xt7cc24qk407 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7cc24qk407/data/mets.xml Johnston, Annie F. (Annie Fellows), 1863-1931. 1903  books b92-247-31689497 English L.C. Page, : Boston : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Bonsall, Elisabeth Fearne, 1861- Flip's "Islands of Providence"  / by Annie Fellows Johnston ; illustrated by E.F. Bonsall. text Flip's "Islands of Providence"  / by Annie Fellows Johnston ; illustrated by E.F. Bonsall. 1903 2002 true xt7cc24qk407 section xt7cc24qk407 


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              Works of

Annie Fellows Johnston

            The Little Colonel Series
            (Trade Mark, Reg. U. S. Pat. Of.)
      Each one vol., large 12mo, cloth, illustrated
The Little Colonel Stories
  (Containing in one volume the three stories, " The
  Little Colonel," " The Giant Scissors," and
    "Two Little Knights of Kentucky.")
The Little Colonel's House Party
'[he Little Colonel's Holidays
'[he Little Colonel's Hero.
The Little Colonel at Boarding-School
'[he Little Colonel in Arizona.
The Little Colonel's Christmas Vacation
The Little Colonel: Maid of Honor .
The above 8 vols., boxed



          Illustrated Holiday Editions
Each one vol., small quarto, cloth, illustrated, and printed
                        in color

The Little Colonel
'Ihe Giant Scissors
Two Little Knights of Kentucky
   The above 3 vols., boxed

                Cosy Corner
       Each one vol., thin 12mo,
The Little Colonel
The Giant Scissors
Two Little Knights of Kentucky
Big Brother
Ole Mfammy's Torment
The Story of Dago
Aunt 'Liza's Hero
The Quilt that Jack Built
Fflip's " Islands of Providence
Mildred's Inheritance .

    .   .    .   1.2 _

cloth, illustrated
       . ,   .    .50

                   Other Books
Joel: A Boy of Galilee
In the Desert of Waiting .
The ' rhee W'eavers .
Keeping Tryst
A.-a Holmes
Songs Ysame (Poems, with A\llb    n F ellows Bac

            L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
200 Summer Street                             B

    .  1.50
         .5 0
on) .   1.00

'oston, Mass.

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                                  (See.Page 7z)


Cosp QTorner Serfsz



       Annie Fellows Johnston
Author of "Asa Holmes," " The Little Colonel Stories,"
            "Big Brother," etc.

              Illustrated by
              E. F. Bonsall

        "I know not cwhere His islands lift
          Theirfrondedyjahns in air;

          Boston A -, A ,Asit
          L. C. Page & Company
        .  A   -' -j Publishers


                Copyright, 1902,

                Copyright, 1903
          By L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
                (INCOR PORATED)

              411 rights reserved

            Published August, 1903

      Fourth Impression, Fcbruary, I907

                colonial jaTZ
   Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
              Boston, Mass., U. S. A.



   I WHAT'S A GREEN GOODS MAN'" (See fiage

   7 5)  .ronti.







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CAREFULLY locking the door of his
little gable bedroom, Alec Stoker put
down the cup of hot water he carried,
and peered into the mirror above his
wash-stand. Then, although he had come
up-stairs fully determined to attempt his
first shave, he stood irresolute, stroking
the almost imperceptible down on his
boyish lip and chin.
              [ II ]


