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Title: Bee and Butterfly
       A Tale of Two Cousins

Author: Lucy Foster Madison

Illustrator: Adelia B. Beard

Release Date: August 11, 2010 [EBook #33407]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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BEE AND BUTTERFLY

A TALE OF TWO COUSINS

BY LUCY FOSTER MADISON

AUTHOR OF "THE PEGGY OWEN BOOKS," "A MAID OF SALEM TOWNE,"
"A COLONIAL MAID OF OLD VIRGINIA," etc.

ILLUSTRATED BY
ADELIA B. BEARD

CHICAGO
M. A. DONOHUE & CO.

COPYRIGHT 1913
BY M. A. DONOHUE & COMPANY


"WILLIAM," SHE CRIED, LAUGHING NERVOUSLY, "YOU HAVE MADE A MISTAKE. THAT IS MY DAUGHTER, ADELE."


CONTENTS

FOREWORD
Chapter I. An Impulse of Mischief
Chapter II. The Omen of the Butterfly
Chapter III. The Good News
Chapter IV. A Jest Becomes Earnest
Chapter V. Protective Mimicry
Chapter VI. A Night of Misery
Chapter VII. The Result of Imitation
Chapter VIII. A Rift in the Clouds
Chapter IX. With the Butterflies
Chapter X. A Butterfly and A Boy
Chapter XI. An Infant Prodigy
Chapter XII. The Arrival of Guests
Chapter XIII. The Butterfly Dinner
Chapter XIV. A Little Sermon
Chapter XV. The Arrival of Adele
Chapter XVI. "It Is So Hard To Do the Right Thing"
Chapter XVII. The Two Calls
Chapter XVIII. A Breach of Trust
Chapter XIX. The Closed Door
Chapter XX. Bee Is Disappointed In Percival
Chapter XXI. How the Day Ended
Chapter XXII. "I Shouldn't Want You To Be Anything But Pretty"
Chapter XXIII. "The Greatest of These Is Charity"
Chapter XXIV. "You Are A Noble Little Girl"
Chapter XXV. The Door Is Opened
Chapter XXVI. A Great Surprise
Chapter XXVII. Ready for the Voyage


List of Illustrations

"WILLIAM," SHE CRIED, LAUGHING NERVOUSLY, "YOU HAVE MADE A MISTAKE. THAT IS MY DAUGHTER, ADELE."

"I THINK THAT'S PRETTY GOOD FOR A GIRL."

BEE ENTERTAINS HER FATHER'S FRIENDS.

"OUT THROUGH THE OPEN WINDOW SAILED THE BUTTERFLY."

"I WOULD NOT HAVE YOU ANYTHING BUT PRETTY."


FOREWORD

The wonderful evolution of a caterpillar, or grub, into a beautifully winged creature must inspire admiration in every one. More marvellous still is the growth of the human soul which in many respects resembles the development of the butterfly. It is this thought which has induced the author to attempt to depict the transformation of a careless maiden into noble womanhood.

In this first book, the process has begun. There are heart burnings, and troubles of girlhood. In the second book, the journeyings and adventures with her father, together with her development of character are treated. The third, and final volume, takes up the bursting into glorious womanhood of the girl, glorified by the coming of love.

For the curious facts and superstitions regarding butterflies woven into the story, the author desires to acknowledge her indebtedness to Dr. W. J. Holland's Butterfly Book, which is a compendium of knowledge on the subject. That the story may meet with favor, and inspire young hearts with an appreciation of these beautiful insects is the hope of the author.

L. F. M.

New York City.


Bee and Butterfly


Chapter I

An Impulse of Mischief

"When to mischief mortals bend their will,
How soon they find fit instruments of ill."
Pope. Rape of the Lock.

It was four o'clock. The little town of Louisiana, Missouri, had slumbered all afternoon in the spring sunshine, but woke suddenly to life as the doors of the big brick school house opened, and the boys and girls poured forth. As the outgoing stream of pupils reached the gate several High School girls left the line, and withdrawing a short distance from the others, formed a little group by themselves, standing with faces turned expectantly toward the door of the building as though they were waiting for some one.

"I wonder why Bee doesn't come!" exclaimed one of the girls impatiently as the line dwindled to two or three pupils, and then ceased altogether. "I don't see why she pokes around that old school house so long?"

"She was going to help Professor Lawrence with some specimens," spoke a tall girl quickly. "You know Bee likes—"

"Bugs," finished the other girl with a shiver. "Oo-ooh! I wouldn't handle the worms, and creepy, crawly things that Bee Raymond does for anything."

"It isn't bugs at all," answered the tall girl with a trace of indignation in her voice. "It's caterpillars and butterflies. Bee's making a special study of them so as to surprise her father when he comes from abroad. He's a Lepidopterist, you know, and she is working to fit herself to be his secretary."

"Is he coming home soon, Edna?" queried one of the others.

"Not for two more years," responded Edna, who seemed to be well informed on the matter. "And just think, girls! Bee hasn't seen him for ten years."

"Fancy not seeing one's own father in all that time," remarked the girl who had first spoken. "Of course, it's just splendid to get letters from abroad, and to have all those lovely things he sends her; but I don't know, I think I'd rather have my father."

"Why, so would Bee," laughed Edna. "She's just crazy for him to come home. She—"

"There she is now," cried one, and with new interest each member of the group turned to look at the girl who at this moment came through the door of the school house.

Beatrice Raymond was a slender girl, tall for her fifteen years, with movements full of unconscious grace; for she had always been much in the open air and was accustomed to perfect freedom in her limbs. She could run as fast and jump as far as many boys who "fancied" themselves as athletes. Her hair was very dark, very straight, and very abundant. Her eyes were large, dark, and expressive; her complexion was dark also and without color. She created the thought in the minds of those observers who looked below the surface that there was intellect—thoughtful, loving, and perhaps unusual intellect. A strap of books was flung over her left shoulder, boy fashion, and her hat was set carelessly on one side of her head. She was laughing as she came to them, and the girls crowded around her eagerly.

"What's the joke, Bee?" cried Edna.

"It's a conundrum," answered Beatrice merrily. "Professor Lawrence just told it to me. See if any of you can answer it: 'Why are caterpillars like buckwheat cakes?'"

"Pooh! that's easy. Because they make the butter fly," answered one of the group. The others shouted with laughter as Bee turned an astonished look upon her.

"How did you know?" she asked. "Professor Lawrence just told it to me."

"Why, Beatrice Raymond, that joke was old before Professor Lawrence was born," said the one called Edna. "It's as old as—as the hills, and may be older for all I know. If you weren't so deep in that old Butterfly book you would have heard it long ago. Here! let me fix that hat. What would your Aunt Annie say if you were to come home with it at an angle of forty-five degrees?"

"Is it so bad as all that, Edna?" asked Bee indifferently. "Someway, I never do get my things on right. Now Adele's are always just so. I do believe that she could dress in the dark, and come out looking as neat as a pin."

"Where is Adele, Bee? Why didn't she come to school this afternoon?"

"She was not feeling well, so Aunt Annie thought it best to keep her home," answered Beatrice. "Aren't you going now, girls? I must hurry."

"Oh, Bee! why?" came from the group in a chorus. "We've been waiting for you ever so long so that you could go with us to Edna's. Do come! It won't be any fun unless you do."

"I can't," replied Bee. "I'd like to ever so much, but I must finish my letter to father. It has to be written today so that it can reach New York in time for Saturday's steamer."

"Will you come tomorrow then?" asked Edna. "You and Adele too."

"Yes, if Aunt Annie doesn't mind. Now I must go. Good-bye, girls."

"Bee," called one as Beatrice started on at a brisk walk.

"Well?" Bee paused good naturedly.

"Edna was telling us how long your father had been away, and I want to ask you if you think he would know you if he were to meet you unexpectedly?"

"Oh, Sue, that's mean!" came from the girls in shocked tones. "Don't answer her, Bee."

"But I don't ask for meanness," went on Sue apologetically as she saw the look that came into Bee's eyes. "I really want to know."

"Why, of course he would know me," uttered Bee hastily. "I'm his daughter."

"Yes; but—" began the irrepressible Sue, when Edna caught her about the waist and pressed one hand firmly over her mouth.

"Go on, Bee," she cried. "I'll attend to her. You'll have to hurry if you get home in time to finish that letter."

Beatrice turned, and slowly went on her way. Her uncle's house, where she lived, was in the western outskirts of the town more than a mile distant from the school. It behooved her to hasten if she were to finish her letter before tea time, but that question of Sue's had set her to thinking.

On the death of her mother, ten years before, her father, overwhelmed with grief at his loss, had accepted an offer to go abroad to complete a collection of lepidoptera for Union University, leaving her in charge of his brother's family. His letters had been frequent, and so tender and loving that the question of recognition had never occurred to her.

The houses became fewer as Beatrice reached the edge of town where the main street became a turnpike with green fields on either side, and a clear view of the distant hills. It was a beautiful April day. At the opening of the month spring had smiled invitingly; then, as though repenting her forwardness, she had retreated for a time, advancing again with coy hesitancy until today all her windows were open toward summer. In the zenith was a blue so soft and dreamy that it drew the soul as well as the eye toward it. A haze of Tyrian hue purpled the hills that encircled the little town, and mellowed the glory of the sunshine. There were splashes of green in the meadows so delicate as to be almost yellow, and along the brooks the willows played their fast greening boughs against a background of gray wood color. The very earth was odorous and the air was like balm, but Beatrice, usually susceptible to the beauties of Nature, was in too abstracted a mood to be conscious of the loveliness about her.

"But of course he would know me," she told herself at length, reassuringly. "Why, I should know him, and I was only five years old when he went away."

And with this she laughed aloud that she should have been so foolish as to consider for even a moment the absurd possibility of her father's not knowing her, and with her customary brightness of spirit restored she quickened her steps, and soon reached her uncle's place.

There were many acres in the estate. Henry Raymond was a well to do lawyer, and the walk to the dwelling lay through a large orchard. As Bee came in sight of the house the door opened, and a girl, about her own age, came out on the piazza, and ran down the steps to meet her. She was an extremely pretty girl. A slim graceful figure was hers, with a proud little head and sunny, shining hair that hung about her face with its beautiful blue eyes like a halo. She seemed rather the personification of loveliness than a flesh and blood maiden.

"What made you so late, Bee?" she cried. "I have been watching for you fully an hour."

"I staid to help Professor Lawrence for one thing; then the girls stopped me to talk with them. They want us to go to Edna's tomorrow afternoon. Will you be well enough to go, Adele?"

"Oh, I'm all right now, Bee. Papa came home early with a box of chocolates, and that seemed to be just what I needed."

Bee laughed.

"You butterfly," she said. "Always feeding on sweets. Did you leave me any?"

"Well—" Adele Raymond hesitated. "Not many, and that's a fact, Bee. You shouldn't have kept me waiting so long. And you haven't even noticed that I have on a new hat."

"But I thought that yours had violets on it," remarked Bee as she glanced at the hat. "That has red roses."

"Well, this one is yours, goosey. You're a funny girl, Bee, not to know your own hat. I have been trying mine on, then I thought I'd wear yours to meet you. And oh, Bee! the pictures have come too."

"What? Our photographs?" exclaimed Bee eagerly.

"Why Aunt Annie thought that we wouldn't have them for a week yet. Where are they, Adele?"

"In the library. I never knew you to be so concerned about your picture before, Bee."

"I am going to send one to father," observed Bee as she hurried into the house. "It's come just in time to go out with the letter."

"But do come up stairs first, Bee, and see my new hat. Wouldn't you like to see it?"

"I'd rather see the pictures," answered Bee making a dash for the library, flinging her hat in one direction and her books in another as she did so.

"Mamma won't like it if she sees your things lying about," observed her cousin following her into the library.

"I'll pick them up just as soon as I see the photographs," said Bee impatiently as she took up the pictures.

"Oh, Adele! how pretty you do look in yours; but mine—Oh, dear! it certainly leaves much to be desired."

"Mamma said that your good looks lay in your expression," remarked her cousin. "That is what makes it so hard to get a good picture of you, Bee. You are not going to send it to Uncle William, are you?"

"Yes," answered Bee with determination. "I never would send one before because I always hoped to get a good one, but tonight Sue Ford asked me if I thought he would know me if he were to meet me unexpectedly, and I am going to make sure of it. Now, if you don't mind, Adele, I'll begin my letter at once."

"Oh, Bee. I have been so lonely and dull," pleaded Adele. "Must you write it this very minute?"

"If I don't he won't hear from me at all this month, and father insists on hearing once a month. It is such a little thing to do for him, and I love to please him. It won't take me long."

"Of course then I must go away, and leave you alone," said her cousin petulantly. "Mamma doesn't want me to bother you when you are writing to him; but please don't be long, Bee."

"I won't," promised Bee, and at last she was left in peace.

An hour later Adele opened the door the merest trifle to peep in: "Mamma wants you to come to her just as soon as you have finished Bee," she said. "Are you through?"

"I have written the letter, but I haven't fixed the envelope for the picture yet," answered Beatrice jumping up from the desk. "If you don't mind doing it for me, Adele, I'll see what Aunt Annie wants."

"I don't mind a bit, Bee." Adele came into the room quickly. "Where is the address?"

"Here!" Bee moved a slip of paper on the desk toward her. "He is to be in Egypt this month."

"Just think of it," commented Adele bending over the desk. "That's a long way off. Shall I put the picture in for you, Bee?"

But Bee had already left the room. Adele directed the envelope in her best hand, then picked up her cousin's photograph, and looked at it critically.

"Poor Bee!" she said aloud. "It isn't very good of her. I'd hate to have my father think I looked like that if he was far away from me. And Bee is much better looking. I suppose Uncle William won't mind though, as she is his daughter. Now if it were my picture—"

She placed her own picture beside that of Bee's, and gazed at it complacently. Suddenly she gave a little ripple of laughter:

"Wouldn't it be fun to send my picture instead of Bee's?" she exclaimed, her eyes sparkling with mischief. "I believe I'll do it. Bee will never know, and hers is really not good enough to send."

With this she slipped Bee's photograph into a drawer of the desk, placed her own in the envelope, and sealed it just as Bee re-entered the room.

"You're a dear!" exclaimed Bee taking it from her, and picking up her letter. "Aunt Annie wants me to go down town for her, and I'll be just in time for the night mail."


Chapter II

The Omen of the Butterfly

"Light and silv'ry cloudlets hover
In the air as yet scarce warm;
Mild, with glimmer soft tinged over,
Peeps the sun through fragrant balm."
May Song. Goethe.

"I am so glad that I sent it," exclaimed Beatrice again and again after posting the letter and the photograph. "Father has always wanted my picture, but I waited hoping that sometime I'd get a good one. Still, it will give him an idea of how I look even though it is a poor likeness. I do wonder if he will like it!"

And with a roguish smile Adele would answer: "I think so, Bee."

The days passed. With more than her usual impatience Bee waited for an answer to her letter. If the connections were prompt, if he were not away from civilization on an extended butterfly hunt, if he wrote just as soon as he received it, she ought to hear by the last of May, she told herself; so, having arrived at this conclusion, she tried to rest in patience until that time should come.

At length the timid beauties of April were merged into the exuberance of the leaf and flower of May, and Nature was resplendent in the full glory of the springtide. The last day of the month fell upon a Saturday, and early in the morning of that day Bee dressed herself to go into town for the mail. Seating herself upon the steps of the piazza to wait for Adele who was to accompany her she feasted her eyes upon the beauty of the orchard whose trees seemed like great pink and white bouquets set in the ground. Suddenly a puff of wind stirred the branches, and sent the petals of the apple blossoms flying in every direction.

"Dear me!" exclaimed the girl springing up from the steps in pretended dismay as a shower of the fragrant blooms deluged her. "Snow in May! I told Adele that it would be Christmas before she was ready. Come out, and see the storm, Aunt Annie."

A lady standing just inside a long French window which opened upon the porch came through it to her niece's side.

"What an idea!" she said in a clear musical voice.

"Get the broom, Bee, and sweep off the steps. I shall be glad when the blossoms are gone. They make such a litter."

"Why, Aunt Annie, glad when the blossoms are gone? You can't mean it. Just look at those trees! Did you ever see anything so pretty?"

"They are pretty enough, child," returned Mrs. Raymond carelessly. "There! cease your rhapsodies, and get the broom. When you have seen as many Springs as I have you won't be quite so ecstatic over them."

"I believe that I'll always feel just as I do now," declared Bee as she ran for the broom. "When the trees begin to bud something gets into my being that makes me feel like—like—Oh, like Alexander the Great: that I could conquer the world."

"It's the wine of youth in your blood, Bee." The lady smiled at the girl's enthusiasm. "That's what it is to be young. You are very like your father."

"Am I, auntie?" Beatrice flushed with pleasure.

"Yes. At least you are in regard to your feeling for Nature. He sees beauty in everything; or used to do so. It seems to be a family trait of the Raymonds. I don't notice it so much in Adele; but then she takes after my people."

"Perhaps it is because she is so beautiful herself," remarked Bee meditatively. "I've noticed that people don't prize what they themselves possess."

"Don't say that, Bee. You are far from being homely," spoke Mrs. Raymond graciously, noting a trace of wistfulness in her niece's tone. "Beside, 'Beauty is only skin—'"

"Yes; I know, Aunt Annie. Spare me!" The girl put her hand in laughing protest over her aunt's mouth. "Still, I wouldn't mind having the skin. I just believe that that saying, and the other: 'Handsome is as handsome does,' were invented by some ugly old thing with a skin as yellow as a pumpkin. Oh, here is Adele at last!"

Mrs. Raymond laughed, and turned toward the door through which her daughter came, her face aglow with pride.

"Beatrice has been ready a long time," she chided, the gentleness of her tone softening the reproof. "You should not have kept her waiting, my daughter, when this is the day she is expecting a letter from her father."

"Don't scold her, auntie," pleaded Bee gazing at her cousin with admiring eyes. "Oh, Adele! how do you make yourself look so pretty?"

Adele smiled, well pleased. She was accustomed to being told of her beauty, but she never wearied of the homage it exacted.

"You look nice too, Bee," she said condescendingly with a glance of approval at Beatrice's white robed figure. "Aren't you going to wear any hat?"

"I am going to carry it until we reach the road." Bee caught up a broad brimmed leghorn from a chair, and held it carelessly by the strings. "I don't like to wear one any more than I have to. I'll beat you to the gate, Adele."

"A race?" Adele drew her brows together in a prim little frown. "Such great girls as we are. Why, we are almost young ladies! It would not be proper."

"Bother propriety!" ejaculated her cousin. "There is a whole year before we are sixteen. We don't need to give up running until then. Do we, auntie?"

"No;" answered her aunt indulgently. "Be girls just as long as you can. You will be young ladies soon enough. I wish Adele would take more exercise."

"Just through the orchard then," cried Adele catching up her skirts daintily. "Here goes! Oh, Bee!"

"What's the matter?" asked Bee, surprised.

"No wonder you could be dressed before I was," exclaimed Adele in shocked tones. "There are three buttons of your dress unfastened."

"Are there?" Bee backed up to her unconcernedly. "Do button them, like a dear. I never was good at closing exercises."

Adele giggled appreciatively.

"Professor Lawrence says that closing exercises should be marked by decorum as well as dispatch," she remarked in didatic accents. "I observe the dispatch, Miss Raymond, but I must say—"

"Oh, hurry up," interrupted Bee impatiently. "What's a button more or less on such a glorious day as this? Come on, or I shall run a race with my shadow."

"Catch me then." Adele darted away quickly. "If I beat I shall read your letter first."

"Good-bye, dears," called Mrs. Raymond after them. "Don't let her beat you, Bee."

"I won't, auntie," Beatrice paused long enough to say, and then sped after her cousin.

There were ripples of sunshine all tangled over the bowers of apple blooms, and dancing blithely over the mats of blue violets in the grass. Gold belted honeybees hummed a song of contentment in every flowery cluster. Gauze-winged dragon flies darted hither and thither, while butterflies sailed by on new born wings of bronze, and scarlet and gold. The wind laughed a gleeful accompaniment to the merry maidens who ran gaily down the path o'ershadowed by the trees. Adele's graceful form was in the lead, but Beatrice was gradually gaining upon her. At length, as they were nearing the edge of the orchard, Bee gave an exultant shout and passed her cousin, reaching the gate just ahead of her.

"Weren't you awfully afraid that I'd get to read that letter?" laughed Adele as, flushed and panting, she leaned against the gate. "How fast you do run, Bee! I am all out of breath."

"So am I," admitted Bee. "We will have time to rest for a moment before going on to the office. Take off your hat, and you will soon be cool." She swung her own back and forth by the strings as she spoke.

"I'm afraid of freckles," sighed her cousin.

"Gracious!" ejaculated Bee, quickly putting her hat on her head. "I had forgotten all about freckles. How can you always remember, Adele?"

"Perhaps if you had to take the care of your skin that I do, you would not forget either."

"But don't you ever get tired of it? I should think that you would want to go bareheaded sometimes."

"I would, Bee; but I like to keep my skin nice too. One can't do both."

"Can't one?" asked Bee thoughtfully. "I should think that the skin would need air and sunshine just like the flowers, and the butterflies, and all other pretty growing things."

"Mamma always puts her lillies in the shade, doesn't she?" queried Adele laughing. "It keeps them white, and that's the reason she tells me to keep on my hat. Tan and freckles may be healthful, but they are not pretty. At least she doesn't think so. Do you know the reason that I always give Dolly Madison as my favorite character in history, Bee?"

"No. I have wondered about it. I should think you would prefer Queen Elizabeth, or Joan of Arc, or somebody like them. I like women who do things. Miss Rosa Bonheur, Miss Herschel, or Grace Darling suit me better."

"Well, I like Dolly best because I sympathize with her. When she was a little girl her mother cut holes in her sunbonnet, and tied her hair through them so that she couldn't throw it off. She had a pretty skin too, and her mother didn't want it to get tanned, or sun-burned. I always think of what Dolly had to go through whenever I want to throw off my hat, and it helps me to keep it on. I know just how she felt about that everlasting bonnet. But after a while, you know, she became the mistress of the White House."

Bee laughed outright.

"Is that the reason that you are taking such good care of your complexion?" she asked teasingly. "I never thought it of you, Adele."

"Laugh if you want to," retorted Adele.

"Isn't Professor Lawrence always telling the boys that one of them may be President of the United States some day, and that every one of them is eligible? Now the President has to have a wife, doesn't he? Well, I never could see why a girl mightn't look forward to being the Mistress of the White House as well as a boy might expect to be President."

"If having a perfect complexion is one of the essentials toward becoming the Mistress of the White House you are right in line for the position," said Bee wiping her eyes. "Never mind, Adele! I was just having a little fun. Your skin is lovely, and I expect I would be just as careful as you are if it were mine. I wonder how it would feel to be a beauty!"

"It's a great responsibility," declared Adele with a toss of her head. "There is so much to live up to. If I am the least bit untidy some one is sure to say: 'Such a pretty girl should always be neat and dainty.' Or, 'beauty and dirt don't go together, my dear.' While you—you can be as careless as you wish, and no one thinks anything about it."

"I am not so sure about that." Bee shook her head dubiously. "Aunt Annie is always taking me to task for my untidiness. And there is much demanded of me in other ways. If you are expected to be neat and dainty at all times, I am urged to be industrious."

"'How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!'"

quoted Adele in a sing-song tone. "Isn't that what the girls are always saying, Bee? I never see you flying about the house helping mamma, or running errands, or pouring over your books that I don't think of the 'Little busy bee.' Now I can't find time to do anything except to dress, and to keep myself looking nice."

"Well, a butterfly is not expected to do anything but to fly in the sun, and be happy," laughed Bee. "And you are like a golden and white butterfly, Adele. Bees must make honey. They are too homely to do anything else, while butterflies—"

"Speaking of butterflies," interrupted Adele quickly. "There is one just about to light on your head."

"What kind is it?" queried Beatrice holding her head very still, and speaking anxiously. "I hope it isn't a cabbage butterfly. I shouldn't like to think that even a butterfly would take my head for a cabbage."

"It's yellow and black, Bee. Is that the cabbage butterfly? I don't know as much about such things as you do."

"The cabbage butterfly is white. Has it settled yet?"

"Yes." Adele watched as a yellow and black Swallow Tail poised gently upon Bee's head for a moment, and then flew away. "There! it's gone."

"That's a good omen," declared Bee turning toward the gate. "Whenever a butterfly lights on your head it means favorable news from a distance. There will be something good in father's letter, I know. Come, Adele! lets hurry so that we can get it."

Adele straightened her hat a little, and then the two girls set off for the postoffice.


Chapter III

The Good News

"As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."

Proverbs.


"Suppose there shouldn't be a letter," remarked Adele suggestively as the cousins entered the postoffice. "What would you do?"

"But there will be," answered Bee confidently. "In all the years that he has been away father has not failed to send me a letter once a month. Even though it may not be an answer to my last, I'll get a letter."

She was not disappointed. There was a letter for her, and Adele received one also.

"Let's hurry to the old elm tree so that we can read them," cried Adele. "I wonder who mine's from? I didn't expect a letter."

Beatrice assented readily. The old elm tree stood by the side of the road just outside the town and was a favorite resting place for pedestrians. It did not take the girls long to reach the spot, so eager were they to read their letters. Beatrice threw herself down on the grass without ceremony, and tore open her epistle. Adele sank down with a graceful and effective arrangement of her draperies. Before she had quite completed the adjustment she was startled by an exclamation from her cousin.

"What is it, Bee?" she asked, looking up curiously.

"He is coming home," cried Bee jumping up and dancing about wildly. "Oh, my father is coming home!"

"Is he?" ejaculated Adele excitedly. "What does he say? Do be quiet, Bee? Sit down and read me the letter, or let me read it."

"I'll read it to you," answered Bee, kissing the missive rapturously. "I'll read it in a minute. Oh, oh, oh! I'm so happy I could fly."

She grew quiet presently, however, and seating herself again, began to read:

"Cairo, Egypt,
May 16th, 19—.

"My dear Little Daughter:—

"When you receive this letter your father will be nearer to you than he has been for many a day. Child, I am coming home. Yes; after all these years I am returning to you. How long I shall remain is problematical, as I have not yet completed my investigation of the Lepidoptera of tropical countries. However, that is a matter that may be left to the future.

"Another two years would have terminated my task, but such a longing has come to me to behold my little daughter who must now be almost a woman that I have dropped everything, and am coming to her as swiftly as steam can carry me.

"No doubt you have often wondered that I should have left you, and the subject has been too painful to me to discuss; but now, you are old enough to understand my reasons. When your mother died she left a void in my life that nothing but the most engrossing occupation could make me forget. Change of scene was an absolute necessity for me; and so, when Union University wished to send an entomologist to study the habits of Moths and Butterflies of other countries, I was glad indeed when it was proposed that I should be the one to go. You were but five years old, and needed a woman's care more than mine, so I left you with your uncle's family. I still think it was the best thing I could have done.

"I thought that it would be an easy matter to stay away for twelve, or even more years, but lately there have come to me sweet visions of a daughter's companionship, and Nature will no longer be denied. It is partly your letters which have wrought this change. They have been so bright, so clever, so amusing, that you must have a mind of unusual intelligence. I said 'partly your letters'; for the receipt of your photograph completed what the letters had begun.

"I can not resist the winsomeness of your picture, so I am coming back to get acquainted with you, and perhaps we shall discover a mutual companionship and affection.

"Are you like your mother, I wonder, or do you take after me? I can not tell by your picture, but I think—No; I shall not tell you what I think until I see you.

"So, little girl, get your aunt and uncle to go over to our house to open it up, and to make it habitable for living. If nothing happens I shall be with you on the evening of the Fifteenth of June. I am writing Henry, also, by this mail.

"Hoping to see you soon, I am
"Your most loving father,
"William Raymond."

"He is coming," ended Bee with a little sob. "My own, own father."

"I am glad," spoke Adele, but her voice was weak as she said it. Into her face had come a look of dismay as Bee read what her father had said of the "winsomeness of the picture." An impulse came to her to confess to her cousin what she had done, but she was fearful of what Bee might say. She had not thought that it would have this effect. And so she sat quieter than her wont while Bee gave vent to her delight.

"You don't know how I've felt at times, Adele," said Bee. "I've almost envied you your father. When Uncle Henry has kissed you, and petted and indulged you it hasn't seemed fair that I couldn't have my father. But I never told you before, and I didn't tell any one. I knew father wouldn't stay away unless he thought it was right, and I see now just why he did it. I'll tell him that I don't blame him a bit. And we'll just love each other all the more for being apart so long."

And so, with tears and laughter mingling together, Bee rejoiced. A meadow lark flew, across the road, alighted on a twig and sang to them. An oriole peeped at them saucily from his perch on a near-by tree, then whistled playfully, "Sweet, do you hear? Sweet, sweet, do you hear?" And Bee threw back her head caught his note, and answered joyfully, "I hear. I hear. Sweet, sweet."

"How much Uncle William thinks of you, Bee," observed Adele presently. "And he seems to be so pleased with your mind. Scientific people think so much of intellect, don't they?"

"I wonder if they do?" mused Bee. "I don't believe that they are much different from other people. And after all it is not my mind that is bringing him home, but my picture. Oh, I wish that I had sent it long ago."

Adele winced. "He'll find you awfully clever, Bee."

"You dear!" exclaimed Bee leaning forward to kiss her. "You are just as sweet as you are pretty."

"Sue Ford said the other day that I was sweet because I did not have sense enough to be anything else," observed Adele.

"The mean thing!" cried Bee. "Sue says lots of things, although I am glad that she said what she did about father's not knowing me. If she had not said that I would have thought that my picture was not good enough to send, and father wouldn't be coming home. Still, I don't like her saying that you have no sense."

"Oh, I don't mind," said Adele, biting a blade of grass meditatively. After all, it did not matter so much about the picture. When her Uncle William came she would tell them that she did it for fun, and they would have a good laugh. Bee wouldn't mind at all when her father was really with her. So, quite restored to her usual complacency, she continued; "I know that I am not clever like you, or Sue, or some of the other girls; and when I see how worried you get over your examinations I am glad that I'm not. Bee, does Uncle William know that you have studied up butterflies?"

"No; I was going to tell him when I answered this letter. I expect that he will laugh at my specimens. Dear father!"

She lingered over the word as though she liked to say it. All at once she rose with a little cry. "We must go home, Adele. Aunt Annie ought to know about father at once, so that she can make the necessary arrangements about going to Walnut Grove. To think of being in my own home with my own father so soon!"

"Bee," said Adele slipping her arm through her cousin's as they walked homeward, "will you let me wear your new hat Sunday?"

"Yes;" assented Bee abstractedly. She was accustomed to having Adele wear her new things, though Adele did not wish to lend her own.

"And your bracelet?" went on Adele, seeing that Bee was too absorbed to care what she promised.

"Anything you wish, Adele," answered Beatrice impatiently. "Only let's hurry. Aunt Annie won't like it if we loiter too long after knowing about father."

Adele complied willingly, and the rest of the distance was accomplished quickly. Bee paused at the orchard gate.

"Listen how the birds are singing," she cried. "Do you suppose that they know that father is coming?"

"You goosey!" laughed her cousin. "They were singing when we went out."

"Not like this, Adele. Just listen!"

A riot of happiness in quivering bursts of song came from the leafy boughs of the trees. Cardinal, oriole, tawny thrush and gold-finch seemed to vie with each other in pouring forth the sweetest melody.

"How happy they are," cried Bee. "Almost as happy as I am. And it was just here that the butterfly lighted on my head. I'll always believe that omen after this because I did have good news. Why, there is auntie!"

"What news, children?" called Mrs. Raymond as she came through the trees toward them.

"The best in the world," answered Beatrice waving her letter excitedly. "Father is coming home! He will be here by the Fifteenth of June, and we are to go over to our house to get things ready for him. Will you go? Will Uncle Henry be able to leave court, and come too?"

"William coming home?" Mrs. Raymond stopped in her surprise. "Is it possible? What does he say? Let me read the letter."

"Here it is," cried Bee handing it to her. "He is really coming. Oh, aren't you glad, glad?"

"Indeed I am. For all our sakes, but most of all for yours. I have thought for some time that it was his duty, and I am glad that he sees it at last."

"Bee is awfully keen to leave us," spoke Adele reproachfully. "You will have to live with your father now, Bee, and you won't be with me at all."

