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The Great Ascidian.-Rev. W. W.
Recollections of O. M. Lieber.-
The Haunted House, A Comedy. 724
The University of the South.-Prof.
Unawares.-Mrs. Margaret J. Pres-
Uncle Johnny.-B. R.,
Visit to the Blue Lakes.-B. R.,
Wills and Won'ts.-Prof. B. L. Gil-
Winter Lesson, A.—Roger Grahame, 411
1. THE DOCTOR'S VISIT.
ASSENGERS in the steamboats that ply on certain routes down the Bay see Grayrue Hall, but from that point of view know about as much of it as the traveller in Damascus knows of the palaces he passes by their blank outside. The position of Grayrue Hall, just inside the curve of Coverly Point, makes it a conspicuous landmark, but few who behold it can refrain from exclaiming: What a bleak, desolate looking place! That indeed is its aspect, especially when the waters outside are dark with storm and rain, when the sky droops low, and the flying clouds scud over the waters like blackwinged gulls. But I have seen the water-view of the venerable mansion when it was really charming. The wealth of color of the bayitself under a bright sun was relieved and heightened by the sombre bricks of the old house, by the black murmurous grove of pines that covered one flank, and the dark cedar thickets that protected the other flank. Then, with white-sailed oyster-boats dotting the wide expanse of waters, a larger vessel or two in the distance forging slowly towards the city, and an occasional passing steamboat, one fancied that a merry group of children or young folks on the lawn in front of Grayrue Hall was all that was needed to make it look pleasant and lively. Children and young folks however did not much frequent Grayrue Hall, it must be confessed; and if you had landed near the lawn, the only thing of life you would have been likely to encounter outside the house-front would have been the gaunt old hound Major,
who belonged to the house, and who would have risen slowly on his rheumatic limbs to meet you from some sunny corner where the wind could not come. The wind blew much and searchingly at Grayrue Hall, and Major knew all about it.
You came in sight of the Hall immediately after rounding Coverly Point, the forest of tall pines upon which extended to within a stone's throw of the Hall. Then there was an open space, cleared to afford a water-view to the inhabitants of the Hall; beyond that, a long thicket of low cedars, stretching for a mile along shore. Let us land, if you please, leaving our boat here at the decayed wharf of planks laid upon mouldy piles. We climb by wooden steps up the bank it is but twenty feet- and find ourselves upon a broad, well-shorn slope of treeless lawn. The grass is dry, and stained with the moisture and saltness brought from the bay by the long northerly gales. A gravelled walk, straight and prim, and bordered with large oyster shells, leads to the house, less than a hundred and fifty yards away. It is a silent, solitary walk, much shadowed by the solemn pines that are always murmuring yonder. Let us approach the house. Is it a house, or a prison? A broad expanse of brick wall- dark brown bricks, greened and salt-stained, as if some of the spray had stuck to them from every storm that had beaten against the wall for the last two hundred years—a wall broken only by a door and windows the latter close-shuttered and pinched up in the centre above its second-story into the dismal semblance of a cocked-hat. So, you saw no roof-nothing but wall, and a black lightning-rod reaching into the air above each corner.
Two broad stone steps, rudely carved by hand and as rudely gnawed by weather, until they looked like neglected tombstones in a forgotten churchyard, and a broad door of oak, and you came into Grayrue Hall by a wide hall-way, lofty, stone-paved, dark and echoing. Through this and through the house you passed until you found yourself on the south front, on a wide brilliant veranda. Then, a change of scene as rapid and as vivid as the transformation scenes in which the stage delights. A garden lies before you, bewilderingly beautiful. Green, sloping terraces decked with masses of bloom; vine-clambered bowers, roses in arches and festoons, plants of tropica! habit, plants from green-houses, all nestled here and flourished in the shelter of the house, the fine forest and the cedar thickets. You went down terrace after terrace by paths that wound pleasantly along among flowers and fruit trees where the birds sung and the bees hummed incessantly, until you saw the gleam of lake-like waters, and came, you scarcely knew how, to a clump of hollies, a strip of clean pebbles, and a shady mirror-like cove, whereon a fairy sort of skiff rode daintily.
The garden is not unoccupied, either. Beneath the hollies, seated on a rustic bench, against which he leans rather wearily, while the book open upon his knee lies unread, is a gentleman of possibly fortyfive years, with the white stock of a clergyman about his slim throat. A very white-faced gentleman he is, a palpable invalid, languid and feeble. The blue veins stand out on his bleached diaphanous hands, and his nostrils work with his quick yet languid breathing. Standing up, he would be a very tall man, but his black waistcoat and trowsers
fit his person very loosely, and the rather luxurious dressing-gown he wears cannot conceal his emaciated frame. There are lines of thought and of pain in his face, especially across his tall white forehead, which is far too steep for its breadth. There is an anxious, entreating sort of look in his great liquid blue eyes, and a sweet pathos in the smile that lingers about his lips as the fragrance lingers about a fading flower. His hair and eyebrows and the slight beard under his chin, all reddish in hue, are streaked and stained with gray, until you fancy a resemblance between them and the front of weather-beaten old Grayrue Hall.
