Part 5 out of 6
"'In the third house from the corner,' pointing to the neat row of
small brick houses I have mentioned. 'Come and look at our new home.
I want to tell you about it!'
"I was too much pleased to need a second invitation.
"'I've got as clean steps as my neighbors,' she said, with pride in
her voice, 'and shades to my windows, and a bright door-knob. It
wasn't so in Briar street. One had no heart there. Isn't this nice?'
"And she glanced around the little parlor we had entered.
"It was nice, compared to the dirty and disorderly place they had
called their home in Briar street. The floor was covered with a new
ingrain carpet. There were a small table and six cane-seat chairs in
the room, shades at the windows, two or three small pictures on the
walls and some trifling ornaments on the mantel. Everything was
clean and the air of the room sweet.
"'This is my little Emma,' she said as a cleanly-dressed child came
into the room; 'You remember she was in the school.'
"I did remember her as a ragged, dirty-faced child, forlorn and
neglected, like most of the children about here. It was a wonderful
"'And now,' I said, 'tell me how all this has come about.'
"'Well, you see, Mr. Paulding,' she answered, 'there was no use in
John and me trying to be anything down there. It was temptation on
every hand, and we were weak and easily tempted. There was nothing
to make us look up or to feel any pride. We lived like our
neighbors, and you know what kind of a way that was.
"'One day John said to me, "Emma," says he, "it's awful, the way
we're living; we'd better be dead." His voice was shaky-like, and it
kind of made me feel bad. "I know it, John," said I, "but what can
we do?" "Go 'way from here," he said. "But where?" I asked.
"Anywhere. I'm not all played out yet;" and he held up his hand and
shut it tight. "There's good stuff in me yet, and if you're willing
to make a new start, I am." I put my hand in his, and said, "God
helping me, I will try, John." He went off that very day and got a
room in a decent neighborhood, and we moved in it before night. We
had only one cart-load, and a wretched load of stuff it was. But I
can't tell you how much better it looked when we got it into our new
room, the walls of which were nicely papered, and the paint clean
and white. I fixed up everything and made it as neat as possible.
John was so pleased. "It feels something like old times," he said.
He had been knocking about a good while, picking up odd jobs and not
half working, but he took heart now, quit drinking and went to work
in good earnest, and was soon making ten dollars a week, every cent
of which he brought home. He now gets sixteen dollars. We haven't
made a back step since. But it wouldn't have been any use trying if
we'd stayed in Briar street. Pride helped us a good deal in the
beginning, sir. I was ashamed not to have my children looking as
clean as my neighbors, and ashamed not to keep things neat and
tidy-like. I didn't care anything about it in Briar street.'
"I give you this instance, true in nearly every particular," said
the missionary, "in order to show you how incurable is the evil
condition of the people here; unless we can get the burning brands
apart, they help to consume each other."
"But how to get them apart? that is the difficult question," said
"There are two ways," was replied--"by forcing the human brands
apart, and by interposing incombustible things between them. As we
have no authority to apply force, and no means at hand for its
exercise if we had the authority, our work has been in the other
direction. We have been trying to get in among these burning brands
elements that would stand the fire, and, so lessen the ardor of
"How are you doing this?"
"By getting better houses for the people to live in. Improve the
house, make it more sightly and convenient, and in most cases you
will improve the person who lives in it. He will not kindle so
easily, though he yet remain close to the burning brands."
"And are you doing this?"
"A little has been done. Two or three years ago a building
association was organized by a few gentlemen of means, with a view
to the purchase of property in this district and the erection of
small but good houses, to be rented at moderate cost to honest and
industrious people. A number of such houses have already been built,
and they are now occupied by tenants of a better class, whose
influence on their neighbors is becoming more and more apparent
every day. Brady street--once the worst place in all this
district--has changed wonderfully. There is scarcely a house in the
two blocks through which it runs that does not show some improvement
since the association pulled down half a dozen of its worst frame
tenements and put neat brick dwellings in their places. It is no
uncommon thing now to see pavement sweeping and washing in front of
some of the smallest and poorest of the houses in Brady street where
two years ago the dirt would stick to your feet in passing. A clean
muslin half curtain, a paper shade or a pot of growing plants will
meet your eyes at a window here and there as you pass along. The
thieves who once harbored in this street, and hid their plunder in
cellars and garrets until it could be sold or pawned, have abandoned
the locality. They could not live side by side with honest
"And all this change may be traced to the work of our building
association, limited as are its means and half-hearted as are its
operations. The worst of our population--the common herd of thieves,
beggars and vile women who expose themselves shamelessly on the
street--are beginning to feel less at home and more in danger of
arrest and exposure. The burning brands are no longer in such close
contact, and so the fires of evil are raging less fiercely. Let in
the light, and the darkness flees. Establish the good, and evil
shrinks away, weak and abashed."
_SO_ the morning found them fast asleep. The man awoke first and
felt the child against his bosom, soft and warm. It was some moments
ere he understood what it meant. It seemed as if the wretched life
he had been leading was all a horrible dream out of which he had
awakened, and that the child sleeping in his bosom was his own
tenderly-loved baby. But the sweet illusions faded away, and the
hard, sorrowful truth stood out sternly before him.
Then Andy's eyes opened and looked into his face. There was nothing
scared in the look-hardly an expression of surprise. But the man saw
a mute appeal and a tender confidence that made his heart swell and
yearn toward the homeless little one.
"Had a nice sleep?" he asked, in a tone of friendly encouragement.
Andy nodded his head, and then gazed curiously about the room.
"Want some breakfast?"
The hungry face lit up with a flash of pleasure.
"Of course you do, little one."
The man was on his feet by this time, with his hand in his pocket,
from which he drew a number of pennies. These he counted over
carefully twice. The number was just ten. If there had been only
himself to provide for, it would not have taken long to settle the
question of expenditure. Five cents at an eating-shop where the
caterer supplied himself from the hodge-podge of beggars' baskets
would have given him a breakfast fit for a dog or pig, while the
remaining five cents would have gone for fiery liquor to quench a
But another mouth had too be fed. All at once this poor degraded man
had risen to a sense of responsibility, and was practicing the
virtue of self-denial. A little child was leading him.
He had no toilette to make, no ablutions to practice. There was
neither pail nor wash-basin in his miserable kennel. So, without any
delay of preparation, he caught up the broken mug and went out, as
forlorn a looking wretch as was to be seen in all that region.
Almost every house that he passed was a grog-shop, and his nerves
were all unstrung and his mouth and throat dry from a night's
abstinence. But he was able to go by without a pause. In a few
minutes he returned with a loaf of bread, a pint of milk and a
single dried sausage.
What a good breakfast the two made. Not for a long time had the man
so enjoyed a meal. The sight of little Andy, as he ate with the fine
relish of a hungry child, made his dry bread and sausage taste
sweeter than anything that had passed his lips for weeks.
Something more than the food he had taken steadied the man's nerves
and allayed his thirst. Love was beating back into his heart--love
for this homeless wanderer, whose coming had supplied the lost links
in the chain which bound him to the past and called up memories that
had slept almost the sleep of death for years. Good resolutions
began forming in his mind.
"It may be," he said to himself as new and better impressions than
he had known for a long time began to crowd upon him, "that God has
led this baby here."
The thought sent a strange thrill to his soul. He trembled with
excess of feeling. He had once been a religious man; and with the
old instinct of dependence on God, he clasped his hands together
with a sudden, desperate energy, and looking up, cried, in a
half-despairing, half-trustful voice,
"Lord, help me!"
No earnest cry like that ever goes up without an instant answer in
the gift of divine strength. The man felt it in a stronger purpose
and a quickening hope. He was conscious of a new power in himself.
"God being my helper," he said in the silence of his heart, "I will
be a man again."
There was a long distance between him and a true manhood. The way
back was over very rough and difficult places, and through dangers
and temptations almost impossible to resist. Who would have faith in
him? Who would help him in his great extremity? How was he to live?
Not any longer by begging or petty theft. He must do honest work.
There was no hope in anything else. If God were to be his helper, he
must be honest, and work. To this conviction he had come.
But what was to be done with Andy while he was away trying to earn
something? The child might get hurt in the street or wander off in
his absence and never find his way back. The care he felt for the
little one was pleasure compared to the thought of losing him.
As for Andy, the comfort of a good breakfast and the feeling that he
had a home, mean as it was, and somebody to care for him, made his
heart light and set his lips to music.
When before had the dreary walls of that poor hovel echoed to the
happy voice of a light-hearted child? But there was another echo to
the voice, and from walls as long a stranger to such sounds as
these--the walls in the chambers of that poor man's memory. A
wellnigh lost and ruined soul was listening to the far-off voices of
children. Sunny-haired little ones were thronging about him; he was
looking into their tender eyes; their soft arms were clinging to his
neck; he was holding them tightly clasped to his bosom.
"Baby," he said. It was the word that came most naturally to his
Andy, who was sitting where a few sunbeams came in through a rent in
the wall, with the warm light on his head, turned and looked into
the bleared but friendly eyes gazing at him so earnestly.
"I'm going out, baby. Will you stay here till I come back?"
"Yes," answered the child, "I'll stay."
"I won't be gone very long, and I'll bring you an apple and
something good for dinner."
