"No, Lafe, I'm not hurt a bit. Miss Merriweather
took me for a little ride. I jumped out to get this kitty
because she ran over 'im."
She displayed the quivering grey tiger cat.
"Jumped out of a f ast-goin' car, honey !" chided Lafe.
"That was some dangerous."
Jinnie's eyes were veiled with wonder.
"But I couldn't let him stay and get run over again,
could I, Lafe?"
"No, darlin', of course you couldn't. . . . Are you
pretty well broke up ?"
Mr. King explained the accident as best he could, and
after he departed Mrs. Grandoken came in with Bobbie
clinging to her skirts. Then the story was repeated.
172 ROSE O' PARADISE
"Can't we do something for him, Peg?" pleaded Jinnie.
Peg knelt down and examined the animal as it lay on
the floor. She would not have admitted for anything
that she was disturbed because of Jinnie's fall. She only
" 'Twasn't your fault, miss, that you ain't almost dead
yourself. . . . I'll get a dish with some water. . . . You
need it as much as the cat."
It was Bobbie who brought from Peggy a fierce ejacu-
lation. He was standing in the middle of the floor with
fluttering hands, a woebegone expression on his upturned
"My stars're goin' out," he whimpered. "I want to
touch my Jinnie."
"She ain't hurt much, kid," said Peg, hoarsely. "Don't
be shakin' like a leaf, Bobbie! You'd think the girl was
Jinnie called the boy to her.
"I'm here, honey," she soothed him, "and I'm all right.
I got a little whack on the ground, that's all. . . . There,
don't cry, dearie."
Peg looked down on them frowningly.
"You're both of you little fools," she muttered. "Get
out of my way till I go to the kitchen, or I'll kick you out."
When Mrs. Grandoken brought the water, they worked
over the cat for a long time, and at length Peg carried
the poor little mangled body to the kitchen, Bobbie fol-
Jinnie sat down beside the cobbler on the bench.
"There's something I don't know, Jinnie," he said.
Fully and freely she told him all all that had hap-
pened that day. She explained Molly's recognition of
her and the terrors of the afternoon's ride.
"She hates barn-cats," went on the girl, "and, Lafe,
NOBODY'S CAT 173
when the wheels gritted over him, I flew right out on the
Lafe's arms tightened about her.
"You just couldn't help it," he murmured. "God bless
my little girl !"
"Then Mr. King took me with him," concluded Jinnie.
Lafe had his own view of Molly the Merry, but he didn't
tell the faint, white girl at his side that he thought the
woman was jealous of her.
As Jinnie again recounted nervously the conversation
about her Uncle Jordan, the cobbler said softly :
"It's all in the hands of the angels, pet! No harm'll
come to you ever."
Jordan Morse answered Miss Merriweather's telephone
"I want to talk with you," said she peremptorily.
"I'll come right up," replied Morse.
She stood on the porch with her hands tightly locked
together when Jordan dashed up the roadway. She
walked slowly down the steps.
"What's up?" demanded Morse.
Molly glanced backward at the quiet home. Theodore's
mother was taking her afternoon siesta, and no one else
was about. She slipped her hand into Morse's arm and
led him under the trees.
"Let's go to the summer house," she urged.
Once seated, Morse looked at her curiously.
"You're ill," he said, noting her distorted face.
"No, only furious. . . . I've made a discovery."
"Anything of value?"
"Yes, to you and to me."
Morse bent a keen glance upon her.
174 ROSE O' PARADISE
"Well?" was all he said.
"I know where your niece, Virginia Singleton, is."
She said this deliberately, realizing the while the worth
of her words.
Morse got to his feet unsteadily.
"I don't believe it," he returned.
"I knew you wouldn't, but I do just the same."
"In this town."
Morse dropped back on the seat once more.
"For God's sake, don't play with me. Why don't
"I'm going to! Keep still, can't you?"
"You're torturing me," muttered the man, mopping his
"She's she's Jinnie Grandoken the girl who played
at Theo's party."
"Good God!" and then through the silence came an-
other muttered, "Great merciful God!"
Molly allowed him to regain his self-control.
"I told you that night, Jordan, I thought I remembered
her," she then said. "To-day I found out it was she."
"Tell me all you know," ordered Morse, with darkening
Molly openly admitted her jealousy of Jinnie. She
had no shame because, long before, she had told her hus-
band of her absorbing passion for Theodore King.
"I discovered it purely by accident," she went on, re-
lating the story.
Morse chewed the end of his cigar.
"Now what're you going to do ?" demanded Molly pres-
NOBODY'S CAT 175
Jordan threw away his cigar and thrust his hands deep
into his pockets, stretching out a pair of long legs.
