Part 2 out of 6
Mr. Sweeney struck a note.
"What's the title?" asked Maude.
"Widow Mahan's Pig."
"Oh, I know that," said Maude. "It's one of my favourites. I often
sing it to my sister Florence. She just adores it."
"Why, Maude," cried Alice, "how can you tell such stories?" But
Quincy was laughing quietly. But few people understood Maude as he
Mr. Sweeney had a fine baritone voice; he sang with great expression,
and, what is particularly desirable in a comic song, the words could
be heard and understood.
Young Widow Mahan had an iligant pig,
In the garden it loved for to wallow and dig;
On potatoes it lived, and on fresh buttermilk,
And its back was as smooth as fine satin or silk.
Now Peter McCarthy, a graceless young scamp,
Who niver would work, such a lazy young tramp,
He laid eye on the pig, as he passed by one day,
And the thafe of the world, he stole it away!
An iligant pig in every way,
Young Widow Mahan used often to say:
"Faith, when it's full grown, I'll go to the fair,
A mighty foine price I'll get for it there."
As Mr. Sweeney started to repeat the four lines of the chorus, a
soprano voice rose above his own, and, as the last note died away,
Maude came in for her share of the applause. Mrs. Crowley was
delighted, and showed her appreciation by laughing until she cried.
He drove the poor piggy to Ballyporeen,
And the price of it soon he did spend in poteen,
He got into a fight and was cracked on the head,
Then to jail he was carried and taken for dead.
The constable then for the Father did send,
For he thought that McCarthy was quite near his end;
He confessed to the priest, did this penitent youth,
About the pig stealing he told the whole truth.
Maude improvised a short symphony before the third and last stanza.
Then to young McCarthy, the Father did say:
"Now what will you do at the great Judgment Day?
For you will be there, at the bar you will stan'
The pig as a witness, and Widow Mahan."
"Faith, what will I do?" young McCarthy did say.
"An' the pig will be there at the great Judgment Day?
Begorre! I'll say to the Widow, 'Asthore,
Take back your old pig, for I want it no more'
"'An iligant pig in ivery way,
Schwate Widow Mahan, plaze take it away.
Faith, now it's full grown, just go to the fair,
A mighty foine price you'll git for it there.'"
"Yes," said Uncle Ike, "that's what the rich man will say. After
cheating the poor, buncoing the credulous, and 'cornering' his
fellows, he will say he is willing to give it back, for he has no
further use for it. There's a good moral in that song, Mr. Sweeney,
and some of our sordid millionaires ought to hear it."
Quincy looked at his watch. "The hour is late--for the country, but,
fortunately, our hotel keeps open all night."
Quincy carried Uncle Ike up stairs to his room and told him he would
come some day and have a good old-fashioned talk with him.
They walked home slowly, Maude admiring the moonlight night and the
cool, scented air. When they reached their own room, after seeing
Maude to hers, Alice repeated to her husband her conversation with
"You must do something to cheer him up, Quincy. Promise me, won't
"Yes, I promise. I hope I won't forget to perform it as I have in one
"Do you remember that young man at the Town Hall--Arthur Scates? He's
in consumption. I told him to come to the State House and I would see
that he had proper treatment. He hasn't been--or perhaps he has since
I've been away, but I will see him to-morrow."
Alice looked up at him approvingly. "Quincy, I agree with you that
the real value of money is found in the good that can be done with
STROUT AND MAXWELL'S GROCERY
The next morning, after breakfast, Quincy asked his wife and Maude to
accompany him to Mrs. Hawkins' barn.
"I wish I had my saddle horse here," said Alice.
"So do I," added Maude. "I did think of bringing him."
Alice laughed, "Do you know, Maude, sometimes you say the most
ridiculous things? How could you bring a horse with you?"
"Easy enough--on a cattle car. Besides, I could have ridden down here
if Quincy hadn't been in such a hurry."
"No, with Bobby. What better protector can a woman have than a good
horse? I shall never remain in danger long if my heels or my horse's
will get me away from it."
"Maude, you're a strange girl," said Alice. Then she put her arm
about her and added--"but one of the best girls in the world."
By this time they had reached the barn. Two stalls were occupied.
Quincy pointed to two side-saddles hanging on the wall.
"As I knew you were both good horse-women, I had these sent up with
your riding habits from Eastborough Centre yesterday. I am going to
be busy at the store this morning, and I thought you might enjoy a
Maude threw her arms about his neck and kissed him.
"You are the bestest brother in the world."
"And the most thoughtful husband," said Alice as he drew her close to
"Well, I'll saddle them and see you mounted."
A quarter of an hour later Quincy led the horses to the street.
"Don't go down Obed's Hill--it is very steep. Ride along Pettingill
Street to the Centre Road, which will bring you to Mason Street, and
when you've walked your horses up hill you'll be near the grocery
store, where you'll find me."
They waved a good-bye as they rode off, and Quincy made his way to
the grocery store. Mr. Strout came from behind the counter to meet
him. Hiram was busy putting order baskets in the gaudily painted
"I heard as how you were in town, and Hiram said you were at his
house last night, but I ain't one of the kind that gits mad if I'm
waited on last at table. In music you know we usually begin down low
and finish off up high, and visitin' is considerable like music,
especially when there's three children and one of 'em a baby."
His closing words were intended to refer to Hiram's family, but
Quincy made no reply.
Mr. Strout was never at a loss for words: "How do you like being
"So well that one term is enough. I'm going to Europe later."
"I mean to go some day. I've heard so many foreigners blow about what
they've got over there, I'm kinder anxious to see for myself. If
they've got a better grocery store than this, I'll introduce
improvements as soon as I get back."
Hiram having finished his work and dispatched the team, the three
partners went into the private office, which was monopolized by Mr.
Strout. It contained one desk and two chairs. Hiram brought in an
empty nail keg and closed the door.
"We've done twenty per cent. more business this month than same time
last year." Mr. Strout opened a desk drawer. "Will you smoke,
Quincy accepted the cigar, and Strout, without offering one to Hiram,
was returning the box to the drawer when Hiram, by a quick movement,
gained possession of it, and taking out half-a-dozen put them in his
"That'll even matters up a little, I guess," he said. Mr. Strout
scowled, but catching Quincy's eye, said nothing.
"Would you like to look over the books? I'll have them brought in."
"Don't trouble yourself to do that," said Quincy. "I'll examine them
at the bookkeeper's desk."
"Oh, very well," said Strout. "You'll find them O. K. But now's
you're here there's one thing I want to say. Hiram don't agree with
me, but he ain't progressive. There's no _crescendo_ to him. He wants
to play in one key all the time. He's--"
Quincy interrupted, "What did you wish to say about the business?
We'll drop personalities for the present, at least."
"Well, our business is growing, but we can do ten times as much with
more capital. What I want to do is to start branch stores in
Cottonton, Montrose, and Eastborough Centre. We send our teams to all
these places, but if we had stores there we'd soon cut the other
fellers out, for buying in such large quantities, we could undersell
them every time."
"I'm rather in favour of the branches, but don't go to cutting
prices. The other fellow has the same right to a living that we
"Why not let him have what he's got then and not interfere with him?"
said Mr. Strout, chewing his cigar vigorously.
"For the reason," said Quincy, "that we don't keep store to please
our competitors, but to serve the public. I believe in low prices in
sugar, tea, and coffee, to draw trade. But general cuts in prices are
ruinous in the end, for our competitors will cut too, and we shall
all lose money."
"I ain't agin the new stores," said Hiram, "but I'm teetotally agin
chopping prices down on everything and tryin' to beat the other
"How much money will it require?" asked Quincy. "Have you estimated
on rent, fixtures, stock, horses and wagons, stabling, wages and
salaries, and sundry expenses?"
"Yes, I've got it all down in black and white, it's in the safe. My
estimate, and it is as close as the bark to a tree, is six thousand
dollars spot cash."
"I'll look over your figures," said Quincy, "and if they seem all
right, I'll advance the money on the usual terms, eight per cent.,
but I must have a four thousand dollar mortgage to cover your two-
thirds, for I don't suppose you can put up two thousand apiece."
"Not this year," said Strout, as he proceeded to relight his cigar.
The door was thrown open violently and Alice rushed in.
"Oh, Quincy, Maude's horse has run away with her and I'm afraid she's
thrown and perhaps killed. I tried to catch up with her but I could
not, and I saw nothing else to do but to come and let you know."
"Which way has she gone?" cried Quincy. "How did it happen?"
