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   Chapter 6 No.6

Drusilla with a Million By Elizabeth Cooper Characters: 33602

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:05


One morning when Drusilla was sitting in the small library reading the morning paper her eyes caught the words: "Funeral of General Fairmont." She read of his death in the little town in the Middle West, attended by a few of the officers of his regiment and his lifelong friend, John Brierly.

Drusilla dropped the paper with an exclamation.

"John! And he's alive!"

She spent the next few hours with folded hands, her mind far in the past that was recalled by seeing the name of John Brierly. She lived over again those girlhood years when the world with John in it seemed the most beautiful place on earth. She thought of her mother's failing health, her helplessness, her dependence. She could almost hear her cry, "Don't leave me, Drusilla, don't leave me!" when John went to her and asked that they might marry and meet life's battles together. Drusilla never for a moment blamed her mother for her selfishness in demanding all and giving nothing; and she never would admit, even to herself, that her mother's obstinacy in refusing either to go with John and Drusilla or to give her consent that they live with her, had ruined her life. Those years of bitterness were past, and now she remembered only the happy days when she and John were together and life seemed just one flowery path on which they walked together.

At last she rose and rang for the butler and asked him to telephone Mr. Thornton. She could never get used to the telephone herself. She wanted Mr. Thornton to come to her on his way home.

She passed the day impatiently awaiting his arrival. She could not occupy herself with the flowers, nor could the baby at the gardener's cottage evoke any enthusiasm, although she carefully looked over the clothing of one of the younger Donalds that kindly Mrs. Donald had contributed for the baby's use.

At last the lawyer arrived. Drusilla hardly allowed him to be seated before she broached the subject.

"Mr. Thornton, I want you to do me a great favor. I just read in the paper that an-an old friend of mine that I thought dead long ago, is living in a little town in southern Ohio. I want to know how he is getting along, what he is doing, how he is living. I want you to send some one out there and find out all about it. I want to know if he's comfortable off, and happy. He may be poor, and he may be lonely. Find out all about him, and let me know."

The lawyer started to say something.

"No, don't say a word, and don't talk about writin' out. That ain't what I want. I want to know, and letters won't tell me nothing. Do this for me-send some one; 'cause if you don't I'll start myself to-morrow. I'm goin' to know how life's usin' John Brierly."

She leaned over and touched the lawyer's hand.

"Don't always be agin me, Mr. Thornton. I got my heart in this. John Brierly meant all the world to me once, and although I'm old now I ain't forgot. There's some things, you know, we don't forget."

Mr. Thornton looked at the flushed old face before him, and a softness came into his voice that surprised even himself.

"I'll do it at once, Miss Doane. I'm always glad to be of any service to you."

"I'm glad to hear you say it; though sometimes you have to be backed into the shafts. But you will send at once-to-morrow?"

"Yes, I'll-let me see-I'll send Mr. Burns."

"Send a bright young man, some one that'll nose around and find out everything. John's proud, and he may be poor, and I want to know jest how he's fixed; and I don't want him to feel that any one's inquiring into his affairs, 'cause then he'd shut up like a clam and I couldn't find out nothin'. Send some one with sense. Hadn't you better go yourself?"

Mr. Thornton laughed.

"That's the first compliment you ever gave me, Miss Doane; but I don't think it is necessary that I go myself. I have a very clever young man in the office who will do better than I would."

"Well, have him go at once. Can't he start to-night?"

"I don't think that is necessary either. He'd better wait until I give him all the details. But I'll start him off the first thing in the morning. Now you rest happy, and in a few days you'll know all about it."

Drusilla passed the days impatiently waiting for the return of the man from Ohio. Finally he arrived and Mr. Thornton brought him to see her.

Drusilla sat in her high-backed chair.

"Well, begin!" she said impatiently. "I'm nigh as curious as a girl."

The young clerk drew a bundle of papers from his pocket.

"I found out as much as I could regarding the present circumstances of John Brierly. He is-"

"What does he look like?" interrupted Drusilla. "I ain't seen him for mor'n forty years. Is he old lookin'? Is he sick?"

The young man smiled at her impatience.

