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Bon Voyage







From: Jewel

At the dock next morning the scene was one of the usual confusion. The
sailing time was drawing near and Mr. Evringham had not appeared.

Harry, with his little girl's hand in his, stood at the foot of the gang
plank, peering at every newcomer and growing more anxious every moment.
Jewel occupied herself in throwing kisses to her mother, who stood at
the rail far above, never taking her eyes from the little figure in the
blue sailor suit.

The child noted her father's set lips and the concentrated expression of
his eyes.

"If grandpa doesn't come what shall I do?" she asked without anxiety.

"You'll go to England," was the prompt response.

"Without my trunk!" returned the child in protest.

Her father looked again at the watch he held in his hand. The order to
go ashore was sending all visitors down the gang plank. "By George, I
guess you're going, too," he muttered between his teeth, when suddenly
his father's tall form came striding through the crowd. Mr. Evringham
was carrying a long pasteboard box, and seemed breathless.

"Horse fell down. Devil of a time! Roses for your wife."

Harry grasped the box, touched his father's hand, kissed the child, and
strode up the plank amid the frowns of officials.

Jewel's eager eyes followed him, then, as he disappeared, lifted again
to her mother, who smiled and waved her hand to Mr. Evringham. The
latter raised his hat and took the occasion to wipe his heated brow.
He was irritated through and through. The morning had been a chapter of
accidents. Even the roses, which he had ordered the night before, had
proved to be the wrong sort.

The suspense of the last fifteen minutes had been a distressing wrong
to put upon any man. He had now before him the prospect of caring for a
strange child, of taking her out of town at an hour when he should have
been coming into it. She would probably cry. Very well; if she did he
determined on the instant to ride out to Bel-Air in the smoking car,
although he detested its odors and uncleanness. The whole situation was
enormous. What a fool he had been, and what an intelligent woman was
Mrs. Forbes! She had seen from the first the inappropriateness, the
impossibility, of the whole proposition. His attention was attracted to
the fact that the small figure at his side was hopping up and down with
excitement.

"There's father, there's father!" she cried, as Harry joined his wife
at the rail and they lifted the wealth of roses from the box and waved
them.

"We've wronged him, Harry!" exclaimed Julia, trying to see the little
face below through her misty eyes. "How I love him for bringing me these
sweet things! It gives me such a different feeling about him."

"Oh, father would as soon forget his breakfast as roses for a woman he
was seeing off," returned Harry without enthusiasm, while he waved his
hat energetically.

The steamer pulled out. The faces in the crowd mingled and changed
places.

"I've lost them, I've lost them!" cried Julia. "Oh, where are they,
Harry."

"Over there near the corner. I can see father. It's all right, dear,"
choking a little. "Jewel was skipping and laughing a minute ago. It will
only be a few weeks, but confound it," violently, "next time we'll take
her!"

Julia buried her face in the roses, on which twinkled a sudden dew, and
tried to gather promise from their sweet breath.

Jewel strained her eyes to follow the now indistinguishable forms on the
lofty deck, and her grandfather looked down at the small figure in the
sailor suit, the short thick pigtails of flaxen hair tied with large
bows of ribbon, and the doll clasped in one arm. At last the child
turned her head and looked up, and their eyes met for the first time.

"Jove, she does look like Harry!" muttered Mr. Evringham, and even as he
spoke the plain little face was illumined with the smile he knew, that
surpassingly sweet smile which promised so much and performed nothing.

The child studied him with open, innocent curiosity.

"I can't believe it's you," she said at last, in a voice light and
winning, a voice as sweet as the smile.

"I don't wonder. I don't quite know myself this morning," he replied
brusquely.

"We have a picture of you, but it's a long-ago one, and I thought
by this time you would be old, and--and bent over, you know, the way
grandpas are."

Even in that place of drays and at eight o'clock A.M. these words fell
not disagreeably upon irritated ears.

"I think myself Nature did not intend me to be a grandpa," he replied.

"Oh, yes, you're just the right kind," returned the child hastily and
confidently. "Strong and--and handsome."

Mr. Evringham looked at her in amazement. "The little rascal!" he
thought. "Has she been coached?"

"I suppose we may get away from here now," he said aloud. "There's
nothing more to wait for."

"Didn't the roses make mother happy?" asked the little girl, trotting
along beside his long strides. "I think it was wonderful for you to
bring them so early in the morning."

Mr. Evringham summoned a cab.

"Oh, are we gong in a carriage?" cried Jewel, highly pleased. "But I
mustn't forget, grandpa, there's something father told me I must give
you the first thing. Will you take Anna Belle a minute, please?" and Mr.
Evringham found himself holding the doll fiercely by one leg while small
hands worked at the catch of a very new little leather side-bag.

At last Jewel produced a brass square.

"Oh, your trunk check." Mr. Evringham exchanged the doll for it with
alacrity. "Get in." He held open the cab door.

