Part 5 out of 5
alone in the future. She would have as little to do with her as
it was possible, considering that she had to go to school with
her. That was at first. Then her anger had cooled. Now it was
But if Stella knew positively that the Swedish girl who had
visited Mrs. Johnson had been married, and therefore her name was
no longer Cedarstrom, Janice was determined to find it out.
Unpleasant as might be to ask Stella, Janice would do just this.
She knew Stella had returned from her visit to the lake shore
resort. Janice had seen her flying past in the Latham car more
than once within the week. Janice could not stop her at such
times; she could not expect Stella to put herself out at all to
give her any information. So she set forth one August morning to
trudge through the heat and dust out to the Latham farm. There
was no interurban car that would take her near there; and how she
did wish daddy could afford an automobile!
Indeed, just as she turned up the road leading to the door of the
Latham house a motor-car turned, too, into the road, powdering
Janice with dust. The latter saw the malicious smile of Stella
Latham, driving the car herself, as the farmer's daughter looked
back over her shoulder at the pedestrian.
Janice kept grimly on; nor would she show Stella that she was
hurt or ruffled in temper. Stella waited on the porch for her
schoolmate to approach. A man came to take the car around to the
"Well, what do you want?" asked Stella, when Janice came within
hearing. "Are you begging more old clothes for that protegee of
yours, Amy Carringford?"
"I have come on my own business, Stella," said Janice gently.
"It is something that I want to know, and you can tell me."
Stella was smiling broadly; but it was by no means a pleasant
smile. She was spiteful. She had found since coming back from
her summer vacation that the girls had not forgotten her behavior
toward Amy Carringford and some of them still resented it. She
was nowhere near as popular as she had been; and even her
father's motorcar could not regain the friendship of many of her
schoolmates whom she wished to be chums with.
Stella laid all this to "that sly Janice Day." She dared not so
speak of Janice before her mother; for Mrs. Latham liked Janice.
Just now, however, Stella's mother was not at home, and she felt
free treat Janice in any way she chose.
"Of course, you expect me to tell you everything you want to
know, Janice Day," said Stella. "But I don't know why I should."
"You will tell me, won't you, Stella, if you really know that the
Swedish girl who broke your mother's dish is the same girl who
used to work for daddy and me?"
"Why should I?"
"Because it is the right thing to do, isn't it? You do not know
what it means to us if we can find that
"And why should I care?" snapped Stella "You never did anything
for me, Janice Day."
"I think I tried to--at least once," her schoolmate said mildly.
"Nothing of the kind! You did something for Amy Carringford--the
pauper! You were spoons with her then, and you wanted to get her
to my party. You begged an invitation for her and then dressed
her up. like a freak so she could come, and--"
"That is not so, Stella," Janice interrupted with some spirit.
"But I want to talk about Olga, not about Amy."
"Go along with your old Olga!" cried the other angrily. "I
wouldn't tell you anything about her if I knew."
"I shall go to Mrs. Johnson again then. And if Mrs. Johnson is
not willing to tell me, I shall come back and see your mother."
"Oh! you will?" sneered Stella. "So you think the Johnsons will
tell you about Olga's last name do you?"
"I will ask them."
"Good luck to you!" jeered Stella, as Janice went on through the
Latham's yard. "You can ask anybody you like, but you'll get
nothing out of me I assure you!"
Janice made no further reply. She was hurt to the quick, for she
did not believe she deserved any such treatment from her
schoolmate. And it did, too, worry Janice Day when she knew she
had an enemy.
"Friends are so much nicer to make than enemies," was one of
daddy's sayings; and his little daughter always bore that fact in
mind when in contact with her schoolmates.
But really, one could do nothing with Stella Latham, once that
subborn person had made up her mind to be "mad." Stella gloried
in showing all the perversity with which she was cursed; so
Janice sighed and gave it up.
"No use. I hope I won't have to ask Mrs. Latham. Then there will
be trouble, I fear."
The walk over the hill and down the lane, crossing the brook
Gummy Carringford had once spoken of, was a pleasant walk, after
all. It was not dusty, and there were shade trees part of the
way. By the time Janice came to the little house which her
father and she had once visited to look for Olga, she was quite
cool and collected again.
But as soon as she drew near to the tenant house the girl was
startled. There was not a sign of life about it. There were no
wagons or farm tools about the sheds or barnyard. There were no
cattle in the stable, nor pigs in the pen, nor poultry in the
"Goodness me! have the Johnsons gone, too?" cried Janice.
She hurried to the little house. There were no curtains at the
windows, and she could see right through the empty house.
"That's what Stella meant!" exclaimed Janice. "Oh, the mean,
mean thing! To let me walk away over here without telling me
that they had gone! And now she is waiting back there to laugh
at me when I return!" Janice Day did not like to be laughed at
any more than other people. And she particularly shrank from
facing the sarcastic Stella on this occasion.
