There was once a farmer who had three sons and one little daughter. The eldest son was a studious boy who learned so much out of books that the farmer said: We must send Mihailo to school and make a priest of him. The second boy was a... Read more of The Laughing Prince at Children Stories.caInformational Site Network Informational
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A Realized Hope







From: Jewel

One afternoon Mr. Evringham did not return from the city at the usual
time. Jewel, watching for him, was surprised after a while to see him
walking up from the gate.

"Why, what's happened?" she asked. "Zeke went for you."

"Yes; but he found he had to leave Dick to be shod."

"Then are you going to saddle Essex Maid yourself? Oh, can I see you do
it, grandpa?" She hopped with anticipation.

"I don't know that I'll ride just now. It's an excellent day for
walking. It seems rather strange to me, Jewel, that you've never shown
me the Ravine of Happiness. You talk a good deal about it."

"Oh, would you like to come?" cried the child, flushing. "Good! I have
the pond all fixed in Anna Belle's garden, and the ferns droop over it
just like a fairy story."

"Have you put up a sign for the fairies to keep out?"

"No--o," returned Jewel, drawing in her chin and smiling.

"Oh well, you may be sure they're at it, then, every moonlight night.
They haven't a particle of respect, you know, for anything. If I were in
Anna Belle's place, I should put up a sign, 'Private Grounds.'"

"Oh, she's so unselfish she wouldn't. If they only won't break the
flowers she won't care," returned the child, entering into the fancy
with zest.

Mr. Evringham took the doll from her arms, and carrying it up the steps
deposited it in the piazza chair.

"Isn't she going?" asked Jewel soberly.

"No, not this time. She doesn't care, she's been there so much. Just see
how cheerful and comfortable she looks!"

There was, indeed, a smile of almost cloying sweetness on Anna Belle's
countenance, and she seemed to be seeing pleasing visions.

"I never saw such a good child!" said Jewel with an admiring sigh; then
she put her hand in her grandfather's and they strolled out into the
park and up the shady road. Just before reaching the bend around which
lay the gorge, Mr. Evringham surprised his companion by breaking in upon
her lively chatter with a tune which he whistled loudly.

It was such an unusual ebullition that Jewel looked up at him. "Why,
grandpa, I never heard you whistle before," she said.

"You didn't? That's because you never before saw me out on a lark. I
tell you, I'm a gay one when I get started," and forthwith there burst
again from his lips a gay refrain, that sounded shrilly up the leafy
path. They rounded the bend in the road, and the broker looked down into
the eyes that were bent upon him in admiration.

"You whistle almost as well as Mr. Bonnell," said the child.

"Give me time and I dare say I shall beat him out," was the swaggering
response. "Ah, here's your ravine, is it?"

"Yes, that's"--began Jewel, and went no further.

A couple of rods from where she suddenly came to a standstill was an
object which for a moment rooted her to the spot. A small horse, black
as jet, with a white star in his forehead and a flowing, wavy mane and
tail, stood by the roadside. His coat, gleaming like satin, set off the
pure white leather of his trappings. On his back was fastened a side
saddle, and he was tethered to the rail of the light fence.

Mr. Evringham appeared not to see him. He was looking down the rocks and
grass of the steep incline.

"Is there any sort of a path?" he asked, "or do you descend it as you
would a cellar door? I think you might have told me, so I could change
these light trousers."

"Grandpa!" exclaimed Jewel in a hushed tone, pointing before her. "See
that horse--just like the coal black steed the princess rides in a fairy
story."

"Why, that's so. He is a beauty. Where do you suppose the princess is?"

"She's probably gone down the ravine," returned the child, her feet
drawn forward as if by a magnet. "Let's not go down yet."

The broker allowed himself to be led close to the pony, who turned his
full bright eyes upon the pair curiously.

"Do you think I might touch him, grandpa?" asked the child, still in the
hushed voice.

"If he's a fairy horse he might vanish," returned Mr. Evringham. "Let's
see how he stands it." So saying he gave the shining flank some sturdy
love pats. "Oh, he's all right. He's good substantial flesh and blood."

