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The Magic Cabinet by Albert E. Hooper

 

    “A castle built of granite.
      With towers grim and tall;
    A castle built of rainbows,
      With sunbeams over all:—
    I pass the one, in ruins,
      And mount a golden stair,—
    For the newest and the truest,
    And the oldest and the boldest,
    And the fairest and the rarest,
      Is my castle in the air.”—M.

I.

ON TWO SIDES OF THE CABINET.

“Plenty of nourishment, remember, Mr. Goodman,” said the doctor; “you must really see that your wife carries out my instructions. And you, my dear lady, mustn't trouble about want of appetite. The appetite will come all in good time, if you do what I tell you. Good-afternoon.”

Little Grace Goodman gazed after the retreating figure of the doctor; and when the door closed behind him and her father, she turned to look at her mother.

Mrs. Goodman looked very pale and ill, and as she lay back in her cushioned-chair she tried to wipe away a tear unseen. But Grace's sight was very sharp, and she ran across the room and threw her arms impetuously round her mother's neck.

“Oh, mother, are you very miserable?” she asked, while her own lip quivered pitifully.

“No, no, my darling, not 'very miserable,'“ answered her mother, kissing the little girl tenderly. “Hush! don't cry, my love, or you will make father unhappy. Here he comes.”

Mr. Goodman re-entered the room looking very thoughtful; but as he came and sat down beside his wife, he smiled and said cheerfully, “You will soon be well now, the doctor says. The worst is over, and you only need strengthening.”

Mrs. Goodman smiled sadly.

“He little knows how impossible it is to carry out his orders,” she said.

“Not impossible. We shall be able to manage it, I think.”

A sudden light of hope sprang into the sick lady's eyes.

“Is the book taken at last, then?” she asked eagerly.

“The book? No, indeed. The publishers all refuse to have anything to do with it. It is a risky business, you see, to bring out such an expensive book, and I can't say that I'm surprised at their refusal.”

“How are we to get the money, then?” asked his wife. “We have barely enough for our everyday wants, and we cannot spare anything for extras.”

“We must sell something.”

Mrs. Goodman glanced round the shabbily furnished room, and then looked back at her husband questioningly.

“Uncle Jacob's Indian cabinet must go,” said he.

Mrs. Goodman looked quickly towards a large black piece of furniture which stood in a dusky corner of the room, and after a moment's pause, she said: “I don't like to part with it at all. It may be very foolish and superstitious of me, but I always feel that we should be unwise to forget Uncle Jacob's advice. You know what he said about it in his will.”

“I can't say that I remember much about it,” answered her husband. “I have a dim remembrance that he said something that sounded rather heathenish about the cabinet bringing good luck to its owners. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time, because I don't believe in anything of the sort. And besides, your Uncle Jacob was a very peculiar old gentleman; one never knew what to make of his odd fancies and whims.”

“Yes, you are quite right; he was a strange old man; but somehow I never shared the belief of most people that his intellect was weak. I think he had gathered some out-of-the-way notions during his life in India; but his mind always seemed clear enough on practical questions.”

“Well, what was it he said about the Indian cabinet?”

“He said that he left it to us because we had no need for any of his money—we had plenty of our own then!—that the old Magic Cabinet, as he called it, had once been the property of a rich Rajah, who had received it from the hands of a wise Buddhist priest; that there was something talismanic about it, which gave it the power of averting misfortune from its owners; and that it would be a great mistake ever to part with it.”

Mr. Goodman laughed uneasily.

“I wonder what Uncle Jacob would say now,” said he. “When he amused himself by writing all that fanciful rubbish in his will, he little thought that we should be reduced to such want. It is true, he never believed that my book would be worth anything; but he could not foresee the failure of the bank and the loss of all our money. I scarcely think, if he were alive now, that he would advise me to keep the cabinet and allow you to go without the nourishment the doctor orders.”

The invalid sighed.

“I suppose there is no help for it,” she answered. “The old cabinet must go; for I am useless without strength, and I only make the struggle harder for you.”

