hand over her heart.
"I can't guess," she breathed.
"Well, I went to Grandoken's "
"You could have sent a note," Molly cut in.
Theodore looked at her curiously.
"I could, but I didn't. I wanted Jinnie to under-
His voice vibrated deeply when he spoke that name, and
the listener's love-laden ears caught the change imme-
"Well ?" she murmured in question.
"When I got there and saw her, I forgot about Satur-
day. Before I had a chance, she told me she wasn't going
to the master's to-day. Then without another
"Well?" interviewed Molly with widening eyes.
"Pardon me, Molly," Theodore said tactlessly, "for for-
getting you you will, won't you? I asked her to play
here to-morrow night."
Molly felt the structure of her whole world tumbling
down about her ears. He had forgotten her for that
girl, that jade in Paradise Road, the girl who stood be-
190 ROSE O' PARADISE
tween her and all her hopes. She took one step forwaro!
and forgot her dignity, forgot everything but his stinging
"How dared you?" she uttered hoarsely. Her voice
grew thin as it raised to the point of a question.
"Dare !" echoed Theodore, his expression changing.
Molly went nearer him with angry, sparkling eyes.
"Yes, how dared you ask that girl to come here when I
dislike her? You know how I hate her "
Mr. King tossed his cigar into the grass, gravity set-
tling on his countenance.
"I hadn't the slightest idea you disliked her," he said.
Molly eagerly advanced into the space between them.
"She is trying to gain some sort of influence over you,
Theo, just the same as she got over that Jewish cobbler."
Theodore King gazed in amazement at the reddening,
beautiful face. Surely he had not heard aright. Had she
really made vile charges against the girl? To implicate
Jinnie with a thought of conspiracy brought hot blood
about his temples. He wouldn't stand that even from an
old-time friend. Of course he liked Molly very much, yes,
very much indeed, but this new antagonistic spirit in
"What's the matter with you, Molly?" he demanded ab-
ruptly. "You haven't any reason to speak of the child
"The child !" sneered Molly. "Why, she's a little river
rat a bold, nasty ' "
Theodore King raised his great shoulders, throwing
back his closely cropped head. Then fee sprang to refute
the terrible aspersion against the girl he loved.
"Stop !" he commanded in a harsh voice, leaning over
the panting woman. "And now I'll ask you how you
dare?" he finished.
WHEN THEODORE FORGOT 191
Molly answered him bravely, catching her breath in a
"I dare because I'm a woman. ... I dare because I
know what she's doing. If she hadn't played her cards
well, you'd never've paid any attention to her at all. . . .
No one can make me believe you would have been inter-
ested in a in a "
The man literally whirled from the porch, bounded into
the motor, turned the wheel, and shot rapidly away.
MOLLY ASKS TO BE FORGIVEN
ALL the evening Molly waited in despair. She dared
not appear at dinner and arose the next morning after a
sleepless night. For two or three hours she hovered about
the telephone, hoping for word from Theodore. He would
certainly 'phone her. He would tell her he was sorry
for the way he had left her, for the way he had spoken to
her. Even his mother noticed her pale face and extreme
"What is it, dear?" asked Mrs. King, solicitously.
"Nothing, nothing much," answered Molly evasively.
Mrs. King hesitated before she ventured, "I thought I
heard you and Theo talking excitedly last night. Molly,
you musn't quarrel with him. . . . You know the wish
of my heart. ... I need you, child, and so does he."
Miss Merriweather knelt beside the gentle woman.
"He doesn't care for me, dear !" she whispered.
For an instant she was impelled to speak of Jinnie, but
realizing what a tremendous influence Theodore had over
his mother, she dared not. Like her handsome son, Mrs.
King worshipped genius, and Molly reluctantly admitted
to herself that the girl possessed it.
"He's young yet," sighed the mother, "and he's always
so sweet to you, Molly. Some day he'll wake up. . . .
There, there, dearie, don't cry!"
"I'm so unhappy," sobbed Molly.
Mrs. King smoothed the golden head tenderly.
MOLLY ASKS TO BE FORGIVEN 193
"Why, child, he can't help but love you," she insisted.
"He knows how much I depend on you. . . . I'd have
had you with me long before if your father hadn't needed
you. . . . Shall I speak to Theodore?"
"No, no " gasped Molly, and she ran from the room.
Under the tall trees she paced for many minutes. How
could she wait until dinner until he came home? She
felt her pride ebbing away as she watched the sun cross
the sky. The minutes seemed hours long. Molly went
swiftly into the house. First assuring herself no one was
within hearing distance, she paused before the telephone,
longing, yet scarcely daring to use it. Then she took off
the receiver and called Theodore's number. His voice,
deep, low and thrilling, answered her.
