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´╗┐Title: Deephaven and Selected Stories & Sketches
Author: Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909
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 "Deephaven and Selected Stories & Sketches" ***

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    AN OCTOBER RIDE (1881)

    TOM'S HUSBAND (1884)




This book is not wholly new, several of the chapters having already been
published in the "Atlantic Monthly." It has so often been asked if
Deephaven may not be found on the map of New England under another name,
that, to prevent any misunderstanding, I wish to say, while there is a
likeness to be traced, few of the sketches are drawn from that town
itself, and the characters will in almost every case be looked for there
in vain.

I dedicate this story of out-of-door life and country people first to my
father and mother, my two best friends, and also to all my other
friends, whose names I say to myself lovingly, though I do not write
them here.

S. O. J.















_Kate Lancaster's Plan_

I had been spending the winter in Boston, and Kate Lancaster and I had
been together a great deal, for we are the best of friends. It happened
that the morning when this story begins I had waked up feeling sorry,
and as if something dreadful were going to happen. There did not seem to
be any good reason for it, so I undertook to discourage myself more by
thinking that it would soon be time to leave town, and how much I should
miss being with Kate and my other friends. My mind was still disquieted
when I went down to breakfast; but beside my plate I found, with a
hoped-for letter from my father, a note from Kate. To this day I have
never known any explanation of that depression of my spirits, and I hope
that the good luck which followed will help some reader to lose fear,
and to smile at such shadows if any chance to come.

Kate had evidently written to me in an excited state of mind, for her
note was not so trig-looking as usual; but this is what she said:--

     Dear Helen,--I have a plan--I think it a most delightful plan--in
     which you and I are chief characters. Promise that you will say
     yes; if you do not you will have to remember all your life that you
     broke a girl's heart. Come round early, and lunch with me and dine
     with me. I'm to be all alone, and it's a long story and will need a
     great deal of talking over.


I showed this note to my aunt, and soon went round, very much
interested. My latch-key opened the Lancasters' door, and I hurried to
the parlor, where I heard my friend practising with great diligence. I
went up to her, and she turned her head and kissed me solemnly. You need
not smile; we are not sentimental girls, and are both much averse to
indiscriminate kissing, though I have not the adroit habit of shying in
which Kate is proficient. It would sometimes be impolite in any one
else, but she shies so affectionately.

"Won't you sit down, dear?" she said, with great ceremony, and went on
with her playing, which was abominable that morning; her fingers stepped
on each other, and, whatever the tune might have been in reality, it
certainly had a most remarkable incoherence as I heard it then. I took
up the new Littell and made believe read it, and finally threw it at
Kate; you would have thought we were two children.

"Have you heard that my grand-aunt, Miss Katharine Brandon of Deephaven,
is dead?" I knew that she had died in November, at least six months

"Don't be nonsensical, Kate!" said I. "What is it you are going to tell

"My grand-aunt died very old, and was the last of her generation. She
had a sister and three brothers, one of whom had the honor of being my
grandfather. Mamma is sole heir to the family estates in Deephaven,
wharf-property and all, and it is a great inconvenience to her. The
house is a charming old house, and some of my ancestors who followed the
sea brought home the greater part of its furnishings. Miss Katharine was
a person who ignored all frivolities, and her house was as sedate as
herself. I have been there but little, for when I was a child my aunt
found no pleasure in the society of noisy children who upset her
treasures, and when I was older she did not care to see strangers, and
after I left school she grew more and more feeble; I had not been there
for two years when she died. Mamma went down very often. The town is a
quaint old place which has seen better days. There are high rocks at the
shore, and there is a beach, and there are woods inland, and hills, and
there is the sea. It might be dull in Deephaven for two young ladies who
were fond of gay society and dependent upon excitement, I suppose; but
for two little girls who were fond of each other and could play in the
boats, and dig and build houses in the sea-sand, and gather shells, and
carry their dolls wherever they went, what could be pleasanter?"

"Nothing," said I, promptly.

Kate had told this a little at a time, with a few appropriate bars of
music between, which suddenly reminded me of the story of a Chinese
procession which I had read in one of Marryat's novels when I was a
child: "A thousand white elephants richly caparisoned,--ti-tum
tilly-lily," and so on, for a page or two. She seemed to have finished
her story for that time, and while it was dawning upon me what she
meant, she sang a bit from one of Jean Ingelow's verses:--

    "Will ye step aboard, my dearest,
    For the high seas lie before us?"

and then came over to sit beside me and tell the whole story in a more
sensible fashion.

"You know that my father has been meaning to go to England in the
autumn? Yesterday he told us that he is to leave in a month and will be
away all summer, and mamma is going with him. Jack and Willy are to join
a party of their classmates who are to spend nearly the whole of the
long vacation at Lake Superior. I don't care to go abroad again now, and
I did not like any plan that was proposed to me. Aunt Anna was here all
the afternoon, and she is going to take the house at Newport, which is
very pleasant and unexpected, for she hates housekeeping. Mamma thought
of course that I would go with her, but I did not wish to do that, and
it would only result in my keeping house for her visitors, whom I know
very little; and she will be much more free and independent by herself.
Beside, she can have my room if I am not there. I have promised to make
her a long visit in Baltimore next winter instead. I told mamma that I
should like to stay here and go away when I choose. There are ever so
many visits which I have promised; I could stay with you and your Aunt
Mary at Lenox if she goes there, for a while, and I have always wished
to spend a summer in town; but mamma did not encourage that at all. In
the evening papa gave her a letter which had come from Mr. Dockum, the
man who takes care of Aunt Katharine's place, and the most charming idea
came into my head, and I said I meant to spend my summer in Deephaven.

"At first they laughed at me, and then they said I might go if I chose,
and at last they thought nothing could be pleasanter, and mamma wishes
she were going herself. I asked if she did not think you would be the
best person to keep me company, and she does, and papa announced that he
was just going to suggest my asking you. I am to take Ann and Maggie,
who will be overjoyed, for they came from that part of the country, and
the other servants are to go with Aunt Anna, and old Nora will come to
take care of this house, as she always does. Perhaps you and I will come
up to town once in a while for a few days. We shall have such jolly
housekeeping. Mamma and I sat up very late last night, and everything is
planned. Mr. Dockum's house is very near Aunt Katharine's, so we shall
not be lonely; though I know you're no more afraid of that than I. O
Helen, won't you go?"

Do you think it took me long to decide?

Mr. and Mrs. Lancaster sailed the 10th of June, and my Aunt Mary went to
spend her summer among the Berkshire Hills, so I was at the Lancasters'
ready to welcome Kate when she came home, after having said good by to
her father and mother. We meant to go to Deephaven in a week, but were
obliged to stay in town longer. Boston was nearly deserted of our
friends at the last, and we used to take quiet walks in the cool of the
evening after dinner, up and down the street, or sit on the front steps
in company with the servants left in charge of the other houses, who
also sometimes walked up and down and looked at us wonderingly. We had
much shopping to do in the daytime, for there was a probability of our
spending many days in doors, and as we were not to be near any large
town, and did not mean to come to Boston for weeks at least, there was a
great deal to be remembered and arranged. We enjoyed making our plans,
and deciding what we should want, and going to the shops together. I
think we felt most important the day we conferred with Ann and made out
a list of the provisions which must be ordered. This was being
housekeepers in earnest. Mr. Dockum happened to come to town, and we
sent Ann and Maggie, with most of our boxes, to Deephaven in his company
a day or two before we were ready to go ourselves, and when we reached
there the house was opened and in order for us.

On our journey to Deephaven we left the railway twelve miles from that
place, and took passage in a stage-coach. There was only one passenger
beside ourselves. She was a very large, thin, weather-beaten woman, and
looked so tired and lonesome and good-natured, that I could not help
saying it was very dusty; and she was apparently delighted to answer
that she should think everybody was sweeping, and she always felt, after
being in the cars a while, as if she had been taken all to pieces and
left in the different places. And this was the beginning of our
friendship with Mrs. Kew.

After this conversation we looked industriously out of the window into
the pastures and pine-woods. I had given up my seat to her, for I do not
mind riding backward in the least, and you would have thought I had done
her the greatest favor of her life. I think she was the most grateful of
women, and I was often reminded of a remark one of my friends once made
about some one: "If you give Bessie a half-sheet of letter-paper, she
behaves to you as if it were the most exquisite of presents!" Kate and I
had some fruit left in our lunch-basket, and divided it with Mrs. Kew,
but after the first mouthful we looked at each other in dismay. "Lemons
with oranges' clothes on, aren't they?" said she, as Kate threw hers out
of the window, and mine went after it for company; and after this we
began to be very friendly indeed. We both liked the odd woman, there was
something so straightforward and kindly about her.

"Are you going to Deephaven, dear?" she asked me, and then: "I wonder if
you are going to stay long? All summer? Well, that's clever! I do hope
you will come out to the Light to see me; young folks 'most always like
my place. Most likely your friends will fetch you."

"Do you know the Brandon house?" asked Kate.

"Well as I do the meeting-house. There! I wonder I didn't know from the
beginning, but I have been a trying all the way to settle it who you
could be. I've been up country some weeks, stopping with my mother, and
she seemed so set to have me stay till strawberry-time, and would hardly
let me come now. You see she's getting to be old; why, every time I've
come away for fifteen years she's said it was the last time I'd ever see
her, but she's a dreadful smart woman of her age. 'He' wrote me some o'
Mrs. Lancaster's folks were going to take the Brandon house this summer;
and so you are the ones? It's a sightly old place; I used to go and see
Miss Katharine. She must have left a power of china-ware. She set a
great deal by the house, and she kept everything just as it used to be
in her mother's day."

"Then you live in Deephaven too?" asked Kate.

"I've been here the better part of my life. I was raised up among the
hills in Vermont, and I shall always be a real up-country woman if I
live here a hundred years. The sea doesn't come natural to me, it kind
of worries me, though you won't find a happier woman than I be, 'long
shore. When I was first married 'he' had a schooner and went to the
banks, and once he was off on a whaling voyage, and I hope I may never
come to so long a three years as those were again, though I was up to
mother's. Before I was married he had been 'most everywhere. When he
came home that time from whaling, he found I'd taken it so to heart that
he said he'd never go off again, and then he got the chance to keep
Deephaven Light, and we've lived there seventeen years come January.
There isn't great pay, but then nobody tries to get it away from us, and
we've got so's to be contented, if it is lonesome in winter."

"Do you really live in the lighthouse? I remember how I used to beg to
be taken out there when I was a child, and how I used to watch for the
light at night," said Kate, enthusiastically.

So began a friendship which we both still treasure, for knowing Mrs. Kew
was one of the pleasantest things which happened to us in that
delightful summer, and she used to do so much for our pleasure, and was
so good to us. When we went out to the lighthouse for the last time to
say good by, we were very sorry girls indeed. We had no idea until then
how much she cared for us, and her affection touched us very much. She
told us that she loved us as if we belonged to her, and begged us not to
forget her,--as if we ever could!--and to remember that there was always
a home and a warm heart for us if she were alive. Kate and I have often
agreed that few of our acquaintances are half so entertaining. Her
comparisons were most striking and amusing, and her comments upon the
books she read--for she was a great reader--were very shrewd and clever,
and always to the point. She was never out of temper, even when the
barrels of oil were being rolled across her kitchen floor. And she was
such a wise woman! This stage-ride, which we expected to find tiresome,
we enjoyed very much, and we were glad to think, when the coach stopped,
and "he" came to meet her with great satisfaction, that we had one
friend in Deephaven at all events.

I liked the house from my very first sight of it. It stood behind a row
of poplars which were as green and flourishing as the poplars which
stand in stately processions in the fields around Quebec. It was an
imposing great white house, and the lilacs were tall, and there were
crowds of rose-bushes not yet out of bloom; and there were box borders,
and there were great elms at the side of the house and down the road.
The hall door stood wide open, and my hostess turned to me as we went
in, with one of her sweet, sudden smiles. "Won't we have a good time,
Nelly?" said she. And I thought we should.

So our summer's housekeeping began in most pleasant fashion. It was just
at sunset, and Ann's and Maggie's presence made the house seem familiar
at once. Maggie had been unpacking for us, and there was a delicious
supper ready for the hungry girls. Later in the evening we went down to
the shore, which was not very far away; the fresh sea-air was welcome
after the dusty day, and it seemed so quiet and pleasant in Deephaven.

_The Brandon House and the Lighthouse_

I do not know that the Brandon house is really very remarkable, but I
never have been in one that interested me in the same way. Kate used to
recount to select audiences at school some of her experiences with her
Aunt Katharine, and it was popularly believed that she once carried down
some indestructible picture-books when they were first in fashion, and
the old lady basted them for her to hem round the edges at the rate of
two a day. It may have been fabulous. It was impossible to imagine any
children in the old place; everything was for grown people; even the
stair-railing was too high to slide down on. The chairs looked as if
they had been put, at the furnishing of the house, in their places, and
there they meant to remain. The carpets were particularly interesting,
and I remember Kate's pointing out to me one day a great square figure
in one, and telling me she used to keep house there with her dolls for
lack of a better play-house, and if one of them chanced to fall outside
the boundary stripe, it was immediately put to bed with a cold. It is a
house with great possibilities; it might easily be made charming. There
are four very large rooms on the lower floor, and six above, a wide hall
in each story, and a fascinating garret over the whole, where were many
mysterious old chests and boxes, in one of which we found Kate's
grandmother's love-letters; and you may be sure the vista of rummages
which Mr. Lancaster had laughed about was explored to its very end. The
rooms all have elaborate cornices, and the lower hall is very fine, with
an archway dividing it, and panellings of all sorts, and a great door at
each end, through which the lilacs in front and the old pensioner
plum-trees in the garden are seen exchanging bows and gestures. Coming
from the Lancasters' high city house, it did not seem as if we had to go
up stairs at all there, for every step of the stairway is so broad and
low, and you come half-way to a square landing with an old
straight-backed chair in each farther corner; and between them a large,
round-topped window, with a cushioned seat, looking out on the garden
and the village, the hills far inland, and the sunset beyond all. Then
you turn and go up a few more steps to the upper hall, where we used to
stay a great deal. There were more old chairs and a pair of remarkable
sofas, on which we used to deposit the treasures collected in our
wanderings. The wide window which looks out on the lilacs and the sea
was a favorite seat of ours. Facing each other on either side of it are
two old secretaries, and one of them we ascertained to be the
hiding-place of secret drawers, in which may be found valuable records
deposited by ourselves one rainy day when we first explored it. We
wrote, between us, a tragic "journal" on some yellow old letter-paper we
found in the desk. We put it in the most hidden drawer by itself, and
flatter ourselves that it will be regarded with great interest some time
or other. Of one of the front rooms, "the best chamber," we stood rather
in dread. It is very remarkable that there seem to be no ghost-stories
connected with any part of the house, particularly this. We are neither
of us nervous; but there is certainly something dismal about the room.
The huge curtained bed and immense easy-chairs, windows, and everything
were draped in some old-fashioned kind of white cloth which always
seemed to be waving and moving about of itself. The carpet was most
singularly colored with dark reds and indescribable grays and browns,
and the pattern, after a whole summer's study, could never be followed
with one's eye. The paper was captured in a French prize somewhere some
time in the last century, and part of the figure was shaggy, and therein
little spiders found habitation, and went visiting their acquaintances
across the shiny places. The color was an unearthly pink and a
forbidding maroon, with dim white spots, which gave it the appearance of
having moulded. It made you low-spirited to look long in the mirror; and
the great lounge one could not have cheerful associations with, after
hearing that Miss Brandon herself did not like it, having seen so many
of her relatives lie there dead. There were fantastic china ornaments
from Bible subjects on the mantel, and the only picture was one of the
Maid of Orleans tied with an unnecessarily strong rope to a very stout
stake. The best parlor we also rarely used, because all the portraits
which hung there had for some unaccountable reason taken a violent
dislike to us, and followed us suspiciously with their eyes. The
furniture was stately and very uncomfortable, and there was something
about the room which suggested an invisible funeral.

There is not very much to say about the dining-room. It was not
specially interesting, though the sea was in sight from one of the
windows. There were some old Dutch pictures on the wall, so dark that
one could scarcely make out what they were meant to represent, and one
or two engravings. There was a huge sideboard, for which Kate had
brought down from Boston Miss Brandon's own silver which had stood there
for so many years, and looked so much more at home and in place than any
other possibly could have looked, and Kate also found in the closet the
three great decanters with silver labels chained round their necks,
which had always been the companions of the tea-service in her aunt's
lifetime. From the little closets in the sideboard there came a most
significant odor of cake and wine whenever one opened the doors. We used
Miss Brandon's beautiful old blue India china which she had given to
Kate, and which had been carefully packed all winter. Kate sat at the
head and I at the foot of the round table, and I must confess that we
were apt to have either a feast or a famine, for at first we often
forgot to provide our dinners. If this were the case Maggie was sure to
serve us with most derisive elegance, and make us wait for as much
ceremony as she thought necessary for one of Mrs. Lancaster's

The west parlor was our favorite room down stairs. It had a great
fireplace framed in blue and white Dutch tiles which ingeniously and
instructively represented the careers of the good and the bad man; the
starting-place of each being a very singular cradle in the centre at the
top. The last two of the series are very high art: a great coffin stands
in the foreground of each, and the virtuous man is being led off by two
disagreeable-looking angels, while the wicked one is hastening from an
indescribable but unpleasant assemblage of claws and horns and eyes
which is rapidly advancing from the distance, open-mouthed, and bringing
a chain with it.

There was a large cabinet holding all the small curiosities and
knick-knacks there seemed to be no other place for,--odd china figures
and cups and vases, unaccountable Chinese carvings and exquisite corals
and sea-shells, minerals and Swiss wood-work, and articles of _vertu_
from the South Seas. Underneath were stored boxes of letters and old
magazines; for this was one of the houses where nothing seems to have
been thrown away. In one parting we found a parcel of old manuscript
sermons, the existence of which was a mystery, until Kate remembered
there had been a gifted son of the house who entered the ministry and
soon died. The windows had each a pane of stained glass, and on the wide
sills we used to put our immense bouquets of field-flowers. There was
one place which I liked and sat in more than any other. The chimney
filled nearly the whole side of the room, all but this little corner,
where there was just room for a very comfortable high-backed cushioned
chair, and a narrow window where I always had a bunch of fresh green
ferns in a tall champagne-glass. I used to write there often, and always
sat there when Kate sang and played. She sent for a tuner, and used to
successfully coax the long-imprisoned music from the antiquated piano,
and sing for her visitors by the hour. She almost always sang her oldest
songs, for they seemed most in keeping with everything about us. I used
to fancy that the portraits liked our being there. There was one young
girl who seemed solitary and forlorn among the rest in the room, who
were all middle-aged. For their part they looked amiable, but rather
unhappy, as if she had come in and interrupted their conversation. We
both grew very fond of her, and it seemed, when we went in the last
morning on purpose to take leave of her, as if she looked at us
imploringly. She was soon afterward boxed up, and now enjoys society
after her own heart in Kate's room in Boston.

There was the largest sofa I ever saw opposite the fireplace; it must
have been brought in in pieces, and built in the room. It was broad
enough for Kate and me to lie on together, and very high and square; but
there was a pile of soft cushions at one end. We used to enjoy it
greatly in September, when the evenings were long and cool, and we had
many candles, and a fire--and crickets too--on the hearth, and the dear
dog lying on the rug. I remember one rainy night, just before Miss
Tennant and Kitty Bruce went away; we had a real drift-wood fire, and
blew out the lights and told stories. Miss Margaret knows so many and
tells them so well. Kate and I were unusually entertaining, for we
became familiar with the family record of the town, and could recount
marvellous adventures by land and sea, and ghost-stories by the dozen.
We had never either of us been in a society consisting of so many
travelled people! Hardly a man but had been the most of his life at sea.
Speaking of ghost-stories, I must tell you that once in the summer two
Cambridge girls who were spending a week with us unwisely enticed us
into giving some thrilling recitals, which nearly frightened them out of
their wits, and Kate and I were finally in terror ourselves. We had all
been on the sofa in the dark, singing and talking, and were waiting in
great suspense after I had finished one of such particular horror that I
declared it should be the last, when we heard footsteps on the hall
stairs. There were lights in the dining-room which shone faintly through
the half-closed door, and we saw something white and shapeless come
slowly down, and clutched each other's gowns in agony. It was only
Kate's dog, who came in and laid his head in her lap and slept
peacefully. We thought we could not sleep a wink after this, and I
bravely went alone out to the light to see my watch, and, finding it was
past twelve, we concluded to sit up all night and to go down to the
shore at sunrise, it would be so much easier than getting up early some
morning. We had been out rowing and had taken a long walk the day
before, and were obliged to dance and make other slight exertions to
keep ourselves awake at one time. We lunched at two, and I never shall
forget the sunrise that morning; but we were singularly quiet and
abstracted that day, and indeed for several days after Deephaven was "a
land in which it seemed always afternoon," we breakfasted so late.

As Mrs. Kew had said, there was "a power of china." Kate and I were
convinced that the lives of her grandmothers must have been spent in
giving tea-parties. We counted ten sets of cups, beside quantities of
stray ones; and some member of the family had evidently devoted her time
to making a collection of pitchers.

There was an escritoire in Miss Brandon's own room, which we looked over
one day. There was a little package of letters; ship letters mostly,
tied with a very pale and tired-looking blue ribbon. They were in a
drawer with a locket holding a faded miniature on ivory and a lock of
brown hair, and there were also some dry twigs and bits of leaf which
had long ago been bright wild-roses, such as still bloom among the
Deephaven rocks. Kate said that she had often heard her mother wonder
why her aunt never had cared to marry, for she had chances enough
doubtless, and had been rich and handsome and finely educated. So there
was a sailor lover after all, and perhaps he had been lost at sea and
she faithfully kept the secret, never mourning outwardly. "And I always
thought her the most matter-of-fact old lady," said Kate; "yet here's
her romance, after all." We put the letters outside on a chair to read,
but afterwards carefully replaced them, without untying them. I'm glad
we did. There were other letters which we did read, and which interested
us very much,--letters from her girl friends written in the
boarding-school vacations, and just after she finished school. Those in
one of the smaller packages were charming; it must have been such a
bright, nice girl who wrote them! They were very few, and were tied with
black ribbon, and marked on the outside in girlish writing: "My dearest
friend, Dolly McAllister, died September 3, 1809, aged eighteen." The
ribbon had evidently been untied and the letters read many times. One
began: "My dear, delightful Kitten: I am quite overjoyed to find my
father has business which will force him to go to Deephaven next week,
and he kindly says if there be no more rain I may ride with him to see
you. I will surely come, for if there is danger of spattering my gown,
and he bids me stay at home, I shall go galloping after him and overtake
him when it is too late to send me back. I have so much to tell you." I
wish I knew more about the visit. Poor Miss Katharine! it made us sad to
look over these treasures of her girlhood. There were her compositions
and exercise-books; some samplers and queer little keepsakes; withered
flowers and some pebbles and other things of like value, with which
there was probably some pleasant association. "Only think of her keeping
them all her days," said I to Kate. "I am continually throwing some
relic of the kind away, because I forget why I have it!"

There was a box in the lower part which Kate was glad to find, for she
had heard her mother wonder if some such things were not in existence.
It held a crucifix and a mass-book and some rosaries, and Kate told me
Miss Katharine's youngest and favorite brother had become a Roman
Catholic while studying in Europe. It was a dreadful blow to the family;
for in those days there could have been few deeper disgraces to the
Brandon family than to have one of its sons go over to popery. Only Miss
Katharine treated him with kindness, and after a time he disappeared
without telling even her where he was going, and was only heard from
indirectly once or twice afterward. It was a great grief to her. "And
mamma knows," said Kate, "that she always had a lingering hope of his
return, for one of the last times she saw Aunt Katharine before she was
ill she spoke of soon going to be with all the rest, and said, 'Though
your Uncle Henry, dear,'--and stopped and smiled sadly; 'you'll think me
a very foolish old woman, but I never quite gave up thinking he might
come home.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Kew did the honors of the lighthouse thoroughly on our first visit;
but I think we rarely went to see her that we did not make some
entertaining discovery. Mr. Kew's nephew, a guileless youth of forty,
lived with them, and the two men were of a mechanical turn and had
invented numerous aids to housekeeping,--appendages to the stove, and
fixtures on the walls for everything that could be hung up; catches in
the floor to hold the doors open, and ingenious apparatus to close them;
but, above all, a system of barring and bolting for the wide "fore
door," which would have disconcerted an energetic battering-ram. After
all this work being expended, Mrs. Kew informed us that it was usually
wide open all night in summer weather. On the back of this door I
discovered one day a row of marks, and asked their significance. It
seemed that Mrs. Kew had attempted one summer to keep count of the
number of people who inquired about the depredations of the neighbors'
chickens. Mrs. Kew's bedroom was partly devoted to the fine arts. There
was a large collection of likenesses of her relatives and friends on the
wall, which was interesting in the extreme. Mrs. Kew was always much
pleased to tell their names, and her remarks about any feature not
exactly perfect were very searching and critical. "That's my oldest
brother's wife, Clorinthy Adams that was. She's well featured, if it
were not for her nose, and that looks as if it had been thrown at her,
and she wasn't particular about having it on firm, in hopes of getting a
better one. She sets by her looks, though."

There were often sailing-parties that came there from up and down the
coast. One day Kate and I were spending the afternoon at the Light; we
had been fishing, and were sitting in the doorway listening to a
reminiscence of the winter Mrs. Kew kept school at the Four Corners; saw
a boatful coming, and all lost our tempers. Mrs. Kew had a lame ankle,
and Kate offered to go up with the visitors. There were some girls and
young men who stood on the rocks awhile, and then asked us, with much
better manners than the people who usually came, if they could see the
lighthouse, and Kate led the way. She was dressed that day in a costume
we both frequently wore, of gray skirts and blue sailor-jacket, and her
boots were much the worse for wear. The celebrated Lancaster complexion
was rather darkened by the sun. Mrs. Kew expressed a wish to know what
questions they would ask her, and I followed after a few minutes. They
seemed to have finished asking about the lantern, and to have become

"Don't you get tired staying here?"

"No, indeed!" said Kate.

"Is that your sister down stairs?"

"No, I have no sister."

"I should think you would wish she was. Aren't you ever lonesome?"

"Everybody is, sometimes," said Kate.

"But it's such a lonesome place!" said one of the girls. "I should think
you would get work away. I live in Boston. Why, it's so awful quiet!
nothing but the water, and the wind, when it blows; and I think either
of them is worse than nothing. And only this little bit of a rocky
place! I should want to go to walk."

I heard Kate pleasantly refuse the offer of pay for her services, and
then they began to come down the steep stairs laughing and chattering
with each other. Kate stayed behind to close the doors and leave
everything all right, and the girl who had talked the most waited too,
and when they were on the stairs just above me, and the others out of
hearing, she said, "You're real good to show us the things. I guess
you'll think I'm silly, but I do like you ever so much! I wish you would
come to Boston. I'm in a real nice store,--H----'s, on Winter Street;
and they will want new saleswomen in October. Perhaps you could be at my
counter. I'd teach you, and you could board with me. I've got a real
comfortable room, and I suppose I might have more things, for I get good
pay; but I like to send money home to mother. I'm at my aunt's now, but
I am going back next Monday, and if you will tell me what your name is,
I'll find out for certain about the place, and write you. My name's Mary

I knew by Kate's voice that this had touched her. "You are very kind;
thank you heartily," said she; "but I cannot go and work with you. I
should like to know more about you. I live in Boston too; my friend and
I are staying over in Deephaven for the summer only." And she held out
her hand to the girl, whose face had changed from its first expression
of earnest good-humor to a very startled one; and when she noticed
Kate's hand, and a ring of hers, which had been turned round, she looked
really frightened.

"O, will you please excuse me?" said she, blushing. "I ought to have
known better; but you showed us round so willing, and I never thought of
your not living here. I didn't mean to be rude."

"Of course you did not, and you were not. I am very glad you said it,
and glad you like me," said Kate; and just then the party called the
girl, and she hurried away, and I joined Kate. "Then you heard it all.
That was worth having!" said she. "She was such an honest little soul,
and I mean to look for her when I get home."

Sometimes we used to go out to the Light early in the morning with the
fishermen who went that way to the fishing-grounds, but we usually made
the voyage early in the afternoon if it were not too hot, and we went
fishing off the rocks or sat in the house with Mrs. Kew, who often
related some of her Vermont experiences, or Mr. Kew would tell us
surprising sea-stories and ghost-stories like a story-book sailor. Then
we would have an unreasonably good supper and afterward climb the ladder
to the lantern to see the lamps lighted, and sit there for a while
watching the ships and the sunset. Almost all the coasters came in sight
of Deephaven, and the sea outside the light was their grand highway.
Twice from the lighthouse we saw a yacht squadron like a flock of great
white birds. As for the sunsets, it used to seem often as if we were
near the heart of them, for the sea all around us caught the color of
the clouds, and though the glory was wonderful, I remember best one
still evening when there was a bank of heavy gray clouds in the west
shutting down like a curtain, and the sea was silver-colored. You could
look under and beyond the curtain of clouds into the palest, clearest
yellow sky. There was a little black boat in the distance drifting
slowly, climbing one white wave after another, as if it were bound out
into that other world beyond. But presently the sun came from behind the
clouds, and the dazzling golden light changed the look of everything,
and it was the time then to say one thought it a beautiful sunset; while
before one could only keep very still, and watch the boat, and wonder if
heaven would not be somehow like that far, faint color, which was
neither sea nor sky.

When we came down from the lighthouse and it grew late, we would beg for
an hour or two longer on the water, and row away in the twilight far out
from land, where, with our faces turned from the Light, it seemed as if
we were alone, and the sea shoreless; and as the darkness closed round
us softly, we watched the stars come out, and were always glad to see
Kate's star and my star, which we had chosen when we were children. I
used long ago to be sure of one thing,--that, however far away heaven
might be, it could not be out of sight of the stars. Sometimes in the
evening we waited out at sea for the moonrise, and then we would take
the oars again and go slowly in, once in a while singing or talking, but
oftenest silent.

_My Lady Brandon and the Widow Jim_

When it was known that we had arrived in Deephaven, the people who had
known Miss Brandon so well, and Mrs. Lancaster also, seemed to consider
themselves Kate's friends by inheritance, and were exceedingly polite to
us, in either calling upon us or sending pleasant messages. Before the
first week had ended we had no lack of society. They were not strangers
to Kate, to begin with, and as for me, I think it is easy for me to be
contented, and to feel at home anywhere. I have the good fortune and the
misfortune to belong to the navy,--that is, my father does,--and my life
has been consequently an unsettled one, except during the years of my
school life, when my friendship with Kate began.

I think I should be happy in any town if I were living there with Kate
Lancaster. I will not praise my friend as I can praise her, or say half
the things I might say honestly. She is so fresh and good and true, and
enjoys life so heartily. She is so child-like, without being childish;
and I do not tell you that she is faultless, but when she makes mistakes
she is sorrier and more ready to hopefully try again than any girl I
know. Perhaps you would like to know something about us, but I am not
writing Kate's biography and my own, only telling you of one summer
which we spent together. Sometimes in Deephaven we were between six and
seven years old, but at other times we have felt irreparably grown-up,
and as if we carried a crushing weight of care and duty. In reality we
are both twenty-four, and it is a pleasant age, though I think next year
is sure to be pleasanter, for we do not mind growing older, since we
have lost nothing that we mourn about, and are gaining so much. I shall
be glad if you learn to know Kate a little in my stories. It is not that
I am fond of her and endow her with imagined virtues and graces; no one
can fail to see how unaffected she is, or not notice her thoughtfulness
and generosity and her delightful fun, which never has a trace of
coarseness or silliness. It was very pleasant having her for one's
companion, for she has an unusual power of winning people's confidence,
and of knowing with surest instinct how to meet them on their own
ground. It is the girl's being so genuinely sympathetic and interested
which makes every one ready to talk to her and be friends with her; just
as the sunshine makes it easy for flowers to grow which the chilly winds
hinder. She is not polite for the sake of seeming polite, but polite for
the sake of being kind, and there is not a particle of what Hugh Miller
justly calls the insolence of condescension about her; she is not
brilliantly talented, yet she does everything in a charming fashion of
her own; she is not profoundly learned, yet she knows much of which many
wise people are ignorant, and while she is a patient scholar in both
little things and great, she is no less a teacher to all her
friends,--dear Kate Lancaster!

We knew that we were considered Miss Brandon's representatives in
Deephaven society, and this was no slight responsibility, as she had
received much honor and respect. We heard again and again what a loss
she had been to the town, and we tried that summer to do nothing to
lessen the family reputation, and to give pleasure as well as take it,
though we were singularly persistent in our pursuit of a good time. I
grew much interested in what I heard of Miss Brandon, and it seems to me
that it is a great privilege to have an elderly person in one's
neighborhood, in town or country, who is proud, and conservative, and
who lives in stately fashion; who is intolerant of sham and of useless
novelties, and clings to the old ways of living and behaving as if it
were part of her religion. There is something immensely respectable
about the gentlewomen of the old school. They ignore all bustle and
flashiness, and the conceit of the younger people, who act as if at last
it had been time for them to appear and manage this world as it ought to
have been managed before. Their position in modern society is much like
that of the King's Chapel in its busy street in Boston. It perhaps might
not have been easy to approach Miss Brandon, but I am sure that if I had
visited in Deephaven during her lifetime I should have been very proud
if I had been asked to take tea at her house, and should have liked to
speak afterward of my acquaintance with her. It would have been
impossible not to pay her great deference; it is a pleasure to think
that she must have found this world a most polite world, and have had
the highest opinion of its good manners. _Noblesse oblige_: that is
true in more ways than one!

I cannot help wondering if those of us who will be left by and by to
represent our own generation will seem to have such superior elegance of
behavior; if we shall receive so much respect and be so much valued. It
is hard to imagine it. We know that the world gains new refinements and
a better culture; but to us there never will be such imposing ladies and
gentlemen as these who belong to the old school.

The morning after we reached Deephaven we were busy up stairs, and there
was a determined blow at the knocker of the front door. I went down to
see who was there, and had the pleasure of receiving our first caller.
She was a prim little old woman who looked pleased and expectant, who
wore a neat cap and front, and whose eyes were as bright as black beads.
She wore no bonnet, and had thrown a little three-cornered shawl, with
palm-leaf figures, over her shoulders; and it was evident that she was a
near neighbor. She was very short and straight and thin, and so quick
that she darted like a pickerel when she moved about. It occurred to me
at once that she was a very capable person, and had "faculty," and, dear
me, how fast she talked! She hesitated a moment when she saw me, and
dropped a fragment of a courtesy. "Miss Lan'k'ster?" said she,

"No," said I, "I'm Miss Denis: Miss Lancaster is at home, though: come
in, won't you?"

"O Mrs. Patton!" said Kate, who came down just then. "How very kind of
you to come over so soon! I should have gone to see you to-day. I was
asking Mrs. Kew last night if you were here."

"Land o' compassion!" said Mrs. Patton, as she shook Kate's hand
delightedly. "Where'd ye s'pose I'd be, dear? I ain't like to move away
from Deephaven now, after I've held by the place so long, I've got as
many roots as the big ellum. Well, I should know you were a Brandon, no
matter where I see you. You've got a real Brandon look; tall and
straight, ain't you? It's four or five years since I saw you, except
once at church, and once you went by, down to the shore, I suppose. It
was a windy day in the spring of the year."

"I remember it very well," said Kate. "Those were both visits of only a
day or two, and I was here at Aunt Katharine's funeral, and went away
that same evening. Do you remember once I was here in the summer for a
longer visit, five or six years ago, and I helped you pick currants in
the garden? You had a very old mug."

"Now, whoever would ha' thought o' your rec'lecting that?" said Mrs.
Patton. "Yes. I had that mug because it was handy to carry about among
the bushes, and then I'd empt' it into the basket as fast as I got it
full. Your aunt always told me to pick all I wanted; she couldn't use
'em, but they used to make sights o' currant wine in old times. I s'pose
that mug would be considerable of a curiosity to anybody that wasn't
used to seeing it round. My grand'ther Joseph Toggerson--my mother was a
Toggerson--picked it up on the long sands in a wad of sea-weed: strange
it wasn't broke, but it's tough; I've dropped it on the floor, many's
the time, and it ain't even chipped. There's some Dutch reading on it
and it's marked 1732. Now I shouldn't ha' thought you'd remembered that
old mug, I declare. Your aunt she had a monstrous sight of chiny. She's
told me where 'most all of it come from, but I expect I've forgot. My
memory fails me a good deal by spells. If you hadn't come down I suppose
your mother would have had the chiny packed up this spring,--what she
didn't take with her after your aunt died. S'pose she hasn't made up her
mind what to do with the house?"

"No," said Kate; "she wishes she could: it is a great puzzle to us."

"I hope you will find it in middling order," said Mrs. Patton, humbly.
"Me and Mis' Dockum have done the best we knew,--opened the windows and
let in the air and tried to keep it from getting damp. I fixed all the
woollens with fresh camphire and tobacco the last o' the winter; you
have to be dreadful careful in one o' these old houses, 'less everything
gets creaking with moths in no time. Miss Katharine, how she did hate
the sight of a moth-miller! There's something I'll speak about before I
forget it: the mice have eat the backs of a pile o' old books that's
stored away in the west chamber closet next to Miss Katharine's room,
and I set a trap there, but it was older 'n the ten commandments, that
trap was, and the spring's rusty. I guess you'd better get some new ones
and set round in different places, 'less the mice'll pester you. There
ain't been no chance for 'em to get much of a living 'long through the
winter, but they'll be sure to come back quick as they find there's
likely to be good board. I see your aunt's cat setting out on the front
steps. She never was no great of a mouser, but it went to my heart to
see how pleased she looks! Come right back, didn't she? How they do hold
to their old haunts!"

"Was that Miss Brandon's cat?" I asked, with great interest. "She has
been up stairs with us, but I supposed she belonged to some neighbor,
and had strayed in. She behaved as if she felt at home, poor old pussy!"

"We must keep her here," said Kate.

"Mis' Dockum took her after your mother went off, and Miss Katharine's
maids," said Mrs. Patton; "but she told me that it was a long spell
before she seemed to feel contented. She used to set on the steps and
cry by the hour together, and try to get in, to first one door and then
another. I used to think how bad Miss Katharine would feel; she set a
great deal by a cat, and she took notice of this as long as she did of
anything. Her mind failed her, you know. Great loss to Deephaven, she
was. Proud woman, and some folks were scared of her; but I always got
along with her, and I wouldn't ask for no kinder friend nor neighbor.
I've had my troubles, and I've seen the day I was suffering poor, and I
couldn't have brought myself to ask town help nohow, but I wish ye'd ha'
heared her scold me when she found it out; and she come marching into my
kitchen one morning, like a grenadier, and says she, 'Why didn't you
send and tell me how sick and poor you are?' says she. And she said
she'd ha' been so glad to help me all along, but she thought I had
means,--everybody did; and I see the tears in her eyes, but she was
scolding me and speaking as if she was dreadful mad. She made me
comfortable, and she sent over one o' her maids to see to me, and got
the doctor, and a load o' stuff come up from the store, so I didn't have
to buy anything for a good many weeks. I got better and so's to work,
but she never'd let me say nothing about it. I had a good deal o'
trouble, and I thought I'd lost my health, but I hadn't, and that was
thirty or forty years ago. There never was nothing going on at the great
house that she didn't have me over, sewing or cleaning or company; and
I got so that I knew how she liked to have things done. I felt as if it
was my own sister, though I never had one, when I was going over to help
lay her out. She used to talk as free to me as she would to Miss Lorimer
or Miss Carew. I s'pose ye ain't seen nothing o' them yet? She was a
good Christian woman, Miss Katharine was. 'The memory of the just is
blessed'; that's what Mr. Lorimer said in his sermon the Sunday after
she died, and there wasn't a blood-relation there to hear it. I declare
it looked pitiful to see that pew empty that ought to ha' been the
mourners' pew. Your mother, Mis' Lancaster, had to go home Saturday,
your father was going away sudden to Washington, I've understood, and
she come back again the first of the week. There! it didn't make no sort
o' difference, p'r'aps nobody thought of it but me. There hadn't been
anybody in the pew more than a couple o' times since she used to sit
there herself, regular as Sunday come." And Mrs. Patton looked for a
minute as if she were going to cry, but she changed her mind upon second

"Your mother gave me most of Miss Katharine's clothes; this cap belonged
to her, that I've got on now; it's 'most wore out, but it does for

"O," said Kate, "I have two new ones for you in one of my trunks! Mamma
meant to choose them herself, but she had not time, and so she told me,
and I think I found the kind she thought you would like."

"Now I'm sure!" said Mrs. Patton, "if that ain't kind; you don't tell me
that Mis' Lancaster thought of me just as she was going off? I shall set
everything by them caps, and I'm much obliged to you too, Miss Kate. I
was just going to speak of that time you were here and saw the mug; you
trimmed a cap for Miss Katharine to give me, real Boston style. I guess
that box of cap-fixings is up on the top shelf of Miss Katharine's
closet now, to the left hand," said Mrs. Patton, with wistful certainty.
"She used to make her every-day caps herself, and she had some beautiful
materials laid away that she never used. Some folks has laughed at me
for being so particular 'bout wearing caps except for best, but I don't
know's it's presuming beyond my station, and somehow I feel more respect
for myself when I have a good cap on. I can't get over your mother's
rec'lecting about me; and she sent me a handsome present o' money this
spring for looking after the house. I never should have asked for a
cent; it's a pleasure to me to keep an eye on it, out o' respect to your
aunt. I was so pleased when I heard you were coming long o' your friend.
I like to see the old place open; it was about as bad as having no
meeting. I miss seeing the lights, and your aunt was a great hand for
lighting up bright; the big hall lantern was lit every night, and she
put it out when she went up stairs. She liked to go round same's if it
was day. You see I forget all the time she was sick, and go back to the
days when she was well and about the house. When her mind was failing
her, and she was up stairs in her room, her eyesight seemed to be lost
part of the time, and sometimes she'd tell us to get the lamp and a
couple o' candles in the middle o' the day, and then she'd be as
satisfied! But she used to take a notion to set in the dark, some
nights, and think, I s'pose. I should have forty fits, if I undertook
it. That was a good while ago; and do you rec'lect how she used to play
the piano? She used to be a great hand to play when she was young."

"Indeed I remember it," said Kate, who told me afterward how her aunt
used to sit at the piano in the twilight and play to herself. "She was
formerly a skilful musician," said my friend, "though one would not have
imagined she cared for music. When I was a child she used to play in
company of an evening, and once when I was here one of her old friends
asked for a tune, and she laughingly said that her day was over and her
fingers were stiff; though I believe she might have played as well as
ever then, if she had cared to try. But once in a while when she had
been quiet all day and rather sad--I am ashamed that I used to think she
was cross--she would open the piano and sit there until late, while I
used to be enchanted by her memories of dancing-tunes, and old psalms,
and marches and songs. There was one tune which I am sure had a history:
there was a sweet wild cadence in it, and she would come back to it
again and again, always going through with it in the same measured way.
I have remembered so many things about my aunt since I have been here,"
said Kate, "which I hardly noticed and did not understand when they
happened. I was afraid of her when I was a little girl, but I think if
I had grown up sooner, I should have enjoyed her heartily. It never used
to occur to me that she had a spark of tenderness or of sentiment, until
just before she was ill, but I have been growing more fond of her ever
since. I might have given her a great deal more pleasure. It was not
long after I was through school that she became so feeble, and of course
she liked best having mamma come to see her; one of us had to be at
home. I have thought lately how careful one ought to be, to be kind and
thoughtful to one's old friends. It is so soon too late to be good to
them, and then one is always so sorry."