"I should call him a singularly well preserved man for his years."

"That sounds as if he was apple-sass, or somethin' to eat. What does he look like? Is he stoop-shoulderd?"

"Not at all. He is a tall, spare man, with white hair and a gray Vandyke beard."

"What's a Vandyke beard? You mean whiskers?"

"Yes; whiskers trimmed to a point-rather aristocratic looking."

"John always was a gentleman and looked it. Is he well lookin'?"

"Yes, he was in the best of health."

"Is he-is he-married?"

"No; he never married."

Drusilla was quiet for a moment, her eyes seeing beyond the men to the lover who had remained true to her throughout the years.

"Does he live alone?"

"He has two rooms in the home of some people with whom he has lived for a great many years."

"Is he in business?"

"No; he was in business until the panic of 1893, when he lost his business."

"What does he live on? Is he poor?"

"He saved a little out of the wreck of his business and lives on that."

"How much has he?"

"I think he has about five hundred dollars a year; just enough to keep him modestly in that little town."

"Does he seem happy? Did you talk with him?"

"Yes; I visited with him all of one afternoon. He does not seem unhappy, but he is a lonely old man. All of his friends are gone and he leads a lonely life."

"What does he do?"

"He has his books."

"Yes; John always loved books. They used to say that if he'd attend to business more and books less, he'd git along better."

The clerk laughed.

"I'm afraid that's what they say out there, too. He is not a practical man, and he seems to have paid very little attention to the making of money, or-what is more-to the keeping of it after he had made it."

Drusilla smiled.

"That's just like John," she said softly. "Set him down somewhere with a book and he'd forgit that there was other things he ought to be doin' instead of readin'. He worked in Silas Graham's grocery store when he was a boy, and Silas had to keep pryin' him out from behind the barrels to wait on customers. Silas said when he let him go that John's business was clerkin' in a book store and not a grocery store. Well, well! John's just the same, I guess. He'd ought to had some one with common sense to keep him goin'."

"Is there anything else you would like to know?"

"No-" said Drusilla hesitatingly. "I guess that's all I need to know."

She was quiet for a few moments. Then:

"Does he seem strong?"

"Yes; strong and well."

"D'ye suppose he could travel by himself?"

"Certainly; he seems perfectly able to travel by himself."

"Then I guess I'll write him a letter. That's all, and I thank you very much, young man. I suppose you have a lot more on them papers, but I know all I want to. Good day."

A few days after Drusilla's interview with the clerk, John Brierly received a letter in the handwriting that, although a little feeble, was still familiar to him. He took it home from the post-office and did not break the seal until he was in his sitting-room. Then he read it.

DEAR JOHN:

I jest heard where you are and how you are. You are alone and I'm alone. We are both two old ships that have sailed the seas alone and now we're nearing port. Why can't we make the rest of the voyage together? I have a home a great deal too big for one lone woman, and you have no home at all. Years ago your home would have been mine if you could a give it to me, and now I want to share mine with you. I'm not proposing to you, John; we're too old to think of such things, but I do want to die with my hand in some one's who cares for me and who I care for. You're the only one in all the world that's left from out my past, and I want you near me. Won't you come and see me? Then we can talk it over, and if you don't like it here you can go back. Come to me, John. Let me hear by the next mail that you're a coming.

DRUSILLA.

P. S. If you don't come to me, I'll come to you. This is a threat, John. You see if I am seventy years old, I'm still your wilful Drusilla.

Drusilla doubtless would have passed the next few days anxiously awaiting an answer to her letter if an unforeseen occurrence had not driven all thoughts of it from her head. Some one had told the newspapers about the baby left on her doorstep, and that she had refused to send it to the police, and one morning great headlines stared her in the face: DRUSILLA DOANE A TRUE PHILANTHROPIST. Again she saw her picture and the picture of the house in Brookvale, and read:

I'll send no baby to a home. I've eaten charity bread and it was bitter and charity milk would be the same.

