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The Two Elsies by Martha Finley

Part 4 out of 5

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"How kind you are, Eva!" whispered Lulu, her face lighting up with
pleasure as she accepted the offer; "how good to me! Oh, it is nice to
have such a friend as you!"


"For what I will, I will, and there's an end."


Max was on the veranda, waiting, like the little gentleman he was, to
hand the girls into the carriage.

Hardly were they seated therein and the door closed upon them, when he
exclaimed, "Why, what's the matter?"

"Why do you think anything is?" queried Rosie, with an attempt to laugh.

"Because you all look so excited, and--what's your hand wrapped up for,

She removed the handkerchief and held the hand out before him.

"Who did that? Who dared do such a thing to my sister?" he asked hotly,
his face crimsoning with anger and indignation.

"Never mind who," said Lulu.

"Signor Foresti," said Rosie. "I hope grandpa will have him fined and
imprisoned for it--such a cowardly, savage attack as it was!"

"I only wish I was big enough and strong enough to flog him well for it,"
growled Max, clenching his fists and speaking between his shut teeth. "If
papa were here, I think the cowardly villain wouldn't escape without a
sound drubbing."

Lulu laughed rather hysterically as she said, "I took the law into my own
hands, Max, and punished him pretty well for it, I believe."

"You did!" he exclaimed in utter astonishment; "how? I shouldn't think
you had the strength to grapple with him."

"I didn't, exactly, but before he knew what was coming I hit him a blow
that I think nearly knocked him down;" and she went on to repeat the
whole story for Max's benefit.

The occurrence was the theme of conversation all the way home; and on
their arrival, Mr. Dinsmore and the ladies being found on the veranda,
the case was at once laid before them in all its details.

All were indignant at the treatment Lulu had received, but somewhat
shocked, also, at her retaliation.

"You should not have done that," Mr. Dinsmore said reprovingly; "it was
by no means lady-like. I should not have blamed you for at once vacating
the piano-stool and walking out of the room; but his punishment should
have been left to older and wiser hands."

"There's enough more owing him for older and wiser hands to attend to,"
remarked Lulu; "and I hope it won't be neglected."

An amused smile trembled about the corners of Mr. Dinsmore's mouth; but
only for an instant.

"Measures shall be taken to prevent a recurrence of the unpleasantness of
to-day," he said with becoming gravity. "I shall myself call upon the
signor and warn him to beware of ever repeating it."

"He won't repeat it to me, because I shall never take another lesson from
him," said Lulu, steadily, looking straight into Mr. Dinsmore's eyes as
she spoke.

"The choice is not with you," he answered somewhat sternly; "you are
under orders and must do as you are bid. But we will not discuss the
matter further at present," he added with a wave of the hand, as
dismissing her.

She turned to go, in no very amiable mood.

"Lulu, dear," said Grandma Elsie, rising and following her, "those poor
fingers must be attended to. I have some salve which will be soothing and
healing to them; will you come with me and let me dress them with it?"

"Yes, ma'am, thank you," the child answered half chokingly, the kind
sympathy expressed in the words and tones quite overcoming her with a
strong reaction from the stubborn, defiant mood into which Mr. Dinsmore's
closing remarks had thrown her.

Mr. Dinsmore's decision was truly a disappointment to all the children;
for once even Rosie was inclined to warmly espouse Lulu's cause. Though
standing in considerable awe of her grandfather, she ventured upon a mild

"Grandpa, don't you think that man has behaved badly enough to deserve to
lose his pupil?"

"I do most decidedly," he answered; "but Lulu is improving wonderfully
under his tuition, and should not, I think, be allowed to lose the
advantage of it while we remain here."

"I very much fear his usefulness is over so far as she is concerned,"
sighed Violet. "And, grandpa, I dread the struggle you will certainly
have with her if you insist upon her continuance in his class. I never
saw a more determined look than she wore when she said that she would
never take another lesson of him."

"Do not trouble yourself," he said; "I think I am fully equal to the
contest. I should gladly avoid it if it seemed to me right to do so, but
it does not. It is high time Lulu was taught proper submission to lawful

Max, standing with averted face, a little apart from the speaker, heard
every word that was said.

The boy was sorely troubled. He turned and walked away, saying to
himself, "She will never do it; I don't believe any power on earth can
make her, and Grandpa Dinsmore is about as determined as she; so what is
to come of it I can't tell. Oh, if papa were only here! nobody else can
manage Lu when she gets into one of her stubborn fits, and I don't
believe he'd make her go back to that horrid savage of a music-teacher.
I've a notion to write and tell him all about it. But no, where would be
the use? I dare say the whole affair will be over before my letter could
reach him and an answer come back."

Very tenderly and carefully Elsie bound up the wounded fingers; then
taking the little girl in her arms she kissed her kindly, saying, "You
were treated very badly, my dear child, but it is not likely the man will
venture to act so again after my father has spoken to him and warned him
of the consequences of such behavior."

"I think he won't to me," Lulu answered, the stubborn, defiant look
returning to her face.

"Do the fingers feel better?" Elsie asked gently.

"Yes, ma'am; and I am very much obliged. Grandma Elsie, do you know where
Gracie is?"

"I think you will find her in the playroom."

Lulu immediately resorted thither, and found Grace playing happily with
her dolls.

"Oh, Lu, I'm so glad you have come!" she cried, glancing up at her sister
as she entered.

"I do miss you so all day long while you are at school! But what's the
matter with your hand?" she asked with concern.

"Nothing very serious," Lulu answered carelessly. "That villain of a
music-teacher snapped his pointer on my fingers and blistered them;
that's all."

"Oh, Lu, what a shame! Did it hurt you very much?"

"Quite a good deal; but of course it was the insult, not the pain, that I
cared for."

She went on to give the details of the occurrence to this new listener,
who heard them with tears of sympathy and indignation.

"I think somebody ought to whip him," she said; "and I hope he'll never
have a chance to strike you again."

"I don't intend he shall. I've said I won't take another lesson from him,
and I don't intend to. But Grandpa Dinsmore says I must; so there'll be
another fight."

"Oh, Lu, don't!" cried Grace, in terror; "don't try to fight _him_. Don't
you remember how he 'most made Grandma Elsie die when she was a little
girl, 'cause she wouldn't do what he told her to?"

Lulu nodded. "But I'm another kind of girl," she said; "and I'm not his
child, so I think he wouldn't dare be quite so cruel to me."

"How brave you are, Lulu!" Grace exclaimed in admiration. "But, oh, I am
so sorry for you! I'd be frightened 'most to death, I think; frightened
to think of going back to that signor, and dreadfully afraid to refuse if
Grandpa Dinsmore said I must."

"Yes, you poor little thing! but I'm not so timid, you know. Grandpa
Dinsmore can't frighten me into breaking my word."

"But, you know, Lu," said Max, coming in at that moment, "that papa has
ordered us to obey Grandpa Dinsmore, and if we refuse we are disobeying
our father too."

"I am sure papa never thought he would want me to go on taking lessons of
a man that struck me," cried Lulu, indignantly. "Besides, I've said I
won't, and nothing on earth shall make me break my word."

"I wish papa was here," sighed Max, looking sorely troubled.

"So do I," responded Lulu. "I'm sure he wouldn't make me go back to that
hateful old Signor Foresti."

That evening Max, Lulu, Rosie, and Evelyn were in the schoolroom at
Viamede, preparing their lessons for the morrow, when a servant came up
with a message for Lulu; she was wanted in the library.

Flushing hotly, and looking a good deal disturbed, Lulu pushed aside her
books and rose to obey the summons.

"Only Miss Lulu? nobody else, Jim?" asked Rosie.

"I 'spects so, Miss Rosie; dat's all Massa Dinsmore say."

"Oh, Lu, I'm sorry for you!" whispered Evelyn, catching Lulu's hand and
pressing it affectionately in hers.

"You're very kind, but I'm not afraid," Lulu answered, drawing herself up
with dignity; then she hurried to the library, not giving herself time to
think what might be in store for her there.

She started with surprise, and paused for an instant on the threshold, as
she perceived that Professor Manton was there with Mr. Dinsmore, who was
the only other occupant of the room.

"Come in, Lulu," Mr. Dinsmore said, seeing her hesitation; "you have
nothing to fear if you are disposed to be good and docile."

As he spoke he pointed to a low chair by his side.

Lulu came quietly forward and took it.

"I'm not afraid, Grandpa Dinsmore," she said in low, even tones.
"Good-evening, Professor Manton."

"Good-evening," he replied, with a stiff nod. "I am sorry to be brought
here by so unpleasant a duty as laying a complaint against you."

"You needn't care; I don't," she said with the utmost nonchalance.

He lifted his eyebrows in astonishment, and had nearly forgotten his
dignity so far as to utter a low whistle, but caught himself just in

Mr. Dinsmore frowned darkly.

"What is the meaning of such talk, Lulu?" he inquired. "If you do not
care for the displeasure of teachers and guardians you are indeed a
naughty girl."

He paused for a reply, but none came, and he went on: "Professor Manton
has brought me a report of your conduct to-day, agreeing substantially
with the one given by yourself, and I have called you down to tell him in
your presence that you are to go on taking lessons of Signor Foresti."

Lulu's cheeks crimsoned, and she looked from one to the other with
flashing eyes.

"Grandpa Dinsmore and Professor Manton, I have said several times, and I
say it again, I will _never_ take another lesson from that man!"