All the time her father and mother had been talking, little Grace had been looking from one to the other with eager, wide-open eyes; and now she cried: “Oh, mother! must the dear old black cabinet be taken away? And sha'n't we ever see it again!”

Her father drew her between his knees and smoothed back her fluffy golden hair as he said gently: “I know how you will miss it, dear; you have had such splendid games and make-believes with it, haven't you? But you will be glad to give it up to make mother well, I know.”

“Will mother be quite well when the old cabinet is gone away?” asked Grace. “Will her face be bright and pink like it used to be? And will she go out of doors again?”

“Yes, darling, I hope so. I am going out now to ask a man to come and fetch away the cabinet, and while I am gone I want mother to try and get 'forty winks,' so you must be very quiet.”

“Yes, I will,” answered Grace quickly. “I must go and say 'good-bye' to the cabinet.”

Saying this, the little girl ran to the corner of the room in which the cabinet stood; and Mr. Goodman, bending down, kissed his wife's pale face very tenderly, whispered a word of hope and comfort in her ear, and then left the room; and a moment later the sound of the house-door told that he had gone out.

Gradually the twilight grew dimmer and dimmer in the little room; and as the dusky shadows, which had been lurking in the corners, began to creep out across the floor and walls and ceiling, Mrs. Goodman fell into a peaceful sleep.

But little Grace sat quite still on the floor, gazing at the Indian cabinet.

It was a large and handsome piece of furniture made of ebony, which looked beautifully black and shiny; and the folding doors in front were carved in a wonderful fashion, and inlaid with cunning silver tracery. The carvings on these doors had always been Grace's special delight; they had served as her picture books and toys since her earliest remembrance, and she knew every line of them by heart. All the birds, and beasts, and curly snakes were old friends; but Grace paid little attention to any of them just now. All her thoughts were given to the central piece of carving, half of which was on each of the doors of the cabinet.

This centre piece was carved into the form of an Indian temple, with cupolas and towers of raised work; and in front of the temple door there sat the figure of a solemn looking Indian priest.

Of all Grace's toy friends this priest was the oldest and dearest, and as she looked at him now, the tears began to gather in her eyes at the thought of parting with him. And no wonder. He was really a most delightful little old man. His long beard was made of hair-like silver wire, the whites of his eyes were little specks of inlaid ivory, and in his hand he balanced a small bar of solid gold, which did duty as the latch of the cabinet doors.

Grace gazed at the priest long and lovingly, and at last, shuffling a little nearer to the cabinet, she whispered: “I don't like saying 'good-bye' a bit. I wish you needn't go away. Don't you think you might stay after all if you liked, and help mother to get well in some other way? You belong to a magic cabinet, so I suppose you are a magic priest, and can do all sorts of wonderful things if you choose.”

The priest nodded gravely.

Then, of course, Grace gave a sudden jump, and started away from the cabinet with a rather frightened look on her face.

It was one thing to talk to this little carved wooden figure in play, and make believe that he was a real live magic priest, but it was quite another to find him nodding at her.

She felt very puzzled, but seeing that the figure was sitting quite still in front of the temple, she drew close up to the cabinet again, and presently she whispered: “Did you nod at me just now?”

The ebony priest bowed his head almost to the ground.

There could be no doubt about it this time. He was a magic priest after all. Grace did not feel frightened any more. A joyful hope began to swell in her heart, and she said, “Oh, I'm so glad! You won't go away and leave us, will you?”

For a moment the figure sat motionless, and then the head gave a most decided shake, wagging the silver beard from side to side.

“What a dear old darling you are,” exclaimed Grace in delight. “But you know how ill poor mother is, and how much she wants nice things to make her strong. You will have to get them for her, if you stay, you know.”

Again the priest nodded gravely.

“It isn't a very easy thing to do,” said Grace, holding up a warning finger. “My father is ever such a clever man, and he can't always manage it. Why, he has written a great big book, all on long sheets of paper—piles, and piles, and PILES of them, and even that hasn't done it! I shouldn't think you could write a book.”

