The Holy Picture

IT is most curious how many untold stories go to make up the sum of a single story told, a single song sung, a single painting completed. I was thinking of this the other day as I stood before a certain picture in the gallery of an art exhibition. It was a very gentle, quiet picture, and yet, after they had gone the rounds of the rooms, people were quite sure to turn back for another look ; and often as they stood before it tears rose unbidden to their eyes, not because the picture was sad, but because it was beautiful.

The title given in the catalogue read, “ And our Lord came to the Gateway of the Little Garden.”

“ Whose little garden ? ” I heard some one ask ; and some one else replied, “ Oh, don’t you know ? That is a quotation from a poem.” And the second speaker added she was quite sure she should be able to find the poem, and they would look for it that evening.

I could have spared the vain search, only what I knew about the picture was altogether too much to tell in a public place and at a moment’s notice; its story being made up of three others, — that of my brother Edward, that of his friend Janet, and that of Mary Morrison, “ the Winsome Lady.”

Edward has his studio on the upper floor of an old brick house halfway down a crooked street: a most respectable street, having only one saloon to its four corners ; a picturesque street, on account of the bend and of the curious collection of carts drawn up along the sidewalk toward evening and on Sundays and holidays; a merry, amusing street, always something going on, — little boys and girls playing, older boys and girls dancing to the music of a hand-organ, scissorsgrinders, fishmongers, buyers of old rags, venders of fruit, vegetables, small wares, and plants in bloom, continually passing and repassing.

On specified occasions the little girls and boys climb the stairs to my brother’s Studio, and look through the portfolios of prints and photographs kept for their especial entertainment. On other occasions the men and women of the neighborhood come, and the older children: more pictures are shown and discussed, light refreshments are passed, perhaps a lantern-slide exhibition is held, or it may be a concert is improvised by the guests.

Edward is poor, naturally, being a painter; still, he is rich enough to do as he pleases, which, all things considered, is wealth indeed, and it pleases him to paint in a manner as refined and delicate and out of date as that of a Raphael Madonna, and to live in what he calls a “ studio settlement.”

His friend Janet occupied, until the other day, two back rooms on the floor below, and, as part of her busy life, took charge of my brother’s domestic concerns. By profession, according to her own definition, she was a “ poor old scrub; ” otherwise expressed, a washerwoman. Edward had a habit of alluding to her as a washerwoman by mistake, and of insisting that her position admirably illustrated the general upside-downness of the world ; that nothing made him more uncomfortable than to see such a dainty little old lady trudging abroad with her heavy bundles, whatever the wind or the weather ; and that it was his fixed intention to offer, on stormy nights, his personal assistance in carrying home the wash,— an intention which, I believe, at various times he attempted to put into execution, thereby causing himself to be seriously reprimanded for what Janet termed a lack of sense of propriety.

To go back half a century and more in the little Scotchwoman’s history, there was then, twenty-four miles out from Glasgow, a wee whitewashed cottage looking toward Ben Lomond; and by the kitchen window, within, the mother’s wheel went humming, and under the window, without, a little brook went rippling. Here Janet was born, and having grown up to “ a bonnie lassie O,” she wandered away and across the sea ; met Robin with the blue eyes, the fair hair, and the smile and bow that made one feel as if it were a May morning and some one had brought in a nosegay ; and in due course of time Janet promised to marry Robin for richer for poorer, it proving to be always for poorer.

Once married, they built them a nest in the old brick house of the crooked street, and there lived bravely on through many a toilsome year, until, in the home country, the mother’s wheel had long been silent, the little brook had run dry, a railroad was speeding its way over the spot where the whitewashed cottage had stood, and their own youth and middle life had been spent; until a moment came when Robin was taken ill and carried to a hospital, where he died, and in the early afternoon before New Year’s Day the church gave him his burial, he having neglected to follow Janet’s prudent advice and example, and having made no previous provision for this last emergency.

