Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

those years, and now he was come home tween such work and play. “Why, Mr. to marry her. They would be married Greathead, the Baptist minister, locks at once. That, at least, was certain in himself up for days when he writes seran uncertain world - fixed and certain mons.” as that he would finish Miss Tyrrell's. “That's what makes them so musty," picture and forward it, as per contract, said profane Bob. “But come here, within a week.

Ruth; what do you think of this?", I dare say it incommoded Ruth to and he pointed to Miss Tyrrell's porsacrifice her capacious store - room, trait. which, happening to open from Bob's “I think she's lovely,” protested Nelbed-chamber and to possess a sky-light, lie, who had bestowed close attention was at once promoted to the function of on the young lady's toilet. “See how atelier; but she proceeded cheerfully to she does up her hair; and the ruff round transfer her household stuff, stowing it her neck-I wish I had one!” away in nooks and pigeon-holes, merely “A comely face, but dreamy-looking," craving permission to leave some strings said wide-awake Ruth, and picks up a of dried-apples which depended from the landscape with more interest. rafters. She could not find it in her “That's a view in the Morena," exheart, however, to rebuke the kitchen- plains Robin, “the region you're always maid, who bewailed lustily the confisca- hearing of in Don Quixote.tion of her clothes-horse (so she termed “I don't remember," said his betrotha drying-frame), and probably Ruth con- ed dubiously. “It seems a hilly coundemned in secret the perversion of that try. What breed of sheep is that?machine to art purposes. But she es- such curly wool and twisted horns. teemed it her plain duty to further Bob's Mine are common stock, but I clipped wishes, and forestall them if she could, two hundred pounds last shearing." so when he had rigged a tolerable easel “We'll go and inspect them, dear, and got fairly to work, Ruth enjoined after tea,” said Bob, who was looking the utmost quiet on her subjects, and forward eagerly to the evening walk. strove to compass the death-like silence O, come here !” shouted Nell, and which she presumed congenial to æs- made her sister look at some junketings thetic toil.

in the Tyrol - a pretty scene enough It was a shock, therefore, to the well- where the bright costumes of the wommeaning girl, when she stole in on tip- en had caught the damsel's eye. “It's toe to announce the midday meal, to too sweet,” she murmured tenderly; find Nellie at Bob's elbow, giggling and "how I should love to go there!prattling right noisily, and daubing a But Ruth opined they were barbarous strip of canvas with enthusiasm. Ruth creatures, of thriftless habits, and probdisliked to scold, but some reprimand ably Roman Catholics. “I guess there's seemed necessary.

more dancing than plowing over there,” “Why will you be so thoughtless, she said, and marshaled Bob and Nell Nell?" she said. “Look at all that down to dinner. fine paint wasted! How can Bob keep In the busiest households the evenhis wits with such a din!”

ing is a season of leisure and refresh. “O, let her stay," said the artist. ment; but after sundown Squire Allen “Talking don't tease me; rather helps must needs stroll over from the mill and this sort of work."

shake Bob's hand, and take Ruth aside “Does it?” said Ruth, astounded, and to disclose a notable project for supply. beginning to find small difference be- ing the Notch House with eggs and butter. The sagacious housewife discern- times richer down the valley. Why, the ed much promise in that scheme, forth- country hereabouts is scarce fit to graze with got out pens and paper, and was over, and even buckwheat would starve presently deep in figures, renouncing in land like that!And she pointed to utterly for that occasion such frivolities a field where the stones were, no doubt, as moonlight walks.

discouragingly numerous. “Nellie will go," she said; and ac- “But we don't intend to go on farmcordingly Robin, who would have pre- ing,” explained Robin plaintively. “I ferred, perhaps, to drink in solitude the was only thinking of the summer months, spirit of the hills, was attended by that and what a paradise we might make of vivacious young person, and regaled with this quiet hill-side, ringed with forest divers histories of sewing-bees, spelling- and river and set in the eye of that glomatches, maple-scrapes, and sleigh-rides rious scene. We need know nothing of which had signalized the previous win- its bleak winter, for then we should be ter.

