the master of the house, and as Theodore's eyes fell upon
the lace dress, with its red and yellow roses and green
vines running the length of the slim young figure, he
smoothed away a smile that forced itself to his lips.
THE LITTLE FIDDLER 139
Out of gratitude to Peggy, Jinnie felt she ought to
speak of the frock, so with an admiring glance downward,
"Peggy made my dress out of her dead mother's cur-
tains, and gave me this piece for my fiddle. . . . Wasn't
it lovely of her?"
The pleading, soulful, violet eyes stirred Theodore King
with a new sensation. He had passed unscathed through
the fires of imploring, inviting glances and sweet, tempt-
ing lips, nor yet realized that some day this black-haired
girl would call him to a reckoning.
"It's very pretty, very pretty," he affirmed hurriedly.
"I'm glad you're here. . . . Just wait for a moment. I'll
come back for you."
There was a fixed line between his handsome eyes as he
faced his guests. Theodore couldn't analyze his feelings
toward Jinnie, but he was determined none should make
sport of her.
"I've prepared a great treat for you," he stated, smil-
ing, "but I want to ask you to overlook anything that
may seem incongruous, for the musician is very sensitive."
Then he went back for Jinnie, and she followed him into
the large room. The gorgeous red and yellow roses in the
limply hanging blouse lent a color to her sunburned skin.
"You may play anything you like," Theodore whispered.
"All right," nodded Jinnie.
She unwrapped the fiddle and tuned it with nimble fin-
gers. Not until she placed the instrument under her chin
did she raise her head. Her eyes went searchingly from
face to face of the attentive assembly. It so happened
that they fell upon a crown of golden hair above a pair of
dark eyes she vividly remembered. The glance took her
back to that night more than two years before to the
night when her father died.
140 ROSE O' PARADISE
Molly Merriweather was seated in queenly fashion in
one of the large chairs, a questioning look stealing over
her countenance. Jinnie smiled at her and began to play.
It might have been the beautiful woman opposite that
brought forth the wild hill story, told in marvelous har-
monies. The rapt young face gave no sign of embarrass-
ment, for Jinnie was completely lost in her melodious task.
Above the dimpled chin that hugged the brown fiddle,
Theodore King could see the brooding genius of the girl,
and longed to bring a passionate lovelight for himself into
the glorious eyes. The intensity of the music established
in him an unconquerable hope a hope that could not die
as long as life was in him, as long as life was in the little
As Jinnie finished with dramatic brilliancy, great ap-
plause and showers of congratulations fell upon her ears.
Theodore went to her quickly.
*' Wonderful! Splendid, child!" he declared joyously.
"You're a genius !"
His words increased her joy his compelling dark eyes
added to her desire to do her best.
S" 1 ? meditated one moment. Then thoroughly uncon-
scious of herself, turned and spoke to the audience.
"I'll play about fairies . . . the ones who live in the
woods and hide away in the flowers and under the leaves."
Once more she began to play. She believed in fairies
with all her heart and had no doubt but that every one
else did. Under the spell of her music and her loveliness,
imaginary elves stole from the solitude of the summer
night, to join their tiny hands and dance to the rhythm
of her song.
As she lowered her violin and looked around, she saw
astonishment on the faces of the strangers about her. A
deathlike hush prevailed and Jinnie could hear the feverish
THE LITTLE FIDDLER 141
blood as it struck at her temples. Into her eyes came an
unfathomable expression, and Theodore King, attracted
by their latent passion, went rapidly to her.
"It's exquisite !" he said vehemently. "Can't you see
how much every one likes it?"
"Do you?" queried Jinnie, looking up at him.
"I love it, child; I love it. ... Will you play again,
A flame of joy suffused her as again she turned to the
"Once," she informed them, "a big lion was hurt in the
forest by lightning. . . . This is how he died."
She slowly raised the instrument, and sounded a vi-
brant, resonant, minor tone, measured, full and magnifi-
cent. Each listener sank back with a sigh.
