she could speak. "Please ! Please !"
"I should think not," scoffed Morse. Then, after a mo-
ment's consideration, he went on, "You might write her a
note, if you say what I dictate. I'll have it mailed from
another town. I don't want any one to know you're still
"Could I send her a little money, too ?" she asked.
"Yes," replied Morse.
"Then tell me what to write, and I will."
After he had gone and Jinnie was once more alone, she
sat at the window, her eyes roving over the landscape.
Her gaze wandered in melancholy sadness to the shadowy
summit of the distant hills, in which the wild things of
nature lived in freedom, as she herself had lived with Lafe
Grandoken in Paradise Road, long before her uncle's men-
acing shadow had crossed her life. Then her eyes lowered
292 ROSE O' PARADISE
to the rock-rimmed gorge, majestic in its eternal solitude.
She was on the brink of some terrible disaster. She knew
enough of her uncle's character to realize that. She spent
the entire day without even looking at her beloved fiddle,
and after the night closed in, she lay down, thoroughly
Peggy took a letter from the postman's hand mechani-
cally, but when she saw the well-known writing, she trem-
bled so she nearly dropped the missive from her fingers.
She went into the shop, where Bobby lay face downward
on the floor. At her entrance, he lifted a white face.
"Has Jinnie come yet?" he asked faintly.
"No," said Peg, studying the postmark of the letter.
Then she opened it. A five-dollar bill fell into her lap,
and she thrust it into her bosom with a sigh.
"PEGGY DARLING," she read with misty eyes.
"I've had to go away for a little while. Don't worry.
Here's some money. Use it and I'll send more. Kiss Bob-
bie for me and tell him Jinnie'll come back soon. And the
baby, oh, Peggy, hug him until he can't be hugged any
more. Don't tell Lafe I'm away.
"With all my love,
Peggy put down the letter.
"Bobbie !" she said.
The boy looked up. "I ain't got any stars, Peggy,"
he wailed tragically. "I want Jinnie and Lafe."
"I've got a letter from Jinnie here," announced Peggy.
The boy got to his feet instantly.
"When she's comin' back?"
"She don't say, but she sends a lot of kisses anld love
to you. She had to go away for a few days. . . . Now
JINNIE'S PLEA 293
don't snivel! . . . Come here an' I'll give you the kisses
He nestled contentedly in Peggy's arms.
"Let me feel the letter," came a faltering whisper pres-
Bobbie ran his fingers over the paper, trying with sen-
sitive finger tips to follow the ink traces.
"Can I keep it a little while ?" he begged. . . . "Please,
"Sure," said Peg, putting him down, and when the baby
cried, Mrs. Grandoken left the blind child hugging Happy
Pete, with Jinnie's letter flattened across his chest be-
tween him and the dog.
BOBBIE TAKES A TRIP
JINNIE had been gone two weeks. Nearly every day the
postman brought a letter from the girl to Peggy, and after
reading it several times to herself, she gave it to Blind
Bobbie. Mrs. Grandoken had discovered this was the way
to keep him quiet.
One afternoon the boy sat on the front steps of the
cobbler's shop, sunning himself.
"You can hear Jinnie better when she comes," said
Peg, as an excuse to coax him out of doors. "Now sit
there till I get back from the market."
Bobbie had Happy Pete in his arms when he heard
strange foosteps walking down the short flight of steps.
He lifted his head as he heard a voice speak his name.
"Bobbie," it said softly. "Are you Bobbie?"
"Yes," replied the boy tremblingly.
The soft voice spoke again. "Do you want to see Jin-
Bobbie clutched Happy Pete with one arm and struggled
up, holding out a set of slender fingers that shook like
small reeds in a storm.
"Yes, I want to sec 'er," he breathed. "Do you know
where she is ?"
"If you'll come along with me, I'll take you to her.
Bring the dog if you like."
"I want to see her to-day," stated Bobbie.
BOBBIE TAKES A TRIP 295
Jordan Morse took Bobbie's hand in his.
"Come on then, and don't make a noise," cautioned the
man. "Put down the dog ; he'll follow you."
Once in Paradise Road, he stooped and lifted the slight
boyish figure and walked quickly away. Beyond the turn
in the road stood his car. He placed Bobbie and the dog
on the seat beside Jim, and in another moment they were
speeding toward the hill.
At that moment Jinnie was brooding over her violin.