I must tell you more of Mrs. Patton; of course it was not long before we
returned her call, and we were much entertained; we always liked to see
our friends in their own houses. Her house was a little way down the
road, unpainted and gambrel-roofed, but so low that the old lilac-bushes
which clustered round it were as tall as the eaves. The Widow Jim (as
nearly every one called her in distinction to the widow Jack Patton, who
was a tailoress and lived at the other end of the town) was a very
useful person. I suppose there must be her counterpart in all old New
England villages. She sewed, and she made elaborate rugs, and she had a
decided talent for making carpets,--if there were one to be made, which
must have happened seldom. But there were a great many to be turned and
made over in Deephaven, and she went to the Carews' and Lorimers' at
house-cleaning time or in seasons of great festivity. She had no equal
in sickness, and knew how to brew every old-fashioned dose and to make
every variety of herb-tea, and when her nursing was put to an end by her
patient's death, she was commander-in-chief at the funeral, and stood
near the doorway to direct the mourning friends to their seats; and I
have no reason to doubt that she sometimes even had the immense
responsibility of making out the order of the procession, since she had
all genealogy and relationship at her tongue's end. It was an awful
thing in Deephaven, we found, if the precedence was wrongly assigned,
and once we chanced to hear some bitter remarks because the cousins of
the departed wife had been placed after the husband's relatives,--"the
blood-relations ridin' behind them that was only kin by marriage! I
don't wonder they felt hurt!" said the person who spoke; a most
unselfish and unassuming soul, ordinarily.

Mrs. Patton knew everybody's secrets, but she told them judiciously if
at all. She chattered all day to you as a sparrow twitters, and you did
not tire of her; and Kate and I were never more agreeably entertained
than when she told us of old times and of Kate's ancestors and their
contemporaries; for her memory was wonderful, and she had either seen
everything that had happened in Deephaven for a long time, or had
received the particulars from reliable witnesses. She had known much
trouble; her husband had been but small satisfaction to her, and it was
not to be wondered at if she looked upon all proposed marriages with
compassion. She was always early at church, and she wore the same bonnet
that she had when Kate was a child; it was such a well-preserved, proper
black straw bonnet, with discreet bows of ribbon, and a useful lace veil
to protect it from the weather.

She showed us into the best room the first time we went to see her. It
was the plainest little room, and very dull, and there was an exact
sufficiency about its furnishings. Yet there was a certain dignity about
it; it was unmistakably a best room, and not a place where one might
make a litter or carry one's every-day work. You felt at once that
somebody valued the prim old-fashioned chairs, and the two half-moon
tables, and the thin carpet, which must have needed anxious stretching
every spring to make it come to the edge of the floor. There were some
mourning-pieces by way of decoration, inscribed with the names of Mrs.
Patton's departed friends,--two worked in crewel to the memory of her
father and mother, and two paper memorials, with the woman weeping under
the willow at the side of a monument. They were all brown with age; and
there was a sampler beside, worked by "Judith Beckett, aged ten," and
all five were framed in slender black frames and hung very high on the
walls. There was a rocking-chair which looked as if it felt too grand
for use, and considered itself imposing. It tilted far back on its
rockers, and was bent forward at the top to make one's head
uncomfortable. It need not have troubled itself; nobody would ever wish
to sit there. It was such a big rocking-chair, and Mrs. Patton was proud
of it; always generously urging her guests to enjoy its comfort, which
was imaginary with her, as she was so short that she could hardly have
climbed into it without assistance.

Mrs. Patton was a little ceremonious at first, but soon recovered
herself and told us a great deal which we were glad to hear. I asked her
once if she had not always lived at Deephaven. "Here and beyond East
Parish," said she. "Mr. Patton,--that was my husband,--he owned a good
farm there when I married him, but I come back here again after he died;
place was all mortgaged. I never got a cent, and I was poorer than when
I started. I worked harder 'n ever I did before or since to keep things
together, but 't wasn't any kind o' use. Your mother knows all about it,
Miss Kate,"--as if we might not be willing to believe it on her
authority. "I come back here a widow and destitute, and I tell you the
world looked fair to me when I left this house first to go over there.
Don't you run no risks, you're better off as you be, dears. But land
sakes alive, 'he' didn't mean no hurt! and he set everything by me when
he was himself. I don't make no scruples of speaking about it, everybody
knows how it was, but I did go through with everything. I never knew
what the day would bring forth," said the widow, as if this were the
first time she had had a chance to tell her sorrows to a sympathizing
audience. She did not seem to mind talking about the troubles of her
married life any more than a soldier minds telling the story of his
campaigns, and dwells with pride on the worst battle of all.

Her favorite subject always was Miss Brandon, and after a pause she said
that she hoped we were finding everything right in the house; she had
meant to take up the carpet in the best spare room, but it didn't seem
to need it; it was taken up the year before, and the room had not been
used since, there was not a mite of dust under it last time. And Kate
assured her, with an appearance of great wisdom, that she did not think
it could be necessary at all.

"I come home and had a good cry yesterday after I was over to see you,"
said Mrs. Patton, and I could not help wondering if she really could
cry, for she looked so perfectly dried up, so dry that she might rustle
in the wind. "Your aunt had been failin' so long that just after she
died it was a relief, but I've got so's to forget all about that, and I
miss her as she used to be; it seemed as if you had stepped into her
place, and you look some as she used to when she was young."

"You must miss her," said Kate, "and I know how much she used to depend
upon you. You were very kind to her."

"I sat up with her the night she died," said the widow, with mournful
satisfaction. "I have lived neighbor to her all my life except the
thirteen years I was married, and there wasn't a week I wasn't over to
the great house except I was off to a distance taking care of the sick.
When she got to be feeble she always wanted me to 'tend to the cleaning
and to see to putting the canopies and curtains on the bedsteads, and
she wouldn't trust nobody but me to handle some of the best china. I
used to say, 'Miss Katharine, why don't you have some young folks come
and stop with you? There's Mis' Lancaster's daughter a growing up'; but
she didn't seem to care for nobody but your mother. You wouldn't believe
what a hand she used to be for company in her younger days. Surprisin'
how folks alters. When I first rec'lect her much she was as straight as
an arrow, and she used to go to Boston visiting and come home with the
top of the fashion. She always did dress elegant. It used to be gay
here, and she was always going down to the Lorimers' or the Carews' to
tea, and they coming here. Her sister was married; she was a good deal
older; but some of her brothers were at home. There was your grandfather
and Mr. Henry. I don't think she ever got it over,--his disappearing so.
There were lots of folks then that's dead and gone, and they used to
have their card-parties, and old Cap'n Manning--he's dead and gone--used
to have 'em all to play whist every fortnight, sometimes three or four
tables, and they always had cake and wine handed round, or the cap'n
made some punch, like's not, with oranges in it, and lemons; _he_ knew
how! He was a bachelor to the end of his days, the old cap'n was, but he
used to entertain real handsome. I rec'lect one night they was a playin'
after the wine was brought in, and he upset his glass all over Miss
Martha Lorimer's invisible-green watered silk, and spoilt the better
part of two breadths. She sent right over for me early the next morning
to see if I knew of anything to take out the spots, but I didn't, though
I can take grease out o' most any material. We tried clear alcohol, and
saleratus-water, and hartshorn, and pouring water through, and heating
of it, and when we got through it was worse than when we started. She
felt dreadful bad about it, and at last she says, 'Judith, we won't work
over it any more, but if you 'll give me a day some time or 'nother,
we'll rip it up and make a quilt of it.' I see that quilt last time I
was in Miss Rebecca's north chamber. Miss Martha was her aunt; you never
saw her; she was dead and gone before your day. It was a silk old Cap'n
Peter Lorimer, her brother, who left 'em his money, brought home from
sea, and she had worn it for best and second best eleven year. It looked
as good as new, and she never would have ripped it up if she could have
matched it. I said it seemed to be a shame, but it was a curi's figure.
Cap'n Manning fetched her one to pay for it the next time he went to
Boston. She didn't want to take it, but he wouldn't take no for an
answer; he was free-handed, the cap'n was. I helped 'em make it 'long of
Mary Ann Simms the dressmaker,--she's dead and gone too,--the time it
was made. It was brown, and a beautiful-looking piece, but it wore
shiny, and she made a double-gown of it before she died."

Mrs. Patton brought Kate and me some delicious old-fashioned cake with
much spice in it, and told us it was made by old Mrs. Chantrey Brandon's
receipt which she got in England, that it would keep a year, and she
always kept a loaf by her, now that she could afford it; she supposed we
knew Miss Katharine had named her in her will long before she was sick.
"It has put me beyond fear of want," said Mrs. Patton. "I won't deny
that I used to think it would go hard with me when I got so old I
couldn't earn my living. You see I never laid up but a little, and it's
hard for a woman who comes of respectable folks to be a pauper in her
last days; but your aunt, Miss Kate, she thought of it too, and I'm sure
I'm thankful to be so comfortable, and to stay in my house, which I
couldn't have done, like's not. Miss Rebecca Lorimer said to me after I
got news of the will, 'Why, Mis' Patton, you don't suppose your friends
would ever have let you want!' And I says, 'My friends are kind,--the
Lord bless 'em!--but I feel better to be able to do for myself than to
be beholden.'"

After this long call we went down to the post-office, and coming home
stopped for a while in the old burying-ground, which we had noticed the
day before; and we sat for the first time on the great stone in the
wall, in the shade of a maple-tree, where we so often waited afterward
for the stage to come with the mail, or rested on our way home from a
walk. It was a comfortable perch; we used to read our letters there, I

I must tell you a little about the Deephaven burying-ground, for its
interest was inexhaustible, and I do not know how much time we may have
spent in reading the long epitaphs on the grave-stones and trying to
puzzle out the inscriptions, which were often so old and worn that we
could only trace a letter here and there. It was a neglected corner of
the world, and there were straggling sumachs and acacias scattered about
the enclosure, while a row of fine old elms marked the boundary of two
sides. The grass was long and tangled, and most of the stones leaned one
way or the other, and some had fallen flat. There were a few handsome
old family monuments clustered in one corner, among which the one that
marked Miss Brandon's grave looked so new and fresh that it seemed
inappropriate. "It should have been dingy to begin with, like the rest,"
said Kate one day; "but I think it will make itself look like its
neighbors as soon as possible."

There were many stones which were sacred to the memory of men who had
been lost at sea, almost always giving the name of the departed ship,
which was so kept in remembrance; and one felt as much interest in the
ship Starlight, supposed to have foundered off the Cape of Good Hope, as
in the poor fellow who had the ill luck to be one of her crew. There
were dozens of such inscriptions, and there were other stones
perpetuating the fame of Honourable gentlemen who had been members of
His Majesty's Council, or surveyors of His Majesty's Woods, or King's
Officers of Customs for the town of Deephaven. Some of the epitaphs were
beautiful, showing that tenderness for the friends who had died, that
longing to do them justice, to fully acknowledge their virtues and
dearness, which is so touching, and so unmistakable even under the
stiff, quaint expressions and formal words which were thought suitable
to be chiselled on the stones, so soon to be looked at carelessly by
the tearless eyes of strangers. We often used to notice names, and learn
their history from the old people whom we knew, and in this way we heard
many stories which we never shall forget. It is wonderful, the romance
and tragedy and adventure which one may find in a quiet old-fashioned
country town, though to heartily enjoy the every-day life one must care
to study life and character, and must find pleasure in thought and
observation of simple things, and have an instinctive, delicious
interest in what to other eyes is unflavored dulness.

To go back to Mrs. Patton; on our way home, after our first call upon
her, we stopped to speak to Mrs. Dockum, who mentioned that she had seen
us going in to the "Widow Jim's."

"Willin' woman," said Mrs. Dockum, "always been respected; got an
uncommon facility o' speech. I never saw such a hand to talk, but then
she has something to say, which ain't the case with everybody. Good
neighbor, does according to her means always. Dreadful tough time of it
with her husband, shif'less and drunk all his time. Noticed that dent in
the side of her forehead, I s'pose? That's where he liked to have killed
her; slung a stone bottle at her."

"_What!_" said Kate and I, very much shocked.

"She don't like to have it inquired about; but she and I were sitting up
with 'Manda Damer one night, and she gave me the particulars. I knew he
did it, for she had a fit o' sickness afterward. Had sliced cucumbers
for breakfast that morning; he was very partial to them, and he wanted
some vinegar. Happened to be two bottles in the cellar-way; were just
alike, and one of 'em was vinegar and the other had sperrit in it at
haying-time. He takes up the wrong one and pours on quick, and out come
the hayseed and flies, and he give the bottle a sling, and it hit her
there where you see the scar; might put the end of your finger into the
dent. He said he meant to break the bottle ag'in the door, but it went
slant-wise, sort of. I don' know, I'm sure" (meditatively). "She said he
was good-natured; it was early in the mornin', and he hadn't had time to
get upset; but he had a high temper naturally, and so much drink hadn't
made it much better. She had good prospects when she married him.
Six-foot-two and red cheeks and straight as a Noroway pine; had a good
property from his father, and his mother come of a good family, but he
died in debt; drank like a fish. Yes, 'twas a shame, nice woman; good
consistent church-member; always been respected; useful among the sick."

_Deephaven Society_

It was curious to notice, in this quaint little fishing-village by the
sea, how clearly the gradations of society were defined. The place
prided itself most upon having been long ago the residence of one
Governor Chantrey, who was a rich shipowner and East India merchant, and
whose fame and magnificence were almost fabulous. It was a never-ceasing
regret that his house should have burned down after he died, and there
is no doubt that if it were still standing it would rival any ruin of
the Old World.

The elderly people, though laying claim to no slight degree of present
consequence, modestly ignored it, and spoke with pride of the grand way
in which life was carried on by their ancestors, the Deephaven families
of old times. I think Kate and I were assured at least a hundred times
that Governor Chantrey kept a valet, and his wife, Lady Chantrey, kept a
maid, and that the governor had an uncle in England who was a baronet;
and I believe this must have been why our friends felt so deep an
interest in the affairs of the English nobility: they no doubt felt
themselves entitled to seats near the throne itself. There were formerly
five families who kept their coaches in Deephaven; there were balls at
the governor's, and regal entertainments at other of the grand mansions;
there is not a really distinguished person in the country who will not
prove to have been directly or indirectly connected with Deephaven. We
were shown the cellar of the Chantrey house, and the terraces, and a few
clumps of lilacs, and the grand rows of elms. There are still two of the
governor's warehouses left, but his ruined wharves are fast
disappearing, and are almost deserted, except by small barefooted boys
who sit on the edges to fish for sea-perch when the tide comes in. There
is an imposing monument in the burying-ground to the great man and his
amiable consort. I am sure that if there were any surviving relatives of
the governor they would receive in Deephaven far more deference than is
consistent with the principles of a republican government; but the
family became extinct long since, and I have heard, though it is not a
subject that one may speak of lightly, that the sons were unworthy their
noble descent and came to inglorious ends.

There were still remaining a few representatives of the old families,
who were treated with much reverence by the rest of the townspeople,
although they were, like the conies of Scripture, a feeble folk.

Deephaven is utterly out of fashion. It never recovered from the effects
of the embargo of 1807, and a sand-bar has been steadily filling in the
mouth of the harbor. Though the fishing gives what occupation there is
for the inhabitants of the place, it is by no means sufficient to draw
recruits from abroad. But nobody in Deephaven cares for excitement, and
if some one once in a while has the low taste to prefer a more active
life, he is obliged to go elsewhere in search of it, and is spoken of
afterward with kind pity. I well remember the Widow Moses said to me, in
speaking of a certain misguided nephew of hers, "I never could see what
could 'a' sot him out to leave so many privileges and go way off to
Lynn, with all them children too. Why, they lived here no more than a
cable's length from the meetin'-house!"

There were two schooners owned in town, and 'Bijah Mauley and Jo Sands
owned a trawl. There were some schooners and a small brig slowly going
to pieces by the wharves, and indeed all Deephaven looked more or less
out of repair. All along shore one might see dories and wherries and
whale-boats, which had been left to die a lingering death. There is
something piteous to me in the sight of an old boat. If one I had used
much and cared for were past its usefulness, I should say good by to it,
and have it towed out to sea and sunk; it never should be left to fall
to pieces above high-water mark.

Even the commonest fishermen felt a satisfaction, and seemed to realize
their privilege, in being residents of Deephaven; but among the nobility
and gentry there lingered a fierce pride in their family and town
records, and a hardly concealed contempt and pity for people who were
obliged to live in other parts of the world. There were acknowledged to
be a few disadvantages,--such as living nearly a dozen miles from the
railway,--but, as Miss Honora Carew said, the tone of Deephaven society
had always been very high, and it was very nice that there had never
been any manufacturing element introduced. She could not feel too
grateful, herself, that there was no disagreeable foreign population.

"But," said Kate one day, "wouldn't you like to have some pleasant new
people brought into town?"

"Certainly, my dear," said Miss Honora, rather doubtfully; "I have
always been public-spirited; but then, we always have guests in summer,
and I am growing old. I should not care to enlarge my acquaintance to
any great extent." Miss Honora and Mrs. Dent had lived gay lives in
their younger days, and were interested and connected with the outside
world more than any of our Deephaven friends; but they were quite
contented to stay in their own house, with their books and letters and
knitting, and they carefully read Littell and "the new magazine," as
they called the Atlantic.

The Carews were very intimate with the minister and his sister, and
there were one or two others who belonged to this set. There was Mr.
Joshua Dorsey, who wore his hair in a queue, was very deaf, and carried
a ponderous cane which had belonged to his venerated father,--a much
taller man than he. He was polite to Kate and me, but we never knew him
much. He went to play whist with the Carews every Monday evening, and
commonly went out fishing once a week. He had begun the practice of law,
but he had lost his hearing, and at the same time his lady-love had
inconsiderately fallen in love with somebody else; after which he
retired from active business life. He had a fine library, which he
invited us to examine. He had many new books, but they looked shockingly
overdressed, in their fresher bindings, beside the old brown volumes of
essays and sermons, and lighter works in many-volume editions.

A prominent link in society was Widow Tully, who had been the
much-respected housekeeper of old Captain Manning for forty years. When
he died he left her the use of his house and family pew, besides an
annuity. The existence of Mr. Tully seemed to be a myth. During the
first of his widow's residence in town she had been much affected when
obliged to speak of him, and always represented herself as having seen
better days and as being highly connected. But she was apt to be
ungrammatical when excited, and there was a whispered tradition that
she used to keep a toll-bridge in a town in Connecticut; though the
mystery of her previous state of existence will probably never be
solved. She wore mourning for the captain which would have befitted his
widow, and patronized the townspeople conspicuously, while she herself
was treated with much condescension by the Carews and Lorimers. She
occupied, on the whole, much the same position that Mrs. Betty Barker
did in Cranford. And, indeed, Kate and I were often reminded of that
estimable town. We heard that Kate's aunt, Miss Brandon, had never been
appreciative of Mrs. Tully's merits, and that since her death the others
had received Mrs. Tully into their society rather more.

It seemed as if all the clocks in Deephaven, and all the people with
them, had stopped years ago, and the people had been doing over and over
what they had been busy about during the last week of their unambitious
progress. Their clothes had lasted wonderfully well, and they had no
need to earn money when there was so little chance to spend it; indeed,
there were several families who seemed to have no more visible means of
support than a balloon. There were no young people whom we knew, though
a number used to come to church on Sunday from the inland farms, or "the
country," as we learned to say. There were children among the
fishermen's families at the shore, but a few years will see Deephaven
possessed by two classes instead of the time-honored three.

As for our first Sunday at church, it must be in vain to ask you to
imagine our delight when we heard the tuning of a bass-viol in the
gallery just before service. We pressed each other's hands most
tenderly, looked up at the singers' seats, and then trusted ourselves to
look at each other. It was more than we had hoped for. There were also a
violin and sometimes a flute, and a choir of men and women singers,
though the congregation were expected to join in the psalm-singing. The
first hymn was

    "The Lord our God is full of might,
    The winds obey his will,"

to the tune of St. Ann's. It was all so delightfully old-fashioned; our
pew was a square pew, and was by an open window looking seaward. We
also had a view of the entire congregation, and as we were somewhat
early, we watched the people come in, with great interest. The Deephaven
aristocracy came with stately step up the aisle; this was all the chance
there was for displaying their unquestioned dignity in public.

Many of the people drove to church in wagons that were low and old and
creaky, with worn buffalo-robes over the seat, and some hay tucked
underneath for the sleepy, undecided old horse. Some of the younger
farmers and their wives had high, shiny wagons, with tall
horsewhips,--which they sometimes brought into church,--and they drove
up to the steps with a consciousness of being conspicuous and enviable.
They had a bashful look when they came in, and for a few minutes after
they took their seats they evidently felt that all eyes were fixed upon
them; but after a little while they were quite at their ease, and looked
critically at the new arrivals.

The old folks interested us most. "Do you notice how many more old women
there are than old men?" whispered Kate to me. And we wondered if the
husbands and brothers had been drowned, and if it must not be sad to
look at the blue, sunshiny sea beyond the marshes, if the far-away white
sails reminded them of some ships that had never sailed home into
Deephaven harbor, or of fishing-boats that had never come back to land.

The girls and young men adorned themselves in what they believed to be
the latest fashion, but the elderly women were usually relics of old
times in manner and dress. They wore to church thin, soft silk gowns
that must have been brought from over the seas years upon years before,
and wide collars fastened with mourning-pins holding a lock of hair.
They had big black bonnets, some of them with stiff capes, such as Kate
and I had not seen before since our childhood. They treasured large
rusty lace veils of scraggly pattern, and wore sometimes, on pleasant
Sundays, white China-crape shawls with attenuated fringes; and there
were two or three of these shawls in the congregation which had been
dyed black, and gave an aspect of meekness and general unworthiness to
the aged wearer, they clung and drooped about the figure in such a
hopeless way. We used to notice often the most interesting scarfs,
without which no Deephaven woman considered herself in full dress.
Sometimes there were red India scarfs in spite of its being hot weather;
but our favorite ones were long strips of silk, embroidered along the
edges and at the ends with dismal-colored floss in odd patterns. I think
there must have been a fashion once, in Deephaven, of working these
scarfs, and I should not be surprised to find that it was many years
before the fashion of working samplers came about. Our friends always
wore black mitts on warm Sundays, and many of them carried neat little
bags of various designs on their arms, containing a precisely folded
pocket-handkerchief, and a frugal lunch of caraway seeds or red and
white peppermints. I should like you to see, with your own eyes, Widow
Ware and Miss Exper'ence Hull, two old sisters whose personal appearance
we delighted in, and whom we saw feebly approaching down the street this
first Sunday morning under the shadow of the two last members of an
otherwise extinct race of parasols.

There were two or three old men who sat near us. They were
sailors,--there is something unmistakable about a sailor,--and they had
a curiously ancient, uncanny look, as if they might have belonged to the
crew of the Mayflower, or even have cruised about with the Northmen in
the times of Harold Harfager and his comrades. They had been blown about
by so many winter winds, so browned by summer suns, and wet by salt
spray, that their hands and faces looked like leather, with a few deep
folds instead of wrinkles. They had pale blue eyes, very keen and quick;
their hair looked like the fine sea-weed which clings to the kelp-roots
and mussel-shells in little locks. These friends of ours sat solemnly at
the heads of their pews and looked unflinchingly at the minister, when
they were not dozing, and they sang with voices like the howl of the
wind, with an occasional deep note or two.

Have you never seen faces that seemed old-fashioned? Many of the people
in Deephaven church looked as if they must be--if not supernaturally
old--exact copies of their remote ancestors. I wonder if it is not
possible that the features and expression may be almost perfectly
reproduced. These faces were not modern American faces, but belonged
rather to the days of the early settlement of the country, the old
colonial times. We often heard quaint words and expressions which we
never had known anywhere else but in old books. There was a great deal
of sea-lingo in use; indeed, we learned a great deal ourselves,
unconsciously, and used it afterward to the great amusement of our
friends; but there were also many peculiar provincialisms, and among the
people who lived on the lonely farms inland we often noticed words we
had seen in Chaucer, and studied out at school in our English literature
class. Everything in Deephaven was more or less influenced by the sea;
the minister spoke oftenest of Peter and his fishermen companions, and
prayed most earnestly every Sunday morning for those who go down to the
sea in ships. He made frequent allusions and drew numberless
illustrations of a similar kind for his sermons, and indeed I am in
doubt whether, if the Bible had been written wholly in inland countries,
it would have been much valued in Deephaven.

The singing was very droll, for there was a majority of old voices,
which had seen their best days long before, and the bass-viol was
excessively noticeable, and apt to be a little ahead of the time the
singers kept, while the violin lingered after. Somewhere on the other
side of the church we heard an acute voice which rose high above all the
rest of the congregation, sharp as a needle, and slightly cracked, with
a limitless supply of breath. It rose and fell gallantly, and clung long
to the high notes of Dundee. It was like the wail of the banshee, which
sounds clear to the fated hearer above all other noises. We afterward
became acquainted with the owner of this voice, and were surprised to
find her a meek widow, who was like a thin black beetle in her pathetic
cypress veil and big black bonnet. She looked as if she had forgotten
who she was, and spoke with an apologetic whine; but we heard she had a
temper as high as her voice, and as much to be dreaded as the
equinoctial gale.

Near the church was the parsonage, where Mr. Lorimer lived, and the old
Lorimer house not far beyond was occupied by Miss Rebecca Lorimer. Some
stranger might ask the question why the minister and his sister did not
live together, but you would have understood it at once after you had
lived for a little while in town. They were very fond of each other, and
the minister dined with Miss Rebecca on Sundays, and she passed the day
with him on Wednesdays, and they ruled their separate households with
decision and dignity. I think Mr. Lorimer's house showed no signs of
being without a mistress, any more than his sister's betrayed the want
of a master's care and authority.

The Carews were very kind friends of ours, and had been Miss Brandon's
best friends. We heard that there had always been a coolness between
Miss Brandon and Miss Lorimer, and that, though they exchanged visits
and were always polite, there was a chill in the politeness, and one
would never have suspected them of admiring each other at all. We had
the whole history of the trouble, which dated back scores of years, from
Miss Honora Carew, but we always took pains to appear ignorant of the
feud, and I think Miss Lorimer was satisfied that it was best not to
refer to it, and to let bygones be bygones. It would not have been true
Deephaven courtesy to prejudice Kate against her grand-aunt, and Miss
Rebecca cherished her dislike in silence, which gave us a most grand
respect for her, since we knew she thought herself in the right; though
I think it never had come to an open quarrel between these majestic

Miss Honora Carew and Mr. Dick and their elder sister, Mrs. Dent, had a
charmingly sedate and quiet home in the old Carew house. Mrs. Dent was
ill a great deal while we were there, but she must have been a very
brilliant woman, and was not at all dull when we knew her. She had
outlived her husband and her children, and she had, several years before
our summer there, given up her own home, which was in the city, and had
come back to Deephaven. Miss Honora--dear Miss Honora!--had been one of
the brightest, happiest girls, and had lost none of her brightness and
happiness by growing old. She had lost none of her fondness for society,
though she was so contented in quiet Deephaven, and I think she enjoyed
Kate's and my stories of our pleasures as much as we did hers of old
times. We used to go to see her almost every day. "Mr. Dick," as they
called their brother, had once been a merchant in the East Indies, and
there were quantities of curiosities and most beautiful china which he
had brought and sent home, which gave the house a character of its own.
He had been very rich and had lost some of his money, and then he came
home and was still considered to possess princely wealth by his
neighbors. He had a great fondness for reading and study, which had not
been lost sight of during his business life, and he spent most of his
time in his library. He and Mr. Lorimer had their differences of opinion
about certain points of theology, and this made them much fonder of each
other's society, and gave them a great deal of pleasure; for after every
series of arguments, each was sure that he had vanquished the other, or
there were alternate victories and defeats which made life vastly
interesting and important.

Miss Carew and Mrs. Dent had a great treasury of old brocades and laces
and ornaments, which they showed us one day, and told us stories of the
wearers, or, if they were their own, there were always some
reminiscences which they liked to talk over with each other and with us.
I never shall forget the first evening we took tea with them; it
impressed us very much, and yet nothing wonderful happened. Tea was
handed round by an old-fashioned maid, and afterward we sat talking in
the twilight, looking out at the garden. It was such a delight to have
tea served in this way. I wonder that the fashion has been almost
forgotten. Kate and I took much pleasure in choosing our tea-poys; hers
had a mandarin parading on the top, and mine a flight of birds and a
pagoda; and we often used them afterward, for Miss Honora asked us to
come to tea whenever we liked. "A stupid, common country town" some one
dared to call Deephaven in a letter once, and how bitterly we resented
it! That was a house where one might find the best society, and the most
charming manners and good-breeding, and if I were asked to tell you what
I mean by the word "lady," I should ask you to go, if it were possible,
to call upon Miss Honora Carew.

After a while the elder sister said, "My dears, we always have prayers
at nine, for I have to go up stairs early nowadays." And then the
servants came in, and she read solemnly the King of glory Psalm, which I
have always liked best, and then Mr. Dick read the church prayers, the
form of prayer to be used in families. We stayed later to talk with Miss
Honora after we had said good night to Mrs. Dent. And we told each
other, as we went home in the moonlight down the quiet street, how much
we had enjoyed the evening, for somehow the house and the people had
nothing to do with the present, or the hurry of modern life. I have
never heard that psalm since without its bringing back that summer night
in Deephaven, the beautiful quaint old room, and Kate and I feeling so
young and worldly, by contrast, the flickering, shaded light of the
candles, the old book, and the voices that said Amen.

There were several other fine old houses in Deephaven beside this and
the Brandon house, though that was rather the most imposing. There were
two or three which had not been kept in repair, and were deserted, and
of course they were said to be haunted, and we were told of their
ghosts, and why they walked, and when. From some of the local
superstitions Kate and I have vainly endeavored ever since to shake
ourselves free. There was a most heathenish fear of doing certain things
on Friday, and there were countless signs in which we still have
confidence. When the moon is very bright and other people grow
sentimental, we only remember that it is a fine night to catch hake.

_The Captains_

I should consider my account of Deephaven society incomplete if I did
not tell you something of the ancient mariners, who may be found every
pleasant morning sunning themselves like turtles on one of the wharves.
Sometimes there was a considerable group of them, but the less constant
members of the club were older than the rest, and the epidemics of
rheumatism in town were sadly frequent. We found that it was etiquette
to call them each captain, but I think some of the Deephaven men took
the title by brevet upon arriving at a proper age.

They sat close together because so many of them were deaf, and when we
were lucky enough to overhear the conversation, it seemed to concern
their adventures at sea, or the freight carried out by the Sea Duck, the
Ocean Rover, or some other Deephaven ship,--the particulars of the
voyage and its disasters and successes being as familiar as the
wanderings of the children of Israel to an old parson. There were
sometimes violent altercations when the captains differed as to the
tonnage of some craft that had been a prey to the winds and waves,
dry-rot, or barnacles fifty years before. The old fellows puffed away at
little black pipes with short stems, and otherwise consumed tobacco in
fabulous quantities. It is needless to say that they gave an immense
deal of attention to the weather. We used to wish we could join this
agreeable company, but we found that the appearance of an outsider
caused a disapproving silence, and that the meeting was evidently not to
be interfered with. Once we were impertinent enough to hide ourselves
for a while just round the corner of the warehouse, but we were afraid
or ashamed to try it again, though the conversation was inconceivably
edifying. Captain Isaac Horn, the eldest and wisest of all, was
discoursing upon some cloth he had purchased once in Bristol, which the
shopkeeper delayed sending until just as they were ready to weigh

"I happened to take a look at that cloth," said the captain, in a loud
droning voice, "and as quick as I got sight of it, I spoke onpleasant
of that swindling English fellow, and the crew, they stood back. I was
dreadful high-tempered in them days, mind ye; and I had the gig manned.
We was out in the stream, just ready to sail. 'T was no use waiting any
longer for the wind to change, and we was going north-about. I went
ashore, and when I walks into his shop ye never see a creatur' so
wilted. Ye see the miser'ble sculpin thought I'd never stop to open the
goods, an' it was a chance I did, mind ye! 'Lor,' says he, grinning and
turning the color of a biled lobster, 'I s'posed ye were a standing out
to sea by this time.' 'No,' says I, 'and I've got my men out here on the
quay a landing that cloth o' yourn, and if you don't send just what I
bought and paid for down there to go back in the gig within fifteen
minutes, I'll take ye by the collar and drop ye into the dock.' I was
twice the size of him, mind ye, and master strong. 'Don't ye like it?'
says he, edging round; 'I'll change it for ye, then.' Ter'ble perlite he
was. 'Like it?' says I, 'it looks as if it were built of dog's hair and
divil's wool, kicked together by spiders; and it's coarser than Irish
frieze; three threads to an _armful_,' says I."

This was evidently one of the captain's favorite stories, for we heard
an approving grumble from the audience.

In the course of a walk inland we made a new acquaintance, Captain Lant,
whom we had noticed at church, and who sometimes joined the company on
the wharf. We had been walking through the woods, and coming out to his
fields we went on to the house for some water. There was no one at home
but the captain, who told us cheerfully that he should be pleased to
serve us, though his women-folks had gone off to a funeral, the other
side of the P'int. He brought out a pitcherful of milk, and after we had
drunk some, we all sat down together in the shade. The captain brought
an old flag-bottomed chair from the woodhouse, and sat down facing Kate
and me, with an air of certainty that he was going to hear something new
and make some desirable new acquaintances, and also that he could tell
something it would be worth our while to hear. He looked more and more
like a well-to-do old English sparrow, and chippered faster and faster.

"Queer ye should know I'm a sailor so quick; why, I've been a-farming
it this twenty years; have to go down to the shore and take a day's
fishing every hand's turn, though, to keep the old hulk clear of
barnacles. There! I do wish I lived nigher the shore, where I could see
the folks I know, and talk about what's been a-goin' on. You don't know
anything about it, you don't; but it's tryin' to a man to be called 'old
Cap'n Lant,' and, so to speak, be forgot when there's anything stirring,
and be called gran'ther by clumsy creatur's goin' on fifty and sixty,
who can't do no more work to-day than I can; an' then the women-folks
keeps a-tellin' me to be keerful and not fall, and as how I'm too old to
go out fishing; and when they want to be soft-spoken, they say as how
they don't see as I fail, and how wonderful I keep my hearin'. I never
did want to farm it, but 'she' always took it to heart when I was off on
a v'y'ge, and this farm and some consider'ble means beside come to her
from her brother, and they all sot to and give me no peace of mind till
I sold out my share of the Ann Eliza and come ashore for good. I did
keep an eighth of the Pactolus, and I was ship's husband for a long
spell, but she never was heard from on her last voyage to Singapore. I
was the lonesomest man, when I first come ashore, that ever you see.
Well, you are master hands to walk, if you come way up from the Brandon
house. I wish the women was at home. Know Miss Brandon? Why, yes; and I
remember all her brothers and sisters, and her father and mother. I can
see 'em now coming into meeting, proud as Lucifer and straight as a
mast, every one of 'em. Miss Katharine, she always had her butter from
this very farm. Some of the folks used to go down every Saturday, and my
wife, she's been in the house a hundred times, I s'pose. So you are
Hathaway Brandon's grand-daughter?" (to Kate); "why, he and I have been
out fishing together many's the time,--he and Chantrey, his next younger
brother. Henry, he was a disapp'intment; he went to furrin parts and
turned out a Catholic priest, I s'pose you've heard? I never was so set
ag'in Mr. Henry as some folks was. He was the pleasantest spoken of the
whole on 'em. You do look like the Brandons; you really favor 'em
consider'ble. Well, I'm pleased to see ye, I'm sure."

We asked him many questions about the old people, and found he knew all
the family histories and told them with great satisfaction. We found he
had his pet stories, and it must have been gratifying to have an
entirely new and fresh audience. He was adroit in leading the
conversation around to a point where the stories would come in
appropriately, and we helped him as much as possible. In a small
neighborhood all the people know each other's stories and experiences by
heart, and I have no doubt the old captain had been snubbed many times
on beginning a favorite anecdote. There was a story which he told us
that first day, which he assured us was strictly true, and it is
certainly a remarkable instance of the influence of one mind upon
another at a distance. It seems to me worth preserving, at any rate; and
as we heard it from the old man, with his solemn voice and serious
expression and quaint gestures, it was singularly impressive.

"When I was a youngster," said Captain Lant, "I was an orphan, and I was
bound out to old Mr. Peletiah Daw's folks, over on the Ridge Road. It
was in the time of the last war, and he had a nephew, Ben Dighton, a
dreadful high-strung, wild fellow, who had gone off on a privateer. The
old man, he set everything by Ben; he would disoblige his own boys any
day to please him. This was in his latter days, and he used to have
spells of wandering and being out of his head; and he used to call for
Ben and talk sort of foolish about him, till they would tell him to
stop. Ben never did a stroke of work for him, either, but he was a
handsome fellow, and had a way with him when he was good-natured. One
night old Peletiah had been very bad all day and was getting quieted
down, and it was after supper; we sat round in the kitchen, and he lay
in the bedroom opening out. There were some pitch-knots blazing, and the
light shone in on the bed, and all of a sudden something made me look up
and look in; and there was the old man setting up straight, with his
eyes shining at me like a cat's. 'Stop 'em!' says he; '_stop 'em!_' and
his two sons run in then to catch hold of him, for they thought he was
beginning with one of his wild spells; but he fell back on the bed and
began to cry like a baby. 'O, dear me,' says he, 'they've hung
him,--hung him right up to the yard-arm! O, they oughtn't to have done
it; cut him down quick! he didn't think; he means well, Ben does; he was
hasty. O my God, I can't bear to see him swing round by the neck! It's
poor Ben hung up to the yard-arm. Let me alone, I say!' Andrew and
Moses, they were holding him with all their might, and they were both
hearty men, but he 'most got away from them once or twice, and he
screeched and howled like a mad creatur', and then he would cry again
like a child. He was worn out after a while and lay back quiet, and said
over and over, 'Poor Ben!' and 'hung at the yard-arm'; and he told the
neighbors next day, but nobody noticed him much, and he seemed to forget
it as his mind come back. All that summer he was miser'ble, and towards
cold weather he failed right along, though he had been a master strong
man in his day, and his timbers held together well. Along late in the
fall he had taken to his bed, and one day there came to the house a
fellow named Sim Decker, a reckless fellow he was too, who had gone out
in the same ship with Ben. He pulled a long face when he came in, and
said he had brought bad news. They had been taken prisoner and carried
into port and put in jail, and Ben Dighton had got a fever there and

"'You lie!' says the old man from the bedroom, speaking as loud and
f'erce as ever you heard. 'They hung him to the yard-arm!'

"'Don't mind him,' says Andrew; 'he's wandering-like, and he had a bad
dream along back in the spring; I s'posed he'd forgotten it.' But the
Decker fellow he turned pale, and kept talking crooked while he listened
to old Peletiah a-scolding to himself. He answered the questions the
women-folks asked him,--they took on a good deal,--but pretty soon he
got up and winked to me and Andrew, and we went out in the yard. He
began to swear, and then says he, 'When did the old man have his dream?'
Andrew couldn't remember, but I knew it was the night before he sold the
gray colt, and that was the 24th of April.

"'Well,' says Sim Decker, 'on the twenty-third day of April Ben Dighton
was hung to the yard-arm, and I see 'em do it, Lord help him! I didn't
mean to tell the women, and I s'posed you'd never know, for I'm all the
one of the ship's company you're ever likely to see. We were taken
prisoner, and Ben was mad as fire, and they were scared of him and
chained him to the deck; and while he was sulking there, a little
parrot of a midshipman come up and grinned at him, and snapped his
fingers in his face; and Ben lifted his hands with the heavy irons and
sprung at him like a tiger, and the boy dropped dead as a stone; and
they put the bight of a rope round Ben's neck and slung him right up to
the yard-arm, and there he swung back and forth until as soon as we
dared one of us clim' up and cut the rope and let him go over the ship's
side; and they put us in irons for that, curse 'em! How did that old man
in there know, and he bedridden here, nigh upon three thousand miles
off?' says he. But I guess there wasn't any of us could tell him," said
Captain Lant in conclusion. "It's something I never could account for,
but it's true as truth. I've known more such cases; some folks laughs at
me for believing 'em,--'the cap'n's yarns,' they calls 'em,--but if
you'll notice, everybody's got some yarn of that kind they do believe,
if they won't believe yours. And there's a good deal happens in the
world that's myster'ous. Now there was Widder Oliver Pinkham, over to
the P'int, told me with her own lips that she--" But just here we saw
the captain's expression alter suddenly, and looked around to see a
wagon coming up the lane. We immediately said we must go home, for it
was growing late, but asked permission to come again and hear the Widow
Oliver Pinkham story. We stopped, however, to see "the women-folks," and
afterward became so intimate with them that we were invited to spend the
afternoon and take tea, which invitation we accepted with great pride.
We went out fishing, also, with the captain and "Danny," of whom I will
tell you presently. I often think of Captain Lant in the winter, for he
told Kate once that he "felt master old in winter to what he did in
summer." He likes reading, fortunately, and we had a letter from him,
not long ago, acknowledging the receipt of some books of travel by land
and water which we had luckily thought to send him. He gave the latitude
and longitude of Deephaven at the beginning of his letter, and signed
himself, "Respectfully yours with esteem, Jacob Lant (condemned as


Deephaven seemed more like one of the lazy little English seaside towns
than any other. It was not in the least American. There was no
excitement about anything; there were no manufactories; nobody seemed in
the least hurry. The only foreigners were a few stranded sailors. I do
not know when a house or a new building of any kind had been built; the
men were farmers, or went outward in boats, or inward in fish-wagons, or
sometimes mackerel and halibut fishing in schooners for the city
markets. Sometimes a schooner came to one of the wharves to load with
hay or firewood; but Deephaven used to be a town of note, rich and busy,
as its forsaken warehouses show.

We knew almost all the fisher-people at the shore, even old Dinnett, who
lived an apparently desolate life by himself in a hut and was reputed to
have been a bloodthirsty pirate in his youth. He was consequently feared
by all the children, and for misdemeanors in his latter days avoided
generally. Kate talked with him awhile one day on the shore, and made
him come up with her for a bandage for his hand which she saw he had
hurt badly; and the next morning he brought us a "new" lobster
apiece,--fishermen mean that a thing is only not salted when they say it
is "fresh." We happened to be in the hall, and received him ourselves,
and gave him a great piece of tobacco and (unintentionally) the means of
drinking our health. "Bless your pretty hearts!" said he; "may ye be
happy, and live long, and get good husbands, and if they ain't good to
you may they die from you!"

None of our friends were more interesting than the fishermen. The
fish-houses, which might be called the business centre of the town, were
at a little distance from the old warehouses, farther down the harbor
shore, and were ready to fall down in despair. There were some fishermen
who lived near by, but most of them were also farmers in a small way,
and lived in the village or farther inland. From our eastern windows we
could see the moorings, and we always liked to watch the boats go out or
come straying in, one after the other, ripping and skimming under the
square little sails; and we often went down to the fish-houses to see
what kind of a catch there had been.

I should have imagined that the sea would become very commonplace to men
whose business was carried on in boats, and who had spent night after
night and day after day from their boyhood on the water; but that is a
mistake. They have an awe of the sea and of its mysteries, and of what
it hides away from us. They are childish in their wonder at any strange
creature which they find. If they have not seen the sea-serpent, they
believe, I am sure, that other people have, and when a great shark or
black-fish or sword-fish was taken and brought in shore, everybody went
to see it, and we talked about it, and how brave its conqueror was, and
what a fight there had been, for a long time afterward.