Andy's face lit up and his eyes danced.
"Don't go out until I come back. Somebody might carry you off, and
then I couldn't give you the nice red apple."
"I'll stay right here," said Andy, in a positive tone.
"And won't go into the street till I come back?"
"No, I won't." Andy knit his brows and closed his lips firmly.
"All right, little one," answered the man, in a cheery sort of voice
that was so strange to his own ears that it seemed like the voice of
Still, he could not feel satisfied. He was living in the midst of
thieves to whom the most insignificant thing upon which they could
lay their hands was booty. Children who had learned to be hard and
cruel thronged the court, and he feared, if he left Andy alone in
the hovel, that it would not only be robbed of its meagre furniture,
but the child subjected to ill-treatment. He had always fastened the
door on going out, but hesitated now about locking Andy in.
All things considered, it was safest, he felt, to lock the door.
There was nothing in the room that could bring harm to the child--no
fire or matches, no stairs to climb or windows out of which he could
"I guess I'd better lock the door, hadn't I, so that nobody can
carry off my little boy?" he asked of Andy.
Andy made no objections. He was ready for anything his kind friend
"And you mustn't cry or make a noise. The police might break in if
"All right," said Andy, with the self-assertion of a boy of ten.
The man stroked the child's head and ran his fingers through his
hair in a fond way; then, as one who tore himself from an object of
attraction, went hastily out and locked the door.
And now was to begin a new life. Friendless, debased, repulsive in
appearance, everything about him denoting the abandoned drunkard,
this man started forth to get honest bread. Where should he go? What
could he do? Who would give employment to an object like him? The
odds were fearfully against him--no, not that, either. In outward
respects, fearful enough were the odds, but on the other side
agencies invisible to mortal sight were organizing for his safety.
In to his purpose to lead a new life and help a poor homeless child
God's strength was flowing. Angels were drawing near to a miserable
wreck of humanity with hands outstretched to save. All heaven was
coming to the rescue.
He was shuffling along in the direction of a market-house, hoping to
earn a little by carrying home baskets, when he came face to face
with an old friend of his better days, a man with whom he had once
held close business relations.
"Mr. Hall!" exclaimed this man in a tone of sorrowful surprise,
stopping and looking at him with an expression of deepest pity on
his countenance. "This is dreadful!"
"You may well say that, Mr. Graham. It dreadful enough. No one knows
that better than I do," was answered, with a bitterness that his old
friend felt to be genuine.
"Why, then, lead this terrible life a day longer?" asked the friend.
"I shall not lead it a day longer if God will help me," was replied,
with a genuineness of purpose that was felt by Mr. Graham.
"Give me your hand on that, Andrew Hall," he exclaimed. Two hands
closed in a tight grip.
"Where are you going now?" inquired the friend.
"I'm in search of something to do--something that will give me
honest bread. Look at my hand."
He held it up.
"It shakes, you see. I have not tasted liquor this morning. I could
have bought it, but I did not."
"I said, 'God being my helper, I will be a man again,' and I am
"Andrew Hall," said his old friend, solemnly, as he laid his hand on
his shoulder, "if you are really in earnest--if you do mean, in the
help of God, to try--all will be well. But in his help alone is
there any hope. Have you seen Mr. Paulding?"
"He has no faith in me. I have deceived him too often."
"What ground of faith is there now?" asked Mr. Graham.
"This," was the firm but hastily spoken answer. "Last night as I sat
in the gloom of my dreary hovel, feeling so wretched that I wished I
could die, a little child came in--a poor, motherless, homeless
wanderer, almost a baby--and crept down to my heart, and he is lying
there still, Mr. Graham, soft, and warm and precious, a sweet burden
to bear. I bought him a supper and a breakfast of bread and milk
with the money, I had saved for drink, and now, both for his sake
and mine, I am out seeking for work. I have locked him in, so that
no one can harm or carry him away while I earn enough to buy him his
dinner, and maybe something better to wear, poor little homeless
There was a genuine earnestness and pathos about the man that could
not be mistaken.
"I think," said Mr. Graham, his voice not quite steady, "that God
brought us together this morning. I know Mr. Paulding. Let us go
first to the mission, and have some talk with him. You must have a
bath and better, and cleaner clothes before you are in a condition
to get employment."
The bath and a suit of partly-worn but good clean clothes were
supplied at the mission house.
"Now come with me, and I will find you something to do," said the
But Andrew Hall stood hesitating.
"The little child--I told him I'd come back soon. He's locked up all
alone, poor baby!"
He spoke with a quiver in his voice.
"Oh, true, true!" answered Mr. Graham; "the baby must be looked
after;" and he explained to the missionary.
"I will go round with you and get the child," said Mr. Paulding. "My
wife will take care of him while you are away with Mr. Graham."
They found little Andy sitting patiently on the floor. He did not
know the friend who had given him a home and food and loving words,
and looked at him half scared and doubting. But his voice made the
child spring to his feet with a bound, and flushed his thin-face
with the joy of a glad recognition.
Mrs. Paulding received him with a true motherly kindness, and soon a
bath and clean clothing wrought as great a change in the child as
they had done in the man.
"I want your help in saving him," said Mr. Graham, aside, to the
missionary. "He was once among our most respectable citizens, a good
church-member, a good husband and father, a man of ability and large
influence. Society lost much when it lost him. He is well worth
saving, and we must do it if possible. God sent him this little
child to touch his heart and flood it with old memories, and then he
led me to come down here that I might meet and help him just when
his good purposes made help needful and salvation possible. It is
all of his loving care and wise providence of his tender mercy,
which is over the poorest and weakest and most degraded of his
children. Will you give him your special care?"
"It is the work I am here to do," answered the missionary. "The
Master came to seek and to save that which was lost, and I am his
"The child will have to be provided for," said Mr. Graham. "It
cannot, of course, be left with him. It needs a woman's care."
"It will not do to separate them," returned the missionary. "As you
remarked just now, God sent him this little child to touch his heart
and lead him back from the wilderness in which he has strayed. His
safety depends on the touch of that hand. So long as he feels its
clasp and its pull, he will walk in the new way wherein God is
setting his feet. No, no; the child must be left with him--at least
for the present. We will take care of it while he is at work during
the day, and at night it can sleep in his arms, a protecting angel."
"What kind of a place does he live in?" asked Mr. Graham.
"A dog might dwell there in comfort, but not a man," replied the
Mr. Graham gave him money: "Provide a decent room. If more is
required, let me know."
He then went away, taking Mr. Hall with him.
"You will find the little one here when you come back," said Mr.
Paulding as he saw the anxious, questioning look that was cast
Clothed and in his right mind, but in no condition for work, was
Andrew Hall. Mr. Graham soon noticed, as he walked by his side, that
he was in a very nervous condition.
"What had you for breakfast this morning" he asked, the right
thought coming into his mind.
"Not much. Some bread and a dried sausage."
"Oh dear! that will never do! You must have something more
nutritious--a good beefsteak and a cup of coffee to steady your
And in a few minutes they were in an eating-house. When they came
out, Hall was a different man. Mr. Graham then took him to his store
and set him to work to arrange and file a number of letters and
papers, which occupied him for several hours. He saw that he had a
good dinner and at five o'clock gave him a couple of dollars for his
day's work, aid after many kind words of advice and assurance told
him to come back in the morning, and he would find something else
for him to do.
Swiftly as his feet would carry him, Andrew Hall made his way to the
Briar street mission. He did not at first know the clean, handsome
child that lifted his large brown eyes to his face as he came in,
nor did the child know him until he spoke. Then a cry of pleasure
broke from the baby's lips, and he ran to the arms reached out to
"We'll go home now," he said, as if anxious to regain possession of
"Not back to Grubb's court," was answered by Mr. Paulding. "If you
are going to be a new man, you must have a new and better home, and
I've found one for you just a little way from here. It's a nice
clean room, and I'll take you there. The rent is six dollars a
month, but you can easily pay that when you get fairly to work."
The room was in the second story of a small house, better kept than
most of its neighbors, and contained a comfortable bed, with other
needed furniture, scanty, but clean and good. It was to Mr. Hall
like the chamber of a prince compared with what he had known for a
long time; and as he looked around him and comprehended something of
the blessed change that was coming over his life, tears filled his
"Bring Andy around in the morning," said the missionary as he turned
to go. "Mrs. Paulding will take good care of him."
That night, after undressing the child and putting on him the clean
night-gown which good Mrs. Paulding had not forgotten, he said,
"And now Andy will say his prayers."
Andy looked at him with wide-open, questioning eyes. Mr. Hall saw
that he was not understood.
"You know, 'Now I lay me'?" he said.
"No, don't know it," replied Andy.
"'Our Father,' then?"
The child knit his brow. It was plain that he did not understand
what his good friend meant.
"You've said your prayers?"
Andy shook his head in a bewildered way.
"Never said your prayers!" exclaimed Mr. Hall, in a voice so full of
surprise and pain that Andy grew half frightened.
"Poor baby!" was said, pityingly, a moment after. Then the question,
"Wouldn't you like to say your prayers?" brought the quick answer,
"Kneel down, then, right here." Andy knelt, looking up almost
wonderingly into the face that bent over him.
