Imatges de pàgina



JULY had come again; and with it heat Mother looked at her boys with a little and weariness to city dwellers. No wonder trouble in her eye, for she almost reverenced houses were closed, in the hot, pent-up streets. the superior culture and polish of my wife; No wonder that many a farmhouse among but the usual calu returned to her broad, the hills and mountains of Vermont and New high brow, as, looking steadily a moment into Hampshire were thronged with happy, cheer- the gleaming coals, she began: ful faces; faces not entirely strange, but “This night is much like one I remember strangely altered in the years that have not many years after father and I were marpassed since they dwelt all the year round ried and moved to this house. Our home had within those walls. Some new faces have been in H- n, New Hampshire, but land also appeared. A gentle, loving bride ac- was cheap and fertile here in G- n, and so companies the son to his childhood's home. we were married and came to this place. It A daughter claims a parent's blessing, and a was all woods around us then, except two seat by the old hearth-stone for her noble acres just about the house, and the sevenhusband.

acre lot just opposite. I was not used to such This summer, Farmer Andrews welcomes scenes, though I was a farmer's daughter. all his four boys home-1, John, the oldest There were no neighbors within half a mile, feel a little hand quiver in mine as we alight and the road lay through the woods. I was before the old gate. Tremble not, my darling! not inuch afraid, for father was with me, and Only loving hearts await thee! Only gentle my faith in God's ever-watchful care was words will be spoken to thee here in thy strong. We got on very well for several years; husband's honie.

father bad cleared inore land, the seven-acre Rain storms will come even in July. Two lot was planted with corn, and a pasture days the storm had continued, and as night stretched along the south side of it, and back came on the wind veered round into the east into the woods. That hill yonder was all chill as November. Cows sought shelter in woods then. the winter stables, hens were nowhere to be . “About the middle of one July, father was seen. Ponto, our little, old, yellow dog, who obliged to go away on business, and leave me never parted company with his masters, lay alone. He looked rather sad as he kissed me, snugly curled in a corner by the ainple and told me to keep up good courage; he kitchen fire. Conversation flagged. All would be away only two nights. listened to the moaning wind, or the branches “It was a clear, beautiful morning; and of the butternut tree dashing wildly against after I had been hard at work several hours, the steep roof, while now and then a mass of making cheese, churning and doing common met soot fell hissing upon the hot fire. work, I felt pretty cheerful. So I took some

“O mother," said little Nellie, our only sewing and called John to come and say his sister, “tell Susie a story about the times lessons. Tommy, there, was asleep in his when you first lived here. It's a real nice cradle. John had got mostly through, when night for a story."

he cried out, "The red heifer is in the corn.' "I am afraid Susie wont like my stories as “I ran out, bidding him to roek Tommy till well as you do."

I came back. After a hard run the mis"O) yes, she will, mother; I know she will.” chievous animal leaped back into the pasture,

“Susie has always lived in the city, you making a second breach in the fence. These know, and is not used to our rough ways." must both be stopped, or the corn would be

“I am sure I shall like the story all the destroyed, and the cattle as well. better for that. Do tell us one,” said my “I ran to the house for an axe, just looking young wife.

into the kitchen to tell John I would soon re** Well, what shall it be?”

turn. I went back to the fence, replaced one “Anytbing, anything; only, perhaps, you of the broken-down stakes, and struck a will choose one of the wildest-so as to fit the moderate blow upon the upper end, thinking night," said gentle Susie.

I would work leisurely. The sound was echoed back from every side, clear and dis- barrel of my gun in the breach thus made, I tinct; and before the reverberation had pauseil. Steadily they came on, unconscious ceased, another sound came from the woods, of any evil intent on my part. They paused. a few rods beyond the fields. The cattle, My gun covered the front of the first. Dizzier which were all standing a little way from me, than ever in my life, I pulled the trigger-my pricked up their ears, and wheeled close to shot was true. The male lay dead. The fegether, facing the direction of the sound. inale smelled round and round it, moaned, I