"Then you deliberately defy the authority of both the professor and
myself?" Mr. Dinsmore queried sternly.

"In this one thing I do."

"The consequences may be very unpleasant," he said significantly and with
rising anger.

"I know the consequences of giving up and taking lessons again from
Signor Foresti would be very unpleasant," she retorted.

"Leave the room!" he commanded, with a stamp of the foot that sent Lulu's
heart up into her throat, though she tried to appear perfectly calm and
unconcerned as she silently rose and obeyed the order.

"Really the most amazingly audacious, impertinent child I ever saw!"
muttered the professor. Then aloud, "What is to be done with her, sir?"
he asked.

"She must be made to obey, of course," replied Mr. Dinsmore.

"Yes, yes, certainly; but what measure would you have me take to bring
her to submission?"

"None; you will please leave all that to me."

"Then if to-morrow she refuses to finish that interrupted lesson, you
would have me simply report the fact to you?"

"No, sir; even that will be quite unnecessary; she will tell me herself.
I am proud to be able to say of her that she is a perfectly truthful and
honest child."

"I am glad to learn that she has at least one virtue as an offset to her
very serious faults," observed the professor, dryly, then rising, "Allow
me to bid you good-evening, sir," and with that he took his departure.

Mr. Dinsmore saw him to the outer door, then returning, began pacing the
floor with arms folded on his breast and a heavy frown on his brow.

But presently Elsie and Violet came in, both looking anxious and
disturbed, and stopping his walk he sat down with them and reported all
that had passed during the call of Professor Manton; after which they
held a consultation in regard to the means to be taken to induce Lulu to
be submissive and obedient.

"Shall we not try mild measures at first, papa?" Elsie asked with a look
of entreaty.

"I approve of that course," he answered; "but what shall they be? Have
you anything to suggest?"

"Ah," she sighed, "it goes hard with me to have her disciplined at all;
why will she not be good without it, poor, dear child!"

"Let us try reasoning, coaxing, and persuading," suggested Violet, with
some hesitation.

"Very well," her grandfather said; "you and your mother may try that
to-night. If it fails, tell her that so long as she is rebellious all her
time at home must be spent in her own room and alone."

"Dear grandpa," Violet said pleadingly, "that punishment would fall
nearly as heavily upon Gracie as upon Lulu; and a better child than Grace
is not to be found anywhere."

"Yes, yes, and it is a pity; but I don't see that it can be helped. It is
a hard fact that in this sinful world the innocent have very often to
suffer with the guilty. You are suffering yourself at this moment, and so
is your mother, entirely because of the misconduct of this child and that
fiery little Italian."

"Lulu is extremely fond of her little sister," remarked Elsie; "so let us
hope the thought of Grace's distress, if separated from her, may lead her
to give up her self-will in regard to this matter. Take courage, Vi; all
is not lost that is in danger."

Each of the two had a talk with Lulu before she went to bed that night,
using all their powers of argument and persuasion; but in vain: she
stubbornly persisted in her resolve never again to be taught by Signor

Violet was almost in despair. She was alone with the little girl in her

"Lulu," she said, "it will certainly give great distress to your father
when he learns that you have become a rebel against grandpa's authority.
You seem to love your papa very dearly; how can you bear to pain him so?"

"I am quite sure papa would not order me to take another lesson of a man
who has struck me," was the reply, in a half-tremulous tone, which told
that the appeal had not failed to touch the child's heart. "I do love my
father dearly, dearly, but I can't submit to such insulting treatment;
and nothing on earth will make me."

"You are not asked or ordered to do that," Violet answered gently; "the
man is to be utterly forbidden to ill-treat you in any way.

"Perhaps I should hardly try to hire you to do right, but I think there
is nothing I would refuse you if you will but do as grandpa bids you.
What would you like to have which it is in my power to bestow--a new
dress? a handsome set of jewelry? books? toys? What will you have?"

"Nothing, thank you," returned Lulu, coldly.

"I will double your pocket-money," was Violet's next offer; but Lulu
heard it in silence and with no relaxing of the stubborn determination of
her countenance.

"I will do that and give you both dress and jewelry besides," Violet
said, with a little hesitation, not feeling sure that she was doing quite

Lulu's eyes shone for an instant, but the stubborn look settled down on
her face again.

"Mamma Vi, I don't want to be bribed," she said. "If anything at all
would induce me to do as you wish and break my word, love for papa and
Gracie and Max would do it alone."

Violet sighed. Drawing out her watch, "It is past your bedtime," she
said. "Lulu, dear," and she drew the child caressingly toward her, "when
you say your prayers to-night will you not ask God to show you the right
and help you to do it?"

"Mamma Vi, it can't be right to tell a lie, and what else should I be
doing if I went back to Signor Foresti for lessons after I've said over
and over that I never would again?"

"Suppose a man has promised to commit murder; should he keep that promise
or break it?" asked Violet.

"Break it, of course," replied Lulu; "but this is quite another thing,
Mamma Vi."

"I'm not so clear about that," Violet answered seriously. "In the case we
have supposed, the promise would be to break the sixth commandment; in
yours it is to break the fifth."

"I'm not disobeying papa," asserted Lulu, hotly.

"Are you not?" asked Violet; "did he not bid you obey my grandfather
while he is not here to direct you himself?"

"Yes, ma'am," acknowledged Lulu, reluctantly; "but I'm sure he never
thought your grandpa would be so unreasonable as to say I must take
lessons of a man like Signor Foresti who had struck me: and that when I
did not deserve it at all."

"Lulu," said Violet, a little severely, "your father made no reservation.
But now good-night," she added in a more affectionate tone.

"I trust you will wake to-morrow morning in a better frame of mind."

"But I won't," muttered Lulu, as she left the room and retired to her
own; "I'll not be driven, coaxed, or hired."


"For what I will, I will, and there's an end."


Shortly after breakfast the next morning, and before the hour for setting
out for school, Elsie called Lulu aside, and in a gentle, affectionate
way asked if she were now willing to do as directed by Mr. Dinsmore.

"Grandma Elsie," said the little girl, "I am ready to do anything he bids
me if it is not to take lessons of that horrid man who dared to strike me
after being told by Grandpa Dinsmore himself that he must never do so."

"I am grieved, my child, that you have no better answer than that to give
me," Elsie said, "and I think you know that it will not satisfy my
father; he will have those committed to his care obedient in everything;
and he bade me tell you that if you will not submit to his authority in
this matter--if you do not to-day obey his order to finish that
interrupted music-lesson--you must, on returning home, go directly to
your own room and stay there; and as long as you continue rebellious, all
your time at home is to be spent in that room and alone."

She paused for a reply, but none came. Lulu sat with eyes cast down and
cheeks hotly flushing, her countenance expressing anger and stubborn

Elsie sighed involuntarily.

"Lulu, my dear child," she said, "do not try this contest with my father.
I warn you that to do so will only bring you trouble and sorrow; he is a
most determined man, and because he feels that he has right on his side
in this thing, you will find him unconquerable."

"I think that is what he will find me, Grandma Elsie," replied the
determinately self-willed little girl.

"Surely you are showing scant gratitude for the many kindnesses received
at my father's hands," Elsie said; "but I will not upbraid you with them.
You may go now."

Feeling somewhat ashamed of herself, yet far from prepared to submit,
Lulu rose and hastened from the room.

She knew nothing of what had passed between Mr. Dinsmore and Professor
Manton after her dismissal the night before, and it was with a quaking
heart she entered the schoolroom at Oakdale that morning.

Yet though in fear and dread, she had not the slightest intention of
abandoning her position in regard to the music-lessons.

Nothing, however, was said to her on the subject till the hour for
meeting the signor. Then Miss Diana directed her to go and finish her
lesson of the previous day; but on receiving a refusal, merely remarked
that it should be reported to her guardians and her punishment left to

Evelyn gave her friend an entreating look, but Lulu shook her head, then
fixed her eyes upon her book.

As they drove home to Viamede in the afternoon, Grace was waiting for
them on the veranda there.

"Oh, Lulu," she cried, as the latter came up the steps, "mamma has been
helping me to fix up my baby-house, and it is so pretty! Do come right up
to the play-room and see it."

"I can't, Gracie," Lulu answered, coloring and looking vexed and

"Why not?" asked Grace in a tone of surprise and keen disappointment.

But before Lulu could reply, Mr. Dinsmore stepped from the door and
inquired, "What report have you to give me, Lulu?"

"I have not taken a music-lesson to-day," she answered.

"Were you not told to do so?"

"Yes, sir."

"And did not choose to obey? You know the consequence; you must go
immediately to your room and stay there alone during the hours spent at
home, until you are ready to obey."

Lulu assumed an air of indifference as she walked slowly away, but Grace
burst into tears, crying, "Oh, Grandpa Dinsmore! you won't keep me, her
own sister, away from her, will you? oh, please don't. I can't do without

"My dear little girl," he said soothingly, and taking her hand in his, "I
am truly sorry to distress you so, but Lulu must be made obedient. She is
now in a very rebellious mood, and I should do wrong to indulge her in

"Grandpa Dinsmore," she said, looking up pleadingly into his face; with
the tears streaming over her own, _I'd_ be frightened 'most to death if
_I_ had to take lessons of that cross, bad man. How can you want to make
poor Lulu do it?"

