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poor thing like me be doing with a ring into the sewing-room. A young lady the like o' that."
neatly dressed in mourning sat there, " I'll have your trunk searched, and busily engaged in stroking the gathers of everything you own turned inside out ! a white skirt. I wrote " young lady; You dare to stand there and tell me you for she was that in the truest sense of the don't know anything about it!"
word. She could not have been over It was no wonder Mary's Irish blood eighteen, and Belle Selden herself was boiled; for it was a hard thing to be ac- not so beautiful
, nor so dignified and trucused of stealing, when in her heart she ly graceful. knew the thought of pilfering even a pen- She looked up pleasantly as Mrs. Selny had never crossed her brain. And it den entered. Something in the heart of was no wonder that, in her fear of the the latter smote her, as she met that police and jail, she should seek to turn frank yet sad expression. Could she suspicion on some one else. It was hu- accuse her of stealing? No, never. She man nature, not in its highest type, - went hurriedly to her sewing-basket and, nay, nor lowest, — but human nature, hurt taking out a pair of scissors, returned to
her daughter's room. "An' shure, Miss Belle, an' ye'll plase “I can't believe she took it, Belle. remember there's the new samestress in She looks too innocent and good.” the next room but one, an' ye don't one Oh, you're just like Frank ! You of ye know what her karackter is. never can believe bad of anybody till it's Wouldn't it be as jist to suspect her as pounded into you. I know she took it, meself?”
and I shall send for an officer this min“I never thought of her, mother,” said ute;” and she ran down to the kitchen, Belle, cooling down a little and lowering and bade John go to the first stationher voice. You know she had no ref- house for one. erences but that old nursing woman. I'll He opened his eyes very wide at the warrant it's she. That story of hers was ) request, but, as he said,
• knew enough all trumped up, and she's one of those to hold his tongue when Miss Belle was light-fingered ladies that steal into ped- in one of her mad fits ;” and, taking his ple's houses in just that way. I thought cap, hurried to do the errand. all day yesterday she had a snaky look Belle met the officer at the front-door, about her, and I remember now I caught and, taking him into the parlor, stated her looking at my ring several times the case to him. “ You see, sir, we canwhen she tried on my dress. Mother, I not lay it to the servants, for they've all shall send John for a police officer at lived with us years, and always been peronce, and have her searched.”
fectly honest; so it must be she.” “ Better send for your father first” He rubbed his forehead.
“ Father ! he'd have to stop and deliv- she's only been here two days, and you er seventeen lectures on carelessness be- don't know where she came from or who fore he'd do anything."
she is ?” Well, then, ask her about it. I can't “ No, sir. You see we had been disbelieve she's taken it. She certainly appointed in a seamstress, and being in looks like an honest girl.”
urgent need of one, took her without any • She must, mother. No one has been recommendations, except that of an old up-stairs this morning but she and Mary. nurse, whoin mother has occasionally met And,” turning, in her impulsive way to in sick-rooms. She said she was the.orthe Irish girl, she said, kindly, “I don't phan child of a New York merchant, who believe
you would do such a thing. I was had failed and left her without anything, half-crazy when I accused you, and no and that she had come to Boston for a wonder. What will Al say when he situation, because she didn't wish to meet finds it's gone?” and the tears rolled any of her old associates in her present down her cheeks.
strait. But I know it's all a humbug." Mrs. Selden stepped across the ball " Very like, — very like ; good many
" You say
such gentry about. Well, Miss Selden, ing-room and the adjoining bed-chamber I am at your service;” and, stepping to which she had tenanted for two nights. the front door, he beckoned in a second Also, while Mary's room was searched, officer, and the two accompanied the and Miss Selden's also. young lady up-stairs.
Then the tiro withdrew to a corner The seamstress looked surprised, as and conversed awhile in low tones, keepwho would not, at the sudden and unan- ing an eye to her. Mrs. Selden who, to nounced entry of two constables into the do her justice, was one of the kindestroom, but instead of being in the least hearted women in the world, if she did flustered, continued quietly with her have a way of “storming” about trifies, work. “She's an old one at it," mutter- came in and whispered to her kindly, ed one of the officers to himself; for his " Keep up a good heart, child; I don't heart, naturally narrow and hard, had be believe you're guilty.” And she did not, come seamed and stony by his daily con- though, as she said, “it was very strange tact with crime, and he judged every one where the ring could have gone.” guilty till he was proved innocent. The The seamstress gave her a grateful other, a map of warm impulses and a look, but said nothing. Belle, sore from heart so big that he had charity for even her loss, the more as she felt it was the vilest, and moreover a man of keen mostly in consequence of her own carediscernment, said at once to himself, lessness, drew her mother from the room, " She is sinless as an unborn child, and saying, as they stood in the hall, “I either the victim of unjust suspicion or know she took it; it's all a sham, the airs wicked intrigue.”
