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Full text of ""What can she do?" [microform]"

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POPULAR READING AT POPULAR PRICES. 



" lAT m m DO ?" 



BY 



Author of •• Barriers Burned Away," •* A Knight of the Nineteenth Century," Etc. 



•• Hail ! honest toil, thy hard brown hand 
May save the fairest in the land." 



COMPLETE. 



TOEONTO: 
J. BOSS ROBERTSON, 65 KING-ST. WEST, COR. BAY. 

1880. 






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WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



CHAPTER I. 



THREE GIRLS. 



It was a very cold blustering day in early 
January, and even brilliant thronged Broad- 
way felt the influence of wintjr a harshest 
frown. There had been a heavy fall of snow 
which, though in the main cleared from the 
sidewalks, lay in the streets comparatively 
unsullied and unpacked. Fitful gusts of the 
passing gale caught it up and whirled it in 
every (tirection. From roof, ledges, and 
window sills, miniature avalanches suddenly 
descended on the startled pedestrians, and 
the air was here and there loaded with fall- 
ing flakes from wild hurrying masses of 
clouds, the rear guard of the storm that 
the biting nortlxwest wind was driving sea- 
ward. 

It was early in the afternoon, and the 

freat thorouglifare was almost deserted, 
ew indeed would be abroad for pleasure in 
such weather, ami the great tide of humanity 
that must flow up and down this channel 
every working clay of the year under all 
skies, had not yet turned northward. 

But surely this graceful figure coming up 
the street with quick, elastic steps, has not 
the aspect of one driven forth by grave busi- 
ness cares, nor in the natural course of things 
would one expect so young a lady to know 
much of life's burdens and responsibilities. 
As she passes I am sure the reader would not 
tuni away from so pleasant a vision, even if 
Broadway was presenting all its numberless 
attractions, but at such a time wotild make 
the most of the occasion, assured that noth- 
ing so agreeable would greet his eyes again 
that sombre day. 

The iierce gusts make little impression on 
her heavy, cloie-fitting Vf^Ivet dress, and in 
her progress a,:^ainst the wind she appears so 
trim and taut that a sailor's eye would be 
captivated. iShe bends her little turbaned 



head to the blast, and her foot strikes the 
pavement with a dotnsion that suggests n 
naturally brave, resolute nature, and gives 
abundant proof of vigour and health. A 
trimming 01 silver fox fur caught and oon- 
crasted the snow crystals against the black 
velvet of her dress, in which the tlakon catch 
and mingle, increasing tlio sense of lightness 
.and airinoas which her movements avVakon, 
and were you seeking a fanciful idealization 
of the spirit of the snow, you might rest 
satisfied with the first character that appears 
upon the scene of my stoiy. 

But on nearer view there was 
nothing spirit-like or even upWtuello 
in her aspect, save that an extremely tntns- 
parent complexion was rendered pos- 
itively dazzling by the keen air and glow of 
exercise ; and the face was much too full 
and blooming to suggest the shadowy and 
ethereal. 

When near 21st street she entered a fruit 
store and seemed in search of some delicacy 
for an inv.alid. As her eye glance«l around 
among the fragrant tropical fniit that sug- 
gested lands in wide contrast to the wintry 
scene without, she suddenly uttered a low 
exclamation of delight, as she turned from 
them to old friends, all the more welcome 
because so unexpected and out of season. 
Tliese were nothing less than a dozen straw- 
berries, in dainty baskets, decked out, or 
more truly eked out, with a few green leaves. 
Three or four baskets constituted the fruit- 
erer's entire stock, and probably the entire 
supply for the metropolis of America that 
day. 

She had scarcely time to lift u. basket and 
inhale a delicious aroina, before tlie proprie- 
toro f the store was in bowing attendance, 
quite as openly admiring her carnation 
cheeks as she the ruby fruit. Tiie man's 
tongue was, however, more decorous than 
his eyes, and to her question as to the price 
he replied, 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



"Oiiif/ivfo «l(iII;u-» a liiiMket, Misn, am' 
(M'k'tniiily tlu-y aro lK>niitii)H for IIiIh HoaHoti in 
the year. Tlmy are all I could f^t-t and I 
don't iHtliovo tlioro i« aiiutiior Htrawlnirry in 
New York." 

"I will take tlicm all," was the ))ricf. 

(tfcisive answer, and from n coHtly pi>rtn)f)n 

naic bIio tlinw down tlic prit ■% a procecdin; 

' which the man notod in a^'rou:il)lc Hiir|>ri.'(', 

ri.f d again curioiiHly M<';uniui| tlic fair face a- 

ho made up i\w parcel with ostentatious zeal. 

Ihit iiiu cMHtonuM' Wii8 unconHi^ioua, or more 

truly, inditferent to hiHadmiration,and HCenu-d 

nnich interested in the Hampies of choice 

fruit arranged on every side. From one ti> 

another of tlieno she flitted with the deli 

• ate sensuousnoss of a butterlly, Hnitillin^ 

. t mm and touching then) lightly with tin 

liand she had ungloved, (wliich was as white 

. as the snow without, ) as if they hiul fur her 

. a iHiculiar favicination. 

*' You seem very fond of fruit." said the 
: merchant, amour iit'oprc pleased by her evi- 
' dent interest in his stouk. 

*' I have ever had a pission for fine fruits 

and flowers," w.is the reply, spoken with 

t'lat perfect frankness characteristic of 

American girke " No, you need nut send it; 

. I prefer to take it with me." 

^ Md with a sliuht smile, she passed out, 
' . g the fruiterer chuckling over the 
I gli^i that he had probably ha<l the plea- 
iantest bit of trade of any man on Broadway 
that dull day. 

Plunging through the drifts, our nymph of 
the snow resolutely crossed the street and 
pas.sed down to a ilowcr store, l>ut instead of 
buying a bouciuet, ordered several pots of 
budding and blooming plants to be sent to 
her address. She then ma«le her way to 
Fifth Avenue and soon mounted a broad flight 
of steps to one of its most stately houses. 
Tlfe door yielded to her key, her thick walk- 
ing boots clattered f -^r a moment on the mar- 
ble floor but could not disguise the lightness 
of her step as she trippe<l up the winding 
stair and pushed open a rosewood door 
leading into the upper hall. 

** Motlier, mother," she exclaimed, " here 
is a treat fur you that will InuusIi nerves, 
headache, and horrors generally. See what 
I have found for you out in the wintry 
snows. Now, am I not a good fairy for 
once ? " 

'* O, Edith, chiUl, not so boisterous, 
please," resixmded jvijuerulous voice from a 
gr.iat easy cliair by tiie glowing gi'ate, and a 
middle-aged lady tfirned a white, faded face 
t.iWiinls her daughter. 

" Kurgive me. mother, but my tramp in 
the .January stoiin has made me feel rani- 
paully well. 1 wish you couKl ^'o out and 



tnke a run every <lay as I do. You wtuld 
lien l(K>k yoiing<-r and prettier tiiun your 
langhtci'B, as you used to." 

The invalid whivercil and dro.v her shawl 
'•loser around her, cctmplaining, — 

" 1 think you have brought the whole 
month of .lanuaiy in with you. You really 
must show more consider.ition, my k\v,\,v, f(»r 
if I Mlioidd take cold -" and the lady ended 
with a weary, HU</gestive nigh. 

\\\ fact, Kdith had entered the dim, 
heavily-perfumed room like a gust of whole- 
some air, her young blood tingling and 
electric with exeic se, and her heart bnoy- 
mt with the thoui^ht of the surprise 
ind pieisure she liud in stoic f<»r 
her mother. Hut the manner in which 
she had been received had alreatly 
chilled her more than the biting blasts on 
ISrfKidway. S'k' theief >re op(^iie<l her 
l>undl<^ and set «)ut the little baskets before 
her mother very quiutly. The lady glanced 
at them a moment and then said, indider- 
ently,— 

"It is very nrood of you to think of me, my 
ilear ; they look very pri-'tty. I am sorry I 
uinot eat them, but their acid would only 
increase my dyspep-sia. Those raised in 
winter must be very sour. Oh ; the thought 
of it sets my teeth on edge, " and the poor, 
nervous creature shrank deeper into her 
wrappings. 

" 1 am real sorry, mother. I thought they 
would be a great treat for you," said Kdith, 
(luite crestfallen. " Never mind ; I g«»t Home 
flowers, and tliey will bo here soon." 

"Thank you, «lear, but the doctor sayg 
they are not healthy in a room — Oh, deai* — 
tliat child ! what shall I do ! " 

The front door banged, there was a step 
on the stairs, but not ho light i\& Edith's had 
Ijeen, and a nijment later the door burst 
open, and " the child " rushed iu like a 
whirlwind, exclaiming, — 

" Hurrah, huiTah, school to the shades. 
No more teachers and tyrants for me," and 
down went au armful of books with a bang 
on the tabic. 

" O, Zell," cried Edith, " please be quiet» 
mother has a headache. " 

"There, there, your baby will kiss 
it all away," and tiie irrepressible young 
creature threw her arms around the 
bundle that M's. Allen had made 
hersvlf into by her many wrapjjings, and 
before she ceased, the red pouting lips left 
the faintest tinge of tlieir own colour on the 
faded cheeks of the mother. 

The lady endured tlic Ixjisterous embrace 
with a martyr-like expression. Zell was evi- 
«lently a privileged character, the spoiled 
pet of the hoiisehokl. liut a new voice was 



I 
I 



^VHAT CAN SHE DO f 



and 



now heard that was ihaiper tl;aii the " pet" 
M';w ficc'UHtDiiied m». 

"Zoll, yoii aro a porfoct hear. One wouM 
think you had k-anicd your iiiauiierH at a 
I'oy'rt hoarding school." 

ZeU'M gri at hhu'k OjCh blazed for a moment 
towards the Hpeakor, who w.ia a young lady 
reclining. on a lounge near the window, and 
who in anpcu'ancc ninst have heen the conn- 
terpaitof Airs. Allen hcrsulf as she had looked 
twenty-tiiree year.s hcfnio. In contrast with 
her sliarp, annoyed tone, her cheeks were 
wet with tears. 

" What are you crying ahout ?" was ZcU's 
brusque respouHO. "Oh, I see, a novel. 
"NVhat a ridiculous ohl thing you are. I 
never saw you shed a tear over real trouble, 
and yet cvoty few days you are dissolved in 
brine over Adidph Moonshine's agoniea, and 
8craphjna'« sentiment, wliich any sensible 
])erson can see ia caused by dyspepsia. No 
such wliipped 6ylljd>ub for ine, but real life." 

•• And what does * real life' mean for you, 
I would like to know, but eating, dressing, 
and lliiting t" was the acid retort. 

" Tiiough you call nie 'child,' I have 
lived h>ng cnoutrh to learn that eating, dress- 
ing, and llirting, and wliile you are about it 
vou mi^'ht as well add drinking, is the ' real 
life of most of the ladies of our set. Indeed, 
if iny poor memory does not fail me, I have 
seen you take a turn at these things myself 
BufKciently often to make the sublime scorn 
of your tone a little inc(msi3tent. " 

As these barlK'd arrows tlew, the tears ra- 
pidly exhaled from the hot cheeks of the 
young lady on the sofa. Her elegant lan- 
guor vanished, and she started up ; but Mrs. 
Allen now interfered, and in tones harsh and 
high, very dilferent from the previous deli- 
cate munnurs, exclaimed, — 

'•Children you drive n»o wild. Zell, leave 
the room, and don't you show yourself again 
till you can behave yourself." 

Zell was now sobbing, partly in sorrow, 
and partly in anger, but she let fly a few 
ni re I'arthian arrows over her shoulder ae 
slie passed out. 

" This is a pretty way to treat one on 
their birthday. 1 came home with heart as 
light as the snow-flakes around me, and now 

?!;>u have spoiled everything. I don't know 
low it is, but I always have a j^ood time 
everywhere else, but there is something in 
this house that often sets one's teeth on 
edge," and the door banged appropriately 
with a spiteful emphasis as the last word 
was spoken. 

•• I'oor child," said Edith, '• it is too bad 
that site slu)uld be so dashed with cold water 
on her birtliday. " 

" iSixe ibu't a child," said the eldest sister, 



rising from the sofa nnd sweopin;? fn)in thw 
room, " though she often acts like one, and 
a very Imd one too. ilcr birthday khould 
remiutl her that if she is ever to lie a lady, 
it is time to commence," and the statcdy 
young lady passetl coldly away. 

Kdith went to the wind«>w and looketl de- 
jectedly out into the early gloom of the de- 
clining winter day. Mrs. Allen sighed and 
looked more nervous and uucomtortablo 
than usual. 

The upholsterer had done hiii part in that 
elegant home. The feet sank into thu car- 
pets as in mo48. Luxurious chairs stcmcd 
to embrace the form that sank into them. 
Kverything was padded, rouiiiled, and soft- 
ened, except tongues and tempers. Jf 
wealth couhl remove the asperities from 
these as from material things, ,it might well 
be coveted. But this is iHjyond the uphol- 
sterers' art, and Mrs. Allen knew little of 
the divine art that can wrap up words and 
deeds with a kindness softer than eider- 
down. 

" Mother's room," instead of being a re- 
fuge and a favourite haunt of tnese three 
girls, was a place whore, as wu have seen, 
their " teeth were set on edge." 

Naturally they shunned the place, visiting 
the invalid rather than living with her ; 
their reluctant feet impelled aero?" the 
threshold by a senae of du ,y rathe^ than 
drawn by the cords of love. The mother 
felt this in a vague, uncomfortable way, for 
mother love was there, only it had seemingly 
turned sour, and instead of attracting her 
children by sweetness and synipathy, she 
querulously complained to them and to her 
husband of their neglect. He would somo- 
times laugh it off, sometimes shrug his 
shoulders indifferently, and again harshly 
chide the girls, according to liia mood, for 
he varied much in thia respect. After being 
cool and wary all day in Wall street, ho 
took off the cure at home. Therefore tho 
variations that never be counted no. 
How he would be at dinner did not depciul 
on himself or any principle, but on cir- 
cumstances. In the main he was indulgent 
and kind to them, though quick and pas- 
•sionate, brooking no opposition ; and tho 
girls were really more attached and fourd 
morj pleasure in his society than in their 
mother's. Zelica, the youngest, wa^ iii.s 
favourite, and he humourecl and potted he.- 
at a ruinous rate, though often storming at 
some of her frolics. 

Mrs. Allen saw this preference of her hus- 
band, and was weak enough to feed and 
show jealousy. Jiut her complainings wero 
j ineflectual, for we can no more sc(»ld poo- 
pic into loving us than nature could make: 



WHAT CAN 8HR DO ! 



ImdH liloHAoin by daily nipping thern with 
fnmt. AikI yut sliu nia^lu iiur children nii- 
cotiifortahlu liy making them fcul that it 
wan unnatnral ami wmng that tluy did not 
faro more for their mother. This M'a« cm- 
iM'rially truo of K«lith, who tritul to natiufy 
iicr coneciunco, an wo have noon, hy bringing 
cMHtly prost'nts and dolicacioa that woro bol- 
d«(m noodod or appreciated. 

Kdith soon became mo opprcaned by hor 
inotlier's Higlis and Hilenco and tho heavy 
]M!rfumed air, that xhe i^rang up, and 

JtroRHing a rcmorueful kiss oii thu white, thin 
ace, said, — 

** I nnist dresB for dinner, mamma ; I 
will send your maid," and vanished uUu. 

CHAITKR II. 

A FUTTRK OF HUMAN DEHKJNINO. 

The dining-room at six o'clock wore a far 
more clicerful aopcot than the invalid's 
r«om nputairs. It was ftirniHlu'd in a coHtly 
manner, but moro ostentatiously than good 
taste would dictat-o. You instinctively 
lelt that it was a sacred place to tho miister 
of the house, in wliich ho daily aacriticed to 
one of hia chosen deities. 

The portly coloured waiter, in dress 
coat and white vest, liad just placed tho 
Houp on tho table, and Mr. Allen enters, 
supporting his wife. He had a sort of manly 
tolerution for all her whimsmnd weaknesses. 
He had never indulged in any lofty ideas of 
womanhooil, nor had any special longings 
for her sympathy and companionship. 
Business was the one engrossing thiiig of 
his life, and this he honestly believed 
women incapable of, from her veiy 
nature. It was true of his wife, but 
due to a false education rather than any 
innate difficulties, and he no moro expected 
her to comprehend and sympathize nitelli- 
gently with his business operations, than 
to see her go down to Wall-street with him 
w ;aring his hat and coat. 

She had been tho loading Ixslle in his set, 
years ago. He had admired !icr immensely 
iis a stylish, Ijeautif ul M'oman, and carried her 
oil' from dozens of competitors, who were 
fortunate in their failure. He always main- 
tained a show of gallantry and deference 



Mliich, 



though 



but a thin veneer, was cer- 



t;iitdy better than open disregard and brutal 
neglect. 

So now, with good-natui*cd tolerance and 
politeness, he seated the feeble creature in a 
'Cushioned chair at the table, treating her 
;iiiore like a 8poilc<l cliild than a friend and 
«;()inpa»iion. Tlnj girls iniinediately appear- 
•cd also, for they knew too well their father s 



woakncsaci, to keep him waiting for his 
dinner. 

Zull boundett into Imh armi in her usual 
impulsive style, and the father cansHcd her 
in a way that xhowed that his lifnrt was very 
tender toward his yuungtrnt child. 

** And HO my bul»y is seventeen t --day," 
he said. "Well, well, how fast we afo grow- 
ing old." 

The girl laughed ; the man sighed. Tho 
(»ne Mas on the threHhold of what she deem- 
ed the 1 idlest i>lc.'iHures of life ; the other 
had well-ni^h exhausted them, and for a 
moment realized it. 

Still he was in excellent spirits, for he had 
seen his way to an operation that jtroiuiHed 
a golden futuiH). lie sat down therefore to 
the good cheer with not a little of the spirit 
of tlie man in the parable, whoso eompluis- 
Kant exhortation to his noul lias ever 
)>een tho language of false security ami pro* 
spcritj'. 

The father's open favoiiriteiBin forZellwas 
another source of jealousy, her sisters 
naturally feeling injure<l by it. Thus in 
this houaehold even human love was dis- 
eoi'dant and perverted, oiul the Divine love 
nn!;nown. 

NN'liat chance had character, that thing of 
slow growth, in sueh an atmosphere ? 

The popping of a champagne cork took 
the niaco of grace at the opening of the 
meal, and the glasses were filled all around. 
In honour of Zell's birthday they drank to 
her health and happiness. liy no better 
form or more suggestive ceremony coulrl this 
Christian (?) family wish their youngest 
member " God speed " on entering the vicis- 
situdes of a new year of life. But what 
they did was done heartily, and every glass 
was drained. To them it seemed very ap- 
propriate, and her father said, glancing 
admiringly at hei* flaming cheeks and dancing 
eyes : 

"This is just the thing to drink Zell's 
health in, for she is as full of sparkle and 
efl'ervescence as tho champagne itself." 

Had he bcey.a wiser and more thoughtful 
man, ho would have carried the simile 
farther and remember the fate of cham- 
pagne when exposed. However piquant and 
ileasing Zell's sparkle might be, it would 
lardly secure success and Siifety for lite. But 
in his creed a girl's first duty was to be 
pretty and fascinating, and he was extreme- 
ly proud of tlie beauty of his dauiditors. It 
was his plan to marry them to rich men 
who would maintain them in the irres- 
ponsible luxury that their mother had en- 
joyed. 

Circumstances scented to justify his secur- 
ity. The son of a rich man, he hud also iu- 



I 



WHAT CAN SHK DO f 



luritutl a t;uttv ftir buaiiiu8H antl i\w. art of 
111 ilxiiig iiumey. YcarH of i)i'o.sj)fritv liail 
cuiitiiiiiuil hU coiindfiux', liiiiliic lookuii t-oiii- 
]iliiii«Aiitly iirouiiil upon s family and tiilku«l 

Ul tilt! flltU '(! ill Sall^MlilK! toilCH. 

ilu WiiM a lauii coiitiitleraltly past his priiiio, 
ami luH ilurid facv and j)oi'tly fonii ii.tficatcd 
that he was in tlic hahit of d jiitg aiimlv jua- 
ticu to tlio ^uod cheur l>uforo him. Iiitvn.se 
nitnlication to laisiiics:) in early yi-ars and in- 
diilgoiiou of iip))utito in hitur Ufu hail suriuuti* 
ly iinp.iired a constitiitiun natiirallv good, 
lie roiiiindod you of u tlowtr fully bluwii or 
of fruit oviTiipt!. 

" Siiu-o you havo ponnitted ZoU to loavo 
suhoul, 1 KUpnoiio kIiu luuHt make her duliut 
Hoon," yaid Mrs. A1U-ti with iiioru aniumtioa 
than u»ual in lier tone. 

" Oh, certainly," ciiod Zell, "onKdith's 
Ijii thiluy, in Fehruarv. Wo have arranged 
it ill!, haven't we, Kdith ?" 

" lIeiuho,then I am to have uo part in the 
matter, said her father. 

'• Ves indeed, papa," cried the saucy girl, 
" you are to liave uo end of kisses, and a 
very long hill." 

'I his sally ]>Us-wed him ImmonHely, for it 
expressed his ideal of womanly retm for 
masculi aHection, at least the hills had 
never hcen wanting in his e.\ncrience. But, 
mellowed l»y wine an<l elated hy the success 
of the day, he now prepared to give the coup 
that woulil make a far greater svusation in 
t le family circle than even a dclmte or a 
liirthtlay party. So, glancing from one eager 
f.ice to another, (for netween the wine and 
the excitement even Mrs. Allen was no hmg- 
er a colourless, languid creature, ready to 
faint at the embrace of her child,) he said 
with a twinkle in his eye, — 

" W'elljgo to your mother alxuit the party. 
She is a veteran in such matters. J^ut let 
there be some limit to the liugth of the bill, 
or I can't earrv out another plan I have in 
view for you.' 

Chorus—" What is that ?" 

Coolly filling his glasa, he commenced 
leisurely sipping, while glancing humourous- 
ly from one to another, enjoying their im- 
patient expectiuicy. 

" If you don't tell ua right away," cried 
Zeli, bouucing up, " I'll pull your whiskers 
without mercy." 

"Papa, you will throw mother into a fever. 
See how Hu.shed her face is !" said Laura, 
the eldest daughter, epjakiug at the same 
time two words for herself. 

The face of Edith, with its dazzling com- 
plexion all agiow, and large dark eyes lust- 
rous with excitement, was more elofiueut 
than words could have been, and the " boa | 
vivaut " drank in their expression with as 



much zest 01 ho sipped his wino. PerhnpH 
it was well for him to make the mo.>'t of 
that littlu kcen-cdgi-d moment of bright 
anticipation and l»ewihleriiig hope, for what 
he was alHtut to propose would cost him many 
tlKuiHands and exile him from business, 
which to him was the very breath of life. 

Ihit Mrs. Allen's matter-of-fact voi<^u 
brought things to a crisis, for witlt an injur- 
ed air she sai<l : 

" How can you, CSeorgo, when you know 
the state of my nerves ?" 

" What I propose, mamma, will cure your 
nerves a)i<l everything else, for it is notliing 
less than a tour through Europe." 

'i'here was a shriek of delight from the 
girls, in which even the extjuisitc Laura 
joined, and Mrs. Allen \\i\h trembling with 
excitement. Apart fn)ni the trips itself, 
they considered it a sc^rt of disgrace that a 
''a iiily of their social position ana wealth hjul 
never Wen abroad. Therefore the aiuiounc»i 
ment was doubly welcome. Hitherto Mr. 
Allen's devotion tr» business had made it im- 
possible, and he had given them no hint 
of the near consummation of their wishes. 
But he had begun to feel the need of chjniu*' 
and rest himself, and this weighed more with 
him than all their entreaties. 

In a moment Zell had her arms about his 
neck, and her sisters were throwing him 
kisses across the table. His wife, looking 
unusually gratified said : 

" You are a sensible man at last, " which 
was a great deal for Mrs. Allen to say. 

" Why mamma" exclaimed her husband, 
elevating his eyebrows in comic surprise, 
"that I should live to hear you say that !" 

" Now don't be silly," she replied, joining 
slightly, in the laugh at her expense, "or we 
shall think that you have taken too much 
champagne, and that this Europe business is 
all a hoax." 

" Wait till you have been outside of Sandy 
Hook an hour, and you will tind everything 
real enough then. I think I see the elegant 
ladies of my household about that time. ' 

"For shame, papa, what an uncomfortable 
suggestion over a dinner table," said the fas- 
tidious Laura. " Picture the ladies of your 
household in the salons of Paris. I promise 
we will do you creuit there. " 

" I hope so, for I fear I shall have need of 
credit when you all reach that Mecca of 
women." 

" It's no more the Mecca of women than 
Wall street is the Jerusalem of men. What 
you arc all going to do in Heaven without 
Wall street, I don't see." 

Her husband gave his significant shrug 
and said, "Idout meet notes till they are 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



« 



dufl," which wa* liia way of anying : " Suffi* 
otuiit iiiitu tbu ilay ia the pvil thereof." 

'*Tho Hnlotii of Parii I" Mid I<:4lith, with 
•onie diHtUin. "Think uf tho aociicry, the 
ornnge-grovea, and %'inovards that wv shal 
M«, tho Alpine flowers — 

*' I declttru," inturnintud Zell, " I tmliRVo 
that Edith would ratlier nee a grnno vine 
and orange tree, than all tho toilota of 
Paris." 

"I shall enjoy seeing both," was the 
reply, " and so have tho advantage of you 
in having two strings to my how. " 

" By tno wtiy, tliut reniiiids mo to ask how 
many beaux you now have on the string," 
said her father. 

Kdith Umotl her head with a pretty blush 
and said : *' I'ity me, my father, you 
know I am alwavs poor at arithmetic. " 

" You will take up with a crooked stick 
after all. Now I^ura is a sensible girl, like 
her mother, and has picked out one of 
the richest, longest-headed fellows on tho 
street." 

*' Indeed ? " said his wife. " I do not see 
but you are paying yourself a greater com- 
pliment than either Laura or me. " 

" Oh, no, mere business statement. 
Laura means butiuess, and so does Mr. 
Gouhlcn." 

Laura looked annoyed and said,— 

" Pa, I thought you never talked business 
at Iiome. " 

'* Oh this is a feminine phase that women 
understand. I want your sisters to profit by 
your good example." 

'* I shall marry an Italian Count," cried 
Zcll. 

" Who will turn out a fourth rate Italian 
liAfber, and I shall have to Biipport you both. 
But I won't do it You would have to help 
him shave. " 

" No, I should transform him iuto a leader 
of banditti, and we would live in princely 
state in tho Appenincs. Then we would 
capture you, pap.i, and carry you off to the 
mountains, and I wouhi be your jailer, and 
give you nothing but turtle soup, champagne 
and kisses, till you paid a ransom that would 
break Wall street." 

" I would not pay a cent, but stay and eat 
you out of house and home. " 

" I never expect to marry," said Edith, 
*' but some day I am going to commence 
saving my money — now don't laugh, papa, 
for I could be economical if I once made up 
my mind " — and the pretty head gave a 
decisive little nod. " I am going to save my 
money and buy a beautiful place in the 
country and make it as near like the garden 
of Eden as possible. " 



" Snakes will get into it as of old," wot 
Mrs. Allen'H cynical remark. 

" Yes, that in woman's experience with 
a garden," said her huHlwnd with a mock 
sigh. 

popping ofT the cork of another bottle, ho 
added, "1 have got ahead of you, Edith. I 
own a ))laoe in the country, much an I dinlike 
that kind of prii|)crty. I had to take it to* 
d.iy in a trad(% and so am a landholder in 
Pushton,— pnmpuct, you Hee «»f becnniing a 
rural gentleman (S(|uire is the title, 1 iw- 
lieve), and of exchanging stijck in Wall 
street for the stock of a faiiii. Here's to my 
Ofltate of three acres witli a ntorey and a half 
mansion upon it ! Perhaps y u would rather 

So up there this summer than to Pari«, nty 
ear? " to lii« wife. 

Mrs. Allen gave a contemptuous shrug as 
if the jest were too preposterous to be ans- 
wered, but Edith cried.- - 

"Fill my glass ; I will drink to your 
country place. I know the cottage is a 
sweet rustic little box, all smotiiered with 
vines and rosen like one I naw last June." 
Then she added in sport, " 1 wish y( u would 
give it to me for my birthday present. It 
would make such a nice porter's lodge at tho 
entrance to my future Euen." 

"Are you in earnest ? " asked the father 
Bud<1e)dy. 

Both were excited by the wine tlrey had 
drank. She glanced at her fatiier, and saw 
that he wa.s in a mood to say yes to any- 
thing, and ouick as thouglit, she determined 
to get the place, if possiljle. 

•*0f course I am. I would rather have 
it than all the jewellery in New York," 
(she was over-supplied with that style of 
gifts.) 

"You shall have it then, for I am sure I 
don't want it, and am devoutly thankful to 
be rid of it." 

Edith clapped her hands with a delight 
scarcely lesB demonstrative than that of Zcll 
in her wildest moods. 

" Nonsense," said Mrs. Allen, "the idea 
of giving a young lady such an eleplmnt." 
But remember, " continued her father, 

y 

There 
Next 

year, after we get back from Europe, We will 
go up there and stay awhile. You shall 
then take possession, employ an agent to 
take care of it, who by the way will cheat 
you to your heart's content. I will wager 
you a box of gloves, that before a year 
passes, you will try to sell the ivy-twined 
cottage for anything you can get, and will 
1)6 thoroughly cured of your mania for 
country life." 



" you must maimge it yourself, pay tho 
taxes, keep it repaired, insured, etc. 
is a first-class summer hotel near it. 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 







lice with 
• miK'k 

lotth', lio 
:<lith. I 
I tlinliko 
kc it to- 
loMcr ill 

:u||iiliff A 

tie, I IMJ- 
in Wall 
[•'h to liiV 
iitl a linff 
ill rather 
•oriu, my 

shnig na 
L> be aiis- 

to your 
tii^o is A 

re<l with 
.lime." 
( u wuuM 
Hunt. It 
go at the 

he father 

they hn<l 

Aiul saw 

!fl to any- 

iterniined 

ler hove 
' York," 
I style of 

am sure I 
laukful to 

a delight 
^t of ZcU 

'the idea 
ilrniit." 
er father, 
, pay the 
L\ There 
it. Next 
e, wfewill 
You shall 
agent to 
ill cheat 
:ill wager 
say ear 
S'y-twined 
,, and will 
nauia for 



" ni toke von np, 
•Xc'itoiiirnt, "In 



" Raid Kdith, in great 
tut remember, I waut my daod 



on my birthday." 

"All rir'-* " laid Mr. Allen, laughing. 
"I will tra. * t«i you to-morrow, while 

I think of it. 'iut don't try to trade it off 
to me U'fore next month for a new dreM." 

Kdith wan half wild over her present. 
Many nnd varied were her quuttiuus, but 
her mtheronly naid,— 

" I don't know much about it. I did not 
listen to half the man Haiti, but I remember 
ho stated there waH a gotnl deal of fruit on 
the place, for it made me think of you at 
the time. Bless you, 1 could not Bt<»i> for 
such small game. I am nogotiatii.g a largo 
and nromising operation which you umler- 
stana a»<mt as well as farming. It will 
take some time to carry it through, but 
when tininhed, we will start for tho ' salons 
of Paris.' ' 

"I half lielieve," said Laura, with a 
covert sneer, " that Edith would rather go 
up tcj her farm of three ocres." 

" I am well fatiHtied ah papa liM arranged 
it," said the practical girl. " Everything in 
its place, and get all oat of life you can, is 
my creed." 

*' That means, get all out of me you can, 
don't it, sly puss ?" laughed tho father, 
well pleased, though, with the worldly 
'Wisdom of the speech. 

"Kisses, kisses, unlimited kisses, and 
consider yourself well repaid," was the 
arch reiouKlor ; and not a few looking at 
her as sho then appeared, but would have 
coveted such bargains. So her father 
seemed to think as he gazed admiringly at 
her. 

But something in Zell's i>outing lips and 
vexed expression caught his eye, and he 
said goo<l-naturedly — 

"fieigho, youngster, what has brought 
a thunder-cloud across your saucy face ? '° 

" In providing for birthdays to come, I 
guess you have forgotten your baby's birth- 
day present." 

" Come here, you envious elf," said her 
father, taking soincthins' froiil his pocket. 
Like light she f.ushed out from under the 
cloud and was s.t hie side in au instant, 
dimpling, smiling a.id twinkling with ex- 
pectation, her black eyes as quick and 
restless as her father was deliberate and 
slow in iindoing a dainty parcel. 

"O, fJeorge, do be quick about it, or 
Zell will explode. You both make me 
nervous, " said Mrs. Allen fretfully. 

Suddenly pressing open a velvet casket, 
Mr. Allen Imni^ a jewelled watch with a 
long gold chain about his favourite's ueck, 



while sb.. improvised a horupi{)e arouml his 
ohair. 

"Thera," said he, "is somothing that 
is worth more than Edith's farm, tumble* 
down cottage, roses and all. tSo rcmuuib 
that thohe ii<i>s were luadu to kiss, not i .• 
pout with." 

Zell put her lips to proper us&i to 
that extent that Mrs. Allen l>egaii to grow 
jealous, nervous, and out of sorts generally, 
and having linishe<l her ohocoiatj, rose 
feubly from the table. Her husliand 
offered his arm and the family dinner [tarty 
broke up. 

And yet, take it altogether, each 
one was in higher spirits than usual, 
and Zell and Edith in a state of positive 
delight. They had received costly gilts 
that specially gratified their t^culiar tastes, 
and tliese, with the promise of a granil 
party, a trip to Europe, youthful buoyancy 
and champagne, so dilated their feminine 
souls, that Mrs. Alloa's fears of an explosion 
of some kind were scarcely groundless. 
They draggetl their stately sister Laura, 
now unwou^dly bland and arable, to the 

Ciano, and called for the quickest and most 
rilliant of walt/xjs, and a uioinunt later 
lithe figures flowed away into tho rhythm of 
motion, that from their exuburanue of 
feeling, was as fantastic as it was graceful. 

Mr. Allen assisted his wife to her 
room and soon loft her in an unusually con- 
tented frame of mind to develop strategy 
for the coming party. Mrs. Allen's nerves 
utterly inua|)acituted her for the care of hor 
household, attendance upon church and 
such humdrum matters, but in view 
of a creat occasion like a "grand crush 
ball where among the luminaries of 
fashion she could liecome the reful- 
gent centre of a constellation which her 
fair daughter would make around her, her 
spirit rose to the emergency. When it canio 
to dress and dressmakers and all the com- 
plications of the campaign now opening, not- 
withstanding her nerves, she could be quite 
Napoleonic. 

l^er husliand retired to the library, lighted 
a choice Havana,skimmod his evening papers, 
and then as usual, went to his club. 

This, as a general thiug, was the extent 
of the library 8 literary uses. The best au- 
thors in eold and Russia umiled down from, 
the black walnut shelvos, but the books 
were present rather aa furniture than from 
any mtrinsio value in themselves to the 
family. They were given prominence on 
the same principle that Mrs. Allen sought 
to give a certain tone to her entertainments 
by inviting many literary and scientiHe 
mcu. She might be unable to appreciate 



10 



WHAT CtiH SHE DO ? 









the works of the savana, but as they ap- 
preciated the labours of her masterly French 
cook, many compromised the matter by eat- 
ing the petit soupera, and shrug|,'inK their 
shonlders over the entertainers. 

And yet the Aliens were anything but 
vulgar upstarts. Both husband and v/ife 
were descended fron. old and wealthy New 
York fatnilies. They had all the polish 
whioh life-long association with tue fr^hion- 
able world hesiovra. What war more, 
they were highly intelligont, and in their 
own sphere, gifted peeple. Mr. Allen was 
a leader in businesCi in one of 
the chief commerci^ centres, and to 
lead in legitimate business in our day re- 
quires as mujh ability, indeed we may say 
genius, as to lead in any other department of 
life. He would have shown no more.igno- 
rance in the study, studio, and laboratory, 
than their occupants would have shown m 
the countin,^ room. That to which he de- 
voted his energies he had becoTie master in. 
It is true he had narrowed do^vn his life to 
little else than business. He had never ac- 
quired a taste for art and literaiyire, nor had 
he given himself iime for broad culture. 
But we meet narrow artists, narrow clerjry- 
men, narrow scientists just as truly. If yon 
do not get on their hobby, and ride with 
them, they seem disposed to ride over you. 
Indeed, in our brief life with its fierce com- 
petitions, few other than what is known as 
" one idea" men have time to succeed. Even 
genius must drive with tremendous and 
concentrated energy, ic distance competi- 
tors. Mr. Allen was quite as great in his 
department as any of the lions that his wife 
lured into her parlours were in theirs. 

Mrs. Allen was also a leader in her own 
chosen sphere, or rather in the one to which 
Bhe had been educated. Given a carte blanche 
in the way of expense, few could surpass 
her in producing a brilliant, dazzling enter- 
tainment. The colouring and decorations 
of her rooms would not be more rich, varied, 
or in better taste, than the divcrsib', 
c .d yet harmony of the people «ihe 
would bring together by her adroit 
selections. She had studied society, and 
for it she lived, not to make it better, 
not bO elevate its character, and tone down 
its extravagances, but simply to shine in it, 
to be talked about and envied. 

Both husband and wife had achieved no 
small success, and to succeed in such a city 
as New Yocli. in their chosen departments 
re(piired a certain amount of genius. The 
savans had a general admiration for Mrs. 
Allen's style and taste, but found on the sc- 
cial exchange of her parlours, sh9 had noth- 
ing to offer but fashion's aiuallest chit-chat. 



They had a certain re&pect for Mr. Allen's 
wealth and business power, but having dis- 
cussed the news of the day, they passed on, 
and the people during the intervals of danc- 
ing, drifted into congenial schools and 
shoals, like fish in a shallow lake. Mr. and 
Mrs. Allei; had a vague admiration for the 
Icarniuu; of the scholars, j^nd culture of the 
artists, but would infinitely prefer marrying 
their daughters to down-town merchant 
princes. 

Take the world over, perhaps all cliwces oi 
people arc despising others quite as much as 
they are despised themselves. 

But when the French cook appeared upon 
tie scene, theu waa produced your true de- 
mocracy. Then was shown a phase of life 
into which all entered with a zest that proved 
the common tie of humanity. 



CHAPTER III. 



TIIBEE MBIT. 



While Mrs. Allen was planning the social 
pyrotechnics that should daz::le tlie fashion- 
able world, Edith and Zeil were working oil 
their exuberant spirits in the manner de- 
scribed in the last chapter, and which was as 
natural to their city -bred feet as a wild romp 
to a country girl. 

The brilliuut notes of the piano and the 
ru;^tle of their silks had rendered them oblivi- 
ous of Liie fact that the door- bell had rung 
twice, and thf .t ithree gentlemen were peer- 
ing curiously through the half open door. 
They were evidently at home as frequent 
and favoured visitors, and had motioned the 
old-coloured waiter not to announce them,, 
aod he reluctantly obeyed. ■* 

For a moment they feasted their eyes on 
the scene as the two girls, with twining 
arms and many innovations on the regular 
step, whirled through the rooms, and then 
Zell's quick eye detected them. 

Pouncing down upuu the eldest gentleman 
of the party, she dragged him from his am- 
bush, while the others also entered. One 
who waa Q'iite young approached the blush- 
ing, panting Edith with an almost boyish 
confidence of manner, as if assured 
of a welcome, while the remaining gentle- 
man, who Wc*s verging toward middle age, 
quietly glided to the piano and gave his hand 
to Laura, who greeted him with a cordiality 
scarcely to be expected from so state ly a 
young lady. 

The laws of affinity and selection had evi- 
dently been developed here, and as the 
reader must surmise, long previous acquain- 
tance had led to the present easy and intim- 
ate relations. 



i 



WHAT CAN SHE DO? 



U 



Mr. Allen's 
having dis* 
passed on, 
^iils of danc- 
Bohoola and 
I. Mr. and 
ion for the 
Iture of the 
ir marrying 
n merchant 

tU clAs:.es oi 
as much as, 

^ared upon 
ur true de- 
laae of life 
that proved 



: the social 
ilie fashion- 
working oil 
manner de- 
hich was as 
I wild romp 

10 and the 
bhem oblivi- 
I had rung 
were peer- 
open door. 
IS freqtienlf 
otioned the 
Lince them, 

ir eyes on 
th twining 
the regular 
, and then 

gentleman 
>m his ani> 
»red. One 

the blush- 
lost boyish 
if assured 
ing gentle- 
middle age, 
ve his hand 
a cordiality 
10 state ly a 

on had evi> 

id as the 

us acquain- 

and intim* 






" What do you mean," cried Zell, drag- 
ging under the gaslight her cavalier, who 
HiD^umed much penitoiiue and fear, " b^ 
thus rudely and abruptly breaking in 
upon the retiremeitt of three tMclttded fe- 
males ?" 

••At their devotions, " added the cynical 
voice of tlie gentlem'i.a at th« piano, who 
was no other than Mr. Oouldou, Laura's ad- 
mirer. 

Zell's attendant threw himself in tne atti- 
tude of a supplicant *uid said deprecating- 

ly,— 

" Nay, but we are .astronomers." 

" That's a fib, and not a very white one 
either," she retorted, "I don't believe 
you ever look towards heaven for any- 
thing. " 

" What need of looking thither for heaven- 
ly bodies," he replied in alow, meaning 
tune, reg.arding with undisguised admiration 
her glowing cheeks, " Moreover I don't l)e- 
lievc in telescopic distances, " he continued, 
with a half -made motion to put his arm 
around her waist. 

"C'OU'.e," she said, pirouetting out of 
reach "remember I am no lunger a child. I 
am seventeen to-day." 

" Would that you might never be a day 
older in appearance and feelings, " 

"Are you willing to leave me so far be- 
hind ?' she asked with some maliciousness. 

"No, but you would make me a boy again. 
If old Ponco de Leon hatl a Miss Zell, he 
would soon have forsaken the swamps and 
allipatoi-s of Florida." 

"O what a watery, scaly compliment. 
Preferred to swamps and alligators 1 Who 
would have believed it ?" 

"lam not blind to your pretty wilful 
blindness. You know I likened you to sonie- 
tning too divine and precious to be found on 
earth." 

" Which is still true in the carrying out 
of your marvellously mixed metaphors. I 
must lend you my rhetoric book. But as 
your meaning dawns on me, I see that you 
are symbolized by old Ponce. I shall 'ook 
in the history for the age of the ar.v ient 
Spaniard to-morrow and then I ahalA'know 
how old you are, a thing I could never find 
out." 

As with little jets of silvery laughter and 
butterfly motion she hovered round him, the 
very embodiment of life and beautiful youth, 
she would have made, to an artist's eye, a 
very true idealization of the far-famed myth- 
ical fountain. 

And yet as a moment later she confiding- 

Iv took his arm and strolled toward the 

library, it was evident that all her 

'-^tter and hepi<^'";'>", her seeming 



li 



freedom and mimic show of war, wan like 
that of some blight tro))ical bird fascinated 
by a remorseless setpcnc whose intent eyes 
and deadly purpose are creating a spell that 
cannot be resisted* 

Mr. Van Dam, upon whose arm she wm 
leaning, was one of the Worst prottucts of 
artihuial nietropolitaii life. He liad inherited 
a name which ancestry hiid rendered honour* 
able, but which lie to the utmost dishonoured, 
and yet so adroitly, so shrewdly respecting 
fashion's code, though shunning nothing 
wrong, that it still gave him the cntrt J into 
the gilded homes of those who call themselves, 
"the best society." 

True, it wan whispered that he Was rather 
fact, tliat h" played heavily and a trifle too 
sucviessfully, aitdtliathe lived the life of any- 
thing but a saint at his Uixurious rooms. 
"But then," continued society, openly and 
complacently, "he is so fine looking, so 
courtly and polished, so well-connected, and 
what IS still more to the point, my dear, he 
is reputed to be immensely wealthly, so we 
must not heed these rumours. After all 
it is tlis^way of these young men of the 
world." 

Thuft " the best society " that would have 
olite'y frozen out of its parlours the Cheva- 
ier Bayard, *' sans pcur et sans reproache,'* 
had he not appeared in the latest style, with 
golden lame rather than golden spurs, wel- 
comed Mr. Van Dam. Indeed not a few 
forced exotic belles, who had prematurely 
developed in the hot-house atmosphere of 
wealth and extravagance, regarded hnn as a 
sjrt of social lion, and his reticence, with a 
certain mystery in which he shrouded his 
evil life, mudc him all the more fascinating. 
He was past the prime of life, though ex- 
ceedingly well preserved, for he was one of 
those cool, deliuerate votaries of pleasure 
that reduce amusement to a scienc<^. and 
carefully shun all injurious excess. While 
exceedingly deferential toward the sex in 
geuei'al, and bestowing compliments and at- 
tentions as adroitly as a financier would place 
his money, he at the saute time permitted the 
impression to grow that he was extremely 
fastidious }n his taste, and had never married 
because it had never been his fortune to meet 
the faultless being who could fill his exacting 
eyes. Any special and continued admiration 
on his part therefore made its recipiAit an 
object of distinction and envy to very many 
ill the unreal word in which ho glided serpent- 
like, rather than moved as a man. To mor- 
bid unhealthful minds the rumour of his evil 
deeds became piquant ^cceutriciLios, and the 
whispers of the oriental orgies tliat were 
said to take place in his bachelor apartmentji 
made him an object of a cuiious interest, anl 



12 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



many sighed for the opportunity of reform- 
ing so distinguisbed "ybarite. 

On Edith's entrance into society he had 
heen much impressed by her beauty, and 
had gradually grown quite attentive, eqr.ally 
attracted by her father's wealth. But she, 
though with no clear perception of his 
character, and with no higher stand- 
ard than her set, instinctively shrank 
ft'om the man. Indeed, in some r spects, 
they were too much alike for that myster- 
.'ous attraction that so often occurs between 
cpposites. Not that she had his unnatural 
depravity, but like him sne was shrewd, 

Erivctioal, resolute, and controlled more by 
er judgment than impulses. Her vanity, 
of irhich she had no little share, led her to 
accept his attentions to a certain point, but 
the keen man of the world soon saw that his 
" little game," as in his own vernacular he 
styled it, would not be successful, and he 
was the last one to sigh in vain or mope an 
hour in love-lorn melancholy. While ceas- 
ing to pre&s his 8uit, he remained a frequent 
and familiar visitor at the house, and thus 
Lis attention was dmwn to Zell, who, though 
young, had developed early in the stipulat- 
tng atmosphere in which she lived. At first 
tie petted and played with her as a child, as 
she wilfully flitted in and out of the par- 
i'ours, whether her sisters wanted her or not. 
He continually brought hjerbon-bons and like 
fanciful trifles, till at last, in jest, the family 
called him Zell's "ancient beau." 

But during the past year it dawned on him 
that the child he petted on account of her 
beaut and sprightliness was rapidly becom- 
ing a nilliant woman, who would make a 
wife far more to his taste than her equally 
beautiful but matter-of-fact sister. There- 
fore Jio warily, so as not to alarm the jealous 
father, but with all the subtle skill of which 
he was master, sought to win her affections 
knowii)g that she would have her own way 
vrhen she knew what way she wanted. 

For Zell this unscrupulous man had a pe- 
culiar fascination. He petted anu flattered 
her to her heart's content, and thus made 
her the envy of her young acqvaint.-\iices, 
which was incense inrifled to her v.-,in little 
soul. He nevev lectured or preached to her 
on account of her follies and nonsense, as 
her eh^^rly friends usually did. but gave to 
her wild, impulsive moods free rein. Where 
a true friend w^ould have cautioned and 
curbed, he applauded and incited, causing 
Zell to mistake extravagance in language 
and boldness in manner for spirit and bril- 
liancy. Laura and Edith often remonstrated 
with her, but she did not heed them. In- 
deed, she feared no one save her father, and 
Mr. Van Dam was propriety itself when he 



was present, which was but seldom. Be- 
tween his business and club, and Mrs. Al- 
len's nerves, the girls were left mainly to 
themselves. % 

What wondef that there are so many ship- 
wrecks, when young, heedless, ine.\perienced 
hands must steer, unguided, through the 
most perilous and treacherous of seas ? 

Mr. Alley's elegant costly homo was liter- 
ally an unguarded fold, many a labourer, 
living in a tenement house, doing more 
to shield his daughters from the eviiof tl;e 
world. 

To Mr. "Van Dam, Zell was a pcr- 
ffcot prize. Though he had sipped 
at the cup of pleasure so leisurely 
and systematically, he wa^ getting down 
to the dregs. His taste was becoming palled 
and satiety bunlening him with its luadcu 
weight. But as the child he petted develop- 
ed daily into a woman, he became interested, 
then fascinated by the process. Her beauty 
was so brilliant, her excessive sprightliness 
so contagious, that he felt his sluggish pulsos 
stir and tingle with excitement the moment 
he came into her presence. Her wild vary- 
ing mocdi kept him constantly on the (jui 
rive, and he would say in confluence to odo 
of his intimate cronies — 

"The point is, Hal, she is such a spicy, 
piquant contrast to the insipid society giris, 
wlio have no more individuality than fashion 
blocks in Broadway windows. " 

He liked the kittenish young creature all 
the more because her repartee was often a 
little cutting. If she had always struck hini 
with a velvet paw, the thing would have 
grown monotonous, but he occasionally got 
a scratch tliat made him wince, cool and 
brazen as he was. But after all, he daily 
saw that he was gaining power over her, and 
the manner in which the frank-hearted girl 
took his arm and leaned upon it, spoke vol- 
umes to the experienced man. While he 
halntually wore a mask, Zell could conceal 
nothing, and across her April face flitted hei* 
innermost thoughts. 

If she had had a mother, &he might, even 
in the wilderness of earth, have become a 
blossom lit for heavenly gardens, but as it 
was, her wayward nature so full of dangerous 
beauty, was left to run wild. 

Edith was beginning to be troubled atZell's 
intimacy with Mr. Van Dam, and hid con- 
ceived a growing suspicion .•\nd dislike for 
him. As for Laura, the eldest, s' e Avas like 
her mother, too much wrapped up in herself 
to have many thoughts for any one else, and 
they all regarded Zell as a mere child still. 
Mr. Allen, who would have been very anxi 
ous hn(\ Zell been receiving the attentions of 
some pmniless young clerk or artist, lau^jii^i 



e 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



13 



3m. Be- 

Mrs. Al- 

mainly to 

nany ship- 
perienceil 

uugh the 

eas? 

was liter- 
labourer, 

oing more 

evil of the 

a pcr- 
i sippoil 
leisurely 
ting down 
iiig palled 
its leaden 
il devoliip- 
;nterested, 
icr benuty 
rightliiiess 
ji&h pxxlsoa 
ke monibiit 
wild vary- 
ou the qui 
ice to ouo 

:h a spicy, 
3iety giris, 
an fashion 

reature all 
as often a 
truck hiin 
)uld have 
anally got 
cool and 
he daily 
r her, and 
sarted girl 
spoke vol- 
While he 
d conceal 
flitted her 

ight, even 
become a 
but as it 

dangerous 

ed atZell's 
had con- 
lislike for 
e Avas like 
in herself 
5 else, and 
child still, 
.'ery anxi 
;eniion8 (»f 

t, luUjjliv-d 



k 



at her " flirtation with old Van Dam " as an 
eminently sate affair. 

But on the present evenins her sisters 
were too much occupied 'with their own 
friends to give Zell or ner dangerous admirer 
much attention. As yet no formal engage- 
ment had boundany of them, but an intimacy 
and mutual liking tending to such a result, 
was rapidly growmg. 

In Edith's case the attraction of contrasts 
was again shown. Aucustus Elliot, the 
youth who had approaclied her with such 
confidence and grace, was quite as stylish a 
personage as herself, and that was saying a 
good deal. But every line of his full hand- 
some face, as well as the expression of his 
light blue eyes, showed that she had more 
decision in her little dnger than he in the 
whole of his luxurious nature. Self-pleasing, 
self-indulgence, good-natured vanity were 
unmistakably his characteristics. To yield, 
not for the good of others, but because not 
strong enough to stand sturdily alone, was 
the law of his oeing. If he could ever have l>een 
kept under the influence of good and stronger 
natures, who would have developed his na- 
turally kind heart and good impulses into 
something like principle, he might have had 
a safe and creditable career. But he was the 
idol of a foolish, fashionable mother, and the 
et of two or three sisters who were empty- 
rained enough to thi;dc their handsome 
brother the ' erfection of mankind ; and by 
eye, manner, and often the plainest words, 
they told him as much, and he had at last 
come to believe them. Why should they 
not ? He wai faultless in his own dress, 
faultless in his criticism of a lady's dress, 
taking the prevailing fashion as the standard. 
He was perfectly versed in the polite «lang 
of the day. He scented and announced the 
slightest change in the mode afar off, so that 
his elegant sisters could appear on the Av: 
nue ivadvancc of the other fashion-plates. 
As they sailed away on a sunny afternoon in 
their gorgeous plumage, the euvy of many a 
competing belle, they would say, — 

" Isn't Tie a duck of a brother to give us a 
hint of a change so early. After all there 
is no eye or taste like that of man when once 
perfected. " 

And then they knew him to be equally aiu 
fait on the flavour of wuies, the points of 
horses, the merits of every watering place 
and all the other lore which in their world 
gave pre-eminence. They had been edu- 
cated to have no other ideal of manhood, and 
if an earnest, otraight-forward man, with a 
piirpooe, had spoken out before them, they 
would have regarded him as an uncouth 
monster. 
Kutwithstanding all his vanity, "Gus," 



E 



as he WM familiarly called, was a very weak 
man, and though he would not acknowledge 
it, even to himself, instinctively recognized 
the fact. He continually attached himself 
to strong, resolute natures, and whore it was 
adroitly done, could easily be made a tool of. 
He took a great fancy to K iith from the first 
hour of their acquaintance, and she soon ob- 
tained a strong influence over him. She as 
instinctively detected Lisyielding disposition, 
and liked him the better for it, while his 
contagious good-nature and abundant supply 
of society talk, made him ageneral favourite. 

When everyone whispered, " Whatahand- 
some couple they would make," and she 
found him so looked up to and quoted in the 
fashionable world, she began to entertain 

Suite an admiration as well asUking for him, 
lough she saw more and more clearly that 
there was nothing in him that she could lean 
upon. 

Gus' parents, who knew that the Aliens 
were immensely wealthy, urged on the match, 
but Mr. Allen, aware that the Elliots were 
living to the extent of their means, discour- 
aged it, plainly telling Edith his reasons. 

" But," sa)d Edith, at the same time show- 
ing her heart in the practical suggestion, 
" could not Gus go into business hinidelf ?" 

"The worst thing he could do," said 
the keen Mr. Allen. " He has tried 
it a few times, I have learned, but has not 
one business qualili cation. Ho could not 
keep himself in the gold tooth-picks he 
sports. His mother and sisters have spoiled 
him. He is nothing but a society man. Mr. 
Elliot has not a word to say at home. His 
business is to make money for them to spend, 
and a tough time he has to keep up with 
them. You girls must marrry men who 
can take care of you, unless you wish to sup- 
port your husbands. " 

Mr. Allen's verdict was true, and Edith 
felt that it was. When a boy, Gus could get 
out of lessons by running to his mother with 
the plea of headache or any trifle, and in 
youth he had escaped business in like man- 
ner. His father had tried him a few times 
in his office, but was soon glad to fall in 
with his wife's opinion, that 7/er son "had 
too much spirit and refinement for plodding, 
hun uruin business, that he was a born geu- 
tlciaan and suited only to elegant leisure, " 
and as his gentleman son only did niisoliief 
down-town, the poor over- worked fatiierv.as 
glad to have him out of the way, for he with 
difficultly made both ends meet, as it was. 
Hoping he would do better with strangers, he 
had, by personal influence, procured him 
situations elsewhere, but between the 
mother's weakness and the young man's con- 



14 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



¥ 



U 



firmsd habits of icllenem, it always ended by 
Gua saying to his employers, — 

*' I'm going off on a little trip — by -by, " at 
which they gave a sigh of relief. It had at 
last become a recognized fset, that Gns must 
marty an heiress, this being about the only 
way for so fine a gentleman to achirve the 
fortune that he could not stoop to toil for. 
As he admired himself complacently in the 
gilded mirror that ornamented his dresaing- 
ruom, he felt that a wise selection M'ould )ie 
his only difficulty, artd though an heiress is 
something of a rara avis, he steruly resolved 
to cage one with such heavy golden plumage 
that even bis mother, whom no one satisfied 
save himself, would give a sigh of perfect 
content. When at last he met Edith Allen, 
it seemed as if inclination wouhl happily 
blend with his lofty sense of duty, and he 
became Edith's devoted and favoured at- 
tendant. And yet, as we have seen, onr 
heroine was not the sentimental stylo of girl 
that falls hopelessly and helplessly in love 
with a man for some occult reason, not even 
known to herself, and who mopes and pint 
till sheis permitted to marry him, be he fool, 
villain or saint. Eilith was fully capable of 
appreciating and weighing her father's 
words, and under their influence a1)out de- 
cided to chill her handsome but helpless ad- 
mirer into a mere passing acquaintance ; but 
when he next appeared before her in his 
uniform, as an officer in one of the " crack " 
city regiments, her eyes, taste, and vanity, 
and somehow her heart, so pleaded for him 
that, so far from being an icicle, she smiled 
on him like a July sun. 

But whenever he sought to press his suit 
into something definite, she evaded and 
shunned the point, as only a feminine diplo- 
matist can. In fact, (jUS, on account of 
his vanity, was not a very urgent suitor, as 
the idea of final refusal was preposterous. 
He regarded himself as virtually accepted 
already. Meanwhile Edith for once in her life 
was playing the role of Micawber, antl 
"waiting tor something to turnup." And 
something had, for this trip to Europe would 
put time and space between them, and gently 
cure both of their folly, as she deemed it. 
Folly ! She did not realize that Gus regard- 
ed himself as acting on sound business prin- 
ciples, and a strong sense of duty, as well as 
obeying the impulses of what heart he had. 
The sweet approval of conscience and judg- 
ment attended his action, while both con- 
demned her. 

As Gus approached this evening, slie felt a 
pang of commiseration that not only her 
f jithcr's and her own disapproval, but soon 
the briny ocean would be between them, and 
Bhe was unusually kind. She decided to 



plav with her poor little mouse till the last, 
and then let aosence remedy all. Her mind 
Ma J quick, if ngt very profound. 

As Mr. Goulden leaned across the comer 
of the piano, and paid the blushing J^nra 
some delicate compliments, one could not 
but think of an adroit financier, skilfully 
placing some money. There was nothing 
ardent, nothing incoherent and lover-like, 
in his carefully modulated tones, and nicely 
selected words that might mean much or 
little as he might aftcnvaj'ds decide. Mr. 
Goulden always knew what he was about, as 
truly in a lacw's boudoir, as in Wall street. 
The stately, elegant Laura suited his tastes, 
her fathers financial status had suited liim 
also. But he, who, through his agents, 
knew all that was going on in Wall street, 
was aware that Mr. Allen ha<l engaged in a 
very heavy speculation, which, though pro- 
mising well at tlie time, n\iglit, by some un- 
expected turn of the wheel, wear a very 
ditl'erent aspect. He would see that game 
through before proceeding >vith his own, and 
in the meantime, by judicious attention, hold 
Laura well in hand. 

In that brilliantly lighted parlour none of 
these currents and counter currents M'ere 
apparent on the surface. That was like the 
ripple and sparkle of a summer sea in the 
sunlight. Every year teaches us what is 
hidden under the fair but treacherous 
seeming of life. 

The young ladies were now satisfied with 
the company they had, and the gentlemen 
as can well be understood, wished no farther 
additions. Therefore they agreed to retire 
to the library for a game of cards. 

"Hannibal," said p]dith, summoning the 
portentous coloured factotum who presided 
over the front door and dining-room, "if 
any one calls, say we are out or engaged. " 

That solemn dignitary bowed as low as 
his stiff white collar would permit, but soli- 
loquized, — 

: ' I giiess I is sumpen too black to tell a 
white lie, so I' se say dey is engaged. " 

As the ladies swept away, leaning heavily 
on the arms of their favoured gallants, he 
added, with a slight grim illumimng the 
^lavity of his face, "It looks mighty like 
it." 



CHAPTER IV. 

THK SKIES DARKENINO. 

The game of cards fared indifferently, for 
they were all too intent on little games of 
their own to give close attention. Mr. Van 
Dun won when he chose, but made Zell think 
the skill was mainly hers. 



I 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



15 



11 the Inst, 
Her mitnl 

the comer 
hing T^ura 

couhl not 
r, skilfully 
ts nothing 

lover-likti, 
and nicely 
I much or 
icitle. Mr. 
18 about, as 
Vail street. 
. his tastes, 
suited him 
lis agents, 
Vail street, 
igaged in a 
though pro- 
y some un- 
ear a very 
} that game 
is own, and 
entiou.hold 

[)ur none of 
•rents M'ere 
as like the 
sea in the 
us what is 
treacherous 

tisfied with 

gentlemen 

I no farther 

ed to retire 

noning the 
10 presided 
-room, "if 
ngaged. " 

as low as 
it, but soli- 

ck to tell a 
;ed." 

ing heavily 
allants, he 
mining the 
uighty like 



i 



1 



I 



irently, for 
e games of 
Mr. Van 
i Zell think 



Still, in the common parlance, they had a 
•'good time." From such clever men the 
jests and compliments were rather better 
than usual, and repartee from the ruby lips 
that smile<l upon them could not seem other 
than brilliant. 

Edith soon added to th6 sources of enjoy- 
ment by ordering cake and wine, for though 
not the eldest she seemed to naturally take 
the lead. 

Mr. Goulden drank sparingly. He meant 
that not a film should come across his judg- 
ment. Mr. Van Dam freely, but he was 
seasoned to more fiery potations than sherry. 
Not so poor Gus, who, while he could never 
resist the wine, soon felt its influence. But 
he had suflficicnt control never to go beyond 
the point of tipsyness that fashion allows in 
the drawing-room. 

Of course through Zell's nnrestrained 
chatter the recently made plans soon came 
out. 

Adroit Mr. Van Dam turned to Zell with 
an expression of much pleased surprise ex- 
claiming : 

" Kow fortunate I am ! I had completed 
my plans to go abroad some littie time 
since. " 

Zell clapped her hands with delight, but 
an involuntary shadow darkened Edith's 
face. 

Gus looked nonplused. He knew that his 
father and mother with difficulty kept pace 
with liis home expenses and that a Continen- 
tal tour was impossible. Mr. Goulden look- 
ed a little thoughtful, as if a new element 
had entered into the problem. 

•«0h, come," laughed Zell. "Let us all 
be good, and go on a pilgrimage together to 
Paris — I mean Jerusalem. " 

" I will worship devoutly with you at 
either shrink, " said Mr. Van Dam. 

* ' And with equal sincerity, I suppose, " 
Baid Edith, rather coldly. 

'• I sadly fear, Miss Edith, that my sin- 
cerity will not be superior to that of the 
other devotees, " was the keen retort, in 
blandest tones. 

Edith bit her lip. but said gayly, "Count 
me out of your pilgrim band. I want no 
shrine with relics of the past. I wish no in- 
cense rising about me obscuring the view. 
I like the present, and wish to see what is 
beyond. " 

"But suppose you are both shrine and 
divinity yourself ?" said Gus, with what he 
meant for a killing look. 

•* Do you mean that compliment for me?" 
asked Edith, all sweetness. 

Between wine and love Gus was inclined 
to be sentimental, and so in a low, meaning 
tone answered — 



*• Who more deserving ?" 

Edith's eyes twinkled a moment, bat with 
a half sigh she replied — 

" I fear you rea«l my character rightly. A 
shrine suggests manv offerings, and a divinity 
many worshippers. 

Zell laughed outright, and said, *' In that 
respect all women would be shrines and di- 
vinities if they conld." 

Van Dam and Goulden could not suppress 
a smile at the unfortunate issue of Elliot's 
sentiment, while the latter glanced keenly to 
see how much truth was hinted in the badi- 
nage. 

. "For my part," said Lanra, looking 
Hxedly at nothing, " I would rather have 
one true devotee than a thousaiM pilgrims 
who were gushing at every shrine they met. " 

"Bravo!" cried Mr. Goulden. "That 
was the keenest arrow yet flown ;" for the 
other two young men were notorious flirts. 

" I do not think so. Its point was much 
too broad," said Zell, M'ith a meaning look 
at Mr. Goulden, that brought a faint colour 
into his imperturbable face, and an angry 
flush on Laura's. 

A disconcerted manner had shown that 
even Gus' vanity had not been impervious to 
Edith's barb, but he had now recovered him- 
self, and ventured again : 

" I would have my divinity a patron saint 
sufficiently human to pity human weakness, 
and so come at last to no other prayer than 
mine. " 

" Surely, Mr. Elliot, you would wish your 
saint to listen for some other reason than 
your weakness only," said Edith. 

" Come, ladies and gentlemen. I move this 
party breaks up, or some one will get hurt, " 
said Gus, with a half-vexed laugh. 

"What is the matter?" asked Edith in- 
nocently. 

"Yes, "echoed Zell, rising, "what is the 
matter with you, Mr. Van Dam ? Are you 
asleep, that you are so quiet ? Tell us about 
your divinity.'* 

"I am an astronomer and fire worshipper, 
somewhat dazzled at present by the nearness 
and brilliancy of my bright luminary." 

" Nonsense, your sidit is failing, and you 
have mistaken a will-o'- the- wisp for the 
sun, 

*• Dancing here, dancing there, 
Catch if you can and dare.' " 

and she flitted away before him. 

He followed with his intent eyes and 
graceful, serpent-like gliding, knowing her 
to be under a spell that would soon bring her 
fluttering back. 

After circling round him a few moments 



I /I' I 



M i 



16 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



1 I 

i ; 



II 



she took Ilia arm and he commenced breath- 
ing into her ear the poison of his passion. 

No woman could remain the same after 
being with Mr. Van Dam. Out of the evil 
abundanoe of his heart he sj^oke, but thp. 
venom of his words and manner were all the 
more deadly because so subtle, so minutely 
and delicately distributed, that it was like a 
pestilential atmosphere, in which truth and 
purity withered. 

No parent should permit to his danc'hters 
the companionship of a thoroughly bad man, 
whatever his social standing. His very 
tone and glance are unconsciously demoraliz- 
ing, and even if he tries, he caimot prevent 
the bitter waters overflowing from their bad 
source, bis heart. 

Mr. Van did not try. He meant to 
secure Zell, with or without her father's ap- 
proval, believing that when the marriage 
was once consummated. Mr. Allen's con- 
sent and money would f low eventually. 

For some little time longer the young 
ladies and their favoured attendants 
strolled about the rooms in quiet tete-a-tete, 
and then the gentlemen bowed themselves 
out. 

The door -bell had rung several times dur- 
ing the evening, but Hannibal, A^ith the 
solemnity of a funeral, had quenched each 
comer by saying with the decision of 
the voice of fate — 

" De ladies am engaged, sah," and 
no Cerberus at the door, or mailed warden 
of the middle ages, could have 
proved such an effectual barrier against 
all intruders as this old negro in his white 
waistcoat and stiff necktie, backed by the 
usage of modern society. Indeed, in some 
respects he Wivs a greater potentate than old 
king Canute, for he could say to the human 
passions, inclinations and desires that surg- 
ed up to Mr. Allen's front door, " Thus far 
and no farther. " 

But upon this evening there was a caller 
who looked with cool, undaunted eyes upon 
the stiff necktie and solemn visage rising 
above it, and to Hannibal's reiterated state- 
ment, '* Dey am engaged," replied in a quiet 
tone of command — ' 

♦' Take that card to Miss Edith." 

Even Hannibal's sovereignty broke down 
before this persistent, imperturbable visitor, 
and scratching his head with a perplexed 
grin he half soliloquized, half replied — 

" Miss Edith mighty 'ticlar to hab her 
orders obeyed. " 

'* I am the best judge in this case," was 
the decisive response. " You take the card 
and I will be responsible. " 

Hannibal came to the conclusion that for 
seme occult reason the i^eutleuiau, who was 



well known to him had to pronounce the 
" open sesame " where the portal had re- 
mained closed to all others, and being a 
diplomatist, resolved to know more fully 
the quarter of the wind before assuming 
too much. But his state-craft was oorely 
puzzled to know why one of Mr. 
Allen's nnder-clerks should suddenly ap- 
pear in the role of social caller npon 
the young ladies, for Mr. Fox, the gentleman 
in question, ostensibly had nohigherposition. 
His appearance and manner indicated a mys- 
tery. Old Hannibal's wool had not grown 
white for nothing, and he was the last man 
in the world to go through a mystery, as a 
blundering bumble-bee would through a 
spider's web. He was for leaving the web 
all intact till he knew who spun it and vi ho 
it was to catch. If it was Mr. Allen's work 
or Miss Edith's, it must stand ; if not he 
could play bumble-bee with a vengeance, 
and carry off the gossamer of intrigue with 
one sweep. 

So, showing Mr. Fox into a small recep- 
tion room, he made his way to the library 
door with a motion that reminded you of a 
great, stealthy cat, and called in a loud, im- 
pressive whisper — • 

"Miss Edith 1" 

Edith at once rose and joined him, know- 
ing that her prime minister had some import- 
ant question of state to present wheik sum- 
moning her in that tone. 

Screened by the library door, Hannibal 
commenced in a deprecating way — 

" I told Mr. Fox you'se ent^aged, but he 
say I must give you dis card. He kinder 
acted as if he own dis niggar and de whole 
establishment.'* 

A sudden heavy frown drew Edith's dark 
eye-brows together and she said loud enough 
for Mr. Fox in his ambnsh to hear — 

" Was there ever such impudence !" and 
straightway the frown passed to the listener, 
intensified, like a flying cloud darkening one 
spot now and another a moment later. 

" Keturn the card, and say I am engaged," 
she said haughtily. " Stay," she added 
thoughtfully. " Perhaps he wished to see 
papa, or there is some important business 
matter which needs immediate attention. 
If not, dismiss him, " and Edith returned to 
the library quite as much puzzled as Hanni- 
bal had been. Two or three times recently 
she had found Mr. Fox's card on returning 
from evenings out. Why had he called ? She 
had only a cool, bowing acquaintance with 
him, formed by his coming occiisionally to 
see her father on business, and her father 
had not thought it worth while to formally 
introduce Mr. Fox to any of his family at 
such times, but had treated him as a sort of 



L 



mounce the 
tal had re- 
nd beiuff a 
nore fully 
assuming 

was borely 

of Mr. 

deidy ap- 

aller upon 

gentleman 
ter position, 
ftteu a mys< 

not grown 
16 last man 
y^stery, as a 
through a 
ng the web 
it and who 
Hen's work 
; if not he 
vengeance, 
trigue with 

imall recep* 
the library 
ed you of a 
a loud, im- 



him, know- 

)me iinport- 

wheii sum- 

r, Hannibal 

ged, but he 

He kinder 

id de whole 

Jdith's dark 
oud enough 

ence !" and 
;he listener, 
rkening one 
a ter. 

1 engaged, " 
she added 
ihed to see 
it business 

attention, 
returned to 
1 as Hanni- 
168 recently 
n I'eturning 
sailed ? She 
itance with 
isionally to 

her father 
to formally 
s family at 
Eis a sort of 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



17 



upper servant. He certainly was putting on 
strange aim, as her old grand vizier had 
intimated. Bu,t iu tlie game of cards and her 
otiier httle gauio witli Gus, she soon forgot 
his existunco. 

MeantiMie Hannibal, reassured, was regal 
again and marched dowu the marble hall 
with sume of the feeling and bearing of his 
great namesake. If tliere*were a weo here, 
the AU'^ns were not spinning it, and he owed 
Mr. Fox nothing but a slight grudge for his 
"airs." 

Therefore with the manner of one feeling 
himself master of the situation he said — 

" Hab you a nessace for Mr, Alien ?" 

" No," replied Mr. Fox quietly. 

" Den I tell you again Miss Edith am 
eneage<l. " 

Looking straight into Hannibal's eyes, 
without a muscle changing in his impassive 
face, Mr. Fox said iu the steady tone of com- 
mand, — 

"Say to Miss Edith I will call again, " 
and he passed out of the door as if /le were 
master of the situation. 

Hannibal rolled up his eyes till no- 
thing but the whites were seen, and mutter- 
ed, — 

" Brass ain't no name for it." 

Mr. Fox's action can soon be explained. 
While accustomed to operate largely in 
Wall street through his brokers, I>Tr. Allen 
was also the head of a cloth-import. ng firm. 
This in fact had been his regular and legi- 
timate business, but like so many others, he 
had been draWn into the vortex of specula- 
tion and after many lucky hits had acquired 
that over-weening confidence that prepares 
a way for a fall. He came to believe that 
he had only to put his hand to a thing to 
give it the needful impulse to success. In 
his larger and more exciting operations in 
Wall street he had left cloth business main- 
ly to his junior partner and dependents; 
they employed his capital. Mr. Fox was 
merely a clerk in this establishment, and 
not iu a very high standing either. He was 
also another unwholesome product of metro- 
politan life. As office boy among the law- 
yers, as a hanger-on of the criminal courts, 
he had scrambled into a certain kind of 
legal knowledge and gained a small petti- 
fogging practice, when an opening in Mr. 
Allen's business led to his present connection. 
Mr. Allen felt that in his varied and ex- 
tended business he needed a man of Mr. 
Fox's stamp to deal with the legal questfons 
that came up, look after the intricacies of 
the revenue laws, and manage the immacu- 
late saints of the custom-house. As far as 
the firm had dirty, disagreeable, perplexing 
work to do, Mr. Fox was to do it. When- 
9 



ever some Israelite in whom wu guile 
sought, on varied pretext, to wriggle out 
of the whole or part of a bill, the wary Mr. 
Fox met and skiruiiihed on the same plAuo 
with the adversary, and won the little fight 
with the sam** weapons. 

I would not for a moment give the im- 
pression that Mr. Allen was in favour of 
sharp practice. He merely wished to con- 
duct his business on the business principlee 
and practice of 1 he day, and it was not his 

t)urpose, and certainly not his policy, to pass 
)eyond the law. But even the judges dis- 
agree as to what the law is, and he was 
deahng with many who thrived by evading 
it ; therefore the need of a nimble Mr. Fox 
who could burrow and double on his tracks- 
with the best of them. All went well 
for years and the firm was saved many an 
annoyance, many a loss, and if th'.s guer- 
illa of the house, as perhaps we nmy term 
him, had been as devoted to Mr. Allen's 
interests as to his own, all might have gone 
well to the end. But these very sharp men 
are apt to cut both ways and so it turned 
out in this case. The astute Mr. 
Fox determined to faithfully sen'e Mr. Al- 
len as long as he could faithfully and pre- 
eminently serve himself. If he who had 
scrambled from the streets to his present 

Elace of power could reach a higher position 
y stepping on the great, rich merchant, 
such power would have additional satis- 
faction. He was as keen-8cent,ed after 
money as Mr. Allen, only the latter hunted 
like a lion, and the former like a fox. He 
mastered Mr. Allen's business thoroughly iu 
all its details. Unt*l recently no opportun- 
ity had occurred save work, which, though 
useful, caused him to be half-despised by ti e 
others who would not, or could not do it. 
But of late he had gained a strong vantage 
point. He watched with intense interest 
Mr. Allen's attraction toward, and entrance 
upon, a speculation to be as uncertain of 
issue as large in proportion, for if the case 
ever became critical, he was conscious of the 
power of introducing a very important ele- 
ment into the problem. 

In his care of the custom-house business 
he had T,iready discovered technical viola- 
tions of the revenue laws which already in- 
volved the loss to the finn of a million dol- 
lars, and with bis peculiar loyalty to himself, 
thought this knowledge ought to be worth a 
great deal. As Mr. Allen went down into 
the deep waters of Wall street, he saw that 
it might be. In saving his employer from 
wreck he might virtually become captain of 
the ship. 

After this brief delineation of character, 
it would strike the reader as very iucongru- 



18 



WHAT CAN SHE DO f 



OUR to say that Mr. Fox had fallen in love 
Mrith Kilith. Mr. Fox never stumhled or 
fell. He oould slide down and scramble up 
to any extent, and when cornered could take 
as flyin|| a leap as a cat. But he had been 
, greatly iniprodsed by Edith's beauty, and to 
' win her also would be an additional and 
piquant feature in the game. He had ab- 
.- solute confidence in money, much of which 
'. hx) might have gained from Mr. Allen him- 
: self. He knew a million of her father's 
; money was in his power, and thi,'^, in a cer- 
tain sense, placed nim in tlie position of a 
; suitor wortn a million, and suclt he knew to 
be almost omnipotent on the Avenue. If 
this money could also be the means of caus- 
ing Mr. Allen's ruin, or saving him from it, 
' he believed that Edith would l>e his aa truly 
. as the bonds and certificates of stock that 
'. he often counted and gloated over. Even 
'■ l>efore Mr. Allen enteixnl on what he called 
. his great and final operation for the present, 
he was half inclined to show his hand and 
: make the most of it, but within the last few 
' days he had learned that perhaps a greater 
• opportunity was opening before him. Mean- 
time in the full consciousness of power he 
' Itad commenced calling upon Edith, as we 
'. have seen, something as a cat likes to play 
. around and watch a caged bird, which it ex- 
pects to have in its claws beforj long. 

The n xt morning at breakfast Edith men- 
tioned Mr. Fox's recent calls. 

".What is he coming here for?" groM'led 
' Mr. Allen, looking with a frown at his 
' daughter. 

*' I'm sure I don't know." 
" I hope you don't see him." 
" Certainly not. I was out the first two 
' times, and last night sent word that I was 
engaged. But he insisted on his card being 
given to me and put on airs generally, so 
Hannibal seems to tliink. " 

Tliat dignitary gave a confirming and in- 
■dignant grunt, 

" He said he would call again, didn't he, 
Hannibal ?" 

"Yes'm," blurted Hannibal, "and he 
looked as if de next time he'd put us all in 
his breeches pocket and carry us off. " 

•'What's lox up to now ?" muttered Mr. 
Allen, knitting his brows. " I must look 
into this. " 

But even within a few hours the cloud 
land of Wall street had changed some of its 
aspects. The sereneness of the preceding 
day was giving place to indications of a dis- 
turbance in the financial atmosphere. He 
h;ul to buy more stock to keep the control he 



was gaining on the nmrket, and things were 
not shaping favourably for its rise. He was 



to eel 

ji busi- 



even his Herculean shoulders began 

the burden. In the pre.^s and rush 

ness he forgot about Fox's social ambition in 

venturing to call where such men aa 

Van Dam and Gua Elliot had r idisputed 

rights. 

riiono upon whom society lays its hands 
are orthodox of course. 

The wary Fox was watching the stock 
market as closely as Mr. Allen, and chuck- 
led over the aspect of attaii's ; and he con- 
cluded to keep quietly out of the way 
a little longer, and await further develop- 
ments. 

Things moved rapidly as they usually do 
in the maelstrom of spaculation. Though 
Mr. Allen was a trained atldcte in busiiie.ss, 
the strain upon him ^rew grrater day by 
day. But true to hispromise nnd in accotil- 
ance with his hal>it of promptness, he trans- 
ferred the dted for the little place in the 
country to Edith, who gloated over its dry 
technicalities as if they were full of romantic 
hope and suggestion to her. 

One day wlien alone with Laura, Mr. 
Allen asked her suddenly, — 

'* Has Mr. Goulden made any formal pro- 
posal yet ?" 
With rising colour Laura answered, — 
"No." 

" Why not ? He seems very slow about 
it." 

" I hardly know how . you expect me to 
reply to such a question, " said Laura a little 
haughtily. 

" Is he as attentive as ever* ?" 
" Yes, I suppose so, though he has not 
called quite so often of late. " 

" Humph !" ejaculated Mr. Allen medi- 
tatively, adding after a moment, " Can't you 
make him speak out ?" 

" You certainly don't mean me to propose 
to him ?" asked Laura, reihieniiig. 

" No no, no !" said her father with some 
irritation, " but any clover woman can n)ake 
a man, who has gone as far as Mr. Goulden, 
commit himself whenever she chooses. Your 
mother would have had the thing settled long 
ago, or else would have enjoyed the pleasure 
oit refusing him." 

"I am not mistress of thatkind of finesse," 
said> Laura coldly. 

"You are a woman," replied her father 
coolly, "and don't need any lessons. It 
would be well for us l)i)th if you would exei't 
yq^xr native power in this case." 

Laura glanced keenly at her father and 
asked quickly, — 

" What do you mean ?" 
".Just what I say. A hint to the wise is 
sufficieat. "" 






already carrying a treneudous load, and j Having thus indicated to hisdcvughtcr thr.t 



WHAT CAN SHK TO ? 



19 



;nn to eel 
!)ll jf buHi- 
atnbitiun in 
men na 
'"idispiited 

ita handa 

the stocik 
nd chuck- 
id he uuii- 
the Wity 
sr develop- 
usually do 
Thougli 
1 business, 
r day by 
i in acuotd- 
, he truiiR- 
ice iu the 
er its dry 
)f roniaiitiu 

aura, Mr. 
9rnial pro- 
red, — 
ow about 

Set me to 
lira a little 

Q has not 

lien niedi- 
Can't you 

to propose 

vith some 
can make 
Gouldeu, 
jes. Your 
sttled long 
i pleasure 

f finesse," 

ler father 
sons. It 
»uld exei't 






e wise 13 
rhtcr tlir.t 



phase of Wall street tactics and principles 
that could lie developed on the Avenue, he 
took hiiudelf olf to the central point of opera- 
tion!. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE STORM THOSATENINO. 

Laura had a better motive than suggested 
by her father for wishing toleadMr. (xouUlen 
to commit himself, for as far as she could 
love any one Ixiyond herself, she loved him, 
and also realized fully that he could continue 
to her all that her elegant and expensive 
tastes craved. Notwithstanding hor show 
of maidenly pride and reserve, s'- « was ready 
enough to do as she had been bi>aden. Mr. 
Allen guessed as much. Indeed, as was 
quite natural, his wife was the type of the 
average woman to his mind, only he believed 
that sne was a little cleverer in these matters 
than the majority. The manner in which 
she had " hooked" him made a deep and 
lasting impression on his memory. 

But Mr. Ooulden was a wary fish. He 
had no objections to being hooketl if the con- 
ditions were all right, and until satisfied as 
to these, he would play around at a safe 
distance. As he saw Mr. Allen daily getting 
into deeper water, he srrew more cautious. 
His calls were not ^uite so frequent. He al- 
ways managed to be with Laura in company 
-with others, and while his man- 
ner was very complimentary, it was. 
never exactly lover-like. Therefore, all 
Laura's feminine diplomacy was in 
vain, and that which a woman can say 
frankly the moment a man speaks, she 
could scarcely hint. Moreover, Mr. 
Goulden was adroit enough to chill her 
heart while he flattered her vanity. There 
was something about hia manner she could 
not understand, but it was impossible 
to take offence at the polished gentleman. 

Her father understootl him better. 
He saw that Mr. Goulden had resolved 
to settle the question on financial principles 
only. 

As the chance diminished of securing 
him indirectly throu-jh Laura as a prop 
to hia tottering fortunes, he at Ifest came 
to the conclusion to try to interest him 
directly in his speculation, feeling sure if 
he could control only a part of Mr. Goul- 
deu's large means and credit, he could 
carry his operation through' successfully. 

Mr. Goulden warily listened to the 
scheme, warily weighed it, and concluded* 
within the brief compass of Mr. Allen's 
explanation to have uothing to do with it. 



But his outward mann(*r was all deference 
and courteous attention. 

At the end of Mr. Allen's rather 
eager and roee-colourcd statements, he 
replied in politest and most rogretAnl 
tones that he "was very sorry ho 
could not avail himself of so promising 
an opening, but in fact, he wiis 'in deep 
himself — carryirig all he could stand up 
under very well, and was rather in the 
borrowing than in the lending line at 
present. " 

Keen Mr. Allen saw through all this 
in a moment, an<l his face Hushed angrily 
in spite of his efibrts at self-control. 
Muttering something to the effect — 
•"I thought I would give you a chance 
to make a good thing, " he bade a rather 
abrupt "good morning. 

As the pressure grew heavier upon him 
he was led to do a thing, the suggestion 
of which a few weeks previously, htt 
would have regarded as an insult. Mrs. 
Allele had a snug little property of her 
own, which had been secured to her on 
first mortgages, and in bonds that were quiet 
and safe. These her huR!)and held in 
trust for her, ami now pletlj,ed them as 
collateral on which to borrow money to 
carry through his gigantic operation. In 
respect to a part of this transaction, Mrs. 
Allen was obliged to sign a paper Avhich 
might have revealed to her tlio danger in- 
volved, but she languidly took tlie pen, 
yawned, and signed away the result of 
her father's lon^ years of toil without read- 
ing a line. 

"There," she said, "I hope you will 
ncrt bother me about business again. 
Now in regard to this party " — and she 
was about to enter into an eager dis- 
cussion of all the complicated details, 
when her Ausband, interrupting, said — 

"Another time, my dear — I ain very 
much pressed by business at present. " 

"0, business, notliing but business," 
whined his wife. " You never have time to 
attend to me or your family." 

But Mr. Allen was out of hearing of the 

Sueradous tones before 'the sentence was 
nishech 

Of course he never mrant thnt lii's wife 
should lose a cent, and to sati-fy his con- 
science, and impressed by hi.i ii;'"^:ir, he 
rusolved that as soon as he was out ol tliia 
quaking morass of speculation he would 
settle on his wife and each diiu Iit^r enonfh 
to secure them in wealth throufji lijis ami ar- 
range it in such a way that no one could 
touch the principal. 

The large sum that he now s'^'cnroi] eat^ed 
up matters and helped him gru..Liy, aud 



20 



WHAT CAN SHE DO f 



of buoyancy. He 

chuckle thttt Mr. 

little ofteiiur. Ho 

barometer in Wall 



•ITuira began to wear a bri(;lit«niiif{ aspect. 
Ho fult Huru tliut the atoitkhe had invetitod in 
wwt (luatined to rine in time, and indtud it 
already gave •vidences 
noticed with an inwnrd 
Cloulden began to call a 
WOM the beat financial 
■treet. 

But the case would require the moat adroit 
and delicate management for weeks Htill, and 
this Mr. Allen could have given. Succchh 
also depended on a favourable state of the 
money market, and a good degree of stability 
and quietness throughout the linancial world. 
Political ciiangcs in Europe, a war in Asia, 
heavy failures in Liverpool, Loudon or PiiHa, 
might easily apoil all. Keducing Mr. Allen's 
vast complicated operation to its final analy- 
sis, he hud simply bet several millions — all 
he had, that nothing would happen through- 
out tlie world that could interfere with a 
scheme so problematical that the chances 
could scarcely be called even. 

But gambUng is occasionally successful, 
and it began to look as if Mr. Allen wouhl 
win his Itet ; and so ho might had nothing 
happened. The world was quiet enough, 
remaikably quiet, considering the sui)er- 
abundunco of explosive elements everywhere. 

The linancial centres ecetlied on as usual, 
like a witch's cauldron, 
infernal ebullitions in 
Fridays." Tl<e storm 
wreck Mr. Allen wis 
tempest, but rather one 
whirlwinds that sometimes 
stroy a farm or township. 

For the last few weeks Mr. Fox had quiet- 
ly watched the game, matured his plans, and 
secured his proof in the best legal form. He 
now conchuted it was time to act, as he be- 
lieved Mr. Allen to be in his power. So one 
morning he coolly walked into that gentle- 
man's olHce, closed the door and took a seat. 
Mr. Allen looked up with »n expression of 
surprise and annoyance on his face. He in- 
stinctively disliked Mr. Fox, as a lion nii^jht 
be irritated by a cat. and the instinctive 
enmity w'as all tho stronger, because of a 
certain family likeness. But Mr. AJIen's 
astuteness had nothing mean or cringing in 
it, while Mr. Fox heretofore had been a sort 
of Uriah Heop to him. Therefore he show- 
ed his surprise and annoyance at his new 
role of cool confidence. 

"Well, sir," said he, rather impatiently, 
returning to his writing, as a broad hint 
that communications must be brief if made 
at all. 

"Mr. Allen," said Mr. Fox, in that clear 
cut, decisive tone, that betokens resjlute 
purpose, and a little anger also, " I must 



but there were no 

the form of " Black 

that tlireatenod to 

no wide, sweeping 

of those little local 

in the West de- 



reipiCKt you to give mo you untlividod attcn- 
titm for a little time, and purely what I am 
alxtut to suy is im[)ortunt enough to make it 
worth the while." , 

Thougii Mr. Allen flushed angrily, he knew 
that his clerk would not employ such a tone 
and manner witlumt reiwon, so he raised his 
head and hxilied steadily at his unwelcome 
visitor and again jiaid bnelly — 

" Well, sir." 

" I wish in the first place," said Mr. Fox, 
thinking to begin with the least important 
oxaeti(m, ajid gradually reach a climax in his 
e.xttn'tion, "J. wish permission t«> pay my ad- 
dresses to your daughter Miss KiUbh." 

Knowing nttthing of a father's pride and 
affection, he unwittingly brought in tho cli- 
max first. 

The angry flush deepened on Mr. Allen's 
face, but he still managed to control himself, 
and to remember that the father of three 

{>retty daughters must expoet some scenes 
ike these, and the only thing to do was to 
get rid of the objectionable suitors as civilly 
as possible. He was also too much_ of an 
American to put on any of the high stepping 
airs of the European aristocracy. Here it is 
simply one sovereiim proposing for the 
daughter of an(jtl:er, an<l generally the young 
people practically arrange it all bofore asking 
any consent in the case. After nil, Mr. Fox 
had only paid his daughter the highest com- 
pliment in his power, and if any other of his 
clerks had made a similar request he would 
probably have givoi as kind and delicate a 
refusal as possible. It was because he dis* 
liked Mr. Fox, and instinctively gauged his 
chai-acter, that he said with a short, dry- 
laugh — 

"Come, Mr. Fox, you are forgetting yo'r- 
self. You have been a useful employee in 
my store. If you feel that you should have 
more salary, name what will satisfy you, and 
I will consult my partners, and try and ar- 
wtngeit." "There," thought he, " if he 
can't take that hint as to his place, I shall 
have to give him a kick. " But both surpriso 
and anger began to get the better of him 
when Mr. Fox replied — 

" I must really beg your closer attention j 
I said nothing of increased salary. You 
will soon see that is no object with me now. 
I asked your permission to pay my addresses 
to your daughter." 

"I decline to give it," said Mr. Allen, 
harshly, " and if I hear any more of this 
nonsense I will discharge you from my em-< 
ploy." 

' * Why ?" was the quiet response, yet 
'spoken with the intensity of passion. 

" Because I never would permit my daugh- 
ter to marry a man in your circumstances, 



i 



4 



WHAT CAN SHR DO t 



n 



lividoil attcn- 
ly wliut I am 
gl) tu iimko it 

(rily, he knew 
y 8ii«;h n toiio 
iie i'iiid(«l hiH 
in luiwtiluoMie 



aid Mr. Fox, 

iibt iiiipoi'tujit 

clitnux in bis 

jiay niv uU- 
iiUtli." ' 

a prido and 
;Ut in Uio di- 
rt Mr. Allun's 
iti'ol itiniself, 
tlier of three 

8uine 8Utint'8 

to do was to 
.or.s oa civilly 

mildly of an 
ligh stepping 
Here it is 
iig for the 
ly the young 

■iore asking 
all, Mr. Fox 
highest com- 
' other of hia 
est he would 
lid delicate a 
auso he dis- 
f gauged his 
a short, dry 

[etting yo'T- 
eniployee in 
sliould have 
sfy you, and 

1 try and ar- 
he, " if he 
>lace, I shall 
oth sux'priso 
etter of him 

r attention ; 
ilary. You 
ith me now. 
ly addresses 

Mr. Allen, 
more of this 
rom my cm- 

sponse, yet 

ion. 

t njy daugh- 

cumstauces, 






' 



and if you will have it, you are not the ityle 
of a iimii I would witth tu take into uiy 
tumily." 

