A Happy Breakfast
Mrs. Forbes was on the porch next morning when Mr. Evringham returned
from his canter.
"Fine morning, Mrs. Forbes," he said, as he gave Essex Maid into Zeke's
"Very fine. A regular weather breeder. It'll most probably rain
to-morrow, and what I wanted to speak to you about, Mr. Evringham, is,
that the child hasn't any rubbers."
"Indeed? What else does she need?"
"Well, nothing that I can see. Her things are all good, and she's got
enough of them. The trouble is she says she has never worn rubbers and
doesn't want to, and if she gets sick I shall have to take care of her;
so I hope, sir, you'll say that she must have them."
"Not wear them? Of course she must wear them," returned Mr. Evringham
brusquely. "Get them to-day, if convenient, Mrs. Forbes."
The housekeeper looked relieved.
"I hope she's not making you any trouble, eh?" added Mr. Evringham.
"Not any more than she can help, I suppose," was the grudging reply.
"She's a smart child, and being an only one, she's some notional. She
won't eat this and that, and doesn't want to wear rubbers, but she's
handy and neat, and is used to doing for herself; her mother hasn't had
time to fuss with her, of course, and that's lucky for me. She seems
very well behaved, considering."
Jewel had made heroic efforts while Mrs. Forbes assisted at her morning
toilet, and this was her reward.
"Well, we mustn't have you imposed upon," returned Mr. Evringham,
feeling guilty of the situation. "The child must obey you implicitly,
So saying he passed into the house, and after making a change in his
toilet, entered the dining-room. There he was seated, deep in his
newspaper and waiting for his coffee, when the door opened, light feet
ran to him, and an arm was thrown around his neck. He looked up to meet
a happy smile, and before he could realize who had captured him, Jewel
pressed a fervent kiss upon his cheek.
"Oh, grandpa, how nice and cold your cheek feels! Have you been out
Mr. Evringham could feel the said cheek grow hot in surprise at this
onslaught. He held himself stiffly and uncomfortably in the encircling
"Yes, I've been out on horseback," he returned shortly. "I go every
Jewel's eyes sparkled. "Oh, I'm so glad. Then I can watch you. I love to
see anybody ride. When I see a beautiful horse something inside me gets
warm. Father says I like just the same things he does. I must let you
read your paper, grandpa, but may I say one thing more?"
"I didn't come last evening to kiss you good-night because you had
somebody with you in the library, and, the giant--and Mrs. Forbes
wouldn't let me; but I wanted to. You know I wanted to, don't you? I
felt all sorry inside because I couldn't. You know you're the only real
relation I have in the castle"--Here Mrs. Forbes's entrance with the
coffee interrupted the confidence, and Jewel, with a last surreptitious
squeeze of Mr. Evringham's neck, intended to finish her sentence
eloquently, left him and went to her chair.
"You're to sit here this morning," said Mrs. Forbes, indicating the
place opposite her employer. "Mrs. Evringham and her daughter don't come
down to breakfast."
Jewel looked up eagerly. "Not ever?" she asked.
The child shot a radiant glance across at her grandfather which he
caught, the thread of his business calculations having been hopelessly
broken. "Oh, grandpa, we're always going to have breakfast alone
together!" she said joyously. Noting Mrs. Forbes's set countenance, she
added apologetically, "They're so pretty, cousin Eloise and aunt Madge,
I love to look at them, but they aren't my real relations, and," her
face gladdening again, "to think of having breakfast alone with you,
grandpa, makes me feel as if--as if I had a birthday!"
Mr. Evringham cleared his throat. The situation might have been a little
easier if Mrs. Forbes had not been present, but as it was, he had never
felt so embarrassed in his life.
"Now eat your oatmeal, Julia," said the housekeeper repressively. "Mr.
Evringham always reads his paper at breakfast."
"Yes," replied the child with docility. She poured the cream from a
small silver pitcher with a neatness that won Mrs. Forbes's approval;
and Mr. Evringham read over headlines in the paper, while he sipped his
coffee, without understanding in the least the meaning of the words.
