In The Library
As Mr. Evringham turned from the closed door he met his daughter-in-law
coming out into the hall.
"I've been watching for Dr. Ballard," she said with annoyance. "I don't
see why I didn't hear him come down." At this juncture she paused,
surprised to observe that her father-in-law was laughing. She attributed
this unusual ebullition to ridicule of herself.
"I only wanted to ask if Julia's illness is infectious," she went on
with dignity. "Eloise and I are naturally very anxious. We should like
to do anything for her we can, if it is quite safe."
"Madam, don't, I pray, for all our sakes, run any risk," returned Mr.
Evringham, his lips still twitching as he bowed mockingly.
"It would be very foolish," answered Mrs. Evringham, unabashed. "You
wouldn't care to have more invalids on your hands. It has been all I
could do to keep Eloise away from the sick room to-day."
"Is it possible!" commented Mr. Evringham, smoothing his mustache.
"Not only possible but true, and I wished to go to headquarters and find
out the exact state of the case."
Again the broker's shoulders began to shake.
"Ballard isn't headquarters," he replied.
Mrs. Evringham regarded him, startled. She wondered if affairs were
perhaps very serious, and her father-in-law's nerves overstrained.
She knew that he had dispensed with the afternoon ride which was so
important to him.
She grew a shade paler. "I wish you would tell me, father, just what the
doctor said," she begged.
Mr. Evringham raised a protesting hand. "I couldn't think of it," he
laughed. "It would give me apoplexy."
His daughter-in-law began to retreat, and the broker passed her and went
into his study, still laughing.
Mrs. Evringham stood with lips parted, looking after him. Her heart beat
fast. The doctor had called twice. He had come down the stairs in dead
silence just now. She knew it, for she had been listening and waiting
to intercept him. She had meant to say a number of pretty things to him
concerning Eloise's anxiety about her little cousin. Her own anxiety
redoubled, and she hurried to her daughter's room and narrated her
"I really think we may have to go, Eloise," she finished nervously.
"Even if it isn't infectious, it is so dreadfully dispiriting to be in a
house where there is a dangerous illness, and possibly worse. I've been
thinking perhaps we might go in town and take lodgings for a while. No
one need know it. We could even stay there through the summer. None of
our friends would be in town; then in autumn we could come back here."
Eloise's lip curled. "I doubt that," she returned. "Grandfather will
be forearmed. I prophesy, mother, that you will never get our trunks up
here again after you once take them out."
"Really, Eloise, you do put things most repulsively," returned Mrs.
Evringham with vexation. "Besides, how do we know what the future is
going to bring forth? Father behaves to me as if he might be on the
verge of brain fever himself."
"Poor little Jewel!" exclaimed the girl. "I hope she will pull through,
but if she is the cause of our leaving here, I shall always love her
"I don't know whether father will even come to dinner," said Mrs.
Evringham, pursuing her own thoughts, "but I suppose we shall see Mrs.
Forbes. I do hope she has some sense about using disinfectants. It's
outrageous for her to come near the dining-room when she is taking care
of that child. Of course they'll have a nurse at once. Forbes doesn't
like going out of her beaten track."
"I can't forget that poor little voice rambling on so monotonously this
afternoon," said Eloise. "I strained my ears to listen, but I could
make out only that she said something about 'love' and then about
'righteousness.' What a word for that little mouth."
"I've seen smaller," remarked Mrs. Evringham.
When finally they entered the dining-room punctually at the appointed
hour,--even Mrs. Evringham dared take no liberties with that,--the host
was there and greeted them as usual. Mrs. Forbes came in and took her
position near him. Her employer gave her a side glance. His fears for
Jewel allayed, his regard for his housekeeper's opinions had returned in
He wished to ask for the little girl, to ask what she was doing now, and
what she would like sent up for dinner, but he had not the courage. The
aghast countenance which Mrs. Forbes had exhibited at the moment when
the enormity of Jewel's conduct transpired remained in his memory. The
housekeeper's appearance at present was noncommittal. Mrs. Evringham
sent her piercing and questioning glances in vain.
