Imatges de pÓgina


plated from this point of view by those – Mr. Bradshaw was unfortunately enwho have the natural outlet of verse to gaged. He thought the young gentlerelieve them is rarely followed by a man could hardly find time for such a casualty. It may rather be considered meeting during his brief visit. as implying a more than average chance Mr. Bradshaw expected naturally to for longevity; as those who meditate an see a youth of imperfect constitution, imposing finish naturally save them- and cachectic or dyspeptic tendencies, selves for it, and are therefore careful who was in training to furnish one of of their health until the time comes, those biographies beginning with the and this is apt to be indefinitely post- statement that, from his infancy, the poned so long as there is a poem to subject of it showed no inclination for write or a proof to be corrected. boyish amusements, and so on, until he

dies out, for the simple reason that there

was not enough of him to live. Very CHAPTER XX.

interesting, no doubt, Master Byles

Gridley would have said, but had no “Miss EVELETH requests the pleas

more to do with good, hearty, sound ure of Mr. Lindsay's company to meet

life than the history of those very little a few friends on the evening of the people to be seen in museums, preFeast of St. Ambrose, December 7th, served in jars of alcohol, like brandy Wednesday


When Mr. Clement Lindsay pre"THE PARSONAGE, December 6th.”

sented himself, Mr. Bradshaw was a It was the luckiest thing in the world. good deal surprised to see a young They always made a little festival of fellow of such a mould. He pleased that evening at the Rev. Ambrose himself with the idea that he knew a Eveleth's, in honor of his canonized man of mark at sight, and he set down namesake, and because they liked to Clement in that category at his first have a good time. It came this year glance. The young man met his penejust at the right moment, for here was trating and questioning look with a a distinguished stranger visiting in the frank, ingenuous, open aspect, before place. Oxbow Village seemed to be which he felt himself disarmed, as it running over with its one extra young were, and thrown upon other means of man, – as may be seen sometimes in analysis. He would try him a little in larger villages, and even in cities of talk. moderate dimensions.

“I hope you like these people you Mr. William Murray Bradshaw had are with. What sort of a man do you called on Clement the very day of his find my old friend the Deacon ? " arrival. He had already met the Dea- Clement laughed. “A very queer con in the street, and asked some ques- old character. Loves his joke as well, tions about his transient boarder. and is as sly in making it, as if he had

A very interesting young man, the studied Joe Miller instead of the CateDeacon said, much given to the read- chism.” ing of pious books. Up late at night Mr. Bradshaw looked at the young after he came, reading Scott's Com- man to know what he meant. Mr. mentary. Appeared to be as fond of Lindsay talked in a very easy way for serious works as other young folks a serious young person.

He was puzwere of their novels and romances and zled. He did not see to the bottom of other immoral publications. He, the this description of the Deacon. With Deacon, thought of having a few relig- a lawyer's instinct, he kept his doubts ious friends to meet the young gentle- to himself and tried his witness with a man, if he felt so disposed; and should new question. like to have him, Mr. Bradshaw, come “ Did you talk about books at all in and take a part in the exercises. with the old man ?”

you know.

“ To be sure I did. Would you be- more than friends. My visit here is lieve it, that aged saint is a great nov- principally on her account." el-reader. So he tells me. What is “You must give the rest of us a more, he brings up his children to chance to see something of you durthat sort of reading, from the time when ing your visit, Mr. Lindsay. I hope they first begin to spell. If anybody you are invited to Miss Eveleth's this else had told me such a story about an evening ?old country deacon, I would n't have “ Yes, I got a note this morning. believed it; but he said so himself, to Tell me, Mr. Bradshaw, who is there me, at breakfast this morning."

that I shall meet this evening if I go? Mr. Bradshaw felt as if either he or I have no doubt there are girls here I Mr. Lindsay must certainly be in the should like to see, and perhaps some first stage of mild insanity, and he did young fellows that I should like to talk not think that he himself could be out with. You know all that 's prettiest of his wits. He must try one more and pleasantest, of course.” question. He had become so mysti- “O, we ’re a little place, Mr. Lindsay. fied that he forgot himself, and began A few nice people, the rest comme ça, putting his interrogation in legal form.

