"They can't!" denied Jinnie, rigidly. "They can't!
The wan, unsmiling blind face brought the girl's lips
hard upon it.
"I want to know all about the death chair," he whim-
"Bobbie," she breathed, "will you believe me if I tell
you about it?"
"Yes," promised Bobbie, snuggling nearer.
"Hang on to Pete, and I will tell you," said Jinnie.
"I'm hangin' to 'im," sighed Bobbie, touching Pete's
shaggy forelock. "Tell me about the chair."
Jinnie was searching her brain for an argument to sat-
isfy him. She wouldn't have lied for her own welfare
JINNIE EXPLAINS TO BOBBIE 259
but for Bobbie she could feel the weak, small heart pal-
pitating against her arm.
"Well, in the first place," she began deliberately, "Peg
doesn't know everything about murders. Why, Bobbie,
they don't do anything at all to men like Lafe. Why, a
cobbler, dear, a cobbler could kill everybody in the whole
world if he liked."
Bobbie's breath was sent out in one long exclamation of
"A cobbler," went on Jinnie impressively, "could steal
loaves of bread right under a great judge's nose and he
couldn't do anything to him."
Jinnie had made a daring speech, such a splendid one;
she wanted to believe it herself.
"Tell me more," chirped Bobbie. "What about the
death chair, Jinnie?"
She had nursed the hope that the boy would be satisfied
with what she had already told him, but she proceeded in
triumphant tones :
"Oh, you mean the chair Peg was speaking about, huh ?
Sure I know all about that. . . . There isn't anything
I don't know about it. ... I know more'n all the judges
and preachers put together."
A small, trustful smile appeared at the corners of Bob-
"I know you do, Jinnie," he agreed. "Tell it to me."
Jinnie pressed her lips on his hair.
"And if I tell you, kiddie, you'll not cry any more or
"I'll be awful good, and not cry once," promised the
boy, settling himself expectantly.
"Now, then, listen hard!"
Accordingly, after a dramatic pause, to give stress to
her next statement, she continued:
260 ROSE O' PARADISE
"There isn't a death chair in the whole world can kill
Bobbie braced himself against her and sat up. His
blind eyes were roving over her with an expression of dis-
belief. Jinnie knew he was doubting her veracity, so she
"Of course they got an electric chair that'll kill other
kinds of men," she explained volubly, "but if you'll be-
lieve me, Bobbie, no cobbler could ever sit in it."
Bobbie dropped back again. There was a ring of truth
in Jinnie's words, and he began to believe her.
"And another thing, Bobbie, there's something in the
Bible better'n what I've told you. You believe the Bible,
"Lafe's Bible?" asked Bobbie, scarcely audible.
"Sure ! There isn't but one."
"Yes, Jinnie, I believe that," said the boy.
"Well," and Jinnie glanced up at the ceiling, "there's
just about a hundred pages in that book tells how once
some men tried to put a cobbler in one of those chairs, and
the lightning jumped out and set 'em all on fire
Bobbie straightened up so quickly that Happy Pete fell
to the floor.
"Yes, yes, Jinnie dear," he breathed. "Go on !"
Jinnie hesitated. She didn't want to fabricate further.
"It's just so awful I hate to tell you," she objected.
"I'd be happier if you would," whispered Bobbie.
"Then I will! The fire, jumping out, didn't hurt the
cobbler one wee bit, but it burned the wicked men
Jinnie paused, gathered a deep breath, and brought to
mind Lafe's droning voice when he had used the same
words, "Burned 'em root and branch," declared she.
Bobbie's face shone with happiness.
"Is that all?" he begged.
JINNIE EXPLAINS TO BOBBIE 261
"Isn't it enough?" asked Jinnie, with tender chiding.
"Aren't there nothin' in it about Lafe?"
"Oh, sure !" Again she was at loss for ideas, but some-
how words of their own volition seemed to spring from
her lips. "Sure there is ! There's another hundred pages
in that blessed book that says good men like Lafe won't
ever go into one of those chairs, never, never. . . . The
Lord God Almighty ordered all those death chairs to be
chopped up for kindling wood," she ended triumphantly.
