back a step on the marsh path. Her disdainful eyes had
drawn him to her, for, like all men, he could be drawn by
the woman who scorned him, and mesmerized by the sheer
repulse. By great effort, Jinnie had escaped from Maud-
lin's insults for many months, but he had never been quite
so aggressive as this ! Now she could see the dark blood
in his passionate face mount even to the whites of his
eyes, those eyes which coveted the youngness of her body,
the vitality of her girl life, and all the good within her.
THE COMING OF THE ANGELS 155
"Get out of my way !" she said sharply. "You let me
alone. I've got a right to get my wood hauled if I can."
"Well, you don't do it any more," said Maudlin. "If
you're too lazy to carry your own wood, I'll help you
myself. . . . You can't go no more to King's in his car."
Jinnie turned a pair of glinting blue eyes upon him.
"Who said I couldn't?" she demanded. "Uncle Lafe
"Your Uncle Lafe said you could marry me," said
Maudlin in slow, drawling tones.
Jinnie's blood boiled up behind her ears. She was eye-
ing him in bewilderment. Maudlin's words made her more
angry than she'd ever been in her life.
"You lie, you damn fool!" she cried, and then caught
her breath in consternation. It was the first oath that
had escaped her lips in many a long day, and she felt truly
sorry for it. She would tell Lafe of the provocation
that caused it and beg to be forgiven. She moved back a
step as Maudlin pinched her.
"I don't lie," he growled. "You think because you can
scrape on a fiddle you're better'n other folks. Pa an' me'll
show you you ain't."
"You and your pa don't know everything," answered
"We know 'nough to see what King's doin' all right."
He made a dive at the girl and laid a rough hand on
the shortwood strap.
"Here ! Gimme that wood if you're too lazy to carry it."
Jinnie turned her eyes up the road. It was time Ben-
nett came. The sound of his motor would be like sweet
music in her ears. She jerked the strap away from the
man and turned furiously upon him.
"Don't touch me again, Maudlin Bates. ... I don't
interfere with you. I'll I'll "
156 ROSE O' PARADISE
But Maudlin paid no heed to her insistence. He was
dragging the strap from her shoulders.
Jinnie's face grew waxen white, but she held her own
for a few minutes. Maudlin was big in proportion to her
slenderness, and in another instant her shortwood lay on
the ground, and she was standing panting before him.
"Now, then, just to show what kind of a feller I be,"
said he, "I'm goin' to kiss you."
Jinnie felt cold chills running up and down her back.
"It's time you was kissed," went on Maudlin, "and after
to-day I'm goin' to be your man. . . . You can bet on
He was slowly forcing her backward along the narrow
path that led into the marshes. Jinnie knew intuitively
he wanted her to turn and run into the underbrush that
he might have her alone in the great waste place.
Like a mad creature, she fought every step of the way,
Maudlin's anger rising at each cry the girl emitted.
"I'll tell my uncle," she screamed, with sobbing breath.
"You won't want to tell 'im when I get done with you,"
muttered the man. "Why don't you run? You c'n run,
Oh, if Bennett would only come ! She was still near
enough to Paradise Road for him to hear her calling.
Maudlin reached out his hand and caught the long
curls between his dirty fingers.
"If you won't run," he said, "then, that for you !" and
he gave a cruel twist to the shining hair, pulling Jinnie
almost off her feet.
Then the ruffian turned, slowly dragging her foot by
foot into the marshland. She opened her lips, and gave
one long scream; then another and another before Maud-
lin pulled her to him and closed her mouth with a large
hand, and Jinnie grew faint with fright and terror.
THE COMING OF THE ANGELS 157
They were out of sight now of Paradise Road, still Jin-
nie struggled and struggled, gripping with both hands at
Bates' fingers jerking at her curls.
Suddenly Lafe's solemn words surged through her mind.
"He has given His angels charge over thee." Oh God!
Dear God ! What glorious, blessed words ! Lafe's an-
gels, her angels Jinnie's heart throbbed with faith.
Once Lafe had told her no one, no, not even Maudlin
Bates, could keep her own from her ! Her honor and her
very life were in the tender hands of the cobbler's angels.
Suddenly in fancy Jinnie saw the whole world about teem-
ing with bright ecstatic beings, and multitudes of them
were hurrying through the warm summer air to the Bell-
aire marshes. They were coming coming to help her, to
save her from a fate worse than death ! Her mind reeled
under the terrible pain Maudlin was inflicting upon her,
and she closed her eyes in agony. With one mighty effort,
she dragged her face from the brown, hard hand and
screamed at the top of her lungs.