Mrs. Forbes was right. Discipline must be maintained. This was the time
during which he wished to read his paper, and it was most astonishing to
be so vigorously taken possession of by an utter stranger. Now was the
time to repress her if she were to be repressed. Mrs. Forbes was right.
After a while he glanced across at the child. She looked very small
and clean, and she was ready with a quick smile for him; but she put a
little forefinger against her lips jocosely. He cleared his throat again
and averted his eyes, rumpling the paper as he turned a leaf.
Mrs. Forbes left the room with the oatmeal dishes.
Jewel leaned forward quickly. "Grandpa," she said earnestly, "if you
would declare every day, over and over, that no error could come near
your house, I think she would go away of her own accord."
Mr. Evringham stared, open paper in hand. "What? Who?"
"Go away? Mrs. Forbes? What are you thinking of! I couldn't get on
without Mrs. Forbes."
"Oh!" Jewel leaned back with the long-drawn exclamation. "I thought she
was what made you look sorry."
"No indeed. I have enough things to make me sorry, but she isn't one of
"Do you like her?" wonderingly.
"I--why--I respect her profoundly."
"Oh! It must be lots easier to respect her pro--the way you do, than to
like her; but," with firm lips, "I've got to love her. I told Anna Belle
so this morning, and especially if you want her to stay."
"Bless my soul!" Mr. Evringham looked in dismay as his vis-a-vis. "You
must be very careful, Julia, not to offend or trouble her in any way,"
"All right, grandpa, I will, and then will you do me a favor too?"
"I must hear it first."
"Would you mind calling me Jewel? You know it isn't any matter about the
rest, because they're not my real relations, but Julia is mother's name,
and Jewel is mine; and when I love people very much, I like them to call
Mrs. Forbes here entered with a tray, and Mr. Evringham merely said,
"Very well," twice over, and retreated into his newspaper.
On the tray were boiled eggs. Jewel glanced quickly up at Mrs. Forbes's
impassive face. She might have remembered. Probably she did remember.
Life had not taught the child to be shy, as has been evidenced; so
although Mrs. Forbes was an awing experience, she felt strong in the
presence of her important grandfather, and only kept silence now in
order not to interrupt his reading.
When at last he laid down his paper and began to chip an egg, Jewel
glanced at those which Mrs. Forbes had set before her. Her little face
had grown very serious.
"Grandpa, do you think it's error for me not to like eggs?" she asked.
"Mother never said it was. She was willing I should eat something else."
"Of course, eat whatever you like," responded Mr. Evringham quickly.
Mrs. Forbes seemed to swell and grow pink. "You always have eggs, sir,
and if there's two breakfasts to be got, will you kindly tell me what
the other shall be?"
Mr. Evringham glanced up in some surprise at the unfamiliar tone.
"Oh, the oatmeal is a plenty," said Jewel, looking at the housekeeper,
eager to mollify her.
"Try an egg. Perhaps you'll like them by this time," suggested Mr.
"Do you like everything to eat, grandpa?"
Mr. Evringham, being most arbitrary and peculiar in his tastes, could
only gain time by clearing his throat again, and taking a drink of
"Mrs. Forbes will bring you a glass of milk, I dare say," he returned
at last, without looking up; and the housekeeper turned with ponderous
obedience and left the room.
Nimbly Jewel slid down from her chair, and running around the table to
her grandfather's place, put both her arms around his neck and whispered
to him eagerly and swiftly, "If you have such a pro--something respect
for Mrs. Forbes, and it makes her sorry because I won't eat eggs,
perhaps I ought to. If it offends thy brother to have you eat meat, you
mustn't, the Bible says, so I suppose, if it makes Mrs. Forbes turn red
and perhaps get the stomach ache to have me not eat eggs, I ought to;
but grandpa, if you decide I must, please let me wait till to-morrow
morning, so I can say the Scientific Statement of Being all day--"
Here Mrs. Forbes entered with a glass of milk on a little tray. She
stood transfixed at the sight that met her.
