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P205, Scribner's Magazine 1915--At the end of the rainbow.jpg

AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW

By Jennette Lee


THE Island lay in darkness. Only an occasional flash of lightning revealed the great headlands to the east and the figure of a man busily at work. When the lightning came the man crouched a little toward a pile of loose earth at his feet. Then the shovel resumed its play, scooping the earth into the hole before him. Now and then he paused, leaning forward on his spade to listen. No sound came through the dark but the tide creeping on the rocks at the foot of the headland and a distant mutter of thunder to the east.

In a fitful flutter of lightning the Island stretched away, its dry grass and gaunt trees and half-shrubs leaping in a kind of sinister dance in the flickering light. Then darkness, and the muttered thunder rolling from the east—and the man bent again to his work, shovelling earth into the half-filled hole with grotesque, leaping haste. The moon that had glimmered faintly when the work began had disappeared; but the rhythmic throw of the shovel sent each shovelful skilfully to place till it lay heaped in the hole. Then the man leaped down and trod it with heavy, cautious feet. The thunder grew louder and the lightning broke through upon the great figure treading the earth.

He flung aside the shovel and dropped to his hands and knees, scraping the earth out of the grass and moss in swift handfuls and throwing it loosely on top of the hole. The lightning playing across the sky flickered on the dry grass and moss and over the great trees and bleak cliff and the figure in its clumsy garment, half cape, half coat, crawling about the hole like some huge insect surprised at its work.

His hands reached out for a great, shallow stone on the edge of the hole and tugged at it a moment, and he stood up, half swearing under his breath, his great-coat falling apart as he bent to the stone and flapping about his legs. Something fell from the folds and dropped among the loose dirt. A moment later his fingers, groping for the shovel, encountered it, and he gave an exclamation of disgust, throwing it hastily into the hole.

He pried at the stone with the shovel and lifted it and rolled it skilfully into place over the shovelled dirt—not a crack or crevice left for prying eyes or curious ringers. And the rain would wash away all trace of his work. He shuffled a little with his feet, crouching in the grass and rubbing back and forth to erase the signs.

He got to his feet and stood erect and raised himself, stretching his arms high to free the muscles. There was a burst of thunder, a sharp flash that rent the air—and for a moment the great figure in its flopping coat loomed with arms outstretched on the night. Then darkness and the thunder rolling heavily away and swift drops of rain.

He seized the shovel and moved toward the sea, his greatcoat outspreading as he ran. With the falling of the rain the Island seemed to waken and stir. Lights flashed from the hamlet below and vague sounds of living came on the wind. The figure on the cliff paused a moment—then dropped cautiously over the edge; there was a low whistle, an answering sound from the water, and the muffled, even chug of oars moving in clumsy oarlocks. The wind had risen and swept up from the sea and across the headland, driving the rain that fell from a black sky over dry grass and moss and a great, shallow, rounded stone on the top of it.

For a moment the great figure . . . loomed with arms outstretched on the night.


II

Little breezes crept from the south. Sunlight flicked at lobster buoys and touched swift motor-boats and lingered on the great, shadowy, spreading sails. Everywhere was the tang of the June morning; and life on the Island ran to and fro, sniffing its freshness.

On a great headland to the east two people, a man and a woman, stood looking off at the water.

"I should like to stay all summer," said the man, "but—" He took a coin from his pocket and looked at it a minute, and tossed it in the air with a little twirling gesture and caught it.

The woman smiled back. There was a look of courage in the smile. But the little line between the eye did not disappear. "No, of course we can't stay, only"—her glance caught the water and the glinting buoys and shadowy sails—"it would mean everything to you!"

"Sure thing!" said the man. "But"—he let his gaze sweep the horizon and come back to her—"I'll try black and white for a while," he said.

"Oh!" She sat down quickly on the nearest rock and looked at him. The little line between her eyes deepened. "You must not give up!"

"It isn't giving up—exactly." His voice fell on the word. "Better men than I am have done black and white," he finished cheerfully.

"Yes, I know." She was not looking at him. Her eyes were on a far-off fishing-boat that sailed back and forth, back and forth, waiting on its school of fish.

"I can't let you!" she said passionately. "Oh"—she turned to him swiftly—"you ought never to have married!"

A little boy came running over the rocks, his hands full of moss and shells. "See, mother, what I found!" He held them up. "Where did the shells come from, mother?" said the child. "How did they get way up here?"

