This etext was created by Judith Boss, Omaha, Nebraska.
THE YATES PRIDE
MARY E. WILKINS FREEMAN
THE YATES PRIDE
Opposite Miss Eudora Yates's old colonial mansion was the perky
modern Queen Anne residence of Mrs. Joseph Glynn. Mrs. Glynn had
a daughter, Ethel, and an unmarried sister, Miss Julia
Esterbrook. All three were fond of talking, and had many callers
who liked to hear the feebly effervescent news of Wellwood. This
afternoon three ladies were there: Miss Abby Simson, Mrs. John
Bates, and Mrs. Edward Lee. They sat in the Glynn sitting-room,
which shrilled with treble voices as if a flock of sparrows had
The Glynn sitting-room was charming, mainly because of the
quantity of flowering plants. Every window was filled with them,
until the room seemed like a conservatory. Ivy, too, climbed
over the pictures, and the mantel-shelf was a cascade of
wandering Jew, growing in old china vases.
"Your plants are really wonderful, Mrs. Glynn," said Mrs. Bates,
"but I don't see how you manage to get a glimpse of anything
outside the house, your windows are so full of them."
"Maybe she can see and not be seen," said Abby Simson, who had a
quick wit and a ready tongue.
Mrs. Joseph Glynn flushed a little. "I have not the slightest
curiosity about my neighbors," she said, "but it is impossible to
live just across the road from any house without knowing
something of what is going on, whether one looks or not," said
she, with dignity.
"Ma and I never look out of the windows from curiosity," said
Ethel Glynn, with spirit. Ethel Glynn had a great deal of
spirit, which was evinced in her personal appearance as well as
her tongue. She had an eye to the fashions; her sleeves were
never out of date, nor was the arrangement of her hair.
"For instance," said Ethel, "we never look at the house opposite
because we are at all prying, but we do know that that old maid
has been doing a mighty queer thing lately."
"First thing you know you will be an old maid yourself, and then
your stones will break your own glass house," said Abby Simson.
"Oh, I don't care," retorted Ethel. "Nowadays an old maid isn't
an old maid except from choice, and everybody knows it. But it
must have been different in Miss Eudora's time. Why, she is older
than you are, Miss Abby."
"Just five years," replied Abby, unruffled, "and she had chances,
and I know it."
"Why didn't she take them, then?"
"Maybe," said Abby, "girls had choice then as much as now, but I
never could make out why she didn't marry Harry Lawton."
Ethel gave her head a toss. "Maybe," said she, "once in a while,
even so long ago, a girl wasn't so crazy to get married as folks
thought. Maybe she didn't want him."
"She did want him," said Abby. "A girl doesn't get so pale and
peaked-looking for nothing as Eudora Yates did, after she had
dismissed Harry Lawton and he had gone away, nor haunt the
post-office as she used to, and, when she didn't get a letter, go
away looking as if she would die."
"Maybe," said Ethel, "her folks were opposed."
"Nobody ever opposed Eudora Yates except her own self," replied
Abby. "Her father was dead, and Eudora's ma thought the sun rose
and set in her. She would never have opposed her if she had
wanted to marry a foreign duke or the old Harry himself."
"I remember it perfectly," said Mrs. Joseph Glynn.
"So do I," said Julia Esterbrook.
"Don't see why you shouldn't. You were plenty old enough to have
your memory in good working order if it was ever going to be,"
said Abby Simson.
"Well," said Ethel, "it is the funniest thing I ever heard of.
If a girl wanted a man enough to go all to pieces over him, and
he wanted her, why on earth didn't she take him?"
"Maybe they quarreled," ventured Mrs. Edward Lee, who was a mild,
sickly-looking woman and seldom expressed an opinion.
"Well, that might have been," agreed Abby, "although Eudora
always had the name of having a beautiful disposition."
"I have always found," said Mrs. Joseph Glynn, with an air of
wisdom, "that it is the beautiful dispositions which are the most
set the minute they get a start the wrong way. It is the
always-flying-out people who are the easiest to get on with in
the long run."
"Well," said Abby, "maybe that is so, but folks might get worn
all to a frazzle by the flying-out ones before the long run. I'd
rather take my chances with a woman like Eudora. She always seems
just so, just as calm and sweet. When the Ames's barn, that was
next to hers, burned down and the wind was her way, she just
walked in and out of her house, carrying the things she valued
most, and she looked like a picture--somehow she had got all
dressed fit to make calls--and there wasn't a muscle of her face
that seemed to move. Eudora Yates is to my mind the most
beautiful woman in this town, old or young, I don't care who she
"I suppose," said Julia Esterbrook, "that she has a lot of
"I wonder if she has," said Mrs. John Bates.
