The Baldwin Library
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Sheltered Stranger. F RONTISPIECE.
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1i'1 Qg r X1
Sb el tered tra ge r.
-HELEN PEARSON BARNARD,
mgme*Fan Rapt^pt publication &cietq,
1420 Chestnut Street-
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HELEN PEARSON BARNARD.
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY,
1420 CHESTNUT STREET.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1882, by the
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
WESTCOTT & THOMSON,
Stereotypers and Electrotyiers, Philada.
OUT IN THE SNOW-STORM......
IN Miss MARBLE'S KITCHEN. . . . . .. 15
PHIL FINDS A FRIEND. . . . . . 25
THE FAMILY OF MR. HARRIS. .......... . 36
KATIE HARRIS AND HER MOTHER . . . . 49
MR. HARRIS'S DIPLOMACY. . . . . 63
LITTLE PHIL CARED FOR. .... .. 0..... 71
MISS MARBLE'S LECTURE. . . ...... 88
THE LONG-EXPECTED LETTER . . . . . 115
EXCITEMENT IN THE HARRIS FAMILY . . . 123
HOPES FROM A PATENT-RIGHT. . . . 133
DONNY MAGUIRE'S TROUBLE . . . .. . 146
MR. HARRIS SAILS FOR EUROPE .. .. . ... 157
KATIE FINDS EMPLOYMENT . . . . . 68
DONNY TRIES TO HELP . . . . . 82
CARRIE AND LAWYER PONSBY. . . .. I95
PHIL AND RUTH MAKE AN ACQUAINTANCE. . . 209
A TROUBLESOME VISITOR . . . . . 225
CARRIE GOES HOUSE-HUNTING . . . . .. 248
PHIL READS AN UNPLEASANT LETTER . . . 265
PHIL AVOIDS HIS UNNATURAL FATHER . . 277
LAWYER PONSBY FINDS RELATIVES. . . . . 287
MR. HARRIS RETURNS FROM EUROPE. . .. 299
DONNY AND THE SCRIBE . .. . . .. . 309
KATIE'S NEW ENGAGEMENT WITH THE LAWYER. . 325
THE SHELTER. . . . . . . . . . 331
THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
OUT IN THE SNOW-STORM.
IT was bitter, bitter cold, and the storm was
raging in the city streets. No wonder they
were almost deserted that midwinter night, and
that people drew closer about their firesides as
the sleet drove against their windows. There
was one who will never forget that night-little
Phil Richmond, the deformed boy-for he knew
of no place that would shelter him. His mother
had died suddenly, and had been buried with the
nameless poor. Then the old woman who had
rented them a room turned the motherless boy
out. Phil did not know that she was under the
influence of drink when she did it; he only re-
membered that his mother was always fearing
her calls for the unpaid rent. So his first thought
was to get as far away as possible from her. No
8 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
one spoke to the child with the painfully distort-
ed shoulders, or noticed his mournful face as he
wandered about the city ragged and hungry;
such a forlorn waif was no new sight. Then
came the storm and the darkness. The deso-
late boy fought them bravely. At last, exhaust-
ed with walking and his battle with the elements,
he sank upon some sheltered steps. The bleak
wind lulled and the snow fell silently at last, and
the boy slept.
Well for him that there was another abroad
that cold night, one whose great heart was full
of pity for the unfortunate. He was only Donny
Maguire, the Irishman who did the chores and
the marketing in Miss Marble's great boarding-
"This weather isn't to me mind at all," said
he, grumbling in a deep bass voice as he strode
along. "Me nose is turned to rock, and me
limbs is contributed entirely o' icicles; but I'll
soon be thawin' thim forninst the fire. A sup
o' bilin' coffee wouldn't be bad wid it also.-
What's this ?"
Donny's head emerged from its wrappings,
and moved this way and that, very like a huge
tortoise taking observations from its shell.
THE SHELTERED STRA ANGER. 9
"In the name o' the saints, who are yez ?"
addressing little Phil, who was sleeping upon
the steps. Here's another o' thim vagrants,
an' it's wise in him not to obtrude himself whin
a dacent person spikes. Iv course I pity the
crathurs, but I can't waste me time discoorsin'
wid the likes o' them."
Donny's actions did not agree with his words,
however, for even while he grumbled he stooped
and gently shook the little sleeper, partly to
dislodge the snow and partly to arouse him:
"Wake up! Here's a find coom to see
yez, a man wid the goold an' the nice news for
yez entirely.-Och, what will I do wid him at
all ?" added Donny with a gesture of despair.
" He won't listen to me. I'll thry again. Whist,
now, till I make him think one iv his own kin
is coom.-Here I am, me lad," with a vigorous
shake, putting his lips to the child's ears; "don't
yez care to say yer oonkle from beyont the
The shouting and shaking started Phil from
the sleep that but for timely assistance would
soon have proved his last.
Och, I hope I haven't stretched the truth
too much," said Donny; "but it's meself thrates
IO THE SHEL TERED STRANGER.
him jist like an oonkle.-Och, me jewel! it isn't
like yez to persist in frazin' yersilf an' yer friends
when they calls upon yez. Dear heart, it's a
pity to see yez roostin' in this cowld."
A rollicking gust of wind sprang up from the
depths of a snowbank, powered his face, blinded
his eyes, whirled off his cap, and led him such
an undignified chase to recover it that Donny's
temper was lost again:
"Faith, an' it's all along iv botherin' mesilf
wid vagrants. Why can't they stay paceable by
their own firesides ?"
Nobody disputing this wise remark, and the
cap coming to hand just then, Donny fastened
it upon his head and went back to the child, who
looked up at him in a half-aroused way when
shouted at and shaken again.
"Tell us where is your home, jewel," said
Donny tenderly. "Sure, this is no place for man
or baste, me poor lad."
"'Deliver us from evil,'" whispered Phil,
"for thine is the kingdom '-the kingdom.
I've said it every night, mother; will the dear
Lord take me in ?"
His voice died away, and he slept again. The
moon shone out just then, and showed a white
THE SHEL TERED STRANGER. II
face with a faint, beautiful smile upon it. All
the sympathies of Donny's warm Irish heart
leaped forth on the instant toward the wanderer,
and there was an odd choking in his voice as
"Spake up onct more, me man. Where will
I take yez at all?"
"It is so cold!" murmured Phil.
"Iv coorse, an' it's a ravenin' baste I am to
palaver wid yez an' yez frazin' to the sthep."
Phil was only half conscious, but he knew
he was lifted by powerful arms; his cheek
touched the warm, soft fur coat; it enfolded
him like the wings of some monster bird; and
there, upon the kind heart of Donny, the boy
came gradually to his senses.
An' what will I do with him, now I've got
him?" said Donny. "Will I present him to the
Plainly, there was some doubt in the serving-
man's mind about the expediency of this, for he
shook his head and his step grew slower. As
for the boy in his arms, the sense of being cared
for even in the humblest manner was too deli-
cious for speech or the effort of thought after his
battle with the storm.
12 THE SHEL TERED S TRA ANGER.
"A person couldn't turn a child away this
cruel night," muttered Donny, settling the
Phil roused at this.
"Won't they let me stay ?" he asked, in such
a plaintive tone that Donny had to shake his
great head and swallow hard before he an-
Kape still, and lave such speculashins wid
others. It's hard enough yez have toiled, thryin'
to fraze intil a shuacide. Whist now; is Donny
Maguire a man which does things be halves?
Did I shoulder yez only to pit yez onto another.
doorsthep to roost ?"
Phil felt a thrill of blessed relief, for he
understood the seeming roughness that was
only a cloak to hide the kindness his deliverer
felt. A new life tingled in the lad's chilled
veins. He nestled closer to the fur coat; a
silvery tear fell from his eyes, and became a
sparkling gem on the garment. Ah, that tear
may perchance star the rough man's crown for
that deed of mercy.
"Whist now! here we are, jewel. I'll pit yez
where yez can thoast yer bones till the stiffness
has left thim entirely."
THE SHEL TERED STRANGER. 13
Donny rushed into a basement-kitchen, thump-
ed his precious parcel into the nearest chair, and
pushed it up so close to the fire that Phil thought
his "bones truly were to be toasted.
Quick wid a taste o' something' hot, Dinah!"
Dinah was the black cook, swaying to and
fro in a rocking-chair in a corner of the room.
Phil was quite startled as she rolled her great
eyes at him and threw up her arms, ex-
"Laws o' massy! what is you been up to
now, Donny? What trash is dis in my clean
"Och, an' it's no heart o' pity yez have!"
cried Donny. "Why don't yez fly roun,' you
"Don't you go for to call names, Donny
Maguire," said the cook, shaking a clumsy
fore finger at him. "I'm not gwine to have
such a bundle o' rags in my establishment an'
dat's a fac'!"
Rags! rags !" sputtered Donny, pulling off
Phil's cap and coat and thrusting his feet into
the stove-oven.-" Rub yer paws thegither, hon-
est lad."-Then, scowling at Dinah, "It's ragged
yez'll be yersilf if yez don't fly round.-Don't
14 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
worry about her, jewel; it's mesilf'll pit her to
rights lively, an' get a dhrop o' something to
warrm yer vitals.-Och, it's the heart iv a mate-
axe yez have, woman."
Dinah swayed back and forth in the creaking
rocking-chair, humming a tune with apparent
Och, what will I do wid her?" groaned Don-
ny. "Oh, but it's a happy man that hasn't his
timper spiled wid a wife, whin she that isn't
kith nor kin pits me out so! Bekase a man
spakes out in a hurry, she gets her back up
like a setting' hin.-Yez are faintin' away, me
"No, oh no," said Phil, almost gasping with
the sudden heat and long fasting.
"Well, warrm yersilf," said Donny, patting
his pale cheek with great tenderness, and run-
ning the chair almost into the stove in his zeal
for his visitor's comfort. Och, it's the worst
iv avils to fraze. Stay be the fire; sarce that
hard-hearted craythur if she sarces yez, an'
I'll get yez some food mesilf."
IN Miss MARBLE'S KITCHEN.
D ONNY had scarcely left the room before
Dinah stopped rocking and came toward
"Don't you want me to stay, Mrs. Dinah ?"
he asked, moving away from the fire and lifting
his sad face to hers. It touched the cook as it
had the serving-man, and she said quickly,
Bress you, lamb, do you think old Dinah
dat cruel? Me an' Donny was only having a
spat; dat's sumfin' recurs ebery day, boy."
"People mostly don't let me warm myself."
Phil stretched out his, hands as if he could not
bear to leave the warmth. "How good you
are! Folks don't generally like to see my
hurt back," added the child; "sometimes I
wish I was straight like other boys, but this
is my burden to bear, mother said."