The silence in the usually silent room had not had time to become
noticeable when the portiere was pushed aside and Jewel, arrayed in
the dotted dress and carefully bearing the tall vase of nodding roses,
entered the room.
Mrs. Evringham uttered a little cry and dropped her spoon. Eloise stared
wild-eyed. The housekeeper flushed.
"Good evening," said the child, glancing about as she approached, and
sighing with relief as she set the heavy vase on the edge of the table.
"I had to come down so carefully not to spill, grandpa, that it made
me a little late. Mrs. Forbes said you brought me the roses under
false--false pretends, so I thought perhaps you would like them on the
The housekeeper, hurrying forward, seized the vase from its precarious
position and placed it in the centre of the board. "I didn't tell you
you might come downstairs," she said, as she buttoned the middle button
of Jewel's dress.
The little girl looked up in innocent surprise. "You said I might dress
me, so why should anybody have to bring up my dinner?" she asked.
Mrs. Forbes's countenance looked so lowering that Mr. Evringham hastened
to speak in his brusque and final fashion. "She is here now. Might as
well let her stay."
Jewel jumped into her chair and turned toward him with an apologetic
smile. "I couldn't make my hair look very nice," she said, with the
lift of her shoulders which he had come to connect with her confidential
moments. Remembering the feverish child of the morning, he looked at her
in silent wonder. The appearance of her flaxen head he could see was
in contrast to the trim and well-cared-for look it had worn when she
"Poor little thing!" he thought. "She looks motherless--motherless."
Involuntarily he cast a glance of impatience at his other guests. The
expression of blank amazement on their faces stirred him to amusement.
"If you are afraid of infection, Madge, don't hesitate to retire to your
room," he said. "Your dinner will be sent to you."
"What does this mean!" ejaculated Mrs. Evringham. "Why is Dr. Ballard
coming twice a day to see that child?"
"To cure her, of course," returned the broker, his lips breaking into
smiles. "Why do doctors generally visit patients?"
"Then when he came the second time he found her well?"
"Ha, ha," laughed Mr. Evringham, "yes, that's it. He found her well."
Eloise and her mother gazed at him in astonishment. Mrs. Forbes's
face was immovable. A sense of humor was not included in her mental
equipment, and she considered the whole affair lamentable and unseemly
in the extreme.
"Grandpa," said Jewel, looking at him with gentle reproach, "you're not
laughing at Dr. Ballard, are you? He's the kindest man. I love him,
next to you, best of anybody in Bel-Air"--then thinking this declaration
might hurt her aunt and cousin, she added, "because I know him the best,
you know. He tried to deceive me about the medicine, but it was only
because he didn't know that there isn't any righteous deceiving. He
meant to do me good."
Mrs. Evringham looked curiously from the child to her father-in-law. As
she herself said later, she had never felt so "out of it" in her life.
As the subject concerned Dr. Ballard, she wished to understand clearly
what circumstance could possibly have induced Mr. Evringham to laugh
"I was passing your door this afternoon," said Eloise, addressing Jewel,
"and I heard you talking. I knew there was no one with you, and I feared
you were very ill."
The little girl was always pleased when her beautiful cousin looked at
"I guess I was reading. Of course I was in a hurry to get well, so as
soon as the fever was gone and I felt comfortable, I began to read
out loud from 'Science and Health' to Anna Belle. She's a Christian
The faces of Mrs. Evringham and Eloise were studies as they gazed at the
Mr. Evringham glanced at them maliciously under his heavy brows as Sarah
brought in the second course.
"Is Anna Belle your doll?" asked Eloise, for the moment sufficiently
interested almost to lose her self-consciousness.
"Yes," eagerly. "Would you like to see her?" Jewel gave a fleeting
glance at Mrs. Forbes. "She always comes to the table with me at home,"
"Sit still," murmured Mrs. Forbes in low, sepulchral warning.
"Now then, Jewel," said Mr. Evringham as he began to serve the filet,
"you didn't take the doctor's medicine. What do you think made that high
fever go away?"
The little girl looked up brightly. "Oh, I telegraphed to Mrs. Lewis,
one of mother's friends in Chicago, to treat me."
