AN INHERITANCE

It was only a day or two after this that Ellen, going for the mail, met
Cap’n Belah on the road. He grinned when he saw her. “Wal, I hear you
women folks met up with your match the other afternoon,” he said.

“I think you might call it a drawn game,” Ellen retorted; “neither party
got the better of the other.”

“That was a right cute trick of you folks, going and coming in a
motor-bo-at so they couldn’t get their bearings,” the cap’n went on. “If
they’d hove to in their own craft, you couldn’t have got away so spry. I
snum I never see a bo-at go slicker than she does, slips through the
water like a fish; howsomever, you got the best of the boys that time.”

“It was Cousin Rindy’s idea. She couldn’t walk so far, and the boat made
it the easiest way to get to the bridge with the whole party.”

“So ’twas. Wal, you won’t have to try any more tricks. I’d know as
you’ve heard that the boys has sailed for another port, picked up stakes
and left Halsey’s, lugged away all their dunnage, too.”

Ellen hadn’t heard, but she did not betray her ignorance, only asking,
“When did they leave?”

“Struck their tents and sot sail early this morning, cal’lated they
might come back another year, but, land! you can’t count on young folks.
Step in and have a word with my woman, can’t ye?”

But Ellen had no notion of stopping, eager as she was to carry home her
news. Mabel saw her coming and met her on the porch. “I have a sad, sad
piece of information for you,” Ellen exclaimed. “We shall never have the
bliss of meeting Robert MacDonald. He and all his comrades have left for
parts unknown.”

“Really?” Mabel looked her surprise. “Do you suppose they were so
chagrined at the success of our little manœuvre that they couldn’t stand
the jeers of the populace? We did get the best of them.”

“It was diamond cut diamond, it seems to me. Well, that episode is
finished. It was fun while it lasted, but it reminds me of some of these
modern stories that leave you hanging up in the air. Adieu, Robert!” She
kissed her hand in the direction of Halsey’s Island, and the two went
in.

“Do you know that at last I have persuaded Miss Rindy to go off on a
spree with me?” said Mabel as she began to open her mail. “We’re going
up to Portland for the day. You know I’ve been begging her all summer,
and at last she is going, just to get rid of my teasing, she says. We’re
going to ride all over town, do a little shopping, have lunch at that
nice hotel, in the dining-room at the top where you get such a lovely
view, and then we’ll go to a movie. Isn’t the prospect sufficiently
alluring to tempt you to join us?”

“Leave this lovely island just to spend the day in a city? No, thank
you, ma’am. Moreover, two is company; three is a crowd. You two will
have a much better time without me, and it will be exciting to see what
you bring home.”

“I accept your point of view, but don’t say you were not invited.”

So the matter was settled to Ellen’s satisfaction, and the next morning
saw her two housemates off for what Mabel was pleased to call their
“spree.” Ellen busied herself about the house for an hour, then she went
down to the rocks with her writing materials, accomplished a letter to
Caro, and one to Jeremy Todd; then Beulah called her to dinner, so the
morning went. Beulah, it may be said, had made the acquaintance of
several maids of like color, and enjoyed with them hilarious laughter,
mirthful pokes and digs when some appreciated joke was made, and feasts
either on the rocks or off in the woods.

“Me an’ some other colored ladies is plannin’ to have a little fessible
in de woods dis afternoon,” she confided to Ellen. “Miss Rindy, she say
she don’t min’. I be back in time to git supper. Yuh don’t keer, does
yuh, Miss Ellen, if I leaves yuh to yo’ own wicked revices?”

Ellen laughed. “I don’t mind in the least, so long as you’re back in
time to get supper. If I’m not here, you know where to find the key.”

“We goin’ have a gran’ feas’,” Beulah gave further information;
“ice-cream an’ bananas, an’ peanuts and half a watermillion.”

“Take care you don’t make yourself ill,” Ellen warned.

“Law, Miss Ellen, it tek mo’n dem little things to discommoderate mah
stummick. Miss Rindy say we has lobsters fo’ supper, an’ I sho’ wants
room fo’ dem. I sutt’nly does decline to lobsters.”

“I think you’d better decline them altogether after all that other
mess,” responded Ellen, who was busy formulating her own plans for the
afternoon. She had just conceived the idea of paying a parting visit to
the haunted house. It was barely possible, she considered, that a
farewell message had been left by the unknown Robert. It would do no
harm to see.

She set off on her walk, making her way leisurely along the shore,
deciding that it would be the more interesting route when one was alone.
She stopped to look in the little pools where starfish, sea-urchins, and
various other sea creatures made their abode. From a pebbly beach she
picked up two or three talisman stones, gray, banded about by a dark
streak. Here, too, seaweeds, brilliant green and feathery, pink or
yellow, attracted her. “Mabel and I must come here and gather some,” she
told herself.

Leaving the beach, she climbed the rocks, cut across a field, and
reached the road which led to the bridge. There was no one in sight when
she came up to the haunted house, which she entered in the usual way, by
means of a back door. She tiptoed across the big room and opened the
cupboard by the side of the great fireplace, but before she could look
to see if anything was there she started back, for the strains of a
violin came clearly to her ears. She looked wildly around for a way of
escape, for the music was coming nearer and nearer. It was just outside!
It was at the door! Ellen rushed toward the stairway, and had just set
foot on the first step when a voice said: “Don’t run away. I am
perfectly harmless.”

She turned to face an entirely strange young man. For at least ten
seconds the two stood and looked at each other; then the young man
rushed forward, holding out his hand. “It is Cronette! Of course it is.
I forgot, you may not be able to recognize me, but you will recognize
your old friend violin.” He held it out to her and she took it
mechanically.

“You are—you are——” she stammered.

“Reed Marshall, your old friend, Cronine. Naturally you don’t remember
my looks, but you haven’t forgotten me, have you?”

“Oh, no; oh, no,” Ellen recovered herself. “How could I forget you? But
I never really knew what you looked like.”

“But I couldn’t forget what you looked like, once having seen you. Isn’t
this the greatest luck? Let’s sit down and tell each other the story of
our lives. How do you happen to be ’way down East? I am that glad to see
you that I could dash over to the Amen corner and shout Glory! Where are
you staying?”

“Over on Beatty’s Island with Miss Wickham. She has a cottage there, and
Cousin Rindy and I are spending the summer with her. Where are you
staying?”

