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house she gave vent to her feelings, and made some progress. She conveyed her cried until her tears were spent. Then, thoughts to me, at least. Laura, I am with swollen eyelids and her thoughts no mere friend. I want to be your other still in wild confusion, she continued her soul, your wiser self. I will give you the walk. She had been most unfortunate power to face the world with a brave and all her life, but as she could not know a calm heart. I will try to influence all that, it seemed to her that ill fortune had who are about you to bring you to your just begun to come, and with a violence home and your kin." past all parallel. She realized that she “Stay with me, mother,” Laura murmust leave the only shelter she knew in mured once again in her sleep. all the world, but she was as ignorant of Day was sending its first messengers to what lay before her as a tropical fawn rouse the east, so that the kindly influthat escapes from a menagerie in the ence of the Etherian, which could only be North in midwinter.

exerted between sunset and dawn, must As she walked, Jack Lamont drove by quickly end. Reluctantly Editha threw and noticed her. Her dress and carriage around the sleeping girl a lasi intenser suggested that she was a lady. Her effort of her personality, and focussed her face, though swollen by crying, strength- mind, with its message of hope and courened the suggestion. To meet a lady, age, strongly on the sleeper's brain, as if hatless, in tears, on a lonely road, piqued to bathe her in an assurance of security. his curiosity.

Then she kissed Laura's cheek and was “I beg pardon," said he, reining up. gone. “You are in trouble. Can I help you in She paused a moment at her husband's any way?"

bedside, and charging Mrs. Lamont, who "Thank you, sir; I don't need assist- was still there, to assist her in arousing ance,” she replied, stiffly, from instinct. the Colonel's mind to the existence of this

" A friend in need-you know the rest. new - found niece, both Etherians comAnd I am willing to be yours," Lamont bined their powers toward that end. They persisted.

left the bedside together, and presently “I don't need any assistance, thank began to feel that relaxation of their you," said she.

energies which, in their state, corresponds Feeling rebuked, but vowing to him- to our sensation of sleep. self to keep this pretty girl in mind for Laura slept peacefully and late that possible future sport, he drove on. And morning, with a smile upon her innocent thus the two persons for whom the fates lips, dreaming of walks by her mother's were mixing a witches' broth met in ig- side, amid flowers and bright sunshine, norance of their relationship, and parted when the two foresaw nothing of the misunenlightened.

ery which had since come to both. Some Darkness soon fell, and Laura Balm hours passed, and she was rudely awakcrept to her chamber, there to indulge her ened by a rough hand on her shoulder. hopes in the face of an uncertain future Bill Heintz had entered her chamber. which she knew must begin with the “Wake up,” he said, in a hoarse whismorrow. Of only this was she certain, per. “Listen! I'm going to take Mrs. that she must step forth into a huge un- Turley to the village this morning and charted world in the morning to make keep her there. You be by the posther way alone; to make her fortune, or to office at noon. 'Sh-h-h, she'll wake up. mar it worse. Then came the supernat- I am yer friend. You can't stay hereural visitor to break the oblivion which d'ye see? I'll get you out of this. Be at youthful sleep had brought, and to make the post-office at noon. Bring anything Laura recall her pressing misfortunes you've got that you kin sell. You'll need down to their dregs.

everything you have, and more besides." “I read her mind and her memory almost clearly now," Editha thought; "but she does not faintly approach a knowledge of me. I will try again .... there, a little harder willing and I should have LAURA was so startled that when almost made myself visible. But she only Heintz had crept out she scarcely knew murmurs 'Mother,' Mother,' and fancies whether or not the incident was part of herself with her. But I really ave a dream. But now she heard him call

CHAPTER III.

FROM BAD HANDS TO WORSE.

ing to Mrs. Turley, and, besides, her “Have my breakfast ready as soon as recollection of his touch upon her shoul- possible, please, and call me," Laura said. der and of his startling proposal to her “Yes, ma'am," said the woman. to fly from her home was too strong to “She'll be goin' to her folks,” said Mrs. be doubted. She weighed the reasons Turley to Bill Heintz when the girl had for and against accepting his offer of a gone. “They're fearful rich, I hear." rescue, reasons all born of her ignorance She's a thoroughbred, and no misof life, and reluctantly decided to accom- take," said Bill. “Where is her folks, pany him. Having the hopefulness of I wonder?" youth as an only substitute for worldly "I don't know where they be,” said experience, she fancied that good fortune Mrs. Turley ; "but I've heard they're must befall her. The manner of taking very tony and all that sort of thing. I the step, as planned by Heintz, weighed hain't never stooped to do no spyin' on most against her going. It gave it an her. Her secrets hain't none of my fuunderhand, surreptitious look, like a neral.

