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Title: Cecilia of the Pink Roses
Author: Taylor, Katharine Haviland
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Cecilia of the Pink Roses" ***

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[Frontispiece: "MILK, AN' SUGAR IF YOU HAVE IT"]



  CECILIA
  OF THE PINK ROSES


  BY
  KATHARINE HAVILAND TAYLOR



  ILLUSTRATED BY
  MAY WILSON PRESTON



  NEW YORK
  GROSSET & DUNLAP
  PUBLISHERS



  COPYRIGHT, 1917,
  BY GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

  COPYRIGHT, 1917, BY THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY.

  PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



  TO
  MY DEAR MOTHER
  SOURCE OF MY INNER PINK ROSES



  CONTENTS

  CHAPTER

  I Where Is Gawd?
  II The Vision of a Promised Land
  III The First Step into Canaan
  IV Learning
  V Disgrace
  VI A Hint of Pink
  VII Santa Claus
  VIII A Little Touch of the Man with the Hour Glass
  IX Home
  X My Best Friend
  XI Acceptance
  XII Pain
  XIII A Request
  XIV Pink
  XV Firelight
  XVI The Mystery
  XVII A Relapse
  XVIII Forgiveness
  XIX Spring
  XX Pulling Off the Thorns
  XXI Pink Roses



  CECILIA OF THE
  PINK ROSES



CHAPTER I

WHERE IS GAWD?

The Madden flat was hot and the smell of frying potatoes filled it.
Two or three flies buzzed tirelessly here and there, now and again
landing with sticky clingingness on a small boy of four who screamed
with their advent.  When this happened a girl of seven stepped from
the stove and shooed them away, saying: "Aw now, Johnny!" and Johnny
would quiet.

The perspiration stood out on her upper lip and there were shadows,
deeper than even Irish ones should be, beneath her eyes.  The sun
beat in cruelly at one window which was minus a shade.  At another
the shade was torn and run up crookedly.

In the hall there was the sound of a scuffle, then a smart slap, and
a child's whimpering wail.

"What's--that?" came in a feeble voice from the bedroom off the
kitchen.

"It's the new gent in the flat across whackin' his kid," answered the
small girl.

"Oh," was the weak answer, and again there was quiet, broken by the
sizzle of hot fat, the tireless buzz of the flies, and now and then
the little boy's cry.

"Here, Johnny," commanded the small maiden, "come have your face
washed off."  Johnny objected.  She picked him up with decision, and
set him on the table with resounding emphasis, where he screamed
loudly during the rite.

The door opened.  A man in overalls came in.  "Hello, Paw," said
Cecilia Evangeline Agnes Madden.  He answered her with a grunt and
kicked off his heavy shoes.

"Gawd, it's hot!" he said with his first contribution to the
conversation.  "Two Dagos got sunstruck.  One of 'em he just went
like a goldfish outa water, keeled over, then flop,--flop.  The Boss
he up an'--"

"Supper, Paw," said Cecilia.  She pushed a chair up to the
oil-clothed table, and the man settled, beginning to eat loudly.  He
stopped and pointed with his knife to the bedroom door.  "How's she?"
he asked in a grating whisper.

"She ain't so good," answered the small girl.  Her eyes filled with
tears and she turned away her face.

"Maw--Maw--Maw!" cried Johnny.

"Aw now!" said his sister while she picked up his hot little person
to comfort him.

"Maw--Maw!" he echoed.

Cecilia looked up.  Her eyes were like those of a small dog that has
been whipped.  "I ain't the same," she said across his brick-dust
curls.  "He wants _her_, I ain't the same.  I do my best, but I ain't
her."

The man laid aside his knife.  He set his teeth on his lower lip, and
then he asked a question as if afraid to.

"Has the doctor been here?"

"Yes," answered Cecilia.

"Whatud he say?"

"He sez she wasn't so good.  He sez she wouldn't be no better 'til
the weather was cooler an'--"

"Celie!" came in the voice from the bedroom.  Cecilia put down Johnny.

"Yes, Maw," she answered gently.

"Celie!" came again in almost a scream.  Celie vanished.  She
reappeared in a few moments.  She was whiter than before.

"She throwed up fierce," she said to her father; "something fierce,
an' all black.  Don't you want no coffee?"  The man shook his head.
He reached for his shoes.

"Where yuh goin'?" asked Cecilia.

"Doctor's," she was answered.  He went into the bedroom.  "Well, old
woman," he said loudly, "how yuh feelin', better?"  The thin creature
on the bed nodded, and tried to smile.  The smile was rather
dreadful, for it pulled long lines instead of bringing dimples.  Her
blue lips stretched and the lower cracked.  A drop of blood stood out
on it.

"Gawd, it was hot to-day," said the man.  He settled by her bed in a
broken-backed chair.  She stretched out a thin hand toward him.

"Mary--!" he said, then choked.

"Aw, Jerry!" said the woman.  In her voice was little Cecilia's tone
of patience, with the lilt removed by a too hard life.

"Do yuh feel _some_ better?" he entreated.

"Sure--I do.  Gimme that glass of water--"  She drank a mouthful and
again vomited rackingly.

"Oh, Gawd!" said Jeremiah Madden.  He laid a rough hand on her
forehead and she pulled it down against her cheek.

"Jerry," she said between long gasps, "I been happy.  I want you
should always remember that I been happy.  Awful happy, Jerry."

"Oh, Gawd, Mary!" said the man.  "If I'd a knew how hard you'd a had
to work, I wouldn't have brung yuh!"

"Don't!" she begged.  "Don't say that!"  She looked at him, time
faded, and with it a hot and smelling flat.  She stood on a
wind-swept moor.  Jerry, only eighteen, stood by her.  His arm was
around her with that reverent touch that comes in Irish love.  "I'll
send fer yuh," he'd said, "after I make me fortune in America."

She had cried and clung to him.  With her touch, reason and a rolling
moor had faded for him.  "I can't leave you," he had said, "I can't!
Mary, you come with me."  And Mary had come.  Those days had been
beautiful....  But fortunes in America did not come as advertised.
Sometimes Mary thought of green turf, and the gentle drip-drip of
fog, like rain.  That rain that came so often....  Now she thought of
it more than ever.  She hoped that the Virgin would allow her a
little corner of Heaven that would look like an Irish moor....  The
gold the priest talked of was "grand," but heresy or not, she wanted
a bit of green, with the gentle drip of rain on it.

Jeremiah bent and kissed her.  Then he rubbed the spot of blood of
her lip from his.  "It wasn't no mistake," he said.  Her eyes grew
moist.

"Jerry," she said, "Celie is a good kid.  She kin do fer yuh.  Ain't
she, right along?  She won't give yuh no trouble neither.  But the
kid--he ain't so easy.  It's the kids growin' up in America better'n
their folks, that go to the devil.  Watch him, Jerry, watch him good.
Won't yuh now?"  The man nodded; she closed her eyes.  After a few
moments that throbbed with the heat of the flat, she spoke again.

"Jerry," she said.

"Darlin'?"

"It's this way, Jerry.  I always wanted to be a lady--"

"Yuh are!" he interrupted hotly.

[Illustration: "NOW LAUGH!  PAW'S COMING HOME AND HE NEEDS ALL OUR
LAUGHS"]

"No," she stated quietly, "I ain't, an' I always thought I could be.
The Irish learns fast.  It's this way, Jerry; if ever the time comes
when you get money, you send Celie to one of them schools that learns
'em French and drawin' and such, Jerry, will yuh?"

"Before Gawd, I will, Mary.  If I ever kin."

She closed her eyes and slept quietly, clinging to his hand.


The next day was Sunday so Jeremiah went to Mass and heard it with
especial intention.  If his thoughts were more on the gentle Saint
slowly dying in a hot flat than on the Gentle Mother, who can blame
him.

Jeremiah went from the baroqued church vastly comforted, and
painfully aware of his Sunday collar, which had rough edges.  Cecilia
had rubbed soap on it, but it still scratched.  Outside Jeremiah
went, not in the direction of his home, but in the other.  He passed
a beggar's entreating wail, and then retraced his steps to bestow a
penny,--and even pennies were not easily spared.  Jerry was still a
little child at heart.  He was courting divine favour.  He needed God
and all the Saints on his side.

After a brisk walk of many blocks he turned into a house with a
doctor's sign on it.  The office was crowded; he sat, outwardly
submissive, to wait his turn.  "Blessed Mother," he prayed, "make him
mak'er well.  Mother of the Saviour--" his thoughts were a chaos.  "A
gold heart!" he promised rashly, even while he remembered the unpaid
grocer's bill.  A woman with a pallid skin and hacking cough crept
from the office.  Across from him a boy exhibited a burn to an
interested neighbour.  "Blessed Mother,--" entreated Jeremiah, even
while his eyes saw the burn and he wondered how it had happened.

A crisp young person in white, who gave an impression of great
coolness, said, "Your turn next."  Jerry jumped and got up.  Two
little girls, at the Sheraton period in legs, giggled loudly at his
jump, but Jerry didn't notice.  He stopped on the threshold of the
inner office.  He twirled his hat in his hands.  "Mister," he said,
"it's my wife I come about."  The doctor had been up all night.
Added to his fact was the fact that he was fitted, emotionally, to
run a morgue.

"Name?" growled the doctor.  Jeremiah Madden sank to a chair and told
his name, of his wife, and how sick she was.  He also interspersed a
few facts about Irish moors, love and business in America.  And he
ended with: "An my doc he sez' no one can save her but Doctor Van
Dorn.  He's the cancer man of New York.  The only one who can
possibly save her!  He sez that," repeated Jeremiah.  "Oh fer Gawd's
sake, Doc!  I can't pay yuh now but--"

The doctor swung about in his swivel chair.  "My time is entirely
mortgaged," he stated curtly.  "I can't keep up to my work.  Your
wife will probably die anyway; accept the inevitable.  You couldn't
pay me, and I haven't the time.  All New York bothers me.  Good
morning."

He turned back to his desk.  Jeremiah went toward the door.  His step
was a blind shuffle.  Hand on the knob, he paused.  "Doc," he said,
"I love her so, an' the little kids, they need her.  I feel like
she'd live if you'd help her.  I promise I'd pay.  All my life I'd
pay an' thank Gawd I could--" he stopped.  The doctor moved his
shoulders impatiently.

"The Virgin will reward yuh--" said Jeremiah.  "Oh, Doc!  Fer Gawd's
sake!"

"Good morning," answered the doctor with another impatient move of
his shoulders.  Jeremiah left.  A young person in crisp white said,
"Your turn next, Madam."  Madam went in.  "Oh, Doctor, my heart--"
she began.  The doctor got up to move her chair so that the light
would not trouble her.


Jeremiah spent the morning in going from office to office.  First he
told the unfavourable report of his doctor.  He met sympathy in some
quarters, curt refusals in others, and worst of all he sometimes met:
"Cancer of the stomach?  Not much chance--"

At half after one, sick from the sunlight of the cruelly hot streets,
he turned into an office for his last try.  He felt numb....  His
tongue was thick.  He looked with resentment on a well-dressed woman
who waited opposite him.  "Flowers on her bunnit," he thought, "while
my Mary--"  He thought of his hard labour and, with bitterness, of
the "Boss."  He had never felt this way before.  If he'd had money,
he reflected, how quickly that first doctor would have helped him....
The other refusals had come from truer reasons.  His own doctor's
report, although Jeremiah didn't realise this, had stopped all
efforts.  If the doctor had said no one but Van Dorn could help her,
Lord, what chance had they?  This was their line of reason.

Jeremiah sat in the outer waiting room.  At last his turn came.  The
doctor looked tired; he was gruff in his questions.  "I'll come with
you and look at her," he said at last.  Jeremiah felt a sob rise in
his throat.  The doctor rang a bell.

"Tell Miss Evelyn," he said to the maid who answered him, "that we'll
have to give up our drive this afternoon.  She's my little girl," he
explained to Jeremiah.  "Her mother's dead,--I don't see as much of
her as I should.  A doctor has no business with a family.  I'm ready.
Come on."

They went out by a back door, leaving an office full of patients.
The sun was hot.  Jeremiah prayed fervently even while he answered
the doctor's questions and responded to his pleasantries.  At last
they came to the building which held Jeremiah's home.  They mounted
the long stairs.  Two or three children, playing on them, stopped
their squabbling and looked after the doctor with awe.

"He's got a baby in that case," said one, a fat little girl with
aggressive pig-tails.

"There is too many now," said a boy.  "They don't all get fed, and
they're all beat up fierce.  Our teacher in that there corner mission
sez as how Gawd is love.  Why don't he come down here an' love?"

There was an awed silence after this.  Outright heresy as it was, the
immediate descent of a thunderbolt was expected.


Upstairs Jeremiah opened the door of the flat.  The kitchen was full
of women.  Several of them sobbed loudly....  Johnny Madden sat on
the table, eating a piece of bread thickly spread with molasses.  On
seeing Jeremiah the women were suddenly silent.  Jeremiah swayed and
leaned against the door.

The small Cecilia heard him and came from the bedroom.

"Paw," she said, "I'll do all I kin fer yuh.  I always will....  She
was happy.  She sez as how she seen green fields an' rain."  Jeremiah
took her in his arms.  He hid his face against her thin little
shoulder.  His shook.  Cecilia was very quiet.  She had not cried.
She looked over her father's head at the roomful of gaping women.
Something flashed across her face.  Her teeth set.

"She always wanted a bunnit with pink roses on it," said Cecilia.  "I
don't see why Gawd didn't give her jest _one_."

The man sobbed convulsively and Cecilia remembered him.  "She was
happy," Cecilia said in a less assured tone.  "She sez as how she
seen green fields with rain on 'em like Ireland."



CHAPTER II

THE VISION OF A PROMISED LAND

As Mrs. Madden had said, "The kids that grow up better than their
folks go to the devil."  Cecilia felt this at eleven, for she was all
of Johnny's mother, and the role was a difficult one.  She had
learned to spat him and kiss him judiciously, and at the proper
times.  She had learned to understand his marble games and to coax
him into attendance at Catechism.

Cecilia had begun to understand a great many things at eleven that
some of us never understand.  One thing made learning easy for
her,--she loved so greatly that she was often submerged into the
loved, and so saw their viewpoint.

"Paw," said Cecilia.  She had turned about on the piano stool, and
Jeremiah looked up from his paper.  "Well?" he questioned.

"I been thinking," she said, "that it would be genteel to ask the
priest to supper.  It ain't as though we hadn't a hired girl to do
fer us, an' it would be polite."

"That's so, that's so," said Jeremiah.  He laid aside his paper.
"You're like your maw," he added.  Cecilia knew he was pleased.  She
smiled happily.

"An' have ice-cream?" suggested the interested Jeremiah.

"Yes," said Cecilia, "an' chicken, an' fried potatoes, an' waffles,
an' of course pie, an' biscuits, an' suchlike.  I'd like to entertain
Father McGowan, he's been good to us."

"Yes," answered Jeremiah.  They were both silent.  The vision of an
overcrowded and smelling flat had come to sober them.  Also the
memory that always went with it....  "Play me 'The Shepherd Boy,'"
said Jeremiah.  He closed his eyes while Cecilia banged it out in
very uneven tempo, owing to difficulties in the bass.

Johnny came in.  He sat down on a lounge covered with a green and red
striped cloth.  He looked at Jeremiah with a supercilious expression.

"The other fellahs' fathers wears their shoes in the house," he
stated coldly.  "The Shepherd Boy" stopped suddenly.  Cecilia went
toward the "parlor."  "Johnny!" she called on reaching it.  Johnny
followed meekly.  The parlor was the torture chamber.  When he went
in Cecilia put her hands on his shoulders.

"Johnny," she said in her gentle little way.  "Um?" he answered,
wriggling beneath her hands.

"Johnny," she repeated, "it ain't polite to call down your paw."

"But Celie," objected John, "he ain't like the other fellahs'
fathers.  They wears collars an' shoes, _all_ the time."

"I know, dear," said Cecilia.  "I know, but it ain't polite to call
down your paw, an' nothing can make it so."

"Aw right," answered John sullenly.  Cecilia leaned over and kissed
him.  John didn't mind, "none of the fellahs being around."  He went
back to the living room.  Jeremiah had put on his shoes.  He looked
at Johnny, awaiting his approval.


"An' Norah," said Cecilia, excited to the point of hysteria, "you see
that I get the plate with the crack in it, an' the glass with the
piece outa it."

"Sure, I will," answered Norah.  "Now go 'long."

Cecilia went to the dining room.  They were going to eat there,
because they were going to have company.  Norah was not going to sit
down with them either.  It was to be most formal and "elegant."

And now for the decorations.  Cecilia put on two candlesticks, each
at a corner of the table.  They did not match, but why be particular?
Then she took a bunch of peonies, and, removing all foliage, jammed
them tightly in a vase that had the shape of a petrified fibroid
growth, and had accumulated gilt, and a seascape for decoration.

"It looks bare," said Cecilia.  She went to her room and brought out
a new hair-ribbon, worn only twice.  She unearthed this from below a
hat trimmed with pink roses.  The hat was gorgeous and beautiful, but
she could not wear it....  Looking on "bunnits with pink roses on
'em" always made her a little sick.  The hair-ribbon was tied around
the vase in a huge bow.  Cecilia stood off to admire.

"Norah!" she called.

Norah appeared.  "Ain't that grand?" she commented.  "Now ain't it?"

"Well," answered Cecilia, "I don't care if I do say it, I think it's
pretty swell!  Norah, you use the blue glass butter dish, won't you?"

"Sure," answered Norah, and then with mutters of waffle batter, she
disappeared.  Cecilia stood a moment longer looking at the table in
all its beauty.  The plates were upside down.  Napkins (that all
matched) stood upright in tumblers.  The knives and forks were
crossed in what was to Cecilia the most artistic angle.

"It's grand!" she said with a little catch in her breath.  "Just
_swell_!"  Then with a backward glance, she vanished.  "I hope paw'll
like it," she muttered as she went upstairs.


Father McGowan was a charming guest.  He looked at the decorations
and then on the small Cecilia with softened eyes: "Now I'll bet you
fixed this beautiful table!" he said.  Cecilia nodded, speechless.
She drew a long, shaky breath.  Life was so beautiful....  Father
McGowan put his hand on her curls.  (She sat next to him at the
table.)  His touch was very gentle.

"Good little woman?" inquired the priest of Jeremiah.

"She's maw and all to all of us," answered Jeremiah.  There was a
silence while they ate.

"This chicken," said Father McGowan, "is fine!"

"It's too brown, I'm afraid," answered Cecilia with the deprecatory
attitude proper while speaking of one's own food.  Her father looked
at her with pride.  The priest's eyes twinkled.

"Paw," said Cecilia, leaning across the table and putting her hand on
her father's, "tell Father McGowan how yuh hit the boss on the ear
with the brick."  Jeremiah sat back in his chair, first laying his
knife and fork with the eating ends on the plate and the others on
the cloth.  He drew a long breath and told a long tale, at which the
priest laughed heartily.  He ended it thus: "An' I sez, 'I ain't
_dee_pendent on no man.  Yuh can do yer own brick layin' an' here's
one to start with!'"  With that Jerry had hit him on the ear.  It was
a dramatic tale, and one which made Cecilia swell with pride over a
wonderful paw!

The priest leaned across the table.  "Have you a patent protection on
those bricks?" he asked.

"Why, no," answered Jeremiah.  The priest talked long and fast.
Cecilia could not understand all of what he said, but he mentioned
unusual qualities of Jeremiah's product.  His own knowledge of such
things came through a brother in the same business.  The necessity of
a little risk and a big push.  He talked loudly, and excitedly.  He
mentioned Cecilia and John as the incentive to gain....  He spoke of
what he knew to be true of Jeremiah's product.  Jeremiah sat very
silent.  If what the priest said were true!  They went to the living
room, where, over a pitcher of beer, there was more talk,
incomprehensible to Cecilia.

Then the priest smiled, and said: "All right, Jerry.  In five years
you'll be a millionaire.  Now, Cecilia, I want to hear a piece."
Cecilia sat down to play "The Shepherd Boy."  Her fingers trembled so
that it wasn't as good as usual, but the priest was pleased.  Then
she left, and wiped the rest of the dishes for Norah.  Norah said
that the priest was a "swell talker" and that she hadn't minded the
extra work.

Cecilia went up to bed very happy.  She slipped out of her pink silk
dress and hung it in the closet.  As she reached up, a hat, all over
bobbing roses, slid from the closet shelf to the floor.  Cecilia's
smile faded.  She put it back, and shut the door.



CHAPTER III

THE FIRST STEP INTO CANAAN

Cecilia stood in her bedroom in the new house.  The paper in her
bedroom was pink and hung in panels.  At the top of each panel was a
hip-diseased, and goitered cupid, who threw roses around,--roses that
looked like frozen cabbages, and stuck in the air as if they'd been
glued there.  Father Madden had picked out the paper as a surprise
for Celie.  When she had seen it she had gasped and then kissed him
very hard.  He had said, "There, Celie, I knew you'd like it."

After he had gone Cecilia had looked around and said, "Oh, dear--Oh,
dear!"  Roses always had made her sick, and even to Cecilia, the
paper was "pretty bad."  And Cecilia had kissed him hard and said she
loved it.

Some one tapped on the door.

"Come," said Cecilia.

"Father McGowan's down," said Norah with a point of her finger over
her left shoulder.  "An' the man's down with doughnuts, too." Cecilia
laughed.  Norah's mode of announcement always made people sound
diseased.  Cecilia had a mental picture of a man in the throes of
doughnuts--with them breaking out all over his person.

"You can take a dozen and a half," said Cecilia, referring to the
doughnut-man, "because Johnny likes them so."

Norah didn't move, but stood in the doorway surveying the tumbled
room.  A trunk stood in the centre, lid thrown back.  From it exuded
frills and tails.  The bed was piled high with more frilly garb.
Norah sniffed loudly.  Suddenly, there were sobs and then she
dissolved into many tears.  "I dunno how we can do without yuh!" she
explained in gulps.  "Me, and Johnny and your paw.  Aw, _Celie_!"
Cecilia put her arms around the troubled Norah.  She looked very near
tears herself.

"I would rather stay with you, but maw wanted me learned to be a
lady," she said.  Her chin set.  "I gotta do it," she added.  "Paw
promised her."  Norah sniffed and took the apron from her face.  "I
know yuh gotta, dearie," she answered.  Celie put her arms around the
damp Norah.  "Norah," she said, "you will be very good to Johnny and
paw?  When Johnny wants paw to wear collars all the time, you take
him out and give him doughnuts to divert him, will yuh?"  Norah
nodded.  She was sniffing again.

"And, Norah," went on Celie, "don't let the new cook use the blue
glass butter dish everyday."

"N-no, dearie," answered Norah.  She still stood irresolute by the
door.  "Celie," she said, "when they learn yuh to be a lady, don't
let 'em learn yuh not to love us."

"I'll _always_ love you all," answered Cecilia.  Her eyes filled with
tears, and she kissed Norah.


Downstairs Father McGowan sat looking at a gilt cabinet decorated
with forget-me-nots, and a variety of chrysanthemums never seen on
sea or land.  On the top shelf of the cabinet was a brick, lying on a
red velvet bed.  Father McGowan smiled and then sobered.  He
remembered a night three years past when he had pointed out
possibilities to Jeremiah Madden, possibilities in the manufacture of
the humble brick.  The possibilities had amounted to more than even
he had anticipated.  Sometimes he questioned what he had done....
His hope lay in Cecilia.  The boy, he was afraid, would not be helped
by money.  Perhaps he'd turn out well.  Father McGowan hoped so.
He'd bet on Cecilia anyway.  She'd use money in the right way in a
few more years.

There was a rustle at the door.  Cecilia, in a new gown bought to
wear at the "swell school," came in.

"Father McGowan, dear!" she said.

"Cecilia Madden, dear!" he answered.  They both laughed, and then
settled.

"Have you come to tell me to be a good girl at the swell school?" she
questioned.  The father was silent.  He was looking at Cecilia's
dress.  The dress was of purple silk with a green velvet vest.  There
were ribbons looped carelessly on its gorgeousness too.

"Little Celie," said Father McGowan, "I want to tell you things and I
can't.  Now if you had a mother!  Sometimes women do come in handy."

Cecilia nodded.

"I want to tell you," said Father McGowan, looking hard at the brick,
"not to be hurt if at first the girls are stand-offish like.  That's
their way."

"Oh, no," said Cecilia.  "I won't be, but I think they'll be nice.
Mrs. De Pui says they're all of the best families with wonderful home
advantages."

"Hum--" grunted Father McGowan.  He did not seem much impressed.  He
still gave the brick his undivided attention.  "And," he went on, "if
you should get lonely, remember that there's one Lady you can always
tell your troubles to.  She won't laugh, and she always listens."

"Oh, _yes_!" said Cecilia, and she crossed herself.

Father McGowan drew a long breath.  "Now," he said, "remember that if
your clothes are different from theirs that your father has plenty of
money to buy new ones for you.  Remember that.  A penance is all
right, but not at fourteen."

"Why, my clothes are beautiful!" said Cecilia.  She looked
bewildered.  "They're all silk and lace and velvet, and I haven't a
low heeled pair of shoes.  _French_ heels, Father McGowan, dear!"

"Cecilia Madden, dear," said Father McGowan.  His look was
inscrutable.  He laid a hand on her hair.  His touch was very gentle.
"Most of all," he said, "remember never to be ashamed of your people,
and always to love them.  Love those who love you.  Reason the truth
out in your heart, and don't accept the standards of little Miss
Millionairess, because she is that.  Understand?"

"Yes," replied Cecilia, "I understand, but Father McGowan, I would
always love paw.  Wearing shoes and collars in the house is just the
trimmings," she stated bravely.  "His heart is genteel."

"Saint Cecilia!" said Father McGowan in a low voice, and then he
muttered a few words in Latin.  Cecilia did not understand them, but
she bowed her head and crossed herself, and felt strong.

After Father McGowan left she stood in front of a mirror admiring a
purple silk dress with green velvet trimmings.  "Holy Mary," she said
with quickly closed eyes, "help me not to be too stuck on my
clothes!"  When she opened her eyes she looked into the mirror.  "Oh,
it's grand!" she whispered.  "I am almost pretty in it!"  She drew a
long, shaking breath.


The room in which Cecilia waited, while not at all like her home,
impressed her.  Most of the furniture looked old, and some of it
showed a cracking veneer.  The clock especially needed repair.  It
was a grandfather one, and had inlaid figures of white wood on the
dark.  Cecilia wondered vaguely if it couldn't be repaired and shone
up?  Dilapidated as she thought the furnishing, yet it left an
impress.  Two girls entered the room, they looked at Cecilia and
tried not to smile.  Cecilia wondered uncomfortably if her hat were
on crooked, or whether her red silk petticoat hung out.

They selected books from a low case with leisure, then left.  Outside
the door Cecilia heard them giggle.  One of them said, "Some one's
cook."

"Every one has trouble with cooks," thought Cecilia.  Then she looked
down and forgot cooks.  Her shoes were so beautiful!  Pointed toes
and high of heels.  And her suit now, all over braid and buttons,
with a touch of red here and there!

Even those giggling girls must have been impressed.  Their clothes
had been so plain.  Cecilia pitied them.  She decided to give them a
"tasty" hair-ribbon now and then....  The waiting was so long.  She
wished Mrs. De Pui would come.  She thought of paw and Johnny and her
eyes filled with hot tears.

"Oh," she thought miserably, "if Johnny just won't reform paw!
People are so happy when they aren't reforming or being reformed!"

Again she saw the station at which she'd started for Boston, her
father and Johnny both sniffing.  She was so glad she hadn't cried.
She had so wanted to!  Her breath caught in her throat.  "Please,
Gawd," she made mental appeal, "make them learn me to be a lady
quick!"

Weren't they _ever_ coming?

The shabby clock tick-tick-ticked.  The sun lowered and made more
slanting rays on the floor.  A maid, very smart in uniform, came in.
She gave Cecilia a guilty look, then said: "This way.  Mrs. De Pui
will see you upstairs."

"Yes, ma'am," answered Cecilia.  She followed humbly.  The maid
decided that her forgetfulness hadn't made much difference.  She
didn't think that _that_ would report her....  Cecilia went upstairs
after the slender black figure.  Her heart beat sickeningly.  There
were voices from the door at which the maid paused.  Cecilia saw some
girls sitting around a table at which a white-haired woman was
pouring tea.

"Oh," said Cecilia impulsively, "I'm interrupting yuh at yer supper."

"No," answered Mrs. De Pui, faintly smiling; "come in.  You are
Cecilia?"

Cecilia nodded.  Somehow the sobs that had been kept in all day,
were, at the first kind voice, very near the surface.  The girls
smiled at each other.  Cecilia wondered about her hat, or perhaps her
petticoat hung out below her skirt?  Mrs. De Pui motioned her to a
chair.

"Annette," she said, "give our new friend some tea."

"How do you take your tea?" questioned Annette crisply.

"Milk," answered Cecilia, "an' sugar if yuh have it."  She reddened.
Of course they would have it.  She wished she hadn't said that!  She
stared in acute embarrassment at her feet.  Some one gave her a cup
of tea, some one else a sandwich.  She dipped it in the tea, then she
remembered that that was not proper and reddened again.  At that move
the young person called Annette had suddenly choked and held her
handkerchief over her mouth.  The other girls looked into their cups,
with the corners of their lips twitching.

A fat and dumpy-looking girl seated a little out of the group looked
at Cecilia with sympathy.  Mrs. De Pui spoke of a recent exhibition
of water colours, with her well-bred tones trickling over the
inanities she uttered, and making them sound like a reflection of
thought....  Even the sun looked cold to Cecilia.

"I wish I was back in the flat," she thought, and then: "I wonder if
I can bear it!"



CHAPTER IV

LEARNING

A month had passed.  Cecilia quite understood what Father McGowan had
meant about clothes.  Cecilia wore no more French heels.  She had
taken down her hair and discarded her beautiful rhinestone hair-pins.
Father McGowan too, it seemed, had been responsible for her
admittance to the school.  Cecilia had found out from Mrs. De Pui
that he had written a book!  This astounding fact had been divulged
after Mrs. De Pui, more than usually tried by Cecilia, had said:
"Your entrance here has been rather difficult for me.  You see, of
course, that the other girls' advantages have not been yours?"

"Oh, yes, Mrs. De Pui," answered Cecilia, and swallowed hard.

"Realising that, my dear," continued Mrs. De Pui, "I hope that you
will do your utmost to develop a womanly sympathy, and broaden your
character."

Cecilia said somewhat breathlessly that she would try to, very, very
hard!  "And," went on Mrs. De Pui, then coughed, "desist from the use
of such words as 'elegant,'--'refined' (which, when used at all, is
re_fine_d, not 'r_ee_fined'), and 'grand.'  Such words, my dear
Cecilia, are not used in----" (Mrs. De Pui nearly said polite
society, but swallowed it with a horrified gulp) "are not used by
persons of cultivation," she finished weakly.

Cecilia vanished.  She went to her lonely room.  (There were no
room-mates.)  She settled on the bed.  By the bed, on a chair, was a
pink silk dress.  It had been her star play, and after a month of
boarding school she was going to give it to the maid.  The maid was
_so_ friendly!

