AND OTHER STORIES.
FRANCES HENSHAW BADEN.
Table of Contents
WHO WAS THE THIEF?
THE TWO BROTHERS.
WHAT HE LEFT.
BY FRANCES HENSHAW BADEN.
It was a cold night in September. For three days the
rain had fallen almost unceasingly. It had been impossible
for us to get out; and no visitors had been in.
Everything looked dreary enough, and we felt so, truly.
Of course the stoves were not prepared for use; and this
night we (that is, Nell, Floy, Aunt Edna, and myself) were
huddled in the corners of the sofa and arm-chairs, wrapped
in our shawls. We were at our wits' end for something to
while the hours away. We had read everything that was
readable; played until we fancied the piano sent forth a
wail of complaint, and begged for rest; were at the backgammon
board until our arms ached; and I had given
imitations of celebrated actresses, until I was hoarse, and
Nell declared I was in danger of being sued for scandal.
What more could we do? To dispel the drowsiness that
was stealing over me, I got up, walked up and down the
floor, and then drew up the blind, and gazed out into the
deserted street. Not a footfall to be heard, neither man's
nor beast's; nothing but patter, patter, patter. At length,
after standing fully fifteen minutes—oh, joyful sound!—a
coming footstep, firm and quick. My first thought was
that those steps would stop at our door. But, directly after,
I felt that very improbable, for who was there that would
come such a night? Papa was up north with mamma;
Nell and Floy were visiting Aunt Edna and me, the only
ones home, save the servants. Neither of us had as yet a
lover so devoted or so demented as to come out, if he had
anywhere to stay in.
On and past went the steps. Turning away, I drew
down the blind, and said: "Some one must be ill, and
that was the doctor, surely: for no one else would go out,
only those from direst necessity sent."
A deep sigh escaped Aunt Edna's lips, and although
partially shaded by her hand, I could see the shadow on
the beautiful face had deepened.
Why my aunt had never married was a mystery to me,
for she was lovable in every way, and must have been very
beautiful in her youth. Thirty-six she would be next
May-day, she had told me. Thirty-six seemed to me, just
sixteen, a very great many years to have lived. But aunt
always was young to us; and the hint of her being an old
maid was always resented, very decidedly, by all her nieces.
"Aunt Edna," I said, "tell us a story—a love-story,
"Oh, little one, you have read so many! And what can
I tell you more?" she answered, gently.
"Oh, aunty, I want a true story! Do, darling aunty,
tell us your own. Tell us why you are blessing our home
with your presence, instead of that of some noble man, for
noble he must have been to have won your heart, and—hush-sh!
Yes, yes; I know something about somebody,
and I must know all. Do, please!"
I plead on. I always could do more with Aunt Edna
than any one else. I was named for her, and many called
me like her—"only not nearly so pretty" was always
At last she consented, saying:
"Dear girls, to only one before have I given my entire
confidence, and that was my mother. I scarce know why
I have yielded to your persuasions, little Edna, save that
this night, with its gloom and rain, carries me back long
years, and my heart seems to join its pleading with yours,
yearning to cast forth some of its fulness, and perchance
find relief by pouring into your loving heart its own
sorrows. But, darling, I would not cast my shadow over
your fair brow, even for a brief time."
With her hand still shading her face, Aunt Edna began:
"Just such a night as this, eighteen years ago, dear
child, my fate was decided. The daughter of my mother's
dearest friend had been with us about a year. Dearly we
all loved the gentle child, for scarcely more than child she
was—only sixteen. My mother had taken her from the
cold, lifeless form of her mother into her own warm, loving
heart, and she became to me as a sister. So fair and frail
she was! We all watched her with the tenderest care,
guarding her from all that could chill her sensitive nature
or wound the already saddened heart. Lilly was her name.
Oh, what a delicate white lily she was when we first brought
her to our home; but after a while she was won from her
sorrow, and grew into a maiden of great beauty. Still,
with child-like, winning ways.
"Great wells of love were in her blue eyes—violet hue
he called them. Often I wondered if any one's gaze would
linger on my dark eyes when hers were near? Her pale
golden hair was pushed off her broad forehead and fell in
heavy waves far down below her graceful shoulders and
over her black dress. Small delicately-formed features, a
complexion so fair and clear that it seemed transparent.
In her blue eyes there was always such a sad, wistful look;
this, and the gentle smile that ever hovered about her lips,
gave an expression of mingled sweetness and sorrow that
was very touching. You may imagine now how beautiful
"Her mother had passed from earth during the absence
of Lilly's father. Across the ocean the sorrowful tidings
were born to him. He was a naval officer. Lilly was
counting the days ere she should see him. The good news
had come, that soon he would be with her. At last the
day arrived, but oh! what a terrible sorrow it brought.
When her heart was almost bursting with joy, expecting
every moment to be clasped in those dear arms—a telegraphic
despatch was handed in. Eagerly she caught it,
tore it open, read—and fell lifeless to the floor.
"Oh! the fearful, crushing words. We read, not of his
coming to Lilly, but of his going to her, his wife, in heaven.
Yes, truly an orphan the poor girl was then.
"In vain proved all efforts to restore her to consciousness.
Several times, when she had before fainted, mother
was the only physician needed. But that night she shook
her head and said:
"'We must have a doctor, and quickly.'
"It was a terrible night. Our doctor was very remote.
Your father suggested another, near by.
"Dr.——, well, never mind his name. Your father said
he had lately known him, and liked him much.
"Through the storm he came, and by his skilful treatment
Lilly was soon restored to consciousness, but not to
health. A low nervous fever set in, and many days we
watched with fearful hearts. Ah! during those days I
learned to look too eagerly for the doctor's coming. Indeed,
he made his way into the hearts of all in our home.
After the dreaded crisis had passed, and we knew that
Lilly would be spared to us, the doctor told mother he
should have to prescribe for me. I had grown pale, from
confinement in the sick-room, and he must take me for a
drive, that the fresh air should bring the roses back to my
cheeks. Willingly mother consented. After that I often
went. When Lilly was able to come down-stairs, this
greatest pleasure of my life then was divided with her.
One afternoon I stood on the porch with her, waiting while
the doctor arranged something about the harness.
"'Oh! how I wish it was my time to go!' she whispered.
"'Well, darling, it shall be your time. I can go to-morrow.
Run, get your hat and wraps,' I said, really glad
to give any additional pleasure to this child of many
"'No, no, that would not be fair. And, Edna, don't you
know that to-morrow I would be so sorry if I went to-day?
I do not mean to be selfish, but, oh, indeed I cannot help
it! I am wishing every time to go. Not that I care for a
ride—" She hesitated, flushed, and whispered: 'I like to
be with my doctor. Don't you, Edna? Oh! I wish he
was my father, or brother, or cousin—just to be with us all
the time, you know.'
"Just then the doctor came for me, and I had to leave
her. As we drove off I looked back and kissed my hand
to her, saying:
"'Dear little thing! I wish she was going with us.'
"'I do not,' the doctor surprised me by saying.
"I raised my eyes inquiringly to his. In those beautiful,
earnest eyes I saw something that made me profoundly
happy. I could not speak. After a moment he added:
"'She is a beautiful, winning child, and I enjoy her
company. But when with her, I feel as if it was my duty
to devote myself entirely to her—in a word, to take care of
her, or, I should say, to care for her only. And this afternoon,
of all others, I do not feel like having Lilly with
"That afternoon was one of the happiest of my life.
