xt72fq9q2k0d https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt72fq9q2k0d/data/mets.xml Johnston, Annie F. (Annie Fellows), 1863-1931. 1894  books b92-247-31689518 English J. Knight, : Boston : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Big brother  / by Annie Fellows-Johnston. text Big brother  / by Annie Fellows-Johnston. 1894 2002 true xt72fq9q2k0d section xt72fq9q2k0d 



"Cosy Corner Series"




       1 894


   COPYRI(.IT, 1893


     ,       S  T, R-' , 11(N

ROBIN.    .   .    .   .   .    Frontispiece



   OF HISTORY," ETC.     .     .    .   .  9




   TO LOOK AT THE BOOK"    .   .    .   . 23

   BE PUT TO BED".    .    .       -    . 26


   AFTER THE WHITE KITTEN"     .    .   - 29


   ETC .   .      .   .    .   .   .    . 43


 This page in the original text is blank.


         BIG BROTHER.

EVERY coach on the long western-bound
       train wvas crowded with passengers.
lDust and smoke poured in at the wvindows and
even the breeze seemed hot
as it blew across the prairie
cornfields burning in the July
  It was a relief when the
engine stopped at last in
front of a small village depot.  
There was a rush for the  
lunch Counter and the res-
taurant door, where a noisy
gong announced dinner.
  "Blackberries! black-
berries !"called a shrill little
voice on the platform.  A  
barefoot girl, wearing a sun-
bonnet, passed under the car
windows, holding up a basket full, that shone
like great black beads. A gentleman who had
just helped txwo ladies to alight from the steps


of a parlor car called to her and began to
fumble in his pockets for the right change.
  "Blackberries ! blackberries! " sang another
voice mockingly.  This time it came from a
roguish-looking child, hanging half-wvay out of
a window in the next car. He was a little
fellow, not more than three years old. His
hat had fallen off, and his sunny tangle of curls
shone around a face so Unusually beautiful that
both ladies uttered an exclamation of surprise.
  "Look, papa! Look, Mrs. Estcf !" exclaimed
the younger of the two. " Oh, isn't he a per-
fect picture ! I never saw such eyes, or such
delicate coloring. It is an ideal head."
    Here, Grace," exclaimed her father, laugh-
ingly. - Don't forget your berries in your en-
thusiasm. It hasn't been many seconds since
you wvere going into raptures over them. They
certainly are the finest I ever saw."
  The girl took several boxes from her basket,
and held them up for the ladies to choose.
Grace took one mechanically, her eyes still
fixed on the child in the xvindow.
    I'm  going to make friends with him !
she exclaimed impulsively. -' Let's walk dowvn
that way. I want to speak- to him."
    Blackberries ! " sang the child again, merrily




echoing the cry that came from the depths
of the big sunbonnet as it passed on.
  Grace picked out the largest, juiciest berry
in the box, and held it up to him with a smile.
His face dimpled mischievously, as he leaned
forward and took it between his little white
  " Do you want some more " she asked.
  His eyes shone, and every little curl bobbed
an eager assent.
  "s What's your name, dear," she ventured, as
she popped another one into his mouth.
  "d Robin," he answered, and leaned farther
out to look into her box. " Be careful," she
cautioned; "d you might fall out."
  He looked at her gravely an instant, and
then said in a slow, quaint fashion: - Why, no;
I can't fall out, 'cause big brother's a holdin' on
to my feet."
  She drew back a little, startled. It had not
occurred to her that any one else might be
interested in watching this little episode. She
gave a quick glance at the other windows of the
car, and then exclaimed: " What is it, papa,-
a picnic or a travelling orphan asylum It
looks like a whole carload of children."
   Yes, there they were, dozens of them, it




