JEWEL'S STORY BOOK
CLARA LOUISE BURNHAM
NEW YORK GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS Made in the United States of America
COPYRIGHT 1904 BY CLARA LOUISE BURNHAM
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Published October, 1904
TO THE CHILDREN WHO LOVE JEWEL
I. OVER THE 'PHONE
II. THE BROKER'S OFFICE
III. THE HOME-COMING
IV. ON THE VERANDA
V. THE LIFTED VEIL
VI. THE DIE IS CAST
VII. MRS. EVRINGHAM'S GIFTS
VIII. THE QUEST FLOWER
IX. THE QUEST FLOWER (CONTINUED)
X. THE APPLE WOMAN'S STORY
XI. THE GOLDEN DOG
XII. THE TALKING DOLL
XIII. A HEROIC OFFER
XIV. ROBINSON CRUSOE
XV. ST. VALENTINE
XVI. A MORNING RIDE
XVII. THE BIRTHDAY
XVIII. TRUE DELIGHT
JEWEL'S STORY BOOK
OVER THE 'PHONE
Mrs. Forbes, Mr. Evringham's housekeeper, answered the telephone one afternoon. She was just starting to climb to the second story and did not wish to be hindered, so her "hello" had a somewhat impatient brevity.
"Oh," with a total change of voice and face, "is that you, Mr. Evringham?"
"Please send Jewel to the 'phone."
She laid down the receiver, and moving to the foot of the stairs called loudly, "Jewel!"
"Drat the little lamb!" groaned the housekeeper, "If I was only sure she was up there; I've got to go up anyway. Jewel!" louder.
"Ye—es!" came faintly from above, then a door opened. "Is somebody calling me?"
Mrs. Forbes began to climb the stairs deliberately while she spoke with energy. "Hurry down, Jewel. Mr. Evringham wants you on the 'phone."
"Goody, goody!" cried the child, her feet pattering on the thick carpet as she flew down one flight and then passed the housekeeper on the next. "Perhaps he is coming out early to ride."
"Nothing would surprise me less," remarked Mrs. Forbes dryly as she mounted.
Jewel flitted to the telephone and picked up the receiver.
"Hello, grandpa, are you coming out?" she asked.
"No, I thought perhaps you would like to come in."
"In where? Into New York?"
"What are we going to do?" eagerly.
Mr. Evringham, sitting at the desk in his private office, his head resting on his hand, moved and smiled. His mind pictured the expression on the face addressing him quite as distinctly as if no miles divided them.
"Well, we'll have dinner, for one thing. Where shall it be? At the Waldorf?"
Jewel had never heard the word.
"Do they have Nesselrode pudding?" she asked, with keen interest. Mrs. Forbes had taken her in town one day and given her some at a restaurant.
"Perhaps so. You see I've heard from the Steamship Company, and they think that the boat will get in this evening."
"Oh, grandpa! grandpa! grandpa!"
"Softly, softly. Don't break the 'phone. I hear you through the window."
"When shall I come? Oh, oh, oh!"
"Wait, Jewel. Don't be excited. Listen. Tell Zeke to bring you in to my office on the three o'clock train."
"Yes, grandpa. Oh, please wait a minute. Do you think it would be too extravagant for me to wear my silk dress?"
"No, let's be reckless and go the whole figure."
"All right," tremulously.
"Oh, grandpa, wait. Can I bring Anna Belle?" but only silence remained.
Jewel hung up the receiver with a hand that was unsteady, and then ran through the house and out of doors, leaving every door open behind her in a manner which would have brought reproof from Mrs. Forbes, who had begun to be Argus-eyed for flies.
Racing out to the barn, she appeared to 'Zekiel in the harness room like a small whirlwind.
"Get on your best things, Zeke," she cried, hopping up and down; "my father and mother are coming."
"Is this an india rubber girl?" inquired the coachman, pausing to look at her with a smile. "What train?"
"Three o'clock. You're going with me to New York. Grandpa says so; to his office, and the boat's coming to-night. Get ready quick, Zeke, please. I'm going to wear my silk dress."
"Hold on, kid," for she was flying off. "I'm to go in town with you, am I? Are you sure? I don't want to fix up till I make Solomon look like thirty cents and then find out there's some misdeal."
"Grandpa wants you to bring me to his office, that's what he said," returned the child earnestly. "Let's start real soon!"
Like a sprite she was back at the house and running upstairs, calling for Mrs. Forbes.
The housekeeper appeared at the door of the front room, empty now for two days of Mrs. Evringham's trunks, and Jewel with flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes told her great news.
Mrs. Forbes was instantly sympathetic. "Come right upstairs and let me help you get ready. Dear me, to-night! I wonder if they'll want any supper when they get here."
"I don't know. I don't know!" sang Jewel to a tune of her own improvising, as she skipped ahead.
"I don't believe they will," mused Mrs. Forbes. "Those customs take so much time. It seems a very queer thing to me, Jewel, Mr. Evringham letting you come in at all. Why, you'll very likely not get home till midnight."
"Won't it be the most fun!" cried the child, dancing to her closet and getting her checked silk dress.
"I guess your flannel sailor suit will be the best, Jewel."
"Grandpa said I might wear my silk. You see I'm going to dinner with him, and that's just like going to a party, and I ought to be very particular, don't you think so?"
"Well, don't sit down on anything dirty at the wharf. I expect you will," returned Mrs. Forbes with a resigned sigh, as she proceeded to unfasten Jewel's tight, thick little braids.
"Just think what a short time we'll have to miss cousin Eloise," said the child. "Day before yesterday she went away, and now to-morrow my mother'll braid my hair." She gave an ecstatic sigh.
"If that's all you wanted your cousin Eloise for—to braid your hair—I guess I could get to do it as well as she did."
"Oh, I loved cousin Eloise for everything and I always shall love her," responded the child quickly. "I only meant I didn't have to trouble you long with my hair."
"I think I do it pretty well."
"Yes, indeed you do—just as tight. Do you remember how much it troubled you when I first came? and now it's so much different!"
"Yes, there are a whole lot of things that are much different," replied Mrs. Forbes. "How long do you suppose you'll be staying with us now, Jewel?"
The child's face grew sober. "I don't know, because I don't know how long father and mother can stay."
"You'll think about this room where you've lived so many weeks, when you get back to Chicago."
"Yes, I shall think about it lots of times," said the little girl. "I knew it would be a lovely visit at grandpa's, and it has been."
She glanced up in the mirror toward the housekeeper's face and saw that the woman's lips were working suspiciously and her eyes brimming over.
"You won't be lonely, will you, Mrs. Forbes?" she asked; "because grandpa says you want to live with Zeke in the barn this summer while he shuts up the house and goes off on his vacation."
"Oh, yes; it's all right, Jewel, only it just came over me that in a week, or perhaps sooner, you'll be gone."
"It's real kind of you to be glad to have me stay," said the child. "I try not to think about going away, because it does make me feel sorry every time. You know the soot blows all around in Chicago and we haven't any yard, and when I think about all the sky and trees here, and the ravine, beside grandpa and you and Zeke and Essex Maid—why I have to just say 'I won't be sorry,' and then think about father and mother and Star and all the nice things! I think Star will like the park pretty well." Jewel looked into space thoughtfully, and then shook her head. "I'm sure the morning we go I shall have to say: 'Green pastures are before me' over and over."
"What do you mean, child?"
"Why, you know the psalm: 'He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters'?"
"Well, in our hymnal there's the line of a hymn: 'Green pastures are before me,' and mother and I used to say that line every morning when we woke up, to remind us that Love was going to lead us all day."
"I'd like to see your mother," said Mrs. Forbes after a pause.
"You will, to-night," cried Jewel, suddenly joyous again. "Oh, Mrs. Forbes, do you think I could take Anna Belle to New York?"
"What did Mr. Evringham say?"
"He went away before I had a chance to ask him." Jewel looked wistfully toward the chair where the doll sat by the window, toeing in, her sweet gaze fixed on the wall-paper. "She would enjoy it so!" added the little girl.
"Oh, it's a tiresome trip for children, such late hours," returned Mrs. Forbes persuasively. "Beside," with an inspiration, "you'd like your hands free to help your mother carry her bags, wouldn't you?"
"That's so," responded Jewel. "Anna Belle would always give up anything for her grandma!" and as the housekeeper finished tying the hair bows, the little girl skipped over to the chair and knelt before the doll, explaining the situation to her with a joyous incoherence mingled with hugs and kisses from which the even-tempered Anna Belle emerged apparently dazed but docile.
"Come here and get your shoes on, Jewel."
"My best ones," returned the child.
"Oh, yes, the best of everything," said Mrs. Forbes good-humoredly; and indeed, when Jewel was arrayed, she viewed herself in the mirror with satisfaction.
Zeke presented himself soon, fine in a new summer suit and hat, and Mrs. Forbes watched the pair as they walked down the driveway.
"Now, I can't let the grass grow under my feet," she muttered. "I expected to have till to-morrow night to get all the things done that Mr. Evringham told me to, but I guess I can get through."
Jewel and Zeke had ample time for the train. Indeed, the little girl's patience was somewhat tried before the big headlight came in view. She could not do such injustice to her silk dress and daisy-wreathed leghorn hat as to hop and skip, so she stood demurely with Zeke on the station platform, and as they waited he regarded her happy expectant face.