The figure of the priest sat perfectly still, and as she talked Grace thought that the expression on his face grew more solemn than ever, and even a little cross, so she hastened to say, “Don't be offended, please. I didn't mean to be rude. I know you must be very magic indeed, or you couldn't nod your head so beautifully. But do you really think you can get mother everything the doctor has ordered?”

A fourth time the priest nodded, and this time he did it more emphatically than ever.

Little Grace clapped her hands softly.

“Oh! do begin at once, there's a dear,” she whispered coaxingly.

Very slowly, as if his joints were stiff, the priest raised his arms, and allowed the golden bar in his hands to revolve in a half-circle; and then the Indian temple split right down the middle, and the two doors of the Magic Cabinet swung wide open.

Grace lost sight of the little priest, and the temple, and all the other wonderful carvings as the folding doors rolled back on their hinges; and she gazed into the cabinet, wondering what would happen next. She had often seen the inside of the cabinet, so, beautiful as it was, it was not new to her, and she felt a little disappointed. Half of the space was filled up by tiny drawers and cupboards, all covered with thin sheets of mother-of-pearl, glowing with soft and delicate tints of pink and blue; but the other half was quite unoccupied, and so highly polished was the ebony, that the open space looked to Grace like a square-cut cave of shiny black marble.

For some moments the little girl sat quite still, gazing into the depths of the cabinet; but as nothing happened she got upon her feet, and, drawing a step nearer, put her head and half her body inside the open space. Everything looked very dark in there, and she felt more disappointed than ever; but, just as she was about to draw out her head again, she noticed a shining speck in one of the top corners at the back of the cabinet. This was not the first time she had seen it, and she had always determined to look at it closer; but the cabinet stood on carved feet, like the claws of an alligator, and Grace's outstretched hand could not quite reach the back. But now the cabinet might be going away she felt that she must delay no longer, so she quickly crossed the floor and fetched the highest hassock from under the table, and planted it in front of the dark opening. Getting upon this, she climbed right into the open space, and a moment later she was sitting on the ebony floor of the Magic Cabinet.

It was rather a tight squeeze; but Grace did not mind that in the least: she drew her feet close in under her, and laughed with glee. Now she could see the shining speck plainly. It was only a tiny bright spot in the centre of a tarnished metal knob. The knob was an ugly, uninteresting-looking thing, and it was fixed so high up in the dark corner that she would never have noticed it if it had not been for the bright speck in the centre.

Wondering what the knob could be for, Grace gave it a sharp pull; but she could not move it. Next she pushed it; and then——

Bang!

The folding doors fell to with a slam, everything became suddenly dark, and Grace found herself shut inside the Magic Cabinet. Just for an instant she felt too startled to move; but when she recovered from her surprise, instead of trying to open the doors of the cabinet, she felt for the little metal knob again, and then pushed at it with all her might.

First there was a sharp snap, like the turning of a lock; and then she heard a harsh, grating sound, as the back of the cabinet slid slowly aside and revealed—what do you think?

The wall of the room behind? A secret cupboard?

No, neither of these.

Directly the back of the cabinet moved aside a sudden and brilliant flash of light dazzled Grace's eyes, and she was obliged to cover them with her hands. But it was not long before she began to peep between her fingers, and then she almost cried out for joy.

It seemed that a scene of fairyland had been spread out before her, but not in a picture, for everything she saw looked as real as it was beautiful. Grace found that she was no longer sitting in a dark and narrow cabinet, but on the top step of a marble stairway, which led down to a lake of clear and shining water. This lake, on which numbers of snowy swans swam in and out among the lily beds, stretched out far and wide, and on its banks, among flower-decked trees and shrubs, stately palaces and temples were built, whose gilded domes and marble terraces glistened brightly in the sunshine.

All this Grace took in with one delighted glance, but it was as quickly forgotten in a new and greater surprise that awaited her.

