"No! no!" "Send it as it is!" "It's all right!" "He'll understand!" cried several voices; though one weak sister murmured, with a plaintive sigh: "I'll be glad when it's all over."
"This having to face a 'court-martial' was overlooked in planning the campaign, hey?" observed another, with a grimace.
"I don't care! It was fun to hear those teachers tugging at their doors for dear life, and I have it from an eyewitness, when Johnson cut Miss Craigis loose she keeled over in the most undignified manner!" laughed a pert young miss, who was one of the giddiest in the class. "And, oh!" she went on, breathlessly, "did you see poor old Webb on the upper floor? It was perfectly killing! She had on that startling palm-leaf kimono—her false front had slipped down over one ear; she had her precious herbarium under one arm, her bird cage in one hand, and a huge hatbox in the other. She was frightened nearly out of her senses, and demanded, right and left, 'Young ladies, where is the fire? oh, where is the fire?'"
A merry shout greeted this graphic description, and it is to be feared that some of the delinquents were not as deeply impressed with the enormity of their recent insubordination as could have been desired.
"Sh! sh! do hush, girls!" cried Miss Archer, waving her paper to enjoin silence, "This will have to be nicely copied in ink, and you'll all have to sign it again. And let me warn you," she added, soberly, "you'd better keep pretty mum about last night, or we will get a bigger pill than will be comfortable to swallow."
She seated herself at the table again and made a neat copy of her document, after which the signatures were carefully appended, then the meeting was dismissed, and the "captain" of the disorderly sophomores went directly to Prof. Seabrook's study.
It was very nearly supper time, and she had reasoned that he would issue an order, at the table, for the class to meet him in one of the recitation rooms, in the near future, to give the guilty ones an opportunity for confession; and her plan was to forestall this summons with the paper she had prepared.
When, in response to her knock, he bade her "come in," it must be confessed that she opened the door with fear and trembling; while something in her bearing and the tense lines of her face at once aroused a suspicion of the nature of her errand in the principal's mind.
"Prof. Seabrook, I have been commissioned to hand you this communication," she gravely said, as she laid, it on the table before him.
"Ah! by whom were you 'commissioned,' Miss Archer?" he inquired, his keen eyes searching her flushed face.
"By—by the parties whose names you will find signed to it."
"And what is the nature of the communication?"
"I—er—it will explain itself," replied the trembling emissary, blushing furiously and averting her eyes.
"Very well; I will give it my earliest attention," the professor returned, but eying the missive curiously.
"Thank you, sir," and, with a nervous bow, entirely at variance with her habitual sang-froid, the girl hurried from the room, her bounding heart causing her to pant as if she had been running a race.
Prof. Seabrook waited until the door closed after her, then unfolded the paper and began to read. But his face grew stern and his brow heavily overcast as his glance hastily swept the page.
After reading it through and noting every signature, he began it again, perusing it more carefully, and, gradually, a gleam of amusement crept into his eyes; his stern features relaxed, and the corners of his mouth twitched suggestively.
"The little mischief is game," he at length observed, "and this document is a very clever stroke of business; though at first it sounded rather pert, as if she were bound to make a joke of the affair. But there is a straightforwardness and an appreciation of Miss Minturn's position in it that rings true. Really, I begin to think that girl is a power for good in the school, in spite of her fanaticism and heresy. Hum!"—reading aloud—"'news of matters pending at headquarters'—it traveled pretty fast; who was the 'scout,' I wonder? Ah! Jennie, of course; the little gossip! Well, Miss Archer, you didn't waste any time before dispatching your flag of truce, and you have rather a fine sense of honor underneath your lawlessness, after all. So you are 'captain' of your company of sophomores! I think we will rob you of your commission and see how you will stand the discipline. 'Co. S, Hilton Volunteers!' pretty good—pretty good!" and a light laugh rippled over the man's lips. "And Miss Tuttle is 'first lieutenant,'" he continued, "and gallantly came forward to share the self-imposed mission of her friend 'to go to the front.' There's pluck there, too; but you are a precocious pair—you two— and keep one busy guessing what you will do next. All the same, with the right check-rein, I believe you'll both make fine women, and—the school would surely lose some of its spice without you."
He carefully refolded the quaint document, locking it in a drawer of his desk, and the next moment the supper bell rang.
A meeting of the faculty was called for that evening, when the communication from the mischief-makers was read and discussed; and, in spite of their lawlessness, which demanded the imposition of a penalty severe enough to insure immunity from future ebullitions of the same nature, the originality and spirit pervading it were thoroughly appreciated by all.
The following day, at dinner, Prof. Seabrook gravely announced that he would meet the sophomore class at four-thirty, that afternoon, in the "north recitation room," and every member was ordered to be present.
There were some quaking hearts during the intervening hours, and there were not a few anxious faces among the thirty-six sophomores gathered in the appointed place, when the principal appeared upon the scene and at once proceeded to business.
"Young ladies," he began, "I have summoned the entire class here in order that those who are innocent of wrong may know that they are no longer under the ban of suspicion, in connection with the disgraceful escapade of Monday night; and, also, that those who were guilty of complicity in it may acknowledge their offense in their presence. Those of you who have made confession to that effect may rise."
Fourteen of the class arose and stood with downcast faces, awaiting what was to follow.
"Were there any other accomplices in the affair?" inquired the principal, glancing around upon those who had remained seated.
No one responded or moved, and he then proceeded to arraign the offenders in no light terms, and not one ever forgot the scathing words that fell from his lips or the shame which followed his vivid portrayal of their hoidenish behavior.
"And now," he said in conclusion, "for two weeks you will forfeit your afternoon recreation hour, and pass it in this room with your books, and with a monitor to preserve order. Miss Archer and Miss Tuttle, who acknowledge having been the ringleaders, will be on probation for the remainder of the year, and any further infringement of rules will be followed by summary expulsion. I will add"—and the professor's stern face relaxed visibly—"that you all have saved yourselves much by your voluntary confession; but the 'Hilton Volunteers' are here and now disbanded for all time. Young ladies, you are dismissed."
Well, it was over, and heavy hearts grew lighter, though there were some who were inclined to grumble over the severity of the penalty.
Carrie Archer and Rose Tuttle made no talk whatever about the matter. Both felt that they had had a narrow escape, and were thankful, even under the sentence of "probation."
Of course, the whole affair was aired and freely discussed by the entire school, and thus Katherine became somewhat conspicuous because of her forced participation in it; while it was interesting to observe how radically the attitude of almost everyone changed towards her, the sophomores, particularly, manifesting the greatest admiration for her.
Miss Archer and Miss Tuttle were the first to express their appreciation of the stand she had taken in their behalf, and her sweet reception of their overtures made them her stanch friends for all time.
"I'll never sneer at Christian Scientists again," Rose afterwards confided to her friend, "for if they are all as lovely and plucky as she has shown herself, we can't have too many of them in the world."
A JUNIOR ENTERTAINMENT.
The school year was fast drawing to a close, and every student was busy preparing for examinations and annual exercises, and also looking forward to the pleasurable excitement attending class-day ceremonies, entertainments, receptions, etc.
The first week in June it was customary for the juniors to give a special exhibition, to be followed by a social, with dancing and a fine spread, in honor of the retiring seniors, and upon this grand occasion each student in both classes was privileged to invite some friend from outside.
So much had been said in praise of Katherine's little play and paper on "Transcendentalism," it was suggested they be repeated for the benefit of those who had not heard them, and allow visitors and strangers to guess the conundrum and charade.
The whole school had heard the story of that Junior League meeting, for it had been too good to keep, and it had aroused so much interest, both among teachers and students, the juniors finally persuaded Katherine to reproduce her clever effort.
Besides this, the programme consisted of another original play, written by some of the class, two or three choice selections from the Glee Club, and was to wind up with some fine tableaux.
The important day arrived and was attended by no end of worry, work and excitement. The final rehearsal of the play proved, as is often the case, anything but satisfactory; but when it came to the "last tug of war" in the evening, everything "went off without a hitch," only those behind the scenes being aware of the strenuous efforts put forth to achieve this result.
It was accordingly pronounced "a great success." Katherine's production contributed the element of comedy, while the vocabulary of adjectives was insufficient to express appreciation of the tableaux.
The last one, or "grand finale," is worthy of special mention, for various reasons. It was billed as "The Carnival of Flowers," and included all the members of the junior class. Each was in evening dress and was either profusely decorated with, or carried, an elaborate design of the flower which she had chosen to represent.
Dorothy, who had been unusually comfortable during the two weeks preceding, had been deeply interested in the preparations for this great event, and, one day, when Katherine was consulting Mrs. Seabrook upon some important point, she had exclaimed, with a longdrawn sigh:
"Oh! how I wish I could be in it, too."
"I wish you could, dear," said Katherine, bending to kiss the wistful face. "Well—why can't she?" she added, turning suddenly to Mrs. Seabrook; "she could have a place in the Carnival of Flowers. Will you allow her to?"
Mrs. Seabrook smiled, but there was a sad yearning in her soft eyes as they rested upon her helpless child.
"I hardly think it would do. I am afraid it could not be arranged," she doubtfully replied.
"Indeed it could, and very easily. I have a lovely idea!" said Katherine, eagerly. "Let her take the Calla Lily—no one has chosen that because the flowers are too stiff to trim a dress gracefully. But Dorothy's chair could be transformed into a chariot of lilies, and I am sure they could be so arranged about her that she would look like a fairy in the midst of them. If you are willing I will talk it over with the girls. We will manage everything, so that she will not be wearied with any of the preparations, and I will take charge of her while she is on the stage. I know that she would have a beautiful time."