"Lulu is not the timid little creature you are," he said, bending down to
kiss her forehead, "and I am sure is not really afraid of the man; nor
need she be after what I have said to him about striking her or any of
the pupils I send him."

"It'll be a long, long while before she'll give up," said Grace; "maybe
she never will. Mayn't I go and talk to her a little and bid her good-by?
You know it's 'most as if she's going far away from us all."

She ended with a sob that quite touched Mr. Dinsmore's heart; also he
thought it possible that her grief over the separation from Lulu, and her
entreaties to her to be submissive and obedient, might have a good
effect. So after a moment's cogitation he granted her request.

"Thank you, sir," said Grace, and hurried upstairs to her sister's door.

"Please, Lu, let me in," she cried. "Grandpa Dinsmore said I might come."

"Did he?" returned Lulu, admitting her. "Well, it must have been
altogether for your sake, not a bit for mine; his heart's as hard as
stone to me."

"Oh, Lu, dear Lu, don't talk so; do give up, so we won't be separated!"
cried Grace, throwing her arms round her sister and giving her a vigorous
hug. "I never can do without you; and don't you care to be with me?"

"Of course I do," said Lulu, twinkling away a tear, for they were raining
from Grace's eyes now, and her bosom heaving with sobs, "and it's just
the cruelest thing that ever was to separate us!"

"But they won't if you'll only give up; and Grandpa Dinsmore says that
horrid man sha'n't strike you again."

"Grandpa Dinsmore is an old tyrant!" said Lulu. "Nobody but a tyrant
would want to force me to put myself in the way of being again treated in
the cruel and insulting way Signor Foresti has treated me once already;
and I _won't_ go back to him; no, not if they kill me!"

"But oh, Lu, think of me!" sobbed Grace. "Max can see you and talk with
you every day, going and coming in the carriage, but I'm afraid I won't
see you at all."

"Oh, Grade, I have a thought!" exclaimed Lulu. "Ask Mamma Vi if you
mayn't ride back and forth with us every morning and afternoon. There's
room enough in the carriage, and the rides would be good for you. You'd
have to ride alone, one way each time, but you wouldn't mind that, would

"Oh no, indeed!" exclaimed Grace, smiling through her tears; "it's a
bright thought, Lu. I'll ask mamma, and I'm 'most sure she'll say yes,
she's so good and kind."

Violet did say yes at once, making one condition only--that neither her
mother nor grandfather should object.

They did not, and every morning and afternoon Grace was ready in good
season for her drive to Oakdale.

The other children were glad of her company, and as by common consent
always gave her the seat next to Lulu.

For two weeks those short drives yielded the sisters all the intercourse
they had. They met with a warm embrace in the morning just before
stepping into the carriage, and parted in the same way on their return to
Viamede in the afternoon. Then Lulu went directly to her own room, shut
herself in, and was seen no more by the other children till the next day.

During that fortnight the confinement and solitude were her only
punishment; her meals were brought to her and consisted of whatever she
desired from the table where the family were seated; also books and toys
were allowed her.

Every night Violet and Elsie, her mother, came, separately, for a few
words with the little girl; always kind, gentle, loving words of
admonition and entreaty that she would return to her former dutiful and
docile behavior. But they were always met by the same stubborn resolve.

At length, one evening she was summoned to Mr. Dinsmore's presence,--in
the library as before,--again asked if she were ready to obey, and on
answering in the negative was told that, such being the case, she was to
be sent to Oakdale as a boarding scholar, and not to return home at all
until ready to give up her wilfulness and do as she was bidden.

She heard her sentence with dismay, but resolved to endure it rather than

"I'm not ready to break my word yet, Grandpa Dinsmore," she said with a
lofty air; "and perhaps Oakdale won't be a worse prison than those the
martyrs went to for conscience' sake."

"Lulu," he said sternly, "do not deceive yourself with the idea that you
are suffering for conscience' sake; a wicked promise--a promise to break
one of God's commands--is better broken than kept; the sin was in making

"I don't know any commandment that says I must take lessons of Signor
Foresti, or obey somebody who is no relation to me," returned Lulu, half
trembling at her own temerity as she spoke.

"You are an extremely impertinent little girl," said Mr. Dinsmore, "and
not altogether honest in pretending such ignorance; you know that you are
commanded to obey your father, that he has directed you to be obedient to
me in his absence, and that I have ordered you to take lessons of Signor

He paused a moment, then went on: "If tomorrow you do as you are ordered
you will be at once restored to favor, and all the privileges you
formerly enjoyed in this house; otherwise you will not return from
Oakdale with the others in the afternoon."

He waved his hand in dismissal, and she left the room full of anger and
defiance, a most unhappy child.

In the hall she halted for a moment and glanced toward the outer door. A
sudden impulse moved her to run away. But what good would that do? Where
could she go? How find shelter, food, clothing? And should she ever see
father, brother, sisters again?

She moved on again down the hall, and slowly climbed the broad stairway
leading to the one above.

Violet met her there and felt her heart sink as she glanced at the
sullen, angry countenance. She stopped, laid her hand kindly on the
child's shoulder, and said,

"Lulu, dear, I know pretty well what you have just been told by grandpa,
and, my child, it distresses me exceedingly to think of you being sent
away from us all."

"You needn't care, Mamma Vi; _I_ don't," interrupted Lulu, angrily. "I'd
rather be away from people that ill-treat me so; I only wish I could go
thousands of miles from you all, and never, _never_ come back."

"Poor, dear, unhappy child!" Violet said, tears trembling in her
beautiful eyes; "I know you cannot be other than miserable while
indulging in such wrong feelings. If I have ill-treated you in any way I
have not been conscious of it, and am truly sorry, for it is my strong
desire to be all that I should to my husband's dear children. Come into
my dressing-room and let us have a little talk together about these

She drew Lulu into the room as she spoke, and made her sit down on a sofa
by her side.

"No, Mamma Vi, you have never ill-treated me," answered Lulu, her sense
of justice asserting itself; "but I think Grandpa Dinsmore has, and so
I'd rather go away from him."

"I am sorry you feel so little gratitude to one who has done so much
for you, Lulu," Violet said, not unkindly. "Surely you cannot deny
that it has been a very great kindness in him to take you into his own
family--giving you the best of homes--and instruct you himself, for no
reward but the pleasure of doing you good and seeing your improvement:
that, too, in spite of having to bear with much ill-behavior from you."

Lulu tried hard to think herself unjustly accused, but in her heart knew
very well that every word of Violet's reproof was richly deserved. She
made no reply, but hung her head, while a vivid blush suffused her

Silence in the room for several minutes; then Lulu said, "I think my
bedtime has come, Mamma Vi; may I go now?"

"Yes; good-night," said Violet, bending down to give her a kiss.

Lulu returned both the kiss and the good-night, then rose to leave the

"Stay a moment, dear," Violet said in her gentlest, sweetest tone; "I am
writing to your father: what shall I say about you?"

"Anything you please," Lulu answered coldly, and walked away with head
erect, cheeks aflame, and eyes flashing.

"If she wants to tell tales on me, she may. I shan't try to stop her,"
she muttered to herself as she went into her own room and closed the
door; then sending a glance around upon all the luxury and beauty of the
apartment, the thought flashed painfully on her that these things, so
delightful to her, would have to be exchanged for others far inferior and
less enjoyable; for, of course, no boarding-school room would be
furnished at anything like the expense that had been lavished upon this
and others in this fine old mansion, so long owned and at times occupied
by the possessors of vast wealth joined to refined and cultivated taste.

During the last fortnight, enforced confinement there had sometimes made
the room seem like a prison; but now her heart swelled at the thought of
leaving it, perhaps never to return, for certainly, unless she became
submissive and obedient, she would be kept at the academy at least until
the family were ready to leave for Ion.

Then it occurred to her that there were advantages, companionships,
luxuries, to be given up, the resigning of which would be still harder.
Now that she was to leave them, she found she had grown fond of both her
young stepmother and the baby sister of whom she had once been so
jealous; and that she loved Grandma Elsie also, Aunt Elsie too; and
indeed, that almost every one in the family connection had proved
agreeable in such intercourse as she had held with them.

Alas! what a sorry exchange from their society to that of the Mantons,
and from all the loving care that had been bestowed upon her and the many
privileges accorded her at Ion and Viamede, to the neglect and
indifference to be expected from strangers! As she thought of all this
she could not contemplate the carrying out of her sentence of banishment
to Oakdale with anything like satisfaction.

Yet the idea of submitting to what she considered Mr. Dinsmore's tyranny
being still more repugnant to her, she resolved to abide by her decision,
risking all consequences.

She rose early the next morning, and busied herself for some time in
gathering together such book and toys as she wished to take with her;
then seeking her young step-mother, "Mamma Vi," she asked, "am I to pack
my trunk myself?"

"You are quite resolved to leave us, then, Lulu?" Violet inquired.

"I am quite resolved never to take another lesson from Signor Foresti,"
returned Lulu doggedly.

Violet sighed. "I had hoped you would wake this morning in a better
mood," she said. "No; you need not pack your trunk: Agnes shall do it
under my supervision. But it shall not be sent till the return of the
children from school this afternoon, as I still hope to see you with

Grace, who was present, stood listening in wide-eyed astonishment.

"What is it all about?" she asked in alarm. "Is Lulu going away?"