"The dev--What do you mean, child?"
Mr. Evringham gazed at her, and his tone was so fierce, although he was
only very much amazed, that Jewel's smile faded. The corners of her
lips drew down pitifully, and suddenly she slipped from her chair, and
running to him threw her arms around his neck and buried her averted
face, revealing two forlorn little flaxen pigtails devoid of ribbons.
"What's this, Jewel?" he said quickly, fearfully embarrassed before his
wondering audience. "This is very irregular, very irregular." He dropped
his fork perforce, and his hand closed over the little arm across his
Jewel was trying to control a sob that struggled to escape, and saying
over and over, as nearly as he could understand, something about God
"Go right back to your chair now, like a good girl."
"Do you--love me?" whispered Jewel.
"Yes--yes, I do."
"You spoke like"--a sob--"like hating."
"Not at all, not at all," rejoined Mr. Evringham quickly, "but I was
very much surprised, very."
"Shall I take her upstairs, sir?" asked Mrs. Forbes, nearly bursting
with the outrage of such an interruption to her employer's sacred
"No, she's going to sit right down in her chair and not make any
trouble. Don't you like those roses I brought you, Jewel?" he added
awkwardly, hoping to make a diversion. He was successful. She lowered
her face, a fleeting April smile flitting over it.
"Did grandfather bring you those lovely roses?" asked Eloise.
Mr. Evringham flashed her his first glance of approval for so quickly
taking the cue.
"Yes," replied the child, her breath catching as she went back to her
chair. "I seemed so sick when he went away this morning was the reason;
so now I'm well again--they belong to everybody, don't they, grandpa?"
Mr. Evringham paused to consider a reply. He desired to be careful in
public not to draw upon himself that small catapult.
"They belong to you still, Jewel. I never take back my presents," he
returned at last.
"And I think Mrs. Forbes was mistaken about the false pretends," said
the child, swallowing and looking apologetically at the housekeeper,
"because who would pretend such error as sickness, and of course you'd
know I didn't pretend."
"Certainly not," said Mr. Evringham. "Mrs. Forbes didn't mean that. The
whole thing seems like a dream now," he added.
"What else could it seem like?" returned Jewel, smiling faintly toward
her grandfather with an air of having caught him napping.
"Like reality," he returned dryly.
She gazed at him, her smile fading.
He looked up apprehensively and cringed a little, not at all sure that
the next instant would not find the rose-leaf cheek next his, and a
close whisper driving cold chills down his back; but the child only
paused a moment.
"Reality is so much different from sin, disease, and death," she said at
last, in a matter-of-fact manner. It was too much for Mrs. Evringham's
risibles. She laughed in spite of her daughter's reproachful glance.
"How wonderful if true!" she exclaimed.
"It is true," returned Jewel soberly. "Even Anna Belle knows that; but
I'm sure that you haven't learned anything about Christian Science, aunt
Madge," she added politely.
"What makes you so sure?" returned Mrs. Evringham banteringly.
Jewel flushed with embarrassment and glanced at her grandfather
involuntarily, but he was busy eating and evidently would not help her.
"I'd rather not say," replied the child at last, and her rejoinder
incited her aunt to further merriment.
"Aunt Madge doesn't laugh in a nice way," thought Jewel. "It's even
pleasanter when she looks sorry."
"What is real then, Jewel?" asked Eloise gravely.
The child flashed upon her a sweet look.
"Everything good and glad," she answered.
Something rose in the girl's throat, and she pressed her lips together
for an instant.
"You are happy to believe that," she returned.
"Oh, I don't believe it," replied Jewel. "It's one of the things I
know. Mother says we only believe things when we aren't sure about
them. Mother knows such a lot of beautiful truth."
The child looked at her cousin wistfully as she spoke. Eloise could
scarcely retain her proud and nonchalant bearing beneath the blue eyes.
They seemed to see through to her wretchedness.
She did not look at Jewel again during dinner. At the close Mr.
Evringham pushed his chair back.