That started for Drusilla a strenuous existence for a few days. The next morning a baby-a weak, sickly little thing-was found beside the locked gates, with a note pinned to its tiny jacket. "Won't you please take my baby too?" Drusilla took it into her motherly arms, looked with pitying eyes into its little white pinched face, and sent it to the butler's wife until she could determine what to do with it. The next morning there were two babies waiting; and that night at dinner the butler was called to the door by a ring, and when he opened it, he found a little boy about two years of age standing there with a note in his hand. The grounds were searched for the person who had brought the baby and left it standing there, but no one was found-and he, too, was added to the butler's growing family. In the next week eleven children were brought to the house in aristocratic Brookvale, and Drusilla was frightened at the inundation of young that she had brought upon herself. They were of all kinds and all descriptions. There were John and Hans and Gretchen, and Frieda and Mina and Guiseppi, Rachel, Polvana, Francois; even a little Greek was among the collection. Their names were pinned to their clothing, along with letters-some pitiful and some impertinent, but all asking for a home for the abandoned child. Drusilla was dismayed and sent for the young doctor, as Mr. Thornton's only word was the police and a "home," to both of which Drusilla shook her old gray head vigorously. But she saw that she could not parcel the children out indefinitely among the servants, and consequently Dr. Eaton was asked to come and help her decide what should be done.

When he came in, his eyes twinkled mischievously at Drusilla.

"I hear you have numerous additions to the family," he said.

"Young man," Drusilla said, "you set right there and tell me what to do. You got me in all this trouble. Now you get me out of it."

The doctor stopped in amazement.

"I got you in this trouble? How did I get you in this trouble?"

"Now, don't you look that surprised way at me," said Drusilla severely. "Didn't you tell me all about orphan asylums and babies having to be all dressed in the same way, and have all their hair tied with blue cord, and eat porridge out of a blue bowl, and set down and stand up and go to bed at the ringin' of a bell. Didn't you tell me that?"

"Certainly; I said a few things like that, but-"

"And didn't you make my foolish old eyes jest fill up at the thought of any baby I'd ever held in my arms goin' to a place like that and bein' turned into a little jelly-mold-them's your words, a little jelly-mold-"

"Well-I did mention jelly-molds, but still-"

"And didn't you make me feel so bad that I couldn't let Mr. Thornton give that blessed little John in charge and be sent to a home?"

"Why-why-you had already decided; but still-"

"That's the third time you've said, 'but still,' and I don't see as it helps me any now."

"What'll I say, Miss Doane?"

"You jest help me out of this fix I'm in. I got eleven babies on my hands, and what am I goin' to do with 'em?"

"Well, it is a question, isn't it?"

"No, it ain't a question; it's a whole book of questions, and the answers ain't found. I wash my hands of it all. You got me in; now you get me out."

And Drusilla sat back in her chair.

"Why-why-you put rather a responsibility on me. What does Mr. Thornton say?"

"Huh!" Drusilla nearly snorted, if the sound she emitted could have been called a snort. "He says jest what you'd suppose he'd say. Send for the police and put them where they belong."

"I presume he is right," said Dr. Eaton a little sadly. "I don't see what else you can do with them; unless-"

"Unless what? If that's all you can say, I needn't have sent for you. I've heard that with every baby that's come. Now I want somethin' different. What's your 'unless' mean?"

"Unless you keep them, Miss Doane."

"How'm I goin' to keep eleven babies and they comin' faster every day?"

"I think you had better head off the rest."

"How can I do that? They jest come and there ain't no one to give 'em to."

"We will put a policeman on guard to watch the gates, and arrest the next one who leaves a bundle or a basket."

"I hate to arrest any one, but-perhaps it's the only thing to do. But that don't help none with the ones I got now. And, Dr. Eaton, they're the cunningest lot of babies! I go round every night to see 'em undressed. I've took more exercise trotting to the different houses where I've put 'em just to look at 'em go to bed-well, I jest can't send 'em to a home."

"Why should you? Now let's talk sensibly, Miss Doane. What are your plans for your own life?"

"What do you mean?"

"What are you going to do with yourself? How occupy yourself?"

"I don't occupy myself. I'm jest settin' around waitin' to die; and, between you and me and the gate-post, Dr. Eaton, I'm not used to jest waitin'. I'm used to doin' somethin' if I am an old woman."