"But the lady," said Jewel, looking about, the pupils of her eyes
dilated with excitement.

"Oh, I don't think a very big lady has been riding in that saddle. You
can do as you'd be done by, I fancy."

Upon this Jewel stroked the pony over and over lovingly, and he nosed
about her in a friendly way.

"Grandpa, see him, see him! And oh grandpa, see his beautiful star,
white as a snowflake!"

"Well, upon my word, if this isn't lucky," remarked Mr. Evringham. "Here
is some sugar in my pocket, now." He passed some lumps to the child.

"Would it be right?" she asked, glancing down the ravine. "Had I better
wait till the girl comes up?"

"She won't mind, I'll wager," returned Mr. Evringham; so the child,
thus encouraged, fed the coal black steed, who, for all his poetical
appearance, had evidently a strongly developed sweet tooth.

"Hello, what's this!" exclaimed the broker, stepping to the fence and
taking up something black and folded. When he shook it out, it proved to
be a child's riding skirt.

"She's left it there," said Jewel eagerly. "We ought not to touch it.
It's very hard on clothes going down the ravine, and she's left it
there. Don't you think, grandpa, you ought to put it back?" for to her
great surprise her punctilious and particular relative was shaking the
fine skirt about recklessly and examining it.

"Here's a name," he said, bringing his prize to Jewel and showing her an
oblong bit of white cloth, much as tailors use inside dresses. "What do
you make of it?"

The child, disturbed by such daring, and dreading to see the owner of
these splendid possessions scramble up the bank, looked reluctantly.

The name was a long one, but so familiar that she recognized it at once.
"Evringham."

She lifted her eyes to her grandfather. "It's the same as ours."

"There isn't another Evringham in Bel-Air," returned the broker. "The
fairies dropped this for you, I guess, Jewel. It certainly won't fit me.
Let's try it on."

He slipped it over the head of the dazed child and hooked it around her
waist.

"'It fitted her exactly,'" murmured Jewel. "They always say so in fairy
stories.

"Look here," said her grandfather. He put his hand into the stirrup and
drew out a folded bit of paper. He handed it to the child, who began to
wonder if she was dreaming.

DEAR JEWEL (she read),--I believe you expected Divine Love to send you a
horse. I have come to belong to you, and my name is STAR.

It was astonishing what a large, round penmanship the pony possessed.
There was no possibility of mistaking a word.

Jewel read the note over twice as she stood there, the long, scant
skirt, making her look tall. Mr. Evringham stood watching her. His part
in the comedy was played. He waited.

She looked up at him with eyes that seemed trying to comprehend a fact
too large.

"Grandpa, have you given me this horse?" she asked solemnly, and he
could see her hands beginning to tremble.

"Oh, am I to get some credit for this?" returned the broker, smiling
and twisting his mustache. "I didn't expect that."

He knew her lack of motion would not last long, and was bracing himself
for the attack when, to his surprise, she pulled up the impeding skirt
and made a rush, not for him, but for the pony. Hiding her face on the
creature's satin shoulder, she flung her arm around his throat, and
seizing his rippling mane, sobbed as if her heart would break.

Mr. Evringham had not spent weeks in selecting and testing a horse for
his granddaughter without choosing one whose nervous system would be
proof against sudden assaults of affection; but this onslaught was so
energetic that the pony tossed his head and backed to the end of his
tether.

His new mistress stumbled after him, her face still hidden. She was
trying heroically to stifle the sobs that were shaking her from head to
foot.

"Jewel, Jewel, child!" ejaculated her grandfather, much dismayed. "Come,
come, what's this?"

He drew her with a strong hand, and she deserted the pony, much to the
latter's relief, and clasping Mr. Evringham as high up as she could
reach, began bedewing his vest buttons with her tears.

"Oh, gra--grandpa, I c--can't have him!" she sobbed. "There isn't any
roo--room for him in our--our fla--fla--flat!"

"Well, did you expect to keep him in the flat?" inquired Mr. Evringham,
stooping tenderly, his own eyes shining suspiciously, as he put his arms
around the little shaking form.