"Shortwood?" broke out Bobbie.
Unheeding the interruption, Jinnie pursued: "They
just left a chair for wicked men, that's all."
Bobbie slipped to the floor and raised his hands.
"Jinnie, pretty Jinnie. I'm goin' to believe every word
you've said, every word, and my stars're all shinin' so
bright they're just like them in the sky."
Jinnie kissed the eager little face and left the child sit-
ting on the floor, crooning contentedly to Happy Pete.
"Lafe told me once," Jinnie whispered to herself on the
way to the kitchen, "when a lie does a lot of good, it's
better than the truth if telling facts hurts some one."
She joined Peggy, sighing, "I'm an awful liar, all right,
but Bobbie's happy."
WHAT THE THUNDER STORM BROUGHT
IN the past few weeks Jinnie Grandoken had been driven
blindly into unknown places, forced to face conditions
which but a short time before would have seemed unbear-
able. However, there was much with which Jinnie could
occupy her time. Blind Bobbie was not well. He was
mourning for the cobbler with all his boyish young soul,
and every day Peggy grew more taciturn and ill. The
funds left by Theodore were nearly gone, and Jinnie had
given up her lessons. She was using the remaining money
for their meagre necessities.
So slowly did the days drag by that the girl had grown
to believe that the authorities would never bring Lafe to
trial, exonerate him, and send him home. Then, too, Theo-
dore was still in the hospital, and she thought of him ever
with a sense of terrific loss. But the daily papers brought
her news of him, and now printed that his splendid consti-
tution might pull him through. It never occurred to her
that her loved one would believe Lafe had shot him and
Maudlin Bates. Theodore was too wise, too kindly, for
For a while after receiving permission from the county
attorney, she visited Lafe every day. Peggy had seen
him only once, being too miserable to stand the strain of
going to the jail. But Mrs. Grandoken never neglected
sending by the girl some little remembrance to her hus-
WHAT THE STORM BROUGHT 263
band. Perhaps it was only a written message, but mostly
a favorite dish of food or an article of his wearing apparel.
One afternoon Bobbie sat by the window with his small,
pale face pressed close to the pane. Outside a great
storm was raging, and from one end of Paradise Road to
the other, rivulets of water rushed down to the lake. Sev-
eral times that day, when the boy had addressed Mrs.
Grandoken, she had answered him even more gruffly than
of yore. He knew by her voice she was ill, and his palpi-
tating heart was wrung so agonizingly that he was con-
stantly in tears. Now he was waiting for Jinnie, and the
sound of the buffeting rain and the booming roar of heavy
thunder thrilled him dismally. To hear Jinnie's footsteps
at that moment would be the panacea for all his grief.
Peg came into the shop, and Bobbie turned slightly.
"Jinnie's stay in' awful long at the jail to-day," said
the woman fretfully. "Do you hear her comin', Bobbie ?"
"No," said Bobbie, "I've been stretchin' my ears almost
to the hill to hear her. If she doesn't come soon, I'll die
my stars've been gone a long time."
"I wish she'd come," sighed Mrs. Grandoken.
"Bend over here, Peg," entreated Bobbie, "I want to
touch your eyes!"
Without comment the woman leaned over, and the boy's
fingers wavered over her wrinkled countenance.
"You're awful sick, dearie," he grieved, pressing against
her. "Can Blind Bobbie do anything?"
Peg dropped her arm around him.
"I'm afraid," she whispered. "I wish Lafe and Jinnie
One long shiver shook Bobbie's slender body. That Peg
could ever be afraid was a new idea to him. It terrified
him even to contemplate it. He began to sob wistfully,
but in another instant raised his head.
264 ROSE O' PARADISE
"She's comin'," he cried sharply. "I hear 'er. I got
two stars, mebbe three."