"That's just it-you are used to doing something. Now here's something that you can do that's worth while. There's a whole lot of babies in the world that need a home, and why can't you take your share of them and give them a chance in life?"

"How can I give them a chance?"

"Why, Miss Doane, who could give them a better chance? You have money-"

"Yes-heaps of it; and I set wonderin' what to do with it. I want to spend it and I don't know how."

"How can you spend it better than by taking care of all these babies, by seeing that they'll have love and care instead of being brought up by chance or charity, which is bound to kill every decent instinct a child may be born with."

Here Dr. Eaton got up and began walking around the room. His eyes grew bright, his voice earnest and thrilling to the old woman who watched him as he walked up and down.

"Miss Doane, you have a wonderful chance to do something great. I envy you for the chance. Just think of being able to take these little waifs and provide a place for them to grow up into the men and women that it was intended they should be! Whenever I go down to the orphan asylum and see all the little tads herded around in bunches by paid nurses, and no one really caring for them, no one tucking them up at night, no one singing them little songs, no one hearing their evening prayers, it seems to me that I must take them all away with me. It seems that we are all wrong in a world where a Great Master whose teaching we are supposed to follow said, 'Suffer the little children to come unto me,' when we allow them to be turned into little machines, unloved and uncared for. Oh, Miss Doane, you've got a great chance. Take it!"

Drusilla frankly wiped the tears from her eyes.

"Dr. Eaton, you almost make me cry. But where'll I put 'em?"

"How big is this house? You don't use it all, do you?"

"Use it all! Well, I should say not. I feel like a pea in a tin can shakin' around loose. Young man, there's twelve empty bedrooms in this place and I don't know how many other rooms that's goin' to waste."

"There you are! Why not fill them up? Of what use are they lying empty?"

"That's what I often think, and I wonder why one old woman's got so many rooms when there's lots of people ain't got no place to go. It don't seem jest right."

"Of course it isn't right. You've

too much; a great many have nothing. Now even up."

"Who'll I git to take care of 'em?"

"We'll have to figure that out."

"We'll have to figure it out mighty sudden. I got them young ones pretty well passeled out among the hired help, and they ain't enjyin' them so much as I am. First thing I know the hull cahoots of 'em'll leave, though speakin' for a few of 'em it wouldn't cause me to go to an early grave to be shet of some of 'em."

"I must be off. I'll think it over and let you know what I've figured out for you."

"Well, hurry up about it. It's a lot to think of. I never thought I'd take to raisin' children at my time of life; but you never can tell what you'll end as. I'm pretty old to begin, I'm afraid."

"Come now, Miss Doane; don't get cold feet. One is never too old to try something. If it doesn't work, you can always send them to the police that Mr. Thornton tells you about. They're always there; so are the homes."

"Yes; that's so. And they wouldn't be no worse off'n when they come. Well-you run along and start somethin'."

"Yes, we'll start something, Miss Doane."

Dr. Eaton went away, and the next morning he got an excited telephone call from Drusilla herself, which showed that it was of the utmost importance to her and even overcame her dislike of talking into a "box," as she called it.

"Come right over, Dr. Eaton; come right over at once," she said. "I've got another baby and they've caught the mother."

Dr. Eaton lost no time in coming to Drusilla, and he found a very excited little woman, with her hat and gloves on, waiting for him.

"Don't come in; I'll tell you on the way. I've got the car and my bunnet's on, so we'll go along."

Drusilla did not stop to explain but stepped into the car, and gave directions to the chauffeur.

Dr. Eaton laughed.

"Why all this hurry, Miss Doane? Is something afire?"

"Yes; I'm afire, and I'm mad! They put a officer of some kind at the gate last night, and this morning he caught a woman leavin' a baby. An' how do you suppose he caught her? The man was hid and couldn't catch the woman when the baby was left, and he waited and pinched the baby and made it cry, and then the poor little mother who was waitin' somewhere to see her baby took in, come to see what was the matter, and they took her. I can jest see it all-the poor little mother in hidin', waitin' to see her baby took in the house, and, hearin' it cry, her mother heart drew it back to comfort it, and she was caught. Mr. Thornton tells me she was taken to court, and that's where we're a-goin' this minute. I want to see that mother, and find out why she left the baby."