"Remember the day you got here, kid?" he asked.
"Yes. Isn't it a long time since you came and met me with Dick, and he just whirled us home!"
"Sure it is. And now you're glad to be leaving us."
"I am not, Zeke!"
"Well, you look in the glass and see for yourself."
Just then the train came along and Zeke swung the child up to the high step. The fact that she found a seat by the window added a ray to her shining eyes. Her companion took the place beside her.
"Yes," he went on, as the train started, "it's kind of hard on the rest of us to have you so tickled over the prospect."
"I'm only happy over father and mother," returned Jewel.
"Pretty nice folks, are they?"
Jewel shook her head significantly. "You just wait and see," she replied with zest.
"Which one do you look like?"
"Like father. Mother's much prettier than father."
"A beauty, is she?"
"N—o, I don't believe so. She isn't so pretty as cousin Eloise, but then she's pretty."
"That's probably the reason your grandfather likes to see you around—because you look like his side of the house."
"Well," Jewel sighed, "I hope grandpa likes my nose. I don't."
Zeke laughed. "He seems able to put up with it. I expect there's going to be ructions around here the next week."
"Well, some folks might call it error. I don't know. Mr. Evringham's going to be pretty busy with his own nose. It's going to be put out of joint to-night. The green-eyed monster's going to get on the rampage, or I miss my guess."
Jewel looked up doubtfully. Zeke was a joker, of course, being a man, but what was he driving at now?
"What green-eyed monster?" she asked.
"Oh, the one that lives in folks' hearts and lays low part of the time," replied Zeke.
"Do you mean jealousy; envy, hatred, or malice?" asked Jewel so glibly that her companion stared.
"Great Scott! What do you know about that outfit?" he asked.
The child nodded wisely. "I know people believe in them sometimes; but you needn't think grandpa does, because he doesn't."
"Mr. Evringham's all right," agreed Zeke, "but he isn't going to be the only pebble any longer. Your father and mother will be the whole thing now."
The child was thoughtful a moment, then she began earnestly: "Oh, I'm sure grandpa knows how it is about loving. The more people you love, the more you can love. I can love father and mother more because I've learned to love grandpa, and he can love them more too, because he has learned to love me."
"Humph! We'll see," remarked the other, smiling.
"Is error talking to you, Zeke? Are you laying laws on grandpa?"
"Well, if I am, I'll stop it mighty quick. You don't catch me taking any such liberties. Whoa!" drawing on imaginary reins as the engine slackened at a station.
Jewel laughed, and from that time until they reached New York they chatted about her pony Star, and other less important horses, and of the child's anticipation of showing her mother the joys of Bel-Air Park.
THE BROKER'S OFFICE
It was the first time Jewel had visited her grandfather's office and she was impressed anew with his importance as she entered the stone building and ascended in the elevator to mysterious heights.
Arrived in an electric-lighted anteroom, Zeke's request to see Mr. Evringham was met by a sharp-eyed young man who denied it with a cold, inquiring stare. Then the glance of this factotum fell to Jewel's uplifted, rose-tinted face and her trustful gaze fixed on his own.
Zeke twirled his hat slowly between his hands.
"You just step into Mr. Evringham's office," he said quietly, "and tell him the young lady he invited has arrived."
Jewel wondered how this person, who had the privilege of being near her grandfather all day, could look so forbidding; but in her happy excitement she could not refrain from smiling at him under the nodding hat brim.
"I'm going to dinner with him," she said softly, "and I think we're going to have Nesselrode pudding."
The young man's eyes stared and then began to twinkle. "Oh," he returned, "in that case"—then he turned and left the visitors.
When he entered the sanctum of his employer he was smiling. Mr. Evringham did not look up at once. When he did, it was with a brief, "Well?"
"A young lady insists upon seeing you, sir."
"Kindly stop grinning, Masterson, and tell her she must state her business."
"She has done so, sir," but Masterson did not stop grinning. "She looks like a summer girl, and I guess she is one."
Mr. Evringham frowned at this unprecedented levity. "What is her business, briefly?" he asked curtly.
"To eat Nesselrode pudding, sir."
The broker started. "Ah!" he exclaimed, and though he still frowned, he reflected his junior's smile. "Is there some one with her?"
"A young man."
"Send them in, please."
Masterson obeyed and managed to linger until his curiosity was both appeased and heightened by seeing Jewel run across the Turkish rug and completely submerge the stately gray head beneath the brim of her hat.
"Well, I'll—be—everlastingly"—thought Masterson, as he softly passed out and closed the door behind him. "Even Achilles could get it in the heel, but I'll swear I didn't believe the old man had a joint in his armor."
Zeke stood twisting his hat, and when his employer was allowed to come to the surface, he spoke respectfully:—
"Mother said I was to bring word if you would like a late supper, sir."
"Tell Mrs. Forbes that it will be only something light, if anything. She need not prepare."
Jewel danced to the door with her escort as he went. "Good-by, Zeke," she said gayly. "Thank you for bringing me."
"Good-by, Jewel," he returned in subdued accents, and stumbling on the threshold, passed out with a furtive wave of his hat.
The child returned and jumped into a chair by the desk, reserved for the selected visitors who succeeded in invading this precinct. "I suppose you aren't quite through," she said, fixing her host with a blissful gaze as he worked among a scattered pile of papers.
"Very nearly," he returned. He saw that she was near to bubbling over with ideas ready to pour out to him. He knew, too, that she would wait his time. It entertained him to watch her furtively as she gave herself to inspecting the furnishings of the room and the pictures on the wall, then looked down at the patent leather tips of her best shoes as they swung to and fro. At last she began to look at him more and more wistfully, and to view the furnishings of the large desk. It had a broad shelf at the top.
Suddenly Jewel caught sight of a picture standing there in a square frame, and an irrepressible "Oh!" escaped from her lips.
She pressed her hands together and Mr. Evringham saw a deeper rose in her cheeks. He followed her eyes, and silently taking the picture from the desk placed it in her lap. She clasped it eagerly. It was a fine photograph of Essex Maid, her grandfather's mare.
In a minute he spoke:—
"Now I think I'm about through, Jewel," he said, leaning back in his chair.
"Oh, grandpa, do these cost very much?"
"Why? Do you want to have Star sit for his picture?"
"Yes, it would be nice to have a picture of Star, wouldn't it! I never thought of that. I mean to ask mother if I can."
The broker winced.
"What I was thinking of was, could I have a picture of Essex Maid to take with me to Chicago?"
Mr. Evringham nodded. "I will get you one." He kept on nodding slightly, and Jewel noted the expression of his eyes. Her bright look began to cloud as her grandfather continued to gaze at her.
"You'd like to have a picture of Star to keep, wouldn't you?" she asked softly, her head falling a little to one side in loving recognition of his sadness.
"Yes," he answered, rather gruffly, "and I've been thinking for some weeks that there was a picture lacking on my desk here."
"Star's?" asked Jewel.
"No. Yours. Are there any pictures of you?"
"No, only when I was a baby. You ought to see me. I was as fat!"
"We'll have some photographs of you."
"Oh," Jewel spoke wistfully, "I wish I was pretty."
"Then you wouldn't be an Evringham."
"Why not? You are," returned the child, so spontaneously that slow color mounted to the broker's face, and he smiled.
"I look like my mother's family, they say. At any rate,"—after a pause and scrutiny of her,—"it's your face, it's my Jewel's face, that suits me and that I want to keep. If I can find somebody who can do it and not change you into some one else, I am going to have a little picture painted; a miniature, that I can carry in my pocket when Essex Maid and I are left alone."
The brusque pain in his tone filled Jewel's eyes, and her little hands clasped tighter the frame she held in her lap.
"Then you will give me one of you, too, grandpa?"
"Oh, child," he returned, rather hoarsely, "it's too late to be painting my leather countenance."
"No one could paint it just as I know it," said Jewel softly. "I know all the ways you look, grandpa,—when you're joking or when you're sorry, or happy, and they're all in here," she pressed one hand to her breast in a simple fervor that, with her moist eyes, compelled Mr. Evringham to swallow several times; "but I'd like one in my hand to show to people when I tell them about you."
The broker looked away and fussed with an envelope.
"Grandpa," continued the child after a pause, "I've been thinking that there's one secret we've got to keep from father and mother."
Mr. Evringham looked back at her. This was the most cheering word he had heard for some time.
"It wouldn't be loving to let them know how sorry it makes us to say good-by, would it? I get such lumps in my throat when I think about not riding with you or having breakfast together. I do work over it and think how happy it will be to have father and mother again, and how Love gives us everything we ought to have and everything like that; but I have—cried—twice, thinking about it! Even Anna Belle is mortified the way I act. I know you feel sorry, too, and we've got to demonstrate over it; but it'll come so soon, and I guess I didn't begin to work in time. Anyway, I was wondering if we couldn't just have a secret and manage not to say good-by to each other." The corners of the child's mouth were twitching down now, and she took out a small handkerchief and wiped her eyes.
Mr. Evringham blew his nose violently, and crossing the office turned the key in the door.
"I think that would be an excellent plan, Jewel," he returned, rather thickly, but with an endeavor to speak heartily. "Of course your confounded—I mean to say your—your parents will naturally expect you to follow their plans and"—he paused.