The others stared at her. "What makes you think she hasn't?"
Mrs. Glynn inquired, sharply.
"Nothing," said Mrs. Bates, and closed her thin lips. She would
say no more, but the others had suspicions, because her husband,
John Bates, was a wealthy business man.
"I can't believe she has lost her money," said Mrs. Glynn. "She
wouldn't have been such a fool as to do what she has if she
"What has she done?" asked Mrs. Bates, eagerly.
"What has she done?" asked Abby, and Mrs. Lee looked up
The faces of Mrs. Glynn, her daughter, and her sister became
important, full of sly and triumphant knowledge.
"Haven't you heard?" asked Mrs. Glynn.
"Yes, haven't you?" asked Ethel.
"Haven't any of you heard?" asked Julia Esterbrook.
"No," admitted Abby, rather feebly. "I don't know as I have."
"Do you mean about Eudora's going so often to the Lancaster
girls' to tea?" asked Mrs. John Bates, with a slight bridle of
"I heard of that," said Mrs. Lee, not to be outdone.
"Land, no," replied Mrs. Glynn. "Didn't she always go there? It
isn't that. It is the most unheard-of thing she had done; but no
woman, unless she had plenty of money to bring it up, would have
"To bring what up?" asked Abby, sharply. Her eyes looked as
small and bright as needles.
Julia regarded her with intense satisfaction. "What do women
generally bring up?" said she.
"I don't know of anything they bring up, whether they have it or
not, except a baby," retorted Abby, sharply.
Julia wilted a little; but her sister, Mrs. Glynn, was not
perturbed. She launched her thunderbolt of news at once, aware
that the critical moment had come, when the quarry of suspicion
had left the bushes.
"She has adopted a baby," said she, and paused like a woman who
had fired a gun, half scared herself and shrinking from the
Ethel seconded her mother. "Yes," said she, "Miss Eudora has
adopted a baby, and she has a baby-carriage, and she wheels it
out any time she takes a notion." Ethel's speech was of the
nature of an after-climax. The baby-carriage weakened the
The other women seized upon the idea of the carriage to cover
their surprise and prevent too much gloating on the part of Mrs.
Glynn, Ethel, and Julia.
"Is it a new carriage?" inquired Mrs. Lee.
"No, it looks like one that came over in the ark," retorted Mrs.
Glynn. Then she repeated: "She has adopted a baby," but this time
there was no effect of an explosion. However, the treble chorus
rose high, "Where did she get the baby? Was it a boy or a girl?
Why did she adopt it? Did it cry much?" and other queries, none
of which Mrs. Glynn, Ethel, and Julia could answer very decidedly
except the last. They all announced that the adopted baby was
never heard to cry at all.
"Must be a very good child," said Abby.
"Must be a very healthy child," said Mrs. Lee, who had had
experience with crying babies.
"Well, she has it, anyhow," said Mrs. Glynn.
Right upon the announcement came proof. The beautiful door of
the old colonial mansion opposite was thrown open, and clumsy and
cautious motion was evident. Presently a tall, slender woman
came down the path between the box borders, pushing a
baby-carriage. It was undoubtedly a very old carriage. It must
have dated back to the fifties, if not the forties. It was made
of wood, with a leather buggy-top, and was evidently very heavy.
Abby eyed it shrewdly. "If I am not mistaken," said she, "that
is the very carriage Eudora herself was wheeled around in when
she was a baby. I am almost sure I have seen that identical
carriage before. When we were girls I used to go to the Yates
house sometimes. Of course, it was always very formal, a little
tea-party for Eudora, with her mother on hand, but I feel sure
that I saw that carriage there one of those times.
"I suppose it cost a lot of money, in the time of it. The
Yateses always got the very best for Eudora," said Julia. "And
maybe Eudora goes about so little she doesn't realize how out of
date the carriage is, but I should think it would be very heavy
to wheel, especially if the baby is a good-sized one."
"It looks like a very large baby," said Ethel. "Of course, it is
so rolled up we can't tell."
"Haven't you gone out and asked to see the baby?" said Abby.