"It's I, Theo," she said faintly. . . . Molly."
"Yes," he answered, but that was all.
He gave her no encouragement, no opening, but in ides-
peration she uttered,
"Theodore, I'm sorry! . . . Oh, I'm so sorry! . . .
Won't you forgive me?"
There was silence on the wire for an appreciable length
"Theodore?" murmured Molly once more.
"I want you to forgive me. ... I couldn't wait until
you came home."
She heard a slight cough, then came the reply.
"I can't control your thoughts, Molly, but I dislike to
have my friends illy spoken of."
"I know ! I know it, Theodore ! But please forgive me,
"Very well," answered Theodore, and he clicked off the
Molly dropped her face into her hands.
194 ROSE O' PARADISE
"He hung the receiver up in my ear," she muttered.
"How cruel, how terrible of him !"
It was a wan, beautiful face that turned up to Theo-
dore King when he came home to dinner. Too kindly by
nature to hurt any one, he smiled at Molly. Then he
stopped and held out his hand. The woman took it, say-
ing earnestly :
"I'm sorry, Theo. . . . I'm very sorry. I think I'm
a little cat, don't you?" and she laughed, the tension
lifted from her by his cordiality.
There was a wholesomeness in her manner that made
Theodore's heart glad.
"Of course not, Molly! . . . You couldn't be that!
. . . And next week we will have a lovely day in the
Molly turned away sadly. She had hoped he would
do as she wanted him to in spite of his appointment with
That evening Jinnie wore a beautiful new dress when
she started for the Kings. Of course she didn't know that
Theodore had arranged with Peggy to purchase it, and
when Mrs. Grandoken had told her to come along and buy
the gown, Jinnie's eyes sparkled, but she shook her head.
"I'd rather you'd spend the money on Lafe and Bobbie,"
But Peggy replied, "No," and that's how it came that
Jinnie stepped quite proudly from the motor car at the
Molly Merriweather met her with a forced smile, and
Jinnie felt strained until Theodore King's genial greeting
dissipated the affront. After the dinner, through which
she sat very much embarrassed, she played until, to the
man watching her, it seemed as if the very roof would lift
from the house and sail off into the Heavens.
MOLLY ASKS TO BE FORGIVEN 195
When Jinnie was ready to go home, standing blushing
under the bright light, she had never looked more lovely.
Molly hoped Theo would send the girl alone in the car with
Bennett, but as she saw him put on his hat, she said, with
"Mayn't I go along?"
She asked the question of Theodore, and realized in-
stantly that he did not want her.
Jinnie came forward impetuously.
"Oh, do come, Miss Merriweather ! It'll be so nice."
And Molly hated the girl more cordially than ever.
On arriving home Jinnie beamed out her happiness to
the cobbler and his wife.
"And the fiddle, Peggy, they loved the fiddle," she told
"Did you make it, Jinnie?" asked Peggy gruffly.
"What, the fiddle?" demanded Jinnie.
"No," faltered Jinnie in surprise.
"Then don't brag about it," warned Peggy. "If you'd
a glued them boards together, it'd a been something, but
as long as you didn't, it ain't no credit to you."
Lafe laughed, and Jinnie, too, uttered a low, rueful
sound. How funny Peg was ! And when Mrs. Grandoken
had gone to prepare for the night, Lafe insisted that Jin-
nie tell him over and over all the happenings of the evening.
For a long time afterwards she sat dreaming, reminiscing
in sweet fancy every word and smile Theodore had given
"HAVEN'T YOU ANY SOUL?"
WHENEVER Molly Merriweather was mentioned to Theo-
dore King, that young man felt a twinge in his conscience.
His mother had taken him gently to task. Out of respect
for Molly's wishes she refrained from speaking of the
girl's affection for him, but cautioned him to be careful
not to offend her companion.
"She's very sensitive, you know, Theodore dear, and
very good to me. I really don't know what I'd do without
"I was thoughtless ! . . . I'll do better, mother mine,"
he smiled. "I'll go to her now and tell her so."
Theodore found Molly writing a letter in the library.
He sank into an easy chair and yawned good-naturedly.
The woman was still furious with him, so merely lifted her
eyes at his entrance, and went on writing. Theodore was
quiet for a few moments, then with a laugh went to the
desk and took the pen forcibly from Molly's hand.
"Come and make up," he said.
"Have we anything to make up?" she asked languidly,
keeping her eyes on the paper.
"Of course we have. You know very well, Molly, you're
angry with me. . . . Now mother says "
She caught his bantering tone, and resenting it, drew
her fingers away haughtily.