“Here, right here. I came up with a crowd of fellows to camp out on a
little island off here. The rest of the bunch had to leave, but Tom
Clayton and I skirmished around to find a spot where we could bunk. We
are both daffy about this coast, and want to do some sketching. We
happened on this old place, which we are able to get for a mere song.
The house threatened leaks and hants and sich, so we decided it would be
more cozy if we fixed up the stable, hen-house, or whatever it is
called. We have begged, borrowed, stolen, and bought sundry and varisome
things to make us comfortable, and we’re going to stay on till the ghost
gets too much for us.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Ellen. “It is all quite wonderful, isn’t it?” She was
still bewildered at the turn of events.

“I’ll say it is, but most wonderful of all is this running across you.
By the way, Cronette, what brought you over here? Very few ever come
around this way.”

The color flamed up into Ellen’s face as she stammered, “I—I—just was
curious to—to—see——”

“The ghost? You don’t believe in ghos’es, do you?”

Ellen’s face was still flaming. “I—yes—no—I don’t know,” she answered in
confusion.

Reed regarded her steadfastly for a moment; then he said, “Cronette,
honest Injun, can it be possible that you are my wood-nymph?”

“Your wood-nymph?” she spoke in surprise. “Why, that was Robert
MacDonald,” and then again the color surged up into her face as she
realized that she had said too much.

It was Reed’s turn to look surprised. “Robert MacDonald? Who is the
bird? Oh, I say, Cronette, what’s the use of beating about the bush?
Tell your uncle all about it and I’ll ’fess up, too.”

Ellen hesitated, but at further urging she said: “We, Mabel and I, came
over to see the haunted house. We found a card, Mr. Robert MacDonald’s
card. On it was written ‘Compliments to the ghost,’ and so we drew our
own conclusions. We thought it would be a lark to answer it, which we
did. Perhaps you know the rest, and can tell me who is Robert
MacDonald.”

Reed looked puzzled for a moment, then he struck his forehead
tragically. “Dolt that I am!” he exclaimed. “I see it now. I didn’t
happen to have a card of my own that first time I visited this mansion,
so I took one that I happened to have in my pocket, one that a fellow
gave me some time ago. I actually had forgotten his name, and had no
intention of forging his initials when I signed my own, which are the
same, you see.”

“Then we shall never meet Robert,” rejoined Ellen half regretfully.

Reed laughed. “Are you then so disappointed? I’m pleased to pieces
myself. To think that you should be my wood-nymph is the jolliest sort
of a surprise, and we’ll keep it a secret all to ourselves.”

“How can we keep it a secret when all those men know?”

“What men?”

“All those you were with on Halsey’s Island, and that met us in a body
on the bridge.”

Reed threw back his head and shouted. “That’s one on you, Cronette, for
I didn’t tell them a thing except that I had a date with a female person
whom I didn’t know, and until I saw her I thought we’d better march in
company. Well, you know how it came out, and if the boys didn’t jolly me
well, you miss your guess. That was some blind game, Cronette, and I
must acknowledge myself the loser. In all that horde of white-robed,
goldenrod-decked females I never looked for you; even your hair didn’t
show under that hat. By the way, now is my chance to get a sketch of
you, the chance I missed last winter. May I make it? We’re old friends,
you know. You’ll let me come over to see you, won’t you, and may I bring
Tom along? He’s an all-right fellow, lots of talent and a great pal of
mine.”

Ellen gave her consent. She had liked Tom’s looks, and recalled his
little act of courtesy in the post-office. She told Reed about it.

“Just like Tom,” he responded. “He’s always looking out for the other
fellow. At this very moment he is off helping his cousin to establish
herself at Beatty’s. She has taken a cottage there for a month. Nice
little woman she is; you’ll like her. Queer, Cronette, but it seems as
if I had known you all my life, although this is really only the second
time we have met.”

Ellen considered this for a moment before she said, “Probably it is
because we both know Don Pedro so well, and then you know the violin is
a common bond.”

“It’s quite as if I had adopted a member of your family, isn’t it? No
end of comfort it is, too,—quite like a brother. You know the song,
‘Fiddle and I’?”

“I know it and love it. I am very glad you have the violin,” she said
after a moment’s silence. “It was very generous of you to buy it.”

“Why, no, it wasn’t; I wanted it in the worst way. Would you like to
hear it again?”

“Oh, please.”

He picked it up and held it lovingly as he played several short bits.
While not a finished performer he played with some skill and much
feeling, and so absorbed were both in the performance that neither
noticed the time till suddenly the boat whistled at the landing next to
Beatty’s.

Ellen started up. “Goodness!” she exclaimed. “The boat will be here in
another minute or so, and I must run for it. I promised to meet my
friends and help with their parcels.”

“I’ll go with you,” Reed stated. “I must lock up this treasure first,
but I won’t be a minute. Don’t wait; I’ll catch up.”

Ellen started at a swift pace, but Reed’s long legs bore him to her side
before the bridge was reached. The boat was turning a point in sight,
and the whistle for Beatty’s blew before they arrived at the long flight
of steps. Down these they raced, arriving at the wharf just as the
boat’s gangplank was lowered.

Miss Rindy and Mabel came ashore, laden with bundles, some of which
Ellen took possession of. “You’re all out of breath,” Miss Rindy
commented, “and your face is as red as a beet. What have you been
doing?”

“Running for the boat. We were late getting here.”

“We? What we?”

“Mr. Marshall and I.” Ellen turned to present Reed, who loaded himself
with bundles in spite of Miss Rindy’s protests.

“What’s a fellow good for if he can’t be useful once in a while?” he
replied, smiling. “Hello! there’s old Tom; I’ll press him into service.
Any more dunnage, Miss Crump?”

“There’s a box somewhere, but that can be sent up.”

“No need when here are two donkeys to carry it. Come here, Tom,” he
shouted as his friend was walking off.

Introductions were made in short order, and then the party turned toward
home. “Shall we wait for the mail?” asked Ellen.

“Don’t bother about it,” replied Tom. “We’ll bring it to you later. My
cousin will want hers anyway.”

“But it will give you extra trouble and a longer walk,” Miss Rindy was
ready again to protest.

“What’s a walk more or less?” remarked Reed. “It’s no distance to your
cottage.”

“How do you know?” asked Miss Rindy sharply.

“Your cousin has just told me that it is the second house beyond the
church,” answered Reed triumphantly, with a sly glance at Ellen.

Tom, with box on shoulder, was keeping pace with Mabel, while the other
three followed, Reed the bundle bearer. He spoke truly when he said the
distance was short, for in a few minutes they had reached the cottage
where packages and box were deposited, and the two young men took their
leave, promising to bring the mail later.

