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daughter Lily, whom you have heard me speak of. He and Lily were engaged to be married.”
“ When she died ? " There was an odd strained sound in Aunt Mary's voice.
“Oh no! It is all over now, and one can never tell ; but Lily was never the same girl from the time he broke their engagement. drooped and drooped, and finally went into a decline. "I believe she could have borne his death better than his inconstancy."
“ But what excuse could he make ?"
“ His cramped means; he would not be able to marry for years. He fell in love with her when he was very young, and the affair dragged on until he was tired of it, I suppose.'
“ He was a cold, selfish man,” Sister Agnes said. Reine Marguerite stopped drawing. The only child of her mother, and she was a widow! She had been nourishing a sentimental compassion for herself all these years; that compassion seemed now to be suddenly directed into another channel. She came and stood by Mrs. Serene, and stooping over her, kissed her pale brow. "Marga sometimes reminds me of my Lily," the poor mother said, holding on to the girl's hand.
At Easter the Churchills wrote to Marga to come to them again ; it would be a glimpse of spring as well as of them. She went. She made them happy by her enthusiastic admiration of their flowerdecorations in the church, the music they had directed, the children's festival with carols and banners. Towards the end of Easter week Von Walden ran down to Bishopthorpe for a day or two. His cousins wrote for him, without telling him, however, that Marga was there ; but finding her there, the skies were bluer for him, the spring air sweeter, fresher. Moreover, he began to think he had been too easily repulsed ; after all, there might have been some mistake.
It was Saturday, and the party from the House Beautiful had gone over to St. Stephen's to put fresh flowers in the church on the Octave of Easter. Marga and Eva were sitting on the steps in the belfry, twining a heavy wreath of magnolias. Mr. Hope and Moritz came and went, bringing them twine, a fresh supply of flowers, handfuls of myrtle and bay. After a while Eva went off with Mr. Hope, to decide upon the disposition of a calla of unusual beauty. Reine Marguerite went on massing the magnolias; Von Walden lounging beside her. His keen eyes presently caught sight of a little bit of paper in a chink in the steps. He pulled at it, when out came a letter — the letter he had written to Miss Margaret Fleming six months before. He looked at it, he turned it up and down and around, thoroughly puzzled. “Have you ever seen this before?” he asked his companion finally.
“To me?” she said innocently. “ How on earth But I think I can guess. The last time I was in this tower was the night we came to see the aurora. I remember Mr. Hope brought us out the mail from Ritewell; he must have dropped this letter. And oh! this must be the letter I dreamed about.''
“ The letter you dreamed about?”
while,” he said, curiously agitated. He stood by, like a prisoner on the rack, whilst she broke the seal and mastered the contents of the six months old letter. She looked up at him gravely. Whereupon, without waiting for her permission, he told her the story which he had written her he had to teli.
It was Spring. There was a freshness, a beginning again in the life of the world ; a hope, a promise for the future. Was not this the season in which to renew friendship — love? At least, this seemed a possible thing as she thought of “Years ago, I liked you better than any one else,” she said slowly.
But now — now?" “Now there is none I like better than you." Which I think you will agree was at least a good beginning !
And so I come to the end of my “uncut pages,” leaving Moritz and Reine Marguerite too happy even to blame Mr. Hope for the carelessness of which they had unjustly accused him. The moral of this story of a young girl's haps and mishaps? Nay
“ 'Twere to cramp its use were I
MY CAMPAIGN IN ARRAGON.
GLIEST village of the plain is Arragon, in an obscure corner
of New York State as ugly as bare-looking white houses and a dusty street can make it; but it boasts a private Water-Cure, and to this retreat was I, Eleanor Bolton, wending my unwilling way, with the undefined fear of not knowing what was before me. Tears rolled down my dusty cheeks, when stranded on the platform at the depot, after a night's journey, I felt like a stray parcel directed to no one in particular; and I dreaded to meet the doctress to whose tender mercies I had been consigned. A huge, masculine woman, my fancy painted her, and my thoughts were dismal enough, when a voice sounded in my ear :
“ This is Miss Bolton, is it not ? And I think she is very tired, and quite ready for her breakfast.”
