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6




"JOHN, I AM AFRAID IT'S No USE!"



A LIVING LEGACY



BY

RUTH UNDERWOOD



3IIustrate6 by
GEORGE GIBBS



PHILADELPHIA

THE JOHN C. WINSTON COMPANY
1912



COPYRIGHT, 1912, BY
THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO.



CONTENTS



PAGE

I. A DIFFICULT SITUATION 9

II. A CHAPTER OF PAST HISTORY WHICH

BEARS ON FUTURE EVENTS 19

III. A SACRED TRUST 29

IV. AN INHERITED FRIENDSHIP 41

V. THE NATURE OF THE TRUST 57

VI. THE GULF OF YEARS 61

VII. IN WHICH CATHARINE HEARS OF KING

ARTHUR 70

VIII. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A TAILOR'S

GOOSE 76

IX. A "SPOILED CHILD" 83

X. JOHN PLANS A TEST 97

XI. THE TEST SUCCEEDS 104

XII. WHICH SHOWS THAT A STORK CAN

MAKE A MISTAKE 112

XIII. "THE DEEPEST DEPTHS OF A FULL

HEART" 123

XIV. A CHANCE ENCOUNTER 133

XV. AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE PROVES A

NEW ADMIRER 148

XVI. THE "LITTLE GREEN SNAKE" 158

(iii)



2138521



IV



CONTENTS



PAGE

XVII. "FORM" AND SUBSTANCE 170

XVIII. A CRICKET MATCH AND A "LUCK-
PENNY " 177

XIX. "IT'S No USE" 189

XX. MARY FAILS TO KEEP HER RESO-
LUTION 202

XXL A "HILL OF DIFFICULTY" 214

XXII. THE "LITTLE GREEN SNAKE"

STINGS DEEPLY 226

XXIII. MARY WANTS TO BE "LIKE OTHER

GIRLS" 234

XXIV. Miss NEWLIN'S DIPLOMACY 243

XXV. MARY FIGHTS THE "LITTLE GREEN

SNAKE" 251

XXVI. Miss NEWLIN'S DIPLOMACY Almost

FAILS 265

XXVII. TELLING HOW JOHN CAME TO BE

INVITED TO A BIRTHDAY PARTY. 269

XXVIII. JOHN GETS THE RING 279

XXIX. SALVE FOR A SORE HEART 292

XXX. IN WHICH THE HEROINE DRAWS A

PICTURE OF HER IDEAL HUSBAND 301
XXXI. ANOTHER "HILL OF DIFFICULTY" 309
XXXII. IN WHICH MARY RECEIVES AN
EXCITING LETTER, AND HER
GUARDIAN GETS ANOTHER RING. 317
XXXIII. AN ENCOUNTER THAT WAS NOT

CHANCE.. . 327



CONTENTS v

PAGE

XXXIV. THE DISEASE "Wmr A LATIN

NAME" 339

XXXV. "PERILOUSLY ATTRACTIVE" 350

XXXVI. A MODERN SIEGE AT VALLEY FORGE 359

XXXVII. A STRANGE PROPOSAL 368

XXXVIII. MR. CHANDLER READS THE NEWS-
PAPER 381

XXXIX. A QUEST FOR A COUNTRY HOME . . 384
XL. "No BIGGER THAN A MAN'S HAND" 391
XLI. "A LITTLE SOMETHING To EARN

HEAVEN" 398

XLII. THE MORNING AFTER 408

XLIII. AN EAVESDROPPER PERFORCE 419

Conclusion. IN WHICH AN OLD FRIEND THINKS
ALOUD. . . 430



ILLUSTRATIONS
"JOHN, I AM AFRAID IT'S No USE!". .Frontispiece

PAGE

"I LOVE You Now," SHE SAID 39

"By JOVE, WHAT A BEAUTY!" THE OLDER
MAN EXCLAIMED 143

"WILL You LET ME TELL You SOMETHING
ABOUT MYSELF?" HE ASKED. . . 340



CHAPTER I
A DIFFICULT SITUATION

" /^ OOD MORNING, John; I see I have a

V T ki& ma ^ *^ s mornm g-"

