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COUNTING LOVE'S TOLL Frances t bauhek
M ft Copyright, 1907, By Thomas H. McKee. AS the sun sloped to the west its hot rays lost a little of their fierceness. Mrs. Mo riarty, Ironing by the open window of the tenement flat, wiped a damp brow and Sighed with evident relief. She laid the. underclothes and gingham frocks of her five smaller children, and the shirt-waists of her grown daughter, into separate heaps before turning to sheets, pillow-eases and towels. She had just tested the heat of the iron by the application of a cautious forefinger, previously moistened at the tip of her tongue, when the wearer of the ehirt-waisU came into the furnace-like room "It's late ye are, Sheilah." said her mother, sprinkling anw a sheet. "Turned of seven. " Sheilah Moriarty dropped into the chair nearest the window and leaned her elbows on the table. "They were changing the notions around, and we bad to stay." She looked wistfully about her. "My! tut I'm Ktarvin' for a cup of u-a." Her mother put a cup and saucer from the shelf behind her on the table; and Sheilah, rising, took the teapot from the stove. "Law, mother! why d'ye work so? I'd let them wear black. What's the use?" She leaned out of the window, to reach the butter from the wooden box whkh served for a refrigerator. Mrs. Moriarty had put two roll beside her cup, and Sheilah began to cut and butter them. Her two hands encircled her cup, as, her elbows again on the deal table, the relapsed Into complete enjoyment of the creature comforts of rest and food. Her pompadoured hair was damply trailing from it3 proper elevation over brow and temples. Her small oval face, with its egg-like line of chin, its straight, short nose. Its black, luminous eyes shaded by thick ly growing laches, bpan to lose the whiteness born of brat nal fr '..- and to Hush into the shell pink BOTH WOMEN TURNED IN DISMAY tind vivacity natural to her. Mrs. Moriarty drew a chair from behind her and sat down. "Pour me a eup o" lay Into yer saucer," she said, Jier speech suffering relapse Into its earlier phrasing. "Ah!" She drank deeply. "That's what I used to ray, Sheilah. aroon What's the use? But my poor mother was English, and I mind me how she struggled to keep up with the tubbing of the children o Satur day nights, and the clean clothes to put on lv'ry Sun clay morning. "If I let that go,' she'd be saying, seems like I'd let everything go. And now, since himself wint home, and I've had the care of ye all, I find meself a-sayin". 'What's the use?' and me other self a-sayin", as my poor mother said, 'If ye let that po, ye'll let ev'rythlng go.' " She stopped, for Sheilah had ceased to listen. Put ting the saucer down, she rose and resumed the iron ing. But she glanced, from time to time, at the girl's dreaming eyes, following the sharpening outline of roofs against the sky. "Sheilah," she whispered tensely, "is Patrick O'Meara coming for ye the night?" The delicate flush on Sheilah's cheeks burned to crimson. "He'll come," the girl said hesitatingly, "but maybe it's for the last time." Mrs. Moriarty studied her anxiously. "He's a good man, Sheilah," she urged. "A Cath'lic, and steady, and ye wouldn't have to wor-rk yer fingers to the bone. And ye're not strong." Sheilah's eyes 6ought the skyline again. "I just think of it all day," she said simply. "Last week I'd made up me mind to say yes, and I'd begun to think of me clothes But " "I was scared of ye goln' to that big store," sighed her mother. "The clerks there dress like dudes and they're more to a girl's fancy than a plain man like Patrick, who works on the roads. But it's on their own backs the money goes, Sheilah. Ye'll have Pat's for yer housekeepln'." "It's not the clerks, mother." Sheilah rose and put away her cup and saucer. "I've thought of taking to service." Her mother started. ' To service?" Sheilah nodded. "Milly Steam has an aunt in Mrs. Van Tessel's service. She's got Milly In. She lives just like a lady, mother. There are seven upper maids, and each one has a tiny room, all new and clear, and they take, u bath every day not just Sat'dy nights and they wear clean clothes, pink and blue ehambrays, and caps and aprons like the ones you see on the stage. The work's easy. Mllly's aunt says and five a week, while I get three-fifty now. Five, and me keep. I'd send ycu home three and get meself a trousseau with the rest. As for marry In' that'd come later." next week, A TILT WITH BALSAC By Louis ' Weadock "My mother was in service in