in New York. I thought you underNor am I sure when the times were stood, dear Ruth. Didn't I tell you I more auspicious and no graver cares had taken a studio in town?” balked the communion of lovers, that “New York!” cried Ruth, almost Ruth and Robin were often betrayed in- heart-broken by this disclosure. “Give to the rhapsodies of strong emotion, up the farm, take me away from home?" or developed a very fervent sympathy. And the poor girl, though unused to the You see their attachment was no giddy melting mood, gave way to most unreaimpulse, or brief heyday of the blood; sonable tears. it had withstood the test of years, and Here was a plight for a sensitive young approached (on one side, at least) the artist, who could not seriously think of calm beatitude of that wedded fondness relinquishing his calling, and yet was which invariably (as you know, madam) loath to see a woman cry-how much gains depth and volume from close ac- more a buxom cousin with a hundred quaintance with the dear object. You claims to his regard? What arguments might have discovered many tokens of and blandishments, what humorings and that serene affection, if you had follow- compromises, were there resorted to I ed them in their rambles and marked can not tell, but it is certain the betrothhow inevitably the converse of this paired pair did not quarrel. How could drifted away from the dream-land of sen- they? There exists not a gentler more timent to the homely topics of domestic considerate being than modest Robin, life.

or one less qualified to take the tyrant's Look, Ruth, what a site for a paint- vein; while Ruth, with all her sturdy er's home !" cried Bob, on one occa- purpose and executive turn, held quaint sion, when they had walked out along theories of female obedience and wholethe Bartlett road to a point where Mount some notions of the rights of man. Yet Washington itself looms grandly against all the fostering and comforting in the the northern verge, shouldering a way world can not sweeten the cup of exile between Mount Franklin and Mount to the foolish Switzer lass, nor will the Monroe.

model meekness of your Griselda rob “You can't mean," said practical bereavement of its sting. I think Bob Ruth, "you would exchange the old read this in his companion's patient farm for such worthless ground? The looks, and, no doubt, he noticed that view is very pretty here, and I know our she seldom thenceforward went singing house lies in a hollow, but the soil is ten about the house.

a

There is no situation more trying to marked, in the course of his review, the temper than to find yourself the re- “air good and val’able. They aint no luctant exacter of an irksome rueful sač- kind o'use to me, but city folks that live rifice, and no wonder Bob's spirits at cooped up in them brick dwellins, and this epoch underwent considerable de, haint got room to keep a garding, they pression. I suppose he was conscious kin hire a chap to paint off suthin' green of his uncompanionable mood, for he and country-like which is hulsome to the began to roam about the farm alone, mind. Aint that the idee?" and evinced less relish for Miss Nell's Robin thought perhaps it was. light chat during hours of labor. Over “As for them palaces,” pursued the Miss Tyrrell's portrait he was most as- squire, pointing to a street-scene in Fersiduous, but somehow the picture made rara, "and marble meetin'-houses, I set no progress. Had Bob addressed him- my foot agin 'em as savorin' o' the self specially to portraiture, he might pomps and superstitions o' the Old naturally seek to make the most of a World. They air the high places of rather fantastic subject, and surprise by idolatry, and the sink o corruption. one piquant masterpiece the suffrages Let 'em crumble to the airth!” of the Academy. But I have often heard “Crumble!” said Bob, indignantly. him disparage that particular province “Can't you see the beauty of them as of his art, and am, therefore, at a loss to mere models ?” explain his present feverish and unsat- “As models, p'raps," allowed the critisfied behavior. Two or three weeks ic, "for a state- house or Boston postslipped away, and still he was dawdling office they kin be used. But that 'ere and fiddling with the canvas. Was thing," he continued, snapping a finger it poor Ruth's pensive shadow which at Miss Tyrrell's picture, "you kin say thwarted and obscured his work, or was nuthin' for! There aint no sense in there something in the face he pored it." over which drew the cunning from his “What do you mean?” cried Robin, hand?