"You won't lose me quite, Adele." Bee was surprised and touched by the speech. It was not often that her cousin showed so much affection for her as she had done that day. "The only difference will be that we won't be in the same house. Walnut Grove is near enough to see each other often. Won't we have good times together? I am so happy!"

"Henry will be pleased too," smiled her aunt. "I presume he has his letter already. Bee, you will tire yourself if you keep capering about so. You don't remember your father at all, do you?"

"Yes;" answered Bee with passionate intentness. "Of course, I know him from his letters, and then I remember how he used to carry me. His eyes are dark, but he doesn't look a bit like me. I know that he is handsome, and distinguished, and oh, I'd know him anywhere!"

"Well, he is all that, but you must have heard us speak of it. You were but five when he left, and could not possibly remember all those things. We must go over to the Grove tomorrow, I think, to see what is to be done. Henry can come when court adjourns. There won't be any too much time to get everything in readiness. The house has been closed for so long that there will be a great deal to do. Servants must be hired for both house and grounds."

"I don't want any servants, auntie," protested her niece. "I want to keep house for father myself. You know that he wanted me to learn, and I want him to see how well I can do it."

"That is all very well, Beatrice, but you must have a strong capable woman to help you," said Mrs. Raymond decidedly. "William Raymond is a fastidious man, and there must be an experienced cook in the kitchen."

"How much you know about him," murmured Bee half enviously. "Tell me everything you can, auntie."

"Come into the house then. We will have lunch, and devote the whole afternoon to William. We could have no more delightful subject," declared the lady, willing for once to indulge Bee's insatiable desire to hear all she could about her father. "I am quite sure that it will be but a repetition of what I have already told you many times, but you will listen with new interest today."


Chapter IV

A Jest Becomes Earnest

"To mourn a mischief that is past and gone,
Is the next way to draw new mischief on."
Othello. Shakespeare.

"Dear, dear! will evening never come!" exclaimed Beatrice, pushing back her hair impatiently and looking at the clock in the hall for the third time in five minutes.

"Don't you know that the days are longer in June, Bee?" asked Adele in mock surprise.

"Isn't there anything that you can do, Beatrice?" Mrs. Raymond glanced up from her embroidery. "Occupation of some sort is the best remedy for restlessness."

"Everything is done, auntie. I've even set the table for dinner, and it's only five o'clock. Three long hours before he comes! What shall I do?"

"It will take nearly all that time to dress," remarked Adele rising.

"How do you manage it, Adele? I need only fifteen minutes."

"Which explains your usual fly-away look," observed her aunt quietly. "It would do no harm to expend more pains upon your toilet, Beatrice. A girl cannot be too careful of her personal appearance. This evening of all others you should desire to look your best."

"I do, auntie; so I will begin to get ready right now," replied Bee, following her cousin out of the room.

It was the Fifteenth of June, and everything was in readiness for Doctor Raymond's homecoming. He had always objected to a tenant in his home, so the dwelling had been left in charge of caretakers. Each year, however, Walnut Grove, as the old vine-clad house was called, had enjoyed a thorough house-cleaning under Mrs. Raymond's supervision; but never before had it undergone such a furious renovation. Paint and floors were scoured; walls swept; beds shaken and sunned, and furniture polished. The grounds, too, had received attention as the neat appearance of lawn and garden could testify. The last day of waiting left nothing to do to beguile the dragging hours.

Mrs. Raymond settled herself for a quiet time after the departure of the girls, but she was not long left alone. Her calm was shortly broken by the reappearance of her niece.

"I've been just as long as ever I could be," cried Bee, skimming lightly across the room to the lady's side. "I've brushed my hair until the roots are visible, and if there is a button unfastened anywhere about me it would take a search warrant to find it. Will I do, auntie?"

Her aunt suppressed a smile, and looked at her critically. The girl was looking unusually well. She wore a gown of shimmering white which clung to her lithesome figure in soft folds. A single red rose nestled caressingly in her hair and supplied the touch of color needful. Excitement lent a flush to her cheek and an added lustre to her eye so that she appeared animated and even brilliant.

"You never looked so well in your life, Bee," approved Mrs. Raymond. "Why, you are almost beautiful."

"As if I could ever be that," laughed Bee, giving her a bearish hug and a resounding kiss. "Although, if anything in the world could transform me into a beauty it would be father's coming. There, Aunt Annie! I am going to leave you in peace. I am going into the garden and walk to the Arbor Vitae hedge. It will take five minutes to walk there, and five to come back. If I do that six times one hour will be gone."

"Oh, youth! Impatient, restless youth!" ejaculated the lady as the girl danced out of the room.

The sun sank to rest. The gorgeous hued clouds of sunset lost their brilliancy under the approach of gray Twilight, and were folded upon the breast of Evening. Low in the west hung the silvery crescent of the young moon; and near, vieing with it in brightness, shone the soft radiance of the evening star—first wanderer in the train of night. The twilight shadows lengthened. The odorous breeze, scented with honeyed clover and the perfume of roses, grew languid in its sweetness, and presently died away. Great dusky moths drifted silently about the half-closed flowers, and from the hedge sounded the plaintive notes of a whip-poor-will.

"You will not have much longer to wait, Bee," comforted Mrs. Raymond, coming out on the verandah where the girl had taken her stand. "I heard the train quite a while ago, so they will soon be here. They are later than Henry thought they would be. You are not nervous, are you?"

"No; that is, I don't know," answered Bee, her head bent in a listening attitude. "Oh, auntie! What makes the minutes seem so long when one is waiting for something good to happen? They go fast enough at other times."

"It is one of those things that can't be explained, child," answered Mrs. Raymond gravely. "You remember the old proverb: 'A watched pot never boils'? But it won't be much longer. Try to possess your soul in patience for just a short time. He will soon be here now. It grows dark, doesn't it? The dinner will be quite late. Had we not better go inside?"

"You may, auntie, but I want to stay right here so as to get the first glimpse of him."

"I think I will, Bee. The air seems damp, and I am beginning to feel some of your nervousness. Adele is singing in the parlor. I think I'll join her."

"Do," said Bee briefly.

The darkness grew denser, but Bee still lingered on the porch, her form half hidden by the vines. Presently the sound of wheels was heard down the drive, and she started forward eagerly, then paused overcome by a sudden shyness. Mrs. Raymond hastened to the door, and stepped to the girl's side.

"Come," she called as Beatrice shrank behind her.

A carriage came rapidly out of the darkness, and drew up before the entrance. Before it had fairly stopped the door opened, and a man sprang from it. Quickly he ran up the steps just as Adele appeared in the doorway, the broad white light of the hall lamp shining about her yellow hair like a halo, making her face with its beautiful eyes look like a cameo in a golden setting.

"Welcome home, William," began Mrs. Raymond, but her brother-in-law brushed by her with eyes only for the graceful figure beyond.

"My daughter! My dear little daughter!" he cried, clasping the astonished girl in his arms.

"How beautiful you are! You are just as I pictured you."

"Oh!" burst from Bee in such heartbroken accents that Mrs. Raymond was galvanized into action.

"William," she cried, laughing nervously, "you have made a mistake. That is my daughter, Adele. Beatrice, come and welcome your father."

Beatrice came forward slowly. All the joy and sparkle had gone out of her face, and in its misery it looked dull and heavy.

"Why, why," stammered Doctor Raymond, glancing from one girl to the other, his disappointment written plainly upon his countenance. "I thought, I certainly thought—"

"You thought that I was Bee, didn't you?" smiled Adele, gracefully disengaging herself from his embrace. "It was a funny mistake, as we are not a bit alike. Bee is so clever."

"Yes; I dare say." The entomologist was clearly bewildered by the occurrence, and he greeted his own daughter awkwardly in consequence. Bee received his caress passively, feeling with unerring intuition his lack of warmth.

Mechanically she followed the others into the parlor, her anguish each moment becoming more intolerable. She could not but remark how her father's eyes were constantly straying toward Adele who was fairly radiant. Bee had adored her cousin, and had been proud of her beauty; but now, something closely resembling hatred crept into her heart.

Hoping that the cheer and conversation of the table would put matters upon a more genial footing, Mrs. Raymond ushered them in to dinner. The lady, as well as her husband, had been distressed by the incident, and both viewed with anxiety Beatrice's constraint and coldness. The girl was usually the gayest of the gay at table, and so light-hearted that her aunt frequently reproved her for her levity, but now, fearful of losing control of herself, she grew so frigid that there was no thawing her out. The talk was chiefly among the grown people.

"What are your plans, William?" asked Henry Raymond.

"They are uncertain," replied Doctor Raymond. "I shall be here for the summer at least. I have a great number of specimens to mount and to catalogue, beside some work upon my new book. In fact, I have so much on hand that I fear it will be very lonesome for Beatrice. Do you not think, my child,—" with a conciliatory smile in Bee's direction, and blundering into a second error as even the most learned of men, be they lepidopterists or what not, sometimes will,—"do you not think that you would better have your cousin with you for the summer?"

"No;" blurted out Bee, unable to trust herself to utter more than the single word.

"Why, bless my soul!" ejaculated the scientist, turning an amazed glance upon her. Mrs. Raymond interposed quickly:

"Beatrice is right, William. It has been long since she has seen you, and you will naturally wish to spend as much time with her as possible. I have already arranged for Adele to go to mother's for the summer. She may come to you in the fall; if Beatrice wishes."

"Perhaps that will be better," acquiesced the traveller quietly. "And now, as we are all here together, it may be the time and place for explanations. I don't know whether one is due me, or to Beatrice; but I do not understand how I received this in place of her picture. Can you explain the mistake, my daughter?"

He drew Adele's photograph from the inside pocket of his coat as he spoke, and handed it to Bee. She gave an exclamation of astonishment as she saw the beautiful, laughing countenance on the cardboard instead of her own. Then she raised her eyes, and gave Adele a long, steady look. Adele had changed the photographs, and Bee knew that it had been done on purpose. She saw that her cousin was a little frightened, and she wondered what explanation she would make.

Adele was frightened. It had not occurred to her that the matter would take on a serious aspect, and she feared to say that she had made the exchange in fun. So she reached over and took the photograph from Bee with a hand that trembled slightly.

"Why! It's my picture," she cried with a little hysterical giggle. "What a mistake! I remember now they both came home together, and lay on the desk in the library. They must have gotten mixed some way. It would have been easy to change them."

"Why, so it would," agreed her mother with a relieved expression. "I remember they were on the desk together. Bee must have picked up yours, Adele, by mistake."

And Adele said not a word about its being her fault. She had no fear of Bee's telling either. Her cousin had a boy's sense of honor about such things, and unless she herself owned up, the matter would rest between them. So she made no further comment on the subject, and the older people, deeming the affair of no great importance since it was known that a mistake had been made, resumed conversation.

Bee sat silent, her heart swelling almost to bursting. The words of her father's letter rang in her brain: "It is partly your letters that have wrought this change ... and partly your picture, which completed what the letters had begun. I cannot resist its winsomeness."


It was Adele's picture which had brought him home. He would not have come had she sent her own. He had thought the beautiful girl was his daughter, and he was disappointed because she was not. He wanted Adele. Adele!

The dinner, on the whole not a successful meal, was over at last. The older people were deep in conversation; the traveller narrating his experiences, the others questioning and exclaiming. Bee had pictured just such a scene, but always in fancy she sat close to her father's side with her hand in his, or else his arm was thrown caressingly around her. The reality was so different that it was more than she could bear. Seeing that she was unobserved, she rose and stole quietly out of the house.

The light breeze, breathing of the sweetness of honeysuckles and roses, touched the tops of the walnut trees and dipped down to stir the cool grass beneath them. Into the darkness of the grove went the unhappy girl. When she had reached a place where she was out of sight and sound of the house she threw herself down, and gave way to a passion of tears.

"It's not fair," she sobbed in angry resentment. "She has her father, and her mother too; and now she has to take mine. Oh, I can't bear it! I can't bear it!"

"Bee!" Adele had seen her cousin leave the house, and had followed her.

"Go away," cried Bee, sitting up and speaking vehemently. "Go away, Adele Raymond! I hate you!"

"I don't see why you should," whimpered Adele. "I shouldn't think you would care so much for such a little thing. I shouldn't mind it a bit, if I were in your place."

"Yes, you would," blazed Bee. "If you had not seen your father since you were a little girl, and when he came home he thought some one else was you, you wouldn't like it a bit more than I do. Adele Raymond, you changed those pictures on purpose."

"It was only in fun, Bee. Truly, I did not mean it any other way. I never dreamed that your father would come back just because of it."

"But you did know that if he thought the picture was mine he would think I was pretty. How could he help it? It would give him a wrong idea of how I looked, and when he came he would be disappointed. You knew that. And then you ran out just as soon as you heard the carriage."

"I didn't do that on purpose anyway, Bee. I was singing, you know, when I heard the wheels, and I ran out without thinking."

"But I heard Aunt Annie tell you to wait in the parlor until I had greeted father," went on Bee accusingly. "You ran right out to the door where the light would fall on you, so that he could not help but see you first. It was done on purpose. I know it was. I'll never trust you again in anything."

"I didn't think," said Adele again. "I didn't know that he was going to take me for his daughter, even though I did send him my picture. Anyway you ought to be glad that I sent it. He would not have come if I hadn't."

"That's just it," uttered Bee with a pitiful sob. "If it were just a mistake of the moment I could get over it, even though that would be bad enough. But it's knowing that he poured over your picture, thinking that it was his daughter. It's knowing that he was glad that you were beautiful when I am not. It's knowing that it was for you that he came home, and not for me at all. Oh! he never will care for an ugly old thing like me now."

"Yes, he will. Everybody likes you best when they know us both for a time. Then your mind—"

"Bother the mind!" ejaculated the other girl fiercely. "Mind doesn't count. It's only being pretty that counts, and you know it, Adele Raymond. Doesn't everyone indulge you just because you are pretty? And now my father—and he's the only father I've got, too—now he's just like everybody else. Oh, I hate you!"

"I don't want you to hate me, Bee," cried Adele, her own tears beginning to flow. "You never cared before that I was pretty."

"I wouldn't care now if father didn't—didn't—" Bee broke down completely, unable to finish.

"Won't you be friends, Bee?" pleaded Adele.

"No; I won't," answered Bee with decision.

"And won't you let me stay with you this Summer? I don't like grandma's. It's poky there." Adele never once mentioned Bee's telling who had changed the pictures. She knew without asking that Bee would not.

"I don't want you here," replied Bee angrily. "You want to stay because father admires you, but you shan't do it. I want him to myself, and I've a right to have him. He's my father!"

"Please, Bee," coaxed Adele. Bee always gave in to her pleadings, and she could not believe that she would not do so now.

"I am going to my room," announced Beatrice, rising. "And I don't want to be followed there."

She walked abruptly away, leaving Adele weeping softly.


Chapter V

Protective Mimicry

"Attempt the end, and never stand to doubt,
Nothing's so hard but search will find it out."
Herrick.

The next day Mr. and Mrs. Henry Raymond with Adele went home. For the first time in their lives the girls took leave of each other with coldness. The older people affected not to notice the lack of warmth in their adieus, believing that time and absence would heal the breach between them. Before their departure Mrs. Raymond had called her niece to her for a little talk.

"Bee, dear," she said, "you don't know how sorry I am for what has occurred. It was a most unfortunate mistake, but you must put all thought of it out of your mind. Be your own bright self again."

"I want to be pretty, Aunt Annie," burst from Bee, whose eyes were swollen and red from much weeping.

"That is nonsense, Beatrice," spoke her aunt sharply. "You cannot change your looks. 'What can't be cured must be endured.' Your personal appearance heretofore has caused you no concern, and there is no reason that it should begin to trouble you now. Beauty is not everything. Sometimes the plainest countenance becomes charming when stirred by the emotions of a noble heart."

"Yes; I know," said Beatrice dully. "I know all that. I've heard it ever since I can remember. My father would say the same thing, I dare say, yet his eyes follow Adele constantly, and he scarcely looks at me. People are always preaching how little beauty matters, and then they turn round and show that it makes all the difference in the world. Take Adele and me, Aunt Annie. Haven't I always had to stand back for her? You know that I have. I have given up my prettiest things to her, and been second in everything. But she shall not be first with my father. She shall not," she repeated passionately.

"You do not realize what you are saying, Beatrice," said Mrs. Raymond coldly, surprised and shocked by the girl's bitterness. It was such an ordinary occurrence for Adele to be admired that she did not fully grasp what it meant to her niece in the present instance. Then, too, Beatrice had always seemed to join in the admiration of her cousin so warmly that the lady was astonished at her feeling.

"I do not see why you should exhibit so much emotion over a simple occurrence," she continued after a moment. "It was a thing that might happen to anyone, and you are exaggerating the importance of it. Think no more about it, but make yourself so lovable that no one will care whether you are pretty or not. It lies in your power to win your father's affection, but it can not be done by continuing in your present frame of mind." And Bee found herself dismissed.

Soon afterward good-byes were said, and the girl's anguish increased as she saw how reluctant her father seemed to bid Adele farewell. To the young all things are tragic, and this which had befallen seemed nothing short of a calamity to Bee. At length, however, they were gone, and then Doctor Raymond turned to his daughter with a smile:

"Well, Beatrice, we are to have the house to ourselves, it appears. I presume that you have some studies, or some way by which you can amuse yourself for a few days. I shall be very busy for a time preparing reports, and arranging my specimens for the university; after which I shall be at liberty to make my little girl's acquaintance."

William Raymond did not mean to be cruel; but he was a scientist much absorbed in his work. He did have a great deal before him. Perhaps too he was not quite at ease with himself for the warmth which he had discovered toward his niece; perhaps, too, there lurked in his heart a faint feeling of disappointment that his daughter was not the lovely girl who had left in place of this silent, sullen appearing maiden who returned a passive:

"Very well, father."

Poor Bee! She had studied butterflies, her father's specialty, on purpose to surprise him. She had thought that he would let her be with him when he unpacked the rare specimens which he had obtained abroad, and she had pictured the delightful chats they would enjoy together.

The reality was so different from the anticipation that her heart swelled with the injustice of the thing, and she wept until the fountain of her tears was dry. The housekeeping which was to have been her pleasure served now to distract her mind. She threw herself into it with so much fervor as to extort a remonstrance from Aunt Fannie, the old colored woman who was the head factotum of the kitchen.

"You all jest a gwine to kill yerse'f," she said reprovingly. "'Tain't no mannah ob use to scrub an' scour twel a fly can't stan' up nowhar. Take hit easy, Miss Bee."

"It's all that I can do for father," responded Bee, and the old woman was silenced.

So the days went by. Every morning she saw her father at breakfast, and received his formal greeting as gracefully as she could. The meal over, Doctor Raymond disappeared in his study to be seen no more until evening. He was never a demonstrative man, and his reserve seemed like indifference to his daughter. Beatrice pondered upon his unconcern until she became possessed with the one idea that somehow, some way, she must do something to attract his attention.

"It's all because I'm not pretty," thought the unhappy child one morning when this state of things had gone on for a week. "I must do something to make him like me; but what?"

Listlessly she took up her butterfly book and turned the pages idly. All at once her eye was caught by these words:

"One of the most singular and interesting facts in the animal kingdom is what has been styled mimicry. Certain colors and forms are possessed by animals which adapt them to their surroundings in such wise that they are in a greater or less degree secured from observation and attack....

"A good illustration of this fact is found in the Disipsus Butterfly, which belongs to a group which is not especially protected, but is often the prey of insect-eating creatures. This butterfly has assumed almost the exact color and markings of the milkweed butterfly, which is distasteful to birds, and hence enjoys peculiar freedom from the attacks of enemies. Because this adaption of one form to another evidently serves the purpose of defense this phenomenon has been called 'protective mimicry.'"

"'Protective mimicry,'" mused the girl thoughtfully, leaning back in her chair and clasping her hands above her head. "That means if an animal wishes to defend himself from another he just puts on the form of one that his enemy doesn't like. 'Actor bugs,' Professor Lawrence calls them. If that can be done why couldn't any creature put on any form he liked? Wouldn't it be funny if a girl could change her appearance every morning just like she does her dress? I could get up then looking just like Adele. Why!—"

Bee sat up suddenly, startled by the idea which came to her.

"Beatrice Raymond," she cried, "you can do it. Why it's done every day. Didn't Emma Drew come back from St. Louis with golden hair when she had gone away with it black? Wasn't Mrs. Simpson's hair red, and then all at once wasn't it black? And the girls are always doing things to their complexions. Why, I can be just like Adele if I wish. Oh, why didn't I think of it sooner? I've lost a whole week." And with that she jumped up from the chair, went to the mirror, and surveyed herself critically:

"I could not change my eyes," she mused, "but I don't believe that would matter. Adele's are sometimes so dark that they seem black. But oh dear! My complexion is horrid, and my hair is so dark! They would have to be changed. Now what is the way to do it?"

At this moment Bee was in need of tender guidance from an older woman. She was a warm-hearted, loving, undisciplined girl; prone to do things on the impulse of the moment which she would afterward deeply regret. She had brooded over the indifference of her father and his apparent preference for her cousin until the matter had assumed gigantic proportions. Had it not been for the unfortunate change of photographs, and her father's consequent mistake, the question of looks would never have bothered her. As it was, the idea that if she could make herself like Adele, her father could not help but love her, filled her mind to the exclusion of anything else, and she thought of nothing save how the thing could be accomplished. Presently she turned from the glass and went down stairs to the kitchen.

"Aunt Fanny," she said to the negro woman, "do you know of anything that would make my skin white?"

"Lawsie, chile! What am de mattah wid yer skin? Hit am good ernuff," answered Aunt Fanny.

"But do you?" persisted Bee. "Because if you do, and will tell me, I will give you my string of yellow beads. Do you know anything?"

"'Cose I does, honey," answered the darkey, her eyes glistening at the mention of the beads. "Habn't I larn'd all erbout yarbs?"

"Then please tell me," coaxed the girl.

"Yer want hit like Miss Adele's?" questioned the old woman shrewdly.

"Yes," answered Bee eagerly.

"All yer has ter do, Miss Bee, is to git jim'son—yer know jim'son weed, honey?"

"Yes, yes," cried Bee impatiently. "Go on."

"Yer gits jim'son, an' makes a poultice ob de leabs. War dat ober night on yer face, an' in de mawnin' yer'll be as fair as de lily ob de valley. Miss Adele can't hole a candle to yer."

"Are you sure, Aunt Fanny?" questioned Bee gleefully.

"'Cose I'se sure. What'd I be tellin' yer fer ef I ain't sure?"

"And could you make my hair yellow like Adele's?"

"No'm; I cain't do dat. Dere's a worman down in de town kin, but I cain't. No'm; I kin do mos' anything, I reckon, but dat."

"Do you mean Miss Harris, the hairdresser, Aunt Fanny?" asked Bee with sudden enlightenment.

"Yes'um; she'll make yer hair yaller, er red, er anything yer wants hit," returned Aunt Fanny pompously, proud to be able to give so much information to her young mistress.

"Thank you, thank you," cried Bee, springing up joyfully. "I'll get the beads now, and if everything comes out all right I'll give you something nice."

She ran up to her room, and soon returned with the beads. Walnut Grove was a few miles farther out on the turnpike than was her Uncle Henry's place; consequently it was too far from the town to walk. Bee chafed at the necessity of waiting until Joel could get the buggy ready, so impatient was she to put her new idea into practice. It was brought round at length, however, and soon she found herself entering the only hair dressing shop that the little town afforded.

"What can I do for you, Miss Raymond?" asked the proprietress coming forward.

"Miss Harris, can you change the color of the hair?" asked the girl abruptly.

"Certainly," answered Miss Harris, evidently surprised by the query. "Why?"

"Because I want you to change the color of mine," spoke Bee quickly.

Miss Harris hesitated.

"Does your father know of it, Miss Raymond?"

"Why! he wishes it," declared Bee with sincerity.

"Very well then. What color did you wish?"

"I want it sunny and yellow; with gold lights all through it," answered Bee promptly. "Can you do it?"

"Yes, Miss Raymond; but your complexion—"

"I know," interrupted Bee. "It should be fair to go with it. Can you help me about it?"

"No; I only do the hair. I don't know of any here who does treat the skin. It's a small place, you know."

"Yes;" assented Bee. Silently she watched the deft movements of the woman as she applied the bleach. It was done finally, and Bee found herself the possessor of locks as yellow as her cousin's. She eyed the result doubtfully.

"I like my own best," was her mental comment. "But if it pleases father I don't mind."

"You understand," said Miss Harris as the girl prepared to depart, "the application will have to be renewed as the hair grows. Otherwise it would be dark at the roots while the ends would be yellow."

"Will it?" asked Bee in dismay. "I thought that this was all there was to it."

"No. It takes time and patience to attain gold even in the hair." Miss Harris laughed at her little joke. "Whenever it needs touching up, come in and we'll soon fix you up."

"Thank you," said Beatrice as she left.

"It's going to take every cent of this month's allowance," she mused as she stopped at a milliner's and ordered a white chip hat with purple pansies for trimming sent home, "but it costs to be a beauty. One must dress for it, Adele always says. I always liked her best when she wore great big purple pansies on her hat. Now for the jimpson."

Jimpson weeds abounded by the roadside. Bee filled the bottom of the buggy with them, and then drove home. Ignoring Joel's surprised looks the girl reached the house without meeting any one else, and went directly to her room.

"I won't go down to dinner," was her thought. "I'll burst upon father in the morning like a new being. Won't he be surprised?"


Chapter VI

A Night of Misery

"Man on the dubious waves of error tossed,
His ship half foundered and his compass lost,
Sees, far as human optics many command,
A sleeping fog, and fancies it dry land:
Spreads all his canvas, every sinew plies,
Pants for it, aims at it, enters it, and dies."
Truth. Cowper.

The night was warm, and Beatrice found her poultice exceedingly uncomfortable. She had heaped the leaves on a clean cloth, mashed them to a pulp, spread the mass between two other cloths through which were cut small holes for the eyes and nostrils, and then, with a resolution worthy of a better cause, bound the whole upon her face.

The juices of the crushed leaves soon wet the mask through and through, making her face wet and sticky. The greenish odor of the weed was sickening, and the poor child found her condition unpleasant to say the least. She tossed restlessly from side to side in the vain effort to find sleep, but slumber fled her call. The night wore on, and the mask became so oppressive that it seemed to stifle her.

"I can not stand it," she exclaimed at last, springing out of bed. "I can not! I shall smother."

She reached up to tear off the bandages that bound the suffocating thing on, but paused in the act.

"I must not give up," she said aloud. "I should be sorry in the morning if I did. I must stand it somehow, even though the night does seem as if it would never end. I must bear it."

Fortified by this determination she drew a chair to the window and tried to distract her thoughts by humming softly to herself.

"I know," she thought, tiring of this pastime. "I'll see if I can't make up some poetry, and forget all about the horrid thing. If it were not for father I would not stand it for a second. Let me see! I have it:

"Bee was an ugly duckling,
And Adele a princess fair;
Bee's locks were black and heavy,
Adele had yellow hair.

"Pshaw! That's sing-songy. I'll try again:

"Adele's hair is sunny and golden,
Mine is as black as sin;
For there's nothing yellow about me
Excepting my yellow skin.

"Dear, dear! It's most as hard to make rhymes as to be beautiful. How long the night is!"

She arose and paced the floor restlessly. Eleven, then twelve o'clock struck. In all her life she had never spent a night without sleep. A first experience is very trying, and the hours seem interminable. At two o'clock she was about as miserable as she could well be, and only the thought of her father made her hold to her determination to stick it out. Suddenly she remembered that she had left a book she was reading on the library table.

"I'll go down and get it," she ejaculated, pleased with the distraction. "If anything will make me forget myself it's the 'Woman in White.'"

Suiting the action to the word she lighted a small night lamp, and glided softly down the stairs to the library. Turning the knob gently she opened the door, stepped across the threshold, and then—It was a wonder that she did not shriek aloud; for there in the room were two men, one of whom held a bag into which the other was putting the household silver which was piled on the table in front of them. They wore slouch hats drawn well down over their faces, and were working by the light of a dark lantern.

Beatrice entered so quietly that they did not notice her and for a second she stood unobserved, too frightened to speak. Then something made one of the men look up. A look of terror flashed into his eyes and his face whitened. The other turned to see what his companion was doing, but at sight of the figure that stood in the doorway he uttered a yell, dropped the bag, and ran for the window.

"It's a sperrit, Bill," he cried wildly. "Come on, man!"

Bill needed no second bidding. He glanced once more at the startling apparition and followed his comrade.

In truth Beatrice did present rather a ghostly appearance. She was clad in a long white night gown; her yellow hair bushed in all its bleached glory around the white mask through which her eyes gleamed with feverish brilliancy. The greenish juice of the jimpson had permeated the cloth, giving it just enough of a stain to be ghastly under the rays of the lamp. As the men gained the window the girl, hardly conscious of what she was doing, moved toward them. Uttering cries of fear the fellows jumped through and made a dash for the road. Doors began to open and close, and Bee knew that the household was aroused. It brought her to her senses quickly. She had been so frightened that she had not fully grasped the meaning of the scene through which she had just passed, but now it flashed upon her that it was her beautifying mask that had terrified the burglars.

"Father must not see me," she thought with an hysterical giggle. "I should frighten him, too."

There was not a moment to lose, so setting her lamp upon the table she crept under the couch and drew back as far as she could, just as her father ran in, followed by Aunt Fanny, Joel her husband, and old Uncle Billy, the gardener.

"Well, upon my word!" exclaimed Dr. Raymond. "It's burglars. See, here is the silver. What made them leave it? Something scared them. What could it have been?"

"'Twuz a hant," cried Aunt Fanny, ashy with terror. "Didn't you heah 'em say 'twuz a hant?"

"It certainly sounded that way, but that is nonsense of course. Joel, do you come with me, and we will search the grounds. Uncle Billy, go at once to the stable and see if everything is all right there. Aunt Fanny will look after the house."

"Lawsie, Massa doctah, yer ain't a gwine ter leab me heah, is yer?" queried Aunt Fanny fearfully.

"Why, there is nothing to hurt you. Come on, Joel."

Dr. Raymond leaped through the window, followed by Joel, while Uncle Billy left for the stable. Aunt Fanny, left alone, began to soliloquize audibly:

"Hant, eh? I spec' hit's a hant. Dis house dun bin shet up too long fer it not to be a hant. Dis heah chile ain't a gwine ter stay in no house wid a hant. No, sah; she a gwine ter leab shore yer bo'n. She—"

"Aunt Fanny," spoke Bee in muffled tones.

"Good Lawd," cried Aunt Fanny, starting up. "Hit's the hant. Lawd, Lawd, spar dis niggah! You doesn't want no ole worman like me. You—"

"Hush, Aunt Fanny! It's only Bee. Don't you know me?"

Beatrice crept out of her hiding place and arose to her feet. Aunt Fanny gave a suppressed cry and sank back in her chair, staring at the girl in open-eyed wonder.

"You, you ain't no Miss Bee," she gasped.

"Yes, I am. I just had my hair fixed at the hairdresser's this afternoon, and I have on that jimpson poultice you told me about. I came down stairs to get a book and frightened the robbers away. I want to go upstairs now before father comes back so he won't see me."

"Yas; go on up stairs," said Aunt Fanny severely, now completely reassured. "Yer pa mustn't see you like dat. He won't 'prove ob no sech doin's, an' I doesn't eider. Yaller ha'r! Looks like flax! No'm; yer pa oughtn't ter see yer."

"Then don't say a word about seeing me," cautioned Bee, turning to go. "You won't, will you?"

"I ain't gwine ter say nuffin'. 'Tain't none ob my lookout ef yer wants ter spile yer ha'r. I ain't gwine ter hab nuffin' ter do wid hit," returned the negress with dignity.

So, feeling very much like a culprit, Bee stole upstairs. Presently she heard her father re-enter the house, and soon there came a rap on her door.

"What is it?" she asked from under the cover which, girl like, she had drawn over her as soon as she was safely in bed.

"Are you all right, Beatrice?" came her father's voice.

"Yes father."

"Don't be alarmed, but—" Dr. Raymond hesitated, evidently considering whether it would be best to tell her about the intruders. "You are not nervous, are you?"

"No——o;" answered Bee weakly. She was.

She would have liked to have somebody cuddle her for a time, but—there was that awful mask.

"If you should be disturbed about anything, Beatrice, just call me. I shall be in the next room, where I shall read for the remainder of the night."