Theodore King swung his car around into Paradise
Road with busy thoughts. He had decided to go himself
that morning to bring the little fidder back to his home
with the shortwood. He had a plan for Jinnie.
Past the cobbler's shop sped the big motor, and as it
drew up to the marshes, he heard a blood-curdling cry
from the depths of the underbrush. In another instant he
was out on the ground, dashing along the path. He saw
Jinnie and Maudlin before either one of them knew he was
near. He saw the fellow pulling the black curls, and saw
a hand almost covering the fair young face.
Then Jinnie saw him, and sent him one swift, terrified,
158 ROSE O' PARADISE
In the smallest fraction of a second Maudlin was sprawl-
ing on the ground, and Theodore was soundly kicking
him. Jinnie sank down on the damp moss and began to
cry weakly. Her face was scratched from the man's fin-
gers, her head aching from the strenuous pulling of her
hair. Then she covered her eyes with her hands. God
had sent an angel she was saved! When Mr. King
touched her gently, she sat up, wiping away little streams
of blood running down her face and neck.
"Oh, you came," she sobbed, raising her head, "and oh,
I needed you so !"
Theodore lifted her to her feet.
"I should say you did, you poor child! I should cer-
tainly think you did."
Then he turned to Maudlin Bates.
"What, in God's name, were you trying to do?"
Maudlin, raging with anger, scrambled from the ground.
"Get out o' here," he hissed, "an' mind your own busi-
"When I keep a bully away from a nice little girl, I'm
minding my business all right. . . . What was he trying
to do, Jinnie?"
Maudlin walked backward until he was almost in the
"I'm goin' to marry her," he said, surlily.
"He isn't," cried Jinnie. "Oh, don't believe him, Mr.
King ! He says Uncle Laf e said he can marry me, but he
Once more Theodore turned on Maudlin, threateningly,
his anger riding down his gentleness to Jinnie.
"Now get out of here," he exclaimed, "and don't ever
let me hear of your even speaking to this child again."
The shortwood gatherer stood his ground until Theo-
dore, with raised fist, was almost upon him.
THE COMING OF THE ANGELS 159
"I said to get out !" thundered Mr. King.
With a baffled cry, Bates turned, rushed back into the
marsh, and for several seconds they heard him beating
down the brushwood as he ran.
Theodore tenderly drew the girl into Paradise Road.
"I wanted to see your uncle to-day," he explained, with-
out waiting for the question which he read in Jinnie's eyes,
"so I came over myself instead of sending Bennett. . . .
There, child ! Don't tremble so ! Never mind the wood."
Jinnie hung back.
"I've got to sell it to you this afternoon," she mur-
mured brokenly. "Peg's got to have the money."
"We've enough at home until to-morrow. . . . Wait
Jinnie looked longingly at the wood.
"Somebody'll take it," she objected, "and it's awful
hard to gather."
A grip of pain stabbed Theodore's heart. This slen-
der, beautiful girl, rosy with health and genius, should
gather wood no more for any one in the world. . . . To
soothe her, he said :
"I'll come by and pick it up on my way back. . . .
He lifted her into the car, and they moved slowly
through Paradise Road, and drew up before the cob-
Lafe put down his hammer as they entered, and bade
King take a chair. Jinnie sat weakly on the bench be-
side Mr. Grandoken. He took her hand, and the loving
pressure brought forth a storm of outraged tears.
" 'Twas Maudlin, Lafe," she wept.
Then her arms stole around the cobbler. "The angels
sent Mr. King! . . . Lafe, Lafe, save me from Maudlin!
He he "
160 ROSE O' PARADISE
Theodore King rose to his feet, his face paling. Lafe,
smoothing Jinnie's head now buri?d in his breast, lifted
misty eyes to the young man.
"My poor baby ! My poor little girl !" he stammered.
"She has much to stand, sir."
The other man took several nervous turns around the
shop. Presently he paused near the cobbler and coughed
"I'm interested in doing something for your niece, Mr.
Grandoken," said he lamely.
On hearing this, Jinnie lifted her head, and Lafe bowed.
"Thank you, sir," said he.
"I don't approve of her going into the marshes alone to
gather wood," continued Mr. King. "She's too young,
"I don't uther, sir," interrupted Lafe sadly, "but we've
got to live."
Not heeding the cobbler's explanation, Theodore pro-
"She plays too well on the violin not to have all the
training that can be given her. Now let me be of some
service until she is self-supporting."
Again Lafe repeated, "Thank you, sir, but I don't
think Jinnie could accept money from any one."