By his side, and partly facing him, which the curve of the bench permitted, sat a lady charming as the morning, beautiful as the garden, and rich and gorgeous as the scarlet geraniums which bloomed there so profusely. She was dark-haired, with hazel eyes deep, dark and tender; yet she was not a brunette, for her complexion was clear and pure as the innermost petals of the tea-rose, pink tinted, creamy, yet lustrous as pearls. A woman just ripe and before any of the spring bloom had been brushed off her by the touch of time's wing in flight a woman all aglow with health and color-graceful and gracious, refined, exquisite. Her face was piquant as well as lovely; she was by no means a rustic beauty, though there were two or three dainty freckles upon her nose, and she laughed out frank and free as the ripples athwart the cove when the zephyrs played there. She adorned the simple white dress she wore, the little gipsy hat, the cunning slippers on her dainty feet, the make-believe apron on her lap. She sat there and fed the invalid with large ripe strawberries, which she took from a basket in her lap, stemmed them with her lithe fingers, dipped them in a cup of sugar and put them within his lips-like a young mother-bird.
"See, I am the pelican that feeds her young with blood from her own bosom!" she gaily cried, holding up her fingers red with the juice of the berries.
"And I am the cormorant devouring your young life," he answered, turning away from the last berry.
"A cormorant surfeited with strawberries! That flies in the face of natural history, Bartram," she answered, merrily laughing, so that he was fain to smile in return. "You are better," she said, seeing this; "I knew that you would recover as soon as you got to Grayrue Hall. Dear old Grayrue! the memories of my childhood have never gone astray from you, and now, if you restore my husband—” "I am recovering," he said, "I must recover. My work is to do, and I cannot leave it for others to do."
A slight shade of vexation flitted across her forehead as she said very quickly, "But you must not talk of work, Bartram. Nobody ever works at Grayrue Hall. It is the place for play, and dreaming, and fancies that fatten the soul as rich food the body -"
"But you say my work is a dream, Campanula proper place to fetch it to."
so this is the
"Not now-not yet, love," she answered quickly; "I dread the frightful fever. Get well first-get strong first. A bargain with you when you can lift me into the boat yonder, and row me out the
cove and back a good mile without panting, you shall to work again, and I will help you. What say you, Bartram — is it a bargain?'
"I say that you are always my good angel, and that I always counted on your aid when I begun my work. I will think about it, love; but I am impatient, and strength comes so slowly."
He took up the book from his knee and would have read, but she caught it gently from his hand. "Greek!" she said, reproachfully, "that is not right, Bartram!"
"Nay," he answered mildly, putting his hand upon hers, "it is only Saint John's Gospel, my child; that will not hurt me."
And so they sat thus a minute or two, the book prisoned between their two clasped hands, while she leaned towards him, love, solicitude, pride brimming over in her soft tender eyes, his eyes introverted and lapsing into silent depths where she came not, smiles on both their faces, yet how unlike those smiles! So they sat, a tender loving couple, mated for time if not for eternity—so they sat, the Reverend Bartram Yarrow, and his wife Isabel, whom he called Campanula.
Soft steps along the winding pebbly way, and a barefoot servant. stood before them, an old, wrinkled Indian, straight as an arrow, but thin and grave, with his long hair far down the back of his neck and on the shoulders of the gray jacket he wore.
"Quamash!" said Mrs. Yarrow, sitting up as he came near. "Madam, the doctor."
Mrs. Yarrow looked at her husband. "Yes, let him come here," he said. "Send him this way, good Quamash," said Campanula. The Indian retired, and Mrs. Yarrow rose, hung the basket in a tree, smoothed her apron, took a step or two, and plucked a flower from a rose-bush near by.
"You are never easy when he comes, love; why is that?"
She laughed an excited little laugh- and said, "I don't know perhaps I do not like him—perhaps I am uneasy as to what he will report of you”
"I like him, though, Campanula; he is very wise, very kind, ver thoughtful."
"Oh," she retorted, "wise as a serpent! But then, serpents hush! here he comes."
There was a heavy tread along the gravelled walk, a dog barked fiercely, then a little Italian greyhound bounded close to Mrs. Yarrow's side, bristles up and tail tucked in, while a large portly man about as old as Mr. Yarrow came towards them, crunching the pebbles beneath his broad polished boots, and flourishing a riding-whip in a way that drove the dog furious with fright and rage. He was a very well-kept man, this doctor (his abominable name was Dr. Anacharsis Hornbeam), florid, strong, impressive, with his large red cheeks close shaven and only a tuft of tawny beard on his chin. His eyes were steely gray or blue, too small, but very keen and resolute; his mouth was firm, yet not pleasant; his forehead low but square, and his fleshiness was not redundant nor flabby, but firm, healthy-looking. A wellpacked man, combative, determined, disputatious, audacious, yet secretive-so he seemed.
"Be quiet, Fido," said Mrs. Yarrow to the dog.