was a feast of birds, she explained; of orioles, as nearly as Miss
Folly could make it with crêpe paper and black pins. Beside each plate
stood a little black and orange bird, holding a card in his bill.
The soup was in swan-shaped cups, the long necks curving to form the
handles.

“It should be birds’ nest soup, of course,” said the hostess, “but
there were no nests in the market.”

The potato balls that accompanied the roast duck were bird-shaped,
too, golden-brown ducklings, with peppercorn eyes. And when it came
to the dessert--oh! oh! could it be possible? Who ever saw a mother
hen of strawberry ice-cream, with pink and white chickens clustering
round her? Long before this point was reached, the girls’ tongues were
loosened, and they were chattering like a flock of sparrows.

When it came to “second helps,” Mrs. Damian nodded to Honor, who
slipped quietly out and returned, bringing the “tokens.” She went round
the table, with a kiss and a murmured word for each girl as she clasped
the chain round her neck. Her eyes were bright with tears, but she
would not let them fall. Mrs. Damian watched her keenly, and nodded to
herself well pleased. The child was thoroughbred; no danger of a scene!

As the girls burst into exclamations of wonder and delight, Honor
slipped out again, in obedience to a signal from Miss Folly, who
without a word led her into the tissue-paper room. On the bed lay
a traveling costume of russet wool, tasteful and simple; beside it
the prettiest of hats to match. Gloves, belt, shoes of russet suède;
nothing was wanting.

“Dress yourself quickly,” said Miss Folly. “I must go and help Mrs.
Damian. _Don’t stop to think!_ Time for that afterwards. You have
twenty minutes!”

She vanished. Honor never could remember how she got through those
twenty minutes. She only knew that before they were over, she was
ready, and stood trembling in every limb, unable, it seemed to her, to
speak or move. The door opened; there stood Mrs. Damian, Miss Folly
behind her, both dressed for traveling.

“Good!” said Mrs. Damian. “You will make a traveler! Come!”

She took Honor’s hand in her firm, cool grasp, and led her back to the
dining room. The girls were deep in the mysteries of costume crackers,
putting on paper caps and bonnets, shrieking with laughter. At sight of
the three, they sprang up in amazement.

“Oh!” cried Stephanie. “Oh, Moriole! No! no! It cannot be. You do not
leave us!”

“Hush!” Mrs. Damian’s tone was kindly, but final. “No tears or
tantrums! Nothing of the sort. The Sister will explain all. Kiss her,
and say good-by!”

All their mirth gone in a moment, the girls flocked round Honor, with
tears, embraces, broken words of affection.

“Don’t forget me, little thing!” whispered Patricia. “You’ve done a lot
for me, though you don’t know it. _Au revoir_ in New York some day!”

“Moriole,” cried Stephanie, “my heart breaks! I perish!”

“Nonsense!” said Mrs. Damian.

“Compose thyself, my child!” said Soeur Séraphine. “This is the
inevitable, to which we must bow. Adieu, Honor! The good God be with
thee, little beloved one!”

“Adieu! Adieu, Moriole! Do not forget us! Come back to us!”

They were all at the door now, clustering like bees, waving hands
and handkerchiefs. Looking back for the last time, Honor saw Soeur
Séraphine’s face, with its heavenly smile of patience and kindness. She
smiled back bravely; the carriage started, rolled swiftly on.

What followed was all like a dream. The station agleam with lights;
the train standing panting in slow, regular breaths, ready for the
start; the guard’s cry, “In the carriage, gentlemen and ladies, if you
please!”; the smiling porter who took possession of them and their
belongings, even the precious dressing-bag, to which Honor would
fain have clung. Here it was, though, a moment later, in this little
fairy-like cabin with its two white berths, one above the other.

“Folly prefers the upper berth,” said Mrs. Damian. “I can’t imagine
why, unless from mongoosiness. Good night, child! Sleep well!
Remember, the train will say _anything you want it to say_. Try ‘good
luck’!”

What _was_ the train saying? Lying in the white berth, her brain still
throbbing, her heart still beating fast, Honor tried to listen, tried
to fit words to the rhythmic sound.

