Imatges de pÓgina

had, from repeated disappointments, be- night and took such articles of food and come inured to all sorts of bitter things, clothing as they could find. His moand had come to have a strange pitiful ther was darker than he was, and her endurance; so that it really did not hair was silky and curly. (She was sound absurd when he would say in his probably some good-looking mulatto grandiloquent way, as he often did, “I girl seduced by her master and banishlaugh at fate." He evidently did laughed by her enraged mistress, but he did at fate, and felt that in so doing he baf- not tell us that.) When he was about filed his bitterest enemy.

ten years old, as he supposed, his moAt the time of his advent among us, ther died, and he was shortly after found the Dolly Varden style of dress-goods by some hunters and taken to the sethad just made its appearance in market, tlement. He was a perfect little brute and from the belle of the neighboring when he was found, and yet he said, village down to “Old Miss Sanders'' “that in that remarkably ferine condilittle Indian maid Jim (diminutive of tion he had an intuitive knowledge of Jemima) every girl in the whole country all those studies, those moral and intelhad a Dolly Varden dress, not to men- lectual ethics into which he was aftertion Dolly Varden hats, shoes, gloves, ward inducted.” What those studies collars, and other articles of wearing ap- were I never knew, and have no idea parel. The name became monotonous- that he did; the dictionary was the only ly familiar. All the pied calves, the thing he ever studied, I fancy. And pinto colts, and speckled chickens and yet he was a sort of a philosopher, and pigs about our place were christened advanced some opinions that only fell Dolly Varden, irrespective of sex; and short of the great minds of the day by just about the time I thought I should the insane manner in which he uttered go crazy in the confusion of Dolly Var. them. This may be accounted for by dens, a happy thought occurred to the the fact that he was taken into the famyoungsters. Here was one more chance ily of a very peculiar man of whom the to pile on the agony. Dollicarden was neighbors said, as Agrippa of the aposso near the word they wanted, the change tle Paul, “that much learning had made of a few letters would fix the thing just him mad.” He was more than skeptias it should be. I can not tell who first cal in his religious views; could not begave him the name, but it was fastened lieve in any hereafter. He had found on him firmly before he had been with life so hard he considered it a swindle. us a fortnight. He accepted it humbly, Though he tried to endure it with fortiof course; and if he pitied the ignorance tude, and had braced his back to bear and want of taste that prompted us in its ills, yet he fought at every step the thus rechristening him, his only com- encroachment of outrageous destiny and ment was made to that responsive and "laughed at fate.” He believed he sympathetic inner spirit which was the should die like a dog, and in so doing recipient of his communings. He was he should cheat that cruel intelligence averse to answering any questions about whose sport man is, and get the best of himself, but eventually gave us his his- the joke in the last act. It was only by tory as he knew it. He came from isolated sentences let fall occasionally Georgia, he said. He lived in a desert- that I learned his true sentiments. He ed cabin in a dense forest with his mo- was too humble to intrude his opinions ther. They lived principally upon ber- upon us at any length; and yet his mania ries and roots, but occasionally made a for big words was so great, it was with raid upon the neighboring town after difficulty that he forbore to repeat our own ideas after we had spoken them, Dolly. I am sure she must have known and clothe them in the gorgeous apparel we laughed at him, and with her plain of his own language. For instance, this practical sense she was vexed that he is the way the conversation goes on. should lay himself open to ridicule. Jack is telling the story of Joaquin, the Doubtless she thought he was casting famous robber of California. I shall put pearls before swine; but she also thought all of Dolly's observations in brackets, he ought to know that fact, and desist. and the reader must imagine for himself She was sometimes vexed with him on the loud measured ostentation of his another score. In private conversation style. Jack has advanced to that part of between themselves he often used lanthe story where the reward of $10,000 is guage she did not understand, when her offered for Joaquin's life.