"We have a good Father in heaven," said Mr. Hall, with tender
reverence in his tone, pointing upward as he spoke, "He loves us and
takes care of us. He brought you to me, and told me to love you and
take care of you for him, and I'm going to do it. Now, I want you to
say a little prayer to this good and kind Father before you go to
bed. Will you?"
"Yes, I will," came the ready answer.
"Say it over after me. 'Now I lay me down to sleep.'"
Andy repeated the words, his little hands clasped together, and
followed through the verse which thousands of little children in
thousands of Christian homes were saying at the very same hour.
There was a subdued expression on the child's face as he rose from
his knees; and when Mr. Hall lifted him from the floor to lay him in
bed, he drew his arms about his neck and hugged him tightly.
How beautiful the child looked as he lay with shut eyes, the long
brown lashes fringing his flushed cheeks, that seemed already to
have gained a healthy roundness! The soft breath came through his
parted lips, about which still lingered the smile of peace that
rested there after his first prayer was said; his little hands lay
upon his breast.
As Mr. Hall sat gazing at this picture there came a rap on his door.
Then the missionary entered. Neither of the men spoke for some
moments. Mr. Paulding comprehended the scene, and felt its sweet and
"Blessed childhood!" he said, breaking the silence. "Innocent
childhood! The nearer we come to it, the nearer we get to heaven."
Then, after a pause, he added, "And heaven is our only hope, Mr.
"I have no hope but in God's strength," was answered, in a tone of
"God is our refuge, our rock of defence, our hiding-place, our sure
protector. If we trust in him, we shall dwell in safety," said the
mission. "I am glad to hear you speak of hoping in God. He will give
you strength if you lean upon him, and there is not power enough in
all hell to drag you down if you put forth this God-given strength.
But remember, my friend, that you must use it as if it were your
own. You must resist. God's strength outside of our will and effort
is of no use to any of us in temptation. But looking to our Lord and
Saviour in humble yet earnest prayer for help in the hour of trial
and need if we put forth our strength in resistance of evil, small
though it be, then into our weak efforts will come an influx of
divine power that shall surely give us the victory. Have you a
Mr. Hall shook his head.
"I have brought you one;" and the missionary drew a small Bible from
his pocket. "No man is safe without a Bible."
"Oh, I am glad! I was just wishing for a Bible," said Hall as he
reached out his hand to receive the precious book.
"If you read it every night and morning--if you treasure its holy
precepts in your memory, and call them up in times of trial, or when
evil enticements are in your way--God can come near to your soul to
succor and to save, for the words of the holy book are his words,
and he is present in them. If we take them into our thoughts,
reverently seeking to obey them, we make a dwelling-place for the
Lord, so that he can abide with us; and in his presence there is
"And nowhere else," responded Hall, speaking from a deep sense of
"Nowhere else," echoed the missionary. "And herein lies the hope or
the despair of men. It is pitiful, it is heart-aching, to see the
vain but wild and earnest efforts made by the slaves of intemperance
to get free from their cruel bondage. Thousands rend their fetters
every year after some desperate struggle, and escape. But, alas! how
many are captured and taken back into slavery! Appetite springs upon
them in some unguarded moment, and in their weakness there is none
to succor. They do not go to the Strong for strength, but trust in
themselves, and are cast down. Few are ever redeemed from the
slavery of intemperance but those who pray to God and humbly seek
his aid. And so long as they depend on him, they are safe. He will
be as a wall of fire about them."
As the missionary talked, the face of Mr. Hall underwent a
remarkable change. It grew solemn and very thoughtful. His hands
drew together and the fingers clasped. At the last words of Mr.
Paulding a deep groan came from his heart; and lifting his gaze
upward, he cried out,
"Lord, save me, or I perish!"
"Let us pray," said the missionary, and the two men knelt together,
one with bowed head and crouching body, the other with face
uplifted, tenderly talking to Him who had come down to the lowliest
and the vilest that he might make them pure as the angels, about the
poor prodigal now coming back to his Father's house.
After the prayer, Mr. paulding read a chapter from the Bible aloud,
and then, after words of hope and comfort, went away.
"_I TAKE_ reproof to myself," said Mr. Dinneford. "As one of your
board of managers, I ought to have regarded my position as more than
a nominal one. I understand better now what you said about the ten
or twenty of our rich and influential men who, if they could be
induced to look away for a brief period from their great
enterprises, and concentrate thought and effort upon the social
evils, abuse of justice, violations of law, poverty and suffering
that exist here and in other parts of our city, would inaugurate
reforms and set beneficent agencies at work that would soon produce
marvelous changes for good."
"Ah, yes," sighed Mr. Paulding. "If we had for just a little while
the help of our strong men--the men of brains and will and money,
the men who are used to commanding success, whose business it is to
organize forces and set impediments at defiance, the men whose word
is a kind of law to the people--how quickly, and as if by magic,
would all this change!
"But we cannot now hope to get this great diversion in our favor.
Until we do we must stand in the breach, small in numbers and weak
though we are--must go on doing our best and helping when we may.
Help is help and good is good, be it ever so small. If I am able to
rescue but a single life where many are drowning, I make just so
much head against death and destruction. Shall I stand off and
refuse to put forth my hand because I cannot save a score?
"Take heart, Mr. Dinneford. Our work is not in vain. Its fruits may
be seen all around. Bad as you find everything, it is not so bad as
it was. When our day-school was opened, the stench from the filthy
children who were gathered in was so great that the teachers were
nauseated. They were dirty in person as well as dirty in their
clothing. This would not do. There was no hope of moral purity while
such physical impurity existed. So the mission set up baths, and
made every child go in and thoroughly wash his body. Then they got
children's clothing--new and old--from all possible sources, and put
clean garments on their little scholars. From the moment they were
washed and cleanly clad, a new and better spirit came upon them.
They were more orderly and obedient, and more teachable. There was,
or seemed to be, a tenderer quality in their voices as they sang
their hymns of praise."
Just then there came a sudden outcry and a confusion of voices from
the street. Mr. Dinneford arose quickly and went to the window. A
man, apparently drunk and in a rage, was holding a boy tightly
gripped by the collar with one hand and cuffing him about the head
and face with the other.
"It's that miserable Blind Jake!" said Mr. Paulding.
In great excitement, Mr. Dinneford threw up the window and called
for the police. At this the man stopped beating the boy, but swore
at him terribly, his sightless eyes rolling and his face distorted
in a frightful way. A policeman who was not far off came now upon
"What's all this about?" he asked, sternly.
"Jake's drunk again, that's the row," answered a voice.
"Lock him up, lock him up!" cried two or three from the crowd.
An expression of savage defiance came into the face of the blind
man, and he moved his arms and clenched his fist like one who was
bent on desperate resistance. He was large and muscular, and, now
that he was excited by drink and bad passions, had a look that was
"Go home and behave yourself," said the policeman, not caring to
have a single-handed tussle with the human savage, whose strength
and desperate character he well knew.
Blind Jake, as he was called, stood for a few moments half defiant,
growling and distorting his face until it looked more like a wild
animal's than a man's, then jerked out the words,
"Where's that Pete?" with a sound like the crack of a whip.
The boy he had been beating in his drunken fury, and who did not
seem to be much hurt, came forward from the crowd, and taking him by
the hand, led him away.
"Who is this blind man? I have seen him before," said Mr. Dinneford.
"You may see him any day standing at the street corners, begging, a
miserable-looking object, exciting the pity of the humane, and
gathering in money to spend in drunken debauchery at night. He has
been known to bring in some days as high as ten and some fifteen
dollars, all of which is wasted in riot before the next morning. He
lives just over the way, and night after night I can hear his howls
and curses and laughter mingled with those of the vile women with
whom he herds."
"Surely this cannot be?" said Mr. Dinneford.
"Surely it is," was replied. "I know of what I speak. There is
hardly a viler wretch in all our city than this man, who draws
hundreds--I might say, without exaggeration, thousands--of dollars
from weak and tender-hearted people every year to be spent as I have
said; and he is not the only one. Out of this district go hundreds
of thieves and beggars every day, spreading themselves over the city
and gathering in their harvests from our people. I see them at the
street corners, coming out of yards and alley-gates, skulking near
unguarded premises and studying shop-windows. They are all impostors
or thieves. Not one of them is deserving of charity. He who gives to
them wastes his money and encourages thieving and vagrancy. One half
of the successful burglaries committed on dwelling-houses are in
consequence of information gained by beggars. Servant-girls are
lured away by old women who come in the guise of alms-seekers, and
by well-feigned poverty and a seeming spirit of humble
thankfulness--often of pious trust in God--win upon their sympathy
and confidence. Many a poor weak girl has thus been led to visit one
of these poor women in the hope of doing her some good, and many a
one has thus been drawn into evil ways. If the people only
understood this matter as I understand it, they would shut hearts
and hands against all beggars. I add beggary as a vice to drinking
and policy-buying as the next most active agency in the work of
making paupers and criminals."
"But there are deserving poor," said Dinneford. "We cannot shut our
hearts against all who seek for help."
"The deserving poor," replied Mr. Paulding, "are never common
beggars--never those who solicit in the street or importune from
house to house. They try always to help themselves, and ask for aid
only when in great extremity. They rarely force themselves on your
attention; they suffer and die often in dumb despair. We find them
in these dreary and desolate cellars and garrets, sick and starving
and silent, often dying, and minister to them as best we can. If the
money given daily to idle and vicious beggars could be gathered into
a fund and dispensed with a wise Christian charity, it would do a
vast amount of good; now it does only evil."
