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Title: The Candle and the Cat
Author: Leonard, Mary Finley
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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The Candle and the Cat



SUNSHINE LIBRARY.


  =Aunt Hannah and Seth.= By James Otis.

  =Blind Brother (The).= By Homer Greene.

  =Captain’s Dog (The).= By Louis Énault.

  =Cat and the Candle (The).= By Mary F. Leonard.

  =Christmas at Deacon Hackett’s.= By James Otis.

  =Christmas-Tree Scholar.= By Frances Bent Dillingham.

  =Dear Little Marchioness.= The Story of a Child’s Faith and Love.

  =Dick in the Desert.= By James Otis.

  =Divided Skates.= By Evelyn Raymond.

  =Gold Thread (The).= By Norman MacLeod, D.D.

  =Half a Dozen Thinking Caps.= By Mary Leonard.

  =How Tommy Saved the Barn.= By James Otis.

  =Ingleside.= By Barbara Yechton.

  =J. Cole.= By Emma Gellibrand.

  =Jessica’s First Prayer.= By Hesba Stretton.

  =Laddie.= By the author of “Miss Toosey’s Mission.”

  =Little Crusaders.= By Eva Madden.

  =Little Sunshine’s Holiday.= By Miss Mulock.

  =Little Peter.= By Lucas Malet.

  =Master Sunshine.= By Mrs. C. F. Fraser.

  =Miss Toosey’s Mission.= By the author of “Laddie.”

  =Musical Journey of Dorothy and Delia.= By Bradley Gilman.

  =Our Uncle, the Major.= A Story of 1765. By James Otis.

  =Pair of Them (A).= By Evelyn Raymond.

  =Playground Toni.= By Anna Chapin Ray.

  =Play Lady (The).= By Ella Farman Pratt.

  =Prince Prigio.= By Andrew Lang.

  =Short Cruise (A).= By James Otis.

  =Smoky Days.= By Edward W. Thomson.

  =Strawberry Hill.= By Mrs. C. F. Fraser.

  =Sunbeams and Moonbeams.= By Louise R. Baker.

  =Two and One.= By Charlotte M. Vaile.

  =Wreck of the Circus (The).= By James Otis.

  =Young Boss (The).= By Edward W. Thomson.


  THOMAS Y. CROWELL & COMPANY,
  NEW YORK.


[Illustration: “IT IS LIKE A SNOWSTORM,” EXCLAIMED CARO, TAKING HER
TURN AT JUMPING. See page 40.]



  _The Candle
  and the Cat_

  _By
  Mary F. Leonard_

  _Author of
  “Half a Dozen
  Thinking Caps”_

  [Illustration]

  _New York_
  _Thomas Y. Crowell & Co._
  _Publishers_



  COPYRIGHT, 1901,
  BY THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO.



  _To the memory of
  TROLLEY
  This little story is dedicated_



Contents


                                          PAGE

  CHAPTER I

  Caro And Trolley                           1


  CHAPTER II

  The Silver Candlestick                     8


  CHAPTER III

  The Gate In The Orchard                   15


  CHAPTER IV

  The Grayson House                         21


  CHAPTER V

  Trolley Goes Visiting                     27


  CHAPTER VI

  A Local Snow Storm                        37


  CHAPTER VII

  In The Garden                             46


  CHAPTER VIII

  Miss Elizabeth Receives A Shock           56


  CHAPTER IX

  Annette’s Window                          63


  CHAPTER X

  Old Friends                               69


  CHAPTER XI

  Christmas Candles                         78


  CHAPTER XII

  Goodby                                    86



THE CANDLE AND THE CAT



CHAPTER I

CARO AND TROLLEY


At the entrance to the driveway leading to the residence occupied by
the President of the Theological Seminary were two flat-topped stone
pillars, and upon one of these on a certain bright September day,
Trolley sat sunning himself.

His handsome coat, shading from a delicate fawn color to darkest brown,
glistened like satin; his paws were tucked comfortably away beneath
him, his long tail hung down behind, and his golden eyes were almost
closed; only the occasional movement of his small aristocratic ears
showed him to be awake.

When Caro came dancing down from the house he turned his head for a
moment and watched her sleepily till she was safely on top of the other
pillar, where she seated herself Turk-fashion, her blue ruffles spread
out carefully, for Aunt Charlotte had cautioned her not to rumple them.
Caro had also been told not to go out without her hat, so it dangled by
its elastic from her arm, while the sun shone down without hindrance
upon the fair little face with its smiling blue eyes, and its crown of
short brown curls.

“Trolley,” she announced presently, “here comes the Professor of
something that begins with ‘Ex,’--I never can remember, it is such a
funny word. It sounds like the book in the Bible where the Commandments
are.”

Dr. Wells, the dignified Professor of New Testament Exegesis unbent a
little at sight of the novel ornaments on the president’s gateposts.
“Why Miss Caro, you must have wings!” he said, smiling up at her.

“Why no, I haven’t; and neither has Trolley. He just jumps, but I have
to climb. You see that ledge there?--and this place--?”

“Yes, my dear, that will do. Aren’t you afraid you will fall?” the
professor exclaimed uneasily, as Caro leaned over to point out her way
of ascent. “I really think you had better get down.”

“But it is very nice up here; you can see so much,” the little girl
assured him serenely, and Dr. Wells went his way wondering if he ought
not to go up to the house and tell someone of her dangerous position.

“I am not a bit afraid I’ll fall. There’s not the least danger; is
there Trolley?” Caro continued.

Trolley opened his eyes, yawned scornfully and closed them again.

“There is one thing I am afraid of--at least I don’t like it, and
that is the _dark_. I s’pose you don’t mind it ’cause you can see--I
shouldn’t either if I could see in the dark. Aunt Charlotte says I
mustn’t have a light to go to sleep by, and I love a light,--I just
_love_ it!” Caro’s eyes had grown sorrowful and her voice had in it the
sound of tears.

On the porch of the house back among the trees Aunt Charlotte had
waylaid the president. “I don’t know what to do with Caro, Charles. She
isn’t exactly naughty,--and yet you couldn’t say she was good either--”

“You surprise me,” he replied, as his sister hesitated. “She impresses
me as a decided character for one so young.”

“Decided! I should say so! You know--” Aunt Charlotte continued,
“Elinor put her in my charge to be dealt with as seemed to me best, and
I did think after bringing up your five that I knew something about it,
but my hand has lost its cunning. You know I have never allowed a child
a light to go to sleep by, but Caro insists upon having one, and lies
awake and cries without it. What am I to do? Let her cry?”

“Oh no, I shouldn’t do that!” answered her brother hastily, gazing into
his hat as if he hoped to find there some solution of the problem.
“Suppose you let me consider the matter,” he added, as the striking of
the hall clock reminded him of his engagement; “I’ll talk to her.”

“Much good it will do,” said Aunt Charlotte.

With a book under his arm Dr. Barrows started out, so absorbed in
thought of his small granddaughter that he passed through the gate
without seeing her till she called, “Goodby grandpa!”

“Why Caro! Aren’t you afraid you will fall?”

Caro shook her curls vigorously, and then leaning forward she said
plaintively, “Grandpa--please don’t let Aunt Charlotte make me sleep in
the dark.”

“I fear you are a foolish little girl,” replied the president meaning
to look stern, but succeeding only in smiling fondly at the witch on
the pillar, who appropriated the smile and ignored the words.

“You know God made the darkness, Caro,” he continued, conscious that
the remark was not quite original.

“Yes--” unwillingly--then “but grandpa, He put stars in _His_ dark!”

As Dr. Barrows walked down the street he reflected that he should have
but a divided mind to give to seminary matters, if the present state of
affairs continued, and the seminary needed his close attention just now.

It was two weeks since his granddaughter had arrived to spend several
months in his home while her father and mother were traveling. “I am
afraid we have spoiled her a little,” his daughter Elinor wrote, “and
hard as it is for me to give her up I feel sure it will be good for her
to be in Aunt Charlotte’s hands for a time. I know you will love her
and forgive her little failings, as you always did those of--

                                                “Your devoted daughter.”

Love her! he was fairly bewitched by her. He had thought a child in
the house after so many years of quiet might be annoying, but on the
contrary he would have liked to have her always with him.

Aunt Charlotte was ready and anxious to do anything and everything for
her dear Elinor’s child, but somehow her theories which had worked
so well with her brother’s children did not seem to fit the next
generation.

The truth was that in her southern home Caro had been under a very
different rule. Mammy ’Riah who had nursed her father before her,
had, to use her own words “Taught her pretty manners,” and petted and
scolded and worshipped her. The result puzzled Aunt Charlotte and
delighted her brother.

“I can’t explain it,” he said, “but the child has that something,--her
grandmother had it--” and here the president fell to musing over those
far-away days when he had fallen in love with a pretty southern girl.

“Please don’t let her make me sleep in the dark:”--Caro’s grandfather
felt positively chivalrous in his determination to protect her--from
what? His own dear sister in whose wisdom and devotion he had rested
all these years!



CHAPTER II

THE SILVER CANDLESTICK


It is not for a moment to be supposed that Trolley appeared in the
first chapter simply because he was picturesque. He was undoubtedly
handsome, and had a remarkable gift for elegant attitudes. He would
pose as dignity and wisdom personified in the president’s arm chair, or
stretch himself in careless grace on Aunt Charlotte’s choicest divan,
and had even been known to make a mantel ornament of himself in an
aspiring mood.