"Another blow, another echo; again that thought called its mate in tones full of grief; loud call, and now it was answered by a sim- but I had not much time to think, watching ilar one, at a greater distance. Though the my foe, reloading my gun, quieting my boys, call was new to me, I doubted not two bears who were screaming with fright; I took as were near, and the terror of iny dumb com- good aim as before. Success had nerved my panions confirmed my opinion. I thought for arm; still my second ball only wounded the one instant they might be frightened by the living bear. Perceiving her adversary, she noise I was making and retire; but upon dashed towards the window. I seized a blazing giving another blow the call was nearer. Turn- brand from the hearth” ing hastily toward the gateway by which the “Was it this, hearth, and that window?" cattle entered the pasture, I opened it, closely cried little Susie. followed by cattle old and young, and six “ Yes, dear, this hearth and that window. sheep, which had fled from the woods in hot As I was saying, I flung it full in her face, as haste at the first sound of the bears. Securing she put her vicious nose in at the broken the cattle in the barn with many basty pane. She started back with a dismal howl, glances in the direction of the slowly ap- and I fell to loading my gun for the third and proaching, dreadful calls, I seized a measure last time, for to my horror, I saw there was of corn and ran toward the house, calling my but one bullet left. The bear crawled halfpoultry. The last chick entered the little blinded back to its mate and lay down by its back-room with me, as two large bears side. leisurely tumbled over the fence into the road. “I aimed again just behind the shoulder; I always kept the house pretty well shut up but my courage failed for an instant. Should when father was away, and now I only had a this shot not prove true what would be our door or two to close and bar, and we were as fate! But it was my only chance. I fired and safe as we could be.

again seized my brand. When I looked forth “What was before me? The two bears I found my adversary had changed her might reconnoitre, return to the corn-field, position, but seemed content with watching Inake their dinner there, and trouble me no lier foe. more; but while the thought was still in my “During this time, the sky had become mind they turned toward the barn, attracted overcast unobserved by me, and now a fine no doubt by the bleating of my pet sheep. rain began to fall. Hastily giving the boys Round and round it they walked, sniffing here some bread and a basin of milk, I assumed and there, and now and then biting at the my post. Day waned, night came on. With corner of a timber. I did not much fear their the last ray of daylight the bear was still getting into the barn, for it was very stoutly alive. built of logs. But how long we might be kept “No longer able to see my foe, I rejoiced prisoners I knew not.

when the poultry were settled for the night, “Father's gun caught my eye.

and hushing Tommy to sleep, I placed him by « • Why not shoot one of them if I have a his brother, who had fallen asleep in one chance ? said I.

corner of the settle. "I took the gun down-drew the charge of “My children, I hardly know how the night shot, loaded it anew, and returned to the wore away. Every time the butternut swept window whence I had watched my foes. I against the house, I thought it the bear had closed the shutters all around, except the scrainbling up at the window. Many times upper half of this one.

in the lull of the storm, I heard her low " Tired of wandering round the barn, the growling. monsters turned towards the house. I dashed “Day came at last, heralded by crowing of the breech of my gun through a pane of glass, cocks, lowing of cattle, bleating of sheep, all that I might have a porthole from which to impatient of their long imprisonment without fire in case of an opportunity. Resting the food or water. My heart sunk within me, for the bear's cyes met mine, and I was saluted "I sank down in my chair, and what hapwith a low growl, as I ventured to look out. pened for a short time I know not. Soon a

“With something of desperation at my neighbor came in, and kindly attended to the heart, I replenished my fire, fed plentifully, cattle and still unmended fentce. and supplied with water my fellow-prisoners, “Father came home soon after noon, and prepared breakfast and ate it with my boys. he never left me alone over night again, till

"Again I looked forth. The bear appeared many years after the last bear had disappeared to be dead. I threw the shutters and window from the country." open wide-I hurled a hammer with all iny Mother ceased speaking, took up her forforce at the brute, but she stirred not. A gotten knitting, and the click of ler needles smooth, round stone served the purpose of Wils the only sound within the room for some holding the door open in warm weather moments, then she said quietly: there it lays. It followed the hammer-no “Come, father, it is bedtime, let us have motion—the bear was dead.




Lying here dead in this shaded room,

Madeira blossoms twined in my hair,-
Shrouded in silence and in gloom,

The scent of death in the unstirred air;
With my hands stiff-clasped on my silent breast,
Fixed for God's great eternal rest,-
With my waxen lids pressed to my cheek,
I know strange things,—but I may not speak.
There's a pearly tear caught fast in the laco

That around my throat lies fold on fold;
So pure and warm it fell to my face,

Then down to my husband's tribute rolled,
The costly robe, better fitted by far
For the graceful form of some Fashion's star,
Than the stark, cold clay in wait for the tomb,

Lying here by itself in this sumptuous room! Three hours ago, in his fine cloth dressed,

His diamonds as bright as bis unwet eyes,
My husband came,-his gloved hands pressed!

On a heart that shook with suppressed sighs!
Placing his walking-stick there by the door,
He tiptoed over the tapestried floor
Softly, so softly, as if in fear
Of waking his bride fast sleeping here.