"At least, I will make some inquiries elsewhere, first," she
thought, and set forth along the public highway, on which the
little house fronted, toward another dwelling that was in sight.
There were people in this house, that was sure. There were
children playing in the yard and a pleasant-faced woman on the
front porch, sewing and keeping an eye on the children.
She did put out a somewhat forbidding air when Janice turned in
at the gate; but then she saw the girl had no bag or sample case,
so she brightened up again.
"You haven't anything to sell, I guess?" the woman began, even
before Janice uttered a word.
"Oh, no," answered the girl.
"Come up and sit down," said the woman. Then she added: "Dear
me, you are only a little girl. It's hot walking. Will you have
a drink of water?"
"No, thank you. I got a drink at the well back there," and
Janice pointed at the tenant house on Mr. Latham's place.
"Oh, yes; Latham's cottage."
"The Johnsons used to live there, did they not? asked the caller.
"Swedes--yes," said the woman.
"I was looking for them."
"But goodness, you're not a Swede!" exclaimed the woman.
"Oh, no," laughed Janice. "But I wanted to see them about a
friend of theirs--a girl who used to work for us."
"Oh! I thought you couldn't be a foreigner," said the woman.
"Well," she added, "I'm afraid you'll have to go a long way to
find out anything from the Johnsons."
"You don't mean--"
"I mean they've left the country," said the woman.
"Left this part of the country?"
"They have gone back to Sweden," said Janice's informant, nodding
over her sewing. "Yes. They had a stroke of luck. Mrs. Johnson
told me herself in her broken talk. Near's I could find out her
grandfather had died and left her a bit of property, and she and
her family were going back to the place they came from ten years
ago, to attend to it. Lucky folks, some of them foreigners. I
don't see for the life of me why they ever leave their homes and
come over here, when they've got money and land comin' to them at
The woman talked on, even faster than Miss Peckham was wont to
talk. But her volubility gave Janice a chance to recover her
self-possession. She saw quite clearly that her errand had come
to naught. Even if the Lathams positively knew the missing Olga
had been named Cedarstrom before her marriage they probably did
not know where Olga now was.
The people who were the more likely to know, these Johnsons, had
gone back to their native land. Janice wondered, despairingly,
if Olga had gone back to Sweden too.
But the girl was able to hide her trouble from this new
acquaintance. The woman was glad to have her stay-- and talk.
Rather, the hostess did the talking. It was evident that she got
little chance for conversation, living as she did on this rather
Janice planned what she would do, however, while she listened.
Rather than go back and perhaps have another quarrel with Stella,
she decided she would go home and tell her father what she had
found out. He might write to Mrs. Latham for information--if the
farmer's wife had any--regarding Olga.
At least, it was one sure thing, that such information as Janice
had obtained was much too late. An ocean separated her now from
the Johnsons, Olga's friends.
CHAPTER XXVIII. GUMMY COMES INTO HIS OWN
Janice bade her new acquaintance good-bye with some difficulty.
The woman by the roadside did love to talk. But when the girl
was well rested she went on.
She remembered very clearly the way she and daddy had come to the
little Johnson cottage in the automobile. So she knew she could
find her way back. One thing she did not take into
consideration, however; that was, that an automobile gets over
the ground a great deal faster than one can walk.
An hour later, past mid-afternoon, dusty and footsore, she was
still marching towards Greensboro along a very pleasant, but a
very wearisome, road. She heard the rumble of wheels behind her,
but she was too tired to turn to look.
Motor car after motor car had passed her while she was trudging
along in the dust, and not one driver stopped to offer her a
But a friendly voice now hailed her as a horse was drawn down to
a walk. It reached Janice Day's ear like an angelic whisper:
"Don't you want to ride, Miss?"
She wheeled about with almost a scream of joy. "Gummy
"Jicksy! Is that you, Janice?" gasped the boy. "I'd never know
it, you're so smothered in dust. What are you doing away out
here? Get in--do!"
He offered her a hand and pulled her up to the high step into the
front of the covered wagon. She almost fell to the seat.
"You are the best boy!" she gasped.
"Ain't I? They can't get along without me at my house. What
under the sun are you wandering around for away out here?"
She told him in broken sentences, and he sympathized with her
because of her disappointment.
"I could have told you the Johnsons had gone, if you'd asked me.
But I did not suppose you were interested in them any more," he
"And daddy, being out of the bank, did not know that Mr. Johnson
had withdrawn his account and sailed for Europe. Oh, dear me, it
is so exasperating! Everything about that Olga, and connected
with her, is so mysterious."
"I wonder if I couldn't find out something about her in
Pickletown?" suggested Gummy.
"Daddy has been there often, I believe," she said doubtfully.