There were two letters on the small dressing table.  Cecilia got them
and read:


"Celie girl, we miss you.  It ain't like it was in the house.  I hope
they are learning you good and the board is good.  I hope they treat
you good.  Father McGowan was here last night.  He sez he will go to
see you soon.  Johnny is well.  Norah sez your cat is lonely too.
Your father with love,

"J. MADDEN."


The other was a line from John.  A petulant line, full of querulous
complaint of a collarless father, redeemed to Cecilia by a word or
two at the end.

"You were so good to me, Celie.  I know it now."  She threw herself
down on the bed.  Her shoulders shook miserably.  Tears wet a once
loved pink silk dress, "all over beads and lace."

Upstairs in another room, a group of girls were laughing
uncontrollably.  "You know she actually invited Annie to _sit_ down!"
said one.  (Annie was the slender maid.)

"That is not r_ee_fined," answered Annette.  There was more wild
laughter.

"_Do_ ask her up to-night," suggested a tawny haired maiden with
cat-green eyes.  "_Do!_  It would be simply _screamingly_ funny!"

Annette, although one of the most unkind, objected.  "It doesn't seem
quite nice," she said.  However, as the idea promised fun, the
majority ruled.

Cecilia answered the tap on her door.  "Come up to your room
to-night?" she echoed after the invitation.  "Oh, Miss Annette, I'd
be that glad to come!" she smiled, and her smile was like sunshine
after rain.

"I _do_ thank you!" she said.  "I do!"

Annette turned away.  Cecilia closed the door, then she covered her
eyes.  "Gawd, thank you ever so much!" she whispered, "thank you!  I
_have_ been so lonely!  Make them love me.  Please make them love me,
Gawd."  Then she lifted her head.  Her face shone.  "I wonder what I
shall wear?" she said.


To meet the ideal of one's dreams while carrying a sick cat is
humiliating.  And that is what happened to Cecilia Evangeline Agnes
Madden.  Her shadowy dream-knight had materialised into human shape
through a photograph.  And she met him while chaperoning a sick cat.

Two weeks before she had gone to a party in Annette Twombly's room.
She'd not enjoyed the party very much, in fact she'd been rather
unhappy until she saw the photograph.  After that she didn't care
what happened.  All the romance of the Celt had leaped....  Her
shadowy dreams took form.  The ideal lover developed a body.

"Oh, your _heavenly_ cousin, Annette!" said the green-eyed.  "I
_adore_ his hair!" She stood before a large photograph, framed
elaborately.

"He _is_ a sweet boy," Annette had responded, "but so particular!  I
never knew any one quite so fastidious.  It is _fearfully_ hard to
please him!"

"Does he get crushes?" asked the green-eyed.

"My dear," said Annette, "it would be impossible.  He's terribly
intellectual and all that, and girls so easily offend him.  He
doesn't say so, but he simply stops paying them any attention."

The group gathered about the picture to admire.  It showed a rather
nice looking boy, with an outdoor flavour, and eyes that
questioned....  The face was too young to have character.

"He's had on long trousers for six years!" said Annette.  There was a
hushed silence.  "Isn't he _divine_!" gurgled one young person at
length.  Cecilia had only looked.  The shadowy dream man vanished.
The picture boy took his place.


This day Cecilia walked alone as usual.  Mrs. De Pui was an advocate
of trust as a developer of "womanly instinct," so on a stipulated
number of streets, the girls were allowed to walk unchaperoned.  They
went in little groups, all except Cecilia.  She was her own small
group.

To-day she walked alone, at least it seemed so, but by her Cecilia
felt K. Stuyvesant Twombly.  "I admire art," he was saying.  His
voice, curiously enough, was Mrs. De Pui's.

"So do I," agreed Cecilia.  "Beauty develops us, the best of us, and
brings a shining light into the soul."  Cecilia stopped.  Then
because she was very truthful she went on: "That is not original.
The man who lectures us on Art said it.  He has whiskers and false
teeth, I believe, for they click when he says, 'Renaissance.'" ...
"Oh, Heavens!" thought Cecilia, "I will never be a lady.  That would
not be the way to talk to the ideal man.  About teeth!--false ones!"

Then the cat had appeared.  Rather Cecilia had nearly walked on it.
It was a limp little grey and white heap, its fur half wet from the
gutter, and eyes half closed.

"Poor pussy," said Cecilia.  "You look like I feel when I'm with them
what have social advantages.  Poor pussy!"  She was very tender
toward it.  She leaned above it, then picked it up.  "I will bribe
Annie, with dresses, to feed it," she thought.  The cat began to be
violently ill.  Cecilia put it down.

"I say!" came in a rather husky voice, "Pussy needs some
Mothersill's, doesn't she?"

Cecilia didn't understand the allusion, but she looked up smiling.
The voice had been attractively hearty.  After she looked up, she
gasped.

"What are you going to do with it?" went on the young man.

"I thought I'd take it to my school and get the hired girl,--I mean
maid,--to feed it."

"No," objected K. Stuyvesant; "it's poisoned.  We'll take it to a
drug store and get them to kill it."

"Oh, _no_!" said Cecilia.

"See here," said the boy, "the cat will die.  I've had dogs of mine
poisoned.  It's the most merciful thing to have it killed.  It'll
only suffer and drag its life out if you take it home."

"I see," said Cecilia.  "I suppose you know.  It's just as you say."

"Good kid," he commented.  His comment called forth an agony and
elation.  Cecilia wished for the longer dresses with which she'd come
to school.  The boy picked up the cat gently and wrapped his
handkerchief about it.

"Come on," he said.  "Drug store around the corner."

Cecilia followed.  She could not keep up to him.  Half the time she
ran.  The whole affair was humiliating.

"Thank the Lord no one saw me!" said the boy when they got inside the
drug store.  He looked at Cecilia.  They both laughed.

"Sit down," he said.  "I'm going to buy you a soda."  Cecilia sat
down.  "Choclut," she ordered.  He sat down opposite her, and put his
arms on the sticky little table.  He thought he looked on the
prettiest child he'd ever seen....  She seemed entirely and only a
child.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Cecilia Evangeline Agnes Madden," she answered.

"Well, Cecilia Evangeline," he said, "don't try to eat the bottom of
the glass; I'm wealthy to-day.  I'm going to buy you another soda!"

"Oh," answered Cecilia, "I really oughtn't."  At a motion the clerk
bent above her.  "C-could I have a sundae?" asked Cecilia.  The boy
laughed and nodded.

"Peach," said Cecilia, "with a good deal of whipped cream on top, if
you please!" She smiled frankly on K. Stuyvesant.  "I'm having a
_fine_ time!" she said.  Her sentimental dreams of him had vanished.
He didn't talk a bit like the phantom, but he was _nicer_!

"What's your name, please?" she asked.  She knew, but little Cecilia
at fourteen was a woman.

"Keefer Stuyvesant Twombly," he answered.  "Rotten name.  Imagine
being hailed as 'Keefer'!  It sounds like some one's butler.  It
isn't a nice name, is it, Evangeline Cecilia?"

"No," said Cecilia.  "But then, you are nice.  Names and things are
just trimmings.  _You_ are nice," she repeated.

"So are you," returned the boy, "and I'll _bet_ you're Irish!"

"_How_ did you know?" asked Cecilia, wide-eyed.  "How did you know?"


"And there she sat," said the green-eyed, "laughing with him in the
most brazen way, and he bought her two sodas!"

"How vulgar," said Annette.  "Was he good looking?"

"Ravishing, my dear.  Alice thought that he looked like your cousin."

"That, of course, is impossible," said Annette coldly.  "He _does_
happen to be here.  He and his mother are at the Touraine.  But as
for his looking at any one like that Madden girl--!  How she got in
here, I can't imagine.  I think that it is an imposition to be asked
to meet her."

Annette surveyed her hair, and picked up a mirror.  "Did you tell
Mrs. De Pui?" she asked.

"Yes," answered the green-eyed; "I thought that it was my _duty_.  It
hurt me to do it, but I thought I _ought_ to.  We watched them for
the longest time.  We pretended to be looking at a window full of hot
water bottles."

Alice came in.  She picked up the photograph of K. Stuyvesant
Twombly.  She nodded at the green-eyed after she looked long....
Annette saw this in the glass and glared.



CHAPTER V

DISGRACE

The day had been terrible for Cecilia.  She had learned from Mrs. De
Pui that she had hopelessly offended....  What she had done, Mrs. De
Pui said, was an act suitable for one of the maids.  Mrs. De Pui was
pained.  She could not believe that one of her pupils, with the
womanly inspiration of the school set before her, could have so
offended.  It was unthinkable!

Cecilia wriggled, and swallowed with difficulty.

"Cultivate repose," ordered Mrs. De Pui coldly.  Cecilia stood so
rigidly that she looked like a wooden Indian.  One of the girls
entered.  She said, "Excuse me," and backed away, plainly much
interested.

"What was the boy's name, Cecilia?" asked Mrs. De Pui.  Cecilia
swallowed so hard that she shook.  "I don't know," she answered
loudly.

Then what Mrs. De Pui said was very terrible.  Cecilia crawled off at
last, white and shaking.  She groped for her door knob.  Things
before her were not very clear.  What Mrs. De Pui had said was very
terrible, but,--but the other, her first lie, uttered with that
brazen assurance....  She went in and threw herself across the
bed....  She didn't cry.  The hurt was too big.  So her dear father
and the fact that she was born in poverty made her an outcast?  If
so, she would stay so.  "Learn her to be a lady," the breeze that
came in through an inch opened window whispered.  Cecilia felt it,
and set her chin.

And Mrs. De Pui hadn't believed her story.  Hadn't believed her....
"One more try, Cecilia, although you are a great trial both to me and
my pupils," echoed through her brain in Mrs. De Pui's cold tones.
Cecilia sat upright on the bed.  "My heart's right," she said aloud.
"I believe it's better than Annette's.  Don't that count for nothing?
Ain't being kind being a lady?"  She stared sullenly across the room.
The white furniture glittered coldly.  From between the flutter of
scrim curtains she saw a painfully well arranged park.  Even the
trees were smugly superior.

"Gawd _was_ in that flat," she said, and again aloud.  A sentence
came to her mind.  A sentence that is shopworn and has been on the
top shelf for many years.  "I guess Gawd is what I feel fer paw,--"
she said, half musingly,--"Love.  An' fer Johnny, even when he's bad,
an' Father McGowan, dear, an' Norah.  Just that." ... She looked out
of the window and saw the painfully well regulated trees again.
"Them trees ain't so bad," she stated; "at least they ain't when I
remember that they love me at home."  Her face changed, for she
remembered some of Mrs. De Pui's well-aimed truths.  Her father,--his
difference.  It should always be hers, too, she decided.

Her first touch of hate came.  "Gawd, make me a lady quick!" she
implored.  Some one tapped on the door.  Cecilia opened it.  Annie
was there, beaming.  She held a long box with stems sticking out of
one end of it.  "Fer you, dearie," said Annie.  Cecilia opened the
box with trembling hands.  The box held pink roses, very, very pink
roses....  On the top lay a card.  On it was written in a loose,
boy-hand: "For little 'A-good-deal-of-whipped-cream-on-top.'"
Cecilia stared at the card, breathless.

"Annie," she-said at last, "ain't they lovely?"

"Aren't, dearie," corrected Annie, and then added, "You bet they are!
You bet!"  Cecilia lifted them reverently.  There were three dozens
of them.  Her years were such that numbers and prices still counted.

"Who shall I tell _her_ they're from?" asked Annie.  "Yuh got her
goat, yuh know."

"Father McGowan," answered Cecilia.  Suddenly the guilt of the other
lie, her shame over the act unthinkable, and her new realisation of
the standing of those she loved, slid from her soul.  She was wildly
happy.  She hugged Annie.

The white furniture didn't glitter coldly.  It smiled.  A crowded
flat was far away.  The trees in a smug park were beautiful.


"One new frock," read Father McGowan, "twenty-five dollars.  Hat,
fifteen.  'Madam Girard's skin food, and wrinkle remover,' two
dollars and fifty cents.  Flat-heeled shoes, seven dollars.  Taxi,
one dollar and fifty-two cents.  Church offering, ten cents."

Father McGowan threw back his head, and laughed loudly.  Jeremiah
Madden looked on him, bewildered.

"It's her cash account, yuh know.  Twenty-five dollars fer one
dress," he mused, with a pleased smile.  "_Ain't_ she learnin' quick?
But the letter," he added, with a perplexed frown appearing, "it
sounds _too_ happy.  The happiness is a little _too_ thick.  Smells
like she put it on with a paint brush jest fer show."

"Hum----" grunted Father McGowan.

He opened a pink letter sheet.  At the top of it a daisy was
engraved.  "I give her that paper," said Jeremiah proudly.  "She
_was_ tickled.  She sez as how none of the girls in school had
nothing like it."

"I believe it," replied Father McGowan.  There were heavy lines in
his face.  Cecilia's heart-ache lay on his shoulders, he felt, for he
had made the "Brick King."


"Darling Papa:" read Father McGowan, "I was so happy to hear from
you.  I read your letters over and over.  I love you very much.  I am
learning that that is the biggest thing in the world, loving people,
and having them love you.  I miss you, but of course I am happy.

"The School is elegant very nice, and I get enough to eat.  The view
from the front windows is swell beautiful.  It looks right out on the
Park, all over fancy foliage and rich people walking around.  I
sometimes walk there, and one little girl, awfully cute, with bare
legs and a nurse, likes me.  Yesterday she threw a kiss to me.  She
looked like Johnny when he was little, and we lived in the flat.  It
made me want to cry.

"I am very happy.  You do so much for me.  I will be very happy when
I can come home to you and Johnny, and we can have Father McGowan to
supper dinner every Saturday night.  I am sending some things that
look like fruit knives, but which are butter spreaders, and are used
to apply butter to bread, etc. (i.e., not to eat off of).

"I am very happy.  I went to one party in an exclusive girl's room.
It was kind of her to ask me.  I love you so much, Papa.  Please kiss
Johnny for me, and Norah.  Tell her to use the butter spreaders
daily.  (_All_ the time.)

"She need not cherish the blue glass butter dish any more.

"I do love you, dear Papa.  Your,

"CECILIA."

"P.S.: I send my respectful regards to Father McGowan, and thanks for
getting me into this exclusive School, which caters only to
sophisticated people with money.

"C."


"Well?" asked Jeremiah, after Father McGowan had laid down a pink
sheet of paper with an engraved daisy at the top.  "Well?"

"Hum," grunted Father McGowan, "Hum!"  He stared long at a brick
which lay on the top shelf of a gilt cabinet.  "I'm going up to
Boston," he said at length.  "I'll look in on our little Cecilia."

"Will yuh, now?" asked Jeremiah.  "It's kept me awake nights,
thinkin' that mebbe in spite of all the expense, she wasn't happy.  I
wanted to go up, but Johnny sez I wasn't suitable fer a girls'
school, being as I remove my collar absent-minded like (having always
did it)."

"You're suitable, all right," said Father McGowan, "but since I am
going up, I might as well attend to it.  Hard for you to leave
business, too."

"Yes," admitted Jeremiah happily.  He swelled and cast a loving eye
toward the brick.  Then he wilted.  The proud pleasure was gone.
"_She_ always wanted a bunnit with pink roses on," he said in a low
voice, "an' I couldn't never buy her none, an' now----!"

Father McGowan laid a hand on Jeremiah's.  "There, there, Jerry!" he
said.  "Think how happy you're making the children!"

A sallow boy came in.  He cast a sneering look at a limp figure in a
gilt chair.  Then, without a word, he picked up a book and went out.

Jeremiah's eyes were like a child's--the eyes of a frightened child.
"Sometimes," he said in a whisper, "I'm afraid he's _ashamed_ of me!"

"No!" exploded Father McGowan, "No!"


There is nothing like the scorn of the undetected guilty for those
who are exposed.  Cecilia was treated to fine scorn, supercilious
looks, and, worst of all, a chill overlooking; for she had allowed a
boy whom she'd never met to buy her a soda water and a pink sundae!
And,--what made the offence doubly revolting?--was the fact that the
boy was considered by the girls a man, and that those who had seen
him termed him "_Ravishing_, my dear!"  He,--but let us quote:
"Simply _Rav_ishing, my dear, with dark eyes and hair.  _Hon_estly,
he looked as if he had a secret sorrow, or was on the stage, or was
_fear_fully fast.  Something wonderfully interesting about him, you
know.  Why he would _ever_ look at _her_, I can't see,----" etc.

Cecilia sat in the corner of the shabby-impressive room.  She was
reading "Sordello" because it was required by the English teacher.
Cecilia wasn't a bit interested, and twice the book had slipped shut,
and she hadn't known at all where she'd left off, which was annoying;
she was afraid she might read one page twice, and she couldn't bear
the idea of that.  She wondered if this Browning person could have
made a success at manufacturing bricks?  She judged not.  He didn't
seem practical, but inwardly she was sure that he could have done
anything better than write poetry.  She really wondered quite a
little bit about him, but after the laughter of the class on her
question: "Is Mr. Browning an American or does he come from the Old
Country?" she had ceased to voice her speculations.

She turned the pages fretfully.  There were a great many more.  She
hoped that Mr. Browning was dead, so that he wouldn't write any more
stuff that they would be required to read.  Then she berated herself
soundly for this unholy wish.

Annette Twombly and a girl with tawny hair and green eyes came in.
When they saw Cecilia they raised their eyebrows.

"There seems to be _no_ privacy in this place!" said Annette.
Cecilia turned a page.

"And what is worse, my dear," answered the green-eyed, "one is
constantly called upon to meet persons socially inferior--the kind
suitable to the kitchen and associating with the policeman."

Cecilia had turned another page, but she had not read it.  The print
was jumping dangerously from the quick pump of her heart.  "I will
not move," she thought.  "I will not move, nor show them that I hear."

"Imagine allowing an unknown man to buy you sodas!" said Annette, who
was looking out of the window.  "Isn't it utterly _hope_less?"

There was a pained silence.  The hopelessness of it had evidently
eaten deeply into the systems of Annette and the green-eyed.

"Milk, an' sugar, if yuh have it," mimicked the green-eyed.  She
scored her point.  Cecilia's book closed.  She got up quickly and
went toward the door.  There she paused with her hand on the jamb.
"I hope it pleases you to make me so unhappy," she said quietly, "for
otherwise I don't know what you are accomplishing."  Then she went
upstairs to an always lonely room.  She closed the door gently and
lay across the bed, staring at the ceiling.  She never cried any
more.  She reached beneath the pillow.  Her cold and moist little
hand closed about the letter of a brick king.

"I love you!" she whispered fiercely.  "I shall make you proud of me,
but Maw, I'm glad you died before the roses came!  I'm glad!  I'm
glad! ... They have so _many_ thorns!"


The young ladies downstairs didn't giggle as usual.  They avoided
each other's eyes.  At last Annette said, "Upstart!  How dared she
speak to me that way!"  It was said in an effort to reinstate her
superior right to exercise the rack.  The green-eyed didn't answer.
She looked out of the window.  At last she said carelessly, "Going to
dress."  And Annette was not invited to her room.

The green-eyed stood still just inside her door.  She thought of a
fat father, and of his code of morals.  The mother whom her eyes came
from was very distant.

"It has been utterly devilish!" she said loudly.  "Utterly.  And I
did it while I read 'The Mob,' and ranted over it."  Then she threw a
book across the room, which spelled emotional crisis for her
temperament and, this time, reform.  Her green eyes were full of
healthily ashamed tears.



CHAPTER VI

A HINT OF PINK

Cecilia sat well forward in the parquet seats of an opera house in
Boston.  Her small hand was curled up in the fat palm of a fat
priest.  The people who saw this smiled indulgently, then looked
again; for the little girl was so pretty, and so happy, and the man's
face was unusual.

The curtain had not gone up.  They were a good fifteen minutes early.

"You see, Father McGowan-dear," said Cecilia, "it was not just their
fault, for I am so different.  I am still, but less so....  Then one
day they said more than usual while I was reading that Sordello poem.
(It isn't interesting, is it?)"  Father McGowan smiled and shook his
head.  "And I thought I just couldn't stand it.  I was so miserable
that I even thought of taking the veil!"  Father McGowan laughed
suddenly.  Cecilia looked at him with questioning eyes.  "Go on,
dear," he said gently, "and excuse a bad-mannered old priest."

She squeezed his thumb and continued: "Well, it was that day I
decided to go home.  I decided I could not be a lady, I mean I could
not acquire a _savoir faire_ (that means a natural swellness),"
explained Cecilia.  Father McGowan nodded.  His eyes twinkled.  "So,"
said Cecilia, "I took all my money, and put on my hat and sneaked
out.  Then I walked down the block and across the Park.  I saw a baby
in the Park, a little girl, and she makes me think of Johnny when he
was little and I took care of him.  Then I thought of maw, and how
she wanted me learned, I mean taught, and I went back.  I am not very
brave, and I wanted to cry dreadfully.  I got in the hall, and there
was Mrs. De Pui.  She looked awfully cold, and she said, 'May I ask
where you have been, Cecilia?' and then, that green-eyed girl I hated
broke right in and said, 'I had a slight headache, and I asked her to
post a letter for me, Mrs. De Pui.  I _hope_ you don't mind.'  The
green-eyed girl is very rich, and so Mrs. De Pui said so sweetly that
she hadn't minded at all.

"She always says 'post' instead of 'mail,' Father McGowan-dear.  She
spent two weeks in London last summer, and she said that the English
accent became unconscious, or at least that she used it
unconsciously.  And she does except when she gets excited or talks
fast.

"Well, she followed me upstairs, the green-eyed one, her name is
Marjory, and I said, 'I do thank you.'  Then I felt mean about the
way I'd felt toward her, and I added, 'I am very sorry that I have
hated you so.'  Then she kissed me, Father McGowan-dear.  Really, she
did, and she said she was _glad_ I'd hated her.  That it helped.  She
went down the hall, and paused at the turn to say, 'It is a great
deal to ask, but some day I hope you'll like me!'  Oh,--the curtain's
going up!  Look at that yellow dress.  Aren't her legs _beautiful_?
Mine are _so_ skinny!"

There was a burst of music, and the chorus waved their arms with the
regularity of the twist of aspen leaves, when rain is coming.

Cecilia gasped.  Then she sat breathless, watching every motion on
the stage.  A fat priest sat looking down at her.  Once he took off
his glasses and polished them.  Something was making them misty.

The curtain went down.  Cecilia gasped again, then she told of the
awful, humiliating sick-cat episode, and of her disgrace in accepting
a "choclut soda," and a pink sundae with whipped cream on top.
Father McGowan was very understanding.  He did not think it was a
sin.  In fact he was quite violently sure it was not.  He grew very
red in the face.

"What is the matter with that woman?" he asked in an entirely new,
and really horribly stern tone.  Cecilia didn't answer.  Her startled
eyes recalled him.  "By George!" he said.  "I forgot the candy!" and
he produced from a coat pocket the most beautiful box.

"_Oh_," said Cecilia, "oh!"  She smiled up into Father McGowan's
face, and then added, "I can put that ribbon in a chemise.  Oh, dear
Father McGowan!"

"What is a priest to do," asked Father McGowan, "when all his
inclinations are to kiss a young lady's hand?"

"I am so happy!" said Cecilia.  Father McGowan put his other hand on
the small one that lay in his.  Cecilia tightened her little fingers
about his thumb.


Father McGowan pushed away his plate.  The chops were underdone, the
potatoes soggy.

"Here's yer coffee," said Mrs. Fry.  She was a perfect person for the
housekeeper of a priest, being so visited with warts and a lemon
expression that questioning her morals was impossible.  Father
McGowan stirred the coffee, then took a sip.  He sighed.  "Well,", he
thought, "at least it makes fasting easier!"

In the hall of the rectory were twelve people.  They were all shabby,
and a boy of eleven sniffed with a wonderful regularity.  They were
all waiting to see a fat priest.  A girl with sullen eyes and once
pretty face looked around with defiant assurance.  Opposite her on
the wall hung a carved wood crucifix.  When her eyes met that, she
shrank, and then she'd look away, and again be sullenly brazen.

A well-dressed man rang the bell.  The warted housekeeper answered it.

"I should like to see Father McGowan," he said.  "I will only need a
few moments of his time," he added on seeing the people waiting.

"Set down," ordered Mrs. Fry.  "You'll have to wait yer turn."  The
man smiled.  He was faintly amused.  "I hardly think so," he said; "I
am Doctor Van Dorn.  My time is rather valuable.  I can hardly waste
it in that way."

"It's his rule," said Mrs. Fry, nodding her head toward the rear of
the hall.  "All who waits is the same.  Yuh waits yer turn, or yuh
goes.  _He_ don't care."  She had fixed her eyes above the man's head
with all her words.  He looked on her, frowning deeply, then said
with an unconcealed irritation showing in his voice: "Will you at
least take him my card?"

Mrs. Fry nodded.  She held out a palm that looked damp, then went
down the hall, reading the card as she walked.  "He needn't be so
smart," she made mental comment.  "_Here_ he ain't no better than
none of the rest."  She went toward the table at which Father McGowan
sat and shoved the card toward him.  "He wants to see yuh right off,
_now_," she said.

Father McGowan picked up the card, read it, and then laid it aside.
"Tell him the rules," he said shortly.  He turned back to a page of
pink letter paper, with a daisy engraved on its top.  He glanced from
it to the clock.  He still had twenty minutes before work began.


"Dearest Father McGowan, dear:" was written on the pink sheet.  It
was crossed out and below it was written, "Respected Father:--(I
meant the first, but I suppose this is properer.)  I can't tell you
how happy you made me by the play and everything.  I have put the
pink ribbon in a chemise where it looks decorative, and cheers me up,
as I like pink ribbons in underwear, although white are better taste.
I am much happier.  I am not _always_ happy, but do not tell Papa,
nor any one that I am not.  I _am_ much happier than I was.

"I apologise for clinging to you and kissing your hand good-bye when
you left, but I am not sorry.  It was very hard to let you go.  Pink
roses seemed _all_ thorns just then."

Father McGowan stopped reading.  He looked across the room with far
eyes.  They were surrounded by fat wrinkles, and made small by thick
lenses, but they were rather beautiful.

"I wanted to do as you suggested and try another school," he read,
"but I somehow feel that I must finish what I've started, and I would
like to show these girls that my soul is not purple silk trimmed with
green velvet, if you can understand that; they seem to judge
everything by rhinestone hair-pins, which is not a real clue to
character.

"When you go to dinner with Papa, see that Norah uses the butter
spreaders, which are small knives shaped like fruit knives.  I will
be deeply grateful.  They are used for buttering bread, and so on
(not to eat from).

"We are studying art.  Andrea Dalsartoe, who painted the Madona of
the Chair, just now.  Marjory is so kind to me.  She is an Episcopal
but nice in every other way.  They say a prayer to themselves when
they go into church, too.  She says, 'Peanuts, popcorn, and chewing
gum, amen,' which I do not think is _very_ devout.  She says it is
just the right length when said _slowly_.

"You did make me so happy by that play and the candy.  I have never
had a better time but once, after which I was disgraced and sorry.
(I had not met him socially, you know, which made it improper to eat
sundaes with him, even while on an errand of mercy to a sick and
dying cat.)

"We hear an orchestra every Saturday, chaperoned by our English
teacher, who has asthma horribly and splutters a great deal.  The
music is classical and improving.  I do not enjoy it very much, but
there is a man in the orchestra who has an Adam's apple that wiggles
and he helps me.  One can always find enjoyment when looking for it,
can't one?  He plays a horn, and blows the spit from it often.  He
seems to have a great deal of spit.

"I have not thanked you the way I wanted to for the play, and
everything, not forgetting the taxi ride and the sundae afterward.  I
do love you, Father McGowan, dear.  I believe if there were more
priests who believed in God, _and_ pink boxes of candy, there would
be more Christians.

"Most respectfully, and lovingly,
  "CECILIA."


The clock struck one.  Father McGowan folded up a pink sheet, and put
it, in its envelope, in his pocket.

He was smiling gently.  He opened the door into the hall, and the
people struggled tiredly to their feet.

"Pax Tibi!" he said with a hand above his head.  A girl with sullen
eyes sobbed aloud.  A Doctor sneered.

Much later the Doctor was admitted to a rather bare room, made
tolerable by the colours of the books which lined its walls.  The
priest sat behind a table.  They exchanged the usual formalities,
then Father McGowan said: "Well?" Doctor Van Dorn shifted uneasily.
"It is difficult to explain," he said.  "I don't know just how to put
it, but I thought you, if any one, could help me."

"I shall do all in my power to help you, if I think you need help,"
answered Father McGowan.  The Doctor picked up a paper knife.  He
toyed with it, then blurted out: "I feel sure that there must be some
reason for it, and that he's merely doing it from some evil wish."

"Who?  Doing what?" asked Father McGowan.

The Doctor looked silly and laughed uneasily.  "I'm not very
coherent," he said.

"Oh, well," said Father McGowan, "we're both doctors in a way.  We
both meet that enough to understand it.  Now take your time and tell
me your story in your own way."  He pushed a box of cigars across the
table.  "Want to smoke?" he asked with the move.  The Doctor nodded
and lit a cigar.

"It concerns a man named Madden," he said, "who, I have found, is one
of your people.  I have no proof, at least of the tangible sort, but
I believe he is doing all he can to ruin me....  He is succeeding
fairly well, too."

"Well, well," said Father McGowan.  "Now what's he doing?"

"It began," said the Doctor, "with my hospital, which you know is a
private affair, and in which some of my fellow doctors, with me, do
some experimental work.  The most of my clientele consists of the
rather more well-known people of this city, as you know."

Father McGowan nodded.  The Doctor's voice was as usual, and he began
to swell a bit, with the tale of his hospital and its clientele.

"I rarely take charity work," said the Doctor.  "All New York is
after me...." Suddenly his face changed.  "Was after me," he
corrected.  He studied the end of his cigar.  "I did take one small
chap," he went on slowly, "a charity case.  He interested me.  The
complications were most unusual; however, you would not understand
about them, and they do not influence the tale.  I took him in and
gave him the best of care, even to giving him a hundred-dollar room
and an especial nurse.  (His case was most interesting.)  Well, as
you know, the action of the muscles and organs is changed by
anesthesia.  I--ah,--I did but the slightest experimental work,
keeping him well-fed, you know, and in this hundred-dollar-a-week
room.  The best of care, as I explained.  He,--ah,--himself submitted
to this slight pain when I told him that after it he would run and
play as other boys.  He had a natural, childish desire to run and
play.  Quite natural, I suppose."

"I suppose so," said Father McGowan.  His tone was dry.  His
expression was very different from that which he had worn while
reading the pink letter sheet.

"Then one day when a slight,--very slight, I assure you,--operation
was absolutely necessary to his getting well, he said he would not,
could not endure it.  He had been quite weakened by his being in bed,
and so on, but he screamed wildly.  What he said was most improper
and very ungrateful.  He turned against us suddenly, as is the way of
some when diseased."  The Doctor stopped.  He had grown rather white.
He was again in a hundred-dollar room, which had a slat door, and no
way to keep the voice of a frenzied charity patient from the rest of
his aristocratic hospital.  He heard the voice again: "Gawd, no,
youse devils! ... Youse are killing me!  Lemme die!  Oh, Mister,
don't strap me down!  I can't stand it no more.... Don't--don't!
Christ ...  Christ ... Kill me, but don't----"

The Doctor moistened his lips, and came back to the bare room in St.
Mary's Rectory.  "He was most ungrateful," he said to Father McGowan,
"and he bit my hand when I tried to silence him."  Father McGowan was
looking out of the window.  The Doctor went on less surely.  "A woman
who scrubbed the floors heard this, and, as is the way with her
class, got emotionally aroused.  It seems she lived in a tenement,
and had lived there when Jeremiah Madden had lived across the hall,
before he made his money.  She went to see him.  He removed the lad
from my care, and with his malicious help, lied viciously about me
and my work, scattering statements broadcast, and giving their
statements to the papers.  My own profession do not largely back me
up, being, I suppose, jealous, and of little spirit.  I think they
recognise my skill too well to love me.  You read those articles?" he
asked, turning to Father McGowan.