But above all else Trolley had a mind of his own. For example he had
chosen his home. He began life at the Graysons’ on Grayson avenue, but
as soon as he was old enough to choose for himself he took up his abode
with the President of the Seminary.

Aunt Charlotte did not particularly care for cats, and furthermore did
not covet anything that was her neighbor’s, so again and again Trolley
was sent back, all to no purpose, and at length he was allowed to have
his way.

This was just at the time when the Graysons and some others were
bringing suit to prevent the laying of a trolley line on the avenue,
and between the progressive people who wished more rapid transportation
than the stage which passed back and forth once an hour, and the
old-fashioned residents who feared to have the beauty of their street
destroyed, and their quiet disturbed by clanging bells and buzzing
wheels, feeling had grown exceedingly bitter.

Dr. Barrows himself had no special interest in the matter, but some
members of his family were warm supporters of the railway, and when the
suit was decided in its favor one of his nephews named the cat in honor
of the event.

As Trolley he was known from that hour, and he grew so large and
handsome that even Aunt Charlotte came to take pride in him. He was
amiable in disposition, but distant in manner to all except Caro, who
had won his heart as he had won hers, at first sight.

He forgot his dignity and raced with her in the garden like a
frolicsome kitten, when she was tired he allowed himself to be made a
pillow of, and to all her confidences he listened with a sympathetic
purr. In fact he did all he could to keep her from being homesick.

There were of course times when his own affairs demanded his attention.
Bobby Brown a yellow cat who lived two doors away needed an occasional
setting down for instance, and other matters of this kind sometimes
kept him away for a day. It was on one of these occasions that Caro
quite tired out with searching for him sat down on the doorstep and
began to miss mamma and the boys--“just dreadfully.”

“I am going to do some shopping; do you want to come?” asked her
grandfather’s voice behind her.

The clouds flew from her face in a minute, for shopping with
grandfather always meant something interesting, if only a glass of ice
cream soda.

As they walked down town together, Caro chattered away without a pause.

“Are you going to buy something for me, grandpa?” she asked as they
entered a large grocery.

“I want to see some wax candles in different colors,” Dr. Barrows said
to the clerk who came forward.

“Why that sounds like Christmas or a birthday,” exclaimed Caro.

But the candles brought out were too large for Christmas trees, or
cakes. They were of all colors, and some were plain, others fluted.

“What color do you prefer, Caro?” her grandfather asked.

It was difficult to decide among so many pretty ones, and she hung over
them with a finger on her lip and an expression of great earnestness on
her face.

“The pink is lovely--and so is the blue, only not quite so pretty,--and
the green, and--yes I like the violet too--”

“We’ll have to take one of each, I see,” said the president; and this
greatly simplified the matter. Six candles were selected--blue, pink,
green, red, violet and yellow, and these were done up in a white paper
parcel and handed to Caro.

“Now grandpa, what are we going to do with them?” she asked when they
were on the street again.

“That is a secret.”

Caro gave a little jump of excitement. “I love secrets;” “Please tell
me what it is.”

“Then it wouldn’t be a secret any longer.”

“But--two people can know a secret, and I promise truly, bluely, I’ll
not tell.”

“I’ll see about it when we get home,” her grandfather replied, thereby
causing her to be in such a flutter of anticipation that as he told
her, he might as well have tried to keep step with a yellow butterfly.

When at last they reached the study, Caro looked on with deep interest
while her grandfather unlocked a cabinet and took from it a small
silver candlestick of beautiful design.

“How pretty! Is it to put the candles in?”

Dr. Barrows glanced up at the portrait of a sweet-faced young woman in
an old-fashioned gown, as he replied.

“This candlestick belonged to your grandmother, Caro, when she was a
little girl, and now I am going to give it to another little girl who
has her name, and who sometimes reminds me of her. You are to put one
of the candles in it and put it on your dressing table, and when the
gas is out after you go to bed you can have a little candle-light to
keep you from being lonely.”

“You are the dearest, sweetest, goodest grandpa in the world!” Caro
exclaimed with a ferocious hug. “The dear little candlestick! I’ll
never be lonesome any more.”

Aunt Charlotte shook her head and called it a compromise, when the plan
was explained to her, but made no real objection to it.

There was a faculty meeting that evening in the president’s study, and
two of the members had arrived and were talking with their host when
a shrill voice was heard crying: “Go away Jane, I _will_ call him! O
grandpa!”

Dr. Barrows rose hastily and left the room, saying: “Excuse me
gentlemen, my little granddaughter is calling me.”

From the hall he had a vision of Caro--her small red slippers peeping
out from her long white gown, her curly head looking over the stair
rail. Behind her was Jane, the upstairs maid whispering sternly, “Come
back Caro this minute, you are a naughty girl!”

“I just want you to see my candle lighted, grandpa,” Caro said hopping
down three steps to meet him, and taking his hand while Jane retired
shaking her head. She stood in great awe of the president, and in her
eyes a faculty meeting was almost as sacred as a church service.

“You can turn the gas out, grandpa,” Caro said, as after leading the
way into her room, she merrily kicked off the red slippers and bounded
into the middle of the bed.

From the door Jane saw the president laughing as he stooped to kiss the
saucy face.

Caro snuggled down beneath the cover and when the gas was turned out,
from the dressing table came the clear, soft light of the candle.

“It is my little candle-star, grandpa, and I don’t mind the dark now,
’cause I can see it, and it is soft and nice.”

“You are a funny child, Caro,” her grandfather said, stroking her hair.
“Suppose you try to be a little candle yourself.”

“Why how could I?” Caro sat up much interested.

“We’ll talk about it to-morrow; they are waiting for me in the study, I
must go.”

“Well I think I’ll be a pink one,” remarked Caro meditatively, and Dr.
Barrows went down stairs with a smile on his lips.



CHAPTER III

THE GATE IN THE ORCHARD


Caro was in great haste to tell Marjorie about her candle, and when she
went skipping around the corner next morning she met Marjorie skipping
in her direction.

“Why I was coming to see _you_,” they both exclaimed.

Marjorie’s father was a younger brother of Caro’s grandfather, and
their home was not far from the seminary. The little girls had already
become good friends, but as Marjorie had been out of town with her
mother they had not seen each other for several days.

“You come to my house, Caro, for I have something to show you,” her
cousin said.

“Well, let’s go to the orchard then,” Caro suggested.

One of the many pleasant things about Charmington was that it combined
the delights of city and country. Down on Main street there were
stores large enough to supply all reasonable desires, and yet five
minutes’ walk in any direction brought you to the region of wide
lawns and forest trees; and back of some of the pretty dwellings were
orchards and gardens in which you could easily forget there was a town
anywhere about. So it was in the Barrows orchard, for years a favorite
playground for the children of the family.

Marjorie had some paper dolls and a new book to show Caro, and these
they carried with them.

“Let’s run, so Tom won’t see us and want to come,” she said.

Little Tom Turner who lived next door, was in her opinion only useful
as a playmate when she had no one else, or to make up the necessary
number in some game, usually it was more fun to run away from him.
So they raced through the long grass, brown curls and flaxen braids
bobbing up and down in their haste.

At the extreme end of the orchard there was a large flat stone under a
pear tree, and here they sat down to get breath and look at the dolls
and the book.

Marjorie had a great deal to tell about her visit, and as she listened
Caro’s eyes presently made a discovery. “Why there’s a gate! where does
it go?” she asked.

The boundary line of the Barrows’ grounds was marked by a rough stone
wall, against which grew currant and gooseberry bushes, and almost
hidden by these she noticed now for the first time a gate.

“Why Caro I’ll tell you, the people who live over there aren’t nice at
all. They got mad at papa because of the trolley line, and they won’t
give any money to the seminary because they are mad at Uncle Charles
too.”

Persons who could be angry at her grandfather certainly could not be
nice, Caro thought. “But what was the gate for?” she asked.

“A long time ago when Sister Alice and Brother Charlie were little they
used to play with the Graysons.”

“Oh, are there children there?”

“No, indeed; that was a long time ago; but Caro--” Marjorie’s voice
sank to a whisper--“there’s a man over there who has something the
matter with him. He can’t walk, and a servant pushes him around in a
chair. Nobody ever sees him, but one day I peeped over the fence and
there he was, all wrapped up and--dear! but I was scared!”

“He couldn’t hurt you, could he?”

“No--I suppose not, but he might say something to me.”

“Well that wouldn’t hurt. I’d like to see him,” said Caro.

All this was so interesting she had come near forgetting her candle.
Now she thought of it and told Marjorie about it. “Just think,” she
added, “my own grandmother’s candlestick--when she was a little girl.”

“I think I’ll ask mamma to give me one,” Marjorie said.

“What did grandpa mean when he said he wanted me to be a candle? Do you
know?”

“He meant you must be good, I ’spect,” Marjorie replied in an offhand
manner as she picked some Spanish needles from her dress.

“Candles aren’t good; that’s silly,” said Caro scornfully.

“I don’t care, he meant something like that; you ask him.”

She did ask him that evening. It was just at twilight and Dr. Barrows
was sealing a letter to his daughter when Caro seated herself on the
arm of his chair. “Can I talk to you grandpa?” she asked; and as if he
too wished to join in the conversation, Trolley, with one silent spring
was on the study table, close to the president’s elbow.

“He’ll do for a paper weight, won’t he?” laughed Caro, as the cat
gravely seated himself on the notes for to-morrow’s lecture. “And he
can lick your stamps for you,” she added.