"That child hasn't the fear of man before her eyes!" she ejaculated
mentally, then she marched forward and deposited the milk beside Jewel's
empty plate, while the child ran back and took her seat.
Mr. Evringham, gazing at his visitor in mute astonishment, was much
disconcerted to receive a confiding gesture of raised shoulders and
eyebrows, which, combined with a little smile, plainly signified that
they had been caught. He took up his newspaper mechanically.
He had never had a daughter, and caresses had seldom passed between
him and his children. His duties as a family man had always been
perfunctory. He was tingling now from the surprise of Jewel's action,
the feeling of the little gingham clad arms about his neck, the touch
of the rose-leaf skin as she swept his cheek and ear in her emphatic
His mental processes were stiff when the subject related to things
apart from the stock market, his horses, and golf, but he was finally
understanding that his granddaughter had come to Bel-Air, prepared by
accounts which had cast a glamour over everything and everybody in it.
She had evidently found Mrs. Forbes fall below her expectations. He had
been disillusioned concerning Mrs. Evringham and Eloise. As yet the halo
with which he himself had been invested was intact. Was it to remain
so? He still saw how foolish he had been to send for the child. He
still wished, of course, that she was in Chicago now, instead of sitting
across there from him in crisp short skirts, her head and shoulders only
showing above the high table, and a little smile of good understanding
waiting for him each time he looked up.
He had done very well during a lifetime without being hugged, yet the
innocent incense, which had been rising spontaneously before him ever
since the child entered the dining-room, had a strangely sweet savor.
Such was the joy of breakfast alone with him that it made her feel as if
she had a birthday! Perfectly absurd! Quite the most absurd thing that
he had ever heard in his life.
Mrs. Forbes spoke. "Perhaps it is to be the same way about the rubbers,
Mr. Evringham!" she said, much flushed. "Perhaps you will not insist
upon Julia wearing rubbers!"
"Oh yes, yes, certainly," returned Mr. Evringham hastily, anxious
to reinstate himself. "I wish you to have a pair of rubbers at once,
Julia--Jewel. You surely don't mean that your mother has allowed you to
wet your feet."
"I--I never noticed, grandpa, but," hopefully, "she lets me wet my
hands, so why not my feet?"
"Bless me, what ignorance! Because the soles of your feet have large
pores through which to catch cold. Hasn't any one ever told you that?"
Jewel smiled. "That would be a queer arrangement for God to make, don't
you think?" she asked softly. "Just as if He expected us to walk on our
Mrs. Forbes's eyes widened, and an irrepressible "Well!" escaped from
her lips. "Has that young one reverence for anything in heaven above or
earth beneath?" she queried mentally.
Mr. Evringham managed to recover himself sufficiently to say, "You
shouldn't speak so, Jewel."
"But you know how it was about the tree of knowledge, grandpa," replied
the child earnestly. "God told Adam not to eat of it, because then he'd
believe in good and evil, and that always makes such lots and lots
of trouble. The Indians don't have to wear rubbers."
"Drink your milk, Jewel," returned Mr. Evringham uncomfortably, not
having the temerity to lift his eyes as high as his housekeeper's
countenance. "No matter about the Indians. You are a civilized little
girl, and you must wear rubbers while you live with me. Mrs. Forbes will
very kindly buy them for you."
"Oh, I have money," returned Jewel brightly. "I have three dollars,"
she added, trying not to say it boastfully. "Fifty cents for every week
father and mother are going to be away."
Mr. Evringham wiped his mustache. "You need not spend any of it for the
rubbers," he returned. "You are buying those to please me."
"I shall love to wear them to please you, grandpa," she returned
affectionately. "I'll put them on every time I can think of it."
"Only when it is wet, of course," he said. "When it is rainy."
"Oh yes," she returned, "when it's rainy."
"Harry looked like my father, and she does, by Jove," mused Mr.