"I should like you to come with me into my study, Jewel, for a few
The child's face brightened, and she left the table with alacrity. Mr.
Evringham stood back to allow his guests to pass out. They went on to
the drawing-room, where Mrs. Evringham's self-restraint was loosed.
"The plot thickens, Eloise!" she said.
"And we are not going away," returned the girl.
"Decidedly not," declared her mother with emphasis.
"There is no hope of our catching anything that Jewel has now," went on
Her mother glanced at her suspiciously. "What, for instance?"
"Oh," returned the girl, shrugging her shoulder, "faith, hope, and
Mrs. Evringham laughed. "Indeed! Is the wind in that quarter? Then with
the Christian Science microbe in the house, there's no telling what may
happen to you. Something more serious than a fever, perhaps." She nodded
knowingly. "This sudden recovery looks very queer to me. I'd keep the
child in bed if I were in authority. Some diseases are so treacherous.
There's walking typhoid fever, for instance. She may have it for all we
know. I shall have a very serious talk with Dr. Ballard when he comes."
An ironical smile flitted over the girl's lips as she drifted toward the
piano. "I judge from the remarks at the table, that the less you say to
Dr. Ballard on the subject of to-day's experiences the better."
"I know it," indignantly. "I'm sure that child must have played some
practical joke on him. I want to get to the bottom of it. What a strange
little monkey she is! How long will father stand it? What did you think,
Eloise, when she swooped upon him so suddenly?"
"I thought of just one sentence," returned the girl. "'Perfect love
casteth out fear.'"
"Why in the world should she love him?" protested Mrs. Evringham.
"She would love us all if we would let her," returned Eloise, the
phrases of "Vogel als Prophete" beginning to ripple softly from beneath
her fingers. "I saw it from the first. I felt it that first evening,
when we behaved toward her like a couple of boors. Any one can see she
has never been snubbed, never neglected. She got out of the lap of love
to come to this icebox. No wonder the change of temperature made her
"Why, Eloise, what has come over you? You never used to be disagreeable.
It's a good thing the child is amiable. It's the only thing left for a
plain girl to be."
"No one will ever remember that she is plain," remarked Eloise.
Her mother raised her eyebrows doubtingly. "Perhaps your perceptions are
so keen that you can explain how Jewel managed to telegraph to Chicago
to-day," she said. "It reminded me of Dooley's comments on Christian
Science. Do you remember what he said about 'rejucin' a swellin' over a
long distance tillyphone'?"
"I can't imagine how she managed it," admitted Eloise.
Neither could Mr. Evringham. He had taken Jewel into his study now
with the intention of finding out, deeming a secluded apartment more
desirable for catechism which might lay him liable to personal attack.
As they entered the library he turned on the light, and Jewel glanced
about with her usual alert and ready admiration.
"Is this your own, own particular room, grandpa?" she asked.
"Yes, where I keep all my books and papers."
The child's eye suddenly lighted on the yellow chicken, and she looked
up at Mr. Evringham with a pleased smile. He had forgotten the chicken,
and took the seat before his desk, glancing vaguely about to see which
chair would be least heavy and ponderous for his guest. She settled
the matter without any hesitation by jumping upon his knee. Jewel had a
subject on her mind which pressed heavily, and before her companion
had had time to do more than wink once or twice in his surprise, she
proceeded to it.
"Do you know, grandpa, I think it's hard for Mrs. Forbes to love people
very much," she said in a lowered voice, as if perhaps the walls might
have ears. "I wanted to ask her yesterday morning if she didn't love me
whom she had seen, how could she love God whom she hadn't seen. Grandpa,
would you be willing to tie my bows?"
"To tie"--repeated Mr. Evringham, and paused.
The child was gazing into his eyes earnestly. She put her hand into her
pocket and took out two long pieces of blue ribbon.
"You see, you're my only real relation," she explained, "and so I don't
like to ask anybody else."
The startled look in her grandfather's face moved her to proceed
"You tie your neckties just beautifully, grandpa; and Mrs. Forbes does
her duty so hard, and she wants to have my hair cut off, to save
trouble." Jewel put her hand up to one short pigtail protectingly.
