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Full text of "Club stories, Washington State Federation of Women's Clubs"

JN VERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. SAN DIEGC 




3 1822 00210 7670 



CUL Anne: 

PS 

645 

.C58 

1915 




822002107670 




CLUB STORIES 

Washington State Federation 
of Women's Clubs 



Lowman & Hanford Co. 

Seattle, Wash. 

1915 



THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO 

LA JOLLA. CALIFORNIA 



Copyright 1915 
S. W. Hassell 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



CONTENTS 

Page 

Rhododendrons Sophie M. C. Fisher 9 

Queen Anne Fortnightly Club, Seattle. 

Susan's Mountain .... Elizabeth Jane Haring 15 
Shakespeare and Civic Improvement Clubs, Pasco. 

Old Jud Watkins - - - Lula Shortridge Stewart 21 
Women's Club, Spokane. 

The Other Kind - - - Caroline Field Williams 35 
Mutual Improvement Club, Marysville. 

Reconciled Sara Byrne Goodwin 41 

Queen Anne Fortnightly Club, Seattle. 

"Rock of Ages" .... Gertrude Allen Knapp 47 
Coterie Club, Seattle. 

Deserted Louise Monroe Walton 51 

Aurora Club, Tacoma. 

The New Word - ... Jessie Hopkirk Davis 57 
Twentieth Century Club, North Takima. 

Tod's "Santy" Gertrude Allen Knapp 65 

Coterie Club, Seattle. 

Her Birthright - - - Gertrude Fulton Tooker 73 

Mutual Improvement Club, Marysville. 

The Disciplinarian Maude Farrar 81 

Progressive Thought Club, Seattle. 

"The Fine Country" ... Anna Brabham Osborn 87 
Arts and Krafts, and Woman's Club, Puyallup 



REASONS 

Twenty-two short stories were written by Wash 
ington club women in a contest conducted by our 
state literature committee. At the federation con 
vention held in Spokane last June, the decision of 
the judges was announced, the two stories ranking 
highest were read and the enterprise was supposed 
to be happily ended. 

Some one said : "Publish them or at least a dozen 
of them." The idea grew. There are now fifteen 
thousand club women in the state. We are all more 
or less interested in each other's work and would 
want to read the stories. And so primarily they are 
printed for our own club family and any profit 
from the publication goes to the state endowment 
fund. 

There is another reason. Under the conditions 
of the contest, the plot of each story was to be laid 
in the Evergreen State. The result is they are full 
of local color and have a value aside from their 
literary worth. 

Gentle reader or competent critic, whichever you 
may be, if you enjoy only the literature that is 
immortal you would better pass this little volume 
by and reach up to the five-foot shelf for a classic; 
if you must be thrilled or spell-bound, it were safer 
for you to buy or borrow a best-seller; but if you 
have broad sympathies and a heart that warms to 
ward your kind, we are confident that you will find 
something to like in our stories. 

CLUB WOMEN OF WASHINGTON. 
October the first, 1915. 

6 



Four-Leaf Clover 



I know a place where the sun is like gold, 
And the cherry blooms burst with snow, 

And down underneath is the loveliest nook, 
Where the four-leaf clovers grow. 

One leaf is for hope, and one is for faith, 

And one is for love, you know, 
And God put another one in for luck 

If you search, you will find where they grow. 

But you must have hope and you must have faith 
You must love and be strong, and so, 

If you work, if you wait, you will find the place 
Where the four-leaf clovers grow. 

ELLA HIGGINSON. 



The mountain-lover does not always gaze at Kai- 
nier or Olympus. He has learned that the foot 
hills have a charm and an interest of their own. 
And they too point upward. 



Rhododendrons 

AWARDED FIRST PRIZE 

I watched impatiently the men unwrap the pic 
ture they had brought. It was a painting of Val- 
iner's, a gift from Val himself. To possess a work 
of his brush, was to be envied by the most discrim 
inating collectors; it was to be classed with the 
"fortunate rich;" it was to be numbered with the 
ultra-faddists of the hour, for Valmer's work had 
created nothing less than a storm of interest in 
every quarter. 

There was a power and fullness and beauty in his 
work which held withal a subtle, sensitive quality, 
difficult to define. It was a compelling, unexplain- 
able thing of mind and soul that lay behind vision 
and technique, and its message never failed to 
reach me, in my exacting and saddening work as 
an alienist, with a touch that refreshed and re 
stored my questioning soul. 

Valmer, tall, lean, distinguished-looking, followed 
close upon his gift. The lion of the hour, compli 
mented and courted, he had remained singularly 
untouched by the world, with a heart dedicated 
wholly to his art, and to one friendship. For me, 
I believe, he reserved the only confidences he ever 
gave, and our friendship was a fine, close-knitted 
thing. We lighted cigars and Valmer adjusted the 
shades. 



"Ah! Rhododendrons! I can smell them, Val! 
Smell them? Why I feel the little puffs of warm 
air that blow over them from the sun-heated 
Sound." With a sigh of anticipation I sank into a 
chair before the picture, scarce hearing Valmer's 
low, "Flatterer, you inveterate flatterer!" 

I was lost at once in the suggestion of the scene. 
Rhododendrons! I had seen such a bank. Where? 
Where? I seemed conscious of a familiar, compos 
ite breath, as of the sea and sappy green things and 
the faint exhalation of rhododendrons. It carried 
me back as an actual odor will often do, and I saw 
again the great building where I had spent the first 
years of practice and training in the calling I had 
chosen. It was the state hospital for the insane. 

The Washington State Asylum stood on a gentle 
slope commanding distant glimpses of the Sound. 
Behind it rose great, tonic firs and, on the south 
and west, acres of flowering shrubs mingled with 
the evergreen of cedar, fir and madrone. Heavenly 
surroundings for so sad a place. The hapless in 
mates were gray shadows in my memory now. One 
only stood out in sharp relief, a wild-eyed youth 
who had come, emaciated and unkempt, clinging to 
a battered, black box. He had been assigned to my 
ward and proved quiet and docile when left undis 
turbed to paint hideous forms which he seemed to 
wipe out only to repeat over and over again on the 
same canvas. We were overworked at the time, so 
beyond ordering nourishing food and comparative 
freedom for the boy, a month perhaps elapsed be 
fore I could give him more specific attention. 

10 



Rhododendrons 

One day, observing the lad stooping over his 
easel at a point where a bank of rhododendrons 
was massed in full bloom against the blue sky and 
distant Sound, I turned my steps in his direction. 
He paid not the slightest attention to me as I drew 
near, though a scowl darkened his thin face. I 
looked over the narrow' back at the canvas he was 
eternally bending over, and then I did the unfor 
givable thing. I forgot professional caution and 
cried out at what I saw. 

The rose and mauve of that bank of bloom was 
there, a living, glowing mass of color, blending 
away into the silver and azure of the sky and 
Sound, and it was done with the accuracy and 
power of genius. In my astonishment I had re 
laxed my watchfulness over the sullen figure and in 
another moment I had caught the thin arm in a 
quick strong grip, but to my utter dismay, I was 
too late. With coarse, mad strokes he had drawn 
a hideous form across the exquisite thing. 

"Boy boy," I actually sobbed, "what have you 
done what have you done?" 

I had retained my grip on the thin arm but with 
unlooked-for strength he tore himself free and 
sprang to his feet. He faced me with the look of a 
lost soul in his gaze, then flung himself face down 
ward on the ground, shaking with hoarse, rending 
sobs. I threw myself beside the poor, attenuated 
form, filled with compassion for the anguish that 
must be his in this hour of revelation. Had reason 
come to him for a moment to show him the divine 
thing he held within his breast only to leave him 

11 



Rhododendrons 

again in the dark shadow where his soul had dwelt? 
I stroked the neglected hair and held the stained 
hand in my own. 

"Harold, my boy, my poor boy, come, we'll cure 
you yet ! Why, we send numbers away every year. 
If you will obey me and take the food and other 
things I order, you'll do that again, and, my boy, 
I could sell a few of those pictures for enough to 
send you to the best specialists in the country." 
At my words the boy sat erect. 

"Could you sell that?" he demanded excitedly, 
pointing to the defaced picture. 

"Yes, and sometime," I added soothingly, "you'll 
again paint like that." 

"Paint like that!" he cried, "why, I have been 
doing nothing else ! I tell you," he hurried on, his 
voice rising, "I have made dozens of sketches like 
that, and though it almost killed me, I covered 
them with those hellish things. I had to you see, 
I was afraid to let anyone see them." 

"Yes, yes," I replied sadly as I saw his increasing 
excitement, "Come, shall we walk back to the 
house?" But he refused to be diverted. 

"Doctor, Doctor," he repeated, rather wildly now, 
"you promise to sell that if I do it again?" 

"I promise," I humored him. 

"Then listen, listen ! I am not insane no more 
than you are. You won't be angry with me? I 
had to paint. My father was an artist, and so poor 
I think he and my mother must have died from star 
vation soon after they came west when I was 
about ten. I used to paint with my father. He 

12 



was proud of me and would say I had it in me to 
become a great painter; and because of his words, 
but most of all because of something inside me, I 
have worked and starved to buy paint and canvas 
but I starved too often and I became ill. There 
were times when I felt faint and dazed, but always, 
I knew I must paint. One day I stole some tubes. 
I was taken some place to jail, I suppose. When 
the doctors questioned me, I was too tired to care 
how I answered 

"Then then I came here and you allowed me 
to paint to spend all day in work, and it was so 
beautiful, it was like like heaven to me. I 
couldn't work fast enough to make sketches of all 
I wanted to study. It wasn't food I had been starv 
ing for it was just a chance like this. Then a 
terrible fear came over me. I was in an agony of 
dread lest I be sent away. I was afraid to show 
my work, I was afraid to ask for another canvas, 
and to keep up the appearance of insanity, I would 
paint over the things I loved the horrible shapes 
you have seen. It wasn't right it wasn't honest; 
but I thought if I ate very little and now if you 
sell my pictures I can pay you are not angry, 
Doctor?" 

I could not answer for the aching pressure in my 
throat. In the imploring eyes that burned into 
mine, was no trace of dementia, and I knew I was 
looking into the soul of one anointed, who had 
kept the faith, almost at the cost of the frail body. I 
could only throw my arm about the slender form 
and draw him to the grassy seat beside me. There 

13 



Rhododendrons 

we sat and talked until the shrubs above us cast 
long shadows like giant crow's-feet across the path 
and my name was called in the distance. 

"And some day, you say, I may go abroad to 
study?" 

"In a year's time ; I pledge it, if it takes the last 
sou you and I can earn." 

I left him there among the rhododendrons, a 
measureless gratitude in his eyes. And that was 
twenty years ago ! 

On my hand the ashes from my forgotten cigar 
fell soft and warm as a breath of that May day as 
Valmer's lean arm slipped over the back of my 
chair. I was scarce roused from the spell his pic 
ture had cast and his vibrant voice came like an 
echo to my thoughts : 

"Doctor, it was twenty years ago today !" 



14 



Susan's Mountain 

Travelers passing through the town of Pasco 
are wont to comment on the long row of red houses 
which are rented by the Northern Pacific railway 
company to their employees and which are so alike 
in color, size and style of architecture that to the 
casual observer there are no distinguishing features. 

During the summer months of the present time 
their ugly color and harsh lines are quite con 
cealed and softened by green vines and shade trees, 
and the lawns are spacious and well kept; but six 
or seven years ago any little bird would have told 
you that there wasn't a decent tree in Pasco, the 
lusty poplars and strong-limbed locusts of today 
being then only slips of promise. 

From the station the eyes are now delighted with 
the smooth macadamized pavement and concrete 
walks, and the illumination at night of numerous 
cluster lights gives the place quite a metropolitan 
aspect, but at the time of this narrative, the streets, 
billowy with sand, were flanked with uneven, nail- 
studded board walks, and citizens went abroad at 
night in the perils of darkness. 

It was at this unattractive period that Susan 
Wells, the wife of a locomotive engineer, lived in 
number sixteen in the Row; and on this particular 
day she was there alone, wretched in body and 
spirit. 

It was in July and it would have been exceedingly 
hot in the shade, had there been any shade, and Jim 

15 



Susan's Mountain 

and she had had their first quarrel! Now he had 
gone out on his run, and she had not even put up 
his lunch or said good-bye. 

Many women under the stress of similar emotions 
would have indulged in a good cry, but Susan had 
such a horror of disorder that even now in genuine 
grief and anger it was characteristic of her that 
she should be sitting as she was, before the open 
door, only the tightly clasped hands and brown 
eyes mirroring the misery of her hour. 

Before her a vast expanse of sage- and cactus- 
dotted plain stretched to where the Columbia shim 
mered placidly in the sun and waves of heat scintil 
lated and danced in mocking spirals over the white 
sand of her front yard. 

Visualizing, in marked contrast to this, the little 
white cottage with its lilacs and ivy they had left in 
the East, Susan, bitter in rebellion, felt that to the 
injury of giving up such comforts, Jim had added 
an unexpected insult in suggesting that they take 
his sister's little boys to raise as their own. 

Naturally she, too, had been shocked by Nellie's 
sudden death and had sympathized with her hus 
band, for she knew that he loved his sister and there 
was now no one to care for her children but him; 
yet she felt that she had been very magnanimous in 
offering to give up half her monthly allowance to 
assist in their maintenance in some institution, 
and at his uncalled for resentment at this disposal 
of the boys, she had angrily made it clear that any 
added burden to her already over-taxed strength was 
not to be considered. Now he had gone and she 

16 



Susan's Mountain 

was unconsciously trying to justify her decision 
by summoning before her all the disagreeable 
phases of the situation. 