Her grandfather laughed a little at this bright idea. “Well Mischief,”
he asked, “what do you wish to talk about?”

“I want to know how I can be a candle?”

“What do candles do?”

“Shine?”

“Yes; they make a little brightness--give a little cheer. Can’t my girl
do that?”

“Marjorie said you meant ‘be good.’”

“Well--yes, only I should say be loving and kind. There are so many
sad, lonely, worried people in the world, who need a little cheer. The
very best way to be a candle is to love people, Caro.”

“I love _you_, grandpa!”

“And you bring a great deal of cheer into my life, dear.”

“Do I?” with a pleased laugh. She put her arms around her grandfather’s
neck and pressed her cheek to his for a moment, then with a sudden
change from seriousness to mischief, she turned to Trolley. “Pussie,”
she said, “you must be a candle too. You must love me, and you mustn’t
be cross when there isn’t any cream on your milk--and we’ll both shine
together.”



CHAPTER IV

THE GRAYSON HOUSE


On pleasant afternoons the president and his little granddaughter were
frequently to be seen walking down street together. Aunt Charlotte
found it very little trouble in these days to get her brother to take
his constitutional. The sight of Caro looking like an autumn sprite in
her red jacket, was enough.

“Come grandpa, it is time for our walk,” she would announce, and Dr.
Barrows would obediently lay down his pen or his book, and follow.
And the sight of her happy, rosy face, as she frisked about in the
fallen leaves, the sound of her merry voice as she asked innumerable
questions, made him forget his anxiety over seminary affairs, and
before he knew it he was looking up at the blue sky, breathing deeply
the delicious air, with something of the same joyousness.

“Grandpa, don’t you think that is a beautiful house?”

They were walking out Grayson avenue, and as Caro spoke she pointed
to a large old-fashioned mansion of gray stone, with a row of stately
pillars across its front. It stood in the midst of extensive grounds
where were many fine trees and shrubs, in the background hot-houses
were to be seen, and nearer the street a fountain was sending up a
silvery shower.

A cloud crossed the president’s face as he replied; “Yes, dear, it is a
beautiful place. That is where Trolley once lived.”

“Are there any children there?” she asked.

“No; Miss Grayson and her invalid brother live there alone.”

It was a very large house for just two persons, Caro thought. “Did
Trolley belong to the sick brother?” she asked.

“I don’t know; perhaps so.”

“Don’t you suppose he was sorry?”

“Very likely, but it couldn’t be helped you know, Trolley was
determined to live with us.”

“I am glad he did,” said Caro.

She couldn’t ask any more questions for Professor Rice joined them
and began to talk to her grandfather, but she could think, and it
presently occurred to her that this must be the place that adjoined
Marjorie’s orchard. She walked along very soberly, her mind full of the
sick man no one ever saw, and the gate that was never opened.

When she and Marjorie went over on the avenue to mail a letter not long
after this, Caro asked, “Did you know that your gate opened into the
garden of the Grayson house?”

“Why yes, of course. Look Caro! there’s Miss Elizabeth now!”

They were almost at the gate, and as Marjorie spoke a tall, handsome
woman crossed the sidewalk and entered the carriage that was waiting
for her.

“Doesn’t she look cross!” Marjorie exclaimed.

But Caro was too much impressed with her elegance to consider her
expression, which was not cross, by the way, only extremely sad.

“Let’s play dressing up,” she proposed, “and I bid to be Miss Grayson.”

Marjorie was willing and chose to be Mrs. Rice the professor’s wife
who had at present the distinction of being the seminary bride. As a
coachman was needed, little Tom Turner who sat on the curbstone longing
for an invitation, was offered the position, and perched on a piano
stool in front of a steamer chair he drove his spirited horses--two
rocking chairs--with great skill.

Miss Grayson in an old silk gown of Aunt Charlotte’s swept into her
carriage with astonishing dignity any number of times that morning,
followed by Mrs. Rice in a flowered kimono.

When they grew tired of this play they went to the orchard, and there
Caro decided that it would be quite easy to climb the wall if you
didn’t mind the currant bushes.

“You’d better not,” cried Marjorie, shocked at such audacity, but when
she was assured that it was just lovely up there, she could not resist
and she and Tom followed.

It was an old-fashioned garden into which the children looked, already
rather brown and bare except for a few chrysanthemums and asters, but
still with a beauty of its own quite different from the smooth elegance
of the grounds in front of the house.

They sat there full of delight over their adventure, craning their
necks to see as far as possible into this unknown land, when there came
the sound of footsteps on the fallen leaves.

Marjorie was down in an instant, and Tom after her, but Caro waited
till an invalid’s chair appeared, rolled by a tall colored man. In the
midst of the rugs and shawls a handsome, boyish face was to be seen,
and Caro who had expected--she didn’t know what--was so surprised that
instead of slipping down after Marjorie as she had intended she sat
perfectly still.

“Stop just here Thompson, I must have that bit of view through the
trees,” said the occupant of the chair, and Caro saw he had a camera.

She watched with interest till the right position was found and the
picture taken.

“Now turn me around, so I can get that white birch against the stone
wall.”

Close to the birch sat Caro. “Wait a minute and I’ll get down,” she
called, remembering how provoked Brother Arthur was when she got in his
way.

“Stay just where you are,” a decided voice commanded, and Caro staid,
feeling not unlike the convicts at the prison who had to have their
pictures taken whether they liked it or not.

It was over in a second and then down she scrambled and ran after the
other children.

“Caro! what made you so long? what did you see?” Marjorie cried.

“Nothing but two men; but Marjorie they took my picture!”

“Oh Caro, maybe they are going to arrest you!”

“I don’t believe they are,” Caro answered gravely, “for do you know
Marjorie he--the sick man I mean--is very nice looking.”

As they walked back to the house she added, “Just think how dreadful
it must be not to be able to walk.”



CHAPTER V

TROLLEY GOES VISITING


“Grandpa tell me about the Graysons please.”

Dr. Barrows hesitated, for it was to him a sad story. He and Caro sat
together on the wide hall sofa watching the wood fire that had been
started for the first time that afternoon. Close to the hearth Trolley
lay at full length washing one of his front paws with a professional
air.

“I am dreadfully afraid it is going to rain,” Caro said.

“Why my dear it is as clear as clear can be!” her grandfather exclaimed.

“It is sure to if Trolley washes behind his ears,” she answered wisely,
“But do tell me please about the Graysons.”

So, as he did not like to refuse anything to that curly head now
leaning against his shoulder, her grandfather told her about the
handsome Miss Elizabeth who when only a girl had taken charge of her
father’s house and given a mother’s care to her young brother and
sister.

“What were their names?” asked Caro.

“Walter and Annette.”

“And they used to play with Charlie and Alice; didn’t they?”

“Yes,” answered her grandfather, with a sigh, “Those were happy days.
Well after a while Mr. Grayson the father died, and then little
Annette, and there were only Miss Elizabeth and Walter left in that
great house. All Miss Elizabeth’s love was lavished on this brother and
he was worthy of it--a wonderfully fine fellow.”

Something in her grandfather’s tone caused Caro to ask, “Did he die
too?”

“No, but in the midst of his college course he lost his health. It was
a strange, strange thing, for he seemed perfectly well and strong, and
ever since then he has been growing more helpless each year.”

“And couldn’t anybody cure him?”

“No one; although his sister took him to the wisest physicians in this
country and abroad. They were away for a long time but now they have
come home and have shut themselves in with their sorrow.”

“Marjorie said they weren’t nice,” put in Caro.

“Marjorie ought not to say that; she does not understand. It was the
trolley line on Grayson avenue that made the trouble. Your Uncle Horace
was president of the railway company, and this made the Graysons angry
with him, and it caused a break between the families.”

Dr. Barrows did not tell how he had attempted to act as peacemaker
and had been received by Miss Elizabeth with a cold disdain which
showed him that he was included in the bitter feeling she had toward
his brother. And what troubled him most was that in this way his
beloved seminary had lost one of its best friends and most generous
contributors.

“Miss Elizabeth is a good woman,” he added; “she built our beautiful
chapel in memory of her father and sister,--she can be generous and
kind, and I for one cannot speak hardly of her, knowing her great
sorrow. I only wish I could do something for her.”

“Grandpa I have seen Walter, and I think he is very nice looking. I saw
him over the fence at Marjorie’s and--”

“My dear I think you’d better keep away from the fence. I fear you have
been prying,” was the reply, and Caro did not tell the rest of her
story.

After she was in bed that night she lay awake for a long time watching
the little candle-star and thinking of the young man who would never
walk again. Her grandfather’s tone in speaking of him had impressed
her deeply. Walter must be one of those sad, lonely people who needed
a little cheer, and she wished so much she could do something for him.
Just before she fell asleep an idea came into her head.

Trolley--a vision of graceful curves--was watching some sparrows
quarreling together in the top of a maple tree next day when Caro
pounced upon him.

“You are going to be a candle and take a little cheer to a person who
is lonely--at least I think he is, and if I were lonely I’d like to
have you come to see me, for you are a great comfort.”

Trolley amiably allowed himself to be gathered up into her arms, taking
the precaution however to fasten his claws securely in the shoulder of
her red jacket.

It was very quiet around the seminary when Caro with the cat made a
short cut across the campus to the avenue. A few minutes earlier on
her way home from market with Aunt Charlotte, she had caught a glimpse
as they passed the Grayson house, of the muffled figure in the invalid
chair far back near the greenhouses.