"Thank you, father," said the girl gratefully. "I was afraid, but I won't be now."

"Then good night."

"Good night, father," replied the maiden who little guessed that her father went away from her door wondering and perplexed that she did not come out to speak with him, and to find what was the matter.

Her father's near presence brought so much of comfort to Bee's heart that she found herself forgetting all about the discomfort of the jimpson, and after a time she fell into a troubled sleep.


Chapter VII

The Result of Imitation

"We are much bound to them that do succeed;
But, in a more pathetic sense, are bound
To such as fail."
Jean Ingelow.

It was morning. The long night with its wretchedness and discomfort had passed, and the bright sunshine full of cheer streamed into the room, athwart the bed where Beatrice lay, her features still hidden under the beautifying mask. She stirred uneasily and then opened her eyes.

"Why, it's morning," she exclaimed, jumping up briskly. "Thank goodness, I can take off this horrible thing at last. I ought to be fair as a lily after all I've gone through. My, my how funny my face feels!" She untied the fastenings with a sigh of relief, and threw off the poultice thankfully.

"My skin is sticky and tight," she mused, passing one hand over her face. "I won't look at myself until I am dressed, and then I can tell just how I shall affect father. Let me see! I'll wear white. Adele looks best in white. Fair people always do, I think."

True to her resolve she bathed and dressed without once approaching the mirror. At length she was ready. She had no doubts as to the result. Beatrice was possessed with a child's faith; still, her heart began to beat quickly as she turned slowly and went toward the glass, keeping her eyes downcast.

"It's just like a butterfly breaking out of the chrysalis," she told herself nervously. "I have been an ugly grub for so long that I'm afraid to try my new wings. Now, ready, Beatrice! One, two, three!—Look, and see how beautiful you have become."

Smilingly she raised her eyes. The smile froze on her lips, and consternation swept over her face. Her features were distorted and swollen, and her skin was as yellow as saffron. With her dark eyes, bleached hair, and white dress the effect was startling. For one long moment the girl stared at her reflection, and then, as the full realization of the transformation came home to her, she flung herself upon the bed with a cry of anguish.

"It's no use," she wailed. "Everything is against me. I look worse than ever. What shall I do? What shall I do?"

A knock sounded on the door just then, and Bee started up, fearing that it was her father.

"Yes?" she called.

"Yer pa am a-waitin' fer yer, Miss Bee," came the voice of Aunt Fanny. "He say de brek'fus am gittin' cole."

"Aunt Fanny, come here!" Beatrice opened the door and pulled the old woman inside. "Look at my face! This comes from using that jimpson weed poultice. Now what am I going to do?"

The negress gave a gasp at sight of the girl's face, and threw up her hands in dismay.

"Lawsie, chile! How kum yer ter do sech a fool thing? A niggah dunno nuffin' nohow. 'Sides, yer can't do hit in one night. Co'se not. Takes two; mebbe three. I dunno."

"Then why did you tell me about it if you didn't know?" demanded Bee indignantly. "You said that it would make me as fair as the lily of the valley. Now, I've just ruined my face. Oh oh, oh!"

She began to cry weakly. Aunt Fanny smoothed her hair in an attempt at consolation.

"I'se just a low-down niggah ter make yer cry so, Miss Bee," she said remorsefully. "Dey does use jim'son in de Souf, but mebbe dey puts sompin elsen wid hit. Nebber you mind. Aunt Fanny'll fin' sumpin ter fix yer. Now go down ter yer pa. De brek'fus am gittin' cole, an' yer needs hit hot."

"Go down?" cried Bee in perturbation. "I can't go down like this. You go, and tell father I'm sick. Tell him I can't come. Oh! tell him anything!"

"Beatrice," called her father at this moment from the foot of the stairs, "is anything the matter? You were not at dinner last night. Are you ill that you don't come to breakfast?"

"I reckon yer shorely in fer hit, Miss Bee," spoke Aunt Fanny commiseratingly. "If yer sick he's gwine ter kum up anyhow. De bes' thing is ter go right erlong, and get hit over wid. An' if he scolds hard yer won't nebber forgib me."

"It is my own fault, Aunt Fanny," acknowledged the girl. "I ought to have known better than to have done anything of the sort. Now I am in for it, as you say. Yes; I'll go down. Father can't dislike me any more than he does, so I might as well face him first as last." She rose as she spoke and went to the door: "I am all right, father," she called. "I'll be down in a minute."

It was more than a minute before she could pull herself together; then, summoning all her fortitude, she went slowly down the stairs to the dining room. Dr. Raymond turned at her entrance.

"Good morn—" he began in greeting, but stopped short as though he could not believe the evidence of his eyes. "Beatrice Raymond, is that you?" he demanded.

"Yes," returned Beatrice as steadily as she could. "It is I, father. Are you ready for your coffee?"

"What is the meaning of this?" he asked sharply. "What have you been doing to yourself?"

Something came into Bee's throat and choked her. A moment passed before she could reply.

"I have been trying to make myself beautiful, but it did not work well," she said at last in a low tone.

"Beautiful!" exclaimed Doctor Raymond in disgust. "Is vanity also one of your weaknesses? I begin to believe that you are a bundle of them. Only a silly, vain girl would be guilty of such folly. I am sorely disappointed in you, Beatrice."

Again Bee choked so that she could not speak, and her eyes swam with tears. Had she so many follies? People used not to think she was such a dreadful girl. They used to be fond of her, but everything was going wrong lately. With hands that shook she silently poured her father's coffee and handed it to him.

"How any girl," went on her father, seeing that she did not speak, "how any girl should go deliberately to work to make such a fright of herself as you have done is beyond my comprehension. I suppose that all girls are more or less foolish about their complexions; but no girl of refinement should bleach her hair. It is an abomination to every self-respecting person. What caused you to do it?"

Beatrice's heart was very full. She had done it for his sake, but she found it impossible to tell him. She had been content enough until he had come, and was dissatisfied with her. His words hurt her cruelly. Presently she found her voice:

"I was trying to look like Adele," she told him tearfully.

"You were?" Struck by something in her tone the scientist glanced at her more closely. He saw that she was not eating anything, and that she was trembling. His manner softened. Bee was aware of the change instantly, and attributed it to the mention of her cousin. Her tears dried, and she was shaken with sudden anger.

"Your cousin is a beautiful girl, Beatrice. She seems to be as lovely in disposition as in person. I do not at all wonder that you desire to be like her, but your manner of emulation has not been the most happy. Perhaps I spoke too severely. We are all prone to error, and I should not judge too harshly what, it seems, has been done from a worthy motive. If you wish to be like Adele, strive to copy her character rather than to imitate her outward appearance. Beauty of soul is the thing that counts. Before a sweet disposition and a well informed mind mere physical beauty palls."

"That is not true," burst from Beatrice; "and you know it."

"Beatrice Raymond, do you know to whom you are speaking?" The naturalist dropped his knife and fork, and stared at his daughter in amazement.

"Yes, I do;" answered Bee, wrought up to such a pitch that she forgot the respect and deference due her father. If the mere mention of her cousin's name had such influence upon him, she would let him know how she felt about it; so she continued wrathfully: "You and Aunt Annie, and everybody, are fond of talking about the cultivation of the mind and spirit being above beauty, but you don't practice what you preach. Look at what you have been saying, and then think of how you have treated me."

"Why, why," stammered Doctor Raymond, so surprised by this vehement outburst that he scarcely knew what to say.

"You were away ten long, long years," went on Beatrice, almost beside herself with passion; all her pent-up unhappiness clamoring for utterance. "I was just crazy for you to come home. Other girls had their fathers and I wanted mine too. When you wrote that you were coming I was happy; as happy as a bird. You had written that you wished my mind cultivated, and I studied hard to please you. I knew that you were a learned man, and I wanted to be able to talk to you intelligently. You wanted me to learn to be a good housekeeper, and that, too, I studied. I have tried to do everything that you wished me to. You say that you are disappointed in me. How do you think that I feel about you? You will have nothing to say to me because I am not Adele. You wanted her for your daughter, and you can't get over it because she isn't. In your last letter to me you said that you thought that I must have a mind of uncommon intelligence. Have I? You have not troubled to find out. What kind of a disposition have I? You don't know. And why? Just because I don't happen to be pretty. 'Sweet disposition and well informed mind' are all very well to talk about, but when it comes right down to real truth a girl might as well be dead if she isn't pretty."

"You are giving me a terrible arraignment, Beatrice," observed her father gravely. "Really, I—"

"Isn't it all true?" demanded Bee with startling directness.

"I think that probably some of it is," admitted Doctor Raymond guardedly. "The discussion of beauty and non-beauty we will not prolong because we could come to no satisfactory conclusion on the matter. It is an old, old question. Beauty undoubtedly has its influence upon us all; chiefly, perhaps, because it at once attracts the attention. After all, it is but a free gift of nature accorded to its possessor by accident. It was not altogether Adele's beauty that caused me to claim her for my daughter."

"But—" began Beatrice.

"Allow me the privilege of a word, my daughter. The unfortunate mistake of the picture is largely responsible for this whole affair. I naturally looked long and often at the photograph, supposing it to be yours. Seeing her standing in the doorway I recognized the girl whom I supposed was my daughter. Surely this explanation ought to excuse me, Beatrice?"

"But it was her picture that brought you home, father," wailed Bee miserably. "You would never have come had it been really mine. Oh, that is what I can't bear!"

"I seem unfortunate in choosing my words also," said the scientist, stirring uneasily. "The letters first caused me to think of returning."

"But you would not have come if you had not believed that the beautiful picture was of your daughter," persisted Bee. "I want the truth, father."

"I am accustomed to speaking nothing else," answered Doctor Raymond sternly. "All this is aside from the question."

"Is it?" asked the girl with some scorn. "I think not; but you needn't answer, father. Explain your treatment of me after you found out your mistake. What effort have you made to find out what kind of a daughter you have? You hardly come near me. You were away for years, and now that you are home at last you are further from me than ever because I did have your letters; now I have nothing. I may be as brilliant as a diamond, or as simple as a daisy, but you don't care to take the trouble to find out."

"Well, I have been exceedingly busy," replied he lamely. "And you have not——You see—" He did not wish to say that she had not presented a very inviting side of her character to him. Beatrice did not know this, so she did not wait for him to finish.

"Yes, I see, father," she said wearily. She was beginning to feel very tired. The reaction of the unusual emotion was having its effect. "You are just like everybody else. You talk of mind and disposition easily enough, but you succumb to beauty at first sight. At school it was the same. All of us were made to toe the mark except Adele. Nothing was ever expected of her but to be beautiful. I did not care until you came, and were disappointed in me. Then I tried protective mimicry, but it wasn't successful."

Doctor Raymond glanced up quickly.

"What do you know about protective mimicry?" he asked.

"It's where one animal puts on the form of another animal to protect itself from enemies," answered Bee. "I thought that if I could make myself like Adele you would come to care for me."

"And was that what caused you to bleach your hair, and change your complexion?"

"Yes, father. You would not notice me, so I just had to do something. And now it's no use."

"I am not so sure about that." Doctor Raymond began to laugh. "You have worked upon the principle held by some great men, Beatrice. Henry Ward Beecher used to say: 'If you can't make people love you, make them hate you. Anything is better than indifference.'"

"Oh, father!" cried the unhappy girl, bursting into tears. "Have I made you hate me?"

"Nonsense! Of course not. I only meant—"

"A gen'man to see you, sah," announced Aunt Fanny at this inopportune moment, and the entomologist was obliged to leave the room.


Chapter VIII

A Rift in the Clouds

"Through the open door
A drowsy smell of flowers—gray heliotrope,
And sweet white clover, and shy mignonette—Comes
faintly in, and the silent chorus lends
To the pervading symphony of peace."
Among the Hills. Whittier.

Doctor Raymond's visitor proved to be a fellow naturalist who became so interested in his host's rare specimens that he spent the entire day examining them. Beatrice passed the time in her own room, loath to subject herself to curious eyes.

Aunt Fanny came up after a time with a second lot of jimpson leaves which she proceeded to make into a poultice despite the girl's protestations.

"Yer mus', honey," insisted the negress. "I'se done been down ter Miss Browne's, an' she say hit air de onliest thing ter do. She say hats turn yaller 'fore deys bleached, an' hit's de same wid yer skin. Dis'll be de las' time."

"It doesn't matter now, Aunt Fanny," said Bee miserably. "I was silly to do anything, but I thought, I thought!—"

"Nebber min' what yer thunk, chile," consoled the old woman. "Hit am jest like a gal: allers a wantin' sumpin' like sum udder gal. Now jest put on dis, an' you-all will kum out all right."

Beatrice was too tired to expostulate further, and submitted once more to the martyrdom of the poultice with little care as to the result. Her heart was too heavy to take any further interest in such efforts; for she believed that she had completely alienated her father, and she cared for nothing else. The day came to an end at last, and night brought surcease of sorrow, for she slept.

As Aunt Fanny had predicted, she found that her complexion had indeed bleached out to its natural color by the next morning. Cheered in spite of herself by this fact she went down to breakfast with lighter heart. Doctor Raymond's pleased look showed that he marked the improvement in her appearance, but he made no comment. Neither did he refer to the conversation of the day before until the close of the meal. Then he said:

"Beatrice, yesterday you said that I shut you out from me; that I did not know you because I did not try to. I have not meant to be guilty of such a thing, but there was enough of truth in your remarks to make me feel that perhaps I have been somewhat negligent of you. You shall have no further cause to accuse me of this; so, if you are willing, we will drop all unpleasant things and make a new start. Part of each day I shall be obliged to devote to my forthcoming book, and those hours I must be alone. All the rest of the time, however, you may spend with me."

"Oh, father!" cried Bee in surprise. "Do you mean that I am really to be with you? Even when you are in the study arranging your specimens?"

"Just that, Beatrice. We will learn to know each other, and it may be that we shall find that companionship to which, it seems, we both looked forward. There is but one thing that I would ask of you: don't try to be like any one else. Let me see you as you are."

"I can promise that easily," answered Beatrice cheerfully, her spirits rising at the knowledge that she was in very truth to have his companionship. "I really don't want to be like any one else. I'd rather be just myself. And I don't like this yellow hair. I didn't know that it wasn't refined to bleach it. One of the girls at school did it, and while the rest of us laughed about it, we thought it looked nice. I would rather have my own colored hair even though it is dark; but this won't last, father. Miss Harris said that it would have to be touched up every once in a while. Of course the ends will always be yellow, but just as soon as it grows long enough I'll cut it off, and have my own dark locks again."

"I am glad that it will not be permanent," remarked her father. "Let us say no more about it. It does not look so bad as it might, and the mere fact that you did not bleach it through vanity makes me more tolerant of it. Now, my child, I am going for a walk over the grounds, and would like your company."

Beatrice ran joyfully for her hat.

"He's giving me a chance," she whispered, scarcely able to control her emotion. "I am glad, glad! I won't think a thing about Adele. I won't mind my looks a bit, but just be so good that maybe, maybe—" She did not finish her sentence, but squeezed her hands together rapturously.

"I have been too busy since my return to go over the place," said the naturalist as they set forth. "Beginning with this morning we will go over a portion of it daily until the entire place has been inspected. Will it be too much of a walk for you to take the gardens and the orchard today?"

"Why, no;" answered Bee quickly. "I am used to walking, father. We always walked into town from Uncle Henry's, and to school too. Aunt Annie thought it was good for us. Then I run about the fields quite a little."

"Annie has followed my idea exactly," he commented approvingly. "There is nothing so conducive to good health as outdoor exercise. Ah! here we are at the gardens. They have been well kept; but, but—" He glanced around the mass of blossom and vines knitting his brows in perplexity. "The rose?" he said. "The one your mother planted. Can this be it?"

He stopped beside a large moss rose bush as he spoke. It was of sturdy growth, completely covered with buds and blossoms of satiny white deeply embowered in a soft greenery of moss.

"Yes; this is it, father," spoke Beatrice softly. "Uncle Henry had it tended carefully because he knew that you would wish it. Is it not beautiful? I think I love it best of all the roses." She bent over a cluster to inhale its fragrance as she finished speaking.

"It has grown," he said musingly. "It was so small. I should not have known it. I did not think to find so large a bush."

"You have been gone for years," she reminded him. "Have you forgotten, father? A small plant would have time to become a large shrub."

"True;" he said. "True." He broke a half blown bud from the bush and held it for a moment against his lips. "It was her favorite rose," he said, putting it in the buttonhole of his coat.

The gravity of his face softened into tenderness, and his eyes were misty as he leaned over the rose bush. Bee gazed at him longingly. The impulse of her heart was to go to him, slip her hand in his, or to nestle against him caressingly. Had she done so father and daughter must have drawn very close to each other, but something—perhaps delicacy, perhaps shyness, perhaps a certain awe in which she held him—restrained her. Presently he straightened up, turned away from the bush with a sigh, and walked on. Beatrice followed him silently, and the golden opportunity was gone.

"I am hatching the larvŠ of the Thecla titus Fabricus from the eggs," he said as they left the garden a little later, "I wish to get the proper plants for them to feed upon."

"Then we must go to the woodland instead of the orchard," said Bee quickly. "You will need the leaves of the wild cherry, or the wild plum. I believe that the caterpillars of the Coral Hair-Streaks feed upon them."

"How do you know?" questioned her father in astonishment.

"I studied butterflies, father," explained the girl. "You know 'tis your specialty, and I wanted to be able to help you when you came home. I don't remember many of the technical names though," she added honestly. "That just happened to be one that I knew. See! there goes a Copper."

Every step through the clover displaced myriads of small butterflies with wings of some shade of coppery-red or orange. Dappled fritillaries and angle wings, blocked in red and black, often variegated by odd dashes and spots of burnished silver or peacock eyes, crowded about the spreading thistle blossoms, or perched contentedly upon the many flowered umbrels of the milkweed.

"Then that is how you knew about protective mimicry?" asked he, after commenting upon the butterfly pointed out by Bee.

"Yes." Beatrice laughed more gaily than she had for days as she noted his pleased expression. "He likes it because I studied them," she told herself gleefully.

"And that one passing yonder. The one with the zigzag flight, my daughter. That is a Skipper, is it not?"

Beatrice turned a look of surprise upon him.

"Why, father! that is a Swallowtail," she cried. "How could you make such a—" She broke into a laugh suddenly as she saw his eyes twinkle. "You were just trying to see if I knew," she cried.

"I'm afraid that I shall have to admit it," he said. "Have you any specimens?"

"A few, father. Some Swallowtails, some Brush-footed ones, a number of Blues, Coppers and Hair-streaks."

"Why! you are quite a lepidopterist," exclaimed Doctor Raymond. "And the eggs, the larvŠ and the chrysalids; do you have them too?"

The girl hung her head.

"N-no; I know one has to have those things as well as the butterflies to study the science properly, but I have none. I think the butterflies are beautiful. Just like flying flowers!"

"Ah! you are like all amateurs, Beatrice." Doctor Raymond shook his head gravely. "They are taken by the beauty of the butterfly, and so confine themselves to the imago state entirely. Whereas, to know the insect thoroughly, one should study it from the egg through all its stages to the perfected form. But you are not alone in it, my daughter. There are many men of wealth who make collections of the butterfly, as they do of gems and other things. They, too, care only for the perfected insect. In your case, you are young, and may be taught the proper manner of study. I am glad that you are interested in such things. It will afford me great pleasure to continue your instruction in the subject this summer. That is, if you would like it?"

"Like it?" cried Beatrice, looking up at him with unfeigned delight. "I should love it."

"Then we will consider that matter settled," he said with approval. "Here are some wild cherry trees. Be careful, child! There are some wasps."

But Beatrice, intent upon making herself useful, rushed forward eagerly and began stripping off the leaves from the low hanging limbs.

"Do you want some of the twigs, father? There is a fine branch here filled with leaves."

"Yes; but let me cut it for you." Doctor Raymond drew out a clasp knife and started to open it.

"I can get it quite easily, thank you, father," said Bee, bending the bough which broke suddenly with a sharp snap, disturbing a wasp that had just settled comfortably on one of the twigs. With an angry buzz the insect darted at the girl's hand, and thrust its sting into the offending member.

"Oh!" she uttered, letting the branch fall and clasping her hand quickly.

"You are stung," cried Doctor Raymond. "Give me your hand. At once!"

He caught up some of the damp earth and clapped it on the wound, holding the mud in place.

"Does it hurt so much now?" he asked after a moment, binding his handkerchief closely about the hand.

Beatrice's eyes shone through her tears. He cared because she was hurt. A warm glow suffused her being, and nestled comfortingly about her heart. She looked up and smiled.

"Hurt?" she exclaimed. "Nonsense! what is an old yellow jacket but a bee gone into athletics!"

An expression of pleased surprise shot athwart her father's face and his chuckle gave way to a peal of laughter.

"That is neat, child," he said. "Very neat! I like your way of taking this. You have the true spirit of a naturalist who accepts such happenings as a matter of experience. Are you fearful or timid? Do you get frightened easily?"

"I am not afraid of creeping things," answered Beatrice thoughtfully. "I don't believe that I know about other things. There has never been much to try me. At least, there never was anything until I saw those burglars the other night. I was scared then."

"You saw those men?" ejaculated Doctor Raymond. "Where did you see them?"

"I forgot that you did not know, father."

"But I wish to know. Tell me all about it, Beatrice."

"It was the first night that I wore that horrid poultice for my complexion. I could not sleep, so I went down stairs to get a book from the library, and when I opened the door there were the two burglars putting the silver into a bag. I was so scared that I could not do anything but look at them. When they saw me they took me for a ghost and ran away. I did look scary, father; so, when I heard you coming, I hid under the couch because I did not want you to see me. When Aunt Fanny was left alone I came out and ran up to my room. Yes; I was frightened. I shook like a leaf after it was all over, and I was glad that you were going to be near me."

"I see, my daughter. There was reason for fear in that instance. Few girls would have done so well. I have not spoken of the matter before because I did not wish to alarm you, and I did not know that you knew of their visit. However, they will hardly bother us again as the authorities are keeping a sharp watch for them, and believe that they will soon have them in custody. I shall take that room next yours for mine permanently, I think. Perhaps you will feel a little safer to have me there, and there is no one on that side of the hall with you. Is it somewhat too remote for you? Come, child! It is time to get back and get some soda on that sting."


Chapter IX

With the Butterflies

"These be the pretty genis of the flowers,
Daintily fed with honey and pure dew."
Hood.

The windows of the study were thrown wide to the breeze which came cool and fresh from the shrubberies laden with the odors of the garden. It was a cozy, old-fashioned room, plainly furnished, but with that most welcome adornment to lovers of letters—a multitude of books. A large, open fireplace, surmounted by a high mantel-piece, took up nearly the whole of one side of the room; before this was a writing table upon which were scattered books, pamphlets, letters, scraps of manuscript, blank paper, pens and inkstands; by no means primly arranged.

Three weeks had passed since Beatrice had taken her first walk with her father. That walk had been followed by others until now she accompanied him as a matter of course. Each day also she had gone to him for a time to study butterflies, and recently she had begun to help him catalogue his specimens. On this day father and daughter were in the study hard at work.

"There, child," remarked Doctor Raymond, laying aside his manuscript. "I think you have done enough for one day."

"I am not one bit tired," protested Bee eagerly. "I could work for hours yet."

"You are a delightful helper, Beatrice," commented he smilingly. "You are so willing and zealous; but for that very reason I must guard against your enthusiasm carrying you too far."

Beatrice flushed with gratification. It seemed to her that her father was really beginning to care for her. He had several times uttered words of commendation, and she knew that he was pleased with her application to study.

"If you wish you may go to the laboratory with me," continued her father. "There are several butterflies that should come out of their chrysalids today. You may be interested in seeing them. Then we will go for a walk."

"I should like to see them," cried Bee rising. "Are they rare specimens, father?"

"A few of them are. They are all European butterflies. The one specimen in all my collection that I prize the most highly is the pupa of the Teinopalpus imperialis—an Asiatic butterfly. It is found in the forests of Sikkin, and also in Central China, but is very rare. In fact, if this one of mine comes out all right it will be the only one of its kind in any collection. I have retarded the development of the chrysalis by cold until the present time. It is a magnificent butterfly, and I am anxiously waiting its coming out. Then there will be something to see, Beatrice. Still, while not so rare, these will be quite interesting, so we will go to see them."

The laboratory which joined the study was a large room with glass on two sides, fitted out with both a heating apparatus and a refrigerating process. Cabinets with glass-covered drawers filled with butterflies in all stages of development, from the egg to the perfect insect, lined one side of the apartment. Another side was fitted with shelves which were filled with drying ovens, breeding cages, field boxes, poison jars, setting boards, and all the paraphernalia of a naturalist. Twigs, branches of trees and leaves jutted out from artificial crevices on some of which innumerable caterpillars were feeding; on others the chrysalids had already formed, and hung awaiting the moment when they should be released from their sleep.

It was not a room that many girls would enjoy, but to Beatrice Raymond it was filled with charm. She was truly interested in the marvel of the evolution of the butterfly, and through that interest had overcome her natural repugnance to the caterpillar from which it came. Added to this was the growing delight in her father's society. It is doubtful if Doctor Raymond knew how much his daughter loved him, or if he returned her affection in like degree. He was much absorbed in his work, and had been without her for so many years that it was hardly to be expected that among so many interests she would be first. He did, however, delight in the girl's quick comprehension and her devotion to study. Then, too, Beatrice saw that he turned to her more and more for help in his work, and that he seemed to enjoy talking to her of his plans, and she was content, believing truly that all this would lead to a deep and abiding affection.

As they entered the laboratory several butterflies rose from some twigs, circled about the room and settled upon the portion of glass where the sun shone brightest.

"What children of the sun they are!" exclaimed the scientist, his face lighting up with enthusiasm.

"Oh, father," cried Bee. "Here is a drop of blood. Could one of the pretty things have hurt itself?"

"No, child; some lepidopterous insects always leave a drop of red fluid when emerging from the pupa state. This is especially true of the Vanessa urtica. Have you ever read of red rain, or the showers of blood of antiquity?"

"Yes;" answered Beatrice, eager to show her knowledge. "Professor Lawrence told us about it. He read some lines from Ovid, too. Let me see. I know:

"'With threatening signs the lowering skies were filled
And sanguine drops from murky clouds distilled.'

"He said that Ovid referred to the shower of blood."

"Here you have the explanation of that phenomenon, Beatrice. It used to be regarded as a prodigy that portended all sorts of evil, and whenever it occurred people were alarmed, and referred all disasters to its coming. It remained for the French philosopher, Peiresc, to give the first satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon.

"In July, 1608, an extensive shower of blood took place at Aix in France, which threw the people of that city into the utmost consternation. Great drops of blood were plainly to be seen in the city itself, upon the walls of the church yard, upon the city walls, and also upon the walls of villages and hamlets for several miles around. Naturalists said that this kind of rain was due to vapor drawn up out of red earth which congealing, fell afterward in this form. This explanation did not suit Peiresc, because he knew that such as are drawn aloft by heat ascend without color; as for example—red roses, the vapors of which are congealed into transparent water.

"In the meanwhile an accident happened that showed him the true cause of the occurrence. Six months before he had shut up in a box a certain worm, called palmer, which was nothing but a hairy caterpillar given the name of palmer because it wandered everywhere. This one was unusually large and of rare form. He had forgotten it, but one day, hearing a buzzing in the box, he opened it, and found the worm turned into a beautiful butterfly which presently flew away, leaving in the bottom of the box a large, red drop. At the same time of the month that this occurred an incredible number of butterflies were observed flying in the air. He was therefore of the opinion that such kind of butterflies resting upon the walls had there shed such drops of the same size and bigness. Upon investigation he found that these drops were not found upon housetops, nor upon round sides of stones which stuck out as would have been the case if blood had fallen from the sky, but rather where the stones were somewhat hollowed, and in holes where such small creatures might shroud and nestle themselves. Moreover, the walls which were spotted were not in the middle of towns, but such as bordered upon the fields. Nor were they upon the highest places, but only upon those of such moderate height as butterflies are wont to fly.

"After this whenever an event of this nature occurred scientists would find that it always happened when the Vanessa urtica, or the Vanessa polychloros species of butterfly were uncommonly plentiful in that particular district where the phenomenon was observed."

"Why, how strange that is, father."

"Yes, it is rather remarkable; but many of the so-called prodigies of ancient times are explainable through natural causes. In France, during the thirteenth century, one of these rains occurred, and the people, believing that evil could be averted in no other way, slew ten thousand hapless Jews."

"And all because of a little butterfly," observed Bee musingly.

"Yes; all because of a little insect that Moore calls 'winged flowers,' or 'flying gems.'"

"How pretty!" cried Bee. "And they are like flowers, aren't they?"

"Well, they are certainly like them in that each kind has its own season for appearing in perfect bloom; and thus they decorate the landscape. Now let us go for our walk. When I return I must chloroform these specimens. They are rather fine."

"Do let the lovely things go until tomorrow," pleaded the girl. "Surely, they should have a little while of life."

"There speaks the woman, Beatrice. That is the reason that there are so few naturalists among the sex. Yet I would not have it otherwise. Yes; they may have life until tomorrow since you wish it. Theirs is but a brief span at best. Come, get your hat, my daughter! You have been in the house too long today."


Chapter X

A Butterfly and a Boy

"Out in the open country fields,
With the green grass blowing merrily,
The daisies nod and the dewdrop shine,
And the sunbeams dance right cheerily.
"A lassie and laddie come tripping along,
Like the fair day smiling brightly;
They pluck the flowers and they hum a song
As they shake off the dewdrops lightly."
Mary Aimee Goodman.

"Beatrice, do you see that butterfly on the verbena bed?" asked Doctor Raymond one bright morning in July, as he and his daughter sat at work in the study.

Beatrice glanced through the open window to the bed of verbenas, over which hovered a large butterfly.

"It is beautiful!" she exclaimed looking with delight at the insect's broad expanse of wing. "Wouldn't you call that an orange-red, father? And see the white spots on the secondaries. What kind is it?"

"The Anosia Plexippus," answered her father. "You know it better perhaps as The Monarch, or Milkweed Butterfly. It is a magnificent specimen. I must have it for my collection. Where is my net, child?"

"Let me capture it for you, father," cried Beatrice, catching up her net hastily. "I'll have it in a jiffy."

"Be careful not to bruise it, Beatrice," cautioned the scientist as she vaulted lightly through the window.

The insect still hovered over the verbena blossoms, but as the girl drew near it rose and sailed away. Doctor Raymond gave an amused laugh at her discomfiture.

"Never you mind," cried Bee. "I'll get it yet. See if I don't;" and away she sped in hot pursuit.

"It has extraordinary powers of flight; so, if it lands you anywhere near the postoffice, just see if there is any mail," called her father teasingly.

Across the garden, through the grove, over the hedge and out into the road the butterfly flew with Beatrice following after.

"I just believe that it heard father," ejaculated she, as the coveted insect winged its way in the direction of town. "I don't care, I'll follow it, anyway."

The naturalist and his daughter in pursuit of insects had become a common sight to the people of Louisiana, and so the bareheaded, flushed maiden in breathless pursuit of a beautiful butterfly caused only a few persons to look after her curiously. Onward went the butterfly. Just as the town was reached it began to rise in its flight, and Beatrice realized that it was her last chance, for it would soon be lost over the housetops. She made an upward leap, and by a fortunate sweep of the net succeeded in capturing the prize.

"Bravo!" exclaimed a voice, and she looked around in some confusion to discover a boy gazing at her with admiring eyes. "I think that's pretty good for a girl."


"I THINK THAT'S PRETTY GOOD FOR A GIRL."


"Oh! indeed!" cried Bee heatedly. "Could you have done any better yourself, even though you are a boy?"

"I don't know," replied the lad coolly. "I never wanted a butterfly bad enough to try it."

"I don't believe that you ever even chased one in your life," said the girl, staring at him scornfully. "You look a namby-pamby sort."

The boy's face flushed. He was all of thirteen years old, but despite the fact was garbed in black velvet knickerbockers, a ruffled white blouse, long black stockings with low, ribbon-tied shoes, and had a silken sash knotted about his waist. Worst of all, to the girl's mind, he wore his hair in curls which fell far down upon his shoulders.

"If you were a boy I'd fight you for that," cried the urchin angrily, clenching his fists.

"Pooh!" sniffed Bee, turning up her nose. "I would not be afraid of such a baby if I were six times a boy. Where's your mother?"

