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Jewel's Correspondence







From: Jewel

While Jewel still stood turning over in her mind what she had heard,
charming strains of music began coming up through the hall. Cousin
Eloise had gone to the piano.

"I almost which I hadn't made her tell me," thought the child, "for how
can I help grandpa not to be sorry they are here? Wouldn't I be sorry
to have aunt Madge come and live with me when I never asked her to?"
She stood for some minutes wrestling with the problem, but suddenly her
expression changed. "I was forgetting!" she exclaimed. "I mustn't get
sorry too. God is All. Mortal mind can't do anything about it." She
closed her eyes, and pressing her hand to her lips, stood for a minute
in mute realization; then with a smile of relief, she took up Anna
Belle.

"Let's go down, dearie, and hear the music," she said light heartedly.

When the summons to luncheon sounded and Mrs. Evringham entered the
parlor, she found the child curled up in a big chair, her doll in her
lap, listening absorbedly to the last strains of a Chopin Ballade.

"Do you like music, Julia?" she asked patronizingly, as her daughter
finished and turned about.

"The child's name is Jewel," said Eloise.

"Yes, aunt Madge, I love it," replied the little girl; "and I didn't
know people could play the piano the way cousin Eloise does."

Mrs. Evringham smiled. "I suppose you've not heard much good music."

"Yes'm, I've heard our organist in church."

"And Jewel can make good music herself," said Eloise. "She can sing like
a little lark. I've been up in her room this morning."

Mrs. Evringham welcomed the look on her daughter's face as she made the
statement. "Thank fortune Eloise has played herself into good humor,"
she thought.

"Indeed? I must hear her sing some time. You're playing unusually well
this morning, my dear. I wish Dr. Ballard could have heard you. Come to
luncheon."

The three repaired to the dining-room, where Mrs. Forbes's glance
immediately noted the presence of Anna Belle. She took her from Jewel's
arms and placed her on a remote corner of the sideboard, in the middle
of which glowed the American Beauty roses.

Mrs. Evringham approached them with solicitude.

"They're looking finely, Mrs. Forbes," she said suavely. "You surely
understand the care of roses." She lifted the silver scissors that hung
from her chatelaine and succeeded in severing one of the long stems.

"Here, little girl," she added, advancing to Eloise, "you need this in
your white gown to cheer us up this rainy day."

The girl shrank and opened her lips to decline, but restrained herself
and submitted to have the flower pinned amid her laces.

Jewel gazed at her in open admiration. The glowing color lent a
wonderful touch to the girl's beauty. Mrs. Evringham laughed low at the
fascinated look in the plain little face, and luncheon began.

To Jewel it differed much from the ones that had preceded it. Mrs.
Forbes might hover like a large black cloud, aunt Madge might rail
at the weather which cut her off from her afternoon drive, but the
morning's experience seemed to have put the child into new relations
with all, and Eloise often gave her a friendly glance or smile as the
meal progressed.

It was destined to a surprising interruption. In the midst of the
discussion of lamb chops and Saratoga chips the door opened, and in
walked Dr. Ballard. The shoulders of his becoming raincoat were spangled
with drops, his hat was in his hand, a deprecatory smile brightened his
face.

"Forgive me, won't you?" he said as he advanced to Mrs. Evringham and
clasped the outstretched hand which eagerly welcomed him. "It was my one
leisure half hour to-day."

He brought the freshness of the spring air with him, and he went on
around the table shaking hands with the others, and finally drew up a
chair beside Jewel.

"No, I can't eat anything," he declared in response to the urging of
Mrs. Evringham and the housekeeper. "Can't stay long enough for that."

His eyes fastened on the graceful girl opposite him, who was trying
to offset her blushes by a direct and nonchalant gaze. The rose on her
breast seemed to be scorching her cheeks. She knew that her mother was
exulting in the lucky inspiration which had made her set it there.

"How good of you to come and cheer us!" exclaimed Mrs. Evringham. "Do
take off your coat and stay for a cosy hour. We will have some music."

"Don't tempt me. I have an office hour awaiting me. I came principally
to see this little girl."

Jewel had leaned back in her chair and was watching his bright face
expectantly.

"I'm glad of it," rejoined Mrs. Evringham devoutly. "I distrust these
sudden recoveries, Dr. Ballard. Do make very sure that she hasn't one of
those lingering, treacherous fevers. I've heard of such things."

Dr. Ballard's eyes laughed into those of his little neighbor. "She
doesn't look the part," he returned.

Jewel gave a glance around the table. "Will you excuse me?" she said
politely, then she reached up to the doctor's ear.

"Shall I go and get my money?" she whispered.

He shook his head. "No," he replied in a low tone. "I came to thank you
very much for your note, and to tell you that you don't owe me anything.
I'm not usually a 'no cure, no pay' doctor. I take the money anyway, but
this time I'm going to make an exception."