"And it would be so unloving to let them think that I was sorry after they let me have such a beautiful visit, and if we can just—manage not to say good-by, everything will be so much easier."
The broker stood looking at her while the plaintive voice made music for him. "I'm going to try to manage just that thing if it's in the books," he said, after waiting a little, and Jewel, looking up at him with an April smile, saw that his eyes were wet.
"You're so good, grandpa," she returned tremulously; "and I won't even kiss Essex Maid's neck—not the last morning."
He sat down with fallen gaze, and Jewel caught her lip with her teeth as she looked at him. Then suddenly the leghorn hat was on the floor, daisy side down, while she climbed into his lap and her soft cheek buried itself under Mr. Evringham's ear.
"How m-many m-miles off is Chicago?" stammered the child, trying to repress her sobs, all happy considerations suddenly lost in the realization of her grandfather's lonely lot.
"A good many more than it ought to be. Don't cry, Jewel." The broker's heart swelled within him as he pressed her to his breast. Her sorrow filled him with tender elation, and he winked hard.
"There isn't—isn't any sorrow—in mind, grandpa. Shouldn't you—you think I'd—remember it? Divine Love always—always takes care—of us—and just because—I don't see how He's going—going to this time—I'm crying! Oh, it's so—so naughty!"
Mr. Evringham swallowed fast. He never had wondered so much as he did this minute just how obstinate or how docile those inconvenient and superfluous individuals—Jewel's parents—would prove.
He cleared his throat. "Come, come," he said, and he kissed the warm pink rose of the child's cheek. "Don't spoil those bright eyes just when you're going to have your picture taken. We're going to have the jolliest time you ever heard of!"
Jewel's little handkerchief was wet and Mr. Evringham put his own into her hand and they went into the lavatory where she used the wet corner of a towel while he told her about the photographer who had taken Essex Maid's picture and should take Star's.
Then the cherished leghorn hat was rescued from its ignominy and replaced carefully on its owner's head.
"But I never thought you meant to have my picture taken this afternoon," said Jewel, her lips still somewhat tremulous.
"I didn't until a minute ago, but I think we can find somebody who won't mind doing it late in the day."
"Yours too, then, grandpa.—Oh, yes," and at last a smile beamed like the sun out of an April sky, "right on the same card with me!"
"Oh, no, no, Jewel; no, no!"
"Yes, please, grandpa," earnestly, "do let's have one nice nose in the picture!" She lifted eyes veiled again with a threatening mist. "And you'll put your arm around me—and then I'll look at it"—her lip twitched.
"Yes, oh, yes, I—I think so," hastily. "We'll see, and then, after that—how much Nesselrode pudding do you think you can eat? I tell you, Jewel, we're going to have the time of our lives!" Mr. Evringham struck his hands together with such lively anticipation that the child's spirits rose.
"Yes," she responded, "and then after dinner, what?" She gazed at him.
The broker tapped his forehead as if knocking at the door of memory.
"Father and mother!" she cried out, laughing and beginning to hop discreetly. "You forgot, grandpa, you forgot. Your own little boy coming home and you forgot!"
"Well, that's a fact, Jewel; that I suppose I had better remember. He is my own boy—and I don't know but I owe him something after all."
Again Jewel and her grandfather stood on the wharf where the great boats, ploughing their way through the mighty seas, come finally, each into its own place, as meekly as the horse seeks his stable.
The last time they stood here they were strangers watching the departure of those whom now they waited, hand in hand, to greet.
"Jewel, you made me eat too much dinner," remarked Mr. Evringham. "I feel as if my jacket was buttoned, in spite of the long drive we've taken since. I went to my tailor this morning, and what do you think he told me?"
"What? That you needed some new clothes?"
"Oh, he always tells me that. He told me that I was growing fat! There, young lady, what do you think of that?"
"I think you are, too, grandpa," returned the child, viewing him critically.
"Well, you take it coolly. Supposing I should lose my waist, and all your fault!"
Jewel drew in her chin and smiled at him.
"Supposing I go waddling about! Eh?"
She laughed. "But how would it be my fault?" she asked.
"Didn't you ever hear the saying 'laugh and grow fat'? How many times have you made me laugh since we left the office?"
Jewel began to tug on his hand as she jumped up and down. "Oh, grandpa, do you think our pictures will be good?"
"I think yours will."
"Not yours?" the hopping ceased.
"Oh, yes, excellent, probably. I haven't had one taken in so many years, how can I tell? but here's one day that they can't get away from us, Jewel. This eighth of June has been a good day, hasn't it—and mind, you're not to tell about the pictures until we see how they come out."
"Yes, haven't we had fun? The be-eautiful hotel, and the drive in the park, and the ride in the boats and"—
"Speaking of boats, there it is now. They're coming," remarked Mr. Evringham.
"Mr. and Mrs. Henry Thayer Evringham," returned the broker dryly. "Steady, Jewel, steady now. It will be quite a while before you see them."
The late twilight had faded and the June night begun, the wharf was dimly lighted and there was the usual crowd of customs officers, porters, and men and women waiting to see friends. All moved and changed like figures in a kaleidoscope before Jewel's unwinking gaze; but the long minutes dragged by until at last her father and mother appeared among the passengers who came in procession down the steep incline from the boat.
Mr. Evringham drew back a step as father, mother, and child clung to each other, kissing and murmuring with soft exclamations. Harry extricated himself first and shook hands with his father.
"Awfully good of you to get us the courtesy of the port," he said heartily.
"Don't mention it," returned the broker, and Julia released Jewel and turned upon Mr. Evringham her grateful face.
"But so many things are good of you," she said feelingly, as she held out her hand. "It will take us a long time to give thanks."
"Not at all, I assure you," responded the broker coldly, but his heart was hot within him. "If they have the presumption to thank me for taking care of Jewel!" he was thinking as he dropped his daughter-in-law's hand.
"What a human iceberg!" she thought. "How has Jewel been able to take it so cheerfully? Ah, the blessed, loving heart of a child!"
Meanwhile Mr. Evringham turned to his son and continued: "The courtesy of the port does shorten things up a bit, and I have a man from the customs waiting."
Harry followed him to see about the luggage, and Mrs. Evringham and Jewel sat down on a pile of boxes to wait. The mother's arm was around the little girl, and Jewel had one of the gloved hands in both her own.
"Oh," she exclaimed, suddenly starting up, "Mrs. Forbes thought I'd better wear my sailor suit instead of this, and she told me not to sit down on anything dirty." She carefully turned up the skirt of her little frock and seated herself again on a very brief petticoat.
Mrs. Evringham smiled. "Mrs. Forbes is careful of you, isn't she?" she asked. Her heart was in a tumult of happiness and also of curiosity as to her child's experiences in the last two months. Jewel's letters had conveyed that she was content, and joy in her pony had been freely expressed. The mother's mental picture of the stiff, cold individual to whose doubtful mercies she had confided her child at such short notice had been softened by the references to him in Jewel's letters; and it was with a shock of disappointment that she found herself repulsed now by the same unyielding personality, the same cold-eyed, unsmiling, fastidiously dressed figure, whose image had lingered in her memory. A dozen eager questions rose to her lips, but she repressed them.
"Jewel must have had a glimpse of the real man," she thought. "I must not cloud her perception." It did not occur to her, however, that the child could even now feel less than awe of the stern guardian with whom she had succeeded in living at peace, and who had, from time to time, bestowed upon her gifts. One of these Mrs. Evringham noticed now.
"Oh, that's your pretty watch!" she said.
"Yes," returned the child, "this is Little Faithful. Isn't he a darling?"
The mother smiled as she lifted the silver cherub. "You've named him?" she returned. "Why, it is a beauty, Jewel. How kind of your grandfather!"
"Yes, indeed. It was so I wouldn't stay in the ravine too long."
"How is Anna Belle?"
"Dear Anna Belle!" exclaimed the little girl wistfully. "What a good time she would have had if I could have brought her! But you see I needed both my hands to help carry bags; and she understood about it and sent her love. She'll be sitting up waiting for you."
Mrs. Evringham cast a look toward Harry and his father. "I'm not sure"—she began, "I hardly think we shall go to Bel-Air to-night. How would you like to stay in at the hotel with us, and then we could go out to the house to-morrow and pack your trunk?"
Jewel looked very sober at this. "Why, it would be pretty hard to wait, mother," she replied. "Hotels are splendid. Grandpa and I had dinner at one. It's named the Waldorf and it has woods in it just like outdoors; but I thought you'd be in a hurry to see Star and the Ravine of Happiness and Zeke."
"Well, we'll wait," returned Mrs. Evringham vaguely. She was more than doubtful of an invitation to Bel-Air Park even for one night; but Harry must arrange it. "We'll see what father says," she added. "What a pretty locket, my girlie!" As she spoke she lifted a gold heart that hung on a slender gold chain around Jewel's neck.
"Yes. Cousin Eloise gave me that when she went away. She has had it ever since she was as little as I am, and she said she left her heart with me. I'm so sorry you won't see cousin Eloise."
"So she and her mother have gone away. Were they sorry to go? Did Mr. Evringham—perhaps—think"—the speaker paused. She remembered Jewel's letter about the situation.
"No, they weren't sorry. They've gone to the seashore; but cousin Eloise and I love each other very much, and her room is so empty now that I've had to keep remembering that you were coming and everything was happy. I guess cousin Eloise is the prettiest girl in the whole world; and since she stopped being sorry we've had the most fun."