seemed; fair faces and freckled ones, some dim-
pled and some thin; all bearing the marks of
a long journey on soot-streaked features and
grimy hands, but all wonderfully merry and
  Just then a tired-looking man swung himself
down the steps, and stood looking around him,
knitting his brows nervously. He heard the
girl's question, and then her father's reply:
" I don't know, my dear, I am sure; but I'll
inquire if you wish."
  The man's brows relaxed a little and he an-
swered them without waiting to be addressed.
"They are children sent out by an aid society
in the East. I am taking them to homes in
Kansas, mostly in the country."
  " You don't mean to tell me," the old gentle-
man exclaimed in surprise, "d that you have the
care of that entire car full of children ! How
do you ever manage them all"
  The man grinned. " It does look like a case
of the old woman that lived in a shoe, but
there are not as many as it would seem. They
can spread themselves over a good deal of
territory, and I'm blessed if some of 'em can't
be in half a dozen places at once. There's a
little English girl in the lot - fourteen years or




thereabouts -that keeps a pretty sharp eye
on them. Then they're mostly raised to taking
care of themselves." Some one accosted him,
and he turned away. Grace looked up at the
bewitching little face, still watching her with
eager interest.
  " Poor baby! " she said to herself. "P Poor
little homeless curly head ! If I could only
do something for you! " Then she realized
that even the opportunity she had was slip-
ping away, and held up the box.     " Here,
Robin," she called, "s take it inside so that you
can eat them without spilling them."
  "All of 'em " he asked with a radiant smile.
He stretched out his dirty, dimpled fingers.
"4Al of 'em," he repeated with satisfaction as
he balanced the box on the sill. "' All for Big
Brother and me!"
  Another face appeared at the window beside
Robin's, one very much like it ; grave and
sweet, with the same delicate moulding of fea-
tures. There was no halo of sunny curls on
the finely shaped head, but the persistent wave
of the darker, closely cut hair showed what it
had been at Robin's age. There was no color
in the face either. The lines of the sensitive
mouth had a pathetic suggestion of suppressed



trouble. He was a manly-looking boy, but his
face was far too sad for a child of ten.
  - Gracic," said Mrs. Estel, - your father said
the train will not start for fifteen minutes. He
has gone back to stay with your mother.
Would you like to go through the car with me,
and take a look at the little waifs "
  "1 Yes, indeed," was the answer. "Think how
far they have come. I wish we had found them
  A lively game of tag was going on in the
aisle. Children swarmed over the seats and
under them. One boy was spinning a top.
Two or three were walking around on their
hands, with their feet in the air. The gayest
group seemed to be in the far end of the car,
where two seats full of children were amusing
themselves by making faces at each other.
The uglier the contortion and more frightful
the grimace, the louder they laughed.
  In one corner the English girl whom the man
had mentioned sat mending a little crocheted
jacket, belonging to one of the children. She
was indeed keeping a sharp eye on them.
  "'Enry," she called authoritatively, " stop
teasing those girls, Hi say. Pull the 'airs from
your hown 'cad, and see 'ow you like that




naow! Sally, you shall not drink the 'ole en-
juring time. Leave the cup be! No, Maggie,
Hi can tell no story naow. Don't you see Hi
must be plying my needle Go play, whilst
the car stops."
  Robin smiled on Grace like an old friend
when she appeared at the door, and moved over
to make room for her on the seat beside him.
He had no fear of strangers, so he chattered
away in confiding baby fashion, but the older
boy said nothing. Sometimes he smiled when
she told some story that made Robin laugh out
heartily, but it seemed to her that it was because
the little brother was pleased that he laughed,
not because he listened.
  Presently Mrs. Estel touched her on the
shoulder. "1 The time is almost up.  I am
going to ask your father to bring my things in
here. As you leave at the next station, I could
not have your company much longer, anyhow.
I have all the afternoon ahead of me, and I
want something to amuse me."
  "I wish I could stay with you," answered
Grace, "s but mamma is such an invalid I cannot
leave her that long. She would be worrying
about me all the time."
  She bade Robin an affectionate good-by,