"Would we dare unless Eudora Yates offered to show it?" said
Julia, with a surprised air; and the others nodded assent. Then
they all crowded to the front windows and watched from behind the
screens of green flowering things. It was very early in the
spring. Fairly hot days alternated with light frosts. The trees
were touched with sprays of rose and gold and gold-green, but the
wind still blew cold from the northern snows, and the occupant of
Eudora's ancient carriage was presumably wrapped well to shelter
it from harm. There was, in fact, nothing to be seen in the
carriage, except a large roll of blue and white, as Eudora
emerged from the yard and closed the iron gate of the tall fence
Through this fence pricked the evergreen box, and the deep yard
was full of soft pastel tints of reluctantly budding trees and
bushes. There was one deep splash of color from a yellow bush in
Eudora paced down the sidewalk with a magnificent, stately gait.
There was something rather magnificent in her whole appearance.
Her skirts of old, but rich, black fabric swept about her long,
advancing limbs; she held her black-bonneted head high, as if
crowned. She pushed the cumbersome baby-carriage with no
apparent effort. An ancient India shawl was draped about her
Eudora, as she passed the Glynn house, turned her face slightly,
so that its pure oval was evident. She was now a beauty in late
middle life. Her hair, of an indeterminate shade, swept in soft
shadows over her ears; her features were regular; her expression
was at once regal and gentle. A charm which was neither of youth
nor of age reigned in her face; her grace had surmounted with
triumphant ease the slope of every year. Eudora passed out of
sight with the baby-carriage, lifting her proud lady-head under
the soft droop of the spring boughs; and her inspectors, whom she
had not seen, moved back from the Glynn windows with exclamations
"I wonder," said Abby, "whether she will have that baby call her
ma or aunty."
Meantime Eudora passed down the village street until she reached
the Lancaster house, about half a mile away on the same side.
There dwelt the Misses Amelia and Anna Lancaster, who were about
Eudora's age, and a widowed sister, Mrs. Sophia Willing, who was
much older. The Lancaster house was also a colonial mansion,
much after the fashion of Eudora's, but it showed signs of
continued opulence. Eudora's, behind her trees and leafing
vines, was gray for lack of paint. Some of the colonial
ornamental details about porches and roof were sloughing off or
had already disappeared. The Lancaster house gleamed behind its
grove of evergreen trees as white and perfect as in its youth.
The windows showed rich slants of draperies behind their green
glister of old glass.
A gardener, with a boy assistant, was at work in the grounds when
Eudora entered. He touched his cap. He was an old man who had
lived with the Lancasters ever since Eudora could remember. He
advanced toward her now. "Sha'n't Tommy push--the baby-carriage
up to the house for you, Miss Eudora?" he said, in his cracked
Eudora flushed slightly, and, as if in response, the old man
flushed, also. "No, I thank you, Wilson," she said, and moved on.
The boy, who was raking dry leaves, stood gazing at them with a
shrewd, whimsical expression. He was the old man's grandson.
"Is that a boy or a girl kid, grandpa?" he inquired, when the
"Hold your tongue!" replied the old man, irascibly. Suddenly he
seized the boy by his two thin little shoulders with knotted old
"Look at here, Tommy, whatever you know, you keep your mouth
shet, and whatever you don't know, you keep your mouth shet, if
you know what's good for you," he said, in a fierce whisper.
The boy whistled and shrugged his shoulders loose. "You know I
ain't goin' to tell tales, grandpa," he said, in a curiously
The old man nodded. "All right, Tommy. I don't believe you be,
nuther, but you may jest as well git it through your head what's
goin' to happen if you do."
"Ain't goin' to," returned the boy. He whistled charmingly as he
raked the leaves. His whistle sounded like the carol of a bird.
Eudora pushed the carriage around to the side door, and
immediately there was a fluttering rush of a slender woman clad
in lavender down the steps. This woman first kissed Eudora with
gentle fervor, then, with a sly look around and voice raised
intentionally high, she lifted the blue and white roll from the
carriage with the tenderest care. "Did the darling come to see
his aunties?" she shrilled.
The old man and the boy in the front yard heard her distinctly.
The old man's face was imperturbable. The boy grinned.
Two other women, all clad in lavender, appeared in the doorway.
They also bent over the blue and white bundle. They also said
something about the darling coming to see his aunties. Then
there ensued the softest chorus of lady-laughter, as if at some
"Come in, Eudora dear," said Amelia Lancaster. "Yes, come in,
Eudora dear," said Anna Lancaster. "Yes, come in, Eudora dear,"
said Sophia Willing.
