Part 6 out of 6
who had learned submission after long suffering. But his eyes were
clear and steady, and without sign of mental aberration. He read
Freeling's affidavit first, folded it in an absent kind of way, as
if he were dreaming, reopened and read it through again. Then Mr.
Dinneford saw a strong shiver pass over him; he became pale and
slightly convulsed. His face sunk in his hands, and he sat for a
while struggling with emotions that he found it almost impossible to
When he looked up, the wild struggle was over.
"It is too late," he said.
"No, George, it is never too late," replied Mr. Dinneford. "You have
suffered a cruel wrong, but in the future there are for you, I doubt
not, many compensations."
He shook his head in a dreary way, murmuring,
"I have lost too much."
"Nothing that may not be restored. And in all you have not lost a
"No, thank God!" answered the young man, with a sudden flush in his
face. "But for that anchor to my soul, I should have long ago
drifted out to sea a helpless wreck. No thank God! I have not lost a
"You have not yet read the other paper," said Mr. Dinneford. "It is
"Pardon!" An indignant flash came into Granger's eyes. "Oh, sir,
that hurts too deeply. Pardon! I am not a criminal."
"Falsely so regarded in the eyes of the law, but now proved to be
innocent, and so expressed by the governor. It is not a pardon in
any sense of remission, but a declaration of innocence and sorrow
for the undeserved wrongs you have suffered."
"It is well," he answered, gloomily--"the best that can be done; and
I should be thankful."
"You cannot be more deeply thankful than I am, George." Mr.
Dinneford spoke with much feeling. "Let us bury this dreadful past
out of our sight, and trust in God for a better future. You are free
again, and your innocence shall, so far as I have power to do it, be
made as clear as noonday. You are at liberty to depart from here at
once. Will you go with me now?"
Granger lifted a half-surprised look to Mr. Dinneford's face.
"Thank you," he replied, after a few moments' thought. "I shall
never forget your kindness, but I prefer remaining here for a few
days, until I can confer with my friends and make some decision as
to the future."
Granger's manner grew reserved, almost embarrassed. Mr. Dinneford
was not wrong in his impression of the cause. How could he help
thinking of Edith, who, turning against him with the rest, had
accepted the theory of guilt and pronounced her sentence upon him,
hardest of all to bear? So it appeared to him, for he had nothing
but the hard fact before him that she had applied for and obtained a
Yes, it was the thought of Edith that drew Granger back and covered
him with reserve. What more could Mr. Dinneford say? He had not
considered all the hearings of this unhappy case; but now that he
remembered the divorce, he began to see, how full of embarrassment
it was, and how delicate the relation he bore to this unhappy victim
of his wife's dreadful crime.
What could he say for Edith? Nothing! He knew that her heart had
never turned itself away from this man, though she had, under a
pressure she was not strong enough to resist, turned her back upon
him and cast aside his dishonored name, thus testifying to the world
that she believed him base and criminal. If he should speak of her,
would not the young man answer with indignant scorn?
"Give me the address of your friends, and I will call upon them
immediately," said Mr. Dinneford, replying, after a long silence, to
Granger's last remark. "I am here to repair, to any extent that in
me lies the frightful wrongs you have suffered. I shall make your
cause my own, and never rest until every false tarnish shall be
wiped from your name. In honor and conscience I am bound to this."
Looking at the young man intently, he saw a grateful response in the
warmer color that broke into his face and in the moisture that
filled his eyes.
"I would be base if I were not thankful, Mr. Dinneford," Granger
replied. "But you cannot put yourself in my place, cannot know what
I have suffered, cannot comprehend the sense of wrong and cruel
rejection that has filled my soul with the very gall of bitterness.
To be cast out utterly, suddenly and without warning from heaven
into hell, and for no evil thought or act! Ah, sir! you do not
"It was a frightful ordeal, George," answered Mr. Dinneford, laying
his hand on Granger with the tenderness of a father. "But, thank
God! it is over. You have stood the terrible heat, and now, coming
out of the furnace, I shall see to it that not even the smell of
fire remain upon your garments."
Still the young man could not be moved from his purpose to remain at
the asylum until he had seen and conferred with his friends, in
whose hands Mr. Dinneford placed the governor's pardon and the
affidavit of Lloyd Freeling setting forth his innocence.
Mrs. Bray did not call on Mr. Dinneford, as she had promised. She
had quarreled with Pinky Swett, as the reader will remember, and in
a fit of blind anger thrust her from the room. But in the next
moment she remembered that she did not know where the girl lived,
and if she lost sight of her now, might not again come across her
for weeks or months. So putting on her hat and cloak hurriedly, she
waited until she heard Pinky going down stairs, and then came out
noiselessly, and followed her into the street. She had to be quick
in her movements, for Pinky, hot with anger, was dashing off at a
rapid speed. For three or four blocks Mrs. Bray kept her in view;
but there being only a few persons in the street, she had to remain
at a considerable distance behind, so as not to attract her
attention. Suddenly, she lost sight of Pinky. She had looked back on
hearing a noise in the street; turning again, she could see nothing
of the girl. Hurrying forward to the corner which Pinky had in all
probability turned, Mrs. Bray looked eagerly up and down, but to her
disappointment Pinky was not in sight.
"Somewhere here. I thought it was farther off," said Mrs. Bray to
herself. "It's too bad that I should have lost sight of her."
She stood irresolute for a little while, then walked down one of the
blocks and back on the other side. Halfway down, a small street or
alley divided the block.
"It's in there, no doubt," said Mrs. Bray, speaking to herself
again. On the corner was a small shop in which notions and trimmings
were sold. Going into this, she asked for some trifling articles,
and while looking over them drew the woman who kept the shop into
"What kind of people live in this little street?" she inquired, in a
The woman smiled as she answered, with a slight toss of the head,
"Oh, all kinds."