Although not a word of love passed his lips. I knew it
filled his heart, and was for me. He told me of his home,
his relatives, his past life. Of his mother he said:
"'When you know her, you will love her dearly.'
"He seemed to be sure that I should know her. And
then—ah, well, I thought so too, then.
"Lilly was waiting for us when we returned. He chided
her for being out so late. It was quite dark. Tears filled
her eyes as she raised them to his and said:
"'Don't be angry. I could not help watching. Oh,
why did you stay so long? I thought you would never
come back. I was afraid something had happened—that
the horse had run away, or—'
"'Angry I could not be with you, little one. But I
don't want you to get sick again. Come, now, smile away
your tears and fears! Your friend is safe and with you
again,' the doctor answered.
"Taking her hand, he led her into the parlor.
"He had not understood the cause of her tears. Only
for him she watched and wept.
"'Do stay,' she plead, when her doctor was going.
"He told her he could not, then; there was another call
he must make, but would return after a while.
"'She counted the minutes, until she should see him
again. Never concealing from any of us how dearly she
loved him. She was truly as guileless as a child of six
"From the first of her acquaintance with him, she had
declared 'her doctor' was like her father. Mother, too,
admitted the resemblance was very decided.
"This it was, I think, that first made him so dear to her.
"Several times, after the doctor returned that evening,
I saw he sought opportunity to speak to me, unheard by
others. But Lilly was always near.
"Ah! it was better so. Better that from his own lips I
heard not those words he would have spoken. Doubly
hard would have been the trial. Oh, that night when he said,
'good-by!' He slipped in my hand a little roll of paper.
As Lilly still stood at the window, watching as long as she
could see him, I stole away to open the paper. Then, for
a while, I forgot Lilly, aye, forgot everything, in my great
happiness. He loved me! On my finger sparkled the
beautiful diamond—my engagement ring—to be worn on
the morrow, 'if I could return his love,' he said.
"Quickly I hid my treasures away, his note, and the
ring—Lilly was coming.
"She was not yet strong, and soon tired. I helped her
to get off her clothes, and as she kissed me good-night, she
"'I wish we had a picture of him—don't you?'
"'Who, dear?' I asked.
"'My doctor! Who else? You tease. You knew well
enough,' she answered, as she nestled her pretty head
closer to mine.
"Soon she was sleeping and dreaming of him. Sweet
dreams at first I knew they were; for soft smiles flitted
over her face.
"I could not sleep. A great fear stole in upon my happiness.
Did not Lilly love him too? How would she receive
the news which soon must reach her? Was her love
such as mine? Such as is given to but one alone? Or
only as a brother did she love him? I must know how it
was. Heaven grant that joy for one would not bring sorrow
to the other, I prayed. I had not long to wait. Her
dreams became troubled. Her lips quivered and trembled,
and then with a cry of agony she started up.
"'Gone, gone, gone!" she sobbed.
"It was many minutes ere I succeeded in calming and
making her understand 'twas but a dream.
"'Oh! but so real, so dreadfully real. I thought he did
not care for me. That he had gone and left me, and they
told me he was married!'
"Telling this, she began to sob again.
"'Lilly, dear, tell me truly—tell your sister, your very
best friend—how it is you love your doctor?' I asked.
"'How?' she returned. 'Oh, Edna, more than all the
world! He is all that I have lost and more; and if he
should die, or I should lose him, I would not wish to live.
I could not live. He loves me a little, does he not, Edna?'
"I could not reply. Just then there was a terrible
struggle going on in my heart. That must be ended, the
victory won ere I could speak. She waited for my answer
and then said, eagerly:
"'Oh, speak, do! What are you thinking about?'
"Pressing back the sigh—back and far down into the
poor heart—I gave her the sweet, and kept the bitter part,
when I could answer.
"'Yes, dear, I do think he loves you a little now, and
will, by-and-by, love you dearly. God grant he may!'
"'Oh, you darling Edna! You have made me so happy!'
she cried, kissing me; and still caressing me she fell
"Next morning I enclosed the ring, with only these
"'Forgive if I cause you sorrow, and believe me your
true friend. I return the ring that I am not free to accept.'
"I intended that my reply should mislead him, when I
wrote that I was not free, and thus to crush any hope that
might linger in his heart. While at breakfast that morning,
we received a telegram that grandma was extremely
ill, and wanted me. Thus, fate seemed to forward my
plans. I had thought to go away for a while, I told
mother all. How her dear heart ached for me! Yet she
dared not say aught against my decision. She took charge
of the note for the doctor, and by noon I was on my journey.
Two years passed ere I returned home. Mother
wrote me but little news of either Lilly or her doctor after
the first letter, telling that my note was a severe shock and
great disappointment. Three or four months elapsed
before grandma was strong enough for me to leave her.
An opportunity at that time presented for my going to
Europe. I wanted such an entire change, and gladly accepted.
Frequently came letters from Lilly. For many
months they were filled with doubts and anxiety; but
after a while came happier and shorter ones. Ah, she
had only time to be with him, and to think in his absence
of his coming again.
"When I was beginning to tire of all the wonders and
grandeur of the old world, and nothing would still the
longing for home, the tidings came they were married,
Lilly and her doctor, and gone to his Western home to take
charge of the patients of his uncle, who had retired from
practice. Then I hastened back, and ever since, dear girls,
I have been contented, finding much happiness in trying
to contribute to that of those so dear. Now, little Edna,
you have my only love-story, its beginning and ending."
"But, aunty, do tell me his name," I said. "Indeed, it
is not merely idle curiosity. I just feel as if I must know
it—that it is for something very important. Now you
need not smile. I'm very earnest, and I shall not sleep
until I know. I really felt a presentiment that if I knew
his name it might in some way effect the conclusion of the
"Well, my child, I may as well tell you. Dr. Graham
it was—Percy Graham," Aunt Edna answered, low.
"Ah! did I not tell you? It was not curiosity. Listen,
aunty mine. While you were away last winter, papa received
a paper from St. Louis; he handed it to me, pointing
to an announcement. But I will run get it. He told me
to show it to you, and I forgot. I did not dream of all
From my scrap-book I brought the slip, and Aunt Edna
"DIED.—Suddenly, of heart disease, on the morning of
the 15th, Lilly, wife of Doctor Percy Graham, in the 34th
year of her age."
Aunt Edna remained holding the paper, without speaking,
for some minutes; then, handing it back to me, she
said, softly, as if talking to her friend:
"Dear Lilly! Thank heaven, I gave to you the best I
had to give, and caused you nought but happiness. God
is merciful! Had he been taken, and you left, how could
we have comforted you?" And then, turning to me, she
said: "Nearly a year it is since Lilly went to heaven. 'Tis
strange I have not heard of this."
"'Tis strange from him you have not heard," I thought;
"and stranger still 'twill be if he comes not when the year
is over. For surely he must know that you are free—"
But I kept my thoughts, and soon after kissed aunty good-night.
One month passed, and the year was out. And somebody
was in our parlor, making arrangements to carry
away Aunt Edna. I knew it was he, when he met me at
the hall door, and said:
"Edna—Miss Linden! can it be?"
"Yes and no, sir—both—Edna Linden; but, Doctor
Graham, not your Edna. You will find her in the parlor,"
I answered, saucily, glad and sorry, both, at his coming.
