Clara Louise Burnham
Part 1 out of 6
Etext prepared by Dagny, email@example.com
Emma Dudding, firstname.lastname@example.org
and John Bickers, email@example.com
by Clara Louise Burnham
A CHAPTER IN HER LIFE
by CLARA LOUISE BURNHAM
F. W. R.
MY FIRST INSPIRATION
THIS STORY IS
OFFERED IN LOVING
This text was prepared from a 1903 edition, published by Grosset &
Dunlap, New York.
I. THE NEW COACHMAN
II. THE CHICAGO LETTER
III. MOTHER AND DAUGHTER
IV. FATHER AND SON
V. BON VOYAGE
VI. JEWEL'S ARRIVAL
VII. THE FIRST EVENING
VIII. A HAPPY BREAKFAST
IX. A SHOPPING EXPEDITION
X. THE RAVINE
XI. DR. BALLARD
XII. THE TELEGRAM
XIII. IN THE LIBRARY
XIV. FAMILY AFFAIRS
XV. A RAINY MORNING
XVI. THE FIRST LESSON
XVII. JEWEL'S CORRESPONDENCE
XVIII. ESSEX MAID
XIX. A MORNING DRIVE
XX. BY THE BROOKSIDE
XXI. AN EFFORT FOR TRUTH
XXII. IN THE HARNESS ROOM
XXIII. MRS. EVRINGHAM'S CALLER
XXIV. THE RAVINE GARDEN
XXV. MUTUAL SURPRISES
XXVI. ON WEDNESDAY EVENING
XXVII. A REALIZED HOPE
XXVIII. AT TWILIGHT
THE NEW COACHMAN
"Now you polish up those buckles real good, won't you, 'Zekiel? I will
say for Fanshaw, you could most see your face in the harness always."
The young fellow addressed rubbed away at the nickel plating good
humoredly, although he had heard enough exhortations in the last
twenty-four hours to chafe somewhat the spirit of youth. His mother, a
large, heavy woman, stood over him, her face full of care.
"It's a big change from driving a grocery wagon to driving a
gentleman's carriage, 'Zekiel. I do hope you sense it."
"You'd make a bronze image sense it, mother," answered the young man,
smiling broadly. "You might sit and sermonize just as well, mightn't
you? Sitting's as cheap as standing,"--he cast a glance around the
clean spaces of the barn in search of a chair,--"or if you'd rather go
and attend to your knitting, I've seen harness before, you know."
"I'm not sure as you've ever handled a gentleman's harness in your
life, 'Zekiel Forbes."
"It's a fact they don't wear 'em much down Boston way."
His mother regarded his shock of light hair with repressed fondness.
"It was a big responsibility I took when I asked Mr. Evringham to let
you try the place," she said solemnly, "and I'm going to do my best to
help you fill it. It does seem almost a providence the way Fanshaw's
livery fits you; and if you'll hold yourself up, I may be partial, but
it seems to me you look better in it than he ever did; and I'm sure if
handsome is as handsome does, you'll fill it better every way, even if
he /was/ a fashionable English coachman. Mrs. Evringham was so pleased
with his style she tried to have him kept even after he'd taken too
much for the second time; but Mr. Evringham valued his horses too
highly for that, I can tell you."
"Thought the governor was a widower still," remarked Ezekiel as his
mother drew forward a battered chair and dusted it with the huge apron
that covered her neat dress. She seated herself close to her boy.
"Of course he is," she returned with some asperity. "Why should he get
married with such a home as he's got? Fifteen years I've kept house
for Mr. Evringham. I don't believe but what he'd say that in all that
time he's never found his beef overdone or a button off his shirts."
"Humph!" grunted Ezekiel. "He looks as if he wouldn't mind hanging you
to the nearest tree if he did. I heard tell once that there was a cold
hell as well as a hot one. Think says I, when the governor was looking
me over the other day, 'You've set sail for the cold place, old boy.' "
"Zeke Forbes, don't you ever let me hear you say such a thing again!"
exclaimed Mrs. Forbes. "Mr. Evringham is the finest gentleman within
one hundred miles of New York city. When a man has spent his life in
Wall Street it's bound to show some in his face, of course; but what
comfort has that man ever known?"
"Pretty scrumptious place he's got here in this park, I notice,"
returned the new coachman.
"Yes, he has a breath of fresh air before he goes to the city and
after he gets back every day. Isn't that Essex Maid of his a beauty?"
Mrs. Forbes cast her eyes towards the stalls where the shining flanks
of two horses were visible from her seat by the wide-open doors of the
barn. "His rides back there among the hills,"--Mrs. Forbes waved her
hand vaguely toward the tall trees waving in the spring sunshine,--
"are his one pleasure; and he never tires of them. You will find the
horses here something different to groom from those common grocery
horses in Boston."
"Oh, I don't know," drawled 'Zekiel, teasingly.
"Then you'd better know, young man," emphatically. "And, Zeke, what's
the names of those carriages?" pointing with sudden energy at two half
"How many guesses do I get?"
"Guessing ain't going to do. Do you know, or don't you?"
"Know? Why," leniently, "bless your heart, mother, don't you s'pose I
know a buggy and a carryall when I see 'em?"
"Oh, you poor benighted grocery boy!" Mrs. Forbes raised her hands.
"What a mercy I mentioned it! Imagine Mrs. Evringham hearing you ask
if she'd have the buggy or the carryall! 'Zekiel," solemnly, "listen
to me. That tall one's a spider, and the other's a broom. There! Do
you hear me? A /spider/ and a /broom/!"
Ezekiel's merry eyes met the anxious ones with a twinkle.
"Who'd have thought it!" he responded.
"Now then, Zeke," anxiously, "it's my responsibility. I recommended
you. I want you should say 'em off as glib as Fanshaw did. Now then,
which is which?"
"Mother, didn't you tell me that the late lamented was not a
"Fanshaw drank like a fish, if that's what you mean."
"Well, just because he saw things in this barn you needn't expect me
to! Poor chap! Spiders and brooms! He must have been glad to go."
Mrs. Forbes' earnest expression did not change. " 'Zekiel, don't you
tease, now! We haven't got time. I want you to make such a success of
this that you'll stay with me. You can't think how I felt when I woke
up this morning and thought the first thing, 'Zeke's here.' Why, I've
scarcely kept acquainted with you for fifteen years. Scarcely saw you
except for a few weeks in the summer time. Now I've got you again!"
"I ain't the only thing you've got again," grinned 'Zekiel, "if you're
going to see things, same as Fanshaw did."
Thus reminded, the housekeeper looked back at the phaeton and the
brougham. "Be a good boy, Zeke," coaxingly, "and don't forget now,
because Mrs. Evringham is a great stickler--and a great sticker, too,"
added Mrs. Forbes in a different tone.
"Who /is/ the old woman, if the governor isn't married?" asked Ezekiel
with not very lively interest. "She don't seem popular with you."
"I'll tell you who she is," returned his mother in a low, emphatic
tone. "she's just what I say--a sticker and an interloper."
"H'm! Shouldn't wonder if the green-eyed monster had got after mamma,"
soliloquized the youth aloud. "Somebody else sews on the buttons now,
" 'Zekiel Forbes, we must have an understanding right off. You've got
to joke and tease, I s'pose, but it can't be about Mr. Evringham. This
is like a law of the Medes and Persians, and I want you should
understand it. The more you see of him the less you'll dare to joke
"I told you he scared me stiff," acknowledged Zeke, running the
harness through his hands to discover another dingy spot.
"Well, he'd /better/. Now I wouldn't gossip to you of my employer's
affairs--I hope we're better than two common servants--but I want you
to be as loyal to him as I am, and to understand a few of the reasons
why he can't go giggling around like some folks."
"Great Scott!" interpolated the young coachman. "Mr. Evringham go
giggling around! So would Bunker Hill monument!"
"Listen to me, Zeke. Mr. Evringham has had two sons. His wife died
when the oldest, Lawrence, was fifteen. Well, both those boys
disappointed him. Lawrence when he was twenty-one married secretly a
widow older than himself, who had a little girl named Eloise. Mr.
Evringham made the best of it, and helped him along in business.
Lawrence became a broker and had made and lost a fortune when he died
at the age of thirty-five."
"Broke himself, did he?" remarked the irrepressible 'Zekiel.
"Yes, he did. Here we were, living in peace and comfort,--my employer
at sixty a man of settled habits and naturally very set in his ways
and satisfied with his home and the way I had run it for him for
fifteen years,--when three blows fell on him at once. Firstly his son
Lawrence failed and was ruined; secondly he died; and thirdly his
widow and her daughter nineteen years old came here a couple of months
ago and settled on Mr. Evringham, and here they've stayed ever since!
I don't think they have an idea of going away." Mrs. Forbes's eyes
snapped. "Such an upset as it was! I couldn't show how I felt, of
course, for it was so much worse for him than it was for me. He had
never cared for Mrs. Evringham, and scarcely knew the girl who called
him 'grandfather' without an atom of right."
