The cromptons

0 1 0
  • Loading ...
1/0 trang

Thông tin tài liệu

Ngày đăng: 14/03/2020, 16:49

TheProjectGutenbergEBookofTheCromptons,byMaryJ Holmes ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.net Title:TheCromptons Author:MaryJ Holmes ReleaseDate:June27,2005[EBook#16138] Language:English ***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHECROMPTONS*** ProducedbyKentuckianaDigitalLibrary,DavidGarcia,Ed CasulliandtheOnlineDistributedProofreadingTeamat http://www.pgdp.net POPULARNOVELS BY MRS MARYJ HOLMES TEMPESTANDSUNSHINE DARKNESSANDDAYLIGHTS ENGLISHORPHANS HUGHWORTHINGTON HOMESTEADONHILLSIDE CAMERONPRIDE 'LENARIVERS ROSEMATHER MEADOWBROOK ETHELYN'SMISTAKE DORADEANE MILBANK COUSINMAUDE EDNABROWNING MARIANGREY WESTLAWN EDITHLYLE MILDRED DAISYTHORNTON FORESTHOUSE CHATEAUD'OR MADELINE QUEENIEHETHERTON CHRISTMASSTORIES BESSIE'SFORTUNE GRETCHEN MARGUERITE DR HATHERN'SDAUGHTERS MRS HALLAM'SCOMPANION PAULRALSTON THETRACYDIAMONDS THECROMPTONS (NEW) "Mrs Holmesisapeculiarlypleasantandfascinatingwriter Herbooksare alwaysentertaining,andshehastherarefacultyofenlistingthesympathyand affectionsofherreaders,andofholdingtheirattentiontoherpageswithdeep andabsorbinginterest." Handsomelyboundincloth Price,$1.00each,andsentfreebymailonreceipt ofprice G.W DillinghamCo.,Publishers, NEWYORK HerebythisgraveIpromiseallyouask TheCromptons By MARYJ HOLMES G.W DILLINGHAMCOMPANY PUBLISHERS NEWYORK COPYRIGHT,1899,1901, BYMRS MARYJ HOLMES [Allrightsreserved.] TheCromptons IssuedAugust,1902 Contents PARTI CHAPTERI THESTRANGERATTHEBROCKHOUSE CHAPTERII THEPALMETTOCLEARING CHAPTERIII THEINTERVIEW CHAPTERIV HOPINGANDWAITING CHAPTERV MISSDORY CHAPTERVI THESERVICES CHAPTERVII COL CROMPTON CHAPTERVIII THECHILDOFTHECLEARING CHAPTERIX THECOLONELANDJAKE CHAPTERX EUDORA PARTII CHAPTERI HOWARDCROMPTONTOJACKHARCOURT CHAPTERII JACKHARCOURTTOHOWARDCROMPTON CHAPTERIII ELOISE CHAPTERIV THEACCIDENT CHAPTERV AMY CHAPTERVI ATMRS BIGGS'S CHAPTERVII RUBYANNPATRICK CHAPTERVIII MRS BIGGS'SREMINISCENCES CHAPTERIX LETTERFROMREV CHARLESMASON CHAPTERX PARTSECONDOFREV MR MASON'SLETTER CHAPTERXI SUNDAYCALLS CHAPTERXII THEMARCHOFEVENTS CHAPTERXIII GETTINGREADYFORTHERUMMAGESALE CHAPTERXIV THEFIRSTSALE CHAPTERXV ATTHERUMMAGE CHAPTERXVI THEAUCTION PARTIII CHAPTERI THEBEGINNINGOFTHEEND CHAPTERII THELITTLEREDCLOAK CHAPTERIII ELOISEATTHECROMPTONHOUSE CHAPTERIV THESHADOWOFDEATH CHAPTERV LOOKINGFORAWILL CHAPTERVI INFLORIDA CHAPTERVII INTHEPALMETTOCLEARING CHAPTERVIII THELITTLEHAIRTRUNK CHAPTERIX WHATHOWARDFOUND CHAPTERX HOWARD'STEMPTATION CHAPTERXI CONCLUSION THECROMPTONS PARTI CHAPTERI THESTRANGERATTHEBROCKHOUSE Thesteamer"Hatty"whichpliedbetweenJacksonvilleandEnterprisewaslate, andthepeoplewhohadcomedownfromtheBrockHousetothelandinghad waitedhalfanhourbeforeapuffofsmokeinthedistancetoldthatshewas coming Therehadbeenmanyconjecturesastothecauseofthedelay,forshe wasusuallyontime,andthosewhohadfriendsontheboatweregrowing nervous,fearinganaccident,andallweregettingtired,whensheappearedinthe distance,thepuffsofsmokeincreasinginvolumeasshedrewnearer,andthe soundofherwhistleechoingacrossthewater,whichatEnterprisespreadsout intoalake Shehadnotmetwithanaccident,buthadbeendetainedatPalatka waitingforapassengerofwhomthecaptainhadbeenapprised "Hemaybeatriflelate,butifheis,wait Hemusttakeyourboat,"TomHardy hadsaidtothecaptainwhenengagingpassageforhisfriend,andTomHardy wasnotonewhosewisheswereoftendisregarded "ThemHardysdoesmore businesswithmeinoneyearthantenotherfamiliesandIcan'tgoaginTom,and ifhesayswaitforhisfriend,why,there'snothingtodobutwait,"thecaptain said,ashewalkedupanddowninfrontofhisboat,growingmoreandmore impatient,untilatlastashewasbeginningtoswearhe'dwaitnolongerforall theHardysinChristendom,twomencameslowlytowardsthelanding,talking earnestlyandnotseemingtobeintheleasthurry,althoughthe"Hatty"beganto screamherselfhoarseasiffrantictobegone "Howd'ye,Cap,"Tomsaid,inhiseasy,off-handway "Hopewehaven'tkept youlong ThisismyfriendItoldyouabout Isupposehisberthisready?" Hedidnottellthenameofhisfriend,who,asifloathtocrosstheplank,held backforafewmorewords Tomgavehimalittlepushatlast,andsaid,"Goodbye,youreallymustgo Successtoyou,butdon'tforamomentthinkofcarrying outthatquixoticplanyoufirstmentioned Betterjumpintotheriver Good-bye!" Theplankwascrossedandpulledin,andamulattoboycameforwardtotakethe stranger'sbagandpilothimtohisstateroom,whichopenedfromwhatwas calledtheladies'parlor Coiledupinacorneronthedeckwasabundleof somethingwhichstirredastheycameneartoit,andbegantoturnover,making thestrangerstartwithaslightexclamation "Doanyoubeskeert,sar,"theboysaid,"dat'snottin'butMandyAnn,anonery niggerwhatb'longstooleMissHarrisindeclarin'upterEnt'prise She'sbeen hiredoutaspellinJacksonville,—nusstoalittlegal,andnowshe'sgwinehome MissDorydonesentforher,'caseJakeisgoneandoleMissiswus,—neverwas verypeart,"andturningtothegirltheboyTedcontinued:"YouMandyAnn, doanyouknowmoremannersnottoskeeragemman,rollin'roundlikea punkin?Getbackwidyer." Hespurnedthebundlewithhisfoot,whilethestrangerstoppedsuddenly,asifa blowhadbeenstruckhim "Whodidyousayshewas?Towhomdoesshebelong,Imean?"heasked,and theboyreplied,"MandyAnn,anocountnigger,b'longstoMissHarris Poor whitetrash!Crackers!Disyourstateroom,sar KinIdosomethin'foryou?" Theboy'sheadwasheldhigh,indicativeofhisopinionofpoorwhitetrashand Crackersingeneral,andMandyAnninparticular "No,thanks,"thestrangersaid,takinghisbagandshuttinghimselfintohis stuffylittlestateroom "'Specshe'sfromdeNorf;lookslikeit,an'deyallusaskin'whowe'longsto In coursewe'longstosomebody Wehaster,"Tedthought,ashemadehisway backtoMandyAnn,whowaswide-awakeandreadyforanywarofwords whichmightcomeupbetweenherselfandTed,"whofeltmightysmart'casehe wascabinboyonde'Hatty.'" AsTedsuspected,thestrangerwasofNorthernbirth,whichshoweditselfinhis accentandcold,proudbearing Hemighthavebeenthirty,andhemighthave beenmore Hisfacedidnotshowhisage Hisfeatureswereregular,andhis complexionpaleasawoman's Hiseyeswereacrossbetweenblueandgray, withalookinthemwhichmadeyoufeelthattheywerereadingyourinmost secrets,andyouinvoluntarilyturnedawaywhentheywerefixeduponyou On thisoccasionheseemedcolderandprouderthanusual,asheseatedhimself uponthestoolinhisstateroomandlookedabouthim,—notatanythingthatwas there,forhedidnotseeit,orthinkhowsmallanduncomfortablehisquarters were,althoughrecommendedasoneofthestateroomsdeluxeontheboat His thoughtswereoutside,firstonMandyAnn,—notbecauseofanythingabouther personally Hehadseennothingexceptawoollyhead,adarkbluedress,andtwo black,barefeetandankles,butbecauseshewasMandyAnn,boundslaveof "oleMissHarris,wholivedindeclarin',"andforthatreasonsheconnectedhim withsomethingfromwhichheshrankwithanindescribableloathing Atlasthe concludedtotrythenarrowberth,butfindingittoohardandtooshortwentout uponthereardeck,andtakingachairwherehewouldbemostoutoftheway andscreenedfromobservation,hesatuntilthemoonwentdownbehindaclump ofpalms,andthestarspaledinthelightofthesunwhichshonedownuponthe beautifulriverandthetangledmassofshrubberyandundergrowthoneitherside ofit Atlastthepassengersbegantoappearonebyone,withtheircheeryhowdye's andgoodmornings,andcuriousglancesatthisstrangerintheirmidst,who, althoughwiththem,didnotseemtobeoneofthem TheywereallSoutherners andinclinedtobefriendly,butnothinginthestranger'sattitudeinvited sociability Hewaslookingoffuponthewaterinthedirectionfromwhichthey hadcome,andneverturnedhisheadinresponsetotheloudshouts,whenan alligatorwasseenlyingupontheshore,orabigturtlewassunningitselfona log HewasaNortherner,theyknewfromhisgeneralmake-up,andafriendof TomHardy,thecaptainsaid,whenquestionedwithregardtohim Thislastwas sufficienttoatoneforanyproclivitieshemighthaveantagonistictotheSouth TomHardy,althoughlivinginGeorgia,waswellknowninFlorida Tobehis friendwastobesomebody;andtwoorthreeattemptsatconversationweremade inthecourseofthemorning Oneman,bolderthantherest,toldhimitwasa finedayandafinetrip,butthatthe"Hatty"wasgettingalittletoopasséefor realcomfort Atthewordpasséethestrangerlookedupwithsomethinglike interest,andadmittedthattheboatwaspassée,andthedayfine,andthetrip, too Acigarwasnextoffered,butpolitelydeclined,andthentheattemptatan acquaintanceceasedonthepartofthefirsttomakeit LateronanoldGeorgian planter,garrulousandgood-humored,sworehe'dfindoutwhatstufftheYankee wasmadeof,andwhyhewasdowntherewherefewofhiskindevercame His firstmovewastheofferoftobacco,withthewords:"Howd'ye,sir?Havea chew?" Thestranger'sheadwentupalittlehigherthanitswont,andtheproudlookon thepalefacedeepenedashedeclinedthetobaccocivilly,ashehadthecigar "Wall,now,don'tchewtobacky?Youloseagooddeal Icouldn'tlivewithoutit Sortersoothin',an'keepsmyjawsgoin',andwhenI'msofullofvim,—mad,you know,—thatI'mfittobust,why,Ispitandspit,—backyjuiceincourse,—tillI spititallout,"theGeorgiansaid,takinganimmensechew,andsittingdownby thestranger,whogavenosignthatheknewofhisproximity,butstillkepthis eyesontheriverasifabsorbedinthescenery TheGeorgianwasnottobeeasilyrebuffed Crossinghislegsandplantinghis bighatonhisknees,hewenton: "YouarefromtheNorth,Icalculate?" "Yes." "Ithoughtso Wecanmostlytell'em FromBoston,Ireckon?" "No." "NewYork,mabby?No?Chicago?No?Wall,wherein—"theGeorgian stopped,checkedbyalookinthebluish-grayeyeswhichseldomfailedinits effect Evidentlythestrangerdidn'tchoosetotellwherehelived,buttheGeorgian, thoughsomewhatsubdued,wasnotwhollysilenced,andhecontinued:"Everin Floridabefore?" "No." "Wall,Is'poseyou'retakin'alittlepleasuretripliketherestofus?" Tothistherewasnoresponse,thestrangerthinkingwithbitternessthathistrip wasanythingbutoneofpleasure Therewasstillonechordlefttopullandthat wasTomHardy,whoinawaywasvoucherforthisinterloper,andthe Georgian'snextquestionwas:"DoyouknowTomwell?" "Doyoumean,Mr Hardy?"thestrangerasked,andtheGeorgianreplied "In course,butIalluscallshimTom Haveknownhimsinceheworegowns My plantationjinesoldmanHardy's." Therewasnodoubt,now,thatthestrangerwasinterested,andhadhis companionbeenacloseobserverhewouldhaveseenthekindlinglightinhis eyes,andthespotsofredbeginningtoshowonhisface Whethertotalkornot wasaquestioninhismind Cowardicepromptedhimtoremainsilent,and somethingwhichdefiedsilencepromptedhimatlasttotalk "IwaswithMr ThomasHardyincollege,"hesaid,"andIhavevisitedhimin hishome Heismybestfriend." "To-be-sure!"theGeorgiansaid,hitchingnearertothestranger,asiftherewasa bondofrelationshipbetweenthem Themanhadgivennoinklingofthedateofhisvisit,andasitwassomeyears sinceTomwasgraduatedtheGeorgiandidnotdreamofassociatingthevisit withafewweeksbefore,whenhehadheardthatahighbuckwasatoldman Hardy'sandwithTomwaspaintingtheneighborhoodredandscandalizingsome ofthemoresobercitizenswithhisexcesses Thisquietstrangerwiththeproud faceandhardeyesneverhelpedpaintanything Itwassomebodyelse,whose namehehadforgotten,butofwhomhewentontospeakinnotvery complimentaryterms "Ahighbuck,Ineverhappenedtoseesquarintheface,"hesaid "Hadglimpses ofhiminthedistanceridin'olemanHardy'ssorrel,likehewascrazy,andoncet reelin'inthesaddle Yes,sar,reelin',asifhe'dtooktoomuch Ib'lieveinadrink whenyouaredry,butLordland,whar'sthesenseofreelin'?Idon'tseeit,do you?" Thestrangersaidhedidn'tandtheGeorgianwenton,nowinalower, confidentialvoice "Iactuallyhearnthatthischap,—whatthedeucewashisname?Haveyouan idee?HewasfromtheNorth?" Ifthestrangerhadanideehedidn'tgiveit,andtheGeorgiancontinued:"These twoyoungchaps—Tomain'trightyoungthough,sameageasyou,Ireckon— calledonsomeCrackergirlsbackinthewoodsandtheNorthernfellerstaidthar twoorthreedays Thinkofit—Crackergirls!Now,if'tedbeenniggers,instead ofCrackers!" "Ugh!"thestrangerexclaimed,wakenedintosomethinglikelife "Don'ttalkany moreaboutthatman!Hemusthavebeenasneakandvillainandalow-lived dog,andifthereisanymeanernameyoucangivehim,doso Itwillfithim well,andpleaseme." "CallhimaCracker,butaFloridaone Georgyismostlybetter—notuptoso muchsnuff,youknow,"theGeorgiansuggested,whiletheNorthernerdrewa quickbreathandthoughtofMandyAnn,andwonderedwhereshewasandifhe shouldseeheragain Hefeltasiftherewasnotadrythreadinoneofhisgarmentswhenhis companionlefthim,andreturningtohisfriendsreportedthathehadn'tmade muchoutofthechap Hewasn'tfromNewYork,norBoston,norChicago,and "Idon'tknowwhereinthunderheisfrom,norhisnamenuther Iforgottoaskit, hewassostiffandoffish HewasincollegewithTomHardyandvisitedhim yearsago;that'sallIknow,"theplantersaid,andafterthatthestrangerwasleft mostlytohimself,whilethepassengersbusiedthemselveswithgossip,andthe scenery,andtryingtokeepcool Thedaywashotandgrewhotterasthesunrosehigherintheheavens,andthe strangerfeltveryuncomfortable,butitwasnottheheatwhichaffectedhimas muchastheterriblenetworkofcircumstanceswhichhehadwovenforhimself Itwastheharvesthewasreapingastheresultofonefalsestep,whenhisbrain wasblurredandhewassomebodybesidestheelegantgentlemanwhompeople feltitanhonortoknow Hewashimselfnow,crushedinwardly,butcarrying himselfjustasproudlyasifnomentalfirewereconsuminghim,makinghim thinkseriouslymorethanonceofjumpingintotheriverandendingitall He wasveryluxuriousandfastidiousinhistastes,andwouldhavenothing unseemlyinhishomeattheNorth,wherehehadonlytosaytohisservants comeandtheycame,andwhere,ifhediedonhisrosewoodbedsteadwithsilken hangings,theywouldmakehimagrandfuneral—smotherhimwithflowers,and perhapsphotographhimashelayinstate Here,ifheendedhislife,intheriver, withalligatorsandturtles,hewouldbefishedupasorryspectacle,andlaidupon thedeckwithweedsandfernsclingingtohim,andnooneknowingwhohewas tilltheysentforTomHardyatthatmomenthurryingbacktohishomein Georgia,fromwhichhehadcomeattheearnestrequestofhisfriend Hedidnot likethelooksofhimselfbedraggledandwet,anddead,onthedeckofthe "Hatty,"withthatcuriouscrowdlookingathim,MandyAnnwiththerest StrangethatthoughtsofMandyAnnshouldflitthroughhismindashedecided againstthecoldbathintheSt John'sandtofaceit,whateveritwas Occasionallysomeonespoketohim,andhealwaysansweredpolitely,andonce offeredhischairtoaladywhoseemedtobelookingforone Butshedeclinedit, andhewasagainleftalone Oncehewenttotheotherendoftheboatforalittle exerciseandchange,hesaidtohimself,butreallyforachanceofseeingMandy Ann,whoofallthepassengersinterestedhimthemost ButMandyAnnwasnot insight,nordidheseeheragaintilltheboatwasmovingslowlyuptothewharf atEnterprise,andwithherbraidedtagsofhairstandinguplikelittlehorns,and herworldlygoodstiedupinacottonhandkerchief,shestoodrespectfullybehind thewaitingcrowd,eacheagertobethefirsttoland TheBrockHousewasfull—"notsomuchasacotorashelfforonemore,"the clerksaidtothestranger,whowaslastatthedesk Hehadlingeredbehindthe otherstowatchMandyAnn,withahalf-formedresolutiontoaskhertodirect himto"oleMissHarrises"if,asTedhadsaid,shewasgoingthere MandyAnn didnotseemtobeinanyhurryandsaunteredleisurelyupthelanealittle beyondtheBrockHouse,whereshesatdownandstretchingoutherbarefeet begantosuckanorangeTedhadgivenheratparting,tellingherthatthoughshe was"anoneryniggerwhobelongedtoaCracker,shehadratherfareyesanda mouththatcouldn'tbebeatforsass,addingthathereckonedthatthartallman whodidn'tspeaktonobodymightbewantin'tobuyher,ashehaddoneasthim oncethowfaritwastotheclarin',an'hecouldn'twantnobodytharbuther." MandyAnnhadtakentheorange,buthadspurnedwhatTedhadsaidofthetall man'sintentions Shehadbeentoldtoomanytimes,duringherbriefstayin Jacksonvilleasanursegirl,thatshewasofnomannerofaccounttobelieveany onewishedtobuyher,andshepaidnoattentiontothetallman,excepttosee thathewasthelasttoenterthehotel,wherehewastoldtherewasnoroomfor him "ButImusthaveaplacetosleep,"hesaid "Itisonlyforthenight Ireturnon the'Hatty.'" "Whynotstayonherthen?Somedowhoonlycomeupforthetrip,"wasthe clerk'sreply Thiswasnotabadidea,althoughthestrangershudderedashethoughtofhisill- smellingstateroomandshortberth Stillitwasbetterthancampingoutdoors,or —theclearing—wherehemightbeaccommodated Heshudderedagainwhenhe thoughtofthatpossibility—thankedtheclerkforhissuggestion—anddeclined thebookwhichhadbeenpushedtowardshimforhisname Nousetoregisterif hewasnottobeaguest;nousetotellhisnameanyway,ifhecouldavoidit,as hehadsuccessfullyontheboat,andwithapolitegood-eveninghestepped outsidejustasMandyAnn,havingfinishedherorange,peelandall,gathered herselfupwithaviewtostartingforhome CHAPTERII THEPALMETTOCLEARING ThestrangerhadaskedTedontheboat,whenhecamewithsomelemonadehe hadordered,howfaritwasfromtheBrockHousetothepalmettoclearing,and iftherewasanyconveyancetotakehimthere Tedhadstaredathimwith wonder—first,astowhatsuchashecouldwantattheclearing,andsecond,ifhe wascrazyenoughtothinktherewasaconveyance Frombeingapettedcabin boy,Tedhadgrowntobesomethingofaspoiledone,andwaswhatthe passengersthoughtrathertoo"peart"inhisways,whilesomeofthecrew insistedthatheneeded"takin'downabuttonholelower,"whateverthatmight mean "Blessyersoul,Mas'r,"hesaid,inreplytothequestion "Tharain'tno conveyancetotheclarin' It'soffindewoodsapiece,rightsmart Yousticksto deroadaspell,tillyoucomestoagrave—whatusedtobe—butit'sdonesunkin nowtillnuffin'stharbutdestunan'someblackb'rybushesclamberin'overit ThenyouturnsinterdewustpieceofroadinFloridy,andturnsaginwharsome yallerjasmineisgrowin',anforelongyou'redar." Thedirectionwasnotverylucid,andthestrangerthoughtofaskingtheclerkfor somethingmoreminute,butthesurpriseinTed'seyeswhenheinquiredtheway totheclearinghadputhimonhisguardagainstagreatersurpriseintheclerk Hewouldfindhiswaysomehow,andhewentoutintotheyardandlookedinthe directionofthesandyroadwhichledintothewoodsandwhichMandyAnnwas taking,presumablyonherwayhome Asecondtimethethoughtcametohim thatshemightdirecthim,andhestartedratherrapidlyafterher,callingashe went:"Isaygirl,Iwantyou Doyouhear?" MandyAnnheard,gaveoneglanceoverhershoulder,sawwhowasfollowing her,andbeganatoncetorun,herbarefeetandanklesthrowingupthesand,and hersunbonnetfallingfromherheaddownherback,whereitflappedfromside tosideassheran SherememberedwhatTedhadsaidofthestranger,whomight bethinkingofbuyingher;thiswaspossibleafterall,ashehadsaidhewanted her,andthoughherhomeintheclearingwasnotoneofluxury,itwasoneof easeandindolence,andshehadnodesireforanewone—certainlynotwiththis manwhosefacedidnotattracther Justwhysheran,shedidnotknow Itwasof nousetoappealtoolemissus,whowouldnotknowwhethershebelongedtoher orsomeoneelse MissDorywasheronlyhope Withpromisesoffuturegood behaviorandabstinencefrompilferingandlying,andbadnessgenerally,she mightenlisthersympathyandprotectiontillJakecamehome,whenallwouldbe right Soshespedonlikeadeer,glancingbackoccasionallytoseethestranger followingherwithrapidstrideswhich,however,didnotavailtoovertakeher Theafternoonwasverywarm—theroadsandyanduneven—andhesoongave upthechase,wonderingwhythegirlransofast,asifafraidofhim Thelast sighthehadofherwasofherwoollyhead,turningofffromtheroadtotheright, whereitdisappearedbehindsomethickundergrowth Tedhadsaid,"Turnatthe grave,"andhewalkedontillhereachedthespot,andstoodbythelowrailing enclosingasunkengrave,whetherofmanorwomanhecouldnottell,the letteringonthediscoloredstonewassoobscure Studyingitverycarefully,he thoughthemadeout"Mrs."beforethemoss-blurredname "Awoman,"hesaid,withafeelinghowterribleitmustbetobeburiedandleft aloneinthatdreary,sandywaste,withnohumanhabitationnearerthanthe BrockHouse,andnosoundoflifepassingby,exceptfromthesameplace, unless—andhestarted,ashenoticedforthefirsttimewhatTedhadsaidwasthe worstroadinFlorida,andwhatwasscarcelymorethanafootpathleadingoffto theright,andtotheclearing,ofcourse—andhemustfollowitpasttangled weedsandshrubs,andbriers,anddwarfpalmettoes,stumpsofwhichimpeded hisprogress MandyAnnhadentirelydisappeared,buthereandthereinthesandhesawher footprints,thetoesspreadwideapart,andknewhewasright Suddenlythere cameadiversion,andheleanedagainstatreeandbreathedhardandfast,asone doeswhenashockcomesunexpectedly Hisearhadcaughtthesoundofvoices atnogreatdistancefromhim Anegro'svoice—MandyAnn's,hewassure— eager,excited,andpleading;andanother,softandlow,andreassuring,but wringingthesweatfromhimingreatdrops,andmakinghisheartbeatrapidly HeknewwhowaswithMandyAnn,andthatshe,too,washurryingontothe clearing,stillinthedistance Hadtherebeenanydoubtofheridentity,itwould havebeensweptawaywhen,throughanopeninginthetrees,hecaughtsightof aslendergirlishfigure,cladinthehomelygarmentsofwhatTedcalled poorwhitetrash,andofwhichhehadsomeknowledge Therewas,however,a certaingraceinthemovementsofthegirlwhichmovedhimalittle,forhewas notblindtoanypointofbeautyinawoman,andthebeautyofthisgirl,hurrying onsofast,hadbeenhisruin,asheinonesensehadbeenhers "Eudora!"hesaid,withagroan,andwithahalfresolvetoturnbackratherthan goon TomHardyintheirtalkwhiletheboatwaitedforthematPalatka,hadtoldhim whatnottodo,andhewastheretofollowTom'sadvice—though,todohim justice,therewasathoughtinhisheartthatpossiblyhemightdowhatheknew heoughttodo,inspiteofTom "I'llwaitandsee,andif—"hesaidatlast,ashebegantopickhiswayoverthe palmettostumpsandridgesofsandtillhecameupontheclearing Itwasanopenspaceoftwoorthreeacres,clearedfromtanglewoodanddwarf palmettoes Inthecentrewasalog-house,largerandmorepretentiousthanmany log-houseswhichhehadseenintheSouth AMarshalNielhadclimbedupone cornertotheroof,andtwineditselfaroundthechimney,givingarather picturesqueeffecttothehouse,andremindingthestrangerofsomeofthecabins hehadseeninIreland,withivygrowingoverthem Therewasanattemptata flowergardenwheremanyroseswereblooming Someonewasfondofflowers, andthethoughtgavethestrangeragrainofcomfort,foraloveofflowerswas associatedinhismindwithaninnaterefinementinthelover,andtherewasfora momentatingeofbrightnessinthedarknesssettlinguponhisfuture Aroundthe housetherewasnosignoflifeorstir,exceptabroodofwell-grownchickens, which,withtheirmother,werehuddledonthedoorstep,evidently contemplatinganentranceintothehouse,thedoorofwhichwasopen,aswere theshutterstothewindows,whichwereminusglass,aswasthefashionofmany oldFloridahousesinthedaysbeforetheCivilWar Withashootothechickens, whichsentsomeintothehouseandothersflyingintotheyard,thestranger steppedtothedoorandknocked,onceverygently,thenmoredecidedly—then, astherecamenoresponse,heventuredin,anddrivingoutthechickens,oneof whichhadmounteduponatableandwaspeckingatafewcrumbsofbreadleft there,hesatdownandlookedabouthim Intheloftwhichcouldhardlybe dignifiedwiththenamechamber,heheardalowmurmurofvoices,andthe soundoffootstepsmovingrapidly,asifsomeonewereinahurry Theroomin whichhesatwasevidentlylivinganddining-roomboth,andwasdestituteof everythingwhichhedeemednecessarytocomfort HehadbeeninaCracker's housebefore,anditseemedtohimnowthathisheartturnedoverwhenhe recalledhisvisitsthere,andhisutterdisregardofhissurroundings "Iwasafool,andblind,then;butIcanseenow,"hesaidtohimself,ashe lookedaroundatthemarksofpoverty,orshiftlessness,orboth,andcontrasted themwithhishomeintheNorth Thefloorwasbare,withtheexceptionofamatlaidbeforethedoorleadinginto anotherandlargerroom,beforeoneofthewindowsofwhichawhitecurtain wasgentlyblowinginthewind Arough,uncoveredtablepushedagainstthe wall,threeorfourchairs,andahair-clothsetteecompletedthefurniture,with theexceptionofalowrocking-chair,inwhichsathuddledandwrappedina shawlalittleoldwomanwhoseyellow,wrinkledfacetoldofthesnuffhabit,and boreastrongresemblancetoamummy,exceptthatthewomanworeacapwith aflutedfrill,andmovedherheadupanddownlikeChristmastoysofoldmen andwomen Shewasevidentlyasleep,asshegavenosignofconsciousnessthat anyonewasthere "OldMiss,"thestrangersaid,andhisbreathagaincamegaspingly,andTom Hardy'sadvicelookedmoreandmorereasonable,whilehecursedhimselffor thefoolhehadbeen,andwouldhavegivenallhewasworth,andevenhalfhis life,toberidofthisthingweighinghimdownlikeanightmarefromwhichhe couldnotawaken Hewasrousedatlastbythesoundofbarefeetonthestairsinacornerofthe room Someonewascoming,andinamomentMandyAnnstoodbeforehim, hereyesshining,andherteethshowingwhiteagainsttheebonyofherskin In herrushthroughthewoodsMandyAnnhadcomeuponheryoungmistress lookingforthefewberrieswhichgrewuponthetangledbushes "MissDory,MissDory!"sheexclaimed,clutchingthegirl'sarmwithsuchforce thatthepailfelltothegroundandtheberrieswerespilled,"youain'tgwinefor tersellmetonobody?Sayyouain't,an'fo'deLawdI'llnevertouchnothin',nor lie,norsassoleMiss,normakefacesandmumblelikeshedoes I'llbeafustcut nigger,an'saymyprarseberynight I'sedonegotanewonedownter Jacksonville Sayyouain't." InhersurpriseMissDorydidnotatfirstspeak;then,shakingMandyAnn'shand fromherarmandpushingbackhersunbonnetshesaid:"Whatdoyoumean,and wheredidyoucomefrom?The'Hatty,'Is'pose,butshemustbelate I'dgiven youup Who'sgwineterbuyyer?" "TeddonetolememabbydemanondeboatfromdeNorf,whatgotonter Palatka,an'doneas'tthewayhyar,mightbeafterme—an'—" Shegotnofurther,forherownarmwasnowclutchedashermistress'shadbeen, whileMissDoryasked,"Whatman?Howdidhelook?Wharishe?"andher eyes,shiningwithexpectancy,lookedeagerlyaround VeryrapidlyMandyAnntoldallsheknewofthestranger,whilethegirl'sface grewradiantasshelistened "An'hedonehollerandsayhowhewantmean' folleredme,an'whenIturnoffatthegravehewasstillfollerin'me He'scomin' hyar Youwon'tsellme,shoo',"MandyAnnsaid,andhermistressreplied,"Sell you?No ItwasoneofTed'slies Heismyfriend He'scomin'toseeme Hurry!" Eudorawasracingnowthroughthebriers,andweeds,andpalmettostumps,and draggingMandyAnnwithher "Nevermindgranny,"shesaid,whentheyreachedthehouseandMandystopped tosayhowd'yetotheoldwomaninthechair "Comeupstairswithmeandhelp mechangemygown." "FawdeLawd'ssake,isheyerbeau?"MandyAnnasked,asshesawthe excitementofhermistress,whowastearingaroundtheroom,nowlaughing, nowdashingthetearsawayandgivingthemostcontradictingordersastowhat shewastowearandMandyAnnwastogetforher Theyheardthetwoknocksandknewthatsomeonehadenteredthehouse,but MandyAnnwastoobusyblackingapairofbootstogoatonce,asshehadher handstowash,andyet,althoughitseemedtohimanage,itwasscarcelytwo minutesbeforeshecamedownthestairs,nimbleasacat,andbobbedbeforehim withacourtesynearlytothefloor Hermistresshadsaidtoher "Mindyour manners YousayyouhavelearnedaheapinJacksonville." "Tobeshoo' I'veseendequalitytharinMissPerkins'shouse,"MandyAnn replied,andhencethecourtesyshethoughtratherfetching,althoughsheshooka littleassheconfrontedthestranger,whosefeaturesneverrelaxedintheleast, andwhodidnotanswerher "Howd'ye,Mas'r,"whichshefeltitincumbentto say,astherewasnooneelsetoreceivehim MandyAnnwasverybright,andassheknewnorestraintinherFloridahome, whenalonewithheroldMissandyoungMiss,shewasapttoberatherfamiliar foranegroslave,andalittleinclinedtohumor Sheknewwhomthegentleman hadcometosee,butwhenhesaid "Isyourmistressathome?"sheturnedat oncetothepieceofparchmentintherocking-chairandreplied "Tobeshoo Dar sheisindecharoverdar Dat'soleMissLucy." Goinguptothechair,shescreamedinthewoman'sear,"Wakeup,MissLucy I'sedonecomedhomean'thar'sagemmantoseeyou?Wakeup!" Sheshookthebundleofshawlsvigorously,untiltheoldladywasthoroughly rousedandglaredatherwithherdark,beadyeyes,whileshemumbled,"You hyar,shakin'meso,youlimb You,MandyAnn!Whardidyoucomefrom?" "Jacksonville,incourse Whar'dyouthink?An'hyar'sagemmancometosee you,Itellyou Wakeupan'sayhowd'ye." "Wharishe?"theoldwomanasked,beginningtoshowsomeinterest,whilethe strangeraroseandcomingforwardsaid,"Excuseme,madam Itistheyoung ladyIwishtosee—yourdaughter." "Shehain'thermother She'shergranny,"MandyAnnchimedinwithagood dealofcontemptinhervoice,asshenoddedtothefigureinthechair,who,with somesemblanceofwhatsheoncewas,putoutaskinnyhandandsaid,"I'mvery pleasedtoseeyou CallDory She'llknowwhattodo." ThislasttoMandyAnn,whoflirtedawayfromherandsaidtothestranger,"She hain'tnosensemostly—somedaysmore,somedayslittler,an'to-dayshe's littler YouwantstoseeMissDory?She'supstarschangin'hergown,'caseshe knowsyou'rehyar Idonetoleher,an'herfacelitrightuplikedesunshinin'in demawnin' Willyougimmeyourcaird?" ThiswasMandyAnn'smaster-strokeatgoodmanners Shehadseensuchthings at"MissPerkins's"inJacksonville,andhadonceortwicetakenacardona silvertraytothatlady,andwhynotbringthefashiontoherownhome,ifitwere onlyalog-cabin,andsheabare-foot,bare-leggedwaitress,insteadofMrs Perkins'smaidRachel,smartinslippersandcap,andwhiteapron Foramoment thestranger'sfacerelaxedintoabroadsmileattheludicrousnessofthesituation MandyAnn,whowasquickofcomprehension,understoodthesmileand hastenedtoexplain "Idonelarn'taheapofthingsatMissPerkins's,whichwecan'tdohyar,'caseof oleMissbein'soquar MissDory'dlike'emrightwell." "Certainly,"thestrangersaid,beginningtohaveagooddealofrespectforthe poorslavegirltryingtokeepupthedignityofherfamily TakingacardfromhiscasehehandedittoMandyAnn,wholookedatit carefullyasifreadingthename,althoughshehelditwrongsideup Therewas nosilvertraytotakeiton—therewasnotrayatall—buttherewasachinaplate keptasanornamentonashelf,andonthisMandyAnnplacedthecard,andthen dartedupthestairs,findinghermistressnearlydressed,andwaitingforher "Oh,hiscard?Hegaveittoyou?"Eudorasaid,flushingwithpleasurethathe hadpaidherthiscompliment,andpressingherlipstothenamewhenMandy Anndidnotseeher "Incoursehedoneginittome Dat'sdewaywiddequalitybothSoufandNorf Welivin'hyarindeclarin'doanknownoffin'."MandyAnnreplied OnthestrengthofherthreemonthssojournwithMrs Perkins,whowas undeniablyquality,shefeltherselfcapableofteachingmanythingstoheryoung mistress,whohadseldomrepressedher,andwhonowmadenoanswerexceptto ask,"HowdoIlook?" Shehadhesitatedamomentastothedressshewouldwearinplaceoftheone discarded Shehadveryfewtoselectfrom,andfinallytookdownawhitegown sacredtoher,becauseoftheoneoccasiononwhichshehadwornit Itwasa coarsemuslin,butmaderatherprettilywithsatinbowsonthesleeves,and shoulders,andneck Severaltimes,sinceshehadhungitonapegunderasheet tokeepitfromgettingsoiled,shehadlookedatitandstrokedit,wonderingif shewouldeverwearitagain Nowshetookitdownandsmoothedthebowsof ribbon,andbrushedaspeckfromtheskirt,whiletherecametohereyesarush ofgladtearsassheputiton,withathoughtthathewouldlikeherinit,andthen triedtoseeitseffectinthelittleeightbytwelvecrackedglassuponthewall All shecouldseewasherheadandshoulders,andsosheaskedtheopinionof MandyAnn,whoansweredquickly,"Youdonelookbeautiful—somelikede youngladiesinJacksonville,andsomelikeyouwasgwinetobemarried." "PerhapsIam,"Eudorareplied,withajoyousringinhervoice "Wouldyoulike tohavemegetmarried?" MandyAnnhesitatedamomentandthensaid,"I'sepromisednevertotoleyou nomo'lies,sodisisdetruffe,efIwastodrapdead I'dlikeyoutomarrysome degemmansinJacksonville,orsomedemwhocomestodeBrockHouse,but nothimdownstars!" "Whynot?"Eudoraasked,andtherewasalittlesharpnessinhervoice "'Case,"MandyAnnbegan,"youas'tme,an'fo'deLawdImus'telldetruffe He'sverytallan'gran',an'w'arsfineclose,an'han'siswhiteasacottonbat,but hiseyesdoansetrightinhishead Theylookhard,an'notabitsmilin',an'he looksproudasefhethoughtwewasdirt,an'demwhitehan's—Ido'know,but pearslikethey'dsqueezebodyan'soultillyoudonecrywidpain Doanyougo fortomarryhim,MissDory,willyou?" AtfirstMandyAnnhadopenedandshutherblackfingers,assheshowedhow thestranger'swhitehandswouldsqueezeone'sbodyandsoul;thentheyclosed roundhermistress'sarmasshesaid,"Doanyoumarryhim,MissDory,will you?" "No,"Eudoraanswered,"don'tbeasilly,butgodownandbringmearose,if youcanfindonetwo-thirdsopen Iworeonewiththisdressbeforeandheliked it,andas'tmetogiveittohim Mebbyhewillnow,"shethought,whilewaiting forMandyAnn,whosooncamebackwithabeautifulrosehiddenunderher apron "StruesI'mbawn,Ib'lievehe'sdonegonetosleeplikeoleMiss—he'ssettin'thar sostill,"shesaid Buthewasfarfrombeingasleep Hehadgoneoveragainandagainwith everythingwithinhisrangeofvision,fromtheoldwomannoddinginherchair, tothebucketofwaterstandingoutsidethedoor,withagourdswimmingonthe top,andhewaswonderingatthedelay,andfeelingmoreandmorethathe shouldtakeTomHardy'sadvice,whenheheardstepsonthestairs,whichhe knewwerenotMandyAnn's,andherosetomeetEudora CHAPTERIII THEINTERVIEW Shewasashort,slenderlittlegirl,notmorethansixteenorseventeen,witha sweetfaceandsoftbrowneyeswhichdroopedasshecameforward,andthen lookedathimshylythroughamistoftearswhichshebravelykeptback "Howd'ye I'msogladtoseeyou,"shesaid,lookingupathimwithquivering lipswhichweresounquestionablyaskingforakissthathegaveit,whileher facebeamedwithdelightatthecaress,andshedidnotmindhowcold,andstiff, andreservedhegrewthenextmoment Hedidnotlikeher"Howd'ye,"althoughheknewhowcommonasalutationit wasattheSouth ItsavoredofMandyAnn,andheraccentwaslikeMandy Ann's,andherwhitedressinsteadofpleasinghimfilledhimwithdisgustfor himself,asherememberedwhenhefirstsawitandthoughtitfine Shehadworn arosethen,andhehadaskedherforit,andputitinhispocket,likeaninsane idiot,Tomhadsaid Sheworearosenow,buthedidn'taskherforit,andhe droppedherhandalmostassoonashetookit,andcalledhimselfabrutewhen hesawthecolorcomeandgoinherface,andhowshetrembledasshesatbeside him Heknewshewaspretty,andgraceful,andmodest,andthatshelovedhim asnootherwomaneverwould,butshewasuntrained,anduneducated,and unusedtotheworld—hisworld,whichwouldscanherwithcold,wondering eyes Hecouldn'tdoit,andhewouldn't—certainly,notyet Hewouldwaitand seewhatcameofhisplanwhichhemustunfold,andtellherwhyhehadcome Butnottherewheretheoldwomanmighthearandunderstand,andwherehefelt sureMandyAnnwaslistening Shehadstolendownthestairsandgone ostensiblytomeetawomanwhomEudoracalledSonsie,andwho,shesaid, cameeverydaytodotheworknowJakewasaway "WhoisJake?"themanasked,andEudorareplied,"Thenegrowhohastaken careofussinceIcanremember Heisfree,butdoesforus,andisinRichmond now,valleyingforagentlemanwhopayshimbigwage,andhespendsitallfor us." Thestrangerflushedatherwordsindicativeofherstation,andthensuggested thattheygooutsidewheretheycouldbesureofbeingalone,ashehadmuchto saytoher "Perhapsyouwillwalkpartwaywithmeonmyreturntothe'Hatty,'"hesaid, glancingathiswatchandfeelingsurprisedtofindhowlateitwas InstantlyEudora,whohadseemedsolistless,wokeupwithallthehospitalityof herSouthernnaturerousedtoaction "Surelyyou'llhavesupperwithme,"she said "Sonsieisheretogetitandwillhaveitdirectly." Therewasnogoodreasonforrefusing,althoughherevoltedagainsttaking supperinthathumblecabin,withpossiblythatoldwomanatthetable;buthe swallowedhisprideand,signifyinghisassent,wentoutside,wheretheycame uponMandyAnninacrouchingattitudeundertheopencasement Shewas listening,ofcourse,butsprangtoherfeetasthetwoappeared,andsaidin responsetohermistress's"Whatareyoudoinghere?""Nothin',MissDory,fo' deLawd,nothing,buthuntin'ondegroun'forsomethin'whatdonedrapoutde windyupstars." Thestrangerknewshewaslying,andEudoraknewit,butsaidnothingexceptto bidthegirlgetupandassistSonsiewiththesupper MandyAnnhadoncesaid ofhermistresstoJake,"Shehain'tnosperrittospar,"andJakehadreplied, "Luckyforyou,MandyAnn,thatshehain'tnosperrit,forefshehadshe'dof donepulledeveryharoutofyourheadaforenow." MandyAnnknewthatneitherherhair,noranypartofherperson,wasindanger fromheryoungmistress,andafterafewmorescratchesinthedirtafteran imaginarylostarticle,shearoseandjoinedSonsie,towhomEudoragaveafew instructions,andthenwithherguestwalkedacrosstheclearingtoabenchwhich Jakehadmadeforher,andwhichwaspartiallyshelteredbyatallpalm Here theysatdownwhileheunfoldedhisplan,plainlyandconcisely,andleavingno chanceforopposition,hadthecrushed,quiveringcreatureathissidefelt inclinedtomakeit AsMandyAnnhadsaidshehadn'tmuchspirit,andwhat littleshehadwasslainasshelistened,whileherfacegrewwhiteasherdress, andherhandswerelinkedtogetheronherlap Thesunhadjustgonedown,and thefullmoonwasrisingandthrowingitslightupontheclearingandthegirl, whosefaceandattitudetouchedhercompanion,coldandhardashewas,buthe mustcarryhispoint "Youseeitisforthebestandyoupromise;youwillremember,"hesaid,taking oneofherhandsandwonderingtofinditsocold "Yes,oh,yes,"shereplied,everywordagasp "Ithought—Ihoped—youhad donecometotake,—ortostay—nothere,butsomewhar—butIseeyoucan't Youknowbest Iain'tfittin'togoyet,butI'lltry,andIpromiseallyouask;but don'tletitbelong ThedaysaresolonesomesinceIcomehome,andthings seemdifferentsinceIknewyou;butIpromise,andwillrememberanddomy best." Halfhisburdenrolledaway Hecouldbeverykindnow,forheknewhecould trusthertothedeath,andputtinghisarmaroundher,hedrewherclosetohim andsaid,"Youareagoodgirl,Eudora Ishallnotforgetit;butwhydoyou trembleso?Areyoucold?" "Yes—no,"sheanswered,nestlingsoclosetohimthattheroseinherdresswas loosenedandfelltotheground Hepickeditup,butdidnotputitinhispocketasakeepsake Hegaveitbackto her,andshefasteneditagaintoherdress,saying,"Ido'knowwhyIshake,only itseems'sifsomethin'haddiedthatIhopedfor Butitisallright,becaseyou careforme Youloveme." Sheliftedupherfaceonwhichthemoonlightfell,makingapicturetheman neverforgottothelastdayofhislife Hedidnottellherhelovedher,hecould not;butforanswerhestoopedandkissedher,andshe—poor,simplegirl—was satisfied "IfIcouldtellJake,itwouldbesomecomfort,"shesaidatlast,timidly,andher companionansweredquickly "TellJake!Never!Youmustnotbetoofamiliar withyourservants." "Jakeismorethanaservant Heiseverythingtome,"thegirlanswered,with risingspirit "Hewoulddieforme,andifanythinghappenedtomeandyoudid notcome,Ithinkhewouldkillyou." TherewassomethingofSouthernfireinhereyesasshesaidthis,whichmade thestrangerlaughashereplied,"Nothingwillhappen,andI'mnotafraidof Jake." Inhishearthewasgladthenegrowasnotthere,forsomethingwarnedhimthat inthepoorblackmanhemightfindaformidableobstacletohisplan MeanwhileinthehouseMandyAnnhadbeenbusywiththesupper-table They oughttohaveagooddealoflight,shethought,rememberingthelampsatMrs Perkins's,andastherewereonlytwocandlesticksinthehouseherfertilebrain hadcontrivedtwomorefromsomelargeroundpotatoes,cuttingaflatpiece fromoneend,makingaholeinthecentretoholdthecandle,andwrappingsome whitepaperaroundthestandard Shehadtakengreatpainswiththetable,trying toimitateMrs Perkins's,andtheimitationwasrathersatisfactorytoherself The bestclothhadbeenbroughtout,andthoughitwasyellowwithdisuseitshowed whatithadbeen Afewrosesinapitcherwereinthecentreofthetable,and rangedaroundthemwerethefourcandles,splutteringandrunningdownas tallowcandlesareapttodo Thedishestroubledher,theyweresothickand nickedinsomanyplaces,thatitwasdifficulttofindonewhichwaswhole The strangerhadthechinaplate,whichhaddonedutyasatrayforhiscard,andhe hadtheonlyplatedforkinthehouse:aChristmasgiftfromJaketotheoleMiss, whoscarcelyappreciatedit,butinsistedthatitbewrappedinseveralfoldsof tissuepaperandkeptinherbureaudrawer MandyAnndidnotaskifshecould haveit Shetookitandrubbeditwithsoftsandtoremovesomediscolorations andlaidit,withahorn-handledknife,bythechinaplate "Efweonlyhadnapkins,"shesaid,whileSonsie,whohadlivedallherlifenear theclearing,andknewnothingofthefashionsoftheworld,askedwhatnapkins were Withatossofherheadindicativeofhersuperiorknowledge,MandyAnn replied,"You'dknowifyou'dlivedwiddequalityinJacksonville MissPerkins's allushad'em Dey'ssquarlittletowelswhatyouholdsinyerlaptowipeyer fingersonwhenyou'vedoneeatin' Dat'swhattheyis,an'degemmanortohev one." "Can'thewipehishandsondetablecloth,foroncet?"Sonsieasked,witha suddeninspirationwhichwasreceivedwithgreatscornbyMandyAnn,to whomtherehadalsocomeaninspirationonwhichsheatonceacted InoneofoleMiss'sbureaudrawerswasalargeplainlinenhandkerchiefwhich wasneverused Itwouldservethepurposenicely,andMandyAnnbroughtit out,holdingitbehindherlestitshouldbeseenbytheoldlady,whosometimes sawmorethanMandyAnncaredtohavehersee Itwasratheryellowlikethe tablecloth,andthecreaseswhereitwasfoldedwerealittledark,butMandy Annturnedit,andrefoldedandpressedit,andlaiditonthechinaplate,while Sonsielookedonandadmired Everythingwasinreadiness,andMandyAnn calledacrosstheclearing "Hallo,MissDory Supper'sdoneserved." ShehadcaughtontoagoodmanythingsatMissPerkins's,and"served"was oneofthem "Idon'ts'poseMissDorywillunderstan',"shethought,"buthewill, andseedatdisniggerknowsumptin'." Itwasanovelsituationinwhichthestrangerfoundhimself,seatedatthattable withEudorapresidingandMandyAnnwaitinguponthem,hertrayadinnerplatewhichsheflourishedratherconspicuously Hewasquicktoobserveand nothingescapedhim,fromtheimprovisedcandlestickstothenapkinbyhis chinaplate Heknewitwasahandkerchief,andsmiledinwardlyashewondered whatTomHardywouldsayifhecouldseehimnow Theoldladywasnotatthe table MandyAnnhadmanagedthatandattendedtoherinherchair,butasif eatingbrightenedherfaculties,shebegantolookaboutherandtalk,andask whyshecouldn'tsitatherowntable "'Casethar'sagemmanhyaran'youdrapsyervittlesso,"MandyAnnsaidina whisper,withherlipsclosetotheoldwoman'sear "Gentleman?Who'she?Whar'shefrom?"theoldwomanasked—forgettingthat shehadspokentohim "Itoldyouoncethe'sMissDory'sfrien'an'fromdeNorf Dobequiet,"Mandy Annblewintothedeafears "FromtheNawth Idon'tliketheNawth,'caseI—"theoldladybegan,but MandyAnnchokedherwithamuffin,andshedidnotfinishhersentenceand tellwhyshedislikedtheNorth Eudora'sfacewasscarlet,butshedidnotinterfere Hergrandmotherwasin betterhandsthanhers,andmoreforceful "Grannyisqueersometimes,"shesaidbywayofapology,whileherguest bowedintokenthatheunderstood,andthemealproceededinquietwithone exception Grannywaschokedwitheatingtoofast,andMandyAnnstruckher onherbackandshookherup,anddroppedherdinner-plateandbrokeitinher excitement "FordeLawd'ssake,'tan'tnouse,"shesaid,gatheringupthepiecesandtaking themtothekitchen,whereSonsielaughedtillthetearsranatMandyAnn's attempt"tobegran',"anditsresult MeanwhilethestrangerateSonsie'scorncakesandmuffins,andsaidtheywere good,anddrankmuddycoffee,sweetenedwithbrownsugaroutofabigthick cup,andthoughtofhisdaintyserviceathome,andglancedatthegirlopposite himwithagreatpity,which,however,didnotmovehimonewhitfromhis purpose Hehadtoldherhisplanandshehadacceptedit,andhetolditagain when,aftersupper,shewalkedwithhimthroughtheclearingandthewoodsto themainroadwhichledtotheriver Hedidthetalking,whilesheansweredyes orno,withasoundoftearsinhervoice Whentheyreachedthehighwaythey stoppedbythesunkengrave,andleaningagainstthefencewhichinclosedit, Eudoraremovedhersunbonnet,lettingthemoonshineuponherface,asithad donewhenshesatintheclearing Itwasverywhitebuttherewerenotearsnow inhereyes Shewasforcingthembackandshetriedtosmileasshesaid,"You areverykind,andIthinkIunderstandwhatyouwant,andherebythisgraveI promiseallyouask,andwilldomybest—myverybest." Herlipsbegantoquiverandhervoicetobreak,forthevisitfromwhichshehad expectedsomuchhadprovedablank,andherhighhopesweredeadasthe womanbywhosegraveshestood Shehadfoldedherhandsoneovertheother uponthetoprailofthefence,andhercompanionlookedatthemandthought howsmalltheywereandshapely,too,althoughbrownwiththeworkshehadto dowhenJakeandMandyAnnwerebothgoneandSonsiecameonlyatmeal times Hewasnotabrute Hewassimplyaproud,cold,selfishman,whosewill hadseldombeencrossed,andwhofoundhimselfinatightplacefromwhichhe couldnotwhollyextricatehimself HewassorryforEudora,forheguessedhow desolateshewouldbewhenhewasgone,andtherewasnothingleftbutthat homeintheclearing,witholdgrannyandMandyAnn HehadnotseenJake,of whomEudoranowspoke,saying,"OurhouseneverseemedsopoortometillI seenyouinit ItwillbebetterwhenJakecomes,forheistofixitup—heknows how." Itwastheonlyexcuseshehadmade,andshediditfalteringly,whileher companion'sheartroseupinhisthroatandmadehimveryuncomfortable,ashe thoughtofJakeandMandyAnncaringforthisgirl,whilehisincomewaslarger thanhecouldspend Ithadnotoccurredtohimtoofferhermoneytillthat moment,andhedidnotknownowthatshewouldtakeit Turninghisbackto herasiflookingatsomethingacrosstheroad,hecountedarollofbills,and turningbacktookoneofthelittlebrownhandsrestingontherailinhisand pressedtherollintoit Justforaninstanttheslimfingersheldfasttohishand— then,asshefeltthebillsandsawwhattheywere,shedrewbackanddropped themuponthesand "Ican't;no,Ican't,"shesaid,whenheurgedthemuponher,tellingheritwashis righttogiveandherstotake Asusualhiswillprevailed,andwhenatlasthesaidgood-byandwalkedrapidly towardstheriver,whileshewentslowlythroughthewoodsandacrossthe clearingtothelog-house,whereMandyAnnwashavingafrightfultimegetting oleMisstobed,shehadinherpossessionmoremoneythanJakewouldearnin months "Iwouldsenditallback,"shethought,"ifwedidn'tneeditbadly,andhesaidit wasrightformetotakeit,butsomeofitmustgo I'llsenditjustbeforethe 'Hatty'sails." TherewasnoonetosendbutMandyAnn,who,aftermanymisgivingsonthe partofhermistress,wasentrustedwithapartofthemoney,withinjunctions neithertolookatnorloseit,buttoholdittightinherhanduntilshegaveitto thegentleman Eudorahadthoughtofwritinganote,buttheeffortwastoogreat MandyAnncouldsayallshewantedtohavesaid,andinduetimethenegress startedfortheboat,nothinglothtovisititagainandbandywordswithTed The "Hatty"wasblowingoffsteampreparatorytostarting,whenapairofbarelegs andfeetwereseenracingdownthelanetothelanding,andMandyAnn,waving herhand,wascallingout,"Hol'ondar,youcap'n I'sesometin'berry'portantfor degemman Hol'on,Isay,"andshedashedacrosstheplank,nearlyknocking Teddowninherheadlonghaste "Wharis'ee?"shegasped,andcontinued,"Leggo,Itellye Le'mebe,"asTedseizedherarm,askingwhatshewanted,andif shewasgoingbacktoJacksonville "No;leg-go,Itellyou IwantsthemanfromdeNorf,whatcomedtoseeMiss Dory I'vesometin'forhimverypartic'lar." Shefoundhiminhisseatattherearoftheboat,wherehehadsatonhiswayup, andhadagainappropriatedtohimself,withnooneprotestingornoticinghim beyondacivilbow TheycalledhimBoston,knowingnoothername,and wonderedwhyhehadvisitedtheHarrisesastheyknewhehad Ted,whowas allowednearlyasmuchfreedomofspeechontheboatasMandyAnnhadatthe clearing,hadairedhisopinionthatthegentlemanwantedtobuyMandyAnn, butthisideawasscouted Bostonwasnotonetobuynegroes Probablyhewas somekintooldGrannyHarris,whohaddistantconnectionsintheNorth,some onesuggested Thisseemedreasonable,andthepeoplesettleduponit,andgave himawideberthasonewhowishedtobeletalone WhenMandyAnnrushedin andmadeherwaytohimcuriositywasagainroused,butnoonewasnear enoughtohearherassheputintohishandsapaper,sayingbreathlessly,"Miss Dorydonesendsomeofitbackwiththanks,'caseshecan'tkeepitall,andshe wantstoknowhowd'ye,an'Imus'hurry,ordeycarriesmeoff." Thestrangertookthepaper,openedit,andglancedatthebills;thenatthegirl whostoodasifsheexpectedsomething Takingadollarfromhispockethegave ittohersaying,"Takethisandbeagoodgirltoyouryoungmistress,andnow go." MandyAnndidnotmove,butstoodwithherlipstwitchingandhereyesfilling withtears Noonehadevergivenheradollarbefore,andherbetternaturecried outagainstwhatshehaddone "Fo'deLawd,Ican'thelp'fessin,"shesaid,thrustingherhandintoherbosom andbringingoutacrumpledbillwhichshegavetothegentleman,whosawthat itwasatenandlookedathersternlyasshewenton:"IdonepromisedMiss DoryI'nevertacheathing,ifshewouldn'tsellmetoyou,butdarwassichapile, an'Iwantedsomebeads,an'aredhan'kercher,an'aring,an'Idonetookone I don'nohowmuch,'caseIcan'tread,an'dat'swhyIwaslatean'hadtorunso fass You'regood,youis,an'Imuss'fess—maydeLawdforgiveme." AtthispointTed,whohadbeenonsomeofthelargeboatsbetweenJacksonville andCharleston,andhadheardthecrywarningthepassengerstoleave,screamed closetoher "Allasho',dat'sgwineasho'!"andseizingherarmheledhertothe plankandpushedherontoit,butnotuntilshehadshakenherbillinhisfaceand said,"Licke-e-dar,adollar!Allmine—hedoneginittome,an'I'segwinetobuy agown,an'ahan'kercher,an'someshoes,an'somecandy,an'some—"therest ofherintendedpurchaseswerecutshortbyajerkoftheplank,whichsenther sprawlingonherhandsandknees,withajeerfromTedsoundinginherears The"Hatty"wasoff,andwithafeelingofreliefthestrangerkepthisseatonthe reardeck,orstaidinhisstateroomuntilPalatkawasreached,wherehewenton shore,liftinghishatpolitelytothepassengers,shakinghandswiththecaptain, andgivingaquartertoTed,whonearlystoodonhisheadforjoy,andcould scarcelywaitforthenexttriptoEnterprise,wherehewouldfindMandyAnn andtellherofhisgoodfortune,doublingortreblingtheamountashemightfeel inclinedatthetime CHAPTERIV HOPINGANDWAITING ThecuriosityconcerningthestrangeratEnterprisehadnearlydiedoutwhenit wasrousedagaintofeverheatbythearrivalattheclearingofalittlegirl,whom theyoungmotherbaptizedwithbittertears,butrefusedtotalkofthefather excepttosay,"Itwasallrightandpeoplewouldknowitwaswhenhecame,as hewassuretodo." Hedidn'tcome,andthegirl'sfacegrewsadderandwhiter,andhereyeshadin themalwaysanexpectant,wistfullook,asifwaitingforsomeoneorsomething, whichwouldliftfromherthedarkcloudunderwhichshewaslaboring Jake, whohadreturnedfromRichmond,sufferednearlyasmuchasshedid Hispride inhisfamily—suchasthefamilywas—wasgreat,andhisaffectionforhis youngmistressunbounded "Onlytellmewharheisan'I'lldonefetchhim,orkillhim,"hesaid,wheninan agonyoftearsshelaidherbabyinhislapandsaid,"Anotherforyoutocarefor tillhecomes,asIknowhewill." EudorahadsaidtothestrangerthatJakewouldkillhimifanythinghappenedto her,butnowatthementionofkillinghimsheshudderedandreplied,"No,Jake, notthat You'llknowsometime Ican'texplain Idonepromisedmorethanonce Thelasttimewasbythatgraveyonder,whenhewassayin'good-by Itwassame asanoath Iwastogotoschoolandlearntobealady,butbabyhascome,andI can'tgonow Itwillmakesomedifferwithhimperhaps,an'he'llcomeforbaby's sake Youb'lieveme,Jake?" "Yes,honey—sameasef'twasdeLawdhimselftalkin'tome,an'I'lltakekeerof delittleonetillhecomes,an'ifIseessomebodywinkin'orhunchin'deshoulder, I'll—I'll—" Jakeclenchedhisfisttoshowwhathewoulddo,andhuggingthebabytohim, continued,"Dismy'ittlechiletillitsfadercomes;doan'youworry I'sestrong an'kinwork,an'MandyAnn'sdonegottostirdestumpsmore'nshehas." HecastathreateninglookatMandyAnn,whohadatfirstbeenappalledatthe adventofthebaby,andforawhilekeptaloofevenfromTed,whenthe"Hatty" wasin Thensheralliedand,likeJake,wasreadytodobattlewithanyonewho hunchedtheirshouldersatMissDory ShehadtwogoodsquarefightswithTed onthesubject,andtwoorthreemorewithsomeofherownclassnearthe clearing,andasshecameoffvictoreachtimeitwasthoughtwisenottoprovoke her,exceptasTedfromthesafetyofthe"Hatty's"decksometimescalledtoher, whenhesawherontheshorewiththebabyinherarmsandaskedhowlittle Bostonwasgettingalong MandyAnnfeltthatshecouldkillhim,andeveryone elsewhospokeslightinglyofhercharge ShehadtoldJakeoverandoveragain allshecouldrememberofthestranger'svisit,andmorethanshecouldremember whenshesawhoweagerhewasforeverydetail Shetoldhimofthecardtaken tohermistressonachinaplate,ofthetablewithitsfourcandles,andoleMiss's handkerchiefforanapkin,andofherwaitingjustasshehadseenitdoneatMiss Perkins's "Thegemmanwasgran'an'tall,an'mightyfinespoken,likealldemquality fromdeNorf,"shesaid,althoughinfacthewasthefirstpersonshehadever seenfromtheNorth;butthatmadenodifferencewithMandyAnn "Hewasa gemman—hehadgivenheradollar,andhewasshootocomeback." Thisshesaidmanytimestoheryoungmistress,keepingherspiritsup,helping hertohopeagainsthope,whiletheseasonscameandwent,andletterswere sometimesreceivedorsent,firsttoTomHardyandforwardedbyhimeitherto theNorthortoEudora Therewasnolackofmoney,butthiswasnotwhatthe younggirlwanted MandyAnnhadsaidshehadnotmuchsperrit,andshe certainlyhadnotenoughtoclaimherrights,butclungtoamorbidfancyofwhat washerduty,bearingupbravelyforalongtime,tryingtolearn,tryingtoread thebooksrecommendedtoherinherNorthernletters,andsentforbyJaketo Palatka,tryingtounderstandwhatsheread,and,mostpitifulofall,tryingtobea lady,fashionedafterherownideas,andthoseofJakeandMandyAnn Jaketold herwhathehadseenthequalitydoinRichmond,whileMandyAnnboastedher superiorknowledge,becauseofherthreemonthswithMissPerkins'sin Jacksonville,andrehearsedmanytimesthewayshehadseenyoungladies "comeintodehouse,shakehan'san'sayhowd'ye,an'hole'tharkyardcasesso" (illustratingwithabitofblock),"an'tharparasolsso"(takingupgranny'scane), "an'setontheaidgeoftharcharstraightup,an'MissPerkinsbowin'an'smilin' an'sayin'howgladshewastosee'em,an'denwhendey'sgonesayin' sometimes,'Iwonderwhatsent'emhyarto-day,whenit'ssopowerfulhot,an'I wantstotakemysester'—dat'shernap,youknow,afterdinner,whatplenty ladiestake—an'denyoumus'sometimesspeaksharpliketoJakean'tome,an' notbesosoffspoken,asifwewasn'tyerniggers,'caseweare,orIis,an'doesa heapo'badness;an'youortopullmyharf'orit." ConfusedandbewilderedEudoralistened,firsttoJakeandthentoMandyAnn, butasshehadnocardcase,noparasol,andnoladiescalleduponher,shecould onlytrytoremembertheproperthingtodowhenthetimecame,ifiteverdid Butshelostheartatlast Shewasdeserted Therewasnoneedforhertotryto bealady Herlifewasslippingaway,butforbabytherewashope,andmany timesinherchamberloft,whenMandyAnnthoughtshewastakinghersester, andsofarimitating"dequality,"shewasprayingthatwhenshewasdead,asshe feltshesoonwouldbe,herlittlechildmightberecognizedandtakenwhereshe rightfullybelonged Andsotheyearswentontillmorethanthreeweregonesincethestrangercame onthe"Hatty,"andonemorningwhenshelayagainatthewharf,andMandy AnncamedownforsomethingorderedfromPalatka,hereyeswereswollenwith crying,andwhenTedbeganhischaffsheanswered,"Doan't,Teddy,doan't I can'tfoughtyounow,norsassyouback,'caseMissDoryisdead,an'Jake'sdone gonefordeminister." CHAPTERV MISSDORY Thatdaywasoneofthehottestoftheseason,andthesunwasbeatingdown uponthepiazzaoftheBrockHousewheretheRev CharlesMasonsatfanning himselfwithahugepalmleaf,andtryingtoputtogetherinhismindsomepoints forthesermonhewastopreachthenextSundayintheparlorofthehoteltothe fewguestswhocamethereoccasionallyduringthesummer Butitwasofno use Withthethermometeratninetydegreesintheshade,andnotabreathofair moving,exceptthatmadebyhisfan,pointsdidnotcomereadily,andallhe couldthinkofwasDives'thirstingforadropofwaterfromthefingerofLazarus tocoolhisparchedtongue "IfitwashottertherethanitishereIamsorryfor him,"hethought,wipinghiswetfaceandlookingoffacrossthebroadlakein thedirectionofSanford,fromwhicharowboatwascomingveryrapidly,the oarsmanbendingtohisworkwithawill,whichsoonbroughthimtothelanding place,nearthehotel Securinghisboat,hecameupthewalkandapproaching Mr Masonaccostedhimwith,"Howd'ye,Mas'rMason Iknowsyoubysight, andI'serightgladtofindyouhyar Yousee,I'sethattuckeredoutI'mfitto drap." Theperspirationwasstandingingreatdropsonhisfaceashesankpantingupon astepofthepiazza "'Scuseme,"hesaid,"but'pearslikeIcan'tstan'anotherminit,whatwithbein' upallnightwithMissDory,an'gwine'crostthelaketwistefornothin','caseI didn'tfindhim." BythistimeMr Masonhadrecognizedthenegroasonehehadseen occasionallyaroundthehotelsellingvegetablesandeggs,andwhohehadheard thepeoplesaywasworthhisweightingold "Howd'ye,Jake,"hesaid,pleasantly "Ididn'tknowyouatfirst Whyhaveyou beenacrossthelaketwicethismorning?" Jake'sfacecloudedashedrewhisbigblackhandacrosshiseyes "MissDorydonediedatsunup,"hereplied "YouknowMissDory,incourse." Mr MasonwasobligedtoconfesshisignorancewithregardtoMissDory,and askedwhoshewas Jakelookeddisgusted NottoknowMissDorywassomethinginexcusable "Why,she'sMissDory,"hesaid,"an'oleMissishergranny Weliveupinthe palmettoclearing,backindewoods,an'Itakekeerof'em." "YoumeanyoubelongtoMissDora'sgrandmother?"Mr Masonasked,while Jakelookedmoredisgustedthanever NottoknowMissDorywasbadenough,butnottoknowwhohewaswasmuch worse "Lor'blessyoursoul,Mas'rMason,Idon'tbelongtonobodybutmyself I'se donebawnfree,Iwas ButfatherbelongedtooleMissLucy,an'whenmy motherdiedshetookkeerofme,an'I'velivedwithhereversense,allbuttwoor threetimesIhiredouttosomeswellsinVirginny,wharIseenhighlife They's mightykinetome,demfolkswas,an'letmelearntoreadan'write,an'dosome figgerin' I'semostasgoodascholarasMissDory,an'Itolehersomedebig words,an'whatthequalityinVirginnydoes,whenshewastryin'sohardtolearn tobealady She'sdeadnow,thelam',an'mycussbeonhimaskilledher." "Killed!Didn'tshedieanaturaldeath?"Mr Masonasked "No,sar Shejestpinedan'pinedforhim,an'gotdeshakesbad,an'diedthis mornin',"Jakereplied,"an'oleMissdonegoneclaroutofherhead Shenever wasover-bright,an''pearslikeshedon'tknownothin'now 'Ileaveittoyouto do,'shesaid,anI'mdoin'on'tthebestIkin Iseenherlaidoutdecentinherbest gownd—that'sMissDory—an'senttoPalatkaforacoffin—agoodone,too— an'havebeenacrossthelakeforElderCovilto'tendtheburial,'caseshedone said,'Sendforhim;heknows.'Butheain'tthar,an'I'secomeforyou It'llbeday afterto-morreratoneo'clock." Mr Masonfeltthewaterrollingdownhisbackinstreamsashethoughtofahot drivethroughtheFloridasandandwoods,buthecouldnotsayno,Jake'shonest facewassoanxiousandpleading "Yes,I'llcome,buthow?"heasked "Oh,I'llbehyarwiddemulean'deshay Noon,sharp,"Jakereplied "Thankee, Mas'rMason,thankee Wecouldn'tburyMissDorywithoutawordofpra'r Ikin saydeLawd's,butIwantsomethin'aboutderesurrectionan'delifewhatIhearn inVirginny An'nowImus'go'longhome OleMiss'llbewantin'mean'de chile." "Whatchild?"Mr Masonasked,insomesurprise Jake'sfacewasastudyashehesitatedaminute,winkingtokeephistearsback beforehesaid,"Sartin',thar'sachile Whyshouldn'ttharbe,butfo'Godit'sall right MissDorysaidso,an'ElderCovilknows,onlyhe'sdonegoneNorfor somewhar It'sallright,an'you'llknow'tistheminityouseeMissDory'sface— innocentasababy's Gooddaytoyou." Hedoffedhishatwithakindofgraceonewouldhardlyhaveexpected,and walkedrapidlyaway,leavingtheRev Mr Masontothinkoverwhathehad heard,andwonderthathedidn'taskthenameofthefamilyhewastovisit "MissDory,oleMiss,andJake,"wereallhehadtoguidehim,butthelastname wassufficient "Oh,yes,"thelandlordsaid,whenquestioned "It'soldMrs Harrisandher grand-daughteroutinthepalmettoclearing;they'reCrackers Theoldwomanis halfdemented,thewholefamilywasqueer,andthegirlthequeerestofall— won'ttalkandkeepshermouthshutastohermarriage,iftherewasone." "Whowastheman?"Mr Masonasked,andthelandlordreplied,"Some NortherncussshemetinGeorgiawhereshewasstayingaspellwithherkin A highblood,theysay Attractedbyherprettyface,Isuppose,andthengottiredof her,orwastooproudtoownup Iwasn'tlandlordthen,butI'veheardaboutit I thinkhewashereoncethreeorfouryearsago Hecameonthe'Hatty'andstaid onher—thehousewassofull Didn'tregister,noranything—nortellhisnameto alivin'soul Oneortwoasthimsquare,Ib'lieve,butheeitherpretendednotto hear'em,orgotoutofitsomehow ActedprouderthanLucifer Walkedalongthe shoreandinthewoods,andwenttotheclearin'—somesaidtobuythatlimbofa MandyAnn,butmoretoseeMissDory Allthetimehewasontheboathewas sostiffandstarchedthatnobodywantedtotacklehim,andthatgirl—Imean MissDory—haskeptaclosemouthabouthim,andwhenherbabywasborn, andsomeoftheoldcatstalkedsheonlysaid,'Itisallright,I'magoodgirl,'and Ib'lieveshewas ButthatNortherncussneedskillin' Hesendshermoney,they say,throughsomefriendinPalatka,whokeepshismouthshuttight,butneither shenorJakewilluseacentofit Theyaresavin'ittoeducatethelittlegirland makealadyofher,ifnobodyclaimsher AladyoutofaCracker!I'dlaugh!That Jakeisadandy He'sfree,buthasstucktotheHarrisesbecausehisfather belongedtooldMrs Harris Heissmarterthanchainlightnin',ifheisanigger, andknowsmorethanadozenofsomewhitemen Hedrivesawhitemule,and hasmanagedtoputatopofsailclothonanoldramshacklebuggy,whichhe callsa'shay.'You'llgotothefuneralinstyle." Mr Masonmadenoreply HewasthinkingofDory,andbeginningtofeela gooddealofinterestinherandherstory,andanxioustoseeher,evenifshe weredead Atpreciselytwelveo'clockonthedayappointedforthefuneralJake