Imatges de pÓgina

acquaintance," said the widow, smiling in it. In this could be seen the long bright a pleased way. “Well, I don't know why perspective of the handsome apartment, he shouldn't. We're his nearest neighbors, velvet, laces, silks and luxurious upholstery. and your father held a high position in the The flowers in the carpet, the frescoes on legal world. There was not his equal, I be- the ceiling, the fine pictures, the elaborate lieve; but his heart was so good, poor dear! workmanship of the imported mantel-piece, tbat he couldn't keep money. Well, well, the costly ornaments above it, the huge I hope the poor man may never repent of silver-branched candelabras, all were rehis bargain."

flected with an artistic minuteness that al“It seems everybody has who has ever lowed no tint or shade to escape. had anything to do with the gloomy old “A pretty girl, a beautiful girl, and by house. I wouldn't live in it, if they gave Jove, I love her! I love her, and I will have it to me," said the bright-faced girl, going her! Did not the fates decide it, at back to her seat at an opposite window, Breslau ?! overlooking her own little flower garden. He was gazing languidly at the mirror,

“I wouldn't live in it, if they gave it to when suddenly he saw a man enter from me." How often, in the years that were the further side of the apartinent-still in to come, would she think of these lightly- the mirror-and come slowly towards him. spoken words, and feel herself powerless to He would have turned but that he knew in control the fate that seemed even now that part of the room was neither door nor dawning upon her! Light, careless, happy- window. Besides, that figure was familiar hearted, she only saw the future through to him, horribly familiar. It was that of a the sunbeams of her own girlish fancy, mau small and spare of stature, of a remarkwhich was not quite free from “Love's ably benevolent expression, though at that young dreain," childish as she was.

moment the face wore a look of mingled At last!” said John Ivington, exulting- regret and sternness. Small as it was, and ly, standing on the threshold of his elegant at first it seemed a mere puppet, the feadrawing-room, surveying its decorations tures were distinctly marked, and the gray with a pleased though critical interest. “I hairs upon the white benevolent forehead couldn't have bought such a property as trembled to the little breeze that seemed this with twice the money, in any other stirring. place in the country. Haunted! nonsense. John Ivington gazed like one fascinated I'll make it haunted by everything bright or entranced. He was not conscious of and beautiful. I'll haunt it with some of being frightened, though a slight chill made Wessing's statuary. The group of Faith, him shiver. He felt more like a man under Hope and Charity shall stand there. Hum some spell of curiosity and awe. Then the -I'll make it a present to my wife.And house was baunted, and yonder was a ghosthe smiled in a quiet pleased way. “To my ly mirror. wife; yes, she shall be my wife; her destiny The thin old man seemed to advance half is fixed. Strange that when I went to that way to the centre of the room; there be old witch in Breslau, she should show me stood still, and throwing one arm forward, that face; but she did, upon my soul, she pointed towards a small misty cloud that did! They say there's a young fellow comes could be seen now upon the mirror, as if here, a pupil of her father, I know; poor some one had breathed upon it. Slowly as a church mouse, dark and slightly satur- evolving, one by one, came the outlines of nine in face, enough to give him a 'pleas- a ship; more rapidly a tempest gathered. antly devilish expression,' as my friend The surface of the glass seemed one vast Hummel says, sometimes-just the man to ocean, broken with huge waves that reared interest a pretty girl. But he comes in vain; their monstrous crests, and dashed against the young lady is spoken for.”

the doomed vessel. Evidently the storm He then threw himself down upon a was at its height. Crowds of frightened couch covered with velvet, settled his head wretches appeared in groups about the decks comfortably upon the carved wood-work, -sailors sprang frantically from point to and began to form his plans. Opposite point, in obedience to hoarse orders, that, him loomed up the great mirror, a fixture with the horrid shrieks of the blast, and in the walls that he allowed to remain, the cries and prayers of the death-struck, while the artisans worked delicately around made a hideous pandemonium of sound. Suddenly the slip parted. Those who shall see me, and in the glare of midday. could swim battled bravely for life. Boats They call this house, that you have bought and pieces of spar, filled with clinging men, with my money, haunted. Every place to and women, and children, could be seen in which you direct your footsteps shall be all directions. One immense body of wood haunted, every pleasure you enjoy I will held but two, an age man and a little child. poison. I will stand beside your bridal, I

“We might save the child," cried an old will make desolate your household; I will salt, as they rode between huge billows, trouble you while, living, and dying, you “but not the other. Does she belong to shall not escape me, unless you make full anybody here ?"