" If a man who was worth a million asked 
for your daughter's haudf would you answer 
hiui in this manner ? " 

" Terhujis not, " said Mr Allen, with an- 
other of hib short dry bughs, which express- 
ed little save irritation, "but you have my 
answer as respects yourself " 

" I am not so sure of that," was the bold 
retort. " I am practically worth a million — 
indt-ed several millions to you as you are now 
nituvtjd. You have talked long enough in 
the dark, Mr. Allen. For some time back 
there have been in your importations vioU- 
tious of the revenue laws. I have only to 
give the facts in my possession to the proper 
autliorities and the government wouhi legally 
claim from vou a million of dol]ars,of which I 
should get half. So you see that I am posi- 
tively worth five hundred thousand, and to 
you I am worth a million with respect to 
this item alone." 

Mr. Allen sprang excitedly to his feet. 
Mr. Fox coolly got up and edged toward the 
door, which he had purposely left unlat<'.hed 

"Moreover," continued Mr. Fox, iu his 
hard, metallic voice, "in view of your other 
bperations in Wall street, which I know all 
about, the loss of a million would involve 
the loss of all you have." 

Mr. Fox now had his hand on the door- 
knob, and Mr. Allen was glaring at liira as if 
purposing to rush upon and rend him to 
pieces. 

Standing in the passage-way, Mr. Fox 
concluded, in a low, meaning toue, 

" You had better make terms with me 
within twenty-four hours." 

And tlie door closed sharply, reminding 
one of the shuttirtg of a steel trap^^ 

Mr. Allen sank suddenly back in his chair 
and stared at the closed door, looking as if 
he might have been a prisoner and all escape 
cut on. 

He seemed to be in a lethargy or under a 
partial paralysis ; he slowly and weakly 
rubbed his 1^4 ^i^^ ^'^ hand, as if vaguely 
conscious th|» the trouble was there. 

Gradually Ihe stupour began to pass off, his 
blood to drculate, and his mind to realize 
his situation. ' 

Kising feebly, as if a sudden age had fallen 
on him, he went to the door and gave orders 
that he must not be disturbed, and then sat 
down to thiok. Half an hour later he sent 
for his lawyer, stated the case to him, enjoin- 
ed secrecy, and asked him to see Fox, hoping 
that it might be a case of mere black-mailing 
bravado. iCeen as Mr. Allen's lawyer was, 
he had more than his match in the astute 



Mr. Fox. Moreover thn latter had every* 
thing in his favour. There had l>een a slignt 
iufringeinent of the revenue laws, and though 
involving but small losa to the government, 
the consequences were the same. The in vote* 
would l>e confiscated as soon as trie facta 
were known. Mr. Fox had secured ample 
proof of this. 

Mr. Allen might be able to prove that 
there was no intention to violate the law, as 
indeed there had not been. In fact, he had 
left those matters to his subordinates, and' 
they hatl been a little careless, averaging 
mr.tters, contenting themselves with com*' 
plying with the general intent of the law, 
rather than, with painstaking care, con- 
forming to its letter. But the law is very 
matter-of-fact, and can be excessively literal, 
when money is to bo made by those who 
live by enforcing or evading it, as may suit' 
them. Mr. Fox could carry his > case, if he 
pressed it, and secure bis share of th«l 
plunder. On account of a very slight lose, 
Mr. Allen might be compelled to los9 »' 
million. > 

Before the day's decline ihe lawyer had 
asked Mr. ¥ojl to t«ke no further step*, 
stating vaguely that Mr. Allen might looJK • 
into the matter, and would not be unreason- 
able. 

A sardonic grin gave » momentary lurid' 
hue to Mr. Fox s sallow face. Know- 1 
ing the game to be m his own hands, he 
could quietly bide his time ; so assuming » 
tone of much moderation and dignity, he re- 

Elied, "he had no wish to be hard,and conld 
e reasonable also. But, " ad<led ne, in m 
meaning tone, " there must be no double 
work in this mattfer. Mr. Allen must see 
what I am worth to him — nothing could be 
plainer. His best policy now is to act 
promptly and liberally towards me, for I 
pledge you my word if I see any disposition 
to evade my requirements I will blow out 
the bottom of everything, " and a snaky 
glitter in his small black eyes showed hoir 
reinor8(*ly he could scuttle the ship bearing 
Mr. Allen's fortunes. 

A speedy investigation showed Mr. Fox's 
fatal \ o .ver, and Mr. Allen's partners were 
for paying them off, but when they found 
that he exacted an interest in the business, that 
quite threw them into the background, thoy 
were indignant and inclined to tight it outL 
Mr. Allen could not tell them that he was 
in no condition to fight. If his financial 
status had been the same as some weeks pre« 
viously, he would rather have lost the rail- 
lion than liave listened one moment to Mr. 
Pox's repulsive conditions, but now to risk 
litigation and commercial reputation on one 
hand, and total ruin on the other, was an 



22 



WHAT C\N 8IIE DOf 



*bvu from which he ihrank hack app«lle<l. 

Uui uiily rcsuurce was to i«n\\H)riM, both 
with hiH iNirtiirra and Mr. Fox, and lu gain 
time, honing that tlie Wall street schoine, 
thai haa caused ao much evil, might aUo 
cure it. Of course he could not tell hie 
partner! how he was situated. The slightest 
breath of Hiiapicion might cauM the uvenly 
krilai 'd scaloH vi winch hung all chances to 
houuleHslv deuliue. It now showed a de- 
oiued tendency to rise. If he could only 
keep things qui^t a little longer — 

Edith must help him. Calling her into 
tLe library after dinner, he asked : 

" Has Mr. Fox called lately ?" 

" No, sir, not for some little time." 

" Will you oblige me by seeing him and 
being civil if he calls again ?" 

*• Why, papa, 1 thought you did not wish 
me to sue him." 

" Circumstances have altered sinoe then. 
la he very diNagreoable to yuu ?" 

" Well papa, I have scarcely thought of 
him, but to tell yon the truth when he has 
been here on busiuesa, I have involuntarily 
thought of a mousing cat or the animal he is 
named after, on the scent of a huu-ruost. 
But of course I can be civil or even polite to 
bim if you wish it. " 

A spasm of pain crossed her father's face 
and he put his hand hastily to his head, a 
frequent act of late. He rose . .d took 
a few turns up and down the room, mutter- 
ing, — 

" CursQ it all, I must tell her. Half 
knowledge is always dangerous, and is sure 
to lead to blunders, and there must be no 
blunders now. " 

Stopping abruptly before his daughter, he 
said, '' He has proposed for your hand. " 

An expression of disgust flitted acroM 
Edith's face, and she replied quickly, — 

" We both have surely but one answer to 
such a proposition from Aim." 

" Edith, you seem to have more sense in 
regard to business and such matters than 
most young ladies. I must now teat r you, 
and it is fur you to show whether you are a 
woman or a shallow-brained girl. I nm sorry 
to tell you tliese things. They are not suited 
to your age or sex, but there is no help 
for it, " and he explained how he was situ- 
ated. 

Edith listened with paling cheek, dilating 
eyes and parting lips, but still with a ris- 
ing courage and growing purpose to help her 
father. 

" I do not wish you to marry this villain," 
he. continued. " Heaven forbid ;" (not that 
Mr. Allen referred this or any other matter to 
Hea\'en ; it was only a strong way of express- 
ing his own difiapproval.) '' But we must 



manage to temporise .and keep this mnn r ' 
Imy till I ('An extricate inyni'lf from my dilHi 
cultiuH. Ah soon as I stand on linn ground | 
will d«!fy him." 

To Kilith, with her standanl of morality, 
the cotirHo iii'liratud by lior fatli(>r su<>me(l 
emimmtly filial and praiHewoitliy. Tho 
thought of niaiTvinv Mr. K<*.\ made hor flcnh 
cr<H;p, but a briiif flirtation Wis another 
alliiir. Situ had flirted not a little in hor 
day for tlie mere amusement of the thing,and 
with tiie motives her father had prt'sented, 
she couUl do it in this case as if it were an 
act of devotion. Of tho pure and lofty mor- 
ahty of the Kible she ha«l OS little idea as . 
Persian houri, and ruggttd Koinan virtu . 
could not develop in the social atinosphere i: 
which the Aliens lived. It was with i' 
clear conscience that she r<Holved to be 
guile Mr. Fox, and sigiiitied as much to he. 
father. 

" Play him off," said this model father, 
"as Mr. (jouhlen does I^aura. Curse him ! 
— how I would Uke to slam the front door in 
his face. But my time may come yet," he 
added with set teeth. 

That morning Mr. Allen sent for Mr. Fox, 
as he dared brave him no longer withcut 
some deKnite show of yielding, in order 
to keep ba«!k his fatal disclosures. With* 
dignity and formality scarcely in keeping 
with his fear and the import of his words, 
he said — 

" I have considered your statements, sir, 
and admit their weight. As I informed you 
through my lawyer, I wish to be rea8onai)le, 
and hope you intend to be the same, for 
these are very grave matters. In regard 
to my daughter, you have my permission to 
call upon her as do her other gentlemen 
friends, and she will receive you. In this 
land, that is^U the vantage ground a gentle- 
man asks, as indeed it is all that can be 
granted. I am not the king of Dahomey or 
the Shah of Persia, and able to give my 
daughters where interest may dictate. A 
lady's inclination must be consulted. But 
I give you the permission you ask, you may 
pay your addresses to my daa|(hter. You 
could scarcely ask a father to saylnore." 

''It matters little to me wfiat yon or 
others say, but much what they do. My 
action shall be based upon yours and Miss 
Edith's. I have learned in your employ the 
value of promptness in all business matters. 
I hope you understand me." 

** I do,- sir, but there can be no indecent 
haste in these matters. I am gaining the 
iinportant position — in assuming the rela- 
tions you desire — there should i»e s^mo 
8ho>v of dignity, otherwise society will be 
disgusted, and you would, lose the respect 



w'li'h 
ni«'iitH. 
.. w 

shall 
and p 

rei'ly 
" W 

piisit < 
tvr lii> 
your 
ad'lt ( 
»tei»« 
upon 
Ah 
his 
nionu 
mat e 
M 
rapit 
af^u o 
The t 
cvidc 
d nil ill 
very 
(•eive( 
horrii 



WHAT CAN aiir: do ? 



2H 



tilii tnnn r' 
;<>iii my difH, 
rill giuund X 

of inf)rality, 
'u'l* aueineii 
itliy. Th'j 
'«le hor flenh 
^is another 
ttlti in hor 
i«*thin;i(,an<l 
lin-Hoiited, 
t wtTo an 
lofty nior- 
idea as .; 
man virtu . 
iiiosphore i 
M with ! 
vtul to be 
uuh to he. 

>«lt'l father, 
'iH'se him ! 
out door in 
yet," he 

rMr. Fox, 
ir without 
in order 
«x*«. With • 
[ill keeping 
' his words, 

'nients, sir, 
Formed you 
I'oasonable, 
same, for 

In regard 
mission to 
gentlemen 
I- In this 
ia geiitle- 
lat can be 
honiey or 
[ give my 
ictate. A 
ed. But 
> you may 
ker. You 
lore," 
it yon or 
do. My 
and Misa 
uploy the 

matters. 

indecent 
ining the 
the rela- 
te Some 
r will be 
e respect 



wliich nhouid follow mich vast acquiro- 
ni«!titM." 

** NVIiere I can Kcctire tho.wholo cloth, 1 
ulrvll not Worry ulxiut tin' srlvayrof ctiijiiottv 
and piiHsiiig opinion," was Mr. Fox's cynical 
rt-ply. 

" Well, sir, BMiiH'tfiiiM,' is due to my own 
ptiHitioij, and 1 rail not treat my tlaugh- 
t«r like a bale of cloth, as yon Huc^'ust in 
your liyiuMtivo Kpi'f<ii," " Howi'Vur," hi- 
adihd, warily, " 1 w^Il take the necoHsary 
sti'[m an noon an po»xil>I(\ and will truspasH 
upon your tlnio no l«)ii;^t'r. " 

Ah Mr. Kox glidd out of the oflfloe with 
hin .- anionic siiiih;, Mr." Allen tolt for the 
iMouiont tliat he would rather break than 
in.'il tcrnm with him. 

Mamwliilo the month of February was 
rapidlv pisiing, though each day was an 
age of anxiety and suHpense to Mr. Allen. 
Tlie t«M)sion was too much for him, and ho 
evidently aged aiul failed nnder it. He 
draak more than he ate, and his temper was 
very variable. From liis wife he only ro- 
fuivL'd chidini^'M and complaints that in his 
horrid *• iiiaiiia for Imsiiiess "he was neglect- 
ing her and his family in general. She 
could never get him to sit down and talk 
H.in.Hibly of the birthday and debut party 
tU.it Wiis now so near. He wouM always 
Biiy, testily, " nianamt it to suit yourstelves." 

Laura and Zell wor(j too much wrapped up 
in tiicir own affairs to give much thought 
to anything else. IJut Edith, of late, unucr- 
Btooil hor fatlier and felt deeply 
for him. One evening finding him sit- 
ting dejectedly alone m the library after 
dinner she siiid, - 

*• Why go on with this party, papa? I am 
sure I ain ready to give it up if it will be any 
relief to you." 

The heart of this strong, confident man of 
the world w.is sore and lonely. For perhaps 
tlie first time he felt the need of support 
and nympathy. He drew his beautiful 
tliinghter, that thus far he had scarcely 
more than admired, down upon his lap anil 
b'lried his face upon her shoulder' A breath 
O iliviae impulse swept aside for a moment 
v.ie narrow stifling curtains of his sordid life, 
aid he caught a glimpse of the large happy 
realm of love. 

"And would you really give up everything 
fer the sake of your old father ?" he asked 
in a Viw tone. 

" Everything," cried Edith, mu'-h moved 
by the unusual display of affection and feel- 
ing on the part of her father. 

"The others would not," said he bit- 
terly. 

" Indeed, pap4, I think they would if 
they only knew. We would all do any- 



thing to see you your old Jovial self again, 
tiivo up this wretched struggle : tell Mr. 
l''ox to do his womk. I am not afraid (»f be- 
ing poor ; I am sure we could work up 
again." 

*• You know nothing about poverty," 
nighed her father. ** When you are down, 
the world that bowe«l at your feet, will run 
over and trample on you. I have Hcen it so 
ofto I, but never thought of danger to me and 
mine." 

"Hut thinparty," said the practical Edith, 
" why not give this up ? it will cost a great 
dcal.'^' 

" By no means give it up, "said her father. 
" It may help me very much. My credit 
is everything now. The appff.rance of 
weaVth which such a display insures, will do 
much tosecure the wealth. I am watched day 
and night, and must show no sign of weak- 
ness. (]o on with the party and make it 
as brilliant as possible. If 1 fail, two or 
three thousand yvill make no difference, and 
it may help me to succeed. Whatever 
strengthens my credit for the next few days 
is everything to me. My stock is rising, 
only it is too slow. Things look better — 
if I could only gaiii time. But I aiii very 
uneasy — my hea<l troubles me, " and he put 
his hand to his head, and Edith remem- 
bered how often she had seen him do that of 
late. V 

" By the way, "said he abruptly, "toll 
me how you get on with Mr. Fox. " 

" (), never mini! about that now : do rest 
a little, mind and body." 

" No, tell me," said her father sharply, 
shovi^ng how little control he had over him- 
self. 

" Well, I think I have beaten him so far. 
He is very demonstNifcive, and acts as if I 
belonged to him. Did I not manage to al- 
ways meet him in company with others, 
he would come at once to an open declar- 
ation. As it is, I cannot prevent it much 
longer. He is coming this evening, and I 
fear he will press matters. He seems to 
think that the asking is a mere form and that 
our extremity will leave no choice. " 

"You must avoid him a little longer. 
Come, we will go to the theatre, and then 
you might be sick for a few days." 

In a few minutes they wei'e off, and 
were scarcely well away when Mr. Fox, 
■dressed in more style than he could carry 
gracefully, appeared. 

"Miss Edith am out," naid Hannibal 
loftily. 

"I half believe yon lie," muttered Mr» 
Fox, looking very black. 

" Harch de house, sah. It atfh a berry 
gentlemanly proceeding." 



W QAT CAN SHE DO ? 



■1 ; 



" Where has she gone, and who did she go 
with ?" 

" I hab no orders to say," said Hannibal 
looking fixedly at the t. iling of the vestibule. 

The knightly suitor turned on his heel, 
mnttering, " They are playing nip false," 

•• fwas a pity ^"xnd he so true. ' 

Tlie nsxt day ?]dith wrjs sick and Mr. Al- 
len's stock was rising. Hannibal again sent 
Mr. Fox baffled away, but with a dangerous 
gleam in his eyes. 

On the follo\ving morning Mr. Allen found 
anote on his desk. His face grew livid as 
he read it, and he often put his hand to his 
liead. II? sat down end wrote to this effect, 
however, — 

" I am arranging ih'j partnership matter as 
rapidly as possible. In regard to my daughter 
you will ruin all if you show no more discre- 
tion. I cannot c^Ti^iel Iier to marry you. 
You may make ;t impossible to influence her 
in your favour. You have been well receiv- 
ed What more can you ask ? A matter of 
thi^ kind must be arranged delicately. " 

Mr. Fox pondered over this with a pecu- 
liarly foxy expression, i'lt sounds plau- 
sible. If I only thought he was true," suli- 
luquized this embodiment of truth. 

Mr. Allen's stock was higher, and Mr. 
Fox watched the rise grimly, but he saw 
Edith, who was all smiles, and graciousness, 
and gMre him a verbal invitation toher birth- 
day -.party which was to take place early in 
the foUcving week. 

The fellow had considerable A'anity, and 
was ensnared, his suspicions quieted for the 
time. Valuing money himself supremely, it 
seemed most rational thatfatherand daughter 
should regard him as the most eligible young 
man in the city. 

Edith's friends, and^^us in particular, 
were rather astonished at the new comer. 
Laura was frigid and remonstrative, Zell and 
Mr. Van Dam satirical, but Edith wilfully 
tossed her head and said, **He was clever 
and well off, and she liked him well enough 
to talk to him a little. " Society had made 
her a good actress. Meanwhile on the Tues- 
day follo'ving (and this was Friday) the long 
jaxpected pat ty would take place. 

CHAPlilE VI. 

THE WRECK. 

On Saturday Mr. Allen's stock was rising, 
rand he >entured to sell a little in a quiet 
way. If he "unloaded" rapidly and openly, 
he would break down the market. 

Mr. Fox watched events uneasily. Mr. 

' (i Gulden gre# genlw.' and more pronounced 

in his attentions'. Gus, pn Saturday, showed 



almost equal solicitude for a decisively fa^ 
vourable answer as Mr. Fox, if the language 
of his eyes could mean anything; but Edith 
played him an3 Mr. Fox oil' against each 
other so adroitly that they were learning to 
hate one another as cordially as they agreed 
in admiring her. Though she inclined in 
her favour to Mr. Fox, he was suspicious 
from nature, and aimoyed at never being able 
to see her alone. 

As before, they were at cards together in 
the library, Edith went for a moment into 
the parlour to get something. With the ex- 
cuse of obtiiining it for her, Mr. Pox fol- 
lowed, and the moment they were alone, he 
seized her hand and pressed a kiss upon it. 
An angry flush came into her face, but by a 
great efl'ort she so far controlled herself as to 
put her finger to her lips and point to the 
library, as if her chief anxiety was that the 
attention of its occupants should not be ex- 
cited. Mr. Fox was delighted, though the 
angry flush was a little puz2lins. But if 
Edith permitted that, she womd permit 
more, and if her only shrinking was that 
others should not see and know at present, 
that could be soon overcome. These thoughts 
passed through his mind while the incensed 
obtained what she wished. But she, feeling 
that her cheeks were too hot to return im- 
mediately to the critical eyes in the library, 
passed out through the front parlour, that 
she might have time to be herself '^gain when 
she appeared. On what little li^iks destiny 
sonietimes hangs ! 

That which changed all her future and 
that of others — that involving life and death, 
occurred in the half moment occupied in her 
passing out of the front parlour. The con- 
sequences she would feel moft keenly, ter- 
ribly indeed at times, though she might 
never guess the cause. Her act was a sim- 
ple natural one under the circumstances, and 
yet it told Mr. Fox, in his cat-like watchful- 
ness, that with all his cunning he was being 
made a fool of. Tli*? moment Edith had 
passed around the sliding door and thought 
herself unobserved, an expi'esaion of intense 
disgust came out upon lier expressive face, 
and with her lace handkerchief slie rubbed 
the hand he had kissed, as if removing the 
slime of a reptile ; and the large mirror at 
the farther end of the room had faithfully re- 
flected the suggestive little pantomiue. He 
sav and understood all in a flash. 

No words could have so plainly told her 
feeling toward him, and.he was one of these 
reptiles that could sting remorselessly in re- 
venge. The natni-e of the imposition prac- 
tised upon him and the fact that it was par- 
tially successful and might have been wholly 
iu the sorest spot. He who 



thouj 
shre^ 
reachl 
menti 
enoujl 
from 1 
cessfi 
sciouf 
and n 
"II 
spea 
too I 
Hi 
when 
libra 
in go 
serpe 
him 
stay 
migh 
Edit 
ing 



^ 



% 



so, cut him 



pany 

to 86 

H'. 

woul 
W 
Bongl 
lite i 
with 
laiitr 
to (i» 
not (1 
lier a 
At 
comi 
aside 



soon 

I ha 

pois 
(< 

bra> 
we ^ 
in ( 
nun 

BOO] 

I! 

his 

full 
flor 
eve 

Hi* 

mil 
( 
inp 
wo 
he 
bej 



decisively fa. 

the language 
ig ; but Edith 

against each 
ire learning to 
« they agreed 
le inclined in 
tas suspicious 
i^er being able 

8 together in 
moment into 
With the ex- 
Mr. Fox fol- 
ere alone, he 
ki«8 upon it. 
ice, but by a 
herself as to 
point to the 
was that the 
i not be ex- 
though the 
ing. But if 
oifld permit 
ig was that 
' at present. 
ise thoughts 
ihe inceiised 
she, feeling 
) return im- 
the library, 
arlour, that 
Again when 
iiks destiny 

future and 
and death, 
pied in her 
The con- 
:eenly, ter- 
she might 
was a sim- 
'auces, and 
' watchful- 
was being 
Kdith had 
id thought 
of intense 
ssivc face, 
he rubbed 
lOving the 
mirror at 
bhfuliy re- 
aiue. Ho 

' told her 
> of these 
'sly in re- 
lion prac- 

was par- 
in wholly 

He who 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



thought himself able to cope with 'ihe 
shrewtlest and most artful, had been over- 
reaciie<l by a girl, and he saw at that mo- 
ment, that her purpose to beguile him long 
enough for Mr. Allen to extricate himself 
from his difficulties, might have been suc- 
cessful. He had had before an uneasy con- 
sciousness that he ought to act decisively, 
and now he knew it. 

"I'm a fool— a cunsed fool," he muttered, 
speaking the truth for once, " but it'« nof. 
too late yet. " 

His resolution was taken instantly, but 
when Etlith appeared after a moment in the 
library, smiling and affable again, he seemed 
in good spirits also, but there was a steely, 
serpent-like glitter in his eyes, that made 
him more repulsive than ever. But he 
stayed as late as the others, knowing that it 
might be his last evening at the Aliens'. For 
Edith had said a» x>art of her plan for avoid- 
ing Mr. Fox,-r* 

" We ahali be too busy to see any com- 
pany till Ti.esday evening, and then we hope 
to see you all." 

H'.?r gi?tors had assented, expecting that it 
would be the case. 

With a relinement of malice, Mr. Fox 
sought to give general annoyance, by a po- 
lite insolence toward the others, which they 
with difficulty ignored, and a lover-like gal- 
lantly toward Edith, which was like nettles 
to (iu8, and nauseating to her ; bttt she did 
not dare resent it. He could at least torment 
her a little longer. 

At last a 1 were gone, and her father 
coming in from hia, club said, drawing her 
aside. — 

"All right yet?" 

" Yes, but I hope the ordeal will 1^^ over 
soon, or I shall die with disgust, or like some 
I have read of in fairy stories, be killed by a 
poisonous bi-eath. " 

" Keep it up a little longer, that is a good, 
brave girl. I think that by another week 
we will he able to defy him, " said her father 
in cheerful tones. "It my stock rises as 
much in the next few days, as of late, I shall 
soon be on terra *^rma. " 

If he had known that the mine beneath 
his feet was loaded, and the ftise fired, his 
full face would have become as pale as it was 
florid with wine, and the dissipation of the 
evening. 

Monday morning came — all seemed quiet. 
His stock was rising so well that he deter- 
mined to hcM Oil » little longer. 

Goulden mf.'i and congratulated him, say- 
ing that he ha<.l bought a little himaelf, and 
would take mo>*e if Mr. Allen '.vutild sell, as 
he was easier in funds th^ia when spoken to 
before o\\ the 8ub'«*''t- 



Mr. Allen replied rather coldly that he 
" would not sell any stock that day." 

Mr. Fox k^ out of the way, and quietly 
attended to hia routine as usual, but there 
was a sardonic snile on his face, as if he 
were gloating over tome secret evil. 

Tuesday, the long expected day that the 
Aliens Injlieved would make one of the most 
brilliant epochs in their history, dawned in 
appropriate brightness. The sun dissipated 
the few opi^)09ing clouds and declined in un- 
dimned splendour, and Edith.,^who alone had 
fears and forebodings, took the day as, ar 
omen that the storm had passed, and that 
better dr.ys v-han ever we^'e coming. 

Invifationii by the hundred, with impos- 
ing mon 'tgrp^m and coa^ of arms, had gone 
out, and acceptances had flowed back in full 
current. AU tliat lavish expenditure could* 
secure in one of the most luxurious social 
centres of the world, had been obtained 
without stint to make the entertainment 
perfect. 

But one knew it might become like Bel- 
shazzar's feast. 

^ The avalanche oftf;n so hanga over the 
Alpine passes that a loud word will bring it 
wl'Tling down upon the hapless traveller. 
The avalanche of ruin, impending over Mr. 
Allen, was so delicately poised that a 
whisper could precipitate its crushit^ 
weiglit, and that whisper had been spoken. 

All the morning of Tuesday his stock was 
rising, and he resolved that on the morning 
after the party he would comn^enoe selling 
rapidly, and so far from being broken, he 
would realize mack of the profit that he had 
expected. 

But a rumour was floating ^.hrough the 
afternoon x)apers that a welU know n merchant, 
eminent in financial and social circles, hacl 
been detected in violating the revenue laws, 
and that the losses which such violation 
wouUl involve to him, would be immense. 
The stock market, more sensitive than a 
^^eUe's vanity, paused to see what it meant. 
Gi#. of Mr. Allen's partners of the cloth 
house brought a paper to him. He gr-iw 
pale as he read it, put his hand suddenly 
to his'liead, bat after a moment seemingly 
found his voice and said — 

" Could Fox have been so dastardly ? " 

Kis partner shrugged his shoulder as 
much as to say, " Fox could do anything in 
that line. " 

Mr. Allen sent for Fox, but he could not 
be found. Id tiie meiintime the stock 
market closed and the rise of his ^tock was 
evidently checked for the moment. 

By reason of the party, Mr. Allen had to 
return up town, but he arranged with his 
partner to remain and if anything new de- 



28' 



':0 



WHAT CAN SHE DO f 



velDped to send word by special messenger. 
By eight o'clock the Allen mansion on 
'/ifth Avenne was all aglow with^light. By 
nine, carriages began to roll up to the awning 
that stretched from the heavy arched door, 
way across the sidewalk, and ladies that 
wonld soon glide through the spacious rooms 
in elegant orapery, now seemed micsliaped 
bundles in their wrapping, and gathered 
up dresses as they hurried out of the publi- 
city of the street. The dressing-i'oom where 
the spheroidal bundles were undergoing me- 
tamorphose became buzzing centres of 
life. 

Before the long pier glasses there was a 
marshalling of every charm, real, borrowed, 
(more correctly bought) in view of tlie hoped 
— for c6nquests of the evening, and it would 
tRiem tliat not a few went on the military 
maxim that success is often secured by put- 
ting on as bold a front, and making as 
great and startling display, as possible. But 
as fragrant, modest flowers usually bloom in 
the garden with gaudy scentless ones, so 
those inclined to be loud made an excellent 
foil for the refined and elegant, and thus had 
their uses. There is little in the worhl that 
is not of value, looking at it froui some point 
of view. 

In another apartment the opposing forces, 
if we may so style them, were aTnio:it as 
eagerly investing themselves in — shall we 
say charms a' 30? orrather with the attribu- 
tes of manhood ? At any rate the gla s in 
both rooms seems seems quite as anxiously 
consulted. One jnight almost imagine them 
the magic mirrors of prophecy in which 
anxious eyes caught a glimpse of commg 
fate. There were certain youthful belles and 
beaux who turned away with open compla- 
cent smiles, vani1;y whispering plainly to 
thorn of noble achievement in the parlours" 
below. There were others, perliaps not 
young, who turned away with his faces c©m- 
posed in the rigid and habitual lines of pride. 
They were past learning anything from ttie 
mirror, or from any other source that migtit' 
reflect disparagingly upon them. Prejudice 
in their own favour enveloped th-^ir minds as 
with a Cliinese wall. Conceit had l)ecOme a 
disease with them, and those facilities that 
might have let in wholesome, though unwel- 
come truth, were paralyzed. 

But the majoritj' turned away not quite 
satisfied — M'ith an inward fereboding that all 
was not as well as it might l>e — thit critical 
eyes would see ground for criticism. Espe- 
cially was this true of those whom Time's 
interfering fingers had pulled somewhat 
awry, even beyond the remedy of art, 
and of those whose bank account, jewels, 
silks, etc., were not quite up to the standard 



of some others who might jostle them in th3 
crush. Realize, my reader, the augui^sh of a 
lady compelled to stand by anotlier wearing 
larger diamonds than her own, or more point 
■ lace, or a longer train ? What will the wor d 
think, aa under the chandelier this painful 
contrast comes out ? Such moments of deep 
humiliation cause sleepless nights, and the 
next day result in bills that become as cru: h- 
ing as criminal indictments to poor overwork* 
ed men. Under the impulse of such trying 
scenes as these, many a matron has gouo 
forth on Broadway with firm lips .and eyes in 
which glowed inexomble purpose, and plac-cd 
upon her fat arms orfingers, that might i ave 
helped her husband forward, the gems 
that would be mill-stones about hi.^ 
neck. There are many phiies of 
heroism, but if you want your 
breath quite taken away, go to Tiff my 's and 
see some large-souled women, wlio will not 
even count the cost or realize tlu? dire cons - 
quences, but like some martyr of the past 
who will show to the world the object of his 
faith though the heavens fall, she la irchcs to 
the counter, selects the costliest, and says in 
tones of majesty— 

'• Send the bill to my husband !" 
O acme of faith ! The martyrs knew that 
the Almighty was equal to the occa .ion. She 
knows that her husband is not ; yet she 
trusts, or what is the same thing here, g.ts 
trusted. Men allied to such women are soon 
hfted up to — attics. It is still true tliat 
great desds bring humanity nearer heaven ! 
Tlierefore, my reader, deem it not trivial 
that I have paused so long over the Aliens' 
party. It is philosophical to trace greit 
events and phenomenal human action to their 
hidden causes. 

There were also diffident men and maidens 
who descended into the social arena of Airs. 
Allen's parlours, as awkward swimmers ven- 
ture into deep water, but this is fleeting ex- 
istence in fashionable life. And we fiinceruly 
hope that some believed that tho Oid divine 
paradox, " It is more blessed to give v!ian to 
receive," was as true in tlie drawing-room as 
when the contribution-box goes roujul, and 
who meant to enjoy themselves by contrib- 
uting to the enjoyment of others, and see 
nothing that would tempt to heroic conduct 
at Tiffany's the next day. 

When the last finishing touches had lieen 
given, and maids and hairdressers &too<l 
around in wi*apt politic breatldessness, and 
were beginning tw piiss into tliat stage in 
whi/?h they might l)e regarded asexclamation 
points, Airs. Allen and iier ilaughtors swept 
away to take their places at the head of the 
parlours in order to receive. They liked tlic 
preluuo of applause upstairs well enouj,'Ii, 



them ill th:; 
aiigiii.-)!) of a 
tlier vvoiit'iiig 
r more poiiif, 
i.l tae wor d 
' this painful 
lenta of deep 
its, a»<l the 
me as cni: h- 
orovfci'work- 

such trying 
on has gone 
8. and eyes in 
!, !in«l pla<x;d 

mi^ht i ave 
, the ge'iis 

about hli 
phuoa of 
vant your 
Tirt'iuy's and 
kvho will nut 
fi dire cons - 
of the past 
jbjeot of his 
e in irehcs to 

and says in 

!" 
s knew that 
3ea;ion. She 
ot ; yet she 
ig here, g ta 
neu are soon 
il true tliat 
ror heaven ! 
it not trivial 
■ the Aliens' 
trace greit 
tion to tiieir 

md maidens 
rena of Mrs. 
inners veu- 
I fleeting cx- 
ve fjinccroly 
.0 Old divine 
^ive v'lan to 
ing-room as 
round, and 
l>y contrib- 
ars, and see 
oic conduct 

BS had l)cen 
ssers stood 
issiiess, and 
iftt stage in 
jxclamatiou 
iters swept 
lioad of tlie 
sy likoil the 
ill enough, 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



m- 



I 



f 



but then it was only like the tuning of the 
instruments before the orchestra fairly opens. 
Mrs. Allen, as she majestically took her 
position, evidently belonged to that class 
whom pride marbleizes. Herself-complacencv 
on such an occasion wjis habitual, her cool- 
ness r^nd repose that of a veteran. A nervous 
creature upstairs with hei* famil^y, excite- 
ment made her, under the eye of society, so 
steady and self-coli'troUed that she was like 
one of t*ie olvl^'ench Marshals who could 

Elan a campaign under the hottest fire. Her 
lue eyes grew quite brilliant and seemed to 
take in everything, like your true generals. 
Some natural colour shone where the cosme- 
tics permitted, and her form seemed to dihite 
with sometliing more than the mysteries of 
French modistes. Hennanuer and expression 
said — 

" I am Mrs. Allen. We are of an old 
New York family. We are very, very rich. 
This entertainment is immensely expensive 
and perfect in kind. I defy criticism. I 
expect applause. " 

Of course this was all veiled by society's 
completest polish, but still by a close observer 
could be seen, just as a skilfulsculptor drapes 
a form but leaves its outlines perfect. 

Laura was the echo of her mother, modi- 
fied by the element of youth. 

Zell fairlv blazed. Between spa kling 
jewellery, flaming -cheeks, flashing eyes, and 
words thrown off like scintillating sparks, 
she suggested an exquisite July firework, 
burning longer than usual and surprising 
every oue. Admiration followed her like a 
torrent, and her vanity dilated without mea- 
sure as attention and compliments were al- 
most forced upon her, and yet it was frank, 
good-natured vanity, as naturally to be ex- 
pected in her case as a throng of gmdy pop- 
pies where a handful of seed had been 
dropped. Zell's nature was a soil where 
good or bad seefl would grow vigorously, 

Mr. Van Dam was never far off watching 
with intent, gloatinc eyes, saying iv self -con- 
gratulation : 

" What a delicious morsel she will make," 
"vnd adding his mite to the general chorus 
of flattery, by mild assertions like the fol- 
lowing : 

** Do you know that there is not a lady 
present that for a moment can compare with 
you?" 

"How delightfully frank he is," thought 
of her distinguislied admirer, who was 
open as a quicksantf that can swallow up 
anytlyng and not leave a trace on its placid 
anrface. 

Edith was quite as beautiful as Zell, but 
nothing like so brilliant and pronounced. 
Though qniet and graceful, she was not 



Zell 



stately like Laura. Her full dark eyes were 
lustrous rather than sparkling, and thoy 
dwelt shrewdly and comprehendingly on all 
that was passing, and conveyed tlieir intelli- 
gence to a brain that was judging quite ac- 
curately at times when so nmny people "lose 
their head " as it is expressed. 

Zell was intoxicated by the incense offered. 
Laura offered herself so much incense that 
she was enshrouded in a thick cloud of com- 
placency all the time. Edith was told by 
the eyes and manner of those around her 
•that she was beautiful and highly- favoured 
by wealth and position generallj'. But she 
knew this, as a matter of fact, before, and 
was not going to make a fool of herself on 
account oi it. These points thoroughly 
settled and quietly realized, she was m a 
condition ta .go out of herself and enj'^y all 
that was going on. 

She was specially elated at this time also, 
as she had gathered from her father's words 
that his danger was nearly over and that be- 
fore the week was out they could defy Mr. 
Fox, look forward to Europe and bright voy- 
aging generally. 

Mr, Allen did not tell her his terrible fear 
- that Mr. Fox had been a little too prompt, 
and that crushing disaster might still be im- 
pending. He had said to himself, "Let her 
and all of them njake the most of the even- 
ing. It may be the last of the kind that 
they will enjoy." 

The spacious parlours filled rapidly. 
If lavish expenditure and a large brilliant 
attendance could ensure their • en- 
joyment, it was not wanting. Flow- 
ers in fanciful baskets on the ta1i)les and in 
great banks on the mantels and in the fire- 
places, deservedly attracted much attention 
and praise, though the sum expended on 
their transient bf;auty was appalling. Their 
delicious perfume niinglingwith those of arti- 
ficial origin, sucrgeated a like intermingling 
of the more delfcate, subtile, but genuine 
manifestations of character, and graces of 
mind and manner boiTowed for the occasion. 
The scene was very brilliant. There were 
marvellous toiltvS— dresses not beginning as 
promptly as they should, perhaps, but seem- 
ingly seeking to make up for this deficiency 
by elegance and costliness, having once com- 
menced. There was no economy in the 
train, if there had been in the waist. There- 
fore gleaming shoulders, gli tering diamonds, 
the soft radiance of pearls, tlie sheen of 
gold, and lustrous eyes aglow Avith excite- 
ment, and later in the evening, with wine, 
gave a general phosphorescent effect to the 
parlours that Mrs. Allen i-ecognized, from 
long experience, as the sparkling crown of 
success. So much elegance on the part of 



23 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



the ladies present would make the party the 
gein of the season, aiid the gentlemen in dark 
dress made a good black enamel setting. 

There was a confused rustle of silks and a 
hum of voices, and now and then a silvery 
laugh would ring out above these like the 
trill of a bird in a breezy grove. Later, light 
airy music floated through the rooms, follow- 
ed by tliu rhythmic cadence of feet. A thin- 
ly clad shivering little match girl stepped on 
her weary tramp to her cellar and caught 
glimpses of the scene through the oft open- 
ing door and between the curtains of the 
windows. It seemed to her that tliuse glanc- 
ing forms were in heaven. " Alas for this 
eai'thly paradise ! 

Mr. Fox, with characteristic malicr had 
managed that Mr. Allen and perhaps the 
family should have, as his coph-ibutiou to 
tl*e entertainment, the sickening aread which 
the news in tlie afternoon papers would oc- 
casion. As the evening advanced he deter- 
mined to accept the invitation and watch the 
eflfect. He avoided Mr. Allen, and soon 
gathered that Edith and the rest knew noth- 
ing of the impending blow. Edith smiled 
graciously on him ; she feU that like ihe sun, 
she should shine on all that night. But as 
in his insolence, his attentions grew marked, 
she soon shook him off by permitting Gus 
Elliot to claim her for a waltz. 

Mr. Fox glided around. Mephistopheles- 
like, gloating on the sinister changes that he 
would soon ocnasion. He was to succeed 
even better than he dreamed. 

The .evening went forward with music and 
dancing, discussing, disparaging, flirting and 
skirmishing, -culminating in numbers and 
brilliancy as some gorgeous flower might ex- 
pand, and seemingly it would have ended 
like tlie flower, by the gay company's 
rustling departure as the varied coloured 
peta's drop away from the stem, had not 
an event occurred which was like a 
rude hand plucking the flower in its fullest 
bloom and tearing the petals away in mass 

The magnificent supper had just been de- 
molished. Champagne had foamed without 
stint, cause and symbol of the increasing 
but transient excitement of the occasion ; 
more potent wines and liquors suggestive of 
the stronger and deeper passions that were 
swaying the mingled throng, had done their 
work, and all, save the utterly blase and run 
down, had secured that noble elevation 
which it is the province of tliese grand 
social combinations to create. Even Mr. 
Allen regained his habitual confidence and 
elevation as his Avaistcoat expanded under, 
or rather over, those means of cheer and 
coneiolation which he had so long regarded as 
the best panacea for earthly ills. The op- 



pressive sense of danger j;ave place to a con- 
sciousness of the warm, rosy present. Mr. 
Fox and the custom-house seemed but the 
ugly phantoms of a ) ast dream. W&s he 
not the rich Mr. Allen, the owner of this 
magnificent mansion, the corner-stone of 
this superb entertainment ? If by reason of 
wine he saw a little double, he only saw 
double homage on every side. He lieard in 
men's tones, and saw in ^'omen's glances, 
that anyone who could pay W his surround- 
ings that night, was no orflinary person. 
,Hi8 wife looked majestic as she swept 
through the parlours on the ann of one 
of his most distinguished fellow-citizens. 
Through the library door he could see Mr. 
Goulden leaning toward Laura and saying 
something that madetJ^yen her pale face 
quite peony-like: Editli, exquisite as a 
moss rose, was about to lead off in the 
Gennun in the large front parlour. Zell 
was near him, the sparkling centre cf a 
breezy, merry little throng that bad 
gathered round her. It seemed that all 
that he loved and valued most — all that he 
wished, was grouped around him in the 
guise most attractive to his ■worldly eyes. 
In this moment of unnatural elation, hope 
whispered, * ' To-mcrrow you can sell your 
stock, and instead of failing, increase your 
vast fortune, and then away to new scenes, 
new pleasures?, free from the burden of care 
and fear. " It was at that moment of false 
confidence and pride, when in suggestive 
words descriptive of the ancient tragedy of 
Belshazzar he " had drank wine and praised 
the gods of gold and silver, " that he had so 
long worshipped, and which had secured to 
him all that so dilates h'i soul with exul- 
tation, that he saw the handwriting, not 
of shadowy fingers "upon the wall, "but of 
his partner, sent, as agreed, by a special 
messenger. With revulsion and chill of 
fear he had torn open the envelope and 
read — 

"Fox has done his worst. We are o^t 
for a million — all will be in the morning 
papers. " 

Even his florid, wine-inflamed cheeks 
grow pale, and he raised his hand trembling- 
ly to his head, and slowly lifted his eyes 
like a man who dreads seeing some- 
thing, but is impelled to look. The first 
object they rested on was the sar- 
donic, mocking face of Mr. Fox, 
who, ever on tlie alert, had seen 
the messenger enter, and guessed 
hig errand. The moment Mr. Allen 
saw this hated visage, a sudden 
fury took possession of him. He crushed 
the missive in his clenched fist, and took 
a hasty stride of wrath towards hia tor- 



me 

a 

aiK 

he: 

de 

th 

voi 

vei 

sec 



»lace to a con- 
ireseiit. Mr. 
oined but the 
aiTi. W&s he 
vner of this 
rner-stone of 

by reason of 
he only saw 

He lieard iu 
fn's glances, 
liis surround- 
inary person. 

she swept 
arm of one 
low-citizeng. 
uld see Mr. 
1 and saying 
erpale face 
[uisite as a 

off in the 

irloiH". Zell 

centre cf a 

that bad 
cd that all 
all that he 
him in the 
'orldly cyc3. 
ation, hope 
iin sell your 
Tease your 
new scenes, 
len of care 
2nt of false 
I suggestive 
i tragedy of 
md praised 
: he had so 
secured to 
with cxul- 
riting, not 
ill," but of 

a special 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



2n 



i 



li chill of ^ 
velope and ' 

^Ve are o^t 
le morning \ 

id cheel^s 
trembling-' 
id his eyes 
ig some- 

The first 
the sar- 
Ir. Fox, 
lad seen 

guessed . 

r. Allen 

sudden 

) crushed 

and took 

his tor- 



* 
i 



mentor, stopped, put his hand to his head, 
a film ca.ne over his eyes, he reeled a second, 
and then fell like a btone to the floor. Tha 
heavy thud of the fall, the clash of the chan- 
delier overhead, could be heard throughout 
the rooms ai)ove the music and hum of 
voices, and all were startled. Edith in the 
very ai;t of leading off in the dance, stood a 
second like ati exquisite statue of awe ex- 
pectancy, anil then ZoU's shriek of fear and 
agony, *' Father !" brought her to the spot, 
and with wild, friglitened eyes, and blanch- 
ed faces, the two girls knelt above the un- 
conscious man, while the startled guests 
gathered round in helpless curiosity. 

Tlie usual paralysis following sudden ac- 
cident was brief on this occasion, for there 
were two skilful physicians present, one of 
them having been the family attendant. 
Mrs. Allen and Laura stood clinging to 
each other, supported by Mr. Goulden, in 
a half hysterical state, as the medical 
gentleman made a slight examination and 
applied restoratives. After a moment they 
lifted their heads and looked gravely and 
significantly at each other ; then the' family 
adviser said,— r 

" Mr. Allen had better be carried at 
once to his room, and the house become 
quiet." 

An injudicious guest, asked in a low 
whisper, " Is it apoplexy?" 

Mrs. Allen caught the Avord, and with a 
stifled cry fainted dead away, and was bom 
to her apartment in an unconscious state. 
Laura, who had inherited Mrs. Allen's nerv- 
ous nature, was also conveyed to her room, 
laughing and crying in turns beyond all con- 
trol. Zell still knelt over her fatherrsob- 
biug passionately, while Edith, with her 
large eyes dilated with fear, and her cheeks 
in wan contrast with the sunset glow they 
had worn all the evening, maintained her 

Kresence of mind, and asked Mr Goulden, 
Ir. Van Dam and Cus Elliot, to carry her 
father to his room. They, much pleased in 
tlnis being singled out as special friends of 
the family, officiously ol>eyed. 

Poor Mr. Allen was born away from the 
pinnacle of his imaginary triumph as if 
dead, Zell following, wi-inging her hands, 
and with streaming eyes ; but Edith remind- 
ed you of some wild, timid creature of the 
woods, which, though in an extremity of 
danger and fear, is alert and watchful, as if 
looking for some a\enue of escape. Her 
searching eyes turned almost constantly 
toward the family physician, and he as per- 
sistently avoideil meeting hera. 



# 'r CHAPTER Vir. Ji uiM 

AMOya THK BREAKERS. 

After another brief but fuller examina- 
tion of Mr. Allen in the privacy of his own 
room. Dr. Mark went down to the parlours. 
The guests were gathered in little groups, 
talking in low, excited whis]^>ers ; those 
who had seen the reading of the note and 
Mr. Allen's strange action, gaining brief 
eminence by their repeated statements of 
what they had witnessed, and their varied 
surmises. The role of commentator, if mys- 
terious human action be the text, is always 
popular, and as this explanatoiy class are 
proverbially gifted in conjecture, there were 
many theories of explanation. Some of the 
ghests had alrea<ly the good taste to prepare 
lor departure, and when Dr. Mark appe'ired 
from the sick room, and said — 

" Mr. Allen and the family will be unable 
to appear again this evening, I am '.iudcr 
the painful necessity of saying thit this 
occasion, that opened so brllliantl; rinst 
now come to 8'»d and sudden end. J will 
convey your adieux and expressions of sym- 
pathy to the family" — there was a general 
move to the dressing-rooms. The doctoi 
was overwhelmed for a moment with ex- 
pressions of sympathy, that in the main 
were felt, and well-questioned by eager antl 
genuine curiosity, for Fox had dropped some 
mysterious hints during the evening, which 
had been quietly circulating. But Dr. 
Mark wa.« professionally non-committal, ami 
soon excused himself that he might attend 
to his patient. 

The house, that seemingly a moment be- 
fore was ablaze with light and resounding 
with fashionable revelry, suddenly became 
still, and grew darker, as if the shadowing 
wings of the dreaded angel were drawing.' 
very near. In the large, elegant rooms, 
where so brief a time since gems and eyes 
vied in brightness, old, Hannibal now walks 
alone with his silent tread, and a peculiarly 
awed and solemn visage. One by one he 
extinguished the lights, leaving but faint 
glimmers here and there, that were like a 
few forlorn hopes struggling against the in- 
creasing darkness of disaster. Under his 
breath he kept repeating fervently, *' De 
Lord hab mercy," and this perhaps, was the 
only intelligent pray«>r that went up from 
that stricken household in tliis hour of sud-- 
den danger and alarm. Though we believe 
the Divine Father sees the (fumb agouy of 
his creatures, and pities them, and often 
when tl;e , like the dn-wning, are grasping 
at straws of human help and cheer, puts out 
His strong hands and holds them up ; 



30 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



still it is in accordance with Hia 
just law that thoae who seek and 
value His fri«Midsliip find it and pos- 
sess it in adversity. The height of the 
storm and tae ujiuitiu of the augty Atlaiirio 
• is a po tr time and a poor place to provide 
life-boats. 

Tiie Aliens had never looked to Heaven, 
save as a matter of form. They had a pew 
in a fashionable church, but were not very 
regular attendants, and such attendance had 
done scarcely anything to awaken or quick- 
en their spiritual life. They came home and 
gossiped about the appearance of their "set," 
and perliaps criticized the music, but one 
would never have dreamed from their manner 
or conversation that they had gone to a sacred 
place to worship God in humihty. Indeed, 
scarcely a thought of Him seemed to have 
dwelt in their minds. Religious faith had 
never been of any practical help, and now in 
their extremity it seemed utterly intangible, 
and in no sense to be depended on. 

When Mrs. Allen recovered from her 
swoon, and Laura had gained some self- 
control, they sent for Dr. Mark, and eagerly 
suggested both their hope and fear. 

" It's only a fainting tit, doctor, is it not ? 
Will he not soon be better ? " 

•• My dear madam, we will do all we can," 
said the doctor, with that professional sol- 
emnity which is like reading a death war- 
rant, *' but it is my painful duty to tell yoii 
to prepare for the worst. Your husband has 
an attack of apoplexy." 

He had scarcely uttered the words before 
she was again in a swoon, and Laura also 
lost her transient quietness. Leaving his 
assistant and Mrs. Allen's maid to take care 
of them, he went back to his graver charge. 

Mr. Allen lay insensible on his bed, and 
one could hardly realise that he was a dying 
man. His face was as flushed and full as it 
often appeared on his return from his club. 
To the girl's unpractised ears, his loud sten- 
torous breathing only indicated heavy sleep. 
But neither they nor the doctor could arouse 
him, and at last the physician met Edith's 
questioning eyes, and gravely and signifi- 
cantly shook his head. Though she had 
borne up so steadily and quietly, lie felt 
more for her than for any of the others. 

•'O, doctor, can't you save him?" she 
pleaded. 

" Von must save him, "cried Zell, her eyes 
flashing through her tears, " I would be 
ashamed, if I were a physician, to stand over 
a strong man, and say liclplessly, ' I can do 
nothing.' Is this all your boasted skill 
amounts to ? Kitlicr do something at once or 
let us get some one who Avill." 

" Vour fc(.'lin::s to-niylit, Miss Zcll," said 



the doctor quietly, " will excuse anything 
voM «iv. however wild and irrational. I am 
domjaU— " 

•• * iiin not wild or unreasonable, " cried 
Zell. " I only demand that my father's life 
be saved." Then starting up she threw off 
a shawl and stood before Doctor Mark in the 
dress she had worn in the evening, tiiat 
seemed a sad mockery in that room of 
death. Her neck and arms were 
bare, and even the cool, experi- 
enced physician was startled by 
her wonderful beauty and strange man- 
ner. Her white throat was convulsed, her 
bosom heaved tumultnously, and on her face 
was the expression that might have rested 
on the face of a maiden like herself centuries 
before, when shown the rack and dungeon, 
and told to choose between her faith ana her 
life. 

But after a moment she extended her 
white rounded arm toward him and said 
8 eadily, — 

" I have read that if the blood of a young 
vigorous person is infused into another who 
is feeble and old, it will give renewed 
strength and health. Open a vein in my 
arm. Save his life if you take mine." 

' \ou are a brave, noble girl," said 
Doctor Mark, with much emotion, taking 
the extended hand and pressing it tenderly, 
" but you are asking what is impossible in 
this case. Do you not remem1>er that I am 
an old friend of your father's ? It grieves n)e 
to the heart that his attack is so severe that 
I fear all within the reach of human skill is 
vain. " 

Zell, who was a creature of impulse, and 
often of noblest impulse, as we have seen, 
now reacted into a passion of weeping, and 
sank helplessly on the floor. She was capable 
of heroic action, but she had no strength for 
woman's lot, which is so often patient en- 
durance. 

Edith came and put her arms around her, 
and with gentle, soothing words, as if speak- 
ing to a child, half carried her to her 
room, where she at hvst sobbed herself 
asleep. 

For another hour Edith and the doctor 
watched alone, and the dying man sank rapid- 
ly, njoing down into the darkness of death 
witliout woixl or sign. 

" Oil, .that he would 
moaned Edith. 

" I fear he will not, my 
doctor, pitifully. 

A little later Mr. Allen was motionless, 
like one who has been touched in unquiet 
sleep and becomes still. Dciitli h;ul tonclied 
hitn, and a deeper sleep had fallen upon 
him. — 



speak once more," 
dear," said the 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



tl 



e 



excuse anything 
rrutional. I am 

!asonal»le," cried 
my father's life 
up she threw off 
4or Mark in the 
evening, tliat 
I that room of 
arms were 
cool, experi- 
startled by 
strange man- 
convulsed, her 
and on her face 
it have rested 
erself centuries 
and dungeon, 
sr faith and her 

extended her 
him and said 

)od of a young 
:o another who 
give renewed 
vein in my 
i mine. " 
e- girl," said 
otion, taking 
g it tenderly, 
inipossihle in 
>er that I am 
It grieves me 
o severe that 
luman skill is 

impulse, and 
i have seen, 
weeping, and 
le was capable 
' strength for 
patient eu- 

around her, 
i, as if speak- 

her to her 
Jbed herself 

the doctor 
n sank i-apid- 
5S of death 

>nce more, " 

." said the 

motionless, 
in uiujuiet 
•ad touchod 
fallen upon 



« • • • ♦ 

One of the great daily bulletins will go to 
press in an hour. A reporter jumps into 
a waiting hack anv. is driven rapidly up 
town. 

While the city sleeps preparations must go 
^on in the markets for broakIa8t,and in print- 
iug room's for that e'lual necessity in our day, 
the latist news. Tlierefore all night . long 
there are dusky figures flitting hither and 
thih'if.r, seeing to it that when we come down 
in gown a ul 8'i;ipe s our scak and tl • 
w-i.a o gos.sip be ready. 

TUj breakfast of the Gothamites was 
furnislied abundantly with "sauce piquante" 
on the morning of the last day of February, 
for H.iniibal had shaken his head ominously, 
and wiped away a few honest tears, before 
he could tremulously say to the re- 
porter : 

" Mr. Allen— hab— just— died." 

(Tathoriu..,' what few particulars he could, 
and imiyining many more, the reporter 
was di-ivea even more rapidly, and with the 
elation of a man who hjis found a goofl thing 
and me.ins tj make the most of it. Mr. Allen 
wad nothing to him, but news about him 
was ; and taia fact crowning tlie story of his 
violi>,tion of the revenue law and prospective 
loss of a millioa, would make a brisk breeze 
in the papci- to which he was attached, and 
might watt him a little farther on as an eu- 
teri)ii3ui.^ news-gatherer. 

It cei-Lainly would be the topic of the day 
on all li{)3, and poor Mr. Allen might have 
plunicid uiuijelf on this if he had known it. 
for few p oplo, u ilesii they commit a crime, 
are of aulfijiout importance to be talked of 
all day in larije, busy New York. In the 
world's eyes Mr. Allen had committed a 
crime. Not that they regarded his stock 
ga nbling as such. Multitudes of church 
memijerd in good regular standing were 
opanly engaged in tliis. Nor could the slight 
and u.iinLjiitional violation of the revenue 
law be regarded as such, though so grave in 
its coiHoniuiices. But he had faltered and 
dit3(l whiiii he ought not to hav« done so. 
Wiiat the world demands is success ; and 
■souutinies a devil may secure this where a 
truo man camiot. TJie world regarded Mr. 
Va I Dam and Mr. Gouldeu as very successful 
nvjn. 

Mi* Fox also had secured success by one 
ad!'.)it wrig^ie (for we can describe his mode 
of ;i,j li !vi ix greatness l)y no better phrase). 
J{j was <le tiaed to receive half a million for 
hi ^ treachery to his employers. During the 
war, wlun United States securities were at 
t !oir w >rst ; when men, pledged to take 
t!i3'n, forf 'itail money rather than do so, Mr. 
Aiicu had lent the government millions, be- 



cause he believed in it, and was resolved to 
sustain it. The same government now re- 
wards him by putting it in the power of a 
dislionest clerk to ruin him, and gave him 
$500,000 for doing so. Thus it resulted ; 
for we are compelled to pass hastily over the 
events subsequent to Mr. Allen's death. His 
pa. t lers made a good li^ht, showed that 
titere wis no intention to violate the law.and 
th'it it was often difficult -to comply with it 
literally — that the sum claimed to bo lost to 
t'le government vas ridiculously dispropor- 
tionate with the amount confiscated. But 
it was all in vain. There was the letter of 
tie law, and there were Mr. Fox and his as- 
sociates in the Custom-house, "all honour- 
aMe men," with handc- itching to clutch the 
plunder. 

But before thisquestionwassettled, the fate 
of stock opcratibn in Wall street was most 
effectually stopped. As soon as Mr. (Joulden 
heard of Mi*. A'len's death, he sold all he had 
at a slight loss, but his action awakened sus- 
picion, and it was speedily learned that the 
rise was due mainly to Mr. Allen's strong 
pushing, and the inevitable results followed. 
As poor Mr. Allan's remains were lowered 
into the vault, his stock in Wall street wus 
also going down with a run. 

In brief, the absence of the master's hand 
and by reason of his complications, there 
was general wreck and ruin in his affairs, and 
Mrs. Allen was soon compelled to face the 
even more awful fact, to her, than her hus- 
band's death, that not a penny remained of 
liis colossal fortuue, and that she had yawn- 
ingly sighed away all of her own means. But 
she could only wring her hands in view of 
these blighting truths, and iildulge in half 
uttered complaints against her husbr.nd'3 
" folly," as she termed it. From the firat 
her grief had ))een more emotional than deep, 
and ner mind recovering some of its usual 
peace, had begun to be much occupied Avith 
preparations for a grand funeral, which was 
carried out to her taste. Then arose deeply 
interesting, questions as to various styles of 
momjfing costume, and an exciting vista of 
dressmaking opened before her. She was 
growing into quite a serene and hopeful 
frame when the miserableand blighting facts 
all broke upon her. When there was little 
of seeming necessity to do, and multitudes 
to do for her, Mrs. Allen's nerves permitted 
no small degree of activity. But now as it 
became certain that sh6 and her daughters 
must do all themselves, her handsgrew help- 
less The idea of being poor was like dying 
to her. It was entering on an experience so 
utterly foreign and unknown that it seemed 
like going to another world and phase of ex- 



^^— ' 



'i 



I 

if ' 









32 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



i 



istonce, and £ho shrank in pitiablo dread 
from it. 

Luuru had all her mother's helpIeRS shrink- 
ing from poverty, but with anotlicr and even 
bitterer insfredient added. Mr, GoiiWen 
was extremely polite, exquisitely sylnpathe- 

"^ tic, and in terms as vacue as elegantly ex- 
pressed, had offered to do anytl'iiig (but 
nothing in particular) in his power to show 
his regard for the family, and his esteem for 
his departed friend. He was very sorry 
that business would compel him to leave 
town for some little tim«> — 

Laura had the spirit to interrupt him say- 
ing, *' It mattei-s little, sir. There are no 
fnrther Wall street operations to l>e carried 
on here. Invest your time i^d friendship 
where it will pay. " 

^^ Mr. (iouldon, who plumed himself that he 
would slip out of thiii bad matrimonial speuu' 
lation with such polished skill thi.t he would 
leave only fluttenug regret and sighs behind, 
suddenly saw uuder the biting satire of Lau- 
ra's words what a contemptible creature is 
the man whom selfish policy governs, rather 
than honour and principle. He had brains 
enough to comprehend himself and lose his 
self-respect then and there, as he went away 
tingling with s'lame from the girl he wrong- 
eil, but who had detected hia sordid ui'jan- 
ness. Sigh after him I She would ever de- 
spise him, and that hurt Mr. Goulden's vani- 
ty severely. He had come very near loving 
Laura Allen, about as near perhaps as he 
ever would loving anyone, and it liad cost 
him a little more to give her \ip than to 
choose between a good and a bad venture 
on the street. With compressed lips he hau 
said to himself — "No gushing sentnnent. Li 
carrying out^ your purpose to be rich you 
must marry rich." Therefore ho had gone 
to make what he meant to be his final call, 
feeling quite heroic in his steadfastness — his 
loyalty to purpose, that is, himself. But as 
he recalled during his homeward walk, her 
glad welcome, her wistful pleading looks, 
and then as she realized the truth, her pain, 
contempt, and her meaning words of scorn, 
his miserable egotism was swept asi4e, and 
for the first time the selfish man - saw the 
question from her Standpoint, and as we have 
said he was not so shallow but that he saw 
and loathed himsolf. He lost his self-resjiect 
as he never had before, and therefore to a 
certain extent, his power ever to be ha]->py 



again. 



Small men, full of petty conceit, can re- 
cover from any wounds upon their vanity, but 
proud and large-minded men have a self- 
respect, even though based npon questioo- 
able foundation. It is essential to them, and 
losing it, they are inwa,rdly wretched. As 



soldiers carry the painful acars of some 
wounds through life, so Mr. (Joulden would 
find that Laura's words had left a sore place 
while memory lasted. 

Mr. Van Dam quite disarmed Edith's sus- 
picions and prejuitices by lieing more friendly throl 
and intimate with Zell than ever, and the Yonl 
latter was happy and exultant in the fact, t cityf 
saying, with much elation, that her frieml \^Qf^^^, 
was "not a mercenary wretth, like Mr. ^^ 
Gouldcn, but remained just as true and kind wha| 
as ever. " thej 

It was evident that this attention and show peol 

of kindness to the warm-hearted uirl, made but] 

a deep impression and ffbeatly increased Mr. ther 

Van Dam s power over Tier. But Edith's sus- but| 

picion and dislike began to return as she saw 
more of the manner and spirit of the man. 
She instinctively felt that he was bad and 
designing. 

One day she quite incensed Zell, who was 
chanting his praises, by saying : 

"I haven't any faith in him. What has 
he done to show real ''friendship for us ? He 
only comes here to amuse himself with you ; 
(ius Elliot is the only one who has been of 
any help. " 

But Edith had her misgivings about Gus 
also. Now, in her troulde and poverty, hia 
weakness began to reveal itself in a new and 
repulsive light. In fact, that exquisitely 
fine young gentleman loved Edith well 
enough to marry her, but not to work for 
her. That was a sacrifice that he could not 
make for any woman. Though out of hia 
natural kindness and good-fiature he felt 
very sorry for her, and wanted to help and 
pet her, he had been shown his danger so 
clearly that he was constrained and awk- 
ward when with her, for, on one hand, hia 
father had taken him asitle and said, — 

" Look hpre, Gus. See to it that you 
don't entangle yourself with Miss Allen, now 
her father has failed. She couldn't support 
you now, and you never can support even 
yourself. If you would go to work H'ko a 
a man — but one has got to be a man to do 
that. It secns true, as your mother says, 
t'lat you are of too fine clay for com- 
mon uses. Therefore, don't make a fool of 
yourself. You can't keep up your style on 
a pretty face, and you must not wrong the 
girl by making her think you can take care 
of her. I tell you plainly, I can't bear an- 
other ounce added to my burden, and 
how long I'll stand up under it as it is, lean t ^ 

tell." _ _ I 

Gus listened with a sulky, injured air. He '% 

felt that his father never appreciated him as ^ 

did his mother and sisters, «nd indeed so- 
ciety at large. Society to Gus was the ultra- 

I 



IP 



WHAT CAN SHE DO 1 



ns 



1 aciirs of some 
(ioulden would 
left a 8010 place 

nieil Ktlith'asns. 
ng more friomlly 
n over, and the 
i"t in the tact, 
that her friencl 
icttli, like Mr. 
w true and kind 

ention and b))ow 
ited tirl, niude 
V increased Mr. 
lut Edith's SU3- 
sturn as she saw 
it of the man. 
le was bad and 

Zell, who was 

im. What has 
ipforus? He 
self with you ; 
^ho has been of 

ngs about Qua 
d poverty, his 
!f in a new and 
at exquisitely 
I Edith well 
ot to work for 
; he could not 
igh out of his 
lature he felt 
tl to help and 
his danger so 
>ed and awk- 
ne hana, his 

said, — 

it that you 
ss Allen, now 
Idn't supijort 
support even 

work like a 

a man to do 
mother says, 
*y for com- 
ake a fool of 
7onr 6tyl6 on 

wrong the 
n take care 
I't bear an- 
urden, and 
3 it is, leant 

ired air. He 
a ted him as 
ti indeed so- 
is the ultra. 



-^ 



fashionable world of which he was one of 
tlie nhining ligiits. 

l^ie ladies of the family quite restored 
his equanimity by saying : 

•* Now see liere, (ius, don't dream of 
throwing yourself away on Edith Allen. 
You can marry any girl you please in the 
city ; so, for heaven's sake (though what 
heaven had to do with their advice is hard 
to say), don't let lier lead you on to say 
what you would wish unsaid. Bemembt r 
they are no more now than any other poor 

Ceopie, except that they are refined, etc., 
ut this will only make poverty hanler for 
them. Of course we are sorry for them, 
but in this world people have got to take 
care of themselves. So we m'.'st be on the 
lookout for some one who has money which 
can't be sunk in a stock operation as if 
thrown into the sea. " 

After all this sound reason, poor, weak 
Gus, vaguely conscious of his helplessness, 
as stated by his father, and quite believing 
his mother's assurance that " he could 
marry any girl he pleased," was in no mood 
to urge the penniless Edith to give him her 
empty hand, while before the party, when 
he believed it full, he was doing his best to 
bring her to this point. Chough in fact, she 
gave him little opportunity. 

Edith detected the change, and before 
very long surmised the cause. It made the 
young girl curl her lip, and say, in a tone 
of acoru that would have done Gus good to 
hear : 

'• The idea of a maw acting in this style." 
But she did not care enough about him to 
receive a wound of any depth, and with a 
good-natured tolerance, recognized his weak- 
ness, and his genuine liking for her, and de- 
termined to mak| him useful. 

Edith was very practical, and possessed of 
a brave, resolute nature. 8he was capable 
of strong feelings, but Gus Elliott was not 
the man to awaken such in any woman. She 
liked his company, and proposed to use him 
in certain ways. Under her easy manner, 
Gus also became at ease, and finding that he 
was not expected to propose and be senti- 
mental, was all tlie more inclined to be 
friendly. 

" I want you to find me books, and papers 
also, if there are any, that tell how to raise 
fruit," she said to liim one day. 

" What a funny reqiiest ! I would as soon 
expect you would ask me for instruction how 
to drive a four-in-hand." 

"Nothing of that style, henceforth. I must 
learn something nseful now. Only the 
rich can aflford to be good-for-nothing, and 
we are not rich now. " 
3 



" For which I »m very sorry ," said (Jus, 
with some feeling. 

"Thank you. Such disinterested sym* 
pathy is beautiful," said Edith dryly. 

Gus looked a little rod and awkward, but 
hastened to say, " I will liunt up what you 
wiHh, and bring it as soon as possible." 

" You are verv f^ood. That is all at pre- 
sent," said Edith, m a tone that made Cjua 
feel that it was indeed all that was in his 
power to do for her at that time, and he 
went away with the dim perception that hu 
was nothing more than her errand boy. It 
made him very uucomfortablc. Though 
he wished her to understand he could 
not marry her now, ho wished her to sigh a 
little after him. Gus' vanity rather resented 
that, instead of pining for him, she should 
set him to work with a little quiet satire. 
He had never read a romance that ended so 
que^^rly. He ha- 1 expected that they might 
have a little tender scene over the inuxoroblo 
fate that parted them, give and take a me- 
mento, gasp, appeal to the moon, and see 
each other's facts no more, she going to the 
work and poverty tliat he could never stoop 
to from the innate refinement and elegance 
of his being, and he to hunt up the heiress 
to whom he would give the honour of inaiii> 
taining him in his true sphere. 

But his little meloclrama was entirely 
spoiled by her matter-of-fact way, and what 
was worse still he felt in her presence as if \w 
didnotamount tomuch, and that sheknewit ; 
and yet, like the poor moth that singes its 
wings around the lamp, he could nut keep 
away. 

The prominent trait of Gus' character, as 
of so many others in our luxurious age of 
self-pleasing, was weakness ; and yet one 
must be insane with vanity to l>e at ease, if 
he can do notliing resolutely, and dare no- 
thing great, lie is a cripple, and if not a 
fool, knows it. 

During the evt ntful month that followed 
Mr. Allen's death, Mrs. Allen and her 
daughters led, what seemed to them, a very 
strange life. While in one sense it was real 
and intensely painful, in another the experi- 
ences were so new and strange, it all seemed 
an unreal drea,m, a distressing nightmare of 
trouble and danger, from which they might 
awaken to their old life. 

Mrs. Allen from her large circle of ac- 
quaintances, had numerous callers, many 
coming from mere morbid curiosity, more 
from mingled motives, and not a few from 
genuine tearful sympathy. To these, "her 
friends, " as she emphatically called them, 
she found a melancholy pleasure in recount- 
ing all the recent woes, in which she evei 
appeared as chief sulferer, and uhiei 



34 



WHAT C4N SHE DO f 



monrnor, though her huRband seomed among 
tho minor h>HH08, and thuo most of her time 
was siMjnt during the lost few weeks at her 
old home. Her friends appeared to find a 
melancholy pleasure in listening to these de- 
tails and then in recounting them a^ain to 
other " friends" with a running commentary 
of their own, until that little fraction of the 
feminine world acquainted with the Aliens, 
hmd 8ighe<l, suvniiHed, an<l perhaps goasiped 
over the " afllicted family so exhaustively 
that it was really time fur something new. 
The men and tiie papers down town also ha^l 
th ir say, and perhaps all tried as far ns 
human nature would permit, to say nothing 
hut good of the dead and unfortunate. 

Laura, after the stinging pain of each suo- 
ressive blow to her happiness, sank into a 
dreary apathy, and did mochanically tho few 
things Kdith asked of her. 

Zell lived in varied moo<ls and conditions, 
now weeping bitterly for her father, again re- 
■ Honting with impotent passion the change in 
their, fortunes, but ending usually by com- 
f .rtiiig herself witli the tliought tliat Mr. 
Van Dam was true to her. He was as true 
iind faithful as an insidious, incurable disease 
when once infused into the system. His in- 
fernal policy now was to grtulually alienate 
her interest from her family and centre it in 
him. Though promising nothing in an open, 
manly way, he adroitly made her lieheve 
that only through him could she now hope 
to reach brighter iL/s again, and toZcU he 
seemed the one meansof escape from a detest- 
ed life of poverty and privation. She became 
more infatuated- witli him than ever, and 
cherished a secret resentment against Edith 
because of her distrust and dislike of him. 

The Aliens had few near relatives in the 
city at this time, and with these they 
Avere not on very good terms, nor were they 
the people to be helpful in adversity. Mr. 
Allen's partners were men of the world like 
himself, and they were also incensed that he 
should have been carrying on private specula- 
tions in Wall street to the extent of risking 
all his capital. His fatal stock operation, to- 
gether with the government confiscation, 
had involved them in ruin also, and they had 
enough to do to look after themselves. They 
were far more eager to secure something out 
of the general wreck thsn to see that any- 
tliing remained for the family. The Aliens 
were left very much to themselves in their 
struggle with disaster, securing help and 
advice chiefly as they paid for it. 

Mr. Allen was accustomed to say that 
women were incapable of business, and yet 
here are the ladies of his own household 
compelled to grapple with the most perplex- 
ing forms of business or suffer aggravated 



lomes. Though all of his family were of 
mature years, and thousaiuls ha<l l>een spent 
ou their education, they were as helplet«t» as 
four chihlrcn in de.-.ling with the practical 
questions that daily came to them for decision. 
At first all matters were i atu 'ally referred 
to the widow,' but she would only wring hor 
luuids and say — 

"I don't know anything about theua horrid 
things. Can't I l>c left alone >v\i\\ niv aonow 
in peace a few days / (Jo to Edith. 

And to Edith at last all came till the poor 
girl was almost distracted. It was of no ues 
to go to Laura for advice, for she would only 
say in dreamy apathy, — 

" Just as you tliink best. Anything you 
say." 

She was indulging in unrestrained wretch- 
edness to the utmost. Luxurious despair 
is so much easier than painful, perplexing 
action. 

Zell was still " the child " and entirely 
occupied with Mr. Van Dam. So Edith had 
to bear the brunt of everything. She did 
not do this in uncomplaining sweetness, like 
an ange^, but scoMccl the others souinlly for 
leaving all to her. They whined back 
that they " couldn't do anything, and didn't 
know how to do anytliing. ' 

•* You know as much as I do," retorted 
Edith. 

And this waj true. Had not Edith pos- 
sessed a practical, resolute nature, that pry- 
ferred any kind of action to apathetic inac- 
tion and futile grieving, she would havo 
been as helpless as the reat. 

Do you say then that it was a mere matter 
of chance that Edith should be superior to 
the othera, and that she deserved no credit, 
and they no blame ? Why should such all- 
important conditions be the mere result of 
chance and circumstance I Would not 
christian education and principle have vastly 
improved the Edith that existed ? Would 
they not have made the others helpful, self- 
forgetting, and sympathetic ? Why should 
the world be full of people so deformed or 
feeble morally, or so ignorant, as to be help- 
less ? Why should the naturally strong 
work with only contempt and condemnation 
for the weak ? While many say " stand 
Aside, I am holier than thou," perhaps 
more say, "etand aside, I am wiser — strong- 
er than thou, " and the weak are made more 
hopelessly discouraged. This helplessness 
on one hand, and arrogant fault-finding 
strength on the other, are not the result of 
chance, but of an imperfect education. 
They come from the neglect and wrong- 
doing of those whose province it was to 
train and educate. 

If we and among a family of children 



i 



w 



WHAT CAN SHE DO f 



3A 



kiiything you 



0," retorted 



renc)iiiig maturity, one helplfHS from «le- 
furinity, ftiwl ftiiothor from iVehU'nt'HH, ami 
nru t«>ltl that tlie pareiitM, by uinpluying 
Burgioul Hkill, might have rumuvetl the «lu- 
furiiiity, Aiui uveruomo the weakiicM })y 
tonic treatment, hnt hail neglcctetJ to »lo so, 
we would not have mucli to say about 
chance. I know of a jKior man who aijcnt 
Ufcarly all that ho had in the worUI, to have 
his lM>y 'h leg utraightencd, and he was ealleil 
a '* good father." Wliat arc these jihysical 
(lefects com|)are«l with the graver dcfecta of 
character ? 

Even thoutrh Mr. Allen is dead, we cannot 
say tliat he was a good father, though he 
spent so many thousands on his daughters. 
We certainly cannot call Mrs. Allen a good 
HKjther, and the proof of this is that Laura is 
feeble and seUish, Zell deformed througii lack 
of self-control, and Edith hard and pitiless 
in her comparative strength. They were un- 
able to cope with the practical questions of 
their situation. They had been launched 
upon the perilous, uncertain voyage of life, 
wiUiout the compass of true faith, or the 
liearts of principle to guide them, and in 
case of disaster, they had been provided 
with no life-boats of knowledge to save them. 
They are now tossing among the breakers 
of misf(jrtune, almost utterly the sport of 
the winds and waves of circumstances. 
If these girls never reached the shore 
of happiness and safety, could we wonder? 

How would your daughter fare, my 
reador, if you were gone and she were 
poor, with her hands and brain to depend 
ou for bread, and her heart cultui*e for 
happiness ? In spite of all your providence 
and foresight, such may be her situation. 
Such becomes the condition of many men's 
daughters every day. 

But time and events swept the Aliens 
forward, as the shipwrecked are borne on 
tlie crest of a wave, and we must follow 
their fortunes. Hungry creditors, espe- 
cially the petty ones up town, stripped 
them of everything they could lay their 
hands on, and they were soon compelled to 
leave their Fifth Avenue mansion. The 
little place in the country, given to Edith 
partly in jest by her fathei' as a birthday 
present, was now their only refuge, and to 
this they prei>ared to go the first of April. 
Edith, as usual, took the lead, and was 
to go in advance of the others with such 
furniture as they had been able to keep, 
a-iul prepare for their coming. Old Hannibal, 
who had grown grey in tlie service of 
the family, and now declined to leave it, 
was to accompany her. Ou a dark, lower- 
iuu (lay, symbolic of their fortunes, some 
loivtlod drays took down to the boat that 



with which they would comm('M(;o the 
meagre hou8ek(te|>ing of tlieir poverty. 
Edith wont sh>wly down the broad steps 
leading from her elegant home, aiul before 
she entered the carriage turned for one 
lingering, tearful look, such as Eve may 
have bent upon the gate of Paradise chming 
Itehind her, then sprang into the carriage, 
drew the curtains, and sobWl all the w ay 
to the boat. Scarcely once iMifore, during 
that long, hard month, had she so given 
way to lier feelings. Hut she was alone 
now and none could see her tears and call 
her weak. Hannibal took his seat on the 
box with the driver, and looked aiul felt 
very much as he did when following hi« 
master to Greenwooil. 



CHAPTER Vin. 



WABPED. 



It is the early breakfast hour at a small 
frame house, situated about a mile from the 
staid but thriving village of Pushton. Bui 
the indications around the house do not in- 
dicate thrift. Quite the reverse. As the 
neighbours expressed it, " there was a screw 
loose with Lacey, " the owner of thiii place. 
It was going down hill like its master. A 
general air of neglect and growing dilapida- 
tion impressed the most casual observer. 
The front gate hung on one hinge ; boards 
were off the shackly barn, and the house had 
grown dingy and weather-stained from lack 
of paint. But as you entered and passed 
from the province of the master to tlmt of 
the mistress, a new element was apparent, 
struggling with, but unable to overcome, the 
predominant tendency to untidiness and 
seediness. But everything that Mrs. Lacey 
controlled was as neat and cleanly as the 
poor overworked woman could keep it. 

At the time our story becomes interested 
in her fortunes, Mrs. Lacey was a middle- 
aged woman, but appeared older than her 
years warranted, from the long-continued 
strain of incessant toil, and from that which 
wears much faster still, the depression of an 
unhappy, ill-mated life. Her face wore 
the pathetic expression of confirmed dis- 
couragement. She reminded you of soldiers 
.fighting when they know it is of no use, and 
that defeat will be the only result, but who 
fight on mechanically, in obedience to 
orders. 

She is now placing a very plain but 
wholesome and well-prepared breakfast on 
the table, and it would seem that both tlie 
eating and cooking were carried on in the 
same large and general living room. Her 
dau^f liter, a rosy -cheeked, halt-grown girl of 



"WHAT CAN snK DO! 



F 



I 

■ I 

I 



fourteen, waa aimiMtinf; her, niul l>oth 
inothi'r and daii^liUr iicenio<l in a nervous 
■taU) of expectancy, an if hoping and fearing 
the rcHiilt of a near event. A moment'a 
glance Mhowod that thin event related to a 
lad of about seventeen, who was waliiing 
about the room, vainly trying to control the 
agitation which is natural oven to the cool 
and experienced when feeling that they arc 
ut one of the criaitt periods of life. 

It could not be exiwcted of Arden Tjiooy 
at Ilia age to be cool and experienced wliilc 
light curling hair, blue uyen, and a mobile 
seuHitive' mouth, expressed anything but a 
htolid self poise, or clieerful endurance. Any 
one accustomed to obaervo character could 
see that he was posHosHcd of a nervous fine- 
libred nature capable of noble achievement 
under right iniluenoes, but also easily warp- 
ed and susceptible to sad injury under 
brutal wrong. Ho was like those delicate 
iKixd somewhat complicated musical in- 
struments that produce the sweetest 
harmonies when in tune and well played 
upon, but the most jangling discords when 
unstrung and in rou;^h, ignorant hands. He 
had inherited his nervous temperament, his 
tendency to irritation and excess from the 
iliHeascd, over-stimulated system of his fa- 
ttier, who was fast becoming a coi>firmod 
inebriate, and who had been poisoning him- 
Keif with bad liquors all his life. From his 
mother he obtained what balance he had in 
temjjeromcnt, but owed more to her daily in- 
lluence and training. It was the one strug- 
gle of the poor woman's life to shield her 
L-hildren from the evil consequences of their 
father's life. For her sou she had special 
anxiety, knowing his sensitive high-strung 
miture, and his tendency to go headlong into 
»;\'il if his self-respect and control were once 
l;;st. His passionate love for her had been 
the boy's nest tniit, and through this she 
had controlled him thus far. But she had 
tlmught tlmt it might have been best for him 
to be away from his father's presence and 
inlluence if she could only find something 
that accorded with his bent. And this 
eventually proved to be a college education. 
The boy was of a quick and studions mind. 
From earliest years he had been fond of 
books, and as tnne advanced, the passion for 
study and reading grew upon him. He had 
a strong iniaginatioi), and his favourite 
styles of reading were such as appealed to 
this. In the scenes of history and romance 
he escaped from the sordid life of toil and 
sliame to which his father had condemned 
him, into a large realm that seemed rich and 
glorified in contrast. When he was but 
toiuteen the thought of a liberal education 
tirtvl his ambition and became the di'eani cf 



his life. ITe made the very most of tlie dis- 
trict school to which he was sent in winter. 
The ti-acher hapjM'ned to bo a well-iducated 
man, and took pride in his apt, rager schoN 
ar. Between the lM)y's and mother's paving* 
they had enough to secure private lesponn m 
iMtm and (Jreek, and now at the age of 
seventeen, he was tolerably well prepared 
for college. 

But the father had no pympath" at nil 
with these tasti's, and from the inc«HKant la- 
bour he required of his son, and the con- 
stant interruptions he had occinioned in his 
studios even in winter, he had Ijoen a per- 
petual bar to nil progreps. 

On the day previous to the scene described 
in tho opening of this chapter, the winter 
term had closed, and Mr. Bule, the teacher, 
had declare*! that Arden couhl enter college, 
and with natural pride in his own work aji 
instructor, intimated that he would lend his 
class if he did. 

Both mother and son were so elated nt 
this that they determine*! at once to state 
the fact to the father, thinking that if he 
had any of'the natural feelings of a parent, 
he would take some pride in his boy, and be 
willing to help him obtain the education he 
longecifor. 

But there is little to be hoped from a 
man who is completely under the iiiflu- 
ence of ignorance and mm. Mr. Lacey 
was the son of a small farmer like him- 
self, and never had anything to recommend 
him but his tine looks, which had captivated 
poor Mrs. Lacey to her cost. Unlike the 
majority of his clasp, who are fast becoming 
a very intel'-orent part of the community, 
and are glad ^ effucate their children, he 
boasted that he liked the "old ways," and 
by these he meant tho worst ways of his 
father's day, wlien books and schools were 
scarce, and a few newspapers found their 
way to rural homes. He was, like Ids 
father before him, a graduate of the village 
tavern, and had imbined bad liquor, and his 
ideas of life from that questionable source at 
the same time. With tho narrow-minded- 
ness of his class, he had a pre- 
judice against all learning that went 
beyond the three R's, and had watched 
with growing disapprobation his son's taste 
•for books, believing that it would spoil him 
as a farm hand, and make him an idle 
dreamer. He was less and less inclined to 
work himself as his frame became diseased 
and enfeebled from intemperance, and he 
deteriiiined now to get as much work as 
possible out of that "great hulk of a boy," 
as he called Arden. He had picked up 
some hints of the college hopes, and the 
xavy thought angered him. He determined 






til 
w 
o> 

tl 

hi 

BC 
III 

m 
w 
in 
k 



WHAT CAN SIIK DO ♦ 



9? 



that vvlion tlio boy hrouchi'd tho ■ulijfct lie 
wiiiilil givo him niu-h a "jnwing" (tu unu hia 
own vmiacular) " na would put tin I'litl to 
tliat iumfieurto. " Th«r»'for« both Aril«ii ftn<l 
hiH itiiithur, who nro wniting an wu havu di'- 
Bcrilxnl in hucIi ])t>i'turl><Hl anxious ntAte for 
his (Mitiance, nr<; ciooined to bitter <1iH> 
apixiintinunt. At last a lioavy, rud-faood 
III. Ill fiiturud tliu kitflion, stiilkiug in on thu 
wliitu iloor out of the drt/zliug rain with his 
muddy iKHits Ivaving tracks and blotches in 
keeping witli IiIh ('liaractcr. But he had the 
grace to wash hi« grimy handH JKjfore sitting 
down to the table. He was always in a bad 
liuinonr in tlio iiKtrniiig, and thu chilly ruin 
had not im])r<)ve<l it. A glance around 
showed him that something was on hand, 
and iio su!'nii»ed that it Wiu the collego 
bu.>fincss. He at onc« thought within him- 
self. 

" I'll H<nielch the thing now, once for all." 

lurning to his son, he saiit, " Look here, 

ymng^ter, why huint you been out doing 

your chores ? D'ye expect me to do your 

work and mine too ? " 

•* Fatlier," said the impulsive boy with a 
voice of trembliau cagorucaa, " if you will 
let me go to cofloge next fall, I'll do my 
work and yours too, I'll work night and 
day-" 

•• What cussed nonsense is this ? " de- 
mandeil the man harshly, clashing down 
liis knife and fork and turning frowningly 
toward liiiison. 

" No, but fatlier listen to me before you 
refr.so. Mr. Rule says I'm fit to enter 
college, and that I can lead my class too. 
I've uceu studying for this three years. 
I've set my heart upon it," and iu his 
earnestucas tears gathered in his eyes. 

*'The more fool you, and old Rule is 
another, " was the coarse answer. 

The boy's eyes flashed angrily, but the 
mother here spoke. 

'* You ought to be proud of your 
son, John ; if you were a true 
father you would be. If you'd en- 
courage and help him now, he'd make a man 
that-" 

• " Shut up ! little you know about it. 
He'd make one of your snivelling white fin- 
gered loafers that's too proud to get a living 
by hard work. Perhaps you'd like to make 
a parson out of him. Now look here old 
woman^ and you too, my young cock, I've 
suspicioned that something of this kind was 
up, but I tell you once for all it won't go. 
Just as this hulk of a boy is ^ettin' of some 
use to me, you want to spoil him by sending 
him to college. I'll see him hanged first, 
and the man turned to his breakfast as if he 



had settled it. Rut he was startled by Lis 
son's exclaiming paasionately,— 

"I will go." 

" Look a hero, what do you moan ? " said 
the father, riHiiig with a black, ugly look. 

"I mean I've set my heart on going to 
college and I will go. \ ou and all the w.rld 
shan t hinder me. I won't stay here and be 
a farm drmlge all my life." 

The man's face was livid with anger, and 
in a low hissing tone ho said, — 

"I guess you want taking down a peg, 
my college gentleman. Perha[>8 you don't 
know I'm master till you're twenty -one," 
and he reached down for a leather strap. 

" You strike me if you dare," shouted the 
boy." 

"If I dare ! haw ! haw ! If I don't cut 
the cussed nonsense out of yor this morning, 
then I never did," and ho took an anmy 
stride toward his son who sprang behind the 
stove. 

The wife and mother had stood by, grow- 
ing whiter, and with lips pressed close to- 
f^ether. At this critical moment she stepped 
)efore her infuriated husband and seized his 
arm, exclaiming, — 

" John, take care. You have reached the 
end." 

"Stand aside," snarled the man, raising 
the strap, " or I'll give you a taste of it, 
too." 

The woman's grasp tightened on his arm, 
and in a voice that made him pause and look 
fixedly at her, she said, — 

'• If you strike me or that boy I'll take my 
children and we will leave your roof this 
hateful day never to return. " 

" Hain't I to l)e master in my own house?" 
said the husband, sullenly. 

" You are not to be a brute in your own 
house. I know you've struck me before, 
but I endured it and said nothing about it 
because you were drunk, but you are not 
.drunk now, and if you lay a finger on me or 
my eon to-day, I will never darken your 
doors again. " 

The unnatural father saw that he had 
gone too far He had not expected such an 
issue. He had long been accustomed to fol- 
low the lead of his l>rutal passions, but had 
now /cached a point where he felt he must 
stop, as his wife said. Turning on his heel, 
he sullenly took his place at the table mut* 
tering,— 

" It's a pretty pass when there's mutinjf 
in a man's own house. " Then to hia son, 

" You won't get a d n cent out of me for 

your college business, mind that." 

Rose, the daugiiter, who had been crying 
and wringing her hands on the door-step, 
now came timidly iii, and at a sign from her 



^ 



i 



;jh^iii|!!ij( 



ss 



WHAT CAN SHE BO ? 



into 



an- 



I I 



i i 



mother, she and her brother went 
other jfooin. 

The man ate for a while in doggod silence, 
but at last in a tone that was meant to be 
somewhat conciliatory, said, 

** What the devil did you mean by putting 
the boy up to such foolishness ?" 

"Hush !" said his wife imperiously, " I'm 
in no mood to talk mtii you now." 

"Oh, ah, indeed, a man can't even speak 
in his own house, eh ? I smesa I'll take my- 
self off to where I can have liberty," and 
he went out, harnessed his old white horse, 
and started for his favourite groggery in the 
village. 

His father had no sooner gone than Arden 
came out and said, passionately, 

"It*s no use, mother, I can't stand it; I 
must leave home to-day ; I guess I can make 
a living, at any rate I'd rather starve than 
pass through such scenes. " 

The poor, overwrought woman threw her- 
self down in a low chair and sobbed, rocking 
herself back and forth. 

" Wait till I die, Arden, wait till I die, I 
feel it won't be long. ' What have I to live 
for but yoi' and Rosy, and if you, my pride 
' and joy, go away after what has happened, 
it will be worse than death, " and a tempest 
of grief shook her gaunt frame. 

Arden was deeply moved. Boylike he had 
been thinking only of himself, but now as 
never before he realized her hard lot, and in 
his warm impulsive heart there came a yearn- 
ing tenderness for her such as he had never 
felt before. He took her in his arms and 
kissed and comforted her, till even her sore 
heart felt the healing balm of love and ceased 
its bitter aching. At last she dried her eyes 
with a faint smile, and said, 

" With such a boy to pet me, the world 
isn't all flint and thorns yet." 

^jxd Rosy came and kissed her too, for 
she was an affectionate child, though a little 
inc'l led to-be giddy and vain. 

" Don't worry, mother," said Arden. " I 
will stay and take such good care of you, 
that you will live many years yet, and hap- 
pier ones, too, I hope,'' and he rjsolved to 
keey this promise, cost wh-\t it might. 

" I har{ily think I ought to ask it of you, 
though even the thought of your going away 
breaks mv heait. " 

"I will stay," said the boy, almost as 
passionately as he had said, "I will go." 
*• I now see how much you need a pro- 
tector. " 

That night the father came home so 
stupidly drunk that they had to half carry 
him to bed where he slept heavily till morn- 
ing, and rose coiisiderably shaken and de- 
pressed from his debauch. The breakfast 



was an silent as it had been stormy on the 
previovis day. After it was over, Arden 
followed his father to the door and said, — 
" I v^as a boy yesterday morning, but 
you maiio me a man, and a ratlicr ugly one 
too. I learned then for the first time that 
you occasionally strike my mother. Don't 
you ever do it again, or it will be worse 
for you, drunk or sober. lam not going to 
college, but will stay home and take 
care of her. Do we understand each 
otlier ?• 

'i'iie man was in such a low, shattered con- 
dition that his son's bearing cowed him, 
and he walked off muttering, — 

" Young cocks crow mighty loud," but 
from that time forward he never offered 
violence to his wife or children. 

Still his father's conduct and character 
had a most disastrous effect upon the young 
man. He was soured, because disappoint- 
ed in his most cherisl^ed purpose, at an age 
when most youths scarcely have definite 
plans. Many have a strong natural bent, 
and if turned aside from this, they are more 
or less unhappy, and their duties instead of 
being wings to help forward in life, become a 
galling yoke. 

