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Title: Miss Lochinvar: A Story for Girls

Author: Marion Ames Taggart

Illustrator: W. L. Jacobs

Bayard F. Jones

Release date: August 9, 2021 [eBook #66018]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: D. Appleton and Company, 1902

Credits: Beth Baran, Sue Clark and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This book was produced from scanned images of public domain material from the Google Books project.)





Janet looked up and down the house which was to be her home.

(See page 19.)




Illustrated by
W. L. Jacobs and Bayard F. Jones

Title page


Copyright, 1902

Published September, 1902




I.— “Young Lochinvar is come out of the west” 1
II.— “He alighted at Netherby gate” 13
III.— “So boldly he enter’d the Netherby hall” 28
IV.— “Among bridesmen and kinsmen and brothers and all” 43
V.— “And, save his good broadsword, he weapons had none” 56
VI.— “He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone” 71
VII.— “Oh, come ye in peace here, or come ye in war?” 88
VIII.— “He stayed not for brake and he stopped not for stone” 102
IX.— “‘They’ll have fleet steeds that follow,’ quoth young Lochinvar” 115
X.— “For a laggard in love and a dastard in war” 133
XI.— “There never was knight like the young Lochinvar” 146
XII.— “’Twere better by far to have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar” 159
XIII.— “‘Now tread we a measure,’ said young Lochinvar” 172
XIV.— “So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war” 188
viii XV.— “One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear” 202
XVI.— “Have ye e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?” 216
XVII.— “There was mounting ’mong Graemes of the Netherby clan” 233
XVIII.— “With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye” 247



Janet looked up and down the house which was to be her home Frontispiece
“My dear little niece, you don’t know how glad I am to see you” 37
The story-telling party 81
“You brutes! To treat a little dog like that!” 106
A ringing cheer announced Jan the victor 124
The impromptu ball began without the loss of a moment 181
“You’re not going to be blind, not one bit!” said Jack 219
The last glimpse of Jan 259




The big dining-room looked a trifle dreary in spite of the splendor of its appointments; in spite, too, of the fact that there were enough children’s faces around the long table to have brightened it. But though the six owners of these faces ranged between the happy ages of sixteen and three, and were all healthy young folk, they lacked the blithe look they should have worn, and so failed in illumining the stately room.

The youngest member of the house of Graham, a pretty child, had wrinkled her brow until it looked like a pan of cream set in a very breezy dairy. This was because the nurse-maid stood behind her chair, an indignity little Geraldine—known as Jerry—resented bitterly, though it recurred at each breakfast and lunch hour. She2 showed her resentment by deliberately putting her spoon, full of oatmeal and cream, into her mouth upside down every time the maid’s eyes strayed for a moment, and also, painful though it be to record, by stretching her kid-shoed foot around her high chair in sly and unamiable attempts to kick her humiliating attendant.

The eldest, a boy of sixteen, breakfasted in silence, with a sullen air of aloofness from his family, and a secretive expression foreign to his naturally frank and handsome face. The three girls, and one boy ranging between him and Jerry, seemed rather to regard the meal as something to be gone through with before they were free to attend to matters interesting to each, than as a happy hour spent together before separating for the day.

The mother of this numerous brood was pretty and graceful, but she looked harassed, and as though she lived in perpetual fear of missing an appointment—which was indeed the case.

Mr. Graham was a broker. Sydney, the oldest boy, said it took all his father’s time to “be a broker and not broke,” and this was3 strictly true. He was immersed in business too deeply to leave time or thought for much else. He had an expensive family, and though he was accounted a rich man, the uncertain ways of stocks in rising and falling always made it possible for him to become a comparatively poor one. So in the stress of laying the foundations of a handsome inheritance for his six sons and daughters he had little chance to make their acquaintance, though he was an indulgent father, and looked forward to the day, which did not dawn, when he should have leisure to know them.

It was Mr. Graham who suddenly aroused his inert family to keen interest in what was going on around them.

“What day of the month is this—the thirteenth?” he asked, as his eye fell on the date-line of his newspaper, served with his coffee.

“Yes; to-morrow is the day for us to dine with the Robesons,” said his wife.

“To-morrow is the day for our niece to arrive,” retorted Mr. Graham. “Don’t forget to have her met, in case it slips my memory to-morrow when Henry drives me down.”

“Our niece! Arrives! What can you4 mean?” cried Mrs. Graham, in shrill surprise, as she dropped her fork with a clatter which would have called down a reprimand on Jerry.

“I told you, didn’t I?” asked Mr. Graham, with an uneasy recollection that he had not mentioned the matter, having a cowardly doubt as to how his tidings would be received. “It’s my sister’s little girl—my sister Jennie, you know, who married and settled out west in Crescendo. Jennie’s husband has made her very happy—he’s a first-rate fellow—but he hasn’t made her, nor any one else, including himself, rich. I imagine they have to scramble along on rather slender provision for a large brood; they have a big family. I don’t hear from Jennie very often, and she never complains, but her last letter—it came nearly two months ago—had a tone of sadness, and betrayed more than she realized of anxiety. I answered it, and I told her to send her oldest girl—Joan—Jane—no, Janet—Janet on here to us to go to school with our girls this winter. She’s about Gwen and Gladys’s age. She won’t be any trouble to us, and I fancy it will be considerable help to her mother. So Jennie’s husband wrote me that5 the child would come, and she’ll be here to-morrow.”

Gwendoline, the oldest girl, who was fifteen; Gladys, the second one, who was thirteen; seven-year-old Genevieve, and Ivan, a boy of nearly eleven, stared at each other and at their parents in dumb amazement. Mrs. Graham flushed with annoyance; only the presence of the waitress and little Geraldine’s despised custodian restrained her from expressing that annoyance forcibly. As it was, she said: “I can not understand, Mr. Graham, how you could have added the care of another child to me, who have six of my own to look after, without so much as consulting me in the matter!”

“But you don’t look after us, mamma,” said Ivan, quite cheerfully, and with no idea of complaining. “You are too busy with all your committees and teas and clubs and things. So she won’t be any bother, and maybe she’ll be nice.” Ivan—who despised his Russian name, and had succeeded in compelling his family to call him Jack as soon as he had learned the names were equivalent to each other—was a warm-hearted, hot-tempered, honest little fellow, who did not6 seem to belong to the city splendors. “Jack had reverted,” his father said, “to his ancestral stock”; one could easily imagine him happily driving cows on his grandfather’s farm among the New Hampshire hills.

“I admit, my dear, that it was not quite fair to spring this little girl on you, as Jack would say, but I think the boy takes the true view of it. One girl more or less will not matter in a family like this one, and all the difference she will make will be a third bill to me for tuition at Miss Larned’s school,” said Mr. Graham, trying to speak with an assurance he did not feel.

“But to us, papa!” cried Gladys, reproachfully. “It will mean more than that to us. Gwen and I will have to introduce her to the girls; she will expect to go about with us, and just fancy a poor girl from a little Western town in our set!”

Gwendoline—Mrs. Graham had had the happy thought of naming all her daughters with the same initial, repeating that of their family name—Gwendoline laughed scornfully at her sister’s remark. “I believe I should rather7 enjoy livening up those girls,” she said. “I honestly don’t see how she could have worse manners than some of them if she came off an Indian reservation. You know, I just despise those silly, giggling, affected girls, with their grown-up nonsense. They’re not all like that, though. But then the nice ones would understand and make allowance for her being a girl from a little town—nice people always understand, I’ve noticed that. But what I think is she’ll be a nuisance around the house. Goodness knows, I don’t want one single person more to make a noise and get under foot when I want to do things!”

“Oh, all you care for is writing, or daubing, or singing, or spouting plays!” began Gladys, wrathfully; but little Genevieve, whom they called Viva, interrupted her: “I wish she wasn’t so big. Are you certain sure, papa, she’s as old as Gwen and Gladys? Because there doesn’t be any one to play with me in this house.”

“She is fourteen,” said Mr. Graham. “And, Gwen and Gladys, I wish you to remember that this Janet Howe is your own cousin, my sister’s child, and I want you to treat her kindly and8 make her happy. Many’s the scrape her mother got me out of when I was a boy at home. There never was a better sister than Jennie; no boy could have dreamed an improvement on her. I always preferred her as a companion to my brothers; she could row, fish, and bait her own hook and take off her fish when she had caught them, too!—and she was as sweet-tempered and loving as the day was long. I often wish you children were the friends Jen and I used to be! But you each go your own way, and neither cares a pin for any one else’s interests. Perhaps it is the result of living in New York instead of in the peaceful town where I was born.”

The children rarely had heard any reference to their father’s early days, and they listened to this outburst with an interest that made them forget their grievance for a moment. Then Jack spoke: “Do you suppose that this girl is as nice as her mother, papa?” he said. “Do you suppose she can bait a hook and sail a boat?”

“Those things are not always inherited,” his father answered, laughing. “There is not much chance to fish or sail in the middle of a prairie, and Crescendo is a prairie town. But I have9 no doubt that your cousin Janet will be as nice a little girl as you could find anywhere. I can’t conceive of Jennie having any other than a nice daughter, and I am sure you will be very grateful to me for getting her here.”

“I shan’t be,” said Gladys, decidedly. “I can’t possibly go about with a Wild West Show, papa.”

“Gladys,” said her father, in a tone his children rarely heard. “You forget to whom you are speaking, and that you are speaking of my dearest sister’s daughter. Let me hear one more syllable like that, or see one glimmer of that spirit toward your cousin Janet, and you will be sent to a boarding-school, where you will not go about with any one. I shall invite whom I please to my own house, and my daughters will treat them with courtesy. Remember what I say, and you, too, Gwendoline, Sydney, Jack, and Viva.”

Gwen laughed good-naturedly. “I won’t treat her badly, papa, though you can’t expect me to be precisely glad she is coming,” she said.

Gladys looked sullen, but Jerry saved the day by stretching her arms very wide, a10 piece of bread in one hand, her dripping teaspoon in the other. “I will love her,” she announced, speaking for the first time; she had been turning from one to the other during this exciting conversation. “I will div her my o’meal po’dge, out of er spoon wight side up. An’ I’ll let Tsusan ’tand ahind her tchair,” added the small hypocrite, nodding her golden curls benignly, and turning to smile beatifically at her nurse-maid.

It was impossible not to laugh at this noble exhibition of generosity, and with this laugh the breakfast party broke up.

“It is really very trying, Howard, to have a girl, of whom we know nothing, and just the age of our girls, thrust upon our poor dears for the entire winter, not to mention my part of the burden,” said Mrs. Graham, as she followed her husband into the hall. “I really can not blame poor Gwen and Gladys for feeling as they do. I should have said more myself, but that I did not care to discuss family matters before the servants, or encourage the children in their apprehensions, and their tendency to disobey you.”

11 “Oh, it will be all right, Tina!” said Mr. Graham, easily. “We have talked about it too long; a small girl of fourteen or so is not worth so much discussion. I’ll meet you to-night at seven, if you like, at Delmonico’s, and we’ll go to the theater after we dine. Henry can bring down my evening clothes when he meets me. I have a directors’ meeting after Exchange closes, and I can’t get home to dress before dinner.”

Mrs. Graham’s face cleared, as her husband felt sure that it would, at this proposition, but she said reproachfully, as she kissed him good-by: “You know our club has its semiannual dinner to-night, Howard, and you promised to come later and hear the speeches.”

“Merciful powers! Don’t mention such trifles as an extra girl or two in the house after that!” groaned Mr. Graham, in mock despair, as he got into his overcoat. “I really believe I did!”

“When did you say that this Miss Lochinvar was to come out of the West, father?” asked Sydney, delaying on his way through the hall. Throughout the discussion at the table the eldest born had not spoken.

12 “To-morrow; will you go with one of the girls in the carriage to meet her?” asked his father, looking up with a laugh for the apt nickname.

“Couldn’t possibly; I am booked for football with our team,” said Sydney, resuming his way, having stopped as his father spoke. “I wish Miss Lochinvar joy, though; if she has plenty of brothers and sisters she’s likely to be lonesome in this crowd.”

Gwendoline and Gladys sauntered along as he said these words, and stopped short with a peal of exultant laughter. “Miss Lochinvar! Well, if that isn’t the very best name for her!” they cried in a breath. “We shall always call her that. Isn’t Sydney too clever!” But in Gwen’s laugh there was only pure amusement at the fun of the thing, while in Gladys’s mirth there was a ring of spite.



The question of meeting the little stranger from Crescendo was solved by sending Nurse Hummel to the station, as probably any one of the Graham family could have prophesied that it would be. Most things in that household connected with a child fell into Nurse Hummel’s hands. She had come to take charge of Sydney when he was a youth one month old, with more nebulous features than are considered desirable for perfect beauty. Consequently she had presided over the earliest moments of the life of each of the succeeding Graham babies; had nursed them with love no mere money could recompense through childish and more serious illnesses, and cherished them with all the warmth of her big German heart, early bereft of the love of her husband and her own only little child.

14 To Nurse Hummel the Grahams repaired with their griefs, not to their busy mother; and “Hummie” was so fond of them that while they were small they did not realize that there were children whose mothers could give them more attention than theirs did, and that mother-love is more satisfactory than any other.

Mrs. Graham found at the last moment that she could not send Henry with the horses all the way over to the West Twenty-third Street Ferry; but Nurse Hummel was despatched, with instructions to select a hansom drawn by a lively horse, and to come up-town by the way of Fifth Avenue, so “Miss Lochinvar” would certainly enjoy her drive—probably enjoy it more than if she had been shut up in the Grahams’ more elegant brougham.

The new cousin was not to arrive until afternoon, a fortunate thing, for though it never occurred to either Gwendoline or Gladys to go to meet her, they were most curious in regard to her, and very anxious to be in the house when she reached it.

They were ensconced behind the long lace curtains of the library on the second floor, perfectly15 hidden, yet seeing perfectly, when the hansom drove up.

Janet Howe had not talked much during that drive, though Nurse Hummel tried in her most motherly way to draw her out. She thought that the little girl was bewildered into silence by the splendor, confusion, and hubbub of the second city of the world, but though this was in a measure true, it was not the main cause of Janet’s quietness.

All the way during the last half of her two days’ journey—the first half being given up to longing for the beloved faces and little house which she had left behind—Janet had let her thoughts leap forward to the dear cousins, the aunt and uncle who were awaiting her. She was all ready to love them; she did love them, for they were her blessed mother’s kindred, who were so good to her in taking her into their hearts and home, in letting her share the wealth she knew they possessed, and in sharing one another with her. She knew the names and ages of each one of them; that Sydney was very handsome and Gwen very clever. All the Howes knew their Eastern cousins literally by heart,16 for they occupied in the minds of the little folk in the plain house in Crescendo a position something between an embodiment of perfect kinship and the princes and princesses of the fairy tales. And Janet knew and loved her Aunt Tina and her dearest Uncle Howard with positive worship, heightened, if possible, by their kindness to her in offering her this winter in New York. Her mother had talked to the children of her happy girlhood with her brother, until every little brook, every shaded path and meadow in the distant New Hampshire home, and every trick of voice and manner of this favorite brother Howard were as familiar to them as were their own lives and one another. Janet felt quite sure that when she descended upon the platform in the station and found all the Grahams drawn up in line to meet her, waving their hands and laughing—for that was the way the Howes always welcomed a stray guest to Crescendo—that she should be able to pick out each one with perfect accuracy. She should make no mistake as to which was Sydney, and which was Jack—she couldn’t very well, since there was nearly six years’ difference17 between them—nor which was Gwen and which Gladys, and quiet Viva, and dear little Geraldine, for whom she hungered most of all because she was precisely the age of her own precious youngest sister, her pet Poppet, as she called little Elizabeth. When she did descend upon the platform on the Jersey City side, a trifle sobered by the vastness of the station, the rush of the crowd, and the babel of sounds, there was no line of merry young faces anywhere in sight, no one that could be Uncle Howard or Aunt Tina, not even one who could be Sydney, Gwen, or Gladys. Janet caught her breath with a sharp pain, half fright, half bitter disappointment, and looked wildly around at the mad-appearing passengers, tearing through the chilly station with as frantic haste to catch the lumbering ferry-boat as if it had been as fast as a Bandersnatch.

Just at that dreadful moment a woman in iron gray—all round, face, body, gait, and all—came toward Janet, smiling with sufficient expansiveness to cover the lack of several other smiles. “Is this little Miss Janet Howe from Crescendo?” she asked, with just enough of the18 German accent familiar in the West to make this meek, girlish Lochinvar feel comforted.

“Oh, yes. Where are my aunt and uncle, and my cousins?” cried Janet. “And who are you, if you please?”

“I am Nurse Hummel, and I’ve come to take you to your friends,” said the rotund creature, with such assurance that “all was right in the world” that Janet began to suspect herself of unreason in expecting her relatives to meet her.

“None of them could get down here to-day, but that doesn’t matter. You’ll soon find out that Nurse Hummel looks after all of you. I have taken care of every Graham child of them all since Master Sydney was a month old. Give me your check.”

Nurse Hummel led the way, and Janet followed, somewhat reassured, but still with the lurking sense of disappointment. The capable woman gave the check for Janet’s battered little trunk to a transfer express, and put the child into a cab, drawn by the most frisky, high-headed horse at the New York side of the ferry. Then she got in herself, not without audible19 maledictions on joints that were less limber than in her youth.

When the interesting, but confusing, drive ended in the frisky horse being pulled up so short before the Graham’s door that he almost sat down on his pathetic, docked tail, Janet looked up and down the house which was to be her home for many months. She saw a high, brownstone structure, differing not at all, apparently, from a long line of such edifices stretching westward from Fifth Avenue as far as she could see, and eastward again across it. Not a sign of life could she espy; not a curtain moved; not a face smiled at her; not a hand waved, still less was there the shouting, gesticulating bevy of cousins on the front steps which she had hoped to see.

But she was not arriving unnoted. Behind the curtains on the second floor five eager faces peered out to catch the first glimpse of her. The Graham children saw a short girl, not quite as tall as Gladys, with soft, rounding curves throughout her body; a face that was decidedly pretty, but very pathetic; with big, wistful brown eyes, looking as if they might quickly be20 hidden by tears; brown hair, curling around a broad, white forehead; a skin with a hint of brown beneath its whiteness, and full, red lips meeting in soft curves, fashioned, unmistakably, for smiling, but now drooping at the corners in an attempt to keep them from quivering. They saw also a brown skirt and jacket, with reddish tints occasionally, showing wear, and revealing, to more experienced eyes, the fact that they had originally been made up with the other side of the goods out. A hopelessly unstylish hat surmounted the beautiful masses of red-brown hair, and woolen gloves completed a costume that made Gladys groan aloud at its confirmation of her worst fears. But Gwen, truly artistic, and with truer standards of judgment than her sister’s, unguided though they were, saw the facts which the shabbiness of her new cousin’s garments could not conceal from her more observant eyes.

“She’s awfully pretty, Gladys,” she said. “And she looks like a lady, and she looks sweet, and—and—oh, I don’t know—trusty, like a dog. And, dear me, she is really awfully pretty; ever so much prettier than either of us.”

21 Gladys gave a derisive sniff. “Pretty! Well, so she might be, if she looked decent, but, for goodness’ sake, what clothes! Why, our laundress’s girl looks better! Fancy taking such a guy to school! I shall die of mortiffication.”

Gwen actually laughed. “Mortif-fication, Gladys? Maybe bad pronunciation is as bad as old clothes, if you stop to think about it. And Mary Ellen Flynn does wear citified things, and frizzes and cheap lace, and so on, but I don’t know that I think she looks better than that girl down there. At any rate, I suppose there are other clothes in New York, and if it would save your life, we might make her look decent.”

“I think she looks as though she could fish and sail a boat, too,” said Jack, who, while his sisters were frivolously discussing mere externals, had been silently considering the new cousin from the more important viewpoint of her possible inheritance of her mother’s talents.

In the meantime, Norah, the waitress, had admitted Nurse Hummel and her charge, and poor Janet was heavy-heartedly climbing the long flight of stairs, without a voice to hail her22 coming. “We always meet people at home, Mrs. Hummel,” she said at last, in a trembling voice, as she paused at the landing to turn back to her guide, following with shortened breath. “Aren’t they glad to see me?”

“What nonsense; just nonsense!” declared Nurse Hummel, with the increase of accent always perceptible when she was moved. “There iss different customs, that’s all. Ve iss not der same as you in der Vest. My younk ladies iss vaiting you in der library, alretty. Yet it vouldn’t haf hurt if someone came out mit greetings vonce,” she added to herself, half minded to be indignant for the coldness shown the little stranger, whose sweet and charming ways had immediately won her affection.

As Nurse Hummel’s solid tread, passing Janet’s light one in the hall, fell on the ears of the group in the window, all but Jack and Viva stepped hastily forward, anxious not to appear to have been indulging in surreptitious curiosity.

Nurse Hummel opened the door. “My dears,” she said, “here iss your cousin, quite safe, und as glad to see you as you are to see23 her.” And she gently pushed Janet past her toward her relatives.

“How do you do?” said Gladys, in her most grown-up, and, as she fondly flattered herself, most elegant air. “I hope you are not too tired after your journey.” With which enthusiastic speech of welcome she bent gracefully forward and lightly pecked Janet’s cheek, apparently not seeing that the fresh young lips were ready to be met by hers.

Now Gladys’s affectations always exasperated Gwen beyond bearing, no matter what called them forth, and she was really sorry for her cousin, who looked as bewildered as hurt by this piece of nonsense. So it was a commingling of temper and kindliness which made her own manner more than usually simple and hearty as she put her arms around Janet and kissed her, saying, “You look very nice, Janet, and I hope you will like New York and us.”

Janet raised her wet eyes to the tall girl above her, returning the kiss with warmth and interest. “You’re Gwen, the clever one; I am sure I shall just love you,” she said, and Gwen smiled with sincere pleasure.

24 “Hallo, Jack! hallo, Viva!” cried Janet, partly restored to cheerfulness by Gwen’s welcome, and glad to display her ready knowledge of her family. “Come out here, and let me see you better. You don’t know how I miss Bob and Nannie; they’re your ages. And Geraldine! If I don’t love babies, then I don’t love anything on this whole earth! Do you think I’d scare her if I kissed her? Is she shy? Poppet is—just at first, you know.”

“Oh, I don’t think she’s at all shy!” said Gladys. “She sees so many people; mamma receives a great deal, and Jerry sees quantities of people, because they always think they have to ask for the youngest. She isn’t much to rave over; she’s a cross, spoiled little kid, I think.”

Janet stared at this remark, both because she had been taught that slang was not well-bred, and Gladys was so very fine-ladified, and because she could not imagine any one taking that attitude toward her baby sister. Jerry stamped her foot. “I’m not tross! You are tross, Tladys Traham! I love dis new one better’n you.” And she turned with an angelic smile to throw herself into Janet’s outstretched25 arms, which closed on her as their owner gave a quick sob, fancying they held Poppet to her breast.

“You’re a darling, pretty, little petsy-cousin,” declared Janet, with such unmistakable sincerity that Jerry melted still more.

“An’ you’re a darlin’, pretty, bid, pets’ tousin,” she retorted. And from that instant Janet had one devoted adherent in her new home.

“Why do they call you Miss Lochinvar?” asked Viva, suddenly. She had been considering Janet with her own grave thoughtfulness, and her question fell like a bomb upon the ears of her shocked sisters.

Janet looked quickly from one to the other of her two elder girl cousins.

“I hope you won’t mind, Janet; Syd called you that the morning we heard you were coming, and it was so nice we couldn’t help adopting it,” said Gwen, her color mounting high. “He didn’t mean it unkindly; neither did we. It was only because you were coming ‘out of the West,’ you know. You don’t mind, do you?”

“No, I don’t mind. Why should I?” replied26 Janet, with an uneasy little laugh. “Young Lochinvar carried everything before him. It is rather complimentary. And you might as well call me Jan. They always do at home; Janet seems so long. Though, of course, if you like it better, it doesn’t matter.”

“No; Jan is cozy, and it suits you somehow,” said Gwen. “Don’t you want me to take you to your room? You must be tired, and feel all over cinders; I always do after I have been traveling.”

“Thanks. Is Aunt Tina away?” asked Janet timidly.

“Oh, mamma is out; she has no end of things to attend to; she isn’t at home much,” said Gladys. “We are all dreadfully busy; I never have a moment myself! Papa dines here—no, he doesn’t either! Papa and mamma dine out to-night. Well, that’s just the way. You’ll find New York rather different from a little town.”

“You’ll find New York very nice, and full of all sorts of things; it’s too big to be all one way,” said Gwen, filled with an unsisterly desire to shake Gladys’s high-and-mighty air out of her, as she saw the blank look of loneliness that came27 over the pretty, sensitive face before her. “Come up-stairs with me.—Gladys, you may tell the girls I won’t be around to-day.—Viva, you go with Hummie and Jerry.—Come on, Jan.”

Janet followed the one friendly person, except the big nurse Gwen called “Hummie,” whom she had met in this strange household. Gwen put her arm around the little brown figure, and Jan returned her pressure, yet she kept her eyes down on the way up-stairs, lest Gwen should see the tears, and she could not help feeling that she had passed through a sort of mental Russian bath, plunging from the warm affection of her own humbler home, and her loving anticipations of this new one, into the actual chill of her welcome to it.



Janet could not repress a cry of pleasure as Gwen threw open the door of her room, despondently as she had approached it. It was one of the smallest rooms in the large house, but it was quite big enough for one small girl, and it was so pretty! The furniture was bird’s-eye maple; the paper, carpet, hangings, all a harmony of soft old-rose color; and the few pictures both good and cheerful.

“Is this really my room?” cried Jan, who had loved the big, bare, sunny room at home, which she had shared with her two sisters next in order to her, but who had always longed secretly for a lovely room, such as she read of in her favorite stories, and which should be all her own. And now, behold, here was her wish gratified beyond her wildest imaginings—at least,29 while she was an inmate of her uncle’s household.

“Yes. Do you really like it? It isn’t very large, but maybe you won’t mind,” said Gwen, looking around her critically. “The next room is the nursery. Hummie sleeps there, and Jerry’s crib is there; Viva does her lessons there in the morning—she has a governess; she hasn’t begun school. If you want anything, you must go in to Hummie—that’s headquarters for any Graham in distress. Gladys has the middle room on this floor, and mine is the back one; Viva has the one beside mine at the end of the hall. We won’t hear one another much, because the house is so dreadfully deep, and the dressing-rooms are between the chambers; that’s one good thing. Syd calls this floor ‘the hennery,’ because all the girls’ rooms are here. I told him that I didn’t mind; if he and Jack were roosters, it was proper they should roost above us—they are on the next floor, you know. And he didn’t like it, though I think my joke is quite as good as his—it’s the same joke, in fact.” And Gwen laughed in malicious enjoyment of these exquisite sallies of wit.

30 Janet had been looking out of the window, and discovered that the identity of the architecture of the houses in the street was less than she had taken it to be; there were many points of difference between her uncle’s house and his neighbors’, though the uniform brownstone made them drearily similar to eyes used to long stretches and plenty of space. But she had also caught a glimpse of trees and grass as she leaned out, and she drew her head in to inquire of Gwen what they meant, forgetting the pretty room, and not hearing what her cousin had been saying.

“That is Central Park; the entrance is just above us, at Fifty-ninth Street,” said Gwen, wondering at Jan’s brightening eyes. “It is nice to have it so near; I often go there to think out my plans—stories and poems and such things—and Glad and I are learning to ride.”

“I know you are awfully clever. Uncle sent mamma some of your poetry, cut out of a magazine,” said Janet, removing her hat and shaking out her masses of warm-tinted, curling hair.

“Oh, my, what bea-u-tiful hair!” cried Gwen involuntarily. “And what lots of it! If31 that doesn’t make that conceited old Daisy Hammond turn green when she sees it! She’s so vain of her hair, it fairly disgusts one! Oh, those verses were only in the back part of St. Nicholas, where the children’s things are. It was ever so long ago—certainly two years. I hope I can do better than that now.”

“Do you expect to write when you are grown up?” asked Jan, with the awe for a person who could look forward to such a career natural to a girl who dearly loved books, and who felt that they who made them belonged to an order of beings apart from common mortals.