Evringham. "She's like me. Knows what she wants to eat, and cares for a
horse, if she is a strange little being."
"You say you like horses?" he remarked suddenly.
"I just love them," answered Jewel, "and I came real close to them once.
Father took me to the horse show."
"He did, eh?"
"Yes, he told mother he was going to blow me to it." The child laughed.
"Father's the greatest joker; he says the funniest things. He didn't
blow me to it at all. He took me in the cable car, and we had more
fun! It was the most be--eautiful place you ever saw."
"It was, eh?"
"Yes. The music was playing, and there were coaches and four-in-hands
and horns and men in red coats and beautiful little shiny carriages--and
the horses! Oh, they all looked so proud and glad, and they trotted and
ran and jumped over high fences, and the harness jingled and the people
cheered!" The child's cheeks were glowing.
Mr. Evringham gave an exclamation that was almost a laugh. "You didn't
sleep much that night, I'll wager!"
"No, I didn't want to. I stayed awake a long time to realize that God
doesn't love one of His children any better than another, so of course
some time I'll wear a tall shiny hat and ride over fences just like
flying. I'll have a horse," Jewel added slowly, looking off with a rapt
expression as at a long-cherished vision, "with a white star in his
"H'm! Very good taste," returned Mr. Evringham, scarcely knowing what he
was saying, so dazed was he by the extraordinary mixture of ideas.
After breakfast he had his usual interview with Mrs. Forbes concerning
the important event of dinner. Jewel had run upstairs to dress Anna
The menu decided upon, Mr. Evringham still lingered.
"Mrs. Forbes, I have never had any experience with little girls. You
have, no doubt," he said. "Am I right in thinking that my granddaughter
is--is a rather unusual specimen?"
"She's older than Dick's hatband, sir," rejoined the housekeeper
"Are they, perhaps, teaching differently in the schools from what they
"Not that I know of, Mr. Evringham."
"She uses very unusual expressions. I can't make it out. You are an
intelligent woman, Mrs. Forbes. Did you ever happen to hear of such a
thing as the--a--a--Scientific Statement of Being!"
"Never in my life, sir," returned the housekeeper virtuously.
"Extraordinary language that, from a--a child of her years. She seems
to have been peculiarly brought up. You heard her reference to--in fact
"I did, sir. At the breakfast table, too! I was as shocked as you were,
sir. Her mother put a Bible into her trunk, but it's plain she never
taught her any reverence. The Almighty give her a jumping horse indeed!
If you'll excuse me, Mr. Evringham, I think you should have said
something right there."
The broker pulled his mustache. "I've listened to more unreasonable
views of heaven," he returned.
"Do you think it was heaven she was talking about!"
Mr. Evringham shrugged his shoulders. "You can't prove anything by me.
She's the most extraordinary child I ever listened to."
Mrs. Forbes pursed her lips. "You'd not believe, sir, how differently
she behaves when she is alone with me. As mild-mannered and quiet as
you'd wish to see anywhere. She scarcely speaks a word."
Mr. Evringham bit his lip and nodded. It gave him some amusement in
the midst of his perplexity to remember the manner in which he had been
advised to exorcise this tower of strength altogether.
"It's my opinion, sir, that children should be made to eat what is set
before them," went on Mrs. Forbes, reverting to her principal grievance.
"It would save you a lot of trouble if I had been trained that way--eh,
Mrs. Forbes?" returned the other, with extraordinary lightness.
"You are a very different thing, I should hope!" exclaimed Mrs. Forbes
"Yes, about fifty years different. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks,
eh? You might have some chops for her luncheon, perhaps, and an extra
one for her breakfast. She hasn't eaten anything this morning."
For the first time an order from Mr. Evringham evoked no reply from
his housekeeper. He felt the weight of her disapproval. "But get the
overshoes by all means, as soon as convenient," he made haste to add.
"Ring for Zeke, if you please, Mrs. Forbes. I must be off."
Next: A Shopping Expedition
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