There he sat considering the tips of his boots in silence.
"I've got to think, and think quick," he broke out sud-
denly. "My God! I might have known she didn't be-
long in that cobbler's shop. . . . I'll go now. . . . Don't
mention this to Theo."
As he was leaving, he said with curling lip :
"I guess now you know my prospects you won't be so
stingy. I'll have to have money to carry this through."
"All right," said Molly.
When she was alone, Molly's anger decreased. She
had an ally now worth having. She smiled delicately as
she passed up the stairs to her room, and the smile was
brought to her lips because she remembered having begged
Jordan to help her in this matter several times before.
Then he had had no incentive, but to-day Ah, now he
would give her a divorce quietly! The social world in
which she hoped to move would know nothing of her
That night Jinnie and Peg were bending anxiously over
a basket near the kitchen stove. All that human hands
and hearts could do had been done for the suffering barn-
cat. He had given no- sign of consciousness, his breath
coming and going in long, deep gasps.
"He'll die, won't he, Peg?" asked Jinnie, sorrowfully.
"Yes, sure. An' it'll be better for the beast, too." Peg
said this tempestuously.
"I'd like to have him live," replied Jinnie. "Milly Ann
mightn't love him, but she got used to Happy Pete, didn't
176 ROSE O' PARADISE
"This feller," assured Peggy, wagging her head, "won't
get used to anything more on this earth."
"Poor kitty," mourned Jinnie.
She was thinking of the beautiful world, the trees and
the flowers, and the wonderful songs of nature amidst
which the dying animal had existed.
"I hope he'll go to some nice place," she observed sadly,
walking away from Mrs. Grandoken.
Later, after cogitating deeply, Jinnie expressed herself
to the cobbler.
"Lafe, Lafe dear," she said, "it's all true you told me,
ain't it? ... All about the angels and God? . . . The
poor kitty's suffering awful. He's got the Christ too,
hasn't he, Lafe?"
The man looked into the agonized young face.
"Yes, child," he replied reverently, "he's got the Christ
too, same's you an' me. God's in everything. He loves
That night the girl sat unusually long with paper and
pencil. Just before going to bed she placed a paper on
the cobbler's knee.
"I wrote that hurt kitty some poetry," she said shyly.
Lafe settled his spectacles on his nose, picked up the
sheet, and read:
"I'm nobody's cat and I've been here so long,
In this world of sorrow and pain,
I've no father nor mother nor home in this place,
And must always stay out in the rain.
"Hot dish water, stones at me have been thrown.
And one of my hind legs is lame;
No wonder I run when I know the boys
Come to see if I'm tame.
NOBODY'S CAT 177
"I've a friend in the country, and he's nobody's dog,
And his burdens're heavy as mine,
He told me one day the boys had once tied
A tin can to his tail with a line.
"Now they talk in the churches of God and his Son,
Of Paradise, Heaven and Hell;
Of a Savior who came on earth for mankind,
And for His children all should be well.
"Now I'd like to know if God didn't make me,
And cause me to live and all that?
I believe there's a place for nobody's child,
And also for nobody's cat."
Mr. Grandoken lifted misty eyes.
"It's fine," he said, "an 5 every word true ! . . . Every
The next morning Jinnie went to the basket behind the
stove. The cat was dead, dead, in the same position in
which she had left him the night before, and close to his
nose was the meat Peggy had tried to entice him to eat.
She lifted the basket and carried it into the shop.
"Poor little feller," said Lafe. "I 'spose you'll have to
bury him, lass."
Bobbie edged forward, and felt for Jinnie's fingers.
"Bury him on the hill, dearie, where you found me," he
whispered. "It's lovely there, and he can see my stars."
"All right," replied Jinnie, dropping her hand on the
boy's golden head.
That afternoon, just before the funeral, Jinnie stood
quietly in front of the cobbler.
"Lafe," she said, looking at him appealingly, "the
kitty's happy even if he is dead, isn't he?"
178 ROSE O' PARADISE
"Sure," replied Lafe. "His angels've got charge of him,
"I was wondering something," ventured the girl,
thoughtfully. "Couldn't we take him in the 'Happy in
Spite'? ... Eh, Lafe?"
Lake looked at her in surprise.
"I never thought of takin' anything dead in the club,"
said he dubiously.
"But he's happy, you said, Lafe ?"
"He's happy enough, yes, sure !"
"Then let's take him in," repeated Jinnie eagerly.
"Let's take 'im in, cobbler," breathed Bobbie, pressing
forward. "He wants to come in."