As soon as they had stepped off the porch Mabel seized Ellen’s hands.
“Where did you meet him? Who is he? Tell me quick. That Mr. Clayton came
on the boat. He got on at South Heartwell. He is a dear. I’m crazy about
him. He is such an unaffected ingenuous sort of lamb. What do you think
was his first question? Did I know how to make clam chowder? He said
they wanted to dig some clams, and he could make the chowder if he had a
good recipe. Oh, he is a babe, a darling infant. I never met any one
quite like him.”

Ellen laughed. “You certainly are bowled over, Mab. I’ll tell you all
about it as soon as I get a chance. It’s a long story. Now you must have
your supper. I know you must be starved. That trip on the boat does give
one such an appetite.”

“I wish it were clam chowder instead of lobster,” said Mabel as they sat
down, “for then we could ask Mr. Clayton to have supper with us and see
if he likes the kind of chowder we have.”

“As if any one could possibly not like our kind; it’s the best ever,”
retorted Ellen. “You can ask him for some other time; he won’t melt
away.”

“How do I know what he will or won’t do? If he stayed to-night, in
common decency he’d have to come back.”

“Then why not ask him to stay?” Miss Rindy spoke up. “I suppose he might
put up with lobsters; they are not usually despised, and there is an
abundance for all, your young friend, too, Ellen. It will be mighty
handy to have them open that box.”

The upshot of the matter was that when the young men returned with the
mail they were urged to stay, the supper was supplemented by various
supplies which the shoppers had brought from Portland, and all went
merry as the traditional marriage bell. Miss Rindy promised to make
chowder for them if they would supply the clams, and this offer brought
forth an invitation to come to the studio and partake of a supper when
the chowder should be the center of the feast.

“I don’t suppose you have a place to cook it, or anything to cook it
in,” scoffed Miss Rindy.

“We have an excellent oil stove, a large iron pot, and various other
utensils,” Reed boasted. “Suppose you all make a preliminary visit and
take account of stock.”

“And if anything is lacking, I can borrow it from my cousin,” Tom
remarked.

“Or, if the supply isn’t equal to the demand, we can bring our own
dishes from here,” promised Mabel.

“It’s a pretty long walk for an old limp-it like me,” objected Miss
Rindy.

“Limpet? You’re no limpet; they cling close to the rocks; I’m surprised
at you making such a feeble joke,” said Mabel merrily.

“I didn’t mean it for a joke; it’s a solemn fact,” replied Miss Rindy
plaintively.

“Oh, you needn’t walk,” declared Reed. “We’ll come around in the boat
and get you. There is a good little landing just below the bridge, as I
believe you are aware.”

Then every one laughed, and Reed declared he would like to make a study
of Ellen in a white dress and with goldenrod somewhere in the picture.

Then Tom insisted that he must do a like study of Mabel, who blushed and
stammered that she was not paintable.

“Oh, aren’t you? I should say you were.” Tom squinted up his eyes and
looked at her, causing greater confusion on her part.

“I speak to do Miss Crump, too,” cried Reed; “she’d make a stunning
subject, so much character to get.”

“There you go,” exclaimed Tom; “I was going to speak for her, but I was
going about it more diplomatically. I didn’t mean to blurt out my wishes
in that bald way.”

“What’s the matter with both of us painting her if she will be so
utterly angelic as to sit for us?” said Reed.

“Go along with you,” cried Miss Rindy. “The idea of asking a creature
like me to sit; I’m no beauty.”

“Dear lady,” said Tom, “there is something better than magazine-cover
beauty, and that thing you have.”

“You’ve said it, boy,” Reed agreed. “Come, Miss Rindy, I may call you
that, mayn’t I? You are going to be good and sit for us. We won’t keep
you long, and we’ll do anything in the world you ask of us, split wood,
run errands, any old thing, won’t we, Tom?”

“Very well, since you have eliminated the claim for beauty I’ll promise,
and you can begin your tasks by opening that box you brought up.”

“That’s easy. Lead us to it,” said Reed.

So was begun an intimacy, the results of which were far-reaching.

“When we said we didn’t know what might be around the corner, we must
have had a subconscious awareness of those two boys,” said Mabel, as the
two girls parted for the night. “It’s a lovely world, Ellen.”

“It’s a lovely island,” sighed Ellen, “but the summer is flying too
fast.”

“‘Gather rosebuds while ye may,’” quoted Mabel. “It’s the best summer I
ever had, and I mean to make the most of what is left of it.”

“Meaning?”

“Draw your own conclusions, miss. I’m not referring to ghosts.”

There were not many young people summering on Beatty’s Island. Ellen and
Mabel could claim acquaintance with perhaps half a dozen girls of their
own age, and not so many boys, youths about to enter college, or, having
finished high school, waiting a chance to enter into business. Dolly and
Cora Dix lived nearest. They were of the flapperish type, dressed and
looked the character, were rather insipid and silly. Farther away lived
Claudia and Lucile Bond, who affected knickers, were very sporty, and
talked a great deal about “expressing themselves,” used the latest
slang, and liked to be considered mannish. The Bonds’ nearest neighbors
were the Truesdells. There were three girls in this family, Hettie,
Gertrude, and Cassie, the youngest being Cassie. These were nice
unaffected girls, and their brother, Alvin, a lad of eighteen, was much
like them. Theirs was a hospitable house, always something going on. No
amount of trouble was too much when it came to entertaining, and all was
done so easily, for every one took a hand in preparations.

It was to the Truesdells’ that Ellen and Mabel went most frequently,
joining forces with them when it came to excursions, picnics, and the
like, and sharing with them any news which might come their way.

Therefore they were not slow to tell them of the late experiences with
Tom and Reed. Hettie waved to the two girls as she saw them coming down
the road. “Join us on the rocks, can’t you?” she called. “We’re going to
have supper on the rocks this evening.”

“So sorry, Miss Truesdell,” Ellen answered, “but we have a previous
engagement.”

“Who’s stealing our thunder?” asked Hettie. “I’ll bet it is those Dix
girls; they’re always butting in when we propose anything.” There was no
love lost between the Truesdell girls and the Dixes.

“You’re ’way off,” declared Mabel; “the Dix girls have nothing to do
with it; they’d better not. No, my dear, we are going over to Minor’s
Island to make clam chowder for two delectable youths.”

“Who are they? Who are they?” Hettie stopped whisking the mayonnaise
dressing she was preparing.

“Tell her, Ellen. They are your discovery.”