“I can’t tell,” said Gwen, seating herself on the bed beside her cousin and taking her knee into the clasp of both her hands—it was not often that she found any one willing to listen to her hopes, much less treat them with positive veneration. “You see,” she continued, “I can paint just as well as I can write, and my teacher says I have a very good voice. I might become an artist instead of an author, or I might go on the stage and become a great opera singer, like Melba. I shouldn’t like you to mention it, Jan, because they all—except mamma—make32 fun of me, but I mean to make a big name for myself somehow, and as long as I do that I don’t care which way I do it. Gladys likes society, and dress, and such stuff,” continued the ambitious young person, with withering scorn, “but I want to be something that is something. It’s pretty hard, though, when you’re one of such a dreadfully big family. I would like to get off by myself on a desert island, like Robinson Crusoe, and only see them on birthdays, and Christmas, and Thanksgiving, and such times.”

“Mercy!” exclaimed Jan, rather shocked, though she realized that genius was not to be measured by ordinary standards. “That would never suit me.”

“What do you want to do? What’s your special talent?” asked Gwen.

“I haven’t any,” replied Jan. “Unless,” she added, with a twinkle, “it is a talent to wash and dress children, and dust, and wash dishes, and make cake, and those things—I can do all that.”

“How perfectly awful!” cried Gwen with conviction. “You poor little soul, have you been leading such a poky, drudge’s life as that? I am glad, then, that papa got you here, after all.”

33 Janet was too quick-witted to miss the implication that Gwen had not always been glad of her coming, but she said with spirit: “You needn’t pity me, Gwen, for no girl ever had more fun than I have. I like to do those things—at least, usually I do.” Jan was too honest not to leave a margin for those occasions when household tasks had been irksome. “I have the very nicest home in all the world, and it would be bad enough if I weren’t willing to do something in it! And we children have the loveliest times—you ought to see what a splendid little crowd they are! I don’t know, but I shouldn’t wonder if—” Jan stopped short, not wishing to impart to her cousin her first impression that the Grahams were less happy than the Howes.

Gwen was too preoccupied to notice the halt. “And what do you mean to do, then, when you are grown up?” she insisted.

Jan hesitated. “I believe,” she said slowly, “I don’t want to be very much of anything—not anything famous or showy, I mean. Papa says it is hardest, and greatest of all, to be a true-hearted, noble woman who makes home happy and helps everybody to be good. I believe I34 would rather do that—be the sort of woman mamma is—than anything.”

“What sort of woman is she?” asked Gwen respectfully; the glow in Jan’s eyes and the loving tremor in her voice impressed the girl, who had never had this side of life presented to her aspirations before.

“She is so cheery and kind, she makes you feel better, no matter how miserable you are, if she just walks through the room,” said Jan. “She never thinks of herself at all—it keeps us busy to stop her going without things for us all the time. She never is too tired to listen to our fusses, nor too busy to unsnarl us. She never says a word if she is sick or troubled, but puts it all out of sight so no one else will be unhappy, too. And she makes time, somehow, for her neighbors’ troubles. And she not only cooks, and sews, and nurses us children, but she reads to us, and talks to us, and we each feel as though we were all alone in the world with her. And she never breaks a promise to us, whether it is to do something pleasant for us or to punish us, and she is never the least wee bit partial or unjust. And when we’re bad, or have crooked35 days, she is so patient! And she just loves us straight and good. And there isn’t one of us that wouldn’t just die if we thought we had deceived or disappointed her, because she trusts us. And everybody wonders why the Howe children are so square, and honorable, and good, on the whole. As if they could help being—with such a mother! Oh, I love her, I do love her!” And Jan’s tears rolled over as she remembered how many miles now separated her from this dear woman, and how long it must be before she held her tight in her arms again.

Gwen sat motionless, looking down on the long fingers clasping her knee, as Jan stopped speaking. Her face was sweet and serious, although a trifle puzzled. Jan had given her an entirely new point of view, had filled her mind with new thoughts; and it was a fine mind, guiding a noble nature, both quite capable of appreciating the picture her cousin had painted.

“Thank you, Jan,” she said at last, to Jan’s surprise, as she rose to leave her. “I think I see what you mean. I shouldn’t wonder if your ambition was better than mine; I mean to think36 that over. By and by you’ll tell me more about Crescendo and Aunt Jennie; I wish I knew her; I wish—” Here Gwen stopped in her turn. “Don’t be homesick, and don’t mind Gladys. She is so silly that it doesn’t mean one thing. Come down, when you get ready, to the library—where we were when you came. Papa will want to speak to you before he goes out. And don’t miss those nice people too much; we’ll try to be decent, and I guess you’ll like New York. I’ll tell Norah to have your trunk sent up when it comes.”

Gwen left the room with a smile intended to be reassuring, but which was rather wistful, and Jan proceeded to wash away the tears, which she immediately checked, and with them the cinders from her long journey.

The little trunk was long coming, and while Janet was wondering whether she should go down without waiting for it Viva knocked softly at her door.

“O Viva, darling, I’m so glad it’s you! Come in and talk to me,” cried Jan.

“My dear little niece, you don’t know how glad I am to see you.”

“I can’t, Janet, because papa sent me up to say, won’t you please come down and talk to him37 for half an hour before he gets dressed to go out?” said Viva gravely.

“If you’ll just wait till I braid my hair,” said Jan, kissing the pale little face, from which dark eyes looked out seriously upon her. “Has auntie come home, too?”

“Yes; mamma’s in,” said Viva. “If I were you, I’d let my hair hang all around like that. It’s so very, very pretty. You are pretty, too; much prettier than Gwen and Gladys—Gwen said so, too.”

“‘Pretty is that pretty does,’ you know, little cousin,” laughed Janet. “Gladys is graceful and stylish, and Gwen looks clever; besides she has perfectly glorious eyes. Come, then, if you think I’m nicer with my hair crazy.” And Jan took the hand extended to her with a sinking of the heart of which she was ashamed.

“My dear little niece, you don’t know how glad I am to see you,” said a voice heartily as she entered the library, and then she felt a warm kiss on each cheek, mingled with the odor of a very good cigar. After this Janet ventured to lift her eyes. She saw a handsome man, keen-eyed, yet smiling, looking at her closely, while38 from across the room a pretty woman in a beautiful negligée came languidly toward her. “How do you do, child? I hope you are not too tired,” she said, in a manner recalling Gladys as much as the words did. Janet kissed this new aunt, but her eyes wandered back to her uncle, seeking a resemblance in him to her mother. He smiled upon her, and said: “You are like Jennie in expression more than in features. By Jove, I wish she were here, too! Dear little woman!” Janet’s lip quivered, and her uncle quickly drew her beside him upon the couch.

“Now tell me everything you can think of about that blessed mother of yours,” he said. “She’s the dearest woman in the world—I hope you know that?”

“Indeed I do!” cried Jan fervently, and in a few moments was rattling off to her uncle, in response to judicious questions, the simple story of her life.

The half-hour passed too quickly; in it Jan was completely happy, and it was long enough to win her heart to her uncle with an affection that subsequent days could not annul. After he and her aunt, of whom she had a resplendent39 glimpse in her dinner gown, had driven away there was a dull half-hour of waiting, at the end of which Gwen and Gladys appeared, and they were called to dinner in the big dining-room, which struck a chill as well as awe to Jan’s soul. Here she saw Sydney for the first time, but beyond a nod to her when Gwen introduced her he did not notice Janet throughout the meal, nor speak except once to contradict Gladys flatly, and once to ridicule Jack for a slip of the tongue. Janet’s heart sank lower and lower; it seemed to her that she was stifling, and her loving heart exaggerated the really unfortunate state of affairs in her new surroundings.

After dinner Gladys disappeared, as did Sydney, and Gwen, having been polite to the guest for a while, picked up a book and was soon lost in it. Viva had gone to bed, and Jack was up-stairs struggling with his lessons. Wondering if she was doing an unpardonably rude thing, Janet slipped out of the room and sought the nursery. Here she found Jerry sleeping in her crib; her flushed, baby face brought comfort and the sense of home to the lonely “Miss Lochinvar.” Here, too, was Hummie, darning40 stockings and humming the Lorelei, a most inappropriate theme to her bulk. And here was Jack, his hair tousled, his cheeks hot over refractory examples that would not come right.

“I won’t wake the baby; may I help him?” whispered Janet, and Hummie nodded hard.

“Let me help you; I love arithmetic, and I always help Bob,” Janet whispered, going over to the afflicted boy. If the sky had fallen, Jack would not have been more amazed. Not only was it inconceivable that any one should like arithmetic, but to offer to help him! He yielded at once, from sheer inability to grasp the situation.

But here was a girl that was a girl—if she wasn’t a good angel.

Jack’s admiration grew as his troubles diminished. With a word here and an illustration there, Jan threw light upon his darkened path, and she actually whispered funny things as she did so. Jack found himself positively giggling under his breath as he worked over the hated sums.

“Gee! You’re a dandy!” he remarked audibly,41 forgetful of Jerry, as he saw the task completed. “And you can explain as old Ramrod can’t—that’s my name for our teacher, he’s so stiff; ain’t it great? I understand just how you did that, and I don’t believe I ever saw through the stuff before. Thanks, lots, Jan.”

“Not a bit; I have had a nice time with you, Jack. I’ll come every night, if you’ll let me, and I don’t have lessons of my own to do at night,” said Jan heartily. “Even if I do, we can make time. You know I like this sort of thing, because at home we children help each other, and it makes me less lonesome.”

“Gee!” said Jack again. “What a queer house yours must be! Nice, though.” And Jan had gained one more devoted admirer among her new cousins.

This little adventure sent her to bed in a much happier mood than she had expected to go in, and Gwen, moved with compunction when she aroused from her pages to find her cousin gone, came up to make her a little visit. The trunk had come, and Gwen eyed with pitying glance its slender and shabby contents, inwardly resolving to set the matter of dress right before42 Jan made her appearance in the Misses Larned’s formidable halls of learning.

Jan had intended crying herself to sleep—had laid the plan during the dreary dinner—but helping Jack and talking to Gwen so cheered her—besides she was so tired—that she quite forgot it, and fell asleep almost at once after she had laid herself down for the first time in her pretty bed, for her first night in vast New York.



For three days Janet’s life in her new surroundings was neither dull nor lonely. She saw but little of her aunt, and practically nothing of Gladys, who showed unmistakably that she did not consider “Miss Lochinvar” worth bothering about; nor was Sydney’s manner to her different from his taciturnity toward his own family. But Jack, Viva, and Jerry lost no time in learning to admire her—they all three worshiped Jan by the end of her second day among them.

With Mr. Graham Janet passed two happy evenings talking of her mother, surprising him with her knowledge of the most minor details of his own boyhood and early home, and rousing him into telling funny stories of happenings of which she did not know, to the boundless surprise44 of his own children. At the end of that time her uncle had grown accustomed to her presence, and, though his affection for his sister was one of the strongest ties of his life, they had been separated so long that other interests made more pressing claim upon him. Added to this was the fact that matters on Exchange were threatening; there was danger of “a bear market.” Janet heard him say this, and construed it by her Kansas experience of crop failures to mean “a bare market,” and she pictured to herself empty stalls and New York threatened with shortage in food. Mr. Graham was vitally interested in keeping prices up, and became so preoccupied that Janet received from him only the pleasant word night and morning accorded his own children. Gwen, heroically, and with more pleasure to herself than she expected, entertained her cousin for three days. Then her absorbing interest in her own pursuits asserted itself; she began her sixth novel—none of them had ever passed the fourth chapter, and but one reached it—and forgot Jan completely in the solitude of her own room when she got home from school.

45 It had been decided that Janet should have at least a week in which to accustom herself to exile before facing the girl world in the Misses Larned’s school. Gwen had suggested to her father that Janet be clad suitably before this ordeal, and he had promptly written a generous check for that purpose to supplement at shops where the Grahams had no account any deficiencies in what they wished to purchase where bills were charged. Nurse Hummel and Gwen had gone down once with Janet to begin this shopping, but to “Miss Lochinvar’s” bewilderment, she learned that many trips were required to fit her out as a New York schoolgirl, and after this first one she and Hummie had to go alone. Gladys flatly refused to go abroad with her cousin until these changes in her costume had been made, and was most anxious that she should not be seen by any of her schoolmates, but Gwen did not conceal the fact that they had a Western cousin consigned to them for the winter, and the three girls whom Gwen most disliked, and Gladys stood most in awe of, set out at once to call upon her, moved by curiosity rather than friendliness.

46 “Miss Hammond, Miss Gwen, and Miss Ida Hammond and Miss Flossie Gilsey is down-stairs to see you; they sint their cards. They do be asking for Miss Janet, though not be name,” said Norah, presenting six bits of pasteboard through the crack of Gwen’s door.

“Oh, for mercy’s sake! Has anything come home for that prairie-chicken to put on?” exclaimed Gladys, flushing with annoyance; she chanced to be at that moment in her sister’s room.

“I don’t believe so,” said Gwen composedly. “They had to alter the house dress we got ready-made. Still, it doesn’t matter for those girls.”

“Gwendoline Graham, you are enough to provoke a saint! Of all the girls in school, they are the ones who would notice most, and they have the most money,” cried Gladys.

“And are the most vulgar and the stupidest about their lessons,” finished Gwen. “I don’t see why you mind what such people think. However, I’ll go up and see what I can do for Jan.” And she arose, putting aside her lap tablet with the air of a martyr.

47 “She can’t wear anything of yours; she isn’t tall enough, and they would know our things, anyway,” said Gladys. “I suppose we’ve just got to let her come in that shabby best dress of hers. But do tell her not to say or do anything queer, or tell any of those stories she tells the children about riding broncos and playing Indian in the fields—no, prairies! Make her understand she has to be like other people, and these are swell girls.”

“If she’s used to wearing feathers and war-paint we can’t make her take to civilization right off—no Indian does that,” said Gwen wickedly, for Gladys never could grasp satire. “But, you know, I think she has nice manners, simple and not as if she thought of herself. And the Hammonds and Floss Gilsey are more swollen than swell.” And with this parting witticism, Gwen ran up the hall.

“Jan, Jan, here are three girls come to call on you,” she said, putting her lips to her cousin’s door. “Hurry up, and come down to see them.”

Jan opened her door at once. She was writing a long letter home, and her cheeks were too red to indicate perfect peace of mind.

48 “I’ll just pumice-stone this ink stain off my finger,” she said, “and then I’m ready. If ever I sympathized with any one, it was with Mr. Boffin when he told John Rokesmith he didn’t see what he did with the ink to keep so neat when he wrote. I’m ashamed of myself, and mamma says I ought to be, but I can not keep my fingers—this middle one, anyway—free from ink when I write. I guess I get so interested I dive down to the bottom of the ink-well without knowing it. Who are these girls?” As she had talked, Janet had scrubbed energetically, and now turned to go down with Gwendoline, without any additional prinking beyond a hasty smooth of her rebellious hair. Her dress was a blue-serge skirt and a cotton shirt-waist, although it was October; it never occurred to her, used as she was to seeing her girl friends in a girlish manner, that anything more was required of her in the matter of toilet.

Gwen eyed her quizzically, thinking with amusement and annoyance of what these would-be fine ladies down-stairs, who could not have understood Jan’s reference to Dickens, would say if she let her go down thus. It was dawning49 upon Gwen’s inquiring mind that many things in the world were not quite as they should be, and that the scales in which lots of people weighed other people and things were badly weighted on one side.

“I am afraid you will have to put on your bestest gown, Jan,” she said. “They would probably drop dead if they saw you no more fixed up than that, and it would be a nuisance to have to prove they weren’t murdered here. Get out your finest things, and I’ll help you.”

“My finest things aren’t fine enough to make much difference,” said Jan, who had not had her own eyes shut to facts since she came. “However, I’ll do my best not to disgrace you, Gwen.”

Together they fastened Jan into the light-blue cashmere which her mother had made for her to wear to possible children’s parties with her cousins. Jan could not help smiling at herself in the glass, while Gwen was buttoning up the waist in the back, remembering this, and what was Gladys’s idea of a party, and how little she considered herself a child at thirteen.

50 “You really look like peaches and cream with that light blue against your skin,” said Gwen admiringly when the task was completed. “They can’t say you’re not awfully pretty.”

“Don’t flatter, Gwen. And imagine a brown maid peaches and cream! Come on, then. Have you any instructions to give as to manners?” asked Jan.

“No,” said Gwen wisely. “Yours are always nice, because you’re so real and unaffected—not that there’s the least hope of their knowing that simplicity is nice, though.”

“My cousin, Miss Howe; Miss Hammond, Miss Ida Hammond, Miss Gilsey,” said Gladys, doing the honors with unusual dignity because she felt sure it would be needed to cover Jan’s deficiencies in worldly knowledge.

Janet murmured her salutations confusedly, badly handicapped at the start by the formality of so many “misses” when she expected to be introduced all round by first names.

“How do you like New York, Miss Howe?” asked Daisy Hammond, estimating Jan’s gown rapidly but accurately. “It must be very different from the West?”

51 “Yes, but I like it,” said Jan warily.

“New York is so much bigger,” added Ida Hammond, with a trying air of superiority.

“Than the West? Oh, no; the West is very large,” said Jan demurely, to Gwen’s delight.

“Are you fond of the theater, Miss Howe?” asked Flossie Gilsey, throwing herself in the breach.

“I never have been; we are going, Gwen says, sometime this winter. But I love to act; we do plays in the barn chamber, my brothers and sisters and I. It’s loads of fun. I’d love to see a real play, but it costs too much to go to the city, and then buy tickets to the theatre,” said honest Jan, quite unconscious of disgrace in the fact of poverty. Gladys turned crimson as her ill-bred guests cleared their throats emphatically and giggled a little. Gwen flushed wrathfully, but not at Jan.

“That is like Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy; do you remember what fun they had acting in Little Women?” she asked tactfully.

“It is so long since we read Little Women—not since we were children; I don’t remember it very well,” said Daisy. “What do you like52 best, Miss Howe? Dancing? Sport? What is your special line?”

“The clothes-line, I guess,” said Jan, laughing outright, for it struck her as ridiculous to be asked what was her specialty, “as if it was a menagerie, and she wanted to know whether I was a long-necked giraffe or a short-horned gnu,” she said afterward. “I help take in clothes quite often. But I like all kinds of fun—dancing in the house in winter; and games, and racing, and riding out of doors. I guess any sort of fun—just having fun—is my special line.”

Gladys only barely succeeded in checking the groan this horrible speech called forth, but Gwen laughed openly. She did not think it quite wise in Jan to have said that about taking in clothes, but she was so indignant at the thinly veiled rudeness of the girls to her cousin and the guest in her house that she did not care, as long as Jan had the best of it.

The callers rose to go, not being in the least certain whether they were being made game of or not, but thoroughly satisfied that they detested as much as they despised this Western53 girl, who looked at them with smiling candor in her undeniably pretty eyes, and seemed unconscious of offense.

“You poor dear thing!” said Daisy Hammond in the hall to Gladys, having bade Gwen and “Miss Howe” good-by in the parlor. “It is really awful for you to have to civilize her! She is a perfect savage. Whatever will you do with her when she comes to school? Do you suppose she has any education at all? She certainly has no manners.”

“Oh, I don’t know. Isn’t it awful?” said Gladys, tears of wrath and self-pity in her eyes. “She hasn’t had any chance; that’s the only excuse. For goodness’ sake, don’t tell the other girls!”

“Tell them! My dear, not for worlds!” said Flossie, as they started down the steps on their way to find the others of their set and impart to them how “perfectly awful the Grahams’ cousin was.”

Jan had wandered into the rear parlor when her first visitors had left her, and so had not heard the remarks to Gladys, which had been perfectly audible to Gwen.

54 When she got her sister up-stairs that young lady freed her mind.

“Gladys Graham,” she said, “you ought to be ashamed of yourself not to stand up for your own cousin, and not to have any more self-respect than to let those geese be impertinent to her and to us in our own house! Jan didn’t do anything dreadful. She needn’t have said that about the clothes, I’ll admit, but I suppose she was disgusted, and well she might be. Besides, she’s the kind of girl that can’t help seeing the funny side, but she isn’t one bit mean. Those girls acted as if she were as far below them—as far as the sea-level from Mont Blanc. And I only wish I could have boxed their ears. If you don’t stop letting those Hammonds and Floss and that crowd impose on you, you’ll be a goose all your days. Just you wait and see if you don’t find out I’m right. I am just ashamed of you—helping them sit on papa’s sister’s daughter!”

Gladys flared up. “She’s perfectly disgraceful, that’s what Janet Howe is! Saying she was too poor to go to the theater, and took in clothes! I wonder she didn’t say she took in washing!55 Maybe they do, and the ladies give her their old clothes,” she cried.

“Gladys, stop this instant! I won’t let you talk that way. Jan’s a trump, and I can see it if I do neglect her. I only wish we were as nice as they all must be,” cried Gwen.

“Well, if you like that sort of girl, you may have her. I won’t take her out, and I won’t go anywhere with her, and I think papa is downright mean to impair her on us,” Gladys sobbed.

“If you mean impose, why don’t you say so? I honestly think we are the ones whom Jan impairs,” said Gwen, restored to good-nature by the chance to correct one of Gladys’s many slips of tongue. And thus ended Jan’s introduction to New York society.



Fine feathers” may not make “fine birds”; it is generally conceded that true fineness lies somewhat deeper than the plumage, but fine feathers have a marked effect on the minds of ordinary little birds regarding the wearer of them; they have to be birds of considerable experience or native refinement not to judge their fellow bipeds by their plumage.

When the results of Nurse Hummel’s many shopping expeditions with Janet came home, and “Miss Lochinvar” appeared in the tasteful and well-made apparel they had chosen, Gladys treated her cousin with new, if not lasting, respect, and even Sydney showed by several surreptitious glances at her, which keen-eyed Gwen intercepted, that he was realizing for the first57 time that his quiet Western cousin was worth looking at.

Gwen felt something of the pride of an architect in the building he has created as she wheeled Jan around to view her from every point, and as she saw that the others were newly inclined to admire the girl of whom she was beginning to grow fond, and whom she would have loved dearly if she had not been too self-centered just then to give any one very much affection.

Janet was ashamed to discover that she shrank with no little terror from the ordeal of her first day at school. She felt quite sure that the accomplished young ladies, of whom she had seen examples and who were to be substituted for the girlish girls who had been her classmates in Crescendo, would know so much more than she that they would shame her in learning, as they outstripped her in worldly knowledge. She saw from the first instant that she entered the door that this school was to differ from her previous experiences in more than its pupils.

The Misses Larned, who were its principals—Gwen said that this did not necessarily make them the girls’ princibles—did not teach; they58 were at the head of the school by virtue of proprietorship, and they were the final, awful tribunal before which transgressors were haled, though, it must be confessed, without any more awful consequences, usually, than a severe lecture. But the girls said “they would rather die” than go up before the dignified sisters, “who were so solemn they took the starch out of a body before they opened their lips.” The same irreverent pupils called the school “the Hydra,” because it had two of that monster’s many heads. No one would ever know—none but the boldest dared speculate—what was the extent of the Misses Larned’s own learning. They walked into the class-rooms at intervals, and inquired of the presiding teachers as to the progress of the day’s work with such Minerva-like air that one felt convinced that the wisdom of the ancients and moderns sat enthroned behind their sapient eyeglasses.

They were wise in the selection of their teachers. “The Hydra” was really a very good school in that respect, and the girl who desired knowledge could obtain it there, and an excellent preparation for college beyond. But she who59 had not this desire could slip through with marvelously little instruction sticking to her brain, for it was a school frequented chiefly by the children of wealthy and fashionable people, and vigorous discipline would have been resented by the majority of the parents.

The school occupied an entire house on a cross-street, near the Park, and Janet passed under its portals with trepidation on her first morning. Gwen sustained her; Gladys had preceded them, and bore herself with a little air of aloofness, in spite of Jan’s better appearance, as if to provide herself against deeper disgrace than was absolutely necessary, in case “Miss Lochinvar” fulfilled her apprehensions.

It was not an easy matter to grade the new pupil. In arithmetic, history, geography, spelling, and in general information her teachers soon discovered that she far surpassed their old pupils, but she was guiltless of French, though, on the other hand, she could speak German—a point no girl in school ever aspired to reach. The extent of the universal ambition in regard to that tongue was to avoid so many mistakes in the gender and cases of nouns as should lead to60 a serious lowering of averages in marking percentage at the end of the year. On the whole, Janet passed her entrance examination with honor, and was placed in the class with Gwen for everything but French, which she “had to begin with the babies,” as Gladys disdainfully remarked. She was uncertain whether to be relieved or annoyed that “Miss Lochinvar” had been ranked with the best scholars, though Gladys’s ambition did not lead studyward.

A sudden rain prevented the customary brief walk in the Park at recess, and the girls gathered in the large room on the upper floor, formed by joining two rooms together, which was their refuge under such circumstances.

Gwen honestly meant to do her duty by Jan during this first recess, when she was to meet her future mates, but she began to talk to Azucena North, and quite forgot her cousin. Cena North was the daughter of a lady who had been steeped in admiration for Verdi and Trovatore when Cena was born; consequently she had named her baby after the gipsy in that opera, and Cena pathetically said that “if she must be named out of Trovatore she didn’t see why she61 couldn’t have been called Leonora.” Gwen didn’t see either; she privately pitied her friend deeply for being burdened with such a name as Azucena. But there were compensations, as there are in most misfortunes. Cena was one of the best scholars at the Misses Larned’s, and her father was Mr. North, the head of the great publishing house of North & Co., which Gwen felt accounted for Cena’s thoroughness, as well as partly made up for her name. Cena and Gwen were deep in a plan to lay before Mr. North Gwen’s novel—when it should be finished, of course—without telling him that it was the work of Cena’s classmate, a girl of fifteen. After he had accepted it, and he and his house had exhausted themselves in praise of its many brilliant qualities, Cena was to say demurely that she knew the author, and would bring her to her father’s office. And Gwen was to go with her—wearing her most simple and girlish gown, to increase the dramatic effect—down to the great establishment of North & Co., and Cena was to say, “Behold the new Charlotte Brontë!” or something to that effect. It is no wonder with such a project in hand that Jan slipped from62 Gwen’s mind when she and Cena collided in the “campus,” as they classically called the playroom. They straightway became oblivious to all but the discussion of ways and means for fulfilling the great plan, which really lacked but the novel to be successful.

Janet wandered on alone, feeling very shy and strange, among the chattering crowd eating cake and candy instead of better luncheons, and all eying her curiously as she passed.

She was bearing down toward the younger children—her refuge here, as at her uncle’s—when the Hammonds and Flossie Gilsey stopped her.

“Have you forgotten us already, Miss Howe?” called Daisy Hammond.

“No, indeed,” responded Janet, trying to speak easily and cordially. “But please don’t say Miss Howe. It seems so funny among girls like us; my name is Janet.”

“Thanks; it is awfully good of you to let us be intimate right away, and waive all ceremony. Generally we have to wait to use first names,” said Daisy, with an inflection that told Jan, unused as she was to polite disagreeables,63 that the speech was not meant at its face value. “I heard that your cousin Syd—isn’t he too handsome?—had given you such a nice, funny nickname.”

“Yes; Miss Lochinvar. That’s because I ‘came out of the West,’ you see,” said Janet, instinctively seizing her foe by the horns, so to speak. “It was bright of him, but only too flattering. I don’t expect to make a clean sweep of everything, like Young Lochinvar.” But as she laughed Jan’s heart sank. She was not used to this sort of bad temper, and she hated herself for meeting it while she felt forced to do so; she understood “getting mad,” but not petty spite. And all the while she was saying to herself, “Gladys told them; Gladys has been making game of me.”

But she had crippled her adversary; Daisy did not know how to meet this view of the case, and she glanced slyly at Gladys, who shrugged her shoulders.

“How well you speak German, Miss—Janet!” said Flossie Gilsey. “Isn’t it queer you know it so well, and don’t know French?”

“Not at all queer,” said Janet simply. “I64 hadn’t much chance to learn French, but there are lots of Germans in Crescendo. Besides, I like it better than French, I’m certain. But the real reason why I know it is because I worked hard to learn it. I meant to be able to speak it; I wanted to be fit to help papa in his office.”

A short silence fell on the little group at this shocking remark, during which Gladys turned a succession of alarming colors, and longed to go into hysterics or choke her cousin—probably both in rapid sequence. Janet Howe, her father’s sister’s child, staying at her house that winter, and brought by her and Gwen to this exclusive school, to announce—shamelessly, brazenly, to announce—that her ambition was to be a clerk in her father’s office, and that for this purpose she had learned German!

