Part 4 out of 6
Ginniss, is that your son's real name?-his whole name, I mean?"
"It's short for Taodoor, I'm thinkin', ma'am; but joost Teddy we
alluz calls it."
"Ah, yes! Theodore. That is a very nice name, and will sound better,
when he comes to be a lawyer or doctor or minister, than Teddy.
Don't you think so?"
"Ye're right, ma'am: it's a dale the dacenter name uv the two; an'
Taodoor I'll call him iver an' always," said Mrs. Ginniss
"I was thinking more of what other people would call him," said Mrs.
Legrange, smiling a little. "Some friends of mine are interested in
a school and college at the West,--somewhere in Ohio, I believe. It
is a very fine school and the West is the place for a young man who
means to rise. So, Theodore, if you would like to go, I shall be
very happy to see to all your expenses until you graduate, and to
help you about settling in a profession, or in trade, as you like."
Teddy's healthy face turned deadly white; and, although his lips
trembled violently, not a word came from between them. But Mrs.
Ginniss, raising hands and eyes to heaven, called down such a shower
of blessings from so many and varied sources, in such an inimitable
brogue, that the pen refuses to transcribe her rhapsody, as Mrs.
Legrange failed to comprehend more than the half of it.
"I am glad you are pleased; and it pleases me as much as it can
you," said she, half frightened at the Celtic vehemence of the
other's manner and language.
"I can't say what I want to, ma'am," spoke a low voice beside her;
"but if you'll believe I'm grateful, and wait till some time when I
can show it better than I can now-that time will come, if we both
live. And when I'm a man, if she isn't found first, I'll go the
world round but I'll find her, and Jovarny too: I'll promise that."
A wan smile played over the lovely face, as Mrs. Legrange, laying
her hand upon the boy's, said kindly,--
"If she is not found before then, Teddy, I shall not be here to know
Then going to the drawer, still standing open, she said,--
"May I have some of these little things, Mrs. Ginniss; not all,--for
I know that you love them too,--but some of them?"
So Mrs. Ginniss made a package of the relics; and Teddy asked and
obtained the privilege of carrying it home for his new friend, while
James stalked discontentedly behind.
Upon the way, Mrs. Legrange said quietly, "I left a little money in
the drawer, Theodore. It is to buy you some new clothes, and
whatever else you and your mother need most. And I have just thought
of something else. How would your mother like living in the
"Very much, ma'am, I think. Her father had a farm in Ireland, and
she is mighty fond of telling about it."
"Well, Mr. Legrange has recently made me a present of a nice old
farmhouse somewhere in the western part of the State, thinking I
might like to go there for a few weeks in the summer. It is a lovely
place, they say; and, if your mother would like it, she might go
there and keep the house for me. A man is going to take care of the
farm, and he could board with her."
"That would be first-rate, ma'am," said Teddy enthusiastically. "But
you're doing too much for us entirely."
"You were kind to her, Teddy; and I cannot do too much for you,"
said Mrs. Legrange, lowering her veil.
"TIME they was here, ain't it, miss?" asked Mehitable Ross, wiping
the flour from her bare arms, and coming out upon the step of the
"Yes," said Dora: "I expect them every moment. Is tea all ready?"
"All but the short-cakes. I hain't put them down to bake yet,
because they're best when they're first done. But the cold meat is
sliced, and the strawberries dished, and the johnny-cake a-baking."
"Well, keep them all as nice as you can; and I will walk out a
little, and meet the wagon."
"Take Argus along, you'd better, case you should meet one of them
tiger-cats Silas told on."
Dora smiled, but called, "Argus!" and at the word a great hound came
leaping from one of the out-buildings, and fawned upon his young
mistress; then, with stately step and uplifted head, followed her
along the faint track worn by the wheels of the ox-cart in the
short, sweet grass of the prairie.
The young girl walked slowly, and, at the distance of some rods from
the house, stopped, and, leaning against the stem of a great
chestnut-tree, stood looking earnestly down the path as it wound
into the forest, and out of sight. Then her eyes turned slowly back,
and lingered with a strange and solemn joy upon the scene she had
just left; while from her full heart came one whispered word that
told the whole story of her emotion,--
For this was Outpost, Dora's inheritance from her friend and father,
Col. Blank; and she felt to-night, as she waited to welcome home the
family whose head she had become, that her duties and
responsibilities were indeed solemn and onerous. Not too much so,
however, for the courage and strength the young girl felt within her
soul,--the energy and will so long without an adequate field of
"Plenty to do, and, thank God, plenty of health and strength to do
it. Experience will come of itself," thought Dora; and from her
throbbing heart went up a "song without words," of joy and praise
and high resolve.
It was June now; but the house at Outpost had only been ready for
occupancy a week or so. The family had left Massachusetts about the
first of October in the previous autumn, and had spent the winter in
Cincinnati; Dora having been reluctantly convinced of the folly of
proceeding to Iowa at that season. With the opening of spring,
however, she had made a journey thither, escorted by Charles
Windsor, and accompanied by Seth and Mehitable Ross,--a sturdy
New-England couple, who were very glad, in emigrating to the West,
to avail themselves of the offers made by Dora, who engaged the man
as principal workman upon the new farm, and his wife as assistant in
the labors of the house.
The site selected by Col. Blank proved a very satisfactory one. But
Dora rejected his plans of a house, submitted to her by Mr. Ferrars,
as too expensive, and too elaborate for the style of living she
proposed; and chose, instead, a simple log-cabin, divided into four
rooms, with another at a little distance for the accommodation of
Ross and his wife, who were also to keep whatever additional workmen
should be required upon the place.
These buildings, neatly and substantially formed of logs from the
neighboring wood, were placed at the top of a natural lawn half
enclosed by primeval forest; while at its foot nearly a quarter of a
mile away, wound the blue waters of the Des Moines; and beyond it,
swept to the horizon, mile after mile of prairie, limitless,
apparently, as ocean, and, like ocean, solemnly beautiful in its
loneliness and calm.
The house faced south; and eastward from its door, across the lawn
and into the rustling wood, wound the faint wheel-track, leading
back to civilization, ease, and safety: but Dora, standing beneath
the chestnut-tree, fixed her dreamy eyes upon the setting sun, and,
half smiling at her own fancy, thought,--
"I wonder if God doesn't make the western sky so beautiful just to
draw us toward it. There is so much to do here, and so few to do
A distant noise in the forest attracted her attention; and Argus,
who had been dreaming at the feet of his mistress, started up with a
"Hush, Argus! It's the wagon; don't you know?" explained Dora, as
she hastened down the path, and, at the distance of a few hundred
rods, caught sight of the black heads of Pope and Pagan, and, the
next moment, of the wagon and its occupants.
These were Karl, Kitty, and Sunshine, the two last of whom had
remained all the spring in Cincinnati, while Karl and Dora had
vibrated between that city and Outpost; for Dora, while choosing to
superintend the building of her house and opening of the farm
operations in person, had not wished to expose her cousin or the
delicate child to such discomforts as she cheerfully and even gayly
bore for herself.
Kitty, moreover, had found the change from her native seclusion to a
gay city very pleasant; and had made so many acquaintances in
Cincinnati, that she declared it was a great deal worse than leaving
home to abandon them all.
"Oho! here's the general come to meet us! Whoa, Pope! don't you see
your mistress? Now, then!" shouted Karl; while Kitty cried,--
"O Dora! I'm so glad to see you alive!" And little Sunshine, jumping
up and down in the front of the wagon, exclaimed,--
"Dora's come! Dora's come! Karlo said we'd come to Dora by and by!"
"O you little darling! if Dora isn't glad to see you again! Kitty,
how do you do? I'm so glad to see you!"
She had jumped into the wagon as she spoke; and, after giving Kitty
a hearty kiss and hug, she took Sunshine in her arms, and buried her
face in the child's sunny curls.
"Am I your own little girl, Dora? and do you love me same as you
always did?" asked Sunshine anxiously. "Kitty said you'd so much to
think about now, that maybe you wouldn't care for us."
"Oh! Kitty never meant that, dear," said Dora quickly; and Kitty,
with rather a forced laugh, added,--
"Of course I didn't. It was only a joke, Molly. You talked so much
about Dora, I wanted to plague you a little."
The child looked earnestly at her for a moment; and then, putting
her arms about Dora's neck, hid her face upon her bosom, murmuring,--
"I'm glad I've got Dora again!"
"Well, now everybody else is attended to, hasn't the general a word
for his humble orderly?" asked Karl, turning to smile over his
shoulder at the group behind.
"Why, you jealous old Karl! you know you've only been away two
weeks, and the girls I have not seen for almost as many months:
besides, I told you not to call me general, and yourself orderly."
"Oh! that reminds me of a new name for pet. You know she persists in
calling me Karlo; so I have given her the title of Dolce: and the
two of us together are going some day to paint pictures far fairer
than those of our great original."
"Carlo Dolce? Yes: Mr. Brown told me about him once, and said his
name only meant sweet Charley," said Dora simply.
"I wonder, then, that you should have left it for Sunshine to
discover how appropriate the name is to me," said Karl with mock
"I'll call you sweet Charley if you like; only it must be at all
times, and before all persons," said Dora roguishly.
"No, I thank you," replied her cousin, laughing. "Fancy Parson
Brown's face if he should hear such a title, or Seth's astonishment
if you told him to call sweet Charley to dinner! But isn't Dolce a
pretty name? Let us really adopt it for her."
"Well, if she likes; but I shall call her Sunshine still sometimes."
"What say, pet? will you have Dolce for a name?" asked Karl, turning
to pinch the little ear peeping from Sunshine's curls.
"I don't know; would you, Dora?" asked the child, gravely
"Yes: I think it is pretty."
"And Kitty sha'n't call me Molly any more; shall she?"
"Don't you like Molly?"
"No: because that man in Cincinnati asked me if my last name was
Coddle; and it ain't."