"You are doubtless right in this," returned Mr. Dinneford. "Some one
has said that to help the evil is to hurt the good, and I guess his
saying is near the truth."
"If you help the vicious and the idle," was answered, "you simply
encourage vice and idleness, and these never exist without doing a
hurt to society. Withhold aid, and they will be forced to work, and
so not only do something for the common good, but be kept out of the
evil ways into which idleness always leads.
"So you see, sir, how wrong it is to give alms to the vast crew of
beggars that infest our cities, and especially to the children who
are sent out daily to beg or steal as opportunity offers.
"But there is another view of the case, continued Mr. Paulding,
"that few consider, and which would, I am sure, arouse the people to
immediate action if they understood it as I do. We compare the
nation to a great man. We call it a 'body politic.' We speak of its
head, its brain, its hands, its feet, its arteries and vital forces.
We know that no part of the nation can be hurt without all the other
parts feeling in some degree the shock and sharing the loss or
suffering. What is true of the great man of the nation is true of
our smaller communities, our States and cities and towns. Each is an
aggregate man, and the health and well-being of this man depend on
the individual men and the groups and societies of men by which it
is constituted. There cannot be an unhealthy organ in the human
system without a communication of disease to the whole body. A
diseased liver or heart or lung, a useless hand or foot, an ulcer or
local obstruction, cannot exist without injury and impediment to the
whole. In the case of a malignant ulcer, how soon the blood gets
"Now, here is a malignant ulcer in the body politic of our city. Is
it possible, do you think, for it to exist, and in the virulent
condition we find it, and not poison the blood of our whole
community? Moral and spiritual laws are as unvarying in their
action, out of natural sight though they be, as physical laws. Evil
and good are as positive entities as fire, and destroy or consume as
surely. As certainly as an ulcer poisons with its malignant ichor
this blood that visits every part of the body, so surely is this
ulcer poisoning every part of our community. Any one who reflects
for a moment will see that it cannot be otherwise. From this moral
ulcer there flows out daily and nightly an ichor as destructive as
that from a cancer. Here theft and robbery and murder have birth,
nurture and growth until full formed and organized, and then go
forth to plunder and destroy. The life and property of no citizen is
safe so long as this community exists. It has its schools of
instruction for thieves and housebreakers, where even little
children are educated to the business of stealing and robbery. Out
from it go daily hundreds of men and women, boys and girls, on their
business of beggary, theft and the enticement of the weak and unwary
into crime. In it congregate human vultures and harpies who absorb
most of the plunder that is gained outside, and render more brutal
and desperate the wretches they rob in comparative safety.
"Let me show you how this is done. A man or a woman thirsting for
liquor will steal anything to get money for whisky. The article
stolen may be a coat, a pair of boots or a dress--something worth
from five to twenty dollars. It is taken to one of these harpies,
and sold for fifty cents or a dollar--anything to get enough for a
drunken spree. I am speaking only of what I know. Then, again, a man
or a woman gets stupidly drunk in one of the whisky-shops. Before he
or she is thrown out upon the street, the thrifty liquor-seller
'goes through' the pockets of the insensible wretch, and confiscates
all he finds. Again, a vile woman has robbed one of her visitors,
and with the money in her pocket goes to a dram-shop. The sum may be
ten dollars or it may be two hundred. A glass or so unlooses her
tongue; she boasts of her exploit, and perhaps shows her booty. Not
once in a dozen times will she take this booty away. If there are
only a few women in the shop, the liquor-seller will most likely
pounce on her at once and get the money by force. There is no
redress. To inform the police is to give information against
herself. He may give her back a little to keep her quiet or he may
not, just as he feels about it. If he does not resort to direct
force, he will manage in some other way to get the money. I could
take you to the dram-shop of a man scarcely a stone's throw from
this place who came out of the State's prison less than four years
ago and set up his vile trap where it now stands. He is known to be
worth fifty thousand dollars to-day. How did he make this large sum?
By the profits of his bar? No one believes this. It has been by
robbing his drunken and criminal customers whenever he could get
them in his power."
"I am oppressed by all this," said Mr. Dinneford. "I never dreamed
of such a state of things."
"Nor does one in a hundred of our good citizens, who live in quiet
unconcern with this pest-house of crime and disease in their midst.
And speaking of disease, let me give you another fact that should be
widely known. Every obnoxious epidemic with which our city has been
visited in the last twenty years has originated here--ship fever,
relapsing fever and small-pox--and so, getting a lodgment in the
body politic, have poured their malignant poisons into the blood and
diseased the whole. Death has found his way into the homes of
hundreds of our best citizens through the door opened for him here."
"Can this be so?" exclaimed Mr. Dinneford.
"It is just as I have said," was replied. "And how could it be
otherwise? Whether men take heed or not, the evil they permit to lie
at their doors will surely do them harm. Ignorance of a statute, a
moral or a physical law gives no immunity from consequence if the
law be transgressed--a fact that thousands learn every year to their
sorrow. There are those who would call this spread of disease,
originating here, all over our city, a judgment from God, to punish
the people for that neglect and indifference which has left such a
hell as this in their midst. I do not so read it. God has no
pleasure in punishments and retributions. The evil comes not from
him. It enters through the door we have left open, just as a thief
enters our dwellings, invited through our neglect to make the
fastenings sure. It comes under the operations of a law as unvarying
as any law in physics. And so long as we have this epidemic-breeding
district in the very heart of our city, we must expect to reap our
periodical harvests of disease and death. What it is to be next
year, or the next, none can tell."
"Does not your perpetual contact with all this give your mind an
unhealthy tone--a disposition to magnify its disastrous
consequences?" said Mr. Dinneford.
The missionary dropped his eyes. The flush and animation went out of
"I leave you to judge for yourself," he answered, after a brief
silence, and in a voice that betrayed a feeling of disappointment.
"You have the fact before you in the board of health, prison,
almshouse, police, house of refuge, mission and other reports that
are made every year to the people. If they hear not these, neither
will they believe, though one rose from the dead."
"All is too dreadfully palpable for unbelief," returned Mr.
Dinneford. "I only expressed a passing thought."
"My mind may take an unhealthy tone--does often, without doubt,"
said Mr. Paulding. "I wonder, sometimes, that I can keep my head
clear and my purposes steady amid all this moral and physical
disorder and suffering. But exaggeration of either this evil or its
consequences is impossible. The half can never be told."
Mr. Dinneford rose to go. As he did so, two little Italian children,
a boy and a girl, not over eight years of age, tired, hungry,
pinched and starved-looking little creatures, the boy with a harp
slung over his shoulder, and the girl carrying a violin, went past
on the other side.
"Where in the world do all of these little wretches come from?"
asked Mr. Dinneford. "They are swarming our streets of late.
Yesterday I saw a child who could not be over two years of age
tinkling her triangle, while an older boy and girl were playing on a
harp and violin. She seemed so cold and tired that it made me sad to
look at her. There is something wrong about this."
"Something very wrong," answered the missionary. "Doubtless you
think these children are brought here by their parents or near
relatives. No such thing. Most of them are slaves. I speak
advisedly. The slave-trade is not yet dead. Its abolition on the
coast of Africa did not abolish the cupidity that gave it birth. And
the 'coolie' trade, one of its new forms, is not confined to the
"I am at a loss for your meaning," said Mr. Dinneford.
"I am not surprised. The new slave-trade, which has been carried on
with a secresy that is only now beginning to attract attention, has
its source of supply in Southern Italy, from which large numbers of
children are drawn every year and brought to this country.
"The headquarters of this trade--cruel enough in some of its
features to bear comparison with the African slave-trade itself--are
in New York. From this city agents are sent out to Southern Italy
every year, where little intelligence and great poverty exist. These
agents tell grand stories of the brilliant prospects offered to the
young in America. Let me now read to you from the published
testimony of one who has made a thorough investigation of this
nefarious business, so that you may get a clear comprehension of its
extent and iniquity.
"He says: 'One of these agents will approach the father of a family,
and after commenting upon the beauty of his children, will tell him
that his boys "should be sent at once to America, where they must in
time become rich." "There are no poor in America." "The children
should go when young, so that they may grow up with the people and
the better acquire the language." "None are too young or too old to
go to America." The father, of course, has not the means to go
himself or to send his children to this delightful country. The
agent then offers to take the children to America, and to pay forty
or fifty dollars to the father upon his signing an indenture
abandoning all claims upon them. He often, also, promises to pay a
hundred or more at the end of a year, but, of course, never does it.
"'After the agent has collected a sufficient number of children,
they are all supplied with musical instruments, and the trip on foot
through Switzerland and France begins. They are generally shipped to
Genoa, and often to Marseilles, and accomplish the remainder of the
journey to Havre or Calais by easy stages from village to village.
Thus they become a paying investment from the beginning. This
journey occupies the greater portion of the summer months; and after
a long trip in the steerage of a sailing-vessel, the unfortunate
children land at Castle Garden. As the parents never hear from them
again, they do not know whether they are doing well or not.
