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Title: A Little Girl in Old Boston
Author: Douglas, Amanda Minnie, 1831-1916
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Little Girl in Old Boston" ***

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                     A LITTLE GIRL IN OLD BOSTON

                        By AMANDA M. DOUGLAS



A. L. BURT COMPANY
PUBLISHERS NEW YORK

COPYRIGHT, 1898,
BY DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY.



SALLIE BUFFUM:

     To you, who have been a little girl in later Boston, I inscribe
     this story of another little girl who lived almost a hundred years
     ago, and found life busy and pleasant and full of affection, as I
     hope it will prove to you.

     AMANDA M. DOUGLAS.
     NEWARK, N. J., 1898.



CONTENTS.


        I. DORIS

       II. IN A NEW HOME

      III. AUNT PRISCILLA

       IV. OUT TO TEA

        V. A MORNING AT SCHOOL

       VI. A BIRTHDAY PARTY

      VII. ABOUT A GOWN

     VIII. SINFUL OR NOT?

       IX. WHAT WINTER BROUGHT

        X. CONCERNING MANY THINGS

       XI. A LITTLE CHRISTMAS

      XII. A CHILDREN'S PARTY

     XIII. VARIOUS OPINIONS OF LITTLE GIRLS

      XIV. IN THE SPRING

       XV. A FREEDOM SUIT

      XVI. A SUMMER IN BOSTON

    XVII. ANOTHER GIRL

   XVIII. WINTER AND SORROW

     XIX. THE HIGH RESOLVE OF YOUTH

      XX. A VISITOR FOR DORIS

     XXI. ELIZABETH AND--PEACE

    XXII. CARY ADAMS

   XXIII. THE COST OF WOMANHOOD

    XXIV. THE BLOOM OF LIFE--LOVE



A LITTLE GIRL IN OLD BOSTON



CHAPTER I

DORIS


"I do suppose she is a Papist! The French generally are," said Aunt
Priscilla, drawing her brows in a delicate sort of frown, and sipping
her tea with a spoon that had the London crown mark, and had been buried
early in revolutionary times.

"Why, there were all the Huguenots who emigrated from France for the
sake of worshiping God in their own way rather than that of the Pope. We
Puritans did not take all the free-will," declared Betty spiritedly.

"You are too flippant, Betty," returned Aunt Priscilla severely. "And I
doubt if her father's people had much experimental religion. Then, she
has been living in a very hot-bed of superstition!"

"The cold, dreary Lincolnshire coast! I think it would take a good deal
of zeal to warm me, even if it was superstition."

"And she was in a convent after her mother died! Yes, she is pretty sure
to be a Papist. It seems rather queer that second-cousin Charles should
have remembered her in his will."

"But Charles was his namesake and nephew, the child of his favorite
sister," interposed Mrs. Leverett, glancing deprecatingly at Betty,
pleading with the most beseeching eyes that she should not ruffle Aunt
Priscilla up the wrong way.

"But what is that old ma'shland good for, anyway?" asked Aunt Priscilla.

"Why they are filling in and building docks," said Betty the
irrepressible. "Father thinks by the time she is grown it will be a
handsome fortune."

Aunt Priscilla gave a queer sound that was not a sniff, but had a
downward tendency, as if it was formed of inharmonious consonants. It
expressed both doubt and disapproval.

"But think of the expense and the taxes! You can't put a bit of
improvement on anything but the taxes eat it up. I want my hall door
painted, and the cornishes,"--Aunt Priscilla always would pronounce it
that way,--"but I mean to wait until the assessor has been round. It's
the best time to paint in cool weather, too. I can't afford to pay a man
for painting and then pay the city for the privilege."

No one controverted Mrs. Perkins. She broke off her bread in bits and
sipped her tea.

"Why didn't they give her some kind of a Christian name?" she began
suddenly. "Don't you suppose it is French for the plain, old-fashioned,
sensible name of Dorothy?"

Betty laughed. "Oh, Aunt Priscilla, it's pure Greek. Doris and Phyllis
and Chloe----"

"Phyllis and Chloe are regular nigger names," with the utmost disdain.

"But Greek, all the same. Ask Uncle Winthrop."

"Well, I shall call her Dorothy. I'm neither Greek nor Latin nor a
college professor. There's no law against my being sensible,
fursisee"--which really meant "far as I see." "And the idea of
appointing Winthrop Adams her guardian! I did think second-cousin
Charles had more sense. Winthrop thinks of nothing but books and going
back to the Creation of the World, just as if the Lord couldn't have
made things straight in the beginning without his help. I dare say he
will find out what language they talked before the dispersion of Babel.
People are growing so wise nowadays, turning the Bible inside out!" and
she gave her characteristic sniff. "I'll have another cup of tea,
Elizabeth. Now that we're through with the war, and settled solid-like
with a President at the helm, we can look forward to something
permanent, and comfort ourselves that it was worth trying for. Still,
I've often thought of that awful waste of tea in Boston harbor. Seems as
though they might have done something else with it. Tea will keep a good
long while. And all that wretched stuff we used to drink and call it
Liberty tea!"

"I don't know as we regret many of the sacrifices, though it came harder
on the older people. We have a good deal to be proud of," said Mrs.
Leverett.

"And a grandfather who was at Bunker Hill," appended Betty.

Aunt Priscilla never quite knew where she belonged. She had come over
with the Puritans, at least her ancestors had, but then there had been a
title in the English branch; and though she scoffed a little, she had
great respect for royalty, and secretly regretted they had not called
the head of the government by a more dignified appellation than
President. Her mother had been a Church of England member, but rather
austere Mr. Adams believed that wives were to submit themselves to their
husbands in matters of belief as well as aught else. Then Priscilla
Adams, at the age of nineteen, had wedded the man of her father's
choice, Hatfield Perkins, who was a stanch upholder of the Puritan
faith. Priscilla would have enjoyed a little foolish love-making, and
she had a carnal hankering for fine gowns; and, oh, how she did long to
dance in her youth, when she was slim and light-footed!

In spite of all, she had been a true Puritan outwardly, and had a little
misgiving that the prayers of the Church were vain repetitions, the
organ wickedly frivolous, and the ringing of bells suggestive of popery.
There had been no children, and a bad fall had lamed her husband so that
volunteering for a soldier was out of the question, but he had assisted
with his means; and some twelve years before this left his widow in
comfortable circumstances for the times.

She kept to her plain dress, although it was rich; and her housemaid was
an elderly black woman who had been a slave in her childhood. She
devoted a good deal of thought as to who should inherit her property
when she was done with it. For those she held in the highest esteem were
elderly like herself, and the young people were flighty and extravagant
and despised the good old ways of prudence and thrift.

They were having early tea at Mrs. Leverett's. Aunt Priscilla's mother
had been half-sister to Mrs. Leverett's mother. In the old days of large
families nearly everyone came to be related. It was always very cozy in
Sudbury Street, and Foster Leverett was in the ship chandlery trade.
Aunt Priscilla _did_ love a good cup of tea. Whether the quality was
finer, or there was some peculiar art in brewing it, she could never
quite decide; or whether the social cream of gentle Elizabeth Leverett,
and the spice of Betty, added to the taste and heightened the flavor
beyond her solitary cup.

Early October had already brought chilling airs when evening set in. A
century or so ago autumn had the sharpness of coming winter in the early
morning and after sundown. There was a cheerful wood fire on the
hearth, and its blaze lighted the room sufficiently, as the red light of
the sunset poured through a large double window.

The house had a wide hall through the center that was really the
keeping-room. The chimney stood about halfway down, a great stone affair
built out in the room, tiled about with Scriptural scenes, with two
tiers of shelves above, whereon were ranged the family heirlooms--so
high, indeed, that a stool had to be used to stand on when they were
dusted. Just below this began a winding staircase with carved spindles
and a mahogany rail and newel, considered quite an extravagance in that
day.

This lower end was the living part. In one of the corners was built the
buffet, while a door opposite led into the wide kitchen. Across the back
was a porch where shutters were hung in the winter to keep out the cold.

The great dining table was pushed up against the wall. The round tea
table was set out and the three ladies were having their tea, quite a
common custom when there was a visitor, as the men folk were late coming
in and a little uncertain.

On one side the hall opened in two large, well-appointed rooms. On the
other were the kitchen and "mother's room," where, when the children
were little, there had been a cradle and a trundle bed. But one son and
two daughters were married; one son was in his father's warehouse, and
was now about twenty; the next baby boy had died; and Betty, the
youngest, was sixteen, pretty, and a little spoiled, of course. Yet Aunt
Priscilla had a curious fondness for her, which she insisted to herself
was very reprehensible, since Betty was such a feather-brained girl.

"It is to be hoped the ship did get in to-day," Aunt Priscilla began
presently. "If there's anything I hate, it's being on tenterhooks."

"She was spoken this morning. There's always more or less delay with
pilots and tides and what not," replied Mrs. Leverett.

"The idea of sending a child like that alone! The weather has been fine,
but we don't know how it was on the ocean."

"Captain Grier is a friend of Uncle Win's, you know," appended Betty.

"Betty, do try and call your relatives by their proper names. An elderly
man, too! It does sound so disrespectful! Young folks of to-day seem to
have no regard for what is due other people. Oh----"

There was a kind of stamping and shuffling on the porch, and the door
was flung open, letting in a gust of autumnal air full of spicy odors
from the trees and vines outside. Betty sprang up, while her mother
followed more slowly. There were her father and her brother Warren, and
the latter had by the hand the little girl who had crossed the ocean to
come to the famous city of the New World, Boston. Almost two hundred
years before an ancestor had crossed from old Boston, in the ship
_Arabella_, and settled here, taking his share of pilgrim hardships.
Doris' father, when a boy, had been sent back to England to be adopted
as the heir of a long line. But the old relative married and had two
sons of his own, though he did well by the boy, who went to France and
married a pretty French girl. After seven years of unbroken happiness
the sweet young wife had died. Then little Doris, six years of age, had
spent two years in a convent. From there her father had taken her to
Lincolnshire and placed her with two elderly relatives, while he was
planning and arranging his affairs to come back to America with his
little daughter. But one night, being out with a sailing party, a sudden
storm had caught them and swept them out of life in an instant.

Second-cousin Charles Adams had been in correspondence with him, and
advised him to return. Being in feeble health, he had included him and
his heirs in his will, appointing his nephew Winthrop Adams executor,
and died before the news of the death of his distant relative had
reached him. The Lincolnshire ladies were too old to have the care and
rearing of a child, so Mr. Winthrop Adams had sent by Captain Grier to
bring over the little girl. Her father's estate, not very large, was in
money and easily managed. And now little Doris was nearing ten.

"Oh!" cried Betty, hugging the slim figure in the red camlet cloak, and
peering into the queer big hat tied down over her ears with broad
ribbons that, what with the big bow and the wide rim, almost hid her
face; but she saw two soft lovely eyes and cherry-red lips that she
kissed at once, though kissing had not come in fashion to any great
extent, and was still considered by many people rather dubious if not
positively sinful.

"Oh, little Doris, welcome to Boston and the United Colonies and the
whole of America! Let me see how you look," and she untied the wide
strings.

The head that emerged was covered with fair curling hair; the complexion
was clear, but a little wind-burned from her long trip; the eyes were
very dark, but of the deepest, softest blue, that suggested twilight.
There was a dimple in the dainty chin, and the mouth had a
half-frightened, half-wistful smile.

"Captain Grier will send up her boxes to-morrow. They got aground and
were delayed. I began to think they would have to stay out all night.
The captain will bring up a lot of papers for Winthrop, and everything,"
explained Mr. Leverett. "Are you cold, little one?"

Doris gave a great shiver as her cloak was taken off, but it was more
nervousness than cold, and the glances of the strange faces. Then she
walked straight to the fireplace.

"Oh, what a beautiful fire!" she exclaimed. "No, I am not cold"--and the
wistful expression wandered from one to the other.

"This is my daughter Betty, and this is--why, you may as well begin by
saying Aunt Elizabeth at once. How are you, Aunt Priscilla? This is our
little French-English girl, but I hope she will turn into a stanch
Boston girl. Now, mother, let's have a good supper. I'm hungry as a
wolf."

Doris caught Betty's hand again and pressed it to her cheek. The smiling
face won her at once.

"Did you have a pleasant voyage?" asked Mrs. Leverett, as she was piling
up the cups and saucers, and paused to smile at the little stranger.

"There were some storms, and I was afraid then. It made me think of
papa. But there was a good deal of sunshine. And I was quite ill at
first, but the captain was very nice, and Mrs. Jewett had two little
girls, so after a while we played together. And then I think we forgot
all about being at sea--it was so like a house, except there were no
gardens or fields and trees."

Mrs. Leverett went out to the kitchen, and soon there was the savory
smell of frying sausage. Betty placed Doris in a chair by the chimney
corner and began to rearrange the table. Warren went out to the kitchen
and, as by the farthest window there was a sort of high bench with a tin
basin, a pail of water, and a long roller towel, he began to wash his
face and hands, telling his mother meanwhile the occurrences of the last
two or three hours.

Aunt Priscilla drew up her chair and surveyed the little traveler with
some curiosity. She was rather shocked that the child was not dressed in
mourning, and now she discovered, that her little gown was of brocaded
silk and much furbelowed, at which she frowned severely.

True, her father had been dead more than a year; but her being an orphan
made it seem as if she should still be in the depths of woe. And she had
earrings and a brooch in the lace tucker. She gave her sniff--it was
very wintry and contemptuous.

"I suppose that's the latest French fashion," she said sharply. "If I
lived in England I should just despise French clothes."

"Oh," said Doris, "do you mean my gown? Miss Arabella made it for me.
When she was a young lady she went up to London to see the king crowned,
and they had a grand ball, and this was one of the gowns she had--not
the ball dress, for that was white satin with roses sprinkled over it.
She's very old now, and she gave that to her cousin for a wedding dress.
And she made this over for me. I got some tar on my blue stuff gown
yesterday, and the others were so thin Mrs. Jewett thought I had better
put on this, but it is my very best gown."

The artless sincerity and the soft sweet voice quite nonplused Aunt
Priscilla. Then Warren returned and dropped on a three-cornered stool
standing there, and almost tilted over.

"Now, if I had gone into the fire, like any other green log, how I
should have sizzled!" he said laughingly.

"Oh, I am so glad you didn't!" exclaimed Doris in affright. Then she
smiled softly.

"Does it seem queer to be on land again?"

"Yes. I want to rock to and fro." She made a pretty movement with her
slender body, and nodded her head.

"Are you very tired?"

"Oh, no."

"You were out five weeks."

"Is that a long while? I was homesick at first. I wanted to see Miss
Arabella and Barby. Miss Henrietta is--is--not right in her mind, if you
can understand. And she is very old. She just sits in her chair all day
and mumbles. She was named for a queen--Henrietta Maria."

Aunt Priscilla gave a disapproving sniff.

"Supper's ready," said Mr. Leverett. "Come."

Warren took the small stranger by the hand, and she made a little
courtesy, quite as if she were a grown lady.

"What an airy little piece of vanity!" thought Aunt Priscilla. "And
whatever will Winthrop Adams do with her, and no woman about the house
to train her!"

Betty came and poured tea for her father and Warren. Mr. Leverett piled
up her plate, but, although the viands had an appetizing fragrance,
Doris was not hungry. Everything was so new and strange, and she could
not get the motion of the ship out of her head. But the pumpkin pie was
delicious. She had never tasted anything like it.

"You'll soon be a genuine Yankee girl," declared Warren. "Pumpkin pie is
the test."

Mr. Leverett and his son did full justice to the supper. Then he had to
go out to a meeting. There were some clouds drifting over the skies of
the new country, and many discussions as to future policy.

"So, Aunt Priscilla, I'll beau you home," said he; "unless you have a
mind to stay all night, or want a young fellow like Warren."

"You're plenty old enough to be sensible, Foster Leverett," she returned
sharply. She would have enjoyed a longer stay and was curious about the
newcomer, but when Betty brought her hat and shawl she said a stiff
good-night to everybody and went out with her escort.

Betty cleared away the tea things, wiped the dishes for her mother and
then took a place beside Warren, who was very much interested in hearing
the little girl talk. There was a good deal of going back and forth to
England although the journey seemed so long, but it was startling to
have a child sitting by the fireside, here in his father's house, who
had lived in both France and England. She had an odd little accent, too,
but it gave her an added daintiness. She remembered her convent life
very well, and her stay in Paris with her father. It seemed strange to
him that she could talk so tranquilly about her parents, but there had
been so many changes in her short life, and her father had been away
from her so much!

"It always seemed to me as if he must come back again," she said with a
serious little sigh, "as if he was over in France or down in London. It
is so strange to have anyone go away forever that I think you can't take
it in somehow. And Miss Arabella was always so good. She said if she had
been younger she should never have agreed to my coming. And all papa's
relatives were here, and someone who wrote to her and settled about the
journey."

She glanced up inquiringly.

"Yes. That's Uncle Winthrop Adams. He isn't an own uncle, but it seems
somehow more respectful to call him uncle. Mr. Adams would sound queer.
And he will be your guardian."

"A--guardian?"

"Well, he has the care of the property left to your father. There is a
house that is rented, and a great plot of ground. Cousin Charles owned
so much land, and he never was married, so it had to go round to the
cousins. He was very fond of your father as a little boy. And Uncle
Winthrop seems the proper person to take charge of you."

Doris sighed. She seemed always being handed from one to another.

She was sitting on the stool now, and when Betty slipped into the vacant
chair she put her arm over the child's shoulder in a caressing manner.

"Do you mean--that I would have to go and live with him?" she asked
slowly.

Warren laughed. "I declare I don't know what Uncle Win would do with a
little girl! Miss Recompense Gardiner keeps the house, and she's as prim
as the crimped edge of an apple pie. And there is only Cary."

"Cary is at Harvard--at college," explained Betty. "And, then, he is
going to Europe for a tour. Uncle Win teaches some classes, and is a
great Greek and Latin scholar, and translates from the poets, and reads
and studies--is a regular bookworm. His wife has been dead ever since
Cary was a baby."

"I wish I could stay here," said Doris, and, reaching up, she clasped
her arms around Betty's neck. "I like your father, and your mother has
such a sweet voice, and you--and him," nodding her head over to Warren.
"And since that--the other lady--doesn't live here----"

"Aunt Priscilla," laughed Betty. "I think she improves on acquaintance.
Her bark is worse than her bite. When I was a little girl I thought her
just awful, and never wanted to go there. Now I quite like it. I spend
whole days with her. But I shouldn't spend a night in praying that
Providence would send her to live with us. I'd fifty times rather have
you, you dear little midget. And, when everything is settled, I am of
the opinion you will live with us, for a while at least."

"I shall be so glad," in a joyous, relieved tone.

"Then if Uncle Win should ask you, don't be afraid of anybody, but just
say you want to stay here. That will settle it unless he thinks you
ought to go to school. But there are nice enough schools in Boston. And
I am glad you want to stay. I've wished a great many times that I had a
little sister. I have two, married. One lives over at Salem and one ever
so far away at Hartford. And I am Aunt Betty. I have five nephews and
four nieces. And you never can have any, you solitary little girl!"

"I think I don't mind if I can have you."

"This is love at first sight. I've never been in love before, though I
have some girl friends. And being in love means living with someone and
wanting them all the time, and a lot of sweet, foolish stuff. What a
silly girl I am! Well--you are to be my little sister."

Oh, how sweet it was to find home and affection and welcome! Doris had
not thought much about it, but now she was suddenly, unreasonably glad.
She laid her head down on Betty's knee and looked at the dancing flames,
the purples and misty grays, the scarlets and blues and greens, all
mingling, then sending long arrowy darts that ran back and hid behind
the logs before you could think.

Mrs. Leverett kneaded her bread and stirred up her griddle cakes for
morning. It was early in the season to start with them, but with the
first cold whiff Mr. Leverett began to beg for them. Then she fixed her
fire, turned down her sleeves, took off the big apron that covered all
her skirt, and rejoined the three by the fireside.

"That child has gone fast asleep," she exclaimed, looking at her. "Poor
thing, I dare say she is all tired out! And, man-like, your father never
thought of her nightgown or anything to put on in the morning, and
that silk is nothing for a child to wear. I saw that it shocked Aunt
Priscilla."

"And she told the story of it so prettily. It is a lovely thing--and to
think it has been to London to see the king!"

"You must take her in your bed, Betty."

"Oh, of course. Mother, don't you suppose Uncle Win will consent to her
staying here? I want her."

"It would be a good thing for you to have someone to look after, Betty.
It would help steady you and give you some sense of responsibility. The
youngest child always gets spoiled. Your father was speaking of it. I
can't imagine a child in Uncle Winthrop's household."

Betty laughed. "Nor in Aunt Priscilla's," she appended.

"Poor little thing! How pretty she is. And what a long journey to
take--and to come among strangers! Yes, she must go to bed at once."

"I'll carry her upstairs," said Warren.

"Nonsense!" protested his mother.

But he did for all that, and when he laid her on Betty's cold bed she
roused and smiled, and suffered herself to be made ready for slumber.
Then she slipped down on her knees, and said "Our Father in Heaven" in
soft, sleepy French. Her mother had taught her that. And in English she
repeated:

"Now I lay me down to sleep," in remembrance of her father, and kissed
Betty. But she had hardly touched the pillow when she was asleep again
in her new home, Boston.



CHAPTER II

IN A NEW HOME


The sun was shining when Doris opened her eyes, and she rubbed them to
make sure she was not dreaming. There was no motion, and her bed was so
soft and wide. She sat up straight, half-startled, and she seemed in a
well of fluffy feathers. There were two white curtained windows and a
straight splint chair at each one, with a queer little knob on the top
of the post that suggested a sprite from some of the old legends she had
been used to hearing.

What enchantment had transported her thither? Oh, yes--she had been
brought to Cousin Leverett's, she remembered now; and, oh, how sleepy
she had been last night as she sat by the warm, crackling fire!

"Well, little Doris!" exclaimed a fresh, wholesome voice, with a
laughing sound back of it.

"Oh, you are Betty! It is like a dream. I could not think where I was at
first. And this bed is so high. It's like Miss Arabella's with the
curtains around it. And at home I had a little pallet--just a low,
straight bed almost like a bench, with no curtains. You slept here with
me?"

"Yes. It is my bed and my room. And it was delightful to have you last
night. I think you never stirred. My niece Elizabeth was here in the
summer from Salem, and after two nights I turned her out--she kicked
unmercifully, and I couldn't endure it. Now, do you want to get up?"

"Oh, yes. Must I jump out or just slip."

"Here is a stool."

But Doris had slipped and come down on a rug of woven rags almost as
soft as Persian pile. Her nightdress fell about her in a train; it was
Betty's, and she looked like a slim white wraith.

"Now I will help you dress. Here is a gown of mine that I outgrew when I
was a little girl, and it was so nice mother said it should be saved for
Elizabeth. We call her that because my other sister Electa has a
daughter she calls Bessy. They are both named after mother. And so am I,
but I have always been called Betty. So many of one name are confusing.
But yours is so pretty and odd. I never knew a girl called Doris."

"I am glad you like it," said Doris simply. "It was papa's choice. My
mother's name was Jacqueline."

"That is very French."

"And that is my name, too. But Doris is easier to say."

Betty had been helping her dress. The blue woolen gown was not any too
long, but, oh, it was worlds too wide! They both laughed.

"_I_ wasn't such a slim little thing. See here, I will pin a plait over
in front, and that will help it. Now that does nicely. And you must be
choice of that beautiful brocade. What a pity that you will outgrow it!
It would make such a splendid gown when you go to parties. I've never
had a silk gown," and Betty sighed.

They went downstairs. It would seem queer enough now to attend to one's
toilet in the corner of the kitchen, but it was quite customary then. In
Mrs. Leverett's room there were a washing stand with a white cloth, and
a china bowl and ewer in dark blue flowers on a white ground, picked out
with gilt edges. The bowl had scallops around the edge, and the ewer was
tall and slim. There were a soap dish and a small pitcher, and they
looked beautiful on the thick white cloth, that was fringed all around.
It had been brought over from England by Mrs. Leverett's grandmother,
and was esteemed very highly, and had been promised to Betty for her
name. But Mrs. Leverett would have considered it sacrilege to use it.

It is true, many houses now began to have wash rooms, which were very
nice in summer, but of small account in winter, when the water froze so
easily, unless you could have a fire.

When people sigh for the good old times they forget the hardships and
the inconveniences.

Doris brushed out her hair and curled it in a twinkling; then she had
some breakfast. Mrs. Leverett was baking bread and making pies and a
large cake full of raisins that Betty had seeded, which went by the name
of election cake.

The kitchen was a great cheery place with some sunny windows and a big
oven built at one side, a capacious working table, a dresser, some
wooden chairs, and a yellow-painted floor. The kitchen opened into
mother's room as well as the hall.

Doris sat and watched both busy women. At Miss Arabella's they had an
old serving maid and the kitchen was not a place of tidiness and beauty.
It had a hard dirt floor, and Barby sat out of doors in the sunshine to
do whatever work she could take out there, and often washed and dried
her dishes when the weather was pleasant.

But here the houses were close enough to smile at each other. After the
great spaces these yards seemed small, but there were trees and vines,
and Mrs. Leverett had quite a garden spot, where she raised all manner
of sweet herbs and some vegetables. Mr. Leverett had a shop over on Ann
Street, and attended steadily to his business, early and late, as men
did at that time.

The dining table was set out at noon, and soon after twelve o'clock the
two men made their appearance.

"Let me look at you," said Mr. Leverett, taking both of Doris' small
hands. "I hardly saw you yesterday. You were buried in that big hat, and
it was getting so dark. You have not much Adams about you, neither do
you look French."

"Miss Arabella always said I looked like papa. There is a picture of him
in my box. He had dark-blue eyes."

"Well, yours would pass for black. Do they snap when you get out of
temper?"

Doris colored and cast them down.

"Don't tease her," interposed Mrs. Leverett. "She is not going to get
angry. It is a bad thing for little girls."

"I don't remember much of anything about your father. Both of your aunts
are dead. You have one cousin somewhere--Margaret's husband married and
went South--to Virginia, didn't he? Well, there is no end of Adams
connection even if some of them have different names. Captain Grier
dropped into the warehouse with a tin box of papers, and your things are
to be sent this afternoon. He is coming up this evening, and I've sent
for Uncle Win to come over to supper. Then I suppose the child's fate
will be settled, and she'll be a regular Boston girl."

"I do wonder if Uncle Win will let her stay here? Mother and I have
decided that it is the best place."

"Do _you_ think it a good place?"

He turned so suddenly to Doris that her face was scarlet with
embarrassment.

"It's splendid," she said when she caught her breath. "I should like to
stay. And Aunt Elizabeth will teach me to make pies."

"Well, pies are pretty good things, according to my way of thinking.
There's lots for little girls to learn, though I dare say Uncle Win will
think it can all come out of a book."

"Some of it might come out of a cookbook," said Betty demurely.

"Your mother's the best cookbook I know about--good enough for anyone."

"But we can't send mother all round the world."

"We just don't want to," said Warren.

Mrs. Leverett smiled. She was proud of her ability in the culinary line.

Mr. Leverett looked at Doris presently. "Come, come," he began
good-naturedly, "this will never do! You are not eating enough to keep a
bird alive. No wonder you are so thin!"

"But I ate a great deal of breakfast," explained Doris with naïve
honesty.

"And you are not homesick?"

Doris thought a moment. "I don't want to go away, if that is what you
mean."

"Yes, that's about it," nodding humorously.

Warren thought her the quaintest, prettiest child he had ever seen, but
he hardly knew what to say to her.

When the men had eaten and gone, the dishes were soon washed up, and
then mother and daughter brought their sewing. Mrs. Leverett was mending
Warren's coat. Betty darned a small pile of stockings, and then she took
out some needlework. She had begun her next summer's white gown, and she
meant to do it by odd spells, especially when Aunt Priscilla, who would
lecture her on so much vanity, was not around.

Mrs. Leverett gently questioned Doris--she was not an aggressive woman,
nor unduly curious. No, Doris had not sewed much. Barby always darned
the stockings, and Miss Easter had come to make whatever clothes she
needed. She used to go to Father Langhorne and recite, and Mrs. Leverett
wondered whether she and the father both were Roman Catholics. What did
she study? Oh, French and a little Latin, and she was reading history
and "Paradise Lost," but she didn't like sums, and she could make pillow
lace. Miss Arabella made beautiful pillow lace, and sometimes the grand
ladies came in carriages and paid her ever so much money for it.

And presently dusk began to mingle with the golden touches of sunset,
and Mrs. Leverett went to make biscuit and fry some chicken, and Uncle
Winthrop came at the same moment that a man on a dray brought an
old-fashioned chest and carried it upstairs to Betty's room. But Betty
had already attired Doris in her silk gown.

Doris liked Uncle Winthrop at once, although he was so different from
Uncle Leverett, who wore all around his face a brownish-red beard that
seemed to grow out of his neck, and had tumbled hair and a somewhat
weather-beaten face. Mr. Winthrop Adams was two good inches taller and
stood up very straight in spite of his being a bookworm. His complexion
was fair and rather pale, his features were of the long, slender type,
which his beard, worn in the Vandyke style, intensified. His hair was
light and his eyes were a grayish blue, and he had a refined and gentle
expression.

"So this is our little traveler," he said. "Your father was somewhat
older, perhaps, when we bade him good-by, but I have often thought of
him. We corresponded a little off and on. And I am glad to be able to do
all that I can for his child."

Doris glanced up, feeling rather shy, and wondering what she ought to
say, but in the next breath Betty had said it all, even to declaring
laughingly that as Doris had come to them they meant to keep her.

"Doris," he said softly. "Doris. You have a poetical name. And you are
poetical-looking."

She wondered what the comparison meant. "Paradise Lost" was so grand it
tired her. Oh, there was the old volume of Percy's "Reliques." Did he
mean like some of the sweet little things in that? Miss Arabella had
said it wasn't quite the thing for a child to read, and had taken it
away until she grew older.

Uncle Winthrop took her hand again--a small, slim hand; and his was
slender as well. No real physical work had hardened it. He dropped into
the high-backed chair beside the fireplace, and, putting his arm about
her, drew her near to his side. Uncle Leverett would have taken her on
his knee if he had been moved by an impulse like that, but he was used
to children and grandchildren, and the bookish man was not.

"It is a great change to you," he said in his low tone, which had a
fascination for her. "Was Miss Arabella--were there any young people in
the old Lincolnshire house?"

"Oh, no. Miss Henrietta was very, very old, but then she had lost her
mind and forgotten everybody. And Miss Arabella had snowy white hair and
a sweet wrinkled face."

"Did you go to school?"

"There wasn't any school except a dame's school for very little
children. I used to go twice a week to Father Langhorne and read and
write and do sums."

"Then we will have to educate you. Do you think you would like to go to
school?"

"I don't know." She hung her head a little, and it gave her a still more
winsome expression. There was an indescribable charm about her.

"What did you read with this father?"

"We read 'Paradise Lost' and some French. And I had begun Latin."

Winthrop Adams gave a soft, surprised whistle. By the firelight he
looked her over critically. Prodigies were not to his taste, and a girl
prodigy would be an abhorrence. But her face had a sweet unconcern that
reassured him.

"And did you like it--'Paradise Lost'?"

"I think I did--not," returned Doris with hesitating frankness. "I liked
the verses in Percy's 'Reliques' better. I like verses that rhyme, that
you can sing to yourself."

"Ah! And how about the sums?"

"I didn't like them at all. But Miss Arabella said the right things were
often hard, and the easy things----"

"Well, what is the fault of the easy things that we all like, and ought
not to like?"

"They were not so good for anyone--though I don't see why. They are
often very pleasant."

He laughed then, but some intuition told her he liked pleasant things as
well.

"What do you do in such a case?"

"I did the sums. It was the right thing to do. And I studied Latin,
though Miss Arabella said it was of no use to a girl."

"And the French?"

"Oh, I learned French when I was very little and had mamma, and when I
was in the convent, too. But papa talked English, so I had them both.
Isn't it strange that afterward you have to learn so much about them,
and how to make right sentences, and why they are right. It seems as if
there were a great many things in the world to learn. Betty doesn't know
half of them, and she's as sweet as----Oh, I think the wisest person in
the world couldn't be any sweeter."

Winthrop Adams smiled at the eager reasoning. Betty was a bright, gay
girl. What occult quality was sweetness? And Doris had been in a
convent. That startled him the first moment. The old strict bitterness
and narrowness of Puritanism had been softened and refined away. The
people who had banished Quakers had for a long while tolerated Roman
Catholics. He had known Father Matignon, and enjoyed the scholarly and
well-trained John Cheverus, who had lately been consecrated bishop. The
Protestants had even been generous to their brethren of another faith
when they were building their church. As for himself he was a rather
stiff Church of England man, if he could be called stiff about anything.

"And--did you like the convent?" he asked, after a pause, in which he
generously made up his mind he would not interfere with her religious
belief.

"It's so long ago"--with a half-sigh. "I was very sad at first, and
missed mamma. Papa had to go away somewhere and couldn't take me. Yes, I
liked sister Thérèse very much. Mamma was a Huguenot, you know."

"You see, I really do not know anything about her, and have known very
little about your father since he was a small boy."

"A small boy! How queer that seems," and she gave a tender, rippling
laugh. "Then you can tell me about him. He used to come to the convent
once in a while, and when he was ready to go to England he took me. Yes,
I was sorry to leave Sister Thérèse and Sister Clare. There were some
little girls, too. And then we went to Lincolnshire. Miss Arabella was
very nice, and Barby was so queer and funny--at first I could hardly
understand her. And then we went to a pretty little church where they
didn't count beads nor pray to the Virgin nor Saints. But it was a good
deal like. It was the Church of England. I suppose it had to be
different from the Church of France."

"Yes." He drew her a little closer. That was a bond of sympathy between
them. And just then Uncle Leverett and Warren came in, and there was a
shaking of hands, and Uncle Leverett said:

"Well, I declare! The sight of you, Win, is good for sore eyes--well
ones, too."

"I am rather remiss in a social way, I must confess. I'll try to do
better. The years fly around so, I have always felt sorry that I saw so
little of Cousin Charles until that last sad year."

"It takes womenkind to keep up sociability. Charles and you might as
well have been a couple of old bachelors."

Uncle Win gave his soft half-smile, which was really more of an
indication than a smile.

"Come to supper now," said Mrs. Leverett.

Doris kept hold of Uncle Win's hand until she reached her place. He went
around to the other side of the table. She decided she liked him very
much. She liked almost everybody: the captain had been so friendly, and
Mrs. Jewett and some of the ladies on board the vessel so kind. But
Betty and Uncle Win went to the very first place with her.

The elders had all the conversation, and it seemed about some coming
trouble to the country that she did not understand. She knew there had
been war in France and various other European countries. Little girls
were not very well up in geography in those days, but they did learn a
good deal listening to their elders.

They were hardly through supper when Captain Grier came with the very
japanned box papa had brought over from France and placed in Miss
Arabella's care. His name was on it--"Charles Winthrop Adams." Oh, and
that was Uncle Win's name, too! Surely, they _were_ relations! Doris
experienced a sense of gladness.

Betty brought out a table standing against the wainscot. You touched a
spring underneath, and the circular side came up and made a flat top.
The captain took a small key out of a curious long leathern purse, and
Uncle Win unlocked the box and spread out the papers. There was the
marriage certificate of Jacqueline Marie de la Maur and Charles Winthrop
Adams, and the birth and baptismal record of Doris Jacqueline de la Maur
Adams, and ever so many other records and letters.

Mr. Winthrop Adams gave the captain a receipt for them, and thanked him
cordially for all his care and attention to his little niece.

"She was a pretty fair sailor after the first week," said the captain
with a twinkle in his eye. He was very much wrinkled and weather-beaten,
but jolly and good-humored. "And now, sissy, I'm glad you're safe with
your folks, and I hope you'll grow up into a nice clever woman. 'Taint
no use wishin' you good looks, for you're purty as a pink now--one of
them rather palish kind. But you'll soon have red cheeks."

Doris had very red cheeks for a moment. Betty leaned over to her
brother, and whispered:

"What a splendid opportunity lost! Aunt Priscilla ought to be here to
say, 'Handsome is as handsome does.'"

Then Captain Grier shook hands all round and took his departure.

Afterward the two men discussed business about the little girl. There
must be another trustee, and papers must be taken out for guardianship.
They would go to the court-house, say at eleven to-morrow, and put
everything in train.

Betty took out some knitting. It was a stocking of fine linen thread,
and along the instep it had a pretty openwork pattern that was like lace
work.

"That is to wear with slippers," she explained to Doris. "But it's a
sight of work. 'Lecty had six pairs when she was married. That's my
second sister, Mrs. King. She lives in Hartford. I want to go and make
her a visit this winter."

Mrs. Leverett's stocking was of the more useful kind, blue-gray yarn,
thick and warm, for her husband's winter wear. She did not have to count
stitches and make throws, and take up two here and three there.

"Warren," said his mother, when he had poked the fire until she was on
'pins and needles,'--they didn't call it nervous then,--"Warren, I am
'most out of corn. I wish you'd go shell some."

"The hens do eat an awful lot, seems to me. Why, I shelled only a few
nights ago."

"I touched bottom when I gave them the last feed this afternoon. By
spring we won't have so many," nodding in a half-humorous fashion.

"Don't you want to come out and see me? You don't have any Indian corn
growing in England, I've heard."

"Did it belong to the Indians?" asked Doris.

"I rather guess it did, in the first instance. But now we plant it for
ourselves. _We_ don't, because father sold the two-acre lot, and they're
bringing a street through. So now we have only the meadow."

Doris looked at the uncles, but she couldn't understand a word they were
saying.

"Come!" Warren held out his hand.

"Put the big kitchen apron round her, Warren," said Betty, thinking of
her silk gown.

He tied the apron round her neck and brought back the strings round her
waist, so she was all covered. Then he found her a low chair, and poked
the kitchen fire, putting on a pine log to make a nice blaze. He brought
out from the shed a tub and a basket of ears of corn. Across the tub he
laid the blade of an old saw and then sat on the end to keep it firm.

"Now you'll see business. Maybe you've never seen any corn before?"

She looked over in the basket, and then took up an ear with a mysterious
expression.

"It won't bite you," he said laughingly.

"But how queer and hard, with all these little points," pinching them
with her dainty fingers.

"Grains," he explained. "And a husk grows on the outside to keep it
warm. When the winter is going to be very cold the husk is very thick."

"Will this winter be cold?"

"Land alive! yes. Winters always _are_ cold."

Warren settled himself and drew the ear across the blade. A shower of
corn rattled down on the bottom of the tub.

"Oh! is that the way you peel it off?"

He threw his head back and laughed.

"Oh, you Englisher! We _shell_ it off."

"Well, it peels too. You peel a potato and an apple with a knife blade.
Oh, what a pretty white core!"

"Cob. We Americans are adding new words to the language. A core has
seeds in it. There, see how soft it is."

Doris took it in her hand and then laid her cheek against it. "Oh, how
soft and fuzzy it is!" she cried. "And what do you do with it?"

"We don't plant that part of it. That core has no seeds. You have to
plant a grain like this. The little clear point we call a heart, and
that sprouts and grows. This is a good use for the cob."

He had finished another, which he tossed into the fire. A bright blaze
seemed to run over it all at once and die down. Then the small end
flamed out and the fire crept along in a doubtful manner until it was
all covered again.

"They're splendid to kindle the fire with. And pine cones. America has
lots of useful things."

"But they burn cones in France. I like the spicy smell. It's queer
though," wrinkling her forehead. "Did the Indians know about corn the
first?"

"That is the general impression unless America was settled before the
Indians. Uncle Win has his head full of these things and is writing a
book. And there is tobacco that Sir Walter Raleigh carried home from
Virginia."

"Oh, I know about Sir Walter and Queen Elizabeth."

"He was a splendid hero. I think people are growing tame now; there are
no wars except Indian skirmishes."

"Why, Napoleon is fighting all the time."

"Oh, that doesn't count," declared the young man with a lofty air. "We
had some magnificent heroes in the Revolution. There are lots of places
for you to see. Bunker Hill and Lexington and Concord and the
headquarters of Washington and Lafayette. The French were real good to
us, though we have had some scrimmages with them. And now that you are
to be a Boston girl----"

"But I was in Old Boston before," and she laughed. "Very old Boston,
that is so far back no one can remember, and it was called Ikanhoe,
which means Boston. There is the old church and the abbey that St.
Botolph founded. They came over somewhere in six hundred, and were
missionaries from France--St. Botolph and his brother."

"Whew!" ejaculated Warren with a long whistle, looking up at the little
girl as if she were hundreds of years old.

Betty opened the door. "Uncle Win is going," she announced. "Come and
say good-by to him."

He was standing up with the box of papers in his hand, and saying:

"I must have you all over to tea some night, and Doris must come and see
my old house. And I have a big boy like Warren. Yes, we must be a little
more friendly, for life is short at the best. And you are to stay here a
while with good Cousin Elizabeth, and I hope you will be content and
happy."

She pressed the hand Uncle Win held out in both of hers. In all the
changes she had learned to be content, and she had a certain
adaptiveness that kept her from being unhappy. She was very glad she was
going to stay with Betty, and glanced up with a bright smile.

They all said good-night to Cousin Adams. Mr. Leverett turned the great
key in the hall door, and it gave a shriek.

"I must oil that lock to-morrow. It groans enough to raise the dead,"
said Mrs. Leverett.



CHAPTER III

AUNT PRISCILLA


There was quite a discussion about a school.

Uncle Win had an idea Doris ought to begin high up in the scale. For
really she was very well born on both sides. Her father had left
considerable money, and in a few years second-cousin Charles' bequest
might be quite valuable, if Aunt Priscilla did sniff over it. There was
Mrs. Rawson's.

"But that is mostly for young ladies, a kind of finishing school. And in
some things Doris is quite behind, while in others far advanced. There
will be time enough for accomplishments. And Mrs. Webb's is near by,
which will be an object this cold winter."

"I shouldn't like her to forget her French. And perhaps it would be as
well to go on with Latin," Cousin Adams said.

Mrs. Leverett was a very sensible woman, but she really did not see the
need of Latin for a girl. There was a kind of sentiment about French; it
had been her mother's native tongue, and one did now and then go to
France.

There had been a good deal of objection to even the medium education of
women among certain classes. The three "R's" had been considered all
that was necessary. And when the system of public education had been
first inaugurated it was thought quite sufficient for girls to go from
April to October. Good wives and good mothers was the ideal held up to
girls. But people were beginning to understand that ignorance was not
always goodness. Mrs. Rawson had done a great deal toward the
enlightenment of this subject. The pioneer days were past, unless one
was seized with a mania for the new countries.

Mrs. Leverett was secretly proud of her two married daughters. Mrs.
King's husband had gone to the State legislature, and was considered
quite a rising politician. Mrs. Manning was a farmer's wife and held in
high esteem for the management of her family. Betty was being inducted
now into all household accomplishments with the hope that she would
marry quite as well as her sisters. She was a good reader and speller;
she had a really fine manuscript arithmetic, in which she had written
the rules and copied the sums herself. She had a book of "elegant
extracts"; she also wrote down the text of the Sunday morning sermon and
what she could remember of it. She knew the difference between the
Puritans and the Pilgrims; she also knew how the thirteen States were
settled and by whom; she could answer almost any question about the
French, the Indian, and the Revolutionary wars. She could do fine
needlework and the fancy stitches of the day. She was extremely "handy"
with her needle. Mrs. Leverett called her a very well-educated girl, and
the Leveretts considered themselves some of the best old stock in
Boston, if they were not much given to show.

It might be different with Doris. But a good husband was the best thing
a girl could have, in Mrs. Leverett's estimation, and knowing how to
make a good home her greatest accomplishment.

They looked over Doris' chest and found some simple gowns, mostly summer
ones, pairs of fine stockings that had been cut down and made over by
Miss Arabella's dainty fingers, and underclothes of a delicate quality.
There were the miniatures of her parents--that of her mother very
girlish indeed--and a few trinkets and books.

"She must have two good woolen frocks for winter, and a coat," said Mrs.
Leverett. "Cousin Winthrop said I should buy whatever was suitable."

"And a little Puritan cap trimmed about with fur. I am sure I can make
that. And a strip of fur on her coat. She would blow away in that big
hat if a high wind took her," declared Betty.

"And all the little girls wear them in winter. Still, I suppose Old
Boston must have been cold and bleak in winter."

"It was not so nearly an island."

There was a good deal of work to do on Friday, so shopping was put off
to the first of the week. Doris proved eagerly helpful and dusted very
well. In the afternoon Aunt Priscilla came over for her cup of tea.

"Dear me," she began with a great sigh, "I wish I had some nice young
girl that I could train, and who would take an interest in things. Polly
_is_ too old. And I don't like to send her away, for she was good enough
when she had any sense. There's no place for her but the poorhouse, and
I can't find it in my conscience to send her there. But I'm monstrous
tired of her, and I do think I'd feel better with a cheerful young
person around. You're just fortunate, 'Lizabeth, that you and Betty can
do for yourselves."

"It answers, now that the family is small. But last year I found it
quite trying. And Betty must have her two or three years' training at
housekeeping."

"Oh, of course. I'm glad you're so sensible, 'Lizabeth. Girls are very
flighty, nowadays, and are in the street half the time, and dancing and
frolicking round at night. I really don't know what the young generation
will be good for!"

Mrs. Leverett smiled. She remembered she had heard some such comments
when she was young, though the lines were more strictly drawn then.

"Has Winthrop been over to see his charge? How does he feel about it?
Now, if she had been a boy----"

"He was up to tea last night, and he and Foster have been arranging the
business this morning. Foster is to be joint trustee, but Winthrop will
be her guardian."

"What will he do with a girl! Why, she'll set Recompense crazy."

"She is not going to live there. For the present she will stay here. She
will go to Mrs. Webb's school this winter. He has an idea of sending
her to boarding school later on."

"Is she that rich?" asked Aunt Priscilla with a little sarcasm.

"She will have a small income from what her father left. Then there is
the rent of the house in School Street, and some stock. Winthrop thinks
she ought to be well educated. And if she should ever have to depend on
herself, teaching seems quite a good thing. Even Mrs. Webb makes a very
comfortable living."

"But we're going to educate the community for nothing, and tax the
people who have no children to pay for it."

"Well," said Mrs. Leverett with a smile, "that evens up matters. But the
others, at least property owners, have to pay their share. I tell Foster
that we ought not grudge our part, though we have no children to send."

"How did people get along before?"

"I went to school until I was fifteen."

"And when I was twelve I was doing my day's work spinning. There's talk
that we shall have to come back to it. Jonas Field is in a terrible
taking. According to him war's bound to come. And this embargo is just
ruining everything. It is to be hoped we will have a new President
before everything goes."

"Yes, it is making times hard. But we are learning to do a great deal
more for ourselves."

"It behooves us not to waste our money. But Winthrop Adams hasn't much
real calculation. So long as he has money to buy books, I suppose he
thinks the world will go on all right. It's to be hoped Foster will look
out for the girl's interest a little. But you'll be foolish to take the
brunt of the thing. Now it would be just like you 'Lizabeth Leverett, to
take care of this child, without a penny, just as if she was some
charity object thrown on your hands."

Mrs. Leverett did give her soft laugh then.

"You have just hit it, Aunt Priscilla," she said. "Winthrop wanted to
pay her board, but Foster just wouldn't hear to it, this year at least.
We have all taken a great liking to her, and she is to be our visitor
from now until summer, when some other plans are to be made."

"Well--if you have money to throw away----" gasped Aunt Priscilla.

"She won't eat more than a chicken, and she'll sleep in Betty's bed. It
will help steady Betty and be an interest to all of us. I really
couldn't think of charging. It's like having one of the grandchildren
here. And she needs a mother's care. Think of the poor little girl with
not a near relative! Aunt Priscilla, there's a good many things money
can't buy."

Aunt Priscilla sniffed.

"Take off your bonnet and have a cup of tea," Mrs. Leverett had asked
her when she first came in. "It's such a long walk back to King Street
on an empty stomach. The children are making cookies, but Betty shall
brew a cup of tea at once, unless you'll wait till the men folks come
in."

Aunt Priscilla sat severe and undecided for a moment. The laughing
voices in the other room piqued and vexed and interested her all in a
breath. She had come over to hear about Doris. There was so little
interest in her methodical old life. Mrs. Leverett sincerely pitied
women who had no children and no grandchildren.

"They're quite as queer as old maids without the real excuse," she said
to her husband. "They've missed the best things out of their lives
without really knowing they were the best."

And perhaps at this era more respect was paid to age. There were certain
trials and duties to life that men and women accepted and did not try to
evade. A modern happy woman would have been bored at the call of a
dissatisfied old woman every few days. But since the death of Mehitable
Doule, Priscilla's own cousin, who had been married from her house, she
had clung more to the Leveretts. Foster was too easy-going, otherwise
she had not much fault to find with him. He had prospered and was
forehanded, and his married son and daughters had been fairly
successful.

"Well, I don't care if I do," said Aunt Priscilla, with a
half-reluctance. "Though I hadn't decided to when I came away, and
Polly'll make a great hole in that cold roast pork, for I never said a
word as to what she should have for supper. She's come to have no more
sense than a child, and some things are bad to eat at night. But if she
makes herself sick she'll have to suffer."

"I'll have some tea made----"

"No, 'Lizabeth, don't fuss. I shan't be in any hurry, if I do stay, and
the men will be in before long. So Winthrop wasn't real put out when he
saw the girl?"

"I think he liked her. He's not much hand to make a fuss, you know. He
feels she must be well brought up. Her mother, it seems, was quite
quality."

"Queer the mother's folks didn't look after her."

"Her mother was an only child. Winthrop has the records back several
generations. And when _she_ died the father was alive, you know."

"Winthrop is a great stickler for such things. It's good to have folks
you're not ashamed of, to be sure, but family isn't everything. Behaving
counts."

Aunt Priscilla took off her bonnet and shawl, and hung them in the
"best" closet, where the Sunday coats and cloaks were kept.

"You might just hand me that knitting, 'Lizabeth. I guess I knit a
little tighter'n you do, on account of my hand being out. I've more than
enough stockings to last my time out and some coarse ones for Polly.
They spin yarn so much finer now. Footing many stockings this fall?"

"No. I knit Foster new ones late in the spring. He's easy, too. Warren's
the one to gnaw out heels, though young people are so much on the go."

Aunt Priscilla took up the stocking and pinned the sheath on her side.
How gay the voices sounded in the kitchen! Then the door opened.

"Just look, Aunt Elizabeth! Aren't they lovely! Betty let me cut them
out and put them in the pans. Oh----"

Doris stood quite abashed, with a dish of tempting brown cookies in one
hand. Her cheeks were like roses now, and Betty's kitchen apron made
another frock over hers of gay chintz, that had been exhumed from the
chest.

"Good-afternoon," recovering herself.

"The cookies look delightful. I must taste one," Mrs. Leverett said
smilingly.

She handed the plate to Aunt Priscilla.

"It'll just spoil my supper if I eat one. But you may do up some in a
paper, and I'll take them home. I'm glad to see you at something useful.
Did you help about the house over there in England?"

"Oh, no. We had Barby," answered the child simply.

"Well, there's a deal for you to learn. I made bread just after I had
turned ten years old. Girls in old times learned to work. It wasn't all
cooky-making, by a long shot!"

Doris made a little courtesy and disappeared.

"I'd do something to that tousled hair, 'Lizabeth. Have her put it up
or cut it off. It's good to cut a girl's hair; makes it thick and
strong. And curls do look so flighty and frivolous."

"The new fashion is a wig with all the front in little curls. It's so
much less trouble if it is made of natural curly hair."

"Are you going to set up for fashion in these hard times?" asked the
visitor disdainfully.

"Not quite. But Betty Pickering is to be married in great state next
month, and we have been invited already. I suppose I ought to consider
her in some sort a namesake."

"I'm glad I haven't any fine relatives to be married," and the sniff was
made to do duty.

Mrs. Leverett put down her sewing. She had drawn the threads and basted
the wristbands and gussets for Betty to stitch, as they had come to
shirt-making. The new ones of thick cotton cloth would be good for
winter wear. One had always to think ahead in this world if one wanted
things to come out even.

Then she went out to the kitchen, and there was a gay chattering, as if
a colony of chimney swallows had met on a May morning. Aunt Priscilla
pushed up nearer the window. She had good eyesight still, and only wore
glasses when she read or was doing some extra-fine work.

Betty came in and rolled out the table as she greeted her relative. Aunt
Priscilla had a curiously lost feeling, as if somehow she had gone
astray. No one ever would know about it, to be sure. There were times
when it seemed as if there must be a third power, between God and the
Evil One. There were things neither good nor bad. If they were good the
Lord brought them to pass,--or ought to,--and if they were bad your
conscience was troubled. Aunt Priscilla had been elated over her idea
all day yesterday. It looked really generous to her. Of course Cousin
Winthrop couldn't be bothered with this little foreign girl, and the
Leveretts had a lot of grandchildren. She might take this Dorothy Adams,
and bring her up in a virtuous, useful fashion. She would go to school,
of course, but there would be nights and mornings and Saturdays. In two
years, at the latest, she would be able to take a good deal of charge of
the house. All this time her own little fortune could be augmenting,
interest on interest. And if she turned out fair, she would do the
handsome thing by her--leave her at least half of what she, Mrs.
Perkins, possessed.

And yet it was not achieved without a sort of mental wrestle. She was
not quite sure it was spiritual enough to pray over; in fact, nothing
just like this had come into her life before. She was not the kind of
stuff out of which missionaries were made, and this wasn't just
charitable work. She would expect the girl to do something for her
board, but Polly would be good for a year or two more. Time did hang
heavy on her hands, and this would be interest and employment, and a
good turn. When matters were settled a little she would broach the
subject to Elizabeth.

If Winthrop Adams meant to make a great lady out of her--why, that was
all there was to it! Times were hard and there might be war. Winthrop
had a son of his own, and perhaps not so much money as people thought.
And it did seem folly to waste the child's means. If she had so
much--enough to go to boarding school--she oughtn't be living on the
Leveretts. Foster was having pretty tight squeezing to get along.

They all wondered what made Aunt Priscilla so unaggressive at supper
time. She watched Doris furtively. All the household had a smile for
her. Foster Leverett patted her soft hair, and Warren pinched her cheek
in play. Betty gave her half a dozen hugs between times, and Mrs.
Leverett smiled when Doris glanced her way.

The quarter-moon was coming up when Priscilla Perkins opened the closet
door for her things.

"I'll walk over with Aunt Priscilla," said Warren. "It's my night for
practice."

"Oh, yes." His father nodded. Warren had lately joined the band, but his
mother thought she couldn't stand the cornet round the house.

"I aint a mite afraid in the moonlight. I come so often I ought not put
anyone out."

"Now that the evenings are cool it seems lonesomer," said Mr. Leverett,
settling in his armchair by the fire, really glad his son could be
attentive without any special sacrifice.

Doris brought the queer little stool and sat down beside him. She looked
as if she had always lived there.

"You'll all spoil that child," Aunt Priscilla said to Warren when they
had stepped off the stoop.

"I don't believe there's any spoil to her," said Warren heartily. "She's
the sweetest little thing I ever saw; so wise in some ways and so
honestly ignorant in others. I never saw Uncle Win so taken--he never
seems to quite know what to do with children. And he's asked us all over
to tea some night next week. I was clear struck."

Mrs. Perkins made no reply. About once a year he invited her over to tea
with some of the old cousins, and he called on her New Year's Day, which
was not specially kept in any fashionable way.

Mrs. Perkins always said King Street, though in a burst of patriotism
the name had been changed after the Revolution. It had dropped down very
much and was being given over to business. There was a narrow hall floor
set in a little distance, with a few steps, and the shop front with the
plain sign of "Jonas Field, Flour, Grain, and Feed." The stairway led to
an upper hall and a very comfortable suite of rooms, where Mrs. Perkins
had come as a young wife, and where she meant to end her days. It was
plenty good enough inside, and she "didn't live in the street."

The best room occupied the whole front and had three windows. Priscilla
had been barely nineteen when she was married, and Hatfield Perkins
quite a bachelor. And, as no children had come to disturb their orderly
habits, they had settled more securely in them year after year.

Next to the parlor was the sleeping chamber. Now, it was the spare room,
though no one came to stay all night who was fine enough to put in it.
The smaller one adjoining she had used since her husband's death. There
was a little tea room, and a big kitchen at the back. Downstairs the
store part had been built out, and on the roof of this the clothes were
dried. Polly always sat out here in pleasant weather, to prepare
vegetables and do various chores. The lot was deep, and at the back were
some fruit trees, and the patch of herbs every woman thought she must
have, and a square of grass for bleaching.

A lighted lamp stood at the head of the stairs. Polly was dozing in the
kitchen. Mrs. Perkins sent her to bed in short order. There were two
rooms and a storage closet upstairs in the gables. One was Polly's. The
other was the guest chamber that was good enough "for the common run of
folks."

The moon was shining in the back windows. Priscilla snuffed out the
candle; there was no use wasting candle light. She sat down in a low
rocker, the only one she owned; and several list seats had been worn out
in it besides the original one of rushes. She had never been really
lonely in the sixty-five years of her life for she had kept busy, and
was replete with old-fashioned methods that made work. She was very
particular. Everything was scrubbed and scoured and swept and dusted and
aired. The dishes were polished until they were lustrous. The knives and
forks and spoons were speckless. There were napery and bedding that had
been laid by for her marriage outfit, and not all worn out yet, though
in the early years she had kept replenishing for possible children.
There was plenty for twenty years to come, and though her people had
been strong and healthy, they never went much over seventy. She was the
youngest, and all the rest were gone. Her few real nieces and nephews
were scattered about; she had made up her mind long ago she shouldn't
ever have anyone hanging on her.

No one wanted to. No one even leaned on her. Yet somehow the life had
never seemed real solitary until now. She had comforted her years with
the thought that children were a great deal of trouble and did not
always turn out well. She could see the picture the little foreign girl
made as she folded her arms on Foster Leverett's knee. She wouldn't have
that mop of frowzly hair flying about, and she would like to fat her up
a little--she was rather peaked. She had imagined her going about in
this old place, sewing, learning to work properly, reading and studying,
and going to church every Sabbath. She had really meant to do something
for a human being day after day, not in a spasmodic fashion. And this
was the end of it.

She sprang up suddenly, lighted the candle again, went out to the
kitchen to see that everything was right and there was no danger of
fire. She opened the outside door and glanced around. There was an
autumnal chill in the air, but there were no mysterious shadows creeping
about in the yard below that might presage burglars. Then she bolted the
door with a snap, and stood a moment in the middle of the floor.

"You are an old fool, Priscilla Perkins! The idea of all Boston being
turned upside down for the sake of one little girl! People have come
over from England before, big and little, and there's been a war and
there may be another, and no end of things to happen. To be sure, I'd
done my duty by her if I'd had her; and if the others spoil her--I aint
to blame, the Lord knows!"



CHAPTER IV

OUT TO TEA


"There! Does it look like Old Boston?"

They were winding around Copp's Hill. Warren had been given part of a
day off, and the use of the chaise and Jack, to show the little cousin
something of Boston before they went to Uncle Winthrop's to tea.

Doris had her new coat, which was a sort of fawn color, and the close
Puritan cap to keep her neck and ears warm. For earache was quite a
common complaint among children, and people were careful through the
long cold winter. A strip of beaver fur edged the front, and went around
the little cape at the back. Its soft grayish-brown framed in her fair
face like a picture, and her eyes were almost the tint of the deep,
unclouded blue sky.

They had a fine view of Old Boston, but they could hardly dream of the
Boston that was to be. There were still the three elevations of Beacon
Hill, lowered somewhat, to be sure, but not taken away entirely. And
there was Fort Hill in the distance.

"Why, it looks like a chain of islands, and instead of a great sea the
water runs round and round. At home the Witham comes down to the winding
cove called The Wash. Boston is sort of set between two rivers, but it
is fast of the mainland, and doesn't look so much like floating off. You
can go over to the Norfolk shore, and you look out on the great North
Sea. But it isn't as big as the Atlantic Ocean."

"Well, I should say not!" with disdain. "Why, you can look over to
Holland!"

"You can't see Holland, but it's there, and Denmark."

"And we shall have to be something like the Dutch, if ever we mean to
have a grand city. We shall have to dike and fill in and bridge. I have
a great regard for those sturdy old Dutchmen and the way they fought the
Spanish as well as the sea."

Doris didn't know much about Holland, even if she could make pillow lace
and read French verses with a charming accent.

"That's the Mill Pond. And all that is the back part of the bay. And
over there a grand battle was fought--but you were not born before the
Revolutionary War."

"I guess you were not born yourself, Warren Leverett," said Betty, with
unnecessary vigor.

"Well, I am rather glad I wasn't; I shall have the longer to live. But
grandfather and ever so many relatives were, and father knows all about
it. I am proud, too, of having been named for General Warren."

"And down there near the bay is Fort Hill. Boston wasn't built on seven
hills like Rome, and though there are acres and acres of low ground, we
are not likely to be overflowed, unless the Atlantic Ocean should rise
and sweep us out of existence. And there is the old burying ground, full
of queer names and curious epitaphs."

The long peninsula stretched out in a sort of irregular pear-shape, and
then was connected to another portion by a narrow neck. The little
villages about had a rural aspect, and some of them were joined to the
mainland by bridges. And cows were still pastured on the commons and in
several tracts of meadow land in the city. Many people had their own
milk and made butter. There were large gardens at the sides of the
houses, many of them standing with the gable end to the street, and
built mostly of wood. But nearly all the leaves had fallen now, and
though the sun shone with a mellow softness, it was quite evident the
reign of summer was ended.

They drove slowly about, Warren rehearsing stories of this and that
place, and wishing there was more time so they might go over to
Charlestown.

"But Doris is to stay, and there will be time enough next summer. It is
confusing to see so many places at once. And mother said we must be at
Uncle Win's about four," declared Betty.

It _was_ rather confusing to Doris, who had heard so little of American
history in her quiet home. War seemed a dreadful thing to her, and she
could not take Warren's pride in battle and conquest.

So they turned and went down through the winding streets.

"Do you know why they are so crooked?" Warren asked.

"No; why?" asked Doris innocently.

"Well, William Blackstone's cows made the paths. He came here first of
all and had an allotment. Then when people began to come over from
Charlestown he sold out for thirty pounds English money. Grandfather
used to go over to the old orchard for apples. But think of Boston being
bought for thirty pounds!"

"It wasn't _this_ Boston with the houses and churches and everything.
Come, do get along, or else let me drive," said Betty.

There was quite a descent as they came down. Streets seemed to stop
suddenly, and you had to make a curve to get into the next one. From
Main they turned into Fish Street, and here the wind from the harbor
swept across to the Mill Pond.

"That's Long Wharf, and it has lots of famous stories connected with it.
And just down there is father's. And now we could cut across and go over
home."

"As if we meant to do any such foolish thing?" ejaculated Betty.

"I said we _could_. There are a great many things possible that are not
advisable," returned the oracular young man. "And I have heard the
longest way round was the surest way home. We shall reach there about
nine o'clock to-night."

"Like the old woman and her pig. I should laugh if we found mother
already at Uncle Win's."

"She's going to wait for father, and something always happens to him."

They crossed Market Square, and passed Faneuil Hall, that was to grow
more famous as the years went on; then they took Cornhill and went over
to Marlborough Street.

"That's Fort Hill. It's lovely in summer, when the wind doesn't blow you
to shreds. Now we will take Marlborough, and to-night you will be
surprised to see how straight it is to Sudbury Street."

They drove rapidly down, and made one turn. It was like a beautiful
country road, over to Common Street, and there was the great tract of
ground that would grow more beautiful with every decade. Tall,
overarching trees; ways that were grassy a month ago, but now turning
brown.

"Here we are," and they turned up a driveway at the side of the long
porch upheld with round columns. Betty sprang out on the stepping block
and half-lifted Doris, while Warren drove up to the barn.

Uncle Winthrop came out to welcome them, and smiled down into the little
girl's face.

"But where is your mother?" he asked.

"Oh, she had some shopping to do and then she was to meet father. We
have been driving up around Copp's Hill and giving Doris a peep at the
country."

"The wind begins to blow up sharply, though it was very pleasant. I am
glad to see you, little Doris, and I hope you have not grown homesick
sighing for Old Boston. For if you should reach the threescore-and-ten,
things will have changed so much that this will be old Boston; and,
Betty, you will be telling-your grandchildren what it was like."

Betty laughed gayly.