Jinnie knew the mysteries of the forest as well as a
singer knows his song, and she had not presented ten notes
to the imagination of Theodore's friends before they were
carried away from the dainty room in which they sat
away into a dense woodland where, for a few minutes, she
demonstrated the witching wonders of it. Then she slipped
the bow between her teeth and struck the violin strings
with the backs of her fingers. The vibrations of impet-
uous harmony swept softly through the lighted room.
Louder and louder was heard the awful fury of approach-
ing thunder, while twinkling string-touches flashed forth
the lightning between the sonorous peals.
Jinnie never knew how the fiddle was capable of ex-
pressing the cautious tread of the terrified king of beasts
in his isolated kingdom, but her listeners beheld him steal
cautiously from the underbrush. They saw him crouch
in abject terror at the foot of a wide-spreading, gigantic
tree, lashing his tail in elemental rage. Then another
scintillating flash of lightning, and the beast caught it
142 ROSE O' PARADISE
full in the face. The slender hand of the little player was
poised above the strings for a single vibrating moment,
during which she stood in a listening attitude. Then, with
the sweep of three slender fingers, the lion's scream cut the
air like a two-edged sword.
Death came on rapidly in deep, resounding roars, and
the misery of the cringing, suffering brute was unfolded
told in heart-rending intonations, until at last he gave
up his breath in one terror-stricken cry.
Jinnie dropped her hands suddenly. "He's dead," she
said tremulously. "Poor, poor lion!"
She turned tear-wet eyes to Theodore King.
"Shall I play any more?" she asked, shyly.
The man shook his head, not permitting himself to
"Miss Grandoken has given us a wonderful entertain-
ment," said he to his friends ; then turning to her, he held
out his hand, "I want to thank you, Miss Grandoken."
Many people crowded around her, asking where and how
she had learned such music.
Molly the Merry, the mystified expression still on her
face, drew near.
Again Jinnie smiled at her, hoping the lovely lips would
acknowledge their former acquaintanceship. But as an-
other person, a man, stepped between her and the woman,
Jinnie glanced up at him. He was very handsome, but
involuntarily the girl shuddered. There was something
in the curling of his lips that was cruel, and the white-
ness of his teeth accentuated the impression. His eyes
filled her with dread.
"Where did you learn that wonderful music ?" he smiled.
... "I mean the music itself."
"Out of my heart," she said simply. "I couldn't get it
THE LITTLE FIDDLER 143
"She's very delightful!" said the stranger, turning to
Theodore. "I've forgotten her name?"
He was so near her that Jinnie shrank back, and the
master of the house noted her embarrassment.
"Her name is Grandoken, Miss Grandoken. . . . Come,"
he said, holding out his hand to Jinnie, and as she placed
her fingers in his, he led her away.
A large car was waiting at the front door, and he held
her hand in his for a few seconds. The touch of her fing-
ers thrilled him through and through. He noticed her
head just reached his shoulder and a conscious desire to
draw her to him for one blessed moment surged insistent
within him. He dropped her hand suddenly.
"I wish now," he said, smiling, "I had sent for you to
come here before. It was such a treat !"
Jinnie shrank away as he offered her a roll of bills. An
unutterable shyness crept over her.
"I don't want it," she said, gulping hard. "I'd love to
fiddle for you all day long."
"But you must take it," insisted King. "Now then, I
want to know where you live. I'm coming to see your
uncle very, very soon."
Lafe and his wife were waiting for the girl, and the cob-
bler noticed Peggy's eyes were misty as Jinnie gave her
the money. Over and over she told them all about it.
"And he's coming to see you, Lafe," she cried with a
tremulous laugh. "Mr. King says some day I'll be a great
player. Will I, Lafe? Will I, Peggy?" "
"You may," admitted Peggy, "but don't get a swelled
head, 'cause you couldn't stop fiddlin' any more'n a bird
could stop singin'. . . . Go to bed now, this minute."