His solemn words, strange for one so young,
16 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
filled the black woman with awe. She could
only ejaculate softly,
Pore, pore lamb!"
"Where does the woman kape the coffee-
pot?" said Donny, emerging from the pantry
with his coat-sleeve sprinkled with flour.--
"There's nayther sinse nor reason in the arrange-
mint iv yer panthry, Mrs. Dinah."
Dinah did not retort; she was wiping her
eyes behind her apron. The serving-man wink-
ed knowingly as she went into the pantry her-
self and brought out something for Phil.
"Pore chile !" whispered Dinah as the half-
famished boy ate.-" Who do you s'pose owns
him, Don ?"
Don't bother him with sich nonsinse," said
Donny with a solemn shake of the head; it's
mesilf heard him pray to his Father above, and
that's passport enough for me."
Then the two were silent, watching Phil,
eager with the long fast, as he ate and drank,
the color creeping into his pale cheeks like
the glimmer of hope that was reddening the
gray sky of his life.
Suddenly there sounded a step on the
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 17
"Land o' liberty!" ejaculated Dinah, rolling
up her eyes in a terrified manner; "what done
possess missus to come down dis time o'
She whisked into the closet with the lunch,
leaving Donny Maguire alone with the child.
"Dinah! Dinah !"
"Coom out iv that; the misthress is calling
yez," whispered Donny, thrusting his frowzy
head into the cook's retreat. "The saints be
praised, the auld sinner isn't coming down,
after all. We'll make him a bed in the-"
"Yes, missus," answered she, opening the
"I smell something burning; what are you
cooking at this time of night ?"
"There isn't nothing' cooking' or burnin',"
"But the coffee-pot is on," persisted her
mistress, whose elevated position enabled her
to see over the door.
"Sure, yez can't blame a man for that," said
Donny, appearing as his own advocate, "whin
he's perished with the cowld.-Hoot! hoot! she's
gone back," cried Donny, flinging up his heels
18 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
and dancing about the kitchen. "Och, this is
the lucky fayture, entirely!"
Dinah sank into the nearest chair, and fan-
ned as if in midsummer:
"I was dat feared she'd cotch de chile
Hersilf ud fraze her own kith an' kin, an'
sell her aged parent for a bag iv auld bones,
if she could raise a penny," sighed Donny.
"Och, it's degradin' to a gintleman iv talent
to be in her employ! I'd change me position,
only out iv consideration for her. Wid a
house full of boarders, what would she do?
It's mesilf gits out iv patience wid her orders
an' notifyin' mesilf about this an' that; but it's
mesilf axes this question: What would she
do if I left her ?"
"She'd done tote in somebody else. A pus-
son could be younger an' spryer dan you be,
Don, an' neber set such a sight by deirselves,
Aghast at this sudden bombshell from the
enemy, Donny stood scowling at the cook,
utterly speechless. Phil had pushed his plate
away and sat in wistful,- grave silence.
"Bress you, honey, why don't you eat your
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 19
supper ? You'se don't like Dinah's cooking,
'cause she's brack."
It's very nice, but if you please I won't take
any more;" nevertheless his hungry glance lin-
gered upon the tempting food.
Yez mustn't lave till yer skhin is as full as
a tick," said Donny, with the air of a king dis-
pensing royal bounty; "ate, me lad, ate."
Still Phil touched not the food, but sat in
painful, confused silence.
"There's something' to the back o'. this." Don-
ny laid a kindly hand on the boy's shoulder.
"If yez has a reason for refusing' sich dacent vit-
tals, jewel, spit it out."
"I thought the lady of the house might not
like my eating here without her leave," faltered
Phil, sorely pressed between his desire to do
right and his wish not to grieve his kind
"Lit her hilp hersilf, thin, if the job don't
plaze her. Out upon her! a miserly, graspin'
auld skhinflint!" exclaimed the Irishman, pa-
cing the floor, his big coat throwing grotesque
shadows on the walls. Faith, an' who is she,
anyway, that a pusson should fear her ?"
As if invoked by this, the door opened soft-
20 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
ly and suddenly, and the lady in person appear-
ed upon the scene.
"Mercy on us !" cried she.
"It's mercy we're taking on an unfortunate
one," observed Donny, with an odd blending
of deference and impudence. "Sure, it's the
blissin' iv the God iv the fatherliss will be upon
this ruff to-night, mem. Och, I fale as if I
was permitted to perform a miracle, mem,"
thrusting his thumbs into his vest-pockets and
rolling his eyes piously upward. "Only for
the humble craythur named Donny, the poor
lad 'ud perished forninst yer door, mem. An'
a sorry mess we'd had iv it wid the funeral,
the coffin', the undhertaker, an' the general
expenses, mem. In troth a fine dade that,
Donny glanced upon his mistress and the
lad by turns, while the former seemed utterly
confounded with surprise and with the tide of
eloquence poured upon her.
Me lad, it's this koind lady yez ought to
be on. yer knees to fur the food an' shelter
that kept yez from being a cowld corpus. I
think I sees yez, me lad, wid yer poor bits iv
paws a-sthickin' out like this "-Donny's own
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 21
digits illustrated the word-picture-" all along
in yer implorin' an' prayin' an' cryin' to the last
breath; an' yer swate blue eyes looking' up at
the cowld moon wid a smile frozen on yer lips,
as if the angels had comforted yez. Och, it's
enough to dhraw tears from a stone, mem !"
Donny drew out a large pictorial hgndker-
chief and made a show of drying his eyes.
You should have brought him to me direct-
ly," said Miss Marble.
"Sure, he was too wake to mount the sthairs,
mem dear, an' so I pit a bit iv strengthening'
intil him," said Donny in a quavering voice
behind the handkerchief.
"Dinah, let me never hear again that you
have harbored and fed vagrants without leave,"
said her mistress sternly. "I will overlook
this, as it is the first time.-Let the boy go
The Irishman's expression of grieved sur-
prise would have immortalized him upon the
stage. Miss Marble turned to go; then he
"Did yez mane to have him leave us,
Certainly. He must go now."
22 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
Go? An' where, plazin' ye, mem, will he
go? Back upon the doorsthep? Heart o' love,
that's a cowld roost!"
The lady looked very angry-so angry that
"No impertinence, if you please. Send him
"De pore lam' hasn't no home, an' dat's a
fac'," ventured Dinah.
"Don't own sich a place," added Donny,
moving nearer the child as if to protect him,
and speaking earnestly. "Sure, it's the bloodi-
est kind iv murther. I wouldn't do it for a
dog, let alone a child like this."
"Take him to the station, then," said Miss
Marble; "I do not keep a home for va-
Phil had been silent through this talk. He
now rose with quivering lips, reached for his
little torn cap, and, while the sensitive flush
mounted to his forehead, said,
I'll go. I do not wish to stay if you are
Hoult there, me lad "-Donny crushed Phil's
fingers in a vigorous hand-grip-" hoult there
a bit. If yez are up wid yer proud heels an'
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 23
off, I go wid yez. But yez needn't to go, me
lad," in a confidential manner. "I. invite yez
to spind the night wid me; nobody can order
yez from a corner iv me own bed."
"I could fix him a bed in my attic," said
Dinah, summoning all her courage. "It's dat
powerful bad weather to travel dis night, mis-
"I'm bothered to death with your advice.
What with the care of this house, church bu-
ties, and six charitable societies, I'm quite worn
out.-Come up stairs, boy, and we'll see if you
are imposing upon us."
"The lad's a rale gintleman," said Donny,
closing the door upon the second chapter in
Phil's life in great excitement. "Did you mark
him carrying' iv his cap? The style iv it ud
make your eyes weather "
In proof of this assertion Donny wiped his
own honest orbs upon the red handkerchief.
"Broughten up by the quality, you may
depend," added Dinah. "Laws, how you'se
did sarce missus! I make sure she'll 'member
"Six charitable societies, Dinah!" muttered
Donny, warming his huge feet and shaking
24 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
his frowzy head. "Sure, the lad ought, be good
rights, to be well provided for by sich a chari-
Dinah sighed, and he echoed it; then the
presiding spirits of the kitchen were silent,
listening to the sound of the little wanderer's
feet, encased in leaky shoes, as they followed
Miss Marble up the stairs.
PHIL FINDS A FRIEND.
T HE strange persistency of her servants
in regard to keeping the deformed boy
awakened some curiosity in the mind of Miss
Marble. Her keen glance had seen that Phil
was not to be classed with the professional
poor, whose pitiful stories would not bear in-
"I don't know why I spend a moment over
this child," she muttered as she mounted the
stairs, "for I cannot aid him now, even if
he is deserving.-You must not expect any
help because I'm asking you up here, boy,"
she said as she at last flung open a door.
There were three people in the room: Mr.
Harris, a portly gentleman who lodged in the
house; Mrs. Phebe Green, a sallow, common-
place woman, whose mild intellect vacillated
between adulation of her strong-minded friend,
fancy-work, and ill-timed reminiscences of her
26 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
husband: her collar was always fastened with
his "miniature," and upon her finger was an-
other reminder-a ring which was now all set-
ting, and no stone. The third person was a
young girl writing at a desk, literally up to
her elbows in papers.
My love, what have you there ?" queried
Mrs. Green as Phil halted at the entrance.
Miss Marble rapidly described the scene in
"I thought I could trust them about harbor-
ing tramps, but it seems I can depend upon
"I shall never feel safe after this," said Mrs.
Green, eying Phil as if he had been an assassin.
"Did you count the spoons, my love? Poor
Green always did after we'd had a fright or been
exposed to thieves."
"Oh, I guess this little fellow has given you
no occasion for alarm, Mrs. Green," said Mr.
Harris as Phil's intelligent face crimsoned with
"I'm no thief," said Phil sturdily. "You can
look into my pockets, and then I'll go."
"Not until you've told your name and why
you are on the streets," said Miss Marble, who
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 27
dearly loved to investigate any mystery.-""I
should like to have you hear his story, Mr.
Harris:--I trust it will not hinder your copy-
ing, Letitia," as she caught the young girl paus-
ing to look at Phil.
Indeed, you ought to be very diligent, Letitia,"
added Mrs. Green.
It did not take very long to get the main
facts in Phil's sad history. He answered their
questions, but often with visible reluctance:
Miss Marble noted this. Little did the self-
appointed examiners dream how they wounded
the high-spirited child. It appeared that his
mother had come to the city in search of her
brother, but had suddenly died with hemorrhage
of the lungs.
Is your father dead ?" asked Miss Marble.
Phil was silent. When pressed he said that
his father was living.
"And why wasn't he with her?"
Again Phil was mute.
"Why wasn't your mother with her hus-
band ?" repeated Miss Marble harshly.