ire would burn to the surface in some He was captured by a man named such expression as “that he needn't Love,” said Jack. “Love and his as- think she was a fool, becase she looked sistants found the robber and his three like one.” Tildy's education had been accomplices [‘Yes, sir'] sitting under of that rigid type in which the three Rs, some trees. Their horses [Yes, sir'] Readin', Ritin', and Rithmetic, were adwere picketed out on some grass near judged not only unnecessary in girls, by: [To masticate, I presume.') They but absolutely hurtful, unfitting them had the saddles off ['To permit the hoss- for the practical duties of every-day life. es to rest mo' copiously, of coase'] for She had been born in the State of “Pike the night. The men were all sitting on County,” at so early a date that her opthe grass ['Pawticipating in their even- portunities were as limited as her incliing repast, beyond doubt'], playing a nation. She had heretofore ridiculed game of cards. ['Ah, I beg youah paw- persons who made any pretension to eldon, sah; my mind, as you perceive, is egance in the choice of language, and it remawkably rapid in its alchemical evo- appeared strange to me that she had lutions.') They dusted from there dou- selected Dolly as an exception. It had ble-quick. ['I pesume youah mean they not entered my head that she cared for extemporized an exhilarating exodus.'] him more than for another, and up to I mean they vamosed the ranch-ab- this time he had paid her no attention squatulated, made tracks, cut dirt, hoed whatever. The first time he took any it out of there. ["Yes, sir.'] Joaquin special notice of her was one evening as struck out and got on his horse bare- we sat in the dining-room; Willy chanbacked," etc.

ced to mention her proper name, Laura Jack took delight in drawing Dolly Matilda. Dolly caught at it immediout of an evening for the general enter- ately. tainment, and for this purpose he re- “Laura Matilda,” he said; “well, that duced his choice of words in conversa. is a beautiful name. I read a story in tion to the minimum of simplicity. He the New Yo'k Ledgah that had that made many an opening into which Dol- name for one of the cawackters. It was ly invariably stalked with his gorgeous Laura Matilda St. Clair. I thought at array of high-sounding words. Now, the time that if-in shawt—as a mattah Tildy, whose use of language was ex- of coase, that it was the most beautiful, tremely limited, secretly admired this most affluent, and purpureal cognomen verbose individual; and it would, no I evah read or heard mentioned. Now, doubt, have taken Jack down in his own I suppose youah sahname is not St. estimation could he have known how Clair — that would be a reminiscence, unfavorably she contrasted him with indeed ?"

"No," said Tildy, quite unconscious I wonder what you, sir, know of the of the fact that her destiny was involved pretty head that rested on your arm last in her words, "hit's Southerland.” night—that has rested there all the nights

“Southerland !” he said, nearly boun- for a dozen years and more. If you could cing out of his chair. “Is it pawsible? see beneath the forehead, half-shaded by Do I heah auricularly, or do my yeahs those innocent, baby-looking curls, and deceive me?"

read the thoughts, the dreams, the hopes His "yeahs” did not deceive him; Til- with which the teeming brain is busy, dy assured him it was Southerland. Any- you would probably stand back in a kind thing “mo' beautiful than that mellifer- of ceremonious surprise, and with newous, auriferous, felodious, and incompah- ly awakened admiration begin to hope able name" he had never heard; from that that some mutual friend would happen time she became an object of interest to along and introduce you to this charmhim. His natural politeness, always ex- ing stranger. We live widely-severed cessive, was redoubled from that mo- lives in this world. Even those of us ment. He rarely entered or left the who are nearest and dearest to each room without a bow too curious to bear other touch only at far-distant points. description. In the morning his salute It makes one lonesome to feel that the was very elaborate, and even more great world of longing in each bosom, so his nightly adieu. He pronounced while growing upward continually, is "good - night” in a hard, loud, monoto- constantly rounding into a more comnous voice, with a sudden drop and a pact and isolated individuality. Will it strong emphasis on the last word – be so in the next world, I wonder? "good-night.The children could im- Dolly had been with us about six itate him perfectly; and I saw a sudden months, when one night, after seeing the spasm of pain in Tildy's face only yes- children snugly in bed, I came into the terday when my thoughtless little Jim, dining-room and found Jack in the closin going to bed, paused a moment at et that opened with a large door toward the door to say "good-night" just as us, and with a slide just large enough to Dolly used to say it. For Dolly is gone admit dishes into the kitchen. He turnnow, and to hear him speak that word ed as I entered, gesticulating furiously again would be to awaken the dead. to me to keep still. I supposed he had