   Flip's " Islands of Providence "
   "It does make me look older, that's a
fact," he muttered to his reflection in the
glass. " Maybe I'd better not cut it off
until I've had my interview with the
agent. The older I look, the more likely
he'll be to trust me with a responsible
position. Still," he continued, surveying
himself critically, " I might make a more
favourable impression if I had that
'well-groomed' look the papers lay so
much stress on nowadays, and I could
mention in a careless, offhand way some-
thing about having just shaved."
  It was not yet dark out-of-doors, but
after a few minutes of further delibera-
tion, Alec pulled down the blind over his
window and lighted the lamp. Then,
opening a box that he took f rom his
bureau, he drew out his Grandfather
                [ 12 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence "
Macklin's razor and ivory-handled shav-
  " I'm sure the old gentleman never
dreamed, when they made me his name-
sake, that this was all of his property I
would fall heir to," he thought, bitterly.
  The moody expression that settled on
his face at the thought had become al-
most habitual in the last four weeks.
The happy-go-lucky boy of seventeen
seemed to have changed in that time to
a morose man. June had left him the
jolliest boy in the high school graduating
class. September found him a morbid
  It had been nine years since his mother,
just before her death, had brought him
back to the old home for her sister Eunice
to take care of - Alec and the little five-
                [ 13 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence"

year-old Philippa and the baby Macklin.
Their Aunt Eunice had made a happy
home for them, and although she rarely
laughed herself, and her hair had whit-
ened long before its time, she had al-
lowed no part of her burdens to touch
their thoughtless young lives. It was
only lately that Alec had been aroused
to the fact that she had any burdens.
He was rehearsing them all now, as he
rubbed the lather over his chin, so busily
that he did not hear Philippa's light step
on the back stairs. Philippa could step
very lightly when she chose, despite the
fact that she was long and awkward, with
that temporary awkwardness of a grow-
ing girl who finds it hard to adjust her-
self and her skirts to her constantly in-
creasing height.
                [ I4 ]


   Flip's " Islands of Providence "

   Alec almost dropped his brush as she
suddenly banged on his door. " Is that
you, Flip " he called, although he knew
no one but Philippa ever beat such thun-
dering tattoos on his door.
  " Yes! Let me in! I want to ask you
  He knew just how her sharp gray eyes
would scan him, and he hesitated an in-
stant, divided between a desire to let her
see him in the manly act of shaving him-
self and the certain knowledge that she
would tease him if he did.
  Finally he threw open the door and
turned to the glass in his most indifferent
manner, as if it were an every-day occur-
rence with him. " Come in," he said;
" I'm only shaving. I'm going out this
                [ '5]


Flip's "Islands of Providence"

  If he had thought she would be im-
pressed by his lordly air, he was mis-
taken, for, after one prolonged stare, she
threw herself on the bed, shrieking with
laughter.  Long practice in bandying
words with her brother had made her
an expert tease. Usually they both en-
joyed such combats, but now, to her sur-
prise, he seemed indifferent to her most
provoking comments, and scraped away
at his chin in dignified silence.
  " I believe you said you had something
to say to me, Philippa," he said presently,
in a stern tone that made her stare.
Never, except when he was very angry,
did he call her anything but Flip.
  Suddenly sobered, she took her face
out of the pillows and peered at him

[ i6 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"

curiously, twisting one of the long plaits
of hair that hung over her shoulder.
  " I have," she said. " I want to know
what's the matter with you. What has
come over you lately You've been as
sullen as a brown bear for days and days.
I asked Aunt Eunice just now, while we
were washing the supper dishes, what
had changed you so. You used to be
whistling and joking whenever you came
near the house. Now you never open
your lips except to make some sarcastic
  " She said that it was probably because
you were so disappointed about not get-
ting that position in the bank that you had
set your heart on, and she was afraid that
you were growing discouraged about
ever finding any position worth while
                [ I7 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"
in this sleepy little village. She didn't
know that I saw it, but while she was
talking a tear splashed right down in the
dish-water, and I made up my mind that
it must be something lots worse than just
plain disappointment or discouragement,
and that I was going to ask you. Now,
you needn't snap your mouth shut that
way, like a clam. You've got to tell
me! "
  "Aunt Eunice doesn't want you to
know," he said, turning away from the
glass, razor in hand, to look at her in-
tently. " But you're a big girl, Flip
nearly as tall as she is, if you are only
fifteen. You're bound to hear it some-
time, and in my opinion it would be
better for you to hear it from me than

[ i8 ]