"Oh, dear! what an odd little thing she is!" exclaimed Kitty. "It
was Mr. Thomson, Dora; and he is so witty, you know! And one day he
asked the child if her name wasn't Miss Molly Coddle, just for a
joke, you see; and we all laughed: but she ran away; and, when I
went to my room, there she was crying, and wouldn't come down again
for ever so long. She's a regular little fuss-bunch about such
"Very strange, when you and I are so fond of being ridiculed and
laughed at!" remarked Karl gravely; and Sunshine whispered,--
"Am I a fuss-bunch, Dora?"
Dora did not answer, except by a little pat upon the child's rosy
cheek, as she exclaimed,--
"Here we are! Look, Kitty! that is home; and we must bid each other
welcome, since there is no one to do it for us both except
Mehitable, and I don't believe she will think of it."
"Well, I must say, Dora, you've got things to going a great deal
better than I should expect," said Kitty graciously, as she looked
about her. "Why, that sweetbrier beside the door, and the white rose
the other side, are just like ours at home; and the woodbine growing
up the corner too!"
"They came from the old home, every one of them," said Dora, smiling
happily. "I wrote in the spring, and asked Mr. Burroughs to be so
kind as to ask whoever lives in the house to take up a little root
of each of the roses, and send them to me by express. You know he
said, when we left, that we should have any thing we liked from the
place, then or afterwards. So he wrote such a pleasant note, and
said he had sold the house to a cousin of his, a Mr. Legrange, who
had made a present of it to his wife; but I could have the slips all
the same: and next day, to be sure, they came, all nicely packed in
matting, and some other plants with them. Karl brought them out and
set them in April; and they are growing beautifully, you see. Wasn't
Mr. Burroughs good?"
Kitty did not answer. She was bending low over the sweetbrier, and
inhaling the fragrance of its leaves. Karl and Sunshine had driven
to the barn, and the girls remained alone. Dora glanced sharply at
her cousin once, and then was turning away, when Kitty detained her,
and said in a low voice,--
"My mother planted that sweetbrier, and used to call it her
Marnie-bush, after me."
"I know it," said Dora softly.
"And that was the reason you brought it here. And I have been cross
to you so much! But I did love her so, Dora! oh, you don't know how
much I loved my mother! That is the reason I never will let any one
call me Marnie now. It was the name she always called me, though
Kitty belongs to me too; but she said it so softly! And to think you
should bring the Marnie-bush all the way from Massachusetts!"
"I thought you would like it, dear," said Dora absently; while her
eyes grew dim and vague, and around her mouth settled the white,
hard line, that, in her reticent nature, showed an emotion no less
intense because it was suppressed.
Then her arm stole round Kitty's waist, and she whispered in her
"We two motherless girls ought to feel for each other, and love each
other better than those who never knew what it is; shouldn't we,
"We should that, Dora," returned her cousin with emphasis; "and I
don't believe I shall forget again right away. Let us begin from
now, and see how good we can be to each other."
Dora's kisses, except for Sunshine, were almost as rare as her
tears; but she gave one now to Kitty, who accepted it as sufficient
answer to her proposition.
At this moment, Mehitable, who had, at the appearance of the wagon,
rushed home to give a finishing touch to her toilet, was seen
crossing the little interval between the two houses with an
elaborate air of unconsciousness of observation, and carrying a
large white handkerchief by its exact centre.
"My!-how fine we look!" whispered Kitty.
"This is my cousin, Miss Windsor, Mehitable," said Dora simply. "I
believe you didn't see her in Cincinnati?"
"No: she was away when we was there.-Happy to make your
acquaintance, Miss Windsor. How do you like out here?"
"Well, I don't know yet. I never tried keeping house in a log-cabin.
You'll have to show me how, I expect," said Kitty rather loftily.
"Lor! I guess you know as much as I do about it. I never see a
log-cabin in my life till we come out here. My father had a
fust-rate house, cla'borded and shingled, and all, down in Maine;
and we alluz had a plenty to do with of every sort: so I hain't no
experience at all in this sort of way."
"But you have a way of getting on without it that is almost as good.
I don't know what I should have done without Mehitable, Kitty; and I
dare say she will help you very much by telling all the ingenious
ways she has contrived to make our rude accommodations answer. You
know, as we are all beginning together, each must help on the other;
and we must all keep up our courage, and try to be contented."
"Well, I must say I never see one that kep' up her own courage, and
everybody else's, like her, since I was born into the world," said
Mehitable, turning confidentially to Kitty. "Talk of my helping her!
Lor! if it hadn't been for her, I never would have stopped here over
night, in the world. Why, the first night, I didn't do nothing but
roar the whole night long. Mr. Ross he said I'd raise the river if I
didn't stop: but in the morning down come Miss Dora, looking so
bright and sunshiny, that I couldn't somehow open my head to say I
wouldn't stop; and then she begun to talk"--
"Mehitable, the short-cake is done. Will you speak to Mr. Windsor?"
called Dora from within; and Kitty entered, saying,--
"How nice the tea-table looks!-just like home, Dora; the old India
china and all."
"It is home, Kit-cat. Here is Karl, and here is little Sunshine.
Come, friends, and let us sit down to our first meal in the new
house," said Dora: and Kitty, subduing a little feeling of fallen
dignity, seated herself at the side of the table; leaving the head
for Dora, who colored a little, but took it quietly.
LIFE AT OUTPOST.
AND now began for each member of the family at Outpost a new and
Kitty, who, young as she was, had already achieved reputation as a
notable housekeeper, found quite enough to attend to in domestic
matters, and, with Mehitable's help and counsel, soon had all the
interests and nearly all the comforts of New-England farm-life
established in her Western home. Even the marigolds her mother had
always raised as a flavoring to broths; and the catnip, motherwort,
peppermint, and tansy, grown and dried as sovereign remedies in case
of illness; and the parsley, sage, and marjoram, to be used in
various branches of cookery,--flourished in their garden-bed under
Kitty's fostering care; while poor Silas Ross was fairly worried, in
spite of himself, into digging and roofing an ice-cellar in the
intervals of his more important duties.
"Now we'll see, another summer, if we can't have some butter that's
like butter, and not like soft-soap," remarked Kitty complacently,
when the unhappy Silas announced his task complete.
"And now I hope I can sleep in my bed o' nights without hearing
'Ice-house, ice-house!' till I'm sick o' the sound of ice," muttered
Silas, walking away.
It is not to be averred, however, that all this thrift was
established without much commotion or many stormy scenes; and, not
unfrequently, Mehitable Ross announced to her husband that "she
wouldn't stan' it nohow, to be nosed round this way by a gal not so
old as herself!" And Kitty "declared to gracious" that she "never
saw such a topping piece as that Hitty Ross since she was born;"
and, if "folks undertook to work for other folks, they ought to be
willing to do the way they were told;" and she'd "rather do the
whole alone than keep round after that contrary creature, seeing
that she didn't get the upper-hands as soon as her back was turned!"
But Dora, without appearing to listen or to look, heard all and saw
all. Dora, cheerful, energetic, and calm, knew how to heal, without
appearing to notice the wound; had a faculty, all her own, of
leading the mind, vexed with a thousand trifles, to the
contemplation of some aim so grand, some thought so high, some love
or beauty so serene, that it turned back to daily life calm and
refreshed, and strengthened to do or to endure, with new courage.
"Somehow I felt ashamed of jawing so about that wash, when Dora came
in, and put her hands into the tub, and, while she was rubbing away,
began to tell what a crop of corn we're going to have; and how the
folks down South, the freedmen and all, might have plenty to eat, if
every one did as well as we're doing," said Mehitable to her
"Yes," replied Seth: "she stood by me there in the sun as much as an
hour, and told the cutest story you ever heard about the Injins
believing that corn is a live creter, and appeared once, in the
shape of a young man named Odahmin, to one of the Injin chiefs
called Hiawatha; and they had a wrastle. Hiawatha beat, and killed
the other feller, and buried him up in the ground; but he hadn't
more 'n got him under 'fore up he come agin, or ruther some
Injin-corn come up: but they called the green leaves his clothes;
and the tossel atop, his plume; and the sprouts was his hands, each
holding an ear of corn, that he give to Hiawatha, just as a feller
that's whipped gives another his hat, you know."
"Do the Injins believe all that now?" asked Mehitable
"They do so. But, I tell you, I never knew how those two rows got
hoed while she was talking: they seemed to slip right along somehow;
and, after she was gone, the time seemed dreadful short till
sundown, I was thinking so busy of what she said."
"Guess you'd been cross 'cause that cultivator didn't come; hadn't
you?" asked Mehitable slyly.
"Yes: I felt real mad all the morning about it, and was pretty
grumpy to Windsor; for I thought he might as well have sent a week
ago. But, by George! I'd like to see the feller that 'ud be grumpy
"Well, Dora," Kitty was saying at the same moment, "I'm glad you've
got home; for the first thing isn't ready for supper, and I've just
done ironing. That Hit went off home an hour ago; said her head
ached, and she'd got to get the men's supper. I do declare, I'd like
to shake that woman till her teeth rattled; and I believe I'll do it
"How beautifully the clothes look, Kitty! I think they bleach even
whiter here than they used to in the old drying yard. But I am sorry
you ironed that white waist of mine: I was going to do it myself.
Now, Sunshine, come and tell Aunt Kitty about the woodchuck and her
baby that we saw; and how we caught little chucky, as you called
him; and all the rest."
"Dear me! I can't stop. Well, come and sit in my lap, Dolly, and
tell if you want to. Dora, do sit and rest a minute: you look all
"Oh, no! but Karl is, I am afraid. He walked away out behind the
wheat-lot this afternoon to see to setting some traps for the poor
little things that come to eat it. I never saw such a boy when there
is any thing to be done. He goes right at it, no matter what lies
"You're right there, Dora; and he always was so from a child. Well,
Dolly, what's the story?"
"Don't call me Dolly, please," said the little girl coaxingly.
"Well, Dolce, then," said Kitty, smiling with renewed good-nature.
And while Sunshine, all unconsciously, completed by her prattle the
cure that Dora had begun, the latter quietly and rapidly finished
the preparations for tea.