telling him that he was the dearest little fellow
in the world, and that she could never forget
him. He followed her with big, wistful eyes as
she passed out, but smiled happily when she
turned at the door to look back and kiss her
hand to him.
  At the next station, where they stopped for
a few minutes, he watched for her anxiously.
Just as the train began to pull out he caught
a glimpse of her. There was a flutter of a
white handkerchief and a bundle came flying
in through the windowv.
  He looked out quickly, just in time to see
her stepping into a carriage. Then a long line
of freight cars obstructed the view. By the
time they had passed them they were beyond
even the straggling outskirts of the village, with
wide cornfields stretching in every direction,
and it was of no use to look for her any longer.
  Mrs. Estel lost no time in making the young
English girl's acquaintance.  She was scarcely
settled in her seat before she found an oppor-
tunity. Her umbrella slipped from the rack,
and the girl sprang forwvard to replace it.
  " You have had a tiresome journey," Mrs.
Estel remarked pleasantly after thanking her.
  "Yes, indeed, ma'am! " answered the girl,




glad of some one to talk to instead of the chil-
dren, whose remarks wvere strictly of an inter-
rogative nature. It was an easy matter to draw
her into conversation, and in a short time Mrs.
Estel was listening to little scraps of history
that made her eyes dim and her heart ache.

  " Do you mind telling me your name " she
asked at length.
  - Ellen. ma'am."
  " But the other," continued Mrs. Estel.
  " We're not to tell, ma'am." Then seeing
the look of inquiry on her face, explained,



"Sometimes strangers make trouble, hasking
the little ones hall sorts hof questions; so we've
been told not to say where we're going, nor
hany think helse."
  Ad I understand," answered Mrs. Estel quickly.
"I ask only because I am so much interested.
I have a little girl at home that I have been
away from for a week, but she has a father and
a grandmother and a nurse to take care of her
while I am gone. It makes me feel so sorry
for these poor little things turned out in the
world alone."
  4 Bless you, ma'am! " exclaimed Ellen cheer-
fully. " The 'omes they're going to be a sight
better than the 'omes they've left behind.
Naow there's 'Enery; 'is mother died hin a
drunken fit. 'E never knew nothink hall 'is
life but beating and starving, till the Haid
Society took 'im hin 'and.
  "1 Then there's Sally.  Why, Sally's living
'igh naoxv -hoff the fat hof the land, has you
might say.  Heverybody knows 'ow 'er hold
huncle treated 'er! "
  Mrs. Estel smiled as she glanced at Sally,
to whom the faucet of the water-cooler seemed
a never-failing source of amusement. Ellen
had put a stop to her drinking, which she




had been doing at intervals all the morning,
solely for the pleasure of seeing the water
stream out when she turned the stop-cock.
Now she had taken a tidy spell. Holding her
bit of a handkerchief under the faucet long
enough to get it dripping wet, she scrubbed
herself with the ice-water, until her cheeks
shone like rosy winter apples.
  Then she smoothed the wet, elfish-looking
hair out of her black eyes, and proceeded to
scrub such of the smaller children as could not
escape from her relentless grasp. Some sub-
mitted dumbly, and others struggled under her
vigorous application of the icy rag, but all she
attacked came out clean and shining.
  Her dress was wringing wet in front, and the
water was standing in puddles around her feet,
when the man who had them in charge came
through the car again. He whisked her impa-
tiently into a seat, setting her down hard. She
made a saucy face behind his back, and began
to sing at the top of her voice.
  One little tot had fallen and bumped its head
as the train gave a sudden lurch. It was crying
pitifully, but in a subdued sort of whimper, as if
it felt that crying was of no use when nobody
listened and nobody cared. He picked it up,



made a clumsy effort to comfort it, and, not
knowing what else to do, sat down beside it.
Then for the first time he noticed Mrs. Estel.
  She had taken a pair of scissors from her
travelling-bag, and had cut several newspapers
up into soldiers and dolls and all kinds of
animals for the crowd that clamored around her.
  They were such restless little bodies, impris-
oned so long on this tedious journey, that
anything with a suggestion of novelty was wel-
  When she had supplied them with a whole
regiment of soldiers and enough animals to
equip a menagerie, she took another paper and
began teaching them to fold it in curious ways
to make boxes, and boats, and baskets.
  One by one they crowded up closer to her,
watching her as if she were some wonder-
ful magician. They leaned their dusty heads
against her fresh gray travelling-dress. They
touched her dainty gloves with dirty, admiring
fingers. They did not know that this was the
first time that she had ever come in close con-
tact with such lives as theirs.
  They did not know that it was the remem-
brance of another child, one who awaited her
home-coming, -a petted little princess born to