"She's home, asleep. What's yours thinking about that she lets you go wild like this? My mother said, when she saw you running through the fields one day, that she wondered what kind of a woman she could be to let you go like that. Where is she?"

"She is dead," answered the girl in a low voice. "I think your mother is horrid."

"She isn't. She's lovely. Everybody says so. I am sorry that yours is dead. You can't help being rude, of course, if you have no mother. Who looks after you?"

"Why, father, of course," answered Bee. "And I am not rude."

"What makes you run after butterflies and things, then?" demanded he sternly. "I saw you one day, and you had a worm—a great, ugly worm—in your hand."

Beatrice gave way to a burst of laughter.

"A worm?" cried she mirthfully. "Oh, you poor little thing! You don't know anything, do you? That was not a worm. It was a caterpillar."

"Well; what's the difference?"

"A true worm never turns into an insect," she informed him. "It goes creeping around through life, a worm and nothing more; while a caterpillar changes at last into a beautiful butterfly, or moth. This was a caterpillar once," she ended, raising the net with her captured prize for his inspection.

"You are a strange girl," observed the boy. "I never knew one before who cared about such things. Where did you learn it?"

"I get it from my father," responded she with pride. "He is Doctor William Raymond, a noted lepidopterist. He has been all over the world just to study butterflies. What does your father do?"

"Haven't got any." The boy thrust his hands into his pockets, and stared at her cheerfully.

"Haven't you? I am so sorry. It must be dreadful to be without a father," spoke Bee with genuine commiseration.

"Oh, I don't know. I guess from what I've heard that they are pretty much of a nuisance. You see they always want to handle the cash, and my mother and I would rather keep that in our own hands."

"I don't care to talk with you any longer," remarked Bee, turning away from him. "You say such awful things. My father isn't a nuisance, whatever yours may have been."

"Say! I didn't mean your father. I don't know anything about him. He may be all right. I never knew a father who was a lepi—what do you call 'em? They may be different. Does he let you have the money?"

"Of course not," answered Bee indignantly. "He gives me an allowance that I can spend as I please."

"That's all right. I think that is the proper thing," declared the lad, anxious to propitiate her. "It wouldn't do for me, you know, because I'm a man."

"A pretty poor sort of one," flashed the girl. She started to go back into the road, intending to go on to the postoffice, when the boy called imploringly:

"Don't go yet. I like you even if you do catch butterflies and worms. Come over and see me; won't you?

"I don't visit boys," loftily. "Besides, I don't know where you live."

"We live in the big white house just beyond you," he told her in an injured tone. "You people are so inhospitable. I thought Missouri folks were nice to strangers. My mother feels bad about it. We have been here a whole month, and you haven't even noticed that we lived next to you."

"We have not been home very long ourselves," explained Bee, touched by the allusion to Missouri. "You see, my father has been away from me for a long, long time, and we have been so busy getting acquainted with each other that we have not paid much attention to other people. Perhaps we will come over to see you. I'll ask him. I must go on now; so, good-bye."

"I'll just go along with you," said the boy, swinging into step by her side. "You see my pony lost a shoe, and I had to wait for him to be shod, so I walked out here a ways when I saw you coming. I'll just take you back in my cart. It is a long, hot walk."

"Will you?" asked Bee gratefully. It was a long distance, and after the chase the butterfly had given her she was glad of the offer. "It is very kind of you."

"Oh, that's all right," he said in an offhand manner. "I like to be obliging to my friends; and we are going to be friends, you know."

"Are we?" asked Bee, laughing outright. "Why, how do you know that you will care to be after you know me?"

"We've got to be," he replied. "We live next to each other, and it would be so convenient. I made up my mind that we'd be friends when I first saw you."

"But you said that I was rude," reminded Bee. "I shouldn't think that you would want to be friends with a rude girl."

"You said a few things, too," he retorted, laughing. "Are you going in here?" as Bee stopped before the postoffice. "Then I'll bring the cart here. Be sure you wait."

He scampered away, and Bee entered the office. There was a letter for her father, and the girl congratulated herself that the offer of the ride would enable her to get it to him quickly. She was anxious, too, to show him that she had succeeded with the butterfly. She had not long to wait until her new-found acquaintance appeared with his pony and cart.

"This is not really my pony," the boy told her as he assisted her into the cart. "The cart is mine, but my mother just hired the pony until she could find one to suit. Though this one is pretty nice."

"Indeed it is," remarked Beatrice approvingly, as the little pony started off at a brisk pace. "Why don't you get this one?"

"They won't sell," said the boy. "I can have it until the fellow to whom it belongs comes home. He's away now."

"I see," said she. And thus chatting she soon reached home. "I thank you very, very much," she said as she jumped out. "I do hope that we shall be friends."

"And you didn't ask my name," reproached the urchin. "No; I shan't tell you now. If you want to know, just come over. Good-bye!"

"Good-bye," she called after him. "I certainly shall come over to find out. I want to know."

"So your chase led you to the office after all," laughed her father as she ran into the study, taking the net and the letter from her at the same time. "I had no idea that you would catch it. You have done well, though I am sorry that you had such a long, hot, dusty walk."

"I did not walk back, father. We have a new neighbor in the white house, and the boy brought me home in his pony cart." Bee sank into a chair and began to fan herself, watching him as he carefully removed the butterfly from the bag, and placed it in the poison jar. "Isn't it a beauty?"

"Yes;" replied Doctor Raymond, beginning the perusal of his letter. He looked up suddenly. "Beatrice, I shall be obliged to leave you for a few days. They wish to see me at the university. Would you rather go to your Aunt Annie's than to stay here?"

"I would rather stay here, father," she answered promptly. "There is so much to do."

"Just as you wish, my child. I'll ask Mrs. Jenkins to come over to be with you nights. Then with the servants here I shall not be uneasy. Don't do any cataloguing while I am away. A few days rest will do you good. Now I must throw a few things into my grip if I expect to catch the afternoon train. It is fortunate that you went for the mail."

"Let me pack your things for you, father," pleaded Bee. "I know exactly what you will need. Aunt Annie says that I do nicely. I always did it for her, and for Uncle Henry, too, sometimes."

"Very well, Beatrice. I have done those things so long for myself that it will seem strange to have it done for me; but it will be none the less pleasant for all that." And there was a very kindly light in the look which he gave his daughter as she left the room.


Chapter XI

An Infant Prodigy

"By the sweet power of music: therefore, the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones and floods:
Since naught so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature."
Merchant of Venice. Shakespeare.

Lonely and distrait Bee wandered about the house the next day unable to settle down to anything.

"What if father should go away again for ten years," she thought with sudden dismay. "I don't believe that I could live. I could not stand it without him now. What if he should!"

Troubled by this thought she sat down on the veranda steps, and leaned listlessly against a post. For some time she sat there musing, but presently was aroused from her meditations by the sound of music. Bee raised her head and listened intently.

"I have heard that several times of late," she said, glad of the diversion. "I wonder where it comes from? I am going to find out."

She rose, listened again to catch the strain, then began to walk in the direction from whence it came. Through the garden and orchard, across the fields to the arbor vitŠ hedge which separated their land from their neighbor's she went, the music becoming more and more distinct. Beethoven's Romance in G was being played, although Bee did not know what it was, and the musician was executing it with wonderful technique.

Always susceptible to the influence of music the girl stood spellbound. Presently the performance stopped abruptly, and a sweet voice—sweet despite a certain querulous note in it—said sharply:

"Percival, that last was entirely too fast. What would Heinrich say to you?"

"I don't give a cent what he'd say," retorted a boyish voice petulantly. "I'm tired of practicing. I want to have some fun. I guess I'm a boy as well as a violinist."

"Don't be silly, Percival. Of course you are. Now practice just one hour more, and we will see about that pony this afternoon."

"You said that yesterday," returned the boy's voice sulkily, "but you didn't do a thing about it."

"I will today, dear, sure. I was too tired yesterday."

"Honor bright?"

"Yes; honor bright."

"All right. If you don't attend to it today I won't touch this old violin again this summer. So there!"

Beatrice was an unwilling listener to the foregoing dialogue. Not wishing that her presence should be unknown, and curious as to the identity of the musician, she drew aside some branches of the arbor vitŠ hedge, and looked through.

The boy of the knickerbockers and long curls stood under a large tree, his chin resting upon a violin which he held in his left hand, while with his right he tapped restlessly upon his shoe with the bow. A rack upon which were some sheets of music stood before him.

"Oh!" exclaimed Bee in surprise as she saw who the musician was.

The lad heard her and ran to the opening eagerly.

"It's the funny girl!" he called joyfully. "Mamma, see! It's the butterfly girl. Come on, Butterfly; come on over."

"May I?" asked Beatrice, turning to his mother. "I would like to hear the little boy play."

"By all means," said the lady graciously. "Percival does better when he has an audience. Are you Doctor Raymond's daughter?"

"Yes;" answered Beatrice, availing herself of the permission to enter the garden. "I am Beatrice Raymond."

"Percival said that he had met you," continued the lady. "He has been watching you for some weeks, and wishing that he could make your acquaintance."

"Why don't you tell her our names?" broke in the boy excitedly. "That's what she has come for. I told her yesterday that she would have to come over to find out, and she can't know us unless we tell her what to call us. I am Percival Medulla, and this is Mrs. Medulla. 'Course that isn't our real name, but when you're before the public you have to be called something high sounding."

"Percival!" cried his mother, provoked.

"Isn't it true?" demanded Percival in matter of fact tones.

"The truth when it refers to private matters is not always to be spoken," reproved Mrs. Medulla. "Miss Beatrice, (she pronounced Bee's name after the Italian manner), he is to play one hour longer. I know that I can depend upon you to keep him at his task. You show that you are trustworthy. Percival, be very nice to your friend," and she swept into the house.

So, much to the girl's wonder, she was left as mentor to the boy musician. He looked at her quizzically as he saw her dismay, and began to laugh.

"I am glad that she is gone," he remarked. "I want to have you all to myself."

"Hush, hush!" implored Beatrice, shocked. "You must not speak of your mother that way."

"Mustn't one? Not even when she bores one?"

"No; no, indeed!" replied the girl earnestly. "Now do practice. There's a good little boy!"

"How old are you?" he asked abruptly.

"Fifteen. Why?"

"Well, don't you call me little boy any more. I am thirteen."

"You don't look it," remarked Bee with a critical glance at him. "I thought you were not more than ten. Your—"

"Yes; my clothes," interrupted he, frowning darkly. "I just hate them!"

"What makes you wear them then?" asked she, surprised.

"Because I am an Infant Prodigy. Grown people think that I am more of a genius if I dress like a silly. If I wore clothes like a decent boy they wouldn't come to hear me play. So I have to wear these things—" with a gesture of disgust. "I've worn them for ages and ages. I suppose that I'll die wearing them, and being an Infant Prodigy. And these curls! Do you think a real fellow likes to go around like a girl? Well, I guess not. Whenever old Heinrich, he's my tutor, says: 'We must have a new Fauntleroy suit for de boy, madam,' I just wish Fauntleroy had never been born."

"But he wasn't," spoke Bee. "He's just a character in a book, Percival."

"'Mounts to the same thing," answered Percival, "if I have to dress like him. But just you wait. When I'm a little older, you'll see. Your hair looks funny too," turning the subject suddenly. "What makes it so dark at the roots, and so yellow everywhere else? Did you bleach it?"

"Yes;" said Bee humbly, her face flushing. "You see I have a cousin who is very beautiful, and I wished to look like her, so I had my hair bleached. I am sorry that I did it now, and I am letting it grow out. Just as soon as it gets long enough to look well, I will have the yellow part cut off. Now do play, or your mother will be sorry that I came."

"Oh, she knows that I will play an hour longer," said the Prodigy easily, adjusting his violin. "I told her that I would, and I always do what I say I will."

Beatrice made no reply, and the lad began to play some snatches of march music which grew wilder and more barbarous, changing at last to a wild mad waltz of wonderful rhythm. He was indeed a prodigy. His tone was marvelously pure, his technique fluent and delicate. He touched the secret feelings of the heart, and brought into play all the emotions. The girl paled under the influence, and listened in rapturous silence. Presently the boy stopped, turned toward her expectantly, and drew himself up in a stiff, martial attitude. Beatrice gazed at him in wonderment, her breath coming quickly through her parted lips.

"Well?" he said impatiently. "Hurry up, and let's have it over with."

"Hurry up?" echoed Bee, rousing herself. "Hurry up what?"

"The kissing, of course. Get it over with quick! I want to go on playing. I'm in the mood."

"Go on playing then," cried Bee, a thread of indignation in her tone. "I'm not going to kiss you."

"You're not?" The boy stared at her incredulously. "Why, you're a girl! They all do it."

"Nonsense! I don't kiss boys."

"Not even if they are Infant Prodigies?"

"No; not even then," she returned. "I never heard of anything so absurd in my life."

"You haven't, eh? Let me tell you that I have. Wait! you'll be as bad as the rest of them."

He began to play again, watching her with curious half-shut eyes to note the effect. Nocturnes, obligatos, and finally the wonderful music of Chopin, followed in quick succession. The girl did not move, but sat like one entranced. All at once he paused, and bent toward her with an inviting smile.

"Now," he said in a winsome voice.

Bee did not stir, but gazed at him uncomprehendingly, too much absorbed to realize what he meant.

"Now," he repeated commandingly.

The girl roused herself.

"Oh," she breathed. "Are you going to stop? I think the angels must play like that!"

With an angry motion the lad thrust his bow into his left hand, and held out his right toward her.

"See that hand?" he demanded. Bee looked at it in perplexity.

"Yes; why?"

"That's the hand that made that music."

"Yes, I know," she answered gently. "It's ever so much smaller than mine, and whiter too." She held out her own slim brown hand and compared the two.

"Aren't they little bits of fingers?" went on the Prodigy. "Who would think that such little things could make such divine music? See the dimples at the knuckles! Aren't they dear?"

"Don't," cried Bee in disgust. "I was entranced with the music, and now you are spoiling it all by saying such foolish things."

"And don't you intend to kiss that hand?" ejaculated Percival in astonishment.

"Of course not," answered Bee, rising. "I must go, Percival. Your playing is marvelous, and I do hope that you will let me listen to you again. Come over and see me. And I want you to meet my father. I wish you would play for him."

"Well, you are a funny girl! If I had played like that before an audience, the women and girls would have smothered me with kisses."

"I shouldn't think you would like it," exclaimed Bee.

"I wouldn't mind you," spoke Percival. "I wonder if it is because of the butterflies that you are so different? Never mind! I'll fetch you yet. See if I don't."

"Good-bye," called Bee with a laugh, and darted through the opening in the hedge.


Chapter XII

The Arrival of Guests

"The thistles show beyond the brook
Dust on their down and bloom,
And out of many a weed-grown nook
The aster flowers look
With eyes of tender gloom."
W. D. Howells.

Master Percival returned Bee's visit the very next day.

"What did you do with that butterfly that you caught?" he asked as he seated himself. "Why did you catch it anyway?"

"Father thought it an unusually fine one, and wished it for his collection," replied Bee. "You cannot see it now because it is not ready to set up yet, but I can show you some others, if you care to see them."

"I do care," he answered. "I never noticed those things until I saw you catching them."

"You didn't?" asked Bee in surprise, as she led the way to the laboratory. "How could you help noticing them?"

"I don't know. Maybe it's because I have not been in the country very much. What makes you like them?"

"They are so beautiful, Percival, for one thing. Then my father likes them. They are his specialty."

Percival gave a cry of delight as they entered the laboratory, and some butterflies rose from the thistles upon which they were resting. Like autumn leaves released from their moorings they floated about, brilliant bits of color. Soaring, curving, dropping into the depths of the corners of the room, the butterflies rose and fell, rose and circled higher, higher, up to the very ceiling; then they came tumbling down among the thistles, settling and unsettling themselves airily, noiselessly, making their selection of resting places slowly and daintily.

"This is the very last one to burst its chrysalis," remarked Bee, indicating a queenly Swallowtail whose flutterings denoted weakness. "Soon it will circle about in its first flight. See the lustre of its wings, Percival. Did you ever see anything more beautiful?"

"They are like flowers," cried the boy enthusiastically, all the artist in him revelling in the beauty and daintiness of the insects. "Flying flowers! They—Gee! Look at the worms!"

"They are not worms; they are caterpillars," explained Bee. "See how they are feeding upon the leaves? When the time comes that they have eaten enough they will spin a bed for themselves like this," showing him a cocoon. "After a short sleep they burst forth into beautiful butterflies."

"Do they feed on the different colored plants so as to have different colors?" he queried.

"Why, Percival, that is a sweet fancy," she cried. "I never thought of that. I'll ask father if that is what makes them the pretty colors. You like them too, don't you?"

"I like the butterflies, but I don't like those creepy, crawly things from which they come."

"That is the most beautiful part of it, father says," said Bee. "They are humble, earth-bound creatures at first; then after a period of preparation they become beautiful winged insects, basking in the sunshine and sipping sweets from flowers."

"I like that part of it," said the boy again. "But those hairy things give me the creeps. Let's get out of this."

So they adjourned to the veranda forthwith.

"Do you know, my mother said that she rather fancied you?" announced Percival presently. "She said that you were very pleasant, and that such a nice girl would be good for me to be with this summer. So I am to cultivate your acquaintance."

"Indeed!" Beatrice laughed merrily, and then became grave. "Percival, you are terrible," she said reprovingly. "You ought not to tell everything that your mother says. I am quite sure that she would not like it."

"She doesn't," he answered promptly, a sparkle of mischief in his eyes. "But she can't help herself."

"Why can't she? She could punish you. That might do some good."

"I'd like to see anybody raise a hand to me," said the boy pompously, reaching down and plucking a blade of grass which he bit into nonchalantly. "They don't dare do it. You see, I am the head of the family. I make all the money in concerts. If it were not for me mamma and old Heinrich would not have a cent. So I do just as I please. Sometimes," he laughed a malicious little laugh, "if I want anything real bad I throw a fit just before the performance. My! My! but isn't there some tall hustling then?"

He laughed again, but the girl regarded him with shocked, pained eyes. Her disapproval was so evident that he moved about restlessly under her glance.

"If my mother were living," spoke Bee slowly, "and I could provide for her by playing, or in any other way, I would be so glad to have her that I would do anything I could for her. And I would try not to cause her pain by being naughty."

"Oh, I don't mind playing," confessed he. "I like to take care of my mother, and she is all right. We are great friends, but she doesn't always give me what I want. I have to get it someway."

"If I were she I wouldn't give in to you," spoke the girl severely. "If she would not you would go on and play anyway when you found that you could not have what you wished. Now wouldn't you?"

"I never thought about it just that way," observed the Prodigy thoughtfully, "but—yes; I guess I would. You needn't go tell my mother though. I'd have no end of trouble in getting the things I want, and old Heinrich is bad enough now."

"I am not a tattletale," exclaimed Bee indignantly. "I don't repeat things which I know people would rather I would not tell."

"You mean that for me, Beatrice Raymond," cried the boy rising. "I won't trouble you by telling you anything more; that's certain. You may come over to see my mother if you want to. I won't be at home to you. You are entirely too dicta—dicta—" He struggled valiantly with the word for a moment, then gave it up, and bowing stiffly, stalked majestically away.

Beatrice's impulse was to call him back and apologize. Then, as she saw him give a quick backward glance at her, a light broke upon her mind, and she coolly retreated into the house.

"The rogue! he is just too spoiled for anything," she laughed. "He did that, thinking that I would run after him. Well, I won't. A little judicious snubbing will do him good."

"Has Joel come back from town, Aunt Fanny?" she asked as she entered the kitchen.

"Yes'm; he done kum back, Joel is. He brung a lettah from yer pa, I 'specs. Hit ain't from no lady nohow, an' no udder gem'mens gwine ter write dat I knows anything erbout."

"Certainly it is from father," said Bee, breaking the seal eagerly. "Although I might have a half dozen gem'mens writing to me for all you know," she added, teasingly.

"No, yer ain't, honey. Dey may kum in time, but yer too 'voted ter yer pa right now for hit."

And so she talked while Beatrice perused her letter. It was short, and ran as follows:

"My dear Daughter:

"I am writing in haste to inform you that I shall be home Saturday morning, and shall bring with me four of the Faculty of the University. They are enthusiastic Lepidopterists, and I am sure that you will enjoy meeting with them. Now, my child, they will remain for dinner, and while you manage very nicely indeed with Aunt Fanny, I fear that this may tax your ability too far. Could you not get some capable person to assist you for the day?

"I hope that you have not been very lonesome, and assuring you that it will afford me the greatest pleasure to be with you again, I am as ever,

"Your affectionate father,

"William Raymond."

Bee sat still for a long time gazing at the letter. Something about the tone of it chilled her heart, and she could not but contrast it with that other letter which also told of his homecoming. How full of love, and tenderness, and longing, that had been; while this—Oh! would he never, never care for her? Her eyes filled with a quick rush of tears.

"Am hit bad news, honey?" queried Aunt Fanny anxiously.

"No; no, indeed." Bee dashed away her tears, and tried to speak cheerfully. "Father is coming home Saturday, and he will bring company for dinner. There will be four scientific men with him, and he fears that we shall not be able to manage by ourselves. What do you think?"

"Huh!" snorted the negress scornfully. "I'se cooked for more'n dat many. Dey's nuffin but mens what ebber elsen dey is. I reckon dey feeds like udder gem'mens if dey is satanic."

"Scientific, Aunt Fanny," corrected the girl with a quick transition from melancholy to mirth. "Satanic means—"

"Nebber you min' what hit means, chile. I doesn't want no udder worman a-trapesin' erbout my kitchen. You heah me? No'm; we'll manage, Miss Bee. Jes' yer think what ter hab, an' I'll cook hit. We'll git ole Rachel's Tillie ter wait on de table, an' dat's all de help we'll need. She's a likely gal!"

"All right, Aunt Fanny. We will try it, and if we find that we are not going to succeed we will get help. I'll think what to have, and we will surprise father by giving a nice dinner."

Resolutely putting from her all thought of her father's coldness Bee bent her whole energy to a study of a tempting menu for the dinner.

"When Aunt Annie was going to have company she always studied to please them," she mused. "Some way her dinners always just suited the guests. If I could have this dinner not only nice but distinctive, I should be pleased. Father is susceptible to the influence of a good dinner. I guess that all men are even if they are satanic." She laughed at the recollection of Aunt Fanny's mistake, then concentrated her mind anew upon the problem. Presently she jumped up, clapping her hands in glee.

"I have it! I have it!" she exclaimed joyfully. "They are Lepidopterists. I'll give them a Butterfly dinner."

With a definite purpose in view she could proceed to better advantage. Still, it took hours and a great deal of anxious thought to perfect her plan. The next few days were busy ones, but when at length Saturday came, everything was in readiness for the guests.

It was an exceedingly warm July day, and the old vine-covered house presented an inviting appearance. The walnut trees cast a grateful shade over the wide veranda, and along the broad drive that ran down to the gate on either side of which were shrubs and plants. The windows were open to the breeze and all the rooms were gay with flowers.

Beatrice herself was not the least charming part of the picture as she stood waiting with a pretty air of dignity to receive her father's guests. Doctor Raymond's eyes lighted up with pride as he noted the ease with which she greeted them, and his tone held a caressing inflection as he said:

"It is good to be home, Beatrice. I think the house never looked so restful as it does today."

"And I am glad that you are back father," said Bee with some shyness, for he had not kissed her. She did not think that this might be on account of the presence of guests. "You must be very warm after being in the sun. Will you take your friends to the library? It is cooler there, and Aunt Fanny will serve lemonade immediately."

"That is the right kind of a daughter to have, doctor," exclaimed one of the scientists with appreciation. "If going to the library means lemonade, let us adjourn there instantly. I am as dry as a desert."


Chapter XIII

The Butterfly Dinner

"All human history attests
That happiness for man—the hungry sinner—
Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner."
Byron.

The dining room at Walnut Grove was a place furnished with more regard for comfort than for show. There was an air about the apartment that seemed to say that eating here was not a busy matter but one to be observed in peace and leisure. The furniture was solid, substantial, comfortable; mellowed by time and use. Had Beatrice but known it she had a charming setting for her dinner.

"It's only a bit of fun," she said to herself as she put the finishing touches to the decorations. "If they are not old fogies they will enjoy it. I don't see how anything can go wrong. Everything is planned so carefully, and the table does look nice."

Nevertheless her heart beat somewhat faster as her father ushered in his guests, giving a hasty glance at the table as they took their places.


BEE ENTERTAINS HER FATHER'S FRIENDS.


"This seems to be a Butterfly dinner to judge from the decorations," he observed with some anxiety in his manner. "I don't know exactly what that portends, but perhaps there will be something to satisfy us."

"Our young hostess has evidently studied her subject," remarked one of the scientists with an admiring glance at the table. "Do you know, Miss Raymond, that when I was a lad sweet peas were always associated in my mind with butterflies? To me they look just like the insect at rest."

"So they do to me," answered Bee. "That is the reason I chose them for the flowers." She had filled a vase with the blossoms upon which two large artificial butterflies rested, apparently partaking of the sweets of the flowers.

"'The Sulphurs,'" read a second, picking up the menu card which Bee had carefully written for each plate. "Gentlemen, I am afraid that we are in for it."

"Miss Raymond intends for us to eat our own words—no; that is not exactly what I mean, although some of us have written upon the subject of Lepidoptera," said the third one, a small man in spectacles.

Beatrice could not repress a little laugh at the look of relief that flashed across each man's face as Tillie, the "likely gal" of whom Aunt Fanny had spoken, appeared with "The Sulphurs" which proved to be yellow cantaloupes, ice cold.

"After all you are not the first martyrs to science," she told them merrily. "Luther had to partake of a diet of worms, I believe."

"So he did," observed the scientist on her right. "Let me see. How does the rhyme go?

"'Instead of butter on his bread
A sauce of butterflies was spread.'

"Are we to have that next? I see what is in store for us. 'All life is from an egg,'" reading aloud from the menu. "That sounds interesting."

With an eagerness that was almost boyish they awaited Tillie's coming with the next course which developed into egg soup accompanied by hot wafers. A laugh of pure enjoyment went up as Scale insects with chrysalids and some green hair streaks was seen to be baked fish with shrimp salad, dressed with cucumbers.

An entree—"Scarce clouded yellows," mushrooms on toast—was provocative of so much merriment that Bee gave herself up to the fun, assured that the dinner was a success. Stiffness could not exist under such conditions, and the grave scientists unbent from their dignity, and jested and made merry like a lot of school-boys. There was admiration in the look that Doctor Raymond bestowed upon his daughter as course followed course, each bearing the name of a certain species of butterfly, evolved from a resemblance of color or form to the viands. The dessert, "The Arctics with Boisduval Marble," was ice cream frozen in butterfly moulds and marble cake; while "Wooded Nymphs" were salted almonds.

"Gentlemen," said one, rising as the last course—'The Mourning Cloak' which meant black coffee—was served, "let us toast our hostess. This has been one of the most ingenious as well as one of the most enjoyable dinners I ever attended. It has the merit of originality, and puts to blush the efforts of older but not wiser ladies. Doctor Raymond, I congratulate you upon your daughter. You should be proud of her, sir."

Doctor Raymond bowed his acknowledgments, while Bee sat, so proud and happy that she was almost overcome.

"I confess that I was a little dubious when I first saw that menu card," confessed her father with a smile as he finished his coffee.

"Do you mean that you did not aid her? That she did in truth plan this alone?" exclaimed the shy gentleman in surprise. "Where then did she get her knowledge of the subject?"

"Beatrice studied it while I was away," explained Doctor Raymond. "It was done in order to help me in my work, I believe; and she has certainly proved to be a very enthusiastic assistant. She is helping me in my cataloguing this summer. Shall we go to the piazza, gentlemen? There is just time for a cigar before your train."

They passed from the dining room, leaving Bee flushed and happy to report their success to Aunt Fanny. Presently Joel came with the carriage and the Lepidopterists took their departure. Doctor Raymond laid his hand lightly upon his daughter's arm, and turned her toward him.

"Was that entirely your own idea about the dinner?" he asked.

"Yes, father. Did you like it?"

"Very much indeed. It was admirably conceived, and most admirably executed. Did you have no assistance beside Aunt Fanny?"

"Only Tillie," responded Bee. "Aunt Fanny didn't want any 'udder worman traipesing erbout her kitchen.'" Bee laughed a little at the remembrance of the negress' indignation. "She said that she could cook for men even though they were 'satanic;' so I did the planning, and she did the cooking. You must praise her too, father. I never could have done it without her."

"I am glad to hear you say that, Beatrice. I was afraid that you might take all the credit to yourself, but I see that you are willing to share honors."

Beatrice drew closer to him. There were times when she would have dearly loved to have thrown her arms about his neck as she had seen Adele do with her father, but Doctor Raymond was not a demonstrative man, and she stood too much in awe of him to take the initiative. Just at the present she felt closer to him than she had done since his return. He was proud of her and showed it plainly. He was coming to care for her, even though she was not pretty. He had been right. Beauty did not matter after all. Oh, she would be so good, so good, and study so hard that he could not help but love her. She was so happy. His hand still lay on her arm as if he liked it to be there. A mist came into her eyes, and a lump into her throat that caused her to breathe quickly.

"Beatrice!"

"Yes, father?"

"Did you know that your Uncle Henry was very ill?"

"No; I am sorry to hear it. Are they at home?"

"Yes; they returned from Annie's mother's just as soon as Henry began to feel bad. He must have the utmost quiet. Even I am not allowed to see him. And, Beatrice—"

"Yes, father?" spoke Bee again.

"Adele must go away while he is so ill." Doctor Raymond spoke with some hesitation. "Her mother wished her to stay with her grandmother, but she is very unhappy at her separation from you, and she wishes to come here. I wished to bring her with me today, but Annie insisted that you should be consulted upon the matter first. You can have no objection, surely."

"Father!" Anguish and appeal were in Bee's voice. She turned from him and covered her face with her hands.

"My daughter, are you still harboring resentment against your cousin on account of my mistake? That would be unworthy of you."

"Don't," cried Bee, brokenly. "Don't, father!"

There was surprise and grave displeasure in Doctor Raymond's face. That he was more than pained was evident. His daughter had never seemed so womanly as she had that day, and now—he was perplexed. The man was more acquainted with the ways of insects than he was with girls, and had Bee been a butterfly rather than a most miserable girl he would have known just what to do. As it was he stood in what seemed to Beatrice cold disapproval.

"He wants her to come," she thought with a pang of bitterness. "And I was so happy only a moment ago. Oh, if I could only have him to myself a little longer, I wouldn't care. I know that I could win him to like me best if I only had a little longer. She will spoil everything." She gave a little sob.

Dr. Raymond gave an impatient movement.

"Beatrice," he said, "I confess that I do not see why this should cause you so much grief. It distresses me very much. You should remember that you shared your cousin's home for many years. It is ungracious to hesitate for a moment."

"They were well paid for their care of me," flashed Beatrice with passionate anger. "And they never allowed me to come between them and Adele. Aunt Annie said that it was natural and right that Adele should be first in her own home, and I agreed with her. I gave up in everything to her when I was there. Now, I want to be first in my home. It is not right for her to come here when I haven't had you for so long. Adele only cares to come because you admire her. It isn't at all because she cares for me. And she ought not to leave her father! Oh! it isn't—it isn't—" She burst into tears, unable to finish.

There followed a long silence eloquent with the grief of the daughter, and the unspoken censure of the father. Beatrice felt his disapproval, and she could not bear it. At length, feeling that even Adele's presence could be borne better than his displeasure, she lifted her tear-stained face, and said in a trembling voice:

"Bring her when you wish, father, but, but—" She could say no more.

"That is my own daughter," he exclaimed approvingly. "That was a real victory over unworthy feelings, Beatrice. And there is no cause for any jealousy toward your cousin. Remember that, and conquer whatever of ill feeling toward her may lurk in your breast."

"Yes, father," said Bee, trying not to sob.

"I can not bear it," she told herself as she went finally to her room. "He wants her to come. He loves her best after all. And I meant to be so good, so good! But it's no use. No use!"

And so what had been a happy day closed with unpleasantness and she went to bed feeling that all her good times with her father were ended.


Chapter XIV

A Little Sermon

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
Keats.

"I shall go to Henry's today, Beatrice," Doctor Raymond informed his daughter the next morning. "Adele will return with me."