"But not of late."
"Why, no, I suppose not. He's been tied to the house with a
'glass leg,'" cried Janice laughing a little.
"You know I deliver orders over there twice a week for Mr.
Harriman. A lot of those people can't even talk English. We've
a Swede for a clerk in the store. They write down what they want
for me, and he puts up the orders.
"But I know a lot of them to talk to--especially the boys that
work in the pickle factories I'll begin by asking them," said
Gummy, with eagerness, for he wanted to help.
"That will be nice of you, Gummy," Janice said. "You never do
know when we might come across some news of her."
"And you say you think she's married?"
"It may be so. To Willie Sangreen. At least, she was going with
a man by that name when she worked for us."
"Don't know any Sangreens over at Pickletown," said Gummy,
shaking his head. "And of course I haven't seen your Olga."
"That is so, Gummy. But if the girl at Johnson's that night was
really Olga Cedarstrom, you'd know her again, wouldn't you?"
"Guess I would if I saw her," declared the boy. "No fear about
that. I'll keep my eyes open, Janice."
With this promise he chirruped to the horse, that jogged along
without paying very much attention to Gummy. He knew the road
better than the boy did, for he had been over it many more times.
"Do you suppose that lawyer that came to see my mother will cheat
us out of our home, Janice?" asked the boy suddenly, showing
where his thoughts were anchored.
"Not if it can be helped, Gummy," returned the girl
sympathetically. "I know daddy's friend, Mr. Payne, will do all
he can for her."
"He hasn't sent any word to her, or anything," sighed Gummy. "We
just don't know what to do."
"All you can do is to sit tight and hold on, I guess," Janice
said. "That is what daddy says he does when things look stormy
"But, you see, it means so much to us," said the boy, shaking his
head. "Jicksy! And me with such a miserable old name!"
"How'd you like to be called Zerubbabelbubble, or something like
that?" he demanded. "Nice enough for you. 'Janice'! That's a
fancy name. But 'Gumswith'! Jicksy!"
"Why, Gummy!" exclaimed the girl again, didn't know you hated it
"I do. I don't talk about it. I know Pa gave it to me because
he thought a heap of his half brother. And Uncle John Gumswith
was a nice man, I guess. He set my father up in business in the
first place, when he was married."
"Oh, is that so, Gummy?'
"Yes! Don't kick about the old name before Momsy. You see, I
guess Uncle John wanted them to name a boy after him; and maybe
they thought if they did so it might do me some good sometime."
"Oh, Gummy! That your uncle would give you money because you
were named after him?"
"Yes," said Gummy, nodding. "I don't know. But--"
"And your uncle's never been heard from? You never saw him,
"Nor he me," grinned Gummy. "He went off to Australia and never
wrote. He was always traveling around the world, Pa said; and he
never did write. Just walked in on his folks without announcing
he was coming." "A regular wanderer," said Janice.
"And now, jicksy!" exclaimed Gummy, vigorously, "how I'd like to
have him walk in on us now."
"Oh, Gummy" she said eagerly, catching the drift of his desire.
"With his pockets full of money!"
The boy nodded vigorously. "You see, Janice, it would be worth
while being called 'Gumswith' then, sure enough."
Janice could not blame Gummy Carringford feeling as he did. He
really should have something to pay him for being called by such
an atrocious name! And Janice herself would be glad to have rich
relative walk into the Day house and present daddy--with an
automobile, for instance.
They came in sight of the house at Eight Hundred and Forty-five
Knight Street just as the very kind of automobile Janice would
have loved to own was drawing up before the front door--a
handsome, great, big touring car, big enough for her to have
taken most of her friends out riding in at once.
"Oh, who is that?" she cried.
"Man. Don't know him," said Gummy, cheerfully, as the single
occupant of the tonneau stepped out of the car and entered the
He was a well-dressed man, of more than middle age, and Janice's
heart began to beat faster. It did seem as though something must
be about to happen.
Daddy was on the porch and she could see him greet the gentleman
without rising. The stranger took a seat at Mr. Day's request.
And if Janice had been near enough to have heard the first words
that passed between them, she would have suffered a great drop in
the temperature of her excitement.
"How's the leg, Broxton?" asked the visitor.
"Coming on, Randolph. What's the news?"
"Well, yes, I have news," said the lawyer, nodding.
"I know it. Or you would not have found time to get up into this
part of the town. Well, what can you tell Mrs. Carringford?"
"Nothing much about that Mullen Lane property, I fear, that she
will want to hear."
"Too bad, too bad," said Broxton Day. "I am sorry for her. She
is a hard working woman--and proud. No chance of helping her?"
"I can settle the case for five hundred dollars. I cannot
connect Abel Strout with this shake-down--for that is what it is.