When they arrived at the court, Dr. Eaton and Drusilla found a seat up near the front. They were wedged in between wives with anxious faces wondering if their husbands would be taken away from them, or watching them pay in fines the dollars that were so badly needed in the home. They were all there, those hangers-on of misery-the policemen, the plain clothes men, the probation officers, the cheap lawyers, the reporters. Here and there was an artist or a writer looking for "copy," or some woman from Fifth Avenue trying to get a new sensation from the troubles of her less fortunate sisters. Over it all there was a silence that was heavy and dead. A silence born of fear-the fear of the law.

Several cases were called before the case for which Drusilla waited, and then a young girl not more than eighteen years old rose and stood before the Judge with a baby in her arms. At first she was so frightened that she could not answer the questions; but the Judge, a kindly man, waited for her to become more calm, and then, in a quiet voice, he began to question her.

"Now do not be frightened; we will not hurt you. Just tell me why you left the baby."

The scared voice spoke so low that her words could scarcely be heard.

"I didn't know it was wrong."

"If you didn't know it was wrong, why did you hide?"

"I-I-wanted to see that nothin' happened to her. I kind of-kind of-wanted to see her as long as I could. She's my baby-and-and-I wouldn't see her again-and I just kind of waited round-" Here the girl started to cry. "I didn't know it was wrong. There was nothing else to do. I-I-"

"You were willing to give her away, yet you cared enough to go to her when she cried. I don't understand it."

"I don't know, but she cried and I thought somethin' might be hurtin' her or she wasn't covered up warm enough-and I wanted to touch her again-and-and-"

"But if you feel that way, how could you leave her?"

"What was I to do with her? I couldn't take her back home. I come from the country and I couldn't go back with a baby. No one would speak to me, and it would hurt Mother so. I jest couldn't. She's only two weeks old, and you know when you leave the hospital with a baby two weeks old in your arms, and you can't go home and you've no money, what are you goin' to do?"

And she turned the tear-stained, questioning face of a child up to the Judge.

"What were you going to do if the baby was taken in?"

"I'd have tried to get work somewhere, but you can't get work with a baby."

"Have you no friends?"

"No; only some girls in the store where I worked."

"How did you come to leave the baby where you did?"

"A girl in the hospital read in a paper about an old lady who had no children and who took a baby left on her doorstep, and so I left mine, thinking that if she saw her once, she is so pretty that she'd have to love her, and she'd have a chance to grow up like other girls. And I'd 'a' gone to work feeling that my baby had a home which I knowed I couldn't give her."

"But why didn't you go to some of the homes that are open to girls like you?"

"Homes? I didn't know of any."

"There are many institutions that would have helped you. Didn't any one tell you about them?"

"No; I wouldn't talk much with people. I was afraid that they'd send word to Mother, and I didn't want her to know and feel bad, so I didn't talk about myself. It's been awful hard-" and the babyish lips began to tremble.

"Do you want to keep the baby?"

The girl's face brightened.

"Do I want to-do I want to-But I can't! They tell me there's no place for a girl with a baby."

"Will you work?"

"Oh, Judge," and she drew the baby closer to her, "jest give me a chance! I'll work my fingers off for her. She's all I've got now, and-I'm-I'm-so lonely."

The Judge started to say something, but he was interrupted by a little old lady rising from one of the seats.

"Judge, jest you give me that girl and the baby. I'll take her."

The Judge looked over his glasses at the excited, flushed face of the old lady in front of him.

"What's that?"

"I said, jest you give me that girl and the baby, and I'll take her. I'll take her right home with me."

The Judge looked at her a moment in silence; then the young man beside the lady came forward and said:

"May I speak with you a moment, Judge Carlow?"

There was a whispered conference between the Judge, Dr. Eaton, and the kindly-faced, white-haired probation officer, and then the Judge turned to the young girl.

"Discharged in care of Miss Drusilla Doane," he said.