I said that we liked to see the boats go out, but I must not give you
the impression that we saw them often, for they weighed anchor at an
early hour in the morning. I remember once there was a light fog over
the sea, lifting fast, as the sun was coming up, and the brownish sails
disappeared in the mist, while voices could still be heard for some
minutes after the men were hidden from sight. This gave one a curious
feeling, but afterward, when the sun had risen, everything looked much
the same as usual; the fog had gone, and the dories and even the larger
boats were distant specks on the sparkling sea.

One afternoon we made a new acquaintance in this wise. We went down to
the shore to see if we could hire a conveyance to the lighthouse the
next morning. We often went out early in one of the fishing-boats, and
after we had stayed as long as we pleased, Mr. Kew would bring us home.
It was quiet enough that day, for not a single boat had come in, and
there were no men to be seen along-shore. There was a solemn company of
lobster-coops or cages which had been brought in to be mended. They
always amused Kate. She said they seemed to her like droll old women
telling each other secrets. These were scattered about in different
attitudes, and looked more confidential than usual.

Just as we were going away we happened to see a man at work in one of
the sheds. He was the fisherman whom we knew least of all; an
odd-looking, silent sort of man, more sunburnt and weather-beaten than
any of the others. We had learned to know him by the bright red flannel
shirt he always wore, and besides, he was lame; some one told us he had
had a bad fall once, on board ship. Kate and I had always wished we
could find a chance to talk with him. He looked up at us pleasantly, and
when we nodded and smiled, he said "Good day" in a gruff, hearty voice,
and went on with his work, cleaning mackerel.

"Do you mind our watching you?" asked Kate.

"No, _ma'am_!" said the fisherman emphatically. So there we stood.

Those fish-houses were curious places, so different from any other kind
of workshop. In this there was a seine, or part of one, festooned among
the cross-beams overhead, and there were snarled fishing-lines, and
barrows to carry fish in, like wheelbarrows without wheels; there were
the queer round lobster-nets, and "kits" of salt mackerel, tubs of bait,
and piles of clams; and some queer bones, and parts of remarkable fish,
and lobster-claws of surprising size fastened on the walls for ornament.
There was a pile of rubbish down at the end; I dare say it was all
useful, however,--there is such mystery about the business.

Kate and I were never tired of hearing of the fish that come at
different times of the year, and go away again, like the birds; or of
the actions of the dog-fish, which the 'longshore-men hate so bitterly;
and then there are such curious legends and traditions, of which almost
all fishermen have a store.

"I think mackerel are the prettiest fish that swim," said I presently.

"So do I, miss," said the man, "not to say but I've seen more
fancy-looking fish down in southern waters, bright as any flower you
ever see; but a mackerel," holding up one admiringly, "why, they're so
clean-built and trig-looking! Put a cod alongside, and he looks as
lumbering as an old-fashioned Dutch brig aside a yacht.

"Those are good-looking fish, but they an't made much account of,"
continued our friend, as he pushed aside the mackerel and took another
tub. "They're hake, I s'pose you know. But I forgot,--I can't stop to
bother with them now." And he pulled forward a barrow full of small
fish, flat and hard, with pointed, bony heads.

"Those are porgies, aren't they?" asked Kate.

"Yes," said the man, "an' I'm going to sliver them for the trawls."

We knew what the trawls were, and supposed that the porgies were to be
used for bait; and we soon found out what "slivering" meant, by seeing
him take them by the head and cut a slice from first one side and then
the other in such a way that the pieces looked not unlike smaller fish.

"It seems to me," said I, "that fishermen always have sharper knives
than other people."

"Yes, we do like a sharp knife in our trade; and then we are mostly

He was throwing the porgies' heads and backbones--all that was left of
them after slivering--in a heap, and now several cats walked in as if
they felt at home, and began a hearty lunch. "What a troop of pussies
there is round here," said I; "I wonder what will become of them in the
winter,--though, to be sure, the fishing goes on just the same."

"The better part of them don't get through the cold weather," said
Danny. "Two or three of the old ones have been here for years, and are
as much belonging to Deephaven as the meetin'-house; but the rest of
them an't to be depended on. You'll miss the young ones by the dozen,
come spring. I don't know myself but they move inland in the fall of the
year; they're knowing enough, if that's all!"

Kate and I stood in the wide doorway, arm in arm, looking sometimes at
the queer fisherman and the porgies, and sometimes out to sea. It was
low tide; the wind had risen a little, and the heavy salt air blew
toward us from the wet brown ledges in the rocky harbor. The sea was
bright blue, and the sun was shining. Two gulls were swinging lazily to
and fro; there was a flock of sand-pipers down by the water's edge, in a
great hurry, as usual.

Presently the fisherman spoke again, beginning with an odd laugh: "I
_was_ scared last winter! Jack Scudder and me, we were up in the Cap'n
Manning storehouse hunting for a half-bar'l of salt the skipper said was
there. It was an awful blustering kind of day, with a thin icy rain
blowing from all points at once; sea roaring as if it wished it could
come ashore and put a stop to everything. Bad days at sea, them are;
rigging all froze up. As I was saying, we were hunting for a half-bar'l
of salt, and I laid hold of a bar'l that had something heavy in the
bottom, and tilted it up, and my eye! there was a stir and a scratch and
a squeal, and out went some kind of a creatur', and I jumped back, not
looking for anything live, but I see in a minute it was a cat; and
perhaps you think it is a big story, but there were eight more in there,
hived in together to keep warm. I car'd 'em up some new fish that night;
they seemed short of provisions. We hadn't been out fishing as much as
common, and they hadn't dared to be round the fish-houses much, for a
fellow who came in on a coaster had a dog, and he used to chase 'em.
Hard chance they had, and lots of 'em died, I guess; but there seem to
be some survivin' relatives, an' al'ays just so hungry! I used to feed
them some when I was ashore. I think likely you've heard that a cat will
fetch you bad luck; but I don't know's that made much difference to me.
I kind of like to keep on the right side of 'em, too; if ever I have a
bad dream there's sure to be a cat in it; but I was brought up to be
clever to dumb beasts, an' I guess it's my natur'. Except fish," said
Danny after a minute's thought; "but then it never seems like they had
feelin's like creatur's that live ashore." And we all laughed heartily
and felt well acquainted.

"I s'pose you misses will laugh if I tell ye I kept a kitty once
myself." This was said rather shyly, and there was evidently a story, so
we were much interested, and Kate said, "Please tell us about it; was it
at sea?"

"Yes, it was at sea; leastways, on a coaster. I got her in a sing'lar
kind of way: it was one afternoon we were lying alongside Charlestown
Bridge, and I heard a young cat screeching real pitiful; and after I
looked all round, I see her in the water clutching on to the pier of the
bridge, and some little divils of boys were heaving rocks down at her. I
got into the schooner's tag-boat quick, I tell ye, and pushed off for
her, 'n' she let go just as I got there, 'n' I guess you never saw a
more miser'ble-looking creatur' than I fished out of the water. Cold
weather it was. Her leg was hurt, and her eye, and I thought first I'd
drop her overboard again, and then I didn't, and I took her aboard the
schooner and put her by the stove. I thought she might as well die where
it was warm. She eat a little mite of chowder before night, but she was
very slim; but next morning, when I went to see if she was dead, she
fell to licking my finger, and she did purr away like a dolphin. One of
her eyes was out, where a stone had took her, and she never got any use
of it, but she used to look at you so clever with the other, and she got
well of her lame foot after a while. I got to be ter'ble fond of her.
She was just the knowingest thing you ever saw, and she used to sleep
alongside of me in my bunk, and like as not she would go on deck with me
when it was my watch. I was coasting then for a year and eight months,
and I kept her all the time. We used to be in harbor consider'ble, and
about eight o'clock in the forenoon I used to drop a line and catch her
a couple of cunners. Now, it is cur'us that she used to know when I was
fishing for her. She would pounce on them fish and carry them off and
growl, and she knew when I got a bite,--she'd watch the line; but when
we were mackereling she never give us any trouble. She would never lift
a paw to touch any of our fish. She didn't have the thieving ways common
to most cats. She used to set round on deck in fair weather, and when
the wind blew she al'ays kept herself below. Sometimes when we were in
port she would go ashore awhile, and fetch back a bird or a mouse, but
she wouldn't eat it till she come and showed it to me. She never wanted
to stop long ashore, though I never shut her up; I always give her her
liberty. I got a good deal of joking about her from the fellows, but she
was a sight of company. I don' know as I ever had anything like me as
much as she did. Not to say as I ever had much of any trouble with
anybody, ashore or afloat. I'm a still kind of fellow, for all I look so

"But then, I han't had a home, what I call a home, since I was going on
nine year old."

"How has that happened?" asked Kate.

"Well, mother, she died, and I was bound out to a man in the tanning
trade, and I hated him, and I hated the trade; and when I was a little
bigger I ran away, and I've followed the sea ever since. I wasn't much
use to him, I guess; leastways, he never took the trouble to hunt me up.

"About the best place I ever was in was a hospital. It was in foreign
parts. Ye see I'm crippled some? I fell from the topsail yard to the
deck, and I struck my shoulder, and broke my leg, and banged myself all
up. It was to a nuns' hospital where they took me. All of the nuns were
Catholics, and they wore big white things on their heads. I don't
suppose you ever saw any. Have you? Well, now, that's queer! When I was
first there I was scared of them; they were real ladies, and I wasn't
used to being in a house, any way. One of them, that took care of me
most of the time, why, she would even set up half the night with me, and
I couldn't begin to tell you how good-natured she was, an' she'd look
real sorry too. I used to be ugly, I ached so, along in the first of my
being there, but I spoke of it when I was coming away, and she said it
was all right. She used to feed me, that lady did; and there were some
days I couldn't lift my head, and she would rise it on her arm. She give
me a little mite of a book, when I come away. I'm not much of a hand at
reading, but I always kept it on account of her. She was so pleased when
I got so's to set up in a chair and look out of the window. She wasn't
much of a hand to talk English. I did feel bad to come away from there;
I 'most wished I could be sick a while longer. I never said much of
anything either, and I don't know but she thought it was queer, but I am
a dreadful clumsy man to say anything, and I got flustered. I don't
know's I mind telling you; I was 'most a-crying. I used to think I'd lay
by some money and ship for there and carry her something real pretty.
But I don't rank able-bodied seaman like I used, and it's as much as I
can do to get a berth on a coaster; I suppose I might go as cook. I
liked to have died with my hurt at that hospital, but when I was getting
well it made me think of when I was a mite of a chap to home before
mother died, to be laying there in a clean bed with somebody to do for
me. Guess you think I'm a good hand to spin long yarns; somehow it comes
easy to talk to-day."

"What became of your cat?" asked Kate, after a pause, during which our
friend sliced away at the porgies.

"I never rightfully knew; it was in Salem harbor, and a windy night. I
was on deck consider'ble, for the schooner pitched lively, and once or
twice she dragged her anchor. I never saw the kitty after she eat her
supper. I remember I gave her some milk,--I used to buy her a pint once
in a while for a treat; I don't know but she might have gone off on a
cake of ice, but it did seem as if she had too much sense for that. Most
likely she missed her footing, and fell overboard in the dark. She was
marked real pretty, black and white, and kep' herself just as clean! She
knew as well as could be when foul weather was coming; she would bother
round and act queer; but when the sun was out she would sit round on
deck as pleased as a queen. There! I feel bad sometimes when I think of
her, and I never went into Salem since without hoping that I should see
her. I don't know but if I was a-going to begin my life over again, I'd
settle down ashore and have a snug little house and farm it. But I guess
I shall do better at fishing. Give me a trig-built topsail schooner
painted up nice, with a stripe on her, and clean sails, and a fresh wind
with the sun a-shining, and I feel first-rate."

"Do you believe that codfish swallow stones before a storm?" asked Kate.
I had been thinking about the lonely fisherman in a sentimental way, and
so irrelevant a question shocked me. "I saw he felt slightly embarrassed
at having talked about his affairs so much," Kate told me afterward,
"and I thought we should leave him feeling more at his ease if we talked
about fish for a while." And sure enough he did seem relieved, and gave
us his opinion about the codfish at once, adding that he never cared
much for cod any way; folks up country bought 'em a good deal, he heard.
Give him a haddock right out of the water for his dinner!

"I never can remember," said Kate, "whether it is cod or haddock that
have a black stripe along their sides--"

"O, those are haddock," said I; "they say that the Devil caught a
haddock once, and it slipped through his fingers and got scorched; so
all the haddock had the same mark afterward."

"Well, now, how did you know that old story?" said Danny, laughing
heartily; "ye mustn't believe all the old stories ye hear, mind ye!"

"O, no," said we.

"Hullo! There's Jim Toggerson's boat close in shore. She sets low in
the water, so he's done well. He and Skipper Scudder have been out
deep-sea fishing since yesterday."

Our friend pushed the porgies back into a corner, stuck his knife into a
beam, and we hurried down to the shore. Kate and I sat on the pebbles,
and he went out to the moorings in a dirty dory to help unload the fish.

We afterward saw a great deal of Danny, as all the men called him. But
though Kate and I tried our best and used our utmost skill and tact to
make him tell us more about himself, he never did. But perhaps there was
nothing more to be told.

The day we left Deephaven we went down to the shore to say good by to
him and to some other friends, and he said, "Goin', are ye? Well, I'm
sorry; ye've treated me first-rate; the Lord bless ye!" and then was so
much mortified at the way he had said farewell that he turned and fled
round the corner of the fish-house.

_Captain Sands_

Old Captain Sands was one of the most prominent citizens of Deephaven,
and a very good friend of Kate's and mine. We often met him, and grew
much interested in him before we knew him well. He had a reputation in
town for being peculiar and somewhat visionary; but every one seemed to
like him, and at last one morning, when we happened to be on our way to
the wharves, we stopped at the door of an old warehouse which we had
never seen opened before. Captain Sands sat just inside, smoking his
pipe, and we said good morning, and asked him if he did not think there
was a fog coming in by and by. We had thought a little of going out to
the lighthouse. The cap'n rose slowly, and came out so that he could see
farther round to the east. "There's some scud coming in a'ready," said
he. "None to speak of yet, I don't know's you can see it,--yes, you're
right; there's a heavy bank of fog lyin' off, but it won't be in under
two or three hours yet, unless the wind backs round more and freshens
up. Weren't thinking of going out, were ye?"

"A little," said Kate, "but we had nearly given it up. We are getting to
be very weather-wise, and we pride ourselves on being quick at seeing
fogs." At which the cap'n smiled and said we were consider'ble young to
know much about weather, but it looked well that we took some interest
in it; most young people were fools about weather, and would just as
soon set off to go anywhere right under the edge of a thunder-shower.
"Come in and set down, won't ye?" he added; "it ain't much of a place;
I've got a lot of old stuff stowed away here that the women-folks don't
want up to the house. I'm a great hand for keeping things." And he
looked round fondly at the contents of the wide low room. "I come down
here once in a while and let in the sun, and sometimes I want to hunt up
something or 'nother; kind of stow-away place, ye see." And then he
laughed apologetically, rubbing his hands together, and looking out to
sea again as if he wished to appear unconcerned; yet we saw that he
wondered if we thought it ridiculous for a man of his age to have
treasured up so much trumpery in that cobwebby place. There were some
whole oars and the sail of his boat and two or three killicks and
painters, not to forget a heap of worn-out oars and sails in one corner
and a sailor's hammock slung across the beam overhead, and there were
some sailor's chests and the capstan of a ship and innumerable boxes
which all seemed to be stuffed full, besides no end of things lying on
the floor and packed away on shelves and hanging to rusty big-headed
nails in the wall. I saw some great lumps of coral, and large, rough
shells, a great hornet's nest, and a monstrous lobster-shell. The cap'n
had cobbled and tied up some remarkable old chairs for the accommodation
of himself and his friends.

"What a nice place!" said Kate in a frank, delighted way which could not
have failed to be gratifying.

"Well, no," said the cap'n, with his slow smile, "it ain't what you'd
rightly call 'nice,' as I know of: it ain't never been cleared out all
at once since I began putting in. There's nothing that's worth anything,
either, to anybody but me. Wife, she's said to me a hundred times, 'Why
don't you overhaul them old things and burn 'em?' She's al'ays at me
about letting the property, as if it were a corner-lot in Broadway.
That's all women-folks know about business!" And here the captain caught
himself tripping, and looked uneasy for a minute. "I suppose I might
have let it for a fish-house, but it's most too far from the shore to be
handy--and--well--there are some things here that I set a good deal by."

"Isn't that a sword-fish's sword in that piece of wood?" Kate asked
presently; and was answered that it was found broken off as we saw it,
in the hull of a wreck that went ashore on Blue P'int when the captain
was a young man, and he had sawed it out and kept it ever
since,--fifty-nine years. Of course we went closer to look at it, and we
both felt a great sympathy for this friend of ours, because we have the
same fashion of keeping worthless treasures, and we understood perfectly
how dear such things may be.

"Do you mind if we look round a little?" I asked doubtfully, for I knew
how I should hate having strangers look over my own treasury. But
Captain Sands looked pleased at our interest, and said cheerfully that
we might overhaul as much as we chose. Kate discovered first an old
battered wooden figure-head of a ship,--a woman's head with long curly
hair falling over the shoulders. The paint was almost gone, and the dust
covered most of what was left: still there was a wonderful spirit and
grace, and a wild, weird beauty which attracted us exceedingly; but the
captain could only tell us that it had belonged to the wreck of a Danish
brig which had been driven on the reef where the lighthouse stands now,
and his father had found this on the long sands a day or two afterward.
"That was a dreadful storm," said the captain. "I've heard the old folks
tell about it; it was when I was only a year or two old. There were
three merchantmen wrecked within five miles of Deephaven. This one was
all stove to splinters, and they used to say she had treasure aboard.
When I was small I used to have a great idea of going out there to the
rocks at low water and trying to find some gold, but I never made out no
great." And he smiled indulgently at the thought of his youthful dream.

"Kate," said I, "do you see what beauties these Turk's-head knots are?"
We had been taking a course of first lessons in knots from Danny, and
had followed by learning some charmingly intricate ones from Captain
Lant, the stranded mariner who lived on a farm two miles or so inland.
Kate came over to look at the Turk's-heads, which were at either end of
the rope handles of a little dark-blue chest.

Captain Sands turned in his chair and nodded approval. "That's a neat
piece of work, and it was a first-rate seaman who did it; he's dead and
gone years ago, poor young fellow; an I-talian he was, who sailed on the
Ranger three or four long voyages. He fell from the mast-head on the
voyage home from Callao. Cap'n Manning and old Mr. Lorimer, they owned
the Ranger, and when she come into port and they got the news they took
it as much to heart as if he'd been some relation. He was smart as a
whip, and had a way with him, and the pleasantest kind of a voice; you
couldn't help liking him. They found out that he had a mother alive in
Port Mahon, and they sent his pay and some money he had in the bank at
Riverport out to her by a ship that was going to the Mediterranean. He
had some clothes in his chest, and they sold those and sent her the
money,--all but some trinkets they supposed he was keeping for her; I
rec'lect he used to speak consider'ble about his mother. I shipped one
v'y'ge with him before the mast, before I went out mate of the Daylight.
I happened to be in port the time the Ranger got in, an' I see this
chist lying round in Cap'n Manning's storehouse, and I offered to give
him what it was worth; but we was good friends, and he told me take it
if I wanted it, it was no use to him, and I've kept it ever since.

"There are some of his traps in it now, I believe; ye can look." And we
took off some tangled cod-lines and opened the chest. There was only a
round wooden box in the till, and in some idle hour at sea the young
sailor had carved his initials and an anchor and the date on the cover.
We found some sail-needles and a palm in this "kit," as the sailors call
it, and a little string of buttons with some needles and yarn and thread
in a neat little bag, which perhaps his mother had made for him when he
started off on his first voyage. Besides these things there was only a
fanciful little broken buckle, green and gilt, which he might have
picked up in some foreign street, and his protection-paper carefully
folded, wherein he was certified as being a citizen of the United
States, with dark complexion and dark hair.

"He was one of the pleasantest fellows that ever I shipped with," said
the captain, with a gruff tenderness in his voice. "Always willin' to do
his work himself, and like's not when the other fellows up the rigging
were cold, or ugly about something or 'nother, he'd say something that
would set them all laughing, and somehow it made you good-natured to see
him round. He was brought up a Catholic, I s'pose; anyway, he had some
beads, and sometimes they would joke him about 'em on board ship, but he
would blaze up in a minute, ugly as a tiger. I never saw him mad about
anything else, though he wouldn't stand it if anybody tried to crowd
him. He fell from the main-to'-gallant yard to the deck, and was dead
when they picked him up. They were off the Bermudas. I suppose he lost
his balance, but I never could see how; he was sure-footed, and as quick
as a cat. They said they saw him try to catch at the stay, but there was
a heavy sea running, and the ship rolled just so's to let him through
between the rigging, and he struck the deck like a stone. I don't
know's that chest has been opened these ten years,--I declare it carries
me back to look at those poor little traps of his. Well, it's the way of
the world; we think we're somebody, and we have our day, but it isn't
long afore we're forgotten."

The captain reached over for the paper, and taking out a clumsy pair of
steel-bowed spectacles, read it through carefully. "I'll warrant he took
good care of this," said he. "He was an I-talian, and no more of an
American citizen than a Chinese; I wonder he hadn't called himself John
Jones, that's the name most of the foreigners used to take when they got
their papers. I remember once I was sick with a fever in Chelsea
Hospital, and one morning they came bringing in the mate of a Portugee
brig on a stretcher, and the surgeon asked what his name was. 'John
Jones,' says he. 'O, say something else,' says the surgeon; 'we've got
five John Joneses here a'ready, and it's getting to be no name at all.'
Sailors are great hands for false names; they have a trick of using them
when they have any money to leave ashore, for fear their shipmates will
go and draw it out. I suppose there are thousands of dollars unclaimed
in New York banks, where men have left it charged to their false names;
then they get lost at sea or something, and never go to get it, and
nobody knows whose it is. They're curious folks, take 'em altogether,
sailors is; specially these foreign fellows that wander about from ship
to ship. They're getting to be a dreadful low set, too, of late years.
It's the last thing I'd want a boy of mine to do,--ship before the mast
with one of these mixed crews. It's a dog's life, anyway, and the risks
and the chances against you are awful. It's a good while before you can
lay up anything, unless you are part owner. I saw all the p'ints a good
deal plainer after I quit followin' the sea myself, though I've always
been more or less into navigation until this last war come on. I know
when I was ship's husband of the Polly and Susan there was a young man
went out cap'n of her,--her last voyage, and she never was heard from.
He had a wife and two or three little children, and for all he was so
smart, they would have been about the same as beggars, if I hadn't
happened to have his life insured the day I was having the papers made
out for the ship. I happened to think of it. Five thousand dollars there
was, and I sent it to the widow along with his primage. She hadn't
expected nothing, or next to nothing, and she was pleased, I tell ye."

"I think it was very kind in you to think of that, Captain Sands," said
Kate. And the old man said, flushing a little, "Well, I'm not so smart
as some of the men who started when I did, and some of 'em went ahead of
me, but some of 'em didn't, after all. I've tried to be honest, and to
do just about as nigh right as I could, and you know there's an old
sayin' that a cripple in the right road will beat a racer in the wrong."

_The Circus at Denby_

Kate and I looked forward to a certain Saturday with as much eagerness
as if we had been little school-boys, for on that day we were to go to a
circus at Denby, a town perhaps eight miles inland. There had not been a
circus so near Deephaven for a long time, and nobody had dared to
believe the first rumor of it, until two dashing young men had deigned
to come themselves to put up the big posters on the end of 'Bijah
Mauley's barn. All the boys in town came as soon as possible to see
these amazing pictures, and some were wretched in their secret hearts at
the thought that they might not see the show itself. Tommy Dockum was
more interested than any one else, and mentioned the subject so
frequently one day when he went blackberrying with us, that we grew
enthusiastic, and told each other what fun it would be to go, for
everybody would be there, and it would be the greatest loss to us if we
were absent. I thought I had lost my childish fondness for circuses, but
it came back redoubled; and Kate may contradict me if she chooses, but I
am sure she never looked forward to the Easter Oratorio with half the
pleasure she did to this "caravan," as most of the people called it.

We felt that it was a great pity that any of the boys and girls should
be left lamenting at home, and finding that there were some of our
acquaintances and Tommy's who saw no chance of going, we engaged Jo
Sands and Leander Dockum to carry them to Denby in two fish-wagons, with
boards laid across for the extra seats. We saw them join the straggling
train of carriages which had begun to go through the village from all
along shore, soon after daylight, and they started on their journey
shouting and carousing, with their pockets crammed with early apples and
other provisions. We thought it would have been fun enough to see the
people go by, for we had had no idea until then how many inhabitants
that country held.

We had asked Mrs. Kew to go with us; but she was half an hour later than
she had promised, for, since there was no wind, she could not come
ashore in the sail-boat, and Mr. Kew had had to row her in in the dory.
We saw the boat at last nearly in shore, and drove down to meet it: even
the horse seemed to realize what a great day it was, and showed a
disposition to friskiness, evidently as surprising to himself as to us.

Mrs. Kew was funnier that day than we had ever known her, which is
saying a great deal, and we should not have had half so good a time if
she had not been with us; although she lived in the lighthouse, and had
no chance to "see passing," which a woman prizes so highly in the
country, she had a wonderful memory for faces, and could tell us the
names of all Deephaveners and of most of the people we met outside its
limits. She looked impressed and solemn as she hurried up from the
water's edge, giving Mr. Kew some parting charges over her shoulder as
he pushed off the boat to go back; but after we had convinced her that
the delay had not troubled us, she seemed more cheerful. It was evident
that she felt the importance of the occasion, and that she was pleased
at our having chosen her for company. She threw back her veil entirely,
sat very straight, and took immense pains to bow to every acquaintance
whom she met. She wore her best Sunday clothes, and her manner was
formal for the first few minutes; it was evident that she felt we were
meeting under unusual circumstances, and that, although we had often met
before on the friendliest terms, our having asked her to make this
excursion in public required a different sort of behavior at her hands,
and a due amount of ceremony and propriety. But this state of things did
not last long, as she soon made a remark at which Kate and I laughed so
heartily in lighthouse-acquaintance fashion, that she unbent, and gave
her whole mind to enjoying herself.

When we came by the store where the post-office was kept we saw a small
knot of people gathered round the door, and stopped to see what had
happened. There was a forlorn horse standing near, with his harness tied
up with fuzzy ends of rope, and the wagon was cobbled together with
pieces of board; the whole craft looked as if it might be wrecked with
the least jar. In the wagon were four or five stupid-looking boys and
girls, one of whom was crying softly. Their father was sick, some one
told us. "He was took faint, but he is coming to all right; they have
give him something to take: their name is Craper, and they live way over
beyond the Ridge, on Stone Hill. They were goin' over to Denby to the
circus, and the man was calc'lating to get doctored, but I d' know's he
can get so fur; he's powerful slim-looking to me." Kate and I went to
see if we could be of any use, and when we went into the store we saw
the man leaning back in his chair, looking ghastly pale, and as if he
were far gone in consumption. Kate spoke to him, and he said he was
better; he had felt bad all the way along, but he hadn't given up. He
was pitiful, poor fellow, with his evident attempt at dressing up. He
had the bushiest, dustiest red hair and whiskers, which made the pallor
of his face still more striking, and his illness had thinned and paled
his rough, clumsy hands. I thought what a hard piece of work it must
have been for him to start for the circus that morning, and how
kind-hearted he must be to have made such an effort for his children's
pleasure. As we went out they stared at us gloomily. The shadow of their
disappointment touched and chilled our pleasure.

Somebody had turned the horse so that he was heading toward home, and by
his actions he showed that he was the only one of the party who was
glad. We were so sorry for the children; perhaps it had promised to be
the happiest day of their lives, and now they must go back to their
uninteresting home without having seen the great show.

"I am so sorry you are disappointed," said Kate, as we were wondering
how the man who had followed us could ever climb into the wagon.

"Heh?" said he, blankly, as if he did not know what her words meant.
"What fool has been a turning o' this horse?" he asked a man who was
looking on.

"Why, which way be ye goin'?"

"To the circus," said Mr. Craper, with decision, "where d'ye s'pose?
That's where I started for, anyways." And he climbed in and glanced
round to count the children, struck the horse with the willow switch,
and they started off briskly, while everybody laughed. Kate and I joined
Mrs. Kew, who had enjoyed the scene.

"Well, there!" said she, "I wonder the folks in the old North
burying-ground ain't a-rising up to go to Denby to that caravan!"

We reached Denby at noon; it was an uninteresting town which had grown
up around some mills. There was a great commotion in the streets, and it
was evident that we had lost much in not having seen the procession.
There was a great deal of business going on in the shops, and there were
two or three hand-organs at large, near one of which we stopped awhile
to listen, just after we had met Leander and given the horse into his
charge. Mrs. Kew finished her shopping as soon as possible, and we
hurried toward the great tents, where all the flags were flying. I think
I have not told you that we were to have the benefit of seeing a
menagerie in addition to the circus, and you may be sure we went
faithfully round to see everything that the cages held.

I cannot truthfully say that it was a good show; it was somewhat dreary,
now that I think of it quietly and without excitement. The creatures
looked tired, and as if they had been on the road for a great many
years. The animals were all old, and there was a shabby great elephant
whose look of general discouragement went to my heart, for it seemed as
if he were miserably conscious of a misspent life. He stood dejected and
motionless at one side of the tent, and it was hard to believe that
there was a spark of vitality left in him. A great number of the people
had never seen an elephant before, and we heard a thin little old man,
who stood near us, say delightedly, "There's the old creatur', and no
mistake, Ann 'Liza. I wanted to see him most of anything. My sakes
alive, ain't he big!"

And Ann 'Liza, who was stout and sleepy-looking, droned out, "Ye-es,
there's consider'ble of him; but he looks as if he ain't got no

Kate and I turned away and laughed, while Mrs. Kew said confidentially,
as the couple moved away, "_She_ needn't be a reflectin' on the poor
beast. That's Mis Seth Tanner, and there isn't a woman in Deephaven nor
East Parish to be named the same day with her for laziness. I'm glad she
didn't catch sight of me; she'd have talked about nothing for a

There was a picture of a huge snake in Deephaven, and I was just
wondering where he could be, or if there ever had been one, when we
heard a boy ask the same question of the man whose thankless task it was
to stir up the lions with a stick to make them roar. "The snake's dead,"
he answered good-naturedly. "Didn't you have to dig an awful long grave
for him?" asked the boy; but the man said he reckoned they curled him up
some, and smiled as he turned to his lions, who looked as if they needed
a tonic. Everybody lingered longest before the monkeys, who seemed to be
the only lively creatures in the whole collection; and finally we made
our way into the other tent, and perched ourselves on a high seat, from
whence we had a capital view of the audience and the ring, and could see
the people come in. Mrs. Kew was on the lookout for acquaintances, and
her spirits as well as our own seemed to rise higher and higher. She was
on the alert, moving her head this way and that to catch sight of
people, giving us a running commentary in the mean time. It was very
pleasant to see a person so happy as Mrs. Kew was that day, and I dare
say in speaking of the occasion she would say the same thing of Kate and
me,--for it was such a good time! We bought some peanuts, without which
no circus seems complete, and we listened to the conversations which
were being carried on around us while we were waiting for the
performance to begin. There were two old farmers whom we had noticed
occasionally in Deephaven; one was telling the other, with great
confusion of pronouns, about a big pig which had lately been killed.
"John did feel dreadful disappointed at having to kill now," we heard
him say, "bein' as he had calc'lated to kill along near Thanksgivin'
time; there was goin' to be a new moon then, and he expected to get
seventy-five or a hundred pound more on to him. But he didn't seem to
gain, and me and 'Bijah both told him he'd be better to kill now, while
everything was favor'ble, and if he set out to wait something might
happen to him, and then I've always held that you can't get no hog only
just so fur, and for my part I don't like these great overgrown
creatur's. I like well enough to see a hog that'll weigh six hunderd,
just for the beauty on't, but for my eatin' give me one that'll just
rise three. 'Bijah's accurate, and he says he is goin' to weigh risin'
five hundred and fifty. I shall stop, as I go home, to John's wife's
brother's and see if they've got the particulars yet; John was goin' to
get the scales this morning. I guess likely consider'ble many'll gather
there to-morrow after meeting. John didn't calc'late to cut up till

"I guess likely I 'll stop in to-morrow," said the other man; "I like to
see a han'some hog. Chester White, you said? Consider them best, don't
ye?" But this question never was answered, for the greater part of the
circus company in gorgeous trappings came parading in.

The circus was like all other circuses, except that it was shabbier than
most, and the performers seemed to have less heart in it than usual.
They did their best, and went through with their parts conscientiously,
but they looked as if they never had had a good time in their lives. The
audience was hilarious, and cheered and laughed at the tired clown until
he looked as if he thought his speeches might possibly be funny, after
all. We were so glad we had pleased the poor thing; and when he sang a
song our satisfaction was still greater, and so he sang it all over
again. Perhaps he had been associating with people who were used to
circuses. The afternoon was hot, and the boys with Japanese fans and
trays of lemonade did a remarkable business for so late in the season;
the brass band on the other side of the tent shrieked its very best, and
all the young men of the region had brought their girls, and some of
these countless pairs of country lovers we watched a great deal, as they
"kept company" with more or less depth of satisfaction in each other. We
had a grand chance to see the fashions, and there were many old people
and a great number of little children, and some families had evidently
locked their house door behind them, since they had brought both the dog
and the baby.

"Doesn't it seem as if you were a child again?" Kate asked me. "I am
sure this is just the same as the first circus I ever saw. It grows more
and more familiar, and it puzzles me to think they should not have
altered in the least while I have changed so much, and have even had
time to grow up. You don't know how it is making me remember other
things of which I have not thought for years. I was seven years old when
I went that first time. Uncle Jack invited me. I had a new parasol, and
he laughed because I would hold it over my shoulder when the sun was in
my face. He took me into the side-shows and bought me everything I asked
for, on the way home, and we did not get home until twilight. The rest
of the family had dined at four o'clock and gone out for a long drive,
and it was such fun to have our dinner by ourselves. I sat at the head
of the table in mamma's place, and when Bridget came down and insisted
that I must go to bed, Uncle Jack came softly up stairs and sat by the
window, smoking and telling me stories. He ran and hid in the closet
when we heard mamma coming up, and when she found him out by the
cigar-smoke, and made believe scold him, I thought she was in earnest,
and begged him off. Yes; and I remember that Bridget sat in the next
room, making her new dress so she could wear it to church next day. I
thought it was a beautiful dress, and besought mamma to have one like
it. It was bright green with yellow spots all over it," said Kate. "Ah,
poor Uncle Jack! he was so good to me! We were always telling stories of
what we would do when I was grown up. He died in Canton the next year,
and I cried myself ill; but for a long time I thought he might not be
dead, after all, and might come home any day. He used to seem so old to
me, and he really was just out of college and not so old as I am now.
That day at the circus he had a pink rosebud in his buttonhole, and--ah!
when have I ever thought of this before!--a woman sat before us who had
a stiff little cape on her bonnet like a shelf, and I carefully put
peanuts round the edge of it, and when she moved her head they would
fall. I thought it was the best fun in the world, and I wished Uncle
Jack to ride the donkey; I was sure he could keep on, because his horse
had capered about with him one day on Beacon Street, and I thought him a
perfect rider, since nothing had happened to him then."

"I remember," said Mrs. Kew, presently, "that just before I was married
'he' took me over to Wareham Corners to a caravan. My sister Hannah and
the young man who was keeping company with her went too. I haven't been
to one since till to-day, and it does carry me back same's it does you,
Miss Kate. It doesn't seem more than five years ago, and what would I
have thought if I had known 'he' and I were going to keep a lighthouse
and be contented there, what's more, and sometimes not get ashore for a
fortnight; settled, gray-headed old folks! We were gay enough in those
days. I know old Miss Sabrina Smith warned me that I'd better think
twice before I took up with Tom Kew, for he was a light-minded young
man. I speak o' that to him in the winter-time, when he sets reading the
almanac half asleep and I'm knitting, and the wind's a' howling and the
waves coming ashore on those rocks as if they wished they could put out
the light and blow down the lighthouse. We were reflected on a good deal
for going to that caravan; some of the old folks didn't think it was
improvin'--Well, I should think that man was a trying to break his

Coming out of the great tent was disagreeable enough, and we seemed to
have chosen the worst time, for the crowd pushed fiercely, though I
suppose nobody was in the least hurry, and we were all severely jammed,
while from somewhere underneath came the wails of a deserted dog. We had
not meant to see the side-shows, and went carelessly past two or three
tents; but when we came in sight of the picture of the Kentucky
giantess, we noticed that Mrs. Kew looked at it wistfully, and we
immediately asked if she cared anything about going to see the wonder,
whereupon she confessed that she never heard of such a thing as a
woman's weighing six hundred and fifty pounds, so we all three went in.
There were only two or three persons inside the tent, beside a little
boy who played the hand-organ.

The Kentucky giantess sat in two chairs on a platform, and there was a
large cage of monkeys just beyond, toward which Kate and I went at once.
"Why, she isn't more than two thirds as big as the picture," said Mrs.
Kew, in a regretful whisper; "but I guess she's big enough; doesn't she
look discouraged, poor creatur'?" Kate and I felt ashamed of ourselves
for being there. No matter if she had consented to be carried round for
a show, it must have been horrible to be stared at and joked about day
after day; and we gravely looked at the monkeys, and in a few minutes
turned to see if Mrs. Kew were not ready to come away, when to our
surprise we saw that she was talking to the giantess with great
interest, and we went nearer.

"I thought your face looked natural the minute I set foot inside the
door," said Mrs. Kew; "but you've--altered some since I saw you, and I
couldn't place you till I heard you speak. Why, you used to be spare; I
am amazed, Marilly! Where are your folks?"

"I don't wonder you are surprised," said the giantess. "I was a good
ways from this when you knew me, wasn't I? But father he run through
with every cent he had before he died, and 'he' took to drink and it
killed him after a while, and then I begun to grow worse and worse, till
I couldn't do nothing to earn a dollar, and everybody was a coming to
see me, till at last I used to ask 'em ten cents apiece, and I scratched
along somehow till this man came round and heard of me, and he offered
me my keep and good pay to go along with him. He had another giantess
before me, but she had begun to fall away consider'ble, so he paid her
off and let her go. This other giantess was an awful expense to him, she
was such an eater; now I don't have no great of an appetite,"--this was
said plaintively,--"and he's raised my pay since I've been with him
because we did so well. I took up with his offer because I was nothing
but a drag and never will be. I'm as comfortable as I can be, but it's a
pretty hard business. My oldest boy is able to do for himself, but he's
married this last year, and his wife don't want me. I don't know's I
blame her either. It would be something like if I had a daughter now;
but there, I'm getting to like travelling first-rate; it gives anybody a
good deal to think of."

"I was asking the folks about you when I was up home the early part of
the summer," said Mrs. Kew, "but all they knew was that you were living
out in New York State. Have you been living in Kentucky long? I saw it
on the picture outside."

"No," said the giantess, "that was a picture the man bought cheap from
another show that broke up last year. It says six hundred and fifty
pounds, but I don't weigh more than four hundred. I haven't been weighed
for some time past. Between you and me I don't weigh so much as that,
but you mustn't mention it, for it would spoil my reputation, and might
hender my getting another engagement." And then the poor giantess lost
her professional look and tone as she said, "I believe I'd rather die
than grow any bigger. I do lose heart sometimes, and wish I was a smart
woman and could keep house. I'd be smarter than ever I was when I had
the chance; I tell you that! Is Tom along with you?"

"No. I came with these young ladies, Miss Lancaster and Miss Denis, who
are stopping over to Deephaven for the summer." Kate and I turned as we
heard this introduction; we were standing close by, and I am proud to
say that I never saw Kate treat any one more politely than she did that
absurd, pitiful creature with the gilt crown and many bracelets. It was
not that she said much, but there was such an exquisite courtesy in her
manner, and an apparent unconsciousness of there being anything in the
least surprising or uncommon about the giantess.

Just then a party of people came in, and Mrs. Kew said good by
reluctantly. "It has done me sights of good to see you," said our new
acquaintance; "I was feeling down-hearted just before you came in. I'm
pleased to see somebody that remembers me as I used to be." And they
shook hands in a way that meant a great deal, and when Kate and I said
good afternoon the giantess looked at us gratefully, and said, "I'm very
much obliged to you for coming in, young ladies."

"Walk in! walk in!" the man was shouting as we came away. "Walk in and
see the wonder of the world, ladies and gentlemen,--the largest woman
ever seen in America,--the great Kentucky giantess!"

"Wouldn't you have liked to stay longer?" Kate asked Mrs. Kew as we came
down the street. But she answered that it would be no satisfaction; the
people were coming in, and she would have no chance to talk. "I never
knew her very well; she is younger than I, and she used to go to meeting
where I did, but she lived five or six miles from our house. She's had a
hard time of it, according to her account," said Mrs. Kew. "She used to
be a dreadful flighty, high-tempered girl, but she's lost that now, I
can see by her eyes. I was running over in my mind to see if there was
anything I could do for her, but I don't know as there is. She said the
man who hired her was kind. I guess your treating her so polite did her
as much good as anything. She used to be real ambitious. I had it on my
tongue's end to ask her if she couldn't get a few days' leave and come
out to stop with me, but I thought just in time that she'd sink the dory
in a minute. There! seeing her has took away all the fun," said Mrs. Kew
ruefully; and we were all dismal for a while, but at last, after we were
fairly started for home, we began to be merry again.

We passed the Craper family whom we had seen at the store in the
morning; the children looked as stupid as ever, but the father, I am
sorry to say, had been tempted to drink more whiskey than was good for
him. He had a bright flush on his cheeks, and he was flourishing his
whip, and hoarsely singing some meaningless tune. "Poor creature!" said
I, "I should think this day's pleasuring would kill him." "Now, wouldn't
you think so?" said Mrs. Kew, sympathizingly; "but the truth is, you
couldn't kill one of those Crapers if you pounded him in a mortar."

We had a pleasant drive home, and we kept Mrs. Kew to supper, and
afterward went down to the shore to see her set sail for home. Mr. Kew
had come in some time before, and had been waiting for the moon to rise.
Mrs. Kew told us that she should have enough to think of for a year, she
had enjoyed the day so much; and we stood on the pebbles watching the
boat out of the harbor, and wishing ourselves on board, it was such a
beautiful evening.

       *       *       *       *       *

We went to another show that summer, the memory of which will never
fade. It is somewhat impertinent to call it a show, and "public
entertainment" is equally inappropriate, though we certainly were
entertained. It had been raining for two or three days; the
Deephavenites spoke of it as "a spell of weather." Just after tea, one
Thursday evening, Kate and I went down to the post-office. When we
opened the great hall door, the salt air was delicious, but we found the
town apparently wet through and discouraged; and though it had almost
stopped raining just then, there was a Scotch mist, like a snow-storm
with the chill taken off, and the Chantrey elms dripped hurriedly, and
creaked occasionally in the east-wind.

"There will not be a cap'n on the wharves for a week after this," said
I to Kate; "only think of the cases of rheumatism!"

We stopped for a few minutes at the Carews', who were as much surprised
to see us as if we had been mermaids out of the sea, and begged us to
give ourselves something warm to drink, and to change our boots the
moment we got home. Then we went on to the post-office. Kate went in,
but stopped, as she came out with our letters, to read a written notice
securely fastened to the grocery door by four large carpet-tacks with
wide leathers round their necks.

