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Flip's "Islands of Providence" / by Annie Fellows Johnston ; illustrated by E.F. Bonsall. Johnston, Annie F. (Annie Fellows), 1863-1931. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-247-31689497 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Flip's "Islands of Providence" / by Annie Fellows Johnston ; illustrated by E.F. Bonsall. Johnston, Annie F. (Annie Fellows), 1863-1931. L.C. Page, Boston : c1903 180 p. : ill. ; 19 cm. Coleman Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN05027.04 KUK) Printing Master B92-247. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Bonsall, Elisabeth Fearne, 1861- FLIPS I X : IYi ;- I 0 AaO NF PROW DENCE ANNIEs FELLOWS iO -MNx-TO COSY CORtqfR stRlPf-ls This page in the original text is blank. FLIP'S " ISLANDS OF PROVIDENCE " Works of Annie Fellows Johnston The Little Colonel Series (Trade Mark, Reg. U. S. Pat. Of.) Each one vol., large 12mo, cloth, illustrated The Little Colonel Stories (Containing in one volume the three stories, " The Little Colonel," " The Giant Scissors," and "Two Little Knights of Kentucky.") The Little Colonel's House Party '[he Little Colonel's Holidays '[he Little Colonel's Hero. The Little Colonel at Boarding-School '[he Little Colonel in Arizona. The Little Colonel's Christmas Vacation The Little Colonel: Maid of Honor . The above 8 vols., boxed 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 12.00 Illustrated Holiday Editions Each one vol., small quarto, cloth, illustrated, and printed in color The Little Colonel 'Ihe Giant Scissors Two Little Knights of Kentucky The above 3 vols., boxed Cosy Corner Each one vol., thin 12mo, The Little Colonel The Giant Scissors Two Little Knights of Kentucky Big Brother Ole Mfammy's Torment The Story of Dago Cicely Aunt 'Liza's Hero The Quilt that Jack Built Fflip's " Islands of Providence Mildred's Inheritance . 1.2-5 1.25 . . . 1.2 _ 3.75 Series cloth, illustrated .50 .50 . , . .50 .50 .50 .50 .50 .50 .50 .50 Other Books Joel: A Boy of Galilee In the Desert of Waiting . The ' rhee W'eavers . Keeping Tryst A.-a Holmes Songs Ysame (Poems, with A\llb n F ellows Bac L. C. PAGE & COMPANY 200 Summer Street B . 1.50 .50 .50 .5 0 .1.00 on) . 1.00 'oston, Mass. This page in the original text is blank. "'ALEC,' HE SAiD, PAUSING IN THE DOORWAY, 'WHAT'S A GREEN GOODS MAN"' (See.Page 7z) Cosp QTorner Serfsz FLIP'S "ISLANDS OF PROVIDENCE " By Annie Fellows Johnston Author of "Asa Holmes," " The Little Colonel Stories," "Big Brother," etc. Illustrated by E. F. Bonsall "I know not cwhere His islands lift Theirfrondedyjahns in air; Boston A -, A ,Asit L. C. Page & Company . A -' -j Publishers Copyright, 1902, By THE TRUSTEES OF THE PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION AND SABBATH- SCHOOL WORK Copyright, 1903 By L. C. PAGE & COMPANY (INCOR PORATED) 411 rights reserved Published August, 1903 Fourth Impression, Fcbruary, I907 colonial jaTZ Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co. Boston, Mass., U. S. A. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS PAGE "' ALEC,' HE SAID, PAUSING IN THE DOORWAY, I WHAT'S A GREEN GOODS MAN'" (See fiage 7 5) .ronti. " ' YOU'RE BOUVOD TO HEAR IT SOMETIME "' "'THE LORD H AS CERTAINLY SENT YOU, DICK "HE MADE SEVERAL RAPID CALCULATIONS ON THE BACK OF THE ENVELOPE" "' IT'S THE FIRST MONEY I EVER EARNED IN MY LIFE,' SHE SAID, GLEEFULLY " " HIS HAND WENT UP INVOLUNTARILY TOWARD HIS HAT" "HE BLURTED OUT HIS TROUBLE IN BROKEN SENTENCES". "' IT WAS THAT UNLUCKY GOLD COIN"' spiece 19 57 109 117 145 i61 177 This page in the original text is blank. FLIP'S " ISLANDS OF PROVIDENCE " CHAPTER I. CAREFULLY locking the door of his little gable bedroom, Alec Stoker put down the cup of hot water he carried, and peered into the mirror above his wash-stand. Then, although he had come up-stairs fully determined to attempt his first shave, he stood irresolute, stroking the almost imperceptible down on his boyish lip and chin. [ II ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " "It does make me look older, that's a fact," he muttered to his reflection in the glass. " Maybe I'd better not cut it off until I've had my interview with the agent. The older I look, the more likely he'll be to trust me with a responsible position. Still," he continued, surveying himself critically, " I might make a more favourable impression if I had that 'well-groomed' look the papers lay so much stress on nowadays, and I could mention in a careless, offhand way some- thing about having just shaved." It was not yet dark out-of-doors, but after a few minutes of further delibera- tion, Alec pulled down the blind over his window and lighted the lamp. Then, opening a box that he took f rom his bureau, he drew out his Grandfather [ 12 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " Macklin's razor and ivory-handled shav- ing-brush. " I'm sure the old gentleman never dreamed, when they made me his name- sake, that this was all of his property I would fall heir to," he thought, bitterly. The moody expression that settled on his face at the thought had become al- most habitual in the last four weeks. The happy-go-lucky boy of seventeen seemed to have changed in that time to a morose man. June had left him the jolliest boy in the high school graduating class. September found him a morbid cynic. It had been nine years since his mother, just before her death, had brought him back to the old home for her sister Eunice to take care of - Alec and the little five- [ 13 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" year-old Philippa and the baby Macklin. Their Aunt Eunice had made a happy home for them, and although she rarely laughed herself, and her hair had whit- ened long before its time, she had al- lowed no part of her burdens to touch their thoughtless young lives. It was only lately that Alec had been aroused to the fact that she had any burdens. He was rehearsing them all now, as he rubbed the lather over his chin, so busily that he did not hear Philippa's light step on the back stairs. Philippa could step very lightly when she chose, despite the fact that she was long and awkward, with that temporary awkwardness of a grow- ing girl who finds it hard to adjust her- self and her skirts to her constantly in- creasing height. [ I4 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " Alec almost dropped his brush as she suddenly banged on his door. " Is that you, Flip " he called, although he knew no one but Philippa ever beat such thun- dering tattoos on his door. " Yes! Let me in! I want to ask you something." He knew just how her sharp gray eyes would scan him, and he hesitated an in- stant, divided between a desire to let her see him in the manly act of shaving him- self and the certain knowledge that she would tease him if he did. Finally he threw open the door and turned to the glass in his most indifferent manner, as if it were an every-day occur- rence with him. " Come in," he said; " I'm only shaving. I'm going out this evening." [ '5] Flip's "Islands of Providence" If he had thought she would be im- pressed by his lordly air, he was mis- taken, for, after one prolonged stare, she threw herself on the bed, shrieking with laughter. Long practice in bandying words with her brother had made her an expert tease. Usually they both en- joyed such combats, but now, to her sur- prise, he seemed indifferent to her most provoking comments, and scraped away at his chin in dignified silence. " I believe you said you had something to say to me, Philippa," he said presently, in a stern tone that made her stare. Never, except when he was very angry, did he call her anything but Flip. Suddenly sobered, she took her face out of the pillows and peered at him [ i6 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" curiously, twisting one of the long plaits of hair that hung over her shoulder. " I have," she said. " I want to know what's the matter with you. What has come over you lately You've been as sullen as a brown bear for days and days. I asked Aunt Eunice just now, while we were washing the supper dishes, what had changed you so. You used to be whistling and joking whenever you came near the house. Now you never open your lips except to make some sarcastic speech. " She said that it was probably because you were so disappointed about not get- ting that position in the bank that you had set your heart on, and she was afraid that you were growing discouraged about ever finding any position worth while [ I7 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" in this sleepy little village. She didn't know that I saw it, but while she was talking a tear splashed right down in the dish-water, and I made up my mind that it must be something lots worse than just plain disappointment or discouragement, and that I was going to ask you. Now, you needn't snap your mouth shut that way, like a clam. You've got to tell me! " "Aunt Eunice doesn't want you to know," he said, turning away from the glass, razor in hand, to look at her in- tently. " But you're a big girl, Flip nearly as tall as she is, if you are only fifteen. You're bound to hear it some- time, and in my opinion it would be better for you to hear it from me than [ i8 ] 'I YOU'RE BOUND TO HEAR IT SOMETIME."' This page in the original text is blank. Flip's "Islands of Providence" to have it knock you flat coming unex- pectedly from a stranger, as I heard it." "Tell me," she urged, her curiosity aroused. " Can you stand a pretty tough knock" " As well as you," she answered, meet- ing his gaze steadily, yet with a queer kind of chill creeping over her at his mysterious manner. " Well, what do you suppose you and Mack and I have been living on all these years that we have been living with Aunt Eunice " "Why-I-I don't know! Mother's share of Grandfather Macklin's prop- erty, I suppose. He divided it equally between her and Aunt Eunice." "Well, we just haven't! " Alec ex- [ 21 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" claimed. " That was spent before we came here, and nearly all of Aunt Eu- nice's share, too. She's been drawing right out of the principal the last two years so that she could keep us in school, and there's hardly anything left but this old house and the ground it stands on. She never told me until this summer. That's why I took the first job that offered, and drove Murray's delivery wagon till the regular driver was well. It wasn't particularly good pay, but it paid for my board and kept me from feeling that I was a burden on Aunt Eu- nice. " I was sure of getting that position in the bank. One of the directors had as good as promised it to me. While it wouldn't have paid much at first, it [ 22 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" would have been an entering wedge, and have put me in the direct line of promo- tion. And you know that from the time I was Macklin's age it has been my am- bition to be a banker like grandfather. Since I failed to get that, nobody, not even Aunt Eunice, knows how hard I've tried to get into some steady, good-pay- ing job. I've been to every business man in the village, and done everything a fel- low could do, seems to me, but in a little place like this there's absolutely no open- ing unless somebody dies. The good places are already filled by reliable, mid- dle-aged men who have grown up in them. There's no use trying any longer. Every time I get my hopes up it's. only to have them dashed to pieces - ship- wrecked, you might say." [ 23 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" He paused a minute, ostensibly to give his chin a fresh coating of lather, but in reality to gather courage for the words he found so difficult to say. In the silence, Macklin's voice came floating up to them from the porch below. Sitting on the steps in the twilight, with his bare feet doubled under him, he was reciting some- thing to his Aunt Eunice in a high, sturdy voice. It came in shrilly through the open window of Alec's room, where the brown shade and overhanging muslin curtains flapped back and forth in the evening breeze. Philippa smiled as she listened. He was reciting a poem that Aunt Eunice had taught each of them in turn, after the Creed and the Commandments and the Catechism. It was Whittier's hymn [ 24 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" " The Eternal Goodness." She had paid them a penny a stanza for learning it, and as there are twenty-two stanzas in all, Philippa remembered how rich she felt the day she dropped the last cop- per down the chimney of her little red savings-bank. It had been seven years since Alec learned it, but the words were as familiar still as the letters of the alphabet. As Macklin's high-pitched voice reached them, Philippa joined in in a singsong undertone, and even Alec found himself unconsciously following the well-remem- bered lines in his thought: "I know not where His islands lift Their fronded palms in air; I only know I cannot drift Beyond His love and care." [ 25 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence" " There! " said Philippa, stopping abruptly, " you were talking about ship- wrecks. According to that hymn, there's always some island ready for you to be washed up on. How do you know but that you're going to land some place where you'll be lots better off than if you'd stayed here in Ridgeville" There was a contemptuous sneer on Alec's face, not pleasant to see, as he answered, roughly: "Bosh! That's all right for people who can believe in such things, but I'm past such Robinson Cru- soe fables." " Why, Alec Stoker! " she cried, in amazement, " do you mean to say that you don't believe in Providence any more " There was a look of horror on her face. [ 26 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence" He shrugged his shoulders. " I've come to think it's a case of every fellow for himself; sink or swim -and if you're not strong enough to push to shore, it's drown and leave more room for the rest." "Alec Mack -lin Sto -ker!" was all that Philippa could find breath to say at first. Presently she exclaimed, " I should think you'd be ashamed to talk so! Any boy that had such a grand old grand- father as you! He didn't have any better chance than you in the beginning, and had to struggle along for years. Look what a place he made for himself in the world! " " That's all you know about it! " cried Alec, his hand trembling with an emotion he was trying hard to control. In that [ 27 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" instant the razor slipped, slightly cutting his chin. "Now!" he muttered, hastily tearing a bit of paper from the margin of a news- paper to stop the blood, and then rum- maging in the wash-stand drawer for a piece of court-plaster. He was a long time adjusting it to his satisfaction, for the words he wanted to say would not take shape. He knew what he had to tell her would wound deeply, and he hesitated to begin. When he faced her again, his voice trembled with suppressed excite- ment. He spoke rapidly: " I may as well out with it. You want to know why I didn't get that position in the bank It is because my father, J. Stillwell Stoker, died behind the bars of a penitentiary! I'm the son of a jailbird [ 28 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" a defaulter and a forger! That's why the bank didn't want me. They'd had their fingers burned with him, and didn't want to risk another of that name. Thought there might be something in the blood, I suppose. That's where all grandfather's property went, to pay it back; all but this house and the little Aunt Eunice kept for our support. And that's why mother came back here with us and died of a broken heart! Now do you wonder that I can't believe in the eternal goodness when it starts me out in life handicapped like that Do you blame me when I say I am going to get out of this town and go away to some place where I'll not have my father's disgrace thrown in my teeth every time I try to do anything worth while No wonder [ 29 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" I'm moody! No wonder I'm a pessimist when I think of the legacy he's saddled us with! Aunt Eunice thought she could always shield us from the knowledge of it, but she could no more do it than she could hide fire!" Philippa sat on the bed as if stunned by the words flowing in such a vehement rush from her brother's lips. She was white and trembled. " 0 Alec," she gasped, with a shudder, "it can't be true! " Then, after a distressing silence, she sobbed, " Does everybody know it " " Everybody in the village now, but little Mack, and he'll have to be knocked flat with the fact some day, I suppose, just as we have been." Philippa shivered and drew herself up into a disconsolate bunch against the foot- [ 30 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" board. " To think of the way I've prided myself on our family! " she said, in a husky voice. " I've actually bragged of the Macklins and paraded the virtues of my ancestors." Alec made no answer. Down-stairs the big kitchen clock slowly struck seven. " I'll have to hurry," he remarked. Catching up his blacking-brush, he be- gan polishing his shoes in nervous haste. " It's later than I thought. I'm due at the hotel in thirty minutes." " At the hotel! " repeated Philippa, wondering dully how he could take any interest in anything more in life, knowing all that had blighted their young lives. " Yes; but don't you tell Aunt Eunice until it's all settled. I promised to meet a man there, who's been talking to me [ 31 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" about a position a thousand miles from here. He's interested in a manufactur- ing business. His firm has a scheme for making money hand over fist. He didn't tell me what it is, but he wants some young fellow about my age to go into it. 