restitution. My little innocent child you “Madness to attempt it," muttered a have subjected to all the galling restrictions young man who sat white as death, in the of poverty. You have thrown her amidst stern. And even in that awful time, he the pollutions of a vicious neighborhood at thought of the vast fortune that was his, if nearly the age at which I rescued you. You that little child sank under the boiling surf. have tortured a little heart that loved you He forgot his sacred trust, forgot his man- singly and purely, you have taught it to hood, and did not cry:

hate and alınost loathe your kind. Go and “Save the little one; I am her protector. find that child, take her home, educate, The debt of gratitude I owe the old man

clothe and feed her, I ask nothing more. her father, cannot be repaid.” He held his You may keep her forever dependent upon peace, like one of old, and suffered the timid your bounty. Hide the secret of her birth, and the selfish to have their own way. if you will, but for the sake of God and

“It's one of the emigrants," said another; your own bonor, don't leave her among “I remember seeing him in the steerage- those terrible influences, where her soul the old fiddler. Ha, they are under, now!" and her purity are in danger! If you fail

“Bear away!' cried the pilot; "there's to do this, I tell you I will haunt this old no time to lose!" And the young man house as it was never haunted before. Wife turned his head with his wicked thought, and children you may have, but misery perhaps even daring to excuse himself.

shall follow in their footsteps and in yours. He lived it all over, and grew deadly sick

You shall not feel yourself alone in your and chill, sitting there before the haunting

most secret bours, but in the presence of mirror. Atlast, he ventured to look round. an accusing spirit. With a hand of ice I It was no illusion; there stood the vener- will chill your blood, with a breath of fire able gentlemanly figure, and though, I will inflame your soul, till between the through it could be seen the rich furniture two tortures, you go mad. In my life, I and the opposite wall, still there it was, an was quiet and retiring; but my will was accusing presence.

iron, and my purpose relentless, though, “What am I here for?"

thank God! both were turned in the direcJohn Ivington had not spoken.

tion of good. But I swear to you I will not “I am here to remind you of the past, to let the darling of my old age, the one pledge tell you that you have perjured your soul, of iny only, early love, suffer through you. but that there is forgiveness for you if you

And the oath is registered in the high will be just. I was with you when my courts of heaven." helpless little child asked for justice at your John Ivington arose, guilty, but not rehands and found no mercy in a villain's pentant. The thing-what was it but a heart. This splendor, the money that you shadow, after all? No one could see it but lavish upon it, rightly belongs to her. I himself-o other pe on in the world trusted you; too blindly I followed my own

would or could be cognizant of its presence. impulses. I believed you as honest as my

Should he, after three years of elegant ease, self. Did I not take you from the slums of burden himself with this child? The matvicious poverty and make you as my own? ter was not to be thought of, not for a moYes, as my son 1 educated you, gave you ment. The child came up before him as access to the best society, bestowed my con- she looked that night meagre, thin, ragged fidence upon you—and how have you re- and dirty. He sickened at the recollection; quited me for all? I tell you, man, I will his fastidous taste revolted. Beside, he haunt you to death! In all your pleasures, chose to consider her an impostor. She was I will be beside you; in the silent night you seen to go down-the waves had closed

over her, and this old man and vagrant

CHAPTER VI. wished to make money out of their knowl

TAR CHRISTMAS TURKEY WHICH WAS s edge. Besides, if he took the girl-if, in

CHICKEN. deed, she was rightfully the heiress of all this wealth, would not common gratitude DESPITE the meagre furniture and cheerexact a support for the blind old fiddler ?

less walls, the old room in Pop Court took The girl would not leave him, if he had on a Christmas brightness. Flor had found been her benefactor. Indeed the whole two or three pink and yellow bills, setting thing involved so much thought, expense forth the merits of some long-gone-by and trouble, that much the best way was amusement, and had pasted them opposite to wash his hands of it, entirely, and let the the windows. With the sunshine falling shadow do its worst. It was, after all, only upon them, the great black and red letters a shadow.

seemed like cheery sprites, dressed in their He started to walk down the parlor—a holiday uniform. thin hand touched his shoulder, and “ They are comical little black men, through the broadcloth and lining, it fell dancing,” said Flor, who was endeavoring cold, cold as an icy clod, and sent him to interpret them according to her own thrilling and shivering backward. In vain whimsical fancies; "and they are all going be strove to shake it off; like a grip of iron out to Christmas, gran'pap. One of them it remained, rooting him to the floor. seems to have a great turkey in his band, Every pore of his body exuded moisture, and I suspect he can't find a place to bake and every drop of sweat felt like a ball of it in. I wish he'd pop it in our stove, ice. In utter agony, be opened his lips to don't you, gran’pap? Not but what we say, I will," when he started to his feet, shall have our own turkey, for I am deter and with a look of alarm, gazed down the mined to call our chicken a turkey, gran'apartment and-came to his senses, seeing pap, for the sake of old times. 01 I reone of

the workmen regarding him member" curiously.