"Oh, mamma, if I only might!" breathed Dorothy, rapturously, and carried away by the attractive prospect.
"Well, we will talk it over with papa; if he consents I will not say no, and certainly Miss Minturn's suggestion is very alluring," replied her mother, as she bestowed a grateful smile on Katherine.
Prof. Seabrook could see no objection to the plan, and as everybody was always glad to contribute to the enjoyment of the sick girl, the idea was eagerly adopted, and Miss Dorothy was at once chosen to be the central figure in the tableau.
It proved to be a most effective one, with the bevy of gorgeously garlanded maidens artistically grouped around their lily queen, who entered heartily into the spirit of the scene.
The child's chair had indeed been transformed! No one would have recognized it, covered as it was with a wealth of pure white blossoms and dark-green leaves, for it looked more like the throne of a fairy than like anything so ordinary and unpretentious. Mrs. Seabrook, who possessed exquisite taste, had so massed the blossoms around her and daintily perched an inverted one on her head that the effect was exceedingly beautiful and picturesque. Katherine, who had chosen to be "Lady Poppea," made a brilliant foil, on one side, with her garlands and basket of vivid scarlet poppies; while another junior, bedecked with fuchsias, stood on the opposite side and held an umbrella, made of and fringed with the same flowers, protectingly over her; and with a score or more others forming a variegated background, the scene was brilliant and gorgeous beyond description.
The applause was tumultuous; for, aside from the exceeding beauty of the picture, every heart in the audience was touched by the happy little face looking out at them from the midst of her devoted subjects, and the curtain was raised and lowered several times before they could be satisfied.
Then the proud and happy juniors hastily divested themselves of their gay trappings and hurried away to join their friends and trip to inspiring music in the main hall below; thus Katherine was left with Dorothy alone on the stage.
"Wasn't it perfectly lovely, Miss Minturn?" exclaimed the girl in a rapturous tone and with shining eyes. "I never saw you look so pretty, and I never had such a happy time in all my life. I only wish I could have seen the whole of it."
"I think you will, later; or at least something very like it; for, when that flash light was thrown on, as the curtain went up the last time, somebody took a snapshot at us," Katherine replied, smiling fondly into the eager face.
"Oh! who was it?"
"Some one whom you know. Guess!"
"Yes; he asked permission of the president of the class. But now I must see about getting you out of this place. I wonder where Alice can be!" said Katherine, looking out towards the deserted dressing room for the nurse, who had promised to be on hand to receive her charge as soon as everything was over.
She had been disconnecting several ropes of flowers that had been attached to the chair while she was talking, and, as no one came to assist her, she now rolled the girl towards the side of the stage, thinking, perhaps, she might get her off herself, as it was not very high.
But she had missed one rope, and, as it trailed along the floor, it swept over a saucer containing some still smoking Greek fire, or red light, that had been carelessly left just where it had been used.
The soft paper ignited in an instant, and the next moment the lower part of the lily chariot was ablaze.
"Oh! Miss Minturn!" shrieked Dorothy, "save me! save me!"
For a second Katherine thought she would faint.
The next she snatched a portiere that had been used in one of the tableaux and left upon the floor, and wrapped it closely around the burning paper, beating it with her hands and doing her utmost to smother the cruel flames. "Don't be afraid, dear," she said to the girl, who, after that one half-crazed appeal, seemed to be paralyzed with fear, "you are God's child—you cannot be harmed. He is Life, and there are no fatalities in His realm, 'though thou walk through the fire thou shalt not be burned.'"
She did not know that she was talking aloud; she was not conscious of what she was saying; she only knew that she was reaching out, with her whole soul, to the ever-present Love wherein lay protection and safety, and all the time mechanically pulling the portiere closer about the chair.
Suddenly she heard a low, startled exclamation, saw Dorothy snatched from among the smoke-blackened lilies and passed along to Alice, who at last had appeared upon the scene; then, as in a dream, she felt herself enveloped in a shawl which was drawn so tightly about her skirts that she could not move, and saw Dr. Stanley's pale, anxious face looking down into hers, while he told her, in calm, reassuring tones, that there was nothing to fear.
"Can you stand so for a minute while I look after that still smoking chair?" he presently asked, and putting a corner of the shawl into her hand to hold.
Fortunately it was her left hand, and she grasped it mechanically, while she tried to mentally deny the well-nigh unbearable pain that was making itself felt in her right hand and wrist.
It was the work of but two or three minutes to crush out the last smoldering spark among the ruined lilies, for the flames had been effectually smothered by Katherine's presence of mind in wrapping the portiere about them and by her vigorous beating.
Then the physician turned again to her and gently removed the shawl from her burned and disfigured skirts.
"It is all out, thank God!" he said, after carefully looking her over. "It was a narrow escape for you and Dorrie, as well as from a serious conflagration. Now tell me, Miss Minturn, are you burned?" he concluded, searching her white face with troubled eyes.
She tried to smile as she glanced down at her ruined dress.
"A few dollars will make it all right, and that doesn't matter," she returned evasively, but with lips that quivered in spite of her effort at self-control.
"You were badly frightened, poor child! but it is over," he gently observed, the tense lines of his face softening in a reassuring smile.
Then, seeing that she was keeping her right hand out of sight, he reached down and drew it forward into the light.
"Miss Minturn!" he exclaimed, as he saw the reddened flesh and three great blisters, "you did it beating out the fire to save Dorothy. Come with me and I will dress it immediately."
"No," she said, setting her teeth resolutely; "go to her; I shall do very well. Go!" she repeated, almost sharply, "for I saw that she had fainted when Alice took her."
His brow contracted, and for an instant he seemed on the point of insisting upon taking care of her first.
Then he drew forth his handkerchief and folded it gently about her hand, saying:
"Well, if I must; but go you directly to your room and I will come to you as soon as I can."
Katherine could bear no more, and, turning abruptly from him, sped from the place.
As she passed out of the lecture hall, she almost ran into Miss Reynolds, who was on her way downstairs.
"Katherine!" she cried, aghast, as she caught sight of her pain- contracted face, the handkerchief on her hand and her smoke- blackened clothes, "what has happened?"
"Oh! may I go to your room?" gasped the girl.
"Of course; come," and without another word the woman turned and led the way.
"Lock the door and don't let anyone in," said Katherine, as she sank into the nearest chair and covered her face with her well hand.
Miss Reynolds quietly obeyed, then went to her desk and began to read aloud, in a calm, clear voice, from the open "Science and Health" that lay upon it.
For half an hour she kept on without stopping; but she then began to be conscious that effectual work was being done, for, at first, the sufferer sitting behind her had been unable to keep still a moment; but gradually she became less restless, and at the end of forty-five minutes had grown perfectly quiet and lay back in her chair, her face pale but peaceful.
"Dear Miss Reynolds, you must go now. I must not keep you any longer," she said, at length.
"My child, I shall not leave you while you need me," her teacher returned, and, going to her side, she tenderly smoothed back the dark hair from her forehead.
"I am much easier, so do not mind leaving me. You will be missed, and some one will be coming for you; just let me stay here for a while and be sure not to tell anyone where I am, or why I am among the missing," Katherine pleaded, for she did not wish Dr. Stanley to learn her whereabouts, knowing he would seek her and insist upon dressing her burns.
"I will be very discreet; but I am going to keep you with me all night," her teacher replied. "Now, if you can bear it, I will help you off with your clothes. You shall have one of my night-robes and go straight to bed."
With fine tact she had refrained from asking a single question; but the suffering face, the pretty dress all burned and discolored, the handkerchief wrapped about her hand, told her something of what had occurred, and she could wait until later for details.
She dexterously assisted her to undress; but while doing so the handkerchief was displaced and dropped to the floor and she had to shut her lips resolutely to repress the cry of pity that almost escaped her as she saw what it had covered. The next instant she was mentally repeating the "scientific statement of being," [Footnote: "Science and Health," page 468.] while she quietly replaced the square of linen and pinned it to keep it in place. Then, with a grateful smile and a sigh of content, Katherine slipped into bed and sank upon her pillow.
"Now go, please," she begged again, "and find out, if you can, how Dorothy is."
"No, Kathie, I am not going just yet," was the decided reply, though there was a startled heart-bound at the girl's reference to Dorothy. She asked no questions, however, but, going back to her desk, continued her reading as before.
In about fifteen minutes she glanced towards the bed and saw by her regular breathing that Katherine had fallen asleep. She bowed her head upon her book for a moment, and when she lifted it again there were tears on her cheeks, and in her eyes "a light that was ne'er on sea or land."
Turning the gas low, she slipped softly out of the room and went downstairs to join the gay company who were all unconscious of what had been going on above.
Five minutes later Dr. Stanley came to her, his fine face overcast and anxious.
"Miss Reynolds, can you give me any information regarding Miss Minturn?" he inquired, adding: "I have been looking for her for nearly an hour, and no one seems to know where she is. I suppose you have heard about the accident?"
"An accident?" repeated the lady, inquiringly. "Yes," and he proceeded to give a brief account of the narrow escape in the lecture hall. "I told Miss Minturn to go to her room," he continued, "and I would come to her as soon as I had ascertained if all was well with Dorothy. The child is all right; she was simply frightened and lost consciousness for a few moments. But Miss Minturn was badly burned, on her hand and arm, and her beautiful dress is a wreck. Mrs. Seabrook and I have been to her room; no one was there, nor can anyone give us a clew to her whereabouts," and the gentleman looked really distressed as he concluded.
