speak to her as we can't." So the blind woman
went and sat by Portia's side, and placed her hand
on her head, and after a while the blessed tears
came, and they all withdrew, and left them alone
"Oh, Hanford, is there nothing we can do.'*"
" No, darling, we cannot change what is nor what
"What has John done? "
" He has divided all he has, and left half in my
hands for Portia's use."
" The noble fellow ! "
" And he has left her, to go ā no one knows
Marguerite broke forth in a fresh outburst of
"And he has left instructions that if your aunt
has left anything to him in her will, as she un-
doubtedly has, it is to be given to Chesterfield."
"Of course, that is right," she sobbed. "Where
has he gone, Hanford ? "
"No one knows, darling, but he will write to me.
I made him promise me that, and he did it on con-
dition that I would not reveal his whereabouts."
" Hanford, I wish they could have married before
he found it out."
A Bitter Cup 417
Hanford groaned. "Would to God that poor
humanity were not so frail, ā that they could look
at the spirit through the temple it inhabits, ā
what is wealth or caste or color compared with the
worth of a soul? Good God! How long, how
long!" He bowed his head in his hands.
Marguerite knelt at her lover's side and looked
into his eyes. "Hanford, if she loves him as I
love you, I know what she will do."
Do you, darling.? " he said, drawing her to him.
Yes, and I am going to tell her so too."
No, no. Marguerite, such questions as these
the heart must wrestle with alone. We can only
wait." They sat in silence for a time, then Han-
ford spoke again, for she was sobbing on his
shoulder. " For us, we will be married, Mar-
guerite, and then we will watch over her and love
her for John's sake. Shall we.? "
The next morning Portia stood in her mother's
room, "clothed and in her right mind." Her
grandfather sat in his chair, bowed down with
sorrow for her.
"Grandfather," she said, "don't be so sad. I
will be brave." Then kneeling at her mother's
feet she laid her head in her lap as of old. " Oh,
mother, dear mother, what shall I do?"
Her mother laid her hand on her head. " No
one can help you, Portia, only God."
THE JUDGMENT OF PORTIA
AS the days passed slowly away, Portia went
about her accustomed duties, not complain-
ingly nor silently, yet a pallor had crept into her
face and her joyous buoyancy was gone. A note
had come into her voice strange to them all.
"If it were I, I should cry my eyes out; but
then just her voice makes me sad. It sounds like
tears held back. I only wish she would cry or do
some desperate thing. I should."
"Marguerite," said Portia, one day, "I wish you
and Hanford would be married without waiting any
longer. I want to see you happy before any ter-
rible thing comes between you."
"Don't think of it, Portia. Why should any-
thing come between us ? "
"Ah! but don't you see.? We felt safe too, a
short time ago, ā so safe Perhaps I am only ner-
vous." When Marguerite told Hanford of Portia's
request, he said, " Let us be married now, as she
says. The sadness of her looking forward to it
will be passed then. We will go away for a few
weeks and not be always before her."
So they were quietly married, and the light of
Marguerite's joyous presence was gone from the
house for a time, and Portia sat alone in her room
with her head in her hands, thinking, thinking.
The Judgment of Portia 419
It seemed to her she should die of the horror of
great darkness that she felt settling down upon her.
"There are millions and millions of other peo-
ples in the world more than there are of us," she
cried in her heart. "Are we the only ones God
loves.'' Then why did he make them.-' Why are
they allowed to live and multiply.-* Do they have
souls like us.-* Then why do we hate them and
loathe them.? Did Christ feel as we do .'* Why
didst thou .do this thing, Lord.? What have I
done, Father, that thou hast done this thing.?
What has he done.? Thou didst create him, thou
didst give him to me. Why must we suffer ā
wherein have we sinned .? "
"Portia," said her mother one day, "you are in
the house too much, dear. You will be ill."
"Yes, mother, I am going out this morning, to
ride." And she did; she rode over in the direc-
tion of Mammy Clarissa's cabin, being, as it were,
drawn irresistibly thither. It was the first time
she had used the little brown horse since John
went away. She tied the creature to the small
sapling near the door, and petted its brown neck
and laid her cheek against its velvety nose.
"Oh, Brownie, I love you!" she said pitifully,
and went into the cabin.
Old Clarissa was lying upon the best bed at last,
alone, fading away. A smouldering fire still glowed
in the black fireplace, and the little window shutter
was open. The light from the window streamed
across her face, and over her wrinkled hands lying
folded on the patchwork counterpane. All was
swept and tidied, for Gabriella had been in and
420 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
set things straight before she had left for a day's
washing in the village.