Th's was the case of Arden. Farm work, 
as he had learned it from his father, was 
coarse, heaA'y drudgery, Avith small and un- 
certain returns, and these were largely 
spent at tlie village rum shops in purchas- 
ing ■ slow perdition for the husband, 
and misery and shame for the wife and 
children. , 

In respectable Pushton, a drunkard's 
family, especially if poor, had a very low 
social status. Mrs. Lacey and her children 
would not accept of bad associations, so 
they scarcely had any. This ostracism, 
within certain limits is perhaps right. The 
preventive penalties of vice can scarcely be 
too great, and men and women must be 
mide to feel that wrong-doing is certain 
to be followed by terrible consequences, 
riie fire is merciful in ^hat it always burns, 
and sin and suffering are inseparably 
linked. But the consequences of one per- 
son's sin so often blight tlie innocent. The 
necessity of this from our various ties, 
should be a motive, a hostage against sin- 
ning, and doubtless restrains many an one 
who would go headlong under evil im- 
pulses. But multitudes do slip off the patlis 
of virtue, and helpless wives, ami often 
helpless husbands and children, writhe from 
wounds made by those under saorcd obli- 
gations to shield them. Upon tlie families 
of criminals, society visits a niildrow of 
coldness and scorn that Mi splits nearly all 
chances of good fruit. Only society is very 



Ul!l| 

thul 

trcj 

ed 

Gel 

alK 



oui 



ded 

chd 
thJ 




"WHAT CAN SHE DO 



u stormy on the 
aa over, Ardeu 

door and said, 

y morning, but 
rather ugly one 
! first time that 
Mother. Don't 
will be worse 
vm not going to 
>me and take 
nderstand each 

, shattered con- 
g cowed hiui, 

ity loud," but 
never offered 
ten. 

and character 
upon tlie young 
se disappoint- 
•pose, at an age 

have definite 
J natural bent, 

they are more 
ities instead of 
I life, become a 

Farm ^ork, 
is father, was 
small and un- 

were largely 
8 in purclias- 
;he husband, 

the wife and 

' drunkard's 
d a very low 
I herchiklren 
sociations, so 
is osti-acisni, 
right. The 
i scarcely be 
len must be 
g is certain 
consequences. 
Iways burns, 

inseparably 
iS of one per- 
)cent. The 
'various ties, 
against sin- 
lany an one 
31* evil im- 
}ff the paths 

aiid often 
writhe from 
laored olili- 
the families 
inildrow of 

nearly all 
iety is very 



unjust in its discriminations, and somp of 
the ijjost heinous sins in (rod's sight i\re 
ti'catea as more ecucntrioities, or condemn- 
ed in the poor, but winked at in tiie rich. 
Gentlemen will admit to their parlours, men 
about whom they know facta, which if true of 
a woman, would close every respectable 
door against her, and God frowns on the 
christian (?) society that makes such arbi- 
trary and unjust distinctions. Cast both 
out, till they bring forth fruits meet for re- 
pentance. 

But wp hope for little of a reformative ten- 
dency irom the beltish society of the world ; 
changing human fashion rules it, rather than 
the eternal truth of the God of love. The 
saddest feature of all is that the shifting 
code of fashion is coming more and more to 
govern the church. Doctrine may remain 
the same, profession and intellectual belief 
the same, while practical action drifts far 
astray. There are multitudes of wealt^iy 
chupjhes. that will' no more admit associa- 
tions with that class among which our Lord 
lived and worke<l, than will select society. 
They seemed to be designed to help only re- 
spectable, well-conn. cted sinners, toward 
heaven. 

This tendency has two phases. In the 
cities the poor are practically excluded from 
worshipping with the rich, and missions are 
established for them as if they were heathen. 
I have no objection to costly magnificent 
churches. J^othiug is too good to be the 
expression ot our honour and love of God. 
But they should be like the cathedrals of 
Europe, where prince and peasant may bow 
together on the same level, as they are in the 
Divine presence. Christ made no distinction 
between the rich and pc'or regarding their 
spiritual value and need, nor should the 
Christianity named f\fter him. To tnat de- 
gree that it does, it is not Christianity. The 
meek and lowly Nazarene is not its inspira- 
tion. Perhaps the personage he told to get 
behind him when promising the *' kingdoms 
of the world and the glory of them, " has 
more to do with it. 

The second phase of this tendency as seen 
in the country is kindred but unlike. Pov- 
erty may not be so great a bar, but moral 
fallings off are more severely visited, and the 
family under a cloud, through the wrong- 
doing of one or more of its members, are 
treated very much as if they had a perpetual 
pestilence. The highly respectable keep 
aloof. Too often the quiet country church 
is not a sanctuary and ia place of refuge to 
those whom either their own or other's sin 
has wounded, a place where the grasp of 
sympathy and words of encouragement are 
spoken, but rather a place where they meet 



the cold, critical gaze of those who are 
hedged alx)ut with virtues and good connec- 
tions. I hope I am wrong, but how is it 
where you live, my reader? If a well-to-do 
thriving man of integrity takes a fine place 
in your community, wo all know how church 
people will treat him. And what they do 
IS all right. But society — the world, will 
do the same. Is Christianity — are the fol- 
lowers of the "Friei d of publican and sin- 
ners, " to do no more ? 

If in contrast a drunken wretch like Lacey 
with his wife and children come in town on 
top of a waggon-load of shattered furniture, 
a id all are dumped down in a back alley to 
scramble into the shelter of a tenement houso 
as best they can, do you call upon them ? 
Do you invite them to your pew? Do 
you ever urge and encourage them into 
your church and make even one of its cor- 
ners homelike and inviting ? 

I hope so ; but alas, that was not the 

feneral custom in Pushton, and poor 
Irs. Lacey had acquired the habit of stay- 
ing at home, her neighlxiurs hatl formed the 
habit of calling her husband a " dreadful 
man," and the family "very irreligious," 
and as the years passed they stcmedlo be 
more and more left to themselves. Mr. 
Lacey had brought his wife from a distant 
town where he had met and married her. 
She was a timid, retiring woman, and time 
and kindness were needed to draw her out. 
Bat no one had seemingly thought it wort'i 
while, and at the time our story takes an 
interest in their affairs, there was a growing 
iseiation. 

Ail this had a very bad effect upon Arden. 
As he gv<dw out of the democracy of boy- 
hood he met a certain social coldness and 
distance which he learned to understand 
only too early, and soon returned this treat- 
inent with increased coldness and aversion. 
Had it not been for the influence of his 
mother and the books he read, he would 
have inevitably fallen into low company. 
But he had promised his mother to shun it. 
He saw its result in his father's conduct.and 
as he read, and his mind matured, the nar- 
row coarseness of such company became re- 
pugnant. From time to time he was sorely 
tempte<l to leave home which his father 
made hateful in many respects, and try his 
fortunes among stranger^! wh ) would not 
associate with him a sot ; but his love for 
his mother kept him at her side, for he saw 
that her life was bound up in him, and that 
he alone coutd protect her and his sister an<L 
keep some sort of a shelter for them. In 
his unselfish devotion t > them his character- 
was noble. In his harsh cynicism to war. I 
the world and' cspocially the church peoplj,, 



40 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



for whom ho made no allowance whatever 
— in his utter hatred and detestation of his 
father, it was faulty, though, allowance 
must be made for him. He was also peculiar 
iu other respects, for his unguided reading 
iv^as of a nature that fed his imagination at 
the expense of his reasoning faculties. 
Though he drudged in a narrow round, and 
his lite was as hard and real as poverty and 
his father's intemperance could make it, he 
mentally lived ana found his solace in a 
world TiS large and unreal as an uncurbed 
fancy cculd create. Tharefore his Work was 
hurried through mechanically in the old 
slovenly methods to which he had been 
educated, he caring little for the results, his 
father squandering these ; and when the 
necessary toil was over, he would lose all 
sense of the sordid present in the pages of 
some book obtained from the village library. 
As he drove his milk cart to and from town 
he would sit in the chill drizzling rain, 
utterly oblivious of discomfort, with a half 
smile upon his lips, as he pictured to him- 
self some scene of sunny aspect or gloomy 
castellated grandeur of which his own im- 
a^iaatio':: ivas tlie architect. The famous 
in history, the heroes and heroines of 
fiction, and especially the characters of 
Shakespeare were more familiar to him than 
the people amonc whom he lived. From the 
latter he stood more and more aloof, while 
with the former he held constant intercourse. 
He had little in common even with hia sis- 
ter, who was of a very diflFerent tempera- 
ment. But his tenderness toward his mo- 
ther never failed, and she loved him with^he 
passionate intensity of a nature to which 
love was all, but which had found littlo to 
satisfy it on earth, and was ignorant of the 
love of God. 

And 80 the years dragged on to Ardon, 
and his twenty-first birtli-day made him free 
from his father's control as he practically 
long had been, but it also found him bound 
more strongly than ever by his mother's love 
.and need to his old home life. 



CHAPTER IX. 

The good cry that Edith indulged in on 
; her way to the boat was a relief to ner heart 
whiqh had long been overburdened. But 
the necessity of controlling her feelings, and 
the natural buoyancy of youth enabled her 
by the time they reached the wharf to see 
that the furniture and baggage were properly 
taken care of. No one could detect the 
traces of grief through her thick veil, or 
, guess from her firm, ^uiet tones, that she 



felt somewhat as Columbus might when 
going in search of a new world. And yet 
Edith had a hope and expectation from her 
country life which the others did not share at 
all. 

When she was quite a child her feeble 
health induced her father to let lier spend an 
entire summer in a farm-house of the bett( r 
class, whose owner had some taste for flow- 
ers and fruit. These she had enjoyed and 
luxuriated in as much as any butterfly of t « 
season, and as she irompod with the farmer u 
children, roamed the fields and woods aftir 
berries, and tumbled in the fragrant hay, 
health came tingling back with a fulness 
and vigour that had never lost. With 
all her" subsequent enj >yir.eat, that sum- 
mer stil' Qwelt iu her memory 
as the halcyon period of her life, and it was 
with tlie country she associated it. Every 
year she had longed for July, for then her 
father would break away from business for a 
couple of months and lake them to a place 
of resort. But the fashionable waterirg 
places were not at all to her taste as com- 
pared with that old farm house, and when- 
ever it was possible slie would watidfer ofi 
and make ''disreputable acquaintances," as 
Mrs. Allen termed thein, among the farm- 
ers and labourers' families in the vicinity of 
the hotel. But by this means she often ob- 
tained a basket of fruit or bunch of flowers 
that the others were glad to share in. 

In accordance with her practical nature 
she asked questions as to the habits, growth 
and culture ot trees and fruits, so that few 
city girls situated as she had been, knew as 
much about the products of the garden. She 
had also haunted conservatories and green- 
houses as much as her sisters had the costly 
Broadway temples of fashion, whose counteis 
are the altars to which women of the city 
bring their daily offerings ; and as we have 
seen, a fruit store was a place of delight to 
her. 

The thought that she could now raise 
fruit, flowers and vegetables on her own 
place without limit, was some compensation 
even for the trouble they had passed through 
and the change in their fortunes. 

Moreover she knew that because of their 
poverty she would have to secure from her 
ground substantial returns, and that her 
gardening must be no amateur trifling, but 
earnest work. Tlierefore having found a seat 
in the saloon of the boat, she drew out of her 
leather bag one of her garden-books, and 
some agi'icultural papers, and commenced 
studying over for the twentieth time the 
labours proper for April. After reading a 
while, she leaned back and closed her eyes 
and tiled to form such crude plans as were 



{(0881 1 
edge! 

Oi 
Hanr 

wistfi 

tainel 
Wlial 
"II 
world 
satist 



quiet 

Some 
now 

that 



i 



p. 



J8 might when 
i^orld. And yet 
station from her 
8 did not share at 

2hild her feeble 
let iier spend an 
se of the bettc r 
e taste for flow- 
ad enjoved and 
butterfly of t e 
ith tlie farmer s 
knd woods afti r 
i fragrant hay, 
vith a fulness 
r lost. With 
eat, that suni- 
ber memory 
fe, and it was 
d it. Every 
for then her 
I business for a 
lem to a place 
able waterirg 
taste as coiu- 
ise, and when- 
uid waMdfer ofi 
iaintances,"a8 
long the farm- 
the vicinity of 
she often ob- 
ich of flowers 
lare in. 

ictical nature 
labits, growth 
s, so that few 
Jeen, knew as 
garden. She 
I and green- 
ad the costly 
hose countcTs 
of the city 
as we have 
•f delight to 

i now raipe 
on her own 
ompensation 
ised through 

use of their 
re from her 
d that her 
trifling, but 
found a seat 
y out of her 
books, and 
commenced 
h time the 
reading a 
d her eyes 
as as were 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



41 



i 



f)ossible in her experience and lack of know- 
edge of a place tiiat she had not even seen. 

Opening her eyes suddenly she saw old 
Hannibal sitting near and regarding her 
wistfully. 

"You are a foolish old fellow to stay with 
■\" she said to him. '* You coi'ld have ob- 
tained plenty of nice places in th j city, 
Wliat made you do it ? ' 

" Is'e couldn't gib any good reason to de 
world, Miss Edie, but de one I hab kinder 
satistios my ole black heart. " 

" Your heart isn't black, Hannibal." 

"How do you know dat?" he asked 
quickly. 

" Because I've seen it often and often. 
Sometimes I think it is whiter than mine. I 
now an«l then feel so desperate and wicked, 
that I ana afraid of mjsseli. " 

*' Tliere now, you'd ^i^prried and worn out 
and you thinks dat's being wicked. " 

" No, I am satiuHed it is something worse 
than that. I wonder if God does care about 
people who are in trouble,! mean practically, 
80 as to help them any ? " 

" Well, I speed he do68,"ftaiil Haunibal 
vaguely. 

" But den dere's so many in trouble dat 
I'm afeard some hab to kinder look arter 
thssselves." Then as if a bright thought 
struck him, he added, "I specs he sorter 
lumps 'em jus as Maasa Allen did when he 
said he was sorry for de people buraed up in 
Chicago. He sent 'em a big lot ob money 
aud den sjeemed to forget all about 'em. " 

Haimibal had never given much attention 
to religion, and perhaps was not the best 
authority that Edith could have consulted. 
But his conclusion seemed to secure her con- 
sent, for she leaned "back wearily aud ag^n 
closed her eyes saying — 

" Yes, we are mere human atoms, lost sight 
of in the multitude. " 

Soon her deep regular breathing showed 
that she was asleep, and Hannibal muttered 
softly-T- 

"Bress de child, dat will do her a heap 
more good dan asking dem deep questions," 
and he watched beside her as a large faithful 
Newfoundland might. 

At last he touclied her elbow and said, 
" We got off at de next landing, aud I guess 
we mus' be pretty nigh dare. " 

]*]dith started up refreshed and asked, 
*' What sort of an evening is it ?" 

"Well, I'se sorry to say it's rainin' hard 
and beiTy dark. " 

To her dismay she also found it was nearly 
nine o'clock. Tlie boat had been late in 
starting, and was so -heavily laden as to make 
f)low progress against wind and tide. Edith's 
heart saiUc within her at the thought of land- 



ing alone in a strange place that dismal night. 
It was indeed new experience to her. But 
she donned her v/aterpi oof, and the moment 
the boat touched the wharf, hurried ashore, 
and stood under lier small umbrella, while 
her household gods were being hustled into 
the drenching rain. She knew the injury that 
must result to them unless they could speed- 
ily be carried into the boat-house near. At 
first there seemed no one to do this save 
Hannibal, who at once set to work, but she 
soon observed a man with a lantern gathering 
up some butter-tubs that the boat was 
landing, and she immediately appealed to 
him for help. 

"I'm not the dock-master," was the gruff 
reply. 

V You are a man, are you not, and one 
that will not turn away from a lady in dis- 
tress. If my things stand long in this rain 
they will be greatly injured." 

The man thus adjured turned his lantern 
on the speaker, and while we recognize the 
features of our acquaintance, Arden Lacey, 
he sees a faCe on that old dock that quite 
siariles him. If Edith ha*d dropped down 
with the rain, she could not have been more 
unexpected, and with her large dark eyes 
flashing suddenly on him, and her appealing 
yet half -indignant voice breaking la upon 
the waking dream, with which he was be- 
guiling the outward misery of the night, it 
seemed as if one of the characters of his fancy 
had suddenly become real. He who would 
have passed Edith in surly, unnoting in- 
difference on the open street in the 
garish light of day, now took the keenest 
interest in her. He had actually been ap- 

gealed to, as an ancient knight might have 
een, by a damsel iu distress, and he turned 
and helped her with a will, which, 'tracked 
by his powerful strength, soon placed her 
goods under shelter. The lagging dock- 
master politicly kept nut of the May till the 
work was almost do>:« and then bustled up 
in time for an} fees, u they were offered, 
but Arden told him that since he had kept 
out of sight so long, he m<ght remain invis- 
ible," which was the unpopular way the 
young man had. 

When the last article had been placed 
under shelter Edith said, — 

"I appreciate your help exceedingly. How 
much am I to pay you for your trouble ?" 
" Nothing," was the rather curt reply. 
The appearance of a lady like Editn, with 
a beauty that seemed weird and strange as he 
caught glimpses of her face by the fitful rays 
of his lantern, had made a sudden and strong 
impression on his morbid fancy and fitted 
the wild imaginings with which he had occu, 
pied the dreary hour of waiting for the boat. 



U 'N if 



W 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



I 



The presence of her sable attendant had in- 
creased these impressionn. But when she 
took out her purse to pay him his illusions 
vanished. Therefore the abrupt tone in 
which he said "Nothing," and which was 
mainly caused by vexation with the mattui- 
of-fact world that continually mocked his un- 
real one. 

" I don't quite understand you," said 
Edith. "I had no intention of employing 
your time and strength without remunera- 
tion." 

" I told you I was not the dock-master," 
said *.rden rather coldly. " Hell take all 
the fees you will give him. You appealed to 
me as a man, and said you were in distress. 
I helped you as a man. Good evening. " 

•' Stay," said Edith hastily. "You seem 
not only a man, but a gentleman, and I am 
tempted, in view of my situation, to trespass 
still further on your kindness," but she hesi- 
tated a moment. 

It perhaps had never been intimated to 
Ardrn before that he was a gentleman, cer- 
tainly never in the tone with which Edith 
spoke, and his fanciful, chivalric nature re- 
sponded at once to the touch of that chord. 
With the accent of voice he ever used toward 
his mother, he said, — 

" I am at your service." 

*' We are strangers here,'* continued 
Edith. " Is there any place near the land- 
ing where we can get safe comfortable lodg- 
ing ?" 

'* I am sorry to say there is not. The 
village is a mile away." 

" How can we get there ?" 

" Isn't the stage down ?" asked Arden of 
the dock-master. 

" No !" was the gruff response. 

"The night is so bad I suppose they didn't 
come, I would take you myself in a minute 
if I had a suitable waggon. " 

" Necessity knows no choice," said 
Edith, quickly. " I will go with you in any 
kind of a waggon, and I surely hope you 
won't leave me on this lonely dock in the 
rain. ' 

*' Certainly not," said Arden, reddening 
in the darkness that he could be thought 
capable of such an act. "But I thought I 
could drive to the village and send a carriage 
for you. " 

" I would ratlier go with you now, if you 
will let me," said Edith decidedly. 

" Tha best I have is at your service, but I 
fear you will be sorry for your choice. I've 
only a board for a seat, and my waggon has 
no springs. Perhaps I could get a low box 
for you to sit on. " 

"Hannibal can sit on the box. With 



! 



your pt,rniis8ion I will sit with you, for I 
wisli to ask you some questions. " 

Arden hung his lantern on a hook in front 
of his waggon, and helped or partly lilted 
Kditli over the wheel to the seat, which was 
simply a board resting on the sides of the 
box. He turned a butter-tub upside down 
for Hannibal, and then they jogged out from 
behind the boat-hou^e where he had shelter- 
ed his horses. 

This was all a new experience to Arden. 
He had, from his surly misanthropy, little 
familiarity with society of any kind, and 
since as a boy, he had romped with the girls 
at school, he had been almost a tot:U strang- 
er to all womenr'save those in his own home. 
Most young men would have been awkward 
louts under the circumstances. But this was 
not true of Arden, for he had daily been 
holding converse in *he books he dreamed 
over with women of finer clay than he could 
have found at Pushton. He wouM have 
been excessively awkward in a drawing- 
room or anyplace of conventiontal resort, or 
rather he would have been sullen and \icnv- 
isii, but the place and manner in which ho 
had met Editli, accorded with liis romantic 
fancy, and the darkness shielded his rough 
exterior from observation. 

Moreover, the presence of this flesh and 
blood woman at his side gave him different 
sensations from the stately dames, or even 
the most piquant maidens that had smiled 
upon hin: u the shadowy scenes of his im- 
agination : and when at times, as the 
waggon jolted heavily, she grasped his arm 
for a second to steady herself, it seemed as 
if the dusky little Hgnre at his side was a sort 
of human electric battecy charged with tliat 
snbtle fluid which some believe the material 
life of the universe. Every now and then as 
they bounced over a stone, the lantern 
would bob up and throw a ray on a face like 
those thsf, had looked out upon him from the 
plays of Shakspeare whose scenes are laid in 
Italy. 

Thus the dark, chilly, rainy night, was 
becoming the most luminous period of his 
life. Reason and judgment act slowly, but 
imagination takes tire. 

But to poor Ed'th, all was real 
and dismal enough, and she often 
sighed heavily. To Arden each sigh 
was an appeal for sympathy. He had 
driven as rapidly as he dared in the darknt'ss 
to get her out of the rain, but at last she 
said clinging to his arm, — 

" Won't you drive slowly, the jolting has 
given me a pain in my side?" 

He was conscious of a new and peculiar 
sensation there also, though not from joltinr-. 
He had been used to that in many ways a^l 



<iin lift 
on a 
Edith, 
Hecuri 
••T) 
was fi) 
"0 
tween 
if a 
quic'kl 
owner 
"Y 
expect 
And y 
■who 
to be 
him. 



i»er. 



g--v;-as-:aoBKS 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



i^ 



with you, for I 
tioiis. " 

on a hook in front 
or partly hlted 
3 seat, which wa« 
the sides of the 
;"b upside down 
/ jogged out ftom 
•e he had shelter- 

erience to Arden. 
isanthropy, little 
any kind, and 
ted with the girls 
>st a tot-iJ atiang- 
n his own home. 
i''e been awkward 
es. But this was 

had daily heen 
ks he dreamed 
ay than he could 
if wouM liavc 

in a drawing- 
iontal resort, or 
ullen and l)ear- 
mer in which ho 
\i his romantic 
jlded liis rough 

? this flesh and 
i him ditferent 
■ damea, or even 
at had smiled 
enes of his ini- 
times, as the 
rasped his arm 
If, it seemed as 
3 side was a sort 
rged with that 
i'e the material 
ow and then as 
e, the lantern 
y on a face like 
n him from tlie 
enes are laid in 

kiny night, was 

period of his 

ct slowly, but 

11 was real 

she often 

each sigh 
ly- He had 
^ the darkness 
t at last she ' 

he jolting has 

and peculiar 

b from jol tin r-. 
my ways ad 



iniw life, but, thereafter they jogged forward 
ton a walk through the drizzling rain, and 
Edith, recovering her breath, and a sense of 
eecurity, began to ask the questions. 

•• Do you know where the cottage is that 
was formerly owned by Mr. Jenks?" 

•' Oh yes, it's not far from our house— ;be- 
tween our house and the village. " Then as 
if a sudden thought struck him he added 
quickly, " I heard it was sold, are you the 
owner ?'* 

'• Ye3," said Edith a little coolly, she had 
expected to questioii and not be questioned. 
And yet she was very glad she had met one 
■who knew about her place. But she resolved 
to be uon>committal till she knew more about 
him. 

" What sort of a house is it ?" she asked 
after a moment. * " I have never seen it." 

*' Well, it's not very large and I fear it is 
^somewhat out of repair — at least it looks so, 
'and I should thiuk a new roof was needed." 

Edith could not help saying pathetically, 
"Oh, dear, I'm so sony." 

Ardcn then added hastily. " But it's a 
kind of a pretty place too — a great many 
fruit trees and grape vines on it. ' ♦ 

"So I've been told," said Edith. "And 
that will be its chief attraction to me. " 

" Then vou are goi to live there ?'* 

"Yes."' 

Arden 's heart gave a sudden throb. Then 
he would see this mysterious stranger often. 
But he smiled half bitterly in the darkness as 
he queried, " What will she appear like in 
the daylight?" 

Her next question broke the spell he was 
under utterly. They were passing through 
the village and the little hotel was near, and 
-she naturally asked, — 

"To whom am I indebted for all this kind- 
ness? I am glad to know so much .as tliat 
you are my neighbour. " 

Suddenly and painfully conscious of his 
imtward life and surroundings, he answered 
briefly, — 

" My name is Arden Lacey. We have a 
small farm a little lieyond your cottage." 

Wondering at his change of tone and man- 
v|»er, Edith still ventured to ask, — 

' ' And d • you know of anyone who could 
Ihring iny furniture and things up to-morrow?" 

As he sometimes did that kind of work, 
an i'lupulse to see more of her impelled him 
I to say,— 
f "I suppose I can do it. I work for a liv- 

' I am sure that is nothing against you," 
said Edith kindly. 

" Vou M'ill not live long in Pushton before 
learning that there is something against us," 
wa3 lh»j bitter reply. "But that need not 



prevent my working for you, as I do for 
others. If you wish, I will make a fire in 
your house early, to take off the chill and 
dampness, and then go for your furniture. 
The people here will send you out in a car* 
riage. 

"I will be greatly obliged if you will do so 
and let me pay you. " 

"Oh certainly, I will charge the usual 
rates. " 

" Well, then,^ow much for to-night?" 
said Edith ifis she stoo^ in the hotel-door. 

"To-night is another affair," and he 
jumped into his waggon and rattled away in 
the darkness, his lantern looking like a 
"will-o'-the-wisp" that might vanish aX- 
together. 

The landlord received Edith and her at- 
tendant with a gruff civility, and crave her 
in charge of his wife, who was a bustling red- 
faced woman '<vith a sort of motherly kind- 
ness about her. 

" Why you poor child," she said to Edith, 
turning her round before the light, "you're 
half drowned. You must have something 
hot right away, or you'll take your death o' 
cold," and with something of her husband's 
faith in whiskey, she soon brought Edith a 
hot punch that for a few moments seemed to 
make the girl's head spin, but as it was fol- 
lowed by strong tea and toast, she felt none 
the worse, and danger from-the chill and wet 
was effectually disposed of. 

As she sat eipping her tea before a red- 
hot stove, she told, in answer to the land- 
lady's questions, how she had got up from 
the boat. 

"Who is this Lacey, and what is there 
against them ?" she asked suddenly. 

The hostess went across the hall, opened 
the bar-room door, and beckoned Edith to 
follow her. 

In a chair by the stove sat a miserable 
bloated wreck of a man, drivelling and mum- 
bling in a druken lethargy. 

"That's his father," said the woman in a 
whisper, " When he gets as bad as that he 
comes here because he knows my husband' 
is the only one as won't turn him out of 
doors. " 

An expression of intense disgust flitted 
across Edith's face, and by the necessary law 
of association, poor Arden sank in her esti- 
mation through the foulness of his father's 
vice. 

"Is there anything against the son?" 
asked Edith in some alarm. " I've engaged 
him to bring up my furniture and trunks. I 
hope he's honest." 

"Oh, yes, he's honest enough, and he'd 
be mighty mad if anybody questioned that, 
but he's kind o' soured and ugly, and don't 



41 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



t 



notice nobody nor nothing, The son and 
Mrs. Lauey keep to themselves ; the man 
does as you see, but the daughter, wlio's a 
Si.-mrt pretty girl, tries to rise above it all, 
and make her way among the rest of the 
girls ; but ahe has a hard time of it, I guess, 
poor cliild. " 

"1 don't wonder," said Edith, "with 
Ruch a father. " 

But between the punch and fatigue, she 
w^s glad to take refuge from ^^^ landlady's 
ganuiousness, and all her troubles, iu qui at 
sleep. 

The next morning the storm was passing 
away in broken masses of clouds, through 
which the sun occasionally shone in Aj^ril- 
like uncertainty. 

After an early lyre&kfast she and Hannibal 
were driven in an open waggon to what was 
to be her future home— the scene of un- 
known joys and sorrows. 

The most memorable places, where the 
mightiest events of the world have tran- 
spired, can never have for us the interest 
of tliat hnmble spot, where the little drama 
of our own life, will pass from act to a;^.t till 
our exit. 

Most eagerly did Edith note everything as 
revealed by the broad light of day. Tlie 
village, though irregular, had a general air 
©f thriftiness and respectability. The street, 
through which she was riding, gradually 
fringed off from stores and office?, 
into neat homes, farm-houses, and here and 
there the abodes of the poor, till at last 
three-quarters of a mile out, she saw a 
rather quaint little cottage with a roof 
steeply sloping and a long, low porch. ' 

. "That's your place, Miss," said the 
driver. 

Edith's int«nt eyes took in the general 
effect with something of the practised rapid- 
ity with which she mastered a lady's toilet 
on the Avenue. 

In spite of her predisposition to be pleased, 
the prospect was depressing. The season 
■ was late and patches of discoloured snow 
lay here and there, and were piled up along 
the fenccci. The garden and trees had a ne- 
glected look. The vines that clambered up 
the porch had been untrimmed of the last 
year's growth, and sprawled in every direc- 
tion. The gate hung fi'om one hinge, and 
many tilings vvere off the fence, and all had 
a soduc Li, dingy appearance from the recent 
rains. The house itself looked so dilapidated 
and small in contraist with their stately man- 
sion on Fifth Avenue, that irrepressible 
tears came into her eyes, as she murmured. 
. "It will kill mother just to see it." 

.Old Hannibal said iu a low, encouraging 



tone, " It'll look a heap better next June, 
MissEdie." 

But Edith dropped her veil to hide her 
feelings, and shook her head. 

They got down before tlie shack ly gate, 
took out the basket of provisions which 
Hannibal had secured, paid the driver, who 
splashed through the mud as a 1x)at might 
that had lauded and left two people on a de- 
sert island. They nval'ived up the oozy path 
with hearts aboiit as chill and .empty as the 
unfurnished cottage before them. 

But utter repulsivencss had been taken 
away by a bright fire that Arden had 
kindled on the hearth of the largest room ; 
and when lighting it he had been so roman- 
tic as to dream of the possibility dftiindling 
a more sacred fire in a heart that he knew 
now to be as cold to him as^the chilly tvom 
in which he shivered. 

Poor Ai-den ! If he c^uld have seen ths 
expression on Edith's face the night previous, 
as she looked on his besotted father, he 
would have curaed what he termed the 
blight of his life, more bitterly than ever. 



CHAPTER X. 

EDITH BECOMES A "DiyiNITT." 

As the wrecked would hasten up the 
strand and explore eagerly in various direc- 
tions ii: order to gain some idea of the na- 
ture and resources of the place where they 
might spend months and even years, so 
Edith hurriedly passed from one room to 
another, looking the house over first, as 
their place of refuge and centre of life, and 
then went out to a spot from whence she 
could obtain a view of the garden, the little 
Orchard, and pasture H<-::ld. 

The house gave them three rooms on the 
first floor, as many on the second, and a 
very small attic. There was also a pretty 
good cellar, though it looked to Edith a 
black dismal hole, full of rubbish and old 
boxes. 

The entrance of the house was at the com- 
mencement of the porch, which ran along 
under the windows of the large front room. 
Back of this was one much smaller, and dooi-s 
opened from both* the apartments named 
into a long and rather narrow room 
running the full depth of the house, 
and which had been designed as the 
kitchen. With the families that would 
naturally occupy a house of this char- 
acter, it would have been the genei'a' 
living room. To Edith's eyes, accustomed 
to magnificent spaces and lofty ceilings, 
tlioy seemed stifling dingy cells. The wjUIs 
were broken iu places and discoloured by 



tniokeJ 
toom tl 
fcnly hf 
J "HI 
jjomelil 
* Thef 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



45 



>etter next June, 

veil to hide her 

lad. 

lie shack ly gate, 

provisions which 
d the driver, who 

as a lx)at might 
wo people on a de- 
l up the oozy path 
and .empty as the 
^ them, 
had been taken 

that Arden had 
he largest room ; 
d been so roman- 
ibility dWcindling 
^t that he knew 
,the chilly r»om 

lid have seen the 
le night previous, 
otted father, he 
he termed the 
rly than ever. 

UTINITT. " 

hasten up the 
in various direc- 

idea of the na- 
ace where they 

even years, so 
m one room to 
J over first, as 
itre of life, and 
>m whence she 
irden, the little 

B rooms on the 
second, and a 
8 also a pretty 
«ed to Edith a 
nbbish and old 

vas at the com- 
iiich ran along 
•ge front room, 
filler, and doons 
bnients named 
narrow room 

the house, 
gned as the 
I that would 
of this char. 

the genera' 
>s, accustomed 
ofty ceilings, 
Is. The wjais 
liacolourcd by 



imoke, and with the exception of the large 
f oom there were no places for open fires, but 
6nly holes for stovepipes. 
J •• How can such a place as this ever look 
liomelike ?" 

'' The muddy garden, with its patches of 
pnow, its forlorn and neglected air ; its 
Spreading vines and thickly settled stalks 
of last year's weeds, was even less invitmg. 
Edith had never seen the country in winter, 
And the gardens of her experience were full 
bi green, beautiful life. The orchard not 
hnly lookeil gaunt and bare, but very untidy. 
The previous year had been most abundant 
In fruit, and the trees were left to bear at 
will. Therefore many of 'the limbs were 
"Wholly or partly broken off, and lay scatter- 
ed where they fell, or still hung by a little 
of the woody fibre and bark. 
^ Edith came back to the fire from the 
i aurvey of her future home, not only chilled 
in body by the raw April winds, but more 
chilled in heart. Though she had not ex- 
pected summer greenness and a sweet invit- 
ing ho«ie. yet tlie reality was so dreary and 
forbidding from its necessary contrast with 
the past, that she sank down on the floor and 
buried her head in her lap in an uncontrol- 
lable pasision of grief. Hannibal was oiit 
trathering wood to replenish the fire, and it 
has a luxury to be alone a few minutes with 
lier : orrow. 

But soon she had the consciousness that 
•he was not alone, and looking up, saw 
Arden in tlie door, with a grave, troubled 
lace. Hastily turning from him, and wiping 
(jiway her tears, slu^ said rather coldly : 

" You should have knocked. The house 
is my home, if it is empty." 
■■ ■ His face changed instantly to its usual 
"hard sullen aspect, and he said briefly : 
"I did knock." 

♦' The landlady has told her all about us," 
bethought, "and sli3 rejects sympathy and 
fellowship from such as we are." 

But Edith'sfeelinghadc ly been annoyance 
that a stranger had seen her emotion, so she 
Baid quickly, " I beg your pardon. We have 
had trouble, but 1 don't give way in this 
Ipianner often. Have you brought a load ?" 
"f "Yes. If your servant will help me I will 
l>ring the things in." 

' As he and Hannibal carried in heavy rolls 
of carpet and other articles, Edith removed 
*3 far as possible the traces of her grief, and 
soon began to scan by tlie light of day with 
some curiosity her acquaintance of the pre- 
vious evening. He was the very opposite to 
rself in appearance. Her eyes were large 
and dark. He liad a rather small but 




piercing blue eye. 
curly, and his 



His locks were light and 
beard sandy. Her 



hair was brown and straight. He was 
full six feet, while she was only of 
medium height. And yet Edith was not a 
brunette, but possessed a complexion of 
transparent delicacy which gave her the 
fragile appearance characteristic of so many 
American girls. His face was much tanned 
by exposure to March winds, but his brow 
was as white as hers. In his morbid ten- 
dency to slum everyone, he usually kept 
his eyes fixed on the ground so as to appear 
not to see people, and this, A^ith his habit- 
ual frown, gave » rather heavy and repel- 
ling expression to his face. 

" He would make a very good repre- 
sentative of the labouring cuisses," she 
thought, " if he hadn't so disagreeable an 
expression. " 

It had only dimly dawned upon poor 
Edith as yet, that she belonged to the " la- 
bouring classes. " 

But her energetic nature soon reacted 
against idle grieving, and her pale cheek 
grew rosy, sad her face full of eager life as 
she assisted and directed. 

" If I only had one or two women to help 
me we could get things settled," she said, 
•' and I have so little time before the rest 
come. " 

Then she added suddenly to Arden, 
** Haven't you sisters ?" 

•'My sister does not go out to service," 
said Arden proudly. 

" Neither do I," said the shrewd Edith, 
" but I would be willing to help anyone in 
such an emergency as I am in," and she 
glanced keenly to see the eff"ecu of this 
speech, while she thougiit, " What aira 
these people put on." 

Arden 's face changed instantly. Her 
words seemed like a ray of sunlight falling 
on a place before shadowed, for the sullen 
frowning expression passed into one of al- 
most gentleness, as he said, — 

" That puts things in a different light. 
I am sure Rose and n.other both will be 
willing to help you as neighbours, " and he 
started after another load, going around by 
t'le way of his home and readily obtaining 
from his mother and sister a promise to as- 
sist Edith after dinner. 

Edith smiled to herself and said, " I have 
found the key to his surly nature al- 
ready." She had, and to many other na- 
tures also. Kindness and human fellowship 
Mill unbar and unbolt where all other forces 
may clanioui in vain. 

Arden went away in a maze of new sen- 
sations. This one woman of all the world 
beside his mother and sister that he had 
come to know somewhat, was to him a 
strange beautiful mystery. Edith was in 



» ( 



40 



WHAT C\N SHE DO? 



IMI 



many respects i^oi.ventional, as all society 
girls are, but it was tlie conventionality 
of a sphere of life that Arden knew only 
through books, and she seemed to him 
utterly different from the ladies of Push- 
ton as he understood them from his slight 
acquaintance. This difference was all in 
her favour, for he cherished a bitter and un- 
reasonable prejudice against the young girls 
of his neighbourhood as vain shallow crea 
tures who never read, and thought of no- 
thing save dress and beaux. His own sister in 
fact had helped to confirm these impressionsi 
for while he was fond of her and kind, he 
had no great admiration for her, saying in 
his sweeping cvnicism, " She is like the rest 
of them.'' If he had met Edith only in the 
street and in conventional ways, stylishly 
dressed, he would scarcely have noticed her. 
But her half indignant, half pathetic appeal 
to him on the dock, the lonely ride in which 
she had clung to his arm for safety, her 
tears, and the manner in which she had lost 
spoken to him, hod all combined to thorough- 
ly pierce his shell of sullen reserve, and as 
we have said his vivid imagination had taken 
fire. 

iiidith and Hannibal worked hard the rest 
of the forenoon, and her experienced old 
attendant w^as invaluable. Edith herself, 
though having little practical knowledge of 
■work of any kind, had vigour and natural 
judgment, and her small white hands ac- 
complished more than one would suppose. 

So Arden wonderinglv thought on his re- 
turn with a second load, as he saw her lift 
and handle things he knew to be heavy. 
Her short close-fitting working-dress out- 
lined lier fine lire to advantage, and with 
complexion bi ht and dazzling with exercise, 
she seemed to aim some frail fairy-like crea- 
ture doomed by a cruel fate to unsuited toil 
and sorrows. But Edith was very matter-of- 
fact, fiiul had never in all her life thought of 
herself as a fairy. 

Aiaoii went home to dinner, and by one 
o'clock Edith said to Hannibal, — 

" There is one good thing about the place 
if no other. It gives one a savage appetite. 
What have yon got in the basket ? " 

" A scrumptious lunch. Miss Edie. I 
told de landlady you'se used to having things 
mighty nice, and den I found a hen*s nest in 
de barn dis mornin'. " 

" I hope you didn't take the eggs, Hanni- 
bal," said Edith slyly. 

•* Sartin I did. Miss Edie, cause if I didn't 
de rats would. " 

" Perhaps the landlady would also if you 
had shown them to her." 

" Miss Edie," said Hannibal solemnly, 
" findiuii a hen's nest is like liiuliii;; a ''<Ad 



mine. It Iwilongs to do one who finds it." 

" I'm afraid that wouldn't stand in law. 
Suppose we woi-e arrested for rol)bing hen's 
nests. That wouldn't be a good introduction 
to our new neighbours." 

" Now, Miss Edie, " said Hannibal, with 
an injured air," "you don't spec I do a 
job like dat so bungly as to get catched 
at it ? " 

" Oh, very well," said Edith laughing, 
" since you have conformed to the morality 
of the age, it must be all right, and a fresh 
egg would be a rich treat now that it can bo 
eaten with a clear conscience. But Hannibal, 
I wish you wauld find a gold mine out in the 
garden. " 

" I guess you'se find dat with all your 

readin about strawberries and other yarbs. " 

"I hope BO," said Edith with a si^ , 

" for I don't see how we are going to i. v o 

hero year after year. " 

" You'se be rich again. De men wid de 
long pusses aint agoiu' to look at your bla^k 
eyes for nothiu', and Hannibal chuckled 
knowingly. 

The colour faintly deepened in Edith's 
cheeks, but she said with some scorn, •' Men 
with long purses want girls with the same. 
But who are these ? " 

Coming up the path they saw a tall middle- 
aged woman, and by her side, a young girl 
of about eighteen who wasa marked coutratit 
in appearance. 

" Dey's his mother and sister. You will 
drive tings dis arternoon. " 

Mrs. Lacey and her daughter entered with 
some little hesitancy and embarrassment, but 
Edith, with a poise of an accomplished lady, 
at once put them at ease by saying, 

"It is exceedingly kind of you to come 
and help, and I appreciate it very much. " 

" No one should refuse to be neigli hourly," 
said Mrs. Lacey quietly. 

" And to tell the truth I was delighted to 
come, " said Rose, " the winter has bef^n so 
long and dull. " 

" Oh dear," thought Edith, " if you find 
them so, wl)at will be our fate ? " 

Mrs. Lacey undid a bundle and took out a 
tea-pot from which the steam yet oozed 
faintly, ind Rose undid another containing 
some warm buttered biscuits, Mrs. Lacey 
sayincf, " I thought your lunch miglit seem 
a little cold and cheerless, so I brought these 
aloii". " 

"Now that is kind," said Edith, so cordi- 
ally that tlieir faces flushed with that atural 
pleasure which we all feel when our little 
efforts tor others are appreciated. To them 
it was intensiried, for lOdith was a grand city 
hidy, and the inroads that she nKuU; on the 
biscuits and the zest witli which she sipi)c;d 



her tei 
iof trut 

I ."^ 
•nice 

"Thei 

but a 

as wilt 

the 

carnet 

An«l to 

facing 

an in 

faith. 

'D 
mach ! 

But 
mice o 
had ta 
eymbo 

Edit 
increas 
from t 
and da 
like. 

The^ 
Alice 



Wight 



■'.i-j 



WHAT CAN SHE DO f 



47 



le who finds it." 
In't stand in law, 
for ruJ)l>ing lusn's 
good introduction 

(I Hannibal, with 
lon't spec I do a 
« to get catchcd 



I Edith laughing, 
to the morality 
right, and a fresli 
low that it can bo 
ce. ButHaniiibal, 
Id mine out iu the 

at with all your 
and other yarbs. ' 
th with a aiy 
te going to ^.vo 

De men wid de 
)ok at your bla-k 
■nnibal chucklecl 



pened in 
ujc scorn, 
with the 



Edith's 

" Men 

same. 



aw a tall middle- 
le, a young yiil 
marked coutfast 

iter. You will 

ter entered with 

barrassment, but 

oinpIi8;ied lady, 

saying, 

t you to come 

very much. " 

e neighbourly," 

as delighted to 
er has bef^n so 



you find 



"if 
e?" 

and took out a 
earn yet oozed 
lier containing 
s, Mrs. Lacey 
!h might seem 
brought these 

!<lith, so cordi- 
til that itural 
vlien our little 
ed. To them 
'S a grand city 
5 nuuki on tho 
ch she sipi^tid 



tiher tea sljowed that her words had the ring 
of truth. 

" Do uit down and eat, while things are 
and warm," she said to Hannibal. 



•nice 

•• There 'h no use of our putting on airs now 
but Hannibal insibted on waiting upon her 
as when butler in the great dining-room on 
tiie Avenue, and when she was through, 
carried the things off to the empty kitchen, 
jin<l took hib "bite " on a packing box, pre- 
facing it at his nearest approach to grace by 
an indignant grunt and profession of hia 
faith. 

"Dis ole nitjgah eat before her? Not 
mach ! She's quality now as much as e^jer." 

But the world and Hannibal ware ^ vari- 
jtnce on account of a sum of subtraction which 
hail taken away from Edith's name the dollar 
Bymbol. 

Edith set to work, with her helpers now 

increased to three, with renewed zest, and 

'^■''frum time to time stole glances at the mother 

and daughter to see what the natives were 

like. 

They were very different in appear- 
ance : the mother looking prematurely old, 
and she also seemed bent and stooped 
under the hea^"y burdens of life. Her dark 
blue eyes had a weary, pathetic look, 
ks if " some sorrow was ever before 
them. Her cheek bones were prominent and 
eyes sunken, and the thin hair, brushed 
T)laiuly under her cap, was streaked with 
grey. Her quietness and reserve seemed 
mure the result of a crushed, sad heart than 
from a natural lack of feeling. 

The daughter was in the freshest bloom of 
youth, and was not unlike the flower she «vas 
Imnietl after, when, as a dewy bud, it begins 
to develope under the morning sun. Though 
iiot a bcautilul girl, there was a prcttiness, a 
rural breeziness about her, that would cause 
any one to look twice as she passed. The 
wind ever seemed to be in her light flaxen 
turls, and her full rounded figure suggested 
luperabundant vitality, an impression in- 
creased by her quick, restless motirius. Her 
complexion reminded you of st'awberries 
'and cream, and her blue eyes had a, slightly 
;^ld and defiant expression. She felt the 

tbght of her father's course iilso, but it acted 
itfurently on her temperament. Instead of 
timidly shrinking from thv- world like her 
Inother, or sullenly ignoring it like her 
brother, she was for going into society and 
compelling it to recognize and respect her. 
4. "I have done nothing wiong," she said ; 
«:*' I insist on people treating me in view of 
Mwliat I am myself ; " and iu the sanguine 
^pirit of youth she hoped to carry her point. 
'yriierefore her mauner w«as a little self-assert- 
l;fo;o which would not have baeu the case had 



she not felt that she had prejudice to over* 
come. Unlike her brother, she cared'little 
for books, and had no ideal world, but lived 
vividly in her immediate surroundings. Tho 
older she grew, the duller and more mono- 
tonous din her home life seem. She had 
little sympathy from her brother ; her mother 
was a sad, silent women, and her father a 
daily source of trouble and shame. Her 
education was very imperfect, and she had 
no resource in this, while her daily work 
seemed a tiresome round that brought little 
return. Her mother attended to the more 
imnortant duties and gave to her the lighter 
ta&Ks, which left her considerable leisure. 
She had no work that stimulated her, no 
training that made her thorougli in any de- 
partment of labour, however humble. From 
a ' "ssmaker friend in the village Sihe obtain- 
. little fancy work and sewing, and tho 
^ rocee Js resulting, and all her brother gave 
her, she spent in dress. The sums were 
small enough in all truth, and yet with the 
mtarvellous ingenuity that some girls, fond 
of dress, acquire, she made a very little go a 
groat way, and she would often appear in 
toilets that were quite effective. With those 
of her own age and sex «a her narrow little 
cirele, she was not aspecial favourite, but she 
Wcis with thej^ung men, for she wasbrightand 
c'tiitty, and had theknaok of puttingawkward 
fellows at ease. She ktpt her little parlour as 
pretty and inviting as her limited materials 
purniitted, and with •• growing imperiausncss 
gave the rest of the family to understand, and 
especially her father, that this parlour was 
her domain, and that she would permit no in- 
trusiim. Clerks from the village and farmers' 
sons would occasionally drop in of an even- 
ing, though they preferred taking her out to 
ride, where they could see her away from 
home. But the more respectable young 
men, with anxious mothers and sisters, were 
rather shy of poor Rose, and none seemed to 
care to go beyond a mild flirtation with a 
girl whose father was on a " rampage" most 
of the time, as they expressed it. On one 
occasion, when she had two young friends 
spending the evening, her father came home 
reckless and wild with drink, and his lan- 
guage toward the young men was so shock- 
ing, and his manner in general so outrageous, 
that they were glad to get away. If Arden 
h-ul not come home and collared his father, 
carrying him off to his room by his almost ir- 
resisti))le strength, Rose's parlour might have 
l)ecome a sad wreck, literally as well as so- 
cially* As it was it seemed deserted for a 
long time, and she felt bitter about it. luf 
her fearless frankness, her determination not- 
to succumb to her sinister surroundings, and 
perhaps from the lack ol a sensitive deli- 



4S 



WHAT CAN SHE T)0 ? 



cacy she reproached the Bame young men 
when she met them for staying awuy, Rav- 
ing, " It's a shame to treat a girl as if she 
were to blame fur what she can't help. " 

But Rose's ambition had put on a phase 
against which circumstances were too strong, 
and she was made to feel in her struggle to 
gain a social footing that her father's leprosy 
had tainted her, and her brother's " ugly, 
sullen disposition, " as it was termed, was a 
hindrance also. She had an increasing de- 
sire to get away among stringers, where she 
could make her own way on her own merits, 
and the City of New York seemed to her a 
great El Dorado, where she might fiiid her 
true career. Some verv showily dressed, 
knowing-looking girls, that she had met at a 
pic-nic, nad increased this longing for the 
city. Her mother and brother thought her 
restless, vain and giddy, but she was as 
good and honest a gin at heart as breathed, 
only her viuorous nature chafed at repres- 
sion, wanted outlets, and could not settle 
down for a life to cook, wash and sew for a 
drunken father, a taciturn brother, or even 
a mother whose companionship was depres- 
sing, much as she Wj^ loved. 

Kose welcomed the request of her brother, 
as helping Edith would caiise & ripple in the 
current oi her dull life, and give her a chance 
of seeing one of the grand city ladies, with- 
out the dimness and vagueness of distance, 
and she scanned Edith with a stronger curi- 
osity than was bestowed upon herself. The 
result was rather depressing . to poor Rose, 
for, having studied with hef quick nice eye, 
Edith's exquisite manner and movemeiits, 
she sig'.ied to herself — 
. " 1 m not such a lady as this girl, and per- 
haps never can be." 

While Edith was very kird and cordial 
to the Laceys, she felt, and made them 
feel, that there M'as a vast social 
distance between them. Even practical 
Edith had not reali/ed their poverty ye\ 
and it would take her some time to dofl' the 
manner of the condescending lady. 

They accompli slied a good deal that 
afternoon, but it takes much time and 
labour to make even a small, empty house 
look home-like. Edith had taken the small- 
est room up stairs, and by evening it was 
quite in order for her occupation, she mean- 
ing to take Zell in with her. Work had 
progressed in the largest upper room, which 
she designed for her mother and Ijaura. 
Mrs. Lacey and Hannibal were in, the 
kitchen getting that arranged, they very 
rightly concluding that this was the main 
spring in the mechanism of material living, 
and shoukl be put in readiness at onco. 
Arden had been instructed to purchase and 



bring from the village a cooking stove, am 
Hunnibars face shone with something liku 
delight, as by five o'clock ho had a wood tin' 
cracKling underneath a pot of wuter, feeling; 
that the terra firma of comfort was at last 
reached. He could now soak in \m favour- 
ite beverage of tea, and make Miss Kdio 
quite "pert-like" too when she was tired. 

Mrs. Lacey worked silentlv. Rose was 
inclined to be chatty and (Iraw Edith out 
in regard to citv life, who responded good, 
natnrcdly as long as Rose confined herself 
to generalities, but was inclined to be reti- 
cent on their own affairs. 

Before dark the Laceys prepared to re. 
turn, ^le mother raying gravely — 

" You may fe3l it too lonely to stay by 
yourself. Our house is not very inviting, 
and my husband's m.xnner is n )t always 
whnt I could with, but such as it. is, you 
Mill be welcome in it till the rest of your 
family comes." 

*' You are very kind to a stranger," said 
Edith heartily, "but I am not a bit afraitl 
to stay here since I have Hannibal as pro- 
tector, " and Hauuibal, elated by this com- 
pliment, looked as if he might be a very 
dragon to all intruders. "Moreover," 
continue<l Edith, "you have helped me so 
splendidly that I shall be very comfortable 
and they will be here to-morrow night. '' 

Mrs. Lacey bowed silf^nMy, but Rose 
said in her sprightly voice, from the doorway : 
"I'll come and helpyou all day to-mprrow. " 
Arden was still to bring one more load. 
The setting siin, with the consistency of an 
April day, had passed into a dark cloud 
which 8«on came driving on with wind and 
rain, and the thick drops dashed against tlio 
windows as if thrown from a vast syringe, 
while ihe gutter gurgled and groaned with 
the sudden rush of water. 

" Oh dear, how dismal ! " sighed Edith 
looking out in the gathering darkness. 
Then she saw that the loaded waggon had 
just stopped at the gate, and in dim out- 
line, Arden sat in the storm as if he had 
been a post. " It's too bad, " she said im- 
patiently, "my things will all get wet," 
after a moment she added: "Why don't 
he come in ? Don't he know enough to 
come in out of the rain? " 

"Well, Miss Edie, he's kind o' quar," 
said Hannibal, "I'sojesdone satisfied he's 
quar. " 

But the shower ceased suddenly, and Ar- 
den dismounted, secured his horses, and soon 
appeared at the door with a piece of furni- 
ture. 

" Why it's not wet," said Edith with sur- 
prise. 



xoy 

set 
foi 
kit 
■o< 
on 

•a; 
tr< 



f! 



■it; 



'■I":. 






WHAT CAN aiTR DO ? 



40 



aoking atove, nni 
th Boinething ljk<i 
ho had a wood fire 
t of water, feci i Hi,' 
nfort WftH ftt lasl 
Boak in hin favour 

make Miss PMi,. 
n she wna tired. 
iMitlv. Rose wa.H 
id draw Kdith out 

rffiponded good- 
He t'<mfincd herself 
dined to be reti- 

prepared to re. A 
fively — , 

lonely to stay by 
ot very inviting, 
p is n)t ahvayH 
ich as it. is, you 
lie rest of y out- 



stranger," sai.l 

not a bit afraid 

Hannibal as pro- 

>d by this coni- 

niiglit be a very 

"Moreover,"' 

e helped me so 

ery comfoitablo 

rrow night. " 

n*ly, but Hose 
'om the doorway : 
dayto-mprrow." 
g one more load, 
insistency of an 
to a dark cloud 
with wind and 
Jhed against the 
» vast syringe, 
'■ groaned with 



sighed Edith 
'ing darkness. 
I waggon had 
md in dim out- 
n as if he had 

she said im- 
1 all get wet, " 

"Why don't 
ow enough to 



kind 
satisfiecf he'a 



o' qiiar," 



# 



lenly, and Ar- 
orses, and soon 
)iece of furni- 

dith with Bur- 



•• I saw appearances of rain, and so bor- 
rowed a piece of canvas at the dock." 

" But you didn't put tlio canvas over yonr- 
self," said Kdith, looking at his dripping 
form, grateful enougli now to Iwsfcow a little 
kindnoHS without the idea of policy. "As 
■oon as you have hrottght in tlie loatl I insist 
on your staying and taking a cup of tea." 

Ho gave his shoulders an indifforent shnig 
wying, •' a little cold water is the lea t of my 
troubles." Then ho added, stealing a timid 

fiance at her, "but you are very kind, 
oople seldom think of tlieir teamsters." 

"The more shame to them then," said 
Edith. " I at least can feel a kindness if I 
can't make much return. It was verv good 
of you to protect my furniture and I appre- 
ciate your care. Besides your mother and 
sister have iKien helping me all the afternoon, 
antl I am oppressed oy my obligations to you 
all." 

" T am sorry you feel that way,'* he said 
bri fl ', and vanished in the darkness after 
anotncr load. 

Soon all was safely hoiised, and he said, 
about to depart, " There is one more load ; I 
will bring that to-morrow. " *V' 

From the fire she called, •* Stay, y»«r tea 
will lie ready in a moment. " 

"Do not put yourself to that trouble," he 
answered, at the same time longing to stay. 
"Mytherwill have supper ready for me." 
He was so diffident that he needed much en- 
couragement, and moreover, he was morbidly 
senaitive. 

But as she turned, she caught his wistful 
glance, and thought to herself, " Poor fel- 
low, he's cold an(l hungry. " With feminine 
shrewdness she said, "N"ow*Mr. Lacey, I 
shall feel slighted if you don't take a cup of 
my tea, for see, I have made it mj self. li's 
the one thing about housekeeping that I un- 
derstand. Your mother brought me a nice 
cup at noon, and I enjoyed it very much, I 
am going to pay the debt now to yon." 

"Well — if you really wisli it" — saidArden 
hesitatingly, v/ith another of his bright looks, 
and colour even deeper than the ruildy fire- 
light warranted. 

" My conscience !" thought Edith, "how 
suddenly his face ohanget'. He is 'quar' as 
Hannibal says. " But she settled matters by 
saying, " 1 sua!! feel hurt if you don't. You 
must let there be at least some show on kind- 
ness on my part, as well as yours and your 
friends. " 

There cama in again a delicate touch of 
that human fellowship which he ha I never 
found in tlie world, and had seemingly re- 
pelled, but which his soul was thirsting for 
with an intensity never so realized Ijefore, 
and this faintest semblance of human com? 



panionship and sympathy, seemed in ez- 
preRsibly sweet to Iuh sore and lonely ht^art. 

He took the cup from her as if it lia<l been 
a sacrament, and was aliout to drink it stand- 
ing, but she placed a cliair at tlie table and 
said — 

" No, ai^you must sit down there in com- 
fort by the hre." 

He did so as if in a dream. The whole 
0:«newas taking a powerful hold on Lis 
imagination. 

"Uannilial, " she cried, raising her voice 
in a soft, birdlike call, and from the dim 
kitchen where certain spiutteringsounds hud 
preceded him, Hannibal appeared with a 
heapiuj^ plate of buttered toast. 

" With your permission," she said, "I 
will lit down and take a cup of tea with you, 
in a neighbourly way, for 1 wish to aslf you 
some more questions, and tea, you know, in 
a great incentive to talk," and she took a 
chair on the opposite side of the table, whilo 
Hannilml stood a little in the back-ground to 
wait on them with all- the formality of oldeu 
time. 

The wood fire blazed and crackled, and 
threw its flickering light over^^dith's fair 
face, and intenaihed her beauty, as her 
features gleamed out, or faded, as the flainos 
Dse and fell. Hannibal stooil motionless 
b)hind her chair as if he might have been an 
Ethiopiifn slave attendant on a young sul- 
tvna. To Arden's aroused imagination, it 
seemed like one of the scenes of nis fancy, 
and he was almost afraid to'movo or speak, 
lest all should vanish, and he find himsulf 
plodding along the dark,muddy nxid. 

" What is the matter ?" she asked curious- 
ly. " Why don't you drink your tea ?" 

"It all seems as strange and beautiful as 
a fairy tale," he said iu a low tone, looking at 
her earnestly. 

Her hearty laugh and matter-of-fact tone 
dispelled his illusions, as he said — 

" It's all ilfeadfully real to ine. I feel as 
if I had done more work torday than in all 
my life before, and we have only made a 
beginning. I want to ask you about the 

Slace and the garden, and how to get things 
one," and she plyed him well with the most 
practical questions. 

Sometimes he answered a little incoh'^rent- 
ly.for through them all he saw a face full of 
strange, weird beauty, as the firelight flicker- 
ed upon it, and gave a star-like lustre to the 
large, dark eyes. 

Hannibal in the background, grinned and 
chuckled to himself, as he saw Arden 's dazed 
wondering admiration, saying to himself, 
" Dey ain't used to such young ladies as mine, 
up here — it kind o' dazzles 'em. " 
At last as if breaking away from the in- 



,i\ff 



80 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



fltienco of A Hpell, Anion tuddeiily rose, turn- 
iii^ upon Ktlith one of tlto«u wanii bright 
lookH, that he tometimos gave hi* mother, 
nnd Raid, " You have l)«eu wry kind, f{ood- 
night," and wiui i,'(>n« in a moniont. But tho 
iiigiit wna hiintnouR ahtiut him. Along 
the muddy rood, in the ohl ihaokly bnrn 
08 ho uarud for iiiii horses, in hit poor 
little room at home, to which 
rstired, he only saw the fair 
Edith, with the tirelijjht playing 
with the vividneRB of one loulting 
upon an exquiRilo cabinet picture, an<l 
l»t'fore that picture hit heart was inclined to 
bow, in the most devoted hoiiiuuo. 

Kdith's only commont was, ** He is ' quar ' 
iriuinibal, as you f i I." 

Wearied with ho long day's work, she 
, •ool^foHnd welcome and drcandoss reat. 



he Hoon 
face of 
upon it, 
directly 






CHAPTER XI. 



ITRS. AILMK8 POLICY. 



True to her promise. Rose helped Edith 

: all thu next^ay, and while she worked, the 

frauk-hcartod girl noured' out the story of 

li tr troubles, nnd Ei i h came to huvdaureat- 

• ur respect and sympathy for her "kind and 
humble neighbours " as she characterized 

• them in her own mind. Still Vith her 
familiarity with the farming class, kept up 

. bince lier summer in the country as a child, 

: she made a Iroa'd distinction between them 

' and the mere labourer. Moreover the prac- 
tical girl wished to conciliate the Laceys and 

' everyone else she could, for she had a pre- 

: Bentnnent that there were many trials l)efore 
til cm, and that they would need friends. 

I She said in answer to Rose — 

" I never before realized that the world 

° was so full of trouble. We have seen plenty 

■ of late;" 

"One can bear any kind of trouble better 
than a daily ehatne," said Rose bitterly. 

For some unexplained reason Edith 
thought of Zell and Mr. Van Dam with a 

. Budden pang. 

Arden brought his last load and eagerly 
watched for her appearanue, fearing that 
there might be some great falling off in the 

vision of the past evening. 

But to his eyes the girl he was learning to 
glorify, presented as fair an exterior in the 
garish day, and the reality of her beauty 
became a fixed fact in his consciousness, and 
his fancy had already begun to endow her 
with angelic qualities. With all her vanity, 
even sorrowful Edith would have laughed 
hcoirtily at his ideal of her. It was one of 
the hurdeat ordeals of his life to take the 



money she paid him, and she saw and won< 
deru<i at his repugnance. 

" You will never g«t rich," she Raid, "if 
you are no prodigal in work, and aparu in 
your charges." 

" I would rather not take anything," he 
■aid dubiounly, holding the money, uh if it 
were a coal of firo, between his thumb and 
finger. 

" Then I must find some one who will do 
buBiness on business principles," she said 
coldly. " If the fellow liaM any sontiniental 
nonnense about hiin, I'll soon cure that," she 
thought. 

Anion coloured, thrust his money care- 
lesikly into his pocket as if it were of no 
account, aixl mid briefly " Qood morning." 

But when alone he put tiie money in the 
innermost part of his pocketbook, and when 
his father asked him for some of it, he 
sternly answered — 

" No sir, not a oont." Nor did he spend 
it himaelf ; why ho kept it, could ocarciily 
have been explained. Ho was simply acting 
according to the impulses of a morbid roiuan- 
tic nature tliat had been suddenly und 
deeply im^pressed. Tho mother's ouick eye 
det. ''ted a change in him and she asked' — 

"What do you think of our new neigh- 
bour?" 

" Mother," said he fervently, " she is an 
angel. " 

" My poor boy, said she anxiously, "take 
care. Don't you let your fancy run uway 
with you." 

" Oh," said he, with assumed indiflTorence, 
" one can have a decided opinion of a good 
thing, without making a fool of oneself. " 

But the niother saw with a half jealous 
pang that her sou's heart was awaking to a 
njw and stronger love than her own. 

Mrs. Allen with Zell t^d Laura were to 
come by the boat that evening, and Edith^s 
heart yearned after them as her kindred. 
Now that she had had a little experience of 
loneliness and isolation, she deeply regretted 
her former harshness and impatience, saying 
to herself, " It is harder for them than for 
me. They don't like the eo intry, and 
don't care anything about a garden," and 
she purposed to be very gentle and ^oug 
suffering. 

If good resolutions w«re ' only accom- 
plished certainties as soon as made, how 
different life would be ! 

Arden had ordered a close carriage for 
her to go dowTi in and. meet them, and had 
agreed to bring up their trunks and boxes 
in his large waggon. 

The boat fortunately landed under the 
clear starlight on this occasion, and feeble 
Mrs. Alien was soon seated comfortably in 



OH 

w 
1< 
fa 
nt 



u 
w 



a 

a 



■\¥ 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



ftl 



u saw and won< 

' she Rail], "if 
Ic, and upuru in 

anything," he 
ttJoiiey, ttH if it 
his thumb and 

»e who will do 
lea," she en id 
My Bontiiuciital 
cure thut, " bho 

is money care* 
it were of no 
food morning. *• 
money in the 
ook, and wiien 
lome of it, he 

did he spend 
could ocaroely 

simply nuting 
norhid roniaii- 
Buddenly and 
er's (luick eye 
he asked' — 
ur new noigh- 



she 



IS an 



iously, "tako 
Mcy run uwuy 

I indifTcrence, 
ion of a good 
of oneself." 

half jealous 
vwaking to a 

own. 

aura were to 
and Edith^s 
her kindred, 
sxperience of 
ply regretted 
lence, saying 
hem than for 
joxntry, and 
warden," and 
e and ^oug 

5nly accom< 
I made, how 

carriage for 
sm, and had 
3 and boxes 

1 under the 
, and feeble 
mlortably in 



the carriage. Jiut her very brwith waa u 
■igb, anil she regarded the niartyrH 
as a favoured uLum in ootn|)ariiior 
with herself. Laura still had her 
lo<»k >f dreary apathy ; but ZcU's 
face wore an expression of interest in the 
new scenes and experiences, and she plied 
Kdith with many questions as she ro<le 
homeward. Mrs. AUuu brought a servant 
up with her who waa condemned to ride 
with Arden, much to their mutual dis- 
gust. 

"Oh dear," sighed Edith as they rotle 
along. " It's a dreadful come down for us 
all and I don't know how you are going to 
stand it, mother." 

Mis. Allen's answer was a long unspeak- 
able sigh. 

When she reached the house and entered 
the room where supper was awaiting them, 
she glanced around as a prisoner might on 
being thrust into a cell in which years must 
be spent, and then she dropped into a chair 
•obbing. 

•• How different — how different from all 
my past T and for a few moments they all 
cried together. As with Edith at fir»t, so 
now again the new home waa baptized 
with tears as if dedicate' to sorrow ana 
trouble. 

Edith then led them up stairs to take off 
their things, and Mrs. Allen had a fresh out- 
burst of sorrow aa she recognize<l the con- 
trast between This bare little chamber and 
her luxurious sleeping apartment and dress- 
ing-room in the city. Laura roon regained 
her air of weaiy indifference, but Zell, hasti- 
ly throwing off her wraps, came down to 
explore, and question Hannibal . 

" Bress you, chile, it does my eyes good 
to see you all, onv you'se musn't take on 
as if we'se all dym' with slow 'sumption." 

Zell put her hand on the black's shoulder 
and looKed up into his face with a wonder- 
fully gentle and grateful expression, say- 
ing.— 

"You are as good as gold, Hannibal. I 

am so glad you stayed with us, for you seem 
like one of the best bits of our old home. 
Never mind, I'll have a grander house again 
and you shall have a stitl'er necktie and 
higher collar than ever. " 

" Bress you, " said Hannibal with moist 
eyes, " it tioes my ole black heart good to 
hear you. But Miss Zell, I say, " he ad- 
ded in a low whisper, " when is it gwin to 
be?" 

"Oh," said poor Zell, asked for defin- 
itenesa, "Some day," and she passed into 
the large room where Arden was just setting 
down a trunk. 

" Don't leave it there in the middle of 



the floor, " she said sharply. " Take it up 
sUirs." 

Arden suddenly straightened himself as if 
he had received a slight cut from u whip, 
and turneil his sullen face on Zell, and it 
seemed very repulsive to the imperious littl^ 
latly. ' 

" Don't you hear me ?* she asked sharply. 

" Perhaps it would be well for you not to 
ask favours of your neighbours in that tone," 
he replied curtly. 

Edith, coming down, saw the situation 
and said with ou in her voice, " You must 
excuse my sister, Mr. Lacey. She does not 
know who you are. Hannibal will assist 
with the trunks if you will be so kind as 
to take them up stairs." 

" She is different from the rest," thought 
Arden, readily contplying with her re- 
.quest. 

But Zell said, as she turned away, lond 
enough for him to hear : " What airs these 
common country people do put on!" Zell 
might have loaded Arden 's waggon with gold 
and he would not have lifted a linger for her 
after that. If he had known that Edith's 
kindness had been half policy, hi^i face would 
have been more sullen and forbitlding than 
ever. But she dwelt glorified and apart in 
his consciousness, and if she could only 
maintain that ideal supremacy, he would be 
her slave. But in his morbid sensitiveness 
she would have to be very caicful. The 
practical girl at this time did not dream of 
his fanciful imagining about her, but she 
was bent on securing friends and helpers, 
however humble might be their station, and 
she had shrewdly and quickly learned how 
to manage Arden. 

The next day was spent by the family u: 
getting settled in their narrow quarters, and 
a dreary'time they had of it. It was a long 
rainy day, and the roof leaked badly, and 
every element of discomfort seemed let loose 
upon them. 

Her mother had . a nervous head- 
ache, and one of her worst touches of dys- 
pepsia, and Zell and Laura were so weary 
and out of s rts that little could be accom- 
plished. Between the tears and sighs with- 
m, and the dripping rain without, Edith 
looked back on the first two days when the 
Laceys were helping her, as blight in con- 
trast. But Mrs. Allen was already worrying 
over the Laceys' coimection with their settle- 
ment in the neighbourhood. 

" We will be associated with these low 



iieridously. 
a new place 



t J 



people," said she to Edit 
"\our first acquaintances ii. 
are of great importance. " 

Edi h w as not ready for any s'.cli associa- 
tion, I nd ilie felt that there Mas force in Uor 



£2 



WHAT CAN SHE TO ? 



mother's words. She had t!iought of the 
Laceya chiefly in the light of their useful- 
ness. 

She was glad when the long miserable day 
ceme to a close, and welcomed the bright 
Bunniness of the following morning, hopmg 
it would dispel some of the gloom that seem- 
ed gathering round them more thickly than 
ever. 

After disciissirn' a rather meagre break- 
fast, for Hanuilxi *a naterials were running 
low, Edith pushed Imck her chair, and said, 

"I move we hold a council of war, and 
Idok the situation in the face. We| n htrj, 
and we've got to li\'« here. Now what shall 
we do ? I suppose we mast go to work at 
something that will bring in money." 

'■Go to work, and for money !" said Mrs. 
Allen sharply from her Cushioned arm- 
chair. "1 hope we haven't ceiled to be 
ladies." 

♦'But mother, we can't live forever on 
the title. The butchers, bakers, and 
candlestick-makers, won't supply us long on 
that croun'?.. What did the lawyer, who 
settled father's estate, say before you 
left?" 

" AVell, replied Mrs. Allen vaguely, ** he 
said he had placed to our credit in — Bank, 
what there was left, and he gave me a 
cheque-book and talked economy as men 
always do. Your poor father, after 
losing hundreds at the club, would talk 
economy the next morning, in the most edify- 
ing way. He also said that there was some 
of that hatetul stock remaining that ruined 
your fat'ier, but that it was of u ^certain 
value, and he could not tell how much it 
would realize, but he would sell it and place 
the proceeds also to our credit. It will 
anioutit to considerable, I f aink, a^d it may 
rise. " 

" Now girls," continued Mrs. Allen, settl- 
ing herself back among the cushions, and 
resting the fore-tinger of her right hand im- 
pressively on the palm of the left, " this the 
{)roper line of policy for as to pursue. I 
lope in all these strange changes, I am still 
mistress of my own family. You certainly 
don't think that I expect to stay in this 
miserable' hovel all my life. If you two girls, 
Laura and Edith, had made the matches you 
might, we would still be living on 
the Avenue. But I certainly cannot now 
permit you to spoil every chance of getting 
out of this slough. You may not be able to 
do as well as you could have done, but il 
you .are once calleit working girls, what can 
you do ? 

In the first place we must go into the best 
society of this town. Our position warrant, 
it of course. Therefore, for heaven's sake 



don't let it go abroad that we are associating 
with these drunken Laccys." (Mrs. Allen 
in her rapid generalization mig;ht give the 
impression that the entire family were 
habitually " on the rampage," and Edith re- 
marked with misgivings that she had drank 
tea with Arden Lacey on that very spot. ) 
" Moreover," continued Mra. Allen, " there 
is a l&rge summer hotel near here and ' my 
friends ' have promised to come and see me 
this summer. We must try to present an 
air of pretty rural elegance, and your young 
gentlemen friends from the city will soon be 
dropping in. Then Gus Elliot and Mr. Van 
Dam continue very kind and cordial, I am 
sure. Zell, though so young, may soon be- 
come engaged to Mr. Van Dam, and it's isaid, 
he is very rich — " 

" I can't get up mtich faith in these two 
men," interrupted Edith, " and ns for Gu«, 
he can't support himself." 

" I hope you don't put GuB Elliot and 
my friend on the same level, " said Zell in- 
dignantly. 

" I don't know where to p"t * vour 

"H.h - 



y don't 

don't he 

and decided ? 

nothing and 

pretty face. 

to ywi, and 



friend,' " said Edith curtly. 

he speak out ? Why 

do something open, manly 

It seemo as if ho can see 

think of nothing but your 

If he would become engaged 

frankly take the place ot lover and brother, 

he might be of the greatest help to us. .But 

what has he done since fa'Clier's death but 

pet and flatter you like an infatuated old — " 

" Hush ! " cried Zell, blazing with anger 
and starting up, " no one shall speak so of 
him. What inore has Gus Elliot done? " 

" He has been useful as my errand boy," 
said Edith contemptuously, " and that's all 
he amounts to as far as I'm concerned ; I 
am disgusted with men. Who in all our 
trouble has been noble and knightly to- 
ward us ? — " 

"Be still, children,stop your quarrelling," 
broke in Mrs, Allen. "You have gcft to 
take the world as you find it. Men of our 
day don't act like knights any more than 
they dress like them. The point I wish you 
to understand is that we must keep every 
hold .we have on our old . life and society. 
Next winter some of my friends will invite 
you to visit them in the city snd then who 
knows what may happen " — and she nodded 
significantly. Then she added, with a re- 
i^retful sigh, " What chances you girls have 
'-"■^ There's Cheatcm, Ardent, Livingston, 



iiad. 



Pamby, and last and best, Goulden,^ who 
might have been secured if Laura had been 
more prompt, and a host of others. Edith 
had better have taken Mr. Fox even, than 
have had all this happen. " 



Ed 
nu 
an 



on 

ant 

to 



WHAT CAN SHE DO I 



63 



are associating 
" (Mra. AUen 
night give the 
I iamiiy were 
" and Edith re- 
she had drank 
lat very spot.) 
Allen, " there 
here and * my 
>me and see me 
r to present an 
ad your young 
by will soon be 
and Mr. Van 
cordial, I am 
[, may soon be- 
n, and it's isKiid, 

h in these two 
nd m for Gu«, 

iuB Elliot and 
" said Zell in- 



> P"t 
•*\.h 



* your 

hy don't 

don't he 

and decided ? 

nothing and 

pretty face, 
to yoti, and 
r and brother, 
p to us. But 
sr's death but 
ituated old—" 
iig with anger 
11 speak so of 
ot done? " 
errand boy," 
and that's all 
concerned ; I 
lo in all our 
knightly to- 
quarrelling, " 
have grft to 

Men of our 

more than 
»t I wish you 

keep every 
and society. 
i will invite 
then who 
I she nodded 
d, with a re- 
u girls have 

Livingston, 
ulden, who 
ra had been 
3r8. Edith 

even, than 



An expression of disgust came out on 
Edith's face, and she said, "It seeins to 
me that I would rather go ta work than take 
any o^ them." 

" You don't know anything about work," 
said Mrs. Allen. " It's a gieat deal easier 
to marry a fortune. Marrying well is now 
the only chance you girl^ have, and it's my 
only chance to live a^ain as a lady ought, 
and I want to see to it that nothing is done 
to spoil these chances. " 

Laura listencct with a dull assent, con- 
scious that she would marry any man now 
who would give her an establishment and 
enable her to sweep past Mr. Goulden in 
elegant SCO. -n. Zell listened, purposing to 
nlarry Mr. Van Dam, though Edith's words 
raised a vague uneasiness in her mind, and 
she longed to see him again, meaning to 
make him more definite. Edith listened 
with a cooling, adherence to this familiar 
faitii and dcelrine of the world in which the 
mother had brought up her children. She 
had a glimmering perception that the course 
indicated wAs not snund in general, tioi best 
for them in p&rticular. 

"AuU now," continued Mrs, Allen, be 
coming more definite, "we must have anew 
roof put on the house right away, or we wijl 
all be drowned out, and the house must be 
painted, a dpor-bell put in< the fences and 
things generally put in brder. V7e must fit 
this room up as a parlour, and we can use 
the little room there as a dining and sitting 
room. Laura and I will take the chamber 
o/er the kitchen, and the one over this can 
be kept as a spare room, so that if any of 
our city friends come out to see us, they can 
staj' all night. " 

" Oh, mother, the proposed arrai)|j3ments 
will make us all uncomfortable, you especi- 
ally," remonstrated Edith. 

" No matter, I've set my heaiit on our get- 
ting back to the old life, and we must not 
atop at trifles," 

" But are you sure we have money to spare 
for all these improvements, " continued Edith 
anxiously. 

" Oh yes, I think so," said Mrs. Allen in- 
definitely. " And as your poor father used 
to say, to spend money is often the best way 
no cet money. " 

"Well, mother," said Edith dubiously, "I 
suppose you know best, bat it dcn't look veiy 
clear to me. There esems nothing definite 
or certain that we can depend on. " 

" Perhaps not, to-day, out leave all to me. 
Some one will turn up, who will fill your 
eye and fill your hand, and what more could 
you ask in a husband ? But you must not 
be too fastidious. These difficult girls are 
sure to take up with 'crooked sticks' at last." 



(Mrs. Allen's views as to straight ones were 
not original.) "Leave all to me. I will tell 
you when the right one turns up.'* 



CHAPTER Xn. 

WAmNO FOB SOME ONE TO TXTRV QT. 

And so the girls were condemned to idle- 
ness and ennui, and they all came to suffer 
from these as from a dull toothache, especi- 
ally Laura and Zell. Edith had great hopes 
from her garden, and saw the snow finally 
disappear and the mud dry up, as the im- 
prisoned inmates of the ark might have 
watched the abatement of the waters. 

The afternoon of the council wherein Mrs. 
Allen had marked out the family policy, 
Edith and Zell walked to the village, and 
going to one of the leading stores, nvide ar- 
rangements with the proprietor to have his 
waggon stop daily at their house for orden. 
They also asked him to send them a carpen- 
ter. They made these requests with tho 
manner of old time, when money seemed to 
flow from a fu^ founjtain, and t..e man was 
very polite, thinkinghe had gdned profitaUr 
cut^tomars. 

While they were absent, Rose stepped in 
to s^ if s'^e could be of any further help. 
Mrs. Allen surmised who she was and resolv- 
ed to cmub her eflectually. To Rose's ques- 
tion as to their need of assistance, she replied 
frifiidly " that they had t*vo servt»nts now 
and dfd not wish to employ any more help. " 

Rose coloured, bit her lip, then said with 
an open smile,— 

"You are under a mistake. I am Misa 
Lacey, and helped your daughter the first 
two days after she came. " 

"Ok, ah. Miss Lacey. I beg your par- 
don, " said Mrs. Allen, still more distantly, 
"ray daughter Edith is out. Did she not 
pay you? " 



R( 



n 



ose's face became scarlet, and rising 
hastily she said, " Either I misunderstand, 
or am greatly misunderstood. Good ^ter- 
noon. " 

Mrs. AUen slightly inclined her head, 
while Laura to< >k no notice of her at all. 
When she was zone, Mrs., Allen said com- 
placently, " 1 Ohink we will see no more of 
that bold faci fly-away creature. The idea 
of her thinking that we would live on terms 
of social equality with them." 

Laura's oily reply was a yawn, but at last 
she got up, put on her hat and shawl and 
went out to walk a little on the porch. 
Arden, who was returning home with his 
team, stopped a moment to mquire if there 
was anything further that be could do. He 
hoped the laay on the porch was Edith, and 



54 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



the wish to see her again led him to think 
of any excuse that would take him to the 
house. 

As Laura turned to come toward him, he 
surmised that it was another siister, and was 
disappointed and embarrassed, but it was too 
late to turn back, though she scarcely ap- 
peared to heed him. 

" I called to ask Miss Edith if I could do 
anything more that would be of help to her, " 
he said diffidently. 

Giving him a cold, careless glance, Laura 
said, "I believe my sister wants some work 
done around the house before long. I will 
tell her that you were looking for employ- 
ment, and I hav3 no doubt she will send for 
you if she needs your services, '* and Laura 
turned hex back on him and continued her 
walk. 

He whirled about on his heel as if she had 
struck him, aiid when he got home his mo- 
ther noted that his face looked more black 
and sullen than she had ever seen it before. 
Rose was open and strong in her indigna- 
tion, saying, — 

" Fine neighbours you have introduced us 
to ! Nice retun? they make for all our kind- 
ness ; not that I begrudge it, But I hate to 
s6e people get all out of you they can, <and 
then about the same as slap you in the face 
and show you the door. " 

" Did you see Miss Edith ? " asked Arden 
quickly. 

" No, I saw the old lady and a proud, 
pale-faced girl who took no more notice of 
me than if I had come for cold victuals. " . 

"I suppose they have heard/' said Arden 
dejectedly. 

"They have heard nothing against me, 
nor you, nor mother," said Rofte hotly. " If 
I ever see that Miss Edith again, I will give 
her a piece of my mind." 

'• You will please do nothing of the kind," 
said her brother. "She has not turned her 
back on you. Wait till she does. We are 
the last people to condemn one for the sake 
of another." 

'"J guesp they are all alike ; but as you 
say, it's fair to give her a chance," answered 
Rose quietly. 

With his ha^it of reticence he said nothing 
about his own experience. But it was a 
cruel shock that those connected v;ith the 
one who was becoming the inspiration of his 
dreams, should be so contemptible as he re- 
garded them, and as we are all apt to regard 
those who treat us with contempt. His faith 
in hsr was alSo sliaken, and he resolved that 
■ she must "send for him," feeling her need, 
before he would go near her again. But after 
all, Ills ardent fancy began to paint her more 
tfentle and human on the back-ijrouudoi 



narrow pride as shown by the others. He 
longed for some absolute proof that she was 
what he believed her, but was too proud 
to put himself in the way of receiving it. 

When Edith heard how the Lacev acquain- 
tance had been nipped in the bua, bhe said 
with honest shame, " It's too bad, after all 
their kindness.** 

" It was the onl^ thing to be done," said 
Mrs. Allen. " It is better for such people 
to talk against you . than to be claiming you 
as neighbours, and all that. It would give 
U3 a very bad flavour with the best people of 
the town. " 

" I only wish then," said Edith, " that I 
had never let them do anything for me. I 
shall hate to meet them again," and she sedu- 
lously avoided them. 

The next day a carpenter appeared after 
breakfast, and seemed the most affably sug- 
gestive man in the world. " Of course he 
would carry out Mrs. Allen's wishes imme- 
diately," and he shove-^ iier several other im- 
provements that mig".-t ;>e made at the same 
time, and which r^oulu cost but little more 
while they were about it. 

"But how much will it cost?" asked 
Edith directly. 

*' Oh well, said the man vaguely,- "it's 
hard to estimate on this kind of jobbing 
work. " Then turning to Mrs. Allen, he said 
with great deference, "I assure you, madam, 
I will do it well, and be just as reasonable as 
possibl ." ' , 

'Certainly, certainly," said Mrs. Allen 
majestically, pleased with the deference, "I 
suppose that :s all we ask." 

"I think there ought to be something 
more definite as to price and time of. com- 
pleting tne work," still urged Edith. 

"My dear," said Mrs. Allen, with de- 
pressing dignity, " pray leave these matters 
to me. It IS not expected that a young lady 
like yourself should understand them. " 

Mrs. Allen had become impressed with 
the idea that if they ever reached 
the heaven of Fifth Avenue again, sho must 
■take the helm and steer their • inn-tossed 
bark. As we have seen before, she was 
capable of no small degree of exertion when 
the motive was to attain position and su- 
premacy in the fashionable world. She was 
gi-ea't in one direction ouly — the one to which 
she had been educated, and to which she de- 
voted her energies. 

The man chuckled as he went away. 
" Lucky 1 had to deal with the old fool 
rather than that sharp, black-eyed girl. By 



T| 

mec 
. Thol 

* the r 
■'^ the I 
The! 
''':_ beir 
''^ busj 

'" Edil 
. <•■ 

he 



br 



jove ! but they are a handso ne Tot though ; 

houses we build now- 
aud finish than solid 



only they look like 
adavs — more paint 
timber." 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



65 



the Others. He 
x>f that she was 
was too proud 
receiving it. 
a Iiacey acquain- 
he bud, she said 
o bad, after all 

be done, " said 
for such people 
be claiming you 

It would give 
B best people of 

Edith, " that I 
liing for me. I 
" and she sedu* 

appeared after 
)8t affably sug- 
" Of course he 
wishes inime« 
veral other im- 
ie at the same 
aut little more 

cost?" asked 

raguely,- " it's 
ind of jobbing 
Allen, he said 
3 you, madam, 
reasonable as 

I Mrs. Allen 
deference, "I 

be something 
time of com- 
idith. 

en, with de- 
ihese matters 
a young lady 
them. '* 
dressed with 
v^er reached 
lin, sho must 
> I iTO-tossed 
re, she was 
jrtion when 
on and su- 
i. She WAS 
one to which 
hich she de- 
vent away, 
le old fool 
id girl. By 
bt though ; 
build novr- 
than solid 



m 



The next day there were three or four 
mechanjoa at worlf and the job was secured. 
The day following there were only two, and 
the next day none. Edith sent word by 
the grocer, asking what was the matter. 
The following day one man ap]>eared, and on 
being questioned, said " the boss was very 
busy, lots of jobs on hand. " 

" Why did he take our work then?" asked 
Edith indignantly. 

** Oh, as to that, the boss takes every job 
he can get,"sai . the man with a giin. 

"Well, tell the boss I want to see him." 
she replied sharply. 

The man chuckled and went on with his 
work in a snail-like manner, as if that were 
the only job " the boss" had, or was like to 
have, and he must make the roost of it. 

The house was hers, and Edith felt anxious 
about it, and indeed it seemed that they 
were going to great expense with no certain 
return in view. That night one corner of 
the roof was left open and rain came in and 
di<l considerable damage. 

Loud and bitter were the complaints of the 
family, but Edith said little. She was too 
incensed to talk about it. The next day it 
threatened rain and no mechanics appeared. 
Donning her water-proof and thick shoes,8he 
was soon in the village, and by inquiry,found 
the man's shop. He saw her coming and 
dodgud out. 

"Very well, I will wait," said Edith, 
sitting down on a box. 

The man finding she would not go away, 
soon after bustled in, and was about to be 
very polite, but Edith interrupted him with 
a question that was like a blow between the 
eyes — 

"What do you mean, sir, by breaking your 
word ?" 

"Great press of work just now, Miss 
Allen—" 

"That is not the question," interrupted 
Edith, "you said you would do our work 
immediately, you took it with that distinct 
understanding, and because you have been 
false to your .word, we have sutfered much 
loss. You knew the roof was not all cover- 
ed. You knew it, when it rained last night, 
but the rain did not fall on you, so I suppose 
vou did not care. But is a person who 
breaks his word in that style a gentleman ? 
Is he even a man, when he breaks it to a 
lady, who has no brother or husband to 
protect her interests ?" 

The man became very retl.* He was 
accustomed, as his workman said, to secure 
every job he could, then divide and scatter 
his men so as to keep everything going, but 
at a slow aggravating rate, that wore out 
eve.'y one's patience, save his own. He was 



nsed to the usual faultfinding and grumb- 
ling of the busy season, and bore it as he 
would a northeast storm — a disagreeable 
necessity, and quite prided himself on the 
good-natured equanimity with which he 
could stand his customers' scoldings ; and 
the latter had become eo aocnstomed to being 
put off that they endured it also as they 
would a northeaster, and went into im- 
provements and building, as they might visit ■ 
a dentist. d 

But when Edith turned her scornful face, 
and large indignant eyes full upon him, and 
asked practically, what he meant by lying 
to her, and said that to treat a woman so 
proved him less than a man, he saw hia habit 
of " putting off," in a new light. At first 
he was a little inclined to bluster, but Editii 
interrupted him sharply, — 

" I wish to know in a word what you will <\ 
do. If that roof is not completed and made 
tight to-day, I will put the matter in a 
lawyer's hands and make you pay damaged. " 

This would place the man in an unpleasant 
business aspect, so he said ^ufAy, — 

" I will send some men right up." . 

" And I will take no action till I see 
whether they come, " said Edith significantly. 

They came, and in a few days the work 
was all finished. But a bill double the 
amount they expected came promptly also. 
They paid no attention to it. 

In the meantime Edith had asked the 
village merchant, who supplied them with 
provisions, and who had also become a sort 
of agent for them, to send a man to plow the 
garden. The next day an old slouchy fellow 
with two melancholy shacks of horses that 
might well tremble at the caw of a crow, 
was scratchmg the garden with a worn-out 
plough when she came down to breakfasi. 
He had already made havoc in the flower 
borders, and Edith was disgusted with the 
outward aspect of himself and team to begin 
y/ith. But when in her morning slippers sht 
had picked her way daintily to where shu - 
could look into the shallow furrows, her 
vexation knew no bounds. She liad "boea 
reading about gardening of late, and she had 
carefully notetl how all the writers insisted 
o I deep ploughing and the thorough loosen- 
ing of the sou. This man's furrows did not 
average six inchesj and with a frowning; 
brow, and dress gathered up, she 8too«l 
perched on a little stone like a bird, that 
had just alighted with ruffled plumage, whilo 
Zell was on the porch laughing at her. Tlio 
man with his shackly team soon came rotund 
again opposite her, with slow automatic 
motion as if the whole thing was one 
crazy piece of mechanism. The man'a 
head was down and he paid no heed. 



66 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



I 



11.^5 



to Edith. The rim of 
ped over his face, the 
with drooping head and 
to hold them up, and 
down, save the plough, 
skimmed and scratched 



hid old hat flap- 

horaea jogged on 

ears, as if unable 

all seemed going 

This light affikir 

along the ground 

tillage. 



like the sharpened sticks of oriental 

" Stop !' cried Edith sharply. 

"Whoa !" shouted the men, and he turned 
toward Edith a pair of watery eyes, and a 
face that suggested nothing but snuff. 

" Who sent yon here ?" askeu Edith in the 
same tone. 

"Mr. Har^l, mum." (Mr. Hard was the 
merchant who was acting as their agent. ) 

" Am I to pay you for this worl^ or Mr. 
Hard ?" 

" I guess you be, mum." 

" Who's to be suited with this work, you, 
Mr. Hard or I ?" 

"I haint thought nothin' about that." 

" Do you mean to say that it makes no dif- 
ference whether I am suited or not V* 

*• What yer got agin the work?" 

*' I want my garden plovighed, not scratch- 
ed. You don't plough half deep enough, and 
}ou are ininviag the sluubs, aud iiowers in 
the borders." 

"I guess I know more about ploughin' 
t'tian you do. Gee up thar !" to the horsea, 
that seemed inclined to be Edith's allies by 
not moving. 

" Stop ?" she cried, " I will not pay you a 
cent for this work, aiid wish you to leave 
this garden instantly." 

"Mr. Hard told me to plough this ^d- 
ing and I'm agoin' to plough it. I never seed 
the day's work I didn't git paid fo yit, and 
you'il pay for this. Git up thar, you cussed 
old critters, " and the man struck the horses 
sharply with a lump of dirt ; away went the 
crazy rattling old automaton round and 
round the garden in spite of all she could do. 

She was half beside herself with vexation 
which was increased by Zeli's convulsed 
laughter on the porch, but she stormed at the 
old piojighman as vainly as a robin remon- 
strating with a -^ indmill. 

" Mr. Hard told me to plough it, and I'm 
a-goin' to plough it, " said the human phase 
of the mechanism as it passed again where 
Edith stood without stopping. 

Utterly baffled, Edith rushed into the 
I house and hastily swallowe<l a cup of coffee. 
, She was too angry to eat a mouthful. 

Zell follo*ved with her hand upon her side 
that was aching from laughter, and as soon 
,as she found her voice said, — 

" It was one of the most touchingly beau- 
tiful rural scenes I ever looked upon. I nevt r 
had so close and inspiring a view of one oi 
.the ' sous of Ute soil' before." 