Miss Reynolds had been doing some practical thinking while he was talking, and now observed:
"Well, Dr. Stanley, to relieve your anxiety, I will tell you that she is in my room, where she will remain all night. But I have disobeyed her injunction to tell no one where she is. Fortunately, I met her just as she was leaving the lecture hall, and she begged shelter with me. I have but just left her."
"But she must have attention—her burns must be dressed," said the physician, in a tone of professional authority.
"That will not be necessary, for she is asleep and resting quietly."
"Asleep! impossible!" interposed the man, emphatically; "that is, unless she has taken a powerful opiate."
"She has had nothing of the kind," was the quiet answer.
"Then I repeat—it would be impossible for her to sleep," Dr. Stanley asserted, with a note of impatience in his tone. "Why, only an hour has elapsed since the accident, and, with those burns, it would be many hours before she could get any rest or relief without an opiate. I know," he added, flushing, "she is a Christian Scientist, but I can't quite swallow such a miracle as that."
"Nevertheless, my friend, the dear girl, is sleeping peacefully— or was, ten minutes ago," the lady smilingly returned.
"Did she put anything on those burns?"
"Do you believe she 'demonstrated,' as they express it, over the pain?"
"I know," she softly replied.
"Ah!"—with a start—"are you—"
Again she smiled as she interposed:
"I must not say too much about that just now. I will say this, however: I have seen and learned enough to make me wish to know more, for Katherine Minturn is an earnest, honest exponent of her religion. I am very fond of her—she is one of the loveliest girls I have ever known."
"I can heartily agree with you on that point," replied Phillip Stanley, gravely. "But I was hoping that I could be of service to her, for we owe her much for her wonderful presence of mind and practical common sense. But for that Dorothy would have been badly burned and a great sufferer at this moment, instead of having gone to bed the happiest girl in the building and full of gratitude to Miss Minturn for giving her so much pleasure. Will you say to her, if there is any way I can serve her, I shall be only too glad of the opportunity?"
"Indeed I will, and I shall slip away very soon and go back to her, although I am sure she does not really need me. I am glad for her sake, however, that tomorrow will be Saturday."
"May I tell my sister what you have told me?" Dr. Stanley inquired. "I know it would greatly relieve her mind, for she is much disturbed because Miss Minturn cannot be found."
"Yes; I am sure Kathie would be willing, under the circumstances. I know her only fear was that she might be found before her work was done," Miss Reynolds said, after considering a moment. "I think," she added, "she would prefer not to have Dorothy told anything, except, perhaps, that her dress was injured."
"Yes; it would mar her pleasure," her companion observed; "in fact, we have said nothing about the contretemps to anyone but the faculty as yet, fearing it might spoil the evening for many. We cannot be too thankful that it was no worse; if it had occurred before that last tableau was over, there is no telling how serious it might have been, with so many thin dresses and all those paper flowers," he concluded, gravely, then bowed himself away.
After making the round of the room, Miss Reynolds sought Sadie and told her that as Katherine was not feeling quite herself, she would spend the night with her; then she stole away and went back to her charge.
Katherine aroused when she entered the room, but showed no signs of present suffering.
"How is Dorothy?" she questioned, eagerly.
"She was not harmed in the least, and 'went to bed the happiest girl in the building,' so I was told."
Katherine heaved a sigh of relief.
She asked for a glass of water and drank thirstily when it was brought to her.
"Can I do anything more for you, Kathie?" her friend inquired.
The girl's eyes wandered to the books on her desk.
"Shall I read?—what?"
"The twenty-third psalm, please."
Miss Reynolds found and read it as given and interpreted in "Science and Health": "Divine Love is my Shepherd; I shall not want. Love maketh me to lie down in green pastures; Love leadeth me beside still waters;" [Footnote: "Science and Health," page 16.] and so on to the end.
Then she turned to her own marker and read for herself a while.
The room was very quiet, for the revelers below were so far away they could not be heard. Only a strain of music from the orchestra was now and then wafted on a gentle breeze to them through an open window.
Suddenly a deep sigh from the bed fell upon the reader's ear. She started and turned toward her charge.
"'Love'—'still waters,'" murmured Katherine, then turned like a tired child on her pillow and was again locked in slumber.
Softly, Miss Reynolds laid aside her festal attire, made a nest for herself on her roomy couch and, to the faintly flowing rhythm of "The Beautiful Blue Danube," soon lost herself in dreamland, never waking until the brilliant sun of a glorious June morning flooded her room and warned her that a new day had begun.
DR. STANLEY HAS AN OBJECT LESSON.
She found Katherine already awake.
"What do you think of tramps who take possession of your room and drive you out of your comfortable bed?" playfully demanded the girl, and nodding brightly at her.
"I like it—that is, when I have the privilege of choosing the tramp," her teacher laughingly responded, as she sat up and glanced at the clock; "besides, this couch is every bit as comfortable as the bed. Did you rest well, Kathie?"
"Beautifully. The last I knew, until about ten minutes ago, you were reading the twenty-third psalm."
Miss Reynolds arose and began to dress. Once or twice she found her eyes straying to Katherine's bandaged hand, and longed to inquire regarding its condition. But she wisely resisted the temptation and maintained a discreet silence.
"You will not try to go down to breakfast, Kathie," she remarked, as she completed her toilet, and the bell began to ring just at that moment.
"No, I think I will keep out of sight to-day. I do not wish to answer questions. Besides, I haven't anything here suitable to put on." and she bestowed a rueful look upon her pretty evening dress, all crumpled and burned, that lay over the back of a chair.
"True; but I will go for one of your dresses when I come up from breakfast," said her friend; "meantime, if you care to get up, you can slip on this negligee of mine," and she threw a dainty wrapper over the foot of the bed as she spoke.
As soon as Miss Reynolds left the room, Katherine arose and dressed, then sat down to read. She was glad to be alone, for, though she was entirely free from pain, she felt she still had work to do for herself.
For nearly an hour she read and worked diligently, and then her teacher returned, bearing a tempting breakfast, which she soon dispatched with the appetite of a healthy, hungry girl.
"I met Prof. Seabrook and his wife on my way up," Miss Reynolds observed, as she began putting away the things she had worn the previous evening, "and both inquired most kindly for you. The professor said you are excused from the class lecture this morning, if you wish, and Mrs. Seabrook will come to see you later. They both expressed themselves as deeply grateful for what you did last night."
"I scarcely know what I did," Katherine returned, flushing. "Dr. Stanley came so quickly to the rescue that it was all over before I could think clearly. It seems like a dream."
"Yes, he told me all about it last night, Kathie, and said but for your rare presence of mind there might have been a bad fire. He was pretty well cut up, however, when he found that you had hidden yourself away and he had lost a patient," Miss Reynolds replied with a laugh of amusement, which was merrily echoed by her guest.
"He doesn't seem to take much stock in Science, dear," she presently resumed. "He was simply amazed when I told him you were sleeping—I thought it best, as long as your work was done, to relieve his anxiety—and declared that was impossible, unless you had taken a powerful opiate."
"An opiate is something which mortal mind says produces repose; well, I had taken a large dose of that 'Peace, be still,' which, rightly administered, never fails to give the sufferer and the weary rest," said Katherine, with luminous eyes.
"It was beautiful, Kathie, and, figuratively speaking, I 'put off my shoes from off my feet,' feeling that the 'place whereon I stood was, indeed, holy ground,'" reverently observed her companion. "But, tell me, weren't you afraid when you saw the flames?"
"Yes, for an instant, then I forgot everything but the 'secret place' and 'the shadow.'"
"How much those words mean to me now! And you believe that every statement of that ninety-first psalm can be proved—made practical?' gravely inquired Miss Reynolds.
"Well, I think I am beginning to know it, too; though, as yet, it is like 'seeing through a glass darkly,'" and a sweet seriousness settled over the woman's face. "But," she went on, arousing herself after a moment, "if you will tell me what to bring you I will now go to your room for some clothes."
"Really, I am perfectly able to go for them myself," Katherine began.
"No, indeed; you are going to remain just where you are, at least for the morning," said her teacher, authoritatively. "At this hour you would be sure to meet many of the students and become the target for innumerable questions."
"Well, then, bring my linen suit and my 'Horace,' please. I have to complete an essay on that accomplished and agreeable gentleman 'as a poet and a wit,' and I can spend the morning working upon it."
Miss Reynolds slipped away on her errand, but she no sooner reached the main hall than she was surrounded by a bevy of excited maidens and besieged with a volley of inquiries regarding the accident of the previous night.
Dorothy's nurse, Alice, had described the scene in the lecture hall to one of the maids, when, of course, the news had spread like wildfire, and it, together with Katherine's "heroism," was the one topic of the day. Sadie had also heard it and was on her way to see her chum when she, too, met the teacher in the hall.
She went back to her room with her, found the things Katherine had designated, and then, as it was nearly time for the class lecture, sent word that she would come to see her after study hours were over.
When Miss Reynolds reached her own door again, she found a maid standing there with a long box in her hands.
"Mrs. Seabrook told me to bring this up to you, marm," the girl observed; but on entering her room and relieving herself of her armful of clothing, she saw that the package was addressed to "Miss Katherine Minturn."
"What have we here, I wonder?" she remarked, as she passed it to her companion, together with a pair of scissors.
Katherine cut the string and lifted the cover, when a cry of delight broke from her.
"Dear Miss Reynolds! look!" she said, holding the box towards her for inspection.
It was filled with fragrant, long-stemmed Jack roses.
"How lovely! Who can the donor be?" she said. "Ah! there is a card, tucked almost out of sight, under the foliage."