"Indeed, I cannot tell you," burst out the
boy at last. "She bade me tell no one but
28 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
"A pretty story!" cried Miss Marble; then
turning to Mr. Harris: "There's always some-
thing at the bottom of these tales of distress,
some mystery that honest people hate to touch."
"Did your mother have her life insured?" now
inquired Mrs. Green; "did you hear her say
anything about a 'policy'? Poor Green said
his conscience wouldn't let him die without
leaving me one."
"She often said 'Honesty was the best poli-
cy'," said Phil, "but I know her life wasn't in-
sured, because she died."
"I presume likely," said the widow Green,
and subsided, wondering what amused her friend
and Mr. Harris.
Phil was so weary of all this that he was
almost stunned. As he leaned exhausted
against the wall, for they gave him no seat,
his thoughts became suddenly full of his mother.
Earth and snow couched and covered her now.
Far off from her lonely boy, she could not de-
fend herself or him. Only the trump of the
archangel could awaken her. But he would
never forget the glory of her face at last, trans-
figured with something like that which touched
the face of Moses when he came down from
THE SHEL TERED STRANGER. 29
the mount, as if her spirit too had flown toward
the everlasting hills, and stooped to earth again
with a bit of brightness for her boy. Thus
comforting himself, he almost forgot the two
who were discussing him.
At last their conversation overbore his medi-
tations, and he heard Miss Marble say,
He would be nothing but trouble if I kept
him. I've no patience with boys.-Don't shake
your head at me, dear Mr. Harris. I always de-
tested boys; they pucker and snarl from baby-
hood up. Besides, I've always noticed that
Phil shivered as if pierced by cold winds;
his eyes filled with tears; the harsh words hurt
worse than blows.
"The station is the proper place for such as
he," said Miss Marble meditatively. "But then
I've just been made first directress of the Society
for Promoting the Welfare of Orphans, and it
wouldn't do for me to send him off, I sup-
"Certainly not," was the prompt reply; then,
catching the boy's sad expression, he added,
"If it's as the lad says, he ought to have a
better home than the station."
30 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
Miss Marble did not reply to this, but picked
up some fancy-work, dashing the needle into
it with a force that made Phil pity the cloth,
for the boy was full of odd fancies. He fancied
that if she was a witch, and had him in her
hands as the cloth was, how she would thrust
him through and pierce his heart.
If there was only the faintest clue to her
relatives!" observed Mr. Harris.
He says they were going to his uncle's, but
don't know the name or place; it is very likely,
of course, Mr. Harris, that we should start to
visit uncles and not know their names or where
This was in the most sarcastic tone, with a
sharp gaze upon Phil, who shrank into himself
still more, and blushed painfully, as if he had
been guilty of the worst crimes his tormentor
could imagine. The rest was in a loud, shrill
whisper that reached him:
Did you notice how he looked when I asked
about his father? He owns to having one, but
where he is he won't tell. It is very strange;
who else should he wish to see at this time ?"
It may be he was poor, and the mother de-
serted him on that account."
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 31
Nonsense! the boy says he is rich."-Then
to Phil, "You are very naughty to keep things
from us; some people would find ways to get
it from you."
By this time our little friend was so wrought
up that he could return her gaze. Seeing this
evidence of grit, Mr. Harris made a suggestion:
"Better take another course with the lad,
madam; if he chooses to keep it secret, we can
find out for ourselves. Advertise, madam, ad-
vertise. Put a notice in the daily papers; let
your Orphans' Welfare Society take this mat-
ter in hand; that will bring the boy's father."
Oh, please, don't!" cried Phil, his composure
gone. "Oh, it will be dreadful if you do! It
may seem strange," as Miss Marble telegraph-
ed to Mr. Harris, "but you must never send for
He broke down as he saw the sneer on the
face that should have worn only womanly com-
passion, and burst into tears.
Don't cry, my child," said Mr. Harris more
kindly; whom shall we summon, then ?"
"I do not know, sir, but I will go out on the
street again; I'll trouble no one. I did not ask
to come to your house," pleaded the child, clasp-
32 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
ing his hands. "Let me go away, but do not let
him know where I am."
"It's no use to cry," interrupted Miss Mar-
ble. "I shall keep you now, if only to find
your father and have this mystery cleared."
Phil's face was fairly terror-struck at this;
his lips were pressed together, as happens
when some pain is coming that is hard to be
borne. Mr. Harris watched him with increas-
"There is some grave reason for the boy's
fright," said he. "Get hold of that and you
have the clue to the whole matter. It is my
opinion that his father is wealthy, as he inti-
mated, and possibly would give his fortune to call
his son to his arms again. Doubtless the death
of his deserting wife will only be a blessed re-
lief to him."
Phil put his hands hastily to his ears.
"What's that for?" asked Miss Marble, stop-
ping her rapid needle. "What's struck across
the grain now?"
Phil answered huskily, "I can't bear such
hints about her.-Oh, my darling mother, they
never saw you, and you are silent under the
THE SHEL TERED STRANGER. 33
The young girl suddenly broke into weeping
and left the room. Mr. Harris did not assent,
as usual in his easy way, to Miss Marble's next
biting remark, but said,
"Upon my word, it is hard on him. Imagine
him your son, Miss Marble."
"Thank fortune, he isn't! I haven't any such
"Poor Green wasn't fond of children either,"
observed his widow; "but he did take on
dreadful when Fitz died.-Did you see the
memorial I am working of him, Mr. Harris ?"
"I think not," said that gentleman, whose
glance was still on Phil. "Then you have
lost a son?"
"Oh dear, no!" returned Mrs. Green. "It
was my black-and-tan dog. My husband said
he quite filled the place of children to us. Dogs
are so convenient to dispose of when one tires
of them, but a child one must keep always;
and then it is a great deal more expensive feed-
ing and clothing them. Don't you think so,
Mr. Harris ?"
"Indeed not," he answered with a warmth
that made Phil think better of him. "How
could I with four sweet children of my own
34 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
up stairs ? But we ought to do something for
this unfortunate boy."
You can think up some plan while I work,"
said Miss Marble, adding tartly, as if she felt a
little grudge against him for pitying Phil, "That's
the part you men would have women do."
"Your hands and heart are full, my friend,"
said Mr. Harris good-humoredly, "what with
your two charitable societies-"
"Six, six, Mr. Harris."
"And committee-meetings twice a year on
each, I presume, Miss Marble ?"
"'Twice a year'? You men have no idea
of business. Our general committee for each
meets once a week, Mr. Harris. And our
sub-committee meets three times a week, and
the double-sub-committee meets-"
"Hold a bit, my good friend," cried Mr.
Harris. "Let me ask one simple question:
What is the use of so many committees and
so many meetings ?"
"Why, to transact business, of course," re-
plied Miss Marble. "What did you imagine
we did? Did you suppose this immense work
could be carried on without much consultation
and planning ?"
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 35
"But while you are closeted in committees
the destitute suffer," observed Mr. Harris with
a mischievous smile.
"Surely they might have the grace to wait,
when it's all a free gift," retorted Miss Marble.
"And while you are arguing against me, you
let this small 'destitute' wait; there's consist-
ency for you !"
"Very true," assented Mr. Harris, "and this
is no common case, I am assured. Even now
the relatives may be seeking the lad; perhaps
he is heir to large estates. I know he has some
"I don't like blood-and-thunder heroes,"
said Miss Marble, unmoved by his eloquence.
My poor boy," said Mr. Harris, now turn-
ing to Phil, his face beaming with his benevo-
lent intentions, "consider me your friend. I
credit your sad story, and invite you to be-
come one of my family till your fortunes
THE FAMILY OF MR. HARRIS.
BEFORE Phil could recover from his sur-
prise at this sudden offer the door open-
ed, and a bright young face peeped in. It was
that of Mr. Harris's eldest daughter:
Ah, here you are, father! Will you please
come up stairs ?"
"You have happened in at the right time,
Katie, to welcome a motherless lad to our
home," said Mr. Harris.
"Come a-visiting ?" asked Katie, eying Phil,
with her head cocked on one side like a
"Well, yes," her father hesitated; "on the
whole, I think that is it."
Your father has been very generous, my
dear," said Miss Marble, "but it will be quite
a surprise to your mother, I fear."
Miss Marble laughed maliciously as the young
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 37
girl gave her father a quick, anxious look, and
Mr. Harris's face lengthened.
"I ought to consult Mary before taking further
steps," he said, rising slowly. He followed his
daughter without a word or look at the lame
boy, who had started eagerly forward.
Mr. Harris sighed as he mounted the stairs
behind the active maiden, and the sighs came
faster as he neared the upper story:
Has your mother come home yet ?"
"No, father, and it is bitter weather for her
to be out in."
"True, very true." Mr. Harris sighed again.
"This state of things will not last long, I trust."
Katie glanced around to see if listeners were
about, and then said, her earnest face looking
very mature in the dim entry,
"She had a long fit of coughing before she
went, and then she stepped so feebly. I de-
clare I'll sweep the streets before things shall
go on in this way."
"Did she try my elixir?" asked her father.
"I am convinced it's just what she needs."
Katie seemed to be a high-spirited little body,
for the answer came out hotly:
"All the elixirs in America won't cure her,
38 THE SHEL TERED STRANGER.
father. She needs rest and quiet, a home of
her own, and a little happiness. Oh dear! I
can see very plainly that this life is killing
Mr. Harris reflected a moment before reply-
ing to her impetuous words:
"My child, you cannot love your mother
more than I; you are not daily stung with self-
reproach because you cannot support your dear
ones. But, as I have said before, I hope for
brighter days. It is against my wishes that
your mother should earn money."
"But then the rent must be paid," said the
irrepressible Katie, on the threshold of a door
that let them into a bright, cozy room. "Peo-
ple must have food and clothing. Charlie's
little toes are trying to get out of their red
shoes this blessed minute.-Oh, you dear little
Baby smiled from the lap of a small maiden
whom one would scarcely think to be blind as
she rocked him to and fro with great care, stop-
ping only to caress his face or place her cheek
against his, while he cooed as if he were really
a dove, as Katie said.
"Oh me! there's father; where has he been?
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 39
We've got condemned meat for supper. Kate
says nobody knows what it's reposed of; but I
like it, it's so easy to nasticate."
This was from Carrie Harris, a twinkling,
sparkling bit of girlhood, with great blue eyes,
and light hair that framed her round face in
startling frizzy curls. She did not pause for
breath after her rapid speech, but rushed for her
father, stumbled over a cricket, fell upon her
nose, and began to cry.
"Ah, little bobolink!" cried her father, his
face clearing as he kissed her.