"That has nothing to do with your narrative," answered Father
McGowan.  "Please go on."

"Well," said the Doctor, his well-bred voice holding a hint of frost,
"it,--that is, this malicious attack,--had prejudiced many.  For the
good of this Madden man's soul you should help him to be truthful,
not to so belittle his nature by----"

"You're worried about his soul?" said Father McGowan.  "Is _that_ why
you came to me?"  Father McGowan smiled.  The Doctor shifted in his
chair.  There was the staccato tap of crutches on the bare floor of
the hall.  The knob of the door turned.

"Father," came in a small boy's voice from the doorway, "I brung yuh
a toad.  I want youse to bless it.  It's dead.  It was a cripple,
too.  I found it all mashed.  You'll bless it?  Me an' the fellers is
going to bury it.  _Ain't_ it cute?"

The Doctor had not turned.

"Come in, little Saint Sebastian," said Father McGowan.  The little
boy gave him a look that was pathetically adoring.  His crutches
tapped across the bare floor.  Opposite the Doctor, he looked at him.
Suddenly he screamed.

"Gawd!  My Gawd!  Oh, Father McGowan,--_don't_--let him have me!"  He
clung to Father McGowan's cassock as he sobbed out his broken prayer.
"Don't, Mister, don't!" he ended weakly.  Father McGowan picked him
up.  He looked at the Doctor.

"Go," he said.

Father McGowan again settled back of a bare table.  A little boy
sobbed in his arms.  "Will you forgive me, little Saint Sebastian?"
asked Father McGowan.  The child's arms tightened around his neck.
Father McGowan coughed.

"We're going to have some pink ice cream," he said after an interval.
"Now here's my hanky.  Gentlemen don't wipe their noses on their
sleeves!"

"Will--will yuh bless the toad?" asked the child, after a damp
smearing of Father McGowan's handkerchief.  "He was a cripple.
_Ain't_ he cute, now?" he added in a tender, little voice.  Then he
brightened and said loudly, "But I'm glad he's dead, for they ain't
no Father McGowan toads to be good to little toad-cripples!"

Father McGowan coughed, and tightened his arms about Sebastiano Santo
of the slums.


"Oh, dearest Paw--I mean Papa!" said Cecilia.  She clung to him.  The
lights of the New York station blurred through her tears.  Then she
veered away from him, and gathered Johnny close.

"Aw," he said, "cut it!  There's one of the fellows over there."  But
"one of the fellows" faced the other direction, Johnny saw, and he
allowed himself to hug Celie quickly.  He was glad to see her, but he
felt a vague resentment toward her because her coming made his throat
so stuffy.  He remembered the time when he used to sit on her lap and
eat bread spread thickly with molasses.  He didn't know quite why he
was thinking of it in the Pennsylvania Station....  He remembered
that he used to pull her curls and that she'd pretend to cry and then
kiss him, and then they'd both laugh, and laugh.  It was always a
great joke.  And then she'd look at the clock and fry potatoes and
meat over a smelly stove, and say, "Now laugh!  Paw's coming home.
He needs all our laughs!"

"John dear!" said Cecilia.  Johnny forgot the past, and swelled.
Cecilia's use of his name made him feel a man.

"Mister, will yuh please attend to this here baggage?" he heard his
father say.

"Don't call him 'Mister,'" he corrected Jeremiah in an undertone.
Cecilia stepped from them to a group nearby.

"Good-bye, Marjory," John heard her say.  "Yes, I _will_ come to see
you.  You'll come to my house, too?"  She turned to a rather more
cool looking young person, and added less surely, "I would love to
have you, too, Miss Annette, if you'd care to come."

"I'm rather busy----" John heard the Annette person reply.  Then he
saw her turn away from Cecilia.  His heart grew hot.  "If I don't see
you again," said Cecilia, "I wish you the happiest kind of a
Christmas!"  Annette did not reply.  The Marjory girl kissed Cecilia
twice.  "Good-bye, little Saint," she called after Cecilia.  "I'm
coming to see you to-morrow!"

In the motor there was a pause for inspection.  "Yuh look so
different," said Jeremiah rather wistfully.

"My heart is just the same," said Cecilia.  "It will always be the
same."  She kissed Jeremiah Madden after her words and then leaned
forward and kissed Johnny.  He didn't mind, none of the fellows being
present.  Then they were silent, for when hearts are very full they
are liable to wiggle up into throats and choke people when they try
to talk.  At last they were out of the crowded streets and on broad
ones, where other cars, taking people pleasure-bent, rolled past them.

Then the house.  The house from which Cecilia had gone last
September, wearing a suit all over buttons, with a touch of "tasty"
red here and there.

"Norah, darling Norah!" said Cecilia.  Norah's red arms drew her
close, then, quite in Norah's way, she eclipsed behind a blue-checked
apron, and sobbed loudly.  Cecilia looked about the hall.  There was
some new furniture.  A hat-rack that was evidently the work of a
lunatic with the unrestrained use of a jig-saw.

"Look up, Celie!" ordered Jeremiah.  Cecilia looked up.  Strung
across the hall was an elaborate electric sign.  The words were made
of blue, yellow and red globes.  She read: "Welcome to our
Darling!!!"  Cecilia gasped.  Then she turned to her father.  "It is
beautiful," she said, "and just what I wanted."  She stopped and
swallowed with difficulty.  Then added, "Papa dear, I love you so!"
Johnny smiled.  He raised his eyebrows and his shoulders.  Then he
sniffed.  He thought he smelled the scent of roses.



CHAPTER VII

SANTA CLAUS

Father McGowan, holding a cassock high about his black-clad legs,
stood in the back yard of the rectory grounds.  The back yard looked
like those photographs entitled, "Rude shelters for the soldiers," or
"Huts built by the South Australian Light Horse Brigade."

All over the brown lawn were small shacks.  Some of them made of
brick, some of old and weather-beaten boards, and some of these two
with a smattering of very ex and sticky roofing mixed in.  Father
McGowan smiled.  Mrs. Fry looked out of the window.  Her lips
tightened.

A small boy emerged from one of these affairs.  Emerged on his
stomach, wiggling out.

"Father McGowan," he yelled, "we got a secret passage!"

"No!" said Father McGowan enthusiastically, "No!"

Another door opened.  Another boy came wiggling forth.  "_We_ got a
secret place to hide things in, in ours!" he said in a sing-song,
mine-is-better-than-yours tone.

"Aw----!" said the first disparagingly.

Father McGowan laughed.  A boy came swaggering across the lawn.  He
whistled, "In My Harem."  He touched his hat to the priest.

"I'm going to get a case of pop," he said loudly, "an' drink it here.
Mom, she gimme a candle, and Pop sez I can stay out 'til nine."
After this he was instantly the centre of an awed and admiring group.

Mrs. Fry opened the door.  "The 'phone wants yuh," she said shortly
to Father McGowan.  Father McGowan went in with evident reluctance.
He wanted to hear more of the case of pop, which he knew would narrow
down to two bottles.

After he'd passed through the kitchen, Mrs. Fry spoke again to her
sister who sat steaming by the stove.  "_He's_ like that," she said,
a great love, yet vast contempt, showing in her tone.  "He lets all
the kids around build shacks in the backyard, and even gets 'em stuff
to build with!"

"What fer?" asked the steaming one.  Her bewilderment was complete.

"Oh," said Mrs. Fry, "he sez something about its bein' necessary to a
boy's soul to build something and tear it down.  An' pretend things
that ain't.  One day they calls that mess of rubbish the wilds of
Sieberia, an' the next an Indian camp.  An' _he_, he gets right out
an' chases around with 'em.  He's busted his glasses twice this
month."  Mrs. Fry sighed.  "I kicks," she went on, "and then he sez,
'Mrs. Fry, I'm sorry, but the fact is, an aunt brought me up, awfully
good woman, too, but too neat.  I never pounded, and a boy needs to
pound.'  Then he sez, 'Now if there is anything you need for the
kitchen that I can get you, Mrs. Fry, I'd be glad to.'  An' what can
I do?  I lead an awful life because of them young rapscallions, but
_he_ can't see it!"

"Well, I'll be beat!"

Mrs. Fry poured out a cup of coffee and pushed it toward her guest.
"Ain't sugar high?" she said as she dumped in two lumps.

"You bet," answered her guest.  "Does _he_ set and study much?" she
questioned.  _He_ was very interesting.  Mrs. Fry drew a long breath.
"He don't get no time to set," she answered.  "He hardly has a chance
to eat half the time besides being pestered by them kids.  I never
know when he'll be on time for meals.  Did I tell yuh about the
bath-tub?" she questioned.

The steaming shook her head.

"_It has two ally-gaters in it!_" said Mrs. Fry with emphasis.

"My Gawd!"

"Yes, one of these here kids got 'em sent him from Florida, or some
furrin port, an' his mother, being a sensible woman, wouldn't have
'em near.  Well, the kid comes bawlin' to Father McGowan (they always
do), an' he sez, 'Now, Jimmy, don't cry.  You can put 'em in my
bath-tub; I only bathe once a day, and I can use a tin one.  Mrs. Fry
has her own bath-tub on the third floor, so she won't care.'  I did,
but what kin yuh do?  I sez, 'I won't enter that room with them
rep_tiles_ in it fer to clean it.'  He sez, troubled like, 'Well,
Mrs. Fry, I'll do it, or get one of the boys to.  I don't mind.'
Them kids messing around there.  Can yuh see the way _they'd_ clean
it!"

"Ain't that fierce?"

"Yes, an' he don't care so much fer it, either.  He sez he _could_
hope they'd die or summer'd come.  (We're going to have a pond in the
backyard--to run into the cellar!)  Yuh oughta see that room after
he's bathed in that there tin tub.  All that's missin' is Noah and
Shem--we got the animiles."

There was the click of crutches in the dining room.  The door opened.
A small boy appeared.

"Come in, dearie," said Mrs. Fry.  Her tone was softened.

"What's his name?" asked the visitor.

"He don't know," answered Mrs. Fry.  "He was in the hospital one
time, real sick, and lately he don't remember so good.  'Father
McGowan calls him 'Sebastiano.'  Want a cooky, dearie?"  The boy
nodded, and smiled.


Cecilia had had her friend Marjory to lunch.  It had gone rather
well.  She recalled it as she stood looking out of a heavily glassed
window into a frosted street.  She, herself, had set the table.  The
napkins had not been set up in tumblers.  The fibroid tumor vase was
quite absent.  There had been valley lilies in a flat bowl for the
centrepiece....  She had disposed of the blue glass butter dish by
dropping it.  Cecilia felt strangely sad as she did it.  The blue
glass butter dish had once seemed so very lovely....  "Are they
giving me anything to take your place?" she questioned, as it
shattered on the floor.  Then she called Norah, and listened to her
laments as she gathered up the pieces.  She had the feeling of
untruth added to her little sadness.

As yet nothing had taken the place of blue glass butter dishes for
small Cecilia.  She still preferred rhinestone hair-pins, and
French-heeled shoes to their plainer sisters.  Beauty had been taken
away and none substituted, at least none that she enjoyed.  The only
thing she really cared for was the dragging of her newly acquired
French in her talk.  She did this often with the proud feeling that
it was what her mother had wished.

Jeremiah had said, on meeting Marjory, "Pleased to meet yuh, mam,"
and Cecilia had broken in with, "I love papa so much, Marjory, you
must too."  She had hardly known why she had made this defiant and
sudden declaration.  Johnny had been much impressed with Cecilia's
guest.  So much so that his misery was acute when Jeremiah related
the incident of the brick throwing.

"I sez to him, 'Yuh can lay yer own bricks an' here's one to begin
with!'" Jeremiah had said with his customary chuckle, that chuckle
that always came with his proud remembrance.

"I think that was exceedingly clever of you, Mr. Madden," Marjory had
replied.  Cecilia had smiled on Marjory with the smile of an angel,
she had also laid her hand on her father's.  Johnny had squirmed.

Cecilia gazed out of the window.  The air looked cold.  She wondered
whether she would ever get the chance to thank that Mr. Keefer
Stuyvesant Twombly for those lovely flowers?  They had come just at
the right time.  He was wonderful, as the girls said, and
"ravishing," but better, he was nice.  There was a scuffle at the
door, Norah's voice was heard: "Now mind the _eee_-lectric sign!" she
said sharply.  Cecilia knew that the tree was coming in.


Late that evening Jeremiah opened the door of the pink and gold
"parlour."

"Santa Claus has been here and went," he said mysteriously to Cecilia
and Johnny, who sat on the stairs, "an' he's did good by yuh!"

"Now remember!" said Cecilia to Johnny, with a stern look.  Johnny
had been told that his disbelief in Santa Claus was not to be
expressed.  They scrambled up.  Cecilia stopped in the door.  The
tree was a mass of silver and glittering lights.  It was really very
lovely.  Mr. Madden's tastes were well suited to trimming a Christmas
tree.

"Showy like, an' nothing cheap or old lookin'!" he said, as he
surveyed it with proud eyes.  Cecilia went toward a table on which
her gifts were spread out.  First, she saw a phonograph with a
morning glory horn....  By it was a pink velvet box, strapped in
silver.  "Jewels," was written in a neat, spencerian engraving on one
spot of the silver banding.  There was a mother of pearl brush and
comb and glass, bound in wiggly gold.

"They are lovely, Papa!" said Cecilia.  "And _just_ what I wanted!"

"Looka here!" whispered Jeremiah.  He pulled her toward the light the
tree threw and took from his pocket a small box.  He opened it
slowly.  Cecilia saw a chain and pendant that would have made a very
good showing on the Christmas tree itself.  It was plainly built for
one of the rhinoceros family.  It had seemed to dislike showing any
partiality in gems.  There was a fair smattering of all jewels
present.

"Three hunderd dollars!" breathed Jeremiah Madden.  His eyes shone,
and he breathed quickly.  "Celie," he said, "it ain't too good fer
yuh!  There ain't nothing I wouldn't do fer yuh!"

"I know, dear," answered the small Cecilia, "but you shouldn't.  It
is too much.  You have made me very happy."  She turned away.  There
was a sudden smarting beneath her eyelids....  She hated the school
that had taught her a quiet manner, and to see blue glass butter
dishes as a visitation rather than a glory.

"That ain't _all_!" said Jeremiah.  He took hold of her arm, and led
her to the other side of the room.  "Throw on the lights, Johnny!" he
called loudly.  Cecilia felt him tremble.  The lights snapped on with
a too white glare.  Jeremiah and Cecilia stood before a picture over
which was thrown a cloth.  Jeremiah drew it aside.

"It was did from a tintype," said Jeremiah softly.  He looked on the
face of his Irish wife.  Her lips were painted a brazen carmine.  Her
cheeks glowed like the stage ladies' of the billboards.  Around her
neck were three ropes of huge pearls.

"He threw in the pearls," explained Jeremiah in a voice that shook a
little, "an' fancied her up some, but them eyes,--it's your maw,
Celie.  Your maw that died in a two-room flat."  With the last words
Jeremiah had turned away.  His shoulders had a limp droop.  The
happiness of the evening had faded.

"What's in this box?" asked Cecilia, unsteadily.  It was a hat box
and stood beneath the new portrait.

"Her present," answered Jeremiah.  "The present I give her.  Look at
it, Celie.  Ain't it pretty?  I picked it."

Cecilia opened the box.  She drew out a large, flopping hat.  It was
trimmed with pink roses.


The next day when Father McGowan was all ready to start for the
Madden house, there was commotion in the wilds of _Sie_beria.  It had
been reported the day before that one of the "guys" had smoked a
Piedmont, and Father McGowan, finding this so, had had to dust him
mildly with a hickory cane, hung on the back porch for that purpose.

He disliked doing this, and smoked for a good hour afterward to
soothe his nerves.  Mrs. Fry had watched the chastising with pleased
eyes, but then, on going to the bathroom, all happiness had vanished,
for one of them rep_tiles_ had crawled out of the tub.  She had
dropped her scrubbing cloths, and disappeared screaming.

Father McGowan had been all ready to start.  He had found his hat
(which had the most mysterious way of disappearing), and with an
ashamed expression, he'd put a small box in his pocket.

Then the wilds of _Sie_beria had demanded attention.

"Them young devils," Mrs. Fry had said, with a bob of her head
backward.  "They are raising Cain!  Something's wrong."  She went off
muttering.  She still cherished and resented the encounter with the
rep_tile_.  Father McGowan went toward _Sie_beria.  It was one of the
few times in his life that he hadn't wanted to.

"_Now_ what?" he called from the back porch.  A scream was the only
answer.  It came from one of the brick dwellings.  The chastised of
yesterday, Father McGowan saw going quickly over the fence.

"Oh, drat!" said Father McGowan.  There were wilder howls from the
brick mansion.  Father McGowan went toward it.  He looked for the
door, then he chuckled softly, for the door was entirely gone.  He
took off his gloves and began to pull out the bricks.

"Walled in," he muttered.

"Lemme out!  Lemme out!" came from within, in muffled tones.  Then
with the opening Father McGowan had made, and with the advent of
light, the screams dissolved into pathetic sobs.

"When I git him!" came in moist tones.  A small boy wiggled out.  He
had a paper covered book in his hands.  "He done it," explained the
boy, between sniffs, "while I was a-readin' in the secret chamber.
_He_ done it.  When I git him!  I'll smash him!  I mighta starved!"
he ended pathetically.

"Well," said Father McGowan, "that is a shame!  Won't you come have a
piece of pie now?  You must be hungry."

The boy nodded.  He followed Father McGowan toward the house.  "He
done it," he went on, "because I told on him fer smoking.  I thought
I _oughta_."  The sufferer's tone was pious.  "My nerves is shook
up," he said when they reached the porch.  "I was afraid I'd starve.
There's pictures in our physiologies of starving Cubans--they ain't
so nice.

"Mrs. Fry," said Father McGowan, "we do need a piece of pie.  Could
you find us some?"  Mrs. Fry muttered and went to the refrigerator.
Out on the back fence the chastised called, "Yi!  Yi!"  A note
expressing scorn.  He added, "Cry baby!  Cry baby!"  The cry baby
turned and exhibited a piece of pie.  The chastised relaxed into a
pained silence.

"Come here!" called Father McGowan.  The boy slid from the fence and
came slinking toward him.  "Mrs. Fry saw you smoking," said Father
McGowan.  "I never listen to what you tell of each other.  Here's a
piece of pie for you."  He looked at his watch and added in a
perfunctory way, "You shouldn't have walled him in."


"I ought to have given you a Rosary," said Father McGowan.  He still
looked guilty, but happily so.  Cecilia stood before a mirror,
looking at a dainty little chain and pendant, which she'd clasped
about her throat.

"I know you ought, Father McGowan, dear," she answered, "but I'm _so_
glad you didn't!  It's _so_ beautiful!"

She gasped happily.  Father McGowan smiled.  "Papa gave me one," she
said.  "It--it is, that is, I love it, but I'll wear this more."  She
looked into Father McGowan's understanding eyes.

"I am learning," she said, "but I learned things before I went to
school that I shall never forget, and that I never want to forget."

Jeremiah came in.

"You give her that?" he asked in a pleased voice.  "Well!  But have
you saw the one I give her?  _Three_ hunderd dollars!  Get it, Celie,
and then play us 'The Shepherd Boy.'"  Celie vanished.


White-clad nurses flitted about the halls of Jeremiah Madden's house.
There was a dead silence, and upstairs that druggy-sick smell.

Cecilia had been very ill.  She was better, but still sick enough to
keep Jeremiah anxious.  He hovered about the house almost forgetting
bricks, and wearing a collar all the time, as he did on Sundays.  It
had begun with a cold, then a cough, which (through Celia's standing
on the curb, better to view a gentleman down the street who was
interestingly drunk) had turned to pneumonia on both sides.

She had gone to bed protesting that she felt very well, but that her
breath was not acting quite right.  Then she had grown so very, very
sick that she had forgotten time, life and even Jeremiah of the
bricks.

Those days had been rather dreadful for Jeremiah....  He had taken to
sitting just outside her door on a very upright chair.  He turned the
pages of "Ridpath's History of the World."  He was trying to "educate
himself up to Celie." ... However, he missed a great many of the
pictures and only got as far as Volume One.

Each time a trim nurse would step from Cecilia's door, he would cough
to get his voice in shape, and then whisper gratingly: "Excuse me,
Missis, but how is she?"

"She is doing well," the white one would answer, in a tone of thin
sincerity.  Then Jeremiah would go back to Ridpath, miserable, and
unconvinced.  Once in a while he would hear Cecilia's high, little
voice--"Keefer, the butler!" she repeated again and again one day.
She said it in gasps, but somehow got out the words.  The effort in
her voice had cut Jeremiah's heart, but the words had brought a proud
smile.

"Associatin' with butlers!" he whispered.  "_Ain't_ she gettin' fine?"

Then Cecilia moaned of butter dishes, blue ones.  Jeremiah had left
his post and Ridpath's History long enough to go shopping.  He bought
her three butter dishes.  Two of them had covers.  The third boasted
of a curling handle, on which perched a dove and a cupid, on a spray
of something that looked like spinach in the crude state.  Cecilia
had been very pleased with them.  She had looked on them, said,
"T-thank you, _dearest_!" and then cried gently, the tears slipping
down her face with pathetic regularity.  She cried all that afternoon.

"I'm not good enough for you!" she gasped, "but I love you, and
butter dishes!"



CHAPTER VIII

A LITTLE TOUCH OF THE MAN WITH THE HOUR GLASS

Time had been careful with Father McGowan.  Perhaps he thought Father
McGowan rather nice as he was, and unneedful of the lines that
usually come with heart and soul expansion.  Be this as it may, the
fact was that he was little changed.  The lenses in his glasses were
a bit thicker.  He had accumulated a little more tummy in the last
seven years, but he still played Indian and exile in _Sie_beria with
the same joy, and he was still the true father to every child who
knew him.

He sat behind a bare table in a room unbeautiful except for the books
which lined its walls.  He was looking over his mail.  He laid one
letter with a foreign postmark aside.

There was a tap on the door.  A small boy of nine, or thereabout,
came in, sobbing wildly.  "My mom, she sez you're a _Catholic_!" he
gasped between sobs.  "Yuh ain't, are yuh?"

"I'm afraid so," answered Father McGowan.  He looked very guilty.

"Oh, dear!" replied the small boy, and sobbed more loudly.

"Now, now!" said Father McGowan.  "We can't _all_ be Methodists, you
know.  The church wouldn't hold 'em.".  The child still sobbed.
"I'll tell you," went on Father McGowan; "you pray that we'll all
belong to one church in Heaven.  You do that.  Wouldn't that be nice?"

"Uh huh," agreed the boy with tempered enthusiasm.  He smeared his
tears across his face with his coat sleeve.  They left white streaks.
"I couldn't _believe_ you was a Catholic!" he said sadly.  "You're so
nice, and because of the pie and all."  His face was long and his
eyes melancholy.

"I'm sorry," said Father McGowan, "so sorry.  How's Siberia to-day?"
The child reported and then vanished to do his utmost in making a
convert by prayer.

Father McGowan opened the rest of his mail, and then reached toward
the letter of foreign stamp.  He always kept the best 'til last.


"Dearest Father McGowan-dear:--" it began in a hand characteristic of
many boarding schools, and yet showing a bit of individuality--"I
have wanted to write you....  So many things to do that half the time
all I get accomplished is my loving of you dear people, every day a
little more, though more seems impossible.  I love you, and Papa and
John so much.  So much that when I'm away from you, and think of you,
I feel quite choked.  It is rather beautiful, and terrible, this
caring so deeply.  I do not know how I could ever say good-bye."

There was a page of Cecilia's large scrawl.  It contained no news,
but Father McGowan read it closely.  His eyes were the same as when,
years before, he had looked on a table Cecilia had decorated in
honour of a big, fat, Roman priest.  Suddenly he laughed.  "We have a
small donkey," he had read, "whom we have named Clara, after the
vicar's sister.  Our donkey has long ears and a religious expression,
too.  The vicar's sister is really very nice, but our grey donkey
looks so like her that we always expect her to stop in the middle of
the road and talk of missionary barrels and Sunday School treats.
The latter is a form of entertainment which contains much jam, tea,
many pop-eyed little girls and boys, not to omit a large stickiness.
(I went to one, and poured tea down Lord Somebody's neck.  It was a
great condescension for him to 'stop in,' and only the fact that I am
of 'mad America' saved me from a public hanging.)

"Marjory and I have splendid times.  I am so glad I am with her.  It
is nice for me, and I think for her.  Mamma Aliston is one of those
poor ladies who enjoys suffering.  If she had lived where I did in my
younger days, she would have said: 'I ain't feelin' so well.  The
doctor's give me three kinds of medicine.  It's me _nerves_.'  As
this is not in order, she mutters of draughts, and places a pudgy and
diamond-ringed hand above her heart many times a day, sighing
expressively.  Marjory has no sympathy with her.  She only says,
'Don't eat that, Mamma; it is bad for you,' about anything Mamma
enjoys.  I am a beautiful buffer.  (Please pardon the 'beautiful'; it
refers to spirit.)

"The way those two people clash is utterly dreadful.  I remember
always, when I hear them, Saturday nights, years ago, when the
gentlemen of our building used to tumble upstairs, very drunk, and I
would then hear squawks and abuses.  We are all the same, but people
never realise it....  I laugh inside when they talk of 'lower
classes.'  I laugh but sometimes it hurts a little.  I am ashamed,
Father McGowan, that it should....  Coming home very soon.  I want to
give a man named Jeremiah Madden as many years of happiness as I can.
I am coming home to play 'The Shepherd Boy' every evening after a
lemon pie-ed dinner.

"Father McGowan-dear, I have been worried about John....  Here I see
so many heavy-eyed boys slinking into manhood.  Those boys who travel
with their blindly indulgent mammas and leave a man at home, alone,
across the seas.

"I think if my little brother should grow up to be viciously weak, I
could not bear it.  I cannot see how he could, for the blood in us is
too plain for fancy wickedness.  Rather ours would run to fierce
encounter, and, if we must be truthful, flying dish-pans.
But,--well, I've dreamed of him too often lately, and I remember that
he may be stepping into manhood.  I wish I were better fitted to be
wise with him....  I have not liked his letters, Father McGowan.  His
estimate of people is made in the shadow of a dollar mark...."
Father McGowan read another page.  On the last was written: "So, I
will see you very soon, dear (excuse the liberty, but you _are_
dear!), and I am ready to take up my burdens.  Those that come with
money.  I hope to do much and learn to do it well.  You will help me?

"I shall leave Marjory and her mother in this sleepy little village,
shadowed by its Cathedral.  The cross that has stood for peace
through many years shines from its spire and seems to bring it here.
It is so lovely, Father McGowan!

"Very much love from your always grateful and loving

"CECILIA."


"But, my dear!" said Mamma Aliston, "I could not _permit_ you to
return alone!  Could not permit it!"

"I'm sorry," answered Cecilia, "but I must go.  I have my maid.  I
should not be really alone."

"I don't like the look of it," said Mrs. Aliston fretfully.  Then,
"_Is_ Clara going to sleep!  Why you girls _insist_ on having her
when you could motor smoothly with a footstool and cushions and all
the windows closed,--Oh!  My heart!"  Cecilia turned a sympathetic
eye toward Mrs. Aliston.  "It is nothing, my dear," said Mrs. Aliston
in answer to her look, "nothing to one who is _used_ to suffering.
Oh, dear, what a sorry thing this world is, when we are poorly
equipped to meet it.  Who was that who passed us?  Not Lady
Grenville-Bowers?"

Cecilia nodded and stopped Clara so that Mrs. Aliston could feast her
eyes on the holy dust titles were kicking up.  It was not Lady
Grenville-Bowers, but Mrs. Aliston was happily unconscious of it, and
Cecilia had learned the proper use of lies.  After Mrs. Aliston again
settled she went back to the original subject.  "Let me see," she
said, speculatively; "perhaps there will be some one crossing to whom
it will be suitable to confide you.  I dislike so intensely this
running about alone,--my dear! _please_ watch that beast!  Yes, more
than likely there will be some one.  I know so many people, many of
whom some would feel privileged to know!  I'll look about.  I dislike
so intensely this idea of your crossing alone.  It is rather, pardon
me, dear, common,--middleclass.  Yes, I'll look about.  No doubt some
one may be found."

Cecilia nodded absently.  She had learned to "yes" and "no" at the
proper times with Mrs. Aliston, quite without a listening attention.
Strangely, she was thinking of some one else beside her father, John
or Father McGowan.  This some one who had been the leading man of her
dreams for a great many years.  In fact, ever since she had rescued a
sick and dying tabby.

She had carried his true voice with her wherever she went....  Often
when things called men had asked for her hand because it held money,
a genuine voice had echoed through the years.

"Pussy needs some Mothersills,----" she would hear, and then with an
absurdly little-girl feel for being so influenced, she would gently
discourage.

There had been some who really loved; some loving with an air of
condescension showing through their manner,--others truly, and with
humbleness.  Some poor, weak, with only love as recommendation.  Some
just ordinary men,--one or two made big by what they felt for small
Cecilia.

And with them all, something was wrong.  She heard the echo of a nice
boy's voice, as he bought a small girl a "choclut soda," and a sundae
all-over-whipped-cream, and she heard it while she said: "No; I'm
sorry.  I really can't.  I'm _never_ going to marry.  I hope you'll
find some one you'll like _much_ more than me!"

And they had all said they never would, which is the way with young
men....  Cecilia had believed the first one, then life had taught her
the quick healing of some hearts, and she had smiled a little when
the rest said it.

That smile was always the undoing.  They usually kissed the hem of
her dress, and swore to shoot themselves, and Cecilia would whisper:
"Oh, _please!_  Some one will see you!" or, "Oh, _please!_  Some one
might hear you!" whichever the case might be.  Then they always
kissed her hand and went away, and Cecilia would sigh and say, "Well,
I suppose that means an awfully nice wedding present soon, to show
that I'm not put out!"

Sometimes she wondered if K. Stuyvesant Twombly were living, and if
so, where?  Then she often decided _not_ to think of him, because it
was too childish....  And then she would discover that every life
must have its fairy tale, and that he was hers....  "Home!" said Mrs.
Aliston, with a sigh of relief.  "Oh, my poor body!  'My little body
is a-weary of this world.'  Who said that, Cecilia?  Bernard Shaw? or
Arnold Bennett?"

"No," answered Cecilia, "I think it's in the Bible, but I can't just
remember."

A groom stepped forward to lead Clara away to her boudoir and dinner.
Cecilia went into the cool house to write her father on a small
typewriter she carried for that purpose, Jeremiah being "partial to
print."

Outside the grey of the English twilight crept slowly near....
Everything was peaceful,--quiet.  America were far away.