"Why?" asked Jewel, speaking aloud as long as he did.

"Well, you see, you didn't take the medicine. That makes a difference.
Most people take it."

"Ye--es," rejoined Jewel rather doubtfully. She was not sure of this
logic.

"So now we're perfectly square," went on the doctor, "but don't you fall
ill again." He shook his head at her. "I want us to remain friends."

"We'd always be friends, wouldn't we?" returned Jewel, smiling into his
laughing eyes.

"When is our golf coming off, Miss Eloise?" he asked, looking across the
table again.

"When the weather permits," she responded graciously.

"I guess that's going to be all right," commented Mrs. Forbes mentally.
"She's as pretty as a painting with that rose on, and her mother looks
as contented as a cat with her paw on a mouse. She don't mean to play
with that mouse, either. She won't run any risks. She'll take it right
in. You're pretty near done for, my young feller, and your eyes look
willing, I must say."

The spring rain proved to be a protracted storm. Mr. Evringham made his
hours long in the city. Eloise came up to Jewel's room each morning
and read the lesson with her, always reading on to herself after it was
finished. She made the child tell her of the circumstances of her recent
illness and cure, and listened to Jewel's affectionate comments on Dr.
Ballard's kindness with an inscrutable expression which did not satisfy
the child.

"You love him, don't you?" asked the little girl.

Eloise gave a slight smile. "If everything that isn't love is hate, I
suppose I ought to," she returned.

"Yes, indeed," agreed Jewel; "and he has been so kind to you I don't see
how you can help it."

The girl sighed. "Don't grow up, Jewel," she said. "It makes lots of
trouble."

On the second one of her visits to the child's room she put her hand
on the flaxen head. "I'd like to fix your hair," she said. "Mrs. Forbes
doesn't part it nicely."

"I do it myself," returned Jewel; "but I'd be glad to have you."

So Eloise washed the thick flaxen locks and dried them. Then she parted
and brushed the hair, and when it was finally tied, Jewel regarded the
reflection of her smooth head with satisfaction.

"It looks just the way mother makes it," she said. "I'm going to write
to mother and father to-night, and I'm going to tell them how kind you
are to me."

That evening, in Mr. Evringham's library, Jewel wrote the letter.

Her grandfather, after making some extremely uncomplimentary comments
upon the weather, had lowered his green-shaded electric light and
established himself beneath it with his book.

He looked across at the child, who was situated as before at the table,
her crossed feet, in their spring-heeled shoes, dangling beneath.

"May I smoke, Jewel?" he asked, as he took a cigar from the case. He
asked the question humorously, but the reply was serious.

"Oh yes, grandpa, of course; this is your room; but you know nobody
likes tobacco naturally except a worm."

Mr. Evringham's deep-set eyes widened. "Is it possible? Well, we're all
worms."

Jewel smiled fondly at him, her head a little on one side, in its
characteristic attitude.

"You're such a joker," she returned.

"If you really dislike smoke," said the broker after a minute, "perhaps
you'd better take your letter up to your room."

"I don't mind it," she returned. "Father used to smoke. It's only a
little while since it gave him up."

"You mean since he gave it up."

"No. When people study Christian Science, the error habits that they
have just go away."

"Indeed? I'm glad you warned me." Mr. Evringham blew a delicate ring of
smoke toward the table, but Jewel had begun to think of her parents, and
her pencil was moving. Her grandfather noted the trim appearance of the
bowed head.

"I don't know but I was cut out for a man milliner after all," he mused
complacently. "Those bows have really a very chic appearance."

His book interested him, and he soon became absorbed in its pages. Jewel
occasionally coming to an orthographic problem looked up and waited, but
he did not observe her, so she patiently kept silence and resumed her
work. At last the letter was finished.

She looked again at her grandfather, and opened her cramped little hand
with relief. The back of her neck was tired with her bending posture.
She leaned back in the heavy chair to rest it while she waited. The
eyelids, grown heavy with her labors, wavered and winked. The rain
dripped down the panes, as if it had fallen into a monotonous habit. The
sound was soothing. Jewel fell asleep.

When finally Mr. Evringham glanced at her he smiled. "Little
thoroughbred," he mused; "she'd never disturb me." He rose and crossed
to the child. There lay the finished letter. He took it up with some
anticipation:--

DEAR MOTHER AND FATHER----It is most time to get a leter from you but I
will not wait to tell you I am happy and well.