Ah, she welcomed him with profound joy, I know. He
knew all; papa had told him. And if he loved the beautiful
girl, he then worshipped that noble woman.
"Thank God! Mine at last!" I heard him say, with
fervent joy, as I passed the door, an hour after.
How beautiful she was, when, a few weeks after, she
became his very own. I stood beside her and drew off
her glove. How happy he looked as he placed the heavy
gold circlet on her finger! How proudly he bore her down
the crowded church aisle!
Ah, little Lilly was no doubt his dear and cherished
wife. But this one, 'twas plain to see was the one love of
WHO WAS THE THIEF?
BY FRANCES HENSHAW BADEN.
Fred Loring's toilet was at length completed, and
turning from the glass, he said:
"Well, I'm off now, Nellie. Good-by."
"At last! Excuse me, Fred, but just now quietness is
more desirable than your society. It is impossible to get
baby to sleep while you are flying about the room. She
sees you, and wants to get to you," answered Nellie.
"All right. I'll get out of the way. By-by, baby."
And kissing the little one, Fred hurried out.
Ten or fifteen minutes passed. Baby was quiet at last,
almost asleep, when the door opened, and in rushed Fred
again. And up started baby, with a shout of welcome.
An impatient look came into Nellie's eyes, and the tone to
"Oh, Fred, I had almost gotten her to sleep. And now
see! And I am so tired. What has brought you back so
"Well, well, I'm sorry. But I left my revolver behind.
I guess she'll soon be quiet again," Fred said, unlocking
the drawer and taking out his revolver.
"Fred, I declare I never did see such a man. You cannot
leave the house without being armed. Do you forget
there is a law against carrying concealed weapons?"
"I remember to be on my guard, and prepared to defend
myself if it be necessary. Every day we read accounts of
persons being robbed, knocked down, and such like. I
tell you, Nellie, sensible persons go armed always."
"Perhaps, Fred. But I think the nervous and suspicious
persons are more likely to. Indeed, I never like to
see you carrying off your revolver. I'm in constant fear
of something dreadful happening."
"But never in dread of any one murdering and robbing
me. Of course not!" Fred snapped forth.
"Oh, Fred! You are so quick and suspicious of every
one, that my great fear is you'll hurt the wrong person
some time!" said Nellie, with a really anxious look on her
"Indeed I am not aware of ever having gotten hold of
the wrong person. I think you are calling on your imagination
for facts, Mrs. Loring!" Fred said angrily.
"Now, Fred, to defend myself I shall have to point to
facts. Do you forget catching hold of poor old Uncle Tom,
and choking him so he could not explain he was carrying
the clothes to his wife to wash, instead of being a thief, as
you supposed? And—"
"And will I ever forget your handing me over to a
policeman, for having attempted to pick your pocket in the
streetcar?" exclaimed a bright, merry-looking girl, who
entered the room during Nellie's attempt to defend herself
from Fred's accusation.
"Oh, Fan, don't, for mercy's sake, I cry quarter.
Two at a time is more than I can stand. And besides, I
had hoped that you would not have exposed that miserable
mistake!" Fred said, with a reproachful look.
"I intended to keep the secret. But really, Fred, I've
been almost dying to have a good laugh with Nellie over
it. And to-night the opportunity was too tempting to
"Mercy, Fan! If you tell Nellie, I'll never hear the last
"Oh, I must. It is too late to recede. Nellie will imagine
it worse, if possible, than it really is. But I'll not
prolong your agony. I'll be as brief as possible," said
And amidst the cries of "Don't! don't!" and "Yes, do,
do!" Fannie began.
"The day I reached here, just as I came out of the depot,
I spied my beloved and respected cousin Fred entering
the street car. I hurried up, and got in immediately
after him. Even if my veil had been raised I could hardly
have expected him to know me, as I have changed much
in five years. As it was, my face was completely hidden.
The car was much crowded, many standing—I next behind
Fred. I was well laden with lots of little packages,
so the idea struck me to drop a few into Fred's overcoat
pockets. Without discovery I put what I washed into one,
and was about slipping my porte-monnaie into the other,
when my hand was caught with such a grip that I screamed
right out. At the same time Fred exclaimed, 'Here is a
pickpocket!' And of course there was a policeman there,
as none was needed. I was too frightened to speak for an
instant. At length I found voice enough to say to the
officer, who was making his way toward me, 'The gentleman
will find he is mistaken in a moment.'
"After the first fright, I was really amused, notwithstanding
the mortifying situation. By that time Fred had
drawn forth my porte-monnaie. Nodding to the policeman,
"'An old dodge. Putting into my pocket what she has
taken from some one else. Has any one here lost this?' he
asked, holding up my porte-monnaie.
"No one claimed it. I managed to get off my veil then,
that I had been tugging at. I had gotten a lady in the
depot to tie it tightly behind, as it was blowing a perfect
gale when I arrived. All eyes were on me then, of course.
And the officer, not recognizing an old offender, and not a
very guilty-looking young one, hesitated. I looked
eagerly at Fred, to see if he would not recognize me, but
he did not. There was a very embarrassing pause then,
that had to be ended; so I said, not trying to restrain my
"'If you will open that porte-monnaie, Mr. Loring, you
will see my card. I thought my acquaintance would justify
my loading you with some of my bundles. If you
will notice, your other pocket is full.'
"Every one waited eagerly the result. Quickly Fred
did my bidding. You may imagine his look, when he
"'Fannie Loring! Bless my soul, coz, can you ever forgive
me? But how could I know you? I've not seen you
since you were a child.'
"There was a shout of laughter heard then, in which
Fred and I joined. But Fred's was not a very hearty
laugh; and I think he was glad to get out of that car, for
he made me walk at least three times as far as ever you
and I walk when we leave the car."
Nellie was almost convulsed with laughter, which baby
seemed to enjoy very much. And Fred exclaimed:
"It was not half as bad as you have made it out, Fan.
And just for a punishment for your laughing so, Nellie, I
hope baby will not go to sleep for hours. I'm off now."
Merry rippling laughter followed him. And Fred ran
down the stairs, and out of the house, almost hoping
somebody might attempt to rob, or murder him even, so
that his revolver might prove of great avail, and thus
silence Nellie, who was ever talking about what she called
his suspicious nature, when it was only necessary caution,
Soon baby was sleeping soundly, notwithstanding
Fred's wish to the contrary. And Nellie, putting her into
the crib, went to the bureau to arrange her hair.
"Why, Fred has gone without his watch!" she exclaimed.
"I don't think he ever did that in his life before.
I wonder he has not been back again before this!"
The hours passed swiftly by. Fannie, with her merry
heart, fully compensating Nellie for Fred's absence. Eleven
o'clock came before they imagined it near so late. And
just then they heard the hall door close, and a moment
after Fred entered the room, and in an excited voice exclaimed:
"Now, ladies, perhaps you will admit the good of carrying
a revolver, when I tell you that to-night I have been
"Robbed!" exclaimed Nellie and Fannie simultaneously.
"Yes, robbed. But I did not stay so, many minutes,
thanks to my revolver! Listen, and I'll tell you all about
it. On my way home I turned Gray's corner into Fourteenth
street. You know how dark and dismal it is about
there—no lights. Well, as I turned, a fellow came rushing
along, knocked against and nearly sent me down. And
saying quickly, 'Excuse me, sir,' hurried on. I suspected
what it was—a dodge they have when relieving a man of
his watch or pocket-book. I hastened to feel for my watch.