This Ellen proceeded to do, having an attentive listener, who at the end
of the tale exclaimed: “What luck! It is the most romantic story I have
heard for an age. Are you going to keep the ‘delectable youths’ all to
yourselves, or are you going to let the rest of us in on the fun?”

“Now, Hettie Truesdell, what do you take us for?” cried Mabel. “Of
course we want you to meet them. To-day’s feast is their affair, so we
can’t ask any one to that, but we’ll get up something when we can share
them with you.”

Hettie laughed. “How pleased they would be to hear us talk of sharing
them, as if we were cannibals. Why can’t they join us on the trip up to
Goose Island that we have planned for day after to-morrow?”

“Why not, indeed? We’ll propose it to them. Farewell, Hettie; we’ll see
you to-morrow and tell you what happens.”

They went off to join Miss Rindy, who had gone ahead to meet the boys at
the wharf, and the small company was soon landed at little Minor’s
Island. As they entered what Tom and Reed were pleased to call “the
studio,” the girls looked around in surprise, for the boys had made a
most attractive place out of the shabby little building. On the walls
they had tacked building paper, which made an excellent background for a
number of sketches. They had resurrected an old armchair from the
haunted house, had covered it with stuff of pleasant tone, had made a
rough table and two benches, had covered the floor with rag rugs, and
had put up shelves on which two brass candlesticks and some bits of
pottery were placed as ornaments.

“You are perfect wonders!” exclaimed Mabel. “You remember what this
place looked like when we first saw it, Ellen.”

“I certainly do, and it looked only fit for chickens or cows.”

“We’ve worked like Trojans,” Reed told them, “but it has been great
sport. There is a lot more we can do, but we shall not attempt it this
year. We sleep in the loft, have two bunks there, and here is our
kitchenette.” He opened a door into a small compartment where stood a
blue-flame stove, a few dishes, and some cooking utensils; a wooden tray
held the clams.

In a few minutes all fell to work and the chowder was made ready,
proving as satisfactory as expected. Bread and butter, fruit, coffee,
and a large chocolate cake completed the meal.

“And where did you get the cake?” asked Ellen. “I know you didn’t make
it.”

“I should say not. We bribed Mrs. Dan Ferry to make it. Most of her
boarders have gone and she could take time to ‘accommodate’ us. She’s
hot stuff when it comes to cooking, you know.”

A merry meal it was, and was ended as the sun went down, leaving rosy
clouds reflected in the water. “It’s as if a heavenly rosebush had been
shaken down,” declared Ellen. “And, oh, those opal and jade waves, and
that exquisite violet and turquoise in the eastern sky! Aren’t you dying
to paint it, Mr. Marshall?”

“Mr. Marshall, indeed,” he replied disgustedly. “To you I am Cronine,
please remember. Yes, Cronette, I am aching to paint so much that I see
that I could keep busy every hour of the day. But, I tell you, I mean to
come back here, if I am alive next year. Shall you come?”

“Don’t ask me. How can I tell? I only know that it is the most wonderful
summer I ever spent, and that it would be too much to expect to repeat
it.”

Here Miss Rindy’s voice broke in: “Aren’t you boys going to wash all
those dishes? If you’re not, we will.”

“You will not,” announced Tom, who had just emerged from the little
kitchen. “I have put them in a pan, poured water over them, and there
they shall stay till morning when we can tackle them. There isn’t any
hot water now.”

“So that’s what you have been doing while we outside have been
rhapsodizing,” said Mabel softly.

“That’s old Tom all over,” said Reed. “He is the most practical chap,
hauls me down from the clouds a dozen times a day.”

“But, once down, you do your share,” declared Tom. “He goes at it like a
whirlwind and gets things done while I’m thinking about them.”

They chugged back to Beatty’s in the small motor-boat, arriving at home
in time to catch the last of the afterglow and to watch the moon emerge
from smoky clouds.

“Those are nice boys,” remarked Miss Rindy with satisfaction. “It’s good
to get among that kind again. I knew some of the same sort in France,
like that Tom Clayton, always thinking of some one besides himself. I
believe of the two I like him the best.” At which remark Ellen had a
small feeling of resentment, although she couldn’t have told why.

The two young men were quite ready to accept the invitation to go on the
trip to Goose Island. “We shall have supper there,” Ellen announced.
“We’ll build a fire; then we can make coffee, fry bacon, and make those
scrumptious sandwiches,—lettuce, mayonnaise, and the hot bacon between.
You’ll go, of course. Cousin Rindy?”

“Indeed I will not. You know I don’t hanker after those motor-boat
trips. I had enough of the water when I crossed the seas, and I only go
now when I have to. No, please count me out. Who all are going?”

“The Truesdell girls, their brother Alvin, and a young married cousin
with her brother, a boy about Cassie’s age. There will be ten in all,
eleven if you will go.”

“No, I’ll have a nice peaceful time at home, with no young, skittish
frivolers about.” Miss Rindy gave her twisted smile.

“Now, Cousin Rindy,” Ellen protested, “you know you don’t consider us
skittish and frivolous, though we may be young.”

“I’m not saying what I consider, though I do say that if you are going
to keep up this everlasting gadding around you’ll not be fit for much of
anything by the time we get ready to leave, and won’t be in any trim for
the winter.”

“Well, to-morrow will see about the last of our frolics,” said Mabel
regretfully, “for Alvin leaves the day after, and there’s no one to run
the boat, which will be stored for the winter. The Truesdells will be
going next week, and by Labor Day there’ll be scarcely any one left.”

“And when do those two boys go? They have a motor-boat, haven’t they?”

“Yes, a small one. I don’t know how long they will stay. As long as they
can keep warm, they said. There is no chimney in that place.”

“Why couldn’t they move over to the big house?”

“Maybe they will. You might suggest it,” answered Mabel slyly.

Miss Rindy gave a little contemptuous sniff and the subject was dropped.

Supplied with wraps and carrying various boxes and baskets, the girls
set off for the wharf where they were met by the rest of the party. Reed
and Tom were on hand, having met the Truesdell girls the day before, and
were helping Alvin stow away the provisions.

“Don’t forget a jug of water,” Hettie called.

“And matches, has any one matches?” Gertrude asked.

For answer Tom dived down into his pocket and produced a box which he
held up to view.

“We’d better have a can of milk, in case the cream gives out,” Hettie
suggested. “Cassie, you run up to the store and get it. And see if they
have any marshmallows,” she called after the child who sped off on her
errand.