Grandpa is the kindest man and he has the most Beautiful horse, her name
is Essecks made. He let me sit on her back and give her Sugar. Cosin
Elloees is the prettiest one of all. She has things that make her sorry
but she is very kind to me. She washed my hare today and she helps me
get the lesson. There is a docter here he is lovly. He tried to cure me
when I had a claim but Mrs. Lewis did. Cosin Elloees reads S. and H when
we get throo the lesson and I think she will be glad Pretty soon and
not afrade Grandpa doesn't want her and Ant maj. She won't let me tell
grandpa she is kind to me, but I can Explane beter when you come home.

Grandpa's kindness is inside, and he Looks sorry but noboddy cood help
loving him. I love you both every minnit and the leters in my pocket
help me so much.

Your dear

JEWEL.


Mr. Evringham had scarcely finished reading this epistle when Jewel's
head slipped on the polished woodwork against which she was leaning and
bumped against the side of the chair with a jar which awoke her.

Seeing her grandfather standing near she smiled drowsily. "I fell
asleep, didn't I?" she said, and rubbed her eyes; then noting the sheet
of paper in Mr. Evringham's hand, memory returned to her. She sat up
with a start.

"Oh, grandpa, you haven't read my letter!" she exclaimed, with an
accent of dismay which brought the blood to the broker's face. He felt a
culprit before the shocked blue eyes.

"To--to see if it was spelled right, you know," he said. "You had me do
it before."

"Yes, I wanted you to then," returned the child; "but it is error to
read people's letters unless they ask you to, isn't it?"

"Yes, it's confoundedly bad form, Jewel. I beg your pardon. You didn't
mean me to see those sweet things you said about me, eh?"

"That was no matter. It was cousin Eloise's secret. She trusted me." The
child's eyes filled with tears.

The broker cleared his throat. "No harm done, I'm sure. No harm done,"
he returned brusquely, to cover his discomfiture. For the first time he
made an advance toward his granddaughter. "Come here a minute, Jewel."
He took her hand and led her to his chair, and seating himself,
lifted her into his lap. The corners of her lips were drawing down
involuntarily, and as her head fell against his broad shoulder, he took
out his handkerchief and dried her eyes. "I hope you'll forgive me," he
said. "After this I will always wait for your permission. Now what is
this about cousin Eloise?"

Jewel shook her head, not trusting herself to speak.

"You can't tell me?"

"No."

"Then don't you think perhaps it was a good thing I read your letter
after all, if it is something I ought to know?"

The speaker was not so interested to discover the secrets of his
beautiful guest as to set himself right with this admirer. He did not
relish falling from his pedestal.

"Do you think perhaps Divine Love made you do it, grandpa?" asked the
child tremulously, with returning hope.

Mr. Evringham was quite certain that it had been curiosity, but he was
willing to accept a higher sounding hypothesis.

"Mother explained to me about God making 'the wrath of man to praise
Him,'" added Jewel after the moment's pause. "If it makes you kind to
cousin Eloise, perhaps we can be glad you read it."

"What is the matter with Eloise?" asked Mr. Evringham.

Jewel sat up, fixed him with her eyes, pressed her lips together, and
shook her head.

"You won't tell me?"

The head went on firmly shaking.

"Then let me read the letter again."

"No, grandpa," decidedly.

He kept one arm around her as he smoothed his mustache. "Is there
something you think I ought to do?"

A light seemed to illumine the eyes that the little girl kept fixed on
his, but she did not speak.

"Do you think it discourteous for me to spend my evenings away from
those two? They don't want me, child."

Still she did not speak. Mr. Evringham was divided between a desire to
shake her and the wish to see the familiar fondness return to her face.

"You wrote that Eloise thinks I do not want her and her mother here. Her
intelligence is of a higher order than I feared. Well, what can be done
about it? I've been asking myself that for some time. How would it do to
settle some money upon them and then say good-by?"

"If you did it with love," suggested Jewel.

"It's my impression that they could dispense with the love under those
circumstances." The broker gave a slight smile.

The child put an impulsive little hand on his shoulder. "No indeed,
grandpa. Nobody can do without love. It hurts cousin Eloise because she
isn't your real relation. She doesn't know how kind you are inside." The
child's lips closed suddenly.

"She fixed your hair very nicely," Mr. Evringham viewed the flaxen head
critically. "That's one thing in her favor."

"She's full of things in her favor," returned Jewel warmly. "Error's
using you, grandpa, not to love her. If we don't love people we can't be
sure anything we do to them is right."

Mr. Evringham raised one hand and scratched his head slowly, regarding
Jewel with what she felt was intended to be a humorous air.

"Couldn't you give me an easier one?" he asked.

"Oh grandpa," the flaxen head nestled against his breast and the child
sighed. "I wish everybody knew how kind you are," and the broker patted
her shoulder and enjoyed the clinging pressure of her cheek, for it
assured him that again he stood firmly on the pedestal.





Next: Essex Maid

Previous: The First Lesson



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