As for Sunshine, never did a child so well deserve her name. In the
house or on the prairie, running with Argus, walking demurely beside
Karl, or riding behind Dora upon the stout little pony reserved for
the use of the young mistress of the place, it was always as a gleam
of veritable sunshine that she came; and no heart so dark, or temper
so gloomy, as to resist her sweet influence. Constant exercise and
fresh air, proper food, and the rigid sanitary laws established by
Dora, had brought to the child's cheek a richer bloom than it had
ever known before; while her blue eyes seemed two sparkling
fountains of joy, and a vivid life danced and glittered even among
her sunny curls. Lithe and straight, and strong of limb too, grew
our slender little Cerito; and, although every motion was still one
of grace, it was now the assured grace of strength, instead of that
of fragility. She danced too, but it was with the west wind, who,
rough companion that he was, whirled her round and round in his
strong arms, or tossed her hair in a bright cloud across her face;
while he snatched her hat, and sent it spinning into the prairie; or
kissed the laugh from her lips, and carried it away to the wild
woods to mock at the singing-birds. Argus too-what friends he and
the child, who at first had been afraid of him, became before the
summer was through! What talks they held! How merrily they laughed
together! and how serenely Argus listened while Sunshine told him
long histories of imaginary wanderings among the clouds, in
enchanted forests, or "away beyond the blue up in the sky"!
Confidences these; for, as the narrator whispered,--
"Dora doesn't like dream-stories, and Kitty says, 'Oh, nonsense!'
and Karlo laughs: so you mustn't tell a word, old Argus." And Argus,
wagging his tail, and blinking his bright brown eyes, promised never
to tell, and faithfully kept the promise.
Perhaps it was a vague sense of loneliness in these fancies; perhaps
it was the lingering longing for something she had lost even from
her memory, and yet not wholly from her heart, where, as we all
know, linger loves for which we no longer have a name or a thought;
perhaps it was only the dim reflex of that agony consuming her
mother's heart, and the earnestness with which it longed for her:
but something there was, that, at intervals, cast a sudden shadow
over Sunshine's heart; something that made her pale and still, and
deepened the dimples at the corners of her mouth, until each might
have held a tear. At these times, she would always steal away by
herself if possible; sometimes, and especially if the stars were
out, to sit with folded hands, gazing at the sky; sometimes to lie
upon her little bed, her eyes fixed on vacancy, until the bright
tears gathered, and rolled slowly down her cheeks: but, oftenest of
all, she would call Argus, and, with one hand upon his glossy head,
wander away to the dim forest, and seated at the foot of one of
those patriarchal trees, the hound lying close beside her, would
talk to him as she never talked to human ears.
Once, Karl, returning from an expedition to a distant part of the
farm, saw her thus, and half in fun, half in curiosity, crept up
behind the great oak at whose foot she sat, and listened.
"And up there in heaven, Argus," she was saying, "it's all so
beautiful! and no one ever speaks loud or cross; and every one has
shining white clothes, and flowers on their heads; and some one is
there-I don't know-I guess it's an angel; but she's got soft hands,
and such pretty shiny hair, and eyes all full of loving me. I dream
about her sometimes; but I don't know who she is: and you mustn't
tell, Argus. Sometimes I want to die, so as to go to heaven and look
for her. Argus, do you want to go to heaven?"
The brown eyes said that Argus wished whatever she did; and Sunshine
"Well, some day we'll go. I don't know just how; I don't believe
we'd find the way if we went now: but some day I shall know, and
then I'll tell you. Sometimes I feel so lonesome, Argus! oh, so
dreadful homesick! but I don't now. You're a real little comforter,
Argus. That's what Dora called me the other night when Kitty was
cross: and Dora cried a little when she came to bed, and didn't know
I was awake; and I kissed her just so, Argus, and so."
In the game of romps and kisses that ensued, Karl stole away, and,
after repeating the child's prattle to Dora, said thoughtfully,--
"There's something strange about her, Dora; something different from
any of us. She seems so finely and delicately made, and as if one
rude jar might destroy the whole tone of her life. If ever a
creature was formed of peculiar, instead of common clay, it is
"Yes, and she must be shielded accordingly," said Dora. But, as she
walked on beside Karl, she vaguely wondered if there were not
natures as finely strung and as sensitive to suffering as
Sunshine's, but united with so reticent an exterior, and such
outward strength, as never to gain the sympathy or appreciation so
freely bestowed upon the exquisite child.
Such introspection, however, was no part of Dora's healthy
temperament; and the next moment she had plunged into a talk upon
farm-matters with her cousin, and displayed such shrewdness and
clear-sighted wisdom upon the subject, that Capt. Karl laughingly
exclaimed, as they entered the house,--
"O general! why weren't you born a man?"
KITTY IN THE WOODS.
LEFT to his own guidance, Capt. Karl would have asked no better life
than to follow Dora about the farm, or fulfil for her such duties as
she could not conveniently perform for herself. Nor was he ever
troubled, as a man of less sweet and genial temper might have been,
by fears, lest, in thus attending upon his cousin's pleasure, he
sacrificed somewhat of manly dignity and the awful supremacy of the
sterner sex. "Dora knows" had become to Karl a sufficient
explanation of every thing, either in the character or the
administration of the girl-farmer, however mysterious it might seem
to others; and to defer to Dora's judgment and wishes was perhaps
pleasanter and safer in the eyes of the young man than to attempt to
consult his own.
But, pleasant though this life might be to both, it came by no means
within the scope of Dora's plans; and, so soon as the family were
thoroughly settled at Outpost, Karl found himself urged by
irresistible pressure to the pursuance of his medical studies.
Five miles from Outpost, in the youthful town of Greenfield, was
already established a respectable physician of the old school, who,
troubled with certain qualms and doubts as to the ability of the
system he had practised so many years to bear the scrutiny of the
new lights thrown upon it by the progress of science, was very glad
to secure the services, and even advice, of a young man educated in
the best medical schools of the Eastern States; and not only
consented to take Karl into his office as student until the nominal
term of his studies should have expired, but offered him a
partnership in his practice so soon as he should receive his
The arrangement was accordingly made; and every morning after
breakfast, Karl, often with a rueful face, often with an audible
protest, mounted his horse, and rode to Greenfield, leaving the
household at Outpost to a long day of various occupations until his
return at night.
Sometimes Dora, upon Max, her little Indian pony, would accompany
him a few miles, or as far as his road led toward the scene of her
own labors; but no Spartan dame or Roman matron could more sternly
have resisted the young man's frequent entreaties to be allowed to
accompany her farther than the point at which their roads diverged.
"No, sir! You to your work, and I to mine. Suppose I were to neglect
the farm, and come to sit in Dr. Gershom's office all day," argued
the fair young moralist, but found herself rather disconcerted by
her pupil's gleeful laugh, as he replied,--
"Good, good! Try it once, do; and let me see if it would be so very
bad. I think I could forgive you."
"Suppose, then, instead of arguing any more with you, I jump Max
over this brook, and leave you where you are?" said Dora, a little
vexed; and, suiting the action to the word, she was off before her
cousin could remonstrate.
In the evening of the day when this little scene occurred, Karl,
upon his return home, found Dora seated with Sunshine upon the grass
under the great chestnut-tree.
"A letter for you, you horrid tyrant!" said he, taking one from his
pocket, and tossing it into her lap.
"She isn't; and you are a naughty old Karlo to say such names!"
cried Sunshine, flashing her blue eyes indignantly upon the laughing
face of the young man.
"Such names as what, Dolce?" asked he, jumping from his horse, and
trying to catch the child, who evaded his grasp, and replied with
"It isn't any consequence, Karlo. She isn't it, and you know she
"But it is of consequence; for I don't know what it is she isn't.
Please tell me, mousey; won't you?"
"She isn't a tireout, you know she isn't, then. You sha'n't laugh!
Dora, shall Karlo laugh at me? shall he?"
"No, dear, he won't; but you mustn't be a cross little girl if he
does. Now run to the house, and tell Aunt Kitty that Karlo has come
home, and see if tea is ready."
The child put up her lips for a kiss, bestowed a glance of dignified
severity upon the offender, and walked towards the house with
measured steps for a little distance; then, with the frolicsome
caprice of a kitten, made a little caper in the air, and danced on,
singing, in her clear, sweet voice,--"Dear, dear, what can the
matter be? Karlo can't stay from here!"
"Funny child!" exclaimed the object of the stave. "A true little
woman, with her loves and spites. Who is the letter from, Dolo?"
"Mr. Brown," said Dora, slowly folding it, and rising from her seat
under the tree to return to the house.
"Aha! Seems to me the parson is not so attentive as he used to be.
Have you and he fallen out?"
"No, indeed! we are the best of friends; and, in proof of it, this
letter is to say he is coming to make a little visit at Outpost, if
convenient to us."
"And is it convenient?" asked Karl somewhat curtly.
"Certainly; or, at least, we can make it so. Either you can take him
into your room, or Kitty can give him hers, and come into mine."
Karl said nothing; but, as they walked toward the house, his face
remained unusually serious, and he seemed to be thinking deeply.
Dora glanced at him once or twice, and at last asked abruptly,--
"Don't you want Mr. Brown to come, Karl?"
"Certainly, certainly, if you do. It is your own house, and you have
a right to your own guests," replied the young man coldly.
Dora colored indignantly.
"For shame, Karl! Did I ever say a thing like that to you in the old
house? and would you have been pleased if I had?"
"No, Dolo; and no again. But you never were a selfish fool, like me.
Yes, I am glad Mr. Brown is coming; and I think I will stay at
Greenfield while he is here. Then he can have my room."
"No, no: that won't do at all. He comes to see us all; and, of
course, we can manage a room without turning you out. Kitty can come
"Dora, what is the day of the month?"
"The 17th, I believe."
"Yes, the 17th of August; and seven days more will bring the 24th of
"Of course. Do you suppose he will be here by that time?" asked Dora
Karl looked at her in a sort of comic despair.
"Dora, if you were not the most utterly truthful of girls, you would
be the most cruel of coquettes."
Dora's eyes rose swiftly to his face, read it for a moment, and then
fell; while a sudden color dyed her own.