"We stopped at 'Zekiel's and had a talk with Huldah, who came down to
the gate. Then we went on until we came to the Centre Road. When
Maude saw the long straight stretch ahead she cried, 'Let's have a
race!' Before I could remonstrate, she gave her horse a sharp cut
with the whip. He took the bit in his teeth and bolted. I rode on as
fast as I dared to, but when I reached Mason Street she was not in
"If she had come this way we should have seen or heard her," said
Quincy. "She must have gone towards Eastborough Centre. Come, Alice,
I will get the carryall. If she is hurt she will not be able to ride
Leading her horse, Quincy and Alice went to the Hawkins House.
"He takes it pretty cool," said Strout to Hiram. "If she was my
sister I'd ring the church hell, make up a party, and go in search of
her dead body, for that's what they'll come back with."
"I don't take no stock in that," remarked Hiram. "She's used to
horses, and she's a mighty bright, independent girl. She'll come home
"No doubt she's independent enough," retorted Strout. "That runs in
the family. But the horse, it seems, was independent too. Perhaps the
Guv'nor will have a boxing match with him for his independence to a
As Hiram went back into the store he said to himself: "That Strout's
only a half-converted sinner anyway. He'll never forget the thrashing
that Mr. Sawyer gave his man, Bob Wood."
Quincy had Alice go to her room, for she was agitated and extremely
nervous, and he asked Mrs. Hawkins to look out for her until his
With Andrew's help, the carryall was soon ready and Quincy drove to
the store. What was his surprise to find Maude there, still on her
horse, and apparently uninjured. With her, also on horseback was an
attractive girl, a stranger to Quincy.
"I'm all right, Quincy," Maude cried as he alighted, "but there would
have been a funeral but for this young lady."
Quincy, with hat in hand, bowed to the stranger. "I am deeply
grateful for your valuable service, madam. To whom are we indebted
for my sister's rescue from death?"
The young lady smiled, showing a set of even, white teeth. "Not so
great a service after all. Your sister is a good horsewoman. If she
hadn't been, she would have been thrown long before I reached her."
"But your name, Madam," persisted Quincy. "Her father will wish to
know, and to thank you."
"My name when in Fernborough is Mrs. Emmanuel Howe. When I'm on the
stage, it is Dixie Schaffer. I was born in the South. My father was
Col. Hugh Schaffer of Pasquotank County, North Carolina."
"My father and all of us will feel under great obligations to you."
"I hope he will not. I have no objections to receiving his thanks in
writing, if he is disposed to send them, which I think unnecessary as
you are his representative. But kindly caution him not to suggest or
send any reward, for it will be returned." She bowed to Quincy,
turned her horse's head and rode away.
As Strout entered the store he said to himself, "Bully for her. She
don't bow down to money. She's got brains."
A few days later, however, Miss Dixie Schaffer was the recipient from
the Hon. Nathaniel Adams Sawyer of a beautiful gold pendant in the
shape of a horseshoe, set with pearls. If one could have glanced at a
stub in the lawyer's check book, he would have found the name of a
prominent jeweller, and the figures $300. It is needless to add that
the gift was not returned to the donor. When Alice saw that Maude had
escaped without injury, she soon recovered her equanimity.
"How did it happen, Maude?" asked Quincy. "Alice says you gave the
horse a sharp blow."
"I must have hit her harder than I intended--but I was thinking of
the race more than of her. Didn't she run, hurrah-ti-cut, as Mrs.
Hawkins says? I was bound I'd keep on her back unless she fell down
or ran into something, and I did. I wasn't foolish enough to jump and
land on my head.
"When we got to the main road, I didn't know which way to turn--I
mean I couldn't think. She settled the matter by turning to the
right, which was very fortunate, but I didn't know I was on the road
"Maude, you're incorrigible," laughed Alice.
"No, I'm a sensation. I was full of them as I dashed on. But she was
a well-bred horse and kept in the middle of the road. Then, to my
joy, I saw Dixie ahead. As I went by her I yelled--yes, yelled--
'she's running away.'
"Dixie yelled--yes, yelled--'Hold on, I'll catch you.' She did, but
we ran more than a mile before she got even with me, grasped my
horse's bridle, and pulled her round so quickly that I came near
landing in the bushes. And here I am."
"You must not ride her again," said Alice.
"That's just what I am going to do. I'm not going to deprive that
horse of my company, when it was all my fault. No more whip, she
needs only the voice--and little of that."
"Alice," said Quincy, "Mr. Strout has invited us to dinner. He will
be offended unless his invitation is accepted."
"I don't feel equal to meeting that man in his own house. I cannot
bear him even at long range. Take Maude."
"I'll go, Quincy. I love these odd characters."
"He's married and has a little boy," said Alice.
"Then my love for the father will be invisible--I'll shower my
affection upon his offspring."
Quincy, after introducing his sister to Mr. Strout and his wife,
expressed his regret that his wife was so unnerved by the runaway
that she was unable to accompany him. Mr. Strout, in turn, expressed
his regrets, as did Mrs. Strout, then he added: "Miss Sawyer, we'll
have to pay you a commission. The store has been full of folks asking
about you, and after I told them all about the runaway and how you
were rescued, they had to talk it over, and I sold more than forty
cigars and ten plugs of tobacco."
"How did you know how I was rescued?" asked Maude.
"Well, I heard part and imagined the rest. I had to tell 'em
something or lose the trade."
Mrs. Strout was a very good cook and the dinner was a success.
Strout leaned far back in his chair and Maude assumed a similar
position. Quincy looked at her reprovingly, but she did not change
her attitude. To her brother's astonishment, she addressed Mr.
"I suppose you have travelled a great deal, Mr. Strout."
"Well, yes, I have. Since I got back from the war I've taught music,
and as my pupils were too lazy to come to me, I went to them. But
speaking of travelling, I was in a runaway once. It had been snowing
for about four days without a break and the roads were blocked up. I
had to go to Eastborough Centre and I hired a horse I'd never driven
"Didn't you have to put snow-shoes on him?" asked Maude.
"Oh, no, because I waited until the roads were broken out."
"That's one on me," acknowledged Maude.
"Well, I nearly tipped over a dozen times, but I got to the Centre
where the roads had been cleared. But my sleigh went into a gully and
came down on the horse's heels. My, wasn't she off in a jiffy! I held
her in the road, the men, and women, and children, and dogs and hens
getting out of the way as fast as they could. She was a going
lickety-split, and although I wasn't frightened, I decided she'd got
"I saw a house with an ell, and in the corner the snow was packed up
ten feet high. I had an idea. I put all my strength on to one rein,
turned her head, and she went into that snow bank out of sight, all
but her tail. I got out of the sleigh, sat down on the snow, and
laughed till I thought I'd die."
"And the horse?" queried Maude.
"It took half an hour to dig her out. They say horses are
intelligent, but I don't think they know any more than hens."
"I thought hens were bright," said Maude. "They say they hide their
eggs so we can't poach and boil them."
"Well, you can judge. When we moved into this house all the doors had
glass knobs. I took them off, put them in a box and set them out in
the barn. I saw a hen setting, but didn't notice her particularly
until one day she got off the nest while I was in the barn, and true
as I live, that fool hen had been trying to hatch out those knobs."
"They said you have a little boy, Mr. Strout," Maude looked at him
inquiringly. "I hope he isn't sick."
"No, he's all right. But we never let him come to the table when we
have company, because he talks too much."
"What's his name?"
"That's the funny part of it. My wife has lots of relations, and some
wanted him named this, and some wanted him named that. So I went to
the library and looked at all the names in the dictionary."
Maude's curiosity was excited. "What did you finally decide upon?"
"Well, we haven't named him yet. We call him No. 3, I being No. 1,
and my wife No. 2."
After their guests had departed, Mrs. Strout asked, "Why didn't you
tell Miss Sawyer that our boy's name was same as yours?"
"Why didn't I?" snapped her husband. "Because she was so blamed
anxious for me to tell her. Them Sawyers are 'ristocrats. They look
down on us common people."
Mrs. Strout remonstrated. "I thought he was real nice, and she's a
lovely girl. Besides, he set you up in business and made you
"And what did he do it for? Just to show the power of money. What did
he want of a grocery store except to beat me out of it?"
"But you owned up in your speech at the Town Hall that you'd treated
him mean, and that you were his friend."
"That was official. Do you suppose he means all he says? No! No more
than I do. When I get enough money, there won't be but one partner in
that grocery store, and his name will be O. Strout."
UNCLE IKE AND OTHERS
At the breakfast table next morning, Maude sat with her head bent
over her plate. All were awaiting Olive's advent with the fruit.
"At your devotions, Maude?" asked Alice.
"Yes, I am thanking the Lord that my life was saved by a woman. _She_
can't ask me to marry her."
A trio of "good mornings" greeted the Rev. Mr. Gay as he entered and
took his accustomed place at the head of the table. He bowed his head
and asked a blessing.
"Why do you ask a blessing, Mr. Gay?"
Mr. Gay looked up, but there was no levity in Maude's eyes.
"It is our duty to thank the Almighty for his goodness in providing
for our physical ends."