The old woman seemed to have been sleeping,
for she turned her head and looked at Portia in a
dazed way as she stood there.
"Why, honey," she said feebly, at last, "I nuvva
did n' know yo' stan'in' dar. " She tried to rise,
but lay back again. "I kyan' git up fo' wait on
yo' no mo'. Jes' yo' take a cheer, honey."
"Yes, mammy, yes. I can wait on myself."
"I ain' seed yo' fo' a mighty long time."
Clarissa closed her eyes and lay quite still, as if
she had wandered off again.
Portia sat down in the old woman's chair, for
her knees trembled and it seemed as if she should
fall. Then she rose and stood by the bedside,
looking down on the wasted figure and frail,
pinched face before her. A strange feeling of des-
perate misery possessed her for a moment, as if
she could crush out the poor frail life of the un-
witting cause of it. Then the pathetic truth crept
into her heart with its softening power, and she
was overwhelmed with the sadness of it all. Old
Clarissa lay so still Portia felt the awe stealing
over her that one feels in the presence of death,
until a gentle, sighing breath denoted that it was
not death, but only the quiet sleep of weakness.
Through the wrinkles and pallor she noted the
fine lines of the old face. What must this woman
once have been.? What was her inheritance.'* A
slave, but beautiful, strong, lithe, ā there was
grace still in her hands as they lay clasping some-
thing between the thin fingers. An assortment of
The Judgment of Portia 421
articles was laid out on the counterpane within
reach of them. Evidently her cherished keepsakes
had been placed there for her amusement during
Gabriella's absence, ā a bright-colored pasteboard
box, and a silver thimble, a little mother-of-pearl
cross, and a ring of gold, with two hearts engraved
on it, a pair of ear-rings, with pendant hoops, and
a string of blue porcelain beads. Wrapped around
a little pebble, with a hole in it, were a bit of
lace and a faded brocade ribbon.
While Portia still stood wondering what might
be the mystery of her life, and what she held so
closely, ā why she had been allowed to cross her
path and come between her and the sunlight of
her hopes, the old slave looked up as if she saw
her now for the first time.
"Why, honey, is yo' dar.-^ Take a cheer, chile."
Again she tried to rise, but sank back as before.
"I declar' I 's pow'ful weak, honey; I kyan' git up
fo' wait on yo'."
"There, mammy, never mind," said Portia, gently.
"Tell me what you are doing with these things.
How long have you been ill ? You ought to have
sent me word about it. "
"Laws, honey, I ain' sick; I jes' gwine home at
las', I reckon. I done be'n wait'n' heah fo' young
Mars'r John tu come in. 'Pears like he a mighty
long time comin'." The old eyes closed wearily,
and Portia, dreading to have her lose consciousness
again, spoke quickly.
"Mr. Marshall has gone away, mammy; I don't
know where he is." Portia felt as if she were
choking, and put her hand to her throat. " Oh,
42 2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
Clarissa," she cried at last, "I don't know where
he is, ā you can tell me. You are going to the God
who made you, ā who made him, ā and all of us ā
there you can see him wherever he is, ā can't you
almost see him now? Where is he?" She knelt
by the bed and covered her face with her hands, ā
shame, despair, grief, overwhelming her.
Thoroughly roused by Portia's vehemence, the
old woman raised herself on one elbow, and gazed
at the bright young head bowed in passionate grief,
Then she laid her hand tenderly on Portia's hair,
and her old eyes shone with a strange gleam, and
her wan face grew radiant as a faint glimmering of
the truth crept into her soul.
"Why, honey, chile, 'pears like yo' grievin' fo'
young Mars' r John tu." She felt over the bed
covers for that which she held in her hands when
Portia came in. It was a small oval miniature
exquisitely painted on ivory and surrounded by a
gold frame of the finest workmanship. " Heah
't is, honey. I 'lowed I 'd done los' hit ā my h'a't
took sech a jump ā hit nerved me so, ā I 's pow'ful
Portia rose and took the picture with trembling
hands. "What is it, mammy?"
"Das' Mars'r Gen'l Ma'shall he's ownse'f, chile,
ā young Mars'r John's fadah, honey; de ve'y
sp'it 'n' image o' he's fadah, de way he done look
dat time he come 'long an' pay de money fo' me,
an' tuk me off'nde block 'long home wid 'im dat
time. Yo' look at hit, chile; yo' eyes young an'
sha'p, I reckon. I ain' seed hit fo' mighty long
The Judgment of Portia 423
while back, my eyes be'n so pore; but hit de ve'y
p'it 'n' image o' Gen'l Mars'r John, hit are."