On the evening of New Year’s Day Mary Morrison knocked at Janet’s door, bearing in her hand a jar of marmalade, which she had brought on the general principle that it is easier to make a visit of condolence if one carries some offering. She found Janet seated by the table, the lamp lighted. Behind the latter, neatly piled against the wall, were her Bible, Prayer Book, Hymnal, and a little gilt-clasped, gilt-edged, morocco-bound copy of the New Testament, a souvenir of girlish days in Scotland, with time-tinted pages, and having in the back the Psalms of David in metre “ more plain, smooth, and agreeable than any heretofore,” and a collection of such old tunes as Kilmarnock, New Lydia, St. Mirrins, Tranquillity, and Stroudwater. On top of the little old book lay a rose. Edward had placed it there that the room might seem less sorrowful, toward which purpose the rose helped, perhaps, in some slight degree, and the jar of marmalade assisted.

Janet was gazing toward the wall above the books on the table. “ I am thinking of death and the judgment,” she said to her visitor. “ I am peering, as it were, into eternity. I strain and I strain my eyes, and I discover nothing.”

Then she told of a custom inherited from parents and grandparents through many generations, — that of opening the Bible at midnight on the eve of such great festivals as Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, and Whitsunday, preceding the opening of the book by repeating, “ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen,” — fervently believing that the verse on which the eye first rested would be one of especial significance. The verse to which she had turned on the night before, had been, “ In my Father’s house are many mansions.” And she said she feared Robin would never be content in a mansion ; he was used to having things compact and cosy.

“ If there are many of them,” observed Mary Morrison, “ they are probably of many kinds, some large and some small.”

“ A wee whitewashed cottage is what I should prefer,” said Janet, brightening for a moment; “ and it must be overgrown with roses, and on the hearth a turf fire and a cricket to sing.”

“ And outside,” suggested Mary Morrison, “ a little garden with bluebells and heather.”

“ And a hawthorn hedge,” Janet added, “ and a sweetbrier bush, and a bed of mignonette. Robin was always fond of a sprig of mignonette for his buttonhole. And there must be cabbages and onions.”

Mary Morrison said she hardly thought there would be cabbages .and onions in heaven, though of course there might be.

“ Nor shall I need them there,” returned Janet. “ The spirit does not eat. She spoke in a tone of severity, like one suddenly realizing and rebuking an irreverent turn in conversation, and, folding her hands, seemed trying to again concentrate her mind on the subject of her interrupted reflections.

This attempt she repeated evening after evening, thereby growing more and more thought-entangled, helpless, and bewildered, until, notwithstanding the fact that she considered Mary Morrison wholly unreliable in her views touching a future state, she came at last to seek moments of refuge and distraction in the fancy presented, and to talk of the pretended existence of the little garden in heaven, — disapprovingly, to be sure, but still with evident interest: and in this way she spoke of it to Edward, at the same time telling him something of Mary Morrison herself, — that she was always putting the most foolish ideas into one’s head, and that one could never be quite sure whether she half believed what she was saying, only, being such a winsome lady, one was obliged to listen to her.

Shortly after this, in an idle moment, Edward painted a picture of the Little Garden with the hawthorn hedge about it; and within, the wee cottage, with its roses and a sweetbrier bush growing by the doorway, and under the window a touch of green which he said was mignonette. He made the picture purposely of some size, that it might cover as much as was possible of that portion of the wall toward which Janet was accustomed to gaze when she sat down, after the day’s work, and attempted to peer into eternity.

But when he proposed to hang it above the table, Janet answered quickly, “ Not there, — that place is reserved ; hang it to one side.”

Then it appeared that Janet had a long-cherished plan concerning this particular place, and had for years coveted, and still hoped to possess, a holy picture that should hang above her holy books, thus converting the back of the table into a sort of altar ; and that for this purpose she had once been given a head of Christ, which she had returned, not finding the expression agreeable. “ The face of our Lord,” said Janet, “ should always be a pleasant one.”