And as Jinnie slept her happy sleep in Paradise Road,
another woman was walking to and fro with a tall man
under the trees at Theodore King's home.
144 ROSE O' PARADISE
"I thought I'd scream with laughter when she came in,"
said Molly the Merry. "If it hadn't been for Theo's
warning, I'm sure most of us would. . . . Did you ever
see such a ridiculous dress, Jordan?"
The man was quiet for a meditative moment. "I for-
got about the dress when she began to play," he mused.
"The sight of her face would drive all thoughts of incon-
gruity out of a man's mind."
"Yes, she's very pretty," admitted Molly, reluctantly.
"And Jordan, do you know there's something strangely
familiar about her face? ... I can't tell where I've seen
"Never mind. The important thing to me is I must
have money. Can't keep up appearances on air."
"You know I'll always help you when I can, Jordan."
"Yes, I know it, and I'll not let you forget it either."
The woman gave him a puzzled look and the man caught
"You're wondering why I don't open offices here, aren't
you? Well, a person can't do two things at once, and
I've been pretty busy tracing Virginia Singleton. And
when I find her, you know very well I will return every
penny I've borrowed."
And later, when Molly went to her room, she walked up
and down thoughtfully, trying to bring to her mind the
familiar violet eyes and the mass of purple black curls
which were the crowning glory of Jinnie Grandoken.
THE COBBLER S SECRET
ONE Sunday morning, Jinnie sat with Lafe in the shop.
In hours like these they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
The quietude of these precious Sabbath moments made the
week, with its arduous tasks, bearable to the sensitive girl.
For several days past Jinnie had noticed Lafe had
something on his mind, but she always allowed him to tell
her everything in his own good time. Now she felt the
time had come. His gray face, worn with suffering, was
shining with a heavenly light as he read aloud from a little
Bible in his hand. To-day he had chosen the story of
Abraham and Sarah. When he came to the part where
"Lord, if now I have found favor in Thy sight, pass
not away, I pray Thee, from Thy servant," he pronounced
the last word with sobbing breath. One quick glance was
enough for Jinnie's comprehension.
She leaned forward breathlessly.
"What is it, Lafe? . . . Something great?"
"Yes, something great, lassie, and in God's name most
Before Jinnie's world of imagery passed all the good
she had desired for Lafe. His softly spoken, "In God's
name most wonderful," thrilled her from head to foot.
"And you've been keeping it from me, Lafe," she chided
gently. "Please, please, tell me."
Lafe sat back in the wheel chair and closed his eyes.
146 ROSE O' PARADISE
"Wait, child," he breathed hesitatingly. "Wait a min-
As Jinnie watched him, she tried to stifle the emotion
tugging at her heart to keep back the tears that welled
into her eyes. Perhaps what he had to tell her would
make her cry. Jinnie hoped not, for she disliked to do
that. It was so childlike, so like Blind Bobbie, who always
had either a beatific smile on his pale lips, or a mist shin-
ing in his rock-gray eyes.
At length Lafe sighed a long, deep-drawn sigh, and
"Jinnie," he began
"I've been wonderin' if you remember the story of the
little feller God sent to Peg an' me the one I told you
would a been six years old."
"Yes, I remember, Lafe."
"An* how good Peggy was "
"Oh, how good Peggy always is!" interjected Jinnie.
"Yes," breathed Lafe, dreamily. "May God bless my
woman in all her trials !"
Jinnie hitched her chair nearer his and slipped her
arm about his neck soothingly.
"She doesn't have trials you don't share, Lafe," she
Lafe straightened up.
"Yes, Peg has many, lassie, I can't help 'er with, an'
she'll have a many more. To get to tell you something,
Jinnie, I asked Peg to take Bobbie out with 'er. We
can't turn the little feller from the club room when he
ain't out with Peg; can we, Jinnie?"