"You remember the date now?" asked Karl, almost mockingly. "See
here!" and, taking from his pocket the memorandum-book of a year
before, he opened it to a page bearing only the words,--
"Dora. Wednesday, Aug. 24."
"O Karl! I thought"--
"Stop, general! It is I who must be officer of the day on this
occasion; and I forbid one word. I only wished to let you see that I
have not forgotten. And so Mr. Brown is coming to see us?"
Again Dora glanced in perplexity at her cousin's face, but, this
time, said not a word. Indeed, if she had wished, there was hardly
time; for Kitty, appearing at the door, called,--
"Come, folks, come! Supper is ready and cooling."
"Coming, Kit-kat; and so is somebody else!" cried Karl.
"Somebody? Christmas is coming, I suppose; but not just yet. Did you
hear that over at Greenfield?" replied Kitty, resting her hands on
her brother's shoulders, and graciously receiving his kiss of
"It's not Christmas, but Parson Brown, who is coming; and I brought
the news from Greenfield, although I did not know it until I arrived
here," said Karl.
"Oh, a letter to Dora!" exclaimed Kitty quickly; and over her face,
a moment before so bright, fell a scowling cloud, as she turned
away, and busied herself with putting tea upon the table.
The meal was rather a silent one. Kitty was decidedly sulky, Dora
thoughtful, and Karl a little bitter in his forced gayety; so that
Sunshine, sensitive as a mimosa, ate but little, and, creeping close
to Dora's side as they rose from the table, whispered,--
"What's the reason it isn't happier, Dora?"
"Aren't you happy, pet? Come and help me wash the teacups, and tell
me how the kitties do to-day. Have you given them their milk?"
"I suppose you can do up these dishes without me. I got tea all
alone; and I'd like to take my turn at a walk, or something
pleasant, now," said Kitty crossly.
"Yes, do, Kitty. Dolce and I will do all that is to be done. It
isn't much, because you always clear up as you go along," said Dora.
"There's no need of leaving every thing round, the way some folks
do. Dolly, I do wish you'd set up your chair when you've done with
it; and here's a mess of stuff"--
"Oh, don't throw it away, Kitty! It's my moss; and I'm going to make
the pussies a house of stones, and have it grow all over moss. Dora
said I might--Oh, oh! you're real naughty and ugly now, Kitty
Windsor; and I sha'n't love you, and Argus shall bite you"--
But Kitty, with a contemptuous laugh, was already walking away,
taking especial pains to tread upon the bits of bright moss as they
lay scattered along the path.
"Dora, see! I do hate-no, I dislike-Kitty, just as hard as I can;
and I can't get any more pretty moss"--
The child was crying passionately; and Dora left every thing to take
her in her arms, and soothe and quiet her.
"Aunt Kitty is very neat and nice, little Sunshine; and the moss has
earth clinging to it that might drop on the floor; and, besides, it
takes up room, and we have so little,--hardly more than a mouse has
in its nest. Oh! I never told you how I found a whole nest of mice
in one of my slippers once,--six little tiny fellows, no bigger than
your thumb; and every one with two little black, beady eyes, and a
funny little tail."
"When was it? When you was a little teenty girl, like me? And was
you afraid of the big mouse? What did you do with them?"
"Come, wipe the teaspoons, and I will tell you," said Dora, going
back to her work; and, the April cloud having passed, the Sunshine
was as bright as ever.
Karl, behind his newspaper, heard, saw, and understood the whole;
and his mental comment might have seemed to some hearers but little
connected with the scene that called it forth. It was simply,--
"Confound old Brown!"
Kitty, meantime, had walked rapidly towards the wood; but though the
sunset-clouds were gorgeous, the lights and shadows of the forest
rare and shifting, and the birds jubilant in their evening song, she
saw nothing, heard nothing, knew nothing, except the tumult in her
For, in the recesses of the wood, she paused, and throwing herself
upon the ground, her face hidden upon her arms, gave way to a
paroxysm of tears. Then, rising to her feet as suddenly, she paced
up and down, her hands clinched before her, her black brows knit,
and her mouth hard and sullen.
"I can't help it," muttered she: "it's the way I was made, and the
way I shall die, I expect. I know I'm mean and hateful, and not half
as good as she; but--Oh! it's too bad, too bad!-it's cruel, and I
can't bear it! Mother loved me,--yes, she loved me best of every
thing; and that hateful Pic killed her: whose fault was that but
Dora's? Then Charlie-what does he care for me beside her? and, and--
Well, perhaps Mr. Brown never would have noticed me at any rate;
but, while she's round, he has no eyes for any one else. Even the
child, and the cats, and the dog, and the horses, every living
thing, loves her better than me; and now he's coming to court her
right before my eyes! I wish I was dead! I wish I'd never been born!
I'm not fit to live!"
She then threw herself again upon the ground, pressing her burning
forehead against the cool moss, and grasping handfuls of the leaves
rustling about her, while she wailed again and again,--
"I'm not fit to live,--not fit to live! Oh, I wish I was dead this
minute! O God! if you love me any better than the rest, let me die,
let me die this minute; for I am not fit to live."
"Then you cannot be fit to die, my child," said a voice above her;
and, starting up, Kitty found herself confronted by a tall,
fine-looking man, of about thirty years of age; his handsome face
just now wearing an expression of sorrowful sternness as he fixed
his eyes upon Kitty's, which fell before them.
"Mr. Brown!" stammered she.
"Yes, Kitty: my journey has been more rapid than I could have
expected; and I arrived at Greenfield about an hour ago. Finding you
so near, I took a horse, and came out here to-night. You did not
hear me approach; and, when I saw you through the trees, I
dismounted, and came to ask you what was the matter. I heard only
your last words, and perhaps I should not have noticed them; yet, as
a friend of you and yours, I will say again, Kitty, he who is not
fit to live should feel himself most unfit to die, which is but to
live with all the passions that made life unendurable made ours
"Do you think so? If I should die now, should I feel just as badly
when I came to in the other world?" asked Kitty with at startled
Mr. Brown smiled, as he answered,--
"I cannot think, Kitty, that your remorse or your sorrows can be as
deep as you fancy. Perhaps they are only trifling vexations
connected with outside matters, not rising from real wrong within.
But you won't want to hear a sermon before I even reach the house:
so come and show me the way there, and tell me how you all are."
"Dora is very well," said Kitty, so crisply, that Mr. Brown glanced
at her sharply, and walked on in silence. Presently he said,--
"You must not think, Kitty, that I mean to treat your troubles
lightly, whatever they may be. Think about them a little longer by
yourself; and in a day or two, if they still seem as unendurable,
perhaps it will relieve you to talk to me as plainly as you choose.
I shall be very glad to help you if I can, Kitty; very glad and
willing. You must look upon me as another brother."
"Or a cousin, maybe, sir?" suggested Kitty, turning away her head.
THE FOX UNDER THE ROBE.
DORA sitting upon the doorstep, with Sunshine nestled close beside
her, was quite astonished to see Mr. Brown appearing from the forest
with Kitty, as his letter had named no day for his arrival; and she
had not expected him so soon.
She went to meet him, however, with a greeting of unaffected
cordiality; and as, while holding out her hand, she raised to his
her clear and steadfast eyes, the young man's somewhat serious face
lighted with a sudden, happy glow, making it so handsome, that
Kitty, eagerly watching the meeting, turned white to the very lips,
and hastily passed on toward the house.
"Come, Dolce," said she, "I will put you to bed. Dora's lover has
come to see her, and she won't have a look for either of us
"I love you, Kitty; and I don't mind if you did throw away my moss.
I won't bring any more into the house."
But Sunshine, well disposed as, through Dora's careful suggestions,
she had become toward Kitty, was rather alarmed than pleased at the
sudden embrace in which she found herself wrapped, and the eager
kisses, among which Kitty whispered,--
"O Dolce! do you, do you love poor Kitty a little? You're an angel,
and I'm real sorry about the moss; but you can get some more, can't
you? I'll help you hunt for it to-morrow while they're gone to walk
or ride. They'll be off all day; but we won't mind. Do you love me,
"Yes, I do, Kitty; and I know a place where the moss is so thick,
you can't step unless you put your foot on it. But I didn't,
"'Cause what, you darling?"
"'Cause the little creatures that live in the woods come and dance
there nights, and they wouldn't like it if it was dirty."
"What creatures? The woodchucks?"
"Why, no, Aunt Kitty! the little girls and boys, or something. They
whisper way off among the trees, and dance too, just when the sun
sets. Didn't you ever see them skipping in and out among the trees
just as far off as you could look?"
"Those are shadows, Dolly; and the whispering in the trees is the
wind. You mustn't have so many fancies, child, or by and by you'll
"Then you can boil me in milk, just as you did the teacup," murmured
Sunshine, half asleep.
Kitty made no answer, but, smoothing the sheet over the little girl,
went to seat herself at the open window.
Far off upon the prairie she heard the night-winds come and go,--now
moaning like some vast spirit wandering disquieted, now falling soft
and low as the breath of the sleeping earth; and the vague voice and
the cool touch seemed to quiet the fever of the young girl's heart,
although she knew not how or why.
Above, in the purple skies, stood all the host of heaven, looking
down with solemn benediction upon the earth, lying peaceful and
loving beneath their gaze; and even Kitty-poor, lonely, heartsick
Kitty-lifted her hot, tearful face toward them, and felt the holy
calm descend upon her aching heart.
Falling upon her knees, she raised her arms yearningly toward
heaven; and her whole soul struggled upward in the cry,--
"Oh I wish I could, I wish I could, be good! O God! make me good
enough to die and go to where my mother is!"
A light step upon the stair, a gentle hand upon the latch, and
strange Kitty, perverse even among her best impulses, started up,
and stood cold and silent in the darkness.
"Kitty!" said Dora's voice softly.
"Well. I'm here."
"Won't you come down now? Sunshine is asleep; isn't she?"
"Well, won't you come?"
"By and by: I've got to see to the beds. Where is Mr. Brown going to
"I thought you might give him your room, and come in here."