"But," said Maude, "with the exception of the fruit all our food is
prepared by man. We couldn't eat it just as it grows."
"God has given us the necessary intelligence to properly utilize his
"But some people starve to death," said Maude, forsaking the main
"Unfortunately, yes, owing to man's lack of brotherly feeling, or
rather, a hap-hazard method of distributing his blessings. It is not
God's will that any of his creatures should lack food or raiment."
"Do you really believe, Mr. Gay, that God takes a personal interest
in us? That he sent Mrs. Howe yesterday to save my life?"
"I certainly do, Miss Sawyer."
"I can't understand it," said Maude. "I looked upon it simply as a
lucky coincidence. But supposing the horse had turned to the left,
and stopped of his own accord when he reached that steep hill. What
would that prove?"
Quincy and Alice who had listened to the discussion, looked at the
clergyman, who hesitated before answering. At last, a smile lighted
up his face and he replied: "It would prove that, in that particular
case, you did not need the intervention of Heavenly power."
"I'm not convinced yet," said Maude. "I am coming to hear you preach
to-morrow. Do make it plain to me, please."
"With God's help, I will try to," the clergyman answered.
Quincy passed the morning at the grocery, making arrangements for the
establishment of the branch stores, Mr. Strout's plans being approved
with some material modifications. Strout told his wife that Mr.
Sawyer had fixed it so he couldn't get control of the business, but
that he would put a flea in his ear some fine day.
"I can't see through it," said Bessie Strout. "Why have your feelings
towards Mr. Sawyer changed so? I think he is a perfect gentleman."
"So he is. So am I. But we grew on different bushes." Feeling that he
did not wish to confess that jealousy of others' attainments was the
real foundation of his hostility, Mr. Strout took his departure. Two
hours later Mrs. Strout was delighted at receiving a call from Miss
Maude Sawyer and the Governor's wife.
Quincy wished to have a talk with 'Zekiel about Uncle Ike, so he
walked over to the old Putnam house. He had asked his wife to
accompany him, but she declined.
"That house gives me the shivers," she had said. "I never can forget
the ordeal I went through the day that Aunt Heppy died. I gave the
house to 'Zekiel because I never could have lived in it. Maude and I
are going to call on Mrs. Strout."
Quincy found 'Zekiel in the barn, and broached the matter on his mind
"I'm glad you spoke of it," said 'Zekiel. "I was over to Mandy's
yesterday and Uncle Ike wants to come and live with us. Not that he's
dissatisfied where he is, for he likes Mandy and the children, and
they do everything to make him comfortable--but it's the stairs. He
wants to eat with the others; he says he feels like a prisoner cooped
up in one room. We have a spare room on the ground floor that old
Silas Putnam used to sleep in. I'm only afraid of one thing--'twill
be too much care for Huldah. If I could get some one to help her with
the work, she'd be glad and willing to look after Uncle Ike." "We
must find some way out of it," said Quincy, as they parted.
His next visit was to the home of Arthur Scates. He found the young
man in bed and in a very weak condition.
"He's had two o' them bleedin' spells," said his grandmother, "an'
las' night I thought sure he was a goner. But I giv him some speerits
of ammony and he perked up a little. Yer see, Mr. Sawyer, we're poor,
an' it's no use tryin' to cover it up, an' I can't give Arthur the
kind of vittles he ought to have. He wants nourishin' things an'"--
The old lady's feelings overcame her and she began to cry. "I'm
ashamed of myself, but I can't help it. He's my only son's boy, and
he's an orphan, an' wuss. I'm sixty years old, but I can do a day's
work with any of the young ones, but I can't leave him alone. I
should have a conniption fit if I did."
Quincy thought it advisable to allow the old lady to have her say out
"Mrs. Scates, I think there are brighter days coming for you."
"The Lord knows I have prayed hard enough for 'em."
Quincy spoke to Arthur. "I expected to see you in Boston, but I
suppose you were in too poor health to come."
"Tell him the whole truth, Arthur," said his grandmother--"his health
was too poor an' we hadn't any money."
"Arthur," said Quincy, "I am going to find a home for you in a
sanatorium where you will have the treatment you need and the proper
food to build you up. One of these days, if you can repay me, well
and good. If not, I can afford to give it. Your voice may make your
fortune some day. And, now, Mrs. Scates, I've got some work for you.
Mrs. 'Zekiel Pettingill--"
"She that was Huldy Mason," broke in Mrs. Scates, "she was just the
nicest girl in town."
"Yes," assented Quincy, "she's going to have an addition to her
"You don't say," again interrupted Mrs. Scates. "Well, I've nussed a
"You misunderstand me," said Quincy quickly. "Her Uncle Ike is coming
to live with her, and she needs assistance in her work. You must go
and see her at once."
While she was gone, Quincy explained to Arthur the nature of his
coming treatment; how he would have to virtually live out of doors
daytimes and sleep with windows and doors open at night. "I will see
that you have good warm clothes. I will pay for your board and
treatment for a year, and give you money for such things as you may
"I'll try hard to get well so I can repay you," said Arthur.
"She says she'll take me," cried Mrs. Scates, as she entered the
room--"just as soon as I can come, and here's a big basket of apples
and peaches, she sent you, and--" the poor woman was quite out of
breath. "I met that minister, Mr. Gay, and he said he was coming up
to see you, Arthur."
"Did you ever go to Mr. Gay's church?" Quincy asked Mrs. Scates.
"Jus' onct, and that was enough. He'll have to leave here sooner or
"Why, he don't believe in no divil--an' ye can't make folks good
unless they knows there's a divil."
Quincy recalled the story of the Scotch woman, a stern Presbyterian,
who thought if ten thousand were saved at the final judgment that it
would be "muckle many," and who, when asked if she expected to be one
of the elect, replied "Sartainly." He felt that a theological
discussion with Grandma Scates would end in his discomfiture and he
Quincy reached Mandy Maxwell's just in time for dinner, and, at his
request, it was served in Uncle Ike's room.
"This is more cheerful," said he to Quincy. "I once thought that
being alone was the height of enjoyment--and I did enjoy myself very
selfishly for a good many years. Has Alice told you of our
"I've been thinking about it since and I decided my first move would
be to live, if I could, with my own flesh and blood. But while
they've got a down-stairs room, it will be too much work for Huldah."
"That's provided for," said Quincy. "Mrs. Scates is going to help
"What's to become of her grandson--he's consumptive they tell me."
"He's going to a sanatorium to get cured."
"And you are going to pay the bills?"
Quincy nodded again.
"I get a lesson very often. You are using your money to help others,
while I've hoarded mine."
Quincy looked at the speaker inquiringly. Alice had given him to
understand that her uncle had used his income for himself.
"I know what you're thinking, Mr. Sawyer. I did tell Alice I had an
annuity, but I haven't spent one-tenth of what's coming to me. I
arranged to have it put in a savings bank, and I've drawn just as
little as I could and get along. I bought a fifty thousand dollar
annuity at sixty. I got nine per cent, on my money, besides the
savings bank interest. As near as I can figure it out I'm worth about
two hundred thousand dollars. I've beat the insurance company bad,
and I ain't dead yet. I have all this money, but what good has it
"It can do good in the future, Uncle."
"I want to leave something to Mandy's boys--not too much--for I'm
afraid they'd squander it, and become do-nothings. What shall I do
"Do you wish me to suggest a public use for your fortune?"
"That's what I've been telling you about it for. You've a good knack
of disposing of your own and other folks' money, and I thought you
could help me out."
Quincy did not speak for some time. Finally he said, "Uncle Ike, the
Town Hall in Fernborough is but one mile from the centre of the city
of Cottonton. That city is peopled, principally, with low-paid cotton
mill operatives. Their employers, as a rule, are more intent on
dividends than the moral or physical condition of their help.
Accidents are common in the mills, many are broken down in health by
overwork, and those who become mothers are forced by necessity to
resume work in the mills before their strength is restored."
Uncle Ike shut his teeth with a snap. "That's worse than hoarding
money as I've done. Mine may, as you say, do good in the future, but
theirs is degrading human beings at the present. I wish I could do
something for them, especially the mothers. It's a shame _they_ have
"You can do something, Uncle Ike. My suggestion is, that you leave
the bulk of your fortune to build a hospital in Fernborough, but
provide in your will that the mill operatives of Cottonton, or all
its poorer inhabitants, if you so wish it, shall be entitled to free
"I'll do it," cried Uncle Ike. "As soon as I get settled at 'Zeke's,
I'll send for Squire Rundlett to come and make out my will. You've
taken a big load off my mind, Mr. Sawyer."
As Quincy was mounting Obed's Hill slowly, for it was very steep, he
thought to himself--"Getting Uncle Ike to do something practical
towards helping others was much better than talking theoretical
religion to him."