Poor Gladys really was to be pitied at that moment, for though she was a little goose to feel so, she really did feel that a disgrace had fallen upon her which death could hardly wipe out. And then the silence was broken by a little titter from the three girls, and Ida Hammond said sarcastically, “How nice!”

Janet looked from Gladys’s party-colored65 countenance to the amusement gleaming in the eyes of her friends, and saw that something was wrong, but what it could be she had not the faintest idea. And before anything worse could happen a voice behind her said: “Yes, isn’t that nice? Isn’t it lovely? Please introduce me to your cousin, Gladys.”

Janet turned and saw a girl who was in the class with her and Gwen. She was tall, not pretty, but distinguished looking, with that air of good breeding which is so definite, yet so indefinable—the look of one who for many generations had inherited good principles and right standards of living and taste.

“My cousin, Janet Howe, Miss Dorothy Schuyler,” murmured Gladys.

Dorothy put out her hand. “I am so glad to have you here, Janet,” she said. “I was so much interested in what you were saying. There aren’t many girls with enough affection for their fathers to study that they may help them, and few clever enough to do it, even if they do want to. Won’t you tell me about it?”

There was a determined look in the brown eyes that smiled kindly, in spite of it, on Jan,66 and she knew, though she did not know why, that she was being championed.

“There isn’t very much to tell,” she said slowly, responding in a puzzled way to the other’s cordiality. “My father is in the real-estate business out in the little place I came from—Crescendo. He has to deal a good deal with Germans, and he hasn’t as big a business as he would have in such a growing town if he weren’t working on a patent he wants to bring out. So he needs me—or I liked to think he did—to help him, and he needs some one to speak German, so I tried to combine the two. Like the man in Pickwick who wrote about Chinese metaphysics,” added Jan, with a sudden laugh, and the dimples that made her so irresistibly pretty coming in her cheeks.

Dorothy had a sense of humor, too, and she liked Dickens. She laughed, and put an arm affectionately over the stranger’s shoulder. “I think it is beautiful to find a girl of our age trying to do something loving and sensible like that,” she said heartily. “I hope you can teach me to be brave and unselfish. Wouldn’t you like to come over to that deep window-seat and see67 the view—it is fine from there—and tell me more about Crescendo? If Gladys can lend you to me a while?” she added interrogatively.

Gladys seemed to think that she could, and the two walked away, followed by glances by no means pleasant from the group they had left. In that first encounter were sown the seeds of future enmity, for the Hammonds and Flossie disliked Janet as much as they would naturally dislike one to whom they had been unkind, and who had thus been the means of making them appear badly in the eyes of Dorothy Schuyler.

When Gwen awakened from her day-dream to a consciousness of her neglect of Janet, she stared in amazement at the sight of her cousin chattering volubly to Dorothy, whose cheeks were red from laughing. Gwen drew a sigh of relief; she saw that Jan was happy, and she knew Dorothy was so innately well-bred that she would never misunderstand any confidences Jan chose to make, as would the other sort of girls.

Walking home at two o’clock, Janet told Gwen the story of her adventures at recess—“recreation hour,” she found that she must learn to call it.

68 Gwen listened with frowns and smiles. “You will have to learn not to tell that gang”—it is a melancholy fact that the budding author did say “gang”—“anything about home, and being poor. They only draw you out for pure meanness, and they don’t know anything but just money. But wasn’t it fine of Dorothy Schuyler to squelch them like that? Dolly Schuyler is the most a real lady of any girl in that school. She doesn’t put on airs—of course not, if she is a lady—but she makes all the girls feel that what she says and does is the very last, best thing to be said or done. And she leads us all; not because she wants to, but because she is what she is—all the girls look up to her. She wouldn’t stoop to do an underhanded, sneaky, nor a mean thing—not if she got a crown by doing it. She never says nasty things, but when she looks at you—if you’ve been contemptible in any way—you can’t help curling up. I’ve always been very proud that Dorothy seems to like me; she doesn’t like every one. The Hammonds, and that crowd, pretend not to care for what she thinks, because they’re richer than she is, but she is the very concentrated extract of blue69 blood, and they do care a lot. If there is any aristocracy in America, it’s people like Dorothy’s family.”

“But there isn’t; papa says it is sheer nonsense to talk about aristocracy in a republic,” said Jan, her independence touched.

“All right; I don’t say it isn’t, so don’t wave the Stars and Stripes at me,” said Gwen. “But if there is aristocracy, it must be those people descended from the signers of the Declaration, and the Revolutionary fighters, and the colonists, and all those. Why, you’re descended from them yourself, so you needn’t fire up, Janet Howe.”

“I don’t care; in the West we don’t fuss about trifles. Tell me about Dorothy,” said Janet.

“There isn’t much more to tell, and what there is you’ll find out for yourself. But it was a big thing for Dorothy to champion you. You’ll see that it will make a difference. Both ways,” added Gwen honestly, “for it will make the Hammonds and Floss Gilsey hate you. I wish we could put our heads together to get Gladys away from those girls. I should think she’d70 know better than to like them, and they’re certain sure to spoil her, if it keeps up.”

“I’m afraid if I put my head into it she would go with them all the more,” said Jan, with a hurt little laugh. “Gladys can’t bear me, Gwen.”

“Gladys is a perfect goose; if she likes such girls as the Hammonds she couldn’t be expected to like you. But just you wait. She’ll come round. Those girls are sure to do something mean to her some day—they’re so jealous of everybody, and I’m proud to say they just hate me. And as to you, nobody could help liking you sooner or later, Jan. You’re a regular dear!” and Gwen kissed her cousin on the front steps, moved with compunction for the neglect which had exposed her to her unpleasant experience at noon, admiration of the generosity which did not resent it, and pride in the little Lochinvar out of the West whom Dorothy Schuyler had sealed with her approval.



One day was very like another in the first two weeks of Janet’s new school life. The teachers soon liked the sunny girl with the ready dimples and readier wit, joined with honest industry and determination to learn. The girls—the best girls—liked Jan at once, but the little knot of companions whom Gwen had disrespectfully called “that gang” disliked her every day a little more than the previous one, and chiefly because of the liking of the better faction. Gladys—and this was what made the attitude of these girls hard to bear—Gladys arrayed herself with them, and showed positive dislike to “Miss Lochinvar,” who certainly did not deserve it at her hands.

At home, after school, during the five hours between its dismissal and dinner time, life was72 a trifle dreary, or would have been but for Jack, Viva, and Jerry. Gwen thoughtlessly, in spite of her liking for Jan, betook herself to her own pursuits. Sydney did not seem like part of the family at all, but rather like some one who was fortunate enough to have secured an unusually well-appointed lodging-house and restaurant. He came and went unnoted, to Jan’s amazed distress. She had heard so much said by her father and mother of the necessity of keeping close to their boys and making home pleasant to them that motherly little Jan quite yearned over the handsome lad who had no one to see that he kept straight. She longed to make friends with him; a longing intensified by her intimacy with her own elder brother, Fred, whom she missed more than any of the children she had left behind her, unless it was the baby, Poppet. But though Sydney was perfectly polite to Jan, he made no recognition of her overtures of friendship, and, it seemed to his cousin, grew more indifferent to his surroundings, and more heavy-browed at each succeeding dinner.

Mrs. Graham soon got over her annoyance at Janet’s coming, and was always pleasant,73 pretty, and kindly, but not less busy than at first. As the autumn advanced into winter she was more deeply engulfed in engagements than ever, and Jan shared her children’s lack of their mother’s society. Unfortunately, with her aunt’s displeasure at her coming had disappeared her uncle’s pleasure in receiving his favorite sister’s child, and Jan quite longed for another of the evenings with him, such as she had tasted on her arrival a month ago.

Every afternoon when she came home from school—except on the afternoon of the dancing-class—Jan went into the nursery and sat down with Hummie, Jack, Viva, and the baby—who would have resented the title. Jack found the steep hill of learning which—to speak metaphorically—had so winded him turned into “the primrose path of dalliance” by this pretty cousin, who was so honest that she would not do his tasks for him, yet so clear-headed that she turned them into positive joys. Then she told the jolliest stories of the doings of her brothers and sisters, whom Jack burned to know, considering them more attractive than any youngsters he had had the luck to meet with,74 either in or out of a book, and whose feats filled him with envious admiration. Peals of laughter floated down the hall frequently during these hours—laughter which reached Gwen in her shrine of genius, and sometimes brought her out to share the fun. Gwen was surprised to find herself half jealous of the children’s love which Jan had won in a short month, and which she had missed because she had never thought about them at all. She sometimes felt quite shut out and hurt when she saw how the faces of the three youngest brightened at the sight of Jan and heard the whoop of delight with which they welcomed her.

Quiet little Viva found that Jan knew ways of playing housekeeping which her own naturally domestic little brain could not have devised, and that she could dress dolls, and play with them, too, as no one—not only her own sisters, but her friends—could begin to hope to do. And she could tell stories, not only the funny stories of life in Crescendo and the Howes’ frolics, but the fairy-tales which Viva preferred, in a way that would make the lady who told stories in the Arabian Nights’ green with envy.75 Viva loved Jan with a sort of dumb adoration. She was a sensitive little creature, and Jan had come into her solitude like sunshine. As to Jerry, she adopted Jan—whom she called “Yan” with a pure Norwegian pronunciation—as her own property, and loved her with tumultuous affection. Jerry had grown so well-behaved in the dining-room—never tipping over her oatmeal spoon, still less kicking “Tsusan”—that her father and mother wondered at the reform. They did not know that if “Yan” lifted her eyebrows in shocked surprise at the dawn of naughtiness in the wilful tot, Miss Geraldine immediately resumed the behavior which should make “Yan” show her dimples in smiling at her, for “Yan’s” dimples had become Jerry’s barometer, and she could not exist if their absence indicated disapproval.

It was fortunate for Janet that she was so sincerely fond of younger children and that her little cousins did cling to her with such devotion, for without their love she would have had many lonely hours and would have found the atmosphere of the splendid home she had come to too frigid for happiness.

76 Helen Watterson was to give a party, and the school was stirred by the announcement. Not only did Helen live in a house so large that her party was sure to be an event, but she had announced it as a “fagot party,” and all the girls invited protested that they could never, never fulfil its requirements. These requirements were for each guest to bring a fagot of wood—and “fagot” could be interpreted very liberally to mean anything from a few toothpicks bound together to a large bundle of real sticks. These fagots were to be laid in turn on the open fire, and while his fagot was burning each guest must tell a story.

The Grahams, Gwen, Gladys, and Janet Howe, were invited, as well as most of the girls of their age at “the Hydra.” Gwen felt no uneasiness as to her powers in the story-telling line, nor did Jan, though she was rather frightened at the thought of lifting up her voice in such an august assembly, but Gladys was dismayed, and declared, without meaning it, that she would not go if she had to tell a story, but would plead some excuse at the last moment. As it happened, it was Gwen, who longed to go, that77 pleaded the excuse at the last moment, a painfully real excuse, for she had a bad sore throat, and could not leave her room. Jan begged to be allowed to stay at home with her, partly through kindness to the cousin whom she really loved, and partly from a strong preference for doing so, for the prospect of going to a party without Gwen and with Gladys was worse than going alone. But Gwen would not hear of Jan’s staying behind.

“It will be the nicest party, I’m sure, Jan,” she said, “and I wouldn’t have you miss it. Besides, it is really the first affair we’ve been asked to since you came, so it will be your introduction to New York society. And another ‘besides’ is that I shall want to hear all about it, every story repeated, and everything, and Gladys never would tell me one thing.”

“I don’t feel as though I could go with Gladys, Gwen,” Jan said involuntarily. “She does dislike me so, and it makes me more awkward and scared than ever.”

“Don’t pay the slightest attention to her,” said Gwen, looking wrathfully at Jan over the red-flannel swathings of her throat—Hummie78 always insisted on the efficacy of that color for such purposes. “After you leave the dressing-room you keep with Dorothy Schuyler and Cena North. They’ve got sense enough to appreciate you! And they’re my friends. You’ll have a good time, because there’ll be plenty of good times there to have, and when there are, you don’t miss them.”

Gwen, with mistaken zeal, made a few vigorous remarks to Gladys before they set forth, telling her what she thought of her slighting Jan, and bidding her be nice to her at the party, under threat of wrath to come. The result of this well-meant interference was that Gladys sulked, settling herself in her corner of the carriage without speaking to Jan during the drive. After they arrived she compelled Susan to arrange her hair and dress first, and she then left the dressing-room without waiting for Jan, who had to find her way, frightened and hurt, to the parlors alone.

“Isn’t Gwen coming?” asked Dorothy Schuyler, standing near their hostess, when Gladys entered.

“Gwen has a sore throat. She’s dreadfully79 disappointed. She cared more about coming than I did,” said Gladys.

“And Jan wouldn’t leave her, I suppose?” suggested Dorothy.

“Oh, Jan is here. She is coming right down,” said Gladys, trying to speak easily.

Dorothy gave her one of the glances which Gwen had said “made you curl up,” and went swiftly into the hall. Here she found Jan coming hesitatingly down-stairs through the group of boys lounging part way up, waiting for “the party to begin.” They all stared at Jan, glad of something prettier to look at than one another, for, though some of them were already young dandies, most of them despised the stiff costume to which even the younger lord of creation is condemned at festivities, and were wondering, each individually, if he “looked as big a fool in his stiff collar as the other fellows did.”

Jan gave a sigh of relief as she caught sight of Dorothy. It seemed to her that she could not enter that crowded room alone. Dorothy noticed with pleasure that Jan looked very charming in soft, delicate green, which gave her,80 with her brown eyes and hair, the effect of some sylvan creature.

It was not so very bad after all to get to her hostess and make her salutations now that kind Dorothy was at her elbow, and when the ordeal was over Jan turned to enjoying herself with her tendency to make the best of things.

There was to be dancing after supper, but first the young guests grouped themselves around the open fire for the fagot burning and story-telling. Dorothy began, and told a pretty legend of Brittany, not long, but much longer than Daisy Hammond’s, who had brought a tiny bundle of three lightest twigs, and related a tragic tale in two stanzas of “nonsense rhymes.”

When it came Jan’s turn she found to her horror that the story which she had so carefully learned and rehearsed with Gwen had slipped from her as completely as if she had never heard it. “What shall I do?” she whispered to Dorothy. “I have forgotten my story!”

The story-telling party.

“Make up another. Tell us something you have seen or done in the West,” said Dorothy.81 “It will probably be much more interesting, so don’t worry.”

“I have forgotten the story I meant to tell,” Jan began in a faint voice as she laid her fagot on the fire. “I think maybe I could remember it if only I could get hold of the beginning. But Dorothy Schuyler says I had better tell you something true that happened at home, so I am going to tell you about a cyclone we had once, and I’ve got to hurry, or my wood will be gone. There was a family living outside of Crescendo, about a couple of miles out, and they had come there from the frontier, and twenty-five years before the day of the cyclone they had lost one of their children—the oldest boy—out in the territory; he was stolen by Indians. They hunted everywhere and as hard as they could for him, but they never found him, so they thought he must be dead, and they moved into Kansas, and settled in Crescendo, and had ever so many other children, and were quite happy, though they never forgot that lost boy. They didn’t get on so very well—didn’t make much money, I mean, so mamma and papa tried to help them. They couldn’t very much, because we have such lots82 of children and not much money. But one day there came up a storm, and papa ran around making everything tight and getting all our children in, for he said it was going to be a windstorm, and that scares us out there—we’ve seen them!”

Jan had forgotten her shyness, and was becoming dramatic as the recollection of the fatal day came over her. She leaned forward, her elbows on her knees, her eyes fastened on her burning fagot, with the light playing over her earnest face.

“Well, it came. The sky got all over a dreadful yellow, and it was so dark we lighted up like night. Mamma was baking and I was sweeping and dusting—I know I thought it was lucky my head was tied up, for it seemed as though it might blow off. The wind roared and rushed past us, and branches of fruit-trees and heavy things came banging up against the house—oh, it was awful! But we didn’t get the worst of it inside the town. Outside, where this family lived, it was the very middle of the cloud, and it took the roof off, and it blew down the barn, and the neighbor’s house blew over and part of83 it struck theirs—and—oh, dear, oh, dear! I can’t bear to think of it!” Jan hid her face in her hands a moment, shuddering, and her audience sat silently waiting for her to go on.

“The wall fell in and it buried all that family under it, for they were all huddled together—they hadn’t any cyclone cellar. It was the first time a cyclone had ever struck Crescendo. And when the storm had passed—it was all over in fifteen minutes—they went out to that house and they found them dead, all dead, except the baby, and he was crying and pulling at his mother’s dress.” Jan’s voice quivered so that she had to wait another moment, and no one noticed that her fagot was burned out.

“And when they got there,” Jan went on, “there was a young man standing among the ruins whom the people who came to help had never seen before. Would you believe it? It was that oldest son whom they had lost! He had found out who he was and had traced his parents, and had come to Kansas after them, and had reached Crescendo just in time to find them dead in the ruins of their home. And there was not one left but the little crying baby and84 the oldest son—they were all gone! I took off my sweeping dress, and mamma left her baking, and we went out there. We brought the baby home with us—he was just Poppet’s age—until after the funeral. Then the young man took him, and they went away together, the oldest and the youngest, and we have never seen either of them in Crescendo again.”

After a complete silence of a few minutes, more flattering than applause, the applause for Jan’s tragic story burst forth from every pair of hands. It was the success of the evening, but to Gladys it was a success worse than failure. The confession that Jan and her mother had been busied with housework at the time of the tragedy added the story to the long list of disgraceful disclosures Jan was forever making.

But the other guests at the party did not seem to consider Jan’s little tale a blot upon her credit—they could afford to admire it, Gladys thought bitterly; she was not their cousin! Girls and boys crowded around Jan to congratulate her, till poor Jan hardly knew where to look. She was already the heroine of the evening, but one thing more raised her into a heroine85 indeed, though it ended the party for her and Gladys.

The last fagot was on the fire, and Helen Watterson leaned forward with the tongs to adjust it as it burned. She wore floating tarlatan over her pink-silk skirt, and as she reached for the falling fagot the draft from the chimney sucked her dress into the fireplace, and instantly the gauzy stuff blazed up.

Her guests fell back screaming, but Jan sprang forward, gathered up the overdress in her hands, crumpling it together, and extinguishing the flames before there was the slightest danger of injury to Helen. Probably there had not been very great danger, for the flimsy stuff would very likely have been consumed before it could ignite the rest of her garments, but none the less, Jan had done a brave deed, and at the cost of painful burns on her own hands.

Mrs. Watterson took her away to be coddled and bandaged, amid a murmur of admiration from the guests she left behind her. When the poor little brown hands were thoroughly wrapped in oil and cotton a carriage was called, and86 Susan put Jan into it, while Gladys followed, angry at being obliged to miss the dancing, angry with herself for her bad temper, angriest of all with Jan for proving her so wrong, yet swelling with pride that her cousin had saved Helen’s life—for Gladys would not regard the event as less than life-saving. The drive back was as silent as had been the drive to the party. Jan was in too much pain, Gladys in too perturbed a state of mind for speech.

As Susan helped Jan from the carriage, a forlorn, hungry, sick-looking little tiger cat ran mewing toward her, and then scuttled away, as one who had no reason to count on the human kindness it implored.

“Oh, that poor, poor, dear little cat!” cried Jan, who loved dumb beasts tenderly. “Can’t I take it in, Gladys?”

“Oh, Miss Janet, it’s that forlorn and miserable, you don’t want it!” protested Susan.

“Yes, I do; that’s why I want it!” cried Jan. “Do you think your mother would care? I’ve missed my animals so dreadfully, Gladys!” she pleaded.

“You know mamma never cares what we do87 as long as we are satisfied,” said Gladys ungraciously.

Jan waited for no further permission. With her bandaged hands, and with the blandishments of a voice used to conversing with our little kindred who can not reply—not in the same tongue at least—Jan contrived to catch the frightened little waif who stood in such sore need of kindness.

Clasping him to her breast, in spite of bandages, and disregarding possible mud on the white paws, Jan returned, damaged, excited, but, on the whole, happy, from her first party.



After the party and Jan’s accident there were seven days of uneventful, shut-in life, which were both pleasant and unpleasant. Jan could not go to school, for her hands were very painful, and holding a book would be quite out of the question.

Gwen was well and out again in a day, but she devoted her afternoons to Jan, going over their lessons with her, that she might keep up with the class, and entertaining her the rest of the time. The girls in school showed a tendency to make a heroine of Jan, who refused to be lionized; Dorothy, Cena, and Helen Watterson came, separately or together, nearly every afternoon to see her, and the teachers sent messages of sympathy and pride in her courage to her, whom they called “their brave little Janet.”

89 Sydney hailed her on the day after her adventure with a cordial smile and a tone which she had never heard him use to any one. He liked pluck, and it struck him suddenly that the girl whom he had dubbed “Miss Lochinvar” had been showing it, in one form or another, ever since her arrival.

“I hear you have been making a burnt offering of yourself, Miss Jan,” he said. “Don’t do too much of that sort of thing, because it would be a pity to have you burned up altogether.”

Jan was so pleased at this advance from Sydney that she built upon it great hopes of real friendship between them, but though Sydney never relapsed into his perfect indifference of manner toward her, they did not get beyond this slight break in the ice. Gladys alone stood completely aloof. She was a very unhappy Gladys in these days, and heartily wished that she had not taken the attitude toward her cousin which she now felt called upon to maintain. Pride kept her from admitting that she was in the wrong, and stubbornness toward Gwen, and a deep-seated objection to seeming to admit her authority, made her ten times worse than she90 might have been without these inducements to bad behavior. Gwen found out from Jan how Gladys had treated her at the party. Jan did not mean to tell, but in saying how good Dorothy Schuyler had been to her, she found that she had blundered into betrayal of Gladys’s neglect.

Gwen was very angry. Not only was her sense of justice and liking for Jan in arms, but had not she, Gwendoline, Gladys’s elder and talented sister, warned Gladys that night before setting forth that she must not treat their cousin badly?

“I don’t want to be a tell-tale, Gladys, and I’m not the sort to run to papa with things, any more than he is one to bother with them, but you know what he said about sending you to boarding-school if you dared be rude to Janet when he had invited her here! Now, you just keep it up as you’ve been doing, and I’ll have to go to him, and tell him how perfectly horrid you are to her—and she so sweet and dear, and everybody that is anybody admiring her like everything!” said Gwen sternly.

“You can tell him anything you please,” said91 Gladys furiously, “but I won’t have anything to do with Janet, and nobody can make me! You can’t say I treat her badly if I let her entirely alone!”

So Gladys withdrew herself from her sister’s society, since it involved Jan’s, and was more than ever with her objectionable friends, by way of defying Gwen and proving her independence; though the only thing she succeeded in proving thoroughly was proved to herself, and that was that she was very miserable and ashamed of herself.

“I am driving Gladys away,” said Jan forlornly to Gwen one day. “You are never together, and it’s all my fault. I sometimes wish I had never come to New York.”

“Don’t worry, Jan. Gladys and I were never friends,” said Gwen lightly. Then seeing Jan’s shocked expression, she added: “Not that we were enemies, you know. What I mean is we never were chums. We always liked different things and people. It might as well be you we differ about as anything else. It isn’t you who have done it.”

“But she is with the Hammonds all the time—more92 than when I first came, and you never liked that,” objected Jan.

“Probably it is all for the best. I should think that would be the best way to cure her of liking them,” laughed Gwen. “Don’t worry, Jan. You can’t make everybody alike.”

With which bit of philosophy Jan had to try to satisfy herself.

The kitten she had rescued on her return from the party was showing gratifying results of her care. After he had had the mud sponged from his fur—a task performed by Gwen, since Jan was unable to do it—he had displayed a pretty coat of black stripes on a brownish ground, with snowy breast and paws, and a nice face, which Jan convulsed Gwen and Jack by pronouncing “grave and sweet in expression,” though there was no denying that this was true when she had pointed out the fact.

He had been some one’s pet, for his manners were quite elegant, and he had been taught to jump through hands, and to eat like a Turveydrop of deportment. But Jan did not call him Turveydrop, as Gwen wanted her to. She named him Tommy Traddles, after the cheerful youth93 of whom she was very fond, and he became the greatest addition to the little exile’s comfort. Tommy Traddles required convincing that each other member of the family individually meant well by him, for he had been so frightened during his days of wandering and hardship that he distrusted every one, but Jan he loved from the first. He had a shocking cough and bad indigestion from exposure and lack of food, but Jan cured the one with cod-liver oil and the other by careful feeding, and Tommy Traddles came out as good as new. It seemed to Jan, when he sat purring in her sunny chamber window, with the broad middle stripe of his back getting more glossy before her eyes, that she had not had a moment of home feeling until her dear cat came.

One day when it had been raining heavily, and a cold had kept Jack at home from school, Jan sat in Gwen’s room listening to the first chapters—three were now written—of the novel which she, quite as implicitly as Gwen, believed that North & Co would jump at the chance to publish as soon as Cena North laid it before her father.

94 Jack was restless. His cold was just bad enough not to risk going out with it, but not bad enough to subdue his spirits. Gwen lost patience at last with his constant popping in and out of her room and snapped him up.

“Ivan Graham,” she cried, “if you don’t keep out of here, I’ll make you! You ought to be ashamed of yourself, taking advantage of me, like a sneak, just because my lock is broken! Aren’t boys a nuisance, Jan?”

“No, but their noise is sometimes,” smiled Jan, with a warning shake of the head at Jack.

The warning came too late. Jan had never seen an exhibition of her little cousin’s temper, though she had been informed more than once that “Jack was a terror when he broke loose.” He “broke loose” now, and Jan saw the suitability of the expression, for he was like a young wildcat.

“I’m not a sneak! I’ll teach you to call me a sneak!” he shrieked, throwing himself on Gwen with such violence that she staggered halfway across the room. “I’ll show you! I’ll show you!” Apparently Jack meant that he would show his sister how he could use his fists, for95 he was pummeling her black and blue, and Jan’s bandaged hands prevented her going to Gwen’s rescue.

But Gwen had had sorry experience with ungoverned temper from her earliest days. She caught Jack deftly at last, pinioned his arms, and bore him—for she was a tall, strong girl—half dragging him, half carrying him, to Hummie for punishment, though he kicked and fought all the way.

“Isn’t he a cherub?” asked Gwen, returning triumphant, but short of breath.

“It’s awful!” cried Jan, who had been quite frightened during the tussle. “If some one doesn’t teach him to control that temper he may do something he’ll be sorry for all his life. And he really is a dear little fellow—so warm-hearted and generous!”

“Oh, those tornadoes are always warm-hearted and generous, if they feel pleasant,” said Gwen. “I think I like less generosity and fewer kicks. I shall be black and blue for a week. Don’t your brothers have tantrums?”

“Yes, but we always try not to stir up the96 quick ones, and when they get into a fit of temper we try to cool them down—we have what we call the Rescue League, you know—mamma founded it—and we pledge ourselves to rescue one another from our foes—inside ourselves, of course. It really is fun, and more like a play than anything goody-goody. Then if mamma is around when one of us gets mad, she takes that one by the hand and leads him off—sometimes it’s a her, you know—it has been me—been I—and soothes him all down and talks quietly, and we come back feeling as if we had had a bath—a bath for our minds.” Janet’s eyes had grown dim as she talked. The little plain home looked so lovely and peaceful as she recalled it!

Gwen was silent, and at this moment Susan offered Jan a letter.

“Oh, it’s from mamma!” she cried. “Please open it for me, Gwen. And lay it on my lap where I can read it.”

Gwen obeyed, but the attempt at reading was not successful. The pages slipped and Jan’s fingers were not free to hold them.

“You would rather not have me read it to97 you?” asked Gwen. “Do you think it’s secrets?”

“No, but I do love to read mamma’s letters myself,” sighed Jan. “Thank you, Gwen. Please take it.”