The woman up in Michigan never heard of her great-uncle's
property down here till this little Schrimpe told her. But we
can't connect him with Strout. Strout's skirts are clear. And
this Schrimpe had a perfect legal right to drum up trade. He's
that kind of lawyer," said Mr. Payne, with disgust.
"Five hundred dollars--and she will still owe Abel Strout a
thousand on the mortgage," sighed Mr. Day.
"Yes. But I suppose, in time, the property will be worth it."
"It's worth it now," said Mr. Day. "That is what is the matter
with Strout. But Mrs. Carringford hasn't the money to spare.
And at the present time nobody would put a second mortgage on the
"I suppose the woman up in Michigan gets about twenty-five--maybe
fifty--dollars out of it. That would settle any quitclaim of
this character. Half a dozen other heirs were bought off at the
time; but she was overlooked. The rest of the five hundred Mrs.
Carringford can raise it--will be split between Schrimpe and his
"There are some mighty mean people in this world," said Broxton
"You've said it," agreed the lawyer. "Now, maybe I'd better see
Mrs. Carringford. I understand she is here?"
"Do you know much about her?"
"I know she is a fine woman. They came here from Napsburg after
the husband died--"
"Alexander Carringford, wasn't he?" asked Mr. Payne, taking some
papers from his pocket.
"I believe so."
"They came originally from Cleveland?"
"A correspondent of mine in Cleveland has written me about a
family of Carringfords, and I shouldn't be surprised if these
were the same people. If they are--"
"What's all the mystery, Payne?" asked Broxton Day, with sudden
interest, for he saw that the lawyer meant more than he had said.
"If this is Alexander Carringford's widow, I don't know but my
news is in two pieces."
"Bad news, and good news. Let's call the woman."
At that moment Janice, who had gone into the house through the
back way, appeared at the open door.
"This is my little housekeeper, Randolph," said Broxton Day,
smiling proudly upon his daughter. "Janice, this is Mr. Payne."
The girl came forward without timidity, but without boldness, and
accepted the visitor's hand.
"Is Mrs. Carringford out there?" asked Janice's father.
"Yes, Daddy. And Gummy."
"'Gummy'!" ejaculated the lawyer. "What's that? A game, or
something to eat?"
Janice's dear laughter rang out with daddy's bass tones. "Oh,
no, sir," she said. "Gummy is 'Gumswith Carringford.'"
"My soul!" ejaculated the lawyer, getting up quickly from his
chair, "it is the right family. Come inside. Let's see Mrs.
Carringford somewhere where we can talk without the neighbors
seeing and hearing everything."
For he had noticed the bowed blinds of Miss Peckham's cottage
only a few yards from the end of the porch.
"Tell her to come into the living room, Janice," said Mr. Day,
rising slowly and reaching for his crutches. But it was evident
that he understood the lawyer's excitement no more than Janice
The girl ran back to the kitchen and urged Mrs. Carringford to
come in. "And Gummy, too," she said. "Maybe he wants you. It is
Mr. Payne, and he is daddy's lawyer."
"It's about the home, Gummy!" ejaculated Mrs. Carringford.
"Oh, I hope he'll tell us how to beat out that Abel Strout!"
"Maybe it's to say that Mr. Strout can take our home," faltered
"Come on, Momsy!" said her big boy. "I'm not afraid. If worse
comes to worst, it won't be so long before I can support you and
the kids, anyway."
Now Janice thought that was a very nice speech and she remembered
to tell daddy about it afterward.
They went into the living room and Mr. Day introduced Mrs.
Carringford to his companion. The latter looked hard at Gummy.
"What is your name, boy?" he asked rather sternly.
"Carringford, too, sir," said Gummy, politely.
"The whole of it!" commanded the lawyer.
"Er--Gumswith Carringford," said the boy, with flashing eye but
cheeks that would turn red.
"Indeed?" returned the lawyer, staring oddly at Gummy. "You are
something of a boy, I take it." Then he wheeled to confront Mrs.
"I am told," Mr. Payne said, "that your husband was Alexander
Carringford, of Cleveland?"
The woman was somewhat surprised, but said that that statement
was correct. She could not see, during the next few minutes'
cross-examination, what these questions had to do with that
little cottage in Mullen Lane, and whether her family was to be
turned out of it or not.
After even his legal suspicion was satisfied as to Mrs.
Carringford's identity, Mr. Payne said, again looking at Gummy:
"Did you and your husband name this boy after a certain relative
named John Gumswith. Mrs. Carringford?"
"My husband's elder brother. Yes, sir. Gumswith is named after
his Uncle John."
"Humph! I should consider it something of a punishment if I were
the boy," muttered the lawyer. Then he asked:
"Have you heard from this relative--this John
"No, sir. Not for fifteen years," said Mrs. Carringford, her
face suddenly paling.