"Very well, father," acquiesced Beatrice apathetically. She was pale, with deep circles under her eyes, and looked as though she had not slept.

"I am afraid that you worked too hard on that dinner," commented the naturalist with solicitude. "Do you not feel well?"

"I am quite well, thank you, father," returned the girl gravely.

"I shall be glad when your cousin comes," remarked he. "I fear that I have kept you too close to study this summer."

"No, no," denied Bee. "I am just tired, that is all."

What difference did it make to him whether she had worked too hard or not, she asked herself with all the injustice of girlhood. Finding her loath to converse her father relapsed into silence, and the breakfast ended drearily.

Then he left, and Bee sat down on the verandah steps to face the situation. It was over. All the delightful companionship, the long walks, the cataloguing,—everything. She dropped her head into her hands, and sobbed.

"Beatrice Raymond," said the voice of Percival, "what in the world is the matter? I have called twice and you did not answer."

"I didn't hear you." Bee raised her head, and looked at him dully.

"Are you mad at me?" he queried.

"No."

"You didn't think that I would ever come over to see you again, did you?" asked the Prodigy seating himself beside her with easy grace.

"I did not think anything about it," replied the girl shortly.

"You are cross," exclaimed Percival in aggrieved tones. "If you are not mad, I don't see why you should be cross to me. Aren't you mad?"

"No, no," returned Bee impatiently. "See here, Percival! I am in trouble. Won't you go away, and not bother me?"

The boy rose slowly.

"Of course, if I bother you, I'll go," he said with dignity. "If you are in trouble you ought not to be left alone. Thinking is bad, my mother says. Where is your father?"

"He has gone away," replied Bee briefly. "He won't be back until tonight."

"Then I am not going," declared Percival firmly. "That is, not unless you will go with me. Why can't you come over and stay with mamma and me, Beatrice?"

"I don't want to," said Bee miserably. "I just want to be left alone."

"That is what I'm not going to do," declared the boy obstinately. "You ought not to be, you know. I'll tell you what: come over, and let me play to you. That will drive all your troubles away."

"If I go over for a little while to listen to you, will you let me come home alone? I don't wish to be rude, Percival, but I am very unhappy."

"If you will come over for a time you may do anything you please," said the lad earnestly. "I am sorry if I seem to bother, but when I am troubled music puts everything all right. It's the same with mamma, and with old Heinrich, and with lots of people. I just believe that it will help you too, or I should not insist. Now, come, Butterfly."

"You are very nice to me, Percival," said Beatrice, touched. "Nicer than you ought to be, because I have not been good to you this morning. But I just can't be pleasant to any one."

"I know." The boy nodded his head sagaciously. "I feel that way too, sometimes."

"And, Percival, you must not call me Butterfly. Butterflies are pretty and only good-looking people should be called so. I have a cousin who is very beautiful. We always called her that, but they call me Bee."

"And bees make honey, don't they? I like honey, and I like bees. I think I like them better than I do butterflies. They have a sting, too, don't they?"

"Yes," answered the girl.

"You have too. That is, you can say some sharp things. I think bee suits you better than the other because you do things. I am going to call you Beefly. Butterflies never do anything, do they?"

"They don't need to do anything," sighed Bee. "It's only homely insects that need to work."

Percival made no answer, and silently they went through the orchard and across the field, and through the hedge into the garden beyond. Mrs. Medulla greeted them pleasantly, as they entered.

"Good morning, Beatrice," she said, noting the girl's paleness instantly. "You have made quite a conquest of my son. He has never taken so to a girl before."

"She's different," spoke Percival sententiously, adjusting the music on the rack, and picking up his violin. "Other girls don't think of anything but dresses and things to wear. She doesn't tag after a fellow either. I like her. You must not talk any more, mamma. She is troubled, and I'm going to play to make her feel better."

"Very well," said the lady, with a faint smile. "Sit here by me, my dear," she added kindly to Beatrice.

The girl sank into a low chair by her side, comforted in spite of herself by their kindness. Presently the young violinist began to play. Beatrice listened perfunctorily at first, but pretty soon she found herself caught, and held by his wonderful playing. On and on he played, not watching her with challenging, curious eyes to note the effect as before, but, like the true artist that he was, bending earnestly to the task of bringing comfort and consolation to her heart.

It was Beethoven that touched her most. Under the influence of his divine music Bee felt her heart strings relax, and as the mighty climax of the last movement swelled into ecstacy, infinite as the human soul, she burst into a flood of tears. At a glance from his mother Percival stole softly into the house, while the lady drew the girl into her arms.

"There!" she said, smoothing her hair gently. "That will do you good, my child."

Petting was what the girl needed, and soon her emotion spent itself. When at last she was calm she looked up contritely.

"I should not have come over, and made so much trouble," she said. "Forgive me, Mrs. Medulla; I will go home now. Thank you—"

"My dear," spoke the lady, drawing her back into her embrace, "suppose you tell me all about it."

Beatrice looked at her quickly, but seeing the sympathy in the older woman's eyes she broke out impulsively:

"I will. I will tell you the whole thing." Rapidly she poured forth all her grief. Told of Adele's changing the pictures, of her father's return and of his mistake in taking Adele for his daughter; of her cousin's beauty, and of her efforts to be like her; of her studies with her father; of the butterfly dinner, and of her belief that with time she could win his love; and finally of Adele's coming; ending with, "If only I were pretty my father would love me, I know. If only I were pretty!"

"That is a woman's cry, child," observed the lady thoughtfully. "The desire for beauty is in every feminine heart. A pretty complexion, a captivating dimple, bright eyes and flowing tresses are desired more than all knowledge of books, or graces of the mind."

"I know," sighed the girl.

"Now, dear, you and I are going to have a little talk."

"Dear lady," spoke Bee in pleading tones, "don't, don't tell me that 'Handsome is that handsome does,' or that beauty of mind and soul will cause others to forget that one is homely. Father says that too, but he would not have come had he not thought that his daughter was a beautiful girl."

"I am not going to say those things, child." Mrs. Medulla laughed. "I am not fond of platitudes myself, although there is much truth in them. Now, child, you feel hard toward your cousin for changing those pictures, don't you?"

Bee compressed her lips, and her eyes flashed.

"Yes," she said in a low tone, "and I'll never forgive her. Never!"

"Wait a minute, dear. It was not a nice thing, nor a kind thing for her to do, though I think it must have been pure girlish mischief. However, we are not concerned with that part of it. Beatrice, when would your father have come home had he not received the picture?"

"Why! not for two more years," cried Bee, a startled look flashing across her face.

"Exactly. Then if the exchange had not been made you would not have had the pleasure of your father's company at all this summer, would you?"

"N-no."

"Would you rather have him here now, even though such a mistake has been made, than to wait two years longer to see him?"

"Yes, yes, yes," cried Bee with intensity. "Oh, I don't see now how I could have borne to wait longer."

"Then, my dear, how about that feeling toward your cousin? Good has come out of it, no matter how she meant it. If you will think of that part of it, it will help you to feel toward her as you used to do, and you must do that, my child, for your own sake. Now whenever any hard thought of her comes, just think that she brought him back to you. It won't be easy at first, my dear, but you can do it. We will let that be, and pass on to other things. The case interests me very much, and I would like you to be so successful in winning his love that there would be no one of whom he would be so fond. Perhaps I can help you."

"If you will, I will do anything in the world for you," cried the girl earnestly.

"I am satisfied that it can be done, Beatrice. You were on the way to its accomplishment already. Your cousin's coming may make a slight difference for a time, but it will only be temporary. You yourself are liable to spoil everything."

"I?" Beatrice looked her surprise.

"Yes; you will see as I talk. Now, Beatrice, answer me one question: in your studies you have always been first, have you not?"

"Yes. How did you know?"

"Never mind about that. Which did you enjoy most: gaining a high mark without any competition, or getting one when others were striving for it too?"

"I liked best when I had to work hard to get ahead of others."

"I thought so. Look at this from the same standpoint. Gain your father's love in spite of your cousin's beauty, and his admiration for her. It will be a greater triumph than to gain it when she is not with you."

"Yes; it would," acknowledged Bee, "but—"

"Your first mistake, my dear, for you are a little to blame for the state of things," went on the lady, "was on that first night. You should have laughed at the blunder as of no consequence. I can see how such a course would be impossible to one of your temperament, for you are very intense, and the thing seemed a little short of tragic to you. That is past. Think no more of it. Your second mistake was in trying to make yourself like your cousin. That was a confession of weakness."

"It was as the animals do to protect themselves from enemies," explained Bee. "It is called protective mimicry."

"I don't know what it is called, child. Whatever it is, it is done only by those animals that are incapable of caring for themselves. Now, my dear, why don't you throw yourself into your father's arms, and tell him all your troubles, just as you have me?"

"I wouldn't dare," said Bee in such a tone of reverence that the lady broke into a musical peal of laughter. "You would understand if you knew him, Mrs. Medulla. There is no one quite like him. He is so learned, so reserved, so—"

"Tut, tut! He may be all that, but still he is a man. He may be just waiting for some token of love and affection from you. Remember, Beatrice, you know more of him than he does of you. You have been where you could talk with your aunt and uncle about him, while he knows you only by your letters. As you show yourself to him now, so he must judge of you."

"I see," mused Bee thoughtfully.

"We are through with your mistakes, Beatrice. Did you know that you have some claims to beauty yourself?"

"What?" gasped Bee, so amazed that Mrs. Medulla laughed again.

"Am I telling secrets?" she asked.

"But, but I am not fair. My hair is dark, and my eyes are almost black."

"There are more kinds of beauty than one, Beatrice. Yours is the kind that will increase with years. The Ugly Duckling sort which develops into a beautiful Swan."

"Is it true?" asked the girl breathlessly. "No one ever told me that before. Aunt Annie used to say that my only claim to beauty lay in the expressiveness of my face."

"And in that very expressiveness lies the difficulty. When you are bright and happy you are at your best. Sparkle and animation give you a charm that is more than beauty of skin, or regularity of feature. Grief robs you of this; so, if for no other reason, you should strive to put unhappiness from you. Women who have been considered great beauties have not always had perfect features, or flawless complexions; but they held sway by grace of manner, and that indefinable thing called charm. You are of this class. I am telling you this, little girl, not to make you vain, but to give you confidence. Do you know why no one has told you this before?"

"No," replied Bee. "Why?"

"Because, while one feels it, there is a sort of carelessness in your dress that detracts from your appearance."

Bee flushed scarlet, and put up her hand quickly to adjust her twisted neck ribbon.

"I do just throw my things on," she murmured.

"A maiden should be exquisitely neat always. Even a scientific man will be influenced by externals. Such a man might not be able to tell what was wrong, but he would be conscious of some disturbing element. If you are careless in your dress your father will unconsciously draw comparisons between you and your cousin. No girl can afford to be dowdy in appearance. She should make herself as neat and tidy as possible, and then think no more of her dress. Just a few more remarks and I will have finished my little sermon, if a talk on beauty may be called such. You will not mind if I say now, that there is much, much truth in the homely saying that you quoted: 'Handsome is that handsome does.' A winsome, lovable personality is worth all the beauty in the world.

"It is a fact that the girl who thinks kind thoughts, and does good deeds is a great deal more attractive than the one who thinks only of herself. The face reflects the mind far more than girls realize, and as a matter of looks alone a girl cannot afford to be other than sweet and loving. Unselfishness, kindness, thoughtfulness, all help to make the plainest face beautiful, and years will not detract from its charm."

She paused a moment, and then added:

"Not that I would decry loveliness of person child. It is a gift of Heaven and should be valued as such, but that alone is not everything. Cultivate exquisite neatness of person, and above all, be your own bright self, and I feel sure that it will be but a short time until you will be all in all to your father. And, child, when he looks at your cousin, rise above any little hardness that you may feel toward her. He looks at her as he would at some beautiful picture. It is the same sensation, caused by the same appreciation of beauty. Do you do likewise, and admire her with him. He will admit your good taste, and end by admiring you. Put on your best dress for tonight, and make him as proud of you as you did yesterday. You can do it."

"I will do it," said Bee with determination. "I have been hateful about the dinner. I have not ordered anything for tonight. Mrs. Medulla, you are the sweetest woman that I have ever known."

"Don't be too grateful, Beatrice. Wait and see how things turn out. I know that you will succeed. Come tell me about it tomorrow."

"I will." Beatrice tripped lightly away; no longer troubled and unhappy, but full of the buoyancy of hope.


Chapter XV

The Arrival of Adele

"If any loss thou hast to rue,
Act as though thou wert born anew;
Inquire the meaning of each day,
What each day means, itself will say;
Ne'er let thy breast with hate be supplied,
And to God the future confide."
Goethe.

There was a look of anxiety on Doctor Raymond's face as he drove up to the house that evening. Adele's countenance, too, clouded as she glanced about for her cousin, but no Bee was to be seen. The scientist assisted his niece from the carriage, turned the vehicle over to Joel, and started up the steps. All men dread scenes with their women folk, and he was no exception to the rule.

"Tired, Adele?" he asked. "I dare say we will run across Beatrice in the hall."

At this moment Bee came flying out. There was a flower in her hair, and another at her belt. She looked cool and sweet as only a girl can when she is exquisitely neat in every detail.

"I just heard you," she said brightly, giving Adele a kiss. "I was helping Aunt Fanny with the table when I heard your voices. How is Uncle Henry?"

"Better, Bee. Is dinner ready? I am so hungry."

"All ready," responded Bee. "Come right in. Leave your hat in the hall, and we will go to the table at once. Are you hungry, too, father?"

"I believe that I am," rejoined Doctor Raymond, whose face had cleared wonderfully during this conversation. "Have you repeated your success of yesterday, Beatrice?"

"Adele is not a Lepidopterist, so I did not serve butterflies," laughed Bee. "I am giving her chocolate ice cream, which is her favorite. Do you like it too?"

"Yes, indeed. I have not had any in years. Are you a housekeeper also, Adele?"

"No;" smiled Adele as they sat down to the table. "Mamma and Bee wouldn't let me muss round. To tell the truth, I don't care much about such things. My tastes are not all domestic. Bee was always crazy on the subject. At least when she could spare time from her butterflies."

"Yet she does not strike me as being particularly on that order," remarked the scientist musingly. "How came you to take it up, Beatrice?"

"Why, you wrote Aunt Annie that you wished me to," answered Bee as though that were sufficient reason.

"I believe that Bee would learn Hottentot if she thought it would please you, Uncle William," added Adele graciously. She was well pleased that Bee had welcomed her so cordially. "Now, papa is a lawyer, but I don't know a thing about law. I couldn't tell an appeal from a—from a—What do I want to say, Bee?"

"From a writ of habeas corpus," suggested Bee.

"Have you studied law also, Beatrice?" queried her father, glancing from the beautiful face of his niece to the animated one of his daughter.

"No, father. I have heard Uncle Henry talking about his cases, and picked up a few terms. I don't care for law as I do for science."

"What have you been doing to your hair, Bee?" broke in Adele, suddenly. "I knew there was something odd about you, but I couldn't tell what it was until this minute."

Bee's face flushed, but she answered good-naturedly:

"I struck for gold, Adele, but it didn't pan out the pure article."

"I didn't know that you cared about such things," observed Adele with an involuntary touch to her own golden locks. "You always seemed superior to such things. It would not look so bad if you would keep it touched up. It's being so dark at the roots and yellow the rest of the way is what makes it look queer. Why don't you have it bleached again?"

"Because it's silly," answered Beatrice tersely. "I was foolish to do it in the first place, and now I shall wear it just as it is until it is long enough to cut off all that horrid bleached part. It is a good punishment for me."

"Several of the girls do it, but it does seem strange for you to do such a thing. Aren't you most finished? I am dying to get to that piano. I want to play for Uncle William."

"I am quite through," said Bee with a quick glance in her father's direction, "and so is father. We will go into the parlor now."

With stately, old-fashioned courtesy Doctor Raymond rose and opened the door for them. Engrossed in his own meditations the scientist had not paid much attention to the chatter of the girls. Had it been otherwise he might have absorbed a few facts concerning the species girl that would have enlightened his understanding considerably.

"I am dreadfully out of practice," commented Adele, seating herself at the instrument, and letting her hands flutter over the keys dreamily. "Since papa has been so ill I have not touched the piano. What do you like, Uncle William?"

"Anything, child," replied Doctor Raymond, seating himself in a large arm chair and preparing to be comfortable. "I am fond of music of all kinds. So let it be 'grave or gay, lively or severe,' it will please me. Beatrice has not favored me with any music yet."

"I don't play," said Beatrice quietly. "You should hear Percival on the violin, father. He is wonderful!"

"And who is Percival, Beatrice?"

"He is the son of our new neighbor, Mrs. Medulla," Bee informed him. "He lives with his mother in the old Brawley place. He is an infant prodigy."

"I don't care much for such precocity," observed the doctor dryly. "It is usually exploited by long-legged chaps who seek to prolong the illusion of the infantile period by knickerbockers and curls. I am not speaking of your friend, Beatrice, but of the brood in general."

"But Percival has curls, and he does wear knickerbockers," spoke Bee in dismay. "Though he told me, father, that he despised his clothes, and that a real fellow did not like to wear such things. He really is a marvel, and I am sure that Mrs. Medulla would like for us to call on them. She has been very nice to me."

"Very well, my daughter. I suppose that we ought to be neighborly, but I shall not have much time for visiting. Let us listen to your cousin now. She is waiting for us."

Adele had at length settled herself to her satisfaction. She liked to play. She was the center of all eyes at the piano, and she was conscious that she looked her very best as, with eyes upturned, she sang some old ballad in her sweet and plaintive little voice.

Doctor Raymond lighted a cigar. Bee brought his tobacco set and placed it upon a small table by his chair. Then she sat down to listen. How beautiful Adele was! Despite her good resolutions a pang went through her heart as she noted her father's intense gaze of admiration. Adele sang on and on. The room grew dark. Beatrice rose, attended to the lights, trying to stifle the feeling of sadness that was stealing over her.

"Isn't she pretty?" she asked of her father suddenly, bending over and speaking wistfully.

"She is like an exquisite cameo," was the entomologist's enthusiastic response. "I am glad that you admire her, Beatrice, though I do not see how one could help it. Won't she tire herself?"

"I will see, father." Bee went to her cousin and touched her gently on the shoulder.

"Aren't you tired, Adele?"

"I believe that I am," replied Adele, jumping up from the stool. "I saw that Uncle William was interested and so I kept on."

This was scarcely true. She had played on because she saw that her uncle enjoyed looking at her. In common with most beauties she was conscious when she excited admiration.

"You sing very nicely, my dear," was the scientist's comment. For some reason he appeared more at home with his niece than he did with his daughter.

"Thank you, uncle," said Adele sweetly. "What are we to do tomorrow, Bee? Let's go shopping. I want to get a new blue dress. Mamma said that I could have one."

"I cannot go in the morning," replied Bee, whose mind was made up on this point. With her mornings with her father she had resolved there should be no interference. "I help father with his cataloguing then. I will go in the afternoon, if you wish."

"Then what will become of me?" pouted Adele.

"You shall help us," said Doctor Raymond, pleasantly. "Tomorrow we take up the life history of 'The Purple Emperor.' It is one of the most charming of butterflies, and I am sure that you will enjoy it. Beauty should be drawn by beautiful things," he added graciously.

"Why, of course I'll help," cried Adele, delighted by the compliment.

"There is one call, or errand of mercy rather, that I would like you girls to make for me," remarked the scientist presently. "This morning the minister told me that old Rachel was ailing. It would be a graceful thing for you two to take her some delicacies of some sort. The old appreciate such attentions. She was a faithful servant of your mother's, Beatrice. Indeed, she attended her through her last illness."

"I know, father. Uncle Henry said that you wished her looked after, and that she should not want for anything. He had me to go down to the cabin every month to see what she needed. I have not been since your return though. I thought perhaps you would prefer to attend to her yourself."

"I have been once, my daughter, but I can not go tomorrow. If you girls—"

"Certainly we'll go," cried Adele before Bee could reply. "Let's wear our gray dresses, Bee, and pretend that we are Sisters of Charity."

"You may wear a gray dress if you wish," remarked Bee. "I shall dress as I always do. Father, don't you think that we ought to attend to that before we go shopping?"

"Yes. Deeds of kindness should take precedence over all else. Now, girls, I am going into the study to read for a time. I know that you two must have a great deal to say to each other. Beatrice has had to be content with just me a long time.

"Good-night, Uncle William!" Adele ran to him and put up her lips for a kiss. "You are just horrid to run off to those old bugs and things. If you run away too often, I'll throw them into the river."

Bee looked up horrified at her cousin's pertness.

"Good-night, you butterfly," responded Doctor Raymond, kissing his niece, and seeming not at all dismayed by her threat. "Don't let me catch you tampering with my bugs, as you call them. Good-night, daughter!"

"Good-night, father," replied the girl without glancing at him. He had laughed just as if he had enjoyed Adele's nonsense. He had not kissed her since the first night of his homecoming, and her heart throbbed at the thought of how easily Adele could get what she would have given anything for.

Her father hesitated a moment, then, catching sight of her expression, he crossed the room to her side, and putting his hand under her chin, raised her face gently and looked into her eyes.

"Aren't you going to kiss me too?" he asked.

Bee's eyes filled, and she was unable to speak, as was always the case when she was deeply moved. He waited, wondering at her silence, when all at once he spoke with a quick intake of his breath:

"There is a look of your mother about you tonight, Beatrice. I never noticed it before. Child, child,—"

He withdrew his hand from her chin, turned, and quitted the room abruptly.

"What made him do that?" cried Adele. "Doesn't he like you yet, Bee?"

But Bee's eyes were shining through her tears.

"He said that I looked like my mother," she breathed. "Oh, Adele! Did you hear him?"

"Well, what of it? I don't see anything so wonderful in that. Everyone says that I am the perfect image of mamma. It would be natural for you to look like your mother."

"But he loved her dearly, dearly," said Bee. "If he thinks that I am like her he will love me too. He just must like me," she broke forth. "Why, Adele, I think I should die if he didn't."

"Oh, no; you wouldn't, Bee. I don't think you know how to manage him. Now I can make him do anything I wish. I could show you a few little tricks—"

"Thank you," answered Bee with dignity. "I don't want any more of your tricks, Adele. One of them has caused quite enough mischief."

"But you have forgiven me that, Bee; haven't you? I saw that you had just as soon as you kissed me."

"Adele," spoke Bee earnestly, "I am trying to do it. It brought father back to me sooner than he would have come. For that reason I am going to be toward you as I used to be, but I don't want to talk about it too much. And I don't want any more of your tricks. That is, if you care to have me like you."

"Beatrice Raymond, what has come to you?" asked Adele, her eyes opening wide at her cousin's seriousness. "I never saw such a difference in any one as there is in you since your father's return. Of course you are going to be toward me just as you used to be. You always were fond of me, and you are going to love me just as much as ever. What in the world are you doing?"

Beatrice made no reply. They were in her room by this time, and Adele was taking down her hair to brush it. Bee was leaning far out of a window, looking toward the garden where the dim outline of the moss rose bush, the rose her mother had planted, could be seen. There were no roses now, but the bush stood shapely and symmetrical in the moonlight.

"He said that I looked like her," she mused thoughtfully, her heart going out with yearning toward that mother who was scarcely more than a memory to her. "And he loved her dearly, dearly!"


Chapter XVI

"It Is So Hard To Do the Right Thing"

"Some of these days the skies will be brighter,
Some of these days the burdens be lighter;
Hearts will be happier, souls will be whiter,
Some of these days,
Some of these days."
Frank L. Stanton.

"There, Beatrice, that will do for today." Doctor Raymond laid aside his manuscript with a sigh of satisfaction. "The Purple Emperor is a fitting close for our day's work. I think there is no place in Natural History where rank is of so much importance as among butterflies. His Majesty is easily king of the lot."

He picked up the Denton frame in which the insect was mounted, and looked at it smilingly.

"I never see the Emperor," he continued reflectively, "that I do not think of Peter Pindar's Ode to The Emperor of Morocco and Sir Joseph Banks. Of course it is a hit at scientists, but it is amusing for all that. Have either of you read it?"

"Yes;" spoke Bee eagerly. "At least, I have heard it read, father. Professor Lawrence read it to the class one day."

Doctor Raymond frowned. Bee had not yet learned that there are occasions when ignorance is bliss. No one likes to have either his anecdotes or witticisms anticipated. She might have said with perfect sincerity:

"Yes, father; but I should like to hear it again."

"Well, I haven't heard it at all," said Adele prettily. "I am not so learned as Bee."

"You will doubtless appreciate it then," spoke the naturalist, turning to her with pleasure apparent in both voice and manner. "Would you care to hear the lines?"

"Nothing would delight me so much, Uncle William."

How beautiful Adele looked with her golden hair; how delicate and pearly was her lovely neck; what sweet eyes were hers, blue as a sky full of sunshine. Doctor Raymond's glance dwelt upon her with admiration.

"What a lovely girl you are!" he exclaimed voluntarily. Adele colored with pleasure.

"I did not think that you saw beauty in anything but your butterflies," she said archly.

"Indeed I do. I am very susceptible to beauty in any form. But surely you also see beauty in this?" He handed her a frame in which was mounted a gorgeous Scarlet Admiral. "Is not this strikingly beautiful? Note with what a brilliant red the secondaries are bordered, and the velvety blackness of the fore wings. It is among the last of our hibernating butterflies to seek its winter quarters, and is most interesting in many ways."

"It is beautiful," cried Adele with enthusiasm. "Oh! it just makes me want to study butterflies too when I see such pretty ones."

"I do not wonder that the old Greeks used the butterfly as an emblem of the soul," commented the Lepidopterist, well pleased with her appreciation of the insect. "Even as the imago bursts from its chrysalis and, throwing aside the bonds that held it a lowly creeping thing to earth, mounts upward on gauzy wings, so the soul casts off its earth-bound body at length and also mounts upward on wings of hope. The symbol of the butterfly is found on all their tombs and monuments."

"It is a pretty thought," commented his niece sweetly, "but you don't know how anxious I am to hear about Sir Joseph Banks and The Emperor."

"To be sure," ejaculated Doctor Raymond hastily. "I had forgotten." Then, in a rich voice of no little charm, he recited the ode. Adele laughed merrily as he finished.

"How can you bear to repeat anything like that when it is a take-off on scientists?" she asked.

"We can appreciate humor even when it is at our expense, child. Now let's go to lunch. You girls may then visit Rachel while I go into the town. I must look after some matters of Henry's. I will join you as you leave the woods coming back from Rachel's. On our way home we will call upon our new neighbors. I am curious about that prodigy of whom Beatrice was speaking. Then, too, I wish to see if they will be pleasant acquaintances for you. If they are it would not be so lonesome for you girls should I be called from home, as it sometimes happens that I am."

Bee sighed as they went to the dining room. He spoke exactly as though Adele was always to be with them. She had felt a little out of things that morning, and perhaps her manner held the slightest tinge of asperity. Adele ran at once to the head of the table.

"I want to pour the coffee today, Bee," she cried, her white hands fluttering among the cups like flower petals.

"No;" spoke Bee emphatically, pushing her to one side. "That is my duty, Adele."

"Beatrice," exclaimed her father, "I am surprised. What difference does it make? If your cousin wishes to pour the coffee, let her do so. Remember, she is your guest." So he spoke, for no man ever understands all that serving at her own table means to a woman, or girl child.

"I do remember, father. She is the one who forgets. As hostess this is my place, and I will not give it up to any one."

"'Will not' are strong words, my daughter. What if I were to command you?"

"Then I should have to obey you, father." The girl found herself trembling with anger. "But you, sir, would be forgetting what was due to your daughter."

"You are impertinent, Beatrice," he remarked coldly. "There are times when your manner leaves much to be desired."

"I would just as soon sit here, Uncle William," broke in Adele. "It was just a notion of mine. I didn't dream that Bee would care. It does not matter in the least."

"Thank you, my dear." The doctor's eyes softened. He was displeased that his daughter should exhibit such outbursts of temper, as she occasionally gave way to, and his formality toward her during the meal made his disapprobation quite apparent.

Bee was aware that she had placed herself in the wrong by losing her temper, and her hands shook so that she could scarcely hold the cups.

"Oh, I wish I didn't act this way," she thought remorsefully. "It is so hard to do the right thing when he shows his preference so plainly. Why couldn't I have been nicer about this? It really is my place to sit here, but I might have said so without getting mad. Oh, dear, dear!"

The lunch ended, and the girls went upstairs to get ready for the outing. When Bee was nearly dressed Adele came to her softly. She could not bear that anyone should not be pleased with her, and she knew that Bee was hurt and offended. Stepping behind her she put her arms around her waist as Bee stood before the mirror, and bent her head over her cousin's shoulder, partly that she might kiss her cheek, partly also that she might see her face in the glass and contrast it with that of Bee.

"Don't be cross with me," she said coaxingly. "I am sorry if I have done anything that you did not like."

Beatrice sighed. Adele was irresistible in this mood.

"Perhaps you did not mean it, Adele," she said. "But, honestly! would you like it if someone were to come to your house, and want to take your place with your father and mother?"

"No, I would not," answered Adele candidly. "What's the use of supposing anything of the sort? Nobody could, you know. Papa and mamma would not let them."

"That is true," agreed Bee thoughtfully. "Nobody could take your place, Adele. I wish that father were so fond of me that no one could take my place with him."

"Maybe he will when he knows you better," remarked Adele consolingly. "Only you must not blame me if he likes me best." She loosened her hold on Bee and wandered about the room, looking first at one thing, and then another. Presently she gave a little scream of delight. "What a pretty hat!" she cried. "All white lace and pansies. Oh, Bee! Where did you get it?"

"I got it when I bleached my hair," said Bee in a low tone. "It is a pretty hat. Every one likes it."

"It's lovely," declared Adele, putting it on, and gazing rapturously at her image in the glass. "Doesn't it become me?"

"Everything becomes you, Adele, but this doesn't look any better on you than your own." Bee reached out her hand for the hat. "We must hurry. Father doesn't like to be kept waiting."

"Do let me wear it, Bee." Adele danced out of her cousin's reach. "Just see how nice it looks on me."

"I want to wear it myself, Adele. I want to look well when we go to Mrs. Medulla's."

"Don't be so selfish, Bee. You used not to be. You used to let me wear anything of yours that I wanted. What in the world has come to you? It doesn't make any difference what you wear."

"I don't think it's selfish for me to want to wear my own things," answered Bee with tears in her eyes. "You are not contented to let me keep anything. You have just as many pretty things as I have; yet you always want mine too."

"You are so superior to such things," remarked Adele, her lip quivering, her face wearing the tiniest aggrieved expression. "Nobody thinks of what you have on, but a poor little goosey like me has to be so careful. I won't wear the hat, if you don't want me to; but I think you might let me. You are getting awfully selfish."

Bee turned from her quickly and looked out of the window. Was she selfish? It was true that formerly she had not minded letting Adele wear her things. Why should she care now? A remembrance of Mrs. Medulla's words came to her: "A winsome and lovable personality is worth all the beauty in the world." After all, why should she permit a mere hat to upset her temper, and spoil her afternoon?

"You may wear it, Adele," she said. "It does become you."

"You're a dear!" Adele ran to the glass to pin on the hat securely. "What does a clever thing like you care about what you wear? You have a mind above clothes."

"Yes; I dare say," remarked Bee abstractedly. "Are you ready to go down now?"

Doctor Raymond was waiting for them, and they set forth. The air under the great trees that bordered the road was balmy. The hot July sun brought out the cool sweet smell of the leaves. Gleams of fire fell through the boughs and dappled the soil at intervals. On these sunflakes numerous fritillary butterflies with silver under wings were fluttering, and countless flies were humming. Presently Adele darted aside with an exclamation.

"It's a dead butterfly," she cried, holding the insect up to view. "It was sitting so still on the thistle that I thought it was asleep. And the poor little thing was dead all the time."

"It's shamming," said Doctor Raymond with a laugh. "That is one of the tricks of The Painted Beauty. If we leave it alone for a few seconds we shall find that it will come to life again."

He took the creature from her and laid it gently on the grass. They waited, watching it curiously. All at once the apparently lifeless butterfly began a slight vibration of its wings. Suddenly it rose and was gone; as strong and free as ever.

Adele clapped her hands in delight, and Bee smiled. She was acquainted with the butterfly, and had seen the trick before.

"I never saw anything so cunning in all my life," cried Adele. "Are all butterflies as cute, Uncle William?"