she puts on. If they don't arrest her, I'll But he was too true to his profession send for the chief. A great pity if a to betray by either word or look his real family like ours can be robbed with imemotion, and so spoke up at once, bluntly punity by a girl of whom nobody knows yet not austerely, “You are accused, anything.” miss, of stealing a valuable diamond ring, Just then one of the officers came out and it becomes my duty to search your and said he must see Mr. Selden. It room, and trunk.”
was a grave charge, and nothing to subFor an instant the girl's face turned stantiate it except very slight circumghastly white; for whose would not, when stantial evidence. so suddenly accused of such a crime ? “ But she must have taken it," perBut conscious innocence sustained her, sisted Belle, " and I don't see any need and, with the return of color to her of going for father." cheeks, and lips, she rose up and said,
"But I must go,
," said he, and he with a gentle dignity, “Who is my ac- started at once. Unfortunately, Mr. Selcuser? When and where is it said I stole den had been a good deal worried that it ?” her voice quivered at that word morning. Two heavy remittances, which stole; but whose would not have done he had confidently expected by the first
Southern mail had failed to arrive, and “Miss Selden charges you with taking to meet his own notes he had been oblig. it from the marble slab of her bureau ed to run around and borrow. The offi. this morning, while the family were at cer found him in a surly mood, disposed breakfast."
to believe ill of every one, and though he May God forgive you, Miss Selden; stated the case in the way best calculated for I am as innocent of theft as yourself. to bear favorably on the accused, Mr. Gentlemen, do your duty; and she Selden at once made up his mind she was stood up and submitted calmly to the guilty. “I told my wife she'd be terrisearch upon
her person, the flush upon bly taken in sometime," said he; “ her neck and face alone betraying what careless as she is about references, alshe suffered in the process.
ways saying she could tell an honest perThen, in the custody of one, she stood son by the look of their eye; and to quietly while the other searched the sew- have this happening to-day, when I've so
much to do at the store !” and he fretted such fools as to think they must have a
What she suffered in her cell, innocent, seat in the carriage between the two offi-
I thought he could certainly get there “ If Frank were only here,” she said, and back before this time. Whew! what as she returned ; "he's so different from a gust that was ! The roads'll be horri. his father and sister ; he'd take her side, bly drifted after this ; ” and with a shiv- at least he'd see that she had a law. er he turned back to the old-fashioned yer. I'd write to him ; but I know he fireplace and seated himself before the can't leave his uncle so sick, and it would genial blaze. only worry him to know it and have to “ 'Most 'too bad, Frank, to be buried stay there ;” and she wrung her hands up in this out-of-the-way spot this time and wished "young people wouldn't be of year,” said his old uncle, who, now
convalescent, was 'reclining on a lounge and, storm or no storm, I'll be in Buffadrawn close to the hearthstone. “I'll lo to-morrow morning in time for the exwarrant there is a pretty girl Down East press, and the next morning in Boston." that wishes me and my fever at Jericho “ But you'll freeze before you ever get just now; no beau for the next ball, half-way there, boy. Hear the wind roar, no
and see the snow blow. Wait till dayThere's no pretty girl in the case, light, do.' Uncle John!” interrupted Frank, hotly. " Wait! and the girl may die in jail ! “ They all shun me. In fact, I'm a con- No, uncle," and his eyes flashed ; " if I firmed old bachelor, and believe I shall knew I should be frozen stiff in every soon quit the city for good, and come and joint, I'd start to-night! But I sha'n't. live out here with you. But hark! there I know every step of the whole twenty are beils, – yes, Jim's got back;” and he miles, and so does Ned. And you've hastened from the room. He soon re- plenty of buffaloes and blankets. Don't turned with his hands full of letters and say another word, — I must go." papers. “ He says he thought he never He had felt from the beginning that it should get back again alive; the snow would be almost useless to remonstrate, · blows so and drifts so fast! Only that and therefore gave in, only trying to Polly knew the way, he thinks he should think of everything he could to make hiin have been lost or frozen. Poor fellow ! comfortable. it was too bad to send him ; but I did “ If Ned's likely to give out, stop at want to hear from home so much. Ha!” Bushnell's and tell him I say he must let and his cheek turned white; “what's you have his Charlie. He wont often this ? mail direct, strange hand.” And let him, for he thinks more of him than he tore the envelope from Mary's letter. he does of his wife; but he'll take you
" In jail for stealing your sister's dia- through if anything four-legged can. mond ring." Uncle John caught those And now, good-by, my boy; and mind words only, and then, to his surprise, his you, Frank, if the girl's homeless, fetch nephew ran from the room like one de- her out here. There's always room in mented.