“I do hope he is still there, Trolley,” she said, beginning to feel a
little breathless, for her burden was by no means light. “And I hope we
won’t meet a dog, for you’ll be sure to run if we do,” she added.

The Graysons’ gate was reached however without accident, no dog
appeared, and the invalid was still where she had seen him, but as she
went up the gravel walk Caro began to wish she had not come. She almost
expected to hear Miss Elizabeth calling to her to know what she was
doing there.

Walter Grayson sat alone in the sunshine, looking straight before him
at a pot of great curly white Chrysanthemums, and as Caro made no
noise in crossing the grass he was not conscious of her approach until
a deep drawn sigh at his elbow caused him to turn with a start.

It would have been impossible to carry Trolley another step; too much
out of breath to speak, and with cheeks which matched her jacket, she
rested his weight on the broad arm of the chair while she unhooked his
front paws from her shoulder. Walter watched her with very evident
surprise.

“He sticks dreadfully,” she said, struggling with the burr-like paws.

“I should say so;” the detaching process was rather funny, and the
invalid smiled.

Caro was feeling a little shy, and the smile put her at her ease. She
had lived all her life among people who loved and petted her, and it
did not enter her mind that she could be unwelcome anywhere unless she
was naughty.

“I thought maybe you’d like to see him,” she explained.

“He is very handsome; is he your cat?”

“Why just see! He likes you,” Caro exclaimed, as after a few
preliminary turns, Trolley curled himself up on the soft rugs and began
to purr, thus expressing his unqualified approval of this resting place.

“Aren’t you the little girl I saw on the fence the other day? Why did
you run away?”

Caro laughed; “I don’t know,” she said; and then feeling that her
presence to-day needed to be explained more fully, she added, “I
thought maybe you’d like to see Trolley, because he is such a comfort
to me when I am lonely.”

“And did you think I was lonely?” There was a cloud on the young man’s
face as he spoke.

“I thought you must be,” she said simply, “because you can’t go
everywhere.”

“Then why are you lonely? You can go where you please.”

“But I miss mamma and papa and the boys sometimes, and then--” she
leaned against his chair and spoke in a confidential tone, “I’m afraid
of the dark.”

“So am I,” Walter remarked gravely.

“Are you? I didn’t know grown up people ever were--but if you’ll just
get a candle you won’t be--any more. The dark is very nice when you can
see it.”

As Walter seemed interested, watching her gravely as he stroked
Trolley, Caro went on to explain more fully about the candle, and
how her grandfather had said she could be one herself. “And so,” she
concluded, “I thought Trolley might be a candle too, and bring you a
little cheer.”

“I am much obliged. What do you say his name is?” Walter asked.

“Cousin Charlie named him for the trolley cars; wasn’t that funny? And
he used to live here you know--that is why I thought you would like
to see him. He came to our house and just _would_ stay, though Aunt
Charlotte sent him back ever so many times.”

“I believe I do recall something of the kind. He was one of my sister’s
pets.”

“Do you suppose she’d like to see him?” Caro asked.

A smile flitted across Walter’s face as he replied, “I really don’t
know; she is out this morning.”

The conversation was brought to an end by the appearance of Thompson,
who was no doubt greatly surprised to find a little girl and a striped
cat with his master.

“I think I’d better go,” Caro said, “Aunt Charlotte might want me, but
Trolley can stay awhile if you’d like to have him.”

Trolley as if to expostulate against being disturbed, tucked his head
almost out of sight and curled up tighter than before. No one could
have had the heart to disturb him.

“She is the child we saw on the fence the other day, Thompson,” Mr.
Grayson explained as Caro ran off.

“Yes, sir;” Thompson replied, watching till the red jacket
disappeared in the distance; “She’s visiting here--she’s Dr. Barrow’s
granddaughter; I have seen her playing about. Shall I take you down
through the garden sir?”

As he was wheeled along the sunny path there was a smile on Walter’s
face. Caro had been right, he was lonely, and after the first moment
he had not resented her sympathy, and now the pressure of Trolley’s
very substantial frame against his arm, the thought of the little
girl’s face as she told about her candle, gave him a new sense of
companionship. When he had said he too was afraid of the dark, he was
thinking of the future which once had been so bright to him, and over
which the clouds had gathered so heavily; but a little cheer had found
its way to his heart, and he could smile.

“Thompson, you needn’t mention it to Miss Elizabeth,--the child having
been here I mean--it might annoy her.”

“No sir;” was the reply. “And I hope she’ll come again,” he added to
himself, for he did not approve of the dreary, shut-in life led by his
master.



CHAPTER VI

A LOCAL SNOW STORM


After Caro reached home she began to be afraid that Trolley would not
come back and the thought made her rather unhappy, but just as the
lunch bell rang he came trotting across the lawn. She was watching at
the window and ran to open the door, giving him such a warm welcome
that the president who saw it, remarked to Aunt Charlotte, “I don’t
know what Caro would do without that cat.”

That very day Dr. Barrows left town on seminary business and was gone
several weeks. Hard times had effected the seminary, an effort must be
made to increase its funds, and this was the task the president had
before him. In this way it happened that he heard nothing of the visit
to Walter Grayson.

Caro missed him very much, for although she and Aunt Charlotte were
beginning to understand each other, they would never be the intimate
friends she and her grandfather were.

When Marjorie heard the story she exclaimed, “Why Caro! You had better
not let Aunt Charlotte know; she’ll scold you like everything.”

Caro was puzzled. Her grandfather had said he was sorry for the
Graysons and wished he could do something for them. She had thought of
something--surely this couldn’t be wrong, and yet she felt Marjorie was
probably right when she said Aunt Charlotte would not approve.

About this time the little girls began to have lessons together every
morning, sitting in small chairs on either side of the cutting table
in their aunt’s bedroom. They read from a small green volume called
“Little Annie’s Third Book,” a favorite of Aunt Charlotte’s, from which
she had taught the children of the family for the last forty years.
Caro privately thought it rather silly, but accepted it because mamma
had read in it when she was little.

Caro meant to try very hard while grandpa was away, to be a pleasure
and not an annoyance to her aunt and Jane, so she might have a good
report for him when he returned. During the first week she succeeded
so well that Aunt Charlotte remarked to her sister-in-law, Marjorie’s
mother, that she had never known two better children than those little
girls.

Alas! it was not long before she was compelled to change her opinion.

One afternoon when the ground was damp and Marjorie had a cold, Miss
Barrows told them they might play in the garret. It happened to be her
reception day, and up there, she thought, with the door closed they
might make all the noise they pleased without disturbing the elegant
repose of her drawing room.

Little Tom who as usual was hanging around, was graciously invited in,
and the three ran off in high spirits.

“I don’t think there is anything there they can possibly hurt,” Aunt
Charlotte said to herself.

Now in this long, low room, near the front windows was an old four post
bedstead, upon which was a large feather bed. It had not been in use
for a long time, and Aunt Charlotte was planning to make some pillows
out of it. Nothing could have offered a more alluring playground than
this mountainous bed; to climb upon the cedar chest which stood near,
and take a flying leap into the middle of it, was tremendous fun.

The excitement was growing when Marjorie made a discovery. “Caro!” she
cried, “the feathers are coming out!”

Sure enough on one side of the mattress there was a long rip, and from
it the feathers were beginning to fly.

“It is like a snowstorm,” exclaimed Caro, taking her turn at jumping.

“Goody, a snowstorm! Let’s pretend it’s snowing,” Marjorie cried, and
Tom clapped his hands and danced with joy at the idea.

Such active exercise was heating, so they put up the windows and then
the fun grew fast and furious. Around and around they went; up on the
chest, over on the bed, down on the floor, screaming and laughing,
while the feathers flew in all directions, and the bed grew smaller and
smaller.

Trolley who looked in through the half open door to see what was going
on, ran down stairs in disgust, and sitting on the bottom step of the
last flight sneezed and sneezed till Miss Barrows who was entertaining
Mrs. Rice in the parlor couldn’t help wondering aloud what was the
matter with that cat!

“What charming children your little nieces are, Miss Barrows,” Mrs.
Rice remarked as she rose to go.

Aunt Charlotte replied in gratified tones that they _were_ nice
children, then as she opened the door for her visitor, she exclaimed.
“Can it be snowing?”

“Surely not; it is as mild as May,” said the visitor.

But certainly the air was full of something very like snow; both ladies
were puzzled.

“Why Miss Barrows it is _feathers_!” Mrs. Rice cried, picking an
unmistakable goose feather from her sleeve. “See!”

Aunt Charlotte stepped to the edge of the porch and looked up; yes,
they came from the third story windows, accompanied by a sound of great
merriment. Forgetting ceremony, she left her visitor without a word,
and climbed the stairs as fast as her portly frame allowed.

What a scene met her eye! A scene of feathers and wild hilarity.
Breathing was almost impossible and she quickly withdrew to the hall
where, rapping sternly on the door, she called “Children! children!
what does this mean?”

Presto! What a change! Three perspiring, befeathered children came
suddenly to themselves and stared at one another in dismay.

“We’ll sweep them up and put them back, Aunt Charlotte,” said Caro.

“I told Caro there was a rip, and that the feathers would come out,”
explained Marjorie in a tone of injured innocence.

Quite speechless, Tom slid off the bed, now a tearful sight in its
dwindled proportions.