"You learn good manners from your mother, it seems."
"HAVEN'T YOU ANY SOUL?" 197
Her tone was insolent and angered him. Theodore
returned quickly to his chair.
"No, I don't," he denied. "You know I don't! But
before you asked me to go with you Saturday, I told you I
had an appointment "
"Yes, and you told me who it was with, too," Molly
thrust back in his teeth.
"Exactly, because there's no reason why I shouldn't.
I've taken an extreme interest in the little girl. . . . You
offended me by talking against her."
Molly's temper was rising by the minute. She had ar-
mored herself with a statement, the truth of which she
would force upon him.
"I'm not sure I said anything that wasn't true," she
Theodore leaned back in his chair.
"Then you didn't mean it when you said you were
sorry?" he demanded shortly.
"I wanted you to go with me, that's all."
"And you took that way to make me. Was that it ?"
Molly picked up her pen and made a few marks with it.
"I'm not interested in Miss Grandoken," she replied.
"So I notice," retorted Theodore, provokingly.
She turned around upon him with angry, sparkling eyes.
"I think you've a lot of nerve to bring her into your
She hazarded this without thought of consequences.
"What do you mean ?" he asked presently, searching her
face with an analytical gaze.
Molly was wrought up to the point of invention, per-
haps because she was madly jealous.
"Men generally keep that sort of a woman to them-
selves," she explained. "A home is usually sacred to the
198 ROSE O' PARADISE
Theodore was stung to silence. It was a bitter fling,
and his thoughts worked rapidly. It took a long moment
for his tall figure to get up from the chair.
"Just what do you mean?" he demanded, thrusting his
hands into his pockets.
"I don't believe I need tell you any more," she answered.
Theodore stood in the middle of the room as if turned
"I'm dense, I guess," he admitted huskily.
Angered beyond reason or self-control, Molly pushed
the letter away impatiently and stood up.
"Well, if you're so terribly dense, then listen. No man
is ever interested in a girl like that unless she is something
more to him than a mere " She broke off, because a
dark red flush was spreading in hot waves over the man's
face. But bravely she proceeded, "Of course you wouldn't
insult your family and your friends by marrying her.
Then what conclusion do you want them to draw?"
Theodore looked at her as if she'd suddenly lost her
senses. She had cast an aspersion upon the best little soul
in God's created world.
"Well, of all the villainous insinuations I ever heard!"'
he thundered harshly. "My God, woman! Haven't you
any soul . . . any decency about you?"
The question leaped out of a throat tense with uncon-
trollable rage. It was couched in language never used to
her before, and caused the woman to stagger back. She
was about to demand an apology, when Theodore flung
out of the room and banged the door behind him.
Molly sat down quickly. Humiliating, angry tears
flowed down her cheeks and she made no effort to restrain
them. What cared she that Theodore had repudiated her
accusation? She felt she had discovered the truth, and
nothing more need be said about it.
"HAVEN'T YOU ANY SOUL?" 199
After growing a little calmer, she saw that she'd made
another mistake by enraging Theodore. He had not taken
her insults against the girl as she had expected.
Half an hour later she called his office and was informed
he was out.
Theodore left Molly more angry than he'd ever been in
his life. Instead of making him think less of Jinnie,
Molly's aspersions drew him more tenderly toward the girl.
As he strode through the road under the trees, his heart
burned to see her. He looked at his watch it was four
o'clock. Jinnie had had her lesson in the morning, so he
could not call for her at the master's. Just then he saw
her walking quickly along the street, and she lifted shy,
glad eyes as he spoke her name. By this time his temper
had cooled, yet there lingered in his heart the stabbing:
hurt brought there by Molly's slurs. He felt as if in
some way he owed an apology to Jinnie; as if he must
make up for harm done her by a vile, gossiping tongue.
He fell into step beside her and gently took the violin
box from her hand.
"And how is my little friend to-day ?" he asked.
His voice, unusually musical, made Jinnie spontaneously
draw a little nearer him.
"I'm very well," she returned, demurely, "and I've
learned some very lovely things. I went up twice to-day
sometimes the master makes me come back in the after-
It eased his offended dignity to see her so happy, so
vividly lovely. He had gone to Molly with the intention
of asking her to go with him some day soon to Mottville.
He thought of this now with a grim setting of his teeth;
but looking at Jinnie, an idea more to his liking came in
its place. He would take her somewhere for a day. She
needed just such a day to make her color a little brighter,
200 ROSE O' PARADISE
although as he glanced at her again, he had to admit she
was rosy enough. Nevertheless a great desire came over
him to ask her ; so when they had almost reached the cob-
bler's shop, he said :
"How would a nice holiday suit you?"