Had she not swept and dusted and scrubbed con 
tinuously ever since coming to this dirt-infested 
region? And now to have the care of two boys! 

Mechanically she noted that the atmosphere was 
assuming the haziness attendant upon the ap 
proach of a sand storm. The brilliancy of the sun 
was gradually dimming and a bank of pale coppery 
clouds was piling up in the west. A little current 
of air whirled into the room, raced madly through 
loose papers and sent cards and photographs flying. 

With the hopelessness of a martyr, Susan began 
closing doors and windows and the fact that the 
air would consequently be agreeably cooled by the 
storm was no compensation to her for the w r ork it 
would entail. 

Loose clapboards began to flap, windows rattled, 
a dense gloom descended and the storm broke with 
furious vehemence. 

Huge balls of dried "tumble weed' rolled merrily 
by, old papers sailed high in the air and the sand 
beat against the panes like rain. 

All kinds of objects blew past and once an empty 
five-gallon kerosene can hurtled itself upon the 
porch and clattered into a corner. Across the 
street a tin bill-board, posting glaring inducements 
to buy land in the vicinity and the familiar slogan, 
"KEEP YOUR EYE ON PASCO/' lurched drunkenly 
and crashed forward with deafening clamor. 

The back door opened with a rush. 

17 



Susan's Mountain 

"Anybody living?" called a woman's voice. 

It was Mrs. Allen who lived next door; she al 
ways announced her coming in this way and al 
though Susan showed her disapproval of her fa 
miliar and easy manner the little neighbor seemed 
cheerfully impervious to rebukes and inuendoes. 
While Mrs. Allen was known to be a graduate of 
Wellesly and was a general favorite in the Row, 
the fact that she kept house with a total disregard 
of order and professed to enjoy sandstorms placed 
her without the pale of Susan's regard. 

"Isn't this great!" she panted, plumping into a 
chair. "Billy and the kiddies are finishing up a 
two days' mess of dishes and they sent me over 
here to keep you company." 

And "Billy" who was a very efficient civil engi 
neer, openly adored this inconsequential little 
creature ! 

"But," she rattled on, "I told them I was sure 
you'd be delighted with this storm, for now you 
would have a lot of new material for your moun 
tain." 

"Mountain !" repeated Susan blankly. 

"Why sure," laughed Mrs. Allen. "You're for 
ever digging for dirt and I suppose you contem 
plate doing something with it eventually? Make a 
pyramid or some such monument to your life's work. 
This," indicating with a gesture the thick layer of 
fine sand now covering window sills and floor, 
"ought to cheer you up considerably." 

At that moment the telephone rang and in the in- 
terjectional conversation which followed, jests and 

18 



Susan's Mountain 

commonplaces were eliminated by a cataclysm of 
real misfortune. Jim's engine had been wrecked. 
Yes, he was seriously injured and she must get 
ready at once to accompany him to Tacoma. 

Afterward when her mind could adjust itself to 
normal thinking, she recalled with surprise that it 
was Mrs. Allen who had so capably managed her 
affairs for her in her distress and it had been to 
the little neighbor whom she had always regarded 
as frivolous and incompetent that she had turned 
in helpless subjection. 

In the long days that followed, in the bare white 
room of the hospital, with nurses and doctors in 
grave-faced consultation over the bruised and brok 
en body of her husband, she had ample time to 
realize her own impotence and the insignificance 
of the little things which had hitherto loomed so 
large on her mental horizon. And how many 
times in the innocent delirium of the sufferer was 
her selfishness paraded before her agonized con 
sciousness. 

"Sue, dear," he would murmur, brokenly; 
"they've put me into this clean bed with my greasy 
overalls on and you'll never get these sheets clean." 
And then 

"Honey, I wiped my bloody hands on that em 
broidered towel and the stains w^on't come out. Gee, 
look at the tracks I've made." Then he would 
start up and groan with the effort. 

Sometimes he would think she was Nellie. 

"Ah, little sis, don't cry ! I can't help it. Sue's 
worked to death, digging and scrubbing all the 

19 



Susan's Mountain 

time. I'll take care of your little boys, Nell, but 
Sue ain't strong and I dassen't take 'em home." 

Once he laughed out heartily : 

"There ain't nuthin' cuter 'n a little kid all 
smeared up like that with jam !" 

The nurse smiled interrogatively into the wife's 
eyes, "You have a baby?" 

Susan shook her head dully and a new pain 
crept into her already overladen heart. 

The night came at last, when, the crisis safely 
over, the glad light of recognition and the weak 
pressure of his hand was Heaven itself for Susan; 
and in that moment she conceived a resolution the 
birth of which was to bring future happiness for 
all concerned. 

Slowly but surely Jim regained strength and the 
time arived when he obtained his release and they 
were preparing to go home. 

"Jim," faltered Susan on that morning, stand 
ing behind his chair and caressingly running her 
fingers through his thick ruddy hair, "I'm through 
working on my mountain." 

"Mountain !" he ejaculated. 

"Well, I'm not going to explain about that now, 
but I just want to tell you that the letter I got this 
morning was from Mrs. Allen." She handed it to 
him and smiled joyously into his bewildered eyes. 
"And she says that Nellie's boys, our very own 
now, for I've attended to all that since we've been 
here, arrived safely and will be at the station to 
morrow when we get back to dear old Pasco !" 

20 



Old Jud Watkins 

"Yes, siree, take it from me, every man that lives 
has hidden somewhere in his make-up, the soul of 
poetry, or whatever you want to call it, that 
something can touch at some time in his life to 
arouse in him " 

Old Jud Watkins turned toward me as he spoke, 
and catching a puzzled expression on my face, 
inasmuch as I hadn't the faintest idea of what had 
led to this unexpected peroration, he stopped, 
gave a short embarrassed laugh, and explained : 

"You see, I have been here alone so much that I 
sort of have the habit of talking with folks in imag 
ination, and I start out and finish my side of the 
argument out loud and suddenly find that I have 
been doing all the previous talking just in my mind. 
So don't mind me if I kind o' surprise you at times." 

While speaking, he had been idly tapping on 
his knee with a letter which the rural route post 
man had brought a short time before, so I drew the 
natural inference that its contents had something 
to do with the old man's thoughts. 

Ill health had sent me away from my city home 
in the east to this ranch in the picturesque state of 
Washington, situated in the big bend of a wide river, 
where beyond the long, even stretch of meadow and 
grain field rose the snow-peaked mountains. It 
was an artist's dream of the beautiful; but what 

21 



Old Jud Watkins 

was more to me, it contained all that could be de 
sired towards helping me to regain health and phys 
ical strength. 

I had found this particular spot through an olcf 
friend, who was also a friend of Jud Watkins : and 
here I was, partly ranch hand, partly boarder, but 
best of all, the trusted and fortunate confidant of 
the old bachelor ranchman who was doing more 
with his quaint and wholesome logic and healthful 
habits, to put me back in my rightful place among 
men, than all else in the way of medicine and diet. 
Just how he had so vitally changed my own warped 
outlook upon the world and life in general, and set 
my feet firmly upon the safe and sane road to my 
individual happiness, is "another story'' as Kipling 
used to say: and this is another's story, not mine. 

Noting the interest in my eyes, old Jud Watkins 
reached over and tapped his pipe against the porch 
railing until it was emptied to his satisfaction, then 
carefully refilling and relighting it, continued his 
preface as though there had been no interruption. 

"Yes siree; no matter what for looks a fellow 
might be, he still has some where within that 'di 
vine spark' we read about, which somethin' can 
reach, if it comes jest at the right time ; the 'psycho 
logical moment' they call it. 

"You've heard me speak of Tom Millard, <No- 
Speakum', the ranch hands named him, who was 
here with me up to about a year ago? Well, he 
was the one fellow who it seemed to me at times, 
was totally lacking in any spot through which he 

22 



Old Jud Watkins 

could be reached. But I will tell you about him 
from the first. 

"You see, he drifted in her one evening at dusk, 
about two years ago. Although he was footing it, 
I sized him up at once as not being an ordinary 
tramp, or for that matter, an ordinary fellow of any 
kind. He asked for a night's lodging and as I 
never turn any one away, being so far from rail 
road stations and boat landings, I let him sleep 
down in one of the bunk houses. Next morning 
he offered to pay for everything, same as if he had 
stopped at some fine hotel. I told him to keep his 
money and his breath too, as he started to insist, 
for he might need 'em both at some future time, 
He looked at me kind o' queer, and then dropped 
down on an old piece of machinery and sat still so 
long, gazing off into the mountains that I won 
dered what ailed the man. He seemed to have for 
gotten my presence and everything else and it was 
plain that somethin' was bothering him terrible. 
After a long time he kind o' roused up and asked 
me how far it was to the nearest postoffice. I told 
him, but it didn't occur to me to mention that I was 
on a rural delivery route. My answer seemed to 
satisfy him on some point, for he nodded his head 
as if he was answering some question to himself. 
Pretty soon he looked up at me and asked abrupt 
ly: 'Can I work here for you, for my board?' I 
didn't know jest what to say for a minute then I 
told him that I wouldn't be needing help much till 
a month or so later when harvest would begin ; but 

23 



Old Jud Watkins 

as I talked I watched his face, and such a look of 
disappointment settled on it that I finished by say 
ing that if he really wished to, he could work for 
his board until that time, and then if he wanted to 
make a regular harvest hand, I would pay him the 
usual wages. I won't soon forget the look of grati 
tude he gave me, and it set me to wondering what 
was back of it all; why a man of his brains and 
polish should be so grateful for permission to bury 
himself out here on my quiet ranch; and what it 
was that had left such a mark on his face. 

"Well he stayed on, and I grew to know as much 
about him as I do of that tallest mountain peak over 
there, which has never been climbed. I couldn't 
talk to him, cause if a fellow talks too long to him 
self he begins to realize he's logy; and talking to 
that man was sure like talking to yourself when 
you don't expect an answer. After a while I quit. 
When the harvest hands came later on they tried 
as I had done, to pick up some kind of conversation 
with him, and with the same results. Some fellow 
gave him the nick-name 'No-Speakum,' and that was 
all he was known by from then on. To me he was 
'Tom', for that was what he had told me to call him, 
and I never knew what his last name was until after 
he had been here about six months. One day the 
postman (and I never will forget the look of sur 
prise and anger that came over Tom's face that first 
time he saw the rural delivery man come by here ! ) 
left a letter here addressed to Mr. T. J. Millard. I 
called after the fellow as he started away, I had 
gone down to the mail box when I saw him coming, 

24 



Old Jud Watkins 

'Here, this is a mistake; there is nobody here by 
the name of Millard.' As the postman started back, 
Tom, who was near, spoke up quick as though he 
had forgotten for the moment, 'Here, it is for me.' 
I didn't say anything of course, but just handed the 
letter to him, and the postman went on. But man 
alive! When he looked at that letter and seemed 
to recognize the handwriting, I never saw such a 
look on any man's face as was on his ! He turned 
chalky white first, then his eyes blazed like coals of 
fire and he shook like a fellow with the ague. I 
pretended not to notice. He hurried into the house, 
caught up a pen and jambed it down into the ink 
bottle, wrote something on the face of the envelope 
after scratching off part of the address, then rushed 
out of the house and ran a quarter of a mile like 
a madman until he overtook the postman and gave 
him that letter. 

"For days after that, he seemed like a man in a 
dream, and a mighty unhappy one at that ! I said 
very little to him, and aside from asking the nec 
essary questions, or answering one, he was more 
silent than ever, if that were possible. 

"Of course my curiosity was aroused by this 
strange man. What could his past be? Certainly 
he was not a criminal! nor was he a fugitive from 
the law. (I won't say 'justice'.) He had as high 
a sense of honor as any man I know, and I would 
have trusted him with anything. 

"About a month later, another letter came. This 
time Tom wasn't at the house and I did not get the 
mail until after the postman was out of sight. It 

25 



Old Jud Watkins 

was addressed same as the first one, and I noticed 
the writing this time as I carried the mail to the 
house. It was a fine handwriting, surely a woman's 
and easier to read than most of 'em. If what they 
say is true about character showing up in one's 
writing, I should have said the writer of that letter 
was a good woman. Still, you never can tell. 
Look at the writing of Jim Turner; clear cut and 
fine as a copy book, and goodness, that fellow just 
seems as if he never could be straight. And then 
again, do you recall the handwriting of some of our 
best men? Crooked and wobbly, as though they 
had no backbone. I never could see as the hand 
writing is much of a test. But I'm gettin' off my 
story : When Tom came into the house and found 
that letter lying there on the table, I just put it 
there without calling his attention to it, as I didn't 
know what else to do, that same look of white rage 
came into his face, and it almost made me afraid 
of him as if he could lay the blame on me. I was 
busy with the newspapers that are always about a 
week old when they reach here you know, and a 
fellow is pretty anxious to know what's going on in 
the world. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Tom 
take the pen as savagely as he did before, and 
scratch the address and write something else on it, 
then as if he was afraid of having the letter in the 
house, he went down to the mailbox and threw it in, 
although the postman wouldn't be by until next day. 