They lifted the cover of the basket, and there in quietude
the barn-cat was sleeping his long last sleep.
Jinnie lifted one of the stiff little paws, and placed it
in Lafe's fingers. The cobbler shook it tenderly.
"You're in the club, sir," said he in a thick, choked
voice. Then Jinnie and Bobbie, carrying their precious
dead comrade, started for the hill.
"HE MIGHT EVEN MAKEY HEB,"
"I DON'T see why you must have her out of the way en-
tirely," hesitated Molly Merriweather, looking up into
Jordan Morse's face. "Couldn't you send her to some
"Now you don't know anything about it, Molly," an-
swered the man impatiently. "If she doesn't disappear
absolutely, the cobbler and Theodore'll find her."
"That's so," said Molly, meditatively, "but it seems
Morse interrupted her with a sarcastic laugh.
"That's what Theodore would think, and more, too, if
he thought any one was going to harm a hair of the child's
Molly flamed red.
"To save her, he might even marry her," Morse went
Molly gestured negatively.
"He wouldn't. He couldn't!" she cried stormily. She
had never permitted herself to face such a catastrophe
save when she was angry.
Jordan Morse contemplated his wife a short space of
"I can't understand your falling in love with a man
who hasn't breathed a word of affection for you," he said
180 ROSE O' PARADISE
Molly showed him an angry face.
"You're not a woman, so you can't judge," she replied.
"Thank God for that !" retorted Morse.
"We wouldn't have had any of this trouble," he con-
tinued, at length, "if you'd let me know about the boy.
There's no excuse for you, absolutely none. You know
very well I would have come back."
All the softness in the woman turned to hardness.
"How many times," she flamed, "must I tell you I was
too angry to write or beg you to come, Jordan ? . . . I've
told you over and over."
"And with all you say, I can't understand it. Are
you going to impart your precious past to Theodore ?"
"No," replied Molly, setting her lips.
Presently Morse laughed provokingly.
"How you women do count your chickens before they're
hatched! Where did you get the idea Theodore was go-
ing to ask you to marry him?"
"I'll make him," breathed Molly, with confidence.
"Well, go ahead," bantered Morse. "All I ask for re-
leasing you is that you'll help me rid myself of my beau-
tiful niece, Virginia, at the same time ridding yourself,
my lady, and give me my boy when we find him."
His tones in the first part of the speech were mocking,
but Molly noted when he said "boy" his voice softened.
She looked at him wonderingly. What a strange mixture
of good and evil he was ! When he got up to leave, she
was not sorry. She watched him stride away with a deep
sigh of relief.
She was still sitting in the summer house when Theodore
King swung his motor through the gate and drew up
before the porch. He jumped out, wiped his face, saw
Molly, and smiled.
"Well, it's cool here," he said, walking toward her.
"Yes," said Molly. "Come and sit down a minute."
Theodore looked doubtfully at the house.
"I really ought to do some writing, but I'll sit a while
if you like. I passed Jordan on the way home."
Molly nodded, and Theodore quizzed her with laughing
"Isn't he coming pretty often?" he asked. "Jordan's
got prospects, Molly ! If his niece isn't found, you know,
he'll have a fortune. . . . Better set your cap for him."
Molly blushed under his words, trying not to show her
resentment. Was Theodore a perfect fool? Couldn't he
see she desired no one but himself, and him alone?"
"Jordan doesn't care for me that way," she observed
with dignity, "and I don't care for him."
Theodore flicked an ash from his cigar.
"I think you're mistaken, Molly I mean as far as he
"I'm not ! Of course, I'm not ! Oh, Theodore, I've been
wanting to ask you something for a long time. I do want
to go back home for a day. . . . Would you take me?"
Theodore eyed her through wreaths of blue smoke.
"Well, I might," he hesitated, "but hadn't you better
ask Jordan ? I'm afraid he wouldn't like me "
Molly got up so quickly that Theodore, surprised, got
"I don't want Jordan, and I do want you," she said
emphatically. "Of course if you don't care to go "
"On the contrary," interrupted Theodore, good-natur-
edly, "I would really like it. ... Yes, I'll go all right.
... I have a reason for going."
Molly's whole demeanor changed. She gave a musical
laugh. He could have but one reason, and she felt she
knew that reason! What a handsome dear he was, and
how she loved the whole bigness of him !
182 ROSE O' PARADISE
As she turned to walk away, Theodore fell in at her
side, suiting his steps to hers,
"Mind you, Molly, any day you say but Saturday."
"Why not Saturday?" asked Molly, pouting. "I might
want you then !"
Unsuspecting, Mr. King explained.