The person suitable for Cecilia's chaperon was found.  She was very
correct, had several chins, and was well connected.  She came from
Boston and mentioned this fact in a hushed tone.  On talking with
her, Cecilia felt as she had in the first few months of boarding
school--chilled, and alone.

This morning was the one before they sailed.  Miss Hutchinson had
wished to go to Westminster for a last look.  "You will come with
me?" she had asked of Cecilia.  The question had really been a
statement.  Cecilia replied that she would be charmed to go.  She
went to get a broad hat that entirely eclipsed one eye.

The sun was faintly present.  "It is fine," said Miss Hutchinson, who
spoke English whenever she remembered it, to show that she had lived
much abroad.

"So it is," said Cecilia.  "How absent-minded of the sun!"  Miss
Hutchinson didn't answer.  She was busy showing a taxi driver the
error of his ways.

"Robbers!" said Miss Hutchinson, as they settled on the stuffy
cushions.  Cecilia looked after a passing bus, and wistfully.  She
dearly loved to ride on top.  They bumped along, Miss Hutchinson
expatiating on some one's relatives.  It seemed that one of them had
been "in trade."

"Papa makes bricks," said Cecilia calmly, wondering, as she said it,
whether the British soaked their shoes overnight in the "bath" to get
that delightful muffiny effect and the curl up at the toes.

"My dear," said Miss Hutchinson quickly, "that is quite different.
His business is on a large scale, and his fortune excuses anything.
This man had been in trade in a small way?--a sweet-stuff shop, I
believe, or a chemist.  Something fearfully ordinary."

"Horrible!" said Cecilia.  Miss Hutchinson looked at her.  Cecilia's
smile was strange.  She hoped she was not saddled with a young person
of too modern ideas for seven days....  In Westminster Miss
Hutchinson went toward the Poet's Corner.  Cecilia wandered outside.
She paused by a small stone set in the wall.  "Jane Lister, Dear
Child," she read.  The gentle little ghost smiled on her from those
simple words.  She looked long at them.  She always saw the "Dear
Child," quaintly frocked, smiling.

Some one paused behind her.  She turned.  "Isn't that almost too
beautiful?" she whispered.

"Yes," answered K. Stuyvesant Twombly.

He looked on this impulsive, American girl, and smiled.  Then she
turned back to Jane Lister, and he raised his hat and went on.

Her eyes made his memory itch, but he could not know why.  Perhaps
some one whom he'd met suggested her.  He met a great many people....
Uncommonly pretty, if he cared for beauty,--or girls.  Then his mind
turned to business interests.  He was supremely American.

The girl in the cloister still gazed at a weather worn slab.  "Dear
child," she said, "he is alive.  Oh, dear child, isn't that beautiful
too?"


John was faintly smiling.  A superior smile that was his own and took
in no one else.  He used it often on the "Gov'ner," who from it, was
reduced to a pulp, and realised himself fit for nothing but supplying
funds....  Father McGowan was not reduced to a pulp, but he was
genuinely angry.  He thought with a longing of a hickory cane which
hung on the back porch of the rectory.

"How old are you, John?" asked Father McGowan.

"Eighteen," replied the overgrown boy.  "Gettin' on, yes, gettin'
on."  He lounged back in his chair.  Father McGowan leaned across the
table.

"Old enough to take tender care of your sister when she gets back,"
he said.

"Certainly," answered John.  He studied his finger nails.  They were
gorgeous examples of the manicure's art.  John wished the old man
would get on.  He had a date....  He wondered what he was driving at
anyway?  He covered a yawn and muttered a pardon....  "Late hours,"
he added, in explanation.

Father McGowan again thought of a cane which hung on the back porch.

"How's your father?" he asked.

"Oh,--the Gov'ner?" replied John in a tone of entire surprise.
"Really, I don't know.  I haven't seen him for a week."  He again
looked at his finger nails then he thought of a girl he did not meet
socially.  His thoughts and attentions ran to that kind.

"What a rotten life a priest's would be!  Staying in a dull room like
this--" he thought, then became conscious of a long silence.  He
looked up.  Father McGowan's eyes were full on him....  Space faded.
John was a baby in a crowded flat.  He cried, and a little,
tired-eyed girl picked him up.  "Aw, Johnny!" she said.  Flies buzzed
about.  The dull hum of traffic came from the street below.

Some one called, "Celie, aw Celie!  Quick!" from a room off of the
kitchen.  The little girl vanished.  He heard unpleasant sounds, then
moans.

John started up.  The chair in which he'd sat overturned.  "You
devil!" he said to a fat priest.  The dream had faded.  John breathed
in gasps.

"I will excuse you," said Father McGowan, "if you will remember what
a sister did for you, and in return give her the greatest gift: a
pride in the boy she loves.  Good-night, John."

After the boy had gone, Father McGowan scratched his head, as was his
manner when perplexed.  "What was the matter with him?" he asked
aloud.  Then he sighed.  The talk, he was afraid, had done little
good.  At first he had gotten only a supercilious smile, and then
that outburst.

Well, life was only a succession of tries, and a climbing at the wall
unscalable....  Father McGowan dismissed the problem, thought of the
comfort of a hot bath, and then the perusing of a new book he'd just
bought.  "Oh, drat!" he muttered.  There was a baby water snake in
the tub, and the tin one did not invite a lingering.  It scratched in
several inconvenient spots.


Outside, John still breathed in gasps.  "Home," he thought as he
settled in a low, grey roadster.  "I don't like her hair anyway," he
offered in weak excuse for abandoning his original plan.  Yes, he
would be good to Cecilia.  Awfully good to her....  Had her life,
his,--ever been as dreadful as that flash?  Cecilia should never know
him otherwise than she believed him.  It would be a noble deceit,
lived for love of her.  That was the game one played with women that
one truly loved.


The _Arcania's_ decks were alive with people scurrying hither and
thither, seemingly with no impulse behind their unrest, nor aim in
direction.

A few souls stood very calmly by the rail, watching the steerage
embarking.  Their whole attitudes said, and loudly: "This is all old
to me.  I will have you know it is even a bore!"  They were looked on
with respect by the few to whom crossing was a novelty.

Cecilia was pleasantly excited.  Sailing was not new to her, but she
was so healthily alive that she tingled with any enthusiasm near.

"Our deck chairs are in the most absurd spot!" said Miss Hutchinson.
"I told the steward what I thought of him, and them.  He said he
would change them.  Aren't you going to look at your flowers?  Your
state room is full of them.  I stepped in.  Your maid was putting
some of them in your wash bowl.  I told her that would never do.  You
will have to use it, you know, to brush your teeth, wash, and so on,
and if you're sick--it is most inconvenient to have the stand
cluttered with flowers.  I--ah, happened to notice Lord Ashby's card
on some flowers.  Where did you meet him, _dear_?"

"Sunday school treat," replied Cecilia.  "I poured tea down his
neck."  Her reply was made in an absent way.  She was scrutinising
the passengers.  There was a fat woman near who looked lovely!  She
stood within earshot of Cecilia and Cecilia heard her address her
husband as "Poppa," and then a very healthy and pleasantly
loud-looking maiden as "Lotty."  It made Cecilia feel as if she were
in the warmth of a summer sun, just to hear them.  So happily
natural, they were.

"_Horrid_ people!" said Miss Hutchinson loudly.  She elevated a
lorgnette, and looked "poppa" up and down critically.  "Beer,
Cincinnati," she decided in far-reaching tone.  Cecilia squirmed.

"That dear baby in the steerage!" said Cecilia, to divert the
offended Miss Hutchinson.

"Dirty!" commented the diverted.  "So absolutely degrading the way
the lower classes have children!  One after the other!" ended Miss
Hutchinson.  Cecilia did not voice it, but she wondered what other
mode of entrance into the world was possible, one at a time, rarely
two, having been the style for a good many years.

The baby began to whimper.  Its mother slapped it vigorously.
Cecilia looked away.  She hated to see a child slapped.  Johnny had
often been most trying.  She had rarely slapped him....  Then she
turned and quite forgot the hot, whimpering baby of the steerage....
K. Stuyvesant Twombly stood behind her.  He recognised the impulsive
girl who had spoken to him at the small tomb of "Jane Lister, dear
child," and he raised his hat and smiled.

Cecilia gasped.  Then, she went below, and very quickly, to see her
flowers.


"Oh, but you are nice," said Cecilia, "if your name is not!"  Then
she looked away from K. Stuyvesant Twombly.  She had not meant to say
anything like that!  It had simply come out!

The wind blew strongly and ruffled her hair.  K. Stuyvesant Twombly
watched her with a good deal of interest.  She was _quite_ different
from any girl he'd ever met....  She watched first the rough sea
which looked like a small boy's chewing gum, laid in a safe place
waiting for the next chew ... grey, indented with the marks of small
teeth.  Then all the sea would slip below the rail, and all of the
world would be sky.

"I was named," explained K. Stuyvesant, "Keefer, after a rich uncle.
He died and left all his money for the support of Lutheran missions
in China.  After that my mother used to faint every time she'd think
of my first name."

Cecilia laughed.  "I'm _so_ sorry!" she said.  "Does she still faint
over it?"

"She died last February," answered K. Stuyvesant quietly.

"I'm so sorry!" said Cecilia again.  K. Stuyvesant didn't answer.
They were quiet for a few moments, both watching the tilt, and
eclipse of the sky-line.  At last the man spoke.  "It is tragic," he
said, "to have the ones you love die, but it is more tragic to have
those you have loved from instinct, and never known, die.  You
wonder, all the time, whether they too, are fretting because of the
lost opportunity.  You wonder what there was below that you didn't
see....  All I remember of my mother was her hurry to get in a great
number of engagements, and a chill aloofness, cultivated, I have
thought since, to keep in check over-tired nerves....  If we could
have once gone below the surface!  Even with incivilities, if in that
way, we could have known each other....  Never saw one another,
fleeting glimpses...."

"You poor man!" said Cecilia.

"I'm ashamed to have said that," he said.  His voice was gruff.
"But,--it's been in my heart these long months,--that endless
regret."  He drew a shaky breath.  Cecilia laid her hand on his arm.
Without a shade of consciousness his hand closed around hers.  "I've
never told any one that before," he said.  "You're
awfully--different.  I feel as if we'd known each other always."  He
turned his head and looked down at her.  Their eyes met, and it was
hard to look away.

"You're so dear!" he blurted out.

Cecilia, used to many men of many compliments, coloured.  She
squeezed his hand, and then shyly drew hers away.

Mrs. Higgenmeyer came waddling down the deck.  She saw Cecilia and
smiled widely.  "Well, dearie!" she said in her usual carrying tone,
"Lotty was looking fer yuh.  She and poppa are playing rum now.  She
wants you should see a wireless she had from her gentleman friend."

"I'd love to!" answered Cecilia.  Momma passed by.  K. Stuyvesant and
Cecilia laughed gently.

"I like to love and laugh," said Cecilia; "but if you leave the love
out, the laughter is too liable to turn sour."

K. Stuyvesant nodded, but he hadn't heard what she said.  He was
undergoing new and terrifyingly beautiful sensations.

"The Higgenmeyers are dear, aren't they?" said Cecilia.

"Um hum," answered K. Stuyvesant.  He turned quite boldly and stared
at her, while she looked out upon the sea and sky.  He wondered,
while he swallowed hard, whether he had any chance.  He wished he
weren't such a duffer!  He even wished faintly that she weren't so
wonderful.

Cecilia looked up at him again, and again the warm colour came into
her cheeks.  Then she began to talk quickly of a recent play.  Her
voice was not quite steady.  She wouldn't meet his eyes.


Miss Hutchinson was speaking of a paper she'd read before the Boston
literati on "The Message of Ibsen."  Cecilia didn't know much about
Ibsen, but she thought he would have been rather surprised if he'd
heard what he "really meant."

K. Stuyvesant was, as usual, with them.  Cecilia and he looked at
each other often.  The new, disconcerting light in his eyes had given
way, and was displaced for the moment by a mischievous twinkle.
Cecilia was able to look at him frankly again.

Miss Hutchinson arose, untangling from her steamer blanket like a
huge butterfly from a cocoon.  "My point was," she said loudly, "that
Ibsen is the Seer of those who SEE, but," she sighed, "there are so
few of us!"

She vanished.

Cecilia giggled.  "Are you one of _us_?" she asked of K. Stuyesant.

"Lord, no!" he answered laughing, and then added seriously, "I'm an
awful duffer.  Stupid and all that.  I never used to care, but now I
do.  You--you don't read that kind of stuff, do you?"  His appeal
held a great fear.

"Oh, no!" answered Cecilia.  "I stopped reading improving things
after I left school, I can't bear them, and it depresses me so to use
my head!  I'm not a bit clever."  She sighed with her last words.
They were both making many confessions about their failings.  Somehow
it seemed necessary.  Also, they both wished a great deal of the time
that they were much nicer!

"You know what Stephen Leacock said about intellectual honesty?"
asked Cecilia.  K. Stuyvesant shook his head.

"I can't quote," said Cecilia, "but he said as you grew old you would
find books had brought you more pleasure than anything except
tobacco.  But then, he said, you must be honest about them, reading
only what you liked.  That if 'Pippa Passes' didn't appeal, you
should let 'Pippa' pass, that she was not for you.  There was some
more, but I shan't ruin it by misquoting it.  It was so clever!"

K. Stuyvesant didn't answer.  Because Cecilia was afraid of his
silences, she began to tell him of a small brother whom she greatly
loved.

"But you'll know him," she ended, "if you come to see us.  You will,
won't you?"

"Well, rather!" answered K. Stuyvesant.  "Why, you _know_ I'm
coming!"  There was almost a resentment in his voice.  "Cecilia," he
said, with his first use of her first name, "I haven't any right, but
you're so _dear_, I have to.  Have I _any_ chance?"  He leaned very
close above her steamer chair.  He had gotten quite white.
"Cecilia?" he whispered in question.  He reached for her hand, then
drew back sharply.

"I know you meet lots of fellows much finer than I am," he went on,
"and when I'm away from you I don't see how I have the nerve to hope,
but I can't help it.  Cecilia--dear?" The "dear" was rather muffled.
K. Stuyvesant had never used it before and it stuck, even though he
wanted so much to say it!

She turned her face toward him, and he could say no more.

She thought of a brick on the top shelf of a gilt cabinet.  "Nothing
could matter to him," she thought; "he is so dear, but I must see..."

"When we get home," she whispered, "after two months you may ask me
again, if you're sure."

"Sure?" he echoed.  "Sure?  Oh, _heavens!_"  Then he looked down at
her for quite a few rather breathless moments.

After that they talked.  "After two months," repeated Cecilia
stubbornly.  It made no impression.  At last she equivocated a bit
and gained her point.  "I hardly know you," she said, looking away
from him; "I--I prefer----"

"I don't know anything about girls," said K. Stuyvesant, "but I know
I've been a dub.  I'll try to be agreeable, I'll _try_ to keep this
to myself.  But,--you _will_ give me a chance?"

Cecilia said she would.

"Gosh,--I love----" began K. Stuyvesant; then he shook his head.
Cecilia didn't mean to, but she slipped her hand in his, under the
kind shelter of a blue and green checked blanket.  K. Stuyvesant
didn't say anything more.  He only looked.

Mrs. Higgenmeyer came paddling by.

"Poppa ain't so well," she called.  "He's sick to his stummick!"

"I'm--I'm sorry," answered Cecilia.  She tried to pull her hand from
K. Stuyvesant's.  He refused to let it go.  After Mrs. Higgenmeyer
had passed, he spoke.  "You're mine!" he said in the manner of all
lovers.  "You are!"  His voice was gruff.  Cecilia was to learn that
that meant that she mattered much.

At his words Cecilia's heart turned over, but she remembered her
eccentric, dear, and much-loved father, and a certain brick.

"You promised," she reminded him.  "I said after two months, when I
knew you.  You promised."

"I'll be good," he answered dismally, "but I know you, and it's hard
to think of waiting.  There isn't any question of time.  You're
just----, well, I'm thirty-two.  I'd never dreamed that I could feel
this.  I want to kneel when I think of you.  I----" he stopped.

Cecilia drew a deep breath.  They looked at each other, and the world
ceased for them.  They were only a chord stretched to breaking,--a
chord for Heaven's tunes.



CHAPTER IX

HOME

"I tell Celie, it ain't like we couldn't buy 'em perfect.  (I could
pay for 'em whole.)  But she sez that ain't it."

Jeremiah Madden surveyed a Greek Venus as he spoke, whose arms were
quite lacking.  "As fer me," he went on, "I like 'em with all their
limbs with 'em,--tasty and neat.  This here kind of thing makes me
think of the War.  There's one in the Eyetalian garden I'm going to
buy a cork leg for."

The young men who surrounded Jeremiah Madden laughed loudly.  The
loudness of their laughter made Jeremiah a bit suspicious at first,
but he reasoned they would hardly accept his hospitality and laugh at
him,--it must be with him.  So, vastly pleased and beaming widely, he
went on with pleased pride: "This here garden cost me near a million,
fixings and all.  That fountain to the right (the one with the dinky
bird settin' on the female's arm) cost me----" but he didn't finish,
for Johnny came around the corner of a path and emerged from its
boxwood protection with a cough, and then a loud inanity.  He frowned
on Jeremiah and the laughter of the young men stopped.

"I didn't know _you_ were here," he said coolly to the quaking
Jeremiah.  Jeremiah realised that he had displeased, and began
unsurely, "I'll be gettin' back to work.  I just left fer a few
minutes, I----"

"Come on," broke in Johnny, and the group of tired-looking youths
followed him, leaving Jeremiah confiding to the stone "female" of his
work and of how he must get back to it.  Realising himself alone, he
swallowed his words, and watched the group disappear toward the
tennis courts with a puzzled hurt in his face....  A half a mile
away, and well below, the waters of the Sound shone brazen blue in
the sunlight.  Sometimes a gull swooped low, and its wings were
silver.  In one spot a marble wall with a Greek relief stood out in
blazing white against the distant water....  Jeremiah saw all the
loveliness, but he could not feel it.

"That wall cost me----" he muttered, and then stopped, hearing
footsteps.

Cecilia stepped from the same path from which Johnny had made his
entrance.  Her hat was a broad one, hiding her face provokingly, her
dress one of those "simple" affairs, so dangerous to hearts and
purses.

"Dearest!" she called rather breathlessly, "I did so want to see you!
I've been hunting for you everywhere!"  Jeremiah put his arms around
her and forgot his worry about a certain son, and even forgot the
cost of things.

"Well?" he questioned gently.

"Well," she repeated after him, "I just wanted to see you."  She
fidgetted as she had at seven, when the request for a new skillet or
pan had been necessary.  Jeremiah understood, and looked down at the
simple affair, talking of it, to give her time.  "That dress now," he
said, "ain't it kind of plain?  Don't you like 'em fancied up with
ruffles and lace and stuff?"

Cecilia said that perhaps it was plain, but that she rather liked it.
However, she would get one all-over ruffles for Jeremiah's dear gaze.
After that they were silent, Cecilia staring absently out over the
deep, blue Sound.

"Papa, dear," she said at last, with a gulp.  "There's a man coming
out to see me,--I mean us,--for Sunday.  I hope you'll like him.
He--he's really nice.  I hope you'll like him."  She stopped for a
moment and then again said: "I _do_ hope you'll like him."

"Do you want me to like him?" asked Jeremiah.

"Oh, yes," said Cecilia, "I do!"  She was again looking toward the
Sound.  Her small, white teeth were set on her lower lip.  "He's very
dear," she said at last; then she plaited a pink-edged handkerchief.
Jeremiah frowned.  "There ain't a man fit fer yuh!" he said crossly,
"not a one!"

"Yes, there is," answered Cecilia.

"There ain't!" contradicted Jeremiah.  "Does he play tennis?" he
questioned, "and set around in white pants?"  Jeremiah's voice had
grown absolutely fierce.  Cecilia laughed.  "I suppose he does," she
admitted, "but he works, really hard.  He told me that life had only
meant work for him, until----"

"Hum!" grunted Jeremiah.  "Hum!  Let me catch him trying to keep
company with you!  White tennis, and pants, and gulfing around with
them funny sticks!  _Lemme_ catch him!"

"Don't get so excited!" said Cecilia between little giggles.  "He may
not even want me.  He really hasn't asked me yet."

"He ain't?" exploded Jeremiah.  "He ain't?  _Why_ not?  Is the durn
fool blind?  I'd like to know why not."

Cecilia sank to a white marble seat.  She was laughing helplessly.
Suddenly she sobered and wiped her eyes.

"Dear," she said, "do you think I'd love you less, for--for loving
some one else?  Didn't you love the whole world more because of
mamma?  It only makes me want to be much nicer, and want to hug the
earth!"

She covered her face as she finished, with slender, little hands.
Jeremiah sat down by her.

"I want my bonnet with pink roses on it!" she whispered, "I _do_ want
it!"  He put his arms around her because he couldn't answer.  A gull
with silver wings swooped low.  Cecilia uncovered her face, and
kissed the brick king.  "Which is my very prettiest dress?" she
asked.  "I want to wear it Saturday afternoon."


She tried to think her depression came from the night before, but
half of it came from the letter which she held in her hand.  She had
had the strangest sinking sensation on reading it, and she _did_ love
Marjory.  Why it had made her feel that way was a mystery.

[Illustration: THE DINNER HAD BEEN WHAT SHE WANTED]

She opened the letter again.  Its pages crackled, and sprung into
their first folds as she laid them on the table.  The third sheet she
picked up and read: "Mamma is really quite wild about travelling with
the Johnstons and I am absurdly relieved.  Being with that dear lady
tells on my disposition (usually perfect, you know, dear!), and I am
happy to say a dutifully depressed good-bye to the water bottles and
ailments which are all I know of my progenitor.  I told her I would
come to you for the summer months, and then perhaps go to Cousin
Alice.  I may go home, but I'm not sure, and such a course involves
the proper dowager, who is always too proper, or too improper, and
ever a bore!  I shall write you again about all this, and when I
shall arrive.

"Dear, I shall so enjoy being with you.  You are the only good person
I know who does not offend me.  Perhaps because you are so
unconscious of that quality.  Your influence is wonderful with me....
How do you like being an 'Influence'?  I have turned flippant, but
you know I was serious----"

And that letter, in some strange way, had depressed Cecilia.  She had
wanted the summer to be a quiet one,--one in which she could learn to
know a small brother, have ample time to amuse her father,--and----

Well, she was utterly ashamed, but she'd wanted it alone.  It was so
little of her to wish it so.  Marjory had been so good to her.
But,--Cecilia had dreamed of quiet evenings with the moon making a
glittering path of silver on the Sound....  She'd dreamed of a big,
gruff man coming toward her across soft grass....  That, and the
scent of roses, pink roses....  Instead the summer would be full of
Marjory's friends.  Marjory had so many and such gay ones!  Dancing,
playing cards, motoring,--hunting pleasure with a strained intensity,
running foolishly so that boredom should not overtake them....  And
she had needed the summer with John.  Marjory, her good friend, was
not the one to show him things as Cecilia would have him see them.
Cecilia sighed.

Then a little spasm of pain flickered across her face.  The night
before was in her mind, when John, with the friends who were visiting
him, had grown too joyous.  She had heard them come in in the deep
night.  The sounds had rung clear in the still air.

The cars they drove had come crashing through rose bushes, knocking
down slender trellises....  With silly laughter, she had heard the
men come toward the house.  There had been unpleasant words said
loudly, as if such utterances were humorous.  There had been more
silly laughter after them.

Cecilia had felt quite sick.  She had covered her eyes and made
requests of some one's else mother....  Then she had slipped into a
negligee and cautiously opened her door.

The hall was empty and she went to John's room.  She shook as she
travelled the long hall, and she hated John's friends with a
marvellous hate for one so sweet-natured.  She was heart-sick and
afraid.  John's room was empty.

She stood there a moment, steadying herself.  There were pictures
scattered about the room, which made her understand things more
fully.  One, on a table near her, showed a pert miss, with tightly
curled hair, and a dress of cheap fanciness.

"Your own little girl," was written across its corner, and then the
little girl's name, "Fanchette LeMain."

Cecilia turned away.  She went out into the hall.  She felt as she
had years ago when John was her baby.  At the top of the broad and
long stairs she looked down.  John was on the first step, sprawled
unbeautifully, his head hanging limp on his chest, his hands closed
around a cerise scarf on which glittered little silver spots.

She looked about to see that no one else was there and then ran
quickly down the stairs.


"I'm too heavy," said John, halfway up the stairs.  He had been
considerably sobered by black coffee, and more so by the sight of
Cecilia.  He leaned on her arm.

"I have carried you before," answered Cecilia.  "When we lived in the
flat, that was.  I used to think that when you grew up I could lean
on you.  It was funny how I planned."

John didn't answer.  They had reached his room and he sank to his bed
and sat, blinking stupidly, on the edge of it.  Cecilia slipped to
her knees, and began to take off his shoes.

"Don't!" he ordered sharply.  "Ring for Higgens."

"I'd rather not," answered Cecilia.

"It was the heat----" he began.  Cecilia sat back on her little
heels.  She looked like a small girl saying her "Now I lay me----"

"It was not the heat," answered Cecilia.  "When you were small I
washed your mouth out with brown soap for doing that.  Now do you
want a drink?  I'll wet this towel; you'd better put it on your head.
There's the dawn," she said, looking toward the window.  Then she
turned and picked up a cerise scarf with silver spots on it.  She
folded it and laid it on the table by the photograph of Fanchette
LeMain.  John looked unhappy.

Cecilia put her hand on her brother's shoulder.  "Good-night, dear,"
she said.  A quiver ran across his face.

"I didn't want you to know," he whispered "You're so dear, but
old-fashioned.  You don't understand how a man----" he stopped, and
she slipped down on the bed by him.  "Everything's so beastly here.
I'm so ashamed to have the fellows see dad," he went on incoherently.
"Always talkin' of how things cost--always makin' breaks in
grammar,--afraid of his own butler----"  John's eyelids were
drooping.  He fell back, asleep.  Cecilia got up and tried to pull
him into a more comfortable position.  Then she went to her own room.
On the way she passed Jeremiah's.  She paused by his door.  She
wanted to kiss him,--as she had Johnny, when, very small, he had
bumped himself.

"Excuse him, Dearest," she whispered.  "He's very young.  Some day
he'll understand, I hope."  Then she went on.  The dawn had come.
The Sound was covered by a grey fog.  Cecilia lay down to stare up at
her ceiling.  She did not sleep again.

At last came noises.  The gardeners talked as they worked on the
terrace below her windows.  "Cut up rough," said one.  Cecilia could
hear the break of wood.  The white trellis with its pink rambler had
evidently suffered.

"The old man----!" said another voice expressively.  They laughed a
little.

"Well, the kid's a gent, anyway," said the other, loudly.  "Drunk
every night, and enough lady friends for a Hippodrome chorus----"
they laughed again.

Cecilia turned and hid her face in the pillow.  Her palms were wet.

Father McGowan was surrounded by brigands.  Their burnt cork
moustaches gave them a fierce expression terrible to view.

"So you saw a man climbing up the grape arbor?" questioned Father
McGowan.

The spokesman wriggled a little, and then said, "Well, we didn't just
see him but we heard him."

"I seen him," said the youngest brigand, whose lower lip was
quivering.  "I seen him.  He had eyes like fire.  I want--my maw!
I'm scared!"  The youngest brigand dissolved into tears.  They ran
down his cheeks and through his Kaiser Wilhelm of burnt cork, leaving
a grey trail on his small chin.  "I want my maw!" he repeated.

"An' las' night I seen a man down the alley.  He sez 'Hello Bub.'
That fierce I ran home, _I_ tell yuh!" said another of the group.

"Bet it was Jack, the Hugger," came in an ominous tone from the
background.  The brigands quaked.  Their eyes had grown large with
excitement, and fear was plain above the moustaches.  One small boy
who wore a horse-hair imperial, muttered of "gettin' home to study
his gogerfy."  He, and all the rest, cast longing eyes toward the
door.  The youngest mopped the tears and smeared his moustache across
his face with his coat sleeve.

The fat priest got up and laid aside his pipe with reluctance.  "Come
on," he said; "we'll go find the villain.  Come on!"

Two small boys clung to his cassock,--the rest pretended a bravado.
They swaggered largely through the kitchen, where Mrs. Fry, washing
the rectory dishes, glared at their intrusion.  Outside the soft dark
covered the fears of the brigands.  Father McGowan went toward the
arbour.  He looked well on the frail structure, and then shook it.  A
black cat hissed, and jumped down.

"_I_ wasn't scared none!" said the brigand who had wanted his maw,
"_I_ was just pretending!"  The rest of the brigands giggled
foolishly and muttered of "Foolin'."

Father McGowan tactfully spoke of the weather, and then he suggested
going down to the corner drug store, where pink sodas could be bought
for five cents.  There was a flattering acceptance of his offer.
They started off, all talking loudly to him of their large
achievements.  He listened and answered just at the right time, and
said just the right thing.  So they faded into the night, the long,
black shadow with the smaller ones about it, clinging to it.

"He's takin' 'em to the drug store, I bet," said a lanky boy who was
smoking in the shadows.  His voice was sad.

"He must say lots of Masses," said his companion.  "Every time them
kids bawl around his place they get something to eat."

"Um hum," agreed the first speaker, "but he ain't no soft guy.
Sometimes he licks 'em fit to kill."

Down the street the drug store screen door slapped shut smartly.

"Them five-cent sodas ain't no good anyway!" said the lanky boy.
"_I_ wouldn't want none!" the other sighed.


"No," said Mrs. Fry, "he ain't here.  He's went to the drug store
with a mess of kids.  Yuh can set, or yuh can go.  _He_ don't care.
That's the kind of a man _he_ is."

The man who stood on the Rectory porch said he would wait.  As he
stepped across the threshold Mrs. Fry recognised him as a doctor who
had been uppish and sent in his card, "like he was a King."  She
looked critically at his boots.  "Trackin' in dust all the time----"
she muttered.  Then she went heavily down the hall, slamming the
dining-room door after her.

"_He_ never gets no rest!" she stated aloud to a picture of a dead
duck, hanging by its feet.  "Never no peace nor no time to smoke!"
She glared at the fowl which had been given Father McGowan by Agnes
O'Raddle, as she soliloquised.  The erstwhile Mr. Fry, who had always
been forced to smoke in the backyard, was far away.


"Well?" questioned Father McGowan.  The doctor who sat across the
table from him leaned forward and began to speak quickly, his breath
coming between his quick words in gasps: "My wife's people had the
controlling interest in this plant, and I put all my money in it.  It
had always paid well.  A ventilator, it is, which slips beneath a
raised window,--simple affair, yet good.  Then this Madden man got
ahold of an improved article, patented it, and started a manufactory
in the same town, started it on a large scale,--advertised
extensively....  Well, we're ruined.  We can't compete.  He sells
below cost.  He can't want money; he's losing now.  Why does he do
it?  We've done everything.  I've offered him----"

The bell of the telephone which stood on the desk rang sharply.

"Pardon," said Father McGowan, and then, "Why, Cecilia!"  There was
an interval then the doctor heard him say: "Your prettiest dress?
Why they're all pretty!  Why?"  There was a longer interval, then a
sharp "What?" from Father McGowan.  A silence, and then, "Dear child!
I'll be out to-morrow!"  Father McGowan hung up the receiver.  His
manner and voice were changed and softened.