“I never heard of such badness,” Aunt Charlotte gasped, and leaning
over the railing she called, “Jane--Jane! bring a whisk broom here.”

Jane came and the culprits were led into another room and brushed and
shaken until they were thoroughly bewildered.

“I’d rather pick chickens and be done with it,” Jane remarked in
disgust.

“Aunt Charlotte never said we mustn’t,” Marjorie sobbed.

“Well who would ever have thought of your doing a thing like this!
Feathers all over the neighborhood!”

Caro giggled nervously.

“Oh yes, I’d laugh--it’s very funny. Just wait till your grandfather
hears about it!”

Caro had a saucy reply on the end of her tongue, but the thought
of grandpa, checked it. “Let your little candle remind you to be a
pleasure and comfort to Aunt Charlotte while I am away,” he had said.

She had meant to be good, and she had been dreadfully naughty, the
sight of the disordered room and the sorry looking mattress, and the
feather-strewn lawn, was proof enough.

She listened meekly when, dismissing Tom, Aunt Charlotte took them into
her room and to use her own words, gave them a talking to.

“What do you suppose Mrs. Rice thinks? Why our lawn might be a
barnyard,--she actually thought it was snow!”

In spite of her repentance this made Caro smile, and her aunt shook her
head solemnly, saying “I don’t know what to do with you Caroline; I am
ashamed of you!”

“But I’m truly sorry Aunt Charlotte.”

“If you are I don’t see why you laugh. Now I believe Marjorie is
sorry,” and Miss Barrows looked with approval at that tearful maiden.

As if this were not disgrace enough for one household, Trolley after he
had recovered from the feathers made his way into the kitchen and stole
one of the birds the cook was preparing for supper.

Caro found him at dusk sitting in solemn majesty before the hall fire,
quite as if nothing had happened.

“Trolley,” she said, getting down beside him on the rug, “do you know
you have been naughty too?”

He rubbed his head against her hand in a manner that said as plainly as
words, “Pet me.”

“Did you get a spanking, Trolley? I don’t know what Aunt Charlotte is
going to do to me. You are so nice and soft; you are a great comfort.”
As Caro made a pillow of him Trolley broke into a loud purr.

“I am sorry I was naughty--I just didn’t think a bit. It was such fun
to see the feathers fly. I wanted to be good while grandpa was away,
and now I’ve spoiled it. Oh dear, I wish mamma would come and take me
home, I am so lonesome!”

Trolley didn’t understand how anyone could be unhappy before such a
pleasant fire, with him for company, and he continued to purr loudly
while Caro’s tears fell fast. His view of things prevailed after a
while, and when Aunt Charlotte came down stairs she found the two
curled up together on the rug, fast asleep.

The tear stains on Caro’s cheek softened her. Perhaps the child really
felt more than she showed, and she decided she would not take away her
candle that night as a punishment, as she had thought of doing. More
than this she let her have peach preserves for supper.

The preserves went to Caro’s heart and made her more penitent than
ever. “I’m truly going to be good after this, and I’ll help Jane pick
up the feathers,” she said as she kissed her aunt good-night.



CHAPTER VII

IN THE GARDEN


Everybody agreed that the weather was remarkable that fall; far into
November it lasted warm and bright, and Walter Grayson who found life
more endurable under the open sky than within four walls, spent a large
part of each day out of doors attended by his faithful Thompson.

Caro’s visit had stirred anew his longing for the old companionships
that had once been his. When at length after their long absence they
had decided to come home, he had looked forward to it almost eagerly,
but his sister whose pride shrank from sympathy took it for granted
that to meet his old acquaintances could be only painful to him, and
those who had ventured to call were not admitted.

Walter was in the habit of acquiescing in her decisions, and in the
first shock of his illness he had felt the same shrinking from pity,
but now the sense of loneliness was becoming almost unbearable. As he
was wheeled about the garden he lived over again the merry days of his
childhood, and the quarrel that had separated him from those he had
cared most for, seemed a small matter in the light of these memories.

The Graysons had long been people of wealth and influence in
Charmington, and in Miss Elizabeth’s opinion it was a direct insult
when her wishes were ignored and the beauty of the avenue which had
been named for her grandfather was, as she thought, forever ruined.
That her personal friends could side against her, added to the
bitterness. She refused to see that Dr. Barrows was not responsible for
his brother’s actions, and proudly withdrew her friendship from the
whole family, and her gifts from the seminary.

No doubt her grief over her brother made her more bitter than she would
otherwise have been; at least so Dr. Barrows thought, and would not
speak ill of her.

Walter upon whom she lavished everything affection could suggest,
or money buy, felt that he could not ask for the only thing he
really wanted. And at times he told himself despondently that he was
forgotten, that his friends no longer cared for him.

Caro’s simple friendliness had won his heart, the possibility of seeing
her again added a little interest to his lonely life; and Thompson too,
seeing the good effect of her visit, was on the watch for her.

When one afternoon they saw her in her scarlet jacket, looking over the
garden wall, Walter waved his hand and Thompson grinned broadly over
the back of the chair, while Caro nodded and smiled in response, quite
as if they had been old friends.

“Don’t you want to see your picture?” Walter asked; “they are on the
library table, Thompson,” he added.

As the man went off Caro swung her feet over on the Grayson side of the
fence, and then in another minute she had slipped down and was beside
Walter’s chair. “I mustn’t stay long,” she said. “Marjorie has gone to
the dentist’s and I told her I’d wait till she came back.”

“How is the cat?”

“He is very well, thank you, but he has been bad. He stole a bird.”

“You don’t say so!”

“Yes, and so have I.”

“You don’t mean you have stolen a bird?”

Caro laughed. “Of course not; I wouldn’t steal, but Marjorie and Tom
and I jumped all the feathers out of Aunt Charlotte’s bed.”

“What naughty children,” said Walter smiling.

“Yes,” agreed Caro with a sigh, “and I meant to be good while grandpa
was away. I promised him I’d try to be a candle and then I forgot.”

“What do you mean by being a candle?”

“Oh--being pleasant and nice to Aunt Charlotte and Jane,--not making
trouble you know. The feathers were all over the front lawn and
Mrs. Rice thought it was snowing.” Caro laughed a little at the
recollection.

“Grandpa said the best way to be a candle was to love people, and I do
love him ever so much, but I don’t love Jane. I love Aunt Charlotte
too, but she doesn’t like to talk to me, so I miss grandpa.”

“I know how that is. I too wish sometimes for someone to talk to,”
Walter replied.

Here Thompson appeared with the photographs, and everything else was
forgotten.

“They are a little too grave,” Walter said, comparing them with the
glowing face beside him; “We must try again sometime.”

“And let’s have Trolley in it too,” Caro suggested.

“Why certainly, that is a good idea. Do you know Caro you remind me of
my little sister.”

“Do you mean Annette?”

“Why what can you know about her?” Walter asked in surprise.

“Grandpa told me. I asked him who lived in your house--and then I saw
her window in the chapel--the Good Shepherd you know. Grandpa said she
was a dear little girl. Do I truly look like her!”

“Yes, there is something in your face and smile that is like her;”
Walter looked thoughtfully at the picture.

“Won’t you please tell me about her?” begged Caro.

And so while Thompson wheeled his master up and down the garden paths,
she walked beside him and listened to the story of those days when the
gate now nailed up was always open, and merry girls and boys ran back
and forth.

“What nice times you did have!” Caro exclaimed, pressing the palms of
her hands together. “I wish we could do some of those lovely things.
Couldn’t we have a picnic and have a fire and roast potatoes and corn?”

Her interest was a pleasant thing to the invalid; he laughed at the
eager face; “Well, why can’t we?” he said. “What do you think Thompson?”

“Why of course we can, sir, if you like,” was the answer.

“And have Marjorie and Tom?” cried Caro eagerly.

It seemed impossible to refuse her, but when he thought of it
afterwards Walter began to doubt if he had been wise. What would his
sister think--or the Barrows, when it was discovered that he had been
entertaining the children in the garden? Still it was too late now--he
had promised.

As for Caro no doubts spoiled her anticipation. She gave Marjorie a
most animated account of the pleasure in store for them, and her
cousin was as interested as she could wish.

“It will be lovely, Caro, and we’ll keep it a secret,” she said, for
there was nothing Marjorie liked so well as a mystery.

Finding Tom, they proceeded to excite his curiosity.

“Say--don’t you wish you knew what we are going to do to-morrow?” they
both exclaimed.

“What are you going to do?” he asked, pulling his ear and realizing
that he was about to be teased.

“We can’t tell, but it is something awfully nice,” said Caro, “Isn’t it
Marjorie?”

“Isn’t it though!” and the two looked knowingly at each other.

“There’s going to be something to eat,” Marjorie added.

“A candy pulling, I bet,” cried Tom.

“No indeed!” they both cried.

After carrying this on for half an hour and goading Tom to the point of
desperation, Marjorie said, “If you’ll promise honest truly you won’t
tell you can come over to-morrow and _maybe_ we’ll let you into it.”

“Truly I won’t tell,” Tom promised, brightening.

“Do you think you’d let him into it Caro? He might spoil it.”

“Oh I guess so,” Caro replied, and they ran off leaving him alone with
his curiosity.

All this mystery added not a little to the delights of the picnic next
day in the Grayson garden, and certainly for its size there was never a
merrier one.

Tom was a little uncomfortable at first, for Marjorie’s dark hints
about the garden had impressed him deeply, but he soon recovered from
this and helped Thompson make a fire on the very spot where Charlie and
Walter had built theirs in days gone by.