The front of the table served as a humble board from which were dispensed the loving sacrifices of a never failing and never lessening hospitality. At present the guests especially favored were, first, pretty Barbara, a young orphan girl, getting along as best she could, with no one of her own to watch over and mother her; secondly, Sarah Milligan, to whom the occasional use of a corner of Janet’s table offered a highly desirable change in conditions of light and air at meal - times, Sarah’s abode being a small dark bedroom, — in Janet’s words, no better than a clothes-press, and she didn’t know what Sarah meant by treating herself in such an un-Christian manner; thirdly, Mrs. McNulty, who occupied a portion of the basement, and was in most necessitous circumstance, made still more complicated by the possession of what Janet described as a “ noble spirit,” every effort to keep her from the verge of starvation having to be conducted with extreme discretion and delicacy. Then there were numberless others, all wanting something : it might he a little washing and ironing for which they were unable to offer remuneration, or perhaps a little sympathy, a little advice, a friendly word, a welcome by a warm fireside.

“ Why do they all come to you ? ” I asked one day, having discovered pretty Barbara, and Sarah of the dark bedroom, and Mrs. McNulty of the noble spirit, socially partaking at Janet’s table of tea and toast and herring.

“ Possibly,” was the reply, “ because I am good to them. When you are good to people, it is likely to keep them coming as long as grass grows and water runs.”

It was a hard winter, — little to do and little money. Janet had work, it was true, and pretty Barbara, who pasted labels on bottles ; also Mary Morrison and Sarah Milligan in their respective professions, of whose nature we were ignorant, they being silent on this subject. It was surmised, however, by Edward and myself, that Mary Morrison had work of some literary character, and it was surmised by Janet that her friend Sarah was connected with a certain downtown theatre in the way of either mending or cleaning. Mrs. McNulty had no work, and Mrs. McNulty’s case represented one in thousands.

A sad state of things, verily ! Through dying Robin had escaped much that was pitiful.

There were two experiences in that dreary winter which, as I now recall them, stand out by themselves with the fairness of mountain harebells growing in some rocky crevice. They were very simple experiences, things to feel rather than to tell, to love rather than to show. One was more particularly Edward’s, the other more particularly mine. Edward’s was a discovery. After hanging the Little Garden in Heaven on old Janet’s wall, he began to stroll unconsciously and always farther and farther into old Janet’s heart, until he chanced upon a nook where no one had been for many a year, not even the owner herself, and there found safely stored a treasure of old tales, old songs, superstitions, reminiscences, and border ballads, fresh and ready for his coming. — quite as if he had brushed away a weight of dead leaves, and beneath a sonsie brook ran rippling, having its own violets to bend over it, its own mavis to sing.

And now, when professional duties or neighborly kindnesses brought my brother and Janet together, they were sure to forget in a twinkling the weal and the woe of the world about them, to forget who was who and what was what; and Janet would call Edward “ dearie ” and “ darling ” without the slightest suspicion of thus addressing him, since they were both in their thoughts off and away, perhaps in the Highlands, perhaps in the Lowlands, perhaps remembering Robin, as far even as there where “ the day is aye fair in the Land o’ the Leal,” — off and away following Prince Charlie, he of the fair yellow locks flowing over his shoulders ; or else it might be in Rob Roy’s cave at a gathering of the clans, or listening to the good Presbyterians singing psalms in their hiding-places, or parting with Highland Mary, or assisting at the episode of Lord Ullin’s daughter, and Janet would exclaim, exactly as if she had been present, “ Oh, what a terrible night it was ! how it thundered and lightened ! ” and then very likely they would repeat in concert: —

“ ‘ Now who be, ye, would cross Lochgyle,
This dark and stormy water ? *
0, I’m the chief of Ulva’a isle,
And this Lord Ullin’s daughter.’ ”

Like the music of old Scotch melodies, the sound of their voices comes back to me across the recollection of that sorrowful winter, and closely following is the memory of my own experience, the meeting and learning to know Mary Morrison, Janet’s Winsome Lady.