'Somebody who can keep his mouth shut,' he said, ' write a good letter, and make a favourable impression on stran- gers in introducing the goods.' Stumpy Fisher introduced me to him last night, and he gave me a hint of what he might do if I suited. Seemed to think I was just the man for the place. There's an- other fellow after it, but he thought I'd make a better impression on strangers, and that is a great consideration in their business. We're to settle it this evening, as he has to leave on the nine o'clock [ 32 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" train. If we come to terms, he'll want me to follow next week." " Stumpy Fisher introduced you " re- peated Philippa; " why, he - he's the man that runs the Golconda, isn't he " " Yes," admitted Alec, inwardly re- senting the disapproval in her tone. " They do gamble in there, I know, and sometimes have a pretty tough row, but Stumpy is as kind-hearted a man as there is in the village." Throwing the blacking-brush hastily back into its box, Alec straightened him- self up and faced his sister. "There, skip along now, Flip, like a good girl. I have to dress. And don't say a word to Aunt Eunice. I'll tell her myself." Philippa rose slowly from the bed and started toward the door. " I feel as if I [ 33 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence were in a horrible nightmare," she said. "What you have just told me about our -him, you know, and then your going away to live. It's all so sudden and so dreadful. 0 Alec, I can't stand it to have you go! " To his great surprise and confusion, for Philippa had never been demonstra- tive in her affection, she threw her arms round his neck, and, dropping her head on his shoulder, began sobbing violently. "Oh, come now, Flip," he protested, awkwardly patting the heavy braids of hair swung over her shoulder; " I wouldn't have told you if I'd thought you'd take it so. I thought you had so much grit that you'd stand by me and back me up if Aunt Eunice objected. We're not going to be separated for ever. [ 34 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" From what the man told me of the busi- ness, I'm sure that I can make enough in a year or so to send for you. Then you can come and keep house for me, and we'll pay back every cent we've cost Aunt Eunice, so she'll have something in her old age. Oh, stop crying, like a good girl, Flip! Don't make it any harder for ma than it already is. You don't want me to be late, do you, and miss the best chance of my life Punctuality counts for everything when a man's looking for a reliable employee." Without a word, but still sobbing, Philippa rushed from the room. He heard her going down the back stairs and across the kitchen. When the outer door closed behind her, he knew as well as if he had seen her that she was running [ 35 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " down the orchard path to her old refuge in the June-apple-tree. " The stars ought to be out now," thought Alec, a few minutes later, as he slipped into his best coat. Pulling up the shade, he peered out through the open window. " There'll not be any to-night," he added; " looks as if it would rain." The wind was rising. It blew the mus- lin curtains softly across his face. It had driven Miss Eunice and Macklin from the porch. Alec could hear their voices in the sitting-room. Suddenly another puff of wind blew the hall door shut, and the cheerful sound was lost. "It's certainly going to storm!" he exclaimed, aloud. Raising his lamp for one more scrutiny of himself in the little [ 36 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" mirror, he set it on his desk, while he hunted in the closet for an umbrella. When he reached the hotel, it was in the deepest voice that he could summon that he asked to be shown to Mr. Hum- phrey Long's room. Then he blushed, startled by its unfamiliar sound; it was so deep. Mr. Long was busy, he was told. He had been closeted in his room for an hour with a stranger who had taken supper with him, and had left orders that Alec, if he came, was not to be shown up till the other man had gone. Alec wandered from the office into the parlour, walking round nervously while he waited. Half an hour went by. He watched the clock anxiously, than des- perately. The minutes were slipping by [ 37 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " so fast that he was afraid there would be no time for his turn before the bus started to the train. What if the other man should be taken in his stead after all Mr. Long's fair speeches! The thought made him break into a cold perspiration. He drummed nervously on the table be- side him with impatient fingers. Presently, through his absorption, came the consciousness that the bell in the town hall was clanging the fire alarm. It was an unusual sound in the quiet little village. Noisy shouts in the next street proclaimed that the volunteer fire bri- gade was dragging out the hand-power engine and hose reel. From all direc- tions came the sound of hurrying feet and the cry of " Fire! fire! " He rushed to the door and looked out. [ 38 ] Flip's "' Islands of Providence" Half a mile toward the north, he judged the distance to be, an angry glow was spreading upward. It was in the direc- tion of his home. " Where's the fire, Bob " called a voice across the street. "The old Nlacklin house," was the an- swer, tossed back over a man's shoulder as he ran. Instantly there flashed into Alec's mind the remembrance of the muslin curtains flapping across his face, and the lamp left near them on his desk. Had he blown it out or not He could not remember. He tried to think as he dashed up the street after the running crowds. [ 39 1 W M CHAPTER II. THERE was no faster runner in the village than Alec Stoker. In the last two field-day contests he had carried off the honours, and now he surpassed all previous records in that mad dash from the hotel to the burning house. Swift as he was, however, the flames were bursting from the windows of his room by the time he reached the gate, and curling up over the eaves with long, lick- ing tongues. It was as he had feared. He had forgotten to put out the light, [ 40 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" the curtains had blown over it, and, fanned by the rising wind, the fire had leaped from curtain to bed, from mos- quito-bar to wall, until the whole room was in a blaze. Shielded by the tall cedars in front of the house, it had burned some time before a passing neighbour discovered it. By the time the alarm brought any response, the upper story was full of stifling pine smoke. The yard swarmed with neigh- bours when Alec reached it. In and out they ran, bumping precious old family portraits against wash-tubs and coal-scut- tles, emptying bureau drawers into sheets, and dumping books and dishes in a pile in the orchard, in wildest confusion. Everything was taken out of the lower story. Even the carpets were ripped up [ 41 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" from the floors before the warning cry came to stand back, that the roof was about to fall in. The fire brigade turned its attention to saving the barn, but that was old, too, and burned like tinder, as the breath of the approaching storm fanned the flames higher and higher. As Alec leaned back against the fence, breathless and flushed from his frantic exertions, Philippa came up to him, car- rying the parlour clock and her best hat. " Come on," she said; "we've got to get all these things under shelter before the storm strikes us, or they'll be spoiled. Mrs. Sears has offered us part of her house. There are four empty rooms in the west wing, and Aunt Eunice says that we can't do any better than to take them for awhile." [ 42 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " Again the neighbours came to the res- cue, and, spurred on by the warning thunder, hurried the scattered household goods into shelter. They were all piled into one room in a hopeless tangle. "We'll not attempt to straighten out anything to-night," said Miss Eunice, looking round wearily when the last sym- pathetic neighbour had departed in time to escape the breaking storm. She and Philippa had accepted Mrs. Sears's offer of her guest-chamber for the night. Macklin had gone home with the minis- ter's son. Alec had had many invitations, but he refused them all. With a morbid feeling that because his carelessness caused the fire he ought to do penance and not allow himself to be comfortable, he pulled a pillow and a mattress from [ 43 1 Flip's "Islands of Providence " the pile of goods into the empty room adjoining, and threw himself down on that. In the excitement of the scene through which he had just passed, he had entirely forgotten the engagement he had run away from. Now, as he stretched him- self wearily out on the mattress, it flashed across his mind that he had failed to keep his appointment, and that the man had gone. A groan of disappointment es- caped him. " If I wasn't born to a dog's luck!" he exclaimed, " to miss a position like that just when we need it the most. Goodness only knows what we are going to do now. But I needn't say that. It's a hard world, and there's no goodness in it."  Flip's "Islands of Providence" The next instant, he pulled the sheet over his eyes to shut out the blinding glare of lightning that lit up the empty room. The crash of thunder that fol- lowed seemed to his distorted fancy the defiant challenge of all the powers of darkness. All sorts of rebellious thoughts flocked through the boy's mind, as he lay there in the darkness of the empty room, thinking bitterly of his thwarted plans. Midnight always magnifies troubles, and as he brooded over his disappointments and railed at his fate, not only his past wrongs loomed up to colossal size, but a vague premonition of worse evil to come began to weigh on him. It was nearly morning before he dropped into a trou- bled sleep. Refreshed by a long night's rest and [ 45 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " the tempting breakfast Mrs. Sears spread for her three guests, Philippa soon recov- ered her usual gay spirits. The news that Alec had disclosed the night before, which sent her stunned and heart-sick to her retreat in the old apple-tree, had faded into the background in the excite- ment of the fire. She thought of it all the time she was dressing, but the keen- ness of her distress was not so overwhelm- ing as it had been. It was like some old pain that had lost its worst sting in the healing passage of time. She was young enough to take a keen pleasure in the novelty of the situation, and ran up-stairs and down with ham- mer and broom, laughing and joking over the settlement of every picture and piece of furniture with contagious good [ 46 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" humour. Alec could not understand it. Even his Aunt Eunice was not as down- cast as he had pictured her in the night, over the loss of her old home. With patient, steady effort, she moved along, bringing order out of confusion, and when Philippa's fresh young voice up- stairs broke out in the song that had come to be regarded as the family hymn, she joined in, at her work below, with a full, strong alto: "Yet, in the maddening maze of things, Though tossed by storm and flood, To one fixed trust my spirit clings: I know that God is good." "Jine in, Br'er Stoker," called Phi- lippa, laughingly waving her duster in the doorway. "Why don't you sing" [ 47 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" Alec, who was prone on the floor, tack- ing down a bedroom carpet, hammered away without an answer. After waiting a minute, she dropped down on the floor beside him, upsetting a saucer full of tacks as she did so. " Say, Alec," she began, in a confidential tone, " what did the man at the hotel say last night Is he going to take you" " Of course not," vwas the sulky reply. "You didn't suppose I'd be lucky enough for that, did you I didn't even see him. Another fellow was there ahead of me, and the fire-alarm sounded while I waited, and then it was all up. I couldn't dally round waiting for an interview when our home was burning, could I " " Maybe he left some word for you," she suggested. [48 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" "No; I ran down to the hotel to in- quire, just as soon as I got the kitchen stove set up this morning. He left on the nine o'clock train last night, as he warned me he would, and as I didn't come ac- cording to my agreement, that's the last he'll ever think of me. Such luck as mine is, anyhow! It was my anxiety to get the place that made me go off and leave the lamp burning, and now I've not only missed the last chance I'll ever have, but I've been the means of burning the roof off from over our heads. You haven't any idea of the way I feel, Flip. I'm desperate! It fairly sets my teeth on edge to hear you go round singing of 'The Eternal Goodness' when I'm knocked out every way I turn, no mat- ter how hard I try." [ 49 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" But, Alec," she answered, between taps of his noisy hammer, " it's foolish of you to take it so to heart, and look on nothing but the dark side. Of course, it is dreadful to be burned out of house and home, but it might have been lots worse. All the down-stairs furniture was saved, and the insurance company is go- ing to put us up a nice little cottage as soon as possible. We were not without a roof over our heads for one single hour. Before the old one fell in, NIrs. Sears offered these rooms, and already things are beginning to look homelike. Mrs. Sears was one of our 'islands.' "There we were, you see. It was black night, and we didn't know which way to turn, but here were these empty rooms, all nice and clean, waiting for [ so ] Flip's "Islands of Providence'" us. And it will be the same way about your getting a place if you don't lose faith and courage. You'll float along awhile farther, and when you're least expecting it, you'll come on your island that's been waiting for you all the time." " Oh, you don't know what you're talk- ing about, Flip," answered Alec, impa- tiently, pounding away harder than ever. "You make me tired." " I do know what I'm talking about," she retorted, scrambling to her feet; " and I'll let you know, sir, my singing doesn't set your teeth on edge half as bad as your sour looks do mine. I wouldn't be such a grumble-bug! You act like a baby instead of a boy who prides him- self on being old enough to shave." With this parting thrust, she flounced [ SI] Flip's "Islands of Providence" out of the room, unmindful of what he called after her, but she thought, guiltily, as she ran, " Now I've done it! He'll be furious all day; but I just had to! He needed somebody to shake him up out of himself, and I don't care!" Nevertheless, she sang no more that day, and a few tears dropped on her books, as she made a place for them on the shelves. All Alec's had been burned. He had lost more than any of them, for his was the only up-stairs room that was occupied. Philippa loved her brother too dearly not to suffer with him in all his losses and disappointments. It was a day of hard work for all of them, but four energetic, determined people can accomplish much, especially when one is a ten-year-old boy, whose [ 52 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" sturdy legs can make countless trips up and down stairs without tiring, and an- other is an athletic young fellow with the endurance of a man. Late in the afternoon, Alec made a final round of inspection. Up-stairs the two bedrooms were in spotless order. They were furnished even better than those in the old house, for the library rugs and curtains had found place there, with some of the best pictures and orna- ments. Down-stairs Philippa was stand- ing in the centre of the room, about to remove the cover and lamp f rom the dining-room table. " Now it is the parlour," she said, gaily, waving her hand toward the old piano, the bookcases, and the familiar bric-a-brac on the mantel. "But shut [ 53 1 Flip's "Islands of Providence" your eyes a minute, and- abracadabra! it's the dining-room." As she spoke, she whisked a white cloth on the old claw- footed mahogany table, and, throwing open a closet door, displayed the orderly rows of china. " We'll not have much for supper to- night, but I'm bound it shall be set out in style to celebrate our house-warming; so, Mack, if you have any legs left to toddle on, I wish you'd run out and get me a handful of purple asters to put in this glass bowl. I am glad that it wasn't broken. Some kind but agitated friend pitched it out of the