Jewel obeyed, but not without some misgivings when her guardian so
coolly pocketed the check.

"Yes, it's for my trunk," she replied when her grandfather was beside
her and they began rattling over the stones. "I have a checked silk
dress," she added softly, after a pause. It were well to let him know
the value of her baggage.

"Have you indeed? How old are you, Julia? Your name is Julia, I
believe?"

"Yes, sir, my name's Julia, but so is mother's, and they call me
Jewel. I'm nearly nine, grandpa."

"H'm. Time flies," was the brief response.

Jewel looked out of the cab window in the noisy silence that followed.
At last her voice was raised to sound through the clatter. "I suppose my
trunk is somewhere else," she said suggestively.

"Yes, your trunk will reach home all right, plaid silk and all."

Jewel smiled, and lifting the doll she let her look out the window upon
the uninviting prospect. "Anna Belle's clothes are in the trunk, too,"
she added, turning and speaking confidentially.

"Whose?" asked Mr. Evringham, startled. "There's no one else coming, I
suppose?"

"Why, this is Anna Belle," returned the child, laughing and lifting the
bisque beauty so that the full radiance of her smile beamed upon her
companion. "That's your great-grandfather, dearie, that I've told you
about," she said patronizingly. "We've been so excited the last few
days since we knew we were coming," looking again at Mr. Evringham.
"I've told Anna Belle all about beautiful Bel-Air Park, and the big
house, and the big trees, and the ravine, and the brook. Isn't it nice,"
joyfully, "that it doesn't rain to-day, and we shall see it in the
sunshine?"

"Rain would have made it more disagreeable certainly," returned Mr.
Evringham, congratulating himself that he was escaping that further rain
of tears which he had dreaded. "It is a good day for your father and
mother to set out on their trip," he added.

"Yes, and they're only to be gone six little weeks," returned Jewel,
smoothing her doll's boa; "and I'm to have this lovely visit, and I'm to
write them very often, and they'll write to me, and we shall all be so
happy!" Jewel trotted Anna Belle on her short-skirted knee and hummed a
tune, which was lost in the rattle of wheels.

"You can read and write, eh?"

"Oh ye--es!" replied the child with amused scorn. "How would I get
my lessons if I couldn't read? Of course--big words," she added
conscientiously.

"Precisely," agreed Mr. Evringham dryly. "Big words, I dare say."

A sudden thought occurring to his companion, she looked up again.

"You pretty nearly didn't come," she said, "and just think, if you
hadn't I was going to England. Father said so."

At the sweet inflections of the child's voice Mr. Evringham's brows
contracted with remembrance of his wrongs. "I should have come. Your
father might have known that!"

"I suppose he wouldn't have liked to leave me sitting on the dock alone,
but I should have known you'd come. The funny part is I shouldn't have
known you." Jewel laughed. "I should have kept looking for an old
man with white hair and a cane like Grandpa Morris. He's a grandpa in
Chicago that I know. He's just as kind as he can be, but he has the
queerest back. He goes to our church, but says he came in at the
eleventh hour. I think he used to have rheumatism. And while I was
sitting there you could have walked right by me."

"Humph!"

"But then you'd have known me," went on Jewel, straightening Anna
Belle's hat, "so it would have been all right. You'd have known there
would be only one little girl waiting there, and you would have said,
'Oh, here you are, Jewel. I've come. I'm your grandpa.'" The child
unconsciously mimicked the short, brusque speech.

Mr. Evringham regarded her rather darkly. "Eh? I hope you're not
impudent?"

"What's that?" asked Jewel doubtfully.

Her companion's brow grew darker.

"Impudent I say."

"And what is impudent?"

"Don't you know?" suspiciously.

"No, sir," replied the child, some anxiety clouding her bright look. "Is
it error?"

Mr. Evringham regarded her rather blankly. "It's something you mustn't
be," he replied at last.

Jewel's face cleared. "Oh no, I won't then," she replied earnestly. "You
tell me when I'm--it, because I want to make you happy."

Mr. Evringham cleared his throat. He felt somewhat embarrassed and was
glad they had reached the ferry.

"We're going on a boat, aren't we?" she asked when they had passed
through the gate.

"Yes, and we can make this boat if we hurry." Mr. Evringham suddenly
felt a little hand slide into his. Jewel was skipping along beside him
to keep up with his long strides, and he glanced down at the bobbing
flaxen head with its large ribbon bows, while the impulse to withdraw
his hand was thwarted by the closer clinging of the small fingers.

"Father told me about the ferry," said Jewel with satisfaction, "and
you'll show me the statue of Liberty won't you, grandpa? Isn't it a
splendid boat? Oh, can we go out close to the water?"

Mr. Evringham sighed heavily. He did not wish to go out close to the
water. He wished to sit down in comfort in the cabin and read the paper
which he had just taken from a newsboy. It seemed to him a very long
time since he had done anything he wished to; but a little hand was
pulling eagerly at his, and mechanically he followed out to where the
brisk spring wind ruffled the river and assaulted his hat. He jerked his
hand from Jewel's to hold it in place.