You should be more careful," said the elder
sister, who was bustling about the tea-table.-
"She meant condensed meat, father.-Put water
on your bump, Carrie, and don't howl so, for
"Did you hurt you badly?" asked the blind
baby-tender; "let Sister Ruth feel."
I s'pect my nose is broke right in two pieces,
Ruth Harris," sobbed Carrie, who represented
misery in most tragic attitudes. "I presume
it'll be all smashed up for a week."
"Oh, you'll get over it soon," said Katie,
who stopped business long enough to examine
the extent of the accident. "Bathe it, my child;
40 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
wipe your nose, dry your eyes, and do try to be
quiet, for father wants to think, you know."
Katie bustled away to seat her parent at the
table, and Carrie dried her eyes:
"I s'pose you wouldn't be quiet if you was
bleedin' to death, Rufe Harris. I presume
you'll be sorry for this if you wake up in the
morning' and find your little sister's blood has
all leaked out of her poor, poor nose."
Carrie held fast to the wounded member, and
shook her head at her hard-hearted elder sister.
"Come here, darling," whispered the wee wo-
man who held the baby.
"No, no, you can't help me," said Carrie sad-
ly. If I had a piece of brown paper, I'd cure
myself-like what Katie put on Charlie's head
when he fell off the bed."
"There's a bit in the upper drawer," said Ka-
tie, who was at the post of dignity behind the
"I hope the child will get calm soon," added
her father; I have projects to think of that are
of more than usual importance."
"There! I am as good as new," said Carrie,
popping into the room with an immense brown
paper knob in the centre of her piquant face;
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 41
"only I have to breathe through my mouth. It's
lucky it isn't summer now, or the flies would be
hopping in.-Don't I look drefful funny, Rufe ?"
"You forget that I cannot see you, dear,"
said the soft, uncomplaining voice.
"You'd die laughing if you could," said Car-
rie, perched upon the round of a chair to peep
into the mirror. Oh, me suz! if I was soaked
and pickled and baked brown, I wouldn't look
Carrie went into a spasm of mirth, being one
of those happy people who are willing to laugh
at themselves if no other subject of mirth can
"I presume Dinah would 'most kill herself
laughing and I might scare Miss Marble, I s'pose;
I guess she'd send for lots of father's elixir."
Mr. Harris aroused from a revery and in-
quired eagerly who wished some. Carrie stuffed
her apron into her mouth to keep from laughing
aloud, forgot her uncertain footing, and tilted
back upon her father, knocking his face into the
cup of tea which he was drinking, and capped
the climax by bruising her nose again. She
winked back the tears, however, and tried so
hard to apologize that her father forgave her.
42 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
"My child, you know not what you do when
you interrupt me thus," said he, wiping the tea
from his face. He plunged directly into think-
ing and eating again, so absorbed that he seem-
ed to have forgotten the small restless spirits
Carrie swallowed her grief and pain in silence,
and crept nearer Ruth, glad to feel the blind
girl's tender magnetic fingers upon her hot
"This is a mizabul old world, I think."
"No, no," answered Ruth; "you forget all
the enjoyment you have in it. Besides, you
can see; think if you were in the dark all the
"It's too bad," said Carrie, gazing affection-
ately into the pale, peaceful countenance. "I
wish we could manage to take turns, some way.
I'd be willing to be blind more'n half the time
for you, Rufe."
Carrie had no idea that this was irreverent,
only her heart was so full of affection that she
longed to lift her sister's burden, just as we older
ones do many times. But the Lord knew best,
and was compensating Ruth a "hundred-fold"
for her defects even in this life; and, if Carrie
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 43
had only known it, it was his Comforter that
had brought to the blind one such sweetness
and gentle devotion for others.
"Oh, Ruth," whispered Carrie a moment
later, her voice full of fun again-for she
was as full of smiles and tears as an April.
day-"father's forgot hisself, and is writing
like lightning, and eating just as fast."
Sure enough, Mr. Harris was in one of his
brown studies, and while pencilling his thoughts
in figures-for he was an inventor of machines
-had investigated six eggs, half a mince pie,
four cups of tea, and the delicate brown toast
was being stowed away in the dark cavern be-
hind his beard with great celerity, his eldest
child watching him with quite an amused ex-
pression. It was no uncommon affair for Mr.
Harris to forget himself when upon some one
of his plans that were to help the world of
mechanics and enrich his own pocket; some-
times he over-ate, and at others he fasted for
a long time; so Katie calculated that it would
make the matter square if he was let alone in
"I s'pect there'll be nothing for breakfast,"
said Carrie vivaciously. "Dinah'll have to
44 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
spare us something nice, or we'll starve. Won't
mother be scared when she sees the eggs are
"I am afraid it isn't right to make such fun
of father," said the conscientious Ruth; "we
know it is because he is so busy thinking that
he forgets himself."
"Don't you say nothing if little girls forgets
theirselves when there's lots o' candy 'bout,"
said Carrie, smacking her cherry lips for-
"Then other times he forgets, and goes with-
out anything to eat, he is so busy making up
machines," continued Ruth.
So it's 'bout square, I see." Carrie nodded
her head. "But if he should forget and keep
on eating a week, how big he would be! I
s'pect he'd feel dreffully to have to walk like
this all the time."
Carrie rose, and illustrated with her own
small figure her father's sad appearance if
such a calamity should occur, by placing a
chair-cushion under her apron and walking
slowly about with a distressed face:
"'Oh, I'm so sorry I ate a week 'thout think-
in'! Oh, my stummit aches!'"
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 45
This play was very exciting; the little actress
forgot all else, and groaned and hobbled about,
carrying on imaginary conversations in much
too lively tones for one in such distress:
"'Why, what is the matter, Mr. Harris ? You
have grown dreffully; your stummit, sir, is very
"'Oh, I've been thinking marm; I only ate
six eggs and half a mince pie.'"
Mr. Harris's pencil and jaws came to a sud-
den stop; he looked from Carrie's absurd an-
tics to the empty plates:
"I believe I have eaten more than I was
aware, Katie. You must speak to me when
I forget myself. It is partly due to your nice
supper; my little woman is quite a dainty
Katie flushed rosy at this praise, and roused
from a little revery of her own. Mr. Harris
went back to figuring again.
"Baby is asleep," said Ruth.
The father was so absorbed that even her
gentle tone fretted him, and he spoke out
"Cannot you hold him a minute? It seems
as if I only just get a glimpse of an idea before
46 THE SHEL TERED STRANGER.
some word comes to drive it away. You at
least, Ruth, who can do so little, ought to pre-
Ruth was sitting in the shadow-for what
was daylight or candlelight to her, poor child?
-but Katie saw a great tear roll down her
cheek and glisten upon Charlie's flossy curls.
She glanced at her father, then at the blind
girl, and said,
Ruth has held him a very long time, father,
besides helping me in many ways to-day; she
must be tired. Don't you think the children
had best go to bed, and then you'd have quiet ?"
"What is that you say, dear ?" asked her fa-
ther absently. "'Go to bed'? Of course."
So the little ones decamped.
It's very unperlite for growed-up folks to be
cross, and snap, snap like cross horses cold
mornings, if you move ever so softly," said
Carrie, whose banishment interfered ,with pri-
vate plans for the evening.
"And how about little folks when they are
cross and pouting ?" asked Kate, laying Charlie
quietly in his crib.
Carrie kicked off her boots in dignified silence.
"Young folks must be patient when older
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 47
ones are worried with care. Father is studying
upon an important invention, my dears, and if
you children keep quiet-"
"'Children' yourself, Miss Kate!" interrupted
Carrie with an indignant sniff. "'Cause you
happened to be borned first, and growed quick-
er, you put on airs. You mighter said 'we
children,' 'stead o' 'you.'"
"Well, we children, then," said Katie with
great good-humor. "If we are quiet and give
him a chance to think, he may be blessed with
success, and our reward will be tenfold."
"I'll ask that in my prayer to-night," said the
good Ruth; "then if we do our part it'll come
Think how hard it is to feed and clothe so
many of us. All we have to pay our parents
is love and respect."
These sensible remarks from the leader of
the flock began to subdue the small rebel Carrie,
who, despite the sharp retort a moment before,
thought Katie the handsomest and smartest girl
in the city.
If any one has cause to fret, it is mother;
think of that angel-woman working for us these
bitterly cold days!"
48 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
Carrie's sympathetic sniffs broke in upon the
"I wish I could do something' to help 'em
'long, but I'm only a little girl; can't do nothing'
but eat, an' sleep, an' stick roun' under folkses'
"You are our darling sunbeam when you
are good and happy," replied Katie, kissing
the earnest face.
"I'm sure I couldn't get along without you,"
added Ruth, stopping her toilet to caress her.
Ruth never disrobed in haste, but laid all her
tiny garments aside with due care.
So Carrie dried her eyes on her red petticoat,
much comforted, and in a rush of tender feeling
flew out and kissed her father good-night over
KATIE HARRIS AND HER MOTHER.
K ATIE HARRIS was not beautiful,-those
who noticed only what pleased their ar-
tistic sense passed her by,-but she had an earn-
est, sensible face, redeemed from plainness by
dimples and youth's fresh roses, and those seri-
ous gray eyes could light up and sparkle with
the latent fire of a character that held the power
to endure nobly. But sometimes, when the girl
was quiet, there was an expression of too much
care for one so young.
She heard the wee folks' evening petitions,
tucked them into bed, thus closing up another
day for them, and then went back to the family-
Mr. Harris had turned back the cloth from a
corner of the tea-table, and was bending over
large drawings, whistling softly as he touched
them up at different points. He was an exquisite
draftsman. Katie stood silently behind him,
5 D 49
50 THE SHELTERED STRANGERo
admiring the fine shading and lifelike look of
the machinery. The inventor's face was so full
of enthusiasm that Katie heartily forgave the
slight irritation he had shown. She cleared the
table so dexterously that he was not at all dis-
turbed, stopping only to watch the clock and
the door, or to gaze from the window into the
snowy depths below, where dark figures moved
to and fro.
I wonder where mother is ?" she said at
last; "the storm is increasing, father."
Mr. Harris rose from his drawing with a
nervous start, the glow fading from his face:
Poor Mary! what keeps her so long?"
He paced the floor, pausing to look out
and watch, as if it would hasten her arrival,
quite as anxious as his daughter.
They had often watched thus since the fam-
ily purse had been exhausted and Mrs. Harris
in desperation had taken an agency." What
mental agony it cost her to conquer her shrink-
ing self, and ask strangers to purchase of her,
no one knew, least of all her absorbed husband.
Sometimes Katie found her on her knees moan-
ing and wringing her hands, and would softly
withdraw, her heart bursting with pity and
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 51
longing to lift the burden from her mother.