reddening. Why should Squire Allen, who regard- “Why, they was fust-rate,” the squire ed art much as Bob regarded top-dress- explained, “in the old times, and wuth ing, select this moment to visit the stu- money, too. I've got one o' them likedio and ventilate his unvarnished heter- nesses to home that cost a sight" — he odox opinions? To be sure he was al- referred to his sire's presentment, exeways loitering about the house and con- cuted by Luke Slingbrush, a local artist sulting with Ruth Lyon, but matters of of some fame — “but who's goin' to pay moment engrossed those discussions, nowadays for all them paints and varand it was a rather tardy politeness that nishes when you can buy a photograph prompted him to ask what Bob was do- for a dollar? You air smart, Robert, I ing?

kin see that; but you can't beat the sun, The squire's attitude, as he surveyed nohow!” the atelier, whither Ruth conducted him, “The sun's an ass !” shouted Robin, was very affable and friendly, and the provoked beyond endurance. “The sun discourse he pronounced on the occa- would make Shakspeare look a blocksion abounded in fresh fruitful sugges- head, staring and gaping at that big tions, which Bob in a normal frame of bull's-eye. Good Lord ! man, do your mind would have devoured with infinite features say anything? And the exgusto.

pression of your face, too, at a given “Them picturs o' scenery," he re. moment, what is it but the reflex of one mood—a single letter in the alphabet of “You must get married,” said Ruth, character? They're well fitted to fools archly. - your photographs! But the pregnant “P'raps I will," he returned, gloomface, the soulful face, demands a painter ily; “I guess I'm young enough.” And to probe and ponder it, until he has indeed he was, and some athletes of spelled out its last secret, and printed it twenty might envy his stalwart frame there on the canvas for the world to and ruddy cheeks. “You wasn't thinkread. Talk of photographs for a face in yourself,” he went on, with a curious like that!” And the excited artist Aung hesitation in his tone —“I mean, you a cloth over the insulted portrait. wasn't goin' to git married right away,

I am not going to revile Robin for that was you? Next month — aint that kind ranting intemperate speech, for he was osudden? Howsomever, I wish the presently heartily ashamed of it. Ruth boy well, and you, too, Ruth—from my on her part could not have looked more heart, I do." And the worthy fellow confounded if one of her sheep had bit- meant what he said, but for all that he ten her, and speedily invented an excuse looked dejected. to draw the squire away.

“It'll be kind o'lively next month in “That's no business for me," the squire Conway,” the squire continued, with a observed, when the two had retreated to fine assumption of cheerfulness, “what a less fervid atmosphere. “I guess it with weddins, camp-meetins, Fourth o' pays, though, when you get the knack July, and city folks thick as bees! I'll of it. I'll tell ye,” he added, “what have a houseful myself, I expect. Bill Robert ought to do: jest hurry up, paint Cutler, up at the Notch House, can't off a dozen o' them picturs, stock the old take no more, and wants to send a farm complete, and settle down.” string of 'em down here. I

guess

I'll "I don't know,” Ruth said, in her have to accommodate 'em.” heart much impressed with the idea ; “From Boston?” Ruth presumed. "you might talk to him—but I'm afraid “Wal, no- they aint Boston folks," he don't like farming."

the squire thought. "Teirell-Tyrrell ! “You don't mean to say,” shouted the Sounds more like a York name." And disgusted squire, “that he'd go on paint. then he bade Ruth good-morning, and in' arter he'd made his fortin? Darned walked homeward. if he aint takin' right arter his father, and he was crazy as a loon!”