High-bush blackberries “Will you state, if you please I and low-bush blackberries, — you unbeg your pardon — may I ask who is derstand, - just so everywhere, - highyour own favorite author ?”

bush here and there, low-bush plenty. “I think just now I like to read You must see the two parsons' daughScott better than almost anybody.” ters, - Saint Ambrose's and Saint Jo

“Do you mean the Rev. Thomas seph's, - and another girl I want parScott, author of the Commentary?” ticularly to introduce you to. You shall

Clement stared at Mr. Bradshaw, and form your own opinion of her. I call wondered whether he was trying to her handsome and stylish, but you have make a fool of him. The young lawyer got spoiled, you know. Our young pohardly looked as if he could be a fool et, too, one we raised in this place, Mr. himself.

Lindsay, and a superior article of poet, “I mean Sir Walter Scott,” he said, as we think, - that is, some of us, for dryly.

the rest of us are jealous of him, because * Oh !” said Mr. Bradshaw. He the girls are all dying for him and want saw that there had been a slight mis- his autograph. — And Cyp, — yes, you understanding between the young man must talk to Cyp, — he has ideas. But and his worthy host, but it was none don't forget to get hold of old Byles — of his business, and there were other Master Gridley I mean — before you go. subjects of interest to talk about. Big head. Brains enough for a cabinet

“You know one of our charming minister, and fit out a college faculty young ladies very well, I believe, Mr. with what was left over.

Be sure you Lindsay. I think you are an old ac- see old Byles. Set him talking about quaintance of Miss Posey, whom we his book, -'Thoughts on the Uniall consider so pretty.”

verse.' Didn't sell much, but has got Poor Clement! The question pierced knowing things in it. I 'll show you to the very marrow of his soul, but it a copy, and then you can tell him you was put with the utmost suavity and know it, and he will take to you. Come courtesy, and honeyed with a compli- in and get your dinner with me toment to the young lady, too, so that morrow. We will dine late, as the city there was no avoiding a direct and folks do, and after that we will go over pleasant answer to it.

to the Rector's. I should like to show “Yes," he said, “ I have known the you some of our village people.” young lady you speak of for a long Mr. Bradshaw liked the thought of time, and very well, – in fact, as you showing the young man to some of his must have heard, we are something friends there. As Clement was already “done for," or "bowled out,” as the not. Must have got caught when he young lawyer would have expressed was a child. Why the diavolo did n't the fact of his being pledged in the he break it off, then ? matrimonial direction, there was noth- There was no fault to find with the ing to be apprehended on the score modest entertainment at the Parsonage. of rivalry. And although Clement was A splendid banquet in a great house is particularly good-looking, and would an admirable thing, provided always its have been called a distinguishable youth getting up did not cost the entertainer anywhere, Mr. Bradshaw considered an inward conflict, nor its recollection himself far more than his match, in all a twinge of economical regret, nor its probability, in social accomplishments. bills a cramp of anxiety. A simple He expected, therefore, a certain amount evening party in the smallest village is of reflex credit for bringing such a fine just as admirable in its degree, when young fellow in his company, and a sec- the parlor is cheerfully lighted, and the ond instalment of reputation from out- board prettily spread, and the guests shining him in conversation. This was are made to feel comfortable without rather nice calculating, but Murray being reminded that anybody is making Bradshaw always calculated. With a painful effort. most men life is like backgammon, half

We know several of the young peoskill and half luck, but with him it was ple who were there, and need not like chess. He never pushed a pawn trouble ourselves for the others. Myrwithout reckoning the cost, and when tle Hazard had promised to come. She his mind was least busy it was sure to had her own way of late as never be| be half a dozen moves ahead of the fore; in fact, the women were afraid of game as it was standing.