Suddenly she clapped her hand over her “I-I was fast asleep, eh pus

mouth, stood breathless a moment, till the “Yes sir. Excuse me for the liberry, but old man asked: I wished to consult you previous to going, “Well, little one, what does 'ee reand shook you by the shoulder-I'm afraid, member?!? rather roughly."

“Nothing, gran'pap—that is—you see“O no, no-quite right. I'm very glad I think I've forgotten. It don't do me any you did. It waked me from a troublesome good to, you know, to talk about things dream. You were quite right. Haunted- that's past and gone; you've told me so ha, ha! by nightmares. Yes, mares that yourself—and—” ride in the daytime, sometimes. I imagine She had fixed her teeth-a look of qnick every house haunted in the same way,eh ?!! passion darkened all the face that the poor

“I dare to say," returned the carpenter, old sightless eyes could not see-and the seeing that this confidence warranted free- little clenched hauds aimed impotent blows dom. “I've often said I wished they'd at the air; then she sank crouching on the give me the house, rent free, to live in; I'd floor, with a sudden bitter burst of tears. not be afraid of all the ghosts they could “What's 'ee doing now, dear?" asked raise. It was a pokerish place, though, the old fiddler, suspiciously. when we began the repairs-so many odd "I–I'm seeing to the potatoes," said nooks and corners. I wonder who had the the child, rising to her feet; controlling planning of it?"

her voice with admirable firmness, plung“ By Jove, though,” said the same man, ing the old one-tined fork into the pot, a few moments afterwards (that is he used whose cover she lifted. a rougher word than I feel at liberty to "And I've got an excellent tablecloth, transcribe), “ you never saw a scareder man gran’pap. What do you think it is po? she than he was when he fust opened his eyes. continued, poking the fire a little, after her I wonder what the chap had been dream- inspection of vegetables. ing? His under jaw looked fallen, like the “Some of the neighbors lent it." jaw of a dead man, and for a minute, I was “Neighbors p" Poor Flor found relief in frightened.”

a short sharp laugh. “Why, gran' pap, there's not a family in all Pop Court, I be- the Dutch dram-bottle made his appearlieve, that owns a tablecloth. Mitty Mor- ance, with a large parcel, which with gan had one, but she pawned it months many bows, and “his 'specs to Miss Floago, and 80 you see one of those great he wished she'd 'cept.” showbills covered the little table, beauti- “Why, Tay,” cried Flor, extricating an fully! and the back of it is white and immense mince pie from its wrappings, clean, and you can't think how nice it “how did you contrive to bring it?" tooks. And last night I bought some green “How'd I c'trive to bring it ?”' queried tea-dear, how it did cost! but I only got the fellow, with an attempt at a maudlin a little, you know, because to-day was laugh. Christmas. We always used —" again she “Why yes, you're 80 tipsy !” said the clapped her fingers over her mouth, with a child, with a candid emphasis. scared look.

“ 'Tirely owin' to your goodness-Miss “But we haven't got no dishes scarcely," Flo-sister-genteel help--she bro-brought said the old man, who loved to sit in the 'er brother two-an' he begs to 'c-cept it sunshine, and feel warm, and loving, and C-cause 's Christmas." shadowy fingers touching his sightless “You'd better go home and go to bed, eyes.

though I thank you, I'm sure.” “I know-but I managed," returned " Home an' bed-tha's jes' it-wish all Flor, who by this time had dusted the bot

merry Christm's-good-by.” And off he tom of the old broken-nosed teapot with a went, Flor expecting momently to hear plentiful supply of odorous and crumpled him plunge head foremost, from the top to leaves, of a rich olive green. “Next door the bottom. lent me a dish or two, because she was Mitty Morgan, a short, fat, vulgar, but going out to Christmas, and the little good-natured looking woman, who boasted hunchback let me have two cups and sau- of having seen better times, was Flor's best cers. They heard, some way, that we were friend in Pop Court. She it was who, when going to keep Christmas, I suspect. Then sober, crawled up into Flor's room after when Mitty brings up the chicken-no, I the old fiddler was asleep, and told her old say it's turkey-when she brings up the store of fairy stories, occasionally suiting turkey, why, here's a big broken cup to put circumstances to present time and place; the gravy in. As to knives and forks, and Flor had grown very fond of her, Mitty has promised to look after them. I'll though the child always sat with her face tell you what I'm going to do, gran’pap; within her hands, for poor Mitty Morgan I'm going to buy two knives, and two forks, had degenerated from her high estate, and two spoons, and two plates, and then whatever it had been, woefully, and when we'll be stylish, wont we? Now you see I her breath did not smell of gin, it did of have to eat dinner at the second table, and onions or garlic, all alike abhorrent to the I don't like it-of course, it's my own delicate perceptions of poor little Flor, fault,” she added, in her little firm way, as who remembered bitterly, but never now old grandpap suggested; "but do you think spoke of the old times, I would keep you waiting? As if I'd be so “So you didn't go to the hotel this impolite! But then, you see, we can both morning ?” she said, as she sat back sureat together-when there's anything to veying the white bones of the victim she eat,” she added, softly. That old blind had slayed, cooked and eaten. man little dreamed that sometimes Flor “O yes, I did," said Flor, “but I was had gone hungry that he might be fed, late. I didn't like to seem in a hurry, and misled by the child's generous artifice. so the time slipped by. When I went up,