1 2



purple and fine linen, that made her so tender
towards them. Remembering what hers had,
and all these lacked, she felt that she must
crowd all the brightness possible into the short
afternoon they were together.
  Every one of them, at some time in their
poor bare lives, had known what it was to be
kindly spoken to by elegant ladies, to be pat-
ronizingly smiled upon, to be graciously pre-
sented with gifts.
  But this was different.  This one took the
little Hodge girl right up in her lap while she
was telling them stories. This one did not pick
out the pretty ones to talk to, as strangers gen-
erally did. It really seemed that the most neg-
lected and unattractive of them received the
most of her attention.
  From time to time she glanced across at
Robin's lovely face, and contrasted it with the
others. The older boy attracted her still more.
He seemed to be the only thoughtful one
among them all. The others remembered no
past, looked forward to no future. When they
were hungry there was something to eat.
When they were tired they could sleep, and all
the rest of the time there was somebody to
play with. What more could one want

I 3



  The child never stirred from his place, but
she noticed that he made a constant effort to
entertain Robin. He told him stories and in-
vented little games. When the bundle came
flying in through the window he opened it with
eager curiosity.
  Grace had hurried into the village store as
soon as the train stopped and had bought
the first toy she happened to see. It was
a black dancing bear, worked by a tiny crank
hidden under the bar on which it stood. Rob-
in's pleasure was unbounded, and his shrieks of
delight brought all the children flocking around
  " More dancin', Big Brother," he would in-
sist, when the animal paused. "d Robin wants
to see more dancin'."
  So patient little "Big Brother" kept on turn-
ing the crank, long after every one save Robin
was tired of the black bear's antics.
  Once she saw the restless 'Enry trying to en-
tice him into a game of tag in the aisle. Big
Brother shook his head, and the fat little legs
clambered up on the seat again.     Robin
watched Mrs. Estel with such longing eyes as
she entertained the others that she beckoned
to him several times to join them, but he only



                BIG BROTHIERk.              I 5

bobbed his curls gravely and leaned farther
back in his seat.
  Presently the man strolled down the aisle
again to close a wvindow, out of which one
fidgety boy kept leaning to spit at the flying
telegraph poles. On his way back Mrs. Estel
stopped him.
  "Will you please tell me about those two
children" she asked, glancing towvards Robin
and his brother. "I am very much interested
in them, and would gladly do something for
them, if I could."
  s Certainly, madam," he replied deferentially.
He felt a personal sense of gratitude towards
her for having kept three of his most unruly
charges quiet so long. He felt, too, that she
did not ask merely from idle curiosity, as so
many strangers had done.
  "d Yes, everybody asks about them, for they
are uncommon bright-looking, but it's very lit-
tle anybody knows to tell."
  Then he gave her their history in a fewv short
sentences. Their father had been killed in a
railroad accident early in the spring. Their
mother had not survived the terrible shock
more than a wveek. No trace could be found
of any relatives, and there was no property left



to support them. Several good homes had
been offered to the children singly in different
towns, but no one was willing to take both.
They clung together in such an agony of grief,
when an attempt was made at separation, that
no one had the heart to part them.
  Then some one connected with the manage-
ment of the Aid Society opened a correspond-
ence with an old farmer of his acquaintance out
West. It ended in his offering to take them
both for a while. His married daughter, who
had no children of her own, was so charmed
with Robin's picture that she wanted to adopt
him. She could not be ready to take him,
though, before they moved into their new
house, which they were building several miles
away. The old farmer wanted the older boy
to help him with his market gardening, and
was willing to keep the little one until his
daughter was ready to take him. So they
could be together for a while, and virtually they
would always remain in the same family.
  Mr. Dearborn was known to be such an
upright, reliable man, so generous and kind-
hearted in all his dealings, that it was decided
to accept his offer.
  " Do they go much farther" asked the