"Hard lines," observed 'Zekiel. "Does the girl call herself
"Does she?" with scorn. "Well I guess she does. Of course she was only
four when her mother married Lawrence, and I guess she was fond of her
stepfather and he of her, because he never had any children; but
sometimes I ask myself, is it going on forever? I only hope Eloise'll
get married soon."
'Zekiel dropped the harness to arrange imaginary curls on his temples
and pat the tie on his muscular neck. "If she's pretty I'm willing,"
His mother shook her head absently. "Then there was Mr. Evringham's
younger son, a regular roving ne'er-do-well. He didn't like Wall
Street and he went West to Chicago. He was a rolling stone, first in
one position and then in another; then he got married, and after a few
years he rolled away altogether. All Mr. Evringham knows about him and
his family is that he had one child. Harry wrote a few letters about
his wife Julia and the baby, at the time it was born, and Mr.
Evringham sent a present of money; then the letters ceased until one
day the wife wrote him frantically that her husband had disappeared
and begged to know where he was. Mr. Evringham knew nothing about him
and wrote her so, and that is the last he's heard. So you see if he
looks cold and hard, he's had enough to make him so."
"H'm!" ejaculated 'Zekiel. "He don't give the impression of lyin'
awake nights wondering how his deserted daughter-in-law and the kid
"Why should he?" retorted Mrs. Forbes sharply. "His two boys acted as
selfish to him as boys could. He's a disappointed, humiliated man in
that proud heart of his. He's been hunted out and harrowed up in this
peaceful retreat, when all he asked was to be let alone with his
horses and his golf clubs, and I think one daughter-in-law's enough
under the circumstances. I have some respect for Mrs. Harry, whoever
she is, because she lets him alone. In all the long years we've spent
here, when he often had no one to talk to but me, he's let me have a
glimpse of these things, and I've told you so's you'd think right
about him and serve him all the better."
"He's got a look in his eyes like cold steel," remarked Ezekiel, "and
lines under 'em like they'd been drawn with steel; and his back's as
flat and straight as if a steel rod took the place of a spine. That
thick gray hair and mustache of his might be steel threads."
"He's a splendid sight on horseback," responded Mrs. Forbes devoutly.
"His sons were neither of 'em ever the man he is. I'd like to protect
him from being imposed upon if such a thing was possible."
"Sho!" drawled 'Zekiel. "Might's well talk about protecting a
"Well, 'Zekiel Forbes," returned his mother, her eyes bright, "can't
you imagine a battleship hesitating to run down a little pleasure
yacht with all its flags flying? And can't you imagine that hesitation
costing the battleship considerable precious time and money? You've
said a good deal about my sacrificing my room in the house and coming
out here to fix a little home for us both, upstairs in the barn
chambers, but perhaps you can see now that it isn't all sacrifice,
that perhaps I'm glad of an excuse to get out of the house, where
things are so different from what they used to be, and to have a cosy
home with my own boy. Now then, 'Zekiel," coaxingly, these words
recalling her boy's responsibilities, "look over there once more and
tell me which of those is the spider."
"Zekiel dropped the harness and laid his hand gently on his mother's
forehead. "There isn't anything there, dear mother," he said
"Zeke!" she exclaimed, jerking away with a short reluctant laugh.
" 'Mother, dear mother, come home with me now,' " he roared
sentimentally, so that Essex Maid lifted her beautiful head and looked
out in surprise. "Remember Fanshaw, and put more water in it after
this," he added, dropping his arm to his mother's neck and capturing
her with a hug.
" 'Zekiel!" she protested. " 'Zekiel!"
THE CHICAGO LETTER
The mother was still laughing and struggling in the irresistible
embrace when both became aware that a third person was regarding them
in open-mouthed astonishment.
" 'Zekiel, let me /go/!" commanded the scandalized woman, and pushed
herself free from her tormentor, who forthwith returned rather
sheepishly to his buckles.
The young man with trim-pointed beard and mirthful eyes, who stood in
the driveway, had just dismounted from a shining buggy. Doubt and
astonishment were apparently holding him dumb.
The housekeeper, smoothing her disarranged locks and much flushed of
face, returned his gaze, rising from her chair.
"I couldn't believe it was you, Mrs. Forbes!" declared the newcomer.
"Fanshaw isn't--" He looked around vaguely.
"No, he isn't, Dr. Ballard," returned Mrs. Forbes shortly. "He forgot
to rub down Essex Maid one evening when she came in hot, and that
finished him with Mr. Evringham."
The young doctor's lips twitched beneath his mustache as he looked at
'Zekiel, polishing away for dear life.
"You seem to have some one else here--some friend," he remarked
"Friend!" echoed the housekeeper with exasperation, feeling to see
just how much Zeke had rumpled her immaculate collar. "We looked like
friends when you came up, didn't we!"
"Like intimate friends," murmured the doctor, still looking curiously
at the big fair-haired fellow, who was crimson to his temples.
"I don't know how long we shall continue friends if he ever grabs me
again like that just after I've put on a clean collar. He's got beyond
the place where I can correct him. I ought to have done it oftener
when I had the chance. This is my boy 'Zekiel, Dr. Ballard," with a
proud glance in the direction of the youth, who looked up and nodded,
then continued his labors. "Mr. Evringham has engaged him on trial.
He's been with horses a couple of years, and I guess he'll make out
"Glad to know you, 'Zekiel," returned the doctor. "Your mother has
been a good friend of mine half my life, and I've often heard her
speak of you. Look out for my horse, will you? I shall be here half an
hour or so."
When the doctor had moved off toward the house Mrs. Forbes nodded at
her son knowingly.
"Might's well walk Hector into the barn and uncheck him, Zeke," she
said. "They'll keep him more'n a half an hour. That young man, 'Zekiel
Forbes,--that young man's my /hope/." Mrs. Forbes spoke impressively
and shook her forefinger to emphasize her words.
"What you hoping about him?" asked 'Zekiel, laying down the harness
and proceeding to lead the gray horse up the incline into the barn.
"Shouldn't wonder a mite if he was our deliverer," went on Mrs.
Forbes. "I saw it in Mrs. Evringham's eye that he suited her, the
first night that she met him here at dinner. I like him first-rate,
and I don't mean him any harm; but he's one of these young doctors
with plenty of money at his back, bound to have a fashionable practice
and succeed. His face is in his favor, and I guess he knows as much as
any of 'em, and he can afford the luxury of a wife brought up the way
Eloise Evringham has been. That's right, Zeke. Unfasten the check-
rein, though the doctor don't use a mean one, I must say. I only hope
there's a purgatory for the folks that use too short check-reins on
their horses. I hope they'll have to wear 'em themselves for a
thousand years, and have to stand waiting at folks' doors frothing at
the mouth, and the back of their necks half breaking when the
weather's down to zero and up to a hundred. That's what I hope!"
'Zekiel grinned. "You want 'em to try the cold place and the hot one
too, do you?"
"Yes I do, and to stay in the one that hurts the most. The man that
uses a decent check-rein on his horse," continued Mrs. Forbes,
dropping into a philosophizing tone, "is apt to be as decent to his
wife. The doctor would be a great catch for that girl, and I /think/,"
dropping her voice, "her mother'd be liable to live with 'em."
"You're keeping that dark from the doctor, I s'pose?" remarked
"H'm. You needn't think I go chattering around that house the way I do
out here. I've got a great talent, if I do say it, for minding my own
"Good enough," drawled 'Zekiel. "I heard tell once of a firm that made
a great fortune just doing that one thing."
"Don't you be sassy now. I've always waited on Mr. Evringham while he
ate his meals, and that's the time he'd often speak out to me about
things if he felt in the humor, so that in all these years 't isn't
any wonder if I've come to feel that his business is mine too."
"Just so," returned 'Zekiel, with a twinkle in his eye.
"It's been as plain as your nose that the interlopers don't like to
have me there. Not that they have anything special against me, but
they'd like to have someone younger and stylisher to hand them their
plates. I'll never forget one night when they'd been here about a
week, and I think Mr. Evringham had begun to suspect they were
fixtures,--I'd felt it from the first,--Mrs. Evringham said, 'Why
father, does Mrs. Forbes always wait on your table? I had supposed she
was temporarily taking the place of your butler or your waitress.' "
The housekeeper's effort to imitate the airy manner she remembered
caused her son to chuckle as he gathered up the shining harness.
"You should have seen the look Mr. Evringham gave her. Just as if he
didn't see her at all. 'Yes,' he answered, 'I hope Mrs. Forbes will
wait on my table as long as I have one.' And I will if I have my
health," added the speaker, bridling with renewed pleasure at the
memory of that triumphant moment. "They think I'm a machine without
any feelings or opinions, and that I've been wound up to suit Mr.
Evringham and run his establishment, and that I'm no more to be
considered than the big Westminster clock on the stairs. Mrs.
Evringham did try once to get into my employer's rooms and look after
his clothes." Mrs. Forbes shook her head and tightened her lips at
"She bucked up against the machine, did she?" inquired Zeke.
The housekeeper glanced around to see if any one might be approaching.
"I saw her go in there, and I followed her," she continued almost in a
whisper. "She sort of started, but spoke up in her cool way, 'I wish
to look over father's clothes and see if anything needs attention.'
