utes. Jinnie had no means by which to mark the time.
She only knew how difficult it was to keep the blind child
moving, with the water below bellowing its stormy way
down the rock-hill to the lake. Happy Pete gave a weird
little cry now and then. But on and on they went, and
at the corner Jinnie spoke :
"Bobbie, we've got to turn here. Let your body go
just as I shove it."
Limp was no word for Bobbie's body. He was dread-
fully tired. His heart thumped under Jinnie's arms like
"Bobbie, don't breathe that way, don't !" she entreated.
"I can't help it, honey! my side hurts," he whispered.
"But I'll go where you take me, Jinnie dear."
The girl turned him carefully around the sharp ledge
corner, and they went on again. Her arms seemed almost
paralyzed, but they clung to the child ahead, and the
child ahead clung to the little dog, who hung very straight
and inert in front of his body.
When they reached the south corner, Jinnie explained
their next move to Bobbie in this way:
"Now listen," she told him. "You get on my back with
your legs under my arms, hang to me like dear life, and
keep Happy Pete between us. Don't hurt him if you can
They were within touch of one of the dangling ropes
and far below Jinnie saw the swaying plank to which it was
fastened. Once on that board, she could get to the
Then she continued: "Now while I lean over, you get
on my back."
As she guided his slender hands., she felt them cold
326 ROSE O' PARADISE
within her own, but in obedience to her command, Bobbie
put his legs about her, one arm around her neck, and
with the other held Happy Pete.
"We won't fall, will we, Jinnie?" quavered the boy.
"No," said Jinnie, helping to settle him on her back.
Then she crawled closer to the rope, took up her skirt
and placed it about the rough hemp. She was afraid to
use her bare hands. The rope might cut and burn them
so dreadfully that she'd have to let go. With a wild
inward prayer, she swung off into the air, with the boy,
the dog and the fiddle on her back, and began her down-
ward slide. She counted the windows as they passed, one,
two, three, and then four. Only a little distance more
before she would be upon firm ground. As her feet
touched the plank, she glanced into the street and in that
awful moment saw Jordan Morse crossing the corner
diagonally, within but a few yards of where she stood,
BOBBIE'S STARS RENEW THEIR SHINING
JINNIE stood rooted to the spot, the burden on her
back bearing heavily upon her. She scarcely dared
breathe, but kept her startled eyes upon the advancing
man. Her uncle was walking with his head down. As
he approached the building, a terrible shiver passed over
the blind boy.
"The black man's comin' !" he shuddered. "I hear "
"Hush !" whispered Jinnie, and Bobbie dropped his head
and remained quiet.
The girl's heart was thumping almost as fast as his.
In the oppressive silence she heard Bobbie's faint whis-
per: "Our our Father who art in Heaven," and her
own lips murmured : "He has given his angels charge over
Without raising his eyes, Jordan Morse sprang to the
steps and entered the door.
Jinnie turned her head and almost mechanically
watched him disappear. Then she took one long, sob-
"Bobbie, Bobbie," she panted, "get down quick!"
The boy slid to the plank, dropping Happy Pete.
Jinnie grasped the child's cold hand in hers, and they
ran rapidly to a thick clump of trees. Once out of sight
of the building, she picked up the little dog and sank
down, clutching Bobbie close to her heart,
328 ROSE O' PARADISE
The beginning of the second day of Lafe's trial brought
a large crowd to the courthouse. All the evidence thus
far given had been against him, but he sat in his wheel-
chair, looking quietly from under his shaggy brows, and
never once, with all that was said against him, did the
sweet, benevolent expression change to anger. The cob-
bler had put his life into higher hands than those in the
courtroom, and he feared not.
After the morning session, Jordan Morse left the room
with a satisfied smile. He walked rapidly to the street-
car and took a seat, with a thoughtful expression on his
countenance. Lafe would be convicted, and he would get
rid of the girl now shut away from the world in the gorge
building. Then, with the money that would be his, he'd
find his child, the little boy who was his own and for
whom he so longed. He often looked at Molly and won-
dered how she could smile so radiantly when she knew
she had lost her child, her own flesh and blood, her
own little son.
