my hair in the kitchen glass. . . I don't think they're
much like yours."
Bobbie paid no heed to the allusion to himself.
"Your forehead's smooth, too," he mused. "Your eyes
are big, and the lashes round 'em 're long. You're much
104 ROSE O' PARADISE
prettier'n your dog, but then girls 're always pretty."
A flush of pleased vanity reddened Jinnie's skin to the
tips of her ears, and she scrambled to her feet. Then she
paused, a solemn expression shadowing her eyes.
"Bobbie," she spoke soberly, "now I found you, you
belong to me, don't you?"
Bobbie thrust forth his hands.
"Yes, yes," he breathed.
"Then from now on, from this minute, I'm going to work
Jinnie's thoughts were on the shortwood strap, but she
didn't mention it. Oh, how she would work for money to
give Peg with which to buy food ! How happy she would
be in the absolute ownership of the boy she had discovered
in the hills ! Tenderly she drew him to her. He seemed
so pitifully helpless.
"How old 're you?" she demanded.
"Nine years old."
"You don't look over five," said Jinnie, surprised.
"That's because I'm always sick," explained the boy.
Jinnie threw up her head.
"Well, a girl sixteen ought to be able to help an awful
little boy, oughtn't she ? . . . Here, I'll put my arm round
you, right like this."
But the boy made a backward step, so that Jinnie,
thinking he was about to fall, caught him sharply by the
"I'll walk if you'll lead me," Bobbie explained proudly.
Thus rebuffed, Jinnie turned the blind face toward the
cast, and together they made their way slowly to the plank
"HE'S COME TO LIVE WITH us, PEGGY"
THEY trailed along in silence, the girl watching the
birds as flock after flock disappeared in the north woods.
Now and then, when Jinnie looked at the boy, she felt the
pride which comes only with possession. She was going
to work for him, to intercede with Peg, to allow the
foundling to join that precious home circle where the
cobbler and his wife reigned supreme.
As they reached the plank walk, the boy lagged back.
"I'm tired, girl," he panted. "I've walked till I'm just
He cried quietly as Jinnie led him into the shadow of
"Sit here with me," she invited. "Lay your head on
And this time he snuggled to her till the blind eyes and
the pursed delicate mouth were hidden against her arm.
"I told you, Bobbie," Jinnie resumed presently, "I'd
let you be Lafe's little boy, didn't I?"
"Yes, girl," replied the boy, sleepily.
"Now wasn't that awful good of me?"
"Awful good," was the dreamy answer. "My stars're
glory bright now."
"And most likely Lafe'll help you see with your eyes,
just like Happy Pete and me!" Jinnie went on eagerly.
"All the trees and hundreds of birds, some of 'em yellow
106 ROSE O' PARADISE
and some of 'em red, an* some of 'em so little and cunning
they could jump through the knothole in Peg's kitchen.
. . . Don't you wish to see all that?"
The small face brightened and the unseeing eyes
"I'd find my mother, then," breathed Bobbie.
"And you'd see a big high tree, with a robin making
his nest in it ! . . . Have y' ever seen that ?"
Jinnie was becoming almost aggressive, for, woman-
like, with a point to make, each argument was driven
home with more power.
"No," Bobbie admitted, and his voice held a certain
tragic little note.
"And you've never seen the red running along the edge
of the sky, just when the sun's going down?"
Again his answer was a simple negative.
"And hasn't anybody tried to show you a cow and her
calf in the country, nipping the grass all day, in the yel-
Jinnie was waxing eloquent, and her words held high-
sounding hope. The interest in the child's face invited
her to go on.
"Now I've said I'd let my folks be yours, and didn't
I find you, and have you got any one else? If you don't
let me help you to Lafe's, how you going to see any of
'em?" She paused before delivering her best point, which
was addressed quite indifferently to the sky. "And just
think of that hot soup !"
This was enough. Bobbie struggled up, flushed and
"Put your arm around me, girl," which invitation
Jinnie quickly accepted.