interested listener, when he had told her all he
knew of the desolate little pilgrims.
  " Only a few miles the other side of Kenton,"
he answered.
  "Why, Kenton is where I live," she ex-
claimed. " I am glad it will be so near." Then
as he passed on she thought to herself, " It
would be cruel to separate them. I never saw
such devotion as that of the older boy." His
feet could not reach the floor, but he sat up
uncomfortably on the high seat, holding Robin
in his lap. The curly head rested heavily on
his shoulder, and his arms ached with their bur-
den, but he never moved except to brush away
the flies, or fan the flushed face of the little
sleeper with his hat.
  Something in the tired face, the large appeal-
ing eyes, and the droop of the sensitive mouth,
touched her deeply. She crossed the aisle and
sat down by him.
  " Here, lay him on the seat," she said, bend-
ing forward to arrange her shawl for a pil-
  He shook his head. " Robin likes best for
me to hold him."
  "But he will be cooler and so much more
comfortable," she urged.  Taking the child




from his unwilling arms, she stretched him full
length on the improvised bed.
  Involuntarily the boy drew a deep sigh of
relief, and leaned back in the corner.
  "s Are you very tired " she asked. As I have
not seen you playing with the other children."
  " Yes'm," he answered. " We've come such
a long way. I have to amuse Robin all the time
he's awake, or he'll cry to go back home."
  " Where was your home" she asked kindly.
  Tell me about it."
  He glanced up at her, and with a child's
quick instinct knew that he had found a friend.
The tears that he had been bravely holding
back all the afternoon for Robin's sake could
no longer be restrained. He sat for a minute
trying to wink them away. Then he laid his
head wearily down on the window sill and gave
way to his grief with great choking sobs.
  She put her arm around him and drew his
head down on her shoulder.    At first the
caressing touch of her fingers, as they gently
stroked his hair, made the tears flow faster.
Then he grew quieter after a while, and only
sobbed at long intervals as he answered her
  His name was Steven. he said. He knew



nothing of the home to which he was being
taken, nor did he care, if he could only be
allowed to stay with Robin. He told her of
the little white cottage in New Jersey, where
they had lived, of the peach-trees that bloomed
around the house, of the beehive in the garden.
  He had brooded over the recollection of
his lost home so long in silence that now it
somehow   corm-
forted him to talk
about it to this
sympathetic lis-
tecne r.
  Soothed by her
soft hand smooth-
ing his hair, and
exhausted by the
heat and his vio-
lent grief, he fell asleep at last. It was almost
dark when he awoke and sat up.
  1 I must leave you at the next station," Mrs.
Estel said, " but you are going only a few miles
farther. Maybe I shall see you again some
day." She left him to fasten her shawl-strap,
but presently came back, bringing a beautifully
illustrated story-book that she had bought for
the little daughter at home.




  " Here, Steven," she said, handing it to hini.
"I have written my name and address on the
fly-leaf. If you ever need a friend, dear, or are
in trouble of any kind, let me know and I will
help you."
  He had known her only a few hours, yet,
when she kissed him good-by and the train
went whirling on again, he felt that he had left
his last friend behind him.
  When one is a child a month is a long time.
Grandfathers say, "That happened over seventy
years ago, but it seems just like yesterday."
Grandchildren say, " Why, it was only yester-
day we did that, but so much has happened
since that it seems such a great while ! "
  One summer day can stretch out like a life-
time at life's beginning. It is only at three-
score and ten that we liken it to a weaver's
  It was in July when old John Dearborn
drove to the station to meet 'the children.
Now the white August lilies were standing up
sweet and tall by the garden fence.
  "' Seems like we've been here 'most always,"
said Steven as they rustled around in the hay
hunting eggs. His face had lost its expression
of sadness, so pathetic in a child, as day after




day Robin's little feet pattered through the old
homestead, and no one came to take him away.
  Active outdoor life had put color in his face
and energy into his movements.  Mr. Dear-
born and his wife were not exacting in their
demands, although they found plenty for him to
do. The workwas
all new and pleas-
ant, and Robin
was wvith him ev-
erywhere. When
he fed the tur-
keys, when he
picked up chips,
when he drove the
cows to pasture,
or gathered the
vegetables for
market, Robin         S
followed him ev-
erywhere, like a
hippy, dancing
  Then when the work was done there were
the kittens in the barn and the swing in the
apple-tree. A pond in the pasture sailed
their shingle boats. A pile of sand, left from