The speaker seated himself at the break-
fast table and drew his letters toward him. A thin
blue envelope protruded ever so little in the middle
of the pile, but his quick eye caught it at once,
and he pounced upon it and tore it open with an
unsteady hand. John Patterson, the butler (who
had never gone by any title but that of "waiter-
man" in the long years he had been in Mrs. Brown's
service), watched his master with some anxiety for
a moment, and then quietly withdrew to the pantry;
while John Brown read the short note through two
or three times. Finally he rose and went to the
window. As he stood in deep thought looking out
on his miniature English garden, one saw that he
was almost a giant in height, and indeed his very
plain face topped a figure six feet six in his stockings,
only relieved from painful thinness and angularity
by some hundred and fifty pounds of solid brawn.
He had been nicknamed "Samson" at college, and
the name had clung, though there was little about
him to suggest an athlete. He carried himself badly,
and the tendency to stoop, and general lack of spring

(9)



10 A LIVING LEGACY

in his gait, made him look like a man well into mid-
dle life; and those who did not know that on this
May morning, a quarter of a century ago, he was
within a few days of his thirty-fourth birthday,
would have reckoned him full ten years older.

His grave, unseeing gaze was suddenly withdrawn
from the window at the sound of his name, and he
turned to meet his mother. No one would have
thought her his mother, for the one feature they had
had in common, the thick, blue-black hair, had
changed with her to iron gray; but the accustomed
way in which he kissed her cheek, as he abstractedly
drew back her chair, bespoke a habit of such long
standing that it had become automatic. She noticed
the mechanical response to her "good-morning,"
and looked at him with the same affectionate concern
that had clouded John Patterson's broad face a few
minutes before.

"Have you had bad news, John?" She glanced
at the open letter in his hand.

"Dick Farnham is at home, Mother, and I am
afraid from this," glancing down at the few unsteady
lines, "in a very serious condition. He is at the old
house, and of course he wants to see me at once.
If I can attend to your business this morning, and get
your reservations, I will have a bite of lunch down
town and go right out to Germantown. He doesn't
say when he arrived, but he is terribly knocked up
by the journey, and evidently not fit to write."

"Why did he come home so unexpectedly? I
suppose, now, you won't think of going abroad your-
self?" Mrs. Brown's voice was not without a note of



A DIFFICULT SITUATION 11

satisfaction. The prospect of sparing her son for
three months to this invalid wanderer had been a
mountain on her horizon, and Dick Farnham, John 's
oldest friend, and the dearer of the only two who had
ever found their way to his "sanctum sanctorum,"
had never been a favorite with his mother.

" Of course not ! " The matter plainly seemed to him
self-evident. "But I can't think why he didn't let me
know his plan. I could have gone over to be with him
on the home journey. The doctor they have had so
long came over with them, but he is going right back.
I should have been so thankful to go."

He helped himself to the bacon and eggs which
John Patterson solicitously offered, but seemed to
have no mind for eating. His face, in repose, was
often a sad one, and bore a frequently noted likeness
to the younger, beardless portraits of Lincoln. The
long, deep-set eyes generally passed for black; but
he who had had leisure and interest to scrutinize
would have found them yellowish hazel, overshadowed
by the heavy black brows and lashes. They were
both keen and kindly, and, together with his large
mouth which had a trick of pulling crooked when he
smiled, and trembling when he was deeply moved,
made his face one that inspired universal confidence.

"Dick Farnham ought to know that you would do
anything in the world for your friends." His mother
spoke with a touch of resentment at what she always
considered John's tendency to let himself be imposed
upon.

"He knows I would do anything in the world for
him" He repeated her words with gentle emphasis.



12 A LIVING LEGACY

This friend, who was not in Mrs. Brown's good books,
had been for many years an exile, but the old feeling
toward him was still strong within her. She saw that
characteristic trembling of John's lips, and knew her-
self on dangerous ground, but there was something
she was burning to say, which must come out at any
cost. She would lead up to it gradually.

"Didn't Dick know of your plan to spend the sum-
mer with him?"

"No, I didn't want to say anything about it, I
might so easily have been prevented," he did not say
"as I have been so many times," but Mrs. Brown
supplied the omission with a guilty twinge; "and
when a man is tied up to such monotonous days as his,
he builds on the least thing in an abnormal way, and
would be terribly disappointed."

Mrs. Brown saw that she was not coming to her
point on these lines, and thought best to make a short
cut. She was always a little afraid of those long,
keen eyes that saw through every subterfuge.

"There is one thing I hope you will never consent
to do for him, if he should dream of asking you."
She saw danger signals in his face, but seized her
courage in both hands: "Has he ever spoken to you
about the guardianship of the child?"

It was out at last, and she breathed more freely.
John hesitated, and his color rose slightly; she saw
she had hit the mark.