Jinnie looked up into his face, startled.
"What do you mean by a holiday? Not to take les-
Theodore caught her thought, and laughed,
"Oh, no, not that ! But I was thinking if you would go
with me into the country "
"For a whole day ?" gasped Jinnie, stopping point blank.
"Yes, for a whole day," replied Theodore, smiling.
"Oh, I couldn't go. I couldn't."
"Why? . . . Don't you want to?"
Of course she wanted to go* Jinnie felt that if she
knew she was going with him, she'd fly to the sky and back
"Yes," she murmured. "I'd like to go, but I couldn't
for lots of reasons ! . . . Lafe wouldn't let me for one,
and then Bobbie needs me awfully."
They started on, and Jinnie could see Lafe's window,
but not the cobbler himself.
"But I'd bring you back at dusk," Theodore assured
her, "and you'd be happy "
"Happy! Happy!" she breathed, with melting eyes.
"I'd be more'n happy, but I can't go."
Theodore raised his hat quickly and left her without
JINNIE DECIDES AGAINST THEODOEE
Now for a few days Theodore King had had in mind a
plan which, as he contemplated it, gave him great delight.
He had decided to send Jinnie Grandoken away to school,
to a school where she would learn the many things he
So one morning at Jinnie's lesson hour he appeared at
the cobbler's shop and was \received by Lafe with his
usual grave smile.
"Jinnie's at the master's," said Mr. Grandoken, excus-
ing the girl's absence.
"Yes, I know. The fact is, I wanted to talk with you
and Mrs. Grandoken."
Lafe looked at him critically.
"Bobsie," said he to the blind boy, "call Peggy, will
When the woman and child came in hand in hand, Peggy
bowed awkwardly to Mr. King. Somehow, when this young
man appeared with his aristocratic manner and his genial,
friendly advances, she was always embarrassed.
Theodore cleared his throat.
"For some time," he began, "I've had in mind a little
plan for Miss Jinnie, and I do hope you'll concur with me
He glanced from the cobbler to his wife, and Lafe re-
202 ROSE O' PARADISE
"You've been too kind already, Mr. King "
"It isn't a question of kindness, my dear Mr. Grand-
oken. As I've told you before, I'm very much interested
in your niece."
Bobbie slipped from Mrs. Grandoken and went close to
"She's my Jinnie," breathed the boy with a saintly smile.
"Yes, I know that, my lad, but you want her to be
happy, don't you?"
"She is happy," interjected Lafe, trembling.
"You might tell us your plan," broke in Peg sourly,
who always desired to get the worst over quickly.
"Well, it is to send her away to school for a few years."
Bobbie gave a little cry and staggered to Peg, holding
out his hands. She picked him up, with bitterness de-
picted in her face. But when she looked at her husband
she was shocked, for he was leaning against the wall,
"I knew the thought of letting her go would affect you,
Mr. Grandoken," soothed Theodore. "That's why I came
alone. Jinnie's so tender-hearted I feared the sight of
your first grief might cause her to refuse."
"Does she know you was goin' to ask us this?" demanded
Mr. King shook his head.
"Of course not ! If she had, she and I would have asked
"God bless 'er !" murmured Lafe. "You see it's like this,
sir : Peg and me don't want to stand in her light."
"I won't let my Jinnie go," sighed Bobbie. "I haven't
any stars when she's gone."
"The poor child's devoted to her," excused Lafe.
"That's what makes him act so about it."
JINNIE DECIDES AGAINST THEO 203
Theodore's sympathy forced him to his feet.
"So I see," said he. "Come here, young man ! I want
to talk to you a minute."
Reluctantly Bobbie left Mrs. Grandoken, and Theo-
dore, sitting again, took him on his knee.
"Now, Bobbie, look at me."
Bobbie turned up a wry, tearful face.
"I've got my eyes on you, sir," he wriggled.
"That's right! Don't you want your Jinnie to learn
a lot of things and be a fine young lady ?"
"She is a fine young lady now," mumbled Bobbie stub-
bornly, "and she's awful pretty."
"True," acquiesced Theodore, much amused, "but she
must study a lot more."
"Lafe could learn her things," argued Bobbie, sitting
up very straight. "Lafe knows everything."
Mr. King smiled and glanced at the cobbler, but Lafe's
face was so drawn and white that Theodore looked away
again. He couldn't make it seem right that he should
bring about such sorrow as this, yet the thought of Jinnie
and what he wanted her to be proved a greater argument
with him than the grief of her family.
"I've told you, sir," Lafe repeated, "and I say again,
my wife and me don't want to stand in our girl's light.