Gently but swiftly over the surface of the shining lake there glided a wonderful boat which glimmered with a pearly lustre, and as the breeze, filling its sails of purple silk, brought it closer to the steps, Grace gave a glad cry and sprang to her feet. A tall, white-bearded man, who stood in the prow of the boat, waved a long golden wand over his head, and Grace clapped her hands in glee.

“It's my dear, dear Indian priest off the door of the cabinet,” she cried. “But how tall and beautiful he has grown!”

Before she could say another word the boat of pearl sailed up alongside the bottom marble step, and the old man beckoned to her to come down. She needed no second bidding, but ran lightly down the stairs and sprang into his outstretched arms.

“What a dear, good magic priest you are to come,” she said, as he put her into a cosy place on some cushions at the bottom of the boat. “And what a lovely place this is! Do you live here?”

“Sometimes,” answered the old man, with a grave smile.

“Oh, of course; I forgot. You live on the door of the Magic Cabinet sometimes. You have been there quite a long time. Ever since I can remember anything you have sat in front of the little carved temple. Don't you find it dull there sometimes?”

“How do you know I don't go away while you are asleep?”

“I never thought of that,” said Grace. “But please tell me, where is the Magic Cabinet now?”

The old priest was busy attending to the sails of the boat, which was now shooting swiftly away from the shore; but at the question he looked up and pointed towards the top of the steps with his golden wand.

Grace looked and saw a lovely little temple built of inlaid coloured marbles.

“Is that really the back of our dear old black cabinet?” she cried. “How pretty it is! I wonder why we have never found it out.”

“Everything has two sides,” said the old man, “and one is always more beautiful than the other; and, strange to say, the best side is generally hidden. It can always be found if people wish for it; but as a rule they don't care to take the trouble.”

Grace looked very earnestly into the priest's face while he spoke; and after he had finished she was so long silent that at last he asked, “What are you thinking about?”

“I was thinking about your face,” she answered. “You won't think me rude, will you?”

“No, certainly not.”

“Well, of course, you are just my dear old Indian priest, with the strange, dark face and nice white beard, exactly like I have always known you, only ever so much bigger and taller; and I'm sure that long wand is much finer than the little gold bar you generally hold; but I can't help thinking you are just a little like my mother's Uncle Jacob, who left us the Magic Cabinet. I have often looked at him in the album, and your eyes have a look in them like his. You don't mind, do you?”

“Not at all,” answered the old man, smiling kindly; and then he went back to the sails again, because the boat was nearing a little island.

“Are we going to get out here?” asked Grace.

“Yes; you want me to do something for you, don't you?” And then, without waiting for an answer, he pulled some silken cords, which folded up the purple sails like the wings of a resting-bird, and the boat grounded gently, and without the slightest shock, on a mossy bank.

Taking the little girl in his arms, the old man sprang ashore. Bright flowers and ripe fruits grew in abundance on this fairy-like island, and birds of gorgeous plumage flew hither and thither, filling the sunny air with music.

But the old priest did not seem to notice any of these things. He led Grace by the hand up the mossy bank, and through a thicket of flowering shrubs into a glade, in the centre of which he halted and said, “Now, what is it to be?”

“Oh, I can't choose,” said Grace, looking eagerly up into his face. “You know I want mother to be quite well; and I don't want you or the Magic Cabinet to go away from us. But I don't know what you had better do. Please, please, do whatever you like; I know it will be nice.”

The old priest smiled, and struck the ground with his golden wand. Then there was such a noise that Grace had to cover up both her ears; and at the same time, out of the ground, at a little distance, there rose a great red-brick house, with queer twisted chimneys and overhanging gable-ends.

Grace stared with astonishment from the house to the gravely-smiling priest; and at last she cried, “Why, it is our dear old home where we used to live before we got so poor! I must be asleep and dreaming.”

“Well, and if you are, don't you like the dream?” asked her old friend.

“Yes, yes, it's a beautiful dream; it can't be true,” said Grace; and then she added quickly, “May we go into the house?”

“Yes, if you like,” he answered; and he took her by the hand, and led her up the steps and through the doorway.