"Good, bad and indifferent?"
"Yes, white sheep and black."
"So I thought. The black sheep will get in. You can't keep 'em out."
"No, and 'tisn't much use trying," answered the shop-keeper, with a
levity of manner not unmarked by Mrs. Bray, who said,
"The black sheep have to live as well as the white ones."
"Just so. You hit the nail there."
"And I suppose you find their money as good as that of the whitest?"
"And quite as freely spent?"
"As to that," answered the woman, who was inclined to be talkative
and gossipy, "we make more out of the black sheep than out of the
white ones. They don't higgle so about prices. Not that we have two
prices, but you see they don't try to beat us down, and never stop
to worry about the cost of a thing if they happen to fancy it. They
look and buy, and there's the end of it."
"I understand," remarked Mrs. Bray, with a familiar nod. "It may be
wicked to say so; but if I kept a store like this, I'd rather have
the sinners for customers than the saints."
She had taken a seat at the counter; and now, leaning forward upon
her arms and looking at the shop-woman in a pleasant,
half-confidential way, said,
"You know everybody about here?"
"The black sheep as well as the white?"
"Of course; that's all I mean," was returned. "I'd be sorry if you
knew them in any other way--some of them, at least." Then, after a
pause, "Do you know a girl they call Pinky?"
"I may know her, but not by that name. What kind of a looking person
"A tall, bold-faced, dashing, dare-devil sort of a girl, with a
snaky look in her eyes. She wears a pink hat with a white feather."
"Yes, I think I have seen some one like that, but she's not been
around here long."
"When did you see her last?"
"If it's the same one you mean, I saw her go by here not ten minutes
ago. She lives somewhere down the alley."
"Do you know the house?"
"I do not; but it can be found, no doubt. You called her Pinky."
"Yes. Her name is Pinky Swett."
"O-h! o-h!" ejaculated the shop-woman, lifting her eyebrows in a
surprised way. "Why, that's the girl the police were after. They
said she'd run off with somebody's child."
"Did they arrest her?" asked Mrs. Bray, repressing, as far as
possible, all excitement.
"They took her off once or twice, I believe, but didn't make
anything out of her. At any rate, the child was not found. It
belonged, they said, to a rich up-town family that the girl was
trying to black-mail. But I don't see how that could be."
"The child isn't about here?"
"Oh dear, no! If it was, it would have been found long before this,
for the police are hunting around sharp. If it's all as they say,
she's got it hid somewhere else."
While Mrs. Bray talked with the shop-woman, Pinky, who had made a
hurried call at her room, only a hundred yards away, was going as
fast as a street-car could take her to a distant part of the city.
On leaving the car at the corner of a narrow, half-deserted street,
in which the only sign of life was a child or two at play in the
snow and a couple of goats lying on a cellar-door, she walked for
half the distance of a block, and then turned into a court lined on
both sides with small, ill-conditioned houses, not half of them
tenanted. Snow and ice blocked the little road-way, except where a
narrow path had been cut along close to the houses.
Without knocking, Pinky entered one of these poor tenements. As she
pushed open the door, a woman who was crouching down before a small
stove, on which something was cooking, started up with a look of
surprise that changed to one of anxiety and fear the moment she
recognized her visitor.
"Is Andy all right?" cried Pinky, alarm in her face.
The woman tried to stammer out something, but did not make herself
understood. At this, Pinky, into whose eyes flashed a fierce light,
caught her by the wrists in a grip that almost crushed the bones.
"Out with it! where is Andy?"
Still the frightened woman could not speak.
"If that child isn't here, I'll murder you!" said Pinky, now white
with anger, tightening her grasp.
At this, with a desperate effort, the woman flung her off, and
catching up a long wooden bench, raised it over her head.
"If there's to be any murder going on," she said, recovering her
powers of speech, "I'll take the first hand! As for the troublesome
brat, he's gone. Got out of the window and climbed down the spout.
Wonder he wasn't killed. Did fall--I don't know how far--and must
have hurt himself, for I heard a noise as if something heavy had
dropped in the yard, but thought it was next door. Half an hour
afterward, in going up stairs and opening the door of the room where
I kept him locked in, I found it empty and the window open. That's
the whole story. I ran out and looked everywhere, but he was off.
And now, if the murder is to come, I'm going to be in first."
And she still kept the long wooden bench poised above her head.
Pinky saw a dangerous look in the woman's eyes.
"Put that thing down," she cried, "and don't be a fool. Let me see;"
and she darted past the woman and ran up stairs. She found the
window of Andy's prison open and the print of his little fingers on
the snow-covered sill outside, where he had held on before dropping
to the ground, a distance of many feet. There was no doubt now in
her mind as to the truth of the woman's story. The child had made
"Have you been into all the neighbors' houses?" asked Pinky as she
came down hastily.
"Into some, but not all," she replied.
"How long is it since he got away?"
"More than two hours."
"And you've been sticking down here, instead of ransacking every
hole and corner in the neighborhood. I can hardly keep my hands off
The woman was on the alert. Pinky saw this, and did not attempt to
put her threat into execution. After pouring out her wrath in a
flood of angry invectives, she went out and began a thorough search
of the neighborhood, going into every house for a distance of three
or four blocks in all directions. But she could neither find the
child nor get the smallest trace of him. He had dropped out of
sight, so far as she was concerned, as completely as if he had
fallen into the sea.
_DAY_ after day Mr. Dinneford waited for the woman who was to
restore the child of Edith, but she did not come. Over a week
elapsed, but she neither called nor sent him a sign or a word. He
dared not speak about this to Edith. She was too weak in body and
mind for any further suspense or strain.