On evenings when it best suited our convenience Edward and I were in the habit of dining together at some pet Bohemian restaurant; on other evenings I went alone to the pleasant little hotel of St. Margaret, a sort of worldly convent, being intended only for women, the tables of whose dining-room were daintily spread, each for four persons. As a more or less frequent guest I soon appropriated to myself an especial corner, and before long noticed that another guest as regularly occupied the seat opposite. She was a slender, girlish woman, having a face of singular grace and tenderness. Our companions at the table varied with every meal. They were strangers engaged in shopping and sightseeing, or college girls enjoying the freedom of a too brief vacation, or dressmakers from out of town unfolding across the table the merits of sundry establishments where one might behold the most modern creations of feminine attire ; or they were artists full of comment and criticism, or teachers, authors, musicians, journalists, or now and then women in the picturesque garb of some sisterhood, or followers of the Salvation Army in the brave red and blue.

Thus incidentally, my opposite neighbor and I found ourselves attaining a mutual store of most varied and extensive information. The next development of our acquaintance came through the Torrey Botanical Society, to one of whose meetings Edward had invited me to accompany him. We were a little late, and as we entered heard the name of a new member voted upon and accepted, the name being Mary Morrison. The paper that evening treated of rhododendrons, and in its discussion the question was asked how far north they grew, whereupon some one directly behind us replied that she had found them on the shores of Lake Sebago in Maine. The speaker proved to be Mary Morrison, the new member ; proved likewise to be my opposite neighbor at dinner, and also Janet’s Winsome Lady, as Edward discovered in the social period after the discussion.

And now when Mary Morrison and I met at St. Margaret’s we fell into a way of prolonging our dinner hour to a second hour of rambling through favorite streets, or of viewing the world from the amusing position afforded by the top of a Fifth Avenue stage; or, taking a trolley to the Battery, we watched the lights in the ferry-boats, for the spring days were at hand, and the twilights long and tempting ; and we talked of the books we had read, the places we had seen, the people we had observed in the dining-room of the little hotel,—talked of the Torrey Botanical Society, and of the shores of Lake Sebago in Maine ; and perhaps for lack of time, perhaps for some other reason, we did not speak of Mary Morrison herself.

Sometimes Edward joined us, and we took longer rambles. On one of these occasions — it was our last of the season — we were just starting forth from the old brick house in the crooked street, which happened that day to be the rendezvous, when on the steps we found Alice and Josephine, two of the neighborhood children, bending over a dead canary. Alice, the younger, was weeping bitterly.

“ She wants it to sing again,” said Josephine. “You can’t sing again if you are dead. My grandfather died the other day. I went to the funeral.”

Mary Morrison sat down by the chief mourner, explaining how the song had gone away, how the bird in the child’s hand was only something which had held the song. There was a sound in her voice that brought comfort and conviction. Alice, being in sore need, accepted both, although not immediately.

In the mean time, at Mary Morrison’s suggestion, Edward had gone up to his studio, and returned with a small box and a bit of cotton-wool, to which he had added a violet bloomed out that morning in a diminutive fragment of country field which he was cultivating on the balcony of his fire-escape ; it being my brother’s custom, as soon as the spring appeared in New England, to send thither for a yard square of native earth stocked with sample specimens of hepaticas, violets, ferns, grasses, buttercups, — all for the joy and enlightenment of the children in the crooked street, who were for the most part unknowing of wild flowers. We made a soft bed and laid the canary upon it, the little head nestling against the New England violet. Then we took a last look, this being Josephine’s suggestion. At her grandfather’s funeral every one had taken a last look. After this Mary Morrison led us away from Edward’s street for the length of a block or two; at a corner drug-store she went in, and reappeared with a key. Just beyond, in a low stone wall, was a door, which Edward and I had passed hundreds of times without suspecting that it concealed what was left of a long-forgotten graveyard, — a door to which few came now, and behind which nothing happened except the flitting of light and shade, and the fall of the rain and snow.