She'll decide when she comes home."
Theodore got up, placing Bobbie on his feet beside him.
"I hope she'll think favorably of my idea, then," said
he, "and to-morrow I'll see her and make some final ar-
After he had gone, Peggy and Lafe sat for a long time
without a word.
"Go to the kitchen, Bobbie," said Mrs. Grandoken pres-
ently, "and give Happy Pete a bit of meat."
The boy paused in his stumbling way to the kitchen.
204 ROSE O' PARADISE
"I don't want my Jinnie to go away," he mumbled.
When the door closed on the blind child, Peggy shook
her shoulders disdainfully.
"She'll go, of course," she sneered.
"An 5 we can't blame 'er if she does, Peg," answered
Lafe sadly. "She's young yet, an' such a chance ain't
comin' every day."
The woman got heavily to her feet.
"I hate 'er, but the house's dead when she ain't in it,"
and she went rapidly into the other room.
Jinnie came into the shop wearily, but one look at the
cobbler brought her to a standstill. She didn't wait to
take off her hat before going directly to him.
"Lafe Lafe dear, you're sick. Why, honey dear
"I ain't very well, Jinnie darlin'. Would you mind
askin' Peggy to come in a minute?"
Mrs. Grandoken looked up as the girl came in.
"Lafe wants you, Peg. He's sick, isn't he? What
happened to him, Peggy?"
Bobbie uttered a whining cry.
"Jinnie," he called, "Jinnie, come here !"
Peg pushed the girl back into, the little hall.
"You shut up, Bobbie," she ordered, "and sit there!
Jinnie'll come back in a minute."
Then the speaker shoved the girl ahead of her into the
shop and stood with her arms folded, austerely silent.
"I want to know what's the matter," insisted Jinnie.
"You tell 'er, Peg. I just couldn't," whispered Lafe.
Mrs. Grandoken drew a deep breath and ground her
"You've got to go away, kid," she began tersely, drop-
ping into a chair.
Jinnie blanched in fright.
"My uncle !" she exclaimed, growing weak-kneed.
JINNIE DECIDES AGAINST THEO 205
"No such thing," snapped Peg. "You're goin' to a
fine school an' learn how to be a elegant young lady."
"Who said so?" flashed Jinnie.
"Mr. King," cut in Lafe.
Then Jinnie understood, and she laughed hysterically.
For one blessed single moment her woman's heart told
her that Theodore would not be so eager for her welfare if
he didn't love her.
"Was that what made your tears, Lafe?"
Her eyes glistened as she uttered the question.
"And what made Bobbie cry so loud?"
"Was Mr. King here?"
"Sure," said Peg.
"And he said I was to go away to school, eh?"
"Yes," repeated Peg, "an' of course you'll go."
Jinnie went forward and placed a slender hand on Lafe's
shoulder. Then she faced Mrs. Grandoken.
"Didn't you both know me well enough to tell him I
wouldn't go for anything in the world?"
If a bomb had been placed under Mrs. Grandoken's
chair, she wouldn't have jumped up any more quickly, and
she flung out of the door before Jinnie could stop her.
Then the girl wound her arms about the cobbler's neck.
"I wouldn't leave you, dear, not for any school on
earth," she whispered. "Now I'm going to tell Mr. King
Jinnie sped along Paradise Road and into the nearest
drug store. It took her a few minutes to find Theodore's
number, and when she took off the receiver, she had not the
remotest idea how to word her refusal. She only remem-
bered Lafe's sad face and Bobbie's sharp, agonizing call-
ing of her name.
206 ROSE O' PARADISE
"I want to speak to Mr. King," she said in answer to a
strange voice at the other end of the wire.
Her voice was so low that a sharp reply came back.
"Who'd you want?"
She waited a minute and then another voice, a voice she
knew and loved, said,
"This is Mr. King!"
"I'm Jinnie Grandoken," Theodore heard. "I wanted
to tell you I wouldn't go away from home ever ; no, never !
I wouldn't ; I couldn't !"
"Don't you want to study?" Mr. King asked eagerly.
Jinnie shook her head as if she were face to face with
"I'm studying all the time," she said brokenly, "and I
can't go away now. If they couldn't spare me one day,
they couldn't all the time."
"Then I suppose that settles it," was the reluctant re-
ply. "I hoped you'd be pleased, but never mind ! I'll see
you very soon."
"I told him!" said Jinnie, facing the cobbler. "Now,
Lafe, don't ever think I'm going away, because I'm not.
I've got some plans of my own for us all when I'm eighteen.
Till then I stay right here."
At dinner Peg cut off a very large piece of meat and