She was back quickly, bringing the can of milk. “No more marshmallows;
all sold out, Mr. Hodges said, and they aren’t going to get any more.”

“Oh, well, it doesn’t matter. I thought it would be nice to toast some,
but we can get along without.”

At last all were aboard, and they pushed off, rounded a point, and
turned toward the upper reaches of the bay, the small trailer bobbing
along in their wake. The skies were blue and the breezes just fresh
enough to make the girls pull up the collars of their sweaters. Gulls
were soaring and dipping, giving raucous screams when a fishing boat
cast out undesired objects from the catch. Before five o’clock Goose
Island was reached, and all scrambled ashore.

“There’s the fireplace,” cried Gertrude, plunging through the bushes to
reach a point where, earlier in the season, a fireplace of stones had
been built up. “Now you masculines go hunting for driftwood while we
unpack the baskets.”

In a short time wood enough was gathered, the coffee was bubbling
merrily, and the bacon sizzling in the pan. There were several dashes
away from the fire to escape the puffs of smoke, and one pan of bacon
was overturned, causing a mighty conflagration for the moment, but that
was the only mishap. Hettie was chief cook, with Ellen as assistant, and
the supper served did them credit.

“I don’t know why it is that everything always tastes so wonderfully
good when we go on these picnics,” remarked Mabel, nibbling a sandwich;
“and I eat twice as much as upon any other occasion.”

“So say we all of us,” Reed chimed in.

“In spite of what you say,” said Hettie, “we always bring too much. Just
look at all this stuff. Shall we feed it to the fishes or lug it back?”

“My frugal mind would suggest that it would be a wicked waste to throw
it away,” said Ellen. “‘What they could not eat that day they had the
next day fried,’ remember.”

“All right,” returned Hettie, “we’ll obey your frugal mind’s suggestion
and pack it away. Nobody can tell what the morrow may bring forth. You’d
better begin to stow away these things in the boat, boys, for we must
start right back if we want to get home before night. It gets dark so
soon these days.”

The tide was out by now, and great stretches of slippery seaweed lay
between the shore and the boat, but, by dint of using the board seats as
a bridge, all were helped safely aboard, and the return trip began. The
sun had set in a glow of amber light, and all seemed fair for the
voyage.

“Let her go, Alvin,” cried Reed as he pushed off and then made a flying
leap to land in the boat. He scrambled over to a place by Ellen. “I
don’t like the look of that gray bank along the east,” he said in a low
tone to her, “but I reckon we can make it. Whoop her up, boy,” he called
to Alvin.

“Oh, do you think it means we shall have a storm?” quavered the
Truesdells’ cousin, Mrs. Olmstead, who had heard what Reed said.

“Not a storm, but fog. It may come up quickly, or it may hang around
outside, but we know the channel pretty well, and there’s no danger.
I’ve cruised around in these waters so much this summer that I could
steer in the dark. I’ve learned a lot from the fishermen, too.”

They chugged along steadily for some time, then suddenly the boat
stopped short, gave a few futile wheezes, went on a little distance, and
then came to a dead standstill, or as much of a one as a boat afloat
could do.

“Hello! What’s wrong?” cried Tom and Reed in unison, as they climbed
over to where Alvin was striving in vain to right matters.

“Let’s look at her,” said Tom, gazing down into the depths where the
engine was. He and Alvin consulted, experimented, did their best, but
the boat still lopped helplessly around, drifting with the outgoing
tide. “I’m blest if I know what’s wrong,” said Tom, lifting his head at
last. “Nothing seems to be out of order so far as I can see.”

“It looks all right to me,” Alvin agreed.

“I don’t suppose by any chance it needs some juice,” remarked Reed.

“I never thought of that,” replied Alvin, grinning sheepishly. “I gave
the can to Sam Denny and told him to fill her up, so it must be stowed
away somewhere.” He began to search.

“It’s horrid, this lopping around,” complained little Mrs. Olmstead. “Do
help to look for the can, Bert,” she said to her brother.

He joined in the search, but it was to no avail, and at last Alvin stood
up and shook his fist in the direction of the distant Beatty’s Island.
“Doggone that Sam Denny!” he exclaimed. “He’s forgotten to put it in.”

“Do you mean we can’t go on?” cried Mrs. Olmstead in horrified tones.

No one answered. The young men looked at each other, then looked off
across the water to discover the nearest land. “There’s nothing to do
but to row for it,” said Reed to Alvin, “and the longer we wait the
farther out we’ll drift.”

“Then we’d better waste no time over it,” returned Alvin, clambering
over the seats and drawing up the little trailer alongside. He crawled
in, Reed following, and they plied the oars vigorously, the larger boat
in tow. It was a hard pull, but by degrees the distance to shore
lessened, and at last they reached dry land.

“Have we got to spend the night here?” asked little Mrs. Olmstead with a
hysterical sob.

“There might be worse places,” said Bert. “There are no wild beasts or
poisonous snakes.”

“But it will soon be dark, and we’ve no place to sleep,” responded his
sister tremulously.

“You wouldn’t mind going to a dance and staying up pretty near all
night,” retorted Bert.

“Don’t fuss, children; don’t fuss,” urged Hettie. “We’ll manage somehow.
What worries me the most is that Mother will be distracted. She’ll think
something dreadful has happened, that we’re drowned, or gobbled up by
sharks, or some little thing like that.”

“Cousin Rindy will be worried, too,” remarked Ellen. “I wish there were
some way to let her know we are safe. If we could only broadcast the
news, for instance.”

“Don’t worry; we’ll find some way out,” Reed assured her. “The first
thing is to see if we can find some sort of shelter before it gets too
dark to explore, and then we’ll decide what to do next. Come on, boys,
let’s see what the jungle has to disclose.”

The three young men, with Bert, plunged into a thicket, and disappeared,
leaving the girls huddled together on the rocks, Mrs. Olmstead shedding
futile tears, the others discussing the situation and suggesting ways to
meet it. Once in a while Gertrude, who had brought a flash-light, turned
it in the direction whither the boys had gone. The island where they had
landed was but a small one, and there were no signs of a habitation upon
it, only a little stretch of sandy beach, rocks above it, and, beyond, a
grove of fir trees with a few birches interspersed.

In a little while the crackle of twigs announced the return of the
exploring party.

“There’s a little dilapidated log hut in there,” announced Alvin as he
came crashing through the underbrush; “it isn’t much of a place, but
it’s better than nothing, and will give us shelter. We’d better get to
it before it’s any darker. I’ll lead the way.”