Katherine drew it forth, and a quick flush suffused her face as she read the name, "Phillip Harris Stanley." She passed it to her friend, then bent over her box of crimson beauties, as if to inhale their perfume, but really to hide the deepening color in her cheeks.
Presently a bell rang and Miss Reynolds was obliged to go to a class, thus leaving Katherine alone with her books and her flowers, and in a very happy frame of mind.
It was nearly noon before Mrs. Seabrook could steal away from her duties to go to see her; and when Katherine, in response to her knock, admitted her, she took the girl into her arms and kissed her with quivering lips, her eyes brimming with tears.
"My dear child, you know it is simply impossible for me to tell you all there is in my heart," she began, but her voice broke and she had to stop to maintain her self-control.
"Do not try, dear Mrs. Seabrook," said Katherine, as she returned her caress. "I know it all, and you cannot be more thankful than I am that Dorothy escaped without even having her pleasure spoiled."
"She talks of nothing but her 'beautiful time' and your 'bravery,'" the mother resumed. "She says that even though she cannot remember much of what happened, after you wrapped the portiere about the chair, she did hear you tell her 'not to be afraid, for she was God's child and could not be harmed.' She was not harmed in any way; she simply fainted from the shock, and seems even brighter to-day than she was yesterday. But you suffered for her," and Mrs. Seabrook's tremulous lips failed her again, as she softly touched the girl's bandaged hand.
"It is almost nothing now," said Katherine, brightly. "I am fast forgetting it myself, and want everybody else to. Does Dorrie know?"
"No; my brother thought it best not to tell her."
"I am glad; pray keep it from her if possible."
"But is it not very sore? Are you not suffering?"
"Not in the least, I assure you. The pain lasted only a little while; I slept lovely and feel as good as new this morning."
"But your beautiful dress was ruined, though that, of course, shall be replaced; and you lost your good time last night," and the woman heaved a regretful sigh.
Katherine laughed out merrily.
"You will not let me 'forget,'" she said. "But there will be plenty of other 'good times,' and all else is as nothing in the balance, compared with Dorothy's safety." Then, to change the subject, she inquired: "Now, tell me, wasn't that last tableau about as fine as anything could be?"
"It was exquisite beyond description," said Mrs. Seabrook, with animation. "Mr. Seabrook was delighted with it, and so pleased to have Dorrie in it. It was lovely of the juniors to take so much pains for her and make her the central figure. The whole entertainment was a great success; your production was very bright and clever, and our guests from outside had nothing but praise for everything. Oh! by the way, Miss Minturn, my husband sends his kindest regards to you by me. He said it was all he could do until he could see you personally."
After chatting a little longer she arose to go, saying she was expecting company to dine with her.
Then she paused and again gently touched the spotless handkerchief bound around Katherine's hand.
"My dear," she observed, searching her face with curious eyes, "I cannot reconcile your bright and happy appearance with this; to me it is a marvel, and I wish—oh! how I wish—"
She checked herself suddenly, but Katherine read her thought.
"I know," she said, softly, "and my heart has been full of the same yearning for a long time. It will come, dear Mrs. Seabrook, if we keep on wishing and praying."
"If I only knew how to pray as—as you do!" was the wistful response.
"The Lord's Prayer meets every human need, particularly the clause, 'Thy will be done on earth as in heaven;' only we need to know it was never our Father's 'will' that His children should suffer," Katherine returned.
Tears rushed to the elder woman's eyes.
"I wish I could understand," she began, brokenly. Then, bending forward, she left a light kiss on the girl's cheek and abruptly left the room.
There were tears in Katherine's eyes also, but a tender smile on her lips.
"Divine Love is preparing the soil for the seed," she murmured to herself as she went back to her essay.
She kept herself aloof from the other students as much as possible until Monday, when she appeared as usual in her classes. She had to run the gantlet of some inquiries regarding the extent of her injuries, hut she made light of them, and her comrades began to think they must have been greatly exaggerated, and so gave the matter no further thought.
Monday afternoon, when the duties of the day were over, she went to see Dorothy, who had sent her several pressing invitations during the last three days.
"I thought you would never come, Miss Minturn," she exclaimed, the moment the door opened to admit her, "and I have so wanted to talk over that lovely—lovely time with you."
"I have been pretty busy, dear, since I saw you," Katherine replied, bending to kiss the eager face.
"I expect you have, getting ready for exams, and everything, and I've tried to be patient," said the child, with a sigh, as she recalled how impatient she had felt. "Everybody says that was such a beautiful tableau!" she went on, with shining eyes, "and we know it was, don't we? I shall never forget it; only, it was too bad to have such a scare afterwards and my pretty chariot spoiled. Wasn't it lucky, though, that Uncle Phillip happened to come just when he did and—" but she was obliged to pause here for breath.
"Indeed, it was most fortunate, and I am sorry that the chariot was spoiled, for it would have been a pleasant reminder of our lily queen's grandeur as long as you cared to preserve it," Katherine returned.
"But that was nothing compared with your dress!" was the regretful rejoinder. "Uncle Phil said the skirt was ruined; but papa says you shall have another every bit as nice—"
"Indeed, you shall, Miss Minturn," here interposed Prof. Seabrook, coming from the adjoining room, where he had overheard the above conversation.
He cordially extended his hand as he spoke, while his tone and manner were more affable than they had been since the day of her admission to the school.
"We owe you a great deal," he continued, "both for the pleasure you were instrumental in giving our little girl last Friday night, and for your presence of mind which saved—no one can estimate how much—possibly a dangerous panic, the destruction of property and much suffering."
He had been quietly inspecting the hand he held, while he was speaking, and was greatly surprised to find only a slight discoloration where he had expected to see unsightly sores or scars, and, while he did not wish to undervalue her heroism and self-abnegation, he began to think that his brother-in-law had greatly over-estimated the injuries which she had sustained.
"I am afraid you are giving me far more credit than is my due," Katherine replied, releasing her hand and flushing as she read something of what was passing in his mind. "I simply did what first came to my thought and—"
"And exactly the right thing it was to do," the man smilingly interposed.
"And Dr. Stanley did the rest," she persisted, finishing what had been in her mind to say.
"Well, 'all's well that ends well,' and we are very grateful that things are as they are," said the professor, earnestly, adding:
"You must allow me to repair whatever damage has teen done, as far as money can do that. It pains me to know that you were burned, but I am thankful to see that you did not suffer as severely as I was led to infer." He glanced at her hand again as he concluded.
"I suffered more on Dorothy's account, I think, than in any other way," the girl quietly replied.
"Why! were you burned, Miss Minturn?" Dorothy exclaimed, catching her breath sharply.
"You would hardly know it now," she said, showing her hand, for she saw she could no longer conceal the fact from her.
Dorothy took it, looked it over, then touched her lips lovingly to it.
"I'm very sorry," she said, "but it couldn't have been so awful bad to get well so quickly, could it?"
"It is all passed now, dearie, and we are glad that no one's good time was spoiled, aren't we?" Katherine observed and hastening to change the subject.
"Indeed, we are. It was such a happy time!" sighed Dorrie, in a tone of supreme content. "I've dreamed and dreamed of it. I wake in the morning thinking of it, and mamma and I talk and talk about it."
"I wish to add, Miss Katherine," her principal here interposed, "that your special contribution to the programme of last Friday evening was exceedingly entertaining; and"—his eyes resting very kindly on her—"having learned the circumstances that inspired it, I heartily appreciate the spirit with which you met and mastered them. Now, Dorrie, I will not keep you from your talk with her any longer," and, with a genial smile and bow, the gentleman left the room.
Katherine remained an hour with Dorothy and allowed her to expatiate upon her "good time" to her heart's content, after which she went out into the grounds for a little quiet meditation by herself.
She was very happy because of what Prof. Seabrook had said to her and the marked change in his manner towards her. He had addressed her by her first name, too, for the first time, a thing which he never did in speaking to students in public; but there were a favored few whom he sometimes greeted thus when he chanced to meet them informally, and it now seemed as if she were henceforth to be numbered with them.
All the same, she knew that, in his heart, he was not one whit more tolerant of her religious views, and the skeptical gleam in his eyes, while inspecting her hand, had told her that he had no faith whatever that she had made a "demonstration" over a severe burn. But it was evident there had been a radical change in his attitude towards her; he no longer entertained any personal repulsion, and thus, with the little fire of Friday night, all "barriers had been burned away" and a bond of true sympathy re- established between them. So, with a smile on her lips and a song in her heart, she made her way to a favorite spot, beneath a mammoth beech tree, where, drawing forth a pocket edition of "Unity of Good" [Footnote: By Mary Baker G. Eddy.], that tiny book, that multum in parvo which, to every earnest student of Christian Science, becomes a veritable casket of precious jewels, she was soon lost to all things material in the perusal of its pages.
She had been reading fifteen minutes, perhaps, when a muffled step on the heavy greensward caused her to glance up, to find Dr. Stanley almost beside her.
"All inquiries regarding a certain lady's health, I perceive, are quite unnecessary," he observed, as he searched her glowing face. "Pray pardon me if I have startled you, but I would like to know how that poor hand is getting on, if it is permissible to mention it."
"It is not a 'poor hand'—it is a very good hand, indeed, thank you, Dr. Stanley; at least, for all practical purposes," she demurely returned, but keeping it persistently out of sight, among the folds of her dress, where it had fallen when she arose to greet him.
"Miss Minturn, aren't you going to shake hands with an old friend?" he gravely queried, extending his hand to her, but with a roguish sparkle in his handsome eyes.