"I wish I could see her!" returned Mrs. Evringham heartily. She longed to thank Eloise for supplying the sunshine of love to her child while the grandfather was providing for her material wants. She looked at Jewel now, a picture of health and contentment, her bits of small finery in watch and locket standing as symbols of the care and affection she had received.
"Divine Love has been so kind to us, dearie," she said softly, as she pressed the child closer to her. "He has brought father and mother back across the ocean and has given you such loving friends while we were gone."
In a future day Mrs. Evringham was to learn something of the inner history of the progress of this little pilgrim during her first days at Bel-Air; but the shadows had so entirely faded from Jewel's consciousness that she could not have told it herself—not even such portions of it as she had once realized.
"Yes, indeed, I love Bel-Air and all the people. Even aunt Madge kissed me when she went away and said 'Good-by, you queer little thing!'"
"What did she mean?" asked Mrs. Evringham.
"I don't know. I didn't tell grandpa, because I thought he might not like people calling me queer, but I asked Zeke."
"He's Mr. Evringham's coachman, isn't he?"
"Yes, and he's the nicest man, but he only told me that aunt Madge had wheels. I asked him what kind of wheels, and he said he guessed they were rubber-tired, because she was always rubbering and she made people tired. You know Zeke is such a joker, so I haven't found out yet what aunt Madge meant, and it isn't any matter because"—Jewel reached up and hugged her mother, "you've come home."
Here the two men approached. "No more time for spooning," said Harry cheerfully. "We're going now, little girls."
After all, there was nothing for Jewel to carry. Her father and grandfather had the dress-suit case and bags.
Mrs. Evringham looked inquiringly at her husband, but he was gayly talking with Jewel as the four walked out to the street.
Mr. Evringham led the way to a carriage that was standing there. "This is ours," he said, opening the door.
Harry put the bags up beside the driver while his wife entered the vehicle, still in doubt as to their destination. Jewel jumped in beside her.
"You'd better move over, dear," said her mother quietly. "Let Mr. Evringham ride forward."
She was not surprised that Jewel was ignorant of carriage etiquette. It was seldom that either of them had seen the inside of one.
The broker heard the suggestion. "Place aux dames," he said, briefly, and moved the child back with one hand. Then he entered, Harry jumped in beside him, slammed the door, and they rolled away.
"If Anna Belle was here the whole family would be together," said Jewel joyously. "I don't care which one I sit by. I love everybody in this carriage!"
"You do, eh, rascal?" returned her father, putting his hand over in her silken lap and giving her a little shake. "Where is the great and good Anna Belle?"
"Waiting for us. Just think of it, all this time! Grandpa, are we going home with you?"
"What do you mean?" inquired the broker, and the tone of the curt question chilled the spine of his daughter-in-law. "Were you thinking of spending the night in the ferry-house, perhaps?"
"Why, no, only mother said"—
Mrs. Evringham pressed the child's arm. "That was nothing, Jewel; I simply didn't know what the plan was," she put in hastily.
"Oh, of course," went on the little girl. "Mother didn't know aunt Madge and cousin Eloise were gone, and she didn't believe there'd be room. She doesn't know how big the house is, does she, grandpa?" An irresistible yawn seized the child, and in the middle of it her father leaned forward and chucked her under the chin.
Her jaws came together with a snap. "There! you spoiled that nice one!" she exclaimed, jumping up and laughing as she flung herself upon her big playmate, and a small scuffle ensued in which the wide leghorn hat brim sawed against Mr. Evringham's shoulder and neck in a manner that caused Mrs. Evringham's heart to leap toward her throat. How could Harry be so thoughtless! A street lamp showed the grim lines of the broker's averted face as he gazed stonily out to the street.
"Come here, Jewel; sit still," said the mother, striving to pull the little girl back into her seat.
Harry was laughing and holding his agile assailant off as best he might, and at his wife's voice aided her efforts with a gentle push. Jewel sank back on the cushion.
"Oh, what bores he thinks us. I know he does!" reflected Julia, capturing her child in one arm and holding her close. To her surprise and even dismay, Jewel spoke cheerfully after another yawn:—
"Grandpa, how far is it to the ferry? How long, I mean?"
"About fifteen minutes."
"Well, that's a good while. My eyes do feel as if they had sticks in them. Don't you wish we could cross in a swan boat, grandpa?"
"Humph!" he responded. Mrs. Evringham gave the child a little squeeze intended to be repressive. Jewel wriggled around a minute trying to get a comfortable position.
"Tell father and mother about Central Park and the swan boats, grandpa," she continued.
"You tell them to-morrow, when you're not so sleepy," he replied.
Jewel took off her large hat, and nestling her head on her mother's shoulder, put an arm around her. "Mother, mother!" she sighed happily, "are you really home?"
"Really, really," replied Mrs. Evringham, with a responsive squeeze.
Mr. Evringham sat erect in silence, still gazing out the window with a forbidding expression.
There were buttons on her mother's gown that rubbed Jewel's cheek. She tried to avoid them for a minute and then sat up. "Father, will you change places with me?" she asked sleepily. "I want to sit by grandpa."
Mrs. Evringham's eyes widened, and in spite of her earnest "Dearie!" the transfer was made and Jewel crept under Mr. Evringham's arm, which closed naturally around her. She leaned against him and shut her eyes.
"You mustn't go to sleep," he said.
"I guess I shall," returned the child softly.
"No, no. You mustn't. Think of the lights crossing the ferry. You'll lose a lot if you're asleep. They're fine to see. We can't carry you and the luggage, too. Brace up, now—Come, come! I shouldn't think you were any older than Anna Belle."
Jewel laughed sleepily, and the broker held her hand in his while he pushed her upright. Mr. and Mrs. Evringham looked on, the latter marveling at the child's nonchalance.
Now, for the first time, the host became talkative.
"How many days have you to give us, Harry?" he asked.
"A couple, perhaps," replied the young man.
"Two days, father!" exclaimed Jewel, in dismay, wide awake in an instant.
"Oh, that's a stingy visit," remarked Mr. Evringham.
"Not half long enough," added Jewel. "There's so much for you to see."
"Oh, we can see a lot in two days," returned Harry. "Think of the little girls in Chicago, Jewel. They won't forgive me if I don't bring you home pretty soon." He leaned forward and took his child's free hand. "How do you suppose father has got along without his little girl all these weeks, eh, baby?"
"It is a long time since you went away," she returned, "but I was right in your room every night, and daytimes I played in your ravine. Bel-Air Park is the beautifulest place in the whole world. Two days isn't any time to stay there, father."
"H'm, I'm glad you've been so happy." Sincere feeling vibrated in the speaker's voice. "We don't know how to thank your grandpa, do we?"
A street lamp showed Jewel, as she turned and smiled up into the impassive face Mr. Evringham turned upon her.
"You can safely leave that to her," said the broker briefly, but he did not remove his eyes from the upturned ones.
"It is beyond me," thought Mrs. Evringham; "but love is a miracle-worker."
The glowing lights of the ferry passed, Jewel did go to sleep in the train. Her father, unaware that he was trespassing, took her in his arms, and, tired out with all the excitement of the day and the lateness of the hour, the child instantly became unconscious; but by the time they reached home, the bustle of arrival and her interest in showing her parents about, aided her in waking to the situation.
Mrs. Forbes stood ready to welcome the party. Ten years had passed since Harry Evringham had stood in the home of his boyhood, and the housekeeper thought she perceived that he was moved by a contrite memory; but he spoke with bluff heartiness as he shook hands with her; and Mrs. Forbes looked with eager curiosity into the sweet face of Mrs. Evringham, as the latter greeted her and said something grateful concerning the housekeeper's kindness to Jewel.
"It's very little you have to thank me for, ma'am," replied Mrs. Forbes, charmed at once by the soft gaze of the dark eyes.
The little cavalcade moved upstairs to the handsome rooms so lately vacated. They were brilliant with light and fragrant with roses.
"How beautiful!" exclaimed Mrs. Evringham, while Jewel hopped up and down, as wide awake as any little girl in town, delighted with the gala appearance of everything.
Mr. Evringham looked critically into the face of his daughter-in-law. Here was the woman to whom he owed Jewel, and all that she was and all that she had taught him. Her face was what he might have expected. It looked very charming now as the pretty eyes met his. She was well-dressed, too, and Mr. Evringham liked that.
"I hope you will be very much at home here, Julia," he said; and though he did not smile, it was certain that, whether from a sense of duty or not, he had taken pains to make their welcome a pleasant one.
Jewel had, evidently, no slightest fear of his cold reserve. With the child's hand in hers, Julia took courage to reply warmly: "Thank you, father, it is a joy to be here."
She had called him "father," this elegant stranger, and her heart beat a little faster, but her husband's arm went around her.
"America's all right, eh, Julia?"
"Come in cousin Eloise's room," cried Jewel. "That's all lighted, too. Are they going to have them both, grandpa?"
She danced ahead, through a spacious white-tiled bathroom and into the adjoining apartment. There an unexpected sight met the child's eyes. In the rosy depths of a large chintz chair sat Anna Belle, loyally keeping her eyes open in spite of the hour.
Jewel rushed toward her. There were plenty of flowers scattered about in this room, also, and the child suddenly caught sight of her own toilet articles on the dresser.