'Thank you, Mrs. Evringham, but everything is in order,' I said, very
respectful. 'Well, leave it for me next time, Mrs. Forbes,' she says.
'I shall take care of him while I am here.' 'Thank you,' says I, 'but
he wouldn't want your visit interfered with by that kind of work.' She
looked at me sort of suspicious and haughty. 'I prefer to do it,' she
answers, trying to look holes in me with her big eyes. 'Then will you
ask him, please,' said I very polite, 'before I give you the keys,
because we've got into habits here. I've taken care of Mr. Evringham's
clothes for fifteen years.' She looked kind of set back. 'Is it so
long?' she asks. 'Well, I will see about it.' But I guess the right
time for seeing about it never came," added the housekeeper knowingly.
"You're still doing business at the old stand, eh?" rejoined Zeke.
"Well, I'm glad you like your job. It's my opinion that the governor's
"Ahem, ahem!" Mrs. Forbes cleared her throat with desperate loudness
and tugged at her son's shirt sleeve with an energy which caused him
Coming up the sunny driveway was a tall man with short, scrupulously
brushed iron-gray hair, and sweeping mustache. The lines under his
eyes were heavy, his glance was cold. His presence was dignified,
The housekeeper and coachman both stood at attention, the latter
mechanically pulling down his rolled-up sleeves.
"So you're moving out here, Mrs. Forbes," was the remark with which
the newcomer announced himself.
"Yes, Mr. Evringham. The man has been here to put in the electric bell
you ordered. I shall be as quick to call as if I was still in the
house, sir, and I thank you--'Zekiel and I both do--for consenting to
my making it home-like for him. Perhaps you'd come up and see the
"Not just now. Some other time. I hope 'Zekiel is going to prove
himself worth all this trouble."
The new coachman's countenance seemed frozen into a stolidity which
did not alter.
"I'm sure he'll try," replied his mother, "and Fanshaw's livery fits
him to such a turn that it would have been flying in the face of
Providence not to try him. Did you give orders to be met at this
train, sir?" Mrs. Forbes looked anxiously toward the set face of her
"No--I came out unexpectedly. I have received news that is rather
The housekeeper had not studied her employer's moods for years without
understanding when she could be of use.
"I will come to the house right off," was her prompt response. "It's a
pity you didn't know the bell was in, sir."
"No, stay where you are. I see Dr. Ballard is here. We might be
interrupted. You can go, 'Zekiel."
The young fellow needed no second invitation, but turned and mounted
the stairway that led to the chambers above.
Mr. Evringham took from his pocket a bunch of papers, and selecting a
letter handed it to Mrs. Forbes, motioning her to the battered chair,
which was still in evidence. He seated himself on the stool Zeke had
vacated, while his housekeeper opened and read the following letter:--
CHICAGO, April 28, 19--.
DEAR FATHER,--The old story of the Prodigal Son has always plenty
of originality for the Prodigal. I have returned, and thank Heaven
sincerely I do not need to ask you for anything. My blessed girl
Julia has supported herself and little Jewel these years while
I've been feeding on husks. I don't see now how I was willing to
be so revoltingly cruel and cowardly as to leave her in the lurch,
but she has made friends and they have stood by her, and now I've
been back since September, doing all in my power to make up what I
can to her and Jewel, as we call little Julia. They were treasures
to return to such as I deserved to have lost forever; but Julia
treats me as if I'd been white to her right all along. I've lately
secured a position that I hope to keep. My wife has been
dressmaking, and this is something in the dry goods line that I
got through her. The firm want us to go to Europe to do some
buying. They will pay the expenses of both; but that leaves Jewel.
I've heard that Lawrence's wife and daughter are living with you.
I wondered if you'd let us bring Jewel as far as New York and drop
her with you for the six weeks that we shall be gone. If we had a
little more ahead we'd take the child with us. She is eight years
old and wouldn't be any trouble, but cash is scarce, and although
we could board her here with some friend, I'd like to have her
become acquainted with her grandfather, and I thought as Madge and
Eloise were with you, they would look after her if Mrs. Forbes is
no longer there. This has all come about very suddenly, and we
sail next Wednesday on the Scythia, so I'll be much obliged if you
will wire me. I shall be glad to shake your hand again.
Your repentant son,
Mrs. Forbes looked up from the letter to find her employer's eyes upon
her. Her lips were set in a tight line.
"Well?" he asked.
"I'd like to ask first, sir, what you think of it?"
"It strikes me as very cool. Harry knows my habits."
The housekeeper loosened the reins of her indignation.
"The idea of your having a child here to clatter up and down the
stairs at the very time you want to take a nap!" she burst forth.
"You've had enough to bear already."
"A deal of company in the house as it is, eh?" he rejoined. It was the
first reference he had ever made to his permanent guests.
"It's what I was thinking, sir."
"You're not for it, then, Mrs. Forbes?"
"So far as taking care of the child goes, I should do my duty. I don't
think Mrs. Evringham or her daughter would wish to be bothered; but I
know very little about children, except that your house is no place
for them to be racing in. One young one brings others. You would be
annoyed, sir. Some folks can always ask favors." The housekeeper's
cheeks were flushed with the strength of her repugnance, and her bias
relieved Mr. Evringham's indecision.
"I agree with you," he returned, rising. "Tell 'Zekiel to saddle the
Maid. After dinner I will let him take a telegram to the office."
He returned to the house without further words, and Mrs. Forbes called
to her son in a voice that had a wrathful quaver.
"What you got your back up about?" inquired Zeke softly, after a
careful look to see that his august master had departed.
"Never you mind. Mr. Evringham wants you should saddle his horse and
bring her round. I want he should see you can do it lively."
"Ain't she a beaut'!" exclaimed Zeke as he led out the mare. "She'd
ought to be shown, she had."
"Shown! Better not expose your ignorance where Mr. Evringham can hear
you. That mare's taken two blue ribbons already."
"Showed they knew their business," returned Zeke imperturbably. "I
s'pose the old gent don't care any more for her than he does for his
"I guess he loves her the best of anything in this world."
"Love! The governor love anything or anybody! That's good," remarked
the young fellow, while Essex Maid watched his movements about her
with gentle, curious eyes.
"I do believe she misses Fanshaw and notices the difference," remarked
"Glad to, too. Ain't you, my beauty? She's going to be stuck on me
before we get through. She don't want any Britishers fooling around
"You've certainly made her look fine, Zeke. I know Mr. Evringham will
be pleased. She just shines from her pretty little ears to her hoofs.
Take her around and then come back. I want to talk to you."
"If I don't come back," returned the boy, "you'll know the governor's
looked at me a little too hard and I've been struck so."
"Don't be any foolisher than you can help," returned Mrs. Forbes, "and
On 'Zekiel's return to the barn he saw that his mother's face was
portentous. "Lawrence was at least handsome like his father," she
began without preamble, looking over Zeke's shoulder, "but Harry was
as homely as he was no account. I should think that man had enough of
his sons' belongings hanging on him already. What do you think,
'Zekiel Forbes? Mr. Evringham's youngest son Harry has turned up
"I should think it was the old Harry by your tone," rejoined Zeke
"He and his wife, poor as church mice, are getting their expenses paid
to Europe on business, and they have the nerve--yes, the cheek--to ask
Mr. Evringham to let them leave their young one, a girl eight years
old, with him while they're gone."
"I hope it's a real courageous youngster," remarked Zeke.
"A child! A wild Western dressmaker's young one in Mr. Evringham's
"Is the old Harry a dressmaker?" asked Zeke mildly.
"No, his wife is. His Julia! They've named this girl for her, and I
suppose they called her Jule, and then twisted it around to Jewel.
"When is she coming?" asked Zeke, seeing that he was expected to say
"Coming? She isn't coming," cried his mother irefully. "Not while Mr.
Evringham has his wits. They haven't a particle of right to ask him.
Harry has worried him to distraction already. The child would be sure
to torment him."
"He'd devour her the second day, then," returned Zeke calmly. "It
would be soon over."
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER
Dr. Ballard had gone, and his hostesses were awaiting the summons to
dinner. Mrs. Evringham regarded her daughter critically as the girl
sat at the piano, idly running her fingers over the keys.
The listlessness expressed in the fresh face and rounded figure
brought a look of disapproval into the mother's eyes.
"You must practice that nocturne," she said. "You played it badly just
now, and there is no excuse for it, Eloise."
"If you will let me give lessons I will," responded the girl promptly,
without turning her graceful, drooping head.
The unexpected reply was startling.
"What are you talking about?" asked Mrs. Evringham.
"Oh, I'm so tired of it all," replied the girl wearily.
A frown contracted her mother's forehead. "Tired of what? Turn around
here!" She rose and put her hands on the pretty shoulders and turned
her child until the clear gray eyes met hers. "Now then, tired of
Eloise smiled slightly, and sighed. "Of playing nocturnes to Dr.
"And he is quite as tired of hearing you, I dare say," was the retort.
"It seems to me you always stumble when you play to the doctor, and he
Eloise continued to meet her mother's annoyed gaze, her hands fallen
in her lap, all the lines of her nut-brown hair, her exquisite face,
and pliable, graceful figure so many silent arguments, as they always
were, against any one's harboring annoyance toward her.