"Dear," said she, exultantly, "there's going to be a lecture to-night in
the church,--a free lecture on the Elements of True Manhood. Wouldn't
you like to go?" And we went.

We were fifteen minutes later than the time appointed, and were sorry to
find that the audience was almost imperceptible. The dampness had
affected the antiquated lamps so that those on the walls and on the
front of the gallery were the dimmest lights I ever saw, and sent their
feeble rays through a small space the edges of which were clearly
defined. There were two rather more energetic lights on the table near
the pulpit, where the lecturer sat, and as we were in the rear of the
church, we could see the yellow fog between ourselves and him. There
were fourteen persons in the audience, and we were all huddled together
in a cowardly way in the pews nearest the door: three old men, four
women, and four children, besides ourselves and the sexton, a deaf
little old man with a wooden leg.

The children whispered noisily, and soon, to our surprise, the lecturer
rose and began. He bowed, and treated us with beautiful deference, and
read his dreary lecture with enthusiasm. I wish I could say, for his
sake, that it was interesting; but I cannot tell a lie, and it was so
long! He went on and on, until it seemed as if I had been there ever
since I was a little girl. Kate and I did not dare to look at each
other, and in my desperation at feeling her quiver with laughter, I
moved to the other end of the pew, knocking over a big hymn-book on the
way, which attracted so much attention that I have seldom felt more
embarrassed in my life. Kate's great dog rose several times to shake
himself and yawn loudly, and then lie down again despairingly.

You would have thought the man was addressing an enthusiastic Young
Men's Christian Association. He exhorted with fervor upon our duties as
citizens and as voters, and told us a great deal about George Washington
and Benjamin Franklin, whom he urged us to choose as our examples. He
waited for applause after each of his outbursts of eloquence, and
presently went on again, in no wise disconcerted at the silence, and as
if he were sure that he would fetch us next time. The rain began to fall
again heavily, and the wind wailed around the meeting-house. If the
lecture had been upon any other subject it would not have been so hard
for Kate and me to keep sober faces; but it was directed entirely toward
young men, and there was not a young man there.

The children in front of us mildly scuffled with each other at one time,
until the one at the end of the pew dropped a marble, which struck the
floor and rolled with a frightful noise down the edge of the aisle where
there was no carpet. The congregation instinctively started up to look
after it, but we recollected ourselves and leaned back again in our
places, while the awed children, after keeping unnaturally quiet, fell
asleep, and tumbled against each other helplessly. After a time the man
sat down and wiped his forehead, looking well satisfied; and when we
were wondering whether we might with propriety come away, he rose again,
and said it was a free lecture, and he thanked us for our kind patronage
on that inclement night; but in other places which he had visited there
had been a contribution taken up for the cause. It would, perhaps, do no
harm,--would the sexton--But the sexton could not have heard the sound
of a cannon at that distance, and slumbered on. Neither Kate nor I had
any money, except a twenty-dollar bill in my purse, and some coppers in
the pocket of her water-proof cloak which she assured me she was
prepared to give; but we saw no signs of the sexton's waking, and as one
of the women kindly went forward to wake the children, we all rose and
came away.

After we had made as much fun and laughed as long as we pleased that
night, we became suddenly conscious of the pitiful side of it all; and
being anxious that every one should have the highest opinion of
Deephaven, we sent Tom Dockum early in the morning with an anonymous
note to the lecturer, whom he found without much trouble; but afterward
we were disturbed at hearing that he was going to repeat his lecture
that evening,--the wind having gone round to the northwest,--and I have
no doubt there were a good many women able to be out, and that he
harvested enough ten-cent pieces to pay his expenses without our help;
though he had particularly told us it was for "the cause," the evening
before, and that ought to have been a consolation.


One of the chief pleasures in Deephaven was our housekeeping. Going to
market was apt to use up a whole morning, especially if we went to the
fish-houses. We depended somewhat upon supplies from Boston, but
sometimes we used to chase a butcher who took a drive in his old
canvas-topped cart when he felt like it, and as for fish, there were
always enough to be caught, even if we could not buy any. Our
acquaintances would often ask if we had anything for dinner that day,
and would kindly suggest that somebody had been boiling lobsters, or
that a boat had just come in with some nice mackerel, or that somebody
over on the Ridge was calculating to kill a lamb, and we had better
speak for a quarter in good season. I am afraid we were looked upon as
being in danger of becoming epicures, which we certainly are not, and we
undoubtedly roused a great deal of interest because we used to eat
mushrooms, which grew in the suburbs of the town in wild luxuriance.

One morning Maggie told us that there was nothing in the house for
dinner, and, taking an early start, we went at once down to the store to
ask if the butcher had been seen, but finding that he had gone out
deep-sea fishing for two days, and that when he came back he had planned
to kill a veal, we left word for a sufficient piece of the doomed animal
to be set apart for our family, and strolled down to the shore to see if
we could find some mackerel; but there was not a fisherman in sight, and
after going to all the fish-houses we concluded that we had better
provide for ourselves. We had not brought our own lines, but we knew
where Danny kept his, and after finding a basket of suitable size, and
taking some clams from Danny's bait-tub, we went over to the hull of an
old schooner which was going to pieces alongside one of the ruined
wharves. We looked down the hatchway into the hold, and could see the
flounders and sculpin swimming about lazily, and once in a while a
little pollock scooted down among them impertinently and then
disappeared. "There is that same big flounder that we saw day before
yesterday," said I. "I know him because one of his fins is half gone. I
don't believe he can get out, for the hole in the side of the schooner
isn't very wide, and it is higher up than flounders ever swim. Perhaps
he came in when he was young, and was too lazy to go out until he was so
large he couldn't. Flounders always look so lazy, and as if they thought
a great deal of themselves."

"I hope they will think enough of themselves to keep away from my hook
this morning," said Kate, philosophically, "and the sculpin too. I am
going to fish for cunners alone, and keep my line short." And she
perched herself on the quarter, baited her hook carefully, and threw it
over, with a clam-shell to call attention. I went to the rail at the
side, and we were presently much encouraged by pulling up two small
cunners, and felt that our prospects for dinner were excellent. Then I
unhappily caught so large a sculpin that it was like pulling up an open
umbrella, and after I had thrown him into the hold to keep company with
the flounder, our usual good luck seemed to desert us. It was one of the
days when, in spite of twitching the line and using all the tricks we
could think of, the cunners would either eat our bait or keep away
altogether. Kate at last said we must starve unless we could catch the
big flounder, and asked me to drop my hook down the hatchway; but it
seemed almost too bad to destroy his innocent happiness. Just then we
heard the noise of oars, and to our delight saw Cap'n Sands in his dory
just beyond the next wharf. "Any luck?" said he. "S'pose ye don't care
anything about going out this morning?"

"We are not amusing ourselves; we are trying to catch some fish for
dinner," said Kate. "Could you wait out by the red buoy while we get a
few more, and then should you be back by noon, or are you going for a
longer voyage, Captain Sands?"

"I was going out to Black Rock for cunners myself," said the cap'n. "I
should be pleased to take ye, if ye'd like to go." So we wound up our
lines, and took our basket and clams and went round to meet the boat. I
felt like rowing, and took the oars while Kate was mending her sinker
and the cap'n was busy with a snarled line.

"It's pretty hot," said he, presently, "but I see a breeze coming in,
and the clouds seem to be thickening; I guess we shall have it cooler
'long towards noon. It looked last night as if we were going to have
foul weather, but the scud seemed to blow off, and it was as pretty a
morning as ever I see. 'A growing moon chaws up the clouds,' my
gran'ther used to say. He was as knowing about the weather as anybody I
ever come across; 'most always hit it just about right. Some folks lay
all the weather to the moon, accordin' to where she quarters, and when
she's in perigee we're going to have this kind of weather, and when
she's in apogee she's got to do so and so for sartain; but gran'ther he
used to laugh at all them things. He said it never made no kind of
difference, and he went by the looks of the clouds and the feel of the
air, and he thought folks couldn't make no kind of rules that held good,
that had to do with the moon. Well, he did use to depend on the moon
some; everybody knows we aren't so likely to have foul weather in a
growing moon as we be when she's waning. But some folks I could name,
they can't do nothing without having the moon's opinion on it. When I
went my second voyage afore the mast we was in port ten days at Cadiz,
and the ship she needed salting dreadful. The mate kept telling the
captain how low the salt was in her, and we was going a long voyage from
there, but no, he wouldn't have her salted nohow, because it was the
wane of the moon. He was an amazing set kind of man, the cap'n was, and
would have his own way on sea or shore. The mate was his own brother,
and they used to fight like a cat and dog; they owned most of the ship
between 'em. I was slushing the mizzen-mast, and heard 'em a disputin'
about the salt. The cap'n was a first-rate seaman and died rich, but he
was dreadful notional. I know one time we were a lyin' out in the stream
all ready to weigh anchor, and everything was in trim, the men were up
in the rigging and a fresh breeze going out, just what we'd been waiting
for, and the word was passed to take in sail and make everything fast.
The men swore, and everybody said the cap'n had had some kind of a
warning. But that night it began to blow, and I tell you afore morning
we were glad enough we were in harbor. The old Victor she dragged her
anchor, and the fore-to'gallant sail and r'yal got loose somehow and was
blown out of the bolt-ropes. Most of the canvas and rigging was old, but
we had first-rate weather after that, and didn't bend near all the new
sail we had aboard, though the cap'n was most afraid we'd come short
when we left Boston. That was 'most sixty year ago," said the captain,
reflectively. "How time does slip away! You young folks haven't any
idea. She was a first-rate ship, the old Victor was, though I suppose
she wouldn't cut much of a dash now 'longside of some of the new

"There used to be some strange-looking crafts in those days; there was
the old brig Hannah. They used to say she would sail backwards as fast
as forwards, and she was so square in the bows, they used to call her
the sugar-box. She was master old, the Hannah was, and there wasn't a
port from here to New Orleans where she wasn't known; she used to carry
a master cargo for her size, more than some ships that ranked two
hundred and fifty ton, and she was put down for two hundred. She used to
make good voyages, the Hannah did, and then there was the Pactolus; she
was just about such another,--you would have laughed to see her. She
sailed out of this port for a good many years. Cap'n Wall he told me
that if he had her before the wind with a cargo of cotton, she would
make a middling good run, but load her deep with salt, and you might as
well try to sail a stick of oak timber with a handkerchief. She was a
stout-built ship: I shouldn't wonder if her timbers were afloat
somewhere yet; she was sold to some parties out in San Francisco. There!
everything's changed from what it was when I used to follow the sea. I
wonder sometimes if the sailors have as queer works aboard ship as they
used. Bless ye! Deephaven used to be a different place to what it is
now; there was hardly a day in the year that you didn't hear the
shipwrights' hammers, and there was always something going on at the
wharves. You would see the folks from up country comin' in with their
loads of oak knees and plank, and logs o' rock-maple for keels when
there was snow on the ground in winter-time, and the big sticks of
timber-pine for masts would come crawling along the road with their
three and four yoke of oxen all frosted up, the sleds creaking and the
snow growling and the men flapping their arms to keep warm, and
hallooing as if there wan't nothin' else goin' on in the world except to
get them masts to the ship-yard. Bless ye! two o' them teams together
would stretch from here 'most up to the Widow Jim's place,--no such
timber-pines nowadays."

"I suppose the sailors are very jolly together sometimes," said Kate,
meditatively, with the least flicker of a smile at me. The captain did
not answer for a minute, as he was battling with an obstinate snarl in
his line; but when he had found the right loop he said, "I've had the
best times and the hardest times of my life at sea, that's certain! I
was just thinking it over when you spoke. I'll tell you some stories one
day or 'nother that'll please you. Land! you've no idea what tricks some
of those wild fellows will be up to. Now, saying they fetch home a cargo
of wines and they want a drink; they've got a trick so they can get it.
Saying it's champagne, they'll fetch up a basket, and how do you suppose
they'll get into it?"

Of course we didn't know.

"Well, every basket will be counted, and they're fastened up particular,
so they can tell in a minute if they've been tampered with; and neither
must you draw the corks if you could get the basket open. I suppose ye
may have seen champagne, how it's all wired and waxed. Now, they take a
clean tub, them fellows do, and just shake the basket and jounce it up
and down till they break the bottles and let the wine drain out; then
they take it down in the hold and put it back with the rest, and when
the cargo is delivered there's only one or two whole bottles in that
basket, and there's a dreadful fuss about its being stowed so foolish."
The captain told this with an air of great satisfaction, but we did not
show the least suspicion that he might have assisted at some such

"Then they have a way of breaking into a cask. It won't do to start the
bung, and it won't do to bore a hole where it can be seen, but they're
up to that: they slip back one of the end hoops and bore two holes
underneath it, one for the air to go in and one for the liquor to come
out, and after they get all out they want they put in some spigots and
cut them down close to the stave, knock back the hoop again, and there
ye are, all trig."

"I never should have thought of it," said Kate, admiringly.

"There isn't nothing," Cap'n Sands went on, "that'll hender some masters
from cheating the owners a little. Get them off in a foreign port, and
there's nobody to watch, and they most of them have a feeling that they
ain't getting full pay, and they'll charge things to the ship that she
never seen nor heard of. There were two shipmasters that sailed out of
Salem. I heard one of 'em tell the story. They had both come into port
from Liverpool nigh the same time, and one of 'em, he was dressed up in
a handsome suit of clothes, and the other looked kind of poverty-struck.
'Where did you get them clothes?' says he. 'Why, to Liverpool,' says the
other; 'you don't mean to say you come away without none, cheap as cloth
was there?' 'Why, yes,' says the other cap'n,--'I can't afford to wear
such clothes as those be, and I don't see how you can, either.' 'Charge
'em to the ship, bless ye; the owners expect it.'

"So the next v'y'ge the poor cap'n he had a nice rig for himself made to
the best tailor's in Bristol, and charged it, say ten pounds, in the
ship's account; and when he came home the ship's husband he was looking
over the papers, and 'What's this?' says he, 'how come the ship to run
up a tailor's bill?' 'Why, them's mine,' says the cap'n, very meaching.
'I understood that there wouldn't be no objection made.' 'Well, you made
a mistake,' says the other, laughing; 'guess I'd better scratch this
out.' And it wasn't long before the cap'n met the one who had put him up
to doing it, and he give him a blowing up for getting him into such a
fix. 'Land sakes alive!' says he, 'were you fool enough to set it down
in the account? Why, I put mine in, so many bolts of Russia duck.'"

Captain Sands seemed to enjoy this reminiscence, and to our
satisfaction, in a few minutes, after he had offered to take the oars,
he went on to tell us another story.

"Why, as for cheating, there's plenty of that all over the world. The
first v'y'ge I went into Havana as master of the Deerhound, she had
never been in the port before and had to be measured and recorded, and
then pay her tonnage duties every time she went into port there
afterward, according to what she was registered on the custom-house
books. The inspector he come aboard, and he went below and looked round,
and he measured her between decks; but he never offered to set down any
figgers, and when we came back into the cabin, says he, 'Yes--yes--good
ship! you put one bloon front of this eye, _so!_' says he, 'an' I not
see with him; and you put one more doubloon front of other eye, and how
you think I see at all what figger you write?' So I took his book and I
set down her measurements and made her out twenty ton short, and he took
his doubloons and shoved 'em into his pocket. There, it isn't what you
call straight dealing, but everybody done it that dared, and you'd eat
up all the profits of a v'y'ge and the owners would just as soon you'd
try a little up-country air, if you paid all those dues according to
law. Tonnage was dreadful high and wharfage too, in some ports, and
they'd get your last cent some way or 'nother if ye weren't sharp.

"Old Cap'n Carew, uncle to them ye see to meeting, did a smart thing in
the time of the embargo. Folks got tired of it, and it was dreadful hard
times; ships rotting at the wharves, and Deephaven never was quite the
same afterward, though the old place held out for a good while before
she let go as ye see her now. You'd 'a' had a hard grip on't when I was
a young man to make me believe it would ever be so dull here. Well,
Cap'n Carew he bought an old brig that was lying over by East Parish,
and he began fitting her up and loading her for the West Indies, and the
farmers they'd come in there by night from all round the country, to
sell salt-fish and lumber and potatoes, and glad enough they were, I
tell ye. The rigging was put in order, and it wasn't long before she was
ready to sail, and it was all kept mighty quiet. She lay up to an old
wharf in a cove where she wouldn't be much noticed, and they took care
not to paint her any or to attract any attention.

"One day Cap'n Carew was over in Riverport dining out with some
gentlemen, and the revenue officer sat next to him, and by and by says
he, 'Why won't ye take a ride with me this afternoon? I've had warning
that there's a brig loading for the West Indies over beyond Deephaven
somewheres, and I'm going over to seize her.' And he laughed to himself
as if he expected fun, and something in his pocket beside. Well, the
first minute that Cap'n Carew dared, after dinner, he slipped out, and
he hired the swiftest horse in Riverport and rode for dear life, and
told the folks who were in the secret, and some who weren't, what was
the matter, and every soul turned to and helped finish loading her and
getting the rigging ready and the water aboard; but just as they were
leaving the cove--the wind was blowing just right--along came the
revenue officer with two or three men, and they come off in a boat and
boarded her as important as could be.

"'Won't ye step into the cabin, gentlemen, and take a glass o' wine?'
says Cap'n Carew, very polite; and the wind came in fresher,--something
like a squall for a few minutes,--and the men had the sails spread
before you could say Jack Robi'son, and before those fellows knew what
they were about the old brig was a standing out to sea, and the folks on
the wharves cheered and yelled. The Cap'n gave the officers a good scare
and offered 'em a free passage to the West Indies, and finally they said
they wouldn't report at headquarters if he'd let 'em go ashore; so he
told the sailors to lower their boat about two miles off Deephaven, and
they pulled ashore meek enough. Cap'n Carew had a first-rate run, and
made a lot of money, so I have heard it said. Bless ye! every shipmaster
would have done just the same if he had dared, and everybody was glad
when they heard about it. Dreadful foolish piece of business that
embargo was!

"Now I declare," said Captain Sands, after he had finished this
narrative, "here I'm a telling stories and you're doin' all the work.
You'll pull a boat ahead of anybody, if you keep on. Tom Kew was
a-praisin' up both of you to me the other day: says he, 'They don't put
on no airs, but I tell ye they can pull a boat well, and swim like
fish,' says he. There now, if you'll give me the oars I'll put the dory
just where I want her, and you can be getting your lines ready. I know a
place here where it's always toler'ble fishing, and I guess we'll get

Kate and I cracked our clams on the gunwale of the boat, and cut them
into nice little bits for bait with a piece of the shell, and by the
time the captain had thrown out the killick we were ready to begin, and
found the fishing much more exciting than it had been at the wharf.

"I don't know as I ever see 'em bite faster," said the old sailor,
presently; "guess it's because they like the folks that's fishing. Well,
I'm pleased. I thought I'd let 'Bijah take some along to Denby in the
cart to-morrow if I got more than I could use at home. I didn't
calc'late on having such a lively crew aboard. I s'pose ye wouldn't care
about going out a little further by and by to see if we can't get two or
three haddock?" And we answered that we should like nothing better.

It was growing cloudy, and was much cooler,--the perfection of a day for
fishing,--and we sat there diligently pulling in cunners, and talking a
little once in a while. The tide was nearly out, and Black Rock looked
almost large enough to be called an island. The sea was smooth and the
low waves broke lazily among the seaweed-covered ledges, while our boat
swayed about on the water, lifting and falling gently as the waves went
in shore. We were not a very long way from the lighthouse, and once we
could see Mrs. Kew's big white apron as she stood in the doorway for a
few minutes. There was no noise except the plash of the low-tide waves
and the occasional flutter of a fish in the bottom of the dory. Kate and
I always killed our fish at once by a rap on the head, for it certainly
saved the poor creatures much discomfort, and ourselves as well, and it
made it easier to take them off the hook than if they were flopping
about and making us aware of our cruelty.

Suddenly the captain wound up his line and said he thought we'd better
be going in, and Kate and I looked at him with surprise. "It is only
half past ten," said I, looking at my watch. "Don't hurry in on our
account," added Kate, persuasively, for we were having a very good time.

"I guess we won't mind about the haddock. I've got a feelin' we'd better
go ashore." And he looked up into the sky and turned to see the west. "I
knew there was something the matter; there's going to be a shower." And
we looked behind us to see a bank of heavy clouds coming over fast. "I
wish we had two pair of oars," said Captain Sands. "I'm afraid we shall
get caught."

"You needn't mind us," said Kate. "We aren't in the least afraid of our
clothes, and we don't get cold when we're wet; we have made sure of

"Well, I'm glad to hear that," said the cap'n. "Women-folks are apt to
be dreadful scared of a wetting; but I'd just as lief not get wet
myself. I had a twinge of rheumatism yesterday. I guess we'll get
ashore fast enough. No. I feel well enough to-day, but you can row if
you want to, and I'll take the oars the last part of the way."

When we reached the moorings the clouds were black, and the thunder
rattled and boomed over the sea, while heavy spatters of rain were
already falling. We did not go to the wharves, but stopped down the
shore at the fish-houses, the nearer place of shelter. "You just select
some of those cunners," said the captain, who was beginning to be a
little out of breath, "and then you can run right up and get under
cover, and I'll put a bit of old sail over the rest of the fish to keep
the fresh water off." By the time the boat touched the shore and we had
pulled it up on the pebbles, the rain had begun in good earnest. Luckily
there was a barrow lying near, and we loaded that in a hurry, and just
then the captain caught sight of a well-known red shirt in an open door,
and shouted, "Halloa, Danny! lend us a hand with these fish, for we're
nigh on to being shipwrecked." And then we ran up to the fish-house and
waited awhile, though we stood in the doorway watching the lightning,
and there were so many leaks in the roof that we might almost as well
have been out of doors. It was one of Danny's quietest days, and he
silently beheaded hake, only winking at us once very gravely at
something our other companion said.

"There!" said Captain Sands, "folks may say what they have a mind to; I
didn't see that shower coming up, and I know as well as I want to that
my wife did, and impressed it on my mind. Our house sets high, and she
watches the sky and is al'ays a worrying when I go out fishing for fear
something's going to happen to me,' specially sence I've got to be along
in years."

This was just what Kate and I wished to hear, for we had been told that
Captain Sands had most decided opinions on dreams and other mysteries,
and could tell some stories which were considered incredible by even a
Deephaven audience, to whom the marvellous was of every-day occurrence.

"Then it has happened before?" asked Kate. "I wondered why you started
so suddenly to come in."

"Happened!" said the captain. "Bless ye, yes! I'll tell you my views
about these p'ints one o' those days. I've thought a good deal about
'em by spells. Not that I can explain 'em, nor anybody else, but it's no
use to laugh at 'em as some folks do. Cap'n Lant--you know Cap'n
Lant?--he and I have talked it over consider'ble, and he says to me,
'Everybody's got some story of the kind they will believe in spite of
everything, and yet they won't believe yourn.'"

The shower seemed to be over now, and we felt compelled to go home, as
the captain did not go on with his remarks. I hope he did not see
Danny's wink. Skipper Scudder, who was Danny's friend and partner, came
up just then and asked us if we knew what the sign was when the sun came
out through the rain. I said that I had always heard it would rain again
next day. "O no," said Skipper Scudder, "the Devil is whipping his

After dinner Kate and I went for a walk through some pine woods which
were beautiful after the rain; the mosses and lichens which had been
dried up were all freshened and blooming out in the dampness. The smell
of the wet pitch-pines was unusually sweet, and we wandered about for an
hour or two there, to find some ferns we wanted, and then walked over
toward East Parish, and home by the long beach late in the afternoon. We
came as far as the boat-landing, meaning to go home through the lane,
but to our delight we saw Captain Sands sitting alone on an old
overturned whaleboat, whittling busily at a piece of dried kelp. "Good
evenin'," said our friend, cheerfully. And we explained that we had
taken a long walk and thought we would rest awhile before we went home
to supper. Kate perched herself on the boat, and I sat down on a ship's
knee which lay on the pebbles.

"Didn't get any hurt from being out in the shower, I hope?"

"No, indeed," laughed Kate, "and we had such a good time. I hope you
won't mind taking us out again some time."

"Bless ye! no," said the captain. "My girl Lo'isa, she that's Mis
Winslow over to Riverport, used to go out with me a good deal, and it
seemed natural to have you aboard. I missed Lo'isa after she got
married, for she was al'ays ready to go anywhere 'long of father. She's
had slim health of late years. I tell 'em she's been too much shut up
out of the fresh air and sun. When she was young her mother never could
pr'vail on her to set in the house stiddy and sew, and she used to have
great misgivin's that Lo'isa never was going to be capable. How about
those fish you caught this morning? good, were they? Mis Sands had
dinner on the stocks when I got home, and she said she wouldn't fry any
'til supper-time; but I calc'lated to have 'em this noon. I like 'em
best right out o' the water. Little more and we should have got them
wet. That's one of my whims; I can't bear to let fish get rained on."

"O Captain Sands!" said I, there being a convenient pause, "you were
speaking of your wife just now; did you ask her if she saw the shower?"

"First thing she spoke of when I got into the house. 'There,' says she,
'I was afraid you wouldn't see the rain coming in time, and I had my
heart in my mouth when it began to thunder. I thought you'd get soaked
through, and be laid up for a fortnight,' says she. 'I guess a summer
shower won't hurt an old sailor like me,' says I." And the captain
reached for another piece of his kelp-stalk, and whittled away more
busily than ever. Kate took out her knife and also began to cut kelp,
and I threw pebbles in the hope of hitting a spider which sat
complacently on a stone not far away, and when he suddenly vanished
there was nothing for me to do but to whittle kelp also.

"Do you suppose," said Kate, "that Mrs. Sands really made you know about
that shower?"

The captain put on his most serious look, coughed slowly, and moved
himself a few inches nearer us, along the boat. I think he fully
understood the importance and solemnity of the subject. "It ain't for us
to say what we do know or don't, for there's nothing sartain, but I made
up my mind long ago that there's something about these p'ints that's
myster'ous. My wife and me will be sitting there to home and there won't
be no word between us for an hour, and then of a sudden we'll speak up
about the same thing. Now the way I view it, she either puts it into my
head or I into hers. I've spoke up lots of times about something, when I
didn't know what I was going to say when I began, and she'll say she was
just thinking of that. Like as not you have noticed it sometimes? There
was something my mind was dwellin' on yesterday, and she come right out
with it, and I'd a good deal rather she hadn't," said the captain,
ruefully. "I didn't want to rake it all over ag'in, I'm sure." And then
he recollected himself, and was silent, which his audience must confess
to have regretted for a moment.

"I used to think a good deal about such things when I was younger, and
I'm free to say I took more stock in dreams and such like than I do now.
I rec'lect old Parson Lorimer--this Parson Lorimer's father who was
settled here first--spoke to me once about it, and said it was a
tempting of Providence, and that we hadn't no right to pry into secrets.
I know I had a dream-book then that I picked up in a shop in Bristol
once when I was there on the Ranger, and all the young folks were beset
to get sight of it. I see what fools it made of folks, bothering their
heads about such things, and I pretty much let them go: all this stuff
about spirit-rappings is enough to make a man crazy. You don't get no
good by it. I come across a paper once with a lot of letters in it from
sperits, and I cast my eye over 'em, and I says to myself, 'Well, I
always was given to understand that when we come to a futur' state we
was goin' to have more wisdom than we can get afore'; but them letters
hadn't any more sense to 'em, nor so much, as a man could write here
without schooling, and I should think that if the letters be all
straight, if the folks who wrote 'em had any kind of ambition they'd
want to be movin' back here again. But as for one person's having
something to do with another any distance off, why, that's another
thing; there ain't any nonsense about that. I know it's true jest as
well as I want to," said the cap'n, warming up. "I'll tell ye how I was
led to make up my mind about it. One time I waked a man up out of a
sound sleep looking at him, and it set me to thinking. First, there
wasn't any noise, and then ag'in there wasn't any touch so he could feel
it, and I says to myself, 'Why couldn't I ha' done it the width of two
rooms as well as one, and why couldn't I ha' done it with my back
turned?' It couldn't have been the looking so much as the thinking. And
then I car'd it further, and I says, 'Why ain't a mile as good as a
yard? and it's the thinking that does it,' says I, 'and we've got some
faculty or other that we don't know much about. We've got some way of
sending our thought like a bullet goes out of a gun and it hits. We
don't know nothing except what we see. And some folks is scared, and
some more thinks it is all nonsense and laughs. But there's something we
haven't got the hang of.' It makes me think o' them little black
polliwogs that turns into frogs in the fresh-water puddles in the ma'sh.
There's a time before their tails drop off and their legs have sprouted
out, when they don't get any use o' their legs, and I dare say they're
in their way consider'ble; but after they get to be frogs they find out
what they're for without no kind of trouble. I guess we shall turn these
fac'lties to account some time or 'nother. Seems to me, though, that we
might depend on 'em now more than we do."

The captain was under full sail on what we had heard was his pet
subject, and it was a great satisfaction to listen to what he had to
say. It loses a great deal in being written, for the old sailor's voice
and gestures and thorough earnestness all carried no little persuasion.
And it was impossible not to be sure that he knew more than people
usually do about these mysteries in which he delighted.

"Now, how can you account for this?" said he. "I remember not more than
ten years ago my son's wife was stopping at our house, and she had left
her child at home while she come away for a rest. And after she had been
there two or three days, one morning she was sitting in the kitchen
'long o' the folks, and all of a sudden she jumped out of her chair and
ran into the bedroom, and next minute she come out laughing, and looking
kind of scared. 'I could ha' taken my oath,' says she,'that I heard Katy
cryin' out mother,' says she, 'just as if she was hurt. I heard it so
plain that before I stopped to think it seemed as if she were right in
the next room. I'm afeard something has happened.' But the folks
laughed, and said she must ha' heard one of the lambs. 'No, it wasn't,'
says she, 'it was Katy.' And sure enough, just after dinner a young man
who lived neighbor to her come riding into the yard post-haste to get
her to go home, for the baby had pulled some hot water over on to
herself and was nigh scalded to death and cryin' for her mother every
minute. Now, who's going to explain that? It wasn't any common hearing
that heard that child's cryin' fifteen miles. And I can tell you another
thing that happened among my own folks. There was an own cousin of mine
married to a man by the name of John Hathorn. He was trading up to
Parsonsfield, and business run down, so he wound up there, and thought
he'd make a new start. He moved down to Denby, and while he was getting
under way, he left his family up to the old place, and at the time I
speak of, was going to move 'em down in about a fortnight.

"One morning his wife was fidgeting round, and finally she came down
stairs with her bonnet and shawl on, and said somebody must put the
horse right into the wagon and take her down to Denby. 'Why, what for,
mother?' they says. 'Don't stop to talk,' says she; 'your father is
sick, and wants me. It's been a worrying me since before day, and I
can't stand it no longer.' And the short of the story is that she kept
hurrying 'em faster and faster, and then she got hold of the reins
herself, and when they got within five miles of the place the horse fell
dead, and she was nigh about crazy, and they took another horse at a
farm-house on the road. It was the spring of the year, and the going was
dreadful, and when they got to the house John Hathorn had just died, and
he had been calling for his wife up to 'most the last breath he drew. He
had been taken sick sudden the day before, but the folks knew it was bad
travelling, and that she was a feeble woman to come near thirty miles,
and they had no idee he was so bad off. I'm telling you the living
truth," said Captain Sands, with an emphatic shake of his head. "There's
more folks than me can tell about it, and if you were goin' to keel-haul
me next minute, and hang me to the yard-arm afterward, I couldn't say it
different. I was up to Parsonsfield to the funeral; it was just after I
quit following the sea. I never saw a woman so broke down as she was.
John was a nice man; stiddy and pleasant-spoken and straightforrard and
kind to his folks. He belonged to the Odd Fellows, and they all marched
to the funeral. There was a good deal of respect shown him, I tell ye.

"There is another story I'd like to have ye hear, if it's so that you
ain't beat out hearing me talk. When I get going I slip along as easy as
a schooner wing-and-wing afore the wind.

"This happened to my own father, but I never heard him say much about
it; never could get him to talk it over to any length, best I could do.
But gran'ther, his father, told me about it nigh upon fifty times,
first and last, and always the same way. Gran'ther lived to be old, and
there was ten or a dozen years after his wife died that he lived year
and year about with Uncle Tobias's folks and our folks. Uncle Tobias
lived over on the Ridge. I got home from my first v'y'ge as mate of the
Daylight just in time for his funeral. I was disapp'inted to find the
old man was gone. I'd fetched him some first-rate tobacco, for he was a
great hand to smoke, and I was calc'latin' on his being pleased: old
folks like to be thought of, and then he set more by me than by the
other boys. I know I used to be sorry for him when I was a little
fellow. My father's second wife she was a well-meaning woman, but an
awful driver with her work, and she was always making of him feel he
wasn't no use. I do' know as she meant to, either. He never said
nothing, and he was always just so pleasant, and he was fond of his
book, and used to set round reading, and tried to keep himself out of
the way just as much as he could. There was one winter when I was small
that I had the scarlet-fever, and was very slim for a long time
afterward, and I used to keep along o' gran'ther, and he would tell me
stories. He'd been a sailor,--it runs in our blood to foller the
sea,--and he'd been wrecked two or three times and been taken by the
Algerine pirates. You remind me to tell you some time about that; and I
wonder if you ever heard about old Citizen Leigh, that used to be about
here when I was a boy. He was taken by the Algerines once, same's
gran'ther, and they was dreadful f'erce just then, and they sent him
home to get the ransom money for the crew; but it was a monstrous price
they asked, and the owners wouldn't give it to him, and they s'posed
likely the men was dead by that time, any way. Old Citizen Leigh he went
crazy, and used to go about the streets with a bundle of papers in his
hands year in and year out. I've seen him a good many times. Gran'ther
used to tell me how he escaped. I'll remember it for ye some day if
you'll put me in mind.

"I got to be mate when I was twenty, and I was as strong a fellow as you
could scare up, and darin'!--why, it makes my blood run cold when I
think of the reckless things I used to do. I was off at sea after I was
fifteen year old, and there wasn't anybody so glad to see me as
gran'ther when I came home. I expect he used to be lonesome after I
went off, but then his mind failed him quite a while before he died.
Father was clever to him, and he'd get him anything he spoke about; but
he wasn't a man to set round and talk, and he never took notice himself
when gran'ther was out of tobacco, so sometimes it would be a day or
two. I know better how he used to feel now that I'm getting to be along
in years myself, and likely to be some care to the folks before long. I
never could bear to see old folks neglected; nice old men and women who
have worked hard in their day and been useful and willin'. I've seen 'em
many a time when they couldn't help knowing that the folks would a
little rather they'd be in heaven, and a good respectable headstone put
up for 'em in the burying-ground.

"Well, now, I'm sure I've forgot what I was going to tell you. O, yes;
about grandmother dreaming about father when he come home from sea.
Well, to go back to the first of it, gran'ther never was rugged; he had
ship-fever when he was a young man, and though he lived to be so old, he
never could work hard and never got forehanded; and Aunt Hannah Starbird
over at East Parish took my sister to fetch up, because she was named
for her, and Melinda and Tobias stayed at home with the old folks, and
my father went to live with an uncle over in Riverport, whom he was
named for. He was in the West India trade and was well-off, and he had
no children, so they expected he would do well by father. He was
dreadful high-tempered. I've heard say he had the worst temper that was
ever raised in Deephaven.

"One day he set father to putting some cherries into a bar'l of rum, and
went off down to his wharf to see to the loading of a vessel, and afore
he come back father found he'd got hold of the wrong bar'l, and had
sp'ilt a bar'l of the best Holland gin; he tried to get the cherries
out, but that wasn't any use, and he was dreadful afraid of Uncle
Matthew, and he run away, and never was heard of from that time out.
They supposed he'd run away to sea, as he had a leaning that way, but
nobody ever knew for certain; and his mother she 'most mourned herself
to death. Gran'ther told me that it got so at last that if they could
only know for sure that he was dead it was all they would ask. But it
went on four years, and gran'ther got used to it some; though
grandmother never would give up. And one morning early, before day, she
waked him up, and says she, 'We're going to hear from Matthew. Get up
quick and go down to the store!' 'Nonsense,' says he. 'I've seen him,'
says grandmother, 'and he's coming home. He looks older, but just the
same other ways, and he's got long hair, like a horse's mane, all down
over his shoulders.' 'Well, let the dead rest,' says gran'ther; 'you've
thought about the boy till your head is turned.' 'I tell you I saw
Matthew himself,' says she, 'and I want you to go right down to see if
there isn't a letter.' And she kept at him till he saddled the horse,
and he got down to the store before it was opened in the morning, and he
had to wait round, and when the man came over to unlock it he was 'most
ashamed to tell what his errand was, for he had been so many times, and
everybody supposed the boy was dead. When he asked for a letter, the man
said there was none there, and asked if he was expecting any particular
one. He didn't get many letters, I s'pose; all his folks lived about
here, and people didn't write any to speak of in those days. Gran'ther
said he thought he wouldn't make such a fool of himself again, but he
didn't say anything, and he waited round awhile, talking to one and
another who came up, and by and by says the store-keeper, who was
reading a newspaper that had just come, 'Here's some news for you,
Sands, I do believe! There are three vessels come into Boston harbor
that have been out whaling and sealing in the South Seas for three or
four years, and your son Matthew's name is down on the list of the
crew.' 'I tell ye,' says gran'ther, 'I took that paper, and I got on my
horse and put for home, and your grandmother she hailed me, and she
said, "You've heard, haven't you?" before I told her a word.'

"Gran'ther he got his breakfast and started right off for Boston, and
got there early the second day, and went right down on the wharves.
Somebody lent him a boat, and he went out to where there were two
sealers laying off riding at anchor, and he asked a sailor if Matthew
was aboard. 'Ay, ay,' says the sailor, 'he's down below.' And he sung
out for him, and when he come up out of the hold his hair was long, down
over his shoulders like a horse's mane, just as his mother saw it in the
dream. Gran'ther he didn't know what to say,--it scared him,--and he
asked how it happened; and father told how they'd been off sealing in
the South Seas, and he and another man had lived alone on an island for
months, and the whole crew had grown wild in their ways of living, being
off so long, and for one thing had gone without caps and let their hair
grow. The rest of the men had been ashore and got fixed up smart, but he
had been busy, and had put it off till that morning; he was just going
ashore then. Father was all struck up when he heard about the dream, and
said his mind had been dwellin' on his mother and going home, and he
come down to let her see him just as he was and she said it was the same
way he looked in the dream. He never would have his hair cut--father
wouldn't--and wore it in a queue. I remember seeing him with it when I
was a boy; but his second wife didn't like the looks of it, and she come
up behind him one day and cut it off with the scissors. He was terrible
worked up about it. I never see father so mad as he was that day. Now
this is just as true as the Bible," said Captain Sands. "I haven't put a
word to it, and gran'ther al'ays told a story just as it was. That woman
saw her son; but if you ask me what kind of eyesight it was, I can't
tell you, nor nobody else."

Later that evening Kate and I drifted into a long talk about the
captain's stories and these mysterious powers of which we know so
little. It was somewhat chilly in the house, and we had kindled a fire
in the fireplace, which at first made a blaze which lighted the old room
royally, and then quieted down into red coals and lazy puffs of smoke.
We had carried the lights away, and sat with our feet on the fender, and
Kate's great dog was lying between us on the rug. I remember that
evening so well; we could see the stars through the window plainer and
plainer as the fire went down, and we could hear the noise of the sea.

"Do you remember in the old myth of Demeter and Persephone," Kate asked
me, "where Demeter takes care of the child and gives it ambrosia and
hides it in fire, because she loves it and wishes to make it immortal,
and to give it eternal youth; and then the mother finds it out and cries
in terror to hinder her, and the goddess angrily throws the child down
and rushes away? And he had to share the common destiny of mankind,
though he always had some wonderful inscrutable grace and wisdom,
because a goddess had loved him and held him in her arms. I always
thought that part of the story beautiful where Demeter throws off her
disguise and is no longer an old woman, and the great house is filled
with brightness like lightning, and she rushes out through the halls
with her yellow hair waving over her shoulders, and the people would
give anything to bring her back again, and to undo their mistake. I knew
it almost all by heart once," said Kate, "and I am always finding a new
meaning in it. I was just thinking that it may be that we all have given
to us more or less of another nature, as the child had whom Demeter
wished to make like the gods. I believe old Captain Sands is right, and
we have these instincts which defy all our wisdom and for which we never
can frame any laws. We may laugh at them, but we are always meeting
them, and one cannot help knowing that it has been the same through all
history. They are powers which are imperfectly developed in this life,
but one cannot help the thought that the mystery of this world may be
the commonplace of the next."

"I wonder," said I, "why it is that one hears so much more of such
things from simple country people. They believe in dreams, and they have
a kind of fetichism, and believe so heartily in supernatural causes. I
suppose nothing could shake Mrs. Patton's faith in warnings. There is no
end of absurdity in it, and yet there is one side of such lives for
which one cannot help having reverence; they live so much nearer to
nature than people who are in cities, and there is a soberness about
country people oftentimes that one cannot help noticing. I wonder if
they are unconsciously awed by the strength and purpose in the world
about them, and the mysterious creative power which is at work with them
on their familiar farms. In their simple life they take their instincts
for truths, and perhaps they are not always so far wrong as we imagine.
Because they are so instinctive and unreasoning they may have a more
complete sympathy with Nature, and may hear her voices when wiser ears
are deaf. They have much in common, after all, with the plants which
grow up out of the ground and the wild creatures which depend upon
their instincts wholly."

"I think," said Kate, "that the more one lives out of doors the more
personality there seems to be in what we call inanimate things. The
strength of the hills and the voice of the waves are no longer only
grand poetical sentences, but an expression of something real, and more
and more one finds God himself in the world, and believes that we may
read the thoughts that He writes for us in the book of Nature." And
after this we were silent for a while, and in the mean time it grew very
late, and we watched the fire until there were only a few sparks left in
the ashes. The stars faded away and the moon came up out of the sea, and
we barred the great hall door and went up stairs to bed. The lighthouse
lamp burned steadily, and it was the only light that had not been blown
out in all Deephaven.

_Mrs. Bonny_

I am sure that Kate Lancaster and I must have spent by far the greater
part of the summer out of doors. We often made long expeditions out into
the suburbs of Deephaven, sometimes being gone all day, and sometimes
taking a long afternoon stroll and coming home early in the evening
hungry as hunters and laden with treasure, whether we had been through
the pine woods inland or alongshore, whether we had met old friends or
made some desirable new acquaintances. We had a fashion of calling at
the farm-houses, and by the end of the season we knew as many people as
if we had lived in Deephaven all our days. We used to ask for a drink of
water; this was our unfailing introduction, and afterward there were
many interesting subjects which one could introduce, and we could always
give the latest news at the shore. It was amusing to see the curiosity
which we aroused. Many of the people came into Deephaven only on special
occasions, and I must confess that at first we were often naughty enough
to wait until we had been severely cross-questioned before we gave a
definite account of ourselves. Kate was very clever at making
unsatisfactory answers when she cared to do so. We did not understand,
for some time, with what a keen sense of enjoyment many of those people
made the acquaintance of an entirely new person who cordially gave the
full particulars about herself; but we soon learned to call this by
another name than impertinence.

I think there were no points of interest in that region which we did not
visit with conscientious faithfulness. There were cliffs and
pebble-beaches, the long sands and the short sands; there were Black
Rock and Roaring Rock, High Point and East Point, and Spouting Rock; we
went to see where a ship had been driven ashore in the night, all hands
being lost and not a piece of her left larger than an axe-handle; we
visited the spot where a ship had come ashore in the fog, and had been
left high and dry on the edge of the marsh when the tide went out; we
saw where the brig Methuselah had been wrecked, and the shore had been
golden with her cargo of lemons and oranges, which one might carry away
by the wherryful.