Even after he left the car and was approaching the
gorge, he worried about the two in the house. It was
because his mind was bent on important plans that he
did not see Jinnic swinging in the sunshine between heaven
and earth. He climbed the stairs, framing a sentence for
the girl's benefit. As he unlocked the door, the silence
of the room bore down upon him like an evil thing. He
went hurriedly into the second room, only to find it also
empty. For the moment he did not notice the shattered
glass on the floor, and his heart sank within him, but the
breeze that drifted to his face brought his eyes to the
broken window. With an oath, he jumped to it and
looked out. Far below, the water tumbled as of yore over
the rocks. He strained horrified eyes for a glimpse of a
human body. The girl and boy must have dropped to-
BOBBIE'S STARS RENEW SHINING 329
gether into the deep abyss, preferring death to uncer-
tainty. They were gone gone over the ragged rocks,
where their bodies would be lost in some of the fathom-
less juts a mile beyond. He would never be bothered with
Jinnie again. Then he turned from the window. His
most terrifying obstacle was out of his way. The blind
child did not concern him. He was but a feather in the
wind, the little fellow who always shrank from him.
As if leaving a tomb, he went softly from the room and
turned the key in the lock with a sigh. Jinnie had re-
lieved him of an awful responsibility. At least fate had
taken from his hands a detestable task, at which he had
many a time recoiled. So far all of his enemies, with the
exception of Theodore King, had one by one been taken
away, and he swung himself out of the building with a
great burden lifted from his shoulders.
As he passed, Jinnie was still drawing long breaths
under the thick bushes, Bobbie's face against her breast,
and it was not until she was sure Morse had gone that she
ventured to speak.
"We're going to Lafe and Peg, Bobbie," she said. "Can
you walk a long way?"
"Yes," gurgled Bobbie, color flaming his face. "My
legs'll go faster'n anything."
And "faster'n anything" those thin little legs did go.
The boy trotted along beside his friend, down the hill to
the flats. Jinnie chose a back street leading to the lower
end of the town.
"I'd better carry you a while, dearie," she offered pres-
ently, noting with what difficulty he breathed. "You take
the fiddle !" And without remonstrance from the boy she
lifted him in her arms.
From the tracks Lafe's small house had the appearance
.of being unoccupied. Jinnie went in, walking from the
330 ROSE O' PARADISE
shop to the kitchen, where she called "Peggy!" two or
three times. Then the thought of the cobbler's trial
rushed over her. Peggy and the baby were at court with
Lafe, of course.
Knowing she must face her uncle in the courtroom, she
went to Lafe's black box and drew forth the sealed letter
her father had sent to Grandoken. This she hid in her
dress, and taking Bobbie and the fiddle, she went out and
closed the door.
Another long walk brought them to the courthouse,
which stood in solemn stone silence, with one side to the
dark, iron-barred jail. Jinnie shivered when she thought
of the weary months Lafe had sat within his gloomy cell.
She entered the building, holding Bobbie's hand. Every
seat in the room was filled, and a man was making a speech,
using the names of Maudlin Bates and Lafe Grandoken.
Then she looked about once more, craning her neck
to catch sight of those ahead. Her eyes fell first upon
Lafe, God bless him! There he sat, her cobbler, in the
same old wheel chair, wearing that look of benign patience
so familiar to her. Only a little distance from him sat
Peggy, the baby sleeping on her knees. Molly the Merry
was seated next to Jordan Morse, whose large white hand
nervously clutched the back of the woman's chair.
Several stern-looking men at a table had numerous
papers over which they were bending. Then Jinnie's gaze
found Jasper Bates. She could see, by the look upon his
face, that he was suffering. She felt sorry, sorry for
any one who was in trouble, who had lost a son in such
a manner as Jasper had. Then she awoke to the import
of the lawyer's words.
"Before you, Gentlemen of the Jury," he was saying,
"is a murderer, a Jew, Lafe Grandoken. You know very
well the reputation of the people on Paradise Road. The
BOBBIE'S STARS RENEW SHINING 331
good book says 'a life for a life.' This Jew shot and
killed his neighbor "
Jinnie lost his next words. She was looking at Lafe,
and saw his dear face grow white with stabbing anguish.
The girl's throat filled with sobs, and she suddenly re-
membered something Theodore had once said to her.
"If you want anything, child, just play for it."
And she wanted the life of her cobbler, the man who
had taken her, with such generosity, into his heart and
meagre home. She slipped the fiddle from the case and
stooped and whispered in Bobbie's ear:
"Grab the back of my dress, dearie, and don't let go !"
She moved into the aisle, making ready to start on her
life mission. She lifted the bow, and with a long sweep,
drew an intense minor note from the strings. A sea of
faces swung in her direction. Jinnie forgot every one
but the cobbler she was playing for his life improvis-
ing on the fiddle strings a wild, pleading, imploring mel-
ody. On and on she went, with Blind Bobbie, in trembling
confusion, clinging to her skirts, and Happy Pete with
sagging head at their heels. At the first sound of the
fiddle Lafe tried to rise, and did rise. He stood for a
moment on his shaking legs, and there, to the amazement
of the gaping crowd of his townsfolk, he swayed to and
fro, watching and listening as the wonderful music filled
and thrilled through the room.