But before his time came he had a rat or a mouse in there and was “laywrought great changes in our little ing low” for him. world of home, and had left blessings “O, Jack," I whispered, “do let me of untold wealth to one poor heart now see, too." opening slowly from day to day, and “Sh-sh-sh," he said. Nevertheless, from hour to hour.

I squeezed in, and was instantly arrestIt soon dawned on my perceptions ed by the sound of voices in the kitchen. that there was an obvious case of The little door was ajar so that I could "spoons” in the house, and I watched see Tildy sitting straight as a poker in developments stealthily and cautiously. One of the rawhide-bottomed chairs, and I did not dare take Jack into my confi- Dolly Varden kneeling before her with dence; men are such blunderers, I could his hands lifted and laid together lengthnot trust him. His want of tact might wise, like the pictures of the infant Samspoil everything. What a pretty little uel. Tildy looked disgusted, and yet delusion the male part of humanity en- I thought I could perceive some latent tertains as to the ability of the female satisfaction in her eyes. Dolly was resex to keep secrets! Bab! gentlemen. hearsing something it must have taken him days to compose and commit to rhinoceros; but don't, I entreat thee, memory; for surely no such heteroge- ax me to rise from this-ah-place till neous jumble of dictionary words ever thou hast promised to be mine." flowed spontaneously from any human “I wish yer would git off yer knees, lips, even if those lips were Dolly's. I yer simple Josy." did not hear the first of it, but I heard “But what portion of my anatomical enough to know that he was asking Til- corporality so worthy of bearing me in dy to marry him. And she being indig. thy supernal presence as my-ah-mynant from the fact of his manifest advan- knee - jints ?” tage in their little theatricals, and not “Yander's a cheer. Can't ye sit down, quite knowing what was expected of her, or hev ye forgot how? This is the third was in her most obstinate, unyielding time ye've been crawlin'roun' me, talkin' mood. So she only said in her crustiest yer lingo, an' I don't more'n half know manner:

what yer want. I'm clean beat out” (she “What's the meanin' of all this, any- was too, I could hear her grit her teeth), how?"

“an' I don't know what to do with yer." “Meanin', Laura Matilda-I ax youah Here she stretched a long bony hand, pawdon - Miss Southerland ? I imag- and caught him by the hair ; but she ined I had enunciated my idees with must have seen something in his face most ebullient lucidity. I observed that that moved her stony heart, for her having existed solely by the refulgence hand gradually relaxed and slid down to of youah chawms dewing the six solar his shoulder. Then he, with a gesture or six and a half lunar months that have as stiff and stilted as his language, perspired since I made my début up- spread his arms out wide, and brought on the threshold of this palatial-ah pal- them slowly together around the immacace

ulate virgin's waist. “I don't want to heer no more o' that Was it the Widow Bedott or Josh truck."