"In about a month, another one came. Now I 
suppose I did something that some fussy folks 
would say wasn't just square, but I don't care. 

26 



Old Jud Wdtkins 

Sometimes I think the end justifies the means, and 
this wasn't a thing that disturbed my conscience 
so's I couldn't sleep. When I took some of my own 
mail down for the postman to collect, I picked up 
the letter Tom had thrown into the box same as the 
others, and looked at it. As I say, I picked it up 
and looked carefully at what Tom had written on 
it, so's to remember it. 

"He had written 'Return to sender,' and in the 
corner was the name 'Mrs. T. J. Millard, Winns- 
boro, South Carolina.' So he was married. His 
wife had been writing to him, and he had been re 
turning the letters to her, un-opened. And he was 
a Southerner. I had suspected as much from his 
talk; one of those hot-headed, proud sons of the 
South who are governed by rash hearts instead of 
cool heads. 

"I was puzzling over the whole strange situation 
that evening when Tom suddenly spoke to me in a 
tone that made me fairly jump, intent as my mind 
was on him. 'There won't be much work for the 
next few weeks ; I'm going on a long tramp up into 
the mountains.' 

"He was gone for about two weeks. When he 
came back his face was thinner and more worn than 
ever with such a tired look in his eyes that I pitied 
him in my heart. No matter where the fault lay, 
that man was suffering the torments of hell! 
When I looked at him and realized what a woman 
can do with a man's heart, well, I felt deeply 

27 



Old Jud Watkins 

thankful that I had been left with some sweeter 
memories than had been this man's portion. 

"Well, I'm a bit ahead of my story again. 
While he was gone, I got busy. I had carefully 
made a note of his wife's address, so one night when 
I sat thinking the matter over, I wrote a letter to 
her. I told her who I was and that Mr. Millard 
lived with me here on my ranch. And then as care 
fully as I could, so's not to fumble things, I asked 
her where the trouble lay, in case she wished me 
to know, and offered as delicately as I could, to 
be of help to them both if she would let me. I 
knew I run a big risk of getting into trouble and 
bein' told to mind my own business. 

"Well, I mailed that letter and then watched 
for an answer like some love-sick swain, hoping it 
would escape the sharp eyes of Tom. It came one 
day when Tom was on the far side of the ranch. 
And such a letter ! Man that I am, I'm not ashamed 
to tell you that the tears were running down my 
old cheeks before I laid it down ! That poor little 
girl didn't spare herself; she told me everything, 
and I believed her! And right then and there I 
vowed I'd do everything in my power to help her 
and that meant him too, of course. 

"No need to go into the details of her story. An 
up-to-date story writer could have made out of it 
one of those three-sided affairs that magazine read 
ers go crazy over ; only this one, being a true story, 
didn't have the kind of spice that makes good read 
ing to some folks. This woman was a good woman. 
I knew it. 



Old Jud Watkins 

"I pondered over it for days and weeks, trying to 
see what I could do without spoiling everything in 
clumsy, man fashion. 

"One night some neighbors were in and we were 
sitting around the fire here, it was in early spring, 
and the talk turned on a murder trial the papers 
were full of at that time. A man had been found 
dead on a train, and poison had been found in an 
empty bottle that had contained whiskey which he 
had evidently drunk. The man had a handsome 
wife and they had not been on the best of terms; 
in order to make everlasting fame for himself, some 
young state's attorney had the wife thrown into 
prison and was making desperate efforts to prove 
her a murderess. Luck seemed against him. The 
outcome was still in doubt at this time. 

"While we were discussing this point, I had a 
sudden inspiration. With all the eloquence at my 
command I launched into a defense of the woman, 
and all her unfortunate sisters. Leading on from 
this I told a lot of instances where women had been 
wrongfully judged and their lives ruined everlast 
ingly just through circumstantial evidence. 

" <I knew a case once,' I said, 'where a man and 
his wife were separated by some little thing, and it 
was wrecking both their lives, just breaking their 
hearts! And the whole thing was only a misun 
derstanding. The young wife was full of life and 
natural animal spirits, and in a spirit of dare- 
deviltry was a party in some foolish escapade with 
several others, who were smooth enough to lie out 
of it, which looked bad for her and one man in 

29 



Old Jud Watkins 

a manner that would have hopelessly compromised 
her in the eyes of the world had not her husband 
straightened the whole thing out and turned it into 
a joke, to the entire satisfaction of every one ex 
cepting himself. He believed she had lied to him. 
He left her like one insane, rushing off to the far 
ends of the earth without ever giving any one a 
chance to help clear up the trouble, not even his 
mother. Jest see the misery his rashness and blind 
pride caused, both to himself and his poor little 
wife. And she had told him the truth.' 

"By the time I had got this far, Tom had bolted 
for the door, and he did not come back until after 
every one was abed and asleep. I had no way of 
knowing whether he had taken anything I said to 
himself or not; but I knew it had at least stirred 
things up and maybe set him thinking, and that 
was a whole lot. That is, if it had started him on a 
different tack than he had been on these many 
months. How I hoped and prayed the unhappy 
fellow would jest let down the bars long enough for 
me to reach him in some way. 

"One day as I sat reading a Spokane paper, I 
ran across something that brought the tears to my 
old eyes, and it gave me a thought. 

"You know on the editorial page of the Spokane 
Chronicle, there is a column headed 'Old Favorites/ 
and under it they re-print old poems. What I had 
come across was a poem by Bob Burdette that 
would have softened a heart of stone it seemed to 
me, it was so sweet and touching. 

30 



Old Jud Watkins 

"I folded the paper so that page was uppermost 
and with a devout prayer, laid it where I knew 
Tom would pick it up as soon as he came in. Well, 
he did that very thing. I sat like one froze to the 
chair as I watched his eye light on this very poem, 
then follow it down line after line. It was entitled 
'Alone,' and this is how it goes for I know it by 
heart : 

" 'I miss you, my darling, my darling; 
The embers burn low on the hearth, 
And hushed is the stir of the household, 
And still the voice of its mirth. 
Rain splashes fast on the terrace, 
The winds past the lattices moan, 
The midnight bell rings in the darkness, 
And I am alone. 

" 'I want you, my darling, my darling; 
I am tired with care and with fret, 
I would nestle in silence beside you, 
And all but your presence forget 
In the hush of the happiness given 
To those who through trusting have grown 
To the fulness of love and contentment; 
But I am alone. 

"'I call you, my darling, my darling; 
My voice echoes back on my heart; 
I stretch my arms to you in longing, 
And lo! they fall empty apart. 
I whisper sweet words, you taught me, 
The words we only have known, 
Till the blank of the dumb air is bitter, 
And I am alone. 

" 'I pray for you darling, my darling; 
With its yearning my very heart aches, 
And the load that divides us weighs harder, 
I shrink from the jar it makes. 
Old sorrows rise up to beset me, 
Old doubts make my spirit their own; 
Oh, come through the darkness and save me, 
For I am alone! Alone!' 

31 



Old Jud Watkins 

"It must have been the 'psychological moment', 
for that poem went straight to the mark. I 
knew it by the way the muscles of his face twitched 
and his quick intake of breath at the finish, almost 
like a sob. My heart sent up a prayer of thankful 
ness when he caught up his hat and started out on 
one of his long walks. I knew I had won. 

"When he came back I was prepared for his blunt 
statement that he was starting for the nearest 
station at once. 

"He pressed my hand hard at parting, merely 
saying he would write me soon. But I understood. 
And some way or other, he seemed to feel that I 
understood." 

Again the old man seemed to drift off into his 
dream country where the pictures made soft, ten 
der reflections in his kindly eyes, and I was to be 
forgotten for the time. Then turning as he had at 
the beginning of the story when he had uttered his 
belief in the divine spark in every man, he met my 
expression of unsatisfied interest and it brought him 
back to the present with an apologetic cough. 

"Well, there isn't much more to tell." He looked 
over at me with his benevolent, kindly smile that 
had endeared him to me as much as the wholesome 
philosophy which it usually accompanied. "If my 
conscience ever had troubled me about the part I 
played, it w r as soon appeased. Here is one of many 
letters I have had from Tom Millard, you may 
read it, but first, just look at this." And he drew 
from the envelope a postcard photograph and 
handed it to me. It was of a man and a baby of 

32 



Old Jud Watkins 

perhaps a year and a half, and beneath was written 
in a bold hand, "Tom, Jr., and Tom, Sr." 

The picture alone would have put the right "finis" 
to the story; for if ever I saw happiness, I read it 
in the handsome, manly face in the picture, and 
coupled with it was the just pride in the sturdy 
little lad in his arms, a second edition of himself 
in miniature. After just hearing his story, is it any 
wonder I gazed with such interest at the pictured 
faces of the principal actors in what might have 
been such a tragedy but for the intervention of the 
noble old man at my side? 

He handed me the letter received that day, and 
I read: 

"Dear old friend: I am sending you the latest 
of Tom, Jr., and his dad. The picture speaks for 
itself. 

"Just a year ago today since I reached home; 
home! It seems ages ago, and yet but yesterday, 
that I stepped unannounced into the home picture 
of Edith, my poor little girl-mother, holding a 
cooing baby in her arms, my son! of whose ex 
istence I did not even know ! O, the self reproach 
and misery that was mine! 

"My pride my foolish, crazy pride broke then, 
and my heart with it, as I dropped to my knees be 
side my poor little girl, who had been left to pass 
through that soul testing battle, for my sake, 
alone! How I begged her to forgive me yet I can 
never forgive myself! as I took them both in my 
arms. And before I arose from my knees, I thanked 

33 



Old Jud Watkins 

God for the good friend out there in the far west 
who had helped bring about this awakening of my 
real self. If you never did another act of kindness 
in your life, this one alone has earned you heaven. 
God bless you ! 

"Your grateful friend, TOM." 



34 



"The Other Kind" 

The short September day was near its close. 
Three-year old Milly was asleep on a roll of wraps 
at her mother's feet; but Johnnie and Helen and 
Arthur and Catherine were still trying to keep pace 
with their mother in pulling the hops from the pole- 
embracing vines, when a strange man came up to 
their box. 

"My name is Brown," he brusquely stated. "I 
am the owner of these hop-fields." For awhile he 
watched the workers in silence, as if reluctant to 
carry out his purpose. "I have a message for you, 
madam," he finally said. "I have been notified by 
the sheriff that I am violating the child-labor law 
by permitting children under twelve to pick hops, 
so I am obliged to tell you that your children will 
have to quit." 

For a moment Mrs. Brewster was stunned. Dur 
ing the whole summer her children had earned 
enough in the berry fields to pay the family expenses 
thus enabling her to save her earnings for the time, 
near at hand, when she would be the only bread 
winner. The few weeks remaining of hop-picking 
would not amount to much, but the future without 
the help of the busy little hands looked very dark 
indeed. "It's pretty hard," she said, "when a 
mother has to do it all." 

"Are you a widow?" asked the man, softened by 
the plaintive answer. 

35 



"The Other Kind" 

"No," Mrs. Brewster faltered, "but I am all alone 
for the present, my husband went away a year 
ago to find steady employment and I don't know 
when he'll return." 

"Oh, I see," replied Mr. Brown. "Well, we 
passed the mother's aid law for just such women as 
you. Why don't you apply for a pension with pro 
vision for these children?" 

Mrs. Brewster gave an upward toss of her head. 
"I am not one of that kind !" she flared. "I neither 
accept charity nor allow my children to do so ! 
However hard they work and whatever privation 
they suffer, they shall not be cheated out of their 
birthright of independence as long as I have the 
power to prevent it." 

"That's just my style," applauded Mr. Brown. 
"It's the good old-fashioned spirit that turned out 
men and women of backbone instead of the weak- 
kneed, spineless specimens of these days. Why, if 
things go on as they are it won't be long before one- 
half of the people will be supporting the other half." 

Mrs. Brewster had not stopped working, and the 
children, with the thoroughness of an army of cater 
pillars, had stripped their side of the pole while she 
cleaned off hers. "Huh, this ain't work!" put in 
laughing-eyed Johnnie. "It's fun to earn your own 
sweaters and things. When I go back to school," 
he added with a glance at his patched rags, "I'll 
have everything new." 

"Your kids don't seem to be suffering from over 
work," grinned Mr. Brown, "they're as sunny and 
sassy as so many dandelions." 

36 



"The Other Kind" 

"That's just what I want them to be," laughed 
the mother "and not only as sunny and 'sassy,' 
but as vigorous and pushing and clean, and as in 
dependent, too!" 

"S'pose you'll go on picking? the man inquired 
as he turned to go. 

"No, I couldn't do more than earn our expenses, 
working alone," was the regretful reply, "so we 
may as well go home." 

Before noon the next days, Mrs. Brewster with 
her bunch of "dandelions," was in the city all 
elated to the lightness of the airy balloons of their 
prototypes at being even so insigniflcent a part of 
splendid Seattle. As they approached their own 
three-room dwelling in the outskirts, so homelike in 
its envelope of vines, the recreant father had not 
left them homeless, Johnnie ran ahead. "Hello, 
a letter!" he cried as he opened the door. "Guess 
it's from Papa !" 

Mrs. Brewster coming up and hearing the word, 
"papa," snatched the letter, her face alight with 
expectation. "Huh, nothing but a city notice!" 
she sighed. "Hope it's not another assessment. But 
that's just what it is," she declared, after a glance 
at the brief contents. "Twelve dollars on that 
boulevard twenty blocks away that we shall never 
even see. It does seem as if the folks that ride in 
automobiles ought to pay for their own roads !" 