"Indeed I sha'n't!" replied Kitty in a strange voice. "He is no
company of mine; and I don't want him even to look into my room. I'd
never sleep there again if he did once!"
"Well, then, we can make a bed for Karl on the floor, and Mr. Brown
can have his bed," said Dora quietly, seeing nothing deeper in
Kitty's refusal than a little impulse of perversity.
Kitty made no reply; and Dora, groping her way toward where she
stood, put an arm about her waist, saying,--
"Come, Kitty, come down with me. You're tired, I know; and it is too
bad you have so much to do. To-morrow I will stay at home and help
you. Karl can take a holiday, and show Mr. Brown over the farm."
"What nonsense! I don't do any thing to hurt; and it would be pretty
well for you to send Mr. Brown off with Karl, when he came here on
purpose to see you."
"Oh, no, he didn't! He came to see us all; and he asked where you
were just now, when we came in."
"And that was why you came to look for me; wasn't it?" asked Kitty
"Not wholly. I had been thinking of it for some minutes."
"But couldn't bear to leave long enough," suggested Kitty; adding,
however, "Well, I'll come. I suppose it is no more than polite, as
long as he's company."
"Of course it isn't; and you know Mr. Brown is very ceremonious,"
said Dora, so archly, that Kitty paused in smoothing her hair to
"Now, if you're going to make fun of me, Dora"--
"Oh, I'm not!-not a bit of it. There, now, you're nice enough for
In the kitchen, besides Mr. Brown and Karl, the girls found Mr. and
Mrs. Ross; Mehitable demurely seated in a corner, and knitting a
long woollen stocking; while Seth, under the skilful management of
Mr. Brown, was giving quite an interesting description of life in a
"Do you ever have any trouble from wild beasts in that region?"
asked the chaplain.
"Waal, some. There's lots of b'ar about by spells; and once't in a
while a painter or a wild-cat-wolverines, some calls 'em out here."
"Did you ever meet one yourself?"
"Which on 'em?"
"Either. Bears, for instance."
"Yes, sir. I've took b'ar ever since I wor old enough to set a
"Did you ever have any trouble with one?"
"Waal, I don' know as I did. They was mostly pooty 'commodatin',"
said Seth, drawing the back of his brown hand across his mouth to
hide a self-complacent grin at the recollection of his own exploits.
"Tell Mr. Brown 'bout the painter and Uncle 'Siah's Harnah,"
suggested Mehitable in a low voice; and as Seth only stirred in his
chair, and looked rather reprovingly at his wife, the guest added,--
"Yes, Mr. Ross, tell us that, by all means."
"Ho! 'twa'n't much of a story; only the woman thinks consid'able
about it, 'cause it wor a cousin of ourn that wor took off."
"Indeed! and what were the circumstances?" politely insisted Mr.
Brown. So Seth, tilting his chair upon its hind-legs, and crossing
his own, stuck his chin into the air; fixed his eyes upon the
ceiling, and began, in the inimitable nasal whining voice of a
Down-East Yankee, the story narrated in the following chapter.
THE PAINTER AND UNCLE 'SIAH'S HARNAH.
"WHEN father settled up nigh the head-waters of the Penobscot, folks
said we'd have to be mighty car'ful, or some o' the young ones would
tumble over the jumping-off-place, we'd got so nigh. But Uncle 'Siah
went right along, and took up land furder on, whar there wa'n't
nothing but hemlock-trees and chipmunks for company, and no passing
to keep the women-folks running to the winders. Thar was a good road
cut through the woods, and there was the river run within a
stone's-throw of both houses: so, one way and another, we got
back'ards and for'ards consid'able often, 'specially when the young
folks begun to grow up.
"Harnah wor Uncle 'Siah's second gal, and just as pooty as a picter.
She looked suthin' like Dolcy, Dora's little adopted darter, you
know: but she wor alluz a-larfin', and gitting off her jokes; and
had a sort of a wicked look by spells, enough to make a feller's
flesh creep on his bones."
"Lor', that's enough o' Harnah! She wa'n't so drefful different from
other folks. Git along to the story part on't," interrupted
Mehitable, clicking her knitting-needles energetically.
Seth looked at her a little indignantly for a moment, and then burst
into a loud laugh,--
"Lor'! I'd clear forgot how it used ter spite Hit to hear me praise
up Harnah. You see, sir, Mehitabul wor a sort o' cousin o' my
mother's, and so come to live long of us when her father died: but
she never cottoned to Harnah very strong when she see how well I
liked her; though, now she's got me for her own man, I'd think"--
"But the panther, Mr. Ross," interposed Dora, who saw, with womanly
sympathy, the flush of mortification upon Mehitable's face: "do tell
us about the panther."
"Yes: I b'lieve my idees was kind o' wandering from the pint; but
that's nothing strange, if you knowed what an out-an-outer that gal
was. Well, well, 'tain't no use a-crying over spilt milk, and
by-gones may as well be stay-gones.
"Sam Hedge, he was my uncle's hired man, and a plaguy smart feller
too; good-looking, merry as a grig, a live Yankee for faculty, and
pretty forehanded too, though he hadn't set up for himself then. I
more than suspicioned he'd ruther live with Uncle 'Siah, and see
Harnah from morning to night, than go off and take up land for
himself; or maybe he didn't feel as if he'd the peth to take right
hold of new land all alone. Anyway, there he wor, and there he
stuck, right squar in my way, do as much as I might to git him out
"Of course, you onderstand about being in my way means all along o'
Harnah. We was both sweet on her, and no mistake; though nary one on
us, nor, I believe, the gal herself, could ha' told which one she
"Waal, to skip over all the rest (though there's the stuff for half
a dozen stories in it), I'll come to one night when I'd been up to
Uncle 'Siah's, and Harnah and Sam had come down to the crick to see
me off; for I'd come in my boat. I felt kind o' savage; for Harnah
had been mighty pooty with me all that evening; and I knew Sam had
come down to the boat a purpose to go back to the house with her,
and, 'fore they was half-way, she'd come right round, and be just as
clever to him as she'd been before to me."
"If you knew your cousin to be such a terrible little flirt as that,
I shouldn't think you would have cared so much about her, Seth,"
suggested Karl, laughing.
"No more shouldn't I, cap'n," replied Seth ruefully. "But somehow I
couldn't help it. I'd think it over nights, and say to myself, 'You
darned fool! don't you see the gal's a-playing one of you off agin
t'other, and maybe don't care a pin for neither? Get shet of her
once for all, and be a man; can't ye?' And then I'd find I couldn't;
and so it went till we come to that night, and stood there on the
edge of the crick,--two on us ready to clinch and fight till one
cried enough, and t'other a-laughing at us both.
"So, all to once, Harnah says, says she,--
"'I do believe them harebells are blowed out by this time. Ain't
"'You and I'll go to-morrow and see, anyway,' says Sam, speaking up
quick, 'fore I got the chance.
"'I'm a-going to see; and, if Harnah'll come too, all the better,'
says I, as pleasant as a bear with a sore head.
"'Two's company, and three's a crowd; so you'd better stop to home,
Seth,' says Sam.
"'Two's company, that's Harnah and me; and three's a crowd, that's
you: so, ef you don't like crowding nor being crowded, you'd better
stop to home yourself,' says I.
"'I believe I spoke first, Seth Ross,' says Sam, pretty savage at
"'That don't make no difference, as I know on. Harnah was my cousin
long afore you was her father's hired man; and that puts me in mind
you hain't asked leave yet. Maybe the old man won't let you go. What
you going to do then?' asked I, dreadful kind of sneering; for I
"Sam he didn't say nothing; but he drew back, and doubled up his
fists. I caught the glint of his eye in the moonlight, and my
"'Come on,' says I; 'I'm ready for you; and we'll fight it out like
men. The feller that's licked shall give up once for all.'
"But 'fore Sam could speak, or I could hit out as I wanted ter,
Harnah come right in between us. I swow ef that gal didn't look
harnsome! Her eyes was wide open, and shining just like blue steel
in the moonlight. Her cheeks and lips was white; and seemed to me
the very curls of her hair shot out sparks, she was so mad.
"'You'd better stop while there's time,' says she, still and cold.
'If you strike one another, or if you ever fight, and I the cause, I
swear to God I never will speak a civil word to either one of you
again as long as I live. So now you know.
"'As for the harebells, you sha'n't neither one of you go for 'em.
Ef I want harebells, there's them that can get 'em for me, and not
make so much fuss about it neither.'
"She turned, and stepped off toward the house as if she'd got steel
springs in the soles of her feet.
"Sam and I eyed each other. It seemed as if Harnah felt that look;
for she turned all of a sudden, and come back.
"'Sam,' says she, p'inting up to the house, 'go home; and don't you
speak to me again to-night. Seth, get into your boat, and push her
off. You needn't come up to-morrow night.'
"We sort o' looked at one another and at her, and then meeched off
the way she told us, for all the world like two dogs that's got a
licking, and been sent home 'fore the hunt was done.
"I didn't sleep a great deal that night. Fact is, I was turning over
in my own mind what Harnah had said about them as would git
harebells for her, and not make so much fuss about it neither.
"'I swow,' says I, 'I'd like to clinch that feller, whoever he may
be, and not have Harnah nigh enough to interfere.' Then I rec'lected
a Cap'n Harris, a British officer, that come down from Canady the
summer before, hunting and fishing, and had stopped a week or more
at Uncle 'Siah's, mostly for the sake of seeing Harnah, as I thought
then, and do now. Ever since, when Harnah didn't know how else to
plague Sam and me, she'd set up to talk about 'real gentlemen,' and
'folks that knowed manners,' and all sech stuff. Then she'd pretend
she'd got a letter from Cap'n Harris, and that he was coming agin,
and all that. So now I got it in my head that Cap'n Harris was
coming, and that she meant he'd get the harebells.
"'But I'll bet he won't, without a fight, anyway,' says I, clinching
up my fist; and then I went to sleep quite comf'table.