There was the same wide hall as at home, but it wasn't the keeping-room
here. It had a great fireplace, and at one side a big square sofa. The
floor was inlaid with different-colored woods, following geometric
designs, much like those of to-day. Before the fire was a rug of
generous dimensions, and a high-backed chair stood on each of the
nearest corners. There was a bookcase with some busts ranged on the top;
there were some portraits of ancestors in military attire, and women
with enormous head-dresses; there was one in a Puritan cap, wide collar,
and a long-sleeved gown, that quite spoiled the effect of her pretty
hands. Over the mantel was a pair of very large deer's antlers. Down at
one corner there were two swords crossed and some other firearms. Just
under them was a cabinet with glass doors that contained many
curiosities.

A tall, thin woman entered from a door at the lower end of the hall and
greeted Betty with a quiet dignity that would have seemed cold, if it
had not been the usual manner of Recompense Gardiner, who could never
have been effusive, and who took it for granted that anyone Mr. Winthrop
Adams invited to the house was welcome. Her forehead was high and rather
narrow, her brown hair was combed straight back and twisted in a little
knot high on her head, in which in the afternoon, or on company
occasions, she wore a large shell comb. Her features were rather long
and spare, and she wore plain little gold hoops in her ears because her
eyes had been weak in youth and it was believed this strengthened them.
Anyhow, she could see well enough at five-and-forty to detect a bit of
dust or dirt, or lint left on a plate from the towel, or a chair that
was a trifle out of its rightful place. She was an excellent
housekeeper, and suited her master exactly.

"This is the little English girl I was telling you about,
Recompense--Cousin Charles' grandniece, and my ward," announced Mr.
Adams.

"How do you do, child! Let me take off your hood and cloak. Why, she
isn't very stout or rosy. She might have been born here in the east
wind. And she is an Adams through and through."

"Do you think so?" with an expression of pleasure, as Recompense held
her off and looked her over.

"Are her eyes black?" rather disapprovingly.

"No, the very darkest blue you can imagine," said Mr. Adams.

"Betty, run upstairs with these things. Your feet are younger than mine,
and haven't done so much trotting round. Lay them on my bed. Why,
where's your mother?" in a tone of surprise.

Betty made the proper explanation and skipped lightly upstairs.

Mr. Adams took one of the large chairs, drawing it closer to the fire.
Recompense brought out a stool for the little girl. It was covered with
thick crimson brocade, a good deal faded, but it had a warm, inviting
aspect. Children were not expected to sit in chairs then, or to run
about and ask what everything was for.

There had been children, little girls of different relatives, sitting at
the fireside before. His own small boy had dozed in the fascinating
warmth of the fire and hated to go to bed, and he had weakly indulged
him, as there had been no mother to exercise authority. But Doris was
different. She was alone in the world, and had been sent to him by a
mysterious providence. He knew the responsibility of a girl must be
greater. He couldn't send her to the Latin school and then to Harvard,
and he really wondered how much education a girl ought to have to fit
her for the position Doris would be able to take.

She was like a quaint picture sitting there. Betty had tied a cluster of
curls high on her head with a blue ribbon, and just a few were left to
cling about her neck over the lace tucker. Her slim hands lay in her
lap. He glanced at his own--yes, they were Adams hands, and looked
little like hard work. He was rather proud that Recompense should
discern a family likeness.

Betty came flying down the oaken staircase, and Warren entered from the
back door. For a few moments there was quite a confusion of tongues, and
Recompense wondered how mothers stood it all the time.

"How queer not to have anyone know about Boston," began Warren with a
teasing glance over at Doris. "We have been looking at it from Copp's
Hill, and going through the odd places."

"And I wondered if people came to be fed in White Bread Alley,"
exclaimed Doris quickly.

"And I dare say Warren didn't know."

"Why, yes--a woman baked bread there."

"Women have baked bread in a great many places," returned Uncle Win,
with a quizzical smile.

"Oh, I didn't mean just that."

"It was John Tudor's mother," appended Betty.

"Mrs. Tudor made the first penny rolls offered for sale in Boston, and
little John, as he was then, took them around for sale."

"And Mr. Benjamin Franklin didn't make them famous either," laughed
Warren.

"And Salutation Alley with its queer sign--its two old men with cocked
hats and small clothes, bowing to each other," said Betty. "It always
suggests a couplet I found in an old book:

    "'O mortal man who lives by bread,
    What is it makes your nose so red?
    O mortal man with cheeks so pale,
    'Tis drinking Levi Puncheon's ale!'"

"It is said the resolutions for the destruction of the tea were drawn up
in the old tavern. It was famous for being the rendezvous of the
patriots."

"It would be nice to drive all around Boston shore."

"Let it be summer time, then," rejoined Betty. "Or, like the Hollanders,
we might do it on skates. Of course you do not know how to skate,
Doris?"

Doris admitted with winsome frankness that she did not. But she could
ride a pony, and she could row a little.

"There are some delightful summer parties when we do go out rowing. At
least, the boys row mostly, because

    "'Satan finds some mischief still
    For idle hands to do!'"

and Betty laughed.

"And the girls always take their knitting," appended Warren. "There's
never any mischief for them to get into."

"I suppose it doesn't look much like Old Boston," inquired Miss
Recompense. "And what do the little girls do there, my dear?"

Warren opened his eyes wide. The idea of Miss Recompense saying "my
dear" to a child.

It had slipped out in a curiously unpremeditated fashion. There was
something about the little girl--perhaps it was the fact of her having
come so far, and being an orphan--that moved Recompense Gardiner.

"I didn't know any real little girls," answered Doris modestly, "except
the farmer's children. They worked out of doors in the summer in the
fields."

"And I was the youngest of five sisters," said Miss Recompense. "There
were three boys."

"It would be so nice to have a sister of one's very own. There were
Sallie and Helen Jewett on the vessel."

"I think I like the sisters to be older," said Betty archly. "There are
the weddings and the nieces and nephews. And they are always begging you
to visit them."

"And I had no sisters," said Uncle Win, as if he would fain console
Doris for her loneliness.

She glanced up with sympathetic sweetness. He was a little puzzled at
the intuitive process.

"Fix up the fire, Warren. Your mother and father will be cold when they
get in."

Warren gave the burned log a poke, and it fell in two ends, neither
dropping over the andirons. Then he pushed them a little nearer and a
shower of sparks flew about.

"Oh, how beautiful!" and Doris leaned over intently.

Warren placed a large log back of them, then he piled on some smaller
split pieces. They began to blaze shortly. He picked up the turkey's
wing and brushed around the stone hearth.

"That was very well done," remarked Miss Recompense approvingly.

"Warren knows how to make a fire," said his uncle, "and it is quite an
art."

"That is a sign he will make a good husband," commented Betty. "And I
shall get a bad one, for my fires go out half the time."

"You are too heedless," said Miss Recompense.

"Now, we ought to tell some ghost stories," suggested Warren. "Or we
could wait until it gets a little darker. The sun is going down, and the
fire is coming up, and just see how they are fighting at the Spanish
Armada. Uncle Win, when you break up housekeeping you can leave me that
picture."

They all turned to look at the picture in the cross light, with one of
the wonderful fleet ablaze from the broadside of her enemy. It was a
vigorous if somewhat crude painting by a Dutch artist.

"Oh, Uncle Win," cried Betty; "do you really think there will be war
when we have a new President?"

"I sincerely hope not."

"We ought to have an Armada. Well, I don't know either," continued
Warren dubiously. "If it should go to pieces like that one," nodding his
head over to the scene, growing more vivid by the reflection of the red
light in the west. "Doris, do you know what happened to the Spanish
Armada?"

"Indeed I do," returned Doris spiritedly. "I may not know so much about
America, except that you fought England, and were called rebels
and--and----"

"That we were the upper dog in the fight, and now we are citizens of a
great and free Republic and rebels no longer."

"But the Spanish did not conquer England. Some of the ships were
destroyed by English men-of-war, and then a terrific storm wrecked them,
and there were only a few to return to Spain."

"Pretty good," said Uncle Win smilingly. "And now, Warren, maybe you can
tell about the French Armada that was going to destroy Boston."

"Why, the French--came and helped us. Oh, there was the French and
English war, but did they have a real Armada?"

"Why, after Louisburg was taken by the colonists--we were only Colonies
in 1745. The French resolved to destroy all the towns the colonists had
planted on the coast. You surely can't have forgotten?"

"The Revolution seems so much greater to this generation," said Miss
Recompense. "That is almost seventy years ago. My father was called out
for the defense of Boston. Governor Shirley knew it would be the first
town attacked."

"And a real Armada!" said Warren, big-eyed.

"They didn't call it that exactly. Perhaps they thought the name
unlucky. But there were twenty transports and thirty-four frigates and
eleven ships of the line. Quite a formidable array, you must admit. The
Duc d'Anville left Brest with five battalions of veterans."

"And then what happened? Warren, we do not know the history of our own
city, after all. But surely they did not take it?"

"No, it is safely anchored to a bit of mainland yet," said Uncle Win
dryly. "Off Cape Sable they encountered a violent storm. The Duc
succeeded in reaching the rendezvous, but in such a damaged condition
that he felt a victory would be impossible. Conflans with several
partly disabled ships returned to France, and some steered for friendly
ports in the West Indies. The Duc died in less than a week, of poison it
was said, unwilling to endure the misfortune. The Governor General of
Canada ordered the Vice Admiral to proceed and strike one blow at least.
But he saw so many difficulties in the way, that he worried himself ill
with a fever and put himself to death with his own sword. Boston was so
well prepared for them by this time, the fleet decided to attack
Annapolis, but encountering another furious storm they returned to
France with the remnant. So Armadas do not seem to meet with brilliant
success."

"Why, that is quite a romance, Uncle Win, and I must hunt it up. Curious
that both should have shared so nearly the same fate."

"That was a special interposition of Providence," said Miss Recompense.

People believed quite strongly in such things then, and it certainly
looked like it, since the storm was of no human agency.

Miss Recompense began to light the candles, and the steps of the tardy
ones were heard on the porch. Betty sprang up and opened the door.

"I began to think I never should get here," exclaimed Mrs. Leverett. "I
waited and waited for your father, and I thought something had surely
happened."

"And so it had. Captain Conklin is going to start for China in a few
days, and there was so much to talk about I couldn't get away."

"If I had been real sure he would have come on I would have started. It
has blown off cold. Didn't you have a breezy ride? Were you warm enough,
Doris?"

"It was splendid," replied Doris, her eyes shining. "And I have seen so
many things."

"Now get good and warm and come out to supper."

"If you call this cold I don't know what you will do at midwinter."

"Well, it is chilly, and we are not used to it. But we must have our
Indian summer yet."

Betty had been carrying away her mother's hat and shawl, and now Uncle
Win led the way to the dining room. The table was bountifully spread; it
was a sort of high tea, and in those days people ate with a hearty
relish and had not yet discovered the thousand dangers lurking in food.
If it was good and well cooked no one asked any farther questions. At
least, men did not. Women took recipes of this and that, and invented
new ways of preparing some dish with as much elation as some of the
greater discoveries have given.

The men talked politics and the possibilities of war. There was an
uneasy feeling all along the border, where Indian troubles were being
fomented. There were some unsettled questions between us and England.
Abroad, Napoleon was making such strides that it seemed as if he might
conquer all Europe.

Mrs. Leverett and Miss Recompense compared their successes in pickling
and preserving, and discussed the high prices of dry goods and the newer
scant skirts that would take so much less cloth and the improvement in
home-made goods. Carpets of the higher grades were beginning to be
manufactured in Philadelphia.

Warren, with the appetite of a healthy young fellow, thought everything
tasted uncommonly good, and really had nothing to say. Doris watched one
and another, with soft dark eyes, and wondered if it would be right to
like Uncle Win any better than she did Uncle Leverett, and why she had
any desire to do so, which troubled her a little. Uncle Win _was_ the
handsomest. She liked the something about him that she came to know
afterward was culture and refinement. But she was a very loyal little
girl, and Uncle Leverett had welcomed her so warmly, even on board the
vessel.

After supper they went into Uncle Winthrop's study a while. There were
more bookcases, and such a quantity of books and pamphlets and papers.
There were busts of some of the old Roman orators and emperors, and more
paintings. There was a beautiful young woman with a head full of soft
curls and two bands passed through them in Greek fashion. A scarf was
loosely wound around her shoulders, showing her white, shapely throat,
and her short sleeves displayed almost perfect arms that looked like
sculpture. Later Doris came to know this was Uncle Winthrop's sweet
young wife, who died when her little boy was scarcely a year old.

There were many curiosities. The walls were wainscoted in panels, with
moldings about them that looked like another frame for the pictures. The
chimney piece was of wood, and exquisitely carved. There was an old
escritoire that was both carved and gilded, and in the center of the
room a large round table strewn with books and writing materials. At the
windows were heavy red damask curtains, lined with yellow brocade. They
were always put up the first of October and taken down punctually the
first day of April. Uncle Win had a luxurious side to his nature, and
there was a soft imported rug in the room as well.

Carpets were not in general use. Many floors were polished, some in the
finer houses inlaid. Rag carpets were used for warmth in winter, and
some were beautifully made. Weaving them was quite a business, and
numbers of women were experts at it. Sometimes it was in a hit-or-miss
style, the rags sewed just as one happened to pick them up. Then they
were made of the ribbon pattern, a broad stripe of black or dark, with
narrower and wider colors alternating. The rags were often colored to
get pretty effects.

It was a long walk home, but in those days, when there were neither cars
nor cabs, people were used to walking, and the two men would not mind
it. Betty could drive Jack by night or day, as he was a sure-footed,
steady-going animal, and for a distance the road was straight up Beacon
Street.

"Some day I will come up and take you out to see a little more of your
new home," said Uncle Winthrop to Doris. "When does she go to school,
Elizabeth?"

"Why, I thought it would be as well for her to begin next week. From
eight to twelve. And she is so young there is no real need of her
beginning other things. Betty can teach her to sew and do embroidery."

"There is her French. It would be a pity to drop that."

"She might teach me French for the sake of the exercise," returned Betty
laughingly when Uncle Win looked so perplexed.

"To be sure. We will get it all settled presently." He felt rather
helpless where a girl was concerned, yet when he glanced down into her
soft, wistful eyes he wished somehow that she was living here. But it
would be lonely for a child.

Warren brought Jack around and helped in the womenkind when they had
said all their good-nights, and Uncle Wrin added that he would be over
some evening next week to supper.

It was a clear night, but there was no moon. Jack tossed up his head and
trotted along, with the common on one side of him.

Boston had been improving very much in the last decade, and stretching
herself out a little. But it was quite country-like where Uncle Win
lived. He liked the quiet and the old house, the great trees and his
garden that gave him all kinds of vegetables and some choice fruit,
though he never did anything more arduous than to superintend it and
enjoy the fruits of Jonas Starr's labor.



CHAPTER V

A MORNING AT SCHOOL


Our ancestors for some occult reason held early rising in high esteem.
Why burning fire and candle light in the morning, when everything was
cold and dreary, should look so much more virtuous and heroic than
sitting up awhile at night when the house was warm and everything
pleasant, is one of the mysteries to be solved only by the firm belief
that the easy, comfortable moments were the seasons especially
susceptible to temptation, and that sacrifice and austerity were the
guide-posts on the narrow way to right living.

Mr. and Mrs. Leverett had been reared in that manner. They had softened
in many ways, and Betty was often told, "I had no such indulgences when
I was a girl." But, mother-like, Mrs. Leverett "eased up" many things
for Betty. Electa King half envied them, and yet she confessed in her
secret heart that she had enjoyed her girlhood and her lover very much.
She and Matthias King had been neighbors and played as children, went to
church and to singing school together, and on visitors' night at the
debating society she was sure to be the visitor. Girls did not have just
that kind of boy friends now, she thought.

The softening of religious prejudices was softening character as well.
Yet the intensity of Puritanism had kindled a force of living that had
done a needed work. People really discussed religious problems nowadays,
while even twenty years before it was simply belief or disbelief, and
the latter "was not to be suffered among you."

Mrs. Leverett kept to her habit of early rising. True, dark and stormy
mornings Mr. Leverett allowed himself a little latitude, for very few
people came to buy his wares early in the morning. But breakfast was a
little after six, except on Sunday morning, when it dropped down to
seven.

And Mrs. Webb's school began at eight from the first day of February to
the first day of November. The intervening three months it was half-past
eight and continued to half-past twelve.

Doris came home quite sober. "Well," began Uncle Leverett, "how did
school go?"

"I didn't like it very much," she answered slowly.

"What did you do?"

"I read first. Four little girls and two boys read. We all stood in a
row."

"What then?"

"We spelled. But I did not know where the lesson was, and I think Mrs.
Webb gave me easy words."

"And you did not enjoy that?" Uncle Leverett gave a short laugh.

"I was glad not to miss," she replied gravely.

"Mrs. Webb uses Dilworth's speller," said Mrs. Leverett, "and so I gave
her Betty's. But she has a different reader. She thought Doris read
uncommon well."

"And what came next?"

"They said tables all together. Why do they call them tables?"

"Because a system of calculation would be too long a name," he answered
dryly.

Doris looked perplexed. "Then there was geography. What a large place
America is!" and she sighed.

"Yes, the world is a good-sized planet, when you come to consider. And
America is only one side of it."

"I don't see how it keeps going round."

"That must be viewed with the eye of faith," commented Betty.

"All that does very well. I am sorry you did not like it."

"I did like all that," returned Doris slowly. "But the sums troubled
me."

"She's very backward in figures," said Mrs. Leverett. "Betty, you must
take her in hand."

"I must study all the afternoon," said Doris.

"Oh, you'll soon get into the traces," said Uncle Leverett consolingly.

It was Monday and wash-day in every well-ordered family. Mrs. Leverett
and Betty had the washing out early, but it was not a brisk drying day,
so no ironing could be done in the afternoon. Betty changed her gown and
brought out her sewing, and Doris studied her lessons with great
earnestness.

"I wish I was sure I knew the spelling," she said wistfully.

"Well, let me hear you." Betty laid the book on the wide window sill and
gave out the words between the stitches, and Doris spelled every one
rightly but "perceive."

"Those i's and e's used to bother me," said Betty. "I made a list of
them once and used to go over them until I could spell them in the
dark."

"Is it harder to spell in the dark?"

"Oh, you innocent!" laughed Betty. "That means you could spell them
anywhere."

Spelling had been rather a mysterious art, but Mr. Dilworth, and now
Mr. Noah Webster, had been regulating it according to a system.

"Now you might go over some tables. You can add and multiply so much
faster when you know them. Suppose we try them together."

That was very entertaining and, Doris began to think, not as difficult
as she had imagined in the morning.

"Betty," said her mother, when there was a little lull, "what do you
suppose has become of Aunt Priscilla? I do hope she did not come over
the day we were at Cousin Winthrop's. But she never was here once last
week."

"There were two rainy days."

"And she may be ill. I think you had better go down and see."

"Yes. Don't you want to go, Doris? The walk will be quite fun."

Doris could not resist the coaxing eyes, though she felt she ought to
stay and study. But Betty promised to go over lessons with her when they
came back. So in a few moments they were ready for the change. Mrs.
Leverett sent a piece of cake and some fresh eggs, quite a rarity now.

The houses and shops seemed so close together, Doris thought. And they
met so many people. Doris had not lived directly in Old Boston town, but
quite in the outskirts. And King Street was getting to be quite full of
business.

Black Polly came to the door. "Yes, missus was in but she had an awful
cold, and been all stopped up so that she could hardly get the breath of
life."

Aunt Priscilla had a strip of red flannel pinned around her forehead,
holding in place a piece of brown paper, moistened with vinegar, her
unfailing remedy for headache. Another band was around her throat, and
she had a well-worn old shawl about her shoulders, while her feet
rested on a box on which was placed a warm brick.

"Is it possible you have come? Why, one might be dead and buried and no
one the wiser. I crawled out to church on Sunday, and took more cold,
though I have heard people say you wouldn't catch cold going to church.
Religion ought to keep one warm, I s'pose."

"I'm sorry. Mother was afraid you were ill."

"And I have all the visiting to do. It does seem as if once in an age
some of you might come over. You went to Cousin Winthrop's!" in an
aggrieved tone.

"But mother had not been there since last summer, when 'Lecty was on
making her visit. And we took all the family along, just as you can," in
a merry tone. "But if you like to have mother come and spend the day,
I'll keep house. You see, there's always meals to get for father and
Warren."

"Yes, I kept house before you were born, Betty Leverett, and had a man
who needed three stout meals a day. But he want a mite of trouble. I
never see a man easier to suit than Hatfield Perkins. And I didn't
neglect him because he could be put off and find no fault. There are men
in the world that it would take the grace of a saint to cook for, only
in heaven among the saints if there aint any marryin' you can quite make
up your mind there isn't any cooking either. Well--can't you get a
chair? There's that little low one for Dorothy."

"If you please," began Doris, with quiet dignity, "my name is not
Dorothy."

"Well, you ought to hear yourself called by a Christian name once in a
while."

"Still it isn't a Scriptural name," interposed Betty. "I looked over the
list to see. And here are some nice fresh eggs. Mother has had several
splendid layers this fall."

"I'm obliged, I'm sure. I do wish I could keep a few hens. But Jonas
Field wants so much room, and there's my garden herbs. I've just been
dosing on sage tea and honey, and it has about broke up my cough. I
generally do take one cold in autumn, and then I go to March before I
get another. Well, I s'pose Recompense Gardiner stays at your uncle's?
There was some talk I heard about some old fellow hanging round. After
I'd lived so long single, I'd stay as I was."

"I can't imagine Miss Recompense getting her wedding gown ready. What
would it be, I wonder?"

Betty laughed heartily.

"She could buy the best in the market if she chose," said Aunt Priscilla
sharply. "She must have a good bit of money laid by. Cousin Winthrop
would be lost without her. Not but what there are as good housekeepers
in the world as Recompense Gardiner."

Then Aunt Priscilla had to stop and cough. Polly came in with some
posset.

"I'll have one of those eggs beaten up in some mulled cider, Polly," she
said.

Doris glanced curiously at the old colored woman. She was tall and still
very straight, and, though kept in strict subjection all her life, had
an air and bearing of dignity, as if she might have come from some royal
race. Her hair was snowy white, and the little braided tails hung below
her turban, which was of gay Madras, and the small shoulder shawl she
wore was of red and black.

"You're too old a woman to be fussed up in such gay things," Aunt
Priscilla would exclaim severely every time she brought them home, for
she purchased Polly's attire. "But you've always worn them, and I really
don't know as you'd look natural in suitable colors."

"I like cheerful goin' things, that make you feel as if the Lord had
just let out a summer day stead'er November. An', missus, you don't like
a gray fire burned half to ashes, nuther."

Truth to tell, Aunt Priscilla did hanker after a bit of gayety, though
she frowned on it to preserve a just balance with conscience. And no one
knew the parcels done up in an old oaken chest in the storeroom, that
had been indulged in at reprehensible moments.

Just then there was a curious diversion to Doris. A beautiful sleek
tiger cat entered the room, and, walking up to the fire, turned and
looked at the child, waving his long tail majestically back and forth.
He came nearer with his sleepy, translucent eyes studying her.

"May I--touch him?" she asked hesitatingly.

"Land, yes! That's Polly's Solomon. She talks to him till she's made him
most a witch, and she thinks he knows everything."

Solomon settled the question by putting two snowy white paws on Doris'
knee, and stretching up indefinitely with a dainty sniffing movement of
the whiskers, as if he wanted to understand whether advances would be
favorably received.

There was a cat at the Leveretts', but it haunted the cellar, the shed,
and the stable, and was hustled out of the kitchen with no ceremony.
Aunt Elizabeth was not fond of cats, and cat hairs were her abomination.
Doris had uttered an ejaculation of delight when she saw it one morning,
a big black fellow with white feet and a white choker.

"Don't touch him--he'll scratch you like as not!" exclaimed Mrs.
Leverett in a quick tone. "Get out, Tom! We don't allow him in the
house. He's a good mouser, but it spoils cats to nurse them. And I never
could abide a cat around under my feet."

Doris had made one other attempt to win Tom's favor as she was walking
about the garden. But Tom eyed her askance and discreetly declined her
overture. There had always been cats at Miss Arabella's, and two great
dogs as well as her pony, and birds so tame they would fly down for
crumbs.

"Oh, kitty!" She touched him with her dainty fingers. "Solomon. What a
funny name! Oh, you beautiful great big cat!"

Solomon rubbed his head on her arm and began to purr. He was sure of a
welcome.

"You can't get in her lap, for it isn't big enough," said Aunt
Priscilla. "Polly's got him spoiled out of all reason, though I s'pose a
cat's company when there's no one else."

"If you would let me--sit on the rug," ventured Doris timidly. She had
been rather precise of late in her new home.

"Well, I declare! Sit on the floor if you want to. The floor was plenty
good enough to sit on when I was a child. Me and my sisters had a corner
of our own, and we'd sit there and sew."

Betty had been about to interpose, but at Aunt Priscilla's concession
Doris had slidden down and taken Solomon in her arms, and rubbed her
soft cheek against his head. Polly came in with the egg and cider.

"Why, little missy, you just done charm him! He's mighty afeared of the
boys around, and there aint no little gals. Do just see him, Mis'
Perkins. He acts as if he was rollin' in a bed of sweet catnip."

"One is about as wise as the other," declared Aunt Priscilla, nodding
her head. She was rather glad there was something in her house to be a
rival to Cousin Winthrop and the Leveretts, since Doris Adams was to be
held up on a high plane and spoiled with indulgence. She had not yet
made up her mind whether she would like the child or not.

"Yes, she had started at Mrs. Webb's school. Uncle Win was going to make
some arrangement about her French and her writing when he came over.
They'd had a letter from 'Lecty, and as the legislature was to meet in
Hartford there would be quite gay times, and she did so hope she could
go. Mary wasn't very well, and wanted mother to come on for a week or
two presently," and Betty made big eyes at Aunt Priscilla, while that
lady nodded as well as her bundled up head would admit, to signify that
she understood.

"I'm sure you ought to know enough to keep house for your father and
Warren," was the comment.

Then Betty said they must go, and Aunt Priscilla tartly rejoined that
they might look in and see whether she was dead or alive.

"Can I come and see Solomon again?" asked Doris.

"Of course, since Solomon is head of the house."

"Thank you," returned Doris simply, not understanding the sarcasm.

"Wonderful how Solomon liked little missy," said Polly, straightening
the chairs and restoring order.

"My head aches with all the talking," said Aunt Priscilla. "I want to be
alone."

But she felt a little conscience-smitten as Polly stepped about in the
kitchen getting supper and sang in a thick, soft, but rather quivering
voice, her favorite hymn:

    "'Hark, from the tombs a doleful sound,
    Mine ears, attend the cry.'"

Yes, Polly was a faithful old creature, only she had grown forgetful,
and she was losing her strength, and black people gave out suddenly. But
there, what was the use of borrowing trouble, and the idea of having a
child around to train and stew over, and no doubt she would be getting
married just the time when she, Mrs. Perkins, would need her the most.
The Lord hadn't seen fit to give her any children to comfort her old
age; after all, would she want a delicate little thing like this child
with a heathenish name!

It was quite chilly now, and Doris, holding Betty's hand tight, skipped
along merrily, her heart strangely warm and gay.

"She's very queer, and her voice sounds as if she couldn't get the scold
out of it, doesn't it? And I felt afraid of the black woman first. I
never saw any until we were on the ship. But the beautiful cat!" with a
lingering emphasis on the adjective.

"Well--cats are cats," replied Betty sagely. "I don't care much about
them myself, though we should be overrun with rats and mice if it wasn't
for them. I like a fine, big dog."

"Oh, Betty!" and a girl caught her by the shoulder, turning her round
and laughing heartily at her surprise.

"Why, Jane! How you startled me."

"And is this your little foreign girl--French or something?"

"English, if you please, and her father was born here in Boston. And
isn't it queer that she should have lived in another Boston? And her
name is Doris Adams."

"I'm sure the Adams are sown thickly enough about, but Doris sounds like
verses. And, oh, Betty, I've been crazy to see you for two days. I am to
have a real party next week. I shall be seventeen, and there will be
just that number invited. The girls are to come in the afternoon and
bring their sewing. There will be nine. And eight young men,"
laughing--"boys that we know and have gone sledding with. They are to
come to tea at seven sharp. Cousin Morris is to bring his black fiddler
Joe, and we are going to dance, and play forfeits, and have just a grand
time."

"But I don't know how to dance--much."

Betty's highest accomplishments were in the three R's. Her manuscript
arithmetic was the pride of the family, but of grammar she candidly
confessed she couldn't make beginning nor end.

"I'm going to coax hard to go to dancing school this winter. Sam is
going, and he says all the girls are learning to dance. Mother's coming
round to-morrow. We want to be sure about the nine girls. Good-by, it's
getting late."

"Now, let's hurry home," exclaimed Betty.

The table was laid, and Mrs. Leverett said:

"Why didn't you stay all night?"

"Aunt Priscilla has her autumn cold. She was quite cross at first. She
was sick last week, and went to church yesterday, and is worse to-day.
But she was glad about the eggs."

"There comes your father. Be spry now."

After supper Warren went out to look after Jack. Mr. Leverett took his
chair in the corner of the wide chimney and pushed out the stool for the
little girl. She smiled as she sat down and laid her hands on his knee.

"So you didn't like the school," he began, after a long silence.

"Yes--I liked--most of it," rather reluctantly.

"What was it you didn't like--sitting still?"

"No--not that."

"The lessons? Were they too hard?"

"She said I needn't mind this morning."

"But the figuring bothered you."

"Of course I didn't know," she said candidly.

"You will get into it pretty soon. Betty'll train you. She's a master
hand at figures, smarter than Warren."

Doris made no comment, but there was an unconfessed puzzle in her large
eyes.

"Well, what is it?" The interest he took in her surprised himself.

"She whipped a boy on his hands with a ruler very hard because he
couldn't remember his lesson."

"That's a good aid to memory. I've seen it tried when I was a boy."

"But if I had tried and tried and studied I should have thought it very
cruel."

"I guess he didn't try or study. What did Miss Arabella do to you when
you were careless and forgot things? Or were you never bad?"

Doris hung her head, while a faint color mounted to her brow.

"When I was naughty I couldn't go out on the pony nor take him a lump of
sugar. And he loved sugar so. And sometimes I had to study a psalm."

"And weren't children ever whipped in your country?"

"The common people beat their children and their wives and their horses
and dogs. But Miss Arabella was a lady. She couldn't have beaten a cat."

There was a switch on the top of the closet in the kitchen that beat Tom
out of doors when he ventured in. Doris' tender heart rather resented
this.

Foster Leverett smiled at this distinction.

"I do suppose people might get along, but boys are often very trying."

"Don't grown-up people ever do anything wrong? And when they scold
dreadfully aren't they out of temper? Miss Arabella thought it very
unladylike to get out of temper. And what is done to grown people?"

Uncle Leverett laughed and squeezed the soft little hands on his knee.
Yes, men and women flew into a rage every day. Their strict training had
not given them control of their tempers. It had not made them all
honest and truthful. Yet it might have been the best training for the
times, for the heroic duties laid upon them.

"She was very cross once, and her forehead all wrinkled up, and her eyes
were so--so hard; and when she is pleasant she has beautiful brown eyes.
I like beautiful people."

"We can't all be beautiful or good-tempered."

"But Miss Arabella said we could, and that beauty meant sweetness and
grace and truth and kindliness, and that"--she lowered her voice
mysteriously--"where one really tried to be good God gave them grace to
help. I don't quite know about the grace, I'm so little. But I want to
be good."

Was there a beautiful side to goodness? Foster Leverett had been for
some time weakening in the old faith.

"Now I'm ready," exclaimed Betty briskly. "We can say tables without any
book."

Uncle Leverett laughed and squeezed the soft little stranger at his
hearth. But affection was not demonstrative in those days, and it looked
rather weak in a man.

They had grand fun saying addition and multiplication tables. They went
up to the fives, and Doris found that here was a wonderful bridge.

"You could add clear up to a hundred without any trouble," the child
declared gleefully. "But you couldn't multiply."

"Why, yes," said Betty. "I had not exactly thought of it before. Five
times thirteen would be sixty-five, and so on. Five times twenty would
be a hundred. Why, we do it in a great many things, but I suppose
they--whoever invented tables thought that was far enough to go."

"Who did invent them?"

"I really don't know. Doris, we will ask Uncle Win when he comes over.
He knows about everything."

"It would take a great many years to learn everything," said the child
with a sigh.

"But the knowledge goes round," said Betty with arch gayety. "One has a
little and the other a little and they exchange, and then women don't
have to know as much as men."

"I'd like to see the man that knew enough to keep house," declared Mrs.
Leverett. "And didn't Mrs. Abigail Adams farm and bring up her children
and pay off debts while her husband was at congress and war and abroad?
It isn't so much book learning as good common sense. Just think what the
old Revolutionary women did! And now it is high time Doris went to bed.
Come, child, you're so sleepy in the morning."

Doris had her dress unbuttoned and untied her shoes to make sure there
were no knots to pick out. Knots in shoe-strings were very perplexing at
this period when no one had dreamed of button boots. I doubt, indeed, if
anyone would have worn them. The shoes were made straight and changed
every morning, so as to wear evenly and not get walked over at the side.
And people had pretty feet then, with arched insteps, and walked with an
air of dignity. Some of the gouty old men had to be measured for a
tender place here or a protuberance there, or allowance made for bad
corn.

Doris said good-night and went upstairs. Miss Arabella had always kissed
her. Betty did sometimes, and said "What a sweet little thing you are!"
or "What a queer little thing you are!" She said her prayers, hung her
clothes over a chair, put her little shoes just right for morning, and
stepping on the chair round vaulted over to her side of the bed.

What a long, long day it had been! The most beautiful thing in it was
the big cat Solomon, and if she could nurse him she shouldn't be very
much afraid of Aunt Priscilla. Oh, how soft his fur was, and how he
purred, just as if he was glad she had come! Perhaps he sometimes tired
of Aunt Priscilla and black Polly, and longed for a little girl who
didn't mind sitting on the floor, and who knew how to play.

Then there was the spelling, and she tried to think over the hard words,
and the tables, and her small brain kept up such a riot that she was not
a bit sleepy.

Betty brought out her work after lighting another candle. Mr. Leverett
sat and dozed and thought. When Warren had finished up the chores he
went around to the other side of Betty's table, and was soon lost in a
history of the French War. When the tall old clock struck nine it was
time to prepare for bed.

Betty was putting up some wisps of hair in tea leads, when Doris sat up.

"Oh, you midget! Are you not asleep yet?" she exclaimed.

"No. I've been thinking of everything. And, Betty, can you go to the
party? I went to the May party when I was home, but that was out of
doors, and we danced round the May pole."

"The party----"

"Yes, did you ask Aunt Elizabeth?" eagerly.

"Oh, no. I wasn't going to be caught that way. She would have had time
to think up ever so many excellent reasons why I shouldn't go. And now
Mrs. Morse will take her by surprise, and she will not have any good
excuse ready and so she will give in."

"But wouldn't she want you to go?" Doris was rather confused by the
reasoning.

"I suppose she thinks I am young to begin with parties. But it isn't a
regular grown-up affair. And I am just crazy to go. I'm so glad you did
not blurt it out, Doris. I'll give you a dozen kisses for being so
sensible. Now lie down and go to sleep this minute."

The child gave a soft little laugh, and a moment later Betty was
"cuddling" her in her arms.

The result of Foster Leverett's cogitation over the fire led him to say
the next morning to his son:

"Warren, you run on. I have a little errand to do."

He turned in another direction and went down two squares. There was Mrs.
Webb sweeping off her front porch and plank path.

"Good-morning," stopping and leaning on her broom as he halted.

"I'm glad to see you, Mrs. Webb. I suppose the little girl wasn't much
trouble yesterday. She's never been to school before."

"Trouble! Bless you, no. If they were all as good as that I should feel
frightened, I really should, thinking they wouldn't live long. She's a
bit timid----"

"She's backward in some things--figures, for instance. And a little
strange, I suppose. So if you would be kind of easy-going with her until
she gets settled to the work----"

"Oh, you needn't be a mite afraid, Mr. Leverett. She's smart in some
things, but, you see, she's been run on different lines, and we'll get
straight presently. She's a nice obedient little thing, and I do like to
see children mind at the first bidding."

"Your school is so near we thought we would try it this winter. Yes, I
think all will go right. Good-morning," and his heart lightened at the
thought of smoothing the way for Doris.



CHAPTER VI

A BIRTHDAY PARTY


Doris sat in the corner studying. Betty had gone over to Mme. Sheafe's
to make sure she had her lace stitch just right. They had been ironing
and baking all the morning, and now Mrs. Leverett had attacked her pile
of shirts, when Mrs. Morse came in. She had her work as well. Everybody
took work, for neighborly calls were an hour or two long.

Doris had been presented first, a kind of attention paid to her because
she was from across the ocean. Everybody's health had been inquired
about.

"I came over on a real errand," began Mrs. Morse presently. "And you
mustn't make excuses. My Jane is going to have a little company week
from Thursday night. She will be seventeen, and we are going to have
seventeen young people. The girls will come in the afternoon, and the
young men at seven to tea. Then they will have a little merrymaking. And
we want Warren and Betty. We are going to ask those we want the most
first, and if so happen anything serious stands in the way, we'll take
the next row."

"You're very kind, I'm sure. Warren does go out among young people, but
I don't know about Betty. She's so young."

"Well, she will have to start sometime. My mother was married at
sixteen, but that is too young to begin life, though she never regretted
it, and she had a baker's dozen of children."

"I'm not in any hurry about Betty. She is the last girl home. And the
others were past nineteen when they were married."

"We feel there is no hurry about Jane. But I've had a happy life, and
all six of us girls were married. Not an old maid among us."

"Old maids do come in handy oftentimes," subjoined Mrs. Leverett.

Yet in those days every mother secretly, often openly, counted on her
girls being married. The single woman had no such meed of respect paid
her as the "bachelor maids" of to-day. She often went out as housekeeper
in a widower's family, and took him and his children for the sake of
having a home of her own. Still, there were some fine unmarried women.

"Yes, they're handy in sickness and times when work presses, but they do
get queer and opinionated from having their own way, I suppose."

Alas! what would the single woman, snubbed on every side, have said to
that!

Then they branched into a chatty discussion about some neighbors, and as
neither was an ill-natured woman, it was simply gossip and not scandal.
Mrs. Morse had a new recipe for making soap that rendered it clearer and
lighter than the old one and made better soap, she thought. And
to-morrow she was going at her best candles, so as to be sure they would
be hard and nice for the company.

"But you haven't said about Betty?"

"I'll have to think it over," was the rather cautious reply.

"Elizabeth Leverett! I feel real hurt that you should hesitate, when our
children have grown up together!" exclaimed Mrs. Morse rather aggrieved.

"It's only about putting Betty forward so much. Why, you know I don't
mind her running in and out. She's at your house twice as often as Jane
is here. And when girls begin to go to parties there's no telling just
where to draw the line. It's very good of you to ask her. Yes, I do
suppose she ought to go. The girls have been such friends."

"Jane would feel dreadfully disappointed. She said: 'Now, mother, you
run over to the Leveretts' first of all, because I want to be sure of
Betty.'"

"Well--I'll have to say yes. Next Thursday. There's nothing to prevent
that I know of. I suppose it isn't to be a grand dress affair, for I
hadn't counted on making Betty any real party gown this winter? I don't
believe she's done growing. Who else did you have in your mind, if it
isn't a secret?"

"I'd trust it to you, anyhow. The two Stephens girls and Letty Rowe,
Sally Prentiss and Agnes Green. That makes six, with Betty. We haven't
quite decided on the others. I dare say some of the girls will be mad as
hornets at being left out, but there can be only nine. Of course we do
not count Jane."

These were all very nice girls of well-to-do families. Mrs. Leverett did
feel a little proud that Betty should head the list.

"They are all to bring their sewing. I had half a mind to put on a
quilt, but I knew there'd be a talk right away about Jane marrying, and
she has no steady company. I tell her she can't have until she is
eighteen."

"That's plenty young enough. I don't suppose there will be any dancing?"

"They've decided on proverbs and forfeits. Cousin Morris is coming round
to help the boys plan it out. Are you real set against dancing,
Elizabeth?"

"Well--I'm afraid we are going on rather fast, and will get to be too
trifling. I can't seem to make up my mind just what is right. Foster
thinks we have been too strait-laced."

"I danced when I was young, and I don't see as it hurt me any. And some
of the best young people here-about are going to a dancing class this
winter. Joseph has promised to join it, and his father said he was old
enough to decide for himself."

Mrs. Morse had finished her sewing and folded it, quilting her needle
back and forth, putting her thimble and spool of cotton inside and
slipping it in her work bag. Then she rose and wrapped her shawl about
her and tied on her hood.

"Then we may count on Warren and Betty? Give them my love and Jane's,
and say we shall be happy to see them a week from Thursday, Betty at
three and Warren at seven. Come over soon, do."

When she had closed the door on her friend Mrs. Leverett glanced over to
the corner where Doris sat with her book. She had half a mind to ask her
not to mention the call to Betty, then she shrank from anything so
small.

Doris studied and she sewed. Then Betty came in flushed and pretty.

"I didn't have the stitch quite right," she said to her mother. "And I
have been telling her about Doris. She wants me to bring her over some
afternoon. She is a little curious to see what kind of lace Doris makes.
She has a pillow--I should call it a cushion."

"Doris ought to learn plain sewing----"

"Poor little mite! How your cares will increase. Can I take her over to
Mme. Sheafe's some day?"

"If there is ever any time," with a sigh.

"Do you know your spelling?" She flew over to Doris and asked a question
with her eyes, and Doris answered in the same fashion, though she had a
fancy that she ought not. Betty took her book and found that Doris knew
all but two words.

"If I could only do sums as easily," she said, with a plaintive sound in
her voice.

"Oh, you will learn. You can't do everything in a moment, or your
education would soon be finished."

"What is Mme. Sheafe like?" she asked with some curiosity, thinking of
Aunt Priscilla.

"She is a very splendid, tall old lady. She ought to be a queen. And she
was quite rich at one time, but she isn't now, and she lives in a little
one-story cottage that is just like--well, full of curious and costly
things. And now she gives lessons in embroidery and lace work, and
hemstitching and fine sewing, and she wears the most beautiful gowns and
laces and rings."

"Your tongue runs like a mill race, Betty."

"I think everybody in Boston is tall," said Doris with quaint
consideration that made both mother and daughter laugh.

"You see, there is plenty of room in the country to grow," explained
Betty.

"Can I do some sums?"

"Oh, yes."

Plainly, figures were a delusion and a snare to little Doris Adams. They
went astray so easily, they would not add up in the right amounts. Mrs.
Webb did not like the children to count their fingers, though some of
them were very expert about it. When the child got in among the sevens,
eights, and nines she was wild with helplessness.

Supper time came. This was Warren's evening for the debating society,
which even then was a great entertainment for the young men. There would
be plenty of time to give them the invitation. Mrs. Leverett was sorry
she had consented to Betty's going, but it would have made ill friends.

The next day Mrs. Hollis Leverett, the eldest son's wife, came up to
spend the day, with her two younger children. Doris was not much used to
babies, but she liked the little girl. The husband came up after supper
and took them home in a carryall. Doris was tired and sleepy, and
couldn't stop to do any sums.

Betty was folding up her work, and Warren yawning over his book, when
Mrs. Leverett began in a rather jerky manner:

"Mrs. Morse was in and invited you both to Jane's birthday party next
Thursday night."

"Yes, I saw Joe in the street to-day, and he told me," replied Warren.

"I said I'd see about you, Betty. You are quite too young to begin
party-going."

"Why, I suppose it's just a girl's frolic," said her father, wincing
suddenly. "They can't help having birthdays. Betty will be begging for a
party next."

"She won't get it this year," subjoined her mother dryly. "And, by the
looks of things, we have no money to throw away."

Betty looked a little startled. She had wanted so to really question
Doris, but it did not seem quite the thing to do. And perhaps she was
not to go, after all. She would coax her father and Warren, she would do
almost anything.

Warren settled it as they were going up to bed. His mother was in the
kitchen, mixing pancakes for breakfast, and he caught Betty's hand.

"Of course you are to go," he said. "Mother doesn't believe in dealing
out all her good things at once. I wish you had something pretty to
wear. It's going to be quite fine."

"Oh, dear," sighed Betty. "Jane has such pretty gowns. But of course I
have only been a little school-girl until this year, and somehow it is
very hard for the mothers to think their girls are grown-up in any
respect except that of work."

Warren sighed as well, and secretly wished he had a regular salary, and
could do what he liked with a little money. His father was training him
to take charge of his own business later on. He gave him his board and
clothing and half a dollar a week for spending money. When he was
twenty-one there would be a new basis, of course. There was not much
call for money unless one was rich enough to be self-indulgent. One
couldn't spend five cents for a trolley ride, even if there was a
downpour of rain. And as Mr. Leverett had never smoked, he had routed
the first indications of any such indulgence on the part of his son.

The amusements were still rather simple, neighborly affairs. The boys
and girls "spent an evening" with each other and had hickory nuts,
cider, and crullers that had found their way from Holland to Boston as
well as New York. And when winter set in fairly there was sledding and
skating and no end of jest and laughter. Many a decorous love affair
sprang into shy existence, taking a year or two for the young man to be
brave enough to "keep company," if there were no objections on either
side. And this often happened to be a walk home from church and an
hour's sitting by the family fireside taking part in the general
conversation.

To be sure, there was the theater. Since 1798, when the Federal Street
Theater had burned down and been rebuilt and opened with a rather
celebrated actress of that period, Mrs. Jones, theater-going was quite
the stylish amusement of the quality. Mr. Leverett and his wife had gone
to the old establishment, as it was beginning to be called, to see the
tragedy of "Gustavus Vasa," that had set Boston in a furore. They were
never quite settled on the point of the sinfulness of the pleasure.
Indeed, Mr. Leverett evinced symptoms of straying away from the old
landmarks of faith. He had even gone to the preaching of that
reprehensible young man, Mr. Hosea Ballou, who had opened new worlds of
thought for his consideration.

"It's a beautiful belief," Mrs. Leverett admitted, "but whether you can
quite square it with Bible truth----"

"I'm not so sure you can square the Westminster Catechism either."

"If you must doubt, Foster, do be careful before the children. I'm not
sure but the old-fashioned religion is best. It made good men and
women."

"Maybe if you had been brought up a Quaker you wouldn't have seen the
real goodness of it. Isn't belief largely a matter of habit and
education? Mind, I don't say religion. That is really the man's life,
his daily endeavor."

"Well, we won't argue." She felt that she could not, and was ashamed
that she was not more strongly fortified. "And do be careful before the
children."

Her husband was a good, honest, upright man--a steady churchgoer and
zealous worker in many ways. The intangible change to liberalness
puzzled her. If you gave up one point, would there not be a good reason
for giving up another?

Neither could she quite explain why she should feel more anxious about
Betty than she had felt about the girlhood of the two elder daughters.

Of course Warren accepted the invitations for himself and his sister. If
her new white frock was only done! She had outgrown her last summer's
gowns. There was a pretty embroidered India muslin that her sister
Electa had given her. If she might put a ruffle around the bottom of the
skirt.

Aunt Priscilla came over and had her cup of tea so she could get back
before dark. She was still afraid of the damp night air. Aunt Priscilla
had a trunk full of pretty things she had worn in her early married
life. If she, Betty, could be allowed to "rummage" through it!

Saturday was magnificent with a summer softness in the air, and the
doors could be left open. There were sweeping and scrubbing and scouring
and baking. Doris was very anxious to help, and was allowed to seed some
raisins. It wasn't hard, but "putterin'" work, and took a good deal of
time.

But after dinner Uncle Winthrop came in his chaise with his pretty
spirited black mare Juno. It was such a nice day, and he had to go up to
the North End on some business. There wouldn't be many such days, and
Doris might like a ride.

There was a flash of delight in the child's eyes. Betty went to help her
get ready.

"You had better put on her coat, for it's cooler riding," said Mrs.
Leverett. "And by night it may turn off cold. A fall day like this is
hardly to be trusted."

"But it is good while it lasts," said Uncle Win, with his soft
half-smile. "Elizabeth, don't pattern after Aunt Priscilla, who can't
enjoy to-day because there may be a storm to-morrow."

"I don't know but we are too ready to cross bridges before we come to
them," she admitted.

"A beautiful day goes to my inmost heart. I want to enjoy every moment
of it."

Doris came in with her eager eyes aglow, and Betty followed her to the
chaise, and said:

"Don't run away with her, Uncle Win; I can't spare her."

That made Doris look up and laugh, she was so happy.

They drove around into Hanover Street and then through Wing's Lane.
There were some very nice lanes and alleys then that felt quite as
dignified as the streets, and were oftentimes prettier. He was going to
Dock Square to get a little business errand off his mind.

"You won't be afraid to sit here alone? I will fasten Juno securely."

"Oh, no," she replied, and she amused herself glancing about. People
were mostly through with their business Saturday afternoon. It had a
strange aspect to her, however--it was so different from the town across
the seas. Some of the streets were so narrow she wondered how the horses
and wagons made their way, and was amazed that they did not run over the
pedestrians, who seemed to choose the middle of the street as well. Many
of the houses had a second story overhanging the first, which made the
streets look still narrower.

"Now we will go around and see the queer old things," exclaimed Uncle
Win, as he jumped into the chaise. "For we have some interesting points
of view. A hundred years seems a good while to us new people. And
already streets are changing, houses are being torn down. There are some
curious things you will like to remember. Did Warren tell you about Paul
Revere?"

"Oh, yes. How he hung the lantern out of the church steeple."

"And this was where he started from. More than thirty years ago that
was, and I was a young fellow just arrived at man's estate. Still it was
a splendid time to live through. We will have some talks about it in the
years to come."

"Did you fight, Uncle Win?"

"I am not much of a war hero, though we were used for the defense of
Boston. You are too young to understand all the struggle."

Doris studied the old house. It was three stories, the upper windows
seeming just under the roof. On the ground floor there was a store,
with two large windows, where Paul Revere had carried on his trade of
silver-smith and engraver on copper. There was a broken wire netting
before one window, and quite an elaborate hallway for the private
entrance, as many people lived over their shops.

Long afterward Doris Adams was to be interested in a poet who told the
story of Paul Revere's ride in such vivid, thrilling words that he was
placed in the list of heroes that the world can never forget. But it had
not seemed such a great deed then.

Old North Square had many curious memories. It had been a very desirable
place of residence, though it was dropping down even now. There were
quaint warehouses and oddly constructed shops, taverns with queer names
almost washed out of the signs by the storms of many winters. There were
the "Red Lion" and the "King's Arms" and other names that smacked of
London and had not been overturned in the Revolution. Here had stood the
old Second Church that General Howe had caused to be pulled down for
firewood during the siege of Boston, the spot rendered sacred by the
sermon of many a celebrated Mather. And here had resided Governor Thomas
Hutchinson, who would have been sacrificed to the fury of the mob for
his Tory proclivities during the Stamp Act riot but for his
brother-in-law, the Rev. Samuel Mather, who faced the mob and told them
"he should protect the Governor with his life, even if their sentiments
were totally dissimilar." And when he came to open court the next
morning he had neither gown nor wig, very important articles in that
day. For the wigs had long curling hair, and those who wore them had
their hair cropped close, like malefactors.

And here was the still stately Frankland House, whose romance was to
interest Doris deeply a few years hence and to be a theme for poet and
novelist. But now she was a good deal amused when her uncle told her of
a Captain Kemble in the days of Puritan rule who, after a long sea
voyage, was hurrying up the Square, when his wife, who had heard the
vessel was sighted, started to go to the landing. As they met the
captain took her in his arms and kissed her, and was punished for
breaking the Sabbath day by being put in the stocks.

"But did they think it so very wrong?" Her face grew suddenly grave.

"I suppose they did. They had some queer ideas in those days. They
thought all exhibitions of affection out of place."

Doris looked thoughtfully out to the harbor. Perhaps that was the reason
no one but Betty kissed her.

Then they drove around to the Green Dragon. This had been a famous inn,
where, in the early days, the patriots came to plan and confer and lay
their far-reaching schemes. It was said they went from here to the
famous Tea Party. Uncle Winthrop repeated an amusing rhyme:

    "'Rally, Mohocks, bring out your axes,
    And tell King George we'll pay no taxes
        On his foreign tea.
    His threats are vain, he need not think
    To force our wives and girls to drink,
        His vile Bohea.'"

"I shouldn't like to be forced to drink it," said Doris, with a touch of
repugnance in her small face.

"It does better when people get old and queer," said Uncle Winthrop.
"Then they want some comfort. They smoke--at least, the men do--and
drink tea. Now you can see the veritable Green Dragon."

The house was low, with small, old-time dormer windows. The dragon hung
out over the doorway. He was made of copper painted green, his two hind
feet resting on a bar that swung out of the house, his wings spread out
as well as his front feet, and he looked as if he really could fly. Out
of his mouth darted a red tongue.

"He is dreadful!" exclaimed Doris.

"Oh, he doesn't look as fierce now as I have seen him. A coat of paint
inspires him with new courage."

"Then I am glad they have not painted him up lately. Uncle Win, is there
any such thing as a real dragon? Of course I've read about St. George
and the dragon," and she raised her eyes with a perplexed light in them.

"I think we shall have to relegate dragons to the mythical period, or
the early ages. I have never seen one any nearer than that old fellow,
or with any more life in him. There are many queer signs about, and
queer corners, but I think now we will go over to Salem Street and look
at some of the pretty old houses, and then along the Mill Pond. Warren
took you up Copp's Hill?"

"Oh, yes."

"You see, you must know all about Boston. It will take a long while.
Next summer we will have drives around here and there."

"Oh, that will be delightful!" and she smiled with such a sweet grace
that he began to count on it himself.

The sun was going over westward in a soft haze that wrapped every
leafless tree and seemed to caress the swaying vines into new life. The
honeysuckles had not dropped all their leaves, and the evergreens were
taking on their winter tint. On some of the wide lawns groups of
children were playing, and their voices rang out full of mirth and
merriment. Doris half wished she were with them. If Betty was only
twelve instead of sixteen!

The Mill Pond seemed like a great bay. The placid water (there was no
wind to ruffle it) threw up marvelous reflections and glints of colors
from the sky above, and the sun beyond that was now a globe of softened
flame, raying out lance-like shapes of greater distinctness and then
melting away to assume some new form or color.

Doris glanced up at Uncle Winthrop. It was as if she felt it all too
deeply for any words. He liked the silence and the wordless enjoyment in
her face.

"We won't go home just yet," he said. They were crossing Cold Lane and
could have gone down Sudbury Street. "It is early and we will go along
Green Lane and then down to Cambridge Street. You are not tired?"

"Oh, no. I think I never should be tired with you, Uncle Winthrop," she
returned with grave sweetness, quite unconscious of the delicate
compliment implied.

What was there about this little girl that went so to his heart?

"Uncle Winthrop," she began presently, while a soft pink flush crept up
to the edge of her hair, "I heard you and Uncle Leverett talking about
some money the first night you were over--wasn't it _my_ money?"

"Yes, I think so," with a little dryness in his tone. What made her
think about money just now, and with that almost ethereal face!

"Is it any that I could have--just a little of it?" hesitatingly.

"Why? Haven't you all the things you want?"

"I? Oh, yes. I shouldn't know what to wish for unless it was someone to
talk French with," and there was a sweet sort of wistfulness in her
tone.

"I think I can supply that want. Why we might have been talking French
half the afternoon. Do you want some French books? Is that it?"

"No, sir." There was a lingering inflection in her tone that missed
satisfaction.

"Are you not happy at Cousin Leverett's?"

"Happy? Oh, yes." She glanced up in a little surprise. "But the money
would be to make someone else happy."

"Ah!" He nodded encouragingly.

"Betty is going to a party."

"And she has been teasing her mother for some finery?"

"She hasn't any pretty gown. I thought this all up myself, Uncle Win.
Miss Arabella has such quantities of pretty clothes, and they are being
saved up for me. If she was here I should ask her, but I couldn't get
it, you know, by Thursday."

She gave a soft laugh at the impossibility, as if it was quite
ridiculous.

"And you want it for her?"

"She's so good to me, Uncle Win. For although I know some things quite
well, there are others in which I am very stupid. A little girl in
school said yesterday that I was 'dreadful dumb, dumber than a goose.'
Aunt Elizabeth said a goose was so dumb that if it came in the garden
through a hole in the fence it never could find it again to get out."

"That is about the truth," laughed Uncle Win.

"I couldn't get along in arithmetic if it wasn't for Betty. She's so
kind and tells me over and over again. And I can't do anything for Aunt
Elizabeth, because I don't know how, and it takes most of my time to
study. But if I could give Betty a gown--Miss Arabella went to so many
parties when she was young. If I was there I know she would consent to
give Betty _one_ gown."

Uncle Winthrop thought of a trunk full of pretty gowns that had been
lying away many a long year. He couldn't offer any of those to Betty.
And that wouldn't be a gift from Doris.

"I wonder what would be nice? An old fellow like me would not know about
a party gown."

"Warren would. He and Betty talked a little about it last night. And
that made me think--but it didn't come into my mind until a few moments
ago that maybe there would be enough of my own money to buy one."

Doris glanced at him with such wistful entreaty that he felt he could
not have denied her a much greater thing. He remembered, too, that
Elizabeth Leverett had refused to take any compensation for Doris, this
winter at least, and he had been thinking how to make some return.

"Yes, I will see Warren. And we will surprise Betty. But perhaps her
mother would be a better judge."

"I think Aunt Elizabeth doesn't quite want Betty to go, although she
told Mrs. Morse she should."

"Oh, it's at the Morses'? Well, they are very nice people. And young
folks do go to parties. Yes, we will see about the gown."

"Uncle Winthrop, you are like the uncles in fairy stories. I had such a
beautiful fairy book at home, but it must have been mislaid."

She put her white-mittened hand over his driving glove, but he felt the
soft pressure with a curious thrill.

They went through Cambridge Street and Hilier's Lane and there they were
at home.

"It has been lovely," she said with a happy sigh as he lifted her out.
Then she reached up from the stepping-stone and kissed him.

"It isn't Sunday," she said naïvely, "and it is because you are so good
to me. And this isn't North Square."

He laughed and gave her a squeeze. Cousin Elizabeth came out and wished
him a pleasant good-night as he drove away.

What a charming little child she was, so quaintly sensible, and with a
simplicity and innocence that went to one's heart. How would Recompense
Gardiner regard a little girl like that? He would have her over sometime
for a day and they would chatter in French. Perhaps he had better brush
up his French a little. Then he smiled, remembering she had called
herself stupid, and he was indignant that anyone should pronounce her
dumb.



CHAPTER VII

ABOUT A GOWN


Saturday evening was already quiet at the Leveretts'. Elizabeth had been
brought up to regard it as the beginning of the Sabbath instead of the
end of the week. People were rather shocked then when you said Sunday,
and quite forgot the beautiful significance of the Lord's Day. Aunt
Priscilla still believed in the words of the Creation: that the evening
and the morning were the first day. In Elizabeth's early married life
she had kept it rigorously. All secular employments had been put by, and
the children had studied and recited the catechism. But as they changed
into men and women other things came between. Then Mr. Leverett grew
"lax" and strayed off--after other gods, she thought at first.

He softened noticeably. He had a pitiful side for the poor and all those
in trouble. Elizabeth declared he used no judgment or discrimination.

He opened the old Bible and put his finger on a verse: "While we have
time let us do good unto all men; and especially unto them that are of
the household of faith."

"You see," he said gravely, "the household of faith isn't put first, it
is 'all men.'"

She was reading the Bible, not as a duty but a delight, skipping about
for the sweetness of it. And she found many things that her duty reading
had overlooked.

The children did not repeat the catechism any more. She had been
considering whether it was best to set Doris at it; but Doris knew her
own catechism, and Cousin Winthrop was a Churchman, so perhaps it wasn't
wise to meddle. She took Doris to church with her.

Now, on Saturday evening work was put away. Warren was trying to read
"Paradise Lost." He had parsed out of it at school. Now and then he
dropped into the very heart of things, but he had not a poetical
temperament. His father enjoyed it very much, and was quite a reader of
Milton's prose works. Betty had strayed off into history. Doris sat
beside Uncle Leverett with her arms on his knee, and looked into the
fire. What were they doing back in Old Boston? Aunt Elizabeth had
already condemned the fairy stories as untrue, and therefore falsehoods,
so Doris never mentioned them. The child, with her many changes and
gentle nature, had developed a certain tact or adaptiveness, and loved
pleasantness. She was just a little afraid of Aunt Elizabeth's
sharpness. It was like a biting wind. She always made comparisons in her
mind, and saw things in pictured significance.

It ran over many things now. The old house that had been patched and
patched, and had one corner propped up from outside. The barn that was
propped up all around and had a thatched roof that suggested an immense
haystack. Old Barby crooning songs by the kitchen fire, sweet old Miss
Arabella with her great high cap and her snowy little curls. Why did
Aunt Priscilla think curls wrong? She had a feeling Aunt Elizabeth did
not quite approve of hers, but Betty said the Lord curled them in the
beginning. How sweet Miss Arabella must have been in her youth--yes, she
must surely have been young--when she wore the pretty frocks and went to
the king's palace! She always thought of her when she came to the verses
in the Psalms about the king's daughters and their beautiful attire. If
Betty could have had one of those!

Her heart beat with unwonted joy as she remembered how readily Uncle
Winthrop had consented to her wish. Oh, if the frock would be pretty!
And if Betty would like it! She stole a glance or two at her. How queer
to have a secret from Betty that concerned her so much. Of course people
did not talk about clothes on Sunday, so there would be no temptation to
tell, even if she had a desire, which she should not have. Monday
morning everything would be in a hurry, for it was wash-day, and she
would have to go over her lessons. Uncle Win said the gown would be at
the house Monday noon.

"What are you thinking of, little one?"

Uncle Leverett put his hand over the small one and looked down at the
face, which grew scarlet--or was it the warmth of the fire?

She laughed with a sudden embarrassment.

"I've been to Old Boston," she said, "and to new Boston. And I have seen
such sights of things."

"You had better go to bed. And you have almost burned up your face
sitting so close by the fire. It is bad for the eyes, too," said Aunt
Elizabeth.

She rose with ready obedience.

"I think I'll go too," said Betty with a yawn. The history of the
Reformation was dull and prosy.

When Doris had said her prayers, and was climbing into bed, Betty kissed
her good-night.

"I'm awfully afraid Uncle Win will want you some day," she said. "And I
just couldn't let you go. I wish you were my little sister."

There was a service in the morning and the afternoon on Sunday. Uncle
Leverett accompanied them in the morning. He generally went out in the
evening, and often some neighbor came in. It was quite a social time.

When Doris came home from school Monday noon Aunt Elizabeth handed her a
package addressed to "Miss Doris Adams, from Mr. Winthrop Adams."

"It is a new frock, I know," cried Betty laughingly. "And it is very
choice. I can tell by the way it is wrapped. Open it quick! I'm on pins
and needles."

"It is a nice cord; don't cut it," interposed Aunt Elizabeth.

Betty picked out the knot. There was another wrapper inside, and this
had on it "Miss Betty Leverett. From her little cousin, Doris Adams."

Mr. Leverett came at Betty's exclamation and looked over her shoulder.

"Are you sure it is for me? Here is a note from Uncle Win that is for
you. Oh! oh! Doris, was this what you did Saturday?"

A soft shimmering China silk slipped out of its folds and trailed on the
floor. It was a lovely rather dullish blue, such as you see in old
china, and sprays of flowers were outlined in white. Betty stood
transfixed, and just glanced from one to the other.

"Oh, do you like it?" cried Warren, impatient for the verdict. "Uncle
Win asked me to go out and do an errand with him. I was clear amazed.
But it's Doris' gift, and bought out of her own money. We looked over
ever so many things. He said you wanted something young, not a
grandmother gown. And we both settled upon this."

Betty let it fall and clasped Doris in her arms.

"Down on the dirty floor as if it was nothing worth while!" began Mrs.
Leverett, while her husband picked up the slippery stuff and let it fall
again until she took it out of his hands. "And do come to dinner!
There's a potpie made of the cold meat, and it will all be cold
together, for I took it up ever so long ago. And, Betty, you haven't put
on any pickles. And get that quince sauce."

"I don't know what to say." There were tears in Betty's eyes as she
glanced at Doris.

"Well, you can have all winter to say it in," rejoined her mother
tartly. "And your father won't want to spend all winter waiting for his
dinner."