"Perhaps not in so many words," he said with an
evident effort, "but I know he would like to leave her
in my care jf anything should happen, and no
doubt it is on his mind. That may have been what



A DIFFICULT SITUATION 13

made him venture the trip home. But, Mother," he
looked up and met her j eyes squarely, "if Dick had
ten children, and wanted to leave them all in my care,
I would willingly accept the trust."

He spoke almost with passion, but his sense of
humor was not proof against the consternation on
his mother's comely face. A twinkle appeared in his
eye, and one corner of his mouth drew up a little.
"And I dare say I should make a mess of it," he added.

1 ' We should be rather crowded if you saw fit to bring
them all here," Mrs. Brown said stiffly. Her sense
of humor was hard to touch.

"Now, Mother, be sensible!" The smile died out
and his face took on its former gravity: "You know
it would never occur to me to bring a child here to
live."

"I should be very fond of your children," she has-
tened to say with some asperity; "but a strange child
is a very different thing, and this used to be a dread-
fully self-willed, spoiled one. Her grandmother once
told me that she had many anxious hours over Mary's
future, and you never denied that she refused to go
to school. Imagine a child's deciding that she won't
go to school, and her father's just giving in to her! It
was the greatest piece of weakness I ever heard of,
and you could never give any excuse for it that I
remember. With such an example in his wife! But
there, I've talked it over often enough and I can always
see that you think I'm prejudiced, and " John rose
quietly from his almost untasted breakfast and went
out of the room. His mother seemed to find no appe-
tite for hers. She started up as though she would



14 A LIVING LEGACY

follow him, but sat down again, heavily, wiping away
some natural tears of vexation and remorse. How
many times she had repressed the wish to speak on
this subject for fear of being led on to give too ener-
getic expression to her feelings! Nothing corrodes
like "righteous" indignation that sees no hope of
justifying itself in the only quarter where justification
matters. Her heart was full to bursting. "Any jury
of sensible people" would have pronounced her abso-
lutely in the right; but this one Quixotic, loyal nature
was as much outside her influence as he was inside
the very core of her heart. The door opened behind
her, and she felt John's hand on her shoulder. "I am
sorry to have been so impatient," he said huskily;
"but I was upset by the letter."

"Oh, John!" The poor lady's tears gushed forth
anew; but what John always dreaded as following any
apology on his part a reopening of the whole case
did not come this time. She felt she had gone too far,
and hastened to say, as she dried her eyes and com-
posed her face: "I ought not to have spoken so to
you of Dick just now."

John patted her shoulder, and changed the subject
by asking whether she had decided to take her section
for Wednesday or Thursday.

"I think I will say Thursday," she said with a final
sniff. "Wednesday's meeting is a very important one
and I ought not to miss it." Mrs. Brown was an
ardent worker on the Women's Auxiliary Board of
Missions of Holy Trinity Church, and she was always
sorry that she could not awaken her otherwise ex-
emplary and philanthropic son to a more active



A DIFFICULT SITUATION 15

interest in this inspiring subject. He good-humoredly
told her that he was in the midst of so much need
nearer home, it had a tendency to make him near-
sighted, but she was inclined to set his lukewarmness
down to Dick Farnhan's influence. She told herself
that she could easily have forgiven Dick his apostasy
to the Quaker faith of his fathers, if only he had joined
himself to some other Evangelical body she was not
bigoted enough to require the Episcopal Communion
but she had always feared his companionship for
John.

If she had been capable of reading her own heart
she would have seen lurking at the bottom of her
distrust a long-harbored spark of jealousy dating
from the time when she began to discover Dick's
power over the younger boy there were some four
years between them. She could not mention a single
time when he had led John astray in action, but she
had felt that he might in "opinions," it had always
given her a sharp pang to see John with his arm about
the neck of this boy friend who so easily won what
she knew herself incapable of winning.

Did God ever make a purer bond than the friend-
ship of the big boy and the little boy, with its pro-
tecting chivalry on the one side, and frank hero-
worship on the other? Separation had never weakened
the tie between these two, though they had seldom
been together since Dick left Haverford in his junior
year (before John entered) and went to the Boston
"Tech." to study civil engineering.

John's heart was full of a mixture of feelings after
he left his mother.



16 A LIVING LEGACY

An only son, he had had one sister whom he loved
as he loved no one else, and who had returned his
affection in kind; but between himself and both
father and mother there had always been a gulf of
want of comprehension, in spite of strong mutual
affection. His sister had died soon after leaving
boarding school, just when she and John were con-
fidently counting on each other's society at home in
enjoyment as uninterrupted as one could expect with
a young girl in constant demand by companions of
both sexes, and "coming out" in Society, with a
capital S.