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Flip's "Islands of Providence"

to have it knock you flat coming unex-
pectedly from a stranger, as I heard it."
  "Tell me," she urged, her curiosity
  " Can you stand a pretty tough
  " As well as you," she answered, meet-
ing his gaze steadily, yet with a queer
kind of chill creeping over her at his
mysterious manner.
  " Well, what do you suppose you and
Mack and I have been living on all these
years that we have been living with Aunt
Eunice "
  "Why-I-I don't know! Mother's
share of Grandfather Macklin's prop-
erty, I suppose. He divided it equally
between her and Aunt Eunice."
  "Well, we just haven't! " Alec ex-
               [ 21 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence"

claimed. " That was spent before we
came here, and nearly all of Aunt Eu-
nice's share, too.  She's been drawing
right out of the principal the last two
years so that she could keep us in school,
and there's hardly anything left but this
old house and the ground it stands on.
She never told me until this summer.
That's why I took the first job that
offered, and drove Murray's delivery
wagon till the regular driver was well.
It wasn't particularly good pay, but it
paid for my board and kept me from
feeling that I was a burden on Aunt Eu-
  " I was sure of getting that position in
the bank. One of the directors had as
good as promised it to me. While it
wouldn't have paid much at first, it
                [ 22 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"
would have been an entering wedge, and
have put me in the direct line of promo-
tion. And you know that from the time
I was Macklin's age it has been my am-
bition to be a banker like grandfather.
Since I failed to get that, nobody, not
even Aunt Eunice, knows how hard I've
tried to get into some steady, good-pay-
ing job. I've been to every business man
in the village, and done everything a fel-
low could do, seems to me, but in a little
place like this there's absolutely no open-
ing unless somebody dies. The good
places are already filled by reliable, mid-
dle-aged men who have grown up in
them. There's no use trying any longer.
Every time I get my hopes up it's. only
to have them dashed to pieces - ship-
wrecked, you might say."
                [ 23 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence"

  He paused a minute, ostensibly to give
his chin a fresh coating of lather, but in
reality to gather courage for the words he
found so difficult to say. In the silence,
Macklin's voice came floating up to them
from the porch below. Sitting on the
steps in the twilight, with his bare feet
doubled under him, he was reciting some-
thing to his Aunt Eunice in a high, sturdy
voice. It came in shrilly through the
open window of Alec's room, where the
brown shade and overhanging muslin
curtains flapped back and forth in the
evening breeze.
  Philippa smiled as she listened. He
was reciting a poem that Aunt Eunice
had taught each of them in turn, after
the Creed and the Commandments and
the Catechism. It was Whittier's hymn
                [ 24 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"

   " The Eternal Goodness." She had
paid them a penny a stanza for learning
it, and as there are twenty-two stanzas
in all, Philippa remembered how rich
she felt the day she dropped the last cop-
per down the chimney of her little red
  It had been seven years since Alec
learned it, but the words were as familiar
still as the letters of the alphabet.  As
Macklin's high-pitched voice reached
them, Philippa joined in in a singsong
undertone, and even Alec found himself
unconsciously following the well-remem-
bered lines in his thought:

      "I know not where His islands lift
         Their fronded palms in air;
       I only know I cannot drift
         Beyond His love and care."
                [ 25 ]


Flip's " Islands of Providence"

  " There! " said Philippa, stopping
abruptly, " you were talking about ship-
wrecks. According to that hymn, there's
always some island ready for you to be
washed up on. How do you know but
that you're going to land some place
where you'll be lots better off than if
you'd stayed here in Ridgeville"
  There was a contemptuous sneer on
Alec's face, not pleasant to see, as he
answered, roughly: "Bosh! That's all
right for people who can believe in such
things, but I'm past such Robinson Cru-
soe fables."
  " Why, Alec Stoker! " she cried, in
amazement, " do you mean to say that
you don't believe in Providence any
more " There was a look of horror on
her face.
                [ 26 ]