“Good luck! good luck!” That did not quite fit. “Clank-clank--good
luck! clank--clank--buck up!”

Good-by, ah, good-by!

  “On the Alp the grass is sweetest,
    Li-u-o, my Queen!”

That went better, but still--

The locomotive found its stride; the train settled into a smooth
rhythmic movement, which steadily, insensibly, straightened out the
twisted nerves, quieted the throbbing brain, soothed, lulled, comforted.

  “Tumpty tum, tumpty tum,
  Tumpty, tumpty, tumpty tum!”

And as sleep came softly stealing, drawing her veil of quietness over
the tired child, she murmured, half awake, half in slumber, the old,
old words:

  “Four corners to my bed,
   Four angels round my head,
   Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
   Bless the bed that I lie on!”


THE END



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  wholesome, honest, lively girlishness.”--_Chicago Inter-Ocean._

BLUE BONNET’S RANCH PARTY

  By CAROLINE E. JACOBS AND EDYTH ELLERBECK READ.

  “A healthy, natural atmosphere breathes from every chapter.”--_Boston
  Transcript._

BLUE BONNET IN BOSTON

  By CAROLINE E. JACOBS AND LELA HORN RICHARDS.

  “It is bound to become popular because of its wholesomeness and its
  many human touches.”--_Boston Globe._

BLUE BONNET KEEPS HOUSE

  By CAROLINE E. JACOBS AND LELA HORN RICHARDS.

  “It cannot fail to prove fascinating to girls in their teens.”--_New
  York Sun._

BLUE BONNET--DÉBUTANTE

  By LELA HORN RICHARDS.

  An interesting picture of the unfolding of life for Blue Bonnet.

BLUE BONNET OF THE SEVEN STARS

  By LELA HORN RICHARDS.

  “The author’s intimate detail and charm of narration gives the reader
  an interesting story of the heroine’s war activities.”--_Pittsburgh
  Leader._



THE YOUNG PIONEER SERIES

By HARRISON ADAMS

_Each 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume_ $1.65

THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE OHIO; OR, CLEARING THE WILDERNESS.

  “Such books as this are an admirable means of stimulating among the
  young Americans of to-day interest in the story of their pioneer
  ancestors and the early days of the Republic.”--_Boston Globe._

THE PIONEER BOYS ON THE GREAT LAKES; OR, ON THE TRAIL OF THE
IROQUOIS.

  “The recital of the daring deeds of the frontier is not only
  interesting but instructive as well and shows the sterling
  type of character which these days of self-reliance and trial
  produced.”--_American Tourist, Chicago._

THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE MISSISSIPPI; OR, THE HOMESTEAD IN THE
WILDERNESS.

  “The story is told with spirit, and is full of adventure.”--_New York
  Sun._

THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE MISSOURI; OR, IN THE COUNTRY OF THE SIOUX.

  “Vivid in style, vigorous in movement, full of dramatic situations,
  true to historic perspective, this story is a capital one for
  boys.”--_Watchman Examiner, New York City._

THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE YELLOWSTONE; OR, LOST IN THE LAND OF WONDERS.

  “There is plenty of lively adventure and action and the story is well
  told.”--_Duluth Herald, Duluth, Minn._

THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE COLUMBIA; OR, IN THE WILDERNESS OF THE
GREAT NORTHWEST.

  “The story is full of spirited action and contains much valuable
  historical information.”--_Boston Herald._



THE HADLEY HALL SERIES

By LOUISE M. BREITENBACH

_Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume_ $1.65

ALMA AT HADLEY HALL

  “The author is to be congratulated on having written such an appealing
  book for girls.”--_Detroit Free Press._

ALMA’S SOPHOMORE YEAR

  “It cannot fail to appeal to the lovers of good things in girls’
  books.”--_Boston Herald._

ALMA’S JUNIOR YEAR

  “The diverse characters in the boarding-school are strongly drawn,
  the incidents are well developed and the action is never dull.”--_The
  Boston Herald._

ALMA’S SENIOR YEAR

  “A healthy, natural atmosphere breathes from every chapter.”--_Boston
  Transcript._



THE GIRLS OF FRIENDLY TERRACE SERIES

By HARRIET LUMMIS SMITH

_Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume_ $1.65

THE GIRLS OF FRIENDLY TERRACE

  “A book sure to please girl readers, for the author seems to
  understand perfectly the girl character.”--_Boston Globe._

PEGGY RAYMOND’S VACATION

  “It is a wholesome, hearty story.”--_Utica Observer._

PEGGY RAYMOND’S SCHOOL DAYS

  The book is delightfully written, and contains lots of exciting
  incidents.