Sophia looked much older than her sisters, but with that
exception the resemblance between all three was startling. They
always dressed exactly alike, too, in silken fabric of bluish
lavender, like myrtle blossoms. Some of the poetical souls in the
village called the Lancaster sisters "The ladies in lavender."
There was an astonishing change in the treatment of the blue and
white bundle when the sisters and Eudora were in the stately old
sitting-room, with its heavy mahogany furniture and its
white-wainscoted calls. Amelia simply tossed the bundle into a
corner of the sofa; then the sisters all sat in a loving circle
"Are you sure you are not utterly worn out, dear?" asked Amelia,
tenderly; and the others repeated the question in exactly the
same tone. The Lancaster sisters were not pretty, but all had
charming expressions of gentleness and a dignified good-will and
loving kindness. Their blue eyes beamed love at Eudora, and it
was as if she sat encircled in a soul-ring of affection.
She responded, and her beautiful face glowed with tenderness and
pleasure, and something besides, which was as the light of
"I am not in the least tired, thank you, dears," she replied.
"Why should I be tired? I am very strong."
Amelia murmured something about such hard work.
"I never thought it would be hard work taking care of a baby,"
replied Eudora, "and especially such a very light baby."
Something whimsical crept into Eudora's voice; something
whimsical crept into the love-light of the other women's eyes.
Again a soft ripple of mirth swept over them.
"Especially a baby who never cries," said Amelia.
"No, he never does cry," said Eudora, demurely.
They laughed again. Then Amelia rose and left the room to get
the tea-things. The old serving-woman who had lived with them
for many years was suffering from rheumatism, and was cared for
by her daughter in the little cottage across the road from the
Lancaster house. Her husband and grandson were the man and boy
at work in the grounds. The three sisters took care of
themselves and their house with the elegant ease and lack of
fluster of gentlewomen born and bred. Miss Amelia, bringing in
the tea-tray, was an unclassed being, neither maid nor mistress,
but outranking either. She had tied on a white apron. She bore
the silver tray with an ease which bespoke either nerve or muscle
in her lace-draped arms.
She poured the tea, holding the silver pot high and letting the
amber fluid trickle slowly, and the pearls and diamonds on her
thin hands shone dully. Sophia passed little china plates and
fringed napkins, and Anna a silver basket with golden squares of
The ladies ate and drank, and the blue and white bundle on the
sofa remained motionless. Eudora, after she had finished her
tea, leaned back gracefully in her chair, and her dark eyes
gleamed with its mild stimulus. She remained an hour or more.
When she went out, Amelia slipped an envelope into her hand and
at the same time embraced and kissed her. Sophia and Anna
followed her example. Eudora opened her mouth as if to speak,
but smiled instead, a fond, proud smile. During the last fifteen
minutes of her stay Amelia had slipped out of the room with the
blue and white bundle. Now she brought it out and laid it
carefully in the carriage.
"We are always so glad to see you, dearest Eudora," said she,
"but you understand --"
"Yes," said Sophia, "you understand, Eudora dear, that there is
not the slightest haste."
Eudora nodded, and her long neck seemed to grow longer.
When she was stepping regally down the path, Amelia said in a
hasty whisper to Sophia: "Did you tell her?"
Sophia shook her head. "No, sister."
"I didn't know but you might have, while I was out of the room."
"I did not," said Sophia. She looked doubtfully at Amelia, then
at Anna, and doubt flashed back and forth between the three pairs
of blue eyes for a second. Then Sophia spoke with authority,
because she was the only one of them all who had entered the
estate of matrimony, and had consequently obvious cognizance of
"I think," said she, "that Eudora should be told that Harry
Lawton has come back and is boarding at the Wellwood Inn."
"You think," faltered Amelia, "that it is possible she might meet
"I certainly do think so. And she might show her feelings in a
way which she would ever afterward regret."
"You think, then, that she --"
Sophia gave her sister a look. Amelia fled after Eudora and the
baby-carriage. She overtook her at the gate. She laid her hand
on Eudora's arm, draped with India shawl.
"Eudora!" she gasped.
Eudora turned her serene face and regarded her questioningly.
"Eudora," said Amelia, "have you heard of anybody's coming to
stay at the inn lately?"
"No," replied Eudora, calmly. "Why, dear?"
"Nothing, only, Eudora, a dear and old friend of yours, of ours,
is there, so I hear."
Eudora did not inquire who the old friend might be. "Really?"
she remarked. Then she said, "Goodby, Amelia dear," and resumed
her progress with the baby-carriage.