Then they two, so unlike, went slowly down the walk
toward the tracks to Lafe Grandoken's home.
"HE'S COME TO LIVE WITH US" 107
Jinnie's heart vied with a trip-hammer as they turned
into Paradise Road. She did not fear the cobbler, but the
thought of Peggy's harsh voice, her ruthless catechizing,
worried her not a little. Nevertheless, she kept her arm
about the boy, steadily drawing him on. When they
came to the side door of the house, the girl turned the
handle and walked in, leading her weary companion.
Resolutely she passed on to the kitchen, for she wanted
the disagreeable part over first. She fumbled in hesitation
with the knob of the door, and Peg, hearing her, opened
it. At first, the woman saw only Jinnie, with Happy
Pete by her side. Then her gaze fell upon the other
child, whose blind, entreating eyes were turned upward in
"This is Bobbie," announced Jinnie, "and he's come to
live with us, Peggy."
Poor Peggy stared, surprised to silence. She could
find no words to fit the occasion.
"He hasn't any home !" Jinnie gasped for breath in
her excitement. "Mag, a woman somewhere, beat him and
he ran away and I found 'im. So he belongs to us now."
She was gaining assurance every moment. She hoped
that Peggy was silently acquiescing, for the woman hadn't
uttered a word; she was merely looking from one to the
other with her characteristically blank expression.
"I'm going to give him half of Lafe, too," confided
Jinnie, nodding her head toward the waiting child.
Then Peggy burst forth in righteous indignation. She
demanded to know how another mouth was to be fed, and
clothes washed and mended; where the brat was to sleep,
and what good he was anyway.
"Do you think, kid," she stormed at Jinnie, "you're so
good yourself we're wantin' to take another one worser
pff'n you are? Don't believe it! He can't stay here!"
108 ROSE O' PARADISE
Jinnie held her ground bravely.
"Oh, I'll start right out and sell wood all day long, if
you'll let him stay, Peg."
A tousled lock of yellow hair hung over Bobbie's eyes.
"Oh, Peggy, dear, Mrs. Good Peggy, let me stay!" he
moaned, swaying. "I'm so tired, s'awful tired. I can't
find my mother, nor no place, and my stars're all out !"
Sobbing plaintively, he sank to the floor, and there the
childish heart laid bare its misery. Then Jinnie, too,
became quite limp, and forgetting all about "Happy in
Spite," she knelt alongside of her newly acquired friend,
and the two despairing young voices rose to the woman
standing over them. Jinnie thrust her arms around the
"Don't cry, my Bobbie," she sobbed. "I'll go back to
the hills with you, because you need me. We'll live with
the birds and squirrels, and I'll sell wood so we c'n eat."
When she raised her reproachful eyes to Peg, and fin-
ished with a swipe at her offending nose with her sleeve,
she had never looked more beautiful, and Peggy glanced
away, fearing she might weaken.
"Tell Lafe I love him, and I love you, too, Peggy. Ill
come every day and see you both, and bring you some
If she had been ten years older or had spent months
framing a speech to fit the need of this occasion, Jinnie
could not have been more effective, for Peg's rage entirely
ebbed at these words.
"Get up, you brats'" she ordered grimly. "An* you
listen to me, Jinnie Grandoken. Your Bobbie c'n stay,
but if you ever, so long as you live, bring another maimed,
lame or blind creature to this house, I'll kick it out in
the street. Now both of you climb up to that table an*
eat some hot soup."
"HE'S COME TO LIVE WITH US" 109
Jinnie drew a long breath of happiness. She had cried
a little, she was sorry for that. She had broken her
resolve always to smile to be "Happy in Spite."
"I'll never bring any one else in, Peg," she averred
Then she remembered how sweeping was her promise
and changed it a trifle.
"Of course if a kid was awful sick in the street and
didn't have a home, I'd have to fetch it in, wouldn't I?"
Peggy flounced over to the table, speechless, followed
by the two children.
"WHO SATS THE KID CAN*T STAY?"
TWENTY minutes later Mrs. Grandoken entered the
shop and sat down opposite her husband.