"The fact is, Saturday I've planned to go on the hill.
You remember Grandoken's niece? I want to find out
how she's progressing in her music."
If Theodore had been watching Molly's face, he would
have noted how its expression changed darkly. But,
humming a tune, he went into the house unconcernedly,
and Molly recognized the rhythm as one Jinnie had played
that night long ago with Peg Grandoken's lace curtains
draped about her.
Jinnie's youth, her bright blue eyes, her wonderful
talent, Molly hated, and hated cordially. Then she de-
cided Theodore should go with her Saturday.
That evening when Jordan Morse came in, Molly told
him she would help him in any scheme to get Jinnie away
"You're beginning to understand he likes her pretty
much, eh?" asked the man rudely.
Molly wouldn't admit this, but she replied simply :
"I don't want her around. That's all! As long as
she's in Bellaire, the Kings'll always have her here with
"Some fiddle," monotoned Jordan.
"It's the violin that attracts Theodore," hesitated
"And her blue eyes," interrupted Jordan, smiling
"Her talent, you mean," corrected Molly.
"And her curls," laughed Morse. "I swear if she wasn't
HE MIGHT EVEN MARRY HER 183
a relation of mine I'd marry the kid myself. She's a
beauty ! . . . She's got you skinned to death."
"You needn't be insulting, Jordan," admonished Molly,
"It's the truth, though. That's where the rub comes.
You can't wool me, Molly. If she were hideous, you
wouldn't worry at all. . . . Why, I know seven or eight
girls right here in Bellaire who'd give their eye teeth and
wear store ones to get Theodore to look at 'em cross-
eyed. . . . Lord, what fools women are !"
Molly left him angrily, and Morse, shrugging his shoul-
ders, strolled on through the trees. Not far from the
house he met Theodore, and they wandered on together,
smoking in silence. Morse suddenly developed an idea.
Why shouldn't he sound King about Jinnie ? Accordingly,
he began with:
"That's a wonderful girl, Grandoken's niece."
This topic was one Theodore loved to speak of, to dream
so, so he said impetuously:
"She is indeed. I only wish I could get her away from
Morse turned curious eyes on his friend.
"Well, I don't think it's any place for an impressionable
young girl like her."
"She's living with Jews, too, isn't she?"
"Yes, but good people," Theodore replied. "I want
her to go away to school. I'd be willing to pay her ex-
Morse flung around upon him.
"Send her away to school? You?"
"Yes. Why not? Wouldn't it be a good piece of
charity work? She's the most talented girl I ever saw."
"And the prettiest," Jordan cut in.
184 ROSE O' PARADISE
"By far the prettiest," answered King without hesi-
His voice was full of feeling, and Jordan Morse needed
no more to tell him plainly that Theodore loved Jinnie
Grandoken. A sudden chill clutched at his heart. If
King ever took Jinnie under his protection, his own plans
would count for nothing. He went home that night dis-
gusted with himself for having stayed away from his home
country so long, angry that Molly had not told him about
the baby, and more than angry with Theodore King.
WHEN THEODORE FORGOT
FOR the next few days Jordan Morse turned over in his
mind numerous plans to remove Jinnie from Grandoken's
home, but none seemed feasible. As long as Lafe knew
his past and stood like a rock beside the girl, as long as
Theodore King was interested in her, he himself was pow-
erless to do anything. How to get both the cobbler and
his niece out of the way was a problem which continually
He mentioned his anxiety to Molly, asking her if by any
means she could help him.
"I did tell her I'd write to you," said Molly.
Morse's face fell.
"She's a stubborn little piece," he declared presently.
"Theo's in love with her all right."
"You don't really mean that!" stammered Molly, her
"Perhaps not very seriously, but such deep interest as
his must come from something more than just the girl's
talent. He spoke about sending her away to school."
"He shan't," cried Molly, infuriated.
Morse's rehearsal of Theodore's suggestion was like
goads in her soul.
"If she'd go," went on the man, "nothing you or I could
do would stop him. The only way "
Molly whirled upon him abruptly.
186 ROSE O' PARADISE
"I'll help you, Jordan, I will. . . . Anything, any
way to keep him from her."
They were both startled and confused when Theodore
came upon them suddenly with his swinging stride, but
before Morse went home, he whispered to Molly :
"I've thought of something tell you to-morrow."
That night Molly scarcely slept. The vision of a black-
haired girl in the arms of Theodore King haunted her
through her restless dreams, and the agony was so intense
that before the dawn broke over the hill she made up her
mind to help her husband, even to the point of putting
Jinnie out of existence.