His kerchief, white, like scented snow,
The costly companion of his great woe,
Fluttered down like a flower at my side,-
The same he held when he called me bride.
That was all. He slowly turned away,

Leaving me here in this chilling gloom,
Shut in from the bright and sunny day,

In my pictured, carpeted tomb.
But by-and-by another step came,
And a low voice softly whispered my name;
The heavy curtains of silk and lace
Were folded back, and across my face
The September sunlight warmly lay;

He knelt by my side, smoothed back my hair,
Caressed my hands in the old fond way,

And brokenly sobbing forth a prayer,
Let fall on my cheek a pearly tear,-
In the face of death there could be no fear.
The heart's rich jewel that he then gave,
Seals me to him beyond the grave.

Not even once did he touch my hand,

Nor let my name from his calm lips fall; But he glanced me over, complacently bland,

Then turned to his portrait on the wall!

“My darling!” he said, “my little love,

Torn from me here by a cruel fate,
You will be all mine in the home above,

God give me patience to live-to wait!"
Slow covering my face, he turned away,
And my cold lips could not softly say,
"Beloved, contentedly I lie here,
Holding highest heaven in that one tear!"





the spoon to the cup, and looking rastly “Cousin WHART, wait a moment, please. relieved at the result of her experiinent. I have just a word to say to you,” said Mrs. The gentleman had returned to his paper, Dalrymple, lifting the teaspoon from her and was already some ways into the editorial china cup, and playing with it abstractedly before the conclusion of her speech. She

The gentleman who was just unfolding his glanced at his pre-occupied face, and smileit darling newspaper, still damp from the carrier, again, with a look of a general whose victory paused in the act, and looking across the table is just secured; and leaving the breakfastsaid mildly:

table at which she had presided, she skimmed “Well, Hortense, I am listening."

away up stairs into her chamber, and hunted “Would it be so much of an intrusion if I up her daintiest note-paper, and forth with ventured to ask a lady friend of mine out sat down to a pleasant pen-and-ink chat, as here ?"

was evident by the vivacious expression of her The tone was doubtful and hesitating, but face, while her white hand, with the ebony there was a little spark of triumphant confi- and gold trifle clasped lightly in the fingers, dence in the eye, veiled from his view by flew over the satiny paper, leaving its delicate drooping lashes of pale brown; and the thin, lines of tracery, stamped emphatic every short mobile lips were just ready to dimple into a distance by a dash, or an exclamation point. mischievous smile.

It was finished at last, lovingly folded, and “A lady!" echoed the gentleman, in a tone inscribed, “ Miss Sibyl Aubrey, W- street, of consternation. But in a moment he added, Philadelphia." conscious of the ungallant inhospitality of his And when it was fairly deposited in the manner, “Of course I don't want to object to little mail-box in the hall, ready for the any guest of yours. If she is only a quiet, carrier, Mrs. Hortense Dalrymple gare a little sensible woman, like yourself, and wont be sigh of relief and murmured: setting the whole house in an uproar, and "Now I hope it will come out just as I especially wont be expecting me to dance at- wish, and I shall congratulate myself upon tendance upon ber whims, why, I have originating such a charming little plot. It nothing more to say. Only I think we liare will be such a chance for Frank to have her been exceedingly cosy and confortab'e, so far, all to himself in this romantic neighborhood! and I hope we shan't have any disturbing "If he doesn't win her, he don't deserve to be element."

my son. Of course he will! He is young, “Certainly not, certainly not, Cousin and by no means dull of wit, and as fineWhart, I hope I know well enough what is looking a young fellow as the country can due to you, not to introduce any one to show; and with that magnificent fortune of trouble you. I'll promise you shall not be hers, how comfortable everything may be! I annoyed at all. I'll manage it so you shall shall no longer be obliged to spend my sumscarcely be aware there is any one visiting mers with Cousin Whart, in such a stupid liere. The library shall be sacred from in- fashion. But Sibyl Aubrey is just the girl to trusion, and the rear garden, and your favorite enjoy this country place, and I think I shall arbor. You see, somehow, I seem to feel that know just how to please and fascinate lier. I ought to see something of my friend this Frank's coming shall all seem an accident; and summer; and to tell the truth, I am a little I shall know how to help him along, and dall, while you are shut up with your books, there's nobody to interfere. Thank Heaven, and fussing over your experiments, and off' on Cousin Whart is such an odd creature, and your wild gallops. And with her here I could such a recluse, there's no fear of his bringing enjoy everything, and besides, when Frank any other gentleman to distract her attention. comes, she'll help entertain him, and keep Yes, I am sure I may count everything him quiet. I am certain it will make your safe." seclusion more secure, or I wouldn't propose And Mrs. Hortense smiled, and nodded the thing," replied Mrs. Dalrymple, returning archly to some invisible personage, and returned to her ordinary duties, which, to be derway, and stalked off to the woods to humi sure, were not remarkably irksome. The up the flower. adrvit widow always talked as if she were be- The house, meantime, was left to Mrs. stowing some great favor upon her cousin, Dalrymple's control, for all poor Mrs. Green's Wharton Berne, in fitting dowu to bis hand- stifled indignation. And when the carriage some country estate every summer, and drew up before the pretty vine-wreathed looking after the servants and household portico, Mrs. Dalrymple, all smiles and deaffairs.