Her fiddle was her only comfort in the lonely hours. The
plaintive tones she drew from it were the only sounds she
heard, save the rushing water in the gorge and the thrash-
ing of the trees when the wind blew. The minutes hung
long on her hands, and the hours seemed to mock her as
they dragged along in interminable sequence. With her
face toward the window, she passed several hours compos-
ing a piece which had been in embryo in her heart for a
long time. The solitude, the grandeur of the scenery, the
wonderful lake with its curves and turns, sometimes made
her forget the tragic future that lay before her.
She was just finishing with lingering, tender notes when
Jordan Morse came quickly through the corridor.
Bobbie stiffened in his arms suddenly.
"I hear Jinnie's fiddle," he gasped. "I'm goin' to my
When the key turned in the lock, the girl came to the
door. At first she didn't notice the blind child, but her
name, unsteadily called, brought her eyes to the little fig-
ure. Happy Pete recognized her with a wild yelp, wrig-
gled himself past the other two, and whiningly crouched
at her feet. Jinnie had them both in her arms before
Morse turned the key again in the lock.
"Bobbie and Happy Pete!" she cried. Then she got
up and flashed tearful eyes upon Morse.
296 ROSE O' PARADISE
"What did you bring them for? Did you tell Peg?"
"No, I didn't tell Peg and and I brought him-
he paused and beckoned her with an upward toss of his
Jinnie followed him agitatedly.
"I brought him," went on Morse, "because I don't just
like your manner. I brought him as a lever to move you
Then he left hurriedly, something unknown within him
stirring with life. He decided afterward it was the sight
of the blind child's golden head pressed against Jinnie's
breast that had so upset him.
As he drove away, he crushed a desire to return again,
to take them both, boy and girl, back to the cobbler's
shop. But he must not allow his better emotions to at-
tack him in this matter. He had known for a long time
Jinnie could be wielded through her affection for the lad.
He thought of his own child somewhere in the world and
what it meant to him to possess Jinnie's money, and set
his teeth. He would bring the girl to his terms through
her love for the slender blind boy.
That day Jinnie wrote a letter to Peg, telling her that
Bobbie was with her, and Happy Pete, too.
The stolid woman had quite given way under the mys-
terious disappearance of the boy. When she returned
home, she searched every lane leading to the marshes un-
til dusk. In fact, she stumbled far into the great waste
place, calling his name over and over. He was the last
link that held her to the days when Lafe had been in the
shop, and Peg would have given much if her conscience
would cease lashing her so relentlessly. It eased her anx-
iety a little when a new resolution was born in her stub-
born heart. If they all came back to the shop, she'd make
up to them in some way for her ugly conduct. With this
BOBBIE TAKES A TRIP 297
resolve, she went home to her own baby, sorrowful, dejected
All the evening while Peg was mourning for them, Jin-
nie sat cuddling Bobbie, until the night put its dark hood
on the ravine and closed it in a heavy gloom. Happy
Pete, with wagging tail, leaned against the knees of the
girl, and there the three of them remained in silence until
Bobbie, lifting his face, said quiveringly :
"Peggy almost died when you went away, Jinnie."
Jinnie felt her throat throb.
"Tell me about it," she said hoarsely.
"There ain't much to tell," replied the child, sighing,
"only Peggy was lonely. She only had me and the baby,
and I didn't have any stars and the baby's got no teeth."
"And the baby? Is he well, dear?" questioned Jinnie.
"Oh, fine !" the boy assured her. "He's growed such a
lot. I felt his face this morning, and oh, my, Jinnie, his
cheeks puff out like this !"
Bobbie gathered in a long breath, and puffed out his
own thin, drawn cheeks.
"Just like that !" he gasped, letting out the air.
"And Lafe?" ventured Jinnie.
"Lafe's awful bad off, I guess. Bates' little boy told
me he was going to die "
"No, Bobbie, no, he isn't!" Jinnie's voice was sharp
"Yes, he is !" insisted Bobbie. "Bates' boy told me so !
He said Lafe wouldn't ever come back to the shop, 'cause
everybody says he killed Maudlin."
As the words left his lips, he began to sob. "I want
my cobbler," he screamed loudly, "and I want my beau-
tiful stars !"
"Bobbie, Bobbie, you'll be sick if you scream that way.
There, there, honey !" Jinnie hushed him gently.
298 ROSE O' PARADISE
"I want to be 'Happy in Spite'," the boy went on. But
his words brought before the pale girl that old, old mem-
ory of the cobbler who had invented the club for just such
purposes as this. How could she be 'Happy in Spite'
when Bobbie suffered; when Peg and baby Lafe needed
her ; happy^ when Lafe faced an ignominious death
for a crime he had not committed; happy when her be-
loved was perhaps still very ill in the hospital? She got
up and began to walk to and fro. Suddenly she paused
in her even march across the room. Unless she steadied
her fluttering, stinging nerves, she'd never be able to still
the wretched boy. There's an old saying that when one
tries to help others, winged aid will come to the helper.