Drew Hall had been nearly thrown down again by the events of that
Christmas day. The hand of a little child was holding him fast to a
better life; but when that hand was torn suddenly away from his
grasp, he felt the pull of evil habits, the downward drift of old
currents. His steps grew weak, his knees trembled. But God did not
mean that he should be left alone. He had reached down to him
through the hand of a little child, had lifted him up and led him
into a way of safety; and now that this small hand, the soft, touch
of which had gone to his heart and stirred him with old memories,
sad and sweet and holy, had dropped away from him, and he seemed to
be losing his hold of heaven, God sent him, in Mr. Dinneford, an
angel with a stronger hand. There were old associations that held
these men together. They had been early and attached friends, and
this meeting, after many years of separation, under such strange
circumstances, and with a common fear and anxiety at heart, could
not but have the effect of arousing in the mind of Mr. Dinneford the
deepest concern for the unhappy man. He saw the new peril into which
he was thrown by the loss of Andy, and made it his first business to
surround him with all possible good and strengthening influences. So
the old memories awakened by the coming of Andy did not fade out and
lose their power over the man. He had taken hold of the good past
again, and still held to it with the tight grasp of one conscious of
"We shall find the child--no fear of that," Mr. Dinneford would say
to him over and over again, trying to comfort his own heart as well,
as the days went by and no little Andy could be found. "The police
have the girl under the sharpest surveillance, and she cannot baffle
them much longer."
George Granger left the asylum with his friends, and dropped out of
sight. He did not show himself in the old places nor renew old
associations. He was too deeply hurt. The disaster had been too
great for any attempt on his part at repairing the old
dwelling-places of his life. His was not what we call a strong
nature, but he was susceptible of very deep impressions. He was fine
and sensitive, rather than strong. Rejected by his wife and family
without a single interview with her or even an opportunity to assert
his innocence, he felt the wrong so deeply that he could not get
over it. His love for his wife had been profound and tender, and
when it became known to him that she had accepted the appearances of
guilt as conclusive, and broken with her own hands the tie that
bound them, it was more than he had strength to bear, and a long
time passed before he rallied from this hardest blow of all.
Edith knew that her father had seen Granger after securing his
pardon, and she had learned from him only, particulars of the
interview. Beyond this nothing came to her. She stilled her heart,
aching with the old love that crowded all its chambers, and tried to
be patient and submissive. It was very hard. But she was helpless.
Sometimes, in the anguish and wild agitation of soul that seized
her, she would resolve to put in a letter all she thought and felt,
and have it conveyed to Granger; but fear and womanly delicacy drove
her back from this. What hope had she that he would not reject her
with hatred and scorn? It was a venture she dared not make, for she
felt that such a rejection would kill her. But for her work among
the destitute and the neglected, Edith would have shut herself up at
home. Christian charity drew her forth daily, and in offices of
kindness and mercy she found a peace and rest to which she would
otherwise have been stranger.
She was on her way home one afternoon from a visit to the
mission-school where she had first heard of the poor baby in Grubb's
court. All that day thoughts of little Andy kept crowding into her
mind. She could not push aside his image as she saw it on Christmas,
when he sat among the children, his large eyes resting in such a
wistful look upon her face. Her eyes often grew dim and her heart
full as she looked upon that tender face, pictured for her as
distinctly as if photographed to natural sight.
"Oh my baby, my baby!" came almost audibly from her lips, in a burst
of irrepressible feeling, for ever since she had seen this child,
the thought of him linked itself with that of her lost baby.
Up to this time her father had carefully concealed his interview
with Mrs. Bray. He was in so much doubt as to the effect that
woman's communication might produce while yet the child was missing
that he deemed it best to maintain the strictest silence until it
could be found.
Walking along with heart and thought where they dwelt for so large a
part of her time, Edith, in turning a corner, came upon a woman who
stopped at sight of her as if suddenly fastened to the
ground--stopped only for an instant, like one surprised by an
unexpected and unwelcome encounter, and then made a motion to pass
on. But Edith, partly from memory and partly from intuition,
recognized her nurse, and catching fast hold of her, said in a low
imperative voice, while a look of wild excitement spread over her
"Where is my baby?"
The woman tried to shake her off, but Edith held her with a grasp
that could not be broken.
"For Heaven's sake," exclaimed the woman "let go of me! This is the
public street, and you'll have a crowd about us in a moment, and the
police with them."
But Edith kept fast hold of her.
"First tell me where I can find my baby," she answered.
"Come along," said the woman, moving as she spoke in the direction
Edith was going when they met. "If you want a row with the police, I
Edith was close to her side, with her hand yet upon her and her
voice in her ears.
"My baby! Quick! Say! Where can I find my baby?"
"What do I know of your baby? You are a fool, or mad!" answered the
woman, trying to throw her off. "I don't know you."
"But I know you, Mrs. Bray," said Edith, speaking the name at a
venture as the one she remembered hearing the servant give to her
At this the woman's whole manner changed, and Edith saw that she was
right--that this was, indeed, the accomplice of her mother.
"And now," she added, in voice grown calm and resolute, "I do not
mean to let you escape until I get sure knowledge of my child. If
you fly from me, I will follow and call for the police. If you have
any of the instincts of a woman left, you will know that I am
desperately in earnest. What is a street excitement or a temporary
arrest by the police, or even a station-house exposure, to me, in
comparison with the recovery of my child? Where is he?"
"I do not know," replied Mrs. Bray. "After seeing your father--"
"My father! When did you see him?" exclaimed Edith, betraying in her
surprised voice the fact that Mr. Dinneford had kept so far, even
from her, the secret of that brief interview to which she now
"Oh, he hasn't told you! But it's no matter--he will do that in good
time. After seeing your father, I made an effort to get possession
of your child and restore him as I promised to do. But the woman who
had him hidden somewhere managed to keep out of my way until this
morning. And now she says he got off from her, climbed out of a
second-story window and disappeared, no one knows where."