The children thought nothing ever tasted so good as the corn roasted
there; there were grapes and apples besides and some fascinating
bon-bons, but the corn was the most fun, they insisted.

Not being in the habit of providing for such feasts Thompson forgot the
salt, and Marjorie and Caro had the excitement of running to the house
and having the cook inquire what they were going to do with salt.

On a seat made of a plank supported on bricks the three children sat
and feasted and chattered, while Walter looked on and enjoyed the
experience of acting once more as host.

Everybody knows the peculiar pleasure of a fire out of doors; the day
was cool enough to make its warmth agreeable, and the sight and sound
of the crackling flames was like a tonic to the spirits.

After the feast was over they played games, such as “I have a word that
rhymes with--” and “My ship comes sailing--.”

They asked conundrums, and Thompson showed himself to be an
accomplished sleight-of-hand man, finding silver dollars in impossible
places, and making handkerchiefs appear and disappear, in a surprising
manner. Never was more fun crowded into one short afternoon.

“It has been a beautiful picnic, and I am very much obliged to you,”
Caro said to Walter as they were separating.

“So am I,” echoed Marjorie, and Tom would have said the same if he
hadn’t been bashful, as it was he could only grin.

“I am just as much obliged to you for coming to my picnic,” Walter
replied, and he added to Caro, “Goodby little Candle.” This was the
first time in more than four years that he had given any pleasure to
anybody, he thought on the way to the house.

Miss Elizabeth stood at the door: “Surely Walter you are staying out
too late,” she said: “Are you not chilled?”

“Not at all; you can trust Thompson for that,” he answered.

As for Thompson, he wished Miss Grayson could have seen her brother
as he told stories and laughed at the pranks of his visitors, and
he determined that if he could bring it about there should be more
occasions of the sort.



CHAPTER VIII

MISS ELIZABETH RECEIVES A SHOCK


Miss Grayson rejoiced in her brother’s unusual cheerfulness, and when
she was called away for a few days to a neighboring city on business
she left with the less reluctance. Home had after all proved the best
place for him, she thought.

She was gone several days, and at the last minute after telegraphing
that she would be at home at eight in the evening, she found she could
take an earlier train that arrived at three. There was no time for
anything but a hurried drive to the station, and she decided, it would
be just as well to surprise Walter. How glad he would be to see her
five hours ahead of time! She felt quite happy over the thought as she
stepped from the train at Charmington.

There was of course no one to meet her, and as the day was pleasant and
the distance short she walked home. She might have taken the street
cars if her feeling on the subject had not made it impossible.

It was only natural that the servant who opened the door for her should
seem surprised, but Miss Elizabeth observed an odd hesitation in his
manner when in reply to her questions he said Mr. Grayson was in the
library.

To the library she hastened, and as she went there came to her
astonished ears the strains of The Last Rose of Summer,--for years that
music box had been untouched--and mingled with it was a sound like
children’s voices. Before her on a chair lay an unfamiliar scarlet
jacket with other articles of outdoor apparel, and from the floor a
pair of small but saucy looking rubber shoes forced themselves upon her
vision. What did it mean--was she dreaming?

At the door she paused. In front of the wood fire blazing brightly at
one end of the spacious room, Walter’s couch was drawn and around him
in attitudes of eager interest were three children. They were evidently
absorbed in the story he was telling with an animation his sister had
thought never to see again.

Strewn upon the floor were photographs, and on a table a costly
illustrated book on birds--one of her brother’s old favorites--lay
open; but at present everything else was forgotten in the interest of
the story which seemed to be one of adventure, for there was frequent
mention of bears. This much Miss Grayson’s bewildered mind took in.

And this was the lonely invalid to whom she had hastened home!
Certainly he was not missing her, for she stood there quite unobserved.
And who were these children who had brought such a light to his eyes?
All her devotion had failed to do as much for him. Turning she saw
Thompson hovering uneasily in the distance, and swept down upon him.

“Who are those children in the library?” she demanded. Miss Grayson was
exceedingly stately and Thompson felt abashed.

“Why Miss Elizabeth they’re just some children--”

“I see that; I asked who they are and what they are doing here?”

“Well you see Miss Elizabeth it looked like Mr. Walter was mighty
lonesome to-day and it was too damp to be on the ground, so I just took
the liberty of asking them in to amuse him. It looks like there’s not
much for him to do.”

“Did Mr. Grayson tell you to ask them?”

“No m’m, but he seemed right glad to see them. It has cheered him up
considerable.” The sound of laughter from the library emphasized this.

“But who _are_ they?” Miss Grayson asked again. Thompson was very
trying to her, and it was only because he suited her brother so well
that she kept him.

“I don’t know exactly, ma’m; they are some kin of Dr. Barrows over at
the seminary I believe.”

This was more than she could stand. Telling herself that such
excitement must be bad for Walter she swept back to the library. The
last notes of music had died away, and Caro heard the rustle of her
dress and turned.

Miss Elizabeth had thrown back her fur collar, in her face was an
unusual glow, she was very handsome Caro thought.

The eyes of the others followed hers, and for a few seconds they all
gazed at the lady in silence. Then Walter found his voice:

“Why Elizabeth! I did not expect you so early,” he exclaimed.

“I found I could get off sooner than I thought when I telegraphed. I
fear you are tiring yourself,” she added coming to his side and bending
over him, entirely ignoring the children.

Caro rose; “I ’spect we’d better go,” she said. “It is a lovely story,
but if you are tired we can come some other time.”

“I am not tired, Caro,” Walter answered, taking her hand, “but perhaps
you’d better go now, and as you say we will finish the story another
time.” They smiled at each other in a way that expressed a world of
friendly confidence.

Without another word Miss Grayson turned and left the room. She felt
she was a marplot, and yet--those children--what else could she have
done? As she went up stairs the sounds of laughter followed her; she
wished she had not hurried home.

She did not mention the children when she returned to her brother
after they had gone, but talked of business and other matters, making
an effort to act as if nothing unusual had happened.

After dinner when they were alone together before the fire, Walter
spoke: “Elizabeth there is something I want very much.”

She smoothed his hair caressingly from his forehead as she replied,
“You know dear if it is anything I can give you, you shall have it.”

“But this will be hard for you;” Walter hesitated, then added, “It is
my old friends I want.”

She caught her breath; “I don’t understand,” she said.

Then her brother told her about Caro’s visit with Trolley. “It has
made me feel,” he continued, “as I have thought about it since, that
I have been living very selfishly. My life as I used to think of it
has to be sure, been spoiled, but there are still small things I might
do--to make a little cheer, as Caro says--and to begin with I want my
friends again. I want to forget--I want you to forget--all that has
been unpleasant in the past.”

“And you think they will be willing to come back to you, do you?” Miss
Elizabeth asked bitterly.

“Yes, I think they will,” he said simply.

Miss Grayson had often told herself there was nothing she would not do
for her brother, but had she dreamed of anything like this? Her proud
heart had a fierce battle to fight.

“I shan’t ever be Miss Elizabeth again when we dress up; I don’t like
her at all,” Caro said as the children walked down the garden path
together.

“I told you she was cross,” Marjorie replied.

For lack of a better confidant Trolley heard the story that night. “I
don’t blame you one bit for not wanting to live with her, for I ’spect
she just scared you to death,” was Caro’s conclusion emphasized by a
vigorous hug.



CHAPTER IX

ANNETTE’S WINDOW


“Marjorie, grandpa is coming home this afternoon; don’t you want to go
to meet him? Aunt Charlotte says we may go in the carriage.” It was
the first cold day of the season and Caro looked like a bright-eyed
squirrel in her gray coat and chinchilla furs.

Of course Marjorie wished to go, and although it was an hour and a half
before train time she put on her coat and hat and the two went out to
frisk up and down the walk until the carriage came.

They went as far as the seminary chapel, and seeing the door open Caro
said, “Let’s go in and look at Annette’s window.”

Marjorie was willing and in they went. Some one from a distance was
giving a course of Bible lectures to the students in the chapel, and
the one for that day was just over.

It was a small building, beautifully proportioned and decorated;
the somewhat somber richness of the interior being relieved by the
beautiful windows.

The children found it great fun to walk about in perfect freedom
instead of being obliged to sit in sedate silence, and they forgot to
think about the time. They stood for a while before the window on which
was represented the Good Shepherd freeing a lamb from a thorn bush, and
spelled out the words beneath it: “In memoriam A. G.”

“I should like to have a window,” Caro said.

“But you can’t unless you are dead,” Marjorie answered.

Caro was disposed to doubt this and would have begun to argue the
question if the sound of a banging door had not startled her. “What was
that Marjorie? I guess we’d better go,” she said.

Pushing open the swinging door they went out into the vestibule, and
there they found the outside door fast closed.

“Oh Marjorie, it is shut tight, I can’t open it!” Caro cried.

Marjorie tried in her turn, but it was of no use, the janitor not
knowing they were in the chapel had locked the door and gone away.

“What shall we do? We shall be late to meet grandpa,” wailed Caro.

Marjorie began to pound on the door and call, but this they soon
realized could do no good. “Nobody can hear us it is so thick,” she
said, beginning to cry.

“Don’t cry Marjorie; maybe Clifford will come back again. But I’m
afraid we won’t get out in time to meet grandpa,” Caro added with a
little choke in her voice at the thought.

“Clifford won’t be back till to-morrow I know,” and Marjorie continued
to sob.