"Do you know where he is?"
"I only know that he started for Australia fifteen years ago."
"Sit down, Mrs. Carringford," said Mr. Day softly. "I assure you
this is nothing to worry about."
I--should--say--not," agreed the lawyer. "Quite the opposite.
And the boy need not look so scared, either. If he can stand
that name he carries around with him--"
"Boy!" exclaimed Mr. Payne, "what would you say if somebody gave
you two thousand pounds?"
"Er--what, sir?" gasped Gummy. "Two thousand pounds of what?
Must be an elephant! That's a ton."
How Mr. Payne did laugh at that! But neither Gummy nor Janice
saw anything funny in his speech. Mrs. Carringford was watching
the lawyer's face, and she said nothing.
"I mean two thousand pounds in money. That is something like ten
thousand dollars. How about it?" asked Mr. Payne again.
"Me?" exploded Gummy.
"Yes. Because your name is 'Gumswith Carringford.' Isn't it
worth it?" chuckled the lawyer.
Gummy looked all around, paling and flushing by turn. Then he
grinned widely and looked at Janice.
"Jicksy!" he murmured, "the old name is worth something, after
all, isn't it?"
CHAPTER XXIX. "BUT WE LOSE"
It was such a happy surprise for Mrs. Carringford-- and for Gummy
as well--that they were well prepared for the piece of bad news
which Mr. Payne had first told to Mr. Broxton Day. A five
hundred dollar loss on the Mullen Lane property did not look so
big when it was understood that, through Gummy, the Carringfords
were going to get almost ten thousand dollars.
It seemed that more than a year before, Mr. John Gumswith, of
Melbourne, Australia, had died, leaving a considerable fortune to
friends he had made there and with whom he had lived for more
than a dozen years. But he had left a legacy, too, "to any son
that my brother, Alexander Carringford, of Cleveland, Ohio, U. S.
A., may have had who has been duly christened 'Gumswith' after
me, to perpetuate my family name."
"Of course," said Mr. Payne, dryly, "nobody challenged the will,
and so it was probated. I should, myself, doubt the good sense
of a man who would fasten such an ugly name upon a boy whom he
had never seen, and who never did him any harm--"
"Mr. Payne," breathed Gummy, when he heard this, and earnestly,
"for ten thousand dollars I'll let anybody call me anything he
wants to. Names don't break any bones."
At that Mr. Payne and Mr. Day laughed louder than they had
before. But Janice knew that Gummy was not selfish, nor did he
think so much of money. He was delighted that he could help his
mother in her sore need.
"At any rate," said Mr. Payne, "the administrator of Mr. John
Gumswith's estate had his legal adviser communicate with
Cleveland lawyers; and they traced the Carringford family to
Napsburg. Then I was requested to find them, and--they have
found me!" and he
"I congratulate you, madam. Of course, the courts will allow a
proper amount to be used by you for Gumswith's support."
"I guess not!" said Gummy. "I'm almost supporting myself--am I
not, Mother? The money's for you and the children."
"Oh, no, Gumswith, I--I cannot use your fortune," cried the
"I have not yet finished," resumed the lawyer, with a queer
smile. "The boy has been left two thousand pounds for his name.
The father receives a thousand pounds, payable either to him, or,
if he be dead, to his widow. So you see there will be another
five thousand dollars coming to you, Mrs. Carringford."
At that, Mrs. Carringford for the first time lost control of
herself. She hugged Gummy and sobbed aloud.
"Pretty fine boy. Pretty fine boy," said Mr. Payne.
"He is that," agreed daddy, smiling across at Janice. "He put out
the fire our chimney, didn't he Janice?"
So this made them all laugh and they were all right again. There
was much to talk over before Mr. Payne went, besides the bad
fortune about the Mullen Lane property. And Mrs. Carringford and
the Days talked after Gummy had rushed out to drive back to
Harriman's store. The dinner was late that night in the Day
Indeed, Janice forgot, in all the confusion and excitement, to
tell her father where she had been that afternoon, what she had
gone for, and how sadly she had been disappointed.
All this wonderful fortune for the Carringfords continued to
create so much excitement at the Day house, as well as in the
little cottage in Mullen Lane, that for several days Janice
scarcely thought about Olga Cedarstrom and the lost treasure-box.
For out of the good luck of the Carringfords, bad fortune for the
Days suddenly raised its head. Mrs. Carringford had a good deal
of extra work to do, anyway, for she had to go to the lawyer's
office and to the court, and interest herself in many things she
had known little about before. She was fighting to save her
Indeed, Amy declared the Carringford family did not know "whether
it was on its head or its heels." Only Gummy. Nothing seemed to
disturb Gummy. And he would not give up his place with Mr.