"It looks as if we was handin' out charity to 
them," asserted Johnnie, "and I should think 
they'd be ashamed to take it !" 

37 



"The Other Kind" 

"That's so, my boy," agreed the mother, recover 
ing her spirit, "but I would far rather give than re 
ceive even if it does pinch us a little. The satis 
faction of living without charitable aid is life-long, 
while the miseries of want are only for the time 
being. But I hope Papa will come home before this 
assessment is due," she smiled. 

Then the routine for the winter began. Milly was 
sent to a neighbor's while the other four were in 
school, and Mrs. Brewster toiled in a laundry, won 
dering and worrying about what the "kiddies" were 
doing all day without her care. The home washing 
and sewing she did at night, leaving the children 
to manage the rest. 

"We're getting along famously," she declared one 
day, as the united family were eating their supper 
of pea-soup and corn-bread. "If this keeps up we 
may be able to afford a visit from Santa Glaus ; the 
old fellow isn't very fond of poor folks, you know." 

"Is us poor folks, mamma?" asked Catherine in 
dismay. 

Mrs. Brewster thought a moment. "Well, no," 
she soothingly replied, "we're rich enough in every 
thing but money." 

That very night a part of their riches took flight. 
Milly came down with the measles. Of course it 
ran through the family and when quarantine was 
raised, the devoted mother became ill. Too weak to 
rise, she lay on her hard bed and sighed her heart 
out with the deadly fear of having to ask for aid. 
"I'd rather see my children dead than eating the 
bread of paupers," was the goading reflection, that 

38 



"The Other Kind" 

like some disease-repressing medicament, reduced 
her almost to the verge of the grave before its tonic 
effects began to be felt. But at last the children 
laughed again to see her about the house. 

The day before Christmas, propped up in a chair, 
she was making a necktie for Johnnie's present, 
when her proud independence was put to the se 
verest test. An automobile stopped before the 
house. All the children but Milly were at a neigh 
boring playground, so Mrs. Brewster tottered to the 
door. A glance through the glass panel told her 
what was coming. A large auto-dray, loaded to its 
capacity, stood at the curb, and two men with arms 
filled to overflowing were already on the porch. 

"Some one has reported that we are destitute," 
was the thought that burned through her mind, 
"and we are not. We still have food and fuel !" Her 
face was no longer pale when she opened the door. 
"There has been some mistake," she said to the fore 
most lieutenant of charity. 

"I have your name and address, madam," was the 
firm reply. "There can't be any mistake." 

"Well, I ought to know," flared the resolute 
woman. "I never sent my name to your paper and 
no one else had a right to !" 

"You may as well have the things, anyway," 
smiled the man. 

Mrs. Brewster thought of the bare cupboard and 
the tiny heap of coal in the bin, and wavered. But 
it was only for an instant. "You'll have plenty of 
use for them," she said, and quickly closed the door, 
shutting out her part of the bounty that a sympa- 

39 



"The Other Kind" 

thetic newspaper had collected from a generous pub 
lic to relieve the city's destitute. "God forgive me 
if I have done wrong!" she silently prayed, as she 
led Milly back to hover over the stove. 

The next morning dawned sunny and mild, and 
laughter and shouts of "Merry Christmas !" rang as 
merrily through the Brewster household as through 
a palace. The mother's poor little presents had been 
joyously received and the children were decking 
themselves in their made-over finery, when a heavy 
step was heard outside. Fearful that it might be 
another emissary of charity, Mrs. Brewster started 
to turn him away, but was too slow. The door was 
pushed open and the visitor burst into the room. 
"Hello ! Merry Christmas !" he shouted. 

"It's Santa Taus !" crowed Milly, seeing only the 
arms and pockets filled with mysterious packages 
and not recognizing her father so opportunely re 
turned. 

"We're all right, now," shouted the man as soon 
as the jubilee was over. "I've got a steady job on 
a big farm and a shack to live in and 

"That's glorious, Jack," cried the wife, too de 
lighted to wait for all the good news. "We won't 
mind the hardest work if only we can always save 
our self-respect! We're not the 'charity' kind!" 



40 



Reconciled 



Florence Crichton, when a mere child, used to 
watch from her home on a hill, the entrance of ves 
sels to the harbor of Seattle, and she claimed the 
finest of them and the harbor itself as her own. 

With the coming of the automobile and the 
growth of the city, boulevards were built to one 
place and then to another. She grew with their 
growth, and from playing the game of appropriating 
all the beautiful things she saw, she came to live 
the game. The first time her father took her out 
on the boulevard overlooking Lake Washington, she 
claimed the lake, twenty-five miles long, as her own. 
And as they followed the drive into the deep green 
woods, across bridges that spanned tiny brooklets 
and great ravines and then swung out again into 
the open, the great stretch of water below them 
with its background of fir trees, and beyond, the 
glorious Cascade Mountains, all seemed to her a 
picture arranged for the sole purpose of complet 
ing the joy of that wonderful drive. 

The summer she finished her junior year at the 
University, a fine road to Mount Rainier was com 
pleted, and she was included in the first party to 
drive over it. As the party left their machines and 
climbed to a pinnacle nearby, she claimed, in her 
accustomed manner, the mountain as her own, and 
loved it. 

41 



Reconciled 

An untried optimist, she responded with love to 
the native beauties of her birthplace, as simply and 
naturally as a bird greets with song the dawn of 
day in the spring time. 

And as she stood on this pinnacle, drinking in the 
beauties of the surrounding valleys, it seemed quite 
fitting that Harold Comer should declare his love 
and ask her to become his wife. There on the moun 
tain top she made her vows of love, and as she de 
scended the mountain, hand in hand with her lover, 
the old, old story, ever new, glorified her face as in 
all time it has glorified the face of maiden. 

A year later, preparations for the wedding be 
gan. Florence's life, thus far, had been one long 
dream of delight. She had walked in perpetual 
sunshine, a sunshine of love and happy dreams. 
But one week before the day set for the wedding 
her first cloud appeared suddenly, out of a clear 
sky. And swiftly the tempest followed. 

For the first time, illness assailed her. After a 
few days of agonized suspense, and anxious weeks 
of slow recovery, a consultation resulted in the an 
nouncement that she would soon be all right with 
the exception of her right arm, it was paralyzed. 

This, her first trial, the first test of her strength 
was met, by this erstwhile optimist, with blank 
despair. 

And when Harold, overjoyed with her recovery, 
hurried to her exclaiming, "We'll be so happy, Little 
Sweetheart! We shall not mind this small afflic 
tion," her studied haughtiness was pathetic. 

42 



Reconciled 

"Is it then so small a matter that the best medical 
authority in the country has pronounced me a life 
long cripple?" she questioned. 

"But oh, my Princess," he laughed. "It will be 
my privilege to serve " 

She interrupted him with another attempt at 
haughtiness. "Do you think then, that I am the 
kind of girl to burden the man I love, and spoil his 
career with the care of a crippled wife? Oh, can 
you not see that everything is changed? We had 
made such beautiful plans, and now, look at this." 

She tragically lifted with the fingers of the left 
hand, the poor limp member which hung helpless 
whichever way she turned it. 

"And more than this." She stopped him with a 
gesture when he would have spoken. "Perhaps you 
can not understand, but two months ago this was 
all mine." And she made an eloquent gesture to 
ward the panorama seen from the window. "Look 
at the tints on the water, and on the Olympics, be 
hind which the sun has just disappeared. And 
look at Mount Eainier. Oh, Harold, it rained last 
night and the air is as clear as it was in June. 
Then this picture was all mine. I lived in it and 
loved it. Every breath of mine was a response to 
the beauty and joy of it. 

"But now, I look at my beautiful landscape and 
it mocks me. The sunlight dances gaily on the 
water, and Rainier, my mountain, my beloved moun 
tain cries, 'Aha! 1 am yours no more.' The whole 
picture just screams at me, 'You are finished. We 

43 



Reconciled 

care nothing for your misery! We are just as 
beautiful just as complete without your joy.' ' 

"Oh yes," she continued rapidly, fearing an in 
terruption, "my career was a happy one while it 
lasted. But 'tis ended and in going down I shall 
not take you with me. No half-way measures are 
possible. I can not see you again." 

Again he would have spoken but she stopped him 
and continued, "I am going to ask my father to let 
me go away for a while until I get used to this, 
and learn to live this other life. Meantime I beg of 
you not to try to see me. Go and leave me now." 

He kissed the top of the bowed head and laid his 
cheek against it. "My poor little sweetheart," he 
said. "Such foolish sick fancies are not like you." 

But she shrank from him, pleading: "Don't, 
don't make it any harder. I can not bear it." 

With another soft kiss on her hair, and a gentle 
pat, he assured her, "Yes Dearie, I will go. You 
are all wrong. I shall not argue now, but I know 
your love is not going to change for a foolish whim. 
You will soon be yourself again and all will be 
well." 

And he departed, not doubting that she would 
feel differently very soon. But despite the plead 
ings of her family, she would not see him again, nor 
open his letters. And at last they yielded to her 
persuasion to let her go to New York. 

It was three years later when she returned, with 
the bitterness in her heart grown still more bitter. 
She had cemented with self-pity the wall of unhap- 

44 



Reconciled 

piness about her. Suffering had clouded her eyes, 
and hardened the soft curves of her lips. 

The week following her return, her dearest friend 
was to marry Harold's brother. She refused to act 
as bridesmaid, Harold was to be best man, but 
she could not refuse to attend the wedding. She 
greeted Harold coldly, but could not hide from 
him the signs of her misery. 

As her family and friends were all in league 
against her, it was perhaps not entirely accidental 
that during the evening she found herself alone 
with Harold on the veranda overlooking Lake 
Washington. Fortune smiled upon Harold as he 
stepped to her side. For at that moment the moon 
peeped from behind a cloud, and bathed the lake, 
the mountain and woods in its glorious light. Re 
treat was impossible, so for a moment she stood, 
staring into eyes filled with the old-time love. Then 
she looked out over the lake, the glory of the moon 
light upon it seeming from this distance to be 
something almost spiritual in its beauty. 

For a long time they stood thus, the silence be 
tween them tense, while the bitterness, false pride 
and wretchedness in her heart struggled desperately 
against the melting warmth of love, an unnamed 
gladness and the scenes so welcome to her home 
sick heart. 

At last he spoke gently, and as if continuing 
their conversation of three years past. "Yes, this 
and the view from your father's windows were 
yours. In the goodness of your heart you loved the 
pictures and did homage to the Maker. But, for- 

45 



Reconciled 

give me if I seem brutal, with your first misfortune 
you forsook your better self, your love and your 
homage. And, must I say it? you deserted me be 
cause of your wounded pride." 

Again the silence was tense. Again he spoke, and 
his voice rang with love and pain. "Florence my 
love, you can not remain false to both of us." 

Once more there was a moment's silence, and then 
"Yes, false to both," she repeated. "That is it." 
And she turned to him a face radiant with joy. 
"Look at this," and again she made an eloquent, 
sweeping gesture. "I know now that I was wrong. 
God's world was calling me to live life bravely 
and to know myself. And I was afraid. I could 
not understand. 

"But now, with the homesickness gone, and all 
this loved scene before me, and the wedding and 
all and you so near, my panic and blindness 
have gone like magic. I know now that I shall 
never again be afraid of life. Oh I feel again the 
old throb of life and joy. Harold ' 

But Harold was staring amazed. And follow 
ing his gaze, she too stared. They were looking at 
her right hand, which unconsciously she had lifted 
high in air, this time without the aid of strong 
fingers. 



46 



"Rock of Ages" 

Mary Ann Baggs was in front of the cabin clean 
ing two guns. Joash had planned to clean them 
that morning, but a summons to court had come 
the evening before, and he was off in his boat to 
the main-land, on an unexpected trip, so Mary Ann 
had promised to clean the guns. They said on 
Vashon that Mary Ann was "mighty handy;" she 
could row, fish, and hunt as well as any man on 
the island, and she kept her cabin neat and her 
children clean. 

She Avas a strong, capable Avoman. Her old sun- 
bonnet was pushed back on her head, and her dark 
hair and bright eyes added to her interesting per 
sonality. 

The winter before a revival had been held in the 
little school-house. Mary Ann had come under 
conviction and got religion. It was the real thing 
with her. She had a Bible and she read it; and 
had taught her children the ten commandments and 
the Lord's Prayer. 

This morning as she worked she was humming 
to herself "Rock of Ages," and thinking of the ser 
mon of the previous Sabbath. The text had been 
"Deliver us from evil." As she sang and worked 
her eyes Avandered often to the waters of the sound 
rippling in the morning sunshine. The tide Avas in 
and the waves lapped gently against the jagged 

47 



"Rock of Ages" 

rocks that rose as a natural barrier about the open 
space in front of the cabin. 

Back of the cabin stretched the great forest of 
tall Washington pines and firs; the voices of the 
children came from the edge of it where they were 
playing. 