"She never even asked who it was," Amelia reported to her
sisters, when she had returned to the house. "Because she knew,"
replied Sophia, sagely; "there has never been any old friend but
that one old friend to come back into Eudora Yates's life."
"Has he come back into her life, I wonder?" said Amelia.
"What did he return to Wellwood for if he didn't come for that?
All his relatives are gone. He never married. Yes, he has come
back to see Eudora and marry her, if she will have him. No man
who ever loved Eudora would ever get over loving her. And he
will not be shocked when he sees her. She is no more changed
than a beautiful old statue."
"HE is changed, though," said Amelia. "I saw him the other day.
He didn't see me, and I would hardly have known him. He has
grown stout, and his hair is gray."
"Eudora's hair is gray," said Sophia.
"Yes, but you can see the gold through Eudora's gray. It just
looks as if a shadow was thrown over it. It doesn't change her.
Harry Lawton's gray hair does change him."
"If," said Anna, sentimentally, "Eudora thinks Harry's hair
turned gray for love of her, you can trust her or any woman to
see the gold through it."
"Harry's hair was never gold--just an ordinary brown," said
Amelia. "Anyway, the Lawtons turned gray young."
"She won't think of that at all," said Sophia.
"I wonder why Eudora always avoided him so, years ago," said
"Why doesn't a girl in a field of daisies stop to pick one, which
she never forgets?" said Sophia. "Eudora had so many chances,
and I don't think her heart was fixed when she was very young; at
least, I don't think it was fixed so she knew it."
"I wonder," said Amelia, "if he will go and call on her."
Amelia privately wished that she lived near enough to know if
Harry Lawton did call. She, as well as Mrs. Joseph Glynn, would
have enjoyed watching out and knowing something of the village
happenings, but the Lancaster house was situated so far from the
road, behind its grove of trees, that nothing whatever could be
"I doubt if Eudora tells, if he does call--that is, not unless
something definite happens," said Anna.
"No," remarked Amelia, sadly. "Eudora is a dear, but she is very
silent with regard to her own affairs."
"She ought to be," said Sophia, with her married authority. She
was, to her sisters, as one who had passed within the shrine and
was dignifiedly silent with regard to its intimate mysteries.
"I suppose so," assented Anna, with a soft sigh. Amelia sighed
also. Then she took the tea-tray out of the room. She had to
make some biscuits for supper.
Meantime Eudora was pacing homeward with the baby-carriage. Her
serene face was a little perturbed. Her oval cheeks were flushed,
and her mouth now and then trembled. She had, if she followed
her usual course, to pass the Wellwood Inn, but she could
diverge, and by taking a side street and walking a half-mile
farther reach home without coming in sight of the inn. She did
When she reached the side street she turned rather swiftly and
gave a little sigh of relief. She was afraid that she might meet
Harry Lawton. It was a lonely way. There was a brook on one
side, bordered thickly with bushy willows which were turning
gold-green. On the other side were undulating pasture-lands on
which grazed a few sheep. There were no houses until she reached
the turn which would lead back to the main street, on which her
home was located.
Eudora was about midway of this street when she saw a man
approaching. He was a large man clad in gray, and he was
swinging an umbrella. Somehow the swing of that umbrella, even
from a distance, gave an impression of embarrassment and boyish
hesitation. Eudora did not know him at first. She had expected
to see the same Harry Lawton who had gone away. She did not
expect to see a stout, middle-aged man, but a slim youth.
However, as they drew nearer each other, she knew; and curiously
enough it was that swing of the tightly furled umbrella which
gave her the clue. She knew Harry because of that. It was a
little boyish trick which had survived time. It was too late for
her to draw back, for he had seen her, and Eudora was keenly
alive to the indignity of abruptly turning and scuttling away
with the tail of her black silk swishing, her India shawl
trailing, and the baby-carriage bumping over the furrows. She
continued, and Harry Lawton continued, and they met.
Harry Lawton had known Eudora at once. She looked the same to
him as when she had been a girl, and he looked the same to her
when he spoke.
"Hullo, Eudora," said Harry Lawton, in a ludicrously boyish
fashion. His face flushed, too, like a boy. He extended his hand
like a boy. The man, seen near at hand, was a boy. In reality he
himself had not changed. A few layers of flesh and a change of
color-cells do not make another man. He had always been a simple,
sincere, friendly soul, beloved of men and women alike, and he
was that now. Eudora held out her hand, and her eyes fell before
the eyes of the man, in an absurd fashion for such a stately
creature as she. But the man himself acted like a great happy
"Hullo, Eudora," he said again.