"He keeps saying," Amy told Janice, laughing and sobbing
together, "that the ten thousand dollars is for the family. He
is going to keep on working until school begins, and even then
after school and on Saturdays. Really, Janice, he is darling
"I believe you," said Janice wistfully, for of late she had begun
to realize that a household of just two people was awfully small.
It became quite shocking when she suddenly understood that Mrs.
Carringford must give up looking after the Day household and
attend thereafter strictly to her own family. Of course, Mr. Day
had seen this from the first; but it came as a shock to his
"Oh, but Amy, and Gummy, and the little ones get everything!
They get their money and are going to own their home, and get
their mother all the time, too. It is fine for them, Daddy, but
"I am afraid we do," said her father, nodding soberly. "We shall
have to go back to the mercies of the intelligence office, or go
"No, no!" cried Janice to this last. "Not while vacation lasts,
at any rate. Why! I've learned a lot from Mrs. Carringford, and
we can get along."
"You are a dear little homemaker, Janice," he said. "When you get
a few more years on your shoulders I have no doubt that we shall
have as nice a home as we once had before dear mother went away.
But you cannot do everything. We cannot afford two in service--a
cook and a housemaid. We shall have to struggle along, 'catch as
catch can,' for some time I fear."
"But no boarding-house," declared Janice. "No giving up our own
dear home, Daddy."
"All right. I am going to get down tomorrow, crutches or no
crutches, and I will make the rounds of the agencies."
"Oh, dear!" she sighed. Then suddenly, for she was looking out
of the window: "Who do you suppose that is, Daddy, coming in at
the side gate? Why! It's a black woman--awfully black. And
Janice left off breathlessly and ran to the kitchen door. A
woman of more than middle age but, as said herself, "still mighty
spry," approached the porch.
Hers was not an unintelligent face. Her dark eye beamed upon
Janice most kindly. Her white, sound teeth gleamed behind a
triumphant smile. She carried a shabby bag, but she dropped that
and put out both hands as she came to the door.
"Ma bressed baby!" she cried in a voice that shook with emotion.
"Nobody's got to tell me who you is! You's your darlin' mamma's
livin' image! Ma sweet Miss Laura, back a little chile ag'in!"
The dark eyes were suddenly flooded and the tears ran down the
negro woman's plump cheeks. She was not wrinkled, and if her
tight, kinky hair was a mite gray, she did not have the
appearance of an old person in any way. Her voice was round, and
sweet, and tender.
"You don' know me, honey. You kyan't 'member Mammy Blanche. But
she done hol' you in her arms w'en you was a mite of a baby, jes'
as she held you dear mamma --my Miss Laura. Ah was her mammy,
an' she growed up right under ma eye. Don' you understun',
honey? The Avions was mah white folks.
"When Mistah Day come co'tin' an' merried yo' mamma, and kerrled
her off here to Greensboro, Ah come along, too. An' Ah nebber
would o' lef' you, only ma crippled brudder, Esek, an' his
crippled wife done need me to tak' care ob dem.
"But Esek's daid. An' here Ah is back, chile--Ma soul an' body!
ef dar ain' Mistah Brocky Day on crutches!"
"Blanche! Mammy Blanche!" exclaimed the man with real warmth, as
well as wonder, in his tone. "Is it really you?"
"It's mah own brack se'f!" cried the woman, as daddy came
hobbling forward to meet her just as though she were the finest
company that had ever come to the Day house.
"You couldn't be more welcome if you were a queen, Mammy
Blanche," he cried. "You know--?"
He halted, and his own countenance fell. The old woman clung
tightly to his hand with both of hers.
"Ah, yes; Ah got yo' letter long, long ago, Mistah Brocky. It
nigh broke my heart. Ma lil' Miss Laura! But, glory!" and she
turned suddenly to Janice, "here she is ober again!"
"I know it," said Broxton Day, wiping his eyes. "Come in and sit
down, Mammy. Janice does not remember you, I suppose. But I
remember well enough that we never had any housekeeping troubles
when Mammy Blanche was on hand."
"Sho' not! Sho' not," chuckled the old woman. "And Mammy Blanche
jest as spry now, an' able to do for you, as she used to be."
"What? Have you come to stay with us awhile, Mammy Blanche?"
asked Broxton Day. "Your brother?"
"Esek is daid. His wife's gone back to her own people. Ah ain't
got nobody, nor nohin' of mah own in dis here worl' Mistah
Brocky, onless dey is under dis here roof. I has come to stay,
sah, if you is of a min' to give mah ol' bones house room."
Janice had been breathless. But she had listened, and gradually
she had begun to understand. She could remember a good deal that
her dear mother had told her about Mammy Blanche. And this was
The girl put her hand confidently into that of the black woman's.
She looked up at her father brightly.
"I take it all back, Daddy," she murmured. "I was ungrateful and
suspicious of fate, wasn't I? We don't lose."