lights, in a cool, lilac muslin, ran down to “Dear, careless soul!" she would say; meet her guest. "whatever would become of your domestie. A fair, classical face, with soft, dark eyes, affairs, Cousin Whart, if I didn't take pity on and scarlet lips curved into slight haughtiness. you, and come every summer to set things to was bent out eagerly, in answer to the lady's rights? You'd be ruined in a few years!” salutation.

And Cousin Whart would open those “You dear girl! O Sibyl Aubrey! I was dreamy gray eyes of his, and give her a grate- so afraid you wouldn't come." ful smile, and answer:

"Not come, Mrs. Dalrymple? Why, the “Well, indeed, Hortense, I don't know, in- temptation you held out was perfectly irresistdeed; but I'm sure it's very kind of you. You ible! I should liave come, though fire and are the most comfortable woman to get along water had conspired to prevent. Do you with that I know of;" and fall back again to think I could turn away from such a refreshhis reading.

ing prospect? A month-a whole. month to But Mrs. Green, the housekeeper, had quite ourselves, to romp, and enjoy everything in another idea of the matter.

perfect freedom. No tiresome beaux, l10 * lluinph! I should think she'd be ashamed troublesome gallants! O, I come to you with of herself, playiug the fine lady, and ordering thorough heartiness. And this is my friend, me around so insolently, and she a getting Miss Gramont. You wrote me to bring my her living every summer out of the master. I maid; but I thought Cecille would be a rewonder he don't see how she sponges out of minder of the old ways. So I left her with all us ererytbring she can. She carries away jelly my party dresses, and coaxed Lucia to come and fruit enough to last hier the winter, I'll be instead. We mean to be genuine country bonnd. Lawful heart! I wish she'd skip one girls, happy and jolly, and free from all the summer, and let us have a little peace !" said troublesomne bonds of etiquette. Dear Mrs. that worthy, a dozen times in the week. And Dalrymple, it was so good in you to think to when she was made aware of the new give us this treat." arrangements, Mrs. Green held up her hand And while the graceful figure sprang lightly in holy horror.

to the ground, Miss Sibyl Aubrey motioned "Goodness sakes! the assurance of some toward the fairy-like companion with great folks! To think it aint enough for her, and violet eyes, and hair one golden flutter of soft, that lazy son of hers, to get their board here kinky curls. for nothing, but she must invite her company “I am delighted to see you, I am sure, Miss here, as if the house and all in it belonged to Gramont,” said Mrs. Hortense, her face one her, 0, if the master would only have a little genial smile as slie extended her head toward spirit and look into things!"

the stranger. Nevertheless, one charming June afternoon This was not quite honest in the lady, for the carriage was sent to the railroad station, in her heart she was impatiently soliloquizing: while the master of the place was away in the · "Whatever could have put it into Sibyl's woods on a botanieal tramp, bis specimeu- head to do such a stupid thing as to invite box under his arm. Mrs. Dalrymple was a this girl here. She'll be dreadfully in Frank's thorough diplomat. She had diseoursed elo way.” quently that morning on a charnsing unknown And, still gracious smiles, she led the way wild-flower she had seen on a long walk the into the house, and ushered them into the previous day, more than a mile away, and she cool, inviting chamber. inquired, with such a charming, flattering "O how lovely! how sweet and innocent!' deference for his opinion, if Cousin Whart exclaimed Miss Aubrey, rushing to the open would tell her all about the darling stranger. window which looked out into a woodland The result was eminently satisfactory. Whar view, with a sweep of pasture-land varied into ton Berne put by the project immediately un- hill and dale, and a ribbon of gleaming blue,

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