“ Very conveniently for us,” said Mary Morrison, unlocking the door in the wall, “ I was sent this way once to look up some old inscriptions ; and so, in our present need, I knew about the place and where the key was kept.”

We went in, and Edward dug a little grave under a rose-bush.

“ They say things at funerals,” observed Josephine, when the box had been hidden from sight.

“ Listen,” said Mary Morrison, as a bird alighted on the wall and began to sing, “ listen ; things are being said now. It ’s a thrush ; it ’s on its way to the woods in the North. I think it must have stopped to sing at the canary’s funeral.”

The children thought so, too, and Josephine wished to know where North was.

“ North is Maine,” replied Edward. “ Rhododendrons grow there on the shores of Lake Sebago.”

Then it became necessary to explain at some length about Maine, and about rhododendrons, and about the shores of Lake Sebago; and thus pleasantly conversing we conducted the children to within sight of their doorway, and left them wonderfully cheerful considering the circumstances, the chief mourner being able to kiss her hand to us with a smile.

Summer was at hand now, with its changes of abiding-places. We did not see Mary Morrison again until the following November, when the irregular dining together at the little hotel was renewed ; and now and then we met at the Torrey Botanical Society or had a cup of tea in Edward’s studio.

On one of the easels, generally covered from sight, being unfinished, was a study of the man Christ Jesus. As we were looking at it one day, Mary Morrison said she always wondered over a work of art in the same way that she wondered over a flower, and she thought a true painter must be very much like a true gardener, — a man who worked industriously, waited patiently, lived honestly, kindly, lovingly, until at the proper season he would produce again and again things so beautiful that no one could look upon them unmoved ; and it would be said they were done in a moment of inspiration, whereas they were the result of an unfolding as gloriously natural and as gloriously mysterious as the blooming of a flower.

“ And suppose you were a painter,” said Edward, “ waiting for the blooming of your flower, — to use your own little simile, — and suppose you had attempted, as I have, the subject on the easel, how would you think it out ? What would be your conception of it ? ”

“ First of all,” said Mary Morrison presently, “ I should try to make my mind realize some very simple circumstance into which our Lord might come, — as for instance he might come to the gateway of Janet’s Little Garden in Heaven to welcome her, perhaps, after her toilsome journey; and as I painted I should think of him familiarly, as of one who would enjoy the hawthorn hedge, and the sweetbrier bush, and the mignonette.”

“ And after that? ” said Edward.

“ And after that I should think of various sorrowful things connected with Janet’s life, — things which she has often tried to tell me, but could never finish to the end, they being too full of bitterness for utterance; and I should think that when our Lord came to the Little Garden, it would be like the coming of One who knew all that one had fever feared and suffered, all that had been in one’s heart since the beginning, and there would be perfect understanding with no pain of explanation. Of course you don’t believe in any Little Garden in Heaven,” Mary Morrison went on more lightly,— “ you are too intelligent; and Janet does n’t believe in it, either, though she does believe in the judgment-seat; and I suppose we all believed once, more or less, in golden crowns, and harps, and girdles, and candlesticks, and never fading flowers, and fields of living green.”

“ But I do believe in the Little Garden,” said Edward obligingly; “that is, in a general way. I believe in something pleasant, and what is there pleasanter than a garden ? Moreover, I believe it’s a great mistake to be what you call intelligent in these matters. One loses too much. Besides, how can one be intelligent about that ‘ which passeth all understanding ’ ? It is n’t possible, any more than that a child should think the thoughts of a man.”

The winter went by, and still no more than Janet knew of her friend Sarah Milligan’s private life did we know of our friend Mary Morrison’s. Indeed, we had long ceased to consider that she had any life other than that which we in our minds had bestowed upon her. Chance, however, was now to enlighten us. My brother happened to be passing through a street, one of whose houses stood sadly silent, its curtains drawn and a sign of mourning on its door. As he approached the house a woman came out, in whom he recognized Mary Morrison. Two other women followed. Edward was nearer now, and heard one of them say that never before had she seen things done with such thoughtful and tender appreciation of every circumstance; that it was like having a very dear friend appear unexpectedly in a moment of sorrow.