CHAPTER XXX. WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXPECTED
It took several days for Janice to understand thoroughly just
what it meant to have Mammy Blanche in the house. Of course,
Mrs. Carringford had been perfectly capable; yet she felt that
she must ask Janice or Mr. Day once in a while about things.
Not Mammy Blanche! She knew what to do, and how to do it, and
just what "the white folks" wanted. She remembered just as
perfectly how Mr. Day liked things on the table, and what he was
fond of, and even how he wanted his bed made, as though she had
only been absent from the house a week instead of ten years.
"Why, bress your heart, honey," she said to Janice, "Ah come into
dis here house when it was fust built. Ah cleaned it wid mah own
han's. Ah put up de fust curtains at de windahs. Ah knowed
where everything was in dem days. "But Ah spec' now you's had so
many no-count folks in de house fixin' fo' you dat Ah can't find
a bressed thing. Dars's dat old walnut wardrobe up in de
sto'room. It come from de Avion place, it did. Ah bet de
cobwebs ain't been swep' off de top o' dat wardrobe since yo'
poor mamma died." "It was too tall for Mrs. Carringford or me to
reach it," admitted Janice.
"Well, Ah's gwine to give dis place one fine over-haulin; come
dis fall," went on Mammy Blanche. "Ah'll fix dem cobwebs."
It proved to be unnecessary for Janice to worry about the
housekeeping in any particular. But she had not lost another
worry, and in spite of all the wonderful things that had
happened, and the interesting matters that were continually
cropping up, the lost treasure-box containing the mementoes of
her mother was continually fretting her mind.
The opening of school was drawing near, and Janice began to take
exciting little "peeps" between the covers of textbooks. She
loved study, and daddy had been insistent this summer that she
should let lessons strictly alone.
She had plenty of time to sit in the kitchen while Mammy Blanche
was at work there, listening to wonderful tales of her mother's
childhood, and of the "doin's" on the Avion plantation on the
other shore of the Ohio River.
"All gone now, chile," sighed Mammy Blanche. "Somebody else
livin' in the Avion home."
But better than all, Janice, the homemaker learned many new and
interesting things about housekeeping. Mammy Blanche had a
"sleight," as she called it, in doing housework, and Janice might
well copy her methods.
Amy came often to see her, of course; and Gummy was at the house
almost every day with orders from the store. One Saturday
morning, while Janice was sweeping the porch, she saw Gummy
driving toward the house almost as madly as he had the day the
chimney caught fire.
"Why, Gummy!" she cried, running out to meet him as he drew up
the horse at the curb, "what is the matter?"
"You'd never guess!" shouted the boy. "What do you suppose? I
just saw that pickle-girl in Olga-town."
"What? gasped Janice.
"I--I mean I've seen that Pickletown in Olga--Oh, jicksy!. Do
you know what I mean, Janice Day?"
"Yes! Yes!" she cried. "You've seen Olga."
"Then jump right in here and I'll drive you to her," said the
boy, without running the risk of another lapsus linguae.
Without waiting even for a hat, and throwing her broom back over
the fence, Janice scrambled in. But when Gummy started the horse
she said to him:
"Don't think you are driving in a chariot race. You'll kill Mr.
Harriman's poor old nag. Drive slower, Gummy. She won't get
away, will she?"
"No. I think she's been living in that house some time. But I
never go there for orders, and I never happened to see her
"Where is it?"
"Away down by the canal," said Gummy.
"Oh! Then it is a long way off."
"What will Mr. Harriman say?"
"There are not many orders this morning. And this is important,
"I guess it is," agreed the girl, her face pale but her eyes
sparkling with excitement.
They did not say much after that until they came in sight of the
house by the canal. Oh, if it should be Olga! Janice began to
tremble. Should she have gone to daddy first about it?
But daddy was still on crutches and was not fit to come out in
this delivery wagon, that was sure.
What should she say to Olga if it were she? Ought she to stop
and ask a policeman to go with them to the house? And yet it was
a fact that she absolutely did not know for sure whether Olga had
taken the treasure-box or not.
Suddenly she uttered a little exclamation. Gummy glanced ahead,
"Yes," he said, "that's the woman. That's the one I saw that
night at Stella Latham's.
"It--it is Olga Cedarstrom," murmured Janice. Gummy drew the old
horse to a stop. Janice leaped down. The Swedish woman turned
and looked into Janice's blazing countenance. Her own dull face
lit up and she actually smiled.
"Vell!" she exclaimed, "iss it Janice Day? I bane glad to see
you. Iss your fader well?"
"Oh, Olga!" gasped Janice.
"Huh? What iss it the matter?"
"We have looked everywhere for you!"
"For me? Why for me? I don't vork no more. I keep house for my
hoosban'," and Olga smiled broadly.