"This woman's name is Pinky Swett?" said Edith.
Mrs. Bray felt the hand that was still upon her arm shake as if from
a violent chill.
"Do you believe what she says?--that the child has really escaped
"Where does she live?"
Mrs. Bray gave the true directions, and without hesitation.
"Is this child the one she stole from the Briar-street mission on
Christmas day?" asked Edith.
"He is," answered Mrs. Bray.
"How shall I know he is mine? What proof is there that little Andy,
as he is called, and my baby are the same?"
"I know him to be your child, for I have never lost sight of him,"
replied the woman, emphatically. "You may know him by his eyes and
mouth and chin, for they are yours. Nobody can mistake the likeness.
But there is another proof. When I nursed you, I saw on your arm,
just above the elbow, a small raised mark of a red color, and
noticed a similar one on the baby's arm. You will see it there
whenever you find the child that Pinky Swett stole from the
mission-house on Christmas day. Good-bye!"
And the woman, seeing that her companion was off of her guard,
sprang away, and was out of sight in the crowd before Edith could
rally herself and make an attempt to follow. How she got home she
could hardly tell.
_FOR_ weeks the search for Andy was kept up with unremitting
vigilance, but no word of him came to the anxious searchers. A few
days after the meeting with Mrs. Bray, the police report mentioned
the arrest of both Pinky Swett and Mrs. Bray, _alias_ Hoyt, _alias_
Jewett, charged with stealing a diamond ring of considerable value
from a jewelry store. They were sent to prison, in default of bail,
to await trial. Mr. Dinneford immediately went to the prison and had
an interview with the two women, who could give him no information
about Andy beyond what Mrs. Bray had already communicated in her
hurried talk with Edith. Pinky could get no trace of him after he
had escaped. Mr. Dinneford did not leave the two women until he had
drawn from them a minute and circumstantial account of all they knew
of Edith's child from the time it was cast adrift. When he left
them, he had no doubt as to its identity with Andy. There was no
missing link in the chain of evidence.
The new life that had opened to little Andy since the dreary night
on which, like a stray kitten, he had crept into Andrew Hall's
miserable hovel, had been very pleasant. To be loved and caressed
was a strange and sweet experience. Poor little heart! It fluttered
in wild terror, like a tiny bird in the talons of a hawk, when Pinky
Swett swooped down and struck her foul talons into the frightened
child and bore him off.
"If you scream, I'll choke you to death!" she said, stooping to his
ear, as she hurried him from the mission-house. Scared into silence,
Andy did not cry out, and the arm that grasped and dragged him away
was so strong that he felt resistance to be hopeless. Passing from
Briar street, Pinky hurried on for a distance of a block, when she
signaled a street-car. As she lifted Andy upon the platform, she
gave him another whispered threat:
"Mind! if you cry, I'll kill you!"
There were but few persons in the car, and Pinky carried the child
to the upper end and sat him down with his face turned forward to
the window, so as to keep it as much out of observation as possible.
He sat motionless, stunned with surprise and fear. Pinky kept her
eyes upon him. His hands were laid across his breast and held
against it tightly. They had not gone far before Pinky saw great
tear-drops falling upon the little hands.
"Stop crying!" she whispered, close to his ear; "I won't have it!
You're not going to be killed."
Andy tried to keep back the tears, but in spite of all he could do
they kept blinding his eyes and falling over his hands.
"What's the matter with your little boy?" asked a sympathetic,
motherly woman who had noticed the child's distress.
"Cross, that's all." Pinky threw out the sentence in at snappish,
The motherly woman, who had leaned forward, a look of kindly
interest on her face, drew back, chilled by this repulse, but kept
her eyes upon the child, greatly to Pinky's annoyance. After riding
for half a mile, Pinky got out and took another car. Andy was
passive. He had ceased crying, and was endeavoring to get back some
of the old spirit of brave endurance. He was beginning to feel like
one who had awakened from a beautiful dream in which dear ideals had
almost reached fruition, to the painful facts of a hard and
suffering life, and was gathering up his patience and strength to
meet them. He sat motionless by the side of Pinky, with his eyes
cast down, his chin on his breast and his lips shut closely
Another ride of nearly half a mile, when Pinky left the car and
struck away from the common thoroughfare into a narrow alley, down
which she walked for a short distance, and then disappeared in one
of the small houses. No one happened to observe her entrance.
Through a narrow passage and stairway she reached a second-story
room. Taking a key from her pocket, she unlocked the door and went
in. There was a fire in a small stove, and the room was comfortable.
Locking the door on the inside she said to Andy, in a voice changed
"My! your hands are as red as beets. Go up to the stove and warm
Andy obeyed, spreading out his little hands, and catching the
grateful warmth, every now and then looking up into Pinky's face,
and trying with a shrewder insight than is usually given to a child
of his age to read the character and purposes it half concealed and
half made known.
"Now, Andy," said Pinky, in a mild but very decided way--"your
"Yes, ma'am," answered the child, fixing his large, intelligent eyes
on her face.
"Well, Andy, if you'll be a good and quiet boy, you needn't be
afraid of anything--you won't get hurt. But if you make a fuss, I'll
throw you at once right out of the window."
Pinky frowned and looked so wicked as she uttered the last sentence
that Andy was frightened. It seemed as if a devouring beast glared
at him out of her eyes. She saw the effect of her threat, and was
The short afternoon soon passed away. The girl did not leave the
room, nor talk with the child except in very low tones, so as not to
attract the attention of any one in the house. As the day waned snow
began to fall, and by the time night set in it was coming down thick
and fast. As soon as it was fairly dark, Pinky wrapped a shawl about
Andy, pinning it closely, so as to protect him from the cold, and
quietly left the house. He made no resistance. A car was taken, in
which they rode for a long distance, until they were on the
outskirts of the city. The snow had already fallen to a depth of two
or three inches, and the storm was increasing. When she left the car
in that remote neighborhood, not a person was to be seen on the
street. Catching Andy into her arms, Pinky ran with him for the
distance of half a block, and then turned into a close alley with
small houses on each side. At the lower end she stopped before one
of these houses, and without knocking pushed open the door.