“But they’ll look for us, I know they will,” Caro insisted.

It was dark and chilly in the vestibule so they went back into the
chapel where the air was still warm. Even here the light was dim, for
the short afternoon was nearly over. The shadows looked so dark in the
corners that Marjorie exclaimed, “Oh Caro I’m afraid!”

“I don’t think anything can happen to us, and they will find us pretty
soon I’m sure,” said Caro encouragingly, although she couldn’t help
thinking how very dark it would be after a while.

“We’ll starve! I am hungry now,” Marjorie said tearfully.

There was nothing to do but wait. They sat down in the seat usually
occupied by Aunt Charlotte when they went to afternoon service with
her, two very forlorn little girls. Suddenly Marjorie flung herself
down on the cushions and began to cry and sob wildly. Caro’s tears fell
more quietly, and after a time she wiped them from her eyes and looked
up at the window. In the fading light she could just see the gentle,
tender smile of the Good Shepherd as he rescued the lamb. It comforted
her, and when Marjorie’s passion of crying had exhausted itself, she
said softly “Marjorie look at the Good Shepherd!”

“It is too dark to see.”

“Marjorie let’s ask him to send someone to find us.”

“Well,” Marjorie agreed.

“And soon,” Caro added, “And to help us not to be afraid.”

In the dusk two little figures knelt, two little heads were bowed on
the cushions. When Caro lifted hers she thought something wonderful had
happened, for there was the Shepherd smiling down on them just as if he
were about to speak. It was the electric light on the campus which had
shone out while their eyes were closed, and made it seem almost like
day.

“We needn’t be afraid now Marjorie,” Caro said calling her attention to
it. “But I do hope it won’t be very long, for I want so to see grandpa.”

At that moment Dr. Barrows was wanting very much to see his little
girl. When he stepped from his carriage expecting to hear her merry
voice, and to see her flying to him, there was only his sister standing
in the door with an anxious face, greeting him with: “The children have
disappeared Charles, and can’t be found!”

After a few questions the president hurried over to his brother’s,
vague stories of kidnappers floating through his brain. It seemed
strange indeed that two little girls could disappear so completely in
so short a time, leaving no clew to their whereabouts.

The whole neighborhood was presently aroused, and professors and
students might be seen running in every direction. Just how soon it
would have occurred to anybody to look in the chapel it is impossible
to say, but it so happened that Dr. Smith the lecturer was to leave
town that evening, and in putting his papers together he missed some
valuable notes which he thought must have been left on the desk in
the chapel. The janitor was sent for, and in half an hour after the
electric light shone out, the children, as well as the manuscript, were
found.

“It is so nice to be found!” Caro said, with her arms clasped about her
grandfather’s neck; “but I truly wasn’t afraid after the light came,
for the Good Shepherd looked so kind.”



CHAPTER X

OLD FRIENDS


“There is one thing I don’t understand,” remarked Aunt Charlotte at the
breakfast table, “and that is how one of the Grayson servants happened
to come over here to ask about the children yesterday.”

“It was Thompson, I guess,” said Caro who was eating her oatmeal,
stopping every other minute to smile at her grandfather.

“Who is Thompson?” he asked.

“He is the one who takes care of Walter, and he is very nice. Why
grandpa, he is almost as good as Kellar; he can do all sorts of
sleight-of-hand tricks!”

“But how do you know anything about him or Walter either?” asked Aunt
Charlotte.

Then Caro remembered that she had not told anyone about all that had
gone on in the garden, and she couldn’t think where to begin.

“Can’t you answer your aunt,” said her grandfather.

“Why yes--Aunt Charlotte,--I know them,--I got acquainted with them a
long time ago.”

“With Walter Grayson? Why no one ever sees him; you must be mistaken,”
Miss Barrows exclaimed.

“But I _went_ to see him,” said Caro. “It wasn’t wrong, was it grandpa?
You know you said to be a candle was to take a little cheer to lonely
people--and I was sure he must be lonely. I thought maybe he’d like to
see Trolley ’cause he lived there once, so I took him. Do you think it
was wrong?”

“My dear I don’t know what to say--” the president put down his knife
and fork and looked at Aunt Charlotte, and then at his granddaughter.
“You mean to say you took the cat to see Walter Grayson?”

Caro nodded; “Yes, grandpa.”

“I’d like to know what she’ll do next!” cried Miss Barrows.

“But how did he treat you?” questioned her grandfather. “Did he tell
you you were an officious little girl?”

“I think he liked to see me, ’cause after that we had a picnic.”

In the midst of these explanations a note was brought in to the
president. It read:

  “Dear Dr. Barrows,--If you can spare the time will you not come to
  see me within the next day or two? I am anxious to have a talk with
  you. If you have forgotten the way Caro will come with you I am sure.

                                             “Your friend,
                                                       “WALTER GRAYSON.”

Dr. Barrows read it aloud, and then looked at his sister again.

“Grandpa he must think you are pretty stupid if you could forget that
little way,” Caro said laughing.

“I fear I am rather stupid sometimes,” he said smiling; “Well Pigeon
we’ll go over there after lunch.”

So it came about that Caro and her grandfather hand in hand, went over
to the Grayson’s that afternoon. Dr. Barrows still felt puzzled, and
half believed he was dreaming, but his granddaughter was very wide
awake indeed. She quite hoped they would see haughty Miss Elizabeth
again, for with her grandfather beside her she was ready to face
anything.

The lady however was not to be seen, and they found Walter alone in the
library.

“My dear boy,” was all the president said as he grasped the hand
stretched out to him.

“There’s not much left of me, but what there is is very glad to see
you,” was Walter’s greeting.

It was well that Caro was there to help out the conversation at first,
her grandfather was kept so busy clearing his glasses. She was as full
of life as the gray squirrel she resembled.

“Did you know we got lost yesterday?” she asked.

“Yes; though I didn’t hear it till you were found. What were you doing
in the chapel?”

“It was open you know and so we went in to look at Annette’s window.”

“And weren’t you afraid when you found the door shut?”

“Yes, a little, when it began to get dark--and Marjorie was too. I
thought it would be so _dreadfully_ dark after a while, and then the
electric light shone out, straight through the window! We could see the
Good Shepherd just as plain as day, and I wasn’t afraid any longer;
then pretty soon they found us.”

  “‘For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,’”

Walter quoted, smiling at Dr. Barrows.

“Particularly when they are looking in the right direction,” he
answered.

“I suppose Caro has told you how we became acquainted,” Walter said;
“and I have found it so pleasant to have a friend that I want more--I
want my old friends again. I can’t be of any use--” he was silent for
a minute, then went on, “I asked you to come because I knew you could
help me. My sister has given her consent to anything I wish, but it is
hard for her.”

“She will be happier in the end. She is too fine a woman to shut
herself in--the world needs her,” answered Dr. Barrows.

“She _is_ good, nobody knows it so well as I,” said Walter.

“And now my boy anything I can do I will do gladly,” the president
added.

“It is just to let my friends know that I shall be glad to see them,
and that on our side all feeling about the old quarrel is put away.
And” he added almost gaily, “I think I shall get Caro to help me with a
Christmas party.”

“A Christmas party here? how lovely!” she cried dancing up and down.

“I should like to see the old house look really cheerful again. Do
you remember the parties we used to have when we were children, Dr.
Barrows?”

“Do you mean a tree, and Santa Claus?” Caro asked coming to Walter’s
side after whirling around the room.

“Certainly, and all the other things that belong to Christmas,” was his
reply.

Caro rather changed her mind about Miss Elizabeth who met them in the
hall as they were leaving.

“Dr. Barrows,” she said holding out her hand, “I know what Walter has
said to you--perhaps I have been wrong--I don’t know, but I should
never acknowledge it except for him--”

The president interrupted her, “My dear,”--and Caro wondered how he
could call anyone so stately my dear,--“say no more. Let us simply
forget that anything ever came between us.”

And then Miss Elizabeth turned to Caro and took her hand; “This is your
granddaughter, Elinor’s child,” she said, “I hope she will come often
to see my brother, he has taken a great fancy to her.”

When they reached home Aunt Charlotte met them with a letter in her
hand. “What do you think? Elinor writes that she will probably spend
Christmas with us!”

“Is mamma coming? How perfectly lovely! Oh grandpa aren’t you glad?”
Caro was so full of delight she could hardly listen to her mother’s
letter in which Mrs. Holland said that as they could not get their
family together at home, she would come to spend the holidays at her
father’s with Caro, while Mr. Holland joined the boys.

“I believe it is going to be the best Christmas that ever happened,”
Caro exclaimed.

The weeks before Christmas were merry ones. As if to make up for his
delay winter came in earnest with a heavy snow followed by freezing
weather, which made endless fun for the children. To Caro snow that lay
on the ground for any length of time was a delightful novelty, and she
wanted to be out from morning till night.

The cold kept Walter Grayson housed for the greater part of the time
but he was enlivened by frequent visits from the children. For his
benefit they built a remarkable snow man on the lawn outside the
library windows and Miss Elizabeth said not a word, although her
order-loving eyes found the grotesque object almost painful. It amused
Walter, and so she could endure it.

He and Caro spent hours over plans for the Christmas party, to which
his sister had offered no objection, but she asked no questions and
shrank from having anything to do with it.

The days flew by as they always do at this time of year, with so much
to prepare for and look forward to.