They had finished their washing early. By a little after ten everything
was on the line, and now the mornings had grown shorter, although you
could piece them out with candlelight. Betty had suggested the cold meat
should be made into a potpie, and now Mrs. Leverett half wished she had
kept to the usual wash-day dinner--cold meat and warmed-over vegetables.
She felt undeniably cross. She had not cordially acquiesced in Betty's
going to the party. The best gown she had to wear was her gray cloth,
new in the spring. It had been let down in the skirt and trimmed with
some wine-colored bands Aunt Priscilla had brought her. It would be a
good discipline for Betty to wear it. When she saw the other young girls
in gayer attire, she would be mortified if she had any pride. Just where
proper pride began and improper pride ended she was not quite clear.
Anyhow, it would check Betty's party-going this winter. And now all the
nice-laid plans had come to grief.

Doris stood still, feeling there was something not quite harmonious in
the atmosphere.

"You were just royal to think of it," said Warren, clasping both arms
around Doris. "Uncle Win told me about it. And I hope you like our
choice. Betty had a blue and white cambric, I think they called it, last
summer, and she looked so nice in it, but it didn't wash well. Silk
doesn't have to be washed. Oh, you haven't read your letter."

Uncle Leverett had been folding and rolling the silk and laid it on a
chair. The dinner came in just as Doris had read two or three lines of
her note.

"Aunt Elizabeth,"--when there was a little lull,--"Uncle Winthrop says
he will come up to supper to-night."

"He seems very devoted, suddenly."

"Well, why shouldn't he be devoted to the little stranger in his charge,
if she isn't exactly within his gates? She is in ours."

A flush crept up in Elizabeth Leverett's face. She did not look at
Doris, but she felt the child's eyes were upon her--wondering eyes,
asking the meaning of this unusual mood. It was unreasonable as well.
Elizabeth had a kindly heart, and she knew she was doing not only
herself but Doris an injustice. She checked her rising displeasure.

"I should have enjoyed seeing you and Uncle Win shopping," she said
rather jocosely to Warren.

Betty glanced up at that. The sky was clearing and the storm blowing
over. But, oh, she had her pretty gown, come what might!

"I don't believe but what I would have been a better judge than either
of them," said Uncle Leverett.

"Uncle Win wasn't really any judge at all," rejoined Warren laughingly.
"He would have chosen the very best there was, fine enough for a
wedding gown. But I knew Betty liked blue, and that girls wanted
something soft and delicate."

"You couldn't have suited me any better," acknowledged Betty, giving the
chair that held her treasure an admiring glance. "I shall have to study
all the afternoon to know what to say to Uncle Win. As for Doris----"

Doris was smiling now. If they were all pleased, that was enough.

"I hope Uncle Win won't let you spend your money this way very often,"
said Uncle Leverett, "or you will have nothing left to buy silk gowns
for yourself when you are a young woman."

"Maybe no one will ever ask me to a party," said Doris simply.

"I will give one in your honor," declared Warren. "Let me see--in seven
years you will be sixteen. I will save up a little money every year
after I get my freedom suit."

"Your freedom suit?" in a perplexed manner.

"Yes--when I am twenty-one. That will be next July."

"You will have to buy her a silk gown as well," said his father with a
twinkle of humor in his eye.

"Then I shall strike for higher wages."

"We shall have a new President and we will see what that brings about.
The present method is simply ruinous."

The dinner was uncommonly good, if it had been made of cooked-over meat.
And the pie was delicious. Any woman who could make a pie like that, and
have the custard a perfect cream, ought to be the happiest woman alive.

Mr. Leverett followed his wife out in the kitchen, and gave the door a
push with his foot. But the three young people were so enthusiastic
about the new gown, now that the restraint was removed, that they could
not have listened.

"Mother," he began, "don't spoil the little girl's good time and her
pleasure in the gift."

"Betty did not need a silk gown. The other girls didn't have one until
they were married. If I had considered it proper, I should have bought
it myself."

"But Winthrop hadn't the heart to refuse Doris."

"If he means to indulge every whim and fancy she'll spend everything she
has before she is fairly grown. She's too young to understand and she
has been brought up so far in an irresponsible fashion. Generosity is
sometimes foolishness."

"You wouldn't catch Hollis' little boy spending his money on anyone,"
and Sam's grandfather laughed. Sam was bright and shrewd, smart at his
books and good at a barter. He had a little money out at interest
already. Mr. Leverett had put it in the business, and every six months
Sam collected his interest on the mark.

"Winthrop isn't as slack as you sometimes think. He could calculate
compound interest to a fraction."

"I'm glad someone has a little forethought," was the rather tart reply.

"Winthrop isn't as slack as you sometimes think. He doesn't like
business, but he has a good head for it. And he will look out for Doris.
He is mightily interested in her too. But if you must scold anyone, save
it for him to-night, and let Doris be happy in her gift."

"Am I such a scold?"

"You are my dear helpmeet." He put his arm over her shoulder and kissed
her. People were not very demonstrative in those days, and their
affection spoke oftener in deeds than words. In fact, they thought the
words betrayed a strand of weakness. "There, I must be off," he added.
"Come, Warren," opening the door. "Meade will think we have had a turkey
dinner and stayed to polish the bones."

Betty had been trying the effect of trailing silk and enjoying her
brother's admiration. Now she folded it again decorously, and began to
pile up the cups and plates, half afraid to venture into the kitchen
lest her dream of delight should be overshadowed by a cloud.

Mrs. Leverett was doing a sober bit of thinking. How much happiness
ought one to allow one's self in this vale of tears? Something she had
read last night recurred to her--"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the
least of these----" Done what? Fed bodies and warmed and clothed them.
And what of the hungry longing soul? All her life she had had a good
tender husband. And now, when he had strayed from the faith a little, he
seemed dearer and nearer than ever before. God had given her a great
deal to be thankful for. Five fine children who had never strayed out of
the paths of rectitude. Of course, she had always given the credit to
their "bringing up." And here was a little girl reared quite
differently, sweet, wholesome, generous, painstaking, and grateful for
every little favor.

Astute Betty sent Doris in as an advance guard.

"You may take the dish of spoons, and I'll follow with the cups and
saucers."

Aunt Elizabeth looked up and half smiled.

"You and Uncle Win have been very foolish," she began, but her tone was
soft, as if she did not wholly believe what she was saying. "I shall
save my scolding for him, and I think Betty will have to train you in
figures all winter long to half repay for such a beautiful gift."

"Oh, Aunt Elizabeth, I _thought_ of it, you know," she cried in sweet
eagerness, "and if there is anything wrong----"

"There isn't anything wrong, dear." Mrs. Leverett stooped and kissed
her. "I don't know as Betty needed a silk gown, for many a girl doesn't
have one until she is married. I shall have to keep a sharp eye on you
and Uncle Win hereafter."

Betty went back and forth. The dishes were washed and the kitchen set to
rights, while the bits of talk flowed pleasantly.

"I think I will iron this afternoon," announced Betty. "I see some of
the clothes are dry. Didn't you mean to go and see about the carpet,
mother?"

"I had thought of it. I want to have my warp dyed blue and orange, and
some of the rags colored. Mrs. Jett does it so well, and she's so needy
I thought I would give her all the work. Your father said I had better.
And she might dip over that brown frock of yours. The piece of new can
go with it so it will all be alike."

Betty wanted to lift up her heart in thanksgiving. The dyeing tub was
her utter abomination--it took so long for the stain to wear out of your
hands.

"Well--if you like." This referred to the ironing. "I don't know how
you'll get your gown done."

"I might run over and get some patterns from Jane, if I get through in
time," suggested Betty. For a horrible fear had entered her mind that
her mother's acceptance of the fact foreboded some delay in the making.

"Don't go until I get back."

"Oh, no."

Betty took down the clothes and folded them. They were just right to
iron. She arranged her table, and Doris brought her books and sat at one
end.

"It would be so much nicer to talk about the party," she said gravely,
"but the lessons are so hard. Oh, Betty, do you think I shall ever be
smart like other girls? I feel ashamed sometimes. My figures are just
dreadful. Robert Lane said this morning they looked like hen tracks. His
are beautiful. And he is only seven years old. Oh, dear!"

"Robbie has been at school three years. Wait until you have been a
year!"

"And writing. Oh, Betty, when will I be able to write a letter to Miss
Arabella? Now, if you could talk across the ocean!"

"The idea! One would have to scream pretty loud, and then it wouldn't go
a mile." Betty threw her head back and laughed.

But Doris was to live long enough to talk across the ocean, though no
one really dreamed of it then; indeed, at first it was quite ridiculed.

"It is a nice thing to know a good deal, but it is awful hard to learn,"
said the little girl presently.

"Now, it seems to me I never could learn French. And when you rattle it
off in the way you do, I am dumb-founded."

"What is that, Betty?"

Betty flushed and laughed. "Surprised or anything like that," she
returned.

"But, you see, I learned to talk and read just as you do English. And
then papa being English, why I had both languages. It was very easy."

"Patience and perseverance will make this easy."

"And I can't knit a stocking nor make a shirt. And I haven't pieced a
bedspread nor worked a sampler. Mary Green has a beautiful one, with a
border of strawberries around the edge and forget-me-nots in the corner.
Her father is going to have it framed."

"Oh, you must not chatter so much. Begin and say some tables."

"I know 'three times' skipping all about. But when you get good and used
one way you have to fly around some other way. I can say 'four times'
straight, but I have to think a little."

"Now begin," said Betty.

They seemed to run races, until Doris' cheeks were like roses and she
was all out of breath. At last she accomplished the baleful four,
skipping about.

"Mrs. Webb said I must learn four and five this week. And five is easy
enough. Now, will you hear me do some sums in addition?"

She added aloud, and did quite well, Betty thought.

"When I can make nice figures and do sums that are worth while, I am to
have a book to put them in, Mrs. Webb says. What is worth while, Betty?"

"Why it's--it's--a thing that is really worth doing well. I don't know
everything," with a half-laughing sigh.

Betty had all her pieces ironed before the lessons were learned. Doris
thought ironing was easier. It finished up of itself, and there was
nothing to come after.

"Well--there is mending," suggested Betty.

"I know how to darn. I shall not have to learn that."

"And you darn beautifully."

While Mrs. Leverett was out she thought she would run down to Aunt
Priscilla's a few moments, so it was rather late when she returned. But
Betty had a pan of biscuits rising in the warmth of the fire. Then she
was allowed to go over to the Morses' and tell Jane the wonderful news.
Uncle Winthrop walked up, so there would be no trouble about the horse;
then, he had been writing all day, and needed some exercise.

"And how did the silk suit?" he asked as he took both of the child's
hands in his.

"It was just beautiful. Betty was delighted, and so surprised! Uncle
Winthrop, isn't it a joyful thing to make people happy!"

"Why--I suppose it is," with a curious hesitation in his voice, as he
glanced down into the shining eyes. He had not thought much of making
anyone happy latterly. Indeed, he believed he had laid all the real joys
of life in his wife's grave. He was proud of his son, of course, and he
did everything for his advancement. But a simple thing like this!

"We have been studying all the afternoon, Betty and I. She is so good to
me. And to think, Uncle Win, she had read the Bible all through when she
was eight years old, and made a shirt. All the little girls make one for
their father. And he gave her a silver half-dollar with a hole in it,
and she put a blue ribbon through it and means to keep it always. But I
haven't any father. And I began to read the Bible on Sunday. It will
take me two years," with a long sigh. "I used to read the Psalms to Miss
Arabella, and there was a portion for every day. They are just a month
long, when the month has thirty days."

Her chatter was so pleasant. Several times through the day her soft
voice had haunted him.

Aunt Elizabeth came in with her big kitchen apron tied over her best
afternoon gown. She didn't scold very hard, but she thought Uncle Win
might better be careful of the small fortune coming to Doris, since she
had neither father nor brother to augment it. And they would make Betty
as vain as a peacock in all her finery.

Betty returned laden with patterns and her eyes as bright as stars. Jane
Morse had promised to come over in the morning and help her cut her
gown. Jane was a very "handy" girl, and prided herself on knowing enough
about "mantua making" to get her living if she had need. At that period
nearly every family did the sewing of all kinds except the outside wear
for men. And fashions were as eagerly sought for and discussed among the
younger people as in more modern times. The old Puritan attire was still
in vogue. Not so many years before the Revolution the Royalists'
fashions, both English and French, had been adopted. But the cocked hats
and scarlet coats, the flowing wigs and embroidered waistcoats, had been
swept away by the Continental style. For women, high heels and high caps
had run riot, and hoops and flowing trains of brocades and velvets and
glistening silks. And now the wife of the First Consul of France was the
Empress Josephine, and the Empire style had swept away the pompadour and
everything else. It had the advantage of being more simple, though quite
as costly.

Uncle Win and Uncle Leverett talked politics after supper, one sitting
one side of the chimney and one the other. Doris had gone over to Uncle
Winthrop's side, and she wished she could be two little girls just for
the evening. She was trying very hard to understand what they meant by
the Embargo and the Non-Intercourse Act, and she learned they were going
to have a new President in March. She did not think politics very
interesting--she liked better to hear about the war that had begun more
than thirty years ago. Uncle Leverett was quite sure there would be
another war before they were done with it; that all the old questions
had not been fought out, and there could be no lasting peace until they
were. Did men like war so much, she wondered?

Betty stole around to Uncle Win's side before he went away and thanked
him again for the interest he had taken in Doris' desire. Yes, she was a
pretty girl; and how much cheer there seemed around the Leverett
fireside! Warren was a fine young fellow, too, older by two years than
his own son. He missed a certain cordial living that would have cheered
his own life. When his boy came home he would have it different. And by
that time he would have decided about Doris.

Betty and Jane had plenty of discussions the next morning. Waists were
short and full, and with a square neck and a flat band, over which there
was a fall of lace, and short, puffed sleeves for evening wear.

"But she isn't likely to go to another party this winter, and she will
want it for a best dress all next summer," said Mrs. Leverett.

"Oh, I should have long sleeves, as well, and just baste them in. And
there's so much silk I should make a fichu to tie round in the back with
two long ends. You can make that any time. And a scant ruffle not more
than an inch wide when it is finished. A ruffle round the skirt about
two inches when that is done. Letty Rowe has three ruffles around her
changeable taffeta. 'Twas made for her cousin's wedding, and it is just
elegant."

"It is a shame to waste stuff that way," declared Mrs. Leverett.

"But the frills are scant, and skirts are never more than two and a half
yards round. Why, last summer mother said I might have that fine
sprigged muslin of hers to make over, and I'm sure I have enough for
another gown. Mrs. Leverett, it doesn't take half as much to make a gown
for us as it did for our mothers," said Jane with arch humor.

"She had better save the piece for a new waist and sleeves," declared
the careful mother.

"Well, maybe fichus and capes will go out before another summer. I would
save the piece now, at any rate," agreed Jane.

Jane was extremely clever. The girls had many amusing asides, for Mrs.
Leverett was ironing in the kitchen. There was nothing harmful about
them, but they were full of gay promise. Jane cut and basted and fitted.
There were the bodice and the sleeves. "You can easily slip out the long
ones," she whispered, "and there was the skirt with the lining all
basted, and the ruffles cut and sewed together."

"You'll have a nice job hemming them. I should do it over a cord. It
makes them set out so much better. And if you get in the drag I'll come
over to-morrow. I'm to help mother with the nut cake this afternoon. It
cuts better to be a day or two old. We made the fruit cake a fortnight
ago."

"How good you are! I don't know what I should have done without you!"

"And I don't know how Betty will ever repay you," said Mrs. Leverett.

"I know," returned Jane laughingly. "I have planned to get every stitch
out of her. I am going to quilt my 'Young Man's Ramble' this winter, and
mother's said I might ask in two or three of the best quilters I
know--Betty quilts so beautifully!"

The "Young Man's Ramble" was patchwork of a most intricate design, in
which it seemed that one might ramble about fruitlessly.

"I am glad there is some way of your getting even," said the mother with
a little pride.

Jane took dinner with them and then ran off home. Warren went a short
distance with her, as their way lay together.

"I hope you didn't say anything about the dancing," he remarked. "Mother
is rather set against it. But Sister Electa gives dancing parties, and
Betty's going to Hartford this winter. She ought to know how to dance."

"Trust me for not letting the cat out of the bag!"

Betty sewed and sewed. She could hardly attend to Doris' lessons and
sums. She hemmed the ruffle in the evening, and hurried with her work
the next morning. Everything went smoothly, and Mrs. Leverett was more
interested than she would have believed. And she was quite ready to take
up the cudgel for her daughter's silken gown when Aunt Priscilla made
her appearance. Of course she would find fault.

But it is the unexpected that happens. Aunt Priscilla was in an
extraordinary mood. Some money had been paid to her that morning that
she had considered lost beyond a peradventure. And she said, "It was a
great piece of foolishness, and Winthrop Adams at his time of life ought
to have had more sense, but what could you expect of a man always
browsing over books! And if she had thought Betty was dying for a silk
frock, she had two laid away that would come in handy some time. She
hadn't ever quite decided who should fall heir to them, but so many of
the girls had grown up and had husbands to buy fine things for them, she
supposed it would be Betty."

"What is going round the neck and sleeves?" she asked presently.

"Mother has promised to lend me some lace," answered Betty. "The other
girls had a borrowed wear out of it."

"I'll look round a bit. I never had much real finery, but husband always
wanted me to dress well when we were first married. We went out a good
deal for a while, before he was hurt. I'll see what I have."

And the next morning old Polly brought over a box with "Missus' best
compliments." There was some beautiful English thread lace about four
inches wide, just as it had lain away for years, wrapped in soft white
paper, with a cake of white wax to keep it from turning unduly yellow.

"Betty, you are in wonderful luck," said her mother. "Something has
stirred up Aunt Priscilla."

Just at noon that eventful Thursday Mr. Manning came in from Salem for
his mother-in-law. Mrs. Manning's little daughter had been born at eight
that morning, and Mary wanted her mother at once. She had promised to
go, but hardly expected the call so soon.

There were so many charges to give Betty, who was to keep house for the
next week. Nothing was quite ready. Mother fashion, she had counted on
doing this and that before she went; and if Betty couldn't get along she
must ask Aunt Priscilla to come, just as if Betty had not kept house a
whole week last summer. There was advice to father and to Warren, and he
was to try to bring Betty home by nine o'clock that evening. What Doris
would do in the afternoon, she couldn't see.

"Go off with an easy heart, mother," said Mr. Leverett; "I will come
home early this afternoon."



CHAPTER VIII

SINFUL OR NOT?


"You should have seen me when Jane tied a white sash about my waist.
Then I was just complete."

"But you looked beautiful before--like a--well, a queen couldn't have
looked prettier. Or the Empress Josephine."

Betty laughed and kissed the little girl whose eyes were still full of
admiration. She had not come home until ten, and found her father
waiting at the fireside, but Doris was snuggled up in bed and soundly
asleep. She had risen at her father's call, made the breakfast, and sent
the men off in time; then heard the lesson Doris wasn't quite sure of,
and sent her to school; and now the dinner was cleared away and they
were sitting by the fire.

The Empress Josephine was in her glory then, one of the notables of
Europe.

"And Mrs. Morse said such lace as that would be ten dollars a yard now.
Think of that! Thirty dollars! But didn't you get lonesome waiting for
father?"

"He came just half an hour afterward. And, oh, we had such a grand,
funny time getting supper. It was as good as a party. I poured the tea.
And he called me Miss Adams, like a grown lady. And, then, what do you
think? We played fox and geese! And do you know I thought the geese were
dumb to let the fox get them all. And then he took the geese and soon
penned my fox in a corner. Then he told me about the fox and the goose
and the measure of corn and the man crossing the stream. It was just
delightful. I wanted to stay up until you came home, but I did get so
sleepy. And was the party splendid? I don't think anyone could have been
prettier than you!"

"Sally Prentiss had a pink silk frock, and the ruffles were fringed out,
which made them fluffy. It was beautiful! Oh, I should have felt just
awful in my gray cloth or my blue winter frock. And I owe most of the
delight to you, little Doris. I've been thinking--sometime I will work
you a beautiful white frock, fine India muslin."

"And what did they do?"

"We didn't sew much," Betty laughed. "We talked and talked. I knew all
but one girl, and we were soon acquainted. Jane didn't have a thing to
do, of course. Then the gentlemen came and we went out to supper. The
table was like a picture. There was cold turkey and cold ham and cold
baked pork. They were all delicious. And bread and biscuits and puffy
little cakes quite new. Mrs. Morse's cousin brought the recipe, and she
has promised it to mother. And there were jams and jellies and ever so
many things, and then all the plates and meats were sent away, and the
birthday cake with seventeen tiny candles was lighted up. And cake of
every kind, and whipped cream and nuts and candies. Then we went back to
the parlor and played "proverbs" and "What is my thought like?" and then
black Joe came with his fiddle. First they danced the minuet. It was
beautiful. And then they had what is called cotillions. I believe that
is the new fashionable dance. It takes eight people, but you can have
two or three at the same time. They dance in figures. And, oh, it is
just delightful! I _do_ wonder if it is wrong?"

"What would make it wrong?" asked Doris gravely.

"That's what puzzles me. A great many people think it right and send
their children to dancing-school. On all great occasions there seems to
be dancing. It is stepping and floating around gracefully. You think of
swallows flying and flowers swinging and grass waving in the summer
sun."

"But if there is so much of it in the world, and if God made the world
gay and glad and rejoicing and full of butterflies and birds and ever so
many things that don't do any real work but just have a lovely time----"

Doris' wide-open eyes questioned her companion.

"They haven't any souls. I don't know." Betty shook her head. "Let's ask
father about it to-night. When you are little you play tag and
puss-in-the-corner and other things, and run about full of fun. Dancing
is more orderly and refined. And there's the delicious music! All the
young men were so nice and polite,--so kind of elegant,--and it makes
you feel of greater consequence. I don't mean vain, only as if it was
worth while to behave prettily. It's like the parlor and the kitchen.
You don't take your washing and scrubbing and scouring in the parlor,
though that work is all necessary. So there are two sides to life. And
my side just now is getting supper, while your side is studying tables.
Oh, I do wonder if you will ever get to know them!"

Doris sighed. She would so much rather talk about the party.

"And your frock was--pretty?" she ventured timidly.

"All the girls thought it lovely. And I told them it was a gift from my
little cousin, who came from old Boston--and they were so interested in
you. They thought Doris a beautiful name, but Sally said the family name
ought to be grander to go with it. But Adams is a fine old name,
too--the first name that was ever given. There was only one man then,
and when there came to be such hosts of them they tacked the 's' on to
make it a noun of multitude."

"Did they really? Some of the children are learning about nouns. Oh,
dear, how much there is to learn!" said the little girl with a sigh.

Betty went at her supper. People ate three good stout meals in those
days. It made a deal of cooking. It made a stout race of people as well,
and one heard very little about nerves and indigestion. Betty was
getting to be quite a practiced cook.

Mr. Leverett took a good deal of interest hearing about the party.
Warren had enjoyed it mightily. And then they besieged him for an
opinion on the question of dancing. Warren presented his petition that
he might be allowed to join a class of young men that was being formed.
There were only a few vacancies.

"I do not think I have a very decided opinion about it," he returned
slowly. "Times have changed a good deal since I was young, and
amusements have changed with them. A hundred or so years ago life was
very strenuous, and prejudices of people very strong. Yet the young
people skated and had out-of-door games, and indoor plays that we
consider very rough now. And you remember that our ancestors were
opposed to nearly everything their oppressors did. Their own lives were
too serious to indulge in much pleasuring. The pioneers of a nation
rarely do. But we have come to an era of more leisure as to social life.
Whether it will make us as strong as a nation remains to be seen."

"That doesn't answer my question," said Warren respectfully.

"I am going to ask you to wait until you are of age, mostly for your
mother's sake. I think she dreads leaving the old ways. And then Betty
will have no excuse," with a shrewd little smile.

Warren looked disappointed.

"But I danced last night," said Betty. "And we used to dance last winter
at school. Two or three of the girls were good enough to show us the new
steps. And one of the amusing things was a draw cotillion. The girls
drew out a slip of paper that had a young man's name on it, and then she
had to pass it over to him, and he danced with her. And who do you think
I had?" triumphantly.

"I do not know the young men who were there," said her father.

"I hope it was the very nicest and best," exclaimed Doris.

"It just was! Jane's cousin, Morris Winslow. And he was quite the leader
in everything, almost as if it was his party. And he is one of the real
quality, you know. I was almost afraid to dance with him, but he was so
nice and told me what to do every time, so I did not make any serious
blunders. But it is a pleasure to feel that you know just how."

"There will be years for you to learn," said her father. "Meanwhile the
ghost of old Miles Standish may come back."

"What would he do?" asked Doris, big-eyed.

Warren laughed. "What he did in the flesh was this: The Royalists--you
see, they were not all Puritans that came over--were going to keep an
old-time festival at a place called Merry Mount. They erected a May pole
and were going to dance around it."

"That is what they do at home. And they have a merry time. Miss Arabella
took me. And didn't Miles Standish like it?"

"I guess not. He sent a force of men to tear it down, and marched Morton
and his party into Plymouth, where they were severely reprimanded--fined
as well, some people say."

"We do not rule our neighbors quite as strictly now. But one must admire
those stanch old fellows, after all."

"I am glad the world has grown wider," said Warren. But he wished its
wideness had taken in his mother, who had a great fear of the evils
lying in wait for unwary youth. Still he would not go against her wishes
while he was yet under age. Young people were considered children in
their subjection to their parents until this period. And girls who
stayed at home were often in subjection all their lives. There were men
who ruled their families with a sort of iron sway, but Mr. Leverett had
always been considered rather easy.

Doris begged to come out and dry the dishes, but they said tables
instead of talking of the seductive party. Mr. Leverett had to go out
for an hour. Betty sat down and took up her knitting. She felt rather
tired and sleepy, for she had gone on with the party the night before,
after she was in bed. A modern girl would be just getting ready to go to
her party at ten. But then she would not have to get up at half-past
five the next morning, make a fire, and cook breakfast. Suddenly Betty
found herself nodding.

"Put up your book, Doris. I'll mix the cakes and we will go to bed. You
can dream on the lessons."

The party had demoralized Doris as well.

Among the real quality young men came to inquire after the welfare of
the ladies the next morning, or evening at the latest. But people in the
middle classes were occupied with their employments, which were the main
things of their lives.

And though the lines were strongly drawn and the "quality" were
aristocratic, there were pleasant gradations, marked by a fine breeding
on the one side and a sense of fitness on the other, that met when there
was occasion, and mingled and fused agreeably, then returned each to his
proper sphere. The Morses were well connected and had some quite high-up
relatives. For that matter, so were the Leveretts, but Foster Leverett
was not ambitions for wealth or social distinction, and Mrs. Leverett
clung to the safety of the good old ways.

Jane ran over in the morning with a basket of some of the choicer kinds
of cake, and some nuts, raisins, and mottoes for the little girl. There
were so many nice things she was dying to tell Betty,--compliments,--and
some from Cousin Morris. And didn't she think everything went off
nicely?

"It was splendid, all through," cried Betty enthusiastically. "I would
like to go to a party--well, I suppose every week would be too often,
but at least twice a month."

"The Chauncey Winslows are going to have a party Thanksgiving night.
They are Morris' cousins and not mine, but I've been there; and Morris
said last night I should have an invitation. It will be just splendid,
I know."

"But you are seventeen. And mother thinks I am only a little girl,"
returned Betty.

"Oh, yes; I didn't go scarcely anywhere last winter. Being grown up is
ever so much nicer. But it will come for you."

"Electa wants me to visit her this winter. The assembly is to meet, you
know, and she has plenty of good times, although she has three children.
I _do_ hope I can go! And I have that lovely frock."

"That would be delightful. I wish I had a sister married and living away
somewhere--New York, for instance. They have such fine times. Oh, dear!
how do you get along alone?"

"It keeps me pretty busy."

Jane had come out in the kitchen, so Betty could go on with her dinner
preparations.

"Mother thinks of keeping Cousin Nabby all winter. She likes Boston so,
and it's lonely up in New Hampshire on the farm. That will ease me up
wonderfully."

"If I go away mother will have to get someone."

"Although they do not think we young people are of much account,"
laughed Jane. "Give your little girl a good big chunk of party cake and
run over when you can."

"But I can't now."

"Then I will have to do the visiting."

Dinner was ready on the mark, and Mr. Leverett praised it. Doris came
home in high feather. She had not missed a word, and she had done all
her sums.

"I think I am growing smarter," she announced with a kind of grave
exultation. "Don't you think Aunt Elizabeth will teach me how to knit
when she comes back?"

Not to have knit a pair of stockings was considered rather disgraceful
for a little girl.

Aunt Priscilla came over early Saturday afternoon. She found the house
in very good order, and she glanced sharply about, too. They had not
heard from Mary yet, but the elder lady said no news was good news. Then
she insisted on looking over the clothes for the Monday's wash and
mending up the rents. Tuesday she would come in and darn the stockings.
When she was nine years old it was her business to do all the family
darning, looking askance at Doris.

"Now, if you had been an only child, Aunt Priscilla, and had no parents,
what a small amount of darning would have fallen to your share!" said
Betty.

"Well, I suppose I would have been put out somewhere and trained to make
myself useful. And if I'd had any money that would have been on
interest, so that I could have some security against want in my old age.
Anyway, it isn't likely I should have been allowed to fritter away my
time."

Betty wondered how Aunt Priscilla could content herself with doing such
a very little now! Not but what she had earned a rest. And Foster
Leverett, who managed some of her business, said _sub rosa_ that she was
not spending all her income.

"You can't come up to your mother making tea," she said at the supper
table. "Your mother makes the best cup of tea I ever tasted."

Taking it altogether they did get on passably well without Mrs. Leverett
during the ten days. She brought little James, six years of age, who
couldn't go the long distance to school in cold weather with the two
older children, and so was treated to a visit at grandmother's.

Mary was doing well and had a sweet little girl, as good as a kitten.
Mr. Manning's Aunt Comfort had come to stay a spell through the winter.
And now there was getting ready for Thanksgiving. There was no time to
make mince pies, but then Mrs. Leverett didn't care so much for them
early in the season. Hollis' family would come up, they would ask Aunt
Priscilla, and maybe Cousin Winthrop would join them. So they were busy
as possible.

Little James took a great liking to his shy cousin Doris, and helped her
say tables and spell. He had been at school all summer and was very
bright and quick.

"But, Uncle Foster," she declared, "the children in America are much
smarter than English children. They understand everything so easily."

Then came the first big snowstorm of the season. There had been two or
three little dashes and squalls. It began at noon and snowed all night.
The sky was so white in the early morning you could hardly tell where
the snow line ended and where it began; but by and by there came a
bluish, silvery streak that parted it like a band, and presently a pale
sun ventured forth, hanging on the edge of yellowish clouds and growing
stronger, until about noon it flooded everything with gold, and the
heavens were one broad sheet of blue magnificence.

Doris did not go to school in the morning. There were no broken paths,
and boys and men were busy shoveling out or tracking down.

"It is a heavy snow for so early in the season," declared Uncle
Leverett. "We are not likely to see bare ground in a long while."

Doris thought it wonderful. And when Uncle Winthrop came the next day
and took them out in a big sleigh with a span of horses, her heart beat
with unwonted enjoyment. But the familiarity little James evinced with
it quite startled her.

Thanksgiving Day was a great festival even then, and had been for a
long while. Christmas was held of little account. New Year's Day had a
greater social aspect. Commencement, election, and training days were in
high favor, and every good housewife baked election cake, and every
voter felt entitled to a half-holiday at least. Then there was an annual
fast day, with church-going and solemnity quite different from its modern
successor.

The Hollis Leveretts, two grown people and four children, came up early.
Sam, or little Sam as he was often called to distinguish him from his
two uncles, was a nice well-grown and well-looking boy of about ten.
Mrs. Hollis had lost her next child, a boy also, and Bessy was just
beyond six. Charles and the baby completed the group.

Uncle Leverett made a fire in the best room early in the morning. Doris
was a little curious to see it with the shutters open. It was a large
room, with a "boughten" ingrain carpet, stiff chairs, two great square
ottomans, a big sofa, and some curious old paintings, besides a number
of framed silhouettes of different members of the family.

The most splendid thing of all was the great roaring fire in the wide
chimney. The high shelf was adorned with two pitchers in curious
glittering bronze, with odd designs in blue and white raised from the
surface. The children brought their stools and sat around the fire.

Adjoining this was the spare room, the guest chamber _par excellence_.
Sometimes the old house had been full, when there were young people
coming and going, and relatives from distant places visiting. Electa and
Mary had both married young, though in the early years of her married
life Electa had made long visits home. But her husband had prospered in
business and gone into public life, and she entertained a good deal, and
the journey home was long and tedious. Mary was much nearer, but she had
a little family and many cares.

Sam took the leadership of the children. He had seen Doris for a few
minutes on several occasions and had not a very exalted opinion of a
girl who could only cipher in addition, while he was over in interest
and tare and tret. To be sure he could neither read nor talk French.
This year he had gone to the Latin school. He hadn't a very high opinion
of Latin, and he did not want to go to college. He was going to be a
shipping merchant, and own vessels to go all over the world and bring
cargoes back to Boston. He meant to be a rich man and own a fine big
house like the Hancock House.

Doris thought it would be very wonderful for a little boy to get rich.

"And you might be lord mayor of Boston," she said, thinking of the
renowned Whittington.

"We don't have _lord_ mayors nor lord anything now, except occasionally
a French or English nobleman. And we don't care much for them," said the
uncompromising young republican. "I should like to be Governor or
perhaps President, but I shouldn't want to waste my time on anything
else."

Grandfather Leverett smiled over these boyish ambitions, but he wished
Sam's heart was not quite so set on making money.

There were so few grown people that by bringing in one of the kitchen
tables and placing it alongside they could make room for all. Betty was
to be at the end, flanked on both sides by the children; Mrs. Hollis at
the other end. There was a savory fragrance of turkey, sauces, and
vegetables, and the table seemed literally piled up with good things.

Just as they were about to sit down Uncle Winthrop came in for a moment
to express his regrets again at not being able to make one of the
family circle. Doris thought he looked very handsome in his best
clothes, his elegant brocaded waistcoat, and fine double-ruffled
shirt-front. He wore his hair brushed back and tied in a queue and
slightly powdered.

He was to go to a grand dinner with some of the city officials, a
gathering that was not exactly to his taste, but one he could not well
decline. And when Doris glanced up with such eager admiration and
approval, his heart warmed tenderly toward her, as it recalled other
appreciative eyes that had long ago closed for the last time.

What a dinner it was! Sam studied hard and played hard in the brief
while he could devote to play, and he ate accordingly. Doris was filled
with amazement. No wonder he was round and rosy.

"Doesn't that child ever eat any more?" asked Mrs. Hollis. "No wonder
she is so slim and peaked. I'd give her some gentian, mother, or
anything that would start her up a little."

Doris turned scarlet.

"She's always well," answered Mrs. Leverett. "She hasn't had a sick day
since she came here. I think she hasn't much color naturally, and her
skin is very fair."

"I do hope she will stay well. I've had such excellent luck with my
children, who certainly do give their keeping credit. I think she's been
housed too much. I'm afraid she won't stand the cold winter very well."

"You can't always go by looks," commented Aunt Priscilla.

After the dinner was cleared away and the dishes washed (all the grown
people helped and made short work of it), the kitchen was straightened,
the chairs being put over in the corner, and the children who were
large enough allowed a game of blindman's buff, Uncle Leverett watching
to see that no untoward accidents happened, and presently allowing
himself to be caught. And, oh, what a scattering and laughing there was
then! His arms were so large that it seemed as if he must sweep
everybody into them, but, strange to relate, no one was caught so
easily. They dodged and tiptoed about and gave little half-giggles and
thrilled with success. He did catch Sam presently, and the boy did not
enjoy it a bit. Not that he minded being blindfolded, but he should have
liked to boast that grandfather could not catch him.

Sam could see under the blinder just the least bit. Doris had on red
morocco boots, and they were barely up to her slim ankles. They were
getting small, so Aunt Elizabeth thought she might take a little good
out of them, as they were by far too light for school wear. Sam was sure
he could tell by them, and he resolved to capture her. But every time he
came near grandfather rushed before her, and he didn't want to catch
back right away, neither did he want Bessy, whose half-shriek betrayed
her whereabouts.

Mrs. Leverett opened the door.

"I think you have made noise enough," she said. People believed in the
old adage then that children should "be seen and not heard," and that
indoors was no place for a racket. "Aunt Priscilla thinks she must go,
but she wants you to sing a little."

This was for Mr. Leverett, but Sam had a very nice boy's voice and felt
proud enough when he lifted it up in church.

"I'll come, grandmother," he said with some elation, as if he alone had
been asked. And as he tore off the blinder he put his head down close to
Doris, and whispered:

"It was mean of you to hide behind grandfather every time, and he didn't
play fair a bit."

But having a peep at the red shoes as they went dancing round was fair
enough!

Hollis Leverett sang in the choir. They had come to this innovation,
though they drew the line at instrumental music. He had a really fine
tenor voice. Mr. Leverett sang in a sort of natural, untrained tone,
very sweet. Mrs. Hollis couldn't sing at all, but she was very proud to
have the children take after their father. There were times when Aunt
Priscilla sang for herself, but her voice had grown rather quivering and
uncertain. So Betty and her mother had to do their best to keep from
being drowned out. But the old hymns were touching, with here and there
a line of rare sweetness.

Hollis Leverett was going to take Aunt Priscilla home and then return
for the others. Sam insisted upon going with them, so grandfather
roasted some corn for Bessy and Doris. They had not the high art of
popping it then and turning it inside out, although now and then a grain
achieved such a success all by itself. Bessy thought Doris rather queer
and not very smart.

The two little ones were bundled up and made ready, and the sleigh came
back with a jingle for warning. Mrs. Hollis took her baby in her arms,
grandfather carried out little Foster, and they were all packed in
snugly and covered up almost head and ears with the great fur robes,
while little Sam shouted out the last good-night.

Mrs. Leverett straightened things in the best room until all the
company air had gone out of it. Doris felt the difference and was glad
to come out to her own chimney corner. Then Betty spread the table and
they had a light supper, for, what with dinner being a little late and
very hearty, no one was hungry. But they sipped their tea and talked
over the children and how finely Sam was getting along in his studies,
and Mrs. Leverett brought up the Manning children, for much as she loved
Hollis, her daughter Mary's children came in for a share of
grandmotherly affection. And in her heart she felt that little James was
quite as good as anybody.

Warren had promised to spend the evening with some young friends. Betty
wished she were a year older and could have the privilege of inviting in
schoolmates and their brothers, and that she might have fire in the
parlor on special occasions. But, to compensate, some of the neighbors
dropped in. Doris and James played fox and geese until they were sleepy.
James had a little cot in the corner of grandmother's room.



CHAPTER IX

WHAT WINTER BROUGHT


Oh, what a lovely white world it was! The low, sedgy places were frozen
over and covered with snow; the edges of the bay, Charles River, and
Mystic River were assuming their winter garments as well. And when, just
a week after, another snowstorm came, there seemed a multitude of white
peaks out in the harbor, and the hills were transformed into veritable
snow-capped mountains. Winter had set in with a rigor unknown to-day.
But people did not seem to mind it. Even the children had a good time
sledding and snowballing and building snow forts and fighting battles.
There were mighty struggles between the North Enders and the South
Enders. Louisburg was retaken, 1775 was re-enacted, and Paul Revere
again swung his lantern and roused his party to arms, and snowballs
whitened instead of darkening the air with the smoke of firearms. Deeds
of mighty prowess were done on both sides.

But the boys had the best of it surely. The girls had too much to do.
They were soon too large for romping and playing. There were stockings
to knit and to darn. There were long overseams in sheets; there was no
end of shirt-making for the men. They put the hems in their own frocks
and aprons, they stitched gussets and bands and seams. People were still
spinning and weaving, though the mills that were to lead the revolution
in industries had come in. The Embargo was taxing the ingenuity of
brains as well as hands, and as more of everything was needed for the
increase of population, new methods were invented to shorten processes
that were to make New England the manufacturing center of the new world.

When the children had nothing else to do there was always a bag of
carpet rags handy. There were braided rugs that were quite marvels of
taste, and even the hit-or-miss ones were not bad.

Still they were allowed out after supper on moonlight nights for an hour
or so, and then they had grand good times. The father or elder brothers
went along to see that no harm happened. Fort Hill was one of the
favorite coasting places, and parties of a larger growth thronged here.
But Beacon Hill had not been shorn of all its glory.

Uncle Winthrop came over one day and took the children and Betty to see
the battle at Fort Hill. The British had intrenched themselves with
forts and breastworks and had their colors flying. It really had been
hard work to enlist men or boys in this army. No one likes to go into a
fight with the foregone conclusion that he is to be beaten. But they
were to do their best, and they did it. The elders went out to see the
fun. The rebels directed all their energies to the capture of one fort
instead of opening fire all along the line, and by dusk they had
succeeded in demolishing that, when the troops on both sides were
summoned home to supper and to comfortable beds, an innovation not laid
down in the rules of warfare.

Little James had been fired with military ardor. Cousin Sam was the
leader of one detachment of the rebel forces. Catch him anywhere but on
the winning side!

Doris had been much interested as well, and that evening Uncle Leverett
told them stories about Boston thirty years before. He was a young man
of three-and-twenty when Paul Revere swung his lantern to give the
alarm. He could only touch lightly upon what had been such solemn
earnest to the men of that time, the women as well.

"I'm going to be a soldier," declared James, with all the fervor of his
youthful years. "But you can't ever be, Doris."

"No," answered Doris softly, squeezing Uncle Leverett's hand in both of
hers. "But there isn't any war."

"Yes there is--over in France and England, and ever so many places. My
father was reading about it. And if there wasn't any war here, couldn't
we go and fight for some other country?"

"I hope there will never be war in your time, Jimmie, boy," said his
grandmother. "And it is bedtime for little people."

"Why does it come bedtime so soon?" in a deeply aggrieved tone. "When I
am a big man I am going to sit up clear till morning. And I'll tell my
grandchildren all night long how I fought in the wars."

"That is looking a long way ahead," returned grandfather.

Besides the lessons, Doris was writing a letter to Miss Arabella. That
lady would have warmly welcomed any little scrawl in Doris' own hand.
Uncle Winthrop had acknowledged her safe arrival in good health, and
enlarged somewhat on the pleasant home she had found with her relatives.
Betty had overlooked the little girl's letter and made numerous
corrections, and she had copied and thought of some new things and
copied it over again. She had added a little French verse also.

"Dear me!" exclaimed Aunt Elizabeth, "when will the child ever learn
anything useful! There doesn't seem any time. The idea of a girl of ten
years old never having knit a stocking! And she will be full that and
more!"

"But everybody doesn't knit," said Betty.

"Oh, yes, you can buy those flimsy French things that do not give you
any wear. And presently we may not be able to buy either French or
English. She is not going to be so rich either. It's nonsense to think
of that marshy land ever being valuable. Whatever possessed anyone to
buy it, I can't see! And if Doris was to be a queen I think she ought to
know something useful."

"I do not suppose I shall ever need to spin," Betty said rather archly.

Mrs. Leverett had insisted that all her girls should learn to spin both
wool and flax. Betty had rebelled a little two years ago, but she had
learned nevertheless.

"And there was a time when a premium was paid to the most skillful
spinner. Your grandmother, Betty, was among those who spun on the
Common. The women used to go out there with their wheels. And there were
spinning schools. The better class had to pay, but a certain number of
poor women were taught on condition that they would teach their children
at home. And it is not a hundred years ago either. There was no cloth to
be had, and Manufactory House was established."

Betty had heard the story of spinning on the Commons, for her own
grandmother had told it. But she had an idea that the world would go on
rather than retrograde. For now they were turning out cotton cloth and
printing calico and making canvas and duck, and it was the boast of the
famous _Constitution_ that everything besides her armament was made in
Massachusetts.

Uncle Winthrop thought Doris' letter was quite a masterpiece for a
little girl. At least, that was what he said. I think he was a good deal
more interested in that than in the sampler she had begun. And he agreed
privately with Betty that "useless" sometimes was misspelled into
"useful."

Another letter created quite a consternation. This was from Hartford.
Mrs. King wrote that a friend, a Mr. Eastman, was going from Springfield
to Boston on some business, and on his return he would bring Betty home
with him. His wife was going on to Hartford a few days later and would
be very pleased to have Betty's company. She did not know when another
chance would offer, for not many people were journeying about in the
winter.

Betty was to bring her nicest gowns, and she needed a good thick pelisse
and heavy woolen frock for outside wear. The new hats were very large,
and young girls were wearing white or cream beaver. Some very handsome
ones had come from New York recently. There was a big bow on the top,
and two feathers if you could afford it, and ribbon of the same width
tied under the chin. She was to bring her slippers and clocked
stockings, her newest white frock, and if she had to buy a new one of
any kind it need not be made until she came to Hartford.

"I never heard of such a thing!" declared Mrs. Leverett, aghast. "She
must think your father is made of money. And when 'Lecty and Matthias
were married they went to housekeeping in three rooms in old Mrs.
Morton's house, and 'Lecty was happy as a queen, and had to save at
every turn. She wasn't talking then about white hats and wide ribbons
and feathers and gewgaws. The idea!"

"Of course I can't have the hat," returned Betty resignedly. "But my
brown one will do. And, oh, isn't it lucky my silk is made and trimmed
with that beautiful lace! If I only had my white skirt worked! And that
India muslin might do with a little fixing up. If I had a lace ruffle to
put around the bottom!"

"I don't know how I can spare you, Betty. I can't put Doris to doing
anything. When any of my girls were ten years old they could do quite a
bit of housekeeping. If she wasn't so behind in her studies!"

Betty had twenty plans in a moment, but she knew her mother would object
to every one. She would be very discreet until she could talk the matter
over with her father.

"Everything about the journey is so nicely arranged," she began; "and,
you see, Electa says it will not cost anything to Springfield. There may
not be a chance again this whole winter."

"The summer will be a good deal pleasanter."

"But the Capital won't be nearly so"--"gay," she was about to say, but
changed it to "interesting."

"Betty, I do wish you were more serious-minded. To think you're sixteen,
almost a woman, and in some things you're just a companion for Doris!"

Betty thought it was rather hard to be between everything. She was not
old enough for society, she was not a young lady, but she was too old to
indulge in the frolics of girlhood. She couldn't be wise and sedate--at
least, she did not want to be. And were the fun and the good times
really wicked?

She was on the lookout for her father that evening. Warren was going to
the house of a friend to supper, as the debating society met there, and
it saved him a long walk.

"Father, Electa's letter has come," in a hurried whisper. "She's planned
out my visit, but mother thinks--oh, do try and persuade her, and make
it possible! I want to go so much."

But Betty began to think the subject never would be mentioned. Supper
was cleared away, Doris and James studied, and she sat and worked
diligently on her white gown. Then she knew her mother did not mean to
say a word before her and presently she went to bed.

Mrs. Leverett handed the letter over to her husband. "From 'Lecty," she
said briefly.

He read it and re-read it, while she knit on her stocking.

"Yes"--slowly. "Well--Betty might as well go. She has been promised the
visit so long."

"I can't spare her. Even if I sent James home, there's Doris. And I am
not as spry as I was ten years ago. The work is heavy."

"Oh, you must have someone. John Grant was in from Roxbury to-day. He
has two girls quite anxious to go out this winter. I think the oldest
means to marry next spring or summer, and wants to earn a little money."

"We can't take in everyone who wants to earn a little money."

"No," humorously. "It would bankrupt us these hard times. The keep would
be the same as for Betty, and a few dollars wages wouldn't signify."

"But Betty'll want no end of things. It does seem as if 'Lecty had
turned into a fine lady. Whether it would be a good influence on Betty!
She's never been serious yet."

"And Electa joined the church at fourteen. I think you can trust Betty
with her. To be sure, Mat's prospered beyond everything."

Prosperity and every good gift came from the Lord, Mrs. Leverett fully
believed. And yet David had seen the "ungodly in great prosperity." She
had a mother's pride in Mr. and Mrs. King, but they were rather gay with
dinner parties and everything.

"She will have to take Betty just as she is. Her clothes are good
enough."

Mr. Leverett re-read the letter. He wasn't much judge of white hats and
wide ribbons, and, since the time was short, perhaps Electa could help
her to spend the money to better advantage, and there would be no worry.
He would just slip a bill or two in Betty's hand toward the last.

"Betty's a nice-looking girl," said her father.

"I should be sorry to have her niceness all come out in looks," said
Betty's mother.

There was no reply to this.

"I really do not think she ought to go. There will be other winters."

"Well--we will sleep on the matter. We can't tell about next winter."

Warren thought she ought to go. Aunt Priscilla came over a day or two
after in Jonas Field's sleigh. He was out collecting, and would call for
her at half-past five, though she still insisted she was pretty
sure-footed in walking.

Mr. Perkins in a moment of annoyance had once said to his wife:
"Priscilla, you have one virtue, at least. One can always tell just
where to find you. You are sure to be on the opposition side."

She had a faculty of always seeing how the other side looked. She had a
curious sympathy with it as well. And though she was not an irresolute
woman, she did sometimes have a longing to go over to the enemy when it
was very attractive.

She listened now--and nodded at Mrs. Leverett's reasoning, adding the
pungency of her sniff. Betty's heart dropped like lead. True, she had
not really counted on Aunt Priscilla's influence.

"I just do suppose if 'Lecty was ill and alone, and wanted Betty,
there'd be no difficulty. It's the question between work and play. There
wan't much time to play when I was young, and now I wish I had some of
the work, since I'm too old to play. I do believe the thing ought to be
evened up."

This was rather non-committal, but the girl's heart rose a little.

"Oh, if 'Lecty was ill--but you know, Aunt Priscilla, they keep a man
beside the girl, and it seems to me she is always having a nurse when
the children are ailing, or a woman in to sew, or some extra help. She
doesn't _need_ Betty, and it seems as if I did."

"Now, if that little young one was good for anything!"

"She's at her lessons all the time, and she must learn to sew. I should
have been ashamed of my girls if they had not known how to make one
single garment by the time they were ten year old."

"But Doris isn't ten," interposed Betty. "And here is Electa's letter,
Aunt Priscilla."

"No, I don't see how I can spare Betty," said Mrs. Leverett decisively.

Aunt Priscilla took out her glasses and polished them and then adjusted
them to her rather high nose.

"Well, 'Lecty's got to be quite quality, hasn't she? And Matthias, too.
I suppose it's proper to give folks their whole name when they're
getting up in the world and going to legislatures. But land! I remember
Mat King when he was a patched-up, barefooted little boy. He was always
hanging after 'Lecty, and your uncle thought she might have done better.
'Lecty was real good-looking. And now they're top of the heap with
menservants and maidservants, and goodness knows what all."

"Yes, they have prospered remarkably."

"The Kings were a nice family. My, how Mis' King did keep them children,
five of them, when their father died, and not a black sheep among them!
Theron's a big sea captain, and Zenas in Washington building up the
Capitol, and I dare say Mat is thinking of being sent to Congress. Joe
is in the Army, and the young one keeps his mother a lady in New York,
I've heard say. Mis' King deserves some reward."

Betty glanced up in surprise. It was seldom Aunt Priscilla praised in
this wholesale fashion.

"And this about the hat is just queer, Betty. You should have seen old
Madam Clarissa Bowdoin, who came to call yesterday, with a fine sleigh
and driver and footman. She just holds on to this world's good things, I
tell you, and she's past seventy. My, how she was trigged out in a black
satin pelisse lined with fur! And she had a black beaver bonnet or hat,
whatever you call it, with a big bow on top, and two black feathers
flying. I should hate to have my feathers whip all out in such a windy
day."

"Oh, yes, that is the first style," said Betty. "Hartford can't keep it
all."

"Hartford can't hold a candle to Boston, even if Mat King is there.
Stands to reason we can get fashions just as soon here, if theirs do
come from New York. Madam was mighty fine. You see, I do have some
grand friends, Betty. Your uncle was a man well thought of."

"Madam Bowdoin holds her age wonderfully," said Mrs. Leverett.

"Yes. But she's never done a day's work in her life, and I don't
remember when I didn't work. Let me see--I've most forgot the thread of
my discourse. Oh, you never would believe, Betty, that twenty year ago
there was just such a fashion. I had a white beaver--what possessed me
to get it I don't know. Everything was awful high. I had an idea that
white would be rather plain, but when it had that great bow on top, and
strings a full finger wide--well, I didn't even dare show it to your
uncle! So I packed it away with white wax and in a linen towel, and when
she'd gone yesterday I went and looked at it. 'Taint white now, but it's
just the color of rich cream when it's stood twenty-four hours or so.
Fursisee, they were just as much alike as two peas except as to color
and the feathers. I declare I _was_ beat! Now, if you were going to be
married, Betty, it might do for a wedding hat."

"But I'm not going to be married," with a sigh.

"I should hope not," said her mother--"at sixteen."

"My sister Patty was married when she was sixteen, and Submit when she
was seventeen. The oldest girls went off in a hurry, so the others had
to fill their places. Well--it just amazes me reading about this bonnet.
And whatever I'll do with mine except to give it away, I don't know. I
did think once of having it dyed. But the bow on top was so handsome,
and I've kept paper wadded up inside, and it hasn't flatted down a mite.
Now, Elizabeth, she has that silk we all thought so foolish, and her
brown frock and pelisse will be just the thing to travel in. And maybe I
could find something else. The things will be scattered when I am dead
and gone, and I might as well have the good of giving them away. Most
of the girls are married off and have husbands to provide for them. I
used to think I'd take some orphan body to train and sort of fill
Polly's place, for she grows more unreliable every day. Yet I do suppose
it's Christian charity to keep her. And young folks are so trifling."

"Go make a cup of tea, Betty," said Mrs. Leverett.

"Now, Elizabeth," when Betty had shut the door, "I don't see why you
mightn't as well let Betty go as not. 'Tisn't as if it was among
strangers. And there's really no telling what may happen next year. We
haven't any promise of that."

Mrs. Leverett looked up in surprise.

"Tisn't every day such a chance comes to hand. She couldn't go alone on
a journey like that. And 'Lecty seems quite lotting on it."

"But Betty's just started in at housekeeping, and she would forget so
much."

"Betty started in full six months ago. And the world swings round so
fast I dare say what she learns will be as old-fashioned as the hills in
a few years. I didn't do the way my mother taught me--husband used to
laugh me out of it. She'll have time enough to learn."

The tea, a biscuit, and a piece of pie came in in tempting array. Aunt
Priscilla was at her second cup when Jonas Field arrived, good ten
minutes before the time.

"You come over to-morrow, Betty," said Aunt Priscilla. "You and Dorothy
just take a run; it'll do you good. That child will turn into a book
next. She's got some of the Adams streaks in her. And girls don't need
so much book learning. Solomon's wise, and he don't even know his
letters."

That made Doris laugh. She was getting quite used to Aunt Priscilla.
She rose and made a pretty courtesy, and said she would like to come.

Polly had forgotten to light the lamp. She had been nursing Solomon, and
the fire had burned low. Aunt Priscilla scolded, to be sure. Polly was
getting rather deaf as well.

"It's warm out in the kitchen," said Polly.

"I want it warm here. I aint going to begin to save on firing at my time
of life! I have enough to last me out, and I don't suppose anybody will
thank me for the rest. Bring in some logs."

Aunt Priscilla sat with a shawl around her until the cheerful warmth
began to diffuse itself and the blaze lightened up the room. Polly out
in the kitchen was rehearsing her woes to Solomon.

"It's my 'pinion if missus lives much longer she'll be queerer'n Dick's
hatband. That just wouldn't lay anyhow, I've heerd tell, though I don't
know who Dick was and what he'd been doing, but he was mighty queer.
'Pears to me he must a-lived before the war when General Washington
licked the English. And there's no suitin' missus. First it's too hot
and you're 'stravagant, then it's too cold and she wants to burn up all
the wood in creation!"

Aunt Priscilla watched the flame of the dancing scarlet, blue, and
leaping white-capped arrows that shot up, and out of the side of one eye
she saw a picture on the end of the braided rug--a little girl with a
cloud of light curls sitting there with a great gray cat in her lap. The
room was so much less lonely then. Perhaps she was getting old, real
old, with a weakness for human kind. Was that a sign? She did enjoy the
runs over to the Leveretts'. What would happen if she should not be able
to go out!

She gave a little shudder over that. Of all the large family of sisters
and brothers there was no one living very near or dear to her. She was
next to the youngest. They had all married, some had died, one brother
had gone to the Carolinas and found the climate so agreeable he had
settled there. One sister had gone back to England. There were some
nieces and nephews, but in the early part of her married life Mr.
Perkins _had_ objected to any of them making a home at his house. "We
have no children of our own," he said, "and I take it as a sign that if
the Lord had meant us to care for any, he would have sent them direct to
us, and not had us taking them in at second-hand."

They had both grown selfish and only considered their own wants and
comforts. But the years of solitude looked less and less inviting to the
woman, who had been born with a large social side that had met with a
pinch here, been lopped off there, and crowded in another person's
measure. If the person had not been upright, scrupulously just in his
dealings, and a good provider, that would have altered her respect for
him. And wives were to obey their husbands, just as children were
trained to obey their parents.

But children were having ideas of their own now. Well, when she was
sixteen she went to Marblehead and spent a summer with her sister
Esther, who was having hard times then with her flock of little
children, and who a few years after had given up the struggle. Mr. Green
had married again and gone out to the lake countries and started a
sawmill, where there were forests to his hand.

But this long-ago summer had been an epoch in her life. She had baked
and brewed, swept and scrubbed, cooked and put in her spare time
spinning, while poor Esther sewed and took care of a very cross pair of
twins and crawled about a little. There had been some merrymaking that
would hardly have been allowed at home, and a young man who had sat on
the doorstep and talked, who had taken her driving, and with whom she
had wickedly and frivolously danced one afternoon when a party of young
people had a merrymaking after the hay was in. It was the only time in
her life she had ever danced, and it was a glimpse of fairy delight to
her. But she was frightened half to death when she came home, and began
to have two sides to her life, and she had never gotten rid of the other
side.

She had a vague idea that next summer she would go again. Meanwhile Mr.
Perkins began to come. There was an older sister, and no one surmised it
was Priscilla, until in March, when he spoke to Priscilla's father.

"I declare I was clear beat," said the worthy parent. "Seems to me
Martha would be more suitable, but his heart's set on Priscilla. He's a
good, steady man, forehanded and all that, and will make her a good
husband, and she'll keep growing older. There is nothing to say against
it."

The idea that Priscilla would say anything was not entertained for a
moment. Mr. Perkins began to walk home from church with her and come to
tea on Sunday evening, and it was soon noised about that they were
keeping steady company. Martha went to Marblehead that summer and one of
the twins died. In the fall Priscilla was married and went to
housekeeping in King Street, over her husband's place of business. She
was engrossed with her life, but she dreamed sometimes of the other side
and the young man who had remarked upon the gowns she wore and put roses
in her hair, and she had ideas of lace and ribbons and the vanities of
the world in that early married period. Her attire was rich but severely
plain; she was not stinted in anything. She was even allowed to "lay by"
on her own account, which meant saving up a little money. She made a
good, careful wife. And some months before he died, touched by her
attentive care, her husband said:

"Silla, I don't see but you might as well have all I'm worth, as to
divide it round in the family. They will be disappointed, I suppose, but
they haven't earned nor saved. You have been a good wife, and you just
take your comfort on it when I'm gone. Then if you should feel minded to
give back some of it--why, that's your affair."

The Perkins family had _not_ liked it very well. They knew Aunt
Priscilla would marry again, and all that money go to a second husband.
But she had not married, though there had been opportunities. Later on
she almost wished she had. She had entertained plans of taking a girl to
bring up, and had considered this little orphaned Adams girl,--who she
had imagined in a vague way would be glad of a good home with a prospect
of some money,--if she behaved herself rightly. She had pictured a
stout, red-cheeked girl who needed training, and not a fine little lady
like Doris Adams.

But she was glad Doris had sat there on the rug with the cat in her lap.
And she was glad there had been the summer at Marblehead, and the young
man who had said more with his eyes than with his lips. He had never
married, and had been among the earliest to lay down his life for his
country. She always felt that in a way he belonged to her. And if in
youth she had had one good time, why shouldn't Betty? Perhaps Betty
might marry in some sensible way that would be for the best, and this
visit at Hartford would illume all her life.

There were things about it she had never confessed. When her conscience
upbraided her mightily she called them sins and prayed over them. There
were other matters--the white bonnet had been one. She had purchased it
of a friend who was going in mourning, who had made her try it on, and
said:

"Just look at yourself in the glass, Priscilla Perkins. You never had
anything half so becoming. You look five years younger!"

She did look in the glass. She could have pirouetted around the room in
delight. She was in love with her pretty youthful face.

So she bought the hat--at a bargain, of course. She put it away when it
came home, and visited it surreptitiously, but somehow never had the
courage to confess, or to propose wearing it, though other women of her
age indulged in as much and more gayety. In the spring she bought a new
silk gown, a gray with a kind of lilac tint, and cut off the breadths to
make sure of it.

Mr. Perkins viewed it critically.

"I'm not quite certain, Priscilla, that it is appropriate. And a brown
would give you so much more good wear. It looks too--too youthful."

He never remembered there were fifteen years between himself and
Priscilla.

"I--I think I would change it."

"Oh," with the best accent of regret she could assume, "I have cut off
the breadths and begun to sew them up. It's the spring color. And summer
is coming."

"Uu--um----" with a reluctant nod.

She wore it to a christening and a wedding, but the real delight in it
had to be smothered. And when her husband proposed she should have it
dyed she laid it away.

There were other foolish indulgences. Bows and artificial flowers that
she had put on bonnets and worn in her own room with locked doors, then
pulled them off and laid them away. She was so fond of pretty things,
gay things, the pleasures of life--and she was always relegated to the
prose! Other people wore finery with a serene calmness, and went about
their daily duties, to church, on missions of mercy, and were well
thought of. Where was the sin? Her clothes cost quite as much. Mr.
Perkins was a close manager but not stingy with his wife.

She used to think she would confess to her mother about the dancing, but
she never had. She ought to bring out these "sins of the eye" and lay
them before her husband, but she never found the right moment and the
courage. She had meant to deal them out to the Leverett girls,
especially Electa--but Electa seemed to prosper so amazingly! She _must_
do something with them, and clear up her life, sweep, and garnish before
the summons came. She was getting to be old now, and if she went off
suddenly someone would come in and take possession and scatter her
treasures. Likely as not it would be the Perkinses, for she hadn't made
any will.

Why shouldn't Betty have some of them and go off on her good time. It
wouldn't be housekeeping and spinning and looking after fractious
children. But those evenings out on the stoop, and the timid invitations
to take a walk, the pressure of the hand, the smile out of the eyes--oh,
why----

All her life she had been asking "Why?"--taking the hard and distasteful
because she thought there was a virtue in it, not because she had been
trained to believe goodness must have a severe side and that really
pleasant things were wicked. The "Whys" had never been answered, much as
she had prayed about them.

She would never take the girl to bring up now. As for Doris
Adams--Cousin Winthrop would be thinking presently that the ground
wasn't good enough for her to walk on. So there was only Betty, unless
she took up some of the Perkins girls. Abby was rather nice. But, after
all, her father was only a half-brother to Aunt Priscilla's husband. And
she must make that will.

"Missus, aint you goin' to come to supper? I told you 'twas ready full
five minutes ago," said an aggrieved voice.

Aunt Priscilla sprang up and gave herself a kind of mental shaking. She
stepped around to avoid the little girl on the rug with the cat in her
lap. Polly went on grumbling. The toast was cold, the tea had drawn too
long, and for once the mistress never said a word in dispraise.

"She's goin' off," thought Polly. "That's a bad sign, though she does
sit over the fire a good deal, and you can't tell by that. Land alive! I
hope she'll live my time out, or I'll sure have to go to the poorhouse!"

Aunt Priscilla went back to her fire and the vision of the little girl
who had made a curious impression on her by a kind of sweetness quite
new in her experience. It had disturbed her greatly. Nothing about the
child had been as she supposed.

Everybody went down to her, which meant that she had some subtle,
indescribable charm, but Aunt Priscilla would have said she had no
dictionary words to explain it, though there had been a speller and
definer in her day.

The little girl had come to "seven times" in the tables. She had studied
an hour, when Betty said they had better go and get back by dark. Jamie
boy gave a little "snicker" as she shut her book. The disdain of her
young compeer was quite hard to bear, but she meekly accepted the fact
that she "wasn't smart." If she had known how he longed to go with them,
she would have felt quite even, but he kept that to himself.