"Now, there wa'n't but one place, as I knew of, where harebells was
to be found; and Harnah had showed me that place herself the summer
afore, and I had picked the flowers for her. So I made up my mind to
go next day and see if they was in blow; and, if they was, to get a
bunch anyway, and take the resk of giving 'em to Harnah arterwards.
"I couldn't git away in the morning nohow; for Hitty seemed to know
it was something about Harnah that was calling me, and contrived all
sorts of business to keep me to hum: but, after dinner, I jist took
my hat, and cleared out afore she knowed it, and, by the time she
missed me, was half a mile up the river.
"'Twas a pooty day as ever you see; and as I rowed along, listening
to the water running by the boat, and the wind rustling in the
trees, I began to feel real sort of good, and didn't care half so
much about Sam or the British cap'n as I did when I started. When I
come to the landing at Uncle 'Siah's, I never stopped, though I
looked with all my eyes for any signs of Harnah; but couldn't see no
one but Sam going out to the cornfield, with a hoe on his shoulder.
"'Good for you, Sam,' says I to myself. 'Hard work's dreadful
wholesome for love-sickness.' So I rowed along as merry as a
cricket, and pretty soon tied up my boat, and struck off into the
woods. It was consid'able of a walk; and I strolled along easy till
I came to the place whar the harebells growed, 'bout a mile and a
half from the river. This was a high clift, covered with brush and
trees on one side, and on the other falling sheer down to a little
deep valley, with another clift rising opposite. These clifts joined
each other at the two ends of the valley: so there was no getting
into it anyway but down the faces of 'em, and that was as much as a
man's neck was worth; but, fur's I know, no man had ever wanted to,
nor ever tried to, till that day.
"The harebells growed on the very edge of the fust clift, and a
little way down the face of it, and looked mighty pooty a-floating
in the wind. Harnah, who was kind of romantic, said they was the
plume in the old clift's hat; and she called the place the Lovers'
Rock, 'case, she said, the two clifts seemed taking hold of hands,
and jist going to kiss."
"That sounds like Harnah, anyway," muttered Mehitable
"Yes, it's more uv an idee than you'd 'a been likely to git off,
ain't it, Hit?" asked Seth with a malicious grin, and winking at the
But Mehitable preserving a prudent silence, and only showing her
feelings by an accelerated movement of her knitting-needles, her
husband elevated his eyes again to the ceiling, recrossed his legs,
"I scrambled up the back of the clift easy enough; and, sure enough,
there was the posies, all in blow, and tossing their heads at me as
if they knowed how pooty they was, and dared me not to say so.
Somehow they made me think of Harnah; and I spoke right out,--
"'Yes, I know you be; and I hain't never said you ain't as pooty a
cretur as walks the airth: but I wish you wan't so awful
"Then I laffed right out, to think I was talking to a lot of flowers
same as if they was a gal; and, when I done laffin', I went down on
my knees, and begun to pick 'em. But I hadn't more than got the
first fist-ful when I heerd a groan, a sort uv a faint holler groan,
that sounded as if it come right out uv the ground underneath me. I
dropped the flowers, and riz right up on eend. My ha'r riz too; for
I was scaart, I tell you. 'But,' thinks I, ''twon't do to run away
the fust lick:' so I held on, and pooty soon it come agin. This time
I listened sharp, and had my wits about me; so that, when it wor
through, I clim' right up to the top uv the ledge, and looked down
into the valley, hollerin'--
"'Who be you? Is any one thar?'
"A voice answered, faint and weak; but what it said, or whar it was,
I couldn't for the life of me tell.
"So I hollered agin,--
"'Whar be you, stranger? Holler as loud as you kin!'
"The voice answered back; and I heerd my own name, and, as I
thought, in a voice that turned me as sick and weak as a gal.
"It was Harnah's voice; and my first idee was that she wor dead, and
wor ha'nting me.
"'Harnah!' says I, soft and low, 'is it you?'
"There wa'n't no answer, but another groan, and along of it a
curious kind of noise, like a lot of cats all growling together. I
knowed that noise; and, afore it eended, I knowed whar it come from.
And, all to once, the hull story come to me: Harnah was down thar in
a painter's den; and the kittens was a-growling round her. The old
ones must be away, or one of 'em would 'a been out to see to me
"I hadn't the fust thing in the way of a we'pon with me; but there
was plenty of stones down in the hollow, and I cut a good
oak-sapling with my jack-knife. Then I sot myself to scramble down
the face of the clift; and, I tell you, I sweat before I got to the
bottom. Ef it hadn't been for Harnah, I couldn't 'a done it; but,
somehow or 'nother, I reached the bottom, and looked about me. Sure
enough, close to my feet was the mouth of a cave, running right in
under the ledge, though not more than three foot high. I knelt down
and peeked in, calling,--
"'Harnah, be you thar?'
"'Seth, is it you?' asked a voice very faint.
"'Yes, my dear, it is,' says I, 'and bound to get you out uv this
scrape about the quickest. What's a-keeping you in there?'
"'My leg is broke, and the horrid creature is lying on my feet!'
"I didn't wait for no more questions, but crawled inter the hole. A
dozen feet from the mouth, I come to a snarl of fur, and glary eyes,
and snapping teeth, and savage growls, that I finally made out to be
a couple of painter-kittens, not more'n a few days old, but savage
enough for a hundred. They was snuggled close up to something: what
it was I couldn't at fust make out in the darkness; but putty soon I
see that it was a full-grown painter, lying stretched out at length.
I started back, with all the blood in me pricking at my fingers'
ends with the scare I'd got; but Harnah's voice from beyond says,--
"Don't be frightened at the old panther. She's dead. They fought,
and one ran away; and this one is dead.'
"And is she a-lying on your feet, did you say? It's so dark in here,
I can't see the fust thing,' says I, feeling round for the critter's
head, and gitting my paws tore by the young ones, who, I must say
for 'em, was mighty handy with their claws for their age. So says
"'Well, fust thing, I'll get red o' these little devils; and then
I'll drag out the karkiss, and see to you, my poor gal.'
"So I clinched the fust one by the throat, and, when he hung like a
rag, pitched him out, and grappled t'other; but he was a case, I
tell you. Fight!--you'd ought ter have seen him!-and scratch and
bite, and spit and yowl, till the whole woods rung with his uproar.
I mastered him finally; but he'd done his work, and come nigh
beating me even arter he was dead, as ye shall hear.
"When the kittens was out of the way, I clinched the karkiss uv the
old painter, and dragged it to'rst the mouth uv the cave. It wor
hard work; and, when I'd got part way, I left it lying, and squeezed
by (for it most filled up the passage), and went to see how bad
Harnah might be hurt; for, when I spoke to her last, she hadn't made
no reply. Leaning over her, I felt round for her face, and had jist
touched her cold cheek, and called to her to know if she was alive,
when I heerd jist over my head the awfulest roar that ever come out
uv a creter's throat; and so loud, that it echoed through and
through the cave enough to deaf you. The minute I heerd it, I knew
what was tew pay, and give up for lost. It wor the man o' the house
come home in a hurry to see what them squalls uv the dying kittens
meant; and that's how I said they come nigh beating me even arter
they was dead.
"Now, mister, what would you say a man had ought to have done in
such a fix as that?-run, or stay? Mind ye, I hadn't the fust thing
in shape uv a we'pon, nor couldn't get hold even uv my stick, nor
the stones outside; and what could a feller do with his naked fists,
shet up in a hole with a wild-cat?"
"It was a trying situation; but I don't believe you ran away," said
Mr. Brown good-humoredly.
"Yer bet your life on that, stranger," replied Seth with emphasis.
"I hadn't no idee on't; though the only other chance seemed to be to
jump down the critter's throat, and choke him, so's ter spile his
stomach for Harnah.
"I looked to the mouth uv the cave, and thought, 'He won't get by
that karkiss very easy;' and then, all of a sudden, the strangest
idee you ever heerd come acrost me, and I jumped as though I'd been
shot. It wor to play off one of the critters agin the other, and
keep the old painter out uv his den with the karkiss of his mate.
"It wor a curus idee, now, worn't it; but they say a drownding
man'll clinch to a straw, and this wor worth the trying to a feller
in as tight a place as I. So I tumbled the old lady over as well as
I could, and got her wedged inter the narrerest part uv the road,
with her back rounded out, and her paws in, so's't I should have a
better chance for hanging on than the old feller outside 'ud have
for pulling. Then, with my jack-knife, I cut a slit in one of the
fore-legs and one of the hind, to put my hands inter; and then I
"'Twa'n't but a minute arter I got fixed 'fore he wor down upon me,
yelling and squalling enough ter make a man's blood run cold. They
call 'em Injin Devils down our way; and I guess there ain't no kind
uv devils make a wuss-soundin' noise. I jist shut my eyes, and lay
low; for when I knowed that furce, wild creter wor within two foot
uv me, and nothing ter keep him off but a karkiss that he'd claw ter
pieces in ten minutes, I kinder wondered how I'd been sich a plaguy
fool as to think uv the plan, and ter feel so pleased with it.
"And didn't yer never mind, sir, when you've been laying out for
some great pull, you feel as if you'd got fixed fustrate, and was
sure ter win, till the minute comes; and then, all ter once, your
gitting-ready seems no account somehow, and you feel downright
shamed uv what, a minute before, made you so chirk?"
"Yes, that is human nature, Seth; but it is well to remember that
cool precaution is worth more than excitement, after all," said Mr.