When he reached the Hawkins House, Andrew was getting ready to drive
to Cottonton to meet the three o'clock express from Boston.
"There's a friend of ours coming down on that train, Andrew--a young
man named Merry." He took out his note book, wrote a few lines, and
passed the slip with some money to Andrew.
"You get that--have it covered up so no one can see what it is, and
leave it in the barn when you get back."
Quincy told his wife about Arthur Scates and Uncle Ike.
"I'm going to take Uncle Ike to Mr. Gay's church to-morrow," he
added, "but I didn't say anything about it to-day. I'm not going to
give him time to invent excuses."
Maude did not conceal her pleasure at meeting Harry again. She was a
companionable girl, and Mr. Merry was too sensible to think, because
a young lady was sociable, that it was any indication that she was
falling in love with him.
"Are you going riding this evening, Alice?" Quincy walked to the
window. "The sunset is just glorious. There's a purple cloud in the
west, the edges of which is bordered with gold. There are rifts in
it, through which the sun shows--and now, come quickly, Alice, the
sun, a ball of fire, has just sunk below the cloud which seems
resting upon it."
When they turned away from the window, Alice said:
"I don't think I will ride any more. Maude must take the horse I had--
he is so gentle. What a pity Mr. Merry cannot go with her for a ride."
"He can. I sent Andrew for a saddle for him to use."
"Quincy, you are the most thoughtful man in the world."
In less than half an hour Maude, with Harry riding the mare, were on
their way towards the Centre Road. When they returned, an hour later,
there had been no runaway, unless Harry's heart had undergone one.
Maude's countenance did not, however, indicate that she had
participated in any rescue.
A "STORY" SERMON
The influx of mill operatives and mechanics from Cottonton in search
of a breathing place after a hard day's work, had led to the building
up of the territory north of Pettingill Street and east of Montrose
Avenue. This fact had led to the erection of the Rev. Mr. Gay's
church in the extreme northern part of the town, but near to both
Montrose town and Cottonton city.
"We are all coming to your church this morning, Mr. Gay," said Quincy
"I shall be glad to see you, but you must not expect a city service.
The majority, in fact all, of my parishioners are common people, and
I use plain language to them."
"I think simplicity in devotional exercises much more effective than
an ornate service," said Alice.
"Do you have a choir?" asked Maude.
"We can't afford one, but we have good congregational singing."
"I'm glad of that," said Maude. "I hate these paid choirs with their
names and portraits in the Sunday papers."
"I shall take the carryall and go for Uncle Ike. It is a beautiful
morning and you will all enjoy the walk," Quincy added.
Uncle Ike, at first, gave a decided negative. "I haven't been inside
a church for many a year and it's too late to begin now."
"That's no argument at all," said Quincy. "But my principal reason
for wishing you to go is so you can see the people that your hospital
is going to benefit one of these days."
"But these preachers use such highfalutin' language, and so many
'firstlies' and 'secondlies' I lose my hold on the text."
"Mr. Gay is a common, everyday sort of man, does not pose when out of
his pulpit, and never talks over the heads of his audience."
"How do you know all that?"
"I sit with him at table, and I've studied him. Then he told us not
to expect a city sermon for he used simple language, and they have
"Well, I'll go--this once," said Uncle Ike, and Quincy assisted him
in making his preparations. On their way to the church they passed
two couples--Alice and Mrs. Hawkins, and Maude and Mr. Merry. Mr.
Jonas Hawkins could not leave home for he was afraid the cats would
carry off his last brood of chickens. Some fifty had been hatched
out, but only a dozen had survived the hot weather, heavy rains, and
the many diseases prevalent among chickens.
When Mr. Gay arose to give out the first hymn, Maude said to Mr.
Merry, "Why, he looks like a different man. His red hair is a
"It's the light from the coloured glass windows," commented Mr.
"Then it must be the curtains in Mrs. Hawkins' dining room that
colour his hair at home," retorted Maude.
How grandly rose the volume of tone from scores of throats! Even
Uncle Ike's quavering voice joined in.
"All hail the power of Jesus' name,
Let nations prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all."
The organ creaked and wheezed somewhat, but so many fresh, young
voices softened its discordant tones.
A short prayer, and Mr. Gay began his sermon, if such it can be
"MY BRETHREN: My text, to-day is, 'The fool hath said in his heart,
There is no God.' All nations have a God, even if all the people do
not believe in him. The majority in each nation does believe in a
God. Are those who do not believe all fools? Unhappily, no. There are
many highly educated men and women who deny the existence of God.
They claim man is a part of Nature, and Nature is all. They forget
the poet who wrote
"'Man is but part of a stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.'
"Remember, God is the Soul. Each of you has a soul, a spark of the
"I can best support my argument by a story--a true one.
"I once knew a young man whom we will call Richard. He had a well-to-
do father and was sent to college. When he graduated, his father, a
pious man, wished him to study for the ministry. He objected, saying
his health was poor. He wished to go into the mountains, he lived in
the West, and his father consented.
"He drifted into a mining camp and whatever regard he may have had
for religion, soon disappeared. He was not a fool, but, in his heart,
he said there was no God.
"With another young man, whom we will call Thomas, he formed a
partnership, and they went prospecting for gold,--gold that the God
whom they would not acknowledge had placed in the earth.
"They were attacked by Indians and Thomas was killed. Richard was
obliged to flee for his life. His food was soon exhausted, he had no
water, he had no God to whom he could pray for help.
"He came to a hole in the ground, near a foothill. He got upon his
knees and looked down--yes, there was water--not much, but enough for
his needs--but it was beyond his reach. He leaned over the edge to
gaze upon the life-giving fluid that God has given us, and his hat
fell into the well. In his hat was his gold-dust--his fortune--so
useless to him then. He forgot his thirst for water in his thirst for
"There was a stout branch of a tree near by. He placed it across the
top of the hole. He would drop down into the well, and recover his
hat, get a drink of water and draw himself up again. The well did not
seem more than six feet deep, and with his arms extended he could
easily reach the branch and draw himself up to safety. He dropped
into the well, found his hat with its precious gold, drank some of
the muddy water which, really, was then more precious to him than the
metal, and looked up. He extended his arms but they fell short some
six feet of reaching the branch. He had under-estimated the depth of
the well--it was fifteen instead of six feet.
"He would clamber up the sides, he would cut steps with his knife and
make a ladder. The earth was soft, and crumbled beneath his weight.
That mode of escape was impossible. He was a prisoner in a hole with
only muddy water to sustain life for a short time, and no prospect of
"Night came on. He looked up at the stars. They seemed no farther
away than the top of the well.
"When a child he had been taught to say 'Our Father who art in
Heaven,' Did he have a Father in Heaven? Was Heaven where those stars
were? Was that Father in Heaven the Being that folks called God?
"He fell into a deep sleep. When he awoke the stars were still
shining, but no nearer than before.
"In his loneliness, in his despair, he cried, 'Oh, God, help me!' He
covered his face with his hands and wept. He had forsaken the belief
of a lifetime. He had acknowledged that there was a God!
"There was a rustling sound above him, and a heavy body fell to the
bottom of the well. Some wild animal! He was unarmed with the
exception of his hunting-knife. That was slight protection against a
savage beast, but he would defend himself to the last.
"He listened. The animal, whatever it was, was breathing, but it did
not move. Perhaps it was stunned by the fall, but would soon revive.
He would kill it. A few firm blows and the beast was dead. It did not
breathe. Its body was losing its warmth. He was safe from that
"He slept again. When he awoke the sun was high. Beside him was the
dead body of a mountain lion.
"He drank some more of the muddy water. He was so hungry. Was there
no means of escape? Must he die there with that dead lion for a
"He had an inspiration. With his knife he cut the lion's hide into
strips. He tied these together until he had a rope. He threw it over
the branch and drew himself up. The Earth looked so bright and
cheerful. He threw himself upon his knees and thanked God for his
deliverance. He was an educated 'fool' no longer. He had found God in
that pool of muddy water, and God had sent a lion to deliver him.
"How do I know that the story I have told you is true? Richard
returned to his father's home. He went back to college and entered
the divinity school. He became a clergyman, and he has preached to
you, to-day, from the text, 'The Fool hath said in his heart that
there is no God!'"
THE RAISED CHECK
The Rev. Mr. Gay's parishioners looked at him in astonishment. He had
disbelieved in God but had been converted in what seemed a miraculous
manner. And yet, perhaps, after all, it was only a coincidence. Alice
felt sure that Uncle Ike would be of that opinion.
The pastor, as soon as he had made his sensational declaration, said
"Let us pray." His appeal was for those who doubted--that God would
open their eyes--but not as his had been--to acknowledge his power
Then followed "Old Hundred."
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below."
A benediction, and the service was over.