“ It was more like an angel sent from heaven,” the other woman answered.

The words awakened a train of thought in my brother’s mind, vague at first, but gradually assuming shape until it reached back as far as the canary bird’s funeral. He went into a shop and consulted a directory, and a little later found his way to a door bearing the names “ Morrison & Morrison,” and which Janet’s Winsome Lady had entered just before him.

“ I have been hearing about you,” he said to her, “ and I have come to hear more. Have you time to tell me now, and will you begin at the very beginning ? ”

“ Then I must tell you first about father and uncle,” Mary Morrison replied, offering him a chair, and seating herself in the one opposite. Briefly narrated, this is the account she gave : —

“ Father and uncle and I lived in a little village not far from the shores of the lake where the rhododendrons grow. Father and uncle kept the village store, put on the village double windows in the autumn, took them off in the spring, mended people’s furniture and furnaces, — mended everything, in fact, except the people themselves : the village doctor did that when he could ; when he could n’t, and the minister had said what he had to say, father and uncle did what was left to do, they being the village undertakers, — notwithstanding which no one ever thought of connecting them with things sad and gloomy, but rather with a sense of security and peace.

“ I had a curious childhood as far as surroundings were concerned. I kept my dolls in a large roomy box acquired by way of business, and marked in staring letters ' Bon Jour Shrouds.’ From that inscription I learned my first French lesson. Back of the store stood an old abandoned Methodist meeting-house, bought and moved thither by father and uncle, and adapted by them as a place of storage for the hearse and coffins. To us village children the coffins meant going to bed to sleep until the coming of the angel of the resurrection.

“ I remember asking father what the angel would say, and father asked uncle, and uncle said it might be, ‘ Awake, thou that sleepest, arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’ We children thought it would be very beautiful to have that said to us, only it seemed a pity to be obliged to sleep so long; we felt that we had hardly time to sleep at all, there was so much to do. Consequently, we were not particularly interested in the coffins, but we were delighted with the hearse. It made such a capital place in which to play hide-and-seek.

“ When I grew older I went to the academy of the neighboring town, and from there to college, and then accompanied a family abroad to take charge of the studies of two young girls. With the latter I spent a number of pleasant years, at the end of which father and uncle both fell asleep, to wait, as they were accustomed to say of others, for the coming of the angel. I returned home shortly after this, feeling very sad and lonely. One day I met John Morrison, a cousin of father’s and uncle’s, who was also an undertaker. He told me, among other things, of the death of his partner, and how he was looking for some one to replace him, and he asked, half seriously, how I would like the position.

“ I thought hard for a moment. I knew the world to be filled to superfluity with women teachers and women in almost every occupation, but I had never heard of a woman following John Morrison’s profession. I remembered, too, how once, when a little English child had died in a foreign hotel, and I had been able to render the mother assistance in the spirit of father and uncle, she had said what a comfort it would be if always at such a time there were some woman upon whom one might call, whose presence would be like that of a friend. And so I accepted John Morrison’s offer. That was five years ago.

“ And now I have told you everything, just as you asked me.”

For the first time in her long life old Janet was very ill; " almost ready to go to the Little Garden in Heaven,” she observed, as she lay down apparently to die.

The doctor and the minister, speedily summoned, arrived, and administered each according to his profession. Mrs. McNulty gave up such desultory occupation as she was able to procure, and, assuming the vacant place at the washtub, saved inconvenience to every one concerned, and to the little household in particular any diminution of income ; for not one penny would Mrs. McNulty accept in recognition of services rendered. Sarah of the dark bedroom saw to it that Mrs. McNulty was supplied with nourishing food, and Edward that the basement rent was paid; pretty Barbara and the Winsome Lady appeared regularly and helpfully, as did other people ; in short, the world, notwithstanding its well-established reputation for ingratitude, conducted itself in a thoroughly commendable manner.