All Boston was still hooded in snow, for every few days there came a
new fall. Oh, how beautiful it was! Everybody walked in the middle of
the street,--it was so hard and smooth,--though you had to keep turning
out for vehicles, but one didn't meet them very often.

Boots were not made high for girls and women then, but everybody had a
pair of thick woolen stockings, some of them with a leather sole on the
outside, which was more durable. The children pulled them well up over
their knees and kept good and warm. Some people had leather leggings,
but rubber boots had not been invented.

Boys were out snowballing--girls, too, for that matter. Someone sent a
ball that flew all over Doris, but she only laughed. She snowballed with
little James now and then.

So they were bright and merry when they reached the sign of "Jonas
Field," and Doris gave her pretty, rather formal greeting. She was never
quite sure of Aunt Priscilla.

"I suppose _you_ came to see Solomon!" exclaimed that lady.

"Not altogether," replied Doris.

"Well, he is out in the kitchen. And, Betty, what is the prospect
to-day?"

"Oh, Aunt Priscilla, I almost think I'll get off. Father is on my side,
and mother did really promise 'Lecty last summer. Mother couldn't get
along alone, you know, and Jimmie boy is doing so well at school that
she would like to keep him all winter. Father knows of a girl who would
be very glad to come in and work for three dollars a month, though he
says everybody gives four or more. But Mr. Eastman will be here so soon.
Father said I might get some things in Hartford."

"We'll see what Boston has first," returned Aunt Priscilla with a little
snort. "I've been hunting over _my_ things."

People in those days thought it a great favor to have clothes left to
them, as you will see by old wills. And occasionally the grandmothers
brought out garments beforehand, and did not wait until they were dead
and gone.

"I have a silk gown that I never wore above half a dozen times. I could
have it dyed, I suppose, but they're so apt to get stringy afterward.
Maybe you wouldn't like it because it's a kind of gray. You're free to
leave it alone. I shan't be a mite put out."

The old spirit of holding on reasserted itself. Of course, if Betty
didn't like it, _her_ duty would be done.

"Oh, Aunt Priscilla! It looks like moonlight over the harbor. It's
beautiful."

The elder woman had shaken it out and made ripples with it, and Betty
stood in admiring wonderment. It looked to her like a wedding gown, but
she knew Aunt Priscilla's had been Canton crape, dyed brown first and
then black and then worn out. There was an old adage to the effect that
one never could get rich until one's wedding clothes were worn out.

"It's spotted some, I find--just a faint kind of yellow, but that may
cut out. I never had any good of it," and she sighed. "It isn't what you
might call gay; but, land alive! I might as well have bought bright red!
There's plenty of it to make over. They weren't wearing such skimping
skirts then, and I had an extra breadth put in so that it would all fade
alike. Well----" And she gave a half-reluctant sigh.

"Why, I feel as if it ought to be saved for a wedding gown," declared
Betty, her eyes alight with pleasure. "It's the most beautiful thing.
Oh, Aunt Priscilla!"

A modern girl would have thrown her arms around Aunt Priscilla's neck
and kissed her, if one could imagine a modern girl being grateful for a
gown a quarter of a century old, except for masquerading purposes.
People who could remember the great Jonathan Edwards awakening still
classed all outward demonstrations of regard as carnal affections to be
subdued. The poor old life hungered now for a little human love without
understanding what its want really was, just as it had hungered for more
than half a century.

"Well, child, maybe 'Lecty can plan to make something out of it. You
better just take it to her. And here's a box of ribbons, things I've had
no use for this many a year. You see I had a way of saving up--I didn't
have much call for wearing such."

Aunt Priscilla felt that she was renouncing idols. How many times she
had fingered these things with exquisite love and longing and a desire
to wear them! Madam Bowdoin, almost ten years older, wore her fine
ribbons and laces and her own snowy white hair in little rings about her
forehead. No one accused her of aping youth. Aunt Priscilla had worn a
false front under her cap for many a year that was now a rusty, faded
brown. Her own white hair was cut off close.

"Oh, Aunt Priscilla, I think my ship has come in from the Indies. I
never can thank you enough. I'm so glad you saved them. You see, times
_are_ hard, and if father had to pay a girl for taking my place at home,
he wouldn't feel that he could afford me much finery. And the journey,
too. But I have only to pay from Springfield to Boston, for Mr. Eastman
has his own conveyance--a nice big covered sleigh. And now all these
beautiful things! I feel as rich as a queen."

Doris had been standing there big-eyed and never once asked for Solomon.

Aunt Priscilla began to fold the gown. It still had a crackle and
rustle delightful to hear. And there was a roll of new pieces.

"Why, next summer I could have a lovely drawn bonnet--only it _does_
cost so much to have one made. I wish I knew how," said Betty.

"I suppose--you don't want to see my old thing?" rather contemptuously.

"The hat, do you mean? Oh, I just should! I've thought so much about it,
and how queer it is that old-fashioned articles should come round."

"Every seven years, people say; but I don't believe it's quite as often
as that."

From the careful way it was pinned up, one would never imagine it had
been out that very morning. The bows were filled with paper to keep them
up, and bits of paper crumpled up around, so they could not be crushed.
Its days of whiteness were over, but it was the loveliest, softest cream
tint, and looked as if it had just come over from France. The beaver was
almost like plush, and the puffed satin lining inside was as fresh as if
its reverse plaits had just been laid in place.

"Oh, do put it on!" cried Doris eagerly.

Betty held the strings together under her fair round chin.

"You look like a queen!" said the child admiringly.

"Why it _is_ just as they are wearing them now, the tip-top style.
'Lecty couldn't have described this hat any better if she had seen it.
And if I can have it, Aunt Priscilla, I shall not care a bit about
feathers. It's beautiful enough without."

"Yes, yes, take them all and have a good time with them. Now you see if
you can pack it up--you'll have to learn."

Aunt Priscilla dropped into her chair. She had cast out her life's
temptations, and it had been a great struggle.

"Not that way--make the bow stand up. The bandbox is large enough. And
give the strings a loose fold, so. Now put that white paper over. It's
like making a gambrel roof. Then bring up the ends of the towel and pin
them. Polly shall go along and carry it home for you."

"I'm a thousand times obliged. I wish I knew what to do in return."

"Have a good time, but don't forget that a good time is not all to life.
Child--why do you look at me so?" for Doris had come close to Aunt
Priscilla and seemed studying her.

"Were you ever a little girl, and what was your good time like?"

Doris' wondering eyes were soft and seemed more pitying than curious.

"No, I never was a little girl. There were no little girls in my time."
She jerked the words out in a spasmodic way, and put her hand to her
heart as if there was a pain or pressure. "When I was three year old I
had to take care of my little brother. I stood up on a bench to wash
dishes when I was four, and scoured milk-pans and the pewter plates we
used then. And at six I was spinning on the little wheel and knitting
stockings. I went to school part of every year, and at thirteen I was
doing a woman's work. No, I never was a little girl."

Doris put her soft hand over the one that had been strained and made
coarse and large in the joints, and roughened as to skin while yet it
was in its tender youth. And all the pay there had been from her
father's estate had been three hundred dollars to each girl, the
remainder being divided evenly among the boys. She felt suddenly
grateful to Hatfield Perkins for the easier times of her married life.

"Now, both of you go out in the kitchen and get a piece of Polly's fresh
gingerbread. She hasn't lost her art in that yet. Then you must run off
home, for it will soon be dark, and Betty will be needed about the
supper."

The gingerbread was splendid. Doris broke off little crumbs and fed them
to Solomon, and told him sometime she would come and spend the afternoon
with him. She should be so lonesome when Betty went away.

Polly carried the bandbox and bundle for them, and Betty took the box of
ribbons. Aunt Priscilla brought out the light-stand and set her candle
on it and turned over the leaves of her old Bible to read about the
daughters of Zion with their tinkling feet and their cauls and their
round tires like the moon, the chains and the bracelets and the bonnets,
the earrings, the mantles, the wimples and the crisping pins, the fine
linen and the hoods and the veils--and all these were to be done away
with! To be sure she did not really know what they all were, but her few
had been snares and a source of secret idolatry for years and years. She
had nothing to do now but to consider the end of all things and prepare
for it. But there was the dreaded will yet to make. If only there was
someone who really cared about her!



CHAPTER X

CONCERNING MANY THINGS


When Providence overruled, in the early part of the century, people
generally gave in. The stronger tide was called Providence. Perhaps
there was a small degree of fatalism in it. So Mrs. Leverett acquiesced,
and recalled the fact that she had promised Electa that Betty should
come.

Aunt Priscilla's generosity was astonishing. The silken gown would not
be made over until Betty reached Hartford. She worked industriously on
her white one, but her mother found so many things for her to do. Then
Martha Grant came--a stout, hearty, pink-cheeked country girl who knew
how to "take hold," and was glad of an opportunity to earn something
toward a wedding gown. Doris was so interested that she hardly
remembered how much she should miss Betty, though Warren promised to
help her with her lessons.

So the trunk was packed. Luckily the bandbox could go in it, for it was
quite small. Most of the bandboxes were immense affairs in which you
could stow a good many things besides the bonnet. Then they had a calico
cover with a stout cord run through the hem.

Mr. Eastman looked rather askance at the trunk--he had so many budgets
of his own, and for his wife. However, they strapped it on the back
securely, and the good-bys were uttered for a whole month.

Doris had said hers in the morning. She could not divest herself of a
vague presentiment that something would happen to keep Betty until
to-morrow. But Martha was to sit in her place at the table.

Now that the reign of slavery was over, the farmers' girls from the
country often came in for a while. They were generally taken in as one
of the family--indeed, few of them would have come to be put down to the
level of a common servant. Many had their old slaves still living with
them, and numbers of the quality preferred colored servants.

Jamie boy went out to snowball after dinner. Doris worked a line across
her sampler. She was going to begin the alphabet next. There were three
kinds of letters. Ordinary capitals like printing, small letters, and
writing capitals. These were very difficult, little girls thought.

She put up her work presently, studied her spelling, and went over "nine
times." She could say the ten and eleven perfectly, but that very day
she had missed on "nine times," and Mrs. Webb told her she had better
study it a little more.

"I do wonder if you will ever get through with the multiplication
tables!" said Aunt Elizabeth.

Doris sighed. It was hard to be so slow at learning.

"'Nine times' floored me pretty well, I remember," confessed Martha
Grant. "There's great difference in children. Some have heads for
figures and some don't. My sister Catharine could go all round me. But
she's that dumb about sewing--I don't believe you ever saw the beat! She
just hates it. She'd like to teach school!"

Doris was very glad to hear that someone else had been slow.

Betty had been out to tea occasionally, and Doris tried to make believe
it was so now. They would have missed her more but Martha was a great
talker. There were seven children at the Grants', and one son married.
They had a big farm and a good deal of stock. Martha's lover had bought
a farm also, with a small old house of two rooms. _He_ had to build a
new barn, so they would wait for their house. She had a nice cow she had
raised, a flock of twelve geese, and her father had promised her the old
mare and another cow. She wanted to be married by planting time. She had
a nice feather bed and two pairs of pillows and five quilts, beside two
wool blankets.

Mrs. Leverett was a good deal interested in all this. It took her back
to her own early life. City girls _did_ come to have different ideas.
There was something refreshing in this very homeliness.

Martha knit and sewed as fast as she talked. Mrs. Leverett said "she
didn't let the grass grow under her feet," and Doris wondered if she
would tread it out in the summer. Of course, it couldn't grow in the
winter.

"Aunt Elizabeth," she said presently, in a sad little voice, "am I to
sleep all alone?"

"Oh dear, no. You would freeze to an icicle. Martha will take Betty's
place."

They wrapped up a piece of brick heated pretty well when Doris went to
bed. For it was desperately cold. But the soft feathers came up all
around one, and in a little while she was as warm as toast. She did not
even wake when Martha came to bed. Sometimes Betty cuddled the dear
little human ball, and only half awake Doris would return the hug and
find a place to kiss, whether it was cheek or chin.

"Aunt Elizabeth," when she came in from school one day, "do you know
that Christmas will be here soon--next Tuesday?"

"Well, yes," deliberately, "it is supposed to be Christmas."

"But it really is," with child-like eagerness. "The day on which Christ
was born."

"The day that is kept in commemoration of the birth of Christ. But some
people try to remember every day that Christ cams to redeem the world.
So that one day is not any better than another."

Doris looked puzzled. "At home we always kept it," she said slowly.
"Miss Arabella made a Christmas cake and ever so many little ones. The
boys came around to sing Noël, and they were given a cake and a penny,
and we went to church."

"Yes; it is quite an English fashion. When you are a larger girl and
more used to our ways you will understand why we do not keep it."

"Don't you really keep it?" in surprise.

"No, my dear."

The tone was kind, but not encouraging to further enlightenment. Doris
experienced a great sense of disappointment. For a little while she was
very homesick for Betty. To have her away a whole month! And a curious
thing was that no one seemed really to miss her and wish her back. Mrs.
Leverett scanned the weather and the almanac and hoped they would get
safely to Springfield without a storm. Mr. Leverett counted up the time.
It had not stormed yet.

No Christmas and no Betty. Not even a wise old cat like Solomon, or a
playful, amusing little kitten. The school children stared when she
talked about Christmas.

Two big tears fell on her book. She was frightened, for she had not
meant to cry. And now a sense of desolation rushed over her. Oh, what
could she do without Betty!

Then a sleigh stopped at the door. She ran to the window, and when she
saw that it was Uncle Winthrop she was out of the door like a flash.

"Well, little one?" he said in pleasant inquiry, which seemed to
comprehend a great deal. "How do you get along without Betty? Come in
out of the cold. I've just been wondering if you would like to come over
and keep Christmas with me. I believe they do not have any Christmas
here."

"No, they do not. Oh, Uncle Win, I should be so glad to come, if I
wouldn't trouble you!"

The eyes were full of entreating light.

"I have been thinking about it a day or two. And Recompense is quite
willing. The trouble really would be hers, you know."

"I would try and not make any trouble."

"Oh, it was where we should put you to sleep this cold weather. You
would be lost in the great guest chamber. But Recompense arranged it
all. She has put up a little cot in the corner of her room. I insisted
last winter that she should keep a fire; she is a little troubled with
rheumatism. And now she enjoys the warmth very much."

"Oh, how good you are!"

She was smiling now and dancing around on one foot. He smiled too.

"Where's Aunt Elizabeth?" said Uncle Winthrop.

Doris ran to the kitchen and, not seeing her, made the same inquiry.

"She's gone up to the storeroom to find a lot of woolen patches for me,
and I'm going to start another quilt. She said she'd never use them in
the days of creation, and they wan't but six. She'll be down in a
minute," said Martha.

"Uncle Winthrop," going back to him beside the fire, and wrinkling up
her brow a little, "is not Christmas truly Christmas? Has anyone made a
mistake about it?"

"My child, everybody does not keep it in the same manner. Sometime you
will learn about the brave heroes who came over and settled in a strange
land, fought Indians and wild beasts, and then fought again for liberty,
and why they differed from their brethren. But I always keep it; and I
thought now that Betty was gone you might like to come and go to church
with me."

"Oh, I shall be glad to!" with a joyful smile.

Aunt Elizabeth entered. Cousin Winthrop presented his petition that he
should take Doris over this afternoon and bring her back on Wednesday,
unless there was to be no school all the week.

"I'm afraid she will bother Recompense. You're so little used to
children. I keep my hand in with grandchildren," smilingly.

"No word from Betty yet? About Doris now--oh, you need not be afraid; I
think Recompense is quite in the notion."

"Well, if you think best. Doris isn't a mite of trouble, I will say
that. No, we can't hear from Betty before to-morrow. Mr. Eastman thought
likely he'd find someone coming right back from Springfield, and I
charged Betty to send if she could. I'm glad there has been no snow so
far."

"Very fair winter weather. How is Foster and business?"

"Desperately dull, both of them," and Mrs. Leverett gave a piquant nod
that would have done Betty credit.

"Go get your other clothes, Doris, and Martha will see to you. And two
white aprons. Recompense keeps her house as clean as a pink, and you
couldn't get soiled if you rolled round the floor. But dirt doesn't
stick to Doris. There, run along, child."

Martha scrubbed her rigorously, and then helped her dress. She came back
bright as a new pin, with her two high-necked aprons in her hand, and
her nightgown, which Aunt Elizabeth put in her big black camlet bag.

"I wish you'd see that she studies a little, Winthrop. She is so behind
in some things."

He nodded. Then Doris put on her hood and cloak and said good-by to
Martha, while she kissed Aunt Elizabeth and left a message for the rest.

"It's early, so we will take a little ride around," he said, wrapping
her up snug and warm.

The plan had been in his mind for several days. The evening before he
had broached it to Recompense. Not but what he was master in his own
house, but he hardly knew how to plan for a child.

"If Doris was a boy I could put him on the big sofa in my room. Still,
Cato can look after a fire in the guest chamber. It would be too cruel
to put a child alone in that great cold barn."

There was a very obstinate impression that it was healthy to sleep in
cold rooms, so people shut themselves up pretty close, and sometimes
drew the bedclothes over their heads. But Winthrop Adams had a rather
luxurious side to his nature; he called it a premonition of old age. He
kept a fire in his dressing room, where he often sat and read a while at
night. His sleeping room adjoined it.

"Why, we might bring a cot in my room," she said. "I remember how the
child delights in a fire. She's such a delicate-looking little thing."

"She is standing our winter very well and goes to school every day. I'm
afraid she might disturb you?"

"Not if she has a bed by herself. And there is the corner jog; the cot
will just fit into it."

When they put it there in the morning it looked as if it must have taken
root long ago. Then Recompense arranged a nice dressing table with a
white cover and a pretty bowl and ewer, and a low chair beside it
covered with chintz cushions. Her own high-post bedstead had curtains
all around it of English damask, and the curiously carved high-back
chairs had cushions tied in of the same material. There was no carpet on
the painted floor, but a rug beside the bed and one at the stand, and a
great braided square before the fire. It was a well-furnished room for
the times, though that of Mr. Adams was rather more luxurious.

He was very glad that Recompense had assented so readily, for he was
beginning to feel that he ought to take a deeper interest in his little
ward.

There were numberless sleighs out on some of the favorite
thoroughfares. For even now, in spite of the complaints of hard times,
there was a good deal of real wealth in Boston, fine equipages with
colored coachmen and footmen. There were handsome houses with lawns and
gardens, some of them having orchards besides. There were rich
furnishings as well, from France and England and from the East. There
were china and plate and glass proud of their age, having come through
several generations.

And though there were shades and degrees of social position, there was a
fine breeding among the richer people and a kind of pride among the
poorer ones. There were occasions when they mingled with an agreeable
courtesy, yet each side kept its proper and distinctive relations; real
worth was respected and dignified living held in esteem. From a
printer's boy, Benjamin Franklin had stood before kings and added luster
to his country. From a farm at Braintree had come one of the famous
Adamses and his not less notable wife, who had admirably filled the
position of the first lady of the land.

Yet the odd, narrow, crooked streets of a hundred years before were
running everywhere, occasionally broadened and straightened. There were
still wide spaces and pasture fields, declivities where the barberry
bush and locust and May flower grew undisturbed. There were quaint nooks
with legends, made famous since by eloquent pens; there were curious old
shops designated by queer sign and symbols.

But even the pleasures were taken in a leisurely, dignified way. There
was no wild rush to stand at the head or to outdo a neighbor, or
astonish those who might be looking on and could not participate.

Doris enjoyed it wonderfully. She had a sudden accession of subtle pride
when some fine old gentleman bowed to Uncle Win, or a sleigh full of
elegantly attired ladies smiled and nodded. There were large hats
framing in pretty faces, and bows and nodding plumes on the top such as
Mrs. King had written about. Oh, how lovely Betty would look in hers!
What was Hartford like; and New Haven, with its college; then, farther
on, New York; and Washington, where the Presidents lived while they held
office? She was learning so many things about this new home.

Over here on the Common the boys were drawn up in two lines and
snowballing as if it was all in dead earnest. And this was the rambling
old house with its big porch and stepping block, and its delightful
welcome.

"Are you not most frozen?" asked Miss Recompense. "Here is the fire you
like so much. Take off your cloak and hood. We are very glad to have you
come and make us a visit."

"Oh, are you?" Doris' face was a gleam of delight. "And I am glad to
come. I was beginning to feel dreadfully lonesome without Betty. I ought
not when there were so many left," and a bright color suffused her face.
"Then there is little James."

"And we have no small people."

"I never had any over home, you know. And so many people here have such
numbers of brothers and sisters. It must be delightful."

"But they are not all little at once."

"No," laughed Doris. "I should like to be somewhere in the middle.
Babies are so cunning, when they don't cry."

Miss Recompense smiled at that.

There was a comfortable low chair for Doris, and Uncle Win found her
seated there, the ruddy firelight throwing up her face like a painting.
Miss Recompense went out to see about the supper. There was a
good-natured black woman in the kitchen to do the cooking, and Cato, who
did the outside work and waited on Dinah and Miss Recompense--a tall,
sedate, rather pompous colored man.

Some indefinable charm about the house appealed to Doris. The table was
arranged in such an attractive manner. Nothing could be more delightful
than Aunt Elizabeth's cooking, but she stopped short at an invisible
something. The china was saved for company, though there was one pretty
cup they always gave to Aunt Priscilla. The everyday dishes were
earthen, such as ordinary people used, and being of rather poor glaze
they soon checked. Doris knew these pretty plates and the tall cream jug
and sugar dish had not been brought out especially for her, though she
had supposed they were when they all came over to a company tea.

She started so when Uncle Winthrop addressed her in French, and glanced
at him in amaze; then turned to a pink glow and laughed as she collected
her scattered wits to answer.

What a soft, exquisite accent the child had! Miss Recompense paused in
her pouring tea to listen.

Uncle Win smiled and continued. They were around the pretty tea table in
a sort of triangle. Uncle Win passed the thin, dainty slices of bread.
Miss Recompense, when she was done with the tea, passed the cold
chicken. Then there were cheese and two kinds of preserves, plain cake
and fruit cake.

Children rarely drank tea, so Doris had some milk in a glass which was
cut with just a sparkle here and there that the light caught and made
brilliant.

"How you _can_ understand any such talk as that beats me," said Miss
Recompense in a sort of helpless fashion as she glanced from one to the
other.

"And if we were abroad talking English the forsigners would say the same
thing," replied Mr. Adams.

"But there is some sense in English."

He laughed a little. "And if we lived in China we would think there was
a good deal of sense in Chinese, which is said to be one of the queerest
languages in the world."

We did not know very much about China in those days, and our knowledge
was chiefly gleaned from rather rude maps and some old histories, and
the wonderful tales of sea captains.

"It would be a pity for you to fall back when you are such a good
scholar," Uncle Win said, looking over to Doris. "One forgets quite
easily. I find I am a little lame. But you like your school, and it is
near by this cold weather. Perhaps you and I can keep up enough interest
to exercise our memories. You have some French books?"

"Two or three. I tried to read 'Paul and Virginia' to Betty, but it took
so long to tell the story over that she didn't get interested. There
were so many lessons, too."

She did not say that Aunt Elizabeth had discountenanced it. People were
horrified by French novels in those days. Rousseau and Voltaire had been
held in some degree responsible for the terrible French Revolution. And
people shuddered at the name of Tom Paine.

At first the Colonies, as they were still largely called, had been very
much interested in the new French Republic. Lafayette had been so
impressed with the idea of a government of the people when he had lent
his assistance to America, that he had joined heartily in a plan for the
regeneration of France. But after the king was executed, Sunday
abolished, and the government passed into the hands of tyrants who
shouted "liberty" and yet brought about the slavery of terror, he and
many others had stood aside--indeed, left their beloved city to the mob.
Then had come the first strong and promising theories of Napoleon. He
had been first Consul, then Consul for life, then Emperor, and was now
the scourge of Europe.

To Mrs. Leverett all French books were as actors and plays, to be
shunned. That any little girl should have read a French story or be able
to repeat French verses was quite horrifying. She had a feeling that it
really belittled the Bible to appear in the French language.

"Yes," returned Uncle Winthrop assentingly. He could understand the
situation, for he knew Mrs. Leverett's prejudices were very strong, and
continuous. That she was a thoroughly good and upright woman he readily
admitted.

The supper being finished they went to the cozy hall fire again. You had
to sit near it to keep comfortable, for the rooms were large in those
days and the outer edges chilly. Some people were putting up great
stoves in their halls and the high pipes warmed the stairs and all
around.

Miss Recompense brought out some knitting. She was making a spread in
small squares,--red, white, and blue,--and it would be very fine when it
was done. Doris was very much interested when she laid down the squares
to display the pattern.

"I suppose you knit?" remarked Miss Recompense.

"No. I don't know how. Betty showed me a little. And Aunt Elizabeth is
going to teach me to make a stocking. It seems very easy when you see
other people do it," and Doris sighed. "But I am afraid I am not very
smart about a good many things besides tables."

That honest admission rather annoyed Uncle Win. Elizabeth had said it as
well. For his part he did not see that reading the Bible through by the
time you were eight years old and knitting a pile of stockings was proof
of extraordinary ability.

"What kind of fancy work can you do?" asked Miss Recompense.

"I've begun a sampler. That isn't hard. And Miss Arabella taught me to
hem and to darn and to make lace."

"Make lace! What kind of lace?"

"Like the beautiful lace Madam Sheafe makes. Only I never did any so
wide. But Miss Arabella used to. Betty took me there one afternoon.
Madam Sheafe has such a lovely little house. And, oh, Uncle Win, she can
talk French a little."

He smiled and nodded.

"You see," began Doris with sweet seriousness, "there was no one to make
shirts for, and I suppose Miss Arabella thought it wasn't worth while.
But I hemmed some on Uncle Leverett's, and Aunt Elizabeth said it was
very nicely done."

"I dare say." She looked as if anything she undertook would be nicely
done, Miss Recompense thought.

"Betty was learning housekeeping when she went to Hartford. I think that
is very nice. To make pies and bread and cake, and roast chickens and
turkeys and everything. But little girls have to go to school first. Six
years is a long time, isn't it?"

A half-smile crossed the grave face of Miss Recompense.

"It seems a long time to a little girl, no doubt, but when you are older
it passes very rapidly. There are years that prove all too short for the
work crowded in them, and then they begin to lengthen again, though I
suppose that is because we no longer hurry to get a certain amount of
work done."

"I wish the afternoons could be longer."

"They will be in May. I like the long afternoons too, though the winter
evenings by a cheerful fire are very enjoyable."

"The world is so beautiful," said Doris, "that you can hardly tell which
you do like best. Only the summer, with its flowers and the sweet, green
out-of-doors, fills one with a kind of thanksgiving. Why did they not
have Thanksgiving in the summer?"

"Because we give thanks for a bountiful harvest."

"Oh," Doris responded.

Uncle Winthrop watched her as she chattered on, her voice like a soft,
purling rill. Presently Dinah called Miss Recompense out in the kitchen
to consult her about the breakfast, for she went to bed as soon as she
had the kitchen set to rights. Then Doris glanced over to him in a shy,
asking fashion, and brought her chair to his side. He inquired about
Father Langhorne, and found he had been educated in Paris, and was
really a Roman priest.

Perhaps it was the province of childhood to see good in everybody. Or
was it due to the simple life, the absence of that introspection, which
had already done so much to make the New England conscience
supersensitive and strenuous.

When Miss Recompense returned she found them deep in French again. Doris
laughed softly when Uncle Winthrop blundered a little, and perhaps he
did it now and then purposely.

The big old clock that said "Forever, never!" long before Longfellow's
time, measured off nine hours.

"It's funny," said Doris, "but I'm not a bit sleepy, and at Uncle
Leverett's I almost nod, sometimes. Maybe it's the French."

"I should not wonder," and Uncle Win smiled.

"We will both go--it is about my time," remarked Miss Recompense. "Your
uncle sits up all hours of the night."

"And would like to sleep all hours of the morning," he returned
humorously, "but Miss Recompense won't let me. If she raises her little
finger the whole house moves."

"Then she doesn't raise it very often," said that lady. "But it does
seem a sin to sleep away good wholesome daylight."

There were some candlesticks on a kind of secretary with a shelf-like
top, and she lighted one, stepping out in the kitchen to see that all
was safe and to bid Cato lock up. When she returned the candle was
sending out its cheerful beam, so she nodded to Doris, who said
good-night to Uncle Winthrop and followed her.

Doris had an odd, company-like feeling. Her little bed was pretty, and
the room had a fragrance of summer time, of roses and lavender. Miss
Recompense stirred the fire and put on a big log. Then she sat down by
the stand and read her nightly chapter, turning a little to give Doris a
kind of privacy.

"I hope you will sleep well. Your uncle thought you would be lonesome in
the guest chamber."

"I would ever so much rather be here. And the bed is so small and
cunning, just the bed for a little girl. Thank you ever so many times."

She said her prayers and breathed a soft good-night to the fire. And
though she did not feel strange nor sleepy, and wondered about Betty and
a dozen other things, one of the last remembrances was the glimmer of
the candle on the wall, and the soft rustling of the blaze, that said
"Snow, snow, snow."



CHAPTER XI

A LITTLE CHRISTMAS


Sure enough, it snowed the next morning--one of the soft, clinging
storms that loaded every branch with a furry aspect, made mounds of the
shrubs, and wrapped the south sides of the houses with a mantle of
dazzling whiteness. Now and then a patch fell off, and a long pendant
would swing from the trees, and finally drop. It was a delight to see
them.

The breakfast was laid on the same small table in use last night, but
Cato brought in everything hot, and "waited" as Barby used at home.
Uncle Winthrop said she looked bright as a rose, and her cheeks had a
delicate pink.

Afterward he invited her in his study and told her she might look about
and perhaps find a book to entertain herself with while he wrote some
letters.

"Thank you. I hope I shall not disturb you."

"Oh, no." He felt somehow he could answer for her. She was so gentle in
her movements, and he really wanted to see how he liked having a little
girl about. There was a vague idea in his mind that he might decide to
have her here some day, since Miss Recompense had taken a sort of fancy
to her.

Oh, what a luxury it was to wander softly about and read titles and look
at bindings and speculate on what she would like! They had very few
books at Uncle Leverett's. Some volume of sermons, a few biographies
that she had found rather dreary, a history of the French-Canadian War,
and some of Poor Richard's Almanacs, which she thought the most amusing
of all.

There was a circulating library that Warren patronized occasionally.
There was also the nucleus of a free library, but so far people had been
too busy to think much about reading, except the scholarly minds. Books
were expensive, too, and very few persons accumulated any stock of them.
Of Mr. Adams' collection some had come to him from his father, and
Cousin Charles, who had been called a "queer stick," had some English,
Latin, and Italian poets that he had bequeathed to the book lover.

Winthrop Adams was a collector of several things beside books. Now and
then at an auction sale on someone's death he picked up odd articles
that were of value. And so his study was a kind of conglomerate. He had
a cabinet of coins from different parts of the world and curios from
India and Egypt. Napoleon's campaign in Egypt had awakened a good deal
of interest in the country of the Pharaohs.

Doris was so still he glanced around presently. She was curled up in the
corner of the chimney, a book on her knees and her head bent over until
the curls fell about her in a cloud. When Elizabeth had spoken of the
benefit it might be to a growing child to have them cut he had protested
at once. They were rarely beautiful, he decided now, gleaming gold in
the firelight.

She had a feeling presently that someone was looking at her, so she
raised her head, shook away the curls, and smiled.

"Did you find something?"

"'The Vicar of Wakefield,' Uncle Winthrop. Oh, it is delightful! You
said I might read anything!" with a touch of hesitation.

"That was quite a wide permission," and he smiled. He couldn't see how
that would hurt anyone, but he was not sure of a girl's reading.

"I opened it at a picture--'Preparing Moses for the Fair.' It made me
think of Betty going to Hartford. It was so interesting to wonder what
you would do, and then to have things happen just right. Aunt Priscilla
was so nice. I thought I couldn't like her at first, but I do now. You
can't find out all about anyone in a minute, can you?"

"I think not," rather humorously.

"So then I turned to the first of the book. And the Vicar's wife must
have known a good deal to read without much spelling. There are some
awful hard words in the back of Betty's spelling book. Do you suppose
she learned tables and all that?"

"I don't believe she did."

"And she could keep house."

"They were a notable couple."

He took up his pen again and she turned to her book.

Suddenly a flood of golden sunshine poured across the floor, fairly
dimming the fire.

"Oh, Uncle Winthrop!" With her book pressed tightly against her body,
she flew over to the window like a bird, disturbing nothing, and making
only a soft flutter.

"Isn't it glorious!"

The edges of the snow everywhere were illumined with the prismatic rays
in proper order. The tree branches caught them, the corners of the
houses, the window hoods, the straggling bushes, the fences. Everywhere
the sublime beauty was repeated until everything quivered with the
excess.

"It is like the New Jerusalem," she said.

The air had softened a great deal. The sun on the window panes spoke of
latent warmth. A slight breeze stirred the air, and down came the
clinging snow in showers, leaving the trees bare and brown, except the
few evergreens.

"It is warmer," Mr. Adams said. "Though it is nearing noon, the warmest
part of the day. And so far you have stood the cold weather very well,
little Doris," smiling down in the eager face.

"I've snowballed too, and it is real fun. I can slide ever so far, and
I've ridden on Jimmie boy's sled. Betty thinks I would soon learn to
skate. I would like to very much."

"Then you must have some skates."

"But I am afraid Betty may not come home in time to teach me."

"Someone else might."

"Do you skate?" in soft inquiry.

"Not now; I used to. But I am not a young man, and not very energetic. I
like warm firesides and a nice book. I am afraid I shall make an
ease-loving old man."

"But isn't it right to be"--what word would express it?--"happy,
comfortable? For why should you try to make anyone happy if it was
wrong?"

"It is not wrong."

The sky was very blue now, and the snow began to have an ethereal look.
Cato came out to shovel and clear away some paths. He struck the young
hemlocks and firs with a stick and beat the snow out of them.

"The snow settles in the branches and sometimes freezes and that kills a
little place," said Uncle Winthrop in answer to the questioning eyes.

They walked back to the table, with his arm over her shoulder.

"I am done my writing for to-day," he began. "I wonder if you would mind
answering a few questions?"

"Oh, no--if I knew the answers," smilingly.

"Then tell me first of all how far you went in Latin. This is a
grammar."

She turned some leaves. "I didn't know it very well," skimming over the
pages. "It was not like this book, and"--hanging her head a little--"I
did not like it--that and the sums."

"Who put you to studying it?"

"Oh, the father did. He said Latin was the key to all other languages. I
wonder how many I shall have to learn? Miss Arabella said it was
foolishness, except the French."

"Let me hear you read a little. This is not difficult."

He was not sure there was any call for a girl to know Latin. French
seemed quite necessary.

She began in a hesitating manner and blundered somewhat at first, but as
she went on gained courage, her voice growing firmer and clearer.

"Why, that is very well. You ought to be at a higher school than Mrs.
Webb's. And now let us consider these dreadful sums. The paper and a
pencil will do."

He put down quite a sum in addition. There were several nines and sevens
in it.

She drew a long breath.

"It is a big sum. I haven't done any as large as that."

"Well, begin. Add as I call them off."

Alas! After three figures, in puzzling over an eight, the amount went
out of her mind and she had to begin again. Uncle Winthrop made a mark
at one figure and put down the amount beside it. After a while she
reached the top of the column. Clearly heaven had not meant her for a
mathematician. There was no rapport between her figures.

Her eyes were limpid, almost as if there were tears in them.

"Maybe that was pretty difficult for a little girl. I know most about
big boys and young men."

"Betty just guesses, this way--eight and nine, and it comes quite as
easy as if I had said two and three are five."

Uncle Win gave his gentle smile and it comforted her greatly.

"This quickness comes by practice. When you have had six years' study
you may know as much as Betty in arithmetic, and you will know more in
some other branches."

"If I can just know as much," she said wistfully.

Cato gave a gentle rap on the open door.

"Juno's ready," he announced. "Will master take little missy out, or
shall I go for Master Cary?"

"I had not thought. Would you like to go, Doris?"

Her eyes answered him before she could speak.

"You may put in the other seat, Cato, and drive."

Cato bowed in a dignified manner.

"Now run and bundle up well," said Uncle Win.

Miss Recompense seemed to know a good deal about little girls, if she
had none of her own. She tied a soft silk kerchief over Doris' ears
before she put on her hood. Then she told Dinah to slip the soapstone in
the foot-stove, and drew the long stockings up over her knees.

"Now you could go up to Vermont and not get cold," she said pleasantly.

But after all it was not so very cold. The sun shone in golden
magnificence and almost dazzled your eyes out. Uncle Win had on his
smoked glasses, and he looked very queer, but she saw other people with
this protection. Some of the glasses were green.

The streets were really merry. Children were out with sleds, and
snowballing parties were in the field. They went over to State Street
for the mail. Cato sprang out and returned with quite a budget. There
was one English letter with a big black seal, but Mr. Adams covered it
quickly with the papers and drew the package under the buffalo robe.

There was a quaint old bookstore in Cornhill with the sign of Heart and
Crown, that was quite a meeting place for students and bookish people,
and they drove thither. A young lad came running out, making a bow and
greeting his father politely. To have said "Hillo!" in those days would
have been horrifying. And to have called one's father the "governor" or
the "old gentleman" would have been little short of a crime.

"This is the little English cousin, Doris Adams," said Uncle Win, "and
this is my son Cary."

Cary made a bow to her and said he was glad to meet her, then inquired
after his father's health and stepped into the sleigh, picking up the
reins and motioning Cato to the other side.

Oh, how they spun along! Cary said one or two things, but the words were
carried away by the wind. There were sleighs full of ladies and
children, great family affairs with three seats; there were cutters with
some portly man and a black driver; there were well-known people and
unknown people who were to come to the fore in a few years and be
famous.

For Boston was throbbing even then with the mighty changes transforming
her into a great city. Although she had suffered severely at the first
of the war and held many priceless memories of it, the early evacuation
of the town had left her free for domestic matters, which had prospered
despite poverty and hard times and the great loss of population. Many of
the old Tory families had returned to England, and the remnants of the
provincial aristocracy were being lessened by death and absorbed by
marriage. The squires and gentry of the small towns, most of them
intense patriots, had filled their places and given tone to social life,
that was still formal, if some of the old stateliness had slipped away.

The French Revolution had brought about some other changes. The State
possessed fine advantages for maritime commerce, and all the seaports
were veritable hives of industry in the early part of the century. This
laid a foundation of respect for fortunes acquired by energy rather than
inheritance. The United States, being the only neutral nation in the
fierce conflicts raging round the world, had been reaping a rich harvest
for several years. Sea captains and merchants had been thriving
splendidly until the last year or two, when seizures began to be made by
the British Government that roused a ferment of warlike spirit again.

But while men talked politics the women and those who thought it wiser
to take neither side, still amused themselves with card parties, tea
parties and dances, with now and then an evening at the theater, and
driving. There were so many fine long roads not yet cut up into blocks
that were great favorites on a day like this. Doris felt the
exhilaration and her eyes shone like stars.

Presently Cary turned, and here they were at Common Street.

"That has been fine!" he began as he drew up to the door. "It sets your
blood all a-sparkle. Have I taken your breath away, little cousin?"

He came around and offered his hand to his father. Then he lifted Doris
as if she had been a feather, and stood her on the broad porch. That
recalled Warren Leverett to her mind.

"It was splendid," answered Doris.

They all walked in together, and Cary shook hands cordially with Miss
Recompense.

He was almost as tall as his father, with a fair, boyish face and thick
light hair that did not curl, but tumbled about and was always falling
over his forehead.

Warren was stouter and had more color, and there was a kind of laughing
expression to his face. Cary's had a certain resolution and that
loftiness we are given to calling aristocratic.

When Doris had carried the foot-stove to Dinah, and her own wraps
upstairs, she stood for a moment uncertain. Cary and his father were
talking eagerly in the study, so she sat down by the hall fire and began
to think about the Vicar and Mrs. Primrose, and wanted to know what
Moses did at the Fair. She had been at one town fair, but she could not
recall much besides the rather quaintly and gayly dressed crowd. Then
there was a summons to supper.

"Oh," cried Cary, "sit still a moment. You look like a page of Mother
Goose. You can't be Miss Muffet, for you have no curds and whey, and you
are not Jack Horner----"

She sprang up then and caught Uncle Winthrop's hand. "Nor Mother Goose,"
she rejoined laughingly.

The plates were moved just a little. Cary sat between her and his
father.

"I have heard quite a good deal about you," he began. "Are you French or
English?"

She caught a tiny gleam in Uncle Win's eye, and gravely answered in
French.

"How do you get along there in Sudbury Street? Who does the talking?" he
asked in surprise.

"We all talk," she answered.

He flushed a little and then gave an amused nod.

"Upon my word, you are not slow, if the weather is cold. And you
_parlez-vous_ like a native. Now, if you and father want to say anything
bad about me, you may hope to keep it a secret, but I warn you that I
can understand French to some extent."

"I shall not say anything bad," she returned naïvely. Adding, "Why, I
don't know anything bad."

"Oh, Miss Recompense, isn't it nice to be perfect in someone's eyes?" he
laughed.

"Wait until she has known you several years."

"But you have known me several years," appealingly.

"It is best to begin with an unbiased opinion."

"I shall get Betty to speak a good word for me. You have confidence in
Betty?"

"I love Betty," Doris said simply.

"And Boston. That begins with a B too. You must love Boston, and the
State of Massachusetts, and the whole United States. And if there comes
another war you must be true to the flag and the country. No skipping
off to England, mind."

"I couldn't skip across the whole Atlantic."

"Then you would have to stay. Which is the nicest, Sudbury Street or
this?"

"Cary, you have teased enough," said his father.

"I think the out-of-doors of this will be the prettiest in the summer,"
replied Doris gravely, "and when I came off the ship I thought the
indoors in Sudbury Street just delightful. There was such a splendid
fire, and everybody was so kind."

Cary glanced up at his father, who gave his soft half-smile.

"You were a brave little girl not to be homesick."

"I did want to see Miss Arabella, and the pony. I had such a darling
pony."

"Why, you can have a pony next summer," said Uncle Win. "I am very fond
of riding."

Doris' face was filled with speechless delight.

After supper they sat round the fire and Cary asked her about the Old
Boston. She had very good descriptive powers. Her life had been so
circumscribed there that it had deepened impressions, and the young
fellow listened quite surprised. Like his father he had known very
little about girls in their childhood. She was so quaintly pretty, too,
with the bow of dark ribbon high up on her head, amid the waving light
hair.

Some time after Uncle Winthrop said:

"Doris, I have a letter from Miss Arabella. Would you not like to come
in the study and read it?"

"Oh, yes," and she sprang up with the lightness of a bird.

He had cut around the great black seal. Sometime Doris might be glad to
have the letter intact. There were no envelopes then besides those used
for state purposes.

"Dear and Respected Sir," it began in the formal, old-fashioned manner.
She had been rejoiced to hear of Doris' safe arrival and continued good
health, and every day she saw the wisdom of the change, though she had
missed the child sorely. Her sister had passed peacefully away soon
after the departure of Doris, a loss to be accepted with resignation,
since her life on earth had long ceased to have any satisfaction to
herself. Her own health was very much broken, and she knew it would not
be long before she should join those who had preceded her in a better
land. When this occurred there would be some articles forwarded to him
for Doris, and again she commended the little girl to his affectionate
interest and care, and hoped she would grow into a sweet and useful
womanhood and be all her parents could wish if they had lived.

"Dear Miss Arabella!" Doris wiped the tears from her eyes. How strange
the little room must look without Miss Henrietta sitting at the window
babbling of childish things! "And she is all alone with Barby. How sad
it must be. I should not like to live alone."

Unconsciously she drew nearer Uncle Winthrop. He put his arm over her
shoulder in a caressing manner, and his heart was moved with sympathy
for the solitary lady across the ocean.

Doris thought of Aunt Priscilla and wondered whether she ever was
lonesome.

Sunday was still bright, and somehow felt warm when contrasted with the
biting weather of the last ten days. The three went to old Trinity
Church, that stood then on a corner of Summer Street--a plain wooden
building with a gambrel roof, quite as old-fashioned inside as out, and
even now three-quarters of a century old. Up to the Revolution the king
and the queen, when there was one, had been prayed for most fervently.
The Church conceded this point reluctantly, since there were many who
doubted the success of the struggle. But the clergy had resigned from
King's Chapel and Christ Church. For a long while afterward Dr. Mather
Byles had kept himself before the people by his wit and readiness for
controversy, and the two old ladies, his sisters, were well known for
their adherence to Royalist costumes and the unction with which they
prayed for the king in their own house--with open windows, in summer.

In fact, even now Episcopalianism was considered rather foreign than of
a home growth. But there had been such a divergence from the old-time
faiths that people's prejudices were much softened.

It seemed quite natural again to Doris, and she had no difficulty in
finding her places, though Cary offered her his prayer book every time.
And it sounded so hearty to say "Amen" to the prayers, to respond to the
commandments, and sing some of the old chants.

There was a short service in the afternoon, and in the evening she and
Cary sang hymns. They were getting to be very good friends. Then on
Christmas morning they all went again. There was a little "box and fir,"
and a branch of hemlock in the corner, but the people of that day would
have been horrified at the greenery and the flowers met to hail the
birth of Christ to-day.

They paused in the vestibule to give each other a cordial greeting, for
the congregation was not very large.

A fine-looking elderly lady shook hands with Mr. Adams and his son.

"This is my little niece from abroad," announced the elder, "another of
the Adams family. Her father was own nephew to Cousin Charles. Doris,
this is Madam Royall."

"Poor Charles. Yes, I remember him well. Our children spied out the
little girl in the sleigh with you on Saturday, and made no end of
guesses. Is it the child who attends Mrs. Webb's school? Dorcas Payne
goes there this winter, and she has been teasing to have her name
changed to Doris, which she admires beyond measure."

"Yes," answered Doris timidly, as Madam Royall seemed addressing her. "I
know Dorcas Payne."

"Oh, Mr. Adams, I have just thought--our children are going to have a
little time to-night--not anything as pretentious as a party, a sort of
Christmas frolic. Will you not come around and bring Cary and the little
girl? You shall have some Christmas cake and wine with us, Cary can take
tea with Isabel and Alice, and the little girl can have a good romp.
Please do not refuse."

Cary flushed. Mr. Adams looked undecided.

"No, you shall not hunt about for an excuse. Dorcas has talked so much
about the little girl that we are all curious to see her. Shouldn't you
like a frolic with other little girls, my dear?"

Doris smiled with assenting eagerness.

"We shall surely look for you. I shall tell them all that you are
coming, and that I have captured little Doris Adams."

"Very well," returned Mr. Adams.

"At four, exactly. The children's supper is at five."

Doris had tight hold of Uncle Winthrop's hand, and if she had not just
come out of church she must have skipped for very gladness. For Dorcas
Payne had talked about her cousins, the Royalls, and their charming
grandmother, and the good times they had in their fine large house.

Uncle Win looked her all over as she sat at the dinner table. She was a
pretty child, with her hair gathered up high and falling in a golden
shower. Her frock was some gray woolen stuff, and he wondered vaguely if
blue or red would have been better. He had seen little girls in red
frocks; they looked so warm and comfortable in winter. Elizabeth
Leverett would be shocked at the color, he knew. What made so many women
afraid of it, and why did they cling to dismal grays and browns? He
wished he knew a little more about girls.

They had a splendid young goose for the Christmas dinner, vegetables and
pickles and jellies. Cider was used largely then; no hearty dinner would
have been the thing without it. Even the Leveretts used that, while they
frowned on all other beverages. And then the thick mince pie with a
crust that fairly melted before you could chew it! One needed something
to sustain him through the long cold winter, and the large rooms where
you shivered if you went out of the chimney corner.

Doris stole a little while for her enchanting Primrose people, though
Cary kept teasing by saying: "Has Moses gone to the Fair? Just wait
until you see the sort of bargains he makes!"

Uncle Winthrop went out to Miss Recompense.

"She looks very plain for a little--well, I suppose it _is_ a party, and
I dare say there is another frock at the Leveretts'. I think the first
time I saw her she had on something very pretty--silk, I believe it was.
But there is no time to get it. Recompense, if you could find a ribbon
or any suitable adornment to brighten her up. In that big bureau
upstairs--I wish you would look."

Years ago the pretty things had been laid away. Recompense went over
them every spring during house-cleaning time, to see that moths had not
disturbed them. Thieves were never thought of. She always touched them
with a delicate regard for the young wife she had never known.

She put a shawl about her now and went upstairs, unlocked the drawer of
"trinkets," and peered into some of the boxes. Oh, here was a pretty bit
of lace, simple enough for a child. White ribbons turned to cream,
pale-blue grown paler with age, stiff brocaded ones, and down at the
very bottom a rose color with just a simple silvery band crossing it at
intervals. There was enough for a sash and a bow for the hair, and with
the lace tucker it would be all right.

"Doris," she called over the baluster.

"Yes, ma'am," and Doris came tripping up, book in hand.

"Your uncle wants you fixed up a bit," she said, "and as you have
nothing here I have looked up a few things. Let me fasten the tucker in
your frock. There, that does look better. Madam Royall is quite dressy,
like all fashionable people who go out and have company. I'm not much of
a hand to fix up children, seeing that for years I have had none of it
to do. But I guess I can manage to tie the sash. There, I think that
will do."

"Oh, how lovely! How good of you, Miss Recompense."

Recompense Gardiner hated to take the credit for anything she had not
done, but she had to let it go now.

"How to get this ribbon in your hair! I think it is too wide."

"Oh, can I have that too? Well, you see, you take up the curls this way
and put the ribbon under. Can it be folded? Then you tie it on the top."

Miss Recompense did not make a very artistic bow, but Doris looked in
the glass of the dressing table, and pulled and patted it a little, and
said it was right and that she was a thousand times grateful.

The sober-minded woman admitted within herself that the child was
greatly improved. Perhaps gay attire _did_ foster vanity, yet it was
pleasant for others to look upon.

"Run down and ask your uncle if you will do," exclaimed Miss Recompense,
feeling that by his approval she would discharge her conscience from the
sin, if sin it were.

She looked so dainty as she came and stood by him, and asked her
question with such a bewitching flush, that he kissed her on the
forehead for approval. But she put her soft young arms about his neck
and kissed him back, and he held her there with a strange new warmth
stirring his heart.

The old Royall house in Summer Street went its way three-quarters of a
century ago. No one dreams now of the beautiful garden that surrounded
it, and the blossoming shrubbery and beds of flowers from which nosegays
were sent to friends, and the fruit distributed later on. It was an old
house then, a great square, two-story building with a cupola railed
around a flat place at the point of the roof, or what would have been
the point if carried up. There were some rooms built out at the back,
and an arbor--a covered sort of _allée_ where the ladies sat and sewed
at times and the children played. Thirty years before there had been
many a meeting of friends to discuss the state of affairs. There had
been disagreements, ruptures, quarrels made and healed. George Royall
had gone back to England. Dwight Royall had fought on the side of the
"Rebels." One daughter had married an English officer who had
surrendered with Cornwallis and then returned to his native land. A
younger son had married and died, and left two daughters to his mother's
care, their own mother being dead. A widowed daughter had come home to
live with her four children, the two youngest being girls. Dorcas Payne
was a cousin to them on their father's side.

There were often guests staying with them, and the old house was still
the scene of good times, as they were then: friends dropping in and
finding ready hospitality. For though Madam Royall had passed the three
score and ten, she was still intelligent and had been in her earlier
years accomplished. She could play on her old-fashioned spinet for the
children to dance, and sometimes she sang the songs of her youth, though
her voice had grown a trifle unsteady in singing.

The sun was setting the west in a glow of magnificence as they walked up
to the Royall house. Madam Royall and her daughter Mrs. Chapman were
waiting to welcome them.

In this hall was the tall stove that was beginning to do duty for the
cheerful hearthfire, and it diffused a delightful atmosphere of warmth.
But you could see the blaze in the parlor and the dining room, where
some friends were already assembled and having a game of cards. The
sideboard, as was the custom then, was set out with a decanter of
Madeira and one of sherry and the glasses, besides a great silver basin
filled with nuts and dried fruit and another dish of crullers.

On the opposite side of the hall there was a hubbub of children's
voices. Madam Royall ushered Mr. Adams into the dining room, left Cary
to the attention of the two girls and their aunt, and took possession
of Doris herself, removing her wraps and handing them to the maid. Then
taking her hand she drew her into the room, kept mostly for dancing and
party purposes.



CHAPTER XII

A CHILDREN'S PARTY


"This is Doris Adams, a little girl who came from England not long ago.
You must make her welcome and show her what delightful children there
are in Boston. These two girls are Helen and Eudora Chapman, my
grandchildren, and the others are grandnieces and friends. Helen, you
must do the honors."

Dorcas Payne came forward. "She goes to the same school that I do." She
had been entertaining the girls with nearly all she knew about Doris.
That Mr. Winthrop Adams was her uncle and guardian raised her a good
deal in the estimation of Dorcas, for even then a man was thought
unusually well off to be able to live without doing any real business.

"Would you like to play graces?" asked Eudora.

"I don't know," admitted Doris.

"We were playing. Grace and Molly, you go down that end of the room.
Now, this is the way. When Betty tosses it you catch it on the sticks,
so."

It seemed very easy when Eudora caught it and tossed it back, and Betty
threw it again.

"Now you try," and she put the sticks in Doris' hands. "Oh, what tiny
little hands you have, and as white as snow!"

Doris blushed. She threw the hoop and it "wabbled," but Betty, a bright,
black-eyed girl, made a lunge or two, and caught it on the tip of one
stick, and back it came. Doris was looking at her and never moved her
hand.

"Pick it up and try again," said Eudora. "That isn't the right way, but
we will excuse you this time."

Alas! this time Doris ran and brandished her stick in the air to no
purpose.

"I would rather see you play," she said. "You are all doing it so
beautifully."

"Then you stand here and watch."

It was very fascinating. There were three sets playing. Doris found that
when a girl missed she gave up to some other companion. Her eyes could
hardly move quickly enough to watch all the hoops. Now and then a girl
was crowned,--that meant the hoops encircled her head,--and they all
shouted.

Then Helen said they had played that long enough, and now they would try
"Hunt the slipper." The slipper was a pretty one, made of pink plush
with a dainty heel and a shining buckle set in a small pink bow. Doris
said "it looked like a Cinderella slipper."

"Oh, do you know about Cinderella? Do you know many stories?"

"Not a great many. Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast, and
a few in verses."

"I wish you knew something quite new. Oh!"

Eudora had forgotten to keep the slipper going. The girls were sitting
in a ring, so she jumped up cheerfully and began to hunt. There were a
great many little giggles and exclamations, and then someone said: "Oh,
let's stop playing and tell riddles!"

That was a never-failing amusement. There were some very bright ones,
some very puzzling ones. One girl asked how many baskets of dirt there
were in Copp's Hill.

"Why, there can't anybody tell," said Helen. "You couldn't measure it
that way."

Everybody looked at everybody else, and the glances finally grew
indignant.

"There isn't any answer."

"Give it up?"

"Yes," cried the voices in unison.

"Why, one--if the basket is big enough."

"There couldn't be a basket made as large as that. You might as well ask
how many drops of water there are in the sea, and then say only one
because they all run together."

The girls applauded that, and, before anyone had thought of another,
Miranda,--tall, black, imposing, with a gay turban wound round her
head,--announced:

"De little misses were all disquested to walk out to de Christmas
supper."

Grandmamma did not know how to leave her guests, and she was in the
middle of a game of loo, but she had promised to sit at the head of the
table, so Mrs. Chapman took her place. No one felt troubled because
there were no boys at the party: the only boy of the house had gone out
skating with some other boys.

It was quite a royal feast. There were thin bread and butter, dainty
biscuits not much larger than the penny of that day, cold turkey and
cold ham, and cake of every kind, it would seem, ranged around the iced
Christmas cake that was surmounted by a wreath of some odd golden
flowers that people dried and kept all winter for ornamental purposes.

They puzzled grandmamma with the two riddles, but she thought that about
the sea the better one. And she said no one would ever have an
opportunity to measure Copp's Hill, but for all that they did, if they
had cared to.

The grown-up people had some tea and chocolate in the dining room, and
seemed to be having as merry a time as the children. There was something
infectious in the air or the house. Doris thought it very delightful.
Her cheeks began to bloom in a wild-rose tint, and her eyes had a
luminous look, as if happiness was shining through them.

Afterward grandmamma played on the spinet and they danced several pretty
simple figures, ending with the minuet. When the clock struck seven
someone came in a sleigh for four of the girls who lived quite near
together. Pompey, the Royalls' servant, was to escort the others, and
Betty March lived just across in Winter Street. When children went out
the hours were kept pretty strictly. Seven o'clock meant seven truly,
and not eight or nine.

Each child had a pretty paper box of candy, tied with a bright ribbon.
Bonbons we should call them now. And they all expressed their thanks and
made a courtesy as they reached the hall door.

"Have you had a good time?" asked Madam Royall, taking Doris by the
hand.

"It's been just delightful, every moment," the child answered.

"And she's only looked on, grandmamma," exclaimed Eudora. "Now, let's us
get real acquainted. We will go in the parlor and have a good talk."

"Very well," returned grandmamma. "I'll go and see what the _old_ people
are about."

"I am glad you don't have to go home so soon," began Helen. "Why don't
you live with your Uncle Adams instead of in Sudbury Street? Are there
any girls there?"

"One real big one who is sixteen. She has gone to Hartford now. That's
Betty Leverett. And I went there first, because--well, Uncle Leverett
came for me when the vessel reached Boston."

"Oh, he is your uncle, too! Did you come from another Boston, truly
now?"

"Yes, it was Boston."

"And like this?"

"Oh, no."

"Did you know ever so many girls?"

"No. We lived quite out of the town."

"And, oh, were you not afraid to cross the ocean? Suppose there had been
a pirate or something?"

"I didn't know anything about pirates," said Doris. "But I was afraid at
first, when you could not see any land for days and days. There were two
little girls and they had a doll. We played together and grew used to
the water. But it was worse when it stormed."

"I should have been frightened out of my life. Grandmamma has been to
England. We have some cousins there, but they are grown-up people and
married. Which place do you like best?"

"I had no real relatives there after papa died. Oh, I like this Boston
best."

Then they branched off into school matters. Eudora and her sister went
to a Miss Parker, and to a writing school an hour in the afternoon.
Eudora wished she was grown-up like Isabel and Alice, and could go out
to real parties and have a silk frock. Grandmamma was going to give her
one when she was fifteen.

A feeling of delicacy kept Doris from confessing that she owned the
coveted article. Some of the girls had worn very pretty frocks. Eudora's
was a beautiful soft blue, and had bands of black velvet and short
sleeves with lace around them. But Doris had forgotten about her own
attire, though she recalled the fact that there was only one little
girl in a gray frock, and it didn't seem very pretty.

So they chattered on, and Eudora said they would have splendid times if
she came in the summer. They had a big swing, and they went over on the
Common and had no end of fun playing tag. The warm weather was the
nicest, though there was great fun sledding and snowballing when the
boys were not too rough. Oh, had she seen the forts and the great light
out at Fort Hill? Wasn't it just grand?

"But, you know, Walter said if the redoubts had been stone instead of
snow, the Rebels never could have taken them. You know, they called _us_
Rebels then. And now we are a nation."

Doris wondered what a redoubt was, but she saved it to ask Uncle Win.
She gave a sigh to think what an ignorant little girl she was.

"I think it is a great deal finer to be a country all by yourself and
govern your own people. The King of England is half crazy, you know. You
don't mind, do you, when we talk about the English? We don't really mean
every person, and our friends and--and all"--getting rather confused
with distinctions.

"We mean the government," interposed Helen. "It stands to reason people
thousands of miles away wouldn't know what is best for us. Wouldn't it
be ridiculous if someone in Virginia should pretend to instruct
grandmamma what to do? Grandmamma knows so much. And she is one of the
handsomest old ladies in Boston. Oh, listen!"

A mysterious sound came from the kitchen. A fiddle was surely tuning up
somewhere.

"The big folks are going to dance, and that is black Joe, Mr. Winslow's
man."

Mr. Winslow and a young lady had arrived also. They tendered many
apologies about their lateness.

The people in the dining room left the table and came out in the hall.
Cary Adams had been having a very nice time, for a young fellow. Isabel
poured the chocolate, and on her right sat a Harvard senior. Alice
poured the tea, and beside her sat Cary, who made himself useful handing
it about. He liked Alice very much. A young married couple were over on
the other side, and now this addition and the fiddle looked suspicious.

"My dear Doris," exclaimed her uncle. He had been discussing Greek poets
with the Harvard professor, and had really forgotten about her. "Are you
tired? It's about time a young person like you, and an old person like
me, went home."

He didn't look a bit old. There was a tint of pink in his cheeks--he had
been so roused and warmed with his argument and his tea.

"Oh, do let Doris stay and see them dance, just one dance," pleaded
Eudora. "We have been sitting here talking, and haven't tired ourselves
out a bit."

The fiddler and the dancers went to the room where the children had
their frolic. That was Jane Morse's cousin Winslow. How odd she should
see him and hear black Joe, who fiddled like the blind piper. The
children kept time with their feet.

The minuet was elegant. Then they had a cotillion in which there was a
great deal of bowing. After that Mr. Adams said they must go home, and
Madam Royall came and talked to Doris in a charming fashion, and then
told Susan, the slim colored maid, to wrap her up head and ears, and in
spite of Mr. Adams' protest Pompey came round with the sleigh.

"I hope you had a nice time," said Madam Royall, as she put a Christmas
box in the little girl's hand.

"I'm just full of joy," she answered with shining eyes. "I couldn't hold
any more unless I grew," laughingly.

They made her promise to come again, and the children kissed her
good-by. Then they were whisked off and set down at their own door in no
time.

"Now you must run to bed. Aunt Elizabeth would be horrified at your
staying up so late."

Miss Recompense was--almost. She had been nodding over the fire.

They went upstairs together. She took a look at Doris, and suddenly the
child clasped her round the waist.

"Oh, dear Miss Recompense, I was so glad about the beautiful sash. Most
of the frocks were prettier than mine. Some had tiny ruffles round the
bottom and the sleeves. But the party was so nice I forgot all about
that. Oh, Miss Recompense, were you ever brimful of happiness, and you
wanted to sing for pure gladness? I think that is the way the birds must
feel."

No, Miss Recompense had never been that happy. A great joy, the delight
of childhood, had been lost out of her life. She had been trained to
believe that for every miserable day you spent bewailing your sins, a
day in heaven would be intensified, and that happiness on earth was a
snare of the Evil One to lead astray. She had gone out in the fields and
bemoaned herself, and wondered how the birds _could_ sing when they had
to die so soon, and how anyone could laugh when he had to answer for
everything at the Day of Judgment.

"Everybody was so delightful, though at first I felt strange. And I did
not make out at all playing graces. That's just beautiful, and I'd like
to know how. And now if you will untie the sash and put it away, and I
am a hundred times obliged to you."

Some of the children she had known would have begged for the sash.
Doris' frank return touched her. Mr. Adams no doubt meant her to keep
it--she would ask him.

And then the happy little girl went to bed, while even in the dark the
room seemed full of exquisite visions and voices that charmed her.

Cary had to go away the next morning. Uncle Win said he couldn't spare
her, and sent Cato over to tell Mrs. Leverett. A young man came in for
some instruction, and Doris followed the fate of the Vicar's household a
while, until she felt she ought to study, since there were so many
things she did not know.

Uncle Win found her in the chimney corner with a pile of books.

"What is it now?" he asked.

"I think I know _all_ my spelling. But I can't get some of the addition
tables right when I ask myself questions. I wish there had not been any
nine."

"The world couldn't get along without the nine. It is very necessary."

"Most of the good things _are_ hard," she said with a philosophic sigh.

He laughed.

"Eudora does not like tables either."

"I will tell you a famous thing about nine that you can't do with any
other figure. How much is ten and ten?"

"Why, twenty, and ten more are thirty, and so on. It is easy as turning
over your hand."

"Ten and nine."

Doris looked nonplused and began to draw her brow in perplexed lines.

"Nine is only one less than ten. Now, if you can remember that----"

"Nineteen! Why, that is splendid."

"Now sixteen and nine?"

"Twenty-five," rather hesitatingly.

He nodded. "And nine more."

"Thirty-four. Oh, we made a rhyme. Uncle Winthrop, is it very hard to
write verses? They are so beautiful."

"I think it is--rather," with his half-smile.