her. Miss Silence felt that she could Mr. Bradshaw gave Clement a pretty not be responsible for her any longer. dinner enough for such a place as Ox- She had hopes for a time that Myrtle bow Village. He offered him some would go through the customary spiritgood wine, and would have made him ual paroxysm under the influence of talk so as to show his lining, to use the Rev. Mr. Stoker's assiduous exhorone of his own expressions, but Clem- tations; but since she had broken off ent had apparently been through that with him, Miss Silence had looked upon trifling experience, and could not be her as little better than a backslider. coaxed into saying more than he meant And now that the girl was beginning to to say. Murray Bradshaw was very show the tendencies which seemed to curious to find out how it was that he come straight down to her from the had become the victim of such a rudi- belle of the last century, (whose rich mentary miss as Susan Posey. Could physical developments seemed to the she be an heiress in disguise ? Why under-vitalized spinster as in themno, of course not; had not he made selves a kind of offence against propriall proper inquiries about that when ety,) the forlorn woman folded her thin Susan came to town? A small inherit- hands and looked on hopelessly, hardly ance from an aunt or uncle, or some venturing a remonstrance for fear of such relative, enough to make her a de- some new explosion. As for Cynthia, sirable party in the eyes of certain vil- she was comparatively easy since she lagers perhaps, but nothing to allure a had, through Mr. Byles Gridley, upset man like this, whose face and figure as the minister's questionable apparatus marketable possessions were worth say of religious intimacy. She had, in fact, a hundred thousand in the girl's own in a quiet way, given Mr. Bradshaw to right, as Mr. Bradshaw put it roughly understand that he would probably with another hundred thousand if his meet Myrtle at the Parsonage if he talent is what some say, and if his con- dropped in at their small gathering. nection is a desirable one, a fancy price, Clement walked over to Mrs. Hop- anything he would fetch. Of course kins's after his dinner with the young lawyer, and asked if Susan was ready rest from the glare of the pageant that to go with him. At the sound of his follows beauty through its long career voice, Gifted Hopkins smote his fore- of triumph, had come to the light again head, and called himself, in subdued in her life, and was to repeat the letones, a miserable being. His imagi- gends of the olden time in her own hisnation wavered uncertain for a while tory. between pictures of various modes of Myrtle's wardrobe had very little of ridding himself of existence, and fearful ornament, such as the modistes of the deeds involving the life of others. He town would have thought essential to had no fell purpose of actually doing render a young girl like her presenteither, but there was a gloomy pleasure able. There were a few heirlooms of in contemplating them as possibilities, old date, however, which she had kept and in mentally sketching the “Lines as curiosities until now, and which she written in Despair” which would be looked over until she found some lace found in what was but an hour before and other convertible material, with the pocket of the youthful bard, G. H., which she enlivened her costume a litvictim of a hopeless passion. All this tle for the evening. As she clasped emotion was in the nature of a surprise the antique bracelet around her wrist, to the young man. He had fully be- she felt as if it were an amulet that lieved himself desperately in love with gave her the power of charming which Myrtle Hazard ; and it was not until had been so long obsolete in her lineClement came into the family circle age. At the bottom of her heart she with the right of eminent domain over cherished a secret longing to try her the realm of Susan's affections, that this fascinations on the young lawyer. Who unfortunate discovered that Susan's could blame her? It was not an inpretty ways and morning dress and wardly expressed intention, - it was love of poetry and liking for his com- the mere blind instinctive movement pany had been too much for him, and to subjugate the strongest of the other that he was henceforth to be wretched sex who had come in her way, which, as during the remainder of his natural already said, is as natural to a woman life, except so far as he could unbur- as it is to a man to be captivated by the den himself in song.