There were seats for four in the carryall. Maude preferred to walk
and Mr. Merry was of the same mind. Mrs. Hawkins sat with Quincy on
the front seat, and Alice with Uncle Ike.
"What did you think of the sermon, Uncle Ike?" Alice asked.
"A thrilling personal experience. The fear of death has a peculiar
effect on some people--it kills their will power. Did Mr. Gay know
that I was to attend his church?"
Alice flushed. "Quincy mentioned it at the breakfast table."
"Was he informed of my opinions on religious matters?"
"They were not mentioned before him."
"Another coincidence"--and Uncle Ike relapsed into silence.
As they were nearing the Maxwell house, Alice asked, "Uncle Ike, are
you willing to have Mr. Gay call upon you?"
"I have no objection, if he will let me choose the subjects for
conversation," was the reply.
In the evening Maude and Mr. Merry walked to the Willows and back.
"Have you become a matchmaker?" Alice asked her husband.
"What prompts the question?"
"Maude and Mr. Merry have been thrown together very much. You approve
of you would prevent their intimacy."
Quincy laughed. "Maude undoubtedly has a heart, but she doesn't know
where it is. Mr. Merry is too sensible a fellow to imagine Maude will
fall in love with him, or that he could support her if she did."
"Poor logic, Quincy. Such marriages take place often, but unless they
are followed with parental blessings,--and financial backing,--seldom
"Well, the intimacy will end to-morrow morning. He will return to the
city, and, probably, never see her again."
"I've no objection to Mr. Merry. I consider him a very fine young
man. I was thinking of Maude's happiness."
Mr. Merry did return to Boston early the next morning, and, to all
appearances, Miss Sawyer looked upon his action as a very natural
one, and one in which she was not particularly interested. If she had
any secret thoughts concerning him they were driven from her mind by
the receipt of a telegram just as they sat down to dinner.
"REDFORD, MASS., July 2, 187--.
"MAUDE SAWYER, Care of Q. A. Sawyer,
"Fernborough, via Cottonton.
"Do please come home at once. Something terrible
has happened. FLORENCE."
"What can it be? What do you think is the matter? The message is so
Her brother replied, "Florence evidently is living, unless some one
used her name in the telegram. If father or mother were sick or dead
she certainly would have said so."
"Perhaps not," said Maude. "She might wish to break the news gently,
"I am willing to wager," said Quincy, "that the trouble affects her
more than any one else. But you must go, Maude, and Alice and I will
go with you, by the first train to-morrow morning."
Quincy had Andrew get the carryall ready and he and Alice went round
to say good-bye. He told Arthur Scates he would come or send for him
soon, and that his grandmother could go and help Mrs. Pettingill.
Andrew was told to return the saddle to Cottonton, and Quincy decided
that they would go to Boston by way of Eastborough Centre, so Mr.
Parsons could be informed that they were through with the saddle
horses. They found Uncle Ike fully committed to the idea of founding
the hospital. He had seen Squire Rundlett, who was drawing up his
will. The goodbye seemed more like a farewell in Uncle Ike's case,
for he had aged much in the last year and was really very feeble.
Alice told him that Mr. Gay had promised to call upon him in a few
When they reached Boston, Quincy said:
"Maude, you must take the train at once for Redford and see what the
trouble is. I will leave Alice at home and run down to see you this
Maude found Florence in her room, her nose red and her eyes filled
"Now, Florence, what is it all about?"
"Oh, it is horrible," and there was a fresh flood of tears.
"Are you sick? Mother says she is well and so is father."
"It's all about Reggie."
"Capt. Hornaby? Is he dead?"
"Worse. I wish he was. No, I don't mean that. But the disgrace."
Maude was getting impatient. "What has he done? Married somebody
else? But he never proposed to you, did he?"
Florence wiped away her tears. "No, not exactly. But we understood
"Well, I can't understand you. Why don't you tell me what he's done?"
"Well, you know that father loaned him some money when he lost his
pocketbook in the pond."
Maude sniffed. "I imagined he did--nobody told me so."
"Father gave him a check for five hundred dollars."
"And the Captain's run away and won't pay. Those foreign fellows
often do that. What an appropriate name Hornaby Hook is."
"He has paid. He sent father the money and said he was going back to
England at once."
"So, ho! I understand now. My sister has been deserted, jilted,
snubbed, and her Sawyer pride is hurt. If you'd written me that I'd
be in Fernborough now, and so would Quincy and Alice. Florence, it
was mean of you to send such a bloodcurdling telegram for so simple a
"But that isn't all," cried Florence. "When the check for five
hundred dollars that father gave him came back it had been raised to
five thousand, and father has lost all that money. Oh, it is all
over, and I shall never see him again."
Another paroxysm of sobs, and a flood of tears. Maude's sisterly
sympathy was, at last, aroused.
"Don't take on so, Flossie. Perhaps he didn't do it after all."
"But father is so indignant. Think of his being paid back with his
Maude could not help laughing. "That was rather nervy, I'll admit.
But that very fact makes me think he's innocent."
She didn't really think so, but Florence was likely to go into
hysterics and something must be done.
"You know his address. You had better write to him and see what he
has to say for himself."
"I can't. Father says if I have any further communication with him,
directly, or indirectly, he'll disown me."
"Well, wait awhile. Father'll calm down in time. Cheer up, Flossie,
dry your eyes, and do put some powder on your nose. It's as red as a
* * * * * * *
A little later in the season, Quincy and Alice started for their
summer home at Nantucket, where they spent a pleasant two months,
Quincy going up to Boston when needed at the State House. As autumn
approached, and the time for the state election drew near, great
influence was brought to bear on Quincy to make him rescind his
decision, and run for governor a second time, but his mind was fully
made up, and in spite of the urgings of the leaders of his own party,
as well as those of the public at large, he remained firm in his
Mr. Evans worked hard for the nomination, but his predilections were
well known among the labouring classes, and he failed to receive the
necessary votes. Benjamin Ropes, a man respected by all, was elected
governor, and in January Quincy retired from public life, and settled
down to what he thought would be a period of rest and quiet with his
wife in the Mount Vernon Street home.
About the middle of the month, however, a letter came from Aunt Ella.
* * * * * * *
"FERNBOROUGH HALL, "HEATHFIELD, SUSSEX.
"MY DEAR QUINCY AND ALICE: I was going to write nephew and niece, but
you both seem nearer and dearer to me than those formal titles
express. I see that Quincy is now out of politics, and I know that he
needs a change. Your rooms are all ready for you here, and I want you
both to come, just as soon as you can. It will be the best for you,
too, Alice, as you will escape the very bad winter that Boston always
has. I was delighted to hear the news, and I do hope and pray it will
be a boy,--then we shall have a Quincy Adams Sawyer, Junior.
"I wish Maude could come with you. I could introduce her to society
here, and, I have found--don't think me conceited--that there is
nothing that improves an English gentleman so much as having an
American wife. If some of your nice young American gentlemen would
marry some English girls and transplant them to American soil, I
think the English-speaking race would benefit thereby.
"Sir Stuart is well, and so is
"Your loving aunt,
* * * * * * *
"The same Aunt Ella as of old," said Quincy, "always full of new
ideas and quaint suggestions. It would be a good thing for you to go,
I think, Alice, and I should really relish the change myself. What do
you say, a steamer sails next week from here; shall we go?"
"Why, Quincy, it is rather sudden, but I should be glad to see Aunt
Ella and Linda again, and I really see no reason why we should not
"Well, we will call that settled, then. And Maude, do you think she
would join us?"
"Not unless you take Mr. Merry with you," replied Alice with a good
Quincy called at the Beacon Street house that afternoon, and had a
talk with Maude about going to Europe with them. He read her Aunt
Ella's letter, and added,
"You see, she wishes you to come with us."
"Well, I won't go. She wants to marry me off to some Englishman with
a title and no funds. If I ever get married, my husband will be an
American. No, take Florence, and let her hunt up Captain Hornaby, her
recreant lover,--if he was one. She says they 'understood' each
other, but it's evident none of us comprehended--I came near saying
"I will speak to father about it," said Quincy. "Please tell him that
I'll call at his office to-morrow morning. Give my love to Florence.
I won't trouble her about it until I've seen father."
Alice thought Florence's substitution for Maude, as regarded the trip
to England, was advisable, and certainly showed Maude's good-
When Quincy saw his father he made no mention of the Hornaby incident
in connection with Florence joining them on their trip abroad, but in
spite of this the Hon. Nathaniel Adams Sawyer was, at first, strongly
opposed to the idea of his daughter going away from home. Quincy knew
his father too well to argue the matter, and turned the conversation
to other subjects.
"I have brought my will, father, and wish you would put it in your
safe. I have left everything to Alice to do with as she pleases. I
have named you and Dr. Paul Culver as my executors. Have you any
objection to serving?"