"Who's that?" cried a voice from an upper room, the stairway to
which led up from the room below.
"It's me. Come down, and be quiet," answered Pinky, in a warning
A woman, old and gray, with all the signs of a bad life on her
wrinkled face, came hastily down stairs and confronted Pinky.
"What now? What's brought you here?" she demanded, in no friendly
"There, there, Mother Peter! smooth down your feathers. I've got
something for you to do, and it will pay," answered Pinky, who had
shut the outside door and slipped the bolt.
At this, the manner of Mother Peter, as Pinky had called her,
softened, and she said,
"What's up? What deviltry are you after now, you huzzy?"
Without replying to this, Pinky began shaking the snow from Andy and
unwinding the shawl with which she had bound him up. After he was
free from his outside wrappings, she said, looking toward the woman,
"Now, isn't he a nice little chap? Did you ever see such eyes?"
The worn face of the woman softened as she turned toward the
beautiful child, but not with pity. To that feeling she had long
been a stranger.
"I want you to keep him for a few days," said Pinky, speaking in the
woman's ears. "I'll tell you more about it after he's in bed and
"He's to be kept shut up out of sight, mind," was Pinky's
injunction, in the conference that followed. "Not a living soul in
the neighborhood must know he's in the house, for the police will be
sharp after him. I'll pay you five dollars a week, and put it down
in advance. Give him plenty to eat, and be as good to him as you
can, for you see it's a fat job, and I'll make it fatter for you if
all comes out right."
The woman was not slow to promise all that Pinky demanded. The house
in which she lived had three rooms, one below and two smaller ones
above. From the room below a stove-pipe went up through the floor
into a sheet-iron drum in the small back chamber, and kept it
partially heated. It was arranged that Andy should be made a close
prisoner in this room, and kept quiet by fear. It had only one
window, looking out upon the yard, and there was no shed or porch
over the door leading into the yard below upon which he could climb
out and make his escape. In order to have things wholly secure the
two women, after Andy was asleep, pasted paper over the panes of
glass in the lower sash, so that no one could see his face at the
window, and fastened the sash down by putting a nail into a
gimlet-hole at the top.
"I guess thatt will fix him," said Pinky, in a tone of satisfaction.
"All you've got to do now is to see that he doesn't make a noise."
On the next morning Andy was awake by day-dawn. At first he did not
know where he was, but he kept very still, looking around the small
room and trying to make out what it all meant. Soon it came to him,
and a vague terror filled his heart. By his side lay the woman into
whose hands Pinky had given him. She was fast asleep, and her face,
as he gazed in fear upon it, was even more repulsive than it had
looked on the night before. His first impulse, after comprehending
his situation, was to escape if possible. Softly and silently he
crept out of bed, and made his way to the door. It was fastened. He
drew the bolt back, when it struck the guard with a sharp click. In
an instant the old woman was sitting up in bed and glaring at him.
"You imp of Satan!" she cried, springing after him with a singular
agility for one of her age, and catching him by the arm with a
vice-like grip that bruised the tender flesh and left it marked for
weeks, drew him back from the door and flung him upon the bed.
"Stay there till I tell you to get up," she added, with a cruel
threat in her voice. "And mind you, there's to be no fooling with
The frightened child crept under the bed-clothes, and hid his face
beneath them. Mother Peter did not lie down again, but commenced
dressing herself, muttering and grumbling as she did so.
"Keep where you are till I come back," she said to Andy, with the
same cruel threat in her voice. Going out, she bolted the door on
the other side. It was nearly half an hour before the woman
returned, bringing a plate containing two or three slices of bread
and butter and a cup of milk.
"Now get up and dress yourself," was her sharply-spoken salutation
to Andy as she came into the room. "And you're to be just as still
as a mouse, mind. There's your breakfast." She set the plate on a
table and went out, bolting, as before, the door on the other side.
Andy did not see her again for over an hour. Left entirely alone in
his prison, his restless spirit chafed for freedom. He moved about
the apartment, examining everything it contained with the closest
scrutiny, yet without making any noise, for the woman's threat,
accompanied as it had been with such a wicked look, was not
forgotten. He had seen in that look a cruel spirit of which he was
afraid. Two or three times he thought he heard a step and a movement
in the adjoining chamber, and waited, almost holding his breath,
with his eyes upon the door, expecting every moment to see the
scowling face of his jailer. But no hand touched the door.
Tired at last with everything in the room, he went to the window and
sought to look out, as he had already done many times. He could not
understand why this window, was so different from any he had ever
seen, and puzzled over it in his weak, childish way. As he moved
from pane to pane, trying to see through, he caught a glimpse of
something outside, but it was gone in a moment. He stepped back,
then came up quickly to the glass, all the dull quietude of manner
leaving him. As he did so a glimpse of the outside world came again,
and now he saw a little hole in the paper not larger than a pin's
head. To scrape at this was a simple instinct. In a moment he saw it
enlarging, as the paper peeled off from the glass. Scraping away
with his finger-nail, the glass was soon cleared of paper for the
space of an inch in diameter, and through this opening he stood
gazing out upon the yards, below, and the houses that came up to
them from a neighboring street. There was a woman in one of these
yards, and she looked up toward the window where Andy stood,
"You imp of Satan!" were the terrible words that fell upon his ears
at this juncture, and he felt himself caught up as by a vulture. He
knew the cruel voice and the grip of the cruel hands that had
already left their marks in his tender flesh. Mother Peter, her face
red with passion and her eyes slowing like coals of fire, held him
high in the air, and shook him with savage violence. She did not
strike, but continued shaking him until the sudden heat of her
passion had a little cooled.