A heavenly light shone on the wrinkled face.
Jordan Morse got to his feet, chalk white. Molly the
Merry was looking at Jinnie as if she saw a ghost.
The onlookers saw Lafe's unsteady steps as he tottered
toward the lovely girl and blind child. When he was
within touching distance, she put the instrument and
bow under one arm and took Lafe's hand in hers. Her
voice rang out like the tone of a belL
332 ROSE O' PARADISE
"I've come for you, Lafe. I've come to take you back."
Then Molly's eyes dropped from Jinnie to the boy, and
a cry broke from her. Before her was the child for whom,
in spite of the evidence of her smiling lips, she had truly
mourned. The wan, blind face was turned upward, the
golden hair lying in damp curls on the lovely head. Spon-
taneously the woman reached forward and took the little
hand in hers. All the mother within her leaped up, like a
brilliant flash of lightning.
"My baby !" was all she said ; and Bobbie, white, trem-
bling and palpitating, cried in a weird, high voice :
"I've found my mother!"
Then Jordan Morse understood. The hot blood was
tearing to his ear drums. The blind boy he had perse-
cuted and tortured, the boy he had made suffer, was his
own son. That wonderful quality in the man, the father-
hood within him, rose in surging insistence. Instant re-
morse attacked him, as an oak is attacked by fierce winter
storms. He saw the boy's angelic face grow the color
of death ; saw Molly the Merry gather him up. Then a
stab of jealousy cut his heart like a knife. He bent over
with set jaws.
"Give him to me," he cried. "He's mine !"
Molly surrendered the child with reluctance, but terror
and fright were depicted upon Bobbie's face.
"Jinnie! Lafe! Peggy!" he screamed. "He'll hurt
me! The black man's goin' to kill me! Jinnie, pretty
The passionate voice grew faint and ceased. Then
the loving little heart burst in the boyish bosom, and Bob-
bie's angels bore away his young soul to another world
whcTC blindness is not, where his uplifted being would
understand that the stars he'd loved, the stars he'd
.gathered in his small, unseeing head, were but a reflec-
BOBBIE'S STARS RENEW SHINING 333
tion of those in God's firmament. .With one final quiver
he straightened out in his father's arms and was silent.
All his loves and sorrows were in the eternal yesterdays,
and to-day had delivered him into the charge of Lafe's
Jinnie was crying hysterically, and her father's dying
curse upon her uncle leapt into her mind. She was cling-
ing to the cobbler, and both had moved to Peg, where
the woman sat as if turned to stone.
Not a person in the courtroom stirred. In consterna-
tion the jury sat in their chairs like graven images, taking
in the freshly wrought tragedy with tense expressions.
The judge, too, leaned forward in his chair, watching.
Jordan Morse faced the room, with its silent, observant
crowd, pressing to his breast the dead body of his child.
Then he turned to Lafe, white, twitching, and suffering.
"I shot Maudlin Bates," he said, haltingly; then turn-
ing to the jury he continued: "The cobbler's an inno-
cent man "
A menacing groan fell from a hundred lips at his words.
He deliberately took from his hip pocket a revolver,
lifted the weapon and finished:
"I'm I'm sorry, Jinnie, I'm "
Then came the sharp, short bark of the gun, and the
bullet found a path to his brain. He staggered, fran-
tically clutching the slender body of Bobbie closer and
FOR BOBBIE'S SAKE
LAKE'S homecoming was one of solemn rejoicing. The
only shadow hanging over the happy family was the ab-
sence of Blind Bobbie, who now lay by the side of his dead
After the first greetings, Lafe took his boy baby and
pressed him gratefully to his heart.
"He's beautiful, Peggy dear, ain't he?" he implored,
drinking in with affectionate, fatherly eyes the rosy little
face. "Wife darlin', make a long story short an' tell me
Mrs. Grandoken eyed her husband sternly.
"Lafe," she admonished, "you're as full of brag as a
egg is of meat, and salt won't save you. All your life
you've boasted till I thought the world'd come to an end,
an* I ain't never said a word against it. Now you can't
teach me none of your bad habits, because I won't learn
'em, so don't try." She paused, her lips lifting a little
at the corners, and went on: "But I'm tellin' you with
my own lips there ain't a beautifuller baby in this count y'n
this little feller, nor one half so beautiful! So there's
my mind, sir."