"You will be more likely to act as my executor than I as yours, but I
accept the trust, feeling sure that I shall have no duties to
"There's another matter, father, I wish to speak about. My former
private secretary, Mr. Merry, is studying law. When my term expired
he, of course, lost his position, for my successor, naturally, wished
one of his own friends in the place. If I were a lawyer, I would take
him into my office, but--"
"You can't use him in your grocery store," interrupted the Hon.
Nathaniel. Quincy took the sarcasm good-naturedly, and laughed. That
his father had, to some extent, overcome his displeasure at his son
becoming a tradesman, was shown by his next words.
"Our law business is increasing daily, and perhaps I can make an
opening for him in the near future. I will bear him in mind."
The Hon. Nathaniel reserved his decision in relation to Florence's
trip until he had discussed the matter with his wife, but the next
day Maude saw Alice and told her that her father had consented, on
one condition, and that was that Quincy would bring her back with him
when he returned to America. The Hon. Nathaniel was still suspicious
of Aunt Ella, and evidently thought that she wished to get control of
his daughter as she had of his son.
Quincy gave his father the required promise. Florence must have time
to prepare for such a long journey, so Quincy was obliged to give up
the plan of sailing from Boston on a certain date as he had intended.
Besides, he wanted, personally, to see how Arthur Scates was getting
along at the Sanatorium which was at Lyndon in the Adirondacks, and
so he booked passage on the steamer _Altonia_, to sail from New York
in three weeks.
THE WRECK OF THE _ALTONIA_
"Florence will be ready to start to-morrow," said Alice. This was
welcome intelligence to Quincy, who wished several days to spare in
New York before sailing.
As soon as his wife and sister were located at a hotel in New York,
he made the trip to Lyndon in the Adirondacks to see Arthur Scates.
He found him greatly improved, and he told Quincy that he had not
felt so well in years. The doctors, too, were more than pleased with
his condition, and said that it was only a question of a few months
when he would be entirely well again.
When he returned to New York he found that Alice had been to visit
Mrs. Ernst in West 41st Street. Madame Archimbault lived with them
and still carried on the millinery establishment on Broadway, in
which Quincy had accidentally discovered the long-sought Linda Putnam
masquerading under the name of Celeste. How that discovery had
operated to change the lives of many people came forcibly to Quincy
as he sought Leopold Ernst in his down-town office.
Leopold was almost hidden behind piles of manuscripts and newspapers
when Quincy entered his room.
"Up to your neck, Leopold?"
As soon as Leopold saw who had addressed him, he jumped up, pushed a
pile of manuscripts from his desk to the floor, and grasped Quincy's
extended hand in both of his.
"Let me help you pick up your papers," said Quincy.
"No, they're in their proper places. They're rejected. I have
accepted two out of fifty or more. The American author sends tons to
the literary mill, but it grinds out but a few pounds. But the
novices are improving. They will yet lead the world, for we have a
new country full of God's wonderful works, and a composite population
whose loves and hates reproduce in new scenes all the passions of the
Old World. They are the same pictures of human goodness and frailty
in new frames--and my business is to judge the workmanship of the
They talked about old times, particularly the success of Alice's
"Marriage is often fatal to literary activity. Is your wife to write
"I think not. We expect an addition--not edition--to our family
library soon after our return from England."
"That settles it. Literature takes a back seat when Maternity becomes
its competitor. It is well. Otherwise, how could we keep up our
supply of authors?"
The evening before the sailing of the _Altonia_, a happy party
assembled in a private dining room at Quincy's hotel. Toasts were
drunk. Alice and Rosa sang and Florence accompanied and played
classic selections upon the piano.
"Bon voyage," cried Leopold, as they separated. "Make notes of
something really new, make a book of up-to-date travels, and our
house will publish it for you, for I'll recommend it no matter how
bad it is. We have to do that often for friends of the firm,--why not
for our own?"
A foggy night on the ocean. The barometer ranged low. An upward
glance disclosed a black mist--no sign of moon or stars. A bad night
on land, when trains of cars crash into others laden with humanity--
some dying mercifully without knowing the cause; others cruelly, by
slow cremation, with willing hands nearby powerless to help.
A bad night off shore, when freight-laden craft, deceived by beacon
lights, are beached upon the treacherous sand or dashed against
jagged rocks. The life-savers, with rocket, and gun and line, and
breeches-buoys, try in vain, and, as a last resort, grasp the oars of
the life-boat and bring to safety one or two of a crew of ten. Sad
hearts in homes when the news comes; but it is only one of the scenes
in the drama of life.
A bad night at sea--with a great ocean liner, its iron heart
pulsating, plunging through the black waves into dense mountains of
Despite the darkness and chill of the winter night, Quincy, Alice,
and Florence were on the deck of the _Altonia_. Alice shuddered and
Quincy drew her wrap more closely about her.
"Shall we go down into the cabin?"
"Not yet. There is nothing enjoyable about this Cimmerian gloom, and
yet it has its attractions. Florence, what is it that Tom Hood wrote
about London fog?"
"I only remember one line, and I'm not sure I can quote that
correctly. I think it reads: 'No sun, no moon,' I should add 'no
stars, no proper time of day.'"
During the two days since leaving New York, Florence had been a
creature of moods: sad, when she brooded over her trouble due, she
felt sure, to another's act; light-hearted when she thought of the
prospect of again meeting Reginald and having him prove his
She had been spared newspaper publicity. Not for ten times the sum he
had lost would the Hon. Nathaniel have had his daughter's name in the
public prints. He was a lawyer, but it was his business to get other
people out of trouble, and not to get his own family into it--which
shows that great lawyers are not exempt from that very common human
Sounds of applause were borne to their ears. "Let us go in," said
Florence, "some one has been singing."
In the main saloon, all was merriment. Each passenger had faith in
Capt. Robert Haskins, who had crossed the Atlantic hundreds of times.
The _Altonia_ belonged to a lucky line, the luck that follows careful
foresight as regards every detail, the luck that brings safety and
success from constant vigilance.
In the first cabin were more than two hundred souls--young and old,
maids and matrons, young and middle-aged men, and a few beyond the
allotted three score years and ten.
Mlle. Carenta, a member of a troupe of grand opera singers, whom many
had heard during the company's engagement in New York, arose from the
piano amid cries of "bravo," for her superb vocalism. She had sung
Gounod's _Ave Maria_.
"How sweetly she sang," said Alice, as she touched her husband's arm
to more fully draw his attention from the beautiful vocalist. "Don't
you think so, Quincy?"
"Divine," was the reply. "One can almost fancy the doors of Heaven
The cabin was warm--in reality, hot,--but Alice shuddered as she had
when chilled by the mist and cold. She caught quickly at her
"I wish we were safe at Fernborough Hall with Aunt Ella."
"And so do I, my dear, but the walking is poor, and we must put up
with our present method of locomotion for a few days longer. Think of
the good times we have had and those in store for us."
Alice reassured by the words and the accompanying pressure of
Quincy's hand exclaimed: "How delightful it was in the country, and
how I enjoyed our visits. I shall always love Mason's Corner as it
was called when--"
"I met my fate," her husband added. "My line fell in a pleasant
"Don't call me a fish," said his wife, as she smiled half
"Well, we're on the water; if we were in it, we all might wish to be
fish--or rather whales."
The next moment all was confusion. Faces that were white became red--
those that were red turned white--even through the colour that art
had given to niggardly nature. Fully half the occupants of the saloon
were thrown violently to the floor in a promiscuous heap. Others
saved themselves from falling by grasping frantically at the nearest
object. Many of the lights went out. Some of the women swooned, while
men who had deemed themselves brave shook like palsied creatures.
A man half ran, half fell, down the stairway that led into the saloon
and stood before the affrighted passengers. No tongue could form a
question, but each eager face asked,
"What is it? What has happened?"
His voice came, thin and husky, "We've been struck by another ship in
At sea, at night, and that a night of winter chill--and the fog! Such
the thought. The fact--ten thousand tons of steel and wood, the
product of man's industry, fashioned by his brain, and blood, and
bone, crushed and useless, and half a thousand human beings--looking
forward to years of happiness--doomed to a terrific struggle with the
elements. Strong, courageous, creative man--now a weak, fear-
stricken, helpless creature!
"_To the boats!_" came the cry from above, and it was echoed by
hundreds of voices. In those three words were a gleam of hope: they
opened a path, but through what and to what would it lead? The other
ship, a tramp steamer, which had collided with the _Altonia_ was
already sinking, and in a few minutes went down, bow foremost, only a
few of the crew having escaped in their own boats.