"Lafe," she began, clearing her throat.
The cobbler questioned her with a glance.
"That girl'll be the death of this hull shanty," she
announced huskily. "I hate 'er more'n anything in the
Lafe placed a half-mended shoe beside him on the bench.
"What's ailin' 'er now, Peggy?"
"Oh, she ain't sick," interrupted Peg, with curling lip.
"She never looked better'n she does this minute, settin*
in there huddlin' that pup, but she's brought home an-
other kid, as bad off as a kid can be."
"A what? What'd you say, Peg? You don't mean a
Mrs. Grandoken bobbed her head, her face stoically
expressionless. "An' bad off," she repeated querulously.
"The young 'un's blind."
Before Lafe's mental vision rose Jinnie's lovely face,
her parted lips and self-assured smile.
"But where'd she get it? It must belong to some 'un."
Mrs. Grandoken shook her head.
"I dunno. It's a boy. He was with a woman a bad
'un, I gather. She beat 'im until the little feller ran away
to find his own folks, he says and Jinnie brought 'im
home here. She says she's goin' to keep 'im."
"WHO SAYS THE KID CAN'T STAY?" Ill
The speaker drew her brown skin into a network of
"Where'd she find 'im?" Lafe burst forth. "Of course
he can't stay "
Mrs. Grandoken checked the cobbler's words with a
"Hush a minute! She got 'im over near the plank
walk on the hill he was cryin' for 'is ma."
Lafe was plainly agitated. He felt a spasmodic clutch
at his heart when he imagined the sorrow of a homeless,
blind child, but thinking of Peg's struggle to make a little
go a long way, he dashed his sympathy resolutely aside.
"Of course he can't stay he can't!" he murmured.
"It ain't possible for you to keep 'im here."
In his excitement Lafe bent forward and closed his
hands over Peg's massive shoulder bones. Peggy coughed
hoarsely and looked away.
"Who says the kid can't stay?" she muttered roughly.
"Who said he can't?"
The words jumped off the woman's tongue in sullen de-
"But you got too much to do now, Peg. We've made
you a lot of trouble, woman dear, an' you sure don't want
to take another "
Like a flash, Peg's features changed. She squinted
sidewise as if a strong light suddenly hurt her sight.
"Who said I didn't?" she drawled. "Some husbands
do make me mad, when they're tellin' me what I want, an'
what I don't want. I hate the blind brat like I do the
girl, but he's goin' to stay just the same."
A deep flush dyed Lafe's gray face. The intensity of
his emotion was almost a pain. Life had ever vouchsafed
Lafe Grandoken encouragement when the dawn was dark-
est. Now Peg's personal insult lined his clouds of fear
112 ROSE O' PARADISE
with silver, and they sailed away in rapid succession as
quickly as they had come ; he saw them going like shadows
under advancing sun rays.
"Peggy," he said, touching her gently, "you've the big-
gest heart in all the world, and you're the very best
woman ; you be, sure ! If you let the poor little kid stay,
I'll make more money, if God gives me strength."
Peggy pushed Lafe's hand from her arm.
"I 'spose if you do happen to get five cents more,
you'll puff out with pride till you most bust. . . . Any-
way, it won't take much more to buy grub for a kid
with an appetite like a bird. . . . Come on ! I'll wheel
you to the kitchen so you can have a look at 'im."
Jinnie glanced around as the husband and wife entered
the room. She pushed Happy Pete from her lap and
"Lafe," she exclaimed, "this is Bobbie he's come to
live with us."
She drew the blind boy from his chair and went forward.
"Bobbie," she explained, "this is the cobbler. I told
you about him in the park. See 'im with your fingers once,
and you'll know he's the best man ever."
The small boy lifted two frail arms, his lips quivering
in fright and homesickness. Some feeling created by God
rose insistent within Lafe. It was a response from the
heart of the Good Shepherd, who had always gathered
into his fold the bruised ones of the world. Lafe drew the
child to his lap.
"Poor little thing !" he murmured sadly.