Thus two weeks went by, and in the little inner room old Janet awaited the coming of that supreme moment when she should straighten her own limbs and close her own eyes, according to a previously announced determination; which latter, being generally known, kept those about her in constant apprehension, and some one continually stealing into the room to see if anything had happened, until Janet herself most unexpectedly relieved the strain of the situation by saying, " I will inform you, children, when the end is at hand.”

During the two weeks she remained for the most part in a sort of stupor, seldom speaking or rousing of her own accord, except when my brother entered the room. Then she generally had some dream to relate, — of once upon a time in Scotland. One was of losing some money at a fair, the sum of a year’s economies, saved it may have been to buy some longed-for trinket or a bunch of blue ribbons.

“ A basket of posies,
A garland of lilies, a gift of red roses,
A little straw hat to set off the blue ribbons.”

Another dream — and this one had the peculiarity of repeating itself —was of a pair of wee shoes made for the child Janet by her father, he being a shoemaker, from a bit of the finest of fine kid left over after making the Sunday shoes of the six young ladies at the “ grand house.” We had long known about the six young ladies : that their names were Mary and Flora and Jessie, and Charlotte and Ellen and Elisabeth ; that when their fortunes were dissipated by the wild young men of the family, they had been obliged to go out as governesses ; and we had often deplored their fate, but never before felt so near them as now through this frequent mentioning of their Sunday shoes. In Mrs. McNulty’s words, “ it was as if Janet had shoes on the brain.”

On the evening before Good Friday, my brother had come in to make his usual visit, and Mrs. McNulty, taking advantage of his presence, had run down to the corner grocery for some needed article.

Janet seemed to be sleeping. Suddenly she opened her eyes and said in quite the old voice that she believed she was improving, that she should like a good bowl of barley broth, and that she felt as if the swelling had gone out of her feet.

“ Then you will soon be able to wear your new shoes again,” returned my brother, referring, not to the wee ones of her dream, of course, hut to another pair, the immediate need of which, and whose intended purchase, supposed by every one to have been successfully accomplished, had been discussed among us just before Janet’s illness.

“ I have no new shoes,” said Janet, in rather a reluctant and shamefaced fashion.

“ But I met you going out to buy them,” insisted Edward, — “ don’t you remember ? ”

Yes, Janet remembered. She also remembered having met Mrs. McNulty a few moments later; and Mrs. McNulty being in great need, she had given her a portion of the sum she had gathered, and the next day a trifle more, and the same the next, and the next, until the wherewithal for the purchase of new shoes had completely vanished. “ And never shall I forget,” continued Janet, “ how my feet ached with the cold the last time I went out, although I walked on the sunny side of the street, and how when I came where there was a fire I stood so close as to burn the leather of the old things I was wearing without once perceiving the heat; and I am quite well aware that I have fallen ill and made great trouble on account of having been too accommodating. Still, what is one to do ? Has not our Lord enjoined upon us to be kind to one another ? And then she added, commentingly, one could be kind, but it was not necessary to overstep.

When Edward went back presently to his studio, he had in his band the picture of the Little Garden. He had taken it from the wall as he passed through the outer room, with a vague idea of making some tall white lilies to bloom in it for Easter morning. But the next day, as he sat down before it, thinking half consciously of Janet’s gentle life, its courage, its absence of bonnie things, its fullness of weariness, its sweet consistency with one of her own quaint sayings, — that trouble is sent to us to see how gracefully we can bear our cross, — instead of the lilies he commenced the outline of a figure standing at the gateway ; intending to make the figure that of an angel bringing it might be a message, and to give it a certain resemblance to Mary Morrison. The thought of the latter suggested other thoughts. Words drifted through his mind, spoken that day in the studio before the still unfinished study of the man Christ Jesus : “ I should think of him familiarly, as of one who would enjoy the hawthorn hedge, and the sweetbrier bush, and the mignonette. . . . I should think that when our Lord came to the Little Garden, it would be like the coming of One who knew all that one had ever feared and suffered, all that had been in one’s heart since the beginning.”