Katherine laughed out musically, and reluctantly laid hers within his palm.
The man's face assumed an inscrutable expression as he turned the small member over and examined it with a critical look, even pushing up her sleeve a trifle to view the arm; but the slender wrist was fair and white and no flaw anywhere, except the slight discoloration previously referred to, where the unsightly blisters had been.
"Miss Minturn, it is less than three days since that accident occurred, and those burns are entirely healed! What did you do for them?" he demanded, in low, repressed tones.
"Nothing, except to know that 'God is an ever-present help in time of trouble.'"
"Do you mean to tell me that you applied no lotion or salve? that you did nothing but 'demonstrate mentally,' as you Scientists express it?"
"That was all, Dr. Stanley. I had no lotion or salve."
"How long did you suffer from the pain? I suppose you shrink from being questioned thus by a doctor," he interposed, as he observed her heightened color; "but please tell me—I want to know."
"The burning sensation was all gone at the end of three-quarters of an hour, by the clock, though I confess the time seemed much longer than that," she admitted, with a faint smile. "I was conscious that my hand was sore and very tender as long as I was awake; but in the morning that also was a belief of the past."
"It is beyond me!" muttered the physician, with a puzzled brow. "But," he added, frankly, "I am heartily glad you did not have to suffer many hours, as I felt sure you would, after seeing the condition of your hand that night. I went to your room with my sister, after attending to Dorothy, but, as you know, failed to find you. An hour later Miss Reynolds astounded me by telling me that you were in her room, asleep."
"Yes, she kindly took me under the shelter of her wing."
"Miss Minturn"—accusingly—"you ran away from me; you did not want me to find you;" but he smiled as he said it.
"It was far better for me, with our conflicting opinions. It would only have prolonged my suffering if you had found me and insisted upon dressing the burns, even though your motive was most kind," Katherine gently explained.
"I am almost tempted to believe that, after what I have heard and seen," he thoughtfully admitted.
"I hope you do not feel that I did not appreciate your kindness," Katherine observed, a note of appeal in her voice. "I know that you would have done your best for me, in your way. And now, let me thank you again for the lovely Jacks. I have not seen such beauties for a long time. I hope you received my note of acknowledgment."
"Yes, and wondered how you had managed to hold a pen, much more write your natural hand."
For a moment Katherine wondered how he could know her "natural hand"; then she remembered that he had asked an exchange of cards from herself and her mother the day before they landed the previous fall. She had just given her last one away, so had been obliged to write her name and address on a blank card.
"What is this little book, in which you were so absorbed as I came upon you?" he resumed, as he picked it up from the seat where she had laid it and turned to the title page. "U-m! another production by that remarkable woman! Do you understand it?"
"I am growing to understand it better every time I read it. There is much that is beautiful and helpful in it."
"Well, one would need to read over and over to comprehend what she teaches, and"—reflectively—"I am not sure but what it would be well worth one's while. But I must go. Dorrie will think I am very late this afternoon. An, revoir, Miss Minturn," and slipping the book into Katherine's hands, he lifted his hat and went his way, while she looked after him with shining eyes.
"Mamma sowed better than she knew, there; the soil is good and the seed is taking root," she told herself as she turned with a light heart back to her book.
SADIE RECEIVES AN OPPORTUNE INVITATION.
The last weeks of the school year just seemed to melt away until only one remained, and this was filled full with many duties, various class meetings, preparations for graduating day, class receptions, etc.
For some time Katherine had observed that Sadie appeared absent- minded and depressed; in fact, wholly unlike herself, and twice of late she had surprised her in violent weeping. But the girl would give no reason, made light of it as "nervousness," and evaded all questions.
One day, while looking over their personal belongings and packing away things no longer needed, preparatory to their flitting, Katherine abruptly inquired:
"Sadie, where are you going to spend your summer?"
The girl started violently and turned a vivid scarlet.
"I—I don't know, honey. I reckon I may travel some," she said, after a moment of hesitation.
"With your guardian and his family?"
"N-o; they're going to Europe, but I don't care to go with them."
"But you surely cannot travel by yourself," Katherine observed, in surprise, while she regarded the averted face opposite her curiously, an unaccountable feeling of uneasiness taking possession of her.
"I—I suppose I can't; perhaps I shan't, after all," Sadie stammered. "I may go to some quiet place and board."
"Even in that case you would need a chaperon," Katherine objected.
"Well, Mr. Farnsworth wants me to go to his sister in Genesee County. She's a stiff, little old maid who lives by herself, and he says if I will not go to Europe I must stay with her. But I might as well be shut up in a convent, and—I won't," and there was a resonant note of defiance in Miss Minot's voice as she concluded.
"But what is your objection to the European trip, Sadie? I should think you would like it; I am sure you could have no better opportunity than to go with the Farnsworths," argued Katherine, who was more and more perplexed by her roommate's strange caprice.
"Oh! well, I'm not going, anyway, and that settles the matter!" sharply retorted the girl from the depths of her trunk, but her voice was thick with tears.
Katherine suddenly sat erect, a startled expression sweeping over her face. She dropped the subject, but before an hour had passed a hastily written, special delivery missive was on its way to Mrs. Minturn.
The next evening, after supper, she burst into her room, her face beaming with joy, an open letter in her hand, to find Sadie drooping over a note she had been writing and nibbling at the stem of her pen, apparently in the most disconsolate frame of mind.
She hastily drew a blank sheet of paper over the written page to hide it, a circumstance which did not escape the observing eye of her chum, and, looking over her shoulder, inquired:
"What is it, Katherine? You look as if you'd had good news."
"I have—at least good news to me, and I hope it will be to you also," was the cheery reply.
Sadie sat up and looked interested.
"To me! How so?" she said, in surprise.
"Well, I wrote mamma yesterday that you seemed to be in something of a quandary about your summer, and as I have the privilege of inviting some one to spend my vacation with me, I asked her if I might have you—that is, if you would like to come. Would you, dear?" Katherine pleaded, with an anxiously beating heart. "We have a cottage at Manchester-by-the-Sea, in Massachusetts, which we make our headquarters, then take little trips here and there, as the spirit moves us. Papa cannot be with us all the time, on account of business, but he comes and goes, bringing some of his friends now and then; and, Sadie, we do have very nice times. Now will you be my guest for the summer? I have a special delivery from mamma, who also wants you."
The girl had remained motionless, almost breathless while Katherine was speaking, a peculiar look on her face, which grew red and white by turns. She did not at once reply when she concluded, but seemed irresolute, almost dazed, in fact, by what she had heard.
Then, all at once, she started to her feet, threw her arms around Katherine, bowed her head upon her shoulder and burst into a passion of tears.
"Oh! how good of you, Katharine! How good of you! It will seem like heaven to me!" she sobbed, with more feeling than she had ever manifested before during all the months they had spent together. "Ah! I have been so lonesome, so homesick, so—so wretched, and I would love to go if—if you really want me."
"I certainly do, Sadie, or I would not have asked you," Katherine heartily responded, and now feeling very sure that she had done a wise thing, for she was convinced that the girl's "wretchedness" had proceeded from an entirely different cause than a choice between a European tour and a sojourn with an "old maid in Genesee County."
"It is perfectly lovely of you, and I can never tell you how much it means to me!" Sadie replied, with a long breath of relief, while she wiped the hot tears from her cheeks.
"Well, you need not be 'homesick' any longer," was the cheery assurance, "for mamma will make you feel that you have your own place in our dear home nest on the rocks by the sea; and papa is the jolliest of men. No one need be 'lonesome' when he is around, and we shall have other friends with us some of the time. Listen while I read you what mamma says: 'Have your friend come, by all means, if she thinks she can be happy with us. You can explain what our plans are, and if they prove attractive we will make her one with us.'"
"That will be perfectly delightful! It is awfully sweet of you both," Sadie exclaimed, with sparkling eyes, her spirits quickly rebounding, as the burden of a few hours previous began to roll from her heart. "Oh! Katherine, you never can know how happy you have made me, and I am going to write to my guardian this very minute."
She turned back to her desk, and presently Katherine heard her tearing paper into tiny bits, after which she wrote two letters and then went immediately out to post them.
There were no more tears or doleful looks during the remainder of the week. A day or two later there came an approving letter and a generous check from Mr. Farnsworth, and Sadie was once more her serene and gracious self and looking forward eagerly to the day of their flitting to the sea.
Katherine, on the other hand, was feeling an unaccountable reluctance to leaving, even with the expectation of returning in September, and in spite of her longing for both father and mother. It was very strange, she told herself, but she certainly was not elated over the prospect of a long vacation.
Prof. Seabrook was going to Europe for a complete change of scene and rest. Mrs. Seabrook, Dorothy and nurse were booked for a quiet spot in the White Mountains, where, it was hoped, pure air and country life and diet would strengthen the frail girl for what was in store for her, and where Dr. Stanley would join them, for the month of August, if he could arrange to leave his patients.
Miss Reynolds was to go to her home in Auburn for July, but, to Katherine's delight, had accepted an invitation from Mrs. Minturn to be her guest during the first two weeks of August.
And so, when the morning of their departure came, adieus and good wishes were exchanged with their many school friends, and the two girls started upon their journey to the coast of the "good old Bay State" and lovely Manchester, that beautiful town so boldly perched on rugged crags and nestling so restfully 'mid sylvan shadows.
There was a secret sense of disappointment in Katherine's heart because she had not seen Dr. Stanley during these last days. He had been unusually busy for a month, and she had not met him since the afternoon, of their brief interview under the great beech tree; but when she went to say farewell to Mrs. Seabrook she left a friendly message and good-by for him.