THE FRIENDLY TERRACE QUARTETTE

  These four lively girls found their opportunities to serve their
  country. The story of their adventures will bring anew to every girl
  who reads about them the realisation of what she owes to her country.



FAMOUS LEADERS SERIES

By CHARLES H. L. JOHNSTON

_Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume_ $2.00

FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS

  “More of such books should be written, books that acquaint
  young  readers with historical personages in a pleasant,
  informal way.”--_New York Sun._

FAMOUS INDIAN CHIEFS

  “Mr. Johnston has done faithful work in this volume, and his relation
  of battles, sieges and struggles of these famous Indians with the
  whites for the possession of America is a worthy addition to United
  States History.”--_New York Marine Journal._

FAMOUS SCOUTS

  “It is the kind of a book that will have a great fascination for boys
  and young men.”--_New London Day._

FAMOUS PRIVATEERSMEN AND ADVENTURERS OF THE SEA

  “The tales are more than merely interesting; they are entrancing,
  stirring the blood with thrilling force.”--_Pittsburgh Post._

FAMOUS FRONTIERSMEN AND HEROES OF THE BORDER

  “The accounts are not only authentic, but distinctly readable,
  making a book of wide appeal to all who love the history of actual
  adventure.”--_Cleveland Leader._

FAMOUS DISCOVERERS AND EXPLORERS OF AMERICA

  “The book is an epitome of some of the wildest and bravest adventures
  of which the world has known.”--_Brooklyn Daily Eagle._

FAMOUS GENERALS OF THE GREAT WAR Who Led the United States and Her
Allies to a Glorious Victory.

  “The pages of this book have the charm of romance without its
  unreality. The book illuminates, with life-like portraits, the history
  of the World War.”--_Rochester Post Express._



HILDEGARDE-MARGARET SERIES

By LAURA E. RICHARDS

Eleven Volumes

The Hildegarde-Margaret Series, beginning with “Queen Hildegarde” and
ending with “The Merryweathers,” make one of the best and most popular
series of books for girls ever written.

_Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume_ $1.65

_The eleven volumes boxed as a set_ $18.15

LIST OF TITLES

  QUEEN HILDEGARDE
  HILDEGARDE’S HOLIDAY
  HILDEGARDE’S HOME
  HILDEGARDE’S NEIGHBORS
  HILDEGARDE’S HARVEST
  THREE MARGARETS
  MARGARET MONTFORT
  PEGGY
  RITA
  FERNLEY HOUSE
  THE MERRYWEATHERS



THE CAPTAIN JANUARY SERIES

By LAURA E. RICHARDS

_Each one volume, 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume_
75 cents

CAPTAIN JANUARY

  A charming idyl of New England coast life, whose success has been
  very remarkable.

SAME. _Illustrated Holiday Edition_ $1.35

MELODY: THE STORY OF A CHILD.

MARIE

  A companion to “Melody” and “Captain January.”

ROSIN THE BEAU

  A sequel to “Melody” and “Marie.”

SNOW-WHITE; OR, THE HOUSE IN THE WOOD.

JIM OF HELLAS; OR, IN DURANCE VILE, and a companion story,
BETHESDA POOL.

NARCISSA

  And a companion story, IN VERONA, being two delightful short stories
  of New England life.

“SOME SAY”

  And a companion story, NEIGHBORS IN CYRUS.

NAUTILUS

  “‘Nautilus’ is by far the best product of the author’s powers, and is
  certain to achieve the wide success it so richly merits.”