Plenty of tradition hung over the lonely spot. 
The pioneers on the mainland still related tales of 
Indian orgies on the island, and of a certain cove 
called "Smugglers' Cove." Even now the peaceful 
atmosphere was threatened. For months past a 
band of lawless men had been operating along the 
coast, committing robberies and depredations, with 
the island as their rendezvous. Recently the 
island itself had been the scene of a dastardly deed. 
Not half a mile from where Mary Ann stood was 
the deserted cabin of old man Lumley. He was 
known to have money and had been robbed and 
murdered by members of the band. Clint Boyd, the 
leader, had been caught and jailed. His examina 
tion was now in progress. Joash had gone as a wit 
ness for the prosecution. Meanwhile the rest of the 
band were still at large, threatening vengeance. A 
rumor had come that some of them had been seen 
a mile or two away. 

Mary Ann was a strong advocate of peace at all 
times ; but Joash believed that "forewarned is fore 
armed." 

The sun rose higher; the guns were about fin 
ished; the children had come from play and were 
watching their mother. 

48 



"Rock of Ages" 

A man on horseback came suddenly round the 
bend in the narrow roadway leading up from the 
shore. He was followed by another; and at once 
two more came into view. Mary Ann gave one 
look. "The Boyd gang, sure enough!" she said 
under her breath, "but Joash isn't here. Praise the 
Lord !" Then her thoughts turned to the old wallet 
behind the loosened bricks of the chimney. It con 
tained their savings to buy the bit of cleared land 
adjacent to their own holding. Outwardly she was 
calm. She picked up the guns and with Seth and 
Hetty close at her heels, walked to the little veran 
dah in front of the cabin. 

The men dismounted, tied their horses to the 
fence, and entered the yard. The foremost, evi 
dently the leader, came rapidly towards the steps. 
He wore brown corduroy trousers and a black shirt. 
His trousers were tucked into high boots in typical 
western fashion ; on his head was a slouch hat. His 
face was dark and determined. 

Mary Ann placed the guns against the side of the 
house and turned to greet him. 

"Somethin' to eat and that mighty quick, woman; 
set out some bread and bacon and make the coffee 
strong; now get a gait on ye. We're hungry men 
and no time to fool. Must be out o' here in twenty 
minutes." Without replying, Mary Ann disap 
peared into the cabin, quickly prepared the food, 
set it forth on the deal table, and called the men. 
They filed in, a ruffianly-looking lot. 

As they sat down, Mary Ann, standing at the 
head of the table, said quietly: "Gentlemen, we 

49 



"Rock of Ages" 

allus have the blessin' before we eat," then she 
folded her toil-worn hands, closed her eyes, and in 
a solemn voice began the Lord's prayer. Hetty and 
Seth stood on either side of their mother, and from 
force of habit mingled their childish voices with 
hers. 

"Cut it out," began one of the men, but stopped 
at a look from the leader. 

The petition finished, the men in awed silence ate 
rapidly and voraciously. Again and again Mary 
Ann filled up their plates. Suddenly the leader ex 
claimed : "Time's up, boys," and they rose from the 
table. Mary Ann's heart stood still. 

The leader turned towards her. "I want ye to 
know that we ain't much on religion, but we do 
know a brave woman when we see one. It ain't in 
our minds to harm ye or the young 'uns, and we are 
obleeged for the provisions." 

With these words he strode through the door and 
down the path. He was followed by the other men 
and they mounted and rode away. 

Mary Ann stood for a few moments in silence 
looking down the way they had taken. Then she 
brought the guns in, put them in their places in 
the rack near the ceiling and went about her work. 
As she worked, she sang, softly, 

"Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 
Let me hide myself in Thee." 



50 



Deserted 



"What is that you say, Betty?" 

"The railroad is coming," exclaimed Betty. "Jack 
just returned from The Dalles. He was talking 
with the men. They are building rapidly this way. 
Now if they buy your land, father, for the depot 
site and pay for the right of way through here, our 
fortunes will be made." 

The old man shook his head and said, "Yes, if 
they will. We have waited for so long, Betty, I 
have lost faith in that Northern Pacific Railroad 
Company. Your mother was just a slip of a girl, not 
as old as you are, when we filed on our homestead, 
and here we have lived and waited for the railroad 
all these years. How many loads I have hauled to 
The Dalles and back again in that time ! I do hope 
I've hauled my last one." 

The old man walked to the end of the porch and 
shading his eyes with his hand stood looking to 
ward the Old Town gap. "There is no other way 
to get through the foothills except through that gap, 
its got to go through my land ! "I don't mind for 
myself, I have gotten used to it. But if mother's 
hopes could be realized," he mused. "If Ben could 
finish his college course and she could go back to 
see him get his sheepskin. Bless her, she has never 
been back to her old home since we left on our 
honey-moon trip to take a homestead in Washington 

51 



Deserted 

Territory. What a brave little girl she has been," 
thought the old man. 

Spring had come very early that year, in fact 
there had been very little winter weather and now 
the garden was filled with blooming flowers. A 
long row of hollyhocks stood guard between the 
flowers and the vegetable garden. Back of the veg 
etable garden a row of tall trees made a wind-break, 
from which the breezes wafted the sweet odor of 
the balm buds. Clover in blossom along the irri 
gating ditches filled the air with its fragrance. 
The little town on the river was filled with blos 
soms, both wild and cultivated, for these old set 
tlers were lovers of beauty and had taken time to 
grow flowers and vines in profusion. Every house 
was covered with climbing roses, and although 
there were few tea roses and bulbs, there were all 
the old-fashioned flowers and some of the newest 
and latest things from the East. 

Betty ran back to her own home across the 
street and the pioneer went into the house to talk 
it all over with his wife. 

As she had just finished her work for the day, 
they walked out into the garden, talking of the 
prosperity that would come with the railroad. As 
they passed the bed of white daisies, she stooped 
and gathered a handful and said, "Ben, can't you 
see little Margaret sitting there in the grass making 
her daisy chain? Its twenty-five years since we 
laid her away, and I never see those daisies with 
out seeing her." 

52 



Deserted 

"Yes," said the father, "she looked just like you, 
blue eyes and golden hair. I can't get over wishing 
we could have kept her." 

They walked on to the honeysuckle arbor and 
set talking of their young life together. "Here, 
Jack courted Betty. How happy they have been. 
And over there under the sunflowers little Ben had 
his garden," said his mother. 

They watched the setting sun paint the dull gray 
foothills gorgeous red and gold and then drop 
down behind the mountains. 

What dreams filled the mother's mind as she 
slipped away in slumber that night, dreams of see 
ing her son graduate from the State University 
where she had attended school, and where her old 
school-mate's son was studying now. 

What a beautiful world it was to her that night 
as she planned her trip and visit with the old friends 
of her girlhood days. 

"I told you so, Benjamin, 'All things come to him 
who waits.' ' 

"Yes, if you wait long enough," said the old man. 

The weeks flew by on wings of hope. The whole 
village was in a flutter of excitement. The rail 
road official had been there the day before trying 
to make a deal for the depot site, but as corpora 
tions have no souls, the fact of the destiny of many 
lives had no weight. 

The official wrote hurriedly in his notebook, "Old 
Yakima depot site too high priced," and ordered 
the engineers to go on four miles north of the old 

53 



Deserted 

Yakima site and lay out a new town in the sage 
brush. 

The old settlers called a meeting in the church. 
What did this mean? How could the railroad pass 
through the town and not have a depot? 

The mystery was explained by a railroad official 
who caine in a few weeks and announced that the 
company was ready to move every house off its 
foundation up to a new lot in the new town of 
North Yakima, which the railroad company had 
laid out. 

The women huddled together with tears in their 
eyes. "Must we leave our flowers, our lawns, our 
shade trees and our berries and fruit and go up 
there to live in the sage brush? Not a blade of 
green grass, nothing to be seen but sand and sage 
brush for miles around !" 

The younger men said, "We have no choice, the 
railroad will make the new town and kill the old 
one." 

New comers were already arriving at the new 
town site. Lots were selling rapidly. There was 
no time to stop and grieve. In a few days only a 
half dozen houses were left standing. A few of 
the old settlers would not move and were left to 
tell the tale, among them Benjamin Brown and 
his wife. 

The old pioneer said, "Jack, you and Betty go, 
you are young and can make a home in the new 
town, but mother and I will stay on the old place. 
You will want a cool, shady place to spend your 

54 



Deserted 

Sundays; so we will stay here. A railroad surely 
is a great thing when it can make or unmake a 
town in a day. Well ! one generation must live 
for the next. Our children will all be rich some 
day." 

His prophecy did come true, for Jack opened a 
real estate office in the new town and could hardly 
handle the business. The new town was wild with 
excitement. Sales were frequent, with the same 
lots being turned over two or three times, each time 
at a big increase. 

Many men had come through from the East with 
the first train, eager to take up homestead claims: 
Shacks sprang up like mushrooms in the night. 
Lumber was scarce, but tent houses with board 
floors were put up by the hundreds. Fortunes were 
made in a day and the new town conquered the 
desert and caused it "to blossom as the rose." 

Young Ben Brown came back West without his 
diploma and was elected mayor of the new town of 
North Yakima. "I don't see," said his proud 
father, "but Ben gets along all right without his 
diploma." 

"Well," said the mother, "he might have been 
president of the United States some day, if he could 
have graduated with his class." 

In the old town, the yards and gardens filled the 
air with their sweetness, but the blossoms were left 
to fade alone, deserted. The birds taught their 
young to fly unmolested by the small boy. Only a 

55 



Deserted 

few old couples sat on their porches in the evening. 
They looked longingly toward the North Gap 
where their children had gone to build a new city 
in the desert. 



56 






The New Word 

"There's an exquisite suggestion !" 

The exclamation fell from the lips of a passenger 
on the slowly moving train. Instantly the man's 
face had undergone a transformation. The deep, 
gray-blue eyes flashed with pleasure, and the 
corners of the tightly-closed mouth softened into 
something that hinted of delight. 

Pillowing both elbows upon his knees, he con 
centrated his attention upon his magazine. Almost 
audibly he read again : "There is an old legend that 
runs something like this. On the day when the 
Christ toiled on that upward path, with heart pal 
pitating and muscles straining under His burden, 
when it seemed He could go no farther, out from 
the shadow stepped the sweet Saint Veronica, Ten 
derly, with upturned face, and with lips murmuring 
a prayer, she drew from her girdle a handkerchief, 
and gently and lovingly wiped the damp brow of her 
Master. And, the legend has it when she held 
up the square of linen, all about her were amazed 
and awed to see implanted there a perfect likeness 
of the Savior's face." 

The traveler ceased to read, but he did not move. 
Nor did he arouse from his revery until someone 

57 



The New Word 

near him uttered a low cry of wonder. Then he 
turned to the window. 

The Northern Pacific train was threading its way 
over the Cascade Divide, and they were passing 
through a fairyland of sunlight, of mountain tops 
aglint with blinding brightness and of huge fir trees 
shouldering, with never a swerve, their burden of 
ice jewels. The light that shone upon the eager 
young face as he read the legend, was intensified 
by a reflection there of the dazzling beauty without. 
The Greatest of Magicians had surely been at work. 
The man drew a deep breath that was full of the 
spice that only the pine mountains know. He 
shaded his eyes with his hand as he smiled out upon 
the glory of the morning. 

But the train was beginning to descend now, and 
what was that just below them? No but, yes, it 
must be a cloud, for they were already in the midst 
of it. Suddenly drops of rain beat hard and fast 
upon the window pane. The train sped on swiftly 
through a thick fog to the Sound city. 

The smile vanished slowly and gradually a frown 
replaced it. After thrusting his note-book impati 
ently into his pocket, the man opened the bag at 
his feet and took from it a roll of type-written 
pages. He glanced at them and then crammed them 
back into the valise like so much waste paper. 

It was sometime before he settled himself in a 
restful attitude. Then he relaxed and mused of his 
journey's end, where he expected to find the girl of 
his dreams. Soon something conjured up before 

58 



The New Word 

him the picture of a girl and boy walking home 
together from the rural school "in those dear old 
golden rule days, when she was his queen in calico, 
and he was her bashful, bare-foot beau." He saw 
them later in Broadway High School in Seattle. 
And still again his mind's eye viewed them walking 
slowly across the Washington University Campus. 
He had completed his journalistic course, and was 
telling her, his under classmate by two years, good 
bye. The sweet eyes were full of proud tears, for 
she had foreseen great things ahead for him. 

Nearly two years had elapsed since he had seen 
the girl and he felt that he could wait no longer. 
But what was he taking her? Had he "won his 
joust"? Was he ready to go to her and ask for 
that wonderful thing that he knew was his? Could 
he face her with a traveling bag full of manuscript 
worn with marks of their many journeys? A posi 
tive shrug of the broad shoulders was answer 
enough. On the mountain summit he had been tre 
mendously uplifted, first by the startling beauty of 
the old legend, and again by the sunlight wealth 
of the Divide. But they dropped from the summit 
and the sunshine, and grasp at it as he would, the 
vision slipped away and failed to gild for him the 
fog and the rain. He knew that he possessed real 
ability to write. He knew as well that something 
was lacking, but what it was 

"Is John Gregory in this car?" The words were 
thundered by the conductor. Our friend nodded in 

59 



The New Word 

recognition and received the yellow envelope. His 
blanched face soon told the story. He could not 
proceed on his journey to the girl. 

At Auburn a tall, stalwart figure swung off the 
step before the car stopped and took the first train 
back to his boy-hood home among the hills. He 
found the brave little mother very near death but 
she had waited for her boy. Never could he forget 
the long night when his lips endeavored in vain to 
frame a prayer out of the depths of his anguish. 
Forever would ring in his memory her last words 
of faith and confidence in him. "I count on you, 
my son, to fill your measure of a man's work to over 
flowing. And when you come to the dark places, I 
shall be there too, and my arms shall enfold you, 
and when you come to the high places, there I shall 
be too with my hand in yours." And then she 
smiled and through Eternity would linger with 
him the wonder of it. 