Uncle John's house for one more. God " What is up now?” said the old bless you!” man; and, feeling that he had a right to There was not one in that household know, he managed to sit up and reach but sent up an extra prayer that night over for the letter which had been tossed. for the hurried traveller, and every time upon the stand.
the old house rocked in the blasts, they - Bad business! bad business !” said shuddered in their beds, thinking of poor he; “ but I don't see, after all, anything Frank out in the storm. in it to make Frank act so ;” and in his As for him, he says if he lives to be an methodical way, he refolded the sheet. hundred years old he will never forget He was just slipping it in the envelope that journey. · It was all flounder, when the young man returned.
flounder, from beginning to end ; upset So you've read it, and know what and set-up and upset again; only for mischief I've made," said he ; " but Bushnell's Charlie I should have died.
• You, Frank ? what do you mean?” Ned was completely knocked up when we Why, I took it; the ring
got there. I had frozen my toes, ears, You stole Belle's ring, Frank! what and fingers. Oh, but 'twas an awful does the boy mean?” And the old man night.” began to think Frank was crazy.
But the distance was accomplished in “No, no; I took it and hid it ; ” and barely time for the train though. The he briefly explained. “I have never three hundred miles between Buffalo and thought of it since. Don't reproach me, Albany! They seemed as many thouuncle, don't. If you do, I shall go sands to the young man, tortured in min 1 mad. I'll undo the wrong as fast as pos- and body ; for both ears, cheeks, nosa, sible. Jim is harnessing up Ned for me, hands and feet were severely frozen.
Minutes seemed to him hours, and hours • My ring, — my own! the very same! days. And then if anything should hap- Oh, Frank! how came it there ?” pen to delay them, that the connection at “I put it there,” he said, sternly. Albany should not be made! He tried “ Could you not have guessed it was one not to think of the possibility; but it of mix tricks ? You are satisfied now would present itself, and but that, in spite that my statement before Justice Benson of all his aches and torments, exhausted was correct ? ” nature threw him into a doze between “ We are; and I will go with you at Utica and Schenectady, he declares he once to the jail with the order for her rewould have gone crazy.
lease." But Providence was on his side. The “Let me go, too, Frank,” said his Hudson, bridged with ice, was easy to mother. Nay, don't say no.
I never cross, and the waiting train was gained believed she took it, and it's here she ere its first admonitory whistle.
must come at once. I'll be ready as " It's no use to fret or fume any long- soon as the carriage is.” er," said he, as he settled himself in his As the jailer unlocked one of the inner seat, it was before the time of sleeping- doors for the party, after learning their
They'll go so fast and no faster;" errand, he turned to Mrs. Selden and and, completely worn out, he sunk into a said, " It's not a minute too soon, ina’am; troubled slumber, in which cutters and for she was dying here. She never comjails, fast horses and beautiful girls, plained; but she never tasted anything snowdrifts and engines were curiously but the cold water, and never did anyblended.
thing but write, write, write, and read
her Bible. I told my wife I should The Selden family were at breakfast have the doctor to see her to-day." and looking more cheerful than they had Frank groaned, and almost cursed the since the loss of the ring. Belle's lover day of his birth, while his mother cried had returned safe and sound the evening till she fairly stumbled for want of sight. before and had promised her a new ring, “Go in, ma'am ; you first,” and he if the other was never found. A jolly, pushed open the door of the cell. whole-souled fellow himself, he had some- It was a sight to melt a heart of stone. how contrived to put them all in good. The young girl lay upon the pallet, emahumor, and they were discussing their ciated to skin and bone, ghastly white, toast and steak with a relish unknown save for two crimson spots upon her for several days, when suddenly, without cheeks, her eyes rolling wildly, her thin a warning sound, the front-door was fingers clinched, and her pale lips mutopened with a night-key, and in rushed tering constantly, “I did not take it; I Frank, followed by two police officers. did not take it." He fairly flew to the breakfast-room. Mrs. Selden spoke to her, and in a
“ Don't stop to ask questions,” he ex- tone as tender as her own mother could. claimed, as one and all burst out with a But she made no answer, save that one " Why, Frank, you here!"
piteous sentence, “ I did not take it." " Come up-stairs, quick, quick!” She was an experienced nurse, and They ran after him. He went direct- knew at once that the
creature's ly to his room. Taking from his pocket brain was affected. We must get her