Flip's " Islands of Providence"

  He shrugged his shoulders.   " I've
come to think it's a case of every fellow
for himself; sink or swim -and if
you're not strong enough to push to shore,
it's drown and leave more room for the
  "Alec Mack -lin Sto -ker!" was
all that Philippa could find breath to
say at first. Presently she exclaimed, " I
should think you'd be ashamed to talk so!
Any boy that had such a grand old grand-
father as you! He didn't have any better
chance than you in the beginning, and
had to struggle along for years. Look
what a place he made for himself in the
world! "
  " That's all you know about it! " cried
Alec, his hand trembling with an emotion
he was trying hard to control. In that
                [ 27 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"
instant the razor slipped, slightly cutting
his chin.
  "Now!" he muttered, hastily tearing
a bit of paper from the margin of a news-
paper to stop the blood, and then rum-
maging in the wash-stand drawer for a
piece of court-plaster. He was a long
time adjusting it to his satisfaction, for the
words he wanted to say would not take
shape. He knew what he had to tell her
would wound deeply, and he hesitated to
begin. When he faced her again, his
voice trembled with suppressed excite-
ment. He spoke rapidly:
  " I may as well out with it. You want
to know why I didn't get that position in
the bank It is because my father, J.
Stillwell Stoker, died behind the bars of
a penitentiary! I'm the son of a jailbird
                [ 28 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"
   a defaulter and a forger! That's why
the bank didn't want me. They'd had
their fingers burned with him, and didn't
want to risk another of that name.
Thought there might be something in
the blood, I suppose. That's where all
grandfather's property went, to pay it
back; all but this house and the little
Aunt Eunice kept for our support. And
that's why mother came back here with us
and died of a broken heart! Now do you
wonder that I can't believe in the eternal
goodness when it starts me out in life
handicapped like that Do you blame
me when I say I am going to get out
of this town and go away to some place
where I'll not have my father's disgrace
thrown in my teeth every time I try to
do anything worth while No wonder
               [ 29 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence"

I'm moody! No wonder I'm a pessimist
when I think of the legacy he's saddled
us with! Aunt Eunice thought she could
always shield us from the knowledge of
it, but she could no more do it than she
could hide fire!"
  Philippa sat on the bed as if stunned
by the words flowing in such a vehement
rush from her brother's lips. She was
white and trembled.   " 0  Alec," she
gasped, with a shudder, "it can't be
true! " Then, after a distressing silence,
she sobbed, " Does everybody know it "
  " Everybody in the village now, but
little Mack, and he'll have to be knocked
flat with the fact some day, I suppose,
just as we have been."
  Philippa shivered and drew herself up
into a disconsolate bunch against the foot-
                [ 30 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"
board. " To think of the way I've prided
myself on our family! " she said, in a
husky voice. " I've actually bragged of
the Macklins and paraded the virtues of
my ancestors."
  Alec made no answer. Down-stairs
the big kitchen clock slowly struck seven.
  " I'll have to hurry," he remarked.
Catching up his blacking-brush, he be-
gan polishing his shoes in nervous haste.
" It's later than I thought. I'm due at
the hotel in thirty minutes."
  " At the hotel! " repeated Philippa,
wondering dully how he could take any
interest in anything more in life, knowing
all that had blighted their young lives.
  " Yes; but don't you tell Aunt Eunice
until it's all settled. I promised to meet
a man there, who's been talking to me
                [ 31 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence"