Gwen did as she was bidden, and read:

My Dearest Little Janet-Girl: It is really several days since I wrote you, but papa and Fred have written, and there wasn’t any news. Only that there are five more citizens of Crescendo than there were last week—four are kittens—nice little Maltese and white things, belonging to Madam Puff—and one a calf, the long-legged daughter of Mrs. Cusha. I am so glad that my little girl is not getting too fond of luxury to want to see her plain home again! They are very good to you at Uncle Howard’s, and it was beautiful in him to fit you out as prettily as his own daughters, so that you should not be mortified nor mortify them when you appear together. By and by you will see more of Aunt Tina, I am sure. She must be fond of all those dear children, of course. [Here Jan began to blush furiously, but Gwen only98 elevated her eyebrows and went on reading with increasing interest as she caught sight of her own name farther down the page.] And though it is delightful for you to see so much of the tiny ones, and have them love you so dearly, I am especially glad that you like Gwen, and that she seems to like you, for I feel sure she is a noble girl, as well as a clever one, and I always wanted Howard’s oldest daughter and my oldest girl to be friends, as we were, he and I, years ago. And no, dear, you certainly must not mind Gladys’s dislike too much, nor even feel sure it is dislike, because one is likely to get the kind of treatment one expects. I am as sorry as I can be that she apparently despises poverty. Of course that is nonsense. Rich people are not better than poor ones, nor are poor people better than rich ones. It all depends how one meets and uses his opportunities, and money or its lack is an accident. Rich people are tempted to be hard and selfish, but, on the other hand, poor people are tempted to be envious and jealous. ‘The betwixt and between’ folk have the best of it, for they are not so strongly tempted either way. Still, they often get dissatisfied99 with enough. Agur was very wise when he prayed to be given ‘neither poverty nor riches.’ I am sorry as I can be that my poor little niece is so worldly, but I hope she will learn better when she is a little older. If she doesn’t she will have some hard lessons, for worldly people are taught very sharply how vain are the things upon which they have set their hearts, and no one with false ambitions is ever happy. But if little Jan doesn’t get worldly, I can not care as much as I should about any one else. I was so afraid, so dreadfully afraid, to put my single-hearted girl among things which could never be hers—afraid I should spoil her content and her unconsciousness of differences, which really are imaginary and do not matter at all. Go your ways, my Jan, like an honest, simple little girl, and do not be other than your true, good little self. It grieves me to think that any one in my brother’s house—much more one of his children—should not be quite kind to Jan, but I feel sure you will win Gladys by and by, if you are patient. The greatest English writer after Shakespeare—to my thinking, at least—said that the world was a looking-glass, reflecting100 our own expression toward it. And he was perfectly right. So smile away, Janet, and by and by all your little world will smile at you. All the children and your father send kisses enough to take your breath away. And so does she who loves you a little more than any one else can love you, and who prays ‘that God will keep you so pure, and true, and fair.’ You remember our favorite song?

“Your loving and only mother,
“Jennie Graham Howe.”

To Jan’s surprise and dismay, Gwen sprang up after reading this letter, which Jan would not have allowed her to see for the world if she had known that it was going to reflect her own comments on her surroundings, and threw herself on the bed, sobbing as though her heart would break. “Why, Gwen, why, dear Gwen, don’t!” cried Jan, clasping her cousin in her wounded arms. “I didn’t mean anything about Gladys! I’m so sorry you read it! But it really wasn’t anything bad I said!”

“Oh, it’s not that. I don’t care what you said—Gladys is a pig!” sobbed Gwen. “It’s101 because Aunt Jennie is so awfully, beautifully dear! And because—because—O Janet Howe, you don’t deserve credit. You ought to be a nice girl!” And puzzled Jan agreed with her, as she stroked her hair in wondering silence.



Gwen and Jan, with Gladys accompanying them protestingly, and with an air suggestive of being about to walk on the other side of the street, were on their way home from school. Except for a slight tenderness lingering about her reddened palms, Jan’s hands were healed, and she had resumed her former life, very glad to get back to the world of fresh air and sunshine. It was late November, and the air around the park was full of suggestions of country odors—the sunshine soft and warm through the haze overlapping from Indian summer.

There were rumors afloat of great events to come, events of absorbing interest to all the young people. First of all, Sydney’s school was to have a tournament at Thanksgiving, in which not only were there to be races—foot and bicycle103 races—and wrestling matches, and jumping, as in most schoolboy tournaments, but there were to be tennis-matches, singles and doubles, and in the latter girls were to compete, the lads being allowed to ask sisters or friends to play with them. Sydney had very little to do with the girls of his household, but when the hour came that he was to strive with his mates for honor and prizes family pride stirred, and Gwen and Gladys were profoundly interested. They were to go to see the games, and Gwen, at least, who was fonder of sports than Gladys, wished with all her heart that Sydney would ask her to play the tennis-match with him. She felt quite certain that with a little practise she could hold her own against her adversaries. Jan kept discreetly the secret that she had been champion of the girls’ singles at home, but though it never occurred to her to wish for the impossible—that Sydney might ask her to play with him—she was very much excited at the prospect of the games, and nervously reiterated that “she was sure Sydney would win.” And more thrilling, though less definite, was the rumor, gaining force every day, that something104 splendid and unusual was to take place at “the Hydra” in celebration of the Christmas holidays, and though there was no possibility of an answer, each girl asked every other girl daily what she did suppose it would be, and if they thought everybody would take part.

It was this indefinitely glorious prospect which Gwen and Jan were discussing volubly as they walked home in the soft November sunshine, Gladys occasionally adding a word from inability to maintain perfect silence.

There was a knot of men and boys gathered ahead of them, and Jan quickened her pace. She was so constituted that she could not see such a gathering without her first thought being that perhaps some one was maltreating a helpless animal, and her quick impulse was to fly to the rescue. As the three girls came nearer they saw that this time what Jan feared was really happening. A poor little dog, hair matted and body thin, was in a convulsion on the sidewalk, and the crowd, with the usual stupid terror in such a gathering of an animal showing symptoms of sickness, was kicking the poor little creature from side to side, as he staggered about105 blindly, instinctively trying to get somewhere, but with no power in his tortured brain to select that somewhere.

“Put him in the gutter!” cried a voice, its owner evidently having a vague recollection that water was the proper treatment for spasms. A rough hand caught the dog by the tail and threw him into the gutter, still wet from flushing the street from the hydrant. The bewildered creature staggered to his feet and essayed to escape from the puddle into which he had fallen, but the heavy boot of a laborer kicked him back.

Jan saw no more—indeed she had not stood seeing all this, but had witnessed the torture in agony as she and Gwen approached.

Dropping her books without looking to see where they fell, she started on a dead run for the group ahead of her. Her hat flew off, her hair began to break its bounds, but Jan did not think of appearances just then. Like a young Valkyrie she swept down on the amazed men and boys, who fell back before the vigor and suddenness of her onslaught, as human beings generally give away to some one wholly in earnest.

106 “You brutes! You cruel, cruel, stupid men!” cried the clear young voice, shaking with rage and tears. “To treat a little, tiny dog like that! Don’t you see he’s sick? I only hope giants will come and torture you the next time you’re sick! Give me that dog.”

“He’s mad, miss,” said the big workman who had given the last blow.

“He’s nothing of the sort. He’s in a fit, and he ought to be perfectly quiet! I tell you, let me get him!” cried Jan.

The unfortunate little victim of this stupidity and brutality had lain motionless for the last moment, and Jan bent over him tenderly. “Dear little dog,” she said, “let me take you.” The brown eyes, full of misery and pain—for he had recovered consciousness and was coming out of the spasm—were raised to the pitiful face above him, and, recognizing that at last here was one human being who had mercy, the poor dry little tongue came out in an effort to lap the quivering chin, just out of reach.

Taking care to keep her hands away from the dog’s teeth, which might close on them in pain107 and with no intent to bite, Jan raised the helpless creature in her arms. One leg hung limp, and the dog moaned.

“You have broken his leg!” cried Jan, turning indignantly on the crowd. “Oh, how can you call yourselves human beings and treat a little, dumb, helpless thing like that? They haven’t any one but us to help them! The next time you see a dog sick that way lay him where he’s quiet and wet his head, and don’t, don’t ever hurt him! He’s just had a spasm, and now you’ve broken his leg!”

“You brutes! To treat a little dog like that!”

The men began to mutter, but several looked heartily ashamed of themselves. Some boys jeered at Jan, but she paid no attention. Turning to Gwen, who had come up, she looked at her and down at the dog in her arms, totally unable to speak.

Gwen was not less distressed than Jan. She did not even see that the little yellow body was dripping mud on the front of Jan’s dress. “We must take him to a doctor, Jan,” she said. “You are an old trump to drive down on the crowd like that! I always want to do something, but I don’t quite dare.”

108 “It isn’t daring. I don’t stop to dare—I rush,” said Jan. “Where is a dog-doctor, and how shall we go?”

Gladys stood afar, witnessing this incident with unspeakable horror. A girl to rush madly down on a crowd like that, harangue them, and take up a muddy, mongrel cur in broad daylight, and on Fifth Avenue! And Gwen, not much better, to follow her! She picked up Jan’s books as if they had been dynamite, and walked away with her head in the air, too disgusted for adequate expression. Jan was a gipsy. She certainly looked like one, with her hat off and her hair frowzy—reddish hair, too! Gladys had not noticed before how red the brown was in the sunshine.

But if Gladys was repelled and offended anew by Jan’s quixotic behavior, there was another member of the house of Graham who, unseen, viewed the incident with different eyes and feelings. Sydney, also just returning from school, had seen Jan sweep down on the men and boys, scattering them before her, and rescue the dog by sheer force of will and justice, and, seeing, he had been warmed into generous109 enthusiasm and admiration, for Sydney was a manly boy, and he loved animals.

Now he hastened to his cousin’s and his sister’s support. “Good for you, Jan!” he cried. “You’re a regular knight without fear and without reproach.”

Gwen and Jan looked up in amazement. Could this be Sydney? The color had mounted high in his cheeks, his eyes were flashing, his lips smiling. There was not a trace of the sullenness and reserve Jan had thought the only manner she should ever see in her oldest cousin, as he took off his cap in exaggerated, yet sincere deference, and held out a congratulatory hand.

“How is the poor little beggar? What an outrage! They’ve broken his leg! Bad enough to have a fit without being kicked and punched! A crowd makes me so mad I could knock all the heads together! It always thinks every half-starved beast has hydrophobia, and then to make sure there is something wrong, proceeds to stick and stone it. I’m proud of you, Jan! It’s great to see a girl who doesn’t stop to curl her hair when there’s something to be110 done! Gracious! You came down like a wolf on the fold—the Assyrian isn’t in it with you! What are we going to do with your find? I hate to chloroform him.”

“Oh, can’t we cure him?” asked Jan pathetically.

“I can’t set legs, but I shouldn’t wonder if we could pull him through. What about lunch?” asked Sydney.

“Oh, I don’t care about any lunch!” cried Jan eagerly. “It would be cruel to make him wait with his leg broken. Tell me how to get to the doctor, and I’ll take him there.”

“Have you the price of a hansom, Gwen? I’m broke—as usual,” said Sydney, his face clouding. “If you’ve any change I’ll go with Jan and the dog down to the doctor.”

“Here’s my purse,” said Gwen. “There are two dollars in it and some small change. I’d just as lief go, if you’re hungry, Syd.”

“Hungry! Of course, but it’s my business to protect Janet. Hi, there, cabby!” And Sydney hailed a cab a little farther up the avenue, which rattled down on them at once.

“Pile in, Lochinvar. You deserve your111 name,” cried Sydney. And Jan obeyed, wondering if she were dreaming, and if this offhand, genial boy could be morose Sydney.

“Poor little doglums!” Sydney went on. “You hold him well, Jan. Say, why aren’t more girls like you? You’re straight girl, ready to cry over that dog this minute—I’m no end sorry for him, but I don’t feel teary. And you hold him as if he were your youngest child, and you had taken care of six of his brothers before him. Now that’s girl for you! Yet you don’t care a bent copper for what any one thinks, and you make yourself look like a tramp—hair flying, hat off, books any old place, and you get mud on your dress from the poor beggar, and you drive down Fifth Avenue, and it never crosses your mind to consider whether you look respectable or not. You burst through a tough crowd without fear of it, or of comment. And all that’s not only straight boy, but it’s a mighty decent sort of fellow at that. I never saw a girl like you—you’re the right stuff, Miss Lochinvar, and I didn’t know how appropriate the name was when I christened you.”

“I’ve been brought up with boys—Fred’s112 your age, and we’re chums—and then there are all the others,” stammered Jan, hardly knowing how to receive this outburst of most acceptable compliments. “I guess there are lots of girls like me, if you know them. Gwen’s the right sort, too, and Dorothy Schuyler, and I know ever so many at home.”

“Gwen’s well enough,” said Sydney, with brotherly indifference. “I don’t know Dorothy Schuyler. Gladys makes me very weary. I wonder if she’s going to come this airy-fairy business all her days? Here’s the doctor’s. Give me the patient while you get out.”

“I’m afraid to move him for fear it will hurt him. I’ll get out without taking hold—I don’t need my hands,” said Jan. But Sydney steadied her elbow, and she thanked him with a bright smile.

The doctor was at home, fortunately. He was one who loved his profession and loved his patients. He handled the little waif the children had brought to him as tenderly as he would have touched the best-blooded dog, strapping him down carefully, and setting the broken leg expeditiously and successfully. As he worked113 he heard the story of the dog’s rescue through Jan’s wild onslaught, and he smiled approvingly at the girl who loved those whom the gentle saint of Assisi called “our little brothers,” and who dared for their sake. When the work was done he refused his fee, saying that he was glad to contribute his skill to the little dog who had fared ill at the hands of men.

“Are you going to keep him?” asked the doctor.

Jan referred the question to Sydney with a glance that betrayed her longing to do so.

“Oh, yes. We’re going to keep him, and put flesh on these poor ribs of his. And we ought to call him Andromeda, because Janet here rescued him from the dragon,” said Sydney.

“But Andromeda was a beautiful girl,” objected Jan.

“Well, Andromedus, then—Drom for short. I’m sure his state was rocky enough to make it appropriate on that count,” laughed Sydney. “Good-by, doctor. We’re no end obliged. You think the poor fellow will pull through?”

“I’m sure of it, with your care,” said the114 doctor, holding the door for his visitors to depart, and watching them down the stairs. He liked the frank, warm-hearted pair immensely.

“Goodness, Sydney, it’s three—ten minutes past!” exclaimed Jan, glancing at the clock on the Grand Central Station.

“I don’t mind. Gwen will have luncheon saved for us—she’s a good fellow when there’s question of helping beasties,” said Sydney. “And I’m rather pleased to have made your acquaintance, Miss Lochinvar—the real Miss Lochinvar.”

“I’ve been just dying to know you, Syd. I miss Fred so dreadfully,” said Jan, smiling with irrepressible joy. “I think we might have real good times—” She stopped abruptly.

“Say, Jan,” said Sydney, not noticing her embarrassment. “You can run like a spider and you have courage and quick wit. Can you play tennis?”

“Why, I was girl champion at home!” cried Jan, blushing.

And Sydney slapped his leg, whistling with surprised pleasure. “The very thing!” he cried.



The third floor suddenly became to Jan quite as familiar as the second, which Gwen had informed her on her arrival was disrespectfully dubbed by Sydney “the hennery.” Her first visit daily on her return from school and numerous ones from that time until she went to bed were made to poor little yellow Drom, her and Sydney’s interesting patient. “Patient” the little dog certainly was in both senses. It is doubtful if either of the other denizens of that floor of the house would have borne affliction so sweetly, and as a reward for the meekness which submitted to bandages and splints with only grateful kisses for the hands which reluctantly hurt, and for lying motionless through the long hours, the broken leg set fast and the obtruding ribs disappeared under flesh.

116 More than Drom’s broken bones were knitted during those days. Sydney never fell back into his disregard of “Miss Lochinvar,” and, united in their nursing and pride in their patient’s progress, the cousins became real friends.

At times there were glimpses of something in Sydney which Jan did not understand, but which vaguely troubled her, but it was never coolness toward her. On the contrary, she could not help fancying that the taciturn boy was glad of the affection she gave him, and found girlish sympathy very acceptable. In her loyal little heart Jan resolved never to rest until she had brought Gwen into this pleasant comradeship, feeling quite sure that Sydney would enjoy his clever, big-hearted sister as much as she would enjoy him, if only they might make each other’s acquaintance.

In the meantime a wonderful thing happened. Sydney asked Jan to play with him in the tennis tournament, and “Miss Lochinvar” was not less frightened than elated over the honor.

Syd had taken her out to the courts to practise, and was delighted with her swift underhand117 serve as much as with her sure returns and expert volleying, in which she seemed to be all over the court at the same time. It proved to be a “court” in another sense to the pretty girl, for she instantly became a prime favorite with the players, not only with the boys, who pronounced her “great,” but with the girls. These were not pupils of “the Hydra,” but another set and kind. Jan found them pleasanter, as a whole. They were frank, jolly, natural young creatures, such as the boys would be likely to choose to play with them when the choice was left them. They all declared that they had not a ghost of a chance playing against Jan, and the boys announced that “Graham had a cinch, with that cousin of his to back him.” But though the boyish slang made her feel more at home than she had since leaving her brothers, it could not set Jan’s mind at rest. She found herself starting up out of her sleep at imaginary calls of “Play!” and once served a dream ball with such a thump of her hand against the nursery wall that Jerry awoke screaming, and Hummie hastened in, feeling sure nothing less than fire was the matter.

118 There was not much time for practise. Sydney laughed at Jan for wishing they had longer to get used to each other’s methods, but could not help realizing that victory would have been more assured if they had played together more. It would never do, however, to let Jan lose confidence. At the best, Sydney had little faith in “girls’ nerve.”

On the day before the games, which were to be held on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Jan played so badly that Sydney was seriously alarmed. She seemed nothing but a bundle of nervousness, serving weakly or else beyond the bounds, receiving uncertainly, and acquitting herself generally as badly as possible. Jan came home profoundly cast down.

“Don’t be discouraged, Syd,” she said, though she needed cheering more than her partner. “You know I can play a decent game, and I often go to pieces beforehand, but pull together again when the time comes. Maybe I’ll be all right to-morrow.”

“Of course. I know how that is,” said Sydney lightly. “You’re all right, and I wish I was119 as sure of everything I wanted as I am of winning to-morrow. You had your funk out to-day. To-morrow you’ll be right on deck when the umpire calls time.”

Jan went slowly up-stairs, hoping this was to prove true. Her spirits rose considerably at the sight that met her eyes when she opened her chamber door. There on the bed lay a tennis dress of which any one might be proud. It was beautiful broadcloth, rich, warm red in color, with tiny bands of black fur around the short skirt and perfectly defining the fine lines of the short jacket which surmounted the delicate tucked white-silk shirt-waist. But most bewitching of all was the cap of the crimson cloth, with its outlining of black fur and its single black quill bidding defiance to the world in its saucy setting on the left side. Jan promptly donned the cap, admiring the effect in her glass, which told her that she had never worn anything so becoming, and resolving to do or die, to live up to her costume. She would not be one of those girls whom the Crescendo boys despised, whose skill in tennis consisted solely in selecting a gorgeous sash and knotting it gracefully.120 They had had an axiom at home that the better the sash the worse the playing.

Jan, concluding that Gwen had been at the bottom of her welcome gift, went to find and thank her. She learned to her surprise that her aunt had designed and ordered the costume, wishing that her boy should have not only the most skilful partner, but the prettiest one, and with this discovery Jan made another, which was that her busy aunt had unsuspected pride and affection for her eldest born.

The entire family, with the exception of Mr. Graham and Jerry, went out to the games on the following day. The sun was warm, but the air cool; there was not much wind. Altogether it was a day which justified the wisdom of holding games so late in the season.

Most of the big girls from the Misses Larned’s were in the grand stand, interested from more or less personal connection with the contestants, and filling the place with gay colors, lively chatter, and candy odors.

The races preceded the tennis, as did the wrestling. Sydney was not among the wrestlers, but he ran and jumped, and the Graham121 party nearly fell over the rail in its enthusiasm as he came in first in the foot-races and when he marched up to the judges’ stand later to have the first medal for the race and the second medal for the standing jump fastened on the breast of his white sweater.

“Isn’t he gloriously handsome?” whispered Mrs. Graham in Jan’s ready ear. “There isn’t a boy here to compare with him! I am proud of my beautiful boy and my clever Gwen, Janet, and I sometimes think I love them more than all the others put together.”

Jan felt the injustice of these words, although she realized that the pride of the hour might have made her aunt exaggerate her partiality. But as she looked at Sydney she felt that they were almost to be excused. With his face flushed, his head thrown back, his lips proudly smiling, and his straight young form drawn up to its fullest height, showing his fine muscles at their best, Sydney Graham was a son to glory in, and Jan clapped her loudest, feeling that her big cousin was very dear to her, too, and that she was grateful to Drom for being the link that had drawn them together.

122 The time for the tennis had come, and Jan rose in her seat to make her way through the crowd down to the courts. She heard but faintly the clapping of hands with which her school friends sped her, but she heard as distinctly as if a megaphone had shouted the hateful words, Daisy Hammond’s whisper to Flossie Gilsey: “Look at the Wild West Show! I suppose she thinks she’ll paint this town red to match her own war-paint.”

A little righteous indignation often does wonders. Jan had risen with her heart in her rubber-soled shoes. As she heard Daisy’s ugly, vulgar speech her nerves suddenly steadied, and with a profound contempt for the speaker came a resolution to show these girls that she could excel them in sport as easily as she could not help knowing that she surpassed them in class.

Sydney met her at the foot of the stairs, and he read the steady light in her eyes and the firm curl of her lips aright, and with unspeakable relief saw that Janet could be relied on.

“O Sydney, we are all so proud of you!” cried Jan, saluting her cousin with a wave of her racket in her left hand and a tight clasp of123 his hand with the right one. “No, you mustn’t take my racket. It is part of my costume! Don’t you see that Aunt Tina had a cover for it made to match my dress?”

“You certainly are a picture,” said Sydney, “and I’m proud of you! Shall we let them score a few points?”

“Just a few, to add to the interest,” laughed Jan. “But ‘“they’ll have fleet steeds that follow,” quoth young Lochinvar.’”

Sydney echoed her laugh with a mind at rest, and the cousins stepped out on the hard clay court.

They found that their opponents were in fine form. Jan and Sydney fought hard, but do what they would they could not keep them from getting the winning ten after they had held them tied at “forty all” some exciting minutes.

But the second game Sydney and Janet won, and took their places ready to make the third theirs by any heroic effort. Unfortunately the boy and girl opposing them were of the stuff that soldiers are made from—or rather fortunately, for Syd and Jan wanted to win gloriously. But they had hard work to win at all. Once124 more the game halted at “forty all,” and the ball was volleyed back and forth without pausing, each side and both partners of each side playing nobly. Once Sydney played a back stroke that nearly settled it, but the girl across the net saved the day, and immediately on the ball’s return her partner gave a swift cut that made it skim the net and fly out to the right corner of the service-line. With a bound Jan pursued it. It had been a clever stroke, for neither she nor Syd was near that spot at the moment. How she got there Jan did not know, but get there she did, and, swinging her racket without more than time for instinctive planning, she smashed the ball, and it crossed the net, barely clearing it, sped close to the ground out to the outer court of their opponents, and stopped before either raised racket could get down to its level or either player on the opposite side could pursue the ball. A ringing cheer announced the game won and Jan the victor. Sydney shook her violently by both hands, while cries of: “Well played!” “Splendid!” “What a stroke!” fell on the ears of happy “Miss Lochinvar.”

A ringing cheer announced Jan the victor.

“It was the prettiest sight I ever saw,” said125 Mrs. Graham, kissing Jan on her return, and more inclined to regard the affair as a spectacle than a sport. “You are sweet in that crimson, Janet, and Sydney is delicious! I am so proud of you both!”

Gwen hugged her cousin breathless, Jack and Viva trying vainly to get at her the while. Even Gladys was swept away by the glory to her family, to which for the first time Jan had contributed, into something like cordiality toward “Miss Lochinvar.” All the girls Jan liked at the Misses Larned’s congratulated her jubilantly, and the other faction was forced into silence. Altogether Jan enjoyed a little triumph, and came home blissful, to dream of the theater-party to which Mrs. Graham was to take her, Gwen, Gladys, Sydney, his most intimate chum, and Dorothy Schuyler, in celebration of the victory, on the following day.

It was the more shocking that she ran up the stairs later to visit Drom, full of these anticipations for Jan to find Sydney with his head bowed on his arms across his table and to meet the tragic face which he raised as he tried to smile at her.

126 “Why, Sydney, what has happened?” she cried, standing still on the threshold and paying no attention to Drom’s cordial greeting.

“Nothing,” said Sydney. “I—perhaps I ran too hard. I don’t feel quite well. How are you after our victory?” He tried to speak easily, but Jan was too well versed in boys’ ways to be deceived.

“You’re in a scrape, Syd,” she said decidedly, entering and shutting the door behind her with a discretion Sydney admired even then. “Won’t you tell me what it is? Or have you told your mother?”

“My mother! No, I guess not,” said Sydney. “I’d be sorry to tell her—if I were in a scrape,” he added, realizing his indirect admission.

“Then tell me,” said Jan, sitting down at the other side of the table with an air that suggested not rising again until she had been told. “Two heads are better than one, and you can trust me.”

“Well, I’m in debt,” said Sydney, yielding at once, glad, perhaps, to share a burden that had been oppressive for some time. “And the127 fellow writes to say he won’t wait any longer. If I don’t pay up he’ll go to my father. I can’t pay up, so I suppose there’s no help for it, and he’ll have to go.”

“In debt!” Jan exclaimed, her voice low and horror-stricken. “O Syd, that’s awful! What will uncle do if that man goes to him? Who is the man, anyway? Tell me more.”

“He’ll raise the roof, as to father’s part of it, and very likely send me off to boarding-school,” said Sydney, flushing. “The man, as you call him, is a shopkeeper who likes to get the fellows at our school to buy things on tick from him, if he knows there is some one at home who will pay in case they don’t. He even offers to lend us money and put it on the books and not charge any interest. He’s a scamp to do it, and I know it, but I’ve been fool enough—and scamp enough, too—to get things charged and to borrow a little now and then, thinking I could pay up myself. Well, I can’t, and now I’ve got to face the music. It serves me right, but that doesn’t make me enjoy myself any better.”

“O Syd, how could you?” said Jan, who had been brought up to regard debt with horror,128 and whose father might have to deny his children luxury, but by practise and precept he taught them to live within their means.

“Now, you needn’t lecture,” said Sydney, who found the pained and disappointed look in the brown eyes opposite to him hard to meet. “I know all you can say about its being wrong, but I did it, and there you are! Five dollars a month isn’t much allowance, and that’s all I get.”

“Five dollars! Every month, and to spend on yourself?” cried Jan, to whom this seemed a fortune.

“Oh, you little goose!” said Sydney, almost ready to laugh at her simplicity. “What do you suppose that is among the boys I go with? But don’t you worry. I’m sorry I told.”

“Do you think it would be right to pay this man and not let Uncle Howard know?” said conscientious Jan. “You see, Sydney, I think fathers and mothers ought to be told things.”

“Don’t you think it makes a difference whether it would do harm or good?” asked Sydney. “Father would be angry and send me off, and I can’t see what good that would do. He is129 too busy to try to understand. And I’ve had enough of it. If I could pay up now I would keep clear of this sort of thing forever. It has worried me ever since September.”

Jan was thinking rapidly as Sydney spoke, and it seemed to her loving heart like sealing the boy’s fate to send him away from home, where it was her favorite dream to root him more closely. So she said: “I will lend you money, Syd. I have some that papa gave me to buy Christmas gifts for the children, but you can pay it back, perhaps, before then. It’s five dollars. Do you need so much?”

Sydney laughed outright, though it was a melancholy and kindly laugh. “Five dollars, you blessed innocent!” he said. “It is about a tenth of what I owe.”

Jan gasped. “Gwen has money saved,” she said with a sudden inspiration. “Tell her. She’ll be glad to help you out. And it will make you better friends,” she added in her thoughts.

“Indeed I won’t tell Gwen,” cried Sydney. “I’ll tell you what I will do. I’ll borrow your five and try to get him to take it on account, and wait before he tells father.”

130 “And then, if I were you, I’d try to earn the money to pay up,” cried Jan, with another inspiration.

“How could I?” asked Sydney.

“Errands after school, work in some store—lots of ways, if you mean it,” said Jan, springing to her feet in her earnestness.

“Gentlemen don’t do those things, Jan,” said Sydney. “Would you like to see me an errand-boy?”

“I’d rather see you anything than dishonorable,” said Jan hotly. “Gentlemen don’t borrow and spend money they can’t pay back.”

“That’s it! Go ahead! Hit a man when he’s down!” said Sydney bitterly. “That’s the girl of it! I thought you were a square fellow, Janet.”