window into the geranium bed." She rattled along gaily, with a furtive side-glance at Alec. He had had noth- ing to say to her since her outburst up- [ 54 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" stairs, and now, ignoring her pleasantries, he walked into the kitchen in his most dignified manner. " Is there anything more you want me to do, Aunt Eunice " he asked. Finding that there was nothing just then, he went out to the side porch open- ing off the room which was to be used as both dining-room and parlour. He had hung the hammock there a little while before, and he threw himself into it with a sigh of relief. Swinging back and forth in the shelter of the vines, the feel- ing of comfort began to steal over him that comes with the relaxation of tired muscles. The rattle of dishes and aroma of hot coffee coming out to him were pleasantly suggestive to his healthy young appetite. [ 55 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" He closed his eyes, not intending to go to sleep, but the hammock stopped swing- ing almost instantly, and he did not hear the footsteps going past him a few min- utes later, nor his Aunt Eunice's sur- prised cry of welcome as a tall, bearded stranger knocked at the door. The continuous murmur of voices finally roused him, and he lay there blinking and listening, trying to recog- nize the deep bass voice that laughed and talked so familiarly with his aunt. "The Lord has certainly sent you, Dick," Alec heard her say in a tremulous tone, and then he knew instantly who had come. All his life he had heard of Dick Willis, one of the many boys his grand- father had befriended and taken into the [ 56 ] U 0 z W -In H 4 On F- This page in the original text is blank. Flip's "Islands of Providence" shelter of his home for awhile. Dick had lived five years in the old house that had just burned, when Eunice and Sally Macklin were children; and all the stories of their school days were full of their foster-brother's mischievous sayings and doings. That the harum-scarum boy had given place to this middle-aged, successful business man, with the deep voice and big whiskers, was hard for Alec to real- ize, for in all Miss Eunice's reminis- cences he had kept the perennial prank- ishness of youth. But now Alec, listen- ing, learned the changes that had taken place since the man's last visit to his home. He had thought every year that he would come back for another visit, he told Miss Eunice, but he had put it off [I59 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " from season to season, hard pressed by the demands of business, and now it was too late for him to ever see the old home- stead again. He had seen an account of the fire in a paper which he read on the train on his way East, and he decided to stop his journey long enough to run over to the old place for a few hours, and see if she did not need his help. He wanted her to feel that he stood ready to give it to the extent of his power, and expected her to call upon him as freely as if he were a real brother. Then it was that Miss Eunice's tremu- lous voice exclaimed again: " The Lord has certainly sent you, Dick! I have been worried for weeks over Alec's fu- ture. There is no outlook here in the village for him. If you could only get [ 6o ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " him a position somewhere -" She paused, the tears in her eyes. Alec lis- tened breathlessly for his answer. " Why didn't you write me before this, Eunice My business, travelling for a wholesale shoe house, takes me over a wide territory and gives me a large ac- quaintance. I am sure that I can get him into something or other very soon. You know that I would do anything for Sally's boy, and when you add to that the fact that he is Alexander Macklin's grandson, and I owe everything I am under heaven to that man, you may know that I'd leave no stone unturned to repay a little of his kindness to me." Alec's heart gave a great throb of hope. The good cheer of the hearty voice in- spired him with a courage he had not felt [ 6i ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " in weeks. There was a patter of bare feet down the garden path, and, peering out between the vines, Alec saw one of the neighbour's boys coming in with a big dish covered carefully with a napkin. " It's fried chicken," announced the boy, with a grin, as Alec went down the step to meet him. " Mother said to eat it while it was hot. She knew you all would be too tired to cook much to- night." Without waiting to hear Alec's thanks, he scampered down the path again and squeezed through the gap in the fence made by a missing picket. Alec carried the dish round the house to the kitchen, where Philippa was putting the finishing touches to the supper, in her aunt's stead. "Did you know that Uncle Dick has [ 62 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " come" she asked, joyfully. " Oh, how good of Mrs. Pine to send the chicken! We didn't have anything for supper but coffee and rolls and eggs. He's certainly bringing good things in his wake. How delicious that chicken does smell! Let's take it as a good omen, Alec, a forerun- ner of better days. He'll surely get you out of your slough of despond." "Who, Flip The chicken or Uncle Dick " asked Alec, in his old jesting way, giving one of her long braids a tweak as he passed. A heavy load seemed to lift itself from Philippa's heart at this sign of Alec's return to his merry old self. All during supper she kept glancing at him, for, absorbed in their guest's inter- esting reminiscences, he seemed to have forgotten the grievances he had brooded [ 63 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" over so long, and laughed and joked as he had not done for weeks. To their great regret, Uncle Dick had to leave that night. Alec walked to the station with him, feeling that he was ke- ing subjected to a very close cross-exam- ination as to his capabilities and prefer- ences. The train was late, and as they sat in the waiting-room, the man fell into a profound silence, his hands thrust into his pockets and his brows drawn together in deep thought. Finally he said: "You want to be a banker, like your grandfather. Well, I can't manage that, my boy. My influence doesn't lie in that direction. The best I can do is to get you in with the firm that manufactures all the shoes I sell. It is a big concern. The general manager [ 64 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" of the factory at Salesbury is a good friend of mine, and I happen to know he is on the lookout for a reliable young fellow to put in training as his assistant. He is constantly giving somebody a trial, but nobody measures up to his require- ments. Whoever takes it must go through a regular apprenticeship in the factory and learn the business from the ground up. According to his ideas, you'd not be fitted until you'd tried your hand at every piece of machinery in the factory, and knew how to turn out a pair of shoes from the raw leather. The wages will be small at first. Some of the duties are disagreeable, many of the requirements exacting, but promotion is rapid, and probably by the end of the year you'd be in the office, learning to take an over- [ 65 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" sight of the different departments; that is, if you had proved there was good stuff in you. If money is what you are after, this opening is better a thousand times than anything the village bank could give you in years, and in my opinion it's just as respectable a calling to handle leather as lucre. You'll have to work and work hard." " I don't mind how hard the work is," answered Alec. " I hate to give up the one thing that has been my ambition all my life, but I have come to the point where I'd do anything honest to get a place somewhere out of this town. I'd even scrub floors. You don't know what I've been through this summer, Uncle Dick. Of course, you know about my father" [ 66 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " He asked the question with such bitter- ness of tone that his listener scanned his face intently, then sympathetically. " Well, I must get away from that," Alec continued. " It's an awful handi- cap. The thought of it made me des- perate at times. If they should hear about him in Salesbury and turn me down on his account -well, I'd just give up! I couldn't stand any more than I have already suffered on his account." There was no answer for a minute, then the deep voice answered, cheerily: " Alec, your grandmother ilacklin once told me that when she was a very small child she went to visit her grandmother; quite a remote ancestor of yours that would be, wouldn't it For some rea- son, she was put to sleep in a trundle-bed [ 67 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" in the old lady's room, and along late in the night she was awakened by a very earnest voice. She sat up in the little trundle-bed to listen, and there was the old saint on her knees, praying for now, what do you suppose For ' all her posterity to the latest generation!' She said she didn't understand then what the words meant, but years afterward, when she held her first baby in her arms, they came back to her with a feeling of awe, to think that prayers uttered for him, long years before he was born, were still working to his blessing. " It is the same with you, Alec. Evil influences were set afloat by your father's crime that will undoubtedly work against you many a time, but you must remember all the good that lies on the other hand [ 68 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " to counteract them. Even your great- great-grandmother's prayers must count for something in your behalf. I remem- ber that Alexander Macklin planted an apple orchard after he was eighty years old. He never lived to gather even its first harvest, but you have been enjoying it all your life. He did a thousand unre- corded kindnesses that brought him no returns seemingly, but ' bread cast upon the waters' does come back after many days, my boy, every time. And you will be eating the results of that scattering all your life. The little that I may be able to do for you will only be the result of kindness he showed me, and which I could not repay, but am glad now to pass it on to his grandson. Don't grow bitter because of your father, and say that fate [ 69 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " has handicapped you. That admission of itself will sap your courage and go far toward defeating you. Say, instead, ' The Eternal Goodness will more than compensate for the evil that this one man has wrought me.' Then go on, trusting in that, and win in spite of every- thing. The harder the struggle the more praise to the victor, you know." The whistle of the approaching train brought his little sermon to a close, and, seizing his satchel, he started hurriedly to the door. " I'll see the manager in a few days," he continued, hurriedly. " I have only a few stops to make this time on my way to Salesbury. Probably I'll have something definite to write you the last of the week. Good-bye and good luck to you! " He shook hands heartily, [ 70 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" swung himself up on the platform, and disappeared into the car. Philippa was waiting in the hammock with a shawl over her head when Alec returned. The moonlight nights were chilly, but she could not bear to go in- side until she heard the result of their conversation. "Oh, Alec," she exclaimed, as he came up wide awake and glowing from his walk and his hopeful interview, " wasn't it just like a lovely story to have the tra- ditional uncle drop down long enough to restore the family fortunes and then dis- appear again" " Yes, you're a good prophet," he laughed. " I drifted on to my island when I least expected it, and in the mid- dle of my darkest night. Salesbury is L 71 1 Flip's "Islands of Providence " four hundred miles from here, Flip, and we sha'n't see each other often, so if it will be any comfort to you, you may say, ' I told you so,' three times a day, from now on until I leave." [ 72 ] CHAPTER III. PHILIPPA, coming home from school one afternoon, late in September, loitered at the gate for a few more words with the girls who had walked that far with her. Sometimes the little group lingered there until nearly sundown, between the labur- num bushes and hollyhocks of the old garden, but to-day, Alec's impatient whistle from an upper window signalled her. He waved a letter toward her, call- ing, excitedly, " It's come, Flip! It's [ 73 ] .11 - - __ ___ __ - Flip's "Islands of Providence " come! I'm to start in the morning. I'm packing my trunk now." With a hurried good-bye to the girls at the gate, Philippa rushed up the stairs to her brother's room. The bureau drawers had all been emptied on the bed, and every chair was full. " Here's some things that need but- tons," he announced, as she came in. "Aunt Eunice is pressing my best suit, and Mack has gone down-town after the shoes that I left to be half-soled. I'll have to rush, for the letter says to come at once. I didn't suppose they'd be in such a hurry. They're hustlers, I guess." His haste was so contagious that Phi- lippa ran into the next room for her sew- ing-basket, without waiting to take off her hat, and sitting down on the floor [ 74 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" beside the window began to sew on but- tons as fast as she asked questions. She always had plenty to say to Alec, and now that the time for conversation was limited to a few short hours, she could not talk fast enough. Presently the click of the gate made her look out. " Here comes Mack," she said. " Your shoes are wrapped in a newspaper, and he's so busy reading something on it that he doesn't know where he is going. Look out, snail!" she called; " you'll bump into the house in a minute if you are not careful!" The boy came slowly up the stairs still spelling out the paragraph that interested him. " Alec," he said, pausing in the door- way, " what's a green goods man This [ 75 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " says that a gang of 'em were arrested in New York. The detectives traced them by a letter one of them left here in Ridge- ville at the hotel. Think of that! Jonas Clark is the man's real name, alias H-u-m-p-h," he spelled, " Humphrey (I guess it is) Long." Alec snatched the knotty bundle and glanced at the paragraph so eagerly that Philippa looked at him in surprise. She was still more surprised to see a deep flush spread over his face, as he tore the newspaper off the shoes and glanced at the date. Then he dropped it on the bed and began to fumble for something in the bottom of his trunk, saying, carelessly, "Oh, green goods men are just fellows who rope people in to buy counterfeit money. Here, Mack, you'll not have a [ 76 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" chance to run many more errands for me. Trot down to Aunt Eunice with these neckties, please, and ask her to press them for me while she's in the business." As soon as Mack disappeared, Alec caught up the paper again. " Flip," he said, in an impressive voice, after his second reading, " do you remember the night of the fire I was to meet a man at the hotel and make the final arrangement with him for taking a position he had offered me " Philippa nodded. "Well, that is the man; Humphrey Long. Think of what I have escaped. From what he said about his sure scheme for making money and making it easy, I know now that is what he meant; but I never suspected such a thing then. He [ 77 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " was the smoothest talker I ever saw, and was as gentlemanly and well dressed as the minister. And such a way as he had ! He could almost make a body believe that black was white. Suppose I had gone off with him. Whillikens! but I would be in hot water now! Everybody would have said, 'Only a chip off the old block. Just what might have been expected with such a father.' " "But, Alec, you wouldn't have gone after he had told you what his business was! " Philippa exclaimed, in a horrified tone. " You know that you wouldn't." "No," he answered, slowly, " but I think now that he intended to keep me in the dark till he got me just where he wanted me, in too deep to inform on them. And I was so desperate for a job [ 78 J Flip's "Islands of Providence " away f rom here that I would have ac- cepted his offer with very few questions. Don't you see, my very ignorance of his schemes would have made me a better decoy in some cases than if I had not been such an innocent young duck. Of course, Stumpy Fisher told him all about me," he added, after a moment's thought. " He might have counted on my being enough like my father to take kindly to his crookedness." " How queerly things work out! " said Philippa. " If you had had your own way, you'd have been off with that man and probably in jail with him now. But the fire stopped you. And if it hadn't been for the fire, Uncle Dick never would have been aroused to the necessity of leaving his business long enough to [ 79 1 Flip's "Islands of Providence" make us a visit, and if it hadn't been for the visit you never would have had this position in