II.

UNCLE JACOB'S GIFT.

When Grace passed through the doorway of the red-brick house, which the old priest had raised in such a magical fashion out of the ground, she looked eagerly round the hall, and then clapped her hands and cried, “Why, I do believe everything is here just as it used to be. I don't remember all these beautiful pictures and things; but mother and father have often told me about them. Oh, I wish they could be here to see!”

Her guide did not answer, but still holding her by the hand, he led her into a spacious room. It was so pretty that it almost took Grace's breath away. The softness of the carpets, the colours of the curtains and other drapery, the glittering mirrors on the walls, everything she saw was new and wonderful to her, and seemed like nothing so much as a story out of the “Arabian Nights.”

But before she could do anything more than give one little gasp of delight, the old Indian priest at her side waved his golden wand.

Then a curtain which hung before a doorway at a little distance was suddenly looped up, and, with a light step, Grace's mother, looking rosy and well, came into the room.

Grace gave the old man's hand a hard squeeze, but although she had a great longing to run straight into her mother's arms, some strange feeling held her back. After feasting her eyes for a moment on her mother's bright and happy face, she whispered, “Where's father?”

Again the wonderful golden wand was raised, and then the curtain which had fallen into its place before the doorway was pushed hastily aside, and Grace saw her father.

All traces of sorrow and care had left his face; he held his head high, his eyes shone with a glad light, and in his hands he carried a large book bound in white and gold.

As he entered the room, Mrs. Goodman turned, and with a little cry of joy went to meet him. Then an expression came into her father's face which Grace could not understand, as silently, and with bowed head, he gave the beautiful book into his wife's hands.

“At last!” cried Grace's mother, taking it from him, and her voice was broken by a sob, while the tears gathered in her eyes; but still Grace could see that she was very happy.

Grace was very happy, too, and she could scarcely take her eyes from her father and mother when she heard the voice of the Indian priest speaking to her.

“Is there anything more you would like?” the old man asked.

“Oh, how kind and good you are!” cried Grace, squeezing his hand harder than ever; “and how ungrateful I am to forget all about you. You have chosen the loveliest things.”

“But don't you want anything for yourself?” asked her strange friend. “You may choose anything you like.”

Grace looked all round the big room, and it seemed so full of pretty things that at first she could not think of anything to wish for; but suddenly she gave a little jump and cried: “The Magic Cabinet! It isn't here; and I would like to have it, please.”

The old man looked grave; but he answered at once: “You have chosen, so you must have it; for in this country a choice is too serious a thing to be taken back. If you don't like it you must make the best of it. But you know you can't be at both sides of the cabinet at one and the same time. Come with me.”

Grace felt a little uncomfortable as the old man led her quickly across the room and through the curtained doorway by which her father and mother had entered.

Directly the curtain fell behind them she found that they were in the dark; and, although she still held her friend's hand, she began to be afraid.

“Oh, whatever is going to happen? I can't see anything at all!” she cried.

“I am going to wave my golden wand,” answered the slow and solemn voice of the Indian priest.

As he spoke there was a vivid flash of light. Little Grace gave a violent start, and rubbed her eyes; and then—and then she burst into tears.

For what do you think that sudden flash of light had shown her?

It had shown her that she was back again in the shabby little home she had known so long; that her mother, pale and ill as ever, was just awakening from her sleep; that her father had returned and was lighting the lamp; that the little carved figure of the Indian priest was sitting motionless before the temple on the doors of the Magic Cabinet; and, showing her all this, it also showed her that she had been fast asleep and dreaming.

It was too hard to bear. To think that the wonderful power of the magic priest, the beautiful fairy-like country, the dear old home, her mother's health and happiness, and her father's book,—to think that all these delightful things were only parts of a strange dream was a terrible disappointment to Grace, and she cried as if her heart would break.

“Why, darling,” said her father, crossing the room and lifting up the little girl in his strong arms, “is it as bad as all that? Can't you bear to part with the old cabinet, even for mother's sake?”