Inland there were not many noted localities, but we used to enjoy the
woods, and our explorations among the farms, immensely. To the westward
the land was better and the people well-to-do; but we went oftenest
toward the hills and among the poorer people. The land was uneven and
full of ledges, and the people worked hard for their living, at most
laying aside only a few dollars each year. Some of the more enterprising
young people went away to work in shops and factories; but the custom
was by no means universal, and the people had a hungry, discouraged
look. It is all very well to say that they knew nothing better, that it
was the only life of which they knew anything; there was too often a
look of disappointment in their faces, and sooner or later we heard or
guessed many stories: that this young man had wished for an education,
but there had been no money to spare for books or schooling; and that
one had meant to learn a trade, but there must be some one to help his
father with the farm-work, and there was no money to hire a man to work
in his place if he went away. The older people had a hard look, as if
they had always to be on the alert and must fight for their place in the
world. One could only forgive and pity their petty sharpness, which
showed itself in trifling bargains, when one understood how much a
single dollar seemed where dollars came so rarely. We used to pity the
young girls so much. It was plain that those who knew how much easier
and pleasanter our lives were could not help envying us.

There was a high hill half a dozen miles from Deephaven which was known
in its region as "the mountain." It was the highest land anywhere near
us, and having been told that there was a fine view from the top, one
day we went there, with Tommy Dockum for escort. We overtook Mr.
Lorimer, the minister, on his way to make parochial calls upon some
members of his parish who lived far from church, and to our delight he
proposed to go with us instead. It was a great satisfaction to have him
for a guide, for he knew both the country and the people more intimately
than any one else. It was a long climb to the top of the hill, but not a
hard one. The sky was clear, and there was a fresh wind, though we had
left none at all at the sea-level. After lunch, Kate and I spread our
shawls over a fine cushion of mountain-cranberry, and had a long talk
with Mr. Lorimer about ancient and modern Deephaven. He always seemed as
much pleased with our enthusiasm for the town as if it had been a
personal favor and compliment to himself. I remember how far we could
see, that day, and how we looked toward the far-away blue mountains, and
then out over the ocean. Deephaven looked insignificant from that height
and distance, and indeed the country seemed to be mostly covered with
the pointed tops of pines and spruces, and there were long tracts of
maple and beech woods with their coloring of lighter, fresher green.

"Suppose we go down, now," said Mr. Lorimer, long before Kate and I had
meant to propose such a thing; and our feeling was that of dismay. "I
should like to take you to make a call with me. Did you ever hear of old
Mrs. Bonny?"

"No," said we, and cheerfully gathered our wraps and baskets; and when
Tommy finally came panting up the hill after we had begun to think that
our shoutings and whistling were useless, we sent him down to the
horses, and went down ourselves by another path. It led us a long
distance through a grove of young beeches; the last year's whitish
leaves lay thick on the ground, and the new leaves made so close a roof
overhead that the light was strangely purple, as if it had come through
a great church window of stained glass. After this we went through some
hemlock growth, where, on the lower branches, the pale green of the new
shoots and the dark green of the old made an exquisite contrast each to
the other. Finally we came out at Mrs. Bonny's. Mr. Lorimer had told us
something about her on the way down, saying in the first place that she
was one of the queerest characters he knew. Her husband used to be a
charcoal-burner and basket-maker, and she used to sell butter and
berries and eggs, and choke-pears preserved in molasses. She always came
down to Deephaven on a little black horse, with her goods in baskets and
bags which were fastened to the saddle in a mysterious way. She had the
reputation of not being a neat housekeeper, and none of the wise women
of the town would touch her butter especially, so it was always a joke
when she coaxed a new resident or a strange shipmaster into buying her
wares; but the old woman always managed to jog home without the freight
she had brought. "She must be very old, now," said Mr. Lorimer; "I have
not seen her in a long time. It cannot be possible that her horse is
still alive!" And we all laughed when we saw Mrs. Bonny's steed at a
little distance, for the shaggy old creature was covered with mud,
pine-needles, and dead leaves, with half the last year's burdock-burs in
all Deephaven snarled into his mane and tail and sprinkled over his fur,
which looked nearly as long as a buffalo's. He had hurt his leg, and his
kind mistress had tied it up with a piece of faded red calico and an end
of ragged rope. He gave us a civil neigh, and looked at us curiously.
Then an impertinent little yellow-and-white dog, with one ear standing
up straight and the other drooping over, began to bark with all his
might; but he retreated when he saw Kate's great dog, who was walking
solemnly by her side and did not deign to notice him. Just now Mrs.
Bonny appeared at the door of the house, shading her eyes with her hand,
to see who was coming. "Landy!" said she, "if it ain't old Parson
Lorimer! And who be these with ye?"

"This is Miss Kate Lancaster of Boston, Miss Katharine Brandon's niece,
and her friend Miss Denis."

"Pleased to see ye," said the old woman; "walk in and lay off your
things." And we followed her into the house. I wish you could have seen
her: she wore a man's coat, cut off so that it made an odd short jacket,
and a pair of men's boots much the worse for wear; also, some short
skirts, beside two or three aprons, the inner one being a dress-apron,
as she took off the outer ones and threw them into a corner; and on her
head was a tight cap, with strings to tie under her chin. I thought it
was a nightcap, and that she had forgotten to take it off, and dreaded
her mortification if she should suddenly become conscious of it; but I
need not have troubled myself, for while we were with her she pulled it
on and tied it tighter, as if she considered it ornamental.

There were only two rooms in the house; we went into the kitchen, which
was occupied by a flock of hens and one turkey. The latter was evidently
undergoing a course of medical treatment behind the stove, and was
allowed to stay with us, while the hens were remorselessly hustled out
with a hemlock broom. They all congregated on the doorstep, apparently
wishing to hear everything that was said.

"Ben up on the mountain?" asked our hostess. "Real sightly place. Goin'
to be a master lot o' rosbries; get any down to the shore sence I quit

"O yes," said Mr. Lorimer, "but we miss seeing you."

"I s'pose so," said Mrs. Bonny, smoothing her apron complacently; "but
I'm getting old, and I tell 'em I'm goin' to take my comfort; sence 'he'
died, I don't put myself out no great; I've got money enough to keep me
long's I live. Beckett's folks goes down often, and I sends by them for
what store stuff I want."

"How are you now?" asked the minister; "I think I heard you were ill in
the spring."

"Stirrin', I'm obliged to ye. I wasn't laid up long, and I was so's I
could get about most of the time. I've got the best bitters ye ever see,
good for the spring of the year. S'pose yer sister, Miss Lorimer,
wouldn't like some? she used to be weakly lookin'." But her brother
refused the offer, saying that she had not been so well for many years.

"Do you often get out to church nowadays, Mrs. Bonny? I believe Mr. Reid
preaches in the school-house sometimes, down by the great ledge; doesn't

"Well, yes, he does; but I don't know as I get much of any good. Parson
Reid, he's a worthy creatur', but he never seems to have nothin' to say
about foreordination and them p'ints. Old Parson Padelford was the man!
I used to set under his preachin' a good deal; I had an aunt living down
to East Parish. He'd get worked up, and he'd shut up the Bible and
preach the hair off your head, 'long at the end of the sermon. Couldn't
understand more nor a quarter part what he said," said Mrs. Bonny,
admiringly. "Well, we were a-speaking about the meeting over to the
ledge; I don't know's I like them people any to speak of. They had a
great revival over there in the fall, and one Sunday I thought's how I'd
go; and when I got there, who should be a-prayin' but old Ben Patey,--he
always lays out to get converted,--and he kep' it up diligent till I
couldn't stand it no longer; and by and by says he, 'I've been a
wanderer'; and I up and says, 'Yes, you have, I'll back ye up on that,
Ben; ye've wandered around my wood-lot and spoilt half the likely young
oaks and ashes I've got, a-stealing your basket-stuff.' And the folks
laughed out loud, and up he got and cleared. He's an awful old thief,
and he's no idea of being anything else. I wa'n't a-goin' to set there
and hear him makin' b'lieve to the Lord. If anybody's heart is in it, I
ain't a-goin' to hender 'em; I'm a professor, and I ain't ashamed of it,
week-days nor Sundays neither. I can't bear to see folks so pious to
meeting, and cheat yer eye-teeth out Monday morning. Well, there! we
ain't none of us perfect; even old Parson Moody was round-shouldered,
they say."

"You were speaking of the Becketts just now," said Mr. Lorimer (after we
had stopped laughing, and Mrs. Bonny had settled her big steel-bowed
spectacles, and sat looking at him with an expression of extreme wisdom.
One might have ventured to call her "peart," I think). "How do they get
on? I am seldom in this region nowadays, since Mr. Reid has taken it
under his charge."

"They get along, somehow or 'nother," replied Mrs. Bonny; "they've got
the best farm this side of the ledge, but they're dreadful lazy and
shiftless, them young folks. Old Mis' Hate-evil Beckett was tellin' me
the other day--she that was Samanthy Barnes, you know--that one of the
boys got fighting, the other side of the mountain, and come home with
his nose broke and a piece o' one ear bit off. I forget which ear it
was. Their mother is a real clever, willin' woman, and she takes it to
heart, but it's no use for her to say anything. Mis' Hate-evil Beckett,
says she, 'It does make my man feel dreadful to see his brother's folks
carry on so.' 'But there,' says I, 'Mis' Beckett, it's just such things
as we read of; Scriptur' is fulfilled: In the larter days there shall be
disobedient children.'"

This application of the text was too much for us, but Mrs. Bonny looked
serious, and we did not like to laugh. Two or three of the exiled fowls
had crept slyly in, dodging underneath our chairs, and had perched
themselves behind the stove. They were long-legged, half-grown
creatures, and just at this minute one rash young rooster made a manful
attempt to crow. "Do tell!" said his mistress, who rose in great wrath,
"you needn't be so forth-putting, as I knows on!" After this we were
urged to stay and have some supper. Mrs. Bonny assured us she could pick
a likely young hen in no time, fry her with a bit of pork, and get us up
"a good meat tea"; but we had to disappoint her, as we had some distance
to walk to the house where we had left our horses, and a long drive

Kate asked if she would be kind enough to lend us a tumbler (for ours
was in the basket, which was given into Tommy's charge). We were
thirsty, and would like to go back to the spring and get some water.

"Yes, dear," said Mrs. Bonny, "I've got a glass, if it's so's I can find
it." And she pulled a chair under the little cupboard over the
fireplace, mounted it, and opened the door. Several things fell out at
her, and after taking a careful survey she went in, head and shoulders,
until I thought that she would disappear altogether; but soon she came
back, and reaching in took out one treasure after another, putting them
on the mantel-piece or dropping them on the floor. There were some
bunches of dried herbs, a tin horn, a lump of tallow in a broken plate,
a newspaper, and an old boot, with a number of turkey-wings tied
together, several bottles, and a steel trap, and finally, such a
tumbler! which she produced with triumph, before stepping down. She
poured out of it on the table a mixture of old buttons and squash-seeds,
beside a lump of beeswax which she said she had lost, and now pocketed
with satisfaction. She wiped the tumbler on her apron and handed it to
Kate, but we were not so thirsty as we had been, though we thanked her
and went down to the spring, coming back as soon as possible, for we
could not lose a bit of the conversation.

There was a beautiful view from the doorstep, and we stopped a minute
there. "Real sightly, ain't it?" said Mrs. Bonny. "But you ought to be
here and look across the woods some morning just at sun-up. Why, the sky
is all yaller and red, and them low lands topped with fog! Yes, it's
nice weather, good growin' weather, this week. Corn and all the rest of
the trade looks first-rate. I call it a forrard season. It's just such
weather as we read of, ain't it?"

"I don't remember where, just at this moment," said Mr. Lorimer.

"Why, in the almanac, bless ye!" said she, with a tone of pity in her
grum voice; could it be possible he didn't know,--the Deephaven

We asked her to come and see us. She said she had always thought she'd
get a chance some time to see Miss Katharine Brandon's house. She should
be pleased to call, and she didn't know but she should be down to the
shore before very long. She was 'shamed to look so shif'less that day,
but she had some good clothes in a chist in the bedroom, and a boughten
bonnet with a good cypress veil, which she had when "he" died. She
calculated they would do, though they might be old-fashioned, some. She
seemed greatly pleased at Mr. Lorimer's having taken the trouble to come
to see her. All those people had a great reverence for "the minister."
We were urged to come again in "rosbry" time, which was near at hand,
and she gave us messages for some of her old customers and
acquaintances. "I believe some of those old creatur's will never die,"
said she; "why, they're getting to be ter'ble old, ain't they, Mr.
Lorimer? There! ye've done me a sight of good, and I wish I could ha'
found the Bible, to hear ye read a Psalm." When Mr. Lorimer shook hands
with her, at leaving, she made him a most reverential courtesy. He was
the greatest man she knew; and once during the call, when he was
speaking of serious things in his simple, earnest way, she had so devout
a look, and seemed so interested, that Kate and I, and Mr. Lorimer
himself, caught a new, fresh meaning in the familiar words he spoke.

Living there in the lonely clearing, deep in the woods and far from any
neighbor, she knew all the herbs and trees and the harmless wild
creatures who lived among them, by heart; and she had an amazing store
of tradition and superstition, which made her so entertaining to us that
we went to see her many times before we came away in the autumn. We went
with her to find some pitcher-plants, one day, and it was wonderful how
much she knew about the woods, what keen observation she had. There was
something so wild and unconventional about Mrs. Bonny that it was like
taking an afternoon walk with a good-natured Indian. We used to carry
her offerings of tobacco, for she was a great smoker, and advised us to
try it, if ever we should be troubled with nerves, or "narves," as she
pronounced the name of that affliction.

_In Shadow_

Soon after we went to Deephaven we took a long drive one day with Mr.
Dockum, the kindest and silentest of men. He had the care of the Brandon
property, and had some business at that time connected with a large
tract of pasture-land perhaps ten miles from town. We had heard of the
coast-road which led to it, how rocky and how rough and wild it was, and
when Kate heard by chance that Mr. Dockum meant to go that way, she
asked if we might go with him. He said he would much rather take us than
"go sole alone," but he should be away until late and we must take our
dinner, which we did not mind doing at all.

After we were three or four miles from Deephaven the country looked very
different. The shore was so rocky that there were almost no places where
a boat could put in, so there were no fishermen in the region, and the
farms were scattered wide apart; the land was so poor that even the
trees looked hungry. At the end of our drive we left the horse at a
lonely little farm-house close by the sea. Mr. Dockum was to walk a long
way inland through the woods with a man whom he had come to meet, and he
told us if we followed the shore westward a mile or two we should find
some very high rocks, for which he knew we had a great liking. It was a
delightful day to spend out of doors; there was an occasional whiff of
east-wind. Seeing us seemed to be a perfect godsend to the people whose
nearest neighbors lived far out of sight. We had a long talk with them
before we went for our walk. The house was close by the water by a
narrow cove, around which the rocks were low, but farther down the shore
the land rose more and more, and at last we stood at the edge of the
highest rocks of all and looked far down at the sea, dashing its white
spray high over the ledges that quiet day. What could it be in winter
when there was a storm and the great waves came thundering in?

After we had explored the shore to our hearts' content and were tired,
we rested for a while in the shadow of some gnarled pitch-pines which
stood close together, as near the sea as they dared. They looked like a
band of outlaws; they were such wild-looking trees. They seemed very
old, and as if their savage fights with the winter winds had made them
hard-hearted. And yet the little wild-flowers and the thin green
grass-blades were growing fearlessly close around their feet; and there
were some comfortable birds'-nests in safe corners of their rough

When we went back to the house at the cove we had to wait some time for
Mr. Dockum. We succeeded in making friends with the children, and gave
them some candy and the rest of our lunch, which luckily had been even
more abundant than usual. They looked thin and pitiful, but even in that
lonely place, where they so seldom saw a stranger or even a neighbor,
they showed that there was an evident effort to make them look like
other children, and they were neatly dressed, though there could be no
mistake about their being very poor. One forlorn little soul, with
honest gray eyes and a sweet, shy smile, showed us a string of beads
which she wore round her neck; there were perhaps two dozen of them,
blue and white, on a bit of twine, and they were the dearest things in
all her world. When we came away we were so glad that we could give the
man more than he asked us for taking care of the horse, and his thanks
touched us.

"I hope ye may never know what it is to earn every dollar as hard as I
have. I never earned any money as easy as this before. I don't feel as
if I ought to take it. I've done the best I could," said the man, with
the tears coming into his eyes, and a huskiness in his voice. "I've done
the best I could, and I'm willin' and my woman is, but everything seems
to have been ag'in' us; we never seem to get forehanded. It looks
sometimes as if the Lord had forgot us, but my woman she never wants me
to say that; she says He ain't, and that we might be worse off,--but I
don' know. I haven't had my health; that's hendered me most. I'm a
boat-builder by trade, but the business's all run down; folks buys 'em
second-hand nowadays, and you can't make nothing. I can't stand it to
foller deep-sea fishing, and--well, you see what my land's wuth. But my
oldest boy, he's getting ahead. He pushed off this spring, and he works
in a box-shop to Boston; a cousin o' his mother's got him the chance. He
sent me ten dollars a spell ago and his mother a shawl. I don't see how
he done it, but he's smart!"

This seemed to be the only bright spot in their lives, and we admired
the shawl and sat down in the house awhile with the mother, who seemed
kind and patient and tired, and to have great delight in talking about
what one should wear. Kate and I thought and spoke often of these people
afterward, and when one day we met the man in Deephaven we sent some
things to the children and his wife, and begged him to come to the house
whenever he came to town; but we never saw him again, and though we made
many plans for going again to the cove, we never did. At one time the
road was reported impassable, and we put off our second excursion for
this reason and others until just before we left Deephaven, late in

We knew the coast-road would be bad after the fall rains, and we found
that Leander, the eldest of the Dockum boys, had some errand that way,
so he went with us. We enjoyed the drive that morning in spite of the
rough road. The air was warm, and sweet with the smell of
bayberry-bushes and pitch-pines and the delicious saltness of the sea,
which was not far from us all the way. It was a perfect autumn day.
Sometimes we crossed pebble beaches, and then went farther inland,
through woods and up and down steep little hills; over shaky bridges
which crossed narrow salt creeks in the marsh-lands. There was a little
excitement about the drive, and an exhilaration in the air, and we
laughed at jokes forgotten the next minute, and sang, and were jolly
enough. Leander, who had never happened to see us in exactly this
hilarious state of mind before, seemed surprised and interested, and
became unusually talkative, telling us a great many edifying particulars
about the people whose houses we passed, and who owned every wood-lot
along the road. "Do you see that house over on the pi'nt?" he asked. "An
old fellow lives there that's part lost his mind. He had a son who was
drowned off Cod Rock fishing, much as twenty-five years ago, and he's
worn a deep path out to the end of the pi'nt where he goes out every
hand's turn o' the day to see if he can't see the boat coming in." And
Leander looked round to see if we were not amused, and seemed puzzled
because we didn't laugh. Happily, his next story was funny.

We saw a sleepy little owl on the dead branch of a pine-tree; we saw a
rabbit cross the road and disappear in a clump of juniper, and squirrels
run up and down trees and along the stone-walls with acorns in their
mouths. We passed straggling thickets of the upland sumach, leafless,
and holding high their ungainly spikes of red berries; there were sturdy
barberry-bushes along the lonely wayside, their unpicked fruit hanging
in brilliant clusters. The blueberry-bushes made patches of dull red
along the hillsides. The ferns were whitish-gray and brown at the edges
of the woods, and the asters and golden-rods which had lately looked so
gay in the open fields stood now in faded, frost-bitten companies. There
were busy flocks of birds flitting from field to field, ready to start
on their journey southward.

When we reached the house, to our surprise there was no one in sight and
the place looked deserted. We left the wagon, and while Leander went
toward the barn, which stood at a little distance, Kate and I went to
the house and knocked. I opened the door a little way and said "Hallo!"
but nobody answered. The people could not have moved away, for there
were some chairs standing outside the door, and as I looked in I saw the
bunches of herbs hanging up, and a trace of corn, and the furniture was
all there. It was a great disappointment, for we had counted upon seeing
the children again. Leander said there was nobody at the barn, and that
they must have gone to a funeral; he couldn't think of anything else.

Just now we saw some people coming up the road, and we thought at first
that they were the man and his wife coming back; but they proved to be
strangers, and we eagerly asked what had become of the family.

"They're dead, both on 'em. His wife she died about nine weeks ago last
Sunday, and he died day before yesterday. Funeral's going to be this
afternoon. Thought ye were some of her folks from up country, when we
were coming along," said the man.

"Guess they won't come nigh," said the woman, scornfully; "'fraid
they'd have to help provide for the children. I was half-sister to him,
and I've got to take the two least ones."

"Did you say he was going to be buried this afternoon?" asked Kate,
slowly. We were both more startled than I can tell.

"Yes," said the man, who seemed much better-natured than his wife. She
appeared like a person whose only aim in life was to have things over
with. "Yes, we're going to bury at two o'clock. They had a master sight
of trouble, first and last."

Leander had said nothing all this time. He had known the man, and had
expected to spend the day with him and to get him to go on two miles
farther to help bargain for a dory. He asked, in a disappointed way,
what had carried him off so sudden.

"Drink," said the woman, relentlessly. "He ain't been good for nothing
sence his wife died: she was took with a fever along in the first of
August. _I_'d ha' got up from it!"

"Now don't be hard on the dead, Marthy," said her husband. "I guess they
done the best they could. They weren't shif'less, you know; they never
had no health; 't was against wind and tide with 'em all the time." And
Kate asked, "Did you say he was your brother?"

"Yes. I was half-sister to him," said the woman, promptly, with perfect
unconsciousness of Kate's meaning.

"And what will become of those poor children?"

"I've got the two youngest over to my place to take care on, and the two
next them has been put out to some folks over to the cove. I dare say
like's not they'll be sent back."

"They're clever child'n, I guess," said the man, who spoke as if this
were the first time he had dared take their part. "Don't be ha'sh,
Marthy! Who knows but they may do for us when we get to be old?" And
then she turned and looked at him with utter contempt. "I can't stand it
to hear men-folks talking on what they don't know nothing about," said
she. "The ways of Providence is dreadful myster'ous," she went on with a
whine, instead of the sharp tone of voice which we had heard before.
"We've had a hard row, and we've just got our own children off our hands
and able to do for themselves, and now here are these to be fetched up."

"But perhaps they'll be a help to you; they seem to be good little
things," said Kate. "I saw them in the summer, and they seemed to be
pleasant children, and it is dreadfully hard for them to be left alone.
It's not their fault, you know. We brought over something for them; will
you be kind enough to take the basket when you go home?"

"Thank ye, I'm sure," said the aunt, relenting slightly. "You can speak
to my man about it, and he'll give it to somebody that's going by. I've
got to walk in the procession. They'll be obliged, I'm sure. I s'pose
you're the young ladies that come here right after the Fourth o' July,
ain't you? I should be pleased to have you call and see the child'n if
you're over this way again. I heard 'em talk about you last time I was
over. Won't ye step into the house and see him? He looks real natural,"
she added. But we said, "No, thank you."

Leander told us he believed he wouldn't bother about the dory that day,
and he should be there at the house whenever we were ready. He evidently
considered it a piece of good luck that he had happened to arrive in
time for the funeral. We spoke to the man about the things we had
brought for the children, which seemed to delight him, poor soul, and we
felt sure he would be kind to them. His wife shouted to him from a
window of the house that he'd better not loiter round, or they wouldn't
be half ready when the folks began to come, and we said good by to him
and went away.

It was a beautiful morning, and we walked slowly along the shore to the
high rocks and the pitch-pine trees which we had seen before; the air
was deliciously fresh, and one could take long deep breaths of it. The
tide was coming in, and the spray dashed higher and higher. We climbed
about the rocks and went down in some of the deep cold clefts into which
the sun could seldom shine. We gathered some wild-flowers; bits of
pimpernel and one or two sprigs of fringed gentian which had bloomed
late in a sheltered place, and a pale little bouquet of asters. We sat
for a long time looking off to sea, and we could talk or think of almost
nothing beside what we had seen and heard at the farm-house. We said how
much we should like to go to that funeral, and we even made up our minds
to go back in season, but we gave up the idea: we had no right there,
and it would seem as if we were merely curious, and we were afraid our
presence would make the people ill at ease, the minister especially. It
would be an intrusion.

We spoke of the children, and tried to think what could be done for
them: we were afraid they would be told so many times that it was lucky
they did not have to go to the poor-house, and yet we could not help
pitying the hard-worked, discouraged woman whom we had seen, in spite of
her bitterness. Poor soul! she looked like a person to whom nobody had
ever been very kind, and for whom life had no pleasures: its sunshine
had never been warm enough to thaw the ice at her heart.

We remembered how we knocked at the door and called loudly, but there
had been no answer, and we wondered how we should have felt if we had
gone farther into the room and had found the dead man in his coffin, all
alone in the house. We thought of our first visit, and what he had said
to us, and we wished we had come again sooner, for we might have helped
them so much more if we had only known.

"What a pitiful ending it is," said Kate. "Do you realize that the
family is broken up, and the children are to be half strangers to each
other? Did you not notice that they seemed very fond of each other when
we saw them in the summer? There was not half the roughness and apparent
carelessness of one another which one so often sees in the country.
Theirs was such a little world; one can understand how, when the man's
wife died, he was bewildered and discouraged, utterly at a loss. The
thoughts of winter, and of the little children, and of the struggles he
had already come through against poverty and disappointment were
terrible thoughts; and like a boat adrift at sea, the waves of his
misery brought him in against the rocks, and his simple life was

"I suppose his grandest hopes and wishes would have been realized in a
good farm and a thousand or two dollars in safe keeping," said I. "Do
you remember that merry little song in 'As You Like It'?

    'Who doth ambition shun
    And loves to live i' the sun,
      Seeking the food he eats,
      And pleased with what he gets';
      'Here shall he see
        No enemy
    But winter and rough weather.'

That is all he lived for, his literal daily bread. I suppose what would
be prosperity to him would be miserably insufficient for some other
people. I wonder how we can help being conscious, in the midst of our
comforts and pleasures, of the lives which are being starved to death in
more ways than one."

"I suppose one thinks more about these things as one grows older," said
Kate, thoughtfully. "How seldom life in this world seems to be a
success! Among rich or poor only here and there one touches
satisfaction, though the one who seems to have made an utter failure may
really be the greatest conqueror. And, Helen, I find that I understand
better and better how unsatisfactory, how purposeless and disastrous,
any life must be which is not a Christian life! It is like being always
in the dark, and wandering one knows not where, if one is not learning
more and more what it is to have a friendship with God."

By the middle of the afternoon the sky had grown cloudy, and a wind
seemed to be coming in off the sea, and we unwillingly decided that we
must go home. We supposed that the funeral would be all over with, but
found we had been mistaken when we reached the cove. We seated ourselves
on a rock near the water; just beside us was the old boat, with its
killick and painter stretched ashore, where its owner had left it.

There were several men standing around the door of the house, looking
solemn and important, and by and by one of them came over to us, and we
found out a little more of the sad story. We liked this man, there was
so much pity in his face and voice. "He was a real willin', honest man,
Andrew was," said our new friend, "but he used to be sickly, and seemed
to have no luck, though for a year or two he got along some better. When
his wife died he was sore afflicted, and couldn't get over it, and he
didn't know what to do or what was going to become of 'em with winter
comin' on, and--well--I may's well tell ye; he took to drink and it
killed him right off. I come over two or three times and made some
gruel and fixed him up's well's I could, and the little gals done the
best they could, but he faded right out, and didn't know anything the
last time I see him, and he died Sunday mornin', when the tide begun to
ebb. I always set a good deal by Andrew; we used to play together down
to the great cove; that's where he was raised, and my folks lived there
too. I've got one o' the little gals. I always knowed him and his wife."

Just now we heard the people in the house singing "China," the Deephaven
funeral hymn, and the tune suited well that day, with its wailing rise
and fall; it was strangely plaintive. Then the funeral exercises were
over, and the man with whom we had just been speaking led to the door a
horse and rickety wagon, from which the seat had been taken, and when
the coffin had been put in he led the horse down the road a little way,
and we watched the mourners come out of the house two by two. We heard
some one scold in a whisper because the wagon was twice as far off as it
need have been. They evidently had a rigid funeral etiquette, and felt
it important that everything should be carried out according to rule. We
saw a forlorn-looking kitten, with a bit of faded braid round its neck,
run across the road in terror and presently appear again on the
stone-wall, where she sat looking at the people. We saw the dead man's
eldest son, of whom he had told us in the summer with such pride. He had
shown his respect for his father as best he could, by a black band on
his hat and a pair of black cotton gloves a world too large for him. He
looked so sad, and cried bitterly as he stood alone at the head of the
people. His aunt was next, with a handkerchief at her eyes, fully equal
to the proprieties of the occasion, though I fear her grief was not so
heartfelt as her husband's, who dried his eyes on his coat-sleeve again
and again. There were perhaps twenty of the mourners, and there was much
whispering among those who walked last. The minister and some others
fell into line, and the procession went slowly down the slope; a strange
shadow had fallen over everything. It was like a November day, for the
air felt cold and bleak. There were some great sea-fowl high in the air,
fighting their way toward the sea against the wind, and giving now and
then a wild, far-off ringing cry. We could hear the dull sound of the
sea, and at a little distance from the land the waves were leaping high,
and breaking in white foam over the isolated ledges.

The rest of the people began to walk or drive away, but Kate and I stood
watching the funeral as it crept along the narrow, crooked road. We had
never seen what the people called "walking funerals" until we came to
Deephaven, and there was something piteous about this; the mourners
looked so few, and we could hear the rattle of the wagon-wheels. "He's
gone, ain't he?" said some one near us. That was it,--_gone_.

Before the people had entered the house, there had been, I am sure, an
indifferent, business-like look, but when they came out, all that was
changed; their faces were awed by the presence of death, and the
indifference had given place to uncertainty. Their neighbor was
immeasurably their superior now. Living, he had been a failure by their
own low standards; but now, if he could come back, he would know
secrets, and be wise beyond anything they could imagine, and who could
know the riches of which he might have come into possession?

To Kate and me there came a sudden consciousness of the mystery and
inevitableness of death; it was not fear, thank God! but a thought of
how certain it was that some day it would be a mystery to us no longer.
And there was a thought, too, of the limitation of this present life; we
were waiting there, in company with the people, the great sea, and the
rocks and fields themselves, on this side the boundary. We knew just
then how close to this familiar, every-day world might be the other,
which at times before had seemed so far away, out of reach of even our
thoughts, beyond the distant stars.

We stayed awhile longer, until the little black funeral had crawled out
of sight; until we had seen the last funeral guest go away and the door
had been shut and fastened with a queer old padlock and some links of
rusty chain. The door fitted loosely, and the man gave it a vindictive
shake, as if he thought that the poor house had somehow been to blame,
and that after a long desperate struggle for life under its roof and
among the stony fields the family must go away defeated. It is not
likely that any one else will ever go to live there. The man to whom the
farm was mortgaged will add the few forlorn acres to his pasture-land,
and the thistles which the man who is dead had fought so many years will
march in next summer and take unmolested possession.

I think to-day of that fireless, empty, forsaken house, where the winter
sun shines in and creeps slowly along the floor; the bitter cold is in
and around the house, and the snow has sifted in at every crack; outside
it is untrodden by any living creature's footstep. The wind blows and
rushes and shakes the loose window-sashes in their frames, while the
padlock knocks--knocks against the door.

_Miss Chauncey_

The Deephaven people used to say sometimes complacently, that certain
things or certain people were "as dull as East Parish." Kate and I grew
curious to see that part of the world which was considered duller than
Deephaven itself; and as upon inquiry we found that it was not out of
reach, one day we went there.

It was like Deephaven, only on a smaller scale. The village--though it
is a question whether that is not an exaggerated term to apply--had
evidently seen better days. It was on the bank of a river, and perhaps
half a mile from the sea. There were a few old buildings there, some
with mossy roofs and a great deal of yellow lichen on the sides of the
walls next the sea; a few newer houses, belonging to fishermen; some
dilapidated fish-houses; and a row of fish-flakes. Every house seemed to
have a lane of its own, and all faced different ways except two
fish-houses, which stood amiably side by side. There was a church, which
we had been told was the oldest in the region. Through the windows we
saw the high pulpit and sounding-board, and finally found the keys at a
house near by; so we went in and looked around at our leisure. A rusty
foot-stove stood in one of the old square pews, and in the gallery there
was a majestic bass-viol with all its strings snapped but the largest,
which gave out a doleful sound when we touched it.

After we left the church we walked along the road a little way, and came
in sight of a fine old house which had apparently fallen into ruin years
before. The front entrance was a fine specimen of old-fashioned
workmanship, with its columns and carvings, and the fence had been a
grand affair in its day, though now it could scarcely stand alone. The
long range of out-buildings were falling piece by piece; one shed had
been blown down entirely by a late high wind. The large windows had many
panes of glass, and the great chimneys were built of the bright red
bricks which used to be brought from over-seas in the days of the
colonies. We noticed the gnarled lilacs in the yard, the wrinkled
cinnamon-roses, and a flourishing company of French pinks, or "bouncing
Bets," as Kate called them.

"Suppose we go in," said I; "the door is open a little way. There surely
must be some stories about its being haunted. We will ask Miss Honora."
And we climbed over the boards which were put up like pasture-bars
across the wide front gateway.

"We shall certainly meet a ghost," said Kate.

Just as we stood on the steps the door was pulled wide open; we started
back, and, well-grown young women as we are, we have confessed since
that our first impulse was to run away. On the threshold there stood a
stately old woman who looked surprised at first sight of us, then
quickly recovered herself and stood waiting for us to speak. She was
dressed in a rusty black satin gown, with scant, short skirt and huge
sleeves; on her head was a great black bonnet with a high crown and a
close brim, which came far out over her face. "What is your pleasure?"
said she; and we felt like two awkward children. Kate partially
recovered her wits, and asked which was the nearer way to Deephaven.

"There is but one road, past the church and over the hill. It cannot be
missed." And she bowed gravely, when we thanked her and begged her
pardon, we hardly knew why, and came away.

We looked back to see her still standing in the doorway. "Who in the
world can she be?" said Kate. And we wondered and puzzled and talked
over "the ghost" until we saw Miss Honora Carew, who told us that it was
Miss Sally Chauncey.

"Indeed, I know her, poor old soul!" said Miss Honora; "she has such a
sad history. She is the last survivor of one of the most aristocratic
old colonial families. The Chaunceys were of great renown until early in
the present century, and then their fortunes changed. They had always
been rich and well-educated, and I suppose nobody ever had a gayer,
happier time than Miss Sally did in her girlhood, for they entertained a
great deal of company and lived in fine style; but her father was
unfortunate in business, and at last was utterly ruined at the time of
the embargo; then he became partially insane, and died after many years
of poverty. I have often heard a tradition that a sailor to whom he had
broken a promise had cursed him, and that none of the family had died
in their beds or had any good luck since. The East Parish people seem to
believe in it, and it is certainly strange what terrible sorrow has come
to the Chaunceys. One of Miss Sally's brothers, a fine young officer in
the navy who was at home on leave, asked her one day if she could get on
without him, and she said yes, thinking he meant to go back to sea; but
in a few minutes she heard the noise of a pistol in his room, and
hurried in to find him lying dead on the floor. Then there was another
brother who was insane, and who became so violent that he was chained
for years in one of the upper chambers, a dangerous prisoner. I have
heard his horrid cries myself, when I was a young girl," said Miss
Honora, with a shiver.

"Miss Sally is insane, and has been for many years, and this seems to me
the saddest part of the story. When she first lost her reason she was
sent to a hospital, for there was no one who could take care of her. The
mania was so acute that no one had the slightest thought that she would
recover or even live long. Her guardian sold the furniture and pictures
and china, almost everything but clothing, to pay the bills at the
hospital, until the house was fairly empty; and then one spring day, I
remember it well, she came home in her right mind, and, without a
thought of what was awaiting her, ran eagerly into her home. It was a
terrible shock, and she never has recovered from it, though after a long
illness her insanity took a mild form, and she has always been perfectly
harmless. She has been alone many years, and no one can persuade her to
leave the old house, where she seems to be contented, and does not
realize her troubles; though she lives mostly in the past, and has
little idea of the present, except in her house affairs, which seem
pitiful to me, for I remember the housekeeping of the Chaunceys when I
was a child. I have always been to see her, and she usually knows me,
though I have been but seldom of late years. She is several years older
than I. The town makes her an allowance every year, and she has some
friends who take care that she does not suffer, though her wants are
few. She is an elegant woman still, and some day, if you like, I will
give you something to carry to her, and a message, if I can think of
one, and you must go to make her a call. I hope she will happen to be
talkative, for I am sure you would enjoy her. For many years she did not
like to see strangers, but some one has told me lately that she seems to
be pleased if people go to see her."

You may be sure it was not many days before Kate and I claimed the
basket and the message, and went again to East Parish. We boldly lifted
the great brass knocker, and were dismayed because nobody answered.
While we waited, a girl came up the walk and said that Miss Sally lived
up stairs, and she would speak to her if we liked. "Sometimes she don't
have sense enough to know what the knocker means," we were told. There
was evidently no romance about Miss Sally to our new acquaintance.

"Do you think," said I, "that we might go in and look around the lower
rooms? Perhaps she will refuse to see us."

"Yes, indeed," said the girl; "only run the minute I speak; you'll have
time enough, for she walks slow and is a little deaf."

So we went into the great hall with its wide staircase and handsome
cornices and panelling, and then into the large parlor on the right, and
through it to a smaller room looking out on the garden, which sloped
down to the river. Both rooms had fine carved mantels, with Dutch-tiled
fireplaces, and in the cornices we saw the fastenings where pictures had
hung,--old portraits, perhaps. And what had become of them? The girl did
not know: the house had been the same ever since she could remember,
only it would all fall through into the cellar soon. But the old lady
was proud as Lucifer, and wouldn't hear of moving out.

The floor in the room toward the river was so broken that it was not
safe, and we came back through the hall and opened the door at the foot
of the stairs. "Guess you won't want to stop long there," said the girl.
Three old hens and a rooster marched toward us with great solemnity when
we looked in. The cobwebs hung in the room, as they often do in old
barns, in long, gray festoons; the lilacs outside grew close against the
two windows where the shutters were not drawn, and the light in the room
was greenish and dim.

Then we took our places on the threshold, and the girl went up stairs
and announced us to Miss Sally, and in a few minutes we heard her come
along the hall.

"Sophia," said she, "where are the gentry waiting?" And just then she
came in sight round the turn of the staircase. She wore the same great
black bonnet and satin gown, and looked more old-fashioned and ghostly
than before. She was not tall, but very erect, in spite of her great
age, and her eyes seemed to "look through you" in an uncanny way. She
slowly descended the stairs and came toward us with a courteous
greeting, and when we had introduced ourselves as Miss Carew's friends
she gave us each her hand in a most cordial way and said she was pleased
to see us. She bowed us into the parlor and brought us two rickety,
straight-backed chairs, which, with an old table, were all the furniture
there was in the room. "Sit ye down," said she, herself taking a place
in the window-seat. I have seen few more elegant women than Miss
Chauncey. Thoroughly at her ease, she had the manner of a lady of the
olden times, using the quaint fashion of speech which she had been
taught in her girlhood. The long words and ceremonious phrases suited
her extremely well. Her hands were delicately shaped, and she folded
them in her lap, as no doubt she had learned to do at boarding-school so
many years before. She asked Kate and me if we knew any young ladies at
that school in Boston, saying that most of her intimate friends had left
when she did, but some of the younger ones were there still.

She asked for the Carews and Mr. Lorimer, and when Kate told her that
she was Miss Brandon's niece, and asked if she had not known her, she
said, "Certainly, my dear; we were intimate friends at one time, but I
have seen her little of late."

"Do you not know that she is dead?" asked Kate.

"Ah, they say every one is 'dead,' nowadays. I do not comprehend the
silly idea!" said the old lady, impatiently. "It is an excuse, I
suppose. She could come to see me if she chose, but she was always a
ceremonious body, and I go abroad but seldom now; so perhaps she waits
my visit. I will not speak uncourteously, and you must remember me to
her kindly."

Then she asked us about other old people in Deephaven, and about
families in Boston whom she had known in her early days. I think every
one of whom she spoke was dead, but we assured her that they were all
well and prosperous, and we hoped we told the truth. She asked about the
love-affairs of men and women who had died old and gray-headed within
our remembrance; and finally she said we must pardon her for these
tiresome questions, but it was so rarely she saw any one direct from
Boston, of whom she could inquire concerning these old friends and
relatives of her family.

Something happened after this which touched us both inexpressibly: she
sat for some time watching Kate with a bewildered look, which at last
faded away, a smile coming in its place. "I think you are like my
mother," she said; "did any one ever say to you that you are like my
mother? Will you let me see your forehead? Yes; and your hair is only a
little darker." Kate had risen when Miss Chauncey did, and they stood
side by side. There was a tone in the old lady's voice which brought the
tears to my eyes. She stood there some minutes looking at Kate. I wonder
what her thoughts were. There was a kinship, it seemed to me, not of
blood, only that they both were of the same stamp and rank: Miss
Chauncey of the old generation and Kate Lancaster of the new. Miss
Chauncey turned to me, saying, "Look up at the portrait and you will see
the likeness too, I think." But when she turned and saw the bare
wainscoting of the room, she looked puzzled, and the bright flash which
had lighted up her face was gone in an instant, and she sat down again
in the window-seat; but we were glad that she had forgotten. Presently
she said, "Pardon me, but I forget your question."

Miss Carew had told us to ask her about her school-days, as she nearly
always spoke of that time to her; and, to our delight, Miss Sally told
us a long story about her friends and about her "coming-out party," when
boat-loads of gay young guests came down from Riverport, and all the
gentry from Deephaven. The band from the fort played for the dancing,
the garden was lighted, the card-tables were in this room, and a grand
supper was served. She also remembered what some of her friends wore,
and her own dress was a silver-gray brocade with rosebuds of three
colors. She told us how she watched the boats go off up river in the
middle of the summer night; how sweet the music sounded; how bright the
moonlight was; how she wished we had been there at her party.

"I can't believe I am an old woman. It seems only yesterday," said she,
thoughtfully. And then she lost the idea, and talked about Kate's
great-grandmother, whom she had known, and asked us how she had been
this summer.

She asked us if we would like to go up stairs where she had a fire, and
we eagerly accepted, though we were not in the least cold. Ah, what a
sorry place it was! She had gathered together some few pieces of her old
furniture, which half filled one fine room, and here she lived. There
was a tall, handsome chest of drawers, which I should have liked much to
ransack. Miss Carew had told us that Miss Chauncey had large claims
against the government, dating back sixty or seventy years, but nobody
could ever find the papers; and I felt sure that they must be hidden
away in some secret drawer. The brass handles and trimmings were
blackened, and the wood looked like ebony. I wanted to climb up and look
into the upper part of this antique piece of furniture, and it seemed to
me I could at once put my hand on a package of "papers relating to the

On a stand near the window was an old Bible, fairly worn out with
constant use. Miss Chauncey was religious; in fact, it was the only
subject about which she was perfectly sane. We saw almost nothing of her
insanity that day, though afterward she was different. There were days
when her mind seemed clear; but sometimes she was silent, and often she
would confuse Kate with Miss Brandon, and talk to her of long-forgotten
plans and people. She would rarely speak of anything more than a minute
or two, and then would drift into an entirely foreign subject.