"The little boy is dead," he said to the doctor.  "He was happy
before he died.  He grew very young, and forgot a great deal, the
little boy who was in your care, I mean.  Now go on, tell me more of
this.  Will you smoke?"

The fat priest pushed a box of cigars toward the shaking doctor.

"I--I wouldn't do that now----" began the doctor.  "Something's
broken me.  God, I've suffered!  What's that?" he ended sharply.
There was the tap-tap-tap that sounded like small crutches on a
polished floor.  Father McGowan looked perplexed.

"It must be the vines against the window," he said, "but I didn't
know it was windy.  Have you a match?"

The doctor nodded, and lit his cigar.  His hands shook cruelly.

"God, I've suffered!" he said hoarsely, "and I believe this Madden
man has caused it all.  My practice and money gone, I----" he
stopped.  "_Can't_ you help me?" he finished.  "_Can't_ you?"


"Norah," said Cecilia, "which is my prettiest dress?"

"I dunno, dearie," replied Norah.  "Yuh ain't exactly homely in none!
But don't go thinkin' too much of yer looks.  My maw used to say,
'Beauty's only skin deep.'  She was a great one fer them sayin's."


"Norah," said Cecilia, "am I--am I what you'd call pretty?"

"That depends," said Norah, "on whether yuh like dark or light hair."
She surveyed Cecilia critically, her lips sternly tight, but a proud
light showing in her eyes.  Since Cecilia had grown up, the Virgin
had undergone a complete physical transformation for Norah.  If
Norah's Virgin had been on earth, she might easily have been confused
with Cecilia Evangeline Agnes Madden.

"How you kin set in them corsets!" said Norah, anxious to change the
subject.  Cecilia laughed, then turned before a long glass which
stood between windows.  "I wish I hadn't been educated," said
Cecilia.  "I _love_ pink ones, trimmed all over with roses and lace!"

"My maw used to say, 'Handsome is as handsome does!'" said Norah
sternly.  Cecilia's new concern for her looks and clothes was
disquieting to her.  She thought with a horror of Marjory's salves,
and eyebrow pencils....  Suppose Cecilia!--Norah shook her head.

A maid came in the room with a froth of lacy frills falling over her
arm.  She disposed of the froth, then bent above the seated Cecilia,
and began taking the pins from her yellow hair.  It fell loosely,
with the soft, slow motion of waves, about her shoulders and well
below her hips....

"_Tres joli!_" said the true worshipper of beauty, as she always did.

"Nonsense!" replied Cecilia, absently, as she always did.  This was
the rite, frowned on by the jealous Norah.

"I mended yer skirt," said Norah crossly.  "It was tore fierce."

"Thank you, dear," said Cecilia, and then: "Josephine, which is my
most pretty dress?"

Norah left, shutting the door with decision.  She muttered of people
who talked Eyetalian, and other Heathen languages.  Then she decided
it was her duty to tell Cecilia of Josephine's outrageous flirting
with Mr. 'Iggens.  After this lofty resolve her face cleared, and her
expression, became pleasant.

She passed a heavy-eyed boy in the hall.  In the early days he had
often shed his tears against her shoulder....  He had found love, and
understanding, exhibited by doughnuts, and bread spread thickly with
brown sugar.

"Mr. John----" said Norah timidly as they were opposite.

"Huh?" he responded, with a cool look.  Norah swallowed with a gulp,
and went on.  Her heart was heavy.  Her spirit ached.

"We give him too many doughnuts," she said.  Then again her face
cleared.

"I'll tell Celie how they go on!" she reflected.  "Then I guess she
won't be so smart!  Winkin' and carryin' on!"  The dwelling on the
iniquities of Josephine was vastly cheering.  Norah almost forgot a
heavy-eyed and overgrown boy, who, when little, had sobbed his
troubles out against her thin shoulder, and had turned to her for
soothing sugar cookies.


At the pretty little station, K. Stuyvesant was met by Cecilia.

"How'd do?" he said gruffly.

"How do you do?" said Cecilia.  She had on her prettiest dress, but
K. Stuyvesant Twombly didn't notice it.  They disposed of the baggage
question and then he settled, stiff and conscious, by her side in a
small grey car.

"Pretty day," said K. Stuyvesant at last.  Then he looked at Cecilia.
"Gosh!  I love----"  He stopped suddenly and shook his head.

"Wh-what have you been doing since I saw you?" asked Cecilia.

"Thinking of you," answered K. Stuyvesant gruffly.  Cecilia didn't
answer.  He was afraid she hadn't liked his telling her the truth, so
he described a futurist exhibition, while horribly conscious that the
quick beating of his heart made his voice shake.

"I'm glad you came," said Cecilia after the futurist exhibition had
been described.  "I wanted to see you."

"Dear!" said K. Stuyvesant loudly, and without the least effort.  He
sat looking down on her with a very honest and revealing look, a look
that would have made any one with the least feeling bet their last
cent on him.

"Two months," reminded Cecilia....  It was really too wonderful.  It
had to be proved.  If he really cared he would wait two months.

"There's the house," she said aloud, "and on the terrace my dear
brother."  The car twisted between tall gate posts, and the house and
terrace were lost to sight from the shading trees.  A collie dog
bounded out from the shrubbery and barked fiercely.

"Evangeline!" called Cecilia.  "He is Norah's," she explained to K.
Stuyvesant.  "She named him after me."

"Who is Norah?" asked K. Stuyvesant.

"She was our 'hired girl,'" answered Cecilia, "before we ever heard
of maids."  K. Stuyvesant didn't reply.  In a second the car was by a
side entrance.  "John!" called Cecilia to the languid figure on the
terrace.  John sauntered slowly toward them.

"Glad to know you, I'm sure," he said in his most grown-up and
_blasé_ manner.  "Nice of you to run out to see us.  We get jolly
bored, you know."  After this John turned toward the house.  There
was an old man on the broad porch, looking wistfully and undecidedly
toward the group.

"Oh, the Gov'ner!" said John in a tone indescribable.

"Daddy," called Cecilia loudly, "please come here _right_ away!"  The
brick king came toward them eagerly.  "Pleased to meet yuh," he said
as he acknowledged the introduction.  K. Stuyvesant spoke kindly of
the beauty of the place.  "It ought to be beautiful!" answered
Jeremiah.  "It cost enough!  Them there fixings fer the garden," he
went on, "them alone cost----"

"Let me take you to your room," broke in John.  "Don't you want to
get in cooler things?"  K. Stuyvesant assented and followed John to
the house.  When he reached the porch he looked back.  Cecilia stood
with her arm through her father's.  She was looking up at his face.
Her smile was tender.

"Gosh!" said K. Stuyvesant, and shook his head.  Then he drew a long
breath and turned to follow John.


The dinner had been what she wanted, thought Cecilia.  He had seen
_everything_....  Jeremiah had asked the butler to "spare" him a
piece of bread.  He had also tucked his napkin in his collar, and
then, with a quick movement, removed it, looking around as he did so
to see if he'd been noticed.

John had wiggled and sighed loudly when bricks had been talked of.
In an effort to gloss over the crudities he had contributed a "smart
line of talk," far more impossible than any amount of money mention.

K. Stuyvesant had responded politely to everything and had avoided
looking at Cecilia with a studied effort.  Cecilia had been silent.
She felt it better that she should not appear in this act.

"He come to me, being as I was a man with money, and I sez----" came
to her again in Jeremiah's cracked voice.

"I beg pardon?" K. Stuyvesant had said, having lost it through John's
interruption.

"Granted," said Jeremiah.  "I sez, he come to me an'----"

K. Stuyvesant had been _so_ dear!  Cecilia stood leaning on the wall
with the Greek relief, as she thought her thoughts....  She looked on
the Sound, which was black in the night, except for a path of white
moonlight.  A path that quivered silver.  She looked and saw K.
Stuyvesant listening to Jeremiah's talk.  He _had_ been so dear!  She
wondered whether they'd never finish their smoke and talk, and
whether he'd _ever_ come to her.

Her eyes filled with tears.

"Mamma!" she whispered to the soft dark.  A fitful little breeze
sprang up, seeming to answer.


He came across the soft grass slowly.  His heart knelt to the little
Irish girl who sat upon the white marble wall.

"Hello, Mr. K. Stuyvesant!" she called gaily.

"Hello," he answered heavily.  He stood, arms on the wall, a few feet
from her, looking at her boldly in the soft light.  The world was
full of the rhythmic surge of his pulses....  The night air seemed to
beat upon him with the heat of fire, but there was no thought of
touching her.  He was utterly humble before his shrine.  He wanted,
this American man of 1915, to kneel before this little maiden....  He
craved the touch of her hands on his head.  He was shaken, purified,
thrilled....  He repeated "two months--two months!" to still his
overmastering desires.  The silence had been long and had grown
heavy.  K. Stuyvesant was afraid of it.  He gulped convulsively and
almost yelled: "Great night, isn't it?"

Cecilia nodded.  "Don't you want to smoke?" she asked.

"I guess I'd better," he said unsteadily, then, "Oh, Cecilia!"  He
reached toward her, then drew back, for John came toward them.

"Cablegram," he said languidly, "for you, Celie."

Cecilia opened it.  "From Marjory," she said, after reading it by the
light of John's flash.  "She comes next week.  You must like her,"
she added to Stuyvesant.  "She is my best friend."



CHAPTER X

"MY BEST FRIEND"

Father McGowan frowned.

"I love him," said Cecilia.  "I don't care who knows it.  Where's
your handkerchief?  I--I guess I've lost mine."

Father McGowan supplied the handkerchief.  Cecilia dabbed her eyes.
"You see she's so attractive," she went on, "and I'm--I'm not so
very.  And then John, and everything.  I'm ashamed of crying like
this."  She gulped again.  Father McGowan covered her small hand with
his.  "Dear child!" he said gently.  "Dear child!"

The fire leaped, spluttered and hissed with capricious change.
Outside the weather was grey, with a drab touch in the air.  The sky
was a shivery colour.  Cecilia and Father McGowan sat on a wide
davenport in the library.

"Where is he now?" asked Father McGowan.

"Playing tennis with Marjory," said Cecilia.  She again dabbed Father
McGowan's handkerchief on her eyes.

"Oh, drat!" said Father McGowan fiercely.  He put his other hand over
the small one which lay in his.  Cecilia tightened her fingers about
his thumb.

"I've been so miserable," she said, "that I've even thought of being
a nun.  I would if it weren't for papa, and John,--and my hair.  (I
couldn't bear to have it cut.)  And he shows so plainly that he likes
her, and then she tells me what he says,--oh, dear!"

"Darn fool!" said Father McGowan.  "Is he _crazy_?"  He glared at
Cecilia with his question, and she laughed unsteadily.

"I'm ashamed to bother you," she said, "but it helps, and I can't
tell papa.  I think papa'd kill him.  He's done nothing wrong, you
know.  You can't help what your heart does."  She avoided the fat
priest's eyes and looked down at her ringless left hand.  "There have
been lots of men," she said, "but none I could even dream of
marrying.  This is different, and--and I do!  His eyes are so dear
and so is he, but I would love him anyway.  I think he's the rest of
me."

"Drat!" said Father McGowan forcibly.  "Drat him!"

"I wish I'd been left in the flat.  Then I'd have grown up to marry
some teamster.  It's only when you reach for things too high above
you that your arms begin to ache,--then papa and John, all the time
misunderstanding each other.  Both of them being hurt by this
money,--and I--I _love_ him so!"

"Cecilia," said Father McGowan, "this world is full of hurts.  You
have to take them as you do the weather, without a question.  Some
one put them here to polish our little souls....  After you are fifty
you will accept them with thankfulness and cease questioning.  The
faith of childhood will return in a bigger way, with a belief in the
absolutely unknown.  Some one put them here to polish our little
souls.  They are here, let them polish, not scratch."

"Yes," answered Cecilia meekly.

"Oh, drat!" said Father McGowan with an entire change of tone.  "I
don't _want_ you polished.  _Dear_ child!  Drat him, is he _crazy_?"

Jeremiah wandered in.  He was sullen.  He had been talked to by a fat
priest, who told him that he should leave the discipline of a certain
doctor to God and the world, explaining that it was rarely necessary
for humans to add to any one's unhappiness by a mistaken sense of
dealing out justice.

Jeremiah had listened with his eyes on the top shelf of a gilt
cabinet which held a brick.  After Father McGowan had finished,
Jeremiah had spoken of the weather, and Jeremiah was a good Catholic.
Father McGowan realised it was a bad case.  He had abandoned it for
that time.

"And will yuh stay fer dinner?" asked the sullen Jeremiah.

"I _will_," answered the priest decidedly.  Cecilia handed him a
handkerchief, which he folded carefully and put in his pocket.  Then
she got up and played "The Shepherd Boy" for the King of Bricks.


Outside in the grey light a sullen-eyed man played tennis with
Marjory.  He played with much energy and replied with scant courtesy
to Marjory's remarks.

"Cecilia said that she was tired of entertaining,--that I'd have to
do it for her," sang out the green-eyed.  K. Stuyvesant's chin
squared.

"In," he called.  "I'm a fool to stick around," was his mental
comment on himself.  He was not surprised by the dead weight his
heart felt, although the sensation was new.

They finished their game and went toward the house.  "You're doing
lots for John," said Marjory.  "He adores you!  Imitates your every
move!  You'll try to get him through this smartness?"

In truth she did not consider it smartness, for to her it was the
natural attitude of young men.  However she was clever enough to see
the way this big, silent man felt about it, and to agree outwardly.

"I'd do anything to help one girl," he said loudly.  He wanted
Marjory to know how he felt about Cecilia.  Perhaps she'd help him.
They reached the broad steps.

"After dinner I want to see you," whispered Marjory.  "In the
garden,--alone.  Something about Cecilia.  By the white wall?"

"Not there," he answered quickly, "but by the Italian dial, if you
like."

In the hall he met a fat priest.  The man was heartily uncordial, but
he didn't much care.  After a few words he went up to his room.
There he stood by his window and looked on the grey Sound.  A fog was
creeping over it.  Everything was dismal and dull.

"I'm not much good," he muttered, "but no one could love her more.  I
would be--so good to her.  So good.  Little Saint--I----"  He covered
his eyes with his hands.  His hands shook.

There was a tap on the door.  John came in.  "Hello, old chap!" he
said energetically, the languid indifference all gone from his tone.
"Can I stay and talk?"  He settled, while K. Stuyyesant took a grip
on himself, and tried to bring himself to an agreeable acceptance of
his task.


In another wing of the house Cecilia was dressing.  Marjory, gorgeous
in a flame-coloured negligee, lounged in a comfortable chair and
talked during the operation.

"You may go, Josephine," said Cecilia, "and thank you."

"If I treated my maid as you do yours," said Marjory, "she'd have no
respect for me."

"If I weren't decently kind," answered Cecilia, "I'd have no respect
for myself, and Josephine likes me."

"Oh, my _dear_," said Marjory, "she _adores_ you."  Marjory
scrutinised her nails.  "I told Stuyvesant to-day," she said, "how
much he'd done for John.  You don't mind?"

"No," answered Cecilia.  "He has.  I'm grateful."

"He said he was glad I wanted him to, that he'd do anything for a
certain girl.  He has the dearest eyes, when he looks at you--oh, you
know how----"

"Yes," answered Cecilia, "I know."  There was a pause while the only
sound heard was the brush on Cecilia's hair--the soft snap and swish.

"Cecilia," said Marjory, "_were_ you engaged to Tommy Dixon?"

"Yes," answered Cecilia, "but, Marjory, I can't bear to remember it.
It--it was while I was much younger and hurt because of something
Annette Twombly had said.  I thought I'd have to marry some one like
that to help papa.  You know how foolish duty may be at nineteen?  He
was of a splendid family.  I thought papa would like it, when now I
know that all he wants is my happiness.  After all, decayed flowers
from a good plant are not worth anything."

"When did you break it off?" asked Marjory.

"When he kissed me," answered Cecilia.  "It taught me how intolerable
love is unless it is very true.  I will always remember those kisses.
I can't forget them.  What are you going to wear to-night?"  Cecilia
changed the subject with suddenness, for it made her sick.

"Black," answered Marjory.  Cecilia's heart sank.  Marjory was so
very pretty in black!  Marjory got up.  "Bye, childy," she called, "I
must go."  And she waved her hand airily as she went out.

On the way down the hall she repeated Cecilia's words: "I will always
remember those kisses.  I can't forget them."  That would do very
nicely for the little talk by the Italian dial....  She would play
sympathy, understanding.  She would not lie, but if he cared to
misunderstand how could she, Marjory, help that?  A sudden spark of
her honest father flew across her soul.

"I don't care!" she said in answer to it, "I love him, I really do!"
Then the love and trust of the small Cecilia twanged on a heart
chord.  Marjory shut her eyes.  In her mind came those of K.
Stuyvesant Twombly, as he looked when he gazed on the daughter of a
"Brick King."  Marjory hardened.  "She doesn't love him as I do," she
whispered; "she can't!"

She was only the echo of a single purpose: cruel in its selfishness,
animal in its origin, and savage in intensity.



CHAPTER XI

ACCEPTANCE

"Celie, be yuh happy?" asked Jeremiah anxiously.

"Oh, yes!" answered Cecilia.  She caught her breath rather
spasmodically and went on: "Of course I'm happy!  Here I am, all
through being improved and ready to stay at home with you and John.
Isn't that enough to make any one happy?"

"Don't you want some new frills, or something?" asked Jeremiah
wistfully.  "You know I can buy yuh anything, and I like to, good."

"I have so much," answered Cecilia.  She went over to him and perched
on the arm of his chair.  "You and John are everything to me," she
said.  "When I have you I have everything!"  She leaned toward him
and kissed him.  Her arms tightened fiercely about his neck.  "You
are _everything_!" she repeated loudly.  'Iggins came sliding in with
that effect of being on casters, proper to butlers.

"Was yuh lookin' fer me, sir?" asked Jeremiah.  Higgins assented and
delivered a small box.  Then he elevated his head and left.  Outside
the door he muttered of leaving.  He recalled with bitterness his
last post, where the man of the house had been a "perfect gentleman"
and had thrown boots and curses at him without partiality.

"'Sir!'" he echoed with a fine scorn.  "'Ow is a man to keep 'is
self-respect?"

Josephine tripped down the hall.  She carried Marjory's small dog,
who had a scarlet coat buttoned about his small tummy.  "Dee-ar
Eegeens!" she purred, then fluttered her eyelashes.

"The post 'as its hadvantages," said Dee-ar Eegeens, and followed in
Josephine's direction.


Inside the library Cecilia stood by a window with Jeremiah.  He was
untying the string of a small box and his fingers shook.

"I got it fer you, Celie," he said, "because I thought you was peaked
like."  He opened the box reverently.

"Oh!" said Cecilia.

"_Twenty_-five thousand," said Jeremiah.  "_Look_ at her!"  Jeremiah
lifted his present from the box.  The pendant of his present looked
like a lamp shade from Tiffany's.

"_Oh!_" said Cecilia again.

"_Look_ at that there diamond and emerald and ruby all mashed
together like!" said Jeremiah proudly.  "_Look_ at her!  _Don't_ she
sparkle?"

"It does," said Cecilia; "it certainly does!"

"I told 'em to take out the pearls and put more sparkly stuff in.  I
sez, 'Put in all yuh can!  Don't spare no expense.'  I sez, 'Make her
showy.  She's fer the best girl on earth.'  They done it too."

"Oh, yes!" said Cecilia.  Her eyes were a little moist.  Tears came
easily lately.  She put her arms around Jeremiah's neck.  "Dear," she
said, "I love it.  I can't say thank you the way I want to."

Jeremiah didn't answer and she laid her cheek against his shoulder.
Together they looked out of the window on the green and then the
water's grey.

"Celie," said Jeremiah uncertainly.

"Yes?" answered Cecilia.

"Celie," he said, "you wasn't sweet on that young Twombly?  You
_wasn't_?"  Cecilia shook her head.

"I was afraid you was frettin' over him," said Jeremiah; "you
wasn't?"  Again he felt her head move against his shoulder.  She
clung to him for a moment, and then straightened and said, "I must go
dress."  At the door she paused and turned back.  "I love the
pendant," she said.  "It is beautiful.  I _love_ it!"

Jeremiah beamed widely.  "I knew yuh would," he said boastfully.  "I
sez, 'Spare no expense.  It's fer my little girl that nursed her maw,
cooked her paw's meals, and then learned him to wear a _dress_-suit.
None smarter!'"

"It is beautiful, dearest," murmured Cecilia.  Then she left the
room.  Alone, Jeremiah went to stand below a portrait.

"Mary," he whispered, "what makes her look like she wants to cry?"



CHAPTER XII

PAIN

"If it is any satisfaction," said Father McGowan dryly, "I will
assure you that he loves you.  Anybody could see that.  I suppose it
is your father, Cecilia."

She nodded.  "Marjory----" she started, then stopped.

"Well?" said Father McGowan.

"Marjory told me he said it was--papa," said Cecilia.  All the
tragedy possible to feel at twenty-one was in her young eyes.  "She
did it kindly," added Cecilia.  Then she went on unsteadily: "I don't
know why I am not brave.  I am so ashamed.  He--he isn't worth it."

"No," answered Father McGowan, "he isn't."  Cecilia slipped her hand
in his.  The warm contact had brought her peace at many times.  It
did now, in a way.  "Cecilia," said Father McGowan, "sometimes love
means pain.  You know Father Tabb's poem about it?"

"No," said Cecilia.

  "Once only did he pass my way
    'When wilt Thou come again?
  All, leave some token of Thy stay!'
    He wrote (and vanished) 'Pain.'"

Cecilia tightened her fingers about Father McGowan's thumb.  "You
have always been so good to me," she whispered.  "You have always
understood and helped me!"

"Well, well!" said Father McGowan.  "What else am I here for?"

"Marjory said if I kept papa,--kept papa----" Cecilia stopped.

"Kept him in the backyard or in the cellar, it would be better?"
ended Father McGowan.

"Oh, _don't_!" said Cecilia.  "Please don't; for two or three times
I've felt like John,--I'm _so_ ashamed."

"Dear child!" Father McGowan said.  "Dear child!"

"I love papa," said Cecilia.  "It's only this new feeling that
unsettles me.  Sometimes I think I'd pay any price.  Sometimes, like
John, I'm ashamed, and then how I _hate_ myself!"

A gilded moon had slid from behind a line of poplars.  It had shown
Father McGowan eyes that reflected an aching soul, tragic young eyes,
almost bitter in their hurt.

Suddenly Cecilia held his fat hand against her cheek.  Then she
smiled at him bravely.  "I'm going to be good!" she said with a
little catch in her voice.  "I'm going to be good!"

"Cecilia Evangeline," said Father McGowan, "dear child!"


Marjory entered the room with a slam and a swish.  "I telephoned
Stuyvesant and asked him to come out to dinner," she said.  "You
don't mind?"

"No," answered Cecilia, "certainly not."

"He seemed anxious to come," said Marjory consciously.  Cecilia
didn't reply.

"What's in that box?" asked Marjory.

"A present," answered Cecilia.  She took it from the box and held it
up for inspection.

"Oh, Lord!" said Marjory.  "Your father?"

Cecilia again did not reply.  Her cheeks were pink and her eyes
sparkled.

"If I were you," advised Marjory, "I wouldn't wear it to-night.  You
know how conservative the Twomblys are----"

"What he thinks is not vital to me," said Cecilia.  "I shall wear it.
I _love_ it.  I think it's beautiful!"

"You dear child!" said Marjory.  She looked on the small liar with
respect.  Suddenly she was shocked into speechlessness.  The small
liar was sobbing wildly.

"Oh, Marjory!  Oh, Marjory!" she gasped.


Much later Cecilia stood at the foot of the broad stair.

"Where's your necklace?" asked Jeremiah.

"Oh," said Cecilia, "I forgot it, but I want to wear it.  I do!  I'm
going to get it now."  She turned from him and ran up the steps.

"Here he is!" she heard John call from the porch.  Then came
Marjory's loud laugh.  Cecilia's breath came fast, and her fingers
trembled as they clasped the new necklace about her throat.  She
stood before the mirror a minute before she started down.  "It _is_
beautiful," she said, "and I am proud to wear it!"


That night Cecilia lay long wakeful.  She had not slept much or well
lately.  She heard the different clocks follow each other with
minutes' difference in their chimes.  Hour after hour....  Cruel
hours....  Control left her and she turned from side to side,
restlessly moving into what seemed, each time, a more restless
position.

She hoped K. Stuyvesant had believed her when she said she thought
her new necklace beautiful.  She remembered John's sneer and his
question: "Been shopping at the 'Five and Ten'?"

Best, she remembered Jeremiah's proud pleasure in his gift.  The
remembrance hurt, and made her feel little.

There was a tap on her door which made her strained nerves leap.  She
sat up in bed and turned on the lights, blinking in their glare.

"What is it?" she called.

"It is I," answered Marjory.  "I've been wakeful.  I want to talk
with you for a moment."

"Come in," said Cecilia.  Marjory opened the door and came across the
room to sit on the edge of Cecilia's bed.

"I'm sorry you haven't slept," said Cecilia.

"That doesn't matter," answered Marjory.  Cecilia saw that she was
very tired, so tired that she looked old.  She was the Marjory of gay
evening, with a grey veil shrouding her.

"I'm going away," said Marjory abruptly.  Her fingers played with the
coverlet and her eyes avoided Cecilia's.  "I'm going back to mamma,"
she continued.  "I think she needs me, and--and I _hate_ the States!"

"Marjory, _dear_!" said Cecilia, "I'm sorry--so sorry."

"No one wants me," said the new Marjory.  "I only make trouble
wherever I go.  No one wants me----"

"I always want you," said Cecilia.  "I do, Marjory,--I really do."

"I believe you really mean that," said Marjory slowly.  "I'm almost
too little to understand you, but I know you never lie."

"I lied about the necklace," said Cecilia; "I don't think it
beautiful, except for the love it shows."

"Cecilia," said Marjory, "I can't be truthful.  I can't, Cecilia----"

"Don't!" answered Cecilia.  "You are!  I know you better than any
one.  You have been my best friend always, and I say you are!"

Marjory's fingers plucked at the coverlet restlessly.  She breathed
in quick gasps.  Cecilia laid her hand on Marjory's.  "Perhaps
to-morrow you'll feel differently?" she suggested.  "You know dark
makes things so much darker.  I'll do anything to make you happier.
I'll ask Mr. Twombly to come out and play with you often, Marjory
dear."

"Don't, oh, don't!" whimpered Marjory.  Her shoulders shook.  Cecilia
closed her eyes a moment, and then spoke quite loudly and steadily.
"Dear," she said, "I'm sure he loves you.  I'm sure he does."

"Don't!" implored Marjory.  "Don't!"  She threw back her head and
spoke in a different tone.  "I hate America!" she said viciously.  "I
hate everything!  Life, my place in it.  I hate you for being so
good!  I hate,--oh, God!  Oh, God!"  Her tirade ended in a paroxysm
of dry sobs.  Small Cecilia reached out her arms and drew Marjory's
head against her soft bosom.

"Oh, dear Marjory!" she whispered, "you have been so good to me!  I
would do anything to make you happier!  _Anything!_  Marjory, dear
Marjory!"

Marjory sobbed on.

"I wasn't worthy of my dreams," Cecilia heard her say between gasps.
"I--they were too big for me.  I knew it, but----" she stopped.
Cecilia, all uncomprehending, baffled, said only, "Dear!" and again,
"Dear!"

Some strange trouble this was to bring tears to the dry-eyed Marjory,
but Marjory needed comfort, not questions.  "Dear!" she said once
again.  Marjory drew away.  "Oh, heavens!" she said, laughing, "what
an emotional actress I could have been.  Forget this and sleep; I
shall."  She stood up, stretching.  Suddenly she was again the new
Marjory.  She looked on Cecilia.  "I _did_ try," she said, "and some
people can't be decent even when they try.  They can only get
halfway."

"What?" began Cecilia.

"Nothing," said Marjory.  "Good-night."  She started for the door,
and then turned back.  She leaned above the bed and kissed Cecilia
rather fiercely, quite as if she thought of some one else whom she
loved in another way while she did it.  After she'd gone Cecilia hid
her eyes.  Without reason the kisses of Tommy Dixon were recalled.
Those of the life-half, without a touch of soul.  Then Cecilia forgot
them in her wonder about Marjory.

"I would do anything for her happiness," thought Cecilia, "even
that."  And then she closed her eyes and asked to be strong.

When she opened them she saw a golden streak across the floor.  The
sun was up.



CHAPTER XIII

A REQUEST

"Miss Cecilia----" said Stuyvesant Twombly into the telephone which
stood on his desk.  His heart hammered so that his ears ached, and
the furniture in the room swayed and bent.

"I want to ask you a favour," he heard.  "It matters a great deal to
me, and, well, to----" she stopped.

"Yes?" he said, aware that his voice was crisp.  He had not meant to
have it so, but his voice, when Cecilia was near, did as it pleased.

"It's about John," he heard her say very quickly.  "He--you know he
cares a great deal about you, and that you influence him greatly.
You did more than any one else ever has for him."

"I'm sure," interrupted K. Stuyvesant, "I'm glad.  I don't mean
that," he blurted out; "I mean----"

"I understand," said Cecilia; "I telephoned you to ask you if you
wouldn't come to the house sometimes because of him?  I--I'm not home
very much.  The--the little incident of the boat is quite
forgotten----"

K. Stuyvesant coughed.

"I understand you," said Cecilia.  "I hope you do me?"

"Yes," answered K. Stuyvesant miserably.

"You will help him?" she questioned further.

"I will," he answered.  "I told Miss Marjory I'd do----

"Yes," broke in Cecilia, unable to bear more; "she told me what you
said.  I'll be more grateful than you can ever know, too."

K. Stuyvesant swallowed convulsively.

"Good-bye," she said in a small voice.  "Good-bye," he answered
gruffly.  He hung up the receiver and stared across the room.  His
teeth were set with cruel tightness on his lower lip....  He
remembered how her little hand had crept into his beneath a blue and
green checked steamer blanket.  He almost wished he could forget
it....  And that distance at which she'd kept him had not been what
he'd thought, her proving of his sudden love, but only her
inclination.  Lord, how he'd dreamed, and still dreamed! ... He'd do
what he could for John.  He believed much was possible.

And how even the sound of her voice left him!  Shaking, and aching
with his want.  First hot, then cold....  He stared, unseeingly,
across his office.  He recalled his first evening at the country
house when he'd stood by the white wall with a Greek relief,
worshipping a little Irish maid.

Then Marjory had come.  He wished she hadn't.  He almost hated her,
and found no reason why he should, except for her telling him
something which haunted his long nights....  "Cecilia, Cecilia!" ran
through his head,--and heart....  For her, he'd do what he could for
John.  He reached for the telephone and called a number he knew too
well.  After an interval, and a request, John answered.

At first his tone was languid, then it leaped into colour from
pleasure, and K. Stuyvesant hid his eyes....  John, genuine, echoed
the dearest Cecilia.  His voice, even in its grating boy-quality,
held a hint of hers.

"Then we'll go riding?" K. Stuyvesant asked.

"I'd be jolly glad to!" answered John.  "I've wanted to see you, but
I thought I'd better not bother you."