"I don't see why not! It's quite customary when a
3 r oung person is ambitious to receive "
"Is it, sir?" ejaculated Lafe.
"Indeed yes, and I've been making inquiries, and I find
there's a very good teacher on the hill who'll give her the
rudiments. . . . After that, we'll see."
Jinnie was breathing very fast.
"Lessons cost lots of money," objected Lafe feebly,
drawing the girl closer.
"I know that," interposed Mr. King, "but I want to
THE COMING OF THE ANGELS 161
pay for them. She ought to take one every day, the
teacher says, commencing to-morrow."
Jinnie stood up. "I couldn't let you pay for 'em," she
said quickly. "I "
She sat down again at a motion from Theodore.
"Please don't object until I have finished," he smiled
at her. "It's like this: If you study, you'll be able to
earn a lot of money. Then you can return every dollar
Suddenly it came to her mind to tell him she would have
all the money she needed when she should be eighteen.
"I'll have " she began, but Lafe, feeling what she
was going to say, stopped her. It wasn't time to confide
in any one about the danger hanging over her. He took
the matter in his own hands with his usual melancholy dig-
"Jinnie'll be glad to let you help her, sir, providin' you
keep track of the money you spend," he agreed.
The girl could scarcely believe her ears. Suddenly her
indignant sense of Maudlin's abuse faded away, leaving
her encouraged and warm with ambition.
Theodore took one more stride around the little room.
"Now that's sensible, Mr. Grandoken," he said con-
tentedly. "And before I go, I want you to promise me
your niece won't go into the marshes even once more. I
must have your word before I can be satisfied. As it is
now, she earns three dollars a week bringing me wood.
That I must add to the lesson money "
Lafe's dissenting gesture broke off Mr. King's state-
ment, but he resumed immediately.
"If you're sensitive on that point, I'll add it in with the
other money. I think it wise to keep our arrangements
to ourselves, though." He stopped, his face changing.
"And I I would like to make you more comfortable here."
162 ROSE O' PARADISE
Lafe shook his head.
"I couldn't take anything for me and Peggy," he an-
nounced decidedly, "but Jinnie'll give back all you let her
have some day."
Then Theodore King went away reluctantly.
PEGGY had given Jinnie a violin box, and as the girl
walked rapidly homeward, she gazed at it with pride, and
began to plan how the woman's burdens could be light-
ened a little how she could bring a smile now and then
to the sullen face. This had been discussed between Lafe
and herself many times, and they had rejoiced that in a
few months, when Jinnie was eighteen, Mrs. Grandoken's
worries would be lessened.
She reached the bottom of the hill just as a car dashed
around the lower corner, a woman at the wheel. One
glance at the occupant, and Jinnie recognized Molly Mer-
riweather. The woman smiled sweetly and drove to the
edge of the pavement.
"Good afternoon," she greeted Jinnie. "Won't you
take a little ride with me? I'll drive you home after-
Jinnie's heart bounded. As yet Molly had not discov-
ered her identity, and the girl, in spite of Lafe's caution,
wanted to know all that had passed in Mottville after she
left. She wanted to hear about her dead father, of Matty,
and the old home. She gave ready assent to Molly's invi-
tation by climbing into the door opened for her.
"You don't have to go home right away, do you?"
asked Miss Merriweather pleasantly.
"No, I suppose not," acceded Jinnie shyly.
164 ROSE O' PARADISE
She connected Molly the Merry with all that was good.
She remembered the woman's kindly smiles so long ago in
Mottville, and that she was a friend of Theodore King.
She was startled, however, after they had ridden in silence
a while, when the woman pronounced his name.
"Have you seen Mr. King lately?"
Jinnie shook her head.
"I guess it's three days," she answered, low-voiced.
Three days ! Molly racked her brain during the few sec-
onds before she spoke again to bring to mind when Theo-
dore had been absent from home out of business hours.
"He's a very nice man," she remarked disinterestedly.
Jinnie's gratitude burst forth in youthful impetuosity.
"He's more'n nice, he's the best man in the world."
"Yes, he is," murmured Molly.
"Theo I mean Mr. King," stammered Jinnie.
Molly turned so quickly to look at the girl's reddening
iace that the car almost described a circle.
"You call him by his first name, then?" she asked, with
a sharp backward turn of the wheel.
"No," denied Jinnie, extremely confused. "Oh, no!
Only only "
"When I think of him, then I do. Theodore's such a
pretty name, isn't it?"