The next day he made a path to the woods, far 
out to the hills. He loved the companionship of 
the lone bird's call and the wind in the trees. Be 
fore many days the spirit of the woods lured him 
as in his boyhood, until by and by it seemed that 
a silent messenger dwelt in those bleak places and 
brought him peace. 

Then before he knew it, spring came along. Ever 
since his mother's death, he had been working with 
nervous determination upon a new book. He traced 
his first inspiration for the story back to the legend 
he had read that morning on the mountain summit. 

60 



The New Word 

But it was the mother's smile that had led him on, 
and on, until his subject had gripped him with a 
feverish energy, and now the book was well under 
way. 

One May morning he followed his path to the 
woods. The south wind caressed the crisp, wavy 
hair, and kissed away the last line of pain from 
the youthful face. All about him there gleamed 
and sang a symphony of glory and life and glad 
ness. And rising out of it all, he seemed to see 
the radiant face of the Besurrection Angel walking 
toward him in shining garments and with out 
stretched hands. John Gregory bowed his head. 

But what fragrance was that wafted to him across 
the violets? It must be from that wondrous burst 
of bloom but a few feet away. Could it be, yes, it 
was the very shrub that a few weeks ago had seemed 
absolutely dead. In fact he had doubted greatly 
that it would ever live again. He laughed aloud as 
he touched the exquisite thing to make sure it was 
real. The pine tops forgot their diginity and bent 
and swayed to the rhythm of a joyous spring-song, 
and it w r as echoed among the swelling rhododendron 
buds and the leaves on the ash trees. 

The boughs of the oak w r hispered to him of cour 
age and strength, and told him a wonderful secret, 
that at that very moment hundreds of dead-appear 
ing acorns were sprouting with the faith that they 
too would become mighty oaks. The clear call of 
a lark sounded and he reached up both arms as he 
moved toward it. Happy as a child was John 
Gregory as he darted from this to that new delight. 

61 



The New Word 

He was relearning the secrets of root and mold 
and leaf and flower and bird. Flashes and glimmer 
ings of a new understanding lifted and buoyed him 
with a strange consciousness. He saw and loved 
life this morning as never before. 

But what was that gleam of color yonder? Ah, 
the first wild Iris! How often he and the girl 
had gathered them near this same stream! How 
well he recalled her childish delight when long ago 
in this very spot he had told her what Euskin said 
of the Fleur-de-lis, that it was the Flower of Chiv 
alry "with a sword for its leaf and a lily for its 
heart." He smiled tenderly as he remembered how 
their young hearts had thrilled as they vied in re 
hearsing for each other the stories of those brave, 
pure-hearted knights of old. 

Hereafter this flower would be to him alwaj^s a 
symbol of hope and faith. It should stand for all 
that he had learned today. There was a mist in 
the man's eyes as he gathered an armful of the 
glorious blue. Keluctantly he turned toward home, 
but he carried with him hidden among the blossoms 
something more priceless than gold. 

It was Commencement week at the University. 
The girl was hastening across the campus. Her day 
had been full of pleasure and triumph, and tomor 
row she walked more slowly now, and a wistful 
smile lurked about the sweet mouth, she had so 
hoped but a friend interrupted the revery. "Oh, 
Ruth, a box has just been left for you. Do hurry 
and open it now!" 

62 



The New Word 

A moment later the girl lifted from the box an 
immense bunch of magically hued Iris. When she 
was alone she opened the note that she had seen 
peeping from the mass of blue. It contained only, 
"I'll call for you at six John." 

Long had they sat there beside the friendly rho 
dodendrons. Soft for an hour had come the lapping 
of near-by waves, mingled with the whisperings 
among the alders. At last with luminous faces 
they sought the beckoning water. 

The lowering sun had charmed upon the restless 
waves of Puget Sound a long, narrow line of won 
derful color. The air was very clear and the distant 
Olympic summits glowed with the rose light of 
the Infinite. 

John turned to Euth. That which had gleamed 
at him from the upturned face of the legendary 
saint, that which his mother's smile had breathed 
into real life, and which had been fostered by the 
wild Iris and the larks and the pine-tops, was now 
clarified and consummated in the girlish figure be 
side him. He could scarcely wait to finish the last 
chapter of his book. 

He drew the girl close until he breathed the fra 
grance of the blue flower in her gown. Together 
they gazed out over the wild tossing Sound waters 
toward where they knew there was the mighty calm 
ness of the Pacific beyond, and then out of the 
strugglings of the man's soul was born a mighty 
sense of peace. He felt the glad, promised pres 
sure of that dear unseen hand, and then he knew 

63 



The New Word 

that he had sought out one of the highest of the 
high places. 

He seemed to see a word emblazoned in shining 
letters of gold against the jagged, magic-hued peaks 
of the Olympics; he seemed to hear falling softly 
from unseen lips, as in a benediction, that new word, 
Service. 



64 



Tod's "Santy" 

The "special" had come and gone, and the local 
train, "The Owl," that had been sidetracked for 
twenty minutes, switched to the main line. 

Tod was behind the big sign by the water tank. 
A little distance away on the end of a log, a brown 
object had just appeared; sitting erect on its hind- 
legs, it began to industriously manipulate its front 
paws. Tod, oblivious to all else, watched it, fascin 
ated. All at once, he started towards the log. The 
brown object pricked up its ears, jumped off, and 
disappeared into the ground right before Tod's as 
tonished eyes. "It's sure a Jackie wabbit! A 
Jackie wabbit!" he shouted and ran to tell Uncle 
Nate and Rod, or anyone of the wonderful happen 
ing. He emerged from behind the sign and looked 
and looked again. Nothing in sight near him save 
the tank, the tall Washington firs and pines and 
the little spring. In the distance, rounding the 
curve and speeding away from him was the local. 
On it were mother, Uncle Nate, and Eod, his twin 
brother. 

Tod stared for a moment, then he began to howl. 
The jack-rabbit had come out of its hole, and heard 
w r ith amazement the unusual sound. As the train 
entirely disappeared from view, Tod ran down the 
track after it as fast as his short, fat legs could 
carry him. Suddenly he stopped, overcome by a 

65 



Tod's "Samty" 

sense of desolation. It was a lonely spot, the nar 
row entrance to the valley; the lofty range of the 
Cascades rose on either hand, and the big trees 
grew down close to the track save where a little 
clearing had been made near the spring and the 
tank. It was the only stop in the long stretch be 
tween the big lumber camp and the valley town 
thirty miles away. 

Finally Tod turned and trotted slowly back to 
the tank. All about him was silence and the great 
trees; the rabbit had disappeared again. Near the 
tank, stood the big new sign. It advertised the 
fact that the Valley Mercantile Company was 
"Headquarters for Santa Glaus." A generous sup 
ply of red paint had been used to portray the old 
fellow himself, lifesize, with his pack on his back. 

Tod looked up at the big, red Santa Claus, and a 
feeling of comfort stole into his little heart. "Santy 
is coming tonight; on the train and everywhere; 
mother said so. He will find me. He surely will !" 
The ruddy face of Santy seemed to smile upon him, 
and he thought there was a twinkle in his eye. At 
length, overcome by exhaustion, he crouched down 
in front of the sign, close to Santy's feet and fell 
asleep. 

The December sun had dropped out of sight be 
hind the mountains the wind was rising and moan 
ing among the tops of the pines. Snow had begun 
to fall in large flakes, few and far apart. 

A horseman riding slowly down the trail stopped 
at a bend in the path and looked cautiously up and 

66 



Tod's "Svnty" 

down the track. "Coast is clear," he said aloud, 
"nothing due now until ten o'clock tomorrer. Tom 
said as how he would cache the provisions in that 
clump of trees, same as t'other time. I'll get 'em 
and be making tracks back afore it gets too dark. 
Looks like we're in for a big storm. I shan't ob 
ject." He rode across the track, straight up to a 
clump of cedars on the opposite side. Dismounting, 
he pushed away a big stone lying there, and a hole 
in the ground was revealed. He reached in, and 
pulled out a canvas sack. 

"Bacon and meal, I judge, and coffee an terbacker 
from the smell. Good for you, old Pard, you allus 
know what a feller wants." He rolled the stone 
into place, fastened the sack to the animal's neck, 
and mounted again. 

When he reached the track, he turned and rode 
towards the spring. "Might as well give the cay use 
a drink. Blamed if the Valley Mercantile Company 
hasn't put up a new piece of architecture since I 
was here afore. 'Headquarters for Santa Claus,' 
and old Nick himself! Big head for business some 
one must have ; something red on the ground there. 
It's safe to investigate, I reckon." 

He rode nearer, and looked down on Tod in his 
red sweater, curled up against the sign, fast asleep, 
two tears still visible on his freckled cheeks. 

"The little vagabond ! what in the name of King 
dom Come is he doin' here? Must have got left 
somehow. Sorry we can't turn into a rescuin' party, 
but circumstances are plumb agin it." He watered 
his horse and came back to the sign. "Hate to leave 

67 



Tod's "Santy" 

the little chap, but it's too risky." He looked anx 
iously around; night was coming on and the snow 
was falling fast. His cap and old mackinaw were 
already white. 

The child stirred uneasily and opened his eyes. 
The man stooped over him. "I fought you'd come, 
Santy," murmured Tod sleepily, "Did you bring the 
reindeer?" "You bet," replied "Santy," "the whole 
six on 'em." "But my name's Jake," he muttered, 
too low for Tod to hear, and "I'm in for it now." 

Holding the child half-stupefied with cold with 
one arm, with the other he guided the sturdy little 
cayuse up the trail. The wind was blowing straight 
from the canyon. Before they had gone a mile, a 
furious storm was raging. Horse and man fought 
their way in the teeth of a blizzard ; steadily higher 
and higher they mounted to a little shack that faced 
the trail. 

Jake carried the child in and laid him on the rude 
bunk built against the wall. Raking up the em 
bers in the fire-place he piled on fuel until the 
whole room was lit by a cheerful glow; then he 
went outside, cared for the cayuse and brought in 
the sack of provisions. 

Tod was awake and was sitting up in the bunk, 
looking around in bewilderment. Jake carried him 
to a seat in front of the fire and as he began to 
remove his shoes and sweater, Tod found his 
tongue. "Is this your house, Santy"? Then, all at 
once, he wailed, "I want my mother, an' I want 
Uncle Nate and Roddy." 

68 



Tod's 

"All right, all right, Kiddie, we'll find 'em ter- 
morrer. The reindeers will be ready to take us to 
the ten o'clock, but we'll have to stay here tonight 
on account of the storm. It's too much for my 
reindeers, though they're pretty tough. Now you 
just sit and toast your toes, while I hustle around 
and get somethin' to eat." 

Tod, warmed and fed, cuddled down in Jake's 
arms. 

"You're a funny Santy," he said after awhile, 
"but I 'spose you're all right. I hope you brought 
my little auto, I wrote you 'bout it, you know; 
you may give it to me now, if you want to." 

"Better wait till tomorrer, kid," replied Jake, 
"you kin have this tonight," and he pulled out a 
battered watch. 

Tod took it and was silent for a time, turning it 
over and over, in the firelight; then the torrent of 
questions broke forth again. 

"Did you bring presents to the Babe of Bethle 
hem, Santy? when he was lying in the shed with 
the cows and sheep? It's his birthday tomorrow, 
mother said. I'm four years old, and I get presents 
on my birthday. Did you 'member Him when He 
was down here? I 'spose you've been alive ever 
since the Lord made little boys and girls, haven't 
you?" Suddenly he began to sing: 

"While shepherds watched their flocks by night 
A sitting on the ground." 

"Mother sings that I don't know but just those 
two lines." 

69 



Tod's "Santy" 

The fire on the hearth burned low. Jake put 
Tod back in the bunk, and covered him carefully 
with his old coat. The child slept peacefully. 

When morning broke, the blizzard had spent its 
force. The snow lay in huge drifts on the moun 
tain sides. Above the cabin towered the snowy 
peaks of the Cascades bathed in the morning sun 
light. 

Very early, Jake with Tod in front, astride the 
cayuse, started down the trail. He knew full well 
the risk he ran in making the ten o'clock, but his 
promise to the child must be kept. There was no 
other way. 

Sometimes they waded snowdrifts that came to 
the animal's neck; again the ground was bare, but 
covered with ice that made traveling difficult. Tod 
was happy and very sociable, but Jake grew very 
quiet as they drew near the track. 

"There's the train," cried Tod as a shrill whistle 
was heard in the clear, still air, and the rumble of 
wheels reached their ears. 

"And there's Uncle Nate," he added, as the train 
reached the tank and a well known form appeared 
on the platform. 

"I'm here, Uncle Nate," he shouted. "I stayed 
all night with Santy. He's here too. I've had a 
splendid time. Looky! Looky." He held up the 
battered watch. "It's mine. Santy gave it to me." 

The train stopped just long enough for Jake to 
place Tod in his uncle's arms. "Tell me your name 
and where to reach you," said Uncle Nate. Jake 
shook his head. 

70 



Tod's "Santy" 

"Good-bye, Santy," piped a little voice. "You're 
sure I'll get the auto." "Sure, sure," answered 
Jake. "Good-bye, Kid." 

