“Mr. Evringham has not said that, I am sure,” she returned.
“No, and he never would; but that shouldn’t prevent my doing right. You can take care of him and his house now, and I wanted to tell you that I see that, plainly, and am willing to go when you all come back. I shall have plenty of time this summer to turn around and make my plans. There’s plenty of work in this world for willing hands to do, and I’m a long way off from being worn out yet.”
“I’m so glad you spoke about this before we left,” replied Mrs. Evringham, smiling on the brave woman. “Father has said nothing to me about it, and I am certain he would as soon dispense with one of the supports of the house as with you. We all want to be busy at something, and I have a glimmering idea of what my work is to be; and I think it is not housekeeping. I should be glad to have our coming disturb father’s habits as little as possible, and certainly neither you or I should be the first to speak of any change.”
Mrs. Forbes bit her lip. “Well,” she returned, “you see I knew it would come hard on him to ask me to go, and I wanted you both to know that I’d see it reasonably.”
“It was good of you,” said Julia; “and that is all we ever need to be sure of—just that we are willing to be led, and then, while we look to God, everything will come right.” The housekeeper drank in the sweet expression of the speaker’s eyes, and smiled, a bit unsteadily. “Of course I’d rather stay,” she replied. “Transplanting folks is as hard and risky as trees. You can’t ever be sure they’ll flourish in the new ground; but I want to do right. I’ve been reading some in Zeke’s book, ‘Science and Health,’ and there was one sentence just got hold of me: ’Self-love is more opaque than a solid body. In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error—self-will, self-justification, and self-love!’ Jewel’s helped me to dissolve enough so I could face handing over the keys of this house to her mother. I’m not saying I could have offered them to everybody.”
[Footnote 1: S. and H., page 242.]
Mrs. Evringham smiled. “Thank you. I hope it isn’t your duty to give them, nor mine to take them. We’ll leave all that to father. My idea is that he would send us all back to Chicago rather than give you up—his right hand.”
Mrs. Forbes’s face relaxed, and she breathed more freely than for many days. As she took her way out to the barn to report this conversation to Zeke, her state of mind agreed with that of her employer when he declared his pleasure that Julia had married into the family.
A long stretch of white, fine sandy beach, packed hard; an orderly procession of waves, each one breaking in seething, snowy foam that ran or crept after a child’s bare feet as she skipped back and forth, playing with them; that was Long Island to Jewel.