"Hullo," said she, falteringly.
It was inconceivable that they should meet in such wise after the
years of separation and longing which they had both undergone;
but each took refuge, as it were, in a long-past youth, even
childhood, from the fierce tension of age. When they were both
children they had been accustomed to pass each other on the
village street with exactly such salutation, and now both
reverted to it. The tall, regal woman in her India shawl and the
stout, middle-aged man had both stepped back to their
vantage-ground of springtime to meet.
However, after a moment, Eudora reasserted herself. "I only
heard a short time ago that you were here," she said, in her
usual even voice. The fair oval of her face was as serene and
proud toward the man as the face of the moon.
The man swung his umbrella, then began prodding the ground with
it. "Hullo, Eudora," he said again; then he added: "How are you,
anyway? Fine and well?"
"I am very well, thank you," said Eudora. "So you have come home
to Wellwood after all this time?"
The man made an effort and recovered himself, although his
handsome face was burning.
"Yes," he remarked, with considerable ease and dignity, to which
he had a right, for Harry Lawton had not made a failure of his
life, even though it had not included Eudora and a fulfilled
"Yes," he continued, "I had some leisure; in fact, I have this
spring retired from business; and I thought I would have a look
at the old place. Very little changed I am happy to find it."
"Yes, it is very little changed," assented Eudora; "at least, it
seems so to me, but it is not for a life-long dweller in any
place to judge of change. It is for the one who goes and returns
after many years."
There was a faint hint of proud sadness in Eudora's voice as she
spoke the last two words.
"It has been many years," said Lawton, gravely, "and I wonder if
it has seemed so to you."
Eudora held her head proudly. "Time passes swiftly," said she,
"But sometimes it may seem long in the passing, however swift,"
said Lawton, "though I suppose it has not to you. You look just
the same," he added, regarding her admiringly.
Eudora flushed a little. "I must be changed," she murmured.
"Not a bit. I would have known you anywhere. But I--"
"I knew you the minute you spoke."
"Did you?" he asked, eagerly. "I was afraid I had grown so stout
you would not remember me at all. Queer how a man will grow
stout. I am not such a big eater, either, and I have worked
hard, and--well, I might have been worse off, but I must say I
have seen men who seemed to me happier, though I have made the
best of things. I always did despise a flunk. But you! I heard
you had adopted a baby," he said, with a sudden glance at the
blue and white bundle in the carriage, "and I thought you were
mighty sensible. When people grow old they want young people
growing around them, staffs for old age, you know, and all that
sort of thing. Don't know but I should have adopted a boy myself
if it hadn't been for --"
The man stopped, and his face was pink. Eudora turned her face
"By the way," said the man, in a suddenly hushed voice, "I
suppose the kid you've got there is asleep. Wouldn't do to wake
"I think I had better not," replied Eudora, in a hesitating
voice. She began to walk along, and Harry Lawton fell into step
"I suppose it isn't best to wake up babies; makes them cross, and
they cry," he said. "Say, Eudora, is he much trouble?"
"Very little," replied Eudora, still in that strange voice.
"Doesn't keep you awake nights?"
"Because if he does, I really think you should have a nurse. I
don't think you ought to lose sleep taking care of him."
"I do not."
"Well, I was mighty glad when I heard you had adopted him. I
suppose you made sure about his parentage, where he hailed from
and what sort of people?"
"Oh yes." Eudora was very pale.
"That's right. Maybe some time you will tell me all about it. I
am coming over Thursday to have a look at the youngster. I have
to go to the city on business to-morrow and can't get back until
Thursday. I was coming over to-night to call on you, but I have
a man coming to the inn this evening--he called me up on the
telephone just now--one of the men who have taken my place in the
business; and as long as I have met you I will just walk along
with you, and come Thursday. I suppose the baby won't be likely
to wake up just yet, and when he does you'll have to get his
supper and put him to bed. Is that the way the rule goes?"
Eudora nodded in a shamed, speechless sort of way.
"All right. I'll come Thursday -but say, look here, Eudora.
This is a quiet road, not a soul in sight, just like an outdoor
room to ourselves. Why shouldn't I know now just as well as wait?
Say, Eudora, you know how I used to feel about you. Well, it has
lasted all these years. There has never been another woman I
even cared to look at. You are alone, except for that baby, and
I am alone. Eudora --"
The man hesitated. His flushed face had paled. Eudora paced
silently and waveringly at his side.