2 1



building the new ice-house, furnished material
for innumerable forts and castles. There wvas
a sunny field and a green, leafy orchard. How
could they lie/p but be happy It was summer
time and they were together.
  Steven's was more than a brotherly devotion.
It was with almost the tenderness of mother-
love that he watched the shining curls dan-
cing down the walk as Robin chased the toads
through the garden or played hide-and-seek
with the butterflies.
  " No, the little fellow's scarcely a mite of
trouble," Mrs. Dearborn would say to the
neighbors sometimes when they inquired.
"d Steven is real handy about dressing him
and taking care of him, so I just leave it
mostly to him."
  Mrs. Dearborn was not a very observing
woman or she would have seen why he "was
scarcely a mite of trouble."  If there was never
a crumb left on the doorstep where Robin sat
to eat his lunch, it wvas because Big Brother's
careful fingers had picked up every one. If
she never found any tracks of little bare feet on
the freshly scrubbed kitchen floor, it was be-
cause his watchful eyes had spied them first,
and he had wiped away every trace.




  He had an instinctive feeling that if he would
keep Robin with him he must not let any one
feel that he was a care or annoyance. So he
never relaxed his watchfulness in the daytime,
and slept with one arm thrown across him at
  Sometimes, after supper, when it was too late
to go outdoors again, the restless little feet
kicked thoughtlessly against the furniture, or
the meddlesome
fingers made Mrs.
Dearborn look at
him warningly over
her spectacles and
shake her head.
  Sometimes the
shrill little voice,
with its unceasing
questions, seemed
to annoy the old
farmer as he dozed
over his wveekly
newspaper beside
the lamp.  Then,
if it was too early
to go to bed, Steven would coax him over in a
corner to look at the book that Mrs. Estel had




given him, explaining each picture in a low voice
that could not disturb the deaf old couple.
  It was at these times that the old feeling
of loneliness came back so overwhelmingly.
Grandpa and Grandma, as they called them,
were kind in their way, but even to their own
children they had been undemonstrative and
cold. Often in the evenings they seemed to
draw so entirely within themselves, she with her
knitting and he with his paper or accounts,
that Steven felt shut out, and apart.  "Just
the strangers within thy gates," he sometimes
thought to himself. He had heard that expres-
sion a long time ago, and it often came back to
him. Then he would put his arm around Robin
and hug him up close, feeling that the world
was so big and lonesome, and that he had
no one else to care for but him.
  Sometimes he took him up early to the little
room under the roof, and, lying on the side of
the bed, made up more marvellous stories than
any the book contained.
  Often they drew the big wooden rocking-
chair close to the window, and, sitting with their
arms around each other, looked out on the moon-
lit stillness of the summer night. Then, with
their eyes turned starward, they talked of the




far country beyond; for Steven tried to keep un-
dimmed in Robin's baby memory a living pic-
ture of the father and mother he was so soon
  " Don't you remember," he would say, An how
papa used to come home in the evening and
take us both on his knees, and sing 'Kingdom
Coming' to us And how mamma laughed
and called him a big boy when he got down
on the floor and played circus with us
  "d And don't you remember how we helped
mamma make cherry pie for dinner one day
You were on the doorstep with some dough
in your hands, and a greedy old hen came up
and gobbled it right out of your fingers."
  Robin would laugh out gleefully at each
fresh reminiscence, and then say: "Tell some
more r'members, Big Brother! " And so Big
Brother would go on until a curly head drooped
over on his shoulder and a sleepy voice yawned
"Sand-man's a-comin'."
  The hands that undressed him were as pa-
tient and deft as a woman's. He missed no
care or tenderness.
  When he knelt down in his white gown, just
where the patch of moonlight lay on the floor,
his chubby hands crossed on Big Brother's knee,