drovehiswhitemuleandshaytothedooroftheBrockHouse Hehadonhis Sundayclothes,andaroundhistallhatwasabandofblackalpaca,thenearest approachtomourninghecouldget,forcrapewasoutofthequestion If possible,itwashotterthanonthepreviousday,andthesailclothtopwasnot muchprotectionfromthesunastheydrovealongthesandyroad,overbogsand stumps,palmettorootsandlowbridges,andacrossbrooksnearlydriedupbythe heat ThewayseemedinterminabletoMr Mason,forthemulewasnotvery swift-footed,andJakewastoofondofhimtotouchhimwithawhip Apullat thelines,whichwerebitsofrope,anda"Go'longdar,youlazyolet'ing,'foreI takesthehideoff'nyou"wasthemosthedidtourgetheanimalforward,andMr Masonwasbeginningtothinkhemightgetonfasterbywalking,whenaturnin theroadbroughttheclearinginview Ithadimprovedsomesincewefirstsawit,andwasunderwhatthenatives calledrightsmartcultivationforsuchaplace Jakehadworkedearlyandlateto makeitattractiveforhisyoungmistress Hehadgiventhelog-houseacoatof whitewash,andplantedmoreclimbingrosesthanhadbeentherewhentheman fromtheNorthvisitedit Arudefenceoftwistedpoleshadbeenbuiltaroundit, andstandingbeforethisfencewerethreeorfourox-cartsandademocratwagon withtwomulesattachedtoit Thepeoplewhohadcomeinthesevehicleswere waitingexpectantlyforJakeandtheminister,andthemomenttheyappearedin sightthewhiteportionhurriedintothehouseandseatedthemselves—somein thefewchairstheroomcontained,someonthetable,andsomeonthelong benchJakehadimprovisedwithaboardandtwoboxes,andwhichthreatened everymomenttotoppleover Therewereanumberofoldwomenwith sunbonnetsontheirheads—twoorthreehigher-tonedoneswithstrawbonnets— afewyoungeroneswithhats,whilethemenandboyswereallintheirshirt sleeves Someofthemhadcomemilesthathotdaytopaytheirlastrespectsto MissDory,who,intheroomadjoiningwheretheysat,layinhercoffin,clad,as Jakehadsaid,inherbestgown,thewhiteoneshehadwornwithsomuchpride thedaythestrangercame Shehadneverwornitsince,buthadsaidtoMandy Annafewdaysbeforeshedied,"Ishouldliketobeburiedinit,ifyoucan smartenitup."AndMandyAnnwhounderstood,haddoneherbestat smartening,andwhenSonsieandotherssaiditwas"yallerassaffern,an'not fittin'foraburyin',"shehadwashedandironedit,roughly,itistrue,butitwas whiteandclean,andSonsiewassatisfied MandyAnnhadtriedtofreshenthe satinbows,butgaveitup,andputintheirplacebunchesofwildflowersshehad gatheredherself Withapartofthedollargivenherby"themanfromtheNorf," shehadcommissionedTedtobuyheraringinJacksonville Ithadprovedtoo smallforanyfinger,exceptherlittleone,andshehadseldomwornit Now,as shedressedhermistressforthelasttimeanideacametoher;shewasawellgrowngirlofsixteen,andunderstoodmanythingsbetterthanwhenshewas younger GoingtoJake,shesaid,"Ain'ttharsomethin''boutaringinthatpra'r bookyougotinRichmon'an'readsonSundays?" "Yes,indeweddin'service,"Jakereplied,andMandycontinued:"Doan'itshow dey'smarriedforshoo'!" "Forshoo?Yes IwishMissDoryhadone,"Jakeanswered MandyAnnnodded Shehadlearnedwhatshewantedtoknow,andgoingtothe littlepaperboxwhereshekeptherringshetookitup,lookedatitlovingly,and triediton Shehadpaidfiftycentsforit,andTedhadtoldhertherealpricewas adollar,buthehadgotitforless,becausethejewelerwassellingout It tarnishedrathereasily,butshecouldrubitup Itwasheronlyornament,andshe prizeditasmuchassomeladiesprizetheirdiamonds,butshelovedheryoung mistressmorethanshelovedthering,andhermistress,thoughdead,should haveit Itneededpolishing,andsherubbedituntilitlookednearlyaswellas whenTedbroughtittoherfromJacksonville "IwishtodeLawdIknewefdarwasanypartic'larfinger,"shethought,asshe stoodbythecoffinlookingatthecalmfaceofhermistress Bygoodlucksheselectedtherightfinger,onwhichtheringslippedeasily,then foldingthehandsoneovertheother,andputtinginthemsomeflowers,which, whiletheydidnothidethering,covereditpartially,sothatonlyaveryclose observerwouldbeapttothinkitwasnotreal,shesaid,"Ifyouwasn'tmarried witharingyoushallbeburiedwithone,an'itlooksrightniceonyou,itdo,an'I hopeolegrannyThomas'llbehyaran'seeitwidhersnakyeyesspeerin''round AxedmeoncetwhoIs'poseddebaby'sfaderwas,an'Itoleherdegemmanfrom deNorf,incourse,an'denmadeupdeliean'toleherdeyhadaweddin'onde slyinGeorgy—kinderrunaway,an'hiskinwasmadan'kep'himtohome'cept oncetwhenhecomedhyartoseeher,an'I'clarfor'tIdoanthinksheb'lievea word'ceptthathewashyar Everybodyknowdthat Ireckonshewillginin whensheseedering." Pleasedwithwhatshehaddone,MandyAnnlefttheroomjustasthefirst instalmentofpeoplearrived,andwiththemoldgrannyThomas Inthelittle communityofCrackersscatteredthroughtheneighborhoodthereweretwo factions,thelargerbelievinginEudora,andthesmallernotwillingtocommit themselvesuntiltheirleaderMrs Thomashaddoneso Onthestrengthofliving inaframehouse,owningtwoorthreenegroesandademocratwagon,shewasa poweramongthem Whatshethoughtsomeofthoselessfavoredthanherself thought Whenshe"gavein"theywould,andnotbefore Uptothepresenttime therehadbeennosignsof"givingin"onthepartofthelady,whoseshoulders stillhunchedandwhoseheadshookwhenEudorawasmentioned Sheshouldgo tothefuneral,incourse,shesaid SheowedittooleMissHarris,andshereally hadagooddealofrespectfortheniggerJake Soshecameinherdemocrat wagonandstrawbonnet,andbecauseshewasMrs Thomas,walkeduninvited intotheroomwherethecoffinstood,andlookedatEudora "I'dforgotshewassopurty It'sagoodwhilesenseIseenher,"shethought,a feelingofpityrisinginherheartfortheyounggirlwhosefacehadneverlooked fairerthanitdidnowwiththesealofdeathuponit "Ands'true'sIliveshe'sgot aringonherweddin'finger!Whydidn'tsheneverwaritaforean'letitbe known?"shesaidtoherself,stoopingdowntoinspectthering,whichtoherdim oldeyesseemedliketherealcoin "Shewouldn'tlieinhercoffin,an'Ib'lieve shewasgoodafterall,an'I'vebeentoohardonher,"shecontinued,waddlingto aseatoutside,andcommunicatingherchangeofsentimenttothewomannextto her,whotoldittothenext,untilitwasprettygenerallyknownthat"oleMiss Thomashadginin,'caseMissDoryhadonherweddin'ring." Nearlyeveryoneelsepresenthad"ginin"longbefore,andnowthatMrs Thomashaddeclaredherself,thefewdoubtfulonesfollowedherlead,andthere wereonlykind,pityingwordssaidofpoorDory,astheywaitedfortheminister tocome,andtheservicestobegin CHAPTERVI THESERVICES Theblackswereoutsidethehouse,andthewhitesinside,whenJakedrovehis shaytothedoor,andtheRev Mr Masonalighted,wipingthesweatfromhis faceandlookingaroundwithagooddealofcuriosity Amulattoboycame forwardtotakechargeofthemule,andJakeusheredtheministerintotheroom wherethecoffinstood,andwherewerethefourmenhehadaskedtobebearers "Is'poseI'dor'terofhadsix,"hesaidinawhisper;"butshe'ssolight,fourcan totehereasy,an'they'sallvery'spectable Nolow-downs Imeanseverything shallbefust-class." Wrappedinshawls,withherheadnoddingupanddown,oldMrs Harrissat, moredeafandmorelikeadriedmummythanshehadbeenontheoccasionof thestranger'svisit Jakehadboughtheraneartrumpet,butsheseldomusedit, unlesscompelledbyMandyAnn,whonowsatnearherwiththelittlegirlwho, atsightofJake,startedtomeethim But,MandyAnnheldherbackand whispered,"Can'tyoudone'haveyerselfatyermammy'sfuneralan'wetheonly mourners?" Thechildonlyunderstoodthatshewastokeepquiet,andsatdowninherlittle chair,whileJakemotionedtoMr MasonthathewastoseeMissDory Duringherillnessherhairhadfallenoutsofastthatithadbeencutoff,andnow layinsoftringsaroundherforehead,givinghermorethelookofachildthanof agirloftwenty,astheplateonhercoffinindicated "Eudora,agedtwenty,"was alltherewasonit,andglancingatitMr Masonwonderedtherewasnoother name Jakesawthelookandwhispered "Iwan'tgwinetoliean'puton'Eudora Harris,'forsheain'tEudoraHarris,an'Ididn'tknowt'othernameforshoo Ain't shelovely!" "Sheis,indeed,"Mr Masonsaid,feelingthemoistureinhiseyes,ashelooked attheyoung,innocentfaceonwhichtherewasnotraceofguilt HewassureofthatwithoutJake'srepeatedassertion,"Fo'God,it'sallright,for shetolemeso Mostly,she'dsaynothin' She'dpromisedshewouldn't,butjess fo'shediedshesaidagentome,'ItolehimI'dkeepdarktillhecomeforme,but it'sallright SendforElderCovil'crosttheriver Heknows.'I'vetoleyouthis afore,Ireckon,butmymindissofullIgitrattled." Bythistimethebentfiguresittingintherocking-chair,nearthecoffinbeganto showsignsoflifeandwhimperalittle "'Scuseme,"Jakesaid,pullingashawlmoresquarelyaroundhershouldersand straighteningherup "Mas'rMason,thisisoleMissLucy MissLucy,thisis Mas'rMason,cometo'tendMissDory'sfuneral Peartupalittle,can'tyou,and speaktohim." Theredidn'tseemtobemuch"peartup"inthewoman,whobeganatonceto cry InstantlyMandyAnnstartedupandwipedherface,andsettledhercap,and takingthetrumpetscreamedintoitthatshewastobehaveherselfandspeakto thegemman "Dory'sdead,"shemoaned,andsubsidedintohershawlandcap,withafaint kindofcry "Dory'sdead,"wasrepeated,inavoiceverydifferentfromthatoftheold woman—achild'sclear,sweetvoice—andturning,Mr Masonsawalittledarkhaired,dark-eyedgirlstandingbyMandyAnn Mr Masonwasfondofchildren,andstoopingdownhekissedthechild,who drewbackandhidbehindJake "Me'fraid,"shesaid,coveringherfacewithherhands,andlookingwithher brighteyesthroughherfingersatthestranger Somethinginhereyesattractedandfascinated,andatthesametimetroubled Mr Mason,hescarcelyknewwhy Theoldgrandmotherwascertainly demented ThelandlordhadsaidEudoraandthewholefamilywerequeer Was thechildgoingtobequeer,too,anddidsheshowitinhereyes?Theywerevery largeandbeautiful,andthelong,curlinglashes,whensheclosedthem,fellon hercheekslikethoseofherdeadmother,whomsheresembled Sheseemedout ofplaceinhersurroundings,buthecouldnottalktoherthen Thepeopleinthe nextroomwerebeginningtogetrestless,andtotalkinlowtonesoftheircrops andtheweather,andthebigalligatorcaughtnearthehotel Itwastimetobegin, andtakingthelittlegirlinhisarms,JakemotionedtoMr Mason Inthedoor betweenthetworoomswasastandcoveredwithacleanwhitetowel Onitwas aBible,ahymn-book,acupofwater,andtwoorthreeflowersinanothercup Mr MasondidnotneedtheBible JakehadaskedfortheResurrectionandthe Life,andhehadbroughthisprayer-book,andbeganthebeautifulburialservice oftheChurch,towhichthepeoplelistenedattentivelyforawhile;thenthey begantogettired,andbythetimethelongreadingwasthroughtherewere unmistakablesignsofdiscontentamongthem Theyhadexpectedsomething morethanreadingachapter Theywantedremarks,withlaudationsofthe deceased MissDorywasworthyofthem,andbecausetherewerenonethey fanciedtheministerdidnotbelieveitwasallrightwithher,andtheyresentedit EvenoldMissThomashad"ginin,"andtharwastheweddin'ring,an'no sermon,—noremarks,andtheydidn'tlikeit Anothergrievancewasthatno hymnwasgivenout,andtherewasthehymn-bookathand Theyhadatleast expected"Harkfromthetombs,"ifnothingelse,buttherewasnothing Singing constitutedalargepartoftheirreligiousworship,andtheydidnotmeantohave MissDoryburiedwithoutthisattention AsMr Masonfinishedtheservicesandsatdown,hewasstartledwithan outburstof"Shallwemeetbeyondtheriver."Everybodyjoinedinthesong, negroesandall,theirrich,fullvoicesdominatingtheothers,andmakingMr Masonthrillineverynerveasthequaintmusicfilledthehouse,andwent echoingoutuponthesummerair Whenthe"BeautifulRiver"wasfinishedsome oneoutsidethedoortookuptherefrain: "Oh,thatwillbejoyful,joyful,joyful; Oh,thatwillbejoyful, Whenwemeettopartnomore." Thisappealedtotheblacks,whoenteredintothesingingheartandsoul,someof theolderoneskeepingtimewithaswingingmotionoftheirbodies,andoneold ladyinherenthusiasmbringingdownherfistuponthedoorstep,onwhichshe wassitting,andshoutinginawaywhichwarnedJakeofdanger Heknewthe signs,andputtingdownthelittlegirl,whohadfallenasleepinhislap,hewent totheoldnegress,whowasbeginningtogetunderfullheadway,andholdingher upliftedarm,saidtoher: "Hush,AuntJudy,hush;thisain'tnoplacetohavethepow' Thisain'tapra'r meetin';tisa'Piscopalfuneral,thisis,suchastheyhaveinVirginny." WhatJudymighthavesaidisuncertain,fortherecameadiversioninthescene ThechildhadfollowedJaketothedoor,whereshestoodwide-eyedand attentive,andwhenthelastwordsofthehymnended,shesanginaclear,shrill voice,"Bejoyfulwhenwemeettopartnomore."Hervoicewassingularly sweetandfull,andMr Masonsaidtohimself,"She'llbeasingersomeday,if sheisnotcrazyfirst."NothingnowcouldkeepoldJudyfromonemoreburst, andher"Yes,thankdeLawd,we'llmeettopartnomo',"rangoutlikeaclarion, andthereligiousserviceswereover Therestillremainedwhatwasthemostinterestingparttotheaudience—taking leaveofthecorpse—andforafewminutesthesobs,andcries,andejaculations werebewilderingtoMr Mason,whohadneverhadanexperienceofthiskind Jakequietedthetumultassoonaspossible,remindingthepeopleagainthatthis wasafirst-class'Piscopalfuneral,suchasthequalityhadinVirginny Theold grandmotherwasledtothecoffinbyMandyAnn,whoshookherupandtoldher tolookatMissDory,butnotcrymuch,ifshecouldhelpit Shedidn'tcryatall, butnearlyeveryonedidintheadjoiningroom,wheretheysaidtoeachother, "OleMissistakin'leaveanddon'tsenseitanatom."Thelittlegirlwasheldup byJake,whomadeherkisshermother "Mamma'ss'eep,"thechildsaid,asshekissedthepalelipswhichwouldnever smileonheragain Therewasafreshoutburstofsobsandtearsfromthespectators,andthenthe coffinwasclosed,andtheprocessiontookitswayacrossthehotsandstothe littleenclosureintheclearing,whereothermembersoftheHarrisfamilywere buried Rememberingtheimpatienceofthepeopleinthehouse,Mr Mason wishedtoshortentheserviceatthegrave,butJakesaid:"No We'llhavethe wholefiggerforMissDory."Mr Masonwentthewholefigurewithuncovered headunderthebroilingsun,andwhenhewasthroughhefeltasifhisbrains werebaked TheCrackersdidnotseemtomindtheheatatall Theywere accustomedtoit,andaftertheirreturnfromthegrave,stayedrounduntilthe whitemuleandsail-toppedshaywerebroughtupforMr Mason'sreturntothe hotel AsJakewasverybusy,ayoungnegroboywassentinhisplace Naturally loquacious,hekeptupaconstantstreamoftalk,butashestammeredfrightfully themostMr MasoncouldunderstandwasthatMissDorywasadandy,oleMiss 'onery,whateverthatmightmean,andJakeabighead,whothoughtheknew everythingbecausehewasfreeandcouldread ThenextdaywasSunday,andMr Masontookforthesubjectofhisremarksin theparlorofthehotelthestoryofLazarusandDives,andeverytimehespokeof Divesreceivinghisgoodthingsinlife,hethoughtofthemanwhomthelandlord haddesignateda"Northerncuss";andeverytimehespokeofLazarus,he thoughtofpoorlittleDoryandthathumblegraveinthesandsofthepalmetto clearing Itwascoveredbeforenightwithyoungdwarfpalmettoes,whichMandyAnn laiduponitwithathoughtthattheywouldkeepheryoungmistresscool All throughthedayshehadrestrainedherfeelings,becauseJaketoldherthatwas thewaytodo "SeemsefIshouldbust,"shesaidtoherselfmorethanonce,andwhenatlastthe daywasover,andbotholeMissandthelittlegirlwereasleep,shestoleoutto thenewlymadegrave,andlyingdownuponitamongthepalmettoesshecried bitterly,"Oh,MissDory,MissDory,kinyouharme?It'sMandyAnn,an'I'mso sorryyou'redead,an'sorryIwassobadsometimes Ihavetriedtobebetter lately,senseIgotgrowed Now,hain'tI,an'Ihain'ttolemanylies,nortacheda thingsenseItookthatbillfromhim Cusshim,whareverheis!Cusshimtonight,efhe'salive;an'efhisbedissoff'aswool,doanlethimsleepforthinkin' ofMissDory Doanlethimeverknowpeaceofmin'tillheownsthe'ittlegirl; though,dearLawd,whatshouldwedowithouther—mean'Jake?" MandyAnnwasonherkneesnow,withherhandsuplifted,assheprayedfor cussesonthemanwhohadwroughtsuchharmtohermistress Whentheprayer wasfinishedshefellonherfaceagainandsobbed,"MissDory,MissDory,I mustgoinnowan'seeto'ittlechile,butIhatestoleaveyouhyaraloneinde san' Doesyouknowyou'sgotonmyring?Iginittoyou,an'olegrannyThomas 'ginin'whensheseedit,an'saidyoumus'begood I'semightygladIginitto you 'TwasallIhadtogive,an'itwilltell'emwharyou'vegonethatyouwas good." Therewasadampnessintheairthatnight,andMandyAnnfeltitassherose fromthegrave,andbrushedbitsofpalmettofromherdressandhair Butshedid notmindit,andasshewalkedtothehouseshefeltgreatlycomfortedwiththe thoughtthatshehadcussedhim,andthatMissDorywaswearingherringasa signthatshewasgood,andthat"olegrannyThomashadginin." CHAPTERVII COL CROMPTON Hewasyoungtobeacolonel,butthetitlewasmerelynominaland complimentary,andnotgivenforanyservicetohiscountry Whenonlytwentyonehehadjoinedacompanyofmilitia—youngbloodslikehimself—who drilledforexerciseandpleasureratherthanfromanyideathattheywouldever becalledintoservice Hewasatfirstcaptain,thenherosetotherankofcolonel, andwhenthecompanydisbandedhekeptthetitle,andwasratherproudofit,as hewasofeverythingpertainingtohimselfandtheCromptonsgenerally Itwas anoldEnglishfamily,tracingitsancestrybacktothedaysofWilliamthe Conqueror,andboastingoftwoorthreetitlesandacoat-of-arms TheAmerican branchwasnotveryprolific,andsofarasheknew,theColonelwastheonly remainingCromptonofthatlineinthiscountry,exceptthesonofahalf-brother Thisbrother,whowasnowdead,hadmarriedagainsthisfather'swishes,and beencutofffromtheCromptonproperty,which,attheoldman'sdeath,allcame totheColonel Itwasafineestate,withaverygrandhousefortheNewEngland townbytheseainwhichitwassituated ItwasbuiltbytheelderCrompton,who wasborninEngland,andhadcarriedouthisforeignideasofarchitecture,and withitsturretsandsquaretowersitboresomeresemblancetothehandsome placeshehadseenathome Itwasofstone,andstooduponariseofground, commandingaviewoftheseatwomilesaway,andtheprettyvillageonthe shorewithabackgroundofwoodedhillsstretchingtothewest Itwasfullof picturesandbric-à-brac,andstatuaryfromallpartsoftheworld,forthe Colonel'sfatherhadtravelledextensively,andbroughthomesouvenirsfrom everycountryvisited Floridahadfurnishedherquota,andstuffedparokeetsand redbirds,andahugealligatorskinadornedthewallsofthewidehall,together withantlersandpiecesofoldarmor,andothercurios Asmallfortunewas yearlyexpendeduponthegroundswhichwereverylarge,andpeoplewondered thattheColonellavishedsomuchuponwhatheseemedtocaresolittlefor, excepttoseethatitwasinperfectorder,withoutadriedleaf,ortwig,orweedto maritsbeauty Ithadnotalwaysbeenthuswithhim Whenhefirstcameintopossessionofthe placehewasjustthroughcollege,andhadseemedveryproudandfondofhis fineestate,andhadextendedhishospitalityfreelytohisacquaintances,keeping them,however,atacertaindistance,fortheCromptonpridewasalwaysinthe ascendant,andhetoleratednofamiliarities,exceptsuchashechosetoallow Thisgenialsociallifelastedafewyears,andthentherecameachange, followingapartofawinterspentinSouthCarolinaandGeorgiawithhis intimatefriendandcollegechum,TomHardy Communicationbetweenthe NorthandSouthwasnotasfrequentanddirectthenasitisnow,andbutlittle wasknownofhisdoings AtfirsthewroteoccasionallytoPeter,hishead servant,towhomheentrustedthecareofthehouse;thenhislettersceasedand nothingwasheardfromhimuntilsuddenly,withoutwarning,hecamehome, lookingmucholderthanwhenhewentaway,andwithalookuponhisface whichdidnotleaveitasthedayswenton "'SpecthehadahigholdtimewiththatTomHardy,andisalltuckeredout," Petersaid,whiletheColonel,thinkinghemustgivesomereasonforhischanged demeanor,saidhehadmalaria,takeninsomeSouthernswamp IftherewasanydiseaseforwhichPeterhadaspecialaversionitwasmalaria, whichhefanciedheknewhowtotreat,havinghaditoncehimself Quinine, cholagogue,andwhiskeywereprescribedinlargequantities,andPeter wonderedwhytheyfailedtocure Hedidnotsuspectthatthequininewentinto thefire,andthecholagoguedownthedrain-pipefromthewashstand The Colonel'smalariawasnotthekindtobecuredbydrugs,andtherecameaday when,afterthereceiptofaletterfromTomHardy,hecollapsedentirely,and Peterfoundhimshiveringinhisroom,histeethchattering,andhisfingers purplewithcold "Youhavegotitbadthistime,"Petersaid,suggestingthedoctor,andmore quinineandcholagogue,andadoseofWarburg'sTincture TheColoneldeclinedthemall Whatheneededwasanotherblanket,andtobe letalone Peterbroughttheblanketandlefthimalone,whilehefacedthisnew troublewhichborenoresemblancetomalaria Hewasjustbeginningtobemore hopefulofthefuture,andhadhisplansalllaid,andknewwhatheshoulddoand say,andnowthisnewcomplicationhadarisenandbrushedhisschemeaside He hadsownthewindandwasreapingacyclone,andhesworetohimself,and hardenedhisheartagainsttheinnocentcauseofhistrouble,andthoughtonceof suicideashehadontheSt John'stheyearbefore Hespentmoney,justthe same,uponhishandsomegrounds;butitwasonlyforthepridehehadin keepingthemup,andnotforanypleasurehehadinthem Heneverpickeda flower,orsatonanyoftheseatsunderthetrees,and,unlessthedaywasvery hot,wasseldomseenuponhisbroadpiazza,whereeverydayPeterspreadrugs andplacedchairsbecausehismasterlikedtoseethemthere,iftheywerenot used Hislibrarywashisfavoriteplace,wherehesatforhoursreading,smoking, andthinking,nooneknewofwhat,ortriedtoknow,forhewasnotamantobe easilyapproached,orquestionedastohisbusiness Ifhehadmalariaitclungto himyearafteryear,whilehegrewmorereservedandsilent,andsawlessand lessofthepeople ProudasLucifertheycalledhim,andyet,becausehewasa Crompton,andbecauseofthemoneyhegavesofreelywhenitwasaskedfor,he wasnotunpopular;andwhenthetownbegantogrowinimportanceonaccount ofitsfinebeachandsafebathing,andamovementwasmadetochangeitsname fromTroutburgtosomethinglessplebeian,Cromptonwassuggested,andmet withgeneralapproval Noonewasbetterpleasedwiththearrangementthanthe Colonelhimself,althoughhedidnotsmilewhenthenewswasbroughttohim Heseldomsmiledatanything,buttherewasakindlinglightinhiseyes,andhis voiceshookalittleashethankedthecommitteewhowaiteduponhim Tobe knownas"Col CromptonofCrompton"wasexceedinglygratifyingtohis vanity,andseemedinawaytoliftthemalariouscloudfromhimforatimeat least ItwasmorethanthreeyearssinceTomHardy'sletterhadthrownhimintoa chill,andeverythingasyetwasquiet NothinghadcomefromtheSouth derogatorytohim,andhehadalmostmadehimselfbelievethatthisstateof thingsmightgoonforyears,perhapsforever,thoughthatwasscarcelypossible Atalleventshe'dwaittillthestormburst,andthenmeetitsomehow Hewasa Cromptonandhadfaithinhimself,andthefaithwasincreasedbythe complimentpaidbyhistownspeople;andashewasnotonetoreceiveafavor withoutreturningit,heconceivedtheideaofgivinganimmenselawn-party,to whichnearlyeverybodyshouldbeinvited Hehadshuthimselfuptoomuch,he thought—hemustminglemorewiththepeople,andbuildaroundhimselfawall sostrongthatnothinginthefuturecouldquitebreakitdown Peterandtherestofhisservantswereconsultedandenteredheartilyintohis plan CardsofinvitationwereissuedbearingtheCromptonmonogram,anda noticeinsertedinthedailypapertotheeffectthatanywhofailedtoreceivea cardweretoknowitwasamistake,andcomejustthesame Therewasagreat dealofexcitementamongthepeople,forithadbeenalongtimesinceany hospitalityhadbeenextendedtothem,andtheywereeagertogo,knowingthat somethingfinewastobeexpected,astheColonelneverdidanythingbyhalves Thedayofthelawn-partywasperfect—neithertoohotnortoocold—andthe sunwhichshoneuponthathumblefuneralinthepalmettoclearingshoneupona verydifferentsceneintheCromptongrounds,wherethepeoplebeganto assembleasearlyasoneo'clock Thegrassonthelawnwaslikevelvet,without astickorstonetobeseen,fortwogardenershadbeenatworkuponitsince sunrise,cuttingandraking,andsprinkling,untilitwasasfreshasafterasoft summershower Thelaterosesandwhitelilieswereinfullbloom,thelatter fillingtheairwithasweetodorandmakingalovelybackground Therewere tablesandchairsunderthemaplesandelms,andrugsandpiecesofcarpet wherevertherewasasuspicionofdampnessintheground Therewasabrass bandinonepartofthegrounds,andastringbandinanother,wheretheyoung peopledancedunderthetrees Refreshmentswereservedatfiveo'clock,andthe festivitieswerekeptuptillthesunwentdown,andhalfthechildrenweresick fromovereating—themothersweretired,andsomeofthemenalittleshakyin theirlegs,andthickintheirspeech,fromatoofrequentacquaintancewiththe claretpunchwhichstoodhereandthereingreatbowls,freeaswater,andmore popular Thecrowningeventofthedaycamewhenthehundredsoflanterns werelightedonthepiazzasandinthetrees,andeverywindowinthehouse blazedwithcandlesplacedinsocloseproximitytoeachother,thatobjectscould beplainlyseenatsomedistance TheColonelwasgoingtomakeaspeech,andhecameoutuponanupper balcony,wherethelightfromtentalllampsfellfulluponhim,bringingout everyfeatureofhisfacedistinctly Hewasratherpaleandhaggard,butthe peoplewereaccustomedtothat,andchargedittothemalaria Hewasvery distinguishedlooking,theythought,astheystoodwaitingforhimtocommence hisspeech Alltheafternoonhehadbeenthemostcourteousofhosts—alittle toopatronizing,perhaps,forthatwashisway,butverypolite,withapleasant wordforeveryone Heknewhewasmakinganimpression,andfeltproudina wayasCromptonofCrompton,whenhesteppedoutuponthebalconyandsaw theeager,upturnedfaces,andheardtheshoutwhichgreetedhim Andstillthere waswithhimafeelingofunrest—apresentimentthatonhishorizon,seemingly sobright,adarkcloudwaslowering,whichmightatanymomentburstuponthe headheheldsohigh Hewasalwaysdreadingit,butforthelastfewdaysthe feelinghadbeenstrongeruntilnowitwaslikeanightmare,andhiskneesshook ashebowedtothepeopleconfrontinghimandfillingtheairwithcheers Nocontrastcouldhavebeengreaterthanthatbetweenthesceneonwhichhe lookeddown—thepark,theflowers,thefountains,andthepeople—andthe palmettoclearinginfarawayFlorida Hedidnotknowofthefuneralandthe groupassembledaroundthelog-cabin Butheknewoftheclearing Hehadbeen there,andalwaysfelthisbloodtinglewhenhethoughtofit,anditwasthe pictureofitwhichhadhauntedhimallday,andwhichcameandstoodbeside him,shuttingouteverythingelse,ashebegantothankthepeopleforthehonor conferreduponhimbycallingthetownbyhisname Hedidn'tdeserveit,hesaid Hedidn'tdeserveanythingfromanybody "Yes,youdo,"wentupfromahundredthroats,forundertheinfluenceofthe goodcheerandtheattentionpaidthemthemanwasforthetimebeingahero "No,Idon't,"hecontinued "Iamamorallyweakman—weakerthanwater wheremyprideisconcerned—andifyouknewmeasIknowmyselfyouwould sayIwasmoredeservingoftarandfeathersthanthehonoryouhaveconferred uponme." Thiswasnotatallwhatheintendedtosay,butthewordsseemedforcedfrom himbythatpictureofthepalmettoclearingstandingsoclosetohim His audiencedidnotknowwhathemeant Sofarastheyknewhehadbeenperfectly upright,withnofaultbuthisprideandcoldnessbywhichhecamerightfullyasa Crompton Hemusthavevisitedthepunchbowlstoooften,theythought,and didn'tknowwhathewastalkingabout Afterapause,duringwhichhewas tryingtothrustasidetheclearing,andthelog-house,andtheoldwomaninher chair,andMandyAnn,andtopullhimselftogether,hewentontosay: "Youhavebeenforalongtimediscussingthesiteofanewschool-house,in placeoftheoldonewhichstandssonearthemarshes,thatitisawonderyour childrenhavenotalldiedwithfeverandague Someofyouwantitonthehill— someunderthehill—someinoneplace,andsomeinanother Nobodywantsit nearhisownpremises Aschool-housewithalotofhowlingchildrenisnota desirableneighbortomostpeople FormypartIdon'tobjecttoit Ilike children." Herehestoppedsuddenlyastheimageofachildhehadneverseencamebefore himandchokedhisutterance,whilethepeoplelookedateachother,and wonderedhowlonghehadbeensofondofchildren Itwasgenerallyconceded thathedidnotcareforthem—dislikedtheminfact—andhehadneverbeen knowntonoticeoneinanyway Surelyhehadbeentooneartheclaretbowls Hedetectedthethoughtofthosenearesttohim,andcontinued: "IamnotonetoshowallIfeel Itisnotmynature Iaminterestedinchildren, andasproofofitIwilltellyoumyplan Therearetwoacresoflandonthe southsideofthepark Ifenceditoffforanartificialpond,butgaveitup There isaspringofgoodwaterthere,withplentyofshadetreesforthechildrentoplay under Iwillgivethislandforthenewschool-house." Herehewasobligedtostop,thecheersweresodeafening Whentheysubsided hewentonrapidly: "Iwillbuildthehouse,too SuchanoneaswillnotshameDistrictNo 5in Crompton Itshallbeamodelhouse,welllightedandventilated,withbroad, comfortableseats,especiallyforthelittleones,whosefeetshalltouchthefloor Itshallbecommencedatonce,andfinishedbeforethewinterterm." Hebowedandsatdown,whiteandperspiringateverypore,andhardlyknowing towhathehadcommittedhimself Thecheerswerenowaroarwhichwent echoingoutintothenight,andwereheardnearlyasfarasthevillageonthe beach,thepeoplewonderingmoreandmoreathisgenerosity,andsudden interestintheirlittleones Andnoonewonderedmorethanhimself Hedidnot careapicayuneforchildren,norwhethertheirfeettouchedthefloorornot,and hehadnotintendedpledginghimselftobuildthehousewhenhebegan Butas hetalked,thepalmettoclearingstaredhimintheface,shuttingouteverything fromhisvision,exceptalongseatdirectlyinfrontofhim,onwhichseverallittle girlswhosefeetcouldnottouchthegroundwerefastasleep,theirheadsfalling overuponeachother,andthelastonerestinguponthearmofthesettee Itwasa prettypicture,andstirredinhimfeelingshehadneverexperiencedbefore He woulddosomethingforthechildren,expiatory,hesaidtohimself,ashesat down,thinkingheoughttobetheproudestandhappiestofmentohavethetown calledforhim,andtostandsohighintheesteemofhisfellowcitizens What wouldtheysayiftheyknewwhathedid,andhowcowardlyhewasbecauseof hispride Sometimetheymustknow Itcouldnotbeotherwise,buthewouldput offtheevildayaslongashecould,andwhen,atlast,hisguestsbegantoleave, andhewentdowntobidthemgood-night,hisheadwashighwiththatairof patronageandsuperioritynaturaltohim,andwhichthepeopletoleratedbecause hewasCol Crompton Thatnighthehadachill—theresultofsomuchexcitementtowhichhewasnot accustomed,hesaidtoPeter,whobroughthimahot-waterbagandanextra blanket,andwouldliketohavesuggestedhisfavoriteremedies,quinineand cholagogue,butexperiencehadtaughthimwisdom,andputtingdownthehotwaterbagandblanket,helefttheroomwithacasualremarkaboutthefineday, andhowwelleverythinghadpassedoff,"onlyafewmenalittleboozy,"hesaid, "andthreeorfourchildrenwithbruisedheadscausedbyafallfromaswing." Thelawn-partyhadbeenagreatsuccess,andtheColonelknewheoughttobe thehappiestmanintown,whereashewasthemostmiserable Hecouldnothear MandyAnn'scursesasshekneltonhermistress'sgrave,norseeherduskyarms swayinginthedarknesstoemphasizehermaledictions Hedidn'tknowthere wasagrave,butsomethingweighedhimdownwithunspeakableremorse Every incidentofhisfirstvisitSouthcamebacktohimwithstartlingvividness, makinghimwonderwhyGodhadallowedhimtodowhathehaddone Thenhe rememberedhistriponthe"Hatty,"whenhekepthimselfalooffromeverybody, withamorbidfearlestheshouldseesomeonewhoknewhim,orhadheardof him,orwouldmeethimagain Herememberedthelog-houseandhissupper, whenMandyAnnservedfromadinner-plate,andhisnapkinwasapocket handkerchief Herememberedthemumblingoldwomaninherchair;butmost ofallherememberedthegirlwhosatoppositehim Herfacewasalwayswith him,anditcamebeforehimnow,justasitwasinthemoonlight,whenshesaid: "Youcantrustme IwilldothebestIcan." Shehadstoodwithherhandsuponthefenceandhesawthemastheylooked then,andholdinguphisownhesaid,"Theywerelittlebrownhands,butthey shouldhavebeenwhitelikemine PoorDory!" Therewasathrobofpityinhisheartashisremorseincreased,andthehotnight seemedtoquiverwiththeechoofMandyAnn's"cusshim,cusshimwherever hemaybe,andifhisbedissoffaswooldoan'lethimsleepawink."Hisbed wassoftaswool,butithadnoattractionforhim,andhesatwithhishot-water bagandblanketuntilhischillpassed,andwassucceededbyaheatwhichmade himputblanketandbagaside,andopenboththewindowsofhisroom Thelate moonhadrisenandwasfloodingthegroundswithitslight,bringingout distinctlytheobjectsnearesttohim Sometablesandchairswereleftstanding,a fewlanternswerehanginginthetrees,andinfrontofhimwasthelongbenchon whichthelittlegirlshadbeensleeping,withtheirfeetfromtheground,whenhe madehisspeech Thesightofthisbroughttohismindthedaythreeyearsbefore when,justashisplanswereperfected,therehadcomealetterwhichmadehim staggerasfromaheavyblow,whileallaroundhimwaschaos,darkand impenetrable Inmostmentheletterwouldhaveawakenedafeelingof tenderness,buthewasnotlikemostmen Hewasutterlyselfish,andprouder thananyCromptoninthelonglineofthatproudrace,and,insteadoftenderness orpity,hefeltanintenseangeragainstthefatewhichhadthusdealtwithhim whenhewastryingtodoright Whattodonextwasthequestion,whichTomHardy,ascoldandunfeelingas himself,answeredforhim "Youareinanawfulmess,"hewrote,"andtheonlycourseIseeistokeepthem suppliedwithmoney,andletthingsrununtiltheycometoafocus,asIsuppose theymust,thoughtheymaynot FloridaisalongwaysfromMassachusetts Few NorthernersevergotoEnterprise,andiftheydotheymaynothearofthe clearinganditsinmates Thegirlisnotover-bright Ibegyourpardon,butshe isn't,andwillbeapttobequietwhenshemakesuphermindthatsheisdeserted Theonlyoneyouhavetofearisthatnigger,Jake;butIreckonwecanmanage him;socheerupandnevermakesuchaninfernalfoolofyourselfagain." SomethinginthisletterhadgratedontheColonel'sfeelings—thereferenceto thegirl,perhaps—buthehaddecidedtofollowTom'sadvice,andletthingsrun untiltheycametoafocus Theyhadrunprettysmoothlyforthreeyears,and onlyafewletters,forwardedbyhisfriendwhonowlivedinPalatka,andkepta kindofoversightoftheclearing,cametotroublehim Thesehealwaysburned, buthecouldnotforget,andthepastwasalwayswithhim,notexactlyasitwas onthenightafterhislawn-party,whenitseemedtohimthatallthepowersofthe bottomlesspithadunitedagainsthim,andifeveramanexpiatedhiswrongdoinginremorseandmentalpainhewasdoingit Thelaudationsofthecrowd whichhadcheeredhimsolustilywereofnoaccount,northehonorconferredby givingthetownhisname Nothinghelpedhimashestoodwiththesweatrolling downhisface,andlookedoutuponhishandsomegrounds,whichhedidnotsee becauseofthepalmettoclearing,andthelittlechild,andtheyoungmotheron whosegravethemoonwasshining MandyAnn'scursewassurelytakingeffect, fornosleepcametohimthatnight,andthenextdayfoundhimwornandpale, andwhenPeter,sureofamalariousattackworsethanusual,venturedtoofferhis cholagogueandquinine,hewasswornat,andtoldtotakehimselfoffwithhis infernaldrugs "Iamtiredwithyesterday'smob IshallbebetterwhenIamrested,andgetthe tasteoutofmymouthofTom,Dick,andHarrytrampingoverthepremises,"he thought ThiswasnotverycomplimentarytotheTom's,andDick's,andHarry'swhohad trampedthroughhisgrounds,buttheydidnotknowhisthoughts,andwerefull ofthelawn-party,andthenewschool-house,theworkonwhichwas commencedearlyinAugust,whenalargenumberofmenappeared,andwere superintendedandurgedonbytheColonelhimself Hedidnotwork,buthewas thereeveryday,issuingordersandmakingsuggestions,andinthisway managingtodissipateinpartthecloudalwayshangingoverhim,andwhich beforelongwastoassumeaformwhichhecouldnotescape CHAPTERVIII THECHILDOFTHECLEARING Theschool-housewasfinished,andwasamodelofcomfortandconvenience It waswelllightedandventilated,andeverychildofwhateveragecouldtouchits feettothefloor Ifitwereinanysenseexpiatory,ithadprovenasuccess,forthe palmettoclearingdidnothaunttheColonelasithaddoneonthedayofthe lawn-party Itwasalongtimesincehehadheardfromthere,andhewas beginningtowonderifanythinghadhappened,whenPeterbroughthimanoddlookingletter,directedwrongsideup,writtenwithapencil,andhavingaboutit afaintperfumeofverybadtobacco Itwasaddressedto"Mr KurnalKrompton, Troutberg,Mass."Thewriterevidentlydidnotknowoftherecentchangeof name,andtheletterhadbeenlongontheway,buthadreacheditsdestinationat last,andwassoiledandworn,andverysecond-classinitsappearance,Peter decided,ashetookitfromtheofficeandstudieditcarefully Nosuchmissive had,tohisknowledge,everbeforefounditswayintothearistocraticprecinctsof CromptonPlace Ifithadhehadnotseenit,andhewonderedwhocouldhave sentthisone Hefoundhismastertakinghisbreakfast,and,holdingtheletter betweenhisthumbandfingers,asiftherewerecontaminationinitstouch,he handedittohim "Fairlyturnedspeckledwhenhelookedatit,"Peterthought,ashelefttheroom "WishIhadseenwhereitwasmailed." Anhourlater,Jane,thehousemaid,cametohimandsaid,"TheColonelwants you." Peterfoundhiminhisbedroom,packingasatchelwithashakinghandanda facemorespeckledthanithadbeenwhenhereadtheletter "Peter,"hesaid,"folduptheseshirtsforme,andputinsomecollarsandsocks I amgoingonalittletrip,andmaybegonetwoweeks,maybemore Holdyour tongue." WhenhewishedPetertobeparticularlyreticent,hetoldhimtoholdhistongue Peterunderstood,andheldit,andfinishedpackingthesatchel,orderedthe carriagefortheeleveno'clocktrain,andsawhismasteroff,withoutknowing wherehewasgoing,exceptthathisticketwasforNewYork "Thatsmellyletterhassomethingtodowithit,ofcourse,"hesaid "IwishI knewwhereitwasfrom." Hewasarrangingthepapersonthelibrarytable,whenhestoppedsuddenlywith anexclamationofsurprise,forthere,underhishand,laythesmellyletter,which theColonelhadforgottentoputaway "Phew!IthoughtIgotawhiffofsomethingbad,"hesaid,andreadagainthe superscription,withagrowingcontemptforthewriter "NobodywillknowifI readit,andIshallholdmytongue,asusual,"hethought,hiscuriosityatlast overcominghissenseofhonor Openingtheenvelope,hetookoutthepieceoffoolscap,onwhichwasneither datenornameofplace "KurnalKrompton,"itbegan "Yerfren'inPalatkydonegonetoEurope Hetole meyername'forehewent,an'soIritemeselftotellyouMissDory'sded,an' oleMiss,too Shedonedideaweekago,an'MissDorylas'July WhatshalIdo widdechile?IshoodofritwhenMissDorydide,butMandyAnnan'me—you 'membersMandyAnn—sedhowyou'dbecomin'tofotchherriteaway,an'we cuddentbartopartwidherwhilstoleMisslived Butnowshe'sdonededde chiledoanor'tobebrungupwidCrackersan'niggers,an'dendar'sdeplace belongedtooleMiss,an'dar'sMandyAnn Shedoan'or'terbesoletonobody I'dbuyheran'setherfreeefIhaddemoney,butIhain't She'saralepurtychile —delittlegirl YoumitebuyMandyAnnan'takeherforlilchile'snuss Jake Harris." "Jerusalem!"Peterexclaimed "Here'sago WhoisMissDory?Sometrollop,of course—andsheisdead,andoldMiss,too WhoisoldMiss?andwhoisMandy AnntheColonelistobuy?I'dlaugh,rankAbolitionistasheis!Andwhatwillhe dowithachild?Crackersandniggers?WhatisaCracker?" Peterhadnoopiniononthathead Heknewwhataniggerwas,andatonce detectedanotherodorbesidesbadtobacco,andopenedthewindowtoairthe room Thenhebegantostudythepostmarktoseewherethelettercamefrom It wasnotveryclear,andittookhimsometimetomakeout"Palatka,Fla."The latterbaffledhim,itwassoillegible,buthewassureof"Palatka,"andwondered whereitwas Huntingupanatlas,hewentpatientlythroughStateafterState,till hefoundPalatka,ontheSt John'sRiver,Florida "Florida!That'swherehe'sgone Thereareniggersenoughthere,butwhothe Crackersareisbeyondme,"Petersaid "IbelieveI'llcopythis,letter." Hedidcopyit,andthenwaitedfordevelopments MeanwhiletheColonelwashurryingSouthasfastassteamcouldtakehim ArrivedinNewYork,hefoundhimselfintimetotakeaboatboundfor Savannah,andshuttinghimselfupinhisstateroomsatdowntoanalyzehis feelings,andsolvetheproblemwhichhadforsolongbeenconfrontinghim A partofitwassolvedforhim Eudorawasdead;buttherewasthechild Somethingmustbedonewithher,andJake'swordskeptrepeatingthemselvesin hismind: "Shedoanor'terbebrungupwidCrackersan'niggers." "No,shedon'tor'ter,"theColonelthought,involuntarilyadoptingJake'sdialect; butwhattodowithherwasthequestion IfTomHardyhadbeenhomehewouldhaveconsultedhim,butTomwasaway, andhemustfacethedifficultyalone,knowingperfectlywellwhathisdutywas, andfinallymakinguphismindtodoit Ifhechosetoadoptachilditwasno one'sbusiness AsaCromptonhewasabovecaringforgossiporpublicopinion Tobesurethechildwouldbeanuisance,andaconstantreminderofwhathe wouldliketoforget;butitwasright,andheowedittothemothertocareforher littlegirl Hebegantothinkagooddealofhimselfforthiskindofreasoning, andbythetimehereachedJacksonvillehehadmadeuphismindthathewasa prettynicemanafterall,andfelthappierthanhehadinyears Deathhadclosed onepageofhislife,andthedistancebetweenFloridaandMassachusettswould closetheother,andhewasmuchlikehimselfwhenheatlaststeppedonboard the"Hatty,"andstarteduptheriver TherewasroomforhimattheBrockHousethistime,andheregisteredhis name "Col JamesCrompton,Crompton,Mass.,"andsaidhehadcometolook afterafamilyinthepalmettoclearing,Harriswasthename,andthroughafriend hewasinterestedinthem Thelandlordwasnotthesamewhohadbeenthereon theoccasionoftheColonel'sfirstvisit,butheknewsomethingaboutthe clearing,andvolunteeredwhateverinformationhehadconcerningthefamily, speakingoftherecentdeathofthedementedoldwoman,andofthelittlechild lefttothecareoftwonegroes,andsaying,hehopedthegentlemanhadcometo takeittoitsfriends,ifithadany TheColonelbowedandsaidthatwashisbusiness,andearlythenextmorning startedonfootalongtheroadhehadtroddentwicebefore,andwhichbrought Eudorabeforehimsovividlythatitseemedasifshewerewalkingathisside, andonce,assomeanimalranthroughthebushesnearthegraveattheturnofthe road,hestartedatthesoundasifithadbeentherustleofEudora'swhitedressas hehearditthatday Hewasbeginningtogetnervous,andbythetimethe clearingwasreachedhewasascoldashehadbeenathome,whenPeterbrought himthehot-waterbagandblanket Henoticedtheimprovementswhichhad beenmadeintheplacesincehewastherelast,andknewitwasJake's handiwork Hehadneverseentheman,andshrankalittlefrommeetinghim, knowinghowinfinitelysuperiortohimselfinamoralwaythepoorAfricanwas HerememberedMandyAnnperfectly,andrecognizedherasshecametothe door,shadinghereyeswithherhandtolookathim;thenshedisappeared suddenly,andJake,whowasattherearofthehouse,fixingabarreltocatch rain-water,wasclutchedbythearm,andnearlythrownbackwards,asthegirl exclaimed:"FortheLawd'ssake,Jake,it'scomin'—it'scomin'—it'shyar!" "What'scomin'?Thelas'day,thatyoulooksoskeered?"Jakesaid,whileMandy Anncontinued:"DemanfromdeNorf,CunnelCrompton,youcallhim—done comeforlillchile!" Sheputherapronoverherfaceandbegantocry,whileJakewipedhishands, andhurryingroundthehouse,mettheColoneljustashereachedthedoor There wasnottheleastservilityinJake'smanner,althoughitwasrespectful,ashesaid, "Howd'ye,Mas'rCrompton I'mshooit'syou,an'I'serightgladtoseeyou, thoughI'spectsyoudonecomeforthelillchile,an'IfeelfittobustwhenIthink ofpartin'widher Walkin,walkin;takeacheer,an'I'llsen'MandyAnnforde lillchile She'sindeplay-houseImadeher,jessdissidedegraves,wharshesits an'plays Thar'satreetharan'shecallsitdeshady." "Thanks!"theColonelsaid,takingachair,whileJakewentforMandyAnn,and foundherstrugglingwiththechild,notfarfromthedoor ThechilehadseenthestrangerassoonasMandyAnn;andasvisitorswererare atthecabin,andshewasfondofsociety,shelefthersandpies,andhersliceof breadandmolasses,andstartedforthehouse,meetingMandyAnn,whoseized her,saying,"Comean'haveonacleanfrockandbewassed Yourfaceisall sticky,an'han's,too—an'degemmanfromdeNorf,deCunnel,ishyar." Asithappened,thechiledidn'tapproveofchangingherdressandhavingher facewashed Shewasinahurrytoseethegentleman,andshepulledback,and fought,andcalledMandyAnnan"olenigger,"andtoldherto"leg-go,"and finallywrenchedherselffree,andranlikealittlespidertothehouse,andinto theroomwheretheColonelwassitting Startingtohisfeethestoodlooking downatthemitestaringathimwithhergreatdarkeyes,inwhichwasalook whichhadpuzzledtheRev Mr Masonwhenhesawherathermother'sfuneral Shewasaveryprettychild,witharound,chubbyfacejustnowsmearedwith molasses,aswereherfatlittlehands,whileherdress,openattheback,showed signsofthesandandwaterwithwhichithadcomeincontact Andshestood, holdingtheColonelwithhereyes,untilhebegantofeelcoldagain,andtothink ofhishot-waterbag Hedidnotcareforchildren,andthisone—* "Heavens!"hethoughttohimself "CanIdoit?Yes,Imust!" Then,puttingouthishand,hesaid,"Littlegirl,willyoushakehandswithme." Nothingabashedshewasgoingforward,whenMandyAnnrushedinandpulled herback,exclaiming:"Oh,sar,notwiddemhan's;deymus'bewassed." "YouoleMandyAnnnigger,youlemmebe Iwon'tbewassed,"wasthesharp reply,andthedarkeyesflashedwithafirewhichmadetheColonelthinkof himselfwhenroused,andhebegantofeelagooddealofrespectforthespoiled tyrant "Littlegirl,"hesaid,verygently,butfirmly,"GowithMandyandbewashed, andthencomeandsee—"hecameverynearsaying"seewhatIhavebrought you,"withoutatallknowingwhyitshouldhavecomeintohismind Ithadneveroccurredtohimtobringheranything,buthewishednowthathe had,andbegantowonderwhathehadthatwouldpleaseachild Hewasfondof jewelry,andworeonhiswatch-chainseveralornaments,andamongthemavery small,delicatelycarvedbookinivory Hecoulddetachiteasily,andhebeganto doso,whilethechildeyedhimcuriously Shehadseenveryfewgentlemen,and thisoneattractedher,hewassotallandimposing;andwhenhesaidagain,"Go andbewashed,"sheobeyedhim,andtheColonelwasasecondtimealone,for Jakewasmakinghisablutions,andchanginghisworkingclothesforhisbest,in whichhelookedveryrespectable,whenheatlastrejoinedhisguest,andbegan atonceinatremblingvoicetospeakofthebusinesswhichhadbroughtthe Colonelthere CHAPTERIX THECOLONELANDJAKE "I'lowedyouhadthebestrighttoherbecause'twasyouthatsentthemoney,"he said TheColonelneitherassentednordissented,andJakewenton:"Tharisnobody else MissDorynevertolenothin';shewassilentasdegraveabout—him—de faderofdelillchile,Imean 'It'sallright,'she'dsay 'ItolehimIwouldn'ttelltill hecame—an'Iwon't—but,it'sallright ElderCovilknows—sendforhim.' That'sjustaforeshedied." "Anddidyousendforhim?"theColonelaskedwithsomealarm,andJake replied:"Iwentforhiman'hewasn'tthar—hadmovedoff—an'another gemman,theRev Mr CharlesMason,whatIfoun'atthehotel,'tendedde buryin'withhispra'rbook,'caseIwantedsomethin''boutdeResurrectionan'de Life 'Twasasfustclassafuneralaswecouldhaveouthyer Sheworeherwhite gown—theoneMandyAnnsayssheworewhenyouwarhyer Youmembers it?" TheColonelnodded,andJake,thinkinghecoulddonothingbetterthanrepeat alltheparticulars,wenton:"ShehadanicecoffinfromPalatka,an'MandyAnn donefixedherralenice,widflowersinherhan's,an'onherbosom,an',does you'membergivin'MandyAnnadollarwhenyou'shereafore?" AgaintheColonelnoddedandJakewenton:"Well,shedoneboughtaringwid someofit—notralegold,youknow,butlookedmostlikeit—an'whatdoyou thinkMandyAnndid,asthelastthingshecoulddoforMissDory?" Jakewasgrowingexcited,andtheColonelnervous,asthenegrocontinued:"It wastoosmallforher,tobeshue,butshethoughtasighton't,butmoreofMiss Dory'sgoodname." TherewasagreatridgeintheColonel'sforehead,betweenhiseyes,ashe repeated,"Hergoodname?" "Yes,sar,"Jakeanswered "Whatcouldyou'specwhendar'salillchile,andno faderforshoo,asanybodyknows,butmean'MandyAnn,an'Mas'rHardy Naterallythey'dtalk ButI'shured'em'twasallright,an'knockeddownoneor twoCrackerswhatgrinnedwhenItole'em,an'MandyAnndidapoweroffitin' She'sgreatatit—jesslikeacat,an'wegot'emprettymuchallunder,excepta fewolewomen,whoneverquiteginintilldelast OlegrannyThomaswasde worst,an'derestfolleredher;butshegininwhensheseenderingMandyAnn slippedonMissDory'sweddin'finger,an'darwasn'tas'picionondelam'asshe layinhercoffin." TheColonel'slipsmovedspasmodically,whileJakecontinued:"Tharwasa rightsmartof'emhyar,an'theministerreadfromdepra'rbookjestasIseen'em inVirginny'mongstdequality,an'whendeblackssetupasingin'soloudthat oleAuntJudynighlyhaddepow'—dat'sakindoffit,youknow,whendeygits tofeelin'likekingdomcome—Istoppedher Iwasboun'tohavedefuneralfust class WhenoleMissdied,Ilet'emhavedarway,an'oleAuntJudyhaddepow' tillhermissus,whowashyar,shookherouton't ThatwasoleMissThomas, whostoodoutaginMissDorytillsheseendering Shesaystome,saysshe, 'Doesyouknowwhardechile'sfaderis?'an'saysI,'S'posin'Ido?''Thensen'for him,'saysshe 'Tain'tfittin'dechiletostayonhyar.''I'mgwinetosen','saysI, an'Idid,an'you'vedonecome Isyougwinetotakeher?" Jake'sbroadchestheavedasheaskedthisquestion,towhichtheColonel replied,"ThatiswhatIcamefor." Jakehadassumedthathewasthechild'sfather,andhedidnotcontradicthim, butsaid,"Youcallherthechild Hasshenoname?" "Yes,Dory;dat'swhathermothercalledher,buttomedar'sonlyoneDory,an' she'sdead,an''twashandytosaydelillchileorhoney Isyougwinetotakeher rightaway?" "Yes,whenthe'Hatty'goesback,"theColonelreplied,withafeelingofpityfor thenegro,whosefacewasquivering,andwhosevoiceshookashesaid,"It's best,Is'pose,but'twillbemightylonesomehyar,withthechilegonefromde 'shady'wharsheplays,an'fromdecradlewharIrocksher,an'fromdesearms whattoteshermanyatime,whenshegoesthroughdeclarin'indewoods You wouldn'tbewantin'meanMandyAnntogowidyou?Dechileiswonderfully 'tachedtous,an'hassomespellsonlywecanmanage." TheColonelshookhishead JakeandMandyAnnknewtoomuchforhimto takethemNorth Thechildwouldsoonforgetitssurroundings Peoplewould stopwonderingafterawhile,andthepastwouldbebridgedover,asfaraswas possible Onthewholethefuturelookedbrighterthanithaddoneforyears,and onthisaccounttheColonelcouldaffordtobeverysuaveandgentlewiththis poornegro "No,Jake,"hesaid,verykindly "YouwouldnotbehappyattheNorth,itisso differentfromtheSouth Icannottakeyou,norMandyAnn,butIshallreward youforallyouhavedoneforthechild,andforhermother." Thelastwordscameslowly,andtherewasakindoftremorintheColonel's voice "I'specsyouareright,"Jakesaidmeekly;"butit'llbemightyhard,an'what's gwinetobecomeofMandyAnn?Whodoesshe'longto,nowMissDoryan'ole Missisbothdead?I'longstomyself,butwhatofMandyAnn?" HerewasaproblemtheColonelhadnotthoughtof Buthismindworked rapidlyandclearly,andhesoonreachedadecision,butbeforehecouldspeakof itthechildappeared Ithadtakenalongtimetowashanddressher,forthelittle handsweregrimy,andthefaceverysticky,andagooddealofscrubbinghad beennecessary,withagooddealofsquabbling,too—andtheColonelhadheard someofthealtercations—thechild'svoicethelouder,assheprotestedagainst thesoapandwaterusedsofreely Jakehadclosedoneofthedoorstoshutout thenoise,sayingashedidso,"She'sgotaheapofsperrit,butnotfromde Harrises,deyhadn'tanatom." ItdidnotpuzzletheColonelatalltoknowwherethesperritcamefrom,andhe didnotlikethechildthelessbecauseofit Shewasintheroomnow,scrubbed tillherfaceshone,andherhair,whichwascurly,layinringsuponherforehead MandyAnnhadputonherbestfrock,awhiteone,stiffwithstarch,andstanding outlikeasmallballoon TheColonellikedherbetterinthelimp,soiledgown,as hehadseenherfirst,butshewasclean,andshecametohimandputupherhand asMandyAnnhadtoldhertodo Itwasalittlesoft,fat,babyhand,suchasthe Colonelhadnevertouchedinhislife,andhetookitandhelditamoment,while theoldmalariousfeelingcreptoverhim,andhecouldhaveswornthatthe thermometer,which,whenheleftthe"Hatty"hadstoodatseventy-five,had fallentofortydegrees Asaquietusduringthewashing,MandyAnnhad suggestedthat"mabbydegemmandonebrungsomethin',"andrememberingthis thelittlegirlatonceasked,"Hasyoudonebrungmesumptin'?MandyAnntole meso." TheColonel'sthermometerdroppedlowerstillatthespeech,sodecidedly African,andhisprideroseupinrebellion,andhisheartsank,asinfancyhe heardthisdialectinhisNorthernhome Buthemustbearit,andwhen,ashedid notatoncerespondtoherquestion,shesaid,"Hasyoudonebrungme sumptin'?"hewasgladhehadremovedthelittleivorybookfromhiswatchchain Itwassomething,andhegaveittoher,saying,"Thisisforyou—alittle book Doyouknowwhatabookis?" Shewasexaminingtheornamentonthebackofwhichwascarvedaminiature barofmusic,withthreeorfournotes Thechildhadseenwrittenmusicina hymn-book,whichbelongedtohermother,andfromwhichshehadoften pretendedtosing,whensheplayedatafuneral,orprayermeeting,asshe sometimesdidundertheshady JakehadnotspokenofthishabittotheColonel Hewaswaitingtotakehimtothegraves,andtheplay-housenearthem,andhe waswatchingthechildassheexaminedthecarving Liftingupherbrighteyesto theColonel,shesaid,"Moosich—mesing,"andaburstofchildishsongrang throughtheroom—partofanegromelody,and"Mewantstobeanangel" alternatinginakindofmelody,towhichtheColonellistenedinwonder "Medonesingdood,"shesaid,andhereyesshoneandflashed,andherbosom roseandfell,asifshewerestandingbeforeanaudience,sureofsuccessand applause Jakedidclaphishandswhenshefinished,andsaidtotheColonel,"Shedone goesondatwayveryoften She'swonderfulwidhervoicean'eyes 'Specsshe'll makeasinger She'salittlequar—demHarrises—" Herehestoppedsuddenly,andasked,"Isyoucole?"ashesawtheColonel shiver HeknewtheHarriseswerequar,andthisdark-haired,dark-eyedchild singinginashrill,high-pitched,butverysweetvoice,seemedtohimuncanny, andheshrankfromherasshesaid "Mesingsomemo'." Jakenowinterfered,saying,"No,honey;we'regwinetoyermother'sgrave." "Mego,too,"thechildanswered,slippingherhandintotheColonel'sand leadingthewaytoalittleenclosurewheretheHarriseswereburied TheColonelfeltquarwiththathandholdinghissotight,andthechildhippy-tyhoppingbyhissideovertheboardsJakehadputdownforawalktothe graveyard "Dismine Meplayhere,"thechildsaid,moreintentuponherplay-housethan uponhermother'sgrave Theplay-housewasasimpleaffair,whichJakehadconstructed Thereweretwo piecesofboardforafloor,andasmallbenchforatable,onwhichwerebitsof brokencupsandsaucers,thesliceofbreadandmolassesthechildhadleftwhen shewenttoseethestranger,aragdoll,fashionedfromacob,withaclothhead stuffedwithbran,andabook,soiledandwornasfromfrequentusage Thechild madetheColonellookatthedollwhichshecalledJudy,"afterolemammyJudy, whocamenighhavin'depow'atdefuneral,an'whodonemadeitforher,"Jake explained Thebook—achild'sreader—wasnexttakenup,thelittlegirlsaying, "Mamma'sbook—meread,"andopeningitshemadeapretenseofreading somethingwhichsoundedlike"NowIlayme."TheColonel,whohadfreedhis handfromthefingerswhichhadhelditsofast,lookedinquiringlyatJake,who said,"MissDory'sbook;shedonereaditasight,'case'twaseasierreadin'dan dembooksfromPalatka;an'shecouldlarnsomethin'fromit,butdelongwords flooredheran'me,too,whotriedtohelpher." ForamomenttheColonelseemedagitated,andtakingthebookfromthechild hesaid,"CanIhaveit?" "No,sar!"Jakeansweredemphatically "Iwouldn'tpartwiditfordeworld It'sa partofMissDory,an'shetriedsohardtoreadgoodan'bealady MandyAnn livedaspellwiddequality,an'gotsomeo'darways,an'IgotsomeinVirginny, an'wetole'emtoher,an'shedonetriedtilltowardsdelas'sheginitup ''Taint nouse,'shesaidtome 'I'm'scouraged Icanneverbealady Efhecomesafter I'mdead,tellhimItriedan'couldn't.'Shemeantthechile'sfader,herhusband Ain'tyouherhusband?" Itwasadirectquestion,andJake'shonesteyeswerelookingsteadilyatthe Colonel,whoselipswerewhite,andopenedandshuttwoorthreetimesbefore heanswered,"Iamnobody'shusband,andnevershallbe Iknewyouryoung mistress,andwasinterestedinher,andshallcareforthechild Don'taskmeany morequestions." UptothismomentJakehadfeltquitesoftenedtowardsthemanhehadonce thoughttokill Butnowhewantedtoknockhimdown,butrestrainedhimself withagreateffort,andanswered,"Iaxesyerpardon,butI'seallusthoughtso— an'—an'—Ithinkssostill." Tothistherewasnoreply,andJake,whohadsenthomehisshaft,whichhe knewwasmakingtheproudmanquiver,spokenextofamonumentforMiss Dory,andaskedwherehe'dbettergetit "Whereyouthinkbest,"theColonelanswered "Onlygetagoodone,andsend thebilltome." "Yes,sar;thank'ee,Mas'r,"Jakesaid,beginningtofeelsomewhatlesslike knockingtheColoneldown "WhatshallIputonit?"heasked,andtheColonel replied,"Whatwasonhercoffin?" "Jess'Eudora,agedtwenty.'Ididn'knownooddername—las'name,Imean I wasshue'twan'tHarris." "Putthesameonthemonument,"theColonelsaid;"and,Jake,keepthegrave up Shewasagoodgirl." "Fo'deLawd,Iknowsdat,an'Ithank'ee,Mas'r,forsayin'demwordsbyde gravewharmabbyshedonehar'em;thank'ee." ThetearswereinJake'seyes,ashegraspedtheColonel'shandandlookedinto thefacewhichhadrelaxedfromitssternness,andwasquiveringinevery muscle Theproudmanwasmoved,andfeltthatifhewerealonehewouldhave kneltinthehotsandbyEudora'sgrave,andaskedpardonforthewronghehad doneher ButJakewasthere,andthechildlookingonwithwide-openeyes,and thoughshedidnotunderstandwhatwassaidsheknewthatJakewascrying,and chargedittothestranger—"thebadman,tomakeShakycry—Ihates'oo,"she said,beginningtostrikeathim "Hush!honey,hush!"Jakesaid,whiletheColonelbegantofeeltheneedof severalhot-waterbagsashewentbacktothehousewhereMandyAnn, rememberingthehospitablewaysatMissPerkins'swhenpeoplecalled,hadset outforhimthebestthehouseafforded,includingthechinaplateheremembered sowell Hefeltthattoeatwouldchokehim,butforcedhimselftotakeasipofcoffee andabitofcornbread Thelittlegirlhadremainedbehindinherplay-house, andhewasgladofthat Shewasarestraintuponhim Hewantedtotalk business,andhedidnotknowhowmuchshewouldunderstand Whenhergreat brighteyeswereonhimhefeltnervousasifshewerereadinghisthoughts,and wasmorehimselfwithheraway Hemusttalkaboutherandhergoingwithhim onthe"Hatty,"andJakelistenedwithaswellingheart,andMandyAnnwithher apronoverherheadtohidehertears Theyknewitmustbe,andtriedto suppresstheirfeelings "It'sliketakin'mylife,"Jakesaid,"butit'sfordebest MissDorywouldsayso, but,Mas'rCrompton,you'llfotchherbacksometimetodeoleplace You'lltell herofhermudder,an'me,an'MandyAnn Youwon'tletherdoneforget." NothingcouldbefurtherfromtheColonel'sintentionsthantoletthechildcome back,andeverythinghecoulddotomakeherforgetwastobedone,buthe couldnotsaysotoJake,andwithsomeevasiveanswerhehurriedonto business,andspokeofthehouseandclearing,whichnowbyrightofinheritance belongedtothechild Asheassumedherguardianshipheshouldalsoassumean oversightofherproperty,anditwashiswishthatJakeshouldstayontheplace, receivingacertainsumyearlyforhisservices,andhavingallhecouldmake besides Foranythingofhisownwhichhehadspentontheclearinghewastobe repaid,andallthemoneyEudorahadputbywastobehis Jakefeltlikea millionaire,andexpressedhisthankswithchokingsobs Then,glancingat MandyAnn,heaskedashehadaskedbefore,"An'what'boutMandyAnn?I 'longstomyself,butwho'sshe'longto,nowoleMissan'youngMissisdead?" "Yes,who'sniggerbeI?WharamIgwine?"MandyAnncried,jerkingherapron fromherhead "Inthenaturalsequenceofthingsyoubelongtothelittlegirl,"theColonel replied,adding,"Imightbuyyou—" Buthegotnofurther AllofMandyAnn'sanimosity,whenTedsuggestedthat themanfromtheNorthhadcometobuyher,andshehadbeggedhermistressto saveherfromsuchafate,hadreturned,andsheexclaimedvehemently,"Fo'de Lawd,notdatar Lemmestayhyar You'membersTed,decoloredboyonde 'Hatty.'We'skep'company,offan'on,ayear,sometimesquarrelin',andden makin'up Ican'tleaveTed." Hersoulwasinhereyes,asshebeggedforherselfandTed,andtheColonel hastenedtosay,"Youdidnotletmefinish Icouldn'tbuyyou,ifIwould,andifI didI'dsetyoufree Iwillseethatthisisdonesometime." "Bressyou,Mas'r,fordatar,"MandyAnnbegan,buttheColonelstoppedherby saying,"Youareyoungtobekeepingcompany." "I'se'mostasoleasMissDorywhenlillchilewasborn,"wasthereply,which silencedtheColonelwithregardtoherage HehadquitealikingforMandyAnn,andmeanttodoallhecouldforherand Jake,andaftersomefurtherconversationitwasarrangedthatsheshouldstay withthelatter,theColonelpromisingtoseethatherwageswerepaid,andsaying thatshecouldkeepthemoneyforherself Hewascertainlyactinggenerously towardsthetwoblacks,whowouldhavebeenhappybutforthepartingwiththe child,whichweighedsoheavilyuponthem Therewasnotmuchtimeleft,for the"Hatty"sailedearlythenextmorning,andtheColonelmustbeonboardthat night Greataswastheirgriefitwasnothingcomparedtotheantagonismofthechild, whensheheardshewastogowiththeColonel,andleaveJakeandMandyAnn behind Shewouldnotgo,shesaid,andfoughtlikealittletigerwhenthat eveningtheColonelcameforher,andMandyAnntriedtodressherforthe journey Underthetable,andlounge,andchairsshecrawledinhereffortsto hide,andfinallyspringingintoJake'slapbeggedhimtokeepher,promisingto begoodandnevercallhimnorMandyAnnniggersagain,andnearlybreaking Jake'sheartwithhertearsandprettycoaxings Atlastwornoutwithexcitement, andfeelingthatthebattlewasagainsther,shesobbed,"Gowidme,Shaky,ifI goes." "I'spectsI'llhevtogopartway—saytoSavannah—efyougetsheroffquiet Thar'sthatinherwillmakeherjumpinterderiverefwepusheshertoofar," Jakesaid,andtheColonel,whowassweatinglikerain,anddidnotcarefora sceneonthe"Hatty,"finallyconsentedforJaketoaccompanythemtoSavannah, trustingProvidenceforwhatmightfollow ThusquietedthechildmadenoresistancewhenMandyAnnchangedhersoiled whitedressforonemoresuitableforthetrip,andthenbegantopackherfew belongings HeretheColonelstoppedher Hedidnotknowmuchabout children'sclothes,buthefeltintuitivelythatnothingofthechild'spresent wardrobewouldeverbewornatCromptonPlace