Here the professor came to Kate’s aid. “Squire,” said he, “isn’t it written that ‘If ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me?’”
“Well, well,” said the Squire, “when a man’s family are against him, there’s only one thing for him to do if he wants any peace of mind, and that is to come round to their way, and I ain’t never goin’ to have it said I went agin the Scripter.” He went over to Anna and took her pale, thin hand in his great brown one.
“Well, little woman, they want you to stay, and I am not going to interfere. I leave it to you that I won’t live to regret it.”
This time the tears splashed down the pale cheeks. “Dear sir, I thank you, and I promise you shall never repent this kindness.” Then turning to the rest—“I thank you all. I can only repay you by doing my best.”
“Well said, well said,” and Kate gave her a sisterly pat on the shoulder.
Anna would not listen to Mrs. Bartlett’s kind suggestion that she should rest a little while. She went immediately to the house, removed her hat, and returned completely enveloped in a big gingham apron that proved wonderfully becoming to her dark beauty—or was it that the homeless, hunted look had gone out of those sorrowful eyes?
And so Anna Moore had found a home at last, one in which she would have to work early and late to retain a foothold—but still a home, and the word rang in her ears like a soothing song, after the anguish of the last year. Her youth and beauty, she had long since discovered, were only barriers to the surroundings she sought. There had been many who offered to help the friendless girl, but their offers were such that death seemed preferable, by contrast, and Anna had gone from place to place, seeking only the right to earn her bread, and yet, finding only temptation and danger.
Dave, passing out to the barn, stopped for a moment to regard her, as she sat on the lowest step of the porch, with her sleeves rolled above the elbow, working a bowl of butter. He smiled at her encouragingly—it was well that none of his family saw it. Such a smile from the shy, silent Dave might have been a revelation to the home circle.
[Illustration: Martha Perkins and Maria Poole.]
ANNA AND SANDERSON AGAIN MEET.
“Heaven has no rage like love to
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorn’d.”—Congreve.
“And who be you, with those big brown eyes, sitting on the Bartlett’s porch working that butter as if you’ve been used to handling butter all your life? No city girl, I’m sure.” Anna had been at the Squire’s for a week when the above query was put to her.
The voice was high and rasping. The whole sentence was delivered without breath or pause, as if it was one long word. The speaker might have been the old maid as portrayed in the illustrated weekly. Nothing was lacking—corkscrew curls, prunella boots, cameo brooch and chain, a gown of the antiquated Redingote type, trimmed with many small ruffles and punctuated, irrelevantly, with immovable buttons.