"My things are down here in cousin Eloise's room, grandpa!" she cried, so surprised that she delayed picking up her doll.
"Why, why!" said Mr. Evringham, throwing open the door of the large closet and then opening a bureau drawer. Within both receptacles were Jewel's belongings, neatly arranged. "This is odd!" he added.
"Grandpa, grandpa!" cried the child, rushing at him and clasping her arms around his waist. "You're going to let me sleep down here by father and mother!"
Mr. Evringham regarded her unsmilingly. Jewel's parents both looked on, more than half expecting a snub to meet the energetic onslaught. "You won't object, will you?" he asked.
Jewel pulled him down and whispered something in his ear. The curious on-lookers saw the sweeping mustache curve in a smile as he straightened up again. As a matter of fact they were both curious to know what she had said to him.
"You're whispering in company, Jewel," remarked her father.
"Oh, please excuse me!" said the child. "I forgot to remember. Here's Anna Belle, father."
"My, my, my!" ejaculated Harry Evringham, coming forward. "How that child has grown!"
ON THE VERANDA
What a luxurious, happy, sleepy time Jewel had that night in the pretty rose-bower where her mother undressed her while her father and grandfather went back downstairs.
It was very sweet to be helped and cuddled as if she were again a baby, and as she lay in bed and watched her mother setting the flowers in the bathroom and arranging everything, she tried to talk to her on some of the subjects that were uppermost in her mind. Mrs. Evringham came at last and lay down beside her. Jewel nestled into the loving arms and kissed her cheek.
"I'm too happy to go to sleep," she declared, then sighed, and instantly pretty room and pretty mother had disappeared.
Mrs. Evringham lay there on the luxurious bed, the sleeping child in her arms, and her thoughts were rich with gratitude. Her life had never been free from care: first as a young girl in her widowed mother's home, then as wife of the easy-going and unprincipled youth, whose desertion of her and her baby had filled her cup of bitterness, though she bravely struggled on. Her mother had died; and soon afterward the light of Christian Science had dawned upon her path. Strengthened by its support, she had grown into new health and courage, and life was beginning to blossom for her when her repentant husband returned.
For a time his wayward habits were a care to her; but he was sincerely ashamed of himself, and the discovery of the development of character in the pretty girl whom he had left six years before roused his manhood. To her joy he began to take an interest in the faith which had wrought such changes in her, and after that she had no doubts of the outcome. From the moment when she obtained for him a business position, it became his ambition to take his rightful place in the world and to guard her from rough contact, and though as yet he still leaned upon her judgment, and she knew herself to be the earthly mainspring of all their business affairs, she knew, also, that his desire was right, and the knowledge sweetened her days.
Here in this home which was, to her unaccustomed eyes, palatial in its appointments, with her child again in her arms, she gave thanks for the joy of the present hour. A day or two of pleasure in these surroundings, and then she and Harry would relieve Mr. Evringham of the care they had imposed upon him.
He had borne it nobly, there was no doubt about that. He had even complicated existence by giving Jewel a pony. How a pony would fit into the frugal, busy life of the Chicago apartment, Julia did not know; but her child's dearest wish had been gratified, and there was nothing to do but appreciate and enjoy the fact. After all, Harry's father must have more paternal affection than her husband had ever given him credit for; for even on the most superficial acquaintance one could see that any adaptation of his life and tastes to those of a child would have to come with creaking difficulty to the stock broker, and the fact of Jewel's ease with him told an eloquent story of how far Mr. Evringham must have constrained himself for Harry's sake.
Her thoughts flowed on and had passed to business and all that awaited them in Chicago, when her husband rejoined her. She rose from the bed as he came in, and hand in hand they stood and looked down at Jewel, asleep.
Harry stooped and kissed the flushed cheek.
"Don't wake her, dear," said Julia, smiling at the energy of the caress.
"Wake her? I don't believe a clap of thunder would have that effect. Why, she and father have been painting the town; dining at the Waldorf, driving in the park, riding in the swan boats, and then hanging around that dock. Bless her little heart, I should think she'd sleep for twenty-four hours."
"How wonderfully kind of him!" returned Julia. "You need never tell me again, Harry, that your father doesn't love you."
"Oh, loving hasn't been much in father's line, but we hope it will be," returned the young man as he slipped an arm around his wife. "Do you remember the last time we stood watching Jewel asleep? I do. It was in that beastly hotel the night before we sailed."
"Oh, Harry!" Julia buried her face a moment on his shoulder. "Shall you ever forget our relief when her first letter came, showing that she was happy? Do you remember the hornpipe you danced in our lodgings and how you shocked the landlady? Your father may not call it loving, but his care and thoughtfulness have expressed that and he can't help my loving him forever and forever for being kind to Jewel."
Harry gave his head a quick shake. "I'll be hanged if I can see how anybody could be unkind to her," he remarked.
"Oh, well, you've never been an elderly man, set in your ways and used to living alone. I'm sure it meant a great deal to him. Think of his doing all that for her this afternoon."
"Oh, he had to pass the time somehow, and he couldn't very well refuse to let her come in to meet us. Besides, she's on the eve of going away, and father likes to do the handsome thing. He was doing it for other people, though, when Lawrence and I were kids. He never took us in any swan boats."
"Poor little boys!" murmured Julia.
"Oh, not at all," returned Harry, laughing rather sardonically. "We took ourselves in the swan boats and in a variety of other places not so picturesque. Father's purse strings were always loose, and so long as we kept out of his way he didn't care what we did. Nice old place, this, Julia?"
"Oh, it's very fine. I had no idea how fine." Her tone was somewhat awestruck.
"I used to know, absolutely, that father was through with me, and that therefore I was through with Bel-Air; but I'm a new man," the speaker smiled down at his wife and pressed her closer to him, "and I've been telling father why, and how."
"Is that what you've been talking about?"
"Yes. He seemed interested to hear of my business and prospects and asked me a lot of questions; so, as I only began to live less than a year ago, I couldn't answer them without telling him who and what had set me on my feet."
"Oh, Harry! You've really been talking about Science?"
"Yes, my dear, and about you; and I tell you, he wasn't bored. When I'd let up a little he'd ask me another question; and at last he said, father did, 'Well, I believe she'll make a man of you yet, Harry!' Not too complimentary, I admit, but I swallowed it and never flinched. I knew he wasn't going to see enough of you in two days to half know you, so I just thought I'd give him a few statistics, and they made an impression, I assure you. After that if he wanted to set me down a little it was no more than I deserved, and he was welcome."
For a long moment the two looked into one another's eyes, then Harry spoke in a subdued tone:—
"You've done a lot for me, Julia; but the biggest thing of all, the thing that is most wonderful and that means the most to me, and for which I'd worship you through eternity if it was all you'd done, is that you have taught me of Christian Science and shown me how it has guarded that child's love and respect for me, when I was forfeiting both every hour. I'll work to my last day, my girl, to show you my gratitude for that."
"Darling boy!" she murmured.
Next morning at rising time Jewel was still wrapped in slumber. Her parents looked at her before going downstairs.
"Do you know, I can't help feeling a bit relieved," laughed Julia softly, "that she won't go down with us. The little thing is rather thoughtless with her grandfather, and though he has evidently schooled himself to endure her energetic ways, I can't help feeling a bit anxious all the time. He has borne it so well this long that I want to get her away before she breaks the camel's back. When do you think we can go, Harry?"
"To-morrow or next day. You might get things packed to-day. I really ought to go, but I don't want to seem in a hurry."
"Oh, yes, do let us go to-morrow," returned Julia eagerly.
The Westminster clock on the stairs chimed as they passed down, and Mr. Evringham was waiting for them in the dining-room. As he said good-morning he looked beyond them, expectantly.
Mrs. Forbes greeted them respectfully and indicated their seats.
"Where is Jewel?" asked the host.
"In dreamland. You couldn't waken her with a volley of artillery," returned Harry cheerfully.
"H'm," returned his father.
They all took their places at the table and Julia remarked on the charming outlook from the windows.
"Yes," returned the host. "I'm sorry I can't stay at home this morning and do the honors of the park. I shall leave that to Harry and Jewel. As we were rather late last night I didn't take my canter this morning. If you wish to have a turn on the mare, Harry, Zeke knows that the stables are in your hands. No one but myself rides Essex Maid, but I'll make a shining exception of you."
"I appreciate the honor," returned Harry lightly, but as a matter of fact he did not at all grasp its extent.
"If you'd like to take your wife for a drive there's the Spider. The child will want to show you her pony and will probably get you off on some excursion. Tell her there is time enough and not to make you do two days' work in one."
After breakfast the trio adjourned to the piazza and Julia looked out on the thick, dewy grass and spreading trees.
"I believe the park improves, father," said Harry, smiling as he noted his wife's delight in the charming landscape.
Deep armchairs and tables, rugs and a wicker divan furnished a portion of the piazza. "How will little Jewel like the apartment after this?" Julia could not help asking herself the question mentally. She no longer wondered at the child's content here, even without the companionship of other children. It must be an unimaginative little maid who, supported by Anna Belle, could not weave a fairy-land in this fresh paradise.
"Won't you be seated?" said the broker, waving his hand toward the chairs. The others obeyed as he took his place. "Let us know a little, now, what we are doing. What did I understand you to say, Harry, is your limit for time?"