Billings that said, “Man is an uncertain “O, Laura Matilda—Miss Souther- critter?" No doubt that he is. And land — do not avert the classical horo- yet, if you want a creature you never scope of your erubescent countenance know where to find, can never depend from him who survives only by your on to do as you expect, the last thing permission-do not exacerbate the lim- in creation to bet on — take pid tenderness of your contemporaneous The most ordinary one of your acquaintheart to a position so antipodal to all ance will give you more surprises in a my eager and long-cherished desires. week than all your male friends together Lay thy commands upon me, faiah one. will give you in a year. Think of TilBid me peregrinate to the most north- dy's "settling down,” as it were, in Dolern extremity of the earth’s axletree. ly's arms! If all the world had told me Bid me lay down my existence to ap- she did it, I would not have believed it. pease the carboniferous appetite of those Then for as much as two full minutes northern monsters, the mammoth man- Dolly hung by the bur of his left ear to eating saurian of the frozen alpine ava- the projecting ledge of Tildy's corsetlanches of that invincible region of ever- steels. (I know it sounds more elegant lasting ice. Bid me incinerate beneath to say he rested his head on her bosom, the combustuous horizon of a-ah- but truth is superior to all considerasweltering equator, in a clime conducive tions, and Tildy had no bosom). He to the gigantic growth of the huge levia. hung so long in that perilous position than, the hi-popper-tamus and the that I became alarmed for his personal safety, and began to wish for a change dinner of this ancient couple; and if in the programme.


there was one gobbler more than anoth“Why don't he kiss her, Jack," I er that I thoroughly despised, it was he. whispered, “and have done with it?" He thought he could whip me; he knew

“He's afraid she'll scratch him if he he could whip Jim, and I suppose that loosens her arms. He wants to 'gentle' encouraged him in the belief that he her a little first.” In good truth Dolly could whip Jim's mother. And the old was in the situation of the man who had villain was so mad about my crimson the bull by the tail; he could neither morning-gown, and so envious for fear hold on nor let go. How much longer I'd take the shine off of his beads, he could he maintain his position, I won- could not sleep of nights for thinking of dered, and what would be the effect of it. I had become thoroughly disgusted a change. Every moment added to my with him, and his pretended rivalry of anxiety. The perspiration started out me was too absurd, so I resolved to in great beads all over me; a little longer sacrifice him at Tildy's nuptials; for I and the "tears would be running down knew that if she did not hurry matters into my boots," as our Jim described a he would die of envy before that intersimilar situation when lo! Dolly lifted esting event took place. I screwed up his head and essayed the final move. my courage several times to talk to Tildy But Tildy reared back as if she had been about it; but each time after making a touched under the chin with a hot poker. studied and as I hoped an eloquent Not to be baffled, Dolly rose to his feet opening, I was oppressed-yea, verily, and clasped her round the neck; but, in and scared too-by the ominous silence doing this, he gave her the free use of her that followed, and fell back to the rear arms, and she used them to a purpose. in great disorder; from which, even There was a regular scuffle for that kiss, with my invincible courage and welland a noisy one-too ludicrous to bear known tactics, it required time and labor description—which ended in tilting Tildy to recover. The situation became so out of her chair. In the concluding unbearable I concluded to take Jack into scene they both sat like a pair of stiff- my confidence; he might share my mislegged dolls on the floor, staring wildly ery at least. at the dining-room door in momentary “She scares you, does she?” said he. expectation of being taken alive.

"Well, old woman, you haven't the abil. We fled.

ity to handle so delicate a matter. You “Are you sure he kissed her, Jack ?” are good woman, and all that, I give “Bet your life.”

you credit for being a most excellent “Hurrah for Dolly.”

wife and mother-but this is a case that “Three cheers and a tiger for the old requires abilities almost statesmanlike. gal.”

Owing to Tildy's peculiarities, it requires “Come away, quick,” I said. And greater tact and delicacy in its managewe stole on rapidly and noiselessly, and ment than you are mistress of. It is left the betrothed “alone in their glory.” well that you submitted the thing to me

Now after this little scene, full three before you blundered any more. Now weeks must have passed before there there really may not be any engagement was another move in the game that I at all. It is possible that Dolly is a gay could perceive. I was getting horribly deceiver, and don't choose to commit impatient. There was a certain gobbler himself to matrimony. You see, old on the place, whose antiquity rendered woman, he may have more sense than him admirably adapted for the wedding- we give him credit for, and if so, he may

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