"Isn't this beautiful!" cried the child joyfully, as the boat steamed
on. "Can you do this every day, grandpa?"

"What? Oh yes, yes."

Something in the tone caused the little girl to look up from her view of
the wide water spaces to the grim face above.

"Is there something that makes you sorry, grandpa?" she asked softly.

His eyes were fixed on a ferry boat, black with its human freight, about
to pass them on its way to the city.

"I was wishing I were on that boat. That's all."

The little girl lifted her shoulders. "I don't believe there's room,"
she said, looking smilingly for a response from her companion. "I don't
believe even Anna Belle could squeeze on. Do you think so?"

Mr. Evringham, holding his hat with one hand, was endeavoring to fetter
the lively corners of his newspaper in such shape that he could at least
get a glimpse of headlines.

"Oh, I see a statue. Is that it, grandpa? Is that it?"

"What?" vaguely. "Oh yes. The statue of Liberty. Yes, that's it. As
if there was any liberty for anybody!" muttered Mr. Evringham into his
mustache.

"It isn't so very big," objected Jewel.

"We're not so very near it."

"Just think," gayly, "father and mother are sailing away just the way we
are."

"H'm," returned Mr. Evringham, trying to read the report of the stock
market, and becoming more impatient each instant with the sportive
breeze.

"Julia," he said at last, "I am going into the cabin to read the paper.
Will you go in, or do you wish to stay here?"

"May I stay here?"

"Yes," doubtfully, "I suppose so, if you won't climb on the rail, or--or
anything."

Jewel laughed in gleeful appreciation of the joke. Her grandfather met
her blue eyes unsmilingly and vanished.

"I wish grandpa didn't look so sorry," she thought regretfully. "He is
a very important man, grandpa is, and perhaps he has a lot of error to
meet and doesn't know how to meet it."

Watching the dancing waves and constantly calling Anna Belle's attention
to some point of interest on the water front or a passing craft,
she nevertheless pursued a train of thought concerning her important
relative, with the result that when the gong sounded for landing, and
Mr. Evringham's impassive countenance reappeared, she met him with
concern.

"Doesn't it make you sorry to read the morning paper, grandpa?"

"Sometimes. Depends on the record of the Exchange." There was somewhat
less of the irritation of a newsless man in the morning in the speaker's
tone.

"Mother calls the paper the Daily Saddener," pursued Jewel, again
slipping her hand into her grandfather's as a matter of course as they
moved slowly off the boat. "I've been thinking that perhaps you're in a
hurry to get to business, grandpa."

The child did not quote his words about the ingoing ferry boat lest he
should feel regret at having spoken them.

"Well, there's no use in my being in a hurry this morning," he returned.

"I was going to ask, couldn't you show me how to go to Bel-Air, so you
wouldn't have to take so much time?"

A gleam of hope came into Mr. Evringham's cold eyes and he looked down
on his companion doubtfully.

"We have to go out on the train," he said.

"Yes," returned the child, "but you could put me on it, and every time
it stops I would ask somebody if that was Bel-Air."

The prospect this offered was very pleasing to the broker.

"You wouldn't be afraid, eh?"

"Be what?" asked Jewel, looking up at him with a certain reproachful
surprise.

"You wouldn't, eh?"

"Why, grandpa!"

"Well, I believe it would do well enough, since you don't mind. Zeke is
going to meet this train. I'll tell the conductor to see that you get
off at Bel-Air, and when you do, ask for Mr. Evringham's coachman.
You'll see Zeke, a light-haired man driving a brown horse in a brougham.
He'll take you home to his mother, Mrs. Forbes. She is my housekeeper.
Now, do you think you'll understand?"

"It sounds very easy," returned Jewel.

Mr. Evringham's long legs and her short skipping ones lost no time in
boarding the train, which they found made up. The relieved man saw the
conductor, paid the child's fare, and settled her on the plush seat.

She sat there, contentedly swinging her feet.

"Now I can just catch a boat if I leave you immediately," said Mr.
Evringham consulting his watch. "You've only a little more than five
minutes to wait before the train starts."

"Then hurry, grandpa, I'm all right."

"Very well. Your fare is paid, and the conductor understands. You might
ask somebody, though. Bel-Air, you know. Good-by."

Hastily he strode down the aisle and left the train. Having to pass the
window beside which Jewel sat, he glanced up with a half uneasy memory
of how far short of the floor her feet had swung.

She was watching for him. On her lips was the sweet gay smile and--yes,
there was no mistake--Anna Belle's countenance was beaming through the
glass, and she was wafting kisses to Mr. Evringham from a stiff and
chubby hand. The stockbroker grew warm, cleared his throat, lifted his
hat, and hurried his pace.





Next: Jewel's Arrival

Previous: Father And Son



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