"You say he does, mother, and you have assured him of it so often that
the poor man doesn't dare to say otherwise; but really, if you'd let
him have the latest Weber and Field hit, I think he would be so
"Learn it then!" returned Mrs. Evringham.
Eloise laughed lazily. "Intrepid little mother!" Then she added, in a
different tone, "Don't you think there is any danger of our being too
obliging? I'm not the only girl in town whose mother wishes her to
oblige Dr. Ballard. May we not overreach ourselves?"
"Eloise!" Mrs. Evringham's half-affectionate, half-remonstrating grasp
fell from her child's shoulders. "That remark is in very bad taste."
The girl shook her head slowly. "I never can understand why it is any
satisfaction to you to pretend. You find comfort in pretending that
Mr. Evringham likes to have us here, likes us to use his carriages, to
receive his friends, and all the rest of it. We've been here seven
weeks and three days, and that little game of pretending is satisfying
you still. You are like the ostrich with its head in the sand."
Mrs. Evringham drew her lithe figure up. "Well, Eloise, I hope there
are limits to this. To call your own mother an--an ostrich!"
"Don't speak so loud," returned the girl, rising and patting her
mother's hand. "Grandfather has returned from his ride. I just heard
him come in. It is too near dinner time for a scene. There is no need
of our pretending to each other, is there? You have always put me off
and put me off, but surely you mean to bring this to an end pretty
"You could bring it to an end at once if you would!" returned Mrs.
Evringham, her voice lowered. "Dr. Ballard has nothing to wait for. I
know all about his circumstances. There never was such a providence as
father's having a friend like him ready to our hand--so suitable, so
attractive, so rich!"
"Yes," responded the girl low and equably, "it is just five weeks and
two days that you have been throwing me at that man's head."
"I have done nothing of the kind, Eloise Evringham."
"Yes you have," returned the girl without excitement, "and grandfather
sneering at us all the time under his mustache. He knows that there
are other girls and other mothers interested in Dr. Ballard more
desirable than we are. Oh! how easy it is to be more desirable than we
"There isn't one girl in five hundred so pretty as you," returned Mrs.
"I wish my prettiness could persuade you into my way of thinking."
"What do you mean?" The glance of the older woman was keen and
"We would take a cheap little apartment to-morrow," said the girl
Mrs. Evringham gave an ejaculation of impatience. "And do all our own
work and live like pigs!" she returned petulantly.
Eloise shrugged her shoulders. "I may flatter myself, but I fancy I
should keep it rather clean."
"You wouldn't mind your hands then." Mrs. Evringham regarded the hands
worthy to be imitated by a sculptor's art, and the girl raised them
and inspected the rose-tints of their tips. "I've read something about
rubber gloves," she returned vaguely.
"You'd better read something else then. How do you suppose you would
get on without a carriage?" asked her mother with exasperation. "You
have never had so much as a taste of privation in any form. Your
suggestion is the acme of foolishness."
"I think I could do something if you would let me," rejoined the girl
as calmly as before. "I think I could teach music pretty well, and
keep house charmingly. If I had any false pride when we came out here,
the past six weeks have purified me of it. Will you let me try,
mother? I'm asking it very seriously."
"Certainly not!" hotly. "There are armies of music teachers now, and
you would not have a chance."
"I think I could dress hair well," remarked Eloise, glancing at the
reflection in a mirror of her own graceful coiffure.
"I dare say!" responded Mrs. Evringham with sarcastic heat, "or I'm
sure you could get a position as a waitress. The servant problem is
growing worse every year."
"I'd like to be your waitress, mother." For the first time the girl
lost her perfect poise, and the color fluctuated in her cheek. She
clasped her hands. "It would be heaven compared with the feeling, the
sickening, appalling suspicion, that we are becoming akin to the
adventuresses we read of, the pretty, luxurious women who live by
"Silence!" commanded Mrs. Evringham, her eyes flashing and her
effective black-clothed figure drawn up.
Eloise sighed again. "I didn't expect to accomplish anything by this
talk," she said, relapsing into listlessness.
"What did you expect then? Merely to be disagreeable? I hope you may
be as successful in worthier undertakings. Now listen. Some of the
plans you have suggested at various times might be sensible if you
were a plain girl. Your beauty is as tangible an asset as money would
be; but beauty requires money. You must have it. Your poor father
might have left it to you, but he didn't; so you will marry it--not
unsuitably," meeting an ominous look in her child's eyes, "not without
love or under any circumstances to make a martyr of you, but according
to common sense; and as a certain young man is evidently more and more
certain of himself every time he comes"--she paused.
"You think there is no need for him to grow more certain of me?" asked
"You might have saved us the disagreeables of this interview. And one
thing more," impressively, "you evidently are not taking into
consideration, perhaps you never knew, that it was your grandfather's
confidence in a certain course which induced your poor father to take
that last fatal flyer. Your grandfather feels--I'm sure he feels--that
much reparation is due us. The present conditions are easier for him
than a separate suitable home would be, therefore"--Mrs. Evringham
waved her hand. "It is strange," she added, "that so young a girl
should not repose more trust in her mother's judgment. And now that we
are on the subject, I wish you would make more effort with your
grandfather. Don't be so silent at table and leave all the talking to
me. A man of his age likes to have merry young people about. Chat,
create a cheerful atmosphere. He likes to look at you, of course, but
you have been so quiet and lackadaisical of late, it is enough to hurt
his feelings as host."
"He has never shown any symptoms of anxiety," remarked Eloise.
"Well, he is a very self-contained man."
"He is indeed, poor grandfather; I don't know how you will manage,
mother, when you have to play the game of 'pretend' all alone. He is
growing tired of it, I can see. His courtesy is wearing very thin. I'm
sorry to make it harder for you by taking away what must have been a
large prop and support, but I heard papa say to himself more than once
in those last sad days, 'If I had only taken my father's advice.' "
"Eloise," very earnestly, "you misunderstood, you certainly
The girl shook her head wearily. "No, alas! I neither misunderstand
nor forget, when it would be most convenient to do so."
Mrs. Evringham's fair brow contracted as she regarded her daughter
with exasperation. "And you are only nineteen! One would think it was
you instead of me to whom the next birthday would bring that detested
The girl looked at her mother, whose youthful face and figure betrayed
the source of her own heritage of physical charm.
"I long ago gave up the hope of ever again being as young as you are,"
she returned sadly. "Oh!" with a rare and piteous burst of feeling,
"if dear papa could have stayed with us, and we could have had a right
Mrs. Evringham threw her arms about the young creature, welcoming the
softened mood. "You know I took you right to my own people, Eloise,"
she said gently. "We stayed as long as I thought was right; they
couldn't afford to keep us." A sound at the door caused her to turn.
The erect form of her father-in-law had just entered the room.
"Ah, good evening, father," she said in tones whose sadness was not
altogether feigned, even though she secretly rejoiced that Eloise
should for once show such opportune emotion. "Pardon this little girl.
She was just feeling overwhelmed with a pang of homesickness for her
"Indeed!" returned Mr. Evringham. "Will you walk out? Mrs. Forbes
tells me that dinner is served."
Eloise, hastily drawing her handkerchief across her eyes, passed the
unbending figure, her cheeks stinging. His hard voice was in her ears.
That she was not his son's child hurt her now as often before in the
past two months, but that he should have discovered her weeping at a
moment when he might have been expected to enter was a keen hurt to
her pride, and her heart swelled with a suspicion of his unspoken
thoughts. She had never been effusive, she had never posed. He had no
right to suspect her.
With her small head carried high and her cheeks glowing, she passed
him, following her mother, who floated on before with much
satisfaction. These opportune tears shed by her nonconforming child
should make their stay good for another two months at least.
"You must have had a beautiful ride, father," said Mrs. Evringham as
they seated themselves at table. She spoke in the tone, at once
assured and ingratiating, which she always adopted toward him. "I
noticed you took an earlier start than usual."
The speaker had never had the insight to discover that her father-in-
law was ungrateful for proofs that any of his long-fixed, solitary
habits were now observed by feminine eyes.
"I did take a rather longer ride than usual," he returned. "Mrs.
Forbes, I wish you would speak to the cook about the soup. It has been
served cool for the last two days."
Mrs. Forbes flushed as she stood near his chair in her trim black gown
and white apron.
"Yes, sir," she replied, the flush and quiet words giving little
indication of the tumult aroused within her by her employer's
criticism. To fail to please Mr. Evringham at his meals was the
deepest mortification life held for her.
"I'm sure it tastes very good," said Mrs. Evringham amiably, "although
I like a little more salt than your cook uses."
"You can reach it I hope," remarked the host, casting a glance at the
dainty solitaire salt and pepper beside his daughter's plate.
"But don't you like it cooked in?" she asked sweetly.
"Not when I want to get it out," he answered shortly.
"How can mother, how can mother!" thought Eloise helplessly.
"There is decided spring in the air to-day," said Mrs. Evringham. "I
remember of old how charmingly spring comes in the park."
"You have a good memory," returned Mr. Evringham dryly.