The girl and her baby came with the doctor through the gates which separated those who were entwined in the meshes of the law from the onlookers; then, stopping to get Drusilla, Dr. Eaton and his charge left the court-room.

The wondering girl was placed in the motor and whirled swiftly toward Brookvale.

Drusilla was quiet for a time. Then:

"Dr. Eaton," she said, "I believe we've found our nurses. Here's our first one. Why can't we find the other mothers?"

"I am afraid that would be rather difficult."

"Difficulties are made to get around. If this young girl is willin' to work to be with her baby, some of the other mothers must be the same. Perhaps some of 'em was in just the same fix as this one. Now, look at that letter of John's mother. It sounded as if she wouldn't 'a' left him if she could 'a' got work to keep him. Why can't we git as many mothers as we can and have them nurse the children? We got to have nurses of some kind, and the mothers'd be better than jest hired girls."

"It's a good idea, Miss Doane; but how can we get them? They naturally didn't leave their addresses."

"We'll advertise in the papers."

"But that would scare them; they would be afraid it would be a trap to get them arrested."

"Say in the papers that we won't arrest 'em, but that we'll give 'em a chance to support their babies and live with them while they're doin' it. Tell 'em I give my word that nothin'll happen to 'em. Git that young man that talked to me once. He said he'd do anything for me I asked him. Git him to write it all up."

Dr Eaton pondered thoughtfully for a few moments.

"It might work, and again it might not."

"Well, there ain't no harm tryin'. Fix up a good advertisement and put it in all the papers-Dutch, Italian, French and Irish. The babies are all kinds."

By the time they arrived at the big house in Brookvale Drusilla was very much interested in her new scheme.

"No," she said firmly to Dr. Eaton when he intimated that he must leave; "you ain't goin' now. Jest you come with me. Jane, you take this girl and this baby up to one of the spare rooms and see she has a bath and the baby some milk. Have you had your dinner? No; of course not. Jane, git her somethin' to eat-somethin' solid; not them finicky things the cook makes. Git her all fixed up; then come to me. Dr. Eaton, you come with me to that big room I was a lookin' at the other day."

She led the way to the third floor, where there was a big billiard room.

"Isn't this just the right kind of a room for babies?" she exclaimed. "Look at them windows to let the sun in! Now, how many beds can I put here? We'll take them big tables out and we can put a lot of beds side by side; and the nurse can sleep in this room here that opens out of it, with the littlest babies near her."

The doctor looked at the room.

"It seems made for a nursery, doesn't it?" he commented. "Let's see. You could put six little beds along each side, and a couple in the other room with the nurse's bed. That would more than dispose of your dozen already."

"And I been a-worryin' what to do with 'em all when I got this room! I ought 'a' been ashamed of myself! Now, you run right along and order the things we need-beds and whatever babies should have-and send them right up. Tell the storekeepers that they must git here at once or I won't take 'em. I can jest see James's face when I tell him his wife won't need to keep them five babies he's got any longer. I'll go and take my bunnet off and help move."

Within the next two days twelve little beds were established in the billiard room, and the little mother was installed as first nurse, with Jane and a couple of girls hired as assistants.

That evening Drusilla was sitting down to dinner-or supper, as she called it-when Mr. Thornton was ushered in. He was more severe and uncompromising than ever, and Drusilla said to herself, "I'm in for it. He's heard somethin'."

But she did not show that she was a wee bit nervous. She said, as if it were the usual thing for him to make her an evening call,

"Why, how do you do, Mr. Thornton? Won't you have some supper with me?"

"No, thank you. I came to talk with you."

"Now, that's real nice of you. I always like to talk. Set right down and we'll have a comfortable visit. You'd better change your mind and have some supper."

"No; my dinner is waiting for me."

"I eat my dinner in the middle of the day, though James will call it lunch. I think a great big dinner at night makes you dream of your grandmother, so I have mine like I used to."

"I understand that you have been to court, and brought home with you that woman and her child."

"Well, well! How news does travel! How did you hear that?"

"It is in the evening papers."

"Is it? Well, I do declare! It seems I can't do nothin' but what I git in the papers. I don't need to talk to git writ up; my money talks for me. What did they say?"