The girls followed him in single file. Only glimmers of light sifted
down through the sombre firs, and it was necessary to be careful of the
footing lest one stumble and come to grief. At last they reached the
spot where Tom and Reed were busily gathering boughs to fling upon the
floor of the cabin, which was a rough structure, one side open to the
winds. There was no chimney, and through chinks between the logs one
could peer out into the surrounding thicket.

“Now, you all make yourselves as comfortable as you can,” suggested Tom,
“while we fellows go back for the baskets and things.”

“Gee! I’m glad you didn’t throw away all that provender,” exclaimed
Bert. “We’ll be as hungry as the dickens before morning.”

“Oh, Bert!” wailed his sister again, lapsing into tears.

Reed tossed his overcoat to Ellen. “Keep that,” he said; “I’ll not need
it yet a while.”

“Bert, you’d better stay here and keep off the bears,” charged Alvin.
“We are going after the baskets.” Then with Tom and Reed he went off.

Mabel snuggled up close to Ellen. “If we wanted adventure we surely have
it,” she whispered. “It’s getting sort of shivery. I’m glad we brought
warm wraps, although they seemed superfluous when we started out, didn’t
they?”

“And we would have left them at home if Cousin Rindy hadn’t insisted
that we would need them. She certainly is a wise old dear. No doubt she
will sit up all night watching for us. I don’t mind anything so much as
having her do that.”

“What I want to know is how we are to get off this island even in
daylight.”

“I’m trusting to the boys to find a way, and I’m sure they’ll do it.”

They were not long left in doubt, for soon the forms of Alvin and Tom
were seen approaching in the gathering darkness.

“Three of you went forth. Where is the third?” inquired Mabel. “Have you
thrown him to the sea-god to propitiate him?”

Tom set down the basket he carried, but did not answer for a moment;
then he burst out with, “That Reed Marshall is the darndest fellow!”

“What’s he done now?” came in a chorus.

“He’s taken the rowboat and is on his way back to Beatty’s. While we
were gathering up the baskets and things he slyly cut loose and made off
before we could stop him. I shouted to him to come back, but he said we
must stand by; that he’d take word to Mrs. Truesdell and Miss Crump,
tell them you all were safe, and that he’d be back with help as early in
the morning as possible.”

“But is it safe for him to go so far, and at night?” asked Ellen
tremulously.

“It’s a pretty long pull, but he has the grit to make it. He’s strong
and has some top piece. He’ll put it across if any one can, but I did
hate to see him go off alone; it didn’t seem fair.”

“Why didn’t you go with him, Alvin?” Hettie spoke up sharply.

“Mr. Clayton has just told you that he was off before we knew it, and
when we tried to argue with him he said it wasn’t worth while for more
than one to take the risk.”

Ellen gave a quick gasp and clutched Mabel, who gave her hand an
answering pressure. Mrs. Olmstead, as usual, had recourse to tears.
“Alvin, you’re an idiot,” said Hettie crossly.

“Reed’ll make it; I should worry,” insisted Tom. “Now all of you try to
get a little sleep, if you can. Alvin and I will keep watch.”

It was little sleep any one had that night, resting on the strewn
branches and beds of dry leaves. It grew very cold before morning, so
that Ellen realized why Reed had given her his coat. She drew a long
quivering sigh and offered up a silent prayer for his safety. It was a
relief when dawn came. One by one crept out of the cabin, and stole down
to the rocks to gaze over the rose-flecked water and catch the first
glimpse of an approaching boat.

At last a small, dark speck appeared. It came nearer and nearer,
steadily heading toward them. “Ahoy there!” cried Tom on the outmost
edge of rock. “Ahoy!” came back the answer. A few minutes later the boat
was near enough for them to recognize its occupants, but Reed was not
one of them.

Every one crowded around as the boat drew up and two men jumped out.
“Are you from Beatty’s Island?” inquired more than one.

“Right you are,” was the reply. “Young man came in along about three
o’clock, been rowing pretty near all night, he said; was nigh all in,
got off his course, kinder foggy for a time, but he got back again.
Beats me how he done it, not being used to these waters, but he said he
knew which way the wind blew,—lots of sense he had,—and steered
according. I take off my hat to a landsman that could make his way in
the dark like that. Of course any of us men could do it, being as much
at home on these waters as ashore.”

“But where is he? Where is he?” Ellen interrupted eagerly.

The man chuckled. “Lady by name o’ Crump’s got him in tow, stowed him
away in bed, sot a big nigger to watch that he didn’t get away, come
down herself and routed us up, told us a party was marooned off here and
we’d got to come after ’em, which we was willing to do. We was going out
to draw out lowbster pots anyway. What’s wrong? Engine gone dead on
you?”

“Juice gave out,” replied Alvin shortly.

“Ah-h, I see; that does happen in the best regerlated families,
sometimes, specially when you hev a load of pretty wimmin folks along,”
said the man with a sly wink at Tom.

“Wal, if juice is all you want, we can load you up and go about our
business,” said the second man. “No, glad to accommodate you.” He shook
his head as Alvin tendered more than the price of the gasoline. “So
long.”

The gasoline provided, the men went off to their lobster pots, and the
marooned party consumed the remnants of yesterday’s feast before they
set out for home, Tom having built a fire and made coffee earlier.

“For shipwrecked mariners cast away on a desert island I think we are
faring pretty well,” remarked Hettie. “Who was the foresighted person
who thought to provide extra coffee?”

“Ellen, of course,” answered Mabel. “She always thinks of the useful
things; Useful Ellen we call her.”

“Don’t give me the credit,” Ellen protested. “It is all Cousin Rindy’s
training.”

“But there had to be something to build on,” Mabel asserted.

The last of the provisions disappeared before they started off, Bert in
no wise unwilling to despatch large slices of cake at that hour of the
morning. So, cheered and sustained, they made a quiet journey without
any regrets because of the adventure, now that it was over. Mrs.
Olmstead was the only grumbler, but nobody listened to her, and they
arrived at their wharf quite cheerful.

To their surprise it was Reed who was first to greet them. “Why, we
thought you were in bed under strict guard,” said Ellen as he helped her
ashore; “behind locked doors we understood.”

“So I was, but fortunately there were windows from which I escaped. Miss
Rindy believes I am still peacefully sleeping.”

“You should have had a good rest after that terrible trip.”

“It wasn’t terrible, rather exciting, and I was pretty well tuckered out
when I reached here, but I’ve had a good sleep and am ‘pert as a
lizard.’ But, tell me, how did you get along?”