And so it was with Jinnie. She had only again taken
Bobbie close when there came to her Lafe's old, old words :
"He hath given his angels charge over thee."
"Bobbie," she said softly, "I'm going to play for you."
As Jinnie straightened his limp little body out on the
divan, she noticed how very thin he had become, how his
heart throbbed continually, how the agonized lines drew
and pursed the sensitive, delicate mouth.
Then she played and played and played, and ever in
her heart to the rhythm of her music were the words, "His
angels shall have charge over thee." Suddenly there came
to her a great belief that out of her faith and Lafe's faith
would come Bobbie's good, and Peg's good, and especially
the good of the man shut up in the little cell. When the
boy grew sleepy, Jinnie made him ready for bed.
"I'll lie down with you, Bobbie," she whispered, "and
Happy Pete can sleep on the foot of the bed."
And as the pair of sad little souls slept, Lafe's angels
kept guard over them.
THEODORE SENDS FOR MOLLY
THEODORE King was rallying rapidly in the hospital.
All danger of blood poison had passed, and though he was
still very weak, his surgeon had ceased to worry, and the
public at large sat back with a sigh, satisfied that the
wealthiest and most promising young citizen in the county
had escaped death at the hand of an assassin.
One morning a telephone message summoned Molly Mer-
riweather to the hospital. In extreme agitation she dressed
quickly, telling Mrs. King she would return very soon.
Never had she been so hilariously happy. Jinnie Grand-
oken had disappeared, as if she had been sunk in the sea.
Molly now held the whip hand over her husband ; she could
force him to divorce her quietly. It was true of them
both now their principal enemies were out of the way.
Theo was getting well, and would come home in a few
While she had thought him dying, nothing save Jordan's
tales of the girl's experiences in the gorge house had been
able to rouse her to more than momentary interest.
With glowing cheeks she followed the hospital attendant
through a long corridor to Theodore's room. She en-
tered softly and for a moment stood gazing at him ad-
miringly. How very handsome he was, even with the hos-
pital pallor! When the sick man became cognizant of
Molly's presence, he turned and smiled a greeting. He
indicated a chair, and she sank into it.
300 ROSE O' PARADISE
"You sent for me, Theodore ?" she reminded him softly,
He was silent so long, evidently making up his mind to
something, that Molly got up and smoothed out his pil-
low. Theodore turned to her after she had reseated her-
"Molly," he began, "do you know where Jinnie Grand-
Molly's eyelids narrowed. So he was still thinking of
the girl !
"No," she said deliberately.
"It seems strange," went on King somberly. "I've tried
every way I know how to discover her whereabouts, and
can't. I sent to the Grandoken's for her, but she was
"You still care for her then?" queried Molly dully.
"Yes. I know you dislike the poor child, but I thought
if you knew that I well, I really love her, you might help
It was a bitter harvest to reap after all these weeks
of waiting his telling her he loved another woman and
as his voice rang with devotion for Jinnie Grandoken,
Molly restrained herself with difficulty. She dared not
lose her temper, as she had several times before under like
conditions. With her hands folded gracefully in her lap,
"If I could help you, Theo, I would ; but if Mrs. Grand-
oken doesn't know where her own niece is, how should I
"You're so clever," sighed Theodore, "I imagined you
might be able to discover something where a woman like
Mrs. Grandoken would fail. She's got a young child, I
THEODORE SENDS FOR MOLLY 301
"What do you suggest?" inquired Molly presently.
"I want to find out quickly where she's gone," the sick
man said bluntly.
"You want to see her?" demanded Molly.
"Yes, I'd get well sooner if I could," and he sighed
again. Then his ivory skin grew scarlet even to his tem-
ples, but the blood rushed away, leaving him deathly white.
Molly went to him quickly and leaned over the bed. She
wanted oh, how she wanted to feel his arms about her!
But he only touched her cold hand lightly.
"Help me, Molly," he breathed.
Molly choked back an explanation. She would glory in
doing anything for him anything within her power ; but
nothing, nothing for Jinnie Grandoken. Suddenly an idea
took possession of her. She would make him doubt Jin-
nie's love for him, even if she lied to him.
"Of course I knew you cared for her," she said slowly.
"Yes, I made that clear, I think," said Theo, "and she
cares for me. I told you I asked her to marry me"."