neral. All's I know is I made a 'nation flight. It was not in her nature even to fool of myself a - drivin' her out'n the contemplate such a procedure. The idea house like I done. I won't get nothing of it stung her with its implication of now, 'cept jest what she owes me, 'less I moral cowardice and dishonesty. The kin make up with her afore she clears straightforward course must be hers—to out." notify Mrs. Turley, and to leave the “Oh, leave her be," said Bill. “Whathouse with the same freedom and sense ever you say 'll make things worse. of dignity with which she had entered it. What you want is a good bracer of She dressed very slowly, to span the time whiskey to steady you. Better come until the landlady should be heard de- down the road to Cunningham's with scending the stairs. Then she followed, me." and made her announcement in such a "You kin go an' drink-an' drinkmanner as gained for itself and for her an' drink," said Mrs. Turley, from out of the respect which the coarse creature, a grand spasm of virtue, “but you can't when sober, had never been able to deny come it over me with none of yer rum to her lodger.

and them mis'ble Cunninghams whose “I shall leave here to-day,” said Laura. house I was to yesterday. I got more'n “I shall not come back, except to give paid fer goin' there wunst." you what I owe and to take away my “Mrs. Turley, I'll jest hev yer to things."

know-" “I'm sorry yer goin', miss," said the “You'll hev me to know nothing," said woman.

she. “ I'm a-lettin' you know 't I washt Heintz listened with greedy and anx- my hands of you and your friendsious ears, fearful that the girl was going there! You kin stuff that in your pipe to say that he was to be her companion. and smoke on it." But, he thought, perhaps she was not go- I will not even hint at Heintz's reply ing with him at all. This was a very to this assault upon him. If it be underdifferent creature from the pale girl he stood that he, too, had been drinking had seen stunned with surprise, over- heavily and was in a highly nervous whelmed by abuse, and struck down in condition, perhaps even the nature of his presence yesterday. He doubted what he said had best remain obscure. whether, if she really meant to be his Mrs. Turley, instead of practising her own companion, he would be able to carry masterly powers of invective upon him, out his part of the plan-with a proud, waved him to be gone, and flung herself high-spirited mate so clearly of a world out of the room in order to stand in the beyond his own.

pantry and listen for his departing foot“If you're a-goin' to pay me,” Mrs. steps. When she beard the gate slam Turley said, “I don't jest see what makes she returned to busy herself with preparyou go away.”

ing her boarder's breakfast. But first “I shall go at noon," said Laura. she poured out half a glass of Bourbon

“I'm sorry fer what I done yesterday," and swallowed it neat, to fortify herself said the woman. "I was clean crazy for whatever was to come. with my troubles, or I wouldn't have I doubt if she so considered it, but this carried on so."

proved a waste of alcohol, for Laura

on,

would hold with her only what con- “Ay, bad hands, bad hands, I tell ye. verse politeness demanded. To Mrs. It's a warning that's on your brow and Turley's clumsy apologies for her past in your eyes." behavior the young lady replied that it "I wish I had a penny for you," said was best not to refer to that, and when Laura. Good-morning, Christmas." Mrs. Turley tried with all her ingenuity She went her way and left him looking to discover the whereabouts of the rich after her, shaking his white locks with relatives to whom she was certain her nods of approval of his own words, and boarder was betaking herself, Laura only with sidewise shakes in token of despair replied, “My plans are not very defi- for her. Suddenly he hobbled after her, nite, Mrs. Turley." The girl's pride and very painfully and quickly for him. reticence vanquished the low woman, who "Ma'am ; I say, ma'am!” he called. kept her temper by great force of will, Here's a quarter of a dollar for you for because she thought there would be a better fortune." money profit in good behavior. At the “I cannot take your money, thank door she handed to Laura her small reti- you, Christmas," she said, with a sweet cule of plaited straw, like a schoolgirl's smile. bag, and saying that she hoped Mrs. Balm “ You won't?” he asked. * would soon come back to her faculties “I cannot, really," she said. again,” the two women parted — one to “My God!" he exclaimed, dropping his return to the bottle, in which she found staff and raising both hands. “Only a most comfort, the other to face a world lamb would take to the road without so cruel that had she even suspected what thought of money. And do you know it held for her, she might have shuddered where lambs walk to? To the shearing at the gay sunlight that bathed its face. first, and then to the-"

Ahead of her, down the brown road, If he finished that sentence, it was she saw an old beggar called Christmas with such a low muttering that she did hobbling on the oaken third leg with not catch the last words. Again she which be made the best of his way, his started leaving him behind her. natural legs being almost wrecked by While she had been at her meal and lameness. He was called Christmas be- on the road, Bill Heintz was lounging cause of his white hair and beard, and, with two young idlers-semi-vagabonds, perhaps, because he drew all children to but better men than he-before the posthim. He had always a story for what- office. ever child he met, and though not one " Better come with us," one repeated. of his tales—always about kittens and “You don't need a red cent, because if frogs, or crows, or dogs -- seemed worth they engage you they take you to Ne’ any adult's while to hear or repeat, chil York free, and pay yer for the work you dren of every degree clamored for them. do on the way. And 'tain't hard work,

“Good-morning, ma'am," said Christ- nor bad work neither, looking after them mas. “You're hurrying a good deal. Be horses and elephants and things in a big you sure where you're going?"

circus. They're short of hands, and I Good-morning, Christmas," said she, know one of the head fellers, and he told smiling, and passing on.

me, he says, if me an’ my friends would Miss ! stop a bit. Let me look at meet him in Harrisburg at a certain time, you. Ay, I thought so. Give a copper he'd git us a job. And after that meals to old Christmas, though he's got no good and beds comes along with the job.” news for you."