"Well, I ought, really, to go west to-morrow, father."
Mr. Evringham nodded and turned his incisive glance upon his daughter-in-law. "And you, Julia?"
She smiled brightly at him. He observed that her complexion bore the sunlight well. "Oh, Jewel and I go with him, of course," she responded, confident that her reply would convey satisfaction.
"H'm. Indeed! Now it seems to me that you would be the better for a vacation."
"Why! Haven't I just had a trip to Europe?"
"Yes, I should think you had. From all that Harry tells me, I judge what with hunting up fashions and fabrics and corset-makers and all the rest of it, you have done the work, daily, of about two able-bodied men."
"That's right," averred Harry. "I was too much of a greenhorn to give her much assistance."
"Still, you understand your own end of the business, I take it," said his father, turning suddenly upon him.
"Yes, I do. I believe the firm will say I'm the square peg in the square hole."
"Then why not take a vacation, Julia?" asked the broker again.
"Harry is doing splendidly," she returned gently, "but we can't live on the salary he gets now. He needs my help for a while, yet. I'm going to be a lady of leisure some day." The broker caught the glance of confidence she sent his boy.
"I'm screwing up my courage now to strike them for more," said Harry. "It frets me worse every day to see that girl delving away, and a great strapping, hulking chap like me not able to prevent it."
His father looked gravely at the young wife. "Let him begin now," he said. "He doesn't need your apron string any longer."
"What do you mean?" asked Julia, half timidly.
"Stay here with me a while and let Harry go west. I will take you and Jewel to the seashore."
"Hurray!" cried Harry, his face radiant. "Julia, why, you won't know yourself strolling on the sands with a parasol while your poor delicate husband is toiling and moiling away in the dingy city. Good for you, father! You lift that pretty nose of hers up from the grindstone where she's held it so many years that she doesn't know anything different. Hurray, Julia!" In his enthusiasm the speaker rose and leaned over the chair of his astonished wife. "You wake up in the morning and read a novel instead of your appointment book for a while," he went on. "The Chicago women's summer clothes are all made by this time, anyway. Play lady for once and come back to me the color of mahogany. Go ahead!"
"Why, Harry, how can I? What would you do?"
"I'm hanged if I don't show you what I'd do, and do it well, too," he returned.
"But I ought to go home first," faltered the bewildered woman.
"Not a bit of it. I'll tackle the firm and the apartment, all right; and to be plain, we can't afford the needless car fare."
"But, father," Julia appealed to him, "is it right to make Harry get on still longer without Jewel?"
"Perfectly right. Entirely so," rejoined the broker decidedly.
"Of course he doesn't realize how we feel about Jewel," thought Julia.
Here a large brown horse and brougham came around the driveway into sight. Zeke's eyes turned curiously toward the guests, but he sat stiffly immovable.
The broker rose. "I must go now or I shall miss my train. Think it over. There's only one way to think about it. It is quite evidently the thing to do. The break has been made, and now is the time for Julia to take her vacation before going into harness again. Moreover, perhaps Harry will get his raise and she won't have to go into harness. Good-morning. I shall try to come out early. I hope you will make yourselves comfortable."
Mrs. Evringham looked at Zeke. He was the glass of fashion and the mould of form, but there was no indication in his smooth-shaven, wooden countenance of the comrade to whom Jewel had referred in her fragmentary letters.
"Well, Harry!" she exclaimed breathlessly, as the carriage rolled away. Her expression elicited a hearty laugh from her husband. "I never was so surprised. How unselfish he is! Harry, is it possible that we don't know your father at all? Think of his proposing to keep, still longer, a disturbing element like our lively little girl!"
"Oh, I've never believed he bothered himself very much about Jewel," returned Harry lightly. "You make a mountain out of that. All a child needs is a ten acre lot to let off steam in, and she's had it here. He knows you'll keep her out from under foot. Let's accept this pleasure. He probably takes a lot of stock in you after all I told him last night. It's a relief to his pride and everything else that I'm not going to disgrace the name. He wants to do something for you. That's the whole thing in a nutshell; and you let him do it, Julia." In an exuberance of spirits, aided by the fresh, inspiring morning, the speaker took his wife in his arms, as they stood there on the wide veranda, and hugged her heartily.
"Do you think I shall get over my awe of him?" She half laughed, but her tone was sincere. "I'm so unused to people who never smile and seem to be enduring me. Oh, if you were only going to stay, too, Harry, then it would be a vacation indeed!"
"Here, here! Where are your principles? Who's afraid now?"
"But he's so stately and forbidding, and I shall feel such a responsibility of keeping Jewel from troubling him."
Harry laughed again. "She seems entirely capable of paddling her own canoe. She didn't seem troubled by doubts or compunctions in the carriage last night; and up there in the bedroom when she flew at him! How was that for a case of lese majeste? Gad, at her age I'd sooner have tackled a lighted fuse! What do you suppose it was she whispered to him?"
"I've no idea, and I must say I was curious enough to ask her while I was putting her to bed; but do you know, she wouldn't say!" The mother laughed. "She sidled about,—you know how she does when she is reluctant to speak, and seemed so embarrassed that I have to laugh when I think of it."
"Perhaps it concerned some surprise she has persuaded father to give us."
"No, it couldn't be that, because she answered at last that she'd tell me when she was a young lady."
They both laughed. "Well," said Harry, "she isn't afraid of him so you'd notice it; and you can give her a few pointers so she needn't get in father's way now that she has you again. He has evidently been mighty considerate of the little orphan."
"How good he has been!" returned Julia fervently. "If we could only go home with you, Harry," she added wistfully, "while there's so much good feeling, and before anything happens to alter it!"
"Where are your principles?" asked Harry again. "You know better than to think anything will happen to alter it."
"Yes, I do, I do; but I always have to meet my shyness of strangers, and it makes my heart beat to think of your going off and leaving me here. Being tete-a-tete with your father is appalling, I must confess."
"Oh, well, it wouldn't do to slight his offer, and it will do you a world of good."
"You'll have to send me my summer gowns."
"Dear me, am I really going to do it?" asked Julia incredulously.
"Certainly you are. We'd be imbecile not to accept such an opportunity."
"Then," she answered resignedly, "if it is fact and not a wild fancy, we have a lot of business to talk over, Harry. Let us make the most of our time while Jewel is asleep."
She led the way back to the chairs, and they were soon immersed in memoranda and discussion.
THE LIFTED VEIL
At last their plans were reduced to order and Harry placed the papers carefully in his pocket.
"Come in and let's have a look at the house, Julia," he suggested. "It won't do to go to the stables without Jewel."
They entered the drawing-room and Julia moved about admiring the pictures and carvings, and paused long before the oil portrait of a beautiful woman, conspicuously placed.
"That's my grandmother," remarked Harry. "Isn't she stunning? That's the side of the family I didn't take after."
While they still examined the portrait and the exquisite painting of its laces, Jewel ran into the room and seized them from behind.
"Well, well, all dressed!" exclaimed her father as the two stooped to kiss her.
"Yes, but my hair isn't very nice," said the child, putting up her hand to her braids, "because I didn't want to be late to breakfast."
Her father's hearty laugh rang out. "Lunch, do you mean?"
"We're through breakfast long ago, dearie," said her mother. "No wonder you slept late. We wanted you to."
"Breakfast's all through!" exclaimed the child, and they were surprised at her dismay.
"Yes, but Mrs. Forbes will get you something," said her father.
"But has grandpa gone?" asked the child. Before they could reply the housekeeper passed the door and Jewel ran to her. "Has grandpa gone, Mrs. Forbes?" she repeated anxiously.
"Yes, indeed, it's after ten. Come into the dining-room, Jewel; Sarah will give you your breakfast."
"I'm not a bit hungry—yes, I am, a little—but what is grandpa's telephone number, Mrs. Forbes."
"Oh, now, you won't call him up, dear," said the housekeeper coaxingly. "Come and eat your breakfast like a good girl."
"Yes, in just one minute I will. What is the number, please, Mrs. Forbes?"
The housekeeper gave the number, and Harry and Julia drew nearer.
"Your grandpa is coming out early, Jewel," said her father. "You'll see him in a few hours, and you can ask him whatever you wish to then."
"She never has called Mr. Evringham up, sir," said the housekeeper. "He speaks to her sometimes. You know, Jewel, your grandfather doesn't like to be disturbed in his business and called to the 'phone unless it is something very important."
"It is," returned the child, and she ran to the part of the hall where the instrument was situated. Her mother and father followed, the former feeling that she ought to interfere, but the latter amused and curious.
"My little girl," began Julia, in protest, but Harry put his hand on her arm and detained her. Jewel was evidently filled with one idea and deaf to all else. With her usual energy she took down the receiver and made her request to the central office. Harry drew his wife to where they could watch her absorbed, rosy face. Her listening expression was anxiously intent. Mrs. Forbes also lingered at a little distance, enjoying the parents' interest and sharing it.
"Is that you, grandpa?" asked the sweet voice.
"Oh, well, I want to see Mr. Evringham."
"What? No. I'm sorry, but nobody will do but grandpa. You tell him it's Jewel, please."
"What? I thought I did speak plain. It's Jewel; his little grandchild."
The little girl smiled at the next response. "Yes, I'm the very one that ate the Nesselrode pudding," she said, and chuckled into the 'phone.