"Not all; but the most of them have marvelous life histories. Come, girls! we must not loiter. We have two calls to make, you know."


Chapter XVII

The Two Calls

"A thousand flowers,
By the road-side and the borders of the brook,
Nod gayly to each other; glossy leaves
Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew
Were on them yet, and silver waters break
Into small waves and sparkle as he comes."
Summer Wind. Bryant.

"Thanky, honies, yer moughty good ter an ole worman. Thanky kindly." Old Rachel beamed upon the two girls from the depths of a rocker, her black face shining with delight at sight of all the good things they had brought.

"Have you been sick long, Aunt Rachel?" asked Bee, putting jelly, chicken, and other delicacies upon the only table the cabin afforded.

"Bress ye, chile! I ain't what yer call sick. Jest a-ailin' like. Dat's all. I went ter my son's in Possum Holler fer a spell, an' I ain't been right peart sence. But I'll be as spry as eber purty soon."

"Well, we will look after you until you are," spoke the girl gently.

"Yes, honey. I'll 'pend on you all ter look aftha me. I was moughty good ter yer ma. She'd 'prove of yer lookin' aftah ole Rachel. 'Deed she would." The old woman kept her eyes fixed on Adele as she talked. "Is yer a fairy, er an angel, honey?" she asked.

"Neither," Adele laughed gaily. "I am just a common, everyday girl, Aunt Rachel."

"No, honey. 'Scuse me. No common ebbery day ga lain't a-gwinge ter look like yer. Does dey, Miss Bee?"

"No, indeed," answered Beatrice. "Now Aunt Rachel, I'll bring or send you something every day, and father said to tell you that he was going to have the doctor look in on you."

"Now ain't dat jest like yer pa? He don't fergit dat I was wid Mis' Raymond in her las' sickness. Tell him I'm much obleeged ter him. He was moughty fond ob yer ma; yer pa was, an' she was ob him too. Put a flower ebbery day on his table when he'd go in ter study."

"Why, Aunt Rachel, you never told me that before," cried Bee.

"Didn't I? I fergit things, Miss Bee. She did dough. Yas'm. Sometime hit 'ud be a rose, sometime a pansy; but allers a posy ob some kind 'ud go on dat man's table ebbery mo'nin'. You kummin' ebbery day, Miss Bee?"

"Yes, Aunt Rachel."

"Den you kum too, honey." The negress appealed to Adele. "Lawsie, chile, yer jest a sight for soah eyes. You am suah. Hit does me good jest ter look at yer. You am de Lily ob de Valley, an' de Rose ob Sharon. You suah am."

"Yes, yes, I'll come." Adele received this homage with laughing protest, but she was none the less pleased because it was homely.

"Hit suahly will do me moah good dan de vittles," went on the negress. "An' I ain't a-sayin' nuffin agin good eatin' eider."

"I'll come," promised Adele again. "I'll come every day."

"Bress yer heart, chile. Thanky, Miss Bee."

"Good-bye until tomorrow," said Beatrice kindly. "Be careful of yourself, and if you need anything send to the house for it. We will come to see how you are tomorrow."

"I won't need nuffin elsen but a sight ob dat bressed angel," declared old Rachel as the girls bade her good-bye, and left the cabin.

Through the woods they went to the road where they found Doctor Raymond waiting for them, and they started for the visit to Mrs. Medulla.

"How is old Rachel?" he asked.

"I did not think her very ill," remarked Adele. "Did you, Bee?"

"She said that she was just ailing," replied

Bee, "and that she would be all right in a few days. I thought she was a little feverish. She took quite a fancy to Adele."

"I can well believe it," answered Doctor Raymond heartily. Each time he saw the girl she seemed more lovely. Today in her white dress with Bee's white lace hat upon her head, and her eyes velvety as the heart of a purple pansy she looked the angel Aunt Rachel had called her.

"I wonder," thought Bee as they entered the gate of the Brawley place where the Medullas lived, "I wonder if Percival and his mother will be as much taken with Adele as every one else is?"

"Your daughter and I are friends already, Doctor Raymond," said Mrs. Medulla, drawing Bee to her as she greeted them graciously.

"I am glad to hear it," observed the scientist courteously. "My daughter is so unfortunate as to be obliged to devote a great part of her time to me, and I have been away from civilization so long that I am scarcely the companion for her. The influence of a woman of culture cannot fail to be of great benefit to her."

"Thank you," replied the lady quietly. "And is this the cousin of whom you have spoken, Beatrice?"

"Yes;" answered Bee, watching her intently to see if she too had fallen a victim to Adele's beauty. The lady smiled at the girl's fixed gaze, cognizant of what was passing in her mind. She was too well bred to betray the astonishment she felt at Adele's wondrous loveliness, and she was filled with a great commiseration for Beatrice.

Adele was at her best. She knew that she was beautiful, and accepted homage as her right. She had grown to expect admiration and devotion as her due. So she chatted brightly, or listened with pretty deference whenever one of her elders spoke.

She knew that her uncle admired her. That he did so beyond his own daughter did not seem at all unusual or amiss. Bee had always been second. It seemed but natural to Adele that she should be second with her father also. Bee's feelings on the subject were not considered. They never had been. Mrs. Medulla turned suddenly from her, and laid her hand lightly upon Beatrice's arm.

"I could scarcely keep Percival at home today," she said. "He insisted that it was his duty to call to see how you were."

"I should have been glad to see him," responded Bee. "Where is he?"

"I hear him coming," replied the mother.

"My daughter tells me that he is a violinist," remarked the scientist.

"Yes; Percival plays well," returned his mother simply. "He was worn out with his recitals last season, and we came here that he might have the benefit of outdoor air and exercise. He practices every day in the garden, and I think him much improved."

"Percival," as the boy entered the room, "do you see who has come? Doctor Raymond, this is my son. Miss Adele, this is Percival."

"Gee!" whispered the boy to Beatrice after he had made his devoirs. "That cousin of yours is pretty, Beefly, but I don't like her as much as I do you."

"You don't?" Beatrice was plainly amazed. "Why not, Percival?"

"Because a girl like that never thinks of anything but herself," he announced. "She couldn't be chums with me like you. I know 'em," concluded this experienced young man.

"How do you know?" asked Bee so delightedly that Mrs. Medulla glanced at her with a smile, well pleased to see her so bright.

"Would it be asking too much to desire your son to play for us?" inquired Adele sweetly. "We would like to be favored as well as Bee. Wouldn't we, Uncle William?"

"Certainly," answered the naturalist as in duty bound.

"I will play one piece, and no more," said the lad, taking his violin from the case and adjusting his music. "I am not in the mood, but because of Butterfly I will play."

Adele glanced at him quickly, showing plainly that she thought he alluded to her; but the boy's smile and nod toward Bee were unmistakable.

"How funny that you should call Bee that?" she exclaimed.

"That is what she does," explained Percival. "Gee! I saw her catch one, one day, and the jump she made with the net was a corker. Remember, Butterfly—Beefly, I mean? It was the first day that we became friends, though I had watched for a chance to speak for a long time. She is the nicest girl I know."

Beatrice's eyes misted suddenly. How loyal he was! He acknowledged Adele's beauty, but it made no difference in his liking for herself. Doctor Raymond was slightly astonished, but he merely smiled at the boy's enthusiasm, then settled himself to listen politely as Percival, without more ado, began to play. His interest was aroused, however, by the first notes, and soon he was leaning forward eagerly.

Adele fidgetted as she saw how rapt everyone became, and that no one was paying the slightest attention to her. It was a new experience to have any one else be the center of attraction while she was about.

"That is wonderful playing, my lad," exclaimed the naturalist, as Percival finished. "Wonderful!"

"It was certainly very fine," agreed Adele. "I should like to kiss you for it, Master Percival."

"No, you don't," ejaculated Percival. "I am not going to be mauled around by a silly girl."

Adele's eyes flashed; then she recovered herself.

"Of course, if you do not choose, I will not," she said, retiring gracefully from her defeat. "I merely wished to show how much I appreciated your playing."

"I don't care much for such appreciation," remarked the boy scornfully. "I get enough of it in the cities. Beatrice isn't a bit like you."

"No?" Adele's lip curled ever so slightly. "Bee is so sensible."

"Yes; she is," cried the lad, glaring at the other spoiled child fiercely. "I'd rather play to her than to a dozen like you. She knows how to appreciate music. Her eyes are full of tears now, and she scarcely breathed all the time I played, but she doesn't want to kiss me. Phew! it's silly!"

"Percival," interposed his mother quickly, "wouldn't you like to show Beatrice and her cousin your new pony?"

"Gee! I had forgotten it," cried the boy, restored to good humor instantly. "Come on, Beefly! You may come, too," he added to Adele.

For the merest second Adele hesitated. Then, as she saw that both Bee and Percival were waiting, and that the lady and her uncle looked at her expectantly, she arose and accompanied the two from the room.

"What a warm-hearted child she is," observed the lady to the doctor.

"She is indeed," agreed he. "And as beautiful as warm-hearted. Would that Beatrice were more like her."

"Pardon me, Doctor Raymond; I was not speaking of your niece, but of your daughter." The lady's surprise was obvious. "Your niece is an exceedingly beautiful girl, but she has not the depth of character that your daughter has. What Percival said of her appreciation of music was true, although the boy should not have uttered it. Beatrice's judgment is much better in such things than her cousin's."

"You amaze me, madam," gasped the scientist. "Adele seems to me to be very sensitive to the beautiful, and extremely appreciative of the poetry of life. Beatrice is of a more practical turn of mind. A mind of much vigor and strength, I grant, but still uninclined toward those things that make life graceful."

"Doctor Raymond," spoke Mrs. Medulla quickly, "there is no nature that is deficient in its musical phrase, least of all a personality like your daughter's. In her direct and genuine nature there is a 'Leitmotif' of pure sweet melody that will enrich the life of its discoverer. It awaits only the master touch. Will you be the one to give it?"

"What do you mean?" asked the Lepidopterist.

"This," she said, speaking warmly. "Beatrice is a warm-hearted, loving, impulsive girl. She needs very tender guidance just at this time to develop into the noble woman that she is capable of becoming. The child is doing much for herself, but you should aid her. No doubt you will consider the liberty unwarranted, but it must be excused by the interest I take in her. Your niece is a very lovely girl. Any other girl who is brought into relationship with her falls into second place unless she is as beautiful. Beatrice was associated with her for ten years in her home. Naturally she took second place there. If you are not careful she will be second in your home and heart also."

"Really," began Doctor Raymond with some stiffness.

"Mamma, mamma!" Percival broke into the room followed by the two cousins. "I don't like Adele one bit. She is wearing Beatrice's new hat; and she shouldn't."

"Percival!" exclaimed Mrs. Medulla in shocked tones.

"I don't care," cried the lad shrilly. "I don't want her to wear my chum's things."

"I said that she might," protested Bee, while Adele stood speechless with mortification. "If there was another boy who lived with you, Percival, you would often wear each other's things."

"You are rude, Percival," reprimanded his mother in severe accents. "It is just as Beatrice says: girls always do it."

Percival said no more, but he glanced so significantly at the hat as he bade Adele farewell that the blood rushed to her face, and her adieu was very constrained.

"I don't like those people," she exclaimed as they passed beyond hearing. "Bee, how can you bear the way Mrs. Medulla pronounces your name? It sounds like Beyoutricky."

Bee opened her lips to reply, but before she could do so, her father spoke:

"I rather liked them. The lady pronounces Beatrice's name after the Italian fashion, and is a very warm friend of hers. The boy is undoubtedly a genius, albeit somewhat spoiled. I am glad that we have them for neighbors."


Chapter XVIII

A Breach of Trust

"Our lives are songs;
God writes the words,
And we set them to music at leisure;
And the song is sad, or the song is glad,
As we choose to fashion the measure."
Gibbon.

"Oh! Oh!" screamed Adele, dancing up and down distractedly. "Take it away! Take it away!"

Doctor Raymond ran from the study into the laboratory.

"What is the matter? What has happened?" he cried, alarmed by the girl's pale face and affrighted manner.

"It's a caterpillar," explained Bee, who was vainly trying to get Adele to keep still long enough to remove the creature. "There, Adele, it can't hurt you. Just be still a moment so that I can take it off."

But Adele continued to shriek, while the caterpillar wriggled along her delicate arm, each movement sufficing to send her into a fresh paroxysm of fear.

"There, child!" Doctor Raymond passed his arm about her, and held her tightly. "Don't jump so. There is nothing to be afraid of. The poor thing is as much frightened as you are. See! it's gone. Beatrice, return it to its cage."

"Take me out of this horrid place," sobbed Adele, clinging to him tightly. "I never want to come in here again."

"I thought you had been in before," said her uncle questioningly, as he led her into the study. "See that everything is closed properly, Beatrice."

"No; I have not," shivered Adele. "It was all Bee's fault. She wanted me to see some butterflies come out of their cocoons, so I went with her. The room was filled with creepy, crawly things. Oh, dear!" She shuddered, then wiped her eyes, and looked up at him plaintively. "Do you think I am an awful goose, Uncle William?"

"No, my dear," answered Doctor Raymond with a smile. "Only very feminine. Few of your sex overcome their prejudice to creeping creatures unless they become interested in them through science. I was surprised that Beatrice was not timid."

Bee, entering just then, heard the remark and smiled to herself. She did not explain that it was because of him that she had overcome her repugnance to them.

"Bee doesn't mind anything that crawls," exclaimed Adele who had recovered herself by this time.

"I don't like snakes," declared Bee emphatically.

"You people talk about the most dreadful things," cried Adele. "Do you know that I wake up nights feeling creepy? If you don't care, Uncle William, I am going down to Aunt Rachel's while you and Bee study your old worms. No more science for me, thank you."

"By all means," smiled the naturalist. "You shall be our angel of charity while Beatrice and I remain true to science. But perhaps you would prefer to go with Adele, Beatrice?"

"No;" answered Bee eagerly, glad that she was to have him to herself again. "She won't care if I stay with you, father; and I would rather be with you."

"I don't mind going alone, Uncle William, if Bee is of any assistance to you." Adele looked at him with pretty concern. "If she hinders you though you ought to send her right along with me."

Doctor Raymond was silent so long that Bee was startled.

"Do I hinder you, father?" she asked tremulously. "I did not think of that. I thought that I was helping. If I am not, if you just have me here because you think it will please me, say so; and I won't bother you any more."

"Now, Bee," protested Adele archly, "why do you tease him? Of course he is much too polite to tell you that you trouble him. I was joking anyway. Come along, and leave your father in peace."

"Leave the room," commanded Beatrice peremptorily. "I wish to be alone with my father."

"Upon my word, Bee!" cried Adele, undecided whether she should go or stay. She stood for a moment, and then, as her uncle did not come to her rescue, gave a light laugh at her cousin's determined attitude, and left the room.

"Was not that a little abrupt, my daughter?" asked Doctor Raymond quietly.

"It was, father," admitted Beatrice contritely. "But this is a matter that concerns us alone, and I just could not be trifled with. There was no reason why she should stay. Now, father, if I bother you in any way, I will do so no more, but let you work undisturbed. Do I? Tell me truly. Don't say what you think will please me, but the truth."

"The truth! the truth! and nothing but the truth," laughed he, his eyes softening as he met the earnest gaze of his daughter. "Set your mind at rest, Beatrice. You do not hinder me in the least, but on the contrary help me no little. I was summing up all that you had done when you turned upon me so suddenly. You are rather strenuous at times."

"I know that I am, father." Bee was so relieved that she was of use to him that she spoke for once without reserve: "I wish I were sweet and beautiful, and all that you wish. And, and I am trying to be lovable. It is not always easy," she ended with a sigh.

"None of us find it so, my child. I have noticed your efforts, Beatrice, with pleasure. Another thing: when I first came home, there was a carelessness in your dress which you have corrected. Your cousin herself is not more neat in her attire now than you are."

"Oh, father! have you noticed?" cried Bee so delightedly that his features relaxed into a smile. "I did not think you did. And my temper! It is so quick, but maybe in time I'll get so that I can control it. I used not to be so quick tempered, but since you have returned I seem to show all my bad qualities."

"That is scarcely complimentary to me, is it? I would better put you under your aunt's keeping again, if my influence is so—"

"Oh, no, no!" cried Bee, distressed. "I did not mean it that way. It isn't you at all, father. It is me. I can't help but feel ugly toward anyone who tries to come between us."

"Why, child, no one is trying to come between us. There is no reason why we should not become very dear friends as the years go by. I am already depending upon you greatly, and nothing but a betrayal of trust could change my feeling for you. Such a thing as that, however, I am convinced is foreign to your nature."

"I will never betray even your slightest wish," cried the girl earnestly. "You do like me a little, don't you?"

"Certainly I do. Are you satisfied now?"

"Yes;" replied Bee with eyes shining with happiness. "Dear me!" she exclaimed, glancing at the clock. "I have not been much of a help this morning. Just look at that time!"

"We won't mind it for the nonce, Beatrice. If we work well it will be but a few weeks until our task is done. The last of August will see all of my specimens out of their cocoons; then—"

"Then what, father?" she asked anxiously.

"I don't quite know yet. I am considering several things before deciding upon my plans for the future. The main point is to attend to the duty in hand. Shall we resume our work?"

The next few days were happy ones for Beatrice. She worked with her father every morning while Adele went to Aunt Rachel's with the delicacies which Bee provided. In the afternoon they walked together, and in the evening visited Percival and his mother, or were visited by them. They were bright, happy days despite the presence of Adele. Some way Beatrice felt that she was gaining ground with her father, and the knowledge made her put forth her best efforts to please him.

In fact, she threw herself into the work with so much fervor that one day she found herself too tired and indisposed to take the accustomed walk with her father and cousin, and remained indoors for rest. After lying down for a time, she rose and began to dress.

"I do believe that father forgot to put that sorrel grass in the laboratory for the larvŠ of the Chrysophanus Americanus," she exclaimed suddenly, pausing in the act of brushing her hair. "I'll run right down to see."

The sorrel had been forgotten sure enough, and Beatrice ran out for some to take into the laboratory. The afternoon was extremely warm. As a usual thing the door between the study and the laboratory was kept closed, but today because of the heat Bee left it open, thinking to be in the room but a moment.

She arranged the sorrel grass in the cage where the larvŠ were feeding and turned to leave the room when her attention was caught by a brilliant bit of color on a twig near a window.

"Oh!" she cried, as going close to it she discovered that it was a butterfly newly escaped from its chrysalis. "Oh, oh! it's father's rarest specimen! It's the Teinopalpus Imperialis! How delighted he will be. I wonder how soon it will fly!"

As the words left her lips the beautiful creature rose and circled the room majestically in its first flight.

"What a beauty!" cried Bee with enthusiasm. "Won't fath—Oh, the door!"

She ran toward it quickly, but she was too late. Through it sailed the butterfly into the study and out through the open window. Catching up her net Bee jumped through the window, and dashed after the insect. Daintily it settled upon a flower for a second, then away it went just as the girl gave her net a frantic swish to catch it. Hither and thither the creature darted as though intoxicated with its freedom after being earth-bound for so long. Round and round went Beatrice after it; onward and upward it flew, tantalizingly near sometimes, but ever escaping capture. Presently it rose, and disappeared over the tree tops.


"OUT THROUGH THE OPEN WINDOW SAILED THE BUTTERFLY."


"It's gone," cried Bee with a sob. "It's gone. What will father think? And the door! The door is still open."

She ran back to the house as fast as she could. Panting and breathless, hot and tired, she clambered through the window into the study.

"Beatrice." Doctor Raymond stood by the open door of the laboratory, his face very grave. "Why is this door open? I might lose a very valuable specimen through such carelessness."

"Oh, father!" cried Bee, bursting into tears. "I have lost a valuable specimen already. I have lost your Teinopalpus Imperialis. I left the door open to go in to put the sorrel grass in the cage for some larvŠ, and it flew out. Father, father, I—"


Chapter XIX

The Closed Door

"When cometh the close of a cherished thing,
How keenly our heart to its charm doth cling,
For it seems as sunshine vanishing."
Pall Mall Gazette.

Doctor Raymond looked at her sternly. "My Teinopalpus Imperialis?" he questioned.

"Yes;" answered Bee brokenly. "After you had gone I remembered that you had spoken of sorrel grass for the larvŠ of the Chrysophanus Americanus, and I thought you had forgotten it, so I ran down to put it in the cage. I did not expect to be in the laboratory but just a minute so I left the study door open. After I fixed the sorrel I saw the new butterfly. While I was looking at it, it rose and flew about the room; and then, and then—" She paused to collect herself, then continued bravely: "Then I remembered the door, but before I could reach it the butterfly had flown into the study, and out through the window. I ran after it to catch it, but I could not."

"And to the best of my knowledge it is the only known specimen in existence. Beatrice, do you realize just what your carelessness means?"

"Yes;" sobbed Bee. "I know, father."

"And you are the girl who, but a few days since, assured me that she would fail me in nothing?"

"Yes;" said Bee again, unable to meet his eyes.

"I should have known better than to have trusted you." Doctor Raymond's bitter disappointment was evident in his voice and manner. "It is doubtful if that butterfly can ever be replaced. The larva was obtained at the risk of my life, and by a few moments of carelessness all has gone for naught. I thought you different from other girls. I believed that you appreciated the privilege of being among my specimens too greatly to be careless. I see my mistake. After this, I do not wish you to enter either this study, or the laboratory. My specimens are too valuable to risk another such loss. Do you understand, Beatrice? Under no circumstances are you to enter these rooms again."

"Not even to help you catalogue, father?" Bee had ceased crying now, and she stood staring at him with eyes full of anguish.

"Not even for that purpose, Beatrice. Your own untrustworthiness has deprived you of the privilege."

"And aren't you ever going to forgive me?" she asked miserably.

"It depends upon your future conduct," returned her father coldly. "I desire to say no more upon the subject at present. Go now, while I repair whatever else of mischief may be done."

He went into the laboratory as he finished speaking, closing the door behind him. Bee sank into a chair, and sat gazing after him with all her heart in her eyes. It was ended. The delightful mornings of study, the cataloguing, the mounting and framing of the beautiful insects. By her own act she had forfeited the right to be his companion and helper. She did not question the justice of the punishment. She knew that it was right. Her father's collection was in truth too valuable to be exposed to carelessness. That it was regarded as almost priceless by the University, Beatrice knew, and, as the full realization came to her that she had lost its rarest specimen, the girl was almost overwhelmed with grief.

It was several moments before she could obtain control of herself. Then she rose, and went slowly toward the door. Pausing with her hand on the knob she turned for a last glance at the loved objects in the room. Long she looked at her father's chair, at the heap of manuscript on the table, at her own place with the note book and pencil in front of it, at the door of the laboratory behind which were all the wonderful specimens. She would be with them no more. Bee's heart was very full as she opened the door and went out, shutting it softly behind her.

Her hair was still loose and flying, but the girl felt that she could not stay in the house. She must get somewhere where she could be alone. Beyond the Medulla residence was a deep wood, and out into the road went Beatrice, intending to reach its cool recesses. The warm sunshine had brought out clouds of butterflies. Small white ones sported like fragile flower petals in the bright rays. Silvery winged fritillaries sailed hither and thither among the red clover blossoms. A Monarch rose from a stalk of milkweed, and winged its stately flight just ahead of her. On a mud puddle by the roadside a number of azures had collected, but Beatrice, usually keenly alive to the presence of the beloved insects, passed them unheedingly. As she reached the group of sycamore trees that stood in front of the Medulla residence she paused abruptly as she caught sight of Percival and a boy under the trees. The boy, whom she recognized as the bully of the town, was dancing about the Infant Prodigy, amusing himself after the fashion of boys by teasing him.

"Is it alive?" he cried, giving Percival a poke in the ribs. "Say, kin ye speak?"

"I'll show you whether I can or not," pluckily retorted Percival who was crying mad. He made a lunge at the boy as he spoke.

"Shoo!" said the boy, brushing off an imaginary fly. "Flies are purty bothersome this year."

"Take that! And that! And that!" cried Percival, letting his small fists fly at his tormentor.

"Stop tickling, I tell you," cried the bully, seizing his hands and holding them tightly. "Say, sissy, give me one of your curls to remember ye by; won't you?"

In a flash Beatrice comprehended the situation. As Percival began to struggle helplessly in his tormentor's grip, she flew at the bully impetuously.

"Why, it's a gurl!" exclaimed the boy as, dropping Percival's hands, he turned to confront this new adversary.

"Yes," gasped Bee, punctuating her words by vigorous boxes on his ears. "It is a girl. How do you like it?"

With all the strength of her pent-up emotion she sailed into her unhappy victim. Had Bee been given to self analysis she would have known that, aside from her desire to help Percival out of his dilemma, she rejoiced in the opportunity to give vent to her own unhappiness. There followed a few brief moments of spirited action on her part, interspersed with howls of pain from the boy. Presently he broke away from her and fled precipitantly. Flushed by the success of battle Bee turned toward Percival triumphantly.

"There! I don't think he'll trouble you soon again, Percival," she said.

"You are a chum worth having, Beefly," cried the lad enthusiastically. "It was splendid. My! My! didn't you go for him!" He doubled up in a paroxysm of laughter at the remembrance. "But see here!" he ejaculated suddenly, becoming grave. "This baby business is dead right now. I have been guyed about it as long as I am going to be, and this ends it. I am a sure enough boy, and I am going to show it."

"What are you going to do?" demanded Bee, surprised by his earnestness.

"I am going to attend to this hair. The thing's got to be done today. Come down to the house and help me; won't you?"

"Wouldn't it be better for your mother to help you, Percival?" questioned the girl dubiously.

"Come on, and we'll see," he replied. Welcoming the diversion Beatrice followed him.

"Now just go in and wait for me," he said, opening the door of the sitting room. "I won't be gone a minute."

Wondering where Mrs. Medulla was Bee sat down. She knew the iron of ridicule had sunk deep into Percival's soul, and she feared for the result. If his mother would but enter soon, the girl reflected, she need not feel any responsibility in the matter. As the moments glided by, however, and no Mrs. Medulla appeared, she was assailed by a sense of uneasiness.

"What do you think of these?" exclaimed Percival, bounding into the room presently. "Look, Beefly! Aren't they great?"

Somewhere the boy had unearthed a pair of long trousers, a coat, and a real shirt with collar and tie. He whirled about for her inspection delightedly.

"Not much Fauntleroy about these, eh?" he said complacently. "What do you think of them?"

Bee was so relieved that she laughed outright.

"You don't look like the same boy, Percival. Do you think you could play your violin in those clothes?"

"Why of course I can," he declared. "I'll show you; but first—"

He ran to his mother's machine, and opening a drawer took out a pair of large shears. Bee ran toward him quickly.

"You must not do that, Percival," she cried. "Oh, where is your mother?"

"My mother has gone into town," answered Percival with a swagger. "I'll settle with her. Now, Beefly, you cut off that hair."

"I will not, Percival," answered Bee emphatically. "Do wait until your mother comes back. Do, Percival; like a dear fellow."

But Master Percival raised the shears, and—snip! Off went a curl. Another and another followed; the lad watching the result of the snipping in the mirror. As the last clip sounded Bee gave a gasp at the result.

"What will your mother say?" she cried, wishing herself anywhere but in the Medulla sitting room. "Oh! what will she say?"

"It's all right," declared Percival sturdily, though it must be confessed that he was slightly dismayed himself. "At least it would be if it were even. Do cut it straight for me, Beefly."

He thrust the shears into her hand as he spoke, and turned his back to her. "Now hurry, and cut it even," he said.

"Percival, are you here?" Mrs. Medulla opened the door at this unfortunate moment, and walked in. "I have brought you something nice from town. Guess—Why!"

She stopped short at sight of the pair. Like a culprit Beatrice stood with the shears in her hand, while Percival seemed stricken dumb. The lady's gaze concentrated upon her son's clipped head. For a long instant the three stood as though incapable of speech; then the mother spoke, and Bee shivered at the severity of her tones:

"Beatrice, what are you doing with those shears? Surely you did not cut Percival's hair?"


Chapter XX

Bee Is Disappointed in Percival

"If lives were always merry,
Our souls would seek relief,
And rest from weary laughter
In the quiet arms of grief."
Henry Van Dyke.

"Why, why," stammered Bee, so astonished by the lady's words that she could scarcely speak. She glanced down at the incriminating shears which she held in her hand, then at Percival, expecting that the lad would instantly tell how the affair had occurred, and so absolve her from blame. To her amazement the boy did not utter a word, but stood gazing at his mother as though fascinated. It came to Beatrice with something of a shock that he was frightened.

"Which one of you did it?" demanded Mrs. Medulla, turning first to the boy and then to the girl. "Why, oh why, was it done? Don't you know, Beatrice, that this will end all engagements for the winter? Percival knew it. He would not have the hardihood to do such a thing by himself. It must have been you. You should not have done it. No manager wants a boy without curls."

"Oh," murmured Bee. She looked at Percival beseechingly, but the boy, usually so ready with excuses still stood mute.

"Have I been mistaken in you after all, Beatrice," went on the lady, surprised at the girl's continued silence. "You seemed to have such an excellent influence upon Percival heretofore that it grieves me to find that my estimate of your character is wrong. I did not dream that you would incite him to mischief of any sort. I can not understand it. A thing of this nature, upon which so much depended, should not have been done without consulting me. Percival has not been kept in curls and knickerbockers without a reason. I know he has rebelled at times, but he knew the necessity. Didn't you know this, Beatrice?"

"No;" uttered Bee helplessly. "I didn't know. I—"

"You did know, however, that you should have kept him from such an act until my return," said the mother, who was very near tears. "Why did you not?"

It has been said that Beatrice was possessed of that peculiar sense of honor that is common among boys, where one will suffer an unjust accusation rather than tell upon another. She was like a boy in many ways: frank, direct, and scornful of tattling; so now she stood silent while the lady waited, perplexed by what seemed to be an obstinate refusal to answer.

"I shall have to report this to your father, Beatrice," she said presently, with sorrow. "Perhaps he will be more successful in obtaining an explanation from you than I have been. We will go to him. Percival, do you remain where you are. I will deal with you upon my return."

She caught Beatrice by the arm and hurried her out of the house, through the fields to her own home. Doctor Raymond sat with Adele in the library. He glanced up in some astonishment at their abrupt entrance.

"Doctor Raymond," began Mrs. Medulla at once, her usually even tones tense with excitement, "do you know what your daughter has done?"

"Nothing serious, I hope, madam," he replied with a quick glance at Beatrice.

"It is serious, doctor. Very serious for us. She has cut off Percival's curls. Do you realize the meaning of such an act? It means that no manager will book him for an engagement. People don't care for a boy musician without curls."

Involuntarily Doctor Raymond's eyes wandered to Adele, who sat watching the scene with troubled countenance. She was daintily arrayed as was her custom, and looked sweet, charming, and ladylike. All that a girl should be she appeared to be. A slight, a very slight sigh escaped him. Slight as it was, however, his daughter heard it. She saw plainly what was passing in his mind, and it was all that she could do to restrain control of herself.

"If Beatrice did this I can not believe that she realized the full import of the action," he said gravely. "And while I do not wish to palliate the offense, I fear that you exaggerate the effect upon your engagements. Your son plays wonderfully well, Mrs. Medulla, and should not be dependent upon the mere adjunct of curls for an audience."

"Doctor Raymond," spoke the lady earnestly, "I know whereof I speak when I say that it will be years before Percival can appear before an audience again. As an Infant Prodigy he was remarkable. As a boy no manager will take him. There is no between-period with performers. One must be a prodigy, or a man genius, to command attention. I can not understand why Beatrice should do it, and I can get no explanation from either her or Percival."

"Why did you do it, my daughter?" asked the scientist.

But Beatrice was past speaking. Something in her throat choked her. She looked down suddenly to find that she still held the shears in her hand. How could any one believe otherwise than that she had cut the boy's curls when she held the telltale scissors in her hand?

"Why?" asked her father again, but still she did not answer. "Do you remember what I said about my forgiveness of your carelessness depending upon your future conduct, Beatrice?"

Bee nodded, battling hard to keep back the tears. She did not wish to get Percival into trouble, yet she was not willing that her father should think that she would be capable of doing anything that would bring harm to Mrs. Medulla. Presently, obtaining the mastery of her emotion, she crossed swiftly to his side and laid her hand timidly upon his arm.

"Father," she cried pleadingly, "please don't ask me to tell you anything about the matter. I—I can't."