"Yes," snapped Edith, "he is literally a 
clod." 

"I can readily see," continued Ztall, in a 
mock, sentimental tone, " how noble and re- 
fining a sphere the 'garding' (as your 
friend, out there, terms it) must be, evnn for 
women. In the first place there are yqyir 
associates in labour — ' 

" Stop !" interrupted Edith sharply. "You 
all leave everything for me to do, but I 
won't be teased and tormented into the bar- 
gain." 

" But really/' continued the incorrigible 
Zell, " I have been so much impressed by the 
first scene iu the creation of your Eden, 
which I have just witnessed, that I am quite 
impatient for the second. It may be that 
our sole acquaintances in this delightful 
rural retreat, the 'drunken Laceys,' ka 
mother calls them, will soon insist on be- 
coming inspired with the spirit of the cora 
they raise in our arbour." 

Edith sprang up from the table, and went 
to her room. 

"Shame on you, Zell, " said Mrs. Allen 
sharply, but lAura was too apathetic to 
scold. 

Impulsive Zell toon relented, and when 
Edith came down a few moments later in 
walking trim, and with eyes swollen with 
unsized tears, Z«U threw her furms arouu4 
her neck and said — • 

" Forgive your tianghty little sistter." 

But Edith repulsed her angrily, and start- 
ed toward the village. 

" I do hate to see people sullenly hoard up 
things, " said Zell snappishly. Then she 
dawdled about the house, yawning and say- 
ing fretfully, "I do wish I knew what to do 
with myself." 

Laura reclined on the sofa with a novel, 
but JZell was not fond of reading. Her rest- 
less nature craved continued activity and 
excitement, but it was part of Mrs. Allen's 
policy that she should do nothing. 

" Some one may call," she said, " and we 
must be ready to receive them, " but at that 
season of the year, when roads were muddy, 
there was but little social visiting in the 
country. 

So, consumed with ennui, Zell listened to 
the pounding of the carpenters overhead, 
and watched the dogged old ploughirtan go 
round the small garden till it was all scratch- 
ed over, and then the whole crazy mechanism 
rattled off to parts unknown. The two 
servants did hot leave her even the resource 
of housework of which she was naturally 
fond. 

Edith went straight to Mr. Hard Knd waa 
so provoked that she scarcely avQ>ided the 
piddles iu her determined haste. 



m^: 



WHAT CAN SHE DO f 



' he ia literally a 

inned Ztil, in » 
ow noble and re> 
■iling' (as your 
oust be, ev«n for 
there are yqjir 

li sharply. ♦•You 
3 to do, but I 
id into the bar* 



67 



:he inc<»TigibIe 
inpressed by the 
of your Eden, 
that I anr quite 
It may be that 
this delightful 
m Laceys,' Jus 
insist on be- 
lt of the corn 

iable, and went 

i Mr^ Allen 
> apathetic to 

ted, and when 

nents later in 

swollen with 

arms around 

e sistfer. " " 
ily, and start- 

tenly hoard up 

Then she 

ling and say- 

^w what to do 

with a novel, 

g. Her r^st- 

activity and 

Mrs. -Allen's 

d, "and we 
but at that 
vere muddy, 
isitiug in the 

11 listened to 
8 overheatl, 
!oiighirtan go 
8 all scratch- 
y mechanism 
• The two 
the resouroo 
»8 naturally 

ird &,Tid waa 
av<^ided the 



Hlbom I could depend. 
^ijll very impudent. I 
dllu'fc suit mo — that he 
dan) enough, and that he must leave. But 
1m lust kept right on, saying you sent biin, 
M|m he would plough it, and he injured my 
^?f ar-borders besides. Therefore he must 
ll(6k to you for payment." (Mr. Hard's 
ejies griw very hard at this.) " Because I 
aii a woman I am not going to be imposed 
it|)Dn. Now do you know of a man who can 
recdly plough my garden ? If not, I, must 
la^ elsewhere. I hatl hoped when you took 
Wtt business you would have some in||erest 
iaaeeing that we were well served. " 
~ r. Hard, with eyes like two flint peb- 
, made a low bow and said with impres- 
dignity : 

■'*' It IS my purpose to do so. There is Mr. 
Sl^nner ; he does ploughing. " 

»• I don't want Mr. Skinner, " said Edith 
in^atieutly, " I don't like his name in refer- 
•ifee to ploughing." 

I*** Oh, ah ! excellent reason, very good, 
MIbs Allen. WeH, there's Mr. McTmmp, a 
Sibtchman, who has a small green-house 
ajift nursery, he looks after gardens for some 

** I will go and see him," said Edith, tak- 
ilil^ his address. 
lAs she plodded off to find his place, she 
' ed, " Oh, dear, it's dreadful to have no 
in the family. That Arden Lacey might 
k helped me so much, if mother was not 
rticular. I fear we are all on the wrong 
k, tiirowing away substantial and pre- 
it good for uncertainties. '* 
~r. McTrump was a little man with a 
vy sandy beard, au 1 such thick bushy 




.Mr. Hard looked out uppn his customers 
with cold hard little eyes tliat only changed 
ti^ir expression in growing more cold and 
likrd. The rest of his person seemed all 
bows, smirks and smiles, but it was noticed < 
Ulat these latter diminished and his eyes 

$iW harder as he wished to remind some 
giug patron that his little account needed 
tling. This thrifty citizen of Pushton 
wms soon in polite attendance on Edith, but 
iMlto rather taken back, when she asked 
■Jiharply what he meant bv sending such a 
IfOod-for-nothing man to plough her garden. 
J " Well, Miss Allen," he said, his eyes 
glowing harder but his manner more polite, 
"Old Gideon does such little jobs around, 
aitel I thought he was just the one. " 

'" Does he plough your garden ? " asked 
Bitith abruptly. 

>" I keep a gardener, " said Mr. Hard with 
iine dignity. 

•• I believe it would pay me ttf do the 
■ime," said Edith, " if I could find one on 

The man you sent 

told him the work 

didn't plongh half 



upon you," she 
" nnder« 



eyebrows and hair, that he reminded Edith 
of a Scotch terrier. But her first glance 
around convinced her that he was a garden- 
er. Neatness, order, thrift, impressed her 
the moment she opened the jgate, and she 
perceived that he was already quite advanced 
in his spring work. Smooth seed-sown beds 
were emetging from winter's chaos. Cro- 
cuses and hyacinths were in bloom, with 
tulips budding after them, and on a sunny 
slope in the distance she saw long, green 
rows of what seemed some growing crop. 
She determined if possible to make this man 
her ally, or by stratagem to gain his secret 
of success. 'ii 

The little man stood in the door of his 
greenhouse with a transplanting trowel in .' 
his hand. He was dressed in clay-coloured • 
nankeen, and could get down in the dirt 
without seeming to get dirty. His si all 
eyes twinkled shrewdly, but not unkindly, 
as she atlvanced toward liim. He was fond 
of flowers, and she looked like one herself 
that spring morning. 

'* I was directed to call 
said, with conciliatory politeness, 
standing thitt you sometimes assist people 
with their gardens. " 

" Weel, noo and then I do, but I canna 
give mooch tinie with a' my ain work. " 

"But you would help a lady wh* has no 
one else to help her, wouldn't you ? " said 
Edith sweetly. 

Old Malcolm was not Caught with a sugar- 
plum, so he said with a little Scotch caution, 

" I canna vera weel say till I hear mair, 
aboot it. " 

Edith told him how she was situated, and 
in view of her perplexity and trouble, her 
voice had a little appealing pathos in it. 
Malcolm's eyes twinkled more and more 
kindly, and as he explained afterwards to 
his wife. "Her face was sae like a pink 
hyacinth beent doon by the storm and a 
wantin propin oop, " that by the time she 
was done he was ready to accede to her 
wishes. 

" Weel," said he, "I canna refuse a blithe 
young leddy like yoursel, but ye must let me ' 
have my ain way. " ' 

Edith was inclined to demur at this, for 
s'le had been readi9g up and had many plans 
and theories to carry out. But she concluded 
to accept the condition, thinking that with 
her feminine tact and coaxing she would have 
her own way after ^[l. She did not realize 
that she was dealing with a Scotchman. 

" I'll send ye a mon as will plow the gar- 
den and not scratch it, tin morrow. God 
willin'," for Mr. McTrump was a very pious 
man, his only fault being that he would take 
a drop too much occasioually. 



n 



58 



WHAT CK^ SHE DO f 



" May I stay here awhile and watch you 
work, and look at tliiu^a? " asked Edith. 
" I don't want to go back till that hateful 
old fellow has done his mischeif and is ^one 

" Why not T" said MalcoUn, " an ye don't 
tech onything. The women folk from the 
village as come here do pick and pull much 
awry." 

"I promise you I will be good," said Edith 
eagerly. 

•' That's mair than ony on us can say of 
oursel," said Malcolm, showing the doctrinal 
bias of his mind, " but I ken ira' yer bonny 
face ye mean weel. " 

" Mr. McTrump, that is the first com. 
pliment I have received in Fushton," laughed 
Edith. 

" I'm a thinkin it'll not be the last. But 
I hope ye mind the Scripter where it says, 
' We do all fade as a flower,' and ye will not 
be puffed oop. " 

But Edith, far more intent on horticultural 
than scriptural knowledge, asked quickly, — 

" What are you going to set out with that 
trowel ? " 

" A new strawberry bed. I ha' more plants 
this spring than I can sail, sas I thought to 
put oot a new bed. though I ha' a good 
mony . 

"iamsogiad. I wish to set out a large 
bed and can get the plants of you. " 

"How mony do ye want?" said Malcolm, 
with a quick eye to business. 

'* I shall leave, that to you when you see 
my grc ind. Now see how I trust you Nr. 
McTrump." 

"An ye '11 not lose by it, though I would 
na like a' my coostemers to put me sae strictly 
on honesty.'' 

Edith spent the next hour in looking around 
the garden and green houses and watching 
the old man put out his plants. 

" These plants are to be cooltivated after 
the hill seestem, " he said. "They are to 
stand one foot apart in the row, and the row 
two feet apart, and not a rooner or weed to 

grow on, or near them, and it would do your 
right eyes good to see the great red berries 
they'll bear?' 

"Shall I raise mine that way?" said 
Edith. 

"Weel, ye might soom, but the narrow 
row coolture will be best for ye, I am 
thinkin'." 

"What's that?" 
' "Weel, just let the plants run tegither 
and make a close row a foot wide, an' two 
feet between the rows. That'll be the 
easiest for ye, but I'll show ye." 

" I'm so glad I found yoU out, " said Edith, 
heartily, " and if you will let ma, I want to 
come here often and see how you do every- 



thing, for to tell you the truth, between our- 
selves, wp are poor, and may have to e.irn 
our living out of the garden, or some other 
way, aiicf I would rattier do It out of the 
garden. " 

" Weel noo, ye 're a canny lass to coom 
and filch all old Malcolm's secrets to sot oop 
opposition to him. But then sin' ye do it 
sae openly I'll tell ye all I know. The big 
woruld ought to be wide enough for a bonnio 
lassie like yoursel, to ha' a chance in it, an<l 
though I'm a little mon, I would na 1>e sau 
mean a one as tJ hinder ye. Mairover tiie 
gardener's craft be a gentle one, and I see n;v 
reason why, if a white lily like yoursel must 
toil and spin, it should na be oot in Gud'H 
sunshine, where the flowers bloom, instead o' 
pricking the bluid oot o' ye're boily, and the 
hope oot o' yer heavt, wi' the neetlle's point, 
as I ha' seen sae mony o' my ain coontry 
lassies do. Gudeby, and may the roses iu 
ye'r cheeks bloom a' the year round." 

Edith felt as if his last words wore a bless- 
ing, and started with her heart clie.ered and 
hopeful ; and yet beyond her garden, witli 
its spring promise, its summer and autumn 
possibilities, there was little inspiring or 
hopeful in her new home. 

In accordance v it'i their mother's policy, 
they were waiting for something to turn up 
— waiting, in utter uncertainty, and wit.'i 
dubious prospects, to achieve by marriage the 
security and competence which tlmey must 
not work for, or utterly lose caste in the 
world in which they had lived. 

Be not too hastyincondemning Mrs. Allen, 
my reader, for you may, at the same time, 
condemn yourself. Have you no part in su s- 
tainin^ that public sentiment which turns 
the cold shoulder of society toward the wo- 
man who works ? Many are growing rich 
every year, but more are growing poor. 
What does the " best society, " in the world's 
estimation, say to the daughters iu these 
families ? 

"Keep your little hands white, my dears, as 
long as you can, because as soon as the 
traces of toil are seen on them, you become 
a working woman, and our daugliters can't 
associate with you; and our sons can't think 
of you, that is, for wives. No other thin 
little and white hands can enter our heaven. ' 

So multitudes struggle to keep their 
hands white, though thereby, the risk that 
their souls will become stained and black. 
increases daily. A host of fair girls fiml 
their way every year to darker stains 
than ever labour left, because they know 
how coldly society, will ignore them tlie 
moment they enlist in the army of hone.st 
workers. But you, respectable men ami 
women in your safe, pleasai?t homes, to tlie 



tl 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ! 



69 



itli, between our- 
ay have to e.irn 
3n, or some other 
3 it out of the 

ly lass to coom 
jecreta to sot oop 
len sin' ye Uo it 
tnow. Tlie big 
High for a bonnio 
ihance in it, and 
rouM na )}e sau 
Mairover the 
one, and I s&e na 
ike yoursel must 
>e oot in God's 
bloom, instead o' 
re body, and the 
e needle's point, 
my ain coontry 
may the roses iu 
r round. " 
rds wore a bless- 
eart cliepred ami 
er garden, witli 
ner and autumn 
ble inspiring or 

mother's policy, 
thing to turn up 
liuty, and wit.'i 
» by maniage the 
lich tliey must 
se caste iu the 
ed. 

ning Mrs. Allen, 
the same time, 
lU no part in su s- 
it which turns 
toward the wo- 
J growing rich 
s growing poor. 
■," in the world's 
ijhters iu these 

[lite, my dears, as 

as soon as tlie 

m, you become 

laughters can't 

sons can't think 

No other than 

terour heaven. ' 

to keep their 

, the risk that 

led and black. 

fair girls find 

darker stains 

ise they kiiow 

?nore them the 

irmy of honest 

^able men ami 

?t homes, to tiie 



Itent that you hold and sustain this false 
•Intiincnt, to the extent that you make the 
Iths of labour hard and thorny, and darken 
5n» from the approving smile of the 
i)rld, you are guilty oi these girls' ruin. ' 
riJhristian matron, with your husband one 
the pilkrs of church and state, do you 
Irink with disgnst from that poor creature 
lllio comes flaunting down Broadway ? None 

tlvt the white-handed enter your parlours, 
Md the men (?) who are hunting such poor 
^Is to perdition, will sit on the sofa with 
ur daughters this evening. Be not too 
[ifident. Your child, or one in whom 
ir blood flows, at a little later remove, 
|,y stand just where honour to toil would 
p'e, but the practical dishonouring of it, 
tich you sustain, eventually blot out the 
"it of earth and heaven, 
frs. Allen knew that even if her 
lughters commenced teaching, which, with 
"" the thousands spent on their education, 
sy were incapaole of doing, their old 
lere on Fifth Avenue would be as un- 
jjroachable as the pearly gates, between 
Jich and the lost a " great gulf is fixed." 
fjjut Mrs. Allen knew also of a very re- 
jtable way, having the full approval of 
iety, by which they might regain their 
ice in the heaven from which they had 
lien Besides it was such a simple way, 
luiring no labour whatever, though a 
lie scheming perhaps, no amount of brains 
culture worth mentioning, no heart or 
fe, ' and least of all a noble nature. A 
i||>man may sell herself, or if of a waxy dis- 
'nition, having little force, might be sold at 
altar to a man who would give wealth 
luxury in return. This society, in full 
ss, would smile upon and civil law and 
|red ceremony sanction. 
1i?Vith the forefinger of her right hand 
king impressively on the palm of her left, 
Allen had inaicated this back door 
the Paradise, the gates of which were 
Irded against poor working women by 
flaming sword of public opinion, turning 
ry way. 

Liid the girls were waiting yawningly, 

U'ily, as the long unoccupied days passed. 

Ira's cheek grew paler than even her 

licate style of beauty demanded. She 

bmed not only a hot-house plant, but a 

Skly one. The light was fading 

>m her eye as well as the colour 

)m her che«fk, and all vigour vanish- 

from her languid soul and body. 

He resemblance to her mother grew more 

iking daily. She was a melancholy re- 

of that artificial, luxuiious life that so 

ervates the whole nature that there seerfls 

stamina left to resist the first cold blow 



of adversity. Instead of being like a well- ; 
rooted, hardy native of the eoil she seemed a 
tender exotic that would wither in the honest r 
sunlight. Asa gardener v^Jd say, she! 
needed "hardening ofif." This would require i 
the bracing of principle, the incentive of 
hope, and the development of work. But 
Mrs. Allen could not lead the way to the 
former, and the latter she forbade, so poor 
Laura grew more sickly and morbid every 
dav of her weary idle waiting. 

Mrs. Allen's policy bore even more heavily 
on Zell. We have »11 thought something 
perhaps of the cruelty of that imprisonment 
which places a young vigorous person, 
abounding in animal Ufa and spirits, iua<i 
narrow cell, which forbids all action and < 
stifles hope. It gives the unhappy victim 
he sensation of being buried alive. There 
comes at last to be one passionate desire to 
get out and away. Impulsive, iestless, ex- 
citable Zell, with every vein filled with hot 
young blood, was shut out from what seemed 
to her, the world, and no other world of ac- ; 
tivity was shown to her. Her hands were 
tied by her mother's policy, and she sat 
moping and chafing like a chained captive, 
waiting till Mr. \ an Dam should come and 
deliver her from as durance vile as was ever 
sufi'ered in the moss-grown castles of the old 
world. The hope of his coming was all that 
sustained her. Her sad situation was the 
result of acting on a false view of life from 
beginning to end. Any true parent would 
have shuddered at the thought of a daugh- 
ter marrying such a man as Van Dam, but . 
Zell was forbidden to do one useful thing - 
lest it might mar her chance of union with 
this resume of all vice and uncleanness, 
and though she had heard the many re- 
ports of his evil life, her moral sense was 
so perverted that he rather seemed a lion 
than a reptile to her. It is t^ le, she looked 
upon him only in the light of her future 
husband, but that she did not shrink from 
any relationship with such a man, shows 
how false and defective her education had 
been. 

Edith had employment for mind and 
hand, therefore was happier and safer than 
either of her sisters. Malcom had her 
garden thorougjily ploughed, and helped ^ 
her to plant it. He gaveher many flower 
roots and sold others at very low prices. 
In the lower part of the garden, where the 
ground was rather heavy and moist, he put 
out quite a large number of raspberries, and 
along • a stone fence, where weeds and 
bushes had been usurping the ground, he 
planted two or three varieties of blackcaps. 
He also lined another fence with Kittatinny 
blackberries. Thei*e were already quite a 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



,'^. 



Ili 



V, ■]'-{' 



^ 



large number of currants and goofleborries 
on the place. These he trimmed and 
put in cuttings for new bushes. He 

))rune(l the grapevines also somewhat, 
jut not to any extent, on account of the 
lateness of the season, meaning to get them 
into shape by summer cutting. The orchard 
also was made to look clean and trim, M'ith 
dead wood and interfering branches cut 
away. Edith watched these operations with 
the deepest interest, and when she could, 
without danger of bein^ observed from the 
road, assisted, though in a very dainty ama* 
teur way. But Malcolm did not work to put 
in hours, but seemed to do everything with 
a sleight of hand, that made his visits ap- 
|)ear too brief, even though she had to pay 
for them. As a refuge from long idle hours, 
she would often go up to Malcolm's little 
I^lace, and watch him and his assistant as 
they deftly dealt with nature in accordance 
with her moods, making the most of the soil, 
BUi.''ght and rain. Thus Malcolm came to 
take a great interest in her, and shrewd 
Edith was not slow in fostering so useful a 
friendship. But in spite of all this, there 
were many rainy, idle days that hung like 
lead upon her hands, and upon these especi- 
ally, it seemed impossible to caiTy out her 
purpose to be gentle and forbearing, and it 
often occurred that the dull apathy of the 
household was changed into positive pain by 
sharp words and angry retorts that 
should never have been spoken. 

About the last Sabbath of April, Mrs. 
Allen sent for a carriage and was driven 
with her daughters to one of the most fash- 
ionable churches of Pushton. Marshalled 
by the sexton, they rustled in toilets more 
suitable for one of the gorgeous temples of 
Fifth Avenue, than even the most ambitions 
of country churches. Mrs. All«n hoped to 
make a profound impression on the country 
people, and by this one dress parade, to se- 
cure standing and cordial recognition among 
the foremost families. But she overshot the 
mark. The failure of Mr. Allen was known. 
The costly mouroing suits and the little 
house did not accord, and the solid, sen- 
sible people wei'e imfavourably impressed, 
and thospi of fashionable and aristocratic 
tendencies felt that considerable investiga- 
tion was needed l^foce the strangers could 
be admitted within their exclusive circles. 
So, though it was not a Methodist church 
that they attended, the Aliens were put on 
longer probation by all classes, when if thay 
had appeared in a simple, unassuming man- 
ner, rating themselves at their true worth 
and position, n;any would have been inclined 
to take them by the hant'. 



CHAPTER XIIL 



TH«Y TUEN UP, 



!» ill 



One morning, a month after the Aliens 
had gone into poverty's exile, Ous Elliot 
lounged into Mr. Van Dam's l'.ixuriai;<t apart- 
ments. There was everything around him 
to gratify the eye of sense, that is, sucit 
sense an Gus Elliot had cultivated, though an 
angel might have hidden his face. We will 
not describe these rooms— we bad b'-'tt^rnot. 
tt is sufficient to say that in tlieir decora- 
tions, pictures, bauchannal ornaments, and 
general suggestion, they were a reflex of Mr. 
Van Dam's character, in the more refined 
and aesthetic phase which he presented to 
society. Indeed, in the name of art, whose 
mantle is broader than that of charity, if at 
times rather flimsy, not a f«w ^onld have 
adn)ired the exhibitions of Mr. Van Dam's 
taste, which, though not severe, were bare 
in a bad sense. We are a little sceptical in 
re«ird to thi.se enthusiasts for nude art. 

But concerning Gus Elliot, no doubt exists 
in our mind. The atmosphere of Mr. Van 
Dam's room was entirely congenial and ad- 
apted to his chosen direction of develop- 
ment. He was a young man of leisyre and 
fashion and was therefore what even the 
fashionable would be horrified at their 
daughters ever becoming. This nice distinc- 
tion between son and daughter does not re- 
sult well. It leaves men in the midst of 
society unbi*anded as vile, unmarked so that 
good women might shrink in disgust from 
them. It gives them a chance to prey upon 
the weak, as Mr. Van Dam proposed to do, 
and as he intended to induce Gus EUiot to 
do, and as multitudes of exquisitely dressed 
scoundrels are doing daily. 

If Mr. and Mrs. Allen had done their 
duty as parents, they would have kept the 
wolf (I beg the wolf's pardon) the jackal, 
Mr. Van Dam, with his thin disguise of 
society polish, from entering their fold. Gus 
Elliot was one of those mean curs that never 
lead, and could always be drawn into any 
evil that satisfied ihe one question of his 
life, •' Will it give me what J want.'* 

Gus was such an exquisite that the smell 
of garlic made him sick, and the eight of 
blood made him faint, and the thought of 
coarse working hands was an abomination, 
but in worse than idleness he could see his 
old father wearing himself out, he could get 
" gentlemanly drunk," and commit any 
wrong in vogue among the fast young men 
with whom he associated. And now Me- 
phistopheles Van Dam easily induces him to 
setfk to drag down beautiful Edith Allen, tlie 
woman he meant to marry, to a life com- 




i^ 



^ 
w 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



61 



XIU, 



N UP, 



r» 



1 after the Aliens 
'b exile, GuB Elliot 
m's luxurloud apart- 
rything around him 
mim, tlu^t is, such 
Utivated, though an 
his face. We ivill 
-we had better not. 
i. in t)>eir d«cora* 
ftl ornatnentfl, aiul 
were a reflex of Mr. 
I the more refined 
1 he presented to 
name of art, whose 
at of charity, if at 
a few ^onid have 
3f Mr. Van Dam 'a 
; severe, were baro 
I little sceptical in 
» for nude art. 
iot, no doubt exists 
pliere of Mr. Van 

congenial and ad' 
lotion of develop- 
lan of leisyre and 
re what even the 
lorrified at their 
This nice distiuc- 
ighter does not re- 
n in the midst of 

unmarked so that 
in disgust from 
lance to prey upon 

m proposer! to do, 
ice Gus Elliot to 
exquisitely dressed 

had done their 
d have kept the 
xdon) the jackal, 
thin disguise of 
)g their fold. Giis 
ui curs that never 
le drawn into any 
J question of his 
t/want.'» 
» that the smell 
and the sight of 
I the thought of 

an abomination, 

he could see his 
ottti, he could get 
nd commit any 

fast young men 
And now Me- 
y induces him to 
1 Edith Allen, the 
■ry, to a life com- 



jfcred with which the city gutters are 

fPeanly. 
Van Dam in slippers and silken ro>)e was 
loking his moerachauin after a late break* 
it and reading a French novel. 
" What is tite matter ?" he said, noting 
18* expression of ennui and discontent. 
" There is not another girl left in the city 
be mentioned the same day with Edith 
lien," said G us, with the pettishuess of a 
kild from whom something had been taken. 

U •' Well, spooney, what are you going to do 

■bout it ?" asked Mr. Van Dam coolly. 
' " W'lat is there to do about it ? you know 
»11 enough that I can't afford to marry 
|r. I suppose it's the best thing for me 
it she has gone off to the backwoods 
lewhere, for while she was here I ould 
^t help seeing her, and after all it was only 
aggravation. " 
"I can't afforjl to marry Zell," replied 

5 Jan Dam, " but I am going up to see her to- 
lorrow. After being out there by them- 
itlves for a month, I think they will be clad 
see someone from the civilized world." 
^e most honest thing about Van Dam was 
sincere commiperation for those compelled 
' live in quiet country places, without ex- 
jrience in the higlily spiced pleasures and 
icitements of the metropolis. In his mind 
ay were associated with oxen — innocent, 
iral and lieavy, those terms being almost 

inonymous to him, and suggestive of such a 
rlorn,tame condition, that it seemed only 
getating, not living. Mr. Van Dam he- 
lved in a life, like his favourite dishes, that 
)unded in cayenne. Zell's letters had 
ifirmed this opinion, and he saw that she 
half desperate with ennui and disgust 
Ith their loneliness. 

"I imagine we have stayed away long 
Mough," he continued. "They have had 
Mmicient of the miseries of mud, rain, and 
|le, not to be very nice about the con- 
^ions of return to old haunts and life. Of 
jrse I can't afford to marry Zell any more 
in you canEdi'uh, but for all that I expect 
have her here with me before many months 
ji»s, and perhaps weeks. " 
\" Look here, Van Dam, you are going too 
Remember how high the Aliens once 
3d in society," sai^ Gus, a little starthjd. 
Once stootl ;' where do they stand 
l|pw ? Who in society has, or will lift a finger 
them, and they seem to have no near 
(latives to stand by them. I tell you they 
at our mercy. Luxury is a necessity, 
id yet they are not able to earn their bare 
Bad. 

•'Let me inform you," he continued, speak- 
f(g with the confidence of a hunter, who from 
' ig experience knows just where the game 



i( 



is most easily captured, " that there is no 
class more helpless than the very rich when 
reduced to sudden poverty. They are 
usually too proud to work, in the first place, 
and in the second, they don't know how to 
do anything. What does a fashionable edu- 
caticm fit a girl for, I would like to know, if, 
ao it often occurs, they havs to make their 
pwn way in the world ? — a smattering of 
everything, mistress of nothing." 

" Well, van Dam, " said Gmi, "according 
to your showing,it fitsthem for little schemes 
like the one you are broaching." 

"Precisely, girls who know how to work 
and who are accustomed to it, willsnap their 
fingers in your face, and tell you they can 
take care of themselves, but the class to 
which the Aliens belong, unless kept up by 
some rich relations, are soon almost desperate 
from want. I have'kept up a correspondence 
with Zell. They seem to have no near rcla- 
tivea or friends who are doing muchforthem. 
They are doing nothing for themselves save 
spend what little thero is left, and their mo- 
notonous country lite has half-murdered them 
already. So I conclude I have waited loiif 
enough and will go up to-morrow. Instead 
of pouting like a spoiled child over your lost 
Edith, you had better go up and get her. It 
may taKO a little time and management. Of 
course they must be made to think weintend 
to marry them, but if they once elope with 
us, we can find a priest at our leisure.* 

"Ijfillgoup to-mor."ow with you any- 
way, said Gus, who, like so many others, 
never made a square bargain with the devil, 
but was easily " led captive" from one wrong 
and villainy to another. 

It was the last day of April — one on which 
the rawness and harshness of early spring 
was melting into the mildness of May. The 
buds on the trees had perceptibly swollen. 
The flowering maple was still aflame, the 
sweet centre of attraction to innumerable 
bees, the hum of whose industry rose and 
fell on the languid breeze. The grass had 
the delicate green and exquisite odour belong- 
ing to its first growth, and was rapidly turn- 
ing the brown, withered sward of winter into 
emerald. The sun shone through a slight 
haze, but shone Wfirmly. The birds had op- 
ened the day with full orchestra, but at noon 
there was little more than chirp and twittei*, 
they seeming to feel something of Edith's 
langour, as she leaned on the railing of the 
porch, and watched for the coming of Mal- 
colm. She sighed as she looked at the bare 
brown earth of the large space that she pur- 
posed for strawberries, and work there and 
everywhere seemed repulsive. 'Bie sudden 
heat was enervating and gave her the feel- 
ing of liTxurioua langour that she longed to 



62 



WH AT CAN SHE DO ? 






enjoy with the Bonso of security and freinlofn 
from care. But even aA her eyelids drooped 
with momentary drowtiiness, tiiure whs u 
consciousness, like a dull half-recoKnized 

Sain, of insecurity, of mipending trouble und 
anger, and of a need for exertion thr.t v/ould 
lead to somethln|( more certain than anything 
her mother's policy promised. 

She was startled from her heaviness hv the 
sharp click of the g.te latch, and Malcolm 
entered with two larce baskets of strawl^erry 
plants. He had saiato her, — 

"Wait a bit. The plants will do weel, 

fut oot the last o' the mc»onth. An ye wait 
'11 gie yo the plants I ha' left oover and can^ 
na sell the season. But dinna be troobled, 
I'll keep it enoof for ye ony way." 

By this means Edith obtained half her 
plants without cost, save for Malcolm's labour 
of transplanting thenn. ^ 

The weather had little influence on 
Malcolm's wiiy frame, and his sp-Irit of ener- 

getic, cheerful ludustiy was contagious. 
>nce aioused and interested, Edith lost 
all sense of time, and the afternoon passed 
happily away. 

At her request Malcolm had brought her a 
pair of pruning nippers, such as she had 
seen him use, and tihe kept up a lelicate 
show of work, trimming the rose bushes and 
shrubs, while she watched him. She 
could not bring her mind to anything that 
looked like real wor^' as yet, bat she had a 
feeliii^ that it must come. She saw that it 
would help Malcolm very much if slie went 
before ana dropped the plarits fcr him, 
but some one might see her, and speak of 
her doing uteful work. The ansfocrat- 
cally inclined in P-ishton would frown on 
the young lady so employed, but sh* could 
snip at roses and twine vines ; and that 
would look pretty and rural from the road. 
But it so happened that the one who 
caught a glimpse of her spring day beauty 
and saw the pretty rural scene she crowned, 
was not tho cdtical occupant of some family 
carriage j for when, while near the road, 
she was reaching up to ilip off the topmost 
spray of a bush, her attention was drawu by 
the rattle of a waggon, and in this pictur- 
esque attitude her eyes met those of Arden 
Lacey. The sudden remembrance of the 
unkind return made to him, and the fact 
that she had therefore dreaded meeting 
him, caused her to blush deeply. Her 
feminine quickness caught his expression, a 
timid questioning look, that seemed to ask 
if she would act the part of the others. 
Edith M'as a society and city girl, and lier 
coiifusioi% lasted but a second. Policy 
whispered, " you can still keep him as a use- 
ful friend, though you must i^eep him at a 



dibtaKce, and you may need him." Son 
sense of gratitude and of the wrong 'Im 
him and his, also mingled with tht 
thoughts, T>ab6in|; with the wonderful rapiilr 
with which a lady acta in social emer^'. 
';ie8. Slie also remembered that they Mr- 
alone, and that none of the Pushton notalil 
could see that she was acquainted with tl 
"drunken Laceys." Tlierefore Wore tl 
diffident Ardin could tuhi awav, she bowt 
and smiled to him in a genial, conciliatur 
manner. His face brightened into instai 
sunshine and to hor surprise he lifted li 
old weather-stained felt hat like a gentl 
man. Though he had received no lessons 
etiquette, he was inclined to be a litt: 
courtly and stately in manner, when 1 
noticea a lady at all, from conscious iniit,. 
tion of tlie high bred characters in tl 
roman'^es he read. He laid to himself i 
glad exultation — 

" She is different from the rest. She is a i| 
divinely good as she is divinely beautiful, 
and aw^y he rattled toward Pushtoii a 
happy as if his old box waggon were a goldi 
chariot, and he a caliph of Arabian story (> 
whom had lust shone the lustrous eyes i 
the Queen of the East. Then as the tunm; 
in his mind subsided, questioning though! 
as to the cause of her blush came tr(iii| 
ing through his mind, and at once there nio- 
a long vista of airy castles tipped with hoj 
as with sunlight. Poor Arden ! What 
wild uncurbed imagination had masteit 
his morbid nature, as he lived a hermit's li! 
among the practical people of Pushton ! 1 
he had known that Edith, had she seen liii 
in the village, would have crossed the stic- 
rather than have met, or recognized him, 
would have plunged him into still bitten 
misanthropy. She and his mother only stoc 
between him and utter contempt and hatrc 
of hid kin 1, as they existed in reality, au 
not in his books and dreams. 

She forgot all about him before hiswaggc 
turned the corner of tiie road, and chatt( 
away to Malcolm, questioning and nippir 
with increasing zest. As the day grew coo! 
er, her spirits rose under the l^est of all st: 
mulants, agreeable occupation. The biir 
ceased at last their nest-building, and fior 
orchard and grove came many an inspinii 
song. Edith listened with keen enjoymen: 
and country-life and work looked different! 
from what it iiad in the sultry noon. SI. 
saw the long rows of strawberry wines ii 
creasing under Malcolm's labours with di' 
satisfaction. In the still, humid air theplai.' 
scarcely wilted and stood up with the biii;l 
look of those well started in life. 

As it grew towards evening and no r : ■ 
riage of note had passed, Edith ventured : 



% WHAT CAN 



SITE DO ? 



C3 



need him." Ron 

of the wron^'liii 

igled with tlir 

le wonderful rapii 1 1: 

in social eniergt; 

red that they Wir 

he PuMhtfm notalil. 

^quainted with tl 

hcrefore before tl 

rn away, she T)out 

, genial, concilJatdr 

litened into instai 

•prise he lifted li 

hat like a gcnti 

iceived no lessons ; 

incd to be a lilt! 

manner, when 1 

m conscious iniit; 

characters in tl, 

said to himself i 

the rest. She is a 
livinely beautiful, 
toward Pusliton ,, 
iggon were a goMi 
i Arabian story d 
the lustrous eyes i 
Then as the tunm: 
lestioning thougl.! 
bliiHh came tnjiij 
l1 at once there aio- 
i tipped with hoi 
Arden ! What 
ion had maston 
ived a hermit's li! 
e of Pushton ! 1 
had she seen liii 
crossed the sttxt 
recognized him, 
into still bitten 
mother only stod 
itempt and hatn 
d iu reality, an 
ns. 

before hiswaggc 
road, and chattc 
ning and nippir 
the day grew coo 
he l^est of all st 
tion. The bin 
uilding, and fnr 
lany an inspinr 
keen enjoymen: 
looked difFerentI 
iltry noon. SI 
wberry wines ii 
abours with dei 
imid air the plant' 
ip with the biij:! 
n life. 

ning and no ex 
dith ventured t 



»t her transplanting trowel, doff her gloves, 

id coniinence dividing her flower roots that 

io nii^lit put them eluewhere. She l)ociinie 

liiteiested in her work that she was posi- 

rely happy, And soft hoarte«l Malcolm, with 

eye for the beauties of nature, was get- 

bg his rows crooked, because of so many 

liiiiriiig glances toward her as she went to 

id fro. 

'The sun was low in the west and shone in 
imuoit titrough the soft haze. But the co* 
ir ill her cheeks was richer as she rose from 
ground, lier little right hand lost in the 
.iggy earth-covered roots of some hardy 
klox, and turned to meet exquisite Gns El- 
bt, dressed wi'h finished care, and hands 
(Kncasod in immacidato gloves. Her broad 
denied hat was pushed back, her dress 
niped up, and she made a picture in the ev- 
|ing glow tliat would have driven a true 
kist half wild with admiration ; but poor 
Is was quite shocked. The idea of Edith 
len, tlie girl he meant to marry, grubbing 
[the dirt and soiling her hands in that style ! 
•was his impression thaton'y Dutch women 
Vlu!(l iu a garden, and for all he knew of 
i'lfa products she might be setting out a po- 
plant. Quick Edith caught his expres- 
, and while she crimsoned with vexation 
MP )]er plight, felt a' new and ''udden sense of 
Itempt for the semblance of a man before 

» 

kit with the readiness of a society girl 

smoothed her way out of the dilemma, 
fingwith vivacity, — 

Why Mr. Elliot, where did you drop 

? You have surprised me among my 
/era, you see." 

['Indeed, Miss Edi{;h," said Gus, in 
ler unhappily phrased gallantry, "to see 

thus employed makes me feel as if wo 
^h hud dropped into some new and strange 
iere. You seem the lovely shepherdess of 

rural scene, but where is your flock ? " 
Jhrewd Malcolm, near by, watched this 
ie as the terrier he resembled might, and 
idbiK instant and instinctive dislike to the 

comer. With a contemptuous sniff he 
|ught to himself, " There's material 

)f iu ye for so mooch toward a flock as a 

ami a donkey." 

A truce to your lame compliments, " she 

concealing her vexation under badinage. 

do not live by hook or crook yet, what- 

I may come to, and I remember that 

only appreciate artificial flowers made by 
itty shop girls, smd these are not in the 
intry. But come in ; mot,her and my 
;rs will be glad to see you." 
^us was not blind to her beauty, and 
|le the idea of marriage seemed more im- 
iible than ever, now that he had seen her 



hands soiled, the evil suggestion of Van Dam 
gained attractiveness with every glance. 

Edith found Mr. Van Dam on the porch 
with Zell, who had welcomed him in a ma-i- 
ner that meant much to the wily man. Ho 
saw ho»v necessary he was to her, and how 
she had been living on the hope of seeing him, 
and the ))anencs8 of his nature was shoMa 
that instead ol* being stirrod to one noble 
kindly impulse toward her, ho simply exulted 
in his power. 

" Oh," said she, as with both hands she 
greeted him, her eyes half filled with tears, 
•' we have been living like poor exiles in a 
distant land, and you seem as if just from 
home, bringing the best part of it with you." 

"Andlsiiall carry you back to it ere 
long, " ho whispered. 

Her face grew bright and rosy with the 
deepest happiness she had ever known. He 
had never spoken so plainly lief ore. '• Edith 
can never taunt me again with his silence," 
she thought. Though sounding well enough 
to the ear, how fi^lse were his words I When 
►Satan will do work that will sink to lowest 
)erdition, he must commence as an angel oi 
iglit. Zell was giving the best love of which 
itr heart was capable in view of her defective 
education and character. In a sincere and 
deep aiTcotion there are great possibilities oi 
good. Her passion, so frank and strong, in 
the hands of a true man, was a lever that 
might have lifted her up into the noblest 
life. Van Dam sought to use it only to force 
her down. He purposed to cause one oJ 
God's little ones to offend. 

Edith soon appeared, dressed with the taste 
and style of a Fifth Avenue belle of the 
most sensible sort, and Gus was comfort- 
ed. Her picturesque, natural beauty in the 
garden was quite lost on him, but now tha* 
lie saw the familiar touches of the artificial 
in her general aspect, she seemed to him 
the peerless Edith of old. And yet his nice 
eye noted that even a month of absence from 
the fashionable centre had left her ignorant 
of some of the shadings off of one mode 
into another, and the thought passed over 
the polished surface of his mind (all Gus' 
thoughts were on the surface, there being no 
other place for them) •« why a year in this 
OH t-of -the- world life, and she would be only 
a country girl. " 

But all detracting thoughts of each other, 
all mean, viie, and deadly purposes, were 
hidden under smiling exteriors. Mrs. Allen 
was the gracious, elegant matron who would 
not for tiie world let her daughters soil their 
hands, but schemed to marry one to a weak 
apology for a man, and another to a villain 
out and out, and the fashionable world would 







04 



WHAT CAN SHE TX) ? 



cordially appiove and ■ustAin Mri. AUeu'i 
tactics if ahe succeeded. 

Laura brightened up more than she h:::d 
■ince her father'a doath. Auytliing that 
ga%e hone of return to the citv, and 
the possibility of again meeting and with- 
ering Mr, Ciouldeu with her scorn was 
,, welcome. 

And Edith, while she half despised Our, 
found it vory pleasant to moot those of her 
old sect again, and repeat a bit of the past. 
The young crave oompanionithin, and . in 
■pite of au his weakness, she naif liked 
Llliot. With youth's hopefulness she be- 
lieved that he might become a man if he 
only would. At any rate, she lialf con- 
sciously formed the re'jkloss purpose to shut 
her eyes to all presentiments of coming 
trouble and enjoy the evening to the ut- 
most 

Hannibnl was enjoined to get up as fine a 
flupper as possible, regardless of cost, with 
Mrs. Alien's maid to assist. 

In the long purple twilight, Edith and 
Zell, on the arms of their pseudo lovers, 
strolled up and down the paths of the little 
garden ana <loor-yard. As Kdith and Gns 
were passing along the walk that skirted the 
road, she heard the heavv rumb!e of a wag- 
gon that she knew to be Aniea Lacuy's. 
8he did not look up or reco[.nize him, but 
appeared so intent on what (tus was saying, 
as to be oblivious to all else, and yet through 
her long lashes, slie glanced toward him in a 
rapid Hash, as he sat in his rougii working 
garb on the old board where she, on the 
rainy night of her advent to Puahton, had 
clung to his arm in the jolting waggon. Mo- 
mentary as the glance was, the pained, 
startled expression of hu face as ho bent his 
eyes full upon her, caught her attention and 
remained vith her. 

His manner and appearance secured the 
attention of Gus also, and with a contemptu- 
ous laugh, ho said loud enough for Ardeu to 
partially hear, 

" That native comes from pretty far back, 
I imagine. He looks as if he never saw a 
lady and gentleman before. The idea of liv- 
ing like such a cabbage head as th<*t." 
If Ous had not been with Edith, his 

good clothes and good looks would have 
eon spoiled within the next five minutes. 
Edith glanced the other way and pointed 
to her strawberry bed as if noticing his re- 
mark or its object, saying — 

" If you will come and see us a year from 
next June, I can give you a dainty treat from 
these plants." 

" You will not be here next June," said 
Gus tenderly. " Do you imagine we can 
spare you from New York ? The city has 



seemed dull siooo rubbed of the light of y 
britfht eyes." 

Kdith rather liked luaar plums of hi, 
make, even from Gui, anu she, as it v, 
helil out her hand again by the rati 
sentimental remark — 

" Absent ones are soon forgotten.** 

Gus, from much experience, knew how- 
flirt beautifully, and so with lome aptin 
and show of feeling, replied — , 

"From my thoughts yOu are never i 
lent." 

Edith gave him a quick questioning !(» 
What did he mean ? He had avoided evi- 
thing tending to commit him to a penni! 

8irl after her father's death. Was this m 
irtation ? Or had he, in absence, learn 
his need of her for happiness, and was n 
willing to marry her even though poor. 

"If no is man enough to do this, he is c: 
able of doi.*^g more, ' she thought quick 
and circuir.avances pleaded for him. s 
felt so troubled about the future, so hi 
loss and lonely, and he seemed so inso]) 
ably associated with her old bright life, tl 
she was tempted to lean on such a swayi 
reed as she knew Gus to be. She did n 
reply, but he could see the colour deeppn 
her cheeks even in the faded twilight, I 
bosom rose and fell more quickly, and I 
hand rested on his arm with a more cont; 
ing pressure. What more could ho ;us 
and he exulted. 

But before he could speak again tli 
were summoned to supper. Van l)ii 
touched Gus' elbow as they passed 
and whispered — 

" Don't be precipitate. Say nothing il 
finite to-night. I gather from Zell tluit 
little more of their country purgatory w 
render them wholly desperate. 

Edith noticed the momentary detenti 
and whispering, and the thought there w 
some understanding between the two < 
curred to her. For some undefined reav 
she was always inclined to be suspicious n; 
on the alert when Mr. Van Dam wis presn; 
And yet it was but a passing thought, s' 
forgotten iix the enioyineut of the evenii: 
after so Ion/? and dull an experience. Z 
was radiant, and there was a glimmer 
colour in Laura's pale x;heeks. 

After supper they sat down to cards. T 
decanter was placed on the • side table, a: 
heavy inroads were n^.ade on Mrs. Allei: 
limited stock of wine, for the gentlenie: 
feeling that they were off on a lark, we 
little inclined to self-control. .They 
insisted on the ladies drinking health 
them, which foolish Zell, and 
foolish Mrs. Allen were too 
to do, and for the first time 



tht'i 
wit) 

Vi« 
veil 
H 
•hoi 
towi 
•ncj 
lull) 



to 



T< 



^s*s^Si^sm^ss^:- 




eil of the light of 



\ 



WniAT CAN RTIE DO ? ^ 



}■' 



■ugar planui of m. 



affi 



w 



and the, as it 
Kgain by the rut: 

ion forgotten.'* 
>erionoo, knew how 
10 with aoiiie nptif 
jplied — ^ 
tti yoa are never i 

ick qiiofltioning In 
[id had avoided ovt 
nit him to a penml 
oath. Was thia m 
0, in absence, learn 
ppineas, and was ii 
'en though poor. 
1 to do this, he is a 

she thought quick 
jaded for him. s 
the future, so Ik 
s seemed so inscji 
ir old bright life, tl 
.n on such a swayi 
to be. She did ti 
the colour deeprn 

faded twilight, I 
ore quickly, and 1 
with a more coni; 

more could he m, 

d speak again tli 
supper. Van I) 
as they passed 

5. Say nothing i! 
ler from Zell that 
intry purgatory w 
lerate. 
lomentary detenti^ 

thought there « 
tween the two < 
le undefined re;^^ 
to be suspicious a: 
u Dam WIS presn 
ssing thought, sv 
lent of the eveiiii: 
n experience. Z 

was a glimmer 
leks. 

own to cards. T 
le • side table, a 
lie on Mrs. Alln 
or the gentleim 

off on a lark, we 

jntrol. .Tliey a' 

nking health wi; 

Zell, and nic: 

were too reaii 
first time siu' 



tlH'ir fotning, the little cottage rcsonndoc! 
with laiightf r that mm too loud and fre- 
quent to »te inspirt'd by hnppinoBd only. 

If ^Miiirdian an^elH watched thwe, as we 
Ix'liovo they do every wrhern, they might well 
veil their faces in sattncHS and shnme. 

Kut the face of poor innot-ent Hannibal 
ihoiie with d«light, and nodding bis head 
toward Mrs. Allen'H maid with the coniplac- 
tney rtf a propliet who saw his prediction! 
fulfilled, he said : 

" I tohl you ujy young ladioB wasn't gwine 
to stay long in Itiishtown," (as Ilannil>al 
persisted in calling the place). 

To Arden Lacey, the sight of Edith listen- 

tg with glowing cheeks and intent manner 
a Htranger too that seemed the embodi- 
ment of that conventionality of the world 
which he despised and hatod, was a vision 
^at pierced like a sword. And then (ins' 
'IBontemptuous words, Kdith's non-recogni- 
tion, though he tried to believe she had not 
■een him, was like vitriol to a wonnd. At 
first there was a mad impulse of anger to- 

Jard Elliot, and as we have intimated, only 
dith'a presence prevented Arden from 
Remanding instant apology. He knew 
•uough of his fiery nature to feel that he 
Bnust get away as fast as possible, or he 
piiglit forever disgrace himself in Edith's 
j^^es. 

™ As he rode Ikomo his mind was in a sad 
chaos. Ho wsvs consci^ous that his aity 
castles were fulling about him with a crnsli, 
which though unheard by all the world, 
ihook his soul to the centre. 

Too utterly miserable to face his mother, 
loathing the thought gf food, he put up his 
liornes and rushed out into the night. 

In his first impulse he vowed never to look 
ward E'lith again, but before two hours of 
'ruitlens wandc rin-j; had passed, a fascination 
rew his feet toward Edith's cottage, only 
t>^ hear even Milith's laugh ring out too loud 
lUad reckless to come from the lips of the ex- 
quisite ideal ol his dreams. Though the 
Otliers had spoken in thunder tones, he had 
ears for these two voices only. He ruslied 
»way from the spot, as one might from some 
torturing vision, exclaiming, — 

" The real world is a worse mockery than 
ijiie one of /ny dreams. Would to heaven I 
liad never been born." 



CHAPTER XIV. 




WE 



can't work. 



The gentlemen agreed to meet ^ the ladies 

le next day at church. Mrs. Allen insisted 

ipon it, as she wished to show the natives of 

^ushton that they were visited by people of 

5 



stylo from the city. As yet they had 
not received many calls, and those ventur- 
ing had come in a roconnoitering kind of 
way. Mhe knew so little of solid country 

rioeple as to suppose that two yotmg men, 
ike (Jus Elliot aixl Van Dnm, would make 
a favourable impression. The latter with 
a shrug and OTimaee at Zell, which she, poor 
child, thongnt funny, promised to do so, 
and then they took leave with great oordi* 
•lity. 

So they were ready to han<l the Aliens 
out of their carriage the next morning, and 
were, M'ith the ladies, who were (m>sse<l 
even more elaborately than on the previous 
8al)bath, shown to a prominent pew, the 
centre of many admiring eyes, as they 
supposed. Rut whore one admired, ten 
criticised. The summer hotel at Pushton 
had brought New York too near and made 
it too familiar for Mrs. Allen's tactics. 
Visits to the town were easily made and 
frequent, snd by brief diversions of their 
attention from the service, the good church 
people soon satisfied themselves that the 
young men bel()nge«l to the bold fast type, 
an impression strengthened by the parties 
theninolvcB who had devotion only for Zell 
and Edith, and a bold stare for any pretty 
girl that caught their eyes. 

After church they parted with the un- 
derstanding that the gentlemen should 
cume out toward night ana spend the even* 

Mr. Van Dam and Gus Elliot dined at the 
village hotel, having ordered the Ijest din- 
ner that the landlord was capable of serv- 
ing, and a couple of bottles of wino. 
Over this they became so exhilarated as to 
attract a good deal of attention. A village 
tavern is always haunted by idle clerks, 
and a motley crowd of gossips, on the Sab- 
bath, and to these the irruption of two 
young bloods from the city, was a slight 
l)reak in the monotony of their slow shutil- 
ing jog tOMii^rd perdition ; and when the 
fine gentlemen began to get drunk and 
noi^y it was really quite interesting. A 
group gathered round the bar, and through 
the open door could see into the dining- 
room. Soon with unsteady step, Van Dam 
^nd Elliot joined them, the latter brand- 
ishing an empty bottle, and calling in a 
thick loud voice, — 

" Hero landlord (hie) open a bottle (hie) 
of wine, for these poor (hie) suckers, (hie) 
I don't suppose (hic) they ever tasted (hie) 
anything better than corn whiskey. (hic) 
But I'll moisten (hic) their gullets to-day 
(hic) with a gentleman's drink." 

The crowd was mean enough, as the 
loafers aboiit a tavern usually are, to gi^e a 



\W^ 



66 



WHAT CAN SHE DO f 



iil. 



faint cheer in prospect of A treat, even 
though accompanied with words anonymous 
with a kick. But one big raw-boned fellow 
who looked •qual to any amount of com- 
whiekey, or anything else, could not swallow 
Gus'sinHoknce, and stepped upsaying — 

•' Look here, Capen, 1 m ready enough to 
drink wiiii a chap when he asks me like a 
gentleman, but 1 feel more like puttin' a 
liend on you than driiUtin* with yer." 

Gus had the f .Ise courage of wine and 
prided himself on his boxing In the head- 
long fury of drunkenness he flung the bottle 
at the man's hea<l, just grazing it, and sprang 
toward him, but stumbled and fell. The 
man, with a certain rude sense of chivalry, 
waited for him to get up, but the mean loaf- 
ers, who had cheered were about to manifest 
their change of sentiment toward Gus, by 
kicking him in his prostrate condition. Van 
Dam, who also had drank too much to be 
his cool careful self, now drp.w a pistol, and 
with a savage volley of oaths, swore he would 
. shoot tlie first man who touched his friend. 
Then helping Gus up, he carried him off to a 
private room, and with the skill of an old 
experienced hand, set about righting himself 
. and Elliot up so that they might be in a 
presentable condition for their visit to the 
. Aliens. 

" Curse it all, Gus, why can you not keep 
within bounds ? If this getj to the girls' 
ears it may spoil everything." 

By five o'clock Gus had so far recovered 
as to venture to drive to the Aliens, and the 
fresh air restored him rapidly. Before leav- 
ing, the landlord said to V;in Dam — 

*' You had better stay out there all night. 
From what I hear the boys are going to lay 
for you when you come home to-night. I 
don't want any rows connected with my 
house. I'd rsther you wouldn't come back. " 

Van Dam mi .tiered" an OAth, and to'd the 
• driver to go on 

As a matter of course they were received 

very cordially. Gus was quite himself af^'ain. 

'. He only seemed a little more inclined to be 

: sentimental and in higher spirits than i:sual. 

They walked agair in the twilight throagh 
the garden and under the budding trees of 
the orchard. Gus assumed a caressing tone 
and manner, which Edith luilf received and 
half resented. She felt that she did not know 
her owii mind and did not understand him 
altogether, and so she took a diplomatic 
middle course that w- iild leave her free to go 
forward or retreat. Zell, under the influence 
of Mr. Van Dam's flattering,manner, walked 
in a beautiful but lurid dream. At last they 
all gathered in the parlour and chatted and 
laughed over old times. 

On this Sabbath" evening one of the officers 



of the church seeing that the Aliens had twice 
worshipped with them, felt that perhaps he 
ought to call and givesome encouragement. As 
he enme up the path he was surprised at the 
sound of voices. With his hand on the doorbell 
he paused, and through an opening 1)etweeu 
the curtains saw the young men of whose 
bar-room performance he had happened to 
hear. Not caring to meet any of their ilk he 
went silently away shaking his head with 
ill-omened significance. Of coure the good 
man told his wife what sort of company 
their new neighbours kept, and who didn't 
she tell ? 

The evening grew late, but no carriage 
came from the village. 

" It's very strange," said Van Dam. 

"If it don't come you muststay all night," 
said Mrs. Allen graciously. " We can make 
you quite comfortable even if we have a little 
house. " 

Mr. Van Dam, and Gus also, were t rofuse 
in their thanks, Edith bit her lip with 
vexation. She felt that gentlemen who to 
the world would seem so intimate with the 
family, in reality held no relation, and tiiat 
she and Zell were being placed in a falsa 
positiwi. But no scruph s of prudence occur- 
red to thoughtless ZelL With an arch look 
toward her lover she said, — 

" I think it thieatens rain, so of course you 
cannot go." • , 

•' Let us go out and see," he said. 

In the darkness of the pcrcn he put his 
arm around and drew the unresisting girl to 
him, but he did not say like a true man, 

"Zell, be ii:y wife." 

But poor Zell thcniglit that was what all 
his attention and show of affection meant. 

Edith and (his joined them, and the latter 
thought also to put his regard in the form of 
caressing action, rather than in honest out- 
spoken words, but she turned and said a 
little sharply,— 

" You have no right. " 

*' Give me the right then," he whispered. 

" Whether I will ever do that I cannot 
(Fay. It depends somewhat on yourself. But 
I cannot now and here. " 

The warning hand of Van Dam was reach- 
ed through the darkness and touched Gus' 
ann. 

The next morning they walked back to 
the village, were driven two or thrt e miles 
to the nearest railway station, and took the 
train to the city, having promised to come 
soon again. 

The M-eek follcv ing their departure was 
an eventful one to ihe inmates of the little 
cottage, and all unknown the most unfavour- 
able influenc?'' wrj-e at work against tl.em. 
The Sunday hangers-cuof a tavera havetheii 



bef 



-"y^B 



WHAT CAIT SHE DO? 



e^ 



leAIIens had twice 
It that perliaps he 
ncoura^etRciit. As 
8 surpnsed at the 
nd on the doorbell 
opening lietweeu 
; men of whose 
lad happened to 
my of their ilk lie 
; his head with 
coure the good 
trt of company 
and who didn't 



but 



no carnage 



i Van Dam. 
st stay all night, " 
" We can make 
if we have a little 

Iso, were rrofuae 
it her lip with 
ntlemcn who to 
itiniate with tho 
lation, and tiiat 
iced in a fake 
f prudence occur- 
ith an arch look 

so of course you 

he said. 

en he put his 
resisting girl to 
a true man, 

was what all 
ction meant, 
and the latter 
in the form of 
honest out- 
and said a 



in 
;d 



he whispered. 

that I cannot 

yourself. But 

)am was reach - 
touched Gus' 

liked back to 
)r thrte miles 
and took the 
ised to come 

ieparture was 
of the little 
nost unfavour- 
gainst tLem. 
^era havetlieii 




points of contact with the better cUsses, 
and gossip is a commodity always in demand, 
whoever brings it to market. Therefore the 
scenes in the dining and barirooms in which 
Mrs. Allen's " friends " had played so 

Erominent a part were soon portrayed in 
ovel and mansion alike, with such exagger- 
ations and distortions as a story inevitably 
suiTers as passed along. The part acted by 
the young men was certainly bad enough, 
bat rumour made it much worse. Then 
this stream of gossip was met by another 
coming from the wife of the good man, 
who had called with the best intentions 
Sunday evening, but pained at the nature of 
the Aliens', associations, had gone lamenting 
to his wife, and she had gone lamenting to 
the majority of the elder ladies of the 
church. These two streams uniting, quite a 
tidal wave of "I want to knows, "and 
:•' painful surprises," swept over Pushton, 
and the Aliens suffered woefully through 
their friends. They had already received 
pome reconnoitering calls, and a few from 
pie who wanted to be neighbourly. But 

he truth was the people of Pushton had 
somcM'hat perplexed. They did not 
know where to put the Aliens. The face 
that Mr. Allen had been a rich merchant, 
iknd lived on Fifth Avenue, counted for 
something. But then even the natives of 
pushton knew that all kinds of people lived 
on Fifth Avenue, as elsewhere, and that some 
pf the most disreputable were the riche.st. A 
♦learer credential than that was therefore 
needed. Then again there was another 
puzzle. The f^t that Mr. Allen had failed, 
•nd that they lived in a little house indica- 
^|ed poverty. But their style of dressing 
|«i<l ordering from the store also suggested 
ijonsitlerable property left. The humbler 
portion of the community doubted whether 
TOey were the style of people for them to 
ijiall on, and the rumour of Rose Lacey's 
treatment getting abroad in spite of Arden's 
{iij unction to tlie contrary, confirmed these 
doubts, and alienated this class. The more 
wealthy and fasliionably inclined, doubted 
%he grounds for their calling, having by no 
fneans made up their minds whetlier they 
i|ould take the Aliens into their exclusive 
flircle. So tlius far Mrs. Allen and her 
iiaughters had given audience to a sort of 
Sdiddle class of skirmishers and scouts re- 
presenting no one in particular save them- 
. »elves, but from a penchant in that direction 
went out and obtained information, so that 
the nioro solid ranks behind could know what 

:> do. In addition, as we have intimated. 

ihero were a few good kindly people who 
id- 
" These strangers have come to live among 



us, and we must give them a neighbourly 
welcome. " ' 

But there was something in their homely, 
honest heartiness that did not suit Mnj, 
Allen's artificial taste, and she rather snubb- 
ed them. 

" Heaven deliver us soon from Pushton," 
she said, "If the best people have no more 
air of quality than these outlandish tribes. 
Tiiey all look and act as if they had come 
oat of the ark. " 

If the Aliens had frankly and patiently 
accepted their poverty and misfortunes, and 
by close economy and some form of labour 
had sought to maintain an honefit independ- 
ence, they could soon through this latter 
class, have become en rapport with, not 
the wealthy and fashionable, but the finest 
people of the community ; people having the 
refinement, intelligence, and heart to make 
the f-est friends we can possess. It might 
take some little time. It ought to. Social 
recognition and esteem should be earned. 
Unless strangers bring clear letters of credit, 
or established reputation, thay must expect, 
to be put on probation. But if they adopt a 
course of simple sincerity and dignity, and 
especially one of great prudence, tliey are 
sure to find the right sort of friends, and win 
the sort of position to which they are justly 
entitled. But let the finger of scandal and 
doubt be pointed toward them, and all hav- 
ing sons and daughters will stand aloof on 
the ground of self-protection, if nothing else. 
The taint of scandal, like the taint of leprosy, 
causes a general shrinking away. 

The finger of doubt and scandal in Push- 
ton was now' most decidedly pointed toward 
the Aliens. It was reported around — 

" Their father was a Wall street gambler 
who lost all in a big speculation and died 
suddenly or committed suicide. They be- 
longed to the ultra fast fashionable set in 
New York, and the events of tlie past Sab- 
bath show that they are not the persons for 
self-respecting people to associate with. " 

Some of the rather dissipate d clerks and 
semi-loafers of the v^illage were inclined to 
make the acquaintance of such stylish, hand- 
some girls, but the Aliens received the least 
advance from them with ineffii^jle scorn. 

Thus within the short space of a mpnth 
Mrs. Allen had, by her policy, contrived to 
isolate her family as completely as if they 
bad a pestilence. 

Even Mrs. and Rose Laeey were inclined 
to pass from indignation to contempt, for 
Ml". Lacey was present at the scene in the 
bar-room, and reported that the " twoyoung 
bucks were friends of their new nti<^lil)ours, 
the Aliens, and had staj'ed there all Sunday- 
night because they darcu't go back to town." 



i 
.* 



63 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



f 



"Well," said Rose, '* with all their airs, I 
haven't got to keeping company with that 
Btyie of uien yet. " 

"Cease to call yourself my sister if 
you ever do knowingly, " said Arden sternly. 
"I don't believe Edith Allen knowa the 
character of tliese men. They would not re- 
port themselves, and who is to do it?" 

" Perhaps you had better," said Rose ma- 
liciously. 

Ardun's only answer was a dark frowning 
look. A severe conflict was progressing in 
his mind. One impulse was to regard Edith 
as unworthy of another thought. But his 
heart pleaded for her, and the thought that 
she was ditTerent from the rept, and capable 
of deveh)ping a character as beautiful as her 
person, grew stronger as he dwelt upon it. 

Like myself she is related to others that 
drag her tlowri, he thought, and she seem'? to 
have no friend or brother to protect or warn 
her. Even if this over-dressed young fool is 
her lover, if she could have seen him prostrate 
on the bar-room floor, she would never look 
at him again. If so I would never look 
at her. 

His romantic nature became impressed 
with the idea that he might become in 
some sense her unknown knight and 
protector, and keep her from marrying a 
man that would sink to what his father 
was. Therefore he passed the house as often 
as he could in hope that there might be some 
opportunity of seeing her. 

To poor Edith, troubles thickened fast, 
for as wa have seen, the blunt of everything 
came on her. Early on the forenoon of Mon- 
day the carpenter appeared asking with a 
hard deteimined tone, for his money, adding 
with satire, — 

"I suppose it's all right of course. People 
who want everything done at once must ex- 
pect to pay promptly. " 

" Your bill is much too large — much larcer 
than you gave us any reason to suppose it 
would be:' said Edith. 

" I've only charged you regular rates, Miss, 
and you put me to no little inconvenience 
beside." 

"That's not the point. It's double the 
amount you gave us to understand it would 
be, and if you should deduct the damage 
caused by your delay, it would greatly re- 
duce it. I do not feci willing that tliis bill 
should be paid as it stands. " 

"Very well then," said the man, coolly 
rising. " You threatened me with a lawyer, 
111 let my lawyer settle with you." 

"Edith," said Mrs. Allen majestically, 
' ' bring my cheque-book. " 

" Don't pay it. mother. He can't make us 



pay such a bill in view of the lact that he left 
our roof open in the rain. " 

" Do as I bid you," said Mrs. AUeu im< 
pressively. 

' * There, " she said to the chuckling builder, 
ip lofty scorn, thro wing toward him achecqua 
as if it were dirt. " Now leave i;he presence 
of ladies whom you don't seem to know much 
about. " 

The man reddened and went out mutt ^r- 
ins that " he had seen quite as good ladies 
before. " 

Two days later a letter from Mrs. Allen's 
bank brought dismay by stating that she had 
overdrawn her account. 

The next day there came a letter from 
thjir lawyer saying that a messenger from the 
bank had called upon him — that he was sorry 
they had spent all their money — that he 
.ould not sell the stock he now held at any 
price — and they had better sell their house 
in the country and board. 

This Mrs. Allen was inclined to do, but 
Edith said almost fiercely, — 

"I won't sell it. I am bound to have 
some place of refuge in this hard, pitiless 
world. I hold the deed of this property, 
and we certainly can get something to eat of 
it, and if we must starve, uo one at least 
can disturb us. " 

" What can we do ?" said Mrs. Allen, cry- 
ing and wringing her hands. 

" We ou^ht to have saved our money and 
gone to worlv at soniethinei, " answered Edith 
sternly. 

" I am not able to work, " whined Laura. 

" I don't know how to wbrk.^ and I won't 
starve either, " cried Ze 11 passionately. "I 
shall write to Mr. Van Dam this very day 
and tell him all about it. " 

" I would rather work my fingers off," re- 
torted Edith, scornfully, "than have a man 
come and marry me out of charity, finding 
me AS helpless as if I were picked up off the 
street, and on the street we would soon 
be without shelter or friends if we sold this 
place. " 

And so t)\e blow fell upon them and such 
was the spirit with whioh they bore it. 



CHAPTER XV. 

THE TEMPTATION". 

The same mail brought them, a long bill 
from Mr. Hard, accompanied with & very 
polite but decisive note saying that it was 
his custom to have a monthly settlement 
with his customers. 

The rest of the family looked with new dis- 
may and helplessness at this, and Edith ad- 
ded bitterly. 



■4 CI 



,1 



ai 



le 
A| 
>pi[ 
ital 

tofl 

co| 
vw* 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



69 



he lact that he left 

(1 Mrs. Allen im< 

chuckling builder, 
ard him achecqua 
eave l;he presence 
em to know much 

vent out muti ?r- 
te as good ladies 

rem Mrs. Allen's 
btiug that slie had 

le a letter from 
esseuger from the 
that he was sorry 
mouey — that he 
now held at any 
' sell their house 

5lined to do, but 

bound to have 
>is hard, pitiless 
►f this property, 
aething to eat of 

no one at least 

Mrs. Allen, cry- 

our money and 
answered Edith 

whined Laura, 
rk^ and I won't 
ssionately. "I 
I this very day 

fingers off, " re- 
lan have a man 
-'harity, finding 
jked up off the 
ye would soon 
f we sold this 

lem and such 
y bore it. 



r. 

m a long bill 
with & very 
that it was 
ly settlement 

I with new dis- 
nd Edith ad- 



"There are half a dozen other bills also." 
"What can we do?" a^n Mrs. Allen 
cried piiiously. "If you girls had only ac- 
cepted some of your splendid offer» — " 

"Hush, mother, "said Edith imperiously. 

" I have heard that refrain too often already, " 

and the resolute, practical girl went to her 

room and shut herself up to think. 

.fi Two hours later she came down to lunch 

, witli the determined air of one who had come 

S to a conclusion. 

^ " These bills must be met or in part at 

I least," she said, " and the sooner the better. 

After that we must buy no more than we can 

. pay for, if it's only a crust of bread. I shall 

iiake the first train to-morrow, and dispose 

tof some of my jewellery. Who of you will 

contribute some also ? We all have more than 

vwo shall ever need." 

if "Pawn our jewellery 1" they all shriek- 
;/ied. 
, "No, sell it," aaid Edith firmly. 

" You hateful creature, " sobbed Zell, " if 
. Mr. Van Dam heard it he would never come 
fnear mc again. " 

p " If he's that kind of a man, he had better 
inot, " was the sharp retort. 
i " I'll never forgive you, if yon do it. You 
■ishall not spoil all my chances and your own 
itoo. He as good as offered himself to me, 
and I insist on your giving me a chance to 
jwrit^ to him before you take one of your 
J^znad steps. " 

r,f They all clamoured against her purpose so 

illtrongly that Edith was borne down and 

'i^luctantly gave way. Zeli wrote immedi- 

Ately a touching, pathetic letter that would 

-have moved a man of one knightly instinct 

■Jito eome to her rescue. Van Dam read it 

.4 with a look of fiendish exultation, and calling 

onGus, said, — 

"We will go np to-morrow. The right 
time has come. They won't be nice as to 
terms any longer. " 

It was an unfortunate thing for Edith that 
she had yielded at this time to the policy of 
waiting one hour longer. In the two days 
that intervened before the young men ap- 
peared there was time for that kind of 
thought that most dangerous attitude of 
irresolution. The toils(»ne path of independ- 
ent labour looked very hard and thorny — 
more than that it looked lon^'ly. This latter 
aspect causes multitudes to shrink, where 
the work would not. She knew enough of 
society to feel sure that her mother was 
right, and that the moment she entered on 
bread winning by any form of honest labour, 
her old fashionable world was lost to her 
forever. And she knew of no other world ; 
••he had no other friends save those of the 
gilded past. She did not with her health- 



ful framed and energetic spirit, shrink so 
much from labour as from association with 
the labouringgolasses. She had been educa- 
ted to think of then only as coarse add 
common, and make no distinctions. 

" Even if a hw are as good* and intelligent 
these Laceys seem, they can't understand 
my feelings ahd pt3t life, so there will be no 
eoneehiality, and I shall have to work prac- 
tically alone; Perhaps in time I shall be- 
cone coaitte; . and/ common like the rest," she 
said With a half shudder at the thouKht of 
old-fashioned garb, slipt^od dressing, and 
l<mg monotonous hours at one think. All 
these were inseparable in her mind from 
poverty and labour. 

Then after a long silence, during which she 
had sat with her chin resting on her hands, 
she continued, — 

" I beUeve I could stand it if I could earn 
a support out of the ^^arden with such^ maa 
as Malcolm to help me. There is variety an4 
beauty there, and scope for constant im- 
provement. But I fear a woman can't make 
a livelihood by such out of door, man-like 
work. Good heavens ! what will my Fifth 
Avonuo friends says if it should get to tbait 
ears that Edith AUen is raising cabbage for 
market. " 

Then in contrast, as the alternative to la- 
bour, Gus Elliot continually presented him- 

"If he were only more of a man," she 
thought, "but if he loves so well as to mar- 
ry me in view of my poverty, he must have 
some true manhood about him. I suppose I 
coufld learn to love him after a fashion, and 
I certainly like him as well as^anyone I know. 
Perhaps if I was with him to cheer, incite 
and scold, he might becouj^e a fair business 
man after all. " 

And so Edith in her helplessness and fear 
of work was tempted to enter on that forlorn 
experiment which so many energetic women 
of decided character have made — that of 
marrying a man who can't stand alone, or do 
anything but dawdle, in the hope they may 
be able to infuse some of their own moral and 
intellectual backbone. 

But Gus Elliot was not man enough, had 
not sense enough, to give her this poor chance 
of matrimonial escape from labour that seem- 
ed to her like a giant taskmaster, waiting 
with grimy, homy hand to claim her as an- 
other of his nnumerable slaves. Though a 
life of lonely, ill-paid toil would have been 
better for Edith, than marriage to Gus, he 
was missing the one golden opportunity of 
his life, when he thought of Edith Allen in 
any other character tlian his wife. God uses 
instruments, and she alone could give him a 
chance of being a man among men. In his 



70 



WHAT CAN SHE DO? 



,'" 



ii 






mcditated baseness toward her, he aimed a 
fatal blow at his o^'n life. 

And this is ever true of sins against the 
human brothp.rhood. The recoil of a blow 
struck at another's interests, has often the 
vengeful wrath of heaven in it> and the self- 
ish soul tliat would d^stroijr tt fellow-creature 
for its own pleasure, is itself destroy«d. 

False pride, false education, helpless un- 
skilled hands, an untaught, unbraced moral 
nature, made strong, resolute, beautiful 
Edith Allen so weak, so untrue to herself, 
that she was ready to throw herself away on 
00 thin a shadow of a man as 6us Elliot. She 
71. ight have ki^own, indeed she half feared 
that wretchedness would follow such a union. 
It is torment to a large strong-souled woman 
to utterly despise the man to whom she is 
chained. His weakness and irresolution nau- 
seates her, and the probabilities are that 
she will sink into that worst phase of fe- 
minine drudgery, the supporting of a hus- 
band, who though able, will not work, and 
become that social monster, of whom it is 
said with significant laugh, — 

" She is the man of the house." 
- The only thing that reconciled her to the 
thought of marrying Gas was the hope that 
she could inspire liim to better things and he 
seemed the only refuge from the pressing 
troubles that environed her and a lonely life 
of labour ; for the thought that she could 
bring herself to marry among the labouring 
classes had never occurred to her. 

So she came to the miserable conclusion 
on the afternoon of the second day, 

"I'll take him if he will me, knowing how 
am situated — 

If Gus could have been true and manly 
one evening he might have secured a prop 
that would have kept him up though it 
would have been at sad cost to Edith. 

On the afternoon of Friday, Zell returned 
from the village with radiant face, and wav- 
ing a letter before Edith where she sat mop- 
ing in her room, exclaimed with a thrill of 
ecstacy in in her tone— 

" They are coming. Help to make me ir- 
resistible. " 

Edith felt the contagion of Zell's excite- 
ment, and the mysteries of the toilet com- 
menced. Nature had done much for these 
girls, and they knew how to further every 
charm by art. Edith good-naturedly helped 
her sister, weaving the poor shimmering 
pearls in the dark heavy Ijoraids of her liair, 
»nd arranging all about the fair face that 
needed no cosmetics. The toilet-table of a 
queen hatl not the secrets of Zell's beauty, 
for the most skilful art must deal with the 
surface, wliile Zell's loveliness glowed from 
within. Her rich youne blood mantled her 



cheek with a colour that came and went with 
her passing thoughts, and was as unlike tliu 
flammg and unchanging red of a painted 
face, as sunlight that flickers through a 
bi-eezy grove differs from a caa-jet. Her 
eyes glowed with the deep excitement of a 
passionate love and the feeling that tho 
crisis of her life was near. Even Edith gazed 
with wondering admiration at her beauty, a» 
she gave tlie finishing touches to her toilet, 
before she commenced her own. 

Discarded Laura had a sorry part in the 
poor little play. She was to be ill and un- 
able to appear, and so resigned herself to a 
novel solitude. Mrs. Allen was to dis- 
creetly have a headache and retire early, and 
thus all embaiTassing third parties should be 
kept out of the way. 

The late afternoon of Friday (unlucky day 
for once) brought the gentlemen, dressed as 
exquisitely as ever, but the visions on the 
rustic litUe porch almost dazzled even 
their experienced eyes. They had seen 
these girls more richly dressed before and 
more radiant. Indeed there was a delicious 
pensiveness hanging over them now, like 
those delicious veils that enhance beauty and 
conceal nothing. And there was a deep 
undertone of excitement that gave them a 
magnetic power that they could not have in 
quieter moods. 

Their appearance and manner of greeting 
caused secret exultation in the black hearts 
that they expected would be offered to them 
that night, but Edith looked so noble as well 
as boflutiful, that Gus rather trembled in 
view of his part in the proposed tragedy. 
As warm and gentle as had been her greet- 
ing, she did not appear like a girl that could 
be safely trifled with. However, Gus 
knew his one source of courage and kept 
up on brandy all day, 
a heavier onslaught 
poor Mrs. Allen's wine, 
not bring it out. She mearvt that all that 
was said that night should be spoken in so- 
ber earnestness. 

They sat down to cards for a while after 
tea, during which con^'ersation was rather 
forced, consisting mainly oi extravagant 
compliments from tJie g( ntlemen, and ten- 
der, meaning glances which tho girls did not 
resent. Mrs. Allen languidly joined them 
for a while, and excused herpelf saying, — 

"Her poor head had been too heavily 
taxed of late, " though how, save '».s i\ small 
distillery of helpless tears, we do not re- 
member. 

Tlie regiet of the young men at being 
deprived of her society was cpiite affecting 
in view of the fact that they had. often wish- 
ed her dead and out of the way. '-^i n-y- 



and he proposed 

than ever on 

But Edith did 



I 

6 del] 
f'SaicI 

1 no\i 
' littl 

• lov( 

r'beM 

I*" . 

fthel 

• arbl 

i « 






.43** 



I 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



71 



;ame and went witli 
I was as unlike tJjo 
t red of a paintc<l 
flickers through a 
n a gas-jet. Her 
p excitement of a 
feialing that tho 
Even Edith gazed 
n at her beauty, aa 
3hes to her toilet, 
own, 

sorry part in the 
9 to be ill and un- 
igned herself to a 
Ulen was to dis- 
d retire early, and 
i parties should be 

iday (unlucky day 
lenien, dressed as 
the visions on the 
t dazzled even 

They had seen 
ressed before and 
re was a delicious 

them now, like 
hance beauty and 
;here was a deep 
hat gave them a 
ould not have in 

finer of greeting 
he black hearts 
oflfered to them 
so noble as well 
er trembled in 
•oposed tragedy, 
been her greet- 
t girl that could 
HoM'ever, Gus 
mrage and kept 
he proposed 
ever on 
Edith did 
^t that all that 
spoken in so- 

r a while after 
ion was rather 
'i extravagant 
Piiien, and ten- 
le girls did not 
'■ joined them 
f saying,— 
u too heavily 
•-ve '1.S i>. small 
e do not re- 

"evx at being 
piite aff'ectiiii,' 
id oifeu wisli- 



lan 
But 



I 



" Why should we shut ourselves up with- 
in walls this lovely spring evening, this 
'^delicious earnest of the coming summer," 
*-gaid Mr. Van Dam to Zell, "Come, put ou 
f'your shawlaudshowmeyourgardenby moon- 
J light." 

"• Zell cxultingly com])lied, believing that 
? now she would sliow him, not their poor 

* little garden, but the paradise of re-united 

* love. A moment later her graceful form, 
Vbending like a willow tow.ird him, vanished 
iin the dusky light of the rising moon, down 
ftlie garden path which led to the little 
.•arbour. 

I* Gus having the parlour t< himself, went 

^over to the sofa, seated himself by the side 

^.of Edith and sought to pas? his arm around 

'^jher waist. 

I " You have no rip!it," again said Edith 

fwith dignity, shrinking away. 

'• But will you not give the' right ? 
Bahold me a suppliant at your feet, " said 
Gus tenderly, but comfortably keeping his 

'Seat. 

;, "Mr. Elliot," said Edith earnestly, "do 

', you realize that you are asking a poor girl 

l^to marry you ?" 

I " Your own beautiful self is beyond all 

\gold," said Gus gushingly. 

^ " You did not think so a 

f torted Edith bitterly. 

* "I was a fool. My friends discour- 
f aged it, but I find I cannot live without 



i' 



month ago, " re- 



.■ jou. 

^ This sounded well to poor 



are 



Edith, but she 
right. 



You 



t 




A'lSaid half sadly, — 

' " Perhaps your friends 
cannot afford to marry me 

"But I cannot give you up," said Gus 

' with much show of feeling. " What would 

' my life be without you ? I admit to you 
that my friends are opposed to my marriage, 
but am I to blight my life for them ? Am 
I, who have seen the best of New York for 
years, to give up the loveliest girl I have 
ever seen in it ? I cannot and I will not," 
concluded Gus tragically. 

" And are you willing to give up all for 
me ?" said Edith feelingly, her glorious eyes 
becoming gentle and tender. 

"Yes, if you will give up all forme," 
said Gus languishingly, taking her hand and 
drawing her toward him. 

Edith did not resist now, but leaned her 
head on his shoulder with the blessed sense 
of rest ai^-d at least partial security. Her 
cruelly harrassed heart and burdened, 
threatened life could welcome even such 
poor shelter as Gus Elliot offered. The 
spring evening was mild and breathless and 
its hush and peace seemed to accord with 
her feelings. There was uo eustatio thrill- 



ng of her heart in the divine raptura of 
mutual and open recognition of love, for no 
isucli love existed on her part. It was only 
a languid feeling of oontantma it, iii.Ma- 
lighted with sentiment, not snn-li jflited \v,tli 
joy, that she had found some one wiio 
would not leave her to labour and sti-ugglo 
alone. 

" Gus, " ^he said pathetically, "wears 
very poor, we have nothing. We are al- 
most' desperate from want. Think twic > 
ere vou engage yourself to a girl so situ- 
ated. Are you able to thus burden your- 
»olf?" 

Gus thought these words led the way to 
the carrying out of Van Dam's inatructiuns, 
for he said eagerly, 

" I know how you are situated. I learned 
all from Zell's letter to Van Dam, but our 
hearts only cling the closer to you, and you 
niu.'^' let me take care of you at once. If you 
will only consent to a secret marnage I can 
manage it. " 

Edith slowly raised her head from his 
shoulder. Gus could not meet her eyes, but 
felt them searchingly on his face. Tlierj 
Was a distant mutter of thunder like a warn- 
ing voiee. He continued hurriedly, 

" I thinly you will agree with me that such 
a marriage would be best when you think of 
it. It would be hard for me to break witii 
my family at once. Indeed I could not af- 
ford to anger my father now. But I would 
soon get established in business myself, and 
I would work so hard if I knew that yoa 
were dependent on mei" in »■ 

" Then you would wish n\e to remain here 
in obscurity your wife," said Edith in a 
low, constrained tone that Gus did not quite 
like. 

" Oh, no, not for the world," replied Gus 
hurriedly. " It is because I so long for your 
daily and hourly presence that I urge you to 
come to the city at once. " 

" What is your plan then ?" asked Editli 
in the same low tone. 

"Go with me to the city, on the boat that 
passes here in the evening. I will see that 
you are lodged where you will have eve!"V 
comfort, yes, luxury. We can there bo 
quietly married, and when the right time 
comes, we can openly acknowledge it. " 

There was a tremble in Edith's voice when 
she again spoke, it might be from feeling, 
mere excitement, or auger. At any rate 
Gus grew more and more uncomfortable. Ho 
had a vague feelinp *hat Edith suspected his 
falseness, and that her seeming calmness 
^ight piesage a storm, and he found it im- 
possible to meet her full, searching gaze, 
i oaring that his face would betray him. Ue^ 



72 



WHAT CA.N SHE DO ? 




was bad enough for his project, but not quite 
brazen enough. 

She detatched herself from h is encircling arni, 
went to a book-stand near and 'xK>k from it 
a richly bound Bible. With this tiie came and 
stood before Gus, wno was half trembling 
with fear and perplexity, and said in a tone 
so ^rave and solemn, that his weak impres 
Bible nature was deeply moved, — 

" Mr. Eiiiot, perhaps I do not unders^^T.i 
you. I have received several offers before, 
but never one like yours this even ng. In- 
deed I need not remind you that you have 
spoken to m: in a difxierent vein. I know 
circumstances have creably altered me. 
That I am no longer the daughter of f, mil- 
lionaire, I am learning to my sorrow, but I 
am the some Edith Allen that you knew of 
old. I would not like to misjudge you, one 
of my oldest, most intimate friends of the 
happy past. And yet, as I have aaid, I do 
not quite understand your offer. Place your 
hand on this sacred book with me, and as 
you hope for God's mercy, answer me this 
truly. Would you wish your own sister to 
accept such an offer, if she were situated like 
myself ? Look me, an honest girl with ail my 
faults and poverty, in the face, and tell me 
as a true brother. " 

Gus felt himself in an awful dilemma. 
Something in Edith's solemn tone and man- 
ner convinced him tliat both he and Van 
Divm had misjudged her. His knees so 
trembled that he could scarcely rise. A fas- 
cination that he could not resist drew his 
face, stamped with guilt, toward her, and 
slowly he raised his fearful eyes and for a 
moment met Edith's searching, questioning 
gaze, then dropped them in confusion. 

" Why do you not put your hand on the 
book and speak? " she asked in the low, con- 
centrated voice of passion. 

Again he looked hurriedly at her. A 
flash of lightning illumined her features, 
and he quailed before an expression such as 
he had never seen before on any woman's 

" I— I— cannot, " he faltered. ' «''^rf ^^-"^ 
The Bible dropped from her hands, they 

. clasped, and for a moment she seemed to 
writhe in a^ony, and in a low, shuddering 

, tone she said, — 

*' There are none to trust — not one." 
Then as if possessed by a sudden fury, she 

.seized him roughly by the arm and said 

, hoarsely, — 

'* Speak, man, what then did you mean? 
What have all your tender speeches and 

. caressingactions meant ? " 

Her face grew livid with rage and shame 

us the truth dawned upou her, while poor, 



feeble Gua lost his poise utterly and stood 
like a detected criminal before her. 

"You asked me to marry you," she 
hissed. " Must no one ask your immacu- 
late sisters to do this, that you could not 
answer my simple question ? Or, did yon 
mean somtthing else ? How dare you 
exist longer in the semblance of a man ? 
jTou have broken the sacred law of hospit- 
ality, and here in my little home that Irna 
t^eftered you, you purpose my destruction. 
You take mean advantage of my poverty 
and trouble, and like a cowardly hunter 
must seek out a wounded doe as your game. 
My grief and misfortune should have made 
a sanctuary cbout me, but the orphaned and 
uufortpr.ato, God's trust to all true men, 
only invite your evil designs, because de- 
fenceleM, Wretch, ^oidd you have made 
me this offer if my father had lived, or if I 
had a brother?" 

'•It's all Van Dam's work, curse him," 
groaned Gus, white as a ghost. 

"Van Dam's work!^' shrieked Edith, 
'-and he's with Zell ! So this is a conspir- 
acy. You both are the flower of chivalry," 
and her mocking, half-hysterical lau^h 
curdled Gus' blood, as her dress fluttered 
down the path that led to the arbour. 

She appeared in the doorway like a sud- 
den, supernatural vision. Zell's head rested 
on Mr. Van Dam's shoulder, and he was 
portraying in low ardent tones the pleasures 
of city life, which would be hers as Jiis wife. 

" It is true, " he had said, " our marriage 
must be secret for the present. You must 
learn to trust me. But the time will soon 
come when I can acknowledge you as my 
peerless bride. " 

Foolish little Zell was too eager to escape 
present miseries to be nice and critical as to 
the conditions, and too much in love, too 
young and unsuspecting to doubt the man 
who had petted her from a child. She 
agreed to do anything he thought best. 

Then Edith's entrance and terrible wordb 
broke her pretty dream in fragments. 

Snatching her sister from Van Dam's eiU' 
brace, she cried passionately — 

" Leave this place. Your villainy is dis- 
covered. " 

■ "Really, Miss Edith "—began Van Dam 
with a poor show of dignity. 

" Leave instantly ! " cried Edith im- 
periously. "Do you wish me to strike 
you ? " , J 

" Edith are you mad ? " cried Zell. 

" Your sister must have lost her reason," 
said Van Dam, approaching Zell. 

"Stand back, "cried Edith sternly. "I 
may go mad before this hateful night passes, 
but while I have strength and reason left, I 



t 

Sre. 

I- 
Meer 

•lenii 

d TI 

£n 

l|efu| 






!f> 



' jsisaKB^ 



1 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



73 



utterly and gfcDod 
before her. 

1 marry you," she 
3 ask your immacu- 

that you could not 
tion ? Or, did yon 
* HoMT dare yon 
inblance of a man ? 
ired law of hospit- 
little home that has 
)se my destruction, 
tage of my poverty 
a cowardly hunter 
'■ doe as your game, 
should have made 
t the orphaned and 
' to all true men, 
Jsigns, because de- 
d you have made 
jr had lived, or if I 

work, curse him," 
host. 

shrieked Eiitli, 
3 this is & conspir- 
>wer of chivalry, " 
-hysterical launh 
ler dress fluttered 
the arbour, 
oorway like a sud- 
Zell's head rested 
der, and he was 
►nes the pleasures 
e hers as his wife. 
" our marriage 
out. You must 
time will soon 
ledge you as my 

o eager to escape 
and critical as to 
nuch in love, too 
doubt the man 
a child. She 
5ught best. 
"1 terrible words* 
agments. 
V"an Dam's em 

villainy is dis- 

)egan Van Dam 

ied Edith im- 
me to strike 

ed Zell. 

<t her reason." 

:eii. 

sternly. "I 
d niglit passes, 
reason left, I 



true, for even hardened 

before her, and took 

resor.rce '>f hia satanic 



^ill drive the wolves from our fold. Answer 
je this : have you not been proposing secret 
larriage to my sister? " 
Her face looked spirit-like in the pale 
loonlight and her eyes blazed like coals of 
ire. As she stood there with her arm 
Ikround her bewildered, trembling sister, she 
ieemed a guardian angel holding a oaffled 
lend at bay. 
' This was literally 
#^an Dam quailed 
jflefuge in the usual 
%My — lies. 

p "I assure you, Miss Edith, you do me 
%reat injustice. I have only asked your 
-pster that our marriage be private for a 
'lime—" 
"^i "The same wretched bait — the same 

tansparent falseLood," Editli shrieked. 
We cannot be married openly at our own 
^ome, but must go away with you, two 
)otle88 knights, to New York. Do you 
kke us for silly fools ? You know well wiiat 
*ihe world would say of ladies that so com- 
'wromised themselves, and no true man 
-Would ask this of a woman he meant to make 
Ikis wife. These premises are mine. Leave 
'them." 

Van Dam was an old villain who had lived 
'ij^fe-lone; in the atmosphere of brawls and iu- 
"iariguc, therefore he said brazenly — 
fc* '* There is no use of wasting words on an 
• l^ngry woman. Zell, my darling, do me 
'^justice. Don't ^ive me \ip, as i never shall 
'*ou," and he vanished on the road toward 
aPie village, where Gus was skulking on before 
»)IHm. 

# "You weak, unmitigated fool," said he 
'%ivagely, *' why did I bring you ?" 
iH' " Look here, Van Dam,' whined Gus, 
#' that isn't the way to speak to a gentle - 
Jnan," 

.f> " (iientleman ! ha, ha," laughed Van Dam 
'■%itterly, 

» " I'll be hanged if I feel like one to-night. 
A pretty scrape you have got me into," 
gnarled Gus. 
f;. '<Well," saio. Van Dam cynically. "I 

thought I was too old to learn much more, 
»ut you may shoot me if I ever go on a Uwk 
'itgain with one of your weak villains who is 
1»ftd enough for any thing, but who hasn't brAina 
'•«nough to get found out. If it liadn't been 
'for ytKi I would have carried my point. And 
-I will yet, " he added with an oatli. "I never 
'give up the game I have once started." 

And so they plodded on with mutual revil- 

iiigs and profanity, till Gus became afraid of 

*Van Dam, and was wileut. 

^ The dark cloud that had risen unnoted in 

-the south, like the slowly gathering and 

impending wrath of God, now broke upon 



them in sudden gusta, and then chased thciu 
with pelting torrents of rain and stinging* 
hail, into the village. The sin-wrought 
ohaoB — the hellish discord of their evil 
natures seemed to have infected the peaceful 
spring evening, for now the very spirit of 
the storm appeared abroad. The rush and 
roar of the wnid was so strong, the lightning 
BO vivid, and the crashing thunder peals 
overhead so terrific, that even hardened Van 
Dam was awed, and Gus was so frightened 
and conscience smitten, that he could scarce- 
ly keep np with liiscoinpaniv^n, but shudder- 
ed at the thought of being left alone. 

At last they reached the tavern, roused 
the startled landlord and obtained welcome 
shelter. 

"What!" he said, "are the boys after 
you ?" 