It was gone."
"Why, Fred, your watch—"
"Stop! Don't interrupt me. Wait until I've done."
The girls exchanged looks—mirthful first, anxious after.
"In a second I was after him. Presenting my revolver,
I bade him hand me the watch. He resisted. I covered
him with my pistol, and spoke again in a tone which convinced
him I was in a dangerous mood.
"'Hand me that watch.'
"Out it came; and without taking a second look at me,
he left. And thanks to my little beauty here," tapping
his revolver, "I am home again, no worse off than when I
started. Now, what say you?"
"Oh, Fred! Oh, my dear, what have you done? Oh,
you have robbed that man of his watch! Yours is on the
bureau. You left it home," Nellie cried, in a voice of real
"What? No! Surely not!" exclaimed Fred, growing
very red, and starting toward the bureau.
Fannie handed to Fred his own watch, at the same time
fairly shaking with the laughter she had tried so hard to
"Oh, Fred, forgive me. I'm only human; I must laugh
Peal after peal came from the merry girl, who could not
restrain herself, although Nellie looked so reproachfully,
and Fred really angrily at her; the former saying:
"Indeed, Fannie, I'm too much frightened to laugh."
Fred was too mortified to say another word for some
time. At length, turning to Fannie, who had grown a
little quiet, he snappishly said:
"Pray, don't stop! I'm very happy to afford you so
Of course Fannie began anew; and Nellie trying to stop
her by looks and motions, asked:
"What shall you do, Fred?"
"It is not a matter of such vital importance that you
need look so worried, Nellie. I'll go to the police head-quarters,
explain the matter, and leave the watch. That
will be the end of it," said Fred, trying to assume a light,
Nellie hoped it might be the end of it; but still fearful
of something unpleasant, asked:
"Is it too late to-night to go, Fred?"
"Certainly it is," Fred answered.
Seeing Nellie's face still retain its anxious and frightened
expression, Fred broke out laughing himself, saying:
"You look as much frightened, Nell, as I imagine that
man looked when I went for his watch."
Next morning Fred was longer than usual getting off
from home, and all Nellie's urging haste seemed to have
the tendency to retard instead of accelerating his motions.
But at last, to her great relief, he was off. After getting a
few rods from home, he drew forth the stolen watch, and
found of course it had run down. Having no key to fit it,
he approached a jewelry store, intending to have it wound
up. He had failed to notice the very particular attention
with which a policeman was regarding him. Just as he
was about to enter the store, he was tapped on the shoulder.
Turning, he beheld the officer, a total stranger to
Fred, so he knew it was not a bit of use to explain the case
to him. So to attract as little notice as possible, he walked
quietly along with his not very agreeable companion until
they reached the police head-quarters.
There he began his explanation. All were strange faces
around him, on which he saw unmistakable signs of merriment
when he said it was "a mistake." And to his immense
surprise, after he had handed over the dreadful
watch, and was turning to leave, he was made to understand
he was a prisoner—the accusation, "Robbery and
assault, with intent to kill!"
He sank on the bench for a moment, so overwhelmed with
surprise and mortification that he could with difficulty
collect his senses enough to know what to do. Just then
a gentleman entered, and said to an officer near:
"I was surprised to hear you had caught the rascal
so speedily. Where is the scoundrel? What does he
"That it was all a mistake!" answered the officer, with a
very significant smile. "There he is," pointing to Fred.
"Of course—the villain! And if I had been so unfortunate
as not to have had a watch to hand over, he
would have murdered and robbed me of what I might
have of any value. The murderous rascal!—Ah! how are
you, Loring? You here!" advancing and shaking Fred's
hand cordially, and continuing, "Show me that cut-throat!
Which is he?"
The expression on Fred's countenance may possibly be
imagined, but I cannot describe it. And when, in answer
to the call, "Prisoner, stand up," he arose, his friend's—the
plaintiff's—surprise was stupendous for a moment;
and then breaking into a hearty chuckle, he exclaimed:
"Of course now I know it was a mistake."
The dignity of the place was forgotten by all then, and
never was such a shout of laughter heard before within
those walls. But Fred could not join in it, to save him.
He had too lately stood in the place of an individual
bearing quite too many opprobrious epithets, to feel very
He returned home to relieve Nellie's mind, telling her
it was all settled—she need have now no more anxiety
about it. But he never told her how it was settled. One
thing, however, she noticed—he was not so fond of his
revolver's companionship as he used to be. And once she
heard him say:
"If the law was more strenuous with regard to the
carrying of concealed weapons, there would be fewer
BY FRANCES HENSHAW BADEN
Peeping through the leaves of the vine-covered
bower, and watching eagerly the path through the
woods, was a beautiful little maiden. An anxious look
was in her deep blue eyes, as pressing her hands over
her heart, as if to stop its heavy beating, she said:
"Oh, why does he not come? How long a time! If
he had good news, I know he would come quicker. Oh, I
have not a mite of hope!"
The pretty lips quivered then, and she stepped back,
and sank on the mossy seat.
A moment after a sound, slight as the dropping of
leaves, caught her ear. She sprang up, and for an instant
a bright light shone in her eyes, but quickly died away, as
the slow, heavy step came nearer, bringing to sight a tall,
noble-looking young man, whose face, if less stern, would
have been very handsome.
Without speaking, he clasped her outstretched hand
and drew her within his arms, shaking his head sadly.
"I felt it was so, or you would have come sooner," the
maiden said, resting her head against his shoulder.
"I had little, if any, hope, Susie. I went this last time
because you bade me to."
"What did father say, Frank?"
"Over and over the same old story of having, since your
babyhood, intended you to be the wife of his friend's son.
Oh, if I were wealthier, it would be all right, I know,"
Frank said, his dark eyes flashing.
"Don't talk so, dear, please. I do not like to hear you
impute a wrong motive to my father. I will never, never
listen for one moment to any words of love from George
Forrester, or any other man but you, Frank. So you may
be sure, if papa will not let me marry you, I will never
marry at all," Susie said, her eyes full of tears, looking up
"Susie, I have made three appeals to your father during
the year past; each time finding him, if possible, more determined
to oppose our happiness. I will never humiliate
myself again, and he will never yield. Now what will
"Wait, hope and pray. I can do nothing more," Susie
answered, in a tearful voice.
"Yes, Susie, darling, you can, and secure our immediate
happiness. You can come with me, be my own true wife,
"No—no—no. I cannot. I should not secure our happiness.
I should be miserable, and make you so."
"Then I have nothing more to hope for. He will not
give you to me, and you will not come. Oh, Susie, how
can you send me off? You know you are all the world
to me! If I lose you, I lose everything. I am alone in
the world. There are many loved ones to comfort your
father, until he comes to his better nature and calls you
back to his heart. Susie, am I to leave you forever?"
The beautiful dark eyes were looking into his, filled
with so much love. How could she resist?
"No—no. I shall die, if you leave me—never to come
again! Oh, what am I to do? I love you better than my
own life, Frank, indeed I do! But, father—oh, how can I
desert him? He loves me more than the other children.
I am the oldest, his first child, and so like what mother
was. That is why he loves me so. And now she has gone,
I should stay—"
"And break your heart and mine, too, Susie?"