By this time even Julia had given up all thought of interfering, and was watching, curiously, the round head with its untidy blond hair.
Jewel spoke again. "I'm sorry I can't tell you the business, but it's very important."
Evidently the earnestness of this declaration had an effect. After a minute more of waiting, the child's face lighted.
"Oh, grandpa, is that you?"
"Yes, I am. I'm so sorry I slept too long!"
"Yes, I know you missed me, and now I have to eat my breakfast without you. Why didn't you come and bring me downstairs?"
"Oh, but I would have. Did you feel very sorry when you got in the brougham, grandpa?"
"I know it. Did the ride seem very long, all alone?"
"Yes, indeed. I felt so sorry inside when I found you'd gone, I had to hear you speak so as to get better so I could visit with mother and father."
"Yes, it is a comfort. Are you sure you don't feel sorry now?"
"Well, but are you smiling, grandpa?"
Whatever the answer was to this, it made Jewel's anxious brows relax and she laughed into the 'phone.
"Grandpa, you're such a joker! One smile won't make you any fatter," she protested.
Another listening silence, then:—
"You know the reason I feel the worst, don't you?"
"Why yes, you do. What we were talking about yesterday." The child sighed. "Well, isn't it a comfort about eternity?"
"Yes, indeed, and I guess I'll kiss the 'phone now, grandpa. Can you hear me?"
"Well, you do it, too, then. Yes—yes—I hear it; and you'll come home early because you know—our secret?"
"What? A lot of men waiting for you? All right. You know I love you just the same, even if I did sleep, don't you?"
"Good-by, then, good-by."
She hung up the receiver and turned a beaming face upon her dumbfounded parents.
"Now I'll have breakfast," she said cheerfully. "I'll only eat a little because we must go out and see Star. You waited for me, didn't you?" pausing in sudden apprehension.
"Yes, indeed," replied Harry, collecting himself. "We haven't been off the piazza."
"Goody. I'm so glad. I'll hurry."
Mrs. Forbes followed the child as she bounded away, and the father and mother sank upon an old settle of Flemish oak, gazing at one another. The veil having been completely lifted from their eyes, each was viewing recent circumstances in a new light.
At last Harry began to laugh in repressed fashion. "Sold, and the money taken!" he ejaculated, softly smiting his knee.
His wife smiled, too, but there was a mist in her eyes.
"I smell a large mouse, Julia. How is it with you?"
"You mean my invitation?"
"I mean that we come under the head of those things that can't be cured and must be endured."
She nodded. "And that's why he wants to take me to the seashore."
"Yes, but all the same he's got to do it to carry his point. You get the fun just the same." The moisture that rose to Harry's eyes was forced there by the effort to repress his mirth. "By jinks, the governor kissing the 'phone! I'll never get over that, never," and he exploded again.
His wife laid her hand on his arm. "Oh, Harry, can't you see how touching it is?"
"I'll sue him for alienating my daughter's affections. See if I don't. Why, we're not in it at all. Did you feel our insignificance when she found he'd gone? We've been blockheads, Julia, blockheads."
"We're certainly figureheads," she returned, rather ruefully. "I don't like to feel that your father has to pay such a price for the sake of keeping Jewel a little longer."
"'T won't hurt him a bit. It's a good joke on him. If he doesn't go ahead and take you now, I'll bring another suit against him for breach of promise."
Julia was looking thoughtfully into space. "I believe," she said, at last, "that we may find out that Jewel has been a missionary here."
"She's given father a brand new heart," returned Harry promptly. "That's plain."
"Let us not say a word to the child about the plan for her and me to stay," said Julia. "Let us leave it all for Mr. Evringham."
"All right; only he won't think you're much pleased with the idea."
"I'm not," returned the other, smiling. "I'm a little dazed; but if he was the man he appeared to be the day we left Jewel with him, and she has loved him into being a happier and better man, it may be a matter of duty for us not to deprive him of her at once. I'll try to resign myself to the role of necessary baggage, and even try to conceal from him the fact that I know my place."
"Oh, my girl, you'll have him captured in a week, and Jewel will have a rival. You have the same knack she has for making the indifferent different."
At this juncture the housekeeper came back into the hall.
"Well, Mrs. Forbes," said Harry, rising, "that was rather amusing important business Jewel had with my father."
The housekeeper held up her hands and shook her head. "Such lovers, sir," she responded. "Such lovers! Whatever he's going to do without her is more than I know."
"Why, it's a big change come over father, to be fond of children," returned the young man, openly perplexed.
"Children!" repeated the housekeeper. "If you suppose, Mr. Harry, that Jewel is any common child, you must have had a wonderful experience."
Her impressive, almost solemn manner, sobered the father's mood. "What she is, is the result of what her mother has taught her," he returned.
"Not one of us wanted her when she came," said the housekeeper, looking from one to the other of the young couple standing before her. "Not one person in the house was half civil to her." Julia's hand tightened on her husband's arm. "I didn't want anybody troubling Mr. Evringham. People called him a hard, cold, selfish man; but I knew his trials, yes, Mr. Harry, you know I knew them. He was my employer and it was my business to make him comfortable, and I hated that dear little girl because I'd made up my mind that she'd upset him. Well, Jewel didn't know anything about hate, not enough to know it when she saw it. She just loved us all, through thick and thin, and you'll have to wait till you can read what the recording angel's set down, before you can have any full idea of what she's done for us. She's made a humble woman out of me, and I was the stiff-neckedest member of the congregation. There's my only child, Zeke; she's persuaded him out of habits that were breaking up our lives. There was Eloise Evringham, without hope or God in the world. She gave her both, that little Jewel did. Then, most of all, she crept into Mr. Evringham's empty heart and filled it full, and made his whole life, as you might say, blossom again. That's what she's done, single handed, in two months, and she has no more conceit of her work than a ray of God's sunshine has when it's opening a flower bud."
Julia Evringham's gaze was fixed intently upon the speaker, and she was unconscious that two tears rolled down her cheeks.
"You've made us very happy, telling us this," she said, rather breathlessly, as the housekeeper paused.
"And I should like to add, Mrs. Evringham," said Mrs. Forbes impressively, "that you'd better turn your attention to an orphan asylum and catch them as young as you can and train them up. What this old world wants is a whole crop of Jewels."
Julia's smile was very sweet. "We may all have the pure child thought," she returned.
Mrs. Forbes passed on upstairs. Harry looked at his wife. He was winking fast. "Well, this isn't any laughing matter, after all, Julia."
"No, it's a matter to make us very humble with joy and gratitude."
As she spoke Jewel bounded back into the hall and ran into her father's open arms.
"A good breakfast, eh?" he asked tenderly.
"Yes, I didn't mean to be so long, but Sarah said grandpa wanted me to eat a chop. Now, now, we're going to see Star!"
"I'd better fix your hair first," remarked her mother.
"Oh, let her hair go till lunch time," said Harry. "The horses won't care, will they, Jewel?" He picked her up and set her on his shoulder and out they went to the clean, spacious stables.
Zeke pulled down his shirt-sleeves as he saw them coming. "This is my father and mother, Zeke," cried the child, happily, and the coachman ducked his head with his most unprofessional grin.
"Jewel's got a great pony here," he said.
"Well, I should think so!" remarked Harry, as he and his wife followed where the child led, to a box stall.
"Why, Jewel, he's right out of a story!" said her mother, viewing the wavy locks and sweeping tail, as the pony turned eagerly to meet his mistress.
Jewel put her arms around his neck and buried her face for an instant in his mane. "I haven't anything for you, Star, this time," she said, as the pretty creature nosed about her. "Mother, do you see his star?"
"Indeed I do," replied Mrs. Evringham, examining the snowflake between the full, bright eyes. "He's the prettiest pony I ever saw, Jewel. Did your grandpa have him made to order?"
Zeke shrugged his gingham clad shoulders. "He would have, if he could, ma'am," he put in.
Mrs. Evringham laughed. "Well, he certainly didn't need to. Oh, see that beautiful head!" for Essex Maid looked out to discover what all the disturbance was about.
Harry paused in his examination of the pony, to go over to the mare's stall.
"Whew, what a stunner!" he remarked.
"Mr. Evringham said you were to ride her this morning, sir, if you liked. You'll be the first, beside him." Zeke paused and with a comical gesture of his head indicated the child and then the mare. "It's been nip and tuck between them, sir; but I guess Jewel's got the Maid beat by now."
"Two blue ribbons, she's won, sir. She'll get another this autumn if he shows her."
"I should think so. She's a raving beauty." As he spoke, Harry smoothed the bright coat. "When are we going out, Jewel?"
"But we couldn't leave mother," returned the child, from her slippery perch on the pony's back. She had been thinking about it. "Are you sure, Zeke, that grandpa said father might ride Essex Maid?"
"He told me so, himself," said Harry, amused.
Jewel shook her head, much impressed. "Then he loves you about the most of anybody," she remarked, with conviction.
"Don't think of me," said her mother. "You and father do just what you like. I can be happy just looking about this beautiful place."
"Oh, I know what," exclaimed Jewel, with sudden brightness. "Let's all go to the Ravine of Happiness before lunch time, and then wait for grandpa, and he can take mother in the phaeton, and father and I can ride horseback."
"Oh, I'm afraid your grandpa wouldn't like that," returned Mrs. Evringham quickly.