Molly bit her lip. Here was the niece of a cobbler
who dared to think familiarly of a man in high social
position. She had tried to make herself believe Theo was
simply philanthropic, but now the more closely she ex-
amined the beautiful face of the girl, the more she argued
with herself, the greater grew her fear.
"What does he call you?" Molly spoke amiably, as if
discussing these unimportant little matters for mere
MOLLY'S DISCOVERY 165
"Mostly Jinnie," was the prompt reply. "I'm just
Jinnie to every one who loves me."
She said this without thought of its import. Angrily
Molly sent the motor spinning along at a higher rate.
She was growing to hate the little person at her side.
"Where are your own people?" she demanded, when
they were on the road leading to the country.
Jinnie glanced up. "Dead!" she answered.
"And the cobbler, Mr. Grandoken, is he your father's;
or mother's brother ?"
Jinnie pondered a moment, undecided how to answer.
"Why, you see it's like this "
Molly lessened the speed. Turning squarely around,
she looked keenly at the scarlet, lovely face.
"Why are you blushing?" she queried.
Then like a flash she remembered. What a silly fool
she had been! Jordan Morse would give his eyes almost
to locate this girl.
"I remember now who you are," she said, taking a.
long breath. "You're Virginia Singleton."
Jinnie touched her arm appealingly.
"You won't tell anybody, will you, please? Please
don't. . . . There's a reason why."
"Tell me the reason."
"I couldn't now, not now. But I have to live with Lafe
Grandoken quite a long time yet."
"You ran away from your home?"
"Your father died the same night you came away."
"Yes, and please, what happened after I left?"
"Oh, he was buried, and the house is empty."
Molly forebore to mention Jordan Morse, and Jinnie's
tongue refused to utter the terrifying name.
Presently the girl, with tears in her eyes, said softly:
166 ROSE O' PARADISE
"And Matty, old Matty?"
"Who's Matty?" interjected Molly.
"The black woman who took care of me. She lived
with me for ever so long."
Molly didn't reply for some time. Then:
"I think she died ; at least I heard she did."
A cold shudder ran over Jinnic's body. Matty then
had gone to join those who, when they were called, had
no choice but to answer. She leaned against the soft
cushions moodily. She was harking back to other days,
and Molly permitted her to remain silent for some time.
"You must have people of your own }*ou could live
with," she resumed presently. "It's wrong for a girl with
your money "
Jinnie's lovely mouth set at the corners.
"I wouldn't leave Lafe and Peggy for anybody in the
world, not if I had relations, but I haven't."
"I thought I thought," began Molly, pretending to
bring to mind something she'd forgotten. "You have an
uncle," she burst forth.
Jinnie grew cold from head to foot. Her father's words,
"He won't find in you much of an obstacle," came to her
"Does your uncle know where you are?"
This question brought the girl to the present.
"No. I don't want him to know, either. Not till
not till I'm eighteen."
Molly's tone was so cold and unsympathetic Jinnie re-
gretted she had accepted her invitation to ride. But she
need not be afraid; Lafe would keep her safe from all
harm. Had she not tried out his faith and the angels'
care with Maudlin Bates? However, she felt she owed
some explanation to the woman at her side.
MOLLY'S DISCOVERY 167
"My uncle doesn't like me," she stammered, calming
her fear. "And Lafe loves me, Lafe does."
"How do you know your uncle doesn't love you?"
Thinking of Lafe's often repeated caution not to di-
vulge her father's disclosure of Morse's perfidy, Jinnie
The birds above their heads kept up a shrill chatter.
On ordinary occasions Jinnie would have listened to mark
down in her memory a few notes to draw from her fiddle,
but at this moment she was too busy looking for a proper
explanation. Glancing sidelong at the woman's face and
noting the expression upon it, she grew cold and drew
into the corner. She would not dare
"I almost think it's my duty to write your uncle," said
Jinnie gasped. She straightened and put forth an im-
"Please don't ! I beg you not to. Some day, mebbe,
some day "
"In the meantime you're living with people who can't
take care of you."
"Oh, but they do, and Mr. King's helping me," faltered
Jinnie. "Why, he'd do anything for me he could. He
loves my fiddle "
"Does he love you?" asked Molly, her heart beating
"I don't know, but he's very good to me."
Molly with one hand carefully brushed a dead leaf from
"Do you love him?" she asked, forcing casuality into
Did she love Theodore King? The question was flung
at Jinnie so suddenly that the truth burst from her lips.
"Oh, yes, I love him very, very much "
168 ROSE O' PARADISE
The machine started forward with a tremendous jerk.