“Trolley,” Caro said one evening, “I am sorry for you, because
you don’t know what fun Christmas is. Just think! Mamma is coming
to-morrow, and Charlie and Alice, and we are going to have the best
time!”

Trolley only purred contentedly. All days were alike to him, if he had
plenty to eat and a comfortable nap, and the society of his friends.



CHAPTER XI

CHRISTMAS CANDLES


The sunlight fell softly through Annette’s window and across the
reading desk as Dr. Barrows began the afternoon service in the chapel
on the day before Christmas. The air was fragrant with the odor of
cedar and pine, and against the dark oak wainscoting the holly berries
shone warm and bright, as he read: “The glory of Lebanon shall come
unto thee, the fir tree, and the pine tree, and the box together, to
beautify the place of my sanctuary.”

Caro sat with her hand clasped in her mother’s, the happiness of
Christmas shining in her face; across the aisle was Marjorie with
Charlie and Alice.

Just as the president began to read, the door opened and Thompson
swiftly and noiselessly wheeled his master to a place at one side of
the pulpit, and withdrew. Caro thought Walter must be lonely there by
himself, so after a moment’s hesitation, with a smile she withdrew her
hand from her mother’s and stole softly up to the front seat close to
the invalid.

Miss Elizabeth saw her from the back of the chapel where she sat, and
tears came to her eyes. She had not wanted her brother to come, and now
here was this child taking the place that should have been hers.

When her grandfather read his text Caro looked up at Walter and smiled;
it seemed meant for them she thought.

“To give light to them that sit in darkness.”

It is to be doubted if the president ever preached a better sermon,
and yet it was only a simple little talk that the children could
understand, about the Light-bringer whose love could penetrate the
darkest clouds of sin or sorrow, and whose followers must in their turn
become light-bearers.

Caro listened, looking up at the Good Shepherd, who again seemed to
smile on her. But after they had sung, “It came upon the midnight
clear”--and the benediction had been pronounced, the merry side of
Christmas became uppermost. There was Charlie exclaiming, “Walter old
fellow I am so glad to see you!” and shaking hands warmly, and Alice
and Mrs. Holland with quieter greetings. Marjorie and Tom of course
joined Caro, and the president came down and added one more to the
group around Walter.

At the door Miss Elizabeth waited, unable to escape altogether the
friendly greetings, trying not to be impatient, while near her stood
Thompson with a beaming face. This was something like living he thought.

There is something about Christmas eve which makes it different from
all other evenings. There is a thrill of expectancy in the air that no
one can quite escape, even though his head is grey. Caro and Marjorie
skipped down the stone walk in the frosty air, hand in hand, brimful
of happiness; Charlie and Alice were beside Walter, and Dr. Barrows
who walked with Miss Elizabeth thought his little granddaughter was
right when she said this was going to be the best Christmas that ever
happened.

“Remember,” said Walter, as they were separating, “that I depend on
you to-morrow to make my party a success. It is to be as much like old
times as possible.”

“We’ll be on hand and do our best,” said Charlie. “Poor fellow! what a
change from four years ago,” he added to his sister.

“And yet I can’t quite pity him. It must be because he is so brave,”
Alice answered.

“And Bess, you will wear your prettiest gown, won’t you?” Walter had
said coaxingly.

“You know I don’t care for such things any more,” Miss Elizabeth urged.

“But you must. I want you to look like a queen,” he insisted, and so
when the Barrows arrived next evening they found their hostess in
creamy satin and costly lace, with diamonds on her breast and in her
dark hair. At sight of her Caro clasped her hands and cried, “Oh Miss
Elizabeth you are perfectly beautiful!”

Her admiration was so evidently genuine that the lady could not help
being pleased, and she stooped and kissed the rosy cheek.

“And how do you think we came?” asked Marjorie, dancing around till the
blue bows on her flaxen braids danced too.

“Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you,” cried Caro, running to Walter’s side,
“We came through the gate,--Charlie opened it, the gate in the orchard.
We shan’t have to climb the fence any more.”

The invitations read “To meet Miss Caro Holland” and Caro in her fluffy
white dress with a spray of holly on her shoulders stood beside Miss
Elizabeth and Walter and helped receive the guests. The spacious house
was all thrown open, brilliantly lighted and beautiful in its Christmas
decorations, for neither trouble nor expense had been considered.

It was first of all a children’s party as every Christmas party should
be, but there were almost as many grown people asked besides, to enjoy
the children’s pleasure. Aunt Charlotte was there in her black velvet
gown, and Mrs. Rice in her wedding dress,--everybody in fact looked
their best.

Miss Elizabeth hardly knew herself with flowers and music and happy
faces all about her, she almost forgot the pain at her heart, and her
brother’s contented smile paid her for all her struggle.

The tree which was in the library was a most beautiful sight when the
lights were turned down in the other rooms and the doors thrown open.
The floor appeared to be covered with snow, and the tree was all in
white and silver, blazing with candles.

After it had been sufficiently admired, Santa Claus came on the scene
with a generous pack from which he distributed the most interesting
white parcels tied with red ribbons. One of these which had on it “For
Trolley, in care of Caro,” contained the prettiest sort of a collar on
which was a silver plate with his name.

Supper was served on small tables decorated in holly and red candles,
and when this was over the children danced and played around the tree,
while the older people strolled about the house or sat and talked.

“Have you had a good time Caro?” asked Walter, catching her hand as she
danced by.

“Indeed I have,” was her answer, “and I’m so much obliged for
everything, especially Trolley’s collar.”

“I hope he will like it. I owe a great deal to Trolley.”

“Why do you?” she asked.

“I doubt if you ever would have come to see me if he had not put it
into your head.”

“And then we shouldn’t have had the party, should we? Here comes
grandpa,” she added. “Have you had a good time grandpa?”

“This has been a happy Christmas, Walter,” the president said sitting
down beside him.

“It has been to me. And I had not expected to have another happy one,”
Walter replied.

“What did Santa Claus bring you, grandpa?” Caro asked.

“Just what I most wanted,” and Dr. Barrows smiled at Walter. “I can’t
tell you how much I thank you; I had come home rather discouraged.”

“Please tell me what it is,” begged his granddaughter.

“Only a piece of paper, Caro,” said Walter.

“One that will help the seminary out of its difficulties,” added the
president.

“Do you mean money? That isn’t interesting,” laughed Caro. “I’ll tell
you what I think,” she continued, shaking her finger at Walter, “I
think you are a candle, a big one! Hasn’t he brought us a great lot of
cheer, grandpa?”

“He has indeed, my darling.”

The young man’s face flushed. “Whatever I have done has brought me
the most pleasure. I seem now not to mind as I did at first having to
give everything up. I can even hear Charlie talk about the university,
without thinking of my spoiled plans. I only want now to get what I
can out of the present.” Then after a moment’s silence, he said with a
smile, “I am not afraid of the dark any more.”

“Did you try a candle?” Caro asked.

“Yes;” Walter answered, and Dr. Barrows understood. On that young life
with its dark shadow, the light of love had shone, and a little candle
had been the beginning of it.

So the Christmas party came to an end, and the guests went happily home
through the snow.



CHAPTER XII

GOODBY


Trolley sat on the gate-post. If possible he was handsomer than ever,
for the frosty weather had made his coat thick and fluffy, besides this
he wore his new collar. His eyes were wide open to-day, and he looked
out on the world with a solemn questioning gaze.

He had been decidedly upset in his mind that morning at finding an open
trunk in Caro’s room, and clothes scattered about on chairs and on the
bed. Of course he did not know what this meant, but to the cat mind
anything unusual is objectionable, and it made him unhappy. Finally he
stretched himself in the tray, where Caro found him.

“You darling pussie!” she cried, “Mamma do look at him, I believe he
wants to go home with us. I wish we could take him.”

But Mrs. Holland said one little girl was all the traveling companion
she cared for. “It wouldn’t do dear, he would be unhappy on the
train,” she added.

“I don’t know what I should have done without him. He and my candle
were my greatest comforts,--except grandpa,” and Caro put her cheek
down on Trolley’s soft fur.

“What am I to do without my little candle?” her grandfather asked.

“Why you can have the cat,” Caro answered merrily.

No wonder Trolley’s mind was disturbed that morning with such a
coming and going as went on,--people running in to say goodby, and
Aunt Charlotte thinking every few minutes of something new for the
traveler’s lunch, tickling his nose with tantalizing odors of tongue
and chicken.

It was over at last, trunks and bags were sent off, Aunt Charlotte was
hugged and kissed and then Trolley had his turn, and the procession
moved, headed by the president.

“Goodby Trolley; don’t forget me!” Caro called, walking backwards and
waving her handkerchief.

When they were out of sight Trolley went and sat on the gate-post and
thought about it. After a while he jumped down and trotted across
the campus with a businesslike air as if he had come to an important
decision. He took his way through the Barrows’ orchard to the Grayson
garden where there was now a well-trodden path through the snow.

Miss Grayson and her brother were sitting in the library. They had been
talking about Caro when Walter glancing toward the window saw a pair of
golden eyes peering in at him.

“There is Trolley,” he said, and called Thompson to let him in.

Trolley entered as if he was sure of a welcome, and walking straight
to Miss Elizabeth, sprang into her lap; and from this on he became
a frequent visitor at the Graysons, dividing his time in fact about
evenly between his two homes.

And thus an unfortunate quarrel which had disturbed the peaceful
atmosphere of Charmington and separated old friends, was forgotten, and
as the president often remarked, it was all owing to the candle and the
cat.


THE END.





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