She glanced overhead at the birds circling in wide flight above them.

"The gulls bring them," she said. "They fly over and drop them on the rocks to break open the shells; then they can eat them. See, here is a mussel—and a crab—and a sea-urchin—and this queer one that I don't know."

The child's eyes looked from the shells to the great, sailing wings overhead. "Does the mother gull teach the little ones how to do it?" he asked.

"Perhaps." Her face was lifted to the birds. "Or perhaps they always know how—and just do it. . . . We know a great many things that no one teaches us." The tone was not condescending. She was speaking to the child as if to an equal, and he nestled against her with a contented sigh as her voice went on talking of the gulls and the creatures of the sea.

He nestled against her with a contented sigh as her voice went on talking of the gulls and the creatures of the sea.

The man near by watched the two with a little glint in his eye under the sombreness. . . . It was her face that haunted him always—the Botticelli face with wide, clear eyes, the reddish hair drawn close about the ears, and the little look of brooding in the brows. He had painted it a hundred times—had tried to paint it—but always the same failure; and still it ensnared him; that look was the most beautiful thing in the world. And he should never be able to paint it—nor to paint anything else. He was only one more unfortunate devil born with an imperious fate, all his life, of painting one woman's look—he spread his long, thin fingers and looked at them—a longing to paint and no power or skill to see; the world was full of them—devils like that. . . . Well, he had his wife and child, and he would not shirk.

He stood up, and the woman glanced quickly from the bits of shell in her hand.

"I have thought of something," she said slowly. She looked at him—the useless, brooding Madonna look that always made his ringers instinctively grope for the brush—then the look broke into a smile. "I know you will call it foolish," she said. "But I could do it. We could do it!"

"No doubt we could—if it doesn't cost too much."

"That's it! It doesn't cost anything—to speak of. Why shouldn't we build us a little house right here—a tiny one—and I could cook and sweep and bake and take care of Phil." She drew the child closer to her. "It is the boarding that costs so much—boarding and washing and ironing—I could do it!" Her face had lost its pained look; it was almost radiant. "I could do it all!" she said happily. "And you could paint!"

The child's eyes were regarding her gravely.

"I suppose you know it costs something to build a house?" said the man. He spoke half-teasingly; but there was a note of seriousness in the words. After all—why not? There was a little money left. It would be a last throw. But living like that was cheap. And the house need not cost much——

"We could build it ourselves—almost!" she said, catching his look; and she laughed out, hugging the child to her.

He struggled a little in the tight grasp. "Can I build, too?" he demanded.

"Yes, darling—just as you build your blocks."

"And hammer—hard?" He brought his fists down in happy play on her breast.

She caught them with a little gasp and kissed them.

"It didn't hurt, mother?" He looked at her quickly.

"Not now, darling. Run and while we talk."

"Give me my shells, then." He gathered them into his hands. "And I can help?" he said, looking back.

"Yes, darling. We couldn't build without you. Run and play."

He trotted contentedly off and her eyes followed him and came back to the man.

"We must do it," she said, "for him and for all of us."

The man did not answer. He had taken a tape measure from his pocket and his eye followed the line of rock.

"Hold this, Flora." He tossed it to her and moved along the ground, putting in a stake here and there and measuring the distance with swift eye.

He came back to her, his face aglow. "Do you know—we could do it—almost!"

She nodded slowly.

"Make this rock, where you are sitting, the corner-stone and run the line out there—twenty feet, perhaps. Just a shelter. It's all we need——"

"Just a shelter," she repeated. "And I could keep house then and save—oh, so much!"

"We could live on nothing!"

They caught each other's hands and stood for a moment swinging them between them. Then they laughed.

He watched her face in its happiness.

"I believe I could paint you if we lived here—up high, with the gulls about! . . . I could get the look."

She had seated herself again on the rock and he threw himself on the moss and studied the face that was watching the flight of gulls beyond the headland.

"It is so simple," he murmured.

"Yes?" A little smile curved the line of her lip.

"That's the trouble with it," went on the voice. "Everything there for everyone to see; and yet, in behind, something big—something' to guess at and put in color, stroke by stroke. . . . I wish I had my brush!"

"Are you through? May I move?"

"If I could hold it just long enough to see what it is. It's as if you had a secret, Flora—not yours, you know, but a secret of the ages, something that someone else had learned, through suffering, and hidden in your eyes——"

"That's very pretty!" said the woman softly.