“It's—it's not that,” sobbed Grace, hiding her face on his shoulder. “I—I wish we could keep the cabinet; but it's not that. It's my dream.”

“Your dream, dear? Well, come and tell mother and me all about it.”

Mr. Goodman sat down in a chair beside his wife, and when she could control her sobs, Grace told them the whole story of her strange journey to the other side of the Magic Cabinet.

When she had finished her father said: “Well, darling, it was a very pleasant dream while it lasted; but beautiful things can't last for ever any more than ugly ones. It is no wonder that you should have had such a dream after all our talk about Uncle Jacob's fancies, and the Buddhist priest, and the good fortune that was supposed to come to the owners of the Magic Cabinet.”

“Yes, I'm not surprised about all that, especially as Grace has always made-believe about that funny little priest,” said Mrs. Goodman; “but I can't think what set her dreaming about a knob inside the cabinet.”

“Oh, that's not only a dream,” cried Grace. “I have often seen the little knob, and I have pushed it and pulled it, but I can never make it move.”

“Why didn't you tell us about it? I'm sure I have never seen it,” said her mother.

“Come and show it to me now,” said Mr. Goodman, putting Grace off his knee, and taking the lamp from the table.

Grace, followed by her mother and father, crossed over to the corner in which the Magic Cabinet stood. The lamp was placed on a chair just in front of it; and then Grace, with rather a reproachful glance at the figure of the Indian priest, twisted round the little gold bar, and opened the two ebony doors.

“There!” cried Grace, stooping down, “I can just see the knob; but you can't get low enough. You can feel it, though, if you put your hand into this corner.”

Guided by the direction in which her finger pointed, Mr. Goodman thrust his hand right back into the darkest corner of the cabinet; and presently he said, “Yes, I can certainly feel something hard and round like a little button. But I can't move it.”

As he spoke he pulled at the little knob with a force that shook the cabinet in its place.

“Push it, father!” cried Grace eagerly. “That's what I did in my dream.”

Mr. Goodman obeyed, and instantly there was a low musical “twang,” like that caused by the striking of a Jew's harp, or the quick vibration of a piece of watch-spring; a sharp click followed, and something was heard to fall on to the ebony floor of the cabinet.

Mrs. Goodman held the light closer, and in a moment her husband said, “Here is a little secret door hinged down to the bottom of the cabinet. The knob must have been fixed to a spring, and in pressing it I have released the catch of the door, which has fallen flat, leaving a small square opening.”

“Is there anything inside?” asked Grace, in a hurried, excited whisper.

“Let me see,” said her father, thrusting in his hand again. “Ah, yes! A little drawer!”

A moment later he stood upright, holding a tiny drawer of sweet-smelling sandal-wood in his hand.

“Come along to the table,” he said; “we will soon see if there is anything nice inside.”

Although it was evident that he was trying to speak carelessly, there was a strange eagerness in his manner; and as Mrs. Goodman set the lamp on the table, the light revealed a spot of bright colour on each of her pale cheeks; and as for Grace, she was in raptures.

“I know—I know it's something beautiful,” she cried; “and I believe my priest is a magic priest after all.”

They all three gathered round the light, and Mr. Goodman laid the little secret drawer on the table.

The drawer seemed to be quite full, but its contents were completely covered by a neatly-folded piece of Indian silk. This was quickly removed; and under it there lay an ivory box of delicate workmanship. It fitted closely into the drawer, and Mr. Goodman lifted it out with great care. On opening the lid he revealed a second box; and this was so beautiful that it drew exclamations of delight from both Grace and her mother. The inner box was made of gold, and it was covered with fruit and flowers and birds, all wrought in wonderful repoussé work.

There was some difficulty in finding how this golden box was to be opened; but a little examination brought to light a secret spring, and at the first pressure the lid of the box flew back and the central treasure of the Magic Cabinet was exposed to view.

Grace gave a cry of disappointment, for, lying in a snug little nest of pink cotton-wool, she saw only a dull, ugly-looking stone.