ISLA HERON

  This interesting story is written in the author’s usual charming
  manner.

THE LITTLE MASTER

  “A well told, interesting tale of a high character.”--_California
  Gateway Gazette._



DELIGHTFUL BOOKS FOR LITTLE FOLKS

By LAURA E. RICHARDS

THREE MINUTE STORIES

  Cloth decorative, 12mo, with eight plates in full color and many text
  illustrations $1.50

  “Little ones will understand and delight in the stories and
  poems.”--_Indianapolis News._

FIVE MINUTE STORIES

  Cloth decorative, square 12mo, illustrated $1.50
  A charming collection of short stories and clever poems for children.

MORE FIVE MINUTE STORIES

  Cloth decorative, square 12mo, illustrated $1.50

  A noteworthy collection of short stories and poems for children, which
  will prove as popular with mothers as with boys and girls.

FIVE MICE IN A MOUSE TRAP

  Cloth decorative, square 12mo, illustrated $1.50

  The story of their lives and other wonderful things related by the Man
  in the Moon, done in the vernacular from the lunacular form by Laura
  E. Richards.



A NEW BOOK FOR GIRLS

By LAURA E. RICHARDS

HONOR BRIGHT

  Cloth decorative, 12mo, illustrated $1.75

  No girl ever deserved more to have a series of stories written
  about her than does HONOR BRIGHT, the newest heroine of a
  talented author who has created many charming girls. Born of
  American parents who die in the far East, Honor spends her school
  days at the Pension Madeline in Vevey, Switzerland, surrounded
  by playmates of half a dozen nationalities. As are all of Mrs.
  Richards’ heroines, HONOR BRIGHT is the highest type of the young
  girl of America, with all the independence of character which is
  American to the core in young as in old.



THE BOYS’ STORY OF THE RAILROAD SERIES

By BURTON E. STEVENSON

_Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume_ $1.65

THE YOUNG SECTION-HAND; OR, THE ADVENTURES OF ALLEN WEST.

  “The whole range of section railroading is covered in the
  story.”--_Chicago Post._

THE YOUNG TRAIN DISPATCHER

  “A vivacious account of the varied and often hazardous nature of
  railroad life.”--_Congregationalist._

THE YOUNG TRAIN MASTER

  “It is a book that can be unreservedly commended to anyone who loves a
  good, wholesome, thrilling, informing yarn.”--_Passaic News._

THE YOUNG APPRENTICE; OR, ALLAN WEST’S CHUM.

  “The story is intensely interesting.”--_Baltimore Sun._



BOY SCOUT STORIES

By BREWER CORCORAN

_Published with the approval of “The Boy Scouts of America.”_

_Each, one volume, 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per
volume_ $1.65

THE BOY SCOUTS OF KENDALLVILLE

  The story of a bright young factory worker who cannot enlist
  because he has three dependents, but his knowledge of woodcraft
  and wig-wagging, gained through Scout practice, enables him to
  foil a German plot to blow up the munitions factory.

THE BOY SCOUTS OF THE WOLF PATROL

  The boys of Gillfield who were not old enough to go to war found
  just as many thrills at home, chasing a German spy.



THE CARITA SERIES

By LUCY M. BLANCHARD

_Each, one volume, cloth decorative, 12mo, illustrated_ $1.65

CARITA, AND HOW SHE BECAME A PATRIOTIC AMERICAN

  “One of the strongest points of the book is the fact that its
  characters seem to be real people, doing the things that real
  people do. More than that, they are wholesome, worth-while
  folks whose companionship inspires a sane and pleasing view of
  life.”--_Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City._

CARITA’S NEW WORLD

  “Wholesome and altogether fascinating; all this can be truly
  said of all of Miss Blanchard’s stories for girls. ‘Carita’s New
  World’ has both of these characteristics.”--_Troy Record, Troy,
  N. Y._

  “There is a fine originality about Carita that will make her
  adorable to all girls.”--_Oakland Tribune._