He laid stress on the latter half of his statement be-
cause of a certain emphasis in Molly's.
"I don't like to hurt you while you're ill," she ven-
Theodore thrust forth his hand eagerly.
"Come closer," he pleaded. "You know something ; you
can tell me. Please do, Molly."
"I don't know much, mind you, Theo "
"Take hold of my hand, Molly! . . . Please don't
keep me in such suspense."
She drew her chair closer to the bed, her heart throb-
bing first with desire, then with anger, and laid her white
fingers in his.
"Tell me," insisted Mr. King.
802 ROSE O' PARADISE
"There was a boy "
"You mean the little blind boy?"
"No, no," denied Molly, paling. The very mention of
such an affliction hurt her sadly. "No," she said again,
"I mean a friend of the boy who was shot ; you remember
"Oh, I remember Maudlin Bates ; certainly I do ; but I
don't think I heard of any other."
Molly hadn't either; she had shot at random and the
Theodore sat up in bed with whitening face.
"Molly," he stammered, "Molly, has any one hurt her?
Molly shook her head disgustedly.
"Don't be foolish, Theo," she chided. "No one would
want to hurt a grown girl like her."
"Then what about the man?"
"I think she went away with him."
"I'm not sure "
Theodore sank back. Molly's fingers slipped from his,
and for a moment he covered his face with his hands, sound-
less sobs shaking his weak body. The woman knew by his
appearance that he believed her absolutely.
"It'll kill me!" he got out at last.
Molly slipped an arm under his head. She had never
seen him in such a state.
"Theo, don't! Don't!" she implored. "Please don't
shake so, and I'll tell you all I know."
"Very well ! . . . I'm listening."
The words were scarcely audible, but Molly knew and
hugged the thought that his belief in Jinnie Grandoken
had been shaken.
"Did you hear that Jinnie was in Binghamton ?"
THEODORE SENDS FOR MOLLY 303
"Yes," murmured Theodore.
The woman released her hold on Theodore, and said :
"The man was over there with her."
Theodore turned his face quickly away and groaned.
"That's enough," he said. "Don't tell me any more."
They were quiet for a long time very quiet.
Then Molly, with still enlarging plans, burst out :
"What if I should bring her back to you, Theo?"
He flashed dark-circled eyes toward her.
"Could you?" he asked drearily.
"I think so, perhaps. Suppose you write her a little
note, and then "
"Ring the bell for writing material quickly."
He had all his oldtime eagerness. He was partly sit-
ting up, and Molly placed another pillow under his head.
Theodore wrote steadily for some moments. Then he
addressed an envelope to "Jinnie Grandoken," placed the
letter in it, and fastened down the flap.
"You won't mind?" he asked wearily, handing it to
Molly and sinking back.
Molly took the letter, and witK a few more words, went
out. Once at home in her bedroom, she sat down, breath-
ing deeply. With a hearty good will she could have torn
the letter into shreds, but instead she ripped open the en-
velope and read it.
After she had finished, she let the paper flutter from
her hand and sat thinking for a long time. Then, sighing,
she got up and tucked the letter inside her dress.
MOLLY GIVES AN ORDEE TO JINNEE
A MOTOR car dashed to the side of the street, and Jordan
Morse helped Molly to the pavement. She stood for a
moment looking at the gorge building contemplatively.
"And she's been here all the while?" she remarked.
"Yes, and a devil of a time I've had to keep her, too.
If there'd been any one in the whole place, I believe she'd
have made them hear ; though since the boy came she's be-
haved better." Morse's face became positively brutal un-
der recollections. "I've made her mind through him," he
Jinnie had put Bobbie into bed and kissed him, and soon
the child was breathing evenly. She knew Jordan Morse
would come that night, so she closed the door between the
two rooms and walked nervously up and down. Bobbie
was always ill for hours after Morse had made his daily
calls. She hoped the man would allow the child to remain
in bed. When the key grated in the lock, she was standing
in the middle of the room, her eyes fastened on the door.
Every time he came,. she had hopes that he might relent,
if but a little.
Morse entered, followed by Molly the Merry. Jinnie
took a step forward when she saw the woman. Molly
paused and inspected sharply the slim young figure, her
mind comprehending all its loveliness. Then woman to
woman they measured each other, as only women can. Jin-
nie advanced impulsively.
MOLLY GIVES AN ORDER 305
"You've come to take me home!" she breathed.
Molly shook her head.
"I've come to talk to you," she retorted hoarsely.