“Oh, please forgive me, Syd,” cried Jan, repentant. “I didn’t mean to say anything like that! I know you are honorable and are sorry for doing wrong, and I’ll do anything in the world to help you. But I hate to hear you talking like a fop and not seeing where the real disgrace would be. I’d be prouder of you if you joined the street-cleaning department than I131 would to see you getting mixed up in your ideas of honesty.”

Sydney laughed again. “All right, Miss Lochinvar,” he said good-naturedly. “You are somewhat mixed up in your speech, it strikes me. I accept your apology, and I’ll admit you are right in your ideas, if you want me to. And I’ll accept your five dollars, too, if you’ll lend it to me. And I won’t forget that you stood by me as well as you could. Perhaps I’ll pull through with this help.”

Janet could not help seeing that Sydney was too ready to throw off his burden in the relief of temporary relaxing of the pressure. She wished with all her heart that she was old enough and wise enough to help her cousin in the ways in which he needed help most. But it was something that he trusted her with his secret and accepted aid from her.

“I’ll run and get the money now, Syd,” she said. “I wish I wasn’t poor, for your sake. But think it over and see if you can’t earn some money. It would be so much more manly and fine than getting it from Uncle Howard or counting on presents. And fair, too, because132 you would be setting your own wrong-doing right.”

“All right, Miss Lochinvar, I’ll think,” said Sydney. “You’re a pretty good sort of fellow not to scold me harder and to be ready to hold out your hand to a sinner. I won’t forget it of you, Jan.”



It seemed to Jan that each day was full of happenings of late. She was so much interested and had become so much a part of the life around her that she had not time to be homesick any more. First of all, there was Sydney and his affairs, which troubled her, though he had told her that her five dollars had purchased him temporary relief, and that he was considering ways of taking her advice and of earning money after school hours with which to pay his indebtedness.

And, strangely enough, there was Gladys, though nothing had seemed less likely than that this particular cousin should ever engross Jan’s thoughts.

The vague rumors floating about the Misses Larned’s school of great things to be done at Christmas had crystallized into the delightfully134 definite announcement that the girls were to give a play. And these thrilling tidings were followed by the still more exciting news that Gladys had been chosen for the principal part—that of an unfortunate princess, who, at the end of the play, came into her own again—from which Gwen, whose talent exceeded her sister’s, was excluded because of her height. The secret leaked out that the only competitor with Gladys in the minds of the teachers who made the cast was Daisy Hammond, and it did not tend to soothe the feelings of that young lady, already deeply chagrined that Gladys had been preferred to her. But she did not allow her wounded vanity to make any difference in her friendship for Gladys, treating her with more rather than less affection during these trying days, a fact to which Gladys triumphantly called Gwen’s attention as “perfectly sweet and dear of Daisy.”

There came a day—a dreadful day—however, less than a week after the matter of the distribution of the parts had been settled when the elder Miss Larned—and the more awful Miss Larned, if there were degrees in the awe-inspiring135 qualities of the sisters—came into the class-room and announced that for reasons into which it was not necessary to enter, but which were deemed quite sufficient by the faculty, the principal part in the Christmas play had been transferred from Miss Gladys Graham to Miss Daisy Hammond. Miss Gladys, she added, had been assigned the rôle of second court lady.

There was a silence more profound than mere absence of speech as this announcement fell on the ears of the first class, and it realized what it meant. “Second court lady!” Why, it was only a “thinking part,” a mere figure which trailed in and out, swelling the number of attendants on the principals in the play! What could have happened? For evidently this was a punishment inflicted upon Gladys, but for what? All eyes turned upon the deposed princess, who sat staring at the desk whence her sentence had proceeded, turning rapidly every shade and color of which the human countenance is capable, tears starting to her eyes, her lips quivering, but with such a look of blank amazement visible through her grief that most of her mates decided on the spot that whatever might136 be wrong Gladys was as ignorant of it as they were. Daisy Hammond’s face wore a look of gentle commiseration and regret, combined with wonder. She kept looking toward Gladys and raising her eyebrows inquiringly, while she shook her head in a vaguely expressive manner. As soon as recess came a buzz of voices rose on every side, and all the girls rushed to Gladys to ask what she had done to offend Miss Larned and receive such a crushing blow. They found Daisy Hammond with her arms around her friend, begging her to tell her what had happened to make Miss Larned do “such a horrid, horrid thing,” and assuring her that she would not “think of playing a part which had been taken from darling Gladys.”

“There hasn’t the least bit of a thing happened,” Gladys said in reply to the chorus of inquiries. “I don’t know anything more about it than you do. But I don’t care. If they want Daisy to play the princess, let her play it. The only thing I hate is being disgraced like this before the whole school, all for nothing.”

“Go to Miss Larned and ask her why she has changed her mind,” advised Dorothy Schuyler.137 “Tell her we all think she is offended with you, and you think so, too, and tell her you aren’t asking to be given the part, but you do ask for a chance to defend yourself if she thinks you have done wrong.”

“That’s the thing to do, Glad,” said Gwen decidedly. “Come on. I’ll go with you, and if she isn’t fair to you I’ll throw up my part, and so will Jan.”

An irrepressible gleam of triumph which shot across Daisy Hammond’s face before she could repress it, and a quick glance between her and Ida Hammond and Flossie Gilsey, did not escape the keen eyes of “Miss Lochinvar,” whose suspicions were alert. Nor was she less sure that she had seen the glance when Flossie Gilsey said sweetly: “You won’t spoil the play, Gwen! You know no one could take your place.”

This was strictly true, for Gwen had real dramatic talent and had been given a rôle requiring more acting than that of the heroine, for she was the leader of the princess’s enemies and had some telling lines and situations.

“I certainly shall not care about spoiling the play, even if my getting out of it did spoil it,138 if my sister is unjustly treated,” said Gwen. “Come on, Gladys. We’ll let you know, girls, what Miss Larned says.”

The Grahams came back before many minutes, Gladys in tears, Gwen with a flushed and angry face. “She won’t explain one bit,” said Gwen. “She says it is a matter of which the least said the sooner it’s mended. She insists that Gladys understands, and she says that is all that is necessary.”

“But you don’t understand, Gladys?” asked Cena North.

Gladys gave her head a despairing shake. “Not any more than you do—not any more than if I had just landed from China and couldn’t speak a word of English,” she said. “I do think it is the meanest thing!”

The summons to return to the class-room came at that moment, as a corroborative murmur arose on all sides.

“Did you tell her you wouldn’t act?” whispered Daisy Hammond to Gwen. But Gwen shook her head. “I said nothing about any one but Gladys—yet,” she replied. Gwen, like Jan, was suspicious of treachery.

139 Gladys was escorted home by the sympathizing trio with whom she most consorted, but Gwen and Jan walked home together, holding an indignation meeting as they walked.

“Those Hammonds are as sweet as pie to Glad, but I wouldn’t trust them,” Gwen said. “Daisy Hammond was wild to be the princess, and she knew if Gladys could be got out of it she would be put in, for she was second choice for the part in the first place. I’m just certain that crowd is at the bottom of it!”

“So am I,” Jan agreed. “Let’s try to find out what they’ve done and straighten it out! It’s a perfect shame not to give a girl a chance to explain. I’m so sorry for Gladys! I’ll never rest till it’s made right.”

“What a trump you are, Jan,” said Gwen, stopping short to gaze admiringly at her cousin. “You never bear the least grudge. Glad has been perfectly nasty to you often, and now she’s in trouble you’d do anything to pull her through!”

Jan colored. “I’m not a saint, Gwen,” she said. “I don’t enjoy being snubbed, but I think it’s mean and low to try to get square with people.140 If you can’t fight a thing out at the time, drop it, I say. I just despise people who keep up and keep up and dwell on fusses—even if they were in the right in the first place that puts them in the wrong, to my way of thinking. I don’t believe that’s goodness in me. I do so hate such petty ways of quarreling. I’d feel low and ill-bred if I remembered rows and waited a chance to get square. However, as to Gladys, I don’t want to get square with her. I’ve been sorry she didn’t like me, but I don’t feel any spite toward her. Besides, she’s my cousin, my blessed mother’s own niece, and your sister, and Syd’s sister, and the sister of all of you, and it would be a queer thing if I wouldn’t stand by my own cousin.”

Gwen, remembering how she had scolded Gladys for not standing by this very “own cousin” of hers, still thought it fine in Jan to be so generous, but she continued her way without further expression of that opinion, resuming her animated discussion of Gladys’s wrongs.

That afternoon Gwen and Jan went to see the Misses Larned in the freedom of hours out141 of school. They intended firmly, though respectfully to decline to appear in the play if their teachers persisted in refusing to allow Gladys opportunity of clearing herself of whatever she might be accused.

Jan’s part was insignificant, for she was not suspected of histrionic ability, nor was her experience in acting in the barn in distant Crescendo known to “the Hydra’s” heads, but Gwen was a loss which threatened the play with disaster, and Miss Larned—the elder and the only one whom the girls found at home—stooped from her dignified height to expostulate with her.

“It is quite natural and in one sense laudable that you should espouse Gladys’s cause, Gwendoline,” she said. “But I assure you, you are mistaken in so doing. We are justified in making the change that has been made, and we are acting kindly in making it with no complaint of Gladys—merely making it. Gladys understands perfectly why it is done, and you should trust us—trust me, in fact—sufficiently to assume that I am acting wisely.”

“Miss Larned,” said Gwen, trying to control142 the wrath this stately speech aroused, but betraying it in her heightened color, “you think you are acting wisely, but I think—we all think—you are dreadfully mistaken. As to Gladys’s knowing what all this is about, I was with her when she solemnly told you that she did not know. Gladys has plenty of faults, but in all the fourteen years of her life I never knew her to tell an untruth if you asked her anything straight out, as you did this morning. When Gladys says she doesn’t know, she doesn’t know. And if it comes to trusting any one, I must trust my own sister’s word when I know I can. If Gladys was untruthful I would be fair enough to own it—to myself, anyway—and keep still. But lying is not a Graham fault, and I know Gladys is in the dark about what makes you take her part from her. And I want to ask you if you think it is fair to condemn any one without a hearing?”

“I can not allow you to question my judgment, Gwendoline,” said Miss Larned. “The matter is closed.”

“Very well. Then I must ask to be excused from taking any part in the play, Miss Larned,”143 said Gwen rising, with hardly less dignity than Miss Larned herself.

“Gwendoline, you will put us to serious inconvenience. There is no one in the school competent to act the part assigned you save yourself,” said Miss Larned. “You should have the success of the play, the honor of your school, when strangers will come to witness your efforts, sufficiently at heart to sacrifice something for it.”

“I have the honor of my sister a little nearer my heart than the honor of the school, Miss Larned,” said Gwen. “I care more what people think of Gladys than what they think of the acting, though I would have worked hard to make that play go. But as to any one taking my place, my Cousin Janet here has been trying my part at home and she acts it better than I do. She has acted a great deal before she came to New York. She could do it, if she would. I certainly must resign it under the circumstances.”

Jan looked at Gwen in surprise at this suggestion, not guessing that it was a bit of pure malice, intended to heighten Miss Larned’s regret.

That lady turned to Jan graciously. “Janet144 an actress!” she exclaimed. “I am surprised. Though Janet has shown such admirable scholarship since we had the pleasure of receiving her into our care, I do not know why I should wonder at discovering this accomplishment to be hers. Then, my child, if your cousin persists in her refusal to listen to reason, and to injure herself and us for her sister’s sake, I will give her part to you, if you are as capable of performing it as she thinks you.”

“Thank you, Miss Larned,” said Jan hastily, “but I wouldn’t take it for the world. I feel just as Gwen does about Gladys—of course, because an own cousin is the very next thing to your sister—and I must give up even the little part in the play which I have already learned. I wouldn’t take part in it for anything unless Gladys has a chance to clear herself of whatever you think she has done and is proved guilty. Neither Gwen nor I would take her part if she deserved punishment. We only want you, please, to let her know what she is accused of.”

“I have told you that she already knows. If she does not choose to tell you, that is her own affair. I must wish you good-day, young ladies.145 I really have no time to waste on arguments with my pupils.” And Miss Larned made them a curt bow of dismissal and sailed from the room, leaving them to find their way out as they could. She was not dull enough to fail to perceive that Gwen had suggested Jan’s acting merely for the pleasure of hearing the girl refuse to accept the part.

With this small satisfaction to comfort her, Gwen returned slowly with Jan to her home. It was maddening to feel that the Christmas festivities were to end in disgrace to Gladys, loss of her own part in the play, which Gwen could not help knowing she could act well, and universal discomfort. And still less endurable was the situation to both Gwen and Jan that they felt convinced that Gladys’s friends had acted treacherously toward her and that they were powerless to prove their theory or bring about justice.



The days that followed Gladys’s downfall were far from pleasant at school. Gladys was miserable, Gwen and Jan indignant, and their classmates divided into two camps, of which the larger was strongly partisan of the Grahams, but the second sided against them or “didn’t know.” The play, recast and with an incompetent girl in Gwen’s place, went badly at its rehearsals, and the Misses Larned were as cool to Gwen, who was responsible—or whom they chose to consider responsible—for its disaster as they dared be to one of two valuable pupils who had two more sisters at home growing up to scholar’s estate. Gladys had been with difficulty persuaded by Gwen and Jan to keep the story of her wrongs a secret at home until later. These would-be detectives hoped to discover the147 cause of Miss Larned’s injustice, and they knew that if Mrs. Graham learned of her daughter’s treatment she would demand instant reparation or take her from school, and the mystery would remain a mystery to the end. But at the close of the third day Gwen and Jan were no nearer its solution, and Gladys was passionately declaring that she couldn’t and wouldn’t keep the secret any longer. She knew, she said, that her mother “would take her away from the horrid old Hydra if she heard how she had been treated, and for her part she did not think any one with any self-respect ought to be willing to have her stay—much less try to keep her there.”

Just as Gladys was on the eve of becoming utterly unmanageable, chance put the clue to the affair into Jan’s hands, or perhaps it was good fairies, approving her unselfish desire to help her cousin, forgetful of Gladys’s many unkindnesses to her.

Three of the teachers were standing in the hall at noon as Jan came down it. She had no thought of approaching unseen or unheard, but it happened that the day was dark and the hall148 badly lighted at that point, and Jan had on her rubbers, deadening her footfall.

She heard the name “Gladys Graham,” and stopped short. There was no time in which to debate her action. She despised listening, but she wanted—no, that did not express it—she felt that she must hear what was being said. Before she had more than grasped the temptation before her, and had not had time to yield to it or resist it, she heard in the brief pause she made at the turn of the hall words which gave her quick wits the clue for which she longed. The English teacher’s voice, clear and resonant, reached her. She was saying: “There can not be the least possible doubt of the child’s guilt. It was an abominable letter, begging Daisy to join her in a plot to bring discredit on the entire class and school, written in Gladys’s hand, on that very peculiar foreign paper she has, and which there is none like in the school, if there is in the city. And Daisy, whom you never liked, Miss Esterbrook, had written across the bottom of the page: ‘I would not do such a thing for the world.’ The paper fell into Miss Larned’s hands accidentally—it had got in with some149 composition papers I had to correct. Gladys deserves much more severe treatment than being deprived of her part in the play, but policy, as well as kindness, makes Miss Larned hush the matter up. It is very fine of Daisy Hammond, and shows that she really loves Gladys, that she does not tell the other girls, for of course she must guess what is wrong.”

“I could not have believed such a thing like that of Gladys,” said the German teacher. “She is wain and not so much a student as her sister, but I have never a bad child found her.”

Jan turned back and went quietly up the hall in the direction whence she had come. No one had seen or heard her, and she wanted to make certain that she was able to speak naturally before she encountered the group of teachers.

So this was the trouble! Daisy Hammond had evidently written a letter, purporting to come from Gladys, containing a proposal to do something wrong, a proposal which she—writing then in her own person—had indignantly refused. Daisy then had contrived that the letter should fall into the teachers’ hands, knowing150 or hoping that the result of her plot would be to give her Gladys’s coveted part in the play. Jan’s hands clinched as she realized what a contemptible trick had been played, and she resolved to expose it if it took the rest of her life to do so—Jan was inclined to be dramatic under strong excitement.

And the idea, she thought contemptuously, of Miss Arnold saying that the paper was written in Gladys’s hand, when all the first class and second class wrote so nearly alike, that, with the exception of Gwen, to whom much writing had given an individual hand, one could never be certain whose writing one was reading. But the peculiar paper? This was a difficulty, and Jan longed to get Gwen to herself safe at home and begin investigations with her help. But Gwen was out when Jan reached the house, and on second thought it struck “Miss Lochinvar” that it would be delightful if she could ferret out Gladys’s wrongs alone. What happiness it would be to know that she—the unwelcome cousin, of whom Gladys had always been ashamed—should be able to set her right in the eyes of the school where her present disgrace151 far exceeded that of having a cousin who did not mind confessing to poverty!

As a preliminary step, this dawning Sherlock Holmes went to work on paper dolls’ dresses for Viva, little as they seemed to bear on the case. She was anxious not to arouse Gladys’s suspicion, and she wanted an excuse for obtaining some of “that very peculiar foreign paper” of which Miss Arnold had spoken as belonging to Gladys.

“Have you any sort of odd letter-paper, Gladys, that you would let me have to make a doll’s dress?” asked artful Jan. “I want something stiffer than the paper we have, and something out of the common.”

Gladys received the request graciously. She had been pleasanter to Jan since she had stood by her in the matter of the play and had refused to take Gwen’s part when it was offered her—a fact that Gwen was careful that her sister should know, not failing to point out the contrast of this loyalty to her own treatment of Jan.

“I had the very thing,” said Gladys, “but there isn’t a scrap left. Wait—I’ll look—maybe there is just a scrap.” She tossed over the152 papers in her desk and produced a half sheet of a peculiar greenish-gray paper with a tulip design in one corner. “Would this be any good?” she asked. “I had lots of it, but I gave half to Daisy, and mine is all used up. It came from Holland, and now I’m sorry I didn’t keep all of it, for nobody has any like it.”

“I can’t tell whether it will be useful or not,” said Jan truthfully, for she had not seen the paper on which the incriminating letter of which the teachers had been talking was written. Her heart gave a leap as she heard Gladys say so unconsciously that she had divided her paper with Daisy. “I’ll take it, if you don’t want it, and see if I can use it.”

“All right. I don’t want it. Half a sheet is no good, but isn’t it nice, with those tulips in memory of Holland in the corner?” said Gladys, looking regretfully at the solitary remainder of her too great generosity.

“It’s just as pretty as it can be, and it’s nice for a New York girl to have, because the Dutch brought their tulip bulbs over here. Thanks, Gladys. I’ll do as much for you, if I can.” And Jan laughed nervously.

153 “You needn’t mind about doing anything, if you can’t do more than give me half a sheet of letter-paper,” said Gladys. And Jan ran away thinking how much nicer Gladys was now that misfortune had made her less airy.

Viva did not get her doll’s dress made from Gladys’s contribution. Jan cut out a dress from half of the half-sheet, but carefully preserved the upper part with the tulips in the corner. The next day at school she carried her deep-laid plan further. Daisy Hammond, as well as Gladys, had been more civil to her since the trouble, though from some other cause. Jan could not quite see what this cause could be, but she decided that, in spite of her efforts to control her voice and eyes, something of the suspicion she felt toward Daisy had been betrayed, and that Gladys’s false friend feared “Miss Lochinvar’s” possible discoveries.

Counting on Daisy’s evident desire to propitiate her, Jan went to her at recess. “Daisy,” she said, “Gladys gave me a stray half-sheet of paper to make a doll’s dress for Viva. She said she hadn’t any more to give me, and I want some154 badly. Gladys didn’t say I might ask you, but she did say she had given some of her paper to you. Have you the least little sheet, or even half a sheet, that I might have to finish with?” And Jan held up the quarter-sheet of paper which she had kept.

Daisy could not repress a start as she saw it, and she glanced sharply at Jan’s rosy face. But “Miss Lochinvar” had her wits about her, and, though she noted the look of fear that passed swiftly across Daisy’s face, she met that young lady’s eyes with her own brown ones smiling steadily, and Daisy saw no sign of a latent motive behind the innocent request.

“Oh, I don’t believe I have a bit like that,” she said. “Gladys only gave me two or three sheets, ever so long ago. I’ll give you any other I have.”

“Gladys said she had given her half,” thought Jan, keenly alive to Daisy’s words and actions. But she said aloud: “Let me go with you while you look. I wouldn’t mind for myself. I could get on without the paper, but I’d like to finish what I have begun for my cousin.” It really was good sport to say this, knowing155 what a different significance from her own Daisy would attach to her words.

Daisy dared not refuse Jan for fear of arousing her suspicions, so she went down-stairs with very bad grace, Jan following close at her heels.

At Daisy’s desk Jan kept right at her back so that she could see its contents plainly. Daisy could hardly restrain her annoyance as she tossed her paper about with movements that were so unnatural that Jan knew she was on the track of what she sought.

“There isn’t a bit here,” said Daisy, hastily throwing a copy-book to one side. “Take this pinkish shade. It’s nicer for dolls, anyway.”

But Jan was too quick for her. “Pink wouldn’t go with the dress I began,” she said, reaching over quickly and raising the copy-book. “Why, there are several sheets of this Dutch paper! You covered it up and didn’t see it, Daisy.”

Daisy flushed crimson, even up into the roots of her hair. “What right have you to touch my desk, Janet Howe?” she cried angrily. “I never allow any one to do that.”

“Oh, very well. You needn’t get so mad. I156 didn’t know you objected,” said Jan quietly. “And if you didn’t want to give me the paper you weren’t obliged to. Why didn’t you say so when I asked you?”

Daisy saw that she had made a mistake. Perhaps it was only her guilty conscience that made her fear Jan. Surely that troublesome young person looked as calm and innocent as the new moon, not at all eager for the paper. Perhaps she really did want it for the doll’s dress and nothing else. In any case, it would not do for her to act guilty.

She laughed affectedly, and said: “How absurd you are, Jan. Of course I’m willing you should have the paper. You startled me, that’s all, and it does make me furious to have any one touch my things. Take all the paper, if you want it—I am sure I’m willing.”

“No, indeed; but if you can spare one sheet I’d be glad,” said Gwen. Then with a sudden realization of the value of witnesses, she turned to Dorothy Schuyler, who had just entered the schoolroom. “See this paper Daisy has given me. Gladys gave it to her. It came from Holland. Did you ever see any like it?” she said.

157 “Never. Isn’t it pretty?” said Dorothy, feeling the texture as she paused on her way to her own desk. And Jan knew that, if she needed it, there was some one who could prove that she had received the paper from Daisy and not from Gladys.

At this point in her plotting Jan stopped for two days, keeping Gladys quiet in the meantime by a hint of hope which set her agog with eager impatience.

Then, without giving any reason for her request, she asked Cena North to borrow Daisy’s blotter and forget to return it; instead, to give it to her—Jan—after school.

Cena was ready to do anything that Jan asked of her. She admired fearless “Miss Lochinvar” with all the might of her own quiet nature.

Not for nothing had Jan read stories in which looking-glasses had disclosed the secrets of blotters. Locking her door on her arrival in her own room, putting a chair before it in case the impossible should happen and some one should open it, pulling down the shade to the extreme annoyance of Tommy Traddles, sitting on the158 window-sill, and lighting the gas, this solitary conspirator held the blotter before her mirror.

She nearly fell over in the joyful shock of the revelations thus obtained. Only a word here and there, but they were enough. Though Jan knew nothing of the contents of the letter which had fallen by deliberate apparent chance into Miss Larned’s hands, she saw that these words must be part of it, preserved by the faithful blotter to incriminate the girl who had betrayed her friend, and fought her, not fairly, but treacherously, for precedence.

With the blotter and the sheet of paper she held in her hands the proofs which should reinstate Gladys on the morrow. Now it was time to take Gwen into her confidence, and she turned down the gas, drew up the shade, removed her superfluous barrier, and thrust an excited, flushed face out of the door.

“Gwen, Gwen, come here!” she called, and Gwen flew out of her room, knowing from the tremulous voice, strained and unnatural in tone, that something had happened.



Gwen and Jan held a council of war. But it was a long time before they reached the council. It took so long to tell the history of the campaign which “Miss Lochinvar”—worthy of her name—had been waging, single-handed and alone, in her cousin’s behalf. It was a story full of “I thoughts,” and “I saids,” and “she saids”; of “I founds,” and “I heards,” and “she dids.” Gwen could not sit still to listen, but walked up and down the room, eyes flashing and cheeks burning, till Tommy Traddles—sensitive, like all cats, to perturbation in the air about him—jumped up on the top of the bookcase, and watched her with large, disapproving eyes, doubtless thinking that people who did not belong to the feline family were most foolishly excitable over trifles.

160 The result of the girls’ consultation—when they reached that point—was that Gwen and Jan left home early on the following morning together, and when Gladys followed later she was met at the door by Miss Larned’s maid, requesting her immediate attendance in that personage’s private room.

“Probably they’re going to expel me this time,” thought the victim of previous injustice. “I don’t care. It’s the meanest school in New York, anyway!”

She ascended the stairs slowly, “standing with reluctant feet” at the threshold of the Misses Larneds’ sanctum a moment before she knocked.

Opening the door at the permission to do so, she saw an amazing sight. There were both the august sisters sitting as if in judgment, flanked by Miss Arnold, the English teacher. There were Gwen and Jan flushed, trembling, plainly quivering with excitement. And—most wonderful of all—there was Daisy Hammond dissolved in tears, looking “as though she could not look anywhere,” as Gladys said afterward.

“Ahem! Miss Gladys Graham, we have sent161 for you,” began the elder Miss Larned, portentously. “We have learned that we were mistaken in thinking you guilty of a shocking action, in punishment of which you were deprived—as we supposed justly and with full cognizance on your part of the cause of our decision—of your part in the Christmas play. We have but just learned that you were absolutely guiltless of the offense.”

“I told you I hadn’t done anything, and I didn’t know what made you pounce on me,” said Gladys, so embarrassed by this flood of Johnsonian English, of which she did not understand half the words, as well as perturbed by the fact dawning on her that instead of being expelled she was being reinstated, that she expressed herself with inelegant brevity.

At another time Gladys’s “pounce” would not have passed unreproved. As it was, Miss Larned resumed what her pupils disrespectfully called “her language.”

“A letter fell into our hands, purporting to be written by you, on a certain imported paper which you alone possessed,” Miss Larned continued. Gladys started, and looked at Jan, who162 nodded significantly. “The letter proposed a course disgraceful in itself and injurious to the school. Miss Hammond was supposed to have been the recipient, and she had indignantly repudiated what was apparently your base proposition. We have discovered that Miss Hammond was the sole author of the letter; that by apparent accident she contrived it should fall into our hands. Her motive was envy of your superior part in the coming play and the desire to have you deprived of it, knowing that, if this were to happen, she would be assigned the part in your stead. Her plot has been so far successful. But for your cousin, Miss Howe, the true culprit would not have been discovered. Actuated by firm faith in your innocence, as well as affection, she has devoted herself to discovering the truth. Chance put into her hands the clue of what we intended—charitably to you—to retain a secret. She has worked upon that clue very cleverly, and, armed with her proofs, laid the case before us this morning. Miss Hammond, seeing the futility of doing so, has attempted no extenuation of her wrong, but confesses it fully. We therefore restore to you our163 confidence and regard, expressing also our regret that you have undergone this trial, which will doubtless be beneficial to you, nevertheless. And we also request that you once more assume the rôle of the princess in the play. Your sister and your cousin will resume their parts if this arrangement pleases you.”

Gladys was sustained from actual collapse by the formality of this lengthy address, but she was dreadfully upset, and had great difficulty in murmuring her agreement to this arrangement. Miss Larned, seeing that she was overwhelmed by the revelations so suddenly poured forth upon her, graciously arose and held out her hand in amicable dismissal.

“We will excuse you, Miss Gwendoline and Miss Gladys Graham, from attendance on your classes to-day. You, too, Miss Howe, may be excused. And you, Miss Hammond, will hardly be in a fit condition mentally to apply yourself. You will, therefore, keep holiday to-day, reporting at the usual hour to-morrow. And I need not say, I trust, that as this melancholy affair was preserved a secret when Miss Graham was supposed to be the guilty one, so it will be close164 guarded now that we have learned who is really culpable, much more culpable, I regret to say, than we had thought Miss Graham in the first instance. You will not mention to any of your mates, young ladies, the matters which have been discussed, the facts which have transpired in this room this morning.” Miss Larned, Miss Agatha Larned, and Miss Arnold bowed to the four girls, who found themselves in the hall they hardly knew how.