THE MERRYMAKERS SERIES

By HERSCHEL WILLIAMS

_Each, one volume, 12mo, illustrated_ $1.65

THE MERRYMAKERS IN NEW YORK

  “The book is bright and clever and gives an excellent picture
  of our great metropolis. One can in his imagination see
  New York most entertainingly through the eyes of the young
  Merrymakers.”--_St. Andrew’s Cross, Philadelphia._

THE MERRYMAKERS IN CHICAGO

  The Merrymakers who had such a splendid Christmas vacation in
  New York, enjoy another rollicking good time,--a summer vacation
  in Chicago. While brother Ned, the young newspaper reporter,
  “covers” the Republican national convention in Chicago, Carl, the
  oldest of the four sightseeing Merrymakers, decides that he wants
  to own a department store some day, and incidentally learns all
  the steps he must take from being an errand boy to a merchant
  magnate.



IDEAL BOOKS FOR GIRLS

_Each, one volume, cloth decorative, 12mo_ $1.00

A LITTLE CANDY BOOK FOR A LITTLE GIRL By AMY L. WATERMAN.

  “This is a peculiarly interesting little book, written in
  the simple, vivacious style that makes these little manuals
  as delightful to read as they are instructive.”--_Nashville
  Tennessean and American._

A LITTLE COOK-BOOK FOR A LITTLE GIRL By CAROLINE FRENCH BENTON.

  This book explains how to cook so simply that no one can fail to
  understand every word, even a complete novice.

A LITTLE HOUSEKEEPING BOOK FOR A LITTLE GIRL By CAROLINE FRENCH BENTON.

  A little girl, home from school on Saturday mornings, finds out
  how to make helpful use of her spare time, and also how to take
  proper pride and pleasure in good housework.

A LITTLE SEWING BOOK FOR A LITTLE GIRL By LOUISE FRANCES CORNELL.

  “It is comprehensive and practical, and yet revealingly
  instructive. It takes a little girl who lives alone with
  her mother, and shows how her mother taught her the art
  of sewing in its various branches. The illustrations aid
  materially.”--_Wilmington Every Evening._

A LITTLE PRESERVING BOOK FOR A LITTLE GIRL By AMY L. WATERMAN.

  In simple, clear wording, Mrs. Waterman explains every step of
  the process of preserving or “canning” fruits and vegetables.

A LITTLE GARDENING BOOK FOR A LITTLE GIRL By PETER MARTIN.

  This little volume is an excellent guide for the young gardener.
  In addition to truck gardening, the book gives valuable
  information on flowers, the planning of the garden, selection of
  varieties, etc.



THE LITTLE COLONEL BOOKS

(Trade Mark)

By ANNIE FELLOWS JOHNSTON

_Each large 12mo, cloth, illustrated, per volume_ $1.75

THE LITTLE COLONEL STORIES (Trade Mark)

Being three “Little Colonel” stories in the Cosy Corner Series, “The
little Colonel,” “Two Little Knights of Kentucky,” and “The Giant
Scissors,” in a single volume.

  THE LITTLE COLONEL’S HOUSE PARTY
        (Trade Mark)
  THE LITTLE COLONEL’S HOLIDAYS
        (Trade Mark)
  THE LITTLE COLONEL’S HERO
        (Trade Mark)
  THE LITTLE COLONEL AT BOARDING-SCHOOL
        (Trade Mark)
  THE LITTLE COLONEL IN ARIZONA
        (Trade Mark)
  THE LITTLE COLONEL’S CHRISTMAS VACATION
        (Trade Mark)
  THE LITTLE COLONEL, MAID OF HONOR
        (Trade Mark)
  THE LITTLE COLONEL’S KNIGHT COMES RIDING
        (Trade Mark)
  THE LITTLE COLONEL’S CHUM, MARY WARE
        (Trade Mark)
  MARY WARE IN TEXAS
  MARY WARE’S PROMISED LAND

_These twelve volumes, boxed as a set_, $18.00.



SPECIAL HOLIDAY EDITIONS

_Each small quarto, cloth decorative, per volume_ $1.50

New plates, handsomely illustrated with eight full-page drawings in
color, and many marginal sketches.