Salesbury." "That's so," Alec assented, gravely. "It's a whole chain of those islands that you and Aunt Eunice are always singing about. I'll make a map of them some day and name each one: ' Fire Island,' 'Isle of Uncle Dick,' etc. Then I'll name the whole group after you: ' Flip's Providence Islands,' or something like that." Then the subject was dropped, as Macklin came clattering back up the stairs. If the history of Alec's experiences during the next few weeks could have been written, it would have differed little [ 8o ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " f rom that of thousands of boys who yearly leave farm and village to push their way into the already overcrowded cities. Eager and hopeful, his ambition placed no limit to the success he meant to achieve. That he might fall short of the goal he set for himself never once entered his thoughts. He knew the con- ditions requisite to success, and felt an honest pride in the consciousness that he could meet them. He had a strong, healthy body, a thorough education so far as the high school could take him, good habits, and high ideals. As the train whirled him on toward Salesbury, he felt that at last he was plac- ing himself in line with the long list of illustrious men who had begun life as poor boys and ended it as the benefactors [ 8i ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" of mankind. And he felt that he had a distinct advantage over Franklin and some of his ilk, for he faced his future with far more than a loaf of bread under his arm. Forward in the baggage-car his grandfather's old leather trunk held ample provision for his present, and an assured position awaited him. Salesbury was not a large city, but it seemed a crowded metropolis to Alec's eyes, accustomed to the quiet life of the little inland village. But it wvas not as a gaping backwoodsman he viewed its sights. If he had never seen a trolley-car before, he had carefully studied the power that propels one. The whir and clang, the rush of automobiles, the pound- ing of machinery in the great factory all seemed familiar, because they were a [ 82 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" part of the world he had learned to know in his extensive reading. Keenly alive to new impressions, he was so interested in everything that went on round him that he had little time to be lonesome at first. He stayed only a few days at the hotel. Anxious to repay his Aunt Eunice as soon as possible the money she had spent in replenishing his wardrobe after the fire, and defraying his travelling ex- penses, he took a room in a lodging- house, and his meals at a cheap restau- rant. In that way he was able to save nearly tvice as much each week toward cancelling his indebtedness. The letters he wrote home were re-read many times. They were so bright and cheerful and full of interesting descrip- [ 83 1 Flip's "Islands of Providence" tions. He didn't like the work in the factory, but he liked the manager, and with the determination to make his ap- prenticeship as short as possible and gain a place in the office, he pegged away with a faithfulness and energy that he felt sure must bring a speedy reward. Not till the cold November nights came did Miss Eunice detect a little note of homesickness creeping into his letters. She would not have wondered could she have looked in on him while he wrote, buttoned up in his overcoat and with his hat on. His chilly little bedroom, with its dim lamp and worn matting, was a dismal contrast to the cheerful home where he had always spent his winter evenings. Then she noticed that there was nearly always some reference to the [ 84 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" restaurant fare, some longing expressed for one more taste of her cooking -the good cream gravy, the mince turnovers, the crsp doughnuts that had been his favourite dishes at home. Once he wrote to Philippa: "Think of it, Flip! I don't know a single girl in town. Excepting my land- lady, I haven't spoken to a woman since I pulled out of the depot at Ridgeville two months ago. It seems so strange to know only the factory fellows, when at home I was acquainted with everybody. The manager, Mr. Windom, has a pretty daughter whom I'd give a good deal to know. She drives down to the office with him sometimes, and I see her at church. She looks something like your chum, [ 85 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" Nordie Gray, laughing sort of eyes, and soft, light hair, and a saucy little nose like your own." Later, in a reply to a question f rom Miss Eunice, he wrote: " No, I haven't put in my church let- ter yet. I took it with me every Sunday for awhile, but I can't get screwed up to the point, somehow. People here are so stand-offish with strangers. I've gone pretty regularly, but nobody has spoken to me yet. I suppose they think that a gawky country boy doesn't belong in such a fashionable congregation. The minis- ter doesn't come down after service to shake hands with people, as Doctor Meldrum does at home. They have a [ 86 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence" Christian Endeavour Society that I think might be nice if there was any way of breaking the ice to get into it. The young people seem to have the best kind of times among themselves, but they don't seem to care for anybody that hasn't the inside track in their exclusive little cir- cle." Then the letters grew shorter. " He had no time to write during the day," he explained. At night he was either so tired that he went to bed as soon as he had his supper, or some of the boys that worked where he did came round for him to go out with them. He had been to the library several times, and to a free band-concert. When he was out of debt, he intended to get a season lecture course [ 87 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" ticket and go to other entertainments once in awhile to keep from getting the blues. He did not mention some of the other places to which he had gone with the boys. It would only worry his Aunt Eu- nice, he thought. Probably she wouldn't think it was any harm if she lived in the city. People in little places were apt to be narrow-minded, he told himself. He could feel that his own opinions were broadening every day. He wrote to Macklin on Thanksgiving Day, saying that he intended to make the most of his holiday and skate all the afternoon. He was glad that he had brought his skates, for the ice was in fine condition. That was the last letter home for two weeks. While Miss Eunice worried, and Phi- [ 88 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" lippa haunted the post-office, he was ly- ing ill in his cheerless little bedroom, on the top floor of the cheap lodging-house. He had skated not only Thanksgiving afternoon, but again at night when the ice was illuminated by bonfires and lanterns. There was a danger-signal posted farther down where the ice was thin. He had avoided it all the afternoon, but intent on cutting some fancy figure one of the boys had taught him, he did not notice how near he was to the dangerous spot until he heard a cracking noise all round him, and it was too late to save himself from a plunge into the icy water. Although he was helped out immedi- ately, and ran every step of the way to his room, he was shaking with a chill when he reached it. All the covering he could [ 89 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" pile on the bed did not stop the chattering of his teeth as he lay shivering between the cold sheets. In the morning he was burning with fever. There was such a sharp pain in his lungs that he could not draw a full breath. He tried to get up and dress, but the attempt made him so weak and dizzy that he could only stagger back to bed and lie there in a sort of stupor. It was not quite clear to him who brought a doctor, but one came in the course of the morning and left two kinds of little pel- lets and a glass of water on the chair beside his bed. He was to take two pink pellets every hour and one white one every two hours, he was told. There was no clock in the room, and he had no watch, but the engine-house [ 9o ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " bell in the next block clanged the alarm regularly. The responsibility of giving himself his own medicine kept him from drop- ping asleep as he longed to do. He would doze for a few minutes and start up, fearing that he had let the time go by, or that he had taken a double dose, or that he had confused directions. Was it two pink ones or two white ones, or one hour or two hours He said it over and over with every variation possible. The confusion was maddening. The pain in his lungs grew worse. He was burning with thirst, but there was no more water in the glass. He looked round the room with feverish, aching eyes, that suddenly filled with hot tears. If he could only be back in his own room [ 9' I Flip's "Islands of Providence" at home, with Aunt Eunice to care for him, and Flip to make him comfortable, how good it would seem! He was tast- ing to the dregs the misery of being ill, all alone among strangers. Toward evening the woman who kept the lodging-house sent a little coloured boy up to ask if he wanted anything. A pitcher of water was all that Alec asked for. That being supplied, the boy shut the door and clattered down the hall, whistling. The night seemed endless. Hour after hour he started up shudder- ing, as the bell's loud clang awakened him, not knowing what it was that star- tled him. In his feverish hallucinations he thought he was continually breaking through the ice into a sea of burning water. He kept clutching at the pillows, [ 92 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" thinking they were islands that he was for ever drifting past and could never reach. When morning came at last, and the doctor made his second visit, he found Alec delirious and the medicine still on the chair beside the bed. With one glance round the cheerless room, he shrugged his shoulders and went out for help. When Alec next noticed his surround- ings with eyes that were once more clear and rational, he saw that the dingy little grate had been opened and a bright fire was burning in it. The clothing he had left on the floor in a heap had been put away. The window shade no longer hung askew. He looked round half- expecting to see his Aunt Eunice or Flip, [ 93 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" and wondered if he had been so ill that some one had sent for them. Then his glance fell on a grizzled old man with a wooden leg, dozing in a rocking-chair by the fire. " Old Jimmy Scott! " Alec said to himself after a moment's puzzled scru- tiny, in which he racked his brain to recall where he had seen the face be- fore. Finally he remembered. One of the boys had pointed him out as an old soldier who had taken to nursing when he could no longer fight. He held no diploma from any training-school for nurses, he was uncouth and rough in many ways, but his varied experiences had made him a valuable assistant to the doctor, whom he called his general, and obeyed with military exactness. [ 94 1 Flip's "Islands of Providence " As Alec stirred on his pillow, the old soldier looked up, and then hobbled over to the bed as quietly as his wooden leg would allow. He bent over him, felt his pulse, and then said, cheerfully, " All right, buddy, guess it's time now for ra- tions." Taking a covered cup from the hob on the grate, he deftly put a spoon- ful of hot beef tea to Alec's lips. "You had a pretty close call, young man," he said, in response to Alec's at- tempt to question him. " A leetle more and it would have been double pneu- monia. But you're about out of the woods now. We'll soon have you on your feet." Giving his patient a few more spoonfuls, he drew the covers gently in place, saying, " Now don't you talk any more. Turn over and go to sleep." I 951 Flip's "Islands of Providence" Weak, yet thrilled with a delightful sense of comfort and freedom from pain, Alec obeyed unquestioningly. True, a thought did trail teasingly across his mind for a moment, a dim wonder as to where the money was to come from to pay for the expensive luxuries of nurse and doctor and medicines and fire, but it faded presently, and instead his Aunt Eunice's old song took its place: "I know not where His islands lift Their fronded palms in air I only know I cannot drift Beyond - beyond - beyond-" He groped languidly for the final words, but could not recall them. "Never mind," he thought, drowsily; " I've got as far as old Jimmy Scott, and that's a big enough island for this trip." [ 96 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " A most comfortable stopping-place old Jimmy proved to be. Considerate as a woman of his patient's comfort, cheerful, tireless, and prompt as a minute-gun in carrying out the doctor's instructions, it was not long before he had Alec sitting up for a little while each day. With such an old philosopher to keep him company, and entertained by the old veteran's endless fund of anecdote, Alec enjoyed those few days of convalescence more than he could have believed possi- ble. " It isn't such a bad sort of world, after all," he remarked one morning, the day after the minister had called. " It is strange what a difference knowing per- sons makes in the way you feel toward them. The minister was as cordial and [ 97 1 Flip's "Islands of Providence" friendly as Doctor Meldrum used to be in Ridgeville. Wonder how he found out about me I didn't know he'd ever heard of me or noticed me in the congre- gation." Old Jimmy made no reply, although he longed to say: " He came because I sent for him, buddy, as people ought to do. They are quick enough to send for a doc- tor when their bodies are sick, but when they are out of sorts either physically or mentally they never think of letting their minister know. They hang back and feel hurt if he doesn't come, just as if he could tell bv intuition or a sort of sixth sense that he's needed. How can a D. D. be expected to know when you want him, any more than an M. D." That afternoon as Alec sat propped up [ 98 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" by the window for a little while, looking down on the snowy street, there was a knock at the door. Old Jimmy, answer- ing it, came back with a florist's box ad- dressed, " Mr. Alec Stoker, with best wishes and sympathy of the Grace Church Christian Endeavour Society." Inside was a fragrant bunch of hothouse roses. Alec held them up in amazement. "Why should they have sent them to me " he cried. There was no Endeav- our society in Ridgeville, and he did not understand its methods. " The flower committee sends 'em to all the sick people in the congregation," explained Jimmy. " Posies and piety always sorter go together, seems like. Pretty, ain't they But they ain't half [ 99 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " so pretty as the young ladies that brought 'em." " Young ladies! " gasped Alec, looking toward the door. " Yes, the flower committee itself, I suppose. I didn't know two of them. But one of them you ought to know, buddy, seeing as it's the daughter of your boss. Thomas Windom's daughter Avery, I believe they call her." Alec's heart gave a thump. Avery Windom was the pretty girl he had writ- ten to Flip about; the one whom he had wanted of all others to know; and she had climbed to his door, had left the roses; it seemed too strange to be true. He leaned toward the window and looked down. Yes, there she went with her friends, fluttering along the snowy [ Ioo ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " street. He could see the gleam of her soft, light hair under her velvet hat. Her cheeks were flushed with her walk in the cold. He leaned eagerly nearer the win- dow as she fluttered along, farther and farther down the street, until she was lost in the crowd. Then he lay back in the chair with a sigh. It seemed so long Since he had lived in a world where there were bright, friendly girls like Flip. The sight of these who had been so near made him homesick for the old friends of his school days, and he began to talk to old Jimmy about his sister and the good times they used to have together. " I wonder which one wrote this card," he thought, as he slipped it out of the box. " I am sure she did. The hand- writing is so light and graceful, just like [ 101 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" her. So her name is Avery. I might have known it would be different from other girls'. Avery! Avery!" he re- peated softly, while old Jimmy stumped out into the hall for some water in which to put the roses. " It's a pretty name. I wonder if I'll ever know her well enough to call her that." " Time to get back into bed now," said old Jimmy, coming in with the pitcher. He placed the roses in it on a stand beside the bed. " Mustn't overdo matters." "No, indeed," said Alec, with a new note of determination in his voice which did not escape old Jimmy. " I've got to get well in a hurry now, and go back to work." Then he settled himself on his pillow, and lay smiling happily at the roses. [102 ] -Ix'J CHAPTER IV. IF the calendar over Alec's mantel could have told the history of the next few weeks, it would