"We'll take in the aeroplane show," said K. Stuyvesant, "if you
like."  John liked very much.  He hung up the receiver, looking like
a boy.  His thickened eyelids were lifted, his eyes wide open.

Looking toward the photograph of Fanchette, he recalled an
engagement.  "You may go to hell!" he said loudly, not stopping to
think that his staying away would not send her there; but that she
was more liable to its admittance on earth, if he, and other idle
young men of his stamp, were with her.

The aeroplane show!  That would be great!  Of all the chaps he'd ever
known he most admired K. Stuyvesant, and to chum with him!  Well,
wouldn't the fellows look!  Well, rather!

In the hall he passed Jeremiah.  "Going out with Stuyvesant," he
called pleasantly.  Confiding his intentions or aim in direction was
unusual.  Both he and Jeremiah wondered at it.  Jeremiah was so
pleased that he was past smiling.  A little quirk came in his heart,
and he whispered, "Just then he looked like Mary used to when I brung
her the wages.  He did!  I wished she could have saw him!"  Then
Jeremiah went on down the hall, stooping a little more than usual, as
he always did with the thought that made him old.

"A bunnit with pink roses on!" he muttered next.  That always came
with his memory of Mary, that "bunnit" that she never had.


"Hello, Madden," said K. Stuyvesant.  John threw out his chest.  K.
Stuyvesant had acknowledged him a man.  "How're yuh?" he added.  John
said that he was well.  As they spoke they sped away from the
stern-faced houses of New York's moneyed folk and into its hum.

"Glad to be in town again," said John; "awful glad to see you too.
Got beastly quiet out there after Marjory left.  Can't be sleepy
while _she's_ around!"  K. Stuyvesant assented.

"You mashed on her too?" inquired John.  K. Stuyvesant took his eyes,
for the faintest second, from the street ahead.  Then he looked back.
He had answered.  John felt limp, and adored with more fervor.
"Didn't mean to offend," he muttered.

They had spent a pleasant afternoon.  At least John thought so, the
pleasantest, he thought, for ages, but just now he was suffering from
a profound shock.  K. Stuyvesant had said something that had left
John mentally holding on to his solar plexus.

"You say it's an evidence of _youth_ to get drunk?" said John.

"Uh huh," answered K. Stuyvesant in an indifferent tone.  "Surest
sign in the world that a fellow's about nineteen.  You know how it
is, a chap wants to get old, be thought old, so he imitates what he
thinks is manhood.  Like a kid, picking out gilt instead of gold, he
picks out a drunk, and thinks it's a man.  Look at that motor!
_Some_ peach!"

"Yes," agreed John absently.  However he hadn't seen the motor.  He
was hoping with violence that K. Stuyvesant had not heard of his
lurid past.  For the first time he thought of his "past" without
pleasure.  Heretofore his "past" had been like a treasured museum.
Each piece of fresh wickedness added to it with great pleasure, and
the knowledge that its value was greater.

"Everybody goes through that stage," said K. Stuyvesant, quite as if
he'd read John's mind.  "It's the measles of the pin-feather age.
Look here, John, whatcha think of that shaft?  Looks kinda heavy to
me."

"Hollow, aluminum," said John in a little voice.  He was suffering
from a complete emotional turn over.  It was difficult to contemplate
shafts.  K. Stuyvesant fingered a frame with interest.  "Like to own
one," he said, "darned if I wouldn't!"

"Keep yer hands off them machines!" said a loud voice, the owner of
which glared on K. Stuyvesant.  K. Stuyvesant removed his hands.  He
also smiled.  John was nettled.  His great dignity was hurt.

"Why didn't you tell him who you were?" he asked of Stuyvesant with
heat.

"Oh, Lord!" said Stuyvesant.  "Why should I?  The fact that I draw a
little more on pay day than the next fellow doesn't give me the
divine right to paw all over the works."  John was silent.  He was
again mentally steadying his solar plexus.  The afternoon had been
full of earthquakes to his small ideas, and reconstruction.

"Look here," said John seriously, "did you go through that period?"

K. Stuyvesant looked sheepish, then he laughed.  "Sure," he said; "I
was a real devil at twenty.  I couldn't stand girls because I thought
they laughed at me, so I decided to drink myself to death.  My proud
ideal was to be the heaviest drinker in New York, and to be so
pointed out.  Sometimes I stayed out as late as two."

John laughed with him, although his inclinations were far from
laughter.  Coarse hands were despoiling his altar, and, worse,
laughing at it, as an echo of childhood.

K. Stuyvesant had seated himself on a folding chair that smelled of a
hearse.  John settled by him.  "These chairs always make me think of
Uncle Keefer's funeral," said Stuyvesant.  "Mother went, draped in
eighteen yards of crape.  She mourned him deeply until she heard the
will, then she tore off the weeds and had 'em burned."

John was far away, so the subject of Uncle Keefer's funeral was
abandoned.

"Did--did you collect girls' photographs?" asked John.

"Girls never liked me," said Stuyvesant, "and guns weren't allowed.
I did use to have a gallery of second-rate actresses decorating my
boudoir.  I bought the pictures at a photographer's.  The less they
wore the better.  Lord, what a calf period!  Hiccoughing, little
asses!  Makes me sick to think of it!"  Real disgust was written on
K. Stuyvesant's face.  John pushed his hair away from his forehead.
He felt very hot.  If some one else had spoken, he would not have
noticed.  But K. Stuyvesant--chased by most of New York!  Honestly
liked by the fellows, as a good sport.  Owner of several cups for
several achievements.  Rated as "damned indifferent, but a bully
chap!"

John felt weak and little,--worse,--he felt terribly young.  He
looked away from K. Stuyvesant.  Perhaps K. Stuyvesant sensed
something of his misery, for he laid a big hand on John's shoulder.
The hand was cheering.

"Where you going to college?" he asked.  John explained that he had
not thought of going, that he hated work, and that a certain amount
of study seemed necessary for school.

K. Stuyvesant talked persuasively.  "If you studied this winter you
could enter next fall," he said; "you have all of the year to do it
in.  I'll look up some decent tutors, and help all I can, but I'm
darned stupid, myself.  Wish I weren't.  All I could do would be to
root.  I'd do that!"

"Would you kind of help me keep interested?" said John, looking at
his feet.  "I haven't done anything that I haven't wanted to, for so
long, that I've lost the knack.  If you'd help me keep
interested,--will you?"

"You bet I _will_!" answered K. Stuyvesant.

"Thank you," said John quietly.  K. Stuyvesant's hand tightened on
John's shoulder convulsively.  Then he took it away.  Cecilia's voice
had seemed to say the little "thank you."  He was shaken, and vastly
relieved when John began to talk of monoplanes.  He wondered with
dull misery if all his years would be full of this "where is the rest
of me?" feel.  "Why isn't she here?  _How_ can we be apart when I
feel like this?"

He looked at John.  The monoplane essay had ceased.  "How is your
sister?" asked K. Stuyvesant gruffly.


"Cecilia," said John, "I wish you'd come in." He was by the door of
his bedroom as he spoke.  Cecilia answered that she'd be happy to
come in, and stepped past him.  "I'm going to college," said John
dramatically after he'd closed the door.  "Stuyvesant wants me to.
He thinks he can get me in his Frat.  He's going to buy an aeroplane,
but he says I can't go up unless you say so.  Can I?  Are you glad
I'm going to college?"

Cecilia was entirely bewildered, but said she was glad he had decided
to go to college.  She sat in a low chair by a table, and her
bewilderment increased when John took several photographs from his
bureau and threw them carelessly into the waste basket.  Next she saw
Fanchette thrown in a table drawer, which was then slammed.

"John dear," said Cecilia, "_are_ you sick?"

"No," answered John, then she saw a twinkle in his eyes, often there
in the little boy days.  "I'm Irish," he continued, "and I can see a
joke, even on myself.  I've tried to be very old, Celie."

She put her arms around his neck.  He hid his face against her
throat, and she felt him shake.  The joke was forgotten.  "It's so
hard," she heard in muffled tones; "I'm ashamed of dad, and then I
try to gloss it over, I----"

"If it hadn't been for dad," said Cecilia slowly, "we would have both
been getting slabs of peat out of an Irish bog, surely barefooted,
probably hungry."

"It would have been better," said John bitterly.

"Perhaps," answered Cecilia, "but that is not the question.  We're
here."

"Quite so," said John, and laughed a little.  He had drawn away,
ashamed of his emotion.

"Have I seemed like a kid to you?" he asked.

Cecilia looked at him squarely.  "Yes," she answered.

"Why didn't you help me?" he blurted out.  "Let me be the laughing
stock of every one.  The son of a multi-millionaire, the laughing
stock of----"

"If you recollect," interrupted Cecilia, "I did try.  More than once.
You told me I was only a girl, that I didn't understand.  You even
told me to mind my business on several occasions."

"Oh, Celie!" said John.

"Dear!" answered Cecilia, in another tone.  She sat on the arm of the
chair in which he'd thrown himself.  He put an arm around her.

"Now that you are awake," said Cecilia, "what do you think of those
near-men you've been introducing me to all summer?"  She was smiling.
John's inclination to anger vanished.  He smiled foolishly instead.

"The mixture is the trouble," he said, "with no one whom you can
respect to guide you,--no power above.  I feel better, naturally,
than the Gov'ner."

Cecilia let that pass.  "Orchids and hollyhocks in one bed," she
said, "but in time I believe you'll come to love the homely honesty
of hollyhocks,--those that thrive in all weathers.  I believe you
will, John.  I do."

He got up and stretched.  The new man had gone.  She saw this, and
rose with him.  "Good-bye, dear," she said in a very everyday tone;
"I'm glad you had a good time this afternoon."

In a flash he changed again.  His arms closed about her soft body,
and he kissed her.  "Celie," he said huskily, "you're the _best_
fellow!"

"Johnny," she answered, "you _darling_!" He gave her another squeeze,
and released her.  Then he was again the conscious boy.  "This darn
tie," he muttered, looking in a mirror; "it wads up rottenly!"

Cecilia left indifferently, but outside his door she turned and
kissed a panel opposite her small head.

She wore the want-to-cry expression which so worried Jeremiah, but
her eyes were happy.  They looked like those of a little girl who
holds the best beloved, just mended, doll, all fixed up, ready to
love and spank some more, to scold, forgive, and kiss.



CHAPTER XIV

PINK

"You are an advocate of gum-chewing?" asked Miss Annette Twombly,
with a faint, not too pleasant smile.

"No," answered Cecilia, "but I do think we ought to give them a good
time, not reform them.  Why, they get discipline all day at their
work.  I wanted to make them forget that, and all their
imperfections."  She turned with the words to glance about the group
of young women who sat in the office of the Girls' Club.

There was a vague murmur.  "But--gum--!" Cecilia heard in a voice
which held horror.

"My idea," said Annette, in her cool, slow voice, "was to give them
higher ideals, and to teach them not to wear those horrid, pink silk
blouses, you know.  Teach them that it isn't nice to chew gum,
and,--ah,--well, give them a _larger_ life."

"How are you going to give it?" asked Cecilia.  "I see what you are
going to destroy, but what are you going to put in their places?  I
think a certain amount of pink is necessary.  It has to be _very_
bright, for there is so little of it.  It has to reach a long way."

Annette didn't think this worth answering.  She simply raised her
shoulders and eyebrows in a gesture denoting suffering tolerance and
pity.  Then she turned to a neighbour and spoke in an undertone.
They laughed, and Cecilia flushed.

"Are you an upholder of the green velvet 'throw' on the parlour
organ, Miss Madden?" asked a young woman, noted for her bizarre dress.

"I am when the green velvet is the only possible beauty for
them,--the only reachable one.  I think it's so narrow," she went on
heatedly, "to make them enjoy themselves just in our way,--to inflict
our likes and dislikes because it's possible to do so.  I want to
give these girls what _they_ consider a good time, and what they
want.  Patterns for good times differ.  I want dances instead of
classes in art.  They need them."

"But, my dear,--gum, and those fearful frocks!  Annette meant to tell
them not to wear cheap laces, but to dress plainly, and suitably to
their station," explained a drab young lady whose own dress looked as
if it had been designed for a futurist ball.

Cecilia sighed.  She saw a band of heavy-eyed and tired-out girls
denied their little cravings for beauty.  She saw them laying aside
pink blouses which brought a faint pink into their small, starved
souls.  She saw them trying to be ladies, and losing the little
solace of "spear-mint gum," and roses of cabbage size and
architecture on their cheap hats.

"I think they need the pink," said Cecilia.  "If their dress is
criticised I think the Club is failing in its mission.  Every one
will criticise them, few will love them.  Let's leave their manners
and their dresses to their own management.  Let us just try to make
them forget the factories, and the flat crowded full of children.  I
wanted to give them a place where they could bring their beaux."

"We agreed about the dances," said Miss Twombly; "I shall _adore_
coming to them!  Won't they be _killing_?"  A hum of voices followed
this, in which was heard: "But their horrible frocks!"--"In the end
they would thank us!"--"Give them a vision of a larger, more helpful
life!"

"I shall not subscribe to a reformatory," said Cecilia loudly.  She
hated to say it, but an echo of some one who had wanted a "bunnit
with pink roses on" flew before her.  She meant to do all she could
to help other people get, and keep, their particular brands of pink
roses.

Cecilia's contribution for the club's maintenance was large.  It was
agreed that for the present at least no helpful hints as to the bad
taste of its members' clothes should be given.  Cecilia looked at a
small watch, and got up.  She said good-bye pleasantly.  When the
door closed after her there was a surge of noise.

"Well," said Annette in a carrying tone, "of course she _would_
sympathise.  I suppose her own tastes are really theirs.  _Have_ you
ever seen her father?"

"She plays 'The Shepherd Boy,' and 'The Storm in the Alps' for him
every evening," said the bizarre.

"My _dear_," said another, "_have_ you seen the boy?  He is _really_
quite possible and they say that the horrible old man is fabulously
wealthy too."

"Criminal!" breathed Annette.  Her eyes were angry and full of
resentment.

"Annette," said a girl from across the room, "how are you getting on?
I think it's too original of you!"

"You aren't still doing that?" asked another.  Annette nodded.

"What?" asked a bewildered onlooker.

"Working, really work," she was informed.

"My _dear_, how sweet!" said the informed.  "Isn't it ennobling, and
broadening, and all that kind of thing?"

Annette nodded, and then spoke flippantly of it as a "lark."  Her
bravado was a bit too thick.  Several young people who knew something
of Mrs. Twombly's investments looked at each other across Annette's
head.

After she left there was another free discussion.  "Social
secretary," said the drab one, "to a horrid person from Ohio, or the
state of Washington, or somewhere terribly west.  Trying to break in,
lots of money, but oh,--like the Maddens."

"Hasn't Stuyvesant a huge fortune?" asked the bizarre.  "Why doesn't
he help then?  Though his not doing so is quite what I'd expect.  I
tried to be so pleasant to him on one occasion, and he was absolutely
_rude_!  Really rude!  He said----"

Cecilia had stopped at Mrs. Smithers' on her way home.  She sat by
the stove holding the latest Smithers on her lap.

"We got it with tradin' stamps," said Mrs. Smithers.  She held up a
purple vase which had evidently been created by some one suffering
with a toothache.  Mrs. Smithers was trying not to smile.  She felt
that she should be easily careless with her new grandeur, but it was
hard to be so.  "Look at that there seascape," she said, turning the
seascape side toward Cecilia, "an' that there sailor with his girl.
Ain't she purty?  My old man, he sez if he seen one like her, he
wouldn't come home no more!"  Cecilia joined Mrs. Smithers' loud
laughter over the "old man's" subtle humour.

"Two books," Mrs. Smithers explained after the laughter had ceased,
"an' next time we're going to get a plush photograph album.  It has a
mirror-like on top, with daisies and I dunno what all painted around.
_Hand_ painted on that there velvet, mind yuh.  It's _swell_!"

"I imagine it is," agreed Cecilia.  "You like to have pretty things,
don't you?" she questioned.

Mrs. Smithers' wide and fat face clouded.  "Dearie," she said, "yuh
gotta have gilt an' fancy vases to make yuh ferget how homely most
life is.  I wish you could have saw me yesterday.  My Gawd, I get
tired a-doin' the wash, an' Jim so tony, him usin' _two_ shirts a
week!  Well, I didn't mind the sweatin' all day, the way I do over
the wash, f er all I seen was that there vase a-settin' there.  Now
ain't it purty?"

Cecilia agreed that it was.  Mrs. Smithers smiled again.  "Why," she
exclaimed, "I nearly forgot Lena's dress--the one she's going to wear
to the club dance.  She set up 'til one last night a-fixing it.  She
was tickled to fits about it.  Looka here."  Mrs. Smithers reached
below the dining table and took out the third box from the bottom.
She opened it reverently.  It disclosed a dress of cheap and flimsy
lawn, made in the most extreme of styles.  There was black velvet on
it, several bales of lace, and some roses.  Its colour was pink.

"How lovely!" said Cecilia, and she meant it; for Cecilia saw what
the colour meant,--what it brought,--and the dress to her was truly
lovely.

"Yessir," said Mrs. Smithers; "Lena, she sez, 'Maw, I feel like a
queen in this here!' (she's partial to pink) an' yuh oughta see her
in it.  Mebbe she ain't purty.  Her gentleman friend, who works at
Helfrich's delicatessen store, cold meat counter, yuh know,--he sez,
'My Irish rose,' when he seen it.  That's a song, 'My Irish Rose.'
The Kellys got it on the graphaphone.  It's swell.  Ever hear it?"

Cecilia had not.

"I wish she had a pink hat," said Mrs. Smithers, "an' then she could
wear this to church.  First Luthern, we go to,--that one with the
fancy brick, corner of Seventh, and----"

"I have a hat," said Cecilia, "that I'm going to send to Lena.  It's
pink, and it has lots of roses on it!"

Tears came to the little eyes of Mrs. Smithers.  She beamed widely.
"I didn't mean fer to hint," she said; "honest to Gawd, I didn't."

"I know," answered Cecilia, "and you know I love to send Lena things.
Is she still coughing, and is she drinking the milk I send?"

"Yes," answered Mrs. Smithers, "but she don't just like it.  She
likes evaporated better, bein' used to it."  Mrs. Smithers looked
doleful.  The mention of Lena's cough always made her so.  Her
expression was like that of a meditative pig, for her small eyes and
fat face together provided everything but the grunt.  However, to
Cecilia she was beautiful, for Cecilia saw the love in Mrs. Smithers'
soul, which she spread around her seven children and the "old man."

"I won't forget the hat," called Cecilia from the doorway, "and it
shall be _very_ pink!"


"Miss Madden, meet my gentleman friend."  The gentleman friend
shuffled his feet and emitted a raucous "Pleased tuh meet yuh."

It was the night of the first dance at the Girls' Club.  Little knots
of its members stood around the edges of the floor, laughing often,
and loudly.  The gentlemen friends seemed to spend their time
deciding which foot to stand on, and then shifting to the other.

The committee of "uplift workers" rushed around wildly, doing
nothing.  It was notable that Cecilia was the one to whom the
"gentleman friends" were introduced.

Lena Smithers came up to Cecilia.  "That hat," she said, "I dunno how
to thank yuh!  Paw, he's talkin' alla time about them roses.  They're
grand!"

"I'm glad you liked it, dear," said Cecilia.

"Yes," went on Lena more shyly, "an' my gentleman friend, him who
clerks at the delicatessen, he likes it too.  Honest, that boy's
grand to me!  They ain't hardly an evening that he don't bring me a
string of sausage or a hunk of ham!"  Cecilia looked impressed and
murmured, "Really?"

"Um hum!  Gawd's truth!" said Lena.

"Mr. Ensminger," said a fat girl, towing a flaxen-haired boy with no
chin.  "Soda fountain clerk to the Crystal.  Better kid him on, Miss
Madden, mebbe he'll give yuh a soda!"

There was loud laughter at this persiflage.  Suddenly Cecilia forgot
it, her surroundings, the gentlemen friends, in fact everything but
the cruelly fast pumping of her small heart, for across the room she
saw John coming in, and by him Stuyvesant Twombly.


"How did Mr. Twombly happen to come?" Cecilia asked of John much
later, when they were dancing.

"Why," answered John, "I told him of it, and he said, 'Let's go down.
Would your sister mind?'  Of course I said, 'No.'"

"Of course," answered Cecilia.

"Who's the girl who dances like a duck with the rheumatism?" asked
John.  "She walked halfway up my shins, got discouraged, gave it up,
and then later started it all over again."

"Sweet persistency," murmured Cecilia.  Her eyes were on the partner
of the duck with the rheumatism, K. Stuyvesant.  He looked warm.

The music stopped.  Cecilia and John found themselves with the duck
and her partner.  K. Stuyvesant stepped toward Cecilia with
determination.  "Will you _please_ give me the next?" he said.  His
request was made in a desperate tone, a tone absolutely unsuitable
for the asking of a dance.

"Why," said Cecilia, "there are so many girls here who sit about.  I
have to see that they have partners, and----"

"Oh, go on!" broke in John.  "You dance; I'll do the proper for you."
K. Stuyvesant put a hand on John's arm; the touch was full of
gratitude.  Then the music started in a slow, sentimental, sweet
waltz song, popular that season.  K. Stuyvesant invented several new
steps.  It was good that Cecilia was an unusual and adaptable dancer,
for his tempo and intentions were mixed.  "What is this?" he asked at
last.

"A waltz," answered Cecilia, and at that he stopped his mixture of
one-step and maxixe.  "Excuse me," he said gruffly.  Beads of wet
stood out on his forehead.  He was out of breath.

"Would you like to stop?" asked Cecilia.  "It's warm and you seem
tired."

"Oh, no!" he said passionately.  She looked up at him, and when their
eyes met his arm tightened with a spasmodic quickness about her; then
he turned a deep mahogany colour and stared unseeingly across her
head.  He had not meant to do that.  He wondered what she'd think of
him.

As for Cecilia, she shut her eyes and tried to be indignant.  It was
an insult, an insult when he felt as Marjory said he did, an insult!
But oh, how sweet, how sweet!

The music stopped.  "Thank you," said K. Stuyvesant huskily.  Then he
left Cecilia with many maidens and singled out John.  "If you don't
mind, I'm going home now," he said.  "I'm tired.  Thank you for
bringing me along."

He looked back toward Cecilia.  He saw the top of her golden head,
surrounded by others of more elaborate coiffure.  They made a
worshipping circle around her.

"Gosh!" said K. Stuyvesant.  He recalled the little second when he'd
drawn her nearer.  "I'm not sorry!" he thought, then turned to hurry
away from the lights and the music, for he wanted to be alone.



CHAPTER XV

FIRELIGHT

"It's a serious," said a boy with a voice like a nutmeg grater.

"Yuh boob!" exploded his companion.  "He means a serial," he
explained to Father McGowan.

"And," said Father McGowan, "you have come to me because you are
temporarily embarrassed for funds?"

"Yep," said the nutmeg grater.  "We're broke."

"An' it's that exciting!  Every time they busts up an automobile an'
wrecks a train--we'd pay yuh back,--an' him an' her in it, they----"
broke in the other.

"You'd like a loan," said Father McGowan.  "Well, well, here it is.
What's the name of it?"

"'The Iron Claw,'" said the younger impressively.  "It's grand.  Them
there shows learn yuh a lot too."  His voice showed his great thirst
for knowledge.  Father McGowan smiled.  He was urged to go along,
with the assurance that they would also pay for that in the future,
but he refused on the plea of work.

He went to the rectory door with them and let them out into the
dismal snowfall, the first of the season.  Half-hearted, damp, then
he went back to his study, with a tender look in his eyes.

He was thinking of a small boy who had known no such pleasures--a
small boy brought up by an always-old aunt, whose heart and soul were
cut square, and without any dimples.  He had been a very quiet small
boy with a great hankering for nails and something to pound with.

He had gone through the pound period without pounding, and when he
reached the dream time he knew that dreams to his unyielding old aunt
would be as troublesome as nails, so he had kept silent.

Father McGowan's eyes still held the wistful look that had come into
them at seventeen.  He recalled all his naillessness as he saw two
joyful theatregoers start off to see "The Iron Claw," but in thinking
of it there was no regret--only a gratitude that from his denials had
come a backyard full of junk and a paradise for many little boys who
otherwise would have gone without their small-boy heaven.

"She was a good woman!" said Father McGowan; "a good woman!"  He was
thinking of the still old aunt who'd brought him up.


"Are you well, Father McGowan-dear?" asked Cecilia later in the
afternoon when Father McGowan had settled before a fire in the Madden
library.

"Oh, yes," answered Father McGowan.  "Have a little cold, but I feel
splendidly."  Cecilia did not look impressed, and certainly Father
McGowan's aspect was not convincing.  His head was thrown back
against the chair, and his breath came raspingly.

"A hot lemonade," said Cecilia rather to herself.

"Never!" said Father McGowan.  "Never!  Cecilia, you are a dear
child.  Don't irritate me.  I hate lemonades.  They make me think of
money for the parish house, and they are bad enough cold."

"Hot toddy?" suggested Cecilia; her eyes twinkled.

"Ah--!" replied Father McGowan softly.  Cecilia rang, spoke to a
haughty person in buttons, and soon Father McGowan was sipping
something warm which did not smell of lemons.

"How's the pain?" asked Father McGowan in a commonplace tone; he
studied the glass he held.

"Oh," answered Cecilia, "it is the same, but I am braver.  I _will_
be good, Father McGowan.  I can't help lov--caring for him.  I fixed
my hair eight times the other day when I knew I'd see him, and used
an eyebrow pencil Marjory left, but it wasn't becoming, and I washed
it off.  I can't help caring for him, although I know he's unworthy.
I seem to have lost my handkerchief,--thank you."  Father McGowan
supplied a large square.

"You didn't use to cry much, did you, dear child?" he asked gently.

"No," answered Cecilia, "and I don't now except with you.  You see,
when I voice it it becomes so tragically real.  It is fixed because I
speak it to a human, while when I think of it it seems like a bad
dream.  It--it doesn't seem possible that I can care so much, while
he doesn't."

The fat priest reached for Cecilia's hand.  He lifted it and kissed
it.  Cecilia looked surprised.

"A token of immense respect and humble love, dear child," said Father
McGowan.  "Kisses," he continued, "Cecilia, tie to the man who humbly
kisses your hand.  There are two kinds, the kind who wants only your
lips and the kind who humbly touches your hand and who longs to be
absolved by whimpering out his shames against your throat.  Lord,
what an old fool I am!  _What_ a subject for a priest to lecture on!"

Cecilia was silent, for she was thinking of Stuyvesant's kisses,
which still burned her palm.  They had held humbleness,--and hunger.
She remembered how he had muttered that he "darn well wanted to get
down on his knees, gosh!  How he _did_ love----"  And then Mrs.
Higgenmeyer had come along and called loudly of the night: "Purty
night, ain't it?" and, worse, the chaperone of Boston had then
appeared and said in her crisp, quick-cut way: "'Beautiful night of
stars,' as our inimitable Mr. Browning said."

Then the man with the Vandyke beard from Philadelphia had passed.  He
had crossed forty times, had a valet, and complained of the coffee
and service, therefore commanding every one's respect.  "Stevenson,"
he had corrected in passing.  "Horrid person!" said Miss Hutchinson,
but to Cecilia there were no horrid persons, for the world was full
of a tall, gruff man, and her heart was swollen from his hot kisses
on her small palm.  Her eyes must have told him something of this,
for he muttered, "Dear!" with the impetuosity of a loosened champagne
cork.  "What say?" Miss Hutchinson had asked.

"Father McGowan," said Cecilia, "shall I ever be allowed to forget my
inferiority to the most?  It is always there, even when they ask me
for money for their charities.  They say, 'Mrs. Dash has subscribed.
_You_ will probably _want_ to.'  By right of bricks, I purchase my
admission.  Shall I always feel this way?"

"Oh, no," answered Father McGowan.  "When you get past thirty you
forget how you feel--that is, if you're any good.  After that you
think of others, and the _ego_ is rubbed down by the world into its
proper size."

"I _am_ a pig!" said Cecilia.

"You're not!" disagreed Father McGowan.  "No one could call you
that----" He paused.  "For a long time," he went on, "I've wanted to
say something to you, because you are too near it to get a
perspective.  I want you to look around at the snobs who do not mix
with those in trade, and then I want you to ask what grandpapa did.
Probably he made pretzels or ran a laundry.  Do not ask the immediate
members of the family of this, for they may not like it, but ask some
_kind_ friend.  You and John, you people of stronger, fresher blood,
are America.  You are what comes in and puts bright eyes into
depleted stock and takes out the hiccoughs.  Don't apologise for your
strength and the fact that papa's reservations for his first trip
were made in the steerage."

"I don't," answered Cecilia.  "I'm rather blatantly proud of it,
although since boarding school I haven't bragged of it."

"In time you may even elevate your lorgnette and ask coldly, 'Who
_is_ she?'" suggested Father McGowan.

"Oh, no!" said Cecilia, "I'll _never_ do that!"

"Your children probably will!" said Father McGowan, and then he said
"Drat!" to his own stupid self.

"My children," said Cecilia, "are gentle, white ghosts, and they play
and do only what I dream.  They would never do that, I would send
them from my arms first, and I do--love them.  My arms would be
empty.  Am I going to be a sentimental old maid, Father McGowan-dear?"

Father McGowan said he thought not.  Then he turned and again quite
brazenly kissed Cecilia's small palm.

"Cecilia," he said, "to-day seems like the end of the world to me....
My soul is on wings.  Dear child, I wish you could know what you have
always been to me.  But you do, don't you?"

"Yes, Father McGowan-dear," answered Cecilia.  "I have known.  I have
always brought my worst hurts to you, and one does that only to one
who loves."

"Well, well," said Father McGowan, unused to personal sentiment and
awkward from it, "now we understand.  How's John?"

"Wonderful," answered Cecilia.  She smiled mischievously.  "Almost a
boy again," she added in explanation.

"Twombly responsible?" asked Father McGowan.

"Yes," she answered, "entirely.  His ideals when transplanted are
unusually good.  However, they do not seem to take root in him."

"Well, well," said Father McGowan.  He stretched in a tired way and
said he must go.  No, he couldn't stay for dinner, for he was to take
the night turn at nursing a burned iron moulder.  "Won't he be
thirsty when he sniffs my lemonade?" said Father McGowan.

Cecilia rang; the lofty person appeared.  "Just a minute," said
Father McGowan.  "I want one more word with you."  The person faded.

"Cecilia," said Father McGowan, "there's a doctor to whom your father
is playing God.  I don't want to bother you about it, but to-day,
coming here, I somehow felt as if I ought to."  Father McGowan
settled on the edge of a chair, and he told Cecilia the dry facts of
the ruin of Doctor Van Dorn.  "Try to make your father see that it's
better not to tamper with the works," he ended; "to leave that to
whoever or whatever is pushing the old ball around....  Well,
good-bye, dear child.  Oh, I can get out without the help of his
Royal Buttons, thank you."

After he left Cecilia again settled in front of the fire to think of
her new problem.  Her brain eluded it with a maddening persistency.
She thought of a new frock, the Girls' Club, a dance.  Then again of
the really horrible revelation, and the unexpected obstinacy of her
father.

She looked up at a softly coloured painting above the mantel, which
she'd had painted in Paris.  It had been marvellously done, and
especially since the only model had been a small tintype.

"Dearest," said Cecilia, "you would not want him punished, would you?
And,--is there any punishment more cruel than life?"