"Eudora," the man went on, "you know you always used to run away
from me--never gave me a chance to really ask; and I thought you
didn't care. But somehow I have wondered--perhaps because you
never got married--if you didn't quite mean it, if you didn't
quite know your own mind. You'll think I'm a conceited ass, but
I'm not a bad sort, Eudora. I would be as good to you as I know
how, and--we could bring him up together." He pointed to the
carriage. "I have plenty of money. We could do anything we
wanted to do for him, and we should not have to live alone. Say,
Eudora, you may not think it's the thing for a man to own up to,
but, hang it all! I'm alone, and I don't want to face the rest of
my life alone. Eudora, do you think you could make up your mind
to marry me, after all?"
They had reached the turn in the road. Just beyond rose the
stately pile of the old Yates mansion. Eudora stood still and
gave one desperate look at her lover. "I will let you know
Thursday," she gasped. Then she was gone, trundling the baby-
carriage with incredible speed.
"But, Eudora --"
"I must go," she called back, faintly. The man stood staring
after the hurrying figure with its swishing black skirts and its
flying points of rich India shawl, and he smiled happily and
tenderly. That evening at the inn his caller, a young fellow
just married and beaming with happiness, saw an answering beam in
the older man's face. He broke off in the midst of a sentence
and stared at him.
"Don't give me away until I tell you to, Ned," he said, "but I
don't know but I am going to follow your example."
"Yes, going to get married."
The young man gasped. A look of surprise, of amusement, then of
generous sympathy came over his face. He grasped Lawton's hand.
"Who is she?"
"Oh, a woman I wanted more than anything in the world when I was
about your age."
"Then she isn't young?"
"She is better than young."
"Well," agreed the young man, "being young and pretty is not
"Pretty!" said Harry Lawton, scornfully, "pretty! She is a great
"And not young?"
"She is a great beauty, and better than young, because time has
not touched her beauty, and you can see for yourself that it
The young man laughed. "Oh, well," he said, with a tender
inflection, "I dare say that my Amy will look like that to me."
"If she doesn't you don't love her," said Lawton. "But my Eudora
"That is a queer-sounding Greek name."
"She is Greek, like her name. Such beauty never grows old. She
stands on her pedestal, and time only looks at her to love her."
"I thought you were a business man as hard as nails," said the
young man, wonderingly. Lawton laughed.
When Thursday came, Lawton, carefully dressed and carrying a long
tissue-paper package, evidently of roses, approached the Yates
house. It was late in the afternoon. There had been a warm day,
and the trees were clouds of green and more bushes had blossomed.
Eudora had put on a green silk dress of her youth. The revolving
fashions had made it very passable, and the fabric was as
beautiful as ever.
When Lawton presented her with the roses she pinned one in the
yellowed lace which draped her bodice and put the rest in a great
china vase on the table. The roses were very fragrant, and
immediately the whole room was possessed by them.
A tiny, insistent cry came from a corner, and Lawton and Eudora
turned toward it. There stood the old wooden cradle in which
Eudora had been rocked to sleep, but over the clumsy hood Eudora
had tacked a fall of rich old lace and a great bow of soft pink
"He is waking up," said the man, in a hushed, almost reverent
Eudora nodded. She went toward the cradle, and the man followed.
She lifted the curtain of lace, and there became visible little
feebly waving pink arms and hands, like tentacles of love, and a
little puckered pink face which was at once ugly and divinely
"A fine boy," said the man. The baby made a grimace at him which
was hideous but lovely.
"I do believe he thinks he knows you," said Eudora, foolishly.
The baby made a little nestling motion, and its creasy eyelids
"Looks to me as if he was going to sleep again," said Lawton, in
a whisper. Eudora jogged the cradle gently with her foot, and
both were still. Then Eudora dropped the lace veil over the
cradle again and moved softly away.
Lawton followed her. "I haven't my answer yet, Eudora," he
whispered, leaning over her shoulder as she moved.
"Come into the other room," she murmured, "or we shall wake the
baby." Her voice was softly excited.
Eudora led the way into the parlor, upon whose walls hung some
really good portraits and whose furnishings still merited the
adjective magnificent. There had been opulence in the Yates
family; and in this room, which had been conserved, there was
still undimmed and unfaded evidence of it. Eudora drew aside a
brocade curtain and sat down on an embroidered satin sofa.
Lawton sat beside her.
"This room looks every whit as grand as it used to look to me
when I was a boy," he said.