"Didn't I tell you not to meddle with anything in this room?" and
with another bruising grip of Andy's arms, she threw him roughly
upon the floor.
The little hole in the paper was then repaired by pasting another
piece of paper over it, after which Andy was left alone, but with a
threat from Mother Peter that if he touched the window again she
would beat the life out of him. She had no more trouble with him
that day. Every half hour or so she would come up stairs
noiselessly, and listen at the door, or break in upon the child
suddenly and without warning. But she did not find him again at the
window. The restlessness at first exhibited had died out, and he sat
or lay upon the floor in a kind of dull, despairing stupor. So that
On the second day of Andy's imprisonment he distinctly heard the old
woman go out at the street door and lock it after her. He listened
for a long time, but could hear no sound in the house. A feeling of
relief and a sense of safety came over him. He had not been so long
in his prison alone without the minutest examination of every part,
and it had not escaped his notice that the panes of glass in the
upper sash of the window were not covered with paper, as were those
below. But for the fear of one of Mother Peter's noiseless pouncings
in upon him, he would long since have climbed upon the sill and
taken a look through the upper sash. He waited now for full half an
hour to be sure that his jailer had left the house, and then,
climbing to the window-sill with the agility of a squirrel, held on
to the edge of the lower sash and looked out through the clear glass
above. Dreary and unsightly as was all that lay under his gaze, it
was beautiful in the eyes of the child. His little heart swelled and
glowed; he longed, as a prisoner, for freedom. As he stood there he
saw that a nail held down the lower sash, which he had so often
tried, but in vain, to lift. Putting his finger on this nail, he
felt it move. It had been placed loosely in a gimlet-hole, and could
be drawn out easily. For a little while he stood there, taking out
and putting in the nail. While doing this he thought he heard a
sound below, and instantly dropped noiselessly from the window. He
had scarcely done so when the door of his room opened and Mother
Peter came in. She looked at him sharply, and then retired without
All the next day Andy listened after Mother Peter, waiting to hear
her go out. But she did not leave the house until after he was
asleep in the evening.
On the next day, after waiting until almost noon, the child's
impatience of confinement grew so strong that he could no longer
defer his meditated escape from the window, for ever since he had
looked over the sash and discovered how it was fastened down, his
mind had been running on this thing. He had noticed that Mother
Peter's visits to his room were made after about equal intervals of
time, and that after she gave him his dinner she did not come up
stairs again for at least an hour. This had been brought, and he was
For nearly five minutes after the woman went out, he sat by the
untasted food, his head bent toward the door, listening. Then he got
up quietly, climbed upon the window-sill and pulled the nail out.
Dropping back upon the floor noiselessly, he pushed his hands upward
against the sash, and it rose easily. Like an animal held in
unwilling confinement, he did not stop to think of any danger that
might lie in the way of escape when opportunity for escape offered.
The fear behind was worse than any imagined fear that could lie
beyond. Pushing up the sash, Andy, without looking down from the
window, threw himself across the sill and dropped his body over,
supporting himself with his hands on the snow-encrusted ledge for a
moment, and then letting himself fall to the ground, a distance of
nearly ten feet. He felt his breath go as he swept through the air,
and lost his senses for an instant or two.
Stunned by the fall, he did not rise for several minutes. Then he
got up with a slow, heavy motion and looked about him anxiously. He
was in a yard from which there was no egress except by way of the
house. It was bitter cold, and he had on nothing but the clothing
worn in the room from which he had just escaped. His head was bare.
The dread of being found here by Mother Peter soon lifted him above
physical impediment or suffering. Through a hole in the fence he saw
an alley-way; and by the aid of an old barrel that stood in the
yard, he climbed to the top of the fence and let himself down on the
other side, falling a few feet. A sharp pain was felt in one of his
ankles as his feet touched the ground. He had sprained it in his
leap from the window, and now felt the first pangs attendant on the
Limping along, he followed the narrow alley-way, and in a little
while came out upon a street some distance from the one in which
Mother Peter lived. There were very few people abroad, and no one
noticed or spoke to him as he went creeping along, every step
sending a pain from the hurt ankle to his heart. Faint with
suffering and chilled to numbness, Andy stumbled and fell as he
tried, in crossing a street, to escape from a sleigh that turned a
corner suddenly. It was too late for the driver to rein up his
horse. One foot struck the child, throwing him out of the track of
the sleigh. He was insensible when taken up, bleeding and apparently
dead. A few people came out of the small houses in the neighborhood,
attracted by the accident, but no one knew the child or offered to
take him in.
There were two ladies in the sleigh, and both were greatly pained
and troubled. After a hurried consultation, one of them reached out
her hands for the child, and as she received and covered him with
the buffalo-robe said something to the driver, who turned his
horse's head and drove off at a rapid speed.
_EVERY_ home for friendless children, every sin or poverty-blighted
ward and almost every hovel, garret and cellar where evil and
squalor shrunk from observation were searched for the missing child,
but in vain. No trace of him could be found. The agony of suspense
into which Edith's mind was brought was beginning to threaten her
reason. It was only by the strongest effort at self-compulsion that
she could keep herself to duty among the poor and suffering, and
well for her it was that she did not fail here; it was all that held
her to safe mooring.
One day, as she was on her way home from some visit of mercy, a lady
who was passing in a carriage called to her from the window, at the
same time ordering her driver to stop. The carriage drew up to the
"Come, get in," said the lady as she pushed open the carriage door.
"I was thinking of you this very moment, and want to have some talk
about our children's hospital. We must have you on our ladies'
Edith shook her head, saying, "It won't be possible, Mrs. Morton. I
am overtaxed now, and must lessen, instead of increasing, my work."