the ould country." j-aid Mrs. Moriarty, putting the irons on the stove and folding the ironing-blanket. "All the same, Sheilah, what about Pat? Won't ye be flingin' away a good chanst?" Sheilah shook her head. "I guess there'd be others. But Pat well. I guess he'd wait. Mother," a sud den passing crept into her voice, "I like him well enough as much as I ever expect I'll care for any one. But the truth Is," she faced her mother defi antly, "I want an easier life than you've had. Here you are, nigh fifty, and working hard! I get all played out at the store, but that's easy to what you do. You're on your feet all day! Three meals, and the dishes, and the washing and the Ironing, and the making and the mending. When one thing's done, ye rest yourself by taking up another! I hate to see you live so, and I won't live so myself. No, I like Pat! But I don't like him well enough to slave for him and his children as you slaved for poppa and us." "You'd not slave, Sheilah." The words came from the open door, and both women turned in some dismay. Patrick O'Meara, In his Sunday suit of pepper and salt, a bright blue tie matching bis honest eyes and contrasting pleasingly with his red hair, stood in the doorway, flushed and evidently perturbed. "Why, good-evening to you, Patrick," said Mrs. Mo riarty pleasantly. "My! but It's been warm the day! Sit down. Sheilah, a seat." Patrick nodded to Mrs. Moriarty, but his blue eyes rested hungrily upon Sheilah's dainty smallness and slimness, a3 ishe stood before him, her dark head bent. "I came to see if ye'd go to the roof garden -with me, Sheilah." went on Patrick, laying some roses on the table. lie looked wistfully from them to har. If only he could get her away, into the environment of the roof garden, which he vaguely felt to be more propitious, more appropriate, he might yet say all he had meant to say, hear what he had hoped to hear. His Celtic nature revolted against the prose of the present situation. Sheilah turned away, her embarrassment masking itself as sullennesa. "Thank ye, Pat. I mess I won't go out to-night." "Sheilah! Ye'retned against me?" he cried. "Never think that, Pat," interposed Mrs. Moriarty, with a troubled glance from him to her daughter. "Sure, the child's not feeling good over ye hearln what she said. And she was but havin' her Joke, as girls will. Sheilah, get your hat, won't ye? Sure, a breath of alr'll do ye good." Sheilah turned passionately to her mother. "And you stay stewing here, all the same! Come, too, mother, and I'll go." Mrs. Moriarty smiled. "I go, alanna, and leave Molra and Mike to come to gTief on the sidewalk? No, I can't go." Sheilah hesitated. "Come, Sheilah," pleaded Pat. "If ye knew how I've been counting the hours till thia one should come round! And ye promised." The girl shook her head. "I guess I won't, Patrick. I'm 6orry ye heard me as ye came up. But mother's wrong. I wasn't joking. What I said I mean. So it wouldn't hardly be fair, would It, to let ye spend your money on taking me to roof gardens, while I was meaning " Again Mrs. Moriarty came to the rescue. "Mercy on us, Sheilah! that's not the way a young man looks on his money. Sure, he's glad to go to the roof garden, and It's mighty dull without a girl!" Patrick glanced at her gratefully. He appreciated her efforts to restore lightness to the unexpected gloom of the situation. "That's the size of It, Sheilah," he said anxiously. "My evenln's spoilt If ye don't come." Mrs. Moriarty brought the black hat the girl had thrown aside upon her entry, and Sheilah slowly put it on, adjusting her hair by the aid of her Blde-comb. Without another word she let Patrick take her down the stairs, passing by Moira and Mike without looking at them. Silently they boarded a car, and as silently rode up town and were presently "seated side by side in the open-air theatre with the gay stage in front, pleasure-seekers to right and left, and the vast pan orama of New York behind them. They gave but a perfunctory attention to the per formance upon the' stage, and Pat took her to the roof garden's edge and began to plead. Sheilah leaned against the parapet, the salt sting of the air ceding and freshening her fevered cheeks. Roof beyond roof stretched before her, sharply ac cented in the clear air, now lighted both by the rising moon and the sun's after-glow. Far beyond wound the Hudson, black under the darkening sky, and faint lights twinkled from the distant Palisades. She listened to his words, rough with the fervor of his love, and drew a long