" 'Tis so, dear," murmured the cobbler, rejoicing.
About five o'clock in the afternoon, while Peggy was
uptown replenishing the slender larder and Lafe and Jinnie
were alone with the baby, there came a timid knock.
FOR BOBBIE'S SAKE 335
Jinnie went to the door and there stood Molly Merri-
weather. The woman's face was white and drawn, her
eyes darkly circled underneath.
One glance at her and Jinnie lost her own color.
"I want to speak with you just a moment," the woman
said beseechingly. "May I come in?"
Without answering, Jinnie backed into the room, which
action Molly took as a signal to enter.
She inclined her head haughtily to the cobbler.
"Would you mind if I spoke to Miss Grandoken alone?"
Lafe looked to Jinnie for acquiescence.
"If Jinnie'll help me to the kitchen," he replied, "you
can talk here. I'm a little unsteady on my feet yet, miss !"
It took some time for the tottering legs to bear him
away, but the strong, confident girl helped him most
"You might just slip me the baby, Jinnie," said Lafe,
after he was seated in the kitchen. "I could be lookin' at
'im while you're talkin'. You ain't mindin' the woman,
honey lass, be you?"
"No, dear," answered Jinnie.
This done, the girl returned to Molly, who stood at
the window staring out upon the tracks. She turned
quickly, and Jinnie noticed her eyes were full of tears.
"I suppose you won't refuse to tell me something of
my my little boy ?" she pleaded.
Tears welled over Jinnie's lids too. Bobbie's presence
and adoration were still fresh in her mind.
"He's dead," she mourned. "My little Bobbie ! Poor
little hurt Bobbie !"
Molly made a passionate gesture with her gloved hanids.
"Don't, please don't say those things! I'm so miser-
able I can't think of him. I only wanted to know how
you got him."
"I just found him," stated Jinnie. Then, because
Molly looked so white, she forgot the anguish the woman
had caused her, and rehearsed the story of Bobbie's life
from the time she had discovered him on the hill.
"I guess he was always unhappy till he came to us."
"And I helped to hurt him," cried Molly, shivering.
"But you didn't know he was yours," soothed Jinnie.
The woman shook her head.
"No, of course I didn't know," she replied, and then
went on rapidly:
"I was so young when I married your uncle, I didn't
know anything. When I lost my baby, I knew no way to
search for him."
"Won't you sit down?" Jinnie had forgotten that they
were both standing. "Sit in that little rocker; it's Bob-
bie's," she finished.
Molly looked at the little chair and turned away.
"Lafe bought it for him," Jinnie explained eagerly.
"He was too sick with his heart to get around much like
Miss Merriweather wrung her hands.
"Don't tell me any more," she begged piteously. "He's
dead and nothing can help him now. I've something
else to say to you." Jinnie wiped her eyes.
"Mr. King is quite well now, and "
"Oh, I'm glad !" cried Jinnie. "Does he he ever speak
Molly shook her head mutely.
"I don't want him to see you!" she cried, her eyes
growing hard and bright.
"Why?" Jinnie said the one word in bewilderment.
"He doesn't know yet what Jordan and I did to you,
nor about about Bobbie. I don't want him to, either,
just yet. I fear if he does, he won't care for me."
FOR BOBBIE'S SAKE 337
Jinnie's eyes drew down at the corners.
"Of course ho wouldn't if he knew," she said, with
tightly gripped fingers.
Molly paid no heed to this, but went on rapidly:
"Well, first, you don't love him as I do "
"I love him very much," interjected Jinnie, "and he
used to love me.''
The woman's lips drew linelike over her teeth.
"But you see he doesn't any longer," she got out, "and
if you go away "
"Go away?" grasped Jinnie.
"Yes, from Bellaire. You won't stay here, now that
you're rich." She threw a contemptuous glance about
the shop. Jinnie caught the inflection of the cutting
voice and noted the expression in the dark eyes.
"I'll stay wherever Lafe and Peggy are," she said stub-
"Perhaps, but that doesn't say you're going to live in
this street all your life. ... I want you to go back to
Jinnie still looked a cold, silent refusal.
Molly grew even whiter than before, but remembering
Jinnie's kindly heart, she turned her tactics.
"I'm very miserable," she wept, "and I love Theodore
better than any one in the world."
"So do I," sighed Jinnie, bowing her head.
"But he doesn't love you, child, and he does love me."