He was the elder by nearly four years, was com-
pleting his law-course in the University of Penn-
sylvania, which he had chosen that he might remain
in the old Philadelphia home; and had promised
Margaret that he would overcome his distaste for
social "functions," and docilely march his long legs
into drawing-rooms and ballrooms in her company;
"though no most exacting hostess with a bevy of
* wall-flowers' could expect a giraffe to dance."
The terpsichorean art would assuredly have suited
him ill; and as he was not gifted with small talk,
he became in that short time of "going out," the
much-appreciated companion of fathers and grand-
fathers, with occasional practice on a mother or maiden
aunt.

He was not in the least self-conscious or embittered
by his want of social talent, and his sister's death
soon swept everything else from his mind. After
that he led a rather solitary life, and was rarely
thrown with girls or women. With men he was al-



A DIFFICULT SITUATION 17

ways popular up to a certain point, though few were
ever intimate with him, even at the cricket club where
he spent most of his leisure time, and his brother
lawyers found him a trifle uncomfortable in his
standards, however unassuming in his claims. One
had nicknamed him "Don Quixote," but all
thoroughly respected his integrity and ability, and
many would have been glad to be admitted with
Dick Farnham, and the much younger George Ray-
mond, behind the doors of his ingrained reserve.

The idea entered John's brooding mind that morn-
ing as he tethered one half his thoughts to the busi-
ness in hand and let the other half roam at will, that
if the little girl in question had been George's, his
mother's attitude would have been a quite different
one. She had always been heartily fond of George,
and he was a constant and very enlivening visitor
hi the quiet house, while Dick had hardly once
entered its doors for more than twenty years, and had
had no chance to efface old impressions, even if it
had been possible for him ever to have done so. In
his case it is probable that absence was his best advo-
cate. Mrs. Brown thought much more tolerantly of
him when she did not see him, and the tragic circum-
stances of his adult life had measurably softened her
old antipathy.

The crooked trembling lines of Dick's little letter
had told John, more than the simple statement, that
he felt the end was near; and the joy of this ap-
proaching meeting, after nearly seven years, was
more than counterbalanced. But through all the
pain and apprehension, John's heart would revert

2 ,



18 A LIVING LEGACY

with eager excitement to the child who was to be, in
a manner, his property. He remembered her well
as a remarkably pretty, intelligent, little girl of six
or seven, who had aroused all the dormant child-
hunger in his nature in the one all-too-short year
that Dick had spent with his widowed mother
in Germantown.

"She must be a big girl now, though," he thought
with sudden damping of his ardor and a new appre-
hension. "If only she were a boy that he might
bring home and keep!"

An alluring vision rose in John's mind of studies
to be helped, games to be taught, excursions in the
woods or on the river. (He always got on famously
with boys of all ages.) "Oh, well, there was no use
thinking of what might have been. He would do
his best for a girl, and maybe she might grow to be
like Margaret." But no girl that he saw they were
few enough he had to admit ever did seem a bit
like Margaret, and recent brushes with a highly
sophisticated damsel or two had left him with a
reluctant scepticism as to the growing generation.



CHAPTER II

A CHAPTER OF PAST HISTORY WHICH BEARS ON
FUTURE EVENTS

IF Dick Farnham's face had not been the mascu-
line counterpart of his gentle Quaker mother,
he would have been unanimously voted a change-
ling in the placid, methodical family into which he
happened to be born. He was the youngest of four
children, and if example be better than precept, the
cheerful decorum and unquestioning obedience of
the other three should have sufficed to make him a
model child. Perhaps there are times when example
is too much "rubbed in," and the best rule is said to
be proved by an occasional exception. He could
hardly have been reproached for disobedience, though,
for it never entered the heads of his unimaginative
parents to forbid the things he took it into his own to
do; and if he continually kicked over the traces,
they were generally the traces of an unwritten code.
He equaled them all in frankness, and surpassed
them in the art of loving, which was no mean attain-
ment; and while his mother punished him and prayed
over him, redoubling the prayers when he grew too
big to punish, her tender conscience accused her of
flagrant partiality in the secretest corner of her heart.
But how could she help it! Everybody loved him

(19)