People had not had the leisure to be very poetical as yet. But through
these years some children were being born into the world whose verses
were to find a place by every fireside before the little girl said her
last good-night to it. So far there had been some bright witticisms and
sarcasms in rhyme, and the clergy had penned verses for wedding and
funeral occasions. The Rev. John Cotton had indulged in flowing
versification, and even Governor Bradford had interspersed his severer
cares with visions of softer strains. Anne Dudley, the wife of Governor
Bradstreet, with her eight children, had found time for study and
writing, and about 1650 had a volume of verse published in London
entitled "The Tenth Muse. Several poems compiled with a great variety of
wit and learning. By an American Gentlewoman." And she makes this
protest even then:

    I am obnoxious to each carping tongue,
      Who says my hand a needle better fits;
    A poet's pen all scorn I thus should wrong,
      For such despite they cast on female wits:
    If what I do prove well it won't advance,
    They'll say it's stolen, or else it was by chance.

There was also a Mrs. Murray and a Mercy Otis Warren, who evinced very
fine intellectual ability; and Mrs. Adams had written letters that the
world a hundred years later was to admire and esteem.

On the parlor table in some houses you found a thin volume of poems
with a romantic history. A Mrs. Wheatley bought a little girl at the
slave market one day, mostly out of pity. She learned to read very
rapidly, and was so modest and thoughtful that as a young woman she was
held in high esteem by Dr. Sewall's flock at the Old South Church. She
went abroad with her master's son before the breaking out of the war,
and interested Londoners so much that her poems were published and she
was the recipient of a good many attentions. Afterward they were
reissued in Boston and met with warm commendations for the nobility of
sentiment and smooth versification. So to Phillis Wheately belongs the
honor of having been one of the first female poets in Boston.

And young men even now celebrated their sweethearts' charms in rhyme.
Gay gallants wrote their own valentines. Young collegians struggled with
Latin verse, and sometimes scaled the heights of Thessaly from whence
inspiration sprang. But, for the most part, the temperaments that
inclined to the worship of the Muses sought solace in Chaucer,
Shakspere, and Milton while the later ones were winning their way.

Doris sighed over the doubtfulness in her uncle's tone. But it was music
rather than poetry that floated through her brain.

"You might come and read a little Latin, and then we will have a talk in
French. We will leave the prosaic part. What you will do in square root
and cube root----"

"I am afraid I shall not grow at all. I'll just wither up. Isn't there
some round root?"

"Yes, among vegetables."

They both laughed at that.

She did quite well in the Latin. Then she spelled some rather difficult
words, and being in the high tide of French when dinner was announced,
they kept on talking, to the great amusement of Miss Recompense, who
could hardly convince herself that it really did mean anything
reasonable.

Uncle Winthrop said then they certainly deserved some indulgence, and if
she was not afraid of blowing away they would go out riding again. They
took the small sleigh and he drove, and they turned down toward the stem
end of the pear, and if Boston had not held on good and strong in those
early years it might in some high wind have been twisted off and left an
island.

It does not look, to-day, much as it did when Doris first saw it.
Charles River has shrunken, Back Bay has been filled up. It has
stretched out everywhere and made itself a marvelous city. The Common
has changed as well, and is more beautiful than one could have imagined
then, but a thousand old recollections cling to it.

They left the streets behind. Sleigh riding was the great winter
amusement then, but you had to take it in cold weather, for the salt air
all about softened the snow the first mild day. There was no factory
smoke or dust to mar it, and it lay in great unbroken sheets. There were
people skating on Back Bay, and chairs on runners with ladies well
wrapped up in furs, and sleds of every description.

They came up around the other side and saw the wharves and the idle
shipping and the white-capped islands in the harbor. Now the wind _did_
nearly blow you away.

The next day was very lowering and chilly. Uncle Winthrop had to go to a
dinner among some notables. Miss Recompense always brushed his hair and
tied the queue. Young men did not wear them, but some of the older
people thought leaving them off was aping youthfulness. He put on his
black velvet smallclothes, his silk stockings and low shoes with silver
buckles, his flowered waistcoat, his high stock and fine French
broadcloth coat. His shirt front had two full ruffles beautifully
crimped. Miss Recompense did it with a penknife.

"You look just like a picture, Uncle Winthrop," Doris exclaimed
admiringly. "Party clothes _do_ make one handsomer. I suppose it isn't
good for one to be handsome all the time."

"We should grow too vain," he answered smilingly, yet he did enjoy the
honest praise.

"Perhaps if we were used to it all the time it would not seem so
beautiful. It would get to be everyday-like, and you would not think
about it."

True enough. He had a fancy Madam Royall did not think half so much
about her apparel as some of the more strenuous people who referred
continually to conscience.

"Good-by. Maybe you will be in bed when I come back."

"Oh, will you be gone that late?" She stood upon a stool and reached
over to give him a parting kiss, if she could not see him until
to-morrow, and she did not even touch his immaculate ruffles.

It was growing dusky, and Miss Recompense was in and out, and was in no
hurry for candlelight herself. Doris sat in a kind of chaotic thinking.
Someone came up the steps, stamped his feet quite too noisily for
Cato,--even if he had returned so soon,--knocked at the door, and then
opened it.

"Oh, Uncle Leverett!" and she sprang up.

"Well, well, little runaway! I was quite struck when mother told me you
were going to stay all the week. I wanted to see my little girl. It's
lonesome without you and Betty, I can tell you--lonesome as the woods in
winter; and as I couldn't get to see her, I thought I would run around
this way and see you. The longest way round is the surest way home, I
have heard"--with a twinkle in his eye. "Where's Uncle Win? What are you
doing in the dark alone?"

"Uncle Win has gone to a grand dinner at the Exchange something. And he
dressed all up. He looked splendid."

"I dare say. He isn't bad-looking in his everyday gear. And you are
having a good time?"

"A most beautiful time, Uncle Leverett. I went to church Christmas
morning. And a lady asked us both to a party--yes, it was a party. The
grown people were by themselves, and the children--there were ten little
girls--they had a grand supper and played games and told riddles, and we
talked--"

"Where was this fine affair?"

"At Madam Royall's. And she was so kind and sweet and handsome."

"Well, I declare! Right in amongst the quality! I don't know what mother
would say to a party. What a pity you didn't have that pretty frock!"

"I did wish for it at first, but we had such a nice time it made no
difference. And then some more people came and Mr. Winslow and Black
Joe, who was at Betty's party, and they danced. Cary went, too. He
stayed after Uncle Win and I came home."

"Great doings. I am glad you are happy. But I shall be doubly glad to
get you back. And now I must run off home."

Miss Recompense came in and lighted the candles. They were going to have
supper in five minutes and he must take off his coat and stay.

"I've sort of run away, and no one would know where I am. Wife would
keep supper waiting. No, I must hustle back, thanking you for the
asking. I wanted to see Doris. Somehow we have grown so used to her
already that the house seems kind of lost without her, Betty being away.
We haven't had any letter from Hartford, but I dare say she is there all
safe."

"Post teams do get delayed. Doris is well and satisfied. She and her
uncle have great times studying."

"That is good. Wife worried a little about school. Now I must go.
Good-night. You will surely be home on Saturday."

"Good-night," returned the soft voice.

Somehow the supper was very quiet. Doris had begun to read aloud to Miss
Recompense "The Story of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia." She did not
like it as well as her dear Vicar, but Uncle Win said it was good. He
was not quite sure of the Vicar for such a child. So she read along very
well for a while, and then she yawned.

"You were up late last night and you must go to bed," said the elder
lady.

Doris was ready. She _was_ sleepy, but somehow she did not drop asleep
all in a minute. There was a grave subject to consider. All day she was
thinking how splendid it would be if Uncle Win should ask her to come
here and live. She liked him. She liked the books and the curiosities
and the talks and the teaching. Uncle Win was so much more interesting
than Mrs. Webb, who flung questions at you in a way that made you jump
if you were not paying strict attention. There were other delights that
she could not explain to herself. And the books, the leisure to sit and
think. For careful Aunt Elizabeth said--"Have you hung up your cloak,
Doris? Are you sure you know your spelling? I do wonder if you will ever
get those tables perfect! The idea of such a big girl not knowing how to
knit a stocking! Don't sit there looking into the fire and dreaming,
Doris; attend to your book. Jimmie boy is away ahead of you in some
things."

And here she could sit and dream. Of course she was not going to school.
Miss Recompense did not think of something all the time. She had learned
a sort of graciousness since she had lived with Mr. Winthrop Adams.
True, she had nothing to worry about--no children to advance in life, no
husband whose business she must be anxiously considering. She had a snug
little sum of money, and was adding to it all the time, and she was
still a long way from old age. Doris could not have understood the
difference in both position and demands, but she enjoyed the atmosphere
of ease. And there was a certain aspect of luxury, a freedom from the
grinding exactions of conscience that had been trained to keep
continually on the alert lest one "fall into temptation."

"He had wanted to see his little girl. He was lonesome without her."

She could see the longing in Uncle Leverett's face and hear his wistful
voice there in the dark. He had come to the ship and given her the first
greeting and brought her home. Yes, she supposed she _was_ his little
girl. Guardians were to take care of one's money; you did not have to
live with them, of course. Uncle Leverett was something in a business
way, too; and he loved her. She knew that without any explanation. She
was quite sure Uncle Win loved her also, but her real place was in
Sudbury Street.

Friday afternoon she was curled up by the fire reading, looking like a
big kitten, if you had seen only her gray frock. Uncle Win had glanced
at her every now and then. He did not mind having her around--not as
much, in fact, as Cary, who tumbled books about and moved chairs noisily
and kept one's nerves astir all the time, as a big healthy fellow whose
body has grown so fast that he hardly knows what to do with his long
arms and legs is apt to do.

Doris was like a little mouse. She never rattled the leaves when she
turned them over, she never put books in the cases upside down, she did
not finger papers or anything that lay on the table when she stood by
it. He had a fancy that all children were meddlesome and curious and
given to asking queer questions: these were the things he remembered
about Cary in those first years of sorrow when he could hardly bear him
out of his sight.

Instead, Doris was restful with her quaint ways. She did not run against
chairs nor move a stool so that the legs emitted a "screak" of agony,
and she could sit still for an hour at a time if she had a book. Of
course, being a girl she ought to sew instead.

It was getting quite dusky. Uncle Winthrop came and stirred the fire and
put on a pine log, then drew up his chair.

"Put away your book, Doris. You will try your eyes."

She shut it up and came and stood by him. He passed his arm around her.

"Uncle Win, there was a time when people had to read and sew by the
blaze of logs and torches. There were no candles."

"They did it not so many years ago here. I dare say they are still doing
it out in country places. They go to bed early."

"What seems queer to me is that people are continually finding out
things. They must at one time have been very ignorant. No, they could
not have been either," reflectively. "For just think how Adam named the
animals. And Miss Arabella said that Job knew all about the stars and
called them by their names. But perhaps it was the little things like
candles and such. Yet they had lamps ever and ever so long ago."

"People seem to advance and then fall back. They emigrate and cannot
take all their appliances with them, and they make simpler things to use
until they have leisure and begin to accumulate wealth. You see, they
could not bring a great deal from England or Holland in the vessels they
had in early sixteen hundred. So they had to begin at the foundation in
many things."

"It is all so wonderful when you really come to learn about it," she
said with a gentle sigh.

The blaze was shining on her now, and bringing out the puzzles on the
fair child's face. She was very intelligent, if she was slow at figures.

"Doris,"--after a long pause,--"how would you like to live here?"

"Oh, Uncle Win, it would be the most splendid thing----"

"I fancied you might like to change. And there are some matters
connected with your education--why, what is it, Doris?"

She raised her eyes an instant, then they drooped and he saw the dark
fringe beaded with tears. She took a long quivering inspiration.

"Uncle Win--I don't believe I can." The words came very slowly. "You see
Betty is away, and Uncle Leverett missed me very much. He said the other
night I was his little girl, and he was lonesome----"

"I shall be lonesome when you are gone."

"But you have so many books and things, and people coming, and--I should
like to stay. Oh, I do like you so." She put her slim arm around his
neck and laid her cheek against his. "Sometimes it seems as if you were
like what I remember of papa. I only saw such a little of him, you know,
after I went to England. But Aunt Elizabeth says it is the hard things
that are right always. She would have Jimmie boy, you know, if I stayed,
but Uncle Leverett wants me. I can just feel how it is, but I don't know
how to explain it. He has always been so good to me. And that day on the
ship he said, 'Is this my little girl?' and I was so glad to really
belong to someone again----"

She was crying softly. He felt the tears on his cheek. Her simple
heroism touched him.

"Yes, dear," he said with a comforting sound in his voice. "Perhaps it
would be best to wait a little, until Betty returns, or in the summer.
You can come over Friday night and spend Sunday, and brush up on Latin,
and brush me up on French, and we will have a nice visit."

"Oh, thank you, thank you. Uncle Win--if I could be two little
girls----"

"I want you all, complete. We will keep it to think about."

Then Miss Recompense said supper was ready, and Doris wiped the tears
out of her eyes and smiled. But the pressure of her hand as they walked
out confessed that she belonged to him.



CHAPTER XIII

VARIOUS OPINIONS OF LITTLE GIRLS


"You have kept up wonderfully for being absent a whole week. You haven't
fallen back a bit," said Mrs. Webb.

Doris flushed with delight. The little training Uncle Winthrop had given
her had borne fruit.

But she was shocked that Jimmie boy was so bad he had to be punished
with the ruler. He had been punished twice in the week before.

"Don't you darst to tell grandmother," he said as they were turning into
Sudbury Street. "If you do I'll--I'll"--she was a girl, and he couldn't
punch her--"I won't take you on my sled."

"No. I won't tell."

"Honest and true? Hope to die?"

"I'll say honest and true."

"A little thing like that aint much, just two or three slaps. You ought
to see the teacher at Salem? My brother Foster gets licked sometimes,
and he makes us promise not to tell father."

James had stood a little in awe of Doris on the point of good behavior.
But Sam had been up, and James had gone down to Aunt Martha's, and he
felt a great deal bigger now.

Uncle Leverett was very glad to get his little girl back. They had heard
from Betty, who had spent two delightful days with Mrs. Eastman, and
then they had gone to Hartford together. Electa and the children were
well, and she had a beautiful house with a Brussels carpet in the parlor
and velvet furniture and vases and a table with a marble top. Betty sent
love to everybody, and they were to tell Aunt Priscilla that the beaver
bonnet was just the thing, and she was going to have the silk frock made
over right away. Electa thought the India silk lovely, and she was so
glad she had brought the extra piece along, for she was going to have
the little cape with long tabs to tie behind, and she should use up
every scrap putting a frill on it.

Aunt Priscilla had not waited until March, but taken another cold and
was confined to the house, so Aunt Elizabeth went over quite often.
Martha Grant proved very efficient, and she was industry itself. She,
too, was amazed that Doris wasn't "put to something useful."

Doris had brought home a Latin book, but Aunt Elizabeth could not
cordially indorse such a boyish study. Women were never meant to go to
colleges. But she did not feel free to thwart Cousin Adams' plans for
her.

He came over on Saturday and took her out, and they had a nice laughing
French talk, though he admitted he and Miss Recompense had missed her
very much. She told him about Betty, and what Mrs. Webb had said, and
seemed quite happy.

Just at the last of the month they were all very much interested in a
grand affair to which Uncle Winthrop was an invited guest. It was at the
great Exchange Coffee House, and really in honor of the gallant struggle
Spain had been making against the man who bid fair then to be the
dictator of all Europe. On one throne after another he had placed the
different members of his family. Joseph Bonaparte, who had been King of
Naples, was summarily transferred to the throne of Spain, with small
regard for the desires of her people. He found himself quite unable to
cope with the insurgents rising on every hand. And America sent Spain
her warmest sympathy.

Uncle Leverett read the account aloud from his weekly paper. Now and
then there appeared a daily paper for a brief while, and a tolerably
successful semi-weekly, but the real substantial paper was the weekly.
How they would have found time then to read a morning and an evening
paper--two or three, perhaps--is beyond comprehension. And to have heard
news from every quarter of the globe before it was more than a few hours
old would have seemed witchcraft.

Napoleon was now at the zenith of his fame. But the feeling of the
country at his divorcing Josephine, who loved him deeply, was a thrill
of indignation, for the tie of marriage was now considered irrevocable
save for the gravest cause. That he should marry an Austrian princess
for the sake of allying himself to a royal house and having an heir to
the throne, which was nearly half of Europe now, was causing people even
then to draw a parallel between him and our own hero, Washington. Both
had started with an endeavor to free their respective countries from an
intolerable yoke, and when this was achieved Washington had grandly and
calmly laid down the burdens of state and retired to private life, while
Napoleon was still bent upon conquest. The sympathies of America went
out to all struggling nations.

There had been an ode read, and toasts and songs; indeed, it had called
together the notable men of the city, who had partaken of a grand feast.
It was much talked of for weeks; and Doris questioned Uncle Winthrop and
began to be interested in matters pertaining to her new country.

She was learning a good deal about the city. Warren took her to Aunt
Priscilla's one noon, and came for her when they had "shut up shop."
Aunt Priscilla did not mend rapidly. She called it being "pudgicky," as
if there was no name of a real disease to give it. A little fresh cold,
a good deal of weakness--and she had always been so strong; some fever
that would persist in coming back even when she had succeeded in
breaking it up for a few days. The time hung heavily on her hands. She
did miss Betty's freshness and bright, argumentative ways. So she was
glad to see Doris, for Polly sat out in the kitchen half asleep most of
the time.

Solomon as well always seemed very glad to see Doris. He came and sat in
her lap, and Aunt Priscilla told about the days when she was a little
girl, more than fifty years ago. Doris thought life must have been very
hard, and she was glad not to have lived then.

She did like Miss Recompense the best, but she felt very sorry for Aunt
Priscilla's loneliness.

"She and Polly have grown old together, and they need some younger
person to take care of them both," said Uncle Leverett. "She ought to
take her comfort; she has money enough."

"It is so difficult to find anyone to suit," and Aunt Elizabeth sighed.

"I shall crawl out in the spring," declared Mrs. Perkins; but her tone
was rather despondent.

Doris wondered when the spring would come. The snow and ice had never
been entirely off the ground.

Besides going to Uncle Winthrop's,--and she went every other
Saturday,--she had been asked to Madam Royall's to tea with the
children. The elder lady had not forgotten her. Indeed, this was one of
the houses that Mr. Adams thoroughly enjoyed, though he was not much of
a hand to visit. But people felt then that they really owed their
neighbors some social duty. There were not so many public amusements.

The Chapman children had real dolls, not simply rag babies; and the
clothes were made so you could take them off. Doris was quite charmed
with them. Helen's had blue eyes and Eudora's brown, but both were
red-cheeked and had black hair, which was not really hair at all, but
shaped of the composition and curled and painted over.

They had a grand long slide in their garden at the back. The servant
would flood it over now and then and make it smooth as glass. Doris
found it quite an art to stand up. Helen could go the whole length
beautifully, and balance herself better than Eudora. But if you fell you
generally tumbled over in the bank of snow and did not get hurt.

Playing graces was a great delight to her and after several trials she
became quite expert. Then on one occasion Madam Royall found that she
had a very sweet voice.

"You are old enough to learn some pretty songs, my child," she said. "I
must speak to your uncle. When the weather gets pleasanter he must place
you in a singing class."

Singing was quite a great accomplishment then. Very few people had
pianos. But young ladies and young men would sometimes spend a whole
evening in singing beautiful old songs.

In March there was a new President, Mr. Madison. Everybody was hoping
for a new policy and better times, yet now and then there were quite
sharp talks of war.

One day Mrs. Manning and the baby came in and made quite a visit. The
baby was very sweet and good, with pretty dark eyes, and Mrs. Manning
looked very much like Aunt Elizabeth. Mrs. Hollis Leverett came and
spent the day, and young married women who had been Mary Leverett's
friends came to tea. Warren went over in the old chaise and brought Aunt
Priscilla. Everybody seemed personally aggrieved that Betty should stay
away so long.

But Betty was having a grand time. Her letters to her mother were very
staid and respectful, but there were accounts of dinners and evening
parties and two or three weddings. Her brother King had given her a
pretty pink silk, and that was made pompadour waist and had a full
double plait at the back that hung down to the floor in a train. He had
taken her and Electa to a grand affair where there were crowds of
beautifully attired ladies. Betty did not call it a ball, for she knew
they would all be shocked. And though her mother had written for her to
come home, Mrs. King had begged for a little longer visit, as there
seemed to be something special all the time.

"What extravagance for a young girl!" exclaimed Mrs. Manning. "Pink silk
indeed, and a train! Betty will be so flighty when she comes back there
will be no getting along with her. 'Lecty has grown very worldly, I
think. I have never found any occasion for a pink silk."

Mrs. Leverett sighed. And Betty was not yet seventeen!

Mrs. Manning took James home with her, for she said grandmother was
spoiling him. She kept the children with a pretty strict hand at home,
and they soon jumped over the traces when you gave them a little
liberty. She was very glad to have him go to school all winter and hoped
he had made some improvement.

She was very brisk and energetic and was surprised to think they were
letting Doris grow up into such a helpless, know-nothing sort of girl.
And her daughter of nine was like a steady little woman.

"Still it isn't wise to put too much on her," said Mrs. Leverett in mild
protest. "Where one cannot help it, why, you must; but I think life is
getting a little easier, and children ought to have their share of it."

"I'm not asking anything of her that I did not do," returned Mrs.
Manning. "And I am proud of my training and my housekeeping."

"But it was so different then. Your father and I began life with only a
few hundred dollars. Then there was his three years in the war, and
people were doing everything for themselves--spinning and weaving and
dyeing, and making clothes of every kind. To be sure I make soap and
candles," laughing a little; "but we have only one cow now and give half
the milk for her care. I really felt as if I ought not have Martha, but
father insisted."

"I don't see why Doris couldn't have done a good deal instead of poring
over books so much."

"Well--you see she isn't really our own. Cousin Winthrop has some ideas
about her education. She will have a little money, too, if everything
turns out right."

"It's just the way to spoil girls. And you will find, mother, that Betty
will be none the better for her visit to 'Lecty. Dear me! I don't see
how 'Lecty can answer to her conscience, spending money that way. We
couldn't. It's wrong and sinful. And it's wrong to bring up any child in
a helpless, do-little fashion."

They were sitting by the south window sewing, and Doris was at the other
side of the chimney studying. Now and then she could not help catching a
sentence. She wondered what little Elizabeth Manning was like, who could
cook a meal, work butter, tend babies, and sew and knit stockings. She
only went to school in the winter; there was too much work to do in the
summer. She was not left alone now; one of the Manning aunts had been
staying some time. This aunt was a tailoress and had been fitting out
Mr. Manning, and now James must go home to have some clothes made.

Jimmie boy privately admitted to Doris that he would rather stay at
grandmother's. She was a good deal easier on him than his mother, and he
didn't mind Mrs. Webb a bit. "But you just ought to see Mr. Green. He
does lick the boys like fury! And there's such lots of errands to do
home. Mother never gives you a chunk of cake either. I don't see why
they couldn't all have been grandmothers instead of mothers."

James was not the first boy who had wished such a thing. But he knew he
had to go home, and that was all there was about it.

Martha wanted to go also. She had bought a good stout English
cambric--lively colored, as she called it--and a nice woolen or stuff
frock, as goods of that kind was often called. She was going to do up
her last summer's white frock to be married in. They would have a
wedding supper at her father's and then go home, and begin housekeeping
the next morning. Mrs. Leverett added a tablecloth to her store.

Betty must be sent for imperatively. Her mother was afraid she would be
quite spoiled. And she could not help wishing that Mrs. King would be a
little more careful and not branch out so, and Mary take life a little
easier, for Mr. Manning was putting by money and had his large farm
clear.

Then Aunt Priscilla was suddenly at sea. Jonas Field had bought a place
of his own where he could live over the store. In spite of a changed
name, King Street had dropped down and down, and was now largely given
to taverns. The better class had kept moving out and a poorer class
coming in, with colored people among them. No one had applied for the
store, but a man who wanted to keep a tavern combined with a kind of
sailor lodging house had made her a very good offer to buy the property.

"I'm going to live my time out in this very house," declared Aunt
Priscilla with some of her olden energy. "I came here when I was married
and I'll stay to be buried. By the looks of things, it won't be a great
many years. And I haven't made a sign of a will yet! Not that the
Perkinses would get anything if I died in this state--that aint the
word, but it means the same thing, not having your will made, and I aint
quite sure after all that would be right. I worked and saved, and I had
some when we were married, but husband had farsight, and knew how to
turn it over. Some of his money ought to go back to his folks."

This had been one of the decisions haunting Aunt Priscilla's conscience.
Down at the bottom she had a strict sense of justice.

"It is hardly nice to go there any more," said Aunt Elizabeth. "And I
shall not enjoy a young girl like Betty running over there, if Aunt
Priscilla shouldn't be very well, and she is breaking. Polly gets worse
and really is not to be trusted."

It was Polly after all who settled the matter, or the summons that came
to Polly one night. For in the morning, quite late, after a good deal of
calling and scolding, Aunt Priscilla found she had taken the last
journey. It was a great shock. Jonas Field's errand boy was dispatched
to the Leveretts'.

The woman who came soon gave notice that she "couldn't stay in no such
neighborhood for steady company."

Mr. Leverett and Cousin Adams urged her to sell. If there should be war
she might not have a chance in a long while again.

"But I don't know the first thing in the world to do," she moaned. "I
haven't a chick nor a child to care about me."

"Come over and stop with us a bit until you can make some plans. There's
two rooms upstairs in which you could housekeep if you wanted to. Our
family gets smaller all the time. But if you liked to live with us a
spell----" said Mr. Leverett.

"I don't know how 'Lizabeth could stand an old woman and a young
one"--hesitatingly.

"If you mean Doris, she is going over to Winthrop's," he replied.

"Ready to jump at the chance, I'll warrant. You can't count on
children."

"No, Aunt Priscilla, she didn't jump. She's a wise, fond little thing.
Win asked her about Christmas, and she wouldn't consent until Betty came
back, for fear we would be lonesome. It quite touched me when I heard of
it. Win has some ideas about her education, and I guess he's nearer
right. So that needn't trouble you. It would be so much better for you
to sell."

"I'll think it over," she said almost gruffly, for she was moved
herself. "I never could get along with this Rachel Day. She doesn't
allow that anyone in the world knows anything but herself, and I kept
house before she was born. I don't like quite such smart people."

Miss Hetty Perkins came in to offer her services as housekeeper. Every
now and then she had "edged round," as Aunt Priscilla expressed it.
Everybody said Hetty was closer than the skin, but then she had no one
except herself to depend upon. And Amos Perkins called to see if Aunt
Priscilla had anyone she could trust to do her business. He heard she
was going to sell.

"I haven't made up my mind," she answered tartly. She was not fond of
Amos either.

Then the would-be purchaser found he could have a place two doors below.
He did not like it as well, but it would answer.

"It seems as if I was bound to have a rum shop and a sailor's
boarding-house under my nose. There'll be a crowd of men hanging round
and fiddling and carousing half the night. I don't see what's getting
into Boston! Places that were good enough twenty year ago are only fit
for tramps, and decent people have to get out of the way, whether they
will or no."

Betty came home the last of March. She looked taller--perhaps it was
because she wore her dresses so long and her hair so high. She had a
pretty new frock--a rich warm brown ground, with little flowers in green
and yellow and a kind of dull red sprinkled all over it. It had come
from New York, and was called delaine. She had discarded her homespun
woolen. And, oh, how stylishly pretty she was, quite like the young
ladies at Madam Royall's!

She held Doris to her heart and almost smothered her, kissing her
fondly.

"You have grown lovely by the minute!" she cried. "I was so afraid
someone would cut your hair. 'Lecty said at first that I had only one
idea, and that was Doris Adams, I talked about you so much. And she's
wild to see you. She's quite grand and full of fun, altogether different
from Mary. Mary holds onto every penny until I should think she'd pinch
it thin. And I've had the most magnificent time, though Hartford is
nothing compared to Boston. It is like a country place where you know
everybody that is at all worth knowing. I have such lots of things to
tell you."

It came rather hard to take up the old routine of work, and get up early
in the morning. She was dismayed by the news that Aunt Priscilla was
coming and Doris going.

"Though I don't know," she declared after reflecting a day or two on the
subject. "I'll have such a good excuse to go to Uncle Win's, and we can
have delightful talks. But Aunt Priscilla is certainly a dispensation of
Providence equal to St. Paul's thorn in the flesh."

"I've made her some visits this winter, and she has been real nice,"
said Doris. "I shouldn't mind her at all now. And I told Uncle Win that
I would like to be two little girls, so one _could_ stay here. I love
Uncle Win very much. I love your father too."

"Is there anybody in the whole wide world you do not love?"

Doris flushed. She had not been able to feel very tenderly toward Mrs.
Manning, and Mrs. Hollis Leverett talked about her being so backward,
and such a "meachin" little thing.

"I dare say if the truth was known, her mother died of consumption. And
that great mop of hair is enough to take the strength out of any child.
I wouldn't have it on Bessy's head for an hour," declared Mrs. Hollis.

But Bessy told her in a confidential whisper that she thought her curls
the sweetest thing in the world, and when she was a grown-up young lady
she meant to curl her hair all over her head.

Doris was glad Uncle Winthrop did not find any fault with them.

Of course she should be sorry to go. It was curious how one could be
glad and sorry in a breath.

Mrs. Leverett went over to Aunt Priscilla's to help pack. Oh, the boxes
and bundles and bags! They were tied up and labeled; some of them had
not been opened for years. Gowns that she had outgrown, stockings she
had knit, petticoats she had quilted--quite a fashion then.

"It's lucky we have a big garret," said Mrs. Leverett. "And whatever
will you do with them?"

"There's that flax wheel--it was grandmother's. She was like Benjamin
Franklin, who gave his sister Jane a spinning wheel on her wedding day:
she gave me that. And Jane's gone, though I did hear someone bought the
wheel for a sort of keepsake. Oh, Elizabeth, I don't know what _you_
will do with all this old trumpery!"

Elizabeth hardly knew either. It was good to have children and
grandchildren to take some of these things just to keep one from
hoarding up. Elizabeth, sweet soul, remembered the poor at her gates as
well. But most people were fond of holding onto everything until their
latest breath. There was some virtue in it, for the later generations
had many priceless heirlooms.

One of the south rooms was emptied, and after a great deal of argument
Aunt Priscilla was prevailed upon to use her best chamber furniture for
the rest of her life. She had not cared much for the housekeeping
project, and decided she would rather board a while until she could get
back some of her strength.

"What are you going to do with Solomon?" asked Doris.

"Well--I don't know. Aunt Elizabeth doesn't like cats very much. He's
such a nice fellow, I should hate to leave him behind and have him
neglected. But it's bad luck to move cats."

"I should like to have him."

"Would you, now? He's almost like a human. I've said that many a time;
and he went round asking after Polly just as plain as anyone could. I
declare, it made my heart ache. Polly had been a capable woman, and Mr.
Perkins bought her, so I didn't feel free to turn her away when he was
gone. And I'd grown used to a servant, too. I don't know what I should
have done without her the two years he was ailing. Though when she came
to be forgetful and lose her judgment it did use to try me. But I'm glad
now I kept her to the end. I'd borrowed a sight of trouble thinking what
I'd do if she fell sick, and I might just as well have trusted the Lord
right straight along. When I come to have this other creetur ordering
everything, and making tea her way,--she will boil it and you might as
well give me senna,--then I knew Polly had some sense and memory, after
all. You can't think how I miss her! I'm sorry for every bit of fault
I've found these last two years."

Aunt Priscilla stopped to take breath and wipe her eyes. Polly's death
had opened her mind to many things.

Doris sat and stroked Solomon and rubbed him under the throat. Now and
then he looked up with an intent, asking gaze, and a solemn flick of one
ear, as if he said, "Can't you tell me where Polly is gone?"

"You'd have to ask Uncle Winthrop. And I don't know what Miss Recompense
would say."

"She likes cats."

"Oh. Well, I'm afraid Uncle Winthrop doesn't."

"If he _should_," tentatively.

"I think I'd miss Solomon a good deal. But he'd be a bother to keep at
the Leveretts'. I would like him to have a good home. And he is very
fond of you."

Uncle Win was over the very next day, and Doris laid the case before
him.

"I like the picture of comfort a nice cat makes before the fire. I
haven't any objection to cats in themselves. But I dislike cat hairs."

"Uncle Win, I could brush you off. And Solomon has been so well trained.
He has a box with a cushion, so he never jumps up in chairs. And he has
a piece of blanket on the rug where he lies. He loves me so, and Aunt
Elizabeth can't bear cats. Oh, I wish I might have him."

"I'll talk to Miss Recompense. She's having a little room fixed up for
you just off of hers. It opens on the hall, and it has a window where
you can see the sun rise. I think through the summer you need not go to
school, but study at home as you did Christmas week."

"That will be delightful! And I shall be so glad when it is truly
spring."

It had been a long cold winter, but now there were signs everywhere of a
curious awakening among the maples. Some were already out in red bloom.
The grass had begun to spring up in its soft green, though there were
patches of ice in shady places and a broad skim along the edge of the
Charles River marsh. But the bay and the harbor were clear and
beautiful.

Betty and Doris had confidential chats after they were in bed--in very
low tones, lest they should be heard.

"Everybody would be shocked to see how really gay Electa is. There are
very religious people in Hartford, too, who begin on Saturday night. But
the men insist upon parties and dinners, and they bring their fashions
up from New York. Boston is just as gay in some places, and Jane Morse
has had a splendid time this winter going to dances. The gentlemen who
come to Mr. King's are so polite, some of them elegant. I envy 'Lecty.
It's just the kind of world to live in."

"And I want to hear about your pink silk."

"I left it at 'Lecty's. It was too gay to bring home. It would have
frightened everybody. And 'Lecty thinks of going to New York next
winter, and if she does she will send for me. I should have had to
rumple it all up bringing it home, and I don't believe I'd had a chance
to wear it. I have the other two, and Mat thought the blue and white one
very pretty. Mat laughs at what he calls Puritanism, and says the world
is growing broader and more generous. He is a splendid man too, and
though he is making a good deal of money he doesn't think all the time
of saving, as Mary and her husband do. He is good to the poor, and
generous and kind, and wants everyone to be happy. Of course they go to
church, but there is a curious difference. I sometimes wonder who is
right and if it _is_ a sin to be happy."

Doris' mind had no especial theological bent, and her conscience had not
been trained to keep on the alert.

"It was very nice in him to give it to you. And you must have looked
lovely in it."

"Oh, the frock," Betty laughed. "Yes, I did. And when you know you look
nice you stop feeling anxious about it. It was just so at Jane's party.
But I should have been mortified in my gray woolen gown. Well--the
mortification may be good, but it isn't pleasant. I wore the pink silk
to the weddings and to some dinners. Dinners are quite grand things
there, but they last so long I should call them suppers. And sometimes
there is a grand march afterward, which is a kind of stately dancing. It
has been just delightful. I don't know how I will settle down and wash
and iron and scrub. But I would a great deal rather be in 'Lecty's place
than in Mary's, and saving up money to buy farms isn't everything to
life. I think the Mannings worship their farms and stock a good deal
more than 'Lecty and Mat do their fine house and their money and all."

Her admirers and her conquests she confided to Janie Morse. There was
one very charming young man that she liked a great deal, but her sister
said she was too young to keep company, and there might be next winter
in New York.

It spoke volumes for the wholesome, sensible nature of Betty Leverett
that she could take her olden place in the household, assist her mother,
and entertain her father with the many interesting events of her gay and
happy winter.



CHAPTER XIV

IN THE SPRING


The matter had settled itself so easily that Doris could not find much
opportunity for sorrow, nor misgivings for her joy. She could not see
the struggle there had been in Uncle Leverett's mind, and the sturdy
common sense that had come to his assistance. He could recall habits of
second-cousin Charles that were like a woman's for daintiness, and
Winthrop Adams had the same touch of refinement and delicacy. It was in
the Adams blood, doubtless. Aunt Priscilla had not a large share, but he
had noted some of it in Elizabeth. It pervaded every atom of Doris'
slender body and every cell of her brain. She never would take to the
rougher, coarser things of life; indeed, why should she when there was
no need? He had wandered so far from the orthodox faith that he began to
question useless discipline.

Winthrop could understand and care for her better. She would grow up in
his house to the kind of girl nature had meant her to be. Here the
useful, that might never come in use, would be mingled and confused with
what was necessary. He had watched her trying to achieve the stocking
that all little girls could knit at her age. It was as bad as Penelope's
web. Aunt Elizabeth pulled it out after she had gone to bed, and knit
two or three "rounds," so as not to utterly discourage her inapt pupil.
But Doris had set up some lace on a "cushion," after Madam Sheafe's
direction, and it grew a web of beauty under her dainty fingers.

It was not as if Doris would be quite lost to them. They would see her
every day or two. And when it was decided that Aunt Priscilla would
come he was really glad. Aunt Priscilla's captious talk did not always
proceed from an unkindly heart.

Betty made a violent protest at first.

"After all, it will not be quite so bad as I thought," she admitted
presently. "I shall go to Uncle Win's twice as often, and I have always
been so fond of him. And things _are_ prettier there, somehow. There is
a great difference in the way people live, and I mean to change some
things. It isn't because one is ashamed to be old-fashioned; some of the
old ways are lovely. It is only when you tack hardness and commonness on
them and think ugliness has a real virtue in it. We will have both sides
to talk about. But if you were going back to England, it would break my
heart, Doris."

Doris winked some tears out of her eyes.

She thought her room at Uncle Win's was like a picture. The wall was
whitewashed: people thought then it was much healthier for sleeping
chambers. The floor was painted a rather palish yellow. There was only
one window, but the door was opposite, and a door that opened into the
room of Miss Recompense. The window had white curtains with ruffled
edges, made of rather coarse muslin, but it was clear, and looked very
tidy. Miss Recompense had found a small bedstead among the stored-away
articles. It had high posts and curtains and valance of pale-blue
flowered chintz. There was a big bureau, a dressing table covered with
white, and a looking glass prettily draped. At the top of this,
surmounted by a gilt eagle, was a marvelous picture of a man with a blue
coat and yellow smallclothes handing into a boat a lady who wore a skirt
of purple and an overdress of scarlet, very much betrimmed, holding a
green parasol over her head with one hand and placing a slippered foot
on the edge of the boat. After a long while Doris thought she should be
much relieved to have them sail off somewhere.

There were two quaint rush-bottomed chairs and a yellow stool, such as
we tie with ribbons and call a milking stool. A nice warm rug lay at the
side of the bed, and a smaller one at the washing stand. These were
woven like rag carpet, but made of woolen rags with plenty of ends
standing up all over, like the surface of a Moquette carpet. They were
considered quite handsome then, as they were more trouble than braided
rugs, and so soft to the foot. Some strenuous housekeepers declared them
terrible dust catchers.

Doris' delight in the room amply repaid Miss Recompense. She had learned
her way about, and could come down alone, now that the weather had grown
pleasanter, and she was full of joy over everything. Occasionally Uncle
Winthrop would be out, then she and Miss Recompense would have what they
called a "nice talk."

Miss Recompense Gardiner was quite sure she had never seen just such a
child. Indeed at five-and-forty she was rather set in her ways, disliked
noise and bustle, and could not bear to have a house "torn up," as she
phrased it. Twelve years before she had come here to "housekeep," as the
old phrase went. She had not lacked admirers, but she had been very
particular. Her sisters said she was a born old maid. There was in her
soul a great love of refinement and order.

Mr. Winthrop Adams just suited her. He was quiet, neat, made no trouble,
and did not smoke. That was a wretched habit in her estimation. Cousin
Charles used to come over, and different branches of the family were
invited in now and then to tea. Cary was a rather proper, well-ordered
boy, trained by his mother's sister, who had married and gone away just
before the advent of Miss Gardiner. There had been some talk that Mr.
Winthrop might espouse Miss Harriet Cary in the course of time, but as
there were no signs, and Miss Cary had an excellent offer of marriage,
she accepted it.

Cary went to the Latin School and then to Harvard. He was a fair average
boy, a good student, and ready for his share of fun at any time. His
father had marked out his course, which was to be law, and Cary was
indifferent as to what he took up.

So they had gone on year after year. It promised a pleasant break to
have the little girl.

The greatest trouble, Miss Recompense thought, would be making Solomon
feel at home. Doris brought his cushion, and the box he slept in at
night was sent. Warren brought him over in a bag and they put him in the
closet for the night. He uttered some pathetic wails, and Doris talked
to him until he quieted down. He was a good deal frightened the next
morning, but he clung to Doris, who carried him about in her arms and
introduced him to every place. He was afraid of Mr. Adams and Cato, his
acquaintance with men having been rather limited. After several days he
began to feel quite at home, and took cordially to his cushion in the
corner.

"He doesn't offer to run away," announced Doris to Aunt Priscilla. "He
likes Miss Recompense. Uncle Winthrop thinks him the handsomest cat he
has ever seen."

"Poor old Polly! She set a great deal of store by Solomon. I never did
care much for a cat, but I do think Solomon was most as wise as folks. I
don't know what I should have done last winter when I was so miserable
if it had not been for him. He seemed to take such comfort that it was
almost as good as a sermon. And sometimes when he purred it was like the
sound of a hymn with the up and down and the long notes. I don't believe
he would have stayed with anyone else though. Child, what is there
about you that just goes to the heart of even a dumb beast?"

Doris looked amazed, then thoughtful. "I suppose it is because I love
them," she said simply.

There was a great stir everywhere, it seemed. The slow spring had really
come at last. The streets were being cleared up, the gardens put in
order, some of the houses had a fresh coat of paint; the stores put out
their best array, the trees were misty-looking with tiny green shoots,
and the maples Doris thought wonderful. There were four in the row on
Common Street; one was full of soft dull-red blooms, one had little
pale-green hoods on the end of every twig, another looked as if it held
a tiny scarlet parasol over each baby bud, and the fourth dropped
clusters of brownish-green fringe.

"Oh, how beautiful they are!" cried Doris, her eyes alight with
enthusiasm.

And then all the great Common began to put on spring attire. The marsh
grass over beyond sent up stiff green spikes and tussocks that looked
like little islands, and there were water plants with large leaves that
seemed continually nodding to their neighbors. The frog concerts at the
pond were simply bewildering with the variety of voices, each one
proclaiming that the reign of ice and snow was at an end and they were
giving thanks.

"They are so glad," declared Doris. "I shouldn't like to be frozen up
all winter in a little hole."

Miss Recompense smiled. Perhaps they _were_ grateful. She had never
thought of it before.

Doris did not go back to Mrs. Webb's school, though that lady said she
was sorry to give her up. Uncle Win gave her some lessons, and she went
to writing school for an hour every day. Miss Recompense instructed her
how to keep her room tidy, but Uncle Win said there would be time enough
for her to learn housekeeping.

Then there were hunts for flowers. Betty came over; she knew some nooks
where the trailing arbutus grew and bloomed. The swamp pinks and the
violets of every shade and almost every size--from the wee little fellow
who sheltered his head under his mother's leaf-green umbrella to the
tall, sentinel-like fellow who seemed to fling out defiance. Doris used
to come home with her hands full of blooms.

The rides too were delightful. They went over the bridges to West Boston
and South Boston and to Cambridge, going through the college
buildings--small, indeed, compared with the magnificent pile of to-day.
But Boston did seem almost like a collection of islands. The bays and
rivers, the winding creeks that crept through the green marsh grass, the
long low shores held no presentiment of the great city that was to be.

Although people groaned over hard times and talked of war, still the
town kept a thriving aspect. Men were at work leveling Beacon Hill.
Boylston Street was being made something better than a lane, and Common
Street was improved. Uncle Winthrop said next thing he supposed they
would begin to improve him and order him to take up his house and walk.
For houses were moved even then, when they stood in the way of a street.

The earth from the hill, or rather hills, went to fill in the Mill Pond.
Lord Lyndhurst had once owned a large part, but he had gone to England
to live. Charles Street was partly laid out--as far as the flats were
filled in. It was quite entertaining to watch the great patient oxen,
which, when they were standing still, chewed their cud in solemn content
and gazed around as though they could predict unutterable things.

From the house down to Common Street was a kind of garden where Cato
raised vegetables and Miss Recompense had her beds of sweet and
medicinal herbs. For then the housekeeper concocted various household
remedies, and made extracts by the use of a little still for flavoring
and perfumery. She gathered all the rose leaves and lavender blossoms
and sewed them up in thin muslin bags and laid them in the drawers and
closets.

And, oh, what roses she had then! Great sweet damask roses, pink and the
loveliest deep red, twice as large as the Jack roses of to-day. And
trailing pink and white roses climbing over everything. Aunt Elizabeth
said Miss Recompense could make a dry stick grow and bloom.

Uncle Winthrop found a new and charming interest in the little girl. She
was so fond of taking walks and hearing the legends about the old
places. She could see where the old beacon had stood when the place was
called Sentry Hill, and she knew it had been blown down in a gale, and
that on the spot had been erected a beautiful Doric column surmounted by
an eagle, to commemorate "the train of events that led to the American
Revolution and finally secured liberty and Independence."

But the State House had made one great excavation, and the Mill Pond
Corporation was making others, and they were planning to remove the
monument.

"We ought to have more regard for these old places," Uncle Win used to
say with a sigh.

Cary had not been a companionable child. He was a regular boy, and the
great point of interest in Sentry Hill for him was batting a ball up the
hill. It was a proud day for him when he carried it farther than any
other boy. He was fond of games of all kinds, and was one of the
fleetest runners and a fine oarsman, and could sail a boat equal to any
old salt, he thought. He was a boy, of course, and Uncle Win did not
want him to be a "Molly coddle," so he gave in, for he did not quite
know what to do with a lad who could tumble more books around in five
minutes than he could put in order in half an hour, and knew more about
every corner in Old Boston than anyone else, and was much more confident
of his knowledge.

But this little girl, who soon learned the peculiarity of every tree,
the song of the different birds, and the season of bloom for wild
flowers, and could listen for hours to the incidents of the past, that
seem of more vital importance to middle-aged people than the matters of
every day, was a veritable treasure to Mr. Winthrop Adams. He did not
mind if she could not knit a stocking, and he sometimes excused her
deficiencies in arithmetic because she was so fond of hearing him read
poetry. For Doris thought, of all the things in the world, being able to
write verses was the most delightful, and that was her aim when she was
a grown-up young lady. She did pick up a good deal of general knowledge
that she would not have acquired at school, but Uncle Win wasn't quite
sure how much a girl ought to be educated.

She began to see considerable of the Chapman girls, and Madam Royall
grew very fond of her. But she did not forget her dear friends in
Sudbury Street. Sometimes when Uncle Win was going out to a supper or to
stay away all the evening she would go up and spend the night with
Betty, and sit in the old corner, for it was Uncle Leverett's favorite
place whether there was fire or not. He was as fond as ever of listening
to her chatter.

She always brought a message to Aunt Priscilla about Solomon. Uncle
Winthrop thought him the handsomest cat he had ever seen, and now
Solomon was not even afraid of Cato, but would walk about the garden
with him, and Miss Recompense said he was so much company when she,
Doris, was out of the house.

Indeed, he would look at her with inquiring eyes and a soft, questioning
sound in his voice that was not quite a mew.

"Yes," Miss Recompense would say, "Doris has gone up to Sudbury Street.
We miss her, don't we, Solomon? It's a different house without her."

Solomon would assent in a wise fashion.

"I never did think to take comfort in talking to a cat," Miss Recompense
would say to herself with a touch of sarcasm.

About the middle of June, when roses and spice pinks and ten-weeks'
stocks, and sweet-williams were at their best, Mr. Adams always gave a
family gathering at which cousins to the third and fourth generation
were invited. Everything was at its loveliest, and the Mall just across
the street was resplendent in beauty. Even then it had magnificent trees
and great stretches of grass, green and velvety. Already it was a
favorite strolling place.

Miss Recompense had sent a special request for Betty on that particular
afternoon and evening. There was to be a high tea at five o'clock.

"I shall have my new white frock all done," said Betty delightedly.
"There is just a little needlework around the neck and the skirt to sew
on."

"But I wouldn't wear it," rejoined her mother. "You may get a fruit
stain on it, or meet with some accident. Miss Recompense will expect you
to work a little."

"Have you anything new, Doris?"

"Oh, yes," replied Doris. "A white India muslin, and a cambric with a
tiny rosebud in it. Madam Royall chose them and ordered them made. And
Betty, I have almost outgrown the silk already. Madam Royall is going
to see about getting it altered. And in the autumn Helen Chapman will
have a birthday company, and I am invited already, or my frock is," and
Doris laughed. "She has made me promise to wear it then."

"You go to the Royalls' a good deal," exclaimed Aunt Priscilla
jealously. She was sitting in a high-backed chair, very straight and
prim. She was not quite at home yet, and kept wondering if she wouldn't
rather have her own house if she could get a reasonable sort of servant.
Still, she did enjoy the sociable side of life, and it was pleasant here
at Cousin Leverett's. They all tried to make her feel at home, and
though Betty tormented her sometimes by a certain argumentativeness, she
was very ready to wait on her. Aunt Priscilla did like to hear of the
delightful entertainments her silk gown had gone to after being hidden
away so many years. As for the hat, a young Englishman had said "She
looked like a princess in it."

"You are just eaten up with vanity, Betty Leverett," Aunt Priscilla
tried to rejoin in her severest tone.

Doris glanced over to her now.

"Yes," she answered. "Uncle Winthrop thinks I ought to know something
about little girls. Eudora is six months older than I am. They have such
a magnificent swing, four girls can sit in it. Helen is studying French
and the young ladies can talk a little. They do not see how I can talk
so fast."

Doris laughed gleefully. Aunt Priscilla sniffed. Winthrop Adams would
make a flighty, useless girl out of her. And companying so much with
rich people would fill her mind with vanity. Yes, the child would be
ruined!

"And we tell each other stories about _our_ Boston. This Boston," making
a pretty gesture with her hand, "has the most splendid ones about the
war and all, and the ships coming over here almost two hundred years
ago. It is a long while to live one hundred years, even. But I knew
about Mr. Cotton and the lady Arabella Johnston. They had not heard
about the saint and how his body was carried around to make it rain."

"To make it rain! Whose body was it, pray?" asked Aunt Priscilla
sharply, scenting heresy. She was not quite sure but so much French
would shut one out from final salvation. "Did you have saints in Old
Boston?"

"Oh, it was the old Saint of the Church--St. Botolph." Doris hesitated
and glanced up at Uncle Leverett, who nodded. "He was a very, very good
man," she resumed seriously. "And one summer there was a very long
drought. The grass all dried up, the fruit began to fall off, and they
were afraid there would be nothing for the cattle to feed upon. So they
took up St. Botolph in his coffin and carried him all around the town,
praying as they went. And it began to rain."

"Stuff and nonsense! The idea of reasonable human beings believing
that!"

"But you know the prophet prayed for rain in the Bible."

"But to take up his body! Are they doing it now in a dry time?" Aunt
Priscilla asked sarcastically.

"They don't now, but it was said they did it several times, and it
always rained."

"They wan't good orthodox Christians. No one ever heard of such a
thing."

"But our orthodox Christians believed in witches--even the descendants
of this very John Cotton who came over to escape the Lords Bishops,"
said Warren.

"And, unlike Mr. Blacksone, stayed and had a hard time with the Lords
Brethren," said Mr. Leverett. "I hardly know which was the
worst"--smiling with a glint of humor. "And you more than half believe
in witches yourself, Aunt Priscilla."

"I am sure I have reason to. Grandmother Parker was a good woman if ever
there was one, and she _was_ bewitched. And would it have said in the
Bible--'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,' if there had not been
any?"

"They were telling stories at Madam Royall's one day. And sometime Uncle
Winthrop is going to take us all to Marblehead, where Mammy Redd lived.
Eudora said this:

    "'Old Mammy Redd
    Of Marblehead
    Sweet milk could turn
    To mold in churn.'

And Uncle Winthrop has a big book about them."

"He had better take you to Salem. That was the very hot-bed of it all,"
said Warren.

Doris came around to Aunt Priscilla. "Did your grandmother really see a
witch?" she asked in a serious tone.

"Well, perhaps she didn't exactly _see_ it. But she was living at Salem
and had a queer neighbor. One day they had some words, and when
grandmother went to churn her milk turned all moldy and spoiled the
butter. Grandmother didn't even dare feed it to the pigs. So it went on
several times. Then another neighbor said to her, 'The next time it
happens you just throw a dipper-full over the back log.' And so
grandmother did. It made an awful smell and smoke. Then she washed out
her churn and put it away. She was barely through when someone came
running in, and said, 'Have you any sweet oil, Mrs. Parker? Hetty Lane
set herself afire cleaning the cinders out of her oven, and she's
dreadfully burned. Come right over.' Grandmother was a little afraid,
but she went, and, sure enough, it had happened just the moment she
threw the milk in the fire. One side of her was burned, and one hand.
And although the neighbors suspected her, they were all very kind to her
while she was ill. But grandmother had no more trouble after that, and
it was said Hetty Lane never bewitched anybody again."

"It's something like the kelpies and brownies Barby used to tell about
that were in England long time ago," said Doris, big-eyed. "They hid
tools and ate up the food and spoiled the milk and the bread, turning it
to stone. They went away--perhaps someone burned them up."

Aunt Priscilla gave her sniff. To be compared with such childish stuff!

"It was very curious," said Mrs. Leverett. "I have always been glad I
was not alive at that time. Sometimes unaccountable things happen."

"Did you ever see a truly witch yourself, Aunt Priscilla?" asked the
child.

"No, I never did," she answered honestly.

"Then I guess they did go with the fairies and kelpies. Could I tell
your story over sometime?" she inquired eagerly.

Telling ghost stories and witch stories was quite an amusement at that
period.

"Why, yes--if you want to." She was rather pleased to have it go to the
Royalls'.

"The last stitch," and Betty folded up her work. "Come, Doris, say
good-night, and let us go to bed."

Doris put a little kiss on Aunt Priscilla's wrinkled hand.



CHAPTER XV

A FREEDOM SUIT


Aunt Priscilla had a dozen changes of mind as to whether to go to Cousin
Adams' or not. But Betty insisted. She trimmed her cap and altered the
sleeves of her best black silk gown. The elderly people were wearing
"leg-o'-mutton" sleeves now, while the young people had great puffs.
Long straight Puritan sleeves were hardly considered stylish. And then
Cousin Win sent the chaise up for her.

Mrs. March, Cary's aunt, had come up to Boston to make a little visit.
Mr. March was a ship builder at Plymouth. She was quite anxious to see
this cousin that Cary had talked about so much, and she was almost
jealous lest he should be crowded out of his rightful place. She had no
children of her own, but her husband had four when they were married. So
a kind of motherly sympathy still went out to Cary.

Betty came over in the morning. She and Miss Recompense were always very
friendly. They talked of jells and jams and preserves; it was too early
for any fresh fruit except strawberries, and Cato always took a good
deal of pains to have these of the very nicest.

The wide fireplace was filled in with green boughs and the shining
leaves of "bread and butter." The rugs were taken up and the floor had a
coat of polish. The parlor was wide open, arrayed in the stately
furnishings of a century ago. There were two Louis XIV. chairs that had
really come from France. There were some square, heavy pieces of
furniture that we should call Eastlake now. And the extravagant thing
was a Brussels carpet with a scroll centerpiece and a border in
arabesque.

The guests began to come at two. Miss Recompense and Betty had been
arranging the long table with its thick basket-work cloth that was
fragrant with sweet scents. Betty wore her blue and white silk, as that
had met with some mishaps at Hartford. Miss Recompense had on a brown
silk with a choice bit of thread lace, and a thread lace cap. Many of
the elderly society ladies wore immense headgears like turbans, with
sometimes one or two marabou feathers, which were considered extremely
elegant. But Miss Recompense kept to her small rather plain cap, and
looked very ladylike, quite fit to do the honors of the house.

Some of the cousins had driven in from Cambridge and South Boston. Miss
Cragie, who admired her second-cousin Adams very much, and it was said
would not have been averse to a marriage with him, came over from the
old house that had once been Washington's headquarters and was to be
more famous still as the home of one of America's finest poets. She took
a great interest in Cary and made him a welcome guest.

We should call it a kind of lawn party now. The guests flitted around
the garden and lawn, inspected the promising fruit trees, and were
enthusiastic over the roses. Then they wandered over to the Mall and
discussed the impending changes in Boston, and said, as people nearly
always do, that it would be ruined by improvements. It was sacrilegious
to take away Beacon Hill. It was absurd to think of filling in the
flats! Who would want to live on made ground? And where were all the
people to come from to build houses on these wonderful streets? Why, it
was simply ridiculous!

There were some young men who felt rather awkward and kept in a little
knot with Cary. There were a few young girls who envied Betty Leverett
her at-homeness, and the fact that she had spent a winter in Hartford.
Croquet would have been a boon then, to make a breach in the walls of
deadly reserve.

Elderly men smoked, walked about, and talked of the prospect of war.
Most of them had high hopes of President Madison just now.

Doris was a point of interest for everybody. Her charming simplicity
went to all hearts. Betty had dressed her hair a dozen different ways,
but found none so pretty as tying part of the curls on top with a
ribbon. She had grown quite a little taller, but was still slim and
fair.

Miss Cragie took a great fancy to her and said she must come and spend
the day with her and visit the notable points of Cambridge. And next
year Cary would graduate, and she supposed they would have a grand time.

The supper was quite imposing. Cato's nephew, a tidy young colored lad,
came from one of the inns, and acquitted himself with superior elegance.
It was indeed a feast, enlivened with bright conversation. People
expected to talk then, not look bored and indifferent. Each one brought
something besides appetite to the feast.

Afterward they went out on the porch and sang, the ice being broken
between the younger part of the company. There were some amusing
patriotic songs with choruses that inspired even the older people.
"Hail, Columbia!" was greeted with applause.

There were sentimental songs as well, Scotch and old English ballads.
Two of Cary's friends sang "Queen Mary's Escape" with a great deal of
spirit. Then Uncle Win asked Doris if she could not sing a little French
song that she sang for him quite often, and that was set to a very
touching melody.

She hung back and colored up, but she did want to please Uncle Win. She
was standing beside him, so she straightened up and took a step out, and
holding his hand sang with a grace that went to each heart. But she hid
herself behind Uncle Win's shoulder when the compliments began. Cary
came around, and said "She need not be afraid; it was just beautiful!"

After that the company began to disperse. Everybody said "It always was
delightful to come over here," and the women wondered how it happened
that such an attractive man as Mr. Winthrop Adams had not married again
and had someone to entertain regularly.

There was a magnificent full moon, and the air was delicious with
fragrance. One after another drove away, or taking the arm of a
companion uttered a cordial good-night. Mr. Adams had sent some elderly
friends home in a carriage, and begged the Leveretts to wait until it
came back.

Warren had not been very intimate with the young collegian; their walks
in life lay quite far apart. But Cary came and joined them as they were
all out on the porch.

"I hope you had a pleasant time," he began. "If it had not been a family
party I should have asked the club to come over and sing some of the
college songs. Arthur Sprague has a fine voice. And you sing very well,
Warren."

"I have been in a singing class this winter, I like music so much."

"You ought to hear half a dozen of our fellows together! But this little
bird warbled melodiously," and he put his arm over the shoulder of
Doris. "I did not know she could move an audience so deeply."

"I was so frightened at first," began Doris with a long breath. "I don't
mind singing for Uncle Win, and one day when there were some guests
Madam Royall asked me to sing a little French song she had known in her
youth. Isn't it queer a song should last so long?"

"The fine songs ought to last forever. I hope we will have some national
songs presently besides the ridiculous 'Yankee Doodle.' It doesn't seem
quite so bad when it is played by the band and men are marching to it."

Cary straightened himself up. Being slender he often allowed his
shoulders to droop.

"Now you look like a soldier," exclaimed Warren.

"I'd like to be one, first-rate. I'd leave college now and go in the
Navy if there was another boy to follow out father's plans. But I can't
bear to disappoint him. It's hard to go against your father when you are
all he has. So I suppose I will go on and study law, and some day you
will hear of my being judge. But we are going to have a big war, and I
would like to take a hand in it. I wish I was twenty-one."

"I shall be next month. I am going to have a little company. I'd like
you to come, Cary."

"I just will, thank you. What are you going to do?"

"I shall stay with father, of course. I have been learning the business.
I think I shouldn't like to go to war unless the enemy really came to
us. I should fight for my home."

"There are larger questions even than homes," replied Cary.

Betty came around the corner of the porch with Uncle Win, to whom she
was talking in her bright, energetic fashion. Aunt Elizabeth said it was
very pleasant to see so many of the relatives again.

"The older generation is dropping out, and we shall soon be among the
old people ourselves," Mr. Leverett said. "I was thinking to-night how
many youngish people were here who have grown up in the last ten years."

"We each have a young staff to lean upon," rejoined Mr. Adams proudly,
glancing at the two boys.

The carriage came round. Aunt Priscilla shook hands with Cousin
Winthrop, and said, much moved:

"I've had a pleasant time, and I had a good mind not to come. I'm
getting old and queer and not fit for anything but to sit in the corner
and grumble, instead of frolicking round."

"Oh, don't grumble. Why, I believe I am going backward. I feel ten years
younger, and you are not old enough to die of old age. Betty, you must
keep prodding her up."

He handed her in the carriage himself, and when they were all in Doris
said:

"It seems as if I ought to go, too."

Uncle Win caught her hand, as if she might run away.

"I do think Cousin Winthrop has improved of late," said Mrs. Leverett.
"He has gained a little flesh and looks so bright and interested, and he
talked to all the folks in such a cordial way, as if he was really glad
to see them. And those strawberries did beat all for size. Betty, the
table looked like a feast for a king, if they deserve anything better
than common folks."

"Any other child would be clear out of bonds and past redemption,"
declared Aunt Priscilla. "Everybody made so much of her, as if it was
her party. And how the little creetur does sing! I'd like to hear her
praising the Lord with that voice instead of wasting it on French things
that may be so bad you couldn't say them in good English."

"That isn't," replied Betty. "It is a little good-night that her mother
used to sing to her and taught her."

Aunt Priscilla winked hard and subsided. A little orphan girl--well,
Cousin Winthrop would be a good father to her. Perhaps no one would ever
be quite tender enough for her mother.

Everybody went home pleased. Yet nowadays such a family party would have
been dull and formal, with no new books and theaters and plays and
tennis and golf to talk about, and the last ball game, perhaps. There
had been a kind of gracious courtesy in inquiries about each other's
families--a true sympathy for the deaths and misfortunes, a kindly
pleasure in the successes, a congratulation for the younger members of
the family growing up, a little circling about religion and the recent
rather broad doctrines the clergy were entertaining. For it was a time
of ferment when the five strong points of Calvinism were being severely
shaken, and the doctrine of election assaulted by the doctrine that,
since Christ died for all, all might in some mysterious manner share the
benefit without being ruled out by their neighbors.

Winthrop Adams would hardly have dreamed that the presence of a little
girl in the house was stirring every pulse in an unwonted fashion. He
had brooded over books so long; now he took to nature and saw many
things through the child's fresh, joyous sight. He brushed up his
stories of half-forgotten knowledge for her; he recalled his boyhood's
lore of birds and squirrels, bees and butterflies, and began to feast
anew on the beauty of the world and all things in their season.

It is true, in those days knowledge and literature were not widely
diffused. A book or two of sermons, the "Pilgrim's Progress," perhaps
"Fox's Book of Martyrs," and the Farmer's Almanac were the extent of
literature in most families. Women had too much to do to spend their
time reading except on Saturday evening and after second service on the
Sabbath--then it must be religious reading.

But Boston was beginning to stir in the education of its women. Mrs.
Abigail Adams had said, "If we mean to have heroes, statesmen, and
philosophers, we should have learned women." They started a circle of
sociality that was to be above the newest pattern for a gown and the
latest recipe for cake or preserves. A Mrs. Grant had written a volume
called "Letters from the Mountains," which they interested themselves in
having republished. Hannah Adams had written some valuable works, and
was now braiding straw for a living; and Mrs. Josiah Quincy exerted
herself to have so talented a woman placed above indigence. She also
endeavored to have Miss Edgeworth's "Moral Tales" republished for young
people. Scott was beginning to infuse new life with his wonderful tales,
which could safely be put in the hands of younger readers. The first
decade of the century was laying a foundation for the grand work to be
done later on. And with nearly every vessel, or with the travelers from
abroad, would come some new books from England. Though they were dear,
yet there were a few "foolish" people who liked a book better than
several dollars added to their savings.