"No, no," said Van Dam impatiently, 
" the devil is after us in this infernal storm. 
Give us two rooms, a fire, and soni'j brandy 
as soon as possible, and charge what you 
please." 

When Gus viewed himself in the mirror, 
as he at onw did from long habit, hia 
haggard face, drenchetl, mud-8i)lashed form 
awakened sincere self-couimiseration ; 
and his stained, bedraggled clothes 
troubled him more than his soiled character. 
He did not rememl^r the time when he had 
not been well dressed, and to be so was his 
religion — the sacred instinct of his life. 
Therefore he was inexpressibly shocked, and 
almost ready to cry, as he saw hi^ forlorn 
reflection in the glass. And he had no 
change with him. What should he do ? All 
other phases of the disastrous night were lost 
in this. 

" There is nothing to be bought in this 
mean httle town, and how can I go to the 
city in this plight?" he anxiously queried. 

" Go to the devil then," and the sympa- 
thetic Van Dam wrapi>ed himself up and 
went to sleep. 

Gus fussily worked at his clothes till a late 
hour, devoutly hoping he would n^eet no one 
that he knew before reaching hia dressing- 
room in New York. 



CHAPTER XVL 

BliACK HANNIBAL'S WHITE HBARr. 

Edith half led, half carried her sobbing 
sister to the parlour. Mrs. Allen, no 
longer languid, and Laura from her exile, 
were already there, and gathered with dia* 
mayed faces around the sofa where she 
placed Zell. 

"What has happened ? " asked Mrs. Allen 
trembUngly. .^^ -^ ?.- . ;r . ..u;,^ 



M 



'W 



WHAT CAN 9HB DO? 



!i 



Edith's aelf-oontrol, now that her enemies 
were gone, fi^ave way utterly, and itinkin^ on 
the floor, she swayed back and forth, sobljing 
even more hysterically than Zell, and her 
mother and Laura, oppressed with the sense 
of some new impending disaster, caught the 
contagion of their bitter grief, and wept and 
wrung their hands also. 

The frightened maid stood in one door, 
with her white qneationing face, and old 
grey-haired Hannirml in another with eyes 
streaming with honest sympathy. 

"Speak, speak, what is the matter?' 
almost shrieked Mrs. Allen. 

Edith could not speak, but Zell sobbed, 
•*I — don' — know — Edith — seems — to have -' 
gone — mad. " 

At la"*, after the application oi •«>■.. i- 
tives, Ldith so far recovered hert-U ti:. mv} 
brokenly — 

" We ve been betra-"ed — they're — vii.^ns. 
They never — meant — marriage at all. " 

• ' That's false, " screamed Zell. ' ' I won't 
believe it of my lover, whatever may have 
been true of your mean little Gus Elliot. 
Ho promised to many me, and you have 
spoiled everything by your mad folly. I'll 
never forgive you," — VVhen Zell's wild fury 
would have ceased cannot be said, but a 
new voice startled and awed them in silence. 
In the storm of sorrow and passion that 
raged within, the outer storm had risen un- 
noted, but now an awful peal of thunder 
broke over their beads and rolled away 
among the hills in deep reverberations. 
Another and louder crash soon followed, 
iind a solemn expectant silence fell upon 
them, akin to that when the noisy passionate 
world will suddenly cease its clamour 
as the trninp of God proclaims the end. 

"Merciful heaven, we shall be struck," 
said Mrs. Allen shudderingly. 

*• What's the use of living? " said Zell in 
a hard, reckless tone. 

" What is there to 
Edith, deep in her l>eart. 
to be trusted — not one. " 

Instead of congratulations received 
with blushing happiness, and solitaire en- 
gagement rings, thus is shown the first 
result of Mrs. Allen's policy, and society's 
injunction — 

" Keep your hands white my dears." 
The storm passed away, and they crept 
off to such poor rest as they could get, too 
miserable to speak, and too worn to renew 
the threatened quarrel that a voice from 
heaven seemingly had interrupted. 

The next morning they gathered at a 
late breakfast table with haggard faces and 
swollen eyes. Zell looked hard and sullen, 
Edith's face was so determined in its ex- 



live for ? " sighed 
"There are none 



pression as to be stem. Mrs. Allen lanioiit 
ed feebly and indefinitely, Laura oni, 
appeared more settled iu her a]mthy, iiiu, 
with Zeli and Edith, WM utterly sili i,i 
through that forlorn meal. 

After it was over, Zell went up to licr 
room and Edith followed her. Zell had ik t 
spoken to her sister since the thunder pi ;il 
had suddenly checked her bitter worn. 
Edith dreaded the alienation alte saw <i 
Zell's face, and felt wronged by it, knowi.i 
that she had only acted as truest friend aim 
protector. But in order still to shield Ji' , 
sister, she must secure her conlidence, ni 
else the dangeraverted the pastoveiiiiig, woiiii; 
threaten as grimly as ever. She also n 
ali/ed how essential Zell's help would Le in 
the struggle for broad on which they mi; t 
enter, and wished to obtain her hearty co 
oneration m some plan of work. She siiw 
: ' ' labour now M'as inevitable, ai il 
musi be commenced immediately. From 
Laura she hoped little. She seemed so 
lacking in force mentally and physically, 
sines their troubles began, that she 
feared nothing could arouse her. She threat- 
ened to soon become an invalid like iu r 
niotlier. The thought of help from the latter 
did not even occur to her. 

Edith had not slept, and as the chaos 
and bitterness of the past evening's iv 
perience passed away, her practical mi ml 
began to concentrate itself on the ])r<)li- 
lem of support. Her disappointment luil 
not been so severe as that of Zell, by aiiy 
•means, and so she was in a condition to rallv 
much soonsr. She had never much muie 
than liked Elliot, and now the very thouglit 
of him was nauseating, and thouyh labour 
and want might be hai-d indee<l, and regitt 
for all they had lost keen, still she was 
spared the bitterer pain of a hopeless love. 
tXBut it WIS just this that Zell feared, ami 
though she repeated to herself over and o\ cr 
again Van Dam's last words, "I will nev(i 
give you up, "she feared that he wouhl, or 
what would be equally puinful, she would be 
compelled to give him up, for she cou'ld nut 
disguise it from herself that her confidence 
had been shaken. 

But sincere love is slow to believe evil of 
its object. If Van Dam had shown prefer 
ence for another, Zell's jealousy and aii^'( r 
would have known no bounds, but this he 
had never done, and she could not bring ijci - 
self to believe that the man whom she had 
known since childhood, who had al\v;.\s 
treated her with uniform kindness and nio-t 
flatterinfi attention, who had partaken d 
tiioir hospitality s.o often and intimately tli !t 
he almost seemed like one of the family, 
meditated the basest evil against her. 



Ilnitl 



teal 
ntll 
SI 



'^pl 



lei": 



|Je 



^''•X&L^-. -4* i^y5' «|v ■ 




WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



75 



Mrs. Allot) laniojit 
•itely, Laura oni; 
lu her apiithy, «,„ 
1, waa utterly sil( m 
tal. 

Zell went up to 
lilier. Zall had 
;e the thundei' 
I her bitter 



Jicr 
wor.i. 



lenation ajje saw i, 
iged by it, kiiowi., 
as truest frien<I ai„i 
r atill to aliitild h, i 
- her oonlidoufe, ni 
opastoveiiijig, Won;, 
ever. She also i, . 
'8 help would Le m 
1 which they mi, [ 
lin her hearty c. 
of work. She sau 
inevitable, ai 1 
nmediately. Fn-m 
5. She seemed s„ 
ly and physical I V. 
>egan, that i^hn 
seher. She threat- 
1 invalid like ii, ,• 
lelp from the latter 

and as the chaos 
Jast evening's i^. 
ler practical mind 
elf on the ])rol,. 
8ap2Jointment hal 
latofZell, byanv 

condition to rally 
liever much nioiv 

the very thoup lit 
nd though labom- 
ndeed, and regret 

II. still she was 
hopeless love. 

t Zell feared, nvA 
elf over and o\(r 
"iMMll nev,.,- 
lat he would, or 

III, she would he 
for she could i).,t 
t her contidenee 



to believe evil of 
I shown prefer- 
ousy and anger 
nds, but this ],e 
d not bring ho)'- 
whom she had 
o had alwjiys 
<lnes8 and nu>-: 
i} partaken i,r 
intimately tint 
of the faniilv, 
ust her. 



•• Hns I'illiot ia capable of any meanness, 
feut lOdith was mistaken about my friend, 
iid yet Kdith f-tis so iu8ulte«l him, that 1 
«• he will "-.or come to the house again," 

»• If I had 



with deep rosuntuieut. 

a private marriage, I am sure 



he 



Van Dam 
you that I 




e said 
.eclined 

ould have "married me openly 
Tliereforo when Kdith entered their little 
om ZcU's face wuo averted and there was 
.ery evidence of estrangement. Mith 
ueant to be kind ami considerate, and pati- 
tly .show the reasons for her action. 
Siio sat duwu and tcM)k her sister's cold, 
passive hand, saying — 
" Zell, did I not help you dress in this 
ry place last evenina .' Did I not wait 
ainst my judgment till Mr. 
me ? Tiieso tliiugs prove to 
ould not put a straw between you and a 
ue lover. Surely we have trouble enough 
ithout adding t le bitter one of division and 
trangemont. If we don't stand by each 
Ather now, what will become of us ?" 

"What right had you to misjudge Mr. 
[an Dam by such a mean little scamp as 
us Elliot ? Why did you not give him a 
ance to explain himself ?" 
"Oh Zell, Zell, how can you be so blinded? 
d he not ask you to go away with him in 
IP^e night — to elope, and then" submit to a 
jjecret marriage in New York ?" 
^. "Well, he told mc there were good reasons 
,^hat m!>de such a course necessary at pre- 
^ent." 

"Are you George Allen's daughter that 
Vou could even listen to such a proposal? 
^jWhen you lived on Fifth Avenue wouhl he 
Jiave dared to have even faintly suggested 
juch a thiug? Can he ]>e a true lover who 
oiiisults you to begin M'ith, and instead of 
>*howing manly delicacy and desire to shield, 
}4n view of your misfortunes, demands not 
;;pnly hard but indecent conditions ? Even if 
fee purposed to marry you, what right has he 
to require of you such indelicate action as 
would make your name a byword and hissing 
among all your old acquaintances, and a last- 
ing stain to your family' They would not 
vreceive you with respect again, though some 
flight tolerate you and point you out as the 
Ifirl so desperate for a husband, that you sub- 
mitted to the grossest indignity to get one. " 
Zell hung her head in shame and anger un- 
der Edith "s inexorable logic, but the anger 
was now turning against Van Dam. Edith 
contimi^d> — ; 

"A lady should be sought and won. It is 
for lier to set the place and time of the wed- 
ding, and dictate the conditions. It is for 
her to say who shall be present and who ab- 
sent, and woman, to whom a spotless name 
is everything, has the right, which even sav- 



age tribes recognize, to sliield herself from 
the faintest imputation ofinunodcsty by eom- 

f>olling her suitor to comply witli the estab- 
isjied custom and etiquette which are her 
safeguards. The daughter of a poor labourer 
woiud demand all this as a matter of course, 
and shall the beautiful Zell Allen, who has 
had scores of admirei'S, llnve all this reversed 
in her case, an<l be compelled to skulk away 
itc/m the home in whicii she should bo open- 
ly married, to hunt up a mau at night who 
has made the pitiful promise that he will 
marry her somewhere or sometime or other, 
on condition that no one shall know it till he 
is ready ? Mark it well, the nnin who so in- 
sults a lady and all her family, never meant 
to marry her, or else he is so coarse and bru- 
tal in all his instincts, that no decent woman 
ought to marry him." 

"Say no more," said Zell in a low tone, "1 
fear you are right, though ' '^uld rather die 
than believe it. O, Edith, . dit '" she cried 
in sudden passionate grie" " v heart is 
broken. 1 loved him so, T oi. »^ have been 
so happy. " 

Edith took her in her ar-^v' and they cried 
together. At last Zell saiu iaiiguidly ; 

" What oaii we do/*' 

" We must go to .■■ like other poor 
people. If we had only done so at first and 
saved every dollar we luid left, we would not 
now be in our present deeply emljarrassed 
condition. And yet Zell, if yOu, witfc your 
vigour and strength, will only stand by me, 
and help your best, we will see bright days 
yet. There must be some way by which two 
girls can make a livelihood here in Pushton, 
as elsewhere. We have at least a shelter, 
anil I have great hope* of the garden. " 

" I don't like a garden. I fear I couldn't 
do much there. And it seems like man's 
work too. I fear I shall be too wretched 
and ignorant to do anythinjj. " 

"Not at all. Youth, health and time, 
against all the troubles of the world. 
(This was the best creed poor Edith then 
had. ) Now, " she continued, encouragingly, 
" You like housework. Of course we must 
dismiss our servants, and if you did the 
work of the house with Laura, so that I had 
all my time for something else, it would be 
a great sa ingaud help." 

" Oh, dear ! oh, dear ! that we should 
ever come to this !" said Zell despairingly. 

" We must come to it, and must face the 
truth." 

" 'Well, of course I'll try," said Zell with 
something of Laura's apathy. Then with 
a sudden burst of passion she clenched her 
little hands and cned : 

" I hate him, the cold-hearted wretch, 
to treat h's poor little Zell so shamefully !" 






f 



Si 



<ffpe7„r ■■:,,-;!.£%«« room wiM. 

heart," aad sobW ^t i7 Jlf.""^ ^''"J« 
gone. Jp "^' ner strength was 

Kdith sighed deeply «« p„„ . 

depended on ? " she thnn„i * ^}^^ ^^^^ ^e 

lifted the langai.l form to^\*l i^ l^^ '^^ 

over her an afg ian „nd K Jf >^' ^^'^'^ 

-f cologne ti,fth\"po^^h^M, a'r;^^ 

r!;crt';^r„^^t%r,u."^^ 

«ieeveutfl of kst 11 ^^P^'"ed more fuUy 
nmttered. ' ehamef.d '"'^«^\ .^""» °"Iy 
whnod, "SheTouI ' not"* T'' A"-^« 
p'-Js didn't knoT how to ""^^^''^^^"^ >*• 
longer. There muathl "'*""?« «»y 
standing, for no V.1 ^^'"*' mfsunder- 
eould have meant^t? ^ '"^'^ ^« ^^^ city 
to an old aunLpe.tate'f''''^^ '^^ ^"«"^t 
She never heard of^such a fh?"'^^ *%*^'«^^^«- 
-uld only have beeu";t:nt^"^- ^ «^« 
sternly"'^':. I^,f,^,^^'" /aid Edith almost 
}y l^eLe that wL^n v"r- ^ «^'°»'^l g^a^- 
lady. such poor V llains I, '^'''" ^ y«""g 
^O'i^-ty. ^Leo^^er such offp"°* "' «^^<^ 
";ade to young ladie's livaW on fL T "^^ 
ihis^ more properly a £„? J''® ^^^""e. 
than management T». ^^^ shooting 

talk a.y m?re abm I it W ''*' P^'^*^«^«« *? 
to conform to our alter!*,] .- "" •"""* "^^ try 
^t ^east mainLin our 'il^?'»«*«"<^e«. and 
secure the comforts o? [f . if' nT??«*' '^"d 
^e must now practise tli ';,P^««j^^e. But 
f aura, you will We Jo J '''.*. ^^^^othy. 
for of course we can keen nn"''*^'''''« ^^^'l 
have a little money leffS.f -ff^^ants. I 
^naid to-day and S herC" ^^" ^^^ ^our 



^HAT CAN SHE DO f 



41. 
4ii 



you^ Mis. Edier said he. with the accent,^ 

great worhl fnll^f pj^X f T "T "^ "' tl„ ^"^ 
«an't afford to ev*m'^t?nV ' ^ '^'*'" ^ '""st. \\, ^""^ 
are worth any for.ger'^'^ you half what y;; 

point, "'said 'ffih""smiL'* '•'•'^^' «*-^«t'"^ 
«ore heart. -"£;,. r] \"i ''^'**' ''^ '"' 
valuable seryantfb^siS t^ ' ^"" '^'•'' ^ 
of rich upstarts who wo'lH •' -''e plenty 
thin^f you would ask i,^? fn »*^''® ^^u any. 
a^d give an old aDraristoVr^/'*''*'.^'*^" oo.ne 
^''^^^^'''^f.^ "'anions. '^'"**'° "'' *° their 

Jj-ut^m/tiiff 'Tlilt'r^ "'^"- '^^" 
(Hannibal? I'»e Hv«j ' "»oney to ol,. 

f J^-res and knows a r^tuT n"^ «- milliot 
bnngs half of 'LvT^ "T^^' J* onJv 
doesn't keep dare heartsTn°^ *^°"^'« *"' 
When Massa Allen was a IZ ^k"'"« «°^«- 

b'g.andguvemealldemon!i"r' ^^ ^^'"^ "^« 
" he at last loaf ,»,, "^oney I wanted and 

it's no morTn hfd^ wS^ ."'"'^^ ^« ^e'ep 
now. Miss E,lie I tnlj ^'* °^n- An, 
sisters round on Vy 8h!f.?, ,^°" ^^ you'se 
^as babies, and I Lit "^^^ ,7^'V\ fou'se 
you. no friends, no w'.??* "^^I*"}' left but 






'no away, it's 1 ke gofn' o„; f1^ 'f ^^^ «ond 
n?8s. What 'ud/doin-^""*?^* wilder- 
J"g house, when my hi"rtn! "*'"-"^f "'^^'^ 

^f tis black, and if you send n?"''*^ ^*« ^^ft, 
hreak It. T'd a C ,"^® away you 'sp 

Bushtown aL' XTe^f S" ,^/h^'e" • 
alls, danhve in de * j"^^^*^ "^i^h you 
Avenue" "^^ grandest house on do 

— J ••"« lot ner tm " * •' •' ^-^ i u i ' Cannibal, " said Vau\, 

are as true as steel Yo„7r f ^^' '^"t you 
?f, I told you before WsJlT T'^ ^^^<^k 
Oh. that other men were lit y'oJ, i^" '"''"o- 

OTess you. Miaa v>i- T . you .' 
only a 'nigyr.'- ' ^^'«' ^ 'sn't a man, I'se 

said Erh:^^^^;,/f, trusted 
family as long as you wish S .^ °"^ ^^ t^ e 
"Jfow brJss you M?*''^*,^y ^ithus." 
'^ngelforsayin' /a? fc^''^ V'^"'«« «" 



;j;d your daughirs wis V^ 

A. rs. Allen rVti 
abdicate her natural "°* • ^'^'■'"^"v 
head of the fam jv , P?«'t'on as 
Jonr of almost shipwS' Jv,* ^'^ the 
helm out of the fS]l h ^'"' *°°^ the 
yo""^g'rihad little to' ?1"1«- ^ut the 
ledge and -axperienco wor?Ii n! !•' "•'^ ^"ow. 
the sea was rough and Cet S^"'"^' ^"^ 
J^he maid had no reJr^tfnf ^ '^^"S^ers. , 
went away with somfthinf o T'*"'*«' ^'^'^ 
t>on of a rat leavinT! " ^, ?^ tJie satisfac- 
>vith old Hanniha ?4 a ,71 '^"P" «"t ' 
•'^ouaint.wi„eto.iUra^;S;?,:f^!^ 



angel for sayin' /at ' n'\^ 

""her up at de thought t?^' '"^ ole jints 
^"^^« cle only ting da?\an\K.^^^^^^^^^^^ 



#ind 

you 8 

BOt. 

Wev 

value 

"I 

indigi 
ing s« 

})Ht 

Budde 
'• J 

said t 




4 



WHATCiK SHE DO? 



77 



J he, with the accent , 

iend,''gaid Edith fco 
;nd I'm sure of i„ tin 

fy you half what yo, 



t^ 



might} 



•at guch 
out. 

won't reach starvati,, 
""'Ijng 1,1 spite of hv, 
Hannfhal, yo„ are , 
'f<es there are pleiu,. 
would give you^,,;.^ 

sfcocmtic air to their 

?/* ,H"°^ nothin 'tall 
^nats money tool, 
'imong tiie million, 
ut money. Jt onj, 
leap of trouble an.; 
I fyom getting sore. 
» J'vin, he p^d mu 
loney I wanted, and 

;;ey which he keep, 
}h his own. An,; 

M^°" ,^d you'se 
Wer when vou'se 
ot notiun' left but 
; and if you send 
at into de wilder, 
owe strange man's 

8 here m de little 
■Hannibal has left 

dmeawayyou'se 
^f\i^y herein 

^est house on do 

•I'th, putting her 
'fler and lo^kj 

es dimmed witfi 
^nowhow much 
have felt that 
"t one, but you 
eart isn't black, 
Iter than mine, 
you !" 

m'taman, I'se 

•listed friend,', 
be one of the 
^tay with us." 
ulie, jou'sean a 
l>e afeard, I'se 

I be old. I 
n; den I work 
wine to work 

'nyole jints 
jears like dat 
Ke one voune 




Nober yon fo«r, MIbs Kdie, we'll full 
ugh, and V»o see you a grand lad^ yet. 

irif lady yon'ao allers be, oven if ycM 

jit out to scrub." 

* Perhaps I'll have to, Hannibal. I know 
tu do that about an woll as anything 
that people are willing to pay fur, 

CHAPTER XVIL 



gTHR CnANOES or TWO SHORT MONTHS. 

tffjit the dinner table it was reluctantly ad- 
lUtted to be necessary, that Edith should go 

3 the oity in the luoruing and dispose of 
pe > t tlieir jewellery. She went by tlie 
>ly train, and the familiar aspects of Fifth 
«nue as she rode down town, were as 
ful as the features of an old friend turn- 
away from ua in estrangement. She kept 
face closely veiled, hoping to meet no 
uaintances, but some whom she knew, 
l|bwittingly brushed against her. Her nio- 
■ter's last words were, — 
»^*' Go to some store where we are not 
itpown, to sell the jewellei-y." 
; Edith's usually good judgment seemed to 
ijl her in this case as it generally does when 
listen to the sugG[e8tions of false pride. 
le went to a jeweller down town who was 

£ utter stranger. The man's face to whom 
e handed her valuables for inspection, did 
tK>t suggest pure gold that had passed 
Hirough the retiiier's fire, though he profess- 
fd to deal in that article. An unknown 
lltdy, closely veiled, offering such rich 
Urticles for sale, looked suspicious, 
l^t whether it was rivht of wrong, there 
iffma a chance for him to make an ex- 
traordinary profit. Giving a curious glance 
it Edith, M-ho l>egan to have misgivings from 
t^e manner and appearance of the man, he 
iwept the little cases up and took them 
to the back part of the store, on pretence of 
wishing to consult his partner. He soon re- 
turned and said ratlier harshly, 

"1 don't qute understand this matter. 
Mid we are not in the habit of doing this 
^nd of buaineHS. It may be all right that 
you should ofi'er this jewellery, and it may 
•lOt. If we take it, we must run the risk. 
We will give you " — offering scarcely half its 
value. 

*' I assure you it is all right," said Edith 
indignantly, at the same time with a sicken- 
ing sensation of fear. " It all belongs to us, 
but we ai'e compelled to part with it from 
Budden need. " 

•• i'nat 18 about the way they all talk,' 
said the man coolly. •* We will give you no 
more than I said. " 

" Then give me back my jewellery," said 



Edith, scarcely able to stand, through foar 
anil shame. 

"I don't know about that. Perhaps I 
ought to call in an ufiivcr anyway and have 
the thing invoMtigated. But I give you your 
choice, either to take this money, or go with 
a policeman before a justice and have the 
thing explaiued, " and he laid the money be* 
fore her. 

She shuddered at the thought. Edith Allen 
in a police court, explaining why she waa 
selling her jewellery, the gift of her dead 
father, followed by a rabble in the street, 
her name in the papers, and she the town* 
talk and scandal of her old set on tha 
Avenue 1 How Gus Elliott and Van Dam 
would exult ! All passed through her mind 
in one dreadful whirl. She siuituhetl up the 
money and rushed out with one thought of 
esca]:)e, and for some time after had a shud- 
dering apprehension of being pursued and 
arrested. 

''Oh, if I had only gone to Tiflfany's, 
where I am known, " she groaned. " it's all 
mother's work. Her advice is always fatal, 
and I will never follow it again. It seems 
as if everything and everybody were against 
me, " and she plunged into the sheltering 
tlirong of Broadway, glad to be a mere unre- 
cognized drop in its mighty tide. 

But even as Edith passed out of the jew- 
eller's store, her eyes rested for a moment 
on the face of a man that she thought she 
had seen before, though she could not tell 
where, and the face haunted her, causing 
much uneasiness. 

' ' Could ho have seen and known me ?" 
she queried most anxiously. 

He had done both. He was no other than 
Tom Growl, a clerk in the village at one of 
the lesser dry goods stores, where the M- 
lens had a small account. He was one of 
the moan lotifers who was present at the bar- 
room scene, and had cheered, and then 
kicked Gus Elliott, and " laid for him " 
in the evening with the "boys." II3 
was one of the upper graduates oi Pnsh- 
ton street corners, and having spent an 
idle, vicious boyhood, truant half tne time 
from school, had now arrived at the dignity 
of clerk in a store, that thrived feebly on the 
scattered trade that filtered through and 
past Mr. Hard's larger establishment. Ho 
was one of the worst phases of the male 
gossip, and had the scent of a buzzard for 
the carrion of scandal. The Aliens were 
now the uppermost theme of the village, for 
there seemed some mystery aljout them. 
Moreover the rural dabblers in vice had a 
natural jealousy of the more accompli^ he I 
rakes from the city, which took on somt; oT 
the air of a virtuous indignation ag;. n t 





P"< r K.Iith coulrl have h '^i^i'*"""' ""'' '' 
ft»H)»t thorn in the soL?" ^'^ *•''*' '"'•""■«^'« 



];^TrA!TR„f.pf,, 






aro like woke; f hJlV"'"*^*"- "^ PeopJo who w« "^ """'' ^« ''•^e vacS tH "" J"»* *''^ 
ofHuio'r::™^^J"vel wo.Idhav«K«.Jp«tientS.' ^V^'^;!; ,^, •J^ >ai,| K,iith i„, 



''"A.rH'-'"^'?''^->'rP«»-""* "'"""'*''' '^'"M ..---• -.-important cjuoHtion.' "° ' 
AH .th,HnuHerai,lo drivel wottid have b.«nP«t'«"% -Tml%T'>^^'^ Kdith im 

ned tot' l?_r'J"«"^«» of such I ^'''' ^''^^ then I wilU^^Lf r.*^ ^"'^ «* «"P ol 



was concerned but 5,0./. *^^ «°'""P 'tself 

gossip threatened to be Zf"^"'"'«' "^ «"«h 
Aa i<m;au , " •'t' oe most senrmo 







•'^ te^^P?^'^^ 






pepot, the immilse'Vn"'' 'own toward the / ^"eruloufcly. -dij /;''—«'«« Mrs. AIK 
home was ve^ stro, ^'s^^r Ceroid N^t? ^ hop^ you di&"£ "".^^ «"«• " 
vei sufficient proteS to vIn/''°"«^* W K^ere you were W^^^^* *^« je>vellery 

anfJ music, ai d .hi ' ^^'^n^'ng with n,:.L-h in f u ""'^ threatened wTfh^' i""/^ '^'•»^ 
door, Snd Jell CO !,"?"""»' »P«'"ng ^he ' ™r>'' *''".'"» ™'' e of UP"/','"'^ ""d <-b- 

A name ^.e^' "^l^Jf" «'- ^-'5 | ''°Sf 2 "' ^I-a™" a. ' " ''"' " ""% 
° ^.'' 'S ?i??-' »S a:-SeTead.!!''" ^^ *» f ^o^r^; ^5^ X" """«'"- '" 



Uriah Fox.'' - -, - 

1- r,S,f ni'ilX"-;- in «.e home of „,„■,,, 

=-»>. nudo'for ';S '"""\ "The uo,.],,' 

"•J HaiHiiljal Mas 



-!!j5TKoSC';!:^..-''™«'of,„„. 

, ^ ^Jiiuk so too "^T,M r 




i 



,* 



\VHAT CAN SHK DO 1 



» worlf?, hut the ,h■^ 

1 t!jo <I«pot. Tho rif. 
" to |)«r in view ,'. 
»/r»T^,I that ,lay. „„.| 

•«*rely thnnkfiil th ,t 
"1 tli« oonntiy wh. r. 
i and cruel could h 



by the 



ny 8ov('raI favca tli.u 
«/?nii!c.i hfti'. And Hli, 
^'de circle of friei.,1, 
t-or d goes on just tl.. 
'ted tho large apncc 

the twilight, weary 
ler mother askeil 

e you knew f " ag if 
nt qnoHtion. 
2. "said Kdith im. 
ad with fatigue and 

96 give me a cup of 
bed. " *^ 

stod Mrs. Alln, 
'^eanyof our oM 
*ke tho jewclleiy 

ves gave way, and 

J T w 18 known, as 
' •>«''•» ro1)},ed, and 
yst'lf to-night, f 
'ce again. It has 
lie aiHl tliaastcr 
silly pride an.i 
harm would it 
ill " 

'^' 
we 



le 



the persons I 
where I was 
Jlery, and waa 
th great danger 
" to Tiffany's, 
am known, I 
politely and ob- 
^-it I offered. I 
'>eing sncHa 
your ridiculous 
all got to go to 
poor people, or 
<^penly. I an, 
bes, a shabby 

a daughter to 
y provocation, 

amed of your- 

I'm sure 
^est, and siic 



)k the courHc which is taken 
joiity in like rircuniHtusiccb." 

All the worms for, tho majority 

in, if they fare anything as we 

>c done. The division ot labour 

tlilH fainily sreuis to Im) that I am to do 

tlio wiirk, and boar the brunt of every- 

png, and the rest sit by antl criticise, or 

)[k<- nioro trouble. You liave all gut to do 

lotliitij,' now or go hungry," and Edith 

allowed her t<'a, and went frowningly 

ly to her room. She was no saint to 

{in with, and her ovcr-taxoil mind and 

ly revenged themaelves in nervous im- 

(ion. But her young and healthful nature 

}n found iu sound sleep the needed 

gtoralive. 

'Mrs. Allen shed a few helpless tears, 

«1 Laura wearily watched the faint flicker 

tijo ln'arth, for the night was chilly. Zell 

3ut into tlie dining-room and read for 

le twentieth time, a letter received that 



^f', 




[■nknown to Edith, the worst disaster yet 
lA^d otu'.urrcd in her absence. Zell wont to 
t£e village for the mail. She would not ad- 
mit, even to herself, that she hoped for a 
iRtcr from one who had acted so poor a 

Jkrt as her false lover, and yet, controlled so 
uch niiirc by her feelings and impulses 
lan either reason or principle, it was 
With a thrill of joy tliat she recognized the 
piiuiliiir handwriting. The next moment 
'iflit" liioppcd her veil to conceal her burning 
blusli 01 shame. She hastened home with a 
n\d tumult at heart. 

" r will read it, and see what he says for 
kitiHclf," she said, '"and then will write a 
nllic.ring a.inwcr.'' 

liat as Van Dam's ardent words and 
jliuisible excuses burned themselves into 
I'M- memory, her weak, foolish heart ro- 
pe, i( oil and she half believed he was wronged 
by Militli after all. The withering answer 
be 'iinie a queer jumble of tender reproaches 
en 1 pathetic appeals, and ended by saying 
1h L if he would marry her in her own home 
it all might be as secret k- he desired, and 
pill' would wait his couveuieu'.'e for acknow- 
led^imMit. 

S u! also did another wrong and impru- 
d' it thing ; for she told him to direct hia 
rt'i ly to another office about a mile from 
I'd'tton, for she dreaded Edith's anger 
eh luiil her correspondence be discovered. 

r le wily, uu.scrupuloua niiin gave one 
ot is sataniji leers as he read the letter. 

"Tie game will soon bo mine," he 
cliiiiikled, and ho wrote promptly in return : 

" fn V^nr request and reproacliea, I see the 
iihi'i of aiuitlier mind, li 'Ifc to yourself 
ou wu uid not doubt me. And yet such is my 



love for you, 1 would cornitly with your requoHt 
were If not tor what iwHscd thai ratal liVeiilnK* 
My feelinKH and honour im a man forbid niy 
I'ver meetinK your alKter utftiin till she hiui 
apoUH(l/.(Ml. HliR never lik«'d me, and always 
wronKed me with doubts. Klilot actcMl like a 
l(N>l and a villain, and i have nothing more to 
(lt> with him. Hut your hIhIit in herantrer and 
exellement classed nu) with him. When you 
have been my loved and fruste I wife for some 
lentrth of time, I hope your family will do mo 
juHtlce. When y»m arc here with me you will 
Hoon see why our inarnuKe mast l>e private ior 
the prt'Hcnt. You have known me Hlnce you 
were a child. I will ho true to my word and 
will do exactly as I axroed. I will meet you 
any eveniuK you wish on tho down boat. 
Awaiting your reply with an anxiety which 
only the deepest love can inspire, I remain , 

Your slave, 

Ouii.MAM Van IUm. 

Such was the fnlso, but plausible missive 
that was aimed as an arrow at poor little 
Zoll. There was nothing in her training or 
education and little inhor ohar«.oter to shiehl 
her. Moreover the increasing miseries of 
their situation were Van Dam's allies. 

Edith rose tho next morning greatly re- 
freshed, and her naturally courageous nature 
rallied to meet the difficulties of their posi- 
tion. But in her strength as was too often 
the case, she made too little allowance for 
the weakness of the othvjrs. She took the 
reins in her hand in a masterful and not 
merciful way, and dictated to the rest in a 
manner that they secretly resented. 

The store waggon Wds a little earlier than 
usual that morning and a note from Mr. 
Hard was handed in otating that he had pay- 
ments to make that dav and would there- 
fore request that his lit le account might be 
met. Two or three other parties brought 
up bills fi'om the village saying that for some 
reason or anothei the money was greatly 
needed. Tom Growl's gossip was doing its 
legitimate work. 

In the post office Edith found all tho other 
accounts against tho family with polite 
enough but pressing requests for pay- 
ment. 

She resolved to pay all she could, and 
Avent first to Mr, Hard's. That worthy 
ctizen's eyes grew less stony as he saw half 
the amount of his bill on the counter. The 
rumour of Edith's visit to the city haA 
reached even hiui, and he had his ft nrs that 
collecting might involve some \inpiuasant 
business, but however unpleasant it might 
be, Mr. Hard always collected. 

" I hope our method of dealing has srtis- 
tied you. Miss Allen," he ventured polite- 
ly. 

"Oh, yes," said Edith dryly, " you have 
been very liberal and prompt with every- 
thing, especially your bill." 






80 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



At this Mr. Hard's eyes grew qxiite peb- 
bly, and he muttered something about its 
being the rule to settle monthly. 

"Oh, certainly," said Edith, "and like 
most rules, no doubt, has many exceptions. 
Good morning. " 

She also paid something on the other bills, 
and then found that she had but a .^ew dol- 
lars left. Though there was a certain sense 
of relief in the feeling that she now owed 
much less, still she looked with dismay on 
tlie small sum remaining. Where was more 
to come from ? She had determined that 
she would not go to New York again to sell 
anything except in the direst extremity. 

That evening Hannibal gave them a 
mea.gre supper, lor Edith had told him of 
the absolute necessity of economy. Tliere 
was a little grumbling over the fare. So 
Edith pushed her chair back, laid '.leven dol- 
lars on the table saying, — 

"That's all the money T have in the world. 
Who's got any more ? " 

They raised ten dollars among them. 

" Now,*' said Edith, " this is all we have. 
Where is more coming from ? " 

Helpless sighs and silence were her only 
answers. 

"There is nothing clearer in the world," 
continued Edith, " than that we riust earn 
money. What can we do ? " 

* ' I never thought we shoulc. have to work, " 
said Laura piteously. 

"But, my dear sister." said Edith earn- 
estly, " Isn't it clear ^j you now that you 
must ? You certain'/ don't expect me to 
earn enough u, K..Tpport you all. One pair of 
hands can t do it, and it wouldn't be fair in 
the bargain, " 

" Oh certainly not," said Laura. " I will 
do anything you say as well as I can, though 
for the life of me, I don't see what I can do. " 

"Nor I eithfii," said Zell passionately. 
"I don't know how to work. I never did 
anything useful in my life that I know of. 
What right have parents to bring up girls in 
this way, unless they make it a perfect cer- 
tainty that they Mill always be rich. Plere 
we are as helpless as four children. We have 
not got enough to keep us from starving moi-e 
than a week at best. Just to think of it I 
Men are speculating and risking all they liave 
every day. Ever since I was a child I have 
heard about the risks of business. I know 
some people whose fathers failer ind they 
went away, I don't where, to suffer as we 
perhaps, and y^t girls are not taught to do a 
single thing by which they can earn a penny 
if they need to. If auyliody will pay me for 
jabbering a little bad French and Italian, I 
am at their service. I think I also under- 
stand dressiiig, flirting, and receiving com- 



pliments very well. I had a taste for these 
things and never had any special motive 
given me fc^r doin^ a,ny thing else. What be- 
comes of all the girls thus taught to be help- 
less, and then tossed out into the world to 
sink or swim ? " 

" They find some self-sustaining work in 
it," said Edith. 

" Not all of them I guess," muttered Zell 
sullenly. 

'• Then they do worse, and had better 
starve, " said Edith sternly. 

" You don't know anything about starv- 
ing," retorted Zell, bitterly. " I repeat it's 
a burning shame to bring girls up so that 
they don't know how to do anything.if there's 
3ver any possibili^^y that they must. And 
it's a worse shame that respect and encour- 
agement was not given to girls who earn a 
living. Mother spys that if we l)ecome 
working girls, not one of onr old wealthy, 
fashionaWe set will have anything to do with 
us. What makes people act so silly ? Any 
one of them on the Avenue may be where 
we are in a year. I've no patience with 
the ways of the world. People don't 
help each other to be good, and don't iielp 
others up. Grown up folks act like chihiren. 
How parents can look forward to the barest 
chance of their children being poor, and 
bringing them up as we were, 1 don't sec. 
I'm no more fit to be poor than to be Presi- 
dent." 

Zell never befori had said a word that 
reflected on her father, but in the light of 
events her criticism seemed so just that no 
one reproved her. 

Mrs. Allen only sighed over her part of 
the implied blame. She had reached the 
hopeless stage of one lost in a foreign In nl 
where the language is unknown and every 
sight and sound unfamiliar and bewih^er- 
ing. This weak, fashionable woman, the 
costly product of an artificial luxuricus 
life, seemed capable of being little better 
than a millstone around the neck of her 
children in this hour of their need. If 
there had been some innate strength and 
nobility in Mrs. Allen's character, it niiglit 
have developed into something M'orthy of re- 
spect under this sharp attrition of trouble, 
however perverted before. But where a 
precious stone will take lustre, a pumice 
stone will crumble. There is a multitu-le of 
natures so weak to begin M'ith that they 
need tonic treatment all through life. 
What must such become under t1l*i influence 
of enervating luxury, flattery and uncurb- 
ed selfishness from childhood ? Poor, 
faded, sighing, helpless Mrs. Allen, shiver- 
ing before the troul)le she had largely oc- 
casioned, is the answer. 



Kl 

that 

entsl 

tage| 

the 

Ite al 

scarj 

nowl 

i< r 

Zelll 
therl 
the 
fas hi 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



sr 



I taste for those 
special motivo 
else. What ho- 
light to be help- 
bo the world to 

aining work in 

' muttered Zell 

tnd had better 

g about starv- 
"I repeat it's 
iris up so that 
■thing, if there's 
y must. And 
-t and encour- 
•Isvvho earn a 
if we l)eccnie 
r old wealthy, 
ling to do with 
so silly ? Any 
nay be where 
patience with 

People don't 
ind don't help 

like cluldren. 
i to the barest 
ig |)oor, and 

I uon't sec. 
n to be Pi-esi- 

a word th.it 
the liglit of 
just that no 

r her jmrt of 

readied tlie 

foreign l;)n I 

I and every 

d bewil(!er- 

wonian, tlic 
d luxnri(us 
ittle bettor 
leck of her 

need. If 
rength and 
ter, it might 
'orthy of re- 
of trouble, 
lit where a 
a pmnicG 
nnltitude of 

that they 
rough life. 
'*'- influence 
nd uncurb- 

? I'oor, 
len, 8hi\ ei- 

largely oc- 



I 



Kdith soon broke the forlorn silence 
tliat followed Zell's outburst by Baying, — 

" All the blame doesn't rest on the par- 
onts. I might have improved my advan- 
tages for better. I might have so mastered 
the rudiments of an Engligh education as to 
he able to teach little cUldren, but I can 
scarcely aeem to remember a single thing 
now. " -^ 

' ' I can remember one thing, " internipt- 
Zell, who was fresh from her books, " that 
there was mighty little attention given to 
the rudiments as you call them, in the 
fashionable schools to which I went. To 
ive the outward airs v nd graces of a fine 
ady seemed their who.u aim. Accoinplish- 
nionts, deportment were everything. The 
way I was hustled over the rudiments al- 
most takes away my breath to remember, 
and I have as remote an idea of vulgar 
fi-actions, as of how to do the vulgar work 
before us. I tell you the whole thing is a 
ci'iiel farce. If girls are educated like butter- 
flies, it ought to be made certain that they 
can live like butterflies. " 

" Well then," continued Edith. "We 
uuglit to have perfected ourselves in some 
accomplishment. They are always in de- 
mand. See what some French and Music 
teachers obtain. " 

" Nonsense, " said Zell pettishly, " you 
know well enough that by tne time we were 
sixteen, our heads were so full of beaux, 
parties and dress, that Frencli and music 
were a bore. We went through the fashion- 
able mills like the rest, and if father 
had continued worth a million or so, no 
one would have found fault with our edu- 
cation." 

" We can't help the past now, " said Edith 
after a moment, "but lam not so old yet 
l)ut that I can choose some kind of work and 
Ko thoroughly master it that I can get the 
highest price paid for that form of bujour. I 
wish it could bo gardening, for I have no 
taste for the shut up work of women ; sitting 
in a close room all day with the needle 
would be slow suicide to me." 

" Gai'dening !" said Zell contemptuously. 
" You couldn't plow as well as that snuffy 
(Ad fellow who scratched your garden about 
as deeply as a hen would have done it. A 
woman can't dig and hoe in the hot sun, that 
is, an American girl can't, and I don't thiidc 
tliey ought." 

" Nor I either," said Mrs. Allen, with 
some reviving vitality. "' The very idea is 
horrid." 

" But ploughing, digging and hoeing i.sM't 
all of gardenmg,' said Edith with some ir- 
ritation. 

" I guess you would make a slim nrppoit 



by just snipping around among the rose 
bushes, " retorted Zell provokingly. 

" That's always the way with yo«, Zell," 
said Edith sharply, " from one extreme 
to another. Well, what would you like to 
do ?" 

"If I had to work I would like house- 
keeping. That admits of great variety and 
activity. I wish I coull open a sunnner 
boarding house up here. Wouldn't I make 
it attractive !" 

" Such black eyes and red cheeks certainly 
woubl — to the gentlemen, " answered Edith 
satirically. 

' ' They would be mere accessories. I 
think I could give to a boarding house, that 
place of harrowing discomfort, a dainty 
home- like air. If father, when he risked a 
failure, had only put aside enough to set me 
up in a boarding-house, I should have been 
made. " 

"A boarding house ! What horror next ?" 
sighed Mrs. Allen. 

"Don't be alarmed, mother, " said Zell, 
bitterly. " We can scarcely start one of the 
forloi-nest hash species on ten dollars. I ad- 
mit I would rather keep house for a good 
husband, and it seems to me I could soon 
learn to give him the perfection of a good 
home," and her eyes filled with wistful tears. 
Dashing them scornfully away, she q(flded, 
"The idea of a woman loving a man, and 
letting his home l)e dependent on the' cruel 
mercies of foreign servants I If it's a Bhapie 
that girls are not taught to make a living if 
they need to, it's a worse shame that they 
are not taught to keep house. Half the 
brides I know of ought to have been arrest- 
ed and imprisoned for obtaining property on 
false pretences. That they had inveigled 
men into the vain expectation that they 
would make a home for them, when they no 
more knew how to make a home than a hep • 
then. The best they can do is to go to one 
of those places so satirically called an " in- 
telligence olHce, " and import into 
their elegant liou.se a small mob 
of njuarrelsoiiie, drunken, dishonest for- 
eigners, and then they and their husband* 
live on such conditions as are permitted. I 
would be mistruHS of my house just as a 
man is master of his store or ofticc, and I 
would know thoroughly how all kinds of 
work Mas done, and sec that it was done 
thoroughly. If they wouldn't do it, I'd di.s- 
ohargo tlieui. I am satisfied that our bail 
s(!rvant.s are the result of bad housekocpci's 
niore than anything else" 

'' Poor little /.cU," said Edith, smiling 
sadly. " I hop;; ycni will have a chaiiee to 
put your thooriu.-j into most happy and auc- 
cea^^fu! practice." 



•*!!» 



B2 



WHAT C4N SHE DO? 



,r. 



"f 



»»» 



•Sj 



" Little cliance of it here in * Bushtown' as 
ILinnibal calls it," said Zell sullenly. 

" Well," said Edith,in a kind of desperate 
tone, " we've got to decide on something at 
once. I will suggest this. Laura must take 
cai'e of mother, and teach a few little child- 
ren if she can get them. We will give up 
the parlour to her cc'tain hours. I will put 
up a notice in the post office asking for such 
patronage, and perhaps we can put an ad- 
vertisement in the Pushton Recorder, if it 
don't cost too much. Zell, you must take 
the housekeeping mainly, for which you have 
a taste, and help me with any sewing I can 
get. Hannibal will go into the garden and 
f will help him there all I can. I shall go to 
the village to-morrow and see if I can find 
anything to do that will bring in money. " 

There was a silent acquiescence in Edith's 
plan, for no one had anything else to offer. 



>.t-»:. 



CHAPTER XVm. 



IGNOBAKCE.— LOOKING FOB WORK. 

The next day Edith went to the village, 
and frankly told Mr. Hard how they were 
situated, mentioning tliat the failure of their 
lawyer to sell the stock had suddenly 
placed them in this crippled condition. 

Mr. Hard's eyes grew more pebbly as he 
listene(^. He ventured in a constrained voice 
as consolation — 

" That he never had much faith in stocks 
— No, he had no employment for ladies in 
connection with his store. He simply 
bought and sold at a sn. all advance. Miss 
Klip, the dressmaker, might have some- 
thing." 

To Miss Klip Edith went. Miss Klip, 
although an unprotected female, appeared to 
lie a maiden that could take care of herself. 
One would scarcely venture to hinder her. 
Her cutting scissors seemed instinct with 
life, and one wo;;ld get out of their way as 
instinctively as from a railroad train. She 
•^ave Edith a sharp look through her spec- 
tacles and said abruptly in answer to her ap- 
;^)lication — 

" I thought you was rich." 

•' We were," said Edith sadly, " but we 
nmst work now and are willing. " 

"What do you know about dressmaking 
and sewing ?" 

"Well, not a great deal, but I thinh; you 
■svould find us vury ready to leani. " 

"Oh, bless you, I can get all my work done 
by thorough hands, and at my own prices, 
too. Good morning." 

"But can you not tell me of someone who 
would be apt to have work?" 

"There's Mrs. Glibcacross the street. She 



has work sometimes. Most of the dress- 
makers around here are well trained, have 
machines, and go out by the day. " 

Edith's heart sank. What chance was 
there for her untaught hands amongall these 
' trained workers. ' 

She soon found that Mrs. Glibe was more 
inclined to talk, (being as garrulous as Miss 
Klip was laconic, ) and to find out all a'>out 
them, than to help her to work. Making 
but little headway in Edith's confidence she 
at last said, "I give Rose Lacey all the work 
I have to spare and it isn't very much. The 
business is so cut up that none of us have 
much more than we can do except a short 
time in the busy season. Still, those of us 
who can give a nice fit and cut to advantage 
can make a good living after getting known. 
It takes time and training you know of 
course. " 

" But isn't there work of any kind that 
we can get in this place?" said Edith impa- 
tiently. 

"Well, not that you'd be willing to do. 
Of course there's housecleaning and washing 
and some plain sewing, though that is most- 
ly done on a machine. A good strong wo- 
man can always get a day's work, except :n 
winter, but you ain't one of that sort,' she 
added, looking at Edith's delicate pink and 
white complexion and little white hands in 
which a scrubbing brush would look incon- 
gruous. 

" Isn't there any demand for fancy work?" 
asked Edith. 

"Mighty little. People buy such things 
in the city. Money ain't so plenty in the 
country that people will spend much on that 
kind of thing. The ladies themselves make 
it at home and when they go out to tea." 

"Oh dear," sighed Edith, as she plodded 
wearily homeward, " what can we do ? Ig- 
norance is as bad as crime. " 

Her main hope now for immediate neces- 
sities was that they might gat some scholars. 
She had put up a notice in the post office 
and an advertisement in the paper. She had 
also purchased some rudimentary school 
books, and the p(»or child, on her return 
home, soon distracted herself by a sudden 
plunge into vulgar fractions. She found her- 
self so isadly rusty that she would have to 
study almost as hard ps any of her pupils, 
were they obtained. Laura's bookish turn 
and better memory had kept her better post- 
ed, Edith soon threw aside grammars and 
arithmetics, saying to Laura. — 

"You must take care of the school if we 
get one. It would take me too long to pre- 
pare on these things in our emergency. " 

A ..ix,. t dtiCTvrate from the feeling that 
there w^j ii ', „g she could do, she took a 



lioe 

the 

wee< 

day 

sarii 

She 

< low 

vvou 

wer 

they 

ratt" 

wag, 

.Ir 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



8.1 



)f the dress- 
rained, have 

T." 

I chance was 
nongall these 

be was more 
ilous as Miss 
lut all a^»out 
k. Making 
nfidence she 
all the work 
much. The 
of us have 
lept a short 
those of us 
bo advantage 
ting known, 
ou know of 

r kind that 
5dith impa- 

iling to do. 
md washing 
;hat is most- 
strong wo- 
f, except :n 
it sort, " she 
e pink and 
e hands in 
look incon- 

mcywork?" 

luch things 
inty in the 
uch on that 
elves make 
to tea." 
ihe plodded 
'•e do ? Ig- 

late neces- 
le scholars, 
post office 
r. She had 
ary school 
lier return 
a sudden 
found her- 
d have to 
er pupils, 
)ki8n turn 
etter po8t- 
imars and 

bool if we 
)ng to pre- 
ncy." 
jling that 
she took a 



iiue that was by no means light, audlooaebed 
the ground and cut off all the sprouting 
Aveeds around her strawberry vines. The 
<l»y was rather cool and cloudy, and she was 
.viirprised at the space she went over. 
She wore a broad-rimmed straw-hat tied 
down over her face, and determined she 
would not look at the road, and act as if it 
were not there, letting people tliink what 
they pleased. But a familiar rumble and 
rattle caused her to look shyly up after the 
M'aggon had passed, and she saw Arden 
l^.i,c'«iy gazing wonderingly back at her. She 
«lr ipped her eyes instantly as if she had not 
sf.ii him, and went on with her work. At 
!a^t, thoroxighly wearied, she went in and 
.siii<l half triumphantly, half defiantly — 

■'A woman can hoe. I've done it myself." 

"' A woman can ride a horse like a man," 
said Mrs. Alien, and this was all the home 
iucouragement poor Edith received. 

They had but a light lunch at one o'clock, 
meaning to have a more substantial dinner 
at six. Hannibal was showing Zell and 
^'etting her started in her department. It 
was but a poor little dinner they had, and 
/ell said in place of tle^surt — 

" JCtlitli, we are most out of everything." 

' ' And I cau't get any work, " said Edith 
• iespondingly. "People have got to know 
Ih.w to do things before anybody wants them, 
Aiid we haven't time to learn. " 

"Ten dollars won't last long, " said Zell 
recklessly. 

" I Mdll go down to the village and make 
liirther in([uiries to-morrow," Edith continu- 
v'l in a weary tone, " It seems strange how 
]^t;ople stand aloof from us. No one calls and 
everybody Avants what we owe them right 
iiway. Are there not any good kind people 
in Pushton ? I wish u e had not offended 
the Laceys. They might have advised and 
helped us, but nothing would tempt me to 
,;o to them after treating them as we did." 

Tb*ire were plenty of good kind people in 
l*ushton, but Mrs. Allen's " pohcy " had 
<1 liven them away as far as possible. By 
llieir course the Aliens liad placed themselves 
ill relation to all classes, in the most unap- 
livoachable position, and their " friends " 
f 1 om the city and Tom Growl's gossip made 
Matters far worse. Poor Edith thought 
tliey were utterly ignored. She would have 
felt worse if she had known every one was 
talking about them. 

The next day Eilith started on another un- 
successful expedition to the village, and 
w'liile she was gone, Zell went to tlie post- 
otiice to wliieh she had told Vau Dam to 
<1irect his reply. She found tlie plausible lie 
we have already placed before the reader'. 

Atfirstsheexperienced a sensation of anger 



that he had not complied with her wish. It 
was a new experience to have gentlemen, 
especially V'au Dam, so long her obsequious 
slave, th'iik of anything contrary to her 
wish Co. She also feared that Edith might 
be right, and that Van Dam designed evil 
against her. She would not openly admit, 
even to herself, that this was his purpose, 
and yet Edith's v/ords had been so clear and 
strong, and Van Dam's conditions placed her 
so entirely at his mercy, that she shrank 
from him and was fascinated at the same 
time. 

But instead of indignantly casting the let- 
ter from her, she read it again and again. 
Her foolish heart pleaded for him. 

"He couldn't be so false to me, so false to 
his written word, " she said, and the letter 
was hidden away, and she passed into the 
dangerous stage of irresolution, where temp- 
tation is secretly dwelt upon. She hesitated, 
and according to the proverb, the woinan 
who does this is lost. Instead of indignantly 
casting temptation from her, she left her 
course open, to bewdecided somewhat by cii- 
cumstance^. She wilfully shut her eyes to 
the danger, and tried to believe, and did 
almost believe that her lover meant houestlj' 
by her. 

Aiid so the days passed, Edith vainly tiy- 
ing to find something to do, and workiiig 
hand in her garden, which at present l)rought 
no ret'im. She was c .ten very sa<l and des- 
pondent and again very irritable. Laura's 
apathy only deepened, and she seemed like 
one not yet awikened from a dream of the 
past. Zell made some show of work, hut 
after all left most everything for Hannibal as 
l)efore, and when Edith sharply chided her 
she laughed recklessly and said, — 

" What's the use? If A^e are going to 
starve we might as well do so at once and 
it's over with. ' 

"I won't starve," said Edith, almost 
fiercely. ' ' There must be honest work some- 
where in the world for. one willing to do it, 
and I'm going to find it. At any rate, I 
can raise food in my garden before long. " 

" I'm afraid we'll starve before your cab- 
bages and carrots come to maturity, and we 
might as well as to try and live on such gar- 
V)age. Supplies are running low, and as you 
say, the money is nearly gone. " 

" Yes, and people won't trust us any 
more. Two or three declined to in the vil- 
hige to-day, and I feel too discouraged and 
ashamed to ask any further. For some 
people seem afraid of us. 1 see persons turn 
and look after me, and yet they avoid me. 
Two or three impudent clerks tried to Jiiake 
my acquaintance, but I snubbed them in 
such a way that they will let me alone kere- 



84 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



t>-n 



m 




4i 



after. I wonder if any stones could have 
got .'\round about us ? Country towns are 
such places for gossif . " 

" Have you heard of any scholars ? " said 
Laura languidly. 

•* No, not one," was Edith's despondent 
answer. "If nothing turns up befoie, I'll go to 
New York, next ivlonday and hcU 9on»e more 
things, aitd I'll go where I'm known this 
time." 

Nothing turned up, and by Sunday they 
had nothing in the house save a little dry 
hread, wliicli they ate moistened with wine 
and water. Mrs. Allen sighed and cried all 
day. Laura had the strange manner of one 
waking up to something unrealized before. 
Restlessness began to take the place of 
apathy, and her eyes often sought the face of 
Edith in a questioning manner. Finding 
her alone in the garden, she said, — 

" Why, Edith, I'm hungry. I never re- 
member being hungry before. Is it possible 
we have come to this ?" 

Edith burst into tears, and said broken- 

ly,- 

" Come with me to the arbour. " . 

"I'm sure I'm willing to do anything, " 
said Laura piteousl'^ "but I never realized 
we would come to t^iis. " 

" Oh, how can the birds .i).g ?"8aid Edith 
bitterly. " This beautiful spring weathei", 
with its promise and hopefulness, seems a 
niookery. The sun is shining brightly, flow- 
ur.-i are budiiing and blooming, and all the 
world seems so happy, but my heart aches 
a.s if it would burst. I'm hungry, too, and I 
know poor old Hannibal is faint, though he 
tiies to keep up whenever I am around." 

" But E<litli, if people knew how we are 
situated they would not let ws vvant. Our 
old acfiuaiutancea yi New York, or our rela- 
tions even, though not very friendly, would 
aurely keep us." 

" Oh, yes, I suppose so for a little while, 
but I can't bring myself to ask for charity, 
and no one would undertake to support us. 
V\ hat discouiai/ea me most is that I can't 
get work that will bring in money. Between 
people wishing to have notliing to do with 
us, on one hand, and my ignorance on the 
otlier, there ej^oms no resource. Some of 
those whom \/i ovye se' .m inclined to press 
us. I'm so at'raivt f lodng U is place and 
being out on the strejt. If I could only get 
a chance 8onKerwh«;""e, or o.'*- time to learn to 
do sonietliin/?' ,v» li ;" j 

Taen after a ironj-'-d, sht- f;^kec4. si.iddenlv, ' 
•' Wliere'i* Zell '' 

"In her room, .( t! iuK " 

" 1 don't like ZehV. ;na -jk r,' saul Edith, 
al'f'v a brief, painfu' 'evevi- "It's so hard 
ti.'. •. lockless, Sometl.:!!. .-•■'-.•;3 on her mind. 



She has long tits of abstraction as if she wa» 
thinking of something, or weighing some 
plan. Could she have had any communica> 
tion with that villain. Van Dam ? Oh, that 
would be the bitterest drop of all in our cup- 
of sorrow. I would rather dee her dead than 
that." 

" Oh dear," said Laura, " it seems as if I 
had been in a trance and had just awakened. 
W^hy Edith, I must do something. It is not 
right to let you bear all these things alone. 
But don't trouble about Zell, not one of 
George Allan's daughters will sink to that. " 



CHAPTER XiX. 



A FALLING STAB. 



Zell slept most of the day. She had 
reached that point where she did not went 
to think. On hearing Edith say that me 
would go to New York on Monday, a sudden 
and strong temptation assailed her. Im- 
pulsive, but not courageous, abounding in 



energy, 



but having little fortitude, 
found the r*onditions of her country 
growing unendurable. Yvn Dam seo? 
lier only refuge, her only m^ans r' -ist .- 
She soon lost all hope of thtiir :.in:iu,.": 
themselves by work in Puph'.o-. 
curV)ed nature could wait patiently 
thing, and as the long, • lie days x.aijiF 

despaiiT'', 



[•■ a 

',»e 



Vu.^ 



un- 

■^•^ uo- 
■^he 
doubted, and then despaiiT'', '■ M)y s, x- 
cess from Edith's plans. Sh,; hartxmied 
"Van Dam's temptation, nad t;,e conioious- 
ness . I, ing this hurt her womanly nature, 
and hei h.-.rd > ^ kless tone and manner was. 
the natur?i count f'lenoe. T'lough sho said 
t "lerseif, uio tvn ^ to believe, 

'* He Will .narry me— he has promised 
again and again. " 

Still, there was the uneasy knowledge 
that she was placing liei'self and i'e]">utatiou 
entirely at his mercy, and she long had 
known tliat Van Dam was no saint. It wan 
this lurking knowledge, shut her eyes to it 
as she might, that acted on her nature like 
that petrifying influence existing in some 
places, which tends to turn all to stone. 

And yet, Van Dam's temptation had more 
to contend witli in her pride than her moral 
nature. lCv(>rything in her education had 
tended to increase the former, and dwarf the 
latter. Her parents had taken lier to the 
•theatre far oftener than e\en to the fashion- 
able church on the avena'^ ; from the latter 
she carried. away more ideas about dress than 
anything else. From a child slie had been 
familiar with the French school of morals, as 
taught by the sensational drama in New 
Vuik. Society, that will turn a poor i^irl 
out of doors the moment she sins, v\ ill tako 



m 
th 



Pi 

W 








-V 


s 
i 




"■', 


t 




'* 






V?' 


i 






I 

t 

] 


vT,5 


1 




f'f^r 


^s 






1 





WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



m 



as if she was 
eighing gome 

communica- 
m ? Oh, that 
all in our eup 
her (leatl than 

seems as if I 
ist awakened. 
"g- It is not 
things alone. 
, not one of 
link to that. '* 



I! rig m 



She had 

id not wf'it 
say that tne 
ay, a sudden 
I her. Im- 
bound; 
rtitude, 
couT>try ,; Ig 
)anj sef'.i.nri 
•-•■'■ 'iscvje 

HfT un- 
nt!y »-no- 
s hum 3he 
" ciisy t'[c- 
> harbtmied 
conjcioiis- 
inly nature, 
nannar whs 
Jgh .sh»» said 

» promised 

knowledge 

rejHitatiou 
i long had 
t. It was* 
r eyes to it 
nature like 
ig in some 
itone. 
» had more 

her moral 
ation liad 

dwarf tiie 
her to the 
le fasliiou- 

the latter 
dress than 
• had been 
moi'als, as 
% in New 

poor i^drl 
will tako 




her at the most critical age of her unformed 
character, nicbt after night, to witness plays 
in which the nusband is made ridiculouB,but 
the man who destroys purity and home-hap- 
piness, is as splendid a villain as Milton's 
Satan. Mr. Allen himself had familiarized 
Zeli's mind with just what she was tempted 
to do, by taking her to plays aspoisonous to 
the soul as the malaria of the C*mpagna at 
Rome to the body. He, though dead, bad a 
part in the present temptation of his child, 
ttnd we unhesitatingly charge many parents 
with the al)Solute ruin of then- (.liildren, by 
exposing them, and permitting them to be 
exposed, to influences that they know must 
be fatal No guardian of a child can plea I 
the densest stupidity for not knowing 
that French novels and plays are 
as demoralizing as tlie devil could wish 
them to be ; and to constantly place young 
j->as8ionate natures, just awakening in their 
uncurbed strength, under such influences, 
and expect them to remain as spotless as 
finow, 18 the most wretched absurdity of our 
day. Society brings fire to the tow, the 
hrand to the powder, and then lifts its hand 
to hurl its anathema in case they ignite. 

But Mr. Allen sinned e\- en more grievous- 
ly in permitting a man like Van Dam to 
haiiut his home. If now one of the lambs 
of liis flock suflFered irretrievably, he would 
be as much to blame as a shepherd who 
daily saw the wolf within his fold. Mr. 
Allen was familiar with the stories about 
Van Dam, as multitudes of wealthy men are 
to-day with the character of well-dressed 
scoundrels that visit their daughters. Some 
of the worst villains in existence have the 
entree into the ' ' best society. " It is pretty 
well known among men what they are, and 
fashionable mammas are not wholly in the 
dark. Therefore, every day, "Angels that 
kept not the first estate " are falling fr jm 
heaven. It niciy not be the open, disgraceful 
ruin that threatened poor Zell, but ruin 
nevertheless. 

After all, it was the underminnig, unhal- 
lowed influence of long association with Van 
Dan) that now made Zell so weak in her first 
sharp stress of temptation. Crime was not 
awful and repulsive to her. There was little 
in her cunningly-perverted nature that re- 
volted at it. She hesitated mainly on 'the 
gi'ouud of her pride, and in view of the con- 
seciaencea. And even tliese latter slie iu no 
sen-e realized, for the school in which she 
had been taught shoMed only the flowery 
opening of the path into sin, while its terri- 
ble retrib\itions Avere kept hidden. 

Tlierefore, as the miseries of her condition 
in the country increased, Zeli's pri<le failed 
hei', and slie began to be willing to risk all 



to get away, and when she felt the pinch of 
hunger she became almost desperate. As we 
have said, on Edith's naming a day on 
which she would be absent '>n the forlorn 
mission that would only put c<r the day of 
utter want a little longer, the temptation 
took definite shape in Zeli's mind to write ac 
once to Van Dam, aoceding to his shameful 
conditions. 

But, to satisfy her conscience, which she 
could not stifle, and to pi*o\ide some excuse 
for her action, and still more, to brace tb.e 
hope she tried to cherish that he really 
meant truly by her, she wrote, 

*' If I will meet you at the boat Monday 
evening, Avill you surely marry me ? Promise 
me on your sacred honour. " 

Van Dam muttered, with a low laugh, as 
he read the note, 

" That's a rich joke, for her to accept 
such a proposition as mine, especially after nil 
that has happened, and still prate of ' sacred 
honour. ' * 

But he unhesitatingly, promptly, ai 1 with 
many protestations, assured iier th ..t lie 
would, and at once prepared to carry out his 
part of the programme. 

" What's the use of half-way lies?" e 
said, carelessly. 

On Monday Edith again took tiie early 
train with the valuables she deafgned dis- 
posing of. Zell had said indifferently, 

"You may take anythnig I ha^ ; i ft ex- 
cept my watch and chain. " 

But Laura ha/', insisted on sending]; h, r 
watch, saying, " ^ really wish to do aoinij 
thing, Edith. I've left all the fjurdia on 
you too long. " 

Mi's. Allen sighed, and said, " j.*ke any- 
thing you please. " 

So Edith carri- way with her the m^an? 
of fighting til ^olf, hunger, from tL^ir 
doors a little lo •. But if she had know.i 
that a more cru.l enemy would despoil h>;r 
home in her al ace, she would iiave rather 
starved than g' ae. 

Laura w.t reading to her mother when 
Zell put her ;. i in at the door, aayijiy, 

" I am goiiig :or a short walk, and will be 
back soon." 

She hastened to the office at which she 
told Van Dam to address her, and found his 
reply. With feverish cheeks, and eyes in 
which glowed excitement rather than happi- 
ness, she read it as soon as alone on the 
road, and retui d as qinckly as possiUio. 
Her mind was i' a mild tumult, but slie 
would not allo\v herself one connected 
tliought. She spent most of the day in h'-r 
room preparing for her flight. But when 
she came down to see Hannibal about their 



86 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ! 



>(i 



meagre lunch, he said in some surprise and 
alarm, 

•'Oh, Miss Zell, how bumin' red your 
cheeks be ! You'se got a ragin' feber, sure 
'uuff. Go and lie right straight down, and 
T'se see to ebery ting. I'se been to de vil- 
lage and got some tea. A man gave it to 
me CSS a sample, and I telled hira we'se like 
our tea mighty strong, so you'se all hab a 
cap of tea to-day, and to-night Miss Edie '11 
come back with a heap of money." 

"Poor old Hannibal, "said Zell, with a 
sudden rush of tenderness. " I wish I were 
as good as you are. " 

"Lor' bress you, Miss Zell, I isn't good. 
I'se kind of a heathen. But somehow I feels 
dat de Lord will bress me when I steals for 
you alls." 

' ' Oh, Hannibal, I wish I was dead and 
out of the way ! Then there would be one 
less to provide for. " 

" Dead and oiit of de way I" said Hanni- 
bal, half indignantly ; "dat's jest how to 
get into de way. I'd be afeerd of seeiu your 
spook whenever I was alone. I had no com- 
fort in New Yort arter Massa Allen died, 
and was mighty glad to get away even to 
Pushton. And den Miss Edie and all would 
cry dar «yes out, and couldn't lo nothin'. 
Folks is often more in de way 
dead and gone dan when libin. 
sweet face around ebeiy day, 
great help to ole Hannibal. It 
yesterday it was a little baby 
v/as aM f>retty nigb crazy over you." 

" I wis\. I had died then !" said Zell, pas- 
sionately, and hurrying away. 

"Poor chile, poor chile! she takes it 
niij^hty hard," said innocent Haiaiihal. 

She kept her room during the afternoon, 
pleading that slie did not feel well. It gave 
her pain to be with her mother and Laura, 
now that she purposed to leave the: i so 
abruptly, and she wished to see nothing that 
would sake her resolution to go as 
she had arranged. She wrote ^o Edith as 
follows : 

" I am going, Edith, to nvet Mr. Van Dam, 
as he told me, T cannot— I \vill not believe that 
he will prove false to me. I leave his letter, 
which I received to-day. I'crhaps you never 
will forgive me at home ; but whatever becomes 
of poor Tittle Zell, she will not cease to love you 
all, I would only be a burden if I stayed. 
There will be one less to provide for, and 1 inay 
be abl J to hcl:! j ju far more by going than stay- 
ing. Don't follow me. Tve made my venture, 



axi;er de} 's 

Seeiu' your 

Louey, is a 

seen, i only 

face, and we 



and chosen my lot. 



Zem.. 



As the long twilight was deepening, Hanni- 
bal, refcuniiug from the well with a pail of 
water, beard th.e gate-latch click, and looking 
up, saw Zell hurrj'ing out with hat and 



shawl on, and having the appearance of 
carry mg something under her shawl. He 
felt a little surprise at first, but then Zell 
was so full of impulse, that he concluded, 

" She's gwine to meet Miss Edie. We'se 
all a lookin and leanin on Mins Edie, Lor 
bress ber." 

But Zell was going to perdition. 

LiAtle later the stage brought tired Edith 
home, but in better spirits than before, as 
she had realized a somewhat fair sum for 
what she had sold, and had been treated 
politely. 

After taking off her things, she asked^ 
" Where's Zell ?" 

"Lying down, I think," said Laura. 
" She complained of not feeling well this 
afternoon. 

But Hannibal's anxions face in the door 
now caught her attention, and she joined him 
at once. 

" Didn't you meet Miss Zell?" he asked in 
a whisper. 

" Meet her ? no," answered Edith, ex- 
citedly. 

" Dat's quare. She went out with hat 
and shawl on a little while" ago. P'raps 
she's come back, and gone up stairs again. '^ 

Trembling so she could hardly walk stead- 
ily, Edith hurried to her room, and there 
saw Zell's note. Tearing it open, she only 
read the first line, ,,nd then rushed down to 
her mother sobbing, 

"Zell's gone." 

"Gone ! Where?" th^y said, with dis- 
mayed faces. 

E (ith's only reply wna to suddenly look at 
htr wa^ch, put on her hat, and dart out of 
the tloor. hhe saw that there was still ten 
minutes before the eveping boat passed the 
Pusfitdu landing, and remembered that it 
vi'as sometimes delayed. There was a shorter 
road to the dock than the one through the 
village,and this she took, with Hying feet,aud 
a white but determined face. It would have 
been a terrible thing fur Van Dam to have 
met her then. She seemed sustained by 
supernatural strenj^'th, and, walking and 
running by turns, nuule the mile and a half 
in an incredibly short space ot time. As she 
reached the top of the hill above the landing, 
she saw the boat coming into tho dock. 
Though panting and almost spent, again she 
nu at tho top of her speed. Half-way 
down she heard the plank ring out upon the 
wharf. 

" Stop !" she called. But her parched lips 
uttered only a faint sound,like the cry of one 
in a dream. 

A moment later, as she struggled desi')er- 
ately forward, there came, like the knell ol 
hope, the command, 






WHAT CAS" SHE DO ? 



87 



>earaiice of 
shawl. He 

then Zell 
icluded, 
lie. We'se 

Edie, Lor 



ired Edith 

before, as 

r sum for 

sen treated 

she asked,. 

ud LaoTca. 
well this 

the door 
joined him 

he asked in 

Edith, ex- 

with hat 
>. P'raps 
irs again.'' 
ivalk stead- 
and there 

she only 
id down to 



with dis- 

snly look at 
rt out of 
« still ten 
passed the 
id that it 
IS a shorter 
irough the 
iig feet, and 
would have 
111 to have 
stained hy 
Jking and 
and a half 
»e. As she 
he landing, 
tho dock. 
, again she 
Half-way 
t upon tli'e 

arched lips 
B cry of one 

ed desiwr- 
e knell oi 



05 h; 



in ' 



"All aboard!" 

" Oh, wait, wait 1" shfl again tried to call, 
but her tongue seemed paralyzed. 

As she reached the cominenccment of the 
long dock, she saw the lines cast off. The 
great wheels gave a vigorous revolution, and 
the boat swept away. 

She ^as too late. She staggered forward 
a few steps more, and then all her remaining 
strength went into one agonized cry. 

And she fell fainting on the dock. 

Zell heard that ciy, and recognized the 
voice. Taking her hand from Mr. v^an Barn's 
arm, she covered her face in sudden remorse- 
ful weeping. 

But it was too late. 

Shq had left the shelter of home, and ven- 
tured out into the great pitiless world on 
nothing better than Van Dam's word. It 
was like walking a rotten plank out into the 
sea. 

Zell was lost ! 



Y«0 



■ 1 ; 1 1 • 



CHAPTER XX. 



DESOLuVTION. 



Not only did Edith's bitter cry startle poor 
Zell, coming to her ear as a despairing recall 
from the battlements of heaven might have- 
sounded to a fallen angel, but Arden Lacey 
was as thorousfhly aroused from his painful 
reverie as if shaken by a giant hand. He 
had been down to meet the boat, with many 
others, and was s ending off some little pro- 
duce from their place. He lunl not noticed 
in the dusk the closely-veiled lady ; indeed, 
he rarely noticed any one unless they spoke 
to him, and then gave but brief, surly atten- 
tion. Only one had scanned Zell curiously, 
and that was Tom Crowl. With his quick 
eye for sv .nething wrong in human action, 
ho was attracted by Zell's manner. He could 
not make out through her thick veil who she 
was, in the increasing darkness, but he saw 
that she was agitated, and that she looked 
eagerly for the coming of the boat, also land- 
ward, where the load came out on the dock, 
as if f earinj or expecting something from that 
quarter. But when he saw her join Van 
Dam, he recognized his old bar-room ac- 
quaintance, ana surmised, that the lady was 
one of the Allen family. Possessing these 
links in the chain, he was ready for the next. 
Edith's presence and cry supplied this, and 
he cbnrkied exultiintly, 

" An elopement !" and ran in the direction 
of the sound. 

But Arden was already at Edith's side, 
having reached her almost at a bound, and 
was gently lifting the unconscious girl, aiul 



regarding iber with a tender nesH only equalled 
by his heiWMMnew ftUMl perplexity m not 
kaowing. wW t» oLo with her. 

The hriit impulse of lug great strength was 
to can-y her direttly to her home. But Edith 
was anything but ethereal, and long before 
he could have passed the mile and a naif, he 
would have famted under the burden, even 
though love nerved his arms. But while' he 
stood in piteous irresolution, there came out 
from the crowd that had gathered round, a 
stout, middle-aged woman, who said, in n. 
voice that not only betokened the utmost 
confidence in herself, but also the assurance 
that all the world had confidence in her : 

" Here, give me the girl. What do you 
men-folks know about women ?" 

"I declare it's Miss Groody from the hotel,' 
ejaculated Tom Crowl, as this delightful 
drama (to him) went on from act to act. 

" Standin' there and holdin' of her," con- 
tinued Mrs. Groody, who was sometimes a 
little severe on both sexes, "won't bring her 
to, unless she fainted 'cause she wanted 
some one to hold her. " 

A general laugh greeted this implied satire, 
but Arden, between angei and desire to do 
something, was almost beside himself. 
He had the presence of mind to rush 
to the boat^'ouse and get a bucket 
of water, and when he arrived with it a 
man had also procur-^d a lantern, which re- 
vealed to the cuiious onlookers that gathered 
around with craning necks, the pale features 
of Edith Allen. 

"By golly, but it's one of them Allen 
girls," said Tom Crowl eagerly. '* 1 see it 
all now. She's down to stop her sister 
who's just ran away with one of those city 
scamps, that was up here a while ago. I 
saw her join him and take his arm o\i 
the boat, but wasn't dure who she was 
thea." 

" Might know you was around, Tom 
Crowl, said Mrs. Groody. "There's 
never nothing wrong going on but you will 
see it. You are worse than any old woman 
for gossip. Why don't you put on petti- 
coats and go out to tea for alivin' ?" 

When the laugh ceased at Crowl'a ex- 
pense, he said : 

" Don't you put on airs, Mrs. Groody ; 
you ai'e as glad to hear the news as any- 
one. It's a pity you turned up and spoiled 
Mr. Latvy's part of the play, for, if this 
one is anything like her sister, she, per- 
haps, wanted to be held as you — " 

Tom's further utterance was effectually 
stopped by such a blow across his mouth, 
from Lacey's hand, as brought the blood 
profusely on the spot, and caused such 
disligurement, for days after, that appro- 



^8 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



'•HI 




'■^:1 



priate justice seemed visited on the offend- 
ing region. 

*• Leave this dock," said Arden, sternly; 
" and if [ trace any slander to yo -. concern- 
ing this lady or myself, I will bi aak every 
bone in your miserable Viody.'' 

CrOAvl shrank off amid the jeers of the 
crowd, but when reaching a safe distance, 
said, " You will be sorry for this. " 

Arden paid no heed to him, for Edith, 
under Mrs. Groody's treatment, gave signs 
of returning consciousness. She slowly 
opened her eyes, and turned them wonder- 
ingly around ; then came a look of wild 
alarm, as she saw herself surrounded bv 
strange bearded faces, that appeared both 
savage and grotesque in the flickering light 
of the lantern. 

" Oh, Heaven, have mercy," she cried, 
faintly, '• Where a.;> ?" 

" Among friends, I assure you, Miss 
Allen," said Arden, kneeling at her side. 

" Mr. Lacey ! and are you here ?" said 
Edith, trying to rise. •' You surely will pro- 
tect me. " 

" Do not be afraid. Miss Allen. No one 
would harm you for the world ; and Mrs. 
Groody is a good kind lady, and will see you 
safely home, I am sure. "' 

Edi''i now became conscious that it was 
Mrs. tiroody who was supporting her, and 
regaining confidence, as she recognized the 
presence of a woman. 

" Law bless you, child, you needn't be 
scared. You have only had a faint. I'll 
take care of you, as young Lacey says. 
Seems to me he's got wonderfully polite 
since last summer," she muttft/ed to her- 
self. 

'* But where am I ?" asked Edith, with 
a bewildered air ; " what has happened ?" 
"Oh, don't woi;ry yourself; you 11 soon 
be home and safe, " 

But the momory of it all suddenly came to 
Edith, and even by the lantern's light, Arden 
saw the sudden crimson pour into her face 
and neck. She gave one wild, deprecating 
look around, and then buried her face in her 
hands as if to hide the look of scorn she ex- 
pected to see on every face. 

The first arrow aimed by Zell's great 
wrong already quivered in her heart. 

"Don't you think you could walk a littlr 
now, JTist enough to get into the back with 
me and go home ? " asked the kind woman, 
in a soothing voice. 

" Yes, yes," said Edith, eagerly ; "let us 
get away at once. " And with Mrs. Groody's 
and Arden's assistance, she was soon seated 
in the hack, and was glad to note that thcv.' 
was no other passenger. The ride was a 
silent one. Edith was too exhausted from 



her desperate struggle to reach the boat, and 
her heart was too bruised and sore, to per- 
mit on her part much more than mono* 
syllables, in answer to Mrs. Groody's otforts 
at ocinversation. But aa they stopped at tbe 
cottage, her new friend said, cheerily, 

"Don't take it so hard, my child; you 
ain't to blame. Ill stand by you if no one 
else will. It don't take me long to know a 
good honest girl when I see one, and I know 
you mean wwl. What's more, I'v« took a 
liking to you, and I can be a pretty fair sort 
of a mend if I do work for a livin*." 

Mrs. Groody was good if not grammatical. 
She had broad shoulders that had borne in 
^eir daV many burdens ; her own and otliers. 
She had a strong, stout frame, in which 
thumped a large, Kindly heart. She had 
long earned her bread by callinri that 
brought her in contact with all clatses, 
and learned to know the world very thorough- 
ly without becoming worldly or hardened. 
But she had a quick, sharp tongue, and 
could pay anybody off in their own coin with 
interest. Everybody soon found it to their 
advantage to keep on the right side of Mrs. 
Groody, and the old habitues of the hotel 
were as polite and deferential to her aa if sio 
were a duchess. She was one of those 
shrewd, strong, cheery people, who wouM 
make themselves snug, useful and influential 
in a very short time, if set down anywhere 
on the face of the earth. 

Such a woman readily surmised the nature 
of Edith's trouble, and knew well how deep- 
ly the shadow of Zell's disgrace would fall on 
the family. Edith's desperate effort to save 
her sister, her bitter humiliation and shrink- 
ing shame in view of the flight, all proved 
her to be worthy of respect and confidence 
herself. When Mrs. Groody saw that Edith 
lived in a little liouse, and was probably not 
in so high a social position as to resent her 
patronage, her big heart yearned in double 
sympathy over the poor girl, and she deter- 
mined to help her in the straggle she knew 
to be befoie her ; so she said, kindly, 

" If you'll wait till an old clumsy body 
like me can get out. 111 see you safely into 
your home. " 

"Oh, no," said Edith, eagerly, fol- 
lowing the strong iistinct to keep a 
stranger from seeing herself, mother and Laura, 
in the first hour of their shame. " You have 
been very kind, and I feel that I can never 
repay you. " 

" Bless you, child, I don't expect green- 
Ijacks for all I do. I want a little of the 
Lord's work to come to me, though I'm 
afraid I fell from grace long ago. But a 
body cnn't be pious in a hotel. There's so 
many a^^^'ravatin people and things that you 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



89 



the boat,ajQ4 

Bore, to per- 

than mono* 

Kxly's efforts 

topped at tiie 

eerily, 

1 child ; you 
'ow. if no one 
\ to know a 
, and I know 
I've took a 
»tty fail- sort 
rin'." 

n"ammatical. 
had borne in 
1 and otliers. 
I, in which 
She Imd 
allinrs that 
all claasi's, 
ry thorongh- 
• hardened. 
Jongue, and 
rn coin with 
d it to their 
side of Mrs. 
\ the hotel 
iier as if s.u 
te of those 
'.v^ho wouM 
I influential 
I anywhere 

the nature 
how deep, 
ould fall on 
brt to 8ave 
.nd shrink- 
all proved 
conHdence 
that Edith 
obably not 
resent her 
in double 
she deter- 
she knew 

y. 

msy body 
lafely into 

erly, fol- 
keep a 
nd Laura, 
You have 
|an never 

t green- 
e of the 
ugh I'm 
». But a 

'here's so 
that you 



think swearing, if you darsen't say it out. 
But I'm a human sort of a heathen, after jJl, 
ami I feel aorry for you. Now ain't there 
soinethin' I can do for you ? " 

The driver stood with his lantern near 
the door, and its rays fell on E<lith'B pale 
face and large, tearful eyes, and stie turned, 
Aud for the first time tried to see who this 
kind woman was, that seemed to feel for her. 
Taking Mrs. (Iroody's hands, she said, in a 
voice of tremulous pathos, 

"God bless you for speaking to me at all. 
I didn't think anyone would again, who 
knew. You ask if you c&n do anything for 
me. If youll only get me work, I'll bless 
you every day of my life. No one in earth 
or in heaven can help me, unless I get 
woik. I'm almost desperate for it, and I 
can't seem to find any that will bring us 
bread, but I'll do any honest work, no 
matter what, and I'll take whatever people 
.are willing to give for it, till I can do 
better. " Edith spoke in a rapid manner, 
but in a tone that went straight to the 
lieart. 

" Why, my poor child," said Mrs. Groody, 
-wiping her eyes, " You can't do work. You 
iwa pale as a ghost, and you look like a 
delicate lady." 

"What is there in this world for a 
delicate lady who has no money, but honest 
work ? " asked Edith, in a tone that was 
almost stern. 

" I see that you are such a lady, and it 
seeinf. that you ought to find some lady-like 
work, if you must do it, " said Mrs. Groody, 
musingly. 

" We have tried to get employment — 
almost any kind. I can't think my sister 
would have taken her desperate course if we 
could have obtained somethinp to do. I 
know she ought to have starved first. But 
we were not brought up to work, and we 
can't do anything well enough to satisfy 
people, and we haven't time to learn. Be- 
«ides, ijefore this happened, for some reason 
leopie stood aloof from us, and now it will 
e far worse. Oh, what shall we do ? Wliat 
shall we do?" cried Edith, despairingly; 
and in her trouble she seemed to turn her 
eyes away from Mrs. Groody, with wild 
questioning of the future. 

Her new acquaintance was sniffling and 
blowing her nose iu a manner that betoken- 
ed serious internal commotion. The driver, 
who would have hustled any ordinary 
passenger out quickly enough, waited Mrs. 
Groody 's leisure at a respectable distance. 
He knew her potential influence at the 
hotel. At last the good woman found her 
voice, though it seemed a little husky : 

'Lor' bless you, child, I ain't got a mill- 



I 



stun for a heart, and if I had, you'd turn it 
into wax. If work's all you want, you shall 
have it. I'm huuackeei>er at tlie hotel. 
You come to me as soon as you are able, and 
we'll find something." 

"Oh, thank you, thank you!" said Edith, 
fervidly. 

"Isdatyou, Miss Edie?" called Hanni- 
bal's anxious voice. 

"Good night, my dear," said Mrs. 
Groody, hastily. " Don't lose couraue. I 
ain't on as good terms with the Lord as I 
ought to be. I seem too worried and busy to 
'teud to religion ; but I know enough about 
him to be sure that He will take care of a 
poor child that wants to do right. " 

" I don't understand how God lets happen 
all that's happened to-day. The best I can 
believe is, that we are dealt with in a mass, 
and the poor human atoms are lostsight of. But 
I am indeed grateful for your kindness, and 
will come to-morrow and do anything I can. 
Good-bye." 

And the hack rumbled away, leaving her 
in the darkness, with Hannibal at the gate. 

"Oh, Hannibal, Hannibal," was all that 
Edith could say. 

" Is she done gone cl^an away ? " asked 
Hannibal, in an awed whisper. 

" Would to heaven she had never been 
born," said Editli bitterly. ," Help me into 
the house, for I feel as if I would die." 

Hannibal, trembling with fear himself, 
supported poor, exhausted Edith to a sofa, 
and then disappeared in the kitchen. 

Mrs. Allen and Laura came and stood 
with white faces by Edith's languid, un- 
nerved form. 

There was no need of asking questions. 
She had returned alone, with her fresli 
j'oung face looking old and drawn in its 
grief. 

At last Mrs. Allen said, with bitter em- 
phasis : 

* ' She is no child of mine from this day 
forth." 

Then followed such a dreary silence that 
it might seem that Zell had died and was no 
more. 

At last Hannibal bustled in, making a 
most desperate effort to keep up a poor show 
of courage and hope. He placed on a little 
table before Edith a steaming hot cup of tea, 
some toast, some wine, but the food was 
motioned away. 

" It would choke me," said Edith. 

Hannibal stood before her a moment, iiis 
quaint old visage workingunder the influciue 
of emotion, almost beyond control. At la^it 
he managed to say : 

" Miss Edie, we'se all a-leaniu on yuu. 
We'se nothin but vines a-climbin up de 



00 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



t^t 



i 



I 



3 .] ll k 
I'l 



If you goes down, we all does. 
And now, Miss Edie, I'd swalk 



orange ))U8h 

now. Miss fidie," I'd swallow piHon for 
you, won't you take a cup o' ten tor de sake 
of ole Hanmibul? Cause your sweet face 
lookB BO pinched, honey, dat I feels dat my 
ole black heart's ready to bust ; " and Han- 
nibal, feeling that the limit of his restraint 
was reached, retreated precipitately to the 
kitchen. 

The appeal, with its element of deep affec- 
tion, was nior« needed by Edith in her half 
paralyzed state than even the material re- 
freshment. She sat up instantly, and 
drank the tea and wine, and ate a little of 
Uie toast. Then taking the cup and glass 
into the kitchen, 

"There,' she said, "see, I've drunk every 
drop. So don't worry about me anv more, 
my poor old Hannibal, but go to ben, after 
your hard day's work. " 

But Hannibal would not venture out of 
his dark comer, but muttered, brokenly, 

"Lor — bress — you — Miss Edie — you'se an 
angel — Ise be better soon — Ise got de 
hicups. " 

Edith thought it kindness to leave the old 
man to recover his self-control in his own 
time and way, so ihe said, 

"Good -night, my faithful old friend. 
You're worth your weight in gold." 

Meantime, Laura hail helped Mrs. Allen 
to her room, but now she camerunningdown 
to Edith, with new trouble in her face, say- 
ing : 

" Mother's crying so I can't do anything 
with her. " 

At first Mrs. Allen's heart seemed harden- 
ed against her erring child, but on reaching 
her room she stood a few moments irresolute- 
ly, then went to a drawer, and took an old 
faded picture-case and opened it, where 
Zell smiled out upon her, a little, dimpled 
baby. Then, as if by a sudden impulse, rare 
to her, she pressed her lips against the un- 
conscious face, and threw herself into her 
low chair, sobbing so violently that Laura 
became alarmed. 

Even in that arid place, Mrs. Allen's heart, 
there appeared a little oasis of mother love, 
as this last and bitterest sorrow pierced its 
lowest depths. She might cast out from her 
affection the grown, sinning daughter, but 
not the baby that once slept upon her breast. 

As Edith came and took her hand she 
said, brokenly : 

' ' It seems — but yesterday — that she was 
a wee black-eyed — little thing — in my arms 
— and your father — came— and looked at her 
— so proudly — tenderly — " 

"Would to heaven she had died then," 
said Judith, sternly. 

" It would have been better if we had all 



died then," said Mrs. Allen drearily, and 
becoming quiet. 

Etlith's words fell like » chill uijon her un- 
wontcilly stirred heart, and ola habits of 
feeling and action resumed sway. 

With Mrs. Allen's words ended the miser 
able day of Zell's flight. Hannibal's word a 
wert true. Zell, in tier unnatural absence, 
would be more in the way — a heavier burden, 
than if she had become a helpless invalid 
upon their hands. 

■■ ■ .» It >i.> ' 

CHAPTER XXL ^ *"^ 



U 



kdith's tbuk knight. 



The next morning Edith was too ill to rise. 
She had become chilled after her extraordi- 
nary exertion of the previous evening, and a 
severe cold was the consequence ; and this, 
with the nervous prostration of an over- 
taxed system, made her appear more serious- 
ly indisposed than she really was. For th& 
sake of her mother and Laura, she wished to 
be present at the meagre little breakfast 
which her economy nowpennitted,but found 
it impossible ; and later in the day, her mind 
seemed disposed to wanc'.>?r. 

Mrs. Allen and Laura were terror-stickcn 
at this new trouble. Hannibal said they 
were all leaning on Edith . They had lost 
coufidonce in themselves, and now from the 
outside world. They had scarcely the 
shadow of an expectation that Van Dam 
would marry Zell, and therefore knew that 
worse than w rk would separate them from 
all old connections, and they had learned to 
hope nothing from the people of Pushton* 
Poor, feverish, wandering Edith seemed the 
only one who could keep them from falling 
into the abyss of utter want. They instinc- 
tively felt that total wreck was impossible as 
long as she kept her hand upon the helm ; 
but now they had all the wild alarm of those 
who are drifting helplessly on a reef, with a 
deep and stormy sea on either side of it. 
Thus, to the natural anxiety of affection was 
added sickening fear. 

Poor old Hannibal had no fear for himself. 
His devotion to Edith reminded one of at. 
faitliful dog ; it was so stA>ng, instinctive, 
unreasoning. He realized vaguely that his 
whole existence depended on Edith's getting 
well, and yet we doubt whether he thought 
of himself any more than the Newfoundland, 
who watches beside the bed, and then beside 
the grave of a loved master, till famine, that 
form of pain which tiumanity cannot endure, 
robs him of life. 

" We must have a physician immediately," 
said Laura, with white lips. 



'Oh, 
afford it.| 

"We" 
rush of 
you." , 
Hannil 
went silfl 
ed in qui 
"Ifh<^ 
and I'sel 
ArdenI 
justfiniflf 
when HJ 
of light I 
thad thij 
the eel 
to poor 
tookpos 
punea tc 
nliame. 
ud at th' 

i jested.. 
)al said. 
"Oh, 
you actt 
feel for ] 
sick, an« 
doctor, a 
and rigH 
to leav^J 
and cryi 
"Yoii 
Arden, 1 
can for ] 
myself, 
could." 
Befor 
loped pi 
"De 
hours w 
As m 
far as 
x\rden'i 
Hiding 
and oft 
l)ours 8 
was, in 
))idly-e 
the wo 
it wou 
It. H 
that it 
father' 
and th 
lie res" 
and tl 
Mvmpa 
neiirly 
iiut 
true h 
Divim 



WHAT CAN SHE DO! 