"Yes, sir, I suppose so now; but I didn't then. It only seemed to me
as ef I was a darned fool, though I couldn't hev said what I'd ought
to hev done different ef I'd been ever so wise. Well, the critter
come, and he stuck his head in, snuffing and smelling for a minute;
and then reached in one paw, jest as softly as you've seed a
pussy-cat feeling uv a ball uv yarn on the floor. Then he growled;
for either he'd smelt or he'd seed me a-peekin' over the old woman's
corpse at him. Hokey! didn't I wish I'd a good gun handy jis' then,
with sech a splendid chance to sight it! But I hadn't; and thar was
the critter, growling and tearing away at the karkiss like mad: fer
he'd pooty much made up his mind by this time what sort o' game lay
behind it, and he was bound to be at it. Any one would 'a thought
his nateral feelings would 'a stood in the way some, seein' as 'twor
his own wife he wor clapper-clawin' at sich a rate; but they didn't
seem to a bit: and, I tell you, he made the fur fly 'thout
con-sideration. The blood streamed down inter my face, and the smell
of that and the flesh choked me. My arms wor straightened clean out
with holding on; and sometimes I could jest see the green eyes o'
the painter, an' feel his hot breath, as he opened his jaws to hiss
and spit at me jis' like a big cat. I felt the eend uv all things
wor at hand; an', shettin' my eyes, I tried hard ter say a prayer,
or somethin' good an' fittin'. I couldn't think o' none, hows'ever:
so I jis' turned raound, and sez, 'Harnah! good-by, Harnah!' an'
felt most as if I'd prayed; though she, poor gal! wor clean swownded
away, and never heerd a word on't.
"Jes' then, when my thoughts wor so took up that I'd act'ally most
forgot where I wor, and jes' held on to the critter kind o'
mechanical-like, I heerd a shot, and then another. The painter heerd
'em too, an' more than heerd 'em, I reckon; for, with a growl an' a
roar that made me scringe, he let go the karkiss, an' backed hisself
out o' the hole 'thout never sayin good-by to me nor to the old
"Next minute I heerd another shot, and then another; and then sech
horrid groans and screams, mixed up with growls and hisses from the
painter, that I knew he wor hit hard, an' like to die; and, ef I
should say I wor sorry, it 'ud be a lie. Then I heerd feet climbing
and scrambling down the rocks; and next I heerd a v'ice calling,
kind o' frightened-like,--
"'Be you raound here, Harnah, or Seth?'
"'Yes, we be,' says I, waking up all uv a sudden; for I'd lay sort
o' stupid till then: but now I wor wide enough awake, and soon made
Sam understand where we was, and what was to be done. He didn't say
much, but worked away like a good feller, till he got out, fust the
mauled karkiss o' the painter, with the flesh all hanging from it in
strips; then me, covered with blood, and looking wuss than a dead
man, I expect; and finally Harnah, jes' coming to after her dead
"We must git her out o' this horrid den 'fore she knows whar she is,
or it'll skeer her to death,' says I, as soon as I could speak. 'But
how'll we do it?'
"'You look as if you b'longed here; so I reckon you'd better stop
behind, and I'll git Harnah out by myself,' says Sam, laffin' in a
kind o' hard way.
"I didn't say nothing; but I thought I wouldn't 'a took that time to
laff at a feller, nor yet to show a spite agin him, if I'd been Sam,
and he me.
"It's more nor I could do to justly tell you how we ever got that
gal up them rocks. I expect it wor more the hand o' God, so to
speak, than us that did it. Fust place, we tied our handkerchers
raound her waist, fer a hold; and then Sam went ahead, pulling her
after him, and I sort o' helped behind, and clim' along as well's I
could; and bimby we got up, and laid Harnah down to rest among the
harebells. When she got a little smarter, she told us how she
thought she'd come and git 'em fer herself, and then pertend some
one had given 'em to her, jest so's to plague us, and see what we'd
say. Then, whilst she was a-picking of 'em, she heerd a painter cry
right clost to her, and was so scared, she sot out to run, and, fust
she knew, was over the edge of the clift, and rolling down the face
on't. When she got to the bottom, her leg was broke, and she
couldn't stir; and up to the top o' the rocks she see the painter's
head, with his green eyeballs a-glaring down at her, and his ears
laid back, ready for a spring. What with the pain, and what with the
scare, I expect the poor gal fainted. Anyways, the next thing she
knowed was finding herself in the cave with the two painter-kittens
playing round her, and the old one lying close to, moving his tail
from side to side, and yawning till she could see all his white
teeth and great red throat. Ef she wor scart afore, she didn't feel
no better now, you'd better believe. But Harnah was a stout-hearted
gal, with all her delicate ways; and she never stirred, no made a
sound, only lay still, and fixed her eyes as stiddy as she could on
those uv the great brute beside her. Pooty soon she see that he wor
a-looking at her; and pooty soon he began to make a purring sort of
noise, like 'bout forty big tomcats tied up in one bag. Then Harnah
spoke to him, like as she'd have coaxed a dog, and, arter a while,
began to play with the cubs a little. One way and another, they'd
got to be 'mazin' good friends all raound, when a cry was heerd
outside; and the old man and the little ones pricked up their ears,
and yowled in answer. It wor the old woman coming home, sure enough;
and the minute she poked her snout inter the den, and see what
company her man had got while she wor gone, the trouble begun.
Harnah, naterally, wor too much skeered to see justly what went on:
but there were a big fight somehow; and she got a notion that the
she-painter wanted to fall afoul uv her, and that he wouldn't let
her; and, like other married folks, from words they come to blows;
and the upshot uv the hull was, that the old lady got the wust on't,
and lay dead on the field uv action.
"Whether the husband felt bad, or whether he wanted sunthin' to eat,
or whether he had an engagement with another lady, I couldn't say;
but, the minute he'd given the finishing blow to his wife, he
cleared out, and didn't come back till the cubs called him to see to
"Well, we got Harnah home somehow; and next day we come again, and
skun the old tiger and the cubs; and I got a hull heap o' harebells.
I was bound, that, after all the fuss, Harnah shouldn't lose her
harebells; and she didn't."
Seth was silent; and, tilting his chair a little farther back,
crossed his hands above his chest, and began to whistle softly. The
company looked at him inquiringly; and, after a pause, Karl asked,--
"Well, what next, Seth?"
"Nothing, cap'n: that's all; except I didn't tell how Sam see me
going up the river, and suspicioned I wor a going to meet Harnah,
and so dropped all, and followed on. What he brought his gun fer, I
didn't never ask him."
"But Hannah-what became of her?"
"Oh! she was kind o' peeked a while, with her broken leg; but, arter
that, she was as well as ever."
"Yes; but how did her love-affairs terminate?" persisted Karl.
"Waal, she married Sam Hedge the next fall; and I guess their
love-affairs turned out like other folkses a good deal,--lots o'
'lasses at fust, and, arter a while, lots o' vinegar: that's the way
o' married life."
In delivering this sentiment, Seth bestowed a sidelong glance upon
Mehitable, far more merry than sincere in its expression; but she,
tranquilly pursuing her knitting, let fall her retort, as if she had
not perceived the sarcasm.
"Oh, waal!" said she, "I don't know as I've any call to find fault
with merried life. Seth's made as good a husband as a gal has a
right to expect that takes a feller out o' pity 'cause he's been
mittened by another gal."
The laugh remained upon the feminine side of the argument, and the
party merrily separated for the night.
A GLEAM OF DAWN.
ONCE more a summer sunset at the old farm-house among the Berkshire
Hills, where, for a hundred years, successive generations of
Windsors had been born and bred; once more we see the level rays
glance from the diamond-paned, dairy casement, left ajar to admit
the fresh evening air; once more the airy banners of eglantine and
maiden's-bower float against the clear blue sky; once more we tread
in fancy the green velvet of the turf, creeping over the very edge
of the irregular door-stone, worn smooth by feet that long since
have travelled beyond earthly limits, and now tread celestial fields
and sunny slopes of Paradise. Far across the meadow lies the shadow
of the old house,--a strange, fantastic suggestion of a dwellings
vague and enticing as the gray turrets of the Castle of St. John,
which, as the legend says, are to be shaped at twilight from the
crags and ravines of the lonely mountains, but vanish in the
daylight. And beside it, not vague, but clear and sharp, lay the
shadow of the old well-sweep, like a giant finger, pointing, always
pointing, now to the east, whence cometh light and hope, and the
promise of another day; and anon due west, as showing to the sad
eyes that watched it the road to joy and comfort.
Within the house, much was changed. The floors were covered with
matting, the walls with delicate paper-hangings; the old furniture
replaced with Indian couches and arm-chairs, whose shape and
material suggested luxurious ease and coolness. In the chamber that
had been Dora's, was wrought, perhaps, the greatest change of all;
for to the rugged simplicity, and, so to speak, severity, of the
young girl's surroundings, had succeeded the luxury, the exquisite
refinement, essential to the comfort of a woman born and bred in the
innermost sanctuary of modern civilization. The martial relics of
Dora's camp-life had disappeared from the walls, no longer simply
whitewashed, but covered with a pearl-gray paper, over which trailed
in graceful curves a mimic ivy-vine, colored like nature. Upon this
hung a few choice pictures,--proof-engravings of Correggio's Cherubs;
a Christ blessing Little Children; a Madonna, with sad, soft eyes
resting upon the Holy Child, whose fixed gaze seemed to read his own
sublime destiny; and a Babes in the Wood.
Over the fireplace, the rude sketch of the deformed negro was
replaced by an exquisite painting, representing a little girl,--her
sweet face framed in a shower of golden ringlets, her blue eyes
fixed with a sort of wistful tenderness upon the beholder; this
expression repeating itself in the lines of the curving mouth. The
dress was carefully copied from that worn by 'Toinette Legrange upon
the day she was lost; and the picture had been painted, soon after
her disappearance, by an artist friend of the family, who had so
often admired the beautiful child, that he found it easy to
reproduce her face upon canvas; although his own knowledge of the
circumstances, and perhaps the haunting presence of the sad eyes of
the mother, as she asked, "Oh! can you give me even a picture of
her?" had tinged the whole composition with a pathos not intended by
the artist, but indescribably touching to the spectator.
Between the windows, in place of Dora's simple pine table, with its
white drapery, its few plain books, and little work-box, stood a
toilet-table, covered with the luxurious necessities of an elegant
woman's wardrobe. The dressing-case, the jewel-box, the
perfume-bottles; the velvet-lined and delicately-scented mouchoir
and glove boxes; the varied trifles, so idle in detail, so essential
to the whole,--all were there, and all evidently in constant use.