"And you don't want it cut off, eh?"
"No; and mother wouldn't either. So it would be error, and I'm sure I
could learn to fix it better than I did to-night, if you would tie the
bows. Just try one right now, grandpa."
"With the house full of women!" gasped Mr. Evringham.
"But none of them my real relatives," replied Jewel, and she turned the
back of her head to him, putting the ribbons in his hands.
His fingers fumbled at the task for a minute, and his breathing began to
"Is it hard, grandpa?" she asked sympathetically. "You can do it.
You reflect intelligence." Then in an instant, "Oh, I've thought of
something." She whisked about, took the ribbons and tied one tightly
around the end of each braid, then ducking her forehead into his shirt
front, "Now put your arms around my neck and tie the bow just as if it
was on yourself." Eureka! The thing was accomplished and Mrs. Forbes
outwitted. The broker was rather pleased with himself, at the billowy
appearance of the ribbon which covered such a multitude of sins in the
way of bad parting and braiding. He took his handkerchief and wiped
the beads of perspiration from his brow, while Jewel regarded him with
"I knew you could do just anything, grandpa!" she said. "You see,"
looking off at a mental vision of the housekeeper, "we could come in
here every morning for a minute before breakfast, and she'd never know,
would she?" The child lifted her shoulders and laughed softly with
pleasure at the plot.
Mr. Evringham saw his opportunity to take the floor.
"Now Jewel, I would like to have you explain what you meant by saying
that you telegraphed to Chicago to-day, when you didn't leave your bed."
She looked up at him attentively. "Ezekiel took it for me," she replied.
Mr. Evringham unconsciously heaved a sigh of relief at this commonplace
information. His knowledge of the claims of Christian Science was
extremely vague, and he had feared being obliged to listen to a
declaration of the use of some means of communication which would make
Marconi's discoveries appear like clumsy makeshifts.
"But I think, grandpa, perhaps you'd better not tell Mrs. Forbes."
"How did you manage to see Zeke?"
"I asked his mother if he might come to see me before he took you to the
Mr. Evringham pulled his mustache in amusement. "Did he pay for the
"Why no, grandpa. I told you I had plenty of money."
"And you think that Mrs. Somebody in Chicago cured you?"
"Of course not. God did."
"But she asked Him, eh?"
Jewel's innocent eyes looked directly into the quizzical ones. "It's
pretty hard for a little girl to teach you about it if you don't know,"
she said doubtfully.
"I don't know," he replied, his mood altered by her tone, "but I
should like to know what you think about it. Your cure was a rather
surprising one to us all."
"I can tell you some of the things I know."
"Do so then."
"Well"--a pause--"there wasn't anything to cure, you see."
"Ah! You weren't ill then!"
"No--o," scornfully, "of course not. I knew it all the time, but it
seemed so real to me, and so hot, I knew I'd have to have some one else
handle the claim for me."
"It certainly did seem rather real." Mr. Evringham smiled.
Jewel saw that he did not in the least comprehend.
"You know there isn't any devil, don't you, grandpa?" she asked
"Well, sometimes I have my doubts."
The little girl tried to discover by his eyes if he were in earnest.
"If you believe there is, then you could believe that I was really
sick; but if you believe there isn't, and that God created everybody and
everything, then it is so easy to understand that I wasn't. Think of God
creating anything bad!"
Mr. Evringham nodded vaguely. "When mother comes home she'll tell you
about it, if you want her to." She sighed a little and abruptly changed
the subject. "Grandpa, are you going to be working at your desk?"
"Yes, for a while."
"Could I sit over at that table and write a letter while you're busy? I
wouldn't speak." She slipped down from his knee.
"I don't know about your having ink. You're a rather small girl to be
"Oh no, I'll take a pencil--because sometimes I move quickly and ink
"Quite so. I'm glad you realize that, else I should be afraid to have
you come to my study."
"You'd better not be afraid," the child shook her head sagely, "because
that makes things happen."
Her grandfather regarded her curiously. This small Bible student, who
couldn't tie her own hair ribbons, was an increasing problem to him.
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