loveliest of those to whom he dares to Mr. William Murray Bradshaw had aspire. asked the privilege of waiting upon Before William Murray Bradshaw Myrtle to the little party at the Eve- and Myrtle Hazard had reached the Parleths. Myrtle was not insensible to sonage, the girl's cheeks were flushed the attractions of the young lawyer, and her dark eyes were flashing with a though she had never thought of her- new excitement. The young man had self except as a child in her relations not made love to her directly, but he with any of these older persons. But had interested her in herself by a delishe was not the same girl that she had cate and tender flattery of manner, and been but a few months before. She had so set her fancies working that she was achieved her independence by her au- taken with him as never before, and dacious and most dangerous enterprise. wishing that the Parsonage had been a She had gone through strange nervous mile farther from The Poplars. It was trials and spiritual experiences, which impossible for a young girl like Myrtle had matured her more rapidly than to conceal the pleasure she received years of common life would have done. from listening to her seductive admirer, She had got back her health, bringing who was trying all his trained skill upon with it a riper wealth of womanhood. his artless companion. Murray BradShe had found her destiny in the con- shaw felt sure that the game was in his sciousness that she inherited the beauty hands if he played it with only common belonging to her blood, and which, after prudence. There was no need of hursleeping for a generation or two as if to rying this child, - it might startle her


to make downright love abruptly; and Posey! Nice girls here this evening, now that he had an ally in her own Mr. Lindsay. Looked lovely when I household, and was to have access to came out of the parlor. Can't say how her with a freedom he had never before they will show after this young lady enjoyed, there was a refined pleasure in puts in an appearance.” In reply to playing bis fish, -- this gamest of gold which florid speeches Susan blushed, en-scaled creatures, - which had risen not knowing what else to do, and Clemto his fly, and which he wished to hook, ent smiled as naturally as if he had been but not to land, until he was sure it sitting for his photograph. would be worth his while.

He felt, in a vague way, that he and They entered the little parlor at the Susan were being patronized, which is Parsonage looking so beaming, that Ol- not a pleasant feeling to persons with a ive and Bathsheba exchanged glances certain pride of character There was which implied so much that it would no expression of contempt about Mr. take a full page to tell it with all the Bradshaw's manner or language at potentialities involved.

which he could take offence. Only he “How magnificent Myrtle is this had the air of a man who praises his evening, Bathsheba !” said Cyprian neighbor without stint, with a calm Eveleth, pensively.

consciousness that he himself is out “What a handsome pair they are, of reach of comparison in the possesCyprian!” said Bathsheba cheerfully. sions or qualities which he is admiring

Cyprian sighed. “She always fas- in the other. Clement was right in his cinates me whenever I look upon her. obscure perception of Mr. Bradshaw's Is n't she the very picture of what a feeling while he was making his phraspoet's love should be, a poem her

That gentleman was, in another self,

- a glorious lyric, — all light and moment, to have the tingling delight music! See what a smile the creature of showing the grand creature he had has! And her voice! When did you just begun to tame. He was going to ever hear such tones ? And when was extinguish the pallid light of Susan's it ever so full of life before ?"

prettiness in the brightness of Myrtle's Bathsheba sighed. “I do not know beauty. He would bring this young any poets but Gifted Hopkins. Does man, neutralized and rendered entirely not Myrtle look more in her place by harmless by his irrevocable pledge to a the side of Murray Bradshaw than she slight girl, face to face with a masterwould with Gifted hitched on her arm ?” piece of young womanhood, and say to Just then the poet made his appear him, not in words, but as plainly as

He looked depressed, as if it speech could have told him, “ Behold had cost him an effort to come. He

my captive !" was, however, charged with a message It was a proud moment for Murray which he must deliver to the hostess Bradshaw. He had seen, or thought of the evening.

that he had seen, the assured evidence “ They 're coming presently,” he of a 'speedy triumph over all the obsaid. “ That young man and Susan. stacles of Myrtle's youth and his own Wants you to introduce him, Mr. Brad- present seeming slight excess of matushaw."

rity. Unless he were very greatly misThe bell rang presently, and Murray taken, he could now walk the course ; Bradshaw slipped out into the entry to the plate was his, no matter what might meet the two lovers.

be the entries. And this youth, this “ How are you, my fortunate friend ?” handsome, spirited-looking, noble-aired he said, as he met them at the door. young fellow, whose artist-eye could “Of course you 're well and happy as not miss a line of Myrtle's proud and mortal man can be in this vale of tears. almost defiant beauty, was to be the Charming, ravishing, quite delicious, witness of his power, and to look in that way of dressing your hair, Miss admiration upon his prize! He intro


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