Daisy Hammond, sobbing bitterly, held out her hand to Gladys, but she put both her hands behind her back with a movement of aversion. “No, Daisy Hammond,” she said decidedly. “I don’t say I won’t forgive you sometime, but I won’t do it now. Gwen was right about you, and I never, never will go with you again. I wouldn’t have minded anything else, because we were chums, and I never was better than you were. But I couldn’t do anything like what you did. To write a letter and pretend it was mine, and use the paper I gave you for it, and then write an answer to it yourself, and let me be put out of the play and disgraced, and never say one word! And pretend every minute you were my165 friend, and so sorry for me that they could hardly tease you into playing the princess—oh, my! I never heard of such a humbug! No, sir, Daisy, we’re never friends again as long as I live. And I’m dreadfully sorry—it’s the worst thing I ever heard of—you’re a regular Benedict Arnold!” And with which parting shot, drawn from her slender armory of historical lore, Gladys turned away forever from her treacherous friend, her head held high, but with tears running down her cheeks.

Gwen, Jan, and she made their way homeward with difficulty, for Gladys had to be told the whole story, and it was impossible to get her to grasp it when Gwen and Jan were talking together, and all three were dodging the carriages spinning down Fifth Avenue.

The entire day was spent in ceaseless talking over the affair. Mrs. Graham was captured, and the history of her daughter’s wrongs was poured into her indignant ears. Sydney had to learn the story on his return in the afternoon, and Jack grew so angry, and quiet Viva so excited hearing it discussed that only Jerry preserved anything like her ordinary state of mind.166 Jan was a heroine. Mrs. Graham could hardly express her admiration for the silent determination with which she had set to work to clear Gladys. Mr. Graham was told at night what had been going on at school, and after first declaring wrathfully that he would take Gladys away from the Misses Larneds’, he ended in hearty laughter over what he termed Jan’s pluck, and compromised on a luncheon and a theater-party to be given in her honor. This was the way in which Mr. Graham’s interference in family matters often ended.

“May I come in, Jan?” called Gladys’s voice at Jan’s door at bedtime.

“Of course,” said Jan, hastily opening to the slender figure in the blue eider-down robe which solemnly entered, and would have seated itself on Tommy Traddles in the rocking-chair but that Jan rescued him.

“I can’t say what I want to,” Gladys began, almost timidly. “But I came to thank you for what you’ve done for me. It isn’t clearing up the row—though that’s a good deal,” Gladys continued quickly as Jan started to speak. “Of course it is simply fine to get back my part, and167 have every one understand that the Superior Ladies [this was Gwen’s name for the Misses Larned, by a transposition of “lady superior”] were wrong about me. But it’s the way you stood by me. And I know I’ve been mean to you, Janet. I hated to have you come here, and I snubbed you, and I made fun of you, and I neglected you——”

“Oh, stop, for goodness’ sake, Gladys! That’s all right!” cried Jan, not relishing this outburst of self-abasement.

“And I called you Miss Lochinvar,” continued Gladys without heeding.

“No, it was Syd dubbed me that, and I’m proud of the name. I like it better than my own—now,” said Jan.

“Yes, it suits you,” said Gladys in the same monotonously melancholy tone. “I read over the poem to-day, and you’re very much like him. Brave and straight, and everything you try goes through. But I didn’t mean it like that. I meant it nastily. But I have learned a great deal, Janet. I shall never be such a foolish girl again. It is an awful thing to find out your friends are perfectly horrid.”

168 Jan tried not to laugh, but did not succeed very well. Gladys could not be quite simple even under sincere feeling, such as Jan felt sure was moving her now.

“You haven’t found that out about everybody, Gladys. And, honestly, I think the Hammond-Gilsey crowd isn’t much of a loss,” she said.

“No,” said Gladys sadly. “Gwen was right. They’re vulgar, ill-bred girls. But I don’t see why I couldn’t know that as well as Gwen did. And, besides, I’m kind of sorry I know it now. But I haven’t found out you’re mean. I have found out you’re the very nicest girl I ever saw. And what I wanted to ask you was if you thought, after a while—a long, long while—you could forgive me, and like me a little bit?”

“Why, Glad, I don’t even remember I have anything to forgive!” cried Jan, throwing her arms impulsively around the neck of the small figure of humble contrition. “And I do like you now—no, I don’t! I love you—aren’t you my own cousin, and aren’t we going to be friends?”

“I am going to be your friend, and I’m going to try to be the kind of girl you are,” said169 Gladys, returning Jan’s warm kisses heartily, but in a chastened manner. “I would rather you wouldn’t say you love me yet, because if you do it must be just for Gwen’s sake, or because I’m your cousin, and I want you to love me anyway—because I’m worth loving.”

“Of course you’re worth loving, Gladys. And I think this trouble at school is a perfect blessing!” cried Jan. “You were all mixed up with that worldly, silly lot of girls, and it was just as bad for you! You’ll be ever so much more sensible and nicer when you are done with them.”

“I hope so,” returned Gladys, evidently not in a mood to take a hopeful view of herself. “If I had been sensible I wouldn’t have liked them—Gwen didn’t. You never can like me as well as Gwen, because she really is sensible, and she’s dreadfully clever, and then she’s been pretty nice to you all along. Just think of my caring because those girls knew you hadn’t any money! Shouldn’t you have supposed I’d have known they weren’t ladies, and that you were, and not have cared—just despised them?”

“Yes,” said Jan, stifling a yawn, for an exciting170 day had left her too sleepy to enter into discussions, moral or social. “I guess people are like things to eat—you like some from the start, and others you have to learn to like. The Hammonds were a sort of puff paste, and too much of them gives you indigestion. Don’t you bother any more about me, Gladys. We’ll have such good times together that you’ll forget you ever were mortified by your Western cousin.”

“Don’t, Jan,” said Gladys gravely. “I’m so ashamed.”

“Now that’s a healthy feeling. I’m always an angel for several days after I’ve been ashamed of myself,” laughed Jan, kissing her crushed visitor good night.

Jan fell asleep with Tommy Traddles purring at her feet and something very like a purr in her own heart, so full of content it was. For the first time she felt that her peaceful conquest of the Graham family was accomplished, that there was not one under that roof that night that did not love her, and to whom her coming was not a matter for which to be glad. Sydney had been indifferent, but now they were the best of friends. Gladys had disliked her, but she171 bade fair to love her more than Gwen did. And her Aunt Tina had bade her good night with positive affection in her kiss, a kiss that was not usually given when she left her to sleep. Jan felt very happy, very grateful for the love that was springing up around her, not realizing that it was a case of the mirror of which her mother had written her, which Thackeray had said gave back one’s own expression.

Jan was so full of unselfish love that she diffused warmth, and the chill of the big brownstone house was fast disappearing in the glow of her unconscious girlish sweetness.

But it was part of her charm that she should never think such thoughts as these. Instead, she wondered happily and sleepily how it was that everybody was proving so nice, and resolved to do all she could to make the Christmas play a complete success.



As Christmas day drew near Jan found that down in the bottom of her heart lurked a dread of the beautiful festival which would crop out at odd moments when the preparations for the play allowed it opportunity. It was not that she was homesick now, nor that every one in her uncle’s house was not affectionate toward her, but Christmas was Christmas and home was home, and she had never before welcomed one beyond the charmed circle of the other. When she thought of her little Poppet, Jerry could not fill her place, and she hardly saw how Christmas could be truly “merry” without the dear home voices to wish it so. But Jan remembered her mother’s rule for being happy, which was to forget oneself and make others as happy as lay in one’s power, and, following this rule, Jan found173 it working better than she had believed possible.

Sydney had not been able to return her five dollars yet, and Jan had written her mother about its loan, explaining to her that lacking it she could not buy the home presents she had planned to send. The result of this letter had been one from Mrs. Howe, warning Jan against helping Sydney in concealing his troubles and mistakes from his father, but admitting that she was not able to judge the wisdom of Jan’s course in a household to which she was a stranger, and enclosing another five-dollar bill to take the place of the one gone to help poor Sydney.

Knowing how scarce dollars were in the little house in Crescendo, Jan shed a few tears over this letter, but cheered up as she put on her hat and jacket to go out to do her shopping, hoping that the first five dollars were to prove a good investment, and feeling sure that she could never have won Sydney to confession to his father unless she had first found a way to help him to have less to confess.

There was no time to be homesick and dread Christmas, because every moment was so full174 getting ready for its coming. The play required hard work, for the double change in the cast had thrown it back. Then every other minute which she could snatch Jan worked fast on gifts for the Crescendo dear folk and for those around her. It had been hard work to coax the five dollars into getting her materials for a trifling remembrance for each one on this long list, even though the nimble fingers and quick wits were active in fashioning slight foundations into desirable forms.

Hummie had taught the little girl knitting in the funny German left-handed fashion, and white Shetland wool was so cheap that fifty cents gave her enough for a little hood for Poppet, a scarf for her mother to throw over her head on summer evenings, and another for her aunt, which Jan knit with misgivings of its acceptability.

Little Dresden flowered linen glove and handkerchief cases, daintily embroidered, were the best that Jan could do for Gwen and Gladys, and she made similar cases to hold scarfs for Sydney and her brother Fred. A scrap-book for Jerry and doll’s clothes for Viva took so much175 time that a less cheery and industrious person than Jan might have lost heart, but she stitched away blithely, and actually accomplished what she had set out to do.

Gwen found out how slender was her cousin’s store for Christmas gifts, and was more moved by the thought of trying to make so many purchases with a sum which she would have spent on one gift than she would have been by more biting forms of poverty, probably because this touched her personal experience. The result was that she and Gladys went off on private shopping tours of their own, and when the day came for packing the box which Jan was to express to Crescendo beautiful presents came forth from secret nooks in the girls’ rooms, and Jan was overwhelmed with the vision of the delight with which the beaming faces so far away would gleam as the undreamed-of riches were unpacked.

Even Jerry was inspired by the universal outpouring for the Crescendo children, and nobly tucked, unseen by any eye, into a corner of the box the rubber top of her discarded bottle, to which she still had recourse in moments of176 anguish or when she lay down to sleep, in spite of the dignity of three years.

How could Christmas be anything but merry, after all, when it brought such treasures as met Jan’s opening eyes on that morning? A watch from her uncle, as tiny as it could be and keep time; its beautiful long chain and chatelaine pin, from her aunt; the set of Dickens, which she coveted, from Gwen; a charming little brooch of enameled green leaves and mistletoe berries, from Gladys; a muff given in Viva’s and Jerry’s name; a fan from Jack; and, best of all, a book from Sydney, who, as he handed it to her, said with an honest blush: “I earned the money for this, Miss Lochinvar, trying to be a man, as you suggested, so I have a right to give it to you. I can’t give you your five dollars yet, but I’ll do that, too, later.”

Three days after Christmas came the play. Jan never knew precisely how that evening passed. It was a whirl of light and color and excitement to her, but delightful beyond all telling. It seemed to her that there never could be again such talented creatures brought together as the girls proved. She could not criticize—all were177 wonderful to her, and she saw no faults in any one’s acting. But if there were degrees in the marvelous geniuses before her she felt proudly that the highest were her own family, for Gwen’s haughty, yet animated, rendering of the duchess seemed to unsophisticated Miss Lochinvar to prove that she should give up her dreams of authorship and painting, and tread the boards without delay, the glorious equal of Bernhardt and Duse.

Nor, in another way, was Gladys inferior—so graceful, dainty and charming was her rendering of the princess. Jan was so proud of her cousins that at one point she stood still, quite unconscious that a burst of applause from the audience was intended for her and not for Gwen, who had to pinch her and whisper to her to bow, or humble Jan would not have acknowledged her favors.

It was fairyland to roll homeward in one’s own carriage after the play with one’s fellow-actresses, rumpling one’s high-piled, powdered hair recklessly against the carriage cushions, and burying one’s nose luxuriously in the flowers which the usher had handed up to each178 young artist, and which filled the carriage with their fragrance.

“It would never do for me to take to playacting and dressing up too often,” said Jan with a sigh of delight and regret as the carriage pulled up at the door, and Susan began to gather up the trophies. “If I had much of this sort of thing I wouldn’t be any good for real things.”

“You would soon get used to them and not care so much,” said Gladys with a touch of her old-time superiority and the air of an experienced woman of the world.

“I think New Year’s is a queer, no-kind-of-a-sort of a day,” said Gladys disconsolately on that morning. It was raining, and there was an air of melancholy abroad which justified a dismal view of the holiday.

“I know it!” exclaimed Gwen. “Christmas is over, and school and lessons are just ahead, and yet it is a holiday and you feel as though you ought to be having a good time, but you’re not. I never did like New Year’s day.”

“Besides, it’s so sad to get old and know you’ve got to be grown-ups in just a few New Years more,” sighed Viva, so mournfully that179 the others shouted, for at seven there hardly seems to be immediate necessity for grieving over the approach of age.

“I wonder if there isn’t anything interesting we could do, something we never do, to begin the year with a rush, and cheer us up,” said Jan, characteristically, casting about for something to cheer her, even while inadvertently admitting that she needed cheering.

Jerry uttered a wail, and Gwen swooped down on Jack, who was tormenting her. “Let Jerry alone, you trying boy!” she cried. “What is the matter with you this morning?”

“He got out of bed the wrong way,” said Sydney, who was lolling in the window. “I had to trounce him for bothering Drom while I was getting dressed.” Drom, who was quite recovered, save for a slight stiffness in the leg which had been broken, wagged his tail at the mention of his name, as if corroborating Sydney.

“There isn’t anything to do, Jan,” said Gwen, replying at last to Jan’s suggestion. “We might get up something with the girls this afternoon—if they’re not all off somewhere.”

“I think we are enough to have fun among180 ourselves,” said Jan, with an eye on Sydney, who looked so glum that she longed to shake him out of his thoughts and not let him go off to find amusement outside.

“Let’s play house!” exclaimed Jerry hopefully, a suggestion hailed with a laugh from her sisters and a hug from Jan.

“See that little Italian boy with the violin,” cried Gladys. “Let’s get him in to play for us to dance.”

“Oh, dancing in the morning!” said Sydney scornfully, but Gwen and Jan fairly tore to the door without waiting to discuss the question—they both would dance at any time of the day or night, and all day and night, apparently.

The Italian came wonderingly, but smilingly, at their summons. He could not speak English, and at first he thought that they wanted to order him on, and eagerly protested with eloquently outspread palms that he would not play within their hearing; that he was but beginning his day’s work having been to the cathedral for mass.

All of this was lost on the girls, but they saw that he had misunderstood them, and, falling181 back on pantomime, they signified that he was to follow them up-stairs and play for them to dance.

“Ah, si, si, si,” he cried, smiling at his own misapprehension, at them, and at the world at large, and obeyed them gladly.

In the nursery the impromptu ball began without loss of a moment. The wandering minstrel played well. Even Sydney’s indifference thawed beneath the strains of an inspiring waltz, and he swung the girls around with considerable enjoyment, while the others danced together, Jack also condescending, though he was at that mid-stage of boyhood when he regarded all social customs as not only a bore, but a conspiracy against true freedom.

The impromptu ball began without the loss of a moment.

But Jack was certainly in a trying mood that morning. He contrived to be exasperating in a dozen ways, suited to each person’s weaknesses, and Gwen threatened to banish him if he did not reform at once, while Jan—usually so patient with mischief—informed him that he was a nuisance, and had begun the year about as badly as he could.

This stern remark made Jack both angry and182 ashamed, angry enough, unfortunately, not to allow the shame to bring forth fruit. As the smiling musician struck up a polka that must have made it hard for the chairs to keep their legs still, and did make Jerry pick up her skirts in an improvised dance all her own, Jack grew more obstreperous.

Gwen and Jan were dancing together, Sydney was trying the heel-and-toe with Gladys, and Viva was polkaing with her largest doll, her face as sweetly grave as usual, and her little form swaying most gracefully, for serious Viva was a born dancer.

Suddenly the music became irregular in time, and Gwen called over Jan’s shoulder as they whirled: “What are you doing, boy? You would have to have crutches to dance that time, it is so hitchy!”

The Italian only smiled. To all blame as well as to praise he presented the same unvarying smile, as a safe way to meet the uncertainties of an unknown race and clime.

“’Tisn’t the boy, Gwen, it’s Jack!” cried Viva, who had stopped, after vain pursuit of the time.

183 “Jack, what are you doing?” cried Gwen, and Jack grinned at her from behind the ragged arm holding the bow which he had been joggling.

“Now I am going to have you put out!” cried Gwen, stopping short. “It’s too bad for you to spoil our sport! I should think you’d be ashamed, a great boy like you, to make yourself a nuisance and a baby! Hummie, Hummie! come get Ivan, please; he’s bad.”

It was the second time that Jack had been called a nuisance in less than half an hour, and the first time it had been Jan who had said it. He was in an exasperating and exasperated frame of mind at best, and Gwen’s words infuriated him. Besides, she had called him a baby, and summoned the nurse! His hot temper, always in danger of flaring up, flamed now. With a cry of rage he darted out from behind the musician, snatched up a triangular block, one of Jerry’s architectural building blocks lying by the table, and threw it with all his might at Gwen.

Sydney sprang to catch the uplifted hand, but too late. The block had flown, with the undeviating184 course of a violent throw, straight at Gwen’s face, and with a moan of pain the poor child threw her arms above her head, covering her eyes, and sank to the floor on her knees.

For an instant no one moved, then Jan and Gladys, white with terror, went to her and tried to raise her, but she drew away from their touch, and groaning, “My eye—my eye is gone!” pitched forward fainting.

“Hummie, Hummie!” shrieked Viva, while Sydney lifted Gwen’s head to his shoulder, and Jack, his wrath spent in the outburst which had done the unknown harm, stood shaking in every limb, a pathetic image of horror, and Jerry ran away screaming “Hummie!” at the top of her voice. Nurse Hummel heard and ran, brushing past Jerry in the hall, and lifted Gwen.

“Was is happened?” she demanded, looking suspiciously toward the Italian standing with his bow raised and his violin at his feet, his face white under the brown tint.

“Jack threw a block—he was mad,” said Gladys hoarsely. “O Hummie, is Gwen blind?”

“Blind! Mein Gott im Himmel!” murmured Hummie, and turned the unconscious girl’s face185 toward her. Then she hastily let it fall back on her shoulder and gathered her up as though she had been a baby. “Ach, mein liebchen, my smart Gwen, mit die beautiful eyes!” she moaned, and bore her away without answering Gladys’s awful question.

Mr. Graham was out, but Mrs. Graham was in her room in the extension, away from the sounds of the household. Nurse Hummel called her as she carried Gwen to her room, and the horror in the old nurse’s voice penetrated Mrs. Graham’s ears through the closed doors.

She rushed out, and in an instant the children heard her low cry, and then her voice raised to a shriek. “Sydney, Sydney!” she cried, “ride on your wheel for a doctor as fast as you can! Get the first one who will come! Then ride for Dr. Amberton, the oculist. Look in the directory for his address. Hurry, oh, for Heaven’s sake, hurry, Syd!”

Sydney rushed from the room, and with one impulse Gladys and Jan turned to each other, and held each other close, too frightened for tears. Viva was comforting Jerry on the stairs. No one remembered Jack, who most of all in186 the stricken household was to be pitied then. The boy slunk away, withdrawing his hand from Drom’s compassionate tongue, and crawling up the stairs, never stopped till he had reached the top of the house, and crept shivering into the cupola, where he lay down, a little heap of misery, to wait till Gwen had died, and they came to seize him.

For hours it seemed to him he waited, yet no one came. He was cold, but he did not mind that. In those awful moments he lived and thought such agony that it seemed to him if they did not imprison him it would do no harm to let him go free, for never again, never, could he be insane with a fit of passion such as had made him begin the New Year by killing his sister—or blinding her, was it? It did not matter. Jack was wise enough to know that Gwen blind would not care for life.

At last a step came slowly, lightly, up the stairs, and Jack cowered breathless. It was but one person, and not a policeman, not his father, than whom Jack would rather face an army. It was a girlish step—Jan? For the first time a ray of hope penetrated the gloom of poor Jack’s187 mind. Jan always came to help. The door opened. It was Jan.

“O Jack, poor, poor little Jack,” she sobbed, and, kneeling, put her arms around him with a tenderness he was too broken to resent. “I’m so sorry for you! I know how dreadfully you feel now.”

“Is Gwen dead?” whispered Jack.

“No, oh, no, dear,” said Jan.

“Blind?” whispered Jack again.

“They don’t know. They can’t tell yet,” groaned Jan. “O poor, poor, clever, dear Gwen, with all her plans, and her beautiful eyes!”

Jack shivered, and Jan remembered that she had come to comfort the warm little heart, which was full of noble impulses, though black rage sometimes held it in control.

She laid her cheek softly against Jack’s without speaking, and the boy nestled close to her, feeling there might be pardon for him somewhere since Jan did not cast him off.



It seemed to Jan and Gladys as if the entire world had sunk into silence, waiting to hear whether or not Gwen must be blind. There was a hush over the house. Every one spoke and moved softly, not only because the poor little patient was suffering severe pain, but as if they were all unconsciously listening for the verdict which they dreaded from the doctors. And even in the streets they bore with them the muffled atmosphere of their home. The outside world no longer seemed gay, noisy, cheerful. Sorrow and anxiety deadened the sights and sounds of others’ pleasure to them.

The best physicians of the city were working hard to save Gwen’s sight—regular physicians to care for the nervous system, which had sustained a serious shock, and the famous Dr.189 Amberton, the oculist, to treat the eye itself, which the sharp corner of the block had struck with such force that it was impossible to say for some days whether the sight could be preserved.

Jan found herself in a different household from the one which had received her three months earlier. In the face of this misfortune threatening poor Gwen—one peculiarly dreadful to a girl of her tastes and ambitions—the indifference to one another which had so shocked Jan on her coming from her own closely united home disappeared, and the atmosphere she breathed was full of love, though heavy with grief.

Mrs. Graham’s interest in her social pleasures, her clubs, and all the outside issues which Jan had loyally struggled against believing that she cared more for than for her family, were thrust into the background and forgotten in the midst of the one absorbing thought. And Jan saw that her uncle was at last her mother’s own brother; that Wall Street and money-making no longer seemed important to him. Mr. and Mrs. Graham went back to the days when they were first married, and Sydney and Gwen were190 babies together, when, though they had a pretty home, it was farther west and farther down in town, and, though Nurse Hummel was with them, Mrs. Graham had more time and there was more necessity for her taking care of the little ones. Gwen became once more to them that baby girl whom they had then watched so proudly, and her mother hung over her in her darkened room with a loving devotion which suggested Jan’s own mother to the little exile.

Gwen turned to this new mother-love with childlike clinging. She loved to lie with her bandaged eyes resting on her mother’s shoulder, peaceful, and satisfied in something for which she had unconsciously longed, though she could not help knowing that her mother’s tears, which she felt when her groping hand touched her cheek, boded ill to her.

Gladys was gentle, unselfish, absorbed in the thought of her sister, which rendered her a far sweeter, lovelier Gladys than Jan would have believed she could be when she was occupied only with poor, silly little Gladys Graham.

Sydney hovered about Gwen’s door, racking his brains for something to do for her, all his191 taciturn indifference lost in his pity and regret for Gwen. Altogether, Jan could not help half wondering if the worst were to come, and Gwen lost her sight, if the good accomplished would not be worth the terrible purchase price.

Only Jack was outside the pale of the family love during these waiting days. Jan’s heart ached for the poor little fellow, whose temper had brought him anguish harder to bear than Gwen’s, but whose father could not forgive him. Jack’s meals were served up-stairs, and his father debated sending him away to a military school, where stern discipline might check the temper which Mr. Graham characterized as “murderous.” But Jan knew that the shock of seeing Gwen sink beneath the pain of the missive he had thrown, and the torture of these past days when every one avoided him, and he waited, like the rest, but not with the rest, to learn Gwen’s fate, had burned into warm-hearted Jack’s brain such horror of bursts of passion that the military discipline would not be necessary, that he was completely cured of even a temptation to violence.

“You are our little comfort, Janet,” said her192 uncle to her one night, when in the dusk she sat by him chatting of her mother in the hope of cheering him. “You won’t admit that our poor girl can lose the light out of her young life, and though you aren’t an old, wise woman, I can’t help feeling better for your faith.”

“Isn’t that just dear!” cried Jan. “You don’t know how I wish I could help, but I honestly feel certain that God won’t let splendid, clever Gwen be blind.”

“Splendid, clever people are the very ones who have to be perfected by suffering, dear little Miss Lochinvar—queer how I’ve come to like that name for you! But you do help. You have no notion how your gentle, affectionate, sunny little presence cheers your aunt and me, and I think Gladys is a much better girl for being with you. Jenny has lent me a simple, genuine little girl who never thinks of herself, and so, without trying, sweetens all her surroundings. I don’t see how I can repay either Jennie or her loan,” said Jan’s uncle, drawing her up close to his side with a warm caress.

Tears of happiness sprang into Jan’s eyes. “If you really want to do something for me,193 Uncle Howard,” she whispered, “forgive poor little Jack.”

Her uncle’s face hardened. “Your ‘poor little Jack’ is a thoroughly bad boy,” he said. “I can’t forgive him till I know how Gwen comes out.”

“He has done just the same thing, however she comes out, uncle,” said Jan cautiously. “He did not mean to harm Gwen—he never meant anything at all, but flew into a rage, and threw the first thing that came handy. He has done things like that always, and no one thought much about it, only this time the block struck badly. He will never again be the same—he is ever so much more to be pitied than Gwen! He isn’t bad, Uncle Howard. He is a dear boy, generous, truthful, brave, but he has got a terrific temper. One of our boys has such a temper, but mamma watches and helps him all she can, and he is getting over it without such a dreadful thing to cure him as poor Jack has had. You know Hummie is a dear, but she can’t help a boy the way his father and mother can.”

“Why, Jan, are you implying that I am responsible194 for Jack’s violence?” demanded her uncle.

Jan turned crimson, but stood to her guns after a fashion. “He needs help, uncle, or he did need it—he will not forget now, I think,” she said. “And you know Aunt Tina and you have been so busy! I love Jack, Uncle Howard, and I pity him more than I do Gwen. How would you have felt if you had blinded mamma when you were eleven?”

“My dear child, I never had such a fiendish temper as Jack’s,” said Mr. Graham.

“No, you were more like Gwen, even and pleasant, and you weren’t like Jack. But Jack is a noble boy. He isn’t mean, and he isn’t unkind,” said Jan.

To her great relief her uncle gave a faint laugh. “No one remembers our childhood like these grandmothers of ours!” he said. “You remember my boyhood better than I do, Jan.”

“Let Jack come down and talk to you, uncle,” pleaded Jan, after she had punished him for his impertinence by spatting the end of his nose with a favorite movement of her forefinger.195 “We are all miserable and worried to death now, but we have each other. But there is Jack—only eleven—up-stairs, like a prisoner, worse off than any of us, because he caused all this sorrow! Only Syd and I go near him—and Drom—and after a while he will be so unhappy you can’t do anything with him—he’s having a fearful time—it would kill me!”

“Who is Drom?” asked Mr. Graham.

“The poor little dog Syd and I saved and had his broken leg set. He’s a darling, so loving and grateful, and he knows more than lots of people!” said Jan.

“What is that Mrs. Browning wrote about some one whose face looked brighter for the little brown bee’s humming? I used to have time to read, but I don’t get a moment now! You are a born lover, Jan. Some people have a talent for loving, just as others have a talent for music, and some—a few—for cooking,” said her uncle. “I seem to remember hearing how you swooped down on the persecutors of that dog. And so you think I’m a bad father?”

“O Uncle Howard, I never thought anything so horrid or so impertinent!” cried Jan.196 “I’m only a little girl, and what do I know about bringing up children? I never knew any girl outside a story-book who knew how to bring up a family. But of course I feel as though nothing could be nice but mamma’s ways, because we are the very happiest children in the world, and I know she wouldn’t dare leave Jack all alone these dreadful days.”