01 



I drearily, and 

U npon her un- 
ola habita of 
my. 

uled the miaer. 
nnibal's worda 
itural absence, 
leavier burden, 
elpless invalid 



■ .It ,) M „ I 

It r .V,,,;;. 

'{ 
IHT. 

too ill to rise. 
her extraordi- 
»rening, and a 
ce ; and this, 
n of an over- 
■more serious- 
was. For the 
she wished to 
tie breakfast 
ted, but found 
lay, her mind 

terror-stickeu 
al said they 
hey had lost 
low from the 
scarcely the 
at Van Dam 
re knew that 
te them from 
d learned to 
J of Pushtoii. 

seemed tiie 
from falling 
Chey instinc- 
ijnpossible as 
1 the helm ; 
»rm of those 
reef, with a 

side of it. 
ffection was 

for himself, 
d one of », 
instinctive, 
ely that Ida 
th's getting 
he thought 
'^foundland, 
then beside 
imine, tliat 
not endure, 

nediately," 



i 



I 



•♦Oh, no," murmured Edith; "we can't 
afford it." 

" We must," said Laura, with a sudden 
rush of tears. "Everything depends on 
you. " 

Hannibal, who heard this brief dialogu**, 
went silently down stairs, and at ouoe start- 
ed in quest of Arden Lacey. 

" n ne is quur, he seemed kind o' human ; 
and I'se beheve he'll help us now." 

Arden was on the way to the bam, having 
just finished a farmer's twelve o'clock dinner, 
when Hannibal entered the yard. An angel 
of light could not have been more welcome^ 
thad this dusky messenger, for he came from 
the centre of all light and hope now 
to poor Arden. Then m feeling of alarm 
t(X>k posseision of him. Had anything hap- 
])(uiea to Edith ? He had seen her shrinking 
.shame. Had it led her to — and he shudder- 
ed at the thought his wild imagination sug- 
gested.. It was almost a relief when Hanni- 
bal said. 

" Oh, Mr. Lacey, I'se sure fnmi de way 
you acted when we fust come, di>t you of.n 
feel for people in trouble. Miss Edie's iaorry 
sick, and I don't know whar to go for a 
doctor, and she won't have any ; but uhe mus, 
and right away. Den again, I oughter not 
to lea v^, for dey's all nearly dead wid trouble 
and cryin'. " 

"You are a good, faithful fellow," said 
Arden, heartily ; "go back and do all you 
can for Miss Edith, and I'll bring a doctor 
myself, and much quicker too than you 
could." 

Before Hannibal reached home, Arden gal- 
loped past him, and the old man chuckled, 

" De drunken Laceys' mighty good neigh- 
bours when dey's sobor. " 

As may well be imagined, recent events, as 
far as he understood thcra, had stirred 
Arden 's sensitive nature to the very depths. 
Hiding his feelings from all save hia mother, 
and often from her, appearing to his neigh- 
hours stolid and sullen in the extreme, lie 
was, in fact, in his whole being, like a mor- 
l)idly-excited nerve. He did not shrink from 
the world because indififerent to it, but because 
it wounded himwhen coining in contact with 
it. He seemed so out of tune with society, 
that it produced only jarring discord. His 
father's course brought him many real slights, 
and these he resented as we have seen, and 
he resented fancied slights quite as often, 
and thus he had cut himself oflF from the 
sympathies, and even the recognitions of 
nearly all. 

lint what human soul can dwell alone ? The 
true hermit finds ih communion with the 
IHvinemind the perfection of companion- 
ship. But Arden knew not God. He had 



hear J of Him all his life ; b»it Jove and Thor 
were images more familiar to his mind than 
th.'t of his Creator. ;,'e loved his mother 
and sister, but their liie Koeiiied a poor.shad- 
ed, little nook, where they toiled and nioprd. 
And so, to satisfy the cravings of his lonely 
heart, he had created and pcoplecl an unreal 
world of his own, in which he dwelt most of 
the time. As his interest in the real world 
ceased, his iinagiimtion more vividly ])()!•- 
trayed the shadowy one, till at last, "in tlio 
scenes of poeti-y and fiction, and the spleiuliil 
panorama of history, he tliought he might 
rest satisfied, and find all the society h» 
neetled in converse winh those, whom by a 
refinement of spiritualism, he could summon 
to his side from any age or land. He seui-et- 
ly exulted in the still greater magic liy 
which the unreal creatures of poetic thoug'it 
would come at his volition, and he oftt^ii 
smiled to think how royally attended wa» 
"old drunken Lacey 's" son, whom many of 
the neighbours thought scarcely better than 
the horses he drove. 

Thus he lived under a spell of the past, 
in a world moon-lightea by sentiment 
and fancy, surrounded by his ideal of those 
whom he read, and Shakespeare's vivid, life- 
like women were better known to him than 
any of the ladies of Pushton. But dreams 
cannot last in our material world, and 
ghosts vanish in the sunlight of fact. 
Woman's nature is as beautiful and fascin- 
ating now as when the master-hand of the^ 
world's greatest poet delineated it, and when 
living, breathing Edith Allen stopped sud- 
denly among his shadows, seemingly so 
luminous, they vanished before her, as the 
stars pale into nothingness when the eastern 
sky is aglow with morning. Now, in all hia 
horizon, she only shone, but the past seemed 
like night, and the present, day. 

The circumstances under which he had 
met Edith, had, in brief time, done more to 
acquaint him with her than years iniglit 
have accomplished ; for the first time in his 
life he saw a superior girl which the distort- 
ing medium of his prejudice pushed aside. 
Therefore she was a beautiful revelation to 
him, as vivid as unexpected. He did not 
believe any such being existed, and indeed 
there did not, as he came to idealize Editli 
into. But a better Edith really lived* than 
the unnatural paragon that he pictured to 
himself, and the reality was capable of a 
vast improvement, though not in the direc- 
tion that his morbid mind would have indi- 
cateil. 

The treatment of his sister, the snddou 
ceasing of all intercourse, and the appear- 
a»«e <5 Gus Elliot upon the scene, iiad 
cruelly wounded his fair ideal, but with a 







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23 WEST MAIN STREET 

WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716)872-4503 






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92 



WHAT GAK SHB DO ? 



1 



m 



Iov«r'« faith and poet's fancy he soon re- 
paired the ravages of facts. He assured 
himself that Edith did not know the char- 
acter of the men who viaite< 1 her honne. 

Then came Crowi's gossip, the knowledge 
of her poverty, and her wretched errands to 
New York to disposer of the relics of the 
happy past. ' He gathered from snch ob- 
servation as he could maintain without being 
suspected, by every crumb of gossip that ae 
could pick up (for onoe he listened to gossip 
as if it was gospel), that they were in 
trouble, that Edith was looking for work, 
• and that she was so superior to the rest of 
the family, that they now all deferred to 
her and leaned upon her. Then, to his 
deep satisfaction, he had seen Elliot, the 
morninjg after his soathing repulse, going to 
the train, and looking forlorn and sadly out 
of humour, and he was quite sure he had not 
been near tho little cottage sinoe. Arden 
needed but little fact on which to rear a 
wondrous say rstructure, and here seemed 
much, and all in Edith's favour, and he 
longed with an intensity beyond languzige to 
do something to help her. 

Then came the tragedy of Zell's flight, 
Edith's heroic and almost supernatural 
•dlfort to save her, now followed oy the pa- 
thetic weakness and suffering, and no knight 
iu the romantic age of chivalry ever more 
wholly and loyally devoted himself to the 
high -bom lady of his choice, than did Arden 
to the poor sick girl at whom the finger of 
ecom would now be generally pt 'nted in 
Pushton. 
To come back to our hero galloping away 

on his old farm horse to find a c6uniry 
doctor, may seem a short step down from 
the sublime. And so, perhaps, it may be 
to those whose ideal of the sublime is only 
in outward and material things. But to 
those who look past these things to the pas- 
sionate human heart, the same In every age, 
Arddu was animated by the same spirit with 
which he would have sought and fought the 

"traditional dragon. 

Dr. Neak, a new-comer who was gaining 
some little name for akiYL and success, and 
was making tbe most of it, was at home; but 
on Arden's hurried application, ahenuned, 
hesitated, coloured a little, and at last 
said, — 

" Look here, Mr. (I beg vour pardon, 

I've not the pleasni'e of knowing your name), 
I'm a comparative stranger in Pushton, and 

.am just gaining some little reputation among 
the better classes. I would rather not com- 

proniise mvself by attendance upon that 

•family. If you can get anyone else, and 

the girl is suffering, of course I'll try and 

.^0, 1 ufc— *' 



" Enougfi,'* interrupted Arden, starting; 
up blazing with wrrath. " You should spell 
your name witb aa S, I want a man as well 
as a physiciaiiv*' and, with » look of utter 
contempt, he hastened awa^, leaving the 
medioaf naaa Mnn«what annous, not about 
Edith, but whether he had ti^en the best 
course in view of his growinff reputation. 

Arden next traced out Dr. Blunt, who 
readily promised to oome. He attoided all 
alike, and charged roundly aba 

" Bttsiness is business, " was his motto. 
"People whom we employ we must expect to 
pay. After all, I'm the cheapest man in tin; 
place, for I tell mv patients the truth, and 
cure them as qnickly aa possible." 

Arden 's urgency soOn brought him to 
Edith's side, and hia practised eye saw uo 
serious cause for alarm, and having heard 
more luUy the circumstances, said, 

" She'will be well m a few days if she is 
kept quiet, and nothing new sets in. Of 
course she will be sick after last night. One 
might as well put his hand in the fire and 
not expect it to bum him, as to get very 
warm and then cool off suddenly without 
being ill. Her pulsa indicates general do- 

Sression of her system, and need of rest. 
'hat's alL" 

After presoribing remedies and « tonic, li(> 
said, " Let me know if I am needed again/' 
and departed in rather ill humour. 

Meeting Arden's anxious, questioning face 
at the gate, he said gruffly, 

"I bought from what you said the girl 
was dying. Used up and a bad cold, that's 
all. Somewhat feverish yourself, ain't you?" 
he added meaningly. 

Though Arden colo4;red under the doctor's 
satire, he was chiefly conscious of a great 
relief that hia idol was not in danger. Hia 
only reply was the sullen, impassive expres- 
sion he usually turned toward the world. 

As the doctor rode away, Hannibal joined 
him, saying, 

"Mr. Laoey, you'se a friend in need, and 
if you only knowed what au angel you'se 
serving, you wouldn't look so cross!" 

" I>o I look cross f asked Arden, his face 
becominff ftiendly in a moment. "Well, 
it wasn t with yoo, still lesa with Mis^ 
Edith ; for even you cannot swve her moi <■ 
gladly than I will. That old doctor riled 
me a little, though I oan forgive him, since 
he says she icnot swiously ilL" 

" i'se ^lad you feels your pririleges, ' 
said Hannibal, with some dignity, " I'8<) 
knowed Miss Edie eber since ehe was iv 
baby, and when we lived on de Avenue, *1<! 
biggest and beautifuUest in de city come to 
our house, but none of 'em could com pa le 
with my young lady. I don't care wii.it 






WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



len, start! iif; 
I should sp«ll 
man as well 
look of utter 
leaving the 
is, not about 
Jten tbo best 
ipatation. 
, Blunt, who 
I attended all 

» his motto, 
[inst exi>ect to 
Bt man in the 
ne truth, and 

aght him to 
I eye saw uo 
having heard 
said, 

days if she is 
w sets in. Of 
t night. One 
I the fire and 
s to get very 
lenly without 
9 general <lc- 
need of rest. 

nd -a tonic, he 
leeded again," 
pur. 
lestioning face 

u said the girl 
id cold, that's 
slf, ain't you?" 

)r the doctor's 
»U8 of a great 
danger. His 
kassive exprea- 
[the world, 
ibal joined 

in need, and 
angel you'se 



prifileges, ' 

lity, "I'*) 

Ice ehe was a 

^e Avenue, d« 

1 city come to 

jultt compiU'-' 

rt care wli>it 



folks say, she's jes as good notr, if she he 
poor, and her sister hab mn away, poor 
chile. De world don't know M ;" and old 
Hatmibal shook his white head sadly and re- 
proachfully. 

His panegyric found strong echo in 
Arden's heart, but his habit of reticence 
and sensittve shrinking from showing his 
feelings to others, permitted him only to 
say, " I am sure every word yon say is more 
than true, and you will do me a great 
favour when you let me know how 1 can 
serve Miss Edith." 

Hannibal saw that he need waste no more 
ammunition on Arden, so he pulled out the 
persoriptiona; and said : 

** The Doctor guv medesa but, Lor bress 
you, my old jints is stiff, and I'd be a week 
in gittin down and back from de willage. " 

"That's enough," interrupted Arden, 
" ycu shall have the nsedieinei in half an 
hour ;" and he kept his word. 

" He is quar, " muttered Hannibal, looking 
after him. ** Neber saw a man so "bliginr 
Folks say winegar ain't nothin' to him, but 
he seems sweet on Mise Edie, sure Wff. 
What 'nd he say, ' You'se do me a great 
favour to tell me now lean serve Miss ^ie?' 
I'sehopeit 11 last," chuckled Hannibal, 
retiring to his domain in the kitchen, 
' 'cause I^ pr^rine to do him a heap ob 
favours." 



CHAPTER XXIL 

A MTSTERT. 

At Arden's request his mother called in the 
evening, and also Mrs. Groody, from the 
hotel. Hannibal met them, and stated the 
iloctor's orders. Mrs. Allen and Laitra did 
II >t feel equal to facing any one. Though 
th 3 old servant was excessively polite, the 
callers felt rather slighted that tbey saw no 
member of the famHy. They went away a 
httle chilled in consequence, and contented 
t!it inselves thereafter by sending a few deli- 
cacies and inquiring how Edith was. 

" If you have any self-respect at all, "said 
liosc Lacey to her mother, *' you will not go 
tiiere again till you are invited. It's rather 
1 10 great condescension for you to go at al^ 
after what has happened." 

Arden listened with a black look, and 
<uk^(l rather sharply, 

" Will you never learn to distinguish be- 
hvecn Miss Edith and the others ?" 

" Ves, " said Rose, dryly, " when sha gives 
iti*^ a chance. " 

The doctor's view of Edith's case was cor- 
r^i't. Ho'r vigorous and elastic corstitiition 
»oju rallied from the shock it had received. 



Hannibal had sent to the villaffe for nntriti' 
one diet, which he knew so well how to pre-^ 
pare, and, after a few days, she was qnite 
herself again. But with returning strength. 
came also a sense of shame, anxiety and » 
tortUTons dread of the future. Hie money 
accruing from her last sale of jewellery 
would not pay the debts resting on thetu 
now, and sne could not hope to earn enough 
to ^y the balance remaining, in addition to 
their support Her mother suggested the 
mortgagm|[ of her place. She at first re- 
pelled uie idea, but at last entertained it re- 
luctantiT. There seemed no other resource. 
It would put off the evil day of utter want, 
and might give her time to learn something 
by which she could compete with trained 
workers. 

Then there was the garden. Might not 
that and the orchard, m time, help them out 
of their troubles ? 

As the long hours of her convalescence 
passed, she sat at her window and scanned 
the little spot with a wistfulness that might 
have been given to one of Eden -like propor- 
tions. She was astonished to see how her 
strawberries had improved since she hoed 
them, but uotfd in dismay that both they 
and the rest of the garden were growing 
very weedy. 

When the full knowledoe of their poverty 
and danger dawned upon her, she felt that 
it M'ould notTje right for Malcolm to come 
any more. At the same time she could not 
explain things to him : so she sent a written 
request through the mail for his bill, telling 
him not to come any more. This action follow- 
ing theevemng when Gus Elliot had surprised 
her in the garden, perplexed and rather 
nettled Malcolm, who was, to use his own 
expression, ' a bit tetchy. ' Their money hail 
yiown so scarce that Edith could not pay thv 
V)ill, and was ashiimed to go to see him till 
there was some prospect of her doing so. 
Thus Malcolm, though disposed to be very 
f 'iendly, was lost to ner at this critical time, 
and her garden suffered accordingly. ,She 
aad Hannibal had done what they could, but 
of late her illness, and the great accession of 
duties resting on the old servant, had caused 
complete neglect in her little plantation of 
fruit and vegetables. Thus, ^yhile all her 
crops were growing well, the weeds were 
gaining on them, and even Edith knew tliat 
the vigour of evil was in them, and that, un- 
checked, they would soon make a tangled 
swamp of that one little place of hope. She 
could not ask Han nbal to work there now, 
for he was overburdened already. Laura 
seemed so feeble .and crushed that her 
strength was scarcely equal to taking care of 
her mother, and the few lighter duties of 



M 



WHAT CAN SHE DO?; 



housework. Therefore, though the June 
auiibhine rested on the little gurdMO, and all 
nature seemed in the rajptur* of ita early 
summer life, poor, praciioal ;Edith saw only 
. the pestiferous weeds that threatened to de- 
Mtro^ her one slender prospect of escape from 
environinff difficulties. At last she turned 
Away. I^ the sadandsuflfering, scenes most 
full of chevr and beauty often seem the most 
painful mockery. 

She brooded over her affairs most o£ the 
day, dwelling specially on the suggestion of 
a mortgage. Siie felt extreme reluctance in 
periling her home. Then again she said to 
herself, " It will at least give me time, and 
perhaps the place will be sold for debt, for 
-we must live. " 

The next morning she slept late, her 
weary, overtaxed frame ulserting its need. 
But uhe rose greatly refreshed, and it seemed 
that her strength had come back again. 
With returning vigour hopefulness revived. 
She felt some cessation of the weary, aching 
Horrow at her heart The world is phos* 
phorescent to the eyes of youth, and even 
< iigulting waves of misfortune will sometimes 
gleam with sudden brightness. 

The morning light also brought Edith a 
jileasant surprise, tor, as she was drussinff, 
. Iter eyes eagerly sought the strawberry bed. 
She had been thinking, 

" If I only continue to gain in this style, I 
will soon be able to attack the weeds. 

Therefore, instead of the helplesa look, 
i^uch as she gave yesterday, her glance had 
something vengeful and threatening in it. 
Hut the moment she opened the lattice, so 
that she could see, an exclamation came from 
her lips, and she threw back the blinds, in 
order that there might be no mistake as to 
the wonder that startled her. What magic 
had transformed the little place since, in the 
twilight of the previous evening, she had 
given the last discouraged look in that direc- 
tion? There was scarcely a weed to be 
seen in the strawberry bed. They had not 
only been cut off, but raked away and here 
:vnd there she could see a berry reddening 
i :i the morning sun. In addition, some of 
lier most important vegetables, and her pret- 
tiest flower border, had been cleaned and 
nicely dressed. * A long row of Dan O'Rourk 
peas, that had commenced to sprawl on the 
ground, was now hedged in bynrush ; and. 
bsttcr still, thirty cedar poles stood tall and 
straight among tier Lima beans, that had 
ItLsen vainly feeling round for a support the 
list few days. Her first impulse was to dap 
Iter hands with delight and exclaim : 

'* How, in the name of wonder, could he 
do it ;J1 in a night? Oh, Malcolm, you are 



black 



a canny Scotchman, but you put the 
art' to very white uses. " 

3hd dressed in exoited hafls, meaning to 
question tfannihal, but^ as she left hex room, 
Laura met her, and said, in a tone of the 
deepest deapondeucy, 

"Mother seeme very ilL She lias not felt 
like herself sinoe that dreadful night, but we 
did not like to tell you, fearing it would put 
back your lecovenr." 

The rift in toe heavy olooda, through 
which the mm bad aleamed for a moment, 
now closed, and a oeeper gloom seemed to 
(leather round them, in sudden revulsion 
Edith said, bitterly : 

" Are we to be persecuted to the end ? 
Cannot the heavv hand of misfortune be 
lifted a moment?" 

•She found her mother auffeiingfrom * low. 
nervous fever, and qu>fee delirious. 

Hannibi^ was at once despatched for the 
doctor, who, having examined Mrs. AUeu's 
synwtoms, shook his head, saying : 

"iJ'othing but good nursing wul bring her 
through thu." 

Edith's heart tank like lead. What pros- 

SMit was there for work now, even if Mrs. 
roody gave it to her, as ahe promised ? 
She saw nothing but the part of a weary 
watcher for several weeks. She hesitated 
no longer, but resolved to mortgage her place 
at once. Her mother must Iwve delicacies 
and good attendance, and she must have 
time to extricate herself from the difficulties 
into which she had been brought by false 
steps at the beginning. Therefore she told 
Hannibal to give her an early lunch, after 
which she would walk to the village. 

" You isn't able," said he earnestly. 

" Oh, yes I am," she replied ; " better able 
than to stay at home and worry. I must 
have something settled, and my mind at 
rest, even for a little while, or I will go dis- 
tracted." Then she added, "Did you see 
Malcolm here early this morning ?" 

"No, Miss Edie, he hasn't boan here." 

"Qo look at the garden." 

He returned with eyes dilated in wonder, 
and asked quickly, " Misa Edie when was 
all dat done?" 

" Between dark last night and when I got 
up this morning. It seems like magic, don't 
it ? But of course it is Malcolm's work. I 
only wish I could see him. " 

But Hannibal shook hishead ominouslyand 
said with emphasis, "Dat little Scotchman 
c( •iMn't scratch around like dat, even if de 
Deltel was arter him. 'Taint his work. " 

"Why, whose else could it be?" asked 
Elith, sipping a strong cup of coffee, with 
wliiuh she was fortifying herself for the walk. 

ilannibal only shook his head with a very 



t the ' blMk 

, Bi«U)iug to 
it bear room, 
, touB of the 

) luM not f«lt 
tight, but we 
it would put 

Mb, through 
>r a montttfit, 
\m seemed to 
len revulsion 

to the end ? 
usfortone be 

gfromftlow. 

18. 

,tohed for thu 
Mrs. Alleu's 
ng: 
inll bring her 

What pros- 
, even if Mrs. 
be promised? 
rt of a weary 
She hesitated 
zage her place 
ave delicacies 
,e must have 
he difficulties 
ught by false 
^ore she told 

lunch, after 
Uage. 
nestly. 

better able 
)fry. I must 
ny mind at 

: will go dis- 

Did you see 

»»» 

e«ahere." 

ed in wonder, 
lie when was 

d when I got 
magic, don't 
m's work. I 

>minou8lyanil 
Scotchman 
tt, even if de 
IS work. " 
be?" asktHl 
coffee, with 
for the walk. 
d with a very 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



OS 



troubled expression, but at lost he ventured, 

" If 'tis a spook,! hope it won't do nothing 
wus tons." 

fives across Editli's pale face a wan smile 
tlitted at thissolntion m the myster}^and she 
oaid, 

"Why, Batmibal, you foolish old fellow. 
The idea of a ghost hoeing a strawberry bed 
and sticking in bean-poles I " 

But Uannil>al'« superstitions nature was 
deeply stirred. He had been under a severa 
straiirhimself of late, and the succession of 
«orrow« and strange experiences was telling 
on him as well as otliers. He conld not in- 
dulge in % nervous lever, like Mrs. Allen, but 
he had reached that stage when he oould 
easily see visions, and tiimble befora the 
alightest vestige of the supematuraL So he 
relied a little doggedly t 

"Spooks does a heap ob quar tings, Miss 
Edie. I'd tink it was Massa Allen, ony I 
knows da4 he neber hab a hoe in bis hand all 
his life. I doesn't like it I'd radder hab 
<le weeds." 

" Hannibal, Hannibal ! I couldn't believe 
it of you. I'll go and see Malcolm, just to 
Hatisfy yoo." 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



A AANOSBOUa STEP. 



Edith took the deed, and went first to Mr. 
Hard. There was both coldness and curiosity 
in his manner, but he could gather little from 
Edith's face through her thick veil. 

She had a painful shrinking from meeting 
people again after what had happened, and 
tliis was greatly increased by the curious and 
significant looks he turned towards her as 
soon as it was surmised who she was. 

Mr. Hard promptly declined to lend any 
money. He "Never did such things," he 
said. 

"Where would I be apt to get it ? " asked 
Kdith, despondently. 

" I scaroely know. Money is scarce, and 
people don^ like to lend it on country mort> 
iiages, especially when there may be trouble. 
Lawyer Keen might give you some informa- 
tion." 

To his office Edith went, with slow, heavy 
steps, and presented her case. 

Mr. Keen was a red-faced, burly-looking 
luiui, hiding the traditional shrewdness of 
ii village lawyer under a bluff, outspoken 
manner. He had a sort of good-nature, 
wliich, though not leading him to help others 
M ho were in trouble, kept him from trying to 
Kct them into more trouble, and he quite 
ii.ded himself on this. He heard Edith 



partly through, and then interrupted her, 
saying : 

• Couldn't think of it. Miss, \7idowrt, 
orphans, and churches, are institutions on 
which a fellow can never foreclose. Ill give 
you C(ood advice, and won't charge yon 
anything fov it Yon had better keep out of 
bt. 



I must have the money," said 



del 

"But 
Edith. 

" Then you have come to the wrong shop 
for it," replied the lawver, ootdy. " Here^ 
Crowl, now, he lends where I wonldnt. He's 
uot money of his own, while I invert mainly 
for other people. " 

Edith's attention was thus directed to 
another red-faoed man, whom, thus far, she 
had scarcely noticed, though he had been 
watching her with the closest scrutiny. He 
was quite corpulent, past middle age, and in 
height not much taller than herself. He was 
quite bald, and had what seemed a black 
moustache, but Edith's quick eye noted that 
it was unskilfully dyed. There seemed a 
wMe expanse in his heavy, flabby cheeks, 
and the rather puggish nose looked insignifi- 
cant between them. A sliffht tobacco stam on 
one corner of his mouth did not increase his 
attractions to Edith, and she positively 
shrank from the expression of his small, cun- 
ning bUck ejres. He wm dressed both loud- 
. ly and shabmly, and a great breastpin was 
hke a blotch upon his rumpled shirt-bosom. 

" Let me seo your deed, my dear," he 
said, with coarse familiarity. 

" My name is JMiss Allen," replied Edith, 
with dignity. 

The man paid little heed to her rebuke, 
but looked over the deed with slow and 
microscopic scrutiny. At last he said to 
Edith, wiiom nothing but dire necessity im- 
pelled to have dealings with so disagreeable 
a person, 

" Will you come with me to my office ?" 

Beluctantly she followed. At first she 
had a strong impulse to have nothing to do 
with him, but tnen had tiiought, "It makes 
no difference of whom I borrow the money, 
for it must be paid in any case, and perhaps 
I can't get it anywhere else." 

' ' Are you sure there is no other mortgage ? " 
he asked. 

" Yes," replied Edith. 

" How much do you want ?" 

"I will try to make four hundred answer." 

" I suppose you know how hard it is to 
borrow money now, " said Mr. Crowl, in a 
depressing manner, " especially in cases like 
this. I don't believe you'd get a dollar any- 
where else in town. Even where everything 
is good and promising, we usually geta 1x>iius. 
on such a loan. The best I could do would 



m 



WHAT CAN SHE DO? 



I 



you, "he con- 
" There is th« 



Ui 



be to let you have three hundred and aixty 
on such A mortgag . " 

" Then ffive me my deed. The aecurity 
18 good.and I'm not willing to pay more than 
seven per cent. " 

Old Growl looked a moment at her resolute 
face, beautiful even in it* pallor and pain, 
and a new thought seemed toatrike him. 

'* Well, well," said he, with an awkward 
H how of gallantry, "one oant do business 
with ft pretty girl as with a man. You ahaH 
make your own terms." 

"I wish to make no terms whatever, " 
8!iid Edith frigidlv, " I only expect what 
in right and just. 

"And I'm the man that'll do what'* 
right and just when appealed to by the fair 
unfortunate," said Mr. Growl with a wave 
of hiH hand. 

Edith's only re8i>onse to thisMntimeut 
was a frown, and an impatient tapping of the 
floor with her foot. 

" Now, see how I trust 
tinned, filling out a cheque, 
nionejr. I'll draw up the papers, and vou 
may sign them at your leisure. Only luat 
put your name to this receipt, which gives 
tiitt nature of our transaction ; " and, in a 
Hcrawliug hand, he soon stated the case. 

It was with ttrong misgivings that 
lOdith took the money and gave her sig- 
nature, V)ut she did not see what else to 
(l<>, and she was already very wearv. 

"Vou may call again the nrst time 
ou are in the village, and by that time 
'U have things fixed up. You see now 
what it is to have a friend in need. " 

Edith's only reply was a bow, and she 
hastened to the bank. The cashier looked 
curiously at her, snuled a little s^'niificaut 
smile as he saw Growl's cheque, which she 
(lid not like, but, at her request, pLaced it, 
and what was left from the second sale of 
j 'wellory, to her credit, and gave her a small 
cheque book. 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

SCOKN AKD KINDNESS. 

Though her strength hardly setmed equal 
to it, she determined to go and see Malcolm, 
foi' she felt very grateful to him. And vet, 
the little time she had been in the village 
made her fear to speak to him or any one 
again, and she almost felt that she would 
like to shrink into some hidden place and dio. 

Quiet, respectable Piishton had been 
<lreadfully scandalized by Zell's elopement 
\vith a man, who, by one brief visit, had 
-.lined such bad notoriety. Those who 
s^ lod iiloof, surmised, and doubted about 



I 



the Aliens before, now said triamphantly. 
"I told yon so." Good, kind, Oaris^ 
people were deejay pained that such * thin^ 
could have happened, and it came to be the 
general opimon that the Aliens were 
anything Imt an aoquiaition to Ihe ndgh> 
bourhooo. 

" If they are going to bring that style at 
men here, the sooner they move away the 
better," was a freouent rsmark. All save 
the " baser sort " snrank from haviu|( much 
to do with them, and again Sdith was insulted 
bv the bold advances of some brasen 
cfeiks and shop*boys as she passed along. 
She also saw signfflonnt g^cesand whiq>er> 
ings, and once or tirioe dsteoted a pointing 
finger. 

With- cheeks burning with shame and 
knees trembling with wet^knsss, she reached 
Malcolm's gate, to which she oinngpanting 
tor a moment, and then passed in. The Uttlo 
man had his coat off, and, stoopinff in his 
straw bed, he did look very small indeed. 
Edith approached auite near before he 
noticed her. He suddenly straightened him- 
self up almost as a jnmpmff-jaok mij^it, ftnd 
gave a sharp, surprised look. He had heard 
the gossip in several distorted forms, but 
what hurt him most was that she did not 
come or send to him. But when he saw her 
standing Ijefore him with her head bent 
down Uke a moss rosebud wilting in the sun, 
when hi met her timid deprecatinff glance, 
his soft^heart ralented instantly, and coming 
toward her he said : 

" An ha' ye coom to see onld Malcolm at 
last ? What ha' I dune that I should be sae 
forgotten ?" 

" You were not forgotten, Mr. McTmmp. 
Ood knows that I have too few friends to 
forget the best of them, " answered 'Edith in 
a voice of tremulous pathos. 

After that Malcolm was wax in her hands, 
and with moistened eyes he stood gazing at 
her in undisguised admiration. 

"I have been through deep trouble, Mr. 
McTrump," continued she, "and perhaps 
you, like so many others, may think me not 
fit to speak to you any more. Besides, 
I have been very sick, and really 
ought not to be out to-day. Indeed I feel 
very weak. Isn't there some place where I 
could sit down ?" 

"Now Goil forgie me for an uncoo High- 
lander, " cried Malcolm, springing forward, 
" to think that I suld let ye ston there, like 
a tall, white, swayin' calla lily, in the rough 
wind. Take me arm till I support ye to tliu 
best room o' me house." 

Edith did take and cling to it with tho 
feeling of one ready to fall. 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



97 



imphuitlyr 
[, Ohriatuuk 
ioh ft thing 
I to be th» 
ena wer» 
ih« nsigh- 

lat ityleof 
« away tha 
All Mve- 
▼iu|( much 
raainaolted 
una bracen 
Mad along, 
ad whiapter- 
I a pointiug 

ahame and 
ihe reached 
nngpanting 
I. Thelita» 
ping in hia 
nail indeed. 

before he 
[htened him- 
: might, and 
[e had heard 

forms, but 

ahe did not 

1 he saw her 

head bent 
; in the sun, 
vtina glance, 

ana ooming 

Malcolm at 
lonld be sae 

McTmmp. 
w friends to 
red'Edith in 

n her hands, 
)d gazing at 

trouble, Mr. 
and perhaps 
^ink me not 
■e. Besides, 
and really 
ndeed I feel 
ace where I 

ancoo High- 
ng forward, 
11 there, like 
in the rougb 
ort ye to the 

it with tho 



" Oh, Mr. MuTrump, you are too kind," 
she murnmred. 

•« Why suld I not be kind T" he said, 
Iieartilv, "when I see ye nipt by the wourld's 
unkiuoness ? Why suld 1 not be kind ? Is 
Uie rose there to blame because a weed has 
grown alongside ? Ye could na help it that 
the wihl bir4 flitted, and I heerd how ye 
roon like a brave lassie to stop her. But 
the evil wourld ia quick to see the bad and 
idow to see the gndie. " And Malcolm escor- 
ted her like a "Teddy o' high deuree " to his 
little parlour, and there nhu told him and his 
wife all her trouble, and Malcolm seemed 
attlicted with a sudden cold in his head. 
Then Mrs. McTrump bustled in and out in a 
breezy eagerness to make her comfortable 

" Ye're a stranger in our toon," she said, 
'* and sae I was once mysel, an' I ken how 
ye feel." 

" An th« Gude Book, which I hope ye 
read," added the gallant Malcolm, "says 
hoo in entertain in a stranger ye may ha' an 
angel around. " 

"Oh, Mr. McTnunp," said Edith, with 
with peony-like face, " Hannilial is Ae l>nly 
one who oalls me that, and he don't know 
any better." 

" Why suld he know wiy better, " respond- 
ed Malcolm, (quickly. " I ha never seen 
an angel, ua mair than I ha seen a goolden 
harp, but I'm a-thinkin a modist bonny 
lassie like yoniael, cooms as near to ane as 
niiything can in this wourld." 

"But, Mr. McTnunp, "said Edith, with a 
half pathetic, half comic face, "I am in 
8uch aeep trouble that I will soon' grow old 
an<i wrinkled, so I shall not be an angel 
long" 

"Na, na, dinna say that, " said Malcolm 
earnestly. " An ye will, ye may keepit the 
angel a-growin within ye alway, though ye 
live as old as Methuselah. D'ye see this wee 
l»rown seed ? There's a momin-glory vine 
hidden in it, as would daze your een at the 
peep o' day wi' its gay blossoms. An ye see 
my auld gude wife there ? Ah, she will 
daze the eeu o' the createst o' the eai-th in 
the bright spring time o' the Resurrection ; 
and though I'm a little mon here, it may be 
I'll see o'er tho heads of soom up there. " 

"An ye had true humility ye'd be a-hopin 
to get there, instead of expectin to speir o'er 
the heads o' ye're betters, " said his wife in a 
rebuking tone. 

" ' A-hopJn to get there!' " taid Malcolm 
with some warmth. " Why suld I hope 
wlien * I know that my Redeemer hveth ? " 

Edith's eyes filletl with wistful tears, for 
the quaint talk of these old pe pie suggested 
a hope and faith that she knew notliintj of. 



But in a low voice she said, " Why does He 
let His ureatures suffer so nmch ?" 

" Bless your heart, puir child, He sutTerud 
mair than ony on us," said Malcolm tenderly. 
"But ye learn it a' soon. He who fed 
the fkmishin would bid vo eat noo. But 
wait a bit till ye aee what 1 11 briutf ye." 

In a moment he was back with a dainty 
basket of Triomphc de Grand strawberr.t^s, 
and Edith uttered an exclamation of delight 
as she inhaled their delicious aroma. 

" They are the first ripe the season, an 
noo see what the gude wife will do with 
them." 

Soon their hulls were off, and, summing 
in a saucer of cream, and were added to the 
dainty little lunch that Mrs. MuTrump had 
prepared. 

"Oh!" exclaimed Edith, drawing a long 
breath, "You can't know how yoneaaemy 
poor sore heart. I began to think the whole 
world was against me. 

At thiM Malcolm beat such a precipitate 
retreat tiiat he half stumbled over a chair, 
but outside the door he ventured to say: 

" An ye coom out III cut ye a posy before 
ye go. " But Edith saw him rut) his rough 
sleeve across his eyes as he passed the win- 
dow. His wife said, in a grave, gentle tone, 

" Would ye might learn to know Him 
who said, ' Be of i^ood cheer, I have over- 
come the wourld. ' ' 

Edith shook her head baiUy, and said, 
" I don't understand Him, and He seems, 
far off." • 

" It's only seemin, me dear," said the old 
woman kindly, "but, as Malcolm 8ay8,ye'U 
learn it a' by and bye. " 

Mrs. McTrump was one of those simple 
souls who never presumee to " talk relig- 
ion" to any one. " I can only venture what 
I hope '11 be a ' word in season' noo and 
then, as the Master gies me a chance, " she 
would say to her husband. 

Though she did not know it, she had 
spread before Edith a Gospel feast, and 
her genuine, hearty sympathy was teaching 
more than eloquent sermons could haye 
-done, and alrea<ly the grateful girl wa» 
questioning, 

" What makes these people differ so fron» 
others ?" 

^Vith some dismay she saw how late it 
was growing, and h^tened out to Malcolm, 
who liad cut an exquisite little bouquet for 
her, and had another basket of berries fur 
her to take to her mother. 

"Mr. McTrump," said Edith, "it's 
time we had a settlement ; your kindness 
I never can, or expect to repay, but I am 
able now to can-y out my agreement. " 

" Don't bother me wi' that noo," said 



D8 



WHAT CAN .SHi: PO? 



Miilcolm, rather testily, " I ha no tinif* to 
iiiivUo oot your accoinit in the lioight o' tlie 
Hciuton. Ixit it ston till I ha tintu ; an ye 
uiight liolp nic aoomtimes make up ^iOMies 
for the ^'rancl folk at the hotel. nut Imw 
does your ganl^n sin ye diBniisBed uuhi Mal- 
colm ?" 

"Oh, Mr. McTrump,"B.aid Edith, slyly. 
'• do you Know you almost soared old Han- 
nibal out of his wits by the wonders y( ii 
wrought last night or this inomiac iu that 
wune uarden you inquire about so muocent- 
ly. How can you work so fast and hard ?" 

" The woonclers I wrought ! Indeed I've 
not been near the garden sin ye told nie not 
to coom. Ye could hardly expect otherwise 
of a ScotclMiau. " 

'•Who, then, could it be?" said Edith, a 
littio startled hcrsell now, aud she explained 
tlie mystery of the garden. 

He was as nonplusacd as herself, but, 
sr^ratchinc his busfiy head, he said, with a 
canny loot, " I wud be glad if Hannibal's 
* spook, ' as he ca's it, would coom doon and 
hoe a bit for me," and Edith was so cheered 
aud refreshed that she could even join him 
in the laugh. 

They sent her away enveloped in the 
fri^rance of strawberries and rose^ from the 
littl'^ basket she carried. But the more 
■ ■• n\ aroma of human sympathy seemed 
1 iate a buoyant atmosphere around her ; 
iiu she pivssed back through the village 
strengthened and armed against the cold or 
scornful looks of those who, knowing her to 
be "wounded," had not even the grace 
to pass by indififerently " on the other 
side." 



CHAPTER XXV. 

A nORROU OF OB£l>iT DARKNESS. 

By the time Edith reached home the tran- 
sient strength and transient brigliteuing of 
the^kies seemed to pass away. Hermotlier 
Avas no ' better. She saw too plainly the 
grizzly spectres, care, want, and shame upon 
lit: 'loarth, to fear any good fairy that left 
sueh traces as she saw in her garden. But 
the mystery troubled her ; she longed to 
know who it was. As she mused upon it on 
her way home, Arden Laeey suddenly oc- 
curred to har, and there was a glimmer of a 
smile and a faint increztfee of colour on her 
pale face. But she did not suggest her sus- 
picion to Hannibal, when he eagerly asked 
if it were Malcolm. 

"No, strange to say, it was not," said 
Edith. " Who could it have been ? " 

Hannibal's face fell and he looked very 
solemn. 



" Sumpcn awful's goin' to happen. Miss 
Kdie, " he said, in a sepulohral tone. 

Edith broke into a sudden reckless laugh, 
and said, "I think sonu'thing awfnl is hap- 
P'-ning about as fattt as it can. J'ut never 
mind, Hannilial, 'we'll watch to-night, aud 
perhaps he will come again." 

"O, Miss Edie, I'se hope youll 'bcuso me. 
1 couhln't watch for a spook to save my life. 
I'hc gwine to bed as soon as it's dark, aud 
cover up mv head till momin'." 

" Very well, " said Edith, quietly. " 1 'm 
^oing to sit up with mother to-night, and if 
it comes again 111 see it." 

" De good Lord keep you safe. Miss 
Edie, " said Hannibal, trembhngly. "You 'so 
know I'd die for you in a miiiit ; but I'se 
couldn't watch for a spook nohow, " and 
Hannibal crept away, looking as if the 
very worst had now befallen them. 

Ldith was too M'eary and sad even to 
t^mile at the absurd superstithai of her old 
servant, for, with her practical, positive 
nature she could scarcely understand how 
even the most ignorant could harbour such 
«lelu8ions. She said to Laura, " Let mo 
sleep^ill nine o'clock, and then I will watch 
till morning." 

Laura did not waken her till ten. 

After Edith had shaken off her lethargy, 
she said, " Why, Laura, you look ready to 
faint!" 

With a despairing little cry, Laura threw 
herself on the floor and buried her face in 
her sister's hip, sobbing, — 

" I am ready to faint — body and soul. 0, 
Edie, Edie, what shall we do ? Oh, that 7 
were sure death was an eternal sleep, as 
some say, how gladly I would close ray eyes 
to-night and never wish to open them again I 
My heart is ashes, and my hope is dead. 
And yet I am afraid to die, and more afraid 
to live. Ever since — Zell — went — the future 
has been — a terror to me. Edith," she con- 
tinued, after a moment, in a low voice, tliat 
trembled and was full of dread, " Zell has 
not written — the silence of the grave aeems 
to have swallowed her. He has not married 
her I " and an agony of grief convulsed 
Laura's slight frame. 

Edith's eyes grew hard and tearless, and 
she said sternly, " It were better the grave 
had swallowed her thau such a gulf of in- 
famy." 

Laura suddenly became still, tier sobs 
ceasing. Slowly she raised stich a white, 
terror-stricken face, that Edith was startled. 
She had never seen her elder sister, once so 
stately and proud, then so apathetic, moved 
like this. 

"Edith," 'she said, in an awed whisper, 
" what is there before us? Zell's flight has 






WftAT CAN SHE DO? 



99 



'»>. 



Mina 



ifl laugh, 
il is liap" 
ut never 
[ght, and 

icuBo me. 
3 my life, 
iat k, and 

r. " I'm 
ht, and if 

de, MisB 
'•You 'so 
; but !'»« 
yw," and 
M if the 

d even to 
)f her old 
, positive 
jtand how 
rbour such 
" Let tne 
will watch 

1. 

r lethargy, 
)k ready to 

aura threw 
her face in 

d Boul. 0, 
}h, that I 
I sleep> as 
se ray eyes 
hem again! 
te is dead, 
aoro afraid 
-the future 
," she coii- 
voice, that 

" Zell has 
rave sjeems 
lot married 

convulsed 

irless, and 

the grave 

gulf of in- 

tier sobs 
Ich a white, 
las startled, 
per, once so 
stic, moved 

Id whisper, 
flight has 



ro^'ualod to mo where we stand, like a tlatth 
of lightaiug, andever hiiico [ have brooded 
over our dituution, till it seems I would go 
mad. There's an awful gulf before us, and 
i;very*dHy wo aro being pushed noarer to 
it;" and Laura's large eyes wore dilated with 
hon'ur, as if she saw it. 

" Motlier is going to die," she continued, 
ill a t<m<' that uhilled Edith's soul. "Our 
money will soon be gone ; we tlien will bo 
driven away ovon from this poor .shelter,ont 
ujMju tho rttroets— to New York, or some- 
wl.c re. Edith, i) J'lditli, don't you see the 
gult ? Wliat else is l>et'ore uh?" 

" Honest work is l)efore mo," said Edith," 
almost fiercely. *' I will compel the world 
to give me a place, at least, entitled to re- 
spect." 

LannvshooU her head despairingly. "You may 
struggle li.iulc and up to whore you are safe. 
\'oii are good and strong. But there are so 
tiiauy 'poor girls in the world like me, who 
aro not good and strong. Eveiythin^ seems 
to combine to pu^h a helpless, friendless 
woman towards that gulf. Poor rash, im- 
pulsive Zell saw it, and could not endure the 
slow, remorseless pressure, as one might be 
driven over a precipice, and one she loved 
BiHMTied to stand ready to break the fall. I 
11 nderatand her stony, reckless face now." 

*' Oil, Laura, hush ! " said Edith, des- 
perately. 

'I must speak, "she went on, in the same 
iuw voice, so full of dread, "or my brain wili 
burst. I have thought and thought, and 
•seen that awful gulf grow nearer and nearer, 
till at times it seemed ! should shriek with 
terroi;. For two nights I have not slept, 
(^li, why were we not taught somethnig 
Inciter than dressing and dancing, and those 
Hollow snperficial accomplishments that only 
mock us now. Why was not my mind and 
developed into something like strength ? I 
would gladly turn to the coarsest drudgeiy, 
if I could only be safe. But after what has 
iiappened, no g <od people will have any- 
tiling to do with us, and I am a feeble, help- 
loss creature, that can only shrink and 
tremble as I am pushed nearer and nearer." 

Edith seemed turning into stone, herself 
paralyzed by Laura's despair. After a 
niomont Laura continued, with a perceptible 
shudder in her voice : 

" There is no one to break 
my fall. Oh, that I was not afraid 
to die. That seems the only resource to 
such as I. If I could just end it all by be- 
coming nothing—" 

" Liima, Laura," ci-icd Edith, starting up, 
" cease your wild mad words. You are sick 
and morbid. You are more delirious than 



are 



mother is. We can get work ; thore 
good people who will take care of us. " 

" 1 have seen nothing that h>oks like it," 
said liaura, in tlie Hjunedespairim^' tone. "[ 
have read of juHt such things, and I see how 
it all must end." 

" Yes, that's jiwt it," said E«lith, im- 
patiently, •• You have read ho many wild 
unnatural stories of life that you are ready to 
believe anything tliat is horriblo. Listen. ! 
have over four luindrod dollars in tlie bunk." 

"How did you get it," ankod Lxura, 
tjuickly. 

"I have followed mothers suggestions, 
and mortgaged the place. " 

Laura sank into a chair, and became so 
deathly white that E<lith tliought sliu Wua'd 
faint. A.t last siu! gasped, 

"Don't you see? Even you ia your 
strength can't help yourself. You aro being 
pushed on, too. You said you would not 
follow mother's advice again, because it 
always led to trouble. You said again aid 
again you would not mortgage the place, an 1 
yet you have done it. Now it's all clear, 
irhat mortgage will be foreclosed, and thi-u 
we will be tiirnod out, and then — " and islio 
covered her face with her hands. " Don't 
you see," she said, in a muffled tone, '• *hv. 
great black hand reaching out :>f thedai.»..j.-(8 
and pushing us down and neaiiT ? Oh, t.iat 
I wasn't afraid to die. " 

Edith was startled. Even her positive, 
healthful nature began to yield to the con- 
tagion of Laura's morbid despiiir. Slie tidt 
that she must break the spell and be aloue. 
By a strong efl"ort she tried to speak in hop 
natural tone and confidence. She tried ti> 
comfort the desperate woman by endca'-ing 
epithets, as if she were a child. She spnkt; 
of those simple restoratives which are s'> 
often and vainly prescribed for mortal wounds, 
sleep and rest. 

" Go to bed, poor child, " she urged, "all 
will looked diflfcrently in the sunlight to- 
morrow. " 

But Laura scarcely seemed to heed her. 
Witli weak, uncertain steps she drew near 
the bed, and tftrned the light on her mother's 
tliin, flushed face, and stood, with clasped 
hands, looking wistfully at her. 

"Yes, my dear," muttered Mrs. Allen in 
her delirium, " both your father and myself 
would give our full approval to your mar- 
riage with Mr. (ioulden." The poor wom;iu 
made watching doubly hard to her daugliterj 
since she kept recalling to tiiem the happy 
past in all its minuting. 

Laura turned to Edith with a smile that 
\ as inexpressibly sad, and said, " What a 
1 lockery it all is ! Tlicr'j«cems nothii.f' resil 



100 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



iu this world hut pain and cUngsa Ob, that 
I was not afraid to diu. " 

" Laura, I^ura ! goto your rest, "exclaim- 
ed Kdith, "or yon will lone your reason. 
Come ; " and she half carried the poor oreatnru 
to hue room. "Now, leave the door aiar," 
she oaid, " for if mother it worae I will call 
you." 

Edith sat down to her wearv task as a 
watcher, and never before in all the lad pre- 
ceding weeks, had her heart been so heavy, 
and huding of evil. Laura 'a words kept re< 
Ideating thomselves to her, and mingling with 
those of her mother's delirium, thus strangely 
!)leiuling the past and the present. Couul it 
Ije true that they wore helpless in the hands 
of a cruel, reinuitt^less fate that was pushing 
them down t Could it be true that all her 
Htrugglea and courage would be in vain, and 
that each day was only bringing them nearer 
to the dest)ei-ation of utter want ? She could 
not disgui8t> from herself that Laura's 
dreadful wuids had a show of reason, and 
that, perhaps, the molrtgagtt the had given 
that (fay meant that uiey would soon be 
without honie or shelter in the groat, pitiless 
world. But, with sot teeth and white face, 
she muttered, 
"Death first." 

Tlien, with a startled expreaaion, she anxi< 
ously aiiktid herself : " Was that wnat Laura 
meant when shu kept saying, 'Oh, if I wasn't 
af:"<i<i +o ilie ! ' " She went to her sister's 
door and lislened. Laura's movements 
within seemed to satisfy her, and she return- 
ed to the sick room and sat down again. 
Putting her hand upon hor heart, she mur- 
mured : 

"lam competely unnerved to-night. I 
don't understand myself ; " and she looked 
almost as pale and despairing as Laura. 

She was, iu truth, in the midst of that 
" horror of great darkness " that comes to so 
many struggling souls in a world upon which 
the shadow uf sin rests so heavily. 

CHAPTER XXVL 

FKIEXD AND SAVIOUR. 

Knowing of no other source of help save 
an earthly one, her thoughts reverted to the 
old Scotch people that she had recently visit- 
ed. Their sun-lighted garden, and nappy, 
iiomely life, their simple faith, seemed 
.the boat antidotes for her present morbid ten- 
dencies. 

" If the worst comes to the worst, I think 
they would take us in for a little while, till 
some way opened," she thought. " Oh, that 
I had their belief in a better life, then it 
wouldn't seem so dreadful to suffer in this 



one. Why have I never read the 'Gude 
Book,' as they cull it ? Hut I n«)ver seemed tu 
understand it ; still, I must say, that I never 
really tried to. Perhaps Qod is angry with 
us.and is punishing as for so forgetting Him. 
I would rather think that, than to Ted ho 
forgotten and lost sight of. It seems m if 
Gon didn't see or oare. It seems as if I could 
cling to the harshest father in the world, if 
he would only protect and help me. A (lod 
of wrath, that I have heard clurgynien si)oak 
of, is not so dreadful to me as a (*od who* 
forgets, and leaves his creatures to struggle 
alone. Our minister was so cold and piiilo- 
■ophical, and presented a Qod that seemed 
so far off, that I felt there could never be 
anything between Him and me. He talked 
about a holy, infinite Being, who'dwelt aloiio 
in unapproachable majesty ; and I want some 
one to stoop down and love and help poor, 
little me. He talked about a religion of 
purity and good works, and love to our 
fellow-men. I don't know how to work for 
myself, much less for others, and it seeniH as 
if nearly all my fellow-creatures hated and 
scorned me, and I am afraid of them ; so I 
don't see what chance there is for such as us. 
If we hnd only remained rich, and lived on 
the Avenue, such a religion wouldn't U- so 
hard. It seems strange that the Bible ^ 
should teach him and old Malcolm so differ- 
ently. But I Hupl)l)^)u lie is wiser,and better 
understands it. Perliaps it's tlie Howers that 
teach Malcolm, for he always beems drawing 
lessons from them. " 

Then came the impulse togettlie Bible and 
read it for herself. "The impulse I" from 
whence did it come ? 

When Edith felt so orphaned and -alone, 
forgotten even of Qod, then the Divine 
Father was nearest his child. When, in her 
bitter extremity, at this lonely mid-night 
hour she realized her need and helplessness 
as never before, her great Elder Brother was 
waiting l>eside her. 

The impulse was divine. The Spirit of 
Qod was leading her as He i" seeking to lead 
80 many. It omy remained for her to follow 
these gentle impulses, not to be pushed into 
the black gulf that despairing Laura dread- 
ed, but to be led into the deep 
peace of a loving faith. She was about to be 
taught the blessed truth that ^od is " not 
far from every one of us, if haply we might 
feel after Him and find Him. " 

She went down into tlie parlour to get the 
Bible that iu her hands had i-evealed the 
falseness and baseness of Gna KUiot, and the 
thought flashed through her miud like a good 
omen. " This book stood between mc and 
evil once before. " She took it to the liglit 
and rapidly turned its pages, ts yiiig to find 



WHAT CAN S»IK DO ? 



101 



e <Gude 
Huemed tu 
At I never 
igry with 
tiiiff Him. 
to feel HO 
iteiiiit iM if 
if I could 
worlil, if 
. Adod 
lien tiioak 
(}od who- 

tid philo- 
kt seemed 
never be 
Ele talko'l 
i^elt aloito 
M^aiit Home 
lelp poor, 
sligion of 
ire to our 
work for 
t seeiiiH as 
hat«d and 
\em ; HO I 
mohas utu 
lived on 

In't be MO 

the hible ^ 

HO dirtcr- 
And better 
twera that 
iH drawiu(( 

Bible and 
se I" from 

nd -alone, 
le Divine 
len, in her 
mid-night 
Blplessnens 
rother was 

Spirit of 
tng to lead 
ir to follow 
ished into 
ira dread - 
the deep 
bout to be 
od is " not 

we might 

to get the 
vealed the 
ot, and the 
like a good 
len mc and 
;o tho liglit 
ing to find 






•ome ulue, Mome place of hoiM^ for vhe waa 
sadlv unfamiliar with it. 

Wns it her trembling Hnguti alone that 
turned the pages ? No ; He who inijiired 
the guide she oonsulted, guided her, for soon 
.her eyuB fell upon the sentence : 

" Cjome unto me all ve that Ubour and are 
heav^aden, and I will give you rest." 

The words came witlt such vivid power and 
meaning that she was startled, and looked 
around v if some one had spoken to ]ier. 
Tliey so p«»rieotly met her need that it seemed 
thoy nmst be addressed directly to her. 

" Who was it that said these words, and 
what right had He to say to them ?" she 
'4|ueried eagerly, and keeping lier finger on 
the passage as if it might be a ulue out of 
some fatal labyrinth, she turned the leaves 
backward and reail more of Him with the 
breathless interest that some poor burdened 
soul might have listened eighteen centuries 
ago to a rumour of the great Prophet who 
had suddenly appeared with signs and 
wonders in Palestine. Then she turned and 
read again and again the sweet words that 
tirst arr ^ed her attention. They Beei.ied 
more luminous ami hope-inspiring every 
moment, as their siguiHcance dawned upon 
lier like the coming of day after night. 

Her clear, positive mind could never take 
a vague, dubious impression of anything, 
aiul with a long-drawn breath she said, with 
the emphasis of perfect conviction : 

" If He Was a mei-e man, as I have been 
taugiit to believe, He had no right to say 
these words. It would Ite a bitter, wicked 
mockery for man or angel to 8])eak to them. 
•Oh, can it be that it was God himself in 
human guise ? I could trust such a God." 

Again with glowing cheeks and parted lips, 
she commenced readmg, and in her eyes was 
the growing light of a great hope. 

The upper room of that poor Uttle cottage 
-was becoming a grand and sacred place. 
Heaven, that honours the deathless soul 
above all localities, was near. The Hod who 
was not in the vast and gold-incrusted temple 
•on Mount Moriah, sat in humble guise at 
" Jacob's well," and said to one of His poor 
guilty creatures : " I that speak unto thee 
am He. " Cathedral domes and cross-tipped 
spires indicated the Divine presence on every 
hand in superstitious Rome, but it would 
seem that he was only near to a poor monk 
creeping up Pilate's staircase. Though the 
wealth of the world should combine to build a 
colossal church, filling it with every sacred 
«mblem and symbol, and causing its fretted 
Toof to resound with unceasing choral service, 
it would not be such a claim upon the great 
Father's heart as a weak, pitiful cry to Him 
ironi the least of His chilthen. Though 



Eilith knew it not, that Presence, witltout 
whic^ all temnles are vain, had come to lier 
as freely, as closely, as truly as when it en- 
tered the cottage at l^thany, and Mary 
"sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. 
Kven to her, in this night of trouble, in thin 
htoiiy wilderness of ua\e and fear, lui to 
Uoil s trembling servant of old, a ladder of 
light was let down from heaven, and on it 
her faith would climb up to the peace uiitl 
rest that is above, and tlierefore undisturlKid 
by the storms that rage on earth. 

But it is God's way to make us free 
throush truth. Christ, when on earth, did 
not deal with men's souls as with their 
bodies. The latter he touched into instan- 
taneous cure ; to the former He appealed 
with patient instruction and entreaty. To 
the former He revealed Himself by word and 
deed, and said : "In view of what I prove 
myself to be will you trust me f Will you 
follow me ? " 

In words which, though spoken so long 
ago, are still the living utterances of tlie 
Spirit to every seeking soul, He was now 
speaking to Edith, and she libtened with tlie 
wonder and hope that might have •tirn-d 
the heart of some sorrowing maiden like 
herself, when His voice was accompanied 
by the musical chime of waves breaking on 
the shores of Galilee, or the rustle of winds 
through the dark olive lea\e8. 

Edith came to the source of all truth with 
a mind as fresh and unprejudiced as that of 
one who saw and heard Jesus for the firxt 
time, as, in his mission joumevs, He entered 
some little town of the Holy I^nd. She 
had never thought much about Him, and 
had no strong preconceived opinions. Siie 
was almost utterly ignorant of the creeds 
and symbols of men, and Christ was not to 
her, as He is to so many, the emltodiment of 
a system and the incarnation of a doctrine — 
vague, half realized truth. When she 
thought of Him at all, it 4iad been as a 
great, good man, the most famous religious 
teaokM* of the past, whose life had nobly 
" aoOTned a title and pointed a moral." But 
this would not answer any more. "What 
could a man, dead and buried centuries ago, 
do for me now ? " she asked, bitterly. 
" I want one who can with right speak these 
words. 

" ' Come unto me all ye that labour and 
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' " 

An as with finger atilf clinging to this 
passage, she read of miracle and parable, 
now trembling almost under the " Sermon 
on the Mount," now tearful under the 
tender story of the prodigal, the feeling 
came in upon her soul like the rising tide, 
"This was not Tiere man." 



1(« 



WHAT CAN SHK DO f 



'I 

' I 



Tbon with an awe she lind never ^clt 
Ix't'ons hIio follouud him Ut <lethn«iiiaiie, 
th(* Hi^li Ft'ieHt'H pahico to Pilnte's 
jiKi'Miiciit hall, ami from , thence 
to ( iiti^ollin, and it neonictl to her one loii^' 
" \ in l)»»l()r«»Hii. " With white lipf. nlie nuir- 
iimioil, with the centurion, "Truly thin tnun 
Mils the Hon of dlod." 

SIh) wn« readiiif» the woiulorful story for 
tlu! tii'Ht time in itn the connection, and the 
Spirit of (iod waft her guide and teacher. 
When Hhe ciinio to Mary " weeping witliout 
at the Bcpulchre, " her own eyes were Mtrcani- 
iiig, and it aeenied as if hIic were weeping 
tliere henielf. 

liut when Jesus said, in a to;ie perhaps 
never licard Ix'foro or sinco in this world, 
"^l.•l^y,"it Beomod tliat to herself He was 
K|H';iking, and her heart rcHponded, " Rub- 
lioni — Master." 

Sh«! started up and paced tlie little room, 
thrilling witli exciteniuiit. 

•• How blind I have been," Hhe exclaimed 
— •' how titterly blind ! Here I have been 
struggling alone all these weiiry weeks, with 
scarcely hoi)o for this world and none for the 
next, when I might have had such a friend 
.•mil helper all the time. Can I be deceived? 
Can this sweet M'ay of light out of our thick 
iliulviiesa be ;v delusion?" 

She went to where her little Bible lay open 
at the pll^sage, " Come unto me," and bow- 
ing her head upon it, pleaded as 8im])ly and 
sincerely as the Syro-IMio tiician mother 
(night have pleaded for her cl;ild in the very 
; veBcnio of the human Saviour. 

"O.Jesus, I am heavily laden. T labour 
tmder burdens greater than I canl)ear. Di- 
vi,ie Saviour, help me." 

In answer she expected .some vague exal- 
tation of soul, or an exquisite sense of peace, 
as Ihe burden was rolled away. 

There was not'iing of the kind, Imt only 
an impulse to m to Laura. She was deeply 
disappointed. She seemed to have climbed 
such a lofty height that she might almost 
look into heaven, and confirm her faittM||[>r- 
ever, and only a simple earthly duty was re- 
vealed to her. Her excited mind, that had 
been expanding with the divinest mysteries, 
was reacting into quietness, and the impres- 
sion was so strong that she must go to Laura, 
that she thought her sister had been calling 
her, and she, in her inter se pre-occupation, 
had heard her as in a dream. 

Still keeping the little Bible in her hand, 
she went to Laura's room. Through the 
partially open door she saw, with a sudden 
chill of fear, that the bed had not been slept 
in. Pushing the door open, she looked 
eagerly around with a strange dread growing 
upon her. Laura was writing at a table with 



her back tnwanl the entrance. There wan a 
strong odoni' of laudunnm in the roem, and 
A hnniblc thought blanched Kdith'u eh elf. 
Stealing with noiseless tread across the in- 
tervening snace, with hand preHsed up^n her 
heart to still its wild throbbingn, she looked 
over her sister's shoulder, or.fl followqi^tho 
tracings of her pen with dilated eyes. 

" Mother. K«llth, fnrowell I When yon read 
tliOHo HU(i words i Hhall Im^ dead. I fcui' dmith— 
I cumiot tell you how 1 feur it. but 1 feur that 
dreadful K'll' whicli daily Kn»WB nearer more. 
I nniHt dlo. Th«»re Is no other resoureo font 
IMior, wenk woman like me. If I were only 
blroii^ it' 1 had only liecn taught somethiuK--' 
luit I am hehilcHB. Du not be tuo iiard upon 
poor little Zell. FTer oycii wen> Minded hj' a 
tiil«e love ; fhe did not seethe black Kulf as I see 
it. li' (iod cares for what su<-h jioor fo. loni 
ercatun-H a« I do, may He forKive. I havy 
thouKht till my brain reels. I lin\e tr'.Ml i) 
pray, hut hardly knew what T wns itravinj.' lo. 
I don't nndei-Htnnd (iod- -lie 1b tar otf. The 
world seorns us. Thero is none to help. 'I'here 
is no other rcnit^ly save the druK at )ny side, 
which will soon hrinjc sleep which I hope will 
be dreamless. B'nrewell 1 

Your poor, trembling, despairing 

LAUltA." 

Every sentence was written •with a sigh 
that might seem the last that tin; burdened 
soul could give, and every line was bhttted 
with tears that fell from her dim eyes. 
iMlith saw that the poor, thin face was 
pinclietl and wan with misery, and that the 
])airor of death had already bhinched even 
iier lips, and, with a shudder of h'noi-, her 
eyes tell on a phial of hiudannm at Laura's 
left hand, and from which she was partially 
turned away, in the act of writing. 

With an ecstatic thrill of joy, she now 
understood how her prajer had lieen an- 
swered. How could there have been rest — 
how could there have been peace — if this aw- 
ful tragedy had been consummated? 

With one devout, grateful glance upward, 
she silently tof»k away the fatal drug, and 
laid herBil>Ie down in its place. 

Laura finished her letter, leaned back, nud 
murnnired a lon.cr, trembling " Farewell !" 
that was like a low, mournful vibration of 
the .Eolian harp, when the Hight-breeze 
breathes upon it. Then she pressed her 
right hand over her ej'^es, shuddered, and 
tremblingly put out her left for that whii^h 
would end all. Bitt instead of the phial 
which she had placed there but a little be- 
fore, her hand rested upon a book. Startled, 
she opened her eyes, and saw not the 
dreaded poison, but in golden letters that 
seemed luminous to her dazzled sight : 

" Holy Biblk." 

Though all had lasted but a brief moment, 
Edith's power of self-control M'as gone. 
Dashing the bottle on the floor, where it 



ili 



WHAT CAN SIIK DO? 



103 



• wah ft 
tn, nnd 
ch ek. 
the in- 
>(in her 

l(H)kc(l 

iTQi^the 



oil rrad 
•Ifuith— 
lur that 
■r iiion-. 
fo for a 
!r« only 
Bthiim--- 
rd iipun 

' nH I a«Mi 
fi). lorn 

I liilVO 

\r\' il I » 
ivii4' lo. 
Iff. The 
. Thoro 
my bide, 
kopc will 



AUllA." 

■,h o Kijjli 
ainlrnc'il 
J blotted 
im eyes, 
fftce ^^'a8 
that the 
Kvl even 
iTor, her 
, Laura's 
partially 

she now 

been an- 

i\\ rest — 

this aw- 

upward, 



rug, 



and 



ack, v.wd 
rewell !" 
•ration of 
it-brt-eze 
eased her 
sred, and 
at which 
the phial 

little be- 
Startlcd, 

not the 
tters that 
it: 

' moment, 

as gone. 

wliere it 



broke into many fragments, she tluuw hor* 
lelf oil her HiHt<>r*H ii»'<k and HoblH3d : 

"Oh, I^urifc, i ''your hand is on a 
betti-r remo<ly. It u s saved iiie— itcvui 
■avo y.m. It Iuih Mhown -ne the Friend wu 
need. He Bent mo to you ;" aud nlm ulun^ to 
her , i <tec in a rapture of joy, nmnnurui^ 
Nvitii every hreatU, 

" ThaiiKB, thoiikH, eternal gi-atitude ! I 
Hvu how my pnvyer is answered iiuw." 

Laiii-ft, in her ihatterud condition, wa . too 
b -wildoiod and feeble to do inoie than 
chng to Kdith, witii a blessed setitiu of bcin^ 
roflcuod from some great peril. A hor- 
rid spoil soeined brok^iii, an*i for some rea- 
son, she know not wliy, life and liope were 
still possible. A torrent of tears seemed to 
relieyc lu-r of the dreadful <»pun;a8ion that 
had BO long rested on her, and ut lust she 
faltiT.fl, -- 

•• Who is this stranso friend ? " 

"His name is Jesus— Saviour," said 
Kdith, iu a low, reverential toun. 

"I don't rmite understand," said Laura, 
Iiesitatin^ly. *' I can only cling to you till 
I know hiin. " 

•' Ho knows you I^ura, and loves you. 
He has never forgotten us. It was we who 
foig it Him. He sent mo to you iuat in time. 
Now put your hand on this book, and pro- 
mise me you will never think of such an 
awful thing again." 

" I promise," said fjaura, aolomnly ; "not 
if I am in my right mind. I (Im't lunlui- 
stand myself. You soem to liavo awakened 
nic from a fearful dream. I will do just 
what you tell mo to," 

" G, Laura, let us both try to do just what 
our Divine Friend tells us to do. " 

"Perhaps, through you, I will learn to 
know Him. I can only cling to" you to- 
night, " said Laura, wearily. " I am so 
tirod," and her eyes dropped as she spoke. 

With a sense of security came a strong 
reaction in her ovei'taxod nature. Edith 
helped her to l)ed as if she were a chii.i, 
and soon she was sleeping as peacefully ^ 

one. 

• CHAPTER XXVIL 

THE »hfSTERY SOLVED. 

Edith again resumed her watching iu lui- 
mother's room. The invalid was still dwell 
ing on the past, and her delirium appeared 
to Edith a true emblem of her old, unreal 
life. Indeed, it seemed to her she had never 
lived before. A quiet, but divine exalta- 
tion filled her soul. She did not care to 
read any more, but just sat still and 
thought, and her spiritual light grew cleq,t*^r 
and clearer. 



Her faith was v« ry siinplu, her knowledge 
very sliglit. She was scarcely in advance 
of u Hubi'uw maiden who might have been 
one of the mournful procession pausing out 
ol the gates of Nain, when a stranger, un- 
known, revealed hinuwlf by turning death 
into life, sorrow into joy. The wye of hei- 
faith was fastened on tlio distinct, living, 
htviiig iMirsonality of our liuinan yet Divin.- 
Krieiul, who do longer seemed afar oil 
lint as near as to that other burdened one 
" who touched thu hum of His garment." 

"He does not change, the Uibl<; Hay^<, " 
nhe tliought. " Ho cannot change. "I'liere- 
I'oru lie will help me, just tyi surely n« he dil 
till! p > >r, Hu tiering I fl|»ple umoiig wli )in h- 
lived." 

It was l>ut three o'clock, an4l yet th^jeost- 
eru nky wax imlu with dawn. At length her 
attention wim gained \>y u faint but oft-re- 
puated sound. It seemed to come from the 
direction of the garden, and at once thu 
mystery that so opjiressed poor llannilial oc- 
cured to her. She ruse ana parsed back to 
her own room, wliich overloulced the garden, 
."iiid, through the lattice, in the faint morning; 
twilight, saw a tiill, dusky Hgure, that hxik- 
od much too sultstantial to be any suuii 
sha«lowy being as thu old negro surinisud, and 
tlie strokes of his hoe were too vigorous and 
noisy for ghostly gardening. 

"It nnist beAvden fi.ieey," thought Edith, 
"but [ will put tliis matter beyomlall iloubt. 
I don't like this nigiit work, either; thoiijjh 
for <litferent reasons than those of poor H'lii- 
nibal. We have sutlered enough from seaii- 
d:;! already, and, henceforth, all coimeeted 
with my life shall be as open as the day. 
Then, ii t!io world IjcUeves evil of me, it will 
bo becaii>'e it likes it Ixjst. " 

These thouj,'hts passed through hor mind 
while she hastily threw off Iior wrap])er and 
ihessed. Cautiously opening the haek-door, 
she looked again. The nearer view and 
clearer light revealed to her Ardon Lae-y. 
She did not fear him. .and at once determined 
to question him as to tlie motive of his action. 
He was but a little way off, and was tying 
up a grapevine that had been neglected, his 
back being toward her. Edith had great 
physical •.•nurai^e and firmness natnnilly, and 
it seemed that on thismorningshc could fear 
nothing, in tlie strength of her new-born 
enthusiasm. 

With noiseless step she reached his side, 
and asked, almost sternly, 

" Who are you, sir ; and what does this 
action mean ?" 

Arden started violently, trembled like the 
leaves in the morn' ^ wind, and turned 
sltjwly toward her, leeling more guilty and 



104 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



alarmed than if he had been playing the part 
of a burglar, than her good eenios. ^ 

• " Why don't you answer?'' she asked^in 
still more decided tones. "By wnat right 
are you doiug this work ?" 

Edith ha<l lost faith i.^ men. She knew 
little of Arden, and the thought flashed 
through hor mind, " This may be some naw 
plot against us. " Therefore her ii^a^ner was 
stern and almost threatening. 

Poor Ardftn was startled out of all self -con- 
trol. Edith's coming was so sudden and un- 
tixpected, tnd her paiv«» face was so spirit- 
like, that for a moment he iscarcelv knew 
whether the coiiptant object of his thoughts 
was really before him, or whether his strong 
imagination was only modtfng him. ^ 

Edith mistook his agitation and hesitancy 
as evidences o! guilt, and he so far recovered 
himself as to recognize her suspicions. 

" I will be answereH. You shrll speak the 
truth," she said, imperiously. "Bj what right 
are you doing this work?" • 

Then his own proud, passionate spirit 
flamed up, and looking bar unblenchingly in 
the face, he replied : 

*' Th« right of my great love for you. Can 
I not serve my idol ?' 

An expression of deep pain and repulsion 
camo out upon Edith's face, and he saw it. 
The avowaf of his love was so abrupt — in- 
deed it was almost stern and, coming thus 
from quite a stranger, who had so little 
place even in her thoughts, it was exceed- 
ingly painful, that it was like a blow. She 
had been dwelling upon the serene heights 
of a Divine love, and the most delicate de- 
claration of a human and earthly love at that 
time would have jarred rudely upon her 
sensitive spirit. And yet she harolylcnew 
how to answer him, for she saw in his open, 
manly face, his respectful manner, that he 
meant no evil, however he might err through 
ignorance or feeling. 

H < seemed to wait for her to speak 
:ig;..n, and his face, from being like tlie 
eastern sky, became very pale. From re- 
cent experience, and the teachings of the 
Patient One, Edith's heart was vciy tender 
towara anything that looked like suffering, 
and though she deemed Arden 's feelings 
but the infatuation of a rude and ill-regulat- 
ed mind, she could not be harsh, now that 
a,ll suspicion of evil designs were banish- 
ed. Therefore she said quietly, and almost 
kindly, 

" You have done wrong, Mr. Lacey. 
Remember I have no father or brother to 
protect me. The world is too ready to 
take up evil reports, and your strange act- 
ion might be misunderstood. All transact- 
ions with me must be like the sunlight. '' 



With an expression of almost anguish. 
Arden bowed his head before her, and 
groaned, 

" Forgive me ; I did not think.** 

"lam sure you meant no harm," said 
Edith, with real kindness in her tone. 
" Yon would not knowingly make the w;iy 
harder for a poor girl that has too much al- 
ready to struggle against. And now, good- 
bye. I shall trust to your sense of honour, 
assured that you will treat me aa yon would 
were your own sister dealt with ; " and she 
vanished, leaving Arden so overwhelmed 
with contending emotions that he could 
scarcely make his way home. 

An hour later Emth heard Haimibal's 
step down stairs, and she at (mee loin- 
<^d him, The old man had aged in a mght^ 
and his face had a more worn and hopeless 
look than had yet rested upon it. He 
trembled at the rustle of her dren and 
called, 

" Miss Edie, am dat you ?" 

"Yes, you foolish old fellow. I h«ve 
seen your spook, and ordered it» not to come 
here again unless T send for it " 

" Oh, Miss Edie !" gasped HannibaL 

" It's Arden Lacey. 

Hannibal collapsed. He seemed to dr(.]t 
out of the realm of the supernatural to tho 
solid ground of fact with a neavy thump. 

He dropped into a chai;, regarding her 
first with a blank, vacaiiiii face, wnich gradu- 
ally becoming illumined with a knowing 
grin. In a low, chuckling voice he said, 

"Ijes declar to yon I'se struck all of 
a heap. I jes done see whar de possum 
is dis minute. What an ole black 
fooi I was, sure 'nuif. I tho t he'se 
dd mos 'bligin man I eber seed afore, " and 
he told heiyiow Arden had served her in her 
illness. 

She was divided between amusement and 
annoyance, the latter ^jredominating. Han- 
nibal concluded impressively : 

" Miss Edie, it must be lub. Nothin else 
dan dat wh'ch so limbered up my ole jints, 
could get any livin man ober as much 
ground as he hoed dat niii'ht. " 

"Huhhj Hannibal," said Edith, with 
dignity ; " ai^d remember that this is a 
secret between ourselves. Moreover, I wish 
ou never to ask Mr. Lacev to do anything 
or us if it can possibly be helped, and 
never without my knowledge. " 

" You know's well, Miss Edie, dat you'se 
only to s^cftk and it's done," said Hannibal, 
deprecatingly. 

She gave him such a gentle, grateful look 
that the old man was almost ready to get 
down on his knees before her. Putting her 
hand on his shoulder, she said. 



I 









anguiahj 
ler, and 



m/'sftid 
ler to'.ie. 

the WAV 
onuoh (U* 
wr, good- 
[ honour, 
on would 

Mid she 
whelmed 
\ie could 

[MmibarB 
>no8 join- 

ft mghtk 
L hopeless 

it He 
Iren and 



I h«ve 
>t to come 

libaL 

d to drup 
nl to th\i 
lump, 
irding her 
ich grailu- 
kttowing 
} said, 
ick all of 
le poasum 
>le blftck 
;ho't he'se 
,fore, " and 
her in her 

ement and 
ng. Han- 

^othin else 

ole jints, 

as much 

lith, wit)) 
this is a 
ver, I Mrish 
> anything 
elped, and 

dat you'se 
Hannibal, 

iteful look 
ead^ to get 
E*utnng her 



WHAT CAN SHE BO ? 



105 






i 



** What a good, faithful, old frieild you 

Are. You don't know how much I love you, 

Hannibal ; *' and she returned to her mother. 

Hannibal rolled up ms eyes au J clasped 
his hauids, as if before his patron saint, say- 
ing, under his breath, 

" De idee of her lubing jld black Hanni- 
bal I could die did blessed minute," 
which was his way of saying, "Nunc 
dimittcu. " 

Laura slept quietly till late in the after- 
noon, and wakened as if to a new and better 
life. Her manner was almost childlike. 
She had lost all confidence in herself and 
seemed to wish to be controlled by Edith in 
■a.l\ things, as a little child might be. But 
ahe was very feeble. 

As the uioming advanced Edith grew ex- 
ceedingly weary. Reaction from her strong 
excitement seemed to bear her down in a 
wea^eM and lethargy that she could not 
resist, and by ten o'clock she f At that she 
must have some relief. It came from an un- 
■expected source, for Hannibal appeared with 
& face of portentious solemnity, saving that 
Mrs. Xacey was down stairs, and tmit she 
wished to uiow if she could do something to 
lielp. 

The mother's quick eye saw that some- 
tliiug had deeply moved andv^as troubling 
]ier son. Inaeed, for some time past, she 
liai seen that into his unreal world had 
i^o.'ae .% reality that was a source both of pain 
iwd pleasure, of fear and hope. While she 
tollowed him every hoar of tih* day with an 
unutterable sympathy, she silently left him 
to open his heart to her in his own time and 
manner. But her tender, wistful manner 
told Arden tiliat he was understood, and he 
preferred this tacit sympathy to any spoken 
words. But this morning the evidence of 
liiB m«ntal distress was so apparent that she 
went to him, placed her hands upon his 
shoulders, and with her grave, earnest ^yes 
looking straight into his, asked : 

*' Arden, what oan I do for you ? " 

' • Mother, " he said, in a low tone, ' ' thef 3 
is sickness and deep trouble at our neigi - 
hour's. Will you go to them again ?" 

" Yes, my son," she replied, simply, " as 
fioon as I can get ready." 

So she arrangod matters to stay if needed, 
^uid thus in Edith's extremity she appeared. 
In view of Ardeu'ft words, Edith hardly 
luiew how to receive her or what to do. But 
when she. saw the plain, grave woman sitting 
before her in the simple dignity of patient 
sorrow, her course seemed clear. She in- 
stinctively felt that she could trust this of- 
fered ftiendliness, and that she needed it. 

" I have heard that your mother has been 
eick as well as yourself," she said kindly but 



quietly. ''You look very worn and weary. 
Miss Allen ; ami if I, as a neighbour, can 
watch in your place for awhile, I think you 
can trust me to do so. " 

Tears sprang into Edith's eyes, and she 
said, with sudden colour coming into her 
pale face, " You take noble revenge for the 
treatment you have recdved from ua, and I 
gratefully submit to it. I must confess I have 
reached the limit of my endurance ; my sis- 
ter is ill alsD, and yet mother needs constant 
attention. " 

"Then I am very glad I came, and I have 
leit things at home so I can stay, " and she 
laid aside her wraps with the air of one who 
sees a duty pla'nly and intends to perform 
it. Edith gave her the doctor's instructions 
a little incoherentiy in lier utter exhaustion, 
but the experienced matron understood all, 
and said, 

" I think I know just what to do. Sleep 
till you are well rested. " 

Edith v^ent to her room, and, with her 
face where the sweet June air could breathe 
directly u]:'on it through the open window, 
sleep cam'j Mrith a welcome and refreshing 
balm thai she had never known before. Her 
last thought was, ' ' He will take care of me 
and mine. " 

She had left the door leading into the 
sick-room open, and once Mrs. Lacey stepped 
in and looked at her. The happy, trustful 
thought with which she had closed her eyes 
left a faint smile upon her face, and gave it 
sweet spiritual beaaty. 

*' She seems very different *from what I 
had supposed her, " niuriuured Mrs. Lacey. 
" She is very different from what people are 
imagining her. Perhaps Arden, poor boy, is 
nearer right than all of us. Oh, I hope she 
is good, whether he ever marries her or not, 
for this love will be the saving or ruining of 
him." 

When Edith awoke it was dark, and she 
started up in dismay, for she meant to sleep 
but an hour or two. Having hastily 
smoothed her hair, sbe went to the sicK 
room, and found Laura reclining on the sofa, 
and talking in the most friendly manner to 
Mrs. Lacey. Her mother's delirium con- 
tinued, though it was more quiet, with 
snatches of sleep intervening, but she noticed 
no one as yeT: Mrs. Lacey sat calmly in her 
chair, her juid, patient face making the very 
ideal of a watcher, and yet in spite of her 
plain exterior there was a refinement, an air 
of self-respect, that would impress the most 
casual observer. As 8< on as Luura saw 
Edith she rose as quickly as her feebleness 
permitted, and threw her arms around her 
sister, and there was an embrace waose 
warmth and meaning none but themselves. 



106 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



ant^ the pitying eye of Him > lO saved, could 
nuderstand. Then Edith turned and said, 
earnestly, 

" Truly, Mrs. Lacey I did not intend to 
trespass on your kindness in this manner. I 
hope you will forgive me. " 

' ' Nature knew what was best for • you, 
Miss Allen, and you have not incommoded 
me at alL I made my plans to stay till 
nine o'ldock, and then Arden will come fir 
me." • 

" Miss Edie," said Hannibali in his loud 
whiaiyer, '* I'se got some supper for you 
down her?.** 

Why did Edith go to her room and make 
a littli) better toilet before going down ? She 
hardly thought herself. It was probably a 
feminine instinct. As she took her last sip 
of tea there was a timid knock at the 
door. "I will see him a moment," she 
decided. 

Hannibal, with a gravity that made poor 
Edith smilfi in her thoughts, admitted Arden 
Lacey. He was diffident but not awkward, 
and the colour deepened in his face, then 
left it very pale, as he saw Edith was 
presn* i . Hei- pale cheek also took the faint- 
eat tin|;e of pinK, but she rose quietly, and 
said, 

" Please be seated, Mr. Lacey. I will tell 
your mother you are here. " Then, as H.an- 
nibal disappeared, she added earnestly, " I 
do appreciate your mother's kindness, and — 
yours also. At the same time, too deep a 
senso of obb* nation is painful ; you must not 
do so muci iOrlia Please do not misunder- 
stand me. " 

Arilcii h»xi something of his mother's quiet 
dignity, as he rose and held out to Edith a 
letter, saying, 

' ' Will you please read that — you need 
not answer io — and then perhaps you will 
niKlf.va+:"^n(J me better." 

Edith hesitated, and-was reluctant. 

'■ I may be doing wrong, " continued he, 
earnestly and with rising colour. " I am 
not. versed m the world's ways; but is it not 
my right to explain the rash words I uttered 
tins morning ? My good name is dear to me 
also. Few zare for it, but I would not have 
it. utterly blurred in your eyes. We may be 
strangers after you have read it, if you 
chpi)S3, but I entreat you to read it." 

'^ You villnot feel hurt if .1 af^arwards 
retani it to you ?" asked Edith, timidly. 

" You may do with it what you please." 

3he then took the letter, and a moment 
later Mrs. Lacey appeared, and said, 

" I will sit up to-morrow night, with your 
permission. " 

Edith took her hand, and replied, " Mi's. 
L;iccy, you burden me with kindness. " 



"It is not my wish to burden, but to relieve 
you. Miss Allen. I think I can safely say, 
from our slight acqu§iutance, that in the 
case of sickness or trotrble at a neighbi 'ir's, 
you would not spare yourself. We ceasi to 
be human when we leave the too-hea- 
vily burdened to struggle alone. " 

Edith's eyes gre w moist, and she said, 
simply, " I cannot refuse kindness offered in 
that spirit, and may God bless you for it. 
Goodnight." 

Arden's only parting was a grave, silent 
bow. 

Edith was soon alone again, watching by 
her mother. With some naturial curiosity, 
she opened the letter that was written by 
one so different from any man that ehe had 
ever known before. Its opening was reas- 
suring, at least. 

" Miss Enrrn Allbn : 
that I shall •(fend again 



You need not fear 

1110,1, ... o".." -.»v...>* ^o by either writing or 

speaking such rash words as those which so 
deeply pained you this morning. They wotild 
not have been spoken then, perhaps never, hail 
I not been startled out of my self-control— had I 
not seen that jou ouspectcd me of evil, i was 
very unwise, and I sincerely ask your pardon, 
lint I meant nO wronf?, and as you referred to 
my sistrr, T can say, before God, that I would 
shield you as 1 would shield her. 

'• I know little of the conventionalities of the 
world. I live but a hermit's life in it, and my 
letter may seem to you very foolish and roman- 
tic, still I know that my motives are not ignoble, 
and I venture with this consciousness. 

" Reverencing and honouring you as 1 do, 1 
cannot bear that you should think too meanly 
of me. The worid regards me as a sullen, stolid, 
bearish creature, but I have almost ceased to 
care for its opinion. I have receivod from it 
nothing but coldness and scorn, and I pay my 
debt in like coin. But perhaps you can imagine 
why 1 cannot endure that you should reeard 
me in like manner. I woxUd.not have you tniiik 
my nature a stony, sterile place, when somc- 
tlimg tells me that it is like a garden that only 
needs sunlight of -some kind. My life hag.Jiecni 
blighted by the wronijr of another, wi.o should 
have been my best helper. The knowledge and 
university cidture for which I thirr.tcd was 
denied me. And yet, b»lieve me, only my mo- 
ther's need— only the absolute nc'essity that 
she-and my sister should have a daij.\- protoctor 
kept me from pushing on, into th e, world, and 
trying to work my way unaided to better things. 
Sacred duty has chained me down to a life t'nat 
was outwardly most sordid and unhappy. My 
best solace has been my mother's love. But 
from vnried, somewhat extensive, though ])er 
haps not the wisest kind of reading, I came to 
dwell in a brave, beautiful, but shadowy woi Id, 
that I created out of books. I was becoming 
satisfied with it, not knrwitig any other. Tim 
real world mocked and hurt me on ovei'y side 
It is so harsh and unjust that I hate it. I hatw 
it infinitely more as I see its disposition to 
wound you, who have been so noble and heroic. 
In this dream of the past— in this unreal world 
of my own fancy, 1 was living when you came 
that rainy night. As I learned to know you 
somewhat, yoii seemed a beautiful revelation to 
me. I did not think there was such a womnn 
in existence. My shadows vanished bcfort .you. 



li: 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



lOT 



relieve 
y say, 
in the 

bi'ur'g, 
easi to 
oo-Iiea- 

16 said, 
ered in 
for it. 

silent 

ing by 
•iosity, 
iten by 
he liad 
reas- 



ot fear 

Lting or 
hicn so 
• would 
cr, harl 
I— had I 
i wa» 
pardon, 
rred to 
I would 

s of the 
and my 

roman- 
ignoblo, 

Ido, i 
meanly 
1, stolid, 
iased to 

from it 
pay my 
n.iagiiie 

regard 
>u tniiik 
ti sonic- 
lat only 
aa.Jieon 

should 
l^e and 
sd was 
my mo- 
ity that 
'otoctor 
1(1. and 

thinf^. 
ifo I'rtat, 
ly. My 
c. Kut, 
gh ])er 
ame to 

woild, 
com i III' 
1-. Tho 
ry sl()c. 

I hatu 
tion !<) 
heroic. 
I world 
u came 
w you 
ition to 
vvoninn 
Te you. 



With you living in the present, my dreams of 
tiie past ceased. I could not prevent your ira- 
age from entering my lonely, empty heart, and 
tAking its vacant throne, aa if by divine right. 
How could 1 1 How can T drive you forth now, 
when my whole being is enslaveii ? 

" But forgive me. Though thought and feel- 
ing are beyond control, outward action is not. I 
hope to never lose a mastering grasp on the rein 
of deeds and words ; and though I cannot tm- 
derstand how the feehng I have frankly avowed 
(iau ever change, I will try never, by look or 
sign, to pain you with it £^ain. 

^' And yet, with a diffldenee and fear equalled 
only by my sincerity and earnestness, I would 
venture Ik ask one great favour. You said this 
nx)ming that you already had too much to 
struggle against. The future has its possibili- 
ties of t'lirther trouble and danger, will you 
not Ifct me be your humble, faithfiil friend, serv- 
ing you loyally, devotedly, yet uuobti'uaively, 
and with all the delicate regard for your posi- 
tion which I am capable of showing, assured 
that I will gratefully accept any hints when 1 
am wrong or presumptuous. I would gladly 
serve you with your knowledge and consent. 
But serve you I must. 1 vowed it the night I 
I'fted your unconscious form from the wnarf, 
and gave into Mrs. Qroody's care. There need 
be no reply. You have only to treat me not as 
an utter stranger when we next meet. You 
have only to give me the joy of doing something 
for vou when opportunity oflfers, 

• AROKN L iCEY." 

Edith's eyes filled with tears before she 
finished this most unexpected epistle. 
Though rather quaini and stately in its dic- 
tation, the passion of a true, strong nature so 
pormeated it all, that the coldest and shal- 
lowest would hav^ been moved. And yet a 
half -smile played upon her face at the same 
time, like sunlight on drops of rain. 

"Thank heaven," she said, "I know of 
one more true man in the world, if he is a 
strange one. How different he is from what 
I thought ! I don't believe there's another in 
this place who could have written such a 
letter. What woi'ld a New York society 
man, whose compliments are as extravagant 
as meaningless, think of it ? Truly he don't 
know the world, and isn't like it ? I sup- 
posed him an awicward, eccentric young 
country^ an, that from his very verdancy, 
wojuld be difficult to mange, and he writes to 
me like a knight of Mdf.n time, only such 
liinguage seems Quixotic in our day. The 
l;)oiish follow, to idealize poor, despised, 
i;\n\ty Edith Allen into one of the grand 
It Toines of bis interminable romances, and 
t'lat after seeing me, hoe my garden like a 
i)itch woman. If I wasn't so sad and he so 
e;;foest. I could laugh till my sides ached. 
T^aere never was a more matter-of-fact creat- 
nvii than I am, and yet here am lenveloped in 
n halo of impossible virtues and graces. If 
i i ere what he thinks mc, I wouldn't know 
1.1 lelf. Well, well, I must treat him some- 
tlii ig like a boy, for such he really is, igno- 
rant o' himself and all the world. When he 



oomes to know me better, the Edith of his 
imagination wdlvanishlikehisothershadows, 
and he will have another revelation that I 
am no ordinary flesh-and-blood girl." 

With deepening colour she continued : 
*' So it was he who lifted me up 'liat night. 
Well, I am glad it was one who pitied me, 
and not some coarse, unfeeling man. It 
seems strange how circumstances have 
brought him who shuns and iS shuaned by 
all, into such a queer relationship to me. 
But heaven forbid that I should give him 
lessons as to the selfish, matter-of-fact world. 
He will outgrow his morbidness and romantic 
chivalry with the certainty of yearn, and 
seeing more of me will banish his absurd de- 
lusions in regard to me. I need his friend- 
ship and help — indeed it seems as if it were 
sent to me. It can do him no harm, and it 
may give me a chance to do him good. If 
any man ever needed a sensible mend, he 
does. " 

Therefore Edith wrote him : 

"It is very; kind of you to offer friend ship n-d 
help to one situated like myself, and l (.rratofu y 
grant what you rather oddly call ' a favour.' At 
tlie same time, if you ever find such friendlincHS 
a pain or trouble to you in any way, I shall in no 
sense blame you for withdrawing it." 