have been the record of a hard struggle with homesickness and discouragement. There was a heavy black cross drawn through the date of his return to work. He had come in that night when it was over weighed down with the fact that his wages had been stopped in his absence, and that it would take a long time to pay the debts incurred during his illness. [ 103 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" There was a zigzag line struck twice across the calendar below that date. "That much goes for the doctor! " he exclaimed, fiercely checking off the time with a stubby pencil. " And that much to old Jimmy, and that much for fire and extras. It'll take way into the new year to get straightened out. Luckily I am nearly through with my debt to Aunt Eunice." Later there was a tiny star drawn in the corner of one date. It marked the Sabbath evening he had gone to the Christian Endeavour praise service and heard Avery Windom sing. He had been introduced to half a dozen of the boys and girls, and been invited to come again, and had gone back to his calendar to count the nights until the next meeting. [ 104 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " Ever since he had left home, he had longed with a longing that was like hun- ger for the companionship of young peo- ple such as he had known at home. There was a blur over one of the dates, the little square that marked the twenty- fifth of December. It was a red-letter day on the calendar, but in Alec's bare little room a holiday that dragged its dismal length out toward dark, like a dull ache. The box that had been sent him from home failed to reach him till the next day. Standing with his hands in his pockets, looking out over the snowy roofs of the city, he recalled all the merry Christmas days at home, since the first time he and Flip had hung up their stockings beside their grandfather's wide F 105 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " chimney-seat. This was the first time he had ever missed following the old custom. The city seemed overflowing with the joy and good-will of the Yule- tide, yet none of it was for him. He had never felt so utterly left out and alone in all his life. Despite his seventeen years, there was an ache in his throat that he could not drive back, and when he laid down the calendar he had been mechanically ex- amining, although he whistled bravely, there was a telltale blur on the page. But there came a day when he tore off the leaf that wvas crossed with the double black lines meaning debt and worry, and began a fresh sheet which seemed to promise better days. A change of work came the first of February, and a slight [ io6 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" advance in wages. The manager, who had kept a keen eye on him, was begin- ning to think that at last he had found a boy who was worth training, and that if he proved as efficient in every stage of his apprenticeship as he had in the first, he would soon have the capable as- sistant that he had long been in search of. Alec's notification of his promotion was in the envelope which held his check for the last week in January. He did not see it until he stepped into the bank to have the check cashed, and in his de- light and surprise he could scarcely re- frain from turning a handspring. So many people were ahead of him that he had to stand several minutes awaiting his turn at the little barred win- [ 107 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" dow. In that time he made several rapid calculations on the back of the envelope. " Can you give me five dollars of that in gold " he asked of the cashier when his turn finally came. With a nod of assent, the cashier counted out several small bills, and laid a shining five-dollar gold piece on top. Alec seized it eagerly and, thrusting the bills into his pocket, walked out with the coin in his hand. Long ago he had decided how to spend his first surplus five dollars if it came in time. It should go as a happy surprise to Flip on her sixteenth birthday. It had come in time. Her birthday was on the twenty-first of the month. At first he thought he could not wait three long weeks before sending it. He wanted her to have the pleasure and surprise of re- [ io8 ] "t HE MADE SEVERAL RAPII) CALCULATIONS ON THiE BACK OF THE ENVELOPE." This page in the original text is blank. Flip's "Islands of Providence" ceiving it at once; and he wanted the thrill of feeling that he was man enough not only to be self-supporting, but to help care for his sister. He wrapped the coin in a bit of tissue- paper, torn from the shaving-case Flip had sent him in the delayed Christmas box. Then he carefully put it in the inner pocket of the old wallet he carried. But scarcely a night passed between that time and the twentieth that he did not take a peep at the coin, and then count the days on his calendar. Ever since the night of the praise serv- ice, when he first heard Avery Windom sing, he had been a regular attendant at the Christian Endeavour meetings. It was like a bit of home to sit there in the midst of the young people, singing the [ III ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" familiar old hymns, and he sang them so heartily and entered into the exercises of the meeting with such zest that he soon lost the feeling that he was only a stran- ger within the gates. There were some, it is true, who were only coolly polite to him, thinking of his position, an unknown boy working in the shoe factory as a comrron labourer. He felt the chill of their manner keenly, and he knew why he was so pointedly ig- nored. It was not a deeply spiritual society. Only a few of the members were really consecrated Christians. There were more socials and concerts and lit- erary evenings than devotional meetings. Most of the members belonged to old, wealthy families, and had always been accustomed to leisure and pocket-money. [ 1 I2 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" Alec soon realized the bounds that were set to his social privileges. He might take a prominent part in the meetings, even be asked to lead on occasions, be put on committees, be assigned many tasks in connection with suppers and festivals, but outside of his church relationship he was never noticed. No hospitable home swung open its doors for him. Only one who has lived in a country place, which knows no class distinctions, where character is all that counts, and where the butcher and baker may be bidden any day, in simple village fashion, to banquet with the judge, only such an one can understand the feeling of a boy in Alec's position. He wondered some- times, with a sudden sinking of the heart, II "3 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " what would be the result if they knew about his father. He never looked at Avery Windom without thinking of it. He used to watch her in church, sitting up between her aristocratic father and mother, sweet and refined, like a dainty white flower. He wondered if her slim-gloved hand would ever be held out to him again in greeting, as it had been on several occasions, if she knew that he was the son of a criminal. Then he wondered what she would think if she knew that the touch of that little hand in his had been like the saving touch of a guardian angel. Once, urged on by one of the factory boys, an almost overwhelming temptation had seized him, but the remembrance that if he yielded he would never again be fit to [ "14 1 Flip's "Islands of Providence " take her hand made him thrust his into his pockets and turn away toward home with a shrug of the shoulders. Avery, as ignorant of the influence she was exerting as a lily is of the fragrance it sheds, went serenely on in her gentle, high-bred way. Alec held no larger place in her thoughts than any other of the employees in her father's factory. " Flip would call her one of my is- lands," he said to himself one night, as he parted on the corner from a crowd of boys who were begging him to go with them for a little game of cards and a lark afterward. " No telling where I would have drifted if it hadn't been for her. It's no easy matter to keep straight when you're all alone in a city as big and tough as this." [ IIS ] Flip's " Islands of Providence" On his way home, he stopped at the library for a book he had heard her men- tion. He had overheard her quoting a line from Sir Galahad, and although he knew the story well of the maiden knight " whose strength was as the strength of ten because his heart was pure," it took on a new meaning because she had praised it. He learned the entire poem by heart, and the inspiration of the lines as he bent over his work in the factory gave him many an uplift that left him more nearly the man whom he imagined Avery's ideal to be. One other date was marked on the cal- endar with a star before Flip's birthday came round. It was the night of the lit- erary contest at the high school, when Avery's essay took the prize. Alec had [ ii6 ] "' IT'S THE FIRST MONEY I EVER EARNED IN MY LIFE,' SHE SAID, GLEEFULLY." This page in the original text is blank. Flip's "Islands of Providence" manceuvred for a week to get a ticket, and finally procured one from the head bookkeeper at the factory, whose sister taught in the high school. He lingered a little while after the contest in the outskirts of the crowd that flocked up to congratulate Avery. She came out to the carriage on her father's arm, with a fleecy evening cloak wrapped round her, and he saw the prize. She held it out a moment in her bare, white hand to some one who stood near Alec. It was a bright five-dollar gold piece. " It's the first money I ever earned in my life," she said, gleefully, including Alec in her smile, so that he felt that the remark was addressed to him. " It is so precious I shall have to put it under a [ '19 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" glass case. Maybe I can never earn an- other one." In his room once more, Alec took out his little gold coin, and, looking at it, thought he could understand just how proud Avery must feel of hers. The next time he saw her it was at a Christian Endeavour meeting. Ralph Bently was with her, a gentlemanly, ele- gant boy in appearance, but Alec knew the reputation he had among the young fellows who knew him best, and it made him set his teeth together hard to see him with a girl as pure and refined as Avery. "He isn't fit," he thought. " He shouldn't speak to Flip if I could pre- vent it, and even if he is Avery's cousin and such a young boy, Mr. Windom oughtn't to let him into the house." [ 120 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence" For several weeks, at every meeting, the president had made an especial ap- peal for larger contributions. A large, expensive organ was being built for the church. The Christian Endeavour Soci- ety had pledged themselves to pay five hundred dollars of the amount due on it, but part of the sum was still lacking, even after all the socials and fairs that had been given to raise the amount. The president urged each member to add a little to his previous subscription, even at the cost of much self-denial. Alec had been asked to assume the duty of regularly passing one of the collection boxes at the Sunday night services. He had done this so often in the Sunday school at home that he felt no embarrass- ment in doing so now, except when he [ 121 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence reached the row of chairs where Avery and her cousin sat. He sneezed just as he extended the long-handled collection box toward them, and flushed hotly for having called every one's attention to himself by the loud noise. The other collector, having finished first, placed his box on the secretary's little stand and went back to his seat. As Alec came forward, the president asked him in a low tone to count the money, and be ready to report the amount after the singing of the last hymn. Turning his back to the audience, Alec emptied both boxes into the seat of the big pulpit chair standing next to the pres- ident's. The two chairs were old Gothic ones, recently retired from the church pulpit to make room for new furniture. I U22 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " There were a number of pennies in the lot, and during the singing he counted them carefully several times, in order to be sure that he had made no mistake. The hymn was a short one. It came to an end as Alec laid several little piles of coin on the table at the secretary's elbow. " Four dollars and ninety-six cents, did you say " repeated the president, lean- ing over to catch the report Alec gave in an undertone. "Four dollars and ninety-six cents," he announced aloud. "Really we must do better than that." Alec saw Avery and Ralph exchange surprised glances. The president went on repeating his former explanations of their financial difficulties. Alec, still watching, saw Ralph Bently make a move to rise, and Avery's hand was laid [ 123 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence" detainingly on his arm. She was whis- pering and shaking her head; but Ralph was not to be deterred by any remon- strance. He was on his feet, exclaiming: " Mr. President, pardon the interrup- tion. There is some mistake in that re- port! The collection should amount to far more than four dollars and ninety-six cents. Miss Windom alone gave more than that. I saw her drop a five-dollar gold piece into the box." Avery blushed furiously at being called into public notice in such a manner by her impetuous young cousin. Every drop of blood seemed to leave Alec's face for an instant, and then rushed back until it burned a fiery crimson. He was indig- nant that Ralph Bently should have been so wanting in courtesy as to proclaim in [ 124 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence" public the amount of his cousin's dona- tion, the cherished gold piece she had won at the prize contest. And he was deeply mortified to think that he could have made a mistake in counting it. He wondered if he could have been such a fool as to have mistaken the coin for a new penny. What would Avery think of him He turned toward the table, evidently disturbed, and counted the money again. Then he shook his head. "You can see for yourself," he said; "four dollars and ninety-six cents! " The president picked up both boxes, and, turning them upside down over the table, shook them energetically. The secretary shoved back the chair in which the money had been counted, gave it a [ 125 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" tip that would have dislodged any coin left on its smooth plush seat, and peered anxiously round on the floor. " Don't give it another thought, Mr. Stoker, please don't! " exclaimed Avery, going up to him when her attention was called to his worried expression. " I'm sure it has rolled off into some corner and the janitor will find it when he sweeps. I'll speak to him about it. Any- how, it is too small a matter to make such a fuss over. I never should have told Ralph what it was if he hadn't teased me about what I had tied up in the corner of my handkerchief." Then she passed on with a smile. Alec lingered to help collect the hymn- books, and when he passed into the vesti- [ i26 ] Flip's "islands of Providence" bule he heard voices on the outer steps. One of them sounded like Ralph Bently's. " Oh, maybe so! " it exclaimed, with a disagreeable little laugh; " but it's queer how money will stick to some people's fingers." Alec, who was in the act of opening the door to go from the prayer-meeting room into the auditorium of the church for the evening service, paused an instant. He was overwhelmed by the sudden con- viction that he was the person meant. [ 127 ] CHAPTER V. THE next day at noon, after a hurried lunch at the restaurant, Alec stopped at the post-office on his way back to the fac- tory. He wanted to add a few lines to the birthday letter which he had written Philippa the night before. He wrote them standing at the public desk; then, drawing the old wallet from his pocket, he took out the long-cherished gold coin from its wrapping of tissue-paper and dropped it into the envelope. [1 I28 ] _I;III -M Flip's "Islands of Providence" " I'm afraid it isn't safe to send it that way," he said to himself, balancing the letter on two fingers. " It is so heavy that any one could guess what's in it, and it might wear through. I did want her to have it in gold, but I suppose it will be more sensible to send a postal order." After a moment's deliberation, he turned to the window beside the desk, and asked for a money-order blank. Some one came in while he was filling it out, but he was so absorbed in his oc- cupation that he did not look up until he turned to push the slip and the money through the window bars toward the clerk. Then he saw that it was Ralph Bently who stood behind him, flipping a postal order in his fingers, impatient to have it cashed. They exchanged careless [ 129 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " nods, and Alec, sealing his letter, dropped it into the box and hurried back to his wvork. As the outer door swung shut, Bently leaned his arms on the win- dow ledge and spoke to the clerk, who was an intimate friend of his. " Say, Billy," he