Quincy had been an athlete in his college days. In time of danger,
whether the man be ignorant or educated, one feeling--the instinct of
self-preservation--is paramount. Alice and Florence had stood mute,
helpless. Quincy put an arm about each and sprang to the narrow
doorway. It was blocked by two stout men who fought frantically to
Quincy placed his wife in front of him, and, with the hand thus
temporarily freed, he grasped one of the men by the collar and threw
him back into the saloon where he was trampled upon by the frenzied
Regardless of the consequence of his act, Quincy mounted the stairs
quickly and gained the deck. The boats were being filled rapidly. He
placed his wife and sister in one of them.
Alice cried, "Come, Quincy, there is room here."
"No, Alice, not yet. The women must go first."
"I will not go without you."
"Yes, you will, Alice--and you know why."
The mighty craft was filling rapidly. Captain Haskins feared that
like the tramp steamer it would founder before the passengers could
get into the boats--their frail hope for safety. For himself, he
asked no place. He had the spirit of the soldier who expires beside
his dying horse, looking fondly at the animal that has borne him so
many times in safety, and now gives up his life with his master's.
"For God's sake, come, Quincy!" cried Alice. "For our sake!" and
Florence added her entreaties.
Quincy turned and saw a woman with a child by her side. She had made
her way from the steerage. She was being deported, for she suffered
from trachoma. She had been refused permission to land and join her
husband who had stood outside the "pen" and gazed at her and the
child. Quincy placed the woman in the boat beside his wife and put
the child in its mother's arms.
"Lower away!" came a shrill cry.
"Oh, Quincy, must we part thus?"
Captain Haskins grasped Quincy by the arm.
"Get into the boat, Mr. Sawyer."
Quincy saw that the boat, filled with women, was already over-loaded.
He turned to the Captain and said: "There is more room here with
Nature's ways are mysterious but effective. A brisk breeze broke the
fog, and the rays of the noonday sun fell upon a placid sea. The boat
containing Alice and Florence was picked up by the _Macedonian_ of a
rival line and the rescued made comfortable. For hours the steamer
cruised about rescuing hundreds of the _Altonia_'s passengers, but
some of the boats were never heard from.
Alice and many others had hoped that the wrecked vessel was still
afloat, but the _Altonia_ had disappeared,--was far below in hundreds
of fathoms of water.
Fernborough Hall,--not a hall in the town of Fernborough in the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but a rambling, old-fashioned brick
building in the County of Sussex in "Merrie England;" a stately home
set in the middle of hundreds of acres of upland, lowland, and
woodland. Wings had been added as required, and a tower from which,
on a clear day, the English Channel could be seen with the naked eye,
while a field-glass brought into view the myriad craft, bound east
and west, north and south, on the peaceful missions of trade.
There was no terrace upon which gaudy peacocks strutted back and
forth, but in front of the Hall was a small artificial lake in which
some transplanted fish led the lives of prisoners. Lady Fernborough
begged the Baronet to end their miserable existence, but, to him,
innovation was folly and destruction bordered on criminality.
"When I am gone, Ella," he would say, "you may introduce your
American ideas, for everything will be yours. When the Fernborough
name dies, let the fish die too."
The long search for his lost daughter had made him misanthropic. His
knowledge of her sad death had been accompanied, it is true, by the
pleasing intelligence that his daughter's child lived, but that
grand-daughter, though of his blood and British born, had not been
educated according to British ideas. To be sure, she was now a
Countess, but she had been transplanted to her native soil, and had
not grown there.
It might be asked, if he was so insular in his ideas, why had he
taken an American wife, and she a widow? He had been charmed by her
vivacity. She lifted him out of the gloom in which he had lived so
long. If she had been tame and prosaic, she would have worn the weeds
of widowhood again in a short time. She made him comfortable; she
surrounded him with the brightest people she could find; he was not
allowed to mope indoors, and Sir Stuart Fernborough and his sprightly
American wife attended all the important social functions of the
County, and many in London, and at the houses of their friends. And
now a great joy was to come to Lady Fernborough. She expected
visitors from the United States, and what she considered needful
preparations kept her in a flutter of excitement.
"How soon do you expect them?" asked Sir Stuart at breakfast.
"To-morrow, or next day. They sailed on the tenth; to-morrow is the
seventeenth, but they may rest for a day in Liverpool--"
"Or stay a day or two in London," suggested Sir Stuart.
"I hope not, for my guests will be impatient to see a real live
American ex-governor. Quincy's political advancement has been very
"America is a rapid country, my dear," was Sir Stuart's comment.
When Lady Fernborough reached her boudoir, she seated herself at her
writing desk and wrote rapidly for nearly an hour.
"I don't wish too many guests," she soliloquized as she sealed the
last invitation. "Now, I must write to Linda."
"My dear Linda,
"I have a great surprise for you. You must forgive me for keeping a
secret. I do it so seldom, I wished the experience. I am like the
penniless suitor who proposed to an heiress, who, he knew, would
reject him, just to see how it would make him feel to lose a fortune.
I think I saw that in Punch, but it fits my case exactly. They will
be here, _sure_, day after to-morrow. I mean Quincy and Alice, and, I
hope, Maude. Come and bring all the children. I suppose Algernon is
in London helping to make laws for unruly Britishers, but we will
make merry and defy the constables. Despite my marital patronymic,
and my armorial bearings, I am still, your loving aunt
Alice was not to tell the sad news to Lady Fernborough. The telegraph
outstrips the ocean liner, and a newspaper, with tidings of the great
calamity, was in Aunt Ella's hands long before the arrival of the
broken-hearted wife and disconsolate sister. The invitations were
countermanded, and days of sorrow followed instead of the anticipated
time of joyfulness.
Alice and Florence told the story of the tragedy over and over again
to sympathizing listeners.
"That was just like Quincy to give his place to that poor woman and
her child," said Aunt Ella. "Like Bayard he was without fear and he
died without reproach."
Alice would not abandon hope. She racked her brain for possibilities
and probabilities. Perhaps there had been another boat in which her
husband and the Captain escaped. They might have been discovered and
rescued by some vessel bound to America, or, perhaps, some faraway
foreign country. He would let them know as soon as he reached land.
Aunt Ella, though naturally optimistic, did not, in her own heart,
share Alice's hopeful anticipations. Perhaps Florence's somewhat
extravagant account of the collision and the events which followed it
led her to form the opinion that her nephew's escape from death was
Hope takes good root, but it is a flower that, too often, has no
blossom. A month passed--two--three--four--five--six--and then
despair filled the young wife's heart. She could bear up no longer,
and Dr. Parshefield made frequent visits.
Aunt Ella pressed the fatherless infant to her breast.
"What shall you name him, Alice?"
"There can be but one name for him. God sent us two little girls, but
took them back again. We both wished for a son, and Heaven has sent
one, but has taken the father from us."
"And you will name him--"
"Quincy Adams Sawyer, Junior," was the answer. "It is his
"But," said Aunt Ella, "they never add Junior to a boy's name unless
his father is living."
Alice sat up in bed, and her eyes flashed as she said,
"My heart has renewed its hope with this young life. I believe my
husband still lives, and, until I have conclusive proofs of his
death, our son's name will be Quincy Adams Sawyer, Junior."
Time, it is said, will dull the deepest sorrow. There are some who
put out of sight everything to remind them of the lost one, while
others treasure every memento, and never tire of recalling the
virtues of the departed.
In Alice's case the presence of her little boy was a constant
reminder of her husband. In Aunt Ella she found a willing listener,
and talking of her past happy married life aided greatly in restoring
her nerve power and improving her general health.
She said one day, "Aunt Ella, don't you think it better to face your
troubles bravely than to fly away from them?"
"I certainly do. You are following the right course, Alice; the same
as I did when Robert died. Your parting with Quincy was sad,
inexpressibly so, but imagine my feelings to awake and find my
husband dead in the bed beside me. Did I try to forget him? You
remember his rooms in the Mount Vernon Street house. They became my
Mecca--the place to which I went when I had a 'blue fit,' or was
depressed in any way. God has sent you a child to keep your husband's
memory fresh. I repeat, Alice, you are doing the right thing."
"I do it," said Alice, "for two reasons. One is that it makes me
happy. The other is, that believing that my husband still lives, I
wish to bring up his son so that he will be proud of him."
Florence, after awhile, made a confidante of Aunt Ella and told her
about Captain Hornaby. She confessed her interest in him and said
that notwithstanding his crime she loved him, but that her father
would never forgive him.
"What part of England did he come from?" asked Aunt Ella.
"He said from Hornaby--that the place was named after his family.
Their home was called Hornaby Hook, because, as he said, it was built
upon a promontory in the form of a hook."
"What is his father's name?"
"Sir Wilfred, and Reginald is the fourth son."
"No chance of his ever getting the title," remarked Aunt Ella.
"I wonder where Hornaby Hook is," said Florence.