With curling lips, his wife stood watching the pair.
"You're a bigger fool'n I thought you was, Lafe Gran-
doken," she said, turning away sharply. "I wouldn't
make such a fuss over no one livin*. That's just what I
"WHO SAYS THE KID CAN'T STAY?" 113
She threw the last remark over her shoulder as if it
were something she spurned and wanted to be rid of.
Bobbie slipped from Lafe's arms and described a zigzag
course across the kitchen floor toward the place where
Mrs. Grandoken stood. His hands fluttered over Peg's
dress, as high as they could reach.
"I like you awful well, Mrs. Peggy," he told her, "and I
just love your kisses, too, Mrs. Peggy dear. They made
my stars shine all over my head."
The cobbler's wife started guiltily, casting her eyes upon
Lafe. He was silent, his patient face expressing melan-
choly sweetness. As far as the woman could determine,
he had not heard the boy's words. Relieved, she allowed
her eyes to rest upon Jinnie. The girl was looking di-
rectly at her. Then Jinnie slowly dropped one white lid
over a bright, gleeful blue eye in a wicked little wink.
This was more than Peggy could endure. She had kissed
the little boy several times during the process of washing
the tear-stained face and combing the tangled hair, but
that any one should know it! Just then, Peggy secretly
said to herself, "If uther one of them kids get any more
kisses from me, it'll be when water runs uphill. I 'spose
now I'll never hear the last of them smacks."
"Let go my skirt ! Get away, kid," she ordered Bobbie.
The boy dropped his hands reluctantly. He had hoped
for another kiss.
"Peggy," said Lafe, "can I hold him? He seems so
Mrs. Grandoken, consciously grim, placed the boy in
her husband's lap.
"You see," philosophized Jinnie, when she and the blind
child were with the cobbler, "if a blind kid hasn't any
place to live, the girl who finds 'im has to bring him home !
114 ROSE O' PARADISE
Then she whispered in his ear, "Couldn't Bobbie join
the 'Happy in Spite'?"
"Sure he can, lass ; sure he can," assented Lafe.
Jinnie whirled back to the little boy.
"Bobbie, would you like to come in a club that'll make
you happy as long's you live?"
The bright blind eyes of the boy flashed from Jinnie
to the man, and he got to his feet tremulously. In his
little mind, out of which daylight was shut, Jinnie's words
presaged great joy. The girl took his hand and led him
to the cobbler.
"You'll have to explain the club to 'im, Lafe," she said.
"Yes, 'splain it to me, Lafe dearie," purred Bobbie.
"It's just a club," began Lafe, "only good to keep a
body happy. Now, me well, I'm happy in spite a havin'
no legs ; Jinnie there, she's happy in spite a-havin' no
folks. Her and me's happy in spite a everything."
Bobbie stood alongside Lafe's bench, one busy set of
fingers picking rhythmically at the cobbler's coat, the
other having sought and found his hand.
"I want to be in the club, cobbler," he whispered.
Mr. Grandoken stooped and kissed the quivering face.
"An* you'll be happy in spite a havin' no eyes?" he
The little boy, pressing his cheek against the man's
arm, cooed in delight.
"And happy in spite of not finding your mother right
yet?" interjected Jinnie.
"Yes, yes, 'cause I am happy. I got my beautiful
Peggy, ain't I? And don't she make me a hull lot of fine
soup, and ain't I got Lafe, Happy Pete
"You got me, too, Bobbie," Jinnie reminded him gently.
Bobbie acquiesced by a quick bend of his head, and Lafe
grasped his hand.
"WHO SAYS THE KID CAN'T STAY?" 115
"Now you're a member of tHe 'Happy in Spite', Bob,"
said he smiling. "This club is what I call a growin' affair.
Four members "
"Everybody's in," burst forth Jinnie.
"Except Peggy," sighed Lafe. "Some day something'll
bring her in, too."