Portia took it over to the open shutter, the one
small square of light in the dusky room, and
scanned the delicate lines of the painting eagerly.
There it was, undisguised by the old-fashioned
costume and cut of hair, ā there was the likeness
to her lover. Different, yet strangely like. More
dreaminess about the eyes, less alert and sharply
cut than the face of the present; but still there
was a strength of character and dignity in all the
lineaments, showing a noble ancestry.
"Where did you get this, mammy.?" she said
"I jes' tuk hit, honey. Ol' miz lef mighty
suddent aftah dat time Mars'r Gen'l done brung.
home f om de wah, she did. She ain' mo' 'n git
back f'om de grabe, w'en she begin pack up, an'
we-all war 'bleeged tu help. I done heahed her
tell Miz Wells she 'low'd we-all wuz gwine be sot
free nex' t'ing come, an' she gwine tek all but de
good-fo'-nuttin' ones 'long daown Cuba way tu her
faddah's plantation. She 'lowed we 'd be wuth mo'
there 'n we be wuth heah." Poor Clarissa paused
from weakness, but Portia could not let her rest.
"Go on, mammy, go on. Tell me more; tell
me about this," she said, still gazing at the pic-
ture, fascinated by the dreamy likeness to the one
"'Bouts dat, honey.? 01' miz lef dat on her
table in her own room. Dat de onliest t'ing she
lef in de whole haouse, 'cept'n' me. I done lock
myse'f in de closet dat time de ova'seer chain up
424 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
de niggahs fo' tek 'em 'long. She nuvva try de
do'. I lay dar two days 'daout nuffin' tu eat, an'
I nuvva breave ha'dly, lest she hyah me, an' tek me
long. Josephus, he wan' no 'count dem days 'daout
me, an' Chas he done run 'way, so she nuvva tuk dem
neider. She nuvva cotch we-uns, naw 'm. I heahed
'em holla an' call, an' I lay still. I heah'd her
say, ' Leah go callin'. She mount a fotch a
heap, but dar, she done sp'ile long 'go. Anyhow,
we kyan' sell niggers no mo', I reckon. Let her
stay an' starve.' Ol' miz she keer mo' fo' de
dollah dan she keer fo' Gen'l Mars'r John or her
own soul, I reckon so. Honey, I 's pow'ful dry."
The water in the cabin was warm and stale, and
Portia took a cup and hurried down the winding
path to the spring bubbling out of a rock and
brought some that was fresh and cool. Out in
the sunshine her courage came back to her. She
ceased to tremble, and as she bent over the old
woman and held the water to her lips her heart
grew tender toward her, and a peace came to her
which she had not felt before, which she had
thought was forever gone from her.
''Drink, mammy. This is cool and nice. Now
try to think. Tell me all you want me to do.
Why did you give me this.-*"
"I wan' yo' tu give dat tu young Mars'r John,
honey. I done kep' hit fo' him, an' heah I lyin'
wait'n' fo' him come git hit, an' see he's ol'
mammy once mo'. I done tol' de troof, an' 'fess
'fo' de Lawd, an' now I gwine be 'lowed tu pass, I
reckon. I kyan' wait fo' him no longer. Honey,
tell 'im dat ar' de ve'y sp'it 'n' image o' he's
The Judgment of Portia 425
fadah; like he done look w'en he young like
"But I don't know where he is, mammy."
"Yo' kin fin' 'im, chile, yo' young an' spry. I
ain' seed nobody pearter. Look a-heah, honey,
likely he done gone tu he's paw's twin brudder
in San F'ncisco, wha' done brung 'im up all dese
Portia's heart leaped within her. Why had she
not thought of that ? In the same instant she
perceived the truth, that no heart clings so close
to another as a mother's to her son, be she of what-
ever race or color.
"Honey, I lub dat boy lak I kyan' tell yo' how
I lub dat boy, ā mo' 'n I lub my own soul, I reckon.
Yo' tell 'im dat, honey."
"Yes, mammy, yes. Now you rest." Portia
smoothed the pillow and straightened the bed
clothing, and then after a little search found some
milk, which she warmed over the embers and gave
the old woman to drink,
" Yo' 's pow'ful good tu ol' mammy, chile."