"Why do you say that?" asked the pretty widow, lifting large, innocent
"It is some years since you accompanied Lawrence in his calls upon me,
"Poor father!" thought Mrs. Evringham, "how unpleasantly blunt he has
grown, living here alone!"
"I scarcely realize it," she returned suavely. "My recollection of the
park is always so clear. It is surprising, isn't it, how relatives can
live as near together as we in New York and you out here and see one
another so seldom! Life in New York," sighing, "was such a rush for
us. Here amid the rustle of the trees it seems to be scarcely the same
world. Lawrence often said his only lucid intervals were during the
rides he took with Eloise in Central Park. Do you always ride alone,
"Always," was the prompt rejoinder, while Eloise cast a glance full of
appeal at her mother.
The latter continued archly, "If you could see Eloise on a horse you
would not blame me for trying to screw up my courage, as I have been
doing for days past, to ask you if she might take a canter on Essex
Maid in the morning, sometimes, while you are away. Fanshaw assured me
that she would be perfectly safe."
Mr. Evringham's cold eyes stared, and then the enormity of the
proposition appeared to move him humorously.
"Which maid did Fanshaw say would be safe?" he inquired, while Eloise
glowed with mortification.
"Well, if you think Eloise can't ride, try her some time!" exclaimed
the widow gayly. It had been a matter of surprise and afterward of
resentment that Mr. Evringham could remain deaf to her hints so long,
and she had determined to become frank. "Or else ask Dr. Ballard," she
went on; "he has very kindly provided Eloise with a horse several
times, but the child likes a solitary ride, sometimes, as well as you
The steely look returned to the host's eyes. "No one rides the Maid
but myself," he returned coldly.
"I beg you to believe, grandfather, that I don't wish to ride her,"
said Eloise, her customary languor of manner gone and her voice hard.
"Mother is more ambitious for me than I am for myself. I should be
very much obliged if she would allow me to ask favors when I want
Mrs. Forbes's lips were set in a tight line as she filled Mrs.
That lady's heart was beating a little fast from vexation, and also
from the knowledge that a time of reckoning with her child was coming.
"Oh, very well," she said airily. "No wonder you are careful of that
beautiful creature. I caught Eloise with her arms around the mare's
neck the other day, and I couldn't help wishing for a kodak. You feed
her with sugar, don't you Eloise?"
"I hope not, I'm sure!" exclaimed Mr. Evringham sternly.
"I'll not do it again, grandfather," said the girl, her very ears
Mrs. Evringham sighed and gave one Parthian shot. "The poor child does
love horses so," she murmured softly.
The host scowled and fidgeted in his chair with a brusque gesture to
Mrs. Forbes to remove the course.
"Harry has turned up again," he remarked, to change the subject.
"Really?" returned his daughter-in-law languidly. "For how long I
"He thinks it is permanent."
"He is still in Chicago?"
"Yes, for a day or two. He and his wife sail for Europe immediately."
"Indeed!" with a greater show of interest. Then, curiously, "Are you
sending them, father?"
"Scarcely! They are going on business."
"Oh," relapsing into indifference. "They have a child, I believe."
"Yes, a girl. I should think perhaps you might have remembered it."
"I hardly see why, if Harry didn't--a fact he plainly showed by
deserting the poor creature." The insolence of the speaker's tone was
scarcely veiled. Her extreme disapproval of her father-in-law
sometimes welled to the surface of her suave manner.
Mr. Evringham's thoughts had fled to Chicago. "Harry proposed leaving
the girl here while they are gone," he said.
Mrs. Evringham straightened in her chair and her attention
concentrated. "With you? What assurance! How like Harry!" she
The words were precisely those which her host had been saying to
himself; but proceeding from her lips they had a strange effect upon
"You find it so?" he asked. The clearer the proposition became to Mrs.
Evringham's consciousness the more she resented it. To have the child
in the house not only would menace her ease and comfort, but meant a
possibility that the grandfather might take an interest in Harry's
daughter which would disturb Eloise's chances.
"Of course it does. I call it simply presumptuous," she declared with
"After all, Harry has some rights," rejoined Mr. Evringham slowly.
"His wife is a dressmaker," went on the other. "I had it directly from
a Chicago friend. Harry has scarcely been with the child since she was
born. And to saddle a little stranger like that on you! Now Eloise and
/her/ father were inseparable."
There was an ominous glitter in Mr. Evringham's eyes. "Eloise's
father!" he returned slowly. "I did not know that she remembered him."
The hurt of his tone and words sank deep into the heart of the girl,
but she looked up courageously.
"Your son was my father in every best sense," she said. "We were
inseparable. You must have known it."
"You appeared to be separable when your father made his visits to Bel-
Air Park," was the rejoinder. "Pardon me if I knew very little of what
took place in his household. A telegraph blank, please, Mrs. Forbes,
and tell Zeke to be ready to go to the office."
There was a vital tone in the usually dry voice. Mrs. Evringham looked
apprehensively at her daughter; but Eloise gave her no answering
glance; her eyes were downcast and her pretense of eating continued,
while her pulses beat.
FATHER AND SON
When later they were alone, the girl looked at her mother, her eyes
"You see," she began rather breathlessly, "even you must see, he is
beginning to drive us away."
"I do hope, Eloise, you are not going to indulge in any heroics over
this affair," returned Mrs. Evringham, who had braced herself to meet
an attack. "Does the unpleasant creature suppose we would stay with
him if we were not obliged to?"
"If we are obliged to, which I don't admit, need you demand further
favors than food and shelter? How could you speak of Essex Maid! How
can you know in your inmost heart, as you do, that we are eating the
bread of charity, and then ask for the apple of his eye!" exclaimed
"Go away with your bread and apples," responded Mrs. Evringham
flippantly. "I have a real worry now that that wretched little cousin
of yours is coming."
"She is not my cousin please remember," responded the girl bitterly.
"Mr. Evringham reminded us of that to-night."
"Now don't you begin calling him Mr. Evringham!" protested her mother.
"You don't want to take any notice of the man's absurdities. You will
only make matters worse."
"No, I shall go on saying grandfather for the little while we stay.
Otherwise, he would know his words were rankling. It /will/ be a
little while? Oh mother!"
Mrs. Evringham pushed the pleading hand away. "I can't tell how long
it will be!" she returned impatiently. "We are simply helpless until
your father's affairs are settled. I thought I had told you that,
Eloise. He worshipped you, child, and no matter what that old
curmudgeon says, Lawrence would wish us to remain under his protection
until we see our way clear."
"Won't you have a business talk with him, so we can know what we have
to look forward to?" The girl's voice was unsteady.
"I will when the right time comes, Eloise. Can't you trust your
mother? Isn't it enough that we have lost our home, our carriages, all
our comforts and luxuries, through this man's bad judgment--"
"You will cling to that!" despairingly.
"And have had to come out to this Sleepy Hollow of a place, where life
means mere existence, and be so poor that the carfare into New York is
actually a consideration! I'm quite satisfied with our martyrdom as it
is, without pinching and grinding as we should have to do to live
"Then you don't mean to attempt to escape?" returned Eloise in alarm.
"Hush, hush, Goosie. We will escape all in good time if we don't
succeed in taming the bear. As it is, I have to work single handed,"
dropping into a tone of reproach. "You are no help at all. You might
as well be a simpering wax dummy out of a shop window. I would have
been ashamed at your age if I could not have subjugated any man alive.
We might have had him at our feet weeks ago if you had made an
"No, no, mother," sadly. "I saw when we first came how effusiveness
impressed him, and I tried to behave so as to strike a balance--that
is, after I found that we were here on sufferance and not as welcome
"Pshaw! You can't tell what such a hermit is thinking," returned Mrs.
Evringham. "It is the best thing that could happen to him to have us
here. Dr. Ballard said so only to-day. What is troubling me now is
this child of Harry's. I was sure by father's tone when he first spoke
of her that he would not even consider such an imposition."
"I think he did feel so," returned Eloise, her manner quiet again.
"That was an example of the way you overreach yourself. The word
presumption on your lips applied to uncle Harry determined grandfather
to let the child come."
"You think he really has sent for her then!" exclaimed Mrs. Evringham.
"You think that is what the telegram meant! I'm sure of it, too." Then
after a minute's exasperated thought, "I believe you are right. He is
just contrary enough for that. If I had urged him to let the little
barbarian come, he couldn't have been induced to do so. That wasn't
clever of me!" The speaker made the admission in a tone which implied
that in general her cleverness was unquestioned. "Well, I hope she
will worry him out of his senses, and I don't think there is much
doubt of it. It may turn out all for the best, Eloise, after all, and
lead him to appreciate us." Mrs. Evringham cast a glance at the mirror
and patted her waved hair. "And yet I'm anxious, very anxious. He
might take a fancy to the girl," she added thoughtfully.
"I'm such a poor-spirited creature," remarked Eloise.
"I ought to be strong enough to leave you since you will not come; to
leave this roof and earn my own living, some way, any way; but I'm too
much of a coward."
"I should hope so," returned her mother briefly. "You'd soon become
one if you weren't at starting. Girls bred to luxury, as you have
been, must just contrive to live well somehow. They can't stand
"Nonsense, mother," quietly. "They can. They do."