sigh. "Pat," she said at length, "I don't think I ever did as much thinking as I did before we came up here to night. I've thought It all out, and I've settled that it wouldn't do it wouldn't do at all. I'd not make you happy after the first, and you'd not make me happy at all, at all. It might be very well, with the rooms you speak of, and the furnishing, and the new clothes, for a while. But a poor man's wife has a hard time a hard time. Then there's the drag of the children look at mother! and there'd be work, work, work. Maybe I'm lazy, Pat. I dont know. Mother says I'm not strong. But I'd Just hate the getting up early, to see to your breakfast" "You never should, Sheilah," urge Pat, with des perate earnestness. "I'd get me own. You c'd lie till nine o'clock If ye wanted to." But still she shock the little head he wanted to draw upon his shoulder. "No, Pat, no. My mind'H made up. I'm going to leave the store. I can't 6tand the long hours, and the being always on my feet, and the lifting down, and the putting back. I'm going to take a real easy place in Mrs. Van Tessel's house. I'll get more money than I do now, and do more for mother. But it's no, and no, and no, to you, Pat, for I couldn't stand It." The orchestra was playing a popular waltz Just then. They stood, enveloped in melody, possessed by sound. It was so loud, so gay, so dominating, that It held them, almost as a thing corporeal might have done. To the end of his life Patrick O'Meara never heard that air without a memory of the sick despair that blotted out the stars from the sky never heard it without recalling the misery of his conviction that Sheilah truly meant just what she had said. "I'll not come in, Sheilah," he said, when they stood on the steps of her home. "And I'll come no more at all, unless it may be that ye send for me. Good-night." Sheilah stood on the steps, watching his burly fig ure as it strode to the corner, halted and disappeared. Then, with lagging steps, she mounted the stairs and passed into the room where her mother sat and sewed at a pink muslin frock for Moira to wear on Sunday. As the girl met her mother's inquiring eyes, she said: "He's gone, mother. I don't rightly know if he's mad with me or not. But I'm going to quit my job Sat'dy, and go to Milly's aunt Monday. It's all fixed about me going. I c'n getVeady Sunday." "I on'y hope ye haven't lost the best chanst of a husband ye'll ever get," replied her mother anxiously. "Ye'll say there's chances where yer goln'. Maybe. Meself, I don't take more stock In flunkies than I do in store clerks. Pat's a good man." All the long night, as Ehe lay panting and sleepless by her mother's side, with Molra wriggling uneasily across the foot of the bed, Sheilah. seemed to hear these words. They set themselves to her mother'3 deep breathing, they sang themselves to the gay mel ody which was the last she had heard at the roof garden: "Pi s a good man." And "Pat's a good man," she echoed; but added: "But he'd want three meals a day." The change from her mother's two rooms and the dingy, tawdry splendors of bargain counters, to the magnificence of Mrs. Van Tessel's brown-stone house, was duly made. Sheilah, in uniform of pale pink chambray, white apron, and dainty muslin cap, soon became enamored of her surroundings. She was as signed to a tall, somewhat sour-looking female, who ruled the second floor. A vast and echoing corridor and four bed-rooms were hers to keep in spotless or der. But she did not find the work as hard as stand ing, from eight to six, in the department store. More over, she had such fare as she had never dreamed of; a room to herself, small and of nun-like plainness, but fresh and dainty as those she tended. The life was new, was piquant, was delightful. Once a week she left it to carry her liberal aid to her mother. But she never ascended the dingy stairs without qualms. She was restlessly miserable at the moll and toil in which her mother lived, and indig nant at her content content so ignoble. And poor Pat? For three weeks he fought out his battles alone. Then, motherless, he fled to Sheilah V mother for comfort, and the bitter-sweet of news o the dear star absent from his clouded sky. Finally he took a room in Mrs. Moriarty's tenement, for the pleasure of being near her constantly. Only on Tues rays, Sheilah's night off, did he stay away, wandering up and down Riverside Drive, dreaming day-dreams on the benches and finding solace in the beauties of sky and water. "Now, don't you lose heart, lad," Mrs. Moriarty