He did not heed her. "The world is seeking it; it needs it, running here and there, seeking—seeking; and all it seeks is hidden in your face!"

"Dear boy!" She half-bent to him and put out a hand. "You shall paint it and the world shall call you great!"

He raised himself on his elbow. "There! That is it!" He spoke quickly, with a half-blind look. "And now it goes! P-u-ff!" He fell back on the moss, his hands clasped behind his head, and stared up at the sweeping, easy-pinioned gulls flying overhead.

"As easy as that!" he murmured to himself.


III

The carpenter whom they had brought to help lay out the foundation looked at the ground thoughtfully. "Best take out this rock." He touched it with his foot.

"We thought that would make a good corner-stone," said the artist.

The man smiled—a slow, gentle, fatherly smile—as if they were boy and girl planning a playhouse. "You won't need such terribly heavy foundations for your house," he said. "And you'll get your level pretty easy if this comes out." He struck it with the crowbar he carried. "It's not so heavy as it looks."

He thrust the crowbar under the side and pried a little. The stone stirred in its place—a skilful twist and it lay upturned.

They peered into the shallow hole. "How strange—and it looked so firm!"

"There's a good deal of that kind on the Island," said the man. "Sort of surface rock that looks as if it might go deep." He had bent over the hole and was throwing out the dirt lightly.

"I'll dig a little here and set your posts for you. You want good cedar posts that'll stand the frost. Hullo!"

He stooped and picked up something that the shovel had thrown out.

He rubbed it a little on his overalls and handed it to the artist with a smile.

"There's a good-luck piece for you," he said good-naturedly."

They turned it in curious palms—a huge copper coin with half-effaced inscription and date—1808.

They rubbed its dimness and studied it with happy eyes.

"We'll build it into the fireplace," said the artist. "It will bring us luck, you think?"

The man nodded. "Shouldn't wonder. That's what they say. They find 'em on the Island here sometimes—old pieces like that."

"But how could it have got under there?" said the woman. She was looking at the place with wide eyes.

The digger's glance followed hers reflectively. "Well, you can't tell. Maybe a house stood there once—some of the children might 'a' lost it——"

He was moving slowly among the rocks, measuring the site. "How far does your land go, Mr. Collins?" he asked.

"We bought the headland," said the artist. "We didn't mean to buy it all; but Richards wouldn't sell a part. He didn't ask much."

"No, he wouldn't ask much; it's worthless land. But I always liked it here." He straightened himself and looked out at the water. "It's a sightly place," he said. . . . "You'll need some things over to the store, Mr. Collins—nails and so on. I told 'em what you'd want. But you'll have to fetch 'em up yourself."

When he was gone the woman sat watching the man who was digging. A little smile had come to her face and her lips were very red. She leaned forward, pointing to the hole.

"You don't suppose somebody buried it—there!"

He looked up and shook his head slowly. "There's a good many stories; and folks have dug up pretty much the whole Island, I guess, first and last. But I never heard of their finding much—old teaspoons is about all, I guess." He struck the shovel into the ground, here, and put in the posts, and dinner we'll get out the foundations. You can go ahead then all right by yourselves."

He threw out a few shovelfuls of earth. . . . Then he paused, leaning on his spade, and pushed back the hat from his forehead. "You see that big house over to the left—the square-roofed one—with green blinds?"

The woman nodded, looking toward it across the shimmering water of the bay.

"Well, they say that house was built with gold dug out of a hole—pirate's gold."

"Pirate's gold!" The eyes held a swift thought. "Is that what was buried here?"

The man laughed good-naturedly. "I don't feel so sure about it; but folks like to talk, you know. That house was built—let me see—eighty years ago—maybe more. My father helped dig the cellar—same as I am helping dig yours here." He nodded humorously toward the post-hole. "And he always told how one night they stopped work and the next morning the man they was digging for was gone and his boat was gone and the work stopped where it was for months—pretty near a year; and then the man—Fordham was his name—came back one day unexpected, and his boat was loaded down to the rail with lumber—stuff for a big house—all sawed and fitted and ready to go up. They wa'n't no time building it. He seemed to have gold and to spare——"

"Pirate's gold," said the woman softly, as if the words held an evil charm.

The man laughed and lifted the spade. "Gold is gold," he said quietly. "You can wash gold pretty clean, you know—soap and stuff." He thrust the spade into the ground.

The woman's eyes followed the motion. "It must be terrible," she said, "money like that!"