When Jinnie opened the door, the water was dripping
from her clothes, and her hair hung in long, wet curls to
her waist. One look into Peg's twisted, pain-ridden face,
and she understood.
"I'm glad you're here," said the woman, with a gesture
of helplessness. And Bobbie echoed, with fluttering hands,
""I'm glad, too, Jinnie. Me and Peg was so 'fraid."
The girl spoke softly to Bobbie, and drew Peggy into
the bedroom. There, with her arm thrown across Mrs.
Grandoken's shoulder, she gave all the assurance and com-
fort of which she was capable.
Long after midnight, the rain still came down in thrash-
ing torrents, and through the pieces of broken tin on the
roof the wind shrilled dismally.
There was a solemn hush in the back bedroom where
Peggy lay staring at the ceiling. In front of the shadowy
lamp was a bit of cardboard to protect the sick woman's
eyes from the light. At Peggy's side sat Jinnie, and in
her arms lay a small bundle. Jinnie had gained much
knowledge in the last few hours. She had discovered the
mystery of all existence. She had seen Peg go down into
that wonderful valley of life and bring back Lafe's little
boy baby, and the girl's eyes held an expression of im-
penetrable things. She moved her position slightly so as
to study Mrs. Grandoken's face.
Suddenly Peg's eyes lowered.
"Jinnie, gimme a drink, will you ?"
Placing the child on the bed, the girl got up instantly.
She went to the kitchen and returned with a glass of milk.
It had scarcely touched the woman's lips before she raised
her hand and pushed it away.
"I mustn't drink that," she whispered feebly.
WHAT THE STORM BROUGHT 265
"I got it specially for you, Peggy dear," insisted Jinnie.
. . . "Drink it," she wheedled, "please."
Then Jinnie sat down again, listening as the elements
kept up their continuous rioting, and after a while they
lulled her to rest. Suddenly her head dropped softly on
the bundle in her arms, and the three Peggy, Jinnie and
the tiny Jewish baby slept.
Jinnie's name, spoken in low tones, roused her quickly.
She raised her head, a sharp pain twisting her neck.
Peggy was looking at her, with misery in her face.
"I feel awful sick, Jinnie," she moaned. "Can't you say
somethin' t'me, somethin' to make me feel better?"
Something to make her feel better ! The words touched
the listener deeply. Oh, how she wanted to help ! To al-
leviate Peg's suffering was her one desire. If it had been
Bobbie, or even Lafe, Jinnie would have known exactly
what to say ; but Peggy, proud, stoical Peggy !
"Let me put the baby with you where it's warm, Peg,"
she said, gently. "I'm going to talk to you a minute. . . .
There, now, you're all safe, little mister, near your mam-
Then she knelt down by the bed and took the woman's
hot fingers in hers.
"Peggy," she began softly, "things look awful bad just
now, but Lafe told me once, when they looked that way, it
was time for some one to come along and help. I'll tell
you about it, Peg ! Eh ?"
"Who c'n come?" demanded Mrs. Grandoken, irritably.
"Mr. King can't, an' we hain't no other friends who'll
come to a cobbler's shop."
The question in her voice gave Jinnie the chance she
was looking for.
"Yes, there is," she insisted. "Now listen, while I say
something ; will you ?"
266 ROSE O' PARADISE
"Sure," said Peg, squeezing Jinnie's fingers.
Then Jinnie started to repeat a few verses Lafe had
taught her. She couldn't tell exactly where they were in
the Bible, but the promise in them had always made her
own burdens lighter, and since seeing Lafe daily, she had
partially come back to her former trust.
" 'The Lord is my Shepherd,' " she droned sleepily.
Then on and on until she came to, " 'Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,' " and Peg
broke into a sob.
" 'I will fear no evil,' " soothed Jinnie, amid the roar-
ing of the wind and the crackling of the thunder over the
" 'For thou art with me,' " she finished brokenly. "He's
the one I was talking about, Peggy. He'll help us all if
we can believe and be "
Then she quickly ended, "Happy in Spite."
Peg continued to sob. One arm was across her baby
boy protectingly, and the other hand Jinnie held in hers.