Hedidnotsaythisinsomany words,butMandyAnnunderstoodhimandasked,"Ain'tshetocarrynothin'?" "Nothingbutwhatisnecessaryontheroad,"theColonelreplied,andanold satchelwasfilledwithanight-dress,acleanapron,apairofstockings,and MandyAnn'stears,whichfelllikerainassheperformedherlastofficeforthe littlegirl,who,nowthatJakywasgoing,begantolookforwardtothetripwith childishdelight Judywaswrappedcarefullyinpaperandputintothesatchel,andthenshewas ready MandyAnnwentwithhertotheboat,where,asitwaslate,scarcelyany onewasvisibleexceptTed,towhomMandyAnnintrustedhercharge,bidding him'museherwhenhecould,andwhisperingtohimthegoodluckwhichhad cometoherandJakethroughtheColonel'sgenerosity Thenwithaterrible wrenchinherheart,shetookthechildinherarmsandsaid,"Doan'youforget me,honey,an'sometimeyou'llbecomin'agen Oh,Ican'tbarit!"andwitha wailwhichwasscarcelylikeahumancryshedroppedthechild,andhurrying fromtheboatranswiftlyupthelane,andwassoonoutofsight Thereweretwo orthreeburstsoftearsforMandyAnn,butforthemostpartthelittlegirlwas quietuntilSavannahwasreached,andsheheardJakewastoleaveher Thenshe showedofwhatshewascapable,andtheColonellookedonaghast,wondering whatheshoulddowhenJakewasgone ShehadplayedonthewaywithJudy, whoseappearancehadprovokedasmilefromsomeofthepassengers,making theColonelwonderiftherewerenotsomethingmorereputableinlooksthan Judy,withherfeaturesofinkandthesewed-upgashinthesideofherneckfrom whichalittlebranwasstilloozing Hedidn'tknowmuchaboutdolls,butwas suretheremustbesomeinSavannah,andhewentonatourofinspection,and foundagoldringwithasmallstoneinitforMandyAnninplaceoftheone buriedwithpoorDory ThishewouldgivetoJaketotakehometothenegrogirl, hethought,andthencontinuedhissearchfordolls,findingonewhichcould standup,andsitdown,andwasgorgeousinasatindress,withearringsinits ears Thiswasmoreinkeepingwithhisideas,andhetookittothehotel,hoping hehadseenthelastofJudy,who,hesuggested,shouldbethrownaway He didn'tknowchildren Thelittlegirlwasdelightedwithhernewdoll,whichshe handledgingerly,asifafraidtotouchit,andwhichshecalledMandyAnn But sheclungtoJudyjustthesame,quitetothedisgustoftheColonel PoorJakegrewthinduringthefewdaystheyspentinSavannah,andheknewhe wasnearingtheend "Imustbuyhersomfin',"hethought,andonemorningwhenhewaswalking withherpastadrygoodsstorehesawinthewindowalittlescarletmerino cloak,linedwithwhitesatin,andlookingsoprettythathestoppedtolookatit, whilethelittlegirljumpedupanddown,exclaiming,"Oh,thebuffitelcloak Me wantsit,Shaky;mewantsit." GoingintothestoreJakeinquiredtheprice,whichwassolargethathisheart sank Itwouldtakenearlyallthemoneyhehadwithhimtobuyit,butreflecting thattheColonelwaspayinghisbills,andthatonhisreturnhomehecouldeat twomealsaday,andlightonesatthat,untilhehadsavedtherequiredsum,he boughtthecloak;and,whenthefinalpartingcame,wrappeditroundthelittle girl,andcarryinghertothesteamerputherdown,andlefthurriedly,whileshe rolledonthefloorscreamingforShaky,andbumpingherheadagainstasettee Astheboatmovedoff,Jakestoodonthewharfwatchingitforalongdistance, withafeelingthatallthebrightnessofhislifehadvanishedwiththelittlegirl, whomtheharassedandhalf-crazedColonelwouldhavegivenmuchtohaveleft withhimhaditbeenpracticable CHAPTERX EUDORA TheColonelhadbeengonenearlythreeweeksandnooneknewwherehewas, orthoughtitstrangethattheydidn't Itwashishabittogosuddenlyandreturn justassuddenly Peterhadhisopinion,andfeltcurioustoknowiftheColonel wouldbringbackJakeandMandyAnnbesidesthechild,andhadmanyahearty laughbyhimselfasheimaginedtheconsternationofthehouseholdwhenthis menageriewasturnedinuponthem Naturallyhismasterwouldlethimknow whentoexpecthim,hethought,andwasgreatlysurprisedonemorningwhena stationhackdroveintotheyard,andtheColonelenteredthehouselookingyears olderthanwhenhewentaway Withhimwasalittlegirl,threeyearsoldormore,clingingtohishandasifin fear Hergarmentswereallcoarseandold-fashioned,exceptthescarletmerino cloak Thehoodwasdrawnoverherhead,andfromittherelookedoutapairof eyes,which,hadPetereverheardoftheword,hewouldhavesaidwereuncanny, theyweresolarge,andbright,andmovedsorapidlyfromoneobjecttoanother Shedroppedthehoodfromherhead,andbegantuggingattheribbonsofher cloak,whileherlipquiveredasifshewereabouttocry Itcameatlast,notlike anythingPeterhadeverheard,andwasmorelikeahowlthanacry,for"Shaky; mewantsShaky." Itwasloud,andshrill,andpenetratedtoallpartsofthehouse,bringingSally,the cook,Jane,thechambermaid,andSam,thecoachman,allintothehall,where theystoodappalledatwhattheysaw "Shaky,Shaky,"thechildwailedon,frightenedbythestrangefacesaroundher, andashedidnotcomeshethrewherselfuponthefloor,andbegantobumpher headupanddown,herlastresortwhenherparoxysmswereattheirheight TheColonelhadborneagooddealsinceleavingSavannah,andhadmorethan oncebeentemptedtoturnbackandeitherbringShaky,orleavethechildwith him Shehadcriedforhimtillshewaspurpleintheface,andthestewardesshad struckheronherbacktomakehercatchherbreath,andthentakenherinher arms,andtriedtocomforther Perhapsitwasowingtohercolorthatthechild tooktohersoreadilythattheColonelsaidtoher,"Keepherquiet,ifyoucan, andIdonotcarewhatIpayyou." Afterthatthelittlegirlstaidmostlywiththestewardess,andwascomparatively happy Judywasagreatcomforttoher,andshekeptithuggedtoherbosom throughtheday,andsleptwithitatnight,andwhenshereachedtheCrompton Houseitwasintheinsidepocketofhercloak Becomingdetachedfromthe pocketassherolledontheflooritfellatPeter'sfeet,makinghimstart,itwasso unlikeanythinghehadseeninyears "Greatguns!"heexclaimed,spurningitwithhisfoot,andsendingitnearthe child,whosnatcheditupwithacryof"Judy,Judy,myJudy." "Whoisshe,andwheredidshecomefrom?"thecookasked,whileJanetriedto soothetheexcitedchild "HernameisEudoraHarris,"theColonelsaid "Herfatherisasneaking scoundrel;hermotherwasagoodwoman,andmyfriend Sheisdead,andthere isnoonetocareforherchildbutmyself Ihavebroughtherhometobringupas myown JakyisthecoloredmanwhotookcareofherwithMandyAnn,a coloredgirl Shewillcryforherbyandby." AsiftoprovehiswordstruethechildsetupahowlforMandyAnn;"mewants MandyAnn,"whiletheColonelcontinued,"Sheistobetreatedinallrespectsas adaughterofthehouse Gethersomedecentclothesatonce,youwomenwho understandsuchthings Don'tmindexpense Giveheraprettyroom,andIthink you'dbetterhuntupsomeyoungpersontolookafterher Untilthegirlcomes Janemustsleepintheroomwithher,anddon'tbothermeunlessitisnecessary; Ifeelquiteusedup,andasifIhadbeenthroughathrashing-machine Iamnot usedtochildren,andthisoneis—well,tosaytheleast,veryextraordinary." ThiswasagooddealfortheColoneltosayatonetimetohisservants,who listenedinwonder,noneofthemknowinganythingexceptPeter,whokepthis knowledgetohimself AndthiswasalltheexplanationtheColonelgave,either tohisservants,ortothepeopleoutsidewhoknewbetterthantoquestionhim, andwhonevermentionedthechildinhispresence Gossip,however,wasrifein theneighborhood,andmanywerethesurmisesastotheparentageofthelittle girlwhoforatimeturnedtheCromptonHouseupsidedown,andmadeitakind ofbedlamwhenherfitswereon,andshewasrollingonthefloor,andbumping herhead,withcriesforShakyandMandyAnn Shewashomesick,andcared nothingforthebeautifulthingstheybroughther Againsttheprettydressesshe foughtatfirst,andthensubmittedtothem,butkeptheroldoneinacornerofher room,andSusie,thegirlhiredtoattendher,sometimesfoundherthereasleep withherheaduponit,andJudyheldcloselyinherarms Theyboughtheradollhousewhichwasfittedupwitheverythingcalculatedtopleaseachild,butafter inspectingitawhilesheturnedfromitwithacryforher"shady"underthepalm treeintheclearing Thedoll,MandyAnn,whichtheColonelhadboughtin Savannah,nevertooktheplaceofJudy,whowasherfavorite,togetherwiththe scarletcloak,whichshewouldseldomletoutofhersight Duringthedayshe keptitroundher,saying,"Me'scold,"andatnightshehaditnearherbedwhere shecouldseeitthefirstthinginthemorning TheColonelknewthetownwasfullofspeculationandsurmises,buthedidnot care Surmiseswhichwentwideofthemarkwerebetterthantherealtruth wouldhavebeen,andthathecouldnottell Hehadleftalargepartofhispastin Florida,andtrusteditwouldnotfollowhim Hecouldnotleavethelittlegirl, andhemeanttodohisdutybyher,outwardlyatleast Hehadnoloveforher, andcouldnotmanufactureone Hewouldrathershehadneverbeenborn;but inasmuchasshewasborn,andwasverymuchalive,shemustbecaredfor TherewasaprivatebaptisminhislibraryoneSundayafternoon,andshewas christenedAmyEudora Amywasforhismother;Eudorafornooneknew whom,exceptPeter,whothoughtofthesmellyletter,andknewthatEudorawas fortheyoungmother,deadsomewhereinFlorida Butheheldhistongue,and triedtomakeuptothelittlegirlherlossofShaky,forwhomshecriedfordays Then,asshegrewaccustomedtohersurroundings,shebecamecontented,and hermerrychatterfilledthehousefrommorningtillnight Everyonewas devotedtoher,excepttheColonel Hewaskind,butneverencouragedher advances;neverkissedher,nevertookherinhislap,orallowedherinhis library Shecalledhimfather,andheansweredtothename,whileshewas EudoraHarristoothers HetriedatfirsttocallherAmy,butshestoutlyresisted "Me'sDory ShakyandMandyAnncallsmeDory,"shewouldsay,withastamp ofherfoot,refusingtoanswertoanynamebutDory,whichcameatlasttobe Doraasshegrewolder Shelearnedtoreadinthenewschool-housebythesouthgateofthepark,and whensheheardthattheColonelbuiltit,shecalledithers,andqueeneditover hercompanionswithanimperiousnessworthyoftheColonelhimself When questionedofheroldhomeheranswerswerevague Therewasariver somewhere,andhermotherwassick,andshereckonedshehadnofatherbut Shaky Asshegrewolder,shebecameveryreticentofherpast,and,ifsheremembered itatall,sheheldhertongue,likePeter Once,whenshewasmorethanusually aggressive,claimingnotonlytheschool-housebuteverythinginandaroundit, shewastoldbythechildrenthatshelivedwithniggerstillshecameto CromptonPlace,andtheyguessedhermotherwasone,andnobodyknew anythingaboutheranyway TherewasafiercefightinwhichDoracameoff victorious,withascratchortwoonherfaceandatorndress Thatafternoonthe Colonelwasconfrontedbywhatseemedalittlemaniac,demandingtoknowif hermotherwasblack,andifshehadlivedonlywithnegroesuntilshecameto Crompton "No,tobothquestions,andneverletmehearanotherwordonthesubjectas longasyoulive,"wastheColonel'sanswer,givenwithasternnessbeforewhich thegirlalwaysquailed ShewasafraidoftheColonel,andkeptalooffromhimasmuchaspossible, rarelyseeinghimexceptatmealtimes,andthensayingverylittletohimand neverdreaminghowcloselyhewatchedher,attributingeverypecularity,andshe hadmany,totheHarristaint,ofwhichhehadamortalterror Buthowevermuch orlittletheremighthavebeenoftheHarrisbloodinher,thefewwhoknewher foundhercharming,asshegrewfromchildhoodintoabeautifulgirlofeighteen, apparentlyforgetfulofeverythingpertainingtoherFloridahome Thedollhouse,withalltheexpensivetoysboughtforher,hadbeenbanishedtoaroomin theattic,andwiththemfinallywentJudyandMandyAnn Theredcloakshe seemedtoprizemorethanallherpossessions Itwasmoreinkeepingwithher surroundingsthanJudy,andsheoftenwrappeditaroundherasshesatuponthe piazza,whenthedaywascool,andsometimesworeitonhershouldersto breakfastinthemorning OncesheaskedtheColonelwhereitcamefrom,and heanswered"Savannah,"andwentonreadinghispaperwithascowlonhis foreheadwhichwarnedhershewasondangerousground Hewasnotfondof questions,andshedidnotoftentroublehimwiththem,butlivedhersilentlife, increasinginbeautywitheveryyear,andguardedsocloselyfromcontactwith theouterworldthatshescarcelyhadanintimateacquaintance ItwasnottheColonel'swishthatsheshouldhaveany Indeed,hehardlyknew whathedidwant Hewasaristocratic,andexclusive,andwishedtomakeherso, andkeepherfromcontactwiththecommonherd,ashesecretlydesignatedthe peoplearoundhim Heknewshewasbeautiful,withanimperiousnessof mannershetookfromhim,andasweetyieldinggraciousnessshetookfromher mother Sometimesasmile,orturnofherhead,orkindlinginhereyes,would bringthedeadwomansovividlytohismindthathewouldrisesuddenlyand leavetheroom,asifaghostwerehauntinghim Ontheseoccasionshewas sternerthanusualwithEudora,whochafedunderthefirmreinhelduponher, andlongedtobefree TheColonelhaditinhismindtotakehertoEurope,hopingtosecurea desirablemarriageforher Heshouldtellherhusband,ofcourse,whoshewas, knowingthatmoneyandpositionwouldatonefortheHarrisblood,andfeeling thatinthiswayhewouldbeentirelyfreedfromthepageoflifewhichdidnot nowtroublehimmuch HewasstillCromptonofCrompton,withhisheadas highasever TheCivilWarhadsweptoverthelandlikeawhirlwind Tom HardyhadbeenamongthefirsttoenlistintheSouthernarmy,andbeenkilledin abattle TheColonelhadheardofhisdeathwithapang,andalsowithacertain feelingofrelief,knowingthathewasabouttheonlyonewhopossesseda knowledgeofhisfolly,orhiswhereabouts TherewasstillJake,whowrote occasionally,askingforhislillMissandtellingofMandyAnn,whomthewar hadmadefree,andwhohadmarriedTed,andwaslivinginherownhouse outsidetheclearing EverythingwasoutofthewayexceptEudora,who,before hehadproposedhistriptoEurope,tookherselffromhiminamostsummary manner Therestraintlaiduponherwasbecomingmorethanshecouldbear,and sherebelledagainstit "Ishallelopesomeday—seeifIdon't,"shesaidtoPeter,whostillremainedin thefamily,andwasherconfidantinmostthings "Ishallsay'yes'tothefirstman whoproposes,andleavethisprisonfortheworld,andthegrandsightswhich Adolphsaysareeverywhere HereIam,coopedupwithnoyoungsociety,and seldomallowedtoattendapicnic,orparty,orconcert,andIdosoenjoythe latter,onlyIoftenfeelasifIcoulddobetterthantheprofessionals Adolphsays Ican,andheknows." AdolphCandidawashermusicteacher,who,aloneoftheyoungmenin Crompton,hadfreeaccesstothehouse Hewasafinefellowaswellasteacher, andhaddonemuchtodevelopDora'stasteandloveformusic,whichhad strengthenedwithheryears,untilhervoicewaswonderfulforitsscopeand sweetness Naturallytheresprangupbetweentheyoungpeopleanaffection whichripenedintolove,andCandidawastoldbyEudoratoaskherfather's sanctiontotheirmarriage Thatshecouldstooptocareforhermusicteacherthe Colonelneverdreamed,andwasspeechlesswithsurpriseandangerwhenasked bytheyoungItalianforherhand Toshowhimthedoorwastheworkofa moment,andthenDorawassentfor Shecameatonce,withalookinhereyes whichmadetheColonelhesitatealittlebeforehetoldherwhathehaddone,and whatheexpectedhertodo "Ifyoudisobeymeintheslightest,youarenolongeradaughterofmyhouse," hesaid,inthecold,hardtonewhichDoraknewsowell,andhadfearedsomuch Butthefearwasovernow Somethinghadtransformedthetimidgirlintoa woman,withacourageequaltotheColonel's Foratimeshestoodperfectly still,withhereyesfixedupontheangryman,listeningtohimuntilhespokeof herasthedaughterofthehouse;then,withagestureofherhands,whichbade himstop,sheexclaimed,"IdidnotknowIwasdaughterofanything Forfifteen yearsIhavelivedhere,andthoughyouhavebeenkindtomeinyourway,you havesurroundedyourselfwithanairofreservesocoldandimpregnablethatI haveneverdaredaskyouwhoIam,sinceIwasachild,andaskedyouaboutmy mother Youtoldmethennevertomentionthatsubjectagain,andIneverhave ButdoyouthinkIhaveforgottenthatIhadamother?Ihavenot Idoforget somethingsinastrangeway Theycomeinamomentandgo,andIcannotbring themback,butthefaceIthinkwasmother'sisnotoneofthem OfmyfatherI remembernothing Ihavebeentoldthatwhenyoubroughtmehereyousaidhe wasascoundrel!Areyouhe?Areyoumyfather?" TheColonelwaswhiteasasheet,andhislipstwitchednervously,asifitwere hardforthemtoframethewordNo,whichcameatlastdecidedly OverDora's facealookofdisappointmentpassed,andherhandsgraspedthebackofachair infrontofher,asifsheneededsupport "Ifyouarenotmyfather,whoandwhatwasmymother?"washernextquestion, andtheColonelreplied,"Shewasanhonestwoman Besatisfiedwiththat." "Ineverforamomentthoughtherdishonest,"thegirlexclaimed,vehemently "I rememberherassomeoneseeninadream—afraillittlebody,withasweetface whichseldomsmiled Therewereotherfacesroundus—duskyones—negroes, weren'tthey?" HereyescompelledtheColoneltobowassent,andshecontinued,"Ithoughtso, andourhomewasSouth;notagrandhomelikethis,butacabin,Ithink Wasn't itacabin?" AgaintheColonelbowed,andDorawenton,"Therecameadaywhenitwas fullofpeople,andsomebodywasinabox,andIsatinShaky'slap Ihavenever forgottenhim HewasallthefatherIknew." TheColoneldrewalongbreath,andshewenton,"Heheldmeup,andbademe kissthewhitefaceinthebox Thatwasmymother?" AgainhereyesmadetheColonelbowassent,andshecontinued,"Afterthat thereisablank,withmistyrecollectionsofanotherboxonthetable,andawalk acrosshotsandswithShaky,andthenIcamehere,whereyouhavetriedhardto blotallthepastfrommymemory,asifitweresomethingofwhichtobe ashamed ButIshallfindmymother'sfamilysomeday,andShaky,ifheis living,andshallknowallaboutit Therewasagirl,too—MandyAnn Icalled thedollyougavemeforher ShetookcareofmewhenShakydidn't Heismore distinct Hetookyoutothegravesthedayyoucameforme,andIwentwithyou andshowedyoumyplay-houseunderthepalmtree—thepoorlittlething,but dearertomethanthebestyouhaveevergivenme,becauseitwashedgedround withlove,evenifitweretheloveofnegroes Thingsarecomingbacktomenow sovividly,pressingonmybrainwhichfeelsasifitwouldburst,andIremember theblacks,andtheirprayermeetings,andthesongstheysang,andtheir hallelujahsandamenssoundinmyears,andIthinktheyalwayshave,and helpedmeonandupwhenIhavebeenpractisingdifficultmusic Whenachild atschoolIwasoftentauntedandmockedforwhatthechildrencalledmynegro brogueandtalk WehadseveralbattlesinwhichIgenerallybeat,althoughIwas oneagainstadozen ThereisagooddealoffightinmewhichImusthave inheritedfrommyfather,who,Isuppose,wasaSoutherner,ifyouarenothe." TheColonelonlyglaredather,andshecontinued,"Ihavebeentold,too,that thereisanegrotwanginmyvoice,andIamgladofit,andtrytoimitatethe soundswhichcometomefromapastIsodimlyremember,andwhichIthink areechoesfromsomenegroprarmeeting YouseeIhavenotforgottenthe dialectofmyearlysurroundings,andsomeday—Itellyouagain,Ishallfindthe placeandthegravesofmypeople,andknowwhatyouhavekeptfrommeso carefully." "Betternot You'llbesorryifyoudo Yourmother'sfamilywereCrackers,"the Colonelsaid "Youwouldnotbeproudoftheconnection,althoughtheywere respectablepeople." IfDorahadeverheardofCrackerssheknewverylittleaboutthem,andcared less Shewasgreatlyexcited,andhereyesflashedandglowedwiththatlight whichMr MasonandPeterhadnoticedyearsbefore,andfromwhichthe Colonelturnedawayasfromsomethingdangerous "MymotherwasaCracker?MyfatherwasaMr Harris—aCracker,too Iam notyourdaughter,asIhavebeenweakenoughattimestobelieve,and—yes,I willconfessit—IwasweakenoughtobeproudthatIwasaCrompton;butthat isovernow;myfatherandmotherwereCrackers IamaCracker,andEudora Harris Iameighteen,andmyownmistress—amenabletotheauthorityofno one Iamgladforthat,asitmakesmefreetodoasIplease Goodevening." Shebowedandlefttheroom,leavinghimstunnedthatshedareddefyhim,and halfresolvedtocallherbackandtellherthetruth Buthedidn't,anditwasyears beforehesawheragain Thenextmorningshewasmissing ShehadgonewithCandida—where,hetook nopainstoinquire ShesenthimaNewYorkpaper,withanoticeofher marriage,andthenamesofherselfandhusbandinthelistofpassengerssailing ontheCeltic Heputthepaperinthefirewiththetongs,andafterthatagreat silencefelluponthehouse,andtheColonelgrewmorereservedthanever,and morepeculiar HeforbadetheservantstomentionDora'sname,ortellhim whereshewas,iftheyknew Theydidn'tknow,andmanyyearswentby,andto allintentsandpurposesshewasdeadtothosewhohadknownherasabright, beautifulgirl Jake,whowrotetoinquireforher,wastoldthatshehadrunaway andmarried,andtheColonelneitherknewnorcaredwhereshewas,andwasnot tobetroubledwithanymoreletters,whichheshouldnotanswer Jakewas silenced,andtherewasnolinkconnectingtheColonelwiththepast,excepthis memorywhichlashedhimlikethestingsofscorpions Hishairturnedwhiteas snow;therewasastoopbetweenhisshoulders,andhisfifty-fiveyearsmight havebeensixty-five,heagedsofast,astimewenton,andhisgreathouse becamesointolerabletohimthatheatlasthailedwithdelightaneventwhich, sadasitwasinsomerespects,broughthimsomethingoflifeandaninterestin it PARTII CHAPTERI HOWARDCROMPTONTOJACKHARCOURT "CromptonHouse,June—,18— "DearJack: "Ihavebeardedthelioninhisdenandfoundhimaharmlessoldcove,afterall, withmanyofhisfangsextracted Youknow,Iamthesonofhishalf-brother, whowasmanyyearshisjunior Ifancythetwoneveragreedverywell,and whenIwrote,proposingthatIshouldvisitCromptonHouse,Iwassurprisedat thecordialreply,biddingmepackupmytrapsandcomeatonce Ipackedup andcame,and,ifIknowmyself,Ishallstay Iamtheonlynearrelativehehasin theworld Hehasalargeestatetodisposeof,wasnevermarried,and,ofcourse, hasnochildren,unless—* "Theremusteverlastinglybeanunless,orabutsomewhere,andhereitis—abig oneintheshapeofawoman—alovelywoman,too,ifsheisnearerfortythan twenty Don'tyourememberIoncetoldyouofagirlwhommyunclebrought homefromtheSouth,andwhoranoffwithhermusicteacher,anItalian Well, sheishere—awreckphysicallyandmentallyinonesense;notexactlyinsane, butwithmemorysoimpairedthatshecantellnothingofherpast,orperhapsshe doesnotwishto Shealwayssays,whenquestionedaboutit,'Idon'tremember, anditmakesmyheadachetotry.' "Itseemsherfirsthusband,Candida,tookherabroadandgaveherevery advantageinmusic,bothinParisandItaly WhenhediedshemarriedHomer Smith,anAmerican,whowasassociatedwithhiminsomeway Afterhisreturn toAmericahegotupwhatwasknownasthe'HomerTroupe.'Hedroppedhis lastname,thinkingtheSmithTroupewouldnotsoundaswellasHomer His wifewasthedrawingcard Shehadawonderfulvoiceasagirl,theysay,witha peculiarlypathetictoneinit,likewhatyouhearinnegroconcerts,anditwas thisandherbeautywhichtookwiththepeople Shehatedthebusiness,butwas compelledtosingbyherhusband,who,Ifancy,wasatyrantandabrute They starreditinthefarWestmostly,untilherhealthandmindgaveway,andshe wentravingmadonthestage,Ibelieve HeputherinaprivateasyluminSan Francisco HowlongshewasthereIdon'tknow,andshedon'tknow Shewas alwaysalittlequeer,theysay,andpeoplepredictedshewouldbecrazysome time HerhusbanddiedsuddenlyinSantaBarbara Justbeforehediedhetriedto saysomething,butcouldonlymanagetogivehisphysiciantheColonel's address,andsay,'Tellhimwheremywifeis.' "OffstartedtheColonel,lame,andgouty,andrheumaticasheis,andbrought herhome,andhassetherupasakindofqueenwhoseslightestwishistobe obeyed Todoherjusticeshehasnotmanywishes Sheisveryquiet,talksbut little,andseemsinakindofbrownstudymostofthetime Occasionallyshe rousesupandasksifwearesureheisdead—thehebeingherhusband—thelast one,presumably Whenwetellherheisshesmilesandsays,'IthinkI'mglad, fornowIshallneverhavetosingagaininpublic.'Thenshesaysinavery differenttone,'Babyisdead,too;andmyheadhasachedsohardeversincethat Icannotthinkorremember,onlyitwassuddenandtookmylifeaway.' "Shehasanoldredcloakwhichattimesshewrapsaroundashawl,andcuddles itasifitwereababy,crooningsomenegromelodysheheardSouth Theremust havebeenalittlechildwhodied,butsheisnotclearonthesubject Sometimes itisababy;sometimesagrowngirl;sometimesitdiedinoneplace;sometimes inanother;butalwaysjustbeforeshewasgoingtosing,andtheroomwasfull ofcoffinsuntilshesankdown,andknewnomore Whethermyunclehastaken painstoinquireaboutthechild,Idon'tknow Hedoesnotlikechildren,andis satisfiedtohaveAmyback,andistryingtoatoneforhisformerharshness He callsherAmy,insteadofEudora,becausethelatterwasthenamebywhichshe wasknownintheHomerTroupe,andhesawitflauntedonahandbill advertisingthelastconcertinwhichshetookpart "Don'tthinkIhaveheardallthisfromhim Heistighterthanthebarkofatree withregardtohisaffairs,andIdonotthinkanyoneinthetownknowsanything definiteabouthersinginginpublic,ortheasylum;butthereisaservant,Peter, whohasgrownoldinthefamily Heknowseverything,andhastoldmeabout myunclebringingthechildhome,andhowshecriedfordaysforShaky,a coloredman,andsleptintheredcloak,andkeptitaroundherintheday-time becausehegaveittoher Ihavelearnedthatshewasneverlawfullyadopted, andthatmyunclehasmadenowill Stillshemustbesomethingtohim,but certainlynothislawfulchild,orwhyhisreticencewithregardtoher Iamthe onlynearrelativebearingtheCromptonname Ihavemademyselfvery necessarytohim—aminfact,inaway,asonofthehouse Heisverymuch broken,andifhedieswithoutawill—* "Well,allthingscometohimwhowaits,andIcanaffordtowaitinsuch comfortablequarters Doyoucatchon,andcallmeascampwithyour Puritanicalnotions?Notsofast,oldfellow Youhavechosentoearnyourliving delvingatthelaw Iearnminebybeingsousefultomyunclethathewillnot partwithme Hehasalreadymademeakindofagenttoattendtohisbusiness, sothatIlookuponmyselfaspermanentlyfixedatCromptonHouseforaslong asIchoosetostay Itisagrandoldplace,withanincomeofIdonotknowhow manythousands,andifIshouldeverbefortunateenoughtobemaster,Ishall saythatforonceinhislifeHowardCromptonwasinluck Iwantyoutocome here,Jack,whenyouhavefinishedvisitingyoursister IaskedmyuncleifI couldinviteyou,andhesaid,'Certainly;Iliketohaveyoungpeopleinthe house ItpleasesAmy.' "Thisiswonderful,astheysayheusedtokeepyoungpeopleaway,almostwith lockandkey,whenshewasyoung ButnowanythingwhichpleasesAmy pleaseshim "Andnowforanothermatterwhichinvolvesagirl,EloiseSmith Whoisshe, youask?Well,sheisneitherhighborn,Ifancy,norcitybred;normuchlikethe girlsfromWellesleyandLasell,withwhomweusedtoflirt Sheisacountry school-ma'am,andistobegraduatedthismonthintheNormalSchoolin Mayville,whereyouarevisiting Whatisshetome?Nothing,exceptthis:She hashauntedmeeversinceIheardofher,andIcan'tgetridofanideathatin somewaysheistoinfluencemylife YouknowIwasalwaysgivento presentimentsandvagaries,andsheisthelastone Imightnothavethought muchofherifmyunclewerenotinagreatwayonheraccount Longagowhen theychangedthenameofthetownfromTroutburgtoCromptoninhishonor,he builtaschool-houseonhispremises,andgaveittothetown Sincethenhehas feltthathehadarighttocontrolit,andsaywhoshouldteach,andwho shouldn't Foralongtimethepeoplehumoredhim,andmadehimschool inspector,whosebusinessitwastoexaminetheteacherswithregardtotheir qualifications Withhisoldtimenotions,hehadsomeveryold-timequestions, whichwithothers,healwayspropounded Asatestofscholarshiptheywere ridiculous;buthewasCol Crompton,andthepeopleshruggedtheirshoulders andlaughedatwhattheycalledtheCromptonformula Hereareafewofthe questions:First,Whatislogic?Second,Whydoesthewindusuallystopblowing whenthesungoesdown?Idon'tknow;doyou?andwearebothHarvarders ThethirdintroducesamaninoldColburn'sArithmetic,drivinghissheepor geesetomarket Thefourthisascorcher,andhastodowiththediameterofa grindstone,afteracertainnumberofincheshavebeengroundfromit Then comeswhatIcallthepiècederésistance,butwhichmyunclecalled'killingtwo birdswithonestone.'Hehasafadonwritingandspelling,andrequiredhis victimstoputonpaperthefollowing: "'Mr WrighthasarightTowritetheritesofthechurch.' "BlamedifIdidn'tgetstuckonthatlastritewhenhegaveittome!Ifthe teachersgotsafelythroughwiththesheep,orgeese,andthegrindstone,andMr Wright,andtherestofthem,hegavethemacertificatedeclaringthemqualified toteachadistrictschool Inthesedaysofmethods,andanalysis,anddifferent waysoflookingatthings,allthatisexploded,andtheCromptonpeoplehave droppedmyuncle,whoisfurious,andchargesittoyoungblood,andthenormal schoolswhichhavesprungup,andinwhichhedoesnotbelieve 'Nomatterhow manydiplomasagirlmayhave,'hesays,'provingthatshehasstoodupina whitegown,andreadanesaynobodywithinfourfeetoftherostrumcouldhear, orcaretohear,iftheycould,sheoughttopassagoodsolidexaminationtoseeif shewererootedandgroundedinthefundamentals,'andwhenheheardthata normalgraduatewasengagedforDistrictNo 5,hesworeabluestreakatthe girl,thetrusteewhohiredher,andtheattackofgoutwhichkeepshimaprisoner inthehouse,andwillpreventhisinterviewingMissSmith,ashecertainlywould ifhewereable Itriedtoquiethimbyofferingtointerviewhermyself Thinkof meinadistrictschool-house,talkingtotheteacheraboutthediameterofa grindstone!Theabsurditymusthavestruckmyuncle Youshouldhaveseenthe lookhegavemeoverhisspectacles,ashesaid,'You,whoknownothing,except ballgames,andboatraces,andraisingthedevilgenerally,interviewagirlwitha diploma!Youwouldprobablyendbymakinglovetoher,butIwon'thaveit; mind,Iwon'thaveit!Remember,youareaCrompton,andnoCromptonever marriedbeneathhim!'Herehestoppedsuddenly,andturnedsowhitethatIwas alarmed,andaskedwhatailedhim "'Nothing,'hesaid,'nothingbutatwinge Ihadanawfulone.' "Isupposehereferredtohisfoot,whichwasprettybadthatday Afteralittle, quitetomysurprise,hesaid,'Ifyouknewanythingyourself,youmightmanage toseeifthisSmithgirlknowsanything Amycancoachyou Sheisrootedand grounded Shewastaughtintheoldschool-house,whichIwouldneverhave giventhetownbutforher.' "WhathemeantIdon'tknow WhatIdoknowisthatAmyhastoldmewhythe windstopsblowingwhenthesungoesdown,butI'llbehangedifIunderstand muchabouttherarefactionoftheair Doyou?Shewasveryglibwiththesheep andthegeese,butthegrindstonemadeherheadache,andshegaveitup Ithink, however,Ihavealltheknowledgenecessarytojudgewhetheragirlisrooted andgrounded,andnowIwanttoknowsomethingaboutthegirl Managetosee herwhileyouareinMayville Attendthecommencementexercises Sheissure toreadanessayinawhitegown Writemewhatsheislike,andifIamlikelyto fallinlovewithher Comeassoonasyoucan "Alwaysyourfriend, "HOWARDCROMPTON." CHAPTERII JACKHARCOURTTOHOWARDCROMPTON Mayville,July—,18— "DearHoward: "Thatyouareascampofthefirstwatergoeswithoutsaying,insinuating yourselfintoaneccentricoldman'sconfidenceinhopestobehisheir!Idare say,Amyishisdaughter,andyouwillhavetoworkforalivingafterall,and serveyouright,too Buthaveagoodtimewhileyoucan,andI'llhelpyouaftera little,asIacceptyourinvitationwithpleasure "Nowforthegirl!Ihaveseenher,andiftherewaseveracaseofloveatfirst sight,I'mthatcase Itwasthisway Mayvilleisnotaverylivelyplace,andwhen mysister,Mrs Lovell,whoyouknowhasasummerhomehere,suggestedone morningthatweattendthecommencementexercisesoftheNormalSchool, saying,thattwenty-fiveorthirtyyounggirlsweretobegraduated,Iconcluded thatitwasbetterthannothing Ihatesuchplaces,asarule,theyaresocloseand stuffy,andtheessayssolonganddull,andthegirlsalllookprettymuchalike, andIbeggedBelltogetaseatasnearthedooraspossible,soIcouldgoout whenitbecameunendurable Justthenyourletterwasbroughttome,andafter readingit,nothingcouldhavekeptmefromEloiseSmith IaskedBellifshe knewher "'Idon'tknowmanyofthegirlsbyname,'shesaid,'butIhaveheardofEloise Smith Shesingsinthechoir,andisabasket-boarderofMrs Brown's.' "'Whatthemischiefisabasket-boarder?'Iasked,andBellexplainedthatgirls sometimeshirearoom,andbringtheirfoodfromhome,andhavethefamily withwhomtheylodgecookitforthem,orcookitthemselvesonthefamily stove Akindofpicnictogetaneducation,yousee,andjustthinkofallwespent uselesslyincollege Why,itwouldkeepalotofbasket-boarders Well,we startedforthechapel,whichwasliterallycrammed,andthethermometerat ninety Youknow,Mr Lovelliswealthy,andfromNewYork,andthatmakes Bellakindofswellwomanintheplace,whileIfancyyourhumbleservanthad somethingtodowiththeattentionwereceived Insteadofaseatbythedoor,we werepushedtothefront,withintenfeetoftherostrum,andIwaswedgedin withBellononesideofme,afraidI'djamhersleeves,andontheothersidewas awoman,whoweighedatleasttwohundred,andwasequallyafraidofher sleeves InfrontofmewasahatsobigthatIcouldn'tbegintoseeallthestage, andbutforEloiseI'dhavegotoutsomeway,IwassouncomfortablewithBell fanningononesidetillthatrheumaticspotonmyshoulder,whichtroubledme someatHarvard,begantoache,andthefatwomantheothersidemoppingher facewithahandkerchiefsaturatedwithcheapperfumery,andthebighatinfront floppingandnoddingthiswayandthat,andnoplacetostretchmylonglegs "Therewasaprayer,asongcircle,andetceteras,andagreatflutterinarowof whitedresses,andmanycoloredribbonstomyleft 'TheGraduates,'Bell whispered,andthebusinessofthedaybegan Therewereeightinalltoread essays—nicelookinggirls,andmuchliketheLasellsandWellesleysweusedto know Asfortheessays—well,therewaseitheragooddealofboshinthem,ora profundityoflearningandthoughttowhichJackHarcourtneverattained But thepeoplecheeredlikemadwheneveronewasended,andsentupflowers, whileIgrewhotterandhotter,andwhentheseventhwentup,andunfoldedthe 'AgeofProgressandReason,'whichlookedasifitmightlastanage,Imadeup mymindtobolt,andsaidsotoBell "'Keepstill;there'sonlyonemoreafterthisone,andthatisEloiseSmith,'she said "Ithoughtofyou,andsettledmyselfforanotherfifteenminutes,whilearedhairedgirlinglasseswentthroughthe'AgeofProgressandReason'withgreat applause,andabasketofflowers,andbowedherselfoffthestage Therewasa littledelay Somebodyhadfainted Iwondertheydidn'tallfaint,theairwasso hotandthick;andtocrownall,thewindownearushadtobeshut,becausethat fatwomandidn'twantadraughtonherback!Whentheygotthefaintingperson out,andthewindowshut,Isawtheflutterofawhitedress,andknewtheeighth andlastessaywascoming "'That'sEloise,'Bellsaid,asaslenderlittlegirlwalkedontotherostrum, lookingasfresh,andcool,andsweetasa—well,asthewhiteliliesofwhichI amsofond "'ByGeorge!'Isaid,soloudthatthosenearestmemusthaveheardme,and wonderedwhatailedme "Perhapssheheardme,forshelookedatmewithherbeautifuleyes,which steadiedme,andkeptmequietallthroughheressay Don'taskmewhatitwas about Idon'tknow Iwassoabsorbedinthegirlherself,shewassograceful, andpretty,andself-possessed,andhervoicewassomusicalthatIcouldthinkof nothingbuther;andwhenshefinishedIcheeredlouderthananybodyelse,and keptoncheeringastheydoinplayswhentheywantthemtocomeback,tillBell nudgedmyside,andwhispered,'Areyoucrazy?Everybodyislookingatyou.' "Iwasalittleashamedtobespattingawayalone,butitpleasedthefatwoman, whoprovedtobeMrs Brown,thekeeperofthebasket-boarders "'That'sMissSmith Shedonenice,didn'tshe,andsheor'toofhadsome flowers,'shesaidtome;andthenIrememberedwithapangthatnotaflower hadbeensentuptoher—theflowerofthemall—andwishedIhadawhole green-housetogiveher "Didshethinkofit?Iwondered,asIwatchedheraftershesatdown Thebighat hadmovedalittle,andIcouldseethetopofEloise'shead,withitscrownof reddish-brownhair,onwhichagleamofsunshinefromawindowfell,bringing outtintsofgold,aswellasred Thatsoundsratherpoetical,don'tit?foraprosy chapwhoprofessesnevertohavebeenmovedbyanypieceoffemininity, howeverdainty I'llconfessIwasmovedbythislittlegirl Sheisveryslightand veryyoung,Ijudge IlikeMrs Brown,anddonotthinkherperfumerybad,or herselfveryfat,andamgladtheyhadthewindowshutforher Iwouldn'thave herinadraughtforanything,becauseshetoldmeEloisewasthenicestgirlshe everhadinherhouse,andthebestscholarinherclass Ofcoursesheis;I'd sweartothat Shemaynotberootedandgroundedinthefundamentalsyour queeroldunclethinksnecessary,andIdoubtifsheknowsaboutthegrindstone, andtherestofit I'dlaughtoseeagreathulkingfellowlikeyouquestioningher onsuchsubjects I'veagreatmindtowriteoutthelingo,andsendittoher anonymously,soshewillbepreparedtosatisfyyouruncle,who,Ifancy,isthe GreatMogulofCrompton "IgotquitechummywithMrs Brownbeforetheexerciseswereover,andshe toldmeEloiselivedinNorthMayvillewithhergrandmother,andthatshewas realgladshehadaplacetoteachinCrompton,forsheneededit "'Poor?'Iasked,feelingashamedofmyselfforthequestion "ButMrs Brownsawnothingwronginit,andanswered,'Very.' "JustthenBellnudgedmeagain,andsaid,'Let'sgo Wecangetoutnow You don'tcaretoseethemreceivetheirdiplomas?' "ButIdid,andsatitouttillEloisehadhers,andIsawherfaceagain,andsaw, too,whatIhadnotnoticedbefore,thatherdresslookedpoorandplainbeside theothers Ofcourseshe'spoor;butwhatdoIcareforthat?Iamagooddeal struck,yousee,andiftherewerenothingelsetobringmetoCrompton,Eloise woulddoit SoexpectmeinSeptemberaboutthetimeherschoolcommences Whenwillthatbe? "Verytruly, "JACKHARCOURT." CHAPTERIII ELOISE Itwasabrown,old-fashionedhousesuchasiscommoninNewEngland,with lowceilings,highwindows,andsmallpanesofglass,andinthecentreagreat chimneyofafashionahundredyearsago Inthegrassplotattheside,where clotheswerebleachedanddried,thereshouldhavebeenawell-sweepandcurb tocompletethepicture,butinsteadtherewasamodernpumpwhereanelderly womanwasgettingwater,andthrowingawaythreeorfourpailsfull,sothatthe lastmightbefreshandsparklingforthecoffeeshewastomakefortheearly breakfast Abovetheeasternhillsthesunwasrising,coloringeverythingwitha rosytinge,andtheairwasfullofthesongwhichsummersings,offlowersand happyinsectlife,whensheisatherbest Butthewomanneitherheardthesong norsawthesunshine,herheartwassoheavywiththoughtsofthepartingwhich wassonear "Ican'tletherknowhowbadIfeel,"shesaid,fightingbackhertears,asshe preparedthedaintybreakfastwhichshecouldscarcelytouch,butwhichher grand-daughter,Eloise,atewiththehealthyappetiteofyouth,andthenturned herattentiontostrappinghertrunk,whilehergrandmotherbegantofillapaper boxwithslicesofbreadandbutter,andwhateverelseshecouldfind,and thoughtEloisewouldlikeontheroad "There,I'vegotitdoneatlast,andhopeitwillholdtillIgetthere,theoldlockis soshaky,"Eloisesaid,risingtoherfeet,andsheddingbackfromherfaceamass ofsoft,fluffyhair "Pleasedon'tputupanymorelunch Icannevereatitall,"shecontinued, turningtohergrandmother;then,asshesawthetearsdroppingfromthedim,old eyes,shesprangforward,andexclaimed,"Don'tcry Youknowwepromisedwe wouldbothbebrave,anditisnotsoverylongtoChristmas Ishallcertainlybe homethen,andCromptonisnotsoveryfaraway." Withacatchingkindofsob,theelderwomansmileduponthebrightface upliftedtohers,andsaid:"Ididn'tmeantocry,andIamgoingtobebrave Iam gladyouhavethechance." "SoamI,"thegirlreplied,herspiritsrisingashergrandmother'stearswere dried "EversinceIwasengagedtogotoCromptonIhavefeltanelationof spirits,asifsomethingweregoingtocomeofit Ifitwerenotforleavingyou, andIhadheardfromCalifornia,Ishouldbeveryhappy Whenalettercomes, forwarditatonce,andifnecessaryIshallgothereduringtheholidays,and bringherhome Iamgladwehaveherroomallreadyforher Imustseeitonce more." Runningupstairssheopenedthedoorofalargechamber,andstoodfora momentinspectingit Everythingwasplainandcheap,fromthepinewashstand totheragcarpetonthefloor;butitwascoseyandhome-like,andthegirlwho hadworkedinitsomuch,paperingandpaintingitherself,withher grandmother'shelp,andthenarrangingandrearrangingthefurnitureuntilit suitedher,thoughtitfine,andsaidtoherself,"She'lllikeitbetterthananyroom sheeverhadatthegrandesthotel Iwishshewerehere Mother'sroom,goodby." Shekissedherhandtoitandrandownstairs,foritwastimetogo Thetrainwas drawingupatthestation,ashortdistancefromhergrandmother'sdoor,andina fewminutesshewasspeedingawaytowardsCrompton Atnearlythesamehour JackHarcourtwasstartingfromNewYorkforhispromisedvisittoCrompton Hisletterhasgivensomeinsightintohischaracter,butalookathisfacewill giveabetter Itwasnotaveryhandsomeface,butitwasonewhicheveryman, andwoman,andchildwouldtrust,andneverbedeceived Forayoungmanof twenty-sixhehadseenagooddealoflife,bothathomeandabroad,butthebad sidehadmadebutlittleimpressionuponhim "ItslipsfromJacklikewaterfromaduck'sback,whilewepoorwretchesget smirchedallover,"HowardCromptonwaswonttosayofhim,whensmarting fromsometemptationtowhichhehadyielded,andwhichJackhadresisted TheyhadbeenfriendssincetheywereboysofeighteeninEurope,andHoward hadnursedhimthroughafevercontractedinRome Theyhadalsobeenchums inHarvard,wherebothhadpulledthroughrathercreditably,andwhereJackhad actedasarestraintuponHoward,whowasfonderoflarksthanofstudy "Areyousureheistherightkindoffriendforyou?"Jack'ssister—whowas manyyearshissenior,andwhostoodtohimintheplaceofamother— sometimessaidtohim;andhealwaysanswered,"Heisn'tabadsort,asfellows go Toolazy,perhaps,forachapwhohasnothingbutexpectationsfroma crabbed,half-crackedolduncle,andnotalwaysquiteonthesquare Butheis jollygoodcompany,andIlikehim." Somethingofthissorthesaidtohissister,whowasinherNewYorkhomeon thedaywhenhewasstartingforCrompton,andhadexpressedherdoubtsof Howard'sperfectrectitudeineverything "Heisn'tasaint,"hesaidtoher,"butIdon'tforgethowhestucktomeinthat beastlyplaceontheRiviera,whileeverysoulofthepartybuthimhurriedoff, afraidofthefever HeishavingagrandtimeatCrompton,andI'mgoingtohelp himawhile,andthenbuckledowntohardworkintheoffice Sogood-by,and don'tworry." Hekissedherandhurriedofftothestation,boughtthe"Century,"putseveral expensivecigarsinthepocketofhisovercoat,tookachairinaparlorcar,and felt,asthetrainspedawayoutofthecity,thatitwasgoodtolive,andthat Cromptonheldsomenewpleasureandexcitementforhim,whofoundsunshine everywhere Movinginthesamedirectionandforthesamepointwasanothertrain,inwhich Eloisesat,dustyandtired,andhomesickfortheoldgrandmotherandthehouse underthebigpoplartree Addedtothiswasaharrowinganxietyfornewsfrom California "IfIdonothearbyChristmas,Ishallcertainlytakeanextraweekinmy vacation,andgothere,"shethought;andthenshebegantowonderabout Crompton,andDistrictNo 5,andifshewouldhaveanytroublewiththebig boysandgirls,andhowshewouldlikeMrs Biggs,whohadboardedtheschool teachersfortwentyyears,andwastoboardher;andifbyanychanceshewould everseetheinsideoftheCromptonHouse,ofwhichshehadheardfromafriend whohadvisitedinthetownandhadgivenglowingdescriptionsofit Atlast,astheairinthecargrewcooler,shefellasleep,anddidnotwakentill thesunwasdown,andagreatbankofblackcloudswasloomingupinthewest, withmutteringsofthunder,andanoccasionalflashoflightningshowingagainst thedarksky Shemightnothavewakenedthenifthecarhadnotgivenalurch, withajarwhichbroughteveryonetohisfeet Thetrainwasoffthetrack,andit wouldbetwoorthreehoursbeforeitwasonagain,theconductorsaidtothe crowdeagerlyquestioninghim Therewasnothingtodobutwait,andEloisedid itphilosophically Shehaddinedfromherlunchboxinthemiddleoftheday, andwasnowgladthathergrandmotherhadputsomuchinit,asitnotonly servedherforsupper,butalsoatiredmotherandtwohungrychildren Asthe carbegantogrowcloseagain,sheleftitforabreathofthefreshair,whichblew overthehillsasthestormcamenearer Sheheardsomeonesayitwastimefor theNewYorkExpress,whichwastopassthematCrompton,anditsooncame thunderingon,butstoppedsuddenlywhenitfounditsprogressimpeded She sawthepassengersalighttoascertainthecauseofthehindrance,andheardtheir impatientexclamationsatthedelay,whichwouldseriouslyinconveniencesome ofthem "ItmaybemidnightbeforewereachCrompton IwonderifHowardwillmeet meatthatlatehour,"sheheardayoungmansay,thesmokefromhiscigar blowinginherfaceashepassedwhereshewassittingonastump "Heissuretobethere Isawhimdaybeforeyesterday,andheiswildtohave youcome Ifancyhefindsitratherdullwithonlyacrankyoldmanandahalfcrazywomanforassociates Howardwantslifeandfun,"wasthereplyofhis companion,andthenthetwoyoungmenwereoutofhearing WhoHowardwas,orthecrankyoldmanandhalf-crazywoman,Eloisehadno idea,nordidshegivethemathought Onethingaloneimpressedher,—thelate hourwhenshewouldprobablyarriveatCrompton Wouldanyonebethereto meether,oranyconveyance,andifnot,howwasshetofindherwaytoMrs Biggs? "Grandmasaysnevercrossarivertillyoureachit,whenyouwillprobablyfind aplank,ifnothingmore,"shethought,andsettledherselftowaitthroughthe longhourswhichelapsedbeforethewelcome"Allaboard!"wassounded,and thetwotrainswereunderway,—theaccommodationinfront,andtheexpressin therear Thestormhadbrokenbeforethetrainsstarted,anditincreasedinsuchviolence thatwhenCromptonwasreacheditwasrainingintorrents Thewindwaslikea hurricane,withalternateflashesoflightningwhichlitupthedarkness,andpeals ofthunderwhichseemedtoshakethetrainsastheystoppedtoletofftheir passengers Therewerebuttwo,theyoungmanfromtheparlorcar,andthegirl fromtheaccommodation Thegirlwasalmostdrenchedtotheskininthe downpourbeforeshecouldopenhercottonumbrella,whichwasatonceturned insideout Holdinghersatchelwithonehandandstrugglingtokeepherhaton herheadwiththeother,shewastryingtoreachtheshelterofthestation,wherea faintlightwasshining,whentheviolenceofthewindandraindroveher backwards,almostintothearmsofayoungmanhurryingpasther,inaslouched hatandwater-proofcoat Thinkinghimanofficial,sheseizedhisarmandsaid, "Oh,please,sir,tellmeisthereanyoneherefromMrs Biggs's,oranywayto getthere?" Herquestionwasinopportune,foratthatmomentthestranger'sumbrellameta likefatewithherown,andwasturnedinsideout,whilehers,loosenedbythe openingofherhand,wentsailingoffintothedarknessandrain Shethoughtshe heardanoathbeforethestrangerrepliedthatheknewnothingofMrs Biggs, anddidnotthinkanyconveyancewasthereatthathour "Hallo,Jack!Isthatyou?anddidyoueverknowsuchaninfernalstorm?Nearly takesoneoffhisfeet Myumbrellahasgoneup;sowillyoursifyouopenit Didn'tseeyoutillIwasrightonyou,"washisnextexclamation,asavividflash oflightninglituptheplatform,andshowedEloisetwoyoungmenclasping handswithinthreefeetofher HowardCromptonhadbeentothestationattheappointedtime,andlearnedof thedelayofthetraininwhichheexpectedhisfriend Lateratelephonehadtold himwhenthebelatedtrainwouldarrive,andthecarriagewasagainordered,the coachmangrumbling,andtheColonelswearingtohimselfathavingthehorses gooutinsuchastorm ToHowardhesaidnothing Thatyoungmanhadso ingratiatedhimselfintohisuncle'sgoodopinion,astobenearlymasterofthe situation HewroteandansweredmostoftheColonel'sletters,collectedhis rents,andlookedafterhisbusinessgenerally,anddiditsowellthattheColonel wasbeginningtofeelthathecouldnotgetonwithouthim,andtohaveserious thoughtsofmakingitworthhiswhiletostayindefinitely NothingcouldhavebeenfurtherfromHoward'swishesthangoingoutsolateat night,andinsuchastorm,buttheoneunselfishpassionofhislifewashis attachmenttoJackHarcourt Hewasnotverywellpleasedwiththewettinghe got,ashisumbrellawasturnedinsideout;noratallinterestedinthegirlasking sotimidlyforMrs Biggs,andinhispleasureatmeetingJackheforgother entirely,untilthesameflashoflightningwhichshowedherthetwomenshowed themherwhiteface,withanappealingexpressiononitwhichJackneverpassed by,whetheritwerematronormaidwhoneededhishelp Whothedroopinglittle figurewas,withthewaterrunningdownherjacketandoffherhatinstreams,he hadnoideafromtheglimpsehehadofherfeaturesasthelightningplayedover themforamoment Thatshewasintroublewasevident,andinreturnto Howard'sgreeting,hesaid,"Thisisacorkerofastorm,andnomistake,andIdo believeIamwetthrough,but,—"andhespokealittlelower,—"there'sagirl herenearus,—alone,too,Idobelieve." "Yes,Iknow,"Howardreplied "Thestationmasterwillseetoher Comeonto thecarriage Thehorsesareplunginglikemad Samcan'tholdthemmuch longer." Hemovedaway,butJackstoodstill,forasecondflashoflightninghadshown himEloise'sfaceagain Itwasverypale,andtears,aswellasrain,wereonher cheeks "CanIdoanythingforyou?"hesaid,openinghisumbrella,andholdingitover her Hisvoicewasthatofafriend,andEloiserecognizeditassuch,andanswered,"I don'tknow Iamastranger IwanttogotoMrs Biggs's Doyouknowwhere shelives?" "Iamastranger,too,andhaveneverheardofMrs Biggs,"Jackreplied;"butthe stationagentwillknow Heoughttobehere Hallo!you,sir!Whyareyounot attendingtoyourbusiness?Hereisayounglady,"hecalledout,astheagentat lastappearedcomingslowlytowardthem,holdingalanternwithonehand,and hiscaponwiththeother "Ididn'ts'posetherewasanybodyherebutMr Crompton'sfriend Whoisshe? Wheredoesshewanttogo?Thereain'tnoconveyanceherefornowhereatthis hour,"hesaid,throwingthelightofhislanternfullyonEloise,whosefacegrew, ifpossible,ashadepaler,andwhosevoiceshookasshereplied,"Iwanttogoto Mrs Biggs's Iamtoboardwithher Iamthenewschoolteacher,MissSmith CanIwalktherewhenthestormisover?Howfarisit?" "Greatguns!"Jacksaidunderhisbreath,holdingthewholeofhisumbrellanow overthegirlinsteadofhalf,whiletheagentreplied,"WalktoWidderBiggs's!I'd saynot It'stwogoodmilesfromhere You'llhavetositinthedepottillitstops rainin'alittle,andI'llfindyouaplacetillmornin' TimBiggswasherewhenthe trainor'toofcome,andsaidhewasexpectin'aschoolmarm Beyouher?" "Yes,oh,yes;thankyou LetmegetintothestationassoonasIcan My umbrellaisgone,andIamsocoldandwet,"Eloisesaid,withcatchesinher breathbetweenthewords "Holdonaminit,"theagentcontinued "TheCromptoncarriagegoeswithin quarterofamileoftheWidderBiggs's Iguesstheyoungmanwilltakeyou I willaskhim." "No,letme I'msurehewill,"Jackinterruptedhim,andthrustinghisumbrella intoEloise'shand,hestumbledthroughthedarknesstothecornerwherehe heardHowardcallingtohim,"Jack,Jack,whereinthunderareyou?" "Here,"Jackreplied,makingforthevoice,andsayingtoHowardwhenhe reachedhim,"Howard,that'sEloiseSmith,thegirlIwroteyouabout,—the schoolteacher Shehasn'tadryragonher Herumbrellaislost Shewantstogo toWidowBiggs's TheagentsaysitisnotfarfromtheCromptonPlace Can'twe takeher?Ofcoursewecan I'llgoforher." Hehurriedoffaswellashecould,leavingHowardinnoveryamiableframeof mind HehadlaughedatJack'srhapsodiesoverEloiseSmith,andsaidto himself,"Hisinterestinherwillneverbeverylasting,nomatterhowprettyshe is JackHarcourtandabasket-boarder!Ha,ha!Rich Still,I'dliketoseeher." Afterthathehadnearlyforgottenherinhisabsorbingeffortstokeeptheright sideofhisuncle,andentertainAmy Andnowshewashere,andJackwas proposingtohavehimtakehertoWidowBiggs's,whichwasaquarterofamile beyondtheparkgates,Samsaid,whenconsultedastothewidow'swhereabouts Therewasnohelpforit,buthedidn'tlikeit,andtherewasascowlonhisface ashewaitedforJack,whocameatlastwithEloiseandtheagent,whoselantern shedadimlightonthehandsomely-cushionedcarriagewhenthedoorwasopen "I'mnotfittogetinthere,Iamsowet,"Eloisesaid,drawingbackalittle "Asfitasweare,"Jackreplied,almostliftingherin,andtiltinghisumbrellatill oneofthesticksstruckHowardintheeye,increasinghisdiscomposure,and makinghimwishbothEloiseandMrs Biggsinamuchdryerplacethanhewas "Now,Howard,inwithyou There'salittlelullintherain We'lltakeadvantage ofit,"Jackcontinued,ashefollowedHowardintothecarriage,wherebothsat downoppositeEloise,whocrouchedinhercorner,afraidshedidnotknowof what Certainlynotofthemanwhohadbeensokindtoher,andwhoshewished wassittinginfrontofher,insteadoftheonewhodidnotspeakatall,exceptto askSamhowthedeucetheyweretoknowwhentheyreachedtheWidow Biggs's "Easyenough Itisasquat-roofedhousewithlalockandpineybushesinthe yard." "Yes,buthowarewetoseeasquatroofwithlalocksandpineysonthisbeastly night?"Howardrejoined,inatonewhichtoldthathewasnotanticipatinghis triptothewidderBiggs's "Driveon,forheaven'ssake,"hecontinued,"anddon't upsetus Itisdarkerthanapocket." "No,sir,notifIcanhelpit Ineverknewthehorsesso'fraid Easy,Cass—easy Brute,"Samanswered,asinresponsetoaflashoflightningBrutusandCassius bothstoodontheirhindfeetandpawedtheairwithterror "Easy,easy,boys Lightnin'can'tstrikeyoubutonce,"Samcontinuedsoothinglytotherestless, nervoushorses,whowereatlastgottensafelyfromthestation,andstarteddown theroadwhichleadthroughthevillagetoCromptonPlace CHAPTERIV THEACCIDENT Forashorttimethecarriagewentonsmoothlyandswiftlythroughthetown, wherethestreetlampsofkerosenegavealittlelighttothedarkness Onceoutof towninthecountrySambecamelesssureofhisway,andashecouldnotseehis handbeforehim,hefinallyleftthemattertothehorses,trustingtheirinstinctto keepintheroad "IshallknowwhenIreachthegate,andsowillBruteandCass;butwe'vegotto gofarthertotheWidderBiggs's,anddarnedifIb'lievethey'llknowtheplace," hethought,withagrowingconvictionofhisinabilitytorecognizeMrs Biggs's squatroofandlilacsandpeonies Thestormwhichhadabatedforashorttimewasincreasingagain Thepealsof thunderweremorefrequent,andwitheachflashoflightningthehorsesgrew moreunmanageable,untilatlasttheyflewalongthehighwayataspeedwhich rockedthecarriagefromsidetoside,andbeganatlasttoalarmitsoccupants Eloiseinhercornerwasholdingfasttothestrap,whenaluridflamefilledthe carriageforaninstantwithablazeoflight Shehadremovedherhat,andher face,silhouettedagainstthedarkcushions,startledboththeyoungmenwithits beauty Itwasverywhite,exceptthecheekswhichwereflushedwith excitement Herlipswereapart,butherchiefbeautywasinhereyes,which werefullofterror,andwhichshonelikestarsastheylookedfromoneyoung mantotheother "Oh,Iamafraid Letmeout I'dratherwalk,"shecried,startingtoherfeetand graspingthehandleofthedoor "Pleasebequiet Thereisnodanger Youmustnotgetout,"Howardsaid,laying bothhishandsonhers,whichheheldforamoment,andpressedbywayof reassuringherashepushedhergentlybackintoherseat Shefeltthepressureandresentedit,andreleasingherhandsputthembehind her,lestinthedarknesstheyshouldbetouchedagain Thesamelightningwhich hadshowedherfacetoHowardhadalsogivenheraglimpseofhisblackeyes kindlingwithsurpriseandadmirationatabeautyhehadnotexpected Alurchof thecarriagesentJackfromhisseat,andEloisefelthimclosebesideher Washe goingtosqueezeherhands,too?Shedidn'tknow,andwasholdingthemclosely pressedbehindher,whentherewasanotherflash,adeafeningpealofthunder,a crash,andthenextsheknewtherainwasfallinguponherface,herheadwas lyingagainstsomeone'sarm,andtwopairsofhandsweretuggingathercollar andjacket "Doyouthinksheisdead?"wasasked,inthevoicewhichhadtoldhernottobe afraid "Dead!"asecondvoicereplied "Shecannotbedead Shemustnotbe Miss Smith,MissSmith!Whereareyouhurt?" Itwasonthearmofthisspeakershewaslying,andshefelthisbreathonher faceashebentoverher Withagreateffortshemovedherheadandanswered, "I'mnotdead,norhurteither,exceptmyfoot,whichistwistedunderme." "ThankGod!"Jacksaid,andinstantlythetwopairsofhandsgropedinthedark forthetwistedfoot "Oh!"Eloisecried,sittingupright,asasharppainshotfromherankletoher head "Don'ttouchme Ican'tbearit Iamafraiditisbroken Whathas happened,andwhereisthecarriage?" "Homebythistime,ifBrutusandCassiushavenotdemolisheditintheirmad fright,"Howardsaid,explainingthatatthelastheavypealofthunderthehorses hadswervedfromtheroadandupsetthecarriageattheentrancetothepark;that Samhadbeenthrowntosomedistancefromthebox,buthadgatheredhimself up,andgoneafterthehorsestearinguptheavenue "Ishoutedtohimtocome backwithalanternasquicklyaspossible He'llbeheresoon,Ithink Areyouin greatpain?" "WhenImove,yes,"Eloisereplied,andthen,asthefullextentofthe catastropheburstuponher,shebegantocry,—notsoftlytoherself,but hysterically,withsobswhichsmotebothHowardandJacklikeblows Itwasanovelpredicamentinwhichtheyfoundthemselves,—nearmidnight,in athunderstorm,withayounggirlonthegroundunabletowalk,andneitherof themknowingwhattodo Howardsaiditwasadeucedshame,andJacktoldher nottocry Samwassuretocomewithalanternsoon,andthey'dseewhatwas thematter Ashetalkedheputherheadbackuponhisshoulder,andsheletitlie therewithoutprotest Afterwhatseemedalongtime,Samcameupwithalantern Thecarriagewas badlyinjured,hesaid,havingbeendraggedthroughtheavenueonitsside Brutushadagougeonhisshoulderfromrunningintoatallshrub;hehadhurt hisarmwhenhefellfromthebox,andtheColonelwasnotinaverypiousstate ofmindonaccountofhisdamagedproperty Eloisehearditall,butdidnotrealizeitsimport,herfootwaspainingherso badly JackhadhelpedherupwhenSamcame,butshecouldnotwalk,andher facelookedsowhitewhenthelanternlightfelluponit,thatbothmenfearedshe wasgoingtofaint "Whatshallwedo?"Howardasked,standingfirstononefootandthenonthe other,andfeelingthewateroozeoverthetopsofhisshoes "TakehertotheCromptonhouse,ofcourse ItmustbenearerthanMrs Biggs's,"Jacksuggested BeforeHowardcouldreply,Eloiseexclaimed,"Oh,no,Icanhopononefootto Mrs Biggs'sifsomeonehelpsme Isitfar?" ThetwomenlookedinquiringlyateachotherandthenatSam,whowasthefirst tospeak IntheColonel'sstateofmind,withregardtohiscarriageandhis horses,hedidnotthinkitadvisabletointroduceahelplessstrangerintothe house,andhesaid,"I'lltellyouwhat;didyouevermakeachairwithyourhands crossed—so?" Heindicatedwhathemeant,andthechairwassoonmade,andEloiseliftedinto it "That'sjustthething;butyou'llhavetoputanarmaroundeachofournecksto steadyyourself,"Jacksaid "So!That'sright!holdtight!"hecontinued,asEloise putanarmaroundeachneck Samwasdirectingmatters,andtakingupthelanternandJack'sumbrella,which hehadfoundlyinginthemud,hesaid,"I'lllightthewayandholdtheumbrella overyou Itdon'trainmuchnow." "Myhatandsatchel,please,"Eloisesaid,butneithercouldbefound,andthe strangecortégestarted Foraninstanttheludicrousnessoftheaffairstruckbothyoungmen,convulsing themwithlaughtertosuchanextentthatthechaircamenearbeingpulledapart andEloisedroppedtotheground Shefeltitgivingway,and,takingherarm fromHoward,clungdesperatelytoJack "Don'tletmefall,please,"shesaid "Nodanger;holdfastasyouare,"Jackansweredcheerily,ratherenjoyingthe feelingofthetwoarmsclaspinghisnecksotightly WhatHowardfeltwasstreamsofwatertricklingdownhisbackfromthe umbrella,whichSamheldatexactlytherightangleforhimtogetthefullbenefit ofabathbetweenhiscollarandhisneck Hedidnotlikeit,andwasinabad frameofmindmentally,when,afterwhatseemedaneternitytoEloise,they cametothreeorfoursquat-roofedhousesinarow,atoneofwhichSamstopped, confidentlyaffirmingitwastheWidderBiggs's,althoughhecouldnotseethe "lalockandpineys." "Knocklouder!Kick,ifnecessary,"Howardsaid,applyinghisownfoottothe doorastherecamenoanswertoSam'sfirstappeal Therewasalouderknockandcall,andatlastaglimmeroflightinside Somebodywaslightingacandle,whichwasatonceextinguishedwhenthedoor wasopen,andagustofwindandrainsweptin "AreyouMrs Biggs?"Samasked,asatallfigureinaveryshortnight-robewas foramomentvisible "Mrs Biggs!Thunder,no!Don'tyouknowamanfromawoman?Shelives secondhousefromhere,"wasthemasculineresponse Thedoorwasshutwithabang,andthecortégemovedontothethirdhouse, which,byinvestigatingthelilacbushesandpeonies,Sammadeoutbelongedto theWidderBiggs Itwashardertorouseherthanithadbeentorouseher neighbor Shewasalittledeaf,andthenoiseofthewindandrainaddedtothe difficulty Whenshedidawakenherfirstthoughtwasofburglars,andtherewas aloudcrytohersonTimtocomequickandbringhisgun,forsomebodywas breakingintothehouse "Robbersdon'tmakesuchanoiseasthat!Openyourwindowandseewho's there,"wasTim'ssleepyanswer,asSam'sblowsfellheavilyuponthedoor, accompaniedwiththudsfromHoward'sfoot Mrs Biggsopenedherwindowcautiously,andthrustoutherhead,minusher falsehair,andenvelopedinacottonnightcap "Whoisit?Whathashappened?Anybodysickordead?"sheasked;andSam replied,"MissSmithisherewithabrokenlaig,for'tIknow!" "MissSmith!Abrokenleg!Fortheland'ssake,Tim,getupquick!"thewidow gasped Closingthewindowandputtingonaskirt,shedescendedtothekitchen,lighted anoillamp,and,throwingopenthedoor,lookedatthegroupoutside Shewas preparedforSamandMissSmith,anddidnotmindherdeshabilleforthem But atthesightoftwogentlemen,andoneofthemyoungMr Crompton,shecame neardroppingherlamp "Graciousgoodness!"sheexclaimed "Mr Crompton!AndIhalf-dressed!Wait tillIgetonsomeclothes,andmyhair,andmyteeth Iamasighttobehold." "Nevermindyourteeth,noryourhair,noryourbestgown,"Samsaid,pushing openthedoorMrs Biggshadpartiallyclosed,andenteringthehouse,followed byHowardandJack,withEloisestillclingingtoJack'sneck,andhalffainting withthepaininheranklewhichhadincreasedfromhangingdownsolong Timhadcomebythistime,fasteninghissuspendersashecame,andcaringless forhisappearancethanhismother Shehaddisappeared,butsoonreturnedwith teeth,andhair,andclothesinplace,andherselfreadyfortheemergency FollowingTim'sdirectionstheyhadputEloiseonacouch,whereshelaywith hereyesclosed,andsostillthattheythoughtshehadfainted "Bringthecamphire,Timothy,andthehartshorn,andstartuptheoilstovefor hotwater,andmovelively."Mrs Biggssaidtoherson "Idon'tbelieveshe's brokeherlaig,poorthing Howwhitesheis,"shecontinued,layingherhandon Eloise'sforehead Thisbroughtthetearsinacopiousshower,asEloisesatupandsaid,"Itismy ankle Ithinkitissprained Ifyoucouldgetoffmyboot." Shetriedtoliftit,butletitdropwithacryofpain "I'llbetit'ssprained,andasprainiswusthanabreak Ihadonetwentyyearsago comeChristmas,andwentwithmykneeonachairtwoweeks,andoncrutches three,"wasMrs Biggs'sconsolingremark,assheheldthelampclosetothefastswellingfoot,towhichthewetbootclungwithgreattenacity "Oh,Ican'tbearit,"Eloisesaid,astheprocessofremovingherboot commenced;then,closinghereyes,shelaybackuponthecushions,whileone afteranother,Mrs Biggs,Howard,Jack,andTimworkedattherefractoryboot Itwassuchasmallfoot,Jackthought,pityingtheyounggirl,ashesawspasms ofpainuponherface,wheredropsofsweatwerestanding Hewipedtheseaway withMrs Biggs'sapron,lyinginachair,andsmoothedherhair,andtookoneof herclenchedhandsinhis,andhelditwhilethethreetriedtoremovetheboot "'Tain'tnouse,—it'sgottobecutoff,—minedid Tim,bringmethebutcher knife,—thesharpestone,"Mrs Biggssaid Eloiseshuddered,andthoughtoftheonlyotherpairofbootsshehad,—herbest ones,whichweretohavelastedayear Buttherewasnoalternative Theboot mustbecutoff,andJackcontinuedtoholdherhandswhile,piecebypiece,the wetleatherdroppeduponthefloor "Nowforthestockin';that'llcomeeasier,"Mrs Biggssaid "Mustyoutakethatoffnow?"Eloiseasked,hermaidenlymodestyprevailing overeveryotherfeeling HowardandJackunderstood,andwenttothewindow,whilethestocking followedthefateoftheboot;andwhentheycamebacktothecouchEloise's footwasinabasinofhotwater,andMrs Biggswasgentlymanipulatingit,and declaringittheworstsprainsheeverknew,exceptherown,which,aftertwenty yearstroubledherattimes,andtoldherwhenastormwascoming "Oughtshetohaveadoctor?"Jackasked,andMrs Biggsreplied,"Adoctor? Whatfor,excepttorunupabill Iknowwhattodo She'llhavetokeepquieta spell;wormwoodandvinegarandhotwaterwilldotherest Tim,goupgarret andgetahandfulofwormwood It'sthebundleof'arbstoyourright There's catnip,andhorehound,andspearmint,andsage,andwormwood Belively,and putittosteepinsomevinegar,andbringmethatoldsheetintheunderbureau drawerforbandages." Sheseemedtoknowwhatshewasabout Eloisewasingoodhands,andthetwo water-soakedyoungmenwereabouttoleavewhenshesaid,"Iguessoneofyou willhavetocarryhertoherchamber Ican'ttrustTim,he'ssuchablunderhead." "No,no!Oh,no!Icanwalksomehow,"Eloisesaid,startingtoherfeet,and sinkingbackasquickly "Letme I'llcarryher!"HowardandJackbothexclaimed;butsomethingin Eloise'seyesgavethepreferencetoJack,wholiftedheraseasilyasifshehad beenachild,andcarriedherupthenarrowstairstotheroomwhichatintervals hadbeenoccupiedbyoneteacherafteranotherfornearlytwentyyears,forit wasunderstoodthatMrs Biggswastoboardtheteacherswhohadnohomeof theirowninthedistrict ButneverhadsoforlornorwretchedanonebeenthereaspoorEloise The worldcertainlylookedverydrearytoher,andherlipquiveredasshesaidgoodbytoJack,andtriedtosmileinreplytohisassurancethatshewouldbebetter soon,andthathewouldcallandseeheronthemorrow Thenhewasgone,and Eloiseheardthefootstepsandvoicesofthethreemenastheyleftthehouseand hurriedaway Shewassooninbed,andascomfortableasMrs Biggscould makeher Thatgoodladywasabornnurseaswellasagossip,andasshe arrangedEloiseforwhattherewasleftofthenight,hertongueranincessantly, firstonherownsprain,—everyharrowingdetailofwhichwasgoneover,—then onthetwoyoungmen,HowardCromptonandt'otherone,whowashe?She knewMr Howard,—everybodydid HewasCol Crompton'snephew,andhe ruledtheroostattheCromptonHouse,folkssaid,andwouldmostlikelybethe Colonel'sheir,withMissAmy,asfolkscalledhernow HadMissSmithever heardofher? Eloiseneverhad,andthepaininheranklewassosharpthatshegavelittleheed towhatMrs Biggswassaying Shedidnotknoweitheroftheyoungmen,she said Bothhadbeenkindtoher,andone,shethought,wasastranger,whocame inthetrainwithher "Oh,yes,"Mrs Biggsansweredbriskly "Iremembernow Cindy,—that'sMiss Stiles,thehousekeeperatCromptonPlace,—toldmeMr Howardwastohave company,—anotherhighbuck,Is'pose,thoughHowarddon'tdonothin'worse thandrivehorsesprettyfast,andsmokemostallthetime Drinkswineatdinner, theysay,whichIdisbelieveinonaccountofTim,whonevertooknothin' stronger'nsweetciderthroughastraw." Atlast,toEloise'srelief,Mrs Biggssaidgood-night,andleftherwiththe remark,"Idon'ts'poseyou'llsleepawink Ididn'tthefirstnightaftermysprain, norforagoodmanynightsneither." CHAPTERV AMY "Ifthisisn'talarkIneverhadone,"HowardsaidtoJack,whentheyweresafely housedandhadchangedtheirclothes,notathreadofwhichwasdry Jack,whoseluggagehadnotcome,andwhowasobligedtoborrowfrom Howard'swardrobe,lookedlikeanovergrownboyingarmentstoosmallfor him Buthedidnotmindit,andwithHowarddiscussedtheeventsofthe evening,astheysatoverthefirethelatterhadlightedinhisroom Naturally Eloisewasthesubjectoftheirconversation "IwroteyouIhadapresentimentthatshewastocomeintomylifeinsomeway, butIhadnoideaitwastobethisway,"Howardsaid,ashepuffedathiscigar andtalkedoftheiradventureandEloise Thatshewasveryhandsomeandhadprettylittlefeetwentwithoutsaying,and thatbothweresorryforherwasequally,ofcourse Jackwasthemoreso,ashis wasthemoreunselfishandsympatheticnature "ByJove,didn'tshebearthecuttingofthatbootlikeahero,andhowissheever togettoschoolwiththatankle?"hesaid;"andIthinksheoughttohaveadoctor toseeifanybonesarebroken Supposeyougetoneinthemorning,andtellhim nottosendhisbilltoherbuttome." Howardlookedupquickly,andJackwenton,"IwroteyouthatMrs Brownsaid shewaspoor,andIshouldknowitbyherboots." "Herboots!"Howardrepeated,andJackcontinued,"Yes,wetastheywereI noticedtheywerehalf-worn,andhadbeenblackedmanytimes Shecan'tafford topaymanydoctor'sbills,andIaskyouagain,howisshetogettoschool?" Howarddidnotknow,unlesstheymadeanotherchairandcarriedher "Iwouldn'tminditmuchforthesakeofherarmaroundmyneck Icanfeelit yet Can'tyou?"hesaid Jackcouldfeelitandthelittlewethandwhichonceortwicehadtouchedhis face,butsomethinginhisnatureforbadehistalkingaboutit Itmighthavebeen funforthem,butheknewitwaslikedeathtothegirl,andthatshehadshrank fromitall,andonlysubmittedbecauseshecouldnothelpit Hewasverysorry forher,andthoughtofherthelastmomentbeforehefellasleep,andthefirst momentheawokewithHowardintheroomtellinghimitwasafterbreakfast time,andhisuncle,whodidnotliketobekeptwaiting,wasalreadyinatemper andblowinglikeanortheaster TheColonel,whowassufferingfromanattackofrheumaticgout,wasmore irritablethanusual Hehadnotlikedhavinghishorsesandcarriagegooutinthe rain,andhadsatupwaitingforthereturnofhisnephew,andwhenSamcamein, tellingwhathadhappenedtothecarriageandhorses,andthathemustgoback withalanterntotheparkgatesandseeifthenewschoolmistresswasalive,he wentintoaterriblepassion,swearingattheweather,andthelatetrain,andthe schoolmistresswhoheseemedtothinkwasthecauseoftheaccident "Whatbusinesshadsheinthecarriage?Whydidshecomeinsuchastorm? Whydidn'tshetakethe'bus,andifthe'buswasn'tthere,whydidn'tshe—?"He didn'tknowwhat,andittookallthetactofPeter,whowasstillinthefamilyand oldlikehismaster,toquiethim Thennextmorninghisgoutwassobadthathewaswheeledintothediningroom,wherehewasfastgrowingangryatthedelayofbreakfast,andbeginning toswearagainwhenPeter,whoknewhowtomanagehim,wentforAmy NothingquietedtheColonellikeasightofAmy,withhersweetfaceandgentle ways "Pleasecome It'sbeginningtosizzle,"Peterfrequentlysaidtoherwhenastorm wasbrewing,andAmyalwayswent,andwaslikeoilonthetroubledwaters "Whatisit?"shenowasked,andtheColonelreplied,"Whatisit!Ishouldsay, whatisit!There'stheveryoldHarrytopay Brutushasabigholeinhisbreast, thecarriageissmashed,silkcushionsallstainedwithagirl'sbluegown,andthat girltheschool-teacherIdidn'twant;andshe'sbrokenherlegorsomethingwhen theytippedover,andHowardandhisfriendcarriedhertoWidowBiggs's,and theLordknowswhatdidn'thappen!" AmyhadawayofseemingtolistenveryattentivelywhentheColoneltalkedto her,andalwayssmiledherappreciationandapprobationofwhathesaid Just howmuchshereallyheardorunderstoodwasdoubtful Hermindseemedtorun intwochannels,—onethepresent,theotherthepast,—andbothwereblurred andindistinct,—especiallythepast Sheunderstoodabouttheyounggirl, however,andatonceexpressedhersympathy,andsaid,"Wemustdosomething forher." Todosomethingforanyoneinsicknessortroublewasherfirstthought,and manyahomehadbeenmadegladbecauseofhersinceshecametoCrompton "Certainly;dowhatyoulike,onlydon'tbringherhere,"theColonelreplied,his voiceandmannersoftening,astheyalwaysdidwithAmy Shewasaveryhandsomewomanandlookedyoungerthanheryears Thestorm whichhadsweptoverherhadnotimpairedherphysicalbeauty,buthadtouched hermentallyinawayverypuzzlingtothoseabouther,andratherannoyingto theColonel,whowastryingtomakeamendsfortheharshnesswhichhaddriven herfromhishome Sometimesherquiet,passivemannerirritatedhim,andhe feltthathewouldgladlywelcometheoldimperiousnesswithwhichshehad defiedhim Butitwasgone Somethinghadbrokenheronthewheel,killingher spiritcompletely,orsmotheringitandleavingheratimid,silentwoman,whosat forhourswithasad,far-offexpression,asiflookingintothepastandtryingto gatherupthetangledthreadswhichhadinameasureobscuredherintellect "TheHarrisesarequeer,"keptsoundingintheColonel'sears,withathoughtthat thetaintintheHarrisbloodwasworkinginAmy'sveins,intensifiedbysome greatshock,orseriesofshocks Once,afterhebroughtherhome,hequestionedherofherlifeasasinger,andof thebaby,whichsheoccasionallymentioned,butheneverrepeatedthe experiment Therewasafitofnervoustrembling,—alookofterrorinhereyes, andadrawnexpressiononherface,andforamomentshewaslikethegirl Eudorawhenroused Then,puttingherhandbeforehereyesasiftoshutout somethinghatefultoher,shesaid,"Oh,don'taskmetobringupapastIcan't rememberwithoutsuchapaininmyheadandeverywhere,asifIwerechoking Itwasverydreadful,—withhim,—notwithAdolf,—hewassokind." "Didheeverbeatyou?—orwhatdidthewretchdo?Smith,Imean,"theColonel asked,andAmyreplied,"Oh,no;itwasn'tthat Itwasaconstantgrind,grind,— swear,swear,—abreakingofmywill,tillIhadnoneleft Heneverstruckmebut once,andthenitwasthrowingsomethinginsteadofablow Ithitmehere,andit hasachedeversince." Sheputherhandtoonesideofhertemple,andwenton,"ItwasthenightIheard babywasdead,andIsaidIcouldnotsing,—buthemademe,andIbrokedown, andIdon'tknowmuchwhathappenedaftertillyoucame Ican'tremember." "Yes,butthebaby,—wherediditdie,andwhen?"theColonelasked Amyhadbeengettingquietasshetalked,butatthementionofthebaby,she begantotrembleagain,andbeattheairwithherhands "Idon'tknow,Idon'tknow,"shesaid "Hetookheraway,andshedied Itisso blackwhenItrytothinkhowitwas,anditgoesfromme Waitabit!"Shesat verystillamoment,andtheninamorenaturalvoicesaid,"Itmaycomeback sometime,andthenIwilltellyou Itmakesmeworsetotalkaboutitnow It's thisway:Theinsideofmyheadshakesallover Thedoctorsaiditwaslikea bottlefullofsomethingwhichmustsettle Iamsettlingherewhereeverybody speakssolowandkind,butwhenIamalittleclear,withthesedimentgoing down,ifyoushakeupthebottle,itisthickandmuddyagain,andIcan't remember." "ByJove!"theColonelsaidtohimself,"thatbottlebusinessisn'tabad comparison Sheisallshakenup,andI'lllethersettle." HedidnotquestionheragainofherlifewithHomerSmith,orofthebaby Both weredead,andhefeltthatitwasjustaswellthattheywere HomerSmithought tobedead,andastothebabyitwouldhavebeenveryupsettinginthehouse, andmighthavebeenqueer,liketheHarrises,orworseyet,likeitscussofa father Onthewhole,itwasbetterasitwas,althoughhewassorryforAmy,and woulddoallhecouldtomakeherhappy,andsometime,perhaps,shewould remember,andtellhimwherethebabywasburied,andhe'dhaveitbroughtto Crompton,andputintheCromptonvault AsforHomerSmith,hiscarcase mightrotinthedesertofArizona,oranywhere,foraughthecared Hewasvery gentleandpatientwithAmy,andwatchedthesettlingofthebottlewithagreat dealofinterest Sometimeshewonderedhowmuchsherememberedofher Floridalife,ifanything,andwhateffectthementionofJakyandMandyAnn wouldhaveuponher,andwhateffectitwouldhaveuponherifhetookherto thepalmettoclearing,andfoundthenegroes,ifliving Butpridestillstoodinthe way Morethanthirty-fiveyearsofsilencewerebetweenhimandthepast, whichtoallintentswasasdeadaspoorDory;andwhyshouldhepullasidethe darkcurtain,andletinthepublicgazeandgossip Hecouldn'tandhewouldn't AllhecoulddoforAmyinotherwayshewould,andforhersakehecontrolled himself,mightily,becoming,asPetersaid,likeaturtledovecomparedtowhat heoncewas,whentheslightestcrossingofhiswillrousedhimintofury Harsh,loudtonesmadeAmyshiver,andbroughtalookintohereyeswhichthe Coloneldidnotliketosee,andwithherhewasusuallyverydocile,orifroused, thetouchofherhandandtheexpressionofhereyessubduedhim,astheydid nowwhenhetoldherofhisbrokencarriageandruinedcushionsandtheyoung girlforwhomAmyatoncewishedtodosomething "Certainly,"hehadsaid;"onlydon'tbringherhere,"andhewasbeginningto wonderwhereHowardwas,andtofeelirritatedatthedelay,whenthelatter cameinwithJack,andfoundatolerablyurbaneandcourteoushost Naturallytheconversationturneduponthestormandaccident,theparticularsof whichwerebrieflygoneover,whileAmystirredhercoffeelistlesslyanddidnot seemtolisten Shewasverylovely,Jackthought,withnosignofhermental disorder,exceptthepeculiarexpressionofhereyesattimes Herdresswas faultless,hermannerperfect,herlanguagegood,andhersmilethesweetestand saddesthehadeverseen,andJackwatchedhercuriously,whiletheconversation driftedawayfromEloise,inwhomtheColonelfeltnointerest Shewasa graduate,andprobablyknewnothingofwhathethoughtessentialforateacher toknow Shewasnotrootedandgroundedinthefundamentals Probablyshe hadneverheardofthegrindstone,orthesheep,andcouldnotworkoutthe problemsifshehad Shewassuperficial Shebelongedtoanewgeneration whichhadputhimandhistheoriesontheshelf Herbluedresshadstainedthe cushionsofhiscarriage,andtherewasapuddleofwaterinthehallwhereSam hadputdownhersatchelandhat,whichhadbeenfoundinthedrivewaynearthe stable Theyhadbeenthrownfromthecarriage,andlainintherainallnight Thehatwassoakedthroughandthrough,andtheribbonswerelimpandfaded; buthedidnotcarearapwhatbecameofthem,hesaidtohimself,whenHoward spokeofthemandtheircondition,sayingthatbadastheywerehepresumedshe wantedthem Amyonthecontrarywasinstantlyonthealert,andastheypassedthroughthe hallfromthedining-room,andshesawthepoorcrushedhat,shesaidtoJack, "Isithers?" "Yes,andI'mafraiditisruined,"Jackanswered,takingitinhishandand examiningitcritically "Iwillfixit,"Amyreplied,and,carryingittoherroom,shetriedtobenditinto shapeandrenovatethebowsofribbon Butitwasbeyondherskill "Shecanneverwearit Imustsendheroneofmine,"shesaid,selectingahat whichsheworewhenwalkinginthepark "Youmusttakeittotheyoungladyat Mrs Biggs's Whatishername?Idon'tthinkIunderstood;theywerealltalking togetherandconfusedmeso,"shesaidtohermaid,whohadheardofthe adventurefromSam,buthadnotcaughttherightname "ItisLouisesomething Idon'trememberwhat,"shereplied "Louise!Thatsoundslikebaby'sname,anditmakesmyheadachetothinkof it,"Amysaidsadly,goingtothewindow,andlookingoutattherainandfog,for theweatherhadnotcleared Itwasawetmorning,andHoward,wholikedhisease,shruggedhisshoulders whenJacksuggestedthattheyshouldcalluponMissSmith "Sheoughttohavehersatchelandherhat,"Jacksaid,andHowardreplied,"Oh, AmysentSarahoffwithahathalfanhourago Shewouldsendallherwardrobe ifshethoughtthegirlwantedit,and,byGeorge!whydidn'tshesendapairof boots?Shehasdozensofthem,Idaresay,"hecontinued,asherecalledthebits ofleathertheyhadcutfromEloise'sfoot,andleftonMrs Biggs'sfloor Jackhadspokenofherboots,andhereadilyaccededtoHoward'spropositionto askAmyifshehadanycast-offsshethoughtwouldfitMissSmith "Theymust wearaboutthesamesize,thegirlissoslight,"HowardsaidashewenttoAmy's room,wherehefoundherstillstandingbythewindowdrumminguponthepane asiffingeringapianoandhummingsoftlytoherself Shenevertouchedthe grandinstrumentinthedrawing-room,andwhenaskedtodosoandsing,she answered,"Ican't;Ican't Itwouldbringitallbackandshakeupthebottle I hatethememoryofitwhenIsangtothecrowdandtheyapplauded Ihearthem now;itisbaby'sdeathknell IcanneversingagainasIdidthen." Andyetshedidsingoftentoherself,butsolowthatonecouldscarcely understandherwords,excepttoknowtheyweresomenegromelodysung evidentlyasalullabytoachild AsHowardcameuptoherhecaughtthewords, "Mother'slilbaby,"andknewitwaswhatshesometimessangwiththeredcloak huggedtoherbosom "MissAmy,"hesaid,"Iwonderifyouhaven'tapairofhalf-wornbootsforthe youngladyatMrs Biggs's?Wehadtocutoneofhersoff,herfootwasso swollen." Amywasinterestedatonce,andorderedSarah,whohadreturnedfromMrs Biggs's,tobringoutallherbootsandslippers,insistingthatseveralpairsbesent forthegirltochoosefrom Sarahsuggestedthatslipperswouldbebetterthan boots,astheyoungladycouldnotwearthelatterinherpresentcondition "Yes,"Amysaid,selectingapairofwhitesatinslippers,withhighFrenchheels andfancifulrosettes "Iworethemthenighthetoldmebabywasdead I've neverhadthemonsince Idon'twantthem Givethemtoher Theyarehatefulto me." Amywasinapeculiarmoodthismorning,suchassometimescameuponher andmadePetersayshewasachipoftheoldblock,meaningtheColonel,who heneverforamomentdoubtedwasherfather Sarah'ssuggestionthatwhite satinslipperswouldbeoutofplacemadenodifference Theymustgo Shewas morestubbornthanusual,andSarahaccountedforitbysayinginalowtoneto Howard,"Certainspellsofweatheralwaysaffectherandsendherbacktoa nightwhensomethingdreadfulmusthavehappened Probablythebabyshetalks aboutdied She'sthinkingaboutitnow Bettertaketheslippers I'veheardher talkofthembeforeandthreatentoburnthem." "Allright,"Howardsaid "MissSmithcansendthembackifshedoesnotwant them." TheslippersweremadeintoaparcelsosmallthatHowardputtheminhis pocketandsaidhewasready Ithadstoppedraining,andastheyoungmen preferredtowalktheysetoffthroughthepark,laughingovertheirerrandand thephaseofexcitementinwhichtheyfoundthemselves Jacklikedit,and Howard,too,begantolikeit,orsaidheshouldifthegirlprovedasgood-looking bydaylightasshehadbeeninthenight CHAPTERVI ATMRS BIGGS'S NotwithstandingMrs Biggs'spredictionthatshewouldnotsleepawink,Eloise didsleepfairlywell Shewasyoungandtired Herankledidnotpainhermuch whenshekeptitstill,andaftershefellasleepshedidnotwakentillMrs Biggs stoodbyherbedarmedwithhotcoffeeandbandagesandfreshwormwoodand vinegar "Doyoufeellikeadaisy?"wasMrs Biggs'scheerygreeting,assheputdown thecoffeeandbowlofvinegarinachairandbroughtsomewaterforEloise's faceandhands "Notmuchlikeadaisy,"Eloiseanswered,withasmile,"butbetterthanI expected Iamgoingtogetup." "Betterstaywhereyoube Idid,andhad'emwaitonme,"Mrs Biggssaid;but Eloiseinsisted,thinkingshemustexercise Shesoonfound,however,thatexercisingwasadifficultmatter Heranklewas badlyswollen,andbegantoachewhenshemovedit,nordidMrs Biggs's assurancethat"itwouldachemoreuntilitdidn'tachesobad"comforthermuch Shemanaged,however,togetintoachair,andtookthecoffee,andsubmittedto haveheranklebathedandbandagedandherfootslippedintoanoldfeltshoeof Mrs Biggs's,whichwasoutatthetoeandoutattheside,butdidnotpinchatall "Yourdressain'tdry You'llcatchyourdeathofcoldtohaveiton Youmust wearoneofmine,"Mrs Biggssaid,producingaspottedcalicowrapper,brown andwhite,—colorswhichEloisedetested Itwasmuchtoolargeeveryway,butMrs Biggslappeditinfrontandlappedit behind,andsaidthelengthwouldnotmatter,asEloisecouldonlywalkwithher kneeinachairandcouldholduponeside Eloiseknewshewasafright,butfelt thatshedidnotcare,untilMrs Biggstoldherofthehatwhichtheladyfrom CromptonPlacehadsenther,andthatSarahhadsaidtheyounggentlemen wouldprobablycall "I'vebeenthinkingafterall,"shecontinued,"thatitisbettertobeup The committeeman,Mr Bills,whohiredyou,willcall,andyoucan'tseehimand theyoungmenhere I'marespectablewoman,andhaveboardedtheteachersoff andonfortwentyyears,—all,infact,exceptRubyAnn,whohasahomeofher own,—andIcan'thavemycharactercompromisednowbyinvitingmenfolks intoabedroom Youmustcomedowntotheparlor There'sabed-loungethere whichIcanmakeupatnight,andit'llsavemeapileofstepscomingupstairs." "HowamItogetthere?"Eloiseaskedindismay,andMrs Biggsreplied,"It'llbe achore,Iguess,butyoucandoit Ididwhenmyanklewasbad Itooksome strongcoffee,sameasIbroughtyou,hadmyfootdoneup,andsliddownstairs, oneatatime,withmylamelaigstraightout Ican'tsayitdidn'thurt,foritdid, butIhadtogrinandbearit ChristianSciencenormindcurewasn'tinvented then,orIshouldofused'em,andsaidmyanklewasn'tsprained There'splenty ofnicepeoplebelieves'emnow Youcantry'emon,andwe'llmanage somehow." Eloisewasappalledatthethoughtofgoingdownstairstomeetpeople,and especiallytheyoungmenfromCrompton,cladinthatspottedbrownandwhite gown,withnothingtorelieveitsugliness,notevenacollar,fortheoneshehad wornthepreviousdaywaspastbeingwornagainuntilithadbeenlaundered Shelookedatherhandkerchief That,too,wasimpossible "Mrs Biggs,"shesaidatlast,"haveyouahandkerchiefyoucanloanme?" "Tobesure!Tobesure!Halfadozen,ifyoulike,"Mrs Biggsanswered, hurryingfromtheroom,andsoonreturningwithahandkerchieflargeenoughfor adinnernapkin Itwascoarseandhalf-cotton,butitwasclean,andEloisetieditaroundherneck, greatlytoMrs Biggs'ssurprise "Oh,"shesaid,"youwanteditforthat?Whynothavealaceruffle?I'llgetone inajiffy." Eloisedeclinedtheruffle Thehandkerchiefwasbadenough,butalaceruffle withthatgownwouldhavebeenworse "Now,I'llcallTimtogoinfrontandkeepyoufromfalling Heiskindof awkward,butI'llgobehindandstiddyyou,andyougrityourteethandputon themindcure,anddownwego,"Mrs Biggssaid,callingTim,whocame shamblingupthestairs,andlaughedaloudwhenhesawEloisewrappedinhis mother'sgown "Excuseme,Icouldn'thelpit;motherhasmadeyouintosuchabundle,"hesaid good-humoredly,ashesawthepainedlookinEloise'sface "I'llgetyourtrunk thenexttrain,andyoucanhaveyourownfixin's WhatamItodo?" Thislastwastohismother,whoexplainedthewayshehadgonedownstairs whenshesprainedherankletwentyyearsagocomeChristmas "Shemustsitdownsomehowonthetopstairandslidedownwithonebefore her,—that'syou,—andonebehind,—that'sme,—andshe'stoputonthemind cure MissJenkssaysitdoesasightofgood." TimlookedathismotherandthenatEloise,whosepitifulfaceappealedtohim strongly "Oh,gotograss,"hesaid,"withyourmindcure!It'sallrot!I'llcarryher,ifshe willletme Icouldofdoneitlastnightaswellasthemfinefellows." Hewasaroughyoungboyofsixteen,withuncouthways;buttherewas somethinginhisfacewhichdrewEloisetohim,andwhenhesaid,"ShallIcarry you?"sheansweredgladly,"Oh,yes,please Idon'tthinkIhaveanymindtoput on." Liftingherverygentlyinhisstrongarms,whilehismotherkeptsayingshe knewhe'dletherfall,Timcarriedherdownandintothebestroom,whereheset herinarocking-chair,andbroughtastoolforherlamefoottorestupon,and thensaidhewouldgoforhertrunk,ifshewouldgivehimhercheck Therewas somethingmagneticaboutTim,andEloisefeltit,andwassorrywhenhewas gone Theworldlookedverydrearywiththefogandrainoutside,andthebest roominside,withitsstiffhair-clothfurniture,glaringpaperandcheapprintson thewall—oneofthemofBeatriceCenci,worsethananythingshehadeverseen Shewasveryfastidiousinhertastes,andeverythingrudeandincongruous offendedit,andshewaschafingagainsthersurroundings,whenMrs Biggs camebustlingin,verymuchexcited,andexclaiming,"Fortheland'ssake,they arecomin'!Theyarerighthere Theyhain'tletmuchgrassgrow Letmepoke yourhairbackalittlefromyourforehead,—so!That'sright,andmore becomin'." "Whoarecoming?"Eloiseasked "Why,Mr Cromptonandhisfriend Idon'tknowhisname,"Mrs Biggsreplied, andEloisefeltasuddenchillasshethoughtofthefigureshemustpresentto them Ifshecouldonlylookintheglassandadjustherselfalittle,orifMrs Biggs wouldthrowsomethingovertheunsightlyslipperandtheanklesmotheredinso manybandages Themirrorwasoutofthequestion Shehadcombedherhair withasidecombwhichhadcomesafelythroughthestorm,butshefeltthatit wasstandingonend,andthatshewasaverycrumpled,sorryspectacleinMrs Biggs'sspottedgown,withthehandkerchiefroundherneck Hastilycovering herfootwithafoldofthewidegown,sheclaspedherhandstightlytogether,and leaningherheadagainstthebackofherchair,drewalongbreathandwaited Sheheardthestepsoutside,andMrs Biggs's"Good-mornin';gladtoseeyou Sheisexpectin'you,orIam Yes,herlaigisprettybad Swelledasbigastwo laigs,justasminewastwentyyearsagocomeChristmas,whenIsprainedit Timbroughtherdownstairswhereshecanseefolks She'sintheparlor Walk in." Eloise'scheekswereblazing,buttherestofherfacewasverypale,andhereyes hadinthemahuntedlookastheyoungmenenteredtheroom,precededbyMrs Biggsinherworkingapron,withhersleevesrolledup "MissSmith,thisisMr Crompton,"shesaid,indicatingHoward;"andthet'other oneis—hisnamehasslippedmymind." "Harcourt,"Jacksaid,feelinganintensesympathyforthehelplessgirl,whose feelingsheguessedandwhosehandheheldamomentwithaclaspinwhichshe feltthepity,andhadhardworktokeepthetearsback Howardalsotookherhandandfeltsorryforher,buthedidnotaffectherlike Jack,andshedidnotlikehiseyes,whichsheguessedsaweverything Hehada keensenseoftheridiculous,andthecontrastbetweenEloiseandthegown whichheknewmustbelongtoMrs Biggsstruckhimsoforciblythathecould scarcelyrepressasmile,asheaskedhowshehadpassedthenight Mrs Biggs answeredforher Indeed,shedidmostofthetalking "Sheslep'prettywell,Iguess;better'nIdidwhenIsprainedmyankletwenty yearsagocomeChristmas Ineverclosedmyeyes,eveninacatnap,andshe did Icrep'toherdoortwicetoseehowshewasgettin'on,andshewas—not exactlysnorin'—Idon'ts'posesheeverdoessnore,—butbreathin'reg'larlike, jesslikeababy,whichIdidn'tdoinaweekwhenIsprainedmyankle." Shewouldhaveadded"twentyyearsagocomeChristmas,"ifJackhadnot forestalledherbyaskingEloiseifheranklepainedhermuch "Yes,"shesaid,whileMrs Biggschimedin,"Can'thelppainin'her,swelledas 'tis,—bigastwoankles;look." ShewhiskedoffthebottomofherdresswhichEloisehadputoverherfoot,and disclosedtheshapelessbundleencasedintheoldfeltslipper "Lookforyourselves;seeifyouthinkitaches,"shesaid ThiswastoomuchforEloise,who,regardlessofpain,drewherfootupunder theskirtofherdress,whileherfacegrewscarlet BothHowardandJackwere sorryforher,andatlastgottheconversationintoanotherchannelbysayingthey hadbroughthersatchelandhat,whichtheyfearedwereruined,andaskingifshe hadseenthehatMissAmyhadsenther "Landsakes,no!Itoldheraboutit,butIhain'thadtimetoshowittoher,"Mrs Biggsexclaimed,startingfromtheroom,whileHowardexplainedthathis cousinhadtriedinvaintorenovatethedrenchedhat,and,findingitimpossible, hadsentoneofherownwhichshewishedMissSmithtoacceptwithher compliments "Howdoyoulikeit?"Mrs Biggsasked,asshecameinwithit Itwasafineleghorn,withawreathoflilacsroundthecrown,andEloiseknew thatitwasfarmoreexpensivethananythingshehadeverworn "Itisverypretty,"shesaid,"andverykindintheladytosendit TellherIthank her Whatishername?" JacklookedatHoward,whoreplied,"Shehashadagoodmany,noneofwhich pleasedmyuncle,thelastoneleastofall;sohecallsherMissAmy,andwishes otherstodoso." Eloisewaspuzzled,butthesightofMrs Biggstuggingatherwetsatchelto openitdivertedhermind "Yourthingsissp'ilt,mostlikely,butyou'dbetterhave'emout Forthemercy's sake,look!"shesaid,passingthesatcheltoEloise,whowasbeyondcaring:for whatwasspoiledandwhatwasnot "There'ssomebodyknockin' It'sMr Bills, mostlikely,thecommitteeman,cometoseeyou;ItoldTimtonotifyhim,"Mrs Biggsexclaimed,hurryingout,andsayingtoHowardasshepassedhim,"You canvisitaspellbeforeIfetchhimin Sheneedsperkin'up,poorthing." Itprovedtobeagrocer'sboyinsteadofMr Bills,andMrs Biggscamebackjust asHowardwaspresentingtheslippers "Ididnotthinktheywerejustwhatyouwanted,"Howardexplained,ashesaw thelookofsurpriseonEloise'sface "MissAmyisnotalwaysquiteclearinher mind,butratherresolutewhenitismadeup;andwhenwetoldherwehadtocut offyourboot,sheinsisteduponsendingthese." AtthispointMrs Biggsappeared,throwingupbothhandsatwhatshesaw,and exclaiming,"Wall,ifIwon'tgiveup!Satinslipsforaspraintlaig Yes,I'llgive up!" ShelookedatHoward,whodidnotreply,butturnedhisheadtohidehislaugh fromEloise,whileMrs Biggswenton,"Idon'tseehowshecanevergetherfeet into'em Ican'tmine,andIdon'tb'lieveshecan Bettersend'emback;"andshe lookedatEloise,who,ifshewasproudofanypartofherperson,wasproudof herfeet Flushinghotlyshesaid,"Theyarenotsuitableforme,ofcourse,butIthinkI couldgetoneonmywellfoot." "Iknowyoucould;tryit,"Jacksaid StoopingforwardEloiseremovedherboot,althoughtheeffortbroughtahorrible twingetoherlameankleandmadeherfeelfaintforamoment "Putitonforme,please,"shesaidtoMrs Biggs,who,mistakingtheright-hand slipperfortheleft,begantuggingatit "Itoldyouso,"shesaid "Yourfootistwiceasbig." "Trythisone,"Jacksuggested,"orletme;"andhefittedtheslipperatonceto thelittlefoot,whileMrs Biggsexclaimed,"Wall,Ivum,itdoesfittoaT!If anything,it'stoobig." InspiteofherpainandembarrassmenttherewasalookofexultationinEloise's eyes,astheymetthoseofJack,whowasnearlyaspleasedasherself "Youwillkeepthemandwearthemsometime,"hesaid;andwhenEloise declined,sayingtheywouldbeofnousetoher,Howard,whohadbeen watchingthisCinderellaplaywithagooddealofinterest,andwishinghehad beentheprincetofittheslipperinsteadofJack,saidtoEloise,"Ithinkitbetter foryoutokeepthem MissAmywillnotliketohavethemreturned,andifthey were,she'dgivethemtosomeoneelse,orverylikelysendthemtothe RummageSalewearetohaveintown." "That'sso,"Mrs Biggschimedin "Thereistobearummagesale,andRuby AnnhasspokeforTim'soldclothesandmine,especiallyourshoes Keep'emby allmeans." Eloisewasbeginningtofeelfaintagain,andtiredwithallthistalkand excitement,andpainfullyconsciousthatHoward'seyesweredancingwith laughteratthesightofherfeet,—oneswollentothreetimesitsnaturalsizeand pushedintoMrs Biggs'soldfeltshoe,andtheotherinMissAmy'swhitesatin slipper "Oh,Iwishyouwouldtakeitoff!"shegasped,feelingunequaltoleaning forwardagain,andclosinghereyeswearily ShemeantMrs Biggs,butJackforestalledthatgoodwoman,andinaninstant hadtheslipperoffandthebooton,doingbothsogentlythatshewasnothurtat all "Thanks!"Eloisesaid,drawingherwellfootunderthespottedcalico,and wishingtheyoungmenwouldgo Howlongtheywouldhavestaidisuncertainiftherehadnotcomeasecond knockatthekitchendoor ThistimeitwasreallyMr Bills,andMrs Biggswent outtomeethim,whileEloisefelteverynervequiverwithdread Shemustsee himandtellhimhowimpossibleitwouldbeforhertocommenceherdutieson Monday Perhapshewoulddismissheraltogether,andtakeanotherinherplace, andthen—"WhatshallIdo?"shethought,and,scarcelyknowingwhatshesaid, shecried,"Oh,Ican'tbearit!"whilethetearsrolleddownhercheeks,and HowardandJackgatheredclosetoher,—thelaughallgonefromHoward'seyes, andagreatpityshininginJack's "Excuseme,"shecontinued,"Idon'tmeantobechildish,buteverythingisso dreadful!Idon'tmindthepainsomuch;buttobehereawayfromhome,andto losetheschool,asImay,and—and,—Iwantahandkerchieftowipemyface,— andthisisruined." Shesaidthislastasshetookfromhersatchelthehandkerchiefwhichhadbeen sowhiteandcleanwhenshelefthome,andwhichnowwaswetandstained fromabottleofshoeblackingwhichhadcomeuncorkedandsaturated everything Shehadborneagreatdeal,and,asisoftenthecase,asmallmatter upsetherentirely Thespoiledhandkerchiefwasthestrawtoomany,andher tearscamefasterasshehelditinonehand,andwiththeothertriedtowipethem away "Takemine,please;I'venotusedit,"Jacksaid,offeringheroneoffinelinen, andasdaintilyperfumedasawoman's Shetookitunhesitatingly Shewasinaframeofmindtotakeanything,and smiledherthanksthroughhertears "IknowImustseemveryweaktoyoutobecryinglikeababy;butyoudon't knowhowIdreadmeetingMr Bills,orhowmuchisdependinguponmyhaving thisschool,orwhatitwouldbetometoloseit,ifhecan'twait Doyouthinkhe will?" ShelookedatJack,whoknewnothingwhateverofthematter,orofMr Bills, butwhoansweredpromptly,"Ofcoursehewillwait;hemustwait Weshallsee tothat Don'tcry I'mawfullysorryforyou;webothare." Hewasstandingclosetoher,andinvoluntarilylaidhishandonherhair, smoothingitalittleashewouldhavesmoothedhissister's Sheseemedso youngandlookedsosmall,wrappedupinMrs Biggs'sgown,thathethoughtof herforamomentasachildtobesoothedandcomforted Shedidnotrepelthe touchofhishand,butcriedtheharderandwipedherfacewithhishandkerchief untilitwaswetwithhertears "Mr Billswantstoknowifhecancomeinnow,"cameasaninterruptiontothe scene,whichwasgettingratheraffecting "Injustaminute,"Jacksaid ThentoEloise,"Braceup!We'llattendtoMr Bills ifheprovesformidable." Shebracedupashebadeher,andgavehishandkerchiefbacktohim "Ishan'tneeditagain Iamnotgoingtobefoolishanylonger,andIthankyou somuch,"shesaid,withalookwhichmadeJack'spulsebeatrapidly "We'dbettergonowandgiveMr Billsachance,"hesaidtoHoward,whohad beencomparativelysilentandlethimdothetalkingandsuggesting HowardcouldnotdefinehisfeelingwithregardtoEloise Herbeautyimpressed himgreatly,andhewasverysorryforher,buthecouldnotridhimselfofthe convictionwhichhadasecondtimetakenpossessionofhimthatinsomeway shewastoinfluencehislifeorcrosshispath Hebadehergood-by,andtoldhertokeepupgoodcourage,andfeltalittle piquedthatshewithdrewherhandmorequicklyfromhimthanshedidfrom Jack,wholeftherratherreluctantly TheyfoundMr BillsoutsidetalkingtoMrs Biggs,whowasvolublynarratingtheparticularsoftheaccident,sofarasshe knewthem,andreferringconstantlytoherownsprainedankleoftwentyyears ago,andtheimpossibilityofMissSmith'sbeingabletowalkforsometime WithhisusualimpetuousnessJacktooktheinitiative,andsaidtoMr Bills: "Yourschoolcancertainlywait;itmustwait Aweekortwocanmakeno difference Attheendofthattime,ifshecannotwalk,shecanbetakentoand fromtheschool-houseeveryday Tolosetheschoolwillgohardwithher,and she'ssoyoung." Jackwasquiteeloquent,andMr Billslookedathimcuriously,wonderingwho thissmartyoungfellowwas,pleadingforthenewschool-teacher Heknew Howard,who,afterJackwasthrough,saidhehopedMr Billswouldwait;it wouldbeapitytodisappointthegirlwhenshehadcomesofar "Perhapsaweekortwowillmakenodifference,"Mr Billssaid,"thoughthe youngonesaregettingprettywild,andtheirmothersanxioustohavethemout oftheway,butIguesswe'llmanageitsomehow." HeknewheshouldmanageitwhenhesawEloise Shecouldnottellhimofthe needtherewasofmoneyinhergrandmother'shome,orthestillgreaterneedif shetookthetriptoCaliforniawhichshefearedshemusttake Sheonlylooked heranxiety,andMr Bills,whoseheartMrs Biggssaidwas"bigasabarn," warmedtowardher,whilementallyhebegantodoubtherabilityto"fillthebill," asheputit,shelookedsoyoungandsosmall "I'llletheroffeasy,ifIhaveto,"hethought,andhesaid,"Folks'llwantschool tobeginasadvertised Youcan'tgo,butthere'sRubyAnnPatrick She'llbeglad tosupply She'skep'theschoolfiveyearsrunnin' Shewanteditwhenwehired you She'soutofajob,andwillbegladtotakeittillyoucanwalk I'llseehertoday Youlookyoungtomanageunrulyboys,andthere'sapileof'emin DeestrickNo 5wantlickin'halfthetime RubyAnncanlick'em She'sfivefeet nine Youain'tmore'nfive." Eloisedidnottellhimhowtallshewas Infact,shedidn'tknow Shemustlook verydiminutiveinMr Bills'seyes,shethought,andhastenedtosay,"Itaught boysandyoungmenolderthanIaminthenormalatMayville,andneverhad anytrouble Ihadonlytospeaktoorlookatthem." "Ib'lieveyou,Ib'lieveyou,"Mr Billssaid "Ishouldmindyoumyselfevery timeifyoulookedatme,butboysain'talike There'sTomWalker,ringleaderin everykindofmischief,thewustfelleryoueversee RubyAnnhadonetussle withhim,andcameoffNumberOne He'dmostlikelyraiseCainwitha schoolmarmwhocouldn'twalkandwentoncrutches." "Oh-h!"Eloisesaiddespairingly "Ishallnothavetodothat!" "Mebbynot;mebbynot Sprainedanklesmostlydoes,though IhadtowhenI sprainedmine Iusedtohobbletothewellandpumpcoldwateronit;that's tiptopforasprain Well,ImustgonowandseeRubyAnn Good-day Keepa stiffupperlip,andyou'llpullthrough WidderBiggsisafustratenurse,and woman,too Littletoomuchtongue,mebby Hunginthemiddleandplaysboth ways Knowseverybody'shistoryandagefromtheFlooddown She'llgetat yoursfromAtoizzard Good-day!" Hewasgone,andEloisewasalonewithherpainandhomesicknessand discouragement Turnwhichwayshewould,therewasnotmuchbrightnessin hersky,exceptwhenshethoughtofJackHarcourt,whosehandonherhairshe couldfeeljustashehadfeltherwethandonhisneckhoursafterthespotwas dried,ftseemedperfectlynaturalandproperthatheshouldcareforher,justasit didthattheladyattheCromptonHouseshouldsendherahat Itwaslyingona chairnearherwiththeslippers,andshetookitupandexamineditagainvery carefully,admiringthefinenessoftheleghorn,thebeautyofthelilacwreath, andthetextureoftheribbons "Ishallneverwearit,"shethought "Itistoohandsomeforme;butIshall alwayskeepit,andbegladforthethoughtfulnesswhichpromptedtheladyto sendit." Thenshewonderedifshewouldeverseetheladyandthankherinperson,orgo totheCromptonHouse;andifhertrunkwouldevercomefromthestation,so thatshecoulddivestherselfofthedetestablecottongownandputonsomething morebecoming,whichwouldshowhimshewasnotquitesomuchaguyasshe lookedinMrs Biggs'swardrobe ThehimwasJack,notHoward Hewasnotin therunning Shecaredaslittleforhimassheimaginedhecaredforher And hereshedidhiminjustice Sheinterestedhimgreatly,thoughnotinthewayshe interestedJack,whomhechaffedontheirwayhome,tellinghimheoughtto offerhisservicesasnurse "Iwonderyoudidnotwipehereyesaswellasgiveheryourhandkerchief,"he said "Idaresayyouwillneverhaveitlaundered,lesthertearsshouldbewashed outofit." "Never!"Jackreplied,and,takingthehandkerchieffromhispocketandfolding itcarefully,heputitbackagain,saying,"No,sir;Ishallkeepitintact No laundryman'shandswillevertouchit." "Prettyfargone,that'safact,"Howardrejoined,andthencontinued:"Isay,Jack, we'dbetternottalkofMissSmithbeforetheColonel Itwillonlyrousehimup, andmakehimswearatnormalgraduatesingeneral,andthisoneinparticular YouknowIwroteyouthathegavethelotandbuilttheschool-house,andfor yearswasinspectorofCromptonschools,—bossandallhands,—tillanew generationcameupandshelvedhim Hefoughthard,buthadtogiveintoyoung bloodandmodernideas HehadnovoiceinhiringMissSmith,—wasnot consulted HischoicewasaRubyAnnPatrick,aperfectAmazonofanoldmaid; weighstwohundred,Ibelieve,andridesawheel Yououghttoseeher Butthen sheisrootedandgrounded,anduncledoesnotthinkMissSmithis,thoughshe wasprettywellgroundedlastnightwhenshesatonthatsandheapwithherfoot twistedunderher I'mnotasoftheadlikeyou,tofallinlovewithheratfirst sight;butI'mawfullysorryforher,andIdon'twishtoheartheColonelswear abouther." JackhadneverseenHowardmoreinearnest,andhismentalcommentwas, "CaresmoreforherthanIsupposed He'llbearwatching Poorlittlegirl!How whiteshewasattimes,andhowtiredhereyeslooked;andbright,too,asstars I wonderifshereallyoughtnottohaveadoctor." HeputthisquestiontoHoward,whoreplied:"No,thatBiggswomanisafull teamonsprainedankles She'llgetherupwithoutadoctor,andIdon'tsuppose thegirlhasmuchtospendonthecraft." "Yes,butwhatisalittlemoneytoyouorme,ifshereallyneedsadoctor?"Jack saidthoughtfully,whileHowardlaughedandanswered,"Don'tbeanidiot,and loseyourhearttoaschoolma'ambecauseshehappenedtohavehadherarm aroundyourneckwhenwecarriedherinthatchair Icanfeelityet,and sometimesputupmyhandwhenhalfawaketoseeifitisn'tthere,butIamnot goingtomakeafoolofmyself." AstheywerenearhomeJackdidnotreply,buthecouldhavetoldoftimeswhen halfawakeandwideawakehefeltthearmsandthehandsandthehotbreathof thegirlclingingtohiminthedarknessandrain,andsawtheeyesfullofpain anddumbentreatynottohurthermorethantheycouldhelp,astheycutthe soakedbootfromtheswollenfoot Buthesaidnothing,and,whenthehousewas reached,wentatoncetohisownroom,wonderingwhathecoulddotomakeher morecomfortable ActinguponHoward'sadvice,Eloisewasnotmentioned,eitheratlunchorat dinner Amyhadevidentlyforgottenher,forshemadenoinquiryforher Neither didtheColonel Shewas,however,muchinthemindsoftheyoungmen,and eachwaswonderinghowhecouldbestserveher Howardthoughtofaseachair, inwhichhisunclehadcrossedtheocean Hehadfounditcoveredwithdustin theattic,andbroughtittohisroomtoloungein Itwouldbefarmore comfortableforEloisethanthatstiff,straight-backed,hair-clothrockerinwhich shehadtositsoupright HewouldsendittoherwithAmy'scompliments,ifhe couldmanageitwithouttheknowledgeofJack,whohewouldrathershouldnot knowhowmuchhewasreallyinterestedinEloise Jackwasalsoplanningwhat hecoulddo,andthoughtofawheelchair,inwhichshecouldbetakentoand fromschool Hemightpossiblyfindoneinthevillagebytheshore Hewould inquirewithoutconsultingHoward,whosejokinggratedalittle,asit presupposedtheimpossibilityofhisreallycaringforonesofarremovedfrom hisstationinlifeasEloiseseemedtobe Couldshehaveknownhowmuchshewasinthemindsoftheyoungmenat CromptonPlace,shewouldnothavefeltquiteasforlornanddisconsolateasshe didduringthelonghoursoftheday,whenshesathelplessandalone,exceptas Mrs Biggstriedtoentertainherwithaflowoftalkandgossipwhichdidnot interesther Afewoftheneighborscalledintheevening,anditseemedtoEloise thateveryonehadhadasprainedankleortwo,ofwhichtheytalkedcontinually, dwellingmostlyuponthelengthoftimeittookbeforetheywereabletowalk acrossthefloor,tosaynothingofthedistancefromMrs Biggs'stotheschoolhouse Thatwouldbeimpossiblefortwoorthreeweeksatleast,andeventhen MissSmithwouldhavetogooncrutchesmostlikely,wastheircomforting assurance "I'vegotsomeupgarretthatIusedtwentyyearsago Toolongforher,butTim cancutthemoff Theyarejustthething LuckyIkeptthem,"Mrs Biggssaid, whileEloiselistenedwithafeelinglikedeathinherheart,anddreamedthat nightofhobblingtoschoolonMrs Biggs'scrutches,whileJackHarcourthelped andencouragedher,andHowardCromptonstoodatadistancelaughingather CHAPTERVII RUBYANNPATRICK ShehadtaughttheschoolinDistrictNo 5summerandwinterforfiveyears Shehadbeenateacherforfifteenyears,herfirstexperiencedatingbacktothe dayswhentheColonelwasschoolinspector,andhisformulainfullswing She hadmetallhisrequirementspromptly,knewallaboutthegeeseandthe grindstone,andthewind,andMr Wright,andhadacertificateintheColonel's handwriting,declaringhertoberootedandgroundedinthefundamentals,and qualifiedtoteachadistrictschoolanywhere AsMr BillshadsaidtoEloise,she wasfivefeetnineincheshighandlargeinproportion,withsomuchstrengthand vitalforceanddetermination,thatthemostunrulyboyinDistrictNo 5would hesitatebeforeopenlydefyingherauthority ShehadconqueredTomWalker,the bullyoftheschool,andafterthedaywhenhewasmadetofeeltheforcethere wasinherlargehand,hehaddonenothingworsethanmakefacesbehindher backanddrawcaricaturesofheronhisslate Asarule,RubyAnnwaspopularwiththemajorityofthepeople,andtherehad beensomeoppositiontoachange Itwashardlyfair,theysaidtotheColonel, whotooksomuchinterestintheschool,andwhowassuretofeelangryandhurt ifdeprivedoftheprivilegeofcatechisingtheteachersintheofficehehad erectedforthatpurposeonhisgrounds Hehadnotonlybuilttheschool-house, buthadkeptitinrepair,andhadaddedaclassroomfortheolderscholars becausesomebodysaiditwasneeded,andhadnotobjectedwhenitwasonly usedforwrapsanddinnerpails,andballsandclubsinthesummer,andinthe winterforcoalandwoodandsledsandskatesandotherthingspertainingtoa schoolofwide-awakegirlsandboys Thiswastheconservativeparty,buttherewasanotherwhichwantedachange Theyhadbeeninarutlongenough,andtheylaughedattheColonel'sformula, whichnearlyeverychildknewbyheart TheColonelwastoooldtorunthings, —theymusthavesomethinguptodate,andwhenthepresidentofMayville NormalSchoolappliedforasituationforEloiseshewasaccepted,andRuby Annwenttothewall Shewasgreatlychagrinedanddisappointedwhenshe foundherselfsupplantedbyanormalgraduate,ofwhomshehadnotamuch higheropinionthantheColonelhimself Whensheheardoftheaccidentandthat herrivalwasdisabled,shewasconsciousjustforamomentofafeelingof exultation,asifEloisehadreceivedherjustdeserts Shewas,however,akindhearted,well-principledwoman,andsooncastthefeelingasideasunworthyof her,andtriedtobelieveshewassorryforthegirl,who,sheheard,wasvery young,andhadbeencarriedinthedarknessandraintoMrs Biggs'shousein HowardCrompton'sarms "Iwouldalmostbewillingtosprainmyankleforthesakeofbeingcarriedin thatway,"Rubythought,andthenlaughedasshetriedtofancytheyoungman bendingbeneaththeweightofherhundredandninetypounds ItwasatthisjuncturethatMr BillscameinaskingifshewouldtakeMiss Smith'splaceuntilshewasabletowalk Itmightbetwoweeks,anditmightbe three,anditmightbeless,hesaid Anyway,theydidn'twantacrippleinthe school-houseforTomWalkertoraiseHailColumbywith WouldRubyAnn swallerherprideandbeasubstitute? "ItisagooddealtoaskmetodoafterIhavebeenturnedoutofoffice,"shesaid, "butIamnotonetoharborresentment Yes,I'lltaketheschooltillMissSmithis able Howdoesshelook?Ihearsheisveryyoung." "Well,she'ssomeyoungerthanyou,Iguess,andlookslikeachildasshesits down,"Mr Billsreplied "Why,youarebigastwoofher,—yes,three,—and couldthrowheroverthehouse." Ruby'sfaceclouded,andMr Billswenton:"Sheishandsomeasblazes,witha mouthwhichkeepskindofquivering,asifshewantedtocry,orsomething,and eyes—well,you'vegottosee'emtoknowwhattheyarelike Theyarejusteyes whichmakeanoldmanlikemefeel,—Idon'tknowhow." Rubylaughed,butfeltalittlehurtasshethoughtofherownsmall,light-blue eyesandlightereyebrows,whichhadneveryetmadeanyman,youngorold, feel"hedidn'tknowhow."Sheknewshewasneitheryoungnorhandsomenor attractive,butshehadgoodcommonsense,andafterMr Billswasgoneshesat downtoreviewthesituation,andresolvedtoacceptitgracefullyandtocall uponEloise ItwouldbecertainlyenregleandChristian-liketodoso,she thought,andthenextafternoonshepresentedherselfatMrs Biggs'sdoorand askedifMissSmithwereabletoseeanyone Mrs Biggsbelongedtotheradicalpartywhichfavoredachangeofteachers Fiveyearswaslongenoughforonepersontoteachinthesameplace,shesaid, andtheywantedsomebodymodernandyounger Shelaidagreatdealofstress uponthat,andononeoccasion,whengivingheropinionoverhergatetoa neighbor,hadadded"smallerandbetter-looking."Rubywasnotafavoritewith Mrs Biggs,whomshehadcalledaninveterategossip,huntingupeverbody's historyandage,andmakingthemouttwoorthreeyearsolderthantheywere ShehadlivedathomeandkeptMrs Biggsoutofaboarderfiveyears Shehad calledTimalout,andkepthimafterschoolseveraltimeswhenhismother neededhim ConsequentlyMrs Biggs'ssympathieswereallwithEloise,who wasyoungandsmallandgood-looking,andshefloutedtheideaofhavingRuby hiredevenforafewdays "It'sjustawedgetogitherinagain,"shehadsaidtoTim,withwhomshehad discussedthematter "IknowRubyAnn,andshe'lljumpatthechance,andkeep it,too ShecanwindMr Billsroundherfingers I'dratherhaveMissSmithwith onelaigthanRubyAnnwiththree TomWalkerain'tgoin'toraiseNedwith suchaslipofagirl." "Irutherguessnot,whenI'mthere,"Timsaid,squaringhimselfupasifreadyto fightadozenTomWalkers,when,infact,hewasafraidofone,andusuallykept outofhisway Mrs BiggshadnotexpectedRubyAnntocall,andherfaceworeavinegary expressionwhensheopenedthedoortoher "Yes,Is'poseyoucanseeher,buttoomuchcompanyain'tgoodforsprained ankles,"sherepliedinresponsetoRuby'sinquiryifshecouldseeMissSmith "You'llfindherintheparlor,butdon'tstaylong Talkin''llcreateafeverinher laig." RubywasaccustomedtoMrs Biggs'svagaries,anddidnotmindthem "I'llbeverydiscreet,"shesaid,asshepassedontotheparlor,curioustoseethe girlwhohadbeenpreferredtoherself ShehadheardfromMr BillsthatEloise"washandsomeasblazes,"butshewas notpreparedforthefacewhichlookedupatherassheenteredtheroom SomethingintheeyesappealedtoherasithadtoMr Bills,andanyprejudice shemighthavehadmeltedawayatonce,andshebegantalkingtoEloiseas familiarlyasifshehadknownherallherlife AtfirstEloisedrewbackfromthe powerfullybuiltwoman,whostoodupsotallbeforeher,andwhosevoicewas sostrongandmasculine,andwhoseeyestravelledoverhersorapidly,takingin everydetailofherdressandeveryfeatureofherface Mrs Biggs'sdisfiguring cottongownhadbeendiscardedforaloosewhitejacket,which,withitsknotsof pinkribbon,wasverybecoming,andRubyfoundherselfstudyingitclosely,and wonderingifshecouldmakeonelikeit,andhowshewouldlookinit Thenshe noticedthehands,sosmallandsowhite,andfeltanirresistibledesiretotake oneoftheminherbroadpalm "IdobelieveIcouldholdthreeliketheminoneofmine,"shethought,and sittingdownbyEloise'sside,shelaidherhandontheonerestingonthearmof thechair Therewassomethingsofriendlyandwarmandsosympatheticinthetouchthat Eloisewantedtocry Withagreateffortshekepthertearsback,butcouldnot preventoneortwofromstandingonherlonglashes,andmakinghereyesvery brightassheansweredRuby'srapidquestionswithregardtotheaccident "AndIhearMr HowardCromptonbroughtyouherehimself Thatwas somethingofanhonor,asheseldomgoesoutofhiswayforanyone,"shesaid, withakeenlookofcuriosityinhereyes "Ineverthoughtofthehonor,"Eloisereplied "Icouldthinkofnothingbutthe pain,whichwasterrible,andnoweverythingissodrearyandsodifferentfrom whatIhoped DoyouthinkitwillbelongbeforeIcanwalk?" "No;ohno,"Rubyansweredcheerily "Letmeseeyourfoot Itisswollen badly,"shesaid,asshereplacedtheoldshawlMrs Biggshadthrownacrossit "Whathaveyouonit?Wormwoodandvinegar,Iknowbytheodor Youshould havearubberband,andnothingelse Itiscleanerandsavestrouble That'swhat Iused,andwaswellinnotime." "Haveyouhadasprainedankle,too?"Eloiseasked,andRubyAnnreplied, "Certainly Nearlyeveryonehasatsometimeinhislife Itisascommonasthe measles." "Ibelieveit,"Eloiserejoinedwithalaugh "Somanyhavecalledtoseeme,and almosteveryonehadhadasprain,—someasmanyasthree;andeachone proposedadifferentremedy." "Naturally;butyoutrytherubberband I'llbringyouone,andmassageyour ankle,andhaveyouwellverysoon." ThesewerethefirsthopefulwordsEloisehadheard,andherheartwarmed towardsthisgreatblondwoman,whowasprovingherselfafriend,andwho begantotellheroftheschoolandherownexperienceasteacherinDistrictNo 5,which,shesaid,wasthelargestandmostimportantdistrictintown,withthe oldestscholarsbothsummerandwinter "Therearesomeunrulyboys,especially TomWalker,butIamsobigandstrongthatIconqueredhimbybruteforce,and hadnotroubleafteronebattle Youwillconquersomeotherway Tomisvery susceptibletogoodlooks,—callsmeahayseed,andachestnut,andamuff It willbedifferentwithyou,"andRubypressedthehandshewasholding Then shespokeofCol Crompton,whousedtoexaminetheteachers,andbefore whomshehadbeenfivetimes;usuallyansweringthesamequestions,especially thosecontainedinthe"Formula,"andtowhichEloisewouldnotbesubjected "WhatistheFormula?"Eloiseasked,andRubytoldher,whileEloiselistened bewildered,andgladthatshewastoescapeanordealshecouldneverpasswith credit ItwaseasytobeconfidingwithRuby,andEloisesoonfoundherselftalking freelyofherlifeandschooldaysinMayville,andthenecessitytherewasforher toteach,andthebitterdisappointmentitwouldbetolosetheschoolonwhichso muchdepended "Myfatherisdead,"shesaid,"andmymotheris—"shehesitated,whileadeep flushcametohercheeks,"sheisaninvalid,andthereisnoonetocareforher nowbutme SheisinCalifornia,andImayhavetogoforher,andmusthave themoney." Justforamoment,whenMr BillsaskedhertotakeEloise'splace,therehad beeninRuby'smindahalf-formedhopethatshemightbewhollyreinstatedin heroldplaceasateacher Butitwasgonenow,andJackHarcourthimselfwas notmorekindlydisposedtothehelplessgirlthanshewas "Youshallnotlosetheschool,northetimeeither,"shesaidimpulsively "Iamto takeittillyouareable,andthenIshallstepout Inthemeantime,IshalldoallI canforyou,—shallenlistTomWalkeronyourside,andyouwillhaveno trouble." Shearosetogo,thensatdownagainandsaid,"Ihopeyouwillbeabletoattend ourRummageSale." "RummageSale!"Eloiserepeated,rememberingtohaveheardthewordin connectionwiththeslippersMissAmyhadsenther "Idon'tthinkIquite understand." "Don'tyouknowwhataRummageSaleis?"RubyAnnasked,explainingwhatit was,andsayingtheyweretohaveoneinavacanthousenotfarfromMrs Biggs's,theproceedstogoforafreelibraryforDistrictNo "Iamoneofthe solicitors,"shecontinued,"butasyouareastrangeryoumaynothaveanything tocontribute." AsRummageSaleswerejustbeginningtodawnonthepublichorizonEloise hadneverheardofthem,butshebecameinterestedatonce,becauseRubyAnn wassoenthusiastic,andsaid,"IhavetwoorthreewhiteapronsImademyself Youcanhaveoneofthemifyouthinkanybodywillbuyit." "Buyit!"Rubyrepeated,rubbingherhandsinecstasy "Itwillbringabigprice whentheyknowitwasyoursandyoumadeit I'llseethatithasaconspicuous place AndnowImustgoandseeMrs Biggsagainaboutthesale Good-by,and keepupyourcourage." ShestoopedandkissedEloise,whoheardhernextinthekitchentalkingtoMrs Biggs,firstofrubberbandsandmassage,andthenoftheRummageSale When shewasgoneMrs Biggscameinandsatdownandbegantogiveheropinionof theRummageSale,andmassageandrubberbands,andfirsttheRummage A goodwaytogetridoftruck,andRubyAnnsaidtheytookeverything Shehada lotofoldchairsandawarmingpanandfoot-stove,andshes'posedshemight givethespottedbrownandwhitecalicowrapperwhichEloisehadworn Itwas fadedandoutofstyle Yes,onthewhole,she'dgivethewrapper Sheneverliked itverywell,shesaid;andthenshespokeoftherubberbandRubyAnnhad recommendedinsteadofwormwoodandvinegar,andofwhichshedidnot approve WhatdidRubyAnnknow?though,tobesure,shewasoldenough HowolddidEloisethinkshewas?Eloisehadnotgivenherageathought,but, pressedforananswer,venturedthereplythatshemightbevergingontothirty "Vergingontothirty!Morelikelyvergingontoforty,"Mrs Biggssaid,witha savageclickoftheneedleswithwhichshewasknittingTimasock "Iknowher age,ifshedoestrytolookyoungandwearasailorhat,andrideawheelina shortgown!I'dlaughtoseemeridin'awheel,andthereain'tsomuchdifference betweenusneither Iknow,forwewenttoschooltogether Shewasalittlegirl, tobesure,andsatonthelowseatandlearnthera-b-c's Iwasfourorfiveyears older,andsatonahigherseatwithAmyCrompton,tilltheColoneltookher fromthedistrictschoolandkep'herathomewithagoverness." Mrs BiggswasveryproudoftheacquaintanceshehadhadwithAmy Crompton,whenthetwoplayedtogetherunderthetreeswhichshadedthe school-housetheColonelhadbuiltasexpiatoryyearsbefore,andshecontinued: "Amy,youknow,isthehalf-crackedladyattheCromptonHousewhosentthe hatandslippers She'sbeenmarriedtwice,—runawaythefirsttime Myland! whatastirtherewasaboutit,andwhatahighhosstheColonelrode Whoher secondwasnobodyknows,—somescampbythenameofSmith,—that'syour name,andagoodone,too,butaboutthecommonestintheworld,Ireckon There'sfourJohnSmithsintown,andJoelSmith,whobringsmymilk,and GeorgeSmithIbuyaigsof,andfortyoddmore TheysaytheColonelhatesthe namelikepisen Won'thaveanybodyworkforhimbythatname Dismissedhis milkmanbecausehewasaSmith,andbetweenyouandI,Ib'lievehalfhis oppositiontoyouwasyourname Why,it'slikearedragtoabull." "Ididn'tknowhewasopposedtomepersonally,"Eloisesaid,andMrs Biggs replied,"Ofcoursenot;howcouldhebe?Heneverseenyou It'sthenormal, andbein'putoutofoffice—heandRubyAnn They'verunthingslongenough Theysayhedidswearoffelatthelastschoolmeetin'aboutnormalsandingrates andallthat,—meanin'they'dforgotallhe'ddonefor'em;but,myland,youcan't b'lievehalfyouhear Idon'tb'lievenothin',andtrytokeepaclosemouth'bout whatIdob'lieve Iain'tnoneo'yourgossips,andwon'thavefolkssayin'the WidderBiggssaidsoandso." HereMrs Biggsstoppedtotakebreathandanswerarapatthekitchendoor, whereGeorgeSmithwasstandingwithabasketofeggs Eloisecouldhearher badgeringhimbecausehechargedtoomuchandbecausehishensdidnotlay largereggs,andthreateningtowithdrawherpatronageiftherewasnotachange Thenitemsofthelatestnewswereexchanged,Mrs Biggsdoingherpartwell foronewhoneverrepeatedanythingandneverbelievedanything WhenGeorge SmithwasgoneshereturnedtoherseatbyEloiseandresumedherconversation, whichhadbeeninterrupted,andwhichwasmostlyreminiscentofpeopleand incidentsinCrompton,andespeciallyoftheCromptonHouseanditsoccupants, withasecondflingatRubyAnn CHAPTERVIII MRS BIGGS'SREMINISCENCES "MaybeIwastoohardonRubyAnn,"shesaid,measuringtheheelofTim's socktoseeifitweretimetobegintonarrow "She'saprettycleverwoman,take herbyandlarge,butIdohatetoseeadogfrisklikeapuppy,andshe'sthirtyfiveifshe'saday Yousee,Iknow,'cause,asIwastellin'you,therewasherand meandAmyCromptongirlstogether Iamforty,Amyisthirty-eightorthirtynine,andRubyAnnisthirty-five." HavingsettledRuby'sageandaskedEloisehers,andtoldhershelookedyoung fornineteen,thegoodwomanbranchedoffuponthegrandeuroftheCrompton House,withitspicturesandstatuaryandbric-à-brac,itsflowersandfountains, andrusticarborsandseatsscatteredoverthelawn Eloisehadheardsomething oftheplacefromaschoolfriend,butneverhaditbeensographicallydescribed asbyMrs Biggs,andshelistenedwithafeelingthatinthechamberofher childhood'smemoryapictureofthisplacehadbeenhungbysomebody "Wasitmyfather?"sheaskedherself,andanswereddecidedly,"No,"asshe recalledthelittleintercourseshehadeverhadwithhim "Wasitmymother?" shenextaskedherself,andinvoluntarilyhertearsstartedasshethoughtofher mother,andhowunlikelyitwasthatshehadeverbeeninCrompton TurningherheadasidetohidehertearsfromMrs Biggs,shesaid,"Tellme moreoftheplace ItalmostseemsasifIhadbeenthere." Thusencouraged,Mrs Biggsbeganadescriptionofthelawnpartywhichshe wastooyoungtoremember,althoughshewastherewithhermother,andhada faintrecollectionofmusicandcandyandlightsinthetrees,andanattackof colicthenightafterasaresultofovereating "But,myland!"shesaid,"thatwasnothin'totheblow-outonAmy'ssixteenth birthday TheColonelhadkep'herprettycloseafterhetookherfromschool Shehadagovernessandshehadamaid,butImustsayshedidn'tseemanatom setup,andwasjustasnicewhenshemetusgirls 'Hello,Betsey,'she'dsayto me That'smyname,Betsey,butIcallmyself'Lisbeth 'Hello,Betsey,'Icanhear hernow,asshecanteredpastonherpony,inherlongblueridin'habit Sometimesshe'dcometotheschool-houseandsetonthegrassundertheapple treesandchewgumwithusgirls Thatwasbeforeherparty,whichbeatanything thatwaseverseeninCrompton,orwillbeagain Theavenueandyardand stableswerefullofcarriages,andtherewereeighteenwaitersbesidesthe cantererfromBoston." "Thewhat?"Eloiseasked,andMrs Biggsreplied,"Thecanterer,don'tyou know,themanwhoseestothingsandbringsthevittlesandhiswaiters Theysay healonecosttheColonelfivehundreddollars;but,myland!that'snomorefor himthanfivedollarsisforme Hefairlyswimsinmoney Suchdressesyou neverseenastherewastherethatnight,andsuchbarenecksandarms,witha manatthedoor,amanattheheadofthestairstotell'emwheretogo,andonein thegentlemen'sroom,andtwogirlsintheladies'roomstobuttontheirgloves andputontheirdancingpumps Thecarousin'lastedtilldaylight,andatireder, moreworn-outlotoffolksthanwewasyouneverseen Iwasnearlydead." "Wereyouthere?'Eloiseasked,withafeelingthattherewassomeincongruity betweentheCromptonpartyandMrs Biggs,whodidnotcaretosaythatshe wasoneofthewaitresseswhobuttonedglovesandputonthedancingpumpsin thedressing-room "Why,yes,Iwasthere,"shesaidatlast,"thoughIwasn'texactlyinthedoin's I'veneverdancedsinceIwasdippedandjinedthechurch Doyoudance,orbe youaperfessor?" Eloisehadtoadmitthatshediddanceandwasnotaprofessor,althoughshe hopedtobesoon "Whatpersuasion?"wasMrs Biggs'snextquestion,andEloisereplied,"Iwas baptizedintheEpiscopalChurchinRome." "TheoneinYorkState,Is'pose,andnott'otheroneacrosstheseas?"Mrs Biggs suggested,andEloiseanswered,"Yes,theoneacrosstheseasinItaly." "Forgoodness'sake!Howyoutalk!Youdon'tmeanyouwasbornthere?"Mrs Biggsexclaimed,withafeelingofaddedrespectforonewhowasactuallyborn acrosstheseas "Doyourememberit,anddidyouknowthePopeandthe King?" Eloisesaidshedidnotrememberbeingborn,nordidsheknowthePopeorthe King "IwasalittlegirlwhenIleftItaly,anddonotremembermuch,exceptthatIwas happiertherethanIhaveeverbeensince." "Iwanttoknow!Is'poseyou'vehadtroubleinyourfamily?"wasMrs Biggs's quickrejoinder,asshescentedsomeprivatehistorywhichshemeanttofindout ButbeyondthefactthatherfatherwasdeadandhermotherinCalifornia,she couldlearnnothingfromEloise,andreturnedtothepointfromwhichtheyhad driftedtotheEpiscopalChurchinRome "Ikindermistrustedyouwasa'Piscopal Ido'knowwhy,butIcanmostalways tell'em,"shesaid "TheCromptonsisallthatwayofthinkin' OldColonelisa vestedman,Ib'lievetheycall'em,butheswearsofful Idon'tcallthatreligion; doyou?Butfolksain'talike Idon'ts'posetheChurchistoblame There'snow andthenasgooda'Piscopalasyou'llfindanywhere RubyAnnhasjined'em, andgoesitstrong B'lievesincandlesandvestures;gotTimintothechoirone Sunday,andnowyoucan'tkeephimoutofit Wearsa—a—Idon'tknowwhat youcallit,—somethingthatlookslikeashortnight-gown,andIhavetowashit everyotherweek Idon'tmindthat,andIdob'lieveTimismoreofamanthan hewas,andhesingsbeautiful Andhain'tlearntnothin'badthereyet,butthe