Dorothy wept when taking leave of her, and Mrs. Seabrook clung fondly to her.
"I am very loath to let you go," she said, "for there have been many peaceful hours in this room when you have been with us, and I shall count the weeks until we are all back again. Somehow, I am dreading my summer," she concluded, with a weary sigh.
It was six o'clock in the evening when the young travelers reached Boston, where they were met by Mr. Minturn, an unusually prepossessing gentleman, who evidently was very fond of "my girlie," as he called Katherine when he gathered her into his strong arms. and held close for a moment.
Then he greeted Sadie with a breezy cordiality which, for once, disabused her of the notion that Northerners were "stiff and cold" and Southern hospitality at a premium.
They had just time to get their trunks rechecked and catch a suburban train, and about an hour later, seated behind a pair of spirited bays, they were rolling over a smooth country road and ere long drew up beneath the porte cochere of a fine residence built on a rocky bluff and overlooking a broad expanse of ocean.
"So this is a 'cottage by the sea,' a 'nest on the rocks,'" Miss Minot mentally observed to herself as her glance roamed over the roomy mansion, while she was mounting the steps leading to the wide veranda, where Mrs. Minturn and another lady, both in dinner costumes, were waiting to welcome them. Katherine flew to her mother's arms, while Mr. Minturn presented Sadie to Mrs. Evarts; then, presently, Mrs. Minturn came to her, greeting her so graciously and lovingly that her heart was won at once, and she felt that she had been admitted within a charmed circle and a strangely peaceful atmosphere.
"Now, my dears, I am not going to make you dress to-night," Mrs. Minturn observed, when the greetings were over. "Ellen"—glancing at a maid in spotless cap and apron—"will take you upstairs and help you get rid of some of the dust of travel, then you can come directly down, for we were only awaiting your arrival before having dinner served."
The maid took possession of their hand bags and led the way indoors, up a broad stairway to two adjoining rooms, opening out upon a balcony which commanded, a fine view of both land and sea. After submitting to a vigorous brushing, bathing hands and faces and pinning into place some truant locks, they went below to a tempting repast, to which the two hungry travelers did ample justice.
The weeks that followed Sadie Minot never forgot, for they marked the beginning of a new era in her life. She seemed to be living in a different world. Every day was begun with a reading from the Bible and the Christian Science text-book; this was followed by the singing of a lovely hymn, then came a minute or two of silent communion, after which the Lord's Prayer was repeated in unison.
Ofttimes Mrs. Minturn and her friend would remain to discuss or go over again some passage that had awakened a new train of thought, and frequently Sadie found herself lingering also, an interested listener.
After a week of rest they began to make trips to various points of interest, sometimes stopping two or three days in a place, then returning to Manchester for a little season of quiet, when they would flit away again in another direction.
It was ideal. There was never any friction or jar in the home or on the wing; an atmosphere of peace and love brooded everywhere, while, at the same time, a spirit of good-fellowship and jollity pervaded the entire household, particularly when Mr. Minturn made one of their number.
Katherine, who was quietly observant of her friend, was glad to see that there was no return of the absentminded moods or depression that had previously overshadowed her; but that she seemed care-free and happy, giving herself up heartily to the enjoyment of her vacation.
Only now and then, when a letter addressed in a bold, free hand came to her, did she seem to cast a backward glance or recall anything to mar her pleasure.
They had little visits at Newport and Narragansett Pier, a trip to the Thousand Isles, interspersed with outings at the Essex County Club at home; golf, tennis and drives, and, now and then, a run to Boston for sightseeing or shopping.
One morning—the very last of July—Katherine received a letter bearing a New Hampshire postmark.
"I wonder if it is from Mrs. Seabrook! I have been wishing we might hear from Dorothy," she observed, as she hastily cut the end of the envelope and drew forth a closely written sheet. "Yes, it is," she supplemented, glancing at the name appended, and then became absorbed in its contents, her face growing grave and wistful as she read.
"Mamma," she remarked, when she had finished and was refolding the missive, "Mrs. Seabrook writes that Dorothy is not as well. They have had to send for Dr. Stanley, and he thinks that the mountain air does not agree with her; that she would be better near the sea. She has written to ask if we know of a cottage here that she could rent for the remainder of the season."
"Why, yes; there is the Hunt cottage. Mrs. Hunt told me yesterday that they are all going on a trip through the Canadas; but she was in a quandary about her help. She does not like to let them go, neither does she feel quite like leaving them to run the house by themselves. Perhaps she would be glad to rent it," Mrs. Minturn returned.
'That would be delightful, for then we could have Mrs. Seabrook for a neighbor, and—oh! mamma—if we only could do something for that dear child," said Katherine, yearningly.
"We could not interfere there, dear," her mother gravely replied. "We could do nothing, with Prof. Seabrook so opposed to the treatment of Christian Science. But I will go and talk with Mrs. Hunt and see what can be done for your friends."
The result of her call was a cordial assent on the part of the Hunts to rent the cottage, if the Seabrooks, after learning the terms, desired to have it.
Katherine wrote by return mail, stating the case to Mrs. Seabrook, and the second day afterward, while she and Sadie were busy with some fancy work on the veranda, Dr. Stanley suddenly appeared, mounting the steps.
Katherine sprang forward to greet him, her face glowing with pleasure.
"This is a delightful surprise, Dr. Stanley," she said, giving him a cordial hand. "Come and have a chair. If you have walked from the station you will be glad to get out of the sun, and I am sure you need no introduction to Miss Minot."
The physician saluted Sadie with his customary courtesy, then seated himself in the comfortable rocker tendered him, and gazed, with an appreciative eye, off upon the blue expanse before him, at the same time taking in deep breaths of the cool, delicious salt air.
"This is glorious!" he exclaimed. "Young ladies, I do not wonder at the roses in your cheeks, in view of these invigorating breezes wafted straight from the domain of old Neptune."
Sadie, however, did marvel as she observed the unusual color in the face of her friend. "The invigorating breezes of 'Old 'Neptune' didn't have anything to do with that," she said to herself.
"We have found it very warm and close up in the mountains," the gentleman resumed, "and I now regret that I did not send my sister to the sea at the beginning of the summer."
Katherine inquired for Mrs. Seabrook, who had scarcely referred to herself in her letter, and expressed her regret that Dorrie had seemed to lose ground.
"Yes, she has been very poorly, and her mother is simply worn out with anxiety and watching," said Phillip Stanley, with a clouded brow. "You perceive I lost no time, after the receipt of your letter, in coming to conclude the arrangements with Mrs. Hunt."
"You will find her cottage very comfortable and homelike, although it is not very large," Katherine informed him. "We think it is just the place for you, because of the well-trained help, which will greatly relieve dear Mrs. Seabrook. That is the house—the second one above us on the opposite side of the street."
"The location is certainly fine. It is high, has a good view of the ocean and spacious grounds. I shall feel that we are very fortunate to secure it. I wonder if I shall find Mrs. Hunt at home?" said the gentleman, and apparently eager to conclude the bargain.
"I think so, and, if agreeable to you, Dr. Stanley, I will go over with and introduce you to her," returned his young hostess.
"That is very good of you, Miss Minturn," he eagerly responded, with a look that caused the white lids to droop quickly over the brown eyes. "I shall certainly avail myself of your kind offer."
"I am sorry that mamma is not at home," Katherine remarked, as she arose to go in and make ready for the proposed call. "She will be disappointed to have missed you. She was obliged to go to Boston this morning, with Miss Reynolds, who arrived last night, and will not be back until late this evening. Sadie, will you come with us to Mrs. Hunt's?" she concluded, turning to her friend.
"No, I reckon not," the girl lazily replied. "I am too comfortable to move, unless the occasion is imperative."
Katherine disappeared, but shortly returned equipped for her call, and Phillip Stanley's glance rested appreciatively on the lithe, graceful figure in its dainty robe of pale yellow chambrey, with its soft garnishings of lace and black velvet. The nut-brown head was crowned with a pretty shade hat of yellow straw, also trimmed with black velvet ribbon, and a white parasol, surmounted by a great, gleaming white satin bow, completed the effective costume, while the girl's pink cheeks and brilliant eyes told, as she walked away with her companion, that she was bound upon no unpleasant errand.
"U-m!" ejaculated Sadie, with a wise nod, as she looked after the vanishing couple, "you two will make a perfectly stunning pair and—you have my unqualified blessing."
The arrangements with Mrs. Hunt were soon completed, for Dr. Stanley was only too eager to secure her charming cottage upon any terms.
When he spoke of references the lady cut him short by smilingly remarking that she needed no better vouchers than her friends, the Minturns. The family would leave the next morning, she said, and it would be perfectly agreeable, as far as she was concerned, to have Mrs. Seabrook take possession the following day, and it was so arranged.
As they left the house Dr. Stanley glanced at his watch, then drew forth a time-table.
"I have an hour or so before I need to leave for Boston," he observed, after studying it for a moment.
"Oh! Dr. Stanley, do not say that!" Katherine exclaimed, in a tone of disappointment. "You surely will come and have lunch with Sadie and me, then I will order the horses and we will have a nice drive."
"You tempt me sorely, Miss Minturn," the gentleman smilingly observed, as he met the appealing brown eyes, "but if I am to bring my sister and Dorrie here the day after to-morrow, I must get back to them tonight."
"Yes, I can understand that you wish them to come as soon as possible," Katherine replied, and at once yielding her point; "and you all shall have plenty of drives before the summer is over. But, if you have an hour to spare, perhaps you would like to walk about a little; I can show you one or two fine views."