There was silence for a few moments, and then to Jan’s infinite relief and joy her uncle said: “You are right, Janet. It will do the boy mischief to be left brooding through these dark days of anxiety. And I suspect you are right and he has needed wise control all along. Go up and tell Jack to come to me. Tell him not to be afraid—I know he has had punishment enough—but to come down, and we’ll begin all over again.”

Jan ran off on her errand with a lighter heart than she had had since the day of the accident, first giving her uncle a warmly grateful kiss on the forehead, around which the hair was beginning to grow a little thin. Jack needed no persuading to follow her down-stairs. Much as he had always feared his father, he would have197 faced anything rather than be left any longer a prisoner with his own thoughts.

Jan left him at Gwen’s door with a kiss the boy did not resent. “Tell your father all you think and feel, Jack, and don’t be afraid of him. He understands and wants to help you. We must all hold on to each other in trouble, you know.” And Jack went slowly on, feeling that they all must hold on to Jan forever.

The library door closed behind him, and no one ever knew precisely what happened in the interview between the poor little culprit and his father. But when, long past his usual bed hour, Nurse Hummel went to hunt Jack up, she found him curled up asleep in his father’s arms in the great leather chair, his legs twined over its arm to supplement his father’s lap, his cheeks flushed and stained with tears, but peace written on the parted lips, which looked very childish in slumber.

As Jan passed into Gwen’s room she found her alone. Her mother, thinking her sleeping, had stolen away, and Jan, for the same reason, seated herself noiselessly in the corner, afraid to open the door again lest she waken Gwen.198 But Gwen was not asleep. In a few moments she spoke. “Jan,” she said, “please come where I can touch you.”

“How did you know who it was?” asked Jan as she obeyed.

“Blind people have keen hearing,” said Gwen bitterly. “My ears are learning double work.”

“I suppose that’s sensible of them, to improve themselves, but considering you’re not blind they might save themselves the trouble, if they were lazy,” said Jan lightly, not betraying the shock Gwen’s words gave her, for no one had hinted at blindness to Gwen.

“Do you think I don’t know?” asked Gwen, raising herself on one elbow and speaking with such fierceness that Jan was frightened. “Do you suppose I don’t know what makes mamma so loving to me, and why she cries quietly when she thinks I won’t know it? Do you suppose, Janet Howe, that I don’t know why those horrible doctors are so idiotically cheerful with me? If that Doctor Amberton tells me any more silly jokes I won’t answer for what I’ll do or say to him! I am blind—blind—and I’d far rather be199 dead! Why didn’t Jack kill me if he wanted to do anything to me? Do you suppose I can live without my eyes? How can I write, or paint, or be great—or stand it?”

Jan was dreadfully frightened. “You are not blind, Gwen,” she stammered.

“Now don’t you try to tell me stories, Jan, because I won’t stand it!” said Gwen. “I got the truth out of Viva the other day when mamma let the poor youngster try to read to me. I nearly scared her to death, because she won’t fib, and she didn’t want to tell the truth. Now I’m talking to you, because I trust you, and I can’t keep it to myself any longer. Jan, Jan, for mercy’s sake, say it isn’t so!”

“It isn’t so—or it very likely isn’t so,” said trembling Jan. “If you get all excited and go on like this I don’t know what harm it may do you—the doctors all say to keep you perfectly still for fear of fever. You are not blind, and that’s the truth. But they are anxious about you. Now you see I’m not deceiving you one bit! We didn’t know you were lying there fretting—why didn’t you speak before? You will get well—I’m just as sure as I can be you will—but we200 all love you so much we feel awfully to have you sick. But if you did have some trouble with your eyes you could be just as great—greater! Isn’t it lovely to have your mother all to yourself like this, and your father never thinking of business, and Gladys and Sydney, and even little Jerry—of course sweet little Viva—all just devoted to you? Don’t fret, Gwen. If you are sick ever so long, you will see!”

“Come here, Jan. I want to hold you!” cried Gwen, clutching her cousin with burning hands, and drawing her downward in a half-delirious grasp. “I won’t see, and that’s just it! O Jan, don’t you know, don’t you feel, what that means?”

“It isn’t going to be,” maintained Jan stoutly. “Yes, I know exactly what it means, but it won’t be so! If it were, you would be just the very heart of this whole family, and you could write the loveliest stories and poems, and everything like that! But, what is better, you could love them and they’d love you, until the whole house would be so much nicer—like ours, which you always said must be lovely, if it was poor. For love is best, of anything, isn’t it?”

201 “No, no,” moaned poor Gwen; “my eyes are.” But in spite of the tragedy hanging over her, Jan comforted her, and she presently fell asleep, her burning cheek pressed against Jan’s cool one, Jan’s firm hand stroking her tumbled hair, Jan’s strong young shoulders supporting her, and Jan’s warm young heart sustaining her by its courage and love.



“See here, Jan, it’s no good,” said Sydney, speaking so suddenly that Miss Lochinvar was startled.

“What isn’t any good?” she asked, giving a last twitch to Tommy Traddles’s red ribbon.

“Trying to earn money and go to school at the same time. I am not making a success of either, for I have only earned about four dollars and ninety-nine cents,” replied Sydney gloomily.

“Is the man getting impatient?” inquired Jan.

Sydney nodded with much emphasis. “Won’t wait,” he said laconically.

“Then I’ll tell you what to do, Syd,” said Jan, coming over to where the boy was sitting, moodily jerking the shade cord at the window. “Ask Gwen to lend you the money. She has203 quite a good deal—nearly fifty dollars—left from Christmas presents, and allowance, and so on, and it would be better for you to let her help you out, as I can’t.”

“I don’t want a girl’s money, either hers or yours,” said Sydney.

“Well, I suppose you don’t want it, but you need it dreadfully,” said Jan with some subtleness of distinction. “And I want to tell you, Syd, that I think it would be real kindness to talk to Gwen about your troubles, and get her interested in something. She isn’t better, and I heard the doctor say that if she couldn’t be aroused she’d have a serious illness. Get her to think of something besides her poor eyes, and it would be good for her. Gwen would be glad, too, to think you trusted her.”

“I wonder!” said Sydney doubtfully.

“Well, I know!” said Jan emphatically. “And then, after she’s lent you the money to square up, tell your father all about it, and get him to put you in the way of earning something. He ought to know. I don’t feel right to think I know and he doesn’t. It is wrong to help you have secrets from him. I wouldn’t have204 done it if I could have coaxed you to tell at first.”

“Maybe I will talk to Gwen,” said Sydney slowly. “I don’t see any other way unless I do talk to father, and he’d make it pleasant for me if I did that!”

“He might take you away from that school and those extravagant boys, but you’d find he wouldn’t be hard on you. And I should think you’d like to get out of that crowd,” said Jan.

Sydney flushed with sudden eagerness. “Say, Jan,” he cried, “I’d give my head to be let off from college! There’s no college in me—I’m crazy to live out of doors. I don’t even want to go into business! If I thought daddy would give me a start civil engineering I’d work hard, but he won’t. What I’d like is to go out on a ranch. I’d rather study men and beasts than books. But there’s no use talking—he’s made up his mind to college for me, and to college I must go.”

“Isn’t that silly! To say there’s no use talking, when you haven’t tried talking!” exclaimed Jan impatiently. “I never saw a family that knew one another so little! Why, Uncle Howard205 isn’t an ogre! How do you know he wouldn’t let you do what you like best? ’Tisn’t likely he wants you to be spoiled! Come home with me when I go,” she added with sudden inspiration. “Fred talks of ranching, and we’d make a man of you in Kansas.”

Sydney swallowed the implication that he was not wholly manly now with fairly good grace. “Well,” he said, “it’s pretty hard for a fellow to be different from all around him. I haven’t had to rough it, and I suppose I got extravagant without knowing it. I’m disgusted enough with myself to find myself in debt, goodness knows! I’ll see Gwen to-day, and if the poor old girl wants to lend me her ducats I’ll brace up and make a clean breast to father. You deserve to have your advice followed, for you’ve been a trump to me, and to us all, down to this fellow.” And Sydney affectionately twitched Drom’s tail.

Jan gave Gwen a hint of her brother’s approaching visit, and Sydney found her as gentle, loving, and interested as a sister could be.

“Why, of course, I’ll lend you the money, Syd,” she said. “You ought to have told me206 before. I’ve been thinking that we all told one another too little. Since I’ve been lying here I’ve had to see with inside eyes, you know, and I’ve discovered several things. You’ll have to find my little bead bag in my upper drawer, Syd. That has my money in it—not my pocket-book. And you’ll have to help yourself to what you want—if I have so much—for I——”

Sydney found the abrupt breaking off of Gwen’s sentence very pathetic. If only Gwen might see again!

Sydney found the bag and counted over the crisp bills it contained. “You have four dollars more than I need to pay that shopkeeper,” he said, putting them back. “Jan lent me five some time ago.”

“O Syd! When Jan has so little!” said Gwen with reproach in her voice. “And you went to your cousin instead of your sister!”

“Well, Gwen, I guess I’ve been a dunce! We have got into the way of standing off from one another, but you’re a trump, and we’ll stick together henceforth,” said Sydney.

Joy such as she had not thought that she could feel again surged through Gwen’s heart207 at these words. “Syd,” she said, “if ‘Miss Lochinvar’ had never ‘come out of the West’ we wouldn’t have discovered how horrid it was to be so selfish and distant—maybe never.”

“That’s shaky English, but solemn truth, Gwendoline, my dear,” said Sydney. “Jan’s a trump! That’s two trumps now—we’ll have a handful if we keep on! She’s not one bit goody-goody and she never preaches, but she seems to clear the air—kind of like a thunder-shower that never strikes.”

“More like the little leaven that leaveneth the whole,” said Gwen softly. “I love her so, I could never tell you! And I always think of that line in the gospel when I think about her. Now finish up getting acquainted with the Graham family, Syd, and tell papa how things have been going at school. He has a right to know, and I don’t believe it is a good place for you where the boys are spending so much money, and getting into debt, and all! Tell him I’ve lent you the money, so you don’t want him to help you that way, but you do want him to show you how to pay me back, and start square. If I’m not mistaken, papa will be pleased to find you208 see things straight without needing showing, and instead of scolding you, you’ll find him kind and ready to lend a hand.”

“I don’t know that I could say honestly that I hadn’t had some showing as to the most honorable and manly course,” said Syd truthfully. “Jan gave me the tip, and now you back her up. I didn’t expect to find girls so on the level, but I’m glad to say I’m able to see that you’re both right. I’ll talk to dad the first chance he gives me, and I’m much obliged, Gwen; we’re better friends from this day. I guess you won’t be blind—we all are seeing a good deal clearer, strikes me.” And Sydney disappeared with a boy’s awkwardness in expressing the deep gratitude and the softer emotion which filled him.

“Ask Gwen,” said Jan, the artful, as Viva came begging for a story at dusk. She was beginning to say “Ask Gwen” as often as possible when one of the three younger Grahams implored a favor. It was long that they had waited for Gwen’s sentence, and still the doctors could not be sure of what it was to be. Gladys and Jan had resumed school, and the hours dragged while the poor child waited their return209 and the coming of her friends who were faithful in spending some time with her each afternoon. It was to little Jerry and Viva that Gwen found herself turning for comfort while the others were away; Viva always gentle, grave, and sweet; Jerry showing herself the dearest mite, with her headstrong, impulsive baby nature toned down to meet the needs of her whom she now invariably called her “poor, dear little Gwennie.” Gwendoline’s talent for story-making was used now chiefly to entertain Viva, while Jerry spun yarns for “poor, dear little Gwennie,” usually of thrilling interest, though briefly sustained.

“Once there was a dreat, bid lion, and he roared—like dis!” And Jerry interrupted her recital to open her mouth to its widest extent and roar fearfully in a deep alto. “And he was wery hundry, and he came to N’Yort, and he ated up seven, five, free little dirls on n’avenue, and Jewwy Draham shood him off wid her stirts in bot’ hands, and she stared him so he was awful feared, and she said: ‘Poor, poor lion, come in n’house and see little Gwennie!’ Isn’t dat er fine stowy?”

210 “Well, he might be an awkward caller,” laughed Gwen. “Perhaps if he’d eaten up so many little girls he wasn’t hungry, though. Yes, that’s a fine story, Jerry!” And Gwen groped for the little dimpled hands to squeeze them, and Jerry snuggled down with rapturous kisses for “poor, dear Gwennie.”

Jan rejoiced to see how unconsciously but surely the Graham household was knitting together around Gwen’s bed. At the worst they would be happier than before the accident, but Jan would not admit, even to herself, that the worst was possible.

Sydney had discovered his father. In a long, intimate talk the boy had laid before him the difficulties and temptations of his little world, and found himself telling the man, who remembered quite well, after all, how it felt to be a boy, some things that he had not said to the girls. But they had proved right in their prophecies of how his father would take Sydney’s disclosures. With unspoken self-reproach for having left a boy of sixteen unguarded, Mr. Graham set to work to undo his mistakes. If Sydney did not feel that he would be a success as a business man211 or as a professional one, Mr. Graham said, he would not ask him to go through college. But he did ask him now to work harder than he had ever done at his books, and prepare himself for whatever he was to be in the future by doing his duty faithfully in the present. And he promised him to send him every afternoon to a friend of his, a professor at Columbia, who had asked for an intelligent boy to copy for him notes he was making on natural history. He would pay Sydney for his labor, and thus he could set himself right in his own eyes, and pay back the money his sister had lent him. In the meantime he would be having the best possible companionship, and be in the way of making sure that he was not mistaken in deciding that college life and study had no charm for him.

Sydney felt as though the gloom in which he had walked for months had given way to a glare of sunshine, and he blessed Jan in his heart for showing him the road to the best and most needed friend that a boy of his age could have—his own kind father.

“Daisy and Ida Hammond have left school,” announced Gladys, bursting into Gwen’s room212 one day. “They said their mother considered the Hydra less exclusive that it had been, and was going to let them go to boarding-school.”

“I don’t see how they stood it so long after they were found out,” said Gwen scornfully. “It’s rather nice of them to make the Hydra more exclusive by removing the only girls in it who had been found out in a disgraceful act.” Gwen was stronger; she could bear sudden outbursts from the children, and Jan couldn’t help hoping that the next step would be the restoration of the wounded eyes to light and health.

“Oh, as to the exclusive, that refers to me, I suspect,” said Jan so carelessly that it showed how completely she had lost the timidity and wounded sensibility of her first days in New York. “Tommy Traddles,” she added to the cat lying at Gwen’s feet, curled over on his back, with his four feet drawn up on his white breast, and his tongue sticking out while he looked over the top of his head to see what effect his blandishments had, “Tommy Traddles, you may consider that a squirm, but I consider it a device for winning attention.” And she proceeded to bury her fingers in Tommy’s white shirt-front,213 while he shut his eyes in blissful satisfaction with the result of his “device.”

“Well, I am thankful they have gone,” said Gladys, removing her rubbers with her right hand while her left thoughtfully smoothed her stocking. “It was very disagreeable to have them around when you didn’t want to go with them. And your set have not been so very anxious to have me, Gwen. If it hadn’t been for Jan I’d have been quite out of it since the fuss.”

“Slang, Gladys?” hinted Gwen, for they had pledged themselves never to use slang—or, as everybody said in the ancient days of Pinafore: “Hardly ever!” She had hard work not to rejoice over her sister’s admission, and found it quite impossible not to smile.

“I know a great deal more than I did,” continued Gladys. “Those girls are really a dreadful warning to me. I can see plainly now how different a real lady is from an imitation one. It’s funny how blind I was.” She stopped short, frightened by having used a word that never was to be mentioned before Gwen.

But Gwen met the allusion quietly. “You were blind first, Glad, and got well. Maybe I’ll214 get well, too. I feel stronger, and sometimes I hope a little. If I don’t get well, I’m going to try not to be a failure, and be brave,” she said.

Gladys went over to her and kissed her with a sweet gravity that was pretty to see in the little girl who had been so shallow and vain. “My kind of blindness was worse than yours, Gwen,” she said. “You’d be nicer than I ever could be if you lost all your eyes.”

“Gwen isn’t a spider, and Gwen is going to get well,” cried Jan, laughing to keep from crying.

Gladys left the room hastily and Jan perched on the bedside, holding Tommy Traddles’s paw in one hand and Gwen’s fingers in the other. “I’ve been wanting to tell you something Aunt Tina said yesterday, and I haven’t had a chance,” she said. “Something just for yourself to hear—right in your own ear.”

“This is my own ear, Jan; it was given to me fifteen years ago,” said Gwen, inclining that organ toward her cousin.

Jan leaned forward to whisper into it. “She said that you were making such a peaceful, happy little spot of your room, and were so brave215 and cheerful, and all the children were getting so loving and gentle with you that she half dreaded to have you get well and break up the little oasis in the midst of a selfish world. Isn’t that nice for your mother to have said?” And Gwen could not help feeling that it was.



The longer days and greater cold had come. But with the cold was interspersed here and there a day on which there was a vague far-off hint of spring in the air, and the lover of nature who went up on the short Northern road or over into New Jersey to get the full flavor of his Sunday rest came back with reports of swelling twigs and the first note of the bluebird; for it was late February.

Although the doctors would not give better reasons for hope than their more cheerful manner, there was a growing feeling in the Graham household that Gwen was going to escape her hard doom, and it was on one of those illusive days when the atmosphere seems full of light that Doctor Amberton definitely authorized rejoicing by telling them, when he came down from Gwen’s room, that the bandages could be removed217 from her eyes in a week, and that they would be restored to enjoy the spring sunshine.

Mr. Graham shook the doctor’s hand hard, speechless with the joy of this tidings, while his wife fell sobbing on Jan’s neck, and Viva tumbled down in a burst of emotion such as silent children sometimes give way to, and hugged the andirons, kissing their polished tops and clinging to them hysterically.

Gladys, Sydney, and Jack were not there to hear the good news, but Viva ran to call them, and they were not less stirred by the blessed certainty of Gwen’s escape than were the others; indeed Jack turned so white on being told that his angry hand had not blinded his sister after all that his mother sprang to put her arm around him, thinking that he was fainting.

Who was to take the good news to Gwen, and how was she to be told? Gladys wanted the entire family to go up in a body and rejoice with her, but Mrs. Graham would not permit this, and Mr. Graham suggested that he and her mother went up together to bring comfort to the girl in whom they had always felt so much pride, but who had become very dear in218 these hard six weeks of courageously borne suffering.

Jan whispered something in her aunt’s ear, and Mrs. Graham hesitated. After a moment she said: “I believe it would be the very thing!” and turning to the others added: “Jan suggests that we let Jack go up, quite alone, and tell Gwen that he and she have escaped the awful consequences of his fit of rage. She says he can tell her that he took her eyes from her, and now he has come to give them back again. It is a pretty idea. Shall we carry it out?”

“Yes,” said Sydney decidedly, and “Ye—es,” voted Gladys doubtfully. But Mr. Graham settled the question by saying: “Go up-stairs to your sister, Ivan, my man, and tell her that you are bringing her back her sight—that Doctor Amberton has said that she is safe, and we are coming up in half an hour to try to tell her how thankful we are.”

“You’re not going to be blind, not one bit!” said Jack.

Jack turned pale, then red; he was not sure whether he liked the errand or not. He was afraid, and it seemed to him very solemn and difficult to go to Gwen on such an embassy. He sat down to think it over on the stairs, and as219 he thought it rushed over him how Gwen was lying there, not knowing that she was not to be blind; how all this time she had patiently awaited this day, knowing it might never come, and worst of all how his hand had been the one to smite her. A sob rose in his throat and he scrambled to his feet. Yes, it was good that they had let him tell her that she was safe, and he must not lose another moment in doing it. He fell up the stairs, and as he opened Gwen’s door she sprang up in bed, feeling instantly the excitement with which he was quivering as his hand touched the knob.

“What is it, Jack!” she said quickly.

“Oh, Gwen, ain’t it just great?” gasped Jack. “The doctor’s gone and they sent me up to bring you your eyes, they said, because I took them away. My, but we’re glad!”

Gwen clutched the arm impetuously thrown around her. “Jack, is it true?” she whispered.

“True! Doctor Amberton said so! You’re to have the bandages off in a week—you’re not going to be blind, not one bit!” said Jack, choking.

Gwen fell back, burying her face in the pillows.220 If ever there was a sincere “Thank God!” it was the one that filled the poor child’s heart, but could not pass beyond the happy sobs rising in her throat.

Jack was frightened. “Have I killed you this time, Gwen?” he asked faintly.

Gwen turned back again and caught him in her arms. “Killed me! My darling old Jack, you have made me feel as though I should never die! I believe I have been dead all these horrible weeks since New Year’s.”

“They’re all coming up in a little while to tell you how glad they are—they’re all down in the back parlor nearly out of their minds, they’re so glad,” said Jack, much relieved to find Gwen unharmed.

“Call Hummie, Jack, and then go tell them to come on—I can’t wait,” said Gwen.

Before Hummie had recovered from the joy of Gwen’s reprieve sufficiently to make her fine, as Gwen had intended to be made, the trooping of the entire family up the stairs fell on her happy ears. She knelt in the bed in her long crimson wrapper, and held out her arms speechlessly for a universal embrace.

221 Sydney, Gladys, and Jan held back, feeling that Gwen’s father and mother had the first right to her, but Viva and Jerry threw themselves into the outstretched arms, as Mr. Graham and his wife clasped Gwen at the same moment. There was a confused scrimmage of hugging and kissing, and Mr. Graham recognized Gwen’s linen bandage and Jerry’s lace collar, mixed with Viva’s hair, while Mrs. Graham rained tears and kisses on her husband’s cuff. But it did not matter. In a moment Gladys and Jan were added to the joyous confusion, and there was such an utter abandonment of happiness, and such oblivion to anything but the blessed fact that Gwen’s precious eyes were safe that Gwen realized for the first time how dear she was to all these throbbing hearts, and how hard must have been the past six weeks to them as well as to her, in which they were bravely trying to keep their own grief out of sight while they helped her bear her burden.

“When can I really have my eyes?” asked Gwen, when some of the excitement had spent itself.

“You may take off the bandages in a week,222 but your eyes must be used with the greatest care, and very little, all summer. Then by fall Doctor Amberton thinks they will be perfectly strong,” said Mrs. Graham. “And now, children, go your ways, for Gwen and I are going to rest quite by ourselves for a little while.”

Gladys and Jan left the room, arms around each other’s waists, in the most loving girl fashion, and Mr. Graham followed behind them, smiling, well pleased at the sight, and remembering how positively Gladys had declared that she “would not go about with a Wild West Show” when he had announced Jan’s coming. “Little Miss Lochinvar has won us all,” he thought, realizing what a happy thing her coming had been for his own children.

“I wonder, Jan,” Gladys was saying as they went toward Jan’s room, “I wonder if mamma wouldn’t let us ask some of our friends for a celebration on the day Gwen tries her eyes for the first time? She needn’t see them long enough to get tired, but it would be rather nice to get together everybody she likes to look at when she looks for the first time for so long.”

“It would be ever so nice,” said Jan heartily.223 “If Aunt Tina will let us—if she doesn’t think it would hurt Gwen.”

At the self-same moment Gwen was saying: “Mamma, it is Miss Lochinvar’s birthday on the 1st of March. Don’t you think I might use my eyes for the first time on that day, and have a little surprise party for her? I wouldn’t have to stay in the room longer than was safe, but I’d like to get the girls together to keep Jan’s birthday properly. She’s done more for me than you can guess; I couldn’t repay her if I tried forever. And look at Gladys and Sydney! And how much sweeter Jerry is! And she hasn’t any more notion of how nice she is than—than——”

“Than a bright little wild rose along the roadside knows how sweet and cheering it is,” finished her mother for her, as Gwen hesitated for a simile. “It is only that she is good, really good, unselfish, unaffected, sincere. She has done a great deal for us all, Gwen. It is a curious thing to see how one little girl can diffuse happiness, and make her sweetness contagious only by unconsciously showing how lovely such a true little woman can be. I mean to write your Aunt Jennie and beg her to let Jan go with us224 to the seashore this summer and stay on for another winter in New York; I have a hope of getting her gradually to make this her home, and her visits to Crescendo.”

“You won’t succeed, mamma,” said Gwen, shaking her head dolefully. “I’d give anything in the world to keep Jan every minute of my life, but she’s too fond of home for that. She truly doesn’t think there’s anything to do in New York—she said so once, and then was afraid she’d hurt my feelings. Nothing to do here, but lots that is interesting in that little Crescendo of hers—only think!” And Gwen laughed.

“Well, at the worst, her father and mother must let her spend part of each year with us, now that they have taught us to depend upon her,” said Mrs. Graham. “However, we need not settle that now. About your party: Yes, I think it can be done, and I should like to honor Jan by celebrating her birthday. On the first? That is eight days off. Very well; we’ll have the party. And now rest, my darling Gwen. You can’t dream how glad your mother is to know you are to look upon her again so soon!”

225 “I’m not precisely sorry, mamma,” said Gwen, seizing the hand put out to her, and returning with interest the kiss given her. What a beautiful world it was! and how soft and warm was the atmosphere becoming of the big house which even Gwen had sometimes found chilling!

Mrs. Graham almost betrayed herself by a laugh as Jan and Gladys unfolded to her their plan for a surprise party so nearly identical with Gwen’s, except that they had not fixed a definite date, and had a different end in view in holding it. But she composed her eyes and lips to the necessary seriousness, approved their plans as she had Gwen’s, and set about the preparations for both parties. It is not difficult to prepare for two parties at the same time when both are practically one. The pair of conspirators kept their secret from the one conspirator, and Mrs. Graham conspired with both. The same guests were selected by both camps, except that Sydney was called in to Gwen’s aid, and asked the boys and girls with whom Jan had played the tennis match, and whom his sisters did not know.

March 1st fell on Saturday—any one who is interested to know can easily discover from226 that fact the year in which the party was given—and that made it easy to get the guests together early, without regard to school. It was better, for Gwen’s sake, to make it an afternoon party, “quite like little children,” as Gladys remarked with a slight tendency to dissatisfaction.

Viva and Jerry found this a most desirable feature of the celebration; they were ready in spotless white long before the appointed hour. Too long before; for Jerry was discovered sitting demurely close to the butler’s pantry door in the dining-room, very quiet and correct, but with a long streak of chocolate on each cheek, beyond the reach of her tongue, which had made the lips stainless, and a great smudge of chocolate and cream filling on the front of her dainty tucked guimpe, the cause of which Susan correctly traced to the loss of six little round chocolate-iced cakes from the pantry.

When the guests began arriving Jan and Gladys were much puzzled by being called upon to welcome several whom they had not invited, and whom they had difficulty in receiving as though they had done so. But Jan was delighted227 to see again her opponent who had given her such a hard fight for victory in the tennis contest, and when she had sufficiently recovered from her surprise at seeing her hailed Molly Van Buren rapturously.

Gwen sent for Jan to come to her when all the guests had arrived, and Jan ran across the hall to her cousin’s room. She found Gwen dressed in silvery-blue, looking paler for her long confinement, and at least a quarter of a head taller—Gwen was decidedly up to the modern standard of girls’ height.

“Do you know why mamma asked all these girls and boys here to-day, Miss Lochinvar?” asked Gwen.

“I should think I did! Gladys and I planned it as a surprise to you—it’s to celebrate your recovery!” laughed Jan.

“It’s nothing of the sort!” cried Gwen. “It’s mamma’s secret and mine, and it’s to celebrate your birthday.”

“Were you plotting a party, too? Did you remember it was my birthday?” cried Jan. “Well, of all things! What a memory you have, Gwen! I haven’t mentioned my birthday228 but once, ever so long ago, when you asked me when it came. And to think that Aunt Tina never said a word!”

“Nor to me either,” Gwen laughingly protested. “Mamma must have been having rather a pleasant time all by herself, fooling all three of us. Well, it’s all the nicer. Now, what made me send for you was that I want to give you your first birthday present, and let you take these linens off my eyes—I believe you’re such an unselfish old darling that you’d rather do it than have millions left you.”

Jan’s color went and came; no one had ever known—hardly she herself—what a grief the prospect of Gwen’s great sorrow had been to her. And now this little ceremony moved her proportionately. Her hands trembled as she unfastened the strings holding Gwen’s long eclipse of her eyes, and the linen bandages slipped down, and were gone—gone, thank Heaven, forever! “I’m truly glad to see you, blessed Miss Lochinvar,” said Gwen as she gazed lovingly at the tearful face of her cousin, the first she had seen for seven dreary weeks. “Come, now; let me go with you. Steady me,229 Jan—the light and walking by sight seems queer to me.”