"Why, Beatrice?"

The girl did not reply. She only gazed at him with mutely appealing eyes.

"Is it because it would involve another in the telling?" he asked abruptly, stirred, perhaps, by a remembrance of his own youth.

"Yes," whispered Bee. "Please, please, father, don't ask anything more."

"Suppose we let the affair rest until tomorrow, Mrs. Medulla," suggested he, turning to the lady. "It is my opinion that neither Beatrice nor Percival realized what they were doing. Perhaps both are laboring under some natural agitation in consequence as the matter seems to be fraught with more serious results than they thought. You would better go to your room, my daughter."

"Yes, oh, yes;" assented Bee quickly. "I'd like—I'd like—" And she burst into tears.

"Excuse me a moment, madam, I beg," said the scientist rising. He drew his daughter's hand through his arm, and quietly led her from the room, up the stairs to her own chamber.

"I do not believe, Beatrice, that you are any more concerned in this matter than is Percival," he remarked as he opened the door for her. "I can see that you consider it right to shield him as well as yourself by refusing an explanation. I shall ask you nothing further concerning it. I can only say how deeply I regret that you should have done anything that would give pain to Mrs. Medulla."

"Father, father," sobbed Bee, turning to him appealingly, "it isn't, it isn't as you think. Oh, do trust me a little."

"Do you think you have proved worthy of being trusted, Beatrice?"

"No;" admitted the girl humbly. "I don't deserve it at all when I was so careless; but this is different. You ought not to judge me harshly until you know all about it."

"I do not wish to judge you harshly in anything, my child. In the present instance nothing can be done until the circumstances are known. As you refuse to tell them you must accept whatever judgment your actions call for. I think if I were you I should lie down for a time. You seem quite warm and a little upset. Try to compose yourself."

"I will, father." Bee entered the room with a sigh. He had not yet forgiven her the loss of the butterfly, she could see. She sat down and buried her face in her hands as the door closed behind him, and gave way to a flood of tears.

For what lay at the bottom of her bitterness? It was the knowledge that with just a little more carefulness on her part none of this trouble would have come upon her. Grief when caused by one's own carelessness is harder to bear than that which comes from unfortunate circumstance, so now Bee took herself to task severely.

"Mrs. Medulla told me that I was liable to spoil everything," she mused with some bitterness. "Oh, dear! just when things were going nicely I had to spoil it all by a few moments of carelessness. And if Percival doesn't explain his mother will never like me again; while father—" She choked. Her heart ached with longing for her father's forgiveness.

"Poor father," she exclaimed suddenly as she went to the mirror to put up her hair. "If he is as disappointed in me as I am in Percival I know just how he feels. I knew that Percival was a spoiled child, but I didn't think he was a coward. I wonder if I seem as different to father? If I do I don't wonder that he prefers Adele."

And with this Bee laid down upon the bed, and through sheer exhaustion fell asleep.


Chapter XXI

How the Day Ended

"Within the garden's peaceful scene
Appeared two lovely foes,
Aspiring to the rank of queen,
The Lily and the Rose."
Cowper.

Bee was awakened by Aunt Fanny bringing in her dinner. The sun had set and the cool sweetness of the evening gave relief from the heat of the day. All the events of the afternoon seemed unreal and dreamlike in spite of her aching eyes. She arose and began to bathe them, with a strange feeling of insensibility as though nothing could ever make her cry again.

"Now, honey, I jest ain't a-gwine ter take dat dinnah back," remarked the negress determinedly, seating herself as Bee motioned her to take the food away. "Dere ain't no use mopin' erroun' like you-all is doin'. Yer pa fixed hit him own se'f, an' I ain't gwine ter take hit back."

"Did you say that father fixed it?" asked the girl with quick interest.

"'Deed he did, Miss Bee. He done poured de tea, an' put two lumps of sugah in de saucah jest like you does fer de world. Den he fixed de thing on de tray, an' he say, 'Take dat to Miss Beatrice,' he say. 'Co'se I done hit; an' heah I is, an' heah I stays 'twel you eats hit."

"If father fixed it, I will eat it," said Bee. "You are not joking about it, Aunt Fanny? You are sure that he did it, and not Adele?"

"Now, Miss Bee, yer knows dat Miss Adele ain't a-gwine ter bodder her haid 'bout udder folks; specially ef dey ain't erroun'," returned Aunt Fanny scornfully, with whom Adele was no favorite. "No'm; she too busy wid sayin': 'How does ye like yer coffee, uncle deah? Am hit sweet 'nuff fer ye?' Jest like buttah wouldn't melt in her mouf. No'm; Miss Adele ain't a-bodderin' 'bout you all. Ner enny body elsen but her own se'f."

"I don't know about that," demurred Bee, wishing to be just to her cousin. "She certainly looks after old Rachel. I don't believe that she has missed a day going down there for the past three weeks. We must give her credit for that, Aunt Fanny."

"Huh!" snorted Aunt Fanny. "I reckon yer doesn't know ebberthing, Miss Bee."

"What do you mean?" questioned Bee, pausing in the act of taking a bite of bread.

"Nebber you min' what I means," returned the old woman mysteriously. "Jest yer eat yer dinnah."

"But I want to know," insisted Bee. Before Aunt Fanny could answer, however, Adele herself entered the room.

"Uncle William says for you to come right down, Bee. Percival and his mother are there, and wish to see you."

"Percival," exclaimed Bee. "Why, I thought his mother would not want him to see me any more?"

"You can't blame her, can you?" asked her cousin pertly. "Bee, whatever got into you today? Percival looks dreadful with his curls off. What made you cut them?"

Bee's eyes flashed. She did not reply for a full moment. When she spoke she said merely:

"Perhaps you would not understand even though I should tell you about the matter, Adele."

"Perhaps not. Bee Raymond, do you know that you are dreadfully changed? When you came in the library this afternoon with that bleached hair of yours flying you looked a perfect fright." Adele giggled, and then added with some malice: "Uncle William thinks so, too."

"Never mind," spoke Bee frigidly. "You have your good looks so what does it matter? Just think what a calamity it would be if you were to lose them!"

"I think you are just as mean as can be to even suggest such a thing, Bee Raymond. I wouldn't lose my beauty for anything."

"I should hope not," said her cousin cuttingly. "There wouldn't be anything left to you if you did."

"I couldn't be as ugly as you are if I did lose it," retorted Adele angrily.

"Oh, I am getting horrid," exclaimed Bee rising, her better nature coming to her aid. "Simply horrid! I beg your pardon, Adele. You couldn't be anything but pretty, of course. Will you come down with me?"

"Oh, it's all right," yawned Adele, quite appeased by Bee's apology. "I dare say that I should feel just as you do were I in your place. No; I won't go down. It's you they want to see. They are in the library with Uncle William."

Bee went slowly down stairs. She felt reluctant to meet Percival, and to have the subject of the hair cutting reopened. As she entered the library the boy ran to her, and caught her hand.

"Beefly, you're a brick," he cried. "You see, when my mother came in she was so angry that I was scared. I think I never was afraid of her before in my life, so I let you take the blame. And you didn't tell on me at all. You're a chum worth having. That was twice today that you took my part."

"Perhaps, my boy, you would not mind telling just how the matter occurred," suggested Doctor Raymond. "Beatrice has left us very much in the dark concerning it."

"I don't mind in the least," answered Percival who seemed eager now to explain everything. "Beatrice was not to blame at all. You see—"

"Permit me to say a word first, Percival," interrupted his mother, who had stood quietly by while he made his apologies. "Beatrice, you must pardon me, also, as well as Percival. I did not understand things until he explained them on my return home. I am truly sorry that I spoke so hastily as I did before learning all the circumstances. It seems, from what Percival tells me, that you did all that you could to keep him from cutting his hair, and then shouldered the blame rather than tell on him. My dear, I am very sorry for what I said. Can you forgive me?"

"Don't speak of it, Mrs. Medulla," cried Bee warmly. "I was to blame after all, because I ought to have held his hands, or kept him in some way from those shears. And oh! where are they? I brought them home with me."

"Then we are friends again, dear," said the lady kissing her. "Never mind the shears. I don't mind if I never see them again. I—"

"Mamma, Doctor Raymond is waiting to hear the particulars," broke in Percival, anxious to be heard. "You see, sir," turning to the scientist who was listening amusedly, "ever since I came here the boys have been making life miserable for me about the way I dressed and wore my hair. Yesterday that big Jack Brown was having sport with me, teasing for a curl, and, and all that sort of thing. When I tried to fight him I could not do anything because he grabbed my hands. Beatrice came to my rescue, and maybe she didn't put him to flight. You should have seen her." He chuckled at the remembrance, then continued: "I told her that the baby business ended then and there. That I wasn't going to be made fun of any longer. I asked her to cut off my hair, but she wouldn't; so I did it. I didn't think about the money part of it, or I would not have done it. I can play just as well with trousers and short hair as I can with curls and knickerbockers, and I told mamma so after she came back from here. Wasn't Beatrice a trump, though, not to tell on me, and to take the blame? Why didn't you tell, Beefly? I thought girls always did."

"Of course I wasn't going to tell if you wouldn't own up," returned Bee. "That would be tattling."

"Any other girl would have done it," cried Percival. "I hate awfully to go away and leave you."

"O Percival! are you going away?"

"Yes; I came to tell how the affair happened, and to say good-bye. I am going back to New York to study. I am going to show people that a boy can play as well as a man even though he isn't an Infant Prodigy. I'll have to work hard, and throw no more fits if things go wrong; but, Gee! I'd rather do it than to wear curls."

"You are right, my lad." Doctor Raymond shook his hand. "You will come out all right. I am sure. Your playing can not fail to win you a place in spite of your clothes. I wish you every success. I will leave you to say good-bye to the girls while your mother and I have a few words. You would like to see Adele too, I presume?"

"I suppose so," answered Master Percival dubiously. "Mamma said that I must be very nice to make up for my misbehavior, so I suppose that I must see Adele too. I don't care so much for her as I do for Beatrice. She is too pretty to be jolly. Pretty folks don't make very good chums. They think too much of themselves. I can't bear any one who is spoiled, but—Yes; send her down."

Doctor Raymond smiled broadly as he and the lady left the room.

"I am so sorry that you are going, Percival," said Bee with a catch in her voice. "I shall miss you so much. Oh, I wish you were not going."

"I am coming back some day, Beefly," he declared earnestly. "Mind you don't go away from here so that I can't find you. You must stay right here."

"Yes;" answered Bee. "I shall always be right here whenever you come. I hope it won't be long."

"And so you are going to leave us?" said Adele sweetly as she entered the room. "I shall miss you very much, Percival. I am glad to have had the pleasure of knowing you, and of hearing you play. Perhaps we shall meet again."

"Thank you," answered the boy on his best behavior. "I am glad to have known you, too. I have enjoyed our picnics very much, Adele."

"Picnics?" ejaculated Bee. "When did you ever have a picnic with Adele?"

"Hasn't she told you?" asked the boy in surprise. "Every morning that you studied with your father lately, she would bring a basket of goodies and we went to the grove. It was fun, but it would have been jollier if you had been there."

"Adele," cried Bee sharply, a remembrance of Aunt Fanny's words coming to her, "were those the things you were to take to old Rachel?"

"Yes, they were," answered Adele defiantly. "I got tired of carrying them down to that cabin. I don't believe that old woman is sick, anyway."

"Whether she was or not you should have taken those things to her," spoke Doctor Raymond, who had entered the room unperceived by the young people. "If you were tired of taking them you should have said so, and some one would have relieved you of the burden. As it is, she deems us guilty of neglect when we promised her aid, and, worse still, she may have suffered for the need of those very things. Is there no confidence to be placed in girls? Is neither of you to be trusted?"

Adele's face at first scarlet with mortification turned white under the reproof. She gazed at him pleadingly, and then bursting into tears ran to him and threw her arms about him.

"Do forgive me, Uncle William," she sobbed. "If you will, I'll never neglect her again. Please, please try me just once more! Only once more, Uncle William. Will you?"

Doctor Raymond's stern expression relaxed as the pretty penitent clung to him.

"There!" he said with great gentleness. "Perhaps I demand too much of you. I should remember that you are young and thoughtless, and perhaps, too, you did not realize the gravity of what you were doing. There, child! we will say no more about it, but you must be more careful."

"And you do forgive me, uncle? You will let me try again?"

"Yes, child; of course I forgive you."

Bee listened to the foregoing conversation with amazement and profound astonishment. She, too, had trespassed, but he had promised forgiveness only if her future conduct merited it. What was the reason that he found it so much harder to forgive her than Adele? Did he exact more from her because she was his daughter? He had told her that he had thought her different from other girls. If that were the case then did he expect her to come up to a higher standard? Puzzled, perplexed, she gazed at her father with such steady directness that he turned his head and met her glance squarely.

"Beatrice," he said, "I fear you do not understand many things."

But Bee smiled suddenly. She thought she had solved the enigma. And with the thought came the resolve that she would meet his expectations; that she would, if endeavor could bring it about, reach the high standard he had set for his daughter. So she was able to reply:

"I think that I do, father. It's all right."

Then with Percival she went out of the room.


Chapter XXII

"I Shouldn't Want You To Be Anything But Pretty"

"Let each art
Assail a fault or help a merit grow;
Like threads of silver seen through crystal beads,
Let love through good deeds show."
Edwin Arnold.

"Now how shall I get this to him?" pondered Bee the next morning as she stood before the study door with a bowl of pansies in her hand. Since old Rachel had told her that it had been a custom of her mother's she had not failed to put a flower of some sort on her father's table each morning. "Adele!"

"Yes?" answered Adele, coming to the hall. "What is it, Bee? Those pansies?"

"Yes; do you mind putting them on father's table for me? I don't know how to get them there this morning."

"Certainly I'll do it, Bee. But why don't you take them in yourself? He has not gone in yet, and I won't tell."

"Father told me not to," returned Bee. "I don't want to go in until I am worthy."

Adele laughed as she took the pansies.

"You know, Bee, if you were to go right in, and tease him a bit, he wouldn't think anything more about your staying out," she said. "You ought to take some lessons from me. I know just how to manage him."

"We are different, Adele," answered Bee. "What would be all right for you would not do at all for me. If you will just help me a little about this you don't know how much I will appreciate it. I have been wondering how it could be managed."

"What will you do when I am gone?" asked Adele.

"I don't know," answered Bee slowly. "Are you thinking of going soon?"

"I suppose that I'll have to go when school begins," said Adele. "I don't want to go a bit. It's poky at home without you. I'd rather stay here."

"You would?" questioned Bee wonderingly. "I should think that you would rather be with your father and mother. Now, why doesn't she go home now?" she asked herself as her cousin went into the study. "Uncle Henry is better, and I should think that she would want to see him. I would not want to be away from father if he were ill."

So it came about that each morning Beatrice carefully arranged the flowers, and Adele took them into the study from which Bee was barred. The girl's eyes always grew wistful whenever her father disappeared into the room, and she was obliged to busy herself about the house in order not to dwell too much upon the fact of her exclusion.

The summer was drawing to a close. There was a cool crispness in the air that heralded the approach of Autumn. To Bee it seemed at times as though a blight had fallen upon everything. There were no longer Percival and his mother to visit, and while Doctor Raymond continued to walk with her and Adele he seemed to withdraw more and more into his own pursuits. The evenings were still devoted to music, but here Adele was pre-eminent. Bee, however, retained her place in the management of the household, jealously guarding the privilege of looking after her father's comfort. Remembering that he had spoken of her attention to neatness she became punctilious in her dress, and about the appointments of the house. Her character was deepening and developing; and from a merry-hearted, careless maiden she was growing into a thoughtful and broad-minded girl.

"Adele," she said one morning rather sharply to her cousin who dawdled on the couch with a book and a box of chocolates, "have you been down to Rachel's today?"

"No," yawned Adele. "I haven't."

"Aren't you ready to go? The basket is fixed, and it is nearly eleven o'clock. If we go for a walk with father after lunch there will be no other time. You ought to go now."

"There's no hurry," protested Adele. "Do you know, Bee, I don't think it is necessary to go every day?"

"It does not matter what you think, Adele. Father said to do it." Bee's manner showed plainly that in her opinion that left nothing further to be said.

"I'll manage Uncle William," remarked Adele with a conscious little laugh, but nevertheless she rose from her reclining position. "It's a perfect nuisance."

"I'll go. It is my place to do it after all. I should have gone long ago, but I thought that you liked to do it."

"Well," hesitated Adele, "I promised Uncle William, you know, and the old woman likes me to come. You need not go, Bee. I'll do it myself."

She took the basket of food from Bee's hand, and left the room. Bee saw her go out the gate walking very slowly.

"She doesn't like to go for some reason," mused the girl. "I must take it upon myself to go down every morning. I must find the time somehow. Oh, dear!" She gave an impatient shake to her shoulders.

Just as the mid-day meal was placed upon the table Adele returned, looking cool and as daintily immaculate as though she had not been out of the house.

"How you must have hurried," cried Bee. "Did you run every step of the way?"

"Not every step, Bee. How warm you look!"

"It is more than you do," answered Bee looking at her with wonder. "You've been out in the hot sun yet you seem as cool as a cucumber."

"I don't show heat," replied Adele lightly. "Shall I tell Uncle William that lunch is ready?"

"If you please."

Dr. Raymond responded to the summons slowly. Bee knew from his grave manner that something was wrong, and all through the meal she cast apprehensive glances in his direction. Adele did not notice his preoccupation, and chatted gaily seemingly unaware that his replies were monosyllabic.

"Girls," said the scientist when the repast was finished, "come into the library with me. I wish to speak with you."

Bee followed him with uneasiness. What had gone amiss she wondered. She could not think of anything that she had done or left undone that could cause such gravity. Her cousin, oblivious to signs of storm, or secure, perhaps, in the knowledge of his affection, caught hold of his arm exclaiming merrily:

"'Come into the garden, Maude,
I am here at the gate alone.'"

"Only in this case the garden is the library. What are you going to say to us, Uncle William? Something nice?"

"I fear not, Adele. What I have to say, however, will not be more unpleasant for you to hear than it will be for me to say."

"Dear me!" cried she looking up at him with pretended dismay. "That sounds formidable, doesn't it, Bee?"

Dr. Raymond held the library door open for them to enter, then closed it, and faced them.

"When have either of you been to see old Rachel?" he asked abruptly.

"Adele went this morning," spoke Bee quickly, glad now that she had insisted upon the visit being made.

"Indeed? How was the old woman, Adele?"

"Why, why, all right! That is—about as she always is," stammered Adele changing color.

"Adele! Adele!" Her uncle spoke more in sorrow than in anger. "If you went to Rachel's, how came this to be hidden in the hedge?"

He crossed to his desk, and uncovered the identical basket that Bee had fixed for her cousin to take to Rachel. Adele gave an exclamation, but recovered herself almost instantly.

"You see, uncle," she said, trying to speak carelessly, "it was this way: It was so hot when I started and so near noon that I thought I would not have time to get back for lunch, so I put the basket there intending to run down with it when it was cooler."

"Were you there yesterday?" demanded her uncle receiving the explanation without comment.

Adele hesitated.

"I want the truth, Adele."

"No;" confessed she faintly. "But I'll go right now, Uncle William."

"Were you there the day before?"

Adele covered her face with her hands without replying.

"I want to know when you were there," said Dr. Raymond sternly.

"I—I don't remember," said the girl with a sob. "Oh, Uncle William, it was so hot, and I—I got tired of it; but I will go. I'll go right now."

She started for the basket as she spoke, but a gesture from her uncle arrested her.

"Wait," he said. "Beatrice, why did you not see that Rachel's needs were attended to?"

"I thought they were," answered Bee, growing pale. "Adele was to look after the matter."

"Adele has been careless and negligent," observed her father severely, "but that does not ease you of responsibility. It was your place to have seen that my wishes in the matter were carried out."

"But, father—"

"I will listen to no excuse, Beatrice," interrupted Doctor Raymond decidedly. "There can be none, and it is useless to try to shield yourself behind your cousin. Whatever excuse Adele may have for her neglect you have none. That old woman was your mother's faithful servant for many years. It was your duty, and should have been your pleasure, to have seen that she was taken care of. I thought," he continued with some emotion, "that every girl welcomed an opportunity to minister to those in need. I thought that every maiden gently reared was actuated by motives of honor and truth, and would sacredly discharge a duty intrusted to her. It seems that I was mistaken. I fear that I do not understand girls of the present age. If it were possible I would gladly take this matter into my own hands, but I cannot spare the time."

"Uncle, please, please try me again," pleaded Adele eagerly. "I really will be faithful this time. Bee and I both will be. Won't we, Bee?"

Bee was dumb. She was overwhelmed by her father's words, and her conscience reproached her. There had been several occasions when she suspected that Adele was not performing the duty. In view of the fact that she had failed before, she knew that she herself ought to have looked after the matter more carefully.

"I do not quite trust either of you," spoke Doctor Raymond thoughtfully, "but because I believe that it will be of benefit to your characters to insist upon this act of charity I shall try again. If it is a tax upon you, let one go one day, and the other the next. Rest assured, however, that I shall watch the matter closely to see that it is attended to. If there is any shirking I shall know it. Now take that basket and go! Do not let me see you again until you can inform me truthfully that Rachel has received it. Beatrice, I charge you particularly with the duty."

He turned from them so decidedly that they had no alternative but to leave the room, taking the basket with them.

"You needn't say a word, Bee," cried Adele avoiding her cousin's glance. "I'm not going to take another scolding."

"I'm not going to scold, Adele, but why did you not tell me that you did not want to go?"

"Oh, it's all my fault of course. Here! give me that basket. You needn't go!"

"But I will," said Beatrice with decision. "I am not going to give father a chance to say that I am to blame again. I am going to see that the thing is done. The basket will have to be fixed over anyway."

"We'll both go," said Adele. "If you won't scold, I'll carry it. I suppose that I ought to do something for getting us into the scrape. I didn't know that Uncle William would care so much. Oh, my! wasn't he mad?"

Bee made no reply. She rearranged the contents of the basket, added some fresh eggs and other things, and together they started for Rachel's cabin. It was very warm, but they toiled along the dusty road with the conviction that whatever of discomfort they experienced they merited it. They were grateful when they could leave the road and enter the shaded wood path that led to the cabin. Soon they could discern the chimney of the dwelling through the trees; then a turn in the path brought them into the cleared space where the hut stood. They were proceeding toward it when all at once Bee stood stock still.

"Look!" she cried.

Adele's glance followed her pointing finger, and every drop of blood left her face. There upon the closed door of the cabin was a big yellow sign "SMALL POX." For one long moment the two stood looking at the card; then Adele clutched her cousin's arm.

"Come," she whispered fearfully. "We must get away. We can't go there now."

"We've got to," answered Bee grimly, but her face grew white as she said it. "We've got to, Adele. If she's been sick long she wouldn't have anything to eat. Father would never get over it. Besides he told us he didn't want to see us again unless she got the basket."

"Oh, Bee! I can't! I can't go! Suppose I should get the small pox."

The tears streamed from Adele's eyes. Bee turned and looked at the girl earnestly. Her eyes shone through her tears like violets wet with dew. Her complexion had never seemed so fair, so flawless as now. How lovely she was! Looking at her Bee felt all the bitterness of her feeling toward her melt from her heart.

"No;" she said, leaning forward suddenly to kiss her. "You must not go, Adele. I shouldn't want you to be anything but pretty, but I haven't any beauty to lose. Father charged me particularly with the duty, so I'll do it, Adele. You can go back and tell him truly that she has the basket."


"I WOULD NOT HAVE YOU ANYTHING BUT PRETTY."


"But what will you do after you give it to her?" cried Adele. "You musn't come back to the house, Bee. You might bring the small pox to me."

"And to father," spoke Bee perplexed. Then she brightened. "Adele, do you know the old fishermen's hut near the river?"

"Yes."

"Go home; get a pillow and some covers; then fix up something for me to eat as we did for Rachel. When I get through here I'll go there to stay. If I have the small pox neither you nor father can take it then."

"But, but," protested Adele.

"Do just as I tell you, Adele. That's the only way to manage it. Hurry up, so you will be away from the hut before I come. Will you be quick?"

"Yes;" promised Adele.

"Good-bye!" Bee kissed her again. "If, if I should take the small pox you'll be good to father, Adele?"

"Yes, yes," sobbed Adele.

"Good-bye," said Bee again, and turning went quickly toward the cabin.

Adele watched her as if fascinated; and then, as Bee opened the door and went in, she turned and ran away as fast as her legs could carry her.


Chapter XXIII

"The Greatest of These Is Charity"

"'Tis a little thing
To give a cup of water; yet its draught
Of cool refreshment, drained by fevered lips,
May give a shock of pleasure to the frame
More exquisite than when nectarean juice
Renews the life of joy that in happiest hours abound."
Thomas Noon.

When Bee left Adele and went into the cabin of old Rachel she seemed calm and collected. In reality she was very much frightened. Fearful of what she might see involuntarily she closed her eyes as she shut the door behind her, and stood so for a few moments. Presently overcoming her dread she opened them and glanced around.

The room was in semi-darkness, its one window being closed tightly. The atmosphere was hot and stifling, and permeated by a peculiar sickening odor. With an exclamation she threw wide the door to admit the air and sunshine. On the bed in one corner of the room lay the form of a woman, and it took all the courage she possessed for the girl to go to her. It was old Rachel, but her features were so swollen and disfigured by the disease as to be almost unrecognizable. She seemed in a sort of stupor for she lay nearly motionless.

A shudder of loathing shook Bee from head to foot, and she was seized by a strong desire to run away. Obeying the impulse she reached the door, but her flight was arrested by a moan from the negress, and an almost incoherent muttering of, "Water! Water!"

"She is thirsty," whispered Bee, pausing on the threshold. "I wonder where Tillie is!"

For, strange to say, there was no one in the cabin but old Rachel.

"I must get the water myself," said Bee aloud. "It's a shame to leave that poor old woman alone!"

She ran to the well and drew a bucketful of clear cold water, which she carried to the cabin. Filling a cup she approached the bed upon which Rachel lay. Then she stopped.

"I can't do it," she cried. "I can't touch her."

Again the moan came from the poor parched lips: "Water! Water!"

"I must," decided the girl suppressing the repugnance that swept over her. "What if I were old and sick? I should want to be taken care of. I may look just as bad if I have the small pox. And she cared for my mother."

Resolutely she slipped her arm under Rachel's neck, thus lifting her head, and held the water to her lips. As she did so all her fear and loathing left her, and in their place came an infinite pity and tenderness. The sick woman turned from the cup at first, but after a little had passed her lips, she quaffed the rest eagerly and sank back on her pillow with a sigh of content.

"I'll just have to stay with her," mused Bee replacing the cup on the table, and seating herself by the bed. "She needs some one here to look after her, and I'll have to do it. How queer it is that nobody is here!"

The long hot afternoon wore away. The woman's thirst was excessive, and Bee was kept busy ministering to it. As the night approached she sought for a lamp, but could find nothing but a tallow candle with a tin holder.

"It will be awfully dim," she soliloquized, "but it is much better than to sit in the dark. There will be enough light to give her water when she wants it. I wish I knew what else to do for the poor thing."

It was not a pleasant position for a girl to be in, and, as the shadows lengthened in the corners of the cabin, Bee was obliged to summon all her fortitude to face the prospect of a night alone with a very sick woman.

Meantime Adele had hurried to the house as fast as she could go.

"I'll tell Uncle William all about it," she decided, going at once in search of him. "He will know better what to do than Bee does."

But no Uncle William was to be found. Aunt Fanny thought he had gone for a walk; so, hot and tired, and somewhat upset by the episode of the afternoon, Adele went up to her cool chamber and threw herself on the bed.

"I'm not going down to that old hut and carry a lot of things," she said aloud peevishly. "Bee ought not to have gone in that place anyway. Mamma wouldn't want me to mix up in such things, I know. So there!"

Arranging the pillows more to her taste she settled herself comfortably among them. She was tired, and presently a delicious drowsiness stole over her, and soon she was fast asleep.

"Kum down ter dinnah, child," Aunt Fanny roused her by saying. "I'se called, an' called, an' yer didn't answah; so I kum up. Whar's Miss Bee? You-all's kept dinnah waitin' twel hit am plum dahk. Whar'd you say Miss Bee was?"

"I don't—" Adele looked about her dreamily. "Oh!" as remembrance came to her. She sprang up in a hurry. "Yes; I do. Is Uncle William here?"

"Yes'm; he's heah." Aunt Fanny was plainly provoked that dinner had been kept waiting. "He's heah, but he won't set down twel you gals is dere."

For a wonder Adele did not stop to rearrange her hair, but ran down as she was.

"Where is Beatrice?" asked Doctor Raymond, a slight expression of surprise showing itself in his glance. His niece did not usually appear in such a disordered condition. "Aunt Fanny could not find her, and said that you were fast asleep in your room. What have you been doing?"

"We went to Rachel's," replied Adele, "and, and—"

"Yes?" remarked he questioningly.

"And she has the small pox. Or, at least," correcting herself hastily, "there was the sign of small pox on the door."

"Is that true, Adele?" Doctor Raymond looked at her searchingly. "Or is that an excuse invented for not going in?"

"It is the truth, Uncle William; but Bee did go in."

"What?" cried Doctor Raymond, springing to his feet. "Do you mean to tell me that, seeing that sign there, you still went in?"

"I didn't, uncle. Bee did. She said that you didn't want to see us again until we could tell you truthfully that we had been to Rachel's; so she said that she must go."

"The foolish girl!" ejaculated her father. "Why could not she use judgment? Call her, Adele, while I send Uncle Billy right off for the doctor. We must all be vaccinated, and the house fumigated thoroughly. It will be a miracle if every darkey on the place doesn't come down with the disease."

"She isn't here, Uncle William." Adele laid a detaining hand on his arm.

"She isn't? Then where is she? She surely did not remain at Rachel's?"

"No; she would not come back here because she was afraid that she might give you and me the small pox. She said that she would go to the old fisherman's hut down by the river, and stay there."

"Beatrice was afraid that she would give it to us, and so would not return here?" repeated the scientist as though he had not heard aright. "She said that, Adele?"

"Why, yes," answered Adele. Rapidly she related the incident in its entirety, concluding with: "She said that she could have it in the hut, and then we would be safe."

"I'll go right after her," cried he, an unusual warmth in his tone. He started for the door, and again his niece detained him.

"Are you going to bring Bee here to this house after she has been in that cabin?" she asked in horrified tones, her face very white.

"Certainly. She can't stay in an empty hut."

"But, but she might give me the small pox," she whimpered.

"Of course she might," exclaimed her uncle impatiently. "The child can't stay in that place even though she gives it to every one of us. She may have it herself."

"You could take some blankets and pillows down there for her," she suggested eagerly. "That is what she told me to do this afternoon. Then if she does have it she won't have to come back here."

A look of supreme disgust swept over Doctor Raymond's face. Quietly he removed her hand from his arm.

"My daughter will come back here," he said.

"Then I want to go home," sobbed Adele. "Bee herself don't want me to have the small pox, because she kissed me, and said that it would be a pity for me to lose my beauty. And I promised to be good to you, but you are not a bit nice to me. It doesn't matter about her. She said it didn't. You don't care for her anyway. Oh, I want to go home!"

"I think that is the very best place for you," remarked her uncle in a quiet voice. "I will order the carriage as I go out, and Joel will drive you there. If you do not wish to be here when your cousin returns you must be quick about getting away. I am going for her now."

Without another word, or look in her direction he left the room.

A short time later Bee was sitting on the door-step of the cabin trying to get relief from the fetid air of the interior when she heard foot-steps hurrying along the path through the woods which led to the dwelling. Soon someone called:

"Beatrice!"

"Father!" she cried joyfully, starting to her feet.

"I am coming to you." Doctor Raymond's tall figure entered the clearing in which the cabin stood. A sudden thought came to the girl. If he entered the house he might get the dreadful disease. Quick as a flash she darted inside, and closed and locked the door just as he reached the step.

"Beatrice, what does this mean?" asked her father trying the door.

"Father," called Bee, "you must go away. You can't come in. Rachel has the small pox, and if you come in you may get it."

"I do not fear, my daughter. I have come to take you home."

"I can not go, father. Rachel is all alone, and she seems to be awfully sick."

"Isn't Tillie there?"

"No. There is no one here but me."

"Have you been there all afternoon alone with Rachel?"