Jinnie's eyes fixed their gaze steadily on the other
"Then why're you afraid for him to see me?" she de-
Molly got to her feet. She saw her flimsily constructed
love world shattered by the girl before her. She knew
Theodore still loved her, and that if he knew all her own
338 ROSE O' PARADISE
wickedness, his devotion would increase a hundredfold.
He must not see Jinnie ! Jinnie must not see him ! Rap-
idly she reviewed the quarrels she and Theodore had had,
remembered how punctiliously he always carried out his
honorable intentions, and then Molly went very near
the girl, staring at her with terror in her eyes.
"Jinnie," she said softly, "pretty Jinnie!"
Those words were Bobbie's last earthly appeal to her,
and Jinnie's face blanched in recollection.
"Didn't you love my baby?" Molly hurried on.
A memory of fluttering fingers traveling over her face
left Jinnie's heart cold. Next to Lafe and Theodore she
had loved Bobbie best.
"I loved him, oh, very much indeed !" she whispered.
"And he often told you he loved his his mother?"
Molly was slowly drawing the girl's hands into hers.
"He'd want me to be happy, Jinnie dear. Oh, please
let me have the only little happiness left me !"
Jinnie drew away, almost hypnotized.
"I can't be a a good woman unless I have Theodore,"
Molly moaned. "You're very young "
Her eyes sought the girl's, who was struggling to her
"For Bobbie's sake, Jinnie, for for "
Jinnie brought to mind the blind boy, his winsome ways,
his desire for his beautiful mother, her own love for Theo-
dore, and turning away, said with a groan :
"I want Theodore to be happy, and I want you to be
happy, too, for for Bobbie's sake. I I promise not to
see him, but I'll always believe he loves me that
"You're a good girl," interrupted Molly with a sigh
FOR BOBBIE'S SAKE 389
Jinnie went to the door.
"Go now," she said, with proudly lifted head, "and I
hope I'll never see you again as long as I live."
Then Molly went away, and for a long time the girl
stood, with her back to the door, weeping out the sorrow
of a torn young soul. She had promised to give up Theo-
dore completely. She had lost her love, her friend, her
sweetheart. Once more she had surrendered to Bobbie
Grandoken the best she had to give.
Later, when the cobbler and his wife were crooning over
their little son, Jinnie, with breaking heart, decided she
would leave Bellaire at once, as Molly had asked her. She
must never think of Theodore again. She'd renounced
him, firmly believing he still loved her ; she'd promised to
depart without seeing him, but surely, oh, a little farewell
note, with the assurances of her gratitude, would not be
breaking that promise.
So, until Peggy carried the baby away to bed, the girl
composed a letter to Theodore, pathetic in its terseness.
She also wrote to Molly, telling her she had decided to go
back to Mottville immediately.
When she had finished the letters, she took her usual
place on the stool at the cobbler's feet.
"Lafe," she ventured, wearily, "some time I'm going
to tell you everything that's happened since I last saw
you, but not to-night!"
"Whenever you're ready, honey," acquiesced Lafe.
"And I've been thinking of something else, dear. I want
to go to Mottville."
Lafe's face paled.
"I don't see how Peg an' me'll live without you, Jinnie."
Jinnie touched the hand smoothing her curls.
"I couldn't live without you either, Lafe, and I won't
340 ROSE O' PARADISE
The cobbler bent and kissed her.
"I won't try, dear," she repeated. "You must all live
with me, although I'll go first to arrange things a little.
We'll never worry about money any more, dearest."
"And Mr. King," Lafe faltered, quite disturbed, "what
"I shan't ever see him again," Jinnie stated sadly.
"I've just written him, and he'll understand."
Lafe knew by the finality of her tones that she did not
care to discuss Theodore that night.
LATE the next afternoon Jinnie left the train at Mott-
ville station, her fiddle box in one hand, and a suitcase in
the other. She stood a moment watching the train as
it disappeared. It had carried her from the man she
loved, brought her away from Bellaire, the city of her
hopes. One bitter fact reared itself above all others.
The world of which Theodore King had been the integral
part was dead to her. What was she to do without him,
without Bobbie to pet and love ? But a feeling of thanks-
giving pervaded her when she remembered she still had
Lafe's smile, the baby to croon over, and dear, stoical
Peggy. They would live with her in the old home. It
was preferable to staying in Bellaire, where her heart
would be tortured daily. Rather the brooding hills, the
singing pines, and all the wildness of nature, which was
akin to the struggle within her, and perhaps in the future
she might gather up the broken threads of her life.
She shook as if attacked with ague as she came within
sight of the gaunt farmhouse, and the broken windows and
hanging doors gave her a sense of everlasting decay.