She urged us that afternoon to stay to luncheon with her; she said she
could not offer us dinner, but she would give us tea and biscuit, and no
doubt we should find something in Miss Carew's basket, as she was always
kind in remembering her fancies. Miss Honora had told us to decline, if
she asked us to stay; but I should have liked to see her sit at the head
of her table, and to be a guest at such a lunch-party.

Poor creature! it was a blessed thing that her shattered reason made her
unconscious of the change in her fortunes, and incapable of comparing
the end of her life with its beginning. To herself she was still Miss
Chauncey, a gentlewoman of high family, possessed of unusual worldly
advantages. The remembrance of her cruel trials and sorrows had faded
from her mind. She had no idea of the poverty of her surroundings when
she paced back and forth, with stately steps, on the ruined terraces of
her garden; the ranks of lilies and the conserve-roses were still in
bloom for her, and the box-borders were as trimly kept as ever; and when
she pointed out to us the distant steeples of Riverport, it was plain to
see that it was still the Riverport of her girlhood. If the boat-landing
at the foot of the garden had long ago dropped into the river and gone
out with the tide; if the maids and men who used to do her bidding were
all out of hearing; if there had been no dinner company that day and no
guests were expected for the evening,--what did it matter? The twilight
had closed around her gradually, and she was alone in her house, but she
did not heed the ruin of it or the absence of her friends. On the
morrow, life would again go on.

We always used to ask her to read the Bible to us, after Mr. Lorimer had
told us how grand and beautiful it was to listen to her. I shall never
hear some of the Psalms or some chapters of Isaiah again without being
reminded of her; and I remember just now, as I write, one summer
afternoon when Kate and I had lingered later than usual, and we sat in
the upper room looking out on the river and the shore beyond, where the
light had begun to grow golden as the day drew near sunset. Miss Sally
had opened the great book at random and read slowly, "In my Father's
house are many mansions"; and then, looking off for a moment at a leaf
which had drifted into the window-recess, she repeated it: "In my
Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told
you." Then she went on slowly to the end of the chapter, and with her
hands clasped together on the Bible she fell into a reverie, and the
tears came into our eyes as we watched her look of perfect content.
Through all her clouded years the promises of God had been her only

Miss Chauncey died early in the winter after we left Deephaven, and one
day when I was visiting Kate in Boston Mr. Lorimer came to see us, and
told us about her.

It seems that after much persuasion she was induced to go to spend the
winter with a neighbor, her house having become uninhabitable, and she
was, beside, too feeble to live alone. But her fondness for her old home
was too strong, and one day she stole away from the people who took care
of her, and crept in through the cellar, where she had to wade through
half-frozen water, and then went up stairs, where she seated herself at
a front window and called joyfully to the people who went by, asking
them to come in to see her, as she had got home again. After this she
was very ill, and one day, when she was half delirious, they missed her,
and found her at last sitting on her hall stairway, which she was too
feeble to climb. She lived but a short time afterwards, and in her last
days her mind seemed perfectly clear. She said over and over again how
good God had always been to her, and she was gentle, and unwilling to be
a trouble to those who had the care of her.

Mr. Lorimer spoke of her simple goodness, and told us that though she
had no other sense of time, and hardly knew if it were summer or winter,
she was always sure when Sunday came, and always came to church when he
preached at East Parish, her greatest pleasure seeming to be to give
money, if there was a contribution. "She may be a lesson to us," added
the old minister, reverently; "for, though bewildered in mind, bereft of
riches and friends and all that makes this world dear to many of us, she
was still steadfast in her simple faith, and was never heard to complain
of any of the burdens which God had given her."

_Last Days in Deephaven_

When the summer was ended it was no sorrow to us, for we were even more
fond of Deephaven in the glorious autumn weather than we had ever been
before. Mr. Lancaster was abroad longer than he had intended to be at
first, and it was late in the season before we left. We were both ready
to postpone going back to town as late as possible; but at last it was
time for my friend to re-establish the Boston housekeeping, and to take
up the city life again. I must admit we half dreaded it: we were
surprised to find how little we cared for it, and how well one can get
on without many things which are thought indispensable.

For the last fortnight we were in the house a good deal, because the
weather was wet and dreary. At one time there was a magnificent storm,
and we went every day along the shore in the wind and rain for a mile or
two to see the furious great breakers come plunging in against the
rocks. I never had seen such a wild, stormy sea as that; the rage of it
was awful, and the whole harbor was white with foam. The wind had blown
northeast steadily for days, and it seemed to me that the sea never
could be quiet and smooth and blue again, with soft white clouds sailing
over it in the sky. It was a treacherous sea; it was wicked; it had all
the trembling land in its power, if it only dared to send its great
waves far ashore. All night long the breakers roared, and the wind
howled in the chimneys, and in the morning we always looked fearfully
across the surf and the tossing gray water to see if the lighthouse were
standing firm on its rock. It was so slender a thing to hold its own in
such a wide and monstrous sea. But the sun came out at last, and not
many days afterward we went out with Danny and Skipper Scudder to say
good by to Mrs. Kew. I have been some voyages at sea, but I never was so
danced about in a little boat as I was that day. There was nothing to
fear with so careful a crew, and we only enjoyed the roughness as we
went out and in, though it took much manoeuvring to land us at the

It was very sad work to us--saying good by to our friends, and we tried
to make believe that we should spend the next summer in Deephaven, and
we meant at any rate to go down for a visit. We were glad when the
people said they should miss us, and that they hoped we should not
forget them and the old place. It touched us to find that they cared so
much for us, and we said over and over again how happy we had been, and
that it was such a satisfactory summer. Kate laughingly proposed one
evening, as we sat talking by the fire and were particularly contented,
that we should copy the Ladies of Llangollen, and remove ourselves from
society and its distractions.

"I have thought often, lately," said my friend, "what a good time they
must have had, and I feel a sympathy and friendliness for them which I
never felt before. We could have guests when we chose, as we have had
this summer, and we could study and grow very wise, and what could be
pleasanter? But I wonder if we should grow very lazy if we stayed here
all the year round; village life is not stimulating, and there would not
be much to do in winter,--though I do not believe that need be true; one
may be busy and useful in any place."

"I suppose if we really belonged in Deephaven we should think it a hard
fate, and not enjoy it half so much as we have this summer," said I.
"Our idea of happiness would be making long visits in Boston; and we
should be heart-broken when we had to come away and leave our
lunch-parties, and symphony concerts, and calls, and fairs, the
reading-club and the childrens' hospital. We should think the people
uncongenial and behind the times, and that the Ridge road was stupid and
the long sands desolate; while we remembered what delightful walks we
had taken out Beacon Street to the three roads, and over the Cambridge
Bridge. Perhaps we should even be ashamed of the dear old church for
being so out of fashion. We should have the blues dreadfully, and think
there was no society here, and wonder why we had to live in such a

"What a gloomy picture!" said Kate, laughing. "Do you know that I have
understood something lately better than I ever did before,--it is that
success and happiness are not things of chance with us, but of choice. I
can see how we might so easily have had a dull summer here. Of course
it is our own fault if the events of our lives are hindrances; it is we
who make them bad or good. Sometimes it is a conscious choice, but
oftener unconscious. I suppose we educate ourselves for taking the best
of life or the worst, do not you?"

"Dear old Deephaven!" said Kate, gently, after we had been silent a
little while. "It makes me think of one of its own old ladies, with its
clinging to the old fashions and its respect for what used to be
respectable when it was young. I cannot make fun of what was once dear
to somebody, and which realized somebody's ideas of beauty or fitness. I
don't dispute the usefulness of a new, bustling, manufacturing town with
its progressive ideas; but there is a simple dignity in a town like
Deephaven, as if it tried to be loyal to the traditions of its
ancestors. It quietly accepts its altered circumstances, if it has seen
better days, and has no harsh feelings toward the places which have
drawn away its business, but it lives on, making its old houses and
boats and clothes last as long as possible."

"I think one cannot help," said I, "having a different affection for an
old place like Deephaven from that which one may have for a newer town.
Here--though there are no exciting historical associations and none of
the veneration which one has for the very old cities and towns
abroad--it is impossible not to remember how many people have walked the
streets and lived in the houses. I was thinking to-day how many girls
might have grown up in this house, and that their places have been ours;
we have inherited their pleasures, and perhaps have carried on work
which they began. We sit in somebody's favorite chair and look out of
the windows at the sea, and have our wishes and our hopes and plans just
as they did before us. Something of them still lingers where their lives
were spent. We are often reminded of our friends who have died; why are
we not reminded as surely of strangers in such a house as this,--finding
some trace of the lives which were lived among the sights we see and the
things we handle, as the incense of many masses lingers in some old
cathedral, and one catches the spirit of longing and prayer where so
many heavy hearts have brought their burdens and have gone away

"When I first came here," said Kate, "it used to seem very sad to me to
find Aunt Katharine's little trinkets lying about the house. I have
often thought of what you have just said. I heard Mrs. Patton say the
other day that there is no pocket in a shroud, and of course it is
better that we should carry nothing out of this world. Yet I can't help
wishing that it were possible to keep some of my worldly goods always.
There are one or two books of mine and some little things which I have
had a long time, and of which I have grown very fond. It makes me so
sorry to think of their being neglected and lost. I cannot believe I
shall forget these earthly treasures when I am in heaven, and I wonder
if I shall not miss them. Isn't it strange to think of not reading one's
Bible any more? I suppose this is a very low view of heaven, don't you?"
And we both smiled.

"I think the next dwellers in this house ought to find a decided
atmosphere of contentment," said I. "Have you ever thought that it took
us some time to make it your house instead of Miss Brandon's? It used to
seem to me that it was still under her management, that she was its
mistress; but now it belongs to you, and if I were ever to come back
without you I should find you here."

       *       *       *       *       *

It is bewildering to know that this is the last chapter, and that it
must not be long. I remember so many of our pleasures of which I have
hardly said a word. There were our guests, of whom I have told you
nothing, and of whom there was so much to say. Of course we asked my
Aunt Mary to visit us, and Miss Margaret Tennant, and many of our
girlfriends. All the people we know who have yachts made the port of
Deephaven if they were cruising in the neighboring waters. Once a most
cheerful party of Kate's cousins and some other young people whom we
knew very well came to visit us in this way, and the yacht was kept in
the harbor a week or more, while we were all as gay as bobolinks and
went frisking about the country, and kept late hours in the sober old
Brandon house. My Aunt Mary, who was with us, and Kate's aunt, Mrs.
Thorniford, who knew the Carews, and was commander of the yacht-party,
tried to keep us in order, and to make us ornaments to Deephaven society
instead of reproaches and stumbling-blocks. Kate's younger brothers were
with us, waiting until it was time for them to go back to college, and
I think there never had been such picnics in Deephaven before, and I
fear there never will be again.

We are fond of reading, and we meant to do a great deal of it, as every
one does who goes away for the summer; but I must confess that our grand
plans were not well carried out. Our German dictionaries were on the
table in the west parlor until the sight of them mortified us, and
finally, to avoid their silent reproach, I put them in the closet, with
the excuse that it would be as easy to get them there, and they would be
out of the way. We used to have the magazines sent us from town; you
would have smiled at the box of books which we carried to Deephaven, and
indeed we sent two or three times for others; but I do not remember that
we ever carried out that course of study which we had planned with so
much interest. We were out of doors so much that there was often little
time for anything else.

Kate said one day that she did not care, in reading, to be always making
new acquaintances, but to be seeing more of old ones; and I think it is
a very wise idea. We each have our pet books; Kate carries with her a
much-worn copy of "Mr. Rutherford's Children," which has been her
delight ever since she can remember. Sibyl and Chryssa are dear old
friends, though I suppose now it is not merely what Kate reads, but what
she associates with the story. I am not often separated from Jean
Ingelow's "Stories told to a Child," that charmingly wise and pleasant
little book. It is always new, like Kate's favorite. It is very hard to
make a list of the books one likes best, but I remember that we had "The
Village on the Cliff," and "Henry Esmond," and "Tom Brown at Rugby,"
with his more serious ancestor, "Sir Thomas Browne." I am sure we had
"Fenelon," for we always have that; and there was "Pet Marjorie," and
"Rab," and "Annals of a Parish," and "The Life of the Reverend Sydney
Smith"; beside Miss Tytler's "Days of Yore," and "The Holy and Profane
State," by Thomas Fuller, from which Kate gets so much entertainment and
profit. We read Mr. Emerson's essays together, out of doors, and some
stories which had been our dear friends at school, like "Leslie
Goldthwaite." There was a very good library in the house, and we both
like old books, so we enjoyed that. And we used to read the Spectator,
and many old-fashioned stories and essays and sermons, with much more
pleasure because they had such quaint old brown leather bindings. You
will not doubt that we had some cherished volumes of poetry, or that we
used to read them aloud to each other when we sat in our favorite corner
of the rocks at the shore, or were in the pine woods of an afternoon.

We used to go out to tea, and do a great deal of social visiting, which
was very pleasant. Dinner-parties were not in fashion, though it was a
great attention to be asked to spend the day, which courtesy we used to
delight in extending to our friends; and we entertained company in that
way often. When we first went out we were somewhat interesting on
account of our clothes, which were of later pattern than had been
adopted generally in Deephaven. We used to take great pleasure in
arraying ourselves on high days and holidays, since when we went
wandering on shore, or out sailing or rowing, we did not always dress as
befitted our position in the town. Fish-scales and blackberry-briers so
soon disfigure one's clothes.

We became in the course of time learned in all manner of 'longshore
lore, and even profitably employed ourselves one morning in going
clam-digging with old Ben Horn, a most fascinating ancient mariner. We
both grew so well and brown and strong, and Kate and I did not get tired
of each other at all, which I think was wonderful, for few friendships
would bear such a test. We were together always, and alone together a
great deal; and we became wonderfully well acquainted. We are such good
friends that we often were silent for a long time, when mere
acquaintances would have felt compelled to talk and try to entertain
each other.

Before we left the leaves had fallen off all the trees except the oaks,
which make in cold weather one of the dreariest sounds one ever hears: a
shivering rustle, which makes one pity the tree and imagine it
shelterless and forlorn. The sea had looked rough and cold for many
days, and the old house itself had grown chilly,--all the world seemed
waiting for the snow to come. There was nobody loitering on the wharves,
and when we went down the street we walked fast, arm in arm, to keep
warm. The houses were shut up as close as possible, and the old sailors
did not seem cheery any longer; they looked forlorn, and it was not a
pleasant prospect to be so long weather-bound in port. If they ventured
out, they put on ancient great-coats, with huge flaps to the pockets and
large horn buttons, and they looked contemptuously at the vane, which
always pointed to the north or east. It felt like winter, and the
captains rolled more than ever as they walked, as if they were on deck
in a heavy sea. The rheumatism claimed many victims, and there was one
day, it must be confessed, when a biting, icy fog was blown in-shore,
that Kate and I were willing to admit that we could be as comfortable in
town, and it was almost time for sealskin jackets.

In the front yards we saw the flower-beds black with frost, except a few
brave pansies which had kept green and had bloomed under the tall
china-aster stalks, and one day we picked some of these little flowers
to put between the leaves of a book and take away with us. I think we
loved Deephaven all the more in those last days, with a bit of
compassion in our tenderness for the dear old town which had so little
to amuse it. So long a winter was coming, but we thought with a sigh how
pleasant it would be in the spring.

You would have smiled at the treasures we brought away with us. We had
become so fond of even our fishing-lines; and this very day you may see
in Kate's room two great bunches of Deephaven cat-o'-nine-tails. They
were much in our way on the journey home, but we clung affectionately to
these last sheaves of our harvest.

The morning we came away our friends were all looking out from door or
window to see us go by, and after we had passed the last house and there
was no need to smile any longer, we were very dismal. The sun was
shining again bright and warm as if the Indian summer were beginning,
and we wished that it had been a rainy day.

The thought of Deephaven will always bring to us our long quiet summer
days, and reading aloud on the rocks by the sea, the fresh salt air, and
the glory of the sunsets; the wail of the Sunday psalm-singing at
church, the yellow lichen that grew over the trees, the houses, and the
stone-walls; our boating and wanderings ashore; our importance as
members of society, and how kind every one was to us both. By and by
the Deephaven warehouses will fall and be used for firewood by the
fisher-people, and the wharves will be worn away by the tides. The few
old gentlefolks who still linger will be dead then; and I wonder if some
day Kate Lancaster and I will go down to Deephaven for the sake of old
times, and read the epitaphs in the burying-ground, look out to sea, and
talk quietly about the girls who were so happy there one summer long
before. I should like to walk along the beach at sunset, and watch the
color of the marshes and the sea change as the light of the sky goes
out. It would make the old days come back vividly. We should see the
roofs and chimneys of the village, and the great Chantrey elms look
black against the sky. A little later the marsh fog would show faintly
white, and we should feel it deliciously cold and wet against our hands
and faces; when we looked up there would be a star; the crickets would
chirp loudly; perhaps some late sea-birds would fly inland. Turning, we
should see the lighthouse lamp shine out over the water, and the great
sea would move and speak to us lazily in its idle, high-tide sleep.








_An Autumn Holiday_

I had started early in the afternoon for a long walk; it was just the
weather for walking, and I went across the fields with a delighted
heart. The wind came straight in from the sea, and the sky was bright
blue; there was a little tinge of red still lingering on the maples, and
my dress brushed over the late golden-rods, while my old dog, who seemed
to have taken a new lease of youth, jumped about wildly and raced after
the little birds that flew up out of the long brown grass--the constant
little chickadees, that would soon sing before the coming of snow. But
this day brought no thought of winter; it was one of the October days
when to breathe the air is like drinking wine, and every touch of the
wind against one's face is a caress: like a quick, sweet kiss, that wind
is. You have a sense of companionship; it is a day that loves you.

I went strolling along, with this dear idle day for company; it was a
pleasure to be alive, and to go through the dry grass, and to spring
over the stone walls and the shaky pasture fences. I stopped by each of
the stray apple-trees that came in my way, to make friends with it, or
to ask after its health, if it were an old friend. These old apple-trees
make very charming bits of the world in October; the leaves cling to
them later than to the other trees, and the turf keeps short and green
underneath; and in this grass, which was frosty in the morning, and has
not quite dried yet, you can find some cold little cider apples, with
one side knurly, and one shiny bright red or yellow cheek. They are wet
with dew, these little apples, and a black ant runs anxiously over them
when you turn them round and round to see where the best place is to
bite. There will almost always be a bird's nest in the tree, and it is
most likely to be a robin's nest. The prehistoric robins must have been
cave dwellers, for they still make their nests as much like cellars as
they can, though they follow the new fashion and build them aloft. One
always has a thought of spring at the sight of a robin's nest. It is so
little while ago that it was spring, and we were so glad to have the
birds come back, and the life of the new year was just showing itself;
we were looking forward to so much growth and to the realization and
perfection of so many things. I think the sadness of autumn, or the
pathos of it, is like that of elderly people. We have seen how the
flowers looked when they bloomed and have eaten the fruit when it was
ripe; the questions have had their answer, the days we waited for have
come and gone. Everything has stopped growing. And so the children have
grown to be men and women, their lives have been lived, the autumn has
come. We have seen what our lives would be like when we were older;
success or disappointment, it is all over at any rate. Yet it only makes
one sad to think it is autumn with the flowers or with one's own life,
when one forgets that always and always there will be the spring again.

I am very fond of walking between the roads. One grows so familiar with
the highways themselves. But once leap the fence and there are a hundred
roads that you can take, each with its own scenery and entertainment.
Every walk of this kind proves itself a tour of exploration and
discovery, and the fields of my own town, which I think I know so well,
are always new fields. I find new ways to go, new sights to see, new
friends among the things that grow, and new treasures and pleasures
every summer; and later, when the frosts have come and the swamps have
frozen, I can go everywhere I like all over my world.

That afternoon I found something I had never seen before--a little grave
alone in a wide pasture which had once been a field. The nearest house
was at least two miles away, but by hunting for it I found a very old
cellar, where the child's home used to be, not very far off, along the
slope. It must have been a great many years ago that the house had stood
there; and the small slate head-stone was worn away by the rain and
wind, so there was nothing to be read, if indeed there had ever been any
letters on it. It had looked many a storm in the face, and many a red
sunset. I suppose the woods near by had grown and been cut, and grown
again, since it was put there. There was an old sweet-brier bush growing
on the short little grave, and in the grass underneath I found a
ground-sparrow's nest. It was like a little neighborhood, and I have
felt ever since as if I belonged to it; and I wondered then if one of
the young ground-sparrows was not always sent to take the nest when the
old ones were done with it, so they came back in the spring year after
year to live there, and there were always the stone and the sweet-brier
bush and the birds to remember the child. It was such a lonely place in
that wide field under the great sky, and yet it was so comfortable too;
but the sight of the little grave at first touched me strangely, and I
tried to picture to myself the procession that came out from the house
the day of the funeral, and I thought of the mother in the evening after
all the people had gone home, and how she missed the baby, and kept
seeing the new grave out here in the twilight as she went about her
work. I suppose the family moved away, and so all the rest were buried

I often think of this place, and I link it in my thoughts with something
I saw once in the water when I was out at sea: a little boat that some
child had lost, that had drifted down the river and out to sea; too long
a voyage, for it was a sad little wreck, with even its white sail of a
hand-breadth half under water, and its twine rigging trailing astern. It
was a silly little boat, and no loss, except to its owner, to whom it
had seemed as brave and proud a thing as any ship of the line to you and
me. It was a shipwreck of his small hopes, I suppose, and I can see it
now, the toy of the great winds and waves, as it floated on its way,
while I sailed on mine, out of sight of land.

The little grave is forgotten by everybody but me, I think: the mother
must have found the child again in heaven a very long time ago: but in
the winter I shall wonder if the snow has covered it well, and next year
I shall go to see the sweet-brier bush when it is in bloom. God knows
what use that life was, the grave is such a short one, and nobody knows
whose little child it was; but perhaps a thousand people in the world
to-day are better because it brought a little love into the world that
was not there before.

I sat so long here in the sun that the dog, after running after all the
birds, and even chasing crickets, and going through a great piece of
affectation in barking before an empty woodchuck's hole to kill time,
came to sit patiently in front of me, as if he wished to ask when I
would go on. I had never been in this part of the pasture before. It was
at one side of the way I usually took, so presently I went on to find a
favorite track of mine, half a mile to the right, along the bank of a
brook. There had been heavy rains the week before, and I found more
water than usual running, and the brook was apparently in a great hurry.
It was very quiet along the shore of it; the frogs had long ago gone
into winter-quarters, and there was not one to splash into the water
when he saw me coming. I did not see a musk-rat either, though I knew
where their holes were by the piles of fresh-water mussel shells that
they had untidily thrown out at their front door. I thought it might be
well to hunt for mussels myself, and crack them in search of pearls, but
it was too serene and beautiful a day. I was not willing to disturb the
comfort of even a shell-fish. It was one of the days when one does not
think of being tired: the scent of the dry everlasting flowers, and the
freshness of the wind, and the cawing of the crows, all come to me as I
think of it, and I remember that I went a long way before I began to
think of going home again. I knew I could not be far from a cross-road,
and when I climbed a low hill I saw a house which I was glad to make the
end of my walk--for a time, at any rate. It was some time since I had
seen the old woman who lived there, and I liked her dearly, and was sure
of a welcome. I went down through the pasture lane, and just then I saw
my father drive away up the road, just too far for me to make him hear
when I called. That seemed too bad at first, until I remembered that he
would come back again over the same road after a while, and in the mean
time I could make my call. The house was low and long and unpainted,
with a great many frost-bitten flowers about it. Some hollyhocks were
bowed down despairingly, and the morning-glory vines were more miserable
still. Some of the smaller plants had been covered to keep them from
freezing, and were braving out a few more days, but no shelter would
avail them much longer. And already nobody minded whether the gate was
shut or not, and part of the great flock of hens were marching proudly
about among the wilted posies, which they had stretched their necks
wistfully through the fence for all summer. I heard the noise of
spinning in the house, and my dog scurried off after the cat as I went
in the door. I saw Miss Polly Marsh and her sister, Mrs. Snow, stepping
back and forward together spinning yarn at a pair of big wheels. The
wheels made such a noise with their whir and creak, and my friends were
talking so fast as they twisted and turned the yarn, that they did not
hear my footstep, and I stood in the doorway watching them, it was such
a quaint and pretty sight. They went together like a pair of horses, and
kept step with each other to and fro. They were about the same size, and
were cheerful old bodies, looking a good deal alike, with their checked
handkerchiefs over their smooth gray hair, their dark gowns made short
in the skirts, and their broad little feet in gray stockings and low
leather shoes without heels. They stood straight, and though they were
quick at their work they moved stiffly; they were talking busily about
some one.

"I could tell by the way the doctor looked that he didn't think there
was much of anything the matter with her," said Miss Polly Marsh. "'You
needn't tell me,' says I, the other day, when I see him at Miss
Martin's. 'She'd be up and about this minute if she only had a mite o'
resolution;' and says he, 'Aunt Polly, you're as near right as usual;'"
and the old lady stopped to laugh a little. "I told him that wa'n't
saying much," said she, with an evident consciousness of the underlying
compliment and the doctor's good opinion. "I never knew one of that
tribe that hadn't a queer streak and wasn't shif'less; but they're
tougher than ellum roots;" and she gave the wheel an emphatic turn,
while Mrs. Snow reached for more rolls of wool, and happened to see me.

"Wherever did you come from?" said they, in great surprise. "Why, you
wasn't anywhere in sight when I was out speaking to the doctor," said
Mrs. Snow. "Oh, come over horseback, I suppose. Well, now, we're pleased
to see ye."

"No," said I, "I walked across the fields. It was too pleasant to stay
in the house, and I haven't had a long walk for some time before." I
begged them not to stop spinning, but they insisted that they should not
have turned the wheels a half-dozen times more, even if I had not come,
and they pushed them back to the wall before they came to sit down to
talk with me over their knitting--for neither of them were ever known to
be idle. Mrs. Snow was only there for a visit; she was a widow, and
lived during most of the year with her son; and Aunt Polly was at home
but seldom herself, as she was a famous nurse, and was often in demand
all through that part of the country. I had known her all my days.
Everybody was fond of the good soul, and she had been one of the most
useful women in the world. One of my pleasantest memories is of a long
but not very painful illness one winter, when she came to take care of
me. There was no end either to her stories or her kindness. I was
delighted to find her at home that afternoon, and Mrs. Snow also.

Aunt Polly brought me some of her gingerbread, which she knew I liked,
and a stout little pitcher of milk, and we sat there together for a
while, gossiping and enjoying ourselves. I told all the village news
that I could think of, and I was just tired enough to know it, and to be
contented to sit still for a while in the comfortable three-cornered
chair by the little front window. The October sunshine lay along the
clean kitchen floor, and Aunt Polly darted from her chair occasionally
to catch stray little wisps of wool which the breeze through the door
blew along from the wheels. There was a gay string of red peppers
hanging over the very high mantel-shelf, and the wood-work in the room
had never been painted, and had grown dark brown with age and smoke and
scouring. The clock ticked solemnly, as if it were a judge giving the
laws of time, and felt itself to be the only thing that did not waste
it. There was a bouquet of asparagus and some late sprigs of larkspur
and white petunias on the table underneath, and a Leavitt's Almanac lay
on the county paper, which was itself lying on the big Bible, of which
Aunt Polly made a point of reading two chapters every day in course. I
remember her saying, despairingly, one night, half to herself, "I don'
know but I may skip the Chronicles next time," but I have never to this
day believed that she did. They asked me at once to come into the best
room, but I liked the old kitchen best. "Who was it that you were
talking about as I came in?" said I. "You said you didn't believe there
was much the matter with her." And Aunt Polly clicked her
knitting-needles faster, and told me that it was Mary Susan Ash, over by
Little Creek.

"They're dreadful nervous, all them Ashes," said Mrs. Snow. "You know
young Joe Adams's wife, over our way, is a sister to her, and she's
forever a-doctorin'. Poor fellow! _he's_ got a drag. I'm real sorry for
Joe; but, land sakes alive! he might 'a known better. They said she had
an old green bandbox with a gingham cover, that was stowed full o'
vials, that she moved with the rest of her things when she was married,
besides some she car'd in her hands. I guess she ain't in no more hurry
to go than any of the rest of us. I've lost every mite of patience with
her. I was over there last week one day, and she'd had a call from the
new supply--you know Adams's folks is Methodists--and he was took in by
her. She made out she'd got the consumption, and she told how many
complaints she had, and what a sight o' medicine she took, and she
groaned and sighed, and her voice was so weak you couldn't more than
just hear it. I stepped right into the bedroom after he'd been prayin'
with her, and was taking leave. You'd thought, by what he said, she was
going right off then. She was coughing dreadful hard, and I knew she
hadn't no more cough than I had. So says I, 'What's the matter, Adaline?
I'll get ye a drink of water. Something in your throat, I s'pose. I hope
you won't go and get cold, and have a cough.' She looked as if she could
'a bit me, but I was just as pleasant 's could be. Land! to see her
laying there, I suppose the poor young fellow thought she was all gone.
He meant well. I wish he had seen her eating apple-dumplings for dinner.
She felt better 'long in the first o' the afternoon before he come. I
says to her, right before him, that I guessed them dumplings did her
good, but she never made no answer. She will have these dyin' spells. I
don't know's she can help it, but she needn't act as if it was a credit
to anybody to be sick and laid up. Poor Joe, he come over for me last
week another day, and said she'd been havin' spasms, and asked me if
there wa'n't something I could think of. 'Yes,' says I; 'you just take a
pail o' stone-cold water, and throw it square into her face; that'll
bring her out of it;' and he looked at me a minute, and then he burst
out a-laughing--he couldn't help it. He's too good to her; that's the

"You never said that to her about the dumplings?" said Aunt Polly,
admiringly. "Well, _I_ shouldn't ha' dared;" and she rocked and knitted
away faster than ever, while we all laughed. "Now with Mary Susan it's
different. I suppose she does have the neurology, and she's a poor
broken-down creature. I do feel for her more than I do for Adaline. She
was always a willing girl, and she worked herself to death, and she
can't help these notions, nor being an Ash neither."

"I'm the last one to be hard on anybody that's sick, and in trouble,"
said Mrs. Snow.

"Bless you, she set up with Ad'line herself three nights in one week, to
my knowledge. It's more'n I would do," said Aunt Polly, as if there were
danger that I should think Mrs. Snow's kind heart to be made of flint.

"It ain't what I call watching," said she, apologetically. "We both doze
off, and then when the folks come in in the morning she'll tell what a
sufferin' night she's had. She likes to have it said she has to have

"It's strange what a queer streak there is running through the whole of
'em," said Aunt Polly, presently. "It always was so, far back's you can
follow 'em. Did you ever hear about that great-uncle of theirs that
lived over to the other side o' Denby, over to what they call the Denby
Meadows? We had a cousin o' my father's that kept house for him (he was
a single man), and I spent most of a summer and fall with her once when
I was growing up. She seemed to want company: it was a lonesome sort of
a place."

"There! I don't know when I have thought to' that," said Mrs. Snow,
looking much amused. "What stories you did use to tell, after you come
home, about the way he used to act! Dear sakes! she used to keep us
laughing till we was tired. Do tell her about him, Polly; she'll like to

"Well, I've forgot a good deal about it: you see it was much as fifty
years ago. I wasn't more than seventeen or eighteen years old. He was a
very respectable man, old Mr. Dan'el Gunn was, and a cap'n in the
militia in his day. Cap'n Gunn, they always called him. He was well off,
but he got sun-struck, and never was just right in his mind afterward.
When he was getting over his sickness after the stroke he was very
wandering, and at last he seemed to get it into his head that he was his
own sister Patience that died some five or six years before: she was
single too, and she always lived with him. They said when he got so's to
sit up in his arm-chair of an afternoon, when he was getting better, he
fought 'em dreadfully because they fetched him his own clothes to put
on; he said they was brother Dan'el's clothes. So, sure enough, they
got out an old double gown, and let him put it on, and he was as
peaceable as could be. The doctor told 'em to humor him, but they
thought it was a fancy he took, and he would forget it; but the next day
he made 'em get the double gown again, and a cap too, and there he used
to set up alongside of his bed as prim as a dish. When he got round
again so he could set up all day, they thought he wanted the dress; but
no; he seemed to be himself, and had on his own clothes just as usual in
the morning; but when he took his nap after dinner and waked up again,
he was in a dreadful frame o' mind, and had the trousers and coat off in
no time, and said he was Patience. He used to fuss with some
knitting-work he got hold of somehow; he was good-natured as could be,
and sometimes he would make 'em fetch him the cat, because Patience used
to have a cat that set in her lap while she knit. I wasn't there then,
you know, but they used to tell me about it. Folks used to call him Miss
Dan'el Gunn.

"He'd been that way some time when I went over. I'd heard about his
notions, and I was scared of him at first, but I found out there wasn't
no need. Don't you know I was sort o' 'fraid to go, 'Lizabeth, when
Cousin Statiry sent for me after she went home from that visit she made
here? She'd told us about him, but sometimes, 'long at the first of it,
he used to be cross. He never was after I went there. He was a clever,
kind-hearted man, if ever there was one," said Aunt Polly, with
decision. "He used to go down to the corner to the store sometimes in
the morning, and he would see to business. And before he got feeble
sometimes he would work out on the farm all the morning, stiddy as any
of the men; but after he come in to dinner he would take off his coat,
if he had it on, and fall asleep in his arm-chair, or on a l'unge there
was in his bedroom, and when he waked up he would be sort of bewildered
for a while, and then he'd step round quick's he could, and get his
dress out o' the clothes-press, and the cap, and put 'em on right over
the rest of his clothes. He was always small-featured and smooth-shaved,
and I don' know as, to come in sudden, you would have thought he was a
man, except his hair stood up short and straight all on the top of his
head, as men-folks had a fashion o' combing their hair then, and I must
say he did make a dreadful ordinary-looking woman. The neighbors got
used to his ways, and, land! I never thought nothing of it after the
first week or two.

"His sister's clothes that he wore first was too small for him, and so
my cousin Statiry, that kep' his house, she made him a linsey-woolsey
dress with a considerable short skirt, and he was dreadful pleased with
it, she said, because the other one never would button over good, and
showed his wais'coat, and she and I used to make him caps; he used to
wear the kind all the old women did then, with a big crown, and close
round the face. I've got some laid away up-stairs now that was my
mother's--she wore caps very young, mother did. His nephew that lived
with him carried on the farm, and managed the business, but he always
treated the cap'n as if he was head of everything there. Everybody
pitied the cap'n; folks respected him; but you couldn't help laughing,
to save ye. We used to try to keep him in, afternoons, but we couldn't

"Tell her about that day he went to meeting," said Mrs. Snow.

"Why, one of us always used to stay to home with him; we took turns; and
somehow or 'nother he never offered to go, though by spells he would be
constant to meeting in the morning. Why, bless you, you never'd think
anything ailed him a good deal of the time, if you saw him before noon,
though sometimes he would be freaky, and hide himself in the barn, or go
over in the woods, but we always kept an eye on him. But this Sunday
there was going to be a great occasion. Old Parson Croden was going to
preach; he was thought more of than anybody in this region: you've heard
tell of him a good many times, I s'pose. He was getting to be old, and
didn't preach much. He had a colleague, they set so much by him in his
parish, and I didn't know's I'd ever get another chance to hear him, so
I didn't want to stay to home, and neither did Cousin Statiry; and Jacob
Gunn, old Mr. Gunn's nephew, he said it might be the last time ever he'd
hear Parson Croden, and he set in the seats anyway; so we talked it all
over, and we got a young boy to come and set 'long of the cap'n till we
got back. He hadn't offered to go anywhere of an afternoon for a long
time. I s'pose he thought women ought to be stayers at home according
to Scripture.

"Parson Ridley--his wife was a niece to old Dr. Croden--and the old
doctor they was up in the pulpit, and the choir was singing the first
hymn--it was a fuguing tune, and they was doing their best: seems to me
it was 'Canterbury New.' Yes, it was; I remember I thought how splendid
it sounded, and Jacob Gunn he was a-leading off; and I happened to look
down the aisle, and who should I see but the poor old cap'n in his cap
and gown parading right into meeting before all the folks! There! I
wanted to go through the floor. Everybody 'most had seen him at home,
but, my goodness! to have him come into meeting!"

"What did you do?" said I.

"Why, nothing," said Miss Polly; "there was nothing _to_ do. I thought I
should faint away; but I called Cousin Statiry's 'tention, and she
looked dreadful put to it for a minute; and then says she, 'Open the
door for him; I guess he won't make no trouble,' and, poor soul, he
didn't. But to see him come up the aisle! He'd fixed himself nice as he
could, poor creatur; he'd raked out Miss Patience's old Navarino bonnet
with green ribbons and a willow feather, and set it on right over his
cap, and he had her bead bag on his arm, and her turkey-tail fan that
he'd got out of the best room; and he come with little short steps up to
the pew: and I s'posed he'd set by the door; but no, he made to go by
us, up into the corner where she used to set, and took her place, and
spread his dress out nice, and got his handkerchief out o' his bag,
just's he'd seen her do. He took off his bonnet all of a sudden, as if
he'd forgot it, and put it under the seat, like he did his hat--that was
the only thing he did that any woman wouldn't have done--and the crown
of his cap was bent some. I thought die I should. The pew was one of
them up aside the pulpit, a square one, you know, right at the end of
the right-hand aisle, so I could see the length of it and out of the
door, and there stood that poor boy we'd left to keep the cap'n company,
looking as pale as ashes. We found he'd tried every way to keep the old
gentleman at home, but he said he got f'erce as could be, so he didn't
dare to say no more, and Cap'n Gunn drove him back twice to the house,
and that's why he got in so late. I didn't know but it was the boy that
had set him on to go to meeting when I see him walk in, and I could 'a
wrung his neck; but I guess I misjudged him; he was called a stiddy boy.
He married a daughter of Ichabod Pinkham's over to Oak Plains, and I saw
a son of his when I was taking care of Miss West last spring through
that lung fever--looked like his father. I wish I'd thought to tell him
about that Sunday. I heard he was waiting on that pretty Becket girl,
the orphan one that lives with Nathan Becket. Her father and mother was
both lost at sea, but she's got property."

"What did they say in church when the captain came in, Aunt Polly?" said

"Well, a good many of them laughed--they couldn't help it, to save them;
but the cap'n he was some hard o' hearin', so he never noticed it, and
he set there in the corner and fanned him, as pleased and satisfied as
could be. The singers they had the worst time, but they had just come to
the end of a verse, and they played on the instruments a good while in
between, but I could see 'em shake, and I s'pose the tune did stray a
little, though they went through it well. And after the first fun of it
was over, most of the folks felt bad. You see, the cap'n had been very
much looked up to, and it was his misfortune, and he set there quiet,
listening to the preaching. I see some tears in some o' the old folks'
eyes: they hated to see him so broke in his mind, you know. There was
more than usual of 'em out that day; they knew how bad he'd feel if he
realized it. A good Christian man he was, and dreadful precise, I've
heard 'em say."

"Did he ever go again?" said I.

"I seem to forget," said Aunt Polly. "I dare say. I wasn't there but
from the last of June into November, and when I went over again it
wasn't for three years, and the cap'n had been dead some time. His mind
failed him more and more along at the last. But I'll tell you what he
did do, and it was the week after that very Sunday, too. He heard it
given out from the pulpit that the Female Missionary Society would meet
with Mis' William Sands the Thursday night o' that week--the sewing
society, you know; and he looked round to us real knowing; and Cousin
Statiry, says she to me, under her bonnet, 'You don't s'pose he'll want
to go?' and I like to have laughed right out. But sure enough he did,
and what do you suppose but he made us fix over a handsome black watered
silk for him to wear, that had been his sister's best dress. He said
he'd outgrown it dreadful quick. Cousin Statiry she wished to heaven
she'd thought to put it away, for Jacob had given it to her, and she was
meaning to make it over for herself; but it didn't do to cross the cap'n
and Jacob Gunn gave Statiry another one--the best he could get, but it
wasn't near so good a piece, she thought. He set everything by Statiry,
and so did the cap'n, and well they might.

"We hoped he'd forget all about it the next day; but he didn't; and I
always thought well of those ladies, they treated him so handsome, and
tried to make him enjoy himself. He did eat a great supper; they kep'
a-piling up his plate with everything. I couldn't help wondering if some
of 'em would have put themselves out much if it had been some poor
flighty old woman. The cap'n he was as polite as could be, and when
Jacob come to walk home with him he kissed 'em all round and asked 'em
to meet at his house. But the greatest was--land! I don't know when I've
thought so much about those times--one afternoon he was setting at home
in the keeping-room, and Statiry was there, and Deacon Abel Pinkham
stopped in to see Jacob Gunn about building some fence, and he found
he'd gone to mill, so he waited a while, talking friendly, as they
expected Jacob might be home; and the cap'n was as pleased as could be,
and he urged the deacon to stop to tea. And when he went away, says he
to Statiry, in a dreadful knowing way, 'Which of us do you consider the
deacon come to see?' You see, the deacon was a widower. Bless you! when
I first come home I used to set everybody laughing, but I forget most of
the things now. There was one day, though"--

"Here comes your father," said Mrs. Snow. "Now we mustn't let him go by
or you'll have to walk 'way home." And Aunt Polly hurried out to speak
to him, while I took my great bunch of golden-rod, which already drooped
a little, and followed her, with Mrs. Snow, who confided to me that the
captain's nephew Jacob had offered to Polly that summer she was over
there, and she never could see why she didn't have him: only love goes
where it is sent, and Polly wasn't one to marry for what she could get
if she didn't like the man. There was plenty that would have said yes,
and thank you too, sir, to Jacob Gunn.

That was a pleasant afternoon. I reached home when it was growing dark
and chilly, and the early autumn sunset had almost faded in the west. It
was a much longer way home around by the road than by the way I had come
across the fields.

_From a Mournful Villager_

Lately I have been thinking, with much sorrow, of the approaching
extinction of front yards, and of the type of New England village
character and civilization with which they are associated. Formerly,
because I lived in an old-fashioned New England village, it would have
been hard for me to imagine that there were parts of the country where
the Front yard, as I knew it, was not in fashion, and that Grounds
(however small) had taken its place. No matter how large a piece of land
lay in front of a house in old times, it was still a front yard, in
spite of noble dimension and the skill of practiced gardeners.

There are still a good many examples of the old manner of out-of-door
life and customs, as well as a good deal of the old-fashioned provincial
society, left in the eastern parts of the New England States; but put
side by side with the society that is American rather than provincial,
one discovers it to be in a small minority. The representative United
States citizen will be, or already is, a Westerner, and his instincts
and ways of looking at things have certain characteristics of their own
which are steadily growing more noticeable.

For many years New England was simply a bit of Old England transplanted.
We all can remember elderly people whose ideas were wholly under the
influence of their English ancestry. It is hardly more than a hundred
years since we were English colonies, and not independent United States,
and the customs and ideas of the mother country were followed from force
of habit. Now one begins to see a difference; the old traditions have
had time to almost die out even in the most conservative and least
changed towns, and a new element has come in. The true characteristics
of American society, as I have said, are showing themselves more and
more distinctly to the westward of New England, and come back to it in a
tide that steadily sweeps away the old traditions. It rises over the
heads of the prim and stately idols before which our grandfathers and
grandmothers bowed down and worshiped, and which we ourselves were at
least taught to walk softly by as they toppled on their thrones.