"Yes," Lulu answered for herself; "Grandpa Dinsmore says if I won't take
lessons of Signor Foresti I must stay at Oakdale as a boarding-scholar."

"O Lu, Lu! do give up and come back home," entreated Grace, bursting into
tears; "I can't do without you, you know I can't?"

Lulu drew her aside and whispered words of comfort.

"It can't be for so very long, I think, Grace; because we'll all be going
back to Ion in two or three months. Besides, we can see each other every
day, if you keep on coming in the carriage as you've been doing."

"But it will be only for a few minutes, and you won't have a bit nice
time there."

"No, I suppose, not; but even if it's pretty hard, I'd rather stay there
than give up to that old tyrant."

"Please don't say that," pleaded Grace; "I love Grandpa Dinsmore."

When the carriage came to the door after breakfast, and the children
trooped down ready for school, Grandma Elsie joined them on the veranda,
wishing them a happy and profitable day at their studies; then putting an
arm about Lulu she said to her in an undertone,

"Lulu, dear child, I want to see you here with the rest to-night; you are
one of my little girls, and I would not have you so rebellious that you
must be shut out from my house. There! you need not answer, dear; only
remember that Grandma Elsie loves you, and longs to see you good and

"Thank you, ma'am; you're very good and kind," Lulu said a little
tremulously, then hurried into the carriage, Max giving her the help of
his hand.

The others were already in, and as Max took the only vacant seat, by
Lulu's side, he noticed that her face was very red, and that Grace was

"What's the matter?" he asked, glancing from one to the other.

"Lulu's not coming home with us to-night; she's going to board at
Oakdale, she says," sobbed Grace.

"Is that so? What for?" asked Max, looking at Lulu.

"Because Grandpa Dinsmore says I must, if I won't take lessons of Signor

It was news to Evelyn, Rose, and Walter as well as to Max, they having
heard nothing of it before. There was a moment of surprised silence,
broken by Rosie:

"Well, you may as well give up. Grandpa is not to be conquered, as I knew
when the contest began."

Max and Evelyn were looking much distressed.

"Oh, Lulu, do!" entreated the latter; "you surely have held out long

"I should think so," said Max; "especially considering how kind Grandpa
Dinsmore has been to us all, and that papa ordered us to be obedient to

"I'd give up," remarked Walter, "'cause there's no use fighting grandpa.
Everybody has to mind him. Even mamma never does anything he asks her not

"The idea of not being your own mistress, even when you're a
grandmother!" exclaimed Lulu scornfully.

"Mamma _is_ her own mistress," retorted Rose. "It is only that she loves
grandpa so dearly, and thinks him so wise and good, that she _prefers_ to
do just as he wishes her to."


"Let come what will, I mean to bear it out."


"The hour for your music-lesson has arrived, Miss Raymond," announced
Miss Manton.

Rosie and Evelyn both looked entreatingly at Lulu; but scarcely raising
her eyes, she simply said, "I shall not take it to-day, Miss Diana."

"Very well; you will have to abide the consequences of your refusal,"
returned Miss Diana severely.

"Is it so very dreadful to live in this house with you?" queried saucy

"What do you mean by that impertinent question?" asked Miss Diana, facing
round angrily upon her.

"I only wanted to know in time," said Lulu. "What you said just now
sounded as if you thought so; for that is the consequence I'll have to
abide if I continue to refuse to take my music-lessons."

"It shall be about as unpleasant as I can well make it, in return for
your impudence," was the furious rejoinder. "Also, you will remain in
your seat during recess to-day."

"Oh, Lulu," whispered Evelyn at the first opportunity, "it was not
prudent to say what you did to Miss Diana; she will have it in her power
to make your life here very uncomfortable."

"Yes," Lulu said with indifference, "I expect to have to pay for the
pleasure of speaking my mind; but if she makes _me_ uncomfortable, I'll
manage to make _her_ so too."

As the hour drew near when the school would be dismissed for the day, a
servant came in with a message. She said a few words in a low tone to
Miss Diana, who at once turned to Lulu, saying,

"You are wanted in the parlor, Miss Raymond."

The child's heart beat fast as she rose and obeyed the summons, but
quieted when, on entering the parlor, she found Elsie and Violet its sole
occupants. They had always been gentle and kind to her, and she loved
without fearing them.

They made a place for her on the sofa between them, and taking her hand
in a kind clasp, Elsie said, "We have come to take you home, dear child,
if you are now ready to be good and obedient."

"I didn't take the lesson, Grandma Elsie, and I don't intend ever to do
it as long as I live," Lulu answered in even, steady tones. "It was very
kind in you and Mamma Vi to come for me, but I shall have to stay here
till Grandpa Dinsmore gives up asking such an unreasonable thing of me."

"Then, Violet," Elsie said, "nothing remains for us but to see that she
has comfortable accommodations, and leave her here."

At this moment Mrs. Manton came hurrying in with profuse apologies for
not having come sooner, but through the negligence of the servant she had
been until this moment kept in ignorance of their arrival.

"No, you must not blame the servant," Elsie said; "she acted by my
directions. We wished to see this little girl alone for a few minutes,
and not to disturb you; knowing that you are busy with your pupils at
this hour of the day."

"Ah! then perhaps I am intruding;" and Mrs. Manton drew herself up with

"Oh no, not at all," Elsie returned pleasantly; "our private
interview with the child is at an end. She is now to be placed here as a
boarder--as you may perhaps know; and, if you please, we would like to
see the room she is to occupy."

"Certainly, Mrs. Travilla. She can have her choice of several--or you the
choice for her," Mrs. Manton replied, graciously leading the way as she

"You would like to come too?" Elsie said inquiringly, holding out a hand
to Lulu.

"Yes, ma'am, thank you," Lulu answered, slipping hers into it.

They were shown several large rooms, intended and furnished for from four
to six occupants each; two others of somewhat smaller size, which Mrs.
Manton called double rooms; and one little one over the hall, which she
said Lulu could have to herself, if she liked that better than sharing a
larger one with a schoolmate.

To Lulu's eyes it looked uninviting enough: so small, furnished with only
one window, a single bed, one chair, bureau and wash-stand of very plain,
cheap material, somewhat the worse for wear, and just a strip or two of
carpet both faded and worn.

"I think this will hardly do," Violet said gently. "Have you nothing
better to offer, Mrs. Manton?"

"No room that the young girl can have to herself," was the cold,
half-offended reply. "Excuse me for saying so, but I think it is quite
good enough for so obstinate and rebellious a child as I have understood
she is."

"I am quite of your opinion, Mrs. Manton," said a familiar voice behind
them; and turning, they perceived that they had been joined by Mr.
Dinsmore, with Professor Manton bringing up the rear.

Lulu was growing very red and angry.

"But she is my husband's child, grandpa," urged Violet.

"And I am quite certain he would say she deserved nothing better while
she continues obstinate in her rebellion against lawful authority," he

Lulu flashed an angry glance at him.

"It is no matter," she said; "papa will set things right when he comes.
And, Mamma Vi, don't be troubled about it; I shall tell him it was no
fault of yours."

"No," Mr. Dinsmore said, smiling grimly. "I shall not share the
responsibility; my shoulders are quite broad enough to bear it all."

Violet drew Lulu aside when they had all gone down stairs again, and with
her arm about her waist pleaded tenderly, affectionately, with her to
give up her rebellion and go home with them.

"We will start in a few minutes now," she said; "and oh, dear child, I
don't want to leave you behind. I shall grieve very much to think of you
all alone in that miserable little room. Does it not seem a poor place
after those you have had at Ion and Viamede?"

"Yes, Mamma Vi, I have an idea that it's a good deal like a prison-cell;
but what do I care for that? I'd despise myself if I could give up just
for that."

"No, dear, not for that, but because it is right to do it."

"'Tisn't worth while for you to trouble yourself to urge me any more,
Mamma Vi," Lulu said loftily; "I am as fully resolved as ever not to
break my word."

"Then good-by," Violet said, with a sigh and a kiss. "You are not to be
ill-treated--I settled that question with grandpa before we came; and if
any one should attempt to ill-use you, let me know all about it at once."

Elsie, too, kissed Lulu in bidding her good-by; but Mr. Dinsmore simply
took her hand,--given with evident reluctance,--and said he was sorry to
be compelled to banish her from the family-circle; yet if she willed it
so, restoration to the comforts and privileges of home would not be long

Lulu followed them out to the veranda, expecting to see the
family-carriage there with the other children, including her sister
Grace, but was sorely disappointed to perceive that it had already driven

A smaller one, which had brought Mr. Dinsmore and the ladies, was still
there, and she saw them enter, and watched it drive away till it was lost
to sight among the trees.

Then a sudden sense of almost utter loneliness came over her, and rushing
away to a secluded part of the grounds, she gave vent to her feelings in
a storm of tears and sobs.

But by its very violence it soon spent itself; in a few moments she
became quite calm, did her best to remove the traces of her tears, and
went back to the house, reaching it just as her trunk arrived.

It was carried at once to her room, and she followed to unpack and
arrange her clothes in the drawers of the bureau and wash-stand.

There was no closet, and she found herself much cramped for room. It was
very disheartening, for she loved neatness and order, and perceived that
it would be no easy matter to maintain them here, where it was so
difficult to find a place for everything and keep it there.

The supper-bell rang, but she delayed obeying the summons in order to
finish the work in hand. She was hardly more than five minutes behind
time, yet received a sharp reprimand from Professor Manton, and a black

Of course she was angry and indignant, and plainly showed that she was;
not mending matters in the least thereby.

