about. "Don't talk so loud. . . . Now then, listen!
There'll be hell to pay for this. But Bates won't peach,
and I'm sure I clipped the cobbler's wings. Keep quiet till
you hear from me."
He sprang again into the machine and was gone before
the woman could gather her wits together.
She turned and went slowly up the steps. It was her
duty to break the news to Theodore's mother she who
knew so much, but dared to tell so little! How to open
the conversation with the gentle sufferer she knew not.
242 ROSE O' PARADISE
Mrs. King smiled a greeting as she entered, but at the
sight of Molly's face, her book dropped to the floor.
"What is it?" she stammered.
Molly knelt down beside her.
"Probably very little," she said hastily. "Don't get ex-
cited please but but "
"It's Theodore!" gasped the mother, intuitively.
"He's hurt a little, just a little, and they've taken him
to the hospital."
Mrs. King tried to rise, but dropped back weakly.
"He's badly hurt or he'd come home."
"I'll find out," offered Molly eagerly. Then as an af-
terthought, "I'll go if you'll promise me to stay very quiet
until I get back."
"I promise," said Mrs. King, sobbing, "but go quickly !
I simply can't be still when I'm uncertain."
In another house of lesser proportions, a girl was
huddled in a chair, gazing at Lafe Grandoken.
"An* they told you over the telephone he was dyin'?"
he demanded, looking at Jinnie.
"Yes," gulped Jinnie, "and Maudlin's dead. The hos-
pital people say Mr. King can't live." The last words
were stammered and scarcely audible. "Lafe, who shot
"I dunno," said Lafe.
"Didn't you see who had the gun?" persisted the girl,
wiping her eyes.
4% .Mr. King didn't have it ; nuther did Maudlin. It came
from over there, an' I heard a car drive away right
Jinnie shook her head hopelessly. It was all so mys-
terious that her heart was gripped with fright. A short
time before, an officer had been there cross-questioning
Lafe suspiciously. Then he had gone away with the
pistol in his pocket. She stared out of the window, fear-
shadowed. In a twinkling her whole love world had
tumbled about her ears, and she listened as the cobbler
told her once more the story of the hour she'd been away
"There're two men coming here right now," she said
suddenly, getting up. "Lafe, there's Burns, the cop on
"They're wantin* to find out more, I presume," replied
As the men entered the shop, Jinnie backed away and
stood with rigid muscles. She was dizzily frightened at
the sight of the gruff officers, who had not even saluted
The foremost man was a stranger to them both.
"Are you Lafe Grandoken?" he demanded, looking at
"Yes," affirmed Lafe.
The man flourished a paper with staid importance.
"I'm the sheriff of this county, an' I've a warrant for
your arrest for murderin' Maudlin Bates," he sing-songed.
Jinnie sprang forward.
"Lafe didn't shoot 'im," she cried desperately.
The man eyed her critically.
"Did you do it, kid?" he asked, smiling.
"No, I wasn't here!" answered Jinnie, short-breathed.
"Then how'd you know he didn't do it ?"
For a moment Jinnie was nonplussed. Then she came
valiantly to her friend's aid.
"I know he didn't. Of course he didn't, you wicked,
wicked men ! Don't you dare touch 'im, don't you dare !"
"Well, he's got to go with me," affirmed the man in
ugly, sneering tones. "Whistle for the patrol, Burns,
and we'll wheel the Jew in!"
244 ROSE O' PARADISE
Jinnie heard, as in a hideous dream, the shrill, trilling
whistle; heard the galloping of horses and saw a long
black wagon draw up to the steps.
When the two sullen men laid violent hold of the wheel-
chair, Jinnie's terrified fingers reached toward the cobbler,
and the sheriff gave her hand a sharp blow. Lafe ut-
tered an inarticulate cry, and at that moment Jinnie
forgot "Happy in Spite," forgot Lafe's angels and the
glory of them, and sprang like a tiger at the man who
had struck her. She flung one arm about his neck and
fought him with tooth and nails. So surprised was Police-
man Burns that he stood with staring eyes, making no
move to rescue his mate from the tigerish girl.