One cannot help wondering what a lady of the old school will be like a
hundred years from now! But at any rate she will not be in heart and
thought and fashion of good breeding as truly an Englishwoman as if she
had never stepped out of Great Britain. If one of our own elderly ladies
were suddenly dropped into the midst of provincial English society, she
would be quite at home; but west of her own Hudson River she is lucky if
she does not find herself behind the times, and almost a stranger and a

And yet from the first there was a little difference, and the colonies
were New England and not Old. In some ways more radical, yet in some
ways more conservative, than the people across the water, they showed a
new sort of flower when they came into bloom in this new climate and
soil. In the old days there had not been time for the family ties to be
broken and forgotten. Instead of the unknown English men and women who
are our sixth and seventh cousins now, they had first and second cousins
then; but there was little communication between one country and the
other, and the mutual interest in every-day affairs had to fade out
quickly. A traveler was a curiosity, and here, even between the villages
themselves, there was far less intercourse than we can believe possible.
People stayed on their own ground; their horizons were of small
circumference, and their whole interest and thought were spent upon
their own land, their own neighbors, their own affairs, while they not
only were contented with this state of things but encouraged it. One has
only to look at the high-walled pews of the old churches, at the high
fences of the town gardens, and at even the strong fortifications around
some family lots in the burying-grounds, to be sure of this. The
interviewer was not besought and encouraged in those days,--he was
defied. In that quarter, at least, they had the advantage of us. Their
interest was as real and heartfelt in each other's affairs as ours, let
us hope; but they never allowed idle curiosity to show itself in the
world's market-place, shameless and unblushing.

There is so much to be said in favor of our own day, and the men and
women of our own time, that a plea for a recognition of the quaintness
and pleasantness of village life in the old days cannot seem unwelcome,
or without deference to all that has come with the later years of ease
and comfort, or of discovery in the realms of mind or matter. We are
beginning to cling to the elderly people who are so different from
ourselves, and for this reason: we are paying them instinctively the
honor that is due from us to our elders and betters; they have that
grand prestige and dignity that only comes with age; they are like old
wines, perhaps no better than many others when they were young, but now
after many years they have come to be worth nobody knows how many
dollars a dozen, and the connoisseurs make treasures of the few bottles
of that vintage which are left.

It was a restricted and narrowly limited life in the old days. Religion,
or rather sectarianism, was apt to be simply a matter of inheritance,
and there was far more bigotry in every cause and question,--a fiercer
partisanship; and because there were fewer channels of activity, and
those undivided into specialties, there was a whole-souled concentration
of energy that was as efficient as it was sometimes narrow and
short-sighted. People were more contented in the sphere of life to which
it had pleased God to call them, and they do not seem to have been so
often sorely tempted by the devil with a sight of the kingdoms of the
world and the glory of them. We are more likely to busy ourselves with
finding things to do than in doing with our might the work that is in
our hands already. The disappearance of many of the village front yards
may come to be typical of the altered position of woman, and mark a
stronghold on her way from the much talked-of slavery and subjection to
a coveted equality. She used to be shut off from the wide acres of the
farm, and had no voice in the world's politics; she must stay in the
house, or only hold sway out of doors in this prim corner of land where
she was queen. No wonder that women clung to their rights in their
flower-gardens then, and no wonder that they have grown a little
careless of them now, and that lawn mowers find so ready a sale. The
whole world is their front yard nowadays!

       *       *       *       *       *

There might be written a history of front yards in New England which
would be very interesting to read. It would end in a treatise upon
landscape gardening and its possibilities, and wild flights of
imagination about the culture of plants under glass, the application of
artificial heat in forcing, and the curious mingling and development of
plant life, but it would begin in the simple time of the early
colonists. It must have been hard when, after being familiar with the
gardens and parks of England and Holland, they found themselves
restricted to front yards by way of pleasure grounds. Perhaps they
thought such things were wrong, and that having a pleasant place to walk
about in out of doors would encourage idle and lawless ways in the
young; at any rate, for several years it was more necessary to raise
corn and potatoes to keep themselves from starving than to lay out
alleys and plant flowers and box borders among the rocks and stumps.
There is a great pathos in the fact that in so stern and hard a life
there was time or place for any gardens at all. I can picture to myself
the little slips and cuttings that had been brought over in the ship,
and more carefully guarded than any of the household goods; I can see
the women look at them tearfully when they came into bloom, because
nothing else could be a better reminder of their old home. What fears
there must have been lest the first winter's cold might kill them, and
with what love and care they must have been tended! I know a rose-bush,
and a little while ago I knew an apple-tree, that were brought over by
the first settlers; the rose still blooms, and until it was cut down the
old tree bore apples. It is strange to think that civilized New England
is no older than the little red roses that bloom in June on that slope
above the river in Kittery. Those earliest gardens were very pathetic in
the contrast of their extent and their power of suggestion and
association. Every seed that came up was thanked for its kindness, and
every flower that bloomed was the child of a beloved ancestry.

It would be interesting to watch the growth of the gardens as life
became easier and more comfortable in the colonies. As the settlements
grew into villages and towns, and the Indians were less dreadful, and
the houses were better and more home-like, the busy people began to find
a little time now and then when they could enjoy themselves soberly.
Beside the fruits of the earth they could have some flowers and a sprig
of sage and southernwood and tansy, or lavender that had come from
Surrey and could be dried to be put among the linen as it used to be
strewn through the chests and cupboards in the old country.

I like to think of the changes as they came slowly; that after a while
tender plants could be kept through the winter, because the houses were
better built and warmer, and were no longer rough shelters which were
only meant to serve until there could be something better. Perhaps the
parlor, or best room, and a special separate garden for the flowers were
two luxuries of the same date, and they made a noticeable change in the
manner of living,--the best room being a formal recognition of the
claims of society, and the front yard an appeal for the existence of
something that gave pleasure,--beside the merely useful and wholly
necessary things of life. When it was thought worth while to put a fence
around the flower-garden the respectability of art itself was
established and made secure. Whether the house was a fine one, and its
inclosure spacious, or whether it was a small house with only a narrow
bit of ground in front, this yard was kept with care, and it was
different from the rest of the land altogether. The children were not
often allowed to play there, and the family did not use the front door
except upon occasions of more or less ceremony. I think that many of the
old front yards could tell stories of the lovers who found it hard to
part under the stars, and lingered over the gate; and who does not
remember the solemn group of men who gather there at funerals, and stand
with their heads uncovered as the mourners go out and come in, two by
two. I have always felt rich in the possession of an ancient York
tradition of an old fellow who demanded, as he lay dying, that the grass
in his front yard should be cut at once; it was no use to have it
trodden down and spoilt by the folks at the funeral. I always hoped it
was good hay weather; but he must have been certain of that when he
spoke. Let us hope he did not confuse this world with the next, being so
close upon the borders of it! It was not man-like to think of the front
yard, since it was the special domain of the women,--the men of the
family respected but ignored it,--they had to be teased in the spring
to dig the flower beds, but it was the busiest time of the year; one
should remember that.

I think many people are sorry, without knowing why, to see the fences
pulled down; and the disappearance of plain white palings causes almost
as deep regret as that of the handsome ornamental fences and their high
posts with urns or great white balls on top. A stone coping does not
make up for the loss of them; it always looks a good deal like a lot in
a cemetery, for one thing; and then in a small town the grass is not
smooth, and looks uneven where the flower-beds were not properly
smoothed down. The stray cows trample about where they never went
before; the bushes and little trees that were once protected grow ragged
and scraggly and out at elbows, and a few forlorn flowers come up of
themselves, and try hard to grow and to bloom. The ungainly red tubs
that are perched on little posts have plants in them, but the poor
posies look as if they would rather be in the ground, and as if they are
held too near the fire of the sun. If everything must be neglected and
forlorn so much the more reason there should be a fence, if but to hide
it. Americans are too fond of being stared at; they apparently feel as
if it were one's duty to one's neighbor. Even if there is nothing really
worth looking at about a house, it is still exposed to the gaze of the
passers-by. Foreigners are far more sensible than we, and the
out-of-door home life among them is something we might well try to copy.
They often have their meals served out of doors, and one can enjoy an
afternoon nap in a hammock, or can take one's work out into the shady
garden with great satisfaction, unwatched; and even a little piece of
ground can be made, if shut in and kept for the use and pleasure of the
family alone, a most charming unroofed and trellised summer ante-room to
the house. In a large, crowded town it would be selfish to conceal the
rare bits of garden, where the sight of anything green is a godsend; but
where there is the whole wide country of fields and woods within easy
reach I think there should be high walls around our gardens, and that we
lose a great deal in not making them entirely separate from the highway;
as much as we should lose in making the walls of our parlors and
dining-rooms of glass, and building the house as close to the street as

But to go back to the little front yards: we are sorry to miss them and
their tangle or orderliness of roses and larkspur and honeysuckle,
Canterbury bells and London pride, lilacs and peonies. These may all
bloom better than ever in the new beds that are cut in the turf; but
with the side fences that used to come from the corners of the house to
the front fence, other barriers, as I have said here over and over, have
been taken away, and the old-fashioned village life is becoming extinct.
People do not know what they lose when they make way with the reserve,
the separateness, the sanctity of the front yard of their grandmothers.
It is like writing down the family secrets for any one to read; it is
like having everybody call you by your first name and sitting in any pew
in church, and like having your house in the middle of a road, to take
away the fence which, slight as it may be, is a fortification round your
home. More things than one may come in without being asked. We Americans
had better build more fences than take any away from our lives. There
should be gates for charity to go out and in, and kindness and sympathy
too, but his life and his house are together each man's stronghold and
castle, to be kept and defended.

I was much amused once at thinking that the fine old solid paneled doors
were being unhinged faster than ever nowadays, since so many front gates
have disappeared, and the click of the latch can no longer give notice
of the approach of a guest. Now the knocker sounds or the bell rings
without note or warning, and the village housekeeper cannot see who is
coming in until they have already reached the door. Once the guests
could be seen on their way up the walk. It must be a satisfaction to
look through the clear spots of the figured ground-glass in the new
doors, and I believe if there is a covering inside few doors will be
found unprovided with a peephole. It was better to hear the gate open
and shut, and if it caught and dragged as front gates are very apt to do
you could have time always for a good look out of the window at the
approaching friend.

There are few of us who cannot remember a front-yard garden which seemed
to us a very paradise in childhood. It was like a miracle when the
yellow and white daffies came into bloom in the spring, and there was a
time when tiger-lilies and the taller rose-bushes were taller than we
were, and we could not look over their heads as we do now. There were
always a good many lady's-delights that grew under the bushes, and came
up anywhere in the chinks of the walk of the door-step, and there was a
little green sprig called ambrosia that was a famous stray-away. Outside
the fence one was not unlikely to see a company of French pinks, which
were forbidden standing-room inside as if they were tiresome poor
relations of the other flowers. I always felt a sympathy for French
pinks,--they have a fresh, sweet look, as if they resigned themselves to
their lot in life and made the best of it, and remembered that they had
the sunshine and rain, and could see what was going on in the world, if
they were outlaws.

I like to remember being sent on errands, and being asked to wait while
the mistress of the house picked some flowers to send back to my mother.
They were almost always prim, flat bouquets in those days; the larger
flowers were picked first and stood at the back and looked over the
heads of those that were shorter of stem and stature, and the givers
always sent a message that they had not stopped to arrange them. I
remember that I had even then a great dislike to lemon verbena, and that
I would have waited patiently outside a gate all the afternoon if I knew
that some one would kindly give me a sprig of lavender in the evening.
And lilies did not seem to me overdressed, but it was easy for me to
believe that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like a great
yellow marigold, or even the dear little single ones that were yellow
and brown, and bloomed until the snow came.

I wish that I had lived for a little while in those days when lilacs
were a new fashion, and it was a great distinction to have some growing
in a front yard. It always seems as if lilacs and poplars belonged to
the same generation with a certain kind of New English gentlemen and
ladies, who were ascetic and severe in some of their fashions, while in
others they were more given to pleasuring and mild revelry than either
their ancestors or the people who have lived in their houses since.
Fifty years ago there seems to have been a last tidal wave of Puritanism
which swept over the country, and drowned for a time the sober feasting
and dancing which before had been considered no impropriety in the
larger villages. Whist-playing was clung to only by the most worldly
citizens, and, as for dancing, it was made a sin in itself and a
reproach, as if every step was taken willfully in seven-leagued boots
toward a place which is to be the final destination of all the wicked.

A single poplar may have a severe and uncharitable look, but a row of
them suggests the antique and pleasing pomp and ceremony of their early
days, before the sideboard cupboards were only used to keep the boxes of
strings and nails and the duster; and the best decanters were put on a
high shelf, while the plain ones were used for vinegar in the kitchen
closet. There is far less social visiting from house to house than there
used to be. People in the smaller towns have more acquaintances who live
at a distance than was the case before the days of railroads, and there
are more guests who come from a distance, which has something to do with
making tea-parties and the entertainment of one's neighbors less
frequent than in former times. But most of the New England towns have
changed their characters in the last twenty years, since the
manufactories have come in and brought together large numbers either of
foreigners or of a different class of people from those who used to make
the most of the population. A certain class of families is rapidly
becoming extinct. There will be found in the older villages very few
persons left who belong to this class, which was once far more important
and powerful; the oldest churches are apt to be most thinly attended
simply because a different sort of ideas, even of heavenly things,
attract the newer residents. I suppose that elderly people have said,
ever since the time of Shem, Ham, and Japhet's wives in the ark, that
society is nothing to what it used to be, and we may expect to be always
told what unworthy successors we are of our grandmothers. But the fact
remains that a certain element of American society is fast dying out,
giving place to the new; and with all our glory and pride in modern
progress and success we cling to the old associations regretfully. There
is nothing to take the place of the pleasure we have in going to see our
old friends in the parlors which have changed little since our
childhood. No matter how advanced in years we seem to ourselves we are
children still to the gracious hostess. Thank Heaven for the friends
who have always known us! They may think us unreliable and young still;
they may not understand that we have become busy and more or less
important people to ourselves and to the world,--we are pretty sure to
be without honor in our own country, but they will never forget us, and
we belong to each other and always shall.

I have received many kindnesses at my friends' hands, but I do not know
that I have ever felt myself to be a more fortunate or honored guest
than I used years ago, when I sometimes went to call upon an elderly
friend of my mother who lived in most pleasant and stately fashion. I
used to put on my very best manner, and I have no doubt that my thoughts
were well ordered, and my conversation as proper as I knew how to make
it. I can remember that I used to sit on a tall ottoman, with nothing to
lean against, and my feet were off soundings, I was so high above the
floor. We used to discuss the weather, and I said that I went to school
(sometimes), or that it was then vacation, as the case might be, and we
tried to make ourselves agreeable to each other. Presently my lady would
take her keys out of her pocket, and sometimes a maid would come to
serve me, or else she herself would bring me a silver tray with some
pound-cakes baked in hearts and rounds, and a small glass of wine, and I
proudly felt that I was a guest, though I was such a little thing an
attention was being paid me, and a thrill of satisfaction used to go
over me for my consequence and importance. A handful of sugar-plums
would have seemed nothing beside this entertainment. I used to be
careful not to crumble the cake, and I used to eat it with my gloves on,
and a pleasant fragrance would cling for some time afterward to the ends
of the short Lisle-thread fingers. I have no doubt that my manners as I
took leave were almost as distinguished as those of my hostess, though I
might have been wild and shy all the rest of the week. It was not many
years ago that I went to my old friend's funeral--and saw them carry her
down the long, wide walk, between the tall box borders which were her
pride; and all the air was heavy and sweet with the perfume of the early
summer blossoms; the white lilacs and the flowering currants were still
in bloom, and the rows of her dear Dutch tulips stood dismayed in their
flaunting colors and watched her go away.

My sketch of the already out-of-date or fast vanishing village fashions
perhaps should be ended here, but I cannot resist a wish to add another
bit of autobiography of which I have been again and again reminded in
writing these pages. The front yard I knew best belonged to my
grandfather's house. My grandmother was a proud and solemn woman, and
she hated my mischief, and rightly thought my elder sister a much better
child than I. I used to be afraid of her when I was in the house, but I
shook off even her authority and forgot I was under anybody's rule when
I was out of doors. I was first cousin to a caterpillar if they called
me to come in, and I was own sister to a giddy-minded bobolink when I
ran away across the fields, as I used to do very often. But when I was a
very little child indeed my world was bounded by the fences that were
around my home; there were wide green yards and tall elm-trees to shade
them; there was a long line of barns and sheds, and one of these had a
large room in its upper story, with an old ship's foresail spread over
the floor, and made a capital play-room in wet weather. Here fruit was
spread in the fall, and there were some old chests and pieces of
furniture that had been discarded; it was like the garret, only much
pleasanter. The children in the village now cannot possibly be so happy
as I was then. I used to mount the fence next the street and watch the
people go in and out of the quaint-roofed village shops that stood in a
row on the other side, and looked as if they belonged to a Dutch or old
English town. They were burnt down long ago, but they were charmingly
picturesque; the upper stories sometimes projected over the lower, and
the chimneys were sometimes clustered together and built of bright red

And I was too happy when I could smuggle myself into the front yard,
with its four lilac bushes and its white fences to shut it in from the
rest of the world, beside other railings that went from the porch down
each side of the brick walk, which was laid in a pattern, and had H.C.,
1818, cut deeply into one of the bricks near the door-step. The H.C.
was for Henry Currier, the mason, who had signed this choice bit of work
as if it were a picture, and he had been dead so many years that I used
to think of his initials as if the corner brick were a little
grave-stone for him. The knocker used to be so bright that it shone at
you, and caught your eye bewilderingly, as you came in from the street
on a sunshiny day. There were very few flowers, for my grandmother was
old and feeble when I knew her, and could not take care of them; but I
remember that there were blush roses, and white roses, and cinnamon
roses all in a tangle in one corner, and I used to pick the crumpled
petals of those to make myself a delicious coddle with ground cinnamon
and damp brown sugar. In the spring I used to find the first green grass
there, for it was warm and sunny, and I used to pick the little French
pinks when they dared show their heads in the cracks of the flag-stones
that were laid around the house. There were small shoots of lilac, too,
and their leaves were brown and had a faint, sweet fragrance, and a
little later the dandelions came into bloom; the largest ones I knew
grew there, and they have always been to this day my favorite flowers.

I had my trials and sorrows in this paradise, however; I lost a cent
there one day which I never have found yet! And one morning, there
suddenly appeared in one corner a beautiful, dark-blue _fleur-de-lis_,
and I joyfully broke its neck and carried it into the house, but
everybody had seen it, and wondered that I could not have left it alone.
Besides this, it befell me later to sin more gravely still; my
grandmother had kept some plants through the winter on a three-cornered
stand built like a flight of steps, and when the warm spring weather
came this was put out of doors. She had a cherished tea-rose bush, and
what should I find but a bud on it; it was opened just enough to give a
hint of its color. I was very pleased; I snapped it off at once, for I
had heard so many times that it was hard to make roses bloom; and I ran
in through the hall and up the stairs, where I met my grandmother on the
square landing. She sat down in the window-seat, and I showed her
proudly what was crumpled in my warm little fist. I can see it now!--it
had no stem at all, and for many days afterward I was bowed down with a
sense of my guilt and shame, for I was made to understand it was an
awful thing to have blighted and broken a treasured flower like that.

It must have been the very next winter that my grandmother died. She had
a long illness which I do not remember much about; but the night she
died might have been yesterday night, it is all so fresh and clear in
my mind. I did not live with her in the old house then, but in a new
house close by, across the yard. All the family were at the great house,
and I could see that lights were carried hurriedly from one room to
another. A servant came to fetch me, but I would not go with her; my
grandmother was dying, whatever that might be, and she was taking leave
of every one--she was ceremonious even then. I did not dare to go with
the rest; I had an intense curiosity to see what dying might be like,
but I was afraid to be there with her, and I was also afraid to stay at
home alone. I was only five years old. It was in December, and the sky
seemed to grow darker and darker, and I went out at last to sit on a
door-step and cry softly to myself, and while I was there some one came
to another door next the street, and rang the bell loudly again and
again. I suppose I was afraid to answer the summons--indeed, I do not
know that I thought of it; all the world had been still before, and the
bell sounded loud and awful through the empty house. It seemed as if the
messenger from an unknown world had come to the wrong house to call my
poor grandmother away; and that loud ringing is curiously linked in my
mind with the knocking at the gate in "Macbeth." I never can think of
one without the other, though there was no fierce Lady Macbeth to bid me
not be lost so poorly in my thoughts; for when they all came back awed
and tearful, and found me waiting in the cold, alone, and afraid more of
this world than the next, they were very good to me. But as for the
funeral, it gave me vast entertainment; it was the first grand public
occasion in which I had taken any share.

_An October Ride_

It was a fine afternoon, just warm enough and just cool enough, and I
started off alone on horseback, though I do not know why I should say
alone when I find my horse such good company. She is called Sheila, and
she not only gratifies one's sense of beauty, but is very interesting in
her character, while her usefulness in this world is beyond question. I
grow more fond of her every week; we have had so many capital good times
together, and I am certain that she is as much pleased as I when we
start out for a run.

I do not say to every one that I always pronounce her name in German
fashion because she occasionally shies, but that is the truth. I do not
mind her shying, or a certain mysterious and apparently unprovoked jump,
with which she sometimes indulges herself, and no one else rides her, so
I think she does no harm, but I do not like the principle of allowing
her to be wicked, unrebuked and unhindered, and some day I shall give my
mind to admonishing this four-footed Princess of Thule, who seems at
present to consider herself at the top of royalty in this kingdom or any
other. I believe I should not like her half so well if she were tamer
and entirely and stupidly reliable; I glory in her good spirits and I
think she has a right to be proud and willful if she chooses. I am proud
myself of her quick eye and ear, her sure foot, and her slender,
handsome chestnut head. I look at her points of high breeding with
admiration, and I thank her heartily for all the pleasure she has given
me, and for what I am sure is a steadfast friendship between us,--and a
mutual understanding that rarely knows a disappointment or a mistake.
She is careful when I come home late through the shadowy, twilighted
woods, and I can hardly see my way; she forgets then all her little
tricks and capers, and is as steady as a clock with her tramp, tramp,
over the rough, dark country roads. I feel as if I had suddenly grown a
pair of wings when she fairly flies over the ground and the wind
whistles in my ears. There never was a time when she could not go a
little faster, but she is willing to go step by step through the close
woods, pushing her way through the branches, and stopping considerately
when a bough that will not bend tries to pull me off the saddle. And she
never goes away and leaves me when I dismount to get some flowers or a
drink of spring water, though sometimes she thinks what fun it would be.
I cannot speak of all her virtues for I have not learned them yet. We
are still new friends, for I have only ridden her two years and I feel
all the fascination of the first meeting every time I go out with her,
she is so unexpected in her ways; so amusing, so sensible, so brave, and
in every way so delightful a horse.

It was in October, and it was a fine day to look at, though some of the
great clouds that sailed through the sky were a little too heavy-looking
to promise good weather on the morrow, and over in the west (where the
wind was coming from) they were packed close together and looked gray
and wet. It might be cold and cloudy later, but that would not hinder my
ride; it is a capital way to keep warm, to come along a smooth bit of
road on the run, and I should have time at any rate to go the way I
wished, so Sheila trotted quickly through the gate and out of the
village. There was a flicker of color left on the oaks and maples, and
though it was not Indian-summer weather it was first cousin to it. I
took off my cap to let the wind blow through my hair; I had half a mind
to go down to the sea, but it was too late for that; there was no moon
to light me home. Sheila took the strip of smooth turf just at the side
of the road for her own highway, she tossed her head again and again
until I had my hand full of her thin, silky mane, and she gave quick
pulls at her bit and hurried little jumps ahead as if she expected me
already to pull the reins tight and steady her for a hard gallop. I
patted her and whistled at her, I was so glad to see her again and to be
out riding, and I gave her part of her reward to begin with, because I
knew she would earn it, and then we were on better terms than ever. She
has such a pretty way of turning her head to take the square lump of
sugar, and she never bit my fingers or dropped the sugar in her life.

Down in the lower part of the town on the edge of York, there is a long
tract of woodland, covering what is called the Rocky Hills; rough, high
land, that stretches along from beyond Agamenticus, near the sea, to the
upper part of Eliot, near the Piscataqua River. Standing on
Agamenticus, the woods seem to cover nearly the whole of the country as
far as one can see, and there is hardly a clearing to break this long
reach of forest of which I speak; there must be twenty miles of it in an
almost unbroken line. The roads cross it here and there, and one can
sometimes see small and lonely farms hiding away in the heart of it. The
trees are for the most part young growth of oak or pine, though I could
show you yet many a noble company of great pines that once would have
been marked with the king's arrow, and many a royal old oak which has
been overlooked in the search for ships' knees and plank for the navy
yard, and piles for the always shaky, up-hill and down, pleasant old
Portsmouth bridge. The part of these woods which I know best lies on
either side the already old new road to York on the Rocky Hills, and
here I often ride, or even take perilous rough drives through the
cart-paths, the wood roads which are busy thoroughfares in the winter,
and are silent and shady, narrowed by green branches and carpeted with
slender brakes, and seldom traveled over, except by me, all summer long.

It was a great surprise, or a succession of surprises, one summer, when
I found that every one of the old uneven tracks led to or at least led
by what had once been a clearing, and in old days must have been the
secluded home of some of the earliest adventurous farmers of this
region. It must have taken great courage, I think, to strike the first
blow of one's axe here in the woods, and it must have been a brave
certainty of one's perseverance that looked forward to the smooth field
which was to succeed the unfruitful wilderness. The farms were far
enough apart to be very lonely, and I suppose at first the cry of fierce
wild creatures in the forest was an every-day sound, and the Indians
stole like snakes through the bushes and crept from tree to tree about
the houses watching, begging, and plundering, over and over again. There
are some of these farms still occupied, where the land seems to have
become thoroughly civilized, but most of them were deserted long ago;
the people gave up the fight with such a persistent willfulness and
wildness of nature and went away to the village, or to find more
tractable soil and kindlier neighborhoods.

I do not know why it is these silent, forgotten places are so
delightful to me; there is one which I always call my farm, and it was a
long time after I knew it well before I could find out to whom it had
once belonged. In some strange way the place has become a part of my
world and to belong to my thoughts and my life.

I suppose every one can say, "I have a little kingdom where I give
laws." Each of us has truly a kingdom in thought, and a certain
spiritual possession. There are some gardens of mine where somebody
plants the seeds and pulls the weeds for me every year without my ever
taking a bit of trouble. I have trees and fields and woods and seas and
houses, I own a great deal of the world to think and plan and dream
about. The picture belongs most to the man who loves it best and sees
entirely its meaning. We can always have just as much as we can take of
things, and we can lay up as much treasure as we please in the higher
world of thought that can never be spoiled or hindered by moth or rust,
as lower and meaner wealth can be.

       *       *       *       *       *

As for this farm of mine, I found it one day when I was coming through
the woods on horseback trying to strike a shorter way out into the main
road. I was pushing through some thick underbrush, and looking ahead I
noticed a good deal of clear sky as if there were an open place just
beyond, and presently I found myself on the edge of a clearing. There
was a straggling orchard of old apple-trees, the grass about them was
close and short like the wide door-yard of an old farm-house and into
this cleared space the little pines were growing on every side. The old
pines stood a little way back watching their children march in upon
their inheritance, as if they were ready to interfere and protect and
defend, if any trouble came. I could see that it would not be many
years, if they were left alone, before the green grass would be covered,
and the old apple-trees would grow mossy and die for lack of room and
sunlight in the midst of the young woods. It was a perfect acre of turf,
only here and there I could already see a cushion of juniper, or a tuft
of sweet fern or bayberry. I walked the horse about slowly, picking a
hard little yellow apple here and there from the boughs over my head,
and at last I found a cellar all grown over with grass, with not even a
bit of a crumbling brick to be seen in the hollow of it. No doubt there
were some underground. It was a very large cellar, twice as large as any
I had ever found before in any of these deserted places, in the woods or
out. And that told me at once that there had been a large house above
it, an unusual house for those old days; the family was either a large
one, or it had made for itself more than a merely sufficient covering
and shelter, with no inch of unnecessary room. I knew I was on very high
land, but the trees were so tall and close that I could not see beyond
them. The wind blew over pleasantly and it was a curiously protected and
hidden place, sheltered and quiet, with its one small crop of cider
apples dropping ungathered to the ground, and unharvested there, except
by hurrying black ants and sticky, witless little snails.

I suppose my feeling toward this place was like that about a ruin, only
this seemed older than a ruin. I could not hear my horse's foot-falls,
and an apple startled me when it fell with a soft thud, and I watched it
roll a foot or two and then stop, as if it knew it never would have
anything more to do in the world. I remembered the Enchanted Palace and
the Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, and it seemed as if I were on the way
to it, and this was a corner of that palace garden. The horse listened
and stood still, without a bit of restlessness, and when we heard the
far cry of a bird she looked round at me, as if she wished me to notice
that we were not alone in the world, after all. It was strange, to be
sure, that people had lived there, and had had a home where they were
busy, and where the fortunes of life had found them; that they had
followed out the law of existence in its succession of growth and
flourishing and failure and decay, within that steadily narrowing circle
of trees.

The relationship of untamed nature to what is tamed and cultivated is a
very curious and subtle thing to me; I do not know if every one feels it
so intensely. In the darkness of an early autumn evening I sometimes
find myself whistling a queer tune that chimes in with the crickets'
piping and the cries of the little creatures around me in the garden. I
have no thought of the rest of the world. I wonder what I am; there is a
strange self-consciousness, but I am only a part of one great existence
which is called nature. The life in me is a bit of all life, and where I
am happiest is where I find that which is next of kin to me, in friends,
or trees, or hills, or seas, or beside a flower, when I turn back more
than once to look into its face.

The world goes on year after year. We can use its forces, and shape and
mould them, and perfect this thing or that, but we cannot make new
forces; we only use the tools we find to carve the wood we find. There
is nothing new; we discover and combine and use. Here is the wild
fruit,--the same fruit at heart as that with which the gardener wins his
prize. The world is the same world. You find a diamond, but the diamond
was there a thousand years ago; you did not make it by finding it. We
grow spiritually, until we grasp some new great truth of God; but it was
always true, and waited for us until we came. What is there new and
strange in the world except ourselves! Our thoughts are our own; God
gives our life to us moment by moment, but He gives it to be our own.

    "Ye on your harps must lean to hear
    A secret chord that mine will bear."

As I looked about me that day I saw the difference that men had made
slowly fading out of sight. It was like a dam in a river; when it is
once swept away the river goes on the same as before. The old patient,
sublime forces were there at work in their appointed way, but perhaps by
and by, when the apple-trees are gone and the cellar is only a rough
hollow in the woods, some one will again set aside these forces that
have worked unhindered, and will bring this corner of the world into a
new use and shape. What if we could stop or change forever the working
of these powers! But Nature repossesses herself surely of what we boldly
claim. The pyramids stand yet, it happens, but where are all those
cities that used also to stand in old Egypt, proud and strong, and
dating back beyond men's memories or traditions,--turned into sand again
and dust that is like all the rest of the desert, and blows about in the
wind? Yet there cannot be such a thing as life that is lost. The tree
falls and decays, in the dampness of the woods, and is part of the earth
under foot, but another tree is growing out of it; perhaps it is part of
its own life that is springing again from the part of it that died. God
must always be putting again to some use the life that is withdrawn; it
must live, because it is Life. There can be no confusion to God in this
wonderful world, the new birth of the immortal, the new forms of the
life that is from everlasting to everlasting, or the new way in which it
comes. But it is only God who can plan and order it all,--who is a
father to his children, and cares for the least of us. I thought of his
unbroken promises; the people who lived and died in that lonely place
knew Him, and the chain of events was fitted to their thoughts and
lives, for their development and education. The world was made for them,
and God keeps them yet; somewhere in his kingdom they are in their
places,--they are not lost; while the trees they left grow older, and
the young trees spring up, and the fields they cleared are being covered
over and turned into wild land again.

       *       *       *       *       *

I had visited this farm of mine many times since that first day, but
since the last time I had been there I had found out, luckily, something
about its last tenant. An old lady whom I knew in the village had told
me that when she was a child she remembered another very old woman, who
used to live here all alone, far from any neighbors, and that one
afternoon she had come with her mother to see her. She remembered the
house very well; it was larger and better than most houses in the
region. Its owner was the last of her family; but why she lived alone,
or what became of her at last, or of her money or her goods, or who were
her relatives in the town, my friend did not know. She was a thrifty,
well-to-do old soul, a famous weaver and spinner, and she used to come
to the meeting-house at the Old Fields every Sunday, and sit by herself
in a square pew. Since I knew this, the last owner of my farm has become
very real to me, and I thought of her that day a great deal, and could
almost see her as she sat alone on her door-step in the twilight of a
summer evening, when the thrushes were calling in the woods; or going
down the hills to church, dressed in quaint fashion, with a little
sadness in her face as she thought of her lost companions and how she
did not use to go to church alone. And I pictured her funeral to myself,
and watched her carried away at last by the narrow road that wound
among the trees; and there was nobody left in the house after the
neighbors from the nearest farms had put it to rights, and had looked
over her treasures to their hearts' content. She must have been a
fearless woman, and one could not stay in such a place as this, year in
and year out, through the long days of summer and the long nights of
winter, unless she found herself good company.

I do not think I could find a worse avenue than that which leads to my
farm, I think sometimes there must have been an easier way out which I
have yet failed to discover, but it has its advantages, for the trees
are beautiful and stand close together, and I do not know such green
brakes anywhere as those which grow in the shadiest places. I came into
a well-trodden track after a while, which led into a small granite
quarry, and then I could go faster, and at last I reached a pasture wall
which was quickly left behind and I was only a little way from the main
road. There were a few young cattle scattered about in the pasture, and
some of them which were lying down got up in a hurry and stared at me
suspiciously as I rode along. It was very uneven ground, and I passed
some stiff, straight mullein stalks which stood apart together in a
hollow as if they wished to be alone. They always remind me of the rigid
old Scotch Covenanters, who used to gather themselves together in
companies, against the law, to worship God in some secret hollow of the
bleak hill-side. Even the smallest and youngest of the mulleins was a
Covenanter at heart; they had all put by their yellow flowers, and they
will stand there, gray and unbending, through the fall rains and winter
snows, to keep their places and praise God in their own fashion, and
they take great credit to themselves for doing it, I have no doubt, and
think it is far better to be a stern and respectable mullein than a
straying, idle clematis, that clings and wanders, and cannot bear wet
weather. I saw members of the congregation scattered through the pasture
and felt like telling them to hurry, for the long sermon had already
begun! But one ancient worthy, very late on his way to the meeting,
happened to stand in our way, and Sheila bit his dry head off, which was
a great pity.

After I was once on the high road it was not long before I found myself
in another part of the town altogether. It is great fun to ride about
the country; one rouses a great deal of interest; there seems to be
something exciting in the sight of a girl on horseback, and people who
pass you in wagons turn to look after you, though they never would take
the trouble if you were only walking. The country horses shy if you go
by them fast, and sometimes you stop to apologize. The boys will leave
anything to come and throw a stone at your horse. I think Sheila would
like to bite a boy, though sometimes she goes through her best paces
when she hears them hooting, as if she thought they were admiring her,
which I never allow myself to doubt. It is considered a much greater
compliment if you make a call on horseback than if you came afoot, but
carriage people are nothing in the country to what they are in the city.

I was on a good road and Sheila was trotting steadily, and I did not
look at the western sky behind me until I suddenly noticed that the air
had grown colder and the sun had been for a long time behind a cloud;
then I found there was going to be a shower, in a very little while,
too. I was in a thinly settled part of the town, and at first I could
not think of any shelter, until I remembered that not very far distant
there was an old house, with a long, sloping roof, which had formerly
been the parsonage of the north parish; there had once been a church
near by, to which most of the people came who lived in this upper part
of the town. It had been for many years the house of an old minister, of
widespread fame in his day; I had always heard of him from the elderly
people, and I had often thought I should like to go into his house, and
had looked at it with great interest, but until within a year or two
there had been people living there. I had even listened with pleasure to
a story of its being haunted, and this was a capital chance to take a
look at the old place, so I hurried toward it.

As I went in at the broken gate it seemed to me as if the house might
have been shut up and left to itself fifty years before, when the
minister died, so soon the grass grows up after men's footsteps have
worn it down, and the traces are lost of the daily touch and care of
their hands. The home lot was evidently part of a pasture, and the sheep
had nibbled close to the door-step, while tags of their long, spring
wool, washed clean by summer rains, were caught in the rose-bushes near

It had been a very good house in its day, and had a dignity of its own,
holding its gray head high, as if it knew itself to be not merely a
farm-house, but a Parsonage. The roof looked as if the next winter's
weight of snow might break it in, and the window panes had been loosened
so much in their shaking frames that many of them had fallen out on the
north side of the house, and were lying on the long grass underneath,
blurred and thin but still unbroken. That was the last letter of the
house's death warrant, for now the rain could get in, and the crumbling
timbers must loose their hold of each other quickly. I had found a dry
corner of the old shed for the horse and left her there, looking most
ruefully over her shoulder after me as I hurried away, for the rain had
already begun to spatter down in earnest. I was not sorry when I found
that somebody had broken a pane of glass in the sidelight of the front
door, near the latch, and I was very pleased when I found that by
reaching through I could unfasten a great bolt and let myself in, as
perhaps some tramp in search of shelter had done before me. However, I
gave the blackened brass knocker a ceremonious rap or two, and I could
have told by the sound of it, if in no other way, that there was nobody
at home. I looked up to see a robin's nest on the cornice overhead, and
I had to push away the lilacs and a withered hop vine which were both
trying to cover up the door.

It gives one a strange feeling, I think, to go into an empty house so
old as this. It was so still there that the noise my footsteps made
startled me, and the floor creaked and cracked as if some one followed
me about. There was hardly a straw left or a bit of string or paper, but
the rooms were much worn, the bricks in the fire-places were burnt out,
rough and crumbling, and the doors were all worn smooth and round at the
edges. The best rooms were wainscoted, but up-stairs there was a long,
unfinished room with a little square window at each end, under the
sloping roof, and as I listened there to the rain I remembered that I
had once heard an old man say wistfully, that he had slept in just such
a "linter" chamber as this when he was a boy, and that he never could
sleep anywhere now so well as he used there while the rain fell on the
roof just over his bed.

Down-stairs I found a room which I knew must have been the study. It was
handsomely wainscoted, and the finish of it was even better than that of
the parlor. It must have been a most comfortable place, and I fear the
old parson was luxurious in his tastes and less ascetic, perhaps, than
the more puritanical members of his congregation approved. There was a
great fire-place with a broad hearth-stone, where I think he may have
made a mug of flip sometimes, and there were several curious, narrow,
little cupboards built into the wall at either side, and over the
fire-place itself two doors opened and there were shelves inside,
broader at the top as the chimney sloped back. I saw some writing on one
of these doors and went nearer to read it. There was a date at the top,
some time in 1802, and his reverence had had a good quill pen and ink
which bravely stood the test of time; he must have been a tall man to
have written so high. I thought it might be some record of a great storm
or other notable event in his house or parish, but I was amused to find
that he had written there on the unpainted wood some valuable recipes
for the medical treatment of horses. "It is Useful for a Sprain--and For
a Cough, Take of Elecampane"--and so on. I hope he was not a hunting
parson, but one could hardly expect to find any reference to the early
fathers or federal head-ship in Adam on the cupboard door. I thought of
the stories I had heard of the old minister and felt very well
acquainted with him, though his books had been taken down and his fire
was out, and he himself had gone away. I was glad to think what a good,
faithful man he was, who spoke comfortable words to his people and lived
pleasantly with them in this quiet country place so many years. There
are old people living who have told me that nobody preaches nowadays as
he used to preach, and that he used to lift his hat to everybody; that
he liked a good dinner, and always was kind to the poor.

I thought as I stood in the study, how many times he must have looked
out of the small-paned western windows across the fields, and how in his
later days he must have had a treasure of memories of the people who had
gone out of that room the better for his advice and consolation, the
people whom he had helped and taught and ruled. I could not imagine
that he ever angrily took his parishioners to task for their errors of
doctrine; indeed, it was not of his active youth and middle age that I
thought at all, but of the last of his life, when he sat here in the
sunshine of a winter afternoon, and the fire flickered and snapped on
the hearth, and he sat before it in his arm-chair with a brown old book
which he laid on his knee while he thought and dozed, and roused himself
presently to greet somebody who came in, a little awed at first, to talk
with him. It was a great thing to be a country minister in those old
days, and to be such a minister as he was; truly the priest and ruler of
his people. The times have changed, and the temporal power certainly is
taken away. The divine right of ministers is almost as little believed
in as that of kings, by many people; it is not possible for the
influence to be so great, the office and the man are both looked at with
less reverence. It is a pity that it should be so, but the conservative
people who like old-fashioned ways cannot tell where to place all the
blame. And it is very odd to think that these iconoclastic and
unpleasant new times of ours will, a little later, be called old times,
and that the children, when they are elderly people, will sigh to have
them back again.

I was very glad to see the old house, and I told myself a great many
stories there, as one cannot help doing in such a place. There must have
been so many things happen in so many long lives which were lived there;
people have come into the world and gone out of it again from those
square rooms with their little windows, and I believe if there are
ghosts who walk about in daylight I was only half deaf to their voices,
and heard much of what they tried to tell me that day. The rooms which
had looked empty at first were filled again with the old clergymen, who
met together with important looks and complacent dignity, and eager talk
about some minor point in theology that is yet unsettled; the awkward,
smiling couples, who came to be married; the mistress of the house, who
must have been a stately person in her day; the little children who,
under all their shyness, remembered the sugar-plums in the old parson's
pockets,--all these, and even the tall cane that must have stood in the
entry, were visible to my mind's eye. And I even heard a sermon from the
old preacher who died so long ago, on the beauty of a life well spent.

The rain fell steadily and there was no prospect of its stopping, though
I could see that the clouds were thinner and that it was only a shower.
In the kitchen I found an old chair which I pulled into the study, which
seemed more cheerful than the rest of the house, and then I remembered
that there were some bits of board in the kitchen also, and the thought
struck me that it would be good fun to make a fire in the old
fire-place. Everything seemed right about the chimney. I even went up
into the garret to look at it there, for I had no wish to set the
parsonage on fire, and I brought down a pile of old corn husks for
kindlings which I found on the garret floor. I built my fire carefully,
with two bricks for andirons, and when I lit it it blazed up gayly, I
poked it and it crackled, and though I was very well contented there
alone I wished for some friend to keep me company, it was selfish to
have so much pleasure with no one to share it. The rain came faster than
ever against the windows, and the room would have been dark if it had
not been for my fire, which threw out a magnificent yellow light over
the old brown wood-work. I leaned back and watched the dry sticks fall
apart in red coals and thought I might have to spend the night there,
for if it were a storm and not a shower I was several miles from home,
and a late October rain is not like a warm one in June to fall upon
one's shoulders. I could hear the house leaking when it rained less
heavily, and the soot dropped down the chimney and great drops of water
came down, too, and spluttered in the fire. I thought what a merry thing
it would be if a party of young people ever had to take refuge there,
and I could almost see their faces and hear them laugh, though until
that minute they had been strangers to me.

But the shower was over at last, and my fire was out, and the last pale
shining of the sun came into the windows, and I looked out to see the
distant fields and woods all clear again in the late afternoon light. I
must hurry to get home before dark, so I raked up the ashes and left my
chair beside the fire-place, and shut and fastened the front door after
me, and went out to see what had become of my horse, shaking the dust
and cobwebs off my dress as I crossed the wet grass to the shed. The
rain had come through the broken roof and poor Sheila looked anxious and
hungry as if she thought I might have meant to leave her there till
morning in that dismal place. I offered her my apologies, but she made
even a shorter turn than usual when I had mounted, and we scurried off
down the road, spattering ourselves as we went. I hope the ghosts who
live in the parsonage watched me with friendly eyes, and I looked back
myself, to see a thin blue whiff of smoke still coming up from the great
chimney. I wondered who it was that had made the first fire there,--but
I think I shall have made the last.

