THE APPLE WOMAN’S STORY
Jewel told her grandfather all about it that day while they were having their late afternoon ride.
“And so the little girl got well,” he commented.
“Yes, and could run and play and have the most fun!” returned Jewel joyously.
“And aunt Hazel made it up with her nephew.”
“Yes. Why don’t people know that all they have to do is to put on more love to one another? Just supposing, grandpa, that you hadn’t loved me so much when I first came.”
“H’m. It is fortunate that I was such an affectionate old fellow!”
“Mother says we all have to tend the flower and carry it to the King before we’re really happy. Do you know it made us both think of the same thing when at last the man did it.”
“What was that?”
’My hope I cannot measure,
My path in life is free,
My Father has my treasure
And He will walk with me!’
Don’t you begin to love mother very much, grandpa?”
“She is charming.”
“Of course she isn’t your real relation, the way I am.”
“Oh, come now. She’s my daughter.”
Jewel smiled at him doubtfully. “But so is aunt Madge,” she returned.
“Why, Jewel, I’m surprised that any one who looks so tall as you do in a riding skirt shouldn’t know more than that! Mrs. Harry Evringham is your mother.”
“I never thought of that,” returned the child seriously. “Why, so she is.”
“That brings her very close, very close, you see,” said Mr. Evringham, and his reasoning was clear as daylight to Jewel.
At dinner that evening she was still further reassured. The child did not know that the maids in the house, having been scornfully informed by aunt Madge of Mrs. Harry’s business, were prepared to serve her grudgingly, and regard her visit as being merely on sufferance despite Mrs. Forbes’s more optimistic view. But the spirit that looked out of Mrs. Evringham’s dark eyes and dwelt in the curves of her lips came and saw and conquered. Jewel had won the hearts of the household, and already its unanimous voice, after the glimpses it had had of her mother during two days, was that it was no wonder.
Even the signs of labor that appeared in Julia’s pricked fingers made the serenity of her happy face more charming to her father-in-law. She had Jewel’s own directness and simplicity, her appreciation and enjoyment of all beauty, the child’s own atmosphere of unexacting love and gratitude. Every half hour that Mr. Evringham spent with her lessened his regret at having burned his bridges behind him.
“Now, you mustn’t be lonely here, Julia,” he said, that evening at dinner. “I have come to be known as something of a hermit by choice; but while Madge and Eloise lived with me, I fancy they had a good many callers, and they went out, to the mild degree that society smiles upon in the case of a recent widow and orphan. They were able to manage their own affairs; but you are a stranger in a strange land. If you desire society, give me a hint and I will get it for you.”