Warren's freedom suit and his freedom party interested Doris a great
deal. Since Betty's return there had been several evening companies,
with the parlor opened and the cake and lemonade set out on the table
instead of being passed around. Betty and Jane Morse were fast friends.
They went "uptown" of an afternoon and had a promenade, with now and
then a nod from some of the quality. Betty was very much elated when
Cary Adams walked home with her one afternoon and planned about the
party. He would ask three of the young fellows, and with himself they
would give some college songs. He knew Miss Morse's cousin, Morris
Winslow, very well--he met him quite frequently at the Royalls'. Indeed,
Cary knew he was a warm admirer of Isabel Royall.

After all, the much-talked-of suit was only a best Sunday suit of black
broadcloth. Doris looked disappointed.

"Did you expect I would have red and white stripes down the sides and
blue stars all over the coat?" Warren asked teasingly. "And an eagle on
the buttons? I am afraid then I should be impressed and taken out to
sea."

"Betty," she said afterward, "will you have a freedom suit when you are
twenty-one. And must it be a black gown?"

"I think they never give girls that," answered Betty laughingly. "Theirs
is a wedding gown. Though after you are twenty-one, if you go anywhere
and earn money, you can keep it for yourself. Your parents cannot claim
it."

Warren had a holiday. His father said he did not want to see him near
the store all day long. He went over to Uncle Win's, who was just having
some late cherries picked to grace the feast, and he was asked into the
library, where Uncle Win made him a very pleasant little birthday speech
and gave him a silver watch to remember the occasion by. Warren was so
surprised he hardly knew how to thank him.

Betty was sorry there could be no dancing at the party, especially as
Mr. Winslow had offered black Joe. But mother would be so opposed they
did not even suggest it.

The young people began to gather about seven. They congratulated the
hero of the occasion, and one young fellow recited some amusing verses.
They played games and forfeits and had a merry time. The Cambridge boys
sang several beautiful songs, and others of the gay, rollicking order.
The supper table looked very inviting, Betty thought. Altogether it was
a great pleasure to the young people, who kept it up quite late, but
then it was such a delightful summer night! Doris thought the singing
the most beautiful part of all.

Warren's great surprise occurred the next morning. There was a new sign
up over the door in the place of the old weather-beaten one that his
father had admitted was disgraceful. And on it in nice fresh lettering
was:

     F. LEVERETT & SON.

"Oh, father!" was all he could say for a moment.

"Hollis was a good, steady boy--I've been blest in my boys, and I thank
God for it, so when Hollis was through with his trade, and had that good
opportunity to go in business, I advanced him some money. He has been
prospered and would have paid it back, but I told him to keep it for his
part. This will be your offset to it. Cousin Winthrop is coming down
presently, and Giles Thatcher, and we will have all the papers signed,
so that if anything happens to me there will be no trouble. You've been
a good son, Warren, and I hope you will make a good, honorable man."

The tears sprang to Warren's eyes. He was very glad he had yielded some
points to his father and accepted obedience as his due to be rendered
cheerfully. For Mr. Leverett had never been an unreasonable man.

Uncle Win congratulated him again. Betty and her mother went down in the
afternoon to see the new sign. Aunt Priscilla thought it rather risky
business, for being twenty-one didn't always bring good sense with it,
and too much liberty was apt to spoil anyone with no more experience
than Warren.

Betty said Aunt Priscilla must have something to worry about, which was
true enough. She had come to the Leveretts' to see how she could stand
"being without a home," as she phrased it. But she found herself quite
feeble, and with a cough, and she admitted she never had quite gotten
over the winter's cold which she took going to church that bitter
Sunday. As just the right person to keep her house had not come to hand,
and as it really was cheaper to live this way, and gave one a secure
feeling in case of illness, she thought it best to go on. Elizabeth
Leverett made her feel very much at home. She could go down in the
kitchen and do a bit of work when she wanted to, she could weed a little
out in the garden, she could mend and knit and pass away the time, and
it was a pleasure to have someone to converse with, to argue with.

She had been in great trouble at first about black Polly. That she had
really entertained the thought of getting rid of her in a helpless old
age seemed a great sin now.

"And the poor old thing had been so faithful until she began to lose her
memory. How could I have resolved to do such a thing!" she would
exclaim.

"You never did resolve to do it, Aunt Priscilla," Mr. Leverett said one
day. "I am quite sure you could not have done it when it came to the
pinch. It was one of the temptations only."

"But I never struggled against it. That is what troubles me."

"God knew just how it would end. He did not mean the poor creature to
become a trouble to anyone. If he had wanted to try you further, no
doubt he would have done it. Now, why can't you accept the release as
he sent it? It seems almost as if you couldn't resign yourself to his
wisdom."

"You make religion so comfortable, Foster Leverett, that I hardly know
whether to take it that way. It isn't the old-fashioned way in which I
was brought up."

"There was just one Doubting Thomas among the Twelve," he replied
smilingly.

There was little need of people going away for a summering then, though
they did try to visit their relatives in the country places about.
People came up from the more southern States for the cool breezes and
the pleasant excursions everywhere. There were delightful parties going
out almost every day, to the islands lying off the city, to the little
towns farther away, to some places where it was necessary to remain all
night. Madam Royall insisted upon taking Doris with the girls for a
week's excursion, and she had a happy time. Cary went to Plymouth to his
aunt's, and was fascinated with sea-going matters and the naval wars in
progress. Josiah March was a stanch patriot, and said the thing would
never be settled until we had taught England to let our men and our
vessels alone.

Only a few years before our commerce had extended over the world.
Boston--with her eighty wharves and quays, her merchants of shrewd and
sound judgment, ability of a high order and comprehensive as well as
authentic information--at that time stood at the head of the maritime
world. The West Indies, China,--though Canton was the only port to which
foreigners were admitted,--and all the ports of Europe had been open to
her. The coastwise trade was also enormous. From seventy to eighty sail
of vessels had cleared in one day. Long Wharf, at the foot of State
Street, was one of the most interesting and busy places.

The treaty between France and America had agreed that "free bottoms
made free ships," but during the wars of Napoleon this had been so
abridged that trade was now practically destroyed. Then England had
insisted upon the right of search, which left every ship at her mercy,
and hundreds of our sailors were being taken prisoners. There was a
great deal of war talk already. Trade was seriously disturbed.

There was a very strong party opposed to war. What could so young a
country, unprepared in every way, do? The government temporized--tried
various methods in the hope of averting the storm.

People began to economize; still there was a good deal of money in
Boston. Pleasures took on a rather more economical aspect and grew
simpler. But business was at a standstill. The Leveretts were among the
first to suffer, but Mr. Leverett's equable temperament and serene
philosophy kept his family from undue anxiety.

"It's rather a hard beginning for you, my boy," he said, "but you will
have years enough to recover. Only I sometimes wish it could come to a
crisis and be over, so that we could begin again. It can never be quite
as bad as the old war."

Doris commenced school with the Chapman girls at Miss Parker's. Uncle
Win had a great fancy for sending her to Mrs. Rowson.

"Wait a year or so," counseled Madam Royall. "Children grow up fast
enough without pushing them ahead. Little girlhood is the sweetest time
of life for the elderly people, whatever it may be for the girls. I
should like Helen and Eudora to stand still for a few years, and Doris
is too perfect a little bud to be lured into blossoming. There is
something unusual about the child."

When anyone praised Doris, Uncle Win experienced a thrill of delight.

Miss Parker's school was much more aristocratic than Mrs. Webb's. There
were no boys and no very small children. Some of the accomplishments
were taught. French, drawing and painting, and what was called the "use
of the globe," which meant a large globe with all the countries of the
world upon it, arranged to turn around on an axis. This was a new thing.
Doris was quite fascinated by it, and when she found the North Sea and
the Devonshire coast and the "Wash" the girls looked on eagerly and
straightway she became a heroine.

But one unlucky recess when she had won in the game of graces a girl
said:

"I don't care! That isn't anything! We beat your old English in the
Revolutionary War, and if there's another war we'll beat you again. My
father says so. I wouldn't be English for all the gold on the Guinea
coast!"

"I am not English," Doris protested. "My father was born in this very
Boston. And I was born in France."

"Well, the French are just as bad. They are not to be depended upon. You
are a mean little foreign girl, and I shall not speak to you again,
there now!"

Doris looked very sober. Helen Chapman comforted her and said Faith
Dunscomb was not worth minding.

She told it over to Uncle Win that evening.

"I suppose I can never be a real Boston girl," she said sorrowfully.

"I think you are a pretty good one now, and of good old Boston stock,"
he replied smilingly. "Sometime you will be proud that you came from the
other Boston. Oddly enough most of us came from England in the
beginning. And the Faneuils came from France, and they are proud enough
of their old Huguenot blood."

She had been to Faneuil Hall and the Market with Uncle Winthrop. They
raised all their vegetables and fruit, unless it was something quite
rare, and Cato did the family marketing.

Only a few years before the Market had been enlarged and improved. Fifty
years earlier the building had burned down and been replaced, but even
the old building had been identified with liberty of thought, and had a
well-known portrait painter of that day, John Smibert, for its
architect. In the later improvements it had been much enlarged, and the
beautiful open arches of the ground floor were closed by doors and
windows, which rendered it less picturesque. It was the marketplace _par
excellence_ then, as Quincy Market came in with the enterprise of the
real city. But even then it rejoiced in the appellation of "The Cradle
of Liberty," and the hall over the market-space was used for political
gatherings.

Huckster and market wagons from the country farms congregated in Dock
Square. The mornings were the most interesting time for a visit. The
"quality" came in their carriages with their servant man to run to and
fro; or some young lady on horseback rode up through the busy throng to
leave an order, and then the women whose servant carried a basket, or
those having no servant carried their own baskets, and who went about
cheapening everything.

So Doris was quite comforted to know that Peter Faneuil, who was held in
such esteem, had not even been born in Boston, and was of French
extraction.

But girls soon get over their tiffs and disputes. Play is the great
leveler. Then Doris was so obliging about the French exercises that the
girls could not stay away very long at a time.

Miss Parker's typified the conventional idea of a girl's education
prevalent at that time: that it should be largely accomplishment. So
Doris was allowed considerable latitude in the commoner branches. Mrs.
Webb had been exacting in the few things she taught, especially
arithmetic. And Uncle Win admitted to himself that Doris had a poor head
for figures. When she came to fractions it was heartrending. Common
multiples and least and greatest common divisors had such a way of
getting mixed up in her brain, that he felt very sorry for her.

She brought over Betty's book in which all her sums in the more
difficult rules had been worked out and copied beautifully. There were
banking and equation of payments and all the "roots" and progression and
alligation and mensuration.

"I don't know what good they will really be to Betty," said Uncle Win
gravely. Then, as his face relaxed into a half-smile, he added: "Perhaps
Mary Manning's fifty pairs of stockings she had when she was married may
be more useful. Betty has a good head and "twinkling feet." Did you know
a poet said that? And another one wrote:

    "'Her feet beneath her petticoat,
    Like little mice stole in and out
      As if they feared the light;
    But, oh, she dances such a way!
    No sun upon an Easter day
      Is half so fair a sight.'"

"Oh, Uncle Win, that's just delightful! Did your poet write any more
such dainty things, and can I read them? Betty would just go wild over
that."

"Yes, I will find it for you. And we won't worry now about the hard
knots over in the back of the arithmetic."

"Nor about the stockings. Miss Isabel is knitting some beautiful silk
ones, blossom color."

Ladies and girls danced in slippers then and wore them for evening
company, and stockings were quite a feature in attire.

Uncle Win was too indulgent, of course. Miss Recompense said she had
never known a girl to be brought up just that way, and shook her head
doubtfully.

Early in the new year an event happened, or rather the tidings came to
them that seemed to have a bearing on both of these points. An old sea
captain one day brought a curious oaken chest, brass bound, and with
three brass initials on the top. The key, which was tied up in a small
leathern bag, and a letter stowed away in an enormous well-worn wallet,
he delivered to "Mr. Winthrop Adams, Esq."

It contained an unfinished letter from Miss Arabella, beginning "Dear
and Honored Sir," and another from the borough justice. Miss Arabella
was dead. The care of her sister had worn her so much that she had
dropped into a gentle decline, and knowing herself near the end had
packed the chest with some table linen that belonged to the mother of
Doris, some clothing, two dresses of her own, several petticoats, two
pairs of satin slippers she had worn in her youth and outgrown, and six
pairs of silk stockings. Doris would grow into them all presently.

Then inclosed was a bank note for one hundred pounds sterling, and much
love and fond remembrances.

The other note announced the death of Miss Arabella Sophia Roulstone,
aged eighty-one years and three months, and the time of her burial. Her
will had been read and the bequests were being paid. Mr. Millington
requested a release before a notary, and an acknowledgment of the safe
arrival of the goods and the legacy, to be returned by the captain.

Mr. Adams went out with the captain and attended to the business.

Doris had a little cry over Miss Arabella. It did not seem as if she
could be eighty years old. She could recall the sweet, placid face under
the snowy cap, and almost hear the soft voice.

"That is quite a legacy," said Uncle Win. "Doris, can you compute it in
dollars?"

We had come to have a currency of our own--"decimal" it was called,
because computed by tens.

We still reckoned a good deal in pounds, shillings, and pence, but ours
were not pounds sterling.

Doris considered and knit her delicate brows. Then a soft light
illumined her face.

"Why, Uncle Win, it is five hundred dollars! Isn't that a great deal of
money for a little girl like me? And must it not be saved up some way?"

"Yes, I think for your wedding day."

"And then suppose I should not get married?"



CHAPTER XVI

A SUMMER IN BOSTON


The Leveretts rejoiced heartily over Doris' good fortune. Aunt Priscilla
began to trouble herself again about her will. She had taken the usual
autumnal cold, but recovered from it with good nursing. Certainly
Elizabeth Leverett was very kind. Aunt Priscilla had eased up Betty
while her mother spent a fortnight at Salem, helping with the fall
sewing and making comfortables. And this time she brought home little
Ruth, who was thin and peevish, and who had not gotten well over the
measles, that had affected her eyes badly. Ruth was past four.

"I wish Mary did not take life so hard," said Mrs. Leverett with a
sigh. "They have been buying a new twenty-acre pasture lot and two new
cows, and it is just drive all the time. That poor little Elizabeth will
be all worn out before she is grown up. And Ruth wouldn't have lived the
winter through there."

Ruth was extremely troublesome at first. But grandmothers have a
soothing art, and after a few weeks she began to improve. The visits of
Doris fairly transported her, and she amused grandpa by asking every
morning "if Doris would come to-day," having implicit faith in his
knowledge of everything.

Aunt Priscilla counted on the visits as well. She kept her room a good
deal. Ruth's chatter disturbed her. Pattern children brought up on the
strictest rules did not seem quite so agreeable to her as the little
flower growing up in its own sweetness.

Betty used to walk a short distance home with her, as she declared it
was the only chance she had for a bit of Doris. She was very fond of
hearing about the Royalls, and now Miss Isabel's engagement to Mr.
Morris Winslow was announced.

Warren declared Jane was quite "top-loftical" about it. She had been
introduced to Miss Isabel at an evening company, and then they had met
at Thayer's dry goods store, where she and Mrs. Chapman had been
shopping, and had quite a little chat. They bowed in the street, and
Jane was much pleased at the prospect of being indirectly related.

But Betty had taken tea at Uncle Winthrop's with Miss Alice Royall, who
had come over with the two little girls to return some of the visits
Doris had made. The girls fell in love with bright, versatile Betty, and
Alice was much interested in her visit to Hartford, and thought her
quite charming.

Then it was quite fascinating to compare notes about Mr. Adams with one
of his own kin. Alice made no secret of her admiration for him; the
whole family joined in, for that matter. Young girls could be a little
free and friendly with elderly gentlemen without exciting comment or
having to be so precise.

When Jane said "Cousin Morris told me such or such a thing," Betty was
delighted to reply, "Yes, Doris was speaking of it." The girls were the
best of friends, but this half-unconscious rivalry was natural.

Mrs. Leverett had no objections to the intimacy now. Betty was older and
more sensible, and now she was really a young lady receiving
invitations, and going out to walk or to shop with the girls. For hard
as the times were, a little finery had to be bought, or a gown now and
then.

Mrs. King had not gone to New York, though her husband had been there on
business. She would have been very glad of Betty's company; but with
little Ruth and Aunt Priscilla, Betty felt she ought not leave her
mother. And, then, she was having a young girl's good time at home.

Mrs. Leverett half wished Jane might "fancy Warren." She was a smart,
attractive, and withal sensible girl. But Warren was not thinking of
girls just now, or of marrying. The debating society was a source of
great interest and nearly every "talk" turned on some aspect of the
possible war. His singing class occupied him one evening, and one
evening was devoted to dancing. He liked Jane very much in a friendly
fashion, and they went on calling each other by their first names, but
if he happened to drop in there was almost sure to be other company.

The "Son" on the business sign over the doorway gave him a great sense
of responsibility, especially now when everything was so dull, and
money, as people said, "came like drawing teeth," a painful enough
process in those days.

Finally Miss Isabel Royall's wedding day was set for early in June. The
shopping was quite an undertaking. There were Thayer's dry-goods store
and Daniel Simpson's and Mr. Bromfield's, the greater and the lesser
shops on Washington and School streets. It was quite a risk now ordering
things from abroad, vessels were interfered with so much. But there were
China silks and Canton crape,--a beautiful material,--and French and
English goods that escaped the enemy; so if you had the money you could
find enough for an extensive wedding outfit. At home we had also begun
to make some very nice woolen goods.

May came out full of bloom and beauty. Such a shower of blossoms from
cherry, peach, pear, and apple would be difficult now to imagine. For
almost every house had a yard or a garden. Colonnade Row was among the
earliest places to be built up compactly of brick and was considered
very handsome for the time.

But people strolled around then to see the beautiful unfolding of
nature. There was the old Hancock House on Beacon Street. The old hero
had gone his way, and his wife was now Madam Scott, and lived in the
same house, and though the garden and nursery had been shorn of much of
their glory, there were numerous foreign trees that were curiously
beautiful, and people used to make at least one pilgrimage to see these
immense mulberry trees in bloom.

The old Bowdoin garden was another remarkable place, and the air around
was sweet for weeks with the bloom of fruit trees and later on the
grapes that were raised in great profusion. You sometimes saw elegant
old Madam Bowdoin walking up and down the garden paths and the
grandchildren skipping rope or playing tag.

But Summer Street, with its crown of beauty, held its head as high as
any of its neighbors.

"I don't see why May should be considered unlucky for weddings," Isabel
protested. "I should like to be married in a bower of apple blossoms."

"But isn't a bower of roses as beautiful?"

"And the snow of the cherries and pears! Think of it--fragrant snow!"

But Isabel gave parties to her friends, and they took tea out under the
great apple tree and were snowed on with every soft wave of wind.

It was not necessary then to go into seclusion. The bride-elect took
pleasure in showing her gowns and her finery to her dearest friends. She
was to be married in grandmother's brocade. Her own mother had it lent
to her for the occasion. It was very handsome and could almost "stand
alone." There were great flowers that looked as if they were embroidered
on it, and now it had assumed an ivory tint. Two breadths had been taken
out of the skirt, people were so slim at present. But the court train
was left. The bertha, as we should call it now, was as a cobweb, and the
lace from the puff sleeve falling over the arm of the same elegant
material.

It was good luck to borrow something to be married in, and good luck to
have something old as well as the something new.

Morris Winslow had been quite a beau about town. He was thirty now, ten
years older than Isabel. He had a big house over in Dorchester and
almost a farm. He owned another in Boston, where a tavern of the higher
sort was kept and rooms rented to bachelors. He had an apartment here
and kept his servant Joe and his handsome team, besides his saddle
horse. He was rather gay, but of good moral character. No one else
would have been accepted as a lover at the Royalls'.

Jane was invited to one of the teas. People had not come to calling them
"Dove" parties yet, nor had breakfasts or luncheon parties come in vogue
for such occasions. There were about a dozen girls. They inspected the
wedding outfit, they played graces, they sang songs, and had tea in
Madam Royall's old china that had come to America almost a hundred years
before.

Afterward several young gentlemen called, and they walked up and down in
the moonlight. A young lady could invite her own escort, especially if
she was "keeping company." Sometimes the mothers sent a servant to fetch
home their daughters.

Of course Jane had an invitation to the wedding. Alice and a friend were
to be bridesmaids, and the children were to be gowned in simple white
muslin, with bows and streamers of pink satin ribbon and strew roses in
the bride's path. They were flower maidens. Dorcas Payne was asked, and
Madam Royall begged Mr. Adams to allow his niece to join them. They
would all take it as a great favor.

"The idea!" cried Aunt Priscilla; "and she no relation! If the queen was
to come to Boston I dare say Doris Adams would be asked to turn out to
meet her! Well, I hope her pretty face won't ever get her into trouble."

It was a beautiful wedding, everybody said. The great rooms and the
halls were full of guests, but they kept a way open for the bride, who
came downstairs on her lover's arm, and he looked very proud and manly.
The bridesmaids and groomsmen stood one couple at each side. The little
girls strewed their flowers and then stood in a circle, and the bride
swept gracefully to the open space and turned to face the guests. The
maid was a little excited when she pulled off the bride's glove, but
all went well, and Isabel Royall was at her very best.

While the kissing and congratulations were going on, four violins struck
up melodious strains. It was just six o'clock then. The bride and groom
stood for a while in the center of the room, then marched around and
smiled and talked, and finally went out to the dining room, where the
feast was spread, and where the bride had to cut the cake.

Cary Adams was among the young people. He was a great favorite with
Alice, and a welcome guest, if he did not come quite as often as his
father.

One of the prettiest things afterward was the minuet danced by the four
little girls, and after that two or three cotillions were formed. The
bride danced with both of the groomsmen, and the new husband with both
of the bridesmaids. Then their duty was done.

They were to drive over to Dorchester that night, so presently they
started. Two or three old slippers were thrown for good luck. Several of
the younger men were quite nonplused at this arrangement, for they had
planned some rather rough fun in a serenade, thinking the bridal couple
would stay in town.

There were some amusements, jesting and laughter, some card-playing and
health-drinking among the elders. The guests congratulated Madam Royall
nearly as much as they had the bride. Then one after another came and
bade her good-night, and took away their parcel of wedding cake to dream
on.

"Oh," cried Doris on the way home,--the night was so pleasant they were
walking,--"oh, wasn't it splendid! I wish Betty could have been there.
Cary, how old must you be before you can get married?"

"Well--I should have to look up a girl."

"Oh, take Miss Alice. She likes you ever so much--I heard her say so.
But you haven't any house like Mr. Winslow. Uncle Win, couldn't he bring
her home to live with us?"

Cary's cheeks were in a red flame. Uncle Win laughed.

"My dear," he began, "a young man must have some business or some money
to take care of his wife. She wouldn't like to be dependent on his
relatives. Cary is going to study law, which will take some years, then
he must get established, and so we will have to wait a long while. He is
too young. Mr. Winslow is thirty; Cary isn't twenty yet."

"Oh, dear! Well, perhaps Betty will get married. The girl doesn't have
to be so old?"

"No," said Uncle Win.

Betty came over the next morning to spend the day and help Miss
Recompense to distill. She wanted to hear the first account from Doris
and Uncle Win, to take off the edge of Jane's triumphant news.

They made rose water and a concoction from the spice pinks. Then they
preserved cherries. Uncle Win took them driving toward night and said
some day they would go over to Dorchester. He had several friends there.

The next excitement for Doris was the college commencement. Mr. Adams
was disappointed that his son should not stand at the head of almost
everything. He had taken one prize and made some excellent examinations,
but there were many ranking as high and some higher.

There were no ball games, no college regattas to share honors then. Not
that these things were tabooed. There were some splendid rowing matches
and games, but then young men had a desire to stand high intellectually.

A long while before Judge Sewall had expressed his disapproval of the
excesses at dinners, the wine-drinking and conviviality, and had set
Friday for commencement so that there would be less time for frolicking.
The war, with its long train of economies, and the greater seriousness
of life in general, had tempered all things, but there was gayety enough
now, with dinners given to the prize winners and a very general
jollification.

Doris went with Uncle Winthrop. Commencement was one of the great
occasions of the year. All the orations were in Latin, and the young men
might have been haranguing a Roman army, so vigorous were they. Many of
the graduates were very young; boys really studied at that time.

The remainder of the day and the one following were given over to
festivities. Booths were everywhere on the ground; colors flying,
flowers wreathed in every fashion, and so much merriment that they quite
needed Judge Sewall back again to restrain the excesses.

Mr. Adams and Doris went to dine at the Cragie House, and Doris would
have felt quite lost among judges and professors but for Miss Cragie,
who took her in charge. When they went home in the early evening the
shouts and songs and boisterousness seemed like a perfect orgy.

Someone has said, with a kind of dry wit, "Wherever an Englishman goes
courts and litigation are sure to prevail." Certainly our New England
forefathers, who set out with the highest aims, soon found it necessary
to establish law courts. In the early days every man pleaded his own
cause, and was especially versed in the "quirks of the law." Jeremy
Gridley, a graduate of Harvard, interested himself in forming a law club
in the early part of the previous century to pursue the study enough "to
keep out of the briars." And to Justice Dana is ascribed the credit of
administering to Mr. Secretary Oliver, standing under the Liberty Tree
in a great assemblage of angry townspeople, an oath that he would take
no measures to enforce the odius Stamp Act of the British Parliament or
distribute it among the people.

And now the bar had a rank of its own, and Winthrop Adams had a strong
desire to see his son one of the shining lights in the profession. Cary
had a fine voice and was a good speaker. More than once he had
distinguished himself in an argument at some of the debates. To be
admitted to the office of Governor Gore was considered a high honor
then, and this Mr. Adams gained for his son. Cary had another vague
dream, but parental authority in well-bred families was not to be
disputed at that period, and Cary acquiesced in his father's decision,
since he knew his own must bring about much discussion and probably a
refusal.

Mrs. King came to visit her mother this summer. She left all her
children at home, as she wanted to visit round, and was afraid they
might be an annoyance to Aunt Priscilla. Little Ruth had gone home very
much improved, her eyes quite restored.

Uncle Winthrop enjoyed Mrs. King's society very much. She was
intelligent and had cultivated her natural abilities, she also had a
certain society suavity that made her an agreeable companion. Doris
thought her a good deal like Betty, she was so pleasant and ready for
all kinds of enjoyment. Aunt Priscilla considered her very frivolous,
and there was so much going and coming that she wondered Elizabeth did
not get crazy over it.

They were to remove to New York in the fall, Mr. King having perfected
his business arrangements. So Betty would have her winter in the gay
city after all.

There were many delightful excursions with pleasure parties up and down
the bay. The Embargo had been repealed, and the sails of merchant ships
were again whitening the harbor, and business people breathed more
freely.

There were Castle Island, with its fortifications and its waving flag,
and queer old dreary-looking Noddle's Island, also little towns and
settlements where one could spend a day delightfully. Every place, it
seemed to Doris, had some queer, interesting story, and she possessed an
insatiable appetite for them. There was the great beautiful sweep of
Boston Bay, with its inlets running around the towns and its green
islands everywhere--places that had been famous and had suffered in the
war, and were soon to suffer again.

Mrs. King had a friend at Hingham, and one day they went there in a sort
of family party. Uncle Winthrop obtained a carriage and drove them
around. It was still famous for its wooden-ware factories, and Uncle Win
said in the time of Governor Andros, when money was scarce among the
early settlers, Hingham had paid its taxes in milk pails, but they
decided the taxes could not have been very high, or the fame of the milk
pails must have been very great.

Mrs. Gerry said in the early season forget-me-nots grew wild all about,
and the ground was blue with them.

"Oh, Uncle Win, let us come and see them next year," cried Doris.

Then they hunted up the old church that had been nearly rent asunder by
the bringing in of a bass viol to assist the singers. Party spirit had
run very high. The musical people had quoted the harps and sacbuts of
King David's time, the trumpets and cymbals. At last the big bass viol
won the victory and was there. And the hymn was:

    "Oh, may my heart in tune be found,
    Like David's harp of solemn sound."

But the old minister was not to be outdone. The hymn was lined off in
this fashion:

    "Oh, may my heart go diddle, diddle,
    Like Uncle David's sacred fiddle."

There were still a great many people opposed to instrumental music and
who could see no reverence in the organ's solemn sound.

Uncle Winthrop smiled over the story, and Betty said it would do to tell
to Aunt Priscilla.

Betty begged that they might take Doris to Salem with them. Doris
thought she should like to see the smart little Elizabeth, who was like
a woman already, and her old playfellow James, as well as Ruth, who
seemed to her hardly beyond babyhood. And there were all the weird old
stories--she had read some of them in Cotton Mather's "Magnalia," and
begged others from Miss Recompense, who did not quite know whether she
believed them or not, but she said emphatically that people had been
mistaken and there was no such thing as witches.

"A whole week!" said Uncle Winthrop. "Whatever shall I do without a
little girl that length of time?"

"But you have Cary now," she returned archly.

Cary was a good deal occupied with young friends and college associates.
Now and then he went over to Charlestown and stayed all night with one
of his chums.

"I suppose I ought to learn how it will be without you when you want to
go away in real earnest."

"I am never going away."

"Suppose Mrs. King should invite you to New York? She has some little
girls."

"You might like to go," she returned with a touch of hesitation.

"To see the little girls?" smilingly.

"To see a great city. Do you suppose they are very queer--and Dutch?"

He laughed at that.

"But the Dutch people went there and settled, just as the Puritans came
here. And I think I like the Dutch because they have such a merry time
at Christmas. We read about them in history at school."

"And then the English came, you know. I think now there is not much that
would suggest Holland. I have been there."

Then Doris was eager to know what it was like, and Uncle Winthrop was
interested in telling her. They forgot all about Salem--at least, Doris
did until she was going to bed.

"If you _do_ go you must be very careful a witch does not catch you, for
I couldn't spare my little girl altogether."

"Uncle Winthrop, I am going to stay with you always. When Miss
Recompense gets real old and cannot look after things I shall be your
housekeeper."

"When Miss Recompense reaches old age I am afraid I shall be quaking for
very fear."

"But it takes a long while for people to get very old," she returned
decisively.

Betty came over the next day to tell her they would start on Thursday
morning, and were going in a sloop to Marblehead with a friend of her
father's, Captain Morton.

It was almost like going to sea, Doris thought. They had to thread their
way through the islands and round Winthrop Head. There was Grover's
Cliff, and then they went out past Nahant into the broad, beautiful bay,
where you could see the ocean. It seemed ages ago since she had crossed
it. They kept quite in to the green shores and could see Lynn and
Swampscott, then they rounded one more point and came to Marblehead,
where Captain Morton stopped to unload his cargo, while they went on to
Salem.

At the old dock they were met by a big boy and a country wagon. This was
Foster Manning, the eldest grandson of the family.

"Oh," cried Betty in amazement, "how you have grown! It _is_ Foster?"

He smiled and blushed under the sunburn--a thin, angular boy, tall for
his age, with rather large features and light-brown hair with tawny
streaks in it. But his gray-blue eyes were bright and honest-looking.

"Yes, 'm," staring at the others, for he had at the moment forgotten his
aunt's looks.

Betty introduced them.

"I should not have known you," said Aunt Electa. "But boys change a good
deal in two years or so."

They were helped in the wagon, more by Betty than Foster, who was
evidently very bashful. They drove up past the old Court House, through
the main part of the town, which even then presented a thriving
appearance with its home industries. But the seaport trade had been
sadly interfered with by the rumors and apprehensions of war. At that
time it was quaint and country-looking, with few pretensions to
architectural beauty. There was old Gallows Hill at one end, with its
haunting stories of witchcraft days.

The irregular road wandered out to the farming districts. Many small
towns had been set off from the original Salem in the century before,
and the boundaries were marked mostly by the farms.

Betty inquired after everybody, but most of the answers were "Yes, 'm"
and "No, 'm." When they came in sight of the house Mrs. Manning and
little Ruth ran out to welcome the guests, followed by Elizabeth, who
was almost as good as a woman.

The house itself was a plain two-story with the hall door in the middle
and a window on each side. The roof had a rather steep pitch in front
with overhanging eaves. From this pitch it wandered off in a slow curve
at the back and seemed stretched out to cover the kitchen and the sheds.

A grassy plot in front was divided by a trodden path. On one side of the
small stoop was a great patch of hollyhocks that were tolerated because
they needed no special care. Mrs. Manning had no time to waste upon
flowers. The aspect was neat enough, but rather dreary, as Doris
contrasted it with the bloom at home.

But the greetings were cordial, only Mrs. Manning asked Betty "If she
had been waiting for someone to come and show her the way?" Ruth ran to
Doris at once and caught her round the waist, nestling her head fondly
on the bosom of the guest. Elizabeth stood awkwardly distant, and only
stared when Betty presented her to Doris.

They were ushered into the first room, which was the guest chamber. The
floor was painted, and in summer the rugs were put away. A large
bedstead with faded chintz hangings, a bureau, a table, and two chairs
completed the furniture. The ornaments were two brass candlesticks and a
snuffers tray on the high mantel.

Here they took off their hats and laid down their budgets, and then went
through to mother's room, where there were a bed and a cradle, a bureau,
a big chest, a table piled up with work, a smaller candlestand, and a
curious old desk. Next to this was the living-room, where the main work
of life went on. Beyond this were a kitchen and some sheds.

Baby Hester sat on the floor and looked amazed at the irruption, then
began to whimper. Her mother hushed her up sharply, and she crept out to
the living-room.

"We may as well all go out," said Mrs. Manning. "I must see about
supper, for that creature we have doesn't know when the kettle boils,"
and she led the way.

Elizabeth began to spread the tea table. A youngish woman was working in
the kitchen. The Mannings had taken one of the town's poor, who at this
period were farmed out. Sarah Lewis was not mentally bright, and
required close watching, which she certainly received at the Mannings'.
Doris stood by the window with Ruth, until the baby cried, when her
mother told her to take Hester out in the kitchen and give her some
supper and put her to bed. And then Doris could do nothing but watch
Elizabeth while the elders discussed family affairs, the conversation a
good deal interrupted by rather sharp orders to Sarah in the kitchen,
and some not quite so sharp to Elizabeth.

Supper was all on the table when the men came in. There were Mr.
Manning, Foster and James, and two hired men.

"You must wait, James," said his mother--"you and Elizabeth."

The guests were ranged at one end of the table, the hired men and Foster
at the other. Elizabeth took some knitting and sat down by the window.
The two younger children remained in the kitchen.

Doris was curiously interested, though she felt a little strange. Her
eyes wandered to Elizabeth, and met the other eyes, as curious as hers.
Elizabeth had straight light hair, cut square across the neck, and
across her forehead in what we should call a bang. "It was time to let
it grow long," her mother admitted, "but it was such a bother, falling
in her eyes." Her frock, whatever color it had been, was now faded to a
hopeless, depressing gray, and her brown gingham apron tied at the waist
betrayed the result of many washings. She was thin and pale, too, and
tired-looking. Times had not been good, and some of the crops were not
turning out well, so every nerve had to be strained to pay for the new
lot, in order that the interest on the amount should not eat up
everything.

Afterward the men went to look to the cattle, and Mrs. Manning, when she
had given orders a while in the kitchen, took her guests out on the
front porch. She sat and knit as she talked to them, as the moon was
shining and gave her light enough to see.

When the old clock struck nine, Mr. Manning came through the hall and
stood in the doorway.

"Be you goin' to sit up all night, mother?" he inquired.

"Dear, no. And I expect you're all tired. We're up so early in the
morning here that we go to bed early. And I was thinking--Ruth needn't
have gone upstairs, and Doris could have slept with Elizabeth----"

"I'll go upstairs with Doris, and 'Lecty may have the room to herself,"
exclaimed Betty.

Grandmother Manning had a room downstairs, back of the parlor, and one
of the large rooms upstairs, that the family had the privilege of using,
though it was stored nearly full with a motley collection of articles
and furniture. This was her right in the house left by her husband. But
she spent most of her time between her daughter at Danvers and another
in the heart of the town, where there were neighbors to look at, if
nothing else.

Doris peered in the corners of the room by the dim candlelight.

"It's very queer," she said with a half-smile at Betty, glancing
around. For there were lines across on which hung clothes and bags of
dried herbs that gave the room an aromatic fragrance, and parcels in one
corner piled almost up to the wall. But the space to the bed was clear,
and there were a stand for the candle and two chairs.

"The children are in the next room, and the boys and men sleep at the
back. The other rooms have sloping roofs. And then there's a queer
little garret. Grandmother Manning is real old, and some time Mary will
have all the house to herself. Josiah bought out his sisters' share, and
Mrs. Manning's runs only as long as she lives."

"I shouldn't want to sleep with Elizabeth. I love you, Betty."

Betty laughed wholesomely. "You will get acquainted with her to-morrow,"
she said.

Doris laid awake some time, wondering if she really liked visiting, and
recalling the delightful Christmas visit at Uncle Winthrop's. The
indefinable something that she came to understand was not only leisure
and refinement, but the certain harmonious satisfactions that make up
the keynote of life from whence melody diffuses itself, were wanting
here.

They had their breakfast by themselves the next morning. Friday was a
busy day, but all the household except the baby were astir at five, and
often earlier. There were churning and the working of butter and packing
it down for customers. Of course, June butter had the royal mark, but
there were plenty of people glad to get any "grass" butter.

Betty took Doris out for a walk and to show her what a farm was like.
There was the herd of cows, and in a field by themselves the young ones
from three months to a year. There were two pretty colts Mr. Manning
was raising. And there was a flock of sheep on a stony pasture lot,
with some long-legged, awkward-looking lambs who had outgrown their
babyhood. Then they espied James weeding out the garden beds.

Betty sat down on a stone at the edge of the fence and took out some
needlework she carried around in her pocket. Doris stood patting down
the soft earth with her foot.

"Do you like to do that?" she asked presently.

"No, I don't," in a short tone.

"I think I should not either."

"'Taint the things you like, it's what has to be done," the boy flung
out impatiently. "I'm not going to be a farmer. I just hate it. When I'm
big enough I'm coming to Boston."

"When will you be big enough?"

"Well--when I'm twenty-one. You're of age then, you see, and your own
master. But I might run away before that. Don't tell anyone that, Doris.
Gewhilliker! didn't I have a splendid time at grandmother's that winter!
I wish I could live there always. And grandpop is just the nicest man I
know! I just hate a farm."

Doris felt very sorry for him. She thought she would not like to work
that way with her bare hands. Miss Recompense always wore gloves when
she gardened.

"I'd like to be you, with nothing to do."

That was a great admission. The winter at Uncle Leverett's he had rather
despised girls. Cousin Sam was the one to be envied then. And it seemed
to her that she kept quite busy at home, but it was a pleasant kind of
business.

She did not see Elizabeth until dinner time. James took the men's dinner
out to the field. They could not spend the time to come in. And after
dinner Betty harnessed the old mare Jinny, and took Electa, Doris, and
little Ruth out driving. The sun had gone under a cloud and the breeze
was blowing over from the ocean. Electa chose to see the old town, even
if there were but few changes and trade had fallen off. Several
slender-masted merchantmen were lying idly at the quays, half afraid to
venture with a cargo lest they might fall into the hands of privateers.
The stores too had a depressed aspect. Men sat outside gossiping in a
languid sort of way, and here and there a woman was tending her baby on
the porch or doing a bit of sewing.

"What a sleepy old place!" said Mrs. King. "It would drive me to
distraction."



CHAPTER XVII

ANOTHER GIRL


Saturday afternoon the work was finished up and the children washed. The
supper was eaten early, and at sundown the Sabbath had begun. The parlor
was opened, but the children were allowed out on the porch. Ruth sprang
up a time or two rather impatiently.

"Sit still," said Elizabeth, "or you will have to go to bed at once."

"Couldn't I take her a little walk?" asked Doris.

"A walk! Why it is part of Sunday!"

"But I walk on Sunday with Uncle Winthrop."

"It's very wicked. We _do_ walk to church, but that isn't anything for
pleasure."

"But uncle thinks one ought to be happy and joyous on Sunday. It is the
day the Lord rose from the dead."

"It's the Sabbath. And you are to remember the Sabbath to keep it holy."

"What is the difference between Sabbath and Sunday?"

"There aint any," said James. "There's six days to work, and I wish
there was two Sundays--one in the middle of the week. The best time of
all is Sunday night. You don't have to keep so very still, and you don't
have to work neither."

Elizabeth sighed. Then she said severely, "Do you know your catechism,
James?"

"Well--I always have to study it Sunday morning," was the rather sullen
reply.

"Maybe you had better go in and look it over."

"You never do want a fellow to take any comfort. Yes, I know it."

"Ruth, if you are getting sleepy go to bed."

Ruth had leaned her head down on Doris' shoulder.

"She's wide awake," and Doris gave her a little squeeze that made her
smile. She would have laughed outright but for fear.

Elizabeth leaned her head against the door jamb.

"You look so tired," said Doris pityingly.

"I am tired through and through. I am always glad to have Saturday night
come and no knitting or anything. Don't you knit when you are home?"

"I haven't knit--much." Doris flushed up to the roots of her fair hair,
remembering her unfortunate attempts at achieving a stocking.

"What do you do?"

"Study, and read to Uncle Winthrop, and go to school and to writing
school, and walk and take little journeys and drives and do drawing.
Next year I shall learn to paint flowers."

"But you do some kind of work?"

"I keep my room in order and Uncle Win trusts me to dust his books. And
I sew a little and make lace. But, you see, there is Miss Recompense and
Dinah and Cato."

"Oh, what a lot of help! What does Miss Recompense do?"

"She is the housekeeper."

"Is Uncle Winthrop very rich?"

"I--I don't know."

"But there are no children and boys to wear out their clothes and
stockings. There's so much knitting to be done. I go to school in
winter, but there is too much work in summer. Doris Adams, you are a
lucky girl if your fortune doesn't spoil you."

"Fortune!" exclaimed Doris in surprise.

"Yes. I heard father talk about it. And all that from England! Then
someone died in Boston and left you ever so much. I suppose you will be
a grand lady!"

"I'd like to be a lovely old lady like Madam Royall."

"And who is she?"

Doris was in the full tide of narration when Mrs. Manning came to the
hall door. She caught some description of a party.

"Elizabeth, put Ruth to bed at once and go yourself. Doris, talking of
parties isn't a very good preparation for the Sabbath. Elizabeth, when
you say your prayers think of your sins and shortcomings for the week,
and repent of them earnestly."

Ruth had fallen asleep and gave a little whine. Her mother slapped her.

"Hush, not a word. You deserve the same and more, Elizabeth! James, go
in and study your catechism over three times, then go to bed."

Doris sat alone on the doorstep, confused and amazed. She was quite sure
now she did not like Mrs. Manning, and she felt very sorry for
Elizabeth. Then Betty came out and told her some odd Salem stories.

They all went to church Sabbath morning, in the old Puritan parlance.
Doris found it hard to comprehend the sermon. Many of the people from
the farms brought their luncheons, and wandered about the graveyard or
sat under the shady trees. At two the children were catechised, at three
service began again.

Mrs. King took Doris and Betty to dine with a friend of her youth, and
then went back to the service out of respect to her sister and
brother-in-law. Little Ruth fell asleep and was punished for it when she
reached home. The children were all fractious and their mother scolded.
When the sun went down there was a general sense of relief. The younger
ones began to wander around. The two mothers sauntered off together,
talking of matters they preferred not to have fall on the ears of small
listeners.

Betty attracted the boys. Foster could talk to her, though he was much
afraid of girls in general.

Doris and Elizabeth sat on the steps. Ruth was running small races with
herself.

"Would you rather go and walk?" inquired Elizabeth timidly.

"Oh, no. Not if you like to sit still," cheerfully.

"I just do. I'm always tired. You are so pretty, I was afraid of you at
first. And you have such beautiful clothes. That blue ribbon on your hat
is like a bit of the sky. And God made the sky."

The voice died away in admiration.

"That isn't my best hat," returned Doris simply. "Cousin Betty thought
the damp of the ocean and running out in the dust would ruin it. It has
some beautiful pink roses and ever so much gauzy stuff and a great bow
of pink satin. Then I have a pink muslin frock with tiny green and brown
sprigs all over it, and a great sash of the muslin that comes down to
the hem. The Chapman girls have satin ribbon sashes, but Miss Recompense
said she liked the muslin better."

"Do you have to wear just what she says?"

"Oh, no. Madam Royall chooses some things, and Betty. And Cousin King
brought me an elegant sash, white, with flowers all over it. I have ever
so many pretty things."

"Oh, how proud you must feel!" said the Puritan maid half enviously.

"I don't know"--hesitatingly. "I think I feel just nice, and that is all
there is about it. Uncle Win likes what they get for me--men can't buy
clothes, you know, and if he is pleased and thinks I look well, that is
the end of it."

"Oh, how good it must feel to be happy just like that. But are you quite
sure," lowering her voice to a touch of awe, "that you will not be
punished in the next world?"

"What for? Doesn't God mean us to be happy?"

"Well--not in this world, perhaps," answered the young theologian. "But
you don't have anything in heaven except a white robe, and if you
haven't had any pretty things in this world----"

"I wish I could give you some of mine." Doris slipped her soft warm hand
over the other, beginning to grow bony and strained already.

"They wouldn't do me any good," was the almost apathetical reply. "I
only go to church, and mother wouldn't let me wear them."

"Do you like to go to church?"

"I hate the long sermons and the prayers. Oh, that is dreadful wicked,
isn't it? But I like to see the people and hear the talk, and they do
have some new clothes; and the sitting still. When you've run and run
all the week and are tired all over, it's just good to sit still. And
it's different. I get so tired of the same things all the time and the
hurry. Do you know what I am going to do when I am a woman?"

"No," replied Doris with a look of interested inquiry.

"I'm going to have one room like grandmother Manning, and live by
myself. I shan't have any husband or children. I don't want to be sewing
and knitting and patching continually, and babies are an awful sight of
trouble, and husbands are just thinking of work, work all the time. Then
I shall go visiting when I like, and though I shall read the Bible I
won't mind about remembering the sermons. I'll just have a good time by
myself."

Doris felt strangely puzzled. She always wanted a good time with
someone. The great pleasure to her was having another share a joy. And
to live alone was almost like being imprisoned in some dreary cell.
Neither could she think of Helen or Eudora living alone--indeed, any of
the girls she knew.

"Now you can go on about the wedding party," said Elizabeth after a
pause. "And you really danced! And you were not afraid the ground would
open and swallow you?"

"Why, no," returned Doris. "There are earthquakes that swallow up whole
towns, but, you see, the good and the bad go together. And I never heard
of anyone being swallowed up----"

"Why, yes--in the Bible--Korah, Dathan, and Abiram."

"But they were not dancing. I think,"--hesitatingly,--"they were finding
fault with Moses and Aaron, and wanting to be leaders in some manner."

"Well--I am glad it wasn't dancing. And now go on quick before they come
back."

Elizabeth had never read a fairy story or any vivid description. She had
no time and there were no books of that kind about the house. She fairly
reveled in Doris' brilliant narrative. She had seen one middle-aged
couple stand up to be married after the Sunday afternoon service, and
she had heard of two or three younger people being married with a kind
of wedding supper. But that Doris should have witnessed all this
herself! That she should have worn a wedding gown and scattered flowers
before the bride!

Ruth was tired of running. "I'm sleepy," she said. "Unfasten my dress, I
want to go to bed."

Betty and the boys were coming up the path, with the shadowy forms of
the grown people behind them. Mr. Manning had been taking a nap on the
rude kitchen settee, his Sunday evening indulgence. Now he came through
the hall.

"Boys, children, it's time to go to bed. You are all sleepy enough in
the mornin', but you would sit up half the night if someone did not
drive you off."

"Oh, I wish you lived here, Aunt Betty," said Foster for a good-night.

Betty and Doris were almost ready for bed when there was a little sound
at the door, pushed open by Elizabeth, who stood there in her plain,
scant nightgown with a distraught expression, as if she had seen a
ghost.

"Oh, Aunt Betty or Doris, _can_ you remember the text and what the
sermon was about? We always say it to mother after tea Sabbath evening,
and she'll be sure to ask me to-morrow morning. And I can't think! I
never scarcely do forget. Oh, what shall I do!"

Her distress was so genuine that Betty folded her in her arms. Elizabeth
began to cry at the tender touch.

"There, little Bessy, don't cry. Let me see--I remember I was preaching
another sermon to myself. It was--'Do this and ye shall live.' And
instead of all the hard things he put in, I thought of the kindly things
father was always doing, and Uncle Win, and mother, and the pleasant
things instead of the severe laws. And when he reached his lastly he
said no one could keep all the laws, and because they could not the
Saviour came and died, but he seemed to preach as if the old laws were
still in force, and that the Saviour's death really had not changed
anything. That was in the morning. And the afternoon was the miracle of
the loaves and fishes."

"Yes--I could recall that. But I was sure mother would ask me the one I
had forgotten. It always happens that way. Oh, I am so glad. Dear Aunt
Betty! And if I was sometimes called Bessy, as you called me just now,
or Betty, or anything besides the everlasting 'Lisbeth. Oh, Doris, how
happy you must be----"

"There, dear," said Betty soothingly, "don't cry so. I will write out
what I can recall on a slip of paper and you can look it over in the
morning. I just wish you could come and make me a visit, and go over to
Uncle Win's. Yes, Doris _is_ a happy little girl."

"But I have everything in the world," said Doris with a long breath. "I
am afraid I could not be so happy here. Oh, can't we take Elizabeth home
with us? Betty, coax her mother."

"It wouldn't do a bit of good. You can't coax mother. And there is
always so much work in the summer. I am afraid she wouldn't like
it--even if you asked her."

"But James came, and little Ruth----"

"They were too young to work. Oh, it would be like going to heaven!"

"It may be sometime, little Bessy. You can dream over it."

"Good-night. Would you kiss me, Doris?"

The happy girl kissed her a dozen times instead of once. But her deep
eyes were full of tears as she turned to Betty when the small figure had
slipped away.

"Yes, it is a hard life," said Betty. "It seems as if children's lives
ought to be happier. I don't know what makes Mary so hard. I'm sure she
does not get it from father or mother. She appears to think all the
virtue of the world lies in work. I wonder what such people will do in
heaven!"

"Oh, Betty, do try to have her come to Boston. I know Uncle Win will
feel sorry for her."

Those years in the early part of the century were not happy ones for
childhood in general. Too much happiness was considered demoralizing in
this world and a poor preparation for the next. Work was the great
panacea for all sorts of evils. It was seldom work for one's neighbors,
though people were ready to go in sickness and trouble. It was adding
field to field and interest to interest, to strive and save and wear
one's self out and die.

Elizabeth was up betimes the next morning, and there lay the paper with
chapter and verse and some "remarks." Her heart swelled with gratitude
as she ran downstairs. Sarah had made the "shed" fire and the big wash
kettle had been put over it. She was rubbing out the first clothes, the
nicest pieces.

"Now fly round, 'Lisbeth," said her mother. "You've dawdled enough these
few days back, and there'll be an account to settle presently. I suppose
your head was so full of that bunch of vanity you never remembered a
word of the sermon yesterday. What was the text in the morning?"

Elizabeth's pale face turned scarlet and her lip quivered; her slight
frame seemed to shrink a moment, then in a gasping sort of way she gave
chapter and verse and repeated the words.

"I don't think that was it," said her mother sharply. "Ruth was in a
fidget just as the text was given out. Wasn't that last Sunday's text?"

"Some of the others may remember," the child said in her usual
apathetical voice.

"Well, you needn't act as if you were going to have a hysteric! Hand me
that dish of beans. Your father likes them warmed over. Quick, there he
comes now. You stir them."

A trivet stood on the glowing coals, and the pan soon warmed through.
Father and the men took their places. Foster came in sleepily.

"Where's James?" inquired his mother.

"I don't want him in the field to-day. He can weed in the garden. You
send him with the dinners."

"Where was yesterday morning's text, Foster?" Mrs. Manning asked
sharply.

The boy looked up blankly. As there was no Sunday evening examination it
had slipped out of his mind.

"It was something about--keeping the law--doing----"

James entered at that moment and had heard the question and hesitating
reply.

"I can't remember chapter and verse, but it was short, and I just rammed
the words down in my memory box. 'Do this and ye shall live.'"

"James, no such irreverence," exclaimed his father.

Elizabeth in the kitchen drew a long breath of relief. She wondered
whether his mother would have taken Aunt Betty's word.

Monday morning was always a hard time. Sarah required looking after, for
her memory lapses were frequent. Mr. Manning said a good birch switch
was the best remedy he knew. But though a hundred years before people
had thought nothing of whipping their servants, public opinion was
against it now. Mrs. Manning did sometimes box her ears when she was
over-much tired. But she was a very faithful worker.

Elizabeth gave Ruth and baby Hester their breakfast. Then Betty came
down, and insisted upon getting the next breakfast while Mrs. Manning
hung up her first clothes. She had been scolding to Betty about people
having no thought or care as to how they put back the work with their
late breakfast. But when Betty cooked and served it, and insisted upon
washing up the dishes; and Doris amused the baby, who was not well, and
helped Ruth shell the pease for dinner; when the washing and churning
were out of the way long before noon, and Elizabeth was folding down the
clothes for ironing while Sarah and her mother prepared the dinner and
sent it out to the men--the child couldn't see that things were at all
behindhand.

Sarah and Elizabeth ironed in the afternoon. Mrs. Manning brought out
her sewing and Betty helped on some frocks for the children. Two old
neighbors came in to supper, bringing two little girls who were
wonderfully attracted by Doris and delighted to be amused in quite a new
fashion. But Elizabeth was too busy to be spared.

After supper was cleared away and the visitors had gone Elizabeth
brought her knitting and sat on the stoop step in the moonlight.

"Oh, don't knit!" cried Doris. "You look so tired."

"I'd like to go to bed this minute," said the child. "But last week I
fell behind. You see, there are so many to wear stockings, and the boys
do rattle them out so fast. We try to get most of the new knitting done
in the summer, for autumn brings so much work. And if you will talk to
me--I like so to hear about Boston and Madam Royall's beautiful house
and your Uncle Win. It must be like reading some interesting book. Oh,
I wish I could come and stay a whole week with you!"

"A week!" Doris laughed. "Why, you couldn't see it all in a month, or a
year. Every day I am finding something new about Boston, and Miss
Recompense remembers so many queer stories. I'm going to tell her all
about you. I know she'll be real nice about your coming. Everything is
as Uncle Win says, but he always asks her."

Doris could make her little descriptions very vivid and attractive. At
first Elizabeth replied by exclamations, then there was quite a silence.
Doris looked at her. She was leaning against the post of the porch and
her needles no longer clicked, though she held the stocking in its
place. The poor child had fallen fast asleep. The moonlight made her
look so ghostly pale that at first Doris was startled.

The three ladies came out, but Elizabeth never stirred. When her mother
spied her she shook her sharply by the shoulder.

"Poor child!" exclaimed Mrs. King. "Elizabeth, put up your work and go
to bed."

"If you are too sleepy to knit, put up your work and go out and knead on
the bread a spell. Sarah always gets it lumpy if you don't watch her,"
said Mrs. Manning.

Elizabeth gathered up her ball and went without a word.

"I'll knit for you," said Betty, intercepting her, and taking the work.

"Mary, you will kill that child presently, and when you have buried her
I hope you will be satisfied to give Ruth a chance for her life,"
exclaimed Mrs. King indignantly.

"I can't afford to bring my children up in idleness, and if I could, I
hope I have too great a sense of responsibility and my duty toward them.
I was trained to work, and I've been thankful many a time that _I_
didn't have to waste grown-up years in learning."

"We didn't work like that. Then father had given some years to his
country and we _were_ poor. You have no need, and it is cruel to make
such a slave of a child. She does a woman's work."

"I am quite capable of governing my own family, Electa, and I think I
know what is best and right for them. We can't afford to bring up fine
ladies and teach them French and other trumpery. If Elizabeth is fitted
for a plain farmer's wife, that is all I ask. She won't be likely to
marry a President or a foreign lord, and if we have a few hundred
dollars to start her in life, maybe she won't object."

"You had better give her a little comfort now instead of adding farm to
farm, and saving up so much for the woman who will come in here when you
are dead and gone. Think of the men who have second and third wives and
whose children are often turned adrift to look out for themselves.
Hundreds of poor women are living hard and joyless lives just to save up
money. And it is a shame to grind their children to the lowest ebb."

Mrs. Manning was very angry. She had no argument at hand, so she turned
in an arrogant manner and said austerely:

"I had better go and look after my daughter, to see that she doesn't
work herself quite to death. But I don't know what we should do without
bread."

"Now you have done it!" cried Betty. "I only hope she won't vent her
anger on the poor child."

"It is a curious thing," said Mrs. King reflectively, "that women--well,
men too--make such a point of church-going on Sunday, and hardly allow
the poor children to draw a comfortable breath, and on Monday act like
fiends. Women especially seem to think they have a right to indulge in
dreadful tempers on washing day, and drive all before them. Think of the
work that has been done in this house to-day, and the picture of
Elizabeth, worn out, falling asleep over her knitting. I should have
sent her to bed with the chickens. I'd like to take her home with me,
but it would spoil her for the farm."

Betty knit away on the stocking. "I can't see what makes Mary so hard
and grasping," she said. "It troubles mother a good deal."

When they went in the house was quiet and the kitchen dark. Mrs. Manning
sat sewing. Their candles were on the table. Betty and Mrs. King said a
cordial good-night.

The sisters-in-law were to come the next day, and grandmother Manning,
with an addition of four children. The Salem sister, Mrs. Gates, was
stout and pleasant; the farmer sister thin and with a troublesome cough,
and she had a young baby besides her little girl of six. She was to make
a visit in Salem, and doctor somewhat, to see if she could not get over
her cough before cold weather.

The children were turned out of doors on the grassy roadside, where they
couldn't hurt anything. Mrs. Gates and Betty helped in the kitchen, and
after the dinner was cleared away Elizabeth was allowed to put on her
second-best gingham and go out with the children. They ran and played
and screamed and laughed.

"I'd a hundred times rather sit still and hear you talk," she said to
Doris. "And I'm awful sorry to have you go to-morrow. Even when I am
busy it is so nice just to look at you, with your beautiful hair and
your dark eyes, and your skin that is like velvet and doesn't seem to
tan or freckle. Foster hates freckles so."

Doris flushed at the compliment.

"I wonder how it would seem to be as pretty as you are? And you're not
a bit set up about your fine clothes and all. I s'pose when you're born
that way you're so used to it, and there aint anything to wish for. I'm
so glad you could come. And I do hope you will come again."

They parted very good friends. Mrs. King had been quite generous to the
small people, and Mrs. Manning really loved her sister, although she
considered her very lax and extravagant. No one could tell what was
before him, and thrift and prudence were the great virtues of those
days. True, they often degenerated into penuriousness and labor that was
early and late--so severe, indeed, it cost many a life; and the people
who came after reaped the benefit.



CHAPTER XVIII

WINTER AND SORROW


"Oh, Uncle Win," exclaimed Doris, "I can't be sorry that I went to
Salem, and I've had a queer, delightful time seeing so many strange
things and hearing stories about them! But I am very, very glad to get
back to Boston, and gladdest of all to be your little girl. There isn't
anybody in the whole wide world I'd change you for!"

Her arms were about him. He was so tall that she could not quite reach
up to his neck when he stood straight, but he had a way of bending over,
and she was growing, and the clasp gave him a thrill of exquisite
pleasure.

"I've missed my little girl a great deal," he said. "I am afraid I shall
never want you to go away again."

"The next time you must go with me. Though Betty was delightful and Mrs.
King is just splendid."

They had famous talks about Salem afterward, and the little towns
around. Miss Recompense said now she shouldn't know how to live without
a child in the house. Mrs. King went home to her husband and little
ones, and Doris imagined the joy in greeting such a fond mother. Uncle
Win half promised he would visit New York sometime. Even Aunt Priscilla
was pleased when Doris came up to Sudbury Street, and wanted her full
share of every visit. And they were all amazed when she went over to
Uncle Win's to spend a day and was very cordial with Miss Recompense.
They had a nice chat about the old times and the Salem witches and the
dead and gone Governors--even Governor and Lady Gage, who had been very
gay in her day; and both women had seen her riding about in her elegant
carriage, often with a handsome young girl at her side.

She had some business, too, with Uncle Win. They were in the study a
long while together.

"Living with the Leveretts has certainly changed Aunt Priscilla very
much," he said later in the evening to Miss Recompense. "I begin to
think it is not good for people to live so much alone when they are
going down the shady side of life. Or perhaps it would not be so shady
if they would allow a little sun to shine in it."

Solomon was full of purring content and growing lazier every day.
Latterly he had courted Uncle Win's society. There was a wide ledge in
one of the southern windows, and Doris made a cushion to fit one end. He
loved to lie here and bask in the sunshine. When there was a fire on the
hearth he had another cushion in the corner. Sometimes he sauntered
around and interviewed the books quite as if he was aware of their
contents. He considered that he had a supreme right to Doris' lap, and
he sometimes had half a mind to spring up on Uncle Win's knee, but the
invitation did not seem sufficiently pressing.

Cary was at home regularly now, except that he spent one night every
week with a friend at Charlestown, and went frequently to the Cragies'
to meet some of his old chums. He had not appeared to care much for
Doris at first, and she was rather shy. Latterly they had become quite
friends.

But it seemed to Doris that he was so much gayer and brighter at Madam
Royall's, where he certainly was a great favorite. Miss Alice was very
brilliant and charming. They were always having hosts of company. Mr.
and Mrs. Winslow were at the head of one circle in society. And this
autumn Miss Jane Morse was married and went to live in Sheaffe Street in
handsome style. She had done very well indeed. Betty was one of the
bridesmaids and wore a white India silk in which she looked quite a
beauty.

Miss Helen Chapman was transferred to Mrs. Rowson's school to be
finished. Doris and Eudora still attended Miss Parker's. But Madam
Royall had treated the girls to the new instrument coming into vogue,
the pianoforte. It's tone was so much richer and deeper than the old
spinet. She liked it very much herself. Doris was quite wild over it.
Madam Royal begged that she might be allowed to take lessons on it with
the girls. Uncle Winthrop said in a year or two she might have one if
she liked it and could learn to play.

She and Betty used to talk about Elizabeth Manning. There was a new baby
now, another little boy. Mrs. Leverett made a visit and brought home
Hester, to ease up things for the winter. Elizabeth couldn't go to
school any more, there was so much to do. She wrote Doris quite a long
letter and sent it by grandmother. Postage was high then, and people did
not write much for pure pleasure.

And just before the new year, when Betty was planning to go to New York
for her visit to Mrs. King, a great sorrow came to all of them. Uncle
Leverett had not seemed well all the fall, though he was for the most
part his usual happy self, but business anxieties pressed deeply upon
him and Warren. He used to drop in now and then and take tea with Cousin
Winthrop, and as they sat round the cheerful fire Doris would bring her
stool to his side and slip her hand in his as she had that first winter.
She was growing tall quite rapidly now, and pretty by the minute, Uncle
Leverett said.

There was no end of disquieting rumors. American shipping was greatly
interfered with and American seamen impressed aboard British ships by
the hundreds, often to desert at the first opportunity. Merchantmen were
deprived of the best of their crews for the British navy, as that
country was carrying on several wars; and now Wellington had gone to the
assistance of the Spanish, and all Europe was trying to break the power
of Napoleon, who had set out since the birth of his son, now crowned
King of Rome, to subdue all the nations.

The _Leopard-Chesapeake_ affair had nearly plunged us into war, but it
was promptly disavowed by the British Government and some indemnity
paid. There was a powerful sentiment opposed to war in New York and New
England, but the people were becoming much inflamed under repeated
outrages. Young men were training in companies and studying up naval
matters. The country had so few ships then that to rush into a struggle
was considered madness.

Mr. Winthrop Adams was among those bitterly opposed to war. Cary was
strongly imbued with a young man's patriotic enthusiasm. There was a
good deal of talk at Madam Royall's, and a young lieutenant had been
quite a frequent visitor and was an admirer also of the fair Miss Alice.
Then Alfred Barron, his friend at Charlestown, had entered the naval
service. Studying law seemed dry and tiresome to the young fellow when
such stirring events were happening on every side.

Uncle Leverett took a hard cold early in the new year. He was indoors
several days, then some business difficulties seemed to demand his
attention and he went out again. A fever set in, and though at first it
did not appear serious, after a week the doctor began to look very
grave. Betty stopped her preparations and wrote a rather apprehensive
letter to Mrs. King.

One day Uncle Win was sent for, and remained all the afternoon and
evening. The next morning he went down to the store.