"If I thought, Frank, you would not mind it very
"You would give me up! And, in time, get into your
father's way of thinking, and end by marrying the man
he wants you to," Frank said, withdrawing his arm and
turning away with a great sigh.
"Oh, Frank, how can you talk to me so?"
"Well, Susie, it is useless prolonging our sorrow. I had
better say good-by, and go forever."
"No, no, Frank, dear love. Oh! what am I to do?"
"Be happy, my own, and make me so. Be my wife
before I return to W—-. Go with me. Susie, your
mother loved me. I know, if here, she would plead for
"Yes, she loved you, and perhaps in her blessed home
she will pity me, and win for me forgiveness, alike from
heavenly as earthly father, if longer my heart cannot resist
my love," Susie sobbed, dropping her golden head on
her lover's bosom and promising all he wished.
"The last night at home," she said. "On the morrow
I must go forth, to return no more, the loving, dutiful
child. Should he ever consent to have me come back, I
can never be again what I once was to his heart. I shall
have broken the trust he held in me," Susie moaned.
Tenderly the brother and sister were ministered to, her
hand resting on each little head, as their lisping voices
followed hers in the evening prayer. Willie and Emma
arose, their demure faces lifted to receive the good-night
kiss. But Rosie, the two-and-a-half-year baby, the dying
mother's sacred charge, wound her tiny arms about the
elder sister, and with baby-like perversity hung on,
"Now Susu pay, too. Pease, Susu. Do!"
The baby plead; and Susie, raising her eyes to Rosie's,
felt mother, not far away, but near, very near, and pleading
through her child.
The sunny head was dropped again, and Susie prayed—even
as Rosie had begged her. Prayed for guidance to
the better way.
Three pair of little pattering feet were resting. Three
rosy faces pressed the downy pillow, and Susie's evening
task was done.
Gently she stole away.
"I will go to father myself, to-night. I will plead with
him until he must yield," Susie said, as cautiously closing,
the door of the nursery she entered her own room.
The evening was oppressive, and Susie's black dress
became very uncomfortable. Flitting about, guided by
the moonbeams, she sought for something of lighter texture.
The mourning robe was laid aside, and a dress,
white and fleecy, wrapped her slender form. The clustering
ringlets were smoothed back, and rolled in a heavy
coil high on the back of her head.
"Now I will go down. Father will be alone at this
hour, and—" She paused, raised her sweet eyes upward,
and clasping her hands she murmured, "Mother in heaven,
plead for me."
Noiselessly she opened the door and glanced into the
room. Her father sat with his back toward her, leaning
on a table over which were scattered books and papers. In
his hand he held the picture of her mother. She drew
back a little, still, however, standing within the door.
She dared not interrupt the sacred privacy of the hour.
The rustle of her garments, light as it was, must have
caught his ear, for his bowed head was raised.
"Mary! my wife! my own!" he cried, starting forward,
with extended arms. "Thank God for granting me one
glimpse of you again!"
Susie, awed and trembling, raised her eyes to see
clothed as in life, the same sweet, gentle face, the rippling
hair, caught back from the smooth, clear brow.
"Mother!" she breathed forth.
The room was lighted only by the moonbeams; but the
vision was plainly seen. Another eager glance, and Susie
stole away to her own room, and sank almost fainting into
her mother's chair. A little while, and grown calmer, she
opened her eyes, to see again, directly in front of her, the
She started forward, stretching out her arms, and calling
Nearer—nearer she drew, until, face to face, she stood
beside the large mirror in front of which she had seated
Unwittingly in one of her mother's dresses she had
robed herself, and gathered her curls in the manner her
mother was accustomed to.
"How very, very like her I am! Yes, now I know:
father saw me in the mirror opposite which I stood. Well,
I will not break his sweet delusion. I meant it not,
Heaven knows. Oh, if mother could only come to him—in
dreams, perhaps—to plead for me! I cannot desert him,
I cannot; I dare not! But Frank—oh, how can I give him
up! I will give up neither, but clinging to both loved ones,
will trust to Heaven for a happy decision."
With this determination she sank to sleep, sweet and
Early next morning, as usual, she was in the breakfast-room,
ministering to the little ones clustering around her.
The father's frown had lost its accustomed sternness, as he
stood regarding his eldest child. A gentle, sympathetic
light was in his eyes as they rested on the sweet face grown
older, much, in those days of anxious care. How matronly
she looked! So patiently listening to, and answering every
wish of the little ones.
At last they were all satisfied; and Susie seeing, as she
thought, her father deeply interested in the morning paper,
stole away to the trysting-place.
"I cannot leave him, Frank. Indeed, I never can without
his blessing resting on me. No, no!" she cried, as she
saw the disappointed and stern expression of her lover's
face, "I have tried, in vain, to make my mind up to it.
How can I give up either? loving you both so well."
"You have trifled with me, Susie; you have broken
your promise, too. You will, most likely, never see me
after this morning, if I go from you. Are you determined?"
"Yes, dear, dear Frank, I am determined not to go
unless father blesses and bids me go. I will trust my
happiness to him, and God, who ruleth all things," Susie
answered, looking very sorrowful, notwithstanding her
She raised her face, pale and pleading, to his:
"Kiss me good-by, Frank, and say, 'God bless me,'
please," she whispered.
He did as she pleaded, but there was an injured air in
his manner. As he parted from her, she sprang after him,
"Forgive me, Frank, if I have wounded you. Know
that to me it is worse. One little parting look of love,
"Oh, Susie, how can you?" He pressed her again to his
heart, looked lovingly enough: but his eyes, as plain as
words could, repeated Tennyson's lines:
"Trust me all in all,
Or not at all."
And, determined to make one more appeal, he said:
"Susie, darling! love! trust me for happiness. You
will never repent it. Come!"
"No, no. Go!"
He turned off quickly, angrily then; and Susie sank,
sobbing, on the grass.
She raised her eyes, heavy with tears. Beside her, with
a sad but kind and gentle face, her father stood. With
him, a puzzled, doubtful expression on his features, her
"Oh, Frank, I am so—so glad to see you again!" she
cried, with as much joy beaming in her eyes as though
their parting had been for years.
"Yes; as it is so very long since you saw him last!" her
father said, with a pleasant smile.
"I feared it would be for years, perhaps forever," Susie
said, in a low voice, anxiously regarding her father, and
longing to beg an immediate explanation of her lover's
"My daughter, what did you intend to do after sending
off this young man? Be a dutiful child, and wed as I wish
"Never, never, father! I intend to be dutiful only
so far as not wedding against your wishes, that is all—to
leave the future to God, only praying constantly that
some blessed influence may be sent to change your mind
and heart," Susie answered, raising her eyes to his, filled
with earnest determination.
"Your prayers must have commenced already, my child.
Some influence hath surely been sent—some blessed influence,
I truly believe. Yes, my child, you will wed to
please your father. Here, Frank, take her. I ought to
scold you for trying to coax her from me. I heard it all
this morning. But I forgive you for her sake, and bless
you, too, boy, for the sake of the one in heaven who loved
you. There, there, daughter, don't choke me with your
kisses. Take her off, Frank, and make her happy. She is
a good child, and will make a true and loving wife. God
bless you both, my children!"
And so ended Susie's intended elopement.
THE TWO BROTHERS.
BY FRANCES HENSHAW BADEN.