JINNEE'S EAR GETS A TWEAK
BOBBIE had been at the Grandoken home scarcely a
week before Jinnie again got into difficulty. One morn-
ing, wide-awake, beside the blind boy, she happened to
glance toward the door. There stood Peg, her face dis-
torted by rage, staring at her with terrible eyes. Jinnie
sat up in a twinkling.
"What is it, Peggy, dear?" she faltered. "What have
I done now?"
Without reply, Peggy marched to the bed and took the
girl by the ear. In this way she pulled her to the floor,
walking her ahead of her to the kitchen.
"I don't know what I've done, Peggy," repeated Jinnie,
"I'll show you. You'll know, all right, miss! Now if
you've eyes, squint down there !"
She was pointing to the floor, and as the room was
rather dark, Jinnie at first could discern nothing. Then
as her eyes became accustomed to the shadows, she
"Oh, what is it, Peggy? Oh, my! Oh, my!"
Peggy gave her a rough little shake.
"I'll tell you what, Jinnie Grandoken, without any
more ado. Well, they're cats, just plain everyday cats !
Another batch of Miss Milly Ann's kits, if y' want to
know. They can't stay in this house, miss, an* when I
say a thing, I mean it ! My word's law in this shanty !"
JINNIE'S EAR GETS A TWEAK 117
She was still holding the girl's ear, and suddenly gave
it another tweak. Jinnie pulled this tender member from
Peggy's fingers with a delighted little chuckle.
"Peggy darling, aren't they sweet? Oh, Peggy "
"Ain't they sweet?" mimicked Peggy. "They're just
sweet 'nough to get chucked out. Now, you get dressed,
an' take 'em somewhere. D' you hear?"
Jinnie wheeled about for another tug of war. It was
dreadful how she had to fight with Peggy to get her own
way about things like this. First with Happy Pete, then
with Bobbie, and now to-day with five small kittens,
not one of them larger than the blind child's hand. She
looked into Mrs. Grandoken's face, which was still grim,
but Jinnie decided not quite so grim as when the woman
appeared at her bedroom door.
"I suppose you'll go in an' honey round Lafe in a
minute, thinkin' he'll help you keep 'em," said Mrs. Gran-
doken. "But this time it won't do no good."
"Peggy !" blurted Jinnie.
"Shut your mouth! An' don't be Peggyin' me, or I'll
swat you," vowed Peg.
The woman glared witheringly into a pair of beseeching
"Get into your clothes, kid," she ordered immediately,
"then you "
"Then I'll come back, dear," gurgled Jinnie, "and do
just what you want me to." Then with subtle modifica-
tion, she continued, "I mean, Peg, I'll do just what you
want me to after I've talked about it a bit . . . Oh, please,
let me give 'em one little kiss apiece."
Peggy flounced to the stove.
"Be a fool an' kiss 'em if you want to . . .1 hate 'em."
In the coarse nightdress Peggy had made for her, Jinnie
sat down beside Milly Ann. The yellow mother purred in
118 ROSE O' PARADISE
delight. She'd brought them five new babies, and no idea
entered her mother heart that she would have to part
with even one.
Out came the kittens into the girl's lap, and one by one
they were tenderly lifted to be kissed. Both Peggy and
the kisser were silent while this loving operation was in
process. Then Jinnie, still sitting, looked from Milly Ann
"I guess she's awful fond of her children, don't you,
Peggy didn't answer.
"You see it's like this, Peg
"Didn't I tell you not to Peggy me?"
"Then it's like this, darling," drawled Jinnie, trying to
"An' you needn't darlin' me nuther," snapped Peggy.
Jinnie thought a minute.
"Then it's like this, honey bunch," she smiled again.
Peg whirled around on her.
"Say, you kid "
"Wait, dearie!" implored Jinnie. "Don't you know
mother cats always love their kitties just like live mothers
do their babies?"
Peggy rattled the stove lids outrageously. Hearing
these words, she stopped abruptly. Who knows where her
thoughts flew? Jinnie didn't, for sure, but she thought,
by the sudden change of Mrs. Grandoken's expression,
she could guess.