"Yes, in books I know they do."
"No, truth is stranger than fiction. They do. I have been looking for
that sort of stamina in myself for weeks, but I haven't found it. It
is a cruel wrong to a girl not to teach her to support herself."
"My dear! You were going to college. You know you would have gone had
it not been for your poor father's misfortunes."
Eloise's eyes filled again at the remembrance of the young, gay man
who had been her boon companion since her babyhood, and at the memory
of those last sad days, when she knew he had agonized over her future
even more than over that of his volatile wife.
"My dear, as I've told you before, a girl as pretty as you are should
know that fortune cannot be unkind, nor the sea of life too rough. In
each of the near waves of it you can see a man's head swimming toward
you. You don't know the trouble I have had already in silencing those
who wished to speak before you were old enough. They could any of them
be summoned now with a word. Let me see. There is Mr. Derwent--Mr.
"Hush, mother!" ejaculated the girl in disgust.
"Exactly. I knew you would say they were too old, or too bald, or too
short, or too fat. I've been a girl myself. Of course there is Nat
Bonnell, and a lot more little waves and ripples like him, but they
always /were/ out of the question, and now they are ten times more so.
That is the reason, Eloise," the mother's voice became impressive to
the verge of solemnity, "why I feel that Dr. Ballard is almost a
The girl's clear eyes were reflective. "Nat Bonnell is a wave who
wouldn't remember a girl who had slipped out of the swim."
"Very wise of him," returned Mrs. Evringham emphatically. "He can't
afford to. Nat is--is--a--decorative creature, just as you are,--
decorative. He must make it pay, poor boy."
Meanwhile Mrs. Forbes had sought her son in the barn. He and she had
had their supper in time for her to be ready to wait at dinner.
"Something doing, something doing," murmured Zeke as he heard the
impetuosity of her approaching step.
"That soup /was/ hot!" she exclaimed defiantly.
"Somebody scald you, ma? I can do him up, whoever he is," said Zeke,
catching up a whip and executing a threatening dance around the dimly
His mother's snapping eyes looked beyond him. "He said it was cold;
but it was only because he was distracted. What do you suppose those
people are up to now? Trying to get Essex Maid for Mamzell to ride!"
Zeke stopped in his mad career and returned his mother's stare for a
silent moment. "And not a dungeon on the place probably!" he exclaimed
at last. "Just like some folks' shiftlessness."
"They /asked/ it. They asked Mr. Evringham if that girl couldn't ride
Essex Maid while he was in the city!"
'Zekiel lifted his eyebrows politely. "Where are their remains to be
interred?" he inquired with concern.
"Well, not in /this/ family vault, you may be sure. He gave it to them
to-night for a fact." Mrs. Forbes smiled triumphantly. " 'I didn't
know Eloise remembered her father,' " she mimicked. "I'll bet that got
under their skin!"
"Dear parent, you're excited," remarked Zeke.
She brought her reminiscent gaze back to rest upon her son. "Get your
coat quick, 'Zekiel. Here's the telegram. Take the car that passes the
park gate, and stop at the station. That's the nearest place."
Ezekiel obediently struggled into the coat hanging conveniently near.
"What does the telegram say?--'Run away, little girl, the ogre isn't
"Not much! She's coming. He's sending for the brat."
"Poor brat! How did it happen?"
"Just some more of my lady's doings," answered Mrs. Forbes angrily.
"Of course she had to put in her oar and exasperate Mr. Evringham
until he did it to spite her."
"Cutting off his own nose to spite his face, eh?" asked Zeke, taking
the slip of paper.
"Yes, and mine. It's going to come heavy on me. I could have shaken
that woman with her airs and graces. Catch her or Mamzell lifting
"Yet they want her, do they?"
"No, Stupid! That's why she's coming. Can't you understand?"
"Blessed if I can," returned the boy as he left the barn; "but I know
one thing, I pity the kid."
Mr. Evringham received a prompt answer to his message. His son
appointed, as a place of meeting, the downtown hotel where he and his
wife purposed spending the night before sailing.
Father and son had not met for years, and Mr. Evringham debated a few
minutes whether to take the gastronomic and social risk of dining with
Harry /en famille/ at the noisy hotel above mentioned, or to have
dinner in assured comfort at his club--finally deciding on the latter
It was, therefore, nearly nine o'clock before his card was presented
to Mr. and Mrs. Harry, to whom it brought considerable relief of mind,
and they hastened down to the dingy parlor with alacrity.
"You see we thought you might accept our invitation to dinner," said
Harry heartily, as he grasped his parent's passive hand; "but your
business hours are so short, I dare say you have been at home since
the middle of the afternoon." As he spoke the hard lines of his
father's impassive face smote him with a thousand associations, many
of them bringing remorse. He wondered how much his own conduct had had
to do with graving them so deeply.
His wife's observant eyes were scanning this guardian of her child
from the crown of his immaculate head to the toes of his correct
patent leathers. His expressionless eyes turned to her. "This is your
wife?" he asked, again offering the passive hand.
"Yes, father, this is Julia," responded Harry proudly. "I'm sorry the
time is so short. I do want you to know her."
The young man's face grew eloquent.
"That is a pleasure to come," responded Mr. Evringham mechanically. He
turned stiffly and cast a glance about. "You brought your daughter, I
"Yes, indeed," answered Mrs. Evringham. "Harry was so glad to receive
your permission. We had made arrangements for her provisionally with
friends in Chicago, but we were desirous that she should have this
opportunity to see her father's home and know you."
Mr. Evringham thought with regret of those friends in Chicago. Many
times in the last two days he had deeply repented allowing himself to
be exasperated into thus committing himself.
"Do sit down, father," said Harry, as his wife seated herself in the
Mr. Evringham hesitated before complying. "Well," he said
perfunctorily, "you have gone into something that promises well, eh
"It looks that way. I'm chiefly occupied these days in being
thankful." The young man smiled with an extraordinary sweetness of
expression, which transfigured his face, and which his father
remembered well as always promising much and performing nothing. "I
might spend a lot of time crying over spilt milk, but Julia says I
mustn't,"--he glanced across at his wife, whose dark eyes smiled
back,--"and what Julia says goes. I intend to spend a year or two
doing instead of talking."
"It will answer better," remarked his father.
"Yes, sir," Harry's voice grew still more earnest. "And by that time,
perhaps, I can express my regret to you, for things done and things
left undone, with more convincingness."
The older man made a slight gesture of rejection with one well-kept
hand. "Let bygones be bygones," he returned briefly.
"When I think," pursued Harry, his impulsive manner in strange
contrast to that of his listener, "that if I had been behaving myself
all this time, I might have seen dear old Lawrence again!"
Mr. Evringham kept silence.
"How are Madge and Eloise? I thought perhaps Madge might come in and
meet us at the train."
"They are in the best of health, thank you. Eh--a--I think if you'll
call your daughter now we will go. It's rather a long ride, you know.
No express trains at this hour. When you return we will have more of a
Harry and his wife exchanged a glance. "Why Jewel is asleep," answered
the young man after a pause. "She was so sleepy she couldn't hold her
"You mean you've let her go to bed?" asked Mr. Evringham, with a not
very successful attempt to veil his surprise and annoyance.
"Why--yes. We supposed she would see us off, you know."
"Your memory is rather short, it strikes me," returned his father.
"You sail at eight A.M., I believe. Did you think I could get in from
Bel-Air at that hour?"
"No. I thought you would naturally remain in the city over night. You
used to stay in rather frequently, didn't you?"
"I've not done so for five years; but you couldn't know that. Is it
out of the question to dress the child again? I hope she is too
healthy to be disturbed by a trifle like that."
Mrs. Evringham cast a startled look at her father-in-law. "It would
disappoint Jewel very much not to see us off," she returned.
Mr. Evringham shrugged his shoulders. "Let it go then. Let it go," he
Harry's plain face had grown concerned. "Is Mrs. Forbes with you
still?" he asked.
"Oh, yes. I couldn't keep house without Mrs. Forbes. Well," rising,
"if you young people will excuse me, I believe I will go to the club
and turn in."
"Couldn't you stand it here one night, do you think?" asked Harry,
rising. "The club is rather far uptown for such an early start."
"No. I'll be on hand. I'm used to rising early for a canter. I'll take
it with a cab horse this time. That will be all the difference." And
with this attempt at jocularity, Mr. Evringham shook hands once more
and departed, swallowing his ill-humor as best he could. Any instincts
of the family man which might once have reigned in him had long since
been inhibited. This episode was a cruel invasion upon his bachelor
Left alone, Harry and his wife without a word ascended to their room
and with one accord approached the little bed in the corner where
their child lay asleep.
The man took his wife's hand. "I've done it now, Julia," he said
dejectedly. "It's my confounded optimism again."
"Your optimism is all right," she returned, smoothing his hand gently,
though her heart was beating fast, and the vision of her father-in-
law, with his elegant figure and cold eyes, was weighing upon her
Harry looked long on the plain little sleeping face, so like his own
in spite of its exquisite child-coloring, and bending, touched the
tossed, straight, flaxen hair.
"We couldn't take her, I suppose?" he asked.