Jinnie gave a frightened little cry, but the woman did not
heed her. The motor sped along at a terrific rate, and
there just ahead Jinnie spied a lean barn-cat, crossing
the road. She screamed again in terror. Still Molly
sped on, driving the car straight over the thin, gaunt
animal. Jinnie's heart leapt into her mouth. All her
great love for living things rose in stout appeal against
this ruthless deed. She lifted her slight body and sprang
up and out, striking the hard ground with a sickening
thud. She sat up, shaking from head to foot. A short
distance ahead Molly Merriweather was turning her ma-
chine. Jinnie crawled to the middle of the road, still
dizzy from her fall. There, struggling before her, was
the object for which she had jumped. The cat was
writhing in distracted misery, and Jinnie picked him up
in her arms. She was sitting on the ground when Molly,
very pale, rolled back.
"You little fool ! You silly little fool !" she exclaimed,
leaping out. "You might have been killed doing such a
"You ran over the kitty," wept Jinnie, bowing her head.
"And what if I did? It's only a cat. Throw it down
and come with me immediately."
Jinnie wasn't used to such sentiments. She got to her
feet, a queer, rebellious feeling buzzing through her brain.
"I'm going to walk home," she said brokenly, "and take
the kitty with me." .
Saying this, she took off her jacket and wrapped it
about the cat. Molly glared at her furiously.
"You're the strangest little dunce I ever saw," she cried.
"If you're determined to take the little beast, get in."
Molly was sorry afterward she had not let Jinnie have
her way, for they had driven homeward but a little dis-
MOLLY'S DISCOVERY 169
tance when she saw Theodore's car coming toward them.
He himself was at the wheel, and waved good-naturedly.
Molly reluctantly stopped her machine. The man looked
in astonishment from the girl to the woman. He noticed
Jinnie's white face and the long blue mark running from
her forehead to her chin. Molly, too, wore an expres-
sion which changed her materially. He stepped to the
ground and leaned over the edge of their car.
"Something happened?" he questioned, eyeing first one,
then the other.
Molly looked down upon the girl, who was staring at
"I I " began Jinnie.
Molly made a short explanation.
"She jumped out of the car," she said. "I was just
telling her she might have been killed."
"Jumped out of the car?" repeated Theodore, aghast.
"And we were going at a terrible rate," Molly went on.
Her voice was toned with accusation, and Jinnie saw a
reprimanding expression spread over the man's face. She
didn't want him to think ill of her, yet she was not sorry
she had jumped. He was kind and good; he would pity
the hurt thing throbbing against her breast.
"We we ran over a cat " she said wretchedly.
"A barn-cat," cut in Molly.
"And he was awfully hurt," interpolated Jinnie. "I
couldn't leave him in the road. I had to get him, didn't I ?"
Theodore King made a movement of surprise.
"Did you notice it in the road?" he asked Miss Merri-
The woman was thoroughly angry, so angry she could
not guard her tongue.
"Of course I saw him," she replied haughtily, "but I
wouldn't stop for an old cat ; I can tell you that much."
170 ROSE O' PARADISE
"Miss Grandoken looks ill," Theodore answered slowly,
"and as I am going her way, I think she'd better come
Molly was about to protest when two strong arms were
thrust forth, and Jinnie with the cat was lifted out. Be-
fore the girl fully realized what had happened, she was
sitting beside her friend, driving homeward. She could
hear through her aching brain the chug-chug of Molly's
motor following. It was not until they turned into Para-
dise Road that Mr. King spoke to her. Then he said
"It was a dreadful risk you took, child."
"I didn't think about that," murmured Jinnie, closing
"No, I suppose not. Your heart's too tender to let
anything be abused. ... Is the cat dead?"
Jinnie pulled aside her jacket.
"No, but he's breathing awful hard. It hurts him to
try to live. I want to get home quick so Peggy can do
something for him."
"I'll hurry, then," replied Mr. King, and when he saw
Lafe's face in the window, he again addressed her:
"You'd better try to smile a little, Miss Jinnie, or your
uncle'll be frightened."
Jinnie roused herself, but she was so weak when she
tried to walk that Theodore picked her up in his arms
and carried her into the shop.
LAFE uttered a quick little prayer as the door opened.
His glance through the window had shown him Jinnie's
pale face and her dark head drooping against Mr. King's
shoulder. Theodore smiled as he entered, which instantly
eased the fear in the cobbler's heart and he waited for the
other man to speak.
"Jinnie had a fall," explained Mr. King, "so I drove
He placed the girl in a chair. She was still holding the
mangled cat in her arms.
"Is she much hurt?" questioned Lafe anxiously.