ad monished him. ' It's all very grand, that place where Sheilah is, and her head's just turned with It But it ain't hers! And one day, if she's a woman, she'll want the smallest thing that's her very own. You wait" He waited for three months. But during that time a change came over him. He visited Mrs. Moriarty so often that he was initiated into the sorrowful mys tery of a woman's life. Like many another man, he had wondered, "What the women folks did the whole live-long day them as didn't work for bread?" Now, he saw that they tolled endlessly, at a weary succes sion of small and often heavy tasks, which sprang, hydra-headed, to full life the moment they seemed vanquished. He would go in at supper-time to see piles of dishes awaiting the "washin'-up." This done, Molra and Mike, both under six, claimed care and at tention, if they were to be put cleanly to bed. Clothes had to be looked over, mended, washed or Ironed. The day's work was literally never done. "Why, I'm better off than most," said Mrs. Mori arty, when he spoke cf this one night "I'm busy most part of th day, but I've children that bring home nough to keep us going, and I c'n see 'em get ting on. too, and on the way to steady lives. J em '11 be In the force, less'n two years, and Dan's at a gro cery. Sheilah, she's doing well, if not in the way we wish, and the little 'una go to school, and don't often play hookey. No. lad, I ain't so bad oft" She was leaning contentedly back in her chair, looking at the glow in the tiny stove. The late No vember night was chilly, and outside a light rain was falling. "Anyway," she went on, "It's not when yer young est Is past five that you do be having yer hard time I mean, If yer a woman. It's while you've one at the breast, and another dragging at your skirts, and an other, or two or three, say, big nough to run off, and be at mischief, and get lost, or into bad company, that you ache all night, and wor-rk all day, ail day." She stopped. Her mind wandered back to darker days, and te lott her way in a tangle cf gloomy yet sordid memories, fraught with weariness and pa!:i. Pat the light of the coal-oil lamp falling en his ro i curls, listened to thia tntimat? revelation with strir.;-;? emotions. This was a woman's life! To this h- 1 wished did still wish to dra,c his da ha: Sheila'.-.: He loathed himself. Tte whole htm f .i'k-:i seemed wrong. It seemed to him now t'wt only tha rich had the right t" we J. And yet his longing for Sheilah was the torment -f his days and of his nights, and one evening he set off to the brown-stone mansion cf Mrs. Van Tessel, and. penetrating the outworks of the fortress with some difficulty, found a elde en trance and "asked to see Sheilah. He was shown to a small room in the basement, and bidden to wait. Sheilah came at last, in her pink chambray, trimly fitting, her dark hair, no lonstfr pompadoured, surmounted by a dainty oa;. aud her slim waist encircled by what might have bec-ii a doll's apron. Pat looked as one who has seen a vision. He rose, trembling, twisting his cap in his hands, and looking at her speechlessly. She had always been somewhat of a marvel to him, but never so daintily apart, so heart-achlngly remote. "Why, Pat, 1m glad to see you." she said. "Sit down. Mother told me vou've kept well." "Sheilah!" he implored. "Oh, Sheilah! ' A dim shape of abnegation had begun to form cf Tate in his mind. He saw himself, going solitary all his days, that she might be free of care and trouble. This dim shape melted into mist at the sight cf her. Come what might, he wanted her with a passion that seemed to burn him as he stood before her. Primitive desires rose in his mind. He cculd have snatched her up, and carried her away as the Sabine women were borne awav. Perhaps If his knowledge of history had afforded him that precedent, Sheilah might not that night have returned to her tiny room under the brown ttono eaves. But she did. Convention mastered Pat, and he hardly pressed the little hand she gave him. , She was sweetly gentle. She chatted to him of the splendors of the house, of the numbers of the ser vants, of the entertainments, the dresses, the report ers, and the reporters' blunders! "Why, Pat, they said that Mrs. Van Tessel wore blue chiffon and pearls, and all the time it was Nile green moussellne and emeralds! I know, for I was called In to hold down the train while her maids she has two sewed some lilies of the valley on it! Oh, Pat! How I'd like to be wearing the things I see!" "D'ye like seein' them, when you can't?" he