As the train moved on, suddenly a shot rang out 
and several horsemen rode into view, coming down 
the opposite hill. 

"We've got him all right," exclaimed Big Sam, 
the sheriff, as he saw Jake reel and fall. Dis 
mounting, he ran to the side of the prostrate man. 
Jake opened his eyes, his dying glance fell on the 
sign, and a smile drifted across his lips. "Christ 
mas, and the little tad took me for Santy." 



71 



Her Birthright 

Louise Whitman paused in her dusting and 
studied thoughtfully the rugged western landscape 
framed by the window, pines, cedars and tama 
rack in the foreground, volcanic rock in the middle 
distance, and far away against a cobalt sky, many 
purple mountains. She remembered how, when 
her eyes had first rested on the scene, she had 
thrilled at the prospect of reproducing it. Painting 
had always given her a peculiar joy. She responded 
with exalted emotion to any happy juxtaposition of 
colors about her, and the successful transferring 
to canvas of a mood of nature gave her acute 
pleasure. 

Five years ago ! And for nearly a year now she 
had not opened her paint box. Her baby, now three 
years old, had quite fully occupied her time, but 
she knew that he had not been the real obstacle. 
On the contrary, she saw that, other things being 
equal, he might have contributed to her inspiration. 
For the first year she had worked diligently and 
happily, although she found with keen disappoint 
ment that her husband took no interest whatever 
in her efforts. About the end of the year however, 
Paul's business affairs began to go badly, and at the 
same time his attitude towards her painting 
changed gradually from indulgent toleration to im 
patience and active hostility. Then the baby ar- 

73 



Her Birthright 

rived, and for the next two years Louise was so 
completely occupied with the normal and satisfy 
ing cares of motherhood that the issue was lost 
sight of. 

One bright May morning when the air was vi 
brating with sunshine, Louise tucked the baby into 
his go-cart, and taking her paintbox under her arm, 
started off for a nearby park intending to make a 
day of it. From the first however everything went 
wrong. The baby kept getting his fists into her 
paints; she found that two years of almost com 
plete idleness had played havoc with her skill, and 
what divided attention she managed to give to her 
canvas produced only the most discouraging results. 
About the middle of the afternoon she gave up and 
returned to the house. Paul had arrived, driven 
home early it appeared by a headache, after an un 
lucky day in business. His mood had not been im 
proved by half an hour in the empty house, and 
upon seeing the painting materials he gave vent to 
his ill-temper in a bitter denunciation of her pas 
sion for painting and her extravagance in indulg 
ing it. Louise was deeply hurt, but after consid 
ering the matter calmly she saw that the founda 
tion of his complaint lay in money matters, and in 
order to make her avocation, at least, pay for it 
self if possible, she determined to make a few 
sketches and try to sell them. For the next few 
months she worked passionately and secretly; but 
although she was able to do two or three things 
which satisfied her moderately, she knew intuitively 
that they were too impressionistic for any general 

74 



Her Birthright 

appreciation or market. Her pictures stood about 
in an art store gathering dust until she removed 
them in chagrin. After that she painted no more, 
and tried conscientiously to fill the void in her life 
with her domestic duties and her child. 

Today as she looked out on the familiar scene it 
failed to stir her. Had she lost her responsiveness 
to the beautiful, she wondered? She finished her 
dusting and went out to the kitchen to prepare the 
lunch. 

"Hello, Louise," called Whitman as he entered 
the house that evening, "you'll never guess who's 
here !" 

"Why, Harry Collins, of all people!" Louise ex 
claimed as she warmly grasped both hands of the 
unexpected guest. 

Collins, whom both of them had known since 
childhood, had become the editor of one of Chicago's 
great dailies. He had the alert, intelligent look of 
a man who is keenly alive in an interesting world. 

During dinner the talk centered about old 
friends and doings "back east." Collins showed 
himself to be an active participant in Chicago's af 
fairs. He spoke of politics and the Press Club, of 
the Thomas Orchestra and the Art Institute, in each 
of which he had a personal interest. 

"Harry," said Louise after a while, "it strikes me 
that your own development has been quite as sur 
prising as Chicago's. You used to be a very prac- 
ticl sort of boy. How do you happen to know so 
much about music and art?" 

75 



Her Birthright 

"Well," said Collins smiling, "I think this is the 
first time I was ever called on to defend myself on a 
charge of undue mentality, but if you must know, 
I think I'll have to follow the example of Adam 
and throw the blame on a woman. The fact is that 
my wife has been educating me. Before I was mar 
ried I used to think that the only suitable pleasures 
for a man were hunting, baseball and poker. My 
idea of absolutely nothing doing was Grand Opera 
or a picture gallery. My wife has taught me that 
the most satisfying pleasure in life comes through 
studying things. Take Art for instance. Four 
years ago I had never suspected that Art could be 
interesting to anybody but an artist, and I thought 
that artists were born, not made. Now it's my 
favorite hobby, and in a small way I'm a collector. 
What started me was a little book my wife gave 
me on "How to look at pictures." It was delight 
ful. I followed it up with a course of lectures at 
the Institute, and I've been studying the subject 
ever since. I have an idea that almost any subject 
is interesting if you study it, and for a guide to the 
good things in life commend me to an intelligent 
and educated woman. What do you say, Whit 
man?" 

"Well," said Paul, "I subscribe to your senti 
ments about women. I did my part in putting 
through the suffrage bill. But as to the rest I have 
my doubts. I don't know a thing about art myself, 
and I don't believe there is any of it in me. It sim 
ply doesn't interest me." 

76 



Her Birthright 

"It doesn't interest you because you never gave it 
any of your august attention. You probably prefer 
billiards. We men are all alike, and we're really an 
awful set of asses. Here, come in the parlor a 
minute," he continued, "and I'll prove to you that 
pictures are interesting. Here for instance is a 
sea-view. It isn't bad, but it doesn't compare with 
that little landscape over there. See how true that 
perspective is; you could walk among those trees. 
Now look at the sea-scape. Don't you see that there 
is something just a little wrong about the colors? 
The water hasn't the solid, rolling look of a real 
ocean, and " 

For half an hour he talked, not pedantically, but 
in the simple conversational way of a man who 
knows his subject and wants to share his pleasure 
in it. Louise saw with secret delight that Paul 
was genuinely interested. 

"By the way, Louise," said Collins finally, "it 
just occurs to me that you used to paint. In fact 
you were supposed to be quite a budding genius. 
Are you keeping it up?" 

"No," she replied laughing in embarrassment, 
"if I ever had any genius I'm afraid it's a case of 
'the light that failed.' " 

"The light of genius never fails unless it's smoth-* 
ered," he commented. 

"Well," she answered, "a baby is pretty smoth 
ering, and " 

"Look here," said Whitman suddenly, "I guess 
the fact of the matter is that I'm the smotherer." 

77 



Her Birthright 

"No," said Louise quickly, "that isn't true. I 
have just lost interest. I was thinking of it today. 
I don't long to paint as I used to. The baby and 
the housework keep me busy, and I seem to be 
quite contented." 

"If that is true," said Collins, seriously, "it cer 
tainly is a shame. You mean that you have given 
up the immense pleasure of real work of striving 
after the unattainable, for the pitiful satisfaction 
of doing your drudgery well. It's a case of Esau 
and the mess of pottage." 

"Oh," she laughed, "I don't think I have sold 
mine entirely. I have dabbled a little since we 
came west. That little sketch in the parlor that 
you seemed to like was mine." 

"I suspected it," said Collins, calmly, "but I 
meant every word of what I said about it. It's good. 
It's the real thing. I'm positive I can sell it for a 
hundred or so if you care to part with it." 

"No," said Whitman quickly, "I want that sketch 
myself. It's the first picture I ever saw that I cared 
for." 

Collins staid until midnight, and then Whitman 
left also to take him to his train. The next morn 
ing at breakfast Paul began courageously: 

"Louise, I believe that if the dog in the manger 
had ever learned to like hay himself, he would not 
have been so mean about the matter. He probably 
thought it was all foolishness for the cow to eat the 
stuff. I'm ashamed of myself my dear, and I'm 
sorry. I want you to go on with your painting and 

78 



Her Birthright 

I want you to educate me as Collins' wife did him. 
Will you do it?" 

For answer she reached a hand across the table 
and Paul pressed it tenderly. 

When he had gone, Louise stood at the window 
and looked across at her favorite scene with shining 
eyes. She knew just how she would begin to paint 
it. 



79 



The Disciplinarian 

Thomas Carmichael was one of the pioneers of 
the Sound country and all the people in the valley 
loved him. His large heart yielded sympathy as 
his broad acres yielded harvests and his farmhouse 
was a caravansary from which no traveler was ever 
turned away. And this capacious farmhouse with 
its labyrinthic interior enabled his daughter Jennie 
to elude the household order of rising with the lark. 

This shrewd and tactful Jennie was soft and 
round and dimpled and pink, the baby of the family 
and pampered withal, notwithstanding her father's 
efforts to bring her up in the way she should go. 
Her winters were spent in a boarding school and 
her summers in the hammock and in making raids 
on the pantry between meals. Also, she exerted 
some time and energy in trying to find a place to 
sleep where her father could not find her and get 
her up at sunrise in the morning. 

When breakfast was well under way and the fam 
ily and its helpers were awake and abroad, it was 
Uncle Tom's habit to make a roundup of the house 
to find Jennie and get her out of bed in time for 
breakfast. This was no small part of the morning's 
work, for Jennie changed her bed every time her 
father discovered where she slept and it was often 
difficult to locate her. But Thomas Carmichael's 
interests were manifold and his attention had often 

81 



The Disciplinarian 

to be withdrawn from his sluggish daughter and 
given to more important matters, whereby Jennie 
profited. 

Among his civic responsibilities was the chair 
manship of the board of directors of the Rhododen 
dron School. He sent no children to the school, 
himself, his own having married and gone their 
way except Andrew and Jennie, who w r ere supposed 
to have outgrown the district school. But his in 
terest in the local seat of learning was none the less 
deep and he discharged his responsibility faithfully. 

When harvest was in full swing and all hands in 
the field hurrying in with the hay, a young woman 
from another community came to the house to apply 
to Uncle Tom for the winter school. They told her 
that he was in the field with the men, and invited 
her to stay over night and see him at supper time, 
which invitation she accepted. The need of some 
repairs to the machinery took Mr. Carmichael to 
the station that afternoon and he did not reach 
home until late at night, making it impossible for 
the teacher to see him until morning. 

The delay made no difference. It was expected 
that Uncle Tom would give her the school because 
it was hard to refuse a woman at any time, also 
because his son Andrew had already spoken for 
her. Andrew's interest in the young woman lay in 
the fact that he had met her at country dances 
down the river valley and had gotten himself en 
gaged to her. To be sure, Andrew's engagements 
were not taken very seriously by any one except 
himself and the woman engaged, because there had 

82 



The Disciplinarian 

been so many of them. He had been making en 
gagements since he was in his teens, and the girls 
in the neighborhood who had once been engaged to 
Andrew Carmichael were married and happy and 
numbered their children by twos and by threes. 

But one young woman near by, to whom he had 
pledged his faith while he was yet a minor, was bid 
ing her time. Clemmie Whiteside did not want re 
venge, she wanted Andrew. She knew his character 
and she knew his past; she knew all of his weak 
nesses, and she wanted Andrew. She was not 
handsome, red-haired and lofty, as was Mary Ham 
ilton, the teacher, but she knew what she wanted 
and she could wait. 

Not long after Miss Hamilton was installed in 
the house to await the return of Uncle Tom, led by 
some instinct, Clemmie Whiteside came over to 
sit in the hammock with Jennie and by some process 
of telepathy impressed the thought upon Jennie 
that she must ask her to stay all night; and while 
Mrs. Carmichael and the women were at work in 
the kitchen, Jennie was sent up stairs to make ready 
a room for Miss Hamilton, who had been left read 
ing in the living room. Clemmie went up with 
Jennie. Half-way up the stairs she stopped to 
steal a glance from ambush at the girl who had sup 
planted her. Andrew had deserted the haymakers 
as soon as he had learned that Mary Hamilton was 
in the house and had found his way to her presence. 
He was in his happiest mood. He was bantering 
her and calling her "Mary Carmichael," and sing 
ing snatches of Scottish folklore to her. 

83 



The Disciplinarian 

"You are fit to be a queen's maid of honor, any- 
day," the girls heard him say, "and you shall live 
to wear the name of two of Mary Stuart's maids 
of honor, and surpass them both in beauty." And 
then he trailed off into the swan song of another 
Mary Hamilton who lived three hundred years be 
fore her : 
"Last night there were four Marys, tonight there'll 

be but three; 

There were Mary Beaton and Mary Seaton and 
Mary Carmichael and me." 

"Do you know who the other one was, my red- 
haired sweetheart," he challenged. "She was Mary 
Hamilton; and I know another Mary Hamilton, a 
modern Mary Hamilton, who will be Mary Carmi 
chael before the year is out, and who will have all 
the graces of them both. I only asked dad to give 
you the school so we could have you in the house 
and I could make love to you every day." 

But it became apparent to Clemmie on the stairs 
that Mary Hamilton was hard to court; and that 
she seemed only half in love with the ardent An 
drew. She secretly exulted. "Come on," she said 
to the waiting Jennie, "we have work to do up 
stairs. Where are you going to put her to sleep?" 