"No," replied the yearning mother quietly. "We have prayed over it. We
must know that all will be right."
"His bark is worse than his bite," said Harry doubtfully. "It always
was; and Mrs. Forbes is there."
"You say she is a kind sort of woman?"
"Why, I suppose so," uncertainly. "I never had much to do with her."
"And your sister? Isn't it very strange that she didn't come in to
meet us? I was so certain I should put Jewel into her hands I feel a
"You're a trump!" ejaculated Harry hotly, "and you've married into a
family where they're scarce. Madge might have met us at the train, at
"Perhaps she is very sad over her loss," suggested Julia.
"In the best of health. Father said so. Oh well, she never was
anything but a big butterfly and Eloise a little one. I remember the
last time I saw the child, a pretty fairy with her long pink silk
stockings. She must have been just about the age of Jewel."
The mother stooped over the little bed and the dingy room looked
pleasanter for her smile. "Jewel hasn't any pink silk stockings," she
murmured, and kissed the warm rose of the round cheek.
The little girl stirred and opened her eyes, at first vaguely, then
with a start.
"Is it time for the boat?" she asked, trying to rise.
Her father smoothed her hair. "No, time to go to sleep again. We're
just going to bed. Good-night, Jewel." He stooped to kiss her, and her
arms met around his neck.
"It was an April fool, wasn't it?" she murmured sleepily, and was
The mother hid her face for a moment on her husband's shoulder. "Help
me to feel that we're doing right," she whispered, with a catch in her
"As if I could help /you/, Julia!" he returned humbly.
"Oh, yes, you can, dear." She withdrew from his embrace, and going to
the dresser, took down her hair. The smiling face of a doll looked up
at her from the neighboring chair, where it was sitting bolt upright.
Her costume was fresh from the modiste, and her feet, though
hopelessly pigeon-toed, were encased in bronze boots of a freshness
which caught the dim gaslight with a golden sheen.
Mrs. Evringham smiled through her moist eyes.
"Well, Jewel /was/ sleepy. She forgot to undress Anna Belle," she
Letting her hair fall about her like a veil, she caught up the doll
and pressed it to her heart impulsively. "You are going to stay with
her, Anna Belle! I envy you, I envy you!" she whispered. An
irrepressible tear fell on the sumptuous trimming of the little hat.
"Be good to her; comfort her, comfort her, little dolly." Hastily
wiping her eyes, she turned to her husband, still holding the doll.
"We shall have to be very careful, Harry, in the morning. If we are
harboring one wrong or fearful thought, we must not let Jewel know
"Oh, I wish it were over! I wish the next month were over!" he replied
At the dock next morning the scene was one of the usual confusion. The
sailing time was drawing near and Mr. Evringham had not appeared.
Harry, with his little girl's hand in his, stood at the foot of the
gang plank, peering at every newcomer and growing more anxious every
moment. Jewel occupied herself in throwing kisses to her mother, who
stood at the rail far above, never taking her eyes from the little
figure in the blue sailor suit.
The child noted her father's set lips and the concentrated expression
of his eyes.
"If grandpa doesn't come what shall I do?" she asked without anxiety.
"You'll go to England," was the prompt response.
"Without my trunk!" returned the child in protest.
Her father looked again at the watch he held in his hand. The order to
go ashore was sending all visitors down the gang plank. "By George, I
guess you're going, too," he muttered between his teeth, when suddenly
his father's tall form came striding through the crowd. Mr. Evringham
was carrying a long pasteboard box, and seemed breathless.
"Horse fell down. Devil of a time! Roses for your wife."
Harry grasped the box, touched his father's hand, kissed the child,
and strode up the plank amid the frowns of officials.
Jewel's eager eyes followed him, then, as he disappeared, lifted again
to her mother, who smiled and waved her hand to Mr. Evringham. The
latter raised his hat and took the occasion to wipe his heated brow.
He was irritated through and through. The morning had been a chapter
of accidents. Even the roses, which he had ordered the night before,
had proved to be the wrong sort.
The suspense of the last fifteen minutes had been a distressing wrong
to put upon any man. He had now before him the prospect of caring for
a strange child, of taking her out of town at an hour when he should
have been coming into it. She would probably cry. Very well; if she
did he determined on the instant to ride out to Bel-Air in the smoking
car, although he detested its odors and uncleanness. The whole
situation was enormous. What a fool he had been, and what an
intelligent woman was Mrs. Forbes! She had seen from the first the
inappropriateness, the impossibility, of the whole proposition. His
attention was attracted to the fact that the small figure at his side
was hopping up and down with excitement.
"There's father, there's father!" she cried, as Harry joined his wife
at the rail and they lifted the wealth of roses from the box and waved
"We've wronged him, Harry!" exclaimed Julia, trying to see the little
face below through her misty eyes. "How I love him for bringing me
these sweet things! It gives me such a different feeling about him."
"Oh, father would as soon forget his breakfast as roses for a woman he
was seeing off," returned Harry without enthusiasm, while he waved his
The steamer pulled out. The faces in the crowd mingled and changed
"I've lost them, I've lost them!" cried Julia. "Oh, where are they,
"Over there near the corner. I can see father. It's all right, dear,"
choking a little. "Jewel was skipping and laughing a minute ago. It
will only be a few weeks, but confound it," violently, "next time
we'll take her!"
Julia buried her face in the roses, on which twinkled a sudden dew,
and tried to gather promise from their sweet breath.
Jewel strained her eyes to follow the now indistinguishable forms on
the lofty deck, and her grandfather looked down at the small figure in
the sailor suit, the short thick pigtails of flaxen hair tied with
large bows of ribbon, and the doll clasped in one arm. At last the
child turned her head and looked up, and their eyes met for the first
"Jove, she does look like Harry!" muttered Mr. Evringham, and even as
he spoke the plain little face was illumined with the smile he knew,
that surpassingly sweet smile which promised so much and performed
The child studied him with open, innocent curiosity.
"I can't believe it's you," she said at last, in a voice light and
winning, a voice as sweet as the smile.
"I don't wonder. I don't quite know myself this morning," he replied
"We have a picture of you, but it's a long-ago one, and I thought by
this time you would be old, and--and bent over, you know, the way
Even in that place of drays and at eight o'clock A.M. these words fell
not disagreeably upon irritated ears.
"I think myself Nature did not intend me to be a grandpa," he replied.
"Oh, yes, you're just the right kind," returned the child hastily and
confidently. "Strong and--and handsome."
Mr. Evringham looked at her in amazement. "The little rascal!" he
thought. "Has she been coached?"
"I suppose we may get away from here now," he said aloud. "There's
nothing more to wait for."
"Didn't the roses make mother happy?" asked the little girl, trotting
along beside his long strides. "I think it was wonderful for you to
bring them so early in the morning."
Mr. Evringham summoned a cab.
"Oh, are we gong in a carriage?" cried Jewel, highly pleased. "But I
mustn't forget, grandpa, there's something father told me I must give
you the first thing. Will you take Anna Belle a minute, please?" and
Mr. Evringham found himself holding the doll fiercely by one leg while
small hands worked at the catch of a very new little leather side-bag.
At last Jewel produced a brass square.
"Oh, your trunk check." Mr. Evringham exchanged the doll for it with
alacrity. "Get in." He held open the cab door.
Jewel obeyed, but not without some misgivings when her guardian so
coolly pocketed the check.
"Yes, it's for my trunk," she replied when her grandfather was beside
her and they began rattling over the stones. "I have a checked silk
dress," she added softly, after a pause. It were well to let him know
the value of her baggage.
"Have you indeed? How old are you, Julia? Your name is Julia, I
"Yes, sir, my /name's/ Julia, but so is mother's, and they call me
Jewel. I'm nearly nine, grandpa."
"H'm. Time flies," was the brief response.
Jewel looked out of the cab window in the noisy silence that followed.
At last her voice was raised to sound through the clatter. "I suppose
my trunk is somewhere else," she said suggestively.
"Yes, your trunk will reach home all right, plaid silk and all."
Jewel smiled, and lifting the doll she let her look out the window
upon the uninviting prospect. "Anna Belle's clothes are in the trunk,
too," she added, turning and speaking confidentially.
"Whose?" asked Mr. Evringham, startled. "There's no one else coming, I
"Why, this is Anna Belle," returned the child, laughing and lifting
the bisque beauty so that the full radiance of her smile beamed upon
her companion. "That's your great-grandfather, dearie, that I've told
you about," she said patronizingly. "We've been so /excited/ the last
few days since we knew we were coming," looking again at Mr.
Evringham. "I've told Anna Belle all about beautiful Bel-Air Park, and
the big house, and the big trees, and the ravine, and the brook. Isn't
it nice," joyfully, "that it doesn't rain to-day, and we shall see it
in the sunshine?"
"Rain would have made it more disagreeable certainly," returned Mr.
Evringham, congratulating himself that he was escaping that further
rain of tears which he had dreaded. "It is a good day for your father
and mother to set out on their trip," he added.
"Yes, and they're only to be gone six little weeks," returned Jewel,
smoothing her doll's boa; "and I'm to have this lovely visit, and I'm
to write them very often, and they'll write to me, and we shall all be
so happy!" Jewel trotted Anna Belle on her short-skirted knee and
hummed a tune, which was lost in the rattle of wheels.