exclaimed, " let me see that coin that Stoker paid you just now, will you Push it out here a min- ute." "What's up " inquired the clerk, as he complied with the request. " Oh, nothing much. I just wanted to look at the date." As he examined it, he gave a long whistle. " Whe-ew! It's the same. Curious coincidence, I must say! This young brother takes up a collection Sunday night. Avery drops in her five- dollar gold piece that she got as a prize, [ 130 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" you know. Collector turns his back on the meeting to count the money, hands in a report of only four dollars and ninety- six cents. Vows he never saw the gold in the box. A thorough search of the room fails to bring it to light. Nobody can imagine how it disappeared. The next morning he has a coin of the same date to dispose of." "Who is the fellow, anyway" asked the clerk. " That's just it! Who is he Nobody knows. He came here from some little place back in the country several months ago, and went to work in the Downs & Company shoe factory." " If that's the case, why don't you ask your uncle about him He's both the company and the manager in the firm, [ 131 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" isn't he He'd know whether the fellow was to be trusted or not." " I intend to," was the answer; " and say, Billy, if you don't mind, I'll take that coin. Here's its equivalent." He pushed a rustling new bank-note toward his friend. " See me play Sher- lock Holmes now. I always did think I'd make a good detective." " Look out," was the warning reply. "You have only a slim bit of circum- stantial evidence, and it would be hard on the boy to start such a tale if there were no truth in it." With the coin in his pocket, Ralph sauntered down to his uncle's office. It was some time before the busy man could spare time to listen to him. "Well," he said at last, looking up, [ 132 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" pen in hand, " what can I do for you this morning, Ralph " He had always taken a special interest in his sister's only son, and now smiled kindly as he ap- proached. " Oh, nothing, thank you, uncle. I just dropped in to ask you about one of the employees in the factory. Who is this Alec Stoker, and where did he come from " The manager's brow contracted an in- stant in thought. The factory was a large one, and the roll of employees long. " Stoker! Stoker! " he repeated. Then his face cleared. " Ah! He is the nephew of the best salesman we have on the road. Came well recommended from a little town called Ridgeville, I believe. He seems to be a faithful, energetic boy, and [ '33 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" has already pushed up to one promo- tion." " Did any one recommend him besides his uncle " asked Ralph, meaningly. " No, that was sufficient. But you evi- dently have a reason for these inquiries. Do you know anything about him" " No, only- " he shrugged his shoul- ders. " Something happened last night that put me on my guard. Didn't Avery tell you" At the mention of his daughter's name in connection with Ralph's insinuations, Mr. Windom was instantly alert. He laid down his pen. "No, tell me!" he demanded. In as few words as possible, Ralph told of the disappearance of Avery's money from the collection box, and the discov- [ '34 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " ery he had made at the post-office. When he had finished, Mr. Windom shook his head gravely. "You are making a very serious charge, Ralph," he said, " and on very slight provocation. At sixteen one is apt to jump at hasty conclusions. Take the advice of sober sixty, my boy. It is a remarkable coincidence, I admit, but even the common law regards a man as innocent until he is proved guilty, and surely a society that stands for all that the Christian Endeavour does would not fall below the common law in its sense of justice. I'm surprised that its mem- bers should be so quick to whisper sus- picion and point the accusing finger." " Oh, I'm not a member! " Ralph ex- claimed, hastily. " I am perfectly free I 13S ] Flip's "'Islands of Providence " to say what I think. Somehow I've never liked the fellow from the start. He takes so much on himself, and seems to want to push himself in where he doesn't be- long." Mr. Windom, swinging round in his revolving chair toward his desk, picked up his pen again. " Stoker is all right so far as I know," he said. " It would be a very small thing to let a personal dis- like influence you in this." He spoke sternly. Adjusting his eye- glasses, he pulled some papers toward him, and Ralph, feeling that he desired the conversation to close, backed out of the office with a hasty good day. His face flushed at his uncle's implied rebuke, and he resolved that if there was any possible way, he would prove that his suspicion [ 136 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" was right. He stopped at the post-office on his way home, to speak to the clerk again. " Billy," he said, in a confidential tone, "do a favour for me. Just drop a line to the postmaster at that address, will you, and ask him to tell you what he knows about a former resident of that place one Alec Stoker I'm hot on his track now, and I'm going to trace this thing out if it takes all the year." " Found out anything " asked the clerk. " Ask me later," Ralph answered, with a knowing look. " It's a detective's pol- icy to keep mum." So the poison of suspicion began its work. In a few days, the answer came to the clerk's letter. Alec Stoker was [ 137 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" 0. K. so far as the postmaster of Ridge- ville knew. His grandfather had been one of the most highly respected citizens of the place, but -then followed an ac- count of Alec's father. This the self- appointed young detective seized eagerly. " Humph! Thought there was bad blood somewhere! " he exclaimed. He took the report to his uncle, who read it gravely, and dismissed him with a short lecture on the cruelty of repeating such stories to the intentional hurt of a fellow creature. Stung to anger by this addi- tional reproof, Ralph was more deter- mined than before to prove that his sus- picions were correct. He carried the letter to the president of the society, urg- ing investigation. " No! " was the determined answer; [ 138 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " " better lose a thousand times that amount than accuse him falsely. Because his father was dishonest is no proof that he is a thief. Drop it, Bently. Don't put a stumbling-block in the poor fellow's way by spreading such insinuations as that. He seems one of the most earnest and sincere members we ever had in the so- ciety." With a muttered reply about wolves in sheep's clothing, Ralph took his letter to the treasurer and secretary. Meeting the same response from them, he talked the matter over with some of the members, who were more willing to listen than the others, and less conscientious about re- peating their surmises. So the poison spread and the story grew. It came to Alec's ears at last. There is always some [ '39 1 Flip's " Islands of Providence " thoughtless talebearer ready to gather up the arrows of gossip and thrust them into the quivering heart of the victim. Then the matter dropped so far as the society was concerned. Alec simply stayed away. Some there were who never noticed his absence. Some were confirmed in their suspicions by it. Ralph Bently declared that it was proof enough for him that Stoker felt guilty. If nothing was the matter, why should he have dropped out so suddenly when he had pretended all along to be so in- terested in the services and had taken such an active part in them The president, noting his absence, promised himself to look him up some- time, but such promises, never finding definite dates, are never fulfilled. The [ 140 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " member of the visiting committee who had called on Alec during his illness, and was really interested in him, started to call again. Something interrupted him, however, and he eased his conscience, which kept whispering that it was his duty to go, by sending him one of the printed invitations they always sent to strangers, cordially urging a regular at- tendance at the meetings. Then the society went selfishly on in its old channels, unmindful of the young life set adrift again in a sea of doubt and dis- couragement, with no hand held out to draw it back from the peril of shipwreck. The despairing mood that had settled down on Alec during the summer seized him again. He would work doggedly on during the day, thinking of Flip and his [ '4' 1 Flip's "Islands of Providence" Aunt Eunice, and feeling that for their sakes he must stick bravely at it. There was no other position open to him. But it was almost intolerable staying in a town where people not only knew of his father's disgrace, but pointed accusing fingers at him. His sensitiveness on the subject made him grow more and more morbid. He brooded over it until he imagined that every one who happened to glance steadily in his direction must be saying, inwardly, " Like father, like son." He knew that Ralph Bently had gone to Mr. Windom with his information. The talebearer had given him an exag- gerated account of the interview. He felt that there was no longer any use for him to hope the manager would ever [ 142 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence raise him to the position of his trusted assistant, no matter how thoroughly he might learn the details of the business. For that reason he studied the newspa- pers for the advertisements of help wanted. He intended to make a change at the first opportunity. Once, crossing a street, he met the Windom carriage coming toward him. Avery, fair and gracious beside her mother, was bowing to an acquaintance. He started forward eagerly. He had not seen her since the last night he at- tended church, but the picture of her pure, sweet face, upturned like a white flower as she listened to the service, had been with him ever since. It had come before him many an evening when, with head bowed on his hands, he had leaned [ '43 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " over the little table in his room, gazing intently into vacancy; it had laid a de- taining hand on him when he would have flung out of the house in his des- peration, in search of some diversion to keep him from brooding over his fate. Now they were almost face to face. Forgetting everything but his pleasure in seeing her once more, and remembering her smiling greetings in the past, his hand went up involuntarily toward his hat; but he stopped half-way, for, turning toward her mother just then, she called her attention to something on the other side of the street. "Just what I might have expected!" muttered Alec, thinking she purposely avoided him. His teeth were set and his face white with mortification. But in [ 144 ] " HIS HAND WENTr UP INVOLUNTARILY TOWARD HIS HAT." 11 7' This page in the original text is blank. Flip's "Islands of Providence " his heart he had not expected it. He had taken a vague comfort in the thought that she would believe in his innocence, no matter who else doubted. She had insisted so kindly on his never giving the lost money another thought. If there had been only one accusation to deny, he could have gone to her with that, he thought. He would have com- pelled her to believe his innocence by the very force of his earnestness. But the knowledge of the accusation against his father silenced him. " Hello! You nearly knocked me down, Stoker. Where are you going" It was one of the factory boys who asked the question, and Alec, hurrying down the street with unseeing eyes, became suddenly aware that he had run against [' 47 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" some one who had caught him by the arm, and was laughingly shaking him to make him answer. " Where are you go- ing " "Oh, I don't know, and I don't care," was the reckless answer. "All right, come along if you want good company," was the joking reply, and the other boy, slipping his arm in Alec's, turned his steps to a corner where a jolly crowd were waiting for him to join them. After that there were no more lonely evenings for Alec, when he sat with bowed head beside his table, staring into vacancy. He should have had another promotion in March. Alec felt that he was proficient enough to be advanced, and he told himself bitterly that the rea- [ 148 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" son he was not was because the manager mistrusted him. It was true that the manager did dis- trust him. Not on account of the sus- picions which Ralph Bently had sowed broadcast, but because. made doubly watchful by the hint, he discovered how Alec was spending his evenings. Al- though the work in the factory was done as well as ever, he knew that no one could keep the company and late hours that Alec did and not fall short of the high standard he had set for the one who was ultimately to become his assistant. The months slipped slowly by. Phi- lippa wrote that the garden was gay with spring crocuses and snowdrops; then that Ridgeville had never been such a bower of roses as it was that June. But to Alec [ 149 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" the months were marked only by his little winnings and little losings. There came a time in the early au- tumn when Alec crept up the creaking stairs to his room, haggard and pale in the gray light of the breaking dawn. He had been out all night and lost not only all the money he had put away in the bank, the savings of seven endless months, but he was in debt for a greater sum than all his next month's salary would amount to. Heavy-eyed and dizzy from the long hours spent in the close little gambling den, reeking with stifling tobacco smoke, Alec dragged himself to his room. After he had closed the door, he stood leaning with his back against it for a moment. He was facing two pictures that gazed at him from the mantel: One was the [ 5so ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" patient, wistful face of his Aunt Eunice; the other was Philippa's, looking straight out at him with such honest, sincere eyes, such eager questioning, that he could not meet their clear gaze. He strode across the room and turned both faces to the wall. Then, without undressing, he threw himself on the bed with a groan. He was late reaching the factory that morning, for he fell asleep at once into a sleep of exhaustion, so deep that the usual sounds did not arouse him. As it was his first offence, the foreman passed it by in silence; but, faint from lack of food (there had been no time for break- fast), worn by the excitement and high nervous tension of the night before, he was in no condition to do his work. He made one mistake after another, until, [ is' ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" made more nervous by repeated accidents both to the material and machinery he was handling, he made a blunder too seri- ous to pass without a report to the man- ager. It involved the loss of considerable money to the company. " You'll be lucky if that mistake doesn't give you your walking papers," said the foreman. " You'll hear from it at the end of the month." If there had been only himself to con- sider, Alec would have welcomed his dis- missal, but there was Flip and his Aunt Eunice. How they believed in him! How proud they were of him! Not for worlds would he have them know how far he had fallen short of their ideal of him. So for their sakes he waited in feverish anxiety to know the result. [ 152 ] CHAPTER VI. IT was a rainy Sunday afternoon. A few lumps of coal burned in the dingy grate in Alec's room. He had slept for several hours, had finished reading his last library book, and now, as he clasped his hands behind his head, yawning la- zily, he remembered that he had not writ- ten home for two weeks. Letter-writing had become a dreaded task now. What was there to tell them of himself that he cared for them to know Only that he [ 153 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " worked from seven until six, ate, slept, and rose to work again with the dreary monotony of a machine. For seven months he had not been in- side a church door. The only people he met now were the workmen at the fac- tory and the boys with whom he spent his evenings. He could not mention them. Long ago he had exhausted his descriptions of the city. There was noth- ing for him to write but that he was well and busy, and to fill up the pages with questions about the people at home. It taxed his ingenuity sometimes to evade Flip's straightforward questions, and he often thought that his letters had an in- sincere ring. "I wonder what they are doing at home now! " he exclaimed, looking [ '54 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence" thoughtfully into the coals. " It's just a year ago to-day that I left. I can't imagine them living in the new house. It's always the old sitting-room I see when I think of them. Mack is probably down on the hearth-rug, popping corn or roasting apples, and Flip's curled up in the chimney-seat, telling him stories. And Aunt Eunice -I know