Nor let us too harshly judge the mode of life, differ though it may
from our own, which regards these superfluities as essential, and
can hardly less dispense with them than with its daily bread. The
violet, the anemone, the May-flower, a hundred sweet and hardy
blossoms, thrive amid the chills and storms of early spring in the
most exposed situations. But are not the exquisite tea-rose, the
fragile garden-lily, or the cereus, that dies after one sweet night
of perfumed beauty, as true to their nature and to God's law? Did
not the same hand form the sparrow, who scatters the late snow from
his wings, and gayly pecks the crumbs from our doorstep, and the
humming-bird, who waits for gorgeous summer noons to come and sip
the honey from our jessamine?
So let us, if we will, love Dora in the Spartan simplicity of her
soldierly adornments, and none the less love and cherish the woman
who now lies upon the very spot, where, but a year ago, lay little
Sunshine, wavering between this life and a better. For some reason
unknown to herself, Mrs. Legrange had, from the first, felt a strong
affection for this chamber, haunted, though she knew it not, by the
presence of the beloved child; and she had taken much pleasure in
its adornment; though, now that all was done, she rarely noticed the
beautiful articles collected about her, liking best of all to lie in
dreamy revery, recalling, day after day, with the minute fondness of
a woman's memory, the looks, the gestures, the careless words, the
pretty, graceful ways, the artless fascinations, of her whom now she
rarely named, holding her memory as something too sacred for common
speech, too far withdrawn into her own heart to be lightly brought
to the surface.
Thus lying in the twilight of this evening, dreamily watching the
long white curtains as they filled with the night-air and floated
out into the room like the shadowy sails of a bark anchored in some
Dreamland bay, and never guessing whose eyes had watched their
waving but one short year before, when 'Toinette was first laid in
Dora's little bed, Mrs. Legrange heard her husband coming up the
stairs, and rose to receive him, with a strange fluttering at her
heart,--a sort of nervous hope and terror all in one, as if she had
known him the bearer of great news, but could not yet determine its
Mr. Legrange entered, holding a letter in his hand, and glanced
tenderly, but with some surprise, at his wife, who stood with one
hand pressing the white folds of her muslin wrapper convulsively to
her bosom, the other outstretched toward him, a sudden hectic
burning in her cheeks, and her eyes bright with feverish light.
"Fanny! what is it?" exclaimed the husband, pausing upon the
"That letter-you have some news! O Paul, you have news of"--
Her voice died in a breathless flutter; and Mr. Legrange, coming
hastily to her side, drew her to a seat, saying tenderly,--
"No, darling, no news of her,--not yet, at least. What made you fancy
it? This is only a letter from your prot‚g‚ at Antioch College: at
least, I suppose so from the postmark. Do you care to read it now?"
Mrs. Legrange hid her face upon her husband's breast, trembling
"O Paul! when I heard you coming up the stairs, such a feeling came
over me! I seemed to feel some great revelation approaching. I was
sure it was news of her. Paul, Paul, I cannot bear it; I cannot
live! My heart is broken; but it will not die, and let me rest. O my
God! how long?"
"Hush, dearest, hush! Your wild words are to me worse than the grief
we both suffer so keenly. But, my wife, have we not each other? and
would you kill me by your own despair? Will God be pleased, that,
because he has taken away our Sunshine, we refuse all other
blessings, and disdain all other ties and obligations? Fanny,
dearest, is it not an earnest duty with you to strive for strength?"
But the mother only moaned impatiently,--
"O Paul! do not try, do not talk: it is useless. When you let fall
that crystal vinaigrette this morning, did you tell it that its duty
was to be whole, and filled with perfume again? Do you tell those
flowers that it is their duty to be fresh and sweet as they were
yesterday? or, if you did, would they heed you?"
"No, darling; for they have neither mind nor soul," suggested the
"And mine are swallowed up in the sorrow that has swallowed all
else. O Paul! forgive me, and ask God to forgive me; but I cannot, I
never can, become resigned. I cannot live; I cannot wish or try to
live. A little while, and I shall see her."
She spoke the last words softly, as to her own heart; and over her
face passed such a look of solemn joy, such yearning tenderness,
mingled with an infinite pathos, that the stronger and less
sensitive male organization stood awed and subdued before it.
"Her love and grief are deeper than any words of mine can reach,"
thought the husband, and, so, tenderly soothed her head upon his
breast, and said no more for several minutes, until, to his
surprise, it was lifted, and the pale face looked into his with the
pensive calmness under which it habitually hid its more intimate
"From whom did you say the letter came, Paul?" asked Mrs. Legrange.
"From Theodore Ginniss, I believe. Will you read it now?" asked her
husband, in some surprise at the sudden transition: for no man ever
thoroughly comprehends a woman, no woman a man; and so is the
distinctive temperament of the sexes preserved.
"Yes: I told him to write to me once in every month, and he is very
She opened the letter, and read aloud:--"DEAR MRS. LEGRANGE,--
"Since writing to you last month, I have been going on with my
studies under the Rev. Mr. Brown, as I then mentioned. I do not find
that it hurts me to study in the hot weather at all; and I have
enjoyed my vacation better this way than if I had been idle.
"Part of the month, however, Mr. Brown has been away on a visit to
some friends in Iowa; and he says so much about the prairies, and
the great rivers, and the wild life out there, that I think I should
like to take the two remaining weeks of the vacation, and go and see
them, if you have no objection. I have a great plenty of money from
my last quarter's allowance, as I have only needed to spend a dollar
and forty-five cents. Mr. Brown thinks I should come back fresher to
my studies for a little rest; though I do not feel the need of it,
and am glad of every day's new chance of learning.
"I hope you will excuse me, Mrs. Legrange, if it is too bold for me
to say, but I do wish you could talk with Mr. Brown a little; he is
so high in all his ideas, and seems to feel so strong about all the
troubles of this world, and puts what a man ought to live for so
much above the way he has to live!
"I took the liberty of talking with him about you, and about the
great trouble I had helped to bring upon you; and what he said was
first-rate, though I cannot tell it again. I felt ever so much
better about my own doing wrong, and I could not help wishing you
could hear what he said about you.
"This place is a great resort for invalids, and people who like to
be retired. The iron-springs, that give the name to the town, are
said to be very strengthening; and the Neff House, near them, is a
beautiful hotel in very romantic scenery, and quite still. It seems
to me that the ladies I see riding out from it on horseback get
healthier-looking every day.
"I enclose a letter for mother, and will ask of you the favor to
read it to her. I cannot tell you, Mrs. Legrange, how grateful I
feel to you for making her so comfortable, as well as for what you
are doing for me. And it is not only you I thank and remember every
morning and every night; but, with yours, I say the name of the
angel that we both love so dear. "Yours respectfully, "THEODORE
Mrs. Legrange slowly folded the letter, and looked at her husband,
"I should like to see this Mr. Brown. Perhaps he has some comfort for
me; and that was what I felt approaching in that letter."
Mr. Legrange smiled a little compassionately, and more than a little
"I am afraid, love, you would be disappointed. A man might seem a
marvel of eloquence and wisdom to poor Theodore, while you would
find him a very commonplace, perhaps obtrusive individual."
Mrs. Legrange slowly shook her head.
"I feel just as if that man could give me comfort. I must see him."
"Very well, dear: if it will give you the slightest pleasure, you
shall certainly do so. Shall I send and invite him here? or do you
think the journey to Ohio would be a pleasant variety for you?
Perhaps it might; and Teddy's elaborately artless recommendation of
the Neff House and the iron-springs is worthy of some attention."
"Yes: I will go there. I think I should like the journey, and I
don't object to trying the springs; and I should like to see
Theodore, and hear him talk about her. And I am sure I shall not
find Mr. Brown commonplace or obtrusive."
"Very well, dear: it shall be as you say. When shall we go? It will
be very hot travelling now, I am afraid."
"Oh, no! I don't mind. But I don't want to interfere with the
Western excursion Theodore so modestly suggests; nor do I wish to go
while he is away. We will go in the middle of September, I think."
"Yes, that will do, and will give you something to be thinking of
meantime," said Mr. Legrange, looking with satisfaction at the
healthy animation of his wife's face, as she re-read the portion of
Teddy's letter relating to Yellow Springs and the Neff House.
"And now," said she, "go and send Mrs. Ginniss up to me to hear her
letter too, that is, if you please; for, you humor me so much, I
know I am growing tyrannical in speech as well as in act."
Mr. Legrange stooped to kiss his wife's cheek; and, to his eyes, the
faint smile with which she repaid the caress was the fair dawn of a
THE FIRST CHANCE.
MR. BROWN had been a week at Outpost, and, at breakfast one morning,
announced his departure for the succeeding day.
"And if you feel able to ride so far, Dora," continued he, "perhaps
you will show me the way to the curious mounds we heard of from Dr.
"They are full ten miles from here, he said," remarked Kitty
"To-day is the 24th, isn't it, Dora? the 24th of August?" inquired
Karl; and Dora, if no other of his auditors, saw the connection
between this remark and the proposed long ride with Mr. Brown.
"Yes, Karl; it is the 24th: and I think we can make a party for the
mounds, Mr. Brown. Kitty, wouldn't you like to go? and, Karl, can't
you take a holiday? Sunshine might stay with Mehitable for once;
"No; because she speaks too loud, and through her nose: but I'll
stay with Argus and the woods," said Sunshine quietly.
"But have we horses enough?" asked Kitty with animation.
"That is easily settled," interposed Karl eagerly. "I will fix
Sunshine's pillion upon Major, and Dora can ride behind me. Then
Kitty can take Max, and Mr. Brown will ride his own horse."
"Oh! there is no need of Major's carrying double," said Dora
hastily. "Seth can spare Sally as well as not, and Kitty can ride
her better than she can Max."
At this decision, Kitty looked a little vexed, and Karl a little
discomfited; while Mr. Brown bent over his plate to hide a sudden
gleam of humor in his dark eyes. As they all rose from table, Karl
passed close to his cousin, and whispered,--
"I want to speak to you before we go."
Dora made no answer; nor, in the busy hour before they started,
could her cousin find opportunity for a single private word. Nor was