But the boy continued to sob appealingly, and Katrine, who had that real intelligence which no sooner sees a desired end than it finds a way to accomplish it, put her sorrow aside for practical thinking.
She reviewed her possessions rapidly, remembering, with a throb of pain, some carved gold beads she had worn when “she found herself,” at the age of three. They had always seemed part of her, and, though no one had told her, she knew they had belonged to her dead mother, “who went away.” But she felt little hesitation in giving them, if some one were to be helped by the sacrifice.
“Wait, Barney,” she cried, “here, where Nora can’t see you! I’ll be back in a moment! They’re just some old beads,” she said, apologetically, with a splendid dissimulation, as she gave them to the boy. “But old Mrs. Quinby, at Marlton, tried to buy them of Nora once when they were being mended. Offer them for sale now. And, Barney,” she went on, “if you could reconcile it to your conscience to keep it from your mother that I’ve given them to you; if you could with no lying, and yet without telling the truth—” She hesitated.
“Ye needn’t worry, Miss Katrine,” he answered, drying his eyes on his sleeve. “It’s been betwixt and between the truth with her all my life. But if the time ever comes when I can serve ye—” He choked. “Ah!” he cried, “words are poor things! But ye’ll see!” And with this he was gone at a breakneck run down the Swamp Hollow toward the Marlton road.
And the strangeness is that Katrine’s hidden gift of old beads to a half-grown Irish boy, in the woods of North Carolina, should wreck a Metropolitan “first night,” shake the money-market of two continents, and change the destinies of many lives.
THE REAL FRANCIS RAVENEL
On the afternoon of the day upon which Frank said good-bye to Katrine he took the evening train North. It was his intention to see Ravenel no more for a long time, certainly not while the Dulanys remained. He was afraid of himself, for there came to him at every thought of the affair a glow of admiration at the words Katrine had thrown back at him:
"It could never have been like that. I should have died first."
He had given her up, but the fight was not finished, and the struggle went on constantly. In the silences of the night it was upon him again, gripping him with a pain around the heart. The most unexpected happenings would bring remembrances of her. The appealing gaze of an Irish newsboy, or a hand-organ grinding out the “Ah! che la morte,” which brought back the half-lighted piano and Katrine’s singing in the twilight; the dreariest; most sordid details of existence reminded him, who needed no reminding, of the time that he himself had decreed should be no more.
For three days he endured Bar Harbor before he fled to the Canadian woods with no companion save a guide. He gave his address to none save his mother, and for six weeks tramped until his body ached for rest; rowed the sombre lakes for exhaustion and peace of mind, cursing the fact that he was a Ravenel, and knowing full well that his conduct was both foolish and illogical.