"I am doing this for your boy too, Cl'issy."
"Yo' 's pow'ful good, honey."
Portia left her quietly sleeping, but old Clarissa
never woke again in this world.
All the next day Portia spent in her room alone,
and the next morning she appeared at the break-
fast table composed and cheerful. Hanford and
Marguerite had returned and were to spend some
time longer there, when Hanford would go to New
York and resume his business. Portia seemed to
them to have regained, in large measure, her old
426 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
manner and chceriness. After the meal was over
they all stayed chatting together pleasantly; and
Portia, slipping her arm about her mother, said
" Mamma deary, can you and grandfather get
along without me for a while ? I want to go away
somewhere. I hardly know where nor for how
long, but I just want to go. I will write to you
and telegraph you every day if you wish, so don't
think I am going to run away entirely," she said,
noting a look of alarm in her mother's face and
laughing a little. Then she turned to Hanford :
"You will look after grandpapa and little mother
for me, will you not, Mr. Clark ? ā you and
Marguerite sprang up and threw her arms about
Portia's neck. "Oh, you darling, you darling! I
knew you would do it. Yes, we will. Of course
we will, won't we, Hanford.'*"
Portia kissed her. " How do you know what I am
going to do, dear.'* I hardly know myself yet.
But I will write and tell you all I do, surely."
"Whatever you do will be right, Portia," said
her grandfather. " I am always sure of you. "
"But, daughter," said her mother, anxiously,
"you won't, ā you will let us know very soon
where you are, will you not } "
"Mother dear, don't worry about me, don't. I
have travelled alone before, and you never thought
of being troubled. I have put on your desk a plan
of the places I may go to, and if I change my
course, as I may, I will telegraph you immediately,
so you never need be in doubt about me. Really,
The Judgment of Portia 427
I am quite sane, and happier than I have been for
weeks. This time trust me, as grandfather does."
"Yes, dear, you know I do."
" And mamma, I ā have arranged ā affairs; you
will find enough for everything while I am away.
It 's all right. I am sure this is best."
Mr. Ridgeway rose hurriedly and walked over to
the window. The time was when he could have
saved her all thought of that. He gazed over the
landscape for a moment and drummed on the sill
nervously, then he walked back to her chair, and
bending down kissed her on the cheek. "We can
spare you for a little while, but not long," he said.
She took his face between her two hands. " You
treasure of a grandfather," she said. "Mamma,
my trunk is packed; I did it yesterday. And,
grandfather, will you call Alexander to bring the
carriage.? I will run out and see Maggie a moment
and then be ready. The train leaves at ten, does
it not, Mr. Clark ? "
She seemed quite like herself again as she left
the room with the old spring, in her step; and as
she bade them a cheery good-bye, they all felt that
to have arrived at a plan of action was for her at
Hanford accompanied her to the station; but
she said little of her plans except : " I have de-
cided to use some of the money John wished me
to have." It was the first time she had spoken his
name aloud to any one except in old Clarissa's
cabin, and her face became crimson, and she turned
her head away that he might not see.
"Yes," he said at last, "that is right; it is as he
428 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
would have wished." He spoke as he felt, as if
his friend had departed from this life, and Portia
laughed out a nervous, reckless little laugh ; but it
served to lighten the tension under which they felt
"No, no. John is not dead," she said. "I shall
find him. I could not use it for anything else, you
know that, and I am going to ask you ā ā¢ "
"He has not written me yet; I could not tell
you where he is, even if I were not ā "
" I was not going to ask that. I would not even
if he had written. No. But I will find him if it
takes every cent ; if I have to work my way through
the world to do it. I was going to speak about
mother and grandfather. I ā "
"I will be a son to them; do not fear," he said
"I believe you." She gave him her hand as he
helped her from the carriage. " You are a true
friend to John and a good brother to me. I accept
your kindness, but you can never know how much
it is to me. Good-bye. I trust them to you for a
time. Believe me, I have thought well over what
I am doing. Good-bye."
They were a little late, and she stepped on to the
train without going into the station. He turned
instinctively to look whether her trunk had been
left behind, but no. She had attended to that and
her ticket the evening before. He smiled as he
gazed at the retreating train.
"She 's all right," he said to himself. "What-
ever comes, her head is level. I wonder if she
knows, herseM, just where she is going."