"That's easily found out. Linda has _Burke's Peerage_ and I'll write
to her to-day."
Lady Fernborough more than kept her promise, for in her letter she
told the Countess Florence's unhappy love story besides asking for
information about the Hornaby family.
Linda's reply was a revelation.
"MY DEAR AUNT ELLA,
"I was very sorry to hear that Quincy's sister has been so
unfortunate in her love affair, and astonished to find that Captain
Hornaby is the cause of it. You will be surprised to learn that
Algernon is well acquainted with Sir Wilfred who is an old-fashioned
English gentleman and the soul of honour. He has met the Captain and
thought him a fine young fellow. Hornaby Hook is on the Sussex coast
about ten miles from us. Come and see us and bring Florence with you.
Perhaps there is an explanation of the affair which the Captain can
give. He should not be condemned without a hearing. Give my love to
Alice and tell her I'm coming to see that baby very soon. With love,
ever yours, LINDA."
Aunt Ella was now in her element. There was a mystery to be explained
and she held the key. She told Florence where Hornaby Hook was, and
that the Hornaby family was a fine one, and that Sir Wilfred was held
in the highest respect by everybody, but did not mention Linda's
suggestion of a visit, and a possible explanation. She knew Florence
would not accompany her if there was any possibility of her meeting
the Captain. It would appear as though she was running after him, and
no American girl, especially a Sawyer, would do that.
Sir Stuart was greatly interested in young Quincy, and Mrs. Villiers,
the housekeeper, thought him the handsomest and best baby she had
ever seen. Thus the way was paved for the first step in Aunt Ella's
"Alice, do you think you would be very lonesome if I went away for a
"Why no, Aunt Ella. Why should I be? I have the baby, and Sir Stuart
and Mrs. Villiers are both goodness itself to me."
"Florence is not looking very well. Don't you think a week at the
seashore would do her good?"
"I wish she could go, poor girl. When I think of her, I say to myself
that I have no right to be unhappy. If Quincy is dead, he died nobly,
to save others. But the shame connected with Captain Hornaby is what
Florence feels so deeply."
That same day Aunt Ella wrote to Linda that she was coming with
Florence, and that Algernon and she must arrange in some way to bring
about that "explanation."
Algernon, Earl of Sussex, and the Countess Linda lived at Ellersleigh
in the County of Sussex, not many miles from historic Hastings. To
Aunt Ella and Florence they extended a warm and heartfelt welcome,
and Florence, used as she was to the luxuries of life, could not but
marvel at the beauty and even splendour that surrounded the Countess--
once an American country girl named Linda Putnam.
"I have sent out cards for a dinner party next Thursday," said Linda
to Aunt Ella. "There will be an opportunity for that 'explanation,'
but you must assume the responsibility if there should be a tragic
"We must hope for the best," replied Aunt Ella. "I will gather up the
fragments after the explosion."
From the expression on Florence's face, when Sir Wilfred Hornaby and
Captain Reginald Hornaby were announced as guests, the explosion
In her mind, she had looked forward to such a meeting with a
sensation of delight. Now that it had come her pride was up in arms.
She had been tricked into coming. The Countess and Aunt Ella had
arranged this meeting. Perhaps he had been told that she would be
present. Well, if they did meet, he would have to do the talking. She
had no explanation to make. If he had one, he must introduce the
At the dinner Florence sat next to Sir Wilfred, but the Captain was
far removed on the other side of the long table. Sir Wilfred was
politely attentive. Did he know of his son's crime? Evidently not--
but, if he did, he had condoned the offence. But how could he if he
was the man of honour that the Countess had pictured him in her
letter to Aunt Ella? No, the son had deceived _his_ father as he had
_her_ father. Did she really love him? Had she forgiven him? If he
had proposed when Florence was in that state of uncertainty, his
rejection would have been swift and positive.
When the dinner was over, the Captain, apparently unconscious of
guilt, approached Florence. He offered his arm.
"Will you come with me, Miss Sawyer? I have a very important question
to ask you."
Should she go? He was going to ask her a question. She had many to
ask him. This unpleasant uncertainty must end--now, was the accepted
She took his arm, and he made his way to the conservatory--that haven
of confidences, where so many lovers have been made happy, or
"Why have you not answered my letters?" he said.
"I never received them." Her voice was cold, and she removed her hand
from his arm.
"I sent them in your father's care."
"That is probably the reason why I did not get them."
"Why should he refuse to give them to you? I borrowed money from him
but I repaid him before I left America."
He thought she was not acquainted with his perfidy. She would
"Did you tell him the truth when you borrowed it?"
His face flushed. How could she know? But she did. He would be honest
"No, I did not."
"I knew it. My sister Maude recovered your coat, but there was no
money or bills of exchange in your pocket book--only a few visiting
cards bearing the name of Col. Arthur Spencer."
The young man bowed his head. He was guilty. She would leave him
without another word. She turned to go. He caught her hand, which
she, indignantly, withdrew from his grasp.
"I will explain, Miss Sawyer." Was he going to tell the truth, or
invent another story?
"Arthur Spencer was the Colonel of the first regiment with which I
was connected. I do not belong to it now. He is a poor man, and an
inveterate gambler. I had not seen him for two years, when we met in
New York just before I went to Boston. You are tired, Miss Sawyer."
He pointed to a seat beneath some palms, and led her, unresistingly,
"He asked me to dinner with him, and I went. Then he suggested a game
of cards while we smoked and I foolishly consented. The stakes, at
first, were small, and he won rapidly. He increased his bets and I
was forced, against my will, to meet them. When we stopped playing,
he had not only won all my money, but had my 'I O U' for three
hundred dollars. I had to borrow money from him to pay my hotel bill
and fare to Boston."
Florence nodded. She could not speak.
"I had letters of introduction to Boston families--among them, your
own. When that accident happened--" she looked up at him inquiringly--
[Illustration: "You have acknowledged that you are a gambler]
"No, don't think that of me--it was not intentional on my part--I was
without money--the Colonel must be paid--my allowance was not due for
ten days--I invented the story that I told your father."
"It was a lie!" Florence choked as she uttered the accusing words.
"Yes, it was a lie, and one for which I have sincerely repented, I
told my father, and he forgave me, but said, as the coat was gone, to
let the matter drop, that nothing would be gained by confessing to
your father as he had been paid, and had met with no loss."
Florence sprang to her feet. "No loss!" she cried. "How can you say
that? You have acknowledged that you are a gambler and a liar--why
not finish the story and confess your crime?"
"Crime, Florence! What do you mean?"
Her lips curled
"You do not know what I mean?"
"No, as God hears me, I do not. You accuse me--of what?"
She felt that the crux was reached. "Did you not know when the check
for five hundred dollars came back to my father's bank that it had
been raised to five thousand dollars?"
The Captain reeled, and came near falling. He clutched at the palm
tree which sustained him until he regained his footing.
"My God! And you have thought me the thief!"
"What else could I think?"
"I can't understand.... I met Col. Spencer in Boston--those birds of
prey always follow their victims, and gave him the check, receiving
two hundred dollars in return. He must have--and yet I cannot believe
he would do such a thing. He is in London now. To-morrow I will go
and find him."
"But if he denies it--how can you prove him guilty?"
"Unless he frees my name from such a charge--I will challenge him--
and kill him!"
Florence could no longer act as accuser. Her heart plead for the
young Englishman who had confessed his error, but who so strenuously
denied his participation in a crime. "Miss Sawyer, will you
mercifully suspend judgment until my return from London?"
She did not reply in words, but gave him her hand.
When they rejoined the company both Linda and Aunt Ella noticed
Florence's heightened colour and the brightness of her eyes.
"He must have explained," said Linda, "when an occasion offered."
"I hope so," was Aunt Ella's reply, and she felicitated herself upon
the success of their joint plot.
AN AMERICAN HEIRESS
For some time after rejoining the company, Florence was so busy with
her thoughts that she paid little attention to what was going on
about her. She was aroused from her abstraction by a sharp voice:
"Don't you think Captain Hornaby is a very handsome young man?"
Florence looked and found that her questioner was Lady Elfrida
Hastings, the only sister of the Earl. When that lady had visited
them at Nahant, she had considered her the embodiment of all the
female virtues. She recalled her statuesque repose, and her
aristocratic manner which had so pleased her father. She also
remembered the morning when she was discovered by Maude practising
the Lady Elfrida's poses, and her sister's inquiry as to whether she
had a chill and wanted the quinine pills.
Feeling the necessity of saying something, she replied: "I haven't
noticed him particularly."
The Lady Elfrida, perfect gentlewoman that she was, said severely,
for her, "Your failure to do so, certainly was not due to lack of
So, her long absence in his company had been noticed. She was at a
loss for a reply, when to her great relief the Earl approached and
asked if she would play a certain piece which he had admired very
much when in America.