But Mrs. Harris would come out with shining
face and say,
"After all, the way is not so rough as I
feared. It seems as if God put kindness into
the hearts of the people."
And Katie, looking at the sweet pale face
and ladylike bearing, wondered who could be
unkind to her.
It is terrible to have her so exposed to the
weather," said Mr. Harris at last. My child,
your eyes seem to reproach me; is it so?"
No, father, I have no right to reproach you,"
Katie's lip quivered; "but it seems as if there
might be some different plan devised for our
support, instead of having a frail, delicate wo-
man battling all weathers."
"God knows I did not plan such a life when
I married my little wife," said he. "I am try-
ing my best, and if he smiles upon me, I have
found something that will lift us out of this."
His spirits began to rise as his eyes rested
on the drawings.
"By the way, you need not tell your mother
about the deformed boy down stairs," he said;
"I had better explain matters."
52 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
"She'll think we cannot afford it," Katie
shook her wise little head; "and where can he
Mr. Harris had not thought of that, but he
said with dignity, "A suitable place will prob-
ably be provided. I feel that I did right to take
in the homeless boy, and as to the rest, Provi-
dence will provide."
After this pious remark Mr. Harris drew off
his boots, laid himself back in the rocking-chair,
thus bringing the soles of his feet close to the
stove, and whistled softly, as he did when think-
ing upon favorite subjects.
Katie tidied the room with the gravity of a
woman, shaded the lamp, drew a quaint round
stand opposite her father, and seated herself to
sew. She was very earnest about her work till
it was fairly started, and then busy thought kept
pace with nimble fingers; in fact, it won the race,
for the sewing lagged, and the young girl sighed
when the clock struck again.
A flush of painful feeling came into her face
as she glanced across at her absorbed father,
who in following out an idea that was to en-
rich them in the future let his wife thus bear the
burden of the day. Yet he was a kind, affec-
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 53
tionate husband, and labored hard to perfect his
invention. Practical Katie could not reconcile
these qualities; sometimes, in her impatience at
the daily cross of poverty and deprivation of
all the little dainty fixings in which the feminine
mind delights, and pity for her mother, she mur-
mured bitterly against it. But there was some-
thing in her father's ambitious persistency in the
path he had chosen that filled her at times with
respect; and she then thought a little more pa-
tience on their part would crown his labors with
success. She argued both sides of this knotty
question with herself daily-so eloquently that
she converted herself both ways, and was left
in the same perplexed state of mind as before.
Meanwhile, she was lending an oar in this row-
ing up stream against wind and tide, and had a
nice little plan for helping along more in the
The clock ticked on and on, till another hour
had passed; then Katie spoke:
Father, I am sure something has happened;
perhaps you will go out and find her?"
No answer, and lifting the lamp-shade, she
saw that he was sound asleep.
The satisfied appetite and the warm, quiet room
54 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
had lulled his senses to rest. The inventor of
the great idea that was about to bring out a
hidden force in mechanics to an admiring world
was purring away as contentedly as a pet cat.
Katie was hot with indignation for a moment.
She could not understand this masculine thought-
lessness. He loved her mother, and was strug-
gling to gain wealth and honor for his family,
and could resign himself thus to sleep while the
sleet drove against the window and his wife was
out in it somewhere! While debating the old
question, whether it was selfishness or absorp-
tion in one great idea, her needle broke, and
when she tried another the thread knotted and
snarled like the thoughts that chased themselves
to and fro in her brain.
"Father! father! mother has not come yet."
Still he slept.
Father! father! where can mother be ?"
"Yes, yes; I am coming, dear wife. They
shall not touch you. I'll fight them on horse-
back," he shouted without opening his eyes,
and stretched both limbs, eager to rescue his
wife, uttering a valiant Get up, you lazy beast !"
and pressed his feet hotly against the hotter stove.
Despite her anxiety Katie laughed.
THE SHEL TERED STRANGER. 55
As a natural consequence, Mr. Harris awoke,
and danced for some moments about the room
in a very youthful manner, while smiles and
tears held carnival upon his daughter's face.
I hope my little girl would not play tricks
upon her father?" said he reproachfully.
"You were asleep and dreaming, father; I only
spoke to you about mother."
But, like some good people who declare them-
selves exempt from ludicrous nasal sounds when
asleep, simply because they have not lain awake
to hear, Mr. Harris was sure he had not slept at
I was planning, my child. It is very strange
that I should have placed my feet so near the
stove. In fact, I cannot see- how it was done."
The inventor gazed at the fire, shaking his head
ruefully. "But what worries my little house-
"It's about mother," said Katie, almost crying
with anxiety. "Don't you see how late it is, and
she out ? Something has happened, surely, this
time. It is cruel for her to be exposed so."
Mr. Harris maintained a grave silence, while
poor Katie nervously flitted from window to
56 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
"I see how it is, Katie; you have no faith in
my plans. In your secret heart you blame
me because your mother suffers thus. Ah,
my child, you know nothing of the bitterness
of this poverty and failure to a man's proud
He covered his face with both hands, and Ka-
tie saw the sad spectacle of a man upbraiding him-
self because he had not succeeded. She opened
her lips to reply, but pressed them tightly to-
gether again. The quick motion and the tears
that brimmed over her bright eyes seemed only
to anger her father, and he ordered her to bed.
Of late he was often irritable and unjust to his
children, for which he was sorry when calmer;
but Katie, as the eldest, had not fallen under his
displeasure. She was proud and sensitive. She,
the active, tidy housekeeper, to whose watchful
care a tender mother safely entrusted her chil-
dren-she to be sent to bed like a naughty boy!
Her spirit rose against it, and she hesitated:
"Mother will be wet and chilled when she
comes, father; ought I not to stay up ?"
"I will attend to her;" and she went away,
hearing his restless steps for a time; then the
sound ceased, and she lay listening to the clock,
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 57
counting the minutes and wondering what kept
her mother, till she fell asleep.
She had not slept long before she was awaken-
ed by a deep groan. She rose, and, leaning upon
her elbow, listened in great alarm:
"Mother, have you come home sick ?"
"No, Katie, it is your father; come quick."
The maiden imagined some dire calamity
had befallen her absent- minded parent, and
hastily dressed. She found her father upon
the lounge, bent double, with his hand press-
ed to his left side.
"What can I do for you ?" asked Katie,
fearing from his pallor that something serious
was the matter.
While she stood beside him, racking her
brains for something to ease his pains, she
heard a familiar step on the stairs, and spring-
ing forward opened the door, saying joyfully,
"Have you come at last, dear mother ?"
It was even so. A slight, delicate woman
entered, and kissed the daughter gently. Her
clothes were wet, her face tired and worn, yet
the lady showed traces of early beauty and her
sweet expression still remained.
"How nice it seems to get into this bright
58 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
room!" said she, while the daughter removed
the dripping outer garments.-"Well, Harvey,
how went the day with you ?"
Mr. Harris replied with the most dismal of
groans, which brought his wife to him with an
expression of alarm.
"There! she's gone and forgot herself, of
course," murmured Katie, "and her supper
spoiling in the oven too!"
"Your head is throbbing and hot," said Mrs.
"Ah, but it is better when your gentle fingers
are upon it," said her husband gallantly, punc-
tuating the tender speech with groans.
"Dear, dear Harvey, what is the matter?"
Mary, I believe I have the heart complaint.
The symptoms have been alarming to-night, but
I will be calm for your sake. I am calm," he
said, with sublime devotion.
Katie poked the fire as if for a wager, with
her back to the couple. She was certain the
attack was caused by indigestion, and was quite
vexed that her mother should be thus alarmed
upon her late return. Mrs. Harris did not
seem to feel abused, however, but bustled
around her husband, whose symptoms increas-
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 59
ed. Despite herself, Katie had to run for hot
water for a foot-bath, concoct a mustard-plaster
for his chest, and fill a jug with hot water to
keep his feet warm. After the flurry was over,
and while Mrs. Harris was burying her lord
under a mountain of quilts, Katie put away
the scattered things with great zeal, carrying
on a lively conversation with herself at the
"Just catch me getting married to tend a man
so!" said she vigorously. "Dear me! what self-
sacrificing bodies we woman are !"
Katie had an eloquent speech on "Woman's
Rights" at her tongue's end; only she had
never heard the full extent of the "wrongs of
woman; did not even dream that she ought
to vote, and stand just as good a chance to be
the "President. ob dese United States" as her
baby brother; and when, in after years, she did
hear about all these things, she had a husband
and six children, whom she tended as devoted-
ly as ever her mother tended hers, without a
thought of being "self-sacrificing."
Her mother came back to find the wee house-
keeper pouring out a cup of fragrant tea:
My thoughtful little woman! It is too bad
60 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
for you to sit up so late. I went out of town,
and the storm detained the train."
"Oh, it does not signify about me; look at
yourself, mother. Your poor dear feet are wet,
and see the mud on the skirt of your dress.
Do drink this nice tea while I fix you."
Katie knelt as she spoke and removed the
dripping boots and wet hose.
"How warm your hands are, dear!" mur-
mured the gentle lady, lying back in her chair
with an air of exhaustion that she could not
The young girl's sturdy lip trembled as she
tried to put some of her own vitality into the
"What should we all do without these dear
little trotters ?" Katie hid her emotion under
playfulness. "They never grow weary in trot-
ting about for others through snow and rain."
"Why, why, you are getting quite poetical
over your old mother," said Mrs. Harris; and
her faint sweet smile was like a benediction.
"I am going to take my turn soon," cried
Katie. "There must be something a girl like
me can do to help in the support of the
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 61
"You are a brave helper now, darling," said
her mother; "and I do not wish you to go out
and battle with the world. If your father's
invention succeeds, you must be sent to school.
I trust there are brighter days in store for us.
You are too young to understand about it, my
dear, but your father has planned with his own
brains an invention that ought to place us in
easy circumstances and be of great use in the
Mrs. Harris's eyes shone with enthusiasm.
Katie was ready to worship her, but just then
the inventor spoke from the bed-room-" cover-
ed with" comfortable, not "glory." Alas! how
the sublime and the ridiculous go hand in
"Is there any special reason for sitting up all
night ? If you have no mercy for sick people's
nerves with your whispering and creaking, pray
think of the oil and the coal."
"It don't come out of your pocket," said
Katie, shaking her head in the direction from
which the sound came, vexed to see the light
fade from her mother's lovely face. "How sel-
fish men are!"
"Katie! Katie!" said her mother, in tones that
62 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
brought the girl to her senses at once. "Your
father must not be kept awake thus, and it is
better for us both to go rest. It hurts me to
have you judge your father so, my child; he is
trying nobly to succeed. Besides that, he is a
Christian, Katie, and God will bless his efforts.