"Never mind, about that now. Get in. I want to have some talk with
Edith, who knew the lady intimately, stepped into the carriage and
took a seat by her side.
"I don't believe you have ever been to our hospital," said the lady
as the carriage rolled on. "I'm going there now, and want to show
you how admirably everything is conducted, and what a blessing it is
to poor suffering children."
"It hurts me so to witness suffering in little children," returned
Edith, "that it seems as if I couldn't bear it much longer. I see so
much of it."
"The pain is not felt as deeply when we are trying to relieve that
suffering," answered her friend. "I have come away from the hospital
many times after spending an hour or two among the beds, reading and
talking to the children, with an inward peace in my soul too deep
for expression. I think that Christ draws very near to us while we
are trying to do the work that he did when he took upon himself our
nature in, the world and stood face to face visibly with men--nearer
to us, it may be, than at any other time; and in his presence there
is peace--peace that passeth understanding."
They were silent for a little while, Edith not replying. "We have
now," resumed the lady, "nearly forty children under treatment--poor
little things who, but for this charity, would have no tender care
or intelligent ministration. Most of them would be lying in garrets
or miserable little rooms, dirty and neglected, disease eating out
their lives, and pain that medical skill now relieves, racking their
poor worn bodies. I sat by the bed of a little girl yesterday who
has been in the hospital over six months. She has hip disease. When
she was brought here from one of the vilest places in the city,
taken away from a drunken mother, she was the saddest-looking child
I ever saw. Dirty, emaciated, covered with vermin and pitiable to
behold, I could hardly help crying when I saw her brought in. Now,
though still unable to leave her bed, she has as bright and happy a
face as you ever saw. The care and tenderness received since she
came to us have awakened a new life in her soul, and she exhibits a
sweetness of temper beautiful to see. After I had read a little
story for her yesterday, she put her arms about my neck and kissed
me, saying, in her frank, impulsive way, 'Oh, Mrs. Morton, I do love
you so!' I had a great reward. Never do I spend an hour among these
children without thanking God that he put it into the hearts of a
few men and women who could be touched with the sufferings of
children to establish and sustain so good an institution."
The carriage stopped, and the driver swung open the door. They were
at the children's hospital. Entering a spacious hall, the two ladies
ascended to the second story, where the wards were located. There
were two of these on opposite sides of the hall, one for boys and
one for girls. Edith felt a heavy pressure on her bosom as they
passed into the girls' ward. She was coming into the presence of
disease and pain, of suffering and weariness, in the persons of
There were twenty beds in the room. Everything was faultlessly
clean, and the air fresh and pure. On most of these beds lay, or sat
up, supported by pillows, sick or crippled children from two years
of age up to fifteen or sixteen, while a few were playing about the
room. Edith caught her breath and choked back a sob that came
swiftly to her throat as she stood a few steps within the door and
read in a few quick glances that passed from face to face the
sorrowful records that pain had written upon them.
"Oh, there's Mrs. Morton!" cried a glad voice, and Edith saw a girl
who was sitting up in one of the beds clap her hands joyfully.
"That's the little one I was telling you about," said the lady, and
she crossed to the bed, Edith following. The child reached up her
arms and put them about Mrs. Morton's neck, kissing her as she did
It took Edith some time to adjust herself to the scene before her.
Mrs. Morton knew all the children, and had a word of cheer or
sympathy for most of them as she passed from bed to bed through the
ward. Gradually the first painful impressions wore off, and Edith
felt herself drawn to the little patients, and before five minutes
had passed her heart was full of a strong desire to do whatever lay
in her power to help and comfort them. After spending half an hour
with the girls, during which time Edith talked and read to a number
of them, Mrs. Morton said,
"Now let us go into the boys' ward."
They crossed the hall together, and entered the room on the other
side. Here, as in the opposite ward, Mrs. Morton was recognized as
welcome visitor. Every face that happened to be turned to the door
brightened at her entrance.
"There's a dear child in this ward," said Mrs. Morton as they stood
for a moment in the door looking about the room. "He was picked up
in the street about a week ago, hurt by a passing vehicle, and
brought here. We have not been able to learn anything about him."
Edith's heart gave a sudden leap, but she held it down with all the
self-control she could assume, trying to be calm.
"Where is he?" she asked, in a voice so altered from its natural
tone that Mrs. Morton turned and looked at her in surprise.
"Over in that corner," she answered, pointing down the room.
Edith started forward, Mrs. Morton at her side.
"Here he is," said the latter, pausing at a bed on which child with
fair face, blue eyes and golden hair was lying. A single glance sent
the blood back to Edith's heart. A faintness came over her;
everything grew dark. She sat down to keep from falling.
As quickly as possible and by another strong effort of will she
"Yes," she said, in a faint undertone in which was no apparent
interest, "he is a dear little fellow."
As she spoke she laid her hand softly on the child's head, but not
in a way to bring any response. He looked at her curiously, and
seemed half afraid.
Meanwhile, a child occupying a bed only a few feet off had started
up quickly on seeing Edith, and now sat with his large brown eyes
fixed eagerly upon her, his lips apart and his hands extended. But
Edith did not notice him. Presently she got up from beside the bed
and was turning away when the other child, with a kind of despairing
look in his face, cried out,
"Lady, lady! oh, lady!"
The voice reached Edith's ears. She turned, and saw the face of
Andy. Swift as a flash she was upon him, gathering him in her arms
and crying out, in a wild passion of joy that could not be
"Oh, my baby! my baby! my boy! my boy! Bless God! thank God! oh, my
Startled by this sudden outcry, the resident physician and two
nurses who were in the ward hurried down the room to see what it
meant. Edith had the child hugged tightly to her bosom, and resisted
all their efforts to remove him.