" The " friendship " and " friendliness " 
Avere underscored, thusdelicately hinting that 
this must be the only relation. 

'•There," she said, "all his chains will 
now be of his own forging, and I shall soon 
demclish the paragon he is dreaming over. " 

She laid both lett?)';^ aside, and took down 
her Bible with a little siyh of satisfiction. 

"His lonely, empty heart," ^he hiurmur- 
ed ; "ah, that is the trouble with ail. He 
thinks to fill his with a vain dream of me, 
and others with as vain a dream of sonio- 
t^'ng else. I trust I have learned of One heiv' 
who can fill and satisfy mine ; " and soon 
she was again deep in tiic wondrous stoj-y, .«;o 
old, so new, so all-absorbing to those from 
whose spiritual eyes the scales of doubt and 
inditfereiii^ have fallen. As she read she 
aatvr, not truths rbout Jesus, but Him, and 
at His feet her heart bowed in stronger fait!i 
and deeper love ever\' moment. 

She 1 'd not even thought whether she 
^ .13 a C.iiistian or not. She had not even 
once })nt her finger on her sp ritual pulse to 
gauge the evidences of her faith. A sya*^ ■ n 
of theology would have been unintelligible to 
he". She could not have defined one doc- 
trine so as to liave satisfied a sound divine. 
She had not even read the greater part of 
the Bible, but, in her bitter extremity, the 
spirit of God. employinc the inspired guide, 
had brought her to Jcsns, as the troulded 



lOS 



WHAT CAN SHE DO f 



^nd flinful were broaght to Him of old. He 
had given h^ rest. He had helped her 
save ner sister, and with childlike confidence 
she was just looking, lovingly and trust- 
ingly, into His divine face, and He was 
smiling away all her fear and pain. She 
seemed to feel sure that her mother would 
get well, that Laura would get stronger, that 
they would all learn to know Him, and 
would be taken care of. 
As she' read this evening she came to that 

{)a8sage of exquisite pathos, where the purest, 
loliest manhood said to "a woman of the 
city, which was a sinner." 

" Thy sins are forgiven. Go in peace. " 

Instantly her thoughts reverted to Zell, 
and she was deeply moved. Gould she be 
fcjf given ? Could she be saved ? Was the 
(jrod of the Bible, stem, afar off, as she had 
once imagined, more tender toward the err- 
ing than even their own human kindred ? 
' Could it be possible that, while she had been 
condemning, and almost hating Zell, Jesus 
head been loving her ? 

The feeling overpowered her. Closing the 
book, she leaned her head upon it, and, for 
the first time, sobbed and mourned for Zell, 
with a great, yearning pity. 

Every such pitiful tear, the world over, is 
a prayer to God. They mingle with those 
tiiat flowed from His eyes, as He wept over 
t'.ie doomed city that would not receive 
Him. They mingle with that crimson tide 
which flowed from His hands and feet when 
•He prayed, 

" Father, forgive them, they know not 
what they do. " 

CHAPTER XXVIII. ^ ' 

EDITH TELLS THE OLD, OLD STOBT. 

Mrs. Allen seemed better the next day, 
and Laura was able to watch while Edith 
slept. 

After tea Mrs. Lacey appeared, with 
the same subdued air of quiet self-respect 
and patient sorrow. She seemed^, to have 
settled down into that mournful caim which 
hopes little and fears little. She seemed to 
expect nothing better than to go forward 
with such endurance as she might, into the 
deeper shadows of age, sickness, and death. 
She vaguely hoped that God would have 
mercy upon her at last, but how to love and 
trust Him she did not know. She hardly 
knew that it was expected, or possible. She 
associated religion with going to church, out- 
ward profession, and doing much good. The 
neighbours spoke of her and the family as 
" very irreligious, " and she had about come 
:to the conclusion that they were right. She 



never thought of taking credit to herself for 
her devotion to her children and patience 
with her husband. She loved the former, 
expedallv her son, with an intensity that 
one could hardly reconcile with her grave 
and silent ways. In regard to her husband, 
■he tried to remember her first young girlish 
dream — the manly ideal of character that 
her fond heart had associated with the 
handsome young fellow who had singled her 
out among the many envious maidens in her 
native village. 

•* I will t^ til l)e true to what I^hought 
he was," she said with a woman's pathetic 
constancy, " and be patient witii what 
he is. " 

But the disappointment, as it slowly as- 
sumed dread certainty, broke her heart. 

Edith began to have a fellow-feeling for 
her, " We both have not only our owii 
burdens to carry, but the heavier burden of 
another," she thought. "I- wonder if sho 
has ever gone to Him for the * rest. * I fear 
not, or she would not look so sad and hope- 
less." 

Before they could go up stairs a hack from 
the hotel stopped at the door, and Mr^. 
Groody bustled cheerily in. Laura at the 
same time came down, saying that Mrs. 
Allen was asleep. 

"Hannibal," said Edith, "you may sit 
on the stairs, and if she wakes, or makes 
any sound, let me know," and she took a 
seat near the door in order to hear. 

" I've been worrying about you every 
minute ever since I called, and you was too 
sick to see me," said i/tn. Groody, " but 
I've been so busy I couldn't get away. It 
takes an awful lot of work to get such a big 
house to rights, and the women cleaning, and 
the sorvante are so aggravatin', that I am 
just run off my legs lookin' after them. I 
don't see why people can't do what they're 
told, when they're told." 

" I wish I were able to help you," said 
Edith. " Your promise of work has kept 
me up wonderfully. But before I half got 
my strength back mother became very ill. 
Had it not been for Mrs. Lacey, I don't 
know what I would have done. It did 
seem as if she were sent here yesterday, for 
I could not have kept up another hour. " 

" You poor child," said Mrs. Groody in a 
tone and manner overflowing with motherly 
kindness. "1 just heard about it to-day 
from Arden, who was bringing soinetliingnp 
to the hotel, so I said, I'll drop everything 
to-night, and run down for a while. So 
here I am, and now what can I do for you ?" 
concluded the warm-hearted woman, whose 
invariable instinct was to put her sympatliy 
into deeds. 






herself for 
patience 
lie former, 
Dflity that 
fier ffrave 
husband, 
ing girlish 
ict«r that 
with the 
ingled her 
ina in her 

I^hought 
8 pathetic 
itli what 

slowly as* 
leart. 
feeling for 
' our owii 
burden of 
ier if sho 
,' I fear 
and hope- 

hack from 

and Mrf-i. 

ira at the 

;hat Mra. 

a may sit 
or makes 
ihe took a 

ou every 
11 was too 
ly, "but 
iway. It 
uch a bi 



uimg,ani 
hat I am 
them. I 
Eit they're 

ou," said 

has kept 

half got 

very ill, 

, I don't 

s. It did 

rday, for 

)ur." 

lody in a 

motherly 

it to-day 

etliing up 

'•erything 

hile. So 

or you ?" 

n, whose 

ympathy 



WHAT CAN SHE DO? 



109* 






*' I told you that night, '4aid Edith. ;' I 
think I oould do a little wwing or inendi|{g 
even now if I had it here at home. But your 
kindnew and remembranee do me more 
gooil than any worda Of mine can tell, I 
thought no one would ever speak to us 
again, " she continued in a low tone, and 
with rising colour, "and I have had kind, 
helpful friends sent to me already." 

Wistful mother-love shone in Mrs. Lacey's 
large blue eyes, but Mrs. Groody blew her 
nose like a trumpet, and said : 

"Not speak to you, poor child ! Though 
I ain't on very good terms with the Lord, I 
ain't a Pharisee, and after what I saw of you 
that night, I am proud to . speak to you and 
do anything I can for you. It does seem 
too bad that poor young things Uke you 
two should be so buitlenea. I should think 
you had enough before without your mother 
getting sick. I don't understand the Lord, 
nohow. Seems to me He might scatter His 
afflictions as weU as His favours a little more 
evenly. I've thought a good deal about 
what you said that night, 'We're dealt with 
in masses, ' and poor bodies like you and me, 
and Mrs. Lacey there, that is, ' the human 
atoms, ' as you called 'em, are lost sight of. " 

Tears sprang into Edith's eyes, and she 
said, earnestly, "I am sorry I ever said those 
worda. They are not true. I hIiouUI grieve 
very much it my rash, desperate words did 
you harm after all your kindness to me. I 
have learned better since I saw you, Mrs. 
(7ro(Kly. We are not lost sight of. It seems 
to me the trouble is we lose sight of Him. " 

"Well, well, child, I'm glad to hear you 
talk in that way,'' pai<l Mrs. Groody, despoa- 
«leutly. " I'm dreadfully discouraged a)x>ut 
it all. I know I fell from ^'iiM:6, thougii, one 
iiwfuUy hot summer, when everything went 
wrong, and I got on a regular rampage, and 
that's the reason perhaps. A she-hear that 
had lost her cubs, wasn't nothing to me. But 
I straightened things out attheliotel, though 
I came mighty near being sick, but I never 
could get straight myself after it. I knowed 
I ought to be more patient — ^I knowed it all 
the time. But human natur is human natur, 
and woman natur is worse yet sometimes. 
And when you've got on one luuid a score or 
two of drinkhig, quarrelsome, thieving, and 
>>ominably la^ servants to manage, and on 
the other two or three hundred fastidious 
people to please, and elegantly dressed ladies 
who can't manage their three or four servants 
lit home, dawdlincr up to you every hour in 
the day, saying aboub» the same as, Mrs. 
Groody, everything ain't done in a minute — 
everything ain't just right. I'd like to know 
wlxere 'tis in this iumbled-up-world— not 
where they're housekeepers, I warrant you." 



"Well, ul was telling jrou," oontiiuied 
Mrs. Groody, with a weary aigh, "that Kum- 
mer was too much for me. I got to be a very 
dragon. I hadn't time to reiul my Bible, or 

fray, or go to church, or scaimly eat or sleep, 
worked Sundays and week-days alike, andi 
I got to be a sort of heathen, and I've been, 
one ever since," and a gloom seemed to gath- 
er on her naturally open, cheery face, as if 
she feared she might never be anything else. 

Mrs. Lacey srave a deep, responsive sigh, 
showing that her heavy heart was akin to all 
other bunlened souls. But direct, practical 
Edith said simply and gently : 

"In other words you were labouring and: 
heavy laden. " 

" Couldn't have been more so, and lived,'" 
was Mrs. Groody 's emphatic answer. 

" And the memory of it seemsto have been 
a heavy burden on your conscience eversince, 
though I think you judge yourself harshly, " 
continued Edith. 

"Not a bit," said Mrs. Groody sturdily, 
" I knowed better all the time." 

"Well, be that as it may, I feel that I know 
very little about these things yet. I'm sur» 
I want to be guided rightly. But what did 
our Lord mean when ae said 'Come unto Me 
all ye that lal)our and are heavy laden and I 
will gi^re you pest. ' " 

Mrs. Groody gave Edith a sort of surprised 
and startled look. After a moment she said, 
" Bless you, child, how plain you do put it. 
It's a very plain text when you think of it, 
ain't it? I always tho't it meant kinder 
good, as all the Bible does. " 

"No, but He said them," urged Edith^ 
earnestly. " It is a distinct, plain invitation^ 
and it must have a distinct, plain meanini.'. 
I have learned to know that when you or 
Mrs. Laoey say a thing, you mean what yoa^ 
say, and so it is with all who are sincere and 
true ? If so. these plain words must have a 
plain meaning. He surely couldn't have 
meant them only for the few people who 
heard His loice at t)\at time. " 

"Of codrse noi," said Mrs. Groody,. 
musingly, while poor Mrs. Lacey leaned for- 
ward witlj such an eager, hungry look in her • 
poor, worn face, that Edith's heart yearned 
over her. Laura came and sat on the floor 
by her sister's chair, and leaning 4ier elbow 
on Edith's knee, and lier face on her hand, 
looked up with the wistful, trustfuL cliild- 
like expression that had taken the place of 
her former stateliness and subsequent apathy. 
Edith lost all thought of herself in her eager-. 
ness to tell the others of tlie Friend and' 
Helper she had come to know. 

" He must be God, or else He had no 
right to say to a gfeat, troubled, sinning 
world, ' Come unto me. ' The idea of a mil- - 



110 



WHAT CAN SHE DO 



lion people going at once, with their aorrows 
and buraeuH, to one mere man, or an angel 
or any finite creature I And just think how 
many millioilti there are ! If the Bible is for all, 
this invitation U for all. He couldn't have 
'changed since'then, could He ? He can't be 
different in heaven from what He was on 
earth ? " 

" No," said Mrs. Groody, quickly, "for the 
l^ible savs He is ' the same yesterday, to- 
<lay, and forever. ' " 

" I never read in that place," said Edith, 
bimply. " That makes it clearer and strong- 
er than ever. Please don't tliiuk I am setting 
myself up as a religious teacher. I know 
very little yet myself. I am only, seeking 
the light. But, one thing is settled in my 
mind, and I like to have one thing settled 
before I go on to anything else. This one 
thing seems the foundation of everything 
«lse, and it appeal's if I could go on from it 
and learn all the rest. I 8' '. satisiied thai 
Jeaus is God, and that He Si.id, ' Come unto 
me,' to poor, weak, overburdened Edith 
Allen. I went to Him, just as people in 
trouble used to, when He first spoke these 
words. And, Oh, how He helped me, " con- 
tinued Edith, with tears in ner eyes, but 
with tlie glad light of a great hope again 
^lining through them. " The world can 
never know all that He has done for us, and 
I cau't even think of Him without my heart 
(quivering with gratitude. " 

Laura had now buried her face in her 
Mister's lap and was trembling like a leaf. 
I'iditli 'swords had a meaning to )ier that 
they could not have for the others. 

*• And now," concluded Edith, " I was led 
to Him by these wonls, ' Come unto me 
all yo that labour and are heavy laden, and 
I will give you rest. ' I was in greater 
darkness than ever I had been before. My 
heart ached as if it would burst. Difficulty 
and danger seemed on every side, and I 
saw no way out. I knew the world had 
< nly soorn for us, and I was.^oJuiowed down 
with shame and discouragement, that I al- 
most lost all hope. I had been in the vil- 
lage, and the people looked and pointed at 
ine, till I was ready to drop in the street. 
But I went to Mr. McTrump's and he and 
his wife were so kind to me, and heartened 
me up a*little ; and they spoke about the 
* Gude Book, ' as they call it, in such a way 
as made ms' think of it in my deep distress 
and Tear, as I sat alone watching with 
mother. So I found my neglected Bible, 
» and, in some way, I seemed guided to these 
words, * Come unto me ;' and then, for 
two or three hours, I continued to read 
c.igorly about Him, till at last I felt that I 
CO. lid venture to go to Hiin. So, I just 



bowed my head, on His own invitakioii ; 
J^deed, it seemed like a tender call to a 
child tliat had been lost iu the dark, and 
WM afraid, and I said, ' I am heavy laden, 
help me.' And how wonderfully He did 
help nie. He has been so good, so near, 
ever since. My weary, hopeless heartache 
is gone. I don't know what is before, us. 
I can't see the way out of our troubles. I 
don't know what has become of our ab- 
sent one, " she said, in a low tone and with 
bowed head, " but I can leave all to Him. 
He is God. He loves, and He can, and 
will, take care of us. So you see I know 
very little about religion yet ; just enough 
to trust and keep close to Him ; and I feel 
sure that in time He will teach me, through 
the Bible, or iu soma way, all I ought to 
know. " 

" Bless the child, she's right, she's right," 
sobbed Mrs. Groody. " It was just so at 
first. He came right among people, and 
called all sorts to Him, and they came to 
Him just as they was, and stayed with 
Him, and He cured, and helped, and tau<^lit 
'em, till, from being the worst, they bectune 
the. best. That is tlie way that distressed, 
swearin', old fisherman Peter became one of 
the greatest men that ever lived ; 
though it took a mighty lot of grace and 
patience to bring it about. Now I think of 
it, I think he fell from grace worse than I 
did that awfully hot summer. What an 
old fool I am. I've lieen reading the Bible 
all my life, and never understood it be- 
fore." 

" 1 think that if you had gone to Him 
that time when you were so troubled and 
overburdened, He would have helped you, " 
said Edith, gently, 

"Yes, but there it is, you see," said 
Mrs. Groody, wiping her eyes and shaking 
her head despondently, " I didn't go." 

" But you are heavy laden now. I 
can see it. You can go now, " said Edith 
earnestly. 

" I'm afraid I've put it off too long," said 
Mrs. Groody, settling • back into something 
of her old gloom. "I'm afraid I've sinned 
away my. time. " 

With a strange blending of pathos and re- 
proach in her tone, Edith answered, 

"Oh how can you, with your big, kind 
heart, that yearned over a poor, unknown 
girl that dreadful night when you brought 
me home — how can you think so poorly of 
your Saviour ? Is your heart warmer — are 
your 8ympathies|larger than His? Why, He 
died for us, and, when dying, prayed for 
those who crucified Him. Could you turn 
away a poor, sorrowing, burdened creature 
tlrit came pleading to you for help ? You 






WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



Ill 



iuvitakioii ; 
r call to u 
) dark, and 
iftvy ladet), 
illy He did 
>d, SO neur, 
s liuartachu 
} before, us. 
oubles. I 
of our ab- 
e and with 
all to Him. 

can, and 
see I know 
iust enough 
!ind I feel 
le, througli 

1 ought to 

he's right," 
I just iso at 
)eople, and 
ly came to 
ayed with 
and tau>^ht 
hey beciiuie 
distressed, 
anie one of 
vev lived ; 

grace and 
r I think of 
i'se than I 

What an 
? the Bible 
tood it be- 
ne to Him 
oubled and 
3lped you, " 

see," said 
nd shaking 

;go." 

now. I 
aid Editl) 

long, " said 

something 

I've sinned 

hos and re- 
3d, 

r big, kind 
•, unknown 
on brought 
JO poorly of 
armer — are 
Why, He 
prayed for 
la you turn 
jd creature 
lelp ? You 



know you couldn't. I^am from your own 
heart soniethiua of His. Listen, I haven't 
told you all. ft seems as if I never could 
tell all about Him. But see how hu feels 
about poor lost Zell, when I, her own sister, 
M'ns almost hating her," and, reaching her 
.iiau'l to the table, she took her Bible and 
reiyl Christ's words to *' a woman of the city, 
wliich was a sinner." 

^t this Mrs. Groody broke down com- 
pletely, anr' with clasped hands and stream- 
ing eves, cried, 

'• I will go to Him ; I will fear and doubt 
no more. " 

A trembling hand was now kid on Edith's 
shoulder, and lool ing nn, she saw Mrs. 
fjjicey standing by her side with a face so 
white, so eager, so full of unutterable long- 
ing, that it Tnight have made a Christian 
artist's ideal of a soul famishing for the 
'• Jiread of Life." In a low, timid, yet thril- 
ling tone, she asked, 

" Miss Allen, do you think He would re- 
ceive such as me ?" ^ 

"Yes, thus," cried Edith, as with a di- 
, vine impulse and a great yearning pity she 
»' sprang up and threw her arms around Mrs. 
Laoey. 
Hope dawned in the poor worn face like 
k the morning Beliet in God's love and sym- 

pathy seemed to flow into her sad heart that 
was pressed against it. The spiritua' elec- 
tric circle was completed— Edith, wit) lier 
hand of faith in God's, took the trembling, 
groping hand of another and placed it there 
also. 

Two trreat tears gathered in Mrs. Lacey's 
eyes, and she bowed her head for a moment 
on Edith's shoulder and murmured, " I'll 
try — I think I may venture to Him. " 

Hannibal now appeared at the door, say- 
ing, rathei- huskily and brokenly, consider- 
ing his message, 

• 'Miss Edie, you'se mudder's awake, and 
would like some water. " 

" That's what we all have been wanting, 
' water' — ' water of life,' " said Mrs. Groody 
wiping her eyes, "and never was my parclied 
< lid heart so refreshed before. I don't care 
low hot this summer is, or how aggravatin 
things are, I feel as if I'd be helped through 
it. And, my dear, good-night. I came here to 
try to do you good, and you've done me more 
good than I ever thought could happen 
again. I'm goin to kiss you — I can't help 
it. Good-bye, and may the good Lord bless 
your sweet face ; " and Mrs. Groody, like 
one of old, climbed up into her chariot, and 
•' went on her way rejoicing." 

In their close good -night embrace, Laura 
, A\ liispered, "I begin to understand it a 



little now, Edie, but I see everything only 
through your eyes, not my own. 

"As old Malcolm said to me the ot.'.i-r 
day, so now I say to you, ' Ye '11 learn it a' 
soon.' " 

Edith soon retired to rest also, and Mrs. 
Lacey sat at Mr'i. Allen's side, returning the 
Hick W(;mau's slights and scorn, somewhat 
as the piitient God returns ours, by watcliing 
over her. 

Her eyes, no longer cast down with the 
pathetic lUscourugenicnt of the past, seemed 
looking far away upon some distant sciuo. 
She was following m her thoughts the steps 
of the Magi from tlie East to where, as yet 
far distant, tlie "Star of Bethlehem" 
glimmered with promise and hope. ■ 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

HANNIBAL LEAKNS HOW HIS HEART CAN BE 
WHITE. 

When Edith rose the next morning she 
found Laura only at her mother's bed- 
side. Mrs. Lacey had returned quite earl)-, 
saying that she would come soon again. 
Mrs. Allen's delirium had • passed away, 
leaving her exceedingly weak, but the 
doctor said at his morning call : 

"With quiet and good nursing she will 
slowly regain her usual Iiealth. " 

After he was gone, Laura said : "Takin;; 
care o( mother will now be my work, Edie. 
1 feel a good deal stronger. I'll doz^ in a 
chair during the day, and I am a light 
sleeper at night, so I don't think we will 
need any more watchers. Poor Mrs. Lacey 
works hard at home, I am sure, and I don t 
want to trespass on her kindness any longer. 
So if Mrs. Groody sends you work you may 
give all your time to it. " 

And early after breakfast quite a bundle 
did come from the hotel, with a scrawl from 
the housekeeper: "You may mend this 
linen, my dear, and I'll send for it to-morrow 
night." 

Edith's eyes sparkled at the sight of the 
work as they never had over the costliest 
gifts of jewellery. Sitting d6wn in the airy 
parlour, whi^h was no longer kept in state 
for possible callers, she put on her thimble, 
and, with a courage and heroism greater 
than many a knight drawing for the first 
time his ancestral sword, she took her needle 
and joined the vast army of sewing-women. 
Lowly was the position and work first assign- 
ed to her — only mending coarse linen. And 
yet it was with a thrill of gratitude and joy, 
and a stronger hope than she had yet ex- 
perienced, that she sat down to the first real 
work for which she would be paid, - and in 



112 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



her exultation she brandishefl her little 
Meudle at the Hpectres Want aad Fear, as a 
Boldier might his weamjn. 

Hannibal stood in tlvj kitchen regarding 
her with niuist eyes ami features that twitch- 
ed nervously. 

" Oh, Miss Edie, I ueber tho't you'd come 
to dat." 

" It's one of the be^t things I've come to 
yet," said Edith, cheerify. "We'll be 
taken care of, Hannibal. Cheer up your 
faithful old heart, brighter days are coming.' 

But, for some reason, Hannibal didn't 
cheer up, and he stood looking very wist- 
fully at Edith. At last he commenced, 

" It does my ole black heart good to hear 
you talk so, Miss Edie " 

" Why do you persist in calling your 
heart black ? It's no such thing," intenupt- 
cd Edith. 

"Yes, 'tis. Miss Edie," said Hannibal, 
despondently, " I'se know 'tis. I'se black 
outside, and I alters kinder feel dat I'se 
more black inside. Neber felt jes right here 
vet, Miss Edie, " said the old man, laying his 
hand on his breast. " I come de nighest to 
't de toder day when you said you lubbed 
me. Dat seemed to go down deep^ but not 
quite to de bottom ob de trouble. " 

" But| Miss Edie, "continued he in a whis- 
per, "I'se hope you will forgive me, 
but I couldn't 'elp listenin to you liMt night. 
I iieber heeni »iicli talk afore. It seemed to 
broke my ole blauk heart all up, and'made it 
feel like de big ribers down south in de 
spring, when dey jes oberflow eberyting. I 
says to myself, dat's de Friend Miss Edie 
say she'se goin to tell me about. And now. 
Miss Edie, would you mind tellin' me a 
little about Him ? Cause if He's your Friend, 
I'd think a heap of Him, too. Not dat I 
specs He'se goin to bodder wid dis ole nig- 
gah, but den I'd jes like to hear about Him a 
little." 

Edith laid down her work^ and turned her 
glorious dark eyes, brimming over with sym- 
pathy, on the poor old fellow, as he stood in 
the doorway fairly trembling with the excess 
of his feeljng« 

"Come and sit down here by me," she 
said. 

" Oh, Miss Edie, I'se isn't " 

" No words — come." 

Hannibal crouched down on a divan near. 

" AVhat makes you think He wouldn't 
bother with you ?" 

" Well, I'se don't know 'zactly. Miss Edie, 
I'se only Hannibal." 

" Hannibal," said Edith, earnestly, " you 
are the best man I know in all the world. " 

" Oh, Lor bless you. Miss Edie, how you 
talk ; you'se jes done gone crazy." 



" No, I haven't. I never spoke in more 
sober earnest. You are faithful and true, 
unselfish and patient, and abound in the best 
material of which men are made. I admit, " 
she added, with a twinkle in her ey«, " that 
one very common element of manhoou, as I 
have observed it, is dreadfully lacking, that 
is, conceit. I wish I ,were as good as yoa 
are Hannibal." 

" Oh, Miss Edie, don't talk dat wayT" you 
jes done discourages me. If you'd only s;iy, 
Hannibal, you'se sick, but I'se got a miglity 
powerful medicine for you ; if you'd only 
say, I know you isn't good ; I know your 
ole heart is black, but I know a wav to make 
it white, I'd stoop down and kisa the ground 
you'se walks on. Dere's sunken wrong 
here. Miss Edie," said he, laying his hand ou 
his breast again, and shaking his head, with 
a tear in the corner of each eye, " I tells you 
dere'i sumpen wrong. I don't know iei 
what 'tis. My hearth like a baby a-oryin' 
for it doeant Know what. Den it gits jes 
hke a stun, as hard and as heavy. I don't 
understan' my ole heart ; I guess it's kinder 
sick and wants a doctor, 'cause it dont work 
right. But dere's one ting I does understan'. 
It 'pears dat it would be a good heaven 'nufi 
if I se could allers be waitin' ou you alls. 
But Massa Allen's gone ; Miss Zell, poor 
chile, is gone ; and I'se growin' ole, Mias 
Edie, I'se gi'owin' o!c. De wool is white, de 
jiuts are stiff, and ee feet tired. Dey cani 
tote dis ole body roun' much longer. Where 
am I gAvine, Miss Edie ? What's gwine to 
1)econ)c of ole Hannibal ? I'se was alers 
afeard in de dark. If I could onlj' find you 
in de todder world and wait on you, dat's all 
I ask, but I'se afeard 111 get lost, it seems 
such a big, empty place. " 

" Poor old Hannibal ! Then you are 
* heavy-laden ' too, " said Edith gently. 

" Lideed I is. Miss Edie, 'pears as if I 
couldn't Stan' it anoder minute. And when 
I heerd you talkin' about dat Friend last 
night, and tellin' how good he was to people, 
and He seemed to do yon such a neap of 

food, dat I would ieflike to hear little 'bout 
lim." 
" Wait till I get my Bible," said Edith. 
" Bless you. Miss Edie, you'se needn't 
stop your work. You'can jes tell me any- 
ting dat come into you'se head." 

" Then I wouldn't be like Him, Hannibal. 
He used to stop and give the kindest and 
most patient attention to every one that 
came to Him, and, as far as I can make out, 
the poorer they were, the more sinful and 
despised they seemed, the more attention He 
gave to them. " 

" Dat's mighty quar," said Hannibal, 



yet, 

that 



r\/i 



I 



Ico iu more 
and true, 
in the heat 
I admit," 
sy*. "that 
hoou, aa I 
sking, that 
xkI as yoa 

fc way7you 
I only Hay, 
t a mighty 
oa'd only 
jiow your 
to make 
e ground 
an wrong 
is hand ou 
liead, with 

I tells you 
know ^ei 

jy a-crym' 
t gits jes 
I don't 
it's kinder 
lon*t work 
nderstau'. 
iaveu 'nufi 

II you alls. 
Zell, poor 
ole, Mifls 
white, de 
Dey cant 
p. Where 

gwine to 
was alers 
y find you 
1, dat'sall 
;, it seems 



you ai'& 
atly. 

rs as if I 
ina when 
riend last 
to people, 
heap of 
ttle 'bout 

Edith, 
needn't 
me any- 

iannibal. 
ndest and 
one that 
nake out, 
inful and 
mtion He 

lannibal, 



WHAT OAN SHE DO f 



111 



musingly, •« nol ft Ut Ifk* de Ma folks d*t 
I-beseen." 

" I dont mu^entand it all myself 
yet, Hannibal. But the Bible telUi me 
that he was Ood come down to earth to 
save the world. Ha says to the lost and 
sinfml — to all who are poor and needy — in 
brief, to the heavy-laden, ' CSome unto me. ' 
80 I went to Him, Hannibal, and yon can go 
Just as well." 

The old man's eyes glistened, but he said, 
doubtfully, " Yes but den you'se Miss Edie, 
and I'm only black Hannibal. I wi^ we'd 
all lived when He was here. I might have 
shine his boots, and done little thinffs for 
Him, so He'd say, * Poor old Hannibr you 
does as well as you knows how. I'll 'n.dmber 
you, and you shan't go away in de dark.'" 

Edith smiled and cried at the same time 
over the quaint pathos of the simple creat- 
ure's words, but she said, earnestly, "You 
need not go away in the dark, for He said, 
* I am the light of the world, ' and if you go 
to Him you will always be in the light. " 

" I'd go in a minute, " said Hannibal, eag- 
erly, "if I only know'd how, and wasnt 
afear'd." Then, as if a sudden thought struck 
him, he asked, " Miss Edie, did He eber hab 
any ting to do wid a black man ?" 

Edith was so unfamiliar with the Bible 
that she could not recall any distinct case, 
but she said, with the earnestness of such 
full belief on her part, that it satisfied his 
child-like mind, " I am sure He did, for all 
kinds of people — people that no one else 
would toucn or look at— came to Him, or He 
went to them, and spoke so kindly to them 
and forgave all their sins. " 

"Bress Him, Miss Edie, dat kinder sounds 
like what I wants. " 

Edith thought a moment, and, with her 
quick, logical mind, sought to construct a 
simple chain of truth that would bring to the 
trusting nature she was trying to guide^ the 
perfect assurance that Jesus' love and mercy 
embraced him as truly as herself. 

They made a beautiful picture that mo- 
ment, she with her hands, that had dropped 
all earthly tasks for the sake of this divine 
work, clasped in her lap, her lustrous eyes 
dewy with sympathy and feeling, looking far 
away into the deep blue of the June sky, as 
if seeking some heavenly inspiration ; and 
quaint old Hannibal, leaning forward in liis 
eagerness, and gozing upon her, as if his life 
depended upon her next utterances. 

It was a picture of the Divine Artist's own 
creation. He had inspired the faith in one 
and the questioning unrest in the other. He, 
with Edith's lips, as ever by human lips, 
wa3 teaching the way of life. Glorious pri- 
vilef p. that our weak voices should be as the 
S 



voice of God, teUIng the lort and wandering 
where lies the way to life and home. The 
angels leaned over the gulden well* to watch 
that scene, while many a proud pageant 
passed unheeded. 

"Hannibal," said Edith, after her momen- 
tary abetraction, ««God made everythinir. 
didn't He ?" ' *' 

"Sartin." 

"Then He made you, and you are one of 
Hia creatures, are you not ?" 

"Sartinlis, Miss Edie."- 

" Then see here what is in the Bible. AI- 
moat the last thing He said to His foUowers 
before He went up into heaven, waa, ' Oo 
ye into all the world and preach the gospel 
to every creature.' Goepel means 'cood 
news,* and the good newa was, that God had 
come down from heaven and become a man 
so we wouldn't be afrafd of Him, and that 
He would take away the sins and save all 
who would let Him. Now, remember. He 
didn't send His preachers to the white 
people, nor to the black people, but to all 
the world, to every creature alike, and so 
He meant you and me, Hannibal, and you as 
much as me. I am just as sure He will 
i*eceive you as that He received me. " 

"Dat's'nuff, Miss Edie. Old Hannibal 
can go too. And I'se a gwine, Miss Edie, 
I se a gwine ri^ht to Him. Dere's only one 
ting dat troubles may at. What ia I gwine 
to do with my ole black heart? I know 
dere's snmpen wrong wid it. It*8 boddered 
me all my life. " 

"0 Hannibal," said Edith eagerly. "I 
was reading something last night fliat I 
think will just suit you. I thought I would 
read a little in the Old Testament, and I 
turned to a place that I didn't understand 
very well, but I came to these words, and 
thay made me think o? you, for you are 
always talking about your 'old black 
heart' " And she read : 

" I will give them one heart, and I will 
put a new spirit within you ; and I will take 
stony heart out of their flesh and will give 
them an heart of flesh. " 

To Hannibal the words seemed a revelation 
from heaven. Standing liefore her, with 
streaming eyes, he said : 

" Miss Edie, you'se been an angel of 
light to me. Dat was jes de berry message 
I wanted. I knowed my ole heart was 
nothin but a black stun. De Lord couldn't 
do nothin wid it but throw it away. But 
tanks be to His name, He says Hell give mo 
a new one — a heart of flesh. Now I sees dat 
my heart can be white like yours. Miss Edie. 
Bless de Lord, I'se a gwine, I'se a comin," 
and Hannil)al vanished into the kitchen. 



lU 



WHAT CAN SHK LH> ? 



feeling ttmi he mu»t be alone in the glad 
tramuU of hie eniotii^iui. 



OHAPTKR XXX. 

BDITU'S AKD A&DKM'd FBIB!7DSHIP. 

Aa Edith laid aside her work for a frugal 
dinner at one o'clock, she heard the eouutl of 
a hoe in her garden. The tliought of Arden 
at ouoe reourred to her, but looking out shu 
■aw old Malcolm. Throwing a hauukerohief 
over her head she ran oat to him ex- 
claiming — 

"How good you are, Mr. MoTrump, to 
come and help me when I know you are bo 
busy at home. " 

" Weel, uothin' to boast on, "replied Mai 
oolm, ** I tho't that if ye had na one a lookin' 
alter the oarden save Hannibal's ' spook, ' 
yei'd have bat a ghaistly crop. But I'm a 
thinkin' there's mair than a ghaiat been 
here." 

" It was Arden Laoey," said Edith 
frankly, but with deepening colour. Mal- 
colm, in telling his wife about it said, " she 
looked like the rose-bush a' in bloom, that 
she W4S a stonin' beside. " ^ 

Edith, seeing the mischievous twinkle in 
her little friend's eye, added hastily, "Both 
Mrs. Lacey and her son have been very kind 
to us in our sickness and trouble, as well aa 
yourself. But Mr. McTrump," she con- 
tinued, anxious to change the subject, also 
«ager to speak on the topic uppermost ki her 
thoughts, " I think I am beginning to ' learn 
it a" as you said, about that good Friend 
who sufifered for us that we might not suffer. 
What you and your wife said to me the other 
day led me to I'ead the ' Gude Book ' after I 
got home. I don't feel as I did then. I 
think I can trust him now." 

Malcolm dropped his hoe and came over 
into the path beside her. 

" God be praised," he said, " I gie ye the 
right bond o fellowship and welcome ye into 
the kirk o' the Lord. Ye noo belong to the 
household o' faith, and God's true Israel, an' 
may His gude Spirit guide ye into all 
truth." 

The little man spoke very earnestly, and 
with a certain dignity and authority that 
his small sature and rude working dress 
could not diminish. A sudden feeling of 
solemnity and awe came over Edith, and 
she felt as if she were crossing the mystic 
threshold and entering the one true church 
consisting of all believers in Christ. 

For a moment she reverently bowed her 
head, and a sweeter sense of security came 
over her as if she were no longer an out- 
sider, but had been received into the house- 
hold. 



Maloolxn, a "priest unto God" through hxn 
faith, officiated at the simple ceremony. The 
wind-shaken roses, blooming around her.with 
tlicir swoot odour, wore the censors and in- 
cunae, and the sun-ligiited garden, the earlient 
Hacred place of Bible history, where the firat 
fair woman worshipped, was the hallowed 
ground of the initiatory rite. 

" Why, Mr. McTrump, I feel almout :is it 
I had joined the church, said Edith after a 
moment. 

" An sae ye ha afore God, an I hope- 
ere long ye'U openly profess ye 're faith be- 
fore men. " 

"Do you think I ought?" said Editli, 
thoughtfully. 

" Of coorse I do, but the Gude Book 11 
teach a' aboot it. Ye canna gang far astray 
wi' that to guide ye." 

" I would like to join the church that you 
b'slonff to, Mr. M. 'Trump, as soon aa I fed 
that I am ready, for it was you aud your 
good wife that turned my tlioughts in tlu; 
right direction. I was almost desperate 
with trouble and shame when I came to you 
that afternoon, and it was your speaking of 
the Bible and Jesus, and especially your 
kindness, that made me feel that there might 
be some hope and help in God. " 

The old man's eyes became so moist that 
he turned away for a moment, but recover- 
ing himself after a moment, ho said : 

" See noo, our homely deeds aud M'ords 
can be like the seeds we drop into the 
mould. Look aroon once and see how green 
and grand the garden is, and a' from the wee 
brown seeds we planted in the spring. Sae 
would the garden o' the Lord bloom and 
floorish if a' were dropin a ' word in season ' 
and a bit o' kindness here and there. But 
if I stay here an preach to ye that need na 
preachin, these aina o' the garden, the weeds, 
will grow apace. Go you an look in ye 're 
strawberry bed. ** 

With an exclamation of delight Edith 
pounced upon a fair sized berry, the first she 
had picked from her own vines. Then 
glancing around, one and another showed 
its red cheeka through the green leaves, 
till with a little ery of exultation, she said: 

" Oh, Mr. McTrump, I can get enough for 
mother and Laura. " 

" Aye, and enoof to moisten ye're own 
red lips wi' ioo, I'm a thinkin. There'll be 
na crop the year wourth speakin of, but 
next June 'twill puzzle to gither them. But 
ye a' can ha a dainty saucer yoursela the 
season, when ye're a mind to stoop for 
them." 

Edith aoon had the pleasure of aeeing her 
mother and Laura enjoying some, and as 
Malcolm said, there were plenty for her, and 






WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



115 



' thruugh hJH 
reinouy. TIid 
luid hur.with 
Hora and in- 
u.thefarlieHt 
hure the firut 
he hulluwed 

almuHt :i» it 
Sdith after ii 

an I hope 
I're faith be- 

'said Editli, 

ude Book 11 
tg far astray 

rch that you 
loon as 1 fuel 
aud youi- 
ghta ill tliit 
it desperate 
came to you 
si>eaking of 
>ecially your 
i there might 

moist tliat 
)ut recover- 
9aid : 

aud M'ords 
Irop into the 
ie how green 
from the Avee 
pring. Sae 
d bloom and 
d in season ' 
there. But 
tat need na 
1, the weeds, 
look in ye 're 

light Edith 
the first slie 
nes. Then 
iier showed 
reen leaves, 
on, she said: 
t enough for 

m ye're own 
There'll be 
Icin of, but 
them. But 
yoursels the 
;o sto^p for 

: seeing her 
ne, and aa 
for her, and 






tiiuy taatod like the ambrosia of the Uodi. 
Various experieuoes ha<l so thoroughly en- 
groBbed her thouffht* and tiio0 the past 
Uiw ilays, that she nad soaroelv looked to- 
ward her garden. But with the delicious 
flavour of the strawberries lingering in her 
mouth, and with the consoiousnesH that she 
enjoyed picking them much more than sew- 
ing, the thoaght of winning her bread 
by the culture of the ground grew in her 
favour., 

*'dh, how much I would rather be out 
thero with Malcolm," she sighed. 

(i lancing dp from her work during the 
afternoon, she saw Arden Lacey on 
his way to the village. There was 
a strange mingling oi hope and fear in 
his mind. His motner's manner had been 
such as to lead him to say when alone with 
her after breakfast : 

'' I think your watching has done yon 
good, mother, instead of wearying you too 
much, as I feared. " 

She had suddenly turned and placed 
both her hands on his shoulders, Haying : 

" Arden, I hardly dare speak of it yet. It 
seems too good to be true, but a hope is 
coining into my heart like the dawn after 
night. She's worthy of your love, however 
it may result, aud if I find true what she 
told me last night, I shall have reason to 
bless her name forever ; but I only see a 
glimmer of light yet and I rejoice with fear 
and trembling." And she told him what 
had occurred. 

He was deeply moved, but not for the 
same cause as his mother. His desire and 
devotion went no farther than Edith. " Can 
she have read my letter ? " he thought, and 
he was consumed with anxiety for some ex- 
pression of her feeling toward him. There- 
fore he was glad that ousiness called him to 
the village that afternoon, but his steps 
were slow as he approached the little cot- 
tage, and his eyes were upon it as a pilgrim 
gazes at a cJirine he long has sought. He 
«nvied Malcolm working in the garden, and 
felt that if he could wonc there every day, 
it would be Adam's life before he fell. 
Then he caught a glimpse of Edith sewing 
at the window, and he dropped his eyes 
instantly. He would not be so afraid 
of a battery of a hundred guns as of 
that poor sewing-girl (fw such Edith now 
was), stitching av/ay on Mrs. Groody's 
coarse hotel linen. But Edith had noted 
his timid, wistful looks, and calling Hannibal, 
said : 

"Please give that note to Mr. Lacey, 
he is just passing toward the village. " 

Hannibal with the impressive dignity 
lie had learned in olden times, handed the 



missive to Arden, saying : *' Miss Edie 
tellod me to guv you dis 'scription. " 

If Hannibal had been Uobe ho could 
not have been a more welcome messenger. 

Arden could not help his hand truinbling 
as he took the letter, but he manngetl to 
say ; "I hope Miss Allen is well." 

" Her health am berry much disproved," 
and Hannibal retired with a stately iM)w. 

Arden quickened his steps, holding the 
niitisive in his hand. As soon as he was 
out of siffht he opened and devoured Edith's 
wordfl. The light of a great joy dawned in 
his face, and made it look noble and beau- 
tiful, as indeed almost every human iaco 
appears, when the light of pure love falls 
upon it. Where most men would have 
murmured at the meagre return for tlieir 
affection, he felt himself iinmeasurobly re- 
warded and enriched, and it boeniod 
as if he were walking on air the ie»t 
of the day. With a face set like a flint, 
he resolved to be true to the condition implivd 
in the uiiderHcored word "friendship," n\. i 
never to whisper of love to her again. But 
a richer experience was still in store for 
him. For, on his return, in the cool of tlie 
evening, Edith was in the garden pickini,' 
currants. She saw him coming, and thought, 
"if he is ever to be a friend worth the name, 
I must break the ice of his absurd diffidence 
and formality. And the sooner he comes to 
know me as I am, the sooner he will find 
out that lam like other people, and he will 
have a new ' revelation' that will cure him 
of his infatuation. I would like him for a 
friend very much, not only because I need 
his help, but because one likes a little .so- 
ciety now and then, and he seems so well 
educated, if he is ' quar, ' as Hannibal says. " 
So she starrtled poor Arden almost as much 
OS if one of his Shakespearean heroines hiul 
called him in audible voice, by saying, as ].v> 
came opposite her, 

" Mr. Lacey, won't you come in a moment 
and teU me if it is time to pick my currants, 
and whether you think I could soU them in 
the village, or at the hotel ?" 

This address, so matter-of-fact intone caiid 
character, seemed ^o him like the Jimo twi- 
light, containing in some subtle manner, the 
essence of all that was beautiful a^^ full of 
promise in his heart-history. He bowed and 
went toward the little ^ate to comply with 
her reque^, as Adam might if he had been 
created oittside of Eden and Eve inside, and 
she had looked over a flowing licdgc in the 

Eurple tAvilight, and told him to come in. 
[e was not going merely' to look nft the cur- 
rants and consider their marketable coiite- 
tion ; he was entering openly upon the 
knightly service to wuich he had devotctl 



116 



WHAT CAN SHK DO ? 



himMlf. He wm approaching his idol, 
which wa* cot a heathen stock or itone, bat 
a sweet little woman. In regard to th« cur- 
rants h« ventured dubiously : 

' • They might do f(JFpiei. '* 

In regard to herself, his eyes said, in spite 
of his purpose to be merely friendly, tliat she 
was too good for the gods of Mount Olympus. 
He both amused and mterested Edith, whose 
lonff familiarity with society and lack of any 
sncn feelinir as swayed him, made her quite 
at ease. With a twinkle in her eyes, she 
said : 

" I have thought that perhaps Mrs. 
ftroody could help me find sale for them at 
the hotel. " 

" I am going there to-morrow, and I will 
ask Iter for you, if you wish, " said Arden, 
timidly. 

"Thank you," repUed Edith, " I would 
be very much obliccd to you if you will. 
You see I wish to sell everytbins out of the 
garden that I can find a market K>r. " 

She was rather l^ltonished at the effect of 
this mercenary speech, for there was a won- 
derful blendinff of sjrmpathy and admiration 
in his face, as ne said : 

" I am freouently going to the hotel and 
village, and it you will let me know what you 
have to dispose of, I can find out whetb r it 
ia in demand, and carry it to market for 
you. " He could not help adding, with a 
voice tremblins with feeling, " Oh, Miss 
Allen, I am so glad you permit me to be of 
some help to you. " 

'*0h, dear, "thought Edith, "howcan Imake 
him understand what I really am ?" She 
turned to him with an expression that was 
both nerplexed and quizzical, and said : 

" Mr. Lacey, I very frankly and gratefully 
accept your delicately-offered friendship (em- 
phasizing the last word), not only because of 
ray neea, but of yours also. If any one 
needs a sensible friend, I think yon do. Tou 
truly must have lived a ' hermit's life in the 
world' to have such strange ideas of people. 
Let me tell you as a perfect certainty, that 
no such person existe as the Edith Allen that 
you have imagined. She is no more a reality 
than your other shadows, and the more you 
know of me, the sooner you will find it out. 
I am* not in the least like a heroine in a 
romance. I live on the most substential 
food rather than moonlight, and nsually 
have an excellent appetite. I am the most 
practical, matter-of-fact creature in existence, 
and yoa will find no one in this place more 
shavp on the question of dollars and cents. 
Indeed, I am coutinuallv in a most mercen- 
ary frame of mind, and this very moment 
here, in the romantic June twilight, if you 
ransacked history, poetry, and all the fine 



arts, you could not tell me anythiqg half so 
beautiful, half so welcome, as bow to nmke 
money in a fair, honourable way. " 

" There. " thouffht she, " that will be sn- 
other * revelation to him. If he don't ^nip 
over the garden fence in his haste to escup« 
such a monster, I shall be glad. " 

But Arden 's faoe onlv grew more gtave 
and sentle as he looked aown cpon her, and 
he asked, in a low tone : 

'' Is it because you love the monay iint'lf, 
Miss Allen ?" 

" Well, no," said Edith, somewhat teken 
aback, " I can never earn enough to make it 
worth while to do that. Misers lovf to 
count their money, "she added, with a litle 
pathetic accent in her voioei "and I fear 
nune will go before I can count it. " 

"You wish me to think less of you, then, 
becauae you are bravely, and without thought 
of sparins yourself, tiying to earn money to 
provide nome, shelter and comfort for 
yonr feeble mother and tiater. You wish 
me to think yoa common-place beoauje you 
have the heroism to do any kind of work, 
rather than be helpless and dependent. I'ar- 
don me, but for such a ' practical, matter- 
of-fact' lady, I don't think your logic ia 
good." 

Edith's vexation and perplexity only in- 
creased, and she said, earnestly, "But I 
wish you to understand that I am only Edith 
Allen, and as poor as poverty, nothing but a 
sewing-girl, and only hoping to arrive at the 
dignity of a gardener. The majority of the 
world thinks I am not even fit to speak to, " 
she added, in a low tone. 

Arden bowed his head, as if in reverence 
before her, and then said, in a low firm 
tone. 

" And I wish yoa to nnderstend that I am 
only Arden Lacey, with a sot for a father, 
and the soom, contempt, and hatred of 
all the world as my heritage. I am 
a slip-shod farmer. Our place is heavily 
mortgaged and will eventuidly be sold 
away from us ; it grows more weeds now 
than anything else, and it seems that net- 
tles have been tiie principal crop that I have 
reaped all my life. Thus, you see, I am 
poorer than poverty, and am rich only in 
my mother, and, eventually, I hope, " he 
added timidly, " in the possession of your 
friendship, Miss Allen ; I shall try so sin- 
cerely and hard to deserve it." 

With a frown, a laush, and a shy look of 
sympathy at him, Edith said, "I don't 
see but you have cot to find out yoar mis- 
take for youneff. Time and facto cure 
many follies." But she found little en- 
couragement in his incredulous smile. 






WHAT CAN SHK DO ? 



117 



rthi^g half ^ 
bow to nijkk* 

M will be Hti- 

le don't iynip 

uite to vsciii)* 
•• • 

more grnv« 
ipon her, iind 

momy it«olf, 

ewhat taken 
j;h to make it 
i8erB lovf to 
1, withalitle 
"and I fear 
it" 

9f you, then, 
hout thought 
urn money to 
comfort for 
You wish 
beoauje you 
nd of work, 
indent. Par^ 
ical, matter- 
our logic ia 

ity only in> 
bly, "But I 
n only Edith 
othing but a 
arrive at the 
jority of the 

speak to, " 

n reverence 
a low firm 

id that I am 
or a father, 

1 hatred of 
^ I am 
I ia heavily 
y be sold 
weeds now 
ti that net- 
that I have 

see, I am 
ch only in 

hope, " he 
on of your 
iry ao sin- 
shy Icok of 

"Idont 

your mis- 
facts cure 

little en- 
lile. 



The next moment she tamed npon him so 
•hnrply that he was startled. 

^' I am a business woman," she said, "and 
oonduct my affairs on business principles. 
You said, I think, you would help me And 
a market for the produce of my place ?" 

*' Certainly,' he replied. 

*' As certainly you must take fifton per 
oent. cunimission un all sales." 

" On, Miss Alien," oommenoed Arden, "I 
oouldnt " 

"There," ah* said deoisively, "yon 
haven^t the first idea of business. Not a 
thing can you to«ch unless you comply with 
nty conditions. There is no sentiment, I 
assure you, connected witn currants and 
cabbages. " " 

" You may be oortain^Miss Allen, that I 
would comply with any conditions," said 
Arden, witn the air of one who is cornered, 
"* but let me sugseat that since we are ar- 
ranging this matter so strictly on business 
grounds, that ten per cent, is all I should 
take. That is the regular oommiHsion, 
and in all I pay in sending produce to New 
York." 

" Oh, I don't know that," said the ex- 
perienced and uncompromising woman of 
Dusiness, innocently. *' Do you think 
that would pay you for your trouble ?" 

"I think it would," he replied, so de- 
murely and yet with such a twinkle in his 
blue eyes, that now looked very different 
with the li^ht of hope and happinean in 
them, that Edith turned uway with a 
laugh. 

But she said, with assumed shaipnesa, 
*' See that you keep your accounts straight, 
I shall be a very dragon over your account- 
book." 

11 1 us the ice was broken, and Edith and 
Arden became >HaMb. 

i'lie future has now been quite clearly 
indicated to the reader, and, lest my story 
«hould grow wearisome aa a " twice told 
tale," we pass over several subsequent 
months with but a few words. 

It was not a good fruit year, and Edith's 

flace had been sadly neglected previous to 
er possession. Therefore, though Arden 
surprised himself in the sharp business traits 
he developed as Edith's salesman, the re- 
sults were not very large. But still they 
greatly assisted her, and amounted to more 
than the earnings of her unskilled 
hands from other sources. She in- 
flisted on doing everything on busi- 
ness principles, and made Arden take his ten 
per cent , which was of real help to him in 
this way. He gave all the money to his 
:inother, saying, " J couldn't spend it to save 



my life." Mrs. T^Acey had many nses for 
a penny she could obtain. 

Then Kdith paid old Malcolm by making 
up lM)tiauets for sale at the hotel, and arrang- 
ing basketa of Huwurs for parties ther*' and 
elsewhere, and other lighter lalmurs. Mri«. 
Or(>o«ly cuutiuueU to send her work, uiul 
thus during the summer and early fall Hhe 
managed to make her garden and her labour 
provide for all family expenses, saving what 
was left of the four hundred after paying all 
debts, for Mrinter need. Moreover, she stored 
away in cellar and attio enough of the pro- 
ducts of the garden to be of great help aNo. 

Mrs. Allen did recover her usual health, 
and also her usual modes of thought and 
feeling. The mental and moral habits of a 
life-time are not readily changed. Often 
and earnestly did Kdith talk with ner mother, 
but with few evidences of the result she 
longed to see. 

Mrs. Allen's condition, in view of the 
truth, waa the most hopeless one of all. She 
saw only her preconceived vUihh, and not the 
truth itself. One day she said, with some 
irritation, to Edith, who was pleading with 
her, 

" Do you think I am a heathen? Of course, 
I believe the Bible. Of course, I believe in 
Jesus Christ. I have been a member of the 
church ever sinoe I was sixteen." 

Edith sighed, and thought, "Only He who 
oan satisfy her need, can reveal it to her. " 

Poor Mrs. AlUn. With the strange in- 
fatuation of a worldly mind, she was turning 
to it, and it alone, for hope and solace. Un- 
taught by the wretched experience of the 
past, she was led to enter upon a new and 
similar scheme for the aggrandizement of her 
family, aswill beexplained inanotiier chapter. 

J^aura regained her strength somewhat, 
and was able to relieve Edith of the care of 
her mother, and the lighter duties of the 
house. Her faith developed like that shy, 
delicate blossom, called the' " wind-flower," 
easily shaken, and yet with a certain hardi- 
ness and power to live and thrive in sterile 
places. 

Edith and Mrs. Lacey were eventually re- 
ceived intoJhe church that Malcolm attended, 
and, after the simple service, they took din- 
ner with the old Scotchman and his wife. 
Malcolm seemed hardly " in the body " all 
day. 

"My heart's abloom," he said, "wi'a* 
the sweet posies that Gk>d ever made blush 
when he looked at them the first time, an' ye 
seem the sweetest o' them a'. Miss Edith. 
Ah, but the Gude Husbandman gathered a 
fair blocsom the day.** 

"Now, Mr. McTrump," said Edith, re- 
proa. hfully, but with a face like Malcolm's 



IM 



WHAT CiAN SHE DO ? 



posie*, " you shouldn't give compliments on 
Sunday. " For Arden and Rose were present 
also, and Edith thought " such foolish words 
will only increase his infatuafilwU." 

" Weel,"said Malcolm, scratching his head, 
in his perplexed effort at apology, I wud na 
iiiak ye vain, nor hurt ye 're consience, but it 
kind o' slipit out af jj o I could -top it. " 

In the lauglV fl:at followea Iflalcolm's ex- 

f)lanation Edith felt that matters had not 
)een helpod much, and she adroitly turned 
the coriverfcutlon. 

Public opinion, from being at first very 
bitter and scornful aminst the Aliens, gradu- 
ally began to soften. One after another, as they 
recojTiized Edith's patient, determined effort 
to do right, began to give her the credit and 
respect to which she was entitled. Little 
acts and tokens of kiuuly fe?ling became 
more frequent, and were like glints of sun- 
light on her shadowed pith. But the great 
majority felt that they could have no associ- 
ations with audi as the Aliens, and complete- 
ly ignored them. 

In her church relations, Edith and Mrs. 
Lacey found increasing satisfaction. Many 
of its humble, and some of its more influential 
mfembers, treated them with much kindness 
and sympathy, and they realized more and 
more that there are good, kind people in the 
world, if you look in the. right way and right 

J)laee for them. The Rev. Mr. Knox was a 
aithful preacher and pastor, and if his ser- 
mons were a little dry and doctrinal at times, 
they were as sound and as sweet as a nut. 
.ioreover, both Edith and Mrs. Lacey were 
siidly deficient in the doctrines, neither hav- 
-nig ever had any religious instruction, and 
tli; y listened with the grave, earnest interest 
oi those desiring to be fed. 

Mrs. Groody re-connected herself with her 
old church, "I want to go where I can 
chout ' Glory ! ' " she said. 

Rose but faintly sympathized with her 
mother's feelings. Her restless, ambitious 
spirit turned longingly toward the world. 
Its attractions she could understand, but 
not those of faith. Through her father's evil 
habits, and Ai'den's poor farmin^the pres- 
sure of poverty rested heavier, am. heavier 
on the family, and she had about resolved to 
go to New York and find employment in 
some store. 

Arden rarely went to church, but reid at 
home. He was somewhat sceptical in regard 
to the Bible ; not that he ever carefully ex- 
amined either it or its evidences, but he had 
read much of the prevalent semi-infidelity, 
and was a little conceited over his indepen- 
dent thinking. When, *n aharsh, sweeping 
cynicism, he utterly detested church people. 



sailing them the "holy sect of the Phari- 
sees. " 

" But they are not all such," hxs mother 
would say. ^ 

"Oh, no," he would reply; "there are 
come sincere ones, of course ; but I think 
they would be better out than in such a- 
company of hypocrites." 

But as he saw Edith's sincerily, and learn- 
ed of her purpose to unite with the church, 
he kept these views more and more in the 
background:; but he bad too much respect 
for her's and her mother's faith to go with 
them to whatthey regarded as a sacred plac«, 
from merely the personal motive of oeioig 
near Edith. 

One day Mrs. Lacey and Edith walked 
down to the eyming prayer-meetiDg. 
Arden, who had business in the village, wa» 
to call for them at its close ; as they wer» 
walking home Edith suddenly asked Mm, 

" Why dpn't you go to church ? " 

" I don't like the people I meet there." 

" What have you against them ? " 

" Well, there is Mr. Hard, he is one of 
the ' lights and pillars, ' and he would have 
sold the house over your head, if you had 
not paid him. He can ' devour a widow's 
house ' as they of olden time. " 

" That is not the question," said the prac- 
tical Edith, earnestly. " What have you to 
do with Mr. Hard, or- he with you ? Does he 
propose — is he able to save you ? Tho true 
question is, what have you got again Jesus 
Christ ? " 

"Well, really. Miss Edith, I can have 
nothing against Him. Both history and 
legend unite in presenting Him as ono of the 
purest and noblest of men. But pardon me 
if I say in all honesty that I cannot quite 
accept your beliefs in regard to Him and the 
Bible in general. A man can hardly be a 
man without exercising the right of indepen- 
dent thought. I cannot take a book called 
the Bible for granted. " 

"But, " asked Edith keenly, " are you not 
taking other books for granted ? Answer me 
truly, Mr. Lacey, have you carefully and 
patiently investigated this subject, not only 
on the side of your sceptical writers, but on 
God's side also. He has plenty of facts, as 
well as the infidels, ana my rich, lasting, 
rational, spiritual experience is as much a 
fact as that stone there, and a good deal 
higher i>.ad better one, I think. " 

Arden was silent for some little time, and 
they could see in the moonlight that his face 
was very grave and thoughtful. At last he 
said in a low tone, as if it had been wrung 
from him, . 

" Miss Allen, to be honest with you and 
myself, I have never given the subject such 



, 



a fair ex 
continue! 
all were 
for I cou 
ing bookt 
Knox's d 
"I th 
gently br 
you adm: 
one of t 
surely, ^ 
say that 
"Yes, 
thePbat 
' ««And 
said Edit 
Tfiththe 
hfanin t 
K»zaretl 
regularil 
form of : 
He Bust£ 
^1 He c 
ter. Su 
were clo 
could re; 
example 
As far a! 
them, 
whereve 
Sabbath 
tei'ioratt 
They 
averted 
toward ' 
in a low 
•'Yes 
you hav 
self van 
Edith 
ing earn 
the you 
thetrul 
Aftpr 
to ohur 
to the 8 
■wander 
the tim 
rapt atl 
the onl 
though 
tion th 
And 
but wil 
frained 
Edith 
greatlj 
mostli 
creasir 
after t' 
ished, 
thenc 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



Ui 



e Phari- 

^ mother 

ihere are 
I think 
such a. 

nd learu- 
church, 
re in the 
' respect 

S a with 
phice, 
I oeing 

walked 

meeting. 

age, wa» 

ey werfr 

him, 

ere." 

one of 
d have 
ou had 
widow'a 

he prac- 
3 you to 
Does he 
ho true 
"i Jesus 

n have 
)ry and 
a of the 
don me 
b quite 
iud th» 
Uy be a 
idepen- 
called 

^ou not 
>ver jne 
Uy and 
•t only 
but oii 
lets, aa- 
astiug, 
auch a 
1 deal 

le, and 

is fac» 
ast h» 
wrung 

I and 
sucli 



a fair examination. " After a joioment he 
continued, "Even if I became convinced that 
all were true, I might still remain at home, 
for I could find far more advantage in read- 
ing books, or the Bible itself, than from Mr. 
Knox's dry sermons.'* 

"I think you are wrong," said Edith, 
gently but firmly. " Granting the premise, 
yon admitted a moment ago that Christ was 
one of the purest and noblest of men, you 
surely, with your ohivalr'.« instincts, would 
say that such a man ought to be imitated. ' 

" Yes," said Arden, " and He denounced 
tiMPhariseea." 

**And He worshipped with them also," 
said Edith quickly. '* He went to the temple 
with the ouiers. What was there to interest 
lim in the dreary, f(H:lom little synagogue at 
Nazareth, and yet He was there with the 
regularity of the Sabbath. It was the best 
form of faith and worship then existing, and 
He sustained it by every means in His power, 
&1 He cguld give the people something bet- 
ter. Suppose all the churches in this place 
were closed, not one in a hundred would or 
could read the books you refer to. If your 
example was followed they would be closed. 
As far as your example goes it tends to close 
them. I have heard Mr. Knox say, that 
wherever Christian worship and theChristian 
Sabbath is not observed, society rapidly de- 
teriorates. Is it not true?" 

They had stopped at Edith's gate. Arden 
averted his face for a moment, then turning 
toward Edith he gave her his hand, saying 
in a low tone : 

•• Yes, it is true, and a true, faithful friend 
you have oeen to me to-night. I admit my- 
self vanquished. " 

Edith gave his hand a cordial pressure, say- 
ing earnestly, "You are not vanquished by 
the young ignorant girl, Edith Allen, bui, by 
the truth that will yet vanquish the world. " 

After that Arden Went regularly with them 
to ohurch, and tried to give sincere attention 
to the service, but his nncurbed fancy was 
^vandering to the ends of the earth most of 
the time ; or his thnuffhts were dwelling in 
rapt attention on Edith. She, after all, was 
the only object of his faith and worship, 
though he had a growing intellectual convic- 
tion that her faith was true. 

And so the months passed into autumn, 
but with the nicest sense of honour he re- 
frained from word or deed that would rei,, nd 
Edith that hn wasi her lover. She beoarne 
greatly attached to him, and he seemed al- 
most like a brother ":>- iier. She found in- 
creasing pleasure ia his society, for Arden, 
after the restraint o^ his diffidence was ban- 
ished, pould talk well, and he opened to her 
the rich treasures of his readiug, and with 



alik^oBt a poet's fwjy and power pictured tc 
her the storied past. 

To both herself and Mrs. Lacey life grew 
sunnier and sveeter. But they each had n 
heavy burden on their hearts, which they 
daily brought to the feet of the Compassionate 
One. They united in praying for Mrs. La- 
cey's huslmnd, and for Zell ; and their strong 
faith and love would take no denial. But. 
as Laura had said, the silence of the gra.\o 
seemed to have swallowed lost ZelL 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

ZELL. 

" And the silei ce of the grave " ought to 
swallow suc»'. as poor Zell had become, is, 
perhaps, the thought of some. All refer- 
jnce to her and ther class should be sup- 
pressed. 

We firmly say, no ! If so, the New Testa- 
ment must be suppfMsed. The Divine 
Teacher spoke plainly both of the sin and 
the sinner. He had scathing denunciation 
for the one, and compassion and mercy for 
the other. Shall we enforce His teach iiigs 
against all other forms of , evil, and not 
against this deadliest one of all — and that, 
too, in Lhe laxity and wide demoralization of 
our age, when temptation lurks on e\-ery 
hand, and parents are often sleepless with 
just anxiety ? 

Evil is active, (dluring, suggesting, in- 
sinuating itself when least expected, and 
many influences are at work, with the full 
approval of society, to poison forever all pure 
thoughts. And temptation is sura to come 
at first a«i an angel of light. 

There is no safety save in solemn words 
of warning, the wholesome terror which 
knowledge inspires, the bracing of principle, 
and the ennobling of Christian faith. There 
are too many incarnate fiends who wi 11 take 
advantage of the innocence of ignorance. 

Zell is not in her ^ave. She is sinning, 
but more simied against. He who said to 
one IJke her. of old," " Her sins, which are 
many, arc- forgivtin," loves her still, and 
Edith is praying for her. The grave cannot, 
close over her yet. 

But as we look upon this long-lost one, as i 
she reclines on a sofa in Van Dam's luxuri- 
ous ajKirtments, as we see her templea 
throbbing with pain, and that her cheeks are 
flushed and feverish, it would seem that the 
grave might soon hide her from a contempt- 4 
nous and vindictive world. 

Her head does ^che sadly, it seemf« burst- 
ing with pain : but her heart aches with a 
iiittorer anguish. Zell had too fine a nature 
to sin brutally and unfeelingly. Her be- 



i'20 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



trayer'lB treachery wounded her more deeply 
vhau he could understand. Even her first 
utrong I'jve for him could not bridge the 
chasnt of guilt to which he led her, and her 
pasBiunatu nature and remorse often caused 
her to tutu upon him with such scatiiing re- 
proaches that even he, in his hardihood, 
trembled. 

Knowing how proud and high-strung she 
was, he feared to reveal his treachery in 
New York, a locality with which she was 
familiar ; so he said that very important 
business called him at once to Boston, a citv 
where he had very few acquaintances. Zell 
reluctantly acquiesced to this further jour- 
ney. He meant to register in an assumed 
name, but the landlord said to him as he 
eutorcd tlie ofhce. 

" Why, Van Dam, how are you ?" 
" Where have you s^en me ?" was the 
gruff reply. ' 

" Why, don't you remember ? We played 
poker together all thǤiway from Buffalo to 
Albany, and you lightened my pocket-book 
wofiilly too. This is your wife, I suppose ?" 
"Yes," said Van Dam, thinking, " It will 
attract less attention, and be safest." 

"Well, I'm glAd''to see you — can give you 
a good room. So register, and I vidll get a 
little of my lost money back, " and the host 
slapped him on the back with a hearty 
laugh. 
Van Dam with a frown wrote, 
" Guilliam Van Dam and wife." 
By no more sacred or gracious ceremony 
than this did he reward her trust and love. 
They jaunted about in tde North and West 
through the summer and autumn, and now 
have but recently returned to New York. 

With a wild t* rror she saw that his pas- 
sion for her was waning. Therefore her re- 
proaches and threats became at times almost 
ierritlc, and a^ain her serrile entreat) 38 were 
even mora pitiable and dreadful, in view of 
what a true wife's position and right ought 
to be. He, wearying of her fierce and alter- 
nating moods, and selfishly thinking of Ms 
own ease and comfort, as -was ever the case, 
had resolved to throw her off at the first op- 
portmiity. 

But retribution for both was near. The 
mnallpox was almost epidemic in the city : 
Zell's silk had swept against a beggar's in- 
fected rags, and fourteen days later appeared 
the fatal symptonxs. 

And truly she is weary and heart-sick this 
Af cemoon. She never remembered feeling so 
ill. The thought of r'cath appalled her. She 
£elt, as never before, that she wanted some 
one to love and take care of her. 

Vaii Dam entered, and sftid* rather 
roughly — 



"What's the matter?" 

He muttered an oath. ._. 

"Guilliam," she pleaded, "I am very sick/ 
I have a feeling that I shall die. Won't 
you marry uie ? Won't you take care of your 
poor little Zell, that loved you so well a^i to 
leave all for you ? Perfiape I won't burden 
you much longer, but if I do get»weU, I will 
be your patient slave, if you will only marry 
me;" and the tears poured over the hot, 
feverish cheeks that they could not cool. 

His only reply was to ask, with some ir« 
ritation, 

^How do you feel?" 

"Oh, my head aches, my bones ache, 
every part of my body aches, but my heart 
aches wort of all. You can ease that/ Guil- 
liam. In the name of God's mercy, wont 
you?" 

A Budd«m thought caused the coward's 
face to grow white witii fear. "I must have 
a doctor see you, " was his only reply to her 
appeal, and he passed hastily out. 

Zell felt that a blow would have blben bet- 
ter than his indifference, and she (.;:awled 
back to her couch. A little later, she was 
conscious that a physician was feeling her 
pulse, and examining her symptoms. After 
he was gone she had strength enough to take 
off her jewoUery and rings — all, save one 
solitaire diamond, that her rather had given 
her. The rest seemed to oppress her 
their weight. She then threw herself 
the bed. 

She was next conscious that some one was 
lifting her up. She roused for a moment, 
and stared around. There were several 
strange fbces. 

"What do you want? What are you 
going to do with me ?" she asked, in a thick 
voice, and a vague terror. 

"I am sorry. Miss," said one of the men, 
in an official tone ; " but you have the 
small-pox, and we must take you to the 
hospital." 

She gave one shriek of horror. A hand 
was placed over her mouth. She murmured 
faintly : 

"Guilliam — help 1" and then under the 
effects of disease and fear, became partially 
unconscious ; but her hand clenched, and 
with some instinct hard to understand, re- 
iiiuiued so, over the diamond ring that was 
her father's gift. 

She was conscious of riding in something 
hard over the stony street, for the jolting 
hurt her cruelly. She was conscious of the 
sound of water, for she tried to throw her- 
self into it, that it miffht cool her fever. She 
was conscious of reafming some place, and 
then she telt as if she had no rest for many 
days, and yet waa not awake. But through 



with 



on 






P 



irery sick. 
Won't 
re of your 
veil a>i to 
't burden 
ill, I will 
ily many 
' the hot, 
cool. 
I some ir- 



es ache, 
my heart 
Lat/ Guil- 
sy, wont 

coward's 
austhave 
ly to her 

\3k6n bet- 
(lawled 
she was 
eling her 
1. After 
h to take 
save one 
ad given 
tier with 
prself on 

one was 

noment, 

several 



are you 

a thick 



le men, 
lave the 
to the 

^. hand 
irmured 

ider the 
)artially 
ed, and 
uid, re- 
lat was 

nething 

jolting 

of the 

her- 

She 

and 

>r manv 

;hrougn 



er. 
se. 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



121 









I 



it all she kept her hand closed on her father's 
^ft. At times it seemed to her that some 
one was trying to take it ofi^ but she in* 
«tlnctively struggled and oried out, and the 
hand was withdrawn. 

At last one night she seemed to really 
wake and come to herself. She opened her 
eyes ard looked timidlv around the dim 
ward. All was strange and uiiaccouuiable. 
She feared that she was in another world. 
But as she raised her hand to her head, ar if 
to clear away the mist of uncertainty, a 
sparkle met her eye. For a long time she 
«tared vacantly at it, with the weak, vague 
feeling that in some sense it might M a 
olue, Its faint lustre was like the glinmier 
of a star through a rift in the clouds to a 
lost traveller. Its familiar light and position 
reminds him of home, and by its ray he 
guesses in what direction to move ; so the 
crystallized light upon her finger threw its 
faint glimmer into the past, and by its help 
Zell's weak, mind groped its way down from 
the hour it was given to the moment when 
she became partially imconscious in Van 
Dam's apartments. But the word small-pox 
was burned into her brain, and she surmised 
that she was in a hospital! 

At last a woman passed. Zell feebly called 
her. 

"What do you want ?' said a rather gruflf 
voice. 

•* I want to write a letter." 

" You can't. It's against the rules." 

«•! must," pleaded Zell. "Oh, as you 
are a woman, and hope in God's mercy, don't 
refuse me, '* 

" Cant break the rules," said the woman, 
and she was about to pass on. 

" Stop ?" said Zell, in a whisper. " See 
there, " and she flashed the diamond upon 
her, '• I'll give you that if you'll promise 
before Qod to send a letter for me. It 
would take you many months to earn the 
▼alueof that." 

The woman was a part, of the city govern- 
ment, so she acted cLaracteriatically . She 
brought 2iell writing materials and a bit of 
candle, saying : 

' Be quick 1" 

With her poor, 8ti£^ diseased hand, Zell 
wrote :. 

" GuiLLiAM ;— You cannot know where I am. 
You cannot know what has happened. You 
could not be such a fiend as to cast me off and 
seud me here to die— and die I shall. The edge 
•of th«» grave seems scrambling under me as I 
write. If ■'^u have a spark of love for me, 
Com*) and see me before I die. Oh, Guilliara, 
Ouilliam ! what a Yieaven of a home I would 
have made, if you had only married me. It 
would have been my whole life to make jpn 
happy. I said bitter words to you— foi^ive 
th§m. We both have sinned— can God forgive 



us 1 I will not believe yon know what has hap- 
pened. You are grieving for me— looking for 
me. They took me away while you were gone. 
Come and see me before I die. Good-bye. I'm 
writini^ in the dark- I'm d^ing in the dark- mv 
soul is in the dark— Fm gomg away in tiiu dark 
—where, God, where f 

" Your poor, little 
" Small-Poz Hospital. I don't know date." 

Poor, poor Zell 1 Like to a tempest-tossed 
one of old, " sun, moon and star»' had long 
been hidden. , 

Almost fainting with weakness, she sealed 
and directed the letter, drew of the ring, 
pressed it to her lips, and then turning her 
eyes, unnaturally large and bright, on the 
woman waiting at her side, and said : 

" Look at me ! Promise me you will see 
that letter is delivered. Remember, I am 
going to die. If you ever hope for an hour's' 
peace, promise !" 

' ' I promise, " said the woman solemnly, 
for she was as superstitious as avaricious, 
and though she had no hesitancy in break- 
ing the rules and taking a bribe, she would 
not have dared for her life to have risked 
treachery to a girl, whom she believed 
dyino. , 

ZeU eave her the ring and the letter and 
sank back for the time unconscious. 

The woman had her means of communi- 
cation with the city, and before many hours 
elapsed tlit letter was on its way. 

Van Dam was in a state of nervous fear 
till the fourteen days had passed, and then 
he felt that he was safe. He had his rooms 
thoroughly fumigated, and was reassured by 
his physicians saying daily, " There was 
not much danger of her giving you the dis- 
ease in thetirst stage. She is probably dead 
by t' lis time." 

But the wheek of life seemed to grow 
heavier and more clogged every day. He was 
down to the dregs, and now almost every 
pleasure palled upon his jaded taste. At one 
time it seemed that Zell might so infuse her 
vigorous young life and vivacity into his 
waning years that ''is last days would be his 
best. And this might have been the case, if 
he had reformed his evil life and dealt with 
her as a true man. In her strong and excep- 
tional love, considering their aiflference in 
age, there were great possibilities of good for 
both. But ho had foully perverted the last 
best gift of his life, and even his blunted mo- 
ral sense was awakening to the truth. 

"Curse it all," he muttered, late one morn- 
ing, " perhaps I had better have married 
her. I hoped so much from her, and she has 
been nothmg but a source of trouble and 
danger. I wonder if she is dead. " 



122 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



He had been out very late the night be- 
fore, and had played heavily, but not with 
his usual skill. He had kept mutterine grim 
oaths aeainst his luck, and drinking dee^r 
and deeper till a friend had half forced him 
away. And now, much shaken by the night's 
debauch, depressed by his heavy losses, con- 
science, that crouches like a tiger in every 
bad man's soul, and waits to rush from its 
lair and rend, in the long hours — the long 
eternity of weakness and memory — already 
had its fang^in his guilty heart. 

Long and bitterly he thought, with a frown 
resting like night on his heavy brow. The 
servant brought him a dainty breakfast, but 
he sullenly motioned it away. He had 
wronged his digestive powers so greatly the 
night before that-even brandy was repugnant 
to him, and he leaned heavily and wearily 
back in his chair, a prey to remorse. 

He was in just the right physical condition 
to take a contagion. 

There was a knock at the door, and the 
servant entered, bringing him a letter, say- 
ing, " This was just left here for ye, sir. " 

"A dun," thought he, languidly, and he 
laid it unopened on the stand beside him. 

It was ; and from one whom he owed a re- 
paration he could never make, though he 
paid with his life. 

With his eyes closed, he still leaned back 
in a dull, painful lethargy. A faint, dis- 
agreeable odour gradually pervaded the room, 
and at last attracted his attention. The 
luxurious sybarite could not help the stings 
of conscience, the odour he might. He grew 
restless, and looked around. 

Zell's letter caught his attention. * ' Might 
as well see who it's from," he muttered. 
Weakness, pain, and emotion had so changed 
Zell's familiar hand, that he did not recog- 
nize it. 

But, as he opened and read, his eyes dilat- 
ed with horror. It seemed like a dead hand 
grasping him out of the darkness. But a 
dreadful fascination compelled him to read 
every line, and re-read them, till they seemed 
burned into his memory, At last, by a 
desperate efifort, he broke the strong spell 
her words had placed upon him, and, start- 
ing up, exclaimed, 

•* Go to her, in that pest-house ! I would 
see her dead a thousand times ^st. I hope 
she is dead, for she is the torment of my 
life. What is it that smells so queer ? " 

His eyes again rested On the letter. A 
suspicion crossed his mind. He carried the 
letter to his nose, and then started violently, 
uttering awful oaths. 

" She had sent the contagion directly to 
me," he groaned, and he thre.v poor Zell's 
appeal on the grate. It burned with a 



faint, sickly odour. Then, aa the i&y was 
raw and windy, a sudden gnat down the. 
chimney blew it all out into the room, and! 
scattered it into ashes, like Zell's hopes,, 
aruund his feet. 

A superstitious horror, that made his flesb 
creep and hair rise, took possession of him,, 
and nastily gathering a few necessary things,, 
he rushed out into the chill air, and made 
his way to a large hotel He wanted to be 
in a crowd. He wanted the hard, material 
world's noise and bustle around him. He 
wanted to hear men talking about gold and 
stocks, and the gossip of the town — any> 
thing that would make living on seem a 
natural, possible matter of course. 

But men's voices sounded strange and un- 
familiar, and the real world seemed like that 
which mocks us in our dreams. Mingling 
with all he saw and heard were Zell's des- 
pairing looks and Zell's despairing words. 
' He wrapped himself in his great coat, he 
drank frequent and fiery potations,, he hover- 
ed around the registers, but nothing could 
take away the chill at his heart. He tossed 
feverishly all night. His sudden exposure 
to the raw wind in his heated, excited con- 
dition caused a severe cold. But he would 
not give up. He dared not stay alone in his 
room, and so crept down to the public 
haunts of the hoteL But his flushed, cheek 
and strange manner attracted attention. 
As the.days passed, he grew worse, and the 
proprietor of the house said, 

" You are ill, you must go to bed." 

But he would not. There was nothing 
that he seemed to dread so much as being 
alone. But the guests began to grow afraid 
of him. There was general and Wde-spread 
fear of the small-pox in the cicy, and for 
some reason, it began to be associated with 
his illness. As the suspicion was whispered 
around, all shrank from him. The proprietor 
had him examined at once by a physician. 
It was the fatal fourteenth day, and the 
dreaded symptoms were apparent. 

" Have you no friends, no home to which 
you can go ? " he was asked; 

"No,' he groaned, while the thought 
pierced his sot3. " She would have made 
me one and taken care of me in it. " But 
he pleaded, " For God's sake, don't send me 
away. " 

" I 'inust," said the proprietor, frightened 
himself, "the law requires it, and your 

Eresence here would empty my house in an 
our." 

So, in the dusk, like poor Zell, he was 

smuggled down a back stairway, and sent to 

the "pest-house, "also, he groaning and crying 

with terror all the way. 

Zell did not die. Her vigorous constit^- 






f 






WHAT CAN SHE DO f 



12S 



tion rallied, aiid she rapidly regained 
Btrength. But with strength and |>ower of 
thou^t, came the certainty to her mind of 
Van Dam's utter and final abandonment of 
her. She felt that all the world would now 
be against her, and that she would be driven 
from every safe and pleasant path. The 
thought of taking her shame to her home 
was a horror to her, and she felt sure that 
Edith would spurn her from the door. At 
first she wept bitterly and despairingly, and 
wiished she had died. But gradually she 
grew hard, reckless, and cruel under her 
wrong, and her every thought of Van Dam 
was a curse. 

The woman who helped her to write the 
letter greatly startled W one day, by say- 
ing. 

'< There's a man in the men's ward who in 
his ravin' speaks of you." 

" Could he, in just retribution, have been 
sent here also ?" she thought. Pleading 
relationship, she was admitted to see him. 
He shuddered as he saw her advancing, with 
stony face and eyes in which glared relent- 
less hate. 

" Curse you !" he muttered, feebly, with 
his parchef I lips. " Go away, living or dead, 
I know not which you are ; but I know it 
was through you I came here !" 

Her only answer was a mocking smile. 

" Will he get well ?" she askea, following 
him away a short distance. 

"No, said the physician. "He will 

die. ' 

Her cheek blanched for a moment ; but 
from her eyes glowed a dijadly gleam of 
satisfaction. 

"What did he say?" whispered Van 
Dam. 

" He says you will die," she answered, m a 
stony voice. " You see, I am better than 
you were. You would not oome to me for 
even one poor moment. You left me to 
die alone ; but I will stay and watch with 

you." , T Tx 

•♦ Oh, go away I" groaned Van Dam. 
*• I couldn't be so heartless," she said, in 
a mocking tone. " You need dying consola- 
tion. I want to tell you, Guilliam, what 
was in my mind the night I left all for you. 
I did doubt you a little. That is where I 
sinned ; I shall only suflFer for that through 
all eternity," she said, with a reckless laugh 
that chilled his soul. "But then, I hoped, 
I felt almost sure, yon would marry me; and, 
oh, what a heaven of a home I purposed to 
make you. If you had only 



let 



even a 
magistrate say, 'I pronounce yon man and 
wife,* I would have been your patient slave, 
I would have kissed away even your head- 
aches, and had you ten contagions, they 



should not have brought you here, for I 
would have taken care of you and nursed 
yon back to life." 

"Go away I" groaned Van Dam, with 
more energy. 

"Guilliam," she said taking his hand,, 
which shuddered at her touch. " W«>micht 
have had a happy little home by this 
time. We might have learned to live a 
good life in this world and prepared for a 
better one in the next. Little children might 
have put their soft arms around your neck, 
and with their innocent kisses banished tha 
memory and the power of the evil past. Oh, " 
she gasped, "how happy we might nave been,, 
and mother, Edith, and Laura would have 
smiled upon us. But what is now our con- 
dition ?" she said bitterly, her grip upon his 
hand becoming hard and fierce. " You have 
made me a tigress ; I must cower and hide 
\hrough life like a wild beast in a jungle. 
And you are dying and going to hell, " she 
hissed in his ear, " and by-and-bye, when I 
get to be an old ugly hag, I will come and 
tolrment you there forever and forever. " 

"Curse you, goaway," shrieked the terrc;-, 
stricken man. 

An attendant hastened to the spot ; Zell 
was standing at the foot of the cot, glaring 
at him. 

"I thought yon was a relation of his'n," 
said the man roughly. 

" So I am," said Zell sternly. " As the 
one stung is related to the viper that stung 
him," and with a withering look she passed 
away. 

That night Van Dam died. 

Li process of time Zell was turned adrift 
in the city. She applied vainly at stores and 
shops for a situation. She had no good 
clothes, and appearances were against her. 
She had a very little money in her portmon- 
naie when she was takegi to the hospital. 
This was given to her on leaving, and she 
made it go as far as possible. At last she 
went to an intelligence office and sat among 
the others, who looked suspiciously at her. 
They instinctively felt that she was not of 
their ilk. 

" What can you do ?" was the frequent 
question. 

She did not know how to do a single thing, 
but thought that perhaps the position of 
waitress would be the easiest. 

" Where are your references ?" 

It was her one thought and effort to con- 
ceal all reference to the past. At last the 
proprietor in pity sent her to a lady who had 
told him to supply her with a waitress ; the 
place was in Brooklyn, and Zell was glad, 
for she had less fear there of seeing any one • 
she knew. 



124 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



The lady scolded bitterly about snob an 
ignoramus being sent to her, but Zell seemed 
«o patient and willing that she decided to 
try her. Zell gave her whole soul to the 
work, and thougn the place was a hard one, 
would have eventually learned to fill it. The 
family were a little surprised sometimes at 
her graceful movements, and the quick gleam 
of intelligence in her large eyes, as some re- 
mark was made naturally beyond one in her 
sphere. One day they were trying to recall, 
while at the table, the name of a famous 
singer at the opera. Before' the thought the 
name was almost out of her lips. The ^oor 
girl tried to disguise herself by assummg, 
aa well as she could, the stolid, stupid man- 
ner of those who usually blunder about our 
homes* 

All might have gone well, and she 
have gained a very honest livelihood, 
had not an unforeseen circumstance 
revealed her past life. Those who have 
done wrong are never safe. At the 
most unexpected time, and in the most un- 
expected way, their sin may stand out bd- 
fore all and blast them. 

Zell's mistress had told her to make a 
little extra preparation, for she expected a 
gentleman to dine that evening. With 
some growing pride and interest in hev worlc, 
she had done her best, and ev<?n her mistress 
said : 

"Jane," (her assupaed name,) "yon are 
improving, " and a gleam of something like 
hope and pleasure shot across the poor 
child's face. A passionate sigh came up 
from her heart, 

' Oh, I will try to do right if the world 
will let me." 

But imagine her terror when she saw an 
old crony of Van Dam's enter the room. 
The man recognized her in a moment, and 
she saw that he dli'. She gave him an im- 
ploring glance, which he returned by one of 
cool contempt. Zell could hardly get 
through the meal, and her manner atix-acted 
attention. The cold-blooded fellow, whose 
soul was akin to that of his dead friend, was 
considerate enough to the hostess not to 
spoil her dinner, or rob her of a waitress till 
it was over. But the moment they returned 
to the parlour he told who Zell was, and 
how she must have just come from the 
small-pox hospital. 

The lady (?) was in a frenzv of rage and 
fear. She rushed down to where Zell was 
panting with weakness and emotion, ex- 
claiming : 

" You shameful huzzy, how dare you 
come into a respectable house, after your 
loathsome life, and loathsome disease ? ' 
"Hear me," pleaded Zell, "the doctor 



said there wm no danger, and I want to do 
whftt is right." 

" I d<m t believe a woti. you say. I 
wouldn't trust you a minute. How much 
you have stolen now it would be hard to 
tell, and I shouldn't wonder if we all had 
the small-pox. Leave the house instantly." 
"Oh, please give me a chance," cried 
Zell, on her kneee. "Indeed, I am honest. 
Ill work for you for nothing, if you will let 
me stay." 

" Leave me instantly, or I will call a po- 
liceman." 

'' Then pay me my waek's wages, " sobbed 
Zell. 

" I won't pay vou a oeat, you brazen 
creature. You dicm't know anything, and 
have been a torment ever since you came. I 
might have known there was something 
wrongr. Now go, take your old, pest-in- 
'fested rags out of my house, or I will have 
you sent to where you properly belong. 
Thank Heaven, I have found you out. " 

A sudden change came over ZeU. She 
sprang up, and a scowl, Idaok as night 
darkened her face. 

" What has Heaven to do with your send- 
ing a poor girl out into the night, I would 
like to know ? " she asked, in a harsh, grat- 
ing voioe; "I wouldn't do it, therefore I 
am better than you are. Heaven has no- 
thing to do with either you or me," and she 
looked as dark and daneerous that her mis- 
tress was frightened, and ran up to the par- 
lour, exclaiming : 

"She's an awful creature. I'm afraid of 
her." 

Then that manly being, her husband, 
towered up in his wrath, saying majesti- 
calUy, " I guess I'm master in my own house 
yet.*^ 

He showed poor Zell the door. Her laugh 
rang out recklessly, as she called, 

" Oood-bye. May the pleasant thought 
that you have sert one more soul to perai- 
tion, lull you to sleep. " 

But for some reason it did not. When 
they became cool enough to think it over, 
they admitted that perhaps they been a 
"little hasty." 

They had a daughter about Zell's age. It 
would be a little hard if any one should treat 
her so. 

Zell had scarcely more than enough to pay 
her way to New York. It seemed that 
people ought to stretch out their hands to 
shield her, but they only jostled her in their 
haste. As she stood, with bundle, in the 
ferry entrance on the New York side, unde- 
cided where to go, a man ran against her in 
his hurry : 

" Get out of the way," he said, irritably. 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



125 






She moved to one side into the darknesa, 
and witb ]^id face, said : 

" Yes, it has oom^ 'o this. I must ' get 
out of the way' of all decent people. There 
m the river on one side. There are the atreete 
on the other. Which shall it be ?" 

"Oh lit was pitiful. 
Near a whole city fuU." 

that no hand was stretched to her aid. 

She shuddered. " I can't, I dare not die 
jet. It must be a little easier here than 
there, where he is." 

Her face became like stone. She went 
straight to a liquor saloon, and drank deep 
of that spirit that Shakespeare called *' devil, 
in order to drown thon^t, fear, memory — 
every vestige of the woman. 

Then — the depths of the gulf that Laura 
shrank from with a drMd stronger than her 
love of life. 



CHAPTEE XXXn. 

EDITH BBINOS THE WAKOSSEB HOMX. 

Mrs. Lacey and Arden, at last, in the 
stress of their poverty, gave their consent 
that Rose should ^o to the city, and try to 
find employment in a store as a shop-girL 
Mrs. Ghbe, her dressmaking £riend, went 
with her, and though they could obtain no 
situation the first day, one of Mrs. Qlibe's 
acquaintances directed Rose where she could 
continue her inquiries. Leaving her there, 
Mr». Glibe returned. 

Rose, with a hope and ooorage not easily 
dampened, continued her search the next, 
and for several days following. The fall 
trade had not fairly commenced, and there 
■^ seemed no demand for more help. She had 
thirty dollars with which to start life, but 
a week of idleness took seven of this. 

At last her fine appearance and sprightly 
manner induced a proprietor of a Wge es- 
tablishment to pnt her in the place of a girl 
discharged that day, with the wages of six 
dollars a week. 

" We give but three or four, as a general 
tiling, tu oeginners," he said. 

Rose was grateful for the place, and yet 
almost dismayed at the prospect before her. 
-Tow could she live on six dollars ? The 
bright-coloured dreams of city life were fast 
uiti.tiug away before the hard, and in some 
instances revolting, facts of her experience. 
She could have obtained situations in two or 
tliree instances at better wages, if she had 
assented to conditions that sent her hastily 
into the street with burning blushes and in- 
dignant tears. She knew the great city was 



full of wickedness, but thia rude contact- 
with it appalled her. 

After finding what ahe had to iiv« on she 
exchanged her somowhat comfortable room, 
where ahe could have a fire, for a cold, 
cheerleaa attic closet in the same house. 
" Aa I learn the business, they will give 
more," ahe thought, and the idea of going 
back home pennllessi to be laughed at by 
Mrs. Qlibe, Miss Klip, and others, was al- 
most as bitter a proe^ct to her proud apirit 
aa being a burden to her impoverished 
family, and she resolved to submit to every 
hardship rather than do it. By taking the 
attic room she reduced her board to five 
dollars a week. 

" Tou can't get it for less, unless you go 
to a very oommon sort of a place, " said her 
landlady. "My house is respectable, and 
people must pay a little for that." 

In view of this fact. Rose determined to 
stay, if possible, for she was realizing more- 
every day how unsheltered and tempted she 
waa. 

Her fresh blonde face, her breezy 
manner, and wind-shaken curls made 
many turn to look after her the second 
time. Like some othera of her aex,. 
perhaps she had no dislike for admiration, 
out in Rose's position it was often shown by 
looks, manner, and even words, iJiat how- 
ever she resented them, followed and perse- 
cuted her. 

As sl^ grow to know her fellow-workena 
better, her heart sickened in distrust at the 
conversation and evident life of many of 
them, and they often laughed at her green- 
ness immoderately. 

Alas I for the fancied superiority of these 
knowing girls. They laughed at Rose be- 
cause she was so much more like wnat Qoi 
meant a woman should be than they. A 
wea^-minded, shallow girl would have suc- 
cumbed to their ridicule, and soon have be- 
come like them, and gradually sought out 
and found some companionship with those of 
the better sort in the large itora. But there 
seemed so much hollowness and falsehood on 
every side that she hardly knew whom to 
trust. 