"Damn you! Damn you!" screamed Jinnie. "I'll kill
you before you take 'im."
Lafe cried out again, calling her name gently, implor-
ingly, and tenderly. When his senses returned, Burns
grasped Jinnie in his arms and held her firmly. There
she stood panting, trying to break away from the police-
man's detaining fingers. She looked half crazed in the
dimming late afternoon light.
"Merciful God, but you're a tartar, miss!" said the
sheriff ruefully. "Well, if she ain't clawed the blood
clean through my skin!"
"She comes of bad stock," exclaimed Burns. "You
can't expect any more of Jews. Go on ; I'll hold 'er till
you and Mike get the chair out."
Hearing this, Jinnie began to sob hysterically and
make more desperate efforts to free herself. The viselike
fingers pressed deeper into her tender flesh.
"Here, huzzy, you needn't be tryin' none of your muck
on me," said Burns. "Keep still or I'll break your arm."
Jinnie sickened with pain, and her eyes sought Lafe's.
If he'd been in his coffin, he couldn't have been whiter.
THE COBBLER'S ARREST 245
"Jinnie," he chided brokenly, "you've forgot what I told
you, ain't you, lass?"
Through the suffering, tender mind flashed the words
he'd taught her.
"There aren't any angels, Lafe," she sobbed. "There
Then, as another man entered the shop, she cried:
"Don't take 'im, oh, please don't take 'im, not now, not
just yet, not till Peggy gets back."
Turning around in his chair, Lafe looked up at the
"Could I say good-bye to my wife?" he asked
"Where is she?" demanded the officer.
"Gone to the store," answered Lafe. "She'll be here
in a minute."
"Let 'er come to the jail," snapped the angry sheriff.
"She'll have plenty of time to say good-bye there."
At that they tugged the chair through the narrow
door. Then two boards were found upon which to roll
it into the patrol.
Inside the shop Jinnie was quiet now, save for the con-
vulsions that rent her body. She looked up at the man
"Let me go," she implored. "I'll be good, awful good."
Perhaps it was the pleading blue eyes that made the
officer release her arms. Jinnie sprang to the door, and
as Lafe saw her, he smiled, oh such a smile ! The girl ran
madly to him.
"Lafe ! Lafe !" she screamed. "Lafe dear !"
Lafe bent, touched the shining black curls, and a glori-
fied expression spread over his face.
"He's given His angels charge over you, lass," he
murmured, "an' it's a fact you're not to forget."
246 ROSE O' PARADISE
Then they rolled him up the planks and into the wagon.
With clouded eyes Jinnie watched the black patrol bowl
along toward the bridge, and as it halted a moment on
Paradise Road to allow an engine to pass, the cobbler
leaned far out of his wheel chair and waved a thin white
hand at her. Then like a deer she ran ahead until she
came within speaking distance of him. The engine passed
with a shrieking whistle, and the horses received a sharp
crack and galloped off. Jinnie flung out her arms.
"Lafe!" she screamed. "I'll stay with Peg till you
He heard the words, waved once more, and the wagon
(disappeared over the bridge.
For full ten minutes after Lafe was taken away, Jinnie
sat in the shop like one turned to stone. The thing that
roused her was the side door opening and shutting. She
got up quickly and went into the little hall, closing the
shop door behind her. Mrs. Grandoken, with bundles in
her hands, was entering the kitchen. Jinnie staggered
"Peggy," murmured Jinnie, throwing her arms about
the stooped shoulders. "You'll be good "
It was as if she had said it to Bobbie, tenderly, low-
pitched, and imploring. Peg seemed so miserable and
"What's the matter with you, kid?" growled Mrs.
"The town folks," groaned Jinnie, "the town folks've
made a mistake, an awful mistake."
Mrs. Grandoken turned sunken eyes upon the speaker.
"What mistake've they made?"