"Of course not," agreed Jinnie, nodding.
"So when Peg said she was goin' out," proceeded Lafe,
gravely, "I says, thinkin' of the things I wanted to say
THE COBBLER'S SECRET 147
to you, I said to Peggy, 'Take the little blind chap along
with you, Peggy dear,' an' without a word she put the
youngster into his clothes an' away they went."
Jinnie's curiosity was growing by the minute.
"And you're going to tell me now, Lafe?"
"An' now I'm goin' to tell you, Jinnie."
But he didn't tell her just then. Instead he sat look-
ing at her with luminous eyes, and the expression in them
that heavenly expression compelled Jinnie to kneel be-
side him, and for a little while they sat in silence.
"Dear child," Lafe murmured, dropping a tender hand
on her shining head, "dear, dear girl !"
"It must be a joyful thing, Lafe, for your face shines
as bright as Bobbie's stars."
"I'm blessed happy to-day!" he sighed, with twitching
Jinnie took his hand in hers and smoothed it fondly.
"What is it, Lafe, dear?" she asked.
"Do you want to kneel while I tell you?" queried the
"Yes, right here."
"Then look right at me, Jinnie lass !"
Jinnie was looking at him with her whole soul in her
"I'm looking at you, Lafe," she said.
"An' don't take your eyes from me ; will you ?"
"Sure not !"
It must be a great surprise for Lafe to act like this,
thought the girl.
"Lassie," commenced Lafe, "I want you to be awful
good to Peggy. . . . It's about her I'm goin' to speak."
Jinnie sank back on the tips of her toes.
"What about Peg? There isn't "
"Dear Peggy," interrupted Lafe softly, his voice quick
148 ROSE O' PARADISE
with tears, "dear, precious Peggy!" Then as he bent
over Jinnie and Jinnie bent nearer him, Lafe placed his
lips to her ear and whispered something.
She struggled to her feet, strange and unknown emo-
tions rising in her eyes.
"Lafe !" she cried. "Lafe dear !"
"Yes," nodded the cobbler. "Yes, if you want to know
the truth, the good God's goin' to send me an' Peg another
little Jew baby."
Jinnie sat down in her chair quite dazed. Lafe's secret
was much greater than she had expected ! Much !
"Tell me about it," she pleaded.
Keen anxiety erased the cobbler's smiling expression.
"Poor Peggy !" he groaned again. "She can't see where
the bread's comin' from to feed another mouth, but as I
says, 'Peggy, you said the same thing when Jinnie came,
an' the blind child, an' this little one's straight from God's
own tender breast.' '
"That's so, Larc," accorded Jinnie, "and, Oh, dearie,
I'll work so hard, so awful hard to get in more wood, and
tell me, tell me when, Lafe; when is he coming to us, the
Lafe smiled at her eagerness.
"You feel the same way as I do, honey," he observed.
"The very same way! . . . Why, girlie, when Peg first
told me I thought I'd get up and fly!"
"I should think so, but but I want to know how soon,
"Oh, it's a long time, a whole lot of weeks !"
"I wish it was to-morrow," lamented Jinnie, disap-
pointedly. "I wonder if Peg'll let me hug and kiss him."
"Sure," promised Lafe, and they lapsed into silence.
At length, Jinnie stole to the kitchen. She returned
with her violin box and Milly Ann in her arms.
THE COBBLER'S SECRET 149
"Hold the kitty, darling," she said softly, placing the
cat on his lap. "She'll be happy, too. Milly Ann loves
us all, Milly Ann does."
Then she took out the fiddle and thrummed the strings.
"I'm going to play for you," she resumed, "while you
think about Peggy and the and the baby."
The cobbler nodded his head, and wheeled himself a bit
nearer the window, from where he could see the hill rise
upward to the blue, making a skyline of exquisite beauty.