Poor Rose was quite sick of making a ca- 
reer for herself alone in the city, and her 
money Was getting very low. Shop Ufe was 
hard on clothes, and she was compelled by 
the rules of the store to dress well, and was 
only too fond of dross herself. So instead of 
getting money a-head, she at last was down 
to her week's wages as support, and nothing 
was said of their oeing raised, and she waa 
advised to say nothing about any increase. 
Then she had a week's sickness, and this 
brought her in debt to her landlady. 



126 



WHAT C\N SHE DO? 



Several times during her evening walks 
home Rose noticed a dork face and two vivid 
black eyes, that seemed watching her ; but 
«8 soon as observed the face vanished. It 
haunted her with its suggestion of some one 
seen before. 

She went back to her wotk too soon aftei 
ber illness, and had a relapse. Her respect- 
able landlady was a ^oman of system and 
rules. From long experience she foresaw 
that her poor lod^'er would only grow more 
and more deeply m her debt. Perhaps we 
€an hardly blame her. It was by no easy 
effort that she made ends meet as it was. 
She had an application for Rose's little room 
from one who gave more prospect of beine 
able to pay, so she quietly tola the poor gin 
to vacate. Rose pleaded to stay, but the 
woman was inexorable, she had passed 
through such scenes so often that they had 
become only one of the disagreeable phases of 

hfil* DII&1I168S 

" Why, child," she said, " if I did not live 
up to my rule in this respect, I'd soon be out 
of house and home myself. You can leave 
your things here till you find some other 
place." 

So poor Rose, weak through her sickness, 
more weak through terror, found herself out 
iii the streets of the great city, utterly 
penniless. She was so unfamiliar with it 
that she did not know where to go, nor to 
whom to apply. It was her purpose to find 
a cheaper boarding-hou«e. She wtnt down 
toward a meaner and poorer part of the city, 
and stopped at the low stoop of a house 
where there was a sign, " Rooms to let." 

She was about to enter, when a hand was 
laid sharply on her arm, and some one said : 

" Don't go there. Come with me.quick !" 

" Who are you ?" asked Rose, startled and 
trembling. 

" One who can help you now, whatever I 
am," was the answer. " I know you well, 
and all about you. You are Rose Lacey, and 
you did live in Push ton. Come with me, 
<iuick, and I will take you to a Christian 
la-ly whom you cuu trust. Come." 

Rose, in her trouble and perplexitv, con- 
cluded to follow her. They soon macfe their 
way to quite a respectable street, and rang 
Ihs bell at the door of a plain, coipfortable- 
apnearing house. 

A cheery, stout, middle-aged lady open- 
eiiecl it. She looked at Rose's new friend, 
and reproachfully shook her finger at her, 
sxjnng, 

•' Naughty Zell, why did you leave the 
Home ?" 

"Because I am possessed of a restless 
devil," was the strange answer. "Besides I 
oeu (lo more good in the streets than there. 



I have just saved her, " (pointing to Rose, 
who at once surmised that thii was Zell 
Allen, though so changed she would not Itave 
known her.) "Now," continued Zell, 
thrusting some monev into Rose's hand, 
" take this and go home at once. Tell 
her, Mrs. Ranger, that this city is no place 
for her." 

" If you have friends and a home to go to, 
it's the very best thing you can do,' said the 
lady. 

"But my friends are poor," sobbed Rose. 

"No matter, ao to them, "said Zell almost 
fiercely. "I teU you there is no place for 
you here, unless you wish to go to perdition. 
Go home, where you are known, scrub, 
delve, do anj'thing rather than stay here. 
Your big brother can and will take care of 
you, though he does look so cross. " 

" She is right, my child ; you had better 
go at once, " said the lady, decidedly. 

" Who are you ?" asked Rose of the latter 
speaker, with some curiosity. 

" I am a city missionAry," answered the 
ladv quietly, " and it is my business to help 
such poor girls as you are. I say to you 
from full knowledge, and in all sincerity, to 
home is the very best thing that you can 



'* But why is there not a chance for a poor, 
well-meaning girl to earn an honest living in 
this great city ?" 

" Thousands are earning such a living, 
but there is not one chance in a hundred 
for you. " 

" Why ?" asked Rose hotly. 

" Do you see all these houses ? They are 
all full of people, " continued Mrs. Ranger, 
" and some of them contain many families. 
In these families there are thonrands of girls 
who have a home, a shelter, and protectors 
here in the city. They have society in rela* 
tives and neighbours. They have no board 
to pay, and fathers and mothers, brothers 
and sisters helping support them. They 
put all their earnings into a common fund, 
and it supports the family. Buch girls can 
afford, and will work ior two, three, four, 
and five dollars a week. All that they earn 
makes the burden so much less on the 
father, who otherwise would have suppcurted 
them in idleness. Now, a Homeless stranger 
in the city must pay board, and therefore 
they can't compete with those who live here. 
Wages are kept too low;. Not one in a hun- 
dred, situated as you are, can earn enough to 
pay board and dress as they are required to 
in the fashionable stores'. Have yon been 
able ?" 

"No, "groaned Rose. "I am in debt to 
w" laudl.ivlv now, and I had some money to 
start with.** 









WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



127 



to Rom, 
was ZeU 

1 not liave 
led Zell, 
3*8 hand, 
re. TeU 
uo p]ac« 

I to go to, 
' said the 

bed Rose, 
ell almost 
place for 
perdition, 
m, scrub, 
itay here. 
I care of 

%d better 

the latter 

rered the 
3S to help 
ay to you 
cerity, to 
it you can 

or a poor, 
living in 

a living, 
hundred 



They are 
Ranger, 
families. 
is of girls 
Totectors 

in rela* 
no board 
brothers 
They 
ion fund, 
^rls can 
ee, four, 
hey earn 

on the 
upported 
stranger 
therefore 
ive here. 
1 a hun- 
nough to 
[uired to 
ou been 

debt to 
noney to 






*' There ib is,' said Mrs. Ranger, sadly, 
**the same old story." 

"But these stores ought to pay more," 
said Rose, indignantly. 

"Th^ -will only pay for labour, as for 
everything else, the market price, and that 
averages but six dollars a week, and more 
are working for from three to five than for 
six. Ab I told you, there are thousands of 
igirls living in the city glad to get a chance 
at any price. " 

Rose gave a weary, discouraged sigh and 
8:iid, " I fear you are righ^ I must go home. 
Indeed, after what has happened 1 hardly 
<lare stay." 

" Go, " said ZeU, "as if you were leaving 
Sodom, and don't look back." 'J?hen she 
asked with a wistful, hungry look, "Have 

you seen any of ?" She stopped, she 

could not speak the names of her kmdred. 

" Yes," said Rose gently. (Yesterday she 
•would have stood coldly aloof from Zell. To- 
-day she was very grateful and full of sym- 
pathy.) " I know they are well. They were 
all sick after— after you went away. " But 
i;hey got well again, and (lowering her voice) 
Edith prays for you night and day." 

♦' Oh, oh," sobbed Zell, "this is torment, 
this is to see the heaven I cannot enter, " and 
/ah« dashed away. 

"Poor child," said Mrs. Ranger, "there's 
an angel in her yet if I only knew how to 
bring it out. I may see her to-morrow, and 
I may not for weeks. Take the money she 
Heft with you, and here is some more. It 
may help her to think that she helped you, 
And now, my dear, let me see you safely on 
your way home. " 

That uic;ht the stage left Rose at the poor 
dilapidated little farm-house, and in her 
mother's close embrace she ielt the blessed- 
ness of the home shelter, however poor, and 
the protecting love of kindred,rhowever plain. 

" Arden is away," said the quiet woman of 
few words. "He is only home twice a 
month. He has a job of cutting and carting 
wood a good way from here. We are so 
ipoor this wini'er he had to take this chance. 
Your father is doins better. I hope for him, 
though with fear and trembling. " 

Then Rose told her mother her experience 
^nd how she had been saved by Zell, and 
;the poor woman clasped her daughter to her 
! breast aG:ain and agam, and with streaming 
• eyes raised toward heaven, poured out her 
; gratitude to Gk>d. 

"Rose, " said she, with a shudder, " if I had 
-not prayed so for you night and day, per- 
haps you would not have found such friends 
*in your time of need. Oh, let us both 
pray for that poor lost one, that she may be 
.eaved also." 



her,?' 



From tliis day forth Rose began to pray 
the true prayer of pity, and then tlie tnie 
prayer -«£. a personal faith. The rude, evil 
world had shown her her own and others' 
need, in a way that made her feel that she 
wanted the Heavenly Father's care. 

In other respects she took up her life 
for a time where she had left it a few months 
before. 

Edith was deeply moved at Rose's atory, 
and Zell's wild, wayward steps were fol- 
lowed by prayers, as by a throng of rciblaitn- 
ing angels. 

"I would BO and bring her home in a 
moment, if I only knew where to find 
said Edith. 

"Mrs. Ranger said she would write as 
soon as there was any chance of your doing 
so," said Rose. 

About the middle of January a letter 
came to Edith, as f )llows : •• 

"Miss Edith Allen.— Your sister, Zell, 

is in Bellevue Hospital, ward . 

Come quickly ; she is very ill. " 

Edith took the earliest train, and was 
soon following an attendant, with eager 
steps, down the long ward. They came to a 
dark-eyed girl that was evidently dying, 
and she closed her eyes with a chill of fear. 
A second glance showed that it was not 
Zell, and a little farther on she saw the 
face of her sister, but so changed. Oh, the 
havoc that sin and wretchedness had made 
in that beautii'ul creature during a few 
shoi-t months. She was in a state of un- 
conscious niuttering delirium, and Edith 
showered kisses on the poor, parched lips ; 
her tears fell like rain on the thin, flus led 

Jace. Zell suddenly cried, with the girlisli 

^'oice of old. 

" Hurrah, hurrah ! books to the shades j 
no more teachers and tyrants for me." 

She was living over the old life, with its 
old, fatal tendencies. 

."X, Edith sat down, and sobbed as if her 
heart would break. Unnoticed, a stout, 
elderly lady was regariiiug her with eyes 
wet with sympathy. As Edith's grief sub- 
sided somewhat she laid her hand on the 
poor girl's shoulder, saying : 

"My child, I feel very sorry for you. 
For some reason I can't pass on and leave 
you alone in your sorrow, though we aie 
total strangers. Your trouble tnves you a 
sacred claim upon me. What can I do for 
you?" 

Edith looked up through her tears, and 
saw a kind, motherly face, with a halo of 
gray curls around it. With a woman's 
intuition she trusted her instantly, and, 
with another rush of tears, said. 



V2S 



WKAT CAN SHE DO? 



p^*y^°, 



•' This is — my — poor, lost — sister — 
I've just found Iter. " 

" Ah I " said tlie lady signiBoauMy, <* Ood 
^ou both. " 

^ere it not — for Him, " sobbed Edith, 
with hor hand upon her aching heart, " I 
boliove — r woula die." 

The lady sat down by her, and took 
hei hand, saying, " I will stay with you, 
doar, till you feel better. '* 

Oradually and delicately she drew from 
Edith her story, and lier liurge heart yearned 
over the two girls in the sincerest sympatliy. 

" I was not personally acquainted with 
your father and mother, but I knew well 
who they were," she said. " And now, my 
child, you cannot remain here much longer ; 
whore are you going to staV ?" 

" I haven't thought." said Edith sadly. 

"I have," replied the lady heartily, "I 
am going to take you homo with me. We 
don t live very far away, and you can come 
and see your sister as often bs you choose, 
within tne limits of the rules." 

" Oh !" exclaimed Edith, deprecatingly, 
" I am not fit — I have no claim." 

•' My child, " said the lady gently, "don't 
you remember what our Master uaid, * I was 
a stranger and ye took me in.' IsHe«not 
fit to enter my house? Has, He no claim? 
In taking you home I am taking Him home, 
and 30 will be happy and honoured in your 
presence. Moreover, my d<. .tr, from what I 
have seen and heard, I am sure I shall love 
you for your own sake. " 

Edith looked at her through grateful tears, 
and said, " It has seemed to me that Jesus 
has been comforting me all the time through 
your lips. How beautiful Christianity is, 
when it is lived out. I will go to your hotile 
as if it were His." 

Then she turned and pressed a loving kiss 
on Zell's nnconsoious tace, but her wonder 
was passed words when the lady stooped 
down also, and kissed the " woman which 
was a sinner. " She seized her hand with 
both of hem and faltered, 

"You don't despise and shrink from her, 
then?" 

" Despise her I no," said the noble woman. 
" I have never been tempted as vhis poor 
child has. Qod does not despise her. What 
ami?" 

From that moment Edith oonid have 
kissed her feet, and feeling that God had 
sent his angel to take care of her, she fol- 
lowed the lady from the hospital. A plain 
but elegantly-liveried carriage was waiting, 
and they were driven rapidly to one of the 
stateliest palaces on Fifth avenue. As they 
crossed the marble thre^thold, the lady turned 
and said. 



" Pardon me, my dear, my name is Mrs. 
Hart. This is your home now as truly a* 
mine while you are with us, " and Edith was 
shown to a room replete with luxurious com- 
fort, and told to rest till th« six o'clock 
dinner. 

With some timidiirr and fear she oam» 
down to meet the others. As she entered 
she saw a portly man standing on tLe rug; 
before the glowing pate, with a shock of 
white hair, and a genial, kindly faoe. 

"My husband," said Mrs. Hart " thi» 
is our new friend, Miss Edith Allen. Yoa 
knew her father well in business, I am sure. ** 

"Of course J did," said the old 
gentleman, taking Edith's hand in both 
of his, "and a fine business man h» 
was, too. Yon are welcome to our home^ 
Miss Edith. Look here, mother, " he said» 
turning to his wife with a quizzical look, 
and still keeping hold of fidith's hand, 
" you didn't bring home an ' angel un» 
awares ' this time. I aay, wife, yon won* 
be jealous if I take a kiss now, wiU you — a 
sort of scriptoral kiss, you know.? " and h« 
gave Edith a hearty smack that broke thd ic» 
between them completely. 

With a face like a peony, Edith said 
earnestly, " I am sure the real angels throng 
your home. " 

" Hope they do," said Mr. Hart, cheerily. 
" My old lady there is the best one I have 
seen yet, but I am ready for all the rest. 
Here comes some of them, he added, as his 
daughters entered, and to each of tiiem h» 
gave a he«:ty kiss, counting, " one, two, 
tt}rce, four, five— now, * all present or ac- 
counted for ? ' " 

" Yes," said his wife, laughing. 

"Dinner, then," and i^ter the young 
ladies had greeted Edith most cordially, h» 

Save her his arm, as if she had been a 
uchess, and escorted her to the dining- 
room. After being seated, they bowed their 
heads in quiet reverence, and the old man, 
with the voice and manner of a child speak- 
ing to a* father, thanked Gk>d for his mercies, 
and invoked his blessing. 

The table-talk was genial and wholesome, 
with now and then a sparkle of wit, or ^ 
broad gleam of humour. 

" My goot^wife there, Misa Edith," said 
Mr. Hart, with a twinkle in his eye, " is » 
very sly old lady. If she does wear specta- 
cles, she sees with great discrimination, or 
else the world is growing so full of interest* 
ing saints and sinners, that I am quite in 
hopes of it. Every day she has a new story 
about some very good person, or some very 
bad person becoming good. If you go on 
this way much longer, mother, the millen* 



i 



WHAT CAN SHL DOf 



129 



Sf 



"thi» 
You 



man, 
speak- 
lercves, 



/'said 
"is a. 
[■pecta- 
ioiit or 
aterest- 
(uite in 
story 
ke very 
[go on 
Imillen* 



niiuui will commence before the Docton of 
Divinity are ready for it" 

" My dear,*' eaid Mra, Hart, with a pomio 
aside to Edith, ** my hueband haa never got 
over beinff a boy. When he will become 
old euoogn to aober down, I am sure I can't 
tell." 

" Wliat have I to aober mei with all these 
happy faces around* I would like to know ?" 
wati the hearty retort. "I am having a bet< 
ter time every day. and mean to go on so 
cui injinitum. YouTe a sood one to talk 
ttbottt sobering down, \nien you laugh 
more than any of these youngsters. ** 

''Well," said his wife, her substantial 
form quivering with merriment, " it's be< 
cause you make me. " 

During the meal Eidith had time to ob- 
serve the young ladies more closely. They 
were fine-looking, and one or two of them 
really beautiful. Two of them were in early 
girlhood yet, and there was not a vestige of 
the vanity and affectation often seen in uiose 
of their position. They evidently had wide 
<liversities of churacter, and faults, but there 
was the simplicity and sincerity about them 
whicU makes the difference between 
A chaste piece of marble and a painted 
block of wood. She saw about her a 
house as rich and costly in its appoint- 
ments as her own old home had been, out it 
was not so crowded or pronounced in its 
furnishing and decoration. There were 
fewer pictures; but finer ones ; and in all 
mnttcre of art, French taste was not pro- 
minent, as had been the case in her home. 

The next day she sat by unconscious Zell 
as long as was permitted, and wrote fully to 
L'uira. 

Tlift dark -eyed girl that seemed dying the 
day before, wvs gone. 

" l>iil she die ?" asked an attendant. 

•• Yos." 

•' What did they do with her ?" 

•• Buried her in Potter's Field." 

Edith shuddered. *• It would have been 
Zen's end," she thought, *• if I hadn't found 
her, and she died here alone. " 

That evening Mrs. Hart, as 
, in her own private parloui-, 
daughtorSj 

** Girls, away with you. I can't move a 
step without stumbling over one of you. 
You are always crowding into my sanctum, 
as if there was not an inoh of room for you 
anywhere else. Vanish, I want to talk to 
Edith." 

'• It's your own fault that we crowd in 
hero, mother," said the eldest. "You are 
the loadstone that draws us." 

*' J'H get a lot of stones to throw at you 
9 



they all sat 
said to her 



and drive yon out with," said the old lady, 
with mouk sererity. 

The youngest daughter precipitated her- 
self on her mother's neck, exclaiming, 

" Wouldn't that he fun, to see jelly 
old mother throwing stones at us. She 
should wrap them in oider-down first. " 

'• Scamper ; the whole bevy of you," 
said the old lady, laughing ; and Edith, with 
a sigh, contrasted this " mother's room" 
with the one which she and her sisten 
shunned as the place where their " teeth set 
on edire. " 

" My dear," said Mrs. Hart, her faoe be- 
coming grave and troubled, *' there is one 
thing m my Chri'itian work that disconrages 
me. We reclaim so few of the poor girls 
that have gone astray. I understood, from 
Mrs. Ranger, that your sister was at the 
Home, but that she left it. How can we 
accomplish more ? We do everything we 
ean for them. " 

" I don't think earthly remedies can meet 
their case, " said Edith, m a low tone. 

•• I agree with you," said Mrs. Hart, 
earnestly, *' but we do give them religiouii 
instruction. " 

" I don't think religious instruction is 
sufficient," Edith answered. *' They need 
a Saviour. " 

'* But we do tell tlieni about Jesus. " 

" Not always in ji way that they under- 
stand, I fear, said Edith, sadly. •' I have 
heard people tell about Him as they would 
about Socrates, or Moses, or Paul. We 
don't need facts about Him so much as Jesus 
Himself. In olden time people did not go 
to their sick and troubled friends and 
tell them that Jesus was in Capernaum, 
and that He was a great deliverer. 
They brought the poor, helpless crea- 
tures right to Him. Tney laid them right at 
the feet of a personal Saviour, and He help- 
ed theni. Do we do this ? I have thought 
a great deal about it, " continued Edith, 
" and it seems to me tliat more associate the 
ideas of duty, restraint, and almost impos- 
sible effort with Him, than the ideas of help 
and sympathy. It was so with me I know, 
at first. " 

" Perhaps you are riglit," said Mrs. Hart 
thoughtfully. " The poor creatures to whom 
I referred seem more afraid of God than any- 
thing else. " 

" And yet, of all that ever lived, Jesus, 
was the most tender toward them — the most 
ready to forgive and save. Believe ir.e, 
Mrs. Hart, there was more gospel in the kiss, 
you gave my sister — there was more of 
Jesus Chnst in it, than in all the sermons 
evei written, and I am sure that if she had 
been conscious, it would have saved her. 



1.10 



WHAT CAN SHK DO ? 



They muit, m il were, Jed tlt« hand of love 
and (Mi wo r that lifted Peter out uf the eo- 
giilHiig WAvee. The idea of duty aud ntunly 
Helf -reatraint ie perhape too auioh enmha- 
ized, whilo they, poor thin((ii, are weak oh 
water. They are so ' lott ' that He ma«t 
juttt'seek and save 'them, as he laid — lift 
thoin ap — keep them up almost iu spite of 
theiiiMlvee. baved— tluit i« the word, as 
the limp, helpless fonn is dragged out of 
danger. On acoount of my sister I have 
tbought a gooil deal a) tout this subject, and 
there seems to me to be no remedy for this 
tilasa, Huve in the merciful, patient, person- 
ul Saviour. He had wonderful power over 
them when he was qn CMM^h, and he wouhl 
liave the same now, if Uis people could 
make them uiylerstand Him." 

' ' I think few of us understand this per- 
sonal Saviour ourselves as we ouuht,"said 
Mrs. Hart, somewhat unveiltag her own 
experience. "The Romish Clmrch puts the 
Virgin, Saints, penances, and I know not 
what, between the sinner aud Jesus, and we 
put catechisms, doctrines, and a great 
mass of truth about them, between Him 
and us. I doubt whether many of us, like 
the 1)eIoved disciple, have leaned our beads 
4>u His heart of love, and felt its throbs. 
Too much of the time He seems in Heaven 
to me, not here." 

" I never had much religious instruction," 
said Edith, simply. "I found Him in the 
New Testament, as people of old found 
Him in Palestine, aud I went to him, just 
as I was, and He has been such a iViend 
and Helper. He lets me sit at His feet 
like Mary, and the words He spoke, seem 
said directly to poor little me. " 

Wistful tears came into Mrs. Hart's eyes, 
and she kissed Edith, saying : 

" I have been a Christian forty years, my 
child, but you are nearer to Him thwa I am. 
Stay close to His side. This talk has 
I lone me more good than I imagined possi- 
ble." 

"If I seem nearer," said Edith, gently, 
" isn't it perhaps, because I am weaker 
tli.an you are ? His ' sheep follow ' him, 
Imt isn't there some place iu the Bible about 
His 'carrying the lambs in His bosom '? I think 
wo shall filud at last that He was nearer to 
us all than we thought and that His arm of 
love was around us all the time. " 

In ^ sudden, strong impulse, Mrs. Hart 
embraced Edith, and, looking upward, ex- 
claimed : 

" Truly 'Thou hast hid those things from 
the wise and prudent, and hast revealed 
them unto babes. ' As my husband said, I 
am entertaining a good angel. " 

The physician gave Edith great encour- 



agement abput Zell, and told her Uiat in 
about two weeks he thought she might be 
moved. The feyer was taking a light form. 

One ovetling, kiter listening to some su- 
perb music from Annie, the second daugh- 
ter, between whom and Edith quite an 
nflRnity seemed to develope itself, the latter 
Haid : 

*• How finely you play. I think you are 
wonderful for an amatieur." 

" I am not an amateur, " replied Annii, 
laughing. " Music is my profession. " 

" I don't understand,'^ said Edith. 

'* Father has made me to study masio aa 
a science," explained Annie. '*I oonld 
teach it to-morrow. All of us girls are to 
hare a profession. Ella, my eldest sister, is 
studying drawing and painting. 'Here is a 
portfolio of her sketclies. " 

Even Edith's unskilled eyes could see that 
she had made great proficiency. 

" Ella could teach drawing and colouring 
at once," continued Annie, "for she has 
studied the rules and principles very care- 
fully, and given great attention to the rudi- 
ments of art, instead of having a teacher 
help her paint a few show picture*. But I 
know very little about it, for I haven't much 
taste that way. Father has us educated ac- 
cording to our tastes ; that is, if we show a 
little talent for any one thing, he has us to 
try to perfect ourselves in that one thins. 
Julia is the linguist, she oan jabber Frenon 
and (rerinau like a native. Father also in- 
sisted on our being tau(;ht the common Eng- 
lish branches veiy thoroughly, aud he sayH 
he could get us lutnations to teach within a 
month, if it were necessary. " * 

Edith sighed dt /y as she thought how 
superficial their education had been, out she 
said rather slyly to Annie, " But you are en- 
gaged. I think your husband will veto the 
music-teaching." 

" Oh, well,'' said Annie, laughing, " Wal- 
ter may fail, or get sick, or iomeuiing may 
happen. So you see wo wouldn't have to 
go to the poor-house. Besides, there's m 
sort of satisfaction in knowing one thing 
pretty well. But the half is not told you, 
and I suppose you will think father ana 
mother queer people ; indeed most of our 
friends do. For mother has had a 
milliner come to the house, and a dress-mak- 
er, and a liair-di^easer, and whatever we 
had any knack at she iiuule us loam well, 
some one thing, and some another. 
Wouldn't I like to dress your long hair, " 
continued the light-hearted girl, "I would 
make you so r)e witching that you would break 
a dozen hearts in one evening. Then mother 
has taught us how to make bread and cake, 
and preserves, aud cook, and Ella aud I 



WHAT CAN SHK DOf 



131 



UiAt in 
night be 
lit form, 
omu HU* 

tlaugh> 
[tiite an 
le Inttor 

you are 

Annii, 



amuo aa 
I conld 
Is are to 
■ister, ia 
HLere is a 

soe that 

soluuring 
she has 
ery care- 
bhe rudi- 
h teacher 
I. But I 
n't much 
oated ao- 
e Hhow a 
lati ns to 
ue thine. 
ir Frenon 
> also in- 
non Eng- 
L he sayH 
within a 

ig;ht how 
Dut she 
|u are en- 
veto the 

, "Wal- 
ling may 
have to 
there's * 
me thing 
told you, 
ther and 
of our 
had a' 
ess-mak- 
tever we 
rn well, 
another, 
ig hair," 
I would 
lid break 
u mother 
ad cake, 
11a and I 



I 



have to take turns in keeping house, and 
marketing, and keeping account of the livinu 
expenses. The rest of the girls are at school 
yet. Mother says she is not going to palm 
off any frauds in her daughters when they 
^et married ; and, if we only turn ont half an 
goo<l an Rhe is, onr husbands will be lucky 
men, if I do say it ; and if all of us dont get 
any, wu can \J!ke care of ourselves. fVither 
has been holdiuL' you qp as an example of 
wliHt a girl can no if nhe has to make her own 
way in the world." 

And the sprightly, but sensible, girl would 
linvu rattled on indefinibely, hail not Edith 
tK*<l to her room in an uncontrollable rusli of 



TOW 
n 



over the sud. Sftd, " It might havu 
Leon." .• r*' - "• ••'•■ 

One afternoon Annici came Into Edith h 
r<K in, aayinu, " I »m going to dress your hair 
-Yes I will, now don't say a worn I want 
t(j. We expect two or three friends in — one 
you'll be glad to see. No, I wont tell you 
who it is. It's a surprise." And 8 he flew 
at Edith's head, pulled out the hair-pins, and 
went to work with a dexterity and rapidity 
that did credit to her training. In a little 
while she ha<l crowned Eilith with nature'^ 
most eXqniHite coronet. 

A cloud i>{ cure seemed to rest on Mr. 
Hart's brow as they entered the dining-room, 
but he }>anished it instantly, and with the 
<iuaiut stately gallantly ot the old school, 
iiretended to be deeply smitten with KditiiM 
loveliness. And so lovely she appeared that 
their eyes continually returned, and rested 
4idniiringly on her, till at last the blushing 
^{irl remonstrated, 

•' You all keep looking at me so that I feel 
418 if I were the dessert, and you were going 
to eat me up pretty soon." 

" I speak for the biggest bite," cried Mr. 
Hart, and they laughed at her and petted her 
so that sh^ said ; 

''Ifeel as if I had known you all ten 
years." 

But ever and anon, Edith saw traces of the 
cloud of care that she had noticed at first. 
And so did Mrs. Hart, for she said : 

" You have been a little anxious about 
business lately. Is there anything new? " 

" No," said Mr. Hart, who, in contrast to 
Mr. Allen, talked business to his fanifly, 
" things are only growing a little worse. 
There nave been one or two bad failures to- 
<lay. The worst of it all is, there seems a 
general lack of confidence. No one knows 
what is going to happen. One feels as if in 
a thunder-shower. The lightning may strike 
him, and it may fall somewhere elae. But 
don't worry, good mother, I am safe as man 
can be. I have only got a million in my safe 
ready for an emergency." 



Tl»e wife knew just where her husband 
utood that niuht. 

At nine o'clock, Edith wastalking earnestly 
with Mrs. Hanger, whom she had pxprrssed 
a wish to see. There were a few other peo- 
pie present of the very highest social ntund- 
ing, and intimate friends of the family, for 
iier kind entertainers would not expnue her 
to any strange and unsympathetic eyes. 
Annie was Hitting alKHit, the very spirit of 
innocent mischief an<l match-makmg, gloat- 
ing over the pleasure she expected to jrive 
Edith. 

The bell rang, and a moment later she 
marshalled in (Jn« Elliot, as handsome ami 
exquisitely dressed as ever. He was as 
much in the dark as to whom he should nee 
as Edith. Some one had told Annie of Ids 
fonner devoted ness to E<1ith, and so she in- 
nocently meant to do lioth a kindness. 
Having a slight acquaintance with Elliot as 
a general society man, she invited liiuj tJiia 
evening to " meet an old friend. " He gladly 
accepted, feeling it a great honour to visit at 
the Bart'a. 

He saw Edith a moment before she ob- 
served him, and lia<l time to note her ex- 
quisite beauty. But he turned paL with 
fear and anxiety in regard to his reception. 

Then she raised her eyes and saw him. 
The blood rushed in a hot torrent to her 
face, and then left it in extreme pallor. <iua 
advanced with all the ease and grace that h© 
could command under the circuniHtftnces,and 
held out his hand. " She cannot refer to 
the past here before them all," he thought. 

But Fldith rose slowly, ami fixed her large 
eyes, that glowed like coala of fire, stendy 
upon him, and put her hand behind her 
b.-vck. 

All held their breath in awe-struck ex- 
pectation. She seemed to see only him and 
the past, and to forgot all the rest. 

•* No, sir," she said, in a low, deep voice, 
that curdled Gus' blood, " I cannot tiike 
your hand. I might in pity, if you were iu 
the depths of poverty and trouole, as I have 
been, but not nere ai>d thus. Do you know 
where my sister \h ? " 

'• No," faltered Gua, his knees trembling 
under him. 

" She is in Belle vue Hospital. A poor girl 
was cari'ied from thence to Potter's Reld a 
few clay's hiuce. And," continued Edith, 
with her face darkening like night, and her 
tone deepening till it sent a thrill of dread to 
the hearts of all present, " in Potter's Field 
/ mieht now have been had I listened to 

you." 

Gua trembled before her in a way that 
plainly confirmed her words. 
With a grand dignity she turned to Mrs, 



132 



WHAT CAN SHE DO? 



Hart, saying, " Please excuse my absence; I 
cannot breathe the same air with him, " and 
she was about to sweep from the parlour like 
an incensed ffoddess, when Mr. Hart sprang 
up, his eyes blazing with anger, and putting 
his arm around Edith, said sternly : 

" I would shield this dear girl as my own 
daughter. Leave this house, and never cross 
my thr^ahold again." 

Gus sUmk away without a word. As the 
guilty will be at last, he was " speechless." 
So, in a moment, when least expecting it, he 
fell from his heaven, which was society ; 
for the Mews of his baseness spread like wild- 
fire, ami within a week every respectable 
door was closed against him. 

Is it cynical to say that the well-known 
and widely-honoured Mr. Hart, in closing 
his door, had influence as well as Gus' sin, 
leadii.,; some to close their 's? Motives in 
society are a little mixed, sometimes. 

Mr. Hart went down town the next morn- 
ing, a little anxious, it is true, on general 
principles, but not in the least apprehensive 
of any disaster. " I may liave to pay out a 
feAv hundred thourand," he thougnt, " but 
Shat won't trouble me. " 

But the bolt of financial suspicion was di- 
rected toward him ; how, he could not tell. 
Within half an hour after opening, cheques 
for twelve hundred thousand were presented 
at his counter. JELe telegraphed to nis wife, 
"A run upon me." Later, "Danger!" 
Then came the words to the up-town palace, 
"Have suspended!'^ In the afternoon, 
" The storm will sweep me bare, but cour- 
age, God, and our right hands, will make a 
place and a way for us. " 

The business community sympathized 
deeply with Mr. Hart. 'Hard, cool men of 
Wall street came in, and, with eyes moist 
with sympathy, wrung his hand. He stood 
ip through the wild tumult, calm, dignified, 
heroic, because conscious of rectitude. 

" The shrinkage in securities will be great 
I fear," he said, " but I think my assets will 
cover all liabilities. We will give up every- 
thing." 

When hfc <jame up home in the evening, he 
looked worii, and much older than in the 
morning, but his wife and daughters seemed 
to envelope him in au atmosphere of love and 
sympathy. They were so strong, cheerful, 
hopeful, that they infused their courage into 
liim. Annie ran to the piano, and played as 
if inspired, saying to her father : 

" Let every note tell you that we can cave 
for ourselves, and you and mother too, if 
necessary." 

The words were prophetic. The strain 
had been too great on Mr. Hart. That night 
he Lad a stroke of paralysis and became 



heli^ecs. But he had trained his daughters 
to be the very reverse of helpless, and they 
did take care of him with the most devoted 
, love aad skiUed practioal energy, making 
the weak, bi-ief rempant of his life not a 
I burden, but a peaceful evening after a glor- 
ious day. They all except the youngest, 
soon found employment, for they brought 
superior skill and knowledge to the labour 
market and stich are ever in demand. An- 
nie soon maiTied happily, and her yoimger 
sisters eventually followed her example, but 
Ella, the eldest, remained single ; and, 
though she never became eminent as an 
artis^ did liecome a very useful and respect 
ed teacher of art, as studied in our schools 
as a refining accomplishment. 

To return to Edith, she felt for her kind 
friends almost as much as if she were one of 
the family. 

" Do not feel that you must go away be- 
cause of what has happened, " said Mrs. 
Hart. " I am glad to have you with us, for 
you do OS aU good, indeed, you seem one 
of us. Stay as long as you can, dear, and 
God help us both to bear our burdens." 
* "Dear, * heavy-laden ' Mrs. Hart," said 
Edith. " Jesus will bear the burdens for 
us, if we will let Him. " 

" Bless you child, I am sure He sent you 
to me. " 

As Edith entered the Vard that day, 
the attendant said, " She's herself. Miss, at 
last." 

Edith stole noiselessly to Zell's cot ; she 
was sleeping. Edith sat down silently an<l 
watched for waking. At last she opened her 
eyes and glanced fearfully around. Then 
she saw Edith, and instantly shrank and 
cowered as if expecting a blow. 

"Zell,"sud Edith, taking the poor, thin 
hand, " O^ell, don't you know me ? " 

" What are you going to do with me ? " 
sked Zell, in a voice full of dread. 

" Take you to my home — take you to my 
heart -take you deeper into my love than 
ever before. " 

"Edith," said ZeH, almost cowering 
before her words as if ihey hurt her. "I 
am not fit to go home. " 

*'0 Zell, darliug,"8aid Edith, tenderly, 
" God's love does not keep a debit and 
credit account with us, neither should we with 
each other. Can't you see that I love you ? " 
and she showered kisses on her sister's now 
pallid face. 

But Zell acted as if they were a source 
of pain to her, and she muttered, *'You 
don't know, you can't know. Don't speak 
of God to me, I fear Him unspeakably. ' 

"I do know all," said Edith, earnestly, 
"and I love you more fondly than ever I 



flion' 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



133 



lauffhten 
aaa they 
i devoted 
, makinfg 
life not a 
er a glor- 
roungestt 

brought 
he labour 
ad. An- 

younffcr 
iple, bat 
ie ; and, 
it as an 
1 respect-' 
r Bchuols 

her kind 
ire one of 

away be. 
aid Mrs. 
th us, for 
seem one 
iear, and 
ins. " 

Eirt," said 
irdens for 

sent you 

;hat day, 
Miss, at 

cot ; she 
ntly an«l 
)ened her 
Then 
rank and 

)oov, thill 

ith me ? " 

m to my 
love than 

cowering 
her. " I 

tenderly, 
debit and 
d we with 
e you ? " 
|«r's now 

a source 
d, "You 
)n't speak 
bly.'^ 
jamestly, 
lan ever I 



i 



■Jid before, and God knows and loves you 
more still." 

"Iteli you, you don't know, " said Zell, 
^most fiercely. *' Tou can't know. If you 
<Iid, you w'jura spit od me and leave me for 
•«ver. Qod Imows, and he hasi doomed me 
to hell, Editili," she added, in a hoarse 
-whisper. "I killed him — you know who ; 
and I promised that after I got old and 
ugly I would come and tonneni him for 
ever. I must keep my promise. ** 

Edith wept bitterly. This was worse 
than delirium. She saw that her sieter'a 
nature w» \iO bruised and perverted^ so 
warped that it almost amoontea id inaanitv. 
She slowly rallied back into physical strength, 
but ber lie^fic cheek and ilight cough in- 
dicated the commencement of oonsumption. 
Her mind remained in the same unnatural 
condition, and she kept saying to Edith, 
"You don t k&ow anything alxmtitalL 
You can't know." Shewonldnot see Mrs. 
Hart, and only agi-eed to go home with 
Edith (m condition tiiat no one should see 
or speak with her outside the family. 

At last the day of departure oame. Mrs. 
Hart said: "You sliall take her to the 
«lepot ia my carriage. I will be among its 
last and best uses. 

Edith kissed her friend good>bye, say- 
ing, "Qod will send his onariot for you 
some day^ and thoagh you must leave this, 
your boatitifvl borne, if you could onl^ have 
a glimpse into the Muision, prepanng for 
you up itheror, anticipation would almost 
iMtnish all thoaghts of present loss." 

"Well, dear," snid Mrs. Hart, with 
her old hnmour, "I hope your 'Man- 
flion ' wiU be next door, for I shaU want to 
seeyou often throagh aQ eternity. " 

Then Edith knelt before Mr. Hart's chair, 
and the old man's helpliess hands were lifted 
upon her head, and he Icioked to Heavni lor 
the blessing he could not speak. 

" Our ways diverge now, but they will all 
meet again. Home is near to you," she 
whisperad an bis ear as she kissed him good> 
bye. 

The old glad light shone in bis eyes, the 
cbeery smile flitted across his lips, and thus 
ehe left him who had been the fpn&ij, rich 
banker, serene, happy) and ridi m a faith 
that could not be lost in any financial storm, 
or destroyed by disease, or enfeebled by age, 
she left bim waiting as a litlla child to go 
iwme. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 



ElilTH 8 G2;SAT TEMPTATION. 



Though even Mrs. Allen was tearful and 
kind in her greeting, and Laura warm and 
affectionate in the extreme, old Hannibal's 
welcome, so frank, genuine, and inixtcent, 
seemed to soften ZeU mjre than any one's 
else. 

" You poor, heavenly -minded old fool," 
she said, with an unwonted tear in her eye, 
" you don't know any better. " 

Then she seemed to settle down into a 
dreamy i^thy ; to sit moping around in 
^ladowy places. She had a norror of meet- 
ing any one, even Mrs Lacey and Rose, and 
would not go out till after night. Etlith saw, 
more and more clearly, that she w«s almost 
insane in ber shame and despair, and that 
she would be a terrible burden to them ^1 if 
she remained in such a condition ; but her 
lore and patience did not fail. It would, 
had it not been- daily fed from heavenly 
sources. " I must try to show her Jesus' 
love through mine, " she thought. 

Poor Edith, the ^[reat temptation of her 
life was sooc to assail her. It was aimed at 
her weakest yet noblest side, her young 
enthusiasm and spirit of self-sacrifice for 
others. And yet it was but the natural 
fruit of woman's helplessness and Mrs. 
Allen's policy of marrying one's way out of 
poverty and difficulty. 

Simon Crowl had ostensibly madeavery fair 
transaction with Edith, but Simon Crowl 
was a widower at the time, and on the look- 
out for a wife. He was a pretty shaip 
business-man. Growl ^as, or he wouldn't 
have become so rich in little Piishton, and 
he at once was satisfied that Edith, so beau- 
tiful^ no sensible, would answer. Through 
the mortgage he might capture her, as it 
were, for even his vanity did not promise 
him much success in thb ordinary ways of 
love-making. So the spider spun his web, 
and unconscious Eklith was tha poor little 
fly. During the summer he watched her 
closely* but frran a distance. During the 
autumn and winter he commenced calUng, 
ostensibly on Mrs. Allen, whom he at once 
managed to impress with the fact that he 
was very rich. When he brushed up bis best 
coat and manners, that delicately-nosed lady 
scented an air aind manner very different 
from what she had been accustomed to, but 
she was half-dead with ennui, and, after all, 
there was something akin between worldly 
Mrs. Allen and wowdly Mr. Growl Then, 
he was very rich. This had covered a multi- 
tude of sins on the Avenue. But, in the 
miserable poverty of Pu8hton,it was a golden 



- .~. . ^. 



\ 



134 



WHAT CA.N SHE DO? 



niantle of light. Mrs. Alien chafed at priva- 
tiou and want of delicacies, with the increas- 
ing persistency of an utterly weak and selfish 
nature; She hadn^'&ith ki Edith's plans, 
and no faith in idrmnan's. i workings ana the 
gardon seemed thai wildest dream of alL Her 
hard, narrow logics constantly dinned into 
her ears, discouraged Edith, and she began 
to doubt herself. 

Mr. Crowl (timid lover) bad in Edith's ab- 
sence confirmed his prerrious hints, throwoi' 
out to Mrs. Allen as fetieTB, by making a 
definite proposition. In brief, he had offeited 
to settle twenty -five thousand dollar on 
Edith the day she married him, and to take 
care of the rest of thfe family. 

" I have made enough,*^ he said majesti* 
cally, " to live the rest of my life like a 
gentleman, and this offer is princely, if I say 
it myself. You can all ride in your carriage 
again. " Then he added, with his little bladk 
eyes growing havd and cunning, "If your 
tlaughter won't accept my generosity, our 
ralationship becomes merely one of business. 
Of course I will for^^lose. Money is scarce 
here, and I will probably be able to buy in 
the place at half its worth. • Seems to me, " 
he concluded, lookim; at the case from his 
valuation of money, *'thei*e is not much 
room for choice here. " ■ 

And Mr. Growl had been princely-^-for 
him. Mrs. Alien thought so too, ai^ leht 
herself to the scheme with all the persistent 
energy that she could show in these matters. 
But, to do her justice, she tesUy thought 
she was doing what was best for Edith and 
them alt She was acting in accordance with 
her life-long principle of prdvidiag for her 
family, in the one way she believed in and 
nndetstood. But sincerity and singleness of 
purpose made her all the mora dangerous • 
temper. 

In oue of Edith's most discouraged moods 
she broached the subject, and e;cplained Mr. 
Growl's offer, for he, prudent man, had left 
it to her. ' ; 

Edith started violently, - and the whole 
thing w. .s BO revolting to her that she fled 
from the room. But Mrs. Allen, with her 
small pertinacity, kept recurring to it at 
every opportunity. Though it may se^n a 
little stranige, her mother's action did not so 
shock Ed^ as some might expect, nor did 
even the propositi<m seem so impossible as 
it might to some girls. She had been so ac« 
customed, through her mother, to the idea 
of mafrying for money all her life, and we 
can get useid to about everything. 

In March their mon*y was very low. Go* 
ing to Zell and taking care of her had in- 
vwved much additional expense. She found 
out that her mother had already accepted 



and used in part a loan of fifty dollars fromi 
Mr. Growl. Laura, from the long confine- 
ment of the winter^ and from living on fare- 
too coarse and lacking in nutrition for her 
delicate organization^ iwas' growing very 
feeble. ZeU seemed iu the firstistages of 
consumption, and wduld sooik be a sick,, 
helplesa busden. The chill o£ dread grew 
stronger in Edith's heart., i !>:,, // 

" Oh, can it be possible tha« I shall be 
driven to it ?" she groaned ; and ahe now 
saw, aa poor Loutoa said, "4he black bandiu 
the daifcpushingi her down." To her sur- 
her thoughts kept reverting to Ardeu 




hat will he think of me if Idott^s?"^ 
she tiiought with int use bitterness. "He 
will tell me I was not worthy of his ; friend- 
ship, much lesa of his love — that I dcK^ived 
him ;" and the thou^t of Arden, after all, 
perhaps, had the most iitreight in restraining . 
her from the fatal step. For then, to.;heri 
perverted aense of dul^y, this . marriage bto>^ 
gan to seem like a heroic self-sacrifice. . 

She had seen little of Arden since her re- 
turn. He was kit^d and respectful as ever, 
outwardly^ Imt she saw in his deep blue eyes- 
that she was the divinity tlmt he still woe-': 
shipped with tmfaltering devotion^ and las. 
she odde' smiled at tiie idea of being set 
up as an idol in his heaiHt, she now ber 
gan to dread falling from heif p^estal un-/ 
speakably^ i 

One di-eary day, the last of Maricih, wheni 
sleet and rain were pouring steadil^ down, 
and.LaurarWtas sidk in her bed, and Zell 
mo^big with her' hlaeking o(mgh over the- 
firoj imh HaAmbal in the kitchaiw Mrs.. 
Allen turned tsaddeidy to Edith, and said : 

*' On^some sutih dvf- we will all be tuiftied: 
into the street. Yob could save u(!,r you. 
could save yourself, by taldng a kind, 
rich man for your lawful husband ; but yovi 
wonH." 

Then Satao^ who is always on hand when 
we are weakest, quoted Scripture to ^idith 
as he did once before. The words flashed 
into her ndnd, "He saved otiierst.ihiinaelf 
he cannot save." 

In a wild, mingled moment of enthusiasm 
and desperation^ she sprang up before her 
mother, and said, "If I ean't pay the inter- 
est on the mortgage — ^if I can't take care 
of you all by some kind of work, I will 
marry him. But if you have a spark of love 
for me, save, economize, try to think of some 
other way. " 

Mrs. Allen smiled triumphantly, and tried 
in her gratitude tc embrace her daughter, 
saying, " A kind husband will soon lift all 
burdens off your shoulders. " The burden 
on the heart Mrs. Allen did not understand. 






WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



13.1 



. K 



I 



bat Edith fled from her to her own room. 

In a little while her excitemept and eu-> 
tl^oaiaam died ^way, and life began to loqk 
gaunt and bare. Even her Saviour a faCe 

■^med I)l4<^^^> ^^*^ B^^ ^^^7 saw an ugly 
up^ctr© i^, the future — Simou Crowl. 

In vjMux she repeated to herself, " ?le sfujri- 
ficea Hlmaelf for others — 90 will I." The 
nature tliat He had given Her revolted at it 
all, an4 ^)^ugh she could not understand it, 
she began, to find a jarring disqoird bel^W^en 
heraelf «i;id all things. . ' ,,"'".,' ■ « 

Miiii. Alien told Jdr. Crowl of her 8ucc(^, 
and he Wked upon tilings as settled. He 
came to l^e houae quite often, but did not 
stay^ Ipogior assume any ffuiuUarity with 
Edith. JSe was a wary old spider; and 
undec Iilrs. Allen's hints, behavea and look- 
ed very respectably. Her certainly did the 
best l^e could not to appear hideous to Edith, 
wb9,f»>mpelled herself to treat him civilly, 
tbougl^ sne was very cold, and perhaps many 
mignt have considered Edith's chance a very 
good one. 

But Edith, with an almost desperate en- 
ergy, set her mind at work to find some 
oluef: way out of her desperate straits. But 
everything seemed agamst her. Mr. Mc- 
Truiup was sick with mflammatory rheuma- 
tism. Mrs. Qroody was away, and would 
not be bick till the last of May. On account 
of Anlen sl^e could not speak to Mrs. Lacey. 
She tried in vain to get work, but at that 
season there was nothing in Pushton which 
she could de. Fanners were beginning to 
get out a little oh their wet lan^ sod yat- 
touB out-of-door activities to revive »fter the 
winter stagnation. Moreover, mdney was 
very scarce at that season of the year. She 
at last turned to the garden ■■ hdr 007 re- 
source. She realized that she iwe ecaraeir 
money enough to carry them through May. 
Could she get returns from her garden in 
time? Cduld it be made to yield enough to 
support l^em ? With an almcrat desperate 
energy she worked in it whenever the 
weather permitted through April, and kept 
Hannibfu at it also. Indeed, she had little 
mercy on the old man, and he wondered at 
her. One day he ventured : 

**MissE4ie, you jes done kill us both," 
but his wonder increAeed as she muttered : 

"Perhaps it \t*Ould be the best thing for 
both. " Th*n, seeing his panic-stricken face, 
she added more kindly, "HannibftI, our 
money is getting low, and the garden is our 
only chance." 

After that he worked patiently without 
A word and without a thought of sparing 
himself. 

Edith insisted on the closest economy in 
the house, though she was too sensible to 



stint herself in fooc'l in view of her con- 
stant toil. Bu'i; one day she detected 
Mrs. Allen with Iier sinall cunning and 
determination to carry her ptnnt, practising 
a little wastefulness. Edith turned on her 
with such a fiiorceness that she never dsred 
repeat the act. Indeed, Edith was becoming 
very much what she Was before ZMl ran 
away, only in addition tbwe was something 
akin, at tmies, to Zell's own hardness and 
reiiklessness, and one day she said to Edith : 

" What is th6 matter ? You are becoming 
like me** 

Edith fled to her room, and sobbed and 
cried ahd tried to pray till her strength was 
gone. The sweet trust and peace she once 
enjoyed seemed Jike 9, past dream. She was 
learning by bitter experience that it can 
never be right to do wrong, Mid that a false 
step at first, like a false pi'emise, leads to sad 
conclusions. 

She had insisted that her mother should 
not speak of the rti4tter till it became ab- 
solutely necessary, therefore Laura, Zell, 
and none of her hiends could understaml 
her. 

Arden was the most puzzled and pained 
of, all, for she shrank from him with in- 
c^ating dread. He was now back at hid 
farm work, though he said to Eldith one day 
despondently that he had no heart to work, 
for the mortgage on their place would 

f>robably be foreclosed in the Fall. She 
onged to tell him how she was situated, but 
she saw he was unable to help her, and she 
sff^Aojod to see the scorn come into his 
trusting, loving eyes ; she could not endure 
ntd ftlsKMHts (ommdenoe in her, and in his 
preaeaoe her neart aohed as if it would 
BO MM> ■ttanneii mtm lill he grew ve* } 



iere's something wrMig ; ime irnds 1 
am not congenial. I shall lose her friend- 
ship, " and his aching heart also admitted, as 
never before, how '^ear it was to him. 

Nature was awakening with the rapture of 
another Spring ; birds were coming back to 
old hamils with ecstatic songs ; flowers 
budding into their brief but exquisite life, 
aud the trees aglow with fragrant prophecies 
of fruit ; but a Winter of fear and doubt was 
chilling these two hearts into sometliing far 
worse than Nature's seeming death. « 

CHAPTER XXXIV. ..-, ix.ra 

SATEO. 

Edith's efforts still to help Zell to better 
things were very pathetic, considering how 
unhappy and tempted she was herself. She 
did try, even when her own heart was break- 



136 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



ing, to bring peace ^nd hope to the poor 
creature, but «he WM taught how vain her 
<effort8 were, in her present mood» by Zell's 
saying, aharply, 

" Piiysiuiap, heal thyself.",,!,,,,,. 

Though Zell did not uuderaiw^d Edith, she 
saw that she was almost as unhappy as her- 
self, and she had lost hope in everybody and 
everything. Though she had not admitted , 
it, Eilith's words aud kindnfUH at first had 
excited her wonder, , and, perhaps, a faint 
glimmer of hope ; but, as she saw her sister's 
tace cloud with care, and darken with pain 
Hnd fear, she said bitterly, 

* ' ^hy did she talk with me so ? It. was 
all a delusion. What is Clod doing for her 
any more than for me?" 

But, in order to give Zell occupation, and 
something to think about bende herself, 
Edith had induced her to take charge of the 
flowers in the uarden. 

'* They wonx grow toe me," Zell had said 
at first. " They will wither when I look at 
them, and white blossoms will turn black as 
1 bend over them.*' 

" Nonsense," said Edith, with irritation, 
" won't you do anything to help me?" 

" Qh, certainly, " wearily answered Zell. 
" I will do the work just ims you tell me. If 
they do di^ it dont matter. We can't eat 
or sell them." So Zell began to take care of 
the flowers, doii^ the work in a stealthy 
manner, and hiding when anyone came. 

The montii of May was unusnally warm, 
and Edith was glad, for it would hasten 
things forward. That upon which she now 
bent almost agonized effort and thought was 
the possibility of paying the interest on the 
mortgage by the middle of Jane, when it 
was due. All hope concentrated on her 
strawberries, as they would be the first crop 
worth mentioning <]that she could depend on 
from her place. She gave the plants the 
most careful attention. Not a weed was 
su£fered to grow, and between the rows she 
placed carefully, with her own hands, leayes 
she raked up in the orchard, so that the 
ground might be kept moist and tiie fruit 
clean. Almost every hour in the day her 
eyes sought the strawberry bed, as the source 
of her hope. If that failed her, no bleeding 
human sa!orifice in all the cruel past could 
surpass the agony of her £ate. 

The vines commenced blossoming with 
great promise, and at first she almost 
counted them in her eager expectation. 
Then the long rows looked like litt'e 
banks of snow, and she exulted over the 
prospect. Laura was once about to pick one 
of the blossoms, but she stopped her ahuost 
fiercely. She would get up in the night, aiul 
stand gazing at the lines of white, as she 



could tracto them, in the darknesa acros*t th« 
garden. So the days passed on till the last 
of May, and the blossoms grew smatt(iring, 
bui there were multitudes «4 little green 
berries, from the size of a pes to that of her 
thimble, and scnne of them began to haVe a 
white look. She watched them develope so 
minutely that she could have almost denned 
the progress day by dav. Once Zell looked 
at hei: wonderingly, and said : 

"Edith, you are crazy over that straw- 
berry bed. 1 believe you worship it.'* 

For a time Edith's hopes lally rose higher 
as the vines gave finer ptt>mise, but during 
the last week of May a new and terrible 
source of danger revealed itself, a danger 
that she knew iiot how to cope with — drowth« 

It had not rained since the middle of May. 
Sl^e saw that man^ of h6r young and te&dW 
vegetables were wilting, but the strawbeiries, 
covered witli leaves, did not appear to mind 
it at firstb But she knew they wt)ald (nShv 
soon, unless there was rain. Most anxiously 
she watched the skies. Their sereneness 
mocked her when she was so clouded with 
care. Wild storms would be better than 
these balmy simny days. 

The first of June came, the second, third, 
and fourth, and here and there a berrv was 
turning red, but the vines were beginning to 
wilt. The suspense became so ^reat she 
could hardly endure it. Her faitli in God 
began to waver. Every breath almost was a 
prayer for rain, but the sunny days passed 
like mocking smiles. 

"Is there a God ?" she (queried desperately. 
" Can I have been deceived in all my past 
happy experience ?" She shuddered at the 
answer that thd tempter suggested, and yet, 
like a droMming man, she tried to cling to her 
faith. 

During the long evenings, she and Hanni- 
bal thought to save the bed by canying 
water from the well, but they could do so 
little, it only seemed to show theni how ut- 
terly dependent they were on the natural 
rain from heaven ; but the skies seemed 
lau^iingat her paiii^ and fear. Moreover, 
she noticed that tnosie they watered appeared 
injured rather than helped, as is ever the 
case where it is insufficiently done, and she 
saw that she must helplessly waic 

Arden Lacey had been away for a week, 
and, returning in the dusk of the evening, 
sa^ h^r at work watering, before slie had 
come to this conclusion. His heart was 
hungrv, even for the sight of her, and he 
longed for her to let him stop for a little 
chat as of old. So he said, timidly, 

"Good evening. Miss Allen, haven't you 
a word to welcome me back with ?" 

"Oh !" cried Edith, not heeding his salu- 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



m 



tation, "why don't it rain? I shall lose 
iJl my itrawberrieB." 

HiiToioe jaihwdtiponher heart, now too fpll, 
and she ran into the house to hide herfeeU 
ings, and left him. Bveii the thought of 
him now, in Iter morbid state beg;tn to pierce 
her like a fword. 

' ' 8he thinks mora of her pf^Itry strawberry 
1>ed than of me,** muttered Arden, and ho 
stidked angrily hcnneward. " What is the 
matter with Miss Allen?" he asked his mo- 
i;her ahrsptl^. ** I don't understand her. " 

"Nor I eitiier," said Mrs. Laoey witii a 
si^h. 

The next morning was very warm, uid 
Edith saw that the day would be better than 
■any that preceded. A dry wind sprang up 
■an<i it seemed worse than the sun. The 
vines beean to wither early after the cool- 
ness of the night, and those she had watered 
■suffered the most, and seemed to say to her 
:moekingly. 

" You can't do anything." 

"O heaven," cried Edith, almost in des- 
jMur, "there is a black huid pushing me 
■down." 

In an excited, feverish manner she roamed 
restlessly around and oould settle doWn to 
nothing. She sosnned the horizon for a 
cloud, at tiie shipv Hiked might for a 
«aiL 

" Edie, ^at is the matter ?" said Laura, 
putting her arms about her sistor. 

" It won't rain, " said Edith, bursting into 
tears. " My home, my happiness, every- 
;thing depends on rain, and look at these 
skies." 

" But won't He send it ?*' asked Laura, 



*^^^, 



lydontHe, then?" said Bdith, al- 
•most in irritation. Then, in a sudden pas- 
■ion of grief, she hid her foa« in her sister's 
lap, and sobbed^ '*0h, Laura, Lanra, I feel 
I am losing my faitii in JBte. Why does 
He treat me sor** - •■-' ■^•'''^ ^'-'' ^ -'^ ■" 

Here Laura's hek '^mw ^ronbled and fear- 
ful also. Her faith in Ohrist was blended 
with hear faith tiiat she could not separate 
them in a moment. "I dont understand it, 
Edie," she faltered. '*He sebms to have^ 
taken care of me, and has been very kind 
since that>4liat night. But I don't under- 
stand year feeing so." 

" Oh, oh, oh P' sobbed Bdith, " I don't 
know what to think — what to beUeve ; and 
I fearl shiJl hurt ^m faith," and She shut 
herself up iahwroom, and looked despair- 
ingly out to \diere the vines were drooping 
in the fierte heat. 

" If they don't get help to-day, my hopes 
will wither like their leaves, " she said, ynih 
pallid lips. 



As the sun declined in the west, she went 
out and stood beside them, as one might by 
a dying friend. Her fresh voung face seem- 
ed almost growing seed and wrinkled under 
the ordeal. She naa prayed that afternoon, 
ai never before in her life, for help, and now, 
with a despairing gesture upward, she 
said : 

" Look at that brazen sky !" 

But the noise of the opening gate caused 
her to look thither, ana there was Arden 
entering, with greiat barrel on wheels, which 
^^as drawn by a horse. His heart, 
so weak toward her, had relented dur- 
ing the day. " I vowed to serve her, and I 
will," he thought. " I will be her slave, if 
she will permit, " 

Edith did not understand at first, and he 
came toward her so humbly, as if to ask a 
great favour, that it woulu have been comic, 
had not his sincerity made it pathetic, 

" Miss Allen,' he said, "I saw yon trying 
to water your berries ; perhaps I can do it 
better, as I have here the means of working 
on a larger scale. " 

Edith seized his hand and said, with 
tears : 

" You are Uke an angel of light ; how can 
I thank you enough ? " 

Her manner puzzled him to-night quite as 
much as on the previous occasion. •* Why 
does she act as if her life depended on these 
few berries ? " he vainly asked himself. 
" They can't be so poor as to be in utter 
want. I wish she would speak frankly 
tome," 

In her case, as in thousands of others, it 
would have been so muuh better if she had. 

Then Edith said, a little dubiously, " I 
hurt the vines when I tried to water them. " 

" I know enough about gardening to 
understand that, " said Arden, with a smile. 
V If the ground is not thoroughly soaked it 
does hurt them. But see, " and he poured 
the water around the vines till the dry leaves 
swam in it. " That will last two days, and 
then I will water these again. I dan go over 
half the bed thoroughly one night, and the 
other fialf the next ni^ht ; and so we will 
keep them along till raifa copies." 

She looked at him as if he were a messen- 
ger come to release her fr6m a dungeon, and 
murmured, in a low, sweet voice : 

" Mr. Lacey, you are as kind as a brother 
tome." 

A warm flush of plea&ure mantled his face 
and neck, and he turned away to hide hi» 
feelings, but said : 

" Miss Edith, thir. is nothing to what I 
would do for you. " 

She had it on her lips to tell him how sh e 
was situated, but he hastened away to fill 






n . 



138 



WHAT CAN SHi: DO? . 



his barrel at a neigbbouxio{^ pond. .Site 
watched him go to and fro in his rough, 
working garb, and he seenaedto her «iie very 
flower of chivalry. 

Her eyea grew loatroun with admir»tiop, 
gratitude, hope, and — ^yes, /oue, for, before 
the June twihght deepened into night it was 
revealed in the deptha of her heart that she 
loved Arden Laoey, and that waa the reason 
thai she had ke^ t away from him since she 
haa made the hateful promise. She had 
thought it only friendship, now she knew 
that it was love, and that, losing him, that 
his scorn and anger would be the bitterest 
ingredient of all her self -iuimohition. 

For two long hours he went to and fro 
unweariedly, and then startled her by aayin^ 
in the distance on his way home, " I wiU 
come amin to-morrow evening," and was 
gone. He waa afraid of himself, lest in his 
strong feeling he might break hisimplied pro- 
mise not to even suggest his love, when she 
came to thank him, and so, in self -distrust- 
fulness, he was beginning to shun her also. 

An unspeakable burden of fear waa lifted 
from her heart, and hoi>e, sweet warm, and 
rosy, kept her eyes waking, but rested her 
more than sleep. In the morning she saw 
that the watenng had greatly revived one- 
half of the bed, and that all through the hot 
day they did not wilt, while the unwatered 
part locMced very sick. 

Old .Crowl had seen the proceeding in the 
June twilight also, and did not like it. "I 
must put a spoke in his wheel, " he said. So 
tiie next afternoon he met Arden in the vil* 
lage, and blustered ap to him, saying : 

" Xx>ok here, young Lacey, what were you 
doing at the AUenfi' hmt nieht ? " 

" None of your business. 

** Yes it is my business, too, aa you may 
find oat to your cost. I am engaged to many 
Miss Edith Allen, and guess itVi my business 
who's hanging around there. I warn you to 
keep away.' Mr. Crowl had put t^e case 
trvlj, and ^et with characteristic cunning. 
He was positively engaged to SSdith, though 
she WMS only ooaditioinally engaged lib him. 

" It's an accuraed lie, thundered Arden,; 
livid with rage^ *' and I warn ywi to leay»— 
you make me dangerous. " 

" Oh, ho ; touches ^'ou dose, does it 7 I 
am sorry for you, but it's true nevertheless. " 

Arden looked a^ f he would rend him, but, 
by a great effort he controlled himself, and 
in a low meaning y oioe said, 

" If you have lied to me this afternoon, 
woe be unto you,*' and, he turned on his heel 
and walked straight to Edith, where she 
stood at work among her grape-vines, broak- 

thickly 



mg off KHne of the too 

branches. He was beside 



Lor 



budding 
before she 



hc»rd him, and the moment this ^ke4,into 
his white, stem lace, she saw t^taometkint; 
had happened. ,, .,j , ,,, i hU • 

*tMm Allen," h^ sapd, ^nruptiy, **> X beard 
a report abont yctt: this Aftf^^noofi., I did not 
beUev'e it ; I could not ; but it came so direut,. 
that I £[ive you a chance to refute it. Your 
word will be snffioient for "le. %t would ha 
against all the world. Is tliere aity t.iing be- 
tween yon and Simcm Crowi ? " 

Her omfesuQu was jiMufulr a«4 for a 
moujBnt ,. she; could not speak, but, stood 
trembling before him. 

In his passiou, he seised her i roughly by 
the am^ and aaicL hoarsely, *' In a word, yea 
or^no? " 

I^is manne;r effended her proud spirit, an<K 
she looked him angrily in tne face and said 
hau£;htil3r, _; 

';' Yes, ,*,, , ♦ ; .« hcsi .l-. Id vAi '■<*)". ^iUl'^ 

He recoiled from her as if he had been 
stung. 

Her anger died awAy in a montent, and she^ 
leaned against the gvape-trellia for support. 

"Do you love him?" he faltere<tf hia^ 
bromsed ohebk. blanching. -.; ,i,-^}isx.'* t^n ni 

"No, "she gasped, • -t- ; '• 

The blood rushed furiously into his face, 
and he took an angry stride tQ9fw:da her. She 
cowered before him, but almost wished that 
he would stiike her dead. In a voice hoarse 
with rajge, he said, 

"Thn, then, is the end of our friendship,. 
This is the bept that yom- yeligion has taught 
you. If not your pitiful faitlv then has not 
your woman's nature told you that neither 
priest nor book can marry you to that coarse 
lump of earth ?" and he turned on his heel 
and strd^ aw»y. 

Jd^s mother was frightened ae iba saw hi» 
la«e. " Whad hm haptteued ?" she said, start 
ing up. He btaredat her almost stupidly for 
a moment. TjMiLihe laid; in a atony voice, 

"The worst that ever can himpwi to me in 
this or any worlds; If the ugbtning had 
burned me to a dnder, I could not be more 
utterly bereft of all that tends to make a good 
man. Edith AUen has sold herself fo old 
GrowL Some prieitis geing through a farce 
fhey will call » marria|^r and 'idl the good 
people will say, *Howt wjell ahe- has done!' 
What a miserable delusion this religious bus- 
iness is! You bid better give it i4>, mother,, 
as I do, here and tain.'' •>'■ 4 f.t.iSv vp^**.; 

" Hush, m^ ioii, ** aaid Mrs. Lisci^, sOlem<ni- 
ly. ;^' You have only seen Edith Allen. I 
have seen Je«us Okrist.** / it '-,.•., .,' _,, 

" There is some mystery about Mtia," she- 
added, after a moment's painful thought, " I 
will go and see her at once." iiii 7'jkii'm u w 

He seized her hand, saying : .:•;.-. 

** Have I not been a good son to you ?" 



WHAT CAN SHE DO f 



185 



"Yes, Arden." 

** Then l^y all I hare ever been to jyou, and 
aa you nrwH my love to continue i^ Aot near ^ 

her again." oi ,-</ ffiii T i . 

••&t, Arden-" ^ '' ^- ""^ ,;,'.; ;|,. . J 

" Froinise me, " he aaid, sternly. ' , *fJ,, ' ' 

" Well," said the poor woman, wi^ a deep 
sigh, "not without your perwiMioii.'', 

From that time forth, Ardeu aeemfd aa if 
made of stone. , t ' 

After he had gone Edith walked ifith ^n- 
oertaiu <teps to the little arhiour,aiids»tdo^n 
aa if stunned. She lost all idea oS. time. Al- 
ter it was dark, Hannibal called her in, and 
made her take a enp^f tea. She then want 
mechanically to her room, but not to iileep. 
Arden 's dreadful words kept repeating tihem- 
selves oves a^ over agaui. 

" O God !" she exclumed, in the darkless, 
*' whither am I driftiuff? Must I b^ driven 
to this awful fate in order to provide for those 
dependent upon me ? Cannot bountiful Na- 
ture feed us ? Wilt Thou not, i|i mercy, send 
one drop of rain ? Jesus, where is Thy 
mercy ? 

The next morning the skies were still 
cloudless, and she scowled darklv at the 
sunny d»wn. iNien, in sudden alternation 
of mood, she stretched her bare, -whx^Q arpos 
toward the little farm-house, and sigbed^ in 
tones of tremulous pathos : 
i * Oh, Arden, Arden, I would rather die at 
your feet than live in a nalace with him." 

She sent down word that she was ill, and 
that /she would not come down, Laura, 
Mrs. Allen, and even Zell, came to her, but 
she kissed th^m wearily.and sent them away. 
She saw that there was deep anxiety on all 
their faces. Pretty soon Hannibal oune up 
with a cup of coffee. 

"You must drink it, Miss Edie," he said, 
** cause we'se all a leanin' on you. " 

Well-meanine words, but tending unccm- 
sciously to confirm ber desperate purpose to 
sacrifice herself for them. 

She lay with her face burie " in the pillow 
all day. She knew th^t their money was 
about g(me, that provisions weie scanty in 
the house, and to her mcwbid micd baj^ of 

Sid were ]^0d up before her, and Smion 
owl, as an ugly spectre, was beckoning 
her towards them. 

As she lay in a dull letharfflr of pain in the 
aftemoon,a heavy jarof tliunder aroused her. 
She spnmg up instantly, and ran out bare- 
headed to the little rise of ground behind 
the house, and there, in the west, was a 
gi-eat black cloud. The darker and nearer it 
grew, the more her face brightened. It was 
a .strange thing to see that fair young girl 
looking toward the threatening storm with 
easier, glad expectancy, as if it were h<;i- 



lover. The heavy and continued roll of the 
thunder, like the approaching roar of battl«;, 
were sweeter to her than lover's whiaj)er8. 
She saw witli dilating eyes the trees on the 
distant mountain's brow toss and writhe in 
the tempest : she heard the fall of rain-dropg 
on the foliage of the mountain's side as if 
they were the feet of an army cominij to hei 
rescue. A few large ones, mingled with hail, 
fell around her like scattering shots, and she 
put out her hands to catch them. The fierce 
gusts caught up her loosened iiair and it 
streamed away behind her. There was a 
blinding flash, and the branches of a tall 
lo<hist near came quivering down— she only 
smiled. 

Bat dismay and trembling fear overwhehn- 
ed her as the shower passed on to the south.> 
She could see it raining hard a mile awiiy, 
but the drops ceased to fall around her. Tlie 
deep reverberations roll^ away in tlie 
distande, and in the west there was a long 
line of li^ht. As the twili^it deepened, the 
whole storm was below the horizon, only 
sending up angry flashes as it thundered on 
to partft unknown. With clasped hands and 
despairing eyes, Edith gazed after it, as th» 
wrecked floating on a raft might watcli 
a ship Sail away, and leave them to per- 
ish on the wide ocean. 

Sh* walked slowly down to the little arbour, 
and leaned wearily back on the rustic seat. . 
She saw night come on in breathless peace. 
Not a leaf stirred. She saw the moon risvt 
over the eastern hills, as brightly and serene- 
ly as if its rays would not fall on her sad 
face. ' 

Hannibal called, but she did not answer. 
Then he came out to her, and put the cup of 
tea to her lips, and made her drink it. Slie 
obeyed mechanically. 

" Poor chile, poor chile," he murmured, "I 
wish ole Kaunibal could die for you." 

She lifted hei- face to him with such au: 
expression that he hastened away to hide 
his tears. But she sat still, as if in a dream, 
and yet she felt that the crisis had come, and 
that Dtifore she left that place she must come 
to some decision. Reason would be de- 
throned if she lived much longer in such 
suspense and irresolution. And yet she sat . 
still in a dreamy stupor, the reaction of her 
strong excitement. It seemed, in a certain 
sense, peaceful and painless, and she did not. 
wish to goad herself out of it. 

"It may be like the last sleep before 
execution," she thought, " thwefore make 
the most of it. " and her thoughts wandered 
at will. 

A late robin came flying home to the arbour 
wliere the nest was, and having twittered 
out a vesper-song, pu'. its head under its 



14Q 



WHAT 0A1{ SHE DO? 



-wing, near its mate, which sat brooding in 
the ne*t over some little brown eggs, and 
the thought stole into her heart, " Will 
<Tod take care of them and not me?" and 
«he watched the peaceful sleep of the family 
over her hoad as if it wore an emblem of 
faith. 

Then a sudden breeze swept a tj^ray of 
Toses against her face, and their delicate ner- 
fume was lik« the "still small voice of 
love, and the thought passed dreamily acrOM 
Edith's mind, "Wifl God do so much for 
ihat little cluster of roses and yet do noth- 
ing for me. " 

How near the Father was to his ohild. 
In this calm that followed her long passion- 
ate struggle. His mighty but genue Spirit 
could make itself felt, and it stole into the 
poor girl's bruised heart with heavenly sug- 
gestion and healing power. The happy days 
when she followed Jesus and daily sat at His 
feet were recalled. Her sin was aho^drn to 
her, not in anger, but in the loving reproach- 
fulness of the Saviour's look upon faithful 
Peter, and a voice seemed to ask in 
her aoul, " How could you turn away your 
tmstfrom Him to anything else? How 
could you think it right to do so great a 
wrong? How could you so trample upon 
the womanly nature that He gave you as to 
think of marrying wher« neither love nor 
<Tod would sanction ?" 

Jesus sef^med to stand before her, and 
point up i) the robins, saying, " I feed 
them, I fed the five thousand. I feed the 
world. I can feed you and yours. Trust 
Me. Do right. In trying ' to save yourself 
you will destroy ymirseK 

With a divine impulst ihe threw herself 
•ou the floor of the arbou. and cried, 

"Jesus, I oast myself at Thy feet, I 
throw myself on Thy mercy. When I l6ok 
-tlie world around, away from Thee, I see 
only fear and torment. If I die, I will per- 
ish at Thy feet " 

Was it the moonlight 6nly that made the 
night luminous ? No, for the Lord shone 
-around, and the peace that " passeth all un- 
<lerstanding *' canie flowing into her soul like 
a shining river. The ugly phantoms that 
haunted her, vanished. The "black hand 
that seemed pushing her down," be- 
came her Father's hand, shielding and sus- 
taining. ''^'- - ''. 

She rose as calm and serene as the stimmer 
•evening and went straight to Mrs. Allen's 
room and said, 

"Mother, I will never marry Simon 
€rowl," 

Her mother began to cry, and say pite- 
ously, 



"Then we will all be turned into the 
street. " 

"What the future wiP lie I <am*t ton," 
said Edith, eently, but flrinly, *' I will work 
for you, I wul beg for yoi), I will stanre 
with you, but I will never ntatW Simon 
Crowl, nor any other man that 1 do not 
loVe." And presiing a kiss on her mother's 
face, shfl went to her room, and soon waa 
lost in the first refi'eshing sleep that she had 
had for a lo|ng time. 

She ^ite wakened to\^'(ird morning by the 
BOtmd of tiihi,' ^nd, starting tip, heard its 
steady, borons downfall. In a sudden 
ecstaoy of gratitude she sprang up, Opened 
the blmds and looked out. The moon had 
gone down, and through the darkness the 
rain was falling heavily; she felt it upon 
her forehead, her bare neck attd Arms, and 
it seemed to her Heaven's own baptism into 
a new and etmnger faith and a happier life. 



CHAPTER XXXV; ' ir^A 

CLOSING SCBNXS. 

^e clouds were clearing away when 
Editii eame down late the next morning, 
and all saw that the clouds had passed from 
her brow. 

"Bless de Lord, Miss Edie, yon 'se your- 
self again!" said Hannibal, joyfully. "I 
ueber saw a shower do such a heap of good 
afore." *' '■'•' 

" No, " said Edith, sadly ; " I Was myself. 
I lost my Divine Friend and Helper, and I 
then became myself — ^poor, weiEtk, faulty 
Edith Allen. But, thanks to His mercy, I 
have found him again, and so hope to be the 
self that He helped qie to be before. " 

Zell looked nt her with a sudden wonder, 
and went out and stayed among her flowers 
all day. 

Laura came and put her arms around her 
neck, and said, " Edie, I am so glad ! 
What you said set me to fearing and doubt- 
ing ; but I am sure we can trust Him. " 

Mrs. Allen sighed drearily, and said, "I 
don't understand it it all." 

But old Hann: ml clapped his hands in 
true Methodist s^yle, excLaiming "Dat's it! 
Throw away d^ ole heart ! Qet a new one ! 
Bless de Lord ! " 

Edith went out into the garden, and saw 
that there were ft good many berries ripe ; 
then she posted off to the hotel, and said : 

"0 Mrs. Groody, for Heaven's sake, 
won't you help me sell my strawberries up 
here?* 

" Yes, my dear," was the hearty response; 
"and for your sake and the strawberries. 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



141 



into the 

int ten,* 
will work 
11 stanr* 
hr Simon 
1 do not 
mother's 
soon warn 
kt she had 

ng by the 
heard iti 
sndden 
p, (^ned 
noon had 
kness th« 
! it upon 
^>TO8, and 
tnm into 
>pier life. 



'{' 



*y when 
morning, 
ued from 

I'se your- 
illy. "I 
[)of good 

a myself, 
er, and I 
:, faulty 
mercy, I 

to be the 

II 

wonder, 
r flowen 

l.-|y) // 

mnd her 
so glad : 
1 doubt- 
m." 
laid, "I 

ilMids in 
Dat'sit! 
BW one ! 

»nd saw 
» ripe ; 
said: 
's sake, 
rries up 

espouse; 
r berries. 



too. We get them from the city, and would 
much rather have fresh country ones. " 

Edith returned with her heart thrilling 
with hope, and set to work picking as if 
every beiry was a ruby, and in a few hours 
ahe had six quarts of fra^ant fruit. Malcolm 
had lent her little baskets, and Hannibal took 
them up to the hotel, for Arden would 'not 
even look toward the little cottage any more. 
The old servant came back grinning with de- 
fight, and gave Edith a dolUtr and a half. 

xhe next dav ten quarts brought two dol- 
lars tand a half. Then they began to ripen 
rapVily, the rain having greatly improved 
them, and Edith, with considerable help 
from the others, picked twentv, thirty, and 
fifty quarts a day. She employed a stout 
boy from the village, to help oer, and, through 
him, she soon had quite a village trade also. 
He had a perceutage on the sales,and, there- 
fore, was very sharp in disposing of them. 

How Edith gloated over her money ; how, 
with more than miserly eyes, she counted it 
over every nigiit, and pressed it to hex lips. 

In the complete absorption of the past few 
weeks Edith had not noticed the change 
going on in Zell. The poor creature was 
surprised and greatly pleased that the flow- 
ers grew so well for her. Every opening 
blossom was a new revelation, and their 
sweet perfume stole into her wounded heart 
like balm. The blue violets seemed like 
children's eyes peeping timidly at her ; and 
the pansies looked so bright and saucy that 
she causht herself smiling back at them. 
The little black and brown seeds she planted 
came up so promptly that it seemed as if 
they wanted to see her as much as she did 
them. ** Isn't it queer, " ahe said one day to 
herself, " that such pretty things can come 
out of such ugly little things ?" Nothing in 
Nature seemed to turn away from her, no 
more than would Nature's God. The dumb 
life around began to speak to her in many 
and varied voio?<i, and she who fl?d from 
companionshiL with her own kind, w Duld sit 
and chirp and talk to the birds, as if they 
understood her. And they did seen to grow 
strangely familiar, and would almost eat 
crumbs o\^t of her hand. 

One day in June she said to Hannibal, who 
was working near, '* Isn't it strange 'ihe 
flowers grow so well for me ?" 

"Why shouldn't dey grow for you. Miss 
Zell ?" a^ked he, straightemng his old back 

«p. 

" Good, innocent Hannibal, hoAr indeed 
■hould yon know anything about it ?" 

" Yes, I does know all about it. " said he, 
earnestly, and coming to her where she stood 
by a rose-bush. •' Does you see dis white 
rose?" 



this 



mom- 



" Yes," said Zell, "it ojpened 
ing. I've been watching it. '* 

roor Hannibal could not read print, hut he 
seemed to understand this exquisite passage 
in Nature's open book, for he put his black 
finger on the rose (which made it look whiter 
than before), and coromenoed expounding it 
as a preacher might his text. " Now look 
at it snarp. Miss Zell, 'cause it'll show you I 
does know all about it. It's white, isn't it ?" 

♦' Yes," said Zell, eagei^y, for Hannibal 
held the attention of his audience. 

"Dat means pure, doesn't it?"continued he. 

" Yes," said Zell, looking sadly down. 

'*Andit'Bsweet, isn't it:' Now dat means lub. " 

And Zell looked hopefully up. 

"And now, dear chile," said he, giving her 
a little, impressive nudge, " see whar <U> 
w1' ' rose come from — right up out ob de 
1 ., ugly ground." 

Having concluded his argument and made 
his point, the simple orator began his applica- 
tion, and Zell was leaning toward him in her 
interest. 

" De good Lord, He make it grow to show 
wh4tHe can do for us. Miss Zell," he said, 
in an awed waisper, " my ole heart was as 
black as dat ground, but de blessed Jesus - 
turn it as white as dis rose. Miss Edie, Lor' 
bless her, tciled me 'bout Him, and I'se found 
it all true. Now, doesn't I know about it ? 
I knows dat de good Jesus can turn de black- 
est heart in de world jes like dis rose, make 
it white and pure, and ial it up wid de sweet- 
ness of lub. I knows all about it. " 

'He spoke with the power of absolute 
certainty and strong feeling, therefore, his 
hearer was deebly moved. 

" Hanibal," ehd said, coming close to him. 
and putting her hand on his shoulder, " do 
you tnink Jesus can turn my heart white ?" 

" Sartin, Miss Zell, " answered he, stoutly, 
" jes' as easy as He make dis white rose 
grow." 

" Would you mind asking Him to ? It 
seems to me I would rather pray out here 
among the flowers. " she said, in low, trem- 
bling tones. 

So Hannibal concluded bis simple, but 
most eflFective service by kneeling down by 
his pulpit, the rose-bush, and praying : 

" Blessed Jesus, give dis dear chile a new 
heart, 'cause she wants it, and You wants 
her to have it. Make it pure and full of lub. 
You can do it, dear Jesus. You knows You 
can. Now, jes please do it. Amen." 

Zell's responsive " Amen" was like a 
note from an Eolian harp. 

"Hannibal," said she, looking wistfully 
at him, " I think I feel better. I think I 
feel it growing white. " 

" Now jes look here, Miss Zell," said he. 



112 



WHAT CAN SHE DO ? 



giving Uer a bit of pa«toral coiuisol befor^ 

f;oing back to hia work, " don't you teep 
uokmff at your heart, and ^eein' hpvr it feels, 
or vou^l cet discouraged. See dis rose atrin ? 



you u g 
It don't Ic 



raffca. see cus rose agi 
took at itaeliT It jes looks up at do 
fun. So you look straight at Jesus, and 
your heaiii grow tchiter coery day, ' 

And Hannibal and the flower aid gradually 
lead poor Zell toHim who *' takcth away the 
sins of the world, " and He said to her as to 
one of old, "Thy faith hath saved thee ; go 
in peroe." 

On the evening of the 14th of June, 
Edith had tnore than enough to pay the in- 
terest due on the 15th, and 8h~> was niost 
anxious to have it settled. She was stand- 
ing at the gate waiting for Hannibal to join 
her as escort, when she saw Ardei^ Lacey 
coming tov^ard her. He had not looked at 
her since that dreadful afternoon, and was 
now about to pass her without notice, though 
from his manner she saw he was Conscious 
of her presence. He looked so worn and 
changed that her heart yearned toward 
him. A sudden thought occurred to her, 
and she said : , 

" Mr. Lacey.** 

He kept right on, and paid no heed to her. 

There was a mingling of indignation and 
pathos in her voice when she spolce again. 

*' I appeal to you as a woman, and no 
matter wnat I am, if yon are a true man, 
you will listen. " 

There was that in her tone and manner 
that reminded him of the dark rainy night 
when they first met. 

He turned instantly, but he approached 
her with a cold, silent bow. ' 

"I must go to the village to-night. I 
wish your protection, " she said, in a voice 
she tried vainly to render steady. 

He again bowed silently, and they 
walked to the village together without a 
word. Hannibal came out in time to see 
them disappear down the road one on one 
*ide of it, and one on the other. 

" Well now, dey's both q^uar,"he said, 
■scratching his white head with perplexity, 
*' but one ting is mighty sartin, I'se glad 
uiy ole joints is saved dat tramp." 

Edith stopped at the door of Mr. Growl's 
office, and Arden, for the first time, spoke 
hastily. 

" I can*t go in there." 

" I hope you are not afraid, " said Edith, 
in a tone that made him step forward quick 
enough. 

Mr. Crowl looked as if he could not 
beneve his eyes, but Edith gave him no 
time to collect his wits, but by the following 
little speech quite overwhelmed both him 
ftiid Ai'den, though with different emotions. 



"There, sir, is the interest due on the 
mortgage. There is a slight explanation 
due you Ahd alMo this gentleman n^e, who 
Was my friend. There are four persons in 
' our family dependent on me for support 
and shelter. ^ We were all so poor and 
helpless that it seemed impossible to maift- 
tain onruelves in independence. You made 
a proposition through my mother, never to 
me, tnat might be called generous if it bacl 
not been coupled with certain threats of 
prompt foreclosure if not accepted. In an 
hour of weakness and for the sake of the 
others, I said to my mother, never to yon, 
that if I could not i>ay the interest and could 
not support the fantily, I would marry yon, 
Bnt I did very wrong, and I became so un- 
happy and desperate in view of this par- 
tial promise that I thought I would lose my 
reason ; but in the hour of my greatest darlc- 
nesB, when I saw no way out of our difficul- 
ties, God Ifed me to see how wrongly I had 
acted, and to resolve that under no possible 
circumstances would I marry you, nor any 
man to whom I could not give a true wife's 
love. Since that time I have been able to 
honestly earn the money there, and in a few 
days more I will pay you the fifty dollars 
that my mother bon-owed of you. So please 
give me my receipt. " 

"And remember henceforth," said Arden 
sternly, " that this lady has a protector. " 

Simon was sharp enough to see that he 
was beat, so he signed the I'cceipt and gave it 
to Edith without a word. They left his 
office and started homeward. When out of 
the village Arden stiid timidly. 

" Can you forgive me. Miss Edith ?" 

" Can you forgive me ?" answered she, even 
more humbly. 

They stopped in the road and grasped each 
other's hands with a warmth more expressive 
than all words. Then they went on silently 
again. At the gate Edith said timidly, 

" Won't you come in?" 

"I dare not. Miss Allen," said Arden, 
gravely, and with a dash of bitterness in his 
voice, " I am a man of honour with all my 
faults, and I would keep the promise I made 
you in the letter I wrote one year ago. I 
must see very little of you, " he ccoitinued, in 
a very heartsick tone, " but let me serve you 
just the same." 

Edith's face seemed to possess more than 
human loveliness as it grew tender and gentle 
in the radiance of the full moon, and he look- 
ed at it with the hunger of a famished heart. 

" But you made the promise to me', did yon 
not?" she asked in a low tone, 

"Certainly," said Arden. 

"Then it seems to mo that I have tl^a 
right to absolve you from the promise," sh* 



^ 



) 



tor 
wil 

th.l 
wif 

chd 

yoJ 



she 



WHAT CAN SHK I>0? 



14] 



due oil the 
>xpIanation 

nete, who 
pemoni in 
>r support 
poor aiMl 
B to raaift. 
You made 

never to 

if it had 
threats of 
Bd. In an 
Ice of the 
'er to yon, 
I and could 
larry yoo, 
le 80 un- 

thia par- 
1 lose my 
test darlc- 
r difficuU 
fly I had 
t possible 

nor any 
ue wifeVi 
Q able to 

in a few 
y dollars 
So please 

lid Arden 
ctor. " 

that he 
d gave it 

left his 
Q out of 

r 

ihe, even 

ped each 

cpressive 

silently 

Arden, 
i in his 

all my 
I made 
ago. I 
nued, in 
rve you 

re than 
d gentle 
le look- 
heart, 
did you 



ve tl^a 
slw 



r 



^ 



continued in a still lower tone, and a fa(.'e 
like a damask-rose in moonlight. 

'• Miss Allen— Edith— " said Arden, " oh, 
for Heaven's sake, be kind. Don't trifle 
with me." 

Edith had restrained her feelings so long 
that she was ready to either laugh or crv, so 
with a peal of laughter, that rung out like a 
chimo of silver bells, she said, 

" Like the fat Abbot in the storv, I give 
you full absolution and plenary inaulgence. " 

He seized her hand and carried it to his 
lips: "Edith," he pleaded, in a low, tre- 
mulous tone, ' ' will you let me be your slave ?'* 

"Not a bit of it," said she, sturdily; 
"but, " she added, looking shyly up at him, 
" if you will take me as your little Mrife, I 
will take you as my big husband. " 

Arden was about to kneel at her feet, but 
she said : 

"Nonsense! If you must get on your 
knees, come and kneel to my strawberry-bed 



Y 



». 



you ought to thank that, I can tell you 
And so the matter-of-fact girl, that 
could not abide sentiment, got through a 
scene that she really dreaded. 

They could see the berries reddening 
among the green leaves, and the night wind 
blowing across them was like a gale from 
Araby the Blest. 

" Were it notior this strawberry-bed you 
would not have obtained absolution to-night, 
liut, Arden," she added seriously, " here is 
your way out of trouble, as well as mine. 
We are near good markets. Give up your 
poor, slip-shod farming (I'm plain, you see,) 
and raise fruit. I will supply you with 
vines. We will go into partnership. You 
ahow what a man can do, and I 'Will show 
what a woman can do. " 

He took her hand and looked at her so 
fondly that she hid her face on his shoulder. 
He stroked her head and stiid, in a half 
mirthful tone : 

" Ah, Edie, Edie,* woman once got man 
out of a garden, but you, I perceive, are des- 
tined to lead me into one ; and any garden 
where you are will be Eden to me. " 

She looked up, with her face suddenly be- 
coming grave and wistful, and said, 

" Arden, God will walk in my garden in 
the cool of the day. You won't hide from 
Him, will you ?" 

" No, " he answered, earnestly. "I now 
feel sure that, througii my faith in you, I 
I shall soon have faith in Him. " 

CHAPTER XXXVL 

LAST WORDS. 

Edith did sustain the family on the pro- 
ducts of her little place. And, more than 



that, the yield from her vines and orchard 
was HO abundant, that she aided Arden to 
meet the interest of the mortgage on the 
Lacey place, ho that Mr. Crowl could not 
foreclose that Autumn, as lie intended. She 
so woke her dreamy lover up, that he soon 
became a keen, masterful man of business, 
and, at her sug^^'stiou, at once commenceil 
.the culture of siiiall fruits, she giving liim 
a uood start ftom her own place. 

Kose took the situation of nurse with 
Judge Clifford's married daughter, having 
the care of two little children. iSne thus 
secured a pleasant, sheltered home, where 
she was treated witli gi-eat kindness. In- 
stead of running in debt, as in New York, 
she was able to save the greater part of her 
wattes, and, in two years, had enougii 
ahead to take time to leani the dressmakers' 
trade thoroughly, for which she had a taste. 
But a sensible young mechanic, who Iwid lon^ 
been attentive, at last pui-Huaded lier to make 
him a happy home. 

Mrs. Lacey 's prayers were elfoctual 
in the case of her husband, 
for, to the astonishment of tiic whulo 
neighbourhood, he reformed, and became a 
consistent member of the church. Laura 
remained a pale home-blossom !:<! lettered 
by Edith's love. 

With the blossoms she loved, Zell faded 
away in the Autuiim, but her death wu!» 
like that of the flowers, in the full liope of 
the glad Spring-time of a new life. As her 
eyes closed and she breathed her last sigh 
out on Edith's bosom, old Hannibal so^jbed : 

" She's — a white rose — ^now — sure 'nufF," 

Arden and Edith were married the follow- 
ing year, on the 14th of June, the anniver- 
sary of their engagement. Edith greatly 
shocked Mrs. Allen by having the ceremony 
performed in the garden. 

"Why not?" she said, "God married a 
couple tnere once." 

Mrs. Groody, Mr. and Mi's. McTrump, 
Mrs. Ranger, Mrs. Hart and her daughters, 
and quite a number of other friends, were 
present. 

Hannibal stood by tlie white rose-bush, 
that was again in bloom, and tears of joy, 
mingling with those of sorrow, bedewed the 
sweet flowers. 

And Malcolm stood up, after the ceremony, 
and said, with a certain dignity, that for a 
moment hushed and impressed all present : 

"Tho' I'm a little mon, I sometimes ha' 
great tho'ts, an' I have learned to ken fra 
my gude wife there, an' this sweet blossom 
o' the Lord's, that a woman can bring a' tlie 
wourld to God if she will. That's what she 
can do. " 

THE KXD,