It was the gentlest of voices; and I turned to see a most prepossessing little face, that looked, in the huge sundown, “like a fly under a cabbage-leaf.” The short figure belonging to the face had something almost childlike in its air, and I wondered if this could be the redoubtable Miss Wood who wrote “M. D." after her name.
“People call me so," was the smiling reply, in answer to my question; “but let me put you into the stage, for you do not look able yet to walk a mile.”
And the diminutive doctress half-lifted me into the ungainly vehicle, in a tender fashion that made me feel quite like an invalid. I could not express my surprise and relief ; but from a certain amused look in my companion's expressive gray eyes, I fancied that she was enjoying both.
The stage lumbered along through clouds of dust, and deposited us in the course of events at "the Cure,”- a plain edifice, with plenty of veranda room, and a few dismal evergreens in front. Strange-looking figures were walking or lounging on the verandas; while some were propped up in large chairs with pillows, to bask in the sunshine like so many lizards.
A general rush was made by this assembly as soon as Miss Wood's head appeared at the stage-door; and her return, after an hour's absence, was an event of general rejoicing, and celebrated with kissings and embracings from people with whom I should not have cared to come into such close contact.
A tall, unearthly-looking man appeared upon the scene, with great cavernous black eyes, long lank hair, and arms that might have measured about three yards, swinging like pendulums. His attire consisted of very loose trousers, a pink-and-white calico shirt, and a straw hat that looked as though in some moment of hunger he had eaten off the edges. I shrank back in dismay at this apparition, as I was not prepared for any men-patients, and Miss Wood hastened to introduce “Uncle Jared, her prime minister, steward, and Jackof-all-trades.”
“Glad to make your acquaintance, Mum," said Uncle Jared, evidently laboring under the impression that the organs of speech were situated in his nose. “Come to doctor awhile at the Cure,'hev
No, I intended to leave all the doctoring to Miss Wood; but before I could frame a suitable answer to this question, I was quite confounded by being asked “if I had elected where my trunk should set?”
I did not expect my much-abused ark to perform the functions of a hen, nor could I see what election had to do with it; but we had reached my room, which happened to be on the ground floor, and Uncle Jared and the stage-driver were struggling with the trunk. I soon "elected" to have my travelling bureau deposited against a door that opened on the veranda, as it would effectually keep out all intruders.
When this had been accomplished, the prime minister lingered to compassionate my loneliness, and inform me that “more folks would be comin' soon, and like as not some one on 'em would turn in with me." I did not think it necessary to tell him that if any one turned in, I should certainly turn out.
Dear little Miss Wood brought my breakfast with her own hands, and quite to my surprise, there was a cup of tea.
"I did not know that you allowed this,” said I, very innocently; “ but I am glad that you do, for when my head aches I always want it - and it aches most of the time."
A peculiar smile flitted over the little woman's face, and as she stroked my hair caressingly, she replied: “We must take this naughty head in hand and teach it to behave better.
But did you ever hear, Miss Bolton, of the tender-hearted man who cut off his dog's tail, cutting a little piece at a time for fear of hurting him too much at once?"
I soon discovered that iny little M. D. was always being “reminded of a story”; but she told them with such an appreciative twinkle in her deep gray eyes, that one became quite reconciled to the fact of having heard them a few times before. I meditated over this dog story, and reached the melancholy conclusion that, as the tail gradually came to an end, so would my tea.
Dinner was at half-past twelve ; and punctually at the moment, a very solemn and rather crushed-looking woman appeared to conduct me to the dining-room. What a bare-looking room it was !- and how many pairs of lack-lustre eyes surveyed me with undisguised curiosity ! There were two tables, and I was led to the one where Miss Wood was not, but Uncle Jared was, with as much pink shirt and as little coat as ever. His style of eating was decidedly unique ; for never before had I seen any human being, except a small boy, who ate from both hands at once.