  THE LITTLE COLONEL (Trade Mark)
  TWO LITTLE KNIGHTS OF KENTUCKY
  THE GIANT SCISSORS
  BIG BROTHER


THE JOHNSTON JEWEL SERIES

_Each small 16mo, cloth decorative, with frontispiece and decorative
text borders, per volume_ $0.75

  IN THE DESERT OF WAITING: THE LEGEND OF CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN.

  THE THREE WEAVERS: A FAIRY TALE FOR FATHERS AND MOTHERS AS WELL
    AS FOR THEIR DAUGHTERS.

  KEEPING TRYST: A TALE OF KING ARTHUR’S TIME.

  THE LEGEND OF THE BLEEDING HEART

  THE RESCUE OF PRINCESS WINSOME: A FAIRY PLAY FOR OLD AND YOUNG.

  THE JESTER’S SWORD


THE LITTLE COLONEL’S GOOD TIMES BOOK

  Uniform in size with the Little Colonel Series $1.75
  Bound in white kid (morocco) and gold          $5.00

  Cover design and decorations by Peter Verberg.

  “A mighty attractive volume in which the owner may record the good
  times she has on decorated pages, and under the directions as it were
  of Annie Fellows Johnston.”--_Buffalo Express._


THE LITTLE COLONEL DOLL BOOK--First Series

  Quarto, boards, printed in colors $1.75

  A series of “Little Colonel” dolls. Each has several changes of
  costume, so they can be appropriately clad for the rehearsal of any
  scene or incident in the series.


THE LITTLE COLONEL DOLL BOOK--Second Series

  Quarto, boards, printed in colors $1.75

  An artistic series of paper dolls, including not only lovable Mary
  Ware, the Little Colonel’s chum, but many another of the much loved
  characters which appear in the last three volumes of the famous
  “Little Colonel Series.”


THE STORY OF THE RED CROSS: as Told to the Little Colonel

  Cloth decorative, 12mo, illustrated $1.00

  This story originally appeared in “The Little Colonel’s Hero,” but the
  publishers decided to issue it as a separate volume.

  “No one could tell the story of the Red Cross with more vividness and
  enthusiasm than this author, and here she is at her best. No book
  published during the Great War is more valuable and timely than this
  appealing story of the beginning of the Red Cross.”--_New York
  Tribune._

  “It deserves a place in every school as well as in every home where
  the work of the Red Cross is appreciated.”--_Evening Express,
  Portland, Me._

  “Not only VERY interesting, but has large educational
  value.”--_Lookout, Cincinnati, Ohio._


JOEL: A BOY OF GALILEE

  12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.75

  “The book is a very clever handling of the greatest event in the
  history of the world.”--_Rochester, N. Y., Herald._



THE SANDMAN SERIES

_Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume_ $1.65

By WILLIAM J. HOPKINS

THE SANDMAN: HIS FARM STORIES.

  “Mothers and fathers and kind elder sisters who take the little
  ones to bed and rack their brains for stories will find this book
  a treasure.”--_Cleveland Leader._

THE SANDMAN: MORE FARM STORIES.

  “Children will call for these stories over and over
  again.”--_Chicago Evening Post._

THE SANDMAN: HIS SHIP STORIES.

  “Little ones will understand and delight in the stories and their
  parents will read between the lines and recognise the poetic and
  artistic work of the author.”--_Indianapolis News._

THE SANDMAN: HIS SEA STORIES.

  “Once upon a time there was a man who knew little children
  and the kind of stories they liked, so he wrote four books
  of Sandman’s stories, all about the farm or the sea, and the
  brig _Industry_, and this book is one of them.”--_Canadian
  Congregationalist._

By JENNY WALLIS

THE SANDMAN: HIS SONGS AND RHYMES.

  “Here is a fine collection of poems for mothers and friends to
  use at the twilight hour. They are not of the soporific kind
  especially. They are wholesome reading when most wide-awake and
  of such a soothing and delicious flavor that they are welcome
  when the lights are low.”--_Christian Intelligence._



Transcriber’s Note:

Punctuation has been standardised. Spelling, hyphenation, accents, and,
on page 234, “isnt” for “isn’t” have been retained as in the original
publication.





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