what she's doing; what she always does Sunday evening just at this time, when the twi- light begins to fall. She has gone into her room and shut the door and knelt down by the big red rocking-chair that we used to be rocked to sleep in. And she's praying for us this very minute, and doesn't know that the dust is half an inch thick on my Bible, and that a prayer [ '55 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " hasn't passed my lips since last February. Dear old Aunt Eunice! " An ache clutched his throat as he thought of her, and a tender mood, such as he had not knowvn for weeks, rushed warm across him. One after another the old scenes rose up before him, until an overwhelming longing to see the wvell- known faces made the homesick tears start to his eyes. The twilight shadows deepened in the room, but, lost in the rush of tender mem- ories, he forgot everything save the pic- tures th'at seemed to rise before him out of the glowing embers in the grate. In the midst of his reverie, there was a noise on the stairs -a familiar noise, although he had not heard it for months, a tread [ iS6 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" and a double tap, as if a foot and two canes were coming up the steps. "Old Jimmy Scott!" thought Alec, looking round as if awakening from a dream and discovering that the room was nearly dark; he stirred the fire until it burst into cheerful flames. " Well! " he exclaimed, cordially, throwing open the door in answer to old Jimmy's knock, " of all people! Did you rain down Here I sat in the dumps, feeling that I hadn't a friend in the town. Come in! Come in!" He pulled a chair hospitably toward the grate for his guest, and put another lump of coal on the fire. " Knew you'd be surprised to see me a day like this," said the old soldier, thrusting his foot toward the blaze; [ 157 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " "but I've been intending to look you up for some time. Kind o' had a draw- ing in this direction. Thinks I, when I felt it, wonder if he's sick and needs me. When I have feelings like that, I usually pay attention to 'em." They talked of various things for the next quarter of an hour; of the weather, the new city hall, the approaching elec- tions; but they were both ill at ease. It seemed to Alec that the old man's heart was not in the conversation; that he was only trying to pave the way to some other topic. Finally a pause fell between them. Alec rose to put another lump of coal on the fire, and old Jimmy, looking round the room, noticed the two photographs on the mantel with their faces turned to the wall. He knew well enough whose [ 158 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence pictures they were. During Alec's con- valescence he had studied them many a time while he listened to the homesick boy's enthusiastic description of his sis- ter and the aunt who had been like a mother to him. As Alec took his chair again, he saw the old man's surprised glance at the pic- tures. Then their eyes met. Alec flushed guiltily. " Something's wrong, boy," said old Jimmy, tenderly. " I knew it. That's why I felt moved to come. Seemed as if the Lord put it in my heart that I must. There's special services going on at Grace Church this week. Something in the evangelist's sermon this morning made me feel that I'd got to speak to somebody before nightfall -stir up somebody to [ I.59 I Flip's "Islands of Providence " a better life -or I'd be held account- able. Then all of a sudden I began to think of you, so I came up to ask if you wouldn't go to hear him to-night. But I see now that it's more than an invita- tion to church you need. You're in trou- ble, or you never would have done that." He nodded toward the pictures. " What is it" Alec hesitated a minute, and old Jimmy, reaching over, laid a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. Something in the friendly touch brought a swift rush of tears to Alec's eyes. He was so homesick and lonely, and it seemed so good to have some one to talk with who was really in- terested in him. Dropping his face in his hands and leaning forward with his el- [ i6o ] "HE BLURTED OUT HIS TROUBLE IN BROKEN SENTENCES." This page in the original text is blank. Flip's "Islands of Providence " bows on his knees, he blurted out his trouble in broken sentences. He told the whole story, beginning with the missing coin; Ralph Bently's insinuations and subsequent endeavour to fasten suspicion on him; the disclo- sure of his father's disgrace; the gossip that had caused him to drop out of the society and church, where he felt that he was no longer wanted. Finally the habits he had fallen into, and the money he had lost, and the foreman's prophecy of his discharge from the factory at the end of the month. " I tried to do right," he said in con- clusion. " I had tried all my life. I joined the church when I was no older than Mack, and I lived just as straight as I knew how. But after that-when [ i63 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" every one cut me -it didn't seem as if it was any use. I just lost faith in every- thing and gave up trying. I used to be- lieve in Aunt Eunice's idea of the eternal goodness. It made me feel so safe, some- how, to think that, no matter what hap- pened, we could never "1 ' Drift beyond His love and care.' That He had set islands for us to come across at every turn. You know. You remember that little map I made when I was getting well. One of the islands was named for you, and one was the Isle of Roses, because those flowers the Chris- tian Endeavour society sent seemed to put new courage into me, and led to the acquaintances and friendships that helped me so much while I had them. "But I've lost that feeling now. I'm [ i64 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" cut loose from everything, and you don't know how terribly adrift I feel. I'm just whirled along from day to day, till I've almost come to the place it tells about in Job, where there's nothing left to do but ' curse God and die.'" As he paused, old Jimmy's voice broke in with hearty cheerfulness, "Why, bless you, my boy, you're all in a fog. And do you know the reason You haven't the right Pilot aboard any more. "The ' islands ' are all round you, just the same, put there on purpose for you, but you let the devil get his hand at the wheel, and he keeps you steered away from 'em. You say you stopped praying That very moment he got aboard and took possession. You quit trusting the Lord the instant you got into deep water. [ I65 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence" "You made a mistake when you let anybody's gossip run you out of the church or the society. You ought to have stayed and lived it down! That's the only thing for you to do now; go back and begin again and make people believe in your innocence. It will be hard for you, and powerfully awkward, for you have more than your share of pride and sensitiveness, but it's the only manly thing to do." "Oh, I couldn't go back! " groaned Alec. " I believe I'd rather die first. If it had only been what they said about me, I might have done it, but I couldn't face what they'd continually be thinking about my father. I could never live that down." "Yes, you can! If you'll only put F i66 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" yourself entirely in the Lord's hands, He'll furnish the strength for you to do whatever is right. You've come to a crisis, Alec Stoker. You've got to fight it out right now, which is to have control of the rest of your life, God or the devil." There was a long silence. Presently, in a voice choked with emotion, the old man said, " Kneel down, son; I want to pray with you." Together they knelt in the darkening room. For a long time after old Jimmy took his leave, Alec sat gazing into the flick- ering fire, as the room grew dimmer and dimmer. Then, urged on by some im- pulse almost beyond his control, he slipped on his overcoat and hurried out into the street. When he reached the vestibule at the side door of the church, [I67 j Flip's "Islands of Providence" he stood a moment with his hand on the latch. His courage had suddenly failed him. He would go back home and wait until another time, he told himself. The service must be nearly over. But just then some one struck a few soft chords on the piano, and a full, clear voice began to sing. It was Avery's voice, and she sang with all the pleading earnestness of a prayer: "Jesus, Saviour, pilot me Over life's tempestuous sea Unknown waves before me roll, Hiding rock and treacherous shoal Chart and compass come from thee Jesus, Saviour, pilot me." Out in the darkness, the storm-tossed, homesick boy stood listening, till his whole soul seemed to go out in that one [ i.68 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence" cry, " Jesus, Saviour, pilot me! " It was a complete surrender of self, and as he whispered the words a peace that he had never known before, a great peace he could not understand, seemed to fold him safe in its keeping. As the last words of the song died away, he opened the door and walked in. If there was surprise on the faces of many, he did not see it. If it was a de- parture from the usual custom, he never stopped to consider it. The evangelist who had charge of the service stood for a final word of exhortation, asking if there were not many who could make that song their own, and offer it as a prayer of con- secration. It was never quite clear to Alec after- ward just what he said then. But as he [ 169 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " told of the struggle he had just been through, and in broken sentences made a public confession of his faith, eyes grew dim, and hearts already touched by the song were strangely thrilled and stirred. Afterward the members came crowding round him with a warm welcome, and he carried away with him the remembrance of many a hearty hand-clasp. One of them was Mr. Windom's. He rarely at- tended the young people's meetings, and to-night had come only to hear his daugh- ter sing. If he had had any misgivings as to the'boy's sincerity of purpose be- fore, every doubt was cleared away as he listened to his manly confession of faith, and looked into his happy face, almost transformed with the hope that illumi- nated it. [ 170 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence " It was Thanksgiving Day. Alec, home on his first vacation, stood in front of the open fire, watching Philippa set the table for their little feast. He had talked late the night before, and told of the many changes that had taken place during the last two months. He was in the office now, and his salary had been raised suffi- ciently to enable him to take a room in a comfortable boarding-house. Since his conversion, Mr. Windom had taken sev- eral occasions to show Alec that he trusted him implicitly. Radiant in her joy at having her brother home again, Philippa kept break- ing into little snatches of song whenever there was a pause in the conversation. She thought she had never known such a happy Thanksgiving. [ 17' ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" "How nice and homelike it all is!," Alec exclaimed, sniffing the savoury odours that rushed in from the kitchen, of turkey and mince turnovers, whenever Aunt Eunice opened the oven door. "And how good it seems to hear you singing like that, Flip! " " Do you remember the day you told me that it set your teeth on edge to hear me singing that hymn " asked Philippa, laughingly. "Yes, but that was because I was all out of tune myself. Everything is differ- ent now.- Since I've given up trying to do my own piloting, it seems to me that I come across one of His ' islands' nearly every day." As he spoke, Macklin came running up on the porch, stamping the snow from his feet, and burst into the [ 172 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" house, his cheeks as red as winter apples. "Here's a letter for you, Alecl " he cried. "Where's my hammer, Flip I want to crack some of those nuts we gath- ered on purpose for to-day." She brought him the hammer, and he hurried away. Alec was turning the dainty blue envelope over in his hands. The address was written in the same hand as the card which had come nearly a year ago with the Christian Endeavour roses. He tore open the envelope, glanced at the monogram, then down the page, and turned to Philippa with a long-drawn whistle. "I wish you'd listen to this!" he exclaimed. [ 173 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" "DEAR MR. STOKER: - I am writing this in the hope that it wvill reach you on Thanksgiving Day. You have suffered so much on account of that miserable gold piece of mine, it is only fair that you should have this explanation at once. " This afternoon Miss Cornish and I went to the church to practise a new song that I am to sing at the Thanksgiving service. She was to play my accompani- ments. The side door of the church was open, for the florist was decorating the altar, so we did not need to use the min- ister's latch-key, which we had borrowed for the occasion. We practised for some time, and then sat and talked until it was almost dark. When we started home, we found to our dismay that the janitor, thinking we had gone, had double-locked [ '74 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" the door for the night with his big key. Our little latch-key was then of no use. " We called and pounded until we were desperate. I had an engagement for dinner, and could not afford to lose any time. Finally we went into the prayer-meeting room, and found that we could open one of the panes in the great stained-glass window at the side. Miss Cornish climbed up on one of those old pulpit chairs that the officers use, and said that if she could lean out through the pane, she would call to the first one who passed, and ask him to bring the jan- itor to our release. " But some way, in climbing, Miss Cor- nish caught her high heel in the plush with which the seat is upholstered. The goods is frayed and old. The chair [ '75 ] Flip's "Islands of Providence" tipped, and they both came to the floor with a bang. Just as I sprang to catch her, something bright and round rolled out of the chair toward me and dropped right at my feet. " It was that unlucky gold coin, which must have slipped under the plush in some way when you counted the money on it that night. " It was so late when we were finally rescued that I could not keep my dinner engagement. I am glad for one reason; it gives me time to write this now. I know thit it will make your Thanksgiv- ing brighter to know this, and I am sure that it is needless for me to say that I never for an instant connected the disap- pearance of the coin with you in any way. I regret extremely the silly gossip that [ 176 ] "'IT WAS THAT UNLUCKY COLD COIN.' This page in the original text is blank. Flip's "Islands of Providence" wounded you so sorely, and want to tell you how much I respect the manly way in which you have since met and an- swered it. " Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving with your family, I am Sincerely your friend, " AVERY WINDOM." Philippa, watching his face as he read, came up to him when he had finished, and put a hand on each shoulder. " Alec," she said, with the straightfor- wardness of sixteen, " that means a lot to you, doesn't it, that she should write that she is 'sincerely your friend '" " Yes," he answered, honestly; " a very great deal." "Do you suppose it would stand in the [ 179 ] Flip's " Islands of Providence " way, sometime, when you are older, you know, and have made a place for your- self in the world, her knowing about about father " " I don't know, Flip," he answered, slowly; "I've often wondered about that." Through the open door came Aunt Eunice's voice, singing jubilantly: III know not what the future hath Of marvel or surprise, Assured alone that life and death His mercy underlies." "How that old hymn answers every- thing!" Alec said, softly. "No matter what lies ahead, it's all right now. God's at the helm, little sister! I shall find all the ' islands' he has set for me." THE END. [ I80 ] COSY CORNER SERIES It is the intention of the publishers that this series shall contain only the very highest and purest literature, - stories that shall not only appeal to the children them- selves, but be appreciated by all those who feel with them in their joys and sorrows. The numerous illustrations in each book are by well- known artists, and each volume has a separate attrac- tive cover design. Each I vol., i6mo, cloth e . 