"Yes," returned Bee simply.

"Child, you must not stay there alone. Let me watch with you."

"Father, please go away," pleaded Bee. "I don't mind being alone; at least not now," she added honestly. "It would break my heart if you should have the small pox."

"Think of yourself, my daughter. You may have it, too."

"It is too late to think of that, father. There is no need for you to run such a risk. I don't want you to do it."

"Beatrice, this is nonsense!" exclaimed her father sharply. "I won't have you there alone, open the door instantly!"

"Dear, dear father, please go away. Do not ask me to let you in, for I will not," said the girl pleadingly, steeling her heart against the solicitude in his voice which, despite his gruffness, was plainly evident.

"Hello!" called the bluff, cheery accents of a man from somewhere without. "What are you doing here, sir? Don't you know that there is small pox in this cabin?"


Chapter XXIV

"You are a Noble Little Girl"

"We live in deeds, not years, in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best."
Philip James Bailey.

"I am aware of the fact," was Doctor Raymond's reply. "How did you hear of it, Doctor Black?"

"Why, Raymond, is that you? What in the world brought you here? I tacked up a sign today to keep idiots out. It did not have the desired effect, it seems."

Beatrice felt her face flush at the words, but there was a laugh in her father's voice as he responded:

"I have a daughter in there, doctor, who may take exception to that remark."

"Your daughter? What is she doing there? Didn't you know any better than to let her go to such a place? I have been busy all day vaccinating people, and taking means to prevent the disease from spreading. It is just such things that undo a physician's precautions. Why did you permit it?"

"I was not consulted in the matter," was the response. "My daughter came down with food for Rachel, and finding her alone remained to be of service."

"Good gracious, what could she do? Tillie left as soon as she found what was the matter. Nobody knows where the old woman contracted the disease. I brought Hannah here with me to nurse her. She has had it and therefore is not afraid of it. I must say, though, that I hadn't bargained for this complication. Has Beatrice had it?"

"I think not, doctor."

"Then she must be gotten out of there. Come, Hannah! We will go in now."

"I fear that you will find some difficulty in doing so, doctor. Beatrice has locked the door to keep me out."

"Thunderation!" exclaimed the doctor. "I can't be delayed by any such nonsense. Open this door," he commanded pounding upon it with his fists.

The door rattled violently under his vigorous shaking. Bee knew that she must open it, but she resolved to win the doctor to her side if possible.

"Doctor Black," she called.

"Well? Are you going to keep me out here all night, young lady?" he demanded bluntly. "I've had a busy day, and I want to get home. Quit your fooling, and unlock this door."

"Yes, doctor; but do you think it wise for father to come in? Promise to keep him out and I'll open it. Otherwise,—" The pause was so significant that the physician chuckled.

"He shan't come in, child. If he does I'll vaccinate him in four places," he declared energetically. "You hear, Raymond?"

"I hear, doctor, and accept the condition. If I did not that 'otherwise' means that Beatrice will fight it out on the stand she has taken if it takes all night."

"Your father will stay out, Miss Beatrice. Now open the door."

Beatrice gladly obeyed. The physician entered briskly, followed by a tall colored woman.

"Well, Miss Bee," he said genially with a searching glance at her pale face, "you've had rather a siege of it, haven't you? How long have you been here?"

"All this afternoon," answered Bee, conscious all at once of being very tired. She sat down suddenly, and asked weakly: "What are you going to do?"

"To vaccinate you, my young lady," was the response. "Hoity Toity!" as the girl turned pale. "What's this? Why, you're not afraid, are you? Tut, tut! Don't you know that it takes more courage to stay for hours with a woman with the small pox that to endure a little scratch?"

"I am not afraid," faltered Bee who was trembling excessively.

"I see." The physician patted her hand reassuringly. "Why did you stay here, child? There was nothing you could do for Rachel."

"Nothing but to give her a drink. She was so thirsty."

"You don't mean that you raised her head and gave her water, do you?" exclaimed he in surprise.

"Why, of course. How else could she drink?" asked Bee. "She couldn't raise it herself."

"Weren't you a bit afraid?" Doctor Black had rolled up her sleeve, and was selecting a vaccine point carefully.

"At first I was; then I was sorry for her. I might look just as bad if I should have it, you know."

"You are not going to have it, my dear," he said brusquely. "Now give me that arm. All ready. Just a scratch, and it is over. Well, bless my soul! Raymond!"

For Beatrice had quietly fainted away. When consciousness returned to her the sweet freshness of the summer night was about her; the soft darkness enveloped her like a mantle, and she was being borne along carefully in someone's arms. For a time she lay, content to be still in the encircling arms, but as she became more herself wonder crept into her heart, and she put up her hand and touched the face above her.

"Father?" she whispered.

"Yes, my daughter."

"How came I here, and why do you carry me?"

"I am taking you home, Beatrice. You fainted. Do you not remember?"

"Oh, yes." The girl was silent for a moment, and then she asked, "did you go in the cabin?"

"I did, Beatrice. I went after you, but do not be alarmed. Dr. Black made me submit to vaccination. I have been exposed many times, and have no fear of the disease."

"You are sure, father?"

"Yes, my daughter."

Once more there was silence, but presently the girl's attention was attracted by his labored breathing.

"You must not carry me. I am too heavy," she cried slipping from his arms to the ground.

"Are you strong enough to walk, child? It is only the heat that makes me pant; not your weight."

"I am quite strong enough," answered Bee, but he still kept his arm about her, and so they proceeded homeward. Once more Beatrice broke the stillness, the darkness giving her courage.

"You were good to come to me tonight, father. I haven't deserved it. Oh! you don't know how bad I have felt about losing that butterfly."

"Never mind about it, Beatrice. I think we each have something to forgive the other. I have my confession to make also. I have judged you wrongly in many ways. There are many things that are becoming plain to me. I can only excuse myself by saying that I was more ignorant of the nature of a girl than even I knew. Can you forgive me?"

"There is nothing to forgive, father," cried Bee quickly, not quite comprehending his meaning but grasping the fact that they were to be friends.

"You are generous, Beatrice. But here we are at home. Go to your room, change your clothes and bring them to me as I wish to burn them. We are going to use every precaution against the spread of the disease, and while I am vaccinating the servants, you must go directly to bed. The afternoon has been a severe tax upon you."

"I am not a bit tired now," said Bee, who was happier than she had been for a long time.

"You do not realize the strain that you have been under, my daughter."

"Adele!" exclaimed Bee coming to a standstill. "Ought we to go in, father?"

"Adele is not here," answered he tersely. "She left for home as I went after you."

"I am glad of it," sighed Bee with relief. "Then there won't be the least doubt about her safety. Aren't you glad, too, father?"

"Yes;" replied William Raymond shortly, and there was that in his voice which kept the girl from saying anything more. It was long before she knew of the conversation between her father and her cousin.

"Good-night, my daughter," said Doctor Raymond with unwonted emotion, drawing her to him as she brought him the clothing as he desired, and prepared to withdraw to her own room. "I wonder if you realize what you have done today?"

"Yes;" answered Bee, looking up quickly, but her alarm subdued as she saw the light in his eyes. "I have done my level best to give every one in the house small pox; but, father, I'll—"

"There, child! go to bed and forget all about it. You are a noble little girl." Bending forward he kissed her tenderly.

Wondering and happy the girl retired, almost incredulous of the joy that had come to her.


Chapter XXV

The Door Is Opened

"Butterfly-haunted, the great purple asters
Throng, gold-hearted, the edge of the road;
Low to the grass the green boughs of the orchard
Heavily droop with their ruddy-hued load."
Marian Warner Wildman.

Every precaution was used to prevent the small pox from obtaining a foothold in Walnut Grove, and so efficacious were the measures adopted by Doctor Raymond and the physician, Doctor Black, that the household escaped unscathed. Old Rachel died; and, as hers proved to be the sole case in the community, it could only be conjectured how she had taken the disease.

The solicitude manifested by the scientist for his daughter at this period established very tender relations between them. After the pangs and heart burnings of the summer it seemed like paradise to Bee. As it became apparent that the small pox was not to attack his household Doctor Raymond became once more absorbed in his labors, and remained such long hours in his study that Beatrice could not but wonder at it.

She was pondering the matter one morning as she went to the study door with her usual nosegay of flowers. She had not yet received permission to re-enter the room, and had been puzzled about getting the blossoms to him, but had solved the question by placing a small stand by the door, and setting the matutinal offering upon it. Upon this particular morning as she stood arranging the bouquet more to her liking the door opened, and her father appeared on the threshold.

"Bring in the flowers yourself, Beatrice," he said.

"May I?" cried Bee flushing rosy red with pleasure. "Am I really to go in at last, father?"

"Yes, my daughter. Your place is waiting for you."

Gladly, yet almost timidly, Bee entered the study. It seemed a long, long time since she had been in it, yet in reality it was but a few weeks. With eyes that misted she glanced lovingly at the familiar objects: the books, the manuscripts, her father's chair, and lastly at her own place at the table. Before it lay her pencil and note book.

"It has been waiting for you, Beatrice," said

Doctor Raymond with a smile noting her glance. "I have missed my little helper."

"Have you, father?" she asked shyly.

"Very much, my child. You kept yourself constantly in my mind by your flowers. I liked the attention. Your mother used to do that too. You are like her in many ways."

"Rachel told me that she did," said Bee. "That is the reason I did it. That and because I liked to. Am I really to help you again, father?"

"Yes; although there is not much more to do. We are nearly at the end of the cataloguing. The larvŠ have all entered the pupa state, and—when the last of them come out, which will be in a few days, we have only to classify and catalogue them which will end the work. I am boxing the collection ready for shipping to the University. Let us go see the new butterflies, Beatrice, before we begin work. I have not been in the laboratory this morning."

Bee turned at once toward the laboratory, but as she reached the door she paused hesitatingly, a remembrance of the last time when she had lost the rare specimen clouding her pleasure.

"You have learned your lesson, Beatrice," spoke her father gently. "I feel sure that never again will you be guilty of carelessness. Let us think no more about it." He opened the door as he spoke, and they went in.

The caterpillars had disappeared. A few chrysalids depended from some twigs, and a number of butterflies, like flowers reft from their stems, were flickering and pursuing each other in the sunshine which streamed through the windows. They settled, and Bee stole softly toward them and gently shook the thistles upon which they rested. The delicate creatures rose once more. Round and round they flew like great yellow and bronze and purple flowers, then softly, quietly settled again.

"How beautiful they are!" exclaimed Bee. "Is there another insect so pretty, I wonder?"

"Not to me," he replied. "Perhaps it is because of our interest in them that they appear so to us."

So it came about that Beatrice became her father's helper once more. Her studies were resumed, and the old delightful intimacy that had prevailed before the coming of Adele was renewed with a completer understanding of each other on the part of both father and daughter. The cataloguing progressed with rapidity. There came a day when Doctor Raymond laid down his manuscript with something approaching a sigh.

"That ends your work, Beatrice," he said. "The cataloguing is ended. Now go for a walk while I box up the last case of specimens. No; you can not help me in that. You have already been of great assistance. I do not know how I should have gotten along without you."

Well pleased by his words Beatrice left the house, and sauntered down the road, past the place formerly occupied by the Medullas, and on toward her favorite grove, sometimes pausing to pluck an early aster, or spray of golden rod blooming along the dusty roadside. A stillness that no bird note disturbed, for the birds that had not already departed were clustered about those places where dripping springs were to be found, prevailed throughout the cool recesses of the grove. The girl flung herself down under an oak tree, idly watching the impatient tapping of a squirrel in the branches above at the still resisting acorns. The monotony of the soulless sunshine became irksome. The spirit of the furred and feathered folk of the woods was stealing into her. Like them she was heartily tired of the summer, and half stifled in the wornout atmosphere of the sleepy silent August day.

"I am glad that tomorrow is the first day of September," she exclaimed, sitting up and speaking aloud. "It is so hot. I want a change!"

At this moment a bright bit of color fluttered through the air and dropped in the grass by her side.

"It's a butterfly," cried Bee. "A poor little butterfly that has come to the end of its life."

She bent over the dainty insect and lifted it gently. A cry of delight escaped her lips as she looked at it. The insect moved its wings slightly, disclosing its gorgeous colorings.

"It's father's Teinopalpus Imperialis! It's the butterfly that I lost!" she exclaimed joyfully. "It's father's rare specimen!"

She sprang up and ran to the house as fast as she could.

"Father, father," she called excitedly, bursting into the study. "See! I have found your butterfly!"

"My butterfly, Beatrice?" Doctor Raymond glanced up from a letter he was reading. His daughter was too intent upon the finding of the insect to note that his face was very grave. "What do you mean?"

"The one I lost," cried Bee holding the creature toward him. "See the spots on the wings, and these markings on the secondaries! It is the very one, isn't it?"

"It certainly looks like it." The naturalist took the insect and examined it critically. "Where did you find it?"

"I was in the grove," explained Bee. "All at once this butterfly fluttered down by my side. I saw that it was yours so I brought it home at once."

"Look!" he said. "The butterfly is not dead, though I question if it lives long. The life of the longest lived is but short at best. Get some honey and water, and let us see if we can revive it."

Bee brought the honey and water and watched closely as her father took a long, slender needle and carefully unwound the proboscis of the insect inserting it in the honey mixture. At first the little creature scarcely knew what to make of the proceeding, but soon it began to suck the fluid eagerly. Then it rose from his hand and flew about the room, returning almost immediately to the saucer of sweets.

"Will it live?" asked Bee much interested.

"I hardly think so. I have known of a few cases where their lives were prolonged beyond the natural limit by artificial means, but it does not happen often. I fear this one is too far gone. If not, you will have a butterfly pet."

But alas! even as he spoke the butterfly gave a convulsive quiver and lay still.

"It's gone," said the naturalist, lifting it carefully.

"You can keep it for your collection, can't you, father?"

"Yes; I will keep it, Beatrice. Of course I can not say positively that it is the very same Teinopalpus Imperialis that I hatched from the egg myself, but I believe that it is the one. For, how should such a choice specimen exist here when it is so rarely found in its native haunts? Could it be possible—"

He paused, thoughtfully gazing at the dead butterfly. He roused himself presently and turned toward her.

"I am glad that you returned as you did, my daughter. Joel brought the mail, and there are matters to be discussed between us."

For the first time Beatrice noticed his grave looks.

"Father," she cried in alarm. "What is it? Something has happened. You are not, you are not—" a sudden dread piercing her heart, "going away?"

There was so much anguish and appeal in her cry that Doctor Raymond held out his arms to her. "My child," he said, drawing her close to him, "I must. You remember that I shortened the term of years I promised the University to spend abroad? It is a matter of honor to fulfill my agreement with them; for, while they would release me if I wished, it would put them to a great deal of trouble to get another man. The chief difficulty lies in the fact that no other could know the ground as I do. Do I make myself clear about this, Beatrice?"

"Yes;" came from Bee's white lips, briefly.

"I thought that you would understand my position. The reason for my going being therefore defined, the question remains as to what disposition is to be made of you? I am not altogether satisfied to let you remain with your uncle's family for many reasons; chief among them being that I believe that your interests are subordinated to Adele's. That, I presume, is highly natural for them, but scarcely gratifying to me. Therefore, I have thought of placing you in college."

"College?" repeated the girl mechanically, hardly hearing what he was saying. But one thought was in her mind. He was going away! He was going to leave her for two long years! It sounded in her ears like a refrain: two long years!

"College life will appeal to one of your mind. I wish you to become a fine, lovable woman, Beatrice. The problem of molding you into such a character is a vital one to me. A healthful body, a thoughtful mind, a good heart are three things which every girl should have in common with her brothers. These you have, and it is my desire that they shall be so trained that they will merge into gracious womanhood. This much have you taught me, Beatrice: that there is a charm greater than that of beauty. I would rather have this head with its mottled tresses—" He bent his head and touched her hair with his lips caressingly,—"than all the golden locks in the world."

Bee choked. As always when deeply stirred she could not speak. A numbness clutched at her heart and held her still and cold. A lump in her throat would not down. Presently her father continued:

"Our summer has been full of unfortunate misunderstandings, and, I fear, of much unhappiness for you. Could we begin over, that is, provided I had my present knowledge, I believe that such misunderstandings could be avoided. I have been blind to many things, child."

"And now," burst from Bee, the fullness of her heart finding vent at last in passionate, pleading protest, "now just as we have learned to understand each other you are going away. Father, father! I have had you such a little while. Only three short months out of my whole life! Oh, do take me with you! I'll be so good, so good. I'll try so hard to be all that you wish. Do take me, father. I cannot let you go."

"It is my dearest wish, Beatrice," spoke her father huskily. "But I can not."

"Is it that I would be in the way? Or don't you trust me? I would be very careful of your specimens, father. Could I not be of some use to you?"

"You could help me in many ways, Beatrice. Not only in my work but by your loving companionship. It was my intention to take you with me until the past few days. Then matters came up that made it not feasible. I still hoped, but that letter which came a short time since has confirmed the necessity for leaving you."

"Dear father, tell me what the matter is? Why can't you take me? Tell me the reason."

"I had hoped to keep it from you, my child," said Doctor Raymond with some embarrassment. "I have been obliged to dismiss the idea for lack of means. I have never been what you might call a money-getter, Beatrice. Few scientists are. What money I have had has been invested in such manner as to give us an income sufficient for our needs. Recently those investments failed, and I have now only the salary that the University pays me. The letter informs me that there is nothing left. My salary will pay your expenses at college and leave a residue for my needs very nicely. Dear child, it would not be sufficient for travel. Do you understand matters now, Beatrice?"

"Yes, oh, yes;" uttered Bee brokenly. "I'll try to bear it, father, but—but—"

"That is my brave little daughter," he said in such a tender voice that Bee's tears gushed forth anew. "When next we are together perhaps I may be able to make you happier than I have this summer. Go now, my child; think over the matter. We will talk of it again."

He bent abruptly over some specimens, and Beatrice, sobbing quietly, left the room.


Chapter XXVI

A Great Surprise

"The life we choose
Breathes high, and sees a full-arched firmament.
Our deeds shall speak like rock-hewn messages,
Teaching great purpose to the distant time."
George Eliot.

To the young all things are tragic. To Beatrice it seemed that the end of everything had come. Now she realized that behind her objection to Adele's presence in her home there had lurked the fear that her father's stay would be short.

She shed no more tears, but her dry-eyed grief was more distressing for that very reason. If Doctor Raymond hoped to talk matters over again he reckoned without his host, for Beatrice could not speak of the separation. The scientist was very busy and had little leisure to devote to his daughter, but he noted with concern her lack of interest in everything.

"Beatrice," he said to her one day, "you need some one with you. I am obliged to be away a great deal just now, and it is lonely for you. Your aunt has kindly consented to superintend the preparation of your wardrobe, and it might be wise for you to spend the remaining time there. Either that or else they must come here."

"Let them come here, father. I—I don't want to leave home before I must."

There were no tears in her voice, but something in it caused her father to say, not quite steadily:

"My daughter, be brave. Don't make it hard for me."

Beatrice looked at him quickly.

"Is it hard for you, father?"

"Harder than I would like you to know, child. You know why I must go. Let us not dwell on the unpleasant part of it. After all, two years are nothing. After the first hurt of the separation is over you will find new interests, and life will once more become rosy. You are going to be brave, aren't you?"

"Yes, father," answered Bee steadily.

"That is my good little daughter. Today I will bring Adele and her mother over, and they will cheer you up. It will benefit Henry also to have the change."

"Very well," answered the girl trying to smile.

She had not seen her cousin since she left her outside old Rachel's cabin, and when evening brought Adele once more to Walnut Grove a dull wonder crept into her heart that her coming was not fraught with pain.

To her surprise there was a great difference in the manner of both her father and her cousin toward each other. Adele no longer made pert sallies at his expense after the manner of a petted child; she seemed rather subdued toward him. Bee did not fully comprehend how dissimilar was their attitude for some days, and then she came slowly to see that while Doctor Raymond was unfailingly courteous toward his niece it was to her he turned, to her wishes that he deferred. It came to her with a sort of shock that it was she herself who was first with him.

"Why! he loves me best. Father loves me best!" she said to herself in surprise. "How has it come?"

To her wonder Adele treated the fact as a matter of course, but as a full realization of the truth came to Bee her unhappiness at his going increased.

"I wish I were going to college," cried Adele one day, fluttering about a number of parcels that had just arrived. "I never saw such a lot of hats and gowns. You will be the best dressed girl there, Bee."

"Will I?" asked Bee indifferently. Pretty frocks were all very well in their place, but they did not relieve the ache in her heart.

"You don't care a thing about them," declared her cousin. "You are such a funny girl! Isn't she, mamma?"

"A little inclined so," answered Mrs. Raymond, who delighted in pretty clothes. "Bee, do take more interest. It is ungrateful not to appreciate what your father is doing for you. Now, Adele cares a great deal more about her appearance than you do about yours, yet I should not get her so many things. Of course William knows that you need more dressing is the reason he is so liberal."

"No, Aunty," returned Bee. "Father is not generous because of that, but because he wishes to make up to me for his absence."

And with the utterance of these words it became clear to her that this was in truth the reason. That he was not quite easy in his mind regarding her, and sought this means to relieve the feeling. A quick gush of tenderness flooded her being.

"I must be brave," she told herself over and over. "It distresses him because I am unhappy. I must be brave."

"Bee," spoke Adele sharply, "what in the world are you mooning about? Mamma has spoken to you twice."

"I beg your pardon, aunty," said Bee contritely. "I did not hear you. I was thinking."

"You should conquer that habit of inattentiveness," chided her aunt. "I notice that it is growing on you. What has come over you, Bee? I never saw such a change in a girl in all my life!"

"Am I so changed?" asked Bee wistfully.

"Well; you are so thoughtful and quiet. You used to be so merry, you know."

"It's father, aunty," cried the girl, bursting into tears. "I am trying to be brave, but oh, Aunt Annie! my heart is breaking."

The lady drew her to her and kissed her.

"It doesn't do to have so much feeling, child," she said. "There! dry your eyes, and look at this tweed. It will make a handsome traveling gown."

"Yes;" broke in Adele ecstatically, while Bee wiped her eyes, and endeavored to interest herself in the dress. "There are to be gloves, hat and shoes in keeping. The girls would call it swell. And, Bee, we are all going to New York with Uncle William to see him off. Won't it be fine to be in New York City? You better believe that I'm not coming back without seeing some of the sights."

"I think we shall all be willing to do that, Adele," smiled her mother.

So the talk went on. Bee was fitted with wraps, gowns, hats, and other things considered necessary until her head whirled with the multitudinous furnishings, and all the world seemed to resolve itself into one vast dressmaking shop created solely for her benefit.

"Another, aunty?" she asked wearily one morning as Mrs. Raymond called her into the sewing room for a fitting.

"Yes; this is the very last one, child; and a beauty it is too."

"I do not think that I ever had so many dresses in all my life together," observed the girl. "What am I to do with them all?"

"You will find use for everything when you reach the college, Beatrice," smiled the lady. "This one is for evening. There are many social functions, and of course you will take part in them. It is tiresome, I know, to fit all these things but you will be glad later that you have them."

"I may be," answered Bee. "I am not ungrateful, aunty, for all that you are doing, only just now it seems as though there were ever so many more than I will need. And," she added with a troubled look and speaking in a lower tone, "are you sure that father can afford to spend so much on me?"

"You absurd child!" exclaimed Mrs. Raymond with misty eyes. "Of course he can. I think myself that he is doing more than is necessary, but it pleases him, Bee, so accept it for the pleasure it gives him."

"But if he is denying himself," began Bee, but they were interrupted by the entrance of Aunt Fanny.

"Dose satanic gen'mun dat wuz heah ter dinnah dat time dey is all downstairs, an' dey say dey wants ter see Miss Bee," she announced.

"Isn't it father?" asked Bee in astonishment. "He is in the library, Aunt Fanny. You mean him, don't you?"

"No'm; I doesn't. Dey said Miss Beatrice Raymond," answered the negress pompously. "Jest like dat: Miss Beatrice Raymond."

"Better run down, Bee," suggested her aunt. "I dare say that they wish to see you again as this may be their last visit before William goes."

So wonderingly Beatrice went down to the library. They were all there. The four scientists whom she had entertained with the Butterfly Dinner that now seemed so long ago. They arose at her entrance and greeted her cordially albeit with some embarrassment. Her father, too, appeared moved out of his ordinary composure.

"Miss Raymond," spoke one of the naturalists, "we have sent for you—that is—we have never forgotten that dinner, and as a token of our appreciation—"

"You are all wrong, Davis," broke in another. "It isn't a token at all. It is her natural right."

"You see," exclaimed the shy man whom Bee remembered so well, "that we were astonished when we learned how you had helped to catalogue the specimens which your father brought back, and we realize how much help you can be to him; so we think—"

"In short," announced the first speaker, "we wish you to accompany your father as his secretary; all expenses to be borne by the University. Will you accept?"

"I—What do you mean?" gasped Bee, clasping her hands and breathing quickly.

"Just what we say, Miss Beatrice. You have done a good work this summer, and we believe that with your leaning toward science it would be of great benefit to you and to ourselves also to send you with Doctor Raymond to help him in his work. The faculty decided upon this move unknown to your father, and have sent us as a committee to ask your acceptance."

"My acceptance?" came from Bee in a sob as she turned blindly toward her father. "Oh, father, father! you tell them."

"Gentlemen," said Doctor Raymond unsteadily, "in my daughter's name I thank you. She accepts with pleasure, and will endeavor to discharge the duties entrusted to her with faithfulness. As for myself—" He paused, unable to finish.

"Nonsense, Raymond! you needed some one to look after you. We shall expect the finest collection that is on this continent with her to help you. It is for our benefit that we are doing this. Now let's settle some of the details, if Miss Raymond is able to attend to them."

"Oh, yes;" laughed Bee through her tears. "I can do anything now."


Chapter XXVII

Ready for the Voyage

"Like unto ships far off at sea,
Outward or homeward bound, are we.
Ah! if our souls but poise and swing
Like the compass in its brazen ring,
Ever level and ever true
To the toil and task we have to do
We shall sail securely, and safely reach
The Fortunate Isles with their shining beach."
Longfellow.

The crystalline air, sparkling with the salt of the Atlantic, swept up the bay and stirred the waters of the North River into restlessness, causing the great steamer to tug impatiently at her moorings as though anxious to begin the voyage. Upon the promenade deck of the vessel stood Mr. and Mrs. Henry Raymond, Doctor Raymond, and the two cousins, Adele and Beatrice; for the time of departure had come.

It still lacked some time of the hour for sailing, and Adele called excited directions to Bee as they waited, or made hurried little excursions to the other side of the boat to see what was taking place there.

"You must keep my roses until the very last, Bee," she said. "And there is a box of chocolates in the top of your steamer trunk. I put them there myself. Be sure you think of me when you eat them. Don't you want to try your new rug? I don't believe that it will be half warm enough. And, oh, Bee! do write every day, and tell me everything. Everything! Do you hear? I wish I were going."

"Well, you will have a nice time in New York anyway," consoled Bee, who was trying very hard not to be excited. "Doesn't the city look beautiful?"

"It's wonderful!" agreed Adele ecstatically. "Next to going to Egypt I would rather be here than anywhere. How tall the buildings are!"

"Aren't they?" answered Bee with enthusiasm. "They seem just like cliffs with swallows nests in them. The buildings, the crowds, the shops, and now this great steamer, and all the other vessels seem marvelous to me. Just look what a picture it makes, Adele."

Adele leaned over the railing of the iron-girted steamer, and looked long and earnestly at the wondrous city lying under the flicker of Liberty's torch.

The rugged sky line along the western shore of the city was indeed picturesque under the afternoon sun. The sky was of deepest blue with not a cloud to mar its brilliancy. The silver and gray waters of the bay were dotted with crafts of every description. Saucy tugs darted hither and thither watching for opportunities to offer their services to some great liner to put out from its dock; ferry boats plied unceasingly between the New York and the Jersey shores; excursion steamers crowded with pleasure seekers passed and repassed until one would suppose the entire population of the city was on merrymaking bent. Sail boats, and great steamers like their own filled the docks, or dotted the waters.

All West Street was crowded with people come to see the departure of the liners. Across the broad plaza of the street came hansom cabs, automobiles, coaches, and vehicles bristling with trunks and other baggage; fruiterers' wagons scraped wheels with florists' vehicles, and venders of every sort with their wares filled the spaces between in search of possible purchasers.

Inside the pier the cabs threaded their way through freight piled mountains high to canvas covered gangways leading to the first saloon. The promenade deck was crowded with those who were to sail, and those who had come to see them off. Some were walking up and down the deck excitedly, others were standing about in groups. It was a busy, exciting scene. One so new to the girls that they found the pain of parting swallowed up in the excitement of the event. The older people, too, were strangely silent, and seemed influenced by the bustle about them.

"You will come back so learned there will be no living with you," declared Adele presently, turning her back upon the confusion of the wharf, and with a half envious note in her voice. "And a beauty, too, I expect. You are almost that now, Bee, with your eyes shining so, and that uplifted look on your face."

Bee gazed at her thoughtfully.

"Do you know, Adele," she said at length, "that I don't believe that I shall ever want to be a beauty again. It is all true, just as everybody told me; it doesn't matter in the least about looks, after all. When I was thinking about that and nothing else, everything went wrong. But when I thought about other people and giving them pleasure they tried to do the same by me. Now that Butterfly Dinner: I didn't think of anything in the world but giving those scientists a nice dinner, and a little fun. Just see what it did for me! They have made me father's secretary. Oh, I am going to try to be so good and so sweet that I will deserve all this honor that has come to me!"

"And, and old Rachel's sickness when you helped her," supplemented Adele, a slight flush stealing over her face at the recollection. "If you hadn't gone in there to carry that basket your father would not have wished you to go with him. Maybe, maybe, I will try to be less selfish too, Bee. I haven't always been as nice to you as I ought to have been."

"Don't say a word about it," exclaimed Bee bending forward to kiss her. "Everything has all turned out for the best. You have been just lovely about my going, and helping, and all. If it were not for being with father I should be very unhappy over leaving you; but so long as I am with him I can't help but feel happy."

"What are our Bee and Butterfly conversing so earnestly about?" asked Mrs. Raymond suddenly. "Adele, do you know that you must begin to say good-bye to your cousin? By the time you girls have finished the whistle will have blown. You know how long it takes you."

Adele looked up with eyes that swam with tears.

"And it will be two years," she murmured, giving Bee a big hug. "I do hope that you will have a good time, Bee. If you see a pretty fan you might send it to me. I just love those Egyptian things, and it will be nice to show the girls. To think of your going so far! Be sure to write me long letters. I don't believe that there will be another girl in school who will have a correspondent in foreign parts. It is nice in some ways, but I shall miss you."

"I'll send you just as many pretty things as I can," promised Bee. "I'll never see anything that is real pretty that I won't think of you. You must write long letters too, Adele, and tell me all about the girls, and the school, and everything that happens. Oh, there is the warning!"

Adele clung to her for a moment, then as her father and mother hastily exchanged good-byes with Bee she flung her arms about her uncle.

"You must be awfully good to Bee," she sobbed. "And bring her home safe. Oh, I do wish you were not going!"

Doctor Raymond kissed her gently without replying, and the three left the boat.

The big vessel stirred sluggishly, and then with a hip! hip! hurrah! from the sailors swung out from the pier, backed into midstream and headed for the bay and the ocean.

Bee drew near her father and slipped her hand into his. Together they bent over the rail and waved their handkerchiefs at the little group on the wharf. Adele was sobbing convulsively.

"I did not think she would mind so much," said Bee. "It is nice to be loved like that, isn't it, father?"

"Yes;" he said, passing his arm about her. "She has just begun to realize your worth. I think the knowledge of how dear you are to us has just come to us all."

"Father," she cried, looking up at him lovingly, "you really like me a great deal, I do believe."

"I should have been very unhappy had I been obliged to leave you, Beatrice. It is not given to many men to have a dear little companion who embodies so much wit and cleverness. I am proud of my little daughter."

Bee was silent through sheer delight. And so they stood. The ship swept through the narrows and into the lower bay. America was getting farther and farther away, but she was too happy to care. The Summer had passed. The cool breezes of Autumn blew refreshingly. Like the ocean the future stretched before them, and they were sailing toward the unknown. But Bee glanced at the tender, earnest face of her father, and felt no fear. Whatever came she was his companion and helper, and she was content.






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