askpd at last. "Don't ye want to come away from It? Don't ye want to be the queen of a little, little place, instead of being a servant here?" Sheilah's dark eyes widened. "Queen of a little place? How nicely you put it Pat! But the queen of that little place would have to scrub, wouldn't she? and cook, and carry water, and split kindling, and wash and Iron? Why, my washing's done for me. here! And we live just as well, almost, as the people upstairs, we do, Pat." "And that matters to you? Why, Sheilah, seems to me, I'd eat dry bread all my life to be near you." The girl turned to him sweetly. "Pat, you make me feel so mean! - I wish I was like mother. I wish " She stopped. She had meant to say, "I wish you didn't care." But as she looked at the honest homely face, the clear blue eyes, the rod curly head, she could not utter the wish! "I guess I don't fall in love the way some do," she said slowly. "One of the housemaids here, she's Just crazy over the third footman! Sometimes Milly and I get scared she'll make away with herself If he don't notice her. And he won't, because he's just as crazy over the second lady's maid, and she well, you see, she's so above him that he might Just as well be In love with Mrs. Van Tessel herself while he's about It!" Pat felt a pang of sympathy with the stricken housemaid, and a desire to thump the unresponsive footman into a Jelly. But another fear awakened within him a fear for which the footman was re sponsible. "Sheilah! The place Just swarms with 'em liv eries and all! Do you?" He stopped. But Sheilah's frank smile disarmed his jealous anger. "Oh, no, Pat I don't care for any of 'em. I like the comfort of the life. But, when it comes to a man there's no one I like as much as I like you." Pat was forced to leave her with that cold comfort. And for some days he gave himself to hard thinking. Mrs. Moriarty missed him sorely for he came no "YE'RE WRONG, PAT, THOUGH IT'S more to talk and hear of Sheilah. Spring lingered that year, but It came. With its coming the Van Tessel season ended. -Among the ser vants retained to accompany the family to Newport was Sheilah. It was later in the summer a hot. humid summer and the paperswere filled with accounts of deaths from heat prostra'tlons. When Pat came back to Mrs. Moriarty he found her bending In anguish over Moira, lying in white stillness on the table, drawn close to the window. The child looked a smaller Sheilah, her face made older by weariness and pain. "I burled Mike yesterday," said the poor mother simply. ''And I'm thinking 111 lose Molra, too." Pat's thoughts flew to Sheilah. He spoke her name. Mrs. Moriarty shook her head. "It's thankful I am that she's where she can get a breath of air," she said. "Maybe, If she'd stay'd at the store, she'd have gone under, too. Sheilah's not strong, not strong at all." All that night Pat's red head bent beside the gray one over the dying child. And when the end came, and the bereaved mother's anguish found the plen teous and eloquent expression which Is the gift of the Celt Pat, beside her, vowed that no woman should, through him. know such grief. Sheilah. whom he loved, had refused him. but ehe might marry a richer man. Let her. He wou'd be free of her pain. Ha would not look at her sorrow, to know himself the cause. -And. just as he was almost elate with the strength and fervor of his resolve, Sheilah rami back from Newport, weary of luxury, of subjection, of associa tion cn terms of unbearable inequality with the rich wid the great. It"t ' -t the less of her little brother and sister 'it i.. . ..it pain at not havin?; been summ ned to do hoi share of nursing, was sincere and deep. She took 1 - r .M place at th mti.ia counter, and slept !-esi !e her mother cn the hard straw bed. across the foot cf whlh no Mtira n v tassel in restlt-ss sleep. But Sheilah was young, and not deep, or stern of fibre. Pat had been the lodsione, after all. to draw her back. and. her tears shed, she looked to his com ing with a beating heart Her savings had provided her mother with th mourning out of which the poor, especially the poor of the Old Country, extract a certain satisfaction. Sheilah. more modern, was content with a white chambray and a stock touched here and there with a black ribbon. She knew that he looked well, and she longed to read the old assurance in Pat's eyes. When he came Mrs. Moriarty greeted him, and then left the lovers alone. Sheilah lifted shy eyes to Pat's blue gaze. "Well, Pat. I've ccme back." she said. "Your mother'U be