"I'm afraid father's worse," said Warren. "His fever was very high
through the night, and he was flighty, and now he seems to be in a sort
of stupor, with a very feeble pulse. Oh, Uncle Win, I haven't once
thought of his dying, and now I am awfully afraid. Business is in such a
dreadful way. That has worried him."

Mr. Adams went up to Sudbury Street at once. The doctor was there.

"There has been a great change since yesterday," he said gravely. "We
must prepare for the worst. It has taken me by surprise, for he bid fair
to pull through."

Alas, the fears were only too true! By night they had all given up hope
and watched tearfully for the next twenty-four hours, when the kindly,
upright life that had blessed so many went to its own reward.

To Doris is seemed incredible. That poor Miss Henrietta Maria should
slip out of life was only a release, and that Miss Arabella in the
ripeness of age should follow had awakened in her heart no real sorrow,
but a gentle sense of their having gained something in another world.
But Uncle Leverett had so much here, so many to love him and to need
him.

Death, the mystery to all of us, is doubly so to the young. When Doris
looked on Uncle Leverett's placid face she was very sure he could not be
really gone, but mysteriously asleep.

Yes, little Doris--the active, loving, thinking man had "fallen on
sleep," and the soul had gone to its reward.

Foster Leverett had been very much respected, and there were many
friends to follow him to his grave in the old Granary burying ground,
where the Fosters and Leveretts rested from their labors. There on the
walk stood the noble row of elms that Captain Adino Paddock had imported
from England a dozen years before the Revolutionary War broke out, in
their very pride of strength and grandeur now, even if they were
leafless.

It seemed very hard and cruel to leave him here in the bleakness of
midwinter, Doris thought. And he was not really dead to her until the
bearers turned away with empty hands, and the friends with sorrowful
greeting passed out of the inclosure and left him alone to the coming
evening and the requiem of the wind soughing through the trees.

Doris sat by Miss Recompense that evening with Solomon on her lap. She
could not study, she did not want to read or sew or make lace. Uncle
Winthrop had gone up to Sudbury Street. All the family were to be there.
The Kings had come from New York and the Mannings from Salem.

"Oh," said Doris, after a long silence, "how can Aunt Elizabeth live,
and Betty and Warren, when they cannot see uncle Leverett any more! And
there are so many things to talk about, only they can never ask him any
questions, and he was so--so comforting. He was the first one that came
to me on the vessel, you know, and he said to Captain Grier, 'Have you a
little girl who has come from Old Boston to New Boston?' Then he put
his arm around me, and I liked him right away. And the great fire in the
hall was so lovely. I liked everybody but Aunt Priscilla, and now I feel
sorry for her and like her a good deal. Sometimes she gets queer and
what she calls 'pudgicky.' But she is real good to Betty."

"She's a sensible, clear-headed woman, and she has good solid
principles. I do suppose we all get a little queer. I can see it in
myself."

"Oh, dear Miss Recompense, you are not queer," protested Doris, seizing
her hand. "When I first came I was a little afraid--you were so very
nice. And then I remembered that Miss Arabella had all these nice ways,
and could not bear a cloth askew nor towels wrinkled instead of being
laid straight, nor anything spilled at the table, nor an untidy room,
and she was very sweet and nice. And then I tried to be as neat as I
could."

"I knew you had been well brought up." Miss Recompense was pleased
always to be compared to her "dear Miss Arabella." There was something
grateful to her woman's heart, that had long ago held a longing for a
child of her own, in the ardent tone Doris always uttered this
endearment.

"Miss Recompense, don't you think there is something in people loving
you? You want to love them in return. You want to do the things they
like. And when they smile and are glad, your whole heart is light with a
kind of inward sunshine. And I think if Mrs. Manning would smile on
Elizabeth once in a while, and tell her what she did was nice, and that
she was smart,--for she is very, very smart,--I know it would comfort
her."

"You see, people haven't thought it was best to praise children. They
rarely did in my day."

"But Uncle Leverett praised Warren and Betty, and always said what Aunt
Elizabeth cooked and did was delightful."

"Foster Leverett was one man out of a thousand. They will all miss him
dreadfully."

Aunt Priscilla would have been amazed to know that Mr. Leverett had been
in the estimation of Miss Recompense an ideal husband. Years ago she had
compared other men with him and found them wanting.

Uncle Win was much surprised to find them sitting there talking when he
came home, for it was ten o'clock. Cary returned shortly after, and the
two men retired to the study. But there was a curious half-dread of some
intangible influence that kept Doris awake a long while. The wind moaned
outside and now and then raised to a somber gust sweeping across the
wide Common. Oh, how lonely it must be in the old burying ground!

Mr. Leverett's will had been read that evening. The business was left to
Warren, as Hollis had most of his share years before. To the married
daughters a small remembrance, to Betty and her mother the house in
Sudbury Street, to be kept or sold as they should elect; if sold, they
were to share equally.

Mrs. King was very well satisfied. In the present state of affairs
Warren's part was very uncertain, and his married sisters were to be
paid out of that. The building was old, and though the lot was in a good
business location, the value at that time was not great.

"It seems to me the estate ought to be worth more," said Mrs. Manning.
"I did suppose father was quite well off, and had considerable ready
money."

"So he did two years ago," answered Warren. "But it has been spent in
the effort to keep afloat. If the times should ever get better----"

"You'll pull through," said Hollis encouragingly.

He had not suffered so much from the hard times, and was prospering.

The will had been remade six months before, after a good deal of
consideration.

When Mrs. King went home, a few days after, she said privately to
Warren: "Do not trouble about my legacy, and if you come to hard places
I am sure Matt will help you out if he possibly can."

Warren thanked her in a broken voice.

Mr. King said nearly the same thing as he grasped the young fellow's
hand.

They were a very lonely household. Of course, Betty could not think of
going away. And now that they knew what a struggle it had been for some
time to keep matters going comfortably, they cast about to see what
retrenchment could be made. Even if they wanted to, this would be no
time to sell. The house seemed much too large for them, yet it was not
planned so that any could be rented out.

"If you're set upon that," said Aunt Priscilla, "I'll take the spare
rooms, whether I need them or not. And we will just go on together.
Strange though that Foster, who was so much needed, should be taken, and
I, without a chick or a child, and so much older, be left behind."

There was a new trustee to be looked up for Doris. A much younger man
was needed. If Cary were five or six years older! Foster Leverett's
death was a great shock to Winthrop Adams. Sometimes it seemed as if a
shadowy form hovered over his shoulder, warning him that middle life was
passing. He had a keen disappointment, too, in his son. He had hoped to
find in him an intellectual companion as the years went on, but he could
plainly see that his heart was not in his profession. The young fellow's
ardor had been aroused on other lines that brought him in direct
opposition to the elder's views. He had gone so far as to ask his
father's permission to enlist in the navy, which had been refused, not
only with prompt decision, but with a feeling of amazement that a son of
his should have proposed such a step.

Cary had the larger love of country and the enthusiasm of youth. His
father was deeply interested in the welfare and standing of the city,
and he desired it to keep at the head. He had hoped to see his son one
of the rising men of the coming generation. War horrified him: it called
forth the cruel and brutal side of most men, and was to be undertaken
only for extremely urgent reasons as the last hope and salvation of
one's country. We had gained a right to stand among the nations of the
world; it was time now that we should take upon ourselves something
higher--the cultivation of literature and the fine arts. To plunge the
country into war again would be setting it back decades.

He had taken a great deal of pleasure in the meetings, of the Anthology
Club and the effort they had made to keep afloat a _Magazine of Polite
Literature_. The little supper, which was very plain; the literary chat;
the discussions of English poets and essayists, several of which were
reprinted at this era; and the encouragement of native writers, of whom
there were but few except in the line of sermons and orations. By 1793
there had been two American novels published, and though we should smile
over them now we can find their compeers in several of the old English
novels that crop out now and then, exhumed from what was meant to be a
kindly oblivion.

The magazine had been given up, and the life somehow had gone out of the
club. There was a plan to form a reading room and library to take its
place. Men like Mr. Adams were anxious to advance the intellectual
reputation of the town, though few people found sufficient leisure to
devote to the idea of a national literature. Others said: "What need,
when we have the world of brilliant English thinkers that we can never
excel, the poets, and novelists! Let us study those and be content."

The incidents of the winter had been quite depressing to Mr. Adams. Cary
was around to the Royalls' nearly every evening, sometimes to other
places, and at discussions that would have alarmed his father still more
if he had known it. The young fellow's conscience gave him many twinges.
"Children, obey your parents" had been instilled into every generation
and until a boy was of age he had no lawful right to think for himself.

So it happened that Doris became more of a companion to Uncle Win. They
rambled about as the spring opened and noted the improvements. Old Frog
Lane was being changed into Boylston Street. Every year the historic
Common took on some new charm. There was the Old Elm, that dated back to
tradition, for no one could remember its youth. She was interested in
the conflicts that had ushered in the freedom of the American Colonies.
Here the British waited behind their earthworks for Washington to attack
them, just as every winter boys congregated behind their snowy walls and
fought mimic battles. Indeed, during General Gage's administration the
soldiers had driven the boys off their coasting place on the Common, and
in a body they had gone to the Governor and demanded their rights, which
were restored to them. Many a famous celebration had occurred here, and
here the militia met on training days and had their banquets in tents.
At the first training all the colored population was allowed to throng
the Common; but at the second, when the Ancient and Honorable Artillery
chose its new officers, they were strictly prohibited.

Many of the ropewalks up at the northern end were silent now. Indeed,
everybody seemed waiting with bated breath for something to happen, but
all nature went on its usual way and made the town a little world of
beauty with wild flowers and shrubs and the gardens coming into bloom,
and the myriads of fruit trees with their crowns of snowy white and pink
in all gradations.

"I think the world never was so beautiful," said Doris to Uncle
Winthrop.

It was so delightful to have such an appreciative companion, even if she
was only a little girl.

Cary's birthday was the last of May, and it was decided to have the
family party at the same time. Cary's young friends would be invited in
the evening, but for the elders there would be the regular supper.

"You will have your freedom suit, and afterward you can do just as you
like," said Doris laughingly. She and Cary had been quite friendly of
late, young-mannish reserve having given place to a brotherly regard.

"Do you suppose I _can_ do just as I like?" He studied the eager face.

"Of course you wouldn't want to do anything Uncle Win would not like."

Cary flushed. "I wonder if fathers always know what is best? And when
you are a man----" he began.

"Don't you want to study law?"

"Under some circumstances I should like it."

"Would you like keeping a store or having a factory, or building
beautiful houses--architecture, I believe, the fine part is called. Or
painting portraits like Copley and Stuart and the young Mr. Allston up
in Court Street."

"No, I can't aspire to that kind of genius, and I am sure I shouldn't
like shop-keeping. I am just an ordinary young fellow and I am afraid I
shall always be a disappointment to the kindest of fathers. I wish there
were three or four other children."

"How strange it would seem," returned Doris musingly.

"I am glad he has you, little Doris."

"Are you really glad?" Her face was alight with joy. "Sometimes I have
almost wondered----"

"Don't wonder any more. You are like a dear little sister. During the
last six months it has been a great pleasure to me to see father so fond
of you. I hope you will never go away."

"I don't mean to. I love Uncle Win dearly. It used to trouble me
sometimes when Uncle Leverett was alive, lest I couldn't love quite
even, you know," and a tiny line came in her smooth brow.

"What an idea!" with a soft smile that suggested his father.

"It's curious how you can love so many people," she said reflectively.

At first the Leveretts thought they could not come to the party, but
Uncle Winthrop insisted strongly. Some of the other relatives had lost
members from their households. All the gayety would be reserved for the
evening. But Cary said they would miss Betty very much.

They had a pleasant afternoon, and Betty was finally prevailed upon to
stay a little while in the evening. Cary was congratulated by the elder
relatives, who said many pleasant things and gave him good wishes as to
his future success. One of the cousins proposed his health, and Cary
replied in a very entertaining manner. There was a birthday cake that he
had to cut and pass around.

"I think Cary has been real delightful," said Betty. "I've never felt
intimately acquainted with him, because he has always seemed rather
distant, and went with the quality and all that, and we are rather plain
people. Oh, how proud of him Uncle Win must be!"

He certainly was proud of his gracious attentions to the elders and his
pleasant way of taking the rather tiresome compliments of a few of the
old ladies who had known his Grandfather Cary as well as his Grandfather
Adams.

Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Priscilla sat up in the room of Miss Recompense
with a few of the guests who wanted to see the young people gather.
There were four colored musicians, and they began to tune their
instruments out on the rustic settee at the side of the front garden,
where the beautiful drooping honey locusts hid them from sight and made
even the tuning seem enchanting. Girls in white gowns trooped up the
path, young men in the height of fashion carried fans and nosegays for
them; there was laughing and chattering and floating back and forth to
the dressing rooms.

Madam Royall came with Miss Alice and Helen, who was allowed to go out
occasionally under her wing. Eudora had been permitted just to look on a
while and to return with grandmamma.

The large parlor was cleared of the small and dainty tables and articles
likely to be in the way of the dancers. The first was to be a new march
to a patriotic air, and the guests stood on the stairs to watch them
come out of the lower door of the long room, march through the hall, and
enter the parlor at the other door. Oh, what a pretty crowd they were!
The old Continental styles had not all gone out, but were toned down a
little. There were pretty embroidered satin petticoats and sheer gowns
falling away at the sides, with a train one had to tuck up under the
belt when one really danced. Hair of all shades done high on the head
with a comb of silver or brilliants, or tortoise shell so clear that you
could see the limpid variations. Pompadour rolls, short curls, dainty
puffs, many of the dark heads powdered, laces and frills and ribbons,
and dainty feet in satin slippers and silken hose.

After that they formed quadrilles in the parlor. There was space for
three and one in the hall. Eudora and Doris patted their feet on the
stairs in unison, and clasping each other's hands smiled and moved their
heads in perfect time.

Aunt Priscilla admitted that it was a beautiful sight, but she had her
doubts about it. Betty was sorry there was such a sad cause for her not
being among them. Even Cary had expressed regrets about it.

Then the Leveretts and Madam Royall went home. A few of the elders had a
game of loo, and Mr. Adams played chess with Morris Winslow, whose
pretty wife still enjoyed dancing, though he was growing stout and
begged to be excused on a warm night.

They played forfeits afterward and had a merry time. Then there was
supper, and they drank toasts and made bright speeches, and there was a
great deal of jesting and gay laughter, and much wishing of success, a
judgeship in the future, a mission abroad perhaps, a pretty and loving
wife, a happy and honorable old age.

They drank the health of Mr. Winthrop as well, and congratulated him on
his promising son. He was very proud and happy that night, and planned
within his heart what he would do for his boy.

Doris kept begging to stay up a little longer. The music was so
fascinating, for the band was playing soft strains out on the front
porch while the guests were at supper. She sat on the stairs quite
enchanted with the gay scene.

The guests wandered about the hall and parlor and chatted joyously. Then
there was a movement toward breaking up.

Miss Alice espied her.

"Oh, you midget, are you up here at midnight?" she cried. "Have we done
Cary ample honor on his arrival at man's estate?"

"You were all so beautiful!" said Doris breathlessly. "And the dancing
and the music: It was splendid!"

Helen kissed her good-night with girlish effusion. Some of the other
ladies spoke to her, and Mrs. Winslow said: "No doubt you will have a
party in this old house. But you will have a girl's advantage. You need
not wait until you are twenty-one."

When the last good-nights were said, and the lights put out, Cary Adams
wondered whether he would have the determination to avow his plans.



CHAPTER XIX

THE HIGH RESOLVE OF YOUTH


War was declared. The President, James Madison, proclaimed it June 18,
1812. Hostilities opened promptly. True, England's navy was largely
engaged with France in the tremendous effort to keep Napoleon confined
within the boundaries that he had at one time assented to by treaty, but
at that period she had over a thousand vessels afloat, while America had
only seventeen warships in her navy to brave them.

There was a call for men and money. The Indian troubles had been
fomented largely by England. There had been fighting on the borders, but
the battle of Tippecanoe had broken the power of Tecumseh--for the time,
at least. But now the hopes of the Indian chieftain revived, and the
country was beset by both land and naval warfare.

The town had been all along opposed to war. It had been said of Boston a
few years before that she was like Tyre of old, and that her ships
whitened every sea. Still, now that the fiat had gone forth, the latent
enthusiasm came to the surface, and men were eager to enlist. A company
had been studying naval tactics at Charlestown, and most of them offered
their services, filled with the enthusiasm of youth and brimming with
indignation at the treatment our sailors were continually receiving.

Still, the little navy had proudly distinguished itself in the
Mediterranean, and the _Constitution_ had gained for herself the
sobriquet of "Old Ironsides"--a Boston-built vessel, though the live
oak, the red cedar, and the pitch pine had come from South Carolina. But
Paul Revere had furnished the copper bolts and spikes, and when the ship
was recoppered, later on, that came from the same place. Ephraim Thayer,
at the South End, had made her gun carriages, and her sails were
manufactured in the Old Granary building.

"A bunch of pine boards with a bit of striped bunting" had been the
enemy's disdainful description of our youthful navy. And now they were
to try their prowess with the Mistress of the Seas, who had defeated the
combined navies of Europe. No wonder the country stood astounded over
its own daring.

Everything afloat was hurriedly equipped as a war vessel. The solid,
far-sighted men of New York and New England shook their heads over the
great mistake Congress and the President had made.

Warren Leverett began to talk about enlisting. Business had been running
behind. True, he could appeal to his brother-in-law King. He had sounded
Hollis, who declared he had all he could do to keep afloat himself.

Mrs. Leverett besought him to take no hasty step. What could they do
without him? They might break up the home. Electa would be glad to have
Betty--there were some things she could do, but Aunt Priscilla--whose
health was really poor----

Aunt Priscilla understood the drift presently, and the perplexity.
Warren admitted that if he had some money to tide him over he would
fight through. The war couldn't last forever.

"And you never thought of me!" declared Aunt Priscilla, pretending to be
quite indignant. "See here, Warren Leverett, when I made my will I
looked out for you and Betty. Mary Manning shan't hoard up any of my
money, and 'Lecty King, thank the Lord, doesn't want it. So if you're to
have it in the end you may as well take some of it now, fursisee. I
shall have enough to last my time out. And I'm settled and comfortable
here and don't want to be routed out and set down elsewhere."

Warren and his mother were surprised and overcome by the offer. He would
take it only on condition that he should pay Aunt Priscilla the
interest.

But his business stirred up wonderfully. Still, they all felt it was
very generous in Aunt Priscilla, whose money had really been her idol.

Doris had gone over from her music lesson one afternoon. They were
always so glad to see her. Aunt Priscilla thought a piano in such times
as these was almost defying Providence. But even the promise of that did
not spoil Doris, and they were always glad to see her drop in and hear
her dainty bits of news.

They wanted very much to keep her to supper.

"Why, they"--which meant the family at home--"will be sure you have
stayed here or at the Royalls'. Mr. Winslow has given ever so much money
toward the fitting out of a vessel. They are all very patriotic. And
Cary's uncle, Mr. March, has gone in heart and hand. I don't know which
is right," said Betty with a sigh, "but now that we are in it I hope we
will win."

But Doris was afraid Miss Recompense would feel anxious, and she
promised to come in a few days and stay to supper.

It was very odd that just as she reached the corner Cousin Cary should
cross the street and join her.

"I have been down having a talk with Warren," he said as if in
explanation. "I wish I had a good, plodding business head like that, and
Warren isn't lacking in the higher qualities, either. If there was money
enough to keep the house going, he would enlist. He had almost resolved
to when this stir in business came."

"Oh, I don't know what his mother would have done! If Uncle Leverett was
alive----"

"He would have consented in a minute. Someone's sons must go," Cary said
decisively. "No, don't go straight home--come over to the Common. Doris,
you are only a little girl, but I want to talk to you. There is no one
else----"

Doris glanced at him in amazement. He was quite generally grave, though
he sometimes teased her, and occasionally read with her and explained
any difficult point. But she always felt so like a very little girl with
him.

They went on in silence, however, until they crossed Common Street and
passed on under the magnificent elms. Clumps of shrubbery were blooming.
Vines ran riotously over supports, and roses and honeysuckle made the
air sweet.

"Doris,"--his voice had a little huskiness in it,--"you are very fond of
father, and he loves you quite as if you were his own child. Oh, I wish
you were! I wish he had half a dozen sons and daughters. If mother had
lived----"

"Yes," Doris said at length, in the long silence broken only by the song
and whistle of myriad birds.

"I don't know how to tell you. I can't soften things, incidents, or
explanations. I am so apt to go straight to the point, and though it may
be honorable, it is not always wisest or best. But I can't help it now.
I have enlisted in the navy. We start for Annapolis this evening."

"Oh, Cary! And Uncle Win----"

"That is it. That gives me a heartache, I must confess. For, you see, I
can't go and tell him in a manly way, as I would like. We have had some
talks over it. I asked him before I was of age, and he refused in the
most decisive manner to consider it. He said if I went I would have to
choose between the country and him, which meant--a separation for years,
maybe. It is strange, too, for he is noble and just and patriotic on
certain lines. I do think he would spend any money on me, give me
everything I could possibly want, but he feels in some way that I am his
and it is my duty to do with my life what he desires, not what I like. I
am talking over your head, you are such a little girl, and so
simple-hearted. And I have really come to love you a great deal, Doris."

She looked up with a soft smile, but there were tears in her eyes.

"You see, a big boy who has no sisters doesn't get used to little girls.
And when he really begins to admire them they are generally older. Then,
I have always been with boys and young men. I was glad when you came,
because father was so interested in you. And I thought he had begun to
love you so much that he wouldn't really mind if I went away. But, you
see, his heart would be big enough for a houseful of children."

"Oh, why do you go? He will be--broken-hearted."

"Little Doris, I shall be broken-hearted if I stay. I shall begin to
hate law--maybe I shall take to drink--young fellows do at times. I know
I shall be just good for nothing. I should like best to talk it over
dispassionately with him, but that can't be done. We should both say
things that would hurt each other and that we should regret all our
lives. I have written him a long letter, but I wanted to tell someone. I
thought of Betty first, and Madam Royall, but no one can comfort him
like you. Then I wanted you to feel, Doris, that I was not an
ungrateful, disobedient son. I wish we could think alike about the war,
but it seems that we cannot. And because you are here,--and, Doris, you
are a very sweet little girl, and you will love him always, I know,--I
give him in your charge. I hope to come back, but the chances of war are
of a fearful sort, and if I should not, will you keep to him always,
Doris? Will you be son and daughter to him as you grow up--oh, Doris,
don't cry! People die every day, you know, staying at home. I have often
thought how sad it was that my mother and both your parents should die
so young----"

His voice broke then. They came to a rustic seat and sat down. He took
her hand and pressed it to his lips.

"If I shouldn't ever come back"--tremulously--"I should like to feel at
the last moment there was someone who would tell him that my very latest
thought was of him and his tender love all my twenty-one years. I want
you to make him feel that it was no disrespect to him, but love for my
country, that impelled me to the step. You will understand it better
when you grow older, and I can trust you to do me full justice and to
be tender to him. And at first, Doris, when I can, I shall write to
you. If he doesn't forbid you, I want you to answer if I can get
letters. This is a sad, sad talk for a little girl----"

Doris tried very hard not to sob. She seemed to understand intuitively
how it was, and that to make any appeal could only pain him without
persuading. If she were as wise and bright as Betty!

"That is all--or if I said any more it would be a repetition, and it is
awfully hard on you. But you will love him and comfort him."

"I shall love him and stay with him all my life," said Doris with tender
solemnity.

They were both too young to understand all that such a promise implied.

"My dear little sister!" He rose and stooping over kissed her on the
fair forehead. "I will walk back to the house with you," he added as she
rose.

Neither of them said a word until they reached the corner. Then he took
both hands and, kissing her again, turned away, feeling that he could
not even utter a good-by.

Doris stood quite still, as if she was stunned. She was not crying in
any positive fashion, but the tears dropped silently. She could not go
indoors, so she went down to the big apple tree that had a seat all
around the trunk. Was Uncle Win at home? Then she heard voices. Miss
Recompense had a visitor, and she was very glad.

The lady, an old friend, stayed to supper. Uncle Win did not make his
appearance. Doris took a book afterward and sat out on the stoop, but
reading was only a pretense. She was frightened now at having a secret,
and it seemed such a solemn thing as she recalled what she had promised.
She would like to spend all her life with Uncle Win; but could she care
for him and make him happy, when the one great love of his life was
gone?

Miss Recompense walked out to the gate with her visitor, and they had a
great many last bits to say, and then she watched her going down the
street.

"Child, you can't see to read," she said to Doris. "I think it is damp.
You had better come in. Mr. Adams will not be home before ten."

Doris entered the lighted hall and stood a moment uncertain.

"How pale and heavy-eyed you look!" exclaimed Miss Recompense. "Does
your head ache? Have they some new trouble in Sudbury Street?"

"Oh, no. But I am tired. I think I will go to bed. Good-night, dear Miss
Recompense," and she gave her a gentle hug.

She cried a little softly to her pillow. Had Cary gone? When Uncle Win
came home he would find the letter. She dreaded to-morrow.

Cary had one more errand before he started. He had said good-by to them
at Madam Royall's and announced his enlistment, but he had asked Alice
to meet him at the foot of the garden. They were not lovers, though he
was perhaps quite in love. And he knew that he had only to speak to gain
his father's consent and have his way to matrimony made easy, since it
was Alice Royall. But he had never been quite sure that she cared for
him with her whole soul, as Isabel had cared for Morris Winslow. And if
he won her--would he, could he go away?

He used to wonder later on how much was pure patriotism and how much a
desire to stand well with Alice Royall. She was proudly patriotic and
had stirred his blood many a time with her wishes and desires for the
country. Grandmamma Royall had laughed a little at her vehemence, and
said it was fortunate she was not a boy.

"I should enlist at once. Or what would be better yet, I would beg
brother Morris to fit out a war ship, and look up the men to command it,
and go in _any_ capacity. I should not wait for a high-up appointment."

When Cary confessed his step first to her, she caught his hands in hers
so soft and delicate.

"I knew you were the stuff out of which heroes were made!" she cried
exultantly. "Oh, Cary, I shall pray for you day and night, and you will
come back crowned with honors."

"If I come back----"

"You will. Take my word for your guerdon. I can't tell you _how_ I know
it, but I am sure you will return. I can see you and the future----"

She paused, flushed with excitement, her eyes intense, her rosy lips
tremulous, and looked, indeed, as if she might be inspired.

So she met him again at the garden gate for a last good-by. Young people
who had been well brought up did not play at love-making in those days,
though they might be warm friends. A girl seldom gave or received
caresses until the elders had signified assent. An engagement was quite
a solemn thing, not lightly to be entered into. And even to himself Cary
seemed very young. All his instincts were those of a gentleman, and in
his father he had had an example of the most punctilious honor.

They walked up and down a few moments. He pressed tender kisses on her
fair hand, about which there always seemed to cling the odor of roses.
And then he tore himself away with a passionate sorrow that his father,
the nearest in human ties of love, could not bid him Godspeed.

The next morning Doris wondered what had happened. There was a
loneliness in the very air, as there had been when Uncle Leverett died.
The sky was overcast, not exactly promising a storm, but soft and
penetrative, as if presaging sorrow.

Oh, yes, she remembered now. She dressed herself and went quietly
downstairs.

"You may as well come and have your breakfast," exclaimed Miss
Recompense. "Your uncle sent down word that he had a headache and begged
not to be disturbed. He was up a long while after he came home last
night; it must have been past midnight when he went to bed. I wish he
did not get so deeply interested in improvements and everything. And if
we are to be bombarded and destroyed I don't see any sense in laying out
new streets and filling up ponds and wasting the money of the town."

It seemed to Doris as if she could not swallow a mouthful. She tried
heroically. Then she went out and gathered a bunch of roses for Uncle
Win's study. She generally read French and Latin a while with him in the
morning. Then she made her bed, dusted her room, put her books in her
satchel and went to school in an unwilling sort of fashion. How long the
morning seemed! Then there was a half-hour in deportment--we should call
it physical culture at present. All the girls were gay and chatty.
Eudora told her about a new lace stitch. Grandmamma had been out
yesterday where there was such an elegant Spanish woman with coal-black
eyes and hair. Her family had fled to this country to escape the horrors
of war. They had been rich, but were now quite poor, and she was
thinking of having a needlework class.

Did Eudora know Cary had gone away?

Uncle Win came out to dinner. She was a little late. He glanced up and
gave a faint half-smile, but, oh, how deadly pale he was!

"Dear Uncle Winthrop--is your headache better?" she asked with gentle
solicitude.

"A little," he said gravely.

It was a very quiet meal. Although Mr. Winthrop Adams had a delicate
appearance, he was rarely ill. Now there were deep rings under his eyes,
and the utter depression was sad indeed to behold.

Doris nearly always ran in the study and gossiped girlishly about the
morning's employments. Now she sauntered out on the porch. There was
neither music nor writing class. She wondered if she had better sew. She
was learning to do that quite nicely, but the stocking still remained a
puzzle.

"Doris," said a gentle voice through the open window; and the sadness
pierced her heart.

She rose and went in. Solomon lay on his cushion in the corner, and even
he, she thought, had a troubled look in his eyes. Uncle Win sat by the
table, and there lay Cary's letter.

She put her arms about his neck and pressed her soft warm cheek against
his, so cool that it startled her.

"My clear little Doris," he began. "I am childless. I have no son. Cary
has gone away, against my wishes, in the face of my prohibition. I do
not suppose he will ever return alive. And so I have given him up,
Doris"--his voice failed him. He had meant to say, "You are all I have."

"Uncle Win--may I tell you--I saw him yesterday in the afternoon. And he
told me he had enlisted----"

"Oh, then, you know!" The tone somehow grew harder.

"Dear Uncle Win, I think he could not help going. He was very brave.
And he was sorry, too. His eyes were full of tears while he was talking.
And he asked me----"

"To intercede for him?"

"No--to stay here with you always. He said I was like a little sister.
And I promised. Uncle Win, if you will keep me I will be your little
girl all my life long. I will never leave you. I love you very dearly.
For since Uncle Leverett went away I have given you both loves."

She stood there in silence many minutes. Oh, how comforting was the
clasp of the soft arms about his neck, how consoling the dear, assuring
voice!

"Will you tell me about it?" he said at length.

She was a wise little thing, though I think her chief wisdom lay in her
desire not to give anyone pain. Some few sentences she left out, others
she softened.

"Oh," she said beseechingly, "you will not be angry with him, Uncle
Winthrop? I think it is very brave and heroic in him. It is like some of
the old soldiers in the Latin stories. I shall study hard now, so I can
read about them all. And I shall pray all the time that the war will
come to an end. We shall be so proud and glad when he returns. And then
you will have two children again."

"Yes--we will hope for the war to end speedily. It ought never to have
begun. What can we do against an enemy that has a hundred arms ready to
destroy us? Little Doris, I am glad to have you."

Winthrop Adams was not a man to talk over his sorrows. He had been
wounded to the quick. He had not dreamed that his son would disregard
his wishes. His fatherly pride was up in arms. But he did not turn his
wounded side to the world. He quietly admitted that his son had gone to
Annapolis, and received the congratulations of friends who sincerely
believed it was time to strike.

Salem was busy at her wharves, where peaceable merchantmen were being
transformed into war vessels. Charlestown was all astir, and sailors
donned the uniform proudly. New York and Baltimore joined in the general
activity. The _Constellation_ was fitting out at Norfolk. The
_Chesapeake_, the _United States_, and the _President_ were to be made
famous on history's page. Privateers without number were hurried to the
fore.

The _Constitution_ had quite a reception in New York, and she started
out with high endeavors. She had not gone far, however, before she found
herself followed by three British frigates, and among them the
_Guerriere_, whose captain Commodore Hull had met in New York. To be
captured in this manner--for fighting against such odds would be of no
avail--was not to be thought of, so there was nothing but a race before
him. If he could reach Boston he would save his ship and his men, and
somewhere perhaps gain a victory.

Ah, what a race it was! The men put forth all their strength, all their
ingenuity. At times it seemed as if capture was imminent. By night and
by day, trying every experiment, working until they dropped from sheer
fatigue, and after an hour or two of rest going at it again--Captain
Hull kept her well to the windward, and with various maneuverings
puzzled the pursuers. Then Providence favored them with a fine, driving
rain, and she flew along in the darkness of the night, hardly daring to
hope, but at dawn, after a three days' race, Boston was in sight, and
her enemies were left behind.

But that was not in any sense a complete victory, and she started out
again to face her enemy and conquer if she could, for her captain knew
the British ship _Guerriere_ was lying somewhere in wait for her.
Everybody prayed and hoped. Firing was heard, but at such a distance
from the harbor nothing could be decided.

The frontier losses had been depressing in the extreme. Boston had hung
her flags at half-mast for the brave dead. But suddenly a report came
that the _Constitution_ had been victorious, and that the _Guerriere_
after having been disabled beyond any power of restoration, had been
sent to a watery grave.

In a moment it seemed as if the whole town was in a transport of joy.
Flags were waving everywhere, and a gayly decorated flotilla went out in
the harbor to greet the brave battle-scarred veteran. And when the tale
of the great victory ran from lip to lip the rejoicing was unbounded. A
national salute was fired, which was returned from the ship. The streets
were in festive array and crowded with people who could not restrain
their wild rejoicing. The _Guerriere_, which was to drive the insolent
striped bunting from the face of the seas, had been swept away in a
brief hour and a half, and the bunting waved above her grave. That night
the story was told over in many a home. The loss of the _Constitution_
had been very small compared to that of the _Guerriere_, which had
twenty-three dead and fifty-six wounded; and Captain Dacres headed the
list of prisoners.

There was a grand banquet at the Exchange Coffee House. The freedom of
the city was presented to Captain Hull, and New York sent him a handsome
sword. Congress voted him a gold medal, and Philadelphia a service of
plate.

At one blow the prestige of invincibility claimed for the British navy
was shattered. And now the _Constitution's_ earlier escape from the hot
chase of the three British frigates was understood to be a great race
for the nation's honor and welfare, as well as for their own lives, and
at last the baffled pursuers, out-sailed, out-maneuvered, dropped
behind with no story of success to tell, and were to gnaw their hearts
in bitterness when they heard of this glorious achievement.

Uncle Winthrop took Doris and Betty out in the carriage that they might
see the great rejoicing from all points. Everywhere one heard bits of
the splendid action and the intrepidity of Captain Hull and his men.

"I only wish Cary had been in it," said Betty with sparkling eyes.

Warren told them that when Lieutenant Read came on deck with Captain
Hull's "compliments, and wished to know if they had struck their flag,"
Captain Dacres replied:

"Well--I don't know. Our mizzenmast is gone, our mainmast is gone, and I
think you may say on the whole that we have struck our flag."

One of the points that pleased Mr. Adams very much was the official
report of Captain Dacres, who "wished to acknowledge, as a matter of
courtesy, that the conduct of Captain Hull and his officers to our men
had been that of a brave enemy; the greatest care being taken to prevent
our losing the smallest trifle, and the kindest attention being paid to
the wounded."

More than one officer was to admit the same fact before the war ended,
even if we did not receive the like consideration from our enemies.

"I only wish Cary had been on the _Constitution_," said Betty eagerly.
"I should be proud of the fact to my dying day, and tell it over to my
grandchildren."

A tint of color wavered over Uncle Winthrop's pale face. No one
mentioned Cary, out of a sincere regard for his father, except people
outside who did not know the truth of his sudden departure; though many
of his young personal friends were aware of his interest and his study
on the subject.

Old Boston had a gala time surely. The flags floated for days, and
everyone wore a kind of triumphant aspect. That her own ship, built with
so much native work and equipments, should be the first to which a
British frigate should strike her colors was indeed a triumph. Though
there were not wanting voices across the sea to say the _Guerriere_
should have gone down with flying colors, but even that would have been
impossible.

Miss Recompense and Uncle Winthrop began to discuss Revolutionary times,
and Doris listened with a great deal of interest. She delighted to
identify herself strongly with her adopted country, and in her secret
heart she was proud of Cary, though she could not be quite sure he was
right in the step he had taken. They missed him so much. She tried in
many ways to make up the loss, and her devotion went to her uncle's
heart.

If they could only hear! Not to know where he was seemed so hard to
bear.



CHAPTER XX

A VISITOR FOR DORIS


Doris was in the little still-room, as it was called--a large sort of
pantry shelved on one side, and with numerous drawers and a kind of
dresser with glass doors on another. By the window there were a table
and the dainty little still where Miss Recompense made perfumes and
extracts. There were boxes of sweet herbs, useful ones, bottles of
medicinal cordials and salves. Miss Recompense was a "master hand" at
such things, and the neighbors around thought her as good as a doctor.

It was so fragrant in this little room that Doris always had a vague
impression of a beautiful country. She had a kind of poetical
temperament, and she hoped some day to be able to write verses. Helen
Chapman had written a pretty song for a friend's birthday and had it set
to music. The quartette sang it so well that the leading paper had
praised it. There was no one she could confess her secret ambition to,
but if she ever _did_ achieve anything she would confide in Uncle
Winthrop. So she sat here with all manner of vague, delightful ideas
floating through her brain, steeped with the fragrance of balms and
odors.

"Please, 'm," and Dinah stood in the door in all the glory of her gay
afternoon turban, which seemed to make her face more black and
shining--"Please, 'm, dere's a young sojer man jus' come. He got a
bundle an' he say he got strict d'rections to gib it to missy. An'
here's de ticket."

"Oh, for me!" Doris took it eagerly and read aloud, "Lieutenant E. D.
Hawthorne." "Oh, Miss Recompense, it's from Cary, I know," and for a
moment she looked undecided.

Miss Recompense had on her morning gown, rather faded, though she had
changed it for dinner. Her sleeves were pushed above the elbow, her
hands were a little stained, and just now she could not leave her
concoction without great injury to it, though it was evidently improper
for a child like Doris, or indeed a young lady, to see a strange
gentleman alone. And Mr. Adams was out.

Doris cut the Gordian knot by flashing through the kitchen and entering
the lower end of the hall. The young man stood viewing "The Destruction
of the Spanish Armada." But he turned at the sort of bird-like flutter
and glanced at the vision that all his life long he thought the
prettiest sight he had ever beheld.

She had on a simple white frock, though it was one of her best, with a
narrow embroidered ruffle around the bottom that Madam Royall had given
her. When it was a little crumpled she put it on for afternoon wear. The
neck was cut a small square with a bit of edging around it, gathered
with a pink ribbon tied in a bow in front. She still wore her hair in
ringlets; it did not seem to grow very fast, but she had been promoted
to a pompadour, the front hair being brushed up over a cushion. That
left innumerable short ends to curl in tiny tendrils about her forehead.
Oddly enough, too, she had on a pink apron Betty had made out of the
best breadth of a pink India lawn frock she had worn out. It had pretty
pockets with a bow of the same.

"Miss Doris Adams," exclaimed the young lieutenant. "I should have known
you in a minute, although you are----" He paused and flushed, for Cary
had said, "She isn't exactly handsome, but very sweet-looking with
pretty, eager eyes and fair hair." He checked himself suddenly,
understanding the impropriety of paying her the compliment on the end of
his tongue, but he thought her an enchanting picture. "You are larger
than I supposed. Adams always said 'My little cousin.'"

"I was little when I first came. And I have grown ever so much this
summer--since Cary went away. Oh, have you seen him? How is he? Where is
he?"

Doris had a soft and curiously musical voice, the sound that lingered
with a sort of cadence. Her eyes shone in eager expectation, her curved
red lips were dewy sweet.

"He is well. He has sailed on the _United States_ as midshipman. I saw
him at Annapolis--indeed, we came quite near being on the same vessel.
He is a fine young fellow, but he doesn't look a day over eighteen. And
there _is_ a family resemblance," but he thought Doris would make a much
handsomer young woman than Cary would a young man. "And I have a small
packet for you that I was to deliver to no one else."

He held it out to her with a smile. It was sealed, and was also secured
with a bit of cord, which, of course, should have been a thread of silk,
but we saved our refinements of chivalry for other purposes.

"He is going to make a fine, earnest, patriotic sailor. You will never
hear anything about him that you need be ashamed of. He told me his
father wasn't quite reconciled to the step, but after this splendid
victory in Boston harbor--to strain a little point," laughingly, "the
town may well be proud of the courageous navy. And I hope you will hear
good news of him. One thing you may be sure of--he will never show the
white feather."

Oh, how her eyes glistened! There were tears in them as well.

"He described the house to me, and the town. I have never been in Boston
before, and have come from Washington on important business. I return
this evening. I don't know when I shall see him again, and letters to
vessels are so uncertain. That seems the hardest part of it all. But he
may happen in this very port before a great while. One never knows.
Believe that I am very glad to have the opportunity of coming myself,
and if in the future I should run across him on the high seas or the
shore even,"--smiling again,--"I shall feel better acquainted and more
than ever interested in him. There is one great favor I should like to
ask--could you show me the study? Adams talked so much about that and
his father."

"It is here." Doris made a pretty gesture with her hand, and he walked
to the door, glancing around. There was the high backed chair by the
table with its covering of Cordovan leather, and he could imagine the
father sitting there.

"One would want a year to journey around these four walls," he said with
a soft sigh. "A library like this is an uncommon sight. And you study
here? Adams said you had been such a comfort and pleasure to his father.
Oh, what a magnificent cat!"

"Kitty is mine," said Doris. She crossed over to the window, and Solomon
rose to his fullest extent, gave a comfortable stretch, and rubbed the
cheek of his young mistress, then arched his back, studied the visitor
out of sleepy green eyes and began to turn around him three times in cat
fashion.

They both laughed at that. Did Doris know what a pretty picture she made
of herself in her girlish grace?

"Thank you. What a splendid old hall! I should like to spend a day
looking round. But I had only the briefest while, and I was afraid I
should not get here. So I must be satisfied with my glimpse. I shall
hope that fate will send me this way again when I have more leisure. May
I pay a visit here?"

"Oh, yes," returned Doris impulsively. "And I can never tell you how
glad I am for this," touching the little packet caressingly to her
cheek. "There isn't any word with enough thanks and gratitude in it."

"I am glad to have earned your gratitude. And now I must say farewell,
for I know you are impatient to read your letter."

He stepped out on the porch and bowed with a kind of courtly grace.
Doris realized then that he was a very handsome young man.

"Miss Doris,"--he paused halfway down the steps,--"I wonder if I might
be so bold as to ask for yonder rose--the last on its parent stem?"

Thomas Moore had not yet immortalized "The Last Rose of Summer" and
given it such pathetic possibilities.

"Oh, yes," she said. "That is a late-blooming rose--indeed, it blooms
twice in the season." Only this morning she had gathered a bowl of rose
leaves for Miss Recompense, and this one had opened since. She broke
the stem and handed it to him. "It is a very little gift for all you
have brought me," she added in a soft, heart-felt tone.

"Thank you. I shall cherish it sacredly."

Miss Recompense had hurried and donned a gingham gown and a fresh cap.
She had come just in time to see the gift, and the manner in which the
young man received it alarmed her. And when he had walked down to the
street he turned and bowed and made a farewell gesture with his hand.

Doris had nothing to cut the cord around the packet, so she bit it with
her pretty teeth and tore off the wrapper, coming up the steps. Then
raising her eyes she sprang forward.

"Oh, dear Miss Recompense, letters, see! A letter from Cary all to
myself, and one for Uncle Win! I'll just put that on his table to be a
joyful surprise. And may I come and read mine to you? He was in such a
hurry, though really I did not ask him to stay. Was that impolite?"

"No--under the circumstances." She cleared her throat a little, but the
lecture on propriety would not materialize.

"'Dear little Doris.' Think of that--wouldn't Cary be surprised to see
how much I have grown! May I sit here?"

Miss Recompense was about to decant some of her preparations. Doris took
the high stool and read eagerly, though now and then a little break came
in her voice. The journey to Annapolis with half a dozen college chums
bent on the same errand, the being mustered into the country's service
and assigned to positions, meeting famous people and hearing some
thrilling news, and at last the order for sailing, were vivid as a
picture. She was to let Madam Royall and the household read all this,
and he sent respectful regard to them all, and real love to all the
Leveretts. There had been moments when he was wild to see them again,
but after all he was prouder than ever to be of service to his country,
who needed her bravest sons as much now as in her seven years' struggle.

There was a loose page beginning "For your eyes alone, Doris," and she
laid it by, for she felt even now that she wanted to cry over her brave
cousin. Then he spoke of Lieutenant Hawthorne, who had been instrumental
in getting him his appointment, and who had undertaken to see that this
would reach her safely. And so many farewells, as if he could hardly say
the very last one.

Miss Recompense wiped her eyes and stepped about softly, as if her whole
body was pervaded with a new tenderness. She made little comments to
restore the equilibrium, so that neither would give way to undue
emotion.

"Miss Recompense, do you think I might run up to Aunt Elizabeth's with
my letter? They will all want to hear."

"Why--I see no objections, child. And then if you wanted to go to Madam
Royall's--but I think they will keep you to tea at Sudbury Street. Let
Betty or Warren walk home with you. Take off your apron."

Doris read half a dozen lines of her own personal letter and laid it in
the bottom of her workbox, that had come from India, and had a subtle
fragrance. She did not want to cry in real earnest, as she felt she
should, with all these references to Uncle Win. She tied on her hat and
said "Good-afternoon," and really did run part of the way.

They were just overflowing with joy to hear, only Betty said, "What a
shame Cary had to go before the glorious news of the _Constitution_!
There was a chance of two days after he had written his letter, so he
might have heard." Postage was high at that time and mails uncertain, so
letters and important matters were often trusted to private hands. Then
Lieutenant Hawthorne had not gone to Boston as soon as he expected.

Betty had some news too. Mr. and Mrs. King were going to Washington,
perhaps for the greater part of the winter.

As they walked home Betty rehearsed her perplexities to Doris. It was
odd how many matters were confided to this girl of thirteen, but she
seemed so wise and sensible and sympathetic.

"If it wasn't quite such hard times, and if Warren could marry and bring
Mercy home! She's an excellent housekeeper, just the wife for a
struggling young man, mother admits. But whether _she_ would like it,
and whether Aunt Priscilla would feel comfortable, are the great
questions. She's been so good to Warren. Mary badgered him dreadfully
about her part. If Mary was a little more like Electa!"

Warren had been keeping company with Mercy Gilman for the last year. She
was a bright, cheerful, industrious girl, well brought up, and the
engagement was acceptable to both families. Young people paid more
deference to their elders then. Warren felt that he could not go away
from home, and surely there was room enough if they could all agree.

"It's odd how many splendid things come to Electa, though it may be
because she is always willing to take advantage of them. They have
rented their house in New York and are to take some rooms in Washington.
Bessy and Leverett are to be put in school, and she takes the two little
ones. Their meals are to be sent in from a cook shop. Of course she
can't be very gay, being in mourning. Everybody says Mrs. Madison is so
charming."

"Oh, I wish you could go," sighed Doris.

"And Mary is always wondering why I do not come and stay with her, and
sew and help along. Oh, Doris, what if I should be the old maid aunt and
go visiting round! For there hasn't a soul asked me to keep company
yet," and Betty laughed. But she was not very anxious on the subject.

They reached the corner and kissed each other good-night. Miss
Recompense sat on the stoop with a little shawl about her shoulders. She
drew Doris down beside her and inquired about her visit.

While there was much that was stern and hard and reticent in the Puritan
character, there was also an innate delicacy concerning the inward life.
They made few appeals to each other's sympathies. Perhaps this very
reserve gave them strength to endure trials heroically and not burden
others.

Miss Recompense had judged wisely that Mr. Adams would prefer to receive
his missive alone. His first remark had been the usual question:

"Where is Doris?"

"Oh, we have had quite an adventure--a call from a young naval officer.
Here is his card. He brought letters to you and Doris, and she was eager
to take hers over to Betty. She will stay to supper."

He scrutinized the card while his breath came in strangling gasps, but
he preserved his composure outwardly.

"Did you--did he----" pausing confusedly.

"I did not see him," returned Miss Recompense quietly. "I was not in
company trim, and he asked for Doris. I dare say he thought her a young
lady."

"Is he staying in Boston?" fingering the card irresolutely.

"He was to return to Washington at once. He had come on some urgent
business."

Mr. Adams went through to his study. He looked at the address some
moments before he broke the seal, but he found the first lines
reassuring.

"Will you have supper now?" asked Miss Recompense from the doorway.

"If convenient, yes." He laid down his letter and came out in the hall.
"Doris told you all her news, I suppose?"

"She read me her letter. Cary seems to be in good spirits and position.
He spoke very highly of Lieutenant Hawthorne."

"The accounts seem very satisfactory."

Then they went out to the quiet supper. A meal was not the same without
Doris.

All the evening he had remained in his room, reading his son's letter
more than once and lapsing into deep thought over it. He heard the
greetings now, and came out, inquiring after the folks in Sudbury
Street, sitting down on the step and listening with evident pleasure to
Doris' eager chat. It was bedtime when they dispersed.

"Uncle Win," Doris said the next morning, "there is a page in my letter
I would like you to read. And do you think I might go home with Eudora
and take dinner at Madam Royall's? Cary sent them some messages."

"Yes, child," he made answer.

They were indeed very glad, but like Betty they could not help wishing
he had been on the famous _Constitution_. Alice was particularly
interested, and said she should watch the career of the _United States_.

After that the ice seemed broken and no one hesitated to mention Cary.
But Mr. Winthrop said to Doris:

"My dear child, will you give me this leaf of your letter. I know Cary
did not mean it for my eyes, but it is very precious to me. Doris, how
comes it that you find the way to everybody's heart?"

"And you will forgive him, Uncle Win? He was so brave----" Her voice
trembled.

"I have forgiven him, Doris. If I should never see him again,--you are
young and most likely will,--assure him there never was a moment that I
ceased to love him. Perhaps I have not taken as much pains to understand
him as I might have. I suppose different influences act upon the new
generation. If we should both live to welcome him back----"

"Oh, we must, Uncle Win."

"If he has you----" Oh, what was he saying?

"You will both have me. I shall stay here always."

He stooped and kissed her.

The other alternative, that Cary might not return, they banished
resolutely. But it drew them nearer together in unspoken sympathy.

Everybody noted how thin and frail-looking Mr. Adams had grown. Doris
became his constant companion. She had a well-trained horse now, and
they rode a good deal. Or they walked down Washington street, where
there were some pretty shops, and met promenaders. They sauntered about
Cornhill, where Uncle Win picked up now and then an odd book, and they
discovered strange things that had belonged to the Old Boston of a
hundred years agone. There was quite an art gallery in Cornhill kept by
Dogget & Williams--the nucleus of great things to come. It was quite the
fashion for young ladies to drop in and exercise their powers of budding
criticism or love of art. Now and then someone lent a portrait of
Smibert's or Copley's, or you found some fine German or English
engravings. An elder person generally accompanied the younger people.
The law students, released from their labors, or the young society men,
would walk home beside the chaperone, but talk to the maidens.

Then Uncle Winthrop committed a piece of great extravagance, everybody
said--especially in such times as these, when the British might take and
destroy Boston. This was buying a pianoforte. Madam Royall approved, for
Doris was learning to play very nicely. An old German musician, Gottlieb
Graupner, who was quite a visitor at the Royall house, had imported it
for a friend who had been nearly ruined by war troubles and was
compelled to part with it. Mr. Graupner and a knot of musical friends
used to meet Saturday evenings in old Pond Street, and with a few
instruments made a sort of orchestra. As a very great favor, friends
were occasionally invited in.

There was a new organist at Trinity Church, a Mr. Jackson, who was
trying to bring in the higher class cathedral music. The choir of Park
Street Church, some fifty in number, was considered one of the great
successes of the day, and people flocked to hear it. Puritan music had
been rather doleful and depressing.

There was quite a discussion as to where the piano should stand. They
had very little call to use the parlor in winter. Uncle Winthrop's
friends generally visited him in the study. The spacious hall was the
ordinary living-room, and Doris begged that it might be kept here--for
the winter, at least.

Oh, what a cheerful sound the music made in the old house! Uncle Win
would bring out a book of poems, often Milton's "L'Allegro" and half
read, half listen, to the entrancing combination. Dinah declared "It
was like de w'ice ob de Angel Gabriel hisself." Miss Recompense enjoyed
the grand old hymns that brought back her childhood.

Solomon at first made a vigorous protest. He seemed jealous of the
pretty fingers gliding over the keys, and would spring up to cover them
or rest on her arms. But when he found he was banished to the kitchen
every evening, he began to consider and presently gave in. He would sit
beside Uncle Win in dignified protest, looking very "dour," as a
Scotchman would say.

And then the country was electrified with the news of another great
victory. Off the Canary Islands, Captain Decatur, with the frigate
_United States_, met the _Macedonian_, one of the finest of the British
fleet. The fight had been at close quarters with terrific broadsides.
After an hour and a half, with her fighting force disabled, the
_Macedonian_ struck her colors. Her loss in men killed and wounded was
over one hundred, and the _United States_ lost five killed and seven
wounded.

The American vessel brought her prize and prisoners into port amid
general acclaim. The _Macedonian_ was repaired and added to the
fast-increasing navy, that was rapidly winning a world-wide reputation.
And when she came up to New York early in January with "The compliments
of the season," there was great rejoicing. Samuel Woodworth, printer and
poet, wrote the song of the occasion, and Calvert, another poet,
celebrated the event in an ode.

Captain Carden was severely censured by his own government, as Captain
Dacres had been, for not going down with flying colors instead of
allowing his flag to be captured and his ship turned to the enemy's
advantage. Instead of jeering at the navy of "pine boards and striped
bunting," it was claimed the American vessels were of superior size and
armament and met the British at unfair advantage, and that they were
largely manned by English sailors.

There was an enthusiastic note from Cary. He was well, and it had been a
glorious action. Captain Carden had been a brave gentleman, and he said
regretfully, "Oh, why do we have to fight these heroic men!"

But Betty had the letter of triumph this time. Mrs. King was a
delightful correspondent, though she was always imploring Betty to join
her.

There had been a ball and reception given to several naval officers who
were soon to go away. The President, engaged with some weighty affairs,
had not come in yet, but the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Hamilton, and no
end of military and naval men, in gold lace and epaulettes and gleaming
swords, were present, and beautiful, enthusiastic women in shimmering
silks and laces. One did not have to get a new gown for every occasion
in those days.

There was a little lull in the dancing. Mrs. Madison, who was charmingly
affable, was seated with a group of men about her, when there was a stir
in the hall, and a sudden thrill of expectancy quivered through the
apartment. Ensign Hamilton, son of the Secretary, and several midshipmen
entered, and the young man went straight to his father with the captured
flag of the _Macedonian_. Such a cheer as rent the air! Ladies wiped
their eyes and then waved their handkerchiefs in the wild burst of joy.
They held the flag over the heads of the chief officer while the band
played "Hail, Columbia!" Then it was laid at the feet of Mrs. Madison,
who accepted it in the name of the country with a charming and graceful
speech. Afterward it was festooned on the wall with the flag of the
_Guerriere_.

"So, you see, Cary has been the hero of a great victory," said Betty
enthusiastically; "but we all wish it had been 'off Boston Light'
instead of on the distant ocean. And it is a shame not to be in
Washington. Electa seems to be going everywhere and seeing everything,
'in spite of her being the mother of four children,' as Aunt Priscilla
says. And the ladies dress so beautifully. We shall come to be known as
'plain Boston' presently."

There was no Worth or Pingat to charge enormous prices. Patterns were
passed around. Ladies went visiting and took their sleeves along to
make, or their ruffles to plait, and altered over their brocades and
paduasoys and crapes, and some darned Brussels "footing" until it was
transformed into really handsome lace. They could clean their feathers
and ribbons, and one wonders how they found time for so many things.
They were very good letter writers too. Dolly Madison and Mrs. Adams are
fresh and interesting to-day.

But Boston could rejoice, nevertheless. To the little girl Cary was
invested with the attributes of a hero. He even looked different to her
enchanted eyes.

Uncle Win used to smile with grave softness when she chattered about
him. At first it had given him a heartache to hear Cary's name
mentioned, but now it was like a strain of comforting music. Only he
wondered how he ever would have lived without the little girl from Old
Boston.

She used to play and sing "Hail, Columbia!"--for people were patriotic
then. But the sweetest of all were the old-fashioned ones that his wife
had sung as a young girl, daintily tender love songs. Sometimes he tried
them with her, but his voice sounded to himself like a pale ghost out of
the past, yet it still had a mournful sweetness.

But with the rejoicing we had many sorrows. Our northern frontier
warfare had been full of defeats; 1813 opened with various misfortunes.
Ports were blockaded, business dropped lower and lower. Still social
life went on, and in a tentative way intellectual life was making some
progress.

The drama was not neglected either. The old Boston Theater gave several
stirring representations that to-day would be called quite realistic.
One was the capture of the _Guerriere_ with officers, sailors and
marines, and songs that aroused drooping patriotism. Perhaps the young
people of that time enjoyed it as much as their grandchildren did "H. M.
S. Pinafore."

Doris liked the rare musical entertainments. People grew quite used to
seeing Mr. Winthrop Adams with the pretty, bright, growing girl, who
might have been his daughter. It was a delight to her when anyone made
the mistake. Occasionally an old gentleman remembered her grandfather,
and the little boy Charles who went to England.

Then in the early summer Mrs. King came on for a visit, and brought her
eldest child Bessy, a bright, well-trained little girl.

There had been a good deal of trouble at the Mannings', and grandmother
had gone back and forth, making it very confining for Betty. Crops had
proved poor in the autumn; the children had the measles and Mrs. Manning
a run of fever. Elizabeth had taken a cold in the early fall and had a
troublesome cough all winter. Mrs. Leverett wanted to bring her home for
a rest, but Mrs. Manning could not spare her, with all the summer work,
and the warm weather would set her up, she was quite sure.

The country was drawing a brief breath of relief. There had been the
magnificent victories on the Lakes and some on the land, and now and
then came cheering news of naval successes. Everybody was in better
spirits. Mrs. King seemed to bring a waft of hope from the Capital
itself, and the Leverett house was quite enlivened with callers.
Invitations came in for dinners and suppers and evening parties. Madam
Royall quite claimed her on the strength of the Adams relation, and also
Doris, who was such a favorite. Doris and little Bessy fraternized at
once, and practiced a duet for the entertainment of Uncle Winthrop, who
praised them warmly.

She planned to take Betty back to New York with her.

"But I can't go," declared Betty. "Warren must not be taxed any more
heavily, so there would be no hope of having help, and mother cannot be
left alone."

"Is there any objection to Mercy coming? Why doesn't Warren marry? That
would relieve you all. I suppose it _is_ best for young people to have a
home by themselves, but if it isn't possible--and I'd like to know how
we are going to get along in heaven if we can't agree with each other
here on earth!" Mrs. King inquired.

"That sounds like father," said Betty laughingly, yet the tears came to
her eyes. "Poor father! He did not suppose we would have such hard
times. If the war would only end. You see,"--after a pause,--"we are not
quite sure of Aunt Priscilla. She's changed and softened wonderfully,
and she and mother get along so well. She insisted upon paying a
generous board, and she was good to Warren."

"I must talk it over with mother. There is no need of having your life
spoiled, Betty."

For Betty was a very well-looking girl, arch and vivacious, and her
harvest time of youth must not be wasted. Mrs. King was really glad she
had no entanglement.

Mrs. Leverett had no objections to a speedy marriage If Mercy could be
content. Warren had thought if he could be prosperous he would like to
buy out Betty's share if she married. "And my share will be mine as
long as I live," added the mother. "But Warren is fond of the old house,
and Hollis has a home of his own. You girls will never want it."

Warren was delighted with what he called "Lecty's spunk." For Aunt
Priscilla agreed quite readily. It was dull for Betty with two old
people. Mercy would have her husband.

So the wedding day was appointed. Mercy had been a year getting ready.
Girls began soon after they were engaged. Mrs. Gilman was rather afraid
the thing wouldn't work, but she was sure Mercy was good tempered, and
she had been a good daughter.

They made quite a "turning round." Mrs. Leverett went upstairs to
Betty's room, which adjoined Aunt Priscilla's, and she gave some of her
furniture for the adornment of the bridal chamber.

It was a very quiet wedding with a few friends and a supper. At nine
o'clock the new wife went to Sudbury Street. Mrs. Gilman had some rather
strict ideas, and declared it was no time for frolicking when war was at
our very door, and no one knew what might happen, and hundreds of
families were in pinching want.

Mercy was up the next morning betimes and assisted her new mother with
the breakfast. Warren went down to his shop. But they had quite an
elaborate tea drinking at the Leveretts', and some songs and games in
the evening. Mercy _did_ enjoy the wider life.

Mrs. Manning had come in for the wedding and a few days' stay, though
she didn't see how she could be spared just now, and things would get
dreadfully behindhand. Mrs. King was to go home with her and make a
little visit. Bessy thought she would rather stay with Doris, and she
was captivated with the Royall House and Eudora. The children never
seemed in the way of the grown people there, and if elderly men talked
politics and city improvements,--quite visionary, some thought
them,--the young people with Alice and Helen had the garden walks and
the wide porch, and discussed the enjoyments of the time with the zest
of enthusiastic inexperience but keen delight.



CHAPTER XXI

ELIZABETH AND--PEACE


Mrs. King brought back Elizabeth Manning, a pale, slim ghost of a girl,
tall for her age--indeed, really grown up, her mother said. Of the three
girls Bessy King had the most indications of the traditional country
girl. A fine clear skin, pink cheeks and a plump figure, and an
inexhausible flow of spirits, ready for any fun or frolic.

Doris was always well, but she had the Adams complexion, which was
rather pale, with color when she was warm, or enthusiastic or indignant.
The pink came and went like a swift summer cloud.

"I do declare," exclaimed Aunt Priscilla, "if 'Lecty King doesn't beat
all about getting what she wants, and making other people believe they
want it, too! Warren might as well have been married in the winter, and
Mercy would have been company for Betty. She never liked to run out and
leave me alone. Mercy seems a nice, promising body, and Warren might as
well be happy and settled as not. And 'Lecty's been to Washington and
dined with the President and Mrs. Madison, and I'll venture to say there
was something the President's wife consulted her about. And all the big
captains and generals, and what not! And here's the quality of Boston
running after her and asking her out just as if we had nothing to feed
her on at home. She don't do anything, fursisee, but just look smiling
and talk. But my opinion is that Elizabeth Manning hasn't a very long
journey to the graveyard. I don't see what Mary's been thinking about."

Mrs. King took her niece to Dr. Jackson, one of the best medical
authorities of that day, and he looked the young girl over with his keen
eyes.

"If you want the real truth," said the doctor, "she has had too much
east wind and too much hard work. The children of this generation are
not going to stand what their mothers did. A bad cold or two next winter
will finish her, but with care and no undue exposure she may live
several years. But she will never reach the three score and ten that
every human being has a right to."

Uncle Winthrop sent the carriage around every day to the Leveretts'.
They had given up theirs before Mr. Leverett's death. He and Doris took
their morning horseback rides and scoured the beautiful country places
for miles around, until Doris knew every magnificent tree or unusual
shrub or queer old house and its history. These hours were a great
delight to him.

Elizabeth had often gone down to Salem town, but her time was so brief
and there was so much to do that she "couldn't bother." And she wondered
how Doris knew about the shops in Essex Street and Federal Street and
Miss Rust's pretty millinery show, and Mr. John Innes' delicate French
rolls and braided bread, and Molly Saunders' gingerbread that the school
children devoured, and the old Forrester House with its legends and fine
old pictures and the lovely gardens, the wharves with their idle fleets
that dared not put out to sea for fear of being swallowed up by the
enemy.

Uncle Winthrop had taken her several times when some business had called
him thither. But, truth to tell, she had never cared to repeat her
visit to Mrs. Manning's.

The piano was like a bit of heaven, Elizabeth thought, the first time
she came over to visit Doris.

"Oh," she said, with a long sigh, pressing her hand on her heart, for
the deep breaths always hurt her, "if I was only prepared to go to
heaven I shouldn't want to stay here a day longer. When they sing about
'eternal rest' it seems such a lovely thing, and to 'lay your burdens
down.' But then there's 'the terrors of the law,' and the 'judgments to
come,' and the great searching of the hearts and reins--do you know just
what the reins are?"

No, Doris didn't. Heaven had always seemed a lovely place to her and God
like a father, only grander and tenderer than any human father could be.

Then they talked about praying, and it came out that Doris said her
mother's prayers still in French and her father's in English.