In sullen displeasure she took the seat assigned her, and glancing over
the table, was tempted to turn away in disgust.

The food provided was of the plainest, scant in quantity, inferior in
quality, and neither well prepared nor daintily served; in all which it
presented a striking contrast to the meals that Lulu had been accustomed
to sit down to at Ion and Viamede.

She ate but little; in fact, homesickness had nearly destroyed her

"What a miserable supper!" she remarked to a school-mate, when they had
gone from the dining-room and were gathered on the veranda for the short
half-hour that intervened between the meal and the evening study-hour.

"It was quite as good as usual," was the rejoinder in a sneering tone.
"What did you expect? Do you suppose the Mantons don't want to make
anything off us as boarders?"

"I hadn't thought about that at all," Lulu said, with a look of surprise
and perplexity. Then after a moment's cogitation, "I suppose they do want
to make all they can out of us, and that would be the reason there was so
little on the table; but would it have cost any more to have it cooked
properly? The bread was both sour and heavy, and the butter so strong
that I'd rather go without than eat it."

"Rancid butter is cheaper than sweet, both as costing less and going
farther," answered her companion, "and good cooks are apt to be able to
command higher wages than poor ones; also, like butter, bread goes
farther if it is unpalatable."

"But it makes people sick?" Lulu said, half in assertion, half in

"Of course; but the Mantons don't pay our doctor bills, or support us in
invalidism if it comes to that."

The girl walked away, and Lulu stood leaning against a pillar, lost in
thought, and feeling more homesick than ever.

The boarding-scholars were all some years older than herself, and did not
seem to desire her companionship; in fact, they looked upon and treated
her as one in disgrace, shunned her society, and almost ignored her

The study-hour over, they gathered in groups, chatting together on such
themes as school-girls find most interesting, one or another now and then
looking askance at Lulu, who sat at a distance, lonely and forlorn,
watching them and half-envying their apparent gayety and

How she longed for Evelyn, Grace, Max; even Rosie and the grown up-people
at Viamede!

It was a long evening to her; she thought the hands of the clock had
never before moved so slowly.

At nine a bell called them all into Professor Manton's school-room, where
he read a chapter from the Bible, and made a long prayer in a dull,
monotonous tone, that set most of his hearers to nodding or indulging in
half-suppressed gapes and yawns.

It struck Lulu as a very different service as conducted by him, from what
she had been accustomed to under the lead of her father or Mr. Dinsmore.
They had always shown by tone and manner that they esteemed it a solemn
and a blessed thing to read the words of inspiration and draw near to God
in prayer; while this man went through it as a mere matter of form, of no
more interest than the calling of the roll at the opening of school.

The service was followed by a formal good-night, and the pupils scattered
to their rooms.

"The bell will tap in half an hour, Miss Raymond, and at the first sound
every light must be instantly extinguished," Miss Diana said harshly, as
she gave Lulu her candle.

"But what if I have not finished undressing?" Lulu asked in dismay.

"Then you will be obliged to finish in the dark."

"There won't be time to write in my diary, and I'll have to say my
prayers in the dark," Lulu said to herself as she hastened up the stairs
and into her closet-like apartment.

"What a forlorn bit of a place it is!" she grumbled half aloud; "oh, so
different from my pretty rooms at Ion and Viamede! Oh dear, oh dear! I
wish that horrid Signor Foresti was back in his own country. I'm glad he
doesn't live in this house, so I'd have to see him every day; it's bad
enough to have to stay here without that. But I don't mean to let Grandpa
Dinsmore find out how bad his punishment is; no, nor to be conquered by
it either."

She had set down her candle and was hurriedly making ready for bed.

On creeping in, having blown out her candle just as the signal sounded,
she discovered a new reason for regretting her change of residence; she
must sleep--if she could--on a hard pallet of straw, instead of the soft,
springy mattress she had been accustomed to rest upon at home.

She uttered an exclamation of disgust and impatience, fidgeted about in
the vain effort to find a comfortable spot, and sighed wearily over the
hard hills and hollows.

How Mamma Vi and Grandma Elsie too would pity her! Probably they would
say she must have a better bed, even if it had to be sent from Viamede.

But then Grandpa Dinsmore might put his veto upon that, saying, as he had
that day in regard to the room, that it was quite as good as she
deserved; and she would not give him the chance: she would put up with
the hard bed, as well as with all the other disagreeables of the
situation, nor give up in the very least about the music-lessons.

The situation seemed no brighter or cheerier the next morning; there was
no one to give her a smile, a kiss, or so much as a pleasant word;
breakfast was no improvement upon last night's supper; Mrs. Manton
scolded all through the meal--at her husband, daughters, pupils,
servants; the professor bore it meekly as regarded her, was captious and
irritable toward every one else; Miss Diana looked glum, Miss Emily timid
and ashamed.

The morning service in the schoolroom, that followed the meal, was very
like a repetition of that of the previous evening, and Lulu withdrew from
the room after it was over, feeling less respect and liking than ever for
the principal of the institution.

To her great joy the Viamede carriage drove up a full half-hour earlier
than usual; Grace alighted from it with the others, and running to her
said, "O Lulu, I'm so glad to see you! And I may stay till school-time;
mamma told me so. Grandma Elsie told Uncle Ben to bring us early, and
wait here for me till you go into school."

"It's very kind in them," returned Lulu, hugging and kissing her little
sister. "And I'm ever so delighted to see you all," she added to the
others who had gathered round her.

"And we to see you," Evelyn said, embracing her.

"What kind of a time have you had?" asked Rosie and Max in a breath.

"About such as I anticipated," answered Lulu, nonchalantly. "Of course
it's not like home; but I didn't expect that."

She afterward, under a promise of secrecy, let Evelyn more into her
confidence; described her bed, the meals, telling that she had learned
from one of the older boarders that those she had partaken of were of
average quality; and the unpleasant manners of Professor Manton, his
wife, and Miss Diana.

"O Lu, it is quite too bad that you should be exposed to such things!"
said Evelyn. "Do give up to Grandpa Dinsmore and go home with us

Lulu shook her head decidedly.

"Well then, at least let me tell your mamma, or Grandma Elsie about the
hard bed, and they will surely see that a better one is provided for

But Lulu negatived that also. "I can stand it," she said, "and I wouldn't
for a great deal let Grandpa Dinsmore know what a hard time I am having.
He would triumph over me, and say it was just what I deserved."

So no complaint was made, and Evelyn was the only person at Viamede who
had any idea of the many discomforts Lulu was enduring for self-will's

Sunday morning came and Lulu made herself ready for church, all the time
fearing that she would have to go with the Mantons and sit with them and
their other boarding-scholars.

Great, then, was her joy on seeing Max drive up in a light two-seated
carriage, Violet and Grace on the back seat, a vacant space on the front
beside the young charioteer.

"Oh, they've come for me!" cried Lulu, half aloud, glancing from the
window of her room. "How nice is Mamma Vi to do it!" and she flew down to
the front door to greet them.

The professor was there before her, bowing, smirking, and asking in his
most obsequious tones if Mrs. Raymond would be pleased to alight and walk
into the parlor.

"Thank you, no," Violet said. "We have come merely to pick up Lulu and
take her to church with us. Come, dear," to the little girl; "the
professor will help you in, if you are quite ready to go."

"Yes, Mamma Vi," Lulu answered eagerly, and with the aid of the
professor's hand quickly climbed to her place.

"Mamma Vi, you are very good," she said, as the carriage rolled on again.

"Yes, isn't she?" said Max. "She says she isn't at all afraid to trust me
to drive her."

"No," said Violet, smiling affectionately on him; "you do great credit to
Uncle Ben's teaching. I think your father would be much pleased with your

"Were you expecting us, Lulu?" asked Grace.

"No, indeed! How should I, when nothing had been said about it? But oh, I
was so glad to see you coming."

The children seemed happy in being together again and chatted cheerily,
Violet occasionally joining in.

She had fully gained their respect and affection, yet they now never felt
her presence the slightest damper upon their enjoyment of each other's

On their return, while yet at some little distance from the academy,
Violet asked,

"Lulu, dear, do you find yourself quite comfortable and happy at
Oakdale--so that you wish to continue there as a boarder?"

"I wish that rather than to go home again on Grandpa Dinsmore's
conditions," Lulu said with a frown, and with that the subject was


"Woes cluster; rare are solitary woes:
They love a train, they tread each other's heel."


For a number of weeks events moved on their even course at Viamede; they
were all well and happy, though Lulu's continued obstinacy caused most of
them more or less mental disquietude.

She still remained at Oakdale, making no complaint to any one but Evelyn
of her fare or accommodations, and was studious and well-behaved in every
respect, except that she steadily refused to have anything whatever to do
with Signor Foresti.

She had attended church regularly with the family, had seen them all
occasionally on weekdays, but had not been once permitted to visit
Viamede, Magnolia Hall, or the parsonage.

If either she or Mr. Dinsmore regretted having begun the struggle which
now appeared so interminable, no one else was aware of the fact.

Grace had kept up her habit of driving over to Oakdale every morning and
afternoon, and the pleasure of seeing her so often had helped Lulu
greatly in the endurance of her exile, as had also her daily intercourse
with Max, Evelyn, and Rosie.