"That will be very enjoyable," he eagerly responded, and they bent their steps towards a point which had become a favorite spot with Katherine.
They had a pleasant ramble, talking of various matters, but without once referring to the subject of Christian Science, for Katherine purposely avoided it for several reasons.
Finally they turned their faces towards the town, when, on rounding a curve in the road, they saw the figure of a man sauntering idly along some distance before them, although, at the time, neither bestowed more than a casual glance upon him.
Presently, however, after again consulting his watch, Dr. Stanley said time was flying, and he must hasten to catch his train; so, quickening their steps, they soon overtook the stranger in front of them.
He shot a curious look at them, as they were passing; then, to Katharine's amazement, doffed his hat with a courteous "How do you do, Miss Minturn? Ah! Stanley! a fine day."
Without slackening his pace, the physician turned a pair of blazing eyes upon the man, as he, in duty bound, lifted his own hat; and they had passed him before Katherine could do more than bestow an astonished look upon him.
Her companion turned and searched the puzzled face beside him.
"Miss Minturn, do you know that young man?" he gravely inquired.
She flashed a pair of startled eyes up at him, for his tone had a peculiar note in it.
"I don't know. There was something familiar about him, and he seemed to recognize me," she began, doubtfully. "Why!" she went on, her face clearing, "I remember now. I was introduced to him last spring; his name is Willard, I believe. Oh! what does he want down here?" she concluded, with a sudden heartthrob of fear.
"I do not know who may have introduced you," her companion remarked, "but I feel it my duty to tell you that he is a man whose acquaintance is very undesirable. It is true he belongs to a fine family, but he is their thorn in the flesh. He is a drunkard and a gambler, and his associates are among the most reprobate. Two or three times I have been called to bring him out of a state bordering upon delirium tremens. A physician is not supposed to give away the weaknesses of his patients," he interposed, in a deprecatory tone, "but under existing circumstances I feel justified in saying what I have said."
"I had a suspicion that he might not be desirable," Katherine returned, and feeling deeply disturbed, for she was sure the man had followed Sadie for no good purpose. "I never met him but once, and then under rather peculiar circumstances. I thank you for telling me about him, for, although I may never see him again, it may prove a warning to some one whom I know who has seen more of him."
They had almost reached the station by this time, and a warning whistle told them that the inward-bound train was near at hand.
There was just time for Dr. Stanley to get his ticket, take a hurried leave of his fair companion, and then board his car, waving a last adieu.
The girl stood watching the train as it rolled from the station, a soft radiance in her large brown eyes, a happy smile parting her red lips; while the physician bore away with him the mental picture of a dainty little lady in pale yellow, her beautiful face looking out at him from beneath a most becoming shade hat, one slender hand holding aloft a white ruffled parasol surmounted by a gleaming satin bow.
MRS. SEABROOK TAKES A STAND.
On her way back, after Dr. Stanley's departure, Katherine stopped at the house of a friend to make a call.
She found her in a pavilion that flanked a corner of the veranda, and with her some other young people, all of whom were busily engaged with the new fad of basket making. They were just on the point of having light refreshments and heartily welcomed her to their circle, where the time slipped unheeded by until a clock, somewhere, striking the half hour after twelve, warned her that lunch at home would soon be served, and Sadie, even now, must be wondering what had become of her.
But when she reached home the girl was nowhere to be found. It was after one o'clock and lunch waiting when she finally came slowly up the hill, which sloped to the beach behind the house, and Katherine was sure, from her flushed cheeks and reddened lids, that she had been crying.
There was no opportunity for any confidential conversation during the meal, for the waitress was in the room, and, after making a very light repast, Sadie observed she "reckoned she'd go take a nap," and abruptly leaving the table, disappeared.
Katharine was deeply thoughtful while finishing her lunch. "He has been here," she said to herself as she folded and slipped her napkin into its ring; then, with a resolute uplifting of her head, she followed Sadie upstairs and tapped upon her door. "Please excuse me for a little while, honey," came the response from within, but in unnatural tones.
"But, Sadie, I am sure that something is troubling you; and, besides, I have an item of important news to tell you," her friend persisted.
"Well, then, come," was the reluctant reply, and Katherine entered, to find the girl, as she had surmised, in tears.
"I knew it, dear," she said, going to her side. "I was sure you were grieving about something, and I believe that Ned Willard is the cause of it. I saw him this morning when I was out with Dr. Stanley."
"You did! He didn't say that he had seen you," exclaimed Sadie, in astonishment. Then, realizing how she had committed herself, she colored a vivid scarlet and fell to weeping afresh.
"Ah! then he has been here!" said Katherine. "I thought so, when you came in to lunch." There was a moment of awkward silence, then she resumed: "Sadie, I do not wish to force your confidence, but I am going to tell you frankly what is on my mind, and I hope you will feel it is only my friendship for you that impels me to say it. I noticed, for a long time before school closed, that you were not yourself, that you were depressed and unhappy, and I was confident that Mr. Willard was the cause of it; that it was on his account you refused to go to Europe with your guardian. It even seemed to me that you were almost on the point of taking some step, doing something rash, from which you instinctively shrank, and when I asked you to come home with me you seized the opportunity as a loophole of escape. Of course, I have not been blind and I have suspected that certain letters which have come to you here were from Mr. Willard, and when I saw him to-day I feared he had followed you and would make you 'wretched' again. I did not know him at first, but he recognized me and spoke to me."
She paused irresolute for a moment, then continued:
"I am going to tell you all, Sadie, for I know it is right you should learn the truth. Dr. Stanley looked amazed when Mr. Willard spoke to me, and inquired, if I knew the man. I told him I had simply been introduced to him, and he said, 'He is a person whose acquaintance is very undesirable; he is a drunkard and a gambler; he belongs to a good family, but he is their thorn in the flesh, because of his dissolute ways.' Perhaps this sounds harsh, even unkind to you, but I am trying to do by you as I would by my own sister if I had one. I don't want you to spoil your life, Sadie."
The girl had been growing more composed during Katherine's revelations, and when she concluded she sat up on the bed, threw her handkerchief away and faced her.
"I am glad that you have told me this, Katherine," she said, drawing a deep breath, "and I have longed, ever since I came to this 'house of peace'—for it has been that to me—to tell you this secret that has been eating my heart out. I did continue to meet Ned on the sly, even after I promised you, last spring, that I would not. I wrote him, as I told you I would, about going to Mr. Farnsworth and doing the square thing; but he only laughed at me and still insisted upon seeing me the same as ever. I—I really am fond of him, honey," she confessed, a vivid blush suffusing her face. "Ned has good qualities, in spite of his faults. I know that he has been in the habit of drinking some, but we Southerners don't mind that as much as you Northerners do. I—I didn't know about his gambling—that seems dreadful. I know he thinks the world of me, for when my guardian said he was going to take me to Europe he was perfectly wild about it; so that is why I gave it up. Then he wanted—oh! Katherine! how can I tell you—"and the scarlet face went down upon the pillow again.
"Yes, dear, I suspected it—I almost knew that he wanted you to marry him secretly, and you came very near consenting—would have taken the irrevocable step perhaps if I had not asked you to come with me," gently interposed her friend.
"Katherine! What made you think that?" and the girl started up again, amazed.
"Oh! several things; your fits of abstraction, your 'homesickness,' your 'wretchedness,' and the remarkable reaction that followed your acceptance of my invitation."
"Well, honey, it was true, and I shall always love you for saving me from that, for I knew it was wrong. I was beginning to get my eyes open a little, though, and to feel that Ned should not have asked me to marry him in any such way; but I hardly knew which way to turn," Sadie confessed, with downcast eyes.
"Of course, I am glad to have you with me; but perhaps going to Europe would have been the better plan. It would have taken you out of his way," Katherine thoughtfully observed.
"I couldn't leave—I—I didn't want to," faltered her companion, and Katherine sighed as she saw that there was an even stronger attachment here than she had suspected.
"He has been trying to persuade me to—to go away with him ever since I came here," Sadie resumed, and evidently determined to keep nothing back; "and to-day he came upon me suddenly while you were away, and he wasn't very kind"—her lips quivered painfully over those last words; "but," she presently went on, "since I have been here many things have begun to seem different to me, and I had made up my mind to go back to school and do my very best next year; but if Ned is going to keep on bothering me like this, I shall be wretched."
"If he comes again I think we will have to let papa deal with him," said Katherine, gravely.
"Oh! I wouldn't have your father or mother know anything about it for the world," cried Sadie, in distress. "I begin to feel ashamed of the whole affair myself, and I would not marry him on the sly now for anything. But he claims that I am pledged to him, and says he will make trouble for me if I try to dodge him," and the girl nervously twisted a diamond ring; which she wore on the first finger of her left hand.
"There is nothing to prevent you from releasing yourself from any such rash pledge if you choose to do so," said Katharine. Then she asked: "Is that your engagement ring, dear?"
"Yes; but I haven't dared to wear it on the right finger, for I didn't want anyone to know," she admitted, with a blush of shame.
Katherine leaned forward and smiled fondly into her eyes.
"You understand, I am sure, that I do not wish to meddle in an affair of this kind; but if you will allow me. I would advise you to return that ring at once. Tell Mr. Willard that you revoke your promise to him, and that henceforth he is to leave you unmolested. Think it over, Sadie, and I am sure your own good judgment will tell you this would be the wiser course. Now I will leave you to take your nap, for I think you need it," and, kissing her softly, she left the room.