"Ah here we are!" said pleasant voice, as the driver,
having jumped from his seat, opened the carriage
"Yes, sir, I think so. This is the street and number—244
or 246, which did you say?"
"'Pon my word, I've forgotten, and lost the card," answered
the pleasant voice.
"The name, sir? I'll inquire."
"Never mind. I'll take a look at both houses, and see
if I cannot decide. I'm earlier than expected, so I can
look well before they come out to welcome me. Just
dump my luggage down on the sidewalk, and make off
for another job," said the old gentleman, handing the fare
to the man, who soon after drove off.
"Well, here are two cottages alike, and very unlike, too.
This one is Charley's home, I know. Why? Because it
is newly painted. The fencing all in perfect order. The
grounds, although very limited, are prettily fixed up.
Flowers and vines—ah, I like the looks of this place!
And I'm sure I'm right in fixing it in my mind as
Charley's. Some don't-carish fellow lives there—loves his
pipe, cigars and wine, may be, better than his home, wife
and children. Dear, dear! how those blinds are suffering
for a coat of paint! A few dollars would make that fence
all right. How different that entrance would look with a
little rustic seat like this one! I wonder that fellow does
not notice how much he might improve his place, if he
only did as Charley. But here comes the servant. I'll
get her to let me in."
"Rather sooner than you expected me, ain't it? Folks
not up yet? Just go back and open the door, my girl;
let me in, and then tell Mr. Charles Mayfield that his
uncle has come!"
"Oh, sir, you mistake! It is next door Mr. Charles Mayfield
lives," answered the girl.
"Next door? No; you mistake, surely. My nephew
Charley can't live there!"
"Yes, sir. But his—" What the girl was going to say
was stopped by a jovial voice in the next door, calling
out: "Uncle, here! How are you?" And a moment
more the pleasant old gentleman was caught by both
hands and drawn along to the next house. His nephew
Charley saying: "I'm so delighted to see you! Come in!"
Into the parlor he was carried, and seated in a very
comfortable arm-chair. The interior was more inviting
than the outside. It told very plainly that the wife did
her duty toward making everything as nice as possible;
in a word, making the best of her means.
A very short time after a sweet-faced little woman entered,
and was presented by Charley, saying:
"Here is your niece, uncle."
The old gentleman received her welcome greeting by a
return of real affection. His heart warmed immediately
to his nephew's wife. She bore the traces of beauty which
had been chased away by an over-amount of care, the
uncle very soon felt sure. There was an unmistakable
look of weariness and anxiety in her eyes.
Very soon Nellie, as Charley called her, excused herself,
and went out, saying she had a very inexperienced servant,
and had to oversee and assist her in her work.
Breakfast was announced, which was one that Uncle
Hiram enjoyed, notwithstanding the feeling which was uppermost
in his mind, that the strong, fragrant coffee, the
delicate rolls, and the steak which was cooked just as it
should be, in a word, all that was so nice, was the result
of Nellie's skilful hands. And she looked so tired and
heated when she sat down to do the honors of her table.
Again Uncle Hiram noticed that constantly her eyes wandered
from the table to a door which entered the next
room, which was partially opened. Her ear seemed
strained to catch every sound. At length a little, feeble
wail told the cause of her anxiety.
"Will you excuse me a moment, uncle?" she asked,
and continued: "Our babe was quite sick all night, and I
feel anxious about her."
A moment or so after Nellie withdrew, the servant
came in, bringing a fresh supply of hot rolls. Then Uncle
Hiram had a chance of seeing the help Nellie had with
her many duties—a half-grown girl.
"Inexperienced, truly, inefficient and insufficient," said
the kind old man to himself; and he made a note of that
on the tablets of his heart.
Soon Nellie came back, looking much relieved, and said,
"She seems much better this morning. How these
little ones fill our heart with anxiety! I was up with her
Down went another note on Uncle Hiram's tablets.
Awake all night with a sick baby, and up cooking breakfast
in the morning! No wonder her youth and
beauty have been chased away, poor, weary, over-worked
"Who lives next door, Charley?" asked his uncle, after
they had withdrawn from the breakfast-room.
"Why, I have a surprise for you—Henry lives there."
"Henry! Henry who?"
"Why, Henry Mayfield, my brother."
"No! Why, the last time I heard from him he was in
"Well, he is here now, and has been for five months.
His wife's relatives are all here. And so he having been
offered a position in the same firm with me, accepted it.
We agreed to keep it as a pleasant little surprise for you."
"Well, I'm glad of it."
Just as Uncle Hiram said so the object of their conversation
Henry Mayfield was not the jovial, merry fellow that
Charley was, and not likely to be so generally a favorite.
But there was an earnestness and determination in his
bearing that inspired respect immediately.
"Come, uncle! Go in with me to see my wife and little
ones," said Henry, after sitting and talking a while. "We
have a half hour yet before business requires us, and then,
if you like, we will go down town together."
Henry's parlor, into which he ushered his uncle, was
furnished better than his brother's; but still it was not so
prettily arranged—the "woman's touch" was not so
plainly visible. Immediately Henry's wife came in to
welcome her husband's uncle.
She was a bright little woman, not near so delicately
featured as Nellie; but with a youthful, well-preserved
look, an easy, quiet, peaceful air about her that made
Uncle Hiram feel quite sure, if he stayed her guest a
month, it would not put her out a bit. If any extra care
or worry came, it was not to her. Some one else's mind
and hands would have to overcome any difficulties.
"Henry, dear, have our boy brought in to see his uncle,"
"Ah, ha!" thought Uncle Hiram, "I see—the shoulders
best able to bear the burden of family cares have it. Just
as it should be!"
A few moments, and the baby-boy was brought in by
the nurse and presented to the uncle. Baby, like his
mother, looked happy and healthy.
When they were about leaving for down town, Uncle
Hiram heard Henry say:
"Ada, please order the cook to delay dinner an hour to-day.
I've business which will delay me so long."
"Very well," was the smiling reply.
"A cook and a nurse. That is why Ada looks so calm,
healthy and happy. Just as it should be. Poor little,
patient, over-worked Nellie! I wonder how it is, both
having equal means. I must find out what the trouble
is," said Uncle Hiram to himself.
Now, Charley was not a drinking man, his uncle felt
sure. He knew, indeed, that when he first grew to manhood
he had vowed never to touch rum in any form.
The dinner at Charley's was better, if possible, than the
breakfast. It was a real treat to the old bachelor, whose
life was spent in a boarding-house, to partake of such
good, healthy fare as Nellie gave him. But always he
felt like partaking of it under protest. Nellie—little,
weary, tired Nellie—ever filled his mind and heart. At
dinner Charley brought forth his ale, declaring it to be
"the very best in town." And after dinner his cigars,
"none finer to be found," he said.
Now, Uncle Hiram could partake of both without
serious disadvantage either to his health or purse. But
caring very little for either, he seldom used them. During
the evening several gentlemen friends came in to
call on Charley's uncle, and again ale and cigars were
Uncle Hiram went to calculating. Ale, fifty cents, at
least, that day; sometimes less, sometimes more. Make
the average half as much—twenty-five cents. Cigars always
as much; frequently, as that day, treble the amount.
In a month it would sum up, to the very lowest, fifteen
dollars. And who could tell how much more? What
would not that money, worse than lost, have secured for
Charley's wife and children?