Zeke was standing near her. "He would if she said so, ma'am," he put in, in a low tone.
Julia smiled kindly upon him.
Harry tossed his head, amused. "It's a case, isn't it, Zeke?" he remarked.
"Yes, sir," returned the coachman. "He comes when he's called, and will eat out of her hand, sir."
Harry laughed and went back to the pony's stall. "Come on, then, Jewel, come to my old stamping ground, the ravine."
"And if her hair frightens the birds it's your fault," smiled Julia, smoothing with both hands the little flaxen head.
"The birds have seen me look a great deal worse than this, a great deal worse," said Jewel cheerfully.
"Perhaps they'll think her hair is a nest and sit down in it," suggested her father, as they moved away, the happy child between them, holding a hand of each.
The little girl drew in her chin as she looked up at him.
"Oh, father, you're such a joker!"
THE DIE IS CAST
"Oh, grandpa, we've had the most, fun!" cried Jewel that afternoon as she ran down the veranda steps to meet the broker, getting out of the brougham.
Harry and Julia were standing near the wicker chairs watching the welcome. They saw Mr. Evringham stoop to receive the child's embrace, and noted the attention he paid to her chatter as, after lifting his hat to them, he slowly advanced.
"Father and I played in the ravine the longest while. Wasn't it a nice time, father?"
"It certainly was a nice, wet time. I am one pair of shoes short, and shall have to travel to Chicago in patent leathers."
As Julia rose she regarded her father-in-law with new eyes. All sense of responsibility had vanished, and her present passive role seemed delightful.
"I know more about this beautiful place than when you went away," she said. "I feel as if I were at some picturesque resort. It doesn't seem at all as if work-a-day people might live here all the time."
"I'm glad you like it," returned the broker, and his quick, curt manner of speech no longer startled her. "Have you been driving?"
"No, we preferred to have Jewel plan our campaign, and she seemed to think that the driving part had better wait for you."
The broker turned and looked down at the smooth head with billowy ribbon bows behind the ears. Noting his expression, or lack of it, Julia wondered, momentarily, if she might have dreamed the episode of kissing into the telephone.
"What is your plan, Jewel?" he asked.
She balanced herself springily on her toes. "I thought two of us in the phaeton and two on horseback," she replied, with relish.
"H'm. You in the phaeton and I on Star, perhaps."
"Oh, grandpa, and your feet dragging in the road!" The child's laugh was a gush of merriment.
The broker looked back at his daughter-in-law and handed her the large white package he was carrying. "With my compliments, madam."
Julia flushed prettily as she unwrapped the box. "Oh, Huyler's!" she exclaimed. "How delicious. Thank you so much, father."
Jewel's eyes were big with admiration. "That's just the kind Dr. Ballard used to give cousin Eloise," she said, sighing. "Sometime I'll be grown up!"
Mr. Evringham lifted her into his arms with a quick movement. "That's a far day, thank God," he murmured, his mustache against her hair; then lowering her until he could look into her face: "How have you arranged us, Jewel? Who drives and who rides?"
"Perhaps father would like to drive mother in the phaeton," said the child, again on her feet.
Harry smiled. "Your last plan, I thought, was that I should ride the mare."
"Yes," returned Jewel, with some embarrassment. "You won't look so nice as grandpa does on Essex Maid," she added, very gently, "but if it would be a pleasure to you, father"—
Her companions laughed so heartily that the child bored the toe of one shoe into the piazza, and well they knew the sign.
"Here," said her father hastily, "which of these delicious candies do you want, Jewel? Oh, how good they look! I tell you you'll have to be quick if you want any. I have only till to-morrow to eat them."
"Really to-morrow, father!" returned the child, pausing aghast. "To-morrow!"
"To Chicago, do you mean?"
"To Chicago." He nodded emphatically.
Jewel turned appealing eyes on her mother. "Can't we help it?" she asked in a voice that broke.
"I think not, dearie. Business must come before pleasure, you know."
Her three companions looking at the child saw her swallow with an effort. She dropped the chocolate she had taken back into the box.
A heroic smile came to her trembling lips as she lifted her eyes to the impassive face of the tall, handsome man beside her. "It's to-morrow, grandpa," she said softly, with a look that begged him to remember.
He stooped until his gaze was on a level with hers. She did not touch him. All her forces were bent on self-control.
"I have been asking your mother," said Mr. Evringham, "to stay here a while and take a vacation. Hasn't she told you?"
Jewel shook her head mutely.
"I think she will do it if you add your persuasion," continued the broker quietly. "She ought to have rest,—and of course you would stay too, to take care of her."
A flash like sunlight illumined the child's tears. Mr. Evringham expected to feel her arms thrown around his neck. Instead, she turned suddenly, and running to her father, jumped into his lap.
"Father, father," she said, "don't you want us to go with you?"
Harry cleared his throat. The little scene had moistened his eyes as well. "Am I of any consequence?" he asked, with an effort at jocoseness.
Jewel clasped him close. "Oh, father," earnestly, "you know you are; and the only reason I said you wouldn't look so nice on Essex Maid is that grandpa has beautiful riding clothes, and when he rides off he looks like a king in a procession. You couldn't look like a king in a procession in the clothes you wear to the store, could you, father?"
"But I want you to ride her if you'd like to, and I want mother and me to go to Chicago with you if you're going to feel sorry."
"You really do, eh?"
Jewel hesitated, then turned her head and held out her hand to Mr. Evringham, who took it. "If grandpa won't feel sorry," she answered. "Oh, I don't know what I want. I wish I didn't love to be with so many people!"
Her little face, drawn with its problem, precipitated the broker's plans and made him reckless. He said to his son now, that which, in his carefully prepared programme, he had intended to say about three months hence, provided a nearer acquaintance with his daughter Julia did not prove disappointing.
"I suppose you are not devotedly attached to Chicago, Harry?"
The young man looked up, surprised. "Not exactly. So far she has treated me like a cross between a yellow dog and a step-child; but I shall be devoted enough if I ever succeed there."
"Don't succeed there," returned the broker curtly. "Succeed here."
Harry shook his head. "Oh, New York's beyond me. I have a foothold in Chicago."
"Yes," returned the broker, who had the born and bred New Yorker's contempt for the Windy City. "Yes, I know you've got your foot in it, but take it out."
"Great Scott! You'd have me become a rolling stone again?"
"No. I'll guarantee you a place where, if you don't gather moss, you'll even write yourself down as long-eared."
Harry's eyes brightened, and he straightened up, moving Jewel to one side, the better to see his father. "Do you mean it?" he asked eagerly.
The broker nodded. "Take your time to settle matters in Chicago," he said. "If you show up here in September it will be early enough."
The young man turned his eyes toward his wife and she met his smile with another. Her heart was beating fast. This powerful man of whom, until this morning, she had stood in awe, was going to put a stop to the old life and lift their burdens. So much she perceived in a flash, and she knew it was for the sake of the little child whose cheeks were glowing like roses as she looked from one to another, taking in the happy promise involved in the words of the two men.
"Father, will you come back here?" she asked, breathing quickly.
"I'd be mighty glad to, Jewel," he replied.
The child leaned toward the broker, to whose hand she still clung. Starry lights were dancing in her eyes.
"Grandpa, are father and mother and I going to live with you—always?" she asked rapturously.
"Always—if you will, Jewel."
He certainly had not intended to say it until autumn leaves were falling, and he should have made certain that it was not putting his head into a noose; but the child's face rewarded him now a thousand-fold, and made the moment too sweet for regret.
"Didn't we know that Divine Love would take care of us, grandpa?" she asked, with soft triumph. "We did know it—even when I was crying, we knew it. Didn't we?"
The broker drank in her upturned glance and placed his other hand over the one that was clinging to him.
MRS. EVRINGHAM'S GIFTS
When Mrs. Evringham opened her eyes the following morning, it was with a confused sense that some great change had taken place; and quickly came the realization that it was a happy change. As the transforming facts flowed in more clearly upon her consciousness, she covered her eyes quickly with her hand.
"'Green pastures are before me!'" she thought, and her heart grew warm with gratitude.
Her husband was asleep, and she arose and went softly to Jewel's chamber, and carefully opened the door. To her amazement the bed was empty. Its coverings were stripped down and the sweet morning breeze was flooding the spacious room.
She returned to her own, wondering how late it might be. Her husband stirred and opened his eyes, but before she could speak a ripple of distant laughter sounded on the air.
She ran to the window and raised the shade. "Oh, come, Harry, quick!" she exclaimed, and, half asleep, he obeyed. There, riding down the driveway, they saw Mr. Evringham and Jewel starting off for their morning canter.
"How dear they look, how dear!" exclaimed Julia.
"Father is stunning, for a fact," remarked Harry, watching alertly. On yesterday's excursion he had ridden Essex Maid, after all; and he smiled with interest now, in the couple who were evidently talking to one another with the utmost zest as they finally disappeared at a canter among the trees.
"It is ideal, it's perfectly ideal, Harry." Julia drew a long breath. "I was so surprised this morning, to waken and find it reality, after all." She looked with thoughtful eyes at her husband. "I wonder what my new work will be!" she added.
"Not talking about that already, I hope!" he answered, laughing. "I've an idea you will find occupation enough for one while, in learning to be idle. Sit still now and look about you on the work accomplished."