"It has hardly been opened, except to have it cleaned, since you
went away," replied Eudora, "and no wear has come upon it."
"And everything was rather splendid to begin with, and has
lasted. And so were you, Eudora, and you have lasted. Well,
what about my answer, dear girl?"
"You have to hear something first."
Lawton laughed. "A confession?"
Eudora held her head proudly. "No, not exactly," said she. "I am
not sure that I have ever had anything to confess."
"You never were sure, you proud creature."
"I am not now. I never intended to deceive you, but you were
deceived. I did intend to deceive others, others who had no right
to know. I do not feel that I owe them any explanation. I do owe
you one, although I do not feel that I have done anything wrong.
Still, I cannot allow you to remain deceived."
"Well, what is it, dear?"
Eudora looked at him. "You remember that afternoon when you met
me with the baby-carriage?"
"Well, I should think so. My memory has not failed me in three
"You thought I had a baby in that carriage."
"Of course I did."
"There wasn't a baby in the carriage."
"Well, what on earth was it, then? A cat?"
Eudora, if possible, looked prouder. "It was a package of soiled
linen from the Lancaster girls."
"Oh, good heavens, Eudora!"
"Yes," said Eudora, proudly. "I lost nearly everything when that
railroad failed. I had enough left to pay the taxes, and that
was all. After I had used a small sum in the savings-bank there
was nothing. One day I went over to the Lancasters', and
I--well, I had not had much to eat for several days. I was a
little faint, and --"
"Eudora, you poor, darling girl!"
"And the Lancaster girls found out," continued Eudora, calmly.
"They gave me something to eat, and I suppose I ate as if I were
famished. I was."
"And they wanted to give me money, but I would not take it, and
they had been trying to find a laundress for their finer
linen--their old serving-woman was ill. They could find one for
the heavier things, but they are very particular, and I was sure
I could manage, and so I begged them to let me have the work, and
they did, and overpaid me, I fear. And I--I knew very well how
many spying eyes were about, and I thought of my proud father and
my proud mother and grandmother, and perhaps I was proud, too.
You know they talk about the Yates pride. It was not so much
because I was ashamed of doing honest work as because I did
resent those prying eyes and tattling tongues, and so I said
nothing, but I did go back and forth in broad daylight with the
linen wrapped up in the old blue and white blanket, in my old
carriage, and they thought what they thought."
Eudora laughed faintly. She had a gentle humor. "It was
somewhat laughable, too," she observed. "The Lancaster girls and
I have had our little jests over it, but I felt that I could not
Lawton looked bewildered. "But that is a real baby in there," he
said, jerking an elbow toward the other room.
"Oh yes," replied Eudora. "I adopted him yesterday. I went to
the Children's Home in Elmfield. Amelia Lancaster went with me.
Wilson drove us over. I know a nurse there. She took care of
mother in her last illness. And I adopted this baby; at least, I
am going to. He comes of respectable people, and his parents are
dead. His mother died when he was born. He is healthy, and I
thought him a beautiful baby."
"Yes, he is," assented Lawton, but he still looked somewhat
perplexed. "But why did you hurry off so and get him, Eudora?"
"I thought from what you said that day that you would be
disappointed when you found out I had only the Lancaster linen
and not a real baby," said Eudora with her calm, grand air and
with no trace of a smile.
"Then that means that you say yes, Eudora?"
For the first time Eudora gave a startled glance at him. "Didn't
you know?" she gasped.
"How should I? You had not said yes really, dear."
"Do you think," said Eudora Yates, "that I am not too proud to
allow you to ask me if my answer were not yes?"
"So that is the reason you always ran away from me, years ago, so
that I never had a chance to ask you?"
"Of course," said Eudora. "No woman of my family ever allows a
declaration which she does not intend to accept. I was always
taught that by my mother."
Then a small but insistent cry rent the air. "The baby is
awake!" cried Eudora, and ran, or, rather, paced swiftly--Eudora
had been taught never to run--and Lawton followed. It was he who
finally quieted the child, holding the little thing in his arms.
But the baby, before that, cried so long and lustily that all the
women in the Glynn house opposite were on the alert, and also
some of the friends who were calling there. Abby Simson was one.
"Harry Lawton has been there over an hour now," said Abby, while
the wailing continued, "and I know as well as I want to that
there will be a wedding."
"I wonder he doesn't object to that adopted baby," said Julia
"I know one thing," said Abby Simson. "It must be a boy baby, it