Mitty came up in due time with the the girl told me Mrs. Walters had gone to “turkey," and a fine plump little “tur- church, and had taken my dear little Redkey" it was, to be sure. Flor hovered Riding Hood; that she had something nice round it, admiringly.

for me, but had forgot, and carried the key " “ How nicely it's done! and O dear, how of her bedroom. But she told me to come brown and beautiful it is; and how large again, and so I promised to go this afterfor a chick-I mean a turkey that is a noon. I dou't care for what she'll give me," small one,” she added, laughingly.

Flor said again, in her pretty, spirited way; Just as they were sitting down to dinner, « but it will bo delightful to see them both

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together-my beautiful lady, and my dar- dressed, your little hands have been clean ling little Red-Riding Hood.”

and white, and your pretty hair always “Let me see, deary, isn't there anything smooth. I have but little money to give, nice I can lend you to wear?' queried though I live in this great house; but I Mitty Morgan, looking round distressfully. have time, which is more valuable, some"Ah, ah, if we were only made of gold !" times, than money, and a great deal of

“And could clip a little piece off," patience. Before this blessed Christmas, laughed Flor, “every time you wanted, I said to myself, that I wished to benefit and it would grow again.”

some one, and Heaven put you in my mind. I had some thoughts of asking you

to come and take care of Pet." CHAPTER VII.

At this the little one smiled like an an

gel. The tears came again in Flor's eyes. KEEPING THE VOW.

“O, it would be beautiful!" she cried. “My darling, hand this to the little girl, "O, I should like it so much!-but-gran’and tell her it is something mamma and pap" Her voice died away. little Florence bought for her."

"Do you support him, child ?” Flor had not taken her eyes from the “O, I could do nothing but for his beaulovely child since she had seated herself at tiful music! My tambourine only helps a Mrs. Walters's request. Now she started little; but he is blind, and I have taken and flushed, and her lip quivered.

care of him-since, ever since-he-saved " What is the matter with you, my

me-from-drowning." dear?”' the lady asked again, noticing a

“And he blind, child ? is it possible? new and singular expression in the face of

How did he save you ?” the child.

“ Please, I'd rather not tell,” gasped “ To hear you call her what once my

Flor. This trial was almost too much for papa called me," cried Flor, the tears her. starting

“Never mind,” said the gentle lady, “Why! is your name Florence ?”

some other time, perhaps. Well, here is “ They call me Flor," said the child, a nice suit of strong warm clothes; a little coldly, remembering her vow, and, with a

hood that will keep your head warm, and resolute effort, driving back the tears. a waterproof cape, that will prevent the I had a sister named Florence, and

rain from soaking in." that was my mother's name, too. Wont “O thank you! thank you!" cried Flor, you tell me something about yourself? Is

with brilliant eyes. She longed to get your mother dead? Are both your parents away somewhere, and have a long childish dead? I have thought that perhaps that cry. It seemed as if in no other way could old man was not related to you, I don't she express her delight. “How good you know why."

are!” she said again, witli quivering lips. Flor looked down, and was silent; strug

Something in the expression of the gling how hard Heaven only knew, to keep child's face touched Mrs. Walters, who her vow-the promise that seemed bent down and kissed the white forehead. binding and so awful. If she could only “And I suppose you don't go to school?” tell this sweet kind heart her sad story! she said, keeping the tears from her own But then if she had, the little romance of eyes. her life would have stopped here.

Flor shook her head. “ You have nothing to tell me, my dear?” “Gran'pap wanted me to, but who would Flor shook her head.

take care of him? He is too old to leave “Poor thing!” thought Mrs. Walters, so long. But I can read all the papers, “her story, likely enough, would be one and I can even write a little. When I was of misery, exposure, perhaps of sin. Bet- a bit of a girl I printed my own name.” ter for us both that she keep silent."

“If you could spare an hour to come “Well, my dear, you shall take your here every day,” said Mrs. Walters, “I time about telling me. If ever you feel would teach you to write, and some other like it, remember that I am your friend. I things. I can give you books, too." have always liked you because of your ha. 0, how good you are!" Flor exclaimed bitual neatness. Poorly as you have been again, chokingly.

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