Jinnie's throat hurt so she couldn't say any more.
"What mistake?" asked Peg again.
"They think Lafe shot "
THE COBBLER'S ARREST 247
Peggy wheeled on the hesitating speaker. Shoving her
to one side, she stalked through the door. Jinnie flew
"Peggy, Peg, he'll come back!"
Mrs. Grandoken opened the shop door and the empty
room with overturned chairs and scattered tools told
its silent, eloquent tale.
"Honey," whispered Jinnie. "Honey dear "
"God's Jesus," muttered Peg, with roving eyes, "God's
Jesus, save my man !"
Then she slid to the floor, and when she once more
opened her eyes, Jinnie was throwing water in her face.
ALONE IN THE SHOP
LATER in the day Jordan Morse and Molly Merri-
weather met at the hospital. They looked into each
other's eyes, not daring to mention the terrible conster-
nation that possessed them.
"Have you heard anything?" murmured Molly, glanc-
ing about before speaking.
Jordan nodded his head.
"It's awful," he said. "Bates is dead if you say a
word, I'm lost."
"Depend on me," Molly assured him. "Oh, how dread-
ful it all is! Theodore must get well," she continued in
"Well, he won't!" snarled Morse. Then he went on
passionately. "Molly, I swear I didn't intend to shoot
him. I was mad clear through and aimed at the cobbler."
"Hush!" warned Molly. "Some one's coming."
A young doctor approached them with gravity.
"Mr. King?" murmured Molly.
"Is slowly failing. The bullet found a vital spot '
"And the other man Bates? Is it true he's dead?"
interjected Morse eagerly.
"Yes, he died shortly after the tragedy. It's all a mys-
tery, but I think they've arrested the guilty man."
Both listeners stared at the speaker as if he'd told
them the world had come to an end. It was Morse who
managed to mutter:
ALONE IN THE SHOP 249
"Haven't you heard? They've arrested Lafe Grando-
ken. The shooting occurred in his cobbling shop, and the
gun was found as proof of his crime. Of course, like all
Jews, he's trying to invent a story in his own favor. . . .
He's undoubtedly the criminal."
Not until they were in the street did Jordan express
himself to Molly.
"What heavenly luck ! So they've arrested Grandoken.
If Theodore lives "
Molly clutched his arm.
"Oh, he must ! He must ! Jordan ! I shall die myself
if he doesn't."
Jordan Morse turned sharply upon her.
"Don't throw a fit right here. You're not the only
one suffering. My atmosphere is cleared a little with
Grandoken's arrest, though."
"But you've suj. to reckon with Jinnie," ventured
"Easy now," returned the man. "I'll get her before
Theodore is well."
"Take me home," pleaded Molly wearily. "Such a
(day as this is enough to ruin all the good looks a woman
Disgustedly, Jordan flung open the motor door.
"Well, my God, you've got about as much brains and
heart as a chipmunk. Climb in!"
Later, as the two separated, Morse said, with low-
pitched voice :
"Now, then, I'm going to plan to get Jinnie. Might's
well be hung for a sheep's a lamb I'm just as well
satisfied that Bates is dead. After I secure Jinnie then
for my boy. God ! I can scarcely wait until I have him."
Miss Merriweather went into the house in utter ex-
250 ROSE O' PARADISE
haustion, nor did she pause to take off her hat before
telling Theodore's mother the little she could to encourage
If Molly was suffering over the crime which had sent
the man she loved to the hospital, Jinnie was going through
thrice that agony for the same man. He had almost
met his death in coming to tell Lafe of their love, and
had been struck down in his mission by an unknown hand.
Jinnie knew it was an unknown hand, because just as sure
as she lived, so sure was she that Lafe had not committed
the crime. The cobbler had explained it all to her, and
she believed him. Peggy was dreadfully ill! After her
fainting spell, the girl put Mrs. Grandoken to bed, and
then went to comfort Bobbie. She found him huddled on
his pillow, clasping Happy Pete in his arms. The small
face was streaked with tears and half buried from sight.