The Judgment of Portia 429
Hardly did she know. She was feeling her
way rather. It seemed to her as the train rushed
through the tunnels and deep cuts among the hills,
and over gorges and precipices, winding in and
out among the very mountain peaks, that she was
being borne by some mighty power, at its own
volition, whether she would or no; like a maiden
in a fairy tale, taken from her home in sleep by
some awful genie and carried swiftly on through
space, to reach at last an enchanted castle and be
awakened by a lover's kiss.
She leaned back on the cushions and closed her
eyes. "Let me think," she said. But she did not
think, she was only dreaming; looking into her
lover's eyes, beautiful now with the light of self-
renunciation, ā touching his hand, ā feeling him
near her, ā think? why should she think? she had
done her thinking the day before; now she might
dream and drift, moving on to the fulfilment of
that which she had already calmly determined
upon. Natures like Portia's can afford to some-
times dream and live in an ecstasy of the imagina-
tion. They have earned the right to this highest
indulgence of the spirit by the practical energy of
their lives, the care and faithfulness with which
they have met and overcome difficulties, and battled
with the commonplace.
Although she had many acquaintances in the
city, she determined to go directly to the hotel
where John usually stopped when not with friends
and learn if he had been there. She knew he
would not be with friends of the past, ā indeed,
might not have been in the city at all, ā there
430 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
were many other places where he might have been
staying, but he had said New York when he left,
so she went there first. " I have nothing but my
woman's intuition to guide me so I will be guided
by that," she said, ā not a bad thing to trust to
upon occasion, as Portia found.
All the deadened numbness of spirit under which
she had labored for the last weeks had left her,
and she arrived braced for any emergency. Had
John Marshall been in New York.'* She would
know if she had to look over every hotel register
in the city.
She went where they were to have gone on their
wedding journey, and there she was spared this
disagreeable detective duty. He had been there
and had left only three days before. She secured
a room and locked herself up to think. Yes, he
had been here during the whole of the last week,
alone, where they were to have been together.
While she was kneeling at the bedside of old
Clarissa he had been here thinking of her. Now
what should she do.? Inaction was terrible. She
must go. She must follow, even to the ends of
the earth. She paced restlessly up and down the
" Where has he been all this time.? But there,
it will do no good to know that. He has been
here and he has gone." She wrung her hands.
" Which way shall I turn now ? "
Suddenly she threw herself on her knees and
covered her face with her hands. The splendid
poise of her nature seemed to be leaving her. She
felt so alone, her human limitations so narrow.
The Judgment of Portia 431
the veil of the future seemed drawn so closely
about her and to be so impenetrable and dark, she
became, as it were, caught up out of herself and
lifted toward her Creator.
J^' Souls who have loved intensely, they alone can
feel this irresistible drawing power, and through
it the touch of the Divine. Love opens the flood-
gates of heaven and unlocks the heart for the
light to stream in. Love leads the soul to God by
I the straightest, swiftest way. That which we call i y
\ woman's intuition is usually^ o'dXy her quick re-
isponse to Love's leading. \J^}y^M^ i^ /L4 ' ^
^ When Portia rose from her knees, her face was
radiant with a new beauty. She began to do little
commonplace things, ā shaking out her dresses
and arranging a few small articles on her dressing-
case and mantle, singing softly as she moved
about. "I shall be leaving to-morrow, but it will
be just as well to do this," she said. Lying just
under the edge of the wardrobe, she spied a small
red leather notebook. It had a familiar look, and
she picked it up quickly, brushing the dust from
the smooth, pocket-worn cover. It was what any
man might have dropped and lost sight of. She
turned the leaves and glanced at the few memo-
randa it contained. They were in John's hand,
and, yes, here was the page on which she had
jotted down for him once a few measures of a song
she wished him to get for her. She could not
remember the name, only a few bars, she had heard
sung; and here, under her careless little notes, he
had written two words, "Bless her." She sank
down in a low rocker, clasping the little book
432 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
tightly in her hands. Here, in this very room !
Only three days ago ! Surely she should find him.
Where should she go first ?
He would be sure, sooner or later, to go to those
who had stood in the place of his parents for so
many years. At least he would write to them.
Should she wait and write.? No, there was noth-
ing to do but to take the long journey. She must
see them and know them. Strangers though they
were to her, she must turn to them for help.
Portia spent the days and nights of her trip
across the continent in continual pondering over
the great problem of life and its complications.
Her heart ached for humanity, deeply stirred
through her love for her lover. All along the
miles upon miles of prairie land, lacking now the
beauty of the waving sea of green of the spring-
time, and on, across the barren alkali plains, where