“You mustn't say things against my When they happen to possess a cotuncle," said loyal Ruth, and the squire tage on the cliff, the most inveterate looked contrite, and then she confided to nomads might subdue, I think, their him the projected removal to New York. roving propensities, and consent to so

The grief which shook her friend at journ—say three months—at Newport. this announcement was unquestionably I was surprised, therefore, by a sumsincere. “O Jericho!” the squire groan- mons to Mr. Tyrrell's bank, and my abed, “that beats the Dutch! Who's go- rupt nomination to the command of an in' to post me about them new-fangled expeditionary corps. "Clara's not well,” tools, and study the sile and lot out the I was informed; "finds Newport much crops accordin'? There aint nobody too hot. Your aunt proposes the White reads them papers and gits the meat out Mountains, and wants you to take them of 'em, Ruth, like you. And the win- there.”' ter evenins, Ruth — what'll I do in the This intelligence distressed me a good winter evenins ?"

deal; but I own that, coming from the

a

III.

a

hot pavements of a smoky town, I dis- in's meeting with Bob's fiancée, and covered all sorts of tonic virtues in the thought I had never seen Clara look so breezes of Narraganset Bay, and eyed well. Perhaps she may have been a triMiss Clara's lassitude with wonder, un- fle pale, but her eyes were very bright, til my aunt reminded me how different, and she talked with the greatest spirit after all, the climate was to that of Scar- and vivacity. She watched Miss Lyon borough or Trouville—which, no doubt, rather narrowly, too, in a swift observexplained the phenomenon.

ant way, but no doubt her observations We were already familiar with the were satisfactory, for her manner was Franconia region, and, being minded to quite soft and kind when she took Ruth's try the Conway side, were not disposed hand at parting. to quarrel with the accident which trans- But while clear-eyed downright Ruth ferred us from a rather shabby hotel to conquered the hearts of her new acabsolute control of an old-fashioned quaintances-persuading even my Aunt farm - house. We promised ourselves Tyrrell, whose attitude at first was slightnot a little entertainment in the naive ly captious, to declare her a good active discourse of our primitive host, and my little body- Robin's behavior was less own contentment was complete when a gratifying. No one certainly could have preposterous, hare - brained painter - fel. predicted that his native air would cloud low, whom Squire Allen hit off in his the man's sunny temper, yet something catalogue of curiosities, proved to be no of the kind seemed to have occurred. I other than my friend Robin. I must found him taciturn and moody, and his say, however, that Aunt Tyrrell seem- demeanor at times decidedly tart. For ed in no wise pleased with this discove instance, when he was taken to task ery, having lately contracted, as I men- good - humoredly by Mrs. Tyrrell about tioned, a prejudice against my friend; his remissness in the matter of the pictbut it was absurd to suppose a contre- ure, Bob was almost surly, thought he temps so trivial would be suffered to de- must renounce the undertaking altogethrange her plans. “Now, at least,” she er, and condemned his rashness in med. said, “that singular young man may have dling with portraiture at all. When we the goodness to finish my girl's pict, were alone, however, he bore himself ure."

more genially, and this circumstance led It is not likely many hours could pass me to conclude that he had lost his rel. before Bob and I came together, and, of ish for ladies' society. course, I was speedily apprised of an Of course Bob's inclinations in this impending interesting event, and pre- respect were not abetted by me. I had sented to the bride-elect, before whom brought my friends, as you know, to Conand her young sister-when Robin sped way in pursuit of health and the exhilaaway to pay his respects to the Tyrrells ration of fine scenery, and since Ruth's -I pronounced a eulogy upon that art- household duties would not suffer her ist. In the course of the same afternoon to guide our rambles, Robin's services the Misses Lyon came to call on my were plainly indispensable. It happenkinswomen, and insisted we should drink ed for the most par to be Miss Tyrtea at the farm, where they set forth all rell's fate to endure Sir Dismal's comthe dainties they could think of, showed pany in those excursions, and while us the flower-garden, the bee-hives, and what he vouchsafed to say was crisp the chickens, and treated us generally in and bright enough (Bob's tongue had a a most hospitable fashion.

pretty trick of interpreting his eye), I happened to be present at my cous- his fits of silence - must I know have

« AnteriorContinua »