Some day we shall all look back upon this sea-
son of trial and see a hundred ways in which
we could have been happier and better. Some
day you will be proud of your father, child, for
he is not an ordinary man by any means."
"Talk till daylight, do !" observed this extra-
Mrs. Harris came down from Hope's Delec-
table Mountain, thrust her feet into the inven-
tor's slippers-which he kept under the stove
for perpetual warmth-kissed her daughter
good-night, and scuffled hastily into the bed-
MR. HARRIS'S DIPLOMACY.
"f THOPE you are not going to be sick, Har-
vey; what should we do then ?" sighed the
gentle wife, brushing out her soft hair and cov-
ering it with a cap that seemed to transform her
into a Quakeress. Mr. Harris found it nice to
be appreciated, and replied with much feeling,
"I don't mean to have you work so hard,
Mary; but I am sure I have come upon the
right article at last. This idea I am about to
bring out will give me a place among the most
noted inventors. I've been thinking about it all
day, studying and figuring upon it, and going
over the plans, and I cannot see a flaw in them.
Oh, Mary, Mary, how happy we shall be if
"My dear, I shall thank the blessed Father
all the days of my life. It will be such a com-
fort to give the children advantages of education;
64 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
but even without wealth we are rich in our pre-
"Yes, they are blessings," responded her
husband. "I am sorry that I get so irritated
with them at times, but this long waiting for my
invention tells on my temper. The fact is, I
am getting to be a brute, Mary."
I will not have you slander my best friend,"
said the wife demurely.
"If the good time does come, Mary, you
shall have your full share in my good fortune.
I shall be like a boy again in my joy."
"Or like a liberated prisoner," said his wife.
"How proud you will be to look the world in
the face again, as an honest man free from debt!
I fancy there are certain other people that will
rejoice with us when our ship comes in," she
added, with a droll little smile.
The gentle lady indulged herself in a quiet
laugh, but soon grew sober again.
Yes, Harvey, I feel sure the Lord has bless-
ed your efforts," continued Mrs. Harris, opening
the Bible. "See, here I have opened upon one
of our Father's most precious assurances: 'I
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 65
have been young, and now am old; yet have I
not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed
begging bread.' Through our trials we have
tried to keep near the compassionate Saviour,
and it seems often as if an invisible presence
upheld my faltering steps."
My darling, you are an angel; of course
your companions are about you," said her hus-
band, looking upon her spirituelle countenance
with tender reverence. "I wonder you ever
married such a-"
"Hush, please," answered she; I cannot have
you talk so. We were made to help each other;
and now, while we are so happy in the prospect
of release from poverty, let us remember that
money does not always bring happiness. Only
a holy life is crowned with the richest blessings,
and if our dear children would see this, I should
be happy as we are. If the heart. is right and
full of love for all that is good, outward pov-
erty is nothing. Oh, my precious husband, let
us make this our daily prayer."
Her tone and manner seemed inspired. Mr.
Harris responded with deep feeling, and was
silent while she extinguished the lamp; and she
was just dropping to sleep when he spoke:
66 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
"Do you hear the wind shriek, Mary? I am
thankful you are out of the storm, and pray
that you may never again toil in the wind and
Mr. Harris was thinking uneasily of one who
had been rescued that night from the elements-
little Phil; how should he tell her of this added
"We have a roof to shelter us, Harvey; I
will not complain when I think of that. In
truth, it seems as if the elements were waging
war upon the earth. Listen it sounds as if all
the artillery of the air was beating upon the
house. Ah, it is a bitter, bitter night," added
the lady, listening a moment.
"I rejoice that none of our children are out
in it," said Mr. Harris fervently.
Yes, God is merciful to our little ones. That
reminds me that Charlie may be uncovered; the
darling kicks so in his sleep."
The mother pattered off to cover her treas-
"For the life of me, I do not know how to
tell her about the lad down stairs," thought
her husband. "She's a blessed woman, and
shows uncommon good sense in having so
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 67
much confidence in my judgment; but I do
not know how she'll take my adopting this
child without word or warning. It is ticklish
business, and must be conducted with great
tact and skill."
Mrs. Harris now returned, all aglow from
peeping at her darlings.
"I am rich when I think of my children,"
she said. "If they only grow up wise and
good, we shall forget this battle with poverty,
and wonder that we did not take more com-
fort and joy in them as we toiled."
"Very true, Mary," said Mr. Harris as an
introduction to the story he must tell, "and
we have not been a bit the poorer for
"I am glad to hear you say that, Harvey."
Mr. Harris smiled in the darkness at the
way his wife was walking into the trap he had
set for her innocent feet. He studied a moment
before making a move that should bring the
waif upon the scene.
"The number of homeless children this sea-
son is appalling, Mary. Donny Maguire was
telling me that this very night, as he was com-
ing home, he saw a little boy sleeping in the
68 THE SHEL TERED STRANGER.
storm upon a doorstep. His hands were clasp-
ed in such mute agony he couldn't describe the
scene without tears."
Poor dear!" cried Mrs. Harris, all alive
with sympathy. "'Describe the scene without
tears,' indeed! I shouldn't think he could, the
"I assure you it was touching to see the great
burly fellow so affected," continued Mr. Harris,
with an odd cough.
"'Touching'!" repeated the lady, with un-
wonted sharpness. "It's more than touching
to fancy that poor boy freezing to death. Why
didn't that cruel man take him up and bring
him in? I hope you sent him back directly."
Well, no, I didn't," said Mr. Harris faintly.
"Harvey Harris! I wouldn't have believed
it of you," in a voice full of reproach. How
can you lie there so warm, and know that
one of Christ's little ones is perishing outside
the house? It makes me shudder to think of
it. Why, it is about as wicked as murder."
Mr. Harris let her tender heart brood over
this thought a moment.
Harvey, I think you ought to go right out
after the child."
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 69
"What, me, your sick husband? Would
you drive me out on such a wild-goose chase
this terrible night, Polly?"
You would be blessed in it, I verily believe,"
said she decidedly; "but, what is better, I'll
rouse that selfish Donny and go with him my-
"Don't be so hasty, Mary; your rashness
takes my breath away. I haven't half told the
story. Donny did bring in the child, but his
mistress was very angry with him. What could
the poor fellow do?"
"A woman turned the homeless boy away!"
said Mrs. Harris mournfully, jumping at con-
clusions. "I blush for my sex this night, Har-
vey. And you, the father of four children
who may yet be thrown upon the world,-did
you stand by and see this cold-blooded deed
Her increasing fervor so pleased her hus-
band that he could scarcely reply without
Be proud of your husband, Mary," said this
diplomatist in smothered tones; "I looked upon
the subject just as you do, so I have invited
-in fact, I intimated to the effect that-"
70 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
"Well, dear ?"
He might make himself at home with our
children for the present."
Mrs. Harris gasped as if her gentle head had
been struck by ice-water:
"Another child, Harvey?"
"Yes, my dear," said her husband, bland
and relieved; "would you have me leave him
to perish ? A moment ago you begged me to
expose myself to the storm to search him out,
saying I 'would be blessed in it.' I know that
just now we can ill afford such charity, but
the time will come when we shall have some-
thing for the poor. It shall be as you say, how-
ever, my dear. The child would never upbraid
us if we sent him away; he says he don't expect
people to let him warm himself by their fires,
poor thing! I hoped from your remarks that my
course would be pleasing to you."
"I trust I may be forgiven if I am getting
hard with all this poverty," said Mrs. Harris.
"The child shall stay; you did right, Har-
LITTLE PHIL CARED FOR.
MISS MARBLE'S interest in Phil and his
past life died away when Mr. Harris
left. As for Phil, he was glued to a cricket in
the corner with fear, making spasmodic efforts
to escape her unfriendly eyes. He stared at the
coals in the grate till he was as dazzled as an
owl in the sunlight.
"For pity's sake, don't hitch about so," said
Miss Marble at last. I hope you are not afflict-
ted with St. Vitus's dance; it would be very try-
ing for that poor family."
I do not know what you mean," stammered
Phil. "I am lame, and so I suppose I do things
different from other boys."
"Crooked people are not obliged to be stu-
pid," said Miss Marble, with a laugh that was as
cutting as her remark. "St. Vitus's dance is a
72 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
"Oh!" said Phil as she paused as if expecting
Did you ever have it ? Yes or no?"
"I guess not," said Phil, "but I've had some
pretty hard things," putting his hand suddenly
upon his hip.
Donny Maguire opened the door upon them
just then, and cut short Phil's torments by say-
ing, in his rich brogue,
"Will yez kindly sthep this way, Miss Mar-
ble ? There's a mimber iv the charitable society
forninst the door desperate to see yez."
Phil wanted to spring up and cling to the kind
Irishman, but dared not, fearing it would get him
into trouble with his mistress. He had a fine
chance to see his preserver in the broad light.
Divested of the huge fur coat, Donny was quite
a gentleman. His features were thoroughly
Irish; his clear blue eye held an indescribable
mixture of kindness and deferential impudence;
and his slightly bald forehead and dignified
bearing gave him a presence that was better than
a recommendation among strangers. No won-
der that he was his mistress's right-hand man
and the steward of her household. His manner
before his superiors was quiet, but, as we have
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 73
seen, there lay beneath it native wit as hard to
describe as for a painter to prison upon canvas
the sparkle of the merry spring that gushes from
the hidden fountain.
Donny Maguire followed Miss Marble from
the room, bestowing a glance full of sympathy
and encouragement upon the excited boy. The
moment they had gone Phil threw himself upon
the carpet and gave vent to the flood of sorrow
that was consuming him. He cried till he was
exhausted and the coals in the grate were gray
with ashes. The elfish winter wind rollicked
down the chimney unchided, herald of the Ice
King, whose breath was already in the room.
Phil was so tired that he did not care for the
chill, although the young wanderer could recall
when it would have sent him fretting to his mo-
ther. Countless times had he laid his weary
head upon her warm bosom and been lulled to
rest by her cradle-song, In those days he
thought himself tired, fancied himself abused
if a toy broke or the kitten's tiny claw scratched
his skin. Now he wondered at the foolish child
of those days. Why, he lived in Paradise then,
compared with the homeless present. His
young mind measured past sorrows by what he
74 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
had suffered, and they seemed too paltry to
have ruffled the calm of his baby-life under his
mother's brooding wing. The future was un-
certain. Donny Maguire seemed his only pro-
tector, and even to his power there was a limit.
He thought it doubtful if Mr. Harris would
ever think of him again, for the child's obser-
vant eyes had read the inventor's absorbed, far-
away look at certain points in the conversation.
As to the bustling Miss Katie, he knew she did
not welcome the news with much eagerness.