The painting smiled down gently.

"Pink roses," it seemed to say.  "There are always pink roses, but
youth must hold them to see their beauty....  Seeing no loveliness in
dreams denied, no heights in greatest depths...."


"Come in!" said John.  "Please!"  K. Stuyvesant hesitated.  He wanted
to, for just a glimpse of Cecilia was everything to him; but,
she--she had not wanted to see him.  "I am out a great deal," she
said in that memorable 'phone message,--also, "I have quite forgotten
the little episode of the boat."  Those two sentences had made things
cruelly plain.

"Come on," begged John, "you must be cold!"

K. Stuyvesant got out of his machine, and went with John into the
long-waisted house.

"Fire in the library," said John; "wood, you know.  Bully, aren't
they?"  John, ahead, stopped with his hand on the drapery which
softened the broad doorway into the library.  He put the other,
silencingly, on K. Stuyvesant's arm.  Cecilia sat in front of the
fire.  She held a framed picture in her hands, standing upright on
her knees.  Looking,--looking,--looking, she was.  They stood there
for what seemed to Stuyvesant many minutes.  He felt himself grow
hot, cold, then he longed to shake John,--again, hug him.

"Celie!" called John.  With a crash the photograph slipped from her
hands to the floor.

"Oh!" she cried breathlessly, "_how_ you frightened me!"

"Come in, Stuyv," said John, loudly.  "Look what she's looking at!
_Your_ picture!"  Stuyvesant didn't answer.  He had set his teeth,
and his chin was very square.

"How long were you there?" asked Cecilia.

"We just came in," said Stuyvesant, before John could answer.

"I just picked up your picture," said Cecilia.  "John hadn't shown it
to me.  I'm sorry I was stupid and broke the glass."

She moved, and Stuyvesant's eyes followed her, a heartache too large
for concealment showing in them.

"Whatcha go for?" asked John.  "Stay and talk!"

"I really can't, dear," she answered.  "I'm sorry."  Then, nodding,
she disappeared.  In a moment they heard the sound of the piano.
Some one who could feel, as well as play, was tinkling out "The
Shepherd Boy."

"She does it for dad," said John, "because he likes it, but you ought
to hear her play good music.  She's a wonder; why, in school----"

John broke off, another thought interrupting: "Why didn't you let me
jolly her about your picture?" he asked.  "It was a great chance."

"She wouldn't like it," answered K. Stuyvesant miserably.  "Please
don't tell her we were watching her, will you, John?"

"Aw,--why not!"

"_Please_, John!"  Stuyvesant's voice was earnest.

"Well, I won't," agreed John in a disappointed way.  "But I do like
to tease her!  She's awfully cunning when she gets excited, and you
can get a rise out of her every time."

After that they settled to play rum for a small stake.  Stuyvesant
was absent.  Time and again John and the cards faded while he saw
Cecilia sitting before an open fire,--soft in the firelight,
gentle,--almost ready to smile on him.  His picture? ... Probably
scorning him,--but,--at least she'd thought of him for that little
space.  He looked toward the chair, and he saw her gently smile in
his direction.

"Rum!" yelled John, much delighted.  "That puts me out.  Gee, you're
in the clouds!  You owe me forty-nine cents."



CHAPTER XVI

THE MYSTERY

The rectory hall was quiet, although it was well filled with
people--shabby, the most of them, and sitting uneasily upright in
their chairs.  Damp snow clung to the coat of one woman who had just
entered, and the smell of dirty and wet clothing was in the air.

Now and again the steam pounded in a low radiator below a window.
There was a great deal of sniffing, and a hacking cough from a woman
who bragged of a "weak chest."  At last an old man who had been
fingering the brim of his hat spoke in a hoarse whisper.  "How _is_
he?" he croaked.  His thumb pointed over his shoulder toward the
stairs.

"Ain't no better," responded the woman who coughed.  "_She_ come down
a half hour ago an' sez 'He's the same.'"  The woman coughed again,
and afterward wiped her eyes.

"He gimme a pipe," said the old man, turning the hat in his hands.
"It hez a real amber mouthpiece on.  He sez, 'Here, Jake, you know a
good pipe, now I don't.  This here was gave to me, I want you should
hev it,' he sez,--like that he sez----"

"I bet!" said a frightened looking little man, hitherto silent, "I
bet he did!  What he done fer me----!"  The little man stopped,
looked around, and cowered back in is chair, swallowed several times,
then spoke in a high voice, evidently unnatural and the fruit of
great effort.  "I was in the penitentiary," he said, "an' when I come
out no one would gimme a job.  I was despert.  I got my wife, an' her
aunt, what's had a stroke, an' can't use her limbs no way.  My wife
took to coughin' an' couldn't work no more.  Gawd, it was fierce!  I
was despert.  I come to him.  What he done fer me----!  I sez 'What
kin I do?  I gotta feed them women.  Hev I gotta steal again?'  He
sez no, an' he set me down an' gimme a meal.  Talkin' to me while I
et ... Gawd, I never kin fergit it....  That there meal was none of
them cold potato hand-outs served up with a sneer.  Human beings is
awful rough with each other sometimes.  When I got through I got up.
I sez, 'I don't want no more.  I guess I kin hunt my own job now, fer
you've made me a man agin....'  He sez, 'Well, well,' an' then he set
me down, an' believe it or not, he gimme a c_ee_gar!  A fie' center
too!  Then he come with me to my old woman, and Aunt Ellen, an' he
seen that they was did for, an' the next week he got me a job at the
cement plant."  After he finished he cowered again.  The world had
shown him little forgiveness.  His world was scorn, or a hidden shame.

The little man had, in telling of Father McGowan's goodness, voiced
his crucifixion.  The pain of telling it made him feel as if he were
at last thanking the big priest adequately....  He blinked, and
avoided his companions' eyes now.  He knew what to expect.

"I'm glad he helped yuh," said the old man, "but he would.  There
ain't nothing he wouldn't do fer nobody."

Common sorrow, like common joy, had drawn these people together.  The
love of the man upstairs had filled their souls, and left no room for
littleness.  The little man of the penitentiary was one of them, not
an outcast.

He sat up straight again, still blinking.  "Yer right," he said;
"he's helped a lot of us to believe there is a Gawd ...  an'
something beside hell, livin' or dead."

"Yep," answered the woman with the cough.  She drew a shawl close
about her and moved near the clanking radiator.  "Ain't it cold?" she
said.  "I'm used to settin' near the stove.  I wisht she'd come.
That there woman in white, I mean, the one what nurses him."

"I wish too," said a fat soul who surveyed every one with suspicion.
"I gotta get home an' pack my man's dinner pail.  Night work he does.
It ain't so nice.  _I_ don't get no company.  All day long he snores,
an' at night I set home, or go alone.  We used to go to pictures
every Monday regular as clockwork."

"He helped me buy a parlour organ," said a thin woman a little apart
from the group.  "I come to him, and I sez, 'I'd go hungry to get a
organ, what I could pick out tunes on, an' mebbe learn to play "Home,
Sweet Home" on.'  He sez, 'Well, well!' (yuh know his way) an' then I
told him how I'd wanted one, an' saved up, and then had to use that
there money to bury pop (his insurance havin' ran out) an' he helped
me.  I got it.  I kin play three measures a 'Home, Sweet Home,' real
good, except fer being slow in the bass....  There ain't nothing like
music fer company.  I don't get lonely no more of evenings.  I use to
get that down, an' tired a settin' alone after work, that I'd hate to
hear the six a'clock whistles.  It ain't no joke, settin' in one room
with the wall paper all off.  I wonder how he is?" she ended in
another voice.  No one answered.  The woman near the radiator
coughed, then wiped her eyes.  The old man twirled his hat.

A girl with a sullen look slunk in, and settled near the door.  There
was quiet.  Once in a while a chair was moved, and grated on the
floor.  The radiator clanked.  There was the staccato tap of heels in
the upper hall, then on the stairs.

"_You_ ask her," said one woman to another.

The old man spoke.  "Mrs.," he said, "how _is_ he?"

"There ain't no change," said Mrs. Fry, "and there ain't no sense to
your settin' here."

"We'll be quiet," said the old man wistfully, "and we'd kinda like
to.  We all love him."

Mrs. Fry covered her face with her handkerchief.  "Set if yuh want
to," she said in what was, for her, a softened tone, "but there ain't
a bit a sense to it."  Then she turned and went down the hall,
blowing her nose loudly.

"There's three doctors," said a girl just out of childhood, and yet
from her place in life old looking.

"I know that," replied the thin woman.  "It looks bad fer him, but he
_can't_ die!  There ain't another!"

"He won't die!" said the old man.  "Fer them that knowed him, he'll
always live."

In the kitchen Mrs. Fry was sobbing in the roller towel.  She heard
Father McGowan's voice come, as it had, in gasps.  "Now,--now!  Mrs.
Fry----" echoed in her heart, "don't feel badly--I'm tired,--and--I'm
ready to go--to sleep----"  And then he had smiled.

"Mrs. Fry," came in a voice from the doorway, "yer wanted!"  She
looked up to see an old man with the tears running down his face and
following the wrinkles in criss-cross paths of salty moisture.

The nurse stood in the hall.  She alone was calm.  "You'd better go
now," she said quietly to the little group.  Several of them sobbed
loudly.  The door opened suddenly.  "Where's Father McGowan?" called
a little boy.  "I got a new kitty what I want to show him.  _Ain't_
he in?"

Cecilia was on her knees in the dark, by her bed.

"Father McGowan," she whispered, "oh, Father McGowan-_dear_, where
are you?"  He had not gone where childhood had had an Irish mother
go.  Growing had made the mystery--the vast uncertainty--the haunting
question of the still, dark hours!

Cecilia lifted her face.  Her eyes were dry.  "Oh, God," she said
aloud, "if you are, give us another life.  There is no possible
good-bye for little human hearts that love.  Oh, God, let me see
Father McGowan-dear again.  Oh, let me!  I will be good all my life,
if I may meet him once again----"

She stopped, choked.

The mystery echoed....  "Father McGowan-dear," she whispered, "where
_are_ you?  Dearest, _where_ have you gone, and why?"



CHAPTER XVII

A RELAPSE

"He died," said Johnny, "of pneumonia.  One of those quick cases, you
know.  Cecilia's frightfully broken up--you can see it--although she
doesn't say anything."

"I'm sorry," said Stuyvesant.

"I never saw much in him," said John musingly, "but he had an awful
hold on a lot of people."

"Your sister cared for him, didn't she?" asked Stuyvesant, then added
bravely, "I think that assures his being unusual."

"Oh, I don't know," said John in a lazy way; "girls are
queer,--sometimes sentimental.  He was good to her when she was tiny.
She always remembers things like that.  I think she's kinda
sentimental."

Stuyvesant looked peculiar and grunted.

"Saw Tommy Dixon down town to-day," said John.  A sudden flush spread
across Stuyvesant's face.  His eyes were unpleasantly bitter.  "Good
sport," continued John.

"I disagree," said Stuyvesant loudly.  "Don't like him, nor his
rotten code."  John looked on Stuyvesant speculatively.  He reflected
that, after all, Stuyv didn't know it all, and that if he wore a
cassock he might have been taken for Father McGowan.  His ideals were
very similar.

"Can't train with a Sunday school class," said John.  "Live while
you're here, yuh know.  Damned if I haven't been good lately!"

Stuyvesant was worried.  Thus far his work had been easy, because of
John's adoring following.  But,--were John to follow Tommy Dixon with
the same adoration,--then,--it _would_ be work!  He thought, with an
inward sneer, of the smallness of the boy's measures for life.  He
thought of his always following the new, and of his weak swaying, and
then he thought of who had asked his help.

"Come to dinner with me, John," he said, while he made mental
arrangement for the cancelling of another engagement.

"Don't mind," answered the old John, in his old tired-of-life manner.
"Got a date before dinner.  Where'll I meet you?"  Stuyvesant named a
club, and they parted.  Stuyvesant went to his office.  There were
several matters awaiting his attention, but he pushed them aside.
Across the room he saw Tommy Dixon's insolent face.  On it was the
ever-present smile, that which shaded into a leer too easily....
"She says she can't forget his kisses," came with a touch of flame
across his tortured brain.

"God!" said K. Stuyvesant.  "God!" He hid his eyes with his hands.
His breath came fast.


It was half after eight, and John was to have met him at eight.
Stuyvesant looked at his watch, and frowned.  The day had been hard,
and had left small capacity for patience....  The mention of Tommy
Dixon had brought back a misery he'd hoped somewhat dulled (one
remembered by a stern control of thought, usually not more than once
a day).

Now John, after Stuyvesant's breaking an engagement,--was late.  His
casual acceptance of Stuyvesant's hospitality brought a smile to that
gentleman's lips.  He wondered if John thought he courted the
opportunity of hearing his rather young, and too often callow,
opinions stated with absolute assurance as truths?

At nine Stuyvesant shut his watch with a snap, and went out alone to
dinner.  He was entirely out of humour.  He allowed himself to
meditate largely on Tommy Dixon.  It was torture--exactly fitted his
mood, and helped.


"Celie," said Jeremiah.

Celie stopped playing the chimes of a new "piece" of Jeremiah's
pattern.

"Celie," he went on, "I done that you asked."

"Doctor Van Dorn?" she asked in a whisper.

"Yes," answered Jeremiah.  He blew his nose loudly.  "_He_ asked me,
an' he asked me," Jeremiah explained, "an' I was that uppish!
Jeremiah,' he'd say, 'don't try to cast yourself for God.  It won't
work,' an' I'd say, 'Is it going to rain, Father McGowan?'  Just the
last time he come I seen him in the hall, an' he was pleadin' with
me; he sez, 'You can control his work.  See that he does no harm, but
don't do more,' an' I sez, 'It's snowin' now, ain't it?'  Oh, dear
Lordy!  Ain't life one mess of regrets!  One after the other,
spoilin' your digestion, an' makin' yuh kick around of nights! ... I
loved him too."

"Dear," said Cecilia, "he knew that!"

"Yuh think so, Celie?" asked Jeremiah wistfully.  "Oh, yes!" she
answered.  Her answer held an applied genuineness.  It convinced
Jeremiah.

"I give him back his rotten little factory (I was losin' money on it,
anyway), and I wrote him a letter.  I sez, 'Dear Sir----'  An' I went
on telling him Father McGowan an' Gawd done it, not me.  I sez I was
his well-wisher now, wishin' him all success, an' I sez not to get
funny in the hospital business on sick kids no more or I'd have him
jailed.  The letter was friendly and Christian, all owing to Father
McGowan, who doesn't know it--God rest his soul!"

Cecilia was smiling tremulously.  "You absolute darling!" she said.
She perched on the arm of his chair, and they sat in silence.

"After all," she said, "hurting this little man wouldn't bring mamma
her pink roses, would it, dear?"

Jeremiah's eyes snapped.  In them was the look that certain
competitors, who scorned him socially, dreaded.  "It brung me mine,"
he stated; "it brung me mine!"  Cecilia laughed.  A sudden lightness
of spirit, like the flash of day into dawn, was hers.

"Dear," she said, "I believe Father McGowan knows!  I believe he
does!"  Jeremiah kissed her and smoothed her golden hair with his
hand which would never become smooth.  "You're like your maw," he
said.  It was his greatest tribute.  Cecilia clung to him with a
pathetic hunger.

"Miss Cecilia, the telephone," said the pompous person from the
doorway.

"Yes, sir; yes, sir," answered Jeremiah, "she's a-coming."  Cecilia
went to an adjoining room.  After her "yes" things swayed a bit.  She
did not need his voice, which said, "This is Stuyvesant Twombly."
She knew.  "Yes," she repeated.

"I _have_ to bother you," he said.  "I've just had a message from
John.  He's been a little hurt--just a little, Miss Cecilia, and he
wants you to come with me to where he is.  He's a little hurt.  You
won't worry?  I'll stop for you in a moment, that is, if you'll come?"

"Oh, of course!" she answered; "but you're sure he's not really hurt?"

"Yes," he answered.  "Do up well.  It's cold."  She hung up the
receiver, and stood a minute, hand over her thudding heart.  She was
not thinking of John.

As for Stuyvesant, he hung up the receiver and swore loudly.  He was
thinking of the 'phone message which had come from John, and of
John's small sister.  "Stuyv," he had heard John say, "I'm up here at
the Eagles' View House.  I had a bust-up.  Get Celie and come.  I'm
dying----"  There had been a lull.  "He's fainted," had come across
the wires in another tone.  Stuyvesant's first amusement over the
last 'phone message faded suddenly.  Perhaps John had made the
supreme effort and had managed to speak those few words?  Then he
abandoned speculation and telephoned Cecilia.  He had assured her
that John was not much hurt....  The gentle care of her was
instinctive.  If John were right the other would come later.

With a doctor in the car they drew up before the Madden House.  The
chauffeur was not off his seat before Stuyvesant was out and on the
steps.  "Are you warmly enough dressed?" he asked of her.

"Yes, thank you.  John?" she questioned.

"He telephoned me that he had a smash-up and that he wanted you.  I
have a doctor; he may have some sprains or bruises," said Stuyvesant.

"It's so good of you," she responded.  All of Marjory's hints had
gone.  She felt his hand on her arm and felt from it a sweet sickness.

"Miss Cecilia, may I introduce Doctor Holt?  Miss Madden----"  After
that she settled, and felt rugs being wrapped around her.
Stuyvesant's hands lingered.  They held a thrilling tenderness.  "Are
they well around you?" he asked.  Cecilia said they were, and
Stuyvesant drew a long breath.  The doctor looked from one to the
other speculatively.  He judged them lovers and himself in the way.
The girl was certainly entirely lovely--the soft type who asked for
gentleness in return for unbounded love.  The way she looked at young
Twombly as he stared straight ahead was rather beautiful, thought the
doctor.  She jumped as he spoke.  "These gay young men and their
speeding," he had said.

"Oh, yes," said Cecilia, "aren't they fearful?  I think they should
be reared without silly sisters to worry over them!"

The doctor agreed.  He imagined young Madden to be a hard-muscled
fellow who liked sport.  In speaking of speed, his only thought had
been mileage.

The car had left the city and was running with difficulty over a road
which was bad from a light snow.

"Miss Madden is skidding quite a bit (pardon me, Miss Madden) alone
on that back seat.  You'd better get back there, Mr. Twombly," said
the doctor.  He smiled.  He thought he had done something very kind,
and done it neatly.  Mr. Twombly stuttered something that sounded
like, "I'm glad; I'd be glad--pleased----"  Cecilia stared agonizedly
ahead.  The car made a turn, and, alone on the broad seat, she
swayed, slid half across the seat, bumped.

Stuyvesant turned his chair.  "May I, Miss Cecilia, or the doctor?
We're going so fast.  You'll be so jolted."  In answer she turned
back the rug, and Stuyvesant settled by her.  After that there was
quiet.  Cecilia looked ahead, through steamed glass, at the ears of
Stuyvesant's chauffeur.  Stuyvesant sneakingly looked at her.

"Only ten," said the doctor; "we're making good time."

"Pardon?" said Stuyvesant, and at the same time from Cecilia, "Excuse
me.  I didn't hear."  Under cover of the dark the doctor smiled.
Cecilia flushed, and Stuyvesant bit his lip.  He clasped his hands
together very tightly, for he was afraid that if she looked toward
him he would put his arms around her and draw her close.

The doctor began to criticise the administration, as people always do
when they know little of the facts.  Stuyvesant clutched the straw,
and argued hotly first on one side, and then the other.  The doctor
was pleased, for K. Stuyvesant was illustrating a pet theory of his,
universal insanity.  "Now if Van Dorn could hear this!" he reflected.
"Why, the man could be locked up!  He's much worse than millions in
asylums!"

The car jolted, and turned.  Cecilia swayed, and bumped against
Stuyvesant's arm.  It slipped back of her protectingly, and closed
around her.  "That was a jolt--" he said shortly, "these roads,--did
it jar you?"

"No," answered Cecilia, "thank you."  His arm had been pulled away
with a jerk.  Cecilia stared ahead at the chauffeur's ears.  They
were large and floppy, and the whole world seemed like them, a
misfit.  She felt chilled, alone, afraid.  She wished the car would
jolt again.  She wished so brazenly.  She didn't care,--she did!

At the Eagles' View Cecilia was ushered up creaking stairs to a
cheap, little room.  It was shabby, and hung with soiled cretonnes.
There were pictures on the walls, entitled "The Bathers,"--"Playful
Kittens,"--"A Surprise!"  Some more lurid with titles impossible.
Stuyvesant had followed Cecilia and from the doorway, over her head,
he caught the impression.  He had expected it, but it hurt cruelly.
His spirit was a mixture of longing to press her face against his
shoulder, and a great hankering to kick John.

"I'm dying!" gasped John.

"My dearest!" said Cecilia, and caught her breath sharply, then she
slipped to her knees by the bed.  She put her arm beneath his head,
which was too low, and turned to Stuyvesant.  "Where is the doctor?"
she asked.  At that moment he appeared in the doorway.  "Well, young
man," he, said, "speeding?"

"I'm going to die," answered John in gasps.  Cecilia had grown very
white.

"Nonsense!" said the doctor.  "Now if you people will just leave us
for a few moments----"  He began to open his case as he spoke.

"Want me?" asked Stuyvesant.

"No," he was answered; "you take care of Miss Madden."  The door
opened and a girl appeared.  Her hair was streaked from bleach, and
dark at the roots; her expression insolently daring.

"How yuh feel, honey boy?" she asked of John.  John turned away his
face.  He looked sicker.

"One of your friends?" questioned Cecilia.  John did not answer.
"Yes," replied the girl.  "I'm Miss LeMain.  Me and John have been
pals for this long while."

"I'm John's sister," said Cecilia, and held out her hand.  Miss
LeMain took it with a limp and high gesture cultivated as "elegant."
"Pleased to meet yuh," she murmured, and then, "I'm glad you've came.
My nerves is that shook up!  Mebbe the gent'man would get us
something to drink.  My nerves is all shook.  I feel fierce."

They descended the rickety stairs, the girls followed by Stuyvesant.
If John had been well something would have happened to him.  As it
was Stuyvesant was fiercely protective of the small sister in a curt,
silent way.  His anger was almost overpowering....  He thought of
Cecilia on her knees in that evil room.  He thought of her gentle
treatment of Miss LeMain....  He was humbled by her sweetness, and
furious from its cause.

"Is he your gent'man friend?" asked Miss LeMain while Stuyvesant
ordered the drink.  Cecilia shook her head.

"Thought he was.  Seems like a cute fellah.  Gawd, my nerves is
shook!  Jacky speeds so!  I sez, 'Jack, you'll do this trick once too
often!' an' he sez, 'I'm running this boat, girlie,' an' I sez some
more, an' then he kissed me; yuh know what a kidder he is!  An' the
car a-running like that!  Then the next thing she was over, an' I was
in a field.  Jack was somewhere in the road.  This ain't the _first_
accident I been in.  I believe in a short life an' a merry one.  All
my gent'men friends has cars.  No Fords neither.  I hope Jacky ain't
suffering.  He's a sweet boy, an' some sport!"  Cecilia's hands were
locked tightly together in her lap.  Her eyes were tragic.  "My
nerves is shook up fierce!" echoed Miss LeMain.

"I'm sorry," said Cecilia.

Stuyvesant had appeared in time to hear the last of the recital.
"You'd better go lie down," he said decidedly.  "It will do you good,
and Miss Madden needs quiet."

"An' 'two's company, three's a crowd!' ain't that it?" questioned
Miss LeMain with a giggle.  Her sally was not greeted with
enthusiasm.  She left, terming Stuyvesant a grouch, and Cecilia
sweet, but lacking pep.

Alone, Stuyvesant stood looking down at Cecilia.  His arm was on the
mantel.  The shadows and lights from an open fireplace played on
them.  The rest of the room in half dark brought them close.
Constraint was impossible because of the situation and Cecilia's
dependence on Stuyvesant.

"The money came too quickly," she said meeting his eyes.  "John has
to spend it in the way that makes the most noise.  I--I am so tired
of it!  So bruised by it!  I wish we were back in that little flat,
with John laying bricks as my father did.  Perhaps then he would be a
good man.  That is everything to me."

"He is going to be a good man, Cecilia," said Stuyvesant.  Neither
noticed the use of her first name.  "He will be a good man.  This is
a relapse,--a recurrence of growing pains.  There are good things in
him.  When he's awake he has a sense of humour.  That is a darn good
thing to have, you know.  I think, next to God, it's the best thing a
man can own."

Cecilia pressed her handkerchief against her lips.  "You will help
him again?" she whispered.

"I will," said Stuyvesant.  He put out his hand in pledge and hers
was swallowed in his huge grasp.  At the touch of her hand he gasped,
"Cecilia!" but she did not answer, for the doctor's step was heard on
the rickety stairs.

"Two broken ribs," he said; "scratch on his arm.  Now we'll take him
home.  He'll probably yell over the bumps, but I judge the yells will
do him good.  Where's his companion?  Send another car for her, or
take her along?"

"Send for her," said Stuyvesant.

"No," disagreed Cecilia, "if you don't mind, we'll take her.  I think
it would be better."  Stuyvesant looked annoyed, but sent the oily
proprietor to call the lady of the shook-up-nerves.  She descended
immediately, wrapped in a large fur coat, and with a cerise motor
scarf about her head.  "I couldn't get no rest," she called; "I'm all
fussy.  How's Jacky darling?"

"_She_ isn't going with us?" said John at the top of the stairs.  He
stopped and leaned heavily on Stuyvesant.  "My God!" he exploded.
"Stuyv, she _can't_!  Celie can't meet her!  She can't!  Tell her
we'll send a car.  I don't want Celie to see her."

"They've been talking for half an hour," said Stuyvesant.  "Your
sister insists on taking her in."

"Oh, Lord!" said John.  "Oh, Lord!"

"Come along!" said Stuyvesant roughly.

"I really thought I was dying," said John in a shamed way.

"Shut up!" ordered Stuyvesant.  "You make me sick!"  They went down
with no more conversation.

"How are you, dear?" asked Cecilia.

"Oh, Celie!" said John.  He reached for her hand and clung to it.
"Oh, Celie!" he echoed.


Until dawn Stuyvesant relived the night.  The ride home had made the
deepest impression.  A girl with a painted soul and face had
chattered loudly, and with a cheap sentiment reeking in her talk.
She had spoken often of "Jacky darling."

While Jacky darling, from shame and pain, had groaned in deep, shaky
groans, his head had lain on his sister's shoulder.  On the other
side Stuyvesant had sat.  The doctor had disposed of the case as
typical, and was thinking of an article which he'd just read in the
_Medical Journal_.

"Dearie," Fanchette LeMain had said, "your fur's open."  She had
reached toward Cecilia's throat, but Stuyvesant reached first.  He
fastened the clasp with shaking hands, and the back of one hand
touched her chin.  Then he had sunk back to dream his impossible
dreams, and wonder why she should have cared.  He knew he was a
duffer!  But he was almost sure that she once had cared,--for him.



CHAPTER XVIII

FORGIVENESS

"Celie," said John, "honestly he was devilish to me, and I deserved
it!"  John was lying on a lounge, covered and looking wan.  The
library fire burned cheerfully, and the portrait of an Irish mother
smiled down on Cecilia and John.

Stuyvesant Twombly had just left.  He had uttered some scathing
truths.

"He said I was a 'callow pup,'" said John.  "He said I shouldn't have
called you to that place if I'd been half dead.  Cecilia dear, he was
right.  Celie, forgive me!"

"Dearest!" said Cecilia.  She sank to her knees by the lounge, and
pressed John's face to hers.  He felt her tears.

"I never will again!" he said huskily.  "God help me!"  She didn't
reply.  She couldn't, but only pressed him closer.

"I can't bear to see you take the tawdry and cheap," she whispered at
length, "for, John dear, it does crowd out the real.  I know it does."

He nodded.

"Kiss me," he ordered.  She turned her face, and then the door opened.

"I beg pardon," said Stuyvesant uncomfortably, "I thought you were
alone."  Cecilia had gotten to her feet, and stood, shy and flushing
adorably.

"Cecilia's been weeping over the prodigal pup," explained John.  "I
told her I was sorry.  I am.  If you and she will give me another
chance----"  He held out his hand with his words, and Stuyvesant took
it.

"I came back to say I was sorry I was so darn brutal," he said,
squeezing John's hand, "but I'm afraid I meant it all."

Cecilia left them with a word or two.  At the door she turned.
Stuyvesant was looking after her, oblivious to John's presence.

"Celie's tears," said John, using a handkerchief on his cheeks.  He
recalled the new leaf, and added, "Three or four of mine too, I
guess."  His expression was sheepish, but that vanished, for in
Stuyvesant's face was approval.  "John," said Stuyvesant, "you're
_all_ right!"

John coughed.  The genuine gruffness of Stuyvesant unsettled him.
"I'm awfully glad you came back," said John.  "You'll stay?  Let's
play rum."



CHAPTER XIX

SPRING

"What are _you_ doing here?" Stuyvesant asked of Annette.
Considerable surprise was in his face and voice.

"Oh," answered Annette, "I have been telling Cecilia Madden that I
was a pig.  I asked her to forgive me.  I feel much better!"

They had met on the long drive that ran on the inland side of the
Sound house, toward the main road.

"I'm stopping at a house up the road for Sunday," explained Annette.
"Cecilia wanted to motor me back, but I needed air.  Indigestion and
conscience are so much alike.  You want to breathe deeply after the
easing of both."

"Yes," agreed K. Stuyvesant absently.  "How could you ever dislike
her, Annette?"

"She came into school," said Annette, "the rawest little person you
ever saw.  I felt the injustice of her having money, while I, who
knew so well how to use it, had to scrimp and save.  I saw her with
everything in the world that would have put me into heaven and she
was miserably unhappy.  It was my first taste of injustice.  I hated
it.  I never was a resigned person, you know, Stuyv."

"How did the girls treat her?" asked Stuyvesant.  He was becoming
gruff.

"We put her through a refined form of hell," answered Annette, "the
cruelties of which were only possible for the feminine mind to
evolve.  Stuyv, _do_ look what you're doing!  The gardener will be
grateful to you!"

Stuyvesant had been switching a cane viciously.  He had taken off
many heads of a particularly dressed-up variety of tulip.

"I'll be darned!" he said, looking at them with surprise.  "Couldn't
you see how dear and all that kind of thing she was?" he queried
farther.  "I don't see how even a set of simpering, half-witted,
idiotic, jealous girls could _help_ seeing----"

"So you're in love with her?" interrupted Annette.

Stuyvesant looked on his cousin with surprise.  Then he answered.
"Of course," he said, "but how'd you know?"

Annette laughed.  After her laughter she slipped a hand through his
arm.  "Stuyvesant," she said, "your soul and mine are cut from a
different pattern.  It was always hard for me to understand you, but
something has happened lately which has made me larger, much
decenter.  Stuyvesant, I want a long talk--a heart-to-heart effect.
Will you walk back with me?"

"Of course," he answered.

"You'll be glad to know," she went on, "that after Cecilia had
pneumonia she was quite the idol of the school.  There was one of
those complete shifts so characteristic of our American youth, and
every one liked her but me.  She used to try to make me like her with
the most transparent little appeals.  Heavens, I was a devil!  She
sent me violets at one time when I had a cold, and I gave them to the
maid, and then spoke loudly before her of unwelcome attentions and
social climbers."