"Bobbie," called Jinnie softly.
The yellow head came up with a jerk, the flashing grey
eyes begging in mute helplessness an explanation for these
"I'm here, Jinnie. What's the matter with everybody ?"
Jinnie lay down beside him.
"Peggy's sick," she said, not daring to say more.
An impulsive arm went across the child's body.
"He's gone away for a little while, dear, just for a
Something in her tones made Bobbie writhe. With the
acuteness of one with his affliction, his ears had caught
the commotion in the shop.
"But he can't walk, Jinnie. Did he walk?" he de-
"How'd he go, in a motor car?"
ALONE IN THE SHOP 251
"No," repeated the girl.
"Some one took him, then?" demanded Bobbie.
"In a wagon?"
By this time she could feel the tip-tap of his anguished
heart against hers.
"Yes," she admitted, but that was all. She felt that
to tell the truth then would be fatal to the throbbing
young life in her arms.
"Bobbie," she whispered, cuddling him. "Lafe's coming
home soon. Be a good boy and lie still and rest. Jinnie'll
come back in a few minutes."
She crawled off the bed, and went to the shop door.
By main force she had to drag her unwilling feet over
the threshold. She stood for two tense minutes scanning
the room with pathetic keenness. Then she walked for-
ward and stood beside the bench. It seemed to be senti-
ently alive with the magnetism of the man who had lately
occupied it. Jinnie sat on it, a cry bursting from her
white lips. She wanted to be with him, but she had prom-
ised to take care of Peggy, and she would rather die than
betray that trust. Her eyes fell upon two dark spots
upon the floor, one near the door and one almost under
her feet. She shuddered as she realized it was blood.
Then she went to the kitchen for water and washed it
away. This done, she gathered up Lafe's tools, rever-
ently kissing each one as she laid it in the box under the
bench. How lonely the shop looked in the gathering
gloom ! To dissipate the lengthening shadows in the corn-
ers, she lighted the lamp. The flickering flame brought
back keenly the hours she had spent with Lafe hours in
which she had learned so much. The whole horror that
had fallen on the household rushed over her being like a
tidal wave over a city. Misery of the most exquisite kind
252 ROSE O' PARADISE
was tearing her heart in pieces, stabbing her throat with
long, forklike pains. Tense throat muscles caught and
clung together, choking back her breath until she lay
down, full length, upon the cobbler's bench.
In poignant grief she thought of the expression of
Lafe's face when he had been wheeled from the room. His
voice came back through the faint light.
"He has given His angels charge over thee, lassie."
But how could she believe in the angels, with Lafe in
prison and Theodore dying? She got up, spent and
worn with weeping, and went in to Peggy, sitting for a
few minutes beside the agonized woman, but she could not
say one word to make that agony less. In losing the two
strong friends, she had lost her faith too. Peg's face
was turned to the wall, and as she didn't answer when
the girl laid her hand on her shoulder, Jinnie tiptoed out.
In her own room she lay for seemingly century-long hours
with Bobbie pressed tightly to her breast.
JINNIE EXPLAINS THE DEATH CHAIR TO BOBBIE
SEVEN days had dragged their seemingly slow length
from seconds to minutes, from minutes to hours, from
hours to days. In the cobbler's shop Jinnie and Bobbie
waited in breathless anxiety for Peg's return. She had
gone to the district attorney for permission to visit her
husband in his cell. Nearly three hours had passed since
her departure, and few other thoughts were in the mind
of the girl save the passionate wish for news of her two
beloved friends. She was standing by the window look-
ing out upon the tracks, and as a heavy train steamed
past she counted the cars with melancholy rhythm. There
came to her mind the day she had found Bobbie on the
hill, and all the sweet moments since when the cobbler
had been with them. She choked back a sob that made a
little noise in her tightened throat.
Bobbie stumbled his unseeing way to her and shoved a
small, cold hand into hers.