about a position a thousand miles from
here. He's interested in a manufactur-
ing business. His firm has a scheme for
making money hand over fist. He didn't
tell me what it is, but he wants some
young fellow about my age to go into it.
'Somebody who can keep his mouth
shut,' he said, ' write a good letter, and
make a favourable impression on stran-
gers in introducing the goods.' Stumpy
Fisher introduced me to him last night,
and he gave me a hint of what he might
do if I suited. Seemed to think I was
just the man for the place. There's an-
other fellow after it, but he thought I'd
make a better impression on strangers,
and that is a great consideration in their
business. We're to settle it this evening,
as he has to leave on the nine o'clock
                [ 32 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"
train. If we come to terms, he'll want
me to follow next week."
  " Stumpy Fisher introduced you " re-
peated Philippa; " why, he - he's the
man that runs the Golconda, isn't he "
  " Yes," admitted Alec, inwardly re-
senting the disapproval in her tone.
" They do gamble in there, I know, and
sometimes have a pretty tough row, but
Stumpy is as kind-hearted a man as there
is in the village."
  Throwing the blacking-brush hastily
back into its box, Alec straightened him-
self up and faced his sister. "There,
skip along now, Flip, like a good girl. I
have to dress. And don't say a word to
Aunt Eunice. I'll tell her myself."
  Philippa rose slowly from the bed and
started toward the door. " I feel as if I
                [ 33 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence

were in a horrible nightmare," she said.
"What you have just told me about our
-him, you know, and then your going
away to live. It's all so sudden and so
dreadful. 0 Alec, I can't stand it to have
you go! "
  To his great surprise and confusion,
for Philippa had never been demonstra-
tive in her affection, she threw her arms
round his neck, and, dropping her head
on his shoulder, began sobbing violently.
  "Oh, come now, Flip," he protested,
awkwardly patting the heavy braids of
hair swung over her shoulder;    " I
wouldn't have told you if I'd thought
you'd take it so. I thought you had so
much grit that you'd stand by me and
back me up if Aunt Eunice objected.
We're not going to be separated for ever.
                [ 34 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence"

From what the man told me of the busi-
ness, I'm sure that I can make enough in
a year or so to send for you. Then you
can come and keep house for me, and
we'll pay back every cent we've cost Aunt
Eunice, so she'll have something in her
old age. Oh, stop crying, like a good
girl, Flip! Don't make it any harder for
ma than it already is. You don't want me
to be late, do you, and miss the best
chance of my life Punctuality counts
for everything when a man's looking for
a reliable employee."
  Without a word, but still sobbing,
Philippa rushed from the room. He
heard her going down the back stairs and
across the kitchen. When the outer door
closed behind her, he knew as well as if
he had seen her that she was running
                [ 35 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence "

down the orchard path to her old refuge
in the June-apple-tree.
  " The stars ought to be out now,"
thought Alec, a few minutes later, as he
slipped into his best coat. Pulling up the
shade, he peered out through the open
window. " There'll not be any to-night,"
he added; " looks as if it would rain."
  The wind was rising. It blew the mus-
lin curtains softly across his face. It had
driven Miss Eunice and Macklin from
the porch. Alec could hear their voices
in the sitting-room. Suddenly another
puff of wind blew the hall door shut, and
the cheerful sound was lost.
  "It's certainly going to storm!" he
exclaimed, aloud. Raising his lamp for
one more scrutiny of himself in the little

[ 36 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"

mirror, he set it on his desk, while he
hunted in the closet for an umbrella.
  When he reached the hotel, it was in
the deepest voice that he could summon
that he asked to be shown to Mr. Hum-
phrey Long's room. Then he blushed,
startled by its unfamiliar sound; it was so
  Mr. Long was busy, he was told. He
had been closeted in his room for an hour
with a stranger who had taken supper
with him, and had left orders that Alec,
if he came, was not to be shown up till
the other man had gone.
  Alec wandered from the office into the
parlour, walking round nervously while
he waited. Half an hour went by. He
watched the clock anxiously, than des-
perately. The minutes were slipping by
                [ 37 ]