He looked up at her. His eyes were gray—the gray of the sea on dark days—and they watched the look in the woman's face with a quiet smile.

"You'd be afraid of it?" he said.

She gave a quick gesture. "There would be a curse on it!"

He nodded slowly. "I know—I feel it, too. . . . It came true with the Fordhams. They was always kind o' sickly and pindlin'—the children and them that lived to grow up and now they've died out, root and branch. Some summer folks own the house—man by the name of Bridewell from Boston. I guess that's deep enough—" He looked down at the hole. "Unless you want me to go deeper." He held his shovel over the hole, looking at her significantly.

She returned the look, and the little balance swung for a moment between them. She drew a quick breath. "No—no—I don't want it," she said.

The man laughed out and picked up a long cedar post, squinting at it. "Like enough there is nothing there," he said dryly.

He measured a length on the post and placed it ready to saw; and the sound of the saw made music about them. The severed stick fell to the ground and rolled a little way. He picked it up, balancing it in his hands. "That's good timber," he said. "It will last you a lifetime."

He carried it to the hole. "We've got some things down to the house," he said, setting the post in place and stamping the earth about it, "—things that come from a pirate boat. There's quite a handful of buttons—belonged on an old coat. I've heard my grandfather tell the story a good many times. His father told it to him—how, when he was a boy, a pirate boat come ashore one night. There was an awful storm, and the next morning there she was on the rocks—down to Dead Man's Cove—not a soul on board."

The child, who had come running up and had heard the last words, looked out over the water. "Where were they gone?" he said.

"Drowned, sonny—every one of 'em. All there was left was their old black flag and some clothes."

The woman smiled at the child. "They were bad men," she said.

He nodded gravely. "I think I'll play I am a pirate." He trotted off.

The man watched him running over the rocks. "He's a lively one," he said. "I had a little suit, when I wa'n't any bigger'n him, made out of the old coat. That's how we came to have the buttons. It had been hanging around years, and finally my mother made it up. But I never felt very good in it. I was a kind o' queer little chap, I guess." He smiled gently.

"How cruel," said the woman, "to make you wear it—a little child!"

"Oh, that was all right I outgrew it pretty fast. I didn't mind so much only the other boys, they called me 'Dead-Eyed Pete." That was the name of the man that run her—the pirate boat. . . . The Island hasn't ever forgot him nor his boat."

"That's one reason folks have dug so much," he added. "They would have it that the pirate must 'a' had gold aboard her and that she put in here to bury it, and got caught. But they've never found it——"

"There—there's your post!" He stood up and glanced at the sun and then at the watch that he drew from his pocket. "I'll have to be getting home now. You tell Mr. Collins I'll be back after dinner to finish up."

Long after he was gone the woman sat looking off at the water. There were blue veins in the thin hands clasped in her lap—the hands that were to wash and iron and bake and scrub for the little house that was to be built. But the look in her eyes saw beyond the cooking and the scrubbing. And when the child came running up she clasped him to her in a kind of happy play.

He struggled from her and slid down into the hole, stamping the earth with eager feet. "I'm going to help build," he said, looking up with happy eyes.

"Yes, dear. You're going to help. We couldn't build without you to help," she said.


IV

She murmured in her sleep and turned a little and sat up, rubbing her eyes; but before the eyes had opened, her feet had crossed the room and her hands were groping toward the little cot across the room—something wrong with Phil!

And even while her hands encountered the empty blankets and she drew back in the moonlit room, the hands had gathered up her hair and were coiling it about her head and she was dressing in swift haste, throwing on a kimono and taking the child's thick cape from its nail. She did not stop to question. Mothers do not question things that are important—and true.

The Island lay so quiet in the moonlight that it seemed enchanted. Nothing mattered but the great moon sailing overhead, so calm and unmoved, and little Phil waiting for her—if she should reach him in time.

She half-ran, half-flew, it seemed, across the beach, along the road and up the grassy path to the headland—and in the moonlight at the top she stopped.

Far out—on the very edge, it seemed to her—a small figure stood in the moonlight, its white garment blown a little in the wind. She clasped her hands to her and stood motionless—as still as the figure on the cliff—till it turned and seemed to spread its hands a little and came toward her—slowly at first—then hurrying, as if following some unseen guide. . . .