"Somehow things seem easier, Peggy, when you hold
your head up high, and believe everything'll come all right.
. . . Lafe said so ; that's why he started the club."
"I wisht I could think that way. I'm near dead,"
groaned the woman.
Jinnie smoothed the soft, grey-streaked hair.
"Wouldn't you like to come into the club, dear?" she
faltered, scarcely daring to put the question. "Then
you'll be happy with us all with Lafe and Bobbie and
Jinnie wanted to say another name, but doubted its
wisdom and then abruptly it came; "and Jinnie," she
I* c ggy almost sat up in bed.
"Darlin'," she quivered. "Darlin* girl, I've been cussed
WHAT THE STORM BROUGHT 267
mean to Lafe an' you. I've told you many a time with
my own mouth I hated you, but God knows, an' Lafe
knows, I loved you the minute I set eyes on you." She
dropped back on the pillow and continued, "If you'll take
me in your club, an' learn me how to believe, I'll try; I
swear I will."
For a long time Jinnie sat crooning over and over the
verses she'd learned from Lafe, and bye-and-bye she heard
Peg breathing regularly and knew she slept. Then she
settled herself in the chair, and sweet, mysterious dreams
came to her through the storm.
THE STOEY OF A BIRD
LAFE Grandoken, in his wheel chair, sat under the barred
prison window, an open Bible on his knees. Slowly the
shadows were falling about him, and to the man every
shade had an entity of its own. First there trooped before
him all the old memories of the many yesterdays of Peg
his little dead lad and Jinnie. And lastly, ghostlike,
came the shattered hopes of to-morrow, and with these he
groaned and shivered.
Jinnie stole in and looked long upon her friend through
the iron-latticed door. The smile that played with the
dimples in her cheeks and the dancing shadows in the violet
eyes indicated her happiness. Lafe looked older and thin-
ner than ever before, and her heart sang when she thought
of the news she had to tell him. She longed to pronounce
his name, to take away the far-away expression that
seemed to hold him in deep meditation. During her tramp
to the jail she'd concocted a fairy story to bring a smile
to the cobbler's lips. So at length :
"Lafe," she whispered.
Mr. Grandoken's head came up quickly, and he turned
the chair and wheeled toward her. There was the same
question in his eyes that had been there for so many days,
and Jinnie smiled broadly.
"Lafe," she began mysteriously, "a great big bird flew
right into the house last night. He flopped in to get out
of the storm !"
THE STORY OF A BIRD 269
"A bird?" repeated Lafe, startled.
"Yes, and everybody says it's awful good luck."
Lafe's expression grew tragic, and Jinnie hurried on
with her tale.
"I'll bet you can't guess what kind of a bird 'twas,
Lafe shook his head. "I can't lessen 'twas a robin,"
"My, no ! He was a heap bigger'n a robin. Guess
Such chatter from Jinnie was unusual, especially of
late, but Lafe bore it patiently.
"I can't," he sighed, shaking his head.
Jinnie clapped her hands.
"I knew you couldn't ! Well, Lafe, it was a a "
"Yes?" queried Lafe wearily, during her hesitation.
"It was a great, big, beautiful white stork, Lafe, and
he brought you a new Jew baby. What'd you think of
"Jinnie, girl, lass, you ain't tellin' me "
"Yes, dear, he's there, as big as life and twice as nat-
ural, Peg says. ... Of course," she rambled on, "the
stork went away, but the Jew baby to make a long story
short, he's with "
"His ma, eh, dear?" interjected Lafe. "How's Peg,
"Oh, she's fine," replied Jinnie, "and I've a lot to tell
"Begin," commanded Lafe, with wide, bright eyes.
Jinnie commenced by telling how lovely the baby was.
Of course she didn't rehearse Peg's suffering. It wouldn't
do any good.
270 ROSE O' PARADISE
"And the baby looks like you, Lafe," she observed.
"Does he really?" gasped Lafe, trying to smile.