"My dear madam," said the doctor, "you will do him some harm if you
don't take care."
"Hurt my baby? Oh no, no!" she answered, relaxing her hold and
gazing down upon Andy as she let him fall away from her bosom. Then
lifting her eyes to the physician, her face so flooded with love and
inexpressible joy that it seemed like some heavenly transfiguration,
she murmured, in a low voice full of the deepest tenderness,
"Oh no. I will not do my baby any harm."
"My dear, dear friend," said Mrs. Morton, recovering from the shock
of her first surprise and fearing that Edith had suddenly lost her
mind, "you cannot mean what you say;" and she reached down for the
child and made a movement as if she were going to lift him away from
A look of angry resistance swept across Edith's pale face. There was
a flash of defiance in her eyes.
"No, no! You must not touch him," she exclaimed; "I will die before
giving him up. My baby!"
And now, breaking down from her intense excitement, she bent over
the child again, weeping and sobbing. Waiting until this paroxysm
had expended itself, Mrs. Morton, who had not failed to notice that
Andy never turned his eyes for an instant away from Edith, nor
resisted her strained clasp or wild caresses, but lay passive
against her with a look of rest and peace in his face, said,
"How shall we know that he is your baby?"
At this Edith drew herself up, the light on her countenance fading
out. Then catching at the child's arm, she pulled the loose sleeve
that covered it above the elbow with hands that shook like aspens.
Another cry of joy broke from her as she saw a small red mark
standing out clear from the snowy skin. She kissed it over and over
"My baby! Yes, thank God! my own long-lost baby!"
And still the child showed no excitement, but lay very quiet,
looking at Edith whenever he could see her countenance, the peace
and rest on his face as unchanging as if it were not really a living
and mobile face, but one cut into this expression by the hands of an
"How shall you know?" asked Edith, now remembering the question of
Mrs. Morton. And she drew up her own sleeve and showed on one of her
arms a mark as clearly defined and bright as that on the child's
No one sought to hinder Edith as she rose to her feet holding Andy,
after she had wrapped the bed-clothes about him.
"Come!" she spoke to her friend, and moved away with her precious
"You must go with us," said Mrs. Morton to the physician.
They followed as Edith hurried down stairs, and entering the
carriage after her, were driven away from the hospital.
_ABOUT_ the same hour that Edith entered the boys' ward of the
children's hospital, Mr. Dinneford met Granger face to face in the
street. The latter tried to pass him, but Mr. Dinneford stopped, and
taking his almost reluctant hand, said, as he grasped it tightly,
"George Granger!" in a voice that had in it a kind of helpless cry.
The young man did not answer, but stood looking at him in a
surprised, uncertain way.
"George," said Mr. Dinneford, his utterance broken, "we want you!"
"For what?" asked Granger, whose hand still lay in that of Mr.
Dinneford. He had tried to withdraw it at first, but now let it
"To help us find your child."
"My child! What of my child?"
"Your child and Edith's," said Mr. Dinneford. "Come!" and he drew
his arm within that of Granger, the two men moving away together.
"It has been lost since the day of its birth--cast adrift through
the same malign influence that cursed your life and Edith's. We are
on its track, but baffled day by day. Oh, George, we want you,
frightfully wronged as you have been at our hands--not Edith's. Oh
no, George! Edith's heart has never turned from you for an instant,
never doubted you, though in her weakness and despair she was driven
to sign that fatal application for a divorce. If it were not for the
fear of a scornful rejection, she would be reaching out her hands to
you now and begging for the old sweet love, but such a rejection
would kill her, and she dare not brave the risk."
Mr. Dinneford felt the young man's arm begin to tremble violently.
"We want you, George," he pursued. "Edith's heart is calling out for
you, that she may lean it upon your heart, so that it break not in
this great trial and suspense. Your lost baby is calling for you out
of some garret or cellar or hovel where it lies concealed. Come, my
son. The gulf that lies between the dreadful past and the blessed
future can be leaped at a single bound if you choose to make it. We
want you--Edith and I and your baby want you."
Mr. Dinneford, in his great excitement, was hurrying the young man
along at a rapid speed, holding on to his arm at the same time, as
if afraid he would pull it away and escape.
Granger made no response, but moved along passively, taking in every
word that was said. A great light seemed to break upon his soul, a
great mountain to be lifted off. He did not pause at the door from
which, when he last stood there, he had been so cruelly rejected,
but went in, almost holding his breath, bewildered, uncertain, but
half realizing the truth of what was transpiring, like one in a
"Wait here," said Mr. Dinneford, and he left him in the parlor and
ran up stairs to find Edith.
George Granger had scarcely time to recognize the objects around
him, when a carriage stopped at the door, and in a moment afterward
the bell rang violently.
The image that next met his eyes was that of Edith standing in the
parlor door with a child all bundled up in bed-clothing held closely
in her arms. Her face was trembling with excitement. He started
forward on seeing her with an impulse of love and joy that he could
not restrain. She saw him, and reading his soul in his eyes, moved
to meet him.
"Oh, George, and you too!" she exclaimed. "My baby and my husband,
all at once! It is too much. I cannot bear if all!"
Granger caught her in his arms as she threw herself upon him and
laid the child against his breast.
"Yours and mine," she sobbed. "Yours and mine, George!" and she put
up her face to his. Could he do less than cover it with kisses?
A few hours later, and a small group of very near friends witnessed
a different scene from this. Not another tragedy as might well be
feared, under the swift reactions that came upon Edith. No, no! She
did not die from a excess of joy, but was filled with new life and
strength. Two hands broken asunder so violently a few years ago were
now clasped again, and the minister of God as he laid them together
pronounced in trembling tones the marriage benediction.
This was the scene, and here we drop the curtain.