"'They are too young and ignorant to know how to get themselves
delivered from oppression; they do not speak our language, and find
little or no sympathy among the people whom they annoy. They are
thus left to the mercy of their masters, who treat them brutally,
and apparently without fear of the law or any of its officers. They
are crowded into small, ill-ventilated, uncarpeted rooms, eighteen
or twenty in each, and pass the night on the floor, with only a
blanket to protect them from the severity of the weather. In the
mornings they are fed by their temporary guardian with maccaroni,
served in the filthiest manner in a large open dish in the centre of
the room, after which they are turned out into the streets to beg or
steal until late at night.
"'More than all this, when the miserable little outcasts return to
their cheerless quarters, they are required to deliver every cent
which they have gathered during the day; and if the same be deemed
insufficient, the children are carefully searched and soundly
"'The children are put through a kind of training in the arts of
producing discords on their instruments, and of begging, in the
whole of which the cruelty of the masters and the stolid submission
of the pupils are the predominant features. The worst part of all is
that the children become utterly unfitted for any occupation except
vagrancy and theft.'
"You have the answer to your question, 'Where do all these little
wretches come from?'" said the missionary as he laid aside the paper
from which he had been reading. "Poor little slaves!"
_EDITH'S_ life, as we have seen, became lost, so to speak, in
charities. Her work lay chiefly with children, She was active in
mission-schools and in two or three homes for friendless little
ones, and did much to extend their sphere of usefulness. Her
garments were plain and sombre, her fair young face almost
colorless, and her aspect so nun-like as often to occasion remark.
Her patience and tender ways with poor little children, especially
with the youngest, were noticed by all who were associated with her.
Sometimes she would show unusual interest in a child just brought to
one of the homes, particularly if it were a boy, and only two or
three years old. She would hover about it and ask it questions, and
betray an eager concern that caused a moment's surprise to those who
noticed her. Often, at such times, the pale face would grow warm
with the flush of blood sent out by her quicker heartbeats, and her
eyes would have a depth of expression and a brightness that made her
beauty seem the reflection of some divine beatitude. Now and then it
was observed that her manner with these little waifs and
cast-adrifts that were gathered in from the street had in it an
expression of pain, that her eyes looked at them sadly, sometimes
tearfully. Often she came with light feet and a manner almost
cheery, to go away with eyes cast down and lips set and curved and
steps that were slow and heavy.
Time had not yet solved the mystery of her baby's life or death; and
until it was solved, time had no power to abate the yearning at her
heart, to dull the edge of anxious suspense or to reconcile her to a
Providence that seemed only cruel. In her daily prayers this thought
of cruelty in God often came in to hide his face from her, and she
rose from her knees more frequently in a passion of despairing tears
than comforted. How often she pleaded with God, weeping bitter
tears, that he would give her certainty in place of terrible doubts!
Again, she would implore his loving care over her poor baby,
wherever it might be.
So the days wore on, until nearly three years had elapsed since
Edith's child was born.
It was Christmas eve, but there were no busy hands at work, made
light by loving hearts, in the home of Mr. Dinneford. All its
chambers were silent. And yet the coming anniversary was not to go
uncelebrated. Edith's heart was full of interest for the children of
the poor, the lowly, the neglected and the suffering, whom Christ
came to save and to bless. Her anniversary was to be spent with
them, and she was looking forward to its advent with real pleasure.
"We have made provision for four hundred children, said her father.
"The dinner is to be at twelve o'clock, and we must be there by nine
or ten. We shall be busy enough getting everything ready. There are
forty turkeys to cut up and four hundred plates to fill."
"And many willing hands to do it," remarked Edith, with a quiet
smile; "ours among the rest."
"You'd better keep away from there," spoke up Mrs. Dinneford, with a
jar in her voice. "I don't see what possesses you. You can find poor
little wretches anywhere, if you're so fond of them, without going
to Briar street. You'll bring home the small-pox or something
Neither Edith nor her father made any reply, and there fell a
silence on the group that was burdensome to all. Mrs. Dinneford felt
it most heavily, and after the lapse of a few minutes withdrew from
"A good dinner to four hundred hungry children, some of them half
starved," said Edith as her mother shut the door. "I shall enjoy the
sight as much as they will enjoy the feast."
A little after ten o'clock on the next morning, Mr. Dinneford and
Edith took their way to the mission-school in Briar street. They
found from fifteen to twenty ladies and gentlemen already there, and
at work helping to arrange the tables, which were set in the two
long upper rooms. There were places for nearly four hundred
children, and in front of each was an apple, a cake and a biscuit,
and between every four a large mince pie. The forty turkeys were at
the baker's, to be ready at a little before twelve o'clock, the
dinner-hour, and in time for the carvers, who were to fill the four
hundred plates for the expected guests.
At eleven o'clock Edith and her father went down to the chapel on
the first floor, where the children had assembled for the morning
exercises, that were to continue for an hour.
Edith had a place near the reading-desk where she could see the
countenances of all those children who were sitting side by side in
row after row and filling every seat in the room, a restless, eager,
expectant crowd, half disciplined and only held quiet by the order
and authority they had learned to respect. Such faces as she looked
into! In scarcely a single one could she find anything of true
childhood, and they were so marred by suffering and evil! In vain
she turned from one to another, searching for a sweet, happy look or
a face unmarked by pain or vice or passion. It made her heart ache.
Some were so hard and brutal in their expression, and so mature in
their aspect, that they seemed like the faces of debased men on
which a score of years, passed in sensuality and crime, had cut
their deep deforming lines, while others were pale and wasted, with
half-scared yet defiant eyes, and thin, sharp, enduring lips, making
one tearful to look at them. Some were restless as caged animals,
not still for a single instant, hands moving nervously and bodies
swaying to and fro, while others sat stolid and almost as immovable
as stone, staring at the little group of men and women in front who
were to lead them in the exercises of the morning.
At length one face of the many before her fixed the eyes of Edith.
It was the face of a little boy scarcely more than three years old.
He was only a few benches from her, and had been hidden from view by
a larger boy just in front of him. When Edith first noticed this
child, he was looking at her intently from a pair of large, clear
brown eyes that had in them a wistful, hungry expression. His hair,
thick and wavy, had been smoothly brushed by some careful hand, and
fell back from a large forehead, the whiteness and smoothness of
which was noticeable in contrast with those around him. His clothes
were clean and good.
As Edith turned again and again to the face of this child, the
youngest perhaps in the room, her heart began to move toward him.
Always she found him with his great earnest eyes upon her. There
seemed at last to be a mutual fascination. His eyes seemed never to
move from her face; and when she tried to look away and get
interested in other faces, almost unconsciously to herself her eyes
would wander back, and she would find herself gazing at the child.
At eleven o'clock Mr. Paulding announced that the exercises for the
morning would begin, when silence fell on the restless company of
undisciplined children. A hymn was read, and then, as the leader
struck the tune, out leaped the voices of these four hundred
children, each singing with a strange wild abandon, many of them
swaying their heads and bodies in time to the measure. As the first
lines of the hymn,
"Jesus, gentle Shepherd, lead us,
Much we need thy tender care,"
swelled up from the lips of those poor neglected children, the eyes
of Edith grew blind with tears.
After a prayer was offered up, familiar addresses, full of kindness
and encouragement, were made to the children, interspersed with
singing and other appropriate exercises. These were continued for an
hour. At their close the children were taken up stairs to the two
long school-rooms, in which their dinner was to be served. Here were
Christmas trees loaded with presents, wreaths of evergreen on the
walls and ceilings, and illuminated texts hung here and there, and
everything was provided to make the day's influence as beautiful and
pleasant as possible to the poor little ones gathered in from
cheerless and miserable homes.
Meantime, the carvers had been very busy at work on the forty
turkeys--large, tender fellows, full of dressing and cooked as
nicely as if they had been intended for a dinner of
aldermen--cutting them up and filling the plates. There was no
stinting of the supply. Each plate was loaded with turkey, dressing,
potatoes that had been baked with the fowls, and a heaping spoonful
of cranberry sauce, and as fast as filled conveyed to the tables by
the lady attendants, who had come, many of them, from elegant homes,
to assist the good missionary's wife and the devoted teachers of the
mission-school in this labor of love. And so, when the four hundred
hungry children came streaming into the rooms, they found tables
spread with such bounty as the eyes of many of them had never looked
upon, and kind gentlemen and beautiful ladies already there to place
them at these tables and serve them while eating.
It was curious and touching, and ludicrous sometimes, to see the
many ways in which the children accepted this bountiful supply of
food. A few pounced upon it like hungry dogs, devouring whole
platefuls in a few minutes, but most of them kept a decent restraint
upon themselves in the presence of the ladies and gentlemen, for
whom they could not but feel an instinctive respect. Very few of
them could use at fork except in the most awkward manner. Some tried
to cut their meat, but failing in the task, would seize it with
their hands and eagerly convey it to their hungry mouths. Here and
there would be seen a mite of a boy sitting in a kind of maze before
a heaped-up dinner-plate, his hands, strangers, no doubt, to knife
or fork, lying in his lap, and his face wearing a kind of helpless
look. But he did not have to wait long. Eyes that were on the alert
soon saw him; ready hands cut his food, and a cheery voice
encouraged him to eat. If these children had been the sons and
daughters of princes, they could not have been ministered to with a
more gracious devotion to their wants and comfort than was shown by
their volunteer attendants.