ministerdoessomethingsIdon'tapprove;no,don'tapprove Whatdoyouthink hedoesrightbeforefolks,inplainsight,sittin'onthepiazza?" EloisecouldnothazardaguessastotheterriblesinofwhichMr Mason,the rectorofSt John's,wasguilty,andsaidso "Well,"andMrs Biggs'svoicesanktoawhisperassheleanedforward,"he smokesacigarinbroaddaylight!Whatdoyouthinkofthatforaministerofthe gospel?" Shewassomuchinearnest,andhermannersodramatic,thatEloiselaughedthe firstreal,heartylaughshehadindulgedinsinceshecametoCrompton Smokingmightbeobjectionable,butitdidnotseemtoherthemostheinous crimeintheworld,andshehadaveryvividremembranceofacoatinwhich therelurkedtheodorofmanyHavanas,andtowhichshehadclungdesperately inthedarknessandrainonthenightwhichseemedtoheryearsago Shedidnot, however,expressanyopinionwithregardtotheRev ArthurMason'shabits,or feelespeciallyinterestedinhim ButMrs Biggswas,andoncelaunchedonthe subject,shetoldEloisethathewasfromtheSouth,andhadnotbeenlonginthe place;thathewasunmarried,andallthegirlswereafterhim,RubyAnnwiththe rest,andsheatleasthalfadozenyearsolder "But,land'ssake!Whatdoesthatcountwithanoldmaidwhenayoungminister isinthemarket,"shesaid,addingthat,withtheexceptionofsmoking,she believedthenewministerwasagoodman,thoughforsomereasonCol Cromptondidnotlikehim,andhadonlybeentochurchoncesincehecame,and wouldn'tletMissAmygoeither ThisbroughtherbacktotheCromptonsgenerally,andduringthenexthalfhour EloisehadaprettygraphicdescriptionoftheColonelandhiseccentricities,of Amy,whenshewasayounggirl,ofthewayshecametotheCromptonHouse, andthemysterywhichstillsurroundedherbirth "MyUnclePeterlivedtherewhenshecame,andlivestherenow,—akindof vallytotheoldColonel,"shesaid,"andhe'stoldmeofthemornin'theColonel brungherhome,aqueer-lookinglittlething,—inherclothes,Imean,—andofful peppery,Ijudge,fightin'everybodywhocamenearher,androllin'onthefloor, bumpin'andcryin'foraniggerwhohadtookcareofhersomewhere,nobody knowswhere,fortheColonelnevertold,andifUnclePeterknows,heholdshis tongue Shewasaterriblefighteratschool,ifthingsdidn'tsuither,butshe's quietenoughnow;seems'sifshe'dbeenthroughthefire,poorthing,andthey sayshedon'tremembernothin',andbeginstoshakeifshetriestoremember TheColonelisverykindtoher;letsherhaveallthemoneyshewants,andshe givesawayasight Sentyouahatandslips,almostnew,andhadneverseenyou That'slikeAmy,and,mysoul,theresheisnow,comin'downtheroadwiththe Colonelintheb'rouch Hurry,andyoucanseeher;I'llmoveyou." Utterlyregardlessofthelamefoot,whichdraggedonthefloorandhurtcruelly, Mrs BiggsdrewEloisetothewindowintimetoseeahandsomeopencarriage drawnbytwosplendidbayspassingthehouse TheColonelwasmuffledupas closelyasifitweremidwinter,andonlyapartofhisfaceandhislong,white hairwerevisible,buthewassittingupright,withhisheadheldhigh,andlooked theembodimentofaristocraticprideandarrogance Theladybesidehimwas veryslight,andsatinadroopingkindofposture,asifsheweretired,orrestless, orboth Toseeherfacewasimpossible,forshewascloselyveiled,andneither shenortheColonelglancedtowardthehouseastheypassed "Iamsodisappointed Iwantedtoseeherface,"Eloisesaid,watchingthe carriageuntilitwashiddenfromviewbyaturnintheroad "Yousaysheis lovely?"andsheturnedtoMrs Biggs "Lovelydon'texpressit Seraphiccomesnearer Looksasifshehadsomegreat sorrowshewasconstantlythinkingof,andtryingtosmileasshethoughtofit," Mrs Biggsreplied Then,asEloiselookedquicklyup,sheexclaimed,"Well,ifI ain'tbeat!It'scometomewhatI'vebeentryin'tothinkofeversenseIseenyou Theyain'tthesamecolor;hersisdarker,butthereisalookinyoureyesforall theworldashersusedtobewhenshewasagirl,andwan'twearin'herhighheeledshoesandridin'overourheads ThemtimesshewasasliketheColonel asonepeaislikeanother,andhereyesfairlysnapped Othertimestheywassoft andtender-like,andbrightasstars,withalookin'emwhichIknownowwas kinder,—well,kindercrazy-like,youknow." Eloisehadheardmanythingssaidofherowneyes,butneverbeforethatthey werecrazy-like,anddidnotfeelgreatlycomplimented Shelaughed,however, andsaidshewouldliketoseetheladywhoseeyesherswerelike BeforeMrs Biggscouldreplytherewasastepoutside,and,tiptoeingtothe window,sheexclaimed,inawhisper,"IfIwon'tgiveitup,there'sthe'Piscopal minister,Mr Mason,cometocallonyou!RubyAnnmustoftoldhimyou belongedto'em." Shedroppedherknitting,and,hurryingtothedoor,admittedtheRev Arthur Mason,andusheredhimatonceintotheroomwhereEloisewassitting,saying assheintroducedhim,"Is'poseyouhavecometoseeher." Itwasanawkwardsituationfortheyoungman,whosecallwasnotpromptedby anythoughtofEloise HisbusinesswaswithMrs Biggs,whohadthereputation ofbeingtheparishregisterandtownencyclopædia,fromwhichinformation regardingeverybodycouldbegleaned,andhehadcometoherforinformation whichhehadbeentoldshecouldprobablygivehim HehadbeeninCrompton butthreemonths,andhadcometherefromasmallparishinVirginia Onthe firstSundaywhenheofficiatedinSt John'shehadnoticedintheaudienceatall, aristocratic-lookingman,withlongwhitehairandbeard,whomadethe responsesloudandinatonewhichtoldthevaluationheputuponhimself Inthe samepewwasaladywhosefaceattractedhisattention,itwassosweetandyet sosad,whilethebeautifuleyes,hewassure,weresometimesfulloftearsasshe listenedwithraptattentiontowhathewassayingofourheavenlyhome,where thosewehavelovedandlostwillberestoredtous Itscarcelyseemedpossible, andyethethoughttherewasanodofassent,andwassurethatasmilebroke overherfacewhenhespokeofthefirstmeetingoffriendsinthenextworld,the motherlookingforherchild,andthechildcomingtothegatesofParadiseto meetitsmother Whowasshe,hewondered,andwhowastheoldmanbeside her,whoheldhimselfsoproudly?Hesoonlearnedwhotheywere,andhearing thattheColonelwasverylame,andtheladyaninvalid,hetooktheinitiativeand calledattheCromptonHouse TheColonelreceivedhimverycordially,and madeexcusesforAmy'snon-appearance,sayingshewasnotquiteherselfand shywithstrangers Hewasveryaffable,andevidentlycharmedwithhisvisitor, until,astheconversationflowedon,itcameoutthattherectorwasaSoutherner bybirth,althougheducatedfortheministryattheNorth,andthathisfather,the Rev CharlesMason,wasatpresentfillingavacancyinalittlecountrychurchin Enterprise,Florida,wherehehadbeenbeforethewar TheRev ArthurMason couldnottellwhatitwasthatwarnedhimofaninstantaneouschangeinthe Colonel'smanner,itwassosubtleandstillsoperceptible Therewasasettling himselfbackinhischair,atighterclaspingofhisgold-headedcanewithwhich hewalked,andwhichhealwayskeptinhishand Hewaslesstalkative,and finallywassilentaltogether,andwhenatlasttherectorarosetogo,hewasnot askedtostayorcallagain Peterwassummonedtoshowhimthedoor,the Colonelbowingverystifflyashewentout Howhehadoffended,ifhehaddone so,therectorcouldnotguess,and,hearingwithinaweekortwothattheColonel wasindisposed,hecalledagain,butwasnotadmitted Col Cromptonwastoo nervoustoseeanyone,hewastold,andtheretheacquaintancehadended The CromptonpewwasnotoccupieduntilHowardcameandwasoccasionallyseen init Evidentlythenewrectorwasapersonanongrata,andhepuzzledhisbrain forareasoninvain,untilaletterfromhisfatherthrewsomelightuponthe subjectandinducedhimtocalluponMrs Biggs Asusualshewasveryloquacious,scarcelyallowinghimaword,andringing changesonherownandEloise'ssprainedankle,untilhebegantofearheshould havenochancetobroachtheobjectofhisvisitwithoutseemingtodragitin ThechancecameonthereturnoftheCromptoncarriage,withtheColonel sittingstiffandstraightandAmydroopingunderherveilbesidehim Herewas hisopportunity,andtherectorseizedit,andsoonlearnednearlyallMrs Biggs knewofAmy'sarrivalatCromptonHouseandthesurmisesconcerningher antecedents "She'saCromptonifthereeverwasone,andwhytheColonelshouldkeepso closeamouthalltheseyearsbeatsme,"wasMrs Biggs'sclosingremark,asshe bowedtherectoroutandwentbacktoEloise,whofeltthatshewasgettingvery familiarwiththeCromptonhistory,sofarasMrs Biggsknewit CHAPTERIX LETTERFROMREV CHARLESMASON "Enterprise,Fla.,Sept —,18— "MydearArthur: "Iwasgladtohearthatyouweresopleasantlysituatedandlikedyourparish work ItrustitiscoolertherethanhereinFlorida,wherethethermometerhas registeredhigherdayafterdaythanithasbeforeinyears Iratherlikeit, however,asIamsomethingofasalamander,andthis,youknow,isnotmyfirst experienceinFlorida Iwasherebetweenthirtyandfortyyearsago,beforeIwas married Infact,ImetyourmotherhereattheBrockHouse,whichbeforethe warwasfrequentedbymanySoutherners,someofwhomcameinthesummeras wellasinthewinter "ItwaswhileIwasherethatanincidentoccurredwhichmadeastrong impressionuponmymind,andwasrecalledtoitbyyourmentionofCrompton asthetownwhereyouareliving OnoneofthehottestdaysoftheseasonI attendedafuneral,thesaddest,and,insomerespects,themostpeculiarIever attended Itwasinalog-housesomemilesfromtheriver,andwasthatofa younggirl,wholayinhercoffinwithapatheticlookonherface,asifindeath shewerepleadingforsomewrongtoberighted Icouldscarcelykeepbackmy tearswhenIlookedather,andafteralltheseyearsmyeyesgrowmoistwhenI recallthatfuneralinthepalmettoclearing,withonlyCrackersandnegroesin attendance,adementedoldwoman,adark-eyedlittlegirl,theonlyrelatives,and afreenegro,Jake,andMandyAnn,aslave,belongingtoMrs Harris,theonly realmourners MandyAnnattendedtothechildandoldwoman,whileJakewas masterofceremonies,andmoreintelligentthanmanywhitepeopleIhavemet Suchafuneralasthatwas,withthecriesandgroansandsingingofbothwhites andblacks!Oneoldwoman,calledJudy,camenearhavingthepower,asthey callakindoffitofspiritualexaltation ButJakeshookherup,andtoldherto behave,asitwasa'Piscopalfuneralandnotapra'rmeetin' MandyAnnalso shookuptheoldlady,Mrs Harris,andscreamedinherearthroughatrumpet, whilethelittledark-eyedchildjoinedintherefrainofthenegroes'song, "'Oh,itwillbejoyful Whenwemeettopartnomore.' "Itwasludicrous,butverysad,andJake'seffortstokeeporderwerepitiful He calledhisyoungmistressMissDory,andwasmostanxioustoscreenherfrom theleastsuspicionofwrong WhenIquestionedhimwithregardtothe parentageofthelittlegirl,hewrunghishandsandanswered,'Ido'knowfor shu',butfo'Godit'sallright Shetolemeso,fo'shedied,an'MissDorynever tolealie ShesaidtofindElderCovil,whoknew,buthe'sdonegoneoffNorf,or somewhar.' "IfeltsureitwasallrightwhenIsawthegirl'sface Itmusthavebeenbeautiful inlife,andnotaintofguilthadevermarreditsinnocence Therecouldhave beennofaultatherdoor,exceptconcealment,andthereasonforthatwasburied inhergrave Iheardofastrangerwhovisitedtheclearingthreeorfouryears beforethefuneral Jakewasaway,butMandyAnnwasthereandfullofthe 'gemman,'who,Ihavenodoubt,wasthegirl'shusbandandagreatscamp Ileft Floridawithinaweekafterthatfuneral,andhaveneverbeenheresince,untilI cametotakechargeforatimeofthechurchwhichhasbeenerectedhere I shouldneverhaveknowntheplace,ithaschangedsosincethecloseofthewar andtheinfluxofvisitorsfromtheNorth Thehotel,whichhasbeengreatly improvedandenlarged,isalwaysfullintheseason,anditisoneofthemost popularwinterresortsontheriver "OneofmyfirstinquirieswasforthenegroesJakeandMandyAnn Thelatteris marriedandlivesnearthehotel,withasmanychildren,Ithought,astheold womanwholivedinashoe,thewaytheyswarmedoutwhenIcalledtoseetheir mother ShehadgonetoJacksonvilletosee'oleMissPerkinses,whowasdyin', andhadsentforher'caseshedonelivewithherwhenshewasagirl,'oneofthe pickaninniessaid WhenIaskedforJakeIwastoldhewasstillinthepalmetto clearing Noonecouldtellmeanythingaboutthelittlegirlwhomustnow,if living,beawomanofnearlyforty Indeed,nooneseemedtorememberher,so changedarethepeoplesincethewar Jake,Iwassure,hadnotforgotten,anda fewdaysagoIwenttoseehim Heisanoldmannow,andifthereissucha thingasanaristocraticnegro,heisone;withhisfaceblackasebony,hishair whiteassnow,andhiseyesfullofintelligenceandfire,especiallywhenhetalks ofMissDoryand'degoodoletimesfo'shewenttoGeorgyandmetdeNorthern cuss.'Thatiswhathecallsthemanwhocameforthelittlegirlaftertheold grandmotherdied "IwilltellyouthestoryofhiscomingasJaketoldittomeinthelittleenclosure whereMissDoryisburied,andwherethereisaveryprettymonumenttoher memory,with'Eudora,aged20,'uponit Hewasworkingintheyard,whichwas agardenofbloom,andoverthegraveandaroundthemonumentaMarshalNiel hadtwineditself,itsclustersofrosesfillingtheairwithperfume Pushingthem alittleaside,sothatIcouldseetheletteringmoredistinctly,hesaid,'That'swhat hetolemetoputthar,jess"Eudora,aged20."I'veleftroomforanothername whenI'mperfectlyshu' Idon'twanttoputnolieonagravestun,ifhername wan'tCrompton.' "'Crompton!'Irepeated,thinkingofyourparish "'Yes,Mas'rMason,fo'GodIb'lieveit'sCromptonshu' Hecomedan'fetchedlil chileDory,thelilgirlyouseenatthefuneral,whatseemsonlyyestiddy,one wayandinanotherabiglifetimesenseweburiedhermotherhere.' "'WhoisMr Crompton,andhowdidheknowaboutthechild?'Iasked,andJake replied,'HeissomebodyfromtheNorf,andhe'dsentmoneytoMas'rHardyin PalatkaforMissDory,whoputitawayfordechile AftershediedMas'rHardy wasgwinetoEurope,an'toleme'twasCol Crompton,Troutburg, Massachusetts,whosentthemoney,buthewouldn'tsaynothin'else,'ceptthat Col Cromptonhadginhimhisconfidenceandheshouldkeepit I'mshoothat MissDorysentlettersthroughMas'rHardytodeColonel,an'hewrittoher Not veryoffen,though She'dsen'onetoMas'rHardy,an'he'dsen'itNorf,an'then she'dwaitandwaitfordeanswer,an'whenitcameyouor'toseenherfacelight uplikesun-uponderiverinaMaymornin' An'hereyes,—shehadwonnerful eyes,—wouldshinelikedestarsfrostynightsinVirginny Maybe'twasmean, butsometimesIwatchedherreadin'deletter,herhan'sflutterin'assheopenedit likealittlebird'swingswhenit'scotched Ithinkshewasallus'spectin'sumptin' whatnevercomed Theletterswasshort,butittookheramightytimetoread 'em,'caseyouseeshewasn'tgoodatreadin'writin',an'I'specsdeColonel's handwritewasn'tveryplain Sheusedtospelloutdelongwords,whisperin''em outsometimes,herfacechangin'tillalldebrightnesswasgone,an'itwasmore likeastormonderiverthansun-up Denshe'dfolddeletter,an'takeupdelil chilean'kissit,an'say,"I'vegotyou We'llneverpart."Denshe'dburndeletter Ispecshetoleherto,an'shewasshootomind Denshe'dgoatherreadin'book agin,orwritin',tryin'tolarn,but'twixtyouan'I'twan'tinher,an',nodirespec' nuther,deHarrisescouldn'tlarnfrombooks Dey'squickto'dapttheirselvesto whattheyseen,an'shedidn'tseenothin' "'Onceshesaidtomewhendebigwordstroubledheran'floor'dme,"Ican neverbealadydisway Efhe'dtakemewharheis,an''mongsthispeople,I shouldlarntharways,butwhatcanIdoherewid—"Shedidn'tsay"widJake an'MandyAnnan'olegranny,an'derestof'em,"butshemeantit Ifithadn't beenforthelilchileshecouldofgonetoschool ItoleheroncetI'dsen'heran' takecareofdelilchilean'oleMiss,—mean'MandyAnn Thetearscomeinher eyesassheastwharI'dgitdemoney,seein'wewaslayin'upwhatcomefromde Norffordechile I'ddonethoughtthatoutlyin'awakenightsan'plannin'howto makeheralady I'sebawnfree,youknow,an'freedomwassweettomean' slaverysour,butforMissDoryI'ddoit,an'Isaid,"I'llsellmyselftoMas'r Hardy,orsomegemmanlikehim."Thar'splentywantsme,an'wouldgiveabig price,an'sheshouldhaveitallforherschoolin' "'Youorterhaveseenherfacethen Everypartofitmovin'tooncet,an'hereyes sobrightIcouldnotlookat'emforthequarnesstharwasin'em,an'I'llnever forgethervoiceasshesaid,"Thatcan'tbe;but,Jakey,youaredenoblestman, blackorwhite,Ieverseen,an'mybestfrien',an'Ilovesyouasifyouwasmy brodder." "'Dem'sherverywords,an'IwouldofsolemyselfforherifIcould Butdelam ginupafterawhile Alldehopean'lifewentoutofher,an'shedied'an'you done'tendedherfuneral,—you'membersit,—asfustclassasIcouldmakeit I toleyousumptin'den,butnotallthis Itwasn'tafittin'time,butseein'you bringsitallback MandyAnnan'mesaidwe'dkeeplilchileawhile,bein'ole Misswasalive,thoughshewasnobetterthanabroomstickdressedinher clothes Shedidn'tknownothin',noteventhatMissDorywasdead,an'kep' askin'whosechileitwas,—efitwasMandyAnn's,an'whyitwashyar Itkinder troubledher,Ithink,itwassoactivean'noisy,an'sungsomuch Usedtoplayat pra'rmeetin'an'havedepow'powerful,asshehadseendeblackshaveitwhen MandyAnntookhertotharmeetin's Seemsefshelikedtharwaysbetterthan whatItriedtoteachherfromdePra'rBook,an'theyisrathermorelivelierfora chile Alldeneighborswasinterestedinher,an'oleMissThomasmostofall She'sdeonewhatstoodoutdelongestaginMissDory,'caseshedidn'ttellsquar whatshe'dpromisednotto Butshegininatdefuneral,an'wasmightyniceto thelilchile WhenoleMissLucydiedshecomedinherdemocratwagon,asshe didforMissDory,an'coaxedlilchileinterherlap,an'saidsheshowedshehad goodblood,an'or'tobebrungupalady,an'itwasn'tfittin'forhertostaywhar shewas,an'ifIknewdefaderImus'writetohim "'Iknewdataswellasshedid,an'afterconsultin'widMandyAnnan'prayin'for light,itcomedatImustsen'on,an'Idid,hopin'hewouldn'come,fortopart widdelilchilewasliketearin'myvitalsout,an'MandyAnn's,too Hedid come,—abig,gran'man,widalookwhichmademegladMissDorywasin heaven'steadoflivin'widhim He'dbeenhyaroncetbefore MebbyItoleyou, atdefuneral Mymindgetsleaky,an'Ican't'memberexactly,an'sorepeats.' "'Ithinknot,'Isaid,'andifyoudid,Ihaveforgotten,andamwillingtohearit again.' "WeweresittingnowonabenchclosebywhatJakesaidhadbeenthelittlegirl's play-house,whichshecalledherShady,becauseitwasunderapalmtree "'Yes,hecomed,'Jakesaid,'twoorthreeweeksafterMissDorycomedhome fromGeorgy,wharshewasvisitin'herkin MandyAnntoleme'bouthim,—how hewalkedan'talkedtoMissDory,tillwhenhewentawayherfacewaswhiteas thegownsheputonwhenshehearnhewascomin' Yousee,MandyAnnwason deboatwidhim,an'toleher Shewasallofatwitter,likeyou'veseendelittle hungrybirdsindenestwhendarmudderiscomin'widaworm,—an'shewas jessascoldan'slimpsyan'starvedwhenhewentawayasdemlittlebirdsis whendemudderisshotondewingan'nevercomeswiddeworm Youknow whatImean Shes'pectedsomethin'an'didn'tgetit.' "Jakewasveryeloquentinhisillustrations,andIlookedadmiringlyathimashe wenton:'IwasinVirginnyvallyin'forMas'rKane,afinegemmanwhoginme bigwage,an'Iwassavin'ituptobuysomethingsfordehouse,'caseIreckoned howMissDoryseensomethin'differentinGeorgy Herkinwasvery'spectable folks,an'shemightwantsomefixin's TharwasnobodyhyarbutoleMissLucy, who'dhadsomekindofaspellan'lostmostofhersense,an'didn'tknowmore'n achile MandyAnngotsomebodytowritemethatMissDoryhadabeau,—a gran'man,an'IwasthatpleasedthatIastthepriceofasecond-han'pianny, thinkin'mebbyshe'dwanttolarn,'caseshesungsonice DenIneverhearn anoderword,'ceptfromMissDory,tillMas'rHardywritMas'rKanetosen'me home,'caseIwasneeded Is'posedoleMissLucyhadhadanotherfit,an'started thinkin'alldewayupderiverhowI'dseeMissDorystandin'indedo'widde smileonherface,an'delightinhereyes,an'herpleasantvoicesayin'tome, "Howd'ye,Jake,I'semightygladtoseeyou."'Stido'thatshewasn'tthar,an' MandyAnncomeclatterin'downdestars,an'Ihearnababycry Inmys'priseI said,"What'sdatar?HasoleMissgotababy?" "'MandyAnnlaughedtillshecried,dencriedwithoutlaughin',an'tolemewid herfacetodewall,an'IwassoshamedIcouldofhidindesan',an'MandyAnn, theytoleme,didruninterdewoodsatfusttohideherself Denshesmartedup an'fitforMissDory,whosaidnothin''cept,"Wait,itwillallberight ItolehimI wouldwait I'magoodgirl,"an'fo'Heaven,Ib'lievedher,thoughsomeo'de whitetrashdidn'tatfust,buttheyalldidatthelast MaybeI'mtirin'you?' "'No,'Isaid,'goon,'andhecontinued:'I'setoleyoumostalldathappenedafter dattillshediedan'youcomedtodefuneral "'Whenolemissdied,IwrittodeColonel,asItoleyou,an'hecomed,gran',an' proud,an'stiff,an'Itolehimall'boutMissDorysameasIhaveyou,—p'rapsnot quitesomuch,—p'rapsmo' Idon'tremember,'caseasIsaidmymemoryisole an'leaky,andmebbyIain'ttellin'itrightincourseasItolehim Somewasinde house,an'someouthyar,wharIsaid,"Disishergrave She'slyin'underdesan', butI'llfixherupintimean'sheshallsleepunderderoses." "'Itolehimeverythingwasdoneinorder,an'howyoupreachedaboutde Resurrectionan'deLife,an'howsweetshelookinhercoffin,an'MandyAnn's puttin'herringondeweddin'finger,an'hismouftrembledlike,upanddown, an'Ib'lieveeftharhadbeenatearinhisdried-uphearthe'dofshedit "'Oncet,whenheseemedkindersoftened,Iasthimsquar,"Ain'tyouher husband?" "'Tharwassuchaquarlookinhiseyes,—astarin'atmeaminit,—an'thenhe said,"Iamnobody'shusband,an'nevershallbe." "'Ib'lievehelied,an'wantedtoknockhimdown,butwouldn'trighttharbyher grave HetolemeIwastohaveallthemoneyMissDoryhadbeenlayin'up,an' hewouldsendmemo'forthestun IastwhatIshouldputonit,an'hesaid, "Whatwasonhercoffinplate?" "Eudora,aged20,"Itolehim "Putthesameonthestun,"hesaid HetolemeI wastostayondeplace,an'haveallImade ThentharwasMandyAnn,who 'longedtodelilchile Shewastostayhyar,hesaid,an'he'dpayherwagewhich shecouldkeepherself He'dsettlewiddelilchilewhendetimecome,an'set MandyAnnfree Ithinkhemeantit,buthewasspar'ddetrouble,fordewah cornedlikeabigbrooman'swep'slaveryaway,an'mos'everytingsoufwidit, an'MandyAnnwasfreeanywaywidoutdeColonel "'AfterdechilewentawayIgottobroodin'overMissDory'swrongs,tillI'seso workedupagindeColonel,datwhendewahbrokeoutIwasmindedto'list, hopin'I'dmeethimsomewharinbattlean'shoothim DenIcooleddownan' staidhomean'raisedthingsan'workedfordepoorfolkshyar,—dewomen, whosehusban'san'bruddershadgonetodewah Ted,—dat'sdeboyonde "Hatty"longago,—wenttodewahwidagreatflourish,promisin'MandyAnn he'dshoottheColonelshu'efhegotachance An'whatdoyouthink?Atdefust crackofdecannonindefustbattleheseen,hecutan'run,an'kep'onrunnin'till hegothyar,beggin'mean'MandyAnntohidehim,'casehewasadeserter I heldmytongue,an'letMandyAnndoasshepleased,an'shehidhimtillde Federalscome,whenhejinedthem,an'didgethit,but'twasondebackor shoulder,showin'whichwayhewasrunnin' "'DenMandyAnnmarriedhim,an'hastenchillenses,an'washesan'scrubsfor deBrockHousean'everybody,whileTedstrutsroun'widacigarinhismouf,an' sayshehasneberseenawelldaysensedewah,—dathisshoulderpainshim powerfulattimes,—an'heistryin'togetapension,an'MandyAnnishelpin' him Beatsallwhatwomenwon'tdoforamaniftheylovehim,nomatterhow bigaskunkheis MissDorydiedforone,an'MandyAnnisslavin'herselfto deffforone I'semightygladI'senotawoman.' "HereJakestoppedamoment,presumablytoreflectonthewaywardnessof MissDoryandMandyAnncaringfortwoskunks,—onetheColonelandone Ted,whoselastnameIdidnotknowtillIaskedJake,whoreplied,'Hamilton—a rightsmartname,I'mtold,an''long'dtodequality OlemanHamiltoncome fromdenorfsomewhar,an'boughtTed'smother,alikelymulatto Whohisfader wasIdoanknow He'smorewhitedanblack,an'ismightyproudofhisname,— Hamilton,—'casesomebodytolehimtharwasonceabigman,Hamilton,an' whenMandyAnnhadtwinboys,shewastoletocall'emAlexanderan'Aaron, —sumptin',—Idoanjustlyrememberwhat Itmakesmethinkofachestnut.' "'Burr,'Isuggested,andhereplied,'Yes,sar,dat'sit,—AaronBurr,—anoderbig man,—an'deycallsdetwinsAlexandAaron Fineboys,too,widMandyAnn's get-upin'em Dar'stwomo'twins,—littlegals;beatsallwhatawomanMandy Annisfortwins,—an'shecalls'emJudyandDory,—oneforyoungMiss,an' t'otherforderagdolllilchiletooknorfwidherandcalledJudy,foranole womanwhohasgonetodeCanaansheusedtosingabout—"Oh,I'seboun'for delan'ofCanaan."Shewaspowerfulinpra'r,an'atdefustmeetin'afterdewah, an'sheknewshewasfree,Ib'lieveyoucouldofhearnheracrossdelaketo Sanford,sheshout"Glory,bressdeLawd!"soloud Butforallshewasfree,she wouldn'tleaveoleMissThomas "Ilikesmymistis,an'Iain'tgwinetoleaveher widsomebodyelsetocombherhar,an'makehercornbread,"shesaid,when deytriedtopersuadehertogotoPalatky ShestaidwidoleMiss,whoburiedher decent,an'hasgoneherselftojineheran'MissDoryindebetterland,which seemstomeisnotfaraway;an'offen,whenIseesdesungodowninagloryof redan'purplean'yaller,—I'semightyfondofyaller,—Isaystomyself,"It'sdat waydeygoestodeudderworld,whar,pleaseGod,I'llgosomedayforeberry long,—forItriestobegood." "TherewasaraptlookinJake'sfaceasheturnedittothewest,andIwouldhave givenmuchtoknowthatmyfuturewasasassuredashis." HerethefirstpartofMr Mason'sletterclosedabruptly,asafriendcametocall, butheaddedhastily,"To-morrowI'llfinish,andtellyouaboutthechildwho nowoccupiesallJake'sthoughts,prayingeverydaythathemayseeheragain." CHAPTERX PARTSECONDOFREV MR MASON'SLETTER "Iwasinterruptedyesterday,andhardlyknowwheretobeginagain,orwhatI havewritten,asJakewasalittlemixedandwentforwardandbackattimes, showingthathismemorywas,ashesaid,leaky,butwhenhestruckthechildhe wasbrightasaguinea 'LilChile'and'HoneyBee'hecallsher Hetoldmeofher runningintothehousetomeettheColonel,withhersoiledfrock,andherface andhandsbesmearedwithmolasses;ofhertusslewithMandyAnn,whowanted towashherfaceandchangeherclothes,andofherfineappearanceatthelastin awhitegown,herbest,whichhehadboughtandMandyAnnmadenotlong before,andwhichtheColonelwouldnottakewithhim Sotheykeptit,and MandyAnnwashedandironedit,andputitawaywithsomesweetherbs,and airediteveryyeartillshewasmarried,whenJakecaredforittillMandyAnn's twinswereborn,—AlexandAaron ThenMandyAnnborroweditforthemtobe christenedin,oneofthemoneSundayandonethenext,sothatbothhadthe honorofwearingit,whileJakewassponsor,'For,'saidhe,'MandyAnnhasgin upthemhollerin'meetin'swharwhitefolksdonecometoseedeoledarkieshave akindofpowow,asdeyusetohavebefo'dewah Clarfor'tifdefolksfromde Norfdon'tgindeblacksmoneytosingdeole-timesongsan'rockan'weave backan'forthtilldeyhavedepow' Idon'tthinkmuchofdatar,jess'musin' theyselveswidourreligion;'andJakelookedhisdisgust,andcontinued: "'MandyAnnlikemightywelltojine'em,butIholeherback,an'nowshe's 'Piscopal,efshe'sanything,—an'whendegirltwinscome,—Doryan'Judy,— sheborrowedlilchile'sgownagin Datmakefo'times,an'thenIshetdegates, an'said,"Nomo'gown,an'nomo'twins,"an'tharhain'tbeennomo' "'ButI'segotagoodwaysfromlilchile,whowan'tanatomshyofdeColonel, thoughhewasofher,an'whenhetookherhan'Icouldalmostseehimsquirm like Ithinkhetriedtobekind,an'heginheralilivorybookhehadonhis watch-chain,butyouseehedidn'tfeelit Hedidn'tcareforchildren,andit seemedasifhewantedtogetawayfromthisone Buthecouldn't Shewashis'n; I'dbetmysoulondat Hehadtocomeafterheran'tookher,though'twas'bout thewustjobheeverdid,Ireckon Shefitlikeatigercataboutgwinewidhim, an''strue'syoubawn,Idon'tb'lieveshe'dgoneefhehadn'ttookmewidhimto Savannah Ican'ttellyou,Mas'rMason,'boutdepartin'thar 'Twasdrefful,an'I kinseehernowrollin'ondeflo',widherheelsan'han'sindeair,an'shea-sayin' shemus'staywidShaky Iboughthersuchaprettyredcloak,alllinedwidwhite silk,an'wrappedherinit,an'tookherontodeboat,an'leftherthar,shethinkin' Iwascomin'back,an'thelastIseenofher,astheboatmovedoff,shewas jumpin'upan'down,an'stretchin'herarmstome,an'theCunnelholdin'her tight,orIb'lieveshe'dsprungoverboard He'dagoodtimegettin'herhome,I reckon ShewastheveryoldHarrywhenherdanderwasup,'andtheoldnegro laughedashethoughtofwhattheColonelmusthaveborneonthatjourneywith histroublesomecharge "Therecameafewlinestohim,hesaid,tellingofCol Crompton'ssafearrival home,andthatthechildwaswell Afterawhilethewarbrokeout,and communicationwiththeNorthwascutoff ThefriendinPalatka,whohad returnedfromEuropeandjoinedtheConfederateArmy,waskilled,andthe letterwhichJakesenttoCol Cromptonwhenpeacewasrestoredwasnot answeredforalongtime AtlasttheColonelwrotethatEudorahadmarried againsthiswishesandgonetoEurope,andJakewasnottotroublehimwithany morelettersconcerningher "An'that'sallIknowsofher,'hesaid,'whethershe'sdeadoralive,orwharshe is;butifIdidknowIb'lieveI'dwalkafoottodeNorftoseeher Sheain'tmylil chileDorynomo',butIallusthinksofherlikedat,an'Ikeepsdecradleshewas rockedinbymybed,an'sometimes,whenI'selonesomenights,an'can'tsleep forthinkin'ofher,Iputsmyhan'outan'jogsitwithafeelin'theliloneisthar, an'everydayIpraysshemaycomebacktome,an'Ib'lieveshewill Yes,sar,it comestomethatshewill.' "Thetearswererunningdowntheoldman'sfacewhen,onourgoingtothe house,heshowedmethecradleclosetohisbed,arude,old-fashioned,hightoppedthing,suchasthepoorestfamiliesusedyearsago Therewasapillow,or cushion,init,andalittlepatchworkquilt,which,hesaid,MandyAnnpieced andmade Heshowedme,too,asecondorthirdschoolreader,soiledandworn andpencilmarked,andshowingthatithadbeenmuchused "'ThiswasMissDory's,'hesaid;'theoneshestudieddemost,tryin'tolearn,an' gettin'terriblyflusteredwiddebigwords Icanseehernow,bendin'overitairly an'late;sometimeswiddechileinherlaptillshedonetuckeredout,an'laidit awaywithasitheasifgladtobeshetofit Shecouldn'tlarn,an'deLordtook herwhardeydon'taskwhatyouknows,—onlydis:doesyoulubdeLord?an' shedid,delamb.' "Jakewasstillcrying,andIwasnotfarfromitasIsawinfancythatpooryoung girltryingtolearn,tryingtomasterthebigwordsandtheirmeaning,inthevain hopeoffittingherselfforcompanionshipwithamanwhohaddesertedher,and whoprobablyneverhadforhermorethanapassingfancy,ofwhichhewas ashamedandwouldgladlyignore "'Ishowedhimdebook,'Jakesaid,'an'tolehimhowshetriedtolarn,an'Itried tohelpherallIcould,an'thenhedidhavesomefeelin'an'hiseyesgotred,but hedidn'tdrapatear;no,sar,notadrap!Heastmecouldhehavedebook,an'I said,"No,sar,notfornothin' It'smine,"an'hesaid,proud-like,"Asyouplease." Hewasmightygoodtomean'MandyAnn'boutmoney,an'whenIwrithimshe wasmarried,hesenthertwohundreddollars,whichshe'vestedinahouse,or Tedwouldofspentitforfineclosean'cigarettes Hemustbegettin'ole,asIbe, an'theycalldetownCrompton,afterhim,'stidofTroutburg.' "Rememberingyourparish,ItoldhimIhadasonsettledinCrompton, Massachusetts Ihardlythoughtthereweretwotownsofthesamenameinone State,andI'dinquireifCol Cromptonlivedthere Hisfacebrightenedatonce, andwhenIlefthim,hegraspedmyhandandsaid,'BressdeLawdfordegrain ofcomfortyoudonegiveme IfsheistharI'dwalkallderoadfromFloridyto seeher,ifIcouldn'tgittharnootherway Thankee,Mas'rMason,forcomin'to seeme I'seprettyreg'laratchurch,an'setsbydedo',an'allusgivesanickelfor myselfan'oneforMissDorydeadan'forMissDorylivin',an'ImakesMandy Ann'tendallIcan,thoughshe'drathergowharshesaysit'slivelier Sheis mightygoodtome,—comeseberyweekan'clarsupan'scolesmeforgittin'so dirty She'sgreatonascrub,MandyAnnis Mussyougo?Well,I'mgladyou comed,an'Is'pec'sI'vetoleyousomethingstwiste,'caseofmymemory Goodby.' "Heaccompaniedmetothedoor,andshookhandswithallthegraceofaborn gentleman ThenIlefthim,buthavebeenhauntedeversincebyapictureofthat oldnegroinhislonelycabin,joggingthatemptycradlenightswhenhecannot sleep,andcontrastinghimwithCol Crompton,whoeverandwhereverhemay be Perhapsyoucanthrowsomelightonthesubject Theworldisnotsovery widethatoursinsarenotprettysuretofindusout,andthatsomeCol Crompton hasbeenguiltyofagreatwrongseemscertain Possiblyheisoneofyour parishioners,andyoumayknowsomethingofthesecondDory Ishallawait youranswerwithsomeanxiety "Yourfather, "CHARLESMASON." ThiswastheletterwhichhadsenttheRev ArthurtocallonMrs Biggs,withno thoughtofEloiseinhismind Shewasnotyetanactivefactorinthedrama whichwastobeplayedoutsorapidly Returningtohisboardingplace,therector readhisfather'sletterasecondtime,andthenansweredit Apartofwhathe wrotewegive: "Ihavejustcomefromaninterviewwithawomanwhoiscreditedwithknowing thehistoryoftheplacefortyyearsback,andIhavenodoubtthatShaky'sCol CromptonislivinghereinCromptonPlace,therichestmanintownandlargest contributortothechurch Thereisaladylivingwithhimwhopeoplebelieveis hisdaughter,althoughhehasneveracknowledgedherassuch Mrs Biggs,the womanIinterviewed,gavemeamostgraphicaccountofthemannerofher arrivalatCromptonPlace,whenshewasalittlegirlliketheoneyoudescribe Shehasalovelyface,butisalittletwistedinherbrain Shedidrunawaywith hermusicteacher,andhernameisAmyEudora Therewasnomentionmadeof Harris TheycallherMissAmy Therecan'tbemuchdoubtofheridentitywith Jaky'slilchile Sendhimon,andMandyAnn,too,—andthefourtwins,Alex andAaron,JudyandDory I'llpayhalftheirfare!There'senoughoftheold AdaminmetomakemewanttoseethemconfronttheproudColonel,who ignoresmeforreasonsIcouldnotfathom,untilIreceivedyourletter ThenI suspectedthatbecauseIamyoursonhefearedthatsomepagesofhislife,which hehopedwereblottedoutbytimeandtheravagesofwar,mightberevealed He isanoldman,ofcourse,butdistinguished-lookingstill,thoughmuchbroken withrheumaticgout,whichkeepshimmostlyathome MyrespectstoShaky, whomIhopebeforelongtohearringingthebellatCromptonPlace Isthat wicked?Isupposeso,butIcannothelpit "ARTHUR." CHAPTERXI SUNDAYCALLS Thedayfollowingtherector'scallonMrs BiggswasSunday,andthemorning waswetandmisty,withathick,whitefogwhichcreptupfromtheseaandhid fromviewobjectsatanydistanceaway "ThisisnearlyasbadasLondon,"HowardsaidtoJackwhen,afterbreakfast, theystoodlookingoutuponthesoddengrassanddroopingflowersinthepark "Haveyouamindtogotochurch?" Jackshruggedhisshoulders,andreplied,"NotI;it'stoodamp Areyougoing?" Howardhadnotthoughtofdoingsountilthatmoment,whenanideacame suddenlyintohismind,andheanswered,"Ithinkso,—yes Someoneoughtto representtheCromptonpew Itisoutofthequestionformyuncletogo,andhe wouldnotifhecould Hehastakenaviolentprejudiceagainstthenewrector, fornoreasonIcanthinkof Heisagoodfellow,—therector,Imean,—andnot toostraight-lacedtosmokeacigar,andheknowsafinehorsewhenheseesone, andpreachessplendidsermons IthinkIshallgoandencouragehim." HedidnoturgeJacktoaccompanyhim,norwouldJackhavedonesoifhehad Therewasanideainhismind,aswellasinHoward's,whichheintendedto carryout,andhalfanhourafterHowardstartedforchurch,he,too,leftthe houseandwalkedslowlythroughtheparkinthedirectionofMrs Biggs's "Idon'tknowasitisjustthethingtocallonSunday,"hethought,hesitatinga littleashecameinsightofthehouse,"butitseemsanagesinceIsawher I'll juststeptothedoorandinquirehowsheis." Hisknockwasnotansweredatfirst,butwhenherepeateditheheardfromthe parlorwhatsoundedlike—"Thekeyisunderthemat,"inavoiceheknewdid notbelongtoMrs Biggs Thatgoodwomanwasinchurch Timhadgonetothe choirinSt John's,andEloisewasalone RubyAnnhadbeentoseeherthenight beforewithhermassageandrubberband,bothofwhichhadprovedso successfulthatEloisewasfeelinggreatlyencouraged,andtheoutlookwasnot quitesoforlornaswhenshefirstlandedatMrs Biggs's,helplessandhomesick andhalfcrazedwithpain Heranklewasimprovingfast,althoughshecouldnot walk;butshehadhopesoftakingherplaceinschoolwithinaweekortendays Mrs BiggshadwonderedwhytheyoungmenfromCromptonPlacedidnotcall onSaturday,andEloisehadfeltalittledisappointedwhenthedayhadpassed andshedidnotseethem "'Tain'tnowayslikelythey'llcometo-day Folksknowmyprinciples,andthatI don'tb'lieveinSundayvisiting,"shesaidasshetidieduptheroombefore startingforchurch "Nobody'llcome,unlessitisRubyAnnwithhermassage, that'snomoregoodthanacat'sfoot;soI'lljustgivetheparloralickanda promisetillto-morrow,and'fiseyouI'dbecomfortableinthatwrapper." ButEloiseinsisteduponthewhitedressingjacketwithpinkribbons,inwhich Mrs Biggssaidshelooked"likeapicter,"regrettingthattheyoungmencould notseeher "Ifitwasn'tfordesiccatingtheSabbathIwishthemhighbuckswouldcall,"she added,asshegaveafinalwhisktothedusterandwenttoprepareforchurch "I'mgoin'tolockthedoorandputthekeyunderthemat,sonobodycangetinif theywantto ImightloseitifIcarriedittomeetin' Ididonce,andhadto clamberinterthebutrywinder,"washerlastremarkassheleftthehouse;and Eloiseheardtheclickofthekeyandknewshewaslockedinandalone Shewasnotafraid,butbegantoimaginewhatshecoulddoincaseofafire,orif anyoneweretocomeknockingatthedoor "Sitstillandnotanswer,"shewas thinkingwhenJackcamerapidlyupthewalk Shesawhisshadowashepassed thewindow,andherheartgaveagreatbound,forsheknewwhowas "desiccating"theSabbathbycallinguponher Thefirstknockshedidnot answer,butwhenthesecondcame,louderandmoreimperativethanthefirst, shecalledout,"Thekeyisunderthemat,"regrettinghertemerityinaninstant, andtremblingasshethought,"WhatifIamdoingsomethingimpropertoadmit him,andMrs Biggsshoulddisapprove!" Thethoughtsentthebloodtohercheeks,whichwerescarletasJackcamein, eageranddelightedtofindheralone "Lockeduplikeaprisoner,"hesaid,ashetookherhand,whichheheldlonger thanwasatallnecessary,whilehelookedintohereyes,wherethegladnessat seeinghimagainwasshowingsoplainly WhenhelastsawhershewasarrayedinMrs Biggs'sspottedcalico,andhewas quicktonotethechange Hehadthoughtherlovelybefore;shewasbeautiful now,withthebrightnessinhereyesandthecolorcomingandgoingsorapidly onhercheeks Drawingachairclosetoher,hesatdownjustwherehecould lookatherashetalked,andcouldwatchthevaryingexpressiononherface Oncehelaidhishandonthearmofherchair,butwithdrewitwhenhesawher troubledlook,asifshefearedhewasgettingtoofamiliar Heaskedherabout hersprain,andwasgreatlyinterested,orseemedtobe,inthemassageand rubberbandwhichwerehelpinghersomuch ThenhespokeofRubyAnn,the biggestwomanheeversaw,hebelieved,andjusttheoneforaschool-teacher Hewaspasttheschool-housethedaybefore,hesaid Itseemedtheyhadhalfa dayonSaturdayandhalfadayonWednesday Itwastheboys'recess,andhe neverheardsuchahullaballooastheyweremaking Atall,lankyboyseemedto betheleader,whomtheothersfollowed "ThatmustbeTomWalker,theonewhomakesallthetrouble,andwhomMr BillsandMrs BiggsthinkIcan'tmanage,"Eloisesaid,withalittlegasp,suchas shealwaysfeltwhenshethoughtofTom,who,Timhadreported,wasboasting ofwhathemeanttodowiththelameschoolmarmwhenshecame Jackdetectedthetroubleinhervoice,andaskedwhoTomWalkerwas Itdidnot takelongforEloisetotellallsheknew,whileJacklistenedthoughtfully, resolvingtoseekoutTom,andbythrashing,orthreatening,orhiring,turnhim fromanyplanhemighthaveagainstthislittlegirl,whoseemedtohimfartoo younganddaintytobethrownuponthemercyoftherabblehehadseenbythe school-housewithTomWalkerattheirhead "Don'tworryaboutTom Bigbullieslikehimarealwayscowards You'llget alongallright,"hesaidencouragingly,withagrowingdesiretotakethehelpless girlinhisarmsandcarryherawayfromTomWalkerandMr BillsandMrs Biggs,andthewholeofhersurroundings,whichshedidnotseematalltofit Hewantedtoentertainher,andtoldherofanexcursiononthewaterhehad takenthepreviousdaywithHowardCrompton,—thelastoftheseason,hesaid, andveryenjoyable Hewishedshehadbeenthere Thenhespokeofthe Colonel,laughingathispeculiarities,andaskingifshehadeverheardofthe Crompton"Formula."ShesaidshehadfromRubyAnn,andwasgladshewas nottobesubjectedtoquestioningonit,assheknewsheshouldfailineverything exceptthefourrights Shemightmanagethem,butitwasnotnecessaryforher tobeexaminedbyanybody,sincehernormalschooldiplomawasalicenseto teachanywhereintheState "HangedifIthinkIcouldmanagetherights!"Jacksaid "Spellingisnotmy forte,andHoward,whoisgreatatit,missedthelastone." "HowisMr Howard?"Eloiseasked,andJackreplied,"Allright Hasgoneto churchlikeagoodChristian Ioughttohavegone,butIthoughtI'dcomehere, asyoumightbelonelyherealone." ItflashedthroughEloise'smindtowonderhowheknewshewasalone,butshe madenocomment,excepttosaythattherector,Mr ArthurMason,calledupon herthedaybefore "Didhe?"Jacksaid "Ibelieveheisafinefellow Howardlikeshim,butfor somereasontheColoneldoesnot,andwhenHowardsaidhewasgoingto church,andsuggestedbringingMr Masonhometolunch,hegrowledout somethingaboutnotlikingcompanyonSunday Heisaqueeroldcove,and doesnotseemtocareforanybodybutMissAmy Heisdevotedtoher,andshe isalovelywoman,andmustoncehavebeenbrilliant,butshepuzzlesme greatly SheseemstoberationaloneverysubjectexceptherlifeinCalifornia If anyallusionismadetothatshelooksdazedatonce,andsays,'Ican'ttalkabout it Idon'tremember.'" "MyfatherdiedinCalifornia,andmymotheristherenow,"Eloisesaidsadly Jackhadnotsupposedshehadamother Mrs Brown,whosatbesidehimatthe commencementexercisesinMayville,hadspokenofherasanorphan,andhe replied,"Ihadsomehowthoughtyourmotherdead." "No;oh,no!"Eloiseansweredquickly "Sheisnotdead;sheis—" Shestoppedsuddenly,andJackknewbyhervoicethathermotherwasapainful subject,andhebeganatoncetospeakofsomethingelse Hewasagoodtalker, andEloiseagoodlistener,andneithertookanyheedtothelapseoftime,until therewasthesoundofwheelsbeforethehouse Acarriagehadstoppedtolet someoneout;thenitwenton,andHowardCromptoncameupthewalkand knockedatthedoorjustasJackhaddoneanhourbefore "Pullthebobbinandcomein,"Jackcalledout,and,agooddealastonished, Howardwalkedin,lookingunutterablethingswhenhesawJacktherebefore him,seeminglyperfectlyathomeandperfectlyhappy,andinveryclose proximitytoEloise,whowonderedwhatMrs Biggswouldsayifshecameand foundboththe"highbucks"there "Hallo!"Jacksaid,whileHowardresponded,"Hallo!Whatbroughtyouhere?" "AwishtoseeMissSmith Whatbroughtyou?"wasJack'sreply,andHoward responded,"AwishtoseeMissSmith,ofcourse Youdidn'tsupposeIcameto seeMrs Biggs,didyou?Whereistheoldlady?" Eloiseexplainedthatshehadgonetochurch,andJacktoldofthekeyunderthe mat,andthetalkflowedon;andEloisecouldnotforbeartellingthemofMrs Biggs'swishnottohavetheSabbath"desiccated"byvisitors "AregularMrs Malaprop,"Jacksaid,whileHowardsuggestedthattheyleave beforeshecamehome "Wecanputthekeyunderthemat,andshe'llneverknow ofthe'desiccation,'"hesaid JacklookeddoubtfullyatEloise,whoshookherhead "No,"shesaid,"Ishalltellheryouhavebeenhere Itwouldbeadeceptionnot to." "Asyoulike Andit'stoolatenow,forhereshecomes!"Howardsaid,asMrs Biggspassedthewindowandstoopedtofindthekey Itwasnotthere Turningthematupsidedown,shefailedtodiscoverit Thekey wasgone! "Forgoodness'sake,whatcanhavehappened?"theyheardhersay,asshe pushedthedooropenandenteredtheroom,wherethetwoyoungmenstood, oneoneithersideofEloise,asiftoprotecther "Well,ifIain'tbeat!"thewidow exclaimed,droppingintoachairandbeginningtountieherbonnetstringsasif theychokedher "Yes,Iambeat Hain'tyoubeentomeetin'?"sheaskedrather severely,hereyesfallingonHoward,whoansweredquickly,"Yes,Ihave,and onmywayhomecalledtoinquireforMissSmith,andfoundthisrascalhere beforeme Hehadunlockedthedoorandtakenpossession Yououghttohave himarrestedasaburglar,breakingintoyourhouseonSunday." "Is'poseIor'ter,"Mrs Biggssaid,"andIhopenoneoftheneighborsseenyou comein MissBrownacrostthewayisagreatgossip,andtherehain'taspeckof scandaleverbeenonmyhouseinmylife,andIa-boardin'schoolma'amsfor fifteenyears!" Mrs Biggswasinclinedtobealittlesevereonthetwoyoungmeninvadingher premises,butJackwasequaltotheemergency Shewastuggingatherbonnet strings,whichwereentangledinaknot,intowhichthecordofhereyeglasses hadbecometwisted "IcanswearthatneitherMrs Brown,noranyoneelsewaslookingfromthe windowwhenIcamein Shewasprobablyatchurch,"Jacksaid,offeringtohelp her,andfinallyundoingtheknotwhichhadprovedtoomuchforher "Thereyou are,"hesaid,removingthebonnet,andsettingherfalsepiece,whichhad becomealittleaskew,moresquarelyonherhead "Youareallrightnow,and canblowmeupasmuchasyouplease Ideserveit,"headded,beamingupon herasmilewhichwouldhavedisarmedherofadozenprejudices Jack'swayswerewonderfulwithwomen,bothyoungandold,andMrs Biggs felttheirinfluenceandlaughed,asshesaid,"Iain'tgoin'toblow,thoughIwas tookabacktoseetwomenhere,andI'dliketoknowhowyouknewwhereto findthekey." "Itoldhim,"Eloiseansweredrathershamefacedly Mrs Biggsshotaquickglanceather,andthensaid,withameaningnod,"I s'poseI'dofdonethesamethingwhenJohnandmewascourtin',andyoung folksisallalike." Eloise'sfacewasscarlet,whileJackpretendedsuddenlytorememberthe latenessofthehour,andstartedtoleavetheroom Ashedidsohiseyesfell uponatableonwhichafewbookswerelying "Youmustfindtheselively,"hesaid,turningthemoverandreadingtheirtitles aloud "'Pilgrim'sProgress,''Foxe'sMartyrs,''Doddridge'sRiseandFall,' 'MemoirofPayson,'allsolidandgood,butalittleheavy,'UnitedStatesHistory,' improving,buttedious,—and,—uponmyword,'TheFrozenPirate'!Thatis jolly!Haveyoureadit?" BeforeEloisecouldreplyMrs Biggsexclaimed,"Ofcourseshehasn't,andI don'tknowhowunderthesunitgotinhere,unlessTimputithereunbeknownst tome Ineverreadnovels,andthatisthewustIevergotholdof,andthebiggest lie ItoldTimso." Shetookitfromthetableandcarrieditfromtheroom,followedbytheyoung men,wholaughedastheythoughthowthewidow,whoneverreadnovels, betrayedthefactthatshehadread"TheFrozenPirate." CHAPTERXII THEMARCHOFEVENTS "Isay,Howard,"Jackbegan,whentheywereoutupontheroad,"thatgirlought tohavesomethingbesides'TheFrozenPirate'and'Foxe'sMartyrs'tobrighten herup,—booksandflowers,andotherthings Doyouthinkshe'dtakethem?" Howard'sheadwascoolerthanJack's,andhereplied,"Shewouldresentgifts fromus,butwouldtakethemfromAmy Anyhow,wecantrythatdodge." "ByJove,youareright!WecansendheralotofthingswithMrs Amy's compliments,"Jackexclaimed "Flowersandbooksandcandy,and—" Hedidnotfinishwhatwasinhismind,butthenextmorning,immediatelyafter breakfast,hepretendedthathehadanerrandinthevillage,andstartedoffalone, preferringtowalk,hesaid,whenHowardsuggestedthecarriage,andalso decliningHoward'scompany,whichwasratherfaintlyoffered Howardnever caredtowalkwhenhecoulddrive,andthenhehadaplanwhichhecouldbetter carryoutwithJackawaythanwithhimpresent Hewasmoreinterestedin EloisethanhewouldliketoconfesstoJackoranyone,andhefoundhimself thinkingofherconstantlyandwishinghecoulddosomethingtomakehermore comfortablethanhewassureshecouldbeeveninMrs Biggs'sparlor Hewas veryfastidiousinhistastes,andMrs Biggs'sparlorwasahorrortohim,withits blackhair-clothfurniture,andespeciallytherockerinwhichEloisesat,andout ofwhichsheseemedindangerofslippingeverytimeshebentforward Hehad thoughtofhisuncle'sseachairontheoccasionofhisfirstcall,andnowhe resolvedtosenditinAmy'sname SomethinghadwarnedhimthatinEloise's make-uptherewasaprideequaltohisown ShemightreceivefavorsfromAmy, asshehadthehat,andalthoughachairwouldseemagooddealperhaps,he wouldexplainitonthegroundofAmy'sgreatdesiretohelpsomeonewhenhe sawher He'dsenditatonce,hethought,andhewroteanote,saying,"Miss Smith:PleaseacceptthisseachairwiththecomplimentsofMrs Amy,who thinksyouwillfinditmorecomfortablethanthehair-clothrocker,ofwhichI toldher Assheseldomwritestoanyone,shehasmademeheramanuensis,and hopesyouwillexcuseher Yours,verytruly,HowardCrompton,forMrs Amy." Itwasalie,Howardknew,butthatdidnottroublehim,andcallingSam,hebade himtakeitwiththechairandabunchofhothouserosestoMissSmith Sam tookthechairandthenoteandtheroses,andstartedforMrs Biggs's,stopping intheavenuetolookattheshrubwhereBrutushadreceivedthegougeinhis shoulder,andstoppingagainatapointwheresomebitsofglassfromthebroken windowofthecarriagewerelying Allthistooktime,sothatitwasaftereleven whenheatlastreachedMrs Biggs'sgate,andmetadraymancominginan oppositedirectionwithJackHarcourtonthecart,seatedinaveryhandsome wheelchair,andlookingsupremelyhappy Jackhadbeenverybusyallthemorningvisitingfurniturestoresandinquiring forwheelchairs,whichhefoundwerenotverycommon Indeed,therewere onlythreeinthetown,andoneofthesehadbeensentfromBostonforthe approvalofCol Cromptonwhenhisrheumaticgoutpreventedhimfrom walking Somethingaboutithadnotsuitedhim,andithadremainedwiththe furnituredealer,who,gladofapurchaser,hadofferedittoJackfornearlyhalf theoriginalprice Jackdidnotcareforthecostifthechairwaswhathewanted Itwasupholsteredwithleather,boththeseatandtheback,andcouldbeeasily propelledfromroomtoroombyEloiseherself,whileJackthoughtitquitelikely thatheshouldhimselfsomedaytakeheroutforanairing,possiblytothe school-house,whichhehadpassedonhiswaytothevillage Therewasashorter roadthroughthemeadowsandwoodsthantheonepasttheschool-house,but Jacktookthelatter,hopinghemightseeTomWalkeragain,inwhichcasehe meanttointerviewhim Norwashedisappointed,forsaunteringinthesame directionandchewinggum,withhiscaponthebackofhisheadandhishandsin hispockets,wasatall,wiryfellow,whomJackinstantlyspottedasTomWalker, thebully,whowastoterrorizeEloise "Nowismytime,"Jackthought,hasteninghisstepsandsoonovertakingthe boy,who,nevercaringwhetherhewaslateorearlyatschool,wastakinghis time,andstoppingoccasionallytothrowastoneatsomebirdonthefenceora tree "Hallo,Tom!"Jacksaidinhischeerywayashecameupwiththeboy, whoseungraciousanswerwas,"HowdoyouknowmynameisTom?" AtheartTomwassomethingofananarchist,jealousofanddislikingpeople higherinthesocialscalethanhewas,andthisdislikeextendedparticularlyto theyounggentlemenfromtheCromptonHouse,whohadnothingtodobutto enjoythemselves Hedidnotliketobepatronized,buttherewassomethingin Jack'svoicewhichmadehimaccompanyhisspeechwithalaugh,whichrobbed itofsomeofitsrudeness "Oh,Iknowyou,justas,Idaresay,youknowme,JackHarcourt,fromNew York,visitingatpresentattheCromptonHouse,"wasJack'sreply,which mollifiedTomatonce IfJackhadcalledhimselfMr HarcourtTomwouldhaveresenteditasairs But hedidn't;hesaidJack,puttinghimselfonaparwiththeboy,whotookthegum fromhismouthforamoment,lookedatit,replacedit,andbegantoanswer Jack'squestions,whichatfirstwereveryfarfromEloise Buttheystruckherat lastastheydrewneartheschool-house "I'mlate,asusual,"Tomsaid,rollinghisgumfromsidetosideinhismouth "I presumeI'llcatchthunder,butIdon'tcare I'mnotafraidofanyschoolmarmI've everseen,andImeantocarrythenewoneoutonacoupleofchipsifshetriesto bossme." TherewasalookonTom'sfacewhichJackdidnotlike,buthesaidpleasantly, "No,youwon't,whenyouseehowhelplesssheis,andhowsheneedsayoung gentlemanlikeyoutostandbyher." "Iain'tagentleman,"Tomanswered,buthisvoicewasagooddealsoftened "I'mjustTomWalker,whotheylayeverythingto,andwhotheboysexpecttodo alltheirdirtyworkforthem." "Isee,"Jackanswered;"youpickoffthehotchestnuts Iusedtodothatwhena littleshaver,tillIgotmyfingersblisteredsobadlyIdecidedtoletsomeoneelse getburnedinmyplace." "Didyouevercutupatschool?"Tomasked,withagrowinginterestinand respectforJack,whoreplied,"Oh,yes,Iwasprettybadsometimes,andam ashamedofitwhenIrememberhowIannoyedsomeofmyteachers Ihave askedpardonofoneortwooftheladieswhenIhavechancedtomeetthem,but InevercouldhaveannoyedMissSmith,norwillyouwhenyouknowher You haven'tseenheryet?" "Nope!"Tomanswered "Ihearsheain'tbiggerthanmythumb,andawfulpretty, TimBiggssays,andheisthreateningtothrashanybodywhoismeantoher I'd laughtoseehimtackleme!" "He'llhavenooccasionto,forIpredictyouwillbethewarmestchampionMiss Smithhas Seeifyouarenot,"Jacksaid,offeringhishandtoTom,astheyhad nowreachedtheschool-house "Heiscertainlyagooddealofaruffian,"Jacksaidtohimselfashewentonhis way,whileTomwasnotquitesosureofthetwochipsonwhichhewastocarry Eloiseoutifshetriedtobosshim He'dwaitandsee Thatcitychapfrom CromptonPlacehadcertainlybeenveryfriendly,andhadnottreatedhimasifhe wasscum;andaftertakinghisseatandtellingRubyAnn,withquiteanairwhen sheaskedwhyhewassolate,thathehadbeendetainedbyMr Harcourt,who wantedtotalkwithhim,hetookfromhisdeskhisslateandrubbedoutthe caricaturehehaddrawnthedaybeforeofayounggirloncrutchestryingtoget upthestepsoftheschool-house HewasintendingtoshowittoTimBiggsand makehimangry,andtotheotherscholarsandmakethemlaugh,andthus fermentaprejudiceagainstEloise,fornoreasonatallexceptthenatural depravityofhisnature Theword"champion"keptsoundinginhisears,andhewroteittwoorthree timesonhisslate,wherethegirloncrutcheshadbeen "Ialwayssupposed championbelongedtoprize-fighters,butMr Harcourtdidn'tmeanthatkind He meantIwastostandupforherandbehavemyself Well,I'llseewhatkindof craftsheis,"hethought WiththisdecisionTomtookuphislessons,andhadneverbeenmorestudious andwellbehavedthanhewasthatday MeanwhileJackhadgoneonhiswaytothevillageandboughthischair,with somemisgivingsastohowEloisewouldreceiveit,evenfromMrs Amy "I guessI'dbettergowithit,andmakeitrightsomehow,"hethought,gettinginto thechairandridingalonginstate,whilethepeoplehemetlookedcuriouslyat him Itwasrecessagainwhentheyreachedtheschool-house,where,asusual, TomWalkerwasleadingtheplay Atsightofthedrayhestoppedsuddenly,and thenwentswiftlyforwardtothecart,andsaidtoJack,"Goin'totakeheroutin that?" Jackreddenedalittle,butansweredpleasantly,"Perhaps." "Well,Iguessshe'lllikeitbetterthanthechipsItoldyouabout I'vethrown'em away." AringfromRubyAnn'sbelltoldtheboystheirrecesswasover,andwithabow Tomhurriedoff,whileJackandhischairwentontilltheyreachedMrs Biggs's door,justasSamcameupwiththeseachair Thatgoodwomanwaswashingin herbackkitchen,butinresponsetothedrayman'sknockshecamehurriedly, wipingthesoap-sudsfromherarmsasshecame,andholdingupbothhandsas shesawthetwochairsdepositedatthedoor,whileSamheldthenoteandroses, andJackstoodlookingalittleshamefaced,asifhehardlyknewwhattosay "ForthepitysakesandtheoldHarry,areyoumovingafurniturestore,orwhat?" sheasked JackbegantoexplainthatMrs Amythought,orhethought—Hecouldnotquite bringhimselftolieasgliblyasHowardwouldhavedone,hadhebeenthere,and hestammeredon,thathethoughtMissSmithwouldsoonbeabletogetroundin awheelchair,whichhehopedshewouldacceptwiththecomplimentsof—He didn'tsayMrs Amy,butMrs Biggsunderstood,andnoddedthatshedid, helpinghimoutbysayingitwasjustlikeMrs Amy,andaddingthatitlookeda gooddeallikethechairtheColonelhadforaspellandthenreturnedtoLowell &Brothers,whereshesawitafewdaysagointhewindow Jackmadenoreply,andMrs Biggscontinued,"Is'poset'otherchairisMrs Amy'scompliments,too I'msureI'mgreatlyobligedtoher,andMissSmithwill be Sheisquitepeartthismorning Comeinandseeher." Jackdidnotthinkhewould He'dratherhaveMrs Biggspresenthischair, feelingsurethatherconsciencewasoftheelastickind,whichwouldnotstopat meansifagoodendwasattained "Thanks,"hereplied "LaterinthedayImaycomein Good-morning." Hewalkedaway,leavingMrs BiggsalonewithSam,whowastoldtotakethe chairsintoEloise'sroom "SomethingfromtheCromptonHouse FromMrs Amy,theysay Itislikeher tobesendingthingswhereshetakesanotionasshehastoyou,"Mrs Biggs said,whileEloiselookedoninastonishment ShereadHoward'snote,andhersurpriseincreasedasshesaid,"Ioughtnotto keepthem Col Cromptonwouldnotlikeitifheknew." "Yes,youought Mrs AmydoeswhatshelikeswithoutconsultingtheColonel," Mrs Biggsrejoined "Itwouldnotdotosendthembackandupsether,andisn't thereaversesomewhereintheBibleabouttakingwhatthegodsgiveye?" Eloiseknewwhatshemeant,andreplied,"'Takethegoodthegodsprovide,'and theyarecertainlyprovidingformebountifully,butImustatleastwriteanoteof thankstoMrs Amyforherthoughtfulnessandkindness." TothisMrs Biggs,whofeltthatshewasinleaguewiththeyoungmen,also objected "Betternot,"shesaid "Betterwaittillyoucangoandthankherinperson I'll haveTimwheelyouupsomeday He'dlikenothingbetter." TothisEloisefinallyassented,andatonceexchangedthehair-clothrockerfor theseachair,whichshefoundagreatimprovement WhenTimcamefrom schoolhewastoldoftheadditiontothefurnitureintheparlorbyhismother, whoadded,"Ismeltaratatonce,andthoughtitapitytospoiltheyoungmen's fun Mrs Amydon'tknownothin'aboutthemchairs,nomorethanthemanin themoon,andifMissSmithhadmuchworldlysenseshe'dknowtheynever camefromMrs Amy Butshehain't She'snothin'butachild,anddon'tdream thatboththemyoungmenisjestbewitchedoverher Idon'tb'lieveMr Howard meansearnest,butt'otheronedoes He'sgotthebestface I'dtrustmyselfwith himanywhere." Timlaughedattheideathathismothercouldnottrustherselfwithanybody,but saidnothing HewasEloise'sdevotedslave,andofferedtowheelhermilesif shecaredtogo;butshewassatisfiedwithafewturnsupanddowntheroad, whichgaveherfreshairandshowedhersomethingofthecountry Thewheel chairwasagreatsuccess,aswellastheseachair,inwhichshewassittingwhen theyoungmencameintheafternoontocall,bringingsomebookswhichMrs Amythoughtwouldinteresther,andaboxofcandy,whichJackpresentedinhis ownperson HecouldnotfaceherwithMrs AmyasHowardcould,andhefelt himselfagreatimpostorashereceivedherthanksforMrs Amy,who,hewas sure,hadentirelyforgottenthegirl NomentionwasevermadeofherinAmy'spresenceortheColonel's Hewas notyetoverhiswrathattheaccidenttohiscarriageandhorse,which,with strangeperversity,hechargedtotheNormal Brutuswasgettingwell,butthere wouldalwaysbeascaronhisshoulder,wherethesharp-pointedshrubhad enteredtheflesh Thecarriagehadbeenrepaired,thestainedcushionshadbeen re-covered,andtheColonelhadswornattheamountofthebill,andsaiditnever wouldhavehappenedifthetrusteeshadhiredRubyAnninthefirstplace,as theyshouldhavedone Heknewshenowhadtheschool,andfeltakindofgrim satisfactionthatitwasso Shewasrootedandgrounded,whiletheotherone,as farashecouldlearn,wasalittlepinkandwhitedoll,withnofundamentals whatever HehadforgottenthatHowardwastosoundher,anddidnotdream howoftenthatyoungmanandhisfriendwereatMrs Biggs's,notsounding Eloiseastoherknowledge,butgrowingmoreandmoreintoxicatedwithher beautyandsweetnessandentireabsenceoftheself-consciousnessandairsthey wereaccustomedtofindinmostyoungladies Butforthenon-arrivalofthelettershewassoanxioustogetEloisewouldhave beencomparativelyhappy,oratleastcontent Heranklewasgainingrapidly,and shehopedsoontotakeherplaceinschool,Timhavingofferedtowheelher thereeverydayandback,andassuringherthat,meanashewas,TomWalker wasnotmeanenoughtoannoyherinherhelplesscondition Forsomereason EloisehadnotnowmuchdreadofTomWalker,andexpressedadesiretosee him "Tellhimtocall,"shesaidtoTim,whodeliveredhermessageratherawkwardly, asifexpectingarebuff "Oh,getout,"wasTom'sreply,"Iain'toneofyourcallin'kind,withcardsand things,andshe'llseeenoughofmebimeby." ThewordssoundedmoreungraciousthanTomintended Hesaidhewasnotthe callingkind,butthefactthathehadbeenaskedtodosopleasedhim,andtwoor threetimeshewalkedpastMrs Biggs'sinhopestoseethelittleladyinwhom hewasbeginningtofeelagooddealofinterest HemetJackoccasionally,and alwaysreceivedabowofrecognitionandacheery"Howareyou,Tom?"until hebegantobelievehimselfsomethingmorethanaloaferandabullywhom everyhandwasagainst HewasratheranxiousforthelittleNormaltobeginher duties,andshewasanxious,too,forfundswerelowandgrowinglessallthe time "WaittilltheRummageisover Thatiscomingnextweek Youwillwanttogo tothatandseethepeopleyouhavenotseen,andyourscholars,too Theyare suretobethere,"RubyAnnsaidtoher RubyAnnwasgreatlyinterestedintheRummageSale,asshewasinanything withwhichshehadtodo,andallhersparetimefromherschooldutieswas giventosolicitingarticlesforit,andarrangingfortheirdispositioninthe buildingwherethesalewastobeheld Eloisewasinterestedbecausethose aroundherwere,andsheofferedherwhiteapronasecondtimeastheonlything shehadtogive "IguessI'lldoitupandflutetheruffles,"Mrs Biggssaid "'Tain'tmussy,buta littlerinseandstarchwon'tharmit." Shehadgivenitarinseandstarch,andwasironingitwhenJackcamein,rather unceremoniously,aswashishabitnowthathecamesooften Thistimehewent tothekitchendoor,astheotherwaslocked,andfoundMrs Biggsgivingthe finaltouchestotheapron,whichsheheldupforhisinspection "Rummage,"shesaid "MissSmith'scontribution Ain'titabeauty?" Jackwasnotmuchofajudgeofaprons,butsomethinginthisdaintylittleaffair interestedhim,andhewishedatoncethatheknewofsomeoneforwhomhe couldbuyit HissisterBellneverworeapronstohisknowledge,neitherdid Mrs Amy ItwastoosmallforRubyAnn,anditwouldneverdotogiveitback toEloise Buthedidnotwantanymoneybuthisownspentforit,andhe believedhe'dspeaktoRubyAnnandhaveitputasideforhim Hecouldtellher hehadasister,andshecoulddrawherowninference "Iswan,ifIwasalittleyounger,I'dbuyitmyself,"Mrs Biggssaid,holdingit upandslippingthestrapsoverhershouldersandherhandsintoitspockets Jackfeltrelievedwhenshetookitoff,gaveitanothersmoothwithheriron,and foldeditreadyforthesale "Iamgoingtoputitinabox,"shesaid,"withacardonitsayingitisMiss Smith'scontribution,andthatshemadeeverystitchherself." Jackwasnowresolvedthatitshouldbehisatanycost Astoitsrealvaluehe hadnoidea,andwhenMrs Biggssaidit"or'tobringagoodprice,andprobably willseein'whose'tis,"hereplied,"Ishouldsayso,—fourorfivedollarsatleast." "FortheLord'ssake,"Mrs Biggsexclaimed,droppingherflatironinher surprise "Fourorfivedollars!Areyoucrazy?" "Doyouthinkitoughttobringmore?"Jackasked,andMrs Biggsreplied,"Was youbornyesterday,orwhen?Ifitbringsadollarit'lldowell Rummagesain't highpriced Fourorfivedollars!Well,ifIwon'tgiveup!" Jackdidnotreply,buthewasbeginningtofeelagooddealofinterestinthe RummageSale,andhisinterestincreasedwhenhewentintoseeEloise,and heardfromherthatshewasgoingdownintheevening,asRubyAnnsaidit