"N--no; but we--we haven't any bar--barn."

The broker smiled above the voluminous, quivering bows.

"Well, hasn't some good livery man in your neighborhood a stable?"

"Ye--yes." Jewel made greater efforts to stop crying. "But I--I talked
with mo--mother once about cou--could I ha--have a horse sometime before
I grew up, and she said she might buy the horse, but it would cost so
much--much money every week to board it, it would be error."

Mr. Evringham patted the heaving shoulder.

"Ah, but you don't know yet all about your horse. In some respects I've
never seen a pony like him."

"I--I never have," returned the child.

"Oh, but you'll be surprised at this. This pony has a bank account."

Jewel slowly grew quiet.

"Nobody has to pay for his board and clothes. He is very independent.
He would have it that way."

"Grandpa!" came in muffled tones from the broker's vest.

"So don't you think you'd better cheer up and look at him once more, and
tell him you won't cry on his shoulder very often?"

In a minute Jewel looked up, revealing her swollen eyes. "I'm ashamed,"
she said softly, "but he was--so--be--autiful--I forgot to remember."

"Well, I guess you did forget to remember," returned Mr. Evringham,
shaking his head and leading the child to her pony's side.

He lifted her into the saddle and arranged her skirt, brushing away the
dust.

"Grandpa!" she exclaimed softly, with a long, quivering sigh, "I'm so
happy!"

"Have you ever ridden, Jewel?"

"Oh, yes, a thousand times," she answered quickly; "but not on a real
horse," she added as an afterthought.

"H'm. That might make a difference." Mr. Evringham loosed the pony
and put the white bridle in the child's hands; then he led the pretty
creature down the woodland road.

"I'm so happy," repeated Jewel. "What will mother and father say!"

"You'll be a regular circus rider by the time they come home."

As the broker spoke these words Zeke appeared around the bend in the
road, riding Essex Maid. His face was alight with interest in the sight
that met him.

Jewel called to him radiantly. "Oh, Zeke, what do you think?"

"I think it's great," he responded. "Hello, little kid," he said, as he
came nearer and perceived the signs in the child's face. "Pony do any
harm, Mr. Evringham?" he asked with respectful concern.

"No; Jewel cried a little, but it was only because I told her she could
not sleep nights in Star's manger."

The child gave one look of astonishment at the speaker's grave
countenance, and then shouted with a laugh as spontaneous as though no
tear had ever fallen from her shining eyes.

"See Essex Maid look at my pony, grandpa!" she said joyously. "She looks
so proud and stuck up."

"Look away, my lady," said the broker. "You'll see a great deal more of
this young spring before you see less."

Zeke dismounted.

"Now then," Mr. Evringham looked up at the child. "I'm going to let go
your bridle."

"I want you to," she answered gayly.

Mr. Evringham mounted his horse. "We'll take a sedate walk through the
woods," he said. "Zeke, you might lead her a little way."

"No, no, please," begged the child. "I know how to ride. I do."

"Well, let her go then," smiled the broker, and Essex Maid trotted
slowly, noting with haughty bright eyes the little black companion,
who might have stepped out of a picture book, but whose easy canter was
tossing Jewel at every step.

"I haven't--any--whip!" The words were bounced out of the child's lips,
and Mr. Evringham's laugh resounded along the avenue.

"I believe she'd use it," he said to Zeke, who was running along beside
the black pony.

"I guess she would, sir," grinned the young fellow responsively.

It was not many days before Jewel had learned to stay in the saddle. She
had an efficient teacher who worked with her con amore, and the sight
of the erect, gray-haired man on his famous mare, always accompanied
by the rosy little girl on a black pony, came to be a familiar sight in
Bel-Air, and one which people always turned to follow with their eyes.

Eloise had her talk with Mr. Evringham one evening when Jewel was
excluded from the library, and she emerged from the interview with a
more contented heart than she had known for a year.

She endeavored to convey the situation to her mother in detail, but when
that lady had learned that there were no happy surprises, she declined
to listen.