_Tom's Husband_

I shall not dwell long upon the circumstances that led to the marriage
of my hero and heroine; though their courtship was, to them, the only
one that has ever noticeably approached the ideal, it had many aspects
in which it was entirely commonplace in other people's eyes. While the
world in general smiles at lovers with kindly approval and sympathy, it
refuses to be aware of the unprecedented delight which is amazing to the
lovers themselves.

But, as has been true in many other cases, when they were at last
married, the most ideal of situations was found to have been changed to
the most practical. Instead of having shared their original duties, and,
as school-boys would say, going halves, they discovered that the cares
of life had been doubled. This led to some distressing moments for both
our friends; they understood suddenly that instead of dwelling in heaven
they were still upon earth, and had made themselves slaves to new laws
and limitations. Instead of being freer and happier than ever before,
they had assumed new responsibilities; they had established a new
household, and must fulfill in some way or another the obligations of
it. They looked back with affection to their engagement; they had been
longing to have each other to themselves, apart from the world, but it
seemed that they never felt so keenly that they were still units in
modern society. Since Adam and Eve were in Paradise, before the devil
joined them, nobody has had a chance to imitate that unlucky couple. In
some respects they told the truth when, twenty times a day, they said
that life had never been so pleasant before; but there were mental
reservations on either side which might have subjected them to the
accusation of lying. Somehow, there was a little feeling of
disappointment, and they caught themselves wondering--though they would
have died sooner than confess it--whether they were quite so happy as
they had expected. The truth was, they were much happier than people
usually are, for they had an uncommon capacity for enjoyment. For a
little while they were like a sail-boat that is beating and has to drift
a few minutes before it can catch the wind and start off on the other
tack. And they had the same feeling, too, that any one is likely to have
who has been long pursuing some object of his ambition or desire.
Whether it is a coin, or a picture, or a stray volume of some old
edition of Shakespeare, or whether it is an office under government or a
lover, when fairly in one's grasp there is a loss of the eagerness that
was felt in pursuit. Satisfaction, even after one has dined well, is not
so interesting and eager a feeling as hunger.

My hero and heroine were reasonably well established to begin with: they
each had some money, though Mr. Wilson had most. His father had at one
time been a rich man, but with the decline, a few years before, of
manufacturing interests, he had become, mostly through the fault of
others, somewhat involved; and at the time of his death his affairs were
in such a condition that it was still a question whether a very large
sum or a moderately large one would represent his estate. Mrs. Wilson,
Tom's step-mother, was somewhat of an invalid; she suffered severely at
times with asthma, but she was almost entirely relieved by living in
another part of the country. While her husband lived, she had accepted
her illness as inevitable, and rarely left home; but during the last few
years she had lived in Philadelphia with her own people, making short
and wheezing visits only from time to time, and had not undergone a
voluntary period of suffering since the occasion of Tom's marriage,
which she had entirely approved. She had a sufficient property of her
own, and she and Tom were independent of each other in that way. Her
only other stepchild was a daughter, who had married a navy officer, and
had at this time gone out to spend three years (or less) with her
husband, who had been ordered to Japan.

It is not unfrequently noticed that in many marriages one of the persons
who choose each other as partners for life is said to have thrown
himself or herself away, and the relatives and friends look on with
dismal forebodings and ill-concealed submission. In this case it was the
wife who might have done so much better, according to public opinion.
She did not think so herself, luckily, either before marriage or
afterward, and I do not think it occurred to her to picture to herself
the sort of career which would have been her alternative. She had been
an only child, and had usually taken her own way. Some one once said
that it was a great pity that she had not been obliged to work for her
living, for she had inherited a most uncommon business talent, and,
without being disreputably keen at a bargain, her insight into the
practical working of affairs was very clear and far-reaching. Her
father, who had also been a manufacturer, like Tom's, had often said it
had been a mistake that she was a girl instead of a boy. Such executive
ability as hers is often wasted in the more contracted sphere of women,
and is apt to be more a disadvantage than a help. She was too
independent and self-reliant for a wife; it would seem at first thought
that she needed a wife herself more than she did a husband. Most men
like best the women whose natures cling and appeal to theirs for
protection. But Tom Wilson, while he did not wish to be protected
himself, liked these very qualities in his wife which would have
displeased some other men; to tell the truth, he was very much in love
with his wife just as she was. He was a successful collector of almost
everything but money, and during a great part of his life he had been an
invalid, and he had grown, as he laughingly confessed, very
old-womanish. He had been badly lamed, when a boy, by being caught in
some machinery in his father's mill, near which he was idling one
afternoon, and though he had almost entirely outgrown the effect of his
injury, it had not been until after many years. He had been in college,
but his eyes had given out there, and he had been obliged to leave in
the middle of his junior year, though he had kept up a pleasant
intercourse with the members of his class, with whom he had been a great
favorite. He was a good deal of an idler in the world. I do not think
his ambition, except in the case of securing Mary Dunn for his wife, had
ever been distinct; he seemed to make the most he could of each day as
it came, without making all his days' works tend toward some grand
result, and go toward the upbuilding of some grand plan and purpose. He
consequently gave no promise of being either distinguished or great.
When his eyes would allow, he was an indefatigable reader; and although
he would have said that he read only for amusement, yet he amused
himself with books that were well worth the time he spent over them.

The house where he lived nominally belonged to his step-mother, but she
had taken for granted that Tom would bring his wife home to it, and
assured him that it should be to all intents and purposes his. Tom was
deeply attached to the old place, which was altogether the pleasantest
in town. He had kept bachelor's hall there most of the time since his
father's death, and he had taken great pleasure, before his marriage, in
refitting it to some extent, though it was already comfortable and
furnished in remarkably good taste. People said of him that if it had
not been for his illnesses, and if he had been a poor boy, he probably
would have made something of himself. As it was, he was not very well
known by the towns-people, being somewhat reserved, and not taking much
interest in their every-day subjects of conversation. Nobody liked him
so well as they liked his wife, yet there was no reason why he should be
disliked enough to have much said about him.

After our friends had been married for some time, and had outlived the
first strangeness of the new order of things, and had done their duty to
their neighbors with so much apparent willingness and generosity that
even Tom himself was liked a great deal better than he ever had been
before, they were sitting together one stormy evening in the library,
before the fire. Mrs. Wilson had been reading Tom the letters which had
come to him by the night's mail. There was a long one from his sister in
Nagasaki, which had been written with a good deal of ill-disguised
reproach. She complained of the smallness of the income of her share in
her father's estate, and said that she had been assured by American
friends that the smaller mills were starting up everywhere, and
beginning to do well again. Since so much of their money was invested in
the factory, she had been surprised and sorry to find by Tom's last
letters that he had seemed to have no idea of putting in a proper person
as superintendent, and going to work again. Four per cent. on her other
property, which she had been told she must soon expect instead of eight,
would make a great difference to her. A navy captain in a foreign port
was obliged to entertain a great deal, and Tom must know that it cost
them much more to live than it did him, and ought to think of their
interests. She hoped he would talk over what was best to be done with
their mother (who had been made executor, with Tom, of his father's

Tom laughed a little, but looked disturbed. His wife had said something
to the same effect, and his mother had spoken once or twice in her
letters of the prospect of starting the mill again. He was not a bit of
a business man, and he did not feel certain, with the theories which he
had arrived at of the state of the country, that it was safe yet to
spend the money which would have to be spent in putting the mill in
order. "They think that the minute it is going again we shall be making
money hand over hand, just as father did when we were children," he
said. "It is going to cost us no end of money before we can make
anything. Before father died he meant to put in a good deal of new
machinery, I remember. I don't know anything about the business myself,
and I would have sold out long ago if I had had an offer that came
anywhere near the value. The larger mills are the only ones that are
good for anything now, and we should have to bring a crowd of French
Canadians here; the day is past for the people who live in this part of
the country to go into the factory again. Even the Irish all go West
when they come into the country, and don't come to places like this any

"But there are a good many of the old work-people down in the village,"
said Mrs. Wilson. "Jack Towne asked me the other day if you weren't
going to start up in the spring."

Tom moved uneasily in his chair. "I'll put you in for superintendent, if
you like," he said, half angrily, whereupon Mary threw the newspaper at
him; but by the time he had thrown it back he was in good humor again.

"Do you know, Tom," she said, with amazing seriousness, "that I believe
I should like nothing in the world so much as to be the head of a large
business? I hate keeping house,--I always did; and I never did so much
of it in all my life put together as I have since I have been married. I
suppose it isn't womanly to say so, but if I could escape from the whole
thing I believe I should be perfectly happy. If you get rich when the
mill is going again, I shall beg for a housekeeper, and shirk
everything. I give you fair warning. I don't believe I keep this house
half so well as you did before I came here."

Tom's eyes twinkled. "I am going to have that glory,--I don't think you
do, Polly; but you can't say that I have not been forbearing. I
certainly have not told you more than twice how we used to have things
cooked. I'm not going to be your kitchen-colonel."

"Of course it seemed the proper thing to do," said his wife,
meditatively; "but I think we should have been even happier than we have
if I had been spared it. I have had some days of wretchedness that I
shudder to think of. I never know what to have for breakfast; and I
ought not to say it, but I don't mind the sight of dust. I look upon
housekeeping as my life's great discipline;" and at this pathetic
confession they both laughed heartily.

"I've a great mind to take it off your hands," said Tom. "I always
rather liked it, to tell the truth, and I ought to be a better
housekeeper,--I have been at it for five years; though housekeeping for
one is different from what it is for two, and one of them a woman. You
see you have brought a different element into my family. Luckily, the
servants are pretty well drilled. I do think you upset them a good deal
at first!"

Mary Wilson smiled as if she only half heard what he was saying. She
drummed with her foot on the floor and looked intently at the fire, and
presently gave it a vigorous poking. "Well?" said Tom, after he had
waited patiently as long as he could.

"Tom! I'm going to propose something to you. I wish you would really do
as you said, and take all the home affairs under your care, and let me
start the mill. I am certain I could manage it. Of course I should get
people who understood the thing to teach me. I believe I was made for
it; I should like it above all things. And this is what I will do: I
will bear the cost of starting it, myself,--I think I have money enough,
or can get it; and if I have not put affairs in the right trim at the
end of a year I will stop, and you may make some other arrangement. If I
have, you and your mother and sister can pay me back."

"So I am going to be the wife, and you the husband," said Tom, a little
indignantly; "at least, that is what people will say. It's a regular
Darby and Joan affair, and you think you can do more work in a day than
I can do in three. Do you know that you must go to town to buy cotton?
And do you know there are a thousand things about it that you don't

"And never will?" said Mary, with perfect good humor. "Why, Tom, I can
learn as well as you, and a good deal better, for I like business, and
you don't. You forget that I was always father's right-hand man after I
was a dozen years old, and that you have let me invest my money and some
of your own, and I haven't made a blunder yet."

Tom thought that his wife had never looked so handsome or so happy. "I
don't care, I should rather like the fun of knowing what people will
say. It is a new departure, at any rate. Women think they can do
everything better than men in these days, but I'm the first man,
apparently, who has wished he were a woman."

"Of course people will laugh," said Mary, "but they will say that it's
just like me, and think I am fortunate to have married a man who will
let me do as I choose. I don't see why it isn't sensible: you will be
living exactly as you were before you married, as to home affairs; and
since it was a good thing for you to know something about housekeeping
then, I can't imagine why you shouldn't go on with it now, since it
makes me miserable, and I am wasting a fine business talent while I do
it. What do we care for people's talking about it?"

"It seems to me that it is something like women's smoking: it isn't
wicked, but it isn't the custom of the country. And I don't like the
idea of your going among business men. Of course I should be above going
with you, and having people think I must be an idiot; they would say
that you married a manufacturing interest, and I was thrown in. I can
foresee that my pride is going to be humbled to the dust in every way,"
Tom declared in mournful tones, and began to shake with laughter. "It is
one of your lovely castles in the air, dear Polly, but an old brick mill
needs a better foundation than the clouds. No, I'll look around, and get
an honest, experienced man for agent. I suppose it's the best thing we
can do, for the machinery ought not to lie still any longer; but I mean
to sell the factory as soon as I can. I devoutly wish it would take
fire, for the insurance would be the best price we are likely to get.
That is a famous letter from Alice! I am afraid the captain has been
growling over his pay, or they have been giving too many little dinners
on board ship. If we were rid of the mill, you and I might go out there
this winter. It would be capital fun."

Mary smiled again in an absent-minded way. Tom had an uneasy feeling
that he had not heard the end of it yet, but nothing more was said for a
day or two. When Mrs. Tom Wilson announced, with no apparent thought of
being contradicted, that she had entirely made up her mind, and she
meant to see those men who had been overseers of the different
departments, who still lived in the village, and have the mill put in
order at once, Tom looked disturbed, but made no opposition; and soon
after breakfast his wife formally presented him with a handful of keys,
and told him there was some lamb in the house for dinner; and presently
he heard the wheels of her little phaeton rattling off down the road. I
should be untruthful if I tried to persuade any one that he was not
provoked; he thought she would at least have waited for his formal
permission, and at first he meant to take another horse, and chase her,
and bring her back in disgrace, and put a stop to the whole thing. But
something assured him that she knew what she was about, and he
determined to let her have her own way. If she failed, it might do no
harm, and this was the only ungallant thought he gave her. He was sure
that she would do nothing unladylike, or be unmindful of his dignity;
and he believed it would be looked upon as one of her odd, independent
freaks, which always had won respect in the end, however much they had
been laughed at in the beginning. "Susan," said he, as that estimable
person went by the door with the dust-pan, "you may tell Catherine to
come to me for orders about the house, and you may do so yourself. I am
going to take charge again, as I did before I was married. It is no
trouble to me, and Mrs. Wilson dislikes it. Besides, she is going into
business, and will have a great deal else to think of."

"Yes, sir; very well, sir," said Susan, who was suddenly moved to ask so
many questions that she was utterly silent. But her master looked very
happy; there was evidently no disapproval of his wife; and she went on
up the stairs, and began to sweep them down, knocking the dust-brush
about excitedly, as if she were trying to kill a descending colony of

Tom went out to the stable and mounted his horse, which had been waiting
for him to take his customary after-breakfast ride to the post-office,
and he galloped down the road in quest of the phaeton. He saw Mary
talking with Jack Towne, who had been an overseer and a valued workman
of his father's. He was looking much surprised and pleased.

"I wasn't caring so much about getting work, myself," he explained;
"I've got what will carry me and my wife through; but it'll be better
for the young folks about here to work near home. My nephews are wanting
something to do; they were going to Lynn next week. I don't say but I
should like to be to work in the old place again. I've sort of missed
it, since we shut down."

"I'm sorry I was so long in overtaking you," said Tom, politely, to his
wife. "Well, Jack, did Mrs. Wilson tell you she's going to start the
mill? You must give her all the help you can."

"'Deed I will," said Mr. Towne, gallantly, without a bit of

"I don't know much about the business yet," said Mrs. Wilson, who had
been a little overcome at Jack Towne's lingo of the different rooms and
machinery, and who felt an overpowering sense of having a great deal
before her in the next few weeks. "By the time the mill is ready, I will
be ready, too," she said, taking heart a little; and Tom, who was quick
to understand her moods, could not help laughing, as he rode alongside.
"We want a new barrel of flour, Tom, dear," she said, by way of
punishment for his untimely mirth.

If she lost courage in the long delay, or was disheartened at the steady
call for funds, she made no sign; and after a while the mill started up,
and her cares were lightened, so that she told Tom that before next pay
day she would like to go to Boston for a few days, and go to the
theatre, and have a frolic and a rest. She really looked pale and thin,
and she said she never worked so hard in all her life; but nobody knew
how happy she was, and she was so glad she had married Tom, for some men
would have laughed at it.

"I laughed at it," said Tom, meekly. "All is, if I don't cry by and by,
because I am a beggar, I shall be lucky." But Mary looked fearlessly
serene, and said that there was no danger at present.

It would have been ridiculous to expect a dividend the first year,
though the Nagasaki people were pacified with difficulty. All the
business letters came to Tom's address, and everybody who was not
directly concerned thought that he was the motive power of the
reawakened enterprise. Sometimes business people came to the mill, and
were amazed at having to confer with Mrs. Wilson, but they soon had to
respect her talents and her success. She was helped by the old clerk,
who had been promptly recalled and reinstated, and she certainly did
capitally well. She was laughed at, as she had expected to be, and
people said they should think Tom would be ashamed of himself; but it
soon appeared that he was not to blame, and what reproach was offered
was on the score of his wife's oddity. There was nothing about the mill
that she did not understand before very long, and at the end of the
second year she declared a small dividend with great pride and triumph.
And she was congratulated on her success, and every one thought of her
project in a different way from the way they had thought of it in the
beginning. She had singularly good fortune: at the end of the third year
she was making money for herself and her friends faster than most people
were, and approving letters began to come from Nagasaki. The Ashtons had
been ordered to stay in that region, and it was evident that they were
continually being obliged to entertain more instead of less. Their
children were growing fast, too, and constantly becoming more expensive.
The captain and his wife had already begun to congratulate themselves
secretly that their two sons would in all probability come into
possession, one day, of their uncle Tom's handsome property.

For a good while Tom enjoyed life, and went on his quiet way serenely.
He was anxious at first, for he thought that Mary was going to make
ducks and drakes of his money and her own. And then he did not exactly
like the looks of the thing, either; he feared that his wife was growing
successful as a business person at the risk of losing her womanliness.
But as time went on, and he found there was no fear of that, he
accepted the situation philosophically. He gave up his collection of
engravings, having become more interested in one of coins and medals,
which took up most of his leisure time. He often went to the city in
pursuit of such treasures, and gained much renown in certain quarters as
a numismatologist of great skill and experience. But at last his house
(which had almost kept itself, and had given him little to do beside
ordering the dinners, while faithful old Catherine and her niece Susan
were his aids) suddenly became a great care to him. Catherine, who had
been the main-stay of the family for many years, died after a short
illness, and Susan must needs choose that time, of all others, for being
married to one of the second hands in the mill. There followed a long
and dismal season of experimenting, and for a time there was a
procession of incapable creatures going in at one kitchen door and out
of the other. His wife would not have liked to say so, but it seemed to
her that Tom was growing fussy about the house affairs, and took more
notice of those minor details than he used. She wished more than once,
when she was tired, that he would not talk so much about the
housekeeping; he seemed sometimes to have no other thought.

In the early days of Mrs. Wilson's business life, she had made it a rule
to consult her husband on every subject of importance; but it had
speedily proved to be a formality. Tom tried manfully to show a deep
interest which he did not feel, and his wife gave up, little by little,
telling him much about her affairs. She said that she liked to drop
business when she came home in the evening; and at last she fell into
the habit of taking a nap on the library sofa, while Tom, who could not
use his eyes much by lamp-light, sat smoking or in utter idleness before
the fire. When they were first married his wife had made it a rule that
she should always read him the evening papers, and afterward they had
always gone on with some book of history or philosophy, in which they
were both interested. These evenings of their early married life had
been charming to both of them, and from time to time one would say to
the other that they ought to take up again the habit of reading
together. Mary was so unaffectedly tired in the evening that Tom never
liked to propose a walk; for, though he was not a man of peculiarly
social nature, he had always been accustomed to pay an occasional
evening visit to his neighbors in the village. And though he had little
interest in the business world, and still less knowledge of it, after a
while he wished that his wife would have more to say about what she was
planning and doing, or how things were getting on. He thought that her
chief aid, old Mr. Jackson, was far more in her thoughts than he. She
was forever quoting Jackson's opinions. He did not like to find that she
took it for granted that he was not interested in the welfare of his own
property; it made him feel like a sort of pensioner and dependent,
though, when they had guests at the house, which was by no means seldom,
there was nothing in her manner that would imply that she thought
herself in any way the head of the family. It was hard work to find
fault with his wife in any way, though, to give him his due, he rarely

       *       *       *       *       *

But, this being a wholly unnatural state of things, the reader must
expect to hear of its change at last, and the first blow from the enemy
was dealt by an old woman, who lived near by, and who called to Tom one
morning, as he was driving down to the village in a great hurry (to post
a letter, which ordered his agent to secure a long-wished-for ancient
copper coin, at any price), to ask him if they had made yeast that week,
and if she could borrow a cupful, as her own had met with some
misfortune. Tom was instantly in a rage, and he mentally condemned her
to some undeserved fate, but told her aloud to go and see the cook. This
slight delay, besides being killing to his dignity, caused him to lose
the mail, and in the end his much-desired copper coin. It was a hard day
for him, altogether; it was Wednesday, and the first days of the week
having been stormy the washing was very late. And Mary came home to
dinner provokingly good-natured. She had met an old school-mate and her
husband driving home from the mountains, and had first taken them over
her factory, to their great amusement and delight, and then had brought
them home to dinner. Tom greeted them cordially, and manifested his
usual graceful hospitality; but the minute he saw his wife alone he said
in a plaintive tone of rebuke, "I should think you might have remembered
that the servants are unusually busy to-day. I do wish you would take a
little interest in things at home. The women have been washing, and I'm
sure I don't know what sort of a dinner we can give your friends. I wish
you had thought to bring home some steak. I have been busy myself, and
couldn't go down to the village. I thought we would only have a lunch."

Mary was hungry, but she said nothing, except that it would be all
right,--she didn't mind; and perhaps they could have some canned soup.

She often went to town to buy or look at cotton, or to see some
improvement in machinery, and she brought home beautiful bits of
furniture and new pictures for the house, and showed a touching
thoughtfulness in remembering Tom's fancies; but somehow he had an
uneasy suspicion that she could get along pretty well without him when
it came to the deeper wishes and hopes of her life, and that her most
important concerns were all matters in which he had no share. He seemed
to himself to have merged his life in his wife's; he lost his interest
in things outside the house and grounds; he felt himself fast growing
rusty and behind the times, and to have somehow missed a good deal in
life; he had a suspicion that he was a failure. One day the thought
rushed over him that his had been almost exactly the experience of most
women, and he wondered if it really was any more disappointing and
ignominious to him than it was to women themselves. "Some of them may be
contented with it," he said to himself, soberly. "People think women are
designed for such careers by nature, but I don't know why I ever made
such a fool of myself."

Having once seen his situation in life from such a standpoint, he felt
it day by day to be more degrading, and he wondered what he should do
about it; and once, drawn by a new, strange sympathy, he went to the
little family burying ground. It was one of the mild, dim days that come
sometimes in early November, when the pale sunlight is like the pathetic
smile of a sad face, and he sat for a long time on the limp,
frost-bitten grass beside his mother's grave.

But when he went home in the twilight his step-mother, who just then was
making them a little visit, mentioned that she had been looking through
some boxes of hers that had been packed long before and stowed away in
the garret. "Everything looks very nice up there," she said, in her
wheezing voice (which, worse than usual that day, always made him
nervous); and added, without any intentional slight to his feelings, "I
do think you have always been a most excellent housekeeper."

"I'm tired of such nonsense!" he exclaimed, with surprising indignation.
"Mary, I wish you to arrange your affairs so that you can leave them for
six months at least. I am going to spend this winter in Europe."

"Why, Tom, dear!" said his wife, appealingly. "I couldn't leave my
business any way in the"--

But she caught sight of a look on his usually placid countenance that
was something more than decision, and refrained from saying anything

And three weeks from that day they sailed.

_Miss Debby's Neighbors_

There is a class of elderly New England women which is fast dying
out:--those good souls who have sprung from a soil full of the true New
England instincts; who were used to the old-fashioned ways, and whose
minds were stored with quaint country lore and tradition. The fashions
of the newer generations do not reach them; they are quite unconscious
of the western spirit and enterprise, and belong to the old days, and to
a fast-disappearing order of things.

But a shrewder person does not exist than the spokeswoman of the
following reminiscences, whose simple history can be quickly told, since
she spent her early life on a lonely farm, leaving it only once for any
length of time,--one winter when she learned her trade of tailoress. She
afterward sewed for her neighbors, and enjoyed a famous reputation for
her skill; but year by year, as she grew older, there was less to do,
and at last, to use her own expression, "Everybody got into the way of
buying cheap, ready-made-up clothes, just to save 'em a little trouble,"
and she found herself out of business, or nearly so. After her mother's
death, and that of her favorite younger brother Jonas, she left the farm
and came to a little house in the village, where she lived most
comfortably the rest of her life, having a small property which she used
most sensibly. She was always ready to render any special service with
her needle, and was a most welcome guest in any household, and a most
efficient helper. To be in the same room with her for a while was sure
to be profitable, and as she grew older she was delighted to recall the
people and events of her earlier life, always filling her descriptions
with wise reflections and much quaint humor. She always insisted, not
without truth, that the railroads were making everybody look and act of
a piece, and that the young folks were more alike than people of her own
day. It is impossible to give the delightfulness of her talk in any
written words, as well as many of its peculiarities, for her way of
going round Robin Hood's barn between the beginning of her story and its
end can hardly be followed at all, and certainly not in her own dear
loitering footsteps.

On an idle day her most devoted listener thought there was nothing
better worth doing than to watch this good soul at work. A book was held
open for the looks of the thing, but presently it was allowed to flutter
its leaves and close, for Miss Debby began without any apparent

"They may say whatever they have a mind to, but they can't persuade me
that there's no such thing as special providences," and she twitched her
strong linen thread so angrily through the carpet she was sewing, that
it snapped and the big needle flew into the air. It had to be found
before any further remarks could be made, and the listener also knelt
down to search for it. After a while it was discovered clinging to Miss
Debby's own dress, and after reharnessing it she went to work again at
her long seam. It was always significant of a succession of Miss Debby's
opinions when she quoted and berated certain imaginary persons whom she
designated as "They," who stood for the opposite side of the question,
and who merited usually her deepest scorn and fullest antagonism. Her
remarks to these offending parties were always prefaced with "I tell
'em," and to the listener's mind "they" always stood rebuked, but not
convinced, in spiritual form it may be, but most intense reality; a
little group as solemn as Miss Debby herself. Once the listener ventured
to ask who "they" were, in her early childhood, but she was only
answered by a frown. Miss Debby knew as well as any one the difference
between figurative language and a lie. Sometimes they said what was
right and proper, and were treated accordingly; but very seldom, and on
this occasion it seemed that they had ventured to trifle with sacred

"I suppose you're too young to remember John Ashby's grandmother? A good
woman she was, and she had a dreadful time with her family. They never
could keep the peace, and there was always as many as two of them who
didn't speak with each other. It seems to come down from generation to
generation like a--_curse!_" And Miss Debby spoke the last word as if
she had meant it partly for her thread, which had again knotted and
caught, and she snatched the offered scissors without a word, but said
peaceably, after a minute or two, that the thread wasn't what it used
to be. The next needleful proved more successful, and the listener asked
if the Ashbys were getting on comfortably at present.

"They always behave as if they thought they needed nothing," was the
response. "Not that I mean that they are any ways contented, but they
never will give in that other folks holds a candle to 'em. There's one
kind of pride that I do hate,--when folks is satisfied with their selves
and don't see no need of improvement. I believe in self-respect, but I
believe in respecting other folks's rights as much as your own; but it
takes an Ashby to ride right over you. I tell 'em it's the spirit of the
tyrants of old, and it's the kind of pride that goes before a fall. John
Ashby's grandmother was a clever little woman as ever stepped. She came
from over Hardwick way, and I think she kep' 'em kind of decent-behaved
as long as she was round; but she got wore out a doin' of it, an' went
down to her grave in a quick consumption. My mother set up with her the
night she died. It was in May, towards the latter part, and an awful
rainy night. It was the storm that always comes in apple-blossom time. I
remember well that mother come crying home in the morning and told us
Mis' Ashby was dead. She brought Marilly with her, that was about my own
age, and was taken away within six months afterwards. She pined herself
to death for her mother, and when she caught the scarlet fever she went
as quick as cherry-bloom when it's just ready to fall and a wind strikes
it. She wa'n't like the rest of 'em. She took after her mother's folks

"You know our farm was right next to theirs,--the one Asa Hopper owns
now, but he's let it all run out,--and so, as we lived some ways from
the stores, we had to be neighborly, for we depended on each other for a
good many things. Families in lonesome places get out of one supply and
another, and have to borrow until they get a chance to send to the
village; or sometimes in a busy season some of the folks would have to
leave work and be gone half a day. Land, you don't know nothing about
old times, and the life that used to go on about here. You can't step
into a house anywheres now that there ain't the county map and they
don't fetch out the photograph book; and in every district you'll find
all the folks has got the same chromo picture hung up, and all sorts of
luxuries and makeshifts o' splendor that would have made the folks I
was fetched up by stare their eyes out o' their heads. It was all we
could do to keep along then; and if anybody was called rich, it was only
because he had a great sight of land,--and then it was drudge, drudge
the harder to pay the taxes. There was hardly any ready money; and I
recollect well that old Tommy Simms was reputed wealthy, and it was told
over fifty times a year that he'd got a solid four thousand dollars in
the bank. He strutted round like a turkey-cock, and thought he ought to
have his first say about everything that was going.

"I was talking about the Ashbys, wasn't I? I do' know's I ever told you
about the fight they had after their father died about the old house.
Joseph was married to a girl he met in camp-meeting time, who had a
little property--two or three hundred dollars--from an old great uncle
that she'd been keeping house for; and I don't know what other plans she
may have had for spending of her means, but she laid most of it out in a
husband; for Joseph never cared any great about her that I could see,
though he always treated her well enough. She was a poor ignorant sort
of thing, seven years older than he was; but she had a pleasant kind of
a face, and seemed like an overgrown girl of six or eight years old. I
remember just after they was married Joseph was taken down with a quinsy
sore throat,--being always subject to them,--and mother was over in the
forenoon, and she was one that was always giving right hand and left,
and she told Susan Ellen--that was his wife--to step over in the
afternoon and she would give her some blackberry preserve for him; she
had some that was nice and it was very healing. So along about half-past
one o'clock, just as we had got the kitchen cleared, and mother and I
had got out the big wheels to spin a few rolls,--we always liked to spin
together, and mother was always good company;--my brother Jonas--that
was the youngest of us--looked out of the window, and says he: 'Here
comes Joe Ashby's wife with a six-quart pail.'

"Mother she began to shake all over with a laugh she tried to swallow
down, but I didn't know what it was all about, and in come poor Susan
Ellen and lit on the edge of the first chair and set the pail down
beside of her. We tried to make her feel welcome, and spoke about
everything we could contrive, seein' as it was the first time she'd
been over; and she seemed grateful and did the best she could, and lost
her strangeness with mother right away, for mother was the best hand to
make folks feel to home with her that I ever come across. There ain't
many like her now, nor never was, I tell 'em. But there wa'n't nothing
said about the six-quart pail, and there it set on the floor, until
Susan Ellen said she must be going and mentioned that there was
something said about a remedy for Joseph's throat. 'Oh, yes,' says
mother, and she brought out the little stone jar she kept the preserve
in, and there wa'n't more than the half of it full. Susan Ellen took up
the cover off the pail, and I walked off into the bedroom, for I thought
I should laugh, certain. Mother put in a big spoonful, and another, and
I heard 'em drop, and she went on with one or two more, and then she
give up. 'I'd give you the jar and welcome,' she says, 'but I ain't very
well off for preserves, and I was kind of counting on this for tea in
case my brother's folks are over.' Susan Ellen thanked her, and said
Joseph would be obliged, and back she went acrost the pasture. I can see
that big tin pail now a-shining in the sun.

"The old man was alive then, and he took a great spite against poor
Susan Ellen, though he never would if he hadn't been set on by John; and
whether he was mad because Joseph had stepped in to so much good money
or what, I don't know,--but he twitted him about her, and at last he and
the old man between 'em was too much to bear, and Joe fitted up a couple
o' rooms for himself in a building he'd put up for a kind of work-shop.
He used to carpenter by spells, and he clapboarded it and made it as
comfortable as he could, and he ordered John out of it for good and all;
but he and Susan Ellen both treated the old sir the best they knew how,
and Joseph kept right on with his farm work same as ever, and meant to
lay up a little more money to join with his wife's, and push off as soon
as he could for the sake of peace, though if there was anybody set by
the farm it was Joseph. He was to blame for some things,--I never saw an
Ashby that wasn't,--and I dare say he was aggravating. They were
clearing a piece of woodland that winter, and the old man was laid up in
the house with the rheumatism, off and on, and that made him fractious,
and he and John connived together, till one day Joseph and Susan Ellen
had taken the sleigh and gone to Freeport Four Corners to get some flour
and one thing and another, and to have the horse shod beside, so they
was likely to be gone two or three hours. John Jacobs was going by with
his oxen, and John Ashby and the old man hailed him, and said they'd
give him a dollar if he'd help 'em, and they hitched the two yoke, his
and their'n, to Joseph's house. There wa'n't any foundation to speak of,
the sills set right on the ground, and he'd banked it up with a few old
boards and some pine spills and sand and stuff, just to keep the cold
out. There wa'n't but a little snow, and the roads was smooth and icy,
and they slipped it along as if it had been a hand-sled, and got it down
the road a half a mile or so to the fork of the roads, and left it
settin' there right on the heater-piece. Jacobs told afterward that he
kind of disliked to do it, but he thought as long as their minds were
set, he might as well have the dollar as anybody. He said when the house
give a slew on a sideling piece in the road, he heard some of the
crockery-ware smash down, and a branch of an oak they passed by caught
hold of the stove-pipe that come out through one of the walls, and give
that a wrench, but he guessed there wa'n't no great damage. Joseph may
have given 'em some provocation before he went away in the morning,--I
don't know _but_ he did, and I don't know _as_ he did,--but
at any rate when he was coming home late in the afternoon he caught
sight of his house (some of our folks was right behind, and they saw
him), and he stood right up in the sleigh and shook his fist, he was so
mad; but afterwards he bu'st out laughin'. It did look kind of curi's;
it wa'n't bigger than a front entry, and it set up so pert right there
on the heater-piece, as if he was calc'latin' to farm it. The folks said
Susan Ellen covered up her face in her shawl and began to cry. I s'pose
the pore thing was discouraged. Joseph was awful mad,--he was kind of
laughing and cryin' together. Our folks stopped and asked him if there
was anything they could do, and he said no; but Susan Ellen went in to
view how things were, and they made up a fire, and then Joe took the
horse home, and I guess they had it hot and heavy. Nobody supposed
they'd ever make up 'less there was a funeral in the family to bring 'em
together, the fight had gone so far,--but 'long in the winter old Mr.
Ashby, the boys' father, was taken down with a spell o' sickness, and
there wa'n't anybody they could get to come and look after the house.
The doctor hunted, and they all hunted, but there didn't seem to be
anybody--'twa'n't so thick settled as now, and there was no spare
help--so John had to eat humble pie, and go and ask Susan Ellen if she
wouldn't come back and let by-gones be by-gones. She was as good-natured
a creatur' as ever stepped, and did the best she knew, and she spoke up
as pleasant as could be, and said she'd go right off that afternoon and
help 'em through.

"The old Ashby had been a hard drinker in his day and he was all broke
down. Nobody ever saw him that he couldn't walk straight, but he got a
crooked disposition out of it, if nothing else. I s'pose there never was
a man loved sperit better. They said one year he was over to Cyrus
Barker's to help with the haying, and there was a jug o' New England rum
over by the spring with some gingerbread and cheese and stuff; and he
went over about every half an hour to take something, and along about
half-past ten he got the jug middling low, so he went to fill it up with
a little water, and lost holt of it and it sunk, and they said he drunk
the spring dry three times!

"Joe and Susan Ellen stayed there at the old place well into the summer,
and then after planting they moved down to the Four Corners where they
had bought a nice little place. Joe did well there,--he carried on the
carpenter trade, and got smoothed down considerable, being amongst
folks. John he married a Pecker girl, and got his match too; she was the
only living soul he ever was afraid of. They lived on there a spell
and--why, they must have lived there all of fifteen or twenty years, now
I come to think of it, for the time they moved was after the railroad
was built. 'Twas along in the winter and his wife she got a notion to
buy a place down to the Falls below the Corners after the mills got
started and have John work in the spinning-room while she took boarders.
She said 'twa'n't no use staying on the farm, they couldn't make a
living off from it now they'd cut the growth. Joe's folks and she never
could get along, and they said she was dreadfully riled up hearing how
much Joe was getting in the machine shop.

"They needn't tell me about special providences being all moonshine,"
said Miss Debby for the second time, "if here wa'n't a plain one, I'll
never say one word more about it. You see, that very time Joe Ashby got
a splinter in his eye and they were afraid he was going to lose his
sight, and he got a notion that he wanted to go back to farming. He
always set everything by the old place, and he had a boy growing up that
neither took to his book nor to mill work, and he wanted to farm it too.
So Joe got hold of John one day when he come in with some wood, and
asked him why he wouldn't take his place for a year or two, if he wanted
to get to the village, and let him go out to the old place. My brother
Jonas was standin' right by and heard 'em and said he never heard nobody
speak civiller. But John swore and said he wa'n't going to be caught in
no such a trap as that. His father left him the place and he was going
to do as he'd a mind to. There'd be'n trouble about the property, for
old Mr. Ashby had given Joe some money he had in the bank. Joe had got
to be well off, he could have bought most any farm about here, but he
wanted the old place 'count of his attachment. He set everything by his
mother, spite of her being dead so long. John hadn't done very well
spite of his being so sharp, but he let out the best of the farm on
shares, and bought a mis'able sham-built little house down close by the
mills,--and then some idea or other got into his head to fit that up to
let and move it to one side of the lot, and haul down the old house from
the farm to live in themselves. There wa'n't no time to lose, else the
snow would be gone; so he got a gang o' men up there and put shoes
underneath the sills, and then they assembled all the oxen they could
call in, and started. Mother was living then, though she'd got to be
very feeble, and when they come for our yoke she wouldn't have Jonas let
'em go. She said the old house ought to stay in its place. Everybody had
been telling John Ashby that the road was too hilly, and besides the
house was too old to move, they'd rack it all to pieces dragging it so
fur; but he wouldn't listen to no reason.

"I never saw mother so stirred up as she was that day, and when she see
the old thing a moving she burst right out crying. We could see one end
of it looking over the slope of the hill in the pasture between it and
our house. There was two windows that looked our way, and I know Mis'
Ashby used to hang a piece o' something white out o' one of 'em when she
wanted mother to step over for anything. They set a good deal by each
other, and Mis' Ashby was a lame woman. I shouldn't ha' thought John
would had 'em haul the house right over the little gardin she thought so
much of, and broke down the laylocks and flowering currant she set
everything by. I remember when she died I wasn't more'n seven or eight
year old, it was all in full bloom and mother she broke off a branch and
laid into the coffin. I do' know as I've ever seen any since or set in a
room and had the sweetness of it blow in at the windows without
remembering that day,--'twas the first funeral I ever went to, and that
may be some reason. Well, the old house started off and mother watched
it as long as she could see it. She was sort o' feeble herself then, as
I said, and we went on with the work,--'twas a Saturday, and we was
baking and churning and getting things to rights generally. Jonas had
been over in the swamp getting out some wood he'd cut earlier in the
winter--and along in the afternoon he come in and said he s'posed I
wouldn't want to ride down to the Corners so late, and I said I did feel
just like it, so we started off. We went the Birch Ridge road, because
he wanted to see somebody over that way,--and when we was going home by
the straight road, Jonas laughed and said we hadn't seen anything of
John Ashby's moving, and he guessed he'd got stuck somewhere. He was
glad he hadn't nothing to do with it. We drove along pretty quick, for
we were some belated, and we didn't like to leave mother all alone after
it come dark. All of a sudden Jonas stood up in the sleigh, and says he,
'I don't believe but the cars is off the track;' and I looked and there
did seem to be something the matter with 'em. They hadn't been running
more than a couple o' years then, and we was prepared for anything.

"Jonas he whipped up the horse and we got there pretty quick, and I'll
be bound if the Ashby house hadn't got stuck fast right on the track,
and stir it one way or another they couldn't. They'd been there since
quarter-past one, pulling and hauling,--and the men was all hoarse with
yelling, and the cars had come from both ways and met there,--one each
side of the crossing,--and the passengers was walking about, scolding
and swearing,--and somebody'd gone and lit up a gre't bonfire. You never
see such a sight in all your life! I happened to look up at the old
house, and there were them two top windows that used to look over to our
place, and they had caught the shine of the firelight, and made the poor
old thing look as if it was scared to death. The men was banging at it
with axes and crowbars, and it was dreadful distressing. You pitied it
as if it was a live creatur'. It come from such a quiet place, and
always looked kind of comfortable, though so much war had gone on
amongst the Ashbys. I tell you it was a judgment on John, for they got
it shoved back after a while, and then wouldn't touch it again,--not one
of the men,--nor let their oxen. The plastering was all stove, and the
outside walls all wrenched apart,--and John never did anything more
about it; but let it set there all summer, till it burnt down, and there
was an end, one night in September. They supposed some traveling folks
slept in it and set it afire, or else some boys did it for fun. I was
glad it was out of the way. One day, I know, I was coming by with
mother, and she said it made her feel bad to see the little strips of
leather by the fore door, where Mis' Ashby had nailed up a rosebush
once. There! there ain't an Ashby alive now of the old stock, except
young John. Joe's son went off to sea, and I believe he was lost
somewhere in the China seas, or else he died of a fever; I seem to
forget. He was called a smart boy, but he never could seem to settle
down to anything. Sometimes I wonder folks is as good as they be, when I
consider what comes to 'em from their folks before 'em, and how they're
misshaped by nature. Them Ashbys never was like other folks, and yet
some good streak or other there was in every one of 'em. You can't
expect much from such hindered creator's,--it's just like beratin' a
black and white cat for being a poor mouser. It ain't her fault that the
mice see her quicker than they can a gray one. If you get one of them
masterful dispositions put with a good strong will towards the right,
that's what makes the best of men; but all them Ashbys cared about was
to grasp and get, and be cap'ns. They liked to see other folks put down,
just as if it was going to set them up. And they didn't know nothing.
They make me think of some o' them old marauders that used to hive up
into their castles, in old times, and then go out a-over-setting and
plundering. And I tell you that same sperit was in 'em. They was born a
couple o' hundred years too late. Kind of left-over folks, as it were."
And Miss Debby indulged in a quiet chuckle as she bent over her work.
"John he got captured by his wife,--she carried too many guns for him. I
believe he died very poor and her own son wouldn't support her, so she
died over in Freeport poor-house. And Joe got along better; his wife was
clever but rather slack, and it took her a good while to see through
things. She married again pretty quick after he died. She had as much as
seven or eight thousand dollars, and she was taken just as she stood by
a roving preacher that was holding meetings here in the winter time. He
sold out her place here, and they went up country somewheres that he
come from. Her boy was lost before that, so there was nothing to hinder
her. There, don't you think I'm always a-fault-finding! When I get hold
of the real thing in folks, I stick to 'em,--but there's an awful sight
of poor material walking about that ain't worth the ground it steps on.
But when I look back a little ways, I can't blame some of 'em; though it
does often seem as if people might do better if they only set to work
and tried. I must say I always do feel pleased when I think how mad John
was,--this John's father,--when he couldn't do just as he'd a mind to
with the pore old house. I couldn't help thinking of Joe's mansion, that
he and his father hauled down to the heater piece in the fork of the
roads. Sometimes I wonder where them Ashbys all went to. They'd mistake
one place for the other in the next world, for 'twould make heaven out
o' hell, because they could be disagreeing with somebody, and--well, I
don't know,--I'm sure they kep' a good row going while they was in this
world. Only with mother;--somehow she could get along with anybody, and
not always give 'em their way either."

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