Rest, health, peace and length of days, most likely.
Now, Uncle Hiram knew well enough how it was
Charley did not have things beautiful without and around
his premises, and why Nellie's weary mind and tired hands
could not have help and rest.
But, next, he must find out how it was that with Henry
things were so very different.
The following day Uncle Hiram dined with Henry.
Everything was excellent and well cooked; and Ada sat
at the head of the table, with an easy, quiet grace, which
perfectly relieved Uncle Hiram's mind from any care for
her. He knew very well Ada's husband sought in every
way to relieve her of all unnecessary care and anxiety.
After dinner came tea and coffee—nothing more. When
they retired from the table Henry said:
"Uncle, would you like a cigar or pipe? I'll get you
one in a few moments, if you say so."
"And will you join me?" asked his uncle.
"I do not use either. I care not for the weed, and think
it better not to cultivate a taste," answered Henry.
"You are right, my boy—and how about wine or ale?"
"Nothing of the kind, uncle."
"Total abstinence, is it, Henry?"
"I knew you were a temperate man, as is Charley. But
he takes his ale, I notice," said Uncle Hiram.
"Yes, I wish he did not; a man has no idea how such
little things, as he thinks them, draw upon his purse."
"I know, I know!" said Uncle Hiram. And he no
longer wondered at the difference in Charley's and Henry's
style of living. And so he had a good talk with Charley,
and showed him how Henry, with the same salary, could
keep two servants and beautify his home, and he not be
able "to keep his head above water," to use his own
"Yes, my boy, the cause is just this—the difference between
temperance and total abstinence. You'll try it now,
will you not, for your wife's sake?" said Uncle Hiram.
"Indeed I will, sir, and with many thanks to you for
opening my eyes," answered Charley, who really loved his
wife, but was thoughtless, and never for a moment had
considered himself at all responsible for Nellie's failing
health, strength and beauty.
When Uncle Hiram's next visit was made, he saw, before
he entered the house, that Charley had kept his word.
And when Nellie's joyous greeting was sounding in his
ear he knew then that all was "just as it should be" with
Nellie, as well as Ada. And the grateful little wife knew
to whom she was indebted for the happy change, and
blessed Uncle Hiram for it.
WHAT HE LEFT.
BY FRANCES HENSHAW BADEN.
"I know not of the truth, d'ye see,
I tell the tale as 'twas told to me."
Mark Brownson was dying, slowly, but surely, so
the physician told his wife, and advised that if he
had any business to settle, it should not be delayed.
"He is sinking, and even now I see his mind is, at
times, a little clouded. However, I suppose there is nothing
of importance that he should consider," said the
"He has made no will," said Mrs. Brownson,
"Is that necessary? I did not know—"
"I think it is very necessary, doctor, for his children's
welfare. Not that I think it at all likely there can be any
contest about what Mr. Brownson has. Yet to provide
against any future troubles, it would be prudent, I think."
The good doctor assented, but looked much surprised.
And well he might. No one imagined old Mark Brownson
had anything to will. But he was a very eccentric
man; and the economical style of his establishment was
likely one of his notions.
"Are you suffering much pain now, Mark?" asked Mrs.
Brownson, a few moments after, when she was seated at
her husband's bedside.
"Yes, yes; give me my composing draught—the opium—anything
to relieve me," answered the suffering man.
His wife obeyed, and after his groaning and restlessness
had ceased, she said:
"I want to talk to you, Mark. Can you listen now?"
A nodded assent gave her permission to proceed.
"Do you not think it would be as well for you to express
your wishes with regard to the disposition of your stocks
and other effects? You may outlive me, Mark, and this
thing not be necessary, still I think it better to attend
to such business," said Mrs. Brownson, closely watching
the effect her words might have on the sufferer.
She had feared possibly they might shock him severely,
but depending much on the favorable influence of the
opiate, she had ventured on the business she considered so
A look of satisfaction replaced the anxiety of a moment
before. She had no longer cause for fear. Calmly Mark
Brownson heard her suggestion, and said, in a feeble
"What have I to will?"
"Why, dear, you forget. Your long sickness and the
opium—no wonder! There is the stock in the 'Liverpool
Steamship Company,' and that in the 'Australian Mining
Company.' Surely you have not forgotten your large
amount in our State bonds? And how much you have
in 'Fire and Life Insurance stock' I cannot just remember
now. However, by reference to the papers I can tell."
Again she watched her husband's face. It only expressed
a rather puzzled brain, as though he was trying to
"You have such papers? I cannot think," he said.
"Don't try to, dear. It is not necessary. I will just
look over your papers, and make a statement; and when
I read them over to you in presence of the lawyer, you can assent.
You wish an equal division between myself and
our daughters, I know. Is it not so?"
"Yes, yes. You are always right," murmured her husband.
"There, dear, go to sleep now. Some time when you
are easy we will fix this," said Mrs. Brownson.
And the next day, at an hour when she knew her husband's
mind was best prepared, a lawyer was summoned,
and a statement of stocks and bonds to the amount of two
hundred thousand dollars placed before him, and Mark
Brownson expressed his wish to have an equal division
of his effects made between his wife and two children.
The will was made, and duly signed and witnessed by
two of the nearest neighbors and the only domestic, a
worthy woman who had been with Mrs. Brownson for
A few days more, and Mark Brownson had passed from
Many wondered at the very quiet and unostentatious
style of the last services for him; but the widow had said:
"In death it shall be with him as he always preferred
And then when all was over, and the summer months
were coming, Mrs. Brownson sold out the modest little establishment,
and, with her daughters and their faithful
servant, went to board by the seashore, at a very fashionable
resort; but, of course, not to mingle in the gay
festivities of the season, only to recruit her health, which
was very much impared by long attention to her suffering
husband, and to have the girls escape the heat and dust
of the city.
A few days after they were settled in their new abode,
Mrs. Brownson said to her attendant:
"Margaret, you were very much surprised by hearing
Mr. Brownson's will."
"Oh, yes, ma'am, indeed I was."
"Well, Margaret, I do not wish you to mention anything
about it down here. Mr. Brownson, you know,
never let it be known to the world. And so it must be
for the present. I do not wish my daughters to be married
for anything but their own good qualities. They are
good and beautiful enough to marry well, without having
any other inducements for suitors. Now, Margaret, you
know just how I feel, and what I mean?" said the anxious
"Certainly I do! And I feel as much concerned about
my beautiful young ladies as you do, ma'am. Never fear
but I will look out for their interest," answered the worthy
And to do as she said, to the best of her understanding,
Margaret set out for a walk on the beach, with some of
the other servants and their escorts, the waiters from the
hotel. And before the next noon it was well known what
a good chance there was for two young men to win as
beautiful wives as ever were seen, to say nothing of the
other greater attractions.
And very soon the sisters, Maud and May, were objects
of universal observation. Yet it was very difficult to get
an introduction, the young gentlemen all found; for the
widow kept the beautiful girls very much secluded.
Numberless were the delicate attentions paid them, in
the way of bouquets, books, and so on, sent by Margaret;
and several cards to Mrs. Brownson, with the request for
an introduction, accompanied by references—among which
came those of Vernon Wadsworth and Harry Bennett.
The first one Mrs. Brownson knew well by reputation.