This feat, however, was accomplished by Miss Wood's prime minister with wonderful dexterity. A store suggestive of famine for the rest of the world was piled up before him, consisting of Graham biscuits and triangles of custard-pie. He ate his way manfully through the biscuits, of which there were about a dozen, by taking one in each hand ; and so with the half-dozen pieces of pie.
Not being able to take kindly to brown biscuits and tough beefsteak, with neither pepper nor salt to redeem it from its flat meaty taste, to say nothing of custard-pie, my favorite aversion, and last year's potatoes and turnips, I had fallen into a waking dream, from which I was suddenly roused by the startling question :
“Where did you originate ?"
Those wild eyes were fixed directly upon me, and the active hands bad paused, with stores suspended, for a reply.
“Where was you raised ? ” pursued my interrogator, as though condescending to my limited powers of mind.
“I came from Philadelphia,” said I, in a manner calculated to quench further inquiries.
The prime-minister remarked deliberately that “he b'lieved Philadelphy was a pretty good place to come from ;” but whether he intended this as a sarcasm, or a tribute of admiration to the city of squares, I was unable to decide.
Tired of saying nothing, I ventured to remark to my next neighbor, a lady attired in a calico wrapper, with short hair, and two of her front teeth gone, that a water-cure was a new phase of life to me.
“Haow ? ” said she, in a tone so sudden and shrill that I felt as though the word had been shot off in my ear.
I found this senseless rejoinder to be quite the fashion in Arragon, as the people all seemed hard of hearing, owing, I suppose, to their being accustomed to such piercing voices; but in this case, not feeling
disposed to carry on a conversation with a woman who talked through her nose and said “haow?” I let the subject drop.
After dinner, I had wandered rather forlornly into the parlor, or sitting-room, as it was invariably called there, when a voice in the next apartment broke forth quite animatedly:
“How do you like the way that Miss Bolton does her hair ? latest style, I s'pose, as she's come di-rect from Philadelphy."
“Look's for all the world like an old hen's nest ! ” was the reply, and the speaker seemed to be washing her face as she spoke. “Should like nothing better than just to twitch that bunch off and hang it onto some bush."
Now, I rather prided myself on my hair, as it was all of my own raising, and quite independent of “ switches” and “braids." I felt disposed to take out every hair-pin on the spot and shower down a refutation of this slander; but I concluded that the game would scarcely be worth the candle.
“What do you think of her ?” continued the first speaker, evidently referring to me.
“Stuck up,” promptly replied the lady who was splashing water about. “Can see it in her face that she thinks the place ain't good enough to hold her."
“My father married one of those affected Philadelphy women for his second wife,” said another, who was rocking violently in a creaking chair," and la ! me —”
This seemed to be considered sufficiently expressive, for some one else remarked :
“Well, I've always rather laid out to go to Philadelphy, amongst other travellin' chores; but I b’lieve the folks there think themselves a little better than the rest of the world. But, my sakes me! Miss Anders, there's my two tumblers settin' right before your eyes, and you've never so much as said boo! to me this blessed hour. She said I was to take 'em every twenty minutes, first one and then t'other; and if I was to be whipped for't I could not say which I'd took last."
“Guess ’twon't make much difference,” was the consoling reply; " they're as like as two peas, and don't taste of anything but water. But there goes the exercise-bell, I declare! I don't think I'll try that trunk-exercise again; it hurt my back this mornin'.”
Could I believe my ears ? Trunk exercise ! Truly, my knowledge of water-cure discipline was small, and my wildest imaginations could not have compassed the lifting of trunks for exercise by invalid women. Probably the performers began with small trunks and advanced gradually, until they could trot off quite comfortably with an ordinary porter's load; but I made a silent vow to myself that I would take none of the initiatory steps.
After tea, Miss Wood came to my room to pronounce sentence upon me; and I began respectfully, but firmly: “ There is one thing that I must altogether decline to attempt. I heard the ladies speak of trunk-exercise". here I glanced at my ark—“but my friends would be very unwilling to have me undertake anything of the kind.”
The little woman followed my glance, and asked very quietly: “What do you suppose the trunk-exercise to be?”