Poor, lonely cripple! it seemed then as if the
angel of pity came near and poured a healing
balm upon his sorrow, for he grew calmer. He
remembered the fragment of prayer he had re-
peated in the snow, and how God had answered
it in sending to him Donny. He looked up,
clasped his hands, and said, "Deliver us from
evil." A sudden weariness quite overcame him,
and he fell asleep.
The house was silent now, and the mother-
less child slept on in the chill, apparently for-
gotten. They were awake in the servants'
quarter, however, holding an indignation-meet-
ing, themselves audience and orators. The
speeches were eloquent, and the house agreed
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 75
upon everything, for a wonder. After a time
an immense pair of blue yarn stockings trav-
ersed the entries; above them towered the
sturdy figure of our friend Donny. He was
as grave and calm as if about to repeat the
Creed, and the half-hidden rays of a lantern
made him appear as majestic as the pope.
"It's a very uncivil perceding, an' it wouldn't
be done, only the child has no friends he said
as he entered the room where Phil slept.
When he saw the forlorn bundle upon the
floor, he added earnestly, It's absolutely shock-
ing to a gintleman's narves! Och, but that
woman has no more bowels iv compashin than
a haythen, wid all her charitable societies.
They won't wipe off the smut iv this from
The little stranger murmured his mother's
name and nestled closer to the carpet.
"Dear heart, it's the blessed drames it has!"
The giant stockings were firmly planted on the
floor, but the sleeve above them was rapidly
vibrating between the two moist eyes, while
their owner said, in a tender, husky voice, Me
poor lad, wake up. It's starved yez'll be in
this lonesome spot. Here's a bit iv shupper
76 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
I've brought yez." And, as if supper was
the panacea of all woes, Donny held a gene-
rous doughnut under Phil's nose: "Ate that,
me young find, an' the mate iv it, an' yez'll
be a new man."
Phil half opened his eyes; wondered what
that big man was saying, being too sleepy to
distinguish the words or recognize his friend;
then the tired lids drooped again.
"Indade, but it seems as if it must always
be mesilf as has to rescue yez from slape,"
cried Donny, scarcely knowing what to do.
"We'll have yez sick on our hands yet.. Coom,
wake up, me lad."
Phil seemed still dreaming of his mother,
for he turned uneasily upon his side, murmur-
ing, "No, she wasn't sick long."
"An' you won't be, nayther." Donny ges-
ticulated with the doughnut in his despair.
"You'll soon find yersilf wid a morbid col-
lecshin in the top iv yer head; thin it'll descend
to yer throat, perjucing a hackin' an' a hemmin'.
From thince," Donny addressed an imaginary
audience, "it'll thravil downward, perjucing a
terrific numbness in yer limbs, an' yez'll have
a bad falling in yer congestive organs, which
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 77
can't be indemnified till yez finds yersilf in an
entirely unconscientious state."
Warmed by this burst of eloquence, Don-
ny's manner was still more tender toward the
Och, darlint! slape in pace. It's auld Don
will shoulder yez an' pit yez in his own bed."
A sound at the door startled Donny from
his dignity. Despite his intelligence on many
points, he had all the superstitious fears of his
race. As he listened to a light footfall and
rustle along the dim hall, he muttered,
"If mesilf wor wise, I'd gone before. Likely
it's some friend from the nex' world coom to
visit the poor lad. Och, an' didn't he call up
his mother, sure!"
Donny rushed hither and thither, forgetting
at first that there was no other door from which
he could escape.
"Sure, it's hersilf turning the knob. Saints
o' mercy! she'll likely mistake me for some
enemy iv her orphin. Oh, what have I done,
that I should be thrated so ?"
Our fiery orator uttered a groan of despair,
and as a last resort hid himself in the corner,
where the opening door would shield him.
78 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
"Indade, it's mesilf hopes her eyesight wor
gone when she left this cowld world, poor lady,"
said Donny, still fancying the child's mother was
approaching in spirit form. Och, I'm gone en-
tirely, for they say they hear a pusson's thought
aven." Then, as the door opened, he added,
" It's mesilf has the best wishes for yer eye-
sight, now an' for iver. Amen."
The ghost proved to be Mrs. Harris in her
husband's substantial slippers and with a heavy
shawl over her shoulders. Donny recovered
directly, and emerged from his hiding-place
just as the lady was stooping over the child.
It is a poor bed for the little one, that,"
She turned, and Donny saw that she had
been weeping, and was still much agitated, but
her face shone with goodness. She smiled as
she saw the food that he still held, and Donny
hid his stockings behind the rocking-chair in
"It's on account iv the child, mum. It's
the unhealthy place for babies here, but him-
self is that heavy with slape that he refuses to
"Poor lamb! I've made him a place up
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 79
stairs;-will you kindly carry him up, Mr.
Donny would have done anything to please
Mrs. Harris. She always "had a lady's bow
for" him, and prefixed his name with the
"Mister" that had a much sweeter sotnd
than "old Don" and other nicknames that
made the dignified man's blood boil. So the
big stockings marched up two flights with the
Room was not plenty on the upper floor-
the wee Harrises occupied every bed-so for
this night little Phil had a couch extemporized
upon the lounge, and four chairs to keep him
on it when put there. Donny laid him down,
raising a thousand squeaks from the flooring in
his gigantic efforts to tread on tiptoe and not
wake the little community that slept about him,
unconscious that another had been added to
their number. Poor Mrs. Harris fully under-
stood the responsibility they had assumed, but
she welcomed the stranger nevertheless, leav-
ing a gentle kiss upon his forehead for the
sake of the unknown mother who had loved
him. Hers was the sacred mother-heart whose
deep current of love could refresh other off-
80 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
spring besides her own. The lovely, innocent
expression of the sleeping boy had called forth
a tenderness that would have been only pity
had his face been marred by street-life and "evil
"He is no common child; there is a sad
history back of this," she said as she gazed
long upon his face. God grant none of mine
may be bereft like this!" She took Charlie
into her own bed to ease the forebodings that
the wanderer had awakened, weeping and pray-
ing softly in the silent room, with her lips upon
the fair head of her darling. She felt that she
could not think of the uncertainties of their
future without divine comfort. She was strength-
ened by that prayer. She had at first been trou-
bled lest this added responsibility should bring
too heavy a burden, but the cloud had passed
away now, and a calm confidence in God filled
her soul. She remembered the words of the
Psalmist: "Blessed is he that considereth the
poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of
"I will do my duty to-day," she said, "and
God will care for to-morrow."
And nobody in that household knew that
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 81
this closed the last chapter in the life of Phil
"Oh, say, it's perfectly splendid," cried Car-
rie Harris-" makes you feel awful nice, Phil
Richmond. You'd better believe my father
knows how to make medicine."
Along with other plans that his fertile brain
originated, Mr. Harris dabbled in medicines,
seeming to find a pleasant excitement in mixing
and testing nauseous compounds and in blindfold-
ing inquisitive apothecaries. Sometimes he made
ludicrous mistakes, and kept his wife in constant
terror lest his doses should poison himself or
his family. He was daily more absorbed and
absent-minded, so fast did the passion for inven-
tion grow upon him. He was like one walking
on enchanted ground, exhilarated and lured on
by the discovery of beautiful hidden paths. So
the days passed, and nothing practical had been
wrought by the beautiful drawings which Katie
had admired, and still the patient wife bravely
bore the burden of maintaining the family.
I must be sure that my plans are correct be-
fore I send them for patents," said he when she
gently hinted that they might be in operation.
82 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
Katie was quite out of patience with the de-
lay, and fretted her young spirit more than was
necessary; but at last the drawings and descrip-
tions went to Washington, and it seemed as if
the family ship was fairly launched. If nobody
else had got the start of him in the new inven-
tion, Mr Harris would have a patent granted
him, and be safe in showing business-men the
Meanwhile, he kept the rooms flavored like
a chemist's laboratory with his vile messes,
which were to cure all the ills to which mortal
flesh is heir, testing the virtues of each upon
the family. Mrs. Harris lifted a cup of tea to
her lips to find it tainted with the "elixir;"
Charlie frequently made funny wry faces over
his milk, and protested eloquently in his queer
baby-dialect; soups, gravies, water, and even the
bread, shared the fearful epidemic.
"It is an ill wind that blows no one good;"
and even this was hailed by the vivacious Carrie
as a chance for fun. She took large doses to
encourage the timid, just to shout at their dis-
Now, if Phil Richmond had a bit of spunk,
I presume he'd take some too."
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 83
"I think I don't need it," said Phil-happy
Phil now, in his new home-looking up from
the book that he was fairly devouring. Carrie's
face could not be seen, for she was pacing the
floor with her head in a big basket, one of the
experiments that the restless child was always
Do.you wish to be lame all your life ?" que-
ried Carrie; "because there isn't any need of it
if you'll take a lot of my father's medicine."
Phil winced under her lively words, and
caught at his hip as if it pained him.
"Hurts, I suppose, awfully," said Carrie, peer-
ing out from under the basket. "Why don't
you holler when it hurts? That's the way I
always do. Then the folks would say, 'How
that poor boy does suffer!'"
How you talk, Carrie!" said blind Ruth from
the carpet, where she was building a house for
Baby, her fingers raising it to such fair propor-
tions that one would scarcely believe that eyes
had not assisted the architect. "Words hurt
as badly as pain, sometimes, dear."
"I guess father's medicine could cure that
too," said Carrie meditatively, walking back-
ward, her head still under cover.
84 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
"Be careful," said Ruth, putting out her hand
instinctively, but the child's sturdy heels hit the
stately structure, and it toppled over like a maid-
en's air-castle. Baby's shout rang out; he seem-
ed to enjoy the ruins as much as any old trav-
"Clean shave! Bet you couldn't do that so
well, Phil Richmond," cried Carrie, saving her-
self from a fall by-treading on Ruth's slender,
nerveful fingers, and jostling Katie, who was
"There! you've made a blot on my copy,"
lamented Katie, "and upset the ink. Oh, Car-
rie, Carrie, what a trial you-"
"She didn't mean it," interposed Ruth, ig-
noring delicate aching fingers that still bore the
impress of boot-heels, for the sake of being
peace-maker; and Katie's trim head was bent
again over a fresh page, the hasty speech for
"That was nothing to fuss about," said Car-
rie. "Besides, Miss Prim Katie, it amused your
brother Charlie; folks must do something for
other folks in this world. That's the reason we
adopted Phil Richmond, and treat him just like
our son.-My dear boy, I suppose if you'd stay-
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 85
ed a baby I'd 'mused you and rocked you to
sleep the same as Charlie."