Never had she seen so beautiful a girl ! The martyrdom
Jinnie had endured had only enhanced her attractiveness.
"Sit down," said Molly peevishly.
Jinnie made a negative gesture.
"I'm tired of sitting. . . . Oh, you will do something
for me, something for poor little Bobbie ?"
Morse moved to the door between the two rooms, but
Jinnie rushed in front of him.
"He's asleep," she said beseechingly. "Don't wake him
up ! He's had a dreadful spell with his heart to-day."
Morse turned inquiring eyes upon Molly.
"You wanted to see him, didn't you?" he asked.
Molly flung out a hand pettishly.
"Let him sleep," she replied. "I don't want to be bored
with fits and tears."
Jinnie sank into a chair.
"He ought to have a doctor," she sighed, as if she were
speaking to herself. Then turning to Molly, she bent an
entreating look upon her.
"Please do something for him. Get a doctor, oh, do !
He's so little and so sick."
"I'm not a bit interested in him," replied Molly with
Jinnie's nerves had borne all they could. She trembled
unceasingly. The girlish spirit had been broken by
Morse's continual persecution.
"He's so little," she petitioned again, "and he can't
As Molly had said, she was not interested in the sleep-
ing child. The only time she cared to hear him mentioned
was when Jordan told her of Jinnie's anguish over his
306 ROSE O' PARADISE
treatment of the child. She had delighted in his vividly
described scene of how he had forced the girl to do his
will through her love for the little fellow. Now she, too,
would wreak her vengeance on Jinnie through the same
"I've come to tell you something about Theodore King,"
she remarked slowly, watching the girl avidly the while.
Jinnie sat up quickly. If her dear one had sent her a
message, then he must know where she was.
"Then tell it," was all she said.
Molly put her hand into a leather hand bag and drew
forth a letter.
"It isn't for you," she stated, with glinting eyes. "I've
known for a long time you thought he cared for you "
"He does," interjected Jinnie emphatically.
"I think not. Here's a letter he wrote to me. It will
dispel any idea you may have about his affection for you."
"I don't wish to read your letter," said Jinnie proudly.
"Read it!" ordered Morse frowning, and because she
feared him, Jinnie took the letter nervously. The woman's
words had shattered her last hope. For a moment the
well-known handwriting whirled; then the words came
clearly before her vision :
"Mr DARLING," she read.
"Won't you come to me when you get this? My heart
aches to have you once more in my arms. I shall expect
you very soon. With all my love,
It was not strange that she crushed the paper between
"You needn't destroy my letter," Molly said mockingly,
thrusting forth her hand. "Give it to me."
MOLLY GIVES AN ORDER 307
She took it from Jinnie's shaking hand and, smoothing
it out, replaced it in her pocket book.
"I wouldn't have come but for your own good," she said,
looking up. "Mr. Morse told me you had an idea that
Mr. King loved you, and I want you to write him a let-
"Write who a letter?" asked Jinnie dully.
"Because I tell you to," snapped Molly.
Then taking another letter from her bag, she held it
"You're to copy this and give it to Mr. Morse to-
Jinnie took the letter and read it slowly. She struggled
to her feet.
"I'll not write it," she said hoarsely.
"I think you will," said Morse, rising.
Jinnie stared at him until he reached the closed door
behind which Bobbie slept.
"Don't! Don't!" she shuddered. "I'll write, I'll do
anything if you won't hurt Bobbie." Raising her eyes to
Morse, she said in subdued tones, "I'll try to give it to you
Never had her heart ached as it did then. The perils
she was passing through and had passed through were
naught to the present misery. She realized then her hope
had been in Theodore's rescuing her.
A certain new dignity, however, grew upon her at that
moment. She stood up, looking very tall, very slight, to
the man and woman watching her.
"I wish you'd both go," she said wearily. "I'd rather
be alone with Bobbie."
Molly smiled and went out with Jordan Morse.
308 ROSE O' PARADISE
"She gave in all right," remarked Molly, when they
were riding down the hill. "I knew she would."
Morse shrugged his shoulders.
"Of course. She worships Grandoken's youngster. . . .
I was wondering there once how you felt when you knew
she was reading her own letter."
Molly's face grew dark with passionate rebellion.
"He'll write me one of my own before the year is out,"
"I'm not so sure!" responded Morse thoughtfully.
For a long time after the closing of the door, Jinnie
sat huddled in the chair. Nothing else in all the world
could have hurt her as she had been hurt that night, and
it wasn't until very late that she crept in beside the blind
boy, and after four or five hours, dropped asleep.