The lawyer drew a paper from his pocket and handed it to Drusilla. She took her glasses from her forehead, where they had been resting, and read aloud: MISS DRUSILLA DOANE, THE FRIEND OF THE FRIENDLESS.

"Well, ain't that nice of 'em!" she stopped to comment; then she went on reading.

"They seem to have it all down," she said, handing the paper back to Mr. Thornton.

He looked at her with the air he used when trying to frighten witnesses who opposed him.

"Of course, you will deny all this. You will make a statement that it is all a mistake, and that you do not intend to give these-these-wanderers a home."

"Now, that's a good word, Mr. Thornton; that's jest what they are-wanderers. But they won't be wanderers no more; they've found a home."

"What do you mean?"

"Jest what I said, Mr. Thornton. I mean to give that mother and her baby a home."

"I do not understand you at all, Miss Doane; or at least I hope I am mistaken in your meaning."

"I talk plain American."

"I have been waiting for you to send those children that have been left here to the proper authorities."

"Well, I'm an authority-or at least I seem to be one since I got all this money; and no one ain't ever said I wasn't proper."

"You are evading the question. I have said with the advent of each child that it should be sent, along with the others, to the police. They would dispose of them in the homes ordained for them."

"I ain't a Presbyterian, Mr. Thornton, and I don't believe in predestination and foreordination. Them babies of mine was never ordained for a home-the kind you mean; and I won't put 'em there. I got room and I got money to feed 'em and clothe 'em; so why shouldn't I keep 'em?"

"It is quite impossible, quite impossible!"

"Why impossible?"

"Why-why-my late client, Mr. Elias Doane-"

"Now, don't throw him in my teeth again. Elias Doane don't care whether I keep babies or poodle dogs, and I like babies best. Now, don't let's quarrel, Mr. Thornton," as she saw him give an exasperated shake of his head and rise as if to go. "Set still and talk it over with me calm like. Can't you see my side to it? I'm old and I'm lonesome, and I've always wanted babies but the Lord didn't see fit to let me have 'em, and now He's sent me these. I feel that I'd be a goin' against His plans if I didn't keep 'em. My old heart's jest full of love that's goin' to waste, and I want to give it to some one, and," laughing, "I can't waste much of it on you, can I? I don't want to die with it all shet up inside of me. I want to love these babies and learn 'em to love me. Why, what chance will a baby brung up in a 'home' have to know about love? How can they ever be learnt of the love of God when they grow up, if they don't learn something about love when they're little. They won't know the word. Don't be so set against it, Mr. Thornton"-she looked at him pleadingly for a moment, then her eyes twinkled-"though it won't do you much good as I'm set on this and I'm goin' to do it. Your late client, Mr. Elias Doane, said, 'Spend my money, Drusilla, in your own way'; and I'm takin' him at his word."

Mr. Thornton rose.

"Nothin more can be said then; but it is a disgrace to the neighborhood to have a home for waifs come to it."

Drusilla flushed hotly.

"Don't you call it that; and don't you call it a 'home'! It's a home, but not the kind you mean, and I won't hear it called that."

"I wash my hands of the affair. You will get into trouble, and when you do you may call on me."

Drusilla rose and laid her hand on Mr. Thornton's arm.

"I'm sure to get into trouble," she said. "I always was a hand to do that. But when I do you'll be the true, kind friend I know you are, and help me out."

Mr. Thornton smiled, against his will, as he looked down into the earnest face of the little old lady. He patted the hand on his arm.

"Miss Doane, you are causing me a lot of trouble not connected with the business of the estate; but of course I'll always help you. Every one will-they can't help it."

Drusilla drew a sigh of relief.

"I'm glad to know you ain't agin me, 'cause I like you, even when you almost always come here to scold me. You ain't near so stiff inside as you are outside. We're friends now, ain't we, babies or no babies?"

Mr. Thornton bent and kissed the withered old hand.

"Always, Miss Doane, babies or no babies; but you had better-"

"Never mind! You run along. Your dinner's cold by now. What you want to say'll keep till next time, and I know it ain't near as nice as what you said last. Good night."

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