"Jinnie's sad," he murmured. "Bobbie's stars're blink-
Mrs. Grandoken and Jinnie had come to an under-
standing that Bobbie should not know of the cobbler's
trouble, so the strong fingers closed over the little ones,
but the girl did not speak. At length she caught a glimpse
of Peg, who, with bent head, was stumbling across the
tracks. Peggy had failed in her mission! Jinnie knew
254 ROSE O' PARADISE
it because the woman did not look up as she came within
sight of the house.
As Mrs. Grandoken entered slowly, Jinnie turned to her.
"You didn't see him?" she said in a tone half exclama-
tion, half question.
"No," responded Peg, wearily, sitting down. "I waited
'most two hours for the lawyer, an' when he come, I
begged harder'n anything, but it didn't do no good. He
says I can't see my man for a long time. I guess they're
tryin' to make him confess he killed Maudlin."
Jinnie's hand clutched frantically at the other's arm.
Both women had forgotten the presence of the blind child.
"He wouldn't do that," cried Jinnie, panic-stricken.
"A man can't own up to doing a thing he didn't do."
"Course not," whispered Bobbie, in an awed whisper,
and the girl sat down, drawing him to her lap. She could
no longer guard her tongue nor hide her feelings. She
took the afternoon paper from Mrs. Grandoken's hand.
"Read about it aloud," implored the woman.
"It says," began Jinnie, "Mr. King's dying."
The paper fluttered from her hand, and she sat like a
small graven image. To see those words so cruelly set in
black and white, staring at her with frightful truth, har-
rowed the very soul of her. A sobbing outburst from
Bobbie mingled with the soft chug, chug of the engine
outside on the track. Happy Pete, too, felt the tragedy
in the air. He wriggled nearer his young mistress and
rested his pointed nose on one of her knees, while his
twinkling yellow eyes demanded, in their eloquent way, to
know the cause of his loved ones' sorrow.
Peggy broke a painful pause.
"Everybody in town says Lafe done it," she groaned,
"an' " she caught her breath. "Oh, God ! it seems I
can't stand it much longer !"
Jinnie got up, putting the limp boy in her chair. SKe
was making a masterful effort to be brave, to restrain the
rush of emotion demanding utterance. Some beating thing
in her side ached as if it were about to burst. But she
stood still until Peg spoke again.
"It's all bad business, Jinnie! an' I can't see no help
comin' from anywhere."
If Peg's head hadn't fallen suddenly into her hands,
perhaps Jinnie wouldn't have collapsed just then. As it
was, her knees gave way, and she fell forward beside the
cobbler's wife. Bobbie, in his helpless way, knelt too.
Since Lafe's arrest the girl had not prayed, nor could
she recall the promises Lafe had taught her were made for
the troubled in spirit. Could she now say anything to
make Peg's suffering less, even if she did not believe it all
"Peg," she pleaded, "don't shiver so ! ... Hold up
your head. ... I want to tell you something."
Peggy made a negative gesture.
"It ain't to be bore, Jinnie," she moaned hoarsely.
"Lafe ain't no chance. They'll put him in the chair."
Such awful words ! The import was pressed deeper into
two young hearts by Peg's wild weeping.
Jinnie staggered to her feet. Blind Bobbie broke into
a prolonged wail.
"Lafe ain't never done nothin' bad in all his life," went
on the woman, from the shelter of her hands. "He's the
best man in the world. He's worked an' worked for every-
body, an' most times never got no pay. An' now "
"Don't say it again, Peggy!" Jinnie's voice rang out.
"Don't think such things. They couldn't put Lafe in a
wicked death chair they couldn't"
Bobbie's upraised eyes were trying to pierce througK
their veil of darkness to seek the speaker's meaning.
256 ROSE O' PARADISE
"What chair, Jinnie?" he quivered. "What kind of a
chair're they goin' to put my beautiful Lafe in?"