Stuyvesant was walking in jerks.  His arm beneath Annette's was rigid.

"She's forgiven me," said Annette, smiling.

He relaxed.  "I am a darn fool!" he said, "but honestly----!"  He
stopped and shook his head.

"Doesn't she care for you?" asked Annette; "turned you down?"

"I haven't asked her.  She's shown very plainly what she thinks of
me."

"Rubbish!" said Annette shortly.  "No man in love is a judge of
anything!  He only knows that she has blue eyes, or he can't just
remember, maybe they're brown, but anyway they're beautiful!"
Annette's cousin grinned sheepishly.

"What colour are they?" asked Annette.

"I don't know, but I guess they're brown.  I know they're unusual,
now aren't they, Annette?"

Annette giggled.  "Very ordinary," she answered, "and they happen to
be blue."

"They're not ordinary.  You know they aren't!  It doesn't make any
difference to me, of course.  I'm not in love with her looks, but
they're _not_ ordinary!"

"It is not like you," said the girl, "to give up anything you want in
that half-hearted way.  I don't quite understand, Stuyvesant."

"I----" he began, then stopped.

"Well?" questioned Annette.

"I didn't give it up without being sure.  Her friend Marjory, well,
she made me see a few things."  He was staring moodily ahead.  A car
whizzed by, leaving a trail of dust.  "Damn!" said Stuyvesant.
Annette laughed.  "You see now if I asked her," he continued, "I'd
lose my chance of seeing her.  I don't suppose you or any one else
could know what that means to me!"

"You might not lose it.  I don't trust the green-eyed lady.  I never
have."

"But she's Cecilia's best friend," objected Stuyvesant, "and why
would she do anything to hurt her?"

"I used to think you posed," she answered despairingly.  "Now I
imagine it is only feeble-mindedness.  Take my advice, Stuyvesant:
_Ask_ her!  The other course is so spineless."

"You don't know what I'd lose!"

"You wouldn't lose it!"

"I wouldn't?" he repeated.  "Excuse me, Annette, but really you don't
know what you're talking about.  I do.  I know too well."  His voice
had become bitter.  She looked at him and saw that in the year past
he had changed greatly.

"And now about you?" he said in a changed way.  "Are you still set on
this working business?  I hope you aren't.  I honestly want to help.
It worries me like thunder!"

"You're a dear!" responded Annette, "and that is quite a tale.  Can't
we sit on this wall?  Whose is it? ... The Maddens own all this?
Heavens!"

She perched on the wall and he lit a cigarette.  "No, not now," she
answered as he held out the case.  "The small Saint Cecilia doesn't,
does she?  Well, she couldn't.  She might revert to the cob pipe."
It was a flash of the old Annette.  Stuyvesant looked unpleasant.

"My tale--" said Annette.  "You know mamma is a worshipper of the
long-haired.  Any one who can create _anything_--futurist painters,
pianists, the inventor of a new cocktail.  You know her, Stuyv."

"Yes," admitted Stuyvesant.

"Well, what with their bleeding and papa's insane investments, he
never provided properly for us, Stuyv.  Mamma used to go to him and
really cry!  It was pathetic!  And all he would say was that he had
no money."

"He hadn't," answered Annette's cousin.

"I'd expect you to sympathise," she said.  "You men always do, but
that isn't my story.  When he died his affairs were in such fearful
shape that mamma and I were terribly pinched.  She never liked you,
Stuyv, or she might have asked your advice.  As it was, she invested
in lovely nut groves in southern California.  The promoters quite
misrepresented them; they didn't pay at all or declare dividends or
whatever they do.  In fact they assessed the owners of the common
stock for irrigation or something like that.  I don't just understand
business.  About that time I met Dicky Fanshawe, who doesn't do
anything original--only works--fearfully poor.  I fell in love with
him, but mamma saw me as the mistress of some gilt and pink salon,
with a long-haired genius as a husband, and was simply devilish about
Dicky.  You know her, Stuyv."

"Yes," answered Stuyvesant.  "I do."

"Then you know the Altshine failure took us in too."

"Yes," he answered.  "I know.  Why were you so stiff-necked about my
help, Annette?  I have enough to help you all you need, and I want
to.  You know it."

"Mamma has never liked you," said Annette, "but when the crash came,
well, she was willing to live on you.  For the same reason I was not.
I know you disapprove of me.  My ideals are not many, but under the
circumstances----!"

"You make me feel an awful dub!" said Stuyvesant.  "I haven't any
right to disapprove of you or be lofty."

"But you do.  Well, mamma saw me retrieving the family fortune in
some romantic and bohemian manner.  I was to create something, a
book, or be a decorator for the smart, a reader of East Indian poems.
She had splendid ideas, but the fact is, I've found, you have to have
a hint of something inside to do anything successfully outside.  I
hadn't it.

"I descended to a social secretary and chaperoning that horrid
woman's nasty little white pups, and from that mamma has consented to
my marrying Dicky.  He only has ten thousand a year, and I'm going to
marry him on that!  I love him terribly!  Isn't it splendidly
romantic?"

"Um," grunted Stuyvesant.  "Annette," he said, "I want you to let me
provide for your mother.  You will? ... No, don't thank me.  It
irritates me.  Oh, please!"  After his last plea she stopped her
effusive thanks and pressed his arm.  Suddenly she laughed.

"What are you laughing at?" asked Stuyvesant.

"Cecilia advocated pink for the poor," Annette explained, "and I
never understood how they felt until my terrible employer asked me
not to wear frills.  She said they weren't suitable for my position!
It's all so relative, isn't it?  Cecilia saw the panorama.  I saw
only my corner."

Annette slipped from the wall.  "Must go," she said.  "Dicky's coming
out at eight.  You want me to be happy?"

"Of course," said Stuyvesant.  Annette's face changed.  "Stuyv," she
said, "it's everything when you find the one who fits your heart and
mind....  _Ask_ her.  Please, Stuyv.  I can't believe she doesn't
care."

"You're awfully good," he answered huskily.  "Lord, Annette!  If you
were right----!"

Annette stepped near him.  For the first time since the nursery days
she kissed him.  "Stay here," she ordered, "and think it out.  Bye!"
With a wave she left.  At the first turn in the road she looked back.
Her cousin was still sitting on the wall, and he was staring intently
at the cigarette between his fingers.  Annette had seen that it had
gone out before she started.

"Poor boy!" she said.  "Poor boy!" and then she thought of Dicky, who
had turned her hard little heart softer to all the world.  She forgot
the "poor boy" who sat alone on the wall.  She forgot money and
things, the two which had mattered most to her, and once had been her
life.  With a new look on her face, she dreamed of a future--a future
at which she once would have laughed.

Hers was the spirit that puts glory into the face of the tired mother
in the overcrowded flat; beauty into the face of the tawdry little
girl who sits on a park bench with her "gentleman friend"; youth into
age, waiting for soft and endless night; a little touch of God, a
hint of something larger, veiled for eyes too young; the proof
intangible, sublime.



CHAPTER XX

PULLING OFF THE THORNS

The heat of June in the city drew forth a hot, damp steam.  It made
white faces and brought to mind sunstrokes, not June's country
thought--roses.

"Gee, it's hot!" said John.  He sat opposite Stuyvesant Twombly in a
restaurant famed for its coolness.  "Come out with me to-night!" he
added.  "Dad and Celie will be glad to have you, too.  Come on!
Awful nice and cool out there."

Stuyvesant answered absently, and smiled a little as he did.  The
idea of "Celie's" being glad to see him amused, even while it hurt,
him desperately.  He thought with a cankered humour of his trying to
find out whether there was a spark of hope for him, after the talk
with Annette had made his dreams too daring, and had made him need,
all over again, proof of how little he mattered.  He had gotten the
proof.  His first talk had been full of Marjory,--Marjory,--Marjory.
He had not wanted to talk of Marjory.  Again he had hated her for
coming between them.

Cecilia had told of what Marjory's letters had held,--how dear
Marjory was (Cecilia had been a bit breathless at this point)--how
she, Cecilia, loved her,--where Marjory was,--where she was going.
It had been a very surface talk, not once touching anything personal,
at least no more than the small Cecilia's great love for her friend.
Then John had appeared and Cecilia had excused herself with much
relief and gone quickly away.

It was as always, her avoidance, and what in a less sweet nature
would have shown as marked distaste.  Stuyvesant had understood, and
held on to his small privilege doggedly.

"Then I'll leave," Stuyvesant heard John say; he didn't know what had
come before, "but I'll get home from school often and see you."

"I'm going away myself for a while," said Stuyvesant,--"I don't know
just where.  I'm tired of business,--everything.  I guess I need a
change."  He thought miserably of the "change" he needed, and then
shut his heart on her sweet image.  He made up his mind to stop
thinking of "that kind of thing," and his heart laughed at his
decision.

[Illustration: CECILIA STOPPED AND GASPED.  IT WAS HARDER THAN SHE
HAD DREAMED]

"Stuyv!" said John aghast, "what am I going to do without you?  Why,
Stuyv!  You can't go, at least for long.  You don't mean a long trip?"

"'Fraid so," he was answered.  "I guess I'd better, John.  I--the
fact is I've wanted something I can't have.  I don't want to baby
about it, only I'm,--well, I can't forget it here.  I'm going to try
a change.  Damn it!  What did I say that for?  I hate to whine."

"Stuyv!" said John.  He reached across the table, and squeezed the
hand that was drawing designs on the tablecloth with a strawberry
fork.

Stuyvesant felt the sympathy, and looked up.  The boy on the other
side of the table gasped.

"Is it as bad as that?" he asked.  Stuyvesant shook his head, and
then he uttered his own word and convincingly.  "Gosh, John," he
said, "it's the limit.  I'd never have believed it possible."

"Would it help to tell?" asked John.  Stuyvesant smiled a little.
"Not exactly," he replied.  "I did tell one person," he continued
after a pause, "and after that it was worse.  This person meant well
too.  Rot it, if I couldn't run a world better than it's run!  I'd
have people that love each----" he stopped, and looked wildly around.
Then he mopped his forehead.  "It's awful hot," he finished inanely.

"Yes," agreed John.  "Lord, I'll miss you!"  John was utterly
despondent.  "There's no one like you, Stuyv," he said in an
embarrassed way.  "You know how hard it is to say some things, but
you can bet I know what you've done for me!  I do--so does Cecilia.
I had the wrong idea."

"I've been glad to be your friend," answered Stuyvesant.  "You'll
write me and tell me how,--how you all are?"

"Certainly," responded John.  "Why, of course I will, but I don't
know how I can say good-bye!  Stuyv, I depend on you awfully.  You
know,--you know with dad, that is, I can't take his advice because I
don't respect him."

"Why not?" broke in John's companion.  "I'd like to know why not?"

John's mouth flew open.  "His grammar----" he began.

"Trimmings," said K. Stuyvesant.

"Crudeness," said John.

"Companion of strength," said K. Stuyvesant.

"Mentioning money all the time," said John, "how much things cost."

"Better than spending it without mention on dubious objects."  John
looked away as Stuyvesant replied.  "Look here," continued
Stuyvesant, "you and I both know the honest goodness in your
father--his rugged ideas of a decent life--his respect of them.  The
other things are tinsel balls on the Christmas tree.  Desirable
trimmings, but not essential for the tree's strength.  A few more
years will convince you,--absolutely convince you.  Some day you
won't even wince when your father forgets and uses his knife to eat
from."

"Never," stated John.

"You prefer a man who is slippery both inside and out?" questioned
Stuyvesant.

"They get along better with the world," said John.

"Oh, no," said Stuyvesant.  "They get along better with the empties.
A few people, those that count, look for something on the inside."

John suddenly leaned well across the table.  "Look here, Stuyv," he
said, "is this a bluff?  Damned if I understand you!  I was lying in
the hammock on the porch last summer when Marjory and Cecilia came
from the courts.  They didn't see me, and I thought I'd hear about
some beau and have a joke.  I heard Marjory say that you said the old
man should be kept in the garage.  Not just those words, but
smooth--Marjory's way.  I never saw Celie so mad!  She turned white
as----"

"Did she say that?" shouted Stuyvesant.

"Lord, Stuyv!" said John, "everybody's lookin' at you.  Yes, of
course she said that.  What's the matter with you?"

"What else did she say?" asked Stuyvesant.  He was somewhat
breathless, but for the sake of John more restrained.

"Well, Marjory told Cecilia what a hell of a case you had on her,
talking about her eyes, and all that kind of stuff.  Trust
girls--they blab everything.  Gimme the salt, will you?"

Stuyvesant shoved his glass of water toward John.  "The salt, man!"
said John, and then as he surveyed Stuyvesant with sad eyes, he
added, "I hope it isn't catching."

"You go telephone her that we're coming out," said Stuyvesant.

"Who?"

"Your sister, of course.  Tell her not to have any one else there.
I've got to see her, John,--got to!  Honestly, John, I've _got_ to.
I've got to see her a little while alone.  I really must."

"I think you've made it plain," replied John.  "You say you must see
Cecilia.  You did mention that, didn't you?"

There was no room for anything but heaven in Stuyvesant.  He nodded
seriously.  "Yes," lie answered, "I must!  Really, I've got to, John!"

John howled.  "The heat!" he explained, then he sobered.

"Look here, Stuyv," he said, "_did_ you say that?"

"What?" asked Stuyvesant, then he remembered, and for the first and
last time made a certain utterance.  "She lied," he said quietly, and
then, "Oh, my _gosh_, I'm happy!  I believe I'm going crazy."

"Oh, no!" replied John, "impossible."


"Yes, John?" said Cecilia.

"Stuyv's coming out with me," she heard him say.

"Yes, dear," she answered.

"Any one coming to dinner?"

"No, dear.  Shall I ask one of the Welsh twins?  They're always so
sweet about coming."

"No," said John; "Stuyv and I were talking about dad, rather Marjory,
and he's got a hunch that he's got to see you alone.  Got to,--got
to,--got to!"  Cecilia did not understand, and was rather bewildered
at John's laughter.

"Certainly he shall, John," she replied.  Her heart beat in her
voice.  "Good-bye, dear," she ended, and heard the click of his
receiver.

"Talking of Marjory" ... Cecilia turned away from the telephone and
went to stand by the sea window of her room.  She would help them
both all she could.  All she could....  She closed her eyes, for she
felt sick and faint.

"How can I help him?" she questioned, for Marjory's letters had not
held a mention of him, although Cecilia's had tactfully recorded his
every move.  She looked out on the world--it was grey like the
frothing Sound.

"I will help them to be happy," she whispered unsteadily.  "Father
McGowan-dear,--I am learning.  Some day I will learn to think of it,
and smile----"  Then she turned to dress.

Norah came in, and looked on happily.  Cecilia was not vain after
all.  No, she didn't care which frock she put on, and she told
Josephine not to fuss so over her hair, that it bored her.  "What is
the difference?" she had asked a little bitterly, and then to Norah
she had said, "I didn't mean that!  I didn't!  What made me say it?
I am not bitter, am I, Norah?"

"And why should you be," Norah had answered, "with everything in the
world that money can buy?"



CHAPTER XXI

PINK ROSES

At five K. Stuyvesant and John started for the Sound house.  The sun
beat down cruelly with the same murky, hot-damp feel.  The car wove
between the traffic of the crowded streets like a huge shuttle.  Both
men in it were silent--Stuyvesant breathless and afraid to trust his
hope, yet hoping; John despondent over Stuyv's going away.  All that
that gentleman had done came to John with a new force,--came when the
possibility of losing Stuyv even for a few months was thrust before
him.

Stuyvesant spoke:

"Takes so long to get out to-day," he said; "we seem to crawl.  Look
at that fellow ahead.  Won't let us get past; have to crawl!  Lord!
Say, John, let me drive."

"I will not!" replied John with decision.  "I have a distinct
fondness for life.  What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing," answered Stuyvesant loudly, "nothing at all!"  Then he
began to speak of certain affairs downtown, talking quickly, as if
afraid of silence.  John looked at him with wonder.  It was very
unlike Stuyvesant to be hectic.  He recalled the mentioned
disappointment.  That, also, brought wonder.  Stuyvesant didn't seem
to care for girls.  In business he seemed to get what he wanted.
What could it be?  Suddenly an idea, which seemed to John almost
insane, flew across his mind.

He couldn't recognise it in the face of Cecilia's and Stuyvesant's
open avoidance of each other, but in spite of that, the idea clung.
"Got to see her, got to----" echoed in John's ears.  He swallowed
convulsively.  If it were true!  And it was not Marjory after
all,--well, wouldn't he be the happiest fellow on earth?  Well,
rather!

The last months had brought John to a state of adoration of Cecilia
and Stuyvesant.  More than love it was.  To be as sure of Stuyv's
always closeness,--to have Cecilia so cared for....  "Can't you let
her out a little?" he heard Stuyvesant say impatiently.  John
answered with a gentleness absolutely new, but it was not noticed.
He ran the car faster and well, and his best efforts were greeted
with: "This thing seems to crawl to-night.  Darned if I don't want to
get out and push!"

"You're in a hurry!" said John bravely.

"Oh, no, no!" answered Stuyvesant, looking on John suspiciously.
Then he mopped his forehead, leaving it streaked with the dust that
came off.  "Hot," he said.

They rounded the last hill before the Madden gateway, and through a
gap in some stately poplars they caught a glimpse of a white speck on
an upper terrace.

"Cecilia!" blurted out Stuyvesant.  "Oh, gosh!  John, is my tie, that
is, do I look----"

"Sure, you do," said John, comfortingly.  Stuyvesant mopped some
more.  His face looked like a futurist painting of "The Dancers" or
some one's aunt.

They rounded up the hill slowly.  Evangeline bounded from the
shrubbery and barked welcome.

"Evangeline," said Stuyvesant, as one in a trance.

"Yes," answered John; "Norah named him for Cecilia.  Norah is an old
family servant."  Had Stuyvesant heard, he might have smiled, but
Stuyvesant was past hearing.

"You poor boys!" said Cecilia.  "How hot and tired you must be!"
Then she looked at Stuyvesant and laughed.  "I judge it was dusty?"
she said.

"No, that is, I mean quite so," stuttered Stuyvesant.  He stood
before her silent, openly staring.

When John saw Cecilia flush he put his hand on Stuyvesant's arm.
"Come on," he said.  "We'll go brush up."

John's manner was as gentle as Cecilia's.  Stuyvesant followed him.
On the broad porch he paused and looked back.

Evangeline was telling Cecilia that he loved her, in dog fashion--wag
code.

Cecilia patted him.

"Gosh!" said Stuyvesant, and then he mopped his forehead, making
another picture in the dust.


Dusk came before dinner time.  It crept down stealthily, like the
thief it is of day.  Shadows darkened and lengthened.  Greens grew
black.  Cecilia in the half light on a wide porch watched a certain
big and unusually gruff man.  Something, she could see, was making
him like a wistful boy--a boy so heart-set on his want that he fears
the risk of refusal.

Cecilia thought of Marjory across the seas.  There was a chance to
play traitor--a chance to rekindle the little spark she had once
fired in Stuyvesant.  The idea danced about her soul and burnt its
edges.

"Father McGowan-dear," she appealed inside, "please help me!  I am
trying, but I _am_ so little!"  A breeze from the Sound came with a
swish and moaned gently in and out among the loving arms of trees.


The lights in the dining room were soft.  They shone gently down on a
large bowl of pink roses which were in the centre of the table.
Their hearts were a deeper colour and they nodded and seemed to talk
when the steps of two pompous persons who passed things shook them.

Stuyvesant looked at Cecilia and then quickly away.  He did not know
what kind of a frock she wore except that it was white.  He knew that
she looked good, gentle and pure; that her eyes held the depths that
hurts bring and the deep loyalty of love.  There was a little droop
to her lips that made him ache to see.  He wondered at it, dared to
hope that it had come because of him, and then he put the thought
away.  Unbelievably sweet it seemed.

And Cecilia?

"Marjory across the seas," she thought, "to subdue Jeremiah just a
little----"  She closed her eyes.  "Oh dear!" she thought, "what _is_
the matter with me?  These awful thoughts!"  She opened them again
and saw Jeremiah leaning on the table.  His fists were closed about
his knife and fork, and he held them upright, the handle ends resting
on the cloth.  John, curiously enough, did not seem bothered by this.
He was watching Stuyvesant, who sat opposite.

"After that I started makin' bricks instead of layin' 'em.  (Celie,
ask that young feller to loan me a piece of bread.  I want bread with
my supper.  I don't care what the style is.)  So I begin to make
bricks, an' when I look around and think that bricks done it all----"
Jeremiah's voice faded.  He left the rest to the imaginations of his
listeners, while he laid a piece of bread flat on the table, and
spread it _en masse_.

"I wisht my wife could have saw it," said Jeremiah as he loosened the
piece of bread from the cloth.  "She deserved everything.  I never
gave her nothing."

"You gave her a great deal," disagreed Cecilia.  "You know you did!
We were happy in that little flat.  I remember that.  We loved each
other and we had enough to eat."

Cecilia was aware of Stuyvesant's eyes.  They were so dear!  She
wondered if it was very wicked to love them, for she knew she always
would....  And he had intimated that if Jeremiah were less
prominent--Cecilia swallowed hard.  The gods are visited with
temptations, and too often they come to little humans.  Cecilia was
meeting hers.  For the minute she felt anything possible, justifiable
for the end she craved, and in the middle of her minute the white
spark in her little heart flared.

"Papa," she said, "please tell Mr. Twombly about the time you hit the
boss on the ear with a brick."

The request of that tale was her crucifixion on the cross of loyalty
... her proof beyond all doubt that her heart was in Jeremiah's rough
old hands.  Jeremiah looked pleased.  His face lit rather
pathetically.  Cecilia answered his happy smile, and then she looked
down at her plate.  Her throat felt full and stiff.  She found it
hard to swallow.

Through a numbed consciousness she heard a long and much loved tale.

"I love him, I love him!" she chanted inside.  "He and John are
_everything_!"  She looked up and found Stuyvesant looking at her.
The way he looked made her gasp a little, and below the table she
closed her small hands so tightly that her nails hurt her palms.

"An' then I sez, 'Yuh can lay yer own bricks,'" came in the voice of
Jeremiah.  "'An' here's one to begin with.' (It took him on the
ear.)"  He ended in parenthesis.

"Your stand for liberty--was--well--timed.  It was--certainly the
best thing you could have done," commented Stuyvesant in jerks.  He
was trying very hard not to look at Cecilia, and it was work not to.

"Celie," said Jeremiah, "what _has_ this fellow did to the potatoes?
He does be-devil 'em so.  He puts on so many airs that yuh hardly
recognise 'em fer potatoes!"

"I don't know, dear," answered Cecilia, "but I'll see about it
to-morrow."

"Mebbe Celie couldn't fry potatoes!" said Jeremiah.  He smacked his
lips loudly in remembrance.  "These here furriners," he went on,
"that we hire to cook,--poor things, _they_ don't know no better!"
And thus Jeremiah disposed of French chefs.  The lips of one of the
pompous persons curled a little.  The roses nodded and bobbed.

To Stuyvesant, who stared resolutely on them, they all whispered,
"Cecilia!"

To Cecilia they shouted "Keefer, the butler."

To John they were lovelier that night from a new hope, and, of his
father, a new understanding.

But to Jeremiah Madden they brought back only the heat of an
overcrowded flat--the woman who held his heart dying by inches, when
money might have made her live....  Money! ... A little tired-eyed
girl struggling under a woman's load.  A little boy who always cried
for things he couldn't have.

"The bunnit with pink roses."

Life's question mark,--Fate's smile,--or God's hand?

Jeremiah looked away from the roses, and absently stuck the corner of
his napkin in his collar.  Then he looked about to see if any one had
noticed, and hastily took it out.

Cecilia saw and her heart leaped with love.  It seemed to her that
the Saints had made Jeremiah do that then.  Do it to show the little
earth maiden her work in life.  The taking from her father the shame
which a son would have him feel, and giving him a substitute for the
love that left him too soon,--too hungering.

They got up at last.  Cecilia took a bobbing rose from the
centrepiece.  She began to break the thorns from it, but Stuyvesant's
hands took it from her.  He removed them methodically, and
surely,--as he would.  When he gave it back to her, there was nothing
left to hurt.

"Thank you," she said.

"I wish I could take them out of the world for you," he answered
gruffly.  She shook as she crossed the room to where her father and
John waited at the door.  Her temptation was past.  Her heart was
strong, but she prayed that he would not say such things so much as
if he meant them.  It made it too hard.

"I am so weak," she thought, "so weak!"


Stuyvesant walked laggingly across the soft grass.  John had said
that he would find her by a white wall with a Greek relief, that that
was her favourite spot.  Stuyvesant knew that he dreamed of that spot
because of her, but his connection with it influencing her, he never
thought of.  His spirit, always humble with her, knelt.

He thought of John's understanding, and whispering, "Good luck,
Stuyv, dear!" and of his gasping, "John,--you'd be willing?"  John
had whacked him on the back and had answered convincingly.  Then he'd
gone unsteadily down the steps, and had lagged across the
close-clipped grass.  He wanted as he had never wanted anything to
see her, but he was shaken and unsure ... sick from longing and fear.

Ahead of him in the half light he saw the stretch of wall standing
out among the shadows.

He stopped, heart pounding, at the corner of the hedge-sheltered
path.  The little Irish maiden who was his key to heaven sat on the
wall.  Behind her the Sound was black.  The soft stillness enveloped
everything.  The half night throbbed.  Cecilia looked up, and saw the
tall shadow in the shadows.

"John, dear?" she queried.  Stuyvesant didn't answer for his voice
was gone, but he stepped toward her.  He put out a hand and laid it
on a white wall.  The world was reeling for him.

"Oh," she said, "I thought it was John, but--but you wanted to see
me?"

He nodded.

"Marjory----" she began, then scolded herself for a too abrupt start.
She drew a quick breath, and tried to control reason and tact.  "She
is so lovely, Mr. Stuyvesant," she went on, "but sometimes she
doesn't let people know when she likes them.  She's like that."

Cecilia stopped and gasped.  It was harder than she had dreamed.

"Has she been a good friend to you?" asked Stuyvesant in a queer,
tight voice.

"Oh, yes!" answered Cecilia, "so good!  I do love her so much!  I
would do anything to make her happy!"

"You _darling_!" said K. Stuyvesant.  He spoke loudly, but his words
shook, for his heart was pounding with a sickening speed.  With his
words Cecilia caught her breath so deeply that it seemed a sob.
Doubts vanished,--seemed incredible,--but she spoke what would always
be her truth, though her heart famished from it.  She looked
Stuyvesant squarely in the eyes: "I love my father," she said, "and I
am proud of him.  I am proud to be his daughter."

"Of course you are," he answered.  "You should be.  Cecilia, I am
very little, but I am large enough to see what you love in him.  Have
you misunderstood what I thought?"

She nodded.  White, she was, and her eyes were on his face, imploring
in their new hope.

"I loved you," said Stuyvesant, "on the boat.  I saw how wonderful
you were, but, Cecilia,--when I saw you here!  When I see you turn
and kiss your father when his eyes grow hurt because of John's
unkindness....  Oh, my dear!  Every instant of this year I've loved
you, and more and more.  I love you so ... No one could be worthy of
you, but, little Saint,--no one could love you more!  No one."

He stopped, choked.  "I dream on my knees," he went on: "I'll dream
of you until I die.  But,--what's the use of saying all this?  I love
you!  I love you so!  That's everything."

He put a hand out toward her, then drew back.  "Cecilia," he
whispered, "you are so sweet!"

He looked down and drew his breath sharply.  He wondered if she would
ever speak.

He heard her slip from the wall....  Perhaps she would leave him
without a word.  Dully, he wondered how he could go on living if she
did that.

And then the world turned over and then it ceased to be, for
Cecilia's hands lay on his shoulders.  He felt them move and creep up
and around his neck.  It was true....  He felt a wonderful, shaken
strength.

"Cecilia!  Cecilia!" she heard him gasp.

After a time she pushed him away and laughed tremulously.  "Dearest
Keefer Stuyvesant," she whispered shakily, "whose tears are these?
Yours or mine?"

There was no room for laughter in Keefer Stuyvesant's soul.  He drew
her close again and answered gruffly: "There is no yours nor mine any
more, little saint.  They're ours, dearest,--ours.  Oh, Cecilia,
_gosh_, how I _love_ you!"



THE END



* * * * * * * *



CHARMING BOOKS FOR GIRLS

May be had wherever books are sold.  Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list


WHEN PATTY WENT TO COLLEGE, By Jean Webster.

Illustrated by C. D. Williams.

One of the best stories of life in a girl's college that has ever
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JUST PATTY, By Jean Webster.

Illustrated by C. M. Relyea.

Patty is full of the joy of living, fun-loving, given to ingenious
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THE POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL, By Eleanor Gates.

With four full page illustrations.

This story relates the experience of one of those unfortunate
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REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM, By Kate Douglas Wiggin.

One of the most beautiful studies of childhood--Rebecca's artistic,
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NEW CHRONICLES OF REBECCA, By Kate Douglas Wiggin.

Illustrated by F. C. Yohn.

Additional episodes in the girlhood of this delightful heroine that
carry Rebecca through various stages to her eighteenth birthday.


REBECCA MARY, By Annie Hamilton Donnell.

Illustrated by Elizabeth Shippen Green.

This author possesses the rare gift of portraying all the grotesque
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Her Book and Heart, By George Madden Martin,

Illustrated by Charles Louis Hinton.

Emmy Lou is irresistibly lovable, because she is so absolutely real.
She is just a bewitchingly innocent, hugable little maid.  The book
is wonderfully human.



  STORIES OF RARE CHARM BY
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MICHAEL O'HALLORAN, Illustrated by Frances Rogers.

Michael is a quick-witted little Irish newsboy, living in Northern
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LADDIE.  Illustrated by Herman Pfeifer.

This is a bright, cheery tale with the scenes laid in Indiana.  The
story is told by Little Sister, the youngest member of a large
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in the neighborhood and about whose family there hangs a mystery.


THE HARVESTER.  Illustrated by W. L. Jacobs.

"The Harvester," is a man of the woods and fields, and if the book
had nothing in it but the splendid figure of this man it would be
notable.  But when the Girl comes to his "Medicine Woods," there
begins a romance of the rarest idyllic quality.


FRECKLES.  Illustrated.

Freckles is a nameless waif when the tale opens, but the way in which
he takes hold of life; the nature friendships he forms in the great
Limberlost Swamp; the manner in which everyone who meets him succumbs
to the charm of his engaging personality; and his love-story with
"The Angel" are full of real sentiment.


A GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST.  Illustrated.

The story of a girl of the Michigan woods; a buoyant, loveable type
of the self-reliant American.  Her philosophy is one of love and
kindness towards all things; her hope is never dimmed.  And by the
sheer beauty of her soul, and the purity of her vision, she wins from
barren and unpromising surroundings those rewards of high courage.


AT THE FOOT OF THE RAINBOW.  Illustrations in colors.

The scene of this charming love story is laid in Central Indiana.
The story is one of devoted friendship, and tender self-sacrificing
love.  The novel is brimful of the most beautiful word painting of
nature, and its pathos and tender sentiment will endear it to all.


THE SONG OF THE CARDINAL.

Profusely illustrated.

A love ideal of the Cardinal bird and his mate, told with delicacy
and humor.



GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK





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