Jinnie began to play. What tones she drew from that
small brown fiddle ! The rapture depicted in her face was
but a reflection of the cobbler's. And as he meditated and
listened, Lafe felt that each tone of Jinnie's fiddle had a
soul of its own that the instrument was peopled with
angel voices voices that soothed him when he suffered
beyond description voices that now expressed in rhyth-
mical harmony the peace within him. Jinnie was able to
put an estimate on his moods, and knew just what com-
fort he needed most. Until that moment Fie cobbler's wife
had seemed outside the charm of the beloved home circle.
But to-day, ah, to-day! Jinnie's bow raced over the
strings like a mad thing. To-day Peggy Grandoken be-
came in the girl's eyes a glorified woman, a woman set
apart by God Himself to bring to the home a new baby.
Jinnie played and played and played, and Theodore in
spirit-fancy stood beside her. Lafe thought and thought
and thought, while Peggy walked through his day dreams
like some radiant being.
"A baby my baby, in the house," sang the cobbler's
"A baby, our baby, in the house," poured from Jinnie's
soul, and "Baby, little baby," sprang from the fiddle over
and over, as golden flashes of the sun warms the earth.
Truly was Lafe being revivified ; truly was Jinnie ! Theo-
150 ROSE O' PARADISE
dore King ! How infinitely close he seemed to her ! How
the memory of his smile cheered and strengthened her !
From the tip of the fiddle tucked under a rounded chin
to the line of purple-black hair, the blood rushed in riot-
ous confusion over the fiddler's lovely face. What was it
in Lafe's story that had brought Theodore King so near?
Jinnie couldn't have told, but she was sure the fiddle
knew. It was intoning to Lafe to her the language of
the birds and the mystery of the flower blossoms, the in-
visible riddles of Heaven and earth, of all the concealed
secrets beyond the blue of the sky; all the panorama of
Nature strung out in a wild, sweet forest song. Jinnie
had backed against the wall as she played, and when out
of her soul came the twitter of the morning birds, the bab-
bling of the brook on its way to the sea, the scream of the
owl in a high woodland tree, Lafe turned to watch her,
and from that moment until she dropped exhausted into
a chair, he did not take his eyes from her.
"Jinnie!" he gasped, as he thrust forth his hand and
took hers. "You've made me happier to-day'n I've been
in many a week. Peg'll be all right. . . . Everybody'll
be all right. . . . God bless us !"
Jinnie sat up with bright, inquiring eyes.
"Did you tell Peg I was to know about "
"About our baby?" intervened Lafe tenderly.
He dwelt lovingly on those precious words.
"Yes, about your baby," repeated Jinnie.
"Yes, I told 'er, dear. I said you'd want to be happy
"I'm so glad," sighed Jinnie, reverently. "Look ! . . .
Peg's coming now!"
They both watched Mrs. Grandoken as she stolidly
crossed the tracks, leading Bobbie by the hand.
And later Jinnie hovered over Peggy in the kitchen.
THE COBBLER'S SECRET 151
The woman had taken on such a new dignity. She must
be treated with the greatest and most extra care. If Jin-
nie had done what she craved, she'd have bounded to Peg
and kissed her heartily. Of course that wouldn't do, but
talk to her she must,
"Peggy," she said softly, tears lurking in her eyes.
Peg looked at her without moving an eyelash. Jinnie
wished she would say something ; her task would be so much
"Peggy," she begged again.
"Lafe told me, dear," and then she did something she
hadn't done with Lafe; she began to cry, just why,
Jinnie didn't know; Peg looked so sad, so distant, and
It was probably Jinnie's tears that softened Peg, for
she put her hand on the girl's shoulders and stood silent.
After the first flood of tears Jinnie ventured:
"I'm awful happy, Peggy dear, and I want you to know
I'm going to work harder'n I even did for Blind Bobbie.
... I will, Peg, I promise I will. . . . Kiss me, Oh, kiss
me, dear !"