Jinnie's mind went back to the teachings of the cob-
bler, and the slow, sweet, painful smile intermingled with
her agony. Again and again the memory of the words,
"He hath given his angels charge over thee," swelled her
heart to the breaking point. She wanted to believe, to feel
again that ecstatic faith which had suffused her as Maud-
lin Bates pulled her curls in the marsh, when she had
called unto the Infinite and Theodore had answered.
Peg needed Lafe's angels at that moment. They all
needed the comfort of the cobbler's faith.
"Peg," she began, "your man'd tell you something
sweet if he could see you now."
Peg ceased writhing, but didn't lift her face. Jinnie
knew she was listening, and continued:
"Haven't you heard him many a time, when there
wasn't any wood in the house or any bread to eat, tell
you about about "
Down dropped the woman's hands, and she lifted a woe-
begone face to her young questioner.
"Yes, I've heard him, Jinnie," she quavered, "but I ain't
never believed it!"
"But you can, Peggy ! You can, sure ! Lots of times
Lafe'd say, 'Now, Jinnie, watch God and me!' And I
watched, and sure right on the minute came the money."
She paused a moment, ruminating. "That money we got
the day he went away came because he prayed for it."
The girl was reverently earnest.
"Lafe's got a chance, all right," she pursued, keeping
Peg's eye. "More'n a chance, if if if Oh, Peggy,
we've got to pray !"
"I don't know how," said Peg, in stifled tones.
Jinnie's face lighted with a mental argument Lafe had
JINNIE EXPLAINS TO BOBBIE 257.
thrown at her in her moments of distrust. She was deep
in despondency, but something had to be done.
"Peg, you don't need to know anything about it. I
didn't when I came here. Lafe says "
"What'd Lafe say?" cut in Peggy.
"That you must just tell God about it " Jinnie
lifted a white, lovely face. "He's everywhere not away
off," she proceeded. "Talk to Him just like you would
to Lafe or me."
Mrs. Grandoken sunk lower in her chair.
"I wisht I'd learnt when Lafe was here. Now I dunno
"But will you try?" Jinnie pleaded after a little.
"You know 'em better'n I do, Jinnie," Peg muttered,
dejectedly. "You ask if it'll do any good."
Jinnie cleared her throat, coughed, and murmured :
"Close your eyes, Bobbie."
Bobbie shut his lids with a gulping sob, and so did Peg.
Then Jinnie began in a low, constrained voice:
"God and your angels hovering about Lafe, please send
him back to the shop. Get him out of jail, and don't let
anybody hurt him. Amen."
"Don't let any chair hurt my beautiful cobbler," wailed
Bobbie, in a new paroxysm of grief. "Gimme Lafe an*
In another instant Peggy staggered out of the room,
leaving the blind boy and Jinnie alone.
As the door closed, Bobbie's voice rose in louder ap-
peal. Happy Pete touched him tenderly with a cold, wet
nose, crawling into his arms with a little whine.
Jinnie looked at her two charges hopelessly. She knew
not how to comfort them, nor could she frame words that
would still the agony of the child. Yet she lifted Bobbie
and Happy Pete and sat down with them on her lap.
258 ROSE O' PARADISE
"Don't cry, honey," she stammered. "There ! There !
Jinnie'll rock you."
Her face was ashen with anxiety, and perspiration stood
in large drops upon her brow. Mechanically she drew
her sleeve across her face.
"I'm going to ask you to be awful good, Bobbie," she
pleaded presently. "Lafe's being arrested is hard on
Peg and she's sick."
Bobbie burst in on her words.
"But they'll sit my cobbler in a wicked chair, and kill
him, Jinnie. Peggy said they would."
"You remember, Bobbie," soothed the girl, "what Lafe
said about God's angels, don't you?"
The yellow head bent forward in assent.
"And how they're stronger'n a whole bunch of men?"
"Yes," breathed Bobbie; "but the chair the men've
got that, an' mebbe the angels'll be busy when they're
puttin' the cobbler in it."
This idea make him shriek out louder than before:
"They'll kill Lafe! Oh, Jinnie, they will!"