0.50 By ABAVNE FELL 0 WS JOHzSlIVN The Little Colonel. (Trade Mark.) The scene of this story is laid in Kentucky. Its hero- ine is a small girl, who is known as the Little Colonel, on account of her fancied resemblance to an old-school Southern gentleman, whose fine estate and old family are famous in the region. The Giant Scissors. This is the story of Joyce and of her adventures in France. Joyce is a great friend of the Little Colonel, and in later volumes shares with her the delightful ex- periences of the " House Party " and the "1 Holidays." Two Little Knights of Kentucky. WHO WERE THE LITTLE COLONEL'S NEIGHBORS. In this volume the Little Colonel returns to us like an old friend, but with added grace and charm. She is not, however, the central figure of the story, that place being taken by the " two little knights." Mildred's Inheritance. A delightful little story of a lonely English girl who comes to America and is befriended by a sympathetic American family who are attracted by her beautiful speaking voice. By means of this one gift she is en- abled to help a school-girl who has temporarily lost the use of her eyes, and thus finally her life becomes a busy, happy one. B-I L. C. PAGE AND COMPANY'S By ANNIE FELLOWS JOHNSTON (Continued) Cicely and Other Stories for Girls. The readers of Mrs. Johnston's charming juveniles will be glad to learn of the issue of this volume for young people. Aunt 'Liza's Hero and Other Stories. A collection of six bright little stories, which will appeal to all boys and most girls. Big Brother. A story of two boys. The devotion and care of Steven, himself a small boy, for his baLy brother, is the theme of the simple tale. Ole Mammy's Torment. "Ole Mammy's Torment" has been fitly called "1a classic of Southern life." It relates the haps and mis- haps of a small negro lad, and tells how he was led by love and kindness to a knowledge of the right. The Story of Dago. In this story Mrs. Johnston relates the story of Dago, a pet monkey, owned jointly by two brothers. Dago tells his owvn story, and the account of his haps and mis- haps is both interesting and amusing. The Quilt That Jack Built. A pleasant little story of a boy's labor of love, and how it changed the course of his life many years after it was accomplished. Flip's Islands of Providence. A story of a boy's life battle, his early defeat, and his final triumph, well worth the reading. B-2 COSY CORNER SERIES By EDITH ROBINSON A Little Puritan's First Christmas. A story of Colonial times in Boston, telling how Christmas was invented by Betty Sewall, a typical child of the Puritans, aided by her brother Sam. A Little Daughter of Liberty. The author's motive for this story is well indicated by a quotation from her introduction, as follows: "1 One ride is memorable in the early history of the American Revolution, the well-known ride of Paul Revere. Equally deserving of commendation is another ride, - the ride of Anthony Severn, - which was no less historic in its action or memorable in its consequences." A Loyal Littiei Maid. A delightful and interesting story of Revolutionary days, in which the child heroine, Betsey Schuyler, renders important services to George Washington. A Little Puritan Rebel. This is an historical taie of a real girl, during the time when the gallant Sir Harry Vane was governor of Massachusetts. A Little Puritan Pioneer. The scene of this story is laid in the Puritan settlement at Charlestown. The little girl heroine adds another to the list of favorites so well known to the young people. A Little Puritan Bound Girl. A story of Boston in Puritan days, which is of great interest to youthful readers. A Little Puritan Cavalier. The story of a "i Little Puritan Cavalier" who tried with all his boyish enthusiasm to emulate the spirit and ideals of the dead Crusaders 3-a L. C. PAGE AND COMPANY'S By OUIDA (Louise de la Ratle) A Dog of Flanders: A CHRISTMAS STORY. Too well and favorably known to require description. The Nurnberg Stove. This beautiful story has never before been published at a popular price. By FRANCES MARGARET FOX The Little Giant's Neighbours. A charming nature story of a ,little giant" whose neighbours were the creatures of the field and garden. Farmer Brown and the Birds. A little story which teaches children that the birds are man's best friends. Betty of Old Mackinaw. A charming story of child-life, appealing especially to the little readers who like stories of "real people." Brother Billy. The story of Betty's brother, and some further ad- ventures of Betty herself. Mother-Nature's Little Ones. Curious little sketches describing the early lifetime, or " childhood," of the little creatures out-of-doors. How Christmas Came to the Mul- vaneys. A bright, lifelike little story of a family of poor chil- dren, with an unlimited capacity for fun and mischief. The wonderful never-to-be forgotten Christmas that came to them is the climax of a series of exciting inci- dents. B-A COS Y CORNER SERIES By MISS MULOCK The Little Lame Prince. A delightful story of a little boy who has many ad- ventures by means of the magic gifts of his fairy god- mother. Adventures of a Brownie. The story of a household elf who torments the cook and gardener, but is a constant joy and delight to the children who love and trust him. His Little Mother. Miss Mulock's short stories for children are a constant source of delight to them, and "m His Little Mother," in this new and attractive dress, will be welcomed by hosts of youthful readers. Little Sunshine's Holiday. An attractive story of a summer outing. "1 Little Sun- shine " is another of those beautiful child-characters for which Miss Mulock is so justly famous. By MARSHALL SAUNDERS For His Country. A sweet and graceful story of a little boy who loved his country; written with that charm which has endeared Miss Saunders to hosts of readers. Nita, the Story of an Irish Setter. In this touching little book, Miss Saunders shows how dear to her heart are all of God's dumb creatures. Alpatok, the Story of an Eskimo Dog. Alpatok, an Eskimo dog from the far north, was stolen from his master and left to starve in a strange city, but was befriended and cared for, until he was able to re- turn to his owner. B-5 L. C. PAGE AND COMPANY'S By WILL ALLEN DROMGOOLE The Farrier's Dog and His Fellow. This story, written by the gifted young Southern woman, will appeal to all that is best in the natures of the many admirers of her graceful and piquant style. The Fortunes of the Fellow. Those who read and enjoyed the pathos and charm of " The Farrier's Dog and His Fellow" will welcome the further account of the adventures of Baydaw and the Fellow at the home of the kindly smith. The Best of Friends. This continues the experiences of the Farrier's dog and his Fellow, written in Miss Dromgoole's well-known charming style. Down in Dixie. A fascinating story for boys and girls, of a family of Alabama children who move to Florida and grow tup in the South. By MARIAN W. WILDMAN Loyalty Island. An account of the adventures of four children and their pet dog on an island, and how they cleared their brother from the suspicion of dishonesty. Theodore and Theodora. This is a story of the exploits and mishaps of two mis chievous twins, and continues the adventures of the interesting group of children in " Loyalty Island." U-6 COSY CORNER SERIES By CHARLES G. D. ROBERTS The Cruise of the Yacht Dido. The story of two boys who turned their yacht into a fishing boat to earn money to pay for a college course, and of their adventures while exploring in search of hidden treasure. The Lord of the Air THE STORY OF THE EAGLE The King of the Mamozekel THE STORY OF THE MOOSE The Watchers of the Camp-fire THE STORY OF THE PANTHER The Haunter of the Pine Gloom THE STORY OF THE LYNX The Return to the Trails THE STORY OF THE BEAR The Little People of the Sycamore THE STORY OF THE RACCOON By OTHER A UTHORS The Great Scoop. By MOLLY ELLIOT SEA WELL A capital tale of newspaper life in a big city, and of a bright, enterprising, likable youngster employed thereon. John Whopper. The late Bishop Clark's popular story of the boy who fell through the earth and came out in China, with a new introduction by Bishop Potter. B-7 L. C. PAGE AND COMPANY The Dole Twins. By KA TE UPSOA' CLARK The adventures of two little people who tried to earn money to buy crutches for a lame aunt. An excellent description of child-life about 1812, which will greatly interest and amuse the children of to-day, whose life is widely different. Larry Hudson's Ambition. By JAZZES OTZfS author of ",TobyTyler," etc. Larry Hudson is a typical American boy, whose hard work and enterprise gain him his ambition, - an educa- tion and a start in the world The Little Christmas Shoe. By JANE P. SCOTT WOODRUFF A touching story of Yule-tide. Wee Dorothy. By LAURA UPDEGRAFF A story of two orphan children, the tender devotion of the eldest, a boy, for his sister being its theme and setting. With a bit of sadness at the beginning, the story is otherwise bright and sunny, and altogether wholesome in every way. The King of the Golden River: A LECGEND OF STIRIA. By JOHN RUSKIN Written fifty years or more ago, and not originally intended for publication, this little fairy-tale soon be- came known and made a place for itself. A Child's Garden of Verses. By L. R. STEVENSON Mr. Stevenson's little volume is too well known to need description. B-8 THE GOLDENROD LIBRARY The Goldenrod Library contains stories which appeal alike both to children and to their parents and guardians. Each volume is well illustrated from drawings by competent artists, which, together with their handsomely decorated uniform binding, showing the goldenrod, usually considered the emblem of America, is a feature of their manufacture. Each one volume, small 12mo, illustratcd, O-35 LIST OF TITLES Aunt Nabby's Children. By Frances Hodges White. Child's Dream of a Star, The. By Charles Dickens. Flight of Rosy Dawn, The. By Pauline Bradford Mackie. Findelkind. By Ouida. Fairy of the Rhone, The. By A. Comyns Carr. Gatty and 1. By Frances E. Crompton, Great Emergency, A. By Juliana Horatia Ewing. Helena's Wonderworld. By Frances Hodges Whitc. Jackanapes. By Juliana Horatia Ewing. Jerry's Reward. By Evelyn Snead Barnett. La Belle Nivernaise. By Alphonse. Daudet. Little King Davie. By Nellie Hellis. Little Peterkin Vandike. By Charles Stuart Pratt. Little Professor, The. By Ida Horton Cash. Peggy's Trial. By Mary Knight Potter. Prince Yellowtop. By Kate Whiting Patch. Provence Rose, A. By Ouida. Rab and His Friends. By Dr. John Brown. Seventh Daughter, A. By Grace Wickham Curran. Sleeping Beauty, The. By Martha Baker Dunn. Small, Small Child, A. By E. Livingston Prescott. Story of a Short Life, The. By Juliana Horatia Ewing Susanne. By Frances J. Delano. Water People, The. By Charles Lee Sleight. Young Archer, The. By Charles E. Brimblecom. B-9 THE LITTLE COUSIN SERIES The most delightful and interesting accounts possible of child-life in other lands, filled with quaint sayings, doings, and adventures. Each I vol., 12mo, decorative cover, cloth, with six or more full-page illustrations in color. Price per volume so 6o Ry MARY HAZELTON WADE (unless otherwise indicated) Our Little African Cousin Our Little Armenian Cousin Our Little Brown Cousin Our Little Canadian Cousin By Elizabeth R. Macdonald Our Little Chinese Cousin By Isaac Taylor Headland Our Little Cuban Cousin Our Little Dutch Cousin By Blanche McManus Our Little English Cousin By Blanche McManus Our Little Eskimo Cousin Our Little French Cousin By Blanche McManus Our Little German Cousin Our Little Hawaiian Cousin Our Little Indian Cousin Our Little Irish Cousin Our Little Italian Cousin B-1o Our Little Japanese Cousin Our Little Jewish Cousin Our Little Korean Cousin By H. Lee M. Pike Our Little Mexican Cousin By Edward C. Butler Our Little Norwegian Cousin Our Little Panama Cousin By II. Lee M. Pike Our Little Philippine Cousin Our Little Porto Rican Cousin Our Little Russian Cousin Our Little Scotch Cousin By Blanche McManus Our Little Siamese Cousin Our Little Spanish Cousin By Mary F. Nixon - Roulet Our Little Swedish Cousin By Claire M. Coburn Our Little Swiss Cousin Our Little Turkish Cousin BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE THE LITTLE COLONEL BOOKS (Trade Mark) By ANNIE FELLO WS JOHNSTON Each i vol., large 12mo, cloth decorative, per vol 1.50 The Little Colonel Stories. (Trade Mark) Illustrated. Being three "' Little Colonel" stories in the Cosy Corner Series, " The Little Colonel," T; 7wo Little Knights of Kentucky," and "x The Giant Scissors," put into a single volume. The Little Colonel's House Party. (Trade Mark) Illustrated by Louis Meynell. The Little Colonel's Holidays. (Trade Mark) Illustrated by L. J. Bridgman. The Little Colonel's Hero. (Trade Mark) Illustrated by E. B. Barry. The Little Colonel at Boarding (Trade Mark) School. Illustrated by E. B. Barry. The Little Colonel in Arizona. (Trade Mark) Illustrated by E. B. Barry. The Little Colonel's Christmas Va- (Trade Mark) cation. Illustrated by E. B. Barry. The Little Colonel, Maid of Honour. (Trade Mark) Illustrated by E. B. Barry. B-11 L. C. PAGE AND COMPANY'S The Little Colonel. (Trade Mark) Two Little Knights of Kentucky. The Giant Scissors. Special Holiday Editions Each one volume, cloth decorative, small quarto, 1 .25 New plates, handsomely illustrated, with eight full- page drawings in color. " There are no brighter or better stories for boys and girls than these."-Chicago Record-Herald. " The books are as satisfactory to the small girls, who find them adorable, as for the mothers and librarians, who delight in their influence."-Christian Register. These three volumes, boxed as a three-volume set to complete the library edition of The Little Colonel books, 3-75. In the Desert of Waiting: THE LEGEND OF CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN. The Three Weavers: A FAIRY TALE FOR FATHERS AND MOTHERS AS WELL AS FOR THEIR DAUGHTERS. Keeping Tryst. Each one volume, tall i6mo, cloth decorative. 0.50 Paper boards. . . . . . . .35 There has -been a constant demand for publication in separate form of these three stories, which were orig- inally included in three of the "' Little Colonel" books. Joel: A Boy of Galilee. By ANNIE FEL- LOWS JOHNSTON. Illustrated by L. J. Bridgman. New illustrated edition, uniform with the Little Colonel Books, I vol., large i2mo, cloth decorative, 1 .50 A story of the time of Christ, which is one of the author's best-known books, and which has been trans- lated into many languages, the last being Italian. B-12 BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE Asa Holmes; OR, AT THE CROSS-ROADS. A sketch of Country Life anE, Country Humor. By ANNIE FELLOWS JOHNSTON With a frontispiece by Ernest Fosbery, Large i6mo, cloth, gilt top . 1.00 1, Asa Holmes , or, At the Cross-Roads' is the most de- lightful, most sympathetic and wholesome book that has been published in a long while. The lovable, cheerful, touch- ing incidents, the descriptions of persons and things, are wonderfully true to nature."-Boston Times. The Rival Campers; OR, THE ADVENTURES OF HENRY BURNS. By RUEL P. SMITH. Square 12MO, cloth decorative, illustrated by A. B. Shute . . . . . 1.50 Here is a book which will grip and enthuse every boy reader. It is the story of a party of typical Amer- ican lads, courageous, alert, and athletic, who spend a summer camping on an island off the Maine coast. "i The best boys' book since i Tom Sawyer." ' -Sax Fran- cisco Examiner. "1 Henry Burns, the hero, is the 'Tom Brown' of Amer- ica." - N. Y. Sun. The Rival Campers Afloat; OR, THE PRIZE YACHT VIKING. By RUEL P SMITH, author of " The Rival Campers." Square .2mo, cloth decorative, illustrated 1.50 This book is a continuation of the adventures of "The Rival Campers" on their prize yacht Viking. Every reader will be enthusiastic over the adventures of Henry Burns and his friends on their sailing trip. They have a splendid time, fishing, racing, and sailing, until an accidental collision results in a series of ex- citing adventures, culminating in a mysterious chase, the loss of their prize yacht, and its recapture by means of their old yacht, Surprise, which they raise from its watery grave. B-13 L. C. PAGE AND COMPANY'S The Young Section-hand; OR, THE AD- VENTURES OF ALLAN WEST. By BURTON E STEV- ENSON, author of " The Marathon Mystery," etc. I2mo, cloth, illustrated by L. J. Bridgman . 1.50 Mr. Stevenson's hero is a manly lad of sixteen, who is given a chance as a section-hand on a big Western railroad, and whose experiences are as real as they are thrilling. "d It appeals to every boy of enterprising spirit, and at the same time teaches him some valuable lessons in honor, pluck, and perseverance." - Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Young Train Despatcher. By BUR- TON E. STEVENSON, author of "1 The Young Section- hand," etc. Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated . 1.50 A new volume in the "1 Railroad Series," in which the young section-hand is promoted to a train despatcher. Another branch of railroading is presented, in which the young hero has many chances to prove his manli- ness and courage in the exciting adventures which be- fall him in the discharge of his duty. Jack Lorimer. By WINN STANDISH. Square 12mo, cloth decorative. Illustrated by A. B. Shute . . . . . . . 1.50 Jack Lorinitr, whose adventures have for some time been one of the leading features of the Boston Sunday Herald, is the popular favorite of fiction with the boys and girls of New England, and, now that Mr. Standish has made him the hero of his book, he will soon be a favorite throughout the country. Jack is a fine example of the all-around American high-school boy. He has the sturdy qualities boys ad- mire, and his fondness for clean, honest sport of all kinds will strike a chord of sympathy among athletic old youths. B-14