wouldbemorelivelythen,withmorepeoplepresentandpossiblyanauction "Timistowheelme,"shesaid,"andhaspromisednottorunintoanyone,ortip meover Ifeelhalfafraidofhim,ashedoesstumblesome." Jacklookedatheramomentassheleanedbackinherchair,herbluedressing sacqueopenatthethroatshowingherwhiteneck "MissSmith,"hesaid,"Ishan'tstumble I'lltakeyou I'dliketo I'llmakeitright withTim." Eloisecouldnotmistaketheeagernessinhisvoice,andhercheeksflushedas shereplied,"ItisverykindinyouandkindinTim,whoperhapswillbegladto beridofthetrouble." "Ofcoursehewill,"Jacksaidquickly "Dayafterto-morrow,isn'tit?I'llseeyou againandarrangejustwhentocallforyou,andnowImustgo I'dforgottenthat IwastodrivewithHowardthismorning Good-by." Hewentwhistlingdownthewalk,thinkingthataRummageSalewasmore interestingthananythingwhichcouldpossiblyhappeninthecountry,andthat he'dtelegraphtohissistertosendsomethingforit Ashestartedonhisdrive withHoward,hesaid,"Let'sgofirsttothetelegraphoffice,Iwanttowireto Bell." Theydrovetotheoffice,andinafewminutesthereflashedacrossthewiresto NewYork,"WearegoingtohaveaRummageSaleforthepoor Sendalotof things,oldandnew,itdoesnotmatterwhich;—onlysendatonce." "IbelieveImadeamistakeabouttheobjectofthesale Isaid'Forthepoor,'and it'sforapubliclibrary,isn'tit?"hesaidtoHoward,whoreplied,"Seemstome youaregettingdaftontheRummage Idon'tcareforitmuch Itwillbelikea Jews'orpawnbroker'sbazaar,withmostlyoldclothestosell." "No,sir,"Jackansweredquickly "Itwillnotbeatalllikeapawnbroker'sshop Bellwillsendapileofthings Iknowher,andMissSmithistobethereinthe evening,andit'sgoingtobeagreatsuccess." "Isee,"andHowardlaughedimmoderately "Itisgoingtobeagreatsuccess becauseMissSmithistobethere Issheforsale,andhowisshegoing?Arewe totakeherinahandchair,aswecarriedherthatnightintherain?" "No,sir!"Jackanswered,"Iamtowheelherandhaveheapsoffun,whileyou mopeathome." Howardthoughtitverydoubtfulwhetherheshouldmopeathome Itwouldbe worthsomethingtoseeJackwheelingEloise,andworthagooddealmoretosee her,asheknewshewouldlookflushedandtimidandbeautiful,withallthe strangersaroundher HehadnotfeltmuchinterestintheRummage Oldclothes werenottohisfancy,buthehadpromisedapairofhalf-wornbootstoRuby Ann,whohadcorneredhimonthestreet,andwrungfromhimnotonlyhis boots,buthalfadozenormoreofthefiftynecktiessheheardhehadstrungona wirearoundhisroom,soastohavethemhandywhenhewantedtochooseone towear Necktieswerehisweakness,andheneversawonewhichpleasedhim withoutbuyingit,andhistailorhadorderstonotifyhimofthelastfashionasit cameout Itwasquiteawrenchtopartwithanyofthem,butassomewere passéehepromisedthemtoRuby,buttoldherhehardlythoughtheshould attendthesale Now,however,hechangedhismind Eloise'spresencewould makeavastdifference,andheshouldgo;andhethoughtofasecondpairof boots,andpossiblyavestandafewmorenecktieshemightaddtothepile whichhehadheardfromPeterwastobesentthenextdayfromtheCrompton HousetotheRummage CHAPTERXIII GETTINGREADYFORTHERUMMAGESALE NeverhadDistrictNo 5beensostirredonthesubjectofanypublic entertainmentasontheRummageSale Itwassomethingentirelynewand unique,andthewholeneighborhoodenteredintoitwithgreatenthusiasm Betweenthelittlevillagebythesea,whichnumberedabouttwothousand,and theradiusknownasDistrictNo 5,whichcouldnotboasthalfthatnumber,there wasakindofrivalry,thedistrictclaimingthatitexcelledthevillageinthe qualityofitsinhabitants,ifnotinquantity Itspeopleweremostlywelleducated andintelligent,andtheyhadCol Crompton,withhisfinehouseandgrounds Hewasgoutyandrheumaticandpasthisprimeitwastrue,buthewasstilla poweramongthem,andtheywereproudofhimandproudofthemselves,and delightedthattheyhadbeenthefirsttocarryouttheideaofaRummageSale, whichhadbeenbroughttothembyavisitorfromwesternNewYork,who explaineditsworkings,andgavealmostfabulousaccountsofthemoneymade bysuchsales Thevillagehadintendedtohaveone,butDistrictNo 5was ahead,withtheresultthatmanyofthevillagersjoinedin,gladtoberidof articleswhichhadbeenstowedawayasuseless Atfirstitseemedincrediblethatanyonewouldbuyclothingwhichforyearshad hunginclosets,orbeenpackedintrunksawayfrommothsandcarpetbugs But whathadbeendoneinotherplacescouldbedoneinDistrictNo 5,andnever wasamoreheterogeneousmassofgoodsofeverydescriptiongatheredtogether thanwassenttotheRummageroomsthedaybeforethesale,anddumpedupon tablesandchairsandboxes,untiltheynearlyreachedtheratherlowceiling Therewereoldbonnetsandhats,andbootsandshoesanddresses,andcoatsand trousersandvests,anddraperiesanddishes,andstovesandchairsandtablesand bedsteads,withbooksandoldmagazinesandtoys TherewasMrs Biggs'sfoot-stoveandwarming-pan,whichhadbeenher mother's,andabrasskettle,whichhadbelongedtohergrandmother,andwhich Mrs Parker,theladyfromwesternNewYork,saidwasthemostvaluableofall thearticlessent Antiquesweresuretoselltorelichunters,andabigpricemust beputuponthem,shetoldthecommitteewholookedindismayatthepilesof goodsastheycamepouringin,wonderinghowtheywereevertobringanything likeorderoutoftheconfusion TheycouldnothavedoneitwithoutMrs Parker andRubyAnn,thelatterofwhomhadobtainedpermissiontodismissschoolfor twodays,andworkedearlyandlate ShehadlaidsiegetotheCromptonHouse, fromwhichmostoftheothersshrank TheColonelwasaratherformidableold fellowtomeet,ifhewasinamoodwithtwingesinhisfoot,whileMrs Amy wasscarcelywellenoughknowntothepeoplegenerallytomakethemcareto interviewher Onthestrengthofhavingbeentoschoolwithherandknownhersince"shewas kneehigh,"Mrs Biggsofferedtocalluponher,butdeclinedseeingtheColonel, who,sheheard,didn'tbelieveintheRummage RubyAnn,however,was selectedasthefittestpersontoseeboth,andhadundertakenthetaskwithher usualassuranceandenergy ShefoundAmyafinesubject Theideaofgiving alwaysappealedtoher,andshebeganatoncetothinkofwhatshewouldsend Thedressesshehadwornasaconcertsingerwerehatefultoher,andshe broughtthemfromaclosetandspreadthemuponchairsandtables,whileRuby lookedonadmiringlyandwonderingly,too,asfansandglovesandsashesand ribbonswerelaidwiththedresses,andAmygrewmoreexcitedandeagerevery moment "We'llgototheatticnow,"shesaid;"mydollhouseisthere." Theyclimbedthestairsandfoundthehousepackedawayasithadbeenfor years "Itmayaswellbesoldandmakesomechildhappy,"Amysaidasshetookoff itswrappings InitwasMandyAnn,thedolltheColonelhadboughtinSavannah,andJudy, lyingonherfaceinapileofdust Amytookheruptenderly,saying,"Doyou thinkanybodywillbuyher?" Therewasalittlechokeinhervoiceassheaskedthequestion,forthesightof Judyhadstirredmemorieswhichoftenflittedthroughherweakbrainand puzzledher,theyweresomistyandyetsosweet,likethenegromelodiesshe hummedtoherselforsangtoanimaginarybaby "Buyher?Iguesstheywould,"RubyAnnreplied,allherbloodastiratthe thoughtofthedollhouse,withJudyandMandyAnn Sheknewnothingoftheirantecedents,orhowtheywereconnectedwithAmy's childhood,butshefeltintuitivelythatalmostanypriceputuponthemwouldbe paidbecausetheybelongedtoMrs Amy,andparticularlybecauseofthe dilapidatedappearanceofJudy,whichwassuretorousethemirthofthe spectators Shewasverydoubtfulastowhethersheoughttotakethedresses withoutconsultingsomeonebesidesAmy,towhomshesaid,"Areyousureyou wanttogivetheseaway?Theyaredifferentfromanythingweshallhave,and willseemoutofplace." ForamomentAmylookedatherwithastrangeglitterinhereyes,asshesaid,"I hatethem!Ihavebeengoingtoburnthemmorethanonce Youdon'tknowwhat theyrepresenttome Ishallburnthem,ortearthem,ifyoudon'ttakethem." Shemadeamotionasifsheweregoingtotearoneofthelaceflounces,when RubyAnnstoppedherbysaying,"Don't,Mrs Amy,—pleasedon't I'lltakethe dresses,ofcourse Ionlyfearedyoumightbegivingtoomuch,withthedoll houseandMandyAnnandJudy Iwantthem,sure." "Yes,"Amysaid,hermoodchanging "Takethemall;butdon'ttrytoimprove them,—MandyAnnandJudy,Imean." TherewasanotherchokeinhervoiceasshesmoothedJudy'soldbrowndress, andbrushedabitofbranfromherface TherewasnodangerthatRubywould trytochangeeitherMandyAnnorJudy Theywereperfectastheywere,and tellingAmywhenthearticleswouldbesentfor,sheleftherandwentto interviewtheColonel,anticipatingadifferentreceptionfromwhatshehad receivedfromMrs Amy "Betternothandlehimto-day;hehadsomeawfultwingesthismorning,"Peter said,aftershehad"pickedhimclean,"asheexpressedit,"andscarcelylefthim ashoetohisfootoracoattohisback." Rubyknewshecouldnotcomeagain,andinspiteofPeter'sadvice,resolvedto beardthelionatonce Shefoundhim,withhislamefootonacushion,andanot veryencouraginglookonhisface HehadlikedRubyeversinceshefirstcame tobeexaminedastoherqualificationsforateacher,andhehadfoundherrooted andgroundedinthefundamentals,andhehadtakensidesstoutlyforherwhen thequestionofnormalgraduatescameupandEloisehadwontheday Ruby Ann'sheadwaslevel,healwayssaid,andwhenshewasusheredintohisroom, hegreetedherwithasmuchofasmileashecouldcommand,withhisfoot achingasitdid Butthesmilefadedwhenshetoldhimhererrand,andsaidshe wassurehewouldbegladtocontributeeitherinmoneyorclothingtosogooda causeasthepubliclibrary TheColonelhadnotbeenconsultedwithregardto thelibrary,excepttobeaskedifhedidn'tthinkitwouldbeafinethingforthe schoolandneighborhoodgenerally Hewasnotveryoftenconsultedabout anythingnow Plansweremadewithouthim,andhewasonlyaskedto contribute,whichhegenerallydid Now,however,hisbackwasup,PetersaidtoRubyAnn,warningherofwhat shewastoexpect Hedidn'tbelieveinturningatticsandcellarsandbarnsinside outandscatteringmicrobesbythemillions Howdidanyoneknowwhatgerms werelurkinginoldclothes?Heknewamanwhodiedofsmallpox,andtwentyfiveyearsafterhisdeathacoat,whichhadhunginhiscloset,wasgivenaway, takingthediseasewithittothreeorfourpeople No,hedidn'tbelieveina Rummage Itwasjustafad,gotupbythosewhowerealwaysseekingfor somethingnew,andhewouldn'tgiveathing,notevenanoldstocksuchashe usedtowear,andofwhichRubyAnnknewhemusthaveseveral "Whounderheavenswouldbuyanoldstock,andwhy?"heasked,andRuby Annreplied,"Justbecauseitisanoldstockandbelongedtoyou." The"belongedtoyou"mollifiedhimalittle,asitflatteredhisvanity,butthe ideastruckhimasridiculous,andhewouldnotgivein,andasRubyAnngrew moreandmorepersistent,tellingoftheantiquesgatheredup,andamongthem Mrs Biggs'swarming-panandfoot-stoveandbrasskettle,—oldMrs Baker's quillwheel,andsomeotheroldlady'sweddingbonnet,hegrewfuriousand sworeabouttheRummageSale,andmighthaveswornatRubyAnnifshehad notdiscreetlywithdrawnandlefthimtohimselfandhistwinges ShewasratherchagrinedoverherfailurewiththeColonel,fromwhomshehad expectedsomuch,buthersuccesswithAmyandtheothermembersofthe householdmadeamends,andshelefttolerablywellsatisfiedwithherwork She hadnotbeengonelongwhenPeterwassummonedbyasharpringtohis master'sroom,andfoundhimsittingveryerectinhischair,listeningintentlyto soundsoverhead,wheretherewasthescurryingoffeetmingledwithAmy's voiceandthatofhermaid,asboxafterboxwasdraggedacrossthefloor "Peter!"theColonelbegan,"shutthedoor!" Peterhadshutitandstoodwithhisbackagainstit,astheColonelwenton, "Whatinthunderisallthatracketintheattic?HastheRummagecomeupthere? Itcommencedsometimeago Soundedasiftheywerepullingouttrunks,thenit stopped,andnowtheyareatitagain." "That'sjustit Mrs AmyandSarahwerelookingforsomethingforthesale,and now,Isuppose,theyarepushingtheboxesback Mrs Amyisgreatlyinterested I'veneverseenhersomuchlikeherselfsinceshewasagirl,"wasPeter'sreply, whereupontheColonelconsignedtheRummagetoperdition,withitsoldpots andkettles,andMrs Biggs'swarming-panandfoot-stoveandbrasskettle,and GrannyBaker'squillwheelandMrs Allen'sweddingbonnet Whowasgoingto buysuchtruck?"AndPeter,"hesaid,inalowertoneofvoice,"whatdoyou think?RubyAnnactuallyaskedformytrousers!Yes,mytrousers!AndwhenI toldherIhadn'tanybutwhatwereshinyattheknees,shesaiditdidn'tmatter;in fact,theshinewouldbeallthebetter,showingtheyhadbeenworn They'dlabel 'em'Col Crompton's,'andhangthemupwiththevaluables,—meaningWidow Biggs'swarming-panandfoot-stove,andWidowAllen'sbonnet,andthatother oldwoman'squillwheel,Idaresay Thinkofit,Peter Mycoatandtrousers!She askedforacoat,too,—strungonalinewithwarming-pansandquillwheelsand bonnetsahundredyearsold,andtheLordonlyknowswhatelse,andlabelled 'Col Crompton.'IfithadbeenanybodybutRubyAnn,I'dturnedherfromthe room Ithoughtshehadmoresense,—uponmysoul,Idid!Whatdidshegetout ofyou?" "Nothingmuchbutsomeoldclothesandshoesandaboot-jack;shethoughta gooddealofthat,"Petersaid,andwithasniffofcontempttheColonelreplied, "Oldclothesandaboot-jack;andwhatisMrs Amysending?Halftheattic,I shouldthinkfromthenoisetheymakeupthere." HesitatingamomentPetersaid,"Sheisgivingthefancygownssheusedto wear,withthetopsofthewaistsandbottomsofthesleevescutoff Shesays theyarehatefultoher." TheColonelguessedwhatshemeant,andreplied,"Quiteright;Rummageand rag-bagsgoodplacesforthem;butIsay,Peter,Iwon'thavethemstrungupwith warming-pansandquillwheelsandmytrousers Youmuststopit Doyouhear?" "Ididn'tknowyourtrousersweregoing,"Petersuggested,andtheColonel answeredcurtly,"Whosaidtheywere,youblockhead?Theyarenotgoing unlessRubygetstheminthenight Uponmysoul,sheisequaltoit IthinkI shallputthemundermypillow ItisMrs Amy'sdressesImean Whatelseis shegoingtosend?" "Yourememberthedollhouseyouboughtherwhenshewasalittlegirl?"Peter said "Goodthunder,yes!Willshegivethataway?"theColonelasked,with somethinginhistonewhichwasmorethansurprise IthurthimthatAmyshouldbewillingtopartwiththedollhouse Shemustbe queererthanusual,andhethoughtoftheHarrisblood Suddenlyheremembered MandyAnnandJudy,andaskedifshewasgoingtogivethemtotheRummage "Shemeansto Yes,sir Theygowiththedollhouse,oneasmistress,theotheras maid Iheardhersayso Theyaredownstairsnow,"wasPeter'sreply TheColonel'scountenancefell,andtherewasanawfultwingeinhisfoot,buthe didn'tmindit Histhoughtsflewbacktothepalmettoclearing,wherehefirst sawthelittlegirlandJudy ThentheytravelledontoSavannahandthestore whereheboughtMandyAnn,andsoonthroughthedifferentphasesofAmy's childhood,andhewassurprisedtofindhowunwillinghewastopartwithwhat hadbeensointimatelyassociatedwithyearswhich,onthewhole,hadbeen happy,althoughattimesalittlestormy AndAmywasgoingtosendthemtoa RummageSale! "Imaybeaweakoldfool,butIwon'thavethemsolddowntherewithquill wheelsandwarming-pans!"hethought Butwhatcouldhedo?TheywereAmy's,andifshehadmadeuphermindto sendthem,itwouldtakemorethanhisoppositiontopreventit Shewasvery gentleandyieldingasawhole,butbehindthegentlenessandsweetnessheknew therewasaspirithedidnotliketorouse Hemustmanagesomeotherway He hadtoldRubyhewouldneithergivehisclothesnormoneytothefarce,andhe pridedhimselfonnevergoingbackonhisword Buthedidn'ttellherhe wouldn'tbuyanything,andhisfacebrightenedashesaid,verybriskly,"Peter!" "Yes,sir,"wasthepromptreply "Holdyourtongue!" "Yes,sir,"wasPeter'sstillmorepromptreply,andhismastercontinued,"Idon't carearapaboutthosedresses,butIwon'thaveMandyAnnandtheniggerbaby andthedollhousesold Imaybeahardoldcur Is'poseIam,butIhavenow andthenastreakof,—Idon'tknowwhat,—clingingtotheyearsofMrs Amy's childhood Sheturnedthehouseupsidedown SheraisedtheveryoldHarry sometimes,butshegotintoourheartssomehow,didn'tshe?" "Yes,alongways,"wasPeter'sreply,ashewaitedforwhatwasnexttocome, andlookedcuriouslyattheColonel,whosatwithhiseyesclosed,clutchingthe armsofhischairtightly,asifsufferingfromafearfultwinge Butifhewere,hedidnotthinkofit Hismindwasagaininthepalmetto clearing,andhewasstandingbyDory'sgraveinthesand,andalittlechildwas holdinghishand,andlookingathimwitheyeswhichhadinthemsomethingof thesameexpressionwhichhadoncequickenedhispulse,andmadehisheart beatwithathrillhefanciedwaslove,butwhichhaddiedalmostassoonasit wasborn AsaresultofthatepisodehehadAmy,whomhedidlove,and becausehelovedhersomuch,heclungtothemementoesofherbabyhood, whenshehadbeenatormentandaterror,andstilladiversioninhismonotonous life "Peter!"hesaidagain "Holdyourtongue,butgetthemsomehow Whoishead ofthistomfoolery?" "RubyAnnisaboutasbigaheadasthereis,Iguess Sheandawomanfrom YorkState,"Peterreplied,andtheColonelcontinued,"Well,Is'posethose thingswillhavetogotothesale,ifMrs Amysaysso,butIwon'thavethem mixedwiththequillwheelsandboot-jacksandWidowBiggs'sfoot-stoveand brasskettle,andIwon'thaveapackofidiotslookingthemoverandbuying themandsayingtheybelongedtotheCromptons MandyAnnCromptonand JudyCromptonwouldsoundfine,—bothniggers!No,sir!Youaretogoquietly toRubyAnnandbuy'em!Doyouhear?Buy'em!YouknewMrs Amywhen sheplayedwith'em Youwant'em,andyou'llpaytheprice,nomatterwhatitis LordHarry!I'llbetthey'llputabigoneon'em,butnomatter Ipaidthirty dollarsforthedollhouseandfiveforMandyAnn Idon'ts'poseJudycost anything,butthechildlikeditbest,andIbelieveI'dratherhaveitthanboththe others,because—" Hedidnotsaywhy,buthegrippedthearmsofhischairtightly,whiledropsof sweatstooduponhisforehead HewasintheclearingagainwithDoraliving, insteadofdead,andthemoonwasshiningonherfaceasshestoodintheturnof theroadandgavehimthepromiseshehadkeptsofaithfully Judybelongedto thatfar-offtime,andhe'dkeepheratanycost Hecalledhimselfasentimental oldfoolafterPeterlefthim,andwonderedwhyhiseyesgrewmistyandthere wasalumpinhisthroatashisthoughtskeptgoingbacktotheSouthhewished hehadneverseen "PoorlittleDora!"hesaidtohimself;"butformeshemighthavebeenaliveand marriedtosomerespectable—No,byGeorge!"headdedsuddenly,withastart whichmadehisfootjumpasherecalledtheclassintowhichDorawould probablyhavemarriedifhehadnotcrossedherpath "No,byGeorge,Ibelieve I'drathershediedinheryouthfulbeauty,andwasburiedbyJakeinthesand, thantoseeherthewifeofsomelout,andrubbinghergumswithsnuff." Hewasrousedfromhisreveriebywheelscrunchingonthegravelwalkuptoa sidedoor,andheheardSarah'svoiceandCindy's,thecook's,andfinallyAmy's givingdirections,andfeltsuresomeonehadcomeforwhateverwastogofrom theCromptonPlacetothesale Rubyhadnotintendedsendingsosoonwhenshe leftthehouse,butchancingtomeetadraymanwhohadjustdepositedaloadin thesalesrooms,shebadehimgoforwhateverwasready,thinking,"I'llstrike whiletheironishot,andbeforeMrs Amyhastimetochangehermind." Therewasnodangerofthat,atleastasfarasthedresseswereconcerned Like everythingconnectedwithherstagelife,theyhadbeentoherakindof nightmarewhenevershethoughtofthem,andshewasgladtoberidofthem MandyAnnandJudydidgiveherafewpangs,andespeciallythelatter,andas shewrappeditintissuepapershehelditforamomentpressedclosetoher,and beganasongshehadheardfromthenegroesastheysataroundtheirlight-wood fireaftertheirday'sworkwasdone ItwasaweirdmelodywhichHomerSmith hadcaughtupandrevisedandmodernized,withachangeofwordsinsome places,andmadehersing,knowingitwouldbringthundersofapplause She heardtheroarnow,andsawtheaudienceandtheflowersfallingaroundher,and withanexpressionofdisgustsheputJudyintoSarah'shands,andsaid,"Take heraway,andquick,too She,orsomething,bringsitback." Sarahtookpoor,discardedJudy,tiedherinherchairintheolddollhouse,which wasplacedontopofthetwotrunkscontainingAmy'sconcertdresses,andthen thedraymanstarteduphishorse,andtheColonelheardthewheelsasecond timecomingpasthiswindow Withagreatefforthesucceededingettingupon hiswellfoot,and,draggingtheotherafterhim,hobbledonhiscrutchestothe windowintimetoseethecartasitturnedintotheavenue Asfarashecouldsee ithewatcheditasthedollhouseswungfromsidetoside,andthedraymanheld ittokeepitfromfallingoff "Idon'tseehowAmycouldhavedoneit,"theColonelsaidtohimselfwhenthe draydisappearedfromview,andthenbecomingconsciousofthepaininhis foot,hedraggedhimselfbacktohischair,andringingforPeter,saidtohim:"I thinkI'llliedownaspell,—and,bringmeahot-waterbag,I'mprettycold,and myfootjustjumps;and,Peter,goto-dayandbuythosethingsasiftheywerefor yourself Youmustn'tlie,ofcourse,—butget'emsomehow,andbringthemhere tothisbigcloset ThechancesarewhenMrs Amycomestohersensesshe'll want'em,andraiseNed,assheusedto I'dgiveagooddealtoseeherina tantrum I'dratherhaveherthatwaythanpassive,assheisnow Willnothing everrouseheroutofherapathy?CursethatHomerSmith!" HewastalkingtohimselfratherthantoPeter,whogothimontothelounge, adjustedthecushions,broughtahot-waterbag,coveredhimup,andthenleft him,saying,"Don'tfret,I'llgothisafternoonandgetJudyandMandyAnnby fairmeansorfoul." "Allright,"theColonelsaiddrowsily "Fairmeansorfoul,butdon'tlie,and don'tletthemthinktheyareforme Youwantthem,andmustgetthem,fair meansorfoul Youknowwheremypurseis Holdyourtongue,andgo!" CHAPTERXIV THEFIRSTSALE OrderwasbeingbroughtoutofchaosintheRummagerooms,wheretwenty ladieswereworkingindustriously,sorting,pricing,andmarkingthe multitudinousarticlesheapeduponthecounters NotonlyDistrictNo 5,butthe villagehademptieditself,gladtoberidoftheaccumulationsofyears Nearly everyroomwasoccupied,andthecommitteeswereshowinggreatskillin assigningthingstothedifferentdepartments Theantiqueshadanicheby themselves;thequillwheel,thewarming-pan,thefoot-stove,thebrasskettle withPeter'sboot-jack,andmanymorearticlesofasimilarcharacterwereplaced together Jack'ssisterhadrespondedquickly,andalargeboxhadarrivedwith articlescuriousandnew,whichelicitedcriesofdelightfromtheladiesincharge, whomarkedthemataridiculouslylowprice,lesseven,insomeinstances,than hadbeenpaidforthem,andlabelledtheircorner"TheNewYorkStore." ScarcelywasthiscompletedwhenthedraymanarrivedfromCromptonPlace withthedollhouseandthetwotrunks,thelastofwhichwerepouncedupon first,asRubyAnnhadreportedwhatwasinthem Herdescription,however,had fallenfarshortofthereality,andtheladiesheldtheirbreath,asoneafteranother ofthebeautifulgownswastakenoutforexhibition Fewhadeverseenanything justlikethem HomerSmithhadpridedhimselfuponbeingaconnoisseurin ladies'costumesandhaddirectedallofAmy's,takingcarethattherewasno shamaboutthem Everythingwasreal,fromthefabricitselftothelacewhich trimmedit,andwhichalonehadcosthimhundredsofdollars Andnowthey wereataRummageSale,andthemanagersdidnotknowwhattodowiththem Itwasscarcelypossiblethatanyonewouldbuythem,anditwouldbegreatly outofplacetoexhibittheminthedry-goodsdepartmentwithMrs Biggs's brownandwhitespottedgownwhichshehadcontributedratherunwillingly, insistingthatitshouldnotbesoldforlessthanadollar RubyAnnsuggestedthat theybecarefullyfoldedinboxesandlaidawaybythemselvesforinspectionby anyonewhohadathoughtofbuyingthem Iftheydidnotsell,andprobably theywouldnot,theyweretobereturnedeithertoAmyortotheColonel,—the lattermostlikely,asAmyhadexpressedsostrongadesiretoberidofthem Her suggestionwasactedupon,andthedresseslaidaside,andtheattentionofthe managersturnedtothedollhouseanditsoccupants,MandyAnnandJudy,the latterofwhomwasgreetedwithshrieksoflaughter Herewassomethingthatwouldsell,butwhatpricetoputuponitwasapuzzle Noonehadanyideaoftheoriginalcost Mrs Biggs,whohadjoinedthe workingforceandwhosevoicewasloudesteverywhere,suggestedtendollars, withtheprivilegeoffalling,butwasatoncetalkeddown,aslowpriceswereto betheruleforeverything,andfivewasquiteenough Therewerefewwho wouldpaythatforamereplaythingfortheirchildren,sothecarduponitwas markedfivedollars,withtheadditionthatithadoncebelongedtoMrs Amy CromptonSmith Itwasthenplacedconspicuouslyinawindowbeforewhicha groupofeager,excitedchildrengathered,andtowhichearlyintheafternoon Petercameleisurely TheColonelhadaskedhimseveraltimeswhyhedidn'tgo,andhadfinally grownsopetulantthatPeterhadstarted,wonderinghowmuchhe'dhavetopay andwhatexcusehewastomakeforwantingithimself Hisinstructionswere nottolie,butgetitsomehowwithoutusingtheColonel'sname FindingRuby Annalone,hebegan,"Isay,doyoumakeanysalesbeforethethingopens?" "Why,yes,wecan,"Rubyanswered "Severalantiquesarepromised,ifnot actuallysold,yourboot-jackwiththerest Couldsellanotherifwehadit Any particularthingyouwant?" "Yes,Iwantthathouseinthewindowandthetwowomeninit,—MandyAnn andJudy It'smarkedfivedollars Here'syourmoney,"andhelaidacrispfivedollarbillinherhand "Why,Peter,—why,Peter,"Rubyexclaimedinsurprise,withasenseofregret thatmorehadnotbeenasked,andafeelingofwonderastowhyPeterwantedit "Areyoubuyingitforyourself?"sheasked,andPeterreplied,"WhoshouldI buyitfor?IknewMrs Amywhenshewasalittlegirlandplayedwithitand sleptwiththatniggerbabyJudy I'veboughtit It'smine,andI'lltakeitright away There'sadraymannow,bringingaworn-outcook-stoveandanold lounge." "Oh,but,Peter,—pleaseleaveittillthesaleisover Itdrawspeopletolookatit, andthenthey'llcomein,"Rubysaid,whileothersoftheladiesjoinedtheir entreatieswithhers ButPeterwasfirm Hehadboughtthedollhouseandpaidforit Itwashis,and inspiteoftheprotestsoftheentirecommitteewhichgatheredroundhimlikea swarmofbeeshetookitaway,andanhourlateritwassafelydepositedinthe Colonel'sroomwithoutAmy'sknowledge TheColonelwasdelighted "Bringitcloseup,"hesaid,"butfirsttakeoffthatinfernalcardthatitbelonged to'Mrs AmyCromptonSmith.'That'sthewaythey'dmarkedmytrousers!Give meMandyAnnandJudy Ihaven'tseentheminmorethantwentyyears,—yes, nearerthirty Uponmysoultheywearwell,especiallytheoldlady Shewas neververyhandsome,butAmylikedherbest,"hesaid,laughingalittleasPeter putJudyinhislap Hedidnotknowthathehadevertouchedherbefore,andheheldherbetween histhumbandfinger,withsomethingwhichfeltlikeaswellinginhisthroat,— notforJudy,norforAmy,butforpoorDory,thoughtsofwhomwerehaunting himthesedayswithapersistencyhecouldnotshakeoff "Whatdidyougive?"heasked,andPeterreplied "Fivedollars,—justwhatit wasmarked." "Fivedollars!Heavensandearth!"andJudyfelltothefloor,whiletheColonel graspedhiskneeswithhishandsandsatstaringatPeter "Fivedollars!Areyou anidiot,andhavenoneofthemcommonsense?"heasked,andPeterreplied, "Thatwastheprice,andIdidn'tliketobeatthemdown RubyAnnisn'teasytotackle,andMrs Biggswastherewithhergab,ifsheis myniece,andsaidIgotitdirtcheap." "GotothunderwithyourRubyAnnandMrs Biggsanddirtcheap!"theColonel roared "WhosaidIwantedyoutobeat'emdown?Why,man,ItoldyouIgave thirtyforthehouseandfiveforMandyAnn,andheretheyhavesoldthewhole caboodle,Judyandall,forfivedollars!Fivedollars!Doyouhear?Fivedollars, forwhatcostthirty-five!Iconsiderthey'veinsultedMandyAnnandJudyboth Fivedollars!I'llbe—" Hedidn'tfinishhissentence,forheheardAmy'svoiceinthehall Shemightbe coming,andhesaidhastilytoPeter,"Puttheminthecloset Don'tlethersee them,orthere'llbetheoldHarrytopay." Peterobeyed,butAmydidnotcomein,andafteramomenttheColonel continued,"Wewillkeepthemhereawhile Idaresayshe'llneverthinkofthem again Shedoesn'tthinkmuch Doyoubelieveshewilleverbeanybetter?" TheColonel'svoiceshookasheaskedthequestion,andPeter'sshookalittleas hereplied,"PleaseGodshemay Agreatshockofsomekindmightdoit." "Yes,butwhereistheshocktocomefrom,hedgedroundassheisfromevery roughwindorcare?"theColonelsaid,littlethinkingwithwhatstridestheshock washasteningon,orthroughwhatchannelitwastocome CHAPTERXV ATTHERUMMAGE Theroomswerereadyatlast,andtwentytiredladieswentthroughthemtosee thateverythingwasinitsproperplace,andthenwenthomewithhigh anticipationsofthemorrowandwhatitwouldbring Itopenedmostpropitiously andwasoneofthosesoft,balmySeptemberdays,morelikeearlyJunethan autumn Therewerebrisksalesandcrowdsofpeopleallday,withthe probabilityofgreatercrowdsandbriskersalesintheevening JackHarcourtwas inandout,watchingthesaleofwhathissisterhadsent,drinkingcupsof chocolateeverytimeaprettygirlaskedhimtodoso,andbuyingtoysand picturebooksandcandy,anddistributingthemamongthechildrengathered aroundthedoorandwindows Hethoughthehadlookedateverythingonsale, buthadfailedtofindthewhiteapron Wherewasit?hewondered Hewouldnot askRubyAnnorMrs Biggs,asthatwouldbegivinghimselfaway Itwould certainlybethereintheeveningwhenhewastobringEloiseinherchair He hadsettledthatwithTim,whogaveupratherunwillingly,butwasconsoledby beinghiredaserrandboy,—anofficehecouldnothavefilledhadhebeen hamperedwithawheelchair Thenightwasglorious,withamoonnearitsfull,andalittlebeforesevenJack presentedhimselfatMrs Biggs's,findingEloisereadyandalone Timwasatthe rooms,runninghitherandthitherateverybody'sbeckandcall,andhismother wasthere,runningthewholething,—judgingfromhermannerasshemoved amongthecrowdfillingtheroomsnearlytosuffocation Eloisehadmorethan oncechangedhermindaboutgoing,asshesatwaitingforJack Shewasshy withstrangers,andtherewouldbesomanythere,andshewouldbeso conspicuousinherchair,withMr Harcourtinattendance,thatshebeganto doubttheproprietyofgoing "IfitwereTimwhowastotakeme,IbelieveIshouldfeeldifferently,"shewas thinking,whenJackcamein,breezyandexcited,—fulloftheRummageand anxioustobeoff "Youareready,Isee,"hesaid "That'sright Wehavenotimetolose And there'snoendoffun I'vebeentherehalftheday,anddrankchocolate,andeaten cakeandcandytillIneverwanttoseeanymore Butyouwill." Hewasadjustingherdressandgettingthechairinmotionashetalked,and Eloisehadnotimetosuggestthatsheoughtnottogo,beforeshefoundherself outuponthepiazza,andJack,whohadlockedthedoor,wasputtingthekey underthemat "YouseeIrememberwhereIfounditthattimeHowardandIdesiccatedthe Sabbathbycallinguponyou,"hesaid,withalaughinwhichEloisejoined "IsMr Howardgoing?"sheasked,andJackreplied,"Heisakindoflazyfellow, buthe'llbethereallright;"andthefirstonetheysawdistinctlyastheydrewnear thehousewasHoward,strugglingwiththecrowd HowardhadgonedownonpurposetoseeEloise,andwaswonderinghowwith herchairshecouldeverbegottenthroughthatmassofpeople,whenshe appearedatthedoor,and,withHoward,wonderedhowshewastogetin She mightnothaveaccomplisheditifhehadnotcometotherescuewithtwoboys, —oneTimBiggs,theotheratall,freckled-faced,light-hairedfellowwhomJack greetedasTom,saying,"CanyoumanagetofindagoodpositionforMiss Smith?" "Youbet,"camesimultaneouslyfrombothboys,andimmediatelyfoursharp elbowswerebeingthrustintothesidesofthepeople,whomovedalltheycould andmadeapassageforEloiseandherchairnearthemiddleoftheroom,andin acomparativelyshelteredplacewhereshecouldseeeverythingwithoutbeing jostled Ifshecouldseeeverythingandeverybody,soeverybodycouldseeher,andfora momenttherewasahushinthelargeroomwhereeveryeyewasturnedupon Eloise,whobegantofeelveryuncomfortable,andwishshehadnotcome She hadwonderedwhatsheoughttowear,andhaddecideduponblackasalways suitable WhensheleftCaliforniahermotherhadurgedhertotakeasmall velvetcapelinedwithermine Itwastheonlyexpensivearticleofdressshehad, andshewasverychoiceofit,butto-nightsheworeitabouthershoulders,as latertheairwasinclinedtoblowupcoolanddampfromthesea Justasthey reachedthehouseJackstoopedtoarrangeit,throwingitbackoneithersideso thatmoreoftheerminewouldshow "There!Youlookjustlikeaqueen!Ermineisverybecomingtoyou,"hesaid, andthepeoplestaringatherthoughtso,too Herheadwasuncovered,andherhair,whichwavedsoftlyaroundherforehead, waswoundinaflatknotlowinherneck,makingherlookveryyoung,asshesat shrinkingfromthefireofeyesdirectedtowardsherandsaw,ifshedidnothear, thelowwhispersofthepeople,manyofwhomhadneverseenherbefore,and weresurprisedatherextremeyouthandbeauty RubyAnnwasatadistance, tryingtosellMrs Biggs'sspottedbrownandwhitewrappertoascrubwoman whowashagglingoverthepricewhichMrs Biggshadinsistedshouldbeput uponit Thatgoodwomanwasbusyinthesupper-room,orshewouldhave madeherwayatoncetoEloise,who,asshelookedovertheseaoffaces confrontingher,sawnoonesheknewexceptHowardCrompton,whohadbeen veryuncomfortableintheheatandairoftheplaceuntilshecame,andwithher fresh,fairyoungfaceseemedatoncetochangethewholeatmosphere Jack, whowasnotusedtomuchexertionandhadfoundevenEloise'slightweighta trifleheavy,especiallyupthehillneartheRummagehouse,wassweatingat everypore,andfanninghimselfwithapalmleafhehadboughtattheentrance "ByGeorge!"hesaidtoHoward,whowasstandingbythem "It'shotterthana furnaceinhere IbelieveI'llhavetogooutsideandcooloffaminute,ifyou'll stayandkeepguardoverMissSmith." "Certainly;—withpleasure,"Howardsaid,puttinghishandonEloise'schairand askingiftherewasanythinghecoulddoforher Shewaswatchingthebrownandwhitespottedgown,andtoHoward'squestion sheshookherhead,whilehecontinued,"Jacksaysthechocolateisprettyfair Heoughttoknow—hehasdranksixcups Iamgoingtobringyousome." Beforeshecouldprotestthatshedidnotcareforchocolate,heleftherandhis placewasatoncetakenbythetall,lank,light-hairedboy,whoseelbowshad donesogoodexecutioninforcingapassageforthechair Tomhadbeen watchinghereversinceshecamein,andmakinguphismind Hehadheardshe waspretty,butthatdidnotbegintoexpresshisopinionofher,asshesatwiththe ermineoverhershoulders,thesoftsheenonherhair,thebrightcoloronher cheeks,andalookinhereyeswhichfascinatedhim,boythoughhewas,asitdid manyanolderman,fromMr BillstoJack,andHowardCrompton Ifhistwo chipshadnotbeenthrownawayhewouldhavethrownthemnow,andstillthe feelinginhimwhichpeoplecalledcussednesswassostrongthathecouldnot repressadesire"toseewhatstuffshewasmadeoff." TakingHoward'svacantplacehepushedhimselfforwarduntilhewasnearlyin frontofher,wherehecouldlookintoherface Sherecognizedhimastheboy JackhadcalledTom,andguessedwhohewas,—hereyesdroopingunderhis ratherboldgaze,andhercolorcomingandgoing Tomwasnotsurewhathewas goingtosaytoher,andcouldneverunderstandwhyhesaidwhathedid Hehad beentoldsooftenbyMr Billsandothersthatheneededlicking,andsomany teachershadlickedhim,tosaynothingofhisdrunkenfather,thattheideawasin hismind,butassomethingwhollyatvariancewiththisdaintylittlegirl,whoat lastlookedathimfearlessly Sheknewhewasgoingtospeaktoher,butwasnot preparedforhisquestion "Youarethenewschoolmarm,ain'tyou?Doyouthinkyoucouldlickme?" JustforaninstantEloisewastoomuchsurprisedtoanswer,whilethehotblood surgedintoherface,thenleftitspottedhereandthere,makingTomthinkof pinkrosepetalswithwhiteflecksinthem Butshedidn'ttakehereyesfromthe boy,whowasashamedofhimselfbeforeshesaidwithapleasantlaugh,"Iknow Icouldn't;andIdon'tbelieveIshalleverwishtotry Iamthenewschoolteacher,andyouareMr ThomasWalker!" ShedidnotknowwhysheputontheMr Itcameinadvertently,butwasthemost fortunatethingshecouldhavedone TobecalledThomaswasgratifying,butthe Mr wasquiteoverpoweringandmadeTomherallyatonce "I'mThomasWalker,—yes,"hesaid "MissPatrickhastoldyouaboutme,Idare say,—andMr Bills,andWidderBiggs,andTim Oh,Iknowhe'stoldyoualot whatIwasgoin'todo,—butit'salie IhaveplaguedMissPatricksome,Iguess, andshewhaledmeawfulonce,butI'vereformed Ididn'ts'poseyouwasso little Icouldthrowyouoverthehouse,butIshan't Say,whenareyougoingto begin?I'mtiredofMissPatrick'severlastingsamewaysofdoingthings,and wantsomethingnew,—somethingmodern,youknow." Hewasgettingveryfamiliar,andEloisewaschattingwithhimonthemost friendlyterms,whenHowardcamebackwithacupofchocolate,apartofwhich wasspilledbeforehereachedher Howardknewwhotheyoungblackguardwas, andgloweredathimdisapprovingly,butEloisesaid,"Mr Crompton,thisis ThomasWalker,oneofmybiggestscholarsthatistobe Somedifferenceinour height,isn'tthere?butweshallgetonfamously Ilikebigboysandtaughtalot oftheminMayville." ShesmiledupatTomandgavehimheremptycuptotakeaway Hewouldhave stoodonhisheadifshehadaskedhimto,andhehurriedoffwiththecup, meetingJack,whohadcooledhimself,boughtapoundofcandyatonetableand someflowersatanother,andwasmakinghiswaybacktoEloise Hehadalso lookedroundalittlefortheapronhewasgoingtobuy,butcouldnotfindit He'dmakeanothertourofinspectionlater,hethought,forhemeanttohaveit,if itwerestillthere TakinghisstandononesideofEloise'schairwhileHoward stoodontheother,thethreemadeastrikingtableauatwhichmanylooked admiringly,commentinguponthebeautyoftheyounggirl,—thekind,goodhumoredfaceofJack,andthehaughtybearingofHoward,who,anaristocratto hisfingertips,watchedtheproceedingswithanundisguisedlookofcontempt showingitselfinhissarcasticsmileandtheexpressionofhiseyes Eloisewasgreatlyinterestedandsoexpressedherself Shehadseenthescrub womanhagglingwithRubyAnnoverthebrownandwhitespottedwrapper,and hadseenitlaidasideuntilanothercustomercame,whenthesamehagglingtook placewiththesameresult,forMrs Biggs,whodartedinandout,stillclungto thepriceputuponitandsoretardedthesale ThelasttimeRubyAnnbroughtit outHowardandJackbothrecognizedit "ByJove!I'vehalfamindtobuyitmyselfasakindofsouvenir,"Jacksaid,but alookofdisgustinEloise'sfaceandafrownonHoward'sdeterredhim,andhe keptveryquietforawhile,wonderingwherethatapronwasandifbyany possibilityitcouldhavebeensold TheboxofarticleswhichJack'ssisterhadsentfromNewYorkhadbeensold earlyintheday,andAmy'sdresseshadnotbeenopened Nearlyeverythingof anyvaluewasgone TwoofHoward'snecktiesstillremainedconspicuouslynear theyoungmen,whowatchedTomWalkerasheexaminedthemverycritically, andtheyheardthesaleswomansay,"TheybelongedtoMr HowardCrompton Theysayhehasdozensofthemandallfirst-class Thissuitsyouadmirably,"— andsheheldupawhitesatinonewithafainttingeofblue Tomtookit,disappearedforafewminutes,andwhenhecamebacktothechair hewasresplendentinhisnewnecktiewhichhehadadjustedinthedressingroom,addingtoitaRhine-stonepinboughtatthejewelrycounter Howard's vanitytoldhimhewascomplimented,andthatrestrainedthelaughwhich sprangtohislipsattheincongruitybetweenTom'sdressandthesatinnecktie boughtforagrandoccasioninBoston,whichHowardhadattendedafew monthsbefore OnhiswaybacktothegrouptowhichhefelthebelongedTom hadstoppedatthecandytableandinquiredthepriceofthefancifulboxes,his spiritssinkingwhentoldthepoundswerefiftycentsandthehalf-poundstwentyfive MoneywasnotveryplentywithTom,andwhathehadheearnedhimself Thenecktiehadmadeaheavydraftonhim,andtwentycentswasallhecould findineitherpocket "Isay,Tim,lendmeanickel I'llpayitback IhopetodieifIdon't,"hesaidto Tim,whowashurryingpasthimonsomeerrandforhismother "Ihain'tnonickelstolend,"wasTim'sanswer,ashedisappearedinthecrowd, leavingTomhoveringnearthecandytableandlookinglonginglyattheonly half-poundboxleft "Isay,"hebegan,edginguptothegirlincharge,"can'tyoutakeoutapieceor twoandletmehaveitfortwentycents?AllthemoneyIhaveintheworld! 'Strue'sIlive,andIwantitawfullyforthenewschoolmarmoverthereinthe chairwiththemswellsstandin'byher." Itwasthelasthalf-poundboxandthegirlwastired "Yes,takeit,"shesaid,andTomdeparted,happierifpossiblewithhiscandy thanwithhisnecktie "Iboughtitforyou It'schocolate Ihopeyoulikeit,"hesaid,depositinghisgift inEloise'slap,whereJack'sboxwaslyingopenandhalfempty,forEloise's weaknesswascandy "Oh,thankyou,Thomas,"shesaid,beaminguponhimasmilewhichmorethan repaidhimforhavingspentallhismoneyforher ShewasreallyveryhappyandthoughtagooddealofRummageSales Shehad thebestplaceinthehall;—agoodmanypeoplehadspokentoher Shehadwon TomWalker,bodyandsoul,andsheknewthatherescorts,HowardandJack, addedéclattoherposition Shehadscarcelythoughtofherfoot,whichatlast begantoachealittle Shewasgettingtiredandwonderedhowmuchlongerthe salewouldlast Jackwonderedso,too;notthathewastired Hecouldhave stoodallnightlookingatEloiseandseeingthepeopleadmireher;buthewas ratherstoutandapttogetverywarminaroomwheretheatmospherewasclose asitwashere,andhewantedtobeoutinthefreshairagain Hecouldtakehis timewheelingEloisehome,andifMrs Biggsstaidattherooms,asheheardher sayshewasgoingtodo"tillthelastdogwashung,"hecouldstayoutinthe porchandenjoythemoonlightwithEloise'seyesshininguponhim Butwhere wasthatapron?Perhapsithadn'tcomeafterall He'dinquire Butofwhom? Mrs Biggswasinthesupper-room Hedidnotcaretogothereagain,forevery timeheappearedsomebodywassuretogetoffonhimacupofchocolateor coffee,andhecouldnotdrinkanymore RubyAnnwasbusy,—herfaceveryredandhereyesverytired,asshetriedto sellthemostunsalablearticlestooldwomenwhowantedsomethingfornothing, andquarrelledwiththequalityandquarrelledwiththeprice Hisonlyrecourse wasEloise,andheplannedalongtimehowtoapproachthesubjectwithout mentioningherapron Atlastahappyinspirationcametohim,andwhen Howard'sattentionwasdivertedanotherwayhebentoverherandbegan CHAPTERXVI THEAUCTION "Astonishing,isn'tit,whereallthestuffcomesfrom?Somebodymusthave givenveryfreely Inevergaveathingexceptmoney Bellsentalottobesure, andit'sallsold TheyhadapilefromtheCromptonHouse Theyweregoodat begging Theydidn'texpectanythingofyou,astranger,ofcourse?" "Oh,yes,"Eloisereplied "IhadanapronwhichMissPatrickseemedtothink mightsellforsomething Itwasratherpretty,andImadeitmyself Ihaven'tseen it,andthinkitmayhavebeensold,orperhapsMrs Biggs,whohaditincharge, forgotit Shehashadagreatdealonhermind." JackdidnothearmorethanhalfEloisewassaying Onefactalonewasclear Shehadexpectedtheaprontobethereandhewouldlookitup "Excuseme,"hesaid,andgoingintotheroomwhereMrs Biggswastryingto makehalfaloafofbreaddodutyasawholeloaftoapartyjustarrived,hesaid toher,"Pardonme,Mrs Biggs,butdidyousendorbringMissSmith's contributiontothesale?Ibelieveitwasanapron Shehasnotseenit." ThebreadfellfromMrs Biggs'shandtothetable,andtheknifefolloweditto thefloorassheexclaimed,"Lordofheavens!Iforgotittillthisminute Where's Tim?" ShedartedfromtheroomandfoundTimbringingtwopailsofwater,"thelast goldarnedthinghewasgoingtodothatnight,"hesaid,asheputthemdown Seizinghimbythecollarhismotheralmostshrieked,"Runhomeforyourlife, Tim!" "Why-er,—what-er!Isourhouseafire?"Timasked,andhismotherreplied,"No, butMissSmith'sapronisthere Icleanforgotit You'llfinditinapaperboxon mybed,orinmybureau,orontheclosetshelf,pushedawayback,or somewhere Nowclipit." Timstartedwithouthishat,andthelastthingheheardwashismother'svoice shrillasaclarion,"Ifyoudon'tfindthekeyunderthemat,climbinterthebut'ry winder,butdon'tupsetthemornin'smilk!" Businesswasbeginningtoslackenandsaleswerefew Someofthepeoplehad gonehomeandothersweregoing,andstilltherewerequantitiesofgoods unsold AnauctionwastheonlyalternativeandMr Bills,who,tohisofficeof schoolcommissioner,addedthatofauctioneer,wassentfor Therewasnoone likehiminCromptonfordisposingofwhateverwastobedisposedof,fromatin cantoastove-pipehat Hecouldjudgeaccuratelythenatureanddispositionof hisaudience,—knewjustwhattosayandwhentosayit,andhadthefacultyof makingpeoplebidwhethertheywantedtoornot Tohearhimwasasgoodasa circus,hisfriendssaid,andwhenitbecameknownthathewastoauctionoffthe goodsremainingfromthesale,manywhohadleftcameback,fillingtherooms againnearlyasfullastheywereearlyintheevening Eloise'schairwasmovedalittlemoretothefront,—alongcounterwascleared, andonitMr Billstookhisstand,smilingblandlyuponthecrowdaroundhim andthenbowingtoEloiseandherescorts,JackandHoward Hewasboundto dohisbestbeforethemandtookuphisworkeagerly Hewashappiestwhen sellingclotheswhichhecouldtryon,orpretendto,andafterdisposingof severalbonnetsamidroarsoflaughterhetookupMrs Biggs'sgown,which RubyAnnhadnotbeenabletosell Herewassomethingtohismindandheheld itoutandup,andtrieditslengthonhimselfandexpatiateduponitsbeautyand itsstyleanddurabilityuntilhegotabidoftwenty-fivecents,andthisfrom Howard,whosaidtoEloise,"Itseemsapitynottostarttheoldthingat something,andIsupposetheCharitableSocietywilltakeit Ibelievethereis oneintown." Eloisedidnotanswer Thespottedgownwasanoffencetoher,andsheshuther eyeswhileMr Bills,delightedthathehadabidatlastandfromsuchasource, began,"Thankyou,sir Youknowagoodthingwhenyouseeit,butonlytwentyfivecents!Amerenothing Somebodywillgivemore,ofcourse,forthisfinetea gowntoputonhotafternoons Justthething Twenty-fivecents!Twenty-five cents!DoIhearmore?Twenty-five!Didyousaythirty?"andhelookedatJack, whohalfnodded,andthebids,raisedfivecentsatatime,rolledonbetweenJack andHowardandanotheryoungman,whocarednothingforthegown,butliked thefun Fiftycentswasreachedatlast,andtherethebiddingceasedandMr Billswasringingthechangesonhalfadollar,halfadollar,forarobede chambre;—hecalleditthatsometimes,andsometimesateagown,andoncea robedenu-it,whichbroughtpealsoflaughterfromthosewhounderstoodthe term,ashecertainlydidnot Inthedining-roomMrs Biggswasbusywashing dishes,butkeptherearsopentothesoundsinthenextroom,knowingMr Bills wasthereandanxioustogetinandseethefun Whenthelastshoutsreachedher shedroppedherdishtowel,sayingtohercompanion,"Ican'tstanditanylonger I'vegottogoandseewhatBillsisupto!" ElbowingherwayinshecaughtsightofhergownheldaloftbyMr Bills,and heardhisvoluble"Going,going,atfiftycents." Shehadthoughtitlowatadollar,andhereitwasasgoodasgoneforfiftycents, —towhomshedidnotknoworcare,—probablythescrubwomanwhohad lookedatitearlierintheeveningandofferedsixty Herbloodwasup,and makingherwaytoMr Billsshesnatchedathergown,exclaiming,"It'smine, andshallnevergoforfiftycents,Itellyou!" Herewasadiversion,andMr Billsmetitbeautifully "Jessso,MissBiggs,"hesaid,bowinglowtoher "Iadmireyourtasteand judgment I'vetold'emtimeandtimeoveritwasworthmorethanfifty Thefact istheydon'tknowwhatiswhat,butyouandIdo Shallwedoublerightupand shame'embysayin'adollar?Adollar!Adollar!andgoing!" Mrs Biggsdidnotknowthatsheassented,shewassoexcited,andafterwards declaredshedidn't:butthefinalGoingwassaid,with"Gone!toMrs Biggs,for onedollar Cheapatthat!" Atthisjuncture,whenthehilaritywasatitsheightandMrs Biggswasmarching offwithherproperty,whichshesaidsheshouldneverpayfor,Timappeared, hatlessandcoatless,butwiththeboxinhishand WhenJacklockedthedoorhe pushedthekeyfurtherunderthematthanwasusual,andfailingtofinditat once,andbeinginahurry,Timmadehisentranceintothehousethroughthe pantrywindow,upsettingthepanofmilkandabowlofsomething,hedidnot stoptoseewhat,inhishastetofindthebox Itwasnotonthebed,noronthe bureau,norpushedbackonashelfinthecloset Itwasonachairnearthedoor wherehismotherhadputitandthenforgottenit AsthekeywasoutsideTim madehisexitthewayhecamein,stoppingamomenttolookatthemilkthecat waslappingwithagreatdealofsatisfaction "Bobbs,you'llhaveagoodsupper,andIshallcatcholdhundredforgivingitto you,"hesaid,pickingupthepanandspringingthroughthewindow Hewasverywarm,andtakingoffhiscoathethrewitacrosshisarmandstarted rapidlyforthesale,knowingbeforehereacheditthatMr Billswastherebythe soundsheheard Hehadnothoughtthattheapronwasnottobesoldatauction Probablythatwaswhyitwaswanted,andpushingthroughthecrowdtoMr Billshehandedhimthebox,saying,"Here'tis I'boutrunmylegsofftogetit Make'empaysmart." "Mr Bills!Mr Bills!"cameexcitedlyfromRubyAnn,butMr Billsdidnot hear,thebuzzofvoiceswassogreat Hehadopenedtheboxandtakenouttheapron,whichhehandledfarmore carefullythanhehadthespottedgown "Nowthisissomethinglikefirst-classbusiness,"hesaid,holdingitup "The prettiestthingyoueversaw,—agirl'sapron,allruffledandprinked,and,—yes, —madeby—" Hehadglancedatthecard,whichsaiditwasmadebyMissSmith,andwas abouttoannouncethatfact,feelingsureitwouldbringbidders,whenhe chancedtolookatEloise,whosefacewasnearlyaswhiteastheapron,andin whoseeyeshesawanexpressionwhichcheckedthewords Buthehadnoidea ofrelinquishingthearticle,andmisunderstoodthemotionofJack'shandtostop him "Now,givemeanoffer,"hebegan,—"afirst-rateone,too;noneofyourquarters, norhalves Bidhighandshowyouknowsomething 'Tain'teverydayyouhavea chancetobuyasfineathingasthis Youwhohavewives,ordaughters,or sisters,orsweethearts,orwantitforyourselves,speakup!Walkup!Rollup! Tumbleup!Anywaytogetup,onlycomeupandbid!" HewaslookingatJack,whosefacewasasredasEloise'swaspale "Ifthethingmustbesoldatauctionitshallbringagoodprice,andI'llgetit, too,"hethought StandingclosetohimwasTomWalker,whoalltheeveninghadhoverednear Eloise "Tom,"Jacksaid "Ihaveasister,youknow." Tomdidn'tknow,buthenodded,andJackwenton:"Thatapronistheonlything I'veseenthatIreallywantforher Iamnotworthacenttobid Willyoudoitfor me?" Tomnoddedagain,andJackcontinued,"Well,startprettyhigh Keepyoureyes onme,andwhenIlookatyouraisethebidifthereisanyagainstyou Understand?" "Yes,sir,"Tomanswered,understandingmorethanJackthoughthedid Heguessedwhoseapronitwasanddidnotbelievemuchinthesister,buthehad hisinstructionsandwaitedforthesignal Howardhadwatchedthesaleofthe spottedgownwithagreatdealofamusement,butwasbeginningtofeeltired withstandingsolong,andwaswonderingwhenJackproposedtakingEloise home Thathewouldgowiththemwasamatterofcourse,andhewasaboutto speaktoJackwhenTimcameinandtheapronsalebegan Hehadnoideawhose itwasuntilhesawthehaltinMr Bills'smanner,andlookedatEloise Thenhe knew,andknew,too,thatnothingcouldgetJackawaytilltheapronwas disposedof ThatJackwouldbuyithedidnotforamomentdream,forwhat couldhedowithit?"Butyes,heisgoingtobuyit,"hethought,asheheard Jack'sinstructionstoTom,"andImeantohavesomefunwithhim,andrunthat apronup." ClosetohimwasTim,andthesightofhimputanideaintoHoward'smind It wouldbejollyforTomandTimtobidagainsteachother,whileheandJack backedthem "Tim,"hesaid,layinghishandontheboy'sarm,"Iamgoingtobuythatapron forMrs Amy,andIwantyoutobidformeagainstTomWalkerandeverybody Ihavenoideawhatitisworth,butwhenIsqueezeyourarmso,bidhigher!" HegaveTim'sarmaclutchsotightthattheboystartedawayfromhim,saying, "GreatPeter,don'tpinchlikethat!Youhurt!'causeI'minmyshirtsleeves." "Allright I'llbemorecareful,"Howardsaid "Nowbegin,beforeTomhastime toopentheball." "Yes,but-er,what-ershallIbid?"Timstammered "HowdoIknow?It'sMissSmith's,andonthataccountvaluable Goinwitha dollar." AllthistimeMr Billshadbeentalkinghimselfhoarseoverthemeritsofthe apron,whilehisaudiencewerewatchingHowardandJack,withafeelingof certaintythattheywereintendingtobid,buttheywerenotpreparedforTim's onedollar,whichstartledeveryoneandnonemoresothanhismother,who, havingrolledupherspottedgown"inawopse,"asshesaid,andputitwithher dishpanandtowels,hadcomebackintimetohearTim'sastonishingbid She couldnotseehimforthecrowdinfrontofher,butshecouldmakehimhear,and hervoicewasshrillanddecidedasshecalledout,"TimothyBiggs!Beyou crazy?andwhereareyoutogetyourdollar,I'dliketoknow!" "Tellmothertomindherbusiness!IknowwhatI'mabout!"Timsaidtosome onenearhim,whileMr Billsrangthechangesonthatdollarwithastonishing volubility,andTomkepthiseyesonJackforasignaltoraise Jackwastakenbysurprise,butreadilyunderstoodthatitwasHowardagainst whomhehadtocontendandnotTim "Allright,oldchap,"hewhispered,thenlookedfullatTom,who,eagerasa youngracehorse,shoutedadollarandahalf! "Allright,"Jacksaidagain,andturnedtoEloiseonwhosefacetherewasnow somecolor,asshebegantoshareinthegeneralexcitementpervadingtheroom andfindingventinlaughterandcheerswhenTom'sbidwasraisedtotwodollars byTim,andtwoandaquarterwasasquicklyshriekedbyTom Everybodynow understoodthecontestandwatcheditbreathlessly,agreatroargoingupwhen TimlosthisheadandmistakingaslightmovementofHoward'shandonhisarm, raisedhisownbidfromthreedollarstothreeandahalf! "That'sright,"Mr Billssaid;"youknowathingortwo Wearegettingwell underway Neverenjoyedmyselfsowellinmylife Threeandahalf!threeand ahalf!Whosaysfour?" "Ido,"Tomyelled,hisyellnearlydrownedbythecheersofthespectators,some ofwhomclimbedonchairsandtablestolookatTomandTimstanding,onenext toHowardandtheothernexttoJack,withEloisethecentralfigure,herermine capethrownback,anddropsofsweatuponherforeheadandaroundhermouth ShealmostfeltasifitwereherselfHowardandJackwerecontendingforinstead ofherapron,whichMr Billswaswavingintheairlikeaflag,withafeelingthat hehadnearlyexhaustedhisvocabularyanddidn'tknowwhatnexttosay Four dollarswasagreatdealforanapron,heknew,buthekeptonringingthe changesonthefourdollars,—ameaslypriceforsofineanarticle,andforso goodacauseasaPublicLibrary Andwhilehetalkedandrepeatedhisgoing, going,fasterandfaster,Timstoodlikeahoundonaleashfrettingforasignto raise "Youain'tgoin'tobebeatbyTomWalker,beyou?"hesaid,inawhisperto Howard,whogavehimalittlesqueeze,withthewords"Goeasy,"spokensolow thatTimdidnothearthem,andatonceraisedthefourdollarstofourandahalf, whilequickaslightningTomrespondedwithfivedollars Jackhadn'treallylookedathim,butitdidnotmatter Hewasgoingtohavethe apron,andturningtoHowardhesaid,"Idon'tknowhowlongyoumeantokeep thisthingup Iampreparedtogoonallnight." Howardfeltsurehewasanddecidedtostop,andhishanddroppedfromTim's shoulderquitetothedisgustofthatyoungman,whosaid,"Yougoin'tolet'em lickus?" "IthinkI'llhaveto,"Howardreplied,while"Fivedollars,andgoing!"filledthe roomuntilthefinal"Gone!"wasspoken,andthepeoplegavegaspsofreliefthat itwasover "SoldforfivedollarstoThomasWalker,whowillpleasewalkuptothecaptain's officeandpay,"Mr Billssaid,handingtheaprontoTom,whoheldit awkwardly,asifafraidofharmingit "Iguessit'syourn,"hesaid,givingittoJack,whoknewaslittlewhattodowith itasTom Rubycametohisaidandtookitfromhim Shehadwatchedtheperformance withagreatdealofinterest,comprehendingitperfectlyandfeelinginaway sorryforEloise,whoselipsquiveredalittlewhenshewentuptoher,and bendingoverhersaid,"Youshouldfeelcomplimented,butI'mafraidyouare verytired." "Yes,verytiredandwarm Iwanttogetintothefreshair,"Eloisesaid,shivering asifshewerecoldinsteadofwarm Jackhadgonetothecashier'sdesktopayfortheapron,andTomundertookthe taskofgettingthewheelchairthroughthecrowd,runningagainstthepeople promiscuously,iftheyimpededhisprogress,andcaringlittlewhomhehitifhe gotEloisesafelyoutsidethedoor Thenightwasatitsbest,almostaslightas day,astheyemergedfromthehot,closeroom,andEloisedrewlongbreathsof thecoolairwhichblewupfomthesea,thesoundofwhosewavesbeatingupon theshorecouldbeheardevenabovethedinofvoicesinsidethebuilding The auctionwasstillgoingon,andMr Billswasdoinghisbest,buttheinterest flaggedwiththesaleoftheapronandthebreakingupofthegroupwhichhad attractedsomuchattention EvenMrs Biggs'sgrandmother'sbrasskettle,on whichsomanyhopeswerebuilt,failedtocreatemorethanaripple,asMr Bills rangchangesuponitbothwithtongueandknuckles,andwhenhismosteloquent appealscouldnotraiseahigherbidthantencents,itwaswithdrawnbythe disgustedwidow,whoputitasidewithherdishpanandtowelsandgown,and thenwenttofindTimtotakethemhome HowardhadbeencalledbyRubyintotheroomwhereAmy'sdresseswerelying intheboxesjustastheycame,andaskedwhattheyweretodowiththem "Wecouldnotofferthemforsale,andshedoesnotwantthemback,"shesaid "SendthemtotheColonel She'llneverknowit,andthechanceiswillnever thinkofthemagain,"Howardsaid,andthenhurriedoutsidetowhereEloisewas stillwaitingandtalkingtoTom "Thatapronwentfirstrate,"hesaid "Youmusthavefeltgladtheythoughtso muchofyou,'cause'twasyouandnottheapron,thoughthatwasprettyenough." "Oh!"Eloisereplied,drawinghererminecapearoundhershoulders,"Idon't knowwhetherIwasgladornot IfeltasifIwerebeingsoldtothehighest bidder." "That'sso,"Tomsaid "Itwassomethinglikeit Ain'tyouglad'twasMr Harcourtboughtyouinsteadoft'other?" Eloiselaughedasshereplied,"Why,Thomas,itwasyouwhoboughtme!Have youforgotten?" SheseemedsomuchinearnestthatforamomentTomthoughtshewas,and said,"Youain'tsogreenasnottoknowthat'twasMr Harcourteggin'meon,— winkin'tomewhentoraise,andtellin'metogohigh!Youarehis'n,andI'mglad on't!Ilikehimbetterthant'other;ain'tsobigfeelin' Heretheycome,bothon 'em." HowardhadfinishedhisbusinesswithRubyAnn,andJackhadpaidhisfive dollarsandreceivedtheapron,slightlymussed,butlookingfairlywellinthe boxinwhichtheyputit Agoodmanypeoplewereleavingtheroomsagain,and amongthemTim,ladenwithhismother'sdishpanandtowels,anddressand brasskettle,andoneortwoarticleswhichshehadbought "Hallo,Tim!Youlooksomelikeapackhorse,"Tomsaid,butTimdidnot answer Hewasverytired,forwithsomanycallinguponhimthroughthedayand evening;hehadrunmilesandreceivedonlyseventycentsforit Hewas chagrinedthathehadraisedhisownbid,andwonderedTomdidnotchaffhim Itwouldcomeintime,heknew,andhefeltangryatTom,andangrywiththe brasskettleanddishpananddresswhichkepthimfromwheelingEloiseinstead ofTom,who,whentheyfinallystarted,tookhisplacebehindthechairasa matterofcourse,whileHowardandJackwalkedoneitherside Itwasasplendid night,andwhenMrs Biggs'shousewasreachedHowardandJackwouldgladly havelingeredoutsidetalkingtoEloise,iftheycouldhavedisposedoftheboys Buttheboyswerenotinclinedtobedisposedof Tomhadbecomesomebodyin hisownestimation,andintendedtostayaslongastheyoungmendid,while Tim,havingfoundthekey,thistimeinsteadofenteringbythepantrywindow, unlockedthedoor,depositedhisgoods,andthencameback,sayingtoEloise withagooddealofdignityforhim,"ShallItakeyouin?" "Yes,please Ithinkit'stime,"shesaid,andHowardandJackknewtheywere dismissed "Thankyouallsomuchforeverything,"shecontinued,givingher handtoeachoftheminturn,andpressingTom'salittleintokenofthegood feelingshefeltsurewasestablishedbetweenthem ItwasnotlongbeforeMrs Biggscamehome,rathercrestfallenthatherspotted gownandbrasskettlehadnotbeenmorepopular,butjubilantoverthesale,the proceedsofwhich,sofarasknownwhensheleft,wereovertwohundredand fiftydollars "NeverwasanythinglikeitbeforeinCrompton,"shesaid,asshehelpedEloise toherbedlounge "Thatapronsalebeatall Themyoungmendidn'tcareforthe apron,ofcourse,exceptthatitwasyours,andwhatMr HarcourtwilldowithitI don'tknow Saidhewasgoin'tosendittohissister Maybeheis Hepaid enoughforit Fivedollars!Iwasinhopesthey'drunituptoten!andIwassorry when'twasover Mr Billskinderwiltedafteryouallwentout,andthewhole thingflatted Well,good-night!Youwasthestar!thesynacure,—isthatthe word?