"Don't know," answered Jennie. "Don't know 
where to sleep myself, to keep out of dad's way." 

"Does he still whip you in the morning to get you 
out of bed?" 

"Yes, he does, if I don't keep out of his way. He 
can't always find me." 

"Where did you sleep last night?" 

84 



The Disciplinarian 

"In the room under the hemlocks." 

"Did he find you?" 

"Yes, and he will be back there again in the 
morning, looking for me." 

"Well, put her in there ! Put her in there !" 

Jennie giggled. "Yes, but I don't know where 
we can go, ourselves, there are so many people in 
the house in haytime." 

"That room opens on the veranda," suggested 
Clem. "Put her in the hemlock room, and we can 
sleep on the veranda. We can rig up some kind of 
a curtain and make a bed on the veranda." Jennie 
agreed. 

In the morning they were awakened by the sound 
of a shingle at work in the hemlock room, as they 
called it, and looking through the window they saw 
Uncle Tom bringing it down on the sleeping girl 
and shouting: 

"Now, will you get up? Now, will you get up!" 

"A red head shot up from the pillows and a terri 
fied voice answered : 

"Oh! yes, yes, I'm getting up! I'm getting up!" 

"When she got possession of her faculties she 
saw glaring over her an old man who looked like 
Andrew, and she knew it must be his father. She 
turned on him with scorching eyes: 

"I am getting up, yes indeed ! and I am going just 
as soon as I get dressed, and if this is the way you 
treat people who come to your house, I am glad to 
know it before I am led into marrying the son of 
a man like you !" 

85 



The Disciplinarian 

All this went on while Uncle Tom was recover 
ing his breath and taking in the situation. He was 
as much surprised at the red head which came up 
out of the pillows as she was at the shingle. He 
stared and stammered and choked, then bolted for 
the door. He did not stop until he reached the hay- 
barn and jumped into the hay to hide. 

"What under heaven is the matter, father?" 
asked Andrew, who was feeding the stock. "You 
look as if you had broken a blood-vessel !" 

"I don't know whether I have or not," answered 
the old man, "but I know I've broken your engage 
ment!" 

"What ! What ! What do you mean !" exclaimed 
his son. 

"I've spanked the teacher! I thought she was 
Jennie and I took a shingle to her to get her out of 
bed! I suppose she will go and get out a warrant 
and have me arrested, and I don't blame her if she 
does ! I ought to be locked up in an insane asylum 
for such a blasted blunder as that! I feel as if I 
ought to go to town and surrender to the marshal." 

Not Aunt Millie and Jennie and Clemmie and An 
drew combined could placate the injured Mary. She 
took her departure in lofty indignation, throwing 
her engagement ring at Andrew's feet. 

Not until Clemmie Whiteside was Andrew Car- 
michael's wife by all the authority of the law and 
the church did Jennie tell the secret of Andrew's 
broken engagement. 



86 



"The Fine Country" 

AWARDED SECOND PRIZE 



Helga was happy. She sang as she made the 
toothsome small Christmas cakes with Elsa pud 
dling with a bit of dough at the other end of the 
fine table Oscar had made from the boards of a 
packing box. 

"It's the fine Christmas we will have," chirruped 
Helga shaking a spoon playfully at little Oscar who 
lay in his basket and stretched his thin little arms 
toward his mother with a wan smile. 

"It's the fine country. Is it not? Yes?" the 
happy mother prattled on. "Green grass right to 
the door and it Christmas, and the Christmas tree 
growing on the hill behind the lot and such greens 
Her eyes came to rest upon a wreath of Wash 
ington holly, gay with a bow of red tarlatan, thrift- 
ly saved from a fruit basket, that hung in the win 
dow. 

The Sandgrens had seen hard times. First, there 
came the illness of Mother Sandgren, the expensive 
operation that was not successful, and the simple 
funeral that had swallowed up the last of the sav 
ings. Then came the strike with Oscar out of work, 
and the little family shifting to a poorer tenement, 
and Oscar's being obliged to let his insurance "go 
back," and many days when the cupboard rivaled 
Mother Hubbard's for bareness. 

87 



"The Fine Country" 

Into these troubled anxious days little Oscar was 
born, pale and puny. Often there was no fire in 
the poor little rooms. Helga snuggled her frail 
baby in the feather bed and trembled at the thought 
of the winter. 

Then came news of a far country of wonderful 
climate and an abundance of work. Mother Sand- 
gren's hand-woven sheets and table covers and the 
quaint lace collars of strong thread and intricate 
pattern procured the tickets to Seattle. The poor 
little cottage on the ragged outskirts of the city; 
with the red rambler stretching its bare runners 
along its frail porch, looked like Heaven after the 
crowded tenement. Little Oscar lay in his basket 
under the naked rambler and breathed in the air 
smelling of kelp and invigorating with a tang of 
salt and stopped his pitiful moaning. 

Each day Oscar went thankfully to his job where- 
ever chance or good fortune called him and looked 
forward hopefully to the spring and steady employ 
ment in his own calling. 

"For the Christmas," smiled Oscar, slipping a 
gold coin into his wife's hand. 

"Five dollars !" marveled Helga with happy won 
der, "so much can we have? A rocking chair and a 
rug it will buy, and a Teddy for little Oscar and a 
Kewpie for Elsa." 

That was the way Helga found Miss Grace. "It's 
the church ladies' rummage sale for the grand bar 
gains," Mrs. Kruppner told Helga. 

88 



"The Fine Country" 

Miss Grace's booth was in a hubbub. There had 
been a near-accident. Investigation proved a badly 
torn gown was the worst of it. 

"It's like new, I can fix it," offered Helga, "my 
mother do the fine sewing in the old country." 

While the skilled needle flew in and out, Helga, 
with little Oscar tucked under one arm and Elsa, 
a flaxen-haired little fairy, pressed close to the 
other side, opened her heart to the kindly inquisi 
tive young ladies. The hard, hard days of the 
strike, the bright little cottage "all to our own- 
selves," and the happy Christmas-making under the 
leafless rambler, all came out. 

And, lo, the purchasing power of that gold coin ! 
a really good rocker, a serviceable rug for the little 
house, a cosy lounging jacket for Oscar, an open- 
and-shut-eyed dolly for Elsa, a Teddy bear, a woolly 
dog, and a red ball for little Oscar, not to mention 
a dainty apron and a string of beads for Helga her 
self. 

Winter flowed on into spring. Little Oscar grew 
plump and frolicsome. Helga worked happily in 
her garden. 

"So early the lettuce and the peas," she mar 
veled to Mrs. Kruppner. "The fine country! Is 
it not? Yes? In the old country all the time it is 
the wars. The mothers raise their babies for the 
guns ugh." 

Then came the promise of Oscar's steady work. 
"Tomorrow, I begin," he exulted, pulling the rocker 
upon the rug and Helga upon his knee, with a glass 
of beady brown home-brew held high, he toasted the 

89 



"The Fine Country" 

fine job. "The pay will be so fine. Soon we take 
out the insurance one time more. Maybe some day 
we buy the little place. Little Oscar will go to the 
free school and get to be the boss. The fine country ! 
Is it not? Yes?" 

It was thus Miss Grace found them. "A Rem- 
brandt! A Rembrandt," she cried at sight of the 
tableau. 

In an hour she was back with a present for Helga. 
It was a small framed print of Rembrandt with his 
wife, Saskia, upon his knee. He held aloft a glass 
of wine. "An Hour to Happiness and to Wine," 
she interpreted for Helga. 

The next day, as Helga worked contentedly in 
her garden, a workman appeared, rolling his hat in 
embarrassment and stammering his tale with sor 
row-choked gasps. At last, Helga understood. In 
dustry had taken its toll. It was Oscar. Her 
heart died within her. The springs of happiness 
ran dry. She had seen this come to a score of 
women. Now it had come to her. She could not 
have quoted Kipling: 
"Lift ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path 

more fair or flat 

Lo, it is black already with blood some son of Mar 
tha spilled for that. 
Not as a ladder from Earth to Heaven, not as an 

altar to any creed 
But simple service, simply given, to his own kind in 

their common need." 

but in her heart she knew the law and it crushed 
her to an inarticulate stupified thing. Dumbly she 

90 



"The Fine Country" 

sat in the undertaker's room beside her loved clay 
and held the cold hand that had held the glass of 
ale to toast the fine job. 

"So fine the pension you will get," comforted 
Mrs. Kruppner. "It is twenty by the month and 
five for each of the three children, Mrs. Slavonski 
gets for her man." 

But Helga recked nothing of employers' liabil 
ities, and of pensions. Oscar, her Oscar was gone. 
She seemed deprived of all power to move on into 
the blackness ahead. Tearless and stricken, she 
sat in the rocker on the rug and gazed with un 
seeing eyes at the Kembrandt, her brain shocked 
out of all capacity for thought. The children, their 
pinafores soiled and their pretty faces unwashed, 
crouched in a corner over the battered Christmas 
toys, silent and joyless. 

It was thus the charity commissioner found 
things at the little cottage, for it appeared there 
was to be no pension after all. A tardy enrollment, 
a trumped-up charge of carelessness, somewhere 
the corporation lawyer found a loophole. That was 
his business, to find loopholes. 

The conditions at the little cottage confirmed the 
reports brought to the juvenile court. The charity 
commissioner had to do his duty. At last he pierced 
the pall lying over Helga's mind and she was made 
to understand. 

"Give up my babies," she shrieked, clasping both 
darlings to her breast. 

"The Home will give them good care," soothed 
the officer, "and you could go out to service." 

91 



"The Fine Country" 

"Without my babies, I not cook ; I not eat ; I not 
live," cried Helga panic-stricken. "They take my 
Oscar. They not have my babies. I work. The 
garden! the fine sewing! little Oscar go to the 
free school! he get to be the boss. My Oscar say 
it." 

But the officer shrugged his shoulders and bore 
them away to the juvenile court. It was his duty. 
Rumors of all this reached Miss Grace. In the 
court she made her plea and the case was given into 
her hands. 

The place she secured for Helga was in a large 
department store. Helga was grateful. In the lit 
tle housekeeping rooms down town, seated in the 
rocker placed on the rug, her babies clasped in her 
arms, her eyes on the Rembrandt, the blessed tears 
came, at last, a long cleansing, saving flood. 

"So fine the job I have," she told Mrs. Kruppner 
on the last trip to the little house, "not till nine 
of the morning do I go to work, and a stool to sit on 
like any lady, and eight hours by the clock I work. 
And all the day, the babies so happy at the grand 
day nursery. So fine the lunch they have and such 
pretty manners and games they learn, and only the 
few cents to pay. And at night, " she folded her 
arms passionately over her breast and spoke with 
a tense fierceness "they are mine, mine. We sit 
in the rocker on the rug and look at the fine pic 
ture and feel Oscar right by." 

But the hard times crowded their way over the 
mountains into this favored land. Trade was slow 
at the big store. There were anxious whispers' 

92 



"The Fine Country" 

among the shop girls. "Last come; first go," flung 
out one with meaning looks at Helga. 

The approach of Christmas brought a slightly 
brisker trade, but still below the usual Holiday 
mark. 

"So tired my feet," panted Helga dropping upon 
her stool 

"There'll be plenty of rest after Christmas," 
grimly from a dark browed girl at the notion 
counter. 

"Wouldn't wonder if there would be some vaca 
tions passed around for Christmas presents in the 
next pay envelopes," mirthlessly laughed a big 
blonde by the thread cabinet. 

"Ah, cut it out," ordered the dark one gruffly, 
"she's got kids." 

Again Helga understood. Her pay envelope con 
tained one of the predicted vacations. Laid off ; no 
job ; the rent ; the babies ! Miss Grace in California ! 
too well she understood. What could she do against 
the hard times? Even her Oscar had been power 
less. 

All night, she lay wide-eyed, dry-eyed, her babies 
pressed close to her side. She tried to think of the 
Christ child. She tried to recall what the kind 
matron at the nursery had said about the Father 
of the fatherless and the Friend of the widows. But 
through her despairing mind beat the refrain : no 
job ! the babies ! they would take them away. 

Next morning Christmas morning she remem 
bered the lesson of the juvenile court and tidied the 
little rooms and washed and dressed the babies with 

93 



"The Fine Country" 

care and gave them the stockings filled with the 
simple presents. 

Then came the dapper little man with his blanks. 
She was expecting him. It had come. Her babies 
were to be torn from her. 

Dully she answered his questions. Yes, she was 
an American citizen. Yes, her husband was dead. 
Yes, she had been in the state one year. 

On down the list he went. The last question, 
twice repeated, galvanized her stunned brain into 
startled activity. What was he saying? Would 
she maintain a home for her children if granted 
a pension by the state? 

A pension! A pension for what? For being a 
mother. 

Slowly Helga took it in. Would she maintain a 
home for her children! Would she! She laughed 
and she cried. She hugged her babies as if she 
would never let them go. She wanted to kiss the 
hand of the kind man. And oh, what a Christmas 
they had. 

The next day she scrubbed and polished the lit 
tle house with the naked rambler running over its 
frail porch. 

"It's the fine pension I will have," she chatted 
to Mrs. Kruppner. "With the garden and the fine 
sewing we will do fine. It's twenty by the month 
I'll get from the state until little Oscar is fifteen. 
By then he be through the free school. He work. 
Soon he get to be the boss. The fine country! Is 
it not? Yes?" 



94