"You can read and write, eh?"
"Oh ye--es!" replied the child with amused scorn. "How would I get my
lessons if I couldn't read? Of course--big words," she added
"Precisely," agreed Mr. Evringham dryly. "Big words, I dare say."
A sudden thought occurring to his companion, she looked up again.
"You pretty nearly didn't come," she said, "and just think, if you
hadn't I was going to England. Father said so."
At the sweet inflections of the child's voice Mr. Evringham's brows
contracted with remembrance of his wrongs. "I should have come. Your
father might have known that!"
"I suppose he wouldn't have liked to leave me sitting on the dock
alone, but I should have known you'd come. The funny part is I
shouldn't have known /you/." Jewel laughed. "I should have kept
looking for an old man with white hair and a cane like Grandpa Morris.
He's a grandpa in Chicago that I know. He's just as kind as he can be,
but he has the /queerest/ back. He goes to our church, but says he
came in at the eleventh hour. I think he used to have rheumatism. And
while I was sitting there you could have walked right by me."
"But then you'd have known /me/," went on Jewel, straightening Anna
Belle's hat, "so it would have been all right. You'd have known there
would be only one little girl waiting there, and you would have said,
'Oh, here you are, Jewel. I've come. I'm your grandpa.' " The child
unconsciously mimicked the short, brusque speech.
Mr. Evringham regarded her rather darkly. "Eh? I hope you're not
"What's that?" asked Jewel doubtfully.
Her companion's brow grew darker.
"Impudent I say."
"And what is impudent?"
"Don't you know?" suspiciously.
"No, sir," replied the child, some anxiety clouding her bright look.
"Is it error?"
Mr. Evringham regarded her rather blankly. "It's something you mustn't
be," he replied at last.
Jewel's face cleared. "Oh no, I won't then," she replied earnestly.
"You tell me when I'm--it, because I want to make you happy."
Mr. Evringham cleared his throat. He felt somewhat embarrassed and was
glad they had reached the ferry.
"We're going on a boat, aren't we?" she asked when they had passed
through the gate.
"Yes, and we can make this boat if we hurry." Mr. Evringham suddenly
felt a little hand slide into his. Jewel was skipping along beside him
to keep up with his long strides, and he glanced down at the bobbing
flaxen head with its large ribbon bows, while the impulse to withdraw
his hand was thwarted by the closer clinging of the small fingers.
"Father told me about the ferry," said Jewel with satisfaction, "and
you'll show me the statue of Liberty won't you, grandpa? Isn't it a
splendid boat? Oh, can we go out close to the water?"
Mr. Evringham sighed heavily. He did not wish to go out close to the
water. He wished to sit down in comfort in the cabin and read the
paper which he had just taken from a newsboy. It seemed to him a very
long time since he had done anything he wished to; but a little hand
was pulling eagerly at his, and mechanically he followed out to where
the brisk spring wind ruffled the river and assaulted his hat. He
jerked his hand from Jewel's to hold it in place.
"Isn't this beautiful!" cried the child joyfully, as the boat steamed
on. "Can you do this every day, grandpa?"
"What? Oh yes, yes."
Something in the tone caused the little girl to look up from her view
of the wide water spaces to the grim face above.
"Is there something that makes you sorry, grandpa?" she asked softly.
His eyes were fixed on a ferry boat, black with its human freight,
about to pass them on its way to the city.
"I was wishing I were on that boat. That's all."
The little girl lifted her shoulders. "I don't believe there's room,"
she said, looking smilingly for a response from her companion. "I
don't believe even Anna Belle could squeeze on. Do you think so?"
Mr. Evringham, holding his hat with one hand, was endeavoring to
fetter the lively corners of his newspaper in such shape that he could
at least get a glimpse of headlines.
"Oh, I see a statue. Is that it, grandpa? Is that it?"
"What?" vaguely. "Oh yes. The statue of Liberty. Yes, that's it. As if
there was any liberty for anybody!" muttered Mr. Evringham into his
"It isn't so very big," objected Jewel.
"We're not so very near it."
"Just think," gayly, "father and mother are sailing away just the way
"H'm," returned Mr. Evringham, trying to read the report of the stock
market, and becoming more impatient each instant with the sportive
"Julia," he said at last, "I am going into the cabin to read the
paper. Will you go in, or do you wish to stay here?"
"May I stay here?"
"Yes," doubtfully, "I suppose so, if you won't climb on the rail, or--
Jewel laughed in gleeful appreciation of the joke. Her grandfather met
her blue eyes unsmilingly and vanished.
"I wish grandpa didn't look so sorry," she thought regretfully. "He is
a very important man, grandpa is, and perhaps he has a lot of error to
meet and doesn't know how to meet it."
Watching the dancing waves and constantly calling Anna Belle's
attention to some point of interest on the water front or a passing
craft, she nevertheless pursued a train of thought concerning her
important relative, with the result that when the gong sounded for
landing, and Mr. Evringham's impassive countenance reappeared, she met
him with concern.
"Doesn't it make you sorry to read the morning paper, grandpa?"
"Sometimes. Depends on the record of the Exchange." There was somewhat
less of the irritation of a newsless man in the morning in the
"Mother calls the paper the Daily Saddener," pursued Jewel, again
slipping her hand into her grandfather's as a matter of course as they
moved slowly off the boat. "I've been thinking that perhaps you're in
a hurry to get to business, grandpa."
The child did not quote his words about the ingoing ferry boat lest he
should feel regret at having spoken them.
"Well, there's no use in my being in a hurry this morning," he
"I was going to ask, couldn't you show me how to go to Bel-Air, so you
wouldn't have to take so much time?"
A gleam of hope came into Mr. Evringham's cold eyes and he looked down
on his companion doubtfully.
"We have to go out on the train," he said.
"Yes," returned the child, "but you could put me on it, and every time
it stops I would ask somebody if that was Bel-Air."
The prospect this offered was very pleasing to the broker.
"You wouldn't be afraid, eh?"
"Be what?" asked Jewel, looking up at him with a certain reproachful
"You wouldn't, eh?"
"Well, I believe it would do well enough, since you don't mind. Zeke
is going to meet this train. I'll tell the conductor to see that you
get off at Bel-Air, and when you do, ask for Mr. Evringham's coachman.
You'll see Zeke, a light-haired man driving a brown horse in a
brougham. He'll take you home to his mother, Mrs. Forbes. She is my
housekeeper. Now, do you think you'll understand?"
"It sounds very easy," returned Jewel.
Mr. Evringham's long legs and her short skipping ones lost no time in
boarding the train, which they found made up. The relieved man saw the
conductor, paid the child's fare, and settled her on the plush seat.
She sat there, contentedly swinging her feet.
"Now I can just catch a boat if I leave you immediately," said Mr.
Evringham consulting his watch. "You've only a little more than five
minutes to wait before the train starts."
"Then hurry, grandpa, I'm all right."
"Very well. Your fare is paid, and the conductor understands. You
might ask somebody, though. Bel-Air, you know. Good-by."
Hastily he strode down the aisle and left the train. Having to pass
the window beside which Jewel sat, he glanced up with a half uneasy
memory of how far short of the floor her feet had swung.
She was watching for him. On her lips was the sweet gay smile and--
yes, there was no mistake--Anna Belle's countenance was beaming
through the glass, and she was wafting kisses to Mr. Evringham from a
stiff and chubby hand. The stockbroker grew warm, cleared his throat,
lifted his hat, and hurried his pace.
When her grandfather had disappeared, Jewel placed Anna Belle on the
seat beside her, where she toed in, in a state of the utmost
"I have my work to do, Anna Belle," she said, "and this will be a good
time, so don't disturb me till the train starts." She put her hand
over her eyes, and sat motionless as the people met and jostled in the
Minutes passed, and then some one brushed the child's arm in taking
the seat beside her. "Oh, please don't sit on Anna Belle!" she cried
suddenly, and looked up into a pair of clear eyes that were regarding
her with curiosity.
They belonged to a man with a brown mustache and dark, short, pointed
beard, who carried a small square black case and had altogether a very
clean, fresh, agreeable appearance.
"Do I look like a person who would sit on Anna Belle?" he asked
The doll was enthroned upon his knee as he set down his case, and the
"If she annoys you I'll take her," said Jewel, with a little air of
motherliness not lost upon her companion.
"Thank you," he replied, "but I'm used to children. She looks like a
fine, healthy little girl," keeping his eyes fixed on the doll's rosy
"Yes indeed. She's very healthy."
"Not had measles, or chicken pox, or mumps, or any of those things
yet?" pursued the pleasant voice.
"Oh dear!" gasped Jewel. "Please let me take Anna Belle." She caught
her doll into her arms and met her companion's surprised gaze.
"I haven't any of them," he returned, amused. "Don't be afraid."
"I'm not afraid," answered the child promptly. "There is nothing to be
"I was only going to say," said the young man, "that if she was ailing
I could prescribe for her. I have my case right here."
Jewel's startled look fell to the black case. "What's that! Medicine?"
she asked softly.
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