But one morning in March they came without Grace, and all looking grave
and troubled.

"Where's Gracie? Why didn't she come?" asked Lulu, with a vague feeling
of uneasiness.

"She's sick," Max answered, trying to swallow a lump in his throat, and
keep the tears from coming into his eyes; "and so is the baby, and the
doctor--Cousin Dick Percival--says they both have the scarlet-fever in
almost its worst form."

Lulu, who knew something of the deadly nature of the disease, stood
speechless with surprise and dismay; the other two girls were crying now.

Presently Lulu burst out vehemently, "I must go home! I _will_ go! It's
the cruelest thing in the world to keep me away from my darling Gracie
when she's so sick and may be going to--oh, I can't say it! I can't bear
to think it!" and she began sobbing as if her heart would break.

Evelyn put an arm about her.

"Lu, dear Lu, don't be so distressed. The doctor has not said that either
case is hopeless; and they may both get well."

"The dear baby, too!" sobbed Lulu; "oh I do love her, she is such a

"Indeed she is," said Max, vainly trying to steady his tones; "and it's
hard to see her suffer. Gracie, too--she's so sweet and patient, and so
good. I heard some of the old servants talking together this morning
about her, saying she was just like a little angel, and too good to live;
and--and I'm afraid she is."

He quite broke down with the last word.

"No, she ain't," cried Rosie; "she's just as good as they think her, but
good children are not any more likely to die than bad ones. Everybody
that knew mamma when she was a child says she was as good as she could
be, and see how long she has lived."

"That's true, and I'm obliged to you for reminding me of it, Rosie," said
Max, looking slightly relieved.

"But I must go home," repeated Lulu; "Gracie is sure to be wanting me,
and I can't stay away from her."

"No," the others said; "none of us are allowed to go into the room for
fear of the contagion. Indeed, we're not to go back to Viamede, but to
stay at either Magnolia Hall or the parsonage till the danger is over."

"Mamma and Violet are nursing the sick ones, with the help of old Aunt
Phillis," said Rosie. "Sister Elsie has gone to the parsonage with little
Ned, and she and Isa will have to keep away from Viamede on account of
their babies; so will Cousin Molly.

"Grandpa telegraphed for Cousin Arthur this morning, because we know he
is a skilful physician, and Gracie is begging for her own doctor."

"I'm glad: I hope he'll come quickly," said Lulu. "And oh, how I wish
papa was here!"

"Yes; we always want papa when we're in trouble," said Max; "we can't
help feeling as if he could help us somehow. But perhaps it's a very good
thing that he's not here just now to see the children suffer."

"Oh, are they suffering very much?" Lulu asked tearfully.

"Yes," answered Rosie; "mamma told me they were both very ill: Gracie
especially--her head aching badly, her throat distressingly sore, and her
fever very high; but that she was sweetly patient under it all."

"I'm not surprised to hear that," sobbed Lulu; "for she always was
patient and good; never a bit like me. Oh, it is so hard that I can't be
with her."

They were standing together in a little group on the veranda while they
talked, and the agitation in their faces and voices had attracted
attention from scholars and teachers who happened to be within sight and

Miss Emily now drew near, and asked in a kindly, sympathetic tone what
was the matter.

Rosie answered, telling briefly of the serious illness of the two little
sisters of Max and Lulu.

"Ah! I am extremely sorry," Miss Emily said. "You will find it difficult
to give your minds to your lessons under such trying circumstances; but I
will go to my father and the others, and ask that you may be excused if
your recitations should be imperfect to-day,"

"That was a kind thought," said Max, as she went into the house. "She's
much the best and kindest of the family."

The ensuing week was one of great sorrow and anxiety to Violet, scarcely
less so to her mother; for the children were so dangerously ill that it
was greatly feared both would succumb to the power of the disease.

It was a time of sore trial, but it brought out in strong relief the
beauty and nobility of character in both Violet and her mother. They
proved themselves the most devoted of nurses, patient, cheerful, hopeful,
never giving way to despondency, or wearying in efforts to relieve the
little sufferers or wile them into forgetfulness of their pain.

Till the crisis was past they watched over them day and night, aided by
Drs. Conly and Percival.

Arthur had obeyed the summons with all possible dispatch, approved of
what Dick was doing, and joined him in the care of the little patients.
One or the other was always close at hand.

"This is a sad, anxious time for you, my dear Vi," Elsie said one evening
as they sat together in the sick-room--Violet with her almost dying babe
on her lap, while Grace lay on the bed in an equally critical condition;
"but you are bearing up bravely."

"Dear mamma, you help me very much in so doing," Violet said, low and
tremulously; "so do Arthur and Dick. But best of all, 'underneath are the
everlasting arms.' O mamma, it seems as if my heart must break if either
of the children is taken, and I may be called to part with both--and
their father, my dear, dear husband, so far away."

She paused, overcome by her emotions.

"'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,'" her
mother whispered, with a tenderly sympathetic look. "'He will never leave
nor forsake you, dear child.'"

"No, mamma; my heart is constantly saying to Him,

'I have called thee Abba, Father!
I have stayed my heart on thee;
Storms may howl and clouds may gather--
All must work for good to me.'"

"Yes, dear child," Elsie said with emotion, "'we know that all things
work together for good to them that love God.'"

"And my baby is so young, Gracie such a dear little Christian child,
that, if I must give them up, I shall know that they are safe--

'Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast.'"

Grace, whom they had deemed quite unconscious, opened her eyes and fixed
them on Violet's face with a look of ardent affection.

"Yes, mamma," she said feebly, "I'm not afraid to die; because I know
that Jesus loves me. My head aches; I'd like to lay it down on His
breast. And--He'll comfort you and papa, and--the rest."

Violet could not speak for weeping, but Elsie bent over the child, and
tenderly smoothing her pillow, said, "Yes, darling, He will; and whether
we live or die, we are all His, and we know that He will do what is best
for each one of us."

Grace dropped asleep again almost immediately, and Elsie resumed her seat
by her daughter's side.

"Oh," murmured Violet, "dearly as I love Gracie, I should far rather see
her go than Lulu, because I am sure she is ready for the change; and I
know their father would feel so too. Mamma, how long it is since I have
heard from him! I begin to feel very anxious. Ah, what comfort and
support his presence would be to me now!"

"Yes, dearest; but console yourself with the thought of how much anxiety
and distress he is spared by his ignorance of the critical condition of
these little ones. We may be able in a few days to write that they are
better--out of danger, with careful nursing, so that the news of their
convalescence will reach him at the same time with that of their severe

"Yes, mamma, there is comfort in that," Violet said, smiling through her

On going down to breakfast the next morning Elsie found her father seated
at the table, with the morning paper before him. He glanced up at her as
she came in, and something in his expression of countenance set her heart
to throbbing wildly.

"Oh, papa, what is wrong?" she asked. "My boys? have you?--is there bad
news of them?" and she dropped into a chair, trembling in every limb.

"No, no, daughter," he hastened to say. "I think they are all right; here
are letters from all three," pointing to a pile on the table before him.

She drew a long breath of relief; then with another glance at his face,
"But what is wrong? certainly something is distressing you greatly. And
mamma is shedding tears," as she saw Rose furtively lift her handkerchief
to her eyes.

"Yes," he sighed, "something is wrong; and not to keep you in
suspense--it is a report that Captain Raymond is lost. It is now some
weeks since his vessel should have been heard from, and it is greatly
feared that she has gone down with all on board."

"Vi! oh, my poor Vi!" gasped Elsie; "her heart will be overwhelmed: we
must keep it from her as long as we can; at least till the children are

"Certainly," Mr. Dinsmore said, "my dear child," going to Elsie and
taking her hand in his in tender, fatherly fashion. "Remember it is only
a report,--or rather a conjecture,--which may be without any foundation
in fact. The captain may be alive and well at this moment."

A slight sound caused them all--Mr. and Mrs. Dinsmore and Elsie--to look
toward the door opening into the hall.

Max stood there with a face from which every vestige of color had fled,
his features quivering with emotion.

"What--what is it about, papa?" he asked hoarsely. "Oh, Grandpa Dinsmore,
Grandma Elsie, don't hide it from me! I must know!"

"Max, my boy, how came you here?" Mr. Dinsmore asked in a kindly pitying
tone, going to the lad and making him sit down, while he took a glass of
water from the table and held it to his lips.

Max put it aside. "My father?--what about my father?"

His tone was full of agonized inquiry, and Mr. Dinsmore saw the question
was not to be evaded.

"My poor fellow," he said, "I am truly sorry you should be distressed by
hearing what is as yet only a rumor: fears are reported that your
father's vessel is lost; but nothing is known certainly yet, and we must
hope for the best."

For a moment the boy seemed utterly stunned; then, "I don't believe it! I
_won't_ believe it!" he exclaimed. "We can't do without him; and God
wouldn't take him from us. Would He, Grandma Elsie?" and his eyes sought
hers with a look of anguished entreaty that she knew not how to

"My dear Max, I trust we shall have better news to-morrow," she said
tenderly; "but whatever comes, we know that all things work together for
good to them that love God. He is our kind, Heavenly Father, who loves us
with far more than an earthly parent's love, and will let no real evil
befall any of His children."

"Yes, and--oh, I'm sure it couldn't be good for Lulu and me to be without
our father to help us to grow up right."