"You--you are married to Mr. Sangreen?" asked Janice doubtfully.
"I bane married right avay when I left you. We go to his
folks--dey leev up in Michigan. He try vork dere and I coom back
on a veesit to Yon Yonson's wife. He vork for Misder Latham."
"Yes, I know!" cried Janice, anxiously.
"Now Willie bane coom back to his old yob at de pickle vorks.
And how is you? You look fine."
"Oh, Olga, we have been dreadfully worried. When-- when you went
away from our house did you see a little box--like a jewel box?
I left it on your trunk in the storeroom."
"On my troonk?" repeated the woman. "Where it stood in de
"Oh, yes!" cried Janice clasping her hands.
It had suddenly impressed her that beyond any doubt, Olga was not
a thief. Whatever had happened to the treasure-box, Olga did not
knowingly have it in her possession.
"I remember de leetle box. Yes! You t'ink I take it?"
"We haven't been able to find it since you left, Olga," cried
"Huh! I saw it. But--Here! This boy will drive us back mit him
to your house?"
"Oh, yes, Olga!" cried Janice, with a glance at Gummy, who
"I'll go mit you," said the woman, and immediately she climbed to
the high seat." Janice followed her. Gummy turned the horse
about and away they went on the return journey.
On the way Janice thought it best to say nothing more about the
lost treasure-box; but she told Olga of how she had tried to
trace her through the Johnsons.
"My bad look!" cried Olga. "I break a dish by that Latham
woman's house and she vant me to pay for it. Huh! People ought
not to use such spensive dishes. Me, I use common chinnyware in
When they arrived at the house on Knight Street, Olga jumped
briskly down and followed Janice inside. Gummy called after them
that he would wait. He was so excited and interested himself
that he could not leave until the mystery was cleared up;
"Ve go oop to dot storeroom," declared Olga and proceeded to do
so, with Janice trembling and hoping beside her.
Once in the room the woman seized a strong chair, climbed upon
it, and, being tall herself, she could reach over the carved
strip of woodwork on the front of the wardrobe to the space that
lay behind. In a moment she brought something forth covered with
dust and cobwebs that caused Janice to utter a shriek of delight.
"That iss it, yes?" said Olga. "I be mad mit you dot morning I
leaf here. The box was on my troonk and when Willie come up the
stairs for it, I grab de box and pitch it up hyar. I don't know
you vant it, Janice-- and your fader."
"Well," sighed Broxton Day, when he heard the good news and had
the treasure-box in his hands, "'All's well that ends well.' But
what a peck of trouble that Swedish girl made us!"
"No, no I" exclaimed Janice warmly. "I did it. It was my fault.
I was the careless one, or the box would not have been where she
could see it. But I am awfully glad, Daddy, that Olga proved not
to be a thief."
Daddy showed her the tiny spring in the bottom of the box which,
when released, enabled him to lift up the thin partition. He
removed the thin packet of letters, and put them in a leather
case, placing the case into the wall safe.
"I know where they are now, my dear. Do what you will with the
other keepsakes and the treasure-box itself. I cannot tell you
how glad I am to get these letters back."
But Janice thought she did know something about that.
"That Mexican mine business is not likely to cause us any more
trouble until spring, anyway," said daddy one night at dinner.
"Oh, Daddy! then won't you have to go down there?" Janice cried.
"Not likely. Fact is, there is a big fight on in the mining
country, and the mines have got to shut down. But the government
promises us that we shall be able to open up again next spring.
We might as well sit tight and hold on, as I tell them. I'm
sorry that so much of our funds are tied up in the business,
however. Politics below the Rio Grande are 'mighty onsartain,' as
Brother Jase would say."
"Now that Mammy Blanche is here with us, I would not have to go
to Poketown, even if you did go to Mexico, Daddy. Would I?"
"M-mm! Well, that's hard telling," he replied, with twinkling
eyes. "Let's not cross that bridge till we come to it."
So Janice saw nothing but a cheerful vista before her --with
school coming soon, pleasure in study, plenty of fun between
times, and such a fortunate state of affairs at Eight Hundred and
Forty-five Knight Street that she did not have to worry about
daddy's comfort or her own at all.
Mrs. Carringford had had no easy time of it with the shyster
lawyer and the others who were making trouble for her over her
property. But in the end her own lawyer triumphed; and then the
mortgage on the place was cleared off, much to the satisfaction
of both the Carringfords and the Days.
"It does seem," said Janice with an ecstatic sigh, to Amy
Carringford one day when both girls had their sewing on the
porch, "that everything always does turn out for the best for us
"Humph!" returned Amy, threading her needle, "I guess they
wouldn't turn out so 'right' if you and your father didn't do
something to turn 'em out."
And, perhaps, that was so, too.