"Tastes differ, Eloise," she said. "I am one who believes that where
ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise." Mrs. Evringham had regained a
quite light-hearted appearance in the interest of expending a portion of
her windfall on her own and Eloise's summer wardrobe.

"Well, you shan't be bothered then," returned her daughter. "You have me
to take care of our money matters."

"I prefer to let father do it," returned Mrs. Evringham decidedly. "He
is a changed being of late, and we are as well situated as we could hope
to be. I don't feel quite satisfied with the lining of the brougham, but
some day I mean to speak of it."

Eloise threw up both hands, but she laughed. She and her grandfather had
an excellent understanding, and she knew that the mills of the gods were
about to grind.

One evening the broker called his daughter-in-law into the library.

"I hope it isn't on business," she remarked flippantly as she entered.
"I tell you right at the start, father, I can't understand it." Her eyes
wandered about the room curiously. It was strange to her. She took up a
woman's picture from the desk. "Who is this?" she asked.

"How do you like the face?" he returned.

The dark eyes and sweet mouth looked back at her. She frowned slightly.
She did not like the situation in which she had found the photograph. It
was far too intimate for a stranger, and made her a little nervous.

"If he is going to marry again, then good-by indeed!" she thought.

"I think it is rather sentimental," she returned, with an air of
engaging candor, "don't you? Just my first impression, you know; but
it's a face I shouldn't trust. Who is it?"

"It is Jewel's mother," returned the broker quietly, "my daughter Julia.
Jewel brought it down last night, also a lot of little letters her
mother had put in the pockets of the child's dresses when she packed
them."

"Ah!" exclaimed Mrs. Evringham triumphantly. "Didn't I say she was
sentimental? About that sort of thing my perceptions are always so
keen."

"H'm. I read the letters, and I judged from them that one can trust her.
Will you be seated?" He placed a chair. "I should like to ask your plans
for the summer."

Mrs. Evringham looked up quickly, startled. "Oh, I haven't any. Have
you?"

"Yes. I always seek some cool spot. You have an invitation to View
Point, I understand. You could scarcely do better."

"I have reasons, father," impressively, "reasons for declining that."

"Then where are you going?"

"I would just as lief stay here and take care of your house as not,"
declared the lady magnanimously.

"Ha! Without any servants?"

"Why, what do you mean?"

"They are going away for a vacation. I am intending to have the house
wired, and Mrs. Forbes and Zeke will hold sway in the barn. She doesn't
wish to leave him."

Mrs. Evringham was silenced and dismayed. She felt herself being firmly
and inexorably pushed out of this well-lined nest.

Her eyes fell before the impenetrable ones regarding her.

"How did Jewel ever win him?" she thought. The picturesque pony, with
his arched neck and expensive trappings, had outraged her feelings for
days.

"About the View Point plan," continued Mr. Evringham deliberately.
"I think there are influences waiting for you there that will be of
benefit. There is a new philosophy percolating in these days through our
worldly rubbish which you and I would be the better for grasping. Your
chances are better than mine, for you are young still. Your daughter is
expanding like a flower already, in the first rays of her understanding
of it. This young man whom you fancy you can avoid is a help to her. Mr.
Reeves was talking to me about him last night. He says that so far as
his business is concerned, young Bonnell is proving the square peg in
the square hole. I don't know what Eloise's sentiments are toward him,
but I do know that she shall be independent of any one's financial help
but mine."

Mrs. Evringham lifted her eyes hopefully.

"I shall eke out the little income which is left to you with sufficient
for you to live--not as you have done--but comfortably."

The eager light faded from his listener's eyes.

"Eloise and I have arranged that," he continued, "and she is satisfied.
Take my advice, Madge. Go to View Point."

"I suppose Eloise doesn't need horses so long as Jewel has them," said
Mrs. Evringham rising.

Her host followed her example. "She thinks not," he returned concisely;
then he opened the library door, and his daughter-in-law swept from his
presence with all the dignity she could muster.





Next: At Twilight

Previous: On Wednesday Evening



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