No one present thought it necessary to combat that idea, or show that it
might be a mistaken one, since it seemed to afford some comfort to the

"We will hope for the best, Max; so do not let possibilities distress
you," Mr. Dinsmore said kindly. "Come to the table now, and take some
breakfast with us."

"Thank you, sir; but I couldn't eat," returned Max brokenly. "Grandma
Elsie, how are Gracie and baby?"

"I'm afraid no better, Max," she said in faltering tones; "the crisis of
the disease has not yet come; but in regard to them also we must try to
hope for the best. Indeed, whatever the result, we shall know it is for
the best," she added with tears in her soft, sweet eyes, "because 'He
doeth all things well.'"

It was Saturday, and there was no school; but Max had promised Lulu that
he would go over to Oakdale after breakfast and carry her the news in
regard to the sick children.

She was extremely anxious and distressed about them, and as soon as at
liberty to follow her inclination, hastened to a part of the grounds
overlooking the road by which he must come.

She had not been there long when she saw him approaching, walking slowly,
dejectedly along, with his eyes on the ground.

"Oh, they are no better," she said to herself; "for if they were better,
Max wouldn't hang his head like that."

She stood still, watching him with a sinking heart as he came in at the
gate and drew near her, still with his eyes cast down. And now she
perceived that his countenance was pale and distressed.

"O Max," she cried, "are they worse?--dying? Oh, don't say they are!"

"No; they are no better: perhaps they may be to-morrow; but--"

He stopped, his eyes full of tears as he lifted them for a moment to her
face, his features working with emotion.

"Max, Max, what is it?" she asked, clutching at his arm. "Oh, what is the
matter? You must tell me."

"My father--our father--" He covered his face with his hands and sobbed

"O Max, what about papa?" she cried wildly. "Oh, don't say anything has
happened to him! I couldn't bear it!--oh I couldn't!--but I must know. O
Maxie, tell me what it is?"

She had put her arms round his neck and laid her cheek to his. He
returned the embrace, hugging her tightly to his breast.

"It mayn't be true, Lu," he said brokenly; "but oh, I'm afraid it is:
they say it's feared his ship has gone down with all on board."

"Gone down?" she repeated in a dazed tone, as if unable to believe in the
possibility of so terrible a disaster. "Gone down?"

"Yes, in the sea--the dreadful sea! O Lu, shall we ever see our father
again in this world?"

"Do you mean that papa is drowned? Oh, I can't, I _won't_ have it so!
He'll come back again, Max--he surely will! I couldn't live without him,
and neither could you, or Gracie; but oh maybe she will die too! And I'm
afraid it's because I'm so bad; God is taking away everybody I love,
because I don't deserve to have them. I've been disobeying my father by
not doing as Grandpa Dinsmore bade me; and now maybe I haven't any father
to obey! Oh, Max, Max, what shall I do? everybody's being taken away!"

"I'm left, Lu," he said, brushing away a tear; "I'm left to you, and
you're left to me; and we don't know certainly yet, that anybody is
really taken from us, or going to be."

"Oh," she cried lifting her head, which had dropped upon his shoulder as
he held her closely clasped in his arms, "I'll stop being so bad; I'll be
good and do as Grandpa Dinsmore has ordered me, and maybe God will
forgive me and spare papa and Gracie and the baby. Do you think he will,

"Perhaps; you remember how ill papa was when you were obstinate and
disobedient to him once before, and you gave up and did as he bade you,
and we all prayed for papa and he got well?"

"Yes, oh yes, I'll do it now, this minute; I can't go to Viamede to tell
Grandpa Dinsmore, but I'll write a little note, Max, and you can carry it
to him."

"I have a note-book in my pocket, pencil too," he said, pulling them out
in haste to get the thing done, lest her mood should change. "I'll tear
out a leaf and you can write on that. Grandpa Dinsmore won't mind what
kind of paper it is so the words are there."

He led the way to a rustic seat, tore out the leaf, spread it on the
cover of the book and handed that and the pencil to her.

"I needn't say much--need I, Max?" she asked, looking at him through
tear-dimmed eyes.

"No; just the few words you would say if he were here beside you."

"I can't write nicely, my hand trembles so, and I can hardly see," she
sobbed, taking out her handkerchief and wiping away the fast-falling

"Never mind; I know he won't care how it looks; he'll know why you
couldn't do better."

Thus encouraged, Lulu wrote with trembling fingers:

"Grandpa Dinsmore, I'm sorry for having been so naughty, obstinate, and
disobedient. Please forgive me, and I will do whatever you bid me; even
if you still say I must take lessons again of Signor Foresti."

She signed her name in full, and handing it to Max, asked,

"Will that do?"

"Yes; I'm sure it will; and I'm ever so glad you've done it at last, Lu."

"But, oh! Max, how can I go back to that horrid man after I've said so
many times that I never would?"

She seemed inclined to snatch the note out of his hand, but he stepped
back quickly out of reach, hastily deposited it in the note-book, and
that in his pocket.

"Don't repent of doing right, Lu," he said. "Think that you may be
averting sorrow and bereavement. I think I'd better go now, before you
change your mind."

"Oh no, don't, Max," she entreated; "I'm so lonesome without you; let us
keep together and comfort each other."

Max yielded, and they sat down again side by side.

Just then one of the school-girls came flying down the walk toward them,
crying out half-breathlessly as she drew near, "Lu Raymond, don't you
want to hear the news?"

"What is it?" Lulu asked indifferently. "Something you'll be glad to
hear. You know the spring term closes next week; well, it seems that the
time of Signor Foresti's engagement here expires with it, and, as he has
been offered a higher salary elsewhere, he refuses to renew the contract
with Professor Manton. I overheard their talk; something was said about
you, and the signor remarked in a passionate tone that you had already
missed your last chance to take another lesson of him, or even to finish
that interrupted one. Now, aren't you glad?"

"Yes," Lulu said, a momentary flash of joy illuminating her countenance,
but only to be instantly replaced by the very sad and anxious expression
it had worn before.

"Oh, Max, will Grandpa Dinsmore think I--?"

"No," interrupted Max, "I'll tell him all about it; and he knows you're
honest as the day. Why," turning his head at the sound of approaching
wheels, "there's Grandpa Dinsmore now! I'll run and tell him, Lu;" and,
without waiting for a reply, he sprang up and went.

"What's he going to tell?" asked the girl who had brought the news about
Signor Foresti.

"That's our private affair," replied Lulu, coloring.

"Oh! is it indeed?" and she walked off with an offended air.

Lulu was too much agitated by contending emotions to care whether she had
given offence or not. She sat still, watching from afar the interview
between Mr. Dinsmore and Max. She saw the latter hand her note to the
former, who took it with a pleased look, read it, said something to Max,
then alighted and came toward her, Max accompanying him.

She watched their approach in some agitation, and noticed that Max seemed
to be talking fast and earnestly as they moved slowly onward.

At length they were close beside her.

She rose with a respectful "Good-morning, Grandpa Dinsmore," and, taking
her hand in his, he bent down and kissed her, saying, "I am very glad, my
dear, to be able to take you back into favor." Then he sat down on one
side of her, Max on the other.



"Oh, Grandpa Dinsmore!" cried Lulu, with a burst of sobs and tears, "do
you think it's true that--that papa's ship is lost?"

"I hope it is not," he said, "such reports have often proved false. So do
not grieve too much over it: it is never wise to break our hearts over

"But I know you and Max cannot help feeling anxious about both your
father and your little sisters; and that being the case, I do not think
you can study to any profit; and as the term has so nearly expired, I
shall, if you wish it, take you away from here at once.

"Not to Viamede, of course, but to Magnolia Hall, Mr. and Mrs. Embury
having sent you a warm invitation to make their house your home for the
present. What do you say to my proposition?"

"Oh, Grandpa Dinsmore, how nice and kind is Cousin Molly and her
husband!" exclaimed Lulu. "I shall be, oh, so glad to go away from, here,
especially to such a lovely home as theirs."

"Very well, then," he said with a smile, "go and gather up your
belongings, while I settle matters with Professor Manton; then I will
drive you both over to Magnolia Hall, for Max is included in the

Lulu needed no second bidding, but started up at once to obey.

"I'll go with you, sis, and help you pack, if you like," said Max. The
offer was accepted gladly; and as Mr. Dinsmore's business with the
professor would take him to the house, all three walked thither together.

An hour later the children had bidden a final good-by to Oakdale, and
were on their way to Magnolia Hall.

Arrived there, they received a warm welcome, and Lulu was greatly pleased
to find Evelyn a guest also, and that they were to share the same room.

"Oh, Eva!" she cried, "I'm delighted that you are here; but I thought you
were staying at the parsonage."

"So I was," Evelyn said, "and Rosie was here; but we have exchanged; she
and Walter have gone to visit Cousin Isa, while you, Max, and I let
Cousin Molly entertain us in her turn. I find it delightful at both

"But oh, Lu, how you have been crying! Is it about the sick little

"Partly," Lulu answered, hardly able to speak for emotion, "for they are
still in great danger; but oh, much worse than that! they say--that--that
it's feared papa's ship is lost with--all on board. Oh, Eva, I've been so
disobedient to my father for months past, and now--I'm afraid I'll never,
never see him again!"

Before she had finished her sentence, Evelyn's arms were around her,
holding her close, while she wept with her.