“Very well indeed. That good Tom Clayton just laid himself out to do
everything in his power to make us comfortable.”

“I told you he was a mighty good sort. As soon as you’re rested,
Cronette, and have had your breakfast I have something to tell you.” He
looked at her gravely.

“I’m not a bit tired and I’ve had breakfast, thank you. Tell me now.”

“No, I don’t want to hurry over it. We must have a quiet place and a
quiet hour.”

“You look so serious; I hope it isn’t bad news.”

“It is in one way, but not in another.”

“You rouse my curiosity to the highest pitch. Let’s hurry.”

Miss Rindy was as astonished to see Reed as she was glad to see Ellen.
“I’d like to know where you came from!” she exclaimed as the two
entered. “I told you not to get up till noon, and I told Beulah to lock
that door.”

“You forgot there are windows, a porch roof, and posts, dear madam.”

“Don’t you madam me; I’m a spinster, you sly, crafty youth. Well, Ellen,
you did get back safe, thanks to this boy. I hope you’re none the worse
for your outing.”

“Not a bit. I hope you are none the worse for your vigil.”

“As if I wasn’t used to sitting up all night. I did it times without
number over there in France, and often enough before that.” She was not
going to let Ellen think that she had been anxious about her.

Here Mabel, accompanied by Tom, entered. “I feel as if I had been away a
year,” exclaimed the girl. “I hope I find you well, Miss Crump.”

“As well as anybody could feel after all this hulla-baloo. Getting me up
at the dead hours of the night with a crazy tale of castaways.”

“Oh, but you were up already, Miss Rindy,” declared Reed.

“Well, I hadn’t gone to bed, that’s true. I must have fallen asleep in
my chair, and didn’t realize the time.” She gave a little laugh, which
belied her words, and then turned the subject by saying that they must
have some breakfast; and, in spite of the fact that all insisted that
they needed none, she set aside their assertions, claiming that she and
Reed wanted some if nobody else did, so all sat down together, and, with
new appetites, whetted by their morning trip on the water, did justice
to Beulah’s waffles.

An hour later Reed and Ellen sought a sheltered corner under the shadow
of a great rock. Just as they were leaving the house Mabel ran after
them, waving a letter. “Miss Rindy says she forgot to give you this; it
came in the mail after we left yesterday.”

Ellen took the letter, glanced at the typewritten address, and slipped
it into the pocket of the coat she wore. Then, with Reed, she seated
herself. “Now tell me your news,” she said.

Reed was silent for a moment, then he drew from his pocket a letter
which he spread out upon his knee. “This is from Uncle Pete’s lawyer,”
he said.

“Don Pedro’s lawyer? What’s he writing to you about? Have you been doing
anything reprehensible?” Ellen asked flippantly.

“No. One doesn’t always receive letters from lawyers because of
misdemeanors; there are such things as wills, you know.”

Ellen stared at him for a moment in speechless silence; then, as a
possible meaning of his words reached her, she gasped, “You don’t
mean—you can’t mean that dear Don Pedro is—is——”

Reed nodded. “He was taken ill in the mountains where he was spending
the summer, and lived but a few days.”

Ellen covered her face with her hands, then raised wet eyes to Reed’s
grave face. “Your letter, what does it say?”

“It tells me that to his godson and namesake he has left the contents of
his studio, including all his pictures except such as are bequeathed to
some one mentioned in another clause of the will. He also leaves me ten
thousand dollars.”

“But you said his namesake,” returned Ellen, looking puzzled.

“My legal name is Peter Reed Marshall. Uncle Pete didn’t like the name
of Peter, so I dropped it and always have been called Reed.”

“Dear Don Pedro,” murmured Ellen with a faraway look. “How we shall miss
him! It was fine for him to remember you in that way. I am glad he did.”

“It was just like him to do it. He has always encouraged me to go on
with my studies, even when it was hard sledding and it looked as if I
couldn’t make my way. He always came to my rescue, and told me not to
sell my soul for Mammon.”

Again Ellen looked puzzled. “But I thought you were very well off. I
never dreamed that you had any sort of struggle.”

“What made you think so?”

“Why, the violin. You paid a good price for it, you know, and how could
you, if money wasn’t easy to get?”

Reed flushed up. “You’ve caught me, Cronette. I paid for it with the
check Uncle Pete gave me for Christmas, and he made up the rest. He
wanted me to have it if you couldn’t keep it, said it should not go to a
stranger. He knew how I longed for it.”

“Dear, dear Don Pedro,” again sighed Ellen.

“You wanted me to have it, didn’t you, Cronette?”

“Oh, I did, you know I did, and now, since I know you so well, I am more
than ever glad.”

“It brought us together, and so I value it more than ever,” said Reed
softly. “Cronette, I think you’d better look at your letter. From the
look of the envelope I believe it is from that same lawyer.”

Ellen hurriedly drew forth the letter, opened it, read it hastily, then,
after handing it to Reed, buried her face in her hands.

“Don’t cry, dear,” she heard Reed say in a few minutes; and he drew her
hands away from her face, gently enfolding them in his.

“But—but,” quavered Ellen, “I can’t help it. It was so lovely of him to
think of me in that way, to leave me the pictures my father painted and
that he bought at the sale when Mother had to part with everything. And
to leave me five thousand dollars, too. I can’t help being overcome.”

“No, of course you can’t. The lawyer says there is a letter of
instructions, and that he will forward me a copy of the part that
concerns me. Perhaps you will get one, too. I know Uncle Pete often
spoke of having an exhibition of his pictures and your father’s, a joint
affair. We must follow out his wishes, Cronette.”

Ellen agreed with him, and they sat a long time talking over this
unlooked-for situation. Little curling waves rippled in at their feet,
“nosing around among the rocks like a dog,” said Reed. He looked off
over the blue expanse to the hazy horizon line. “And over there is
Spain,” he said musingly. “I want to go there some day, don’t you?”

“There are many, many places I should like to go, but I shall never
leave Cousin Rindy while she needs me; if she could go, too, that would
be another thing.”

Reed made no answer, but continued to look off across the sea. Meanwhile
Miss Rindy and Mabel, all unaware of the subject which so engrossed the
two outside, were talking of Ellen.

“I wish you would encourage Ellen to spend the winter with me,” Mabel
began. “She has so much talent and could study at the Peabody, go to the
concerts, and all that. She should have a musical career, don’t you
think?”

Miss Rindy answered after a pause. “I’m not sure that it would be the
wise thing. What would your grandmother think of it, of Ellen making a
convenience of her house?”