"He's got your Jew look 'round his nose," added Jinnie
gravely. "You wanted him to look like you, didn't you,
"Sure, Jinnie. And now about Peggy? Tell me about
"Peggy's with us, Lafe " Jinnie stopped and drew
a long breath. "What'd you think? Oh guess !"
"I couldn't! Tell me, Jinnie! Don't keep me waitin'
for good things."
"Peggy's in the 'Happy in Spite', and I'm learning her
all the verses you taught me."
Then Lafe's head dropped on his hands and tears trick-
led through his fingers.
"I wish I could see her," he groaned deeply.
"When she gets well, you can," promised Jinnie, "and
mebbe the baby."
Lafe's head was raised quickly and his eyes sparkled.
"I'd love to see 'em both," was all he could stammer.
The girl thrust her fingers through the bars to him, and
they stood thus, regarding each other in all confidence and
faith, until Jinnie dropped his hand.
"Mr. King's getting well," she said softly.
"I'm glad, very glad. He don't think I done it, does
"No, and when I sec him I'll tell him you didn't."
And as if that settled it, she turned to go; then hesi-
tating, she smiled upon him.
"Give me four nice kisses, Lafe. I'll take one to Peg,
Bobbie, and the baby, and keep one for myself." Then
after their lips had met through the bars in resounding
smacks, Jinnie gasped, "We can't forget Milly Ann and
Happy Pete. Two more, honey !"
THE STORY OF A BIRD 271
"God bless you, Jinnie lass," murmured Lafe, trying to
hide his emotion, and then he wheeled quickly back into
the falling afternoon light under the window.
Jinnie's energetic mind was busy with a scheme. She
wasn't sure it would meet with Peg's approval, but when
she arrived home, she sat down beside Mrs. Grandoken.
"Now, Peggy," she began emphatically, "I want you to
pay attention to what I'm saying to you."
"I will," said Peggy.
"Lafe wants to see the baby !"
"Now?" asked Mrs. Grandoken, surprised.
"Well, he didn't say just now, but his eyes asked it,
and, Peg, I was wondering if I couldn't take the little
kid up to the jail."
Peggy shook her head.
"They wouldn't let you in with 'im," she objected.
Jinnie thought a long time. Presently she laughed a
little, chuckling laugh.
"I know how to get him in there !"
"How?" asked Peggy, incredulously.
"Why, everybody knows I've been a shortwood girl.
I'll roll him up in a bundle "
Peg's hand sought the little body under the covers pro-
"Oh, I won't hurt him, Peg," assured Jinnie. "We'll
wrap him up the first fine day ! You can do it yourself,
One week later Jinnie went slowly up the incline that
led to the prison. On her back was a shortwood strap
filled with brush and small twigs.
"I want to see Lafe Grandoken," she said.
To surprise Lafe she crept softly along the corridor
until she halted at his cell door. She could see him plainly,
and the troubled lines were almost erased from between his
272 ROSE O' PARADISE
brows. She was glad of that, for she wanted him to smile,
to be "Happy in Spite."
She called his name and he turned, wheeling toward her.
"I hoped you'd be comin'," he said, smiling gravely.
Then noting the shortwood, he exclaimed, "Have you had
to go to work again, lass ?"
"Just for to-day," and Jinnie displayed her white teeth
in a broad smile. "I've brought you something, Lafe, and
I wrapped it up in shortwood."
The girl carefully slipped the strap from her shoul-
ders and sat down beside it on the floor. Watching
eagerly, Lafe peered between the bars, for surely his
Peggy had sent him some token of her love. The girl
paused and looked up.
"Shut your eyes tight, Lafe," she commanded playfully.
Lafe closed his eyes, wrinkling down his lids. Then
Jinnie lifted the baby and uncovered the small face. The
little chap opened his eyes and yawned as the girl held
him close to the bars.
"Now, Lafe, quick! Look! Ha! It's a Jew!"
