Cicely Abercrombie, a little devil of a Southern girl, married John Bruce, a Northern soldier. He was madly in love with the girl, and carried her by storm after a brief siege. They had a child, and then Bruce died. In a few months the widow herself fell madly in love with a handsome, gay Southerner, Ferdinand Morrison, and married him with a willful perversity which was not in the least weakened when it turned out that Ferdie, as everybody in the book feels bound to call him, had an hereditary tendency to a mixture of insanity and delirium tremens. In one of his moments of aberration Ferdie struck Cicely, and slung little Jack out of his crib, breaking his arm. He then disappeared to the convenient remoteness of Valparaiso, to wait till the novelist wanted him for dark and dreadful purposes.
"He is the image of Jack!" she said.
"Yes, I know it," answered Miss Sabrina. "And I knew how it would affect you, my dear. But I think it is a comfort that he does look like him; don't you? And now you must not talk any more about going away, but stay here with us and love him."
"Stay!" said Eve. She rose, and made a motion as if she were going to give the child to her companion. But little Jack put up his hand again, and stroked her cheek; he was crooning meanwhile to himself composedly a little song of his own invention; it was evident that he would never be afraid of her again. Eve kissed him. "Do you think she would give him to me?" she asked, hungrily. "She cannot care for him--not as I do."
Miss Sabrina drew herself up (in the excess of her sympathy, as well as near-sightedness, she had been leaning so far forward that her flat breast had rested almost on her knees). "Give up her child--her own child? My niece? I think not; I certainly think not." She took off her glasses and put