“But I was not going to see my poor love, or her family, imposed on by that scheming old widow. I hurried out of the house; I called a hack, and drove to Mrs. Brederhagan’s house. I found her and her son in the first paroxysm of joy—locked in each other’s arms.
“‘Mrs. Brederhagan,’ I said, ’your vicious little devil of a son here has escaped punishment so far for his cruel and cowardly assault upon a poor girl. He has escaped through her unexampled magnanimity and generosity. But do you know what he has done to her? He has silenced her exquisite voice forever. He has ruthlessly destroyed that which a million like him could not create. That poor girl will never sing again. She was the sole support of her family. This imp here has taken the bread out of their mouths—they will starve. You owe it to her to make a deed of gift whereby you will endow her with the amount she was earning when your son’s dagger pierced her poor throat and silenced her voice; that is—fifty dollars a week.’
“The widow ruffled up her feathers, and said she did not see why she should give Christina fifty dollars a week. She had declared that her son was not the one who had assaulted her, and he was a free man, and that was the end of their connection with the matter.
“‘Ha! ha!’ said I, ’and so, that is your position? Now you will send at once for a notary and do as I tell you, or in one hour your son shall be arrested again. Christina’s mother knows him perfectly well, and will identify him; and Christina herself will not swear in court to the generous falsehood she told to screen you and yours from disgrace. You are a worthy mother of such a son, when you cannot appreciate one of the noblest acts ever performed in this world.’
“The widow grew pale at these threats; and after she and her hopeful son—who was in a great fright—had whispered together, she reluctantly agreed to my terms. A notary was sent for, and the deed drawn and executed, and a check given, at my demand, for the first month’s payment.
“‘Now,’ said I, turning to Master Nathan, ’permit me to say one word to you, young man. If you ever again approach, or speak to, or molest in any way, Miss Christina Carlson, I will,’-and here I drew close to him and put my finger on his breast,—’I will kill you like a dog.’
“With this parting shot I left the happy pair.”
MAX’S STORY CONTINUED—THE BLACKSMITH SHOP
“I need not describe the joy there was in the Jansen family when I brought home Mrs. Brederhagan’s deed of gift and the money. Christina did not yet know that her voice was destroyed, and hence was disposed to refuse what she called ‘the good lady’s great generosity.’ But we reminded her that the widow was rich, and that her son had inflicted great and painful wounds upon her, which had caused her weeks of weary sickness, to say nothing of the doctor’s bills and the other expenses they had been subjected to; and so, at last, she consented and agreed that, for the present at least, she would receive the widow’s money, but only until she could resume her place on the boards of the theater. But the deed of gift drove the brooding shadows out of the heart and eyes of poor Mrs. Jansen.