"I can feel for you, dear," she sobbed, "for I know only too well how
dreadful it is to be fatherless; but it is only a report, which may be
false. Do try to hope for the best. We will both pray for your dear
father, if he is still living; and for the little ones, that they may get

After her long trial of the privations to be endured at Oakdale Academy,
Lulu greatly enjoyed the comforts and luxuries of Magnolia Hall; yet the
suspense in regard to her father and little sisters was very hard to

For two days longer there was no relief from that, but on the morning of
the third, Max came bounding in on his return from Viamede, where he had
been to make his usual inquiries about Grace and the baby, his face
glowing with happiness.

"Oh, Lulu, good, good news!" he cried, tossing up his cap and capering
about in the exuberance of his joy; "the children are considered out of
danger if well taken care of--and we know they'll be that; and papa's
ship has been heard from, all well on board; and we'll see him again, I
do believe; perhaps before a great while!"

Lulu wept for joy. "Oh, I am so glad, so happy!" she sobbed; "but oh, how
I do want to see papa! the children too. Can't I go to them now, Max?"

"No, not yet; they wouldn't let me go into the wing where they are. I
mean the doctors wouldn't; because the danger of contagion is not over,
and won't be for a week or more."

"So long to wait?" she sighed.

"Yes," Max said, "but we ought to wait very patiently, now that we have
had such glorious news. And perhaps there'll be letters from papa by

His hope was fulfilled: the next morning's mail brought letters from
Captain Raymond to his wife and each of his children--the baby, of
course, excepted.

Max handed Lulu hers.

She almost snatched it from him in her joy and eagerness, and hurried
with it to her room, where she could be quite alone at this hour, Evelyn
being at school; for she was finishing out the term, not having the same
reason for leaving before its close that Max and Lulu had.

But now that she held the precious, longed-for missive in her hand, Lulu
could scarce find courage to open and read it; because she had good
reason to expect a severe reprimand from the father, whom, in spite of
their mutual love, she had been persistently disobeying for the last
three months. She would have given much to recall that past, and feel
herself deserving of his commendation and such words of tender fatherly
affection as he had often addressed to her by both tongue and pen.

At last she tore open the envelope, spread out the sheet, and with
burning cheeks and fast beating heart, read:

"My dear little daughter; my heart misgives me that there is something
very much amiss with you. Not sickness, for your mamma, Max, and Gracie
all make casual mention of you, and say directly that you are well; yet I
have not seen a stroke of your pen for three months or more.

"Your little letters, so full of 'love to papa,' have been very sweet to
me, so that I am loath to have them discontinued; but in addition to
that, daughter, I have, as you know, directed you to constantly report to
me your progress in your studies, your conduct, etc., and in failing to
do so you have been guilty of positive disobedience. What excuse have you
to offer for such disregard of your father's commands?

"I cannot think there is any that will at all exonerate you from blame.
Now I bid you write at once, giving me as full and detailed a report of
the past three months as you possibly can.

"My child, I love you very dearly; there is never a day, I believe never
a waking hour, in which my heart does not go out in love to my darling
Lulu, and send up a petition to a throne of grace on her behalf. I think
there is no sacrifice I would not willingly make for the good of any one
of my dear children, and my requirements are all meant to promote their
welfare and happiness in this world and the next.

"My child, my dear, dear child, your father's heart bleeds for you when
he thinks what a hard battle you have to fight with the evil nature
inherited from him!

"But the battle must be fought, the victory won, if you would reach
heaven at last.

"'The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by

"You have a strong will, my Lulu: make good use of it by determining that
you will in spite of every hindrance, fight the good fight of faith and
lay hold on eternal life; that you will win the victory over your
besetting sins, and come off more than conqueror through Him that loved

"I can hardly hope to hear that you have not been again in sad trouble
and disgrace through the indulgence of your wilful, passionate temper,
and you will dislike very much to confess it all to me; you will be sorry
to pain me by the story of your wrong-doing; and certainly it will give
me much pain: yet I am more than willing to bear that for my dear child's
sake; and as I have given you the order to tell me all, to refrain from
so doing would be but a fresh act of disobedience.

"How glad I am to know that my little daughter is open and honest as the
day! I repeat, write at once, a full report, to your loving father, LEVIS

"Oh," cried Lulu, speaking aloud in the excitement of feeling, "I do wish
papa wouldn't make me confess everything to him! I think it's dreadfully
hard! And what's the use when it hurts him so to hear it?

"And I'm sure it hurts me to tell it. I'll have to, though, and I won't
keep anything back, though I'm terribly afraid he'll write that I must be
sent away to some boarding-school, so that Grandpa Dinsmore won't be
bothered with me any more. Oh dear! if papa could only come home, I'd
rather take the hardest whipping he could give me, for though that's
dreadful while it lasts, it's soon over. But he can't come now; they
wouldn't think of letting him come home again so soon; so he can't punish
me in that way; and I wouldn't take it from anybody else," she added,
with hotly flushing cheeks and flashing eyes; "and I don't believe he'd
let anybody else do it."

She turned to his letter and gave it a second reading.

"How kind and loving papa is!" she said to herself, penitent tears
springing to her eyes, "It's plain he hasn't been told a word about my
badness--by Grandpa Dinsmore or Mamma Vi, or anybody else. That was good
in them.

"But now I must tell it all myself; he says for me to do it at once, and
I won't go on disobeying him by waiting; besides, I may as well have it

Her writing-desk stood on a table near at hand, and opening it, she set
to work without delay.

She began with a truthful report of her efforts to escape becoming one of
Signor Foresti's pupils and its failure; giving verbatim the
conversations on the subject in which she had taken part; then described
with equal faithfulness all that had passed between the signor and
herself on the day of their collision, and all that followed in the
school-room and at Viamede.

She told of the fortnight in which all her time at home had to be spent
in the confinement of her own room, then of the long weeks passed as a
boarding-scholar at Oakdale Academy, describing her bedroom there, the
sort of meals served in the dining-room, the rules that she found so
irksome, and the treatment received at the hands of teachers and
fellow-boarders; repeating as she went along every conversation that she
felt belonged to the confession required of her.

But the long story was not all told in that one day; it took several; for
Lulu was too young and inexperienced in composition and penmanship to
make very rapid work of it.

Evelyn was taken into her confidence, Capt. Raymond's letter read to her,
then parts of the confession as it progressed from day to day, till she
had heard the whole.

"Do you think I have told papa everything I ought, Eva?" Lulu asked when
she had finished reading aloud the last page of her report.

"Yes; I can't see that you've kept back a single thing: I'm sure your
father is right in saying that you are open and honest as the day! And
Oh, Lulu! what a nice, good father he must be! I don't wonder his
children all love him so dearly, or that you and Max were so distressed
when that bad news came."

"No," Lulu said, hastily brushing away a tear, "but I am sure you must
wonder how I can ever be disobedient to such a dear father; and I often
wonder too, and just hate myself for it.

"Now my report is ready; I'm glad it's done; it seems an immense load off
my mind; but I must write a little note to go with it."

"Of course you must," said Evelyn; "and I'll run away and talk to Cousin
Molly while you do it."

She hastened from the room, and Lulu's pen was again set to work.

"My own dear, dear papa, I have your letter--such a nice, kind one to be
written to such a bad, disobedient girl: it came last Wednesday, and this
is Saturday; for though I did obey you about the report, by beginning at
once to write it, I had to make it so long that I couldn't finish it till

"I have tried to tell 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth,' and Eva thinks I have succeeded.

"Papa, I am really and truly sorry for having been so disobedient and
obstinate; passionate, too; but I'm always being naughty and then sorry,
then naughty again.

"I don't see how you can keep on loving such a bad child; but oh, I'm so
glad you do! Though it makes me sorrier than ever, and oh, so ashamed! I
know I deserve punishment at your hands, and I have no doubt you would
inflict it if you were here. I'm afraid you will say I must be sent away
to a boarding-school; but oh, dear papa, please don't. I do intend to be
good, and not give any trouble to Grandpa Dinsmore or any of the rest. I
think I was the first part of the winter, and would have been all the
time if they hadn't forced me to take lessons of that horrid man.

"Papa, I've always thought you wouldn't have said I must go back to him
after he struck me. Would you? And don't you think Grandpa Dinsmore was
very hard on me to say I must? I don't think anybody but my father has
any right to punish me in that way, and I don't believe you would say he

"Dear papa, won't you please write soon again and say that you forgive

But we will not give the whole of Lulu's letter to her father. She had
something to say of her own and Max's distress over the report that his
vessel was supposed to be lost, of the sickness of the dear little
sisters, the pleasant time she was having at Magnolia Hall, etc.

The letter and report together made quite a bulky package; Mr.
Embury--not being in the secret of the report--laughed when he saw it,
remarking that "she must be a famous letter-writer for so young a one."
Lulu rejoiced when it was fairly on its way to her father, yet could not
altogether banish a feeling of anxiety in regard to the nature of the
reply he would send her.

Grace and Baby Elsie improved steadily till they were quite well and past
the danger of a relapse.

All the members of the Viamede family gathered there again as soon as the
physicians pronounced it entirely safe to do so; and a week or two later,
when the little ones seemed quite strong enough for the journey, they all
set out on their return to Ion, where they arrived in safety and health;
received a joyful welcome from Edward, Zoe, other relatives and friends
gathered for the occasion, the servants and numerous dependants, and
found their own hearts filled with gladness in the consciousness of being
again in their best-loved home.


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