“Oh, I don’t think Gran would mind. I must admit that she is something
of a snob, a thing I despise, and that while she is generous in giving
where it doesn’t mean a sacrifice on her part, she doesn’t care to give
of herself.”

“And giving of one’s self is the only real unselfishness,” Miss Rindy
interrupted. “If Ellen couldn’t make as good an appearance as your other
friends, and couldn’t return her obligations, I would rather she did not
go, certainly not for a whole winter. She has talent, maybe, but she
isn’t a great genius, and only that could compensate.”

“But she is such a dear,” returned Mabel wistfully. “No one could help
loving her, for she has what is known as charm.”

“She has her faults, but then no one is perfect, and I don’t expect her
to be. There is one thing I may say, and that is, she is the only person
in the world to whom I come first. I never did come first to any one
till Ellen entered my life. I never was much considered in my own home,
therefore you can understand that Ellen, her happiness, her future, mean
a lot to me.”

“I do understand,” returned Mabel feelingly, for she thought Miss
Rindy’s statements very pathetic; “and I can say one thing, and that is,
she never for one moment forgets what you have done for her.”

“Gratitude is such a rare thing, especially in one as young as Ellen,
that the fact makes me the more anxious to safeguard her.”

“But you do want her to follow a musical career, don’t you?”

“So far as it may be necessary for her happiness. I don’t want her to
expect great things and then fail in the accomplishment, to risk all and
fail. She’d better be a big frog in a little puddle than try to be a
bigger frog in a puddle where she’d be crowded out. In other words, she
will always be able to make a living in Marshville, while she might
starve in the city.”

“Oh, but Marshville!”

“It isn’t a bad place to live, but if straws show which way the wind
blows she won’t always live there.”

“Do you mean?”

“I mean what I mean. Time will show. From all indications I should say
she will live there for some years yet.”

“And I hope all her summers, yours, too, and mine, can be spent up here.
You will come next year, won’t you, Miss Rindy? Don’t you like it, and
haven’t we had a happy, free time?”

Miss Rindy gave her attention to counting stitches on the knitting she
had in hand, then she answered: “You have given us a wonderful time, my
dear, but in my experience it isn’t best to expect to repeat one’s good
times. Things are seldom twice the same. Something is sure to happen
that will alter conditions. In this world the only thing you can count
on is change.”

“Well, one thing can be counted upon, and that is my desire to repeat
this summer’s experiences.”

“That may be your desire at this moment, but it may not be six months
hence. We all may be a thousand miles apart by next year; one can never
tell. That vocation you are so fond of talking about may take you to
China or—somewhere else,” she added with a chuckle.

Before Mabel could expostulate Ellen came in. She went directly to her
cousin, and, opening her letter, laid it before her. “Read that,” she
said.

Miss Rindy hastily glanced over it “Why, Ellen! Why, Ellen!” she
exclaimed. “What a surprise! I am sorry that dear good man is gone, but
I can’t help being glad for you.”

“Mayn’t I come in on the surprise?” asked Mabel eagerly.

“What did I say about changes?” Miss Rindy returned, as she handed over
the letter which Mabel read immediately.

“Of course it isn’t a fortune,” she commented, “but if those pictures
sell well, it will swell the sum. I must spread the news abroad and get
all my friends interested. I’ll buy one myself, and make Gran do the
same, so you can count on two purchasers, at least.”

“Where is Reed?” asked Miss Rindy. “Does he know about this?”

“He does indeed, for he is mentioned in the will, too.” Then she told of
what had been left to Reed. “He has gone to hunt up Tom,” she informed
them.

“So probably we have seen the last of them this day,” remarked Miss
Rindy with one of her twisted smiles. “I declare when I think of that
boy rowing nearly all night out in that fog, I don’t know what to say.”

“I say he is a he-man,” responded Mabel. “I thought Tom was about the
nicest ever, but now I may change my mind.”

“Take care,” Miss Rindy spoke warningly.

“Of what or whom?” inquired Mabel.

“You should know without me saying,” replied Miss Rindy.

“Well,” both girls flushed up, “I want to see him to congratulate him,”
said Mabel. “Isn’t he coming back, Ellen?”

“This afternoon, but please don’t congratulate him. We have both lost a
dear friend, and just now we can think only of that.”

“Of course, dear, I should have remembered.” Mabel spoke regretfully,
and went over to put her arm around Ellen. Both girls had gained in
weight and color. A row of tiny freckles had appeared on the bridge of
Ellen’s nose, but her cheeks were rosy and her eyes bright, while Mabel
was tanned and had lost a listless air which had been hers on her
arrival.

Miss Rindy, looking at them, remarked upon their exuberant health. “This
place surely doesn’t owe us anything,” she remarked. “I never saw such
improvement in two beings, and as for myself I feel like a
four-year-old. As for Beulah, she’s grown so fat she can scarcely
waddle, and such an appetite! I don’t see how we can afford to feed her
when we get back.”

“Oh, yes, we can, now,” Ellen assured her. “No doubt she will lose her
appetite when she gets away from this stimulating air.”

“Only another week of it,” sighed Mabel. “The Palmers have gone, the
Truesdells are beginning to pack up, and pretty soon all the lights
alongshore will be out. Aunt Zenobia Simpson says she hates to see the
last one go, but a lot of the natives are glad when they can have their
island to themselves, and I don’t blame them. I suppose Reed and Tom are
over at H. H.,” which was the way they spoke of the haunted house among
themselves.

“Yes, Reed said there was a lot to do there. They want us to go over for
a parting supper there to-morrow.”

“It is a dear place,” Mabel spoke reminiscently. “I’d like nothing
better than to come up here every summer with you two and be sure that
those boys would be over there. We have had such good times together.
Oh, why can’t good times last forever?”

“They would cease to be good times after a while, and become only
monotonous ones,” observed Miss Rindy sagely.

The next day brought them to their final visit to the little studio
across the bridge, where a greater feast than usual was spread. The
young artists gave each guest one of their sketches as a parting
souvenir, Reed played a farewell rhapsody, and they went slowly home,
lingering to watch a young moon, escorted by the evening star, dip down
behind the line of peaked firs.

The sea was a little rough and boomed upon the rocks, a big wave once in
a while hissing in, breaking thunderously, and then subsiding into a
line of foam which was beginning to form creamy balls of spindrift.

As they stepped upon the porch a dark form arose from the steps. It was
Beulah, who had been watching the surf. “Dat wahtah sutt’nly do bus’ up
pretty,” was her remark as she followed the party into the house.