—ofalleyes,andlookedawfulprettyinthatwhitecape Iseeyou'vegot TomWalker,bodyandsoul,butmyland!you'dgetanybody!Good-night, again." Shewasgoneatlast,andEloisewasgladtolayhertiredheaduponherpillow, fallingasleepnearlyassoonasshetouchedit,butdreamingoftheRummage Saleandthatshewasbeingauctionedoffinsteadofherapron Itwasakindof nightmare,andherheartbeatfastasthebidscamerapidly,—sometimeson Howard'ssideandsometimesonJack's ShecalledhimJackinherdreams,and finallyawokewithastart,sayingaloud,"IamgladitwasJackwhoboughtme!" PARTIII CHAPTERI THEBEGINNINGOFTHEEND TheRummageSalewasagreatsuccessandnettedfullytwohundredandfifty dollars,besidesquantitiesofgoodsofdifferentkindswhichwereleftandgiven eithertothepoorortotheCharitableSocietyinCrompton Thetrunks containingAmy'sdresseshadbeensenthomewithoutAmy'sknowledge,and depositedintheclosetwithMandyAnnandJudy,theColonelswearingatfirst thathewouldhavenothingpertainingtoHomerSmithsonearhim Theapron salehadbeenanabsorbingtopicofconversation,thepeoplewonderingwhatMr Harcourtwasgoingtodowithhispurchase,andifhewouldn'tgiveitbackto Eloise Nothingwasfurtherfromhisthought Hehadboughtittokeep,andhe laiditawayinthebottomofhistrunkwiththehandkerchiefEloisehadused whenhefirstcalleduponher Hewasgrowingmoreandmoreinlovewithherandmoreunwillingtoleave Crompton Hehadalreadystaidlongerthanhehadatfirstintended,butitdid notneedHoward'surgentinvitationforhimtoprolonghisvisit Everydayhe wenttoMrs Biggs's,andsometimestwiceaday,andtookEloiseoutinherarmchairforanairing,—onceasfarastotheschool-housewhereRubyAnnstill presided,andwhereEloisehopedsoontotakeupherduties Shewasvery happy,orwouldhavebeenifshecouldhaveheardfromCalifornia Everyday shehopedfornews,andeverydaywasdisappointed,untilatlastnearlyaweek aftertheRummagealettercameforwardedbyhergrandmotherfromMayville ItwasfromaphysiciantowhomEloisehadtwicewrittenwithregardtoher mother,andthiswashisreply: "Portland,Oregon,September—,18— "MyDearMissSmith: "IleftSanFranciscoseveralmonthsagoandhavebeenstoppinginseveral places,andthatiswhyyourlettersweresolonginreachingme Theybothcame inthesamemail,andIwrotetoSanFranciscotoseewhatIcouldlearnwith regardtoyourmother ItseemsthattheprivateasylumofDr Hayneswas brokenup,astherewereonlythreepatientswhenMrs Smithleft,anditdidnot pay SoonafteryourfatherdiedinSantaBarbara,yourmotherwasremoved fromtheasylumbyagentlemanwhosenameIhavethusfarbeenunableto learn Ithoughtitmusthavebeensomerelative,butifyouknownothingofit mytheoryiswrong Dr HayneswentatoncewithhisfamilytoEurope,andis travellingonthecontinent Hisaddressis,CareofMunroe&Co.,Bankers,7 RueScribe Paris Writehimagain,ashemustknowwhotookyourmotherfrom hiscare HemaynotbeinParisnow,butyourletterwillreachhimintime If thereisanythingIcandotohelpyou,Iwillgladlydoit IfyouwereinSan Franciscoyoumightfindsomeoftheattendantsintheasylum,whocouldgive youtheinformationyoudesire "Yours,verytruly, "J.P ALLING,M.D." ItwasRubywhobroughttheletteroneeveningtwoorthreedaysbeforeEloise expectedtomakeherfirstappearanceinschool Mrs BiggsandTimwereout andEloisewasalone Tearingopentheenvelope,shereaditquickly,andthen withthebitterestcryRubyhadeverheard,coveredherfacewithherhandsand sobbed:"Mymother!Oh,mymother!" "Isshedead?"Rubyasked,andEloisereplied,"Worsethanthat,perhaps Idon't knowwheresheis Readwhatitsays." ShegavethelettertoRuby,whoreadittwice;then,sittingdownbyEloiseand passingherarmaroundher,shesaid,"Idon'tunderstandwhatitmeans Was yourmotherinalunaticasylum?" "Oh,don'tcallitthat!"Eloiseanswered "ItwasaprivateasyluminSan Francisco,—veryprivateandselect,fathersaid,butIneverquitebelievedher crazy Shewasalwaysquietandsadandpeculiar,andhatedthebusiness,andso didI." "Whatwasthebusiness?"Rubyasked,andEloiseansweredhesitatingly,asifit weresomethingofwhichtobeashamed,"Shesanginpublicwithatroupe,—his troupe Hemadeher Shewasthestaranddrewbighouses,shewassobeautiful andsangsosweetly,withoutanyapparenteffort Itwasjustlikeabird,and whenshesangtheSouthernmelodiessheseemedtobeinatrance,seeingthings wecouldnotsee Itmademecrytohearher Iknowmanygoodwomenare publicsingers,butmothershrankfromit,andwhentheycheeredlikemadthere usedtobeafrightenedlookinhereyes,asifshewonderedwhytheyweredoing itandwantedtohide,andwhenshegottoourroomsshe'dtrembleandbeso coldandcry,whilefathersometimesscoldedandsometimeslaughedather He triedtomakemesingonce Ihaveafairvoice,butIrebelledandsaidI'drun awaybeforeI'ddoit Hewasveryangry,andsentmeNorthtomygrandmother, sayingIwastoogreatanexpensetokeepwithhimunlessIwouldhelp,andwas ahindrancetomymother,whowasalwayssoanxiousaboutme Itnearlykilled hertopartwithme Iwasallthecomfortshehad,shesaid,andshealways calledmeBaby Fatherwasnotkindtoher,anditseemedasifhehatedme,and wasjealousofmother'sloveforme WhenIheardhewasdead,Icouldnotfeel badly,asIought,anddidnotcry Hewasaveryhandsomeman,andverynice withpeople,whothoughtmymotheramostfortunatewomantohaveso polishedandcourteousahusband TheyshouldhaveseenhimasIsawhimat times,andheardhimswear,asIhaveheardhim,andcallhernamestillshewas whiteasacorpseandfainted Ineversawherturnuponhimbutonce Ihad askedherwhyshedidn'tleavehimandgohome,ifshehadanytogoto That waswhenIwasalittlegirl "'Ihavenohomeorfriendsinallthewideworldtogoto'shesaid,andthen, withasneerwhichwasmaddening,itmeantsomuch,myfathersaid,'Askher whoherfatherwasandseeifshecantellyou.' "Ididn'tknowthenwhathemeanttoinsinuate,butmotherdid,andtherecamea lookintohereyeswhichfrightenedme,andhervoicewasnotmother'satall,as shewalkedstraightuptohimandsaid,'Howdareyouinsultmymother!' "Shelookedlikeanenragedanimal,andmyfathermusthavebeenafraidshe wouldattackhim,forhetriedtosootheherandsucceededatlastindoingso I thinktherewassomemysteryaboutherfatherandmother,asshewouldnever talkofthem OnceIaskedheraboutthem,andshesaidshehadn'tany;andshe lookedsostrangethatIneveraskedheragain IknewshewasbornSouth,that herpeoplewerepoor,andhernameHarris,andthatisallIknow,exceptthatno betterorlovelierwomaneverlived,andifsheisreallycrazyfathermadeherso, andIcannotfeelanyloveforhim,orrespect IfIeverhadany,andIsupposeI musthavehad,hekilleditlongago ThefirstthingIrememberofhiminRome, whereIwasborn,hewaspractisingsomemusicwithmother,—playingforher whileshesang,andIwasstandingbyhim,puttingmyhandsonhisarmand tryingtohumthetune Withajerkhesaidtomynurse,'Takeherawayandkeep heraway.' "Iamwicked,Iknow,totalkasIamdoing,butitseemsasiftherewasaspell overmeurgingmetosaythingsIneverthoughtofsaying It'sacomforttotalk tosomeonewhoIknowismyfriend,andyouaresostrongeverywayandhave beensogoodtome." ShelaidherheadonRuby'sarmlikeatiredchild,andcontinued,"Iwroteto motherveryoftenafterIcametoMayville,andshereplied,tellingmehowshe missedme,andhowshealwaysfixedhereyesonsomepartofthehouse, fancyingshesawme,andwassingingtome,andIusedtolistennightsand thinkIheardhergrandvoiceasitroseandfell,andthepeoplecheering,andshe sobeautifulstandingthereforthecrowdtogazeat,andwishingshecouldget awayfromitall "Atlastherlettersceasedandfatherwrotethathermindhadgivenway suddenly;—thatshewasaravingmaniac,—dangerous,Ithinkhesaid,—andI thoughtofthewayshelookedathimoncewhenIwasachild,andhetoldmeto askheraboutherfather HesaidshewasinDr Haynes'sprivateasylum,where shehadthekindestofcare IthinkIdiedmanydeathsinonewhenIheardthat I wroteheragainandagain,andwantedtogotoher,butmyfatherforbadeit No onesawher,hesaid,exceptherattendantandthephysician,—notevenhimself, asthesightofhimthrewherintoparoxysms Ididn'twonderatthat Hesentmy lettersback,tellingmeshewouldnotsensethem,andtheywouldexciteherif shedid Heronlychanceofrecoverywasinherbeingkeptperfectlyquiet,with nothingtoremindherofthepast "AfewmonthsagohediedsuddenlyinSantaBarbara Oneofthetroupewrote tograndma,and,asItoldyou,Ididnotcry;Icouldn't Iwastooanxiousabout mother,andwroteatoncetoDr Haynes,butreceivednoanswer Iwaiteda whileandwroteagain,withthesameresult ThenIrememberedDr Alling,who hadattendedmeforsomeslightailment,andwrotetohim,withtheresultyou know Someonehastakenmymotheraway Whowasit,andwhereisshe?Ifeel asifIweregoingmadwhenIthinkofthepossibilities." Shepressedherhandstoherheadandrockedtoandfro,whileRubytriedto quietandcomforther "ImustgotoSanFranciscoandfindmymother Iwouldstartto-morrow,lame asIam,onlyIhaven'tthemoney,andgrandmahasn'tit,either,"shesaid "Fathermadeagreatdealofmoneyattimes,buthespentitasfreely Always stoppedatthebesthotels;hadasuiteofrooms,withourmealsservedinthem; drankthecostliestwines,andsmokedthemostexpensivecigars,andbought mothersuchbeautifuldresses Ididnotfaresowell Anythingwasgoodenough formeafterIrefusedtosinginpublic,andthatwasanaddedsourceoftrouble tomymother Iwasalwaysaboneofcontentionanditwas,perhaps,aswellin somerespectsthatIwassentaway,onlymothermissedmeso Iwassogladto getthisschool,becauseitwouldgivemesomethingformymother,whomI hopedtobringhomebeforelong Andnow,Idon'tknowwheresheis,butI mustfindher Oh,whatshallIdo?" ItwasnotoftenthatEloisetalkedofherselfandheraffairs Atschoolin Mayvilleshehadbeenveryreticentwithregardtoherpast,andhadseldom mentionedeitherherfatherorhermother WithMrs Biggsshehadbeenequally silent,and,tryasshewould,thegoodwomanhadneverbeenabletolearn anythingbeyondwhatEloisehadfirsttoldher,—thatherfatherwasdeadandher motherinCalifornia;—inasanitarium,Mrs Biggshadfinallydecided,andlet thematterdrop,thinkingsheshouldsometimeknow"iftherewasanythingto know."RubyAnnhadfromthefirstseemedtoEloiselikeonetobetrusted,and shefeltareliefintalkingtoher,andsaidmorethanshehadatfirstintendedto say ForamomentRubywassilent,whileEloise'sheadlayonherarmandEloise's handwasholdinghers Shewasthinkingofthepianoshewantedtobuy,the moneyforwhichwasintheCromptonbank Therewasastruggleinhermind, andthenshesaid,"Icanloanyouthemoney Iknowyouwillpayitbackifyou live,andifyoudon't,nomatter Iwillnotcallitalossifitdoesyouanygood." AtfirstEloisedemurred,longingtoacceptthegenerousoffer,andfearingthat sheoughtnot ButRubyovercameherscruples "NaturallyIshallkeepyourplaceinschool,soIoweyousomethingforthe business,don'tyousee?"shesaid Eloisedidnotquitesee,butsheyieldedatlast,forherneedwasgreat "Idon'tthinkI'dtellMrs Biggsallthesadstory,unlessyouwantthewhole towntoknowit Tellheryouhavehadbadnewsfromyourmother,andare goingtoher,"Rubysuggested,whenatlastshesaidgood-nightandwentout, justasMrs Biggscamein "Goin'away!Goin'toCaliforny!Yourmothersick!What'sthematter,andhow underthesunareyougoin'alone,limpin'asyoudo?IknewRubyAnnwould managetokeeptheschoolifsheoncegotit!"weresomeofMrs Biggs's exclamationswhentoldEloisewastoleaveher Eloiseparriedherquestionsveryskilfully,sayingnothingexceptthathermother neededherandshewasgoingtoher,andMrs Biggslefthermoremystified thanshehadeverbeeninherlife,butresolved"togetatthebottomifshelived." ThatnightEloise,whowasnowsleepinginthechambertowhichshehadfirst beentaken,satalongtimebyherwindow,lookingoutuponthetowersand chimneysofCromptonPlace,whichwerevisibleabovethetreesinthepark,and wonderingatthefeelingofunrestwhichpossessedher,andherunwillingnessto leave "IfIcouldonlyseehimoncemorebeforeIgo,"shethought,the"him"being Jack,who,withHowardCrompton,wasinWorcester,attendingamusical festival NottoseehimwasthesaddestpartofleavingCrompton,andforamomenthot tearsrolleddownhercheeks,—tearswhich,ifJackcouldhaveseenandknown theircause,wouldhavebroughthimbackfromWorcesterandtheprimadonna whothatnightwasentrancingacrowdedhousewithhersong Dashinghertears away,Eloise'sthoughtsrevertedtoAmy,whohadbeensokindtoher "Ihopedtothankherinperson,"shesaid,"butasthatisimpossible,Imustwrite heranoteforTimtotakeinthemorning,togetherwiththechairs." Thenotewaswritten,andinitaregretexpressedthatEloisecouldnothaveseen her "Maybewhenshereadsitshewillcalluponmeto-morrow,"shethought,asshe directedthenote,andthatnightshedreamedthatAmycametoher,withaface andvoicesolikehermother'sthatshewokewithastartandafeelingthatshe hadreallyseenhermother,assheusedtostandbeforethefootlights,whilethe houserangwiththundersofapplause CHAPTERII THELITTLEREDCLOAK Col Cromptonwasinabadway,bothmentallyandbodily Thepaininhis goutyfoothadextendedtohisknee,andwasexcruciatingintheextreme;buthe almostforgotitinthegreatertroubleinhismind Inthesamemailwhichhad broughtEloise'sletterfromCaliforniatherehadbeenoneforhim,whichinthe morningPeterhadtakenfromthepostmanandexaminedcarefully,untilhe madeoutitsdirection "MisterKurnelKrompton,ofKromptonPlais,Krompton,Massachusetts." Somuchroomhadbeentakenupononesideoftheenvelopewiththeaddress, thathalfof"Massachusetts"wasontheotherside,andPeter'smemoryinstantly wentbacktoyearsbefore,whenaletterlookinglikethisandodorouswithbad tobaccohadcometotheColonel Hehadacopyoftheletterstill,andcould repeatitbyheart,andknewthatitwasfromJakeHarris,—presumablythe "Shaky"forwhomthelittlegirlEudorahadcriedsopitifully Thiswas undoubtedlyfromthesamesource "Whatcanhewantnow?andwhatwillthe Colonelsay?"hethought,ashetookthelettertohismaster'sroom "Aletterforyou,sir,"hesaid,puttingitdownuponthetablebytheColonel's chair,andthenlingeringonthepretenceofadjustingacurtainandbrushingup thehearth,butreallywaitingtoseewhateffecttheletterwouldhave Itwasdifferentfromwhatheexpected Withoneglanceatthesuperscription, theColonelgrewdeathlypale,andhishandsshooksothattheletterdropped uponthefloor Peterpickeditupandhandedittohim,saying,"CanIhelpyou, sir?" "Yes,byleavingme,andholdingyourtongue!There'sthedeviltopay!"wasthe answer Peterwasaccustomedtohearingofhismaster'sdebtsinthatdirection,andto beingtoldtoholdhistongue,andheanswered,"Allright,sir,"andlefttheroom ForsomemomentstheColonelsatperfectlystill,hisheartbeatingsofastthathe couldscarcelybreathe ThenheopenedJake'sletter,andreadasfollows: "PalmettoClarin',Oct —,18— "MisterKurnelKrompton, "DeerSir: "GlorytoGod I'sedonesungalldayforhismussyinlettin'meheerfromlil MissDoryonc'tmo'an''noin'sheain'tdedasIfearedshewas Mas'rMinister Mason,whodone'tendedthefuneraloft'otherMissDorydonetolemehow she'slivin'withyou,an'aliloffinhermind Thelam'!Whathappenedher,I wonder?Hergranny,oleMissLucy,wasquar AlltheHarriseswasquar Mebby shegotitfromthem Asiteofmewillcurehersho' TellherI'secomin'tosee herassoonasIhearfromyouthatitisher,sho' Tharmightbesomemistake, an'Idoan'wanttotakethelongjourneyfornothin','caseI'mole,tho'Ifeels mightypeartnowwiddenews Ritemewenyougitthis IshallwaittillIhar, an'thenstarttoonc't "Yourstocommand, "JAKEHARRIS." "P.S.—MandyAnn,you'membersher,whattookcareoflilchile She'sagrown womannowincourse,an'hastenchillen,'sidesTed You'membersTed,onde 'Hatty.'No'countatall;butMandyAnn,wall,she'sawhopper,an'whenshe hearsdenuse,she'mosthaddepow' Shesen'sherregrets,an'wouldcome,too, ifshehadn'tsomanymoufstofeed,an'Teddoin'nothin'butplayin'gemman "Onc'tmo',yours, "JAKE." TodescribetheColonel'sstateofmindashereadthisletterisimpossible He forgotthepaininhislegandkneeinthegreatersensationofthecold,prickly feelingwhichranthroughhisveins,makinghisfingersfeellikesticks,and powerlesstoholdtheletter,whichdroppedtothefloor Witheveryyearhehad huggedcloserandcloserthesecretofhislife,becomingmoreandmoremorbid andmorefearful,lestinsomewayhisconnectionwiththepalmettoclearing shouldbeknownandhefallfromthehighpedestalonwhichhehadstoodso long,andfromwhichhisfallwouldbegreaterbecausehehadbeenthereso long Itwouldallberightafterhewasdead Hehadseentothat,anddidn'tcare whattheworldwouldsaywhenhewasnotalivetohearit Buthewasvery muchalivenow,andhissinbadefairtofindhimout "JustasIfearedwhenthatrectortoldmewhohisfatherwas,"hethought, cursingthechancewhichhadsenttheRev ArthurMasontoCrompton,— cursingtheRev CharlesforgivinginformationtoJake,—andcursingJakefor theletter,whichhespurnedwithhiswellfoot,asitlayonthefloor Hehad hopedthenegromightbedead,ashehadheardnothingfromhiminalongtime; andherehewas,aliveandwaitingforawordtocome "Ifhewaitsforthathe willwaittoalleternity,"hesaidtohimself "Ishallwriteandmakeitworthhis whiletostaywhereheis HeknowstoomuchofAmy'sbirthandhermother's deathtobetrustedhere Uncertaintyisbetterthanthetruth Ihavemadematters rightforAmy,andconfessedeverything They'llfinditwhenI'mgone,andcan wagtheirtonguesalltheyplease Itwon'thurtmethen,butwhileIliveI'llkeep upthefarce Itmighthavebeenbettertohavetoldthetruthatfirst,butIdidn't, andit'stoolatenow Whointhunderisthatknockingatthedoor?NotAmy,I hope,—andIcan'treachthatletter,"hecontinued,astherecamealowrapatthe door "Comein!"hecalled,whenitwasrepeated,andCora,thehousemaid,entered Shehadbeeninthefamilybutafewdaysanddidnotyetunderstandherduties withregardtotheColonel,andknowthatshewasnottotroublehim TimBiggs hadbeencommissionedbyEloisetotakehernotetoMrs Amy,togetherwith thechairs "Youcan'tcarrybothatonetime,sotaketheseathismorning,andthewheel thisafternoon,"Mrs Biggssaid,justasTomWalkerappeared HehadbeentothehousetwoorthreetimessincetheRummage,ostensiblyto askwhenEloisewasgoingtocommenceherdutiesasteacher,butreallytosee herandhearherpleasant"Good-morning,Thomas,Iamgladtoseeyou." WhateverMrs BiggsknewwassoonknowntohalfofDistrictNo 5,andthe newsthatEloisewasgoingtoCaliforniahadreachedTom,andbroughthimto inquireifitweretrue "Andwon'tyoucomeback?"heasked,withrealconcernonhishomelyface "Perhapsso Ihopeso,"Eloisereplied,andhecontinued,"I'mall-firedsorryyou aregoin',because,—well,becauseIam;andIwishIcoulddosomethingfor you." "Youcan,"Eloisesaid "YoucantakethewheelchairbacktotheCrompton HouseandsaveTimonejourney." TomcaredverylittleaboutsavingTim,buthewoulddoanythingtoserve Eloise,andthetwoboysweresoonontheirway,quarrellingsomeastheywent, foreachwasjealousoftheother'sattentiontothe"littleschoolmarm,"asthey calledher Tomreachedthehousefirst,butTimwasnotfarbehind,andboth encounteredCora,whobadethemleavethechairsinthehall,whilesheinquired astotheirdisposition HadPeterbeeninsightshemighthaveconsultedhim,but hewasinthegrounds,and,enteringtheColonel'sroomshesaid,"Ifyouplease, sir,whatshallIdowiththechairs?" "Whatchairs?"theColonelasked,andCorareplied,"Aseachair,Ithink,anda wheelchair,whichTomWalkerandTimBiggshavejustbroughthome." "Myseachair,andmywheelchair!Howinthundercanthatbe,whenI'msitting inthewheel,andhowcameTomWalker,thebiggestrascalintown,bymy chairs,orTimBiggseither?"theColonelexclaimed;andCorareplied,"Ithink theysaidtheschoolma'amhadthem Here'sanotefromhertoMrs Amy." SincehislastattackofthegouttheColonelhadinameasureforgottenEloise, andceasedtocarewhethershewererootedandgroundedinthefundamentalsor not ThatHowardandJackhadbeeninthehabitofcallinguponherhedidnot suspect,andmuchlessthatforthelasttwoweeksormoreshehadbeenenjoying hisseachair,andthefruitandflowerssentherwithMrs Amy'scompliments At thementionofherherousedatonce "Thatgirlhadmychair!Howthedevilcameshebyit?AnoteforMrs Amy! Giveittome,andpickupthatpaperonthefloorandgo!" Corawasnotlonginobeying,andtheirascibleoldmanwasagainalone First tearingJake'sletterinstrips,heturnedEloise'snoteoverinhishand,andread, "Mrs AmySmith,CromptonPlace."Thename"Smith"alwaysmadehimangry, andherepeateditwithaquickshuttingtogetherofhisteeth "Smith!"hesaid,"Ican'tabideit!AndwhathasshetosaytoMrs Smith?" Thenotewasnotsealed,andwithouttheleasthesitancyheopeneditandread, commentingashedidso "MydearMrs Smith."(HerdearMrs Smith!Ilikethat.)"Iamgoingaway (Gladtohearit)andIwishtothankyouforthemanythingsyouhavesentme (Thedeuceshehas!Ididn'tknowit.)TheprettyhatIwanttokeep,withthe slippers,whichremindmeofmymother (Slippers,—remindherofhermother, who,Idaresay,neverworeanythingbutbigshoes,andcoarseatthat,"the Colonelgrowled,andreadon.)ThechairsIreturn,withmythanksforthem,and thefruitandflowersandbooks Iwouldlikesomuchtoseeyou,andthankyou personally,butasthiscannotbeImustdoitonpaper BeassuredIshallnever forgetyourkindnesstome,astranger "Yourverytruly, "E.A SMITH." "Smithagain!E.A Smith!"theColonelsaid "Whycouldn'tshewriteherwhole name?E.A.,ELIZAANN,ofcourse!That'swhosheis,ELIZAANNSMITH!" IftherewasonenamehedislikedasmuchashedidSmith,itwasElizaAnn, andherepeateditagain:"ELIZAANNSMITH!Fruitandflowersandbooks, andshoesandmyseachairandawheelchairsenttoherbyAmy!Wheredidshe getthewheel,I'dliketoknow?Idon'tbelieveit!"headded,asasuddenlight brokeuponhim "It'sthatdogHoward'swork,andthatotherchap." Ringingthebellwhichstoodonthetablebesidehim,hebadeCora,who appeared,tosendMrs Amytohim Amyhadnotsleptwell,andwasmore easilyconfusedthanusual,butshecameandaskedwhathewanted Itdidnot occurtohimtogiveherthenote,whichhekeptinhishandwhilehesaid,ina muchsoftertonethanthatinwhichhehadbeentalkingtohimself,"Haveyou sentthingstoElizaAnnSmith,—fruitandflowersandbooks,andmyseachair andawheelchair,andabonnetandshoes,andtheLordknowswhatelse?" Amywasbewilderedatonce "ElizaAnnSmith!"sherepeated "Idon'tknowher Whoisshe?" "Why,thegirlthatjammedaholeinBrutus'sneckandstainedthecushionsof mycarriage,andbrokeherlegatMrs Biggs's,"theColonelreplied AtthementionofMrs Biggs,Amy'sfacebrightened Sincethedayafterthe accident,whenshesentthehatandslippers,Eloisehadnotbeenmentionedin herpresence,andshehadentirelyforgottenher Nowshewasallinterestagain, andsaid,"Oh,yes;Iremembernow,Poorgirl!Ididsendherahatandsome slippers,whichIhatedbecauseIworethemwhenIsang Didtheyfither?" "LordHarry!HowdoIknow?Itisn'tlikelyyourshoeswouldfither They wouldbeamiletoosmall!"theColonelsaid,andAmyasked,"Doesshewant anything?" "No,"theColonelreplied "Somebodyhassentherflowersandchairsandbooks andthings Shethoughtitwasyouandwishedtothankyou." "ItwasnotI,andIamsorryIforgother,"Amyrejoined,assheturnedtoleave him,withaconfusedfeelinginherbrain,andapangofregretthatshehad perhapsneglectedthelittlegirlatMrs Biggs's OncetheColonelthoughttocallherbackandgiveherthenote Then,thinking itdidnotmatter,helethergowithoutit Justwhatinfluencewasatworkin Amy'smindthatmorningitweredifficulttotell Whateveritwas,itprompted heronherreturntoherroomtotakethelittleredcloakfromtheclosetwhereit waskeptandexamineitcarefully Ithadbeenthebestofitskindwhenitwas bought,and,thoughsomewhatfadedandworn,hadwithstoodtheravagesof timewonderfully Ithadencircledherlikeafriend,bothwhenshewassadand whenshewasgay IthadbeenwrappedaroundtheBaby,ofwhomshenever thoughtwithoutapangandablurbeforehereyes Itwasthedearestarticleshe hadinherwardrobe,andbecauseofthatandbecauseshehadbeensoforgetful, shewouldsendittoElizaAnnSmith! "Butnotforgood,"shesaidtoSarah,whowascommissionedtotakeittoEloise thenextmorning "Shecankeepittillsheiswell Somebodytoldmeshehada sprainedankle Ihadoneonce,andIputitacrossmylapandfoot,itwassosoft andwarm TellherIamsorryIforgotabouther Iamnotalwaysquitemyself." "Sentthatoldredcloakshe'shadeversinceshewaskneehigh!Ishouldn't s'posethere'dbearagofitleft!Shemustbecrazyasaloonto-day,"wasMrs Biggs'scomment,whenSarahtoldhererrand "Whatpossessedher?" Sarahonlyknewthathermistresswasmoredazedthanusualthatmorning,and hadinsisteduponherbringingthecloak "Ithinkitrattledherwhenthechairscameback Shedidn'tknowanythingabout 'em,northeColoneleither,"Sarahsaid Mrs Biggslaughed,andreplied,"Ididn'ts'posetheydid Themyoungmen,I b'lieve,wasatthebottomofit,andIor'tohavetoldMissSmithtosendher thankstothem,butIwasn'tquitesureabouttheseachair SoIletitslide, thinkin'itwasagoodjokeon'emtothankAmy Theypretendedthethingswas fromher." Takingthecloakfromthegirl,shecarrieditintotheroomwhereEloisehad fallenasleep,withherfootrestinguponahassock,andashawlthrownoverit Removingtheshawlandputtingtheredcloakinitsplace,Mrs Biggsstole noiselesslyout,sayingtoherself,"Iguessshe'llwonderwherethatcamefrom whenshewakesup." CHAPTERIII ELOISEATTHECROMPTONHOUSE ForanhourormoreEloiseslepton,andthenawokesuddenlyandsawthe scarletcloakacrossherfoot Atfirstitwasthecolorwhichattractedher Then takingitinherhandsshebegantoexamineit,whiledropsofsweatcameout uponherforeheadandunderherhair Sheknewthatcloak!Shehadwornit manyandmanyatimewhenshewasachild Shehadseenhermotherfoldand packitfarmorecarefully,whentheywerestartingonastarringtour,thanshe didthefinedressessheworeonthestage "Itismymother's,buthowcameithere?"shethought,asshetookitintothe kitchenwheresheheardMrs Biggsatherwork "Wheredidyougetmy mother'scloak?"sheasked Mrs Biggs,whoalwayswashedonSaturdays,hadjustputTim'sshirtthrough thewringer Holdingitatarm'slengthwithonehandandsteadyingherselfon thesideofthetubwiththeother,shestaredblanklyatEloiseforamoment,and thensaid,"Yourmother'scloak!Childalive,that'sMrs Amy's I'veseenher wearitahundredtimeswhenshewasalittlegirl Shehasgotonaspellofgivin' thismornin',andsentittoyoubySarah She'skep'itwellalltheseyears What ailsyou?"shecontinued,asEloise'sfacegrewaswhiteastheclothesinMrs Biggs'sbasket Rayafterrayoflightwaspenetratinghermind,makingherwondershehadnot seenitbefore,andbringingapossibilitywhichmadeherbrainreelfora moment "Sitdown,"Mrs Biggscontinued,"andtellmewhyyouthinkthisisyour mother'scloak." "Iknowitis,"Eloiseanswered "Ihavewornitsomanytimes,andonceItorea longrentintheliningandmotherdarnedit Itishere,—see!" Sheshowedtheplaceinthesilkliningwhereatearhadbeenandwasmended "FortheLord'ssake,whobeyou?"Mrs Biggsexclaimed,stillflourishingTim's shirt,whichshefinallydroppedbackintothetub,andinherexcitementcame nearsittingdowninapailofbluingwaterinsteadofachair "IamEloiseAlbertinaSmith,andmyfatherwasHomerSmith,andmymother wasEudoraHarrisfromFlorida,andsanginconcerts,andlosthermind,and wasinaprivateasyluminSanFrancisco,andmyfatherdied,andastrangeman tookheroutafewmonthsago Ididnotknowwhereshewas,andwasgoingto Californiatofindher IbelieveyourMrs Amyisshe,andIamgoingtothe CromptonHousetoinquire!" "ForHeaven'ssake!"wasMrs Biggs'snextejaculation "HarriswasAmy's namebeforeshewascalledCrompton,andhernameisAmyEudora,too;butI neverheardshehadagirl." "Yes,shehad,andIamthatgirl,"Eloisesaid,"andIamgoinguptherenow, rightoff!" "Youcan'twalk,"Mrs Biggssuggested "Thatanklewouldturnbeforeyougot halfwaythere Ifyoumustgo,—andIbelieveIwould,—Timwillgitarigfrom thelivery Here,Tim,"shecalled,assheheardhimwhistlinginthewoodshed, "runtoMiller'sandgitacarriageandaspan,quickasyoucan,—agoodone, too,"sheadded,asthepossibilitygrewuponherthatEloisemightbelongtothe Cromptons,andifso,oughttogoupinstyle ItdidnottakelongforTimtoexecutehismother'sorder,andthebestturn-out fromMiller'sstablesoonstoodbeforethedoor "Ib'lieveI'llgo,too Thewashin'willkeep,andthiswon't,"thewidowsaid, beginningtochangeherwork-dressforabetterone Eloisewastoomuchexcitedtocarewhowentwithher,andwithMrs Biggsshe wassoondrivingupthebroadavenueunderthestatelymaplestothedoorofthe CromptonHouse Petersawthecarriage,andthinkingitcamefromtownwith callersonAmy,wentouttosayshecouldnotseethem,asshewasnotfeeling wellandwaslyingdown "ButImustseeher,"Eloisesaid,alightingfirstandbrushingpasthim,whilehe stoodopen-mouthedwithsurprise "ShethinkssheisAmy'sgirl,and,Iswan,Ibegintothinkso,too,"Mrs Biggs said,tryingtoexplainandgettingthingsagooddealmixed,andsobewildering theoldmanthathepaidnoattentiontoEloise,who,withthecloakonherarm, wasinthehallandsayingtoamaidwhomether,"TakemetoMrs Amy." Allhertimiditywasgone,asshegavetheorderlikeonewhofeltperfectlyat home "Mrs Amyisasleep,andIdon'tliketodisturbher Sheisunusuallynervousthis morning WillyouseetheColonelinstead?"thegirlsaid,awedbyEloise'sairof authority "MybusinessiswithMrs Amy,butperhapsI'dbetterseeCol Cromptonfirst," shereplied Mrs BiggsandPeterwereinthehousebythistime,andheardwhatEloisewas saying "Betternot,"Peterbegan "Idon'tknowasyoucanseehim Youstayhere I'll inquire." Hestartedupthestairs,followedbyEloise,whohadnoideaofstayingbehind "Wait,"hesaid,motioningherbackashereachedtheColonel'sdoor,andsaw herclosebesidehim "Letmegoinfirst." HeleftthedoorajarandwalkedintotheroomwheretheColonelwassittingjust ashehadsatthemorningbefore,whenJake'sletterandEloise'snotewere broughttohim Hehadnotsleptatallduringthenight,andwasinatrembling condition,withafeelingofnumbnessinhislimbswhichhedidnotlike "Well?"hesaidsharply,asPetercamein,andhesawbyhisfacethatsomething hadhappened "What'supnow?" "Nothing,butMissSmith,theteacher,"Peterreplied "Shewantstoseeyou." "MissSmith,thenormal?DoyoumeanElizaAnn?Tellhertogoaway Ican't seeanybody,"theColonelsaid "I'lltellher,butI'mafraidshewon'tgo,"Peterreplied,startingforthedoor, throughwhichalittlefigurecamesoswiftlyasnearlytoknockhimdown,and Eloise,whohadforgottenherlameness,stoodbeforetheastonishedColonel,her faceglowingwithexcitement,andhereyesshininglikestarsassheconfronted him Oldashewas,theColonelwasnotinsensibletofemalebeauty,andtherare lovelinessofthisyounggirlmovedhimwithsomethinglikeadmiration,and madehisvoicealittlesofterashesaid,"AreyouElizaAnnSmith?Whatdoyou want?" "IamnotElizaAnn,"Eloiseansweredquickly "IamEloiseAlbertinaSmith MyfatherwasHomerSmith;mymotherwasEudoraHarris,fromFlorida,a concertsinger,tillshelosthermindandwasputinaprivateasyluminSan Francisco Youtookherout,andsheishere YoucallherMrs Amy Shenever toldmeofyou Idon'tknowwhy Shenevertalkedmuchofhergirlhood Idon't thinkshewasveryhappy Shesentmethiscloak,andthat'showIknewshewas here Ihavewornitmanytimeswhenachild Iknewitinamoment,andIhave cometoseeher Whereisshe?" ThiswasworsethanJake'sletter,andeverynerveintheColonel'sbodywas quiveringwithexcitement,andhefeltasifahundredpricklysensationswere chasingeachotherupanddownhisarmsandlegs,andmakinghistonguethick ashetriedtocallforPeter Succeedingatlast,hesaidfaintly,"Takethisgirl awaybeforeshekillsme." "Ishallnotgo,"Eloiserejoined,"untilIseemymother Itellyousheismy mother Hassheneverspokenofme?" "Never,"theColonelanswered "Shehastalkedofababywhodied,andyouare notdead." "No,butIamBaby,—herpetnameformealways Whysheshouldthinkme dead,Idon'tknow Sendforher,andseeifshedoesnotknowme." Shehadcomeclosetothetremblingoldman,andputoneofherhandsonhis cold,clammyone Hedidn'tshakeitoff,butlookedatherwithanexpressionin hiseyeswhichrousedhersympathy "Idon'tmeananyharm,"shesaid "Ionlywantmymother Sendforher, please." TherewasamotionofassenttowardPeter,wholefttheroom,encounteringMrs Biggsoutsidethedoor Therewastoomuchgoingonforhernottohaveahand init,andshestoodlisteningandwaitingtillAmycamedownthehall,herwhite cashmerewrappertrailingsoftlybehindher,andherhaircoiledunderapretty invalidcap Shehadbeenrousedfromasoundsleep,whichhadclearedher brainsomewhat,andwhentoldtheColonelwishedtoseeher,sheroseatonce andstartedtogotohim,fearinghewasworse Heheardhercoming,andbraced himselfup Eloiseheardher,and,withherheadthrownbackandherhands claspedtogether,stoodwaitingforher ForamomentAmydidnotseeher,so absorbedwassheintheexpressionoftheColonel,whowaswatchingher intently Whenatlastshedidseeher,shestartedsuddenly,whileastrangelight leapedintohereyes Thenawild,gladcryof"Baby!Baby!"rangthroughthe room,andwasansweredbyoneof"Mother!Mother!"asthetwowomensprang toeachother'sarms Amywasthefirsttorecoverherself TurningEloisearoundandexaminingher minutely,shesaid,"Ithoughtyoudead Hetoldmeso,andeverythinghasbeen ablanktomesince." "Youseesheismymother!"EloisesaidtotheColonel;"andifsheisyour daughter,youmustbemygrandfather!" IftheColonelhadbeencarvedinstonehecouldnothavesatmoremotionless thanhedid,givingnosignthatheheard "Nomatter!Ishallfinditalloutformyself,"Eloisecontinued,assheturned againtohermother,whowasexaminingtheredcloakasifshewonderedhowit camethere Thementionof"findingitout"affectedtheColonelmorethananythingelsehad done Amyhadsaidthesamethingtohimonce Shehadnotfounditout,but thisslipofagirlwould,hewassure,andwithsomethinglikeagroanhesank backinhischairwithacallforPeter "Takethemaway,"hesaidhuskily "Ican'tbearanymore,and,—and,—thegirl muststay,ifAmywantsher,andbringmeahot-waterbag,—twoofthem,—I wasneversocoldinmylife." Peternoddedthatheunderstood,and,ringingthebellforAmy'smaid,badeher takehermistresstoherroom,andtheyounglady,too "SheisMrs Amy's daughter,"headded Therewasnoneedtotellthis,forMrs Biggshaddoneherduty,andevery servantinthehousehadheardthenewsandwasanxioustoseethestranger Amywasalwaysatherbestinherownroom,whereSarahleftheralonewith Eloise,andhastenedawaytogossipwithMrs BiggsandPeter Theshock, insteadofmakingAmyworse,hadforthetimebeingclearedherbraintosome extent,sothatshewasabletotalkquiterationallytoEloise,whosefirstquestion waswhyshehadthoughtherdead "Iwassohomesickforyou,andcriedso muchafteryouwentawaythathewasangryandhardwithme,—veryhard,— andIsaidatlastifhedidn'tsendforyouI'dneversingagain,andmeantit,too," Amyreplied "ItwasatLosAngelesonaconcertnight Imusthavebeenpretty bad,andheseemedhalfafraidofme,andfinallytoldmeyouweredead,and hadbeenforthreeweeks,andthathehadmeanttokeepitfrommetillthe seasonwasover Ibelievedhim,andsomethingsnappedinmyheadandletina painandnoisewhichhaveneverleftit;buttheywillnowIhavefoundyou I wentbeforethefootlightsoncethatnight,andthestagewasfullofcoffinsin whichyoulay,andIsawthelittlegraveintheNewEnglandcemeterywherehe saidyouwereburied AtlastIfainted,andhaveneversungagain Theywere verykindtomeatDr Haynes's,wherehecameoftentoseemetillIheardhe wasdead Iwasnotsorry;hehadbeenso,—so—Ican'texplain." "Iknow,"Eloisesaid,rememberingherfather'smannertowardthisweak,timid woman,whowenton:"ThenCol Cromptoncameandbroughtmehome Iused tolivehereyearsagoandcalledhimfather,tillhesaidhewasnotmyfather I nevertoldyouofhim,orthatthiswasoncemyhome,althoughIdescribedthe placetoyouassomethingIhadseen IfhewerenotmyfatherIdidnotwantto knowwhowas,anddidnotwanttotalkaboutit,andafterImarriedMr Smithit wasverydreadful HehatedtheColonelwhenhefoundhecouldnotgetmoney fromhim,andsometimestauntedmewithmybirth,sayingIwasaHarrisanda Cracker;butthecruelestofallwastellingmeyouweredead Whydidhedoit?" "Ithinkyourfrettingformeirritatedhim,andhefearedyoumightneversing againunlesshesentforme,andhedidnotwantme,"Eloisesaid "Henever wantedme Hewasabadman,andIcouldnotfeelsorrywhenhedied." "Youneedn't,"Amyexclaimedexcitedly,and,gettingupshebegantowalkthe floorasshecontinued,"Itistimethingswereclearedup Iamnotafraidofhim now,althoughIwaswhenhewasliving HebrokeallthespiritIhad,tillthe soundofhisvoicewhenhewasangrymademeshake ThankGodhewasnot yourfather!therehasbeenalieallthetime,andthatworeuponme Yourfather, —AdolphCandida,—islyingintheProtestantburying-groundinRome." Graspinghermother'sarmEloisecried,"Oh,mother,whatisthisyouaresaying, andwhyhaveIneverhearditbefore?" Amyhadbeentolerablyclearinherconversationuptothispoint,butshewas gettingtired,anditwasalong,ramblingstoryshetold,withmanydigressions andmuchirrelevantmatter,butEloisemanagedtofollowherandgetafairly correctversionofthetruth Candida,whomAmyloveddevotedly,andwith whomshehadbeenveryhappy,haddiedafterabriefillnesswhenEloisewasan infant HomerSmith,thehandsomeAmerican,whohadattachedhimselftothe Candidas,wasverykindtotheyoungwidow,whomheinducedtomarryhim, andtoletherlittlegirltakehisname "Idon'tknowwhyIdidthat,"Amysaid;"onlyhealwaysmademedowhathe pleased,andhepretendedtoloveyousomuch,andhedidn'twanthisfriendsto knowhewasmysecondhusbandwhenhecametoAmerica Icouldn't understandthat,butIyielded,asIdidineverything Heseemedtohatethename ofCandida,andwasjealousofhiminhisgrave,andwouldneverletmespeak ofhim Ithinkhewascrazy,andhesaidIwas,andshutmeup Heoncewroteto Col Cromptonformoneyandgotadreadfulletter,tellinghimtogotothatplace whereIamafraidhehasgone,andsayingIwaswelcometocomehomeany time,ifIwouldleavethesingingmaster Therewasabadwordbeforethe 'singing,'whichIcan'tspeak Imeanttogohomesometimeandtakeyouwith me Ihatedthestage,andthepaingotinmyhead,andIforgotsomanythings afterhesaidyouweredead,butneverforgotyou,althoughIdidn'ttalkabout youmuch Icouldn't,forabunchcameinmythroatandchokedme,andmy headseemedtoopenandshutonthetopwhenIthoughtofyou Col Crompton hasbeenverykindtomesinceIcame Ithinknowheismyfather Iaskedhim once,andhesaid,No Ibelievedhimthen,andacceptedinmymindsomeMr Harris,forIknewmymotherwasatruewoman Wewillfinditallout,youand I." "Yes,"Eloisereplied,"andthepainwillgoaway,andyouwilltellmemoreof myownfather IknownowwhyInevercouldfeeladaughter'slovefortheother one Doesgrandmotherknow?Shewasalwayskindtome,andIloveher." Amyshookherhead,andsaid,"Ithinknot,butamnotsure Itwillbeclearerby andby Imustsleepnow." Whenshewastiredshealwaysslept,and,adjustingthecushionsonthesofa, Eloisemadeherliedown,andspreadoverherthelittleredcloakwhichhad beenthemeansofbringingthemtogether "Yes,that'sright CovermewiththedearoldcloakJakeygaveme,"Amysaid sleepily "You'llhelpmefindhim." Eloisedidn'tknowwhoJakeywas,orwhatconnectionhehadwiththecloak; butsheansweredpromptly,"Yes,I'llhelpyoufindhimandeverything." Thusreassured,Amyfellasleep,whileEloisesatbyheruntilstartledbythe entranceofMrs Biggs Thatworthywomanhadbeenbusytellingtheservants everythingsheknewaboutEloisesinceshecametoCrompton,andthatshehad alwaysmistrustedshewassomebodyoutofthecommon Then,asEloisedidnot appear,andthecarriagefromMiller'swasstillwaitingatadollarandahalfan hour,itoccurredtoherthatifEloiseshouldnotprovetobesomebodyoutofthe commonshewouldhavetopaythebill,asshehadorderedtheturn-out Going toAmy'sroom,shewalkedinunannounced,andasked,"Beyougoin'homewith me,orgoin'tostay?" "Idon'tknowwhatIamtodo,"Eloisesaid,startingtoherfeet Amydecidedforher Mrs Biggshadrousedher,and,hearingwhatwaswanted, sheprotestedsovehementlyagainstEloise'sleavingherevenforanhour,that Mrs Biggsdepartedwithouther,thinkingtoherselfassherodeinstatebehind thefleethorses,"ItbeatstheDutchwhatlucksomefolkshave I'velostmy boarder,andRubyAnnhasgottheschool,justasIknewshewould,andmebby I'llhavetopayfortherig IwonderhowlongI'vehadit." CHAPTERIV THESHADOWOFDEATH ThiswasonSaturday,andbyMondaythewholetownofCrompton,from DistrictNo 5tothevillageontheseashore,wasbuzzingwiththenewstold eagerlyfromonetoanother Theyounggirlwhohadsprainedheranklewhile comingtotakechargeoftheschoolinDistrictNo 5had,itwastold,turnedout tobethedaughterofMrs Amy,andwasattheCromptonHousewithher mother,whohadthoughtherdead Thissomebelievedandsomedidnot,until assuredbyMrs Biggs,who,havingdoneherwashingonSaturday,wasfreeon Mondaytocalluponherneighborsandrepeatthestoryoverandover,ending alwayswith,"Imistrustedfromthefirstthatshewassomebody." Thesecondpieceofnewswasscarcelylessexciting,butsad Afterhisinterview withEloise,theColonelhadcomplainedofnauseaandfaintness,andhadgone earlytobed Beforegoing,however,hehadaskedifElizaAnnwerestillinthe house Anideaoncelodgedinhisbrainwasapttostay,andElizaAnnhadtaken toostrongaholduponhissensestobeeasilyremoved "Bringherhere,"hesaid Shecameatonceandaskedwhatshecoulddoforhim "Sitdown,"hesaid "Youseemtobelame." Hehadevidentlyforgottenabouttheaccident,andEloisedidnotremindhimof it,butsatdownwhilehecatechisedherwithregardtowhatshehadtoldhimof herself SomeofhiscommentsonHomerSmithwerenotverycomplimentary, andthisemboldenedEloisetotellhimwhoherrealfatherwas "ThankGod!"hesaidemphatically "I'mgladyouarenotthatrascal's,and becauseyouarenotyoucanstaywithAmyandfareasshefares Butwhydid shethinkyoudead?" Eloisetoldhimallshethoughtnecessarytotellhim,whilehisfacegrewpurple withanger,andhisclenchedfistsbeattheairasifattackinganimaginaryHomer Smith "It'sacomforttoknow,ifthereisaGod—andIknowthereis—heisgettinghis deserts,"hesaid Then,ashismoodchanged,hecontinued,"Andyouarethe littlenormalIdidn'twant,andyouboardwithMrs Biggs?" "Yes,"Eloisereplied "Iamthenormalyoudidnotwant,andIboardwithMrs Biggs,whereIheardagreatdealofMrs Amy,astheycallher Imusthavea slow,stupidmind,orIshouldhavesuspectedwhoshewas Ineverheardthe nameHarrisconnectedwithher IfIhadIshouldhaveknown Itissoclearto menow." TheColonellookedatheramoment,andthensaid,"IfyouareAmy'sdaughter youareaHarris,andtheyarequeer,withslowminds,—andnowgo Iam infernallytired,andcannotkeepupmuchlonger." Hemovedhishandtowardher,andEloisetookitandpressedittoherlips "D-don't,"theColonelsaid,butheldfasttothesoft,warmhandclaspinghis "If one'slifecouldrollback,"headded,moretohimselfthantoEloise,ashishead droppedwearilyuponhisbreast,andhewhispered,"Iamsorryforagreatdeal GodknowsIamsorry CallPeter." Theoldservantcameandgothimtobed,andsatbyhimmostofthenight Towardmorning,findingthathewassleepingquietly,he,too,laydownand sleptuntiltheearlysunwasshiningintotheroom Wakingwithastart,he hurriedtohismaster'sside,tofindhimwithwide-openeyesfullofterrorashe triedtoaskwhathadhappenedtohim Allpowertomoveexcepthisheadwas gone,andwhenhetriedtotalkhislipsgaveonlyinarticulatesoundswhichno onecouldunderstand "Paralysis,"thedoctorsaidwhensummoned "Ihaveexpecteditalongtime,"he continued,andwouldgivenohopetoAmyandEloise,whohastenedtothesickroom ThemomenttheycameintheColonel'seyesbrightened,andwhenAmystooped andkissedhimhetriedtokissherback ThenhefixedhiseyesonEloisewitha questioningglance,whichmadehersaytohim,"Doyouknowme?" Hestruggledhardforamoment,andthenreplied,"Yesh,'LishaAnn!Stay!"and thoseweretheonlyreallyintelligiblewordsheeverspoke TheytelegraphedtoWorcesterforHoward,andlearningthathewasinBoston, telegraphedthere,andfoundhimattheVendome "Comeatonce Youruncleis dying,"thetelegramsaid,andHowardreaditwithasensationforwhichhe hatedhimself,andwhichhecouldnotentirelyshakeoff Hetriedtobelievehe didnotwanthisuncletodie,butifhediddie,whatmightitnotdoforhim,the onlydirectheir,ifAmywerenotalawfuldaughter?Andhedidnotbelieveshe was Shehadnotbeenadopted,andhehadneverheardofawill,andbeforehe wasawareofitafeelingthathewasmasterofCromptonPlacecreptoverhim Amywouldlivethere,ofcourse,justasshedidnow,evenifheshouldmarry,as hemight,andtherecameupbeforehimthememoryofarainynightanda helplesslittlegirlsittingonamoundofstonesanddirtandcryingwithfearand pain HehadseenJack'sinterestinEloisewithoutwardindifference,butwitha growingjealousyhewastooproudtoshow Headmiredhergreatly,andthought thatundersomecircumstanceshemightloveher AsaCromptonheoughtto lookhigher,andifheprovedtobetheheiritwouldneverdotothinkofhereven ifJackwerenotinhisway Allthispassedlikelightningthroughhismindashe readthetelegramandhandedittoJack,who,heinsisted,shouldreturnwithhim toCrompton "Ifeelawfullyshaky,andIwantyouthereifanythinghappens,"hesaid,while Jack,whosefirstthoughthadbeenthathewouldbeintheway,wasnotloathto go EloisewasinCrompton,andeversinceheleftit,athoughtofherhadbeenin hismind "IfIfindherassweetandlovelyasIlefther,I'llaskhertobemywife,andtake herawayfromMrs Biggs,"hewasthinkingasthetrainspedonovertheNew EnglandhillstowardCrompton,whichitreachedabouttwoP.M PeterwasatthestationwithSam,andtoHoward'seagerquestionsanswered, "Prettybad Nochangesincemorning Don'tseemtoknowanybodyexceptMrs AmyandMissEloise She'swithhimallthetime,andhetriestosmilewhenshe speakstohim." "Who?"boththeyoungmenaskedinthesamebreath,andPetertoldthemallhe knewofthematterduringtherapiddrivetothehouse Howardwasincredulous,andmadePeterrepeatthestorytwice,whilehisbrain workedrapidlywithapresentimentthatthisnewcomplicationmightprove adversetohim "Whatdoyouthinkofit?"heaskedJack,whoreplied,"Iseenoreasontodoubt it,"andhewasconsciousofapangofregretthathehadnotaskedEloisetobe hiswifebeforeherchangedcircumstances "ShewouldthenknowthatIlovedherforherself,andnotforanyfamily relations,"hethought HehadnodoubtthatAmywasCol Crompton'sdaughter,andifso,Eloise's positionwouldbeverydifferentfromwhatithadbeen "I'llwaitthecourseofevents,asthisisnotimeforlove-making,"hedecided,as theydroveuptothedoor,fromwhichthedoctorwasjustemerging "Matterofafewhours,"hesaidtoHoward "Iamgladyouhavecome Evidentlyhewantstoseeyou,orwantssomething,nobodycanmakeoutwhat Youhaveheardthenews?" Howardbowed,andenteringthehouse,ranuptohisuncle'sroom TheColonel wasproppedonpillows,laboringforbreath,andtryingtoarticulatewords impossibletospeak,while,ifevereyestalked,hisweretalking,firsttoAmyand thentoEloise,bothofwhomwerebesidehim,Amysmoothinghishairand Eloiserubbinghiscoldhands Theyhadbeenwithhimforhours,tryingtounderstandhimashestruggledto speak "Thereissomethinghewantstotellus,"Eloisesaid,andinhiseyestherewasa lookofaffirmation,whilethelipstriedinvaintoframethewords,whichwere onlygurglingsounds Whatdidthedyingmanwanttosay?Washetryingtorevealasecretkeptso manyyears,andwhichwasplantinghispillowwiththorns?Washebackinthe palmettoclearing,standinginthemoonlightwithDora,andexactingapromise fromherwhichbrokeherheart?Noonecouldguess,andleastofallthetwo womenministeringtohimsotenderly,—Amy,becauseshelovedhim,and Eloise,becauseshefeltthathewasmoretoherthanamerestranger Shewas veryquietandself-contained Theeventsofthelasttwodayshadtransformed herfromatimidgirlintoafearlesswoman,readytofightforherownrightsand thoseofhermother OncewhenAmywasfromtheroomamomentshebent closetotheColonelandsaid,"Youaremymother'sfather?" TherewasachokingsoundandanattempttomovetheheadwhichEloisetook forassent "Thenyouaremygrandfather?"sheadded Thistimeshewassurehenodded,andshesaid,"Itwillallberight Youcanrest now,"buthedidn'trest Therewasmoreonhismindwhichhecouldnottell "IbelieveitisMr Howard,"Eloisethought,andsaidtohim,"Heiscomingon thenexttrain Ihearitnow Hewillsoonbehere Isthatwhatyouwant?" Thedyingmanturnedhisheadwearily TherewasmorebesidesHowardhe wanted,butwhenatlasttheyoungmancameintotheroom,hiseyesshonewith alookofpleasedrecognition,andhetriedtospeakawelcome Inthehall outsideJackwaswaiting,andasEloisepassedouthegaveherhishand,and leadinghertoasettee,satdownbesideher,andtoldherhowgladhewasforthe newshehadheardofher,butfeelingthewhilethathedidnotknowwhetherhe weregladornot Shehadneverlookedfairerorsweetertohimthanshedid now,andyettherewasadifferencewhichhedetected,andwhichtroubledhim Itwouldhavebeeneasytosay"Iloveyou,"tothehelplesslittleschool-teacher atMrs Biggs's,andhewishednowhehaddoneso,andnotwaitedtillshe becameadaughteroftheCromptonHouse,ashebelievedshewas Nowhe couldonlylookhisloveintotheeyeswhichfellbeneathhisgaze,asheheldher handandquestionedheroftheColonel'ssuddenattack,andthemeansbywhich shehaddiscoveredherrelationshiptoAmy Againherepeated,"Iamsogladforyou,"andmighthavesaidmoreifHoward hadnotsteppedintothehall,hisfacecloudedandanxious "Hewantsyou,Ithink,"hesaidtoEloise "Atleasthewantssomething,—Idon't knowwhat." Eloisewenttohimatonce,andagaintherewasapainfulefforttospeak But whateverhewouldsaywasneversaid,andafteralittlethepalsiedtongue ceasedtryingtoarticulate,andonlyhiseyesshowedhowclearhisreasonwasto thelast Iftherewassorrowforthepast,hecouldnotexpressit Ifthoughtsof thepalmettoclearingwereinhismind,nooneknewit Allthatcouldbeguessed atwasthathewantedAmyandEloisewithhim "Callhimfather Ithinkhewilllikeit,"Eloisesaidtohermother,whileHoward lookedupquickly,andtoPeter,whowaspresent,itseemedasifafrownsettled onhisfaceasasmileflickeredaroundtheColonel'smouthatthesoundofthe nameAmyhadnotgivenhimsinceshecamefromCalifornia Alltheafternoonandeveningtheywatchedhim,ashisbreathinggrewshorter andtheheavylidsfellovertheeyes,which,untiltheyclosed,resteduponAmy, whoheldhishandandspoketohimoccasionally,callinghimfather,andasking ifheknewher Totheverylastherespondedtothequestionwithaquiveringof thelidswhenhecouldnolongerliftthem,andwhentheclockonthestairs strucktwelve,thephysicianwhowaspresentsaidtoEloise,"Takeyourmother away;heisdead." CHAPTERV LOOKINGFORAWILL ForthreedaystheColonellayinthegreatdrawing-roomoftheCrompton House,theblindsofwhichwereclosed,whileknotsofcrapestreamedfrom everydoor,andtheservantstalkedtogetherinlowtones,sometimesofthedead manandsometimesofthefuture,wonderingwhowouldbemasternowof CromptonPlace Speculationonthispointwasrifeeverywhere,andonnoone haditastrongerholdthanonHowardhimself Hewouldnotliketohavehadit knownthatwithintwenty-fourhoursafterhisuncle'sdeathhehadgonethrough everypigeon-holeandnookintheColonel'ssafeandprivatedrawers,andturned overeverypapersearchingforawill,andwhenhefoundnone,had congratulatedhimselfthatinallhumanprobabilityhewasthesoleheir Hewas veryproperlysad,withanunmistakableairofownershipashewentaboutthe place,givingorderstotheservants ToAmyhepaidgreatdeference,tellingthe undertakertoaskwhatshelikedandabidebyherdecisions Andherehewas perfectlysafe WiththeshockoftheColonel'sdeathAmyhadrelapsedintoa dazed,silentmood,sayingalways,"Idon'tknow;askEloise,"andwhenEloise wasasked,shereplied,"Ihavebeenheretooshortatimetogiveanyorders Mr Howardwilltellyou." Thuseverythingwaslefttohim,ashemeantitshouldbe,stipulatingthatEloise meetthepeoplewhocame,sometooffertheirsympathy,andmorefroma morbidcuriositytoseewhatevertherewastobeseen ThisEloisedidwitha dignitywhichsurprisedherself,andifHowardwerethemaster,shewasthe mistress,andapparentlyasmuchathomeasifshehadlivedthereallherlife Rubywasthefirsttocall ShehadnotseenEloisesincetheastoundingnewsthat shewasAmy'sdaughter "Iamsogladforyou,"shesaid,andthefirsttearsEloisehadshedsprangtoher eyesasshelaidherheadonRuby'sarm,justasshehaddoneinthedaysofher troubleandpain Mrs Biggscame,too,—veryloudinherprotestationsofdelightandassertions thatshehadalwaysknownEloisewasabovethecommon Neversincethememorablelawnpartymanyyearsagohadtherebeensogreata crowdinthehouseandgroundsasonthedayofthefuneral Inhonorofhis memory,andbecausehehadgiventheschool-housetothetown,theschoolwas closed,andthepupils,withRubyAnnattheirhead,marcheduptheavenuewith wreathsofautumnleavesandbouquetsofflowersintendedforthegrave The Rev ArthurMasonreadtheburialservice,andasheglancedatthecostlycasket, nearlysmotheredinflowers,andatthecrowdinsideandout,hecouldnotkeep histhoughtsfromhisfather'sdescriptionofanotherfuneral,wherethedead womanlayinhercheapcoffin,withCrackersandnegroesasspectators;and onlyadementedwoman,alittlechild,andblackJakeandMandyAnnas mourners ThemournersherewereAmyandHoward,EloiseandJack,andnext tohimaplain-looking,elderlywoman,who,Mrs Biggstoldeveryonenearher, wasoldMrs Smith,Eloise'ssupposedgrandmotherfromMayville Eloisehadsentforher,andwhiletellingthestoryofdeceptionandwrongwhich hadbeenpractisedsolong,andtowhichthemotherlistenedwithstreaming eyes,shehadsaid,"Butitmakesnodifferencewithus Youareminejustthe same,andwhereverIliveinthefuture,youaretolive,too,ifyouwill." Mrs Smithhadsmiledupontheyounggirl,andfeltbewilderedandstrangein thisgrandhouseandatthisgrandfuneral,unlikeanythingshehadeverseen It seemedlikeanendlesslineofcarriagesandfootpassengerswhichfollowedthe Coloneltothegrave,andwhentheserviceswereover,afewfriendsofthe Colonel,whohadcomefromadistance,returnedtothehouse,andamongthem Mr Ferris,thelawyer,whohadbeentheColonel'scounselandadviserforyears, andmanagedhisaffairs ThiswasHoward'sidea Hecouldnotrestuntilhe knewwhethertherewasinthelawyer'spossessionanywillorpapersbearing uponAmy Whenlunchwasoverhetooktheoldmanintohisuncle'slibrary, andsaid,hesitatingly,"Idonotwanttobetoohasty,butitisbettertohavesuch matterssettled,andifIhavenointerestintheCromptonestateImustleave,of course Didmyuncleleaveawill?" LawyerFerrislookedathimkeenlythroughhisglasses,tookahugepinchof snuff,andblewagooddealofitfromhimandsomeinHoward'sface,making himsneezebeforehereplied,"NotthatIknowof;more'sthepity Itriedmybest tohavehimmakeone ThelasttimeIurgedithesaid,'There'snoneed I've fixedit Amywillbeallright.'Iwasthinkingofher Ifthereisnowill,andshe wasn'tadoptedandwasn'thisdaughter,it'shardlinesforher." "Butshewashisdaughter,"cameinaclear,decidedvoice,andboththelawyer andHowardturnedtoseeEloisestandinginthedoor Rainwasbeginningtofall,andshehadcometocloseawindow,withnothought thatanyonewasinthelibrary,untilsheheardthelawyer'slastwords,which stoppedhersuddenly Wherehermotherwasconcernedshecouldbeverybrave, and,steppingintotheroom,shestartledthetwomenwithherassertion,"She washisdaughter." "Hetoldmeso,"shecontinued "Hedid?When?"Howardasked,andEloisereplied,"Iaskedhim,andhiseyes lookedyes,andwhenIsaid,'Youaremygrandfather?'Iwasverysurehe nodded Iknowhemeantit." Thelawyersmiledandansweredher,"Thatissomething,butnotenough We musthaveawillorsomedocument Hemighthavebeenyourmother'sfather I thinkhewas;andstill,shemaynotbe—be—" Hehesitated,forEloise'seyeswerefixeduponhim,andthehotbloodofshame wascrimsoningherface Afteramomenthecontinued,"Awillcansetthings right;or,ifwecanproveamarriage,allwillbefairsailingforyourmotherand you." "Iwasnotthinkingofmyself,"Eloisereturned "Iamthinkingofmother Iknow allthedreadfulgossipandeverything Mrs Biggshastoldme,andIamgoingto findout Somebodyknows,andIshallfindthem." Shelookedveryfearlessasshelefttheroom,andHowardfeltthatshewouldbe noweakantagonistifhewantedtocontesthisrighttotheestate Buthedidn't, hetoldhimself,andMr Ferris,too Hewaswillingtoabidebythelaw Ifthere wasawillhe'dliketofindit;and,inanycase,shouldbegeneroustoAmyand— Eloise! "Nodoubtofit,"thelawyersaid,lookingathimnowoverhisspectacles,and takingasecondpinchofsnuffpreparatorytothesearchamongthedeadman's papers,whichHowardsuggestedthathemake EveryplaceHowardhadgonethroughwasgonethroughagain,—everypaper unfoldedandeveryenvelopelookedinto Therewasnowillorscrapofwriting bearinguponAmy ThereweresomereceiptsfromTomHardy,ofPalatka,for moneyreceivedfromtheColonelandpaidovertoEudoraHarris,andatthese thelawyerlookedcuriously "HarriswasthenameAmysometimeswentbybeforehermarriage,Ibelieve," hesaid "Eudorawasprobablyhermother Now,ifwecanfindTomHardywe maylearnsomething ShallIwritetoPalatkaandinquire?" "Certainly,"Howardreplied,withachokeinhisthroatwhichhemanagedto hidefromthelawyer Hedidn'tmeantobeascoundrel Heonlywantedhisown,andhemeanttodo rightifchancemadehimmasterofCrompton,hesaidtohimself,ashewentto thedrawing-room,whereJackandEloiseweresittingwithafewfriendswho seemedtobewaitingforsomething RubyandMrs Biggs,who,onthestrength oftheirintimacywithEloise,hadremainedinthehousewhilethefamilywasat thegrave,werethere,evidentlyexpectant ItwasnotHoward'sideatobroach thesubjectatonce HewantedtotalkitoverwithJackandEloise,andmake himselfrightwiththem Thelawyerhadnosuchscruples Hehadreadwills aftermanyfunerals,andnowthattherewasnonetoread,hespokeup: "Ladiesandgentlemen,I'msorryIcan'tobligeyou,butthereain'tanywillaswe canfind,andnothingtoshowwhoMrs Amyis,andmattersmustrestforaspell astheyare Meanwhile,Mr HowardCrompton,astheColonel'snephewand onlyknownheir,musttakechargeofthings." Eloise'sfaceflushed,andJack,whostolealookather,sawthatherhands trembledalittle NoonespokeuntilMrs Biggsroseandsaid,"'SquireFerris,if nowillain'tfound,andnothin'isprovedforMrs Amy,—adoptionnornothin',— youknowwhatImean,—can'tsheinherit?" "Notacent!"wasthereply "Youmeanshe'llhavenothin'?" "Legallynothing!" "AndMr Howardwillhaveeverything?" "Yes,everything,asheissoleheirandnextofkin." "Getoutwithyour'soleheirandnextofkin'andlaw!"Mrs Biggsexclaimed vehemently "Thereain'tnojusticeinlaw Looka-here,Squire;whenwomen votewe'llhavethingsdifferent HereisAmy,beenusedtothemeleganciesall herlife."Shesweptherarmaroundtheroom,and,stillkeepingitpoised, continued:"Andnowshe'stobeturnedoutbecausethereain'tnowillandyou can'tprovenothin'!Andthat'slaw!Itmakesmesomad!Whoisgoin'totake careofher,I'dliketoknow?" "Iam!"andEloisesprangtoherfeet,thecentralfigurenowintheroom "Ishall takecareofmymother!Idon'tcareforthewill,noranything,excepttoprove thatsheisCol Crompton'slegitimatedaughter,andthatIwilldo Iamgoing whereshewasborn,ifIcanfindtheplace,andtakeherwithme Iamnotvery lamenow,andIwouldstartto-morrowif—" Shestopped,rememberingthatinherpursewereonlytwoandonehalfdollars, andthissheowedtoMrs Biggsforboard;thenhereyesfelluponRuby,the friendwhohadstoodbyherinherneed,andwhohadbeenthefirstto congratulateheronfindinghermother Rubyhadofferedhermoneyforthe journeytoCalifornia,andsomethinginRuby'sfacetoldheritwasstillreadyfor her,andshewenton:"IwasfoolishenoughtothinkCromptonPlacewasher rightfulhome,andbegladforher,butifitisnot,Ishalltakeherawayatonce Nooneneedworryaboutmother!Ishallcareforher." "Bravo!"Mrs Biggsrejoined,asEloisesankbackinherchair "That'swhatI callpluck!Law,indeed!Itmakesmesomad!Youcanfetchhertomyhouseany minit Youroldroomisreadyforyou,andIwon'tchargeacenttillyoufind somethingtodoandcanpay MaybeRuby'llgiveuptheschool Won'tyou, RubyAnn?" "Certainly,ifshewishesit,"Rubyanswered,andgoingovertoEloise,shesaid, "Youareabravelittlegirl,andthemoneyisstillwaitingforyouifyouwantit." AsforJack,hewasreadytolayhimselfatherfeet,butallhecoulddothenwas tosaytoRuby,"PerhapsMissSmithhadbettergotoherroom;sheseemstired," andtakingherarm,hewentwithhertothedoor,whichHowardopenedforher Thatyoungmandidnotfeelverycomfortable,andassoonasEloisewasgone hesaidtotheinmatesoftheroom,"Ifanyofyouthinkmesuchacadastoturn Mrs Amyandherdaughterfromthehouse,ortoallowthemtogo,youare mistaken IfitshouldprovethatIammasterhere,theywillsharewithme Ican donomore." "Goodforyou!"Jacksaid,wringingHoward'shand,whilethepartybeganto breakup,asitwastimeforthosewholivedatadistancetotakethetrain AmongthosewhoarosetogowastheRev ArthurMason,whomHowardhad askedtolunchaftertheburial AsheleftthehousehesaidtoJack,whostood foramomentwithhimonthepiazza,"PleasesaytoMissSmiththatIcandirect hertohermother'sbirthplaceinFlorida Myfatherispreachingthere." "Thanks!Iwilltellher,"Jackreplied,insomesurprise,andthenwentinto whereHowardwasstanding,withanexpressiononhisfacenotquitesuchas oneoughttohavewhenhehasjustcomeintopossessionofafortune "Icongratulateyou,oldboy,"Jacksaidcheerily,ashewentuptohim "Don't!"Howardansweredimpetuously "Nothingissure Awillmaybefound, ormyuncle'smarriageproved;ineithercase,IsinkbackintothecipherIwas before IcannotsayI'mnotgladtohavemoney,butIdon'twantpeopleblaming me Ican'thelpitifmyunclemadenowillanddidnotmarryAmy'smother,and Idon'tbelievehedid,orwhywashesilentsomanyyears?" Jackcouldnotanswerhimandlefttheroom,takinghisway,hehardlyknew why,tothevillage,wherehefellinagainwiththerector Totalkoftherecent eventsattheCromptonHousewasnatural,andbeforetheypartedJackknewthe contentsoftheRev Charles'slettertohisson,andinhismindtherewasno doubtofasecretmarriageandAmy'slegitimacy "ItwillbehardonHoward,"hethought,"butAmyoughttohaveherrights,— and,—Eloise!Andsheshall!"headded,asheretracedhisstepstotheCrompton House Chancingtobealonewithher,hetoldherinpartwhathehadheardfromthe rector,keepingbackeverythingpertainingtothepovertyofthesurroundings, andspeakingmostlyofJakeyandMandyAnn,whomAmymightremember "Shedoes,"Eloisereplied,"andateverymentionofthemherbrainseemstoget clearer PeterhasbroughtmeacopyofaletterwhichCol Cromptonreceived fromJakejustbeforehewentformymother,andwhichhehaskeptallthese years Itmayhelpmetofindwhateverthereistobefound,goodorbad."She handedhimthecopy,andcontinued,"TheletterwasmailedinPalatka,butfrom whatyoutellme,Jakeyisfartheruptheriver ShallIhaveanytroubleinfinding him,doyouthink?" "Nonewhatever,"Jackreplied,aplanrapidlymaturinginhismindastowhathe woulddoifEloisepersistedingoingtoFlorida "Betterleaveyourmotherhere," hesaid,whenshetoldhimofherdeterminationtounravelthemystery "No,"sheanswered "Mothermustgo Iexpectmuchfromasightofherold homeandJakey." JackshiveredasherecalledtheRev CharlesMason'spictureofthathome,but hewouldnotenlightenher ShemustguesssomethingfromJakey'snotetothe Colonel,hethought Evidentlyshedid,forsheaskedhimwhataCrackerwas "Ioughttoknow,ofcourse,andhavesomeidea,"shesaid "Iaskedmother,and shesaidshewasone Whatdidshemean?" "IfyougotoFloridayouwillprobablylearnwhataCrackeris,"Jackreplied,as hebadehergood-night,pityingherforwhatheknewwasinstoreforher ThenextdayatelegramfromNewYorkcalledhimtothecity Butbeforehe wenthehadaninterviewwithRubywithregardtothejourneywhichEloisewas designingtotakeassoonashermothershouldhaverecoveredfromtheshockof theColonel'sdeath ForafewdaysafterhisdeparturemattersmovedonquietlyattheCrompton House,whereHowardassumedtheheadunostentatiously,andwithoutgiving offencetoanyoftheservants TheCromptonestate,asreportedtohimby LawyerFerris,waslargerthanhehadsupposed,andifitwerehishewouldbea richermanthanhehadeverhopedtobe Helikedmoney,andwhatitwould bringhim,andifhehadbeensureofhisfootholdhewouldhavebeenvery happy Andhewasnearlysure Therewasnowillinthehouse,hewascertain, forhehadgoneasecondandthirdtimethrougheveryplacewhereonecould possiblyhavebeenput,andfoundnothing Hewassafethere,andashedidnot knowallwhichMr Masonhadwrittentohisson,hedidnotgreatlyfearthe resultofEloise'striptotheSouth,whichhethoughtafoolishundertaking But shewasbentupongoingandthedaywasfixed GrandmotherSmithhad returnedhometoawaitdevelopments Amywasready Eloise'slamenesswas nearlygone,"Andto-morrowwestart,"shesaidtohimoneevening,when,after dinner,shejoinedhiminthelibrary,wherehespentmostofhistime Everydaysincehisuncle'sdeath,andhehadseensomuchofEloise,Howard's interestinherhadincreased,untilitamountedtoapassion,ifnotpositivelove Jackwasaformidablerival,heknew,butnowthathewasprobablymasterof CromptonPlace,wherehermotherwouldbehappierthanelsewhere,shemight thinkfavorablyofhim Atalleventshe'dtakethechance,andnowwashistime Lookingupquicklyasshecamein,anddrawingachairclosetohimforher,he said,"SitdownamomentwhileItalktoyou."Shesatdown,andhecontinued, "Iwishyouwouldgiveupthisjourney,whichcanonlyendindisappointment I havenoideatherewasamarriage,orthatyoucouldproveitiftherewas My unclewasnotabrute HelovedAmy,andwouldnothavekeptsilenttillhedied ifshehadbeenhislegitimatedaughter Giveuptheproject Iwillgladlyshare thefortunewithyou,andbeasontoyourmother Willyou,Eloise?Imustcall youthat,andIaskyoutobemywife Itisnotsosuddenasyoumaythink,"he continued,ashesawherlookofsurprise "IdonotshowallIfeel Iadmiredyou fromthefirst,butJackseemedtobeahead,andIgavewaytohim,not understandinguntilwithinthelastfewdayshowmuchyouweretome Ilove you,andaskyouagaintobemywife." Hehadoneofherhandsinhis,butitwascoldandpulseless,anditseemedto himittoldheranswerbeforeshesaid,verykindly,asifsorrytogivehimpain: "Ibelieveyouaremycousin,or,rather,mymother's,andIcanesteemyouas such,butIcannotbeyourwife." "BecauseyouloveJackHarcourt,Isuppose,"Howardsaid,alittlebitterly,and Eloisereplied,"IdonotthinkweshouldbringMr Harcourtintothediscussion WhenheasksmetobehiswifeitwillbetimetoknowwhetherIlovehimor not Icannotmarryyou." Shearosetogo,whileHowardtriedtodetainher,feelingeverymomenthowhis lovewasgrowingforthisgirlwhohadsorecentlycomeintohislife,andwas crossinghispath,ashehadfeltshewouldwhenhefirstheardofherfromhis uncle,andhadpromisedtosoundherastoherfitnessforateacher Therehad beennoneedforthat;hisunclewasdead,andshewasgoingfromhim,perhaps toreturnasausurper "Eloise,"hesaidagain,withmorefeelinginhisvoicethanwhenhefirstspoke, "youmustlistentome Icannotgiveyouup IwouldratherloseCrompton,ifit ismine,thantoloseyou." Risingtohisfeet,hetookherfacebetweenhishandsandkisseditpassionately "Howdareyou!"shesaid,wrestingherselffromhim "BecauseIdare!Jackmayhavethesecondkiss,butIhavehadthefirst,"he replied Thenhismannerchanged,andhesaid,entreatingly,"Forgiveme,Eloise, Iwasbesidemyselfforamoment Don'tgivemeananswernow Thinkofwhat Ihavesaidwhileyouaregone,ifyouwillgo;andifyoufail,rememberthisis yourhomeandyourmother's,justasmuchasitwillbeifyousucceed Promise meyouwillcomebackherewhateverhappens Youwillcome?" "Foratime,yes;tillIknowwhattodoifIfail,"shereplied Thenshewentoutandlefthimalone,togoagainthroughthepigeon-holesand drawersandshelveshehadbeenthroughsooftenandfoundnothing CHAPTERVI INFLORIDA TheBostontrainwassteamingintotheCentralStationinNewYork,andEloise wasgatheringuphersatchelsandwraps,andlookinganxiouslyoutintothe deepeningtwilight,wonderingifthecarswouldbegonefromtheJerseyside, andwhatsheshoulddoiftheywere Shehadintendedtakingatrainwhich reachedNewYorkearlier,buttherewassomemistakeinherreadingofthetimetable,andnowitwasgrowingdark,andforamomenthercouragebegantofail her,andshehalfwishedherselfbackinCrompton,whereeveryonehadbeenso kindtoher,andwhereeveryonehadlookeduponthejourneyasuseless,except therectorandRuby Thesehadencouragedhertogo,andRubyhadfurnished themoneyandhadbeenveryhopeful,andtoldhertherewasnothingtofear eveninNewYork,whichEloisedreadedthemost Howardhadseenhertothe trainandgotherseatsintheparlorcar,andsaidtoher,ashehadoncebefore: "I'dliketoofferyoumoney,butyousayyouhaveenough." "Oh,yes,"Eloiseanswered;"morethanenough Rubyhasbeensokind." Thenhesaidgood-by,andwentbacktothehouse,whichseemedemptyand desolate "IoughtatleasttohavegonetoNewYorkwiththem,butthatlittlegirlisso proudandindependent,Idaresayshewouldnothaveletme,"hesaidto himself,andalldayhisthoughtsfollowedthem,untilbysomeclairvoyant processheseemedtoseethematthestationaloneandafraid,justasforashort timeEloisewasafraidandwishedshehadnotcome Then,rallying,shesaidtoherself,"Thiswon'tdo Imustkeepup,"andshe helpedhermotherfromthecar,andbegantowalkthroughthelongstation towardthestreet Onlyhalfthedistancehadbeengoneoverwhenahandwas laiduponhershoulder,andavoicewhichmadeherheartboundwithdelight, saidtoher,"Hereyouare!IwasafraidIhadmissedyouinthecrowd." "Oh,Mr Harcourt,Iamsoglad!Howdidyouknowwewerecoming?"Eloise exclaimed,hergladnessshowinginhereyesandsoundinginhervoice "Oh,Iknew,"Jackanswered,takinghersatchelandwrapsandumbrellafrom her,andgivinghisdisengagedarmtohermother "Ihaveafriendatcourtwho letsmeknowwhatisgoingtohappen ItisRuby Shetelegraphed." Callingacarriage,whichwasevidentlywaitingforhim,Jackputtheladiesinto it,attendedtothebaggage,andthenspranginhimself Withhimoppositeher, Eloisefeltnofurtherresponsibility Everythingwouldberight,shewassure,and itwas Theywereintimeforthesouth-boundtrain,andafterawordwiththe porter,wereusheredintoadrawing-roomcompartment,whichJacksaidwasto betheirsduringthelongjourney "Yes,Iknow,"Eloisesaid "Itislargeandcomfortable,andawayfromthe people,butI'mafraiditcoststoomuch." "It'sallright,"Jackanswered,beginningtoremoveAmy'sjacket,withanairof beingathome JustthenEloiseglancedfromthewindowandsawtheyweremoving "Oh,Mr Harcourt!"shescreamed "Wehavestarted!Youwillbecarriedoff!Do hurry!" Sheputbothhandsonhisarmtoforcehimfromtheroom,whilehelaughedand said,"DidyouthinkIwouldletyougotoFloridaalone?Iamgoingwithyou I haveasectionalltomyselfoutside,whereyoucansitwhenyouaretiredin here Areyousorry?" "Sorry!"sherepeated "Iwasneversogladinmylife Butareyousureyou oughttogo?Isitright?" "Youmeanproper?Perfectly!"heanswered "Yourmotheriswithus Your friendRubyknowsIamgoing,andMr Mason,andMrs Biggs,andeverybody elsebythistime It'sallright Mrs Grundywillapprove." EloisewastoohappytocareforMrs Grundy,andherhappinessincreasedwith everyhourwhichbroughthernearertoFlorida,andshesawmoreandmorehow thoroughlykindandthoughtfulJackwas Sometimeshesatwithherandher motherinthecompartmenthehadengagedforthem,butoftenerwhenAmywas restingshesatwithhiminhissection,planningwhatshewastodofirstwhen Floridawasreached,andhowshewastofindJakey Jackknewexactlywhatto do,buthelikedtolistentoherandwatchtheexpressionofherface,which seemedtohimtogrowmorebeautifuleveryhour Onthelasteveningtheywere tobeupontheroad,shewassittingwithhimjustbeforethecarlampswere lighted,andhesaidtoher,"Supposeyoudon'tsucceed?Whatwillyoudo?" ForamomentEloisewassilent;thenshereplied,"Ishalltakemotherhometo mygrandmother's Icallherthatstill,althoughyouknowsheisnotreallymine, butIloveherjustthesame,andshalltakecareofherandmother Icandoit Rubywillletmehavetheschool,Iamsure,ifIaskher,butIcouldn'ttakeit fromhernow Icangetanothersomewhere,orifnotaschool,Icanfind somethingtodo Iamnotafraidofwork." Shewastryingtobeverybrave,buttherewasapatheticlookinherfacewhich movedJackstrangely Herhandswerelyinginherlap,andtakingtheone nearesttohim,hesaid,"Eloise,I'lltellyouwhatyouaregoingtodo,whether yousucceedornot Youaregoingtobemywife!Yes,mywife!" "Mr Harcourt!"Eloiseexclaimed,tryingtowithdrawherhandfromhim Butheonlyhelditcloser,whilehesaid,"Don'tMr Harcourtme!CallmeJack, andIshallknowyouassent IthinkIhavelovedyoueversinceIsawyouonthe rostruminMayville,—atanyrate,eversincethatstormynightwhenyoucame nearbeingkilled Ididnotmeantospeakhereinthecar,butIamgladIhave settledit." Hewastakingherconsentforgranted,andwassqueezingherhanduntilshesaid involuntarily,"Oh,Jack,youhurtme!" Thenhedroppeditand,stooping,kissedher,saying,"Iamanswered Youhave calledmeJack Youaremine,—mylittlewife,—thedearestamaneverhad." Hekissedheragain,whileshewhispered,"Oh,Jack,howcanyou,withallthe peoplelookingon?anditisn'tverydarkyet." "Therearenotmanytolookon,andtheyareinfrontofus,andIdon'tcareifthe wholeworldseesme,"Jackreplied,passinghisarmaroundheranddrawingher closetohim "Youmustnot,righthereinthecar;besidesthat,Ihaven'ttoldyouIwould,"she said,makinganefforttofreeherselffromhim,astheporterbegantolightthe lamps Hewassatisfiedwithheranswer,andkepthisarmaroundherinthefaceofthe porter,whowastoomuchaccustomedtosuchscenestopayanyattentiontothis particularone Hehadspottedthemasloversfromthefirstandwasnot surprised,butwheneleveno'clockcameandeveryberthwasmadeupexcept thatofJack,whostillsatwithEloisebesidehim,loathtolethergo,thenegro grewuneasyandanxioustofinishhisnight'swork "Sir,"hesaidatlasttoJack,"'scuseme,butyoumightmoveintothegentlemen's wash-roomwhilesImakeuptheberth;it'sgwineontowardmornin'." InaflashEloisesprangup,andwithoutawordwenttohermother,whowas sleepingquietly,justasshehadleftherthreehoursbefore Alurchofthetrain awokeher,and,kneelingbesideher,Eloisesaidtoher,"Mr Harcourthasasked metobehiswife Areyouglad?" "Yes,daughter,veryglad AreweinFlorida?"Amyreplied "Yes,mother,andbeforelongweshallreachyouroldhomeandJakey,"was Eloise'sanswer,asshekissedhermothergood-nightandsoughtherownpillow tothinkofthegreathappinesswhichhadcometoherinJackHarcourt'slove, andwhichwouldcompensateforanydisappointmenttheremightbeinstorefor her CHAPTERVII INTHEPALMETTOCLEARING TherewerenotmanyguestsattheBrockHouseastheseasonhadnotfully opened,andJackhadnotroubletofindroomsfortheladiesandhimself Amy's wasinfront,lookingupontheSt John's,whichherespreadsoutintoLake Monroe Shehadhadglimpsesoftheriverfromtherailwaycar,buthadnotseen itasdistinctlyasnow,whenshestoodbythewindowwithanexpressiononher faceasifshewerethinkingofthepast,beforeherreasonwasclouded "Oh,theriver!