Far out—on the very edge, it seemed to her—a small figure stood in the moonlight

She stood awed with a sudden sense of the mystery of the child and of the great dream force that lifted and carried it over the rough ground; the bare feet did not flinch at the sharp rocks, and he moved as certainly as if a thousand unseen eyes guided him. Her breath came more easily now and she was moving toward him; but he swerved from her and ran to the hole where the foundation-post showed vaguely, and dangled his feet for a moment over the edge before he slid down into it and began to tread the earth with bare feet, singing a little to himself.

She watched him a minute—and moved forward, noiseless. She must not waken him or frighten him—and she dropped to her knees beside the hole, bending forward, crooning words of sleep and love as she gathered the little figure in her arms and lifted it. The head fell back on her shoulder, a smile on the dream lips, and she gathered him close, wrapping the cape about him.

For a long time she sat in quiet, watching the sleeping face and looking off to the water beyond the cliff.

The enchantment of the place grew about her—the Island, big and mysterious, off there in the moonlight, and beyond it, holding it close, the sea; and beyond the sea, the sky and circling stars and that great, quiet, careless moon riding aloft. . . . And little Phil asleep in her arms.

He stirred softly and she mothered him and gathered him close.

Then something whispered to her and she stared at it—and half-laughed—and got to her feet, with the child in her arms, and carried him to a sheltered place and laid him down on the moss, wrapping the cape close about him.

There was a half-broken shovel somewhere—? Yes, she had found it. She hurried to the hole and began digging with swift, clumsy strength.

She threw out the earth, smiling happily. ... It was a foolish thing to do . . . the carpenter would be vexed in the morning when he found his cedar post uprooted. She tugged at it, swaying back and forth till it loosened and she lifted it from the hole.

The work could go faster now; the broken shovel moved up and down with its tiny load of earth under the high-riding moon. The kimono was in her way; it fell open and got underfoot and hindered her—till she gathered it around her waist, with a tough bit of vine, and tied it close under her breasts; her hair had loosened and straggled a little. She was a creature of the earth, age-old, tugging at some task too great for her that the gods had set her to do. . . .

The moon sagged and went down and shadows crept up on the cliff and drew in about her. The scraggy bushes and wind-blown trees stirred vaguely; something ran through the grass and rustled away.

A slow sound came out of the darkness, and she stopped her digging and leaned forward to listen, peering with intent eyes toward the path she had come.

A glow crept up over the edge and a great head shaped itself on the dark. . . . She gasped a little, holding her shovel close. Dancing thoughts of Dead-Eyed Pete played in the background of her mind—as the shadow grew and climbed to the figure of a man carrying a lantern in his hand and coming clumsily over the rocks.

She crouched a little in her hole. But the figure came straight toward her.

Then she saw it was the carpenter and she stood up with a little cry!

He leaned forward, swinging his lantern toward her. "Well, I'll be switched!" he said.

She laughed, breathless. "I was afraid I was going to be! I thought you were Dead-Eyed Pete."

He chuckled. "I reckon we've both got Peters on the brain to-night!" He set down the lantern and regarded her. "I hunted up them old buttons I was telling you about when I got home; and looking at 'em and handling 'em made me feel kind o' queer and creepy-like—I must 'a' slept over 'em, I guess—and next thing I knew I was gettin' ready to come up here and have a look at that hole."

She held up the bit of broken shovel. "I am glad you came."

"You couldn't get along very fast with that, could you? Well, you set there and we'll see—what we see!"

He got down into the hole, and the dirt came out in steady, rhythmic sweeps. Presently he bent forward and grunted.

She waited, intent.

There was silence and a cautious, scraping sound. He lifted his head.

"Well—I've struck—something! May be just another rock——"

She leaned forward. The light of the lantern threw yellow rays about them and over the loose dirt by the hole. He bent again and felt with his hands.

"Give me that shovel of yours," he said.

With the bit of iron as a lever he drove home a blow or two. Something gritted and broke and he lifted his face.

"You've found your treasure, all right!"

She gave a cry and sank to her knees, looking down. "Is it there?"

She gave a cry and sank to her knees, looking down. "Is it there?"

"Right there—whatever it is—I broke the hasp, snap-off, that last blow. Here, give me the lantern——"

There was a sudden cry—and a swift movement behind them, and they turned.

"Mother! Are you there, mother?" The voice came out of the dark and she ran toward it.

"Right here, Phil! Mother's here!" She gathered him up, half-asleep still.

"I thought you'd gone," he murmured.

"No, I'm here. We're right up here by the new house you're going to build—you know."