The cobbler's eyes flew open, and he was staring squarely
into a small, rosy, open-eyed baby face. For a moment
he thought he was dreaming dreaming a dream he had
dreamed every night since the thunder storm. He caught
at his chin to stay the chattering of his teeth.
"It ain't him, Jinnie, my Jew baby?" he murmured
"Yes, 'tis," and she laughed. "It's your own little fel-
ler. I brought him to get a kiss from his daddy. Kiss
him ! Kiss him smack on the mouth, Lafe."
And Lafe kissed his baby kissed him once, twice, and
three times, gulping hard after each caress. He would
never have enough of those sweet kisses, never, never ! And
as his lips descended reverently upon the smooth, rose-col-
THE STORY OF A BIRD 273
ored skin, Mr. Grandoken laughed, and Jinnie laughed,
and the baby, too, wrinkled up his nose.
"Lafe," Jinnie said tenderly, drawing the baby away,
"I knew you wanted to see him; didn't you?"
Lafe nodded. "An' I'll never be able to thank you for
this, Jinnie. . . . Let me kiss him once more. . . . Oh,
ain't he beautiful ?"
Just before the girl wrapped the boy again in the short-
wood, she suggested,
"Lafe, what's against taking him into the 'Happy in
Spite'? He's happier'n any kid in the whole world, having
you for a daddy and Peg for his mother."
Jinnie thrust the baby's plump hand through the bars,
and Lafe, with tears in his eyes, shook it tenderly, then
"Lafe Grandoken, Jr," he whispered, "you're now a
member of the 'Happy in Spite' Club."
And then Jinnie took the baby back to Peggy.
JINNIE'S VISIT TO THEODORE
So suddenly had the two strong, friendly forces been
swept from Jinnie's daily life that as yet she had not the
power to think with precision. Lafe she had had every
day for almost three years, and Theodore King oh, how
she loved him! Rumors were afloat that no power could
save Lafe her dear, brave cobbler.
Day by day the girl's faith increased, and of late she
had uttered silent prayers that she might be allowed to
One morning she was in the kitchen rocking little Lafe
when Peggy called her.
"There's some one to see you," said she.
Jinnie gave the mother her baby and went to the shop
door. A man in a white suit smiled down upon her.
"I'm from the hospital," said he. "Mr. King would
like to see you this morning."
Jinnie's heart seemed to climb into her throat.
"Mr. Theodore King?" she murmured.
"Yes," said the young man. "I've got a car here. Will
"Of course ! Wait till I get my hat."
Once at their destination, they tiptoed into Theodore's
room noiselessly, and as Jinnie stood over the bed, looking
(down upon him, she suffered keenly, he looked so deathlike ;
but she resolutely controlled her feelings. When Theo-
clore glanced at her, she forced herself to smile, and the
sight of the lovely girl refreshed the sick man, giving him
a new impetus to recover.
He smiled back, endeavoring not to show his weakness.
"You see I'm getting well," he whispered.
Jinnie nodded. She wasn't sure whether he was or not.
How her heart ached to do something for him !
One of his long, thin hands lay over the coverlet, and
Jinnie wanted to kiss it. Tears were standing thick on
The doctor stood beside her, consulting his watch.
"If you wish to speak, Mr. King," he said kindly, "you
must do so quickly, for the young lady can stay but two
minutes more. That's all !"
The doctor turned his back upon them, watch in hand.
"Kiss me, dear!" murmured Theodore.
Oblivious of the doctor's presence, Jinnie stooped and
kissed him twice, taking the thin hand he extended.
"I sent for you because I feared you'd go to work at
the wood again."
Jinnie would reassure him on this point even by an un-
truth, for she might be driven, for the sake of Peggy and .
the children, to go back into that hated occupation.
"I promise I won't," she said.
"Are you still taking lessons ?"
Jinnie shook her head.
"I couldn't when you were sick. I just couldn't."
"But you must ; you must go to-morrow. I have some-
thing here for you," he said, reaching under the pillow
with his free hand.
Jinnie drew back abashed.
"You're too sick to think of us," she murmured.