   Flip's " Islands of Providence "
so fast that he was afraid there would
be no time for his turn before the bus
started to the train. What if the other
man should be taken in his stead after all
Mr. Long's fair speeches! The thought
made him break into a cold perspiration.
He drummed nervously on the table be-
side him with impatient fingers.
  Presently, through  his absorption,
came the consciousness that the bell in
the town hall was clanging the fire alarm.
It was an unusual sound in the quiet little
village. Noisy shouts in the next street
proclaimed that the volunteer fire bri-
gade was dragging out the hand-power
engine and hose reel. From all direc-
tions came the sound of hurrying feet and
the cry of " Fire! fire! "
  He rushed to the door and looked out.
                [ 38 ]


   Flip's "' Islands of Providence"
Half a mile toward the north, he judged
the distance to be, an angry glow was
spreading upward. It was in the direc-
tion of his home.
  " Where's the fire, Bob " called a
voice across the street.
  "The old Nlacklin house," was the an-
swer, tossed back over a man's shoulder
as he ran. Instantly there flashed into
Alec's mind the remembrance of the
muslin curtains flapping across his face,
and the lamp left near them on his desk.
Had he blown it out or not He could
not remember. He tried to think as he
dashed up the street after the running

[ 39 1


W  M


THERE was no faster runner in the
village than Alec Stoker. In the last
two field-day contests he had carried off
the honours, and now he surpassed all
previous records in that mad dash from
the hotel to the burning house.
  Swift as he was, however, the flames
were bursting from the windows of his
room by the time he reached the gate, and
curling up over the eaves with long, lick-
ing tongues. It was as he had feared.
He had forgotten to put out the light,
                [ 40 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence"

the curtains had blown over it, and,
fanned by the rising wind, the fire had
leaped from curtain to bed, from mos-
quito-bar to wall, until the whole room
was in a blaze.
  Shielded by the tall cedars in front of
the house, it had burned some time before
a passing neighbour discovered it. By
the time the alarm brought any response,
the upper story was full of stifling pine
smoke. The yard swarmed with neigh-
bours when Alec reached it. In and out
they ran, bumping precious old family
portraits against wash-tubs and coal-scut-
tles, emptying bureau drawers into sheets,
and dumping books and dishes in a pile
in the orchard, in wildest confusion.
Everything was taken out of the lower
story. Even the carpets were ripped up
                [ 41 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"
from the floors before the warning cry
came to stand back, that the roof was
about to fall in. The fire brigade turned
its attention to saving the barn, but that
was old, too, and burned like tinder, as
the breath of the approaching storm
fanned the flames higher and higher.
  As Alec leaned back against the fence,
breathless and flushed from his frantic
exertions, Philippa came up to him, car-
rying the parlour clock and her best hat.
  " Come on," she said; "we've got to
get all these things under shelter before
the storm strikes us, or they'll be spoiled.
Mrs. Sears has offered us part of her
house. There are four empty rooms in
the west wing, and Aunt Eunice says that
we can't do any better than to take them
for awhile."
                [ 42 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence "

  Again the neighbours came to the res-
cue, and, spurred on by the warning
thunder, hurried the scattered household
goods into shelter. They were all piled
into one room in a hopeless tangle.
  "We'll not attempt to straighten out
anything to-night," said Miss Eunice,
looking round wearily when the last sym-
pathetic neighbour had departed in time
to escape the breaking storm. She and
Philippa had accepted Mrs. Sears's offer
of her guest-chamber for the night.
Macklin had gone home with the minis-
ter's son. Alec had had many invitations,
but he refused them all. With a morbid
feeling  that because his carelessness
caused the fire he ought to do penance
and not allow himself to be comfortable,
he pulled a pillow and a mattress from
                [ 43 1


   Flip's "Islands of Providence "
the pile of goods into the empty room
adjoining, and threw himself down on
  In the excitement of the scene through
which he had just passed, he had entirely
forgotten the engagement he had run
away from. Now, as he stretched him-
self wearily out on the mattress, it flashed
across his mind that he had failed to keep
his appointment, and that the man had
gone. A groan of disappointment es-
caped him.
  " If I wasn't born to a dog's luck!"
he exclaimed, " to miss a position like
that just when we need it the most.
Goodness only knows what we are going
to do now. But I needn't say that. It's
a hard world, and there's no goodness
in it."