Edith, entering into the spirit of the scene, gave herself to the
work in hand with an interest that made her heart glow with
pleasure. She had lost sight of the little boy in whom she had felt
so sudden and strong an interest, and had been searching about for
him ever since the children came up from the chapel. At last she saw
him, shut in and hidden between two larger boys, who were eating
with a hungry eagerness and forgetfulness of everything around them
almost painful to see. He was sitting in front of his heaped-up
plate, looking at the tempting food, with his knife and fork lying
untouched on the table. There was a dreamy, half-sad,
half-bewildered look about him.
"Poor little fellow!" exclaimed Edith as soon as she saw him, and in
a moment she was behind his chair.
"Shall I cut it up for you?" she asked as she lifted his knife and
fork from the table.
The child turned almost with a start, and looked up at her with a
quick flash of feeling on his face. She saw that he remembered her.
"Let me fix it all nicely," she said as she stooped over him and
commenced cutting up his piece of turkey. The child did not look at
his plate while she cut the food, but with his head turned kept his
large eyes on her countenance.
"Now it's all right," said Edith, encouragingly, as she laid the
knife and fork on his plate, taking a deep breath at the same time,
for her heart beat so rapidly that her lungs was oppressed with the
inflowing of blood. She felt, at the same time, an almost
irresistible desire to catch him up into her arms and draw him
lovingly to her bosom. The child made no attempt to eat, and still
kept looking at her.
"Now, my little man," she said, taking his fork and lifting a piece
of the turkey to his mouth. It touched his palate, and appetite
asserted its power over him; his eyes went down to his plate with a
hungry eagerness. Then Edith put the fork into his hand, but he did
not know how to use it, and made but awkward attempts to take up the
Mrs. Paulding, the missionary's wife, came by at the moment, and
seeing the child, put her hand on him, and said, kindly,
"Oh, it's little Andy," and passed on.
"So your name's Andy?"
"Yes, ma'am." It was the first time Edith had heard his voice. It
fell sweet and tender on her ears, and stirred her heart strangely.
"Where do you live?"
He gave the name of a street she had never heard of before.
"But you're not eating your dinner. Come, take your fork just so.
There! that's the way;" and Edith took his hand, in which he was
still holding the fork, and lifted two or three mouthfuls, which he
ate with increasing relish. After that he needed no help, and seemed
to forget in the relish of a good dinner the presence of Edith, who
soon found others who needed her service.
The plentiful meal was at last over, and the children, made happy
for one day at least, were slowly dispersing to their dreary homes,
drifting away from the better influences good men and women had been
trying to gather about them even for a little while. The children
were beginning to leave the tables when Edith, who had been busy
among them, remembered the little boy who had so interested her, and
made her way to the place where he had been sitting. But he was not
there. She looked into the crowd of boys and girls who were pressing
toward the door, but could not see the child. A shadow of
disappointment came over her feelings, and a strange heaviness
weighed over her heart.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," she said to herself. "I wanted to see him
She pressed through the crowd of children, and made her way down
among them to the landing below and out upon the street, looking
this way and that, but could not see the child. Then she returned to
the upper rooms, but her search was in vain. Remembering that Mrs.
Paulding had called him by name, she sought for the missionary's
wife and made inquiry about him.
"Do you mean the little fellow I called Andy?" said Mrs. Paulding.
"Yes, that's the one," returned Edith.
"A beautiful boy, isn't he?"
"Indeed he is. I never saw such eyes in a child. Who is he, Mrs.
Paulding, and what is he doing here? He cannot be the child of
depraved or vicious parents."
"I do not think he is. But from whence he came no one knows. He
drifted in from some unknown land of sorrow to find shelter on our
inhospitable coast. I am sure that God, in his wise providence, sent
him here, for his coming was the means of saving a poor debased man
who is well worth the saving."
Then she told in a few words the story of Andy's appearance at Mr.
Hall's wretched hovel and the wonderful changes that followed--how a
degraded drunkard, seemingly beyond the reach of hope and help, had
been led back to sobriety and a life of honest industry by the hand
of a little child cast somehow adrift in the world, yet guarded and
guided by Him who does not lose sight in his good providence of even
a single sparrow.
"Who is this man, and where does he live?" asked Mr. Dinneford, who
had been listening to Mrs. Paulding's brief recital.
"His name is Andrew Hall," was replied.
"Andrew Hall!" exclaimed Mr. Dinneford, with a start and a look of
"Yes, sir. That is his name, and he is now living alone with the
child of whom we have been speaking, not very far from here, but in
a much better neighborhood. He brought Andy around this morning to
let him enjoy the day, and has come for him, no doubt, and taken him
"Give me the street and number, if you please, Mr. Paulding," said
Mr. Dinneford, with much repressed excitement. "We will go there at
once," he added, turning to his daughter.
Edith's face had become pale, and her father felt her hand tremble
as she laid it on his arm.
At this moment a man came up hurriedly to Mrs. Paulding, and said,
with manifest concern,
"Have you seen Andy, ma'am? I've been looking all over, but can't
"He was here a little while ago," answered the missionary's wife.
"We were just speaking of him. I thought you'd taken him home."
"Mr. Hall!" said Edith's father, in a tone of glad recognition,
extending his hand at the same time.
"Mr. Dinneford!" The two men stood looking at each other, with shut
lips and faces marked by intense feeling, each grasping tightly the
"It is going to be well with you once more, my dear old friend!"
said Mr. Dinneford.
"God being my helper, yes!" was the firm reply. "He has taken my
feet out of the miry clay and set them on firm ground, and I have
promised him that they shall not go down into the pit again. But
Andy! I must look for him."
And he was turning away.
"I saw Andy a little while ago," now spoke up a woman who had come
in from the street and heard the last remark.
"Where?" asked Mr. Hall.
"A girl had him, and she was going up Briar street on the run,
fairly dragging Andy after her. She looked like Pinky Swett, and I
do believe it was her. She's been in prison, you know but I guess
her time's up."
Mr. Hall stopped to hear no more, but ran down stairs and up the
street, going in the direction said to have been taken by the woman.
Edith sat down, white and faint.
"Pinky Swett!" exclaimed Mrs. Paulding. "Why, that's the girl who
had the child you were looking after a long time ago, Mr.
"Yes; I remember the name, and no doubt this is the very child she
had in her possession at that time. Are you sure she has been in
prison for the last two years?" and Mr. Dinneford turned to the
woman who had mentioned her name.
"Oh yes, Sir; I remember all about it," answered the woman. "She
stole a man's pocket-book, and got two years for it."
"You know her?"
"Oh yes, indeed! And she's a bad one, I can tell you. She had
somebody's baby round in Grubb's court, and it was 'most starved to
death. I heard it said it belonged to some of the big people up
town, and that she was getting hush-money for it, but I don't know
as it was true. People will talk."
"Do you know what became of that baby?" asked Edith, with
ill-repressed excitement. Her face was still very pale, and her
forehead contracted as by pain.
"No, ma'am. The police came round asking questions, and the baby
wasn't seen in Grubb's court after that."
"You think it was Pinky Swett whom you saw just now?"
"I'm dead sure of it, sir," turning to Mr. Dinneford, who had asked
"And you are certain it was the little boy named Andy that she had
"I'm as sure as death, sir."
"Did he look frightened?"
"Oh dear, yes, sir--scared as could be. He pulled back all his
might, but she whisked him along as if he'd been only a chicken. I
saw them go round the corner of Clayton street like the wind."
Mr. Paulding now joined them, and became advised of what had
happened. He looked very grave.
"We shall find the little boy," he said. "He cannot be concealed by
this wretched woman as the baby was; he is too old for that. The
police will ferret him out. But I am greatly concerned for Mr. Hall.
That child is the bond which holds him at safe anchorage. Break this
bond, and he may drift to sea again. I must go after him."
And the missionary hurried away.
For over an hour Edith and her father remained at the mission
waiting for some news of little Andy. At the end of this time Mr.
Paulding came back with word that nothing could be learned beyond
the fact that a woman with a child answering to the description of
Andy had been seen getting into an up-town car on Clayton street
about one o'clock. She came, it was said by two or three who
professed to have seen her, from the direction of Briar street. The
chief of police had been seen, and he had already telegraphed to all
the stations. Mr. Hall was at the central station awaiting the
After getting a promise from Mr. Paulding to send a messenger the
moment news of Andy was received, Mr. Dinneford and Edith returned
_AS_ Edith glanced up, on arriving before their residence, she saw
for a moment her mother's face at the window. It vanished like the
face of a ghost, but not quick enough to prevent Edith from seeing
that it was almost colorless and had a scared look. They did not
find Mrs. Dinneford in the parlor when they came in, nor did she
make her appearance until an hour afterward, when dinner was
announced. Then it was plain to both her husband and daughter that
something had occurred since morning to trouble her profoundly. The
paleness noticed by Edith at the window and the scared look
remained. Whenever she turned her eyes suddenly upon her mother, she
found her looking at her with a strange, searching intentness. It
was plain that Mrs. Dinneford saw in Edith's face as great a change
and mystery as Edith saw in hers, and the riddle of her husband's
countenance, so altered since morning, was harder even than Edith's
A drearier Christmas dinner, and one in which less food was taken by
those who ate it, could hardly have been found in the city. The
Briar-street feast was one of joy and gladness in comparison. The
courses came and went with unwonted quickness, plates bearing off
the almost untasted viands which they had received. Scarcely a word
was spoken during the meal. Mrs. Dinneford asked no question about
the dinner in Briar street, and no remark was made about it by
either Edith or her father. In half the usual time this meal was
ended. Mrs. Dinneford left the table first, and retired to her own
room. As she did so, in taking her handkerchief from her pocket, she
drew out a letter, which fell unnoticed by her upon the floor. Mr.