My brother put aside the picture taken from Janet’s wall and began another, and, forgetting himself in his work, painted all day until the light faded. When he carried what he had done to Janet, she asked how it was that he could paint our Blessed Lord just as one would think he must have looked, having never seen him, and said her room was no place for a picture like this, — it should rather hang in a church ; only then there would be the danger of distracting the attention of the worshipers, who would be always wondering about it, no mention being made in the sacred Scriptures of a Little Garden with a hawthorn hedge and a bonnie wee house half hidden under roses.

My brother, however, left it hanging over the tabic, above the holy books, where, for fear of injury, it was always kept carefully covered except on Sundays and in the evening.

Janet was right when she said she believed she was improving. Not many weeks after Easter she found herself able to put on the strong new shoes which had been provided for her recovery, and to resume her customary calling. And life went on as before in the old brick house of the crooked street, except that after a little the painter’s studio was closed, it being the time of summer holidays,— the time when, according to popular parlance, every one is out of town and no one in town, which really means, when one counts numbers, that two or three people are away and millions are left behind.

Mary Morrison took her vacation, this year, in late September and early October. On one of these early October days she and Edward were straying together along a wooded road, — my brother having wandered so far north as the shores of LakeSebagoin Maine, — when a boy came running toward them with a message sent by Mrs. McNulty ; entirely on her own responsibility, as she explained later, because she felt, if any one ought to be notified, it was the painter.

The painter read the message, and Mary Morrison read it. Then they turned back to the village, breaking off as they went along little branches of fir and pine and bay with leaves turned crimson, and stalks of goldenrod and purple asters. In the village they found a bed of lady’s-delights, from whose flowers Mary Morrison made a bonnie bunch by themselves.

There had been no particular illness ; “ a general breaking up ” was what the doctor had pronounced it: when one has worked early and late for nearly seventy years, there naturally comes a time when all things wear out together. Janet’s own diagnosis was given in the quiet remark, “ The oil has gone out of my joints, and I know of no place to get more.”

Her last words had been to call Mrs. McNulty a foolish woman, advising her to lie down and have a good night’s rest : this was when the latter declared her intention of sitting up to watch. “ In fact,” said Mrs. McNulty, “ she appeared quite displeased with me, but I was well enough acquainted with her to know that the displeasure was only outward.” The day before her death she had partaken of the Blessed Sacrament, and also given certain directions. The Holy Picture was to be returned, carefully covered, to the painter’s studio, and with it her copy of Robbie Burns’s poems, Janet’s one worldly book, which she hoped the painter would be pleased to accept as a keepsake. For the painter’s sister was to be set aside the little New Testament with the old tunes in the back, and for the Winsome Lady a rosewood workbox containing various girlish trinkets, souvenirs of more prosperous days, preciously kept through days of poverty. Then, after suitable disposition had been made of Bible, Prayer Book, Hymnal, flat-irons, articles of clothing, and furniture, came the final bequest, — that the sum of five dollars and seventy-five cents, gathered toward the next month’s rent, be entrusted to the painter, and by him bestowed on some needy and religious old woman.

This last will and testament, faithfully recorded in Mrs. McNulty’s mind, and from there transmitted to my brother as he laid the bonnie bunch of lady’sdelights on his old friend’s heart, and above her feet the goldenrod and purple asters, the little branches of fir and pine and bay with leaves turned crimson, was duly reported to Mary Morrison that night, with the amendment, " The Holy Picture is yours. It was always yours, painted by me in translation of your thought, lent to Janet for a season.”

These are the three stories of three lives which go to make one story, and which passed through my mind as, that day at the art exhibition, standing before the picture whose title in the catalogue read, “ And our Lord came to the Gateway of the Little Garden,” I overheard some one ask, “ Whose little garden ? ” and some one else reply, " Oh, don’t you know ? That is a quotation from a poem.”

Harriet Lewis Bradley.