He raised himself sleepily. "That's all right. I thought you'd gone!" His hand stole up to her face.

"What's the light for?" he said.

She carried him to the hole.

The carpenter placed the lantern on the loose earth and held out his hands. "See here, youngster, you shall have first look." He glanced at the woman, over the child's head. "There's never a curse on what a child touches," he said.

He took the child in his arms and set him down gently. "Put your hand down there, sonny. That's right—right there! Now show your ma what you've found!"

The child stood up with awed face and lifted his hand into the light of the lantern. A shining yellow bit of something gleamed in the small palm.

He regarded it gravely. Then he looked overhead into the darkness. "Did the gulls drop it?" he said.

The man laughed out, lifting him from the hole. "The gulls! That's a good one. Yes, the gulls put it there a good many years ago, I reckon. A big black gull hid it there for you to find—some day."

"A big black gull hid it for me," said the child.


V

One picture of the exhibition was an unquestioned success. It hung on the east wall opposite the entrance. The crowd paused in front of it, with pleased or puzzled looks, and went on, and came back—for another look.

"I don't see why he calls it 'Pirate's Gold'!"

The young girl glanced at the catalogue in her hand and up again at the picture. "It's more like Correggio's 'Night,'" she said slowly, "or a 'Holy Family' by some old master . . . only it's too modern—and too—I don't know what!" She laughed and broke off.

"It's a ripping good piece of work!" said her companion. "I'd like to be the man that did it!"

He had an artist's face and he looked at the picture enviously as he spoke.

The crowd pressed in and they moved away. Two bankers regarded the picture tolerantly, over the heads of the crowd, and passed on—and turned back for another look.

"I wouldn't mind owning it," said one of them thoughtfully.

The crowd shifted and broke and a new one formed. And it was always the ones who came back that lingered longest, as if held by something—something that made them happy.

A dealer, across the room, studied the picture and studied the crowd. He slipped the catalogue into his pocket and strolled away.

A man and woman came through the west door of the gallery and stood a moment looking in on the walls of color and the drifting crowd.

"I'm over there," said the man.

He motioned to the picture where the group gathered and led her toward a bench a little distance off.

"Sit down," he said. "We can see from here. It's a good light!" he added with satisfaction.

She sat down and looked up at the picture.

He watched her face.

"Well—?" he said at last.

She did not speak. Her eyes were brooding on it.

"Well—?" he repeated.

She gave a little start. "Yes? Oh—yes. I like it. Do I look like that?"

"Very much like that!" he said contentedly. "I knew I should get it some day!"

"Yes." She smiled at the satisfaction in the tone.

"But how did you come to see us? I did not know——"

He laughed out. "I was afraid to tell you—afraid you would jog my elbow, I guess. I didn't tell any one. I worked—for that!" He lifted his hand to it.

"You always escaped so!" He was looking at the picture musingly.

"But when I saw you—with the darkness overhead and the light of the lantern coming up to you and the loose earth lying about—I knew you couldn't get away. And I knew for the first time what it was you needed—more earth!"

He laughed a little.

"More earth!—on your face, little streaks of it—and on your hair that is coming loose—and all through you—just more earth, my dear!"

He said it in a tone of quiet affection, and she turned to him and smiled.

"I could have told you that."

He nodded. "But I had to find it out myself. I had painted you too high—among the clouds; and so you escaped. But not this time!" He chuckled a little. "It is good work!" he said.

"But how did you come to see us there?" she persisted.

"It was simple. I missed you and Phil, and started out to look, and saw the lantern up the path and followed it. When I saw who it was and what was going on I didn't want to speak or break in. I knew I had found what I had been looking for all my life!"

"And you didn't care what Phil and I had found?"

"It didn't matter so much, did it? It buys clothes—" He glanced at her with a little look of pride. "It buys clothes But——"

"And things for Phil," she said eagerly.

"And things for Phil," he assented easily. "I don't mind. But—" He looked about him at the moving crowd and the little group before his picture. . . . " But it doesn't give things to everybody. . . . That's what your picture does!— Look at their faces, dear! They will carry it away. They can't wear it or eat it—but they will love it!"

"Yes they will love it—always." She was watching the crowd and she spoke softly.

"But, all the same—" She looked across to the eyes of the picture—so like her own—and smiled to them. "But, all the same, I am glad that Phil will have enough to eat!" she said.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


The author died in 1951, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.