Mrs. Goodman did not speak, but looked earnestly at her husband as he took the stone from its resting-place and held it close under the light. He took a glass from his pocket and examined it carefully for a moment, and then laid it back in the golden box again, and said, “It is a diamond, and, I believe, a very valuable one.”

“But it isn't a bit pretty and sparkly like the diamonds in the shop windows,” said Grace. “What is the good of it?”

“It is a wonderful magic gift,” answered her father. “All that money can do for us, this dull-looking stone can do. It can buy all the things mother needs to make her strong and well.”

“And it can print father's book, and make us all as happy as we were in your dream,” said her mother.

Mr. Goodman now took the little sandal-wood drawer in his hand again, and, under another piece of Indian silk, he found a letter.

“My dear, this is for you,” he said; “and see—surely this must be your Uncle Jacob's writing?”

Mrs. Goodman took the envelope from his hand, and read the inscription, which was written in strange, angular characters:

     “TO MY NIECE.”

Her hand shook a little as she broke the seal and drew out a small sheet of paper covered closely with the same writing, and her voice was unsteady as she read the old man's letter aloud.

     “My dear Niece,—When my will is read you may be surprised
     to find that I have left you only one gift—my old Indian
     cabinet. But I value it very highly, and I believe that for
     my sake you will never willingly part with it. I am rich,
     and if you needed money I could leave you plenty; but you
     have enough and to spare at present, and I hope you will
     never know the want of it. But still, I mean to make one
     slight provision for you. Authors are not always good men
     of business, and your husband may lose his money; and
     however great and good his book may be, it may be rejected
     by the world, and you may some day be poor. I shall place
     an uncut diamond of some value in the secret drawer of the
     old cabinet, hoping that you may find it in a time of need.
     You may wonder why I trust to such a chance; but some wise
     man has said that all chance is direction which we cannot
     see
, and I believe he is right, so I shall follow my whim.
     If you should discover the secret at a time when you are
     not in need of money, keep the gem uncut as a wonderful
     work of nature; there are not many like it in the world.
     But if the money it can bring you will be useful, do not
     hesitate to sell it; it will fetch a high price. In any
     case, accept it as the last gift of your affectionate

     “UNCLE JACOB.”

There was silence in the little room for a few moments after Uncle Jacob's letter had been read. Mr. Goodman led his wife back to her chair, and Grace stood solemnly waiting for somebody to speak.

At last her father looked at her with a bright smile.

“We must be very thankful to Uncle Jacob for his gift,” he said; “but we mustn't forget that it was your wonderful dream which led us to the discovery.”

“I can't help thinking that my dear Indian priest had something to do with it. You know he is a magic one; and he did look something like Uncle Jacob in my dream, you know.”

Her mother and father smiled; and Mr. Goodman rose briskly and said, “I must make haste and tell the man he needn't come to look at the cabinet.”

“Oh, father,” cried Grace, who was feeling a little puzzled, “won't it have to go away, after all?”

“No, my child,” he answered; “mother will be able to get well without losing it now. We shall keep the Magic Cabinet.”

“There, I thought my Indian priest wouldn't tell a story. I asked him to promise not to go away and leave us, and he shook his hand most beautifully.”

Mr. Goodman bent down and kissed her; and then he left the room, and Grace, after taking a peep at her little Indian priest, ran and threw her arms lovingly round her mother's neck.

       * * * * *

Uncle Jacob's gift was the means of making Grace's dream come true in a wonderful way. First of all her mother got well and the roses came back into her cheeks again; and then, instead of going on a magic journey through the back of the cabinet, the father and mother and their little girl went into the country, which was quite as beautiful, if not so strange, as the island in the shining lake. A little later the dear old red-brick home was bought again, and they all went to live there; Mr. Goodman's book was published, and it was bound in white and gold, just as Grace had seen it in her dream. And after it had been examined and admired, at Grace's suggestion it was put away under the watchful care of the little Indian priest in the Magic Cabinet.

 
 
 

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