20 A LIVING LEGACY

best, from the man who carted away the ashes of a
Saturday morning to the sweet-faced teacher of the
Primary class in the Germantown Friends' School,
whom he was always posing by his questions, and
winning by lover-like offerings of the prettiest pansies,
or forget-me-nots, or pinks, presented with never-
failing regret that they would droop in his little warm
hand. The questions, which covered the whole
scheme of the universe with a special tendency to
soar above this sublunary sphere were never pert,
and the teacher's Orthodox mind was occasionally
troubled by a suspicion that they were pertinent.
As he grew older, he took to religious discussions as
naturally as to love-making, and proved a winner
in both departments. His mother and father, who
were greatly disturbed by his latitudinarianism,
exacted strict attendance at Meeting while he was
under their jurisdiction; but they had the pain of
seeing him break loose when left to himself, and the
still greater pain of seeing him fall headlong into
love with a beauty, who was not a Friend, and who
was in no way fitted or so they believed to make
him happy. She made him ecstatically happy for
the space of the honeymoon, and then the disillusion-
ment began. In the little western town where he
was occupied in bridge-building, he underwent the
severest discipline a nature like his could know; and
barely two years from his wedding day, his wife eloped
with a brother engineer, and left him alone (yet
less alone than in her company) with a baby daughter
who filled his world. All the thwarted, disappointed
love of his heart centered on the child, whom no con-



PAST HISTORY 21

sideration could have tempted him to give up. He
declined the well-meant offer of his wife's sister,
Mrs. Gill, with a finality that broke off even the
strained relations existing between them before;
nor could he be prevailed upon to go back to German-
town and live with his parents, whom the years had
left childless. His mother knew him too well to sug-
gest his resigning the baby to her while he lived in the
West; but her yearning anxiety had now an additional
object.

Dick had given up his work entirely the day after
his wife's desertion, and, with the warm promise
from his chief of a good post when he should be ready
to take it, had devoted all his time to his one treasure.
He had the good fortune to find a Protestant Irish
woman, old enough to have judgment, and young
enough to like the care of an active child already
beginning to run about; and her qualities of head
and heart so won his confidence that he was soon
able to go back to his work, leaving little Mary in
her charge. Catharine had great love for children,
and infinite patience and tact; and she contrived so
many ways of letting off steam, that the miniature
high-power engine in her charge seldom ran off the
very broad-gauge track allowed her. As the child
had a quick temper as well as a strong will, it is not
surprising that her grandmother was concerned for
the future, since it was soon evident that Dick's
regime contained no penal code, and included no
ex post facto sentences. He was not entirely weak
where the child was concerned, nor was he too self-
indulgent to have punished her small misdemeanors



22 A LIVING LEGACY

if he had felt it a duty to her character; he simply
disbelieved in the efficacy of punishment. "Being
spanked or put to bed in the daytime never made me
any better," he told himself; "and she is hardly
ever naughty." Perhaps some correct people would
entirely have disagreed with him on both points,
and he soon recognized that Mary was as like him
in character as it was possible for a little girl to be.
His conscience had uneasy moments after each letter
from his mother, who thought he should make up
his mind to come East at any professional sacrifice,
and that "the child should not be left so much to
the care of an ignorant woman, however faithful."
She had been horrified once to hear that Mary had
badly bitten little Jack Wurts, her constant play-
mate, and that, only because he -would kiss her, and
Dick refrained from mentioning the tantrums that
had surprised and discouraged himself when Cath-
arine had been off duty for a couple of weeks in a
neighboring hospital.

It was not long after this that his accusing con-
science had been stilled by an event which solved the
problem for the time being. His father had died
suddenly, and his mother, after the necessary adjust-
ment of her affairs, had returned with Dick and Mary
to the little Black Run cottage where Dick was fill-
ing a contract of his own. Even amid the stress
of social and business claims, Mrs. Farnham's mind
had found time to dwell anxiously upon her grand-
daughter, who "wound them all round her finger."
She felt obliged to remonstrate when the child
drenched herself with soap and water over her doll's



PAST HISTORY 23

wash, or returned like a little sweep from the business
of blacking the kitchen stove; but Catharine told
her with modest deference, that her father never
minded if it were only her clothes that suffered.
"She hardly ever gets cold," she said propitiatingly,
"and she has too much sense to touch the hot parts
of the stove when I tell her where they are."

One acute cause of concern Mrs. Farnham kept
to herself till a fitting opportunity should come to
broach the subject with Dick. His loving admiring
eyes resting upon her as they sat together in the
ugly little cottage-parlor the evening after their return
to the West might have quieted any fear of giving
offence; but her voice was not quite steady as she
said hesitatingly: "Dick, I have been wanting to
speak to thee about Mary's religious instruction.
What is thee teaching her? Surely thee would not
impart thy doubts, if thee still has them, to her little
mind?"

(Dick always undressed the child and put her to
bed himself, and seeing Catharine tactfully withdraw,



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