The next morning a great burden rolled from her heart when she saw Sadie hand the postman a letter and a small package on which there was a special delivery stamp, and she earnestly hoped that this step in the right direction would forever end the disagreeable affair.
The following day the Seabrooks arrived, and our "brown-eyed lassie" was very happy to have so many of her school friends around her; but it was impossible not to see how pale and worn Mrs. Seabrook looked, and that Dorrie had failed not a little.
After a few days, however, the child appeared to improve a trifle, and everybody else began to look refreshed and hopeful once more. Dr. Stanley devoted the greater portion of his time to her, and she was never so happy as when he wheeled her to some point where she could have an unobstructed view of the ocean and watch the foam-crested waves as they broke upon the rocks on the shore.
At times, when she was sleeping or being cared for by the ever- faithful Alice, the physician and his sister might have been found at the Minturn home, where many a pleasant hour was spent on its broad verandas, and where the subject of Christian Science was often the theme of conversation, and Mrs. Minturn was plied with numerous questions by Miss Reynolds and the doctor also.
Mrs. Seabrook rarely joined in these discussions, but Katherine observed that she was a very attentive listener.
Miss Reynolds had become an enthusiastic student; in fact, she was having class instruction under Mrs. Minturn, and did not hesitate to avow her full acceptance of its teachings.
Dr. Stanley maintained, at first, a very conservative attitude; but it was apparent that he had read more on the subject than he was ready to admit.
Once he quoted a passage from "Unity of Good" [Footnote: By Mary Baker G. Eddy] and asked Mrs. Minturn to explain it, whereupon Katherine bent a look of surprise on him.
He caught her glance, flushed slightly, then smiled.
"Yes, Miss Minturn," he said, "after glancing at your book, that day when we met under the beech tree, I felt a curiosity to know more of what it contained, so bought a copy and—yes—read it through three times."
"Have you read 'Science and Health'?" inquired Mrs. Minturn.
"Yes, twice, and 'Miscellaneous Writings' [Footnote: By Mary Baker G. Eddy] once. What do you think of such a confession as that from a doubly dyed M.D.?" he concluded, with heightened color and stealing a side glance at his sister.
"I should say you are getting on pretty well," replied his hostess.
"No; I am not getting on at all," he asserted, with an uncomfortable shrug. "I don't understand them and I find I am at cross-purposes all the time."
"Yes, I can comprehend that, if you are trying to mix materia medica and Science; you will have to drop one or the other, or still be at 'cross-purposes,'" returned the lady.
The gentleman made no reply, and the subject was changed.
"Well, Phillip, you electrified me this afternoon!" Mrs. Seabrook observed, when, later, they were by themselves at home.
"Why? Because of the books I confessed to having read?"
"Yes; when did you begin to be so interested in Christian Science?"
"When that child was healed of seasickness on shipboard."
"And—are you going to adopt it?"
"I don't know, Emelie. I haven't reached that point yet."
"I should hope not after all your years of study and practice, to say nothing about the expense involved," returned his sister, in a tone of disapproval, for she was exceedingly proud of her successful brother. "Are you becoming dissatisfied with your profession, Phillip?" she asked, after a moment.
"When I encounter a case like Dorrie's I am dissatisfied with it," he admitted, with a quiver of his mobile lips. "When I am called to a case that responds quickly to treatment, I feel all the old enthusiasm tingling within me. Then, again, when I attend our medical associations and find the faculty discarding" methods and remedies which were once pronounced 'wonderful discoveries,' and substituting something new or something that had years ago been discarded, I become disgusted, and declare there is no science in materia medica; that it is but 'a bundle of speculative theories,' as Mrs. Eddy puts it in her startling chapter on 'Medicine.'" [Footnote: "Science and Health," page 149.]
"What rank heresy, Phil!" exclaimed his sister, with a laugh.
"I know it, and I have been in a very uncomfortable state of 'mental chemicalization'—which is another pat phrase coined by that same remarkable woman—over it for some time."
"Dear me! what is the world coming to with its ever-changing creeds, doctrines and opinions? One begins to feel that there is no really solid foundation to anything," replied Mrs. Seabrook, with a troubled brow. "Phillip!"—with a start and a sudden blanching of her face—"are you losing faith in your treatment of Dorothy?"
"I should have all faith if she were improving under it," he returned, moodily.
"But she isn't! You are seeing that as well as I," and the mother's voice broke with sudden anguish. "Oh, if you are losing faith I shall know there is no hope."
"Don't, Emelie," pleaded her brother; "I really am hoping much from this change—"
"Ah! that is equivalent to saying that you have exhausted your methods—that our only hope now is in a salubrious atmosphere, etc. It has been the same story, over and over," she wailed. "Every physician we have had—his resources having failed—has suggested 'change of air and scene,' and 'hoped that nature would do the rest.' What do you doctors mean by that? What is 'nature'?" she concluded, almost wildly.
"I see, Emelie, you feel that is a way of begging the question to secure release from a doubtful position," the man returned, sadly. "Well"—with a sigh—"I am forced to admit that none of our remedies are infallible. But, it should not be so," he went on, thoughtfully, "For years I have felt it when disease has baffled me; there should be a panacea—a universal remedy, provided by an all-wise Creator for suffering humanity; but, ah! to find it!"
At those words Mrs. Seabrook started and looked up quickly.
"Have you those books—that you mentioned to-day—with you?" she inquired.
"I want to read them."
"Will would never forgive me for putting them into your hands."
Mrs. Seabrook sat suddenly erect.
"I am not a child that I must have my reading selected for me," she retorted, spiritedly. "But, I can buy them."
"Dear, I wouldn't force you to that expense to gain your point," said her brother, as he tenderly laid his arm around her shoulders. "They are in my trunk, and you can have them whenever you wish. But you are tired—go to bed now, and I hope you will have a good night's rest."
"I am afraid I have seemed cross and out of sorts, Phil. Perhaps I also am in a state of 'mental chemicalization,'" she said, with a faint smile that ended in a sob; "but, indeed, my heart is very sore. I shall read your books, and, if they appeal to me, I—shall have Christian Science treatment for my child," and there was a ring of something very like defiance in her voice which smote strangely on her brother's ear; for Emelie Seabrook had ever been regarded as one of the gentlest and least self-willed of women.
But the reading of the books was postponed, for Dorrie began to droop again, and the faithful mother could scarcely be persuaded to leave her even for necessary food and sleep. Mrs. Minturn, Katherine and Sadie were all tireless in their efforts to do something to lighten her burdens. Many a delicacy found its way to the cottage to tempt the capricious appetite of the child; interesting incidents were treasured to relate to her, and many devices employed to shorten the weary hours.
But there came a time that tried them all, for, in spite of the greatest care and watchfulness, the girl contracted a sudden and violent cold, and became so seriously ill that Dr. Stanley—though he gave no sign of his fears—felt that the end was very near.
For three days he battled fiercely with the seeming destroyer, while her suffering drove them all to the verge of despair.
At sunset of the third day, while attempting to change her position, hoping to make her more comfortable, she suddenly lapsed into a semi-conscious state from which they could not arouse her. When this condition had lasted for upwards of half an hour Mrs. Seabrook turned despairingly to her brother.
"Can you do nothing, Phillip?" she asked.
"I am afraid not, Emelie, except to continue giving the stimulants to try to keep the spark of life a little longer," he returned with white lips.
His sister caught her breath sharply.
"Then—will you give her up to—Mrs. Minturn?" she cried, hoarsely.
He bent a look of surprised inquiry upon her.
"I am going to try it," she went on, still in that unnatural tone. "I am going to try to save my child, and—I do not care who says 'no.'"
Phillip Stanley went to her, took her white face between his hands and kissed her tenderly, as he said:
"Very well, Emelie, I will go at once for her, and, from my soul, I am glad that you have taken this stand."
He hurried from the house and went with all speed to the Minturn mansion. He found Mrs. Minturn on the veranda, Katherine and her guests having gone for a walk.
"Will you come with me?" he asked. "You are needed at once." He briefly explained the situation to her, and in less than five minutes they were both at Dorothy's bedside.
"Oh, can you do anything for her?" helplessly moaned the heart- broken mother as the woman entered the room.
"Dear heart, God is our refuge. He is the 'strength of our life'; of whom shall we be afraid?" Mrs. Minturn quoted in calm, sweet tones, as she slipped a reassuring arm around Mrs. Seabrook's waist; and, standing thus, she repeated the ninety-first psalm through to the end; then dropping her face upon her hand, she treated silently for ten minutes or more.
Meantime Dorothy's half-opened lids had gently closed, hiding the sightless eyes, and she lay almost breathless upon her pillows.
Dr. Stanley, alertly observant of every change, believed it was the end; but, having relinquished his patient, knowing that he was absolutely helpless at this supreme moment, he made no sign.
Presently Mrs. Minturn broke the silence.
"Will you please leave me alone with her for a while?" she asked.
"Oh, I cannot leave my child!" panted Mrs. Seabrook, rebelliously.
"She is in our Father's care—our trust is in Him," Mrs. Minturn gently returned. "Go into the next room and lie down. I promise to call you if there is the slightest need, and, believe me, I ask only what is best."
Dr. Stanley took his sister by the hand and led her unresistingly from the room. He made her go to an adjoining chamber and lie upon a couch, then seated himself beside her.
To his amazement her tense form almost instantly relaxed and in twenty minutes she was asleep.
He sat there with his head bowed upon his hands for nearly two hours, thinking as he had seldom thought during his whole life. At the end of that time the door of Dorothy's room was noiselessly opened and Mrs. Minturn beckoned to him.