“But wait till you see the gal,” said “I have not a penny to my name,

Heintz. “I tell you, she's a jim daisy. Christmas," said she.

She's a thoroughbred. They say her folks “You're changed since I passed you is the richest kind of swells, but she's last time-a couple of days ago-down the stuck on me, and we're going to be pardroad. The fairies have been to you. I ners. see the mark of 'em on your forehead, “Ah, what 're yer givin' us? If she's and what's in your eyes is a fairy light, a swell she won't have nothin' to do with nothing else. I hope it ain't a warning the likes of you, only as you kin run ar—and yet I'm 'bleeged to say you're in rants fer her. Don't I know what them bad hands."

swells is? Can't tell me nothin' new “I'm in no one's hands but my own." about 'em. They don't mix with poor VOL. XCVII.-No. 580.-73

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

folks. They might try, but it wouldn't could be turned into money. He thought work. They can't, anyhow; but who in she ought to go back and clean out the ever heard of their tryin'?”.

place while he kept Mrs. Turley away Come along with us," said the second somewhere. To this she replied that loafer; “don't make a monkey of your- what he proposed would be dishonest, self. There's big pay an easy work, and and she would rather he would not talk you kin see Ne' York to boot."

of such things. “We'll see about this here mixin',” It was kind of you to offer,” she addsaid Bill, with a chuckle and a leer. ed, “but I bardly see how it will be pos“When she tumbles to what 'll happen sible for you to help me.” to her before morning, through bein' “ Help you?" he repeated, as if he was along with me-just leave her to me, I going to repudiate the bare idea at the say.

start. Then he finished the sentence "Oh, that's the lay, is it, Bill?" said more diplomatically.

more diplomatically. "I ain't in much one of his companions. “That's dif- of a fix to help anybody, but maybe I ferent."

can help you, and you can help me-as “Danged different,” said the other things turn up-and, anyhow, we kin be “It means a trick in jail for you—if you pardners.” bave ordinary luck at that business." She searched his face with a look which

“Ah, what's all this preaching?” Bill turned his eyes to the ground. asked. “It makes me sick to hear you “ You advised me to leave Mrs. Turfellers. You haven't got the chance; ley's," said she, “and I thank you for that's what's the matter with youse. But, that, though I had already made up my hullo! here she comes now."

mind to go to day. But now have you As he spoke, Laura Balm turned a near any plan for helping me?” corner, and approached the group with a “I jest said how-er-I reckoned we'd quick, firm step. Her slender, muscular oughter be-er--pardners." body, outlined with the promising curves * Because," said she, disregarding what of girlhood, was draped with a gown he said as unworthy her attention, “if which fitted her as a deer is fitted by its you're nothing in mind, I think I will fur. She held herself rigidly erect, her not trouble you any further." head was high, and in her blue eyes no He was non plussed. His only plan more than in her gait was there any hint was not one that he could make known of misgiving

to her. Moreover, her attitude, her hold“Good-morning,” said Heintz, in vol- ing herself so far from him, was a thing untarily straightening himself, and adopt- he had not taken into account. ing the tone and manner of the humble Well, look-a-here," he said, after a before the proud.

long pause;

we can drift along togeth“Good-morning," said she, as if she er, and—” had not expected to see him, and forged She turned another swift glance upon ahead.

him. “I say!" he called. * Hold up, will "That is-I mean--and let me find

work-for you to earn money-you see, But she walked on, and be was obliged and—” to catch up to her, looking over his shoul- He was confused. Her bearing disconder sheepishly at his companions, who certed him. Each searching glance made had taken the exact measure of his con- him wince at his own villany, and also trol over her.

made him feel the vast difference that “Is that little basket all you brought separated them. Here was a duel between away?” he asked. What's in it?" high character and low.

She told him that she had brought with The country was pow an open one. her only a little very necessary clothing The only houses were behind them. The and a few letters of her mother's. She road lay between farm fences, with fields had no right to take anything of value, and pastures rolling away on either side. she said, until her debt to Mrs. Turley He noticed this. She may have done so, was cleared.

but she gave it no thought. She listened “What! no joolry--and no clothes, to his hesitating speech and gathered the neither?” he asked. He said he had reck- truth, that his companionship was all be oned she would fetch away things that had to offer. Almost unconsciously she

you?"

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