2 5



there was a gentle touch of caressing fingers on
his curls as his sleepy voice repeated the evening
prayer the far away mother had taught them.
  There was always one ceremony that had to
be faithfully performed, no matter how sleepy
he might be. The black dancing bear had

always to be put to bed in a cracker box and
covered with a piece of red flannel.
  One night he looked up gravely as he folded
it around his treasure and said, "d Robin tucks ze
black dancin' bear in bed, an' Big Brother tucks
in Robin. Who puts Big Brother to bed"



BIG BROTHER.          7

  "Nobody, now," answered Steven with a
quivering lip, for his child's heart ached many
a night for the lullaby and bedtime petting he
so sorely missed.
  " Gramma Deebun do it" suggested Robin
  " No: Grandma Dearborn has the rheuma-
tism. She couldn't walk up-stairs."
  As She got ze wizzim-tizzim," echoed Robin
solemnly. Then his face lighted up with a
happy thought. " Nev' mind; Robin'll put Big
Brother to bed all ze nights when he's a man."
And Big Brother kissed the sweet mouth and
was comforted.
  During the summer Mr. Dearborn drove to
town with fresh marketing every morning, start-
ing early in order to get home by noon. Sat-
urdays he took Steven with him, for that was
the day he supplied his butter customers.
  The first time the boy made the trip he
carried Mrs. Estel's address in his pocket,
which he had carefully copied from the fly-
leaf of the book she had given him. Although
he had not the remotest expectation of see-
ing her, there was a sense of companionship in
the mere thought that she was in the same
town with him.

2 7



  He watched the lamp-posts carefully as they
wvent along, spelling out the names of the
streets. All of a sudden his heart gave a
bound. They had turned a corner and were
driving along Fourth Avenue. He took the
slip of paper from his pocket. Yes, he was
right. That was the name of the street. Then
he began to watch for the numbers. 200, 300,
400; they passed on several more blocks. Mr.
Dearborn drove up to the pavement and handed
him the reins to hold, while he took the crock
of butter into the house. Steven glanced up
at the number. It was 812. Then the next
one-no, the one after that-must be the
  It was a large, elegant house, handsomer
than any they had passed on the avenue. As
long as it was in sight Steven strained his eyes
for a backward look, but saw no one.
  Week after week he watched and waited, but
the blinds were always closed, and he saw no
signs of life about the place. Then one day he
saw a carriage stop at the gate. A lady all in
black stepped out and walked slowly towards
the house. Her long, heavy veil hid her face,
but he thought he recognized her. He was
almost sure it was Mrs. Estel.  He could




hardly resist the inclination to run after her
and speak to her; but while he hesitated the
great hall door swung back and shut her
from sight. He wondered what great trouble
had come to her that she should be dressed in
deep black.
  The hope of seeing her was the only thing
about his weekly trips to town that he antici-
pated with any pleas-
u re.  It nearly al-
ways happened that
some time during the
morning while he was
gone Robin got into
trouble. Nobody
seemed to think that
the reason the child t,,
was usually so good
was due largely to
Steven's keeping him
happily employed.
He always tried to contrive something to keep
him busy part of the morning; but Robin found
no pleasure very long in solitary pursuits, and
soon abandoned them.
  Once he took a ball of yarn from the darn-
ing-basket to roll after the white kitten. He




did not mean to be mischievous any more than
the white kitten did, but the ball was part of
Grandma Dearborn's knitting wvork. When she
found the needles pulled out and the stitches
dropped, she scolded him sharply. All her
children had been grown up so long she had
quite forgotten how to make allowances for
things of that sort.
  There was a basket of stiff, highly colored
wax fruit on the marble-topped table in the
parlor. Miss Barbara Dearborn had made it