He was a young physician of very fine promise, and, being
of one of the best families in the State, she considered him
worthy of her attention. The other, she had heard since
her arrival there, was the possessor of a very fair amount
of worldly goods, the life-long accumulation of an old
miser uncle. So, from the many aspirants, Mrs. Brownson
selected these two to present to her daughters.
Just at this time, Doctor Alton, Mrs. Brownson's friend
and the physician who had attended her husband, arrived
at the sea-shore; and through him, without any more
trouble or waiting the mother's pleasure, young Doctor
Wadsworth obtained an introduction, and presented his
And although both of these young men did their best to
keep back all others by various manoeuvres, many more
became acquainted with the lovely sisters, who soon,
much to their own surprise, became decidedly the belles
of that resort.
Carefully Mrs. Brownson had guarded her secret from
her girls, fearing, perhaps, it would have a prejudicial
effect, changing their sweet, unassuming manner, which
was one of their greatest charms; or, perhaps, for other
motives best known to herself.
Although Doctor Wadsworth and young Bennett very
much feared the approach of other suitors, it was quite
needless, for the girls were best pleased with the first who
had sought them and drawn them forth from their seclusion.
The older one, Maud, a brilliant brunette, received with
undisguised pleasure the devoted attention of Harry Bennett;
while gentle little May, so fair and timid, always
greeted the handsome doctor by a rosy flush suffusing her
beautiful face; and then, from a shy, quick glance from
the eyes, that had drooped at his approach, he would see
the glad light that told how welcome his coming was.
"We must win them, now, doctor; you see how much
they are admired and sought here. What will it be when
they are out of their mourning robes and in the gayeties
of the city? This is our best chance. What say you?"
asked young Bennett, a fortnight after their introduction.
"Say! That the very idea of even losing sight of that
gentle, beautiful May for a day, fills my heart with misgiving
and great anxiety. I tell you, I began this affair
rather in fun—"
"You mean after funds, perhaps!" interrupted Bennett.
A flush suffused Doctor Wadsworth's face for an instant,
and he answered:
"Well, I'll admit that is not at all objectionable; but
really, now that I know May Brownson, I would not be
willing to resign her to another man, even if she had not
a dollar in the world."
There was an expression about Harry Bennett's mouth
that looked as if his lips wanted to say: "I don't believe
you"—only they did not just dare to. Harry Bennett
was as much in love as he could be with any one other
than himself, still he was not going to leap without looking.
So, after learning a little more than he had already
heard from Margaret, he was called, very urgently, to the
city. After an absence of only two days he was back
again, and stated to Doctor Wadsworth his knowledge of
Mark Brownson's possessions. That evening Mrs. Brownson
received proposals for both of her daughters.
She must consider the matter, and consult with her
friends, the prudent mother thought and said to the
This made them each more determined to secure the
"Dear May, plead with your mother for me!" said the
ardent young doctor.
"Mamma will consent after a while," answered the
"After a while! Why not now? I am going away
next month for a long time. I cannot leave you, May.
Would you wish me to?"
May turned pale at the thought, and raised her pleading
eyes to her mother.
It was enough. Doctor Wadsworth had used the surest
weapon. A separation was dreaded by both mother and
daughter, and each for different reasons. And then it
was an easier thing for Harry Bennett to obtain the
mother's consent, to claim his love at the same time.
Mrs. Brownson, after giving her consent, requested a
private interview with her prospective sons-in-law. The
girls were sent from the room, and then Mrs. Brownson
"I have thought possibly, gentlemen, that a very foolish
rumor may have reached your ears respecting the wealth
possessed by my daughters, and that—excuse me, but I
must allude to it—this may in a measure have influenced
your selecting them from the many young girls here—"
"Oh, madam!" both men exclaimed simultaneously.
"If I tell you they have nothing but their pure hearts
and loving natures, will you not be disappointed?"
"No, madam. How can you judge me so?" exclaimed
"I am glad it is so. I would not have you marry my
daughters under false impressions."
"When May is mine, I shall think I have secured the
most valuable fortune any man can have," said the doctor,
with a really honest look in his eyes.
"When Maud is mine, I shall know I have secured all
I would wish," added Harry Bennett, with rather a sly
twinkle in his eyes.
And so it was agreed that they should be united there,
and after a very private wedding leave for an extensive
"The old fox! Is she not a sly one? She thought to
throw us off, I do believe. But I am as bright as she,"
said Harry Bennett, after the interview.
"Really, Bennett, that is not a very respectful way of
speaking of the mother of your promised wife," replied
"Well, no; you are right. But just to think of her
talking so to us!" answered Harry, with an air of injured
The ceremony was over. After an acquaintance of less
than six weeks, Doctor Wadsworth and Harry Bennett
had won their wives.
And while the brides had retired to change their dress
for the travelling-suit, the happy young husbands requested
to speak a moment with their mother-in-law.
"Indeed you must speak; I will not," said Doctor Wadsworth,
in a low tone, as he closed the door, and with Bennett
approached Mrs. Brownson.
After a moment's hesitation, Harry Bennett said:
"Now, Mrs. Brownson, that we have proved our sincerity
and real love for your daughters, there is no reason
for any longer concealment."
"About what, sir?" asked his mother-in-law.
"Come, my dear madam; this is entirely useless. You
have tried and proved us. Now to business."
"Really, Mr. Bennett, I am at a loss to understand you!
Will you please to be explicit?"
"Well, madam, then I must tell you that I am perfectly
well aware that my wife is entitled to the one-third of two
hundred thousand dollars left by her father. Now, my
dear madam, we are going on a very long and expensive
trip, and may need more than I have in ready money.
Now, that is just the whole truth," said Harry, who had
gotten over his slight embarrassment, and then spoke in a
very business sort of manner.
Not so Doctor Wadsworth; he seemed very much mortified,
and looked as if he wished he was away from that
"Mr. Bennett, I spoke to you about this report, and told
you how false it was, did I not?"
"Oh, yes, madam; but you see—"
"You still believe this, even when I again tell you that
neither I nor my daughters have a dollar in the world
beyond the small amount I have now from the sale of my
household effects? I assure you, sir, I speak the truth,"
said Mrs. Brownson, in a tone and manner that would
have enforced belief.
But Harry Bennett said, triumphantly:
"Madam, I have seen Mr. Brownson's will."
"That will, my dear sir, is not worth the paper it is written
on. Mr. Brownson was out of his head, and imagined
he was possessed of that sum in bonds and stock. If
you can find any such possession, no one would welcome
it more gladly than I. You can readily prove the
Harry Bennett gazed bewildered from his mother-in-law
to Doctor Wadsworth, and then said in a low voice, as if
"Caught and caged."
"And I am glad of it," exclaimed the doctor, who was
truly glad of anything to end that very embarrassing interview.
"Come, Bennett, we must arrange our trip to suit
the extent of our purse, and be happy with the prizes we
"Well, madam, I must say that the old gentleman's will
was worth something. For I'll own up now, it helped
very much to secure you one very nice young man for
your son. I'll speak a word for him, although he has
been done up to a very Brown son! I'm ready now, Wadsworth,
and we won't shorten our trip one mile; for I've got
a fortune, thanks to my old uncle. Yes, and another, I'll
have to admit (there she is now), thanks to her father's
Mrs. Brownson could not resist a smile. She had no
misgivings about her children's future happiness. If they
had not already secured their husbands' affection, she
knew they would soon; for who could help loving such