Dinneford was about calling her attention to it when Edith, who saw
his purpose and was near enough to touch his hand, gave a quick
signal to forbear. The instant her mother was out of the room she
sprang from her seat, and had just secured the letter when the
dining-room door was pushed open, and Mrs. Dinneford came in, white
and frightened. She saw the letter in Edith's hand, and with a cry
like some animal in pain leaped upon her and tried to wrest it from
her grasp. But Edith held it in her closed hand with a desperate
grip, defying all her mother's efforts to get possession of it. In
her wild fear and anger Mrs. Dinneford exclaimed,
"I'll kill you if you don't give me that letter!" and actually, in
her blind rage, reached toward the table as if to get a knife. Mr.
Dinneford, who had been for a moment stupefied, now started forward,
and throwing his arms about his wife, held her tightly until Edith
could escape with the letter, not releasing her until the sound of
his daughter's retiring feet were no longer heard. By this time she
had ceased to struggle; and when he released her, she stood still in
a passive, dull sort of way, her arms falling heavily to her sides.
He looked into her face, and saw that the eyes were staring wildly
and the muscles in a convulsive quiver. Then starting and reaching
out helplessly, she fell forward. Catching her in his arms, Mr.
Dinneford drew her toward a sofa, but she was dead before he could
raise her from the floor.
When Edith reached her room, she shut and locked the door. Then all
her excitement died away. She sat down, and opening the letter with
hands that gave no sign of inward agitation or suspense, read it
through. It was dated at Havana, and was as follows:
"MRS. HELEN DINNEFORD: MADAM--My physician tells me that I cannot
live a week--may die at any moment; and I am afraid to die with one
unconfessed and unatoned sin upon my conscience--a sin into which I
was led by you, the sharer of my guilt. I need not go into
particulars. You know to what I refer--the ruin of an innocent,
confiding young man, your daughter's husband. I do not wonder that
he lost his reason! But I have information that his insanity has
taken on the mildest form, and that his friends are only keeping him
at the hospital until they can get a pardon from the governor. It is
in your power and mine to establish his innocence at once. I leave
you a single mouth in which to do this, and at the same time screen
yourself, if that be possible. If, at the end of a month, it is not
done, then a copy of this letter, with a circumstantial statement of
the whole iniquitous affair, will be placed in the hands of your
husband, and another in the hands of your daughter. I have so
provided for this that no failure can take place. So be warned and
make the innocence of George Granger as clear as noonday.
Twice Edith read this letter through before a sign of emotion was
visible. She looked about the room, down at herself, and again at
"Am I really awake?" she said, beginning to tremble. Then the glad
but terrible truth grappled with her convictions, and through the
wild struggle and antagonism, of feeling that shook her soul there
shone into her face a joy so great that the pale features grew
"Innocent! innocent!" fell from her lips, over which crept a smile
of ineffable love. But it faded out quickly, and left in its place a
shadow of ineffable pain.
"Innocent! innocent!" she repeated, now clasping her hands and
lifting her eyes heavenward. "Dear Lord and Saviour! My heart is
full of thankfulness! Innocent! Oh, let it be made as clear as
noonday! And my baby, Lord--oh, my baby, my baby! Give him back to
She fell forward upon her bed, kneeling, her face hidden among the
pillows, trembling and sobbing.
"Edith! Edith!" came the agitated voice of her father from without.
She rose quickly, and opening the door, saw his pale, convulsed
"Quick! quick! Your mother!" and Mr. Dinneford turned and ran down
stairs, she following. On reaching the dining-room, Edith found her
mother lying on a sofa, with the servants about her in great
excitement. Better than any one did she comprehend what she saw.
"Dead," fell almost coldly from her lips.
"I have sent for Dr. Radcliffe. It may only be a fainting fit,"
answered Mr. Dinneford.
Edith stood a little way off from her mother, as if held from
personal contact by an invisible barrier, and looked upon her ashen
face without any sign of emotion.
"Dead, and better so," she said, in an undertone heard only by her
"My child! don't, don't!" exclaimed Mr. Dinneford in a deprecating
"Dead, and better so," she repeated, firmly.
While the servants chafed the hands and feet of Mrs. Dinneford, and
did what they could in their confused way to bring her back to life,
Edith stood a little way off, apparently undisturbed by what she
saw, and not once touching her mother's body or offering a
suggestion to the bewildered attendants.
When Dr. Radcliffe came and looked at Mrs. Dinneford, all saw by his
countenance that he believed her dead. A careful examination proved
the truth of his first impression. She was done with life in this
As to the cause of her death, the doctor, gathering what he could
from her husband, pronounced it heart disease. The story told
outside was this--so the doctor gave it, and so it was understood:
Mrs. Dinneford was sitting at the table when her head was seen to
sink forward, and before any one could get to her she was dead. It
was not so stated to him by either Mr. Dinneford or Edith, but he
was a prudent man, and careful of the good fame of his patients.
Family affairs he held as sacred trusts. We'll he knew that there
had been a tragedy in this home--a tragedy for which he was in part,
he feared, responsible; and he did not care to look into it too
closely. But of all that was involved in this tragedy he really knew
little. Social gossip had its guesses at the truth, often not very
remote, and he was familiar with these, believing little or much as
it suited him.
It is not surprising that Edith's father, on seeing the letter of
Lloyd Freeling, echoed his daughter's words, "Better so!"
Not a tear was shed on the grave of Mrs. Dinneford. Husband and
daughter saw her body carried forth and buried out of sight with a
feeling of rejection and a sense of relief. Death had no power to
soften their hearts toward her. Charity had no mantle broad enough
to cover her wickedness; filial love was dead, and the good heart of
her husband turned away at remembrance with a shudder of horror.
Yes, it was "better so!" They had no grief, but thankfulness, that
she was dead.
On the morning after the funeral there came a letter from Havana
addressed to Mr. Dinneford. It was from the man Freeling. In it he
related circumstantially all the reader knows about the conspiracy
to destroy Granger. The letter enclosed an affidavit made by
Freeling, and duly attested by the American consul, in which he
stated explicitly that all the forgeries were made by himself, and
that George Granger was entirely ignorant of the character of the
paper he had endorsed with the name of the firm.
Since the revelation made to Edith by Freeling's letter to her
mother, all the repressed love of years, never dead nor diminished,
but only chained, held down, covered over, shook itself free from
bonds and the wrecks and debris of crushed hopes. It filled her
heart with an agony of fullness. Her first passionate impulse was to
go to him and throw herself into his arms. But a chilling thought
came with the impulse, and sent all the outgoing heart-beats back.
She was no longer the wife of George Granger. In a weak hour she had
yielded to the importunities of her father, and consented to an
application for divorce. No, she was no longer the wife of George
Granger. She had no right to go to him. If it were true that reason
had been in part or wholly restored, would he not reject her with
scorn? The very thought made her heart stand still. It would be more
than she could bear.
_NO_ other result than the one that followed could have been hoped
for. The strain upon Edith was too great. After the funeral of her
mother mind and body gave way, and she passed several weeks in a
Two women, leading actors in this tragedy of life, met for the first
time in over two years--Mrs. Hoyt, _alias_ Bray, and Pinky Swett. It
had not gone very well with either of them during that period.
Pinky, as the reader knows, had spent the time in prison, and Mrs.
Bray, who had also gone a step too far in her evil ways, was now
hiding from the police under a different name from any heretofore
assumed. They met, by what seemed an accident, on the street.
Dropped from their lips in mutual surprise and pleasure. A little
while they held each other's hands, and looked into each other's
faces with keenly-searching, sinister eyes, one thought coming
uppermost in the minds of both--the thought of that long-time-lost
capital in trade, the cast-adrift baby.
From the street they went to Mrs. Bray's hiding-place a small
ill-furnished room in one of the suburbs of the city--and there took
"What became of that baby?" was one of Mrs. Bray's first questions.
"It's all right," answered Pinky.
"Do you know where it is?"
"And can you put your hand on it?"
"At any moment."
"Not worth the trouble of looking after now," said Mrs. Bray,
assuming an indifferent manner.
"Why?" Pinky turned on her quickly.
"Oh, because the old lady is dead."
"What old lady?"
"When did she die?"
"Three or four weeks ago."
"What was her name?" asked Pinky.
Mrs. Bray closed her lips tightly and shook her head.
"Can't betray thatt secret," she replied.
"Oh, just as you like;" and Pinky gave her head an impatient toss.
"High sense of honor! Respect for the memory of a departed friend!
But it won't go down with me, Fan. We know each other too well. As
for the baby--a pretty big one now, by the way, and as handsome a
boy as you'll find in all this city--he's worth something to
somebody, and I'm on that somebody's track. There's mother as well
as a grandmother in the case, Fan."