Peggy bent over and kissed the upturned, tearful face
solemnly. Then she turned her back, beginning to work
vigorously, and Jinnie returned to the shop with the kiss
warm on her cheek.
THE COMING OF THE ANGELS
"You'D better make it a special prayer, Lafe," said
Jinnie, a little pucker between her eyes. "Every day I'm
raore'n more afraid of Maudlin."
"I will, honey, an' just pop into Bates' cottage an' tell
Maudlin's pa to run in the shop. . . Go long, lass, no-
body'll hurt you."
After leaving Lafe's message at the Bates' cottage, Jin-
nie stepped from the tracks to the marshes with a joyful
heart. Of course nothing could harm her! Lafe's faith,
mingled with her own, would save her from every evil in the
When Bates opened the shop door, the cobbler looked
up gravely. He nodded his head to Jasper's, "Howdy do,
"Sit down," said Lafe.
"Jinnie says you wanted me."
"Yes, a few minutes' chat; that's all!"
"Spit it out," said Bates.
Lafe put down his hammer with slow importance.
"It's this way, Jasper. Maudlin's
"What's Maudie done now?" demanded Bates, lighting
"He's been botherin* my girl, that's what," responded
THE COMING OF THE ANGELS 153
"Sure. She's all the girl I got. . . . Maudlin's got to
stop it, Bates."
A cruel expression flitted over Jasper's face.
"I ain't nothin' to do with Maudlin's love affairs," said
he. "Jinnie could do worse'n get him, I'm a guessin' !
Maudie adds up pretty good, Maudie does !"
Lafe shook his head with a grim serenity that became
the strained white face.
"His addin' up ain't nothin' to his credit, Jasper," he
protested. "He's as crooked as a ram's horn an' you
know it. If you don't, take my word for it ! There ain't
nothin' doin' for him far's Jinnie's concerned! ... I
sent for you to bargain with you." Jasper pricked up
his ears. The word "bargain" always attracted him.
"Well?" he questioned.
"You keep your boy from my girl and I'll do all your
family cobblin' for nothin' till Jinnie's a woman."
Bates leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs.
"It's a bargain, all right. Them kids of mine do wear
out the soles of their shoes some. But, Lafe, I can't tag
Maudlin around all day."
Lafe took up his hammer.
"Lick him if he won't mind you, Bates. He's got to
let my girl be, and that's all there is to it."
Saying this, he started to work, giving the shortwood
gatherer his dismissal. Bates left his chair thoughtfully.
"I'll talk to Maudie," said he, "but he's an onery kid;
has been ever since his mother died. He don't git along
with his stepma very well, and she's got such a lot of little
kids of 'er own she ain't time to train no hulk of a boy
Pausing a moment, he went on, "Maudlin's been mad-
der'n hell because that duffer King's been haulin' Jinnie's
wood. He says "
154 ROSE O' PARADISE
"It ain't any of Maudlin's business who helps Jinnie,"
interrupted Lafe. "If you got any shoes needin' fixin',
tote 'em over, Jasper."
Bates left the shop and Lafe fell to work vigorously.
Maudlin Bates stood at the path leading to the marshes.
He was waiting for Jinnie to appear with her load of short-
wood. To the young wood gatherer, a woman was created
for man's special benefit, and a long time ago he had
made up his mind that Jinnie should be his woman.
He was leaning against a tree when the girl came in
sight, with her wood-strap on her shoulders. She paid no
attention to him, and was about to turn into Paradise
Road when the man stepped in front of her.
"Wait a minute, Jinnie," he wheedled.
Jinnie threw him a disdainful glance.
"I can't wait. I'm in a hurry," she replied, and she
hoped the fellow would go on before the car arrived.
Young Bates' face was crossed by an obstinate expres-
"I'm goin' to find out," he said, gruffly, "why you're
ridin' in rich folks' motor cars."
"Isn't anything to you," snapped Jinnie.
The wood gatherer came so close that he forced her