Jan steadied Gwen with her arm around her waist, and felt her tremble, but she knew that it was with joy. Then, with Gwen’s hand resting on her shoulder, Jan led her triumphantly down to the parlor. All her school friends clustered around her, and for a few moments Gwen held court. Then Sydney came into the middle of the room, and said: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a surprise party. Gwen is surprised that Gladys and Jan have a party, and they are surprised that Gwen has one. So you are the party and they are the surprise—which isn’t the usual way of having surprise parties. Gladys and Jan’s party is to celebrate Gwen’s recovery. Gwen’s party is because it is Jan’s birthday. So you can consider yourself celebrating which you prefer—for myself I’m celebrating both with all my might. When our cousin came on we called her ‘Miss Lochinvar,’ because she ‘came out of the West,’ and now we think we were sort of prophets, because the name fits her in lots of ways—chiefly because no one ‘e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar.’ There230 never was such an all-round trump of a girl as our cousin Janet Howe, alias Miss Lochinvar. We couldn’t find a picture of that hero, Jan,” he added, turning to poor Jan, who looked ready to sink through the floor from embarrassment. “But we wanted to give you a picture, because you like them so much, and so you could have something to remember this day by at home if ever you go back—and don’t you dare to try going! So we got you this copy of Rembrandt’s Polish Rider; it was the nearest we could come to young Lochinvar.” Sydney then gave place to Jack, who proudly bore the picture to Jan, remarking briefly: “Here, Jan. I made the verse.”

Jan received the large picture timidly, but suddenly she laughed, for on its wrapping she read this verse of Jack’s:

From Ivan
And the Clan.

Gwen’s gift was a small, but exquisite, old Italian lamp. “Because you were my light in darkness,” she whispered, and Jan choked.

Gladys had characteristically chosen a ring,231 a slender circle of turquoise, for her gift. “I want you to wear something to remind you of me every minute,” she said.

Viva and Jerry had been included with Jack in the gift of the picture, but Mrs. Graham gave Jan all the Waverley novels, bound in soft morocco, and her uncle’s gift was a check for fifty dollars, to do with as she pleased, and which Jan looked at with wildly joyous visions of what it would purchase for the young folk in Crescendo.

Gwen tired soon, and went away for a while to rest before supper while the others had games and dancing. She reappeared for a short time to take her place beside Jan at the head of the table, and be waited on like one of a pair of queen bees, plied with honey, instead of waiting on her guests, as she would have done at any ordinary party.

But, as the guests agreed when they departed early, it was not an ordinary party in any sense, and Jan convulsed her hearers by declaring that it was nicer—more like a Crescendo party—than any she had seen in New York. “But,” she added, gloating over her treasures, “it would be queer if I hadn’t thought it nice.”

232 Mrs. Graham, remembering the magnitude of her orders at expensive caterers, smiled to herself at the notion of Jan’s birthday party and Gwen’s “thanksgiving party,” as Sydney called it, resembling the gaieties of Crescendo. But she understood that Jan had meant that it was more simple and childish than the early-old functions which she had seen since her arrival, and was well pleased.

“You’re all so good to me!” sighed Jan, as she kissed her uncle and aunt good night, with an extra hug for gratitude. “I can’t ever thank you!”

“Pshaw! It’s all because we never saw ‘gallant like young Lochinvar,’” said Sydney, who was standing by.



The Graham family was at breakfast, the same group assembled—with the addition of Jan herself—as on that morning nearly half a year before when Mr. Graham had struck consternation to it, individually and collectively, by announcing Jan’s coming.

Susan no longer stood behind Jerry’s chair, for she no longer misbehaved sufficiently to require special watchfulness, so Susan supplemented the waitress in small tasks, and now brought in the mail and laid it at Mr. Graham’s place.

Mr. Graham sorted it, handed three or four notes to his wife, gave Sydney a notice from his school-club secretary, handed Jack the paper with the adventure serial he was pursuing rather than perusing, smiled as he gave Gladys234 a pink envelope suggestive of heliotrope and addressed in a girl’s hand, and kept several letters for himself.

One of these he read with a lengthening face, and, when his eyes had traveled down to the foot of the last page, looked over at Jan so gravely that her heart gave an apprehensive bound, and Gwen exclaimed: “There’s nothing wrong, is there, papa?”

“No—at least, yes, I think there is.—Nothing wrong at your home, Jan, so don’t look so startled, child,” said Mr. Graham, smiling at Jan, who was waiting his answer with wide, frightened eyes. “Your mother has not been well, but she’s recovered now; this letter is from your father.”

“Mamma ill? What was it? Do you suppose she really is well again, Uncle Howard? What does papa say?” cried Jan.

“He says—let me see. ‘Tell Jan not to feel the slightest anxiety; I am not concealing anything from her; her mother is quite herself again, except for a remnant of weakness. But—’ and the rest is what I do not like to tell you, and still less to tell my own children.”235 And Mr. Graham stopped, frowning hard at Jan.

“He wants Jan!” guessed Gwen, jumping at the thing she most dreaded.

“That’s precisely what he does want,” assented her father. “He says it is now April, and the brief time left in school will not be serious loss, and Jan’s mother is so hungry for a glimpse of her that he wants us to send her back to Crescendo. He doesn’t say what he expects us to do without her.”

A dead silence fell on the entire table. Gwen and Gladys stared aghast, Viva turned crimson and began to cry soundlessly, while Jack looked as though he would like to follow her example. Sydney and his mother both pushed back their plates with a simultaneous movement, and Jan herself seemed uncertain whether to be glad or sorry.

Jerry looked from one to the other; then suddenly her voice pierced the stillness shrilly: “She’s my Jan, she’s my Jan! She san’t go away f’ ever’ n’ ever, amen,” she fairly shrieked, and was borne from the room in a violent fit of coughing by the patient Susan.

236 “We can’t express our feelings in precisely the same way as Jerry,” said Mrs. Graham, “but they are quite as much ours. You are our Jan, and we really can not let you go.”

“O Jan! you won’t go, will you?” said Gladys reproachfully.

“If mamma wants me, and papa says to come, how can I help going?” asked Jan.

“I suppose we must admit their claim,” said her uncle. “I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll write Jan’s father, begging him to spare her a little while longer, and telling him how dear she is to each of us. If he is hard-hearted enough to take her in spite of that, we’ll have to send her to him, with a nice, strong little cable attached, to pull her back by in a short time.”

“I don’t think we ought to let mamma wait while we write papa, and he answers. That will take nearly a week, and if he says mamma has been sick and wants me, I think I ought to go right away, don’t you?” asked Jan.

“O Miss Lochinvar! You want to go?” said Sydney reproachfully.

“I want to go and stay at the same time,” said Jan truthfully. “I am just as happy here237 as I can be, and I love you heaps and heaps, and when I get back I’ll talk about every one of you until they’ll think I can’t speak of anything else. But when I think of mamma—and all of them—why I could fly! You know how you’d feel if you hadn’t seen any of this family for six months.”

“There are such quantities of things to do,” said Gwen, speaking for the first time, though there was no one else to whom the loss of Miss Lochinvar meant so much as to her. “You haven’t been down to Trinity nor to St. Paul’s—and you like places where great people are buried. You’re so crazy about history you must at least see Alexander Hamilton’s grave—and the Jumel house.”

“That wouldn’t take long; besides New York will be here when she returns, for I would put her in the safe-deposit vaults and lock her up, if I didn’t think she would come back in the fall,” said her uncle. “Then you would rather not have me write, asking an extension of time—a stay of proceedings, little Miss Lochinvar?”

“I think when papa says he wants me, and mamma is longing for me, it means just that,238 and it would not be right to keep them waiting,” said Jan, wishing she were not obliged to choose.

“It’s a shame, a shame!” cried Jack, emotion, so long suppressed, so far mastering him that two tears would find their way out, though he tried to hope that they would be mistaken for coffee.

“Well, Jack, here’s a chance to be noble. There are people who would rather another had a treasure than possess it themselves,” smiled Mrs. Graham.

“That’s goody-goody people!” said Jack wrathfully, not in a frame of mind to admire virtue utterly beyond his reach.

“They’re better than baddy-baddy people at least,” said Gwen. “If Jan must go, let’s not make it worse.—When would she have to start, papa?”

“Her father doesn’t say. I think we are entitled to a little time in which to get used to the amputation,” said Mr. Graham. “I won’t let her go under a week.”

“Then we’ll make it a lively week,” said Gwen with a quiver in her voice indicating no239 especial liveliness in the speaker. Mrs. Graham pushed back her chair, and the children all rose; there had been no more thought of breakfast since the dreadful tidings had fallen upon them that they were to lose Jan.

It was the week of the Easter holidays, so there was nothing to prevent her cousins from devoting themselves to Jan for the short time remaining.

The three girls retired to Jan’s room to have a cry and feel better, though that was not consciously the object of the tears. Tommy Traddles came stretching and purring to meet them, and Jan caught him to her heart.

“O my poor, dear Tommy Traddles!” she cried. “He has got so handsome, and strong, and loving! And he does play hide and seek so beautifully with me. Will you promise to take just as good care of him as I do, Gwen and Gladys? And will you swear—honest, true, black and blue—not to let him get left behind to starve in the streets when you go to the country?”

“Now, Jan, if you suppose we’d be the sort of people to turn an animal out! Of all the240 mean, selfish things to do! It makes me furious to see the poor creatures who are used to being petted wandering around frightened, sick, and hungry! I don’t see why you ask us such a thing as that! We don’t have to swear it,” said Gwen, with genuine indignation.

“Well, I beg your pardon. I know you wouldn’t, but so many people are careless,” said Jan contritely. “Syd will look after Drom. And now I’m going to pack.”

“If you touch one thing I’ll go crazy!” exclaimed Gladys energetically. “I could not stand it! I won’t believe you’re going. Get on your things and come down to your stuffy historical graves, but don’t you pack! You haven’t the least, dimmest idea of how Gwen and I feel—you don’t care one bit for leaving us!”

Jan turned and flung her arms around Gwen and Gladys with a face as variable as the month, all smiles and tears. “O my dears, my dears! Yes, I do!” she cried. “I wish I were twins! Can’t you understand how glad I’ll be to see dear old Crescendo and my precious family, and yet how I want, and want, and want you? I’d like to go and stay at the same time.”

241 “And we only want you to stay, you see,” said Gwen, trying to smile. “It’s almost like losing my eyes over again, Janet Lochinvar! You have been such a dear old darling, and done so much for me!”

“Not as much as for me,” said Gladys mournfully. “I’m another girl.”

“Never mind if you are, Gladys; you’re nicer all the time,” said Jan. “So try to bear up.”

“We’ll go down and see St. Paul’s, and then we’ll go to Trinity,” announced Gladys, rising with the air of one ready to sacrifice herself for the public weal. “And we’ll rally around you every minute that’s left.”

“Syd, Jack, will you go with us down in town to explore mustiness for Jan?” called Gwen up the stairs. And the boys threw themselves on the banisters, and slid down promptly, ready for any expedition.

Jan stood, awe-struck, beside the tomb where Alexander Hamilton was laid to sleep after his tragic end, and where now the hurrying thousands of the modern city surge up the narrow, steep street skirting his resting-place in the pursuit242 of a little of the success he sought, attained, and which slipped through his fingers at last.

Still more was she thrilled by the old-time pew in St. Paul’s where Washington sat praying in his strong heart for the nation struggling into life. Gwen shared her enthusiasm, and Sydney understood, though he pretended to laugh at it. But Gladys declared she could not see what there was to get excited about. Suppose Washington had sat in that pew, what then? He was a real man, who really lived; he had to sit somewhere. If it hadn’t been there, it would have been somewhere else—what was there to make a fuss about? Gladys’s prosaic mind, which had not a grain of the poet’s nor the student’s element in its make-up, tolerated, but could not share her cousin’s raptures.

The Graham quartet dutifully escorted Jan up to the Jumel house, and up to Columbia Library, and to see the tablet commemorating the battle of Harlem Heights, but in turn they demanded of her less improving, and more amusing pilgrimages. They took her down to Manhattan Beach to see the ocean for the first time, and Miss Lochinvar had to admit that nothing243 in the West could equal that stupendous first sight of the breakers rolling in from England, and tumbling at her feet—though she retracted the admission with a possible reservation in favor of the Yellowstone, which she had not seen. And at last there were no more expeditions, but three days of absolute devotion to one another, in which Jan packed, while the others watched her rearrange her treasures, and tried to keep up the cheerfulness which they had agreed must speed their parting guest, though it was a cheerfulness veiled in deep purple.

Jan had to have a large new trunk to supplement the shabby little one with which she arrived, for many and marvelous were the contributions the Grahams poured into Jan’s hands to take to the children in Crescendo.

All the girls—and most of the boys—whom Jan had known since her arrival came often to see her, for to the surprise, not only of herself but her cousins, who did not realize that outsiders had felt modest Janet’s charm, Miss Lochinvar seemed to have won everybody’s affection. “Come and see me in Crescendo,” she said to them all with boundless hospitality,244 and Gladys felt no dismay at the thought that they might take her at her word; so thoroughly had she learned true values.

Gwen and Gladys grudged a moment spent on visitors; the moments were growing so few in which they should see Jan’s pretty face, and watch it cloud at the thought of parting or break into dimples over something pleasant. Even Cena North and Dorothy Schuyler were in the way, though the latter was the one to whom Gwen looked for consolation when she should be bereft of Jan.

At last the night came when for the last time Jan should lie down in her pretty room, and all the cousins hung around her till the latest possible moment—even Jerry being allowed to sit up until she fell asleep in Jan’s lap.

“We’ll keep a diary and send it to each other twice a week—that’s settled,” said Gwen. “And I want to tell you one thing, Jan. I know now I was a silly to think North & Company would publish my novel, and I was a greater silly to think I could write a novel, and the greatest silly of all to think that it was nicer to be famous than a lovely, homely girl. If you like to know245 that you turned your cousin from a goose into a girl with a grain of sense, you may have that pleasure.”

“And here’s another,” said Gladys. “You know I’m not quite as bad a goose as I was, and it’s all your doing.”

Sydney said nothing then, but when, later, Jan went up to say good night to Drom, he put out his hand. “I may not get a chance to tell you to-morrow when they’re all around,” he said, “but I’m getting on better at school—working better and all that—and I don’t see much of the wild boys, and I’m getting on fine working with the professor up at college. And father says I may take up civil engineering if I like, so I guess I’ll go to college after all. And if you hadn’t come and made things pleasant here I don’t believe I’d have been anywhere. I thought you might like to know.”

“It’s all because you are so good to me that you fancy I’ve done things. I never did a thing, but just be a humdrum, every-day little girl,” said Jan.

“Nothing but be Janet Howe—Miss Lochinvar,246 I mean; we know,” said Sydney. And Jan ran down-stairs to cry a little and laugh a little that on the morrow she was to set out for Crescendo, and to be glad and grateful that the clan of Graham rated her so inexplicably high.



The household was early astir on the following morning, although Miss Lochinvar was not to go into the West until early in the afternoon—not to start, that is.

But it was a pity to waste time sleeping, when, as Gladys pathetically said, Jan would have time enough to sleep on the cars when she was all alone.

The cook—who was usually as grumpy as her profession seems liable to make people—outdid herself in her efforts to get up a luncheon-box for Miss Jan which should lighten her journey and weighten—now isn’t it a shame there is not such a fine verb as that?—her own slender frame. Susan was clipping the stems of the flowers she had gone out early to buy and putting them between damp cotton on the ice in the butler’s pantry. There seemed to be no one,248 from the top to the bottom of the big house, which had struck Jan on her entrance to it as so cold and empty, who was not eager to show regret at losing, and desire to serve Miss Lochinvar.

Gwen and Gladys had begged Jan to bring her things into Gwen’s room, and let them all dress together, not to lose one moment of the precious few left them. And it was with no small difficulty that Jan managed her toilet, for one cousin insisted on buttoning her shoes, while the other brushed her hair; Gwen tied her ribbon, while Gladys fastened down her collar in the back, and she was so inundated with tender services, interspersed with sighs and caresses that she—not being accustomed to a maid—began to wonder if she should be ready, not merely for breakfast, but for the train at somewhere about two in the afternoon.

Viva, the unobtrusive, insisted on her right, as the elder, to take the place beside Jan at breakfast for which Jerry was clamoring, and Jack made himself detestable to both his small sisters by appropriating it for himself while they were disputing.

249 The three girls came down like a group of the graces, Jan in the middle, supported by tall Gwen on one side and Gladys on the other, each with an arm around Miss Lochinvar, who encircled them with hers.

Sydney, who did not approve of sentimental affection, though he was quite as sorry to part with Jan as his sisters could be, laughed as they entered. “Hang on to one another, girls!” he said. “If you hug Jan tight enough maybe the train won’t start till three.”

No one had much appetite that morning—no one but Mr. and Mrs. Graham, who ate their breakfast with what Viva found almost heartless calmness. She was not able to conceive of a state of mind in which departures mean the possibility of return, nor had she journeyed far enough into life to learn that “journeys end,” not only “in lovers’ meeting,” but in all kinds of pleasant meetings. Jan’s uncle and aunt were confident that she would return to them soon, but to the younger folk the parting seemed eternal, the distance between New York and Crescendo an impassable gulf, and even the recollection of what and whom awaited her at the end250 of her travels could not sustain Jan’s spirits under the present gloom.

“I’ll be down to the station, Miss Lochinvar, and start you properly with the conductor of the train and of the sleeping-car, and with the porter,” said Jan’s uncle, putting out his hand for a brief farewell. “I’ve got you a whole section, so you won’t have any one dropping down on you to-night through the ceiling of your berth, and there’ll be no one sitting opposite to you through the day. Don’t forget that both seats are yours, and don’t let any one bother you, by the way. However, I’ll fix that with the proper authorities.—Get down to the train a little early, Tina, and see that Jan’s trunks are checked, if I’m a trifle late—it’s a bad hour to leave Exchange, just before closing, but I’ll be there. Don’t look so melancholy, chicks; we couldn’t have the fun of getting Jan back, if we never let her go.” And Mr. Graham was off, wondering if he had ever taken small events so ponderously.

“Now, Aunt Tina, when are you all coming out to see us?” asked Jan, as the family, excepting only its head, gathered in the library with251 that tentative feeling of waiting one has when some one is going away, although it is hours before the time to start.

“All of us? At once?” laughed her aunt. “Never, I hope, for your mother’s sake.”

“Well, when will you let the children come? I want them all—first, the three oldest, if you won’t send them all at once, and then Jack and Viva. Still, it would be much better if you let them come with Syd and Gwen and Gladys to look after them,” Jan persisted.

“I hardly see how we can arrange the details of their coming just now,” Mrs. Graham said, smiling at Jan’s earnestness. “You see we are all disposed of for the next five months at the seashore—and I can not cease to regret that you could not have at least one week there with us, for the New England coast is so glorious that you would not feel that you had seen the sea at Manhattan Beach if you could get a glimpse of it tumbling in over those piled-up rocks. However, next summer, I hope, you will. Then after this summer comes school again, and Sydney will enter college if he keeps up his present pace.” And his mother smiled proudly252 at the handsome boy for whom in her secret heart there was an especial soft spot. “I think the most probable thing is that you will return to us. It would be very nice if you could come back in the fall, and if in the summer your mother and one or two of the younger children could join us. I don’t see much prospect of any of us going West, Janet, for after Gwen and Gladys are a little further on in their studies they must go to Europe to learn to see art properly, and to learn something of other peoples than their own. But we can not plan; we might be able to make a flying trip with the older children to the Yellowstone, and stop at Crescendo. There’s no way of being sure of the future, impatient Miss Lochinvar! If you girls are going to call on the Misses Larned and Dorothy and Cena before luncheon you would better be about it, for we must lunch at quarter after twelve to-day. There is the transfer-wagon at the door, and I hear the man bringing down your trunk, Jan.”

Gwen and Gladys mournfully accompanied Jan on her farewell visit to her teachers, who parted from her with a glimmer of genuine regret253 showing through their elaborate expressions of their sense of loss.

“It has been a great pleasure to teach you, Miss Howe,” said Miss Larned. “You are faithful to your tasks, docile, and amiable. I trust that the autumn will bring you back to us.”

“We wouldn’t be able to bear letting her go if we thought it wouldn’t, Miss Larned,” said Gwen.

Dorothy Schuyler and Cena North clung to Jan in precisely the same manner, though both assured her that they should be at the station to see her off. Jan only wrenched herself away by dwelling on that fact, and by promises to write very, very often.

Sydney met the three distressed girls at the door, as they returned to luncheon. “Hallo, bluing-bags!” he cheerfully saluted. “They won’t have to begin watering Fifth Avenue for two or three days yet, will they?”

“It wouldn’t be so bad to let you go if I could use my eyes to write you often,” said Gwen, as they mounted the stairs. “But when I think how lonely I’ll be, and how I can’t write, probably254 more than two or three times a week, I can not see how I shall get on.”

“I’ll write you, and we’ll send that daily journal, and you’ll have Gladys,” said Jan cheerily.

Gladys shook her head. “I shall only make it worse,” she said. “She’ll see a girl around, and it will remind her of you fearfully. Like that man in our Grecian mythology lesson—what’s his name?—who stood deep in water, and when he put his head down to drink it all slipped away, though he was nearly crazy with thirst.”

“Oh, gracious, Gladys! What nonsense! As though Gwen cared as much for me as for you—her own sister!” cried Jan. “You’ve all been getting so well acquainted this winter that you won’t miss me at all, except at first. And you and Gwen enjoy each other fifty times more than you did.” And Jan pinched Gwen’s arm to remind her to indorse these statements, for they had agreed privately that Gladys needed encouragement in her efforts to be more sensible, and also that she needed affection to draw out her better side.

“Yes, that’s so, Glad,” said Gwen promptly.255 “What with my being sick and in danger of being blind, and most of all with our having blessed Miss Lochinvar here to bring us all together, we are a much nicer family than we were, and I sha’n’t miss Jan anything like as much as I should if we weren’t getting to be really sisters. And I hope I’ll help you not to be lonely. And, Jan, I mean to do just what you say with Viva and Jack and Syd—especially Syd—and with Jerry, too, though she doesn’t count so much yet. I mean to be nice to them, and get them to love me and tell me things, and I see what you mean about its being better to have them than to have fame—though I can’t help hoping I’ll do something fine in the world yet.”

“I’m certain sure you will; you can’t help it with all your talents,” said Jan with the profound conviction so precious to an aspiring but undeveloped genius.

“Maybe I can learn to teach the children to like me too,” said Gladys with new and most becoming modesty, though not with the clearest form of expression.

After luncheon, eaten hastily and with a certainty of being late for her train on the part of256 the departing one, the Grahams’ landau drove up to the door. Jan had arrived without other escort than Nurse Hummel, but there was no question of Miss Lochinvar’s going away in like manner. There was not one of the Grahams—not even Sydney—who did not stand on the right to see Jan off. Sydney climbed up on the box with Henry, and they took Jack between them. Mrs. Graham sat on the back seat, with Jerry on her knee; Gladys, Jan, and Viva were to ride on the front seat, with Gwen beside her mother.

“Come, girls!” called Mrs. Graham, consulting her watch. “Viva, get out again and tell the girls to come.” Viva ran up the steps and encountered Jan in the hall, held fast in Nurse Hummel’s capacious embrace. Norah and Susan, Hannah the cook, and Maggie the laundress were waiting a chance to shake Miss Lochinvar’s hand and wish her Godspeed.

“May der lieber Gott keep you and pring you back quick und safe, liebchen!” cried Hummie. “I haf not a little girl so goot und useful among der Americans seen as you. I vish I might shake your highly-to-be-respected mutter257 by der hant, und say to her how much she is lucky to haf you.” And Nurse Hummel reluctantly gave up Jan and ceased her eloquence, as badly Germanized as usual under emotion, as Viva cried out that her mother wanted Jan to come at once.

“Good-by, Miss Janet; good luck to you!” said the other servants heartily, shaking the firm, warm hand Jan extended. Then with one parting squeeze for Drom, who implored, with eyes that seemed to see that Jan was leaving him altogether, to be taken, too, and a kiss on the glossy head of Tommy Traddles, whom Susan obligingly held, and who was highly disturbed by the excitement around him, Jan ran down the long steps which she had ascended for the first time with such different feelings. Now she could hardly see them for the tears in her eyes that she should see them no more.

Tucked tightly in her third of the seat with Gladys and Viva, Jan looked up at the big house as Henry started away from it. It looked just as impassive and irresponsive as on the day when she saw it first, but she loved it, for within its walls she had found love.

258 “Don’t eye the house so gloomily, Jan, dear,” said Mrs. Graham. “It is only waiting for you to come back, and it will not wait long, I hope.”

At the station they found Dorothy Schuyler and Cena North there before them, laden with flowers and candy, and a book apiece. Gwen and Gladys had provided Jan with a book, Sydney and Jack had given her candy and magazines, and flowers already filled her hands. They could not help laughing as they saw Dorothy and Cena’s contributions, for Jan could not have eaten and read on her journey all the food for body and mind with which she was encumbered if she had been going across the ocean on one of the slow Atlantic transports. Mr. Graham arrived just as his wife came back from checking Jan’s trunks; he, too, carried a box of candy, and stopped dismayed as he saw the supply already in Jan’s hands.

“Dear me, Janet; I wish I had brought you a box of pepsin tablets, instead of more sweets! Pray don’t eat all this candy—bestow it on the crying baby you’re certain to find on the train—it’s always there,” he said. “Now, we will all259 go over on the ferry with Miss Lochinvar, put her snugly in her section, and then sing: ‘Hurrah for the wild and woolly!’” The smiles that met this effort at cheerfulness on Mr. Graham’s part were feeble. The escort got into motion, and passed out on the upper deck of the big ferry-boat, all trying to keep next Jan, who could not have accommodated them all if she had had more sides than an octagon.

The last glimpse of Jan.

Mr. Graham and Sydney stowed away her bag and parcels in the rack. Sydney suggested that they put up a sign, “Fresh every hour,” for the parcels were so preponderatingly representative of a famous confectioner.

“Good-by, Jan. Write every week at least,” cried Dorothy and Cena, recognizing that Jan’s family had a claim to the last embraces.

“Good-by, dear little Janet. Tell Jennie to send you back by September if she doesn’t want me to go out and get you,” said Jan’s uncle, kissing her warmly.

“That wouldn’t scare her,” sobbed Jan, clinging to him.

“Good-by, dear. Tell your mother that I feel as though I had lost one of the dearest of260 my own children,” said Aunt Tina, no longer indifferent, but with something suspiciously like a sob in her voice.

“So long, Miss Lochinvar. I wish I were going with you,” said Sydney, clasping both Jan’s hands tight with sixteen-year-old sensitiveness to kissing his cousin publicly.

But Jan threw both arms around his neck, and kissed him many times, quite speechless with emotion, and Sydney did not find it unpleasant to have her love for him thus proved.

Jack gave Jan a fierce farewell hug, which she warmly returned.

Viva and Jerry were hanging on Jan’s neck as the others bade her good-by, and Mr. Graham had to detach them violently and bear them away under the inducement of waving their hands to her through the window.

Gladys kissed Jan good-by, sobbing with all her might. “Please, please forgive me all over again, dear, dearest Jan,” she whispered.

Gwen came last of all, and to her Jan clung most fondly, realizing then that of all the cousins she was leaving, this one was the dearest.

“I’m glad I had you, Miss Lochinvar,” whispered261 Gwen, feeling that this name was the only one with which she could part from Jan.

Jan did not speak, but the kiss with which she said good-by to noble-hearted Gwen told her how much Miss Lochinvar loved her.

The Grahams drew up in line outside the window, wiping away tears with one hand as they waved the other, and made futile efforts to speak to Jan through the double glass.

At last the wheels moved, the train got into motion, and rolled slowly out of the station.

Jan knelt on the seat, and pressed her wet face against the glass, crying, though they whom she was leaving behind could not hear her, “Good-by, good-by!”

The last glimpse they had of Jan was a rainbow one, tears running down her cheeks, while her lips smiled at them. And they turned away toward the ferry feeling that a big piece of the heart of each of them had gone with sweet little Miss Lochinvar back into the West.


Transcriber’s Note:

The text has been preserved as closely as possible to the original publication with no known changes to spelling or punctuation.

The cover includes elements created by the transcriber which have been placed in the public domain.