Mrs. Bray's eyes flashed, and her face grew red with an excitement
she could not hold back. Pinky watched her keenly.
"There's somebody in this town to-day who would give thousands to
get him," she added, still keeping her eyes on her companion. "And
as I was saying, I'm on that somebody's track. You thought no one
but you and Sal Long knew anything, and that when she died you had
the secret all to yourself. But Sal didn't keep mum about it."
"Did she tell you anything?" demanded Mrs. Bray, thrown off her
guard by Pinky's last assertion.
"Enough for me to put this and that together and make it nearly all
out," answered Pinky, with great coolness. "I was close after the
game when I got caught myself. But I'm on the track once more, and
don't mean to be thrown off. A link or two in the chain of evidence
touching the parentage of this child, and I am all right. You have
these missing links, and can furnish them if you will. If not, I am
bound to find them. You know me, Fan. If I once set my heart on
doing a thing, heaven and earth can't stop me."
"You're devil enough for anything, I know, and can lie as fast as
you can talk," returned Mrs. Bray, in considerable irritation. "If I
could believe a word you said! But I can't."
"No necessity for it," retorted Pinky, with a careless toss of her
head. "If you don't wish to hunt in company, all right. I'll take
the game myself."
"You forget," said Mrs. Bray, "I can spoil your game."
"By blowing the whole thing to Mr.--"
"Mr. who?" asked Pinky, leaning forward eagerly as her companion
paused without uttering the name that was on her lips.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" Mrs. Bray gave a low tantalizing laugh.
"I'm not sure that I would, from you. I'm bound to know somehow, and
it will be cheapest to find out for myself," replied Pinky, hiding
her real desire, which was to get the clue she sought from Mrs.
Bray, and which she alone could give. "As for blowing on me, I
wouldn't like anything better. I wish you'd call on Mr. Somebody at
once, and tell him I've got the heir of his house and fortune, or on
Mrs. Somebody, and tell her I've got her lost baby. Do it, Fan;
that's a deary."
"Suppose I were to do so?" asked Mrs. Bray, repressing the anger
that was in her heart, and speaking with some degree of calmness.
"The police would be down on you in less than an hour."
"And what then?"
"Your game would be up."
Pinky laughed derisively:
"The police are down on me now, and have been coming down on me for
nearly a month past. But I'm too much for them. I know how to cover
"Down on you! For what?"
"They're after the boy."
"What do they know about him? Who set them after him?"
"I grabbed him up last Christmas down in Briar street after being on
his track for a week, and them that had him are after him sharp."
"Who had him?"
"I'm a little puzzled at the rumpus it has kicked up," said Pinky,
in reply. "It's stirred things amazingly."
"Oh, as I said, the police are after me sharp. They've had me before
the mayor twice, and got two or three to swear they saw me pick up
the child in Briar street and run off with him. But I denied it
"And I can swear that you confessed it all to me," said Mrs. Bray,
with ill-concealed triumph.
"It won't do, Fan," laughed Pinky. "They'll not be able to find him
any more then than now. But I wish you would. I'd like to know this
Mr. Somebody of whom you spoke. I'll sell out to him. He'll bid
high, I'm thinking."
Baffled by her sharper accomplice, and afraid to trust her with the
secret of the child's parentage lest she should rob her of the last
gain possible to receive out of this great iniquity, Mrs. Bray
became wrought up to a state of ungovernable passion, and in a blind
rage pushed Pinky from her room. The assault was sudden and
unexpected---so sudden that Pinky, who was the stronger, had no time
to recover herself and take the offensive before she was on the
outside and the door shut and locked against her. A few impotent
threats and curses were interchanged between the two infuriated
women, and then Pinky went away.
On the day following, as Mr. Dinneford was preparing to go out, he
was informed that a lady had called and was waiting down stairs to
see him. She did not send her card nor give her name. On going into
the room where the visitor had been shown, he saw a little woman
with a dark, sallow complexion. She arose and came forward a step or
two in evident embarrassment.
"Mr. Dinneford?" she said.
"That is my name, madam," was replied.
"You do not know me?"
Mr. Dinneford looked at her closely, and then answered,
"I have not that pleasure, madam."
The woman stood for a moment or two, hesitating.
"Be seated, madam," said Mr. Dinneford.
She sat down, seeming very ill at ease. He took a chair in front of
"You wish to see me?"
"Yes, sir, and on a matter that deeply concerns you. I was your
daughter's nurse when her baby was born."
She paused at this. Mr. Dinneford had caught his breath. She saw the
almost wild interest that flushed his face.
After waiting a moment for some response, she added, in a low,
"That baby is still alive, and I am the only person who can clearly
Mr. Dinneford did not reply immediately. He saw by the woman's face
that she was not to be trusted, and that in coming to him she had
only sinister ends in view. Her story might be true or false. He
thought hurriedly, and tried to regain exterior calmness. As soon as
he felt that he could speak without betraying too much eagerness, he
said, with an appearance of having recognized her,
"You are Mrs.----?"
He paused, but she did not supply the name.
"Mrs.----? Mrs.----? what is it?"
"No matter, Mr. Dinneford," answered Mrs. Bray, with the coolness
and self-possession she had now regained. "What I have just told you
is true. If you wish to follow up the matter--wish to get possession
of your daughter's child--you have the opportunity; if not, our
interview ends, of course;" and she made a feint, as if going to
"Is it the child a woman named Pinky Swett stole away from Briar
street on Christmas day?" asked Mr. Dinneford, speaking from a
thought that flashed into his mind, and so without premeditation. He
fixed his eyes intently on Mrs. Bray's face, and saw by its quick
changes and blank surprise that he had put the right question.
Before she could recover herself and reply, he added,
"And you are, doubtless, this same Pinky Swett."
The half smile, half sneer, that curved the woman's lips, told Mr.
Dinneford that he was mistaken.
"No, sir," was returned, with regained coolness. "I am not 'this
same Pinky Swett.' You are out there."
"But you know her?"
"I don't know anything just now, sir," answered the woman, with a
chill in her tones. She closed her lips tightly, and shrunk back in
"What, then, are your here for?" asked Mr. Dinneford, showing
considerable sternness of manner.
"I thought you understood," returned the woman. "I was explicit in
"Oh, I begin to see. There is a price on your information," said Mr.
"Yes, sir. You might have known that from the first. I will be frank
"But why have you kept this secret for three years? Why did you not
come before?" asked Mr. Dinneford.
"Because I was paid to keep the secret. Do you understand?"
Too well did Mr. Dinneford understand, and it was with difficulty
he could suppress a groan as his head drooped forward and his eyes
fell to the floor.
"It does not pay to keep it any longer," added the woman.
Mr. Dinneford made no response.
"Gain lies on the other side. The secret is yours, if you will have
"At what price?" asked Mr. Dinneford, without lifting his eyes.
"One thousand dollars, cash in hand."
"On production of the child and proof of its identity?"
Mrs. Bray took time to answer. "I do not mean to have any slip in
this matter," she said. "It was a bad business at the start, as I
told Mrs. Dinneford, and has given me more trouble than I've been
paid for, ten times over. I shall not be sorry to wash my hands
clean of it; but whenever I do so, there must be compensation and
security. I haven't the child, and you may hunt me to cover with all
the police hounds in the city, and yet not find him."
"If I agree to pay your demand," replied Mr. Dinneford, "it can only
be on production and identification of the child."
"After which your humble servant will be quickly handed over to the
police," a low, derisive laugh gurgling in the woman's throat.
"The guilty are ever in dread, and the false always in fear of
betrayal," said Mr. Dinneford. "I can make no terms with you for any
antecedent reward. The child must be in my possession and his
parentage clearly proved before I give you a dollar. As to what may
follow to yourself, your safety will lie in your own silence. You
hold, and will still hold, a family secret that we shall not care to
have betrayed. If you should ever betray it, or seek, because of its
possession, to annoy or prey upon us, I shall consider all honorable
contract we may have at an end, and act accordingly."
"Will you put in writing, an obligation to pay me one thousand
dollars in case I bring the child and prove its identity?"
"No; but I will give you my word of honor that this sum shall be
placed in your hands whenever you produce the child."
Mrs. Bray remained silent for a considerable time, then, as if
satisfied, arose, saying,
"You will hear from me by to-morrow or the day after, at farthest.
As she was moving toward the door Mr. Dinneford said,
"Let me have your name and residence, madam."
The woman quickened her steps, partly turning her head as she did
so, and said, with a sinister curl of the lip,
"No, I thank you, sir."
In the next moment she was gone.
_NOTHING_ of all this was communicated to Edith. After a few weeks
of prostration strength came slowly back to mind and body, and with
returning strength her interest in her old work revived. Her feet
went down again into lowly ways, and her hands took hold of
Immediately on receipt of Freeling's letter and affidavit, Mr.
Dinneford had taken steps to procure a pardon for George Granger. It
came within a few days after the application was made, and the young
man was taken from the asylum where he had been for three years.
Mr. Dinneford went to him with Freeling's affidavit and the pardon,
and placing them in his hands, watched him closely to see the effect
they would produce. He found him greatly changed in appearance,
looking older by many years. His manner was quiet, as that of one