"Oh," exclaimed Elizabeth, horrified, "I shouldn't dare to pray to God
in French--it would seem like a mockery. And 'Now I lay me down to
sleep' is just a baby prayer, and really isn't pouring out your own soul
to God."

Doris asked Uncle Winthrop about it.

"My child," he said with grave sweetness, "you can never say any better
prayers of your own. The Saviour himself gave us the comprehensive
Lord's Prayer. And are all the nations of the earth who cannot pray in
English offering God vain petitions? You will find as you grow older
that no earnest soul ever worships God in vain, and that religion is a
life-long work. I am learning something new about it every day. And I
think God means us to be happy here on earth. He doesn't save all the
joys for heaven. He has given me one," and he stooped and kissed Doris
on the forehead. "Poor Elizabeth," he added--"make her as happy as you
can!"

When Mrs. King proposed to take Betty to New York for the whole of the
coming winter there was consternation, but no one could find a valid
objection. It was a somewhat expensive journey, and winter was a very
enjoyable season in the city. Then another year something new might
happen to prevent--there was no time like the present.

No one had the courage to object, though they did not know how to spare
her. Aunt Priscilla sighed and brought out some beautiful long-laid-away
articles that Electa declared would make over admirably.

"Where do you suppose Aunt Priscilla picked up all these elegant
things?" asked Electa. "I never remember seeing her wear them, though
she always dressed well, but severely plain. And Uncle Perkins was quite
strict about the pomps and vanities of the world."

And so Aunt Priscilla put away the last of her idols and the life she
had coveted and never had. But perhaps the best of all was her
consideration for others, the certainty that it was quite as well to
begin some of the virtues of the heavenly world here on earth that they
might not seem strange to one.

Mrs. Manning sent in for Elizabeth.

"Well--you do seem like a different girl," her father declared, looking
her over from head to foot. "You've had a good rest now, and you'll have
to turn in strong and hearty, for Sarah's gone, and Ruth isn't big
enough to take hold of everything. So hunt up your things while I'm
doing some trading."

Elizabeth only had time for the very briefest farewells. Mrs. King sent
a little note containing the doctor's verdict, but Mrs. Manning was
indignant rather than alarmed.

It was lonesome when they were all gone. Eudora Chapman went to a
"finishing school" this autumn, and Doris accompanied her--poor Doris,
who had not mastered fractions, and whose written arithmetic could not
compare with Betty's. She had achieved a pair of stockings after
infinite labor and trouble. They _did_ look rowy, being knit tighter and
looser. But Aunt Priscilla gave her a pair of fine merino that she had
kept from the ravages of the moths. Miss Recompense declared that she
had no one else to knit for.

There were expert knitters who made beautiful silk stockings, and Uncle
Winthrop said buying helped along trade, so why should Doris worry when
there were so many more important matters?

The little girl and her uncle kept track of what was going on in the
great world. Napoleon the invincible had been driven back from Russia by
cold and famine, forced to yield by the great coalition and losing step
by step until he was compelled to accept banishment. Then England
redoubled her efforts, prepared to carry on the war with us vigorously.
Towns on the Chesapeake were plundered and burned, and General Ross
entered Washington, from which Congress and the President's family had
fled for their lives. America was again horror stricken, but gathering
all her energies she made such a vigorous defense as to convince her
antagonist that though cast down she could never be wholly defeated.

But this attack gave us the inspiration of one of our finest deathless
songs. A Mr. Francis S. Key, a resident of Georgetown, had gone down
from Baltimore with a flag of truce to procure the release of a friend
held as prisoner of war, when the bombardment of Fort McHenry began. All
day long he watched the flag as it floated above the ramparts. Night
came on and it was still there. And at midnight he could see it only by
"the rockets' red glare," while he and his friends tremulously inquired
if the "flag still waved o'er the Land of the Free." Oh, what joy must
have been his when it "caught the gleam of the morning's first beam." He
had put the night watch and the dawn in a song that is still an
inspiration.

And now convinced, the enemy withdrew. There were talks of peace, though
we did not abate our energies. And the indications of a settlement
brought about another wedding at the Royall house.

Miss Alice had been a great favorite with the young men, and her ardent
patriotism had inspired more than one, as it had Cary Adams, with a
desire to rush to his country's defense. There were admirers too, but
most of them had been kept at an intangible distance. At last she had
yielded to the eloquence of young Oliver Sargent, who was in every way
acceptable. Grandmother Royall expected to give her an elegant wedding
along in the winter.

The Government was to send out another commissioner to consult with
those already at Ghent, and Mr. Sargent had been offered the post of
private secretary. He was to sail from New York, but he obtained leave
to spend a few days in Boston to attend to some affairs. He went at once
to Madam Royall and laid his plans before her. He wanted to marry Alice
and take her with him, as he might be gone a long while. Alice was
nothing loath, for the journey abroad was extremely tempting.

But what could one do in such a few days? And wedding clothes----

"Save the wedding gear until we come back," said the impatient young
lover. "Alice can get clothes enough abroad."

It was quite a new departure in a wedding. Invitations were always sent
out by hand, even for small evening parties, and often verbally given. A
private marriage would not have suited old Madam Royall. So the house
was crowded at eleven in the morning, and the bride came through the
wide hall in a mulberry-colored satin gown and pelisse that had been
made two weeks before for ordinary autumn wear. But her bonnet was white
with long streamers, and her gloves were white, and she made a very
attractive bride, while young Sargent was manly and looked proud enough
for a king. At twelve they went away with no end of good wishes, and an
old slipper was thrown after the carriage.

Mrs. Morris Winslow had two babies, and was already growing stout. But
the departure of Alice made a great break.

"But it is the way of the world and the way of God that young people
should marry," said Madam Royall. "I was very happy myself."

"Oh," exclaimed Doris eagerly that evening, her eyes aglow and her
cheeks pink with excitement--"oh, Uncle Win, do you think there will be
peace?"

"My little girl, it is my prayer day and night."

"And then Cary will come home."

It had been a long while since they had heard. Cary had been transferred
from the _United States_, that had lain blockaded in a harbor many weary
weeks. But where he was now no one could tell.

People began to take heart though the fighting had not ceased. And it
was odd that a dozen years before everybody had looked askance at
dancing, and now no one hesitated to give a dancing party. The
contra-dance and cotillions were all the rage. Sometimes there was great
amusement when it was a draw dance, for then you had to accept your
partner whether or no.

Whole families went, grandmothers and grandchildren. There were cards
and conversation circles for those who did not care to join the mazy
whirls. And the suppers were quite elegant, with brilliant lamps and
flowers, plate and glass that had come through generations. Fruits and
melons were preserved as long as possible, and a Turkish band in fine
Oriental costume was often a feature of the entertainment.

Doris had charming letters from Betty, a little stilted we should call
them now, but very interesting. Mr. King was confident of peace. Doris
used to read them to Aunt Priscilla, who said Betty was very frivolous,
but that she always had a good time, and perhaps good times were not as
wicked as people used to think.

Mrs. Leverett went to Salem in November. Her namesake had taken a cold
and had some fever, and she asked for grandmother continually. Mercy did
finely at housekeeping, and so the weeks ran along, the invalid being
better, then worse, and just before Christmas the frail little life
floated out to the Land of Rest.

"Oh, poor little Elizabeth!" cried Doris. "If she could have been real
happy! But there never seemed any time. Uncle Win, they are not so poor
that they have to work so hard, are they?"

"No, dear. Mr. Manning has money out at interest, besides his handsome
farm. But a great many people think there is solid virtue in working and
saving. I suppose it makes them happy."

Doris was puzzled. She said the same thing to Aunt Priscilla, who took
off her glasses, rubbed them with a bit of old silk and wiped the tears
out of her eyes.

"I think we haven't had quite the right end of it," she began after a
pause. "I was brought up that way. But then people had to spin and weave
for themselves, and help the men with the out-of-doors work. The
children dropped corn, and potatoes, and there was always weeding. There
was so much spring work and fall work, and folks couldn't be
comfortable if they saw a child playing 'cat's cradle.' They did think
Satan was going about continually to catch up idle hands. Well maybe if
I'd had children I'd 'a' done the same way."

"Oh, you wouldn't, Aunt Priscilla, I know," said Doris with the sweetest
faith shining in her eyes. "Elizabeth thought you such a comfortable old
lady. She said you never worried at anyone."

"That is because I have come to believe the worrying wrong. The Lord
didn't worry at people. He told them what to do and then he let them
alone. And Foster Leverett was about the best man I ever knew. He didn't
even worry when times were so bad. Everybody said his children would be
spoiled. They were out sledding and sliding and skating, and playing tag
in summer. They've made nice men and women."

"Oh, I remember how friendly he looked that day he came on the vessel.
And how he said to Captain Grier, 'Is there a little girl for me that
has come from Old Boston?' He might have said something else, you know.
'A little girl for me' was such a sweet welcome, I have never forgotten
it."

"Yes--I was here the night you came. We had been waiting. And the red
cloak and big bonnet with the great bow under your chin, and a silk
frock----"

"Did I look very queer?" Doris laughed softly.

"You looked like a picture, though that wan't my idea of what children
should be."

"Miss Recompense has them put away to keep. I outgrew them, you know.
What would you have done with me?"

Aunt Priscilla's pale face wrinkled up and then smoothed out.

"I've come to the conclusion the Lord knows his business best and is
capable of attending to it. When we meddle we make a rather poor fist
of it. Betty has a lot of morning-glories out there," nodding her head,
"and I said to her 'They're poor frail things: why not put out a hop
vine or red beans? They can't stand a bit of sun, like Jonah's gourd.'
But she only laughed--her father had that way when he didn't want to
argue. When they came to bloom they were sights to behold, like the
early morning when the sun is rising, and you see such beautiful colors.
They used to nod to each other and swing back and forth, like people
coming to call, then they said good-by and were off. The Lord meant 'em
just to look pretty and they did."

"Uncle Win likes them so much. Miss Recompense had a whole lattice full
of them. Oh, did you mean I was like a morning glory? Haven't I some
other uses?"

"You're always fresh and blossoming every day. That's a use. You come in
with a little greeting that warms one's heart. You were a great delight
to Uncle Leverett, and I don't know what Uncle Winthrop would have done
without you, Cary being away. And how Solomon took to you, when he was
awful shy of strangers! He must have liked you uncommon to be willing to
stay in a strange place, for cats cannot bear to be moved about. Maybe
'twould been the same if you had not been so pretty to look at, but the
Lord made you the way he wanted you, and you haven't spoiled yourself a
bit."

Doris blushed. Compliments were quite a new thing with Aunt Priscilla.

"What would you have done with me?" Doris asked again, after a long
pause.

"You won't like to hear it. I ought to confess it because it was a sin,
a sort of meddling with the Lord's plans. You see, I'd taken it in my
head that someone would have to give you a home. It didn't seem as if
that old ma'shland would be good for anything, and I knew your father
wasn't rich. Winthrop Adams was one of the finicky kind and quite put
about to know what to do with you. So I thought if there didn't any
place open, for Elizabeth Leverett was quite wrapped up in her
grandchildren, that"--hesitatingly--"when things were straightened out a
bit, I'd offer----"

"That would have been good of you----"

"No, it wasn't goodness," interrupted Aunt Priscilla. "I thought I
should want someone, with Polly getting old. I'd have expected you to
work, though I'd have done the fair thing by you, and left you some
money in the end. I was a little jealous when everybody took to you so.
I was sure you'd be spoiled. And, though you've got that music thing and
go among the quality, and are pretty as a pink, and Winthrop Adams
thinks you a nonesuch, you come in here in plain everyday fashion and
talk and read and make it sunshiny for everybody. So, you see, the Lord
knew, and it is just as if he said, 'Priscilla Perkins, your way doesn't
suit at all. There's something in the world besides work and saving
money. There's room enough in the world for a hill of potatoes and a
morning-glory made of silk and dew if it doesn't bloom but just one
morning. It's a smile, and there are others to follow, and it is a
thousand times better than frowns.'"

"And if there had been no money, and I had wanted a home, would you have
given me one?" she asked in a soft, tremulous tone.

"Yes, child. And I couldn't have worked you quite like poor little
Elizabeth was worked. I didn't think there _was_ so much money, or that
that lady in England would have left you a legacy or that Winthrop Adams
would come to believing that he couldn't live without you."

"Then you were kind to have a plan about it, and I am glad to know it."

She had been sitting on Aunt Priscilla's footstool, but she rose and
twined her arms about the shrunken neck, and kissed the wrinkled
forehead. She saw a homeless little girl going to sheltering care, with
a kindly remembrance at the last. Someone else might have thought of the
exactions.

"You make the thing look better than it was," Aunt Priscilla cried with
true humility. "But the Lord put you in the right place."

She saw the mean and selfish desire, the wish to get rid of a faithful
old woman who might prove a burden. It was a sin like the finery she had
longed for and bought and laid away. She had not worn the finery, she
had not sent away the poor black soul, she had not been a hard
taskmistress to the child, but early training had added the weight of
possible sins to the actual ones.

Christmas morning Doris was surprised by a lovely gift. In a small box
by her plate, with best wishes from Uncle Winthrop, lay a watch and
chain, a dainty thing with just "Doris" on the plain space in the center
that overlay another name that had once been there. It had undergone
some renovation at the jeweler's hands, after lying untouched more than
twenty years. Winthrop Adams had kept it for a possible granddaughter,
but he knew now no one could cherish it more tenderly than Doris.

January, 1815, came in. People counted the days. But it was not until
the middle of February that Boston town was one morning electrified by
the ringing of bells and the shouts of men and boys, who ran along the
streets crying "Peace! Peace! Peace!" Windows were raised; people ran
out, so eager were they. Of all glorious words ever uttered none fell
with such music on the air. Could it be true?

Uncle Winthrop put on his surtout with the great fur collar. Then he
looked at Doris.

"Wrap yourself up and come along," he said huskily.

Already people were hanging flags out of the windows and stringing them
across the streets. Every sled and sleigh had some sort of banner, if
nothing more than white or brown paper with the five welcome letters,
and everybody was shouting. Some men were carrying high banners with the
words in blue or red on a white ground. When they came to State Street
it was impassable. Cornhill was jammed. The _Evening Gazette_ office had
the announcement, thirty-two hours from New York (there was no telegraph
or railroad train then):

     "Sir: I hasten to acquaint you for the information of the public of
     the arrival here this afternoon of H. Br. M. sloop of war
     _Favorite_, in which has come passenger Mr. Carroll, American
     Messenger, having in his possession A Treaty of Peace."

They passed that word from the nearest, standing by the bulletin, to the
farther circles, and in five minutes the crowd knew it by heart. On the
Commons the drums were beating, the cannons firing, and people shouting
themselves hoarse.

Mr. Adams went around to the Royall house, and that looked like a hotel
on a gala day, and was nearly as full of people. The treaty had been
signed on Christmas Eve. The President had now to issue a decree
suspending hostilities. But one of the most brilliant battles had been
fought on the 8th of January at New Orleans, under General Jackson--a
farewell shot.

For a week no one could think or talk of anything else. Then the
official accounts having been received from Washington, there were plans
for a grand procession. An oratorio was given at the Stone Chapel in the
morning. Madam Royall had managed to obtain seats for Mr. Winthrop and
Doris with her party. The church was crowded. American and British
officers in full uniform were side by side,--as happy to be at peace as
the rulers themselves,--chatting cordially with each other.

The State House was decorated with transparencies, and there were to be
fireworks in the evening. The procession marched around the Common, with
the different trades drawn on sleds. Printers struck off hand-bills with
the word "Peace!" printed on them and distributed them among the crowd.
The carpenters were erecting a Temple of Peace. The papermakers had long
strips of red, white, and blue: every trade had hit upon some
signification of the general joy.

Uncle Win sent Cato round for Mercy and Warren Leverett to come to tea,
and then they went out to see the illumination and the fireworks. Old
Boston had suffered a great deal from the war, and her rejoicing was as
broad as her sorrow had been deep.

As if that was not enough, there was to be a grand Peace Ball. The
gentry did not so often patronize public balls, but this was an
exception. Uncle Winthrop procured a ticket for Warren and his wife.
Mrs. Gilman was shocked, and Mercy like a modern woman declared she had
nothing to wear. But Aunt Priscilla brought out her last remnant of
gorgeousness, a gray satin that looked very youthful draped with sheer
white.

"I feel just as if I was going to be married over again," Mercy declared
laughingly; and Warren said she had never looked so beautiful.

Uncle Winthrop left Doris' adornments to Madam Royall and Mrs. Chapman.
She and Eudora had the same kind of gowns--sheer, dotted muslin trimmed
with rows of white satin ribbon, and the bodice with frills of lace and
bows of ribbon.

The hairdresser did her hair in a multitude of puffs and curls that made
her look quite like a young lady. She was still very slim, but growing
tall rapidly. In fact, as Uncle Winthrop looked at her he realized that
she could not always remain a little girl.

Concert Hall was brilliantly illuminated and decorated with flags and
flowers. A platform surrounded the floor, and many people preferred to
be spectators or just join in the march. There were some naval as well
as military officers, and Doris kept a sharp watch, for it almost seemed
as if she might come upon Cary. Oh, where would he hear the declaration
of peace!

The dancing was quite delightful to most of the young people. Even those
who just walked about, looked happy, and little knots chatted and
smiled, adding a certain interest to the scene. The supper was very
fine, and after that many of the quality retired, leaving the floor to
those who had come to dance.

Doris looked bright the next morning as she came to breakfast in her
blue flannel frock and lace tucker, and her hair tied up high with a red
ribbon, which with her white skin "made the American colors," Helen
Chapman said.

"I am glad to get back my little girl," Uncle Winthrop exclaimed, as he
placed his hands lightly on her shoulders. "You looked strange to me
last night. Doris, how tall you are growing!" in half-surprise.

"That is an Adams trait, Aunt Priscilla would say. And do you remember
that I am fifteen?"

"Isn't there some way that girls can be set back?" he asked with feigned
anxiety.

"I've heard of their being set back after they reached thirty or forty,"
said Miss Recompense.

"I don't want to wait so long," returned Uncle Winthrop with a smile.

"There were some beautiful old ladies there last night," said Doris.
"The one with black velvet and diamonds--Madam Bowdoin. Is that Aunt
Priscilla's friend?"

"I suppose so. Mr. Perkins was held in high esteem, and Aunt Priscilla
used to go about in her carriage then."

"And Madam Scott! Uncle Win, to think she was John Hancock's wife, and
he signed the Declaration of Independence!"

"And after that I wouldn't have married anybody," declared Miss
Recompense with haughty stiffness.

The enthusiasm did not die out at once. When men or women met they had
to talk over the good news. Warren Leverett declared that business was
reviving. Mercy told Uncle Winthrop that she had never expected to see
so many famous people under such grand conditions as a Peace Ball, and
that it would be something to talk about when she was an old lady. Aunt
Priscilla listened to the accounts with deep interest.

"And I looked like a real young lady," said Doris. "I was frightened
when I came to think about it. I would like to stay a little girl for
years and years. But I would not have missed the ball for anything. I do
not believe there will ever be such a grand occasion again."



CHAPTER XXII

CARY ADAMS


It took a good while in those days for the news of peace to go around
the world. But there was a general reign of peace. The European
countries had mostly settled their difficulties; there was royalty
proper again on the throne of France. Napoleon swept through his hundred
brilliant days, and was banished for life to the rocky isle of St.
Helena; the young King of Rome was a virtual prisoner to Austria, and
Russia and Prussia began to breathe freely once more.

The United States had won a standing among the nations. Her indomitable
courage, her successes against tremendous odds, had impressed Europe
with her vitality and determination.

One by one the ships came back to home ports. Mr. Adams and Doris
watched and listened to every bit of news eagerly.

The old apothecary's shop on Washington Street, to begin a famous
history a decade later as "The Old Corner Bookstore," was even then a
rendezvous for the news of the day. People paused going up and down, and
each one added his bit to the general fund, or took with him the
knowledge he was eagerly seeking.

And when someone said, "Heard from your son yet, Mr. Adams?" he could
only make a negative gesture.

"If there isn't some word of Cary Adams soon, his father will never live
to welcome him home," said Madam Royall to her daughter. "He grows
thinner every day. What a perfect Godsend Doris has been!"

Madam Royall was hale and hearty though she had lived through many
sorrows.

The coveted news came first from Betty. She had written a letter to send
by a private messenger, and opened it to add this postscript:

"Mr. Bowen is waiting for this letter. Mr. King has just come in with
the news that two ships have arrived at Portsmouth. Among the officers
is 'Lieutenant Cary Adams.' That is all we know."

"Oh, Uncle Win!" Doris' eyes swam in tears of joy. "Read Betty's
postscript." Then she ran out of the room and had a good cry by herself,
though why anyone should want to cry over such joyful news she could not
quite understand.

Afterward she tied on her hat and ran over to Madam Royall's and then up
to Sudbury Street. For in those days people were wont to say to their
neighbors, "Come, rejoice with me!"

When she returned home the house was very quiet. Solomon came and rubbed
against her in mute inquiry. No one was in the study. She went out to
the kitchen.

"Don't disturb your uncle, Doris," said Miss Recompense. "The news quite
overcame him. He has gone to lie down."

After dinner she went out again for some lessons. Oh, how bright the
world looked, though it was a day in later March, but the wind had a
Southern softness. Soon the wild flowers would be out. There was a very
interesting new study, botany, that the previous autumn had taken groups
of girls out in the lanes and fields, and some had ventured to visit the
Botanic Gardens at Harvard University. Doris was much interested in it.

Uncle Winthrop came to supper, and Doris played and sang for him during
the evening. For though Cary was the uppermost thought in both hearts,
they could not talk about him.

It was a tedious post journey from Washington to Boston. One had to
possess one's soul in patience. But the letter came at length.

Cary had to go to Washington, as there was some prize money and claims
to be inquired into. He had handed in his resignation, and should
hereafter be a private citizen of dear old Boston. There was much more
that gladdened his father's heart and betrayed a manly spirit.

Betty returned home, though Mrs. King declared she only lent her for a
visit. She was very stylish now, and was studying French, for it might
be possible that Mr. King would go abroad and take his wife and Betty.

"I do wonder if you will ever settle down?" exclaimed Mrs. Leverett
anxiously. That meant marriage and housekeeping.

Betty laughed. "You know I have settled to be the old maid aunt," she
returned. "But I am going to have a good young time first. And, mother,
you can hardly realize what a fine, generous, broad-minded man Mat King
has made."

There were lovely odds and ends of attire, dainty slippers, long gloves
that came to your very shoulders, vandyke capes of beautiful lace,
buckles that looked like diamonds, ribbons and belts and sashes. Mercy
said Betty could go down to Washington Street and open a fancy-goods
store. And, oh, the delightful things she had seen and done, the skating
parties in the winter, the sleigh rides when one stopped at a cozy,
well-kept tavern and had a dainty supper and a dance. The drives down
around the Battery and Bowling Green, and the promenades. There were
still a good many military men in New York, but it had not suffered as
much from the war as Boston.

But Boston was growing beautiful by the hour, with her pretty private
gardens and hundreds of fruit trees blooming everywhere, and the great
Common where people went for walks on sunny afternoons.

Miss Recompense had a gorgeous tulip bed and some lilies of the valley,
which were quite a new thing. Cato trimmed and trained the roses and
vines, and the old Adams house was quite a bower of beauty.

One April afternoon Doris sat by the study window doing some lace work,
while Solomon lay curled up on the sill. She kept glancing out. People
were quite given to going around this corner to get into Common Street.
She liked to see them. Now and then a friend nodded. Uncle Win had been
reading aloud from "Jerusalem Delivered," but Doris thought it rather
prosy, and strayed off into her own thoughts.

A tall, soldierly fellow came up the street, looked, hesitated, opened
the gate softly, and glanced down at the tulips. He was quite imposing
as to figure, and his complexion was bronzed, the ends of his brown hair
rather long and curling. He was in citizen clothes, and Doris wondered
why she should think of Lieutenant Hawthorne. She had expected Cary in
all the glory of a naval uniform--a slim, fair, boyish person with a
light springy walk. It never could be Cary!

"Oh, Uncle Win, quick!" as the step sounded on the porch. "It
is--someone----" She was so little certain she could not utter a name.

Uncle Winthrop went out, opened the door, and his son put his arms about
the father's neck. If there had been need of words neither could have
uttered them for many minutes.

When Miss Recompense cleaned house a week or two before the piano had
been moved into the parlor. The door stood open so that it could have
the warmth of the hall fire. The two entered it when they had found
their voices.

"It _is_ Cary," thought Doris with a sense of disappointment, though why
she could not have told.

Half an hour afterward they came out to the study.

"Oh, Doris!" Cary cried, "how you have changed and grown. I shouldn't
have known you! I've been carrying about with me the remembrance of a
little girl. In my mind you have been no taller, no older, and yet I
might have known--why, we shall have to get acquainted all over again."

Doris blushed. "I am sure I have not changed as much as you. I did not
think it could be you."

"Someone at Annapolis before we went out designated me as 'That
consumptive-looking young fellow.' But I have grown strong and hearty,
and no doubt I shall come to fourscore. I do not mean that it shall be
all labor and sorrow, either."

Then Cary made the rounds of the house. Miss Recompense was as much
amazed as Doris had been. Cato and Dinah were overjoyed. He had hardly
dared dream that nothing would be changed, that more than the old love
would be given back. He had gone away a boy, nurtured in the restraints
of wise Puritanism that made a lasting mark on New England character; he
had come home a man of experience, of deeper thought, of higher
understanding and stronger affection. He was proud that he had done his
duty as a citizen of the republic, but he knew now that neither naval or
military life was to his taste. Henceforth he was to be a son in the old
home.

Doris left them talking when she went to bed, a little hurt and jealous
that she was no longer first, that she could not be all to Uncle Win. It
gave her a kind of solitary feeling.

The old house took on an aspect of intense interest. There was a
continual going and coming and enough congratulations for a wedding
feast. All Cary's friends vied with each other in warm welcomes, and
Madam Royall claimed him with the old time cordiality.

Was there any disappointment about Alice?

He had a boy's thought the first few months about winning glory for her,
of coming back to her, and perhaps laying his triumphs at her feet. But
the real work, the anxieties, the solemn fact of taking one's life in
one's hands and realizing how near death might be, had changed him month
by month, until he had only one prayer left--that he might see his
father again. If she was happy--she surely had her heart's choice--he
was satisfied. They had never really been lovers.

When the first excitement of welcome was over there were many things to
think about. His interrupted career was one. Governor Gore had been
chosen United States Senator the year before, but he still kept his
office, and very kindly greeted the return of his student, offering him
still greater advantages. Here the young Daniel Webster, a lad fresh
from the country, had won the friendship of his master, and after a
brief trial in New Hampshire had returned to Boston.

Boston town began to experience the beneficent power of peace.
Languishing industries revived. Commerce had been crippled by the war,
but the inhabitants of New England had learned the value of their own
ingenuity and industry to supply needs, and now they were roused to the
fact there was an outside world to supply as well.

Improvements started up on every side. There was even talk of
transforming the town into a city. Indeed, it had never been a formally
incorporated town. The Court of Assistants one hundred and seventy years
before had changed the name from Tri-Mountain to Boston, and it had
taken the privileges of a town. But there were many grave questions
coming to the front.

The family party at the Adams house this year seemed to include half of
Boston. One by one the old relatives had dropped out. Some of the
younger ones had gone to other cities.

Madam Royall came over to be mistress of ceremonies. For besides the
ovation to the returned lieutenant, Miss Doris Adams was to be presented
as a full-fledged young lady, and she wore her pretty gown made for the
Peace Ball, and pink roses. Miss Betty Leverett was quite a star as
well. Miss Helen Chapman was engaged, and Eudora was a favorite with the
young gentlemen.

"I shall be so sorry when they are all gone," declared Madam Royall. "I
do love young people, but I am afraid my fourth generation will not grow
up in time for me to enjoy them. You must keep good watch over Doris
lest some wolf enters the fold and carries off the sweet child."

Uncle Win smiled and then looked grave. Doris carried off--oh, no, he
could never spare her!

Cary Adams had not forgotten how to dance, and every girl he asked was
delighted with the opportunity. It seemed rather queer to Doris to
accept or decline on her own responsibility.

A week or two later, when they had settled to quite regular living, Cary
came out and sat on the step one evening.

"Doris," he began, "do you remember the letter I sent you by a
Lieutenant Hawthorne--that first letter----" What a flood of
remembrances it brought!

"Oh, yes." She had begun to feel very much at home with Cary--his little
sister, as he called her. "And I must tell you a queer thing--the day
you came home--when I looked down the path--I thought of him. You had
changed so. I don't know what sent him to my mind."

"That was odd. He is in town. He called on me to-day. For the last year
he has been Captain Hawthorne, and he is a splendid fellow. He has been
sent to the Charlestown Navy Yard, and may be here the next three
months, for now the Government is considering a navy. Well--we did some
splendid fighting with the old ships. But oh, Doris, you can't imagine
how homesick I was. I had half a mind to show the white feather and
come home."

"Oh, you couldn't have done it, Cary!"

"No, I couldn't when it came to the pinch. But if I had gone with
father's consent! I understood then what it would be never to see him
again. I think I shall be a better son all my life for the lesson."

"Yes," in her gentle approving fashion.

"Hawthorne wants to come over here," Cary said presently. "I think my
father would like him, though I notice he has an aversion to military or
naval men. But I shall never go away again unless the country is in
great danger."

"I should like to see him. I wonder if he has changed as much as you?"

"I think not," and Cary laughed. "He was twenty-four then, and sort of
settled into manhood, while I was a rather green stripling."

"You are losing some of the 'sea tan,' as Madam Royall calls it. I am
glad of it. I like you best fair."

"Captain Hawthorne is a very handsome man. I ought to feel flattered to
be mistaken for him."

"Is he?" returned Doris simply.

"Don't you remember him?"

"I remember that he asked me for a rose and I gave it to him. It was the
last one on the bush. I was so glad to get the letter I couldn't think
of anything else."

So Cary brought him over to tea one afternoon. Doris noted then that he
was extremely good-looking and very entertaining. Besides, he had a fine
tenor voice and they sang songs together.

Uncle Winthrop was troubled at first. Captain Hawthorne's enthusiasm for
his profession was so ardent that Mr. Adams was alarmed lest it might
turn Cary's thoughts seaward again. But he found presently that Cary's
enlisting had been that of a patriotic, high-spirited boy, and that he
had no real desire for the life.

What a summer it was! Betty was over often, Eudora was enchanted with
the Adams house, and there was a bevy of girls who brought their sewing
and spent the afternoon on the stoop. Sometimes Uncle Win came out and
read to them. There were several new English poets. A Lord Byron was
writing the cantos of a beautiful and stirring poem entitled "Childe
Harold" that abounded in fine descriptions. There were "The Lady ol the
Lake" and "Marmion," and there was a queer Scotchy poet by the name of
Burns, who had a dry wit--and few could master the tongue. A whole
harvest of delight was coming over from England.

There were so many curious and lovely places within a few hours sail or
drive. Captain Hawthorne had spent most of his life in Maryland, and
this scenery was new. They made up parties for the day, or Betty, Doris,
and Uncle Winthrop and the captain went in a quartette.

"I don't know," Uncle Win said one day with a grave shake of the head.
"Do you not think I am rather an old fellow to go careering round with
you young people?"

"But, you see, someone would have to go," explained Doris. "Young ladies
can't go out with a young man alone. It would have to be Aunt Elizabeth,
or Mrs. Chapman, and I would so much rather have you. It's nice to be
just by ourselves."

"The captain seems to like Betty very much."

"Indeed he does," answered Doris warmly.

Occasionally Cary would get off and join them. But he was trying hard to
catch up. He had gotten out of study habits, and some days he found it
quite irksome, for he was fond of pleasure, and it seemed to him that
Betty was extremely charming, and Doris quaint, and Eudora vivacious to
the point of wit.

One warm August afternoon he sat alone, having resolved to master a
knotty point. What were the others doing? he wondered.

There was a step, and he glanced up.

"Oh," nodding to Captain Hawthorne, "I was just envying you and all the
others, and wondering where you were on pleasure bound."

"It was not pleasure, but hard work over at the yard to-day. However, I
have the evening, and feel like inviting myself to partake of a cup of
the comforting tea Miss Recompense brews."

"Come along then. I have put in a good day and am conscience-clear."

Cary began to pile up his books.

"I have only about a fortnight more," Captain Hawthorne said slowly.

Cary changed his coat and locked his desk. "Well?" as the caller was
watching him earnestly.

"Adams, do you mean--do you expect to marry your cousin?" Hawthorne
asked abruptly.

"My cousin? Betty or Doris?"

"Doris."

"Why--no, I never thought of it. And I have a sight of work to do before
I marry."

"Then--I suppose you never suspected such a thing--but I am in love with
her."

"In love with Doris! Why, she's just a child."

"I dare say I shall have to serve seven years before I can get your
father's consent. She will be older then. I was listening to a romantic
story about an old house where a handsome girl leaned out of a window
and her beauty attracted an English officer passing by, who said to
himself that was the one woman for him, and long afterward he went back,
found her, and married her."

"A handsome Miss Sheafe. Yes." Cary smiled.

"See here, Cary Adams." Hawthorne took a small leather case out of his
pocket. Between two cards was a pressed rose. "When I took your packet
to Miss Doris Adams almost four years ago, I gave it into the hands of
the sweetest little girl I ever saw. If I had been less of a gentleman I
must have kissed her. I espied one rose in the garden and asked her for
it. This is the rose she gave me. I meant to come North and find her,
and when I asked for leave of absence to visit Boston this business was
put in my charge. Then I said, 'I will look up the little girl, who must
be a large girl now, and woo her with the sincerest regard.' It shall go
hard indeed with me if I cannot win her. But I have fancied of late that
you----"

"She is very dear to me and to my father. But I had not thought----"

"Then I take my chances. As I said, I will wait for her. She is still
very young, and I should feel conscience-smitten to rob your father.
Sometime you may want to bring the woman you love to the old home, and
then it will not be so hard. I could keep true to her the whole world
over; and if she promises, she will keep true to me."

Cary Adams was deeply moved. Such devotion ought to win a reward. How
blind he and his father had been, thinking of Betty Leverett.

Oh, how could they let Doris go! Yet a lover like this was not to be
curtly refused.

"I shall not stand in your way," quietly.

"Thank you a thousand times. But if she had been for you, as I feared, I
should have proved man enough to keep silent and go my way. It has been
a happy summer, and in two weeks more it will end. Still, I may be able
to get an appointment here. I shall try for it and return."

"Come," said Cary Adams, and he went out feeling there had been a great
change in the world, and he was wrapped about with some mysterious
influence.

Doris had thought of Captain Hawthorne on the day of his, Cary's,
return. How many times besides had she thought of him? And she had
recalled giving him the rose.



CHAPTER XXIII

THE COST OF WOMANHOOD


A happy fortnight. It was worth all the after-pain to have it to
remember. When Boston was a great city half a century later, and there
had been another war, and Captain Hawthorne had risen in the ranks and
been put on the retired list, he came a grizzled old man to find the
place that had always lived in his remembrance. But the old house had
been swept away by the march of improvement, the rounding corner
straightened and given over to business, and the Common was magnificent
in beauty. The tall, thin, scholarly man had gone to the wife of his
youth. Doris, little Doris, was very happy. So what did it matter?

There was a succession of lovely days. One morning, early, Captain
Hawthorne joined Doris and her uncle in a long ride over on Boston Neck.
They found an odd old tavern kept by a sailor who had been round the
world and taken a hand in the "scrimmage," as he called it, and with his
small prize money bought out the place. There was some delightful bread
and cold chicken, wine and bottled cider equal to champagne. There was
another long lovely day when with Betty they went up to Salem and drove
around the quaint streets and watched the signs of awakening business.
There was Fort Pickering, the lighthouse out on the island, the pretty
Common, the East India Marine Society's hall with its curiosities (quite
wonderful even then), and the clean streets with their tidy shops, the
children coming from school, the housewives going about on errands.
Foster Manning drove his grandmother down to join them; and he was
almost a young man now. He told Doris they all missed Elizabeth so much,
but he was glad she had had that nice visit to Boston.

So the days drifted on; Doris unconsciously sweet in her simplicity, yet
so innocent that the lover began to fear while he hoped.

Uncle Winthrop had gone to a meeting of the Historical Society. Miss
Recompense had a neighbor in great trouble that she was trying to
console out in the supper room, where they could talk unreservedly. Cary
was in the study, and the two were sauntering around the fragrant walks
where the grassy beds had recently been cut. There was no moon, and the
whole world seemed soft and still, as if it was listening to the story
Captain Hawthorne had to tell, as if it was in love with itself.

"Oh," interrupted Doris with a sharp, pained cry, "do not, please do
not! I never dreamed--I--shall never go away from Uncle Winthrop. I do
not want any other love. I thought it was--Betty. Oh, forgive me for the
pain and disappointment. I seem even to myself such a little girl----"

"But I can wait years. I wanted you to know. Oh, Doris, as the years go
on can you not learn to love me? I will be patient and live in the
sweet, grand hope that some day----"

"No, no; do not hope. I cannot promise. Oh, you are so noble and
upright, can you not accept this truth from me? For it would only be
pain and disappointment in the end."

No, she did not love him. Her sweet soul was still asleep within her
fair body. He was too really honorable to persist.

"Doris," he said,--what a sweet girl's name it was!--"five years from
this time I shall come back. You will be a woman then, you are still a
child. And if no other lover has won you, I shall ask again."

He pressed her hand to his lips. Then he led her around to the porch,
and bade her a tender good-night. He would not embarrass her by any
longer stay.

She ran up the steps. Cary intercepted her in the hall.

"Has he gone? Doris----"

"Oh, _did_ you know? How could you let him!" she cried in anguish. "How
could you!"

"Doris--my dear little sister, he loved you so. But I wish it had been
Betty. Oh, don't cry. You have done nothing. I am sorry, but he would
not have been satisfied if he had not spoken. He wanted to ask father
first, but I hated to have _him_ pained if it was not necessary----"

"Thank you for that, Cary. Do not tell him. You will not?" she pleaded,
thinking of the other first.

"No, dear. We must shield him all we can."

Yes, they would try always. There was a little rift in the cloud of
pain.

The next evening Captain Hawthorne came over to bid them a formal
good-by. Helen Chapman and her lover and Eudora were there, so it was an
unembarrassing affair with many good wishes on both sides.

Doris thought she would like to run away and hide. It seemed as if the
whole story was written in her face. Betty suspected, but she loved her
too well to tease. And almost immediately Helen announced her
arrangements. She was to be married in October. Doris and Cary must
stand with her, and one of the Chapman cousins with Eudora. Another warm
girl friend and her lover would complete the party. Grandmamma had
stipulated that Mr. Harrison Gray should cast in his lot with them for a
year. Mr. Sargent had been attached to the embassy at London and they
would remain two years longer at least. Madam Royall could not bear to
have the family shrink so rapidly.

Betty was to go away again. Mr. and Mrs. Matthias King came together
this time to see old friends and Boston, that Mr. King found wonderfully
changed. He was to go to France on business for the firm of which he was
a member, and be absent a year at least. It would be such a splendid
chance for Betty. They were to take their own little Bessy and leave the
three younger children with a friend who had a school for small people
and who would give them a mother's care.

There was a little grandson in Sudbury Street, and Mercy had proved a
very agreeable daughter-in-law. Warren had begun to prosper again, and
was full of hope. The children at Hollis Leverett's were growing
rapidly. They no longer said "little Sam." He was almost a young man. He
had taken the Franklin prize at the Latin School and was now apprenticed
to an architect and builder, and would set up for himself when he came
of age, as Boston had begun to build up rapidly. But he couldn't help
envying Cousin Cary Adams his prize money and wondering what he meant to
do with it.

An invitation to go to Paris was not to be lightly declined then, any
more than it would be now. Mrs. Manning did not see "how Betty could
leave mother for so long," but Mrs. Leverett was in good health, and
though she hated to have her go so far away, there really could be no
objection, when Matthias King was so generous.

"I am going to have some of my good times while we are together and able
to enjoy them," he said to Mrs. Leverett. "I shall have to leave Electa
alone every now and then while I am about business, and it will be such
a comfort to her to have Betty. No doubt, we shall marry her to a French
count."

"Oh, no, bring her back to me," said Betty's mother.

There was quite a stir among Betty's compeers. She was congratulated and
envied, and they begged her to write everything she could about French
fashions. How lucky that she had been studying French!

Aunt Priscilla had a hard struggle with conscience about a matter that
she felt to be quite a duty. Giving away finery that you would never
wear was one thing, but your money was quite another.

"Betty," she said, "I'm going to make you a little gift. If you
shouldn't want to use it maybe Mat will see some way to invest it for
you. When the trouble came to Warren, I said he might as well have his
part as to wait until I was dead and gone. I have been paid over and
over again in comfort. He grows so much like your father, Betty. And
he's weathered through the storm and stress. So I'll do the same by you,
and if you never get any more you must be content."

It was an order for five hundred dollars. Winthrop Adams would see it
paid.

Betty was quite overwhelmed. "I ought to give half of it to mother!" she
cried.

"No, no. Your mother will have all she needs. The Mannings would borrow
it of her to buy more ground with. I've no patience with all their
scrimping, and sometimes I give thanks that poor Elizabeth is out of it
all. Don't have an anxious thought about money where you mother is
concerned."

"What a comfort you are, Aunt Priscilla."

"Well, it took years enough to teach me that anybody needed comforting."

As for Doris, she was so busy that she could hardly think about herself
or Captain Hawthorne. She did wish he had not loved her. If she had
known about the rose her heart would have been still more sore and
pitiful.

Betty went before the wedding. They took a sloop to New York and were to
leave there for Havre.

Madam Royall had this wedding just to her fancy, and it was quite a fine
affair. Cary looked very nice, Doris thought, for the sea tan had nearly
all bleached out. His figure was compact, and he had a rather soldierly
bearing. He was quite a hero, too, to his old college mates, some of
whom had not considered him possessed of really strong characteristics.

But the young ladies were proud of his notice and attention, and there
was no end of invitations from their mothers when they were going to
have evening companies.

The cold weather came on apace. Mr. Adams seemed to feel it more and
gave up his horseback rides. He interested himself very much in the
library plans, but he grew fonder of staying at home, and Doris was such
a pleasant companion. Cary had never been fond of poetry, and now he
threw himself into his profession with a resolve to stand high.
Manhood's ambition was so different from the lukewarm endeavors of the
boy.

His father did enjoy his earnestness very much. Sometimes he roused
himself to argue a point when two or three young men dropped in, and the
old fire flashed up, though he liked best his ease and his poets, or
Doris reading or singing some old song. But he did not lose his interest
in the world's progress or that of his beloved city.

Doris was very happy in a young girl's way. One did not expect to fill
every moment with pleasure, or go to parties or the theater every
evening. There were other duties and purposes to life. As Aunt Priscilla
did not go out after the cold weather set in, she ran up there nearly
every day with some cheerful bit of gossip. Madam Royall had grown very
fond of her as well. There was the dancing class; and the sewing class,
when they made garments for poor people; and shopping--even if one did
not buy much, for now such pretty French and English goods were shown
again. Then one stopped in the confectioner's on Newberry Street and had
a cup of hot coffee or tea if it was a cold day; or strolled down
Cornhill to see what new books had come over from London, for the
Waverley novels had just begun, and everybody was wondering about the
author. Or you went to Faneuil Hall to see Trumbull's Declaration of
Independence, which was considered a very remarkable work. There were
the sleigh-rides, when you went out in style and had a supper and a
dance; and the sledding parties, that were really the most fun of all,
when you almost forgot you were grown-up.

Cary was always ready to attend his cousin, though she quite as often
went out with Mr. and Mrs. Gray and Eudora. When he thought of it, it
did seem a little curious that Doris had no special company.

But a girl was not allowed to keep special company until the family had
consented and she was regularly engaged. Young men and girls came to
sing, for a piano was a rarity; there were parties going here and there,
but Doris never evinced any particular preference.

So spring came again and gardening engrossed Doris. She had been
learning housekeeping in all its branches under the experienced tuition
of Miss Recompense and Dinah. A girl who did not know everything from
the roasting of a turkey to the making of sack-posset, and through all
the gradations of pickling and preserving, was not considered
"finished."

Doris was very fond of the wide out-of-doors. She often took her work,
and Uncle Winthrop his book, and sat out on a rustic seat at the edge of
the Common, which was beginning to be beautiful, though it was twenty
years later that the Botanic Garden was started. But now that our ships
were going everywhere, curious bulbs and plants were brought from
Holland and from the East Indies by sea captains. And they found
wonderful wild flowers that developed under cultivation. Brookline was a
great resort on pleasant days, with its meadows and wooded hillsides and
beautiful gardens. Colonel Perkins had all manner of foreign fruits and
flowers that he had brought home from abroad, and had a greenhouse where
you could often find the grandmother of the family, who was most
generous in her gifts. There were people who thought you "flew in the
face of Providence" when you made flowers bloom in winter, but
Providence seemed to smile on them.

Over on the Foster estate at Cambridge there was a genuine hawthorn.
People made pilgrimages to see it when it was white with bloom and
diffusing its peculiar odor all about. There were the sweet blossoms of
the mulberry and the honey locust, and the air everywhere was fragrant,
for there were so few factories, and people had not learned to turn
waste materials into every sort of product and make vile smells.

Cary sometimes left his books early in the afternoon and went driving
with them. If he did not appreciate poetry so much, he was on the
lookout for every fine tree and curious flower, and twenty years later
he was deep in the Horticultural Society.

Uncle Winthrop bought a new low carriage this summer. For anyone else
but a grave gentleman it would have looked rather pronounced, but it was
so much easier to get in and out. And Doris in her sweet unconsciousness
never made any bid for attention, but people would turn and look at them
as one looks at a picture.

Thirty years or so afterward old ladies would sometimes say to the
daughters of Doris:

"My dear, I knew your mother when she was a sweet, fresh young girl and
used to go out driving with her uncle. Mr. Winthrop Adams was one of the
high-bred, delicate-looking men that would have graced a court. There
wasn't a prettier sight in Boston--and, dear me! that was way back in
'16 or '17. How time flies!"

They heard from Betty occasionally. The letters were long and "writ
fine," though happily not crossed. They should have been saved for a
book, they were so chatty. In August one came to Doris that stirred up a
mighty excitement. Betty had a way of being quite dramatic and leading
up to a climax.

A month before they had met a delightful Frenchman, a M. Henri de la
Maur, twenty-five or thereabouts, and found him an excellent cicerone to
some remarkable things they had not seen. He was much interested in
America and its chief cities, especially Boston, when he found that was
Betty's native town.

And one day he told them of a search he had been making for a little
girl. The De la Maurs had suffered considerably under the Napoleonic
_régime_, and had now been restored to some of their rights. There was
one estate that could not be settled until they found a missing member.
They had traced the mother, who had died and left a husband and a little
girl--Jacqueline. "That is such a common name in France," explained
Betty. She had been placed in a convent, and that was such a common
occurrence, too. Then she had been taken to the North of England. He had
gone to the old town, but the child's father had died and some elderly
relatives had passed away, and the child herself had been sent to the
United States. Everybody who had known her was dead or had forgotten.

"And I never thought until one day he said Old Boston," confessed Betty,
"when I remembered suddenly that your mother's name was Jacqueline Marie
de la Maur in the old marriage certificate. We had been talking of it a
week or more, but one hears so many family stories here in Paris, and
lost and found inheritances. But I almost screamed with surprise, and
added the sequel; and he was just overjoyed, and brought the family
papers. He and your mother are second- and third-cousins. It is queer
you should have so many far-off relations, and so few near-by ones, and
be mixed up in so many romances.

"The fortune sounds quite grand in francs, but if we enumerated our
money by quarters of dollars, we might all be rich. It is a snug little
sum, however, and they are anxious to get it settled before the next
turn in the dynasty, lest it might be confiscated again. So M. Henri is
coming home with us, and we shall start the first day of September, as
Mr. King has finished his business and Electa is wild to see her
children. I think I shall give 'talks' all winter and invite you over to
Sudbury Street, with your sewing, for I never shall be talked out."

It was wonderful. Doris had to read the letter over and over. It had
listeners at the Royall house who said it was a perfect romance, and at
the Leveretts' they rejoiced greatly.

"I declare!" exclaimed Aunt Priscilla, "if you should live to be fifty
or sixty, and everybody go on leaving you fortunes, you won't know what
to do with your money. They're filling up the Mill Pond and the big
ma'sh and going to lay out streets. I wouldn't have believed it! Foster
Leverett held on to his legacy because he couldn't sell it, and now
Warren has been offered a good sum. Mary Manning will pinch herself blue
to think she sold out when she did. I'm just glad for Warren. And
Cary'll know so much law that he will look out for you."

It was a beautiful autumn, for a wonder. Summer seemed loath to depart
or allow the flame-colored finger of Fall to place her seal on the
glowing foliage. But it was the last of October when Betty reached
Boston, convoyed by a very old-time New England woman going on to
Newburyport.

"For you know," said Betty, "the French are very particular about a
young woman traveling alone, but we did have a hunt to find someone
coming to Boston. Otherwise M'sieur Henri--you see how apt I am in
French--could not have accompanied me."

M. de la Maur was a very nice-looking young man, not as tall as Cary,
but with a graceful and manly figure, soft dark eyes, and hair that just
missed being black, a clear complexion and fine color, and a small line
of mustache. As to manners he was really charming, and so well-read that
Mr. Winthrop Adams took to him at once. He was conversant with Voltaire
and Rousseau, the plays of Racine and Molière, and the causes that had
led to the French Revolution, and had been in Paris through the famous
"Hundred Days." Of course he was bitter against Napoleon.

The inheritance part was soon settled. Doris would have about three
thousand dollars. But De la Maur took a great fancy to Boston, and the
Royall family approved of him. Mr. and Mrs. Sargent had returned this
fall and the old house was a center of attractive gayeties.

"Do you know, I think Cousin Henri is in love with Betty," said Doris,
with a feminine habit of guessing at love matters. "But she insists she
will never live abroad, and Cousin Henri thinks Paris is the center of
the world."

"How will they manage?"

Doris laughed. She did not just see herself.

But Betty's romance came to light presently. It had begun during her
winter in New York, but it had not run smoothly. Betty had a rather
quick wit and was fond of teasing, and there had been "differences" not
easily settled. Mr. Harman Gaynor had risen to the distinction of a
partnership in the King firm, and on meeting Betty again, with the young
Frenchman at her elbow, had presented his claim in such a way that Betty
yielded. When Mr. Gaynor came to Boston to have a conference with Mrs.
Leverett--for fathers and mothers still had authority in such
matters--Betty's engagement was announced and the marriage set for
spring.

Somehow it was a delightful winter. But after a little one person began
to feel strangely apprehensive, and this was Cary Adams.

"I suppose Doris and her third- or fourth-cousin will make a match?"
Madam Royall said one evening when they had been playing morris and she
had won the rubber. "How can you let her go away?"

"She will never leave father," exclaimed Cary confidently.

There was a sudden stricture all over his body. It seemed as if some
cold hand had clutched both heart and brain.

He walked home in the bright, fresh air. It was barely ten. He passed De
la Maur on the way and they greeted each other. The parlor windows were
darkened, his father was alone in the study, and everyone else had gone
to bed.

"I wish you had been home," said his father glancing up. "De la Maur has
been reciting Racine, and I have never heard anything finer! I wish he
could read Shakspere. He certainly is a delightful person, so cultured
and appreciative. It makes me feel that we really are a new people."

Could no one see the danger? How happened it his father was so blind?
Did Doris really care? She had not loved Captain Hawthorne, a man worthy
of any woman's love. Cary had a confident feeling that in five years
they would see him again. But he would be too old for Doris--thirteen
years between them. Yet his father had been fifteen years older than his
mother. Doris was so guileless, so simply honest, and if she loved--how
curiously she had kept from friendships or intimacies with young men!
Eudora had a train of admirers. So had Helen and Alice in their day.

When he had met Mrs. Sargent he knew it had only been a boyish fancy for
Alice Royall, and it had merely shaped and strengthened the ardent
desire of youth to go to his country's defense. He was a man now, and
capable of loving with supreme tenderness and strength. Yet he had seen
no woman to whom he cared to pour out the first sweet draught of a man's
regard.

But Doris must not go away, she could not.

Morning, noon, and night he watched her. She prepared his father's
toast, she chatted with him and often coaxed him to taste this or that,
for his appetite was slender. On sunny mornings they went to drive, or
if not she brought her sewing and sat in the study, listened and
discussed the subjects he loved, and was enthusiastic about the Boston
that was to be, that they both saw with the eye of faith. While he took
his siesta she ran up to Sudbury Street, or did an errand. Later in the
afternoon there would be calls. There was a sideboard at the end of the
hall where a bottle or two of wine were kept, as was the custom then,
and a plate of cake.

Doris brought in a fashion of offering tea or sometimes mulled cider on
a cold day. But Miss Recompense made delicious tea, and some of the
gentlemen took it just to see Doris drop in the lump of sugar so
daintily.

If they were at home there was always company in the evening, unless the
night was very stormy. De la Maur generally made one of the guests. If
they were alone they had a charming evening in the study.

The young Frenchman was most punctilious. He might take a few cousinly
freedoms, but he never offered any that were lover-like. So it was the
more easy for Doris to persuade herself that it was merely relationship.
Occasionally the eloquence of his eyes quite unnerved her. She cunningly
sheltered herself beside Eudora when it was possible.

But De la Maur's regard grew apace. It would not be honorable to come
without declaring his intentions. And the American fashion of being
engaged was extremely fascinating to him. He wanted the more than
cousinly privileges.

So it happened one night Betty and Warren came over with a piece of
music Mrs. King had sent, a song by Moore, the Irish poet. Doris went to
the parlor to try it. That was De la Maur's golden opportunity, and he
could not allow it to slip. In a most deferential manner he laid his
case before her relative and guardian and begged permission to address
Miss Doris.

Winthrop Adams was utterly amazed at the first moment. Then he recovered
himself. Doris _was_ a young lady. One friend and another was being
given in marriage, and Doris naturally would have lovers. There was one
that he had hoped--but he had never seen any real indication.

"It is true that I like my own Paris best, but if Miss Doris longed to
stay here a few years, I would make myself content. But you will
understand--I could not come any longer without explaining; and this
time you allow young people--betrothment--looks so attractive. May I ask
and learn her sentiments, since young ladies choose for themselves?"

What could he do but consent? If Doris should not love him----

"Good-night Uncle Win," cried Betty from the hall. "Good-night, M. De la
Maur."

Doris was replacing some music in the portfolio. Cousin Henri crossed
the room and she saw a mysterious sweetness in his face as he took her
hand.

"_Ma chère amie_ Cousin Doris, I have just explained to your uncle my
sentiments concerning you, and have his permission to ask for your
regard. I love you very dearly. Will you be my wife?"

Doris drew her hand away and was pale and red by turns, while her throat
constricted and her breath came in great bounds.

"I am so sorry. I tried not to be--I did not want anything like this to
happen--but sometimes I felt afraid," she stammered in her
embarrassment. "I like you very much. But I do not want to marry or to
be engaged. I shall stay with my uncle. I shall never go away from the
country of my adoption."

"But if I were willing to remain a while--so long as your uncle lived? I
do not wonder you love him very much. He is a charming gentleman. I have
no parents to bid me stay at home, I need consult only you and myself."

"Oh, no, no! Do not compel me to pain you by continued refusals. I
cannot consent. I will always be friend and cousin--I do not love
anyone----"

"Then if you do not love anyone this friendship might ripen into a sweet
regard. Oh, Doris, I had hardly thought so deep a love possible."

His imploring tone touched her. But she drew back farther and said in a
more decisive tone: "Oh, no, no! I cannot promise."

He was too gentlemanly to persist in his pleading. But he was confident
he had Mr. Adams on his side. And at home the desires of parents and
guardians counted for a great deal.

"My dear cousin, will you talk this matter over with your uncle? You may
look at it in a different light. And I shall remain your ardent admirer
until I am convinced. Since you have no lover----"

Doris Adams suddenly straightened her pliant young figure. Some dignity
was born in her face and in the clear eyes she raised, too pure to doubt
anything or to fear anything, sure for a moment that she possessed every
pulse and thought and knowledge of her own soul, then beset by a strange
shadowy misgiving that she had reached a curious crisis in her life that
she did not know of an instant ago.

But she said bravely, though there was a quiver in her breath that she
tried to keep from her voice:

"Let us remain cousins merely. My duty is here. My love is here
also--to the best of fathers, the tenderest of friends. I cannot share
it with anyone."

De la Maur bowed and went slowly out of the apartment.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE BLOOM OF LIFE--LOVE


Doris flew to the study. Uncle Winthrop's eyes were bent on his book and
his face partly turned aside. He had been making a brave fight. A man of
a less fine strain of honor would not have answered the brave young
lover as he had done. He could not have answered him thus if he had not
liked Henri de la Maur so well, and loved Doris with such singleness of
heart.

He heard her step and put out his hand without moving. His tone was very
low.

"Is it--France?"

"France! Oh, Uncle Win! When I belong to you and Boston?"

Her arms were around his neck. His heart, his whole body, seemed to give
one great throb of joy as he drew her down to his knee. There had been
only one other experience in life as sweet.

"And you would have sent me away!" with a soft, broken upbraiding in
which love was uppermost.

"No, child, no. God forbid, Doris, now that you are _not_ going, I will
confess--I think I should have died before the parting came. But, my
little girl, I must say this in memory of two sweet years of wedded
life--there is no happiness comparable to it. And to accept your youth,
your golden period that never dawns but once on any human being, to
gladden my declining years would be a selfish sin. I once had a
dream--but it came to naught"--he drew a long breath as if the
remembrance pained him. "You must be quite free, dear, to love and to
marry. All these years with you have been so precious, but sometime I
shall go my way, and I could not bear the thought of your being left
alone!"

"I shall stay with you. I--there can never be any home like this--any
love like yours----"

The hall door opened and shut slowly. That was Cary's step. She could
not meet him here. She kissed Uncle Win vehemently and flashed past the
young man standing there almost in the doorway with a white, strained
face. The great armchair was in her way and she half stumbled over it.
Then some other arms caught her and she had no strength to struggle. Did
she want to?

"Doris! Doris! Was it true what you said just now--that no home could be
like this, and your love for him, which has been that of a tender
daughter--his love for you--is there room for another regard still? for,
Doris, I love you! I want you. I have been wild and jealous since I have
suspected, since I have really known or guessed your cousin's
intentions. I did not suspect at first--there were Betty and Eudora--and
an old regard waiting for you, but now I can think of only one thing,
that has been in my mind day and night for the last fortnight, that I
love you as well as the others; only it seems a small and ignoble matter
to appeal to your affection for my father and the old home. But I want
your love, your sweetness, your precious faith, the trust of your coming
womanhood, your own sweet self. I'm not a handsome fellow like Captain
Hawthorne, nor accomplished like De la Maur, but I shall love you to my
life's end, Doris!"

They sat down on the step of the old staircase and he could feel the
tremble in every pulse of her slim young figure. Was it the strange
mystery that had come to her half an hour ago in the parlor opposite, a
something that was not knowledge, but a vague consciousness that there
was a person in the world who could say the words that would thrill her
with delight instead of bringing sorrow and regret!

"All that is a very illogical and incoherent presentation. I must do
better when I come to argue my first case," and he gave a joyous little
laugh. For he knew if Doris meant to say him "Nay," she would not let
her head droop on his shoulder, or yield to the clasp of his arm. And
suddenly his soul was filled with infinite pity for Hawthorne,
and--yes--he felt sorry for De la Maur.

"Doris--is it a little for my own sake?"

A breath of happy content swept over her like a summer wind coming from
some mysterious world.

"You have been an angel of comfort to both of us. I don't know what I
should have done in that unhappy time if it had not been for you. But
Hawthorne's regard made it a point of honor with me. Could you have
loved him, Doris? He is such a fine fellow."

He noted the little shrinking, he was holding her so close.

"Not in that way," and her reply was a soft whisper.

"Thank Heaven! But I want to hear you say--oh, my darling, I want the
assurance that I shall be dear to you, that it is not all because----"

"I should stay for Uncle Win's sake. I think Miss Recompense finds a
great many sources of happiness in a single life. But if I promised you,
it would be because--because--I loved you."

"Then promise me," he cried enraptured. "I love you dearly, if I haven't
been much of a lover. I have said to myself that I was waiting for
Hawthorne's five years to end, or to do something worthy of you. And
now, Doris, I know what fighting means, and I would fight to the death
for you. I am afraid I shall be selfish and exigent to the last degree."

He felt the delicate revelation in the warmth of her cheek, the tremble
of the soft hands, the relaxation of her whole body. And a kind of
solemn exultation filled his soul. Except the youthful episode with
Alice Royall, he had never sincerely cared for any woman, and he was
very glad he could give Doris the first offering of a man's love as he
understood it now.

And then for a long while neither spoke, except in kisses--love's own
language. Every moment the mystery seemed to grow upon Doris, to unfold
as well, to pass the line of girlhood, to accept the crown of a woman's
life. It had been very simply sweet. Some other woman might have made a
rather tragic episode of her two lovers. Doris pitied them sincerely,
but they both had the deepest sympathy from Cary Adams.

"Let us go to him," Cary exclaimed presently, rising, with his arm still
about her.

There were two wax candles burning in their sconces that had been made
over forty years ago in Paul Revere's foundry. By the softened light
Cary glanced at the flushed face, downcast eyes and dewy, tremulous
lips. Half the sweet story was still untold, but there would be years
and years. Oh, Heaven grant they might have them together! And at this
instant he was filled with a profound sympathy for his father's loss and
lonely life.

They walked slowly through the hall and paused a moment in the doorway.
Winthrop Adams was leaning his head on his hand, and the lamp a little
at the side threw up his thin, finely cut features, as if they had been
done in marble, and he was almost as pale. The exultation went out of
the soul of the young lover, and a rush of tenderness such as he had
never experienced before swept through him.

"Father," he said softly, touching him on the shoulder, "father--will
you give me Doris, for your claim is first? Will you accept me as her
lover, sometime to be her husband, always to be your son, and your
daughter?"

Winthrop Adams rose half-bewildered. Had the secret hope of his soul
unfolded in blessed fruition? He looked from one to the other, then his
glance rested on his son--their eyes met, and in that instant they came
to know each other as they never had before, to understand, to
comprehend all that was in the tie of nature. He laid one hand on his
son's shoulder, the other clasped the slim virginal figure, no longer a
little girl, but whose girlhood and affectionate devotion would always
fill both hearts.

"Doris, my child--you are quite sure----" He could not have his son
defrauded of any sweetness.

Doris raised her downcast eyes and smiled, while the pink flush was like
a rosy gleam of sunrise. Then she laid her hand over both of the others'
in a tender, caressing fashion. But she was too deeply moved for words.

Winthrop Adams kissed her fair brow, but her lover kissed her on the
sweet, rosy lips.

They announced the engagement almost at once. It was done partly for De
la Maur's sake, though after the first he took it quite philosophically.
There were three people supremely happy over it. Miss Recompense, Madam
Royall,--who declared she would have been disappointed in Providence if
it had been any other way,--and Cousin Betty, who was happy as a queen
in her own life, though why we should make royalty a synonym for
happiness I do not know.

"You never could have left Uncle Win," wrote Betty, "and Cary could not
have gone away, neither could he have brought home a strange woman. This
was the only satisfactory ending. But I hope you will be awfully in
love with each other and sweet--and silly and all that. I am sorry for
Captain Hawthorne, for, Doris, he loved you sincerely, but your French
cousin can console himself with an English rhyme:

    "'If she be not fair for me,
    What care I how fair she be?'"

And oddly enough a few months later he did console himself with Eudora
Chapman.

Just a few years afterward there was a great time in Boston. For she had
adopted a charter and become a real city, after long and earnest
discussion. There was a grand celebration and no end of dinners, and
young Cary Adams made one of the addresses. Mr. Winthrop Adams insisted
that his life work was done, but he lived to be interested in many more
improvements, and some charming grandchildren.

"But after all," Doris would declare, "splendid as it is going to be, I
am glad to belong to Old Boston with her lanes and byways and rough
hills and marsh lands, with their billowy grasses and wild flowers, and
great gardens full of fruit trees, and the little old shops and people
sitting on front stoops sewing or reading or chatting cozily. And what a
pleasure it will be by and by to tell the children that I was a little
girl in Old Boston."


THE END.


       *       *       *       *       *

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By AMANDA M. DOUGLAS


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      A sequel to "A Little Girl in Old New York"

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