The woman looked from Milly Ann to the wriggling
kittens in Jinnie's lap, then she stooped down and again
brought to view Jinnie's little ear tucked away under the
"Get up out o' here an' dress ; will you ? I've said them
cats've got to go, and go they will !"
JINNIE'S EAR GETS A TWEAK 119
Jinnie returned the kittens to their mother, and when
she got back to her room, Bobbie was sitting up in bed
rubbing his eyes.
"I couldn't find you, girl," he whimpered. "I felt the
bed over and you was gone."
Jinnie bent over him.
"Peg took me out in the kitchen, dear . . . What do
you think, Bobbie?"
Bobbie began to tremble.
"I got to go away from here . . . eh?"
"Mercy, no!" laughed Jinnie. "Milly Ann's got a lot
of new babies."
Bobbie gave a delighted squeal.
"Now I'll have something else to love, won't I?" he
Jinnie hoped so ! But she hadn't yet received Peg's
consent to keep the family, so when the little boy was
dressed and she had combed her hair and dressed herself,
they went into the shop, where the cobbler met them with
"Peg's mad," Jinnie observed with a comprehensive
glance at Mr. Grandoken.
"Quite so," replied Lafe, grinning over the bowl of
his pipe. "She had frost on her face a inch thick when
she discovered them cats. I thought she'd hop right out
of the window."
"She says I must throw 'em away," ventured Jinnie.
"Cluck ! Cluck !" struck Lafe's tongue against the roof
of his mouth, and he smiled. Jinnie loved that cluck. It
put her in mind of the Mottville mother hens scratching
for their chickens.
"Hain't she ever said anything like that to you before,
lass?" the cobbler suggested presently.
"She said it about me," piped in Bobbie.
120 ROSE O' PARADISE
"An* about Happy Pete, too," added Lafe.
"I bet I keep 'em," giggled Jinnie.
"I'll bet with you, kid," said the cobbler gravely.
"I want to see 'em!" Bobbie clamored with a squeak.
But he'd no more than made the statement before the
door burst violently open and Peg stood before them.
Her apron was gathered together in front, held by one
gripping hand ; something moved against her knees as if it
were alive. In the other hand was Milly Ann, carried by
the nape of her neck, hanging straight down at the wo-
man's side, her long yellow tail dragging on the floor.
The woman looked like an avenging angel.
"I've come to tell you folks something," she imparted
in a very loud voice. "Here's this blasted ragtail, that's
went an' had this batch of five cats. Now I'm goin' to
warn y' all "
Bobbie interrupted her with a little yelp.
"Let me love one, Peggy, dear," he begged.
"I'm goin' to warn you folks," went on Peg, without
heeding the child's interjection, "that if you don't want
their necks wrung, you'd better keep 'em out of my way."
Saying this, she dropped the mother cat with a soft
thud, and without looking up, dumped the kittens on top
of her, and stalked out of the room.
When Jinnie appeared five minutes later in the kitchen
with a small kitten in her hand, Peg was stirring the mush
"You hate the kitties, eh, Peg?" asked Jinnie.
The two tense wrinkles at the corners of Mrs. Grando-
ken's mouth didn't relax by so much as a hair's line.
"Hate 'em!" she snapped, "I should say I do! I hate
every one of them cats, and I hate you, too! An' if y'
don't like it, y' can lump it. If the lumps is too big,
JINNIE'S EAR GETS A TWEAK 121
"I know you hate us, darling," Jinnie admitted, "but,
Peg, I want to tell you this : it's ever so much easier to
love folks than to hate 'em, and as long as the kitties're
going to stay, I thought mebbe if you kissed 'em once "
Then she extended the kitten. "I brought you one to try
"Well, Lord-a-massy, the girl's crazy!" expostulated
Peg. "Keep the cats if you're bound to, you kid, but get
out of this kitchen or I'll kiss you both with the broom."
Jinnie disappeared, and Peggy heard a gleeful laugh
as the girl scurried back to the shop.
JINNIE DISCOVERS HER KING S THRONE
Two years and almost half of another had passed since