—thebeautifulriver!"shesaid "Itbringsthingsback,—theboatI wentin;notlikethat,"andshepointedtoalarge,handsomesteamboatlyingat thewharf "Notlikethat Whatwasitsname?" Jack,whowasintheroom,andwhohadreadMr Mason'slettertohisson, suggested,"The'Hatty'?" "Yes,the'Hatty'!"Amysaid "Strange,IrememberitwhenIhaveforgottenso much Andhewaswithme,—myfather Wasn'themyfather?" ShelookedatEloise,whoansweredpromptly,"Yes,hewasyourfather." "Ithoughtso HesaidIwastocallhimso,"Amywenton,moretoherselfthan toEloise "Ididn'talways,hewassocoldandproudandhardwithme,buthe waskindatthelast,andheisdead,andthisisFlorida,wheretheorangesand palmtreesgrow Theyarethere,—see!"andshepointedtotheright,whereatall palmtreeraiseditsheadaboveanorangegrovebelow Shewasbeginningtoremember,andEloiseandJackkeptsilentwhileshewent on:"AndweareheretofindmymotherandJakey." ShelookedagainatEloise,whoansweredher:"TofindJakey,—yes;andtomorrowweshallseehim To-nightyoumustrest." "Yes,restto-night,andto-morrowgotoJakey,"Amyreplied,submissiveasa littlechildtowhateverEloisebadeherdo Shewasverytired,andsleptsoundlywithoutoncewaking,andherfirst questioninthemorningwas,"Isitto-morrow,andareweinFlorida?" "Yes,dearest,weareinFlorida,andgoingtofindJakey,"wasEloise'sreply,as shekissedhermother'sface,andthoughthowyoungandfairitwasstill,with scarcelyalineuponit Onlytheeyesandthedroopofthemouthshowedsignsofpastsuffering,and thesewerepassingawaywitharenewalofoldscenesandmemories Jackhad foundtheRev Mr Mason,whoreceivedhimcordially "Iwasexpectingyou,"hesaid "Atelegramfrommysontoldmeyouwereon theway IhavenotseenJake,asitwasonlyyesterdayIhadthedespatch Ihave onepieceofnews,however,forwhichIamsorry ElderCovildiedinVirginia soonafterthewar,andnothingcanbelearnedfromhim." Jackwasgreatlydisappointed HishopehadbeentofindElderCovil,ifliving, orsometraceofhim,andthatwassweptaway;buthewouldnottellEloise She wasalleagernessandexcitement,andwasreadysoonafterbreakfastforthe drivetothepalmettoclearing,andAmyseemedalmostasexcitedandeager Bornamidpalmsandorangetrees,andmagnoliasandnegroes,thesightofthem broughtbackthepastinamistykindofway,whichwasconstantlyclearingas Eloisehelpedhertoremember OfMr Masonsheofcoursehadnorecollection, andshrankfromhimwhenpresentedtohim Hedidnottellherhehadburied hermother HeonlysaidheknewJakey,andwasgoingtotakehertohim,and theyweresoonontheirway Theroadwasverydifferentfromtheoneover whichhehadbeendrivenbehindthewhitemule,andthereweremarksof improvementeverywhere,—gardensandfieldsandcabinswithlittlenegroes swarmingaroundthedoors,andthese,withthepalmtreesandtheorangetrees, helpedtoreviveAmy'smemoriesofthetimewhensheplayedwiththelittle darkysamongthedwarfpalmettosandateorangesinthegroves Inthedoorwayofoneofthesmallhousesacoloredwomanwasstanding, lookingatthecarriageasitpassed RecognizingMr Mason,shegavehima hearty"Howd'ye,Mas'rMason?"towhichherespondedwithouttellinghis companionsthatitwasMandyAnn HewishedAmytoseeJakefirst "Hereweare,"hesaidatlast "Thisistheclearing;thisisthehouse,andthereis Jakehimself." Hepointedtoanegrointhedistance,andtoasmallhouse,—halflogandhalf frame,forJakehadaddedtoandimproveditwithinafewyears "I'segwinetomakeit'spectable,soshewon'tbe'shamedifsheevercomesback toseewharshewasbawn,"hehadthought,andtohimitseemedalmostpalatial, withitsaddition,whichhecalleda"linter,"andwhichconsistedofalargeroom furnishedwithamostheterogeneousmassofarticlesgatheredhereandthereas hecouldaffordthem Conspicuousinonecornerwas"lilDory'scradle,"whichhadbeenpaintedred, withaletteringinwhiteononesideofit,"InmemoryoflilchileDory."Thishe hadplacedinwhathecalledtheparlorthatmorning,afterdustingitcarefully andputtingafreshpillowcaseonthescantypillowwhereAmy'sheadhadlain HewasthinkingofherandwonderinghedidnothearfromtheColonel,when thesoundofcarriagewheelsmadehimlookupandstartforhishouse Mr Masonwasthefirsttoalight;thenJack;thenEloise;andthenAmy,whose sensesforamomentleftherentirely "Whatisit?Wherearewe?"shesaid,pressingherhandstoherforehead Evidentlytheplacedidnotimpressher,exceptassomethingstrange "Let'sgo!"shewhisperedtoEloise "We'venothingtodohere;let'sgobackto theorangesandpalmettos." "But,mother,Jakeyishere!"Eloisereplied,hereyesfixedupontheoldmanto whomMr Masonhadbeenexplaining,andwhose"BressdeLawd Ifeelslike havin'depow',efIb'lievedinit,"shehearddistinctly Thenhecamerapidlytowardthem,andshecouldseethetearsonhisblackface, whichwasworkingnervously "MissDory!MissDory!'Tain'tyou!Oh,deLawd,—sogrowed,—sochanged!Is ityouforshu'?"hesaid,stretchinghishandstowardAmy,whodrewcloserto Eloise "Gogently,Jake;gently!Rememberhermindisweak,"Mr Masonsaid "Yes,sar I'membersdeHarris'smindmostlywasweak OleMissdidn'tknow nuffin',an'MissDorywasalittlequar,an'dispo'chileislike'em,"wasJake's reply,whichbroughtadeepflushtoEloise'sface Shehadfelthercheeksburningallthetimeshehadbeenlookingroundonher mother'shome,wonderingwhatJackwouldthinkofit AtJake'smentionofthe Harrisessheglancedathimsoappealingly,thatforanswerheputhisarmaround herandwhispered,"Keepup,darling,Iseeyourmotheriswakingup." Jakehadtakenoneofherhands,andwaslookinginherfaceasifhewouldfind sometraceofthe"lilchileDory"wholefthimyearsago Andshewasscanning him,notquiteasifsheknewhim,butwithapuzzled,uncertainmanner,in whichtherewasnownofear "Doan'youknowme,MissDory?I'mShaky,—oleShaky,—whatuse'toplay b'arwidyou,an'toteyouonhisback,"hesaidtoher "IthinkIdo Yes Where'sMandyAnn?"Amyasked "She'members,—shedoes!"Jakecried,excitedly "MandyAnnwasdenussgirl whatlookedafterheran'oleMiss."ThentoAmyhesaid,"MandyAnn'sdone grow'dlikeyou,an'gotchillenasbigasyou Twins,fouron'em,aswas christenedinyourgown Comeintodehouse You'llmemberthen Comeinter degretroom,butfustwaitaminit Iseenaboyoutdar,—Aaron,—oneof MandyAnn'stwins,an'I'segwinetosen'forMandyAnn "Hello,youflat-footedchap!"hecalled "Maketrackshomethefastestyouever did,an'tellyermothertocomequick,'caselilMissDory'shyar Run,Isay." TheboyAaronstarted,andJakeledthewaytothedoorofthe"gretroom," whichhethrewopenwithanairofpride "Walkin,gemmenan'ladies,walkin,"hesaid,holdingAmy'shand Theywalkedin,andheledAmytoaloungeandsatdownbesideher,closeto theredcradle,towhichhecalledherattention "Doan'you'memberit,MissDory?"hesaid,givingitajog "Iuse'terrockyer tosleepwidyoukickin'yerheelsan'doublin'yerfists,an'callin'meolefool,an' Isingin': "'LilchileDory,Shaky'slillam', Mudder'sgonetoheaven, Shakyleffbehime TocareforlilchileDory,Shaky'slillam'.' Doan'you'memberit,honey,—an'doan'youmemberme?I'mShaky,—Iis." TherewasatouchingpathosinJakey'svoiceashesang,anditwasintensified whenheasked,"Doan'you'memberme,honey?" BothMr MasonandJackturnedtheirheadsasidetohidethemoistureintheir eyes,whileEloise'stearsfellfastasshewatchedthestrangepair,—thewrinkled oldnegroandthewhite-facedwoman,inwhomawonderfultransformation seemedtobetakingplace Withthefirstsoundoftheweirdmelodyandthe words"LilchileDory,Shaky'slillam',"sheleanedforwardandseemedtobe eitherlisteningintentlyortryingtorecallsomethingwhichcameandwent,and whichshethrewoutherhandstoretain Asthesingingwentontheexpression ofherfacechangedfromoneofpainfulthoughttooneofperfectpeaceand quiet,andwhenitceasedandJakeyappealedlohermemory,sheansweredhim, "Yes,Shaky,Iremember."ThentoEloiseshesaid,"Thelullabyofmy childhood,whichhasrunginmyearsforyears Heusedtowantmetosinga negromelodytothepeople,andsaiditmadethemcry That'sbecauseIwanted tocry,asIdonow,andcan't IbelieveImusthavesungitthatlastnightinLos Angelesbeforeeverythinggrewdark." MovingclosertoJakeyshelaidherheaduponhisarmandwhisperedtohim, "Singitagain,Shaky Thetightnessacrossthetopofmyheadisgivingway It hasachedsolong." Jakebeganthesongagain,hisvoicemoretremulousthanbefore,whileAmy's handstightenedonhisarm,andherheadsankloweronhisbreast Ashesanghe joggedthecradlewithonefoot,andkepttimewiththeotherandaswaying motionofhisbody,whichbroughtAmyalmostacrosshislap Whenshelifted upherheadthereweretearsinhereyes,andtheyranatlastlikeriversdownher cheeks,whileastormofhystericalsobsshookherframeandbroughtEloiseto her "Don'tcryso,"shesaid "Youfrightenme." Amyputheraside,andanswered,"Imustcry;itcoolsmybrain Thereare oceansyettocome,—allthepent-uptearsoftheyears—sincehetoldmeyou weredead Iamsogladtocry." Forsomemomentsshewepton,untilJakeybegantosootheherwithhis"Doan' crynomo',honey Summathasdonehappenedyoubad,butit'sdonegonenow, an'we'reallhere,—mean'Ido'knowhername,butshe'syouuns,an'Mas'r Masonan'deodergemman We'reallhere,an'delightisbreakin' Doan'you feelit,honey?" "Yes,Ifeelit,"shesaid,liftingupherheadandwipingawayhertears "Thelight isbreaking;myheadisbetter Thisistheoldhome Howdidwegethere?" Hermindwasmistystill,butEloisefeltacrisiswaspast,andthatintimethe filmswhichhadcloudedhermother'sbrainwouldclearaway,notwholly, perhaps,forshewasaHarris,and"alltheHarrises,"Jakesaid,"werequar."She wasveryquietnow,andlistenedastheytalked,butcouldrecallnothingofher motherorthefuneral,whichMr Masonhadattended Sheseemedverytired, andatEloise'ssuggestionlayclownupontheloungeandsoonfellasleep,while JackputquestionafterquestiontoJake,hopingsomelightwouldbethrown uponthemysterytheyhadcometounravel CHAPTERVIII THELITTLEHAIRTRUNK JakecouldtellthembutlittlemorethanhehadtoldMr Masononaformervisit Thisherepeatedwithsomeadditions,whileEloiselistened,sometimeswith indignationatCol Crompton,andsometimeswithshameandathoughtasto whatJackwouldthinkofit Hermother'sfamilyhistorywasbeingunrolled beforeher,andshedidnotlikeit Therewasproudbloodinherveins,andshe feltitcomingtothesurfaceandrebellingagainstthefamilytreeofwhichshe wasabranch,—theHarrises,theCrackers,and,morethanall,theuncertaintyas tohermother'slegitimacy,whichshebegantofearmustremainanuncertainty Itwasnotaverydesirableancestry,andsheglancedtimidlyatJacktoseehow hewastakingit HisfacewasveryplacidandunmovedashequestionedJakeof therelativesinGeorgia,whomAmy'smotherhadvisited "Wemustfindthem,"hesaid "Doyouknowanythingofthem?Werethey Harrises,orwhat?" Jakesaidtheywere"Brownsan'Crackers;nottherealno'counts Thar'sa difference,an'I'mshu'oleMissLucywasfustclass,'caseMissDorywasalady bawn." "Aretherenopapersanywheretotelluswhotheywere?"Jackasked,andJake replied,"Thar'spapersindelittlehartrunkwharIkeepsdewritin'bookMiss Doryused,an'debookshereadintolearn,butdem'sno'count Somereceipts an'billsan'somelettersoleMas'rHarriswrittoMissLucy'fo'theywasmarried, —loveletters,incourse,whichIseenMissDorytieupwidawhiteribbon I've neveropeneddem,'caseitdidn'tseemfittin'liketoreadwhataboywrittoa gal." "Why,Jake,"Jackexclaimed,"don'tyouseethoselettersmaytelluswhereMiss LucylivedinGeorgia?andthatisprobablywhereMissDoryvisited Bringus thetrunk." "'Clarfor't Ineverthoughtofthat,"Jakesaid,risingwithalacrityandgoinginto theroomwhereheslept Mr Mason,too,steppedoutforafewmoments,leavingEloisealonewithJack Nowwashertime,and,goinguptohim,shesaid,"Jack,Iwanttotellyounow, youmustn'tmarryme!" "Mustn'tmarryyou!"Jackrepeated "Areyoucrazy?" "Notyet,"Eloiseansweredwithasob,"butImaybeintime,orqueer,likeall theHarrises,—motherandhermotherand'oldMiss.'WeareallHarrises,and,— and,—oh,Jack,IknowwhataCrackerisnow;motherisone;Iamone,anditis allsodreadful;andmothernobody,perhaps Ican'tbearit,andyoumustnot marryme." "Ishallmarryyou,"Jacksaid,foldingherinhisarms "DoyouthinkIcarewho yourfamilyare,orhowqueertheyare?You'llneverbequeer I'llshieldyouso carefullyfromeverycarethatyoucan'tevenspelltheword." Hetookherhandsandmadeherlookathim,whilehekissedherlipsandsaid, "ItisyouIwant,withalltheHarrisesandCrackersinChristendomthrownin,if necessary Areyousatisfied?" Heknewshewas,andwaskissingheragainwhenJakeappearedwiththetrunk, whichhesaidhadheldMissDory'sclotheswhenshewenttoGeorgia There wasamustyodoraboutitwhenheopenedit,andthefewpapersinsidewere yellowwithage "DisyerisdereaderMissDoryuse'togooversomuch,"Jakesaid,handingthe booktoEloise,whoturneditswornpagesreverently,asiftouchingthehandsof thedeadgirl,who,Jakesaid,"hadrassledwiththebigwordsan'deno'count pieces Shelikeddepo'try,an'gotbyheart'boutdeboyondeburnin'deck,but debreakin'wavesfloo'dher,'case'twan'tnostorylikeCassy-by-anker." HepointedthelatterpoemouttoEloise,whosaid,"Willyougivemethis book?" Jakehesitatedbeforehereplied,"Hewantedit,theColonel,an'Itolehimno, butyou'redifferent I'llthinkaboutit." Mr Masonhadreturnedbythistime,andwithJackwaslookingatthebundleof letterstiedwithasatinribbonwhichJakesaidMissDoryhadtakenfromher whitedress,theonehebelievedshewasmarriedin,asitwasherbestest There werefourlettersandapaperwhichdidnotseemtobealetter,andwhichslipped totheflooratEloise'sfeetasJackuntiedtheribbon Therewasalsoasmall envelopecontainingacardwith"JamesCrompton"uponit,theoneMandyAnn hadcarriedhermistressonachinaplate,andwhichpoorDorahadkeptasa souvenirofthatvisit Withthecardweretheremainsofwhatmusthavebeena beautifulrose Thepetalswerebrownandcrumblingtodust,butstillgaveouta faintperfume,whichEloisedetected Whileshewaslookingatthesemementos ofapast,Jackwasrunninghiseyesoverthealmostillegibledirectionsonthe letters,makingout"MissLucyBrown,Atlanta,Ga." "Thatdoesn'thelpusmuch,"hesaidtoMr Mason "Brownisacommonname, andtheAtlantabeforethewarwasnotliketheAtlantaofto-day." "Perhapssomethinginsidewillgiveacue,"Mr Masonsuggested,andJack openedoneoftheletterscarefully,foritwasnearlytornapart Thespellingwasbadandthewritingwasbad,butitrangtruewithayoung man'sloveforthegirlofhischoice,anditseemedtoJacklikesacrilegetoread it Veryhurriedlyhewentthroughthefourletters,findingnothingtoguidehim but"Atlanta,"andafewnamesofpeoplewhomusthavebeenlivinginthe vicinity "Here'sanother,"Eloisesaid,passinghimthepaperwhichshehadpickedfrom thefloor Jacktookit,andopeningit,glancedatthecontents Then,withacryof "Eureka!"hebeganasortofpirouette,whileEloiseandMr Masonwonderedif he,too,hadgonequar,liketheHarrises "It'sthemarriagecertificate,"hesaid,soberingdownatlast,andreadingaloud thatattheHardyPlantation,FultonCounty,Georgia,onDecember—,18—,the Rev JohnCovilunitedinmarriageJamesCrompton,ofTroutburg, Massachusetts,andMissEudoraHarris,ofVoluciaCounty,Florida Uponnoonedidthefindingofthiscertificateproducesomiraculousaneffectas uponJake "Fo'deLawd!"heexclaimed,"IfeelsasifImus'havedepow',—whatIhain't hadsinceIjinedde'Piscopals Tothinkdatarwaslyin'intharalldistime,an'I notknowit I'membersnowdatElderCovilcomedhyaroncetafterthelilchile wasbawn,toseeMissDory,an'Iseenhimwriteapaperan'giveittoher,an' sheputitinherbosom Iaxednoquestions,butIknownow'twasthis The Cunneltolehernottotell,an'ifshesaidshewouldn't,shewouldn't Dat'slikede Harrises,—dey'smightyquar,stickin'todarwordtilltheydielikethatCassy-byankerondeburnin'ship GlorytoGod,glory!Imus'shout,Imus'hurrah Glory!" Hewentcareeringroundtheroomlikeonemad,knockingoverachair,waking upAmy,andbringinghertothesceneofaction "BressdeLawd!"hesaid,takingherbythearmandgivingherawhirl,"we've donefoun'yourmudder'sstifficutindeletterswharsheputitan'tied'emwid herweddin'ribbon Gloryhollerluyer!" Amylookedfrightened,andwhenEloiseexplainedtohershedidnotseemas muchimpressedastheothers HermindhadgraspedJakeandtheoldhome,and couldnotthentakeinmuchmore Still,inawaysheunderstood,andwhen Eloisesaidtoher,"Col Cromptonwasreallyyourfather,—marriedtoyour mother,—andyouwereAmyCrompton,andnotHarris,"shesaid,"Iamglad, andwishheknew HeusedtotauntmewithmylowbirthandcallmeaCracker Whenarewegoinghome?" HermindhadrevertedatoncetoCromptonPlace,nowhersinreality,although sheprobablydidnotthinkofthat "Iamveryglad,andcongratulateyouthatCromptonPlaceisyourhomewithout adoubt,"Jacksaidtoher Then,turningtoEloise,hecontinued,inalowtone,"I can'ttellyouhowgladIamforyou,providedyoudon'tfeelsohighandmighty thatyouwanttocastmeoff." "Oh,Jack,"Eloisereplied,"don'ttalksuchnonsense IamstilloftheHarris bloodandpartCracker,andmaybequar IfyoucanstandthatIthinkIcanstand you." Atthispointtherewasthesoundofhurryingfeetoutside,andawoman'svoice washeardsaying,"Now,mindyourmanners,oryou'llcotchit."Thenfour woollyheadswerethrustinatthedoorandwiththemwasMandyAnn "Hyarshecomeswiddefo'twins,"Jakesaid,goingforwardtomeether "MandyAnn,"hebegan,"hyar'sdelilchileDory MissAmytheydonecallher Wouldyouknow'dher?" "Know'dher?Ireckonso,—anywharindedark PraisedeLawd,an'nowletHis servant'partinpeace,'casemyeyeshasseendelilchileoncetmo',"MandyAnn exclaimed,goinguptoAmyandputtingherhandsonhershoulders "She's'peatin'someo'dechantindePra'rBook MandyAnnismightypious, sheis,"Jakesaidinalowtone,whileAmydrewbackalittle,andlookedtimidly atthetallnegresscallingherlilchileDory "MandyAnnwasn'tsobig,"shesaid,turningtothetwins,AlexandAaron,Judy andDory,whobroughtthepastbackmorevividlywhenMandyAnnwasabout theirsize AlookofinquirypassedfromMandyAnntoJake,whotouchedhisforehead, whileMandywhispered,"Quar,likeoleMissan'allof'em Oh,depityofit! Whathappenedher?"ThentoAmyshesaid,withallthemotherhoodofherten childreninhervoice,"Doan'you'memberme,MandyAnn,whatuse'todress youindemornin',an'combyerhar,an'wassyerface?" "Up,insteadofdown,"Amysaidquickly,whileeverybodylaughedinsteadof herself "Tobeshu',"MandyAnnrejoined "IreckonIdidsometimeswassup'stedof down Icouldn'thelpit,'caseyou'sgen'rallypullin'an'haulin'an'kickin'meto gitaway,butyou'membersme,an'Judy,widdiskindofface?" ShetouchedhereyesandnoseandmouthtoshowwhereJudy'sfeatureswere markedwithink,andthenAmylaughed,andasifthementionofJudytookher backtothevernacularofherchildhood,shesaid,"Oh,yes,Idone'members Judy Wharisshe?" ThislapseofhermotherintonegrodialectwasmoredreadfultoEloisethan anythingwhichhadgonebefore,butMr Mason,whoreadherconcerninher face,saidtoher,"It'sallright,andshowssheistakingupthetangledthreads." NoonepresentknewofJudy'ssaleattheRummage,andnoonecouldreplyto thequestion,"Wharisshe?"Amyforgotitinamomentinherinterestinthe twins,whomMandypresentedoneafteranother,saying,"I'vesixmo'grow'dup, someon'em,an'oneismarried,'caseI'seold,—I'sefifty-three,an'you'sabout forty." TothisAmypaidnoattention Shewasstillabsorbedwiththetwins,who, MandyAnntoldher,hadwornherwhitefrockattheirchristening MandyAnn hadnotyetheardofthefindingofthemarriagecertificate,andwhenJaketold hershedidnotseemgreatlysurprised "Iallusknewshewasmarried,withoutastifficut,"shesaid "Ib'lieveditthefust timehecomebefo'lilMissDorywasbawn." "Tellmeabouthiscoming,"Eloisesaid,andMandyAnn,wholikednothing betterthantotalk,beganatthebeginning,andtoldeveryparticularofthefirst visit,whenMissDoraworethewhitegownshewasmarriedinandburiedin, andtheroseonherbosom "Andyouthinkthisisit?"Eloiseasked,holding carefullyinabitofpapertheashesofwhathadoncebeenarose "I'clarfor't,yes,"Mandysaid,"Iseenherputitsomewharwiththecardhedone ginme You'sefoundit?" Eloisenoddedandheldfasttotherelicsofapastwhichinthiswaywaslinking itselftothepresent "Tellusofthesecondtime,whenhetookmother,"Eloise suggested,andhereMandyAnnwasveryeloquent,describingeverythingin detail,repeatingmuchwhichJakehadtold,tellingofthering,—arealstone, sentherfromSavannah,andwhichshehadgivenherdaughterasitwastoo smallforhernow Fromadrawerinthechamberaboveshebroughtalittlewhite dress,stiffwithstarchandyellowandtenderwithtime,whichshesaid"lilMiss Doryworewhenshefirstsawherfather." ThisEloiseseizedatonce,saying,"Youwillletmehaveitassomethingwhich belongedtomotherfarback." MandyAnnlookeddoubtful Therewouldprobablybegrandchildren,andJake's scruplesmightbeovercomeandthewhitegowndodutyagainasachristening robe ButJakespokeuppromptly "Incourseit'syour'n,an'debook,too,ifyouwantsit,thoughit'sliketakin'a pieceofdeoletimes StrangeMissDoradon'tpayno'tention,butissowropp'd upindemtwins 'Specsitseemslikewhendelittledarkysuse'toplaywidher," hecontinued,lookingatAmy,who,ifsheheardwhatMandyAnnwassaying, gavenosign,butseemed,asJakesaid,"wropp'dup"inthetwins TherewasnotmuchmoreforMandyAnntotelloftheColonel,excepttospeak ofthemoneyhehadsenttoherandJake,provingthathewasnot"thewustest manintheworld,ifshedidcusshimkneelingonMissDory'sgravethenight aftertheburial."Shespokeofthatandof"oleMissThomas,whowasthelastto ginin,"andwouldn'thavedoneitthenbutfortheringonherfinger Atthis pointJake,whothoughtshehadtoldenough,saidtoher,"Holeonaspell Your tongueislikeamillwheelwhenitstarts Thar'ssomethingsyouor'tokeepto yourself OlemanCromptonisdead,an'Godistakin'keerofhim Heknowsall thegoodtharwasatthelast,an'I'specstharwasaheap." BythistimeAmyhadtiredofthetwins,whohadfingeredherringsandbuttons, andstrokedherdressandhair,andcalledheraprettylady,andaskedheronthe slyforanickel Shewasgettingrestless,whenJakeysaid,"Ifyou'dliketosee yourmudder'sgrave,comewidme." FromthehousetotheenclosurewheretheHarriseswereburiedhehadmadea narrowroad,besidewhicheucalyptustreesandoleandersweregrowing,and alongthiswalkthepartyfollowedhimtoEudora'sgrave "Icanhave'Crompton'puthyarnowthatIamshu',"Jakesaid,pointingtothe vacantspaceafterEudora "Iwishdarwasroomfor'belobedwifeofCunnel Crompton.'Ireckons,though,shewasn't'belobed,'orwhywashesodogon meantoher?"headded,kneelingbythegraveandpickingadeadleafandbud whichhisquickeyehaddetectedamidthebloom "Couldn'tyoudonedrapatear 'caseyourmotherislyin'here?"hesaidtoAmy,whoshookherhead ThedeadmotherwasnotasrealtoherasthelivingJake,towhomshesaid,"As youtalktomeIremembersomethingofher,andpeoplemakinganoise Butitis longago,andmuchhashappenedsince Ican'tcry Isitwrong?" ShelookedatEloise,whoreplied,"No,darling;youhavecriedenoughforone day Sometimewewillcomehereagain,andyou'llremembermore Letusgo." "Whatisyourplannow?"Mr MasonaskedJackwhen,afterahalfhourspent withJake,theyweredrivingbacktotheBrockHouse "Ihavebeenthinking,"Jackreplied,"thatIwillleavetheladiesforafewdaysat thehotel,whileIgotoPalatkaandAtlanta,andseeifanythingcanbelearnedof theBrowns,orHarrises,ortheHardyplantation,wherethemarriagetookplace IwishtogetallthefactsIcan,althoughthecertificateshouldbesufficientto establishMrs Amy'srighttotheestate Idon'tthinksherealizesherposition,as heirtothefinestpropertyinCrompton." Shedidn'trealizeitatall,butwasverywillingtostayattheBrockHousewith Eloise,whileJackwenttoPalatkaandAtlantatoseewhathecouldfind Itwas notmuch TomHardyhadbeenkilledinthewar,andhadleftnofamily Thishe wastoldinPalatka InAtlantahelearnedthatbeforethewartherehadbeena plantationnearthecityownedbyaHardyfamily,allofwhomweredeadorhad disappeared TherewereBrownsinplentyintheDirectory,andJacksawthem all,butnonehadanyconnectionwiththeHarrises Atlasthestruckanold negress,whohadbelongedtotheHardys,andwhorememberedadouble weddingattheplantationyearsbefore,andwhosaidthatanAndrewJackson Brown,whomusthavebeenpresent,ashewasasonofthehouse,waslivingin Boston,andwasaconductorofastreetcar Withthisinformationastheresultof hissearchJackwentbacktoEnterprise,wherehefoundAmygreatlyimproved inmindandbody EverydayJakeandMandyAnnhadbeentoseeher,orwith Eloiseshehaddriventotheclearing,whereherdormantfacultiescontinuedto awakenwiththefamiliarobjectsofherchildhood Manypeopleandmuch talkingstillbewilderedher,andhermemorywastreacherousonmanypoints, buttoastrangerwhoknewnothingofherhistorysheseemedaquiet,sane woman,"notabitquar,"EloisesaidtoJackasshewelcomedhimback "AndI believeshewillcontinuetoimprovewhenwegetherhome,awayfromthe peoplewhotalktohersomuchandconfuseher Whencanwego?" "To-morrow,ifyoulike,"Jacksaid,andthenextdaytheyleftEnterprise,after biddinganaffectionategood-bytoMandyAnn,withwhomtheylefta substantialremembranceoftheirvisit Amywouldhavelikedtotakethetwinswithher,butEloisesaid,"Notyet, mother;waitandsee,andperhapstheywillallcomelater." ItwassurethatJakeywastofollowthemsoonandspendasmuchtimewith themashepleased "Stayalways,ifyouwill Weoweyoueverything,"Eloisesaidtohim,whenat partinghestoodontheplatformwithhis"Godbressyou,Mas'rHarcourtan' MissAmy,an'Misst'otherone,"untilthetrainwasoutofsight Theymadethejourneybyeasystages,forAmywaswornwithexcitement,and itwasaweekafterleavingFloridawhenatelegramwasreceivedatthe CromptonHousesayingtheywouldarrivethatevening CHAPTERIX WHATHOWARDFOUND JackhadsentHowardapostalontheroadtoFlorida,andafewlinesfrom Enterpriseonthedayoftheirarrival Sincethattimehehadbeensobusythathe hadfailedtowrite,thinkinghecouldtellthenewssomuchbetter,andHoward arguedfromhissilencethattheerrandhadbeenunsuccessful CromptonPlace wasundoubtedlyhis,andstillhehadnotbeenaltogetherhappyinhisrôleas heir Theservantshadbeenveryrespectful;peoplehadtreatedhimwith deference;trades-peoplehadsoughthispatronage;subscriptionpapershad pouredinuponhimfromallquarters,andinmanywayshewasmadetofeelthat hewasreallyCromptonofCrompton,withaprospectiveincomeofmany thousands Hehadgoneoverhisuncle'spapers,andknewexactlywhathewas worth,andwhenhisdividendsandrentsweredue Hewasarichman,unless theyfoundsomethingunexpectedinFlorida,andhedidnotbelievetheywould Itseemedimpossiblethatiftherewereamarriageitshouldhavebeenkept secretsolong "Myunclewouldcertainlyhavetolditatthelastandnotlefta stainonAmy,"hesaidtohimselfagainandagain,andnearlysucceededin makinghimselfbelievethathehadarighttobewherehewas,—hisuncle'sheir andheadofthehouse WhynoprovisionwasmadeforAmyhecouldnot imagine "Butitwillmakenodifference,"hesaid;"Ishallprovideforherand Eloise." Atthethoughtofherhisheartgaveagreatthrob,forshewasdearertohimthan hehadsupposed "IbelieveI'dgiveupCromptonifIcouldwinher,"hethought, "butthatcannotbe;Jackistheluckyfellow,"andthenhebegantocalculatehow muchhewouldgiveAmyoutandout "Shecanlivehere,ofcourse,ifshewill, butshemusthavesomethingofherown Willtwentythousandbeenough,or toomuch?"hesaid,andfromthesumtotaloftheestatehesubtractedtwenty thousanddollars,withsolargearemainderthathedecidedtogiveherthat amountinbondsandmortgages,whichwouldcauseheraslittletroubleas possible Thereweresomegovernmentbondsinaprivatedrawer,throughwhich hehadsearchedforawill Hewouldhavealookatthemandseewhichwerethe moredesirableforAmy Hehadbeenthroughthatdrawerthreeorfourtimes, andtherewasnothoughtofthewillnowasheopenedit,wonderingthatitcame sohard,asifsomethingwerebindingonthetoporside Itshutharder,or,rather, itdidn'tshutatall,andwithajerkhepulleditouttoseewhatwasthematter As hedidsoafoldedsheetoffoolscap,whichhadbeenlodgedbetweenthedrawer andthesideofthedesk,felltothefloor Withapresentimentofthetruth Howardtookitupandread,"THELASTWILLANDCONFESSIONOF JAMESCROMPTON!" Ithadcomeatlast,and,unfoldingthesheet,Howardbegantoread,glancing firstatthedate,whichwasafewweeksafterAmycamefromCalifornia "KNOWALLMENBYTHESEPRESENTS,"itbegan,"thatI,JAMES CROMPTON,amacowardandasneakandavillain,andhavelivedaliefor fortyyears,hidingasecretIwastooproudtodivulgeatfirst,andwhichgrew harderandhardertotellastimewentonandpeopleheldmesohighasthesoul ofhonorandrectitude Honor!Thereisn'tahairofitonmyhead!Ibrokethe heartofaninnocentgirl,andlefthertodiealone AMYEUDORASMITHis myowndaughter,thelawfulchildofmymarriagewithEUDORAHARRIS, whichtookplaceDecember—,18—,ontheHardyPlantation,FultonCounty,in Georgia,severalmilesfromAtlanta." UptothispointHowardhadbeenstanding,butnowthefloorseemedtoriseup andstrikehimintheface Sittingdowninthenearestchair,hebreathedhardfor amoment,andthenwentonwithwhattheColonelcalledhisCONFESSION, whichhehadnothadcouragetomakeverballywhileliving Whenincollegehehadforhisroom-mateTomHardyfromAtlanta Thetwo werefastfriends,andwhentheColonelwasinvitedtovisitGeorgiahedidso gladly SomemilesfromthetownwastheplantationownedbytheHardys This theColonelvisitedincompanywithhisfriend Asmalllog-houseonapartof thefarmwasrentedtoaMr Brown,aperfectlyrespectableman,butignorant andcoarse Hisfamilyconsistedofhimselfandwifeandson,anddaughter Mary,aprettygirloftwenty,andacousinfromFlorida,EudoraHarris,a beautifulgirlofsixteen,whollyuneducatedandshyasabird Therewasabout herawonderfulfascinationfortheColonel,whowentwithhisfriendseveral timestotheBrown's,andmixedwiththemfamiliarlyforthesakeofthegirl whoseeyeswelcomedhimsogladly,andinwhichheatlastreadunmistakable signsofloveforhimself,whilethebroadjokesofherfriendswarnedhimofhis danger Thenhiscallsceased,fornothingwasfurtherfromhisthoughtthan marriagewithEudora AtlasttherecametohimandTomabadlywrittenand spelledinvitationtoMary'swedding,whichwastotakeplaceontheafternoon ofthenineteenthdayofDecember,18— "Let'sgo;there'llbenoendoffun,"Tomsaid,butwhenthedaycamehewasill inbedwithinfluenza,andtheColonelwentwithouthim,reachingthehousejust asthefamilyweretakingahastylunch,preparatorytothefeastwhichwasto followthewedding "Isatdownwiththem,"theColonelwrote,"andmademyselfoneofthem,and drankvilewhiskeyandhome-madewineuntilmyheadbegantofeelasbigas twoheads,andIdonotthinkIknewwhatIwasabout Asbadluckwouldhave it,themanwhowastostandwithEudoraasgroomsmanfailedtocome,andI wasaskedtotakehisplace "'Certainly,Iamreadyforanything,'Isaid,andmyvoicesoundedhuskyand unnatural,andIwonderedwhatailedme "'Then,s'posin'youandDorygetspliced,andwe'llhaveadoubleweddin' You havesparkeditlongenough,andwedon'tstandfoolin'here,'Mr Brownsaidto me,inahalf-laughing,half-threateningtone "IlookedatEudora,andherbeautifuleyeswereshininguponmewithalook whichmademypulsesquickenastheyneverhadbefore Idon'tknowwhat demonpossessedme,unlessitwerethedemonofthewhiskeypunch,ofwhichI haddrankfartoomuch,andwhichpromptedmetosay,'Allright,ifEudorais willing.' "Todoherjustice,shehesitatedamoment,butwhenIkissedhersheyielded, andwiththetouchofherlipstherecameovermeafeelingImistookforlove, andeverythingwasforgottenexceptthegirl ElderCovilperformedthedouble ceremony,andlookedquestioninglyatme,asifdoubtfulwhetherIwereinmy rightmindornot IthoughtIwas,andfeltextremelyhappy,untilIwoketowhat Ihaddone,andfromwhichtherewasnoescape Iwasboundtoagirlwhose sweetdispositionandgreatbeautywereheronlyattractions,andwhose environmentsmademeshudder IcouldnotbringhertoCromptonPlaceand introducehertomyfriends,andIdidnotknowwhattodo "Tomwasfuriouswhenheheardofit,andsuggestedsuicideanddivorce,and everythingelsethatwasbad ButDora'seyesheldmefortwoweeks,andthenI becamesodisillusionizedandsosickofmysurroundings,thatIwasnearly readytofollowTom'sadviceandblowoutmybrains "'Ifyouwon'tkillyourself,'hesaid,'sendthegirlhometoFlorida,andleaveher theretillyoumakeupyourmindwhattodo Theremustbesomewaytountie thatknot Ifnot,youareinforit.' "Isentherhome,andaftertwoorthreeweeks,duringwhichTomandIrevolved ahundredplans,Idecidedonone,andwenttoseeherinherhome—andsucha home!Alog-houseinapalmettoclearing,withafoolisholdgrandmotherwho didnotknowenoughtoaskorcarewhatIwastoEudora Icouldnotendureit, andItoldEudorahowimpossibleitwasformetotakeherNorthuntilshehad someeducationandknowledgeoftheworld Iwouldleaveher,Isaid,untilI coulddecideuponaschooltowhichIwouldsendher,and,asitwouldbeabsurd foramarriedwomantobeattendingschool,shewastoretainhermaidenname ofHarris,andtellnooneofourmarriageuntilIgaveherpermissiontodoso I thinkshewouldhavejumpedintotheriveratmybidding,andshepromisedall thatIrequired "'IshallnevertellIamyourwifeuntilyousayImay,'shesaidtomewhenIleft her,buttherewasalookinhereyeslikethatIoncesawinapetdogIhadshot, andwhichindyinglickedmyhands "ThroughTomHardy,wholeftAtlantaforPalatka,Isenthermoneyregularly andwroteoccasionally,whilesherepliedthroughthesamemedium Loving, pitifulletterstheywere,andwouldhavemovedtheheartofanymanwhowas notabruteandsteepedtothedregsinprideandcowardice Iburnedthemas soonasIreadthem,forfeartheymightbefound Itoldhertodothesamewith mine,andhavenodoubtshedid Ididmeanfairabouttheschool,andwas makinginquiries,slowly,itistrue,asmyheartwasnotinit,andIhadnearly decideduponLexington,Kentucky,whenthebirthofalittlegirlchanged everything,butdidnotreconcilemetothesituation Inevercaredforchildren, —dislikedthemratherthanotherwise,—andthefactthatIwasafatherdidnot movemeawhit "Therewasaletterimploringmetocomeandseeourbaby,andIpromisedto go,withavagueideathatImightsometimekeepmyword ButIdidn't Ihad noloveforEudora,noneforthechild;andstillathoughtofithauntedme continually,andwasthecauseofmygivingthegroundsandtheschool-houseto thetown Iwantedtoexpiatemysin,andatthesametimeincreasemy popularity,foratthattimeIwastryingtomakeupmymindtoacknowledgemy marriageandbringEudorahome Thepoorgirlneverknewit,foronthedayof thelawnpartyshewasburied TomHardywrotemeshewasdead,andthathe wasaboutstartingforEurope,andhadgivenJake,afaithfulservantofthe family,myaddress GodknowsmyremorsewhenIheardit,andstillIputoff goingforthechilduntilJakewrotemethatthegrandmother,too,haddied,and addedthatitwasnotfittingforthelittlegirltobebroughtupwithCrackersand negroes HedidnotknowthatIhadheardofEudora'sdeathfromTom,andwas waitingfor—Ididnotknowwhat,unlessitwastohearfromhimpersonally Therewasmoremanlinessinthatnegro'snaturethaninmine,andIknewit,and wasashamedofmyself,andwentformydaughterandstoodbymywife'sgrave, andheardfromJakethestoryofherlife,andknewshehadkeptherpromiseand neveropenedherlips,excepttosaythat'itwasallright.' "Thepeoplebelievedherforthemostpart,andanathematizedtheunknownman whohaddesertedher,buttheycouldnotheapuponmealltheodiumIdeserved WhythestoryhasneverreachedhereIhardlyknow,exceptthatintercourse betweentheNorthandtheextremeSouthwasnotaseasyasitisnow,andthen thewarsweptoffTomHardyandmostlikelyallwhoknewofthemarriage "WhenIbroughtAmyhomeIwastooproudtoacknowledgeherasmy daughter TheHarrisesandthepalmettoclearingstoodintheway,andIlet peoplethinkwhattheychose,hatingmyselfwithanaddedhatredforallowinga staintorestonherbirth Iwasfondofherinaway,andangrywhenshemarried Candida,whodiedinRome ThenshemarriedaSmith,whotookherroundthe countrytosinginconcerts,untilhermindgaveway,whenheputherinaprivate asyluminSanFrancisco Iwasveryproudofher,andlovedhermorethanshe everknew,butcouldnotconfessmyrelationshiptoher Whenshemarried CandidaIcastheroff Shemusthavesomeofmyspirit,forshenevercame beggingforfavors Herrascallysecondhusbandwroteonceformoney,butI shuthimupsothatheneverwroteagain,andthenextIheardwasamessage fromSantaBarbara,wherehedied,andwhere,beforehedied,hehadbiddenhis physiciantowritetomethathiswifewasinanasyluminSanFrancisco Ifound herandbroughtherhome,shatteredinhealthandinmind,butIthinkshewill recover IfshedoesbeforeIdie,Ihavesworntotellherthetruth,andwilldoit, sohelpmeGod! "Shehasattimesspokenofababywhodied,—Smith'sprobably,andIhated himanddidnotcareforhischild Ihavethoughttomakemywill,butwould ratherwritethisconfession,whichwillexplainthingsandputAmyrightasmy heir Ihave,however,onerequesttomaketoher,orthosewhoattendtoher affairs Iwantmynephew,Howard,tohavetwentythousanddollars,—enough foranyyoungmantostartonifthereisanyget-upinhim,andHowardhas considerable "Writtenbymeandsignedthis—dayofJuly, 18—,theanniversaryofEudora'sfuneralandthe bigpicniconmygrounds "JAMESM CROMPTON." CHAPTERX HOWARD'STEMPTATION Howarddidnotknowhowlongittookhimtoreadthispaper Itseemedtohim anage,andwhenitwasreadhefeltasifturningintostone Therewasafirein thegratebeforewhichhesat,andsomethingsaidtohim,"Burnit,"sodistinctly, thathelookedoverhisshouldertoseewhowasthere "It'sthedevil,"he thought,andhishandwenttowardtheflame,thendrewbackquickly Heknew nowwhathisunclehadtriedsohardtotellthem,andrememberedhowoftenhis eyeshadturnedinthedirectionoftheprivatedrawer Hehadputhisconfession there,andithadbecomewedgedinandwasoutofsight,untilfrequentopening andshuttingthedrawerhadbroughtitintoview Hereadthedocumentagain, andfelttheperspirationoozingoutofeverypore Thetwentythousand recommendedforhimmadehimlaugh,ashethoughtthatwasthesumhehad intendedforAmy,andwhichlookedverysmallforhisownneeds "Sixtimes twoaretwelve,"hesaid,calculatingtheinterestatsixpercent "Twelvehundred ayearisnotmuchwhenoneexpectedasmanythousands IbelieveI'llburnit!" andagainthepaperwasheldsonearthefirethatacornerofitwasscorched "Ican'tdoit,"hesaid,drawingitbackasecondtime "Itwoulddonogood, either,iftheyfindoutinFlorida Idon'tsee,though,howtheycan,andifthey have,Jackwouldhavewritten,butIcan'tburnityet Imustthinkawhile." Heputthepaperaside,and,withouthisovercoat,wentoutintothecold,sleety rain,whichwasfallingheavily Itchilledhimatonce,buthedidnotthinkofit ashewentthroughthegroundsandgardensandfieldsoftheCromptonPlace, whereeverythingwasinperfectorderandbespokethewealthoftheowner It wasafairheritage,andhecouldnotgiveitupwithoutapang Heneverknew howmanymileshewalkedbackandforthacrossthefieldsandthroughthe woods Nordidheknowthathewascold,untilhereturnedtothehousewith drenchedgarmentsandachillwhichhefelttohisbones Hehadtakenaheavy cold,andstaidin-doorsthenextmorning,shiveringbeforethegrate,whichhe toldPetertoheapwithcoaluntilitwashotas— Hedidn'tfinishthesentence, butadded,"I'minfernallycold,—influenza,Ireckon,butIwon'thaveany nostrumsbroughttome AllIwantisagoodfire." Peterheapedupthefireuntiltheroomseemedtohimlikeafurnace,andthen lefttheyoungmanalonewithhisthoughtsandhistemptation,whichwas assailinghimasecondtime,strongerthanbefore Hefirmlybelievedthedevil wasthere,urginghimtoburnthepaper,andheldseveralspiritedconversations withhim,proandcon,theconsfinallygainingthevictory LateintheafternoonJack'stelegramwasbroughttohim "We'llbehomethis evening." "Thatmeansseveno'clock,anddinnerathalfpastseven,"hesaidtoPeter "Send Samwiththecarriage,andseethattherearefiresintheirrooms." Hehadgivenhisordersandthensatdowntodecidewhathewoulddo "IknowtheOldHarryisherewithme,buthiscompanyisbetterthannone,"he said,wishinghehadashawl,hewassocold,withtheroomat90degrees Theshortdaydrewtoaclose Petercameinandlightedthegas,andputmore coalonthegrate,andsaidSamhadgonetothestation Halfanhourlater Howardheardthewhistleofthetrain,andthenthesoundofwheelscomingup theavenue "Nowornever!"waswhisperedinhisear,andhishand,withthepaperinit, wenttowardthefire Therewasafiercestruggle,andHowardfeltthathewasreallyfightingwithan unseenfoe;thenhishandcamebackwiththepaperinit,safeexceptfora secondscorchononeside "Bythegreateternal,itisnever!Iswearit!"hesaid,ashisarmdroppedbeside himandthepaperfelltothefloor Therewasasoundbelowofpeopleenteringthehouse Theyhadcome,andhe heardEloise'svoiceasshepassedhisdooronherwaytoherroomwithAmy WasJacktheretoo?hewaswondering—whenJackcamein,gayandbreezy,but startledwhenhemetthewoe-begonefaceturnedtowardhim "ByGeorge!oldman,"hesaid,"Petertoldmeyouwereshutupwithacold,but Ididn'texpectthis Why,youlooklikeaghost,andaresweatinglikeabutcher, andnowonder Thethermometermustbeahundred What'sthematter?" "Jack,"Howardsaid,"forforty-eighthoursIhavehadahand-to-handtusslewith thedevil Hewasherebodily,asmuchasyouare,butIbeathim,andsworeI wouldn'tburnthepaper Readit!" Hepointedtoituponthefloorathisfeet "Ihaditprettynearthefiretwice,andsingeditsome,"hecontinued,asJack tookitup,and,glancingatthefirstwords,exclaimed,"Awill!Youfoundone, then?" "Notaregularlyattestedwill,butanswerseverypurpose,"Howardreplied, whileJackreadonwithlightningrapidity,understandingmuchthatwasdark before,andguessinginpartwhatitwastoHowardtohaveallhishopesswept away "ByJove!"hesaid,ashefinishedreading,"therewasgoodintheoldmanafter all Ididn'tthinksowhenIheardJakey'sstory,andsawwherehiswifelivedand died Wefoundthemarriagecertificate." "Youdid!"Howardexclaimed,agreatgladnessthathehadnotdestroyedthe papertakingpossessionofhim "Whydidn'tyouwriteandtellme?Itwould havesavedmethatfightwiththedevil." "Idon'tknowwhyIdidn't,"Jackreplied "Iwasawfullybusy,andwentatonce toPalatkatoseeifTomHardyleftanyfamilythere,andfoundhewasnever married ThenIwenttoAtlantatofindsometraceoftheBrownsandtheHardy plantation Thelatterhadbeensold,theHardyswereallgone,andtheBrowns, too,—killedinthewar,mostlikely,exceptonewhoisastreet-carconductorin Boston,andIamgoingtohunthimup,asIbelievehewasatthewedding, althoughhemusthavebeenquiteyoung Yes,Ioughttohavewritten,andI'm sorryforyou,uponmysoul Youlookasifyou'dhadatasteoftheinfernal regions I'mgladyoudidn'tburnit." HetookHoward'shandandheldit,whilehetoldhim,verybriefly,the circumstancesoftheirfindingthecertificate,ofwhoseexistenceCol Crompton couldnothaveknown "And,Howard,"headded,"I'vesomethingelsetotell you Eloiseistobemywife WesettleditinthetrainbeforeIknewshewasa greatheiress Can'tyoucongratulateme?"heasked,asHowarddidnotspeak "Iexpectedit You'vegoteverything,—moneyandgirl,too,"Howardsaidat last "Youarealuckydog,and,whetheryoubelievemeornot,I'dratherhave thegirlthanthemoney Iaskedhertomarryme Didshetellyou?" "Ofcoursenot,"Jackreplied,andHowardwenton,"Well,Idid,andkissedher, too!" "Didshekissyou?"Jackaskedalittlesharply,andHowardreplied,"No,sir;she wasmadderthanahatter;you'venocausetobejealous." "Allright,"Jackanswered,hisbrowclearing "Allright I'mmoresorryforyou nowthanIwasbefore Ididn'tknowyoureallycaredforherthatway;but,Isay, aren'tyoucomingtodinner?Thebellhasrungtwice,andIstillinmytravelling clothesandyouinyourdressing-gown." Howardshookhishead "Don'tyousee,Iamsickwithaninfernalcold,"hesaid "Gotittrampingintherainwithoutmyovercoat,andthatfightItoldyouofhas unstrungme Itwasaregularbattle Butyougoyourself,andperhapsEloisewill cometoseeme IshallshowhertheColonel'sconfession,andshecandoasshe pleasesabouttellinghermother." Jacklefthimandwenttothedinner,whichhadbeenkeptwaitingsometime, andatwhichAmydidnotappear Shehadgoneatoncetobed,Eloiseexplained, whenshetookherseatatthetablewithJack WhentoldofHoward'smessage, shesaid,"OfcourseI'llgotohim,"andhalfanhourlatershewasinhisroom, andgreatlyshockedathiswhite,haggardface,whichindicatedmorethanthe coldofwhichhecomplained Hedidnottellherofhistemptation Itwasnot necessary Hecongratulatedheruponhersuccess,anduponherengagement,of whichJackhadtoldhim Thenhegaveherthepaperhehadfound,andwatched herasshereadit,sometimeswithflashesofindignationuponherface,andagain withtearsofpityinhereyes "Hewasabadman,"shesaid,withgreatenergy,andthenadded,"Agoodone, too,insomerespects,althoughIcannotunderstandthepridewhichmadehim suchacoward." "Ican,"Howardrejoined "It'stheCromptonpride,strongerthanlifeitself I know,forIamaCrompton You,probably,aremoreHarristhanCrompton,and donotfeelsodeeply." Hedidnotmeantoreflectuponhermother'sfamily,butEloise'sfacewasvery redasshesaid,"TheHarrisesandBrownsarenotpeopletobeproudof,Iknow, buttheywereashonest,perhaps,astheCromptons,andtheyaremine,andif theyallcamehereto-nightIwouldnotdisownthem." ShelookedeveryinchaCromptonasshespoke,andHowardlaughedandsaid, "Goodforyou,littlecousin;Ibelieveyouwould,andifJackfindstheconductor inBoston,Idaresayyouwillhavehimatyourwedding Whenisittobe?" "Justassoonasarrangementscanbemade,"Jackreplied,cominginintimeto hearthelastofHoward'sremark,"and,ofcourse,we'llhavethestreetconductor ifhewillcome Istartto-morrowtofindhim." HetookanearlytrainthenextmorningforBoston,andtwodaysafterhewrote toEloise:"Ibelievethereareamillionstreetcarsinthecityandfiftyconductors bythenameofBrown Fortunately,however,thereisonlyoneAndrewJackson, orAndy,astheycallhim,andIfoundhimononeofthesuburbantrains,rather oldtobeaconductor,butseemedyoungforhisyears Heisyourgrandmother's cousin,andwaspresentatthedoublewedding,whenEudoraHarriswasmarried byElderCoviltoJamesCrompton,'amightyproud-lookin'chap,'hesaid,'who desertedherinlessthanamonth Irememberhimwell Popthreatenedtoshoot himifheevercotchedhim,butthewahbrokeoutandpopwaskilled,andallof usbutme,whomarriedalittleYankeegirlwhatbroughtthingstousprisonersin Washington She'srightsmartyoungerthanIam,andI'vegoteightchildrenand fivegrandchildren,peartandlivelyasrabbits AndyouwantmetoswearthatI seenEudorymarried?Wall,Iwill,forIdid,andI'dliketoseehergirl—Amy youcallher MabbyMaryJanean'mewillcometovisitherwhenIhaveaspell off.' "Allthishesaidinabreath,andwhenItoldhimIwastomarryAmy'sdaughter, hecalledmehiscousin,andaskedwhentheweddingwastobe Ifithadnot beenforthoseeightchildrenandfivegrandchildren,thirteenBrownsinall, whichIfeltsurehewouldbringwithhim,IshouldhavepromisedhimandMary Janeaninvitation Asitwas,Ididnothingrash Igothisaffidavit,andweparted thebestoffriends,heurgingmetocallathisshantyandseeMaryJaneandthe kids Ihadtodecline,buttoldhimperhapsI'dbringmywifetoseethem What doyousay?Expectmeto-morrow "Lovingly, "JACK." CHAPTERXI CONCLUSION ItdidnottakelongforallCromptontoknowthatAmywasCol Crompton's daughter,andthattheColonelhadleftapapertothateffect,whichMr Howard hadfound,andthatEloisehadalsofoundthemarriagecertificate,provingher mother'slegitimacybeyondadoubt,andmakinghersoleheirtotheCrompton estate ItwasFridaynightwhenthetravellersreturnedfromtheSouth,andon Saturdaymorning,Mrs Biggs'swashingday,sheheardthenews Leavingher clothesinthesuds,andhertubsofrinsingandbluingwateruponthefloor,she startedfortheCromptonHouse,whichshereachedbreathlesswithhasteand excitement,andeagertocongratulateAmyandEloise "Iswan,it'mostseem'sifIwasyourrelation,"shesaid,shakingEloise'shand, andtellinghershealwaysmistrustedshewassomebodymorethancommon, "andIhopeweshallbeneighborly Is'poseyou'lllivehere?" Eloisereceivedhergraciously,andsaidsheshouldneverforgetherkindness, andtoldhersomeincidentsofherjourney,and,asMrs BiggsreportedtoTim, "treatedmeasifIwasjustasgoodasshe,ifsheisaCrompton." RubyAnncamelaterintheday,genuinelygladforEloise,andsurethatnothing wouldeverchangetheyounggirl'sfriendshipforherself,nomatterwhather positionmightbe ManyotherscalledthatdayandthefollowingMonday,and Eloisereceivedthemwithadignityofwhichshewasherselfunconscious,and whichtheychargedtotheCromptonblood Howard,whowasstillsuffering fromaseverecold,kepthisroomuntilJackreturned Thenhecameoutwitha feelingofhumiliation,notsomuchthathehadlosttheestate,asthathehad thoughttoburnthepaperwhichtookitfromhim Thisfeeling,however, graduallyworeoffunderJack'sgenialityandEloise'sfriendliness,andAmy's sweetnessofmannerasshecalledhimCousinHoward,andsaidshehopedhe wouldlookuponCromptonashishome Thenhewastohavetwentythousand dollarswhenmatterswereadjusted,andthatwassomethingtoonewho,when hecametoCrompton,hadscarcelyadollar Hisvisithadpaid,and,thoughhe wasnotthemaster,hewasthefavoredguestandcousin,who,atEloise's request,tookchargeofaffairsafterJackwenthometoNewYork EarlyinDecemberJakecamefromtheSouth,andwaswelcomedwarmlyby AmyandEloise Totheservantshewasagreatcuriosity,withhisnegrodialect andquaintways,butnoonecouldlookattheoldman'shonestfacewithout respectinghim EvenPeter,whodetectedabouthimanorderofthebadtobacco whichhadsooffendedhisnostrilsintheletterstohismaster,andwhoon generalprinciplesdislikednegroes,wasdisarmedofhisprejudicesbyJake's confidingsimplicityandthoroughgoodness Takinghimonedayforadrive aroundthecountryandthroughthevillage,heboughthimsomefirst-classcigars withthethought"Maybethey'lltakethatsmelloutofhisclothes." "Thankee,Mas'rPeter,thankee,"Jakesaid,smackinghislipswithhisenjoyment oftheflavoroftheHavanas "Disyerammightyfine,butIs'pecksIor'tostick tomybacky Idonebroughtalotwidme." HesmokedtheHavanasaslongastheylasted,withnospecialdiminutionof odorasPetercoulddiscover,andthenreturnedtohisbackyandhisclaypipe Intheloveandtendercarewithwhichshewassurrounded,Amy'smind recovereditsbalancetoagreatextent,withanoccasionallapsewhenanything remindedherofherlifeinCaliforniaasapublicsinger,orwhenshewasvery tired ShewasgreatlyinterestedinEloise'swedding,whichwasfixedforthe 10thofJanuary,hertwentiethbirthday Jack,whocamefromNewYorkevery week,wouldhavelikedwhathecalledablow-out,buttherecentdeathofthe ColonelandAmy'smourningprecludedthat,andonlyaveryfewwerebiddento theceremony,whichtookplaceinthedrawing-roomoftheCromptonHouse, insteadofthechurch Amygavethebrideaway,andastrangerwouldnever havesuspectedthatshewaswhatJakeycalledquar AfterEloiseleftforher bridaltripshebegantoassumesomeresponsibilityasmistressofthehouseand tounderstandMr Ferrisalittlewhenhetalkedtoheronbusiness Jakewasa kindofballasttoherduringEloise'sabsence,butaNorthernwinterdidnotagree withtheoldman,whoworenearlyasmuchclothingtokeephimwarmasHarry Gill,andthencomplainedofthecold "Floridasuitsmebest,andI'veakindofhankerin'fordeoleplacewhardeysall buried,"hesaid,andinthespringhereturnedtohisLaresandPenates,leaving Amyalittleunsettledwithhisloss,butshesoonrecoveredherspiritsinthe excitementofgoingabroad ItwasJackwhosuggestedthistrip,whichhethoughtwouldbenefitthemall, andearlyinMaytheysailedforEurope,takingRubywiththem,notinany senseasawaitingmaid,assomeill-naturedonessuggested,butasacompanion toAmy,andasthefriendwhohadbeensokindtoEloiseinherneed ThatsummerHowardwasaconspicuousfigureatafashionablewateringplace withhisfasthorseandstylishbuggy,andeveryotherappearanceofwealthand luxury Hehadreceivedhistwentythousanddollarsandmore,too,forEloise wasdisposedtobeverygeneroustowardhim,andAmyassentedtowhatever shesuggested "I'llhaveonegoodtimeandspendawholeyear'sinterestifIchoose,"hesaid, andhehadagoodtimeandmadelovetoalittleWesternheiress,whoseeyes werelikethoseofEloise,andfirstattractedhimtoher,andwhobeforethe seasonwasoverpromisedtobehiswife JustbeforesheleftforEuropeEloisebroughthergrandmother,Mrs Smith,from Mayville,andestablishedherinCromptonPlaceasitsmistress,butthatgood womanhadlittletosay,andallowedtheservantstohavetheirwayin everything Thechangefromherquiethometoallthegrandeurandceremonyof theCromptonHousedidnotsuither,andshereturned,likeJakey,toher householdgodswhenthefamilycamebackinthespring Severalyearshavepassedsincethen,andCromptonPlaceisjustaslovelyasit waswhenwefirstsawitonthedayofthelawnparty Threechildrenarethere now;twogirls,DoraandLucy,andasturdyboy,whowaschristenedJames HarrisCrompton,butiscalledHarry Thedoll-househasbeenbroughttolight, withMandyAnnandJudy,tothegreatdelightofthelittlegirls,andAmyis neverbrighterthanwhenplayingwiththechildren,andtellingthemofthepalms andoranges,alligatorsandnegroesinFlorida,whichshespeaksofashome Eloiseisveryhappy,andifafearoftheHarristaintevercreepsintohermind,it isdissipatedatonceintheperfectsunshinewhichcrownsherlife Nearlyevery yearJakeycomestovisit"chileDoryan'herlilones,"andonceMandyAnn spentasummerinCromptonascookinplaceofCindy,whowastakinga vacation ButNorthernwaysofregularityandpromptnessdidnotsuither "'Clarfor't,"shesaid,"Ijesscan'tgituse'ttodeYankeeDoodlequickstep nohow AtMissPerkinsesdeywasn'tpartic'larefthingswashalfanhour behime." HerminddweltagooddealonwhatshehadseenatMissPerkins's,morethan fortyyearsbefore,andonherchildrenandTed,andwhenCindyreturnedinthe autumnshewentbacktohimandthetwins,ladenwithgiftsfromAmyand Eloise,thelatterofwhomsawthathermothergavemorejudiciouslythanshe wouldotherwisehavedone BothAmyandEloisearefondofdriving,and nearlyeverydaythecarriagegoesout,butthecoachmanisnolongerSam Heis marriedandlivesinthevillage,andhisplaceisfilledbyTomWalker,who wearsabrownlivery,andfillsthepositionwithadignityonewouldscarcely expectinthetall,lankboy,oncethebullyinschoolandtheblackguardofthe town TherehavebeenthreeorfourdifferentteachersinDistrictNo 5,—allnormal graduates,andallduringtheirtermofofficeboardingwithMrs Biggs,whois nevertiredofboastingofherintimacywiththeCromptons,andEloisein particular Everydetailoftheaccidentisrepeatedagainandagain,withmany incidentsofAmy'sgirlhood ThenshetakesuptheColonelandhisprivate marriage,andwithhisintroductionweendourstoryandleavehertotellhersin herownway THEEND
- Xem thêm -

Xem thêm: The cromptons , The cromptons

Gợi ý tài liệu liên quan cho bạn