That morning Morse approached her with this com-
"You try to get Jinnie to go with you to Mottville.
You wouldn't have to stay but a day or so. There your
responsibilities would end. . . . I'll be there at the same
time. . . . Will you do it, Molly?"
"Yes," said Molly, and her heart began to sing and her
eyes to shine. Her manner to Jordan as he left was more
cordial than since his return from Europe.
At noon time, when Theodore King saw her walking,
sweetly cool, under the trees, he joined her. Molly had
donned the dress he had complimented most, and as he ap-
proached her, she lifted a shy gaze to his.
"You couldn't take me to-morrow, you're sure?" she
begged, her voice low, deep and appealingly resonant.
Theodore hesitated.. Being naturally chivalrous and
kindly, he disliked to refuse, but he had already sent a note
to Jinnie to meet him at the master's Saturday, and it
went against his inclination to break that appointment.
"I don't see how I can," he replied thoughtfully, "but
choose any day next week, and we'll make a real picnic
WHEN THEODORE FORGOT 187
"I'm so disappointed," Molly murmured sadly. "I
wanted to go Saturday. But of course "
"I'll see if I can arrange it," he assured her. "Possibly
I might go up to hear her play to-day. . . . I'll see. . . .
Later I'll 'phone you."
Leaving the house, he headed his car toward the lower
end of the town. He was glad of an excuse to go to Para-
dise Road. Lafe smiled through the window at him, and
he entered the shop at the cobbler's cordial, "Come in !"
"I suppose you want Jinnie, eh?" asked Lafe.
"Yes. I'll detain her only a moment."
Bobbie got up from the floor where he was playing sol-
diers with tacks and nails.
"Boy'll call Jinnie," said he, moving forward.
The two men watched the slender blind child feel his
way to the door.
"Bobbie loves to take a part in things," explained Lafe.
"Poor little fellow!"
"Is he hopelessly blind?" asked Theodore.
"Yes, yes," and Lafe sighed. "I sent him once by Peg
to ask a big eye specialist. He's a good little shaver, but
his heart's awful weak. You wouldn't think he's almost
eleven, would you?"
Theodore shook his head, shocked.
"It isn't possible !" he exclaimed.
"He ain't growed much since he come here over two
years ago. Jinnie can carry him in one arm."
"Poor child !" said Theodore sympathetically.
Just then Jinnie came into the room shyly. Bobbie had
excitedly whispered to her that "the beautiful big man
with the nice hands" wanted her. She hesitated at the
sight of Mr. King, but advanced as Lafe held out his hand
Before Theodore could explain, she had told him:
188 ROSE O' PARADISE
"The master isn't giving me a lesson to-day, but he will
to-morrow because you're coming."
With pride in her voice, she said it radiantly, the color
mantling high in her cheeks. Molly's importunate insist-
ence escaped Theodore's mind. When with Jinnie, ordi-
nary matters generally did fade away.
"I'm very glad," he replied. "I hope you've progressed
"She has, sir, she sure has," Lafe put in. "You'll be
surprised! How long since you've heard her play?"
"A long time," answered Theodore, and still forgetting
Molly, he went on, "I wonder if you'd like to come to the
house to-morrow to dinner and play for us. My mother
was speaking about how much she'd enjoy it only a short
Jinnie's eyes sparkled.
"I should love to come," she answered gladly.
He rose to go, taking her hand.
"Then I'll send the car for you," he promised her.
He was sitting at his office desk when Molly the Merry
once more came into his mind. An ejaculation escaped
his lips, and he made a wry face. Then, in comparison,
Jinnie, with all her sparkling youth, rose triumphant be-
fore him. He loved the child, for a child she still seemed
to him. To tell her now of his affection might harm her
work. He would wait ! She was so young, so very young.
For a long time he sat thinking and dreaming of the
future, and into the quiet of his office he brought, in bril-
liant vision, a radiant, raven-haired woman his ideal
his Jinnie. Suddenly again he remembered his promise to
Molly and slowly took down the telephone. Then delib-
erately he replaced it. It would be easier to explain the
circumstances face to face with her, and no doubt en-
his mind but that the woman would be satisfied and
WHEN THEODORE FORGOT 189
very glad that Jinnie was coming with her violin to play
for them. Molly wouldn't mind postponing her trip for a
Molly was reclining as usual in the hammock with a
book in her hand when he ran up the steps.
"Molly," he began, going to her quickly, "I want to con-
"Confess?" she repeated, sitting up.
"Yes, it's this way: When I went out this morning I
felt sure I could arrange about to-morrow. . . . But
what do you think?"
Miss Merriweather put down the book, stood up, her