Flip's "Islands of Providence"

  The next instant, he pulled the sheet
over his eyes to shut out the blinding
glare of lightning that lit up the empty
room. The crash of thunder that fol-
lowed seemed to his distorted fancy the
defiant challenge of all the powers of
darkness. All sorts of rebellious thoughts
flocked through the boy's mind, as he lay
there in the darkness of the empty room,
thinking bitterly of his thwarted plans.
Midnight always magnifies troubles, and
as he brooded over his disappointments
and railed at his fate, not only his past
wrongs loomed up to colossal size, but a
vague premonition of worse evil to come
began to weigh on him. It was nearly
morning before he dropped into a trou-
bled sleep.
  Refreshed by a long night's rest and
                [ 45 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence "

the tempting breakfast Mrs. Sears spread
for her three guests, Philippa soon recov-
ered her usual gay spirits. The news that
Alec had disclosed the night before,
which sent her stunned and heart-sick to
her retreat in the old apple-tree, had
faded into the background in the excite-
ment of the fire. She thought of it all
the time she was dressing, but the keen-
ness of her distress was not so overwhelm-
ing as it had been. It was like some old
pain that had lost its worst sting in the
healing passage of time.
  She was young enough to take a keen
pleasure in the novelty of the situation,
and ran up-stairs and down with ham-
mer and broom, laughing and joking
over the settlement of every picture and
piece of furniture with contagious good
                [ 46 ]


Flip's "Islands of Providence"

humour. Alec could not understand it.
Even his Aunt Eunice was not as down-
cast as he had pictured her in the night,
over the loss of her old home. With
patient, steady effort, she moved along,
bringing order out of confusion, and
when Philippa's fresh young voice up-
stairs broke out in the song that had come
to be regarded as the family hymn, she
joined in, at her work below, with a full,
strong alto:

     "Yet, in the maddening maze of things,
        Though tossed by storm and flood,
      To one fixed trust my spirit clings:
        I know that God is good."

  "Jine in, Br'er Stoker," called Phi-
lippa, laughingly waving her duster in
the doorway. "Why don't you sing"
                 [ 47 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"
   Alec, who was prone on the floor, tack-
ing down a bedroom carpet, hammered
away without an answer. After waiting
a minute, she dropped down on the floor
beside him, upsetting a saucer full of
tacks as she did so. " Say, Alec," she
began, in a confidential tone, " what did
the man at the hotel say last night Is
he going to take you"
  " Of course not," vwas the sulky reply.
"You didn't suppose I'd be lucky enough
for that, did you I didn't even see him.
Another fellow was there ahead of me,
and the fire-alarm sounded while I
waited, and then it was all up. I couldn't
dally round waiting for an interview
when our home was burning, could I "
  " Maybe he left some word for you,"
she suggested.
                [48 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"
   "No; I ran down to the hotel to in-
quire, just as soon as I got the kitchen
stove set up this morning. He left on the
nine o'clock train last night, as he warned
me he would, and as I didn't come ac-
cording to my agreement, that's the last
he'll ever think of me. Such luck as
mine is, anyhow! It was my anxiety to
get the place that made me go off and
leave the lamp burning, and now I've
not only missed the last chance I'll ever
have, but I've been the means of burning
the roof off from over our heads. You
haven't any idea of the way I feel, Flip.
I'm desperate! It fairly sets my teeth on
edge to hear you go round singing of
'The  Eternal Goodness' when    I'm
knocked out every way I turn, no mat-
ter how hard I try."
                [ 49 ]


   Flip's "Islands of Providence"
   But, Alec," she answered, between
taps of his noisy hammer, " it's foolish
of you to take it so to heart, and look
on nothing but the dark side. Of course,
it is dreadful to be burned out of house
and home, but it might have been lots
worse. All the down-stairs furniture was
saved, and the