Carrie's air was that of tender patronage, and
so absurd that even sensitive Phil joined in the
The little witch vanished after that, and the
room was peaceful for a few moments; then
came a knock, the door opened, and she ap-
peared in an old dress of her mother's, her
round face framed by a bonnet. She bowed
herself in most affectedly, holding the front
breadth of her dress daintily between a thumb
"How do you find yourselves to-day, my
dears ?" in a voice that sounded strikingly like
Miss Marble's. "I thought I'd like to see
your father on business, you sweet little cher-
Katie and Phil laughed, but Ruth said, "Do
you think it nice to mimic others, Carrie ? Miss
Marble can't help her voice."
I suppose I didn't say anything 'bout Miss
Marble," said Carrie with an appearance of
indignation. "It's you, Ruth Harris, that's
talking about her this very minute. I can't
help your thinks.-My dears," resumed she,
86 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
studying attitudes before the glass, "is your
mother out on her agency again to-day? I
felt a sick of fitness-no, fit of fickness; no,
sickness-coming on, and I called-took the
liberty to call on your dear, good pa-for some
of his paralyzing liniament. I wouldn't ask
to borrow only the leastest mite of it."
Carrie was suddenly interrupted by another
voice, the voice of the real Miss Marble, at
the door, inquiring,
"My dears, is your mamma in?"
The children were dumb at this unexpected
appearance; only Ruth had presence of mind
enough to answer softly,
"She is out now, Miss Marble."
"I hoped to see her, as my calls have been
so unfortunate lately. I thought to-day I should
surely catch the truant. Is your pa about, my
dears ? I must take the liberty to ask him again
for some of that valuable paralytic liniment."
Carrie was so pleased to have her farce thus
confirmed that she doubled up till the big bon-
net fairly touched her knees.
Oh dear! oh dear me! Supposing, now,
if she should go and speak to me, I hope I
shouldn't smile out loud into her face."
THE SHELTERED STRA ANGER. 87
"Carrie has been masquerading," said Katie
as Miss Marble's sharp eyes rested upon the
convulsed heap of old clothes "smiling" to
itself in the chair. "Pa" being absent, the
lady soon retired, discomfited at something in-
tangible in the air of the room. Scheming, plot-
ting people generally avoid children as they
would angels of light. Although the wee
Harrises were general favorites in the house,
the mistress of the mansion gave them a wide
MIss MARBLE'S LECTURE.
<'M thankful those giggling youngsters
Don't call me mother," said Miss Marble,
hastily closing the door upon the children. "If
I'd taken Phebe with me, I don't doubt they'd
made Her uneasy too; and she in mourning for
Into her ears Miss Marble poured many spec-
ulations about the Harris family. For the up-
per tenement had long held a mystery of which
her eager hand had never been able to lift the
veil. This busy woman managed her own af-
fairs, not slighting those of her neighbors, and
had "a finger in the pie of several local char-
itable societies of very uncertain object and aim.
She was especially prominent in those that pre-
sented their claims most loudly to the public
without accomplishing any practical result. It
seemed a pity that her untiring energy and ex-
ecutive capacity should be so misdirected, and
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 89
also connected with a strange greed to know
intimately the affairs of others; for when her
inquiries were once started in that direction, her
zealous research might have distinguished her
in any noble pursuit.
"What do you suppose Mr. Harris does for
a living, Phebe ?" she often asked; for the in-
ventor was at home with so many occupations,
and so zealous for improvements on each, that
"for the life of me," she used to say, I can't
tell which he favors most, Phebe."
And the widow, turning a ghostly ring on
her sallow fore finger, would answer,
"I presume likely. I never used to know
which poor Green favored most, Sister Tilda
or me, till he sent me a poem, and the eleventh
verse ended with these sweet, pretty lines-
'If for you I had to die,
Sentenced by court-martial,
I would utter still this cry,
"I'm to Phebe only partial." "
"Fudge!" snapped Miss Marble, showing sad
lack of taste for poetry or sentiment. "The
man must have been more than 'partial' to Tilda
if he was 'only partial' to you."
90 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
"I presume likely," began Mrs. Green, so
flustered at her friend's logic that she unfortu-
nately repeated her favorite formula. She hastily
added, however, "Oh no, my love; it was me
he was 'only partial' to, for he said, 'I am to
Phebe only partial.' I never shall rest until I
see that charming poem in print."
When Mr. Harris fixed the furnace so oblig-
ingly,. Miss Marble told Phebe that "perhaps
he'd been a stove-man, for all he was so genteel-
"I presume likely," said the echo; adding,
"Folks used to say that poor Green always
looked as if he'd been kept in an upper
Mr. Harris placed a ventilator of his own
contriving over the door. "He's surely been
a carpenter, Phebe-a horrid poor one too,"
she said when she had to pay twice as much
as the cost of a good carpenter to undo the
inventor's work. He daily appeared with sus-
picious bottles from the chemist's. Mrs. Green,
catching her friend's spirit, originated the most
startling theory of all:
"My love, can that man drink?"
"Of course he can; the rest of us do," said
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 91
Miss Marble with tart emphasis. "But if you
mean drink liquor, I shouldn't be surprised,
he's so mysterious about his doings."
The family of the supposed inebriate were
much compassionate, until Miss Marble found
that the bottles contained only medicinal ex-
tracts. She then hurled back Mrs. Green's
unlucky thought with an air of reproach:
"'What possessed you, Phebe? The man's
a physician of course-at least he may know
enough to doctor gratis for me."
"I presume likely, my love."
But of late the inventor had been absorbed,
even forgetful of the common courtesies of life.
No more chats with his landlady when passing
her door or upon the 'stairs, prolonged when
meals were waiting and the small housekeepers
above were hungry and impatient. Mr. Harris
was rarely seen, and then he was hurried and
absent-minded. His manner suggested un-
fathomed mystery to our inquisitive spinster.
She was pondering this, and her lack of
success in investigating it, as she descended
the stairs after her call upon the children. She
was sure there was mischief in Carrie's eyes,
even if they were hidden in the big bonnet.
92 THE SHELTERED STRANGER.
She entered her sitting-room. Here Phil had
stood trembling before her keen eyes on the
night that he was rescued from the streets. Mrs.
Green was here now engaged in worsted-work,
and near by, writing at a desk, sat Letitia the
scribe." .She was poorly clad, and the meagre
outlines of her face suggested scanty food also.
That life had been a long working-day with
this small pen-woman was evident at the first
glance. And she was as much a mystery to
the little folks up stairs as their affairs were to
Miss Marble. This was no fault of the latter,
who often told them and everybody else
"My dears, she was an orphan, educated,
clothed, and fed by the Society for Promoting
the Welfare of Orphans-or the S. P. W. 0.;
for short-of which I am an officer. Being
quite worn with the care of this large house,
the business of the church (in which the men
seem to have no interest), neighborhood duties,
and my five other charitable societies, Letitia
was granted me as a scribe. If found worthy,
she will hold her office perpetually."
The scribe herself never made any additions
to this oft-told tale, but worked away with a
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 93
long-suffering patience pitiful in one so young.
In person she was not attractive, her fingers
being generally ink-stained and her hair tum-
bled; the latter was kept cropped, prison-fashion,
by Miss Marble, "to save time." By the same
authority she wore Miss Marble's cast-off sum-
mer dresses the following winter, and her soiled
winter garments in the summer. Mrs. Green was
always being startled by the apparition of Miss
Marble's clothes walking about with the small
scribe underneath; Miss Marble's dressing-gown
mounted on steps at the window, while the scribe's
puny fingers scrubbed the glass; Miss Marble's
gray alpaca, old cloak, and bonnet out on an
errand with the pale, quiet, old-young face in-
side; for the scribe was always busy, either
"personally," which meant for Miss Marble,
or on "society business," which also meant
These clothes reminded the widow of "poor
Green, who gave an old coat to his pastor;"
and it did her "heart good to see how much
wear the man took out of it; and after you'd
thought it was quite gone, my love, the wife
sat up till midnight and made it over for her
eldest boy. I never saw that coat but it
94 THE SHEL TERED STRANGER.
seemed a living monument to poor Green's
Miss Marble went directly to the scribe. She
made it a point to pounce upon her every few
moments. The effect of this upon the copyist
was much like the application of the goad-stick
to an ox.
"Letitia, have you copied that document ?"
The scribe plodded away without speaking,
as if she could not spare a moment for reply.
"If it was anything personal, I shouldn't be
be so particular, but when the S. P. W. O. is
waiting, the parent that nurtured you, child, we
must do our best. If you can get it done with-
out hurrying, child, do."
The scribe neither turned nor spoke, but kept
her eye on the paper and her thoughts on the
goal, many weary pages away. This was all the
answer her employer wished; she decidedly pre-
ferred actions to words in this case.
My worst enemy cannot say I am hard on
the girl," turning, serene in her own righteous-
ness, to the widow. "I have been up stairs,
Phebe; the children's mother wasn't there, of
course, and they were cutting up pretty capers."
THE SHELTERED STRANGER. 95
"Dear me! I presume likely," ceasing her
fancy-work; what were they doing ?"
Don't ask me," answered Miss Marble, as
if she could unfold unutterable things. "I
hope I am not hasty in saying that nothing but
stern duty can force me to call upon that family
"I fear they'll think it strange, my dear,"
said Phebe, who fancied her friend's comings
and goings were noted by every one.
"Let them think," replied Miss Marble, hero-
ically. "My actions are not governed by the
opinions of my fellow -creatures. I felt it a
sacred duty to know what passed under this
roof. Previous to this I have known the name,
age, occupation, principles, and general habits
of every person in this great house. I have
kept the account faithfully, despite church and
neighborhood duties and six charitable soci-
eties on my hands.-Letitia, bring me 'My
This wholesale demand did not appear to
startle the scribe, who left the room without
delay. Miss Marble then pounced upon her
desk, scattering the papers hither and thither
in a zealous examination. She begged Mrs.
96 THE SHEL TERED STRANGER.
Green to keep guard at the door meanwhile,
and give prompt notice of Letitia's approach.
"I shouldn't feel justified if I neglected this
daily overlooking," said the virtuous Miss
Marble. "If left to her own devices, there's
no knowing what might occur."
"My love, she's coming," cried the watch-
woman just as Miss Marble found a scrap of
paper that looked contraband.
It proved to be only Ruth, groping her way
through the hall; so she produced the bit from
its hiding-place in her pocket, and read, with
"Thou art Thee Angle iv mi Dezir,
From your Faith Fool Donny Maguire."
"Why, that reminds me of poor Green's
poems," said the simple widow, affected to
tears. "I well remember No. 12, beginning-
'Sweetest angel of my life,
How I wish you were my wife!'
I shall never rest until I see that in print."
"Horrors! how soft!" said her practical
friend, tossing Donny's effusion into the waste-
basket. Phebe was wondering whether the re-