glvl." he answered gravely. "She's a good woman. Sheilah." Sheilah felt the tears dim her eye. "She's very good," she agreed. Then silence fll. Sheilah. unable to bear it, crossed to the window, and looked at the line of roofs against the sky. ' Do you remember crming to see me?" she asked at length. "Do you remember what ou ald. Pat?" "I guess I don't forget," he replied sheepishly. Sheilah turned to the window and faced him. "Do you rememlier what you said about being queen of a little place?" she went on. "Do you know, Pat, I I didn't think so then, but now that sounds nice." Her cheeks flamed in the gathering dusk. She turned away, to see the sky line, still more sharp and clear, and waited waited till Pat's slow brain should have realized her words; but Pat stood In dumb agony, holding himself to his vow. He had no words for her, and Sheilah sani;, sobbiuc Into the chair by the table. "You don't care you don't" the wept. "Oh. go away, then go away. Why do you "lay to sham me?" The dignity of his honest intent, the dignity of hi own sacrifice, gave Patrick O'Meara the look of a prince. All embarrassment left him. At the sound of his voice. Sheilah lifted her head. "Ye're not to say I don't tare." began her lover. "Ye're never to think that. Sheilah. mavourueen. But I've seen your mother's life, and I've seen. In me mind's eye, what my wife w'd be If I had a wife' Ye've told me. many a time, Sheilah. and ye ve toM me true! She'd have to wash and bake and ecrtiH and Iron. She'd have to rise early and sleep late. And there'd be children and they make life hard for the woman! I'll not bring you nor any woman to It, Sheilah. I'll never have a wire!" He said the words solemnly anil Sheilah shivered as she listened. The luxuries she bad loved, the trifles that had made her pleasure, suddenly shriveled away, before the fire of her longing for the man who re nounced her, for the clasp of the arms that would not hold ber, the touch of the Hps that bo longer sought to touch here. She rose, stretching out trem bling hands. "But, Pat Pat!" she cried. "Don't you set I . like you enough, Pat not to mind!" He shook his bead. "Not now ye don't mind," he said gently. "T re member what ye told me, Sheilah. once, before ye went to Mrs. Van Teasel's. 'For a time. ye said. 'th flat and the furniture, and the new clothes would make It not so bad!' I see that now. Sheilah. though I dldnt then. A woman's life a poor woman's life is cruel hard, and I'll not bring you to it" There was a sad finality In his tone that made ar gument, pleadings, futile. Sheilah stood trembling, her happiness falling in ruins about her, while she. helpless, could but watch Its fall. "I I like yon enough not to mind," she whis pered, her tears falling. Pat folded his arms across his breast, that they might not fold iier against his own will. While so they stood, the door of the Inner room opened, and Mrs. Moriarty came out "Ye're wrong. Pat though It's well enough ye do be meanln'," she said, and Sheilah knew by th words that her mother had been living through her own courtship, In listening; to hers. "But ye think too WELL ENOUGH TE DO BE MEANIXV much of hardness, Pat and It's sorry I am if words of mine have made you think that love isn't worth all It costs!" She stood at the other side of the table. The light was dim. but they could see how Strang a beauty glowed on the rough, kindly face. "I've said that It's hard to bear children, and hard enough to raise "em," she went on. "And only the dear Mother Mary knows what it is to lose 'em! Bat for It all. do ye think I'd have lived single? Do you think I'd missed the times when Dan Moriarty courted me. and the years that he was my man mine, and not another woman's for the sake o the wor-rk? Do you think I'd 'a' missed one of my babies, for the trouble they made me? Why, when my little ones died, and you stood by me, Pat like the son ye've been to me dldnt ye know that I thanked the Lord they'd been mine for a time. If It was but five years and six years? Oh, a woman's life is hard, and her strength!! go, and her looksTi go; but If her man's a good man, and loves her, it's worth it all, Pat; It's worth It all." Pat turned from her to lo"k at Sheilah. The dusk was falling, and he bad to step closer to ber to read her eyes. And in the dim room, with its poor furnish ings, another